One by car. Two by bike. All 7-0.
The Metro Council approved one freeway project and two trail projects on Thursday, amending the region's short-term transportation plans to greenlight the three endeavors.
In Multnomah County, a project to widen Interstate 84 in the Gateway District got the go-ahead. Councilor Shirley Craddick, who represents the eastern part of the region, said she regularly gets caught in the bottleneck on I-84 near Interstate 205.
"We really focus on what we can do to help reduce congestion in the region, and we're looking at alternatives – we use mass transit and active transportation," she said. "This is a very short piece of expansion and it can really have an impact on helping reduce congestion.
"That is a major roadblock – literally – for I-84 all the way from I-5 to that interchange," she said.
Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette said the vote showed that the regional government isn't just focused on non-motorized transportation.
"I was at a meeting the other day where someone said 'Metro never approves anything that has anything to do with highways,' so I will happily support this project that actually has to do with highways," she said. "It's not the first, but here's my first opportunity to say so – I think it's a great project."
The council also voted unanimously to approve two other projects – a trail in Beaverton and another in Milwaukie.
The latter would be built across Kellogg Lake as part of the Milwaukie MAX line, with a lower deck of the bridge serving as a bicycle and pedestrian path connecting neighborhoods south of downtown Milwaukie to the city center.
The project received funding as part of a statewide opportunity fund, and Collette said the application was a longshot. Still, the longshot won.
"People in the southern part of Milwaukie – Island Station and other communities in the south – will be able to cut right from their neighborhood to downtown Milwaukie … without having to figure out how to safely cross McLoughlin Boulevard," Collette said.
The project in Beaverton allows for that city to start designing and buying land for a path on the north side of Denney Road, from King Boulevard to the Fanno Creek Trailhead, as well as for the Beaverton Creek Trail from Cedar Hills Boulevard to the Beaverton Transit Center, said Kathryn Harrington, the Metro councilor for that part of the region.
"It will definitely make this area much more people-friendly," she said. "The project serves high concentrations of traditionally under-represented populations, providing the opportunity to access jobs and services in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner."