(March 17, 2016) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is moving forward with the Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Project. We are currently finalizing the engineering and design phase and expect to complete it by fall 2016. We anticipate construction to begin in early 2017.
Currently, SE Foster Road is designated a High Crash Corridor with over 1,200 crashes and 8 fatalities reported in the last 10 years. As a Vision Zero city, we aim to make our transportation system the safest possible and to move towards zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in the next 10 years. In order to improve safety on Foster, PBOT is reallocating the roadway to create three motor vehicle lanes, bicycle lanes and on-street parking on both sides of the street. The change will extend from SE 54th to SE 90th Avenues. This change is expected to reduce all types of crashes by a minimum of 20 percent. Recent road realignments on other corridors in Portland have seen an average crash reduction of 37 percent.
In addition to reducing crashes, the changes on Foster Road will help turn it into a successful Main Street by providing greater accessibility for all modes and a safer and attractive corridor that supports businesses and neighborhoods. This will be achieved by:
- Widening the sidewalks in Lents from five feet to nine feet
- Adding street trees and lights
- Installing marked protected crossings and curb extensions
- Adding transit shelters
- No major impact to existing on-street parking along the corridor
- Adding bike lanes and connecting them to existing bike lanes in Lents Town Center and SE 52nd Avenue.
How will the changes affect traffic on Foster?
During most of the day, Foster Road will have enough capacity to accommodate current and future traffic volumes, except for the AM and PM peak periods at some key intersections. The reconfiguration to three motor vehicle lanes will not lead to congestion during most of the day. PBOT anticipates that travel times during peak hours will increase by up to 3 minutes to travel the entire corridor. This change is supported by our Vision Zero data-driven focus on where serious injuries and fatalities are occurring in Portland. By reducing the risk of collisions (and the congestion they cause), travel time on Foster Road will be more reliable.
Who supports this project?
The project is the result of a 16 month planning process that has demonstrated strong community support from businesses, neighborhoods, local schools, local organizations and hundreds of residents. PBOT held five open houses with over 450 people attending. In addition, over 430 people filled out a survey with 80 percent supporting the plan. PBOT’s public outreach also included culturally specific outreach to communities of color and English as a second language speakers within the neighborhood. The Foster Area Business Association voted unanimously to support the plan in 2014 and urged Portland City Council to pass it.
Portland City Council unanimously approved the Foster Transportation and Streetscape plan at a public hearing in June of 2014. Since then, PBOT has been diligently working to design and engineer the project. We expect to complete those plans in fall 2016 and look forward to beginning construction in early 2017. We are grateful to the Foster Area Business Association for their work reaching out to all businesses on the street to educate and support them through the coming changes.