Roadway Not Improved consists of three phases.
Phase 1: Gathering Information
In the initial phase of the project (January-March), LARKE gathered information about unimproved streets in Woodstock. We visited every street in the neighborhood to develop an inventory of street characteristics and conditions, and we mapped the data to provide residents and property owners with a starting point for thinking about how unimproved streets impact connectivity throughout the neighborhood.
We also researched city policy and met with city planners and engineers to gather information about property owners' rights and responsibilities related to rights-of-way (ROW) adjacent to their property and discuss future policy directions. Specifically, we discussed options the City currently presents to residents for improving and maintaining streets, the flexibility of the City with regards to alternative uses of the ROW, and how receptive the City would be to alternative ROW options that would address safety, connectivity and livability goals.
This background research provided a starting point for the most important information gathering effort of the project: talking to residents and property owners about how they currently use and perceive unimproved streets, and how they would like to use them in the future. On February 27, we held a public Discovery Session (41 attendees) to share information about the project and facilitate a community discussion about unimproved streets. We also conducted a web survey (61 respondents) to gather feedback about challenges and opportunities related to unpaved streets in Woodstock.
Phase 2: Evaluating Alternatives
In the second phase of the project (March-April), LARKE conducted best practice research and evaluated alternative policies, designs and funding strategies. Specifically, we explored alternatives that would address the desires and concerns expressed by Woodstock residents and property owners during the initial phase of the project, including ideas from creative projects happening around Portland as well as from other cities in the U.S. and abroad.
In order to evaluate legal, technical and political feasibility, alternatives were presented to an advisory committee comprised of city planners, engineers and elected officials. The advisory committee meeting informed our selection of feasible alternatives, which were presented to the community at an open house in April.
In May, LARKE held a focus group in the Woodstock neighborhood to gather feedback on residents' experiences with the Local Improvement District (LID) process, the primary mechanism by which street improvements occur in the city. This meeting provided us with valuable feedback about the barriers residents face to improving their streets and having them adopted by the city for maintenance.
Phase 3: Final Products and Recommendations
In the final phase of the project (April-May), LARKE will create two final products:
(1) A Toolkit to provide step-by-step information for community members interested in collaborating on improvements or temporary uses. This document will be informed by our explorations in the Woodstock neighborhood, but we hope it will be useful for other neighborhoods as well.
(2) A Final Report and Final Presentation documenting our findings and recommendations for city policy. This document will address the limitations and challenges that residents on unimproved streets face, as well as the limitations that policymakers face, and it will seek to explore mutual benefits that could be facilitated by the collaborative efforts of city bureaus and community members.