Foster Planning Ends: ‘Street Diet’ likely on SE Foster Road

Local stakeholders hope Portland City Council will pass this plan, calling for reduced speed limits, single travel lanes, and more amenities along this urban highway …

The 2003 Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee gathers for the last time, at SE Works on Foster Road.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
After three open houses, and then two “last and final” meetings held since 2012, what started as the 2003 Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan will finally be presented for approval to the Portland City Council in May.

> See our coverage of the “last, and really final” open house held on December 5, 2013 – complete with recommended changes: CLICK HERE.

On April 16, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee held its last meeting in the SE Works classroom.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Senior Transportation Planner Mauricio Leclerc checks graphics, prepared for the meeting, on his computer.

“This is the last time that this committee, made up of people from the neighborhoods and businesses in the area, will meet,” said Portland Bureau of Transportation Senior Transportation Planner Mauricio Leclerc as members drifted in for the meeting.

The Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan provides direction about how the City of Portland should invest $3.25 million in this major arterial street, from SE 50th Avenue out to SE 90th Avenue.

“We have drafted the plan, with recommendations of this committee,” Leclerc told East Portland News. “And, this committee has endorsed the recommendations. We’re going to go over these plans to make sure that we have captured what the committee wanted.”

Checking over the final presentation, members of the 2003 Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee study the documentation.

Asked if vehicle drivers who frequent this thoroughfare can look forward to a “road diet” – squeezing traffic from two travel lanes down to one in each direction – Leclerc replied, “That’s up to the City Council to decide.”

The recommendation does include a reduction of the number of travel lanes from four to two, Leclerc acknowledged, with a center left-turn lane added, from SE 54th Avenue to about SE 90th Avenue.

Mauricio Leclerc says the planned reduction of traffic lanes on SE Foster Road comes at the request of stakeholders.

Drivers eastbound from SE Powell Boulevard will find “transition lanes” starting at SE 52nd Avenue. “The number of traffic lanes will increase as SE Foster Road approaches SE 82nd Avenue, to accommodate the traffic at the intersection,” Leclerc explained.

If the plan is adopted, SE Foster Road will get bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks, “pedestrian scale” ornamental street lighting at some locations, and added crosswalks marked off with “rapid-flash” beacons. “We’re working with TriMet for more amenities and more shelters,” said Leclerc.

Nancy Chapin of TSG Services reviews the plan, and calls for the Portland City Council to finally adopt – and fund – the Foster Road improvements.

Nancy Chapin of TSG Services, with her business located on SE Foster road for eight years, said she had mixed feelings – she is glad the plan was completed, but is frustrated with City leadership.

“We have been waiting for this since 2003, when this plan was first approved,” Chapin said. “For the Portland City Council to pretend like it is not time for them to spend the money that has been allocated for this project – to at least start the project – is upsetting to so many of us.”

The challenges along Foster Road have been increasing, Chapin opined. “Traffic is getting worse, the speed limit has not been reduced, and we have been asking for that for years.

“The little things that the City has done are nice,” conceded Chapin. “But, the Portland City Council needs to approve this plan and start spending the money that has been allocated for it – and begin looking for additional funding to complete the project.”

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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