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“The marching order today is go find money,” Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba told city staff as the City Council last week unanimously passed a resolution to adopt a concept plan for the Monroe Street Neighborhood Greenway.


The project would cost about $8 million in 2015 dollars, but no funds have been secured. Adopted plans intend to strengthen Monroe Street’s “neighborhood” character, from Southeast 21st Avenue in downtown Milwaukie to Linwood Avenue at the city’s eastern boundary, by reducing the speed and volume of cut-through traffic and increasing feelings of safety and comfort for all road users.

Partial vehicle diverters at Highway 224 and Linwood Avenue are proposed as part of the concept design to achieve preferred “neighborhood greenway” speeds and volumes on Monroe Street. Throughout the design, the double-yellow centerline would be replaced with bicycle pavement markings to encourage bikers to ride near the middle of the street, away from the “door zone” of parked cars.

In the central portion of the plan, a new bike route is proposed along Washington Street between Southeast 37th and Home avenues. To reach Washington, a new multi-use path would parallel the railroad tracks between Oak Street and 37th Avenue.

In approving the resolution Dec. 1, councilors also called for a public work session next year to develop a comprehensive list of additional information and data needed to better understand potential impacts of proposed traffic diverters.

Although the designs near Highway 224 will require grant funding and coordination with ODOT on testing, some changes can be more immediate. Councilor Karin Power pointed out that the city discovered fences that had encroached onto Monroe Street’s city-owned sidewalk space in the process of figuring out the best way to build crosstown east-west walking and biking routes.

“There’s no way that we’re going to compensate people for not doing the right thing,” Power said. “The reason why that street feels so unsafe for use on the side is — between parked cars and fences that run pretty much right up to the street — there’s no room. We’ve got to provide that room for people to get through and walk. That doesn’t require any testing. That’s one of those full-steam-ahead options.”

In response to neighbors’ concerns, Milwaukie officials have acknowledged that tradeoffs will be necessary to change the nature of Monroe Street from a street serving cut-through auto traffic. Achieving the goal of a locally oriented neighborhood street that is quiet enough to share with bicyclists and pedestrians will mean less direct and convenient auto access. Gamba assured the concerned citizens that engineers will continue to fine-tune the project to create better routes for all road users.

For more information about the project, visit milwaukieoregon.gov/planning/monroe-street-neighborhood-greenway-concept-plan.

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