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Is PBOT caving on Williams bikeway project?

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 15th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

An open house Saturday will be the first time the public can weigh in on proposals to improve the bikeway on N. Williams Avenue (so that people other than this strong and fearless rider might feel comfortable biking on it).
(Photo © J. Maus)


Tomorrow (yes, Saturday) is the first open house for the N. Williams Avenue Traffic Safety Operations Project. As the first open house for this extremely important project, it's crucial that people show up and voice their support for bikeway improvements.

Currently, PBOT feels that the most important segment of Williams (the commercial district between Cook and Skidmore) has too much automobile traffic and parking demand (and too many businesses demanding it) to make a significant improvement to the bikeway.

Bikes on N. Williams Ave-2

The project was conceived because the soaring bike traffic on the street has outgrown the meager bike lane that exists there now. When they looked into the situation in advance of this project, PBOT realized the context of the traffic problems on this street went beyond bikes and they are now taking a holistic look at the street layout in an attempt to make it work better for everyone.

At this point, the SAC is trying to determine what the basic "floorplan" of the street should be. Before getting into specific intersection treatments, the elements they are trying to determine include; the number and width of vehicle lanes, whether or not to remove/maintain on-street car parking, and what type of bikeway facility to install (bike lanes, cycle-tracks, and so on).

Because lane configurations and land-use change throughout the corridor, the project consultant has broken the street into five distinct segments: Segment 1 from Weidler to the I-5 on-ramp; Segment 2 from I-5 on-ramp to Russell; Segment 3 from Russell to Cook; Segment 4 from Cook to Skidmore; and Segment 5 from Skidmore to Killingsworth.

According to a presentation available on the project website (PDF here), current proposals are to re-allocate vehicle lanes in four of the five segments in order to make more room for bus and bike operations.

However, in Segment 4 — which includes the dense commercial zone between Beech and Shaver — the current thinking is that, due to high motor vehicle traffic volumes and high parking demands, there would be no change to the current lane configuration.

Segment 4 of Williams is dominated by motor vehicle space, and PBOT feels it would be too controversial to change it.

Russ Willis, a citizen activist who has attended the SAC meetings, called Segment 4, "the eight hundred pound gorilla." He was at the most recent meeting where current proposals were shared. "As has been noted," he wrote on the Active Right of Way email list, "the plan thus far is pretty much to do nothing..."

Bike lane in action
Riding in Segment 4 isn't pleasant.

Sources at the SAC tell us that business owners (Cha! Cha! Cha! being one of them) came to the last SAC meeting to make it clear they need as much parking and motor vehicle access as possible.

PBOT project manager Ellen Vanderslice says because the high traffic volume and demand for parking in Segment 4,

"The idea of taking away a traffic or parking lane as a first blush action doesn't really work. If you do either of those things, the neighborhoods are just never going to support that."

She continued,

"If we start with the premise that taking away the traffic lane would create traffic problems, given today's traffic volumes and that taking away parking would create parking problems, then we're sort of stuck. We've got those things in place, so what can we do to make it better?"

[It's important to note that the high auto volume only occurs during a few hours in the PM peak.]

To make it better without altering the lane configurations, Vanderslice says PBOT is looking at ways to slow people down (31% of motor vehicles currently go over the speed limit in Segment 4) and to address the "dooring issue."

To handle speed, the current thinking is to add traffic signals to the intersections at Cook, Beech and Failing streets. This would give PBOT six signals in a row and would allow them to essentially dictate speeds through signal timing technology (a.k.a. green wave). Of course, signals are expensive the current project doesn't have the money for them, so if that's the chosen route, PBOT would have to then find funding.

To address the dooring issue, Vanderslice said they'll unveil a new bike lane striping method. Currently, all the lanes in Segment 4 are as narrow as they can be. So, the idea would be to widen the existing bike lane, but make it "advisory."

"We're toying with making a wider bike lane through there, and there really isn't room, but we could make a wide bike lane that is advisory so that the [standard] travel lane is actually narrower than we'd allow [10-feet wide, which it is currently, is as narrow as PBOT will go on standard vehicle lanes]..."

The bike lane stripe would be dotted (not solid), which would allow people on bikes to use the full width when no auto traffic is present, but then cars would be able to essentially drive in the bike lane when no bikes are present (hence the term "advisory").

Is it possible that PBOT is caving to an auto-centric status quo? Remember the "Green Transportation Hierarchy" as published in the Bike Plan for 2030? Does PBOT's statements and proposals on this project jibe with this...

PBOT seems willing to flip this pyramid when hard decisions must be made.

If you feel that untested bike lane striping methods and new signals that might never materialize aren't enough on one of Portland's busiest bikeways, than please show up Saturday to weigh in and help set the tone for a bikeway we can be proud of. Let's give PBOT the backing they need to seriously consider one standard vehicle lane in Segment 4.

    Williams Project Open House Workshop
    Saturday, April 16 - 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.
    Immaculate Heart Church (2910 N Williams Ave)
    Light snacks and licensed childcare will be provided

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Comments
  • JR-eh April 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    In case I can't make it Saturday, my $0.02:
    There is plenty of room now. Remove one auto lane. Add auto lane width to remaining lane. Add bike lane width and door zone buffer so that bus and bikes share right side. Keep parking. No need for new traffic lights. There are very short periods twice daily when this street sees a lot of motor traffic. Motor trips are decreasing while bike trips are increasing. Which do we want to plan for?

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    • matt picio April 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Agreed. If congestion occurs, motorized traffic will divert to Interstate or Rosa Parks. Right now Williams is taking the bulk of NB traffic that doesn't want to crawl up I-5.

      "Advisory" bike lanes? Sounds like where sharrows would go if Williams were not an arterial. I don't like them. If it's ok for cars and bikes to mix under those conditions, then ORS814.420 needs to have the use requirement repealed. (and what would the repercussions of that law be on an "advisory" bike lane?)

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      • Carl April 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm

        Thing is: Williams ISN'T an arterial (at least not between Cook and Skidmore). It's a neighborhood collector that's got arterial traffic volumes on it. Not cool.
        I really hope this neighborhood can get the safe, left-side bike lane and safe crossings it deserves and, supposedly, wants. It would be a shame to get hung up on false alarms about traffic congestion and parking shortages. This is a "traffic safety" project, not a "motor vehicle parking and throughput" project.

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        • matt picio April 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

          A left-side bike lane seems to make a lot of sense, doesn't it? I heard that the left side lane was off the table, or at least not preferred by stakeholders. (heard 2ndhand - I was not at the recent meeting) I'd certainly like to promote a left-side alignment tomorrow if that's still an option - especially since Portland Streetcar is looking at that road as a possibility.

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          • Carl April 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm

            This is my understanding: the advisory committee, felt that a left-side facility might have a steep learning curve for use and that, as one of the first such facilities in the city, it would result in left hooks. That said, I believe that the possibility could be revisited.

            I hope it DOES get revisited because I imagine that a slight initial uptick in left hooks will be more than made-up-for by eliminating the bus "weave" problem AND reducing door conflicts

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          • are April 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm

            if you put any of the separated facility on the left, you pretty much have to put all of it on the left. but a lot of the entering motor traffic is coming in from the left and will not be expecting to see cyclists, and a lot of the cyclists who are not going all the way to killingsworth are eventually turning right. PBoT and Alta did float this at the most recent SAC meeting, but the consensus there was not to go left.

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          • Kyle Drake April 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

            DO NOT put in a left bike lane. They had them on a road in Minneapolis and they were a death trap. Nobody looks for bikes on the left side. DO NOT DO THIS!!

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        • Steve B April 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

          Carl, there are other ways we can solve the bus/bike conflict on the right side, including bus stop islands that live in a future bumped out parking lane. Bikes would go behind the stop (yet still remain in the roadway) and the islands would also serve as pedestrian refuges. Can you imagine how awesome and easy it would be to cross a 1 lane Williams with a pedestrian refuge making the trip that much shorter? I relish the idea! It would be a world class bike/bus improvement project if we did so, but I'm afraid we won't get there if we get stuck with a 2-lane Williams and push all the available money to signalization.

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          • Carl April 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm

            Agreed, Steve. I'd love to see bus islands as part of a thorough cycletrack design. I'm not convinced, though, that PBOT is about to pony up for a thorough cycletrack design. It seems like they're looking for paint-based solutions, here, and a left-side lane throughout is, in my opinion, the best shoestring fix.

            Making all those cross-streets safe for a top-notch cycletrack would take some severe traffic calming and, likely, bike-specific signals. I'd welcome those but I don't think the neighborhood or PBOT's budget would.

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      • are April 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

        as used in the 2030 plan, "advisory" bike lane refers to a treatment you might use on a two-way road that is too narrow for cars traveling opposite directions to pass one another. if they insist on keeping two travel lanes and parking on both sides through segment 4, which i think is probably a mistake, then they ought to get rid of the bike lane and put in sharrows. frankly, the same treatment should be extended farther south, maybe all the way to russell.

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  • Steve B April 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for writing this up! Keep in mind the only time where vehicular traffic is a concern on Williams is only about 6% of the entire week (2 hour evening rush hour), otherwise we wouldn't have this perceived obstacle to removing a travel lane throughout.

    We need to change the tenor of this approach to one of "the neighborhood wouldn't accept a 1 lane commercial district" to "the 35% of road users on the street, many who live and work in the neighborhood, won't accept a 2-lane commercial district".

    Keep in mind we also don't have pedestrian counts for the area, but anecdotally there are hundreds of folks crossing Williams daily. Crossing a 1 lane street is leaps and bounds better than crossing 2.

    If you can't make it on Saturday, please take 5 minutes to make your impressions of what they should do with Williams to Project Manager Ellen Vanderslice: Ellen.Vanderslice@portlandoregon.gov

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    • Velowocky April 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing the link. I hope the message tomorrow is clear that the city must step up and recognize how inadequate current facilities are on N Williams.

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    • Alex Reed April 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      Thank you for posting this information and making it easy for us, Steve! I emailed Ellen!

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  • Paul in the 'couve April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Elevated Bike Path above the parking lane - duh

    :) :^) 8^)

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  • shirtsoff April 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Put bike lanes on both sides of Vancouver and Williams.. That'd be sweet.

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  • Allan April 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Please show up or email for 1-lane. Congestion will reduce cut-through traffic of our neighborhoods and provide a safer crossing for pedestrians. Its a no-brainer. These cars can just get jammed up. So what. If PBOT can only take away lanes when they are superfluous then there are a number of future projects that can never happen. Bike lanes on MLK for example

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  • Paul Cone April 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Boo on Cha Cha Cha for being oblivious to all the bike traffic (i.e. potential customers) by their door. Maybe they should keep to auto-centric neighborhoods if that's what they're after. Or maybe go take a look at their competition (Por Que No) who has bike corrals and thus biking customers in front of their shops. And how many people really think drivers are going to figure out what an "advisory" bike lane is? They're still trying to figure out what sharrows are. Also I'll note that many of those rush hour drivers seem to be using Williams to bypass the I-5 North rush hour traffic (those Washington plates on those monster trucks are easy to spot).

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  • kerry April 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Gah! Too bad I work. My 2 pence, remove parking on the left and put the bike lane over there thus reducing dooring risk AND leapfrogging the buses. There are about a zillion side streets to park on. For free. And to those businesses who are being obstructionist, I don't HAVE to stop off at happy hour, you know.

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  • Oliver April 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    At first blush it looks like there are plenty of vacant lots up there, maybe those businesses should buy a place for their customers (that arrive by car) to park, and charge a market rate for it.

    Or, better yet, keep the parking and get rid of the I-5 bypass.

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    • Paul Cone April 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      And what happens when the boom on Williams expands and those vacant lots turn into more businesses? Are they going to take out the new bike facilities they just put in and put the car parking back?

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      • Oliver April 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

        I intended to point out that it's only highly subsidized 'free' parking that drives over-subscription. Allow me a reasonable assumption; those business owners have no intention of purchasing a lot and charging their customers to use it, only that the community continue to provide free parking adjacent to their business.

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  • Miles April 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I am dreading when the new HUB opens up. Seeing how many cars swarm that place in SE, I figure segment 4 is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

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  • mikeybikey April 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I'll try to make the meeting. Seems like this could be a lost opportunity for at least trying a separated, all ages and abilities cycling facility through a commercial district, even if it were only on a trial basis. I mean I get it, PBOT has concerns about traffic, businesses have concerns about access and cyclists have concerns about safety and access. So, what would be wrong with a 6-9 mo. temporary cycletrack being placed that is similar to the PSU cycletrack? This is a discussion that needs to happen and it seems like N. Williams could be an excellent laboratory for gaining some insight and empirical evidence. Personally, unless the traffic "personality" on N. Williams is radically altered, I would not feel comfortable with an advisory bike lane . Not now, and certainly not when I'm 60 or 70 years old and still looking to get myself around on a bike.

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  • Ethan April 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I'm sure a lot of homes and businesses were BULLDOZED to put in I-5 a couple of blocks to the west . . . equity escapes us at every turn.

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    • Steve B April 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      Yep, 1% of the city's housing stock as I understand it.

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    • maxadders April 15, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      Yes, the obvious solution is to tear out I-5 so some fair-weather bike commuters won't feel intimidated for two weeks out of the warm season until they inevitably get used it. Sheesh.

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  • El Biciclero April 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Don't route bike lanes "behind" bus stops! Ugh.

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    • Allan April 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      It can be done right (it was done totally wrong in the pearl)

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  • John Lascurettes April 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Rather than an "advisory" bike lane and create yet ANOTHER type of striping motorists are neither likely to understand nor heed, why not just remove the bike lane and push sharrows in?

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    • Jessica Roberts April 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Boy, that sure won't meet the needs of seniors, parents, newbies, pregnant ladies, social riders or really anybody who can't ride 20+ MPH in the middle of the lane.

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      • John Lascurettes April 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

        They don't need to ride 20+ in the middle of the lane. They just need to ride in the middle of the lane. Don't share a lane that's not wide enough to share. Cars want to go faster can use a whole other lane.

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      • are April 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

        jessica, do you think the treatment PBoT is proposing, two travel lanes, parking on both sides, and a narrow bike lane in the door zone is going to attract grandma and the kids?

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      • are April 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm

        or how about this. suppose they took enough motor traffic off this stretch of williams and slowed what was left down to about 12 to 18 mph and turned the place into a sort of pedestrian village, with even the bikes taking it down a notch or two. would grandma and the kids be ready for that? would the retailers or the neighbors object? why do we want people driving through at 25 plus on their way from 405 to an arterial or looking for an onramp? and why do we want the streetscape to cater to people who come in for an hour or two, park on the street, drink, and leave? why not something that serves the people who actually live there?

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  • rider April 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Is this a ploy to get us all to show up? :P

    But really, I will never understand why people expect to encounter zero traffic during rush hour. The mind, it boggles.

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  • Allan April 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Carl
    This is my understanding: the advisory committee, felt that a left-side facility might have a steep learning curve for use and that, as one of the first such facilities in the city, it would result in left hooks. That said, I believe that the possibility could be revisited.
    I hope it DOES get revisited because I imagine that a slight initial uptick in left hooks will be more than made-up-for by eliminating the bus "weave" problem AND reducing door conflicts

    The city proposed a right side cycletrack which would remove the weave problem and the dooring problem in addition to keeping everyone where they're used to be.

    If they don't solve the dooring and weaving problems on the right, then a left-side bike lane will be reconsidered.

    Keep in mind: with a left-side facility-
    a) where do you cross from right to left? certainly north of broadway. What does that facility/crossing look/feel like? Have you been on SW 14th?

    b) How do you quickly train drivers to watch for bikes on the left?

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  • Lenny Anderson April 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Time for PBOT to bite the bullet and put Williams on the same diet as Vancouver...one lane for motor vehicles and a big fat bike lane. It will slow traffic and increase safety. Is Tom listening?

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    • BURR April 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      I'm all for making the bike lane much wider; it should be able to accommodate two cyclists side by side, in either a riding or passing situation, and account for the door zone as well.

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  • Emily P. April 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    What about not allowing parking between 4-6pm on the right side of the street? But instead of making it a travel lane for cars (like on Division), let bikes take over the whole area.

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  • single track April 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    one car lane, one bike lane

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  • David April 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I like the left-side lane, but I don't think it's necessarily as simple as it's being portrayed. A lot of the automobile traffic on Williams comes from cross-streets, primarily east-bound vehicles turning left and continuing north on Williams. With a right-side bike lane, that turning movement creates zero conflicts with people on bikes traveling northbound. With a left-side bike lane/CT, on the other hand, every single one of those turn movements is a potential bike-car conflict. With that many additional conflict opportunities, it would almost certainly require additional signalized intersections, which, as has been mentioned, probably isn't in the project budget. Not saying the left-side lane isn't the right option, just pointing out some of the trade-offs.

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  • Steve B April 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    More details and analysis on the concerns about the missed opportunities of this project on the AROW blog: http://www.activerightofway.org/p/a-better-williams-for-everyone-if-we-ask-for-it

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  • Charley April 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Add a bunch of traffic lights? Great, it'll be a parking lot with a tiny bike line squeezed in between car doors on all sides!

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  • Charley April 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Also, I might add, if those businesses really like having people park in front, then they should pay for a parking deck. They've been sucking off the teat of city-provided free parking for years, so they should buck up if they like it.

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  • dwainedibbly April 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    "Advisory" bike lane is one of the worst traffic ideas I have ever heard. It's a terrible precedent. It will lead to confusion about whether or not bike lanes are ok to drive in. We'll have motor vehicles driving in bike lanes all over town if PBOT starts striping bike lanes like this.

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  • Ross April 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I don't like the advisory lane. One car lane, one bike lane on the right side....keep it simple. Cars will find alternative routes if auto traffic gets too slow....they always do. I don't like the idea of a left bike lane...it's too unfamiliar to cyclists and autos. I think HUB will uptick bike traffic...I know I will be using this route more because of them.

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  • Todd Boulanger April 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Jonathan - a clarification:
    In your article you used the term "dotted" lane for the advisory lane. I assume PBoT likely used the term "dashed" which is more common and technically correct. (I have not seen the striping plan.)

    As for policy, it is an interesting problem for a city to have - the difficulty of improving the bikeway facilitates on the most biked north bound Arterial - not very platinum?! Why would the City choose to design an arterial to [continue to] facilitate spill over regional traffic from state or interstate (I-5) highways?

    As for the design concept of an advisory lane, it is typically used in our region for very short sections (<100 ft) at refuge islands, turn lanes, etc. I would be hesitant to do a very long corridor with it especially with the density of cyclists many of which are passing slower novice cyclists. I could see other design options that might be stronger: combined bus bike lane (18 ft - ala Paris), a raised parking and bike lane that could be a bike track only during PM commute, or dropping the second thru lane while converting the problem intersections to roundabouts (likely over the current project budget).

    I hope to attend on Saturday, as this is an important bike facility I use often in Portland.

    PS. Ellen - good luck managing this complex and important project - it could become PBoTs mini CRC. :)

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    • Jack April 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

      Agreed. This project should be setting a high standard, both in terms of quality and low implementation costs.

      Put a traffic diverter at Williams and Russel. Motorists have to turn R over to MLK, bicyclists can pass through. Williams is no longer an I-5 bypass. Heavy traffic ends up where it belongs (I-5 and MLK).

      Then from Broadway to Killingsworth, stripe Williams with three evenly sized (~13') lanes. Middle lane is a standard lane. Right lane is parking only; vehicles, bike corrals and bus stops. Left lane is the bike lane.

      I'd actually prefer the bike lane on the right but I don't think we'll get TriMet to install doors on the left side of all their buses.

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  • BURR April 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    sure, maybe things on williams could be better, but since when did you need to be 'strong and fearless' to ride in a bike lane?

    I'm sorry, but counting on PBOT to build the penultimate 'world's safest bike lane' on williams is a fool's dream.

    No amount of fancy - and dubious - bikeway engineering is going to change human behavior, and IMO you'd be much better off advocating for a proper motorist reeducation campaign...

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    • are April 15, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      one way to re-educate motorists is to bring some serious traffic calming measures to a stretch of williams that is being used inappropriately as an arterial.

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      • BURR April 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm

        reengineering is not reeducating; motorists need to be actively engaged, and not just passively herded.

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  • BURR April 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    that said, I'm also all for a much wider bike lane and travel lane removal and/or parking removal to make it happen.

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  • jim April 16, 2011 at 12:57 am

    We all know what happened when they took away one traffic lane (1 each way) from Interstate ave.. There are cars backed way up during rush hr, cars cut through the neighborhoods where they can trying to avoid being stuck in traffic. N Williams shouldn't be messed with. They allready have a primo bike lane.

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    • spare_wheel April 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      getting doored is not primo.

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    • Noelle April 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Primo? I do hope I'm missing some sarcasm here...

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      • jim April 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm

        I wouldn't want to ride Williams without the bike lane being there, It must be 1000% better having a bike lane on that road

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  • jim April 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Safety issue- Editor dont delete-

    Look how close these riders are to the traffic lane, and how far away they are from getting doored, they have lots of room between them and the parked cars. The cars approaching are actually moving over for bikes in the bike lane. If you have ever drove a big truck you will realize that they take up pretty much the whole lane. It is difficult on narrow lane roads to have clearance with mirrors sticking out. It is suprising there aren't more mirror/ bicycle accidents

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    • are April 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm

      if you are talking about the photo at the top of the article, that was taken just north of skidmore, in what they are calling segment 5. segment 4 is a whole nother problem. i will not use the striped bike lanes in segment 4, and any motorist who wants to pass me has to move to the left lane. PBoT ought to implement this as the design, by getting rid of the bike lane in segment 4 and putting in sharrows. or just take motor traffic down to one lane and dedicate the existing right lane to a cycletrack or whatever.

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  • f April 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Please focus on extending bike lanes to all neighborhoods and creating bike and pedestrian friendly zones in some of the less central areas.

    I feel sad when everyone frets about the details of things in the central areas and forgets all about the rest of the city.

    We need more pretty good bike routes everywhere rather than just a few perfect bike routes in the center.

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    • Steve B April 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Absolutely, world-class bike lanes for every neighborhood! Being that this is the second busiest bikeway in the city --with a significant amount of bike crashes and speeding concerns-- the details of this project merit the community's attention.

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  • Sharon Maxwell-Henddricks April 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I believe a different street should be used for bicyling. Williams is a main street is being developed for reviatilizing this corridor. If you take away off street parking, and add the bicycling lane it's just too much. Patrons of business will have hard time getting to the businesses. Pick Rodney it's less vehicle traffic takes less to develop it's only residential traffic and it's safer and not Arterial Street.
    Thanks PBOT for Open House.

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    • BURR April 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

      Cycling will never be mainstream if it is not safely accommodated on our main streets.

      Cyclists want and deserve direct and easy access to the same commercial districts that motorists do, and not indirect, slower and longer routes.

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    • are April 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm

      accommodating through traffic from the highway to the arterials is not going to help you revitalize. your customers need to be able to cross the streets on foot without getting killed.

      also, cyclists who cannot take the pressure on williams are already using rodney, but there are many stops and the connection across fremont is offset, with no traffic control. anyone who wants to actually go anywhere will use williams.

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  • Ted Buehler April 17, 2011 at 12:32 am

    +1 to Emily P's idea to take away parking from 4-6pm. I wrote that on a comment form at the open house. I think it's one of the best ideas yet for that segment.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler April 17, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I think the best way to "tame" the "excess" car volumes from Cook to Skidmore is to reduce the number of cars coming up from Russell to Cook -- the excess volume is the northbound traffic that opts to take Williams instead of I-5 to go north. The traffic from Cook is legitimate car traffic, as Williams is essentially part of the I-405 exit ramp to NE Portland.

    So, calm Williams extensively from Broadway to Cook, and the car volumes will naturally drop low enough that the addition of 405 exit traffic at Cook won't necessitate an additional lane.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Steve B April 17, 2011 at 10:56 am

      that's a great point! if we reduce trips further down Williams, it can handle the 405 traffic. brilliant talking point, I will bring it up at the next SAC meeting.

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    • Paul in the 'couve April 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

      +1 "So, calm Williams extensively from Broadway to Cook, and the car volumes will naturally drop low enough that the addition of 405 exit traffic at Cook won't necessitate an additional lane. "

      My though exactly - by making Vancouver less attractive / easy as a through from Weidler you will reduce traffic enough to no longer need 2 lanes anywhere and you will also help reduce speeding because fewer people will be trying to "beet the time" of MLK.

      It wouldn't hurt to have another pinch point higher up so more local drivers aren't coming over from MLK or Mississippi/Albina to get down to Killingsworth faster

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  • Ted Buehler April 17, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Dual Bike Lanes --

    I saw the Streetfilms "Copenhagen" movie tonight at FilmedByBike. http://www.streetfilms.org/cycling-copenhagen-through-north-american-eyes/

    I'm inspired. I think Portland should make spaces for "rivers of bikes," and Williams is a great first street for this.

    One thing that was at the Open House and is in the 2030 Bike Plan is to have "dual bike lanes" -- 2 bike lanes side by side. This way the slower folks can poke along, and faster folks can ride fast with the a reasonable expectation that slow folks will stay in their own lane.

    See the graphic and supporting information in the bike plan -- http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=44597&a=289122 , click on "Supplement to Appendix D" and it's on the 8th page, or "page 2 of 41"

    Application is for
    * "Large number of cyclists" (check)
    * "Wide range of uphill travel speeds" (check)
    * "Typically on an uphill roadway" (check)

    One stated advantage is "Reduces number of fast bicyclists that merge with auto traffic to pass slower bicyclists."

    I think Williams would flow much better if they have a block-long section of dual bike lanes every 3 blocks on the uphill section from Broadway to Going. They could totally do it if they took out one of the driving lanes, and have room for a 2' buffer, too.

    What does anyone else think?

    Ted Buehler

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    • spare_wheel April 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      I found that clip to be frightening. Most cyclists were moving at 5-10 mph and many were coasting.

      Why not just walk?

      I think this type of cycling is painfully incompatible with portland-style utility biking. The typical year round cyclist in the PDX rides much faster and covers far more ground laterally and vertically. After my experiences with the Broadway cycle track I have become vehemently opposed to infrastructure that fences in cyclists. It is possible to build infrastructure that allows cyclists access to vehicle lanes...but not if we look to Copenhagen for inspiration.

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    • Oliver April 18, 2011 at 8:51 am

      I absolutely love the idea, but I would worry that in the same way that people drive, many cyclists would use the left lane to cruise at the "I'm going fast enough" speed, rather than only to pass. Just exactly the way so many drivers do currently on the freeway.

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      • Allan April 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

        I and others will love ranting about that in the comments section of bikeportland :)

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  • Ted Buehler April 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I think the Copenhagen "bicycle river" can be successfully adapted to Portland, but it needs to be modified a bit for conditions here, namely
    1) longer distances traveled
    2) wider range of preferred operating speeds
    3) hills.

    The way to do this is to stripe multiple bike lanes, like the approach to the Hawthorn Bridge at SE Grand, but on a much larger scale. Miles and miles of multilane facilities. Slow traffic keeps right, pass on the left. It's an easy concept to learn. Stripe bike corridors (whether they're bike lanes, cycletracks, or off-street facilities) for 2, 3, or more lanes. Each lane is 5' wide. And then you can carry massive numbers of bicycles at different speeds.

    If we want to have 25% of trips by bike here, and we don't want everyone to ease along, the bike routes need to be engineered accordingly, so that slow traffic and fast traffic can peacefully, happily coexist.

    Ted Buehler

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  • cycler April 18, 2011 at 7:08 am

    If traffic is mostly congested in the PM, why don't they make the parking lane time sensitive, so that it can be used as a travel lane during peak periods, and then turn back into parking after rush hour?

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  • jim April 18, 2011 at 7:19 am

    They keep building more apartments on Williams with no parking lots. Also more new business's that have customers driving cars. The parking is just going to get more congested than ever

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  • jim April 18, 2011 at 7:28 am

    If they can make I-5 flow smoothly then cars will no longer cut through the neighborhoods to avoid it. They need to fix the bottlenecks at the bridge and rose quarter.

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  • spare_wheel April 18, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Ted Buehler
    If we want to have 25% of trips by bike here, and we don't want everyone to ease along, the bike routes need to be engineered accordingly, so that slow traffic and fast traffic can peacefully, happily coexist.

    The double lane stretch on the bridge does work well. As long as there is no barrier to access (e.g. a lip or curb) this is a vision I can enthusiastically support.

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  • Brian April 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Not sure if it's been discussed yet... but as a mediation to accommodate bicyclists more and car drivers...

    ...is there not the option to simply narrow the width of the existing vehicle travel lanes by a few feet each (say down from 14 to 12 feet), and add that to the width of the existing bikelane? You could add 4 feet the bikelane that way, without compromising on car travel lanes.

    I think addressing the speed on this road is of greater importance. The lights are timed too fast. Many cyclists get frustrated with hitting RED, RED, RED, RED, RED the whole way along their commute, and for better or worse, run the lights a lot.

    ALSO. Whatever happened to the proposed Rodney Street bike boulevard a block away?

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    • Allan April 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Brian- The lanes here have already been narrowed to 10 feet and PBOT isn't willing to go narrower.

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  • was carless April 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Absolutely, they are flip-floppers, only pushing their "green streets" planning when it is politically feasible. Hence, nothing will change. Aka, need more grassroots, and the neighborhood association to support it.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

    re the narrowing of Interstate Avenue. That change has helped make that arterial much friendlier for pedestrians, bicyclists as well as transit users, and motorists still have a fair share as well as other options. N/S city arterial streets should not be designed to accommodate the spill over from incident caused back up on I-5. Williams as a growing commercial "Main Street" needs slower motor vehicle traffic. The easy, least cost way to do this is by a "road diet," one lane for motorized traffic and an extra wide bike lane just like Vancouver. PBOT could paint it tonight.

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  • random_rider April 18, 2011 at 9:52 am

    The businesses that are part of the revitalization of Williams would likely benefit from having slower traffic speeds and a more controlled flow. It's hard to notice the new cafe that just opened when you're cruising along at 40 and keeping an eye out for bikes and crossing pedestrians.

    And it's frustrating to me to keep hearing people make comments over and over indicating that Williams is supposed to be able to accommodate large amounts of car traffic. As many people keep pointing out, it's not an arterial. When I'm in my car I have the option of taking I-5, Interstate, Williams or MLK for an evening commute. If I'm on my bike Williams is far and away the best south to north option. Why should the City be putting the emphasis on what should be a secondary or tertiary travel choice for cars while it is the only reasonable route for bikes?

    Lastly, Williams is at its car capacity for 2 hours from Monday to Friday. That means for 22 hours during the week and 24 during the weekend it is already working for drivers and during those times their biggest problem is traffic backups. That is not the case for cyclists and pedestrians who are much more limited in their options and are much more at risk. The City should make that the primary focus. If the option that keeps bikes away from the door zone and ends playing leapfrog with busses also inconveniences cars to a mild degree, that seems more than reasonable. And I say this as someone who does occasionally have to drive a car through the area during rush hour.

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    • jim April 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      Williams is not an arterial?
      It sure gets used as one. Count the washington license plates during the rush hour.
      Interstate has been all backed up ever since they made it into a one lane road, I-5 is a parking lot, MLK has too many lights and stuff for people to use it, Williams seams to work best.
      Fix I-5 and you will automatically fix both Interstate and Williams, plus other trouble spots nearing the bridge

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      • Liz May 8, 2011 at 12:03 am

        DRIVE LESS, and you will also automatically fix the problems on I-5, MLK, Williams, and, oh, every single other road in Portland.

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      • are May 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

        that's kinda the point, jim.

        williams is being used inappropriately for its designation, and PBoT is supposed to be working here to take it down a notch or two, but they seem to be balking on reducing throughput in segment 4.

        welcome to the conversation.

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  • Allan May 8, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Personal donations to society are nice but to really get this o happen we need to reduce roadway capacity with projects like me

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