By PDX People
PORTLAND, Ore. – There’s no denying that Portland can be a fun place to ride a bike but when it comes to East Portland, specifically the Gateway District, it’s gotten harder to ride in East Portland over the years because the area is poorly connected and has become a high-crash area for cyclists and also walkers too.
Why Is East Portland Unsafe For Cyclists?
One of the biggest reasons why East Portland hasn’t been a friendly place for bikers or walkers over the years is because there are wide streets there that also have multiple lanes of traffic and that means more people will be speeding up and this has resulted in more deaths over the deaths over the years.
13 Transportation Projects Coming To East Portland
Thankfully. Portland has received funding to improve the streets in East Portland and make the area safer for cyclists and walkers.
With the funding in place, the transportation projects in East Portland are slated to be finished by 2019 and everyone from city planners to long time cyclists are hopeful that the changes will reduce traffic fatalities plus make East Portland safer for everyone.
“There’s a lot of things going in that will make it easier for people to ride their bikes,” says Linda Robinson, chairwoman of Friends of Gateway Green and a member of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association. Gateway Green is a new mountain biking park between I-84 and I-205. Robinson is 73 and started riding regularly at 65. She refuses to ride on Northeast Halsey Street because of fast traffic and debris in the bike lane. “Speaking as an older person who rides their bike … I put it on the rack and go somewhere else. But I will ride if (the projects) make it safer to get around.”
The Big Jump
In January, Portland was one of 10 cities selected to win a Big Jump grant to work with PeopleForBikes on improving bicycle infrastructure in the Gateway area, as part of the “Gateway to Opportunity” project.
PeopleForBikes, a Boulder, Colorado-based nonprofit, will provide the equivalent of $200,000 in technical support, in addition to $50,000 in matching funds or financial commitments from local organizations.
Eighty cities applied. The kickoff of the nationwide event will take place in Madison, Wisconsin, in June.
Last fall, the city responded to a challenge posed by the nonprofit, which it had worked with previously on The Green Lane project to install protected bike lanes. Protected lanes are designated for cyclists so they don’t have to intermingle with motorized traffic.
For the Big Jump grant, PeopleForBikes asked applicants to pinpoint an area with roughly 20,000 people where bike ridership can be tripled within three years.
“Because of the short timeframe of three years, we had to figure out, where do we already have a lot of projects going in and where does it make sense to do this,” says Timur Ender, the transportation bureau’s special projects manager. Ender says the “sheer number of projects” happening in the Gateway area, backed by City Council and urban renewal funding from the Portland Development Commission, made it a logical place for a Big Jump application.