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.
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!