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City working on fix for “Naito Gap”

Posted by on June 22nd, 2007 at 10:59 am

Detail from Bike Master Plan Ride Map. (Download PDF of map)

Remember that glaring gap on the Naito Parkway bike lane I pointed out a few weeks ago? Well, it looks like we might see a fix soon.

City bike coordinator Roger Geller has announced details for the July edition of his monthly Bicycle Master Plan Rides. The route map for the ride points out various bikeway features and there’s one balloon titled “Naito Gap: we’ll fix it”.

According to City of Portland traffic engineer Doug McCollum, the initial scope of work for the recently completed Naito Parkway Reconstruction project, did not include money for a bike facility under the Steel Bridge.

This is unfortunate because cyclists are now left with a short, yet unsafe gap until the bike lane picks up again north of the bridge.

Besides cash, the larger issue is that the two-lane road narrows in this gap and there’s not sufficient room for a standard-width bike lane. City engineers are (understandably) reticent about installing substandard bike lanes, but they’ll have to do something innovative (and cheap, like a narrow bike lane) to connect this gap.

I’d much rather have a narrow bike lane than nothing at all.

This situation exemplifies a larger issue Portland is facing. As we continue to push the boundaries for bike facilities that can accommodate our growing legion of cyclists, we’re finding that federal traffic engineering standards are lagging behind when it comes to innovative treatments for bicycles.

If we truly want to emulate cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, we must be willing to prioritize connectivity over existing federal standards. The Naito Gap will be an interesting test case. Stay tuned…


To weigh in on the Naito Gap and other Central City bikeways, join Roger on his next Bicycle Master Plan Monthly Ride. Meet at 5:15 at Terry Schrunk Plaza (SW 3rd between Madison & Jefferson ) on July 3rd. More details on the PDOT website.

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Comments
  • ME June 22, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Wondering if they forgot to plan for it, or just didn\’t feel the added expense was worth it. The gap must have been staring them in the face for a long time on a blueprint, and nobody spoke up?

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  • Kristen June 22, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I know that a lot of times, when you\’re deep into a project, the things you miss are right under your nose, and it takes an extra set of eyes to see it and point it out… which, it appears, has now happened.

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  • West Cougar June 22, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Sharrows.

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  • mark June 22, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    What about an extension to Barbur?

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  • Matt Picio June 22, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    and some sort of curb cut to get to the Steel Bridge lower deck (if you ride Naito now, you have to cut in at the Japanese-American memorial, or else ride down the stairs or over the grass)

    Yeah, sure, I\’m asking for the easy way rather than \”toughing it out\”. ;-)

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  • Tbird June 22, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Glad to see they will be addressing this…
    Has anyone mentioned the South end of the Naito Bike Lane? It ends just at the Old Hawthorne Bridge Ramp, while this would actually be great if the OLD decommissioned bridge ramp had a smooth entrance to allow bikes to go up to the bridge from Naito. Instead you must turn the corner and cut back on the sidewalk for a few yards. Otherwise, if your headed South on Naito you\’re S.O.L. at that point.

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  • Todd B June 22, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Yep Jonathan

    …the Federal guidelines…and Oregon\’s (and Washington\’s) are still 10+ years behind the model…the 1996 Netherland bike facility manual (\’Make Room for the Bike\’) by CROW. http://www.crow.nl

    Especially for intersections, roundabouts, trail crossings, detours in workzones, etc.

    Too bad Oregon (Portland) cannot just adopt the CROW manual outright (sans the signing) … as a bike as design vehicle is pretty similar around the world.

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  • Anne June 22, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    …and in conjunction with, but at the opposite end from Tbird, I\’m wondering about the northern extension on Naito. I am a regular commuter heading out to the NW industrial area from SE, and the Steel Bridge/Naito Parkway route is the most direct connection between those two areas. Yes, the bike lane continues north of the Steel Bridge after the \”gap,\” but then it ends at the intersection of Naito and 9th (where the police horses are) leaving patches of poorly marked, shifting double auto lanes from there on out.

    I am not reliant on bike lanes per se, being Ok with riding in traffic, but the problem here becomes even more apparent when traveling the reverse direction, from NW Thurman inbound. I notice this on my way back in in the evenings, when inbound traffic on Naito seems higher than in the mornings, especially perhaps with those speeding away from their jobs in the outer industrial reaches back into town — cars are going FAST, and rarely allow extra room around a cyclist. It is probably the area where I feel most vulnerable in all of my bike wanderings, and I have been a car-free cyclist for five years now.

    This area certainly warrants some extra markings, so I\’m just wondering what the plan is and I haven\’t been able to figure it out on my own.

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  • Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 22, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    \”Has anyone mentioned the South end of the Naito Bike Lane? It ends just at the Old Hawthorne Bridge Ramp, while this would actually be great if the OLD decommissioned bridge ramp had a smooth entrance to allow bikes to go up to the bridge from Naito\”

    Tbird,

    funny that you mention this. I just rode this section today and I thought the exact same thing as I hopped up the curb! we should get this on someone\’s radar asap.

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  • BURR June 22, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    sharrows

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  • Christopher Cotrell June 23, 2007 at 10:09 am

    I can\’t help but note that Naito narrows down to one lane in each direction approximately 1 block north of the Steel Bridge. I also note that there are no other roads to turn off on before the road narrows. So why not just make this happen a little bit earlier? It would have no negative impact on motor vehicle traffic to move this potential bottleneck up one block. Or, northbound the right lane could become exit only onto the Steel Bridge ramp a couple blocks south.

    Incidentally, how is the intersection with ramp to the bridge handled in terms of the new bike lanes?

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  • Jose Rodriguez June 25, 2007 at 7:51 am

    - – - – -
    Matt Picio
    June 22nd, 2007 15:40

    and some sort of curb cut to get to the Steel Bridge lower deck (if you ride Naito now, you have to cut in at the Japanese-American memorial, or else ride down the stairs or over the grass)

    Yeah, sure, I\’m asking for the easy way rather than \”toughing it out\”. ;-)
    - – - – - (sorry I don\’t know how to add the reply text)

    In reply to Matt P., there is a curb that allows you to avoid the memorial area & the stairs. You have to enter the gap in the bike lane though. If you continue North on Naito about 20-30 yards past that stop light (the stop light just past the vehicle on-ramp to the Steel Bridge. Roughly 70 yards past the memorial & stair curb entrance.) there is a wide curb that you can enter. Its very wide because police cars & city workers use this to enter the sidewalk in this area. Entering in through this curb shoots you out right at the musical statue just before the Steel Bridge.

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