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Ask BikePortland: Any changes planned for NE Ainsworth?

Posted by on September 1st, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Ainsworth can be a very tight fit.
(Photo: Peter Welte)

This week’s question comes from reader Kinya Hanada. Kinya touches on a question I’ve wondered myself for several years now. She loves riding on NE Ainsworth because it’s a “nice, direct route,” but wonders if there are any plans to make it more pleasant to bike on (emphasis mine).

“I was wondering if you know if there is anything planned for Ainsworth St., specifically on east of MLK. I like to ride there when I’m going to the NE side or to the Columbia river and it’s a nice direct route to take.

The only thing that detracts from the experience are the parked cars. There aren’t so many of them and the traffic is not too heavy most of the time, so it’s not super dangerous, but when I have to pass the parked cars and there’s a car approaching from behind, there isn’t enough room (or at least so it seems) for both car and I.

So, I either slow or stop to let the car go first or take the lane and make the car slow down. Either way is a bit inconvenient. I think every time I go through there that it would be so much better if the cars weren’t allowed to park there. It’s not as if there is shortage of parking in the area on the side streets. I think it would make a very nice bike corridor and encourage more people biking in the area if they made some changes there.”

Ainsworth is a designated
bike route.

Thanks for the question Kinyada. I live near Ainsworth, bike on it frequently, and I share your feelings about it. The street is seductively narrow and calm, but it’s sometimes uncomfortable to take the lane while a car pulls up right behind you. (Note that the speed limit on Ainsworth is 30 mph.)

The riding conditions on Ainsworth were brought into focus in November 2008 when a group of riders were passed too closely by a Portland Police officer in a patrol car and where then ticketed for impeding traffic. The tickets were ultimately dismissed and the incident led to a bike law police training video that was completed a year later.

What the street needs is a bit more breathing room for bikes and cars. That leaves two choices. Either remove the on-street parking or widen the street by cutting into the large median in the middle of the two lanes (it’s a couplet separated by a tree-lined park).

Sunday Parkways Northeast 2009-65
Ainsworth during Sunday Parkways.

The on-street parking is an interesting issue. PBOT is loathe to get into parking removal battles, especially when many of the houses don’t have any other place to park. I think that moving people from A to B is a more important use of our public right-of-way than private vehicle storage, but parking removal is a very touchy subject and it’s unlikely the City would propose it just yet.

As for building some sort of bikeway into the median, I wouldn’t count on that either. It turns out that the wide and wonderful median is officially recognized as the Ainsworth Linear Arboretum (which celebrated its 5th anniversary last week). Chopping into that arboretum — with its sensitive roots from 60 different species of trees — to put a bikeway, is pretty much a non-starter.

Interestingly, Ainsworth is signed (see photo) and mapped as an official bike route. On a PBOT map of the “Recommended Bikeway Network,” Ainsworth is labeled as being slated for a “Future separated in-roadway” treatment, which could be either a standard bike lane, a buffered bike lane, or a cycle track. The 2030 Bike Plan makes no mention of a forthcoming project on Ainsworth and I haven’t heard of anything planned either.

Further making it not too likely that a bike facility is coming to Ainsworth any time soon, is the Holman Bike Boulevard project. Holman is just one block north and many people prefer it to Ainsworth already.

This is probably a longer answer than you were looking for, but I hope it answers your question and gives you some background on riding conditions on Ainsworth.

— Got a bike question? Ask us. Browse past questions and answers at our Ask BikePortland archives.

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Comments
  • Ethan September 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Holman is only one block north . . . long block though it is.

    (Thanks Ethan. made the edit — Jonathan)

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  • Bjorn September 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Interesting in light of your earlier article, I have linked a google street view of the biggest problem with Ainsworth from a vulnerable users perspective:

    http://bit.ly/9xpRTO

    Check that sign right there, this street is one of a very few that pretty much meets the standard laid out for slow speeds by the state law around narrow streets, yet it is signed as a bike route and a 30 mph street.

    The city should do something, my girlfriend ended up with a severe concussion when she was forced off the road by a raging driver one night on ainsworth. One easy thing to do that would lower conflict would be to change the speed limit to one that is far lower, which they might be able to do. I think it is a grey area since it is one wide street with a median that makes it like 2 really narrow streets.

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  • nebiker September 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    The road rage issue on Ainsworth is out of control. Drivers are brutal on this street towards bikers, especially during the evening commute. It’s the only segment of my whole commute where I have any issues with drivers. I think lowering the speed limit would be a huge improvement to the street as well as the neighborhood. Ultimately making it safer for everyone.

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  • gregg woodlawn September 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I 2nd Ethan- Holman is one block north and getting Bike Boulevard/ Greenway treatment.

    I 2nd Bjorn. This is such a beautiful street. I ride down it with all of my out of state guests (And it is a stressful ride.) Lowering the speed limit on Ainsworth to 25 would be a great start!

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  • Travis September 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I’ve lived off of Ainsworth for the last six years or so, and commuted by bike for most of that time. While I’d love to see the speed limit lowered on Aisnworth to 25 I’ve always been surprised that anyone bikes on it. I, most of my neighbors who bike, and several of the other folks I know who live and bike in the Concordia/Woodlawn area have always used Holman, and that’s long before it was ever designated as a bike boulevard. It’s only a block away people…

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  • cyclist September 1, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Greg Woodlawn #4: The difference between 25 and 30 probably won’t matter as far as the cyclist/auto interaction is concerned. Most cyclists on this section are going to be traveling at somewhere between 10 and 15 miles and hour, or much slower than the limit.

    Both cyclists and drivers are going to have to be courteous to each other on Ainsworth, because I don’t see another solution out there. Cyclists aren’t going to want to bike the extra block north to Holman, and residents of Ainsworth aren’t going to want to walk an extra block or two to their cars.

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  • beth h September 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    “…parking removal is a very touchy subject…”

    Jonathan, it’s much more than that. It’s a freaking third rail and any elected official who proposes removing it from ANYWHERE is risking his political capital.

    When I was involved in planning meetings for the revised Portland Transit Mall (SW 5th and 6th Avenues), the issue of parking removal came up and we were informed by the city’s bicycle planners that it was such a political hot potato that they would not even include it as a suggestion in their report to the City Council.

    That said, Holman IS a lovely alternative, except when motorists use it (particularly the section between MLK and 13th or so) as an alternative to Ainsworth, which happens a LOT during rush hour. Then, it’s so narrow that someone HAS to get out of the way, and things can get tight in there.

    I maintain that CAR-FREE STREETS are THE solution to the tension between bicyclists and motorists currently being asked to “share” the streets. Anything else is simply a tiny band-aid on a very big problem.

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  • bikey mama carie September 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I don’t mind going over to Holman, but I feel that I have to stop so many more times as I don’t trust the odd intersections. So I mostly stay on Ainsworth and take the lane if/where I feel like I need to and wish it was marked for 20MPH not 25 or 30!

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  • mikeybikey September 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I live 1/2 block south of Ainsworth. I rarely use it for cycling and I never use it for walking despite walking and cycling making up 99% of my mode split. I don’t use Ainsworth because the traffic is too fast. This makes it stressful for biking and too noisy for a pleasant walking experience. Its a beautiful street and could be a wonderful, direct corridor for bikes and peds if we could get some traffic calming installed and/or the speed limits lowered. How about a pilot 20 is plenty project for Ainsworth :)

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  • are September 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    it does seem hard that you buy an expensive house on a linear arboretum with no driveway, expecting to park on the street, and then years later the city takes away the onstreet parking. doesn’t that seem hard? c’mon, you know it does. on the other hand, city ordinance 16.20.120, paragraph (q), forbids parking “[i]n a manner that creates a traffic hazard impeding the safe movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic.” hmmn.

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  • 9watts September 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    A lower speed limit sounds like a great idea, but with all due respect, your photo at the top shows what looks to me like a decent amount of room on this street for cars and bikes both going the same direction. Can someone speak to the number of feet that remain between the median curb and the parked cars?
    Would striping a bike lane make any difference?

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  • Stephen Upchurch September 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I live on Ainsworth but have stopped riding it on a regular basis as I believe the chance of conflict and injury is too great were I to ride it regularly. I definitely fall into the “enthusiastic & confident” category of cyclist but something tells me repeated riding on Ainsworth is trouble. I will take Holman but it rarely makes any sense as I’m usually headed south to some degree.

    Personally I’d love to see lower speeds on Ainsworth and would welcome the removal of parking east of MLK. There is parking on the side streets and many, many homes on Ainsworth have private parking.

    So it troubles me to bike on the street I live on. I wonder how the city would respond if I thought that driving on my street was just too dangerous?

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  • Joe September 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    “bike route ” sign looks lost in the trees, Ainsworth looks like side walk
    action. Wish we could free up the streets
    look like parking lots.

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  • maxadders September 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I haven’t been on Holman lately– but last I heard, some of those sketchy uncontrolled intersections were slated to get two-way stops allowing more unimpeded bike traffic. Has that happened yet?

    I used to commute to work every day via Holman (after too many verbal and physical threats from motorists drove me off Ainsworth) and the the only thing I disliked were the many intersections. Even when there was already signed a two-way stop for cross traffic, I found that drivers didn’t stop reliably. I had more than a few pull out in front of me without even looking.

    Ainsworth will always make more sense as a bike thoroughfare. Seems like the drivers who use it are mostly just taking advantage of it as a way to avoid heavy traffic on Columbia or Lombard. They’ll blow through Ainsworth at 40mph, and if you ask me, the neighborhood would be much better off without ‘em. If I had my druthers, I’d erect a barrier to automobile traffic at 33rd.

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  • spare_wheel September 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Since many drivers scream down this road at 40+ mph I don’t think decreasing the speed limit is going to help at all.

    Ainsworth needs speed bumps.

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  • Mindful Cyclist September 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I rode on Ainsworth once and decided that was enough. I even had at least 3 cars be very patient with me and allow me to take the lane. It was just more of the hassle of having to constantly look over my shoulder to make sure a driver was paying attention.

    Holman is a very good alternative. Plus, Ainsworth really is nothing more than a residential street. If it was a business district like Hawthorne where there were several businesses to frequent, I could understand making a lot of changes. For now, however, I will stick with Holman.

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  • Mindful Cyclist September 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    @are #10. As far as buying “an expensive house,” back in 1990, the median house value in the Concordia neighborhood was a little under $55,000. http://tinyurl.com/25mxum5

    We can’t assume that everyone bought within the past 5 years.

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  • david brokaw September 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Hi,

    I ride this way on occasion and I’ve actually been thinking about this problem for a while now. I think I have a solution.

    Instead of ripping out any of the center median, you could install recessed parking bays at varying intervals along the street. There aren’t a huge number of homes that front onto Ainsworth, so you probably would only need 2-3 stalls per block. You would only need to recess the stalls a few feet to have enough room for a bike lane.

    Where you don’t have parking bays the city could actually narrow the street to increase landscaping opportunities or provide for stormwater facilities and still have room for a vehicle and a bike.

    Designing roads is what I do for a living so if people think this is a decent idea I’m happy to sketch it up and take it to the city.

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  • pdxebiker September 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Having lived off Ainsworth for a while, I concur that Holman is a nice (and soon to be nicer) alternative. I’ve had some scary moments on Ainsworth (seriously, person in a car? driving on the median to pass me? that can’t be good for the trees either), and have gotten to be fairly assertive in taking the lane when I feel it’s safer. It’s still a nice arterial, though, and I continue to ride it.

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  • travis p September 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I ride Ainsworth everyday on my road bike. I can keep a pretty good pace heading east in the afternoon rush, but have had some close calls and one Tacoma that hit the median passing me -that one could’ve been bad.

    If I’m riding my bar hopper at 10 mph I take another route. Just can’t compete with traffic.

    This said, I think Ainsworth is just too dangerous for majority of bicycles (and their riders).

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  • are September 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    obviously not wide enough for a striped bike lane. sharrows would be welcome (roger?). speed bumps are a good idea. the few times i have ridden ainsworth betw. MLK and 33rd, yes, okay, i get that it can be intimidating, but if you are going to do it you have to claim your space. usually there are sufficient gaps in the parked cars every couple of blocks that you can wave a few motorists through and then reassert the lane. if you act like you are in charge, and you show a little consideration, people will generally play along.

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  • Alan September 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    David @ 18, I was thinking along the same lines. There is room for a variety of changes that would help. Besides parking bays, most parts of the sidewalk-sides of the street have room to extend a cobbled gutter two to three feet farther back if the existing curb were removed. Cars could put two wheels in the gutter, that much farther off the street, while the cobbles would allow runoff permeation and be repairable as tree roots encroached.

    As narrower “city cars” become more common it will also mean more room for bikes (and not just on Ainsworth).

    But a bike lane…I’m concerned there really isn’t enough room for a good one and a mediocre one means pinching bikes where they should really be taking the lane, pushing us into the door zone, as well as the right-cross problem.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    are,

    sharrows seem like a great idea. as do speed bumps. I’ll ask Roger what he thinks (he, and other PBOT staffers used to comment here more regularly but they haven’t been doing so as much lately for some reason).

    And David Brokaw,

    I’d love to see your sketch. I think too often we think in terms of all/nothing. As in, it’s either staying like it is, or we’re ripping out all the parking. I think we lack imagination in solving these problems sometimes. I think a similar solution to yours might be to have special bike traffic turnout zones. Remove three parking spaces in the middle of each block so people on bikes have a refuge to turn into if a car is breathing down their neck (similar to turnouts on rural highways). I’m proposing a similar idea for truck/service loading zones on the buffered bike lane streets (Stark and Oak) downtown.

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  • Zaphod September 1, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    It does seem rather shameful that a beautiful “Linear Arboretum” cannot be dedicated to human-scale, human-speed activity. The mentality that we citizens must always prioritize motorized dehumanizing transport for nearly every street is depressing. A quick review of the grid shows arterial streets 2 and 3 blocks in either direction.

    I know that I’m a dreamer but imagine the Sunday Parkways-esque feel that would exist on this street every day.

    Meanwhile Holman is a bit of a train wreck with cracked pavement, uneven joints and strewn with potholes. The dichotomy between the smoothness and beauty of Ainsworth and the lumpiness and inefficiency of Holman is stark.

    That said, I ride on Holman because bouncing along the cracks is not stressful. And giant balloon tires certainly help.

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  • Zaphod September 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Hrmph… failed to actually articulate my whole thought

    I know that I’m a dreamer but imagine the Sunday Parkways-esque feel that would exist on this street every day.

    This if we were to {gasp} make it a completely car-free street.

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  • Steve B. September 1, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I love the juxtaposition of a great community asset (the park) surrounded by a horrific street that people don’t want to walk on, let alone bike.

    Why not EXTEND the arboretum completely to one side, trim a little bit of the other side, make it 1 way, with parking. The other side could be considered park space/MUP and be accessible to bikes. This way, the arboretum would actually grow in the process!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    great ideas folks.. love your thought steve. Like I said, we should get creative with situations like this. Now, who wants to launch a “Re-imagine Ainsworth” campaign? It would be a great collab. opportunity b/w Friends of Trees and Active Right of Way (or BTA, but I doubt they’d do it).

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  • caffiend September 1, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    if you act like you are in charge, and you show a little consideration, people will generally play along.

    this has been my experience on ainsworth as well!

    i’ll start riding holman as soon as (a) cars stop regularly running the stop signs through it, and (b) it gets repaved. i’ve had more near-misses on it than i have on ainsworth… not to mention it’s a total crotch-buster! i’m wishing the roughest streets would stop being tagged as bike-boulevards/greenways!

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  • Steve B. September 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Here’s my quick and dirty vision: http://www.flickr.com/photos/intersection911/4950057323/

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  • Spiffy September 2, 2010 at 6:58 am

    david brokaw and Steve B. have some great ideas…

    I don’t see how that street gets away with having such a high speed limit…

    lower it down to at least 25, preferably 20, and install some speed bumps and sharrows…

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  • spare_wheel September 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

    20th in SE PDX was very problematic — and speed bumps and traffic calming have made a huge difference (at least between Hawthorne and Division).

    I also gotta say that by being fearful to take Ainsworth cyclists are helping perpetuate the problem.

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  • maxadders September 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I’m a fairly aggressive / assertive rider (I’ve been bike commuting got 10+ years!) and even I deemed Ainsworth too much of a hassle in its current state.

    Drivers see a wide, separated, smooth street with few stop signs and floor it. 40mph is no exaggeration.

    So while I’m happy to stick to the right to let traffic pass, when I need to “re-assert” my lane to go around parked vehicles, there’s often a car or truck rushing up behind me. When they can’t “beat” me, they often get aggravated– tailgating, passing unsafely or initiating a charming little road rage scenario.

    Anyhow, I think the “Re-Imagine” campaign is a great idea. If Ainsworth wasn’t such a convenient cut-through for car drivers, it could live up to its own scenery.

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  • David Brokaw September 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Here’s my quick sketch of an option for Ainsworth.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30863000@N07/4951865292/

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  • A.K. September 2, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Perhaps some of those curb-style road dividers with bike “passages” are needed every few blocks (I have no idea what the technical name for these are, but they look just like a curb with a cutout for a bike tire to go through).

    Maybe every 5 blocks or so, force drivers to make a left or right turn at an intersection, but allow bikes to continue through.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 2, 2010 at 10:18 am

    excellent David! thanks for sharing. I love how we’re crowd-sourcing this problem. I’ll work on a f/u post to share these images (from david and Steve B) and the other ideas in this comment thread. thanks.

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  • adam September 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

    whoa, Steve B, now that is some thinking.

    my initial thought was that Ainsworth should be removed from the bike maps – I ride it all the time and even keeping a good 20mph, the drivers and their heavy machines are extremely unfriendly on that road – for whatever reason.

    Make Ainsworth ONE WAY!

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  • kerry September 2, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I live directly on Ainsworth and the day I started cycling was the day I started parking my car on a side street.

    I agree that Holman is a pain with the cracks and the uncontrolled intersections…depending on my mood boldly using Ainsworth works better.

    As a resident I would LOVE to have the speed limit on Ainsworth reduced to 20 MPH!! It would cut down on the number of people jumping curbs and clipping side view mirrors, too.

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  • Duncan September 2, 2010 at 11:04 am

    this isnt my hood, but I have ridden this street many times and never had an issue- it is way better than many of the east west arterial roads here in SE (Hawthorne, Division etc). Seems like there is plenty of room- the problem sounds to me to be behavioral not mechanical. The question becomes how do we change behavior?

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  • boneshaker September 2, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve been tail-gated, honked at, cursed at, revved at, and just been in the sights of pissed-off motorists for riding on Ainsworth east of MLK. It’s a horrible spot for bikes. Thanks for the Holman comment, I agree it’s much better.

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  • Another Dan September 2, 2010 at 11:53 am

    The posted speed on Ainsworth should be no more than 25. Earlier this year, the speed on Denver was reduced from 35 to 25. Denver has way more space for the various modes than Ainsworth.

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  • Duncan September 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I have to agree that 30 is pretty fast for a street like Ainsworth. 25 but most of what I am reading is about how drivers interact with bikes.

    I know in my hood that I have complained to the city about cars on woodard, (particularly around Franklin HS) and seen the police step up enforcement afterwards. If drivers are menacing bikes then the bikers should call the police and report it. Isnt their a traffic control complaint phone number?

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  • gumby September 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I’ve had lots of problems with aggressive drivers on Ainsworth including a cop that yelled at me to “Get off the road!”. Holman has it’s problems too though. There are poor sight-lines at some of the intersections, lighting is poor at night, pavement is rough and people don’t stop at the stop signs. I wind up going about half the speed on Holman that I do on Ainsworth. Holman is slated for a bike boulevard makeover next summer that should help alleviate some of these problems. For now though, NE Going is my preferred east-west route.

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  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth September 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    While I think folks have some creative ideas for Ainsworth, I think PBOT is rightly focusing on making Holman a Neighborhood Greenway.

    If you’ve ridden Going since PBOT has switched the stop signs, you’ll know that these 2nd generation bike boulevards offer the best of both worlds (few interruptions/stop signs and low traffic flow).

    In the meantime, I ride Jarret, though I concede that it’s a nuisance when you hit Alberta Park and have to scoot over to Ainsworth or Killingsworth.

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  • beth h September 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    “I also gotta say that by being fearful to take Ainsworth cyclists are helping perpetuate the problem.” (# 31)

    ****

    I think it is inappropriate to blame bicyclists for their fear when they must navigate streets that were designed for motor vehicles. Not every bicyclist is fast or aggressive enough to manage Ainsworth when traffic volume is high, and blaming them for being too “meek” or too slow solves nothing and actually works to discourage some people right off their bicycles.

    Instead, let’s continue this discussion and turn it into a movement to make Ainsworth more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. People can park their cars on side streets; or pay a fee for the privilege of parking on Ainsworth (make the fee high enough to hurt, and to help cover costs of street imptovements).

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  • GlowBoy September 2, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Like #16, I rode Ainsworth once (primarily because it was labeled as a bike route on my map – ha!) and that was enough. What a nightmare.

    Speed bumps would be a welcome addition, although putting them on arterials often gets the kibosh from the fire bureau. First responders will tell you that every second counts when you’re heading to the scene of a heart attack.

    re: “I also gotta say that by being fearful to take Ainsworth cyclists are helping perpetuate the problem.” (spare_wheel, #31): You first!

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  • Unit September 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    fwiw, I believe Ainsworth lanes are 16′ wide – that only leaves 9′ for cars to sneak by parked cars. Take away the parking and watch the speeds go way up…not a good idea.

    Take speed control away from the myopic state speed board and allow the city to set a rational limit of 20mph – no reason to go faster on such a narrow neighborhood street. Speed bumps could seal the deal, and make it a safe bike/car street for a minimal investment.

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  • spare_wheel September 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    beth_h,
    i think the risks of cycling ainsworth are being exaggerated. imo, many pdx cyclists suffer from what i term “whyridehawthorne” syndrome. this serious ailment causes experienced fearless cyclists to avoid smoothly paved streets with efficient signaling for rutted goat paths. as cyclists we should seek to make *all* streets more bicycle friendly.

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  • spare_wheel September 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    “Speed bumps could seal the deal, and make it a safe bike/car street for a minimal investment.”

    I’d gladly trade 200 bike boulevard sharrow (?!?) symbols for one speed bump.

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  • beth h September 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    @ spare_wheel (# 47):

    I’m with you that we need to work to make all streets more bike-friendly. However I’m not willing to put my life on the line to make the point.

    Three years ago my partner and I were riding along Ainsworth and watched in horror as a cyclist traveling in the opposite direction was forced to sideswipe into a parked car, by a truck driver who was too impatient to let her get past the parked car and move aside. The rider wasn’t hurt seriously, just scraped and very shaken; but the truck driver never stopped.

    If we hope to grow ridership among bicyclists, we MUST make more streets safely passable by ALL levels and ages of cyclists, and not just the “experienced, fearless” ones. Otherwise, our ridership numbers will simply not grow enough to make for the kind of critical mass we need to change public opinion. Very often, legislation must happen before education.

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  • Fred September 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Holman is for bikes… Aisworth is for cars (at least until you are west of MLK). Folks, I commute through NE every day, am pro-bike, and think its ridiculous for anyone to ride on Ainsworth. Sorry, but bikes can’t have the whole city and this street is too narrow. We have all of Holman! Riding down Ainsworth is as nutty as riding down 33rd.

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  • Steve September 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I have lived near NE 36th & Ainsworth for over ten years. I ride both Ainsworth and 33rd almost daily, and rarely do I experience problems with drivers. Holman and other bike boulevards in the vicinity like NE 37th are great for reduced auto traffic (and for when I am riding with my wife), but they are also much slower and do not always connect to where I want to go. The key to riding on both Ainsworth and on NE 33rd is to ride fast, confidently and in a predictably straight line; to avoid weaving in and out of the “parking spaces;” and to take the lane when needed.

    It is somewhat tight and does not allow for the door zone, but there is actually enough room on Ainsworth for a normal-sized car (not talking SUV here), a parked car (again, non-SUV), and a biker to all be side-by-side on the street. I know that many bikers (and drivers) wouldn’t be comfortable with this scenario, but we’re not nuts for choosing a smooth, fast road to get us where we are going.

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  • are September 2, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    fred 50. when you are through chewing up the parts of the city you want, you be sure to spit out something for us. and we will grovel and thank you.

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  • are September 2, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    beth 49, i appreciate the story you tell, i really do, but let me suggest that if the cyclist had controlled the lane, the truck could not have forced her to the side. it is only when you let them get up next to you that sh*t begins to happen.

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  • spare_wheel September 3, 2010 at 8:24 am

    what are said.

    if cycling is really going to take off in pdx we are going to be pissing off motor vehicle users (see why we use the c word) far more than we are now.

    “Sorry, but bikes can’t have the whole city and this street is too narrow.”

    Let me guess…you drive ainsworth.

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  • Fred September 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Are 52 and Spare Wheel:

    I don’t drive Ainsworth often. I ride, everywhere. I drive about once a month. My point is that to make Portland bike friendly, we have to SHARE the roads. Not all roads should be shared equally. Part of sharing means making some roads primarily for bikes, and others primarily for cars. What’s wrong with going east-west on bikes on Holman and Going? What’s wrong with having some roads that are better suited for cars? That way, cars are funneled off the bikeways and onto other streets. They have to go somewhere, and they aren’t going away. The idea that we can create a bike utopia by making driving hell is, unfortunately, not practical.

    Look at Amsterdam. You have roads that are effectively off-limits for bikes and others off limits for cars.

    I suppose I came off sounding more “absolute” than intended though. When I (very rarely) drive I don’t mind seeing a cyclist on Ainsworth and as a cyclist I treat them with care. From a practical standpoint though, I know that if I bike it (east of MLK) twice a day every day, Darwin is going to settle this matter for me, no matter .

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  • spare_wheel September 3, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    “Look at Amsterdam. You have roads that are effectively off-limits…”

    but not *residential* streets, such as, ainsworth.

    “by making driving hell”

    i don’t want to make driving hell — i want to make it slower and safer.

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  • Fred September 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Well I guess bikeways are pointless then, Since the whole objective seems to be to turn every single street into a bikeway. Lets paint those symbols on every street in town. Preeeety. Thats money well spent. Nice management. Too bad our kids are stupid and some of those streets remain unpaved.

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  • Tim Egan September 4, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I live right off of 26th and Holman one block north of Ainsworth. I started riding my bike on Holman after they made it a designated bike route but I personally find it to be MORE dangerous than riding on Ainsworth. The local residents are either disrespectful of bikers on their street or they just don’t pay attention entering onto Holman. Three times I have almost been blindsided by a car coming off a side road onto Holman. And of course, the road is complete shit. Pot holes galore, not maintained whatsoever. What I would really like to see is to have Ainsworth become a bike and car thoroughfare with one side for bikes only and the other side a two-way street for cars with no parking. That may not be possible in some places but it would be worth visiting. The bike side could also include a running/walking path as well since many use the street for exercising.

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  • Tim Egan September 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

    *road

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  • Anonymous September 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    re comment 57, you’re right, all the paint and signage and lighting and pavement put everywhere for automobiles is “pretty,” and anything else is not. actually, in a perfect world i would not be asking for paint, but it seems to be the only language motorists understand.

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  • Chris May 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Bicyclists should be on Holman and NOT allowed on Ainsworth at all. This should be for cars only.

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