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Portland enters new phase of Franklin Arterial planning

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Portland enters new phase of Franklin Arterial planning

PORTLAND
— Adding green space around the gardens at Boyd Street, installing pedestrian and cyclist lanes and limiting traffic growth are a few of the elements the public would like to see in a rebuilt Franklin Arterial.

The Franklin Arterial Study Committee this month wrapped up the concept design phase of its ongoing planning for the future of the roadway. 

Committee Chairman Markos Miller said the committee will review feedback collected from the public at an Sept. 2 meeting, where three conceptual drawings of a redesigned arterial were shown.

Those options included an "Urban Street" design, an "Urban Parkway" design and a "Multi-Way Boulevard" design.

The Urban Street design eliminates the grassy median on Franklin, compressing travel lanes. It includes designated bike lanes, sidewalks and parallel parking. The Urban Street concept would allow three- to four-story buildings along either side of the street. The design also reconnects Oxford, Federal and Newbury streets for cross traffic.

The Urban Parkway emphasizes green space. It would enlarge Franklin Park, add a greenway for pedestrians and cyclists, and development along the west side of the street. The parkway design also reconnects Oxford Street and Federal Street. 

The Multi-use Boulevard design is the widest, and includes five- to six-story buildings on both sides. The design includes access roads from Fox Street to Congress Street for local traffic and pedestrians and cyclists. Travel lanes are separated in the middle by grassy medians. Oxford Street would be reconnected for vehicles.

Miller said the final design will probably be a hybrid of the three concept designs. He said in addition to support for green space near Boyd Street, there was a lot of support at the public meeting for reconnection of Oxford and Federal streets to traffic.

"Those roads play a historic roll in the grid of the city," he said.

The committee will take a break after wrapping up its design phase, and Miller believes that when the feasibility phase begins in late winter or early spring, there will be some new members on the committee.

The next step for the committee will be to look at the economic and engineering feasibility of redesigning Franklin Arterial. The committee was awarded $100,000 by the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, or PACTS, for the feasibility phase.

That phase is expected to take up to 18 months.

The Franklin Arterial Study Committee was created by the City Council  in September 2008 in response to a group of citizens who banded together following the release of the Portland Peninsula Traffic Study in 2007. That study suggested the arterial be widened to as many as eight lanes. Residents argued the street divided the East End of the city from the rest of the peninsula, and is unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net