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Bethany Blvd widening approved: See what’s in the plans

Posted by on February 25th, 2011 at 7:45 am

Plan drawing of Bethany expansion.

On Tuesday night, Washington County Commissioners voted 3-2 to widen Bethany Boulevard north of Highway 26 (map). The current roadway is two lanes and Tuesday’s vote was for a four-lane design that will bulge out to five lanes where left turns are permitted.

We haven’t been following this project closely, but The Oregonian reported that the meeting exposed some tension, not just from neighbors who will be affected by the project, but also on the Commission itself:

Project area (link).

The final vote also exposed a significant rift between Chairman Andy Duyck and commissioners Bob Terry and Roy Rogers, who voted for the widening, and commissioners Dick Schouten and Greg Malinowski, who opposed it.

“The time has come for us to think less about the gold-plated and figure out a way to make our resources go further,” said Schouten, whose motion to delay the project entirely until new traffic and population projections come in next year was defeated, also by a 3-2 tally.

Added Malinowski, who represents that portion of unincorporated Washington County, “Five lanes tears the heart out of a community.”

The Oregonian estimates total project cost (with right-of-way acquisition) could be as much as $14 million for the 0.7 mile stretch between NW Bronson Road and NW West Union Rd.

Now that the vote has happened, I was curious what the project has in store. Stephen Roberts from the Washington County Deptartment of Land Use & Transportation sent us over the cross-section…

Cross-section of the new, wider NW Bethany Blvd.
Download larger (PDF) –

And he offered this explanation:

Portions of the road (south of Avondale, at Oak Hills Drive, at Telshire Drive, and at West Union Road) will be 5-lanes (to allow for left-turn movements), and the road will taper to 4-lanes (with no left turns permitted) in between… bike lanes and sidewalks will be continuous throughout the entire project.

As you can see from the cross section drawing, the 58-foot (curb-to-curb) roadway will have 54 feet of vehicle lanes, 10 feet of which are set aside only for bicycles.

I know we have some readers who ride in this area and who have been following this project. What’s your take? Did Washington County make a good decision here? Will five foot bike lanes make for a comfortable riding experience on this road?

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Comments
  • kellie rice February 25, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I was really hoping that the 3not5.org campaign and concept would become a reality. This new road won’t look that much different than 185th. What a disappointment to this community.

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  • NW Biker February 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I live close by and use Bethany almost daily. While I understand the 3not5 concerns, 3 lanes won’t help reduce the congestion on Bethany. Left turns aren’t the problem on Bethany. The volume of traffic is, so I think two car lanes in each direction is (somewhat unfortunately) necessary. This area is only going to grow, and keeping Bethany one lane each way isn’t tenable.

    Of course, it would help if Washington County would make the slightest effort to coordinate traffic signals, and facilitate traffic flow rather than hinder it. With independently functioning traffic signals that are triggered to change by the presence of side traffic (the tail wagging the dog), it’s nearly impossible to avoid stopping at every single traffic light.

    I am happy to see bike lanes in the design, and I guess 5 feet is better than what’s there now: no bike lanes and a “shoulder” that drops into deep ditches right at the white line. I wouldn’t ride my bike on Bethany on a bet. Still, whether I’ll feel safe riding there after the construction is done will depend on lots of factors, including whether they increase the speed limit (not that anyone pays attention to speed limits).

    I’m sure it’ll be interesting to watch.

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    • matt picio February 25, 2011 at 8:50 am

      5 lanes won’t help reduce congestion, either – the congestion isn’t dependent on road throughput, it’s a function of the local population density. 5 lanes will provide relief for about 6-8 weeks, until everyone in the area figures out that the construction is completed and the new road is “faster” – then the system will rebalance, and Bethany’s congestion level will rise back to where it was before at 3 lanes – except now there will be more cars producing more pollution.

      Unfortunately, it’s very hard to get that concept across to many people. As a general rule, people aren’t taught system dynamics, and they tend not to learn it on their own.

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      • rigormrtis February 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

        Matt, if you are talking about population density being the driving force behind the number of cars, that connotes that people are traveling to and from Bethany.

        regardless of the route they take, the counts should remain the same, as they are dependent upon the population, not the road capacity. People are getting home somehow already…..so I doubt there will be a pollution impact.

        And the concept you are describing is referred to as “induced demand”.

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      • q`Tzal February 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

        We need to take detailed counts of all roads in and out of this area.
        If companies can hire “under-employed” people to wave advertisement signs all day long we can get weekly counts for several months prior to, during and post construction to demonstrate, once and for all, that induced demand is actually real.
        It will need to be cross correlated with increases in residency, employment and commercial activity but that is just data handling.
        When you can show a 15% increase in traffice versus a 5% growth in vehicles registered to residents and those employed in the area the numbers should be enough for those still rooted somewhat in reality.

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  • Brian E. February 25, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I would have rather they chose 3 lanes for the near term and wait to see if we really need 5. It seems our Commissioners practice their own form of Manifest Destiny.

    185th is a Monster of a road in comparison. 8 lanes + bike lanes and sidewalks. At some point, adding lanes just gets counter productive. It just takes to long to flush out the intersection on a light change. This is especially becoming a problem with the in crease in Pedestrian use we have been seeing out here.

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  • Morgen February 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    In general, I am against widening roads any further for vehicles, parking or bike lanes. Our roads/parking lots are such a huge percentage of our neighborhoods now that I can’t see that as being a good thing.

    I have a two lane/2 parking spots wide street in front of my house, roughly 20 feet. Then I have a an alley behind for what? 10 feet? That’s almost 50% of the house lot size. When I look at overhead maps I am always surprised at how much land we are allocating to simple traffic flow.

    There need to be solutions that don’t involve increaseing the percentage of flat pavement to other types of areas.

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  • Merckxrider February 25, 2011 at 9:14 am

    What if: Roads were designed with speed sensors under the pavement for tougher speed policing;
    developers were required to fund extra Tri Met routes in perpetuity; a “zero” was added to each speeding fine; and police auto-theft departments were defunded. I see a lot of discussion here about making cycling and walking more attractive but little about making driving less so–we need to reduce the demand for the perceived “need” of extra traffic lane.
    Kind of like having heroin addicts get bigger veins transplanted into their arms!

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  • Brad February 25, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Bethany just became safer for cyclist and pedestrians thanks to this. I know that sentiment will anger the anti-auto crowd but this puts bike infrastructure and improved sidewalks where none existed before.

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    • El Biciclero February 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      Addition Bike lane = more comfort for cyclists traveling the entire length of this stretch.

      Addition of two more “auto” lanes = likely increase in the 35mph. speed limit (my guess is that soon it will be like Murray Blvd.: 45mph) = Less comfort for cyclists.

      Four Lanes + “bulges” = rendering this road unusable by cyclists who live in the adjacent neighborhoods.

      Anyone in a neighborhood along this street, e.g., Oak Hills, Spyglass, is now going to have a heck of a time making a left turn onto or from Bethany, since it will either be prohibited or require crossing 5 lanes.

      Not Improving Bethany Blvd South of 26 = almost no improvement at all. So what if I can ride blissfully from West Union to 26–the last half mile over the freeway to Cornell is still a narrow, jumbled mess full of drivers more concerned about jockeying for the best lane than watching for cyclists. This project is designed strictly to increase auto throughput. There is no thought whatsoever going into how to navigate through this area in anything other than a car. Bike lanes sure are nice, but in this case they are just bike lanes to hell, tacked on as a legal requirement only.

      With this design, any bicycling “improvements” are more than canceled out by increased volume and speed of traffic, the near-impossibility of making left turns, and dumping the bike lane into a swirling auto vortex at the 26 overpass. For those “confident and assertive” cyclists who live north of West Union, this will be a great improvement; for anyone who actually lives along this stretch of Bethany–cyclist or not–it’s going to suck.

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  • Allan February 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I used to live in this area and this will be an improvement for bikes. However I think this might get you to 5% share if it were in downtown portland and people would be grumbling about the poor conditions. In the burbs, you’ll get the 1% who really want to bike and noone else because the distances involved require you to own a car anyhow. The 3 lane proposal would have provided an incentive to bike because the congestion for cars would have made biking faster than driving. I think with the approved plan this will stay a driving suburb, which is to be expected. This is in the ‘favored quarter’ of the suburbs… so this is what we should expect (everyone to own cars and drive them lots http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/611/the-favored-quarter-illustrated/)

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  • q`Tzal February 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Ok, I’m a politi-speak dolt.
    What tha HECK does “The time has come for us to think less about the gold-plated and figure out a way to make our resources go further,” said Schouten MEAN?

    My interpretation means they are proposing to do the the exact opposite of what they are saying they should do.

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  • Alex February 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Thanks a bunch for reporting on this Jonathan. Both the approved plan and the 3not5.org plan should make big physical improvements to the bike infrastructure, and finally connect areas north of highway 26 with better bike infrastructure to the south of 26. Whether the increased traffic volume at fairly high speeds makes those bike lanes under-utilized is a concern though.

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  • peejay February 25, 2011 at 10:39 am

    So sad that people still think they can build their way out of the mess that is suburban density. That new road will mean more, faster car traffic for a while, and then more, slower car traffic for a long time. More pollution, dangerous cycling (even with the bike lanes), reduction of property values, more health issues for all concerned. This is suburban blight at its best. Great job, commission!

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  • peejay February 25, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Residents didn’t want this, but of course this is exactly what property developers want. Once the area surrounding a four lane arterial becomes intolerable and uninhabitable, the market for cul-de-sac subdivisions goes up, as does the need for more arterials. This is a textbook downward spiral of unlivability.

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  • Allan February 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

    The questions that aren’t being asked: should we really allow more development in this area? is this the cheapest place to add density? Even if you limit it to single family homes… is this the cheapest area to add single family homes in WashCo? Maybe it is, but I don’t feel like that question is being addressed.

    This area is already cul-de-sac development and we’re just inviting more of it by widening bethany

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  • wsbob February 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I don’t ride Bethany anymore…never did ride it much, but years ago before the surrounding area became developed with suburbs, it was a beautiful, fun ride; expansive fields on both sides of the road, a few residences, and of course, Bethany Baptist Church near the top of the hill. A nice hill to climb south to north, and a terrifically, fast, exciting descent.

    Cars on the road were far fewer than today, but given the nature of the road, those there always wanted to drive fast, and it’s true as NW Biker said, that there were “…no bike lanes and a “shoulder” that drops into deep ditches right at the white line. …”

    A 5′ bike lane to either side of the re-designed Bethany Blvd is an improvement over the old conditions for bike traffic on the road. That improvement for cyclists though, is countered dramatically by the increase in number of motor vehicles inevitably filling the increased capacity created by the two new travel lanes.

    I don’t buy the idea that daily motor vehicle trips on the road will not increase with time. Note in the Oregonian article, Chairman Andy Duyck quoted, saying: “…What four lanes does get us is capacity, which we are really going to need there going forward.”.

    Which people of a mind like Duyck, Bob Terry and Roy Rogers need, or at least want. Do they live next to this road? Would they personally want to live next to a road such as TV Hwy or Murray Blvd?

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  • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

    This is the second proposal in a week that ignores the fact that the minimum legal width for a bicycle lane adjacent to motorized traffic is six feet.

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    • Allan February 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

      What law is that? I agree that I would like 6′ to be the minimum legal width of a bike lane but a quick googling of this came up empty

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      • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

        http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bp_plan_2_ii.pdf

        ODOT’s facility design standards, the minimum guidelines that must be followed in all roadway design in Oregon.

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        • q`Tzal February 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

          Page 10, section C.5 PRACTICES TO BE AVOIDED – CONTINUOUS RIGHT-TURN LANES.
          It would be nice for ODOT to apply this to the stretch of TV Hwy with our most recent fatality.

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          • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm

            Likewise the two-way bike lane/curb-seperated bike lane used photographically as what not to do twice on Farmington.

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        • Allan February 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm

          from your link:
          The minimum bike lane width is 1.2 m (4 ft) on
          open shoulders and 1.5 m (5 ft) from the face of
          a curb, guardrail or parked cars

          They are using the minimum bike lane width. not the ‘standard’ width of 6 ft which seems to be “standard” in name only

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  • Allan February 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    The other thing I forgot to mention initially is: 5′ sidewalks? Every street in older neighborhoods has 8′ sidewalks in old portland neighborhoods, and we’ve got 5′ sidewalks on one of the few streets that actually has connectivity in the suburbs. Is that really good enough? you can’t comfortably walk side-by-side on 5′ with someone you aren’t in love with. Its clear to me that folks in these neighborhoods probably aren’t going to walk anywhere with 5′ sidewalks right next to the arterial.

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    • El Biciclero February 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      I’d say to at least narrow the central lanes to 10′, then add a foot each to the bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides. Oh, oops–that might make it less comfortable to drive 50mph. Never mind.

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  • El Biciclero February 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Oh, one more thing: What NW Biker said above about the traffic signals. All the lanes in the world aren’t going to help if the traffic signals act like four-way stops.

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    • q`Tzal February 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Put in roundabouts at every intersection on Bethany Blvd.

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      • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

        As long as they’re not a total afterthought like these in Aloha that encourage people to travel the wrong way around them, and doesn’t make the Coe Circle mistake of getting the actual roundabout right, then crippling it with stop signs…

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        • q`Tzal February 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm

          The first link is to what looks like a roundabout but is actually a traffic circle. {joking}Given your past vociferous support of Open Source everything I’m surprised you used google for that!{/joking}

          Even the second one is mostly wrong. Aside from the stop signs, being simply antithetical to a safe modern roundabout, the physical layout of the lanes is dead wrong.
          Dead is the correct word though because after having read through the USDOT design guide for roundabouts (smaller quick reads at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/roundabouts/) you can see that the Coe Circle lane layout does not slow down the incoming traffic which is a necessary function of a roundabout.
          To prevent pedestrian deaths you aren’t supposed to put attractions in the circle and especially historical landmarks that will attract non-locals that are not familiar with the traffic flow.
          Visibility across the central island is an important safety factor: not too much – not too little. The trees in Coe Circle are too much per the current safety standards.
          The bus stop in the circle is a BIG NO-NO.

          It is pretty though.

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          • Paul Johnson February 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm

            Re: traffic circle: Whatever it is, as they’re implemented in the Elmonica area, they’re just wrong. Stop signs, no incentive not to go the wrong way around them even in the presence opposing traffic, these things are just in desperate need of condemning lawns and expanding into proper roundabouts or outright removal.

            I wouldn’t say that traffic slowing prior to entering is a necessary function of a roundaobut if the lane layout is correct, neither of which is true of the Coe Circle. I agree, putting bus stops in the roundabout is just wrong, especially given the improper lane layout existing in Coe Circle requires buses to cross traffic lanes to enter or leave the shoulder.

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  • PorterStout February 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Have to agree with the comments about increased traffic following increased capacity. I previously lived in the DC area and remember lots of hoopla about increasing I-270 to i think it’s 8 lanes now. That’s good for about 2 years during which time the developers use it as marketing hype for their new subdivisions planted all up the road, bringing lots more people and traffic. Roads don’t relieve traffic congestion; they cause it. When we moved here we landed close in!

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    • jim February 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      Where would you rather have those cars be? Sitting in a traffic jam on a 2 lane road, cutting through somebody’s neighborhood street, or actually moving on a road that can handle X amt of cars per hr.?

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      • wsbob February 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

        “Where would you rather have those cars be? Sitting in a traffic jam on a 2 lane road, cutting through somebody’s neighborhood street, or actually moving on a road that can handle X amt of cars per hr.? “jim

        Traffic jams up on 4 lane and 6 lane highways the same as it does on 2 lane highways (as someone pointed out to me last week, ORS terminology uses the word ‘highway’ to refer to all streets except freeways.). So it’s probably worth considering which type of highway carrying volume is least detrimental to the area or neighborhood it passes through.

        Let’s see… . A two lane highway is changed to a four lane highway. Generally, that type of lane increase suggests traffic volume for Bethany could double. I the Oregonian story cited 20,000, as the number of motor vehicles Bethany carries per day. With the lane expansion the three Washington County commissioner approved…welcome….to an additional 10,000-20,000 cars on this road.

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        • jim February 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm

          You still didn’t answer the question. Where would you rather have those cars drive if not on the 4 lane road?
          The analogie that if there are no roads- then there wont be any cars is a bad one. That could be used for bikes also, if there are no bike paths there are few bikes and no need for bike paths…

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          • Paul Johnson February 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

            It’s not a bad one. With infrastructure, demand will increase to match supply. Add car lanes, more people will drive. Add quality bicycle facilities, more people will bike. Add better transit, more people will take that.

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          • wsbob February 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm

            “You still didn’t answer the question. Where would you rather have those cars drive if not on the 4 lane road? …” jim

            True, I didn’t answer the question. So I will. Similar to Paul Johnsons answer, I’d prefer the cars stay in garages and carports more of the time they’re currently being used to travel for every conceivable trip, regardless how short the distance traveled is.

            If planners and the public really believe that roads such as Bethany Blvd must be increased in capacity volume, going from two lanes to four and five lanes, that could be more tolerable to live with if speed limits on them were kept down to 20 to 25 mph, but I’ll bet they won’t be. They’ll be probably be 35mph. I’m going out on a limb here,because I don’t actually know the current speed limit for Bethany Blvd is, but I’d be very surprised if its 20 to 25 mph, or if it ever will be, especially after the additional lanes are added.

            So with these additional lanes, what Bethany Blvd is gradually being turned into, is a big, noisy, mean, dirty hog of a road.

            Pedestrians and people willing to travel by bike in lieu of motor vehicles are routinely being given short shrift in planning road infrastructure. When designing sidewalks that could connect key parts of communities, planners aren’t inclined to provide a broad width of pavement, 10′, 12′, 15′, in a comfortable setting, away from the rush, roar and dirt of motor vehicle traffic. Pedestrian Boulevards.

            What seems to be getting built, is minimum width sidewalks necessary to meet federal guidelines for the grant money or whatever. Dinky little 5 foot or 6 foot sidewalks always located right next to traffic. Walking these type sidewalks on the expanded Bethany Blvd, is anyone going to be able to say ‘I had a great time walking Bethany Blvd.’ ?

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          • El Biciclero February 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm

            Current speed on Bethany is 35. Bet it goes to 45 after widening. Just like Murray.

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      • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

        In a garage where they belong. Adding more lanes creates more demand for those lanes and only shifts the bottlenecks to where the lanes end. They have to end somewhere.

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        • jim February 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

          how do you suggest keeping those cars moving without adding more lanes?

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          • Paul Johnson March 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

            You don’t. You leave them at home and pick a better tool for the job.

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  • q`Tzal February 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Just as there is a law stating a requirement for bicycle facilities on new arterials and expansion projects so too should the code require a land developer to pay to establish the infrastructure for public transit (light rail, Grade-separated busway, PRT) and link it in to the greater public transit system.
    Allowing these exurbs to be established but only accommodating auto traffic externalizes the costs transportation on to the surrounding communities and the non-auto users in the community.

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    • jim February 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      so you want some guy that has been living on his 2 acre plot for the last 50 years have to pay $200 million because someone wants a light rail to pass by his property?

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      • q`Tzal March 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

        See my reply below.

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      • wsbob March 3, 2011 at 11:39 am

        q`Tzal said it was developers that should be paying up front for infrastructure their projects create a demand for, not guys that have been living on their small plots of land for 50 years. I’m not really up on that info, but to some extent, in some instances, developers do help pay for those things…’system development fees’, that sort of thing.

        Whether the amount and extent of the fees is enough, is a question. Don’t want to kill business, but someone has to pay for that stuff. It also calls into question to whether the type of land use planning is wise. From that old sit com Green Acres: One of the refrains from the theme song is ‘Land spreading out so far and wide…” . Thanks to many people’s dubious quality of judgment, what we’ve got is ‘Development spreading out so far and wide…’. Which oftentimes has created an enormous degradation in area livability.

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  • Allan February 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    you’re dreaming with PRT. However I fully agree with you but that is not how our system is currently set up. I fully support changing the system, and know that it will be quite hard

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    • q`Tzal February 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      PRT is a great idea that, up to ULtra’s application at Heathrow Airport, has never been implemented in a way that followed its own rules for success and avoided know avenues of failure.
      With no known working example to point to and say “See! It works!” it will never get funded as a public transit system.

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      • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm
        • q`Tzal February 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm

          This is not a valid PRT system as it is not Personal.
          It does have the general structure and it was the best they could do at the time with the engineering and materials at the time but it doesn’t meet several critical design characteristics like small (efficient) low capacity cars.
          It’s all philosophical: if you are able to provide an isolated travel path for each user type that is unshared with separate paths to each destination then that mode can be easily automated and made to nearly 100% safe from all but natural disaster and vehicular failures.
          OTOH roundabouts are the exact opposite: they require cooperation and sharing.
          The Internet seems to work well with this model and the US freight rail system seems to work mostly like this. Get the rail companies to think about moving rail cars like data packets and they could increase capacity and speed.
          But the US road system will have to be shared with all.

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  • Adam February 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I bike commute on this road every day and have for a few years. As has been said, any of the proposed changes that add space for bike lanes is an improvement for riding. As it stands right now there are sections where there is literally NO space for a bike. The white line is actually painted over the edge of the road way and the 3 foot ditch starts only inches away from that.

    In terms of the 2 versus 4 debate, there are several issues at play here. The biggest concern in my mind is that this only addresses one section of the road. At the south end, the northbound lane on the overpass cannot grow without a new bridge. On the north end, there is no plans to widen the road beyond West Union. In the end, the required merging with create a choke point. From a cycling perspective, I suspect it will worsen the right hook danger as you come north to the light at West Union (already a significant issues as you come into it down a hill) since the merging of the through traffic will cause cars to try to sneak into the right turn in the bike lane.

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    • El Biciclero February 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      Yes, the bottlenecks at each end of this stretch are troubling. My guess is that it is expected that not much NB traffic will come from Cornell or the WB 26 exit, but instead will come from the Cornell/Bethany off-ramp from EB 26. At the other end, I can only assume that they are imagining that a LOT of the NB traffic will turn off onto West Union.

      If those are the assumptions, then it makes me wonder why the three-lane option wasn’t approved with the assumptions that a significant number of cars could be expected to A) immediately turn left onto Bronson and head to 174th for their NB travel needs, or B) exit 26 onto either Murray or 185th instead of Cornell/Bethany.

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  • Doug Klotz February 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Studying the cross-section, there is 10 feet from the face of the curb to the edge of the proposed ROW. So, they propose to put a 5.5 foot sidewalk (including the curb), and “spend” 2 feet on a sound wall and 2.5 feet on shrubbery to disguise the sound wall. Since when do city streets get sound walls? (Only in suburbia?) Instead, put a 5 foot sidewalk a foot from the property line (and future property-owner-built fences), have a 3.5 foot planting strip with street trees, to actually separate the walkers from the traffic, and then the curb. Narrow that 4 foot median to two feet, to get 6 foot bike lanes.

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    • wsbob February 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      “…Since when do city streets get sound walls? …Doug Klotz

      When they become four lane highways carrying the volume of traffic this one is likely to carry? Sound walls actually do help some to block out traffic noise to residents on the other side of the sound walls. Sound walls are one of the good things about this road design.

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  • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Never mind adding any new car infrastructure is at the expense of all other infrastructure (including maintaining critical services) for generations to come thanks to ongoing maintenance.

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    • q`Tzal February 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      Never mind adding automotive infrastructure this close to peak oil.
      Certainly electric cars can step up but not enough people are going to be able to buy a new car all at once even if enough electric cars and conversion kits are available. Mass transit, job loss, walk-able communities and even cycling will reduce the need for massive automobile bandwidth.
      The simple fact of the matter is that large road projects are a BAD investment idea simply because there are a great deal of indicators that they will be an underutilised resource and thus a waste of tax dollars.

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      • Paul Johnson February 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm

        No doubt, especially that the added capacity isn’t needed: Oregon’s economy is on the fast track to never recovering thanks to the high housing expenses and cost of living, both factors are ostensibly the selling points of Bethany.

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  • Blazer Dave February 26, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I have been at all the widening meetings, so here is some additional info. The Bethany overpass at Hwy 26 will be widened simultaneously. All signaled intersections will be 5 lanes. County asked design team to consider bike lanes on the outside of the sidewalks so the curb to curb measurements shrinks 10′ at Oak Hills drive at hopes elementary school kids could still cross the wide road (3 fewer bus routes for Oak Hills school). What do bikers think of a design that puts the bike lanes on the outside of sidewalks?

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    • Paul Johnson February 26, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Dangerous and stupid if there’s no right turn signals banning turns on red from the main roadway, and railings to prevent pedestrian crossing between crosswalks.

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    • wsbob February 26, 2011 at 11:46 am

      “…County asked design team to consider bike lanes on the outside of the sidewalks…” Blazer Dave

      Maybe I’m the only one that’s not sure what you’re saying here. Are you saying County’s proposal was that some distance back from the intersections, provision on the roadway for the bike lane would be eliminated by transitioning bike traffic onto the sidewalk? In other words, re-routing the bike lane onto the sidewalk and thus directing bike traffic through the intersection on the sidewalk alignment?

      I hope this isn’t what the County was suggesting, because that sounds like a really bad idea.

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  • was carless February 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    United States DOTs continue to make horrible roadway designs a reality…

    for 2+2 roadway design excellence, see what the Dutch did:
    http://tinyurl.com/4kxglg7

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    • Paul Johnson February 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      It’s a nice design, and it might fly in the midwest or the east coast, but you still have the Californian factor to overcome in the western US: how do you keep pedestrians and idiots from walking down, from leaving unattended cars, in the cycletrack? How do you solve the right-hook factor?

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  • JR February 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    This is a very disappointing design, but isn’t surprising for Washington County, which continues to plan for cars, not people. 5′ curb-tight sidewalks and 5′ bike lanes are ridiculous for such a wide road. If only the commissioners understand the real problem is the lack of street connectivity in this area as a result of all those cul-de-sacs they continue to approve.

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    • wsbob February 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      At last fall’s Beaverton Candidate’s Forum, I’m fairly sure it was Andy Duyck expressing his feeling that Washington County’s lacked connectivity in its roads. Of course, the kind of connectivity he was referring to was a lack off connectivity in the form of high capacity roads enabling motor vehicles to travel north-south between developed and develop-able parts of the county.

      I suppose because for most of its history, it was primarily an agricultural county, for years, Washington County has had east-west ‘go to market’ roads, such as Farmington, TV Highway, Hwy 26, and West Union Rd, and Cornell Rd. With only fields and pastures to cross through, the county had no real need for high capacity north-south roads until the single family dwelling principle was allowed to carry the direction in which those former fields, pastures and various types of natural lands were developed .

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  • GlowBoy March 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I ride Bethany northbound on occasion (it’s part of one of my preferred routes from the westside to Forest Park), though I approach from the east and enter from the Oak Hills neighborhood. Still, I stay on the dirt path until I get to where the bike lane starts. NO WAY would I ride on the fog line.

    As much as I’d like bike lanes, I don’t think we’ll gain in the tradeoff. Build it and they will come. Traffic volumes will increase drastically, as will speeds. Westsiders are accustomed to traveling 45-50mph on their 4-lane arterials, and will do so on Bethany too, once it’s widened.

    I agree with the above suggestion that if we MUST add travel lanes, keep them at 10′. That will at least help reduce speeds.

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    • Paul Johnson March 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      You know it’s illegal to drive or operate a bicycle on the soft shoulder, right?

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  • q`Tzal March 3, 2011 at 10:30 am

    A property owner who is not redeveloping their property to increase density, commerce or industry would have to pay nothing.
    Developers would have to pay all the externalized costs of their newly expanded ground breaking examples of progress.
    Instead of city, county, state and federal tax dollars paying or subsidizing for new roads, new power, new data connectivity, new police departments, new fire departments, new EMS stations, new schools and every other community service the new occupants of the new development will demand that the rest of the city, county, state and federal tax base will end up paying for.

    Here’s a good hypothetical analogy: I don’t own a home and I have little money but I have an old van. Should I be allowed to drive my van up to a house, cut a hole in their walls to get access to their electricity, plumbing; maybe knock out a window, install a flexible air duct to pull heat outside of their house in the winter?
    I have no sewer service in my van: I either have to cut open more walls or dump it in the yard but it’s not my yard and it’s cheaper to dump it.
    My van isn’t insulated so the heat bill for the house occupants skyrockets because I lose more heat through the walls of my van than they do through the walls of their entire house.
    Also I burned out the wiring in their house trying to pull too much current through a circuit designed for bedroom use only.

    Each of these “developments” are just that: a cheap as possible shanty shack propped up against a working system. If you want to live out in the “country” go live out in the country but don’t demand that the rest of us pay for your roads, police, FD, EMS, schools when you decide you want the services of a dense city core. Otherwise the Developers need to pay to raise their new communities to the standards (transit, EMS, police, fire, schools, hospitals) that the rest of the city already complies with.

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