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  #41  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2009, 2:48 AM
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(wrong thread, sorry)
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  #42  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2009, 8:27 AM
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Originally Posted by tworivers View Post
There's a blurb in the current SE Examiner about the B/C couplet being "stalled" due to "unanticipated issues" with the sewer work -- and that they hope to "do everything in one one construction season" next Spring.
They're going to do the ENTIRE couplet next spring?



For some reason, I doubt it. Don't they have to completely rebuild the 12th/Sandy/Burnside intersection as part of the project? I don't see that being done in a single season unless they literally shut down the intersection for a few weeks.
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  #43  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2009, 7:27 PM
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They're going to do the ENTIRE couplet next spring?



For some reason, I doubt it. Don't they have to completely rebuild the 12th/Sandy/Burnside intersection as part of the project? I don't see that being done in a single season unless they literally shut down the intersection for a few weeks.
This is completely doable. They totally rebuilt 3 block sections of 5th and 6th for MAX, buses and autos in 3 week increments. Couch and Burnside is no more difficult than that was. It just takes coordination and yes, probably some f***ed up traffic for a few months.
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  #44  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2010, 4:50 AM
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http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/...06753612823300

East side gets its couplet, but what about the west?

East Burnside/Couch project revives the westside debate

By Jennifer Anderson
The Portland Tribune, Apr 1, 2010


L.E. BASKOW / TRIBUNE PHOTO

By the end of the month, East Burnside and Couch will be one-way streets with new bike lanes, crosswalks, parking and other amenities. Until then, detours and road closures abound. For up-to-date information, check www.keepportlandmoving.org.


Eric Martin is grateful for the changes to come outside his shop on East Burnside Street – he just hopes they come quickly.

For next three weeks, lower East Burnside and surrounding streets are a traffic logjam, as construction crews complete the $18 million Burnside-Couch project that has been at least a decade in planning.

“A lot of businesses feel if we can all make it through this construction, and it will probably take six to eight months, the neighborhood will survive and be better for it,” says Martin, owner of Grendel’s Coffee House, which opened seven years ago and is one of the oldest businesses in the area.
The project will bring massive change to Burnside between Third and 14th avenues. That district has developed in recent years into a funky row of boutiques, restaurants, salons and studios – businesses that have struggled to stay afloat amid minimal foot traffic, limited parking and an uninviting streetscape.

By the week of April 18, East Burnside and Couch will turn into a couplet of one-way streets, going east and west, respectively.

Both streets will slow to 25 mph, and be regulated by traffic signals and crosswalks at every corner. The addition of bike lanes and parallel parking spots will meet commuters’ and shoppers’ needs.

A new intersection at East Burnside, 12th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard – what’s been called the most dangerous and confusing intersection in the city – will complete the transformation.

Overall, the project will make East Burnside a friendlier, more accessible street and help spur development, the city hopes.

But while excitement builds over the East Burnside/Couch couplet, this activity also isn’t going unnoticed just across the Willamette River. The whole idea of a couplet actually started on the west side of the river, and proponents of that idea are trying to revitalize their efforts in light of the eastside progress.

“It was unexpected that we’d wind up with it on the east side when the east side was an addition to the west side,” says Powell’s Books owner Michael Powell, president of Friends of Burnside Couch, the group that began pushing for changes on West Burnside and Couch a decade ago.
“Because of funding and the easy public process, (the east side) moved ahead,” Powell said. “That’s great. I take comfort in the fact that what we can do on the east side, we can do on the west side.”

Powell and Vic Rhodes, executive director of the Friends group, say they haven’t dropped their dreams for a westside plan at all – in fact they hope to bring a scaled-down proposal to City Hall this summer.

West side’s story


Initially, the proposal for the westside couplet came to $80 million, since it stretched from the bridge to Northwest 24th Avenue and included infrastructure for the streetcar project that will come at some point in the future.

The high price tag – as well as opposition by a vocal group – stalled the westside project, despite the City Council’s endorsement of the plan in 2002.

Now, Powell and Rhodes say they’re actively working on getting the funding streams together for an $18 million couplet proposal that would extend only to 15th Avenue, rather than all the way to upper Burnside.

It would turn Burnside and Couch into a one-way couplet, add 170 parking spots along Burnside and put bike lanes on the lower part of Burnside near the bridge. It also would install traffic signals and crosswalks on every corner on Burnside and Couch, allowing motorists on Burnside to make left turns.

Finally, painted curb extensions would narrow the crossing distance for pedestrians on lower Burnside.

But the westside project faces two major obstacles, just as in previous years: getting the funding lined up, and gathering enough political will to overcome the opposition.

Powell says he is working to line up the local improvement district now, which will be one piece of the funding package. An improvement district requires that 51 percent or more of the property owners within an area sign a petition to share in the cost of a transportation improvement such as a sidewalk or street.

Another revenue stream for the westside project would come from $4 million in bonding from metered parking. The rest would include a mix of money from the Portland Development Commission, the city and other sources.
The eastside couplet, meanwhile, was funded with $4.6 million in city transportation system development charges, $5.4 million in Portland Development Commission tax increment financing, a $250,000 Oregon Department of Transportation grant and $7.6 million in federal transportation funds.

Stan Penkin, chairman of the homeowners’ association at the Henry condo building at East Burnside and 11th Avenue, says he’s opposed to the westside couplet project because it doesn’t seem to be in the scope of the city’s larger planning efforts.

He and other critics believe changing Couch into a one-way street will add up to three times as much traffic and potentially speed up traffic rather than slow it down, disrupting its pedestrian-friendly character.

Says Liz Scott, a resident of the Henry: “People come from all over the world to look at the success of the Brewery Blocks. Why take something that works so well and destroy its character?”

Rather than turning Couch into part of a couplet, both are in favor of other, more inexpensive fixes to Burnside that would improve its safety and livability.

Mark Edlen, managing principal of Gerding Edlen Development, is split on the issue. He believes the traffic on Couch would negatively affect his company’s properties on the Brewery Blocks, so he’ll oppose the project on their behalf as he did a few years ago.

But he says one of his condo buildings, Indigo, south of Burnside at 12th Avenue and Washington Street, would benefit from the project, so he’s signed the local improvement district petition on their behalf.

Supporters such as Rhodes say the westside changes will simply extend the downtown grid of one-way streets and stoplights north, ending the chaos caused by four-way stop signs at the busy intersection near Whole Foods and Powell’s.

“Eleventh and Couch is the center of the universe for mayhem, if you will – pedestrians, autos, streetcar,” Rhodes says. “By making the system part of the grid, you eliminate half the pedestrian conflicts.”

Powell adds that five of the 10 most dangerous intersections in the city are between the Burnside Bridge and the Park Blocks, so more safe walking and biking amenities stand to benefit everyone.

Besides the political will for and against the couplet, the deciding factor will likely be the financing.

Catherine Ciarlo, transportation director for Mayor Sam Adams, says the mayor will look closely at any proposal, but, “we’re in the middle of an economic recession and we do not have the money,” she said. “We’ll look at the cost and benefits of the project in relation to everything else that (the bureau of) transportation is trying to fund.”

jenniferanderson@portlandtribune.com
Copyright 2010 Pamplin Media Group, 6605 S.E. Lake Road, Portland, OR 97222 • 503-226-6397
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  #45  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2010, 9:15 AM
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Originally Posted by JordanL View Post
They're going to do the ENTIRE couplet next spring?



For some reason, I doubt it. Don't they have to completely rebuild the 12th/Sandy/Burnside intersection as part of the project? I don't see that being done in a single season unless they literally shut down the intersection for a few weeks.
Wait..... are they finishing this in one season? And with 2 months left before spring ends???
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  #46  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2010, 2:11 PM
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Powell adds that five of the 10 most dangerous intersections in the city are between the Burnside Bridge and the Park Blocks
I'd like to see some evidence of that. I support a couplet in the Powell's area, but I was walking along lower West Burnside the other day and thought that it would be a waste to make Burnside one-way between the Park Blocks and the bridge. That part of Burnside already has a tree-lined median and on-street parking.

Edit to add: It's certainly dangerous bewteen Broadway and 10th, because there isn't a single traffic signal in that stretch (only the pedestrian activated flashing lights). I wonder if the city has considered installing traffic signals at Park/Burnside and 9th/Burnside.
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  #47  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2010, 5:12 AM
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Originally Posted by 65MAX View Post
Wait..... are they finishing this in one season? And with 2 months left before spring ends???
It definitely appears that the city is planning on having this project completely done 2 months from now. This seems unfathomable to me...
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  #48  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2010, 8:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bvpcvm View Post
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/...06753612823300

East side gets its couplet, but what about the west?

East Burnside/Couch project revives the westside debate

By Jennifer Anderson
The Portland Tribune, Apr 1, 2010


L.E. BASKOW / TRIBUNE PHOTO

........By the week of April 18, East Burnside and Couch will turn into a couplet of one-way streets, going east and west, respectively........

jenniferanderson@portlandtribune.com
Copyright 2010 Pamplin Media Group, 6605 S.E. Lake Road, Portland, OR 97222 • 503-226-6397
April 18th is in two weeks, not two months.
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  #49  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2010, 1:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 65MAX View Post
April 18th is in two weeks, not two months.


They are going to have the 12th/Burnside/Sandy intersection redeveloped by April 18th?

I'll believe it when I see it.
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  #50  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2010, 2:17 AM
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^they've actually got the intersection blocked off now. It's not going to be "redeveloped" for years, but it's gone now.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2010, 9:00 PM
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Battle over Burnside | Businesses Split on a $20 Million Plan to Fix Burnside

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portl...nt?oid=2658748



HELP FOR BURNSIDE has been a long time coming. Our city's downtown artery squeezes up to six lanes of traffic between skinny sidewalks, infuriating both tourists and drivers. But downtown business owners are strongly divided over a $17-20 million plan that aims to fix Burnside.

Backers of the proposed West Burnside/Couch Couplet are gathering support for the controversial plan that has taken a decade to design. But critics are also gaining steam with their concerns that the project will tear the heart out of Portland's downtown.

"We're talking about the Portland Plan and 20-minute neighborhoods and this project is contrary to all those," says Stan Penkin, a member of the Better Burnside Alliance, a business group that formed in June to protest the couplet. "There are many things that can be done to tame Burnside, but this is a bad idea."

The basic plan to cut traffic on Burnside is simple: turn Burnside and Couch into a "couplet," parallel streets that run one-way in opposite directions. The original plan would also have doubled the width of Burnside's sidewalks, built new intersections that would allow drivers to turn more freely off Burnside, and built a streetcar line down Couch. The trade off for a better Burnside is thousands of more cars daily on Couch, a walkable street whose upper section is lined with cute boutiques, bars, and Whole Foods.

The Westside couplet proved so controversial that city planners dropped it in 2007, opting to focus first on developing the less-testy Eastside Burnside/Couch Couplet. Since the Eastside couplet opened this spring, eyes are now focused again on the plan for Portland's commercial core.

The original couplet plan aimed to reshape Burnside and Couch all the way from 1st Avenue to NW 25th to the tune of $54 million. With recession-era budgets, the city drew up a scaled-back $20 million version last winter, scrapping the streetcar from the first phase, limiting the couplet to only 2nd through 16th Avenues, and not widening Burnside's sidewalks at all.

Three million dollars of the budget will need to come from a special Local Improvement District tax on businesses along the corridor, but couplet fans have to get 51 percent of the businesses in the zone to sign on to the plan before it can move forward.

Powell's Books owner Michael Powell has spearheaded the effort to collect business signatures over recent months and says they have nearly 50 percent of neighborhood businesses on board.

"I think it would be unfortunate if we lose this opportunity. It's a street that's not working to anyone's satisfaction," says Powell. He thinks the increased traffic on Couch will bring essential "eyes on the street" to Old Town. "It's been a sad area for a long time, there's been a lot of drug dealing," says Powell.

But the anti-couplet business group Better Burnside Alliance has picked up strong support, too, in only a month of organizing.

"I think it's a really bad idea without a streetcar. It would put a tremendous amount of cars in one of the greatest places to walk and shop in the city," says Candace Parmer, Alliance member and owner of Fine Art Massage on NW 12th.

Transportation expert and current planning commissioner Chris Smith was a big fan of the original couplet, but thinks the project could damage the area since it axed the sidewalks and pedestrian plaza promised in the $54 million plan.

"We got parking instead of a plaza," Smith says.

No city council hearing is currently set for the Westside couplet, and the mayor's office seems to be weighing its options before pushing the high-stakes plan further.

"It's not on the backburner," says mayoral spokesperson Roy Kaufmann. "It's just still in progress."
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  #52  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2010, 10:44 PM
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No streetcar, no widened sidewalks, no pedestrian plaza? Increased traffic on Couch? I hate to say it but... is doing this project half-assedly worse than not doing it at all? It's starting to sound like the answer is yes.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 12:08 AM
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yeah my thoughts exactly, I certainly don't support them doing this without those things. I would rather they wait until more money could be raised before starting this project.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 8:36 AM
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^^^ Totally agree.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 11:53 PM
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i thought the whole point was to increase pedestrian access to the area and bring in the streetcar. now it seems like a phenomenal waste of resources to just half-ass it. so instead of two improved streets, we'll have two sh*tty ones.
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  #56  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2010, 2:05 AM
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mcbaby: That's precisely my fear here. I wonder why Michael Powell is so strongly behind it in its current form.
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  #57  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 6:45 PM
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"I think it would be unfortunate if we lose this opportunity. It's a street that's not working to anyone's satisfaction," says Powell. He thinks the increased traffic on Couch will bring essential "eyes on the street" to Old Town. "It's been a sad area for a long time, there's been a lot of drug dealing," says Powell.
I am not sure how packing Couch with Burnside's rush hour traffic is going to fix drug dealing? Wouldnt it be better for the city to just take this 20 million and add it to the building that will house Uwajimaya? I would think a grocery store like that in Old Town would put more eyes on the street that rush hour traffic would?

I seriously hope the westside portion never happens because it is by far one of the stupidest things I have ever heard that will do more harm than good. If they think the homelessness and drug dealing is an issue now, give them more room to roam around with on Burnside with wider sidewalks (or unused street lanes if they aren't widening the sidewalks?) will not solve any real problems.

Besides, the complaint that I hear about Burnside is very hollow. It is a barrier in downtown? Yet the Pearl District is doing fine with this barrier, and it is one of the only streets in the entire downtown that you actually have to wait for your turn to walk....seriously, this is a non-issue problem the city is currently wasting money on.

The eastside was a worth spending money on and I could see the eastside Burnside area really becoming its own urban center in the future now that it has realigned.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2011, 6:11 AM
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Portland Mayor Sam Adams announces change of course on controversial West Burnside redesign

Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 7:19 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 9:15 PM
By Beth Slovic, The Oregonian

Mayor Sam Adams made an about-face Wednesday, announcing he had abandoned plans to turn West Burnside and Northwest Couch Street into a pair of one-way streets with a new streetcar line.

Instead, citing the high cost of the $80 million price tag on the original plan, Adams this week introduced three different proposals for addressing safety and traffic flow along the busy thoroughfares.

"It was a good proposal," Adams said of his controversial 2007 push to make the two westside streets complementary routes. "The money hasn't materialized."

...follow link for more

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i...s_annou_1.html
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  #59  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2011, 3:22 AM
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The 3-lane Burnside proposal looks better to me than the couplet concept anyways... I am curious how the traffic counts westbound could possibly support this.

One thing that caught my eye was Adams' quote about realizing the "need" to focus on eastside streetcar expansion first. Though I appreciate that, being an eastsider, it seems odd. Burnside would make an excellent e/w streetcar route.
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  #60  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2011, 6:32 AM
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Burnside/Couch Couplet crash rekindles concerns

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"The manager of a fitness store in NE Portland is upset after a vehicle slammed into his building for the third time in less than a year. The most recent came early Wednesday morning."
Yikes.
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