[Posted Friday, March 11, 2022]
Portland Bureau of Transportation's Rose Lane Project will dedicate a bus only-lane in each direction on Capitol Hwy through Hillsdale. PBOT staffers will attend community organization meetings in the coming weeks to provide information on the planned traffic changes.
March 15 at 7pm, Southwest Community Services, Office of Community & Civic Life. Email Leah.Fisher@portlandoregon.gov for information on how to attend the meeting.
March 21 at 7pm, Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. Transportation Committee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to attend the meeting.
April 6 at 7pm, Hillsdale Neighborhood Association. Email email@example.com for information on how to attend the meeting.
April 20 at 8:30am, Hillsdale Business and Professional Association. Email HillsdalePDXhbpa@gmail.com for information on how to attend the meeting.
This project will replace outside general-purpose lanes with bus-and-turn lanes on SW Capitol Highway from Barbur Boulevard to Bertha Court and is intended to improve public transit times. Other vehicles will still be able to turn right at intersections, and reach driveways and
on-street and off-street parking. Construction is scheduled to begin in Summer 2022 and will cost $200,000.
Hillsdale transportation advocate Don Baack is critical of the need for a westbound bus-only lane, and is concerned that local side streets, narrow and lacking sidewalks, will see a dangerous increase in traffic as a result. (The move to a dedicated bus-only lane from the west will bring needed safety improvements at the intersection with Sunset Blvd, according to Baack.)
Baack has a number of questions he hopes to see PBOT answer, including providing the data showing the need for a transit-only lane in this spot. "PBOT is plowing ahead on this project during a time when the problem they are thinking about solving does not exist," he said in an email.
Furthermore, Baack wants PBOT to put off moving ahead until it provides more opportunities for public input. City-wide open houses were held in 2019 and 2021 (online). The upcoming meetings focussed on the Hillsdale project are billed by PBOT as "community briefings"; PBOT's website says that staff are refining designs and "seeking public input on streets that should be monitored after project implementation."
Says Baack, "It's inappropriate for PBOT to proceed without input from residents and business and community groups."
The list of questions, submitted to PBOT by the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association, includes requests for data on vehicle counts both before and during COVID, potential impacts on side streets and on emergency vehicle response time, among other items.
The list of questions ends with this admonition that the priority for Hillsdale, like much of SW Portland, should be developing the pedestrian improvements that have long been sought by the community:
"Now let’s talk about what the commercial and residential communities of Hillsdale need: safe sidewalks or pedestrian walking space between SW Cheltenham and Terwilliger. The need for this connection between the town center and major park, exercise, and recreational areas which SW Terwilliger and George Himes Park provide was highlighted in the long-ago approved (1999) Capitol Highway Plan and 1999 Hillsdale Town Center Plan. Portland has identified pedestrians as the most important part of our transportation system. Devoting resources to create this much needed pedestrian connection is the most effective safety improvement Portland can make to this congested corridor."
Bus-only lanes, sidewalks, traffic calming—what traffic safety improvements would you like to see in Hillsdale? Let us know.