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Latest News and Updates from the Barbur Concept Plan

City Council Unanimously Adopts the Barbur Concept Plan

Project involved inclusive process and innovative solutions

On April 24, 2013, the Portland City Council voted to adopt the Babur Concept Plan after hearing support from numerous community members and stakeholders. A subset of Metro’s larger Southwest Corridor Plan, the concept plan aspires to transform Barbur from a major transportation route to a destination place that better serves the needs of the people who live, work, shop or go to school along the corridor.

George Vranas, who resides in the Far Southwest area testified that, "The plan offers a vision for Southwest Portland that will allow it to prosper and grow in harmony with its natural endowment."

The concept plan includes a number of recommended improvements to increase safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who travel on the boulevard. Don Baack, chair of SW Trails PDX, noted Barbur's importance and untapped potential as Southwest Portland's spine for active transportation. "Taylors Ferry, Capitol Highway, Multnomah and Terwilliger boulevards all feed into it," he stated.

In addition to serving the residents of Southwest, a number of major institutions located along the corridor, including PCC Sylvania, the National College of Natural Medicine, PSU, and OHSU, rely on Barbur to serve employees, students and patients.

"[OHSU] provides significant financial incentives to our employees to bike, walk and take transit to work, but ultimately our incentives only work if the infrastructure is in place to support them," noted Michael Harrison, OHSU Government Relations Office, at the hearing.

Roger Averbeck, a Community Working Group member, stressed that partnerships with other agencies were crucial to get some of these recommendations implemented sooner rather than later. "The city and its partners really must work to fund and implement more marked crosswalks, complete the sidewalk and bike lane gaps, improve the transit stops and connections to them," he urged council.

While the bulk of the testimony supported the plan's recommendations and praised the process, the community expressed some concern about forthcoming decisions related to potential high capacity transit (HCT) alignments. Ariane Holzhauer was one of about 115 neighbors that signed a petition opposing siting HCT on local residential streets, suggesting that keeping the alignment on Barbur provides more benefits without affecting the neighbors of Lesser Park.

Commissioner Fritz noted the importance of being involved early in the SW Corridor planning process so that all interests and concerns are weighed. "This is a good conversation as to how we look at equity and affordable housing and greenspaces within Portland."

Commissioner Fish advocated for affordable housing and urged the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to, "… come back with some very specific recommendations for how we might accomplish our affordable housing goals through changes in the zoning code. … Setting some hard numbers may allow us to capitalize on this unique opportunity to solve some affordable housing in new transit-oriented development."

Mayor Charlie Hales summarized the hearing and future direction for the SW Corridor planning process by proclaiming, "We are the best in the country at doing [high capacity transit]. That's why when we are careful and thoughtful and thorough when we do these kinds of planning processes, and queue up a project for federal funding, we have an unbroken track record.”

While praising staff for the strong community support for the plan, Mayor Hales said, “We have to be bold enough to pick the right mode choice and then carry it forward. We do need to be inclusive and thoughtful but also know that there needs to be a moment of decision. And, hopefully, people will agree with it and Portland so far has an unbroken record of getting it right. This [plan] is a great example."

Barbur Concept Plan Heads to City Council for Adoption

City Council hearing date set for April 24, 2013 for the recommended Barbur Concept Plan

On April 24, 2013, the Portland City Council will hold a public hearing on the Barbur Concept Plan. The Concept Plan identifies seven catalytic focus areas along the six-mile-long boulevard — places where there is a community desire for change — and establishes a unifying vision for this historic transportation corridor as a more accessible, vibrant place.

The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to forward the recommended Concept Plan to City Council after hearing from the community. The commission also heard a compelling story about the vision for this important corridor.

That vision takes advantage of existing strengths in each area, situated in four unique segments  (Lair Hill, The Woods, Historic Highway and Far Southwest) and proposes several big ideas to correct current deficiencies and promote public and private investment.

The vision is supported by an economic analysis of what the market would support and when. The report’s key finding is that future high capacity transit (HCT) is a necessary ingredient to making the vision real. Attracting substantial private investment will likely require a significant change to the look and feel of Barbur that only an investment in HCT can deliver.

Barbur Boulevard’s Past

Barbur was first a railroad route that was converted to an auto boulevard in the 1920s, linking downtown to other parts of Southwest Portland. When Barbur became part of the state highway system (99W), early commercial development was tailored to the automobile and traveler services. When I-5 was built in the 1950s, Barbur continued to serve regional traffic — but without the funding and attention that a standalone highway might receive. Consequently, the southwest neighborhoods continue to advocate for basic pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. With Metro's SW Corridor Plan, the time is right to consider how to complete this roadway’s transformation from a rail line, to a highway, and now to a civic corridor that offers an enjoyable place for people to live, work, play and learn.

What’s Next?

A week after the hearing, the City Council will vote to adopt the plan by resolution as non-binding city policy. The plan identifies future actions that will need to correspond to future regional decisions about high capacity transit and other major infrastructure investments in the corridor. This will ensure that Barbur, the adjoining neighborhoods and the City can take advantage of opportunities when they arise to move the community's shared vision forward.

A copy of the recommended concept plan is now available for the public to review.

Your comments for the April 24th hearing are appreciated in person or via:

Email: karla.moore-love@portlandoregon.gov

Fax: (503) 823-4571 (attn Council Clerk)

Mail:1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 140, Portland,OR 97204.

SW Corridor Plan

Metro is leading a comprehensive planning effort to create livable and sustainable communities along the corridor between Portland, Tigard and Sherwood through integrated community investments in land use and transportation. A major component of this effort is to determine the mode of transit (e.g. light rail, bus rapid transit) and alignment (e.g. Barbur or I-5). Metro is in the early stages of evaluating alternatives and is expecting to narrow the wide range of alternatives into a handful by this summer. For more information, please visit www.swcorridorplan.org

The Southwest Corridor Plan is working to schedule the following events and public involvement tools. Once confirmed, the events will be added to the project calendar on the SW Corridor website.

  • SW Corridor Open House, Thursday, April 25, 5:30-7:30pm at the Multnomah Arts Center, Room 30. Come help Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. (SWNI) develop priorities for future roadway and active transportation investments. As part of Metro's SW Corridor Plan and planning for high capacity transit, a series of roadway and other projects will soon be identified for regional investment in the next 15 years.
  • April online open house If you're not able to make it to the April 25th open house, you can catch up with the Southwest Corridor Plan by working though the online open house, to be posted in mid April.
  • Project bundle evaluation results Evaluation results of the project bundles will be released by mid-May.
  • Opt In survey, May 20 through 28 (unconfirmed) Using Metro's OptIn program, participants will be able to respond to the evaluation results and how they connect to regional and local values. Learn about and join the OptIn panel
  • Community Planning Forum, Thursday, May 23, 6:00-8:00 at the Tualatin library (18878 SW Martinazzi Avenue) Learn more about the evaluation results and offer your thoughts on what priorities should be included in the plan's investment package.
  • June online open house Beginning mid-June, review the initial concepts for the final investment package and offer your comments for the steering committee's decisions on how to move forward.

Barbur Concept Plan is ready to roll: Download the February proposed draft here

Public hearing date set for proposed Barbur Concept Plan

On Feb. 26, 2013, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hold a public hearing on the proposed Barbur Concept Plan . This plan identifies seven catalytic focus areas — places where there is a community desire for change — and establishes a unifying vision for this historic transportation corridor as a more walkable, vibrant place.

The vision takes advantage of existing strengths in each area, situated in four unique segments  (Lair Hill, The Woods, Historic Highway and Far Southwest) and proposes several big ideas to correct current deficiencies and promote public and private investment.

The vision is supported by an economic analysis of what the market would support and when. The report’s key finding is that future high capacity transit (HCT) is a necessary ingredient to making the vision real. Attracting substantial private investment will likely require a significant change to the look and feel of Barbur that only an investment in HCT can deliver.

Barbur Boulevard’s Past

Barbur was first a railroad route that was converted to an auto boulevard in the 1920s, linking downtown to other parts of the southwest. When Barbur became part of the state highway system (99W), early commercial development was tailored to the automobile and traveler services. When I-5 was built in the 1950s, Barbur continued to serve regional traffic, but without the funding and attention that a standalone highway might receive. Consequently, the southwest neighborhoods continue to advocate for basic pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. With Metro's SW Corridor Plan, the time is right to consider how to complete this roadway’s transformation from a rail line, to a highway, and now to a civic corridor that offers an enjoyable place for people to live, work, play and learn.

What’s Next?

After the hearing, the PSC will make their recommendation to City Council, which will adopt the plan by resolution and direct City staff to craft coordinated amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code and capital improvement plans. These legislative actions will need to correspond to future regional decisions related to high capacity transit and other major infrastructure investment in the southwest corridor over the next 2-5 years. This will ensure that Barbur, the adjoining neighborhoods and the City can take advantage of opportunities when they arise to move the community's shared vision forward.

A copy of the proposed concept plan is now available!

 

The November Discussion Draft Barbur Concept Plan Report is Available

A new vision for the Barbur corridor is coming into view, with the help of the Barbur Concept Plan Community Working Group (CWG)

On Thursday, Nov. 29, the CWG and City staff will present the draft concept plan for the Barbur Corridor at a community forum in the Multnomah Art Center. The project team will give a brief overview of the process and corridor wide concept, and participants will be able to weigh in on draft development concepts for seven focus areas along Barbur, including PCC-Sylvania, Crossroads, 26th Avenue, Capitol Hill, 13th Avenue, Hamilton, and the Kelly Area. Participants will also help identify other critical recommendations that will transform Barbur into a more vibrant, walkable and enjoyable place to work and live.

Input from this community forum will be used to shape and refine the final concept plan, which will then be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission, Metro, TriMet, ODOT and ultimately City Council in the winter.

In addition to summarizing the market analysis and catalyzing focus areas, the concept plan includes a series of recommendations and implementation tools to guide and react to future decisions related to infrastructure and transit investments. This will ensure that Barbur, the adjoining neighborhoods and the City are positioned to take advantage of opportunities when they arise in a manner that forwards the community's shared vision.

Download the Draft Barbur Concept Report

Draft Barbur Concept Plan Community Forum

What could Barbur Boulevard look like in 15, 20, 50 years? Come preview the Draft Barbur Concept Plan

On November 29, the Barbur Concept Plan Community Working Group and City staff will present the draft concept plan for the Barbur Corridor at a Community Forum in Multnomah Village. The working group of 20 community volunteers crafted the concept – or vision for the corridor – over 14 months of deliberations. It is based on previous community input and includes recommendations for key land use and transportation improvements, which have been tested against current and projected market conditions. 

forum location map

Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 5:45pm
Multnomah Arts Center Auditorium: 7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland 

5:45-6:00 p.m.
Review information, chat with staff, enjoy refreshments

6:00-6:30 p.m.
Brief project overview / Q&A

6:30-8:00 p.m.
Table discussion of focus areas 

At the community forum, the project team will give a brief overview of the process and corridor-wide concept. Then participants will be asked to weigh in on possible development concepts for seven focus areas along Barbur, including PCC-Sylvania, Crossroads, 26th Avenue, Capitol Hill, 13th Avenue,Hamilton, and the Kelly Area. Participants will also help identify other critical recommendations that will transform Barbur into a more vibrant, walkable and enjoyable place to work and live.

In addition to providing feedback on the development alternatives and recommendations, community members will have an opportunity to learn more about work done to date on the Barbur Concept Plan, its connection to the larger regional Southwest Corridor Plan, and how to stay involved and informed.

Download the Community Forum flyer

13th Ave focus area options map

There are opportunities at SW 13th and Barbur to create a walkable retail main street, by adding a signal at SW 13th to improve pedestrian crossing safety and also allow vehicles to turn. SW 13th could also possibly be extended to connect with Multnomah, to potentially activate this area on the south side of Barbur.

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