Matthew Roth profiles Portland, Oregon's atreet designs that combine stormwater treatment with safety and convenience for cyclists and pedestrians on sf.streetsblog.org, Like many cities with older sewer systems, Portland is subject to combined sewer overflow (CSO), in which precipitation combines with sewage to overwhelm the sewage treatment system, resulting in unsanitary discharges into the Willamette River and the Columbia Slough. Portland is addressing this problem through a twenty-year program to construct tunnels and pipes which will transport stormwater to wastewater treatment facilities, eliminating the vast majority of CSO volume. Interested readers can follow Rosie the Tunnel-Boring Machine on Twitter!
In addition to these massive investments, Portland places swales, planters and rain gardens on streets to absorb and filter stormwater before it reaches storm sewers.
For bicyclists, Portland provides bike lanes and bike boxes, which help prevent collisions, particularly between cyclists going straight and motorists turning right. Portland's first bike track on SW Broadway gives cyclists an entire car-width lane that is separated from the motorized traffic by a line of parked cars. For pedestrians, there are sidewalks and bulbouts, which extend curbs to calm traffic and improve visibility for both pedestrians and drivers.
All in all, Portland has much to be proud of in its efforts to make streets safe, accessible and sustainable. What do you think? What else could Portland be doing to improve its streets?