Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on April 20th, 2010 at 12:02 pm
The City of Portland recently
polished off rolled out the latest changes on a major project in the Central Eastside. The East Burnside/Couch Couplet project turned Burnside into a one-way street going east and Couch into the main artery going west (complete with a brand new road to get onto the Burnside Bridge). We’ve shared how bikes would fare in this project and then updated you on how the changes came out.
Now I’d love to hear how the project is impacting your biking experience in this area.
Reader Hazel G. lives at NE 22nd and Davis and wrote in to share her concerns. She says she’s noticed “a huge increase in auto traffic on Ankeny”. This is noteworthy because Ankeny is a bike boulevard street and is the recommended east-west connector from southeast to the Burnside Bridge. Hazel thinks now that Burnside is only one-way, many people are opting to drive on Ankeny. “I was actually taking a cab Saturday night and the cabbie even said he just uses Ankeny now.”
Hazel is also concerned that some people on bikes aren’t sure how to get onto the Burnside Bridge:
“I’ve noticed that there are no signs redirecting bike traffic [from SE Ankeny up to NE Couch]. I’ve even seen a few cyclists biking west on Burnside out of confusion.”
When I rolled out there earlier this week, I saw several people biking up SE Grand – a major state highway/arterial – to get to NE Couch. PBOT recommends heading north on 6th where bike lanes on Couch begin, but without signs it wouldn’t be obvious to do that.
Speaking of Couch, bikes and cars share the road until those bike lanes begin on 6th. This is all fine and good, but not everyone knows how to take the lane and many people — especially the “interested but concerned” that we all want to attract — don’t feel comfortable squeezing between parked cars and fast-moving auto traffic. Adding into the mix on Couch is that it’s downhill. It’s great that the signals are timed, but the result is high speeds for both modes.
Once you get to 6th, things mellow out a bit thanks to bike lanes, but it’s still far from what I’d call a world-class solution. At SE Grand, for instance, cars and trucks turn right to go north and the right-hook potential was obvious. Cars are concerned with oncoming traffic to their left (not with bike traffic in the lane to their right) and since the signals are timed, bike speeds can be quite high approaching the intersection.
There’s also a TriMet bus stop on the corner of Grand and Couch, which means a bus swerves over and sits in the bike lane while servicing that stop.
What have been your experiences riding through this area? Do you think biking in this area has improved with the
completion of changes made to this project so far? (I’d especially like to hear from regular commuters that experienced it before and after.)