The Columbia River Crossing Project (CRC) has highlighted the need to coordinate and unify the process of transportation planning between the State and local levels with the goal of creating a comprehensive regional system that will optimize all modes of travel. Recognizing the interdependence of land use and transportation, we must capitalize on future investments as a means to guide the region's growth towards efficient and sustainable urban form. The CRC in Vancouver, and Interstate 5 in Portland have severed or compromised the connections of both cities to their respective river fronts. The CRC will likely create congestion that will impact the interchange of I-5 and I-84 in the center of Portland, thereby requiring the rebuilding of this critical connection.
My thesis is that the region's transportation needs can be more suitably met by separating modes and movements. Therefore, I call for the creation of three new bridges, each intended to serve local trips. By providing new alternate routes to connect both east and west Portland, and to connect Portland's industrial/port districts to Vancouver's, I believe a large percentage of the traffic currently using the I-5 corridor can be siphoned off the freeway. The benefit of this would be to reduce congestion on the freeway while at the same time providing more direct routes between all sections of the city.
With alternative routes in place, and a reduced demand on the freeway system, I believe the portion of I-5 on the east bank of the Willamette River can be removed, realizing a long held objective to re-connect the city to its waterfront, and thereby creating a catalyst for intense development at the city's core.
Rick Potestio, AIA, is an educator and the principal at POTESTIO STUDIO: architecture + design in Portland. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon, and a Master of Architecture from Syracuse University. Rick's professional practice has earned him numerous citations, merit and honor awards from American Institute of Architects/Portland Chapter and AIA/Pacific Northwest Region. He currently serves on the City of Gresham Design Commission, Metro's Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails, chairs the Portland-Bologna Sister City Association, and promotes the Rivercity Bicycle Cyclocross Crusade.
Rick's work has been published in numerous local, regional and national publications, from Portland Spaces Magazine to The New York Times. Rick is an Adjunct Professor in Portland State University's Department of Architecture, and has taught at University of Oregon, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oregon School of Design, and the Boston Architectural Center.