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Council passes Division Streetscape project: What’s in it and what’s not

Posted by on June 24th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Portland City Council officially adopted the Bureau of Transportation’s Division Streetscape and Street Reconstruction Project yesterday.

The plan was over a year in the making and it will impact the stretch of SE Division between SE 10th and 39th Avenues. The $7 million project will repave the street, add a full complement of “green streetscape elements” (like bioswales and curb extensions), improve transit stops, and more. Construction is slated to begin in 2011.

“… we feel that there is a significant lost opportunity at 7 Corners… the concept does not significantly foster a sense of place or create the comfortable pedestrian environment the community desires.”
— Excerpt from a letter by the project’s Citizens Advisory Committee

Of particular interest to those of us who ride a bike in this area how changes to the lane configuration on Division might impact bike boulevards and new bike boxes coming to the Seven Corners intersection (where SE Ladd crosses Division to SE 21st).

Currently, Division is a four-lane, high-volume (15,000 cars per day) thoroughfare, but PBOT allows on-street parking in the outside lanes between SE 11th and SE 28th during all but two hours in the morning (7-9am) and evening (4-6pm) rush (this arrangement is known as “pro-time lanes”). These outside lanes aren’t usually full of parked cars, so people on bikes sometimes use them and they provide extra capacity for motor vehicle traffic.

Under the new plan, PBOT will get rid of the “pro time lanes” and will reduce Division to two travel lanes (and two permanent parking lanes). Four travel lanes will be maintained at SE 11/12th, Seven Corners and SE 26th to “provide capacity during peak travel times.”

The Citizens Advisory Committee had hoped PBOT would consider reducing Division to two travel lanes at Seven Corners (which they feel is the heart of their community) in order to create a “sense of place” and a “buffer from traffic” and use the space instead to built wider sidewalks or bike lanes. PBOT decided against that idea, citing “complexity of the intersection and the high daily traffic volumes”. Here’s more from the project document.

“The City’s analysis indicated that given present and future predicted travel patterns, narrowing the Seven Corners intersection to a two-lane profile could result in significant congestion Division Street and diversion of vehicles into the adjacent neighborhood.”

In a letter, the project’s Citizens Advisory Committee expressed their disappointment with that decision:

“… we feel that there is a significant lost opportunity at 7 Corners. Though nothing in the concept precludes 7 Corners from eventually becoming a significant gathering place for the community, the concept does not significantly foster a sense of place or create the comfortable pedestrian environment the community desires.”

As PBOT suggests, the removal of travel lanes on Division could result in more cars using side streets. This issue raised significant concerns from nearby residents as well as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and members of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee who are worried about diversion onto the nearby Clinton Street and Ladd/Harrison bike boulevards.

As early as January 2010, the BAC asked PBOT project manager Elizabeth Mahon to look closely at the diversion issue. At their January meeting, PBOT bike coordinator Roger Geller asked Mahon to adopt a policy in the plan that would commit the city to taking action if diversion onto Clinton occurred. Geller noted that there’s already more motor vehicle traffic on Clinton that they’d prefer. “We already want to do something on Clinton because the auto volumes are too high,” he said.

Again in February, the BTA’s Michelle Poyourow (who has since left the organization) asked PBOT to make diversion analysis an official part of the plan. Then in April (this is all according to my notes taken from BAC meetings), the issue came up again, with the BAC still concerned that PBOT was being too vague about their plans to address the diversion issue.

Looking at the project plan adopted yesterday, it seems their concerns were ultimately heard. On page 16 of the plan is a “Diversion Statement” that acknowledges the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard as being a “vibrant and well-established bicycle facility” and an “important east/west connection” for bike traffic.

Heeding concerns that changes to traffic on Division could “negatively impact a popular bicycle route,” PBOT has officially agreed to (in their words):

  • monitor traffic volumes on Division Street and Clinton Street (SE 12th to 39th)
  • mitigate for any diversion of autos from Division Street onto Clinton (SE 12th to 39th) as a direct result of the project
  • PBOT will conduct a series of before and after counts on both Division Street and Clinton Street. The counts will be taken during the same time period (week and month) and under similar weather conditions. Counts will also be conducted when the local schools are in session.

The plan says that if PBOT determines that diversion has occurred “staff will take measures to prevent any further diversion” and will work with the community to examine additional traffic calming measures on Clinton.

The other piece of this project that will impact bike traffic are two new bike boxes coming to the Seven Corners intersection where SE Ladd crosses Division to get to SE 21st. Ladd is a very busy bike route that connects SE Hawthorne to the Clinton Street bike boulevard. Below is a plan drawing of how the Division Streetscrape Project will change this intersection (note the two bike boxes and two sharrows (on Division)):

PBOT also cites more painted crosswalks and curb extensions on Division as “bicycle amenities” in the project. In addition to the crossing at SE Ladd/21st, the other two City bike routes that cross Division are at SE 26th and SE 34th. Neither of those crossings will receive new crosswalks or curb extensions.

In their adopted plan, PBOT refers to the bike-specific aspects of this plan as “amenities” and puts them in a chapter devoted to “design elements” which also includes information on public art and street lighting. As criteria for improvements to the street, PBOT lists “Vehicle Operations: Maintain adequate vehicle and truck access to local businesses and residences” and then has a separate criteria for “bike accessibility.”

It’s interesting to note that, according to PBOT counts (taken during summer), the number of people biking on SE Lincoln/Harrison, Clinton, and Ladd is greater than the number of people driving cars.

In September 2009, I reported that PBOT would install sharrows in the outside lanes on Division at Seven Corners but that idea did not survive. UPDATE: Sharrows are still in the plan but were left out of the report passed by Council. Project manager Liz Mahon says she will revise the report and make sure they are included in the final draft. The sharrows will be placed on SE Division between SE 21st and SE Ladd.

Given PBOT’s perspective on bicycle traffic in this plan and the reason they cited for not creating more space for people at Seven Corners, it’s obvious that the flow of motor vehicle traffic had the highest priority in designing this plan.

I ask folks to consider this: Will the City of Portland ever be able to reach its climate and active transportation goals if we continue to plan large projects around the primacy of motor vehicle traffic?

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  • Dave June 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    In one sense, one of the things I really appreciate about Portland is how much of the motor vehicle traffic is kept to the arterial streets. The thing I don’t appreciate about this though, is that it makes those arterial streets difficult to cross, and extremely uncomfortable to nearly impossible to ride on.

    It came up in the Burnside/Couch project as well, that they missed a big opportunity to accommodate bicycles on main arterial streets, and it seems that’s been done again here, in favor of permanent on-street parking. I agree with you, that we’re talking about being really bike friendly more than we’re doing much about it.

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  • Eve June 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    PBOT spent a bazillion dollars and years “improving” Sandy but its still awful. A few swales with plants, a few benches, a few traffic changes but its ugly and difficult to get from point a to point b whether on foot, bike or car.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Dave,

    I think we’re in danger in Portland of putting too much emphasis on our bike boulevard streets and simply giving up on arterials and commercial main streets in terms of non-motorized access.

    I think, given all the talented and creative and smart people we have working at PBOT and planning firms in town, it shouldn’t have to be an either/or choice.

    I’m also concerned that we are using outdated traffic modeling information to make important decisions about our streets. in this case, PBOT used the Highway Capacity Manual from 2000 to do its traffic analysis.

    Since the first time I heard a presentation about the Division project, I felt that the thing PBOT wasn’t considering is that if you actually design a street that is awesome for non-motorized users, you will then have more non-motorized users and therefore motorized traffic will decrease.

    i’m not a planner, but it seems to me like we must start doing projects in a way that makes a more significant break from the status quo — or we will never break from the status quo.

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  • Dave June 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    @Jonathan: I completely agree with everything you just said :)

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  • are June 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    i am seeing sharrows in the drawing you have posted. is there anything available online more recent than
    http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=108541
    note that PBoT is not talking about dealing with the existing diversion of motor traffic onto clinton. at the BAC meeting in April, ms mahon was asked to add language to the “diversion statement” addressing the problem of remediation (i.e., bringing the counts back down), and she said she would try to work on appropriate language. traffic counts on clinton at 26th are said to already be right around 3k, which is understood to be the upper limit for a bike boulevard.
    http://taking-the-lane.blogspot.com/2010/04/diversion-street.html

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      are,

      you might be seeing a cached version of the page. I made an update about 10 mins after posting to say that PBOT informed me that sharrows will be installed on Division b/w SE Ladd and SE 21st (which is the area with high bike traffic crossing Division). The pbot project manager said she forgot to call them out specifically in the plan but that she will revise the plan accordingly.

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  • John Russell (jr98664) June 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Sure, it may make it a little nicer with the bike boxes and whatnot. But really, this is far too close to the status quo when it comes to motor vehicles. As far as I’m concerned, with those sharrows, those are just big bike lanes with an occasional turning car to deal with.

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  • beth h June 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    “I ask folks to consider this: Will the City of Portland ever be able to reach its climate and active transportation goals if we continue to plan large projects around the primacy of motor vehicle traffic?”

    *******

    I think there’s another factor not being discussed fully here: growth. Portland’s population is on the ride and will continue to be. We cannot realistically expect everyone who moves here to suddenly embrace urban density, give up their cars and start riding bikes everywhere. The fact is that the majority of new arrivals to Portland in the next 20 years will insist on driving cars, and while people complain about traffic overflow (onto Clinton or any other “side” street), the fact is that traffic increases come from population growth.

    Clinton and other “side” streets were designed and built in a time when Portland was a MUCH smaller, more intimate city. With growth, we will lose that smallness and intimacy, and traffic will overflow as our population grows.

    Unless Portland wants to try and pass a law limiting the number of new arrivals — and, um, good luck with that — we will HAVE to have difficult and honest discussions about growth and how it will change Portland.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      But beth h, my perspective that things like population growth make it all the more imperative that we begin to build projects that send a clear signal to people that our city expects a large percentage of trips to be made by something other than single-occupancy vehicles.

      my thinking is that if we start to build streets where biking/walking/transit are the #1 expected mode than they will become it … and thus will reduce the amount of cars.

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  • cyclist June 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Jonathan:

    Given PBOT’s perspective on bicycle traffic in this plan and the reason they cited for not creating more space for people at Seven Corners, it’s obvious that the flow of motor vehicle traffic had the highest priority in designing this plan.

    This conclusion is rebutted by something you wrote earlier in the story:

    As PBOT suggests, the removal of travel lanes on Division could result in more cars using side streets. This issue raised significant concerns from nearby residents as well as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and members of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee who are worried about diversion onto the nearby Clinton Street and Ladd/Harrison bike boulevards.

    Yes, PBOT was worried about traffic flow, but they were also worried about diverting traffic into adjacent neighborhood streets, as were the BTA and neighborhood residents! The BTA didn’t want to get rid of the travel lane because it would adversely affect Clinton, the neighbors didn’t want to get rid of the bike lane because it would adversely affect the streets they live on. Can we both agree that neither of these groups care about the “primacy of motor vehicle traffic?”

    It’s bad enough that you’re editorializing at the end of a story tagged “news” (I thought you tried to keep a clear separation between news and editorials), but when your your conclusion contradicts evidence from earlier in your article it makes it look like you wrote the conclusion before you wrote the story.

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  • tony June 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’m glad we are converting more public space to free storage space for private property. I am sure that gas/registration fees will be increased accordingly. Not.

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  • pat h June 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Keeping car traffic moving is preventing a large idling traffic jam. Slowly moving cars are better than a sea of stop-n-go traffic, for preventing pollution. The volume of bikes at Seven Corners doesn’t approach that of cars.

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  • Perry June 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    beth h (#7),

    “The fact is that the majority of new arrivals to Portland in the next 20 years will insist on driving cars…the fact is that traffic increases come from population growth.”

    …have to disagree there. I believe that we need to find ways to attract the people who don’t rely entirely on the car – and dissuade the ones who do from moving to Portland. Vancouver, after all, is nearby…

    Traffic increases as a function of population growth need not be the rule given proper planning and (if necessary) regulation.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 24, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    cyclist,

    i appreciate your comment, but I disagree with you. you are correct in saying many people had concerns about diversion, not just PBOT, but diversion is just one issue here and people have different reasons for being concerned about it.

    as for your note about me mixing news/opinion. i don’t have any policies regarding that. yes, i have tried to keep them separate in the past, but in this story i decided to not keep them as separate. thanks for the feedback. perhaps i’ll go and add the “editorial” tag to this story.

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  • Falbo June 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Re: “Growth”

    We absolutely can expect newcomers to embrace density and car-alternative lifestyles. The Urban Growth Boundary has become the symbol of this goal.

    If you want to live and travel within 7 corners and enjoy the neighborhood, we want to you come by foot, by bike, by bus (and soon, by MAX.)

    If you want to travel through the neighborhood, en-route to downtown or some other destination. We don’t want you. Division is not a highway. Take Powell, take I-84.

    Division should be designed to promote travel within the neighborhood, not travel through the neighborhood.

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  • Dave June 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    @Falbo: that’s a really good point, and I think one that a number of the arterial streets could benefit from. They are treated as through-puts from outer Portland to Downtown, and that has caused them to become less-than-desirable for people who live on them. Another big reason they should be focused on moving people within the neighborhood, is much of the commercial development (restaurants, shops, cafes, etc) are focused on these arterials. They are the “main streets” of their neighborhoods, and should be treated as such, not as highways.

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  • mikeybikey June 24, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I’ll begin my criticism by stating that I do think it is a positive improvement to the streetscape, however, I think the citizen committee summed it up with: lost opportunity.

    PBOT skipped the chance to create a community space for the people who live in the area in favor of devoting most of the scarce commodity we call space for use by people who don’t live there and merely drive (and pollute) through it. I haven’t read the plan but from what is outlined here, PBOT really seems to have snubbed the recommendations of the local citizens and worse didn’t make any reasonable compromises in the spirit of those recommendations.

    I’m also afraid that the traffic increases on adjoining streets argument sounds too much like an excuse and not an acceptable explanation. Traffic is managed and successfully diverted from secondary streets in cities all around the world. Is there some intractable feat of traffic engineering that precludes the use of these tried-and-true solutions on Division/Clinton/Ladds? Probably not.

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  • John Lascurettes June 24, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I think there’s another factor not being discussed fully here: growth. Portland’s population is on the ride and will continue to be. We cannot realistically expect everyone who moves here to suddenly embrace urban density, give up their cars and start [using other means].

    Why not? Nobody moving to New York City expects to use their car as a primary means of getting around. Yes, Portland is not NYC, but we’re not L.A. either.

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  • Bjorn June 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    The city seems to make decisions about arterial streets based not on the desires of the people who live on/near those streets but instead on the desires of those who live far away but drive on those streets to get across town. Here we see the desires of the local community ignored in order to benefit people who do not live where the work is going to be done. Perhaps the best way to get livable streets is to work towards a city policy that increases the amount of credence given to local input/needs.

    Also on the diversion issue, there is a simple solution that could really help keep drivers who are going far from driving on bike boulevards but it requires a change in state law. Cities do not have local control over speed limits and Portland is lobbying to get it. Imagine if all bike boulevards in the city had their speed limits dropped from 25 to 20 or 15. Doing so would further indicate to motorists that these are not streets to be using for trips of over a mile.

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  • Greg Haun June 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I am so ashamed I let this go through without speaking up. I remember back 20 years ago when Division was a shithole 4-lane thoroughfare where no one dared park even though it was allowed. Now we’ve got a thriving business community and people actually park on the street, buffering the sidewalks, and creating essentially a 2-lane neighborhood collector.

    And we’re going to spend $7,000,000 to turn it back into a 4-lane thoroughfare, a la SE 39th/Cesar Chavez??

    Frickin insane.

    We’ve got to avert this “diversion” fear– we’ll never get anywhere thinking along those lines.

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  • OnTheRoad June 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Just as PBOT and Hawthorne Business District overruled the Citizens Advisory Committee about the Hawthorne streetscape 15 years ago– (see comments #16 and #29),
    Hawthorne Squeeze the CAC and neighborhood has again been overruled in the vision for this project.

    These CACs often lend the City and Business interests a sense of legitimacy to then go ahead and do what they wanted to do (or not do) in the first place.

    In the Hawthorne Plan from mid-’90s, they could say we don’t envision any bicyclers ever using or wanting to use Hawthorne. Can’t say that now about Division and its current bike traffic along with Clinton and Lincoln/Harrison.

    Fifteen years after the Hawthorne Plan was adopted with its short-sighted ideas, the business community’s vision of car parking taking up a goodly percentage of the Division streetscape has again prevailed in Southeast Portland.

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  • OnTheRoad June 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Greg (#20):

    Think you misread the story. Division will NOT be turned backed into 4-lanes except at 11/12th, Seven Corner and SE26th. It will have permanent parking.

    Under the new plan, PBOT will get rid of the “pro time lanes” and will reduce Division to two travel lanes (and two permanent parking lanes). Four travel lanes will be maintained at SE 11/12th, Seven Corners and SE 26th to “provide capacity during peak travel times.”

    But some of us think those parking lanes should have been used for bike and ped facilities and some parking.

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  • Greg Haun June 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    OnTheRoad (#22)

    I understood the story, its just that 11/12th, Seven Corners and SE 26th are the places where people walk, cross and park, and thats where the widening to 4 full-time lanes will happen.

    I just downloaded the Revised Streetscape plan (http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=51323&a=293386) and am glad to see that the 4-lane configuration is limited to about 2 blocks from the intersections (it varies a lot). I was fearing more like 3 or 4 blocks.

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  • RWL1776 June 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    …and all of this at the low low price of $241,379.31 per block. That’s almost a quarter million $ each.

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  • beth h June 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    “…have to disagree there. I believe that we need to find ways to attract the people who don’t rely entirely on the car – and dissuade the ones who do from moving to Portland. Vancouver, after all, is nearby…”

    I think we need to be very, very careful with statements like this. They can be read in ways that make a community sound classist and perhaps racist. It’s one thing to say that we want to have cities where people can feel safe while walking or bicycling.

    It’s entirely another to suggest that we would discourage those who drive — especially those who MUST drive — from living in a community simply because their “lifestyle” doesn’t fit the new status quo that community is hoping to establish.

    We still live in a world — and in a city — where many people are FORCED to drive great distances to find and keep employment, and where it is not always feasible (or affordable) to live close to where one works. This reality is part of the complex and tangled reality that is urban living in America, and Portland is by no means immune.

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  • Vance Longwell June 24, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    $7,000,000 is cited as the cost of implementing the plan, any idea what it cost to put together?

    I’ve been working the, “No Californians”, plan since birth. Oregonians verily drink the stuff in their mamma’s milk! And you can see how far that’s gotten me. Good luck with the plan to only allow white, vegan, trustafarians from Minnesota to live here. That’s gonna go over great at the Albina Ministry.

    Good grief.

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  • cyclist June 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Jonathan #14: That’s a pretty weak rebuttal, isn’t it? Approximately 1/3 of your story is dedicated to the issue of diversion, you that area residents and the BTA believed that lane removal could spur diversion, which would seem to be counter to what the BTA and area residents want. Nowhere in the story do you say that the BTA and area residents support lane removal for the entire stretch of road, and the way it’s written you make it sound as if the opposite is true.

    Furthermore, your conclusion is supported by a single paragraph in your story, the part where PBOT says that they need to maintain 4 lanes in a couple of stretches of road to maintain traffic flow. Even then, one of PBOT’s stated reasons for maintaining traffic flow is to reduce diversion, a stance supported by area residents and the BTA

    To sum up, your conclusion is lightly supported by facts in your article, and actually contradicted by some of the evidence. Your rebuttal contained no new supporting evidence and was vague. If the article was meant to be about the pro-car bias of PBOT, then you should basically scrub the part about diversion. If it wasn’t meant to be about the pro-car bias of PBOT then your concluding paragraphs don’t make any sense.

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  • Adam June 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    How about some improvements on Division in outer SE? If you are talking about not giving up on arterials then why not work on them where that is the main option for bikes to use? There is a serious lack of low traffic through streets out here. The main options are the arterials, yet very rarely do we see news of vast improvements being done to them.If Portland wants to live up to Platinum then they need to stop spending time on improvements where it’s already pretty darn nice to ride, and start focusing on the burbs.

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  • are June 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    re comment 19, i agree lower speed limits on clinton would help, but even more effective would be diverters every few blocks that physically prevent through motor traffic. the problem of high traffic counts on clinton was raised at the BAC meeting at which ms mahon presented the draft of this memo. she was asked to add language addressing this problem, and she/PBoT did not do it. clinton as such is not part of her project, i understand that, but we are hearing nothing at all from PBoT about remediation.

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  • are June 24, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    jonathan: did BAC give a written endorsement to the “diversion statement,” and if so can we get a copy?

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  • Jim Lee June 24, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I have no problems with Seven Corners now, riding, walking, using busses.

    The real problem in the neighborhood is at 26th and Clinton, where, with one bad blind corner, most west-bound bikers on Clinton routinely run the four-way red blinker, many at speed, and most motorists north-bound on 26th fail to come to a complete stop either.

    Sometimes a motorist on 26th will bomb across Clinton full tilt. I have seen a young mother with one kid in a child seat and another in a trailer bomb across 26th at speed oblivious to cross traffic.

    Seven Corners now is about as safe as it can be, but we need a solution for 26th and Clinton.

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  • Doug Klotz June 24, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    The reasoning for removing the pro-time lanes was primarily to make it easier to cross the street on foot (and bicycle), by allowing for curb extensions to be built, not particularly because more on-street parking was needed in those areas. Some of the ex-travel lanes will be used for stormwater swales. More parking will be removed for swales in the rest of the project as well.

    The diversion issue was of concern to Council, with questions about it from, I believe, all four council members in attendance. It was definitely on their radar.

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  • hatch June 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Jonathan is right to pose the question of whether the City is walking its talk. However, for the question to be as penetrating as it should be, a reframing is necessary: When will the people of Portland *demand* the City walk its talk?

    We Portlanders do this all the time. We pass really good, really ambitious long-range plans. Then over time we execute the low hanging fruit within those plans and ignore/punt on the really hard stuff.

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  • Max June 25, 2010 at 2:12 am

    I agree with #28.

    In my old neighborhood (see link from my name) I used to have to push my son’s stroller in the street because there was no sidewalk/curb.

    Portland seems to always find money to *redesign* a functioning streetscape for the “haves” while the “have-nots” continue to live without so much as a curb.

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  • Max June 25, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Oops, link didn’t survive. Here it is.

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  • Elliot June 25, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I understand the reason for keeping four lanes at 11th/12th and at 21st – there are a lot of turning movements going on and things would choke up badly if these were removed.

    I’m puzzled about their plans for 26th and 34th though… there aren’t as many turns being made at those intersections. I guess they’re worried about traffic backing up if there’s someone waiting to make a left and traffic can’t pass on the right? I’d rather see them disallow left turns (a la Hawthorne), and then move the bus stops to the far side of the to allow for curb extensions. Pedestrians need some extra visibility at those intersections, especially 34th. I wonder if curb extensions were nixed at those intersections just because of parking concerns. Can anyone involved explain?

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  • Elliot June 25, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Reality check to those people who think this plan is a travesty because it doesn’t prioritize bikes more or get harsher on car traffic. Division is already a pretty good neighborhood main street, and it’s only going to get better with this plan. One of the best and most popular bike boulevards in the city is two blocks away. Asking for bike lanes on a street this narrow and with dense commercial development is a bit much. Parking is needed on both sides of the street.

    I actually think that biking on Division will improve with the removal of the pro-time lanes. It should be easier to take the lane, and discourage cyclists from trying to dodging in and out of the parking lane, a dangerous practice that I can’t stand. With all the curb extensions and crosswalks and other friction that is going to be installed, traffic speeds are going to slow down considerably. This will also make it easier to take the lane.

    No, Division won’t be very comfortable to new riders, or to families on bikes, but those groups don’t like cycling on arterial or collector streets much, even if they have bike lanes.

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  • Elliot June 25, 2010 at 8:21 am

    One last thing. Props to Adam #28 and Max #34 – we definitely need to start focusing on outer east Portland.

    Everyone privileged enough to live in inner SE should take a chill pill about their neighborhood not being completely 100% perfect yet, and start thinking about someone other than themselves for a while.

    Re: Falbo # 15 (“If you want to travel through the neighborhood, en-route to downtown or some other destination. We don’t want you. Division is not a highway. Take Powell, take I-84.“). Really? Gee, thanks! Those of us who live near Powell really appreciate that sentiment. Please, speed all over my neighborhood so that your neighborhood can become closer to God. I’m happy Division and Clinton still exist and that the Mount Hood Freeway didn’t go in… but the folks over in Sullivan’s Gulch and Albina weren’t so lucky, were they?

    And Dave, #16, (“They [inner SE collectors] are treated as through-puts from outer Portland to Downtown, and that has caused them to become less-than-desirable for people who live on them.”). You must be delusional… Yes, inner Division is a “through-put” street and is “less-than-desirable”. Whereas the city treats 122nd as a lovely and quaint village main street, which is highly desirable for the people who live there.

    Give me a break.

    How about we bring the outer half of the city up to what people inside of 39th have first, before we worry about making all the “white, vegan, trustafarians from Minnesota” (good one Vance) think that they passed out and woke up in Amsterdam?

    Oops, did I say 39th? I meant “Cesar Chavez”.

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  • Spiffy June 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

    this is good new for pedestrians but doesn’t mean a thing to people on bikes because people on bikes don’t use division… people on bikes use clinton and lincoln…

    division just isn’t wide enough to accommodate both moving cars, parked cars, and bikes… and since there is clinton and lincoln there’s no need to accommodate bikes on division…

    but I’m in favor of calming the crazy 7 corners area… I try to avoid it and come at ladds and new seasons from the other sides…

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  • CommanderZ June 25, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Improvements to Division are existentially complex. There are historical travel patterns, business development issues and residential and housing needs that make any changes a win/lose in one way or another. It seems like the planners did the best they could with the hand that they were dealt. While there could have been fundamental changes that would make foot and bike travel more accommodating, a complete choke-off of auto traffic would put a lot of businesses like New Seasons out of business. Even neighborhood bike shops would likely suffer economic hardship. In other words, some of the very things that make the neighborhood desirable, would probably go away. For God’s sake, take Clinton or Lincoln, and ride on Division only when there is no other choice. And Falbo (#15) it’s hard to articulate how ridiculous and offensive your suggestion that anyone who doesn’t think like you needs to find another neighborhood. Since your not very open-minded or tolerant, maybe we don’t need you in this neighborhood.

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  • jim June 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    How are curb extensions good for bikes? They force bikes out into traffic.

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  • OnTheRoad June 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    The best thing I see coming out of this is that Division will be re-paved. The uneven and potholed pavement is killer on tires and rims.

    Then I will be taking the traffic lane since the curb extensions and parked cars will force me there.

    Fooey on taking Clinton and Lincoln with their speed humps and traffic islands.

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  • matt picio June 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    beth (#25) – That’s very true, but we also need to figure out how to get those people out of their cars, because cars are getting less affordable each year, and those people are trapped in a Catch-22: they can’t live without the car, and soon it’ll be too expensive to live WITH it.

    Jim Lee (#31) is right on. Seven Corners is pretty safe – there’s a huge number of cyclists there which motorists expect. It might be confusing the first time or two going through it, but it’s pretty easy to figure out. 26th & Clinton is ridiculous, however, especially since a Tri-Met line routes through that intersection in addition to all the motorists who believe the stop signs there are optional.

    Hey, PoPo and PPB – What will it take to have an enforcement action at 26th & Clinton?

    Elliot (#38) – I think the controversy over Holgate shows that there needs to be some community support in Outer NE/SE before we’ll see much improvement out there. Close-in projects have greater benefit due to increased trip density – with a city trying to get the most bang for its buck during a major recession, it’s to be expected. It’s easier to build out incrementally from a complete system in the core than to start doing large projects in the outer areas. Are there any advocates talking to the neighborhood and business associations out there to build support? If not, are you willing to do it? Until people get out to the meetings and start talking to the people who live there, there won’t be much of a push to get anything done out there.

    CommanderZ (#40) – Don’t forget the fact that almost every utility line in the city at some point runs under Division.

    Since I hit on jim (#41) a lot, let me acknowledge his point and say that’s a very good questions – yes, how are curb extensions good for bikes? They’re great for pedestrians, but can we improve pedestrian facilities without shoving bikes out into the open?

    OnTheRoad (#42) – It would help if we built our roads with concrete, and the sub-base to European standards rather than American ones. Good luck with that, though.

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  • Elliot June 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Matt,

    About Holgate, in the 90s there was plenty of fuss over facilities we take for granted, like the bike lanes on SE 7th Avenue and on Sandy Boulevard. Holgate now is like Michael Zokoych on Sandy in 1996. It was city staff pushing through those facilities 14 years ago, and it’s the same with Holgate now. PBOT knows that the frontier has moved, and advocates should help by following what the current controversy is (outer SE), not just by preaching to the choir (inner SE).

    As you point out, the car catch-22 is looming… but it’s looming over the heads of people living on the other side of 82nd. We can’t get those people out of their cars until we build some better bike facilities.

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  • BURR June 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    This project is terrible for bicyclists all around.

    The elimination of the pro-time lanes means that cyclists are losing a de-facto full lane width bike lane in each direction on Division itself, which gets plenty of use by cyclists, and the reduction in the number of travel lanes and institutionalization of curb side parking means more traffic diversion onto quieter neighborhood streets and more congestion on Division itself.

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  • GlowBoy June 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Overall, given the choice I’d rather see PBOT fully convert this stretch of Division to a single traffic lane each direction, and then make changes on Clinton to discourage diversion. This will give Division much more of a “main street” feel. That slows traffic and makes things much better for pedestrians. Ultimately this calmer environment will also benefit bicyclists.

    Also, with the street having much less of a “thoroughfare” feel, many of the through drivers will hopefully be diverted over to Powell where they belong.

    But no matter how I look at it, I think this project puts the cart before the horse:

    1. We inner-eastside residents are getting WAY disproportionate amenities relative to the tax dollars we get. Outer east Portland, including the stretch of Division that runs through it, is terribly neglected. I will certainly enjoy the Division Streetscape improvements (I personally visit Seven Corners far more often than any other commercial diestrict), but we’re not doing enough (or … really, ANY) similar projects to enhance walkability and bikeability from 82nd avenue on east.

    2. Improving Seven Corners is nice, but as already mentioned by several posters, it’s at least moderately pedestrian and bicycle friendly already. Meanwhile, the nearby 26th/Clinton intersection is an absolute nightmare, and will get worse as more traffic is diverted off Division. The redesign of this intersection ought to happen BEFORE Division Streetscape.

    3. You can’t discourage through-traffic on Division from 11th to 60th without addressing the 4-lane stretch from 60th to 82nd, whose excess capacity funnels in too much traffic from the east. At off-peak times those “extra” lanes only used by serious speeders to get around the cars already doing 30-40mph; combine such high speeds with long crossing distances, and this part of Division is a far nastier obstacle to pedestrians and bicyclists than any part of the study area. If we really want to do this right, we need to make Division 2-lane all the way out to 82nd, where you have a north-south routes to accomodate the diversion.

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  • Dillon June 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Whatever happened to the Clinton Street redesign that was supposed to happen last year?

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  • are June 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    timeline says everything was installed last year
    http://www.portlandonline.com/Transportation/index.cfm?c=46371

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 28, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    are and Dillon,

    I asked PBOT about this project back in December.. at that time they said things had been delayed. I haven’t any updates since then but I’ll ask again and post if anything substantial has changed (or maybe I’ll post to point out that nothing has changed).

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