Appendices Land development actions archive? Information from old web-site, 1987 plan? Inventory data
DRAFT FOR COMMITTEE REVIEW
Sullivan’s Gulch has a robust transportation network with easy access to major regional vehicular and transit facilities, including Interstate 84, the MAX light rail line, and several bust routes. A new north/south bus route is planned for that would travel along NE 24th Avenue and NE 21st Avenue. High frequency east/west bus service is available most of the day in the NE Broadway/Weidler corridor.
The neighborhood was platted at a time when there were no cars and has an excellent pedestrian framework. Block lengths on north/south streets are 200' apart. Block lengths on east/west streets vary from 400' apart from NE 17th to NE 24th Avenue, 200' apart from NE 24th to NE 28th Avenue, and a mix of standard and very long super-blocks east of NE 28th Avenue.
The neighborhood is easy to bicycle within. The terrain is relatively flat. There are major designated bike routes that pass through the neighborhood, including “The 20’s” north/south greenway and east/west bike routes on NE Multnomah Street and in the Broadway/Weidler Couplet. A major new off-street bike trail is planned in Sullivan’s Gulch through the neighborhood. There are linkages to bike river crossings and downtown on the Broadway and Steel bridges.
The neighborhood is not without its transportation challenges, however. Foremost is transportation safety. Analysis by the City as part of the Vision Zero initiative revealed that the NE Broadway corridor has the #1 crash rate for bikes, the #5 crash rate for pedestrians, and the #14 crash rate for automobiles city-wide. It is considered a priority corridor for safety improvements to reduce the occurrence of injury accidents not only in the Broadway-Weidler corridor but throughout the neighborhood.
The automobile has become neighborhood’s primary mode of transportation. If Portland is to realize it goals to combat climate change then all neighborhoods, and especially close in neighborhoods with urban design advantages, need to find ways to incentivize the use of alternative modes. People should not feel it necessary to encase themselves in 3000 pounds of steel to travel a few blocks or miles. The following discussion reviews the system issues related to these framework objectives.
Broadway/Weidler Corridor NE Broadway Boulevard is the neighborhood’s ‘Main Street’ and provides excellent local shops, restaurants, and service businesses. Getting to and across Broadway, however, is challenging. NE Weidler Street is very busy two-lane one way street. It only has signalized crossings at two intersections: NE 15th Avenue and NE 21st Avenue. The Portland TSP and the 1994 Broadway-Weidler Corridor Plan call for signals at NE 19th and NE 22nd but these have not been installed.
The spacing between the blocks in the Weidler Corridor is 400' from NE 17th Avenue to NE 24th Avenue. There are bus stops at NE 19th, NE 22nd and NE 24th but none of these intersections has a cross walk / on-demand rapid flashing beacon to secure safe crossing. The Portland Pedestrian Plan calls for crosswalks at bus stops and spaced no less than every ___ feet in major corridors, like NE Weidler. The lack of safe pedestrian crossings in the corridor make walking to destinations on Broadway uncomfortable for residents and especially so for the elderly and for children and students.
Speed is a concern on NE Weidler. Pedestrians crossing NE 24th at Weidler, where the is no cross walk, and even at the signalized crosswalk at NE 24th and Broadway, find crossing difficult because of the speed of approaching traffic in this area. Vehicle speeds on NE Broadway accelerate west of NE 24th Avenue where the cross section goes from two to three lanes and where there is not another signal until NE 21st. The signal timing seems to favor vehicle acceleration through this four-block stretch.
The 400' block spacing in the stretch of Broadway between NE 15th Avenue NE 24th Avenue pose pedestrian safety problems as on Weidler. There are bus stops at NE 24th, NE 21st, and NE 16th but no crosswalks. To meet pedestrian crossing standards, traffic signals or controlled crosswalks are needed at NE 17th, 19th, and 22nd Avenues.
Bike/ped crossing safety is better across NE Broadway east of NE 24th Avenue. There are controlled crossing points at NE 26th, 28th, 30th, 32nd, and 33rd. For bike traffic headed east/west along the corridor, however, the entire stretch of NE Broadway through the neighborhood is considered unsafe. East of NE 24th Avenue, there is not enough pavement for vehicle lanes, bike lanes, and on-street parking. Even if parking were removed the current traffic volumes would result in conflicts between bikes and turning vehicles and make the environment as dangerous for cycling east of 24th Avenue as it is in the couplet to the west.
Safe Pedestrian Routes The neighborhood’s other primary east/west pedestrian routes after Broadway and Weidler are NE Clackamas and Multnomah Streets. Multnomah east of NE 21st Avenue is a designated bike route that connects to a bike/ped crossing of NE 28th Avenue at Wasco Street. There are signalized crossings on Multnomah at NE 16th, 21st, and 28th Avenues.
NE Clackamas Street is the neighborhood’s middle east/west pedestrian route. It lies two blocks in each direction from NE Weidler and Multnomah. Clackamas Street links two major pedestrian destinations: the Fred Myer/New Seasons shopping district and the Lloyd District. Pedestrians headed westbound on Clackamas toward Lloyd Center have a crosswalk at NE 16th Avenue. The crosswalk is slightly offset from Clackamas. Safety would be enhanced if there was a path extended at the Clackamas Street terminus to the crosswalk and if rapid flashing beacons were installed here. Way finding also would help.
A crossing improvement is planned at NE Clackamas and NE 21st Avenue near the bus stops. A rapid flashing beacon and crosswalk would enhance safety at this location.
Pedestrians headed east on Clackamas to Fred Meyer confront a series of crossing challenges at NE 28th Avenue. There is a crosswalk at 28th and Wasco, which connects to pedestrian walkway. This route works well for cyclists but Wasco is not the neighborhoods central spine. Clackamas Street, which is the neighborhood’s east/west spine, extends ½ block east of 28th Avenue and connects to a pedestrian walkway through the shopping center parking lot, but there is no crosswalk on NE 28th here. There is an improved walkway more or less aligned with NE Halsey Street, but there is not a crossing on 28th at this location. There is a crosswalk at NE 28th and Weidler, which leads diagonally through the green space that occupies the area between the store parking lot and 28th Avenue. But this crossing is out of direction for most neighborhood residents.
Neighborhood pedestrians face two other challenges: aging uneven walking surfaces and very dark conditions after sunset. Most sidewalks in the neighborhood are approaching 100-years old. Settling has caused cracking and seasonal ponding in some blocks. The neighborhood’s mature landscaping and street trees contribute to sidewalk buckling and vegetation encroachment. In addition sidewalks on some blocks are narrow, especially along block faces that parallel alleyways.
Pedestrian-scale lighting is problematic on most neighborhood blocks. New intersection LED lighting is less dispersed than older lights and the tree canopy impedes street lighting much beyond the immediate location. Private lighting on porches and landscaping improves sidewalk lighting in places but is inconsistent. As a consequence pedestrian lighting is better in winter months when the tree canopy is bare but residents are less inclined to walk in winter. Pedestrian scale lighting is needed to improve safety and reduce car trips.
Portland has embraced safe routes to schools. There are no pubic or private primary schools in SGN. Public high schools and middle schools are accessible on foot but would be enhanced with the pedestrian safety improvements outlined above.
Safe Bike Routes The biggest concern for neighborhood cyclists is the dangerous conditions in the Broadway/Weidler Corridor. It is not the only problem area. NE 21st Avenue is not wide enough for vehicle travel lanes, bike lanes and parking but NE 21st is an important cycling link to the Tillamook Greenway in Irvington and the Ankeny Greenway in Kerns. The bike couplet over I-84 across the NE 21st Street bridge attracts riders to NE 21st Avenue. Riding on streets that parallel NE 21st is not attractive for cyclists because it requires out of direction travel and stop and go riding through the residential street grid.
A solution would be to remove parking on NE 21st through this stretch and put in bike lanes. It may be possible to have bikes occupy a couplet on one side of NE 21st and retain parking on the other side of the street. The current situation, however, is not safe and needs to be remedied.
Another problem is routing east/west bike traffic through the neighborhood. The present configuration on Broadway/Weidler is not safe. Halsey Street offers potential. This route is constrained by the narrow easement through the ‘super block’ at NE 15th Avenue, which was created when the Lloyd Center was developed. West of this pinch point, however, Halsey extends through to the west end of the Lloyd District and easily would connect to the future Clackamas I-5 over crossing. East of NE 15th Avenue Halsey extends to the 20’s Greenway at NE 26th Avenue, and to NE 33rd Avenue via NE Weidler Street through Grant Park Village.
Other east/west bike routing options may be feasible if Broadway-Weidler is decoupled. The use of cycle tracks on one or both streets, use of bus/cycle lanes, and parallel bike greenways are options that should be considered. These routes are not intended to substitute for the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail, which will be a regional bike/ped facility running parallel to I-84. An east/west bike route is needed to serve local bike traffic through Lloyd, Sullivan’s Gulch, and south Grant Park. Our north/south bike route is the 20’s Greenway that extends south through the neighborhood via NE 26th Street to Wasco and then to NE 28th Avenue where it proceeds south across the I-84 28th Street Bridge into Kerns. This route seems to be working well with the addition of the ‘Hawk Signal’ at NE 26th and NE Broadway.
Driving Alternatives SGNA seeks to incentivize substitution of auto trips with bike, walking, and transit trips. There are times, however, when car use is a necessity. To further incent car-free living in the neighborhood and avoid impulse car use, the following strategies are recommended.
Adopt design guidelines that include accommodation for car share/taxi loading areas serving higher density developments.
Work with the city to incentivize location of rental car outlets in the neighborhood or within easy biking/transit distance.
Work with TriMet to develop a transit pass program for residents of the neighborhood and to improve weather protection at neighborhood bus stops.
Work with the City to improve car-share and taxi service response times in the neighborhood.
Parking City policy favoring affordable housing allows construction of high-density residential developments with limited or no parking. This is likely to impact the supply-demand relationship unless more residents choose not to own cars. There also is a significant on parking supply caused by construction workers and daily commuters who park in the neighborhood while at work. Strategies to address the growing parking imbalance primarily rely on finding ways to reduce the need to own and use cars within the neighborhood.
The other strategy is to enact one or more parking districts in the neighborhood to preserve supply for resident use. Target areas include the west end between NE 16th and 21st Avenues, the east end on both sides of NE Broadway between NE 28th and 33rd Avenues, and in the Broadway-Weidler corridor itself.