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Opportunities and Constraints

An analysis of opportunities and constraints in the Study Corridor is included to help understand specific locations where barriers to, or opportunities for future development exist.  Opportunities and constraints include physical and environmental circumstances, traffic and roadway conditions, long-term land use designations, and community destinations. 

Environment

West Linn’s topography shapes the Corridor’s access and development character. Slopes greater than 25% separate the corridor from the upland areas of the city, creating barriers to pedestrian and bicycle access. Riparian areas and wetlands limit the quantity of land available for potential development. However, these natural areas and the views afforded by steep slopes may act as amenities to attract higher density residential development to neighborhood centers, if desired.

Vehicle Network

Topography defines the location and character of study area roadways. Access to the corridor from the east is constrained by the Willamette River. Access to upland residential and commercial areas is limited by steep slopes, a sparse roadway network and Interstate 205. Highway 43 is a significant regional access route that serves not only West Linn but also the Portland Metro region. As a result, the roadway has consistently high traffic volumes and serves multiple modes. Average daily trip (ADT) counts from 2005 indicate ADTs over 20,000 between the northern City limits and Interstate 205.

The City of West Linn has developed a conceptual design plan for Highway 43 to improve accommodations for bicycles, pedestrians, automobiles, and trucks. As an arterial, Willamette Falls Drive, serves both pass-through and local traffic; ADTs collected in 2005 ranged from 7,000 to 11,900 between Interstate 205 and the City limits.

Transit Service

Existing TriMet bus service includes the #35 to downtown Portland and the #154 to Oregon City.  Interstate 205 is the only high capacity transit (HCT) corridor identified in West Linn by Metro’s High Capacity Transit System Expansion policy. There may be long-term potential to connect West Linn to the greater Portland metro region via the Interstate 205 or Oregon City corridors. The Lake Oswego to Portland Transit Project has recommended a streetcar option for further study. There may be long-term potential for connecting Highway 43 to this system with streetcar or bus rapid transit (BRT).

Bicycles and Pedestrians

Pedestrian and bicycle facilities along Highway 43 and Willamette Falls Drive are limited and discontinuous. Due to steep slopes and limited access points, pedestrian and bicycle access to neighborhoods is constrained. On-street bike lanes connect the study area with Lake Oswego along the shoulder of the busy Highway 43 roadway. There are very few bike facilities within the Willamette Falls Drive portion of the corridor. Pedestrian paths currently located in parks may provide opportunities for connecting neighborhood centers within the study area away from the heavy traffic of the corridor.

Comprehensive Plan Designation
The existing land uses should be considered when planning for the future of the corridor. Some areas are likely to redevelop in the next 50 years while others are not. Residential is the most common land use in the corridor and in West Linn. Low density residential is the most prevalent, followed by medium density residential.

Commercial areas are scattered along the corridor including the Robinwood area, Bolton Central Village, near the West Linn Paper Company, and in the Willamette area. Industrial areas include the West Linn Paper Company on the Willamette River and other adjacent properties to the south and along the river.

Destinations
A destination is a high-trip generating use— a use that West Linn residents will use on a daily or weekly basis. There are three types of destinations within the corridor:

  • Commercial, employment, or service uses, such as medical facilities, grocery stores, and offices
  • Civic, cultural, and institutional uses, such as libraries and schools
  • Parks and open space amenities

These destinations could be the focus for potential future neighborhood development.