General Meeting Minutes
July 25, 2013
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
2201 SW Vermont St.
Portland, OR 97219
Attendance: Don Baack, Lee Buhler, Sharon Fekety, Chris Mays, Dianne Mays, Glenn Bridger, Mark Turner. Virginia Hendrickson, Tim Hamilton, Joan Hamilton, Barbara Stedman. Hans Stench, Keturah Pennington, Al Iverson, Michael Kisor, Keith Liden, Doug Rogers, Arnie Pantch.
Don called the meeting to order at: 7:01 pm
Lee made a motion to approve the agenda. Barbara seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.
Sharon made a motion to accept the May, 2013 SW Trails PDX meeting minutes. Doug seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.
Hikes: Sharon said Don will lead the August walk and it will go on SW Trails numbers 1,3 and 7. It will be 6-7 miles with a 400 ft elevation gain. Hans Stench will lead the September hike.
Treasurer’s Report: Chris said there is $17,181.81 in the SW Trails bank account. It consists of three funds: SW Trails, 4T and Raz-Baack.
Hans asked asked how funds would be raised and Don talked of ways we can have income.
Don said we have an email list of about 1060
Barbara said we have 25 new members. She asked if we could send out a thank you email.
Doug passed around the draft SW Trails brochure and we discussed improvements.
Don said the new web page is almost done.
Keith gave an update on improvements to the Barbur Bridges. He said the goal is to reduce auto traffic to one lane on the bridges. He said it might be reduced to three lanes with two outbound lanes and one inbound lanes. Keith said Friends of Barbur will make videos of the situation to help people understand how dangerous and scary it is. The video taping will be done on Monday July 29th.
Glenn talked about a meeting on the Red Electric Trail to talk how to get it moving. They will be writing a letter to the City and SWNI about the importance of the project.
Don talked about Capitol Hill Road near the new Safeway. He said several people have suggested an extended shoulder or sidewalk behind the guard rail. He said there have been several emails with the City about the project.
Keith talked about a proposed bike lane at Capitol and Terwilliger. He said it was important to have a separated bike lane. Glenn said they may have started on something as some traffic cones appeared in the last three days. Don said they may put in something similar near Terwilliger Plaza.
Don and Glenn said the Hillsdale NA has asked for a review of the signal on Capitol and 26th to see if there is a better location.
Don said Michael Harrison of OHSU met with people from Parks about trails from Barbur to OHSU. Parks did not want SW Trails to work on any new trails. Don said a section of Trail #1 might get posted so that it would have to be repaired. Don said the stairs at that part are a key point of that route from OSHU to South Waterfront.
Glenn said he looked at a trail on Tunnelwood and 44th. He said water has eroded a demand trail at that location. He said BES and the Water Bureau have done work to improve the section. However, the Transportation Bureau put an opening in a fence in the wrong location. He said we either have to move the opening or trail. Al asked how easy it would be to put another opening in and Glenn said it should be easy. Keith said that once the opening is done SW Trails can spread gravel on the trail. Glenn said he would follow up with PBOT’s Greg Raismann.
Don said the extended shoulders are done on Maplewood Road except for some stripping. He said there will be a press conference in September on the project. He said this is the first time Transportation has worked with BES on an extended shoulder project, and it is the first one that has been paved.
Glenn talked about re-stripping on Barbur near 405. He said it separates cars from bikers and gives them more comfort. He said they should have also marked out pedestrian sections. He said they met with Commissioner Novick to talk about the problem. He said it is important to take care of pedestrians as well as bikes. Don said if there are not pedestrian makers bikes have the right-of-way, or at least they think they do. Don said there are other areas on Barbur where this marking would work well. Sharon said there is also a new bike lane on Sheridan. Michael said it is easier if pedestrians walk in the bike lane walk in an opposing direction of traffic. He said it is important to mark direction on pedestrian markings. Sharon said that might not work well on Barbur as it is so hard to cross Barbur. Doug said as a general principle it should be a goal to clearly mark where people should be.
Lee made a motion to write a letter to the Oregon Department of Transportation requesting similar markings on the rest of Barbur. Doug seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.
Don introduced Metro Councilor Robert Stacy. Bob handed out a brochure on Metro. He said Metro does many different things. He said we are in Metro District 6. He said it is the smallest district. He said it is all in one county.
Bob said many people are concerned about sidewalks and paved streets. He said people are also worried about new development. He said some changes in Portland have been welcome and some not so much. He said Metro works on Transportation and Land-use planning and is binding on communities in Metro. He said it is important to plan for growth. He said it is hard but exciting work. He said Metro also handles garbage and recycling. He said 42% of our refuse is going as garbage. Sharon said it would be nice to have compose bin recycling at condos as well as homes.
He talked about the Southwest Corridor Plan. He described the history of the project. He said it started with existing community plans and looked into what should be accomplished. He said there has been a great deal of discussion on local government staff on the project. He said it is important to have community forums and communications opportunities. He said investments on trails and natural areas are important as well. He said it is not enough to have one line. He said the east west connections are important. He said they decided to look at both light rail and bus alignments and both surface and tunnel option. There will be a one year refinement process to come up with a final recommendation. It will take three years to go through environmental impact study. With all this the soonest construction could start is 2018.
He talked about the Active Transportation Plan. He said there are controversial ideas in the plan. He said we need a balanced plan for all modes of transportation. He had a draft of the plan that he passed around to the group. The plan will have a regional network of bike routes. He said the Springwater line is an example. He said we need to work with Washington and Clackamas counties. He said it is surprising to see the push-back on the plan. They will keep it as a draft for the year. He said safety accessibility and connectivity are the major principles of the plan. He said if a project is not on the list it is not eligible for Federal funding. He said it is important to get trail and bike-way projects on the list as well as road projects. He said the plan does not show all the bike paths and trails. He said it is the major routes.
Michael asked what the relationship was between TriMet and Metro. Bob said TriMet is independent from Metro but must follow Metro Transportation Plans. He said Metro can veto TriMet plans but not replace them. However, Metro can take over TriMet by ordinance but it is never been done.
Arnie said we have some problem areas are not addressed until someone is hurt or killed. He gave three examples. Bob said unfortunately it is true. He said we are driving less than people predicted as a result the gas tax increase has not raised as much money. He said there is some money for transit and active transportation. He said the Federal Transportation went after that money for auto projects. He said we need more dollars in the transportation system for active transportation. He said roads are falling apart.
Lee asked about what the steering committee decided on the SW Corridor projects. Bob said they narrowed the projects somewhat and will study them further. Glenn asked if the final projects will have to be included in the environmental studies. Bob said in many cases they will. However, some may not that do not require federal funding.
Don said it is important to include routes form the red Electric Trail in the Active Transportation Plan. He said Marquam Hill Road, Talbot and Fairmont are also important as they connect to OHSU which is the largest employer in the state. Don said the Hillsdale-Lake Oswego route is also very important. Bob said the Active Transportation Plan does not rule out routes. However, it does help. He said there is a Nature in Neighborhoods grant that could be used to improve the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego trail. He said SW Trails could partner with the City on a grant. Don said most of the trail is done. He said a key point is a bridge on Boones Ferry at Arnold which is under design.
Keith said it is important to get a serious amount of funding for active transportation. He said there were cycle analysis zones were there are ratings. He said it is important to focus on the neighborhood not the zones. He said you should look at the contents of the project. Don pointed out that one of the ratings is income and there are many poor scattered in SW and they loose out. He also pointed out that property tax values are over valued in southwest. Don said Laredel has been on ODOT projects for ten years and nothing has ever been done. Glenn said there are a lot of poorer people near that intersection. Bob said it is important to teach people to advocate for their neighborhoods. He said SWNI should hire a consultant to work out an action plan. He said SWNI should ask for funding for an action plan.
Michael said ODOT has a project to redo the alignment at Barbur and I-5 and although it requires pedestrian and bike improvements but they are not planning to do those improvement. Bob said there are ways to get out of doing bike and pedestrian improvement in those projects. He said they can also build sidewalks elsewhere where it is cheaper to compensate. He said there are sharos on the St. Johns bridge. However, they do not work well as bicyclists must ride with cars and trucks. Don said ODOT should decide on road diets now. Barbara pointed out that a road diet is cheap as it is just paint. Bob pointed out areas in New York City where road diets have worked very well.
Glenn asked about the Columbia crossing and how we deal with aging bridges. Bob said Jim Howell has good ideas on the crossing. They have several proposals that would not be as expensive as the project that was terminated. He said it is important to fix the railroad bridge. This would reduce the number of bridge lifts as tug boats can align up better with the Interstate bridge. He said it is very hard to repair after a major earthquake and one of the Columbia bridges must be fixed seismically. He said the intersection at Marine drive should be fixed.
Bob talked about the Oregon Convention Center hotel. No one has ever agreed to build a hotel. He said there are many conventions that we do not get because there is not an adjacent hotel. He said there are many restrictions on the development of the hotel. He said Hyatt hotels is interested. However, they need financing help. He said the source of the money could be the Hotel-Motel tax. He said they may work out a deal. It will enable the convention center to get larger and more conventions. He said it also would help that “dead” part of MLK become more lively.
Don thanked Counselor Stacy for coming to our meeting and all his help with active transportation matters.
Glen made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Doug seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 8:51pm