City planners are currently discussing a new idea they call the Barbur Concept Plan. The Barbur Concept Plan will create a long-term vision for the six-mile Barbur Boulevard corridor, from Portland’s Central City to the Tigard city limit. The plan began in 2011, when a community working group explored alternative land use concepts for the corridor through an 18-month public process. The concept plan will recommend key future transportation investments, stormwater solutions, and changes to City policy and zoning. In addition, the public process will inform regional decisions for future High Capacity Transit in the southwest corridor, according to The City of Portland.
Planners presented their idea to the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission during a public hearing last Tuesday. The commission recommends the Portland City Council adopt the plan by resolution as non-binding city policy. Its decision will probably come out early April.
“High capacity transit is the catalyst for change along Barbur,” said city planner Morgan Tracy.
It is needed to stimulate private investment. If the Southwest Corridor Plan is approved, construction on a high-capacity transit project would begin in 2017 at the earliest. The Barbur Concept Plan divides the boulevard into four segments focusing on seven areas that have place-making potential and might also serve as future rapid transit stops. They plan to make the strip mall that is Barbur Boulevard into a collection of shopping centers.
They might even build a bridge in Lair Hill over I-405 to connect to Portland State University and downtown. The area could also see a reconfiguration of the Ross Island Bridge ramps and the development of the land around them for retail or a park.
“Establishing safe and comfortable conditions for walkers and bikers all along the boulevard is crucial to transforming Barbur into a destination, according to the plan’s draft recommendations” and OregonLive.
The fourth or Far Southwest Segment on Barbur runs between the Crossroads and the city limits. Also known as the West Portland Town Center, this area will require a major reconfiguration of its freeway ramps, intersections and roadways. Tracy mentioned that the current Barbur Transit Center might have potential as a future retail and entertainment center in this segment.
After added input from several Southwest Neighborhoods Inc. board members, the concept plan now calls for an additional West Portland town center planning effort. Fitzgerald urged commissioners to fund infrastructure improvements and traffic calming measures along the boulevard now. As for now, we’ll just have to wait and watch the changes take place in the next few years or so.