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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

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Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan

On November 4, 2015, City Council adopted the Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan (Resolution No. 37162): link to adopted plan

 

Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan
A Context-sensitive Strategy for Addressing Persistent Gaps in the Street and Stormwater Systems

Highlights

The Tryon-Stephens Plan:

  • is the first collaboration between PBOT and BES at the neighborhood scale.
  • moves beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to put improvements on local streets within reach for property owners and the City.
  • furthers the application of new street and stormwater designs that are more flexible and more affordable than the traditional street and stormwater designs that were the only option until a few years ago.
  • lays the foundation for cross-bureau collaboration and for creative thinking about street and stormwater infrastructure.

Historic Street Patterns

As Portland’s neighborhoods developed, land was platted to create new lots and a right-of-way grid system was applied to the landscape to provide access. In those days, it was common practice – as in many other American cities – to apply the same right-of-way grid to new neighborhoods without regard to terrain or the natural environment.  

In Southwest Portland, steep topography, open streams, wooded areas and poorly draining soils limit opportunities to create full street connections even when public right-of-way exists. At the same time, some stream segments were buried underground in pipes to allow for streets to be built or properties to be developed, severely impacting wildlife habitat and biological communities and complicating the management of stormwater.

Much of the Tryon-Stephens Plan area developed as low-density suburban neighborhoods that were annexed into the City of Portland between 1945 and 1980. Often developers were not required to build basic roadway infrastructure, such as pavement, stormwater, and/or sidewalks. The resulting street patterns in Southwest Portland are circuitous and disconnected.

Southwest Portland has gravel streets (4.4% within the plan area), streets that lack sidewalks (63% within the plan area), and streets without a system to manage stormwater (30% of streets within the plan area). The majority (roughly 70 percent) of streets in this part of the city are local-traffic, neighborhood streets which primarily serve destinations along the street. However, these neighborhood streets serve a variety of functions depending on the adjacent land uses and destinations, multimodal transportation uses and natural features. Until a few years ago, the only option to build a street was a traditional street design, which is costly to build, fills the right-of-way with impervious surface from pavement, parking area and sidewalks, and has greater impact on existing features and the street character.

Collaborating to Form a More Naturally Connected System

The same features that constrain street connectivity in Southwest Portland also attract many people to live in this part of the city near pristine greenspaces, scenic viewpoints, and forests. The challenge is to create a connected street and stormwater systems that is responsive to the unique functions of each street and is sensitive to these valuable natural resources and unique character that draws people to the area.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) have worked together to develop the Tryon-Stephens Plan to reflect neighbors’ preferences and the city’s need to create a more tailored approach to filling gaps in the street and stormwater systems. PBOT and BES staff worked together on the plan to adapt tools to improve streets and stormwater management so they match the street character, create safer walking and bicycling routes, address problems caused by stormwater runoff, and place the cost of improvements within reach for neighbor-initiated and city-initiated projects.

Incorporating Community Values

Community members were instrumental in creating the Tryon-Stephens Plan. A Community Working Group met four times to provide information and review draft products, over 70 community members attended the first project Open House, and over 30 attended the second. Many who couldn’t attend events responded to online surveys. When given a choice of what they would like to see improved on streets that are paved but don’t have curbs or sidewalks, respondents prioritized sidewalks (but only on one side of the street) and better stormwater drainage. Neighbors also clearly communicated that preserving the low traffic conditions, mature trees and local character are key priorities.

A Tailored Strategy for Southwest Portland Streets

The Tryon-Stephens Plan created tools for property owners, developers, and city staff to use in identifying suitable designs for neighborhood streets. These include a Street Typology to define key characteristics of different streets based on factors such as traffic volume and adjacent land use, and a flow chart with a series of questions to match concept-level street and stormwater designs. The plan also includes drawings to illustrate various combinations of street and stormwater improvements.

The Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan was adopted unanimously by City Council on November 4, 2015. Several SW Portland community members testified in support of the plan. Liz Safran, an Associate Professor of Geological Science at Lewis and Clark College and a member of the Tryon-Stephens Plan Community Working Group summarized the benefits of the plan in her testimony at City Council, “The environmental benefits of this plan and of a joint planning process across agencies at the design stage are really significant. Most notably, it should permit smaller paved footprints, which lead to less stormwater runoff and greater preservation of trees. This is extremely important in SW Portland in particular, where hilly topography and soils with low infiltration rates make stormwater management a real challenge. The more that we can prevent runoff and keep infiltration capacity high by preserving trees, the better able the city will be to meet stormwater management goals that help preserve environmental amenities and reduce impacts on the few daylighted creeks that remain.”

Quick reference guide: select pages from the Plan highlighting the primary recommended tools.


 

Plan is adopted by City Council

On November 4, 2015, City Council unanimously approved the Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan.

 

The resolution adopted the recommendations contained within the Tryon-Stephens Plan as the guiding strategy for PBOT and BES efforts to complete the transportation networks and stormwater system within the plan area.

 

Many thanks to all those who participated in the process that led to the adoption of the Plan, especially the community members who devoted considerable time to attend meetings and outreach events.

 

If you were unable to attend the hearing, the video has been posted online. Click the link and select “Nov 4 2015 AM”.

  

 

Open House #2

On a sunny evening on May 7th 2015, around 30 community members attended the second Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Street Plan Open House Event.

If you missed the second open house but would like to get more information, provide input and respond to the project survey, you can check out the Open House materials here. We welcome your input.

Background: The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) are working together on the Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan. The objective of the street plan is to establish a more connected local street and pathway network and to improve stormwater management systems within the area. Recommendations made in this plan will reflect community priorities and suggestions to achieve our transportation and stormwater goals. Recommendations may include:

  • Refine the primary walking and bicycling routes
  • Identify new connections (right of way)
  • Categorize streets by their character/context
  • Integrate PBOT and BES tools and coordinating investments

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Dozens attend first Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Street Plan Open House

On January 26th, over 70 community members attended the first Tryon-Stephens Street Plan project open house. They shared ideas about what street and stormwater improvements they’d like to see in and around the project area, watched a short presentation on the project (access the slides here), and learned about the project through several display boards set up around the room (see the display boards here).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you missed the open house but would like to get more information, provide input and respond to the project survey, you can check out the Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan website. There will be another open house in the Spring 2015. We welcome your input.

Background: The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) are working together on the Tryon-Stephens Headwaters Neighborhood Street Plan. The objective of the street plan is to establish a more connected local street and pathway network and to improve stormwater management systems within the area. Recommendations made in this plan will reflect community priorities and suggestions to achieve our transportation and stormwater goals. Recommendations may include:

 

  •  Refine the primary walking and bicycling routes
  •  Identify new connections (right of way)
  •  Categorize streets by their character/context
  •  Integrate PBOT and BES tools and coordinating investments

 


Maps

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Documents

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Working groups

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