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Attend open houses for Holman, Klickitat bike boulevards this week

Posted by on May 3rd, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Family biking-4
NE Holman is already a relatively
pleasant place to ride, but improvements
are needed.
(Photo © J. Maus)

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to speak up at PBOT’s bike boulevard open houses (a.k.a. neighborhood greenways), so today I’ll just offer a gentle reminder of two that are coming up this week.

Tomorrow (5/4) and Thursday (5/6), PBOT will hold their second round of open houses for projects on NE Holman and NE Klickitat respectively.

Project map overview.

The NE Holman project will add traffic calming and other new features to a street that’s already known among the experienced as a quiet residential alternative to crowded and narrow NE Ainsworth. Plans call for bike boulevard designation from N. Vancouver to NE 42nd. PBOT will pay particular attention to crossings at NE MLK Jr. Blvd, 13th, 15th and 33rd.

Two-way cycle track and new
medians proposed for MLK crossing.

After the first open house on April 6th, neighbors were buzzing about PBOT’s proposal to extend the small park at NE 13th and Holman all the way across the street — leaving cut-throughs only for biking and walking.

At MLK, PBOT plans to route bike traffic to Highland and use new center medians to help people cross the street. Once on the east side of MLK, a two-way cycle track is planned to take people on bikes from mid-block where Highland intersects MLK south to where Holman starts.

Detail of west end of proposed NE Klickitat route.

NE Klickitat is another street many people already use as a backstreet alternative to busy and high-speed NE Fremont (which is just a few miles south of Holman/Ainsworth). PBOT’s plans would create a new bike boulevard from N. Vancouver east to NE 67th using Klickitat for most of the route.

Proposed plans for Klickitat between 23rd and 24th.

PBOT will spend most funds allocated for this project to cross busy intersections of Vancouver/Williams, MLK Jr. Blvd., and 7th, 15th, 33rd, 41st, and 57th Avenues. This project includes several possible routes so neighborhood feedback is crucial.

This project will bring improvements to the existing Klickitat alleyway such as smoothing out the path surface, curb extensions for shorter crossings, and more.

Here are details on this week’s open houses:

    NE Holman Project
    Tuesday, May 4th
    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    Concordia University, George R. White Library, Room 314
    2811 NE Holman Street

    NE Klickitat Project
    Thursday, May 6th
    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    Alameda Elementary (Cafeteria)
    2732 NE Fremont Street

Full details on open houses via PBOT’s website.

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Comments
  • jeff May 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Anyone know if there is anywhere on PBOT’s site to check on the status of existing bike boulevard projects (I have NE Going in mind)?

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  • Aaronf May 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    So these are different from the greenways?

    I thought there was a name change. I’m confused.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      Aaronf,

      bike boulevards and “neighborhood greenways” are the same… but it’s understandable that you’re confused. PBOT has just tip-toed around the new name and hasn’t really made a wholesale switch… so I haven’t either. it’s tough because people know them already somewhat as bike blvds. and changing names is logistically difficult — especially for a huge agency like PBOT which doesn’t exactly have the funds and/or marketing savvy it takes to successfully re-brand something.

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  • jeff May 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks Jonathan!

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  • peejay May 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I second the confusion about the name change. Which is the official term these days? Or are there going to be two types of street treatment: one still called Bike boulevard, and the other one greenway?

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  • A.K. May 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I think the name switch was supposed to provide a more “holistic” feeling to the projects. When I attended the first Klikitat bike blvd meeting, the guy from the city of Portland (sorry, forgot his name) said bike boulevards were now neighborhood greenways.

    The way I understand it, they aren’t changing what is being done in terms of facilities or “treatments”, but rather trying to recognize that designating a street as a bike boulevard has a positive impact for more people than just cyclists: residents get a quieter street with less car traffic that is more pedestrian friendly.

    He also said that these bike boulevards (now called greenways) would be marked with easier to spot painted sharrows in the street, rather than the markings that are currently used (that are apparently easy enough to miss that I don’t know what they look like).

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  • Albert May 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    What happened to the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard Project? It was originally scheduled for completion in Fall 2008, but the web page pushed that date ahead to Fall/Winter 2009 and hasn’t been updated since.

    It would be nice to get those safer crossings at the busy 50th and 52nd intersections.

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  • Red Five May 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Once again, if you’re east of 82nd, you don’t count in Portland.

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  • solid gold May 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Red Five, precisely. I can see how these projects should really take precedence over installing sidewalks east of 82nd st., because ya know, those residential low traffic Irvington streets REALLY need to be made MORE safe for bikes, especially since I couldn’t think of any other use of city transportation funds.

    We’ve gone from making a city safe for cycling to a city that makes it luxurious for cycling in the wealthy neighborhoods. The bike community has become a victim of it’s own success in advocacy it seems.

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  • BURR May 3, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    most of these streets are already safe for cycling, PBOT is overdesigning these facilities, while at the same time they repeatedly fail to design anything truly safe and practical for hazardous stretches of arterials that cyclists can’t avoid and must use, like the westbound approach to the Burnside bridge

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  • Camp Bike Fun May 4, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Woo Hoo!

    The entire staff of Camp Bike Fun will be at the Holman Greenway meeting with our families.

    This is exciting.

    There is even talk about pinching Holman at 13th to allow cyclists through- but not motorists- essentially pulling the park across the street.

    Go PBOT!

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  • A.K. May 4, 2010 at 10:07 am

    BURR (#11):

    I agree, and that is sort of interesting. When I started biking again regularly last spring, I didn’t know where any bike boulevards were… I just gravitated to the streets that felt safe.

    Making better connections between safe-to-ride neighborhoods when you have to take a sketchy stretch of road should certainly be giving a higher priority.

    I wonder if this is being done because designating a “neighborhood greenway” and painting some sharrows is much simpler than re-engineering already existing facilities in a major way. Path of least resistance and all that…

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  • Madeye May 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

    The location listed for the Holman St. meeting is incorrect. According to the flyer from the city, the Tuesday May 4 meeting is at:

    Concordia University, George R. White Library, Room 314

    6 p.m. is the correct time. I believe the first meeting was in the room that is listed. Hope to see lots of neighbors present!

    Thanks Madeye! I corrected the story — Jonathan

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  • maxadders May 4, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Ainsworth is “crowded and narrow”? Hardly. It’s wide and sees a fairly light amount of traffic compared to other parallel streets in the area like Killingsworth or even Alberta.

    The problem is that no bike lanes have been striped. Though much of Ainsworth is an official bike route, drivers get frustrated and aggressive when bikes are forced to duck into the parking lane, then weave back out to avoid parked cars.

    It makes far more sense to me to revise Ainsworth than bother with Holman, which is a much smaller, less direct street with poor sight lines at intersections.

    I reluctantly switched to Holman for my daily commute after drivers instigated confrontations on Ainsworth– behavior that won’t go away by improving Holman. Cyclists will still ride Ainsworth, and drivers will continue to act like jerks due to the absence of infastructure.

    Another problem with Holman is the uncontrolled intersections. I’ve had to slam on my brakes many, many times over the past couple of years to avoid cars flying through at 30mph, not even giving the intersection a glance.

    Since it’s a small residential street, it also sees drivers flat-out ignoring posted stop signs. Let’s hope the improvements find a way to reduce that behavior too.

    Still, I’d rather fix Ainsworth and get a great facility rather than improve Holman, a street with much less potential.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 4, 2010 at 11:17 am

      maxadders,

      first… I stand by my assessment of Ainsworth. In general it is not a pleasant street to ride on. I say this as someone who frequently rides with my family. Yes it’s better than Alberta or Killingsworth but that’s not saying much at all.

      I agree with you about how we should be making Ainsworth better. It comes back to the problem with “backstreet solutions” in general. Holman isn’t as well-located, direct, etc… but this is not purely a matter of picking the best streets. This is about politics and political will. Improving backstreets is easy both from a political and public process standpoint… messing with higher order streets always comes with more messy politics and upset residents.

      Now, that being said, I find it laughable and quite unacceptable that PBOT has the audacity to maintain the “bike route” signs on Ainsworth given that it is completely unsafe for novice riders to be on… At least sharrows should be installed or something. but i digress.

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  • maxadders May 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

    We both agree that Ainsworth is unpleasant and dangerous, at least sometimes. It’s just that it should be so much better. It’s wide, it’s pretty and it’s already a designated bike route… yet it seems virtually ignored.

    But yeah, politics, funding, the neighborhood’s input, etc are all other factors to be considered, of course.

    It just seems so easy: there’s ample parking, sporadically used in most areas. Could we take away a few spaces in the narrowest spots and stripe a lane? Easier said than done, sure, but I’m not expecting a Bike Boulevard / Greenway or whatever, just basic accommodations to help define where cars and bikes are going to travel.

    As is, I almost feel it should be listed as a “difficult connection” between MLK and 33rd on the city bike map.

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  • Madeye May 4, 2010 at 11:54 am

    The meeting tonight about the Holman St. improvements is very fitting for your concerns, maxadders.

    PBOT recognizes that Holman is a low-traffic street already, and in order to preserve this and make it more friendly to cyclists, they are making changes: installing speed bumps on Holman and stop signs on ALL north-south streets that intersect Holman. This is going to be a great improvement for people wishing to avoid the hazardous Ainsworth bike route.

    I’ll never forget when I was biking home on Ainsworth one evening, and I moved into the middle of the lane – as I always do when cars are parked along the street – and a car driver actually jumped the curb to pass me. Like braking and waiting for me to move over is that much of an inconvenience. Ainsworth is not bicycle friendly.

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  • maxadders May 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Ainsworth always seemed like a great route until I began riding it every day.

    The final straw was when a driver gunned his engine to pass me, then intentionally slammed on the brakes repeatedly, to intimidate me / cause an accident.

    Anyhow, the speed bumps and stop signs on Holman will be welcome improvements. I’m excited to hear more about the “pinching” at 13th, too. Another good spot to block vehicular through-traffic might be where Holman jogs at 21st.

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  • Steve B. May 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Ainsworth totally stinks for riding east of MLK. I’ve gotten honked at for taking the lane here. I love that iconic, treelined center median, but I never see anyone actually using it for recreation other than Sunday Parkways. You could throw a cycletrack or even MUP in there. Or, how about a major road diet, remove the parking, make one side 2 way, and the other an awesome MUP and extension of the park.

    I love dreaming big!

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  • Ethan May 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    The Ainsworth topic came up at the last meeting (was that you maxadders?) and was addressed by Greg Raisman. As i remember it, the parking on Ainsworth and the relatively high speed of motor vehicles make it a poor candidate. Slicing off part of the center median to make the lanes wide enough would be extremely expensive compared to the treatment proposed for Holman. He also mentioned that a center-street path (taking bikes down the median . . . which would be pretty) creates a host of issues at cross streets.

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  • are May 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    the main problem with ainsworth is onstreet parking.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    besides the on-street parking (which PBOT is loathe to even suggest removing in large numbers due to fears of n’hood riots), the big issue on Ainsworth is that the large and beautiful, tree-lined median has special protection as an urban arboretum. I’d have to look it up, but I heard it’d be a natural conservation battle if PBOT wanted to use any of that media right of way for a bikeway.

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  • are May 5, 2010 at 11:09 am

    sorry, i was not clear. not saying anyone should reconfigure the right of way on ainsworth. just get rid of the parked cars and there is plenty of room to share the road.

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