Could Foster be transformed by bike lanes?
Probably not to the same level we’re seeing in closer-in neighborhoods, but there could—and should—be a transformative effect. To what degree remains to be seen.
As described in a recent article posted on BikePortland.org, redevelopment and improved design features are being spurred by the presence of new bike lanes in the Lloyd Center, specifically along Multnomah Street. This is most certainly a case of apples and oranges, but we can still look at the impact as relevant to how Foster Road may benefit from improved streetscape designs and bike treatments.
To be sure, there are other factors at play in the Lloyd Center. For one, there is direct access to the MAX and a new streetcar line. There’s also a variety of destinations that draw in people from outside the neighborhood (i.e. the mall, Moda Center, and places of employment). The Lloyd Center is also much closer to downtown.
In the case of Foster, improved pedestrian conditions and the addition of bike lanes will primarily cater to Foster-area residents. At least for now, that is. At the very least, locals will be more inclined to use Foster as a bike route and, added with an uptick in pedestrian-use, provide more human-scale traffic for local businesses. And perhaps that’s when we see the redevelopment of vacant and/or dilapidated buildings/lots.
Looking down the road, Foster has also been identified for consideration in future streetcar expansion, and we already have current, reasonable access to the MAX in Lents. That only adds to the equation. As does the soon-to-be constructed N/S 50’s Bikeway.
But to what extent can we we actually expect change? Will bike lanes transform the way we use Foster? Will it change the way people perceive the commercial district? With more pedestrians and bikers, will businesses benefit—and will more locate here? Are these even the changes you’d like to see?