1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204
About 50 miles of unpaved, dirt and gravel streets currently exist in the City of Portland and most of these are on residential streets. These unimproved streets provide poor accessibility, particularly for pedestrians, and can reduce neighborhood livability.
As in most cities, adjacent property owners are responsible for creating new or improving existing local residential streets in Portland, either as a requirement of new (infill) development or through a Local Improvement District (LID).
Many of these dirt and gravel streets are not being improved through the LID program simply because of the high cost of the existing ‘traditional’ street design standard. The traditional residential street standard has all the elements of a high performance street, including curbs, sidewalks on both sides of the street and a stormwater system, but the typical cost to the adjacent property owners participating in an LID can be out of reach for some.
Additionally, infill development happens sporadically, and on unimproved streets any improvements are left disconnected from the rest of the street system. It may be many years before additional infill development comes along to complete the connections. A new approach is needed that helps get pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and residents up out of the mud and gravel.
To make it easier for property owners to improve dirt and gravel streets with at least an asphalt surface, the Bureau of Transportation has new design standards intended to lower the cost of improvements. Streets that meet the following minimum criteria may qualify for the new design options:
The street must be: