Foster Streetscape Plan Takes Big Step Forward

After years of a stalled 2003 plan to make Foster Road safer and more aesthetically inviting between SE 50th and SE 84th Avenue, improvements may actually be on the way.  Not a moment too soon, the current plan will be up for a refresh, as neighborhood residents have pushed especially hard recently for improvements along the corridor in the face of numerous traffic accidents and fatalities.  The plan, which calls for improved safety measures and some beautification, will take its first big step forward this Wednesday, September 19, as the Stakeholder Advisory Committee will meet for the first time with project planners to discuss how to move the project forward.

There already appear to be points of contention, as opinions vary on how to make Foster Road safer — and at what cost.  While many believe speeds should be lowered and traffic calming measures implemented, others don’t want it to impact their commute times.  In addition, such elements as added bike lanes and the infrastructure for a future streetcar line are causing concern for those who want to preserve Foster’s ability to move vehicles quickly from East Portland and parts of Clackamas County into the city’s core.  While such impacts haven’t been determined, and may be minimal at worst, some of the proposed elements of the streetscape plan have the ability to improve the safety, sustainability and quality of life for those living within the bounds of this project.  If you have views you’d like to express in this process, or would like to get involved, you are strongly encouraged to do so.  You can click here for more information, as well as the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting.

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6 Responses to Foster Streetscape Plan Takes Big Step Forward

  1. Cora Potter says:

    I think this is a little misleading in the characterization of the various elements. I don’t think anyone who is advocating for adequate travel lanes and ability for Foster to continue to serve as a major artery for car traffic is against traffic calming or reduced speeds (and design to the desired safe speeds). Safety and movement of automobiles aren’t mutually exclusive. Likewise, we can find a solution to provide both bike faciltiies, infrastructure for planned streetcar and adequate auto/frieght movement.

    • Will says:

      Cora, you’ve made your opinion about slowing traffic through the Foster area known in various responses on this site. Since you live in the Lents area, you want to be able to use Foster as an arterial road. While that’s all well and good for you, us; the people who actually live around Foster, would like to see the Foster area businesses thrive. To do this we would need it to become more parking, pedestrian and bike friendly. With 4 lanes, parking on Foster is a joke and is very hazardous, yet alone no ability to bike on it. Like it or not, it would seem something major would have to change to meet the goals of the planning committee in regards to lane control.

    • I totally agree that safety and automobile movement aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m hoping the streetscape refresh can prove that.

      There is a sentiment in some circles, though, that portrays traffic calming as an automatic and burdensome increase in commute times. Some of those claims have been wildly exaggerated, too. And in some cases, it almost appears that maintaining a fast flow of traffic should trump safety concerns.

  2. Cora Potter says:

    Will, I suggest you go back and actually read my posts. The number of auto lanes on Foster actually has little to no effect on me personally. I’m car free. What I’m interested in is provided the best possible alternative for the health of the entire corridor, specifically from an economic development standpoint.

  3. Robert Bierma says:

    I would say that just as traffic calming and safety exclusive to foster continuing to serve as a major artery. neither is a road diet and foster continuing to serve as a major artery exclusive. In fact the traffic counts for the road could easily be accommodated in one lane of traffic both ways with good street design. The key to this is good traffic flow. A smaller road that has good traffic flow can serve a higher capacity of vehicles then a road with more capacity but not as good traffic flow. Plus good traffic flow increases the quality of the drive reducing perceived time traveled and calming driving behavior (greatly increasing safety for everyone on the road)

  4. Cora Potter says:

    Road diets are usually successful on roads carrying fewer than 19,000 vehicles per day. Road diets can succeed at volumes up to about 23,000 vehicles per day. However, more extensive reconstruction is needed. Examples include replacing signals with roundabouts, traffic calming on parallel streets to discourage traffic from diverting away from the main road, and other means to keep traffic moving smoothly and uniformly. ( source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_diet )

    The mean weighted traffic volume for Foster Road ranges from 20,500 to 29,000 in areas west of SE 128th.

    If the traffic volumes and budget allowed for it, I’m all for this project removing travel lanes for other facilities. But, with the volumes, and the limits in the geographic scope and amount of funding, I don’t think it’s possible to remove motor vehicle lanes from Foster and provide the features on side streets and further east the mitigate the changes in traffic behavior that will result.

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