Public comment sought on I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project
An environmental study of the proposed I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project predicts short-term work-related problems but long-term gains, including reduced congestion and air pollution in the construction site.
The federally-required Environmental Assessment was released on Friday, Feb. 15, by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Portland Bureau of Transportation. But agencies are encouraging the public to read and respond to the report during the 45-day public comment period.
Alternative for reducing congestion and improving safety the Rose Quarter area where I-5 and I-84 merge have been studied for years. They include connecting the parts of Northeast Portland separated by the freeways. The Oregon Legislature and the Portland City Council have approved moving forward with the project, pending final design and available funding. It is currently estimated at around $500 million.
The project is opposed by a coalition of community, environmental, social justice organizations and others called No More Freeway Expansions. Among other things, They believe the project is too expensive and will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The assessment took a comprehensive look at the project's impact on the surrounding neighborhood and city. The issues experts looked at include: safety, biking, walking and public transit access, traffic operations, air quality, climate change, environmental justice, historic resources, noise, water quality, hazardous materials, and right of way, among others.
Among other things, the report says the project will:
• Temporarily increase congestion and air pollution during parts of the construction phase.
• Improved safety for all transportation modes with new crossings over I-5, protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, improved striping, upgraded signals, and new shoulders and new ramp-to-ramp connections on I-5.
• Improve air quality in the long run by increasing speeds and reducing idling in the project area.
Several public comment opportunities are available. They include a public hearing scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at the Oregon Convention Center, Room A108, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
ODOT, Attn: Megan Channell 123 N.W. Flanders St. Portland, OR, 97209; phone at 503-423-3760; an online open house until 5 p.m. Monday, April 1, at i5rosequarter.org; and a drop-in open house from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 7, at the Leftbank Annex - Clubroom, 101 N. Weidler St.
You can find and read the report at i5rosequarter.org.
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