The Southwest Corridor Plan’s Shared Investment Strategy is a plan for transportation, land use and natural area investments in the Southwest Corridor, from Portland to Sherwood. Mutually adopted by the Southwest Corridor cities, Washington County, ODOT, TriMet and Metro, the strategy links local priority projects and recognizes the need for a coordinated approach to funding and building them. The strategy includes 81 local transportation projects to improve biking, walking and driving in the Corridor.
Some projects in the strategy are already being built by local communities, ODOT and TriMet. Here are some notable recent examples.
Tualatin fills a gap in its premier greenway
The Tualatin River Greenway hugs one of the region’s most significant and beautiful waterways along the western and eastern parts of the growing community of Tualatin. But in the middle, a crucial .77-mile gap has stymied the full potential of the trail to be a connector and a resource for all the city's 26,000 residents.
Now, that gap will finally be filled, opening new transportation opportunities to residents, employees and visitors to Tualatin. The $3 million project is funded by a $1.5 million grant from lottery dollars via the state's ConnectOregon V program, $750,000 from Washington County's major streets improvement program, $352,000 from the city of Tualatin and a unique $600,000 cash donation from a commercial developer whose properties the trail will pass.
The construction, which is going to bid for contractors, could be completed by the winter of 2015-2016, though a short section might be delayed as it awaits the redevelopment of a former RV park into an apartment complex.
"This is one of those rare times [when] there's support everywhere you turn," said Tualatin community services director Paul Hennon. Indeed, the city's proposal for state lottery dollars included letters of support from local elected officials, business associations, environmentalists, apartment owners, and park advocates.
The $600,000 cash donation to build the gap came from CenterCal Properties, a commercial developer who owns several properties in the area, including Bridgeport Village.
CenterCal president Fred Bruning said his company developed its shopping centers in the area with the express purpose of protecting recreational opportunities along the Tualatin River, which flows directly behind their Nyberg Rivers and Nyberg Woods shopping center.
Bruning praised local and regional leadership for making the trail happen. "Connectivity and being able to enjoy nature on a multigenerational scale is something many communities don't think about," he said. The new trail section will provide access to a surprisingly peaceful section of the river, given its proximity to major shopping centers and residential developments, Bruning said. "You won't even see our buildings," he said.
The greenway, which will be 4.5 miles long once the gap is filled, will connect several apartment complexes and neighborhoods east of I-5 with shopping and employment centers to the west. Via the Ki-a-Kuts Bridge across the Tualatin River – one of the busiest trail bridges in the region – the greenway will also provide connections to the Fanno Creek Trail, which thanks to a recent grant from Metro's Regional Flexible Funds program will soon connect to Tigard, and the Ice Age Tonquin Trail, which will eventually link to Sherwood and Wilsonville. A recent $30,000 grant from Metro's Nature in Neighborhoods program will help install signage to guide trail users.
Learn more about the Tualatin River Greenway gap completion project
New sidewalks and a safer Highway 99W in Tigard
The Tigard Triangle -- framed by I-5, Highway 217 and Highway 99W -- has become an important commercial district for the community, drawing shoppers and workers from throughout the region, as well as commuters who pass through it. But as the area has attracted new business activity, congestion has strained the capacity of local roads and made it more difficult to get around by any mode.
The city of Tigard working to fix these challenges as the area continues to grow.
Drivers making left turns off Highway 99W used to gather in a two-way middle turn lane before attempting a daring dart across two lanes of oncoming traffic. On SW 72nd Avenue, people walked on the shoulder of a road funneling far more cars than it was designed for, while a major intersection at SW Dartmouth Street was struggling to get thousands of cars daily through a four-way stop.
Thanks to recent improvements in the city, that outdated four-way stop has been replaced with a smooth traffic signal. To the south on 72nd Avenue, what had been a two-lane, almost rural-feeling road now has plenty of room to handle traffic safely – and new sidewalks, bike lanes and street trees, too.
Meanwhile, Highway 99W in the Tigard Triangle has a new, tree-lined median for several of its busiest blocks. This makes the stretch safer and more predictable by limiting turning movements and enhancing driver expectation at key intersections, said Tigard planner Mark Bernard. Sidewalks have also been widened and pedestrian crossings made more prominent.
Although roads in the area were already scheduled for improvements, the recent expansion of a Wal-Mart helped provide a catalyst to upgrade streets, Bernard said. Wal-Mart contributed several million dollars mitigate traffic impacts from the expansion in the area. Tigard, in turn, widened 72nd Avenue.
Bernard said the projects are an example of Tigard working to make its transportation system safer and more complete for everyone, supporting a healthy, connected city.
High capacity transit from the Southwest Corridor Plan could eventually connect the Triangle to the rest of the region via an alignment along its eastern edge. But like other communities in the area, the city isn't waiting until those decisions and investments are made to cure transportation challenges. "We're getting stuff done where we can in the near term and we're making sure what is done aligns with future projects," Bernard said.
The fixes also reflect two important pieces of local policy: Tigard's new strategic plan, which advances a vision to become the "most walkable city in the Pacific Northwest," and a nearly complete Tigard Triangle Strategic Redevelopment Plan, which the Tigard City Council will consider adopting this summer.
Through these and other policy initiatives Tigard is advancing its vision of being a walkable community where access to complete streets and transit options provide opportunities to connect lives, Bernard said.