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Willamette Boulevard Active Transportation Corridor

Transportation
In Planning
N Willamette Blvd is an essential corridor for people traveling throughout the North Portland peninsula. PBOT is excited to have the opportunity to make a major investment to build a world-class biking, walking, and rolling corridor in North Portland.
This photograph is an image of Portland, Forest Park, and Swan Island from the bluffs of N Willamette Boulevard.
Summer 2022
Location Description
N Willamette Boulevard, from N Richmond Ave to N Rosa Parks Way
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Background

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is excited to announce a major funded project to improve conditions for people walking, biking, and using transit on N Willamette Blvd.

This project will add 3 new miles of protected bikeway on N Willamette Blvd, connecting to existing facilities on N Rosa Parks Way, to create a continuous 5-mile connection from St Johns & Cathedral Park to NE MLK Jr Blvd. In addition to bikeway improvements, this project will add new pedestrian crossings, design for safer speeds, and improve access to transit for TriMet Line 44.

This project is funded in part by Metro’s Regional Flexible Funds grant for Active Transportation and will be built between 2025 and 2027. Below are initial draft design recommendations for public discussion and background information. There will be opportunities for future public engagement to shape and refine these concepts. Please join our mailing list and find out ways to engage with this project.


Project Background

For a generation, N Willamette Blvd has played an important role in meeting the mobility needs of people traveling throughout the North Portland peninsula. City transportation policy supports further improvements to make deeper investments to improve conditions for people of all modes traveling on N Willamette Blvd.

As one of the only streets that traverses the entire peninsula, N Willamette Blvd has the potential to unlock new transportation options to residents throughout North Portland. As we look towards the future, PBOT is excited to have the opportunity to make a major investment to support walking, biking, and transit and build a world-class multimodal corridor in North Portland.

The image is a historical timeline for N Willamette Blvd. In 2009 the Climate Action Plan was published. In 2010, the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 was published. In 2017, the N Willamette Blvd restriping occurred. In 2018, North Portland Connected was developed and the N Rosa Parks protected bike lanes were installed. In 2019, Ped-PDX master plan was published. In 2020, the grant was awarded by Metro for this project. And in 2021, the N Willamette Blvd Active Transportation Corridor project kicked off.

Initial Project Recommendations

N Willamette Blvd annotated map showing N Edgewater, N Ida, N Wabash and N Rosa Parks intersection updates

Protected bike lanes:

Protected bike lanes create a physically separate facility for bicyclists within the same right-of-way as general vehicle traffic. These facilities are some of the safest infrastructure options for cyclists since they reduce potential conflicts between bicyclists and other transportation modes. In order to realize this goal, most on-street parking along N Willamette Blvd between N Richmond and N Rosa Parks Way would need to be removed or relocated to provide adequate space for a world-class, safe, protected bikeway design.

The graphic is an illustrated cross-section of the proposed layout for N Willamette Boulevard in the 40 foot sections. There are 7 foot bike lanes, 3 foot buffers, and 10 foot travel lanes on both sides of the street. No sidewalk is proposed along the bluffs.
N Willamette Blvd is typically about 40ft wide between curbs from N Rosa Parks Way to N Edgewater St in Cathedral Park. For the majority of the bikeway, the typical design will include directional protected bike lanes as pictured above.
The graphic is an illustrated cross-section of the proposed layout for N Willamette Boulevard in the 36 foot sections. There are 5 foot bike lanes, 3 foot buffers, and 10 foot travel lanes on both sides of the street. There are sidewalks on both sides of the street.
In the northernmost third of a mile of this project, N Willamette narrows to 36ft wide. To accommodate transit and vehicle access to the St Johns Bridge and St Johns Main Street, area, the bike lane will be narrowed slightly. 

More frequent, safer crossings:

The image is of a pedestrian median island that facilitates safe pedestrian and bike crossings.

Today, there are few improved crossings along N Willamette Blvd. This project will build on citywide policy and guidance outlined in the PedPDX Plan and Vision Zero Strategy to add new, frequently spaced pedestrian crossings along the entire stretch of the corridor. The highest level of investment will focus on crossings with bus stops that are identified on the Safe Routes to School network, and at the intersection of existing and future bikeways.

New and Improved Crossings:

New and Improved CrossingFunding Source
N Mohawk Ave – new crossingNorth Portland in Motion (NOPIM)
N Tyler Ave – new crossingNorth Portland in Motion (NOPIM)
N Macrum Ave – new crossingNorth Portland in Motion (NOPIM)
N Wall St – new crossingNorth Portland in Motion (NOPIM)
N Monteith – new crossingNorth Portland in Motion (NOPIM)
N Edgewater – crossing upgradeRegional Flexible Funding Grant (RFFA)
N Ida Ave – transit investmentsRegional Flexible Funding Grant (RFFA)
N Wabash – transit investmentsRegional Flexible Funding Grant (RFFA)
N Rosa Parks – flashing beaconRegional Flexible Funding Grant (RFFA)

Safer vehicle speeds:

We have heard time and time again about excessive vehicle speeds along N Willamette Blvd. In addition to pursuing a reduced speed limit along the entire corridor from 30mph to 25mph ahead of project delivery, PBOT is exploring ways to reduce speeds through engineering and design changes. This could include treatments like adding fire-friendly speed cushions, and other traffic calming measures.

Better bus stops:

This image is of the enhanced bus stop on N Denver Avenue. There is a cyclist in the bike lane, which goes between the bus-stop platform and the sidewalk.

PBOT is implementing new and improved bus stops on transit routes with bicycle facilities. Two (2) bus stops along N Willamette Blvd will be improved through this process, the stops at N Ida Ave and N Wabash Ave. These bus stops will be equipped with ADA accessible platforms that bicyclists can bike behind, eliminating the potential conflict between buses and bikes. Some bus stops may be eligible for upgrades, such as shelters and benches.

On-Street Parking Removal and Mitigation

To provide safe and comfortable bike lanes on Willamette Blvd that meet our guidelines, PBOT plans to remove nearly all the on-street parking space on N Willamette Blvd from Rosa Parks Way to Richmond Ave as part of this project. The only exception will be the parking cut-out on the south side of N Willamette Blvd from Portsmouth Ave to Van Houten Ave adjacent to the University of Portland.

To assess the impacts of this parking removal, PBOT conducted a parking occupancy study looking at N Willamette Blvd as well as surrounding blocks in either direction. The parking study indicates that the number of cars currently parking along Willamette Blvd can be easily accommodated on the side streets on the adjacent blocks. In other words, there is substantial spare on-street parking capacity on the closest streets to Willamette Blvd. This means most residents on Willamette Blvd will only need to park roughly one block further away than they are accustomed to currently.

We also found that off-street parking is plentiful along N Willamette Blvd. Nearly all properties have access to off-street parking via driveways or alleys, and it appears much of this space is under-utilized. While we recognize some residents may prefer to use on-street parking for convenience, the presence of so much off-street parking means that removal of on-street parking has less of a negative impact on affected properties.

Recognizing that on-street parking may be needed for people with disabilities without off-street parking, the project team will consider parking cut-outs in the furnishing zone in the following limited circumstances:

  • The property does not have any off-street parking via driveway or alley; AND
  • A resident of the property has a Disabled Person Parking Permit

Recent & Funded Projects

North Portland in Motion:

PBOT’s planning effort North Portland in Motion has begun. This is an opportunity for the people who live, work, and play in the North Portland peninsula to come together and identify a ten-year investment plan to support walking, biking, rolling, and transit use throughout the growing neighborhoods in North Portland.

Willamette Boulevard Paving:

Willamette Blvd will be repaved in 2025 from N Carey Avenue to N Portsmouth Avenue.

N Willamette Neighborhood Greenway:
The photograph shows a young kid (2 years old) safely using the street on the Willamette Boulevard Neighborhood Greenway.

In 2018-2019, PBOT worked with neighborhood residents to realize a new quiet, calm, and low-stress route for walking and biking along the southern section of N Willamette Blvd south of N Rosa Parks Way. By taking a neighborhood-wide lens, the design of the neighborhood greenway was able to address long-standing concerns about cut-through traffic and open up the street to become a beloved space for walking, running, biking, and socializing.

N Greeley Multi-use Path:
The photograph shows the two-way bicycle track that has been installed on Greeley at the Adidas campus.

The N Greeley Multi-use Path is a two-way bicycle and pedestrian facility that protects users from the high-speed and heavy freight street by using a continuous concrete barrier. The project also repaved the entire width of N Greeley through the project area. The path connects North Portland neighborhoods to the Rose Quarter and Central City.


Join our N Willamette email list

PBOT will be sharing project designs for public review and feedback throughout the summer and fall of 2021 and would like your feedback to help shape and refine a final recommendation. Sign up here to stay in touch and learn about opportunities to engage with this project.

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Join our North Portland in Motion email list

North Portland in Motion will be a larger area plan to develop a prioritized list of projects and programs for the entire North Portland peninsula. Sign up here to stay informed about the progress of that plan over the coming years.

Sign up to receive emails about North Portland in Motion

Click here to learn more about North Portland in Motion