Better Center Project
Making Center street safer and more appealing to the residents who use it to walk and roll – more green space and trees, painted intersections and segments, and measures to limit the use of higher speed through-traffic.
The Issue – Equity, Climate, and Safety
Though Center Street is a designated Greenway and Safe Route to School, the corridor lacks features like street trees, bulb outs or partial traffic diverters to ensure a safe environment for the most vulnerable users such as kids and the elderly. The Foster-Powell Neighborhood ranks high on the Portland Bureau of Transportation Equity matrix with a score of 8 (out of 10), meaning that many of the neighborhood residents are lower income than the city average, making them more likely to not own a vehicle and use alternative modes of transportation. This neighborhood, like many of Portland’s other low income neighborhoods, also lacks the kind of tree canopy found in wealthier neighborhoods. This exacerbates the effects of rising summer temperatures. Not only does the neighborhood have less canopy cover but the neighborhood actually lost canopy coverage between 2014 and 2020.
The Idea – Expand Permit Program
Foster-Powell residents care about Center Street. We want to make it safer and healthier. We’ve organized into an official subcommittee of the neighborhood association, and are building a plan to make Center Street better. Residents appreciate the city’s limited resources, and want to organize and fund these improvements from the ground up, using available and potentially new tools from the city’s toolbox, likely needing nothing more than a permit from the city. Our goals include making street space safer and more appealing to the residents who use it to walk and roll – more green space and trees, painted intersections and segments, and measures to limit the use of higher speed through-traffic such as the planters pictured below. By permitting neighborhood-led safety improvements, the city will get closer to achieving its equity, climate and traffic safety goals while empowering the people who live in this neighborhood to be a part of the solution.
If you’d like to be involved or to find out more, sign up for the Foster Powell Neighborhood Association (FPNA) monthly newsletter to receive regular updates about the project, attend an FPNA meeting on second Mondays, or email our transportation chair.