Planning Commission Disses the Couplet

Because I was at the CRC task force last night, I missed the Planning Commission work session on the Burnside/Couch couplet, but here’s the update I got from a fellow neighborhood activist:

The motion made by Don Hanson and carried in a 3-1 vote (and 1 abstention) made the following recommendations to:

  • not move forward on the B/C couplet
  • enhance Burnside
  • address Burnside safety issues
  • develop an urban design and development on B/C
  • eliminated Broadway as a barrier between East and West Couch
  • make more positive pedestrian environment as development occurs
  • make streetscape improvements
  • apply sound economic strategies and assist social services in the area
  • make turn lanes from Burnside
  • evaluate East/West streetcar alignment as a part of the rail system plan to find the best spot for it

Further, they recommended that IF the City Council does adopt the couplet to:

  • implement pedestrian safety measures on Burnside now
  • make streetcar part of the up front improvements
  • do not extend the couplet past 16th, however the streetcar could be
  • make I-405 overpass upgrades
  • make street designation changes right away

My personal view is that the Planning Commission fails to appreciate that the ‘enhanced Burnside’ alternative delivers only a fraction of the benefits to pedestrian safety that the couplet does and that any serious attempt to tame the traffic while Burnside is still a two-way street will have significant effects of diverting traffic into the surrouding neighborhoods.

Stay tuned for the next round in the bout at City Council on the 15th of March.

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