SW Multnomah/Garden Home project - March 2019 update

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Portland Bureau of Transportation

March 2019 Project Update

Greetings SW Multnomah/Garden Home stakeholders,

                I wanted to take a minute to take this opportunity to provide you a quick update on where things are with the Multnomah/Garden Home project.  I want to start by thanking everyone for their thoughtful comments and thorough engagement on this project.  The feedback PBOT received was deliberate, rich, and useful.  We spoke with over 50 people during our office hours, contacted numerous households during our door-to-door engagement, had 134 people attend our open house in January, and received over 920 responses for our online survey.  For comparison, the typical number of responses PBOT receives for similar online surveys is around 300.

                Before I highlight some themes that emerged in the public involvement process, I want to take a minute to share with you what has happened over the past few months.  On January 22, 2019 the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved granting PBOT $1 million in funding toward this project.  On February 20th, PBOT presented this project to Portland city council to request that council accept $1 million from Washington County and to authorize an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Washington County.  You can watch a 17 minute video of that here (https://youtu.be/biimV7rLi0M).  I want to thank Jerry Rundorff and Stan Houseman for providing testimony on behalf of Ash Creek Neighborhood Association and CPO3.  On Feb 27th, city council approved the ordinance allowing PBOT to accept the funding and enter into an IGA.  It is customary for council to make these types of decisions 1 week after a council item is initially heard. 

What We Heard

Here are some general themes that we heard from community members as it relates to the Multnomah/Garden Home intersection safety project:

-the speed and volume of traffic is an important issue for residents.  The top 3 safety challenges that residents identified were: (1) there is too much traffic (51%); (2) right-of-way ambiguity (49%); and (3) motor vehicle speeds are too fast (48%).

-safety for people walking and bicycling emerged as an important theme

-70% of residents preferred the roundabout option; when asked whether PBOT should move forward with the roundabout given the increased cost, time, and complexity, 64% still supported the roundabout.

-residents preferred the continued traffic flow that roundabouts provided but we also heard concerns about what this would mean for people walking and bicycling.  Some residents expressed strong concerns about yielding compliance (whether drivers would yield to people walking) and the lack of dedicated space for neighbors bicycling in the conceptual design of the roundabout.

-39% of residents expressed strong support and 28% of residents expressed mild support for improved biking and walking facilities on SW Multnomah between Garden Home and 45th.  This represents 616 people (66%) in support out of a total of 926 survey respondents.

-Although we heard lots of comments related to the safety benefits of restricting vehicle access on SW 69th (south leg), we also heard from residents on this street about the challenges associated with having to use SW 67th.  PBOT will continue evaluating this proposal and look for opportunities to allow some turning movements to/from SW 69th (south leg) to the extent this does not materially compromise the safety performance of this intersection.

-Traffic calming on side streets was a high priority for neighbors.  Given the low-cost nature of speed bumps, PBOT is open to installing these on streets in the following conditions: (1) the street is a PBOT owned street; (2) PBOT is given permission from the jurisdictional entity (ex. City of Beaverton) to install speed bumps on a non-PBOT owned street; and (3) the pavement condition allows for speed bumps to be installed.

In the coming weeks we will be finalizing a comprehensive 20+ page report of what we heard and we will place this on our project website.


Next Steps

Within the next 60 days, PBOT will make a decision between roundabout and traffic signal while considering technical feasibility and potential additional funding sources for this project.  We are still exploring whether Washington County is willing to adjust the signal timing at the SW Oleson/Garden Home signal which our traffic engineers feel is a critical need in order for the roundabout to function appropriately.  We do not want to create a situation where the intersection is blocked due to motor vehicle queue spillback from the Oleson intersection, even if it is only during rush hour. 


In conclusion, we appreciate your investment in time and expertise to provide comments that will inform and ultimately improve our approach to this important intersection.  As always, feel free to contact me with any comments or concerns.


Timur Ender

PBOT Capital Delivery Division

(503) 823-7084