Barbur Boulevard and surrounding neighborhoods were the focus of two neighborhood walks on September 22nd and 24th to get feedback on what the community would like to see improved along Portland's major southwest corridor. Project staff, residents and business owners walked with Community Working Group (CWG) members to get a first hand perspective of four distinct sections of Barbur Boulevard (Walk A covered sections 1 and 2 and Walk B covered sections 3 and 4). The walking groups explored the areas on both a weekday and weekend to experience the different levels of activity and traffic along the thoroughfare. Participants had a chance to chat with each other and share their unique perspectives and ideas for possible future improvements within the corridor.
We heard again about the incomplete network of sidewalks and how bicyclists do not feel safe on many parts of Barbur. In certain areas - around the Safeway store at Capitol Hill Road and the West Portland Crossroads area near Capitol Highway, for example - the sidewalk network is incomplete and lacks connections to other sections of Barbur Boulevard and the adjacent neighborhoods and schools. Even with these deficiencies, however, there are a number of pedestrians and bicyclists making due with the facilities at hand. People indicated that pedestrian safety could be improved with more clearly defined left turn pockets and driveway entrances.
Barbur Boulevard tends to be noisy and a less inviting place for people to congregate, but participants observed that the noise level decreased significantly not far from the high-traffic boulevard. In these quieter areas, some observed that these could be good areas for additional residents, but also noted concerns with air quality near the freeway. They encouraged staff to strategically think about the role of on-street parking on Barbur as it can act as a buffer from traffic; however, it can also pose additional risks to drivers and cyclists.
Much of the commercial development on Barbur tends to be single or two-story buildings, with large areas of surface parking. But the City's development standards for much of the corridor allow three and four story buildings and no minimum parking requirement - due to the frequent bus service. Some participants envisioned smaller shopping streets that spurred from Barbur, with a variety of local merchants and shopping choices. Others saw potential for additional office buildings that could benefit from being close to high capacity transit while buffering Barbur from the freeway.
Read more about what the groups observed and suggested as improvements by reading the complete summary.
The information gathered during these walks will be packaged with transportation, environmental, economic and other analyses as staff develop a complete picture of Barbur as it currently exists. This information will help identify needs for the area, as well as help reveal some of the constraints and opportunities for the future of the Barbur corridor. The CWG will meet next on November 3rd to review the Draft Existing Conditions Report and begin discussing their expectations for the Barbur Concept Plan.