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BPS News: City Council Adopts N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2012

Contact:

Joe Zehnder
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
503-823-7815
 
Andy Johnson
Oregon Department of Transportation
503-731-8356

 

PORTLAND, Ore. - Today, City Council voted unanimously to adopt the N/NE Quadrant Plan, a long-range plan for the Lower Albina and Lloyd Districts of the Central City, and the I-5 Broadway/Weidler Facility Plan, a concept plan for freeway and local street system improvements in the vicinity of the Broadway/Weidler interchange.
 
These plans are the result of an innovative partnership between the City of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to combine a local district planning effort with a process to address longstanding safety issues on the I-5 freeway. Together the two plans provide a blueprint for integrating land use and local transportation investments with freeway improvements needed for a more vibrant and safe community.
 
Both the City and ODOT see the recommendations in the plans as an opportunity to significantly improve conditions on and around the freeway.
 
“We expect and are planning for significant growth in the Central City in the next 20 years,” stated Mayor Sam Adams. “There are real signs of strength in the Lloyd District right now, and this project will help us capitalize on that strength. This is an example of how the City and its partner agencies can work together to meet multiple objectives.”
 
“The City and ODOT have worked very hard to bring land use and transportation plans into synch with one another,” said Jason Tell, ODOT’s regional manager for the Portland area. “This effort shows how to make I-5 safer and more efficient while supporting local land use goals. To get this concept from plans to reality will take strong leadership and funding from the City, the private sector and the state."
 
Over a nearly two-year period, members of the N/NE Quadrant Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) worked with interested community members and land use and transportation planners to develop the N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans. The 30-member SAC included representatives from neighborhood groups; local businesses and business groups; the Lloyd Center Mall; the Rose Quarter; and bicycle, pedestrian, freight and environmental advocates.
 
The N/NE Quadrant Plan for Future Land Use and Development
The N/NE Quadrant Plan will help direct and manage growth for the Lloyd District and Lower Albina over the next 25 years. The plan focuses on preserving the industrial and employment character of Lower Albina and concentrating high-density development in the Lloyd District, with a focus on new residential development and amenities needed for a full-service neighborhood. 
 
Scott Langley, president and CEO of Langely Investment Properties, remarked, “As a result of the 2035-N/NE Quadrant Plan, we are already making investment decisions and plans that have a positive impact on land use and economic development in the Lloyd District. This economic action would not be possible without the vision and clarity the plan provides.”
 
Providing sensitive transitions to historic neighborhoods and protecting the remaining cultural resources in the area is also a key theme of the land use plan.
 
“The edges of the quadrant posed special challenges because they are the interface between the Central City and historic and vibrant neighborhoods,” commented SAC Co-chair Lloyd Lindley, ASLA. “It was no easy task, but we found amicable and design-based solutions that will help the Design Commission and the Landmarks Commission approve future development applications.”
 
Transportation Facility Plan
The I-5 Broadway/Weidler Facility Plan contains a planning-level concept for improvements that address longstanding safety and operations issues on and around Interstate 5 and the Broadway/Weidler interchange.
 
Tracy Whalen, SAC co-chair and freight representative, observed, “The recommended improvements in the Transportation Facility Plan, extending from the Fremont Bridge to the I-84 interchange, offer the most cost effective and fundable solution to improve safety at the worst freeway interchange in the state. They will also improve surface streets in the Broadway and Weidler Interchange area.” By adding auxiliary lanes and full-width shoulders (within existing right-of-way), it is estimated that the recommended improvements would reduce crashes on this section of I-5 by 30 to 50 percent. 
 
The freeway project also presents an opportunity to improve the urban environment and safety on local streets in the interchange area. The plan proposes to rebuild overpasses with lids over the freeway, which could be used for development or open space, the addition of new connections over the freeway, and providing additional and safer pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
 
In a letter to the Planning and Sustainability Commission, Matthew Arnold of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, stated, “The resulting plan ― when taken as a whole ― contains several positive improvements for cyclists, especially for those in the ‘interested and concerned [about safety]’ category at whom the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 is squarely aimed. Perhaps more importantly, the N/NE Quadrant Plan clearly reflects a process designed to gather, consider and incorporate the ideas and opinions of a broad range of stakeholders and advisors.”
 
The I-5 Broadway/Weidler Facility Plan is scheduled to be presented to the Oregon Transportation Commission in December.
 
The City of Portland is committed to providing equal access to information and hearings. If you need special accommodation, please call 503-823-7700, the City’s TTY at 503-823-6868, or the Oregon relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

About the N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans

The N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans project is a collaborative effort by the City of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation to provide detailed planning for the Lower Albina and Lloyd District areas. It is part of Central City 2035, the City of Portland's effort to update the 1988 Central City Plan. Working jointly with ODOT, this project also addresses safety and operations issues on the I-5 freeway and the local transportation system near the Broadway-Weidler interchange. For more information about the project, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/cc2035/nneq

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