Archive | Burnside Plan

Crunch Time for Burnside

City Council will take up Commissioner Adams’ request to fund initial engineering on the West Burnside/Couch couplet tomorrow (3pm Time Certain).

Whether you’re a fan or a foe of the project, this is your best opportunity to influence the outcome. Commissioner Saltzman appears to be skeptical. No word on the other 3 members, but Sam is known as a very good vote counter and it’s hard to believe this would be on the agenda if he didn’t think it was going to move forward.

Patricia Gardner, one of my fellow stakeholder committee members, has a nice op-ed piece in support of the couplet this morning.

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.

Burnside Decision Saga Continues

Yesterday the Planning Commission got additional updates from Commissioner Adam’s staff (the Commissioner himself has his jaw wired shut, which apparently did not keep him from meeting the Archdiocese Friday).

After the update the Commission discussed the project but failed to get to a motion on a recommendation to City Council. One member was opposed to the couplet (preferring the “enhanced Burnside” approach). Others expressed support for the process – now running since 1999 – to get to the recommendation and concern about safety on Burnside. And some thought the couplet should terminate at 15th rather than 19th.

They’ll try again to get to some coherent recommendation at their next meeting on the 27th. This means the recommendation will come out only a few days before the City Council meeting on March 1st.

Meanwhile, the Oregonian editorial board chose up sides against the couplet.