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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.
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.
Initial Project Recommendations
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.
More frequent, safer 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 Crossing||Funding Source|
|N Mohawk Ave – new crossing||North Portland in Motion (NOPIM)|
|N Tyler Ave – new crossing||North Portland in Motion (NOPIM)|
|N Macrum Ave – new crossing||North Portland in Motion (NOPIM)|
|N Wall St – new crossing||North Portland in Motion (NOPIM)|
|N Monteith – new crossing||North Portland in Motion (NOPIM)|
|N Edgewater – crossing upgrade||Regional Flexible Funding Grant (RFFA)|
|N Ida Ave – transit investments||Regional Flexible Funding Grant (RFFA)|
|N Wabash – transit investments||Regional Flexible Funding Grant (RFFA)|
|N Rosa Parks – flashing beacon||Regional 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:
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:
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 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.
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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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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.