VIDEO: The Out of the Mud program provides new lower-cost options for paving gravel roads.
Yesterday afternoon, City Council voted to give residents who live on some of our city’s 60 miles of unpaved streets a variety of new options for improving them at significantly lower costs.
Previously, City code required a downtown-style full street improvement for unpaved streets. The full street improvements include two sidewalks, full pavement, and storm water management for runoff in the form of bioswales or street drains. It’s a great looking street, but the cost makes it prohibitively expensive for many Portland neighborhoods. The price tag for a 50-foot property frontage with the previous requirements was an estimated $300 per month over a 20-year period.
By approving the ‘Out of the Mud’ program, City Council has provided choices to neighborhoods by allowing residents to take a customized street-by-street approach to improvements on the City’s unpaved roadways. The short film at the top of this letter (or click here to view it) illustrates these new options.
One of the new options included in the program is what’s known as a shared roadway. This street features a paved center strip, but unpaved shoulders for parking and unimproved walkways. This option allows for easier car travel (especially during rain) compared to the unpaved road at a relatively low cost. Neighbors who choose to pursue this option will see costs of just $60-65 per month.
Another new option is known as a separated residential street. This option is similar to the shared roadway, having a paved center strip with unpaved shoulders for parking, but also features a concrete sidewalk on one side of the street at an average cost of just $85 per month. The design can also be modified to include sidewalks on both sides of the street.
For neighborhoods who want to maintain their unimproved roadways but add safer walkways, the plan also allows neighbors to move forward with walkway improvements only. This allows for leaving the roadway unpaved but constructing paved walkways or sidewalks. The costs for this type of improvement are estimated at just $20 per month.
These new choices will give Portlanders much less expensive options for improving their streets, and make it easier for people to get to and from their homes. I’m thankful to my council colleagues for passing this important program that makes the city’s approach to our unimproved roadways more flexible and more responsive to individual neighborhood needs.