Baack Letter to City Council on Barbur Safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and neighborhood concerns.

October 4, 2013
RE: Barbur Blvd Study
Commissioner Steve Novick

Dear Steve

I know you are being urged to request a “Road Diet Analysis” by many bicycle enthusiasts in the City of Portland. I want to offer a view from a neighborhood that may be affected in a major way by a road diet.
Hillsdale lies astride both Terwilliger and Capitol Highway, two probably diversion routes for traffic not able to quickly move down Barbur Blvd, the east boundary of our neighborhood. Multnomah would feel the effect or increased traffic on Capitol Hwy. Homestead would feel the increases in traffic on Terwilliger. Other neighborhoods that probably would be affected by diverted traffic would be those along SW Taylors Ferry Road and SW Spring Garden are Markham, Marshall Park, South Burlingame and Collins View. South Portland would be affected by diverted traffic on Taylors Ferry as well as on SW Corbett.

We have all witnessed the clogged streets when I5 is down.   We do not want to witness that on a daily basis. Until a thorough analysis of all the available alternatives is completed, it appears the neighborhoods are reserving their judgment.

I support a thorough study documenting the safety and physical aspects of the current situation, and an analysis of the apparent alternatives, 1. Road diet, 2. Reversible third lane which would move two lanes inbound to the city center during morning rush hour, two lanes outbound during evening rush hour. And 3. New pedestrian and bicycle bridges adjacent to the existing 2 bridges built in the near future rather than waiting for 10 to 20 years for them to be built as part of the bus rapid transit or light rail construction.

The study needs to be done immediately, and if the road diet or reversible lane appear feasible, set up a low cost test during the upcoming repair period for the Vermont and Newbury structures. If such a test is undertaken, it is important to carefully measure current status of traffic volumes, speeds and delay for each of the likely streets that would be affected as well as some not as obvious cut through routes identified by citizens that staff may miss in their 30,000 foot view.

Once we see the results of a 2 month test for each of the alternatives, we will have a much better understanding of what the future may hold if the alternative were constructed.

I do not favor analysis of just one alternative, and I strongly object to any changes that are not first tested to see the documented effects on the automobile and freight traffic on Barbur and on the safety of bicycle and pedestrian movement on the affected route as well as the impacted alternative routes.

Don Baack,

CC: Mayor Hales, Commissioners Saltzman, Fritz, Fish, ODOT Director Jason Tell, PBOT Director Leah Treat, Neighborhood Chairs, SWTrails and SWNI Transportation Committee, BTA, Oregon Walks




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