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PBOT confirms wider bike lane coming to Williams -- UPDATED

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 9th, 2010 at 10:37 am

Williams will get an extra foot to handle its heavy bike traffic (as seen in this photo taken yesterday).
(Photo © J. Maus)

PBOT confirmed this morning that they will add an extra foot of width the a busy segment of the bike lane on North Williams Avenue.

A few weeks back, we noticed the lower section of Williams north of Broadway was getting repaved so we wondered out loud if PBOT could re-stripe the street with a wider bike lane. PBOT responded with a tentative "yes" last week and now we've confirmed the plans.

According to PBOT spokesman Dan Anderson, the bike lane will now be six-feet wide from Broadway to N. Stanton, except for a short stretch just north of Sacramento where a truck loading zone on the west side of the street means the bike lane will narrow back to five feet.

The extra foot of width for the bike lane is possible by narrowing one of the parking lanes from eight to seven feet. The paving is currently scheduled for June 14 (weather permitting) and should take about three days to complete. The new striping will be laid down shortly thereafter.

Williams is an extremely busy bikeway and this widening is being done as an interim measure while PBOT analyzes a more thorough and permanent solution (like a cycle track) to be completed in the near future.

UPDATE: There was some concern in the comments about lane widths. I asked PBOT for clarification and have heard back from project manager Ellen Vanderslice:

"The west side parking [on opposite side of street from bike lane] wasn't delinated, but it was 8'. The configuration west to east before grinding was 18' to centerline (8' parking plus 10' lane) then 10' to bike lane line, then 5' to parking lane line. Except for the short stretch north of Sacramento, after the paving the configuration west to east will be 17' to centerline, 10' to bike lane line, 6' to parking lane line."

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  • MIndful Cyclist June 9, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I'm happy to hear this. However, just remember one thing: A narrower parking area increases the chances of getting the "door prize."

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  • Josh Berezin June 9, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I hope they choose to narrow the left-side parking lane, for the reason mentioned in comment #1.

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  • aaron June 9, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I second both these comments. Widening a bike lane by narrowing the adjacent parking lane is like taking a shower before going out in a rainstorm.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 9, 2010 at 11:08 am

      Folks,

      the parking lane adjacent to the bike lane will not be the one getting narrowed. Here's a clarification from PBOT (which has been updated to the story):

      "The west side parking [on opposite side of street from bike lane] wasn't delinated, but it was 8'. The configuration west to east before grinding was 18' to centerline (8' parking plus 10' lane) then 10' to bike lane line, then 5' to parking lane line. Except for the short stretch north of Sacramento, after the paving the configuration west to east will be 17' to centerline, 10' to bike lane line, 6' to parking lane line."

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  • jim June 9, 2010 at 10:57 am

    expect larger vehicles to be either have one wheel parked up on the parking strip or else be poking into the bike lane. watch out for those doors, and people trying to enter their cars..

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  • Allan June 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

    they're painting it now

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  • flowb33 June 9, 2010 at 11:12 am

    This project seems like a waste of city resources. As a roadway, Williams wasn't falling apart. PBOT should have continued to examine the more permanent solution and then repaved and added a cycle track (or whatever it turn out to be) at the same. Now we have to deal with a torn up road and reconfiguration twice.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

      flowb33,
      the road was getting repaved as part of regularly scheduled maintenance by the city. i think if it was falling apart it would cost even more to repair it. it's also worth noting that the new bike lane is being striped with standard paint, not the thermoplastic material they usually use. PBOT is doing this precisely because the paint will be easier/cheaper to remove once the permanent solution is found.

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  • flowb33 June 9, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I'm glad their doing it with an eye toward further improvement and I'll appreciate the added foot in the lane. Just wish bureaus could coordinate maintenance to consolidate projects and save costs.

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  • MIndful Cyclist June 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Thanks for the update, Jonathan. That is good news it is going to be on the left side.

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  • ambrown June 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I can't help but think your "wondering aloud" on this issue certainly helped make this idea become reality, Mr. Maus. I know you have a tough time finding the right balance between journalism and advocacy (at least, so you've mentioned via twitter and other interviews I've read) but I think this is precisely the sort of issue in which your work can simultaneously exist in both realms and really be a force of good in the Portland transportation community. Kudos! and thanks!

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  • Marshall June 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    sounds great, as long as the parking thing gets worked out. I would totally "like" this post on facebook if you had the button put in, btw. Found it via my tracked area on EveryBlock.

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  • Ed June 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Did they paint it yet? I didn't see it this morning.

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  • Allan June 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    there was some paint at the beginning (just past broadway). It didn't look like they got very far

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  • Tony Columbo June 11, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Parking should be at least 10 feet. I dont expect bicyclists to stop side swiping my car at these widths. I hope they have bicycle insurance.

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