Poll: Streetcar or Bikes on Foster?

As the Portland Development Commission and Bureau of Transportation figure out how to spend roughly $3.25 million on safety upgrades and beautification on Foster, they also have to figure out how the original streetscape plan, which was adopted in 2003, meshes with the neighborhood nearly 10 years later.  In the time since it’s adoption, the Foster Streetscape Plan has sat dormant, waiting for funding and, sadly, a political impetus to implement it.

Now that partial funding is in place, and safety concerns have brought more attention to the need for improvements, PDC and PBOT will be hiring a consultant to determine which of the original elements from the plan are still appropriate, and what features should be added.  Specifically, the possibility of a future streetcar line will be weighed upon, while also giving consideration to bike facilities, too.

Question remains, though.  Are they mutually exclusive of each other?  Can they coexist? Is one better than the other?  We want you, the readers, to weigh in.  Please take the poll and let us know.

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9 Responses to Poll: Streetcar or Bikes on Foster?

  1. Nick Falbo says:

    Both projects would be significant undertakings involving ripping up the street – while they’re in there, they should do it right and install both streetcar and cycle tracks. (Check out the Broadway streetcar in Seattle – they’re doing just that.) The final result would be a much safer, easy to use Foster.

    If the city does this, Foster could be known as the best street in the city. World class bikeways, streetcars and sidewalks. (we already have the wide sidewalks).

    A great way to advocate for this today would be to get a mayoral candidate hooked on the idea. If they can share our vision for a vibrant Foster, they might incorporate it into their campaign. I’ll be talking with Charlie Hales this weekend, I’ll let you know what he thinks.

    -Speaking of mayoral candidates, has fosterpowellpdx.com considered interviewing the big three regarding their position on neighborhood development in Foster? Your blog would be a great way to get the word out and help locals know who has their best interests at heart.

    • Nick, great suggestion about getting the future mayor’s ear. Perhaps a forum would get all three’s attention and pay dividends for us down the road. I’m crossing my fingers for the world-class status of Foster Road. The potential’s there, especially with the wide sidewalks, and ample room to tweak the 4-5 lanes that jut through the neighborhood.

      When talking about streetcar, specifically, it would be a good angle to leverage more money from the city…as the $3.35 mil we’ve been allotted thus far won’t satisfy all our dreams. There’s traction (no pun intended), though, and it appears as if everything’s on the table at this point.

  2. Jed says:

    Bike facilities are a no-brainer. Foster Road would be an excellent route for bicyclists due to its “as-the-crow-flies” orientation. I’m no transportation planner, but it seems the addition of bike lanes, bike boxes, and parking shelters would require relatively little disturbance to existing infrastructure.

    While it seems the city is eager to expand the street car (somewhere, anywhere), I don’t believe Foster Road is ready now. I have never seen a bus on line 14 packed to the gills; much to the contrary usually, even during rush hour. I also don’t see Foster Road as home to sufficient attractions.

    I am in favor of a step-wise approach. Let’s first get bike facilities and streetscape improvements in place to make the street more welcoming to bicyclists and pedestrians. And to the extent it makes good planning sense, while we’re at it, execute those improvements with a future street car in mind. It would be a shame to see cuts made to these basic facilities in favor of installing street car infrastructure. The last thing the neighborhood needs is a political boondoggle, à la “the Street Car to Nowhere”.

    • Jed, you may be right…bike facilities may be provide the cheapest, most immediate benefit to the neighborhood. I know some of the concerns with adding bike lanes has to do with car speeds on Foster. However, when I imagine the Future of Foster, perhaps eliminating a lane of car traffic would lead to lower speeds, as well as room for a designated bike lane.

  3. kurtwsommer@gmail.com says:

    Adding bike lanes, shelters, and street improvements is just what Foster needs! If and when a street car comes, we can deal with it then. I ride the 17 Bus all the time, it is great, and Max couldn’t get me downtown any faster. Making the street better for walkers and bikers is really what we need.

    • Thanks for commenting, Kurt. So far, the addition of bike facilities seems to be a popular choice. I, too, ride the 17 and have always been pleasantly reminded that we actually aren’t that far from downtown. Hopefully we don’t see any cutbacks to service on the 17, or 14 for that matter.

      • kurtwsommer@gmail.com says:

        Do you know if they are having anymore public meetings on the Foster Street update? It would be fun to go to. Also, great job with the blog man,

  4. I’d suggest coming to this Monday’s Neighborhood Association meeting. There will definitely be discussion on this topic. PBOT will also be hosting a few open house meeting to discuss community concerns over high-crash corridors, such as Foster Road. Let us know if you need any specific details, and we’d gladly pass them along.

    As far as this Monday’s NA meeting, we meet at Sweetness Bakery at 6:30.

  5. El padre de laurita says:

    Forever promised and never delivered. Time for the streetcar and the bike stuff so Judy Garland can sing and ride her bike, as she did in the movie, Meet me in St-Louis-landia . . . .Best regards to broadway, Van Johnson

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