By Jill Riebesehl
Transportation issues dominated the October board meeting. We heard from a Union Pacific railroad representative; heard Tri-met’s latest solution to the traffic tie-ups at the west end of Division due to intersecting with the tracks; and entertained a Pearl District proposal to extend Tri-Met’s #10 bus line. We also chewed over the loss of 7-Dees Nursery on Powell to a large storage unit.
At HAND’s invitation, Aaron Hunt, UP spokesman, attended the October meeting. He fielded questions including concerns about diesel pollution, noise and types of cargo; but talked mainly about one of the neighborhood’s pressing concerns: finding a solution to traffic congestion at the western end of Division St. that results from crossing bars down at SE 11th and 12th Avenues.
UP suspects it can affect change in engine idling times during building of trains that trigger the crossing arms by converting from a manual switching system to an automated one. The railroad is seeking data and, with funding help for TriMet, expects the problem could be solved within 18 months to two years.
Brenda Martin of Tri-Met got down to specifics on a proposed solution to a particular traffic jam at Division and SE 11th. It involves creating a sheltered left turn lane in the west-bound lanes for a few blocks leading to SE 11th Avenue to allow buses and other vehicles to get around the cars waiting to turn south onto 11th when that street is blocked by idling freight cars.
In order to make room for the west-bound left turn lane, the left turn from east-bound Division onto 12th Avenue and Elliott St. would be disallowed. There will be an opportunity for comment during an open house TriMet has planned for November 8 at Carvlin Hall at St. Philip Neri at SE 16th and Division.
Reza Farhoodi of Pearl District Neighborhood Association told us they requested that Tri-Met extend the #10 bus line farther into NW Portland than it goes at present. It would provide service into a part of NW that is underserved and enhance service for residents, businesses and industry at both ends of the route. The request includes extending the hours of operation into weekend days and later in the evenings, benefiting the Pearl and Hosford-Abernethy neighborhoods. The HAND board supports the change.
While the 7-Dees Nursery site at SE 62nd Ave. and Powell Blvd. is not in the HAND neighborhood, a proposed six-story storage facility creates worries about the potential effect on neighborhood livability and safety. The HAND board will support a Richmond Neighborhood Association board letter regarding zoning and street level designs for such buildings with a similar letter.
The HAND board meetings are on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 pm, with a Land-use Committee meeting at 6:30 when there are LU issues. Executive Committee meetings are on the 4th Tuesday at 7 pm. Our next meeting is November 22. There is no December meeting. We meet at Carvlin Hall on the St. Philip Neri Campus. The public is welcome to attend and encouraged to participate in discussions.