With more than twice as many votes as the next leading vote-getter, reduced traffic lanes through the heart of Foster appears to be the preferred choice for improving safety and livability along this stretch of the commercial corridor. This choice represented 34% of the total votes received. Because people weren’t able to indicate a second choice, it is hard to rank the following vote-getters. However, aesthetic improvements (storefront improvements, lights, public art, etc.) received the second most votes, followed by street trees and greening. Combined, the votes for aesthetic improvements and greening would show a strong desire to see the visual character of Foster changed —almost as much as structural traffic changes.
The case for changing the visual character of Foster suggests a common sentiment among neighborhood residents: that many outside of the neighborhood perceive Foster as a freeway of sorts. While the argument can be made that Foster represents a thoroughfare connecting parts of East Portland, Happy Valley, and other parts of Clackamas County to more central Portland neighborhoods, it must be weighed against a neighborhood desire to see the scale of its commercial corridor toned down to be more in line with local pedestrian, vehicular, and bicycling uses and needs. Many of these needs are expressed by families who want to feel safe as they walk through their neighborhood, or find increasingly more reasons to shop on Foster. To many, the speed of traffic is a deterrent; the added unsafe conditions (i.e. unlit crosswalks, poor visibility, and lacking enforcement) only compounds the problem.
Rounding out the poll, more than 10% of voters preferred improvements or additions to the crosswalks on Foster. This would include making them more visible, lit, and adequately marked. The remaining votes were almost equally split between adding bike facilities, reducing speed limits and adding traffic signals.
Again, because voters were unable to indicate a second choice, it’s hard to know just how readers really rank their preferences. However, the desire for reduced lanes and improved visual appeal are telling, as many see them as ways to increase traffic/pedestrian safety and livability in the neighborhood.
There were also a lot of great comments and discussion on the original post, which should be continued in the coming weeks and months. To bring your concerns and visions for Foster Road to a more formal setting, please remember that there is a neighborhood-led meeting to discuss safety and livability along Foster this Wednesday, June 20, at Mt. Scott Community Center. This neighborhood outreach session seeks to put the community in the driver’s seat in determining what the needs of Foster Road are, as well as how we can include some of those needs in the future refresh of the Foster Streetscape Plan. The PDC will conduct their own version of neighborhood outreach a week later at the Mt. Scott Learning Center. For more information on how to get involved, please email us or leave a comment. Wednesday’s meeting starts at 6:30.