Another guest post by frequent reader and commenter dan w. We wish to remind readers that we are happy to run guest posts–simply email submissions to one of the moderators–ES.
Serving the Rivergate Industrial District, Portland Airport and a plethora of other
industrial/employment centers, the Columbia Corridor–aka Bypass 30 and its parallel routes–is a vital freight and commuter corridor but isn’t always on the collective radar. Indeed, this study dating back to pre-Y2K days is one of the few documents I could find that focus on this corridor. The document defines Columbia Corridor as extending between Rivergate and Troutdale, but for my proposal outlined below I’m focusing on the section between Rivergate and I-205.
Mostly utilizing existing ROW, rerouting Bypass 30 onto this newly upgraded corridor would help relieve pressure on congested I-84 (freight rail improvements as outlined by local and state proposals are also a key component but I opted not to include them on my map). Also, while current bus service only runs along a few segments of the corridor, BRT or something similar along its entire length has the potential to serve countless employers. It can connect with the Red and Yellow MAX lines and various bus routes including 6, 70, 72 and 75.
Phase 1 should be relatively inexpensive and low-impact to implement (assuming a full freeway isn’t the chosen option). One option is an expressway, which is a combination of at-grade and grade-separated interchanges (think Hwy 224 between McLoughlin and I-205). In fact, several grade-separated facilities already exist on this corridor, and frontage roads and driveway consolidations along various stretches should also help with traffic flow. The key is to not have implementation of the corridor be so disruptive that it ends up eliminating huge chunks of the industrial facilities to which we’re trying to improve access.
Option A – NE Lombard to MLK (includes new ROW between Lombard Pl and MLK/ Columbia intersection)
Option B – Columbia Blvd to MLK
Option A – MLK to Marine Dr to N. Lombard
Option B – Columbia Blvd (includes new ROW to the north between Portland Rd and Upland Dr to skirt residential area) to N. Burgard
Although it tacks a couple of extra miles onto the corridor, I prefer Option A for the west segment because: 1) It generally avoids residential areas, 2) MLK between I-5 and Columbia is already pretty much limited access, 3) unlike Option B, a full interchange already exists at I-5, and 4) it offers direct access to my proposed Columbia River bridge.
Both east segment options have their advantages, but I’d prefer to have BRT run on Columbia rather than Lombard because it would directly serve more employers.
Phase 2…. Here comes the fun expensive part. Inspired by others’ posts on this blog, this part of the proposal calls for the corridor to connect to new bridges over the Willamette and Columbia, the latter being a third-bridge CRC alternative.