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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 support walking, biking, and transit and build a world-class multimodal corridor in North Portland.
Summer 2021
Location Description
N Willamette Boulevard, from N Richmond Ave to N Rosa Parks Way
On this Page

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.


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.

Sign up to receive emails about N Willamette Boulevard


History

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

The map highlights Willamette Boulevard, specifically the segment that will be modified through this project. There are several callouts that show proposed improvements, such as safer intersections, pedestrian crossings, bus stops, and other street enhancements.
Click here to view a higher resolution project map.
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 still 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 PedPDX and Vision Zero 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. Community members will have the opportunity to weigh in on which crossings should receive priority investments.

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 new stop signs, 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 has begun implementing new and improved bus stops on routes with major bicycle facilities. These bus stops are equipped with ADA accessible platforms that bicyclists bike behind, eliminating the potential conflict between buses and bikes. This project will also seek to install enhanced crossing facilities according to PedPDX, which advises a crossing within 100 feet of each bus stop. Some bus stops may be eligible for upgrades, such as shelters and benches.


Recent & Funded Projects

N Rosa Parks protected bike lanes:
This photograph shows Rosa Parks Way with the protected bike lanes.

In the spring of 2018, PBOT leveraged a maintenance opportunity on N Rosa Parks Way to build the first protected bikeway in North Portland. Stretching from N Willamette Blvd to NE MLK Jr Blvd, the design of N Rosa Parks Way prioritizes the safety and comfort of people biking by providing a wide bike lane separated from vehicle traffic by sturdy concrete barriers. In addition to the better biking facilities, the project added numerous improved crossings.

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.

North Portland in Motion:

In the summer of 2021, PBOT will begin a planning effort called North Portland in Motion. This effort will be 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, and transit use throughout the growing neighborhoods in North Portland.


Next Steps & Considerations

Transit Stop Improvements & Optimization:

TriMet’s Line 44 serves the N Willamette Blvd corridor connecting St Johns, University Park, and Arbor Lodge to Inner NE Portland and the Central City. Through this project, we have the opportunity to optimize bus stop locations along the corridor to provide better amenities and more accessible bus stops. PBOT is working closely with TriMet and will be engaging with transit riders to prioritize bus stops for improvements.

Wayfinding & Public Space:
The photograph shows an image of a neighborhood greenway wayfinding sign that shows the direction, distance, and time to various public destinations. This examples shows Laurelhurst Park, NE Portland, and the Hawthorne District.

Wayfinding signs direct riders to important destinations. For individuals that are new to bicycling or visiting an area they are not familiar with, wayfinding is exceptionally important for a successful trip. North Portlanders should lead the way on choosing what places should be featured and where wayfinding elements should be located.

Intersection Simplification:
This photograph shows an example of a simplified intersection on N Fessenden. There is a narrow side-street that intersects Fessenden, with a concrete pedestrian median island that improves safer crossings and reduces turning conflicts for vehicles.

Along the bluff section of N Willamette Blvd, there are a number of irregular intersections with long crossing distances and unclear circulation patterns. PBOT will be working closely with neighbors to understand ways in which intersections can be improved and simplified along the corridor.

On-Street Parking Removal & Mitigation:

In order to meet the goals of this project centered on providing a safe, all-ages-and-abilities bikeway and more frequent pedestrian crossings, the vast majority of on-street parking would need to be removed between N Rosa Parks Way and N Richmond Ave. We realize this would be a big change for many people who live along N Willamette Blvd. In many places, the parking supply is lightly utilized with ample space remaining on side streets. Additionally, many of the properties in this area have private driveways. In some areas along the corridor, there are sufficient alleys that can provide access for parking and loading. Throughout the summer and fall, PBOT will be listening and engaging with residents and property owners to understand ways we can mitigate parking removal for those with mobility needs or access barriers.


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.

Sign up to receive emails about N Willamette Boulevard


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