Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 4th, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Justin Zeulner explains the NE Holladay
project to an open house attendee.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Last night was the first public open house for the City of Portland's Lloyd District Bikeway Development Projects. Within this planning process, PBOT is taking a close look at three projects that could dramatically improve the bicycling experience in and around the Lloyd District. The projects include improved bikeways on N. Vancouver/Wheeler between Broadway and Multnomah (near Rose Garden), NE Holladay, and the NE 12th Ave overcrossing.
Working with a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), PBOT has come up with some initial options for how to move forward on these projects.
On southbound Vancouver Ave., PBOT wants to close the "Vancouver Gap", a one-block section between Broadway and Weidler where the bike lane unceremoniously drops. The two options on the table are 1) continue the bike/bus only lane or 2) install sharrows to indicate a shared roadway environment.
Another option that was proposed by the SAC was to turn the westernmost lane on Vancouver into a buffered bike lane. At the open house last night, it was explained that that option was taken off the table for two reasons: because that lane, "provides an opportunity for vehicles to pass vehicles waiting to enter I-5" and because ADA access would be compromised (there's a bus stop on the corner of the block).
Further south, PBOT is looking to improve the bikeway on Wheeler (the street adjacent/just east of the Rose Garden). The existing conditions are three standard travel lanes and a bike lane in the northbound direction. Three options were presented last night. They all come with one less standard travel lane and a buffered bike lane in both directions. They differ in how they handle the southbound intersection with Multnomah.
Option 1 is a straightforward bike box...
Option 2 would transition the bike lane into a shared lane with left-turning vehicles prior to the intersection...
Option 3 would transition the bike lane into a shared lane with right-turning vehicles prior to the intersection...
The next project begins just south of this intersection on NE Holladay.
One of the more exciting possibilities in this trio of Lloyd District projects is improving bike access on NE Holladay. If done right, Holladay (between the Rose Garden and NE 13th) could become a vital bikeway connection between Northeast neighborhoods, the many shops and offices in the Lloyd District, and downtown Portland (via the Eastbank Esplanade).
Currently, NE Holladay consists of one, 16-foot lane that is separated via a median from two sets of MAX light rail tracks. Back in May 2009, folks from the Lloyd District TMA proposed making Holladay completely carfree.
At the open house last night, PBOT displayed two options currently on the table (neither of them would make it completely carfree).
One option being considered is to simply install sharrows the length of the street in the eastbound direction and add a 6-foot bike lane going westbound. Another option would be similar, but would also throw in sections of the three that would be closed to motor vehicle traffic (such as between 1st and 2nd, MLK and Grand and 7th to 9th).
of Holladay under the I-5 overpass
in order to connect it to
the N/S Rose Quarter bikeways.
Both options come with removal of about 48 on-street parking spaces. Both options would also utilize a currently unused portion of Holladay adjacent to the Rose Quarter Blue/Red Line MAX stop under the I-5 overpass. This space is owned by TriMet and they'd have to agree to let PBOT use it as public active right-of-way. Sources say TriMet is reluctant to give it up; but hopefully they do because it would make a crucial connection between Holladay and the existing Rose Quarter bikeway.
On posters displayed last night there were pros and cons listed below each potential section where motor vehicle access on Holladay would be prohibited. The pros were all related to keeping people safe and reducing conflicts between users — the cons were all about maintaining motor vehicle circulation and convenience. What decision do we want to make?
"We don't want this to become family-friendly with lots of little kids and their moms riding through here. Commuting cyclists aren't an issue."
— Doug Allred, Franz Bakery
The final project PBOT is looking at in this area is a revamp to the 12th Avenue overcrossing of I-84 (between NE Lloyd and Irving) We went into more depth on this project last week. At the open house last night, PBOT displayed an analysis of traffic in the corridor before and after the proposed solutions. Interestingly, even with the addition of bike lanes and other lane reconfigurations on 12th, there would be no significant change in delay. This is because PBOT is planning to improve traffic signal timing and hardware.
I spoke with Doug Allred about his views on the 12th Avenue project. Allred is the distribution manager for Franz Bakery, whose headquarters are just a few blocks south of the overcrossing. He says the main concerns of Franz Bakery are the new lane configurations would impact their truck traffic.
Allred says NE Lloyd is the only exit his trucks are legally allowed to use to access their bread factory. By his estimate, about 400 trucks per day line up in the left-turn lane on NE Lloyd and then make the turn south on 12th. With some trucks as long as 105-feet, Allred is worried that proposed curb extensions, pavement markings, and lane reconfigurations might make it difficult and/or unsafe for his trucks to turn.
While Allred says the proposed changes are "not insurmountable problems," he hopes truck movements are kept in mind. He's also concerned that making 12th too bike-friendly might mean it becomes more popular with kids and families on bikes. "We don't want this to become family-friendly with lots of little kids and their moms riding through here. Commuting cyclists aren't an issue."
Allred's concern about kids and families on bikes raises an interesting issue. As PBOT works to improve bikeways for the 8-80 and the "interested but concerned" demographic, how will they balance the needs of motor vehicles in crowded commercial-industrial zones like this one?
Stay tuned for more coverage of these projects and please consider getting involved and sharing your concerns and opinions on the proposals as opportunities arise. There will be one more public open house on these projects before the designs are finalized. More details at the PBOT website.