How tiring. Media outlets continue to pimp Foster for all its worth, using the future streetscape improvements as a divisive issue to boost ratings. Naturally, the theme remains the same: give play to a select few businesses who oppose the plan, mention how much it’s going to choke traffic for those who commute through the neighborhood, but only briefly mention the safety impact it will have.
Recently it was the Portland Tribune, as their headline read, “Foster ‘road diet’ eats at some merchants.”
A day before that article, KOIN news questioned, “Will changes to Foster Road help or hurt businesses?”
The focus in both these headlines is on business, not safety. The articles also play heavy on a select few businesses that are only now objecting to the Streetscape Plan, despite years of previous outreach and planning for the project, as well as support from local residents, neighborhood associations, individual businesses, and the Foster Area Business Association.
In typical media coverage, the eye is on controversy; discontent. In this case, it’s Euro Classic Furniture and a few others who’ve displayed posters all over their storefronts objecting to the plan. Just yesterday, KGW visited Foster to get their foot in the road-diet-controversy-ratings game. As such, KGW’s Tim Gordon led his story with a tweet that only draws attention to the plan’s opposition.
Well, thanks for coming to Foster.
Sure, there are legitimate concerns about traffic being diverted to side streets. There’s worry that fewer auto lanes will lead to more congestion and drive away potential business. And then there’s the fretting over increased commute times. All this can be seen at length in a Nextdoor.com conversation (registration required) about the Foster Streetscape Plan. That conversation now has (at the time of this writing) 366 comments.
But what we’re not seeing the media cover is the hope and relief people are feeling about coming safety improvements; the parents who will have less fear when walking their kids across Foster on the way to school in the morning; businesses who are so giddy that traffic will be slowed and pedestrians and bikers will now be more inclined to hang around—to them, the Foster Streetscape Plan is expected to be a boon to local business.
Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, though—this is a turning point for Foster. Some are embracing it, others are skeptical. We respect all sides, though we can’t help but to be partial to the increased safety and walkability the changes will bring to our neighborhood, as well as the potential for a much more vibrant and livable commercial district.