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From Sydney, a look at the future of NE Holladay?

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 3rd, 2011 at 10:06 am

NE Holladay street-4
See image below for how NE Holladay
could be transformed with an
enhanced bikeway.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As I shared on Monday, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is still trying to figure out how to move forward on a project to make NE Holladay Street a high-quality, east-west bike route through the Lloyd District. The initial plan was to make the entire, southern side of the street carfree (the northern side is already taken by the MAX train) — but that idea fell victim to compromise due to opposition from real estate developers and other powerful stakeholders concerned about any loss of motor vehicle "circulation" and on-street parking.

This morning, a friend (Matt Haughey) shared a photo of a new bike facility in downtown Sydney, Australia...

Two-way, separated bikeway in downtown Sydney. Photo by Matt Haughey.

It's a bi-directional bikeway on one-half of the roadway and it's similar to what we could — and should — do on NE Holladay. Of course, it means we'd have to use space currently taken up by 40 or so existing on-street parking spaces; but look what we'd get in exchange.

For that matter, why not do something like this on SW Broadway downtown?

These type of physically separated bikeways are popping up all over the world (not just in Europe) and each time another one is unveiled, it makes Portland look that much more like a follower than a leader. When will Portland make the big step and unveil something like this? What are we waiting for?

UPDATE: The City of Eugene isn't waiting for anything. Check out what they're doing on Alder Street near the University of Oregon — a two-way, green cycle track on one side of the street.

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Comments
  • Steve B August 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I pray to the gods of bike infrastructure that Portland put two-way cycletracks to use.

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  • 9watts August 3, 2011 at 10:39 am

    "When will Portland make the big step and unveil something like this? What are we waiting for? "
    Perhaps when we realize we're in the midst of the twilight of the automobile.
    A city that gives that much central city street over to the bike knows which way the wind is blowing.

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  • Lindsay Walker August 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I was in Sydney last fall when they were constructing one of these bikeways. I was really impressed, not only with the quality and scale of the bike infrastructure, but also the marketing and public information that accompanied the construction (e.g., big signs saying how the project would benefit all road users and the environment, display case with project design info). I'll send some pics.

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  • 9watts August 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

    The fact of the matter is that other cities and countries take this whole thing (shifting to bikes as policy) a lot more seriously than we (appear to). Germany (their federal government), for instance, has been running a campaign about not driving for the kinds of short distances typical of urban dwellers pretty much everywhere 'Zero CO2 for short distances.' One of their slogans (seen in the photos below) seen on banners displayed above or attached to bike racks is 'Reserved for Climate Heroes.'
    http://tinyurl.com/3q9paqz
    http://tinyurl.com/432aeaa

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  • Severin August 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I'm not a fan of making bike infrastructure like car infrastructure (left turn lanes), as they've also done in D.C. If the Dutch and Danish don't design intersections/crossings like that it might be a little questionable...

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    • Christopher August 3, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Left turning lanes for bicycles does seem a bit unnecessary. However, I don't think the Dutch/Danish should be the ultimate authority when it comes to bike infrastructure. Our cities are not similarly designed and our cyclists do not behave in the same ways. What works there might not work here. Getting back to the article...I don't think Holladay is a good place for a dedicated bike way (similar to the one pictured). Bicycle transit is already well served by Multnomah St. to the north and Holladay is sort of a dead end due to the freeway/LR.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 3, 2011 at 11:39 am

        I don't think Holladay is a good place for a dedicated bike way (similar to the one pictured).

        I disagree. And so does an analysis by one of the nation's leading bike/ped planning firms.

        Bicycle transit is already well served by Multnomah St. to the north

        I don't agree. That's a high-speed, multi-lane street where motor vehicles are prioritized and the bikeway is a substandard width.

        and Holladay is sort of a dead end due to the freeway/LR.

        The fwy isn't a dead end. Holladay continues all the way through to Rose Quarter and connects w/ new bikeway (as long as TriMet allows use of a tiny portion of the street they own now).

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        • John Lascurettes August 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm

          Jonathan, I think he meant it was a dead end at the Lloyd end of Holladay; however, as someone else pointed out in an earlier article's comments the other end will connect beautifully with the Sullivan's Gulch trail (if ever completed), and it connects with 12 Ave (another major bike way).

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          • ikeonic August 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

            The Sullivan's Gulch trail would be SWEET!

            More bike freeways!

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  • Jim Lee August 3, 2011 at 11:34 am

    As a former honorary Sydneysider let me try to explain the (alleged) right-of-way law for vehicles in New South Wales...

    ...oh, wait...that's impossible...

    good luck, and fair dinkum, ya drongos!

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  • Michweek August 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Ainsworth needs a parking removal cycle-track treatment fo' shizzel! The way Killingsworth peters out heading West from Columbia is also a huge bummer. Actually there are a ton of places where bike lanes disappear and to me those are some of the most dangerous gaps we have. Suddenly you have no paint on the road the validates your right to use that road in the mode (bicycle) you choose to get around by. All the car operating people then get mad at you and think you shouldn't be there.

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    • Hugh Johnson August 3, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Forget it...another "gentrification" hot spot. It's just not worth this race card pulling that's going on lately.

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  • ikeonic August 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    The fwy isn't a dead end. Holladay continues all the way through to Rose Quarter and connects w/ new bikeway (as long as TriMet allows use of a tiny portion of the street they own now).

    I think Christopher meant that Holladay feels like a deadend if you're heading east and have to turn left onto 13th to go up to Multnomah to continue heading east because you can't go straight any more. Multnomah has a similar issue near its termination near 28th but you've made it nearly 15 more blocks east without having to make any turns if you stay on Multnomah.

    Studies and analysis aside, I agree with Christopher that there's got to be a better street than Holladay to be the pilot for this. No study -- just gut feeling.

    I think it's a great concept and hope Portland finds the right street to pilot it. When I leave my car at home and ride my bike, I don't do it for some pious belief that I'm a "climate hero". My number one priority on the bike is safety and physically separated bikeways give me the greatest chance of making it home to enjoy another day helping my daughter grow up. I'm willing to pay more taxes to support more and more separated bikeways. For me, it has absolutely nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with safety.

    And yes, my opinion is mine and mine alone.

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  • ikeonic August 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Oops.. quoting fail on my part. The first paragraph above was a quote by Jonathan Maus. My apologies!

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  • Lee Shoemaker August 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    The City of Eugene is currently constructing a two-way cycle track on Alder Street near the University of Oregon. The project will be completed by the end of September. Other features include contra flow bike lane, green bike lanes, sharrows, wider sidewalks, back in auto parking, and bike corrals. Funded with local funds and an Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian grant. Visit project web page: http://www.eugene-or.gov/alder.

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  • Jon August 3, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    also vancouver bc has some great two-way separated cycle tracks downtown

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  • beefa August 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    The law of the land here in Sydney regarding right of way in relation to the bike/car dynamic is that bikes are a vehicle and enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of a motor vehicle. So quit whinging blokes.

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  • J Davis Harte August 4, 2011 at 4:35 am

    I'm from Eugene/Corvallis but now bike with my Burley'd 2 year old in Sydney where we currently reside. I'd wholeheartedly applaud & support these separate cycleways for Portland as well. But don't put Sydney on any pedestals. I regularly have to walk my bike or go some obscure way to get around ramp-less corners (not on cycleways - as there are none that take me where I need to go). On my way to get to a cycleway we could use, I have to literally swing into the car lane in order to access the super-dangerously placed too-steep ramp. It's can be a real nightmare riding here. Especially because of really high-tension conflict use type issues. Just today I was on the footpath - the same side of the street as both my points a & b, but opposite the cycleway side, where I'm legally allowed to be with my 'under 12 year old', riding slowly & politely along in 72 degree winter weather (smirk), when this hefty, cigarette smoking lady waved her cigarette at me & said to her friend - no me- 'there's a bike path right there'. Aarg! Vans and cars also regularly drive or park on footpaths etc. My dh also rides to work & regularly gets harassed or nearly knocked by grumpy drivers/buses etc. I'm just saying - appreciate the more (than Sydney) bike-accepting attitude of Portlanders!

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  • Katrina August 4, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I think the real question is, how would Portland do anything even remotely close to Sydney or other places in Europe if they seem to continue on a ho-humming sort of back and forth debate about this? What would citizens be able to do about it and get the ball rolling? What would it take for the city to just go for it?

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  • 007 August 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

    If there must be space for the 5 cars per hour that travel on Holladay, just make it one lane one-way going east.

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  • Alexis August 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I'd be interested to see how they handle the transition zones. If you're trying to move bikes onto the side of the road where they usually aren't, it causes issues with transitions that don't come up with the one-way cycletracks. And seeing PBOT's implementation of things that require transitions, getting a good result is not a guarantee.

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