Non-local traffic that uses local, residential streets south of the Ross Island Bridge as cut-through routes to avoid congestion on the arterial connections to the bridge is a longstanding livability issue in the Lair Hill neighborhood. In 2016 the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) received a request to evaluate possible traffic management changes to address these impacts, which include safety concerns and associated pollution from the local street congestion.
In 2018, a proposal was drafted by residents from the neighborhood, with input from the Lair Hill Neighborhood Association and PBOT. The proposal is intended to be a short-term solution to discourage the use of SW Kelly and SW Corbett from the south and SW Grover from the north as alternatives to the desired routes, SW Barbur Blvd and SW Naito Pkwy from the south, and SW Hood from the north. Representatives from the Lair Hill neighborhood circulated a petition that indicated strong support from residents within the affected area. In September of 2018 PBOT agreed to move forward with a test of the proposal.
The longer-term strategy for better managing traffic access to the Ross Island Bridge will be addressed through major street network changes proposed as a stand alone project to be built in conjunction with the SW Corridor Light Rail Project. These changes to the access routes to and from the bridge are included in the pending Final Environmental Impact Statement process for the light rail project, with the intent of making it eligible for future federal grant opportunities. It is anticipated that the project would also be a candidate for inclusion in a regional funding measure in 2020. Construction of these improvements, if the funding is secured, is anticipated in the next five to six years. Outreach and coordination for the bridgehead project will be led by PBOT and should commence in late spring.