Letter on Comp Plan Update approved by North Tabor board

Letter on Comp Plan Update approved by North Tabor board

NTNLOgoAt this week’s NTNA the following letter prepared by the Land Use & Transportation committee was approved by the full board:

“As board members, residents and local businesses of the North Tabor Neighborhood Association, we are optimistic that the Comprehensive Plan Update will facilitate beneficial growth, yet we want to see new development that is consistent with the character and needs of our area. In this grain, we are sharing commercial, residential zoning and transportation-related recommendations that we believe will enhance the livability of North Tabor and support the wellbeing of its residents.

Pedestrian-Friendly Businesses and Transit-Oriented Development

Although we support the comprehensive plan’s proposed mixed use zoning changes on NE Glisan near 60th Street, we want to see additional zoning revisions that will support the growth of stable, pedestrian-friendly businesses and amenities.

Glisan: Overall, our vision is that the Glisan corridor from 47th-61st Streets is the commercial heart of the neighborhood, with pedestrian focused storefronts. We understand that per the Comprehensive Plan, Providence Hospital may be zoned as ‘institutional employment’. We are interested in seeing street level businesses develop in hospital buildings as they are rebuilt. More generally, the area North of Glisan between 53rd and 58th Streets has the capability to include much more height if built in a manner consistent with neighborhood needs. One example of acceptable increased height is Providence Hospital’s 5050 NE Hoyt building, which is seven stories above ground and 99 feet tall. Providence uses a tiered design, with increasing height further north of Glisan and along the freeway. Center Commons, located along I-84, also is an example of a development that is multiple stories high.

60th Street MAX Station area: 60th Street from Glisan to I-84 should be updated near the station to be zoned as ‘mixed use commercial’ to encourage new development of both neighborhood commercial retail and residential uses. The area around the station has potential to support more growth if rezoning occurs as long as infrastructure is dedicated to improve the surrounding streets, add sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes so that pedestrian connectivity is enhanced. North Tabor residents want to see more amenities nearby the station yet at the same time, want to be able to safely travel on foot and by bike from the station and to various destinations such as Glencoe Elementary, Mt Tabor Middle and Franklin High Schools as well as Normandale/Mt Tabor Parks. One example of a mixed-use development that is appealing is the senior housing building with the AND Café below at 55th and Burnside.

Burnside: Between 53rd and 61st Streets, the existing ‘general commercial’ zoning should be rezoned as ‘mixed use’ with neighborhood commercial retail below and residential use above to accommodate pedestrian focused development. The south side of Burnside should have buildings where the upper stories are residential, with a stepped down approach to transition to the residential neighborhoods to the south and the east of 61st and west of 53rd Streets.

Foster Density, Preserve Neighborhood Character, Yet Limit Displacement

As a neighborhood, we know that the area can support more growth yet at the same time, there are a few issues that need to be considered.

Here are our general residential and housing-related recommendations:

Preserve existing housing character along with adjusted residential density. Although we want to support some increased residential density near radius of the 60th Street MAX station, the current zoning code does not seem designed to save the current housing stock. We would endorse adjustments making it fundamentally easier to build around existing structures in a historically consistent manner instead of encouraging tear downs and rebuilds. In the spirit of this, we would like to encourage Accessory Dwelling Units, additions and duplexes attached to existing housing. We also feel that adjusting the “one left wall is a remodel” rule to require 50% of structures to remain and allow for multiple units to be built on parcels zoned R2.5-R1 if more than one unit is built.

Plan for affordable housing so that lower income residents are not displaced and can still afford to live, work and play in North Tabor. To facilitate this, we would be amenable to higher density north of Glisan between 53rd and 58th if there was zoning requiring a mixture of housing types including affordable studios, one bedroom and family sized units as well market rate development meant for middle income professionals. Thus, those in the service sector could live in the same community as retirees and professionals working at Providence Hospital or in other area of the metro region.

Transportation Improvements Need to Accompany Increased Density

North Tabor is located only three miles from downtown with close access to light rail and moderate access to services and parks. This close-in and central geographic location and amenities will undoubtedly attract more growth in the neighborhood over the next 20 years–and the local transportation network needs to be modernized accordingly. Due to the current congestion and parking issues connected to our proximity to I-84, Providence Hospital and the MAX, new developments should be pedestrian and active transportation focused. As a consequence of the unfortunate pedestrian deaths occurring in East Portland, we want to ensure that this trend does not continue in our neighborhood by concurrently building out a safe transportation network as density increases.

Hence, here are our general transportation-related recommendations to accommodate the expected growth facilitated by the Comprehensive Plan Update:

Glisan between 47th and 61st Streets should be transformed into a neighborhood commercial center focused on pedestrian scale development and streetscape. 60th Street needs pedestrian modernization with MAX station improvements to make the walk along 60th Street and Glisan pleasant and inviting from all directions.

Burnside should be modernized into a multi-modal neighborhood connector that would include frequent bus service with high quality shelters, safe pedestrian crossings, efficient neighborhood automobile conductivity and uninterrupted buffered bike lanes for commuters from 41st to 71st Streets.

Lastly, here is a list of specific transportation-related recommendations that should be prioritized as our neighborhood grows:

Automobile:

-A traffic circulation study regarding Caesar Chavez, Glisan, Burnside and 47th including Coe Circle and dedicated left turn signals on Glisan and 47th

-A dedicated left turn signal on 60th and Burnside (for traffic turning east and west)

-Improvements such as a new traffic pedestrian crosswalk light at NE Glisan and 55th

-Traffic calming on the off ramp from I-84 to Glisan at 58th and solutions to neighborhood residential

-“Cut through” street speeding including 44th/45th, Willow, 53rd, 58th, and 61st

-Car-share parking space locations included with new developments

Bicycle:

-Full Burnside Buffered Bike Lane access from 41st-71st connecting the east Portland bike lanes with the inner east Greenways of Ankeny and Couch

-Completion of the 50’s Bikeway

-Improvements over time of the Davis-Everett Greenway including traffic calming, intersection modernization at 60th and 47th, and safe access to Mount Tabor Middle school at 57th

-Parallel Greenway Access to 60th Street from the MAX to Mount Tabor park based on 62nd

-Improved access to Fred Meyer and Montavilla from “The Pocket”/Barrett’s Addition north of Glisan

Pedestrian:

-Glisan Streetscape including bulb-outs, a speed limit drop west of 58th, and center refuge islands with flashing beacons every one to three blocks depending on density needs

-Proper lighting/crosswalk striping at dangerous intersections like 58th and 60th with pedestrian lead crossing timing

-Burnside sidewalk modernization as properties redevelop including Street Trees

-Filling in sidewalk gaps at critical residential connections including Burnside between Gilham and 68th, the Davis Greenway, and in the Pocket connecting the MAX station with Fred Meyer and North Montavilla

Public Transportation:

-The 19 and 71 bus lines need covered, modern bus shelters and proper lighting

-Better access to the MAX station from the east and north

-Improve #20 Burnside Frequent Bus line stops that are located next to crosswalks

Freight:

-New developments should be required to provide loading zones, which do not interfere with traffic, block pedestrians, Tri-met or bicycle access and preferably be in back of the building.

Environmental Monitoring:

-Along with transportation-related improvements, as part of ensuring that future density supports the wellbeing of North Tabor residents, we are interested in seeing air quality monitoring since our neighborhood serves as a crossroads for inner eastside transportation. With more density, we will see increased traffic on the freeway, light rail, and railroad as well as more pedestrians and bicyclists traveling at peak travel times. According to Coalition for Livable Future Atlas, North Tabor has asthma rates that are among the highest in the Portland area as neighborhoods next to I-84 are 21-40 times above the states air quality exposure benchmark for air toxins.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to discussing these ideas further in the next phase of the Comprehensive Plan Update.

Sincerely,

North Tabor Neighborhood Association”

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9 thoughts on “Letter on Comp Plan Update approved by North Tabor board

  1. Thanks all! Terry and I as Co-Chairs on the land use and transportation subcommittee are really glad to be working on these issues. We would sure love to have more participation by North Tabor residents on the subcommittee and on the board in general. There are a lot of opportunities to advocate for the neighborhood related to making it more livable, safe and healthful. Please join us! – Beth

    1. I don’t really know. But as for my friend, he could afford a place for between $450 and $500. Even studio apartments go for more than that, and roommate situations are in the $400’s. He presently has a 2 bedroom in St. Johns for $400 including utilities, but the frig and sewer are out of order, and anyway, the owner is selling it out from under him. It would be amazing if he could match that.

  2. For many home owners their house represents their life savings. In requesting high density affordable/mixed income/low income housing, I hope care will be taken not to depress the value of property in North Tabor relative to the rest of the city.

  3. This is a great letter. Thanks to all who have studied and advocated so well for these recommendations. I would, however, make one comment/correction. The letter says: “Plan for affordable housing so that lower income residents are not displaced and can still afford to live, work and play in North Tabor.” In housing parlance, “affordable housing” is different from “low income housing.” I would like to suggest more low income housing. A very good friend of mine’s home is in a duplex (not in North Tabor). The owner is selling the duplex. My friend is low income, living exclusively on Social Security and a small Veteran’s pension. He is not able to afford even an “affordable housing” apartment, and must move to a room in someone’s house — a place which he has yet to discover. He has his name on some Home Forward and HUD (US Housing and Urban Department) waiting lists, but he still has about a year long wait on the lists he has been on for over a year. Section 8 vouchers are essentially permanently unavailable to an older person, who would likely die before their name came up.

    1. HUD is Housing and Urban Development, I believe, not “Department.” It’s referred to as “HUD housing.”

    2. I agree. It is important that when new growth occurs that local residents are not displaced. I think it is very important to allow individuals of all levels to be able to “age in place.”

    3. Marian makes a very important point. While we need affordable housing, we also need to house some who don’t have the resources to affordable even the affordable housing. Low income folks live here now and there must be housing units which will accommodate their continued presence here

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