After reviewing plans and existing conditions these are the challenges facing TFR:
Taylors Ferry Road is designated as a Neighborhood Collector Street, a City Walkway, a City Bikeway and a Community Transit Street. These designations by policy would indicate the need for urban standard sidewalks and bike lanes for both sides of the street to separate and protect non-motorized modes from traffic and provide access to bus services.
The Task Force realizes it will be many years, perhaps decades, before we could expect to see the full improvements needed to upgrade TFR to meet its planning category. In the meantime, what can we do to make it work better?
The Task Force believes that we could live without the full street improvements if we could move forward on making it safer, more useable now with less ambitious projects.
For example, one travel lane in each direction is adequate.
The Task Force recommends left turns lanes be added on TFR at the signal at 48th.
Allocating right-of-way for on-street parking does not seem necessary given the zoning and development patterns.
Due to large, deep lots it is likely there will be more flag-lot style land divisions over time. There is not much potential for extensive new development.
Generally these conditions would require a roadway width of 34 to 40 feet and a right-of-way width of 60 to 70 feet.
There are some real issues however, one of them is the existing right-of-way is severely encroached by property owners who have planted laurel hedges in the ROW and are now overgrown. Neither the County or the Office of Transportation have insisted the right-of-way be properly maintained, hence there is no room for six feet pedestrian pathways, much less a bicycle lane. Topography also plays a part in having a proper ROW as well as the ditches and swales along both sides of the road.
Another significant issue is the right-of-way width. It varies a great deal. The paved roadway is 22 feet wide. The ROW from Capitol Highway west to 48th is 59 feet. From 48th to 49th the ROW is 58 feet. From 49th to 50th the ROW is 72 feet with 19 feet on the north side and 31 feet on the south. From 50th to 55th the ROW is 56 feet. From 55th west to the county line at 655th the ROW is 70 feet with 29 feet on the south side and 19 feet on the north. The roadway is straight east and west. It goes downhill through Woods Creek from Capitol Highway then uphill to 49th and continues a gradual downhill slope until 61st when the decent becomes very steep as the road continues west into Washington County.
Cars travel very fast on this straight roadway, particularly from 61st west as the roadway is steep. Traffic calming is urgently needed to reduce the number of accidents occurring at the intersection of 62nd and TFR. Our committee recommends a four-way stop at this intersection, though we understand this intersection may not meet City four-way stop standards. The intersection of TFR and 62nd St. is busy because this is the main route south to Tigard, 99W and the I-5 Freeway entrance.
There would be room for a bicycle path, a ditch or swale and a good six foot pedestrian pathway if the proper right-of-way were established on the south side of Taylors Ferry. The laurel bushes are expendable and the trees should be saved for environmental and aesthetic benefits.
This section of TFR is not built to current, urban standards, which will make it very difficult to make the road wider for bike lanes. Until the roadbed is upgraded adding asphalt to the current edges of the road is unfeasible.
Another issue is the narrow bridge over Woods Creek. The bridge issue must be dealt with as soon as possible to ensure emergency vehicles, automobiles, pedestrians and bicycles can negotiate this area. Cantilevering could widen the bridge but there are a number of restraints that will require professional engineering.
Another issue is the problem of Washington County. PDOT has always dismissed the affect of the growth patterns of Washington County on Taylors Ferry Road. However, residents are well aware of the high traffic volume from Washington County to get to and from the I-5 freeway, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. Washington County is like a shotgun pointed at Taylors Ferry Road.