For the last several months, I have been working with five other PSU Master of Urban and Regional Planning students (collectively known as Swift Planning Group) on an exciting project called Lombard Re-Imagined. We have been working with the Kenton Neighborhood Association and other surrounding neighborhoods to re-imagine the unpleasant, unsafe, auto-oriented stretch of Lombard Street from N Chautauqua Blvd to NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Our focus is on finding strategies and projects the neighborhood can advocate for that will result in a safer transportation system, a more pleasant walking environment, and neighborhood-friendly business development.
This corridor has a lot going for it (proximity to Kenton’s nice main street, a direct connection to St John’s, excellent transit service), but unfortunately the area has not received much attention or investment in the past and has become a barrier between neighborhoods. As an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) facility (US 30 Bypass) and a designated over-dimensional freight route, many have feared that change is impossible, but as we have seen elsewhere (for example, just up the road in the St Johns area) ODOT is often willing to make needed changes to make streets safer and better. We have been working with both ODOT and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to understand what is possible to make the street work better for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists. We are especially focused on improving the pedestrian environment, since that is what the street is most lacking right now.
After a great round of public outreach with the community over the last few months, we have a pretty good idea of the concerns and ideas people have for the area. We have also done a great deal of research and analysis and have developed a preliminary set of recommended strategies. In some cases, we are still looking at several alternative ways of tackling a problem. Now we want the public to see our ideas and weigh in, and the best way to do that is to attend our Open House on Tuesday, May 7th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at the Kenton Masonic Lodge (8130 N Denver Ave) (For those who use Facebook, please RSVP at our event page). We will have posters showing off our ideas for the street and we will be asking you to give us your feedback, ideas, and advice for how to make Lombard a better place. This is an open house, so you can just show up anytime to check out our posters and talk with us about what you think. I hope that any readers who care about making our busy arterials more livable and multi-modal (always a big topic on this blog) will consider attending our open house and following our project moving forward.