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Matt Atkins

I think this sort of thing would be great and it would fit perfectly with the Portland's pedestrian oriented mode of transportation. But I still wonder if it would work even on roads such as MLK.

One idea I like is to flip the parking lane and bike lane so that bikers have a larger buffer between moving traffic.

offical comment

Interesting concept but I'm skeptical that it would actually improve the pedestrian experience. It seems to me like it would create more of a barrier to pedestrian street crossing and in perceiving the urban environment as a continuous experience (opposed to just a linear boulevard experience) Portland needs depth damn it!


As we increase density and offer alternatives the problem should be solved by limited auto lanes. At some point a choice has to be made. Will the pedestrian environment be more important or the Auto. Right now every major city in America the Auto is.


This is the classic boulevard design, seen on everything from the Champs Elysees, to smaller streets such as the Avenue Montaigne, also in Paris. The trouble is, none of the Portland streets mentioned have enough right-of-way to accomplish this. The only way to do this is either condemn buildings on a massive scale(as was done on Powell from 50th to 82nd), or obtain the extra right-of-way piecemeal, one development at a time. Martin Luther King doesn't even have room for four lanes, parking and a center median of any substance.

It's still a good idea for Powell and 82nd, but will take a long time to develop.


This should be the final goal for Powell out to 50th and then on Foster all the way out to the Damascus Region. East of I205, the state, the city, and the counties need to set aside the land. Foster and Powell are going to need major help in 5 to 10 years with Pleasant Valley and Damascus/Boring seeing all the Metro focus for development.

At one point down the road the medians set aside for traffic speed separation could be wide enough for the light rail or streetcar that higher density in southeast Portland could support. Ever since the Mt Hood Freeway funds went to other parts of Portland, we have underfunded SE Portland transportation.

If we plan this out correctly, a high density corridor at Powell/Foster could be an example for other east side main arterials (82nd, Halsey, Division, etc.).

Ray W.


Thank you Ray for saying what needs to be said, that SE Portland has been left behind on transportation projects ever since the Mt. Hood Freeway project was killed. It seems strictly taboo in this city to even admit this. A new eyesore was stopped, but Powell, Foster, and Mcloughlin have become increasingly congested and comerically blighted ever since.

We need to set higher standards on how these streets both look and perform. This includes features that help move all modes of transportation more safely. This means buying up land at the most congested of bottleknecks and doing some widening. The city will be better off with the displacement of the fast food joints, used car lots, and check cashing dealers that will take place.

Chris Smith

The Burnside/Couch plan contains something not unlike this for the north side of Burnside between 4th and Park. It's a sort of local access lane/parking opportunity that is convertable to pedestrian space for festivals, etc.

Unfortunately PDOT doesn't seem to have the plan up on the web site yet. I can provide a scan if Brian can get it up on this blog.


As noted, the descirbed design is the classic Parisian model, however few right of ways in Portland would accomodate this sort of design.
It seems that current thinking seeks to accomodate the various modes of movement and types of trips by dedicating to each its own lane.
I think that Portland needs to examine models more suited to our context for solutions to our traffic and street design challenges.
For example, Bologna,Italy (our newest SisterCity)offers a model for such narrow, busy streets as Burnside. Traffic moves in both directions and shares street space with trolleys and buses. Pedestrians walk along side in grand arcades that provide shelter and protection from the chaos of traffic. The arcades are great works of architecture incorporating elaborate decoration of paving, vaults, columns, arches and details such as signage, lighting and shop windows. Art Deco and "mussolini modern" designs also exist.
Portland has precedent for this solution in evidence on E. Burnside. While lacking the style of Bologna's arcades, E. Burnside's demonstrate the potential. Rather than condem the full block to widen a street, the City would only have to provide a design overlay that prescribes the arcade dimensions and general guidlines to assure continuity between properties.

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