1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204
56.5 miles of unpaved, dirt and gravel streets currently exist in the City of Portland, 45 miles of which are in residential areas. These streets provide poor accessibility, particularly for pedestrians, and can reduce neighborhood livability.
Like most cities, the responsibility for creating new, or improving existing local residential streets in Portland lies with the adjacent property owners, 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 help accelerate the improvement of dirt and gravel streets with at least an asphalt surface, the Bureau of Transportation is working on new design standards that sharply reduce the cost of improvements. Streets that meet the following minimum criteria may qualify for the new design options for improvement.
The street must be: