PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s about to get easier for people to walk and bike in Southwest Portland. During a Thursday meeting, city council adopted the “Southwest in Motion” plan, which would add more sidewalks and bicycle lanes to the area.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation said only 25% of Southwest Portland streets have sidewalks, making walking stressful and unsafe. During the city council meeting, area residents testified about the need to improve sidewalks and bike lanes that are connected. Many cited fear of being hit by a car while walking in their neighborhood.
You can watch the City Council meeting here.
“I moved to Southwest Portland when I was five, moved away for college, and moved right back to where I grew up because I love it out here,” said Helene Wren.
Mothers like Helene Wren love all the shops, food and fun—especially in Multnomah Village, during the First Friday—but said there’s room for improvement.
“We need somewhere for our kids to be able to walk to school safely, and for me to be able to go out and not fight among cars to be able to walk in the neighborhood,” said Wren.
PBOT officials echoed this sentiment, stating that the City of Portland is growing, but the amount of road space isn’t. Using road space more efficiently is part of the “Southwest in Motion” plan.
“So that we can get more people moving, whether they’re moving in their cars or they’re moving with buses or they’re moving with bikes or they’re walking,” said John Brady of PBOT.
Southwest Portland bicyclists have already been benefiting from one of the bureau’s projects.
“We recently put in a bicycle lane on SW 45th,” said Brady.
The three City Commissioners present at the meeting all voted in favor. PBOT is hoping to see more bike lanes and sidewalks sooner rather than later. With the vote to adopt the plan, “Southwest in Motion” projects will be a priority when funding is available. While there is no hard timeline for the next project, PBOT said plans funded by the “Fix Our Streets” gas tax will start next year.