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.

The summer 2013 newsletter (2 MB PDF) of Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) in NE Portland, Oregon, is now available online!

Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) newsletter for summer 2013 This issue was delivered over the last two weekends. Thanks to Patricia for yet another gorgeous design and layout.

Thanks also to our many neighborhood volunteers to deliver the newsletter to your very door handle: Marcy, Janet, Cyril, Henry, Karen, Katherine, Colin, Tish, Molly, Erica, Heather, Katana, Jay, Emily, Cindy, Ronda, Jacob and Joan (the newsletter delivery ringleader)!

Items in this issue include:

  • Annual National Night Out barbecue on Tuesday, Aug 6
  • Onramp widening proposal from Killingsworth southbound onto I-205
  • The city’s Comp Plan Update and our neighborhood’s status in the planning
  • Johnson Lake stewardship picks up a sponsor for Sept 28
  • Calendar of events through September, including litter patrols
  • Notes from spring SAN meetings
  • And much more!

But wait, there’s more! An insert (1 MB PDF) includes the following:

  • Flyer with details about the Aug 6 barbecue
  • Info about how to report odors to the city
10. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: land use, planning, transportation

Do either the future or 82nd Avenue interest you? If so, please join Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) in NE Portland for our will host two guest speakers on Tuesday evening, July 16. Sandra LeFrancois of Central Northeast Neighbors and Lew Scholl of Montavilla Neighborhood Association will discuss the 82nd Avenue Community Forum held at Madison High School two months ago, recap elements of the final report (500K PDF), and discuss the next steps of the project.

The final report distilled nearly 100 forum participant responses in six key areas: Arts and culture, business development, crime prevention, family wellness, streetscape design, and sustainable transportation.

82nd Avenue Forum: How it fits the bigger picture

The 82nd Avenue Community Forum was held in the context of the city Comprehensive Plan Update, which is in development through next summer (2014), and still very much open for community input. The latest Comp Plan Update report is the Growth Scenarios report projects growth in Portland along four possible patterns: Central city, civic corridors (including 82nd Ave and Sandy Blvd), neighborhood centers, and default (recent trends). Both the civic corridor and neighborhood center models for planning future growth could mean greater zoning density along civic corridors.

Portland Comp Plan Update map: Civic Corridors and Neighborhood Centers

Caption: Neighborhood centers and civic corridors shown on a Comp Plan Update corridors and centers map (large PDF). Note how Sumner neighborhood is hidebound by these important corridors. The dotted-line circles are neighborhood center areas identified for commercial & mixed use growth.

82nd Avenue Forum: How it fits with previous work

In addition, the recent 82nd Avenue Community Forum builds on a very nicely done and detailed report called “Imagine NE 82nd Avenue” completed in 2008 by Madison South and Roseway neighborhoods in cooperation with PSU graduate students. Among other things, that effort defined two core goals for NE 82nd Avenue, that it:

  • “connects surrounding neighborhoods and improves livability as a walkable, safe, green, attractive mixed-use destination that nearby residents are proud of”
  • “provides access to parks, open spaces, community gathering spots, healthful local food, and a variety of interesting local businesses”

The Imagine NE 82nd Avenue report is especially useful given the potential for greater density on NE 82nd (and Sandy) in the Comp Plan Update. In particular, it includes a visual reference of building styles for different zonings. These styles can make a big difference in terms of livability and visual appeal regardless of density.

And, of course, SAN completed our neighborhood plan this past February. With that plan in hand, a rep from SAN participated with other NE Portalnd neighborhood reps in a mapping conversation during early June. Our neighborhood plan will be recast in the context of the growth scenarios for the sake of providing neighborhood feedback to the city for the Comp Plan Update. That means stating a preference about whether and how growth should be managed along our civic corridors, and nearby neighborhood centers (possibly including around the Sumner/Parkrose MAX transit center).

The SAN meeting will take place at 7 PM on Tuesday evening, July 16, 2013. We meet at the usual location, the Central Northeast Neighbors conference room, 4415 NE 87th, just north off Sandy (map). Please join us for this important topic!