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Portland to revisit a plan that would redesign one of the city's busiest corridors

Franklin Street, as seen from Commercial Street in April 2013.
Corey Templeton
/
Flickr/Creative Commons
Franklin Street, as seen from Commercial Street in April 2013.

The city of Portland is reviving an effort to redesign Franklin Street, a busy corridor that connects Interstate 295 with downtown.

City officials say they're now revisiting a plan first developed in 2015, which called for dedicated bike lanes, pedestrian walkways and a roundabout at Franklin and Commercial streets.

There are also parcels along the corridor that are ripe for affordable housing development, said Jeremiah Bartlett, traffic engineer for the city of Portland.

"It will potentially leverage several acres of housing," he told the city council at a workshop on Monday. "We know, just based on existing zoning, much less any proposed zoning changes, that could translate to hundreds of units easily."

City officials say they believe the project should move forward now because there's a limited window when federal infrastructure funds are available.

"This is one of those aspirational community projects that I think we pause and look at through the lenses of what do we want from the city that we live in?" said Mayor Kate Snyder. "Do we want more cars going faster, or do we want traffic management in a way that supports neighborhoods, businesses, bicycles, pedestrians?"

Bartlett said the city plans to apply for federal funds next fall to help with the redesign and hopes that if successful, construction could begin around 2026.

The Franklin Street arterial was built in the 1960s. The project divided neighborhoods from the rest of the city and displaced immigrant communities.