BikePortland Speculates on the Future of Foster’s Streetscape With Outgoing Mayor

Interesting tidbit from BikePortland this morning in regards to the Foster Streetscape Plan:
This major road safety project on a chronically high-crash street was enthusiastically backed by nearby neighborhood associations and unanimously approved by City Council, but it’s expected to cause several mintues of traffic delay and/or traffic spillover onto other streets in 2016 or 2017. Some political backlash is all but certain, and biking advocates will face a major challenge to avoid this being painted as a bikes-versus-cars and rich-versus-poor issue. (That’ll be a false narrative, because the new bike lanes won’t be that great and the safety benefits will go mostly to people driving and walking, but explaining this in the local media will be difficult.) Whether or not the next mayor becomes personally associated with Foster, this fight will shape his or her perceptions of both bike projects and general road safety projects for years to come.”

This is taken from an article in which they speculate on potential bike-related projects that could face an uncertain future now that Charlie Hales won’t be back beyond 2016.

We’ll chalk it up to simple pondering. After all, the much anticipated project that will bring traffic safety, bike and pedestrian improvements, and a slicker-looking Foster is set to break ground by this time next year—still in time to beat a mayoral change. That alone should quell the worries, but we still couldn’t help but to give it some thought.

Here’s what we do know: PBOT would be foolish to back out now; not going to happen. Also, surveying has begun and a PBOT official plans to update the project’s status at the next Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association meeting; at this point only progress has been made, not a move backwards.

Let’s just hope BikePortland’s political inklings are way off this time.

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