21. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: health, land use, planning, safety, san, transportation

Update (on 10/23/13): Added this animated GIF from Google Traffic Map showing traffic levels at 4:45 PM during the most recent five weekdays. (Click here for full size.)

Animated GIF traffic PM peak time Killlingsworth and I-205

Normally only the Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) board meets at the board meetings. However, this month (on Oct 8) we held a special meeting about the proposal to add a third lane to the onramp southbound from Killingsworth St onto I-205. The proposal is the traffic mitigation portion of a rezone proposal for 48 acres of Colwood Golf Course on NE Cornfoot Road. (For more info, see our previous item.)

What’s the next step?

Testimony at the Portland City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Avenue (downtown) on Wed, Oct 23, at 2 PM (agenda). All members of the public are allowed to testify. Sumner neighborhood residents are welcome to attend and/or testify. Showing up can make the difference!

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Facing south, showing the bend in the onramp after the traffic lights for the two existing metered lanes on the ramp.

Key points about how this became the mitigation proposal and the project status

At our Oct 8 special board meeting, we had three special guests: Don Goldberg from Trust for Public Lands, Kurt Krueger from PBOT and Marah Danielson from ODOT to discuss the project. The SAN board thanks them for coming to talk on such short notice (at the request of the Portland City Council at their hearing on Sept 25).

Kurt did most of the talking. At the start of his comments, He very graciously apologized for the oversight of not consulting or including our neighborhood in the discussion to date. The meeting was very well attended by neighborhood residents — the room was full — and everyone was neighborly and civil. I’m proud of how everyone treated Don, Kurt and Mara. Some key points:

  • How we got here: A new process due to a new state law requing PBOT and ODOT to work together on significant development projects. Also a recent SCOTUS ruling that limits how much developers can be asked to do related to any given project.
  • Where is the project in the design process: Concept plan is approved, ODOT design to begin this month.
  • When would construction begin: Spring 2014 at soonest, but tied to proposal to develop the 48 acres (on Cornfoot Road) proposed for industrial zoning.
  • How long would construction last: 3-4 months
  • Would the SAN Lot be used to stage for the construction: Unknown, too soon to say, but neighborhood interest in minimizing disruption at the SAN Lot was understood.

What was the outcome on Oct 8

Three things:

  1. The SAN board voted to work with ODOT to mitigation the onramp proposal for livability factors (safety, odor, noise, etc) during the design and construction periods.
  2. In return, ODOT agreed to share design drawing for neighborhood input, and consult the neighbors during construction.
  3. However, given the unusual nature of the traffic mitigation proposal — and its possible ineffectiveness as a traffic mitigation solution — SAN will again request that the Portland City Council (on Oct 23) consider altering the current proposal to move road improvements to Alderwood Road (at Cornfoot and NE 82nd).

What makes the proposal unsuitable

By widening the southbound onramp, traffic related to the 48 acre property on NE Corfoot Road is supposed to be mitigated. Several reasons it does not:

Proximity: The proposal is more than 1.5 miles away from the development site. This is unusual. Indeed, Kurt confirmed that this was the first time in his 8-10 years working on such projects that a mitigation proposal has been this far away from the site it’s mitigating.

% of traffic mitigated: According to the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) report produced by Kittelson Associations in 2012 for the rezone proposal, the property on NE Cornfoot Road will generate 2430 trips per day. The TIA also estimates that 50 of those 2,340 trips would use the southbound onramp each day. That’s 2.1% of all vehicle trips. By contrast about 66% of trips will use the two intersections nearest to the property (NE Alderwood at NE Cornfoot Road and at NE 82nd Ave).

Traffic count data does not match other ODOT data: The Kittelson TIA report showed the southbound onramp at its full capacity (its vehicle-to-capacity ratio), yet shows the northbound onramp (next to the Pony Soldier Hotel in Parkrose) at 2/3 of its capacity. That contradicts the 2013 ODOT Corridor Bottleneck Study, which shows the northbound onramp with a 3 hour delay daily, and local motorist experience.

Traffic count data does not match itself internally:  We found a repeated internal inconsistency in figures in the Kittelson TIA regarding the southbound onramp intersection. Specifically, in Figures 4, 5, 9 & 10, westbound traffic leaving the n/b ramp intersection (next to the Pony Soldier Hotel in Parkrose) was 30-50% lower than the westbound traffic arriving at the s/b ramp intersection proposed for widening. Presumably this was a transcription error of some sort. But that’s a significant unexplained flaw in the data on which to base this traffic mitigation recommendation.

And this is all on top of the five approval criteria cited by SAN in its testimony filed in late June.

 

The city of Portland hearings officer issued his recommendation for the Colwood Golf Course rezoning proposal (6.5 MB PDF) on August 22, including the traffic mitigation plan that would require the addition of a third lane to southbound onramp from Killingsworth Blvd to I-205.

Final approval of the proposal (3.5 MB PDF) — which would preserve about 90 acres of the Colwood Golf Course as open space by turning about 48 acres into industrial zoning — goes to a public hearing at the Portland City Council on Wednesday, September 25 at 2 PM.

Neighborhood residents are encouraged to testify at the hearing to express their views about the onramp widening. Testimony can also be submit in writing in advance. See these helpful tips for testifying (PDF) on land use cases.

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Southbound again, the I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth with nearby homes on the right

The 48 acres to be rezone is located entirely north of Cornfoot Road and Alderwood Road. Widening the onramp here in Sumner — 1.5 miles from the site being rezoned — is the traffic mitigation solution recommended by Portland city staff and approved in full by the hearings officer. Here is the recommendation:

Prior to issuance of Building Permit and/or Site Development Permits for new development on Tax Lot 100 (48.36 acres), off-site transportation improvements must be addressed, through coordination and construction under separate Public Works Permits issued by PBOT and ODOT, with the following improvements:

  • Add a third queuing lane for the southbound on-ramp to result in three 12-foot wide lanes;
  • Widen to the outside of the existing lane to accommodate the additional lane;
  • Replace the existing ramp meter to accommodate the additional lane;
  • Provide new illumination;
  • Accommodate stormwater from the new impervious area in roadside swales; and
  • Provide any necessary related improvements to NE Killingsworth at the intersection with the southbound I 205 ramp.

Normally a land use issue in a nearby neighborhood is of limited interest. The problem in this case is that the land use proposal is in one neighborhood, while the entire proposed traffic mitigation solution is located in another neighborhood. In such a case, the city is not required to notify the second neighborhood, as Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) was not notified about this part of the otherwise worthy Colwood proposal.

On June 26, I (Scott, SAN chair) filed comments about the onramp portion of the land use proposal (350K PDF). On July 23, the rezone applicant, the nonprofit group Trust for Public Lands, filed a response (2 MB).

Thanks to the applicant in correcting one point I made in my comments. The onramp is in the list of regional transportation plan projects (XLS), although it is not in the RTP itself (40 MB PDF).

For more background, see the previous item published in June when we first learned about this traffic mitigation plan.

27. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: health, land use, planning, safety, san, transportation

Any chance you heard anything about this project? Per The Oregonian on Wed 6/19/13 about Oregon Transportation Commission:

A $250,000 grant to the city of Portland to help build a third metered ramp lane to the southbound freeway on-ramp at the I-205 and Northeast Killingsworth interchange.

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Southbound again, the I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth with nearby homes on the right

What does it mean?

Here is the short of it is: The Colwood Golf Course rezone proposal (3.5 MB PDF) aims to turn about 48 acres of open space into industrial zoning. The 48 acres to be rezone is located entirely north of Cornfoot Road and Alderwood Road. Widening the onramp here in Sumner — 1.5 miles from the site being rezoned — is the traffic mitigation solution recommended by Portland city staff. Here is the recommendation:

Prior to issuance of Building Permit and/or Site Development Permits for new development on Tax Lot 100 (48.36 acres), off-site transportation improvements must be addressed, through coordination and construction under separate Public Works Permits issued by PBOT and ODOT, with the following improvements:

  • Add a third queuing lane for the southbound on-ramp to result in three 12-foot wide lanes;
  • Widen to the outside of the existing lane to accommodate the additional lane;
  • Replace the existing ramp meter to accommodate the additional lane;
  • Provide new illumination;
  • Accommodate stormwater from the new impervious area in roadside swales; and
  • Provide any necessary related improvements to NE Killingsworth at the intersection with the southbound I 205 ramp.

Normally a land use issue in a nearby neighborhood is of limited interest. The problem in this case is that the land use proposal is in one neighborhood, while the entire proposed traffic mitigation solution is located in another neighborhood. In such a case, the city is not required to notify the second neighborhood.

The hearing on the land use proposal was on Tues, June 12. Yesterday (June 26) was the deadline to provide comments about the proposed rezone. On behalf of Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN), I filed comments about the onramp portion of the land use proposal (350K PDF). The comments cited six approval criteria as unsatisfied and requested other improvements for traffic mitigation closer to the proposal Colwood industrial site instead of the onramp widening.

Comments needed to be tailored to address the specific approval criteria set out in the land use code. This particular proposal is complicated in that it is also seeking to amend the comprehensive plan map and the zoning map (which are similar but not exactly the same). So there is at least a second layer of approval criteria that must be met for the rezone to be approved.

What comes next

As a Type III Procedure, the Hearings Officer makes a decision fairly quickly at this point, probably within 7-14 days, unless the applicant requests that the comment period be extended. PBOT will probably get a chance to respond to our comments, but it’s not clear yet whether that will be before or after the Hearings Officer renders a decision. After the decision, there is a 14-day appeal period. If there are no appeals, it goes to City Council for testimony & final approval. (See the BDS’s handy timeline for Type III land use proposals.

One last thing: That $250K grant approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission has letters of support from Governor Kitzhaber’s staff, the directors of ODOT and PBOT, and a state agency called ‘Business Oregon’ for the onramp expansion. Those are some pretty big guns. Stay tuned.

Some thank yous

Just to understand where we are with this surprise project, SAN had help from a number of friends & people working for the city of Portland. Here are a few thank yous to them:

  • Alison, Sandra and Ronda at Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN)
  • Chris Warner in Commissioner Steve Novick’s office
  • Kurt Kreuger at  Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)
  • Sheila Frugoli at Portalnd Bureau of Development Services (BDS)

See a few more pictures of the southbound onramp below.

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Facing north from the Sandy Blvd overpass

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Facing northesterly from the Sandy Blvd overpass across the MAX station

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Facing west on Killingsworth at the entrance of the southbound ramp

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Facing south, showing the bend in the onramp after the traffic lights for the two existing metered lanes on the ramp. Kurt at PBOT said only the upper portion of the onramp would be widened, that Killingsworth itself would not be widened, and that no trees would be cut down. Unfortunately, those details are not explicit in the current recommendation in the current Colwood rezone proposal

Southbound I-205 onramp at NE Killingsworth Street in NE Portland

Caption: Facing northeasterly from the ‘SAN Lot’ at NE 92nd, property owned by ODOT that SAN hopes to rezone into a neighborhood park via the Comprehensive Plan Update process this year and next

24. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: cnn, crime, fun, health, litter, planning, safety, san, transportation

Like it or not, good stuff doesn’t just happen on its own. Part of community means recognizing – and acting on — an opportunity to improve things when they arise. This is one of those opportunities.

Join your neighbors, business owners, community groups, public agency staff and elected officials in roundtable discussions about 82nd Avenue!

When: Saturday, May 4, 10 AM to 1 PM.

Cost: The roundtable event is free and open to everyone. To RSVP, click here.

1932: NE 82nd, looking north from NE Halsey

Caption: 1932: NE 82nd, looking north from NE Halsey. Photo courtesy of PBOT and Cliff Bolling.

Where: Madison High School, 2735 NE 82nd Ave. (Parking nearby at Glenhaven Park at NE 82nd & Siskiyou)
Details: Connect with others at the table on community safety, transportation options, streetscape design, business development, arts, culture, recreation, family wellness and 82nd Ave community happenings. Local snacks provided!

The roundtable is co-sponsored by two neighborhood coalition nonprofits: Southeast Uplift and our own Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN). For more info, call Sandra at Central Northeast Neighbors at (503) 823-2780.