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Instead of two traffic lanes each way, there's now one each way, and a turn lane. Is it safer now?

DAVID F. ASHTON - This project has made S.E. Foster Road no longer a high speed, auto-oriented corridor, says Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. A project that began in earnest back in 2012 – then called the "Foster Corridor Investment Strategy", along S.E. Foster Road, from 50th Avenue to the western edge of the Lents Town Center at 91st Avenue – officially came to a conclusion on Thursday morning, June 13, in the Foster-Powell neighborhood.

Officials from the City of Portland, as well as area business and neighborhood associations, gathered at the intersection of S.E. Foster Road and 72nd Avenue in the "Portland Mercado" lot to celebrate the completion of what was later renamed the "Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project".

Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly remarked that the $9 million project has transformed Foster Road from a "high speed, auto-oriented corridor, into a streetscape that is safer, and more accessible for people walking, biking, taking transit – and driving.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding throughout the planning and construction of the project, as well as your vital input," said Eudaly. "I know it's been a long time coming; and, I hope it was worth the wait, because it looks beautiful. This is not just about changing the street; it's about fostering a sense of community."

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Chris Warner didn't mention that vehicle traffic lanes had been reduced from four down to two, with a center turn lane; but he did point out that six rapid-flash beacons were installed, "blocks and blocks" of bike lanes were added, 200 street trees were planted, and additional street lights were put in.

"As President of the Foster Area Business Association (FABA), and on our organization's behalf, we're happy to celebrate the completion of the Foster Streetscape projects," said Allen Rowand. "This is the next step in our Neighborhood Business District's evolution to becoming a destination – rather than a throughway.

"And, we thank PBOT for their ongoing support, working with us throughout the whole process, including sponsoring several of our events, which we are repeating this year."

Shea Flaherty Betin, Director of the "Portland Mercado", commented, "We envision increased economic opportunity along Foster for small businesses, for entrepreneurs, and for the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem we have here at the Mercado."

Members of the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association were also happy to witness the conclusion of the "Foster Road Streetscape", said the association's co-chair, Eric Furlong.

"We have collaborated on this project since its inception," Furlong recalled, "and, through all its 'twists and turns', this is a good example of how, with open communication and transparency, PBOT, the City Commissioners, and the stakeholders can complete a project as successful as this one.

"We look forward to seeing you all out on Foster Road!" concluded Furlong.

After the ceremonial ribbon was cut, FABA's Rowand told THE BEE that they'd just set July 20 as the date for their summer promotion, the "Foster Tasting Tour", in which "you can try everything from booze to board games, and win prizes by filling up your Tasting Tour passport."

Find out more online – www.fosterarea.com/events/event/tasting-tour-2019

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