Portland’s Moody Avenue Project: Subtraction by Addition

Portland Mayor Sam Adams announced Monday that the reconstruction of Moody Avenue in the South Waterfront neighborhood was finally complete after 19 months of work. This $51 million project rebuilt 3,200 linear feet of the street by raising it 14 feet and widening the right-of-way to 75 feet, enough space to accommodate a six-lane freeway.

However, despite the huge expansion, motorists are actually worse off than they were before. Only two lanes are reserved for motor vehicles, and they now have to share space with the slow streetcar, which blocks traffic four times an hour in each direction. Virtually all of the new right-of-way is allocated to bicyclists and pedestrians, who only account for 13% of total passenger throughput on the street.

Motor vehicles do the heaving lifting, moving 63% of all passenger trips on Moody. Not only is this a large number, but it’s growing: Auto traffic is up 55% from just two years ago. As the district continues to develop, this road will be unable to handle future traffic loads.

The Moody Avenue project was a waste of $52 million, and it now has the South Waterfront district locked into a street pattern that is doomed to fail. Taxpayers should demand better from their elected leaders.

John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Learn more at cascadepolicy.org.

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Posted by at 09:28 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Oregon Engineer

    There is a perfect solution. Make a law in Portland to ban all motorized transportation except the streetcars and buses and bribe more people to walk and bicycle. This way it reduces the carbon footprint, everyone breaths easier because there is less pollution, keeping Portland the most livable city in the US. Portland could also pass a tax for the funding to pay people to bike, walk, and free bus and streetcar transit. I miss JoelinPDX.

    • Sarcasm?

      I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not. That’s a sad statement on PDX.

    • gotcha222

      RIGHT ON! No planes, trains or automobiles…semi-trucks etc. Horse/buggy deliveries and Oregon weather will do what no man can do: Bring common sense back to Portland (maybe).
      While we’re at it, eliminate all carbon-based electricity. Maybe using the stairs for a few weeks will do the trick. And think of all the jobs created cleaning up after all the horses. Yowza.

  • guest

    Unable to read Oregon Engineer’s post at this time – hope it comes up soon before what’s left sucks it wry.

    Buy the sway, why do those who are sick and tired of 3ache, varlet person and arghbed have to sign in whenever we diss-approve of their scatology?

  • valley person

    The central premise of more housing in the central city is that most of the people who live there will not have to use cars day to day, and will instead use their feet, bikes, and/or transit.

    Is the point of the new Moody Avenue to carry through car drivers from farther out areas, or is it to serve the new neighborhood at South Waterfront? If it is trying to do the former, then maybe Mr Charles is correct. If it is the latter, then he probably isn’t.

  • spelling challenged

    I live in the South Waterfront and moved here specifically for the ease of public transit. The article makes it sound like the street is completly blocked. Obviously, the author has never been to the area and is talking about a place he or she knows nothing about.

    The stretch of road that exists as bike lain, pedestrian side walk, streetcar and auto traffic is 4 blocks at most. There is no auto traffic. There is no traffic jams. Yet one look at the “bike valet” outside of OHSU shows roughly 200+ bikes (and I am NOT exaggerating) on a daily basis. So, yes, the project was a success. There is less street traffic, more bike traffic, less congestion, less greenhouse gasses.

    Its a win win (unless you are only out there to prove your ideology).

    You can disagree with whether or not we should promote green energy, smart land use, and urban renewal, but you cannot argue with the facts.

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