The story of SW Hamilton Road and what it says about our progress

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SW Hamilton on the prime of the hill close to Hamilton Metropolis Park.
(Images: David Stein/BikePortland)

[Publisher’s note: With Lisa Caballero’s recent move to Paris, David Stein will step in to be our southwest Portland correspondent. This is his first piece. Welcome David!]

(Map: BikePortland)

“It looks like somebody someplace has determined that Hamilton isn’t getting sidewalks.” This was uttered after speaking with Ryan Bass, a transportation advocate within the Bridlemile neighborhood, concerning the current historical past of labor (not) finished on SW Hamilton Road between SW Dosch and SW Scholls Ferry Rd.

Due to the hills, lack of motorbike lanes and little-to-no shoulder house, it’s onerous to get round many elements of Southwest Portland and not using a automotive. It’s exceedingly costly to retrofit roads on this a part of the town with facilities that different elements of Portland have as a result of topography and stormwater necessities. Complicating this image are waivers of remonstrance and an absurd diploma of inconsistency by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) on the subject of growth necessities.

That is the primary of a three-part dive into how a single street has managed to concurrently garner notable consideration and fail miserably to capitalize upon it.

First, let’s be certain all of us perceive the profile of Hamilton between Dosch and Scholls Ferry:

  • Like many roads on this space it has a 20-26 foot width relying on the precise location.
  • The size of your entire stretch is about 1.66 miles.
  • It’s categorized (in PBOT’s Transportation System Plan) as a: Metropolis Walkway, Metropolis Bikeway, Transit Entry Road, Native Service Truck Road, Neighborhood Hall, Neighborhood Collector Road, and Secondary Emergency Response route.
  • Trimet route 55 consists of this stretch of street on weekday mornings and afternoons.
  • It additionally neighbors Bridlemile Elementary and Hamilton Park that are the hubs of the neighborhood.
  • Lastly, it’s not flat, the street reaches an elevation of roughly 560 ft on the east finish and drops as little as 283 ft although there are a number of ups and downs alongside the best way making it nice for coaching and tough for the rest.

There are two SW Trails (a neighborhood strolling and climbing community) within the neighborhood. Path 1 makes use of Hamilton between 53rd Ave and Fraser Ave, simply west of Scholls Ferry Rd. There’s a quick stretch the place Path 7 jogs from Hamilton Ct west to SW thirty fifth Pl the place it continues to the north. Whereas these are signed trails it might be charitable to name them walkable. There are scant shoulders on each stretches of path and west of 53rd Ave there are a number of hills the place visibility drops to dozens of ft as a result of topography.

The velocity restrict is 25 mph, not too long ago lowered from 30 mph. There are additionally a few dozen velocity bumps to decelerate automobiles, although like most velocity bumps some are simpler than others.

Sidewalks are just about non-existent on Hamilton. There’s a quick stretch from (virtually) Scholls Ferry to twenty ft east of 63rd, Semler Means has two corners with curb cuts and it continues till simply earlier than Promoting Ct which doesn’t have a sidewalk on the west facet of that avenue. On the east facet of Promoting the sidewalk begins up once more for possibly ten ft — so if you wish to go down the sidestreet that sidewalk may very well be fairly helpful. There are three extra avenue corners with a sidewalk, nonetheless none truly lengthen alongside Hamilton.

This sidewalk protection shouldn’t be out of the bizarre nonetheless. Primarily based on a June thirtieth, 2016 PBOT avenue stock, Bridlemile had 2.8 miles (9.1%) of sidewalk as of 2015. In distinction, 5.9 miles have been paved with out curbs. The sidewalk protection was ninth lowest within the metropolis. Of the eight neighborhoods with a decrease proportion of sidewalks, six have been additionally in southwest Portland and the opposite two have been in northwest (Forest Park, Sylvan-Highlands).

Folks trip bicycles on Hamilton as a part of their commute through the week. On weekends you might be prone to see folks doing coaching rides on their strategy to or from Council Crest or the Fairmount loop. Hamilton is extra direct than Patton to the north and has significantly much less visitors than Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy (one among Portland’s 20 Excessive Crash Corridors).

Strolling and operating are barely much less standard on this street. Mother and father will escort youngsters on or throughout the street to and from college although it’s uncommon to see older youngsters utilizing the street besides to attend for a college bus.

Site visitors counts from November 2020 at Hamilton and forty seventh Ave present about 1,400 automobiles being pushed on the street.

Now that I’ve set the scene, the following article will dive into a few initiatives that improved situations for susceptible street customers whereas leaving crucial gaps to entry.