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Williams update: KATU coverage, new voices, and a carfree N Rodney instead?

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 3rd, 2011 at 12:08 pm

New committee member Michelle DePass
speaking with KATU news last night.
(Image: Still from video below)

Since the meeting last week where racism and gentrification were the main topics of discussion, there have been some developments around the City's North Williams Traffic Safety Operations project.

The official Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) met last night at Legacy Emanuel Hospital last night for the sixth time. Described as a "regroup" meeting by one of the SAC members, one big thing on the agenda was the addition of nine new people to sit on the committee. I'm still waiting for the complete list from PBOT* (I wasn't able to be there), but according to coverage of the meeting by KATU-TV, not surprisingly, "most of the new members are African-American."

One of the new members is Michelle DePass, whom you might recall is the woman who can be credited with putting the racism issue front and center at a meeting back on July 20th.

As for KATU, they did a respectable job covering the story (despite the "Bike Lane Fight" title and making it seem like the issue is between enhancing the bikeway and "reducing traffic"). Watch the video that aired last night:

Another thing that came up at the meeting, was a new proposal shared by Carla Danley. Danley is on PBOT's Bicycle Advisory Committee (the citywide committee, not to be confused with the committee for this specific project). She proposed removing the bikeway on Williams altogether and instead making N. Rodney (a through street to the east) a carfree street for bikes only.

Transportaiton Safety Summit-6
Carla Danley.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Danley shared the idea with me via email. One of Danley's concerns is that a physically separated bikeway (which is on the table for Williams) impedes access for those in wheelchairs. She feels that a carfree Rodney is a better solution for that and many other reasons including:

- the interested-but-concerned riders get a major thoroughfare free of cars
- a car-free street is a cleaner, healthier, more pleasant ride than inhaling bus/auto fumes on N. Williams (and should be marketed that way to cyclists)
- in the absence of cars, the street can absorb higher bike traffic
- removing the bikes from Williams eliminates the bike-on-bus conflict
- N. Williams functions as an arterial instead of a collector because the need must be there or people would travel MLK or the I-5 were they really meeting the need
- the cycling community already has a rep for being bad citizens. This is an opportunity for cyclists to show leadership in the city by really listening to long-time residents of the neighborhood and responding by coming up with a win-win

Danley envisions Rodney as a two-way bikeway in the center of the street with motor vehicle access for permitted residents only and with no on-street parking.

"Ultimately, as Portland struggles to move bikes, cars and freight at ever higher volume with the same size streets the only viable solution will be car-free and bike-free streets (we may even develop some 'freight only' corridors, similar to HOV lanes in other cities)," writes Danley.

The Rodney alternative is just an idea by one citizen; but it shows that along with adding new voices into the process, PBOT is also opening the discussion up to new engineering solutions as well.

One last update on this project. The City of Portland has is still planning a larger event to discuss "how transportation planning and the condition of our street relates to history, racial and economic injustice and gentrification." That event is planned for sometime in September.

Writing about the event in a project outreach update, PBOT wrote:

"We have an opportunity in the North Williams project to model inclusive planning that takes account of past planning mistakes. However, the Project Team has more to learn from community members about how this project could affect them and how they want to be involved; community members also have much to learn from one another about these effects."

— Stay tuned for more Williams project coverage and read archived coverage here.

*UPDATE: Here is the list of new members added to the SAC yesterday (bringing the total number to 27):

    Tom Anctil - Anctil Heating & Cooling
    Noni Causey - Education specialist, small business owner
    Michelle DePass - Neighbor
    Kenneth Doswell - Betty Jean Couture
    Gahlena Easterly - Neighbor
    Matt Hennessee - Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church
    Jazzmin Reece - Urban League Young Professionals
    Dwight Terry - Terry Family Funeral Home
    Mychal Tetteh - Village Market at New Columbia

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Comments
  • Paul August 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    "She proposed removing the bikeway on Williams altogether and instead making N. Rodney (a through street to the east) a carfree street for bikes only."

    Sure, take bike lanes off the commercial corridors where people actually want to go. Rodney is already easy to bike on, yet look where the bike traffic is :) In the future, all commercial corridors will need bike access.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

  • Jack August 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Making Rodney car free would be great. But, requiring cyclists to use it instead of Williams would essentially classify cyclists as a lower class of road user. Rodney -- even if car free -- does not provide:

    1) access to businesses in the area
    2) safe/efficient movement through intersections (no signals at Fremont/Skidmore/Alberta etc.
    3) Priority to North/South movement.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

  • 9watts August 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I concur with both prior posters. The bit about "the only viable solution will be car-free and bike-free streets " makes no sense to me. This 'balance' is anachronistic and I think misses the point.

    The rest I can follow.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Alan 1.0 August 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Rodney? Or the Rodney/Mallory Alley?

    Either way, what happens to resident's access by car?

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Ed August 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      I agree. I don't think most of my neighbors will like that. I do 'cause I don't own a car. Someday!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • q`Tzal August 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I'd guess that most of the bicycle riders are not of the timid variety that are afraid of cars but the sort of people that want to get to where they are going.

    I'm all for helping cagers see that cycling for transportation is not a display of suicidal tendencies but an alternate route will only be used if it is as quick and and convienient as N Williams.

    To make this work hardware will need to be installed: bollards blocking access to Rodney off of every feeder road or arterial and signalized crossings of the same. At the very least bicycle tuned loop triggered HAWK crossing signals. It would make sense to "bollard off" at least every 2nd or 3rd block in addtion to the main requirements.

    Anything less will not be carfree and/or will be slower, anything less will therefore be a waste of taxpayer money.

    Do it right or stop wasting our time and money.

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  • Alex Reed August 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Great to see that the controversy has resulted in a very innovative infrastructure idea! (Not saying that raised awareness and consideration of racial injustice and the perceived exclusivity of the process wouldn't have been good enough outcomes on their own).

    I think that this proposal would seem to me to provide good enough mobility for people biking to essentially replace Williams if:
    -All stop signs at intersections of Rodney with neighborhood streets were flipped.
    -Rodney were given safe, quick crossings at all major streets. To me, this means fully signalized intersections or a HAWK signal.

    Existing neighborhood greenways are simply not as fast or convenient as arterials etc. because these stop sign and signal crossing issues have not been fully addressed. Of course, addressing them will require putting in lots of motor vehicle diverters as well, to keep the street mostly car-free.

    Direct access to commercial destinations by people biking is indeed important. However, I think there is room for a compromise in this case by making Rodney as fast for people biking as Williams is now and much, much more pleasant and safe than Williams. Then, and only then, would the vast majority of people biking choose Rodney over Williams.

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  • Oliver August 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Let's do a car-free Rodney, then we can have 3 lanes of WA bound car traffic in the evening on Williams.

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  • single track August 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    This idea is dead on arrival if all the intersections aren't rewired to allow bicycle traffic quick and convenient crossings of the cross streets. The infrastructure required to truly make Rodney car free and fast for bikes will cost MORE than converting williams to a safer street for all. The wheelchair thing is a non issue. The curbs are ADA compliant and the independent SCI facility mostly caters to people with motorized chairs, which cross the street FASTER than walking speed.

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  • John Lascurettes August 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Problem with NE Rodney: it jogs at major busy streets (NE Fremont) making it not efficient for bike thoroughfare use (I'll stick to Williams no matter what thank you). And removing cars access? What will all the residents feel about that? You think there's griping about removing parking now, try doing that in front of a residential area.

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    • whyat August 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      Totally agree with the jogging issue. Any street that continually jogs back and forth at major intersections is not one I'm going to ride in any capacity. Williams is direct and has preference at most major crossings. That's what I will continue to ride regardless.

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    • kww August 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      John is 100% on the mark, and makes Rodney a non-starter. I'm sorry, but traffic calming that will take place with bikes on N. Williams is important and will benefit pedestrians (and wheelchairs too - accommodation MUST be made!).

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    • aaronf August 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      It jogs on one major busy street. Fremont. No need to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

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  • Ely August 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I was wondering if there was another handy N/S route near Williams; the main reason I ride Williams now is that I didn't know of one. Now I do. I don't know about car-free, but what about making it a 'neighborhood greenway'? Those seem to be working well, with little money or conflict. Less experienced cyclists would have a comfortable N/S route, and Williams could remain as-is, or with more minor alterations, for more courageous/higher speed bicycle traffic.

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    • A.K. August 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Interstate isn't bad. There is one hill when you're headed north, but it takes all of 30 seconds to go up and isn't a bad grade.

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      • Andrew Seger August 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm

        On the other hand the bike lanes disappear in stretches and it's on the wrong side of I-5. As others pointed out Williams is also the only N/S route that doesn't take you over the alameda ridge, too. What if we made Williams car free? We could build new low income housing on parts of the streets and turn it into a two way bike only street? We could even take away Vancouver's bike lane and reallocate it to cars.

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        • A.K. August 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

          OK, take 7th or 9th then. Also low traffic, minimal hills. Not as flat as Williams but you're also not going straight up the ridge either... one hill of like 70 ft total elevation and you're done.

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      • sarah C August 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

        I live a block off of Interstate and take it downtown 2-3 evenings a week. The main reason I take Williams back is because as a woman it feels safer - there are more people around. There are some lonely and quiet stretches on Interstate, especially after 9 pm.

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  • chad August 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    "- the cycling community already has a rep for being bad citizens."

    Really? I can think of other "communities" that have far worse reps. The cyclists I know are all tax-paying, (mostly) law-abiding, good people just trying to get around town without the expense and pollution of a car. Lumping people into one big category like this rarely leads to anything good and applying the loaded label "bad citizens" just creates makes people angry and less likely to compromise.

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    • q`Tzal August 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      Here is a good comeback on the "cyclists are bad citizens"/Rodney bikeway:

      "Is the African-American community recommending segregation as a valid solution? How did "seperate but equal" work out?"

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • otis August 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

        That's a clever sound bite but hardly relevant or accurate. The NE Rodney proposal is one idea from one person, not yet an object of community support. Also, as has been stated on this site, the concept of the "African-American Community" is just as dubious as the "White Community," the "Bicycling Community" or the "Driving Community." Finally, the debate over infrastructural safety improvements is not analogous to decades of discrimination and segregation.

        Recommended Thumb up 8

    • sorebore August 3, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      @chad.. yup, I am with you on that. All from someone who ride's too!!??!

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Randall Sewell August 4, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Yeah, that was exactly my thought too. I'm fairly sure far, far more people are killed by speeding cars than by cyclists.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

  • steve August 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    'Danley is on PBOT's Bicycle Advisory Committee (the citywide committee, not to be confused with the committee for this specific project).'

    Anyone else concerned with BAC members saying nonsense like this?

    Carla Danley says-

    "the cycling community already has a rep for being bad citizens..."

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • peejay August 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    OK, tell the business that opened on Williams to attract bike riding customers, like Hopworks Bike Bar and others that they just got bypassed, and see how they feel.

    This idea is dead on arrival.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • spare_wheel August 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      Hmm...the other hopworks does just fine.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Mindful Cyclist August 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      We can't ask that cyclist ride another 4oo feet? What is that--about 10 pedal strokes?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • peejay August 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Take out the bike lane on Williams, and you'll get (from me, and many others) the kind of protests and demonstrations that happened when Toronto announced the removal of the Jarvis St bike lane.

    There is NO GOING BACKWARDS.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • spare_wheel August 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      i am sympathetic to the gentrification issue. nevertheless, this talk of *removing* an existing heavily-used bike facility is just ridiculous. not going to happen.

      Recommended Thumb up 14

    • jeff August 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      huh, threats to get your way? is that how adults do it?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Psyfalcon August 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

        Have you seen congress?

        Its exactly what our esteemed leaders have taught me!

        Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Dan August 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Oh, PeeJay! You're just so persnickety!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Esther August 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks for handling the situation with respect in this article Jonathan.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Ed August 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      Yes!!! Thank you Jonathan. Your coverage has been very insightful and helpful.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BURR August 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    We need BOTH safe cycling facilities on arterials like Williams AND traffic calmed neighborhood streets like Rodney, in order to accommodate cyclists of all skill and comfort levels riding with traffic.

    The city needs to stop catering to the lowest common cycling denominator and do more and better to improve arterial safety for all of the better skilled and more confident cyclists in Portland, of which there are many. In addition, many of the new cyclists the city hopes to attract in the future will quickly develop to the skill level necessary to ride Williams and other arterials.

    Sharrows are an excellent interim solution for low to mid level arterials which the city for some reason continues to completely ignore (whereas LADOT just approved sharrows for use with 'Bikes Allowed Full Lane' signage on these types of streets,see link below).

    http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/ladot-sharrows-report-results-sharrows-are-good/

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • was carless August 5, 2011 at 10:09 am

      I live in SE and thats what we get - both bike lanes on major streets AND "bike boulevards" on quiet residential streets. And you know what? People in my neighborhood use both.

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  • Joe C August 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Like prvs commenters, I'm calling bollocks on a Rodney-only bikeway. Many think it's a sort of "panacea," but it is anything but. Rather than nix fantastic bike facilities (and improved ped facilities) emerging on N Williams, I could see a case being made for developing both in tandem as a major bikeway (Will) and a slower-paced, novice-friendly n'hood greenway (Rod). But not Rodney-only.

    - a car-free street is a cleaner, healthier, more pleasant ride than inhaling bus/auto fumes
    ---> Yes, car-free streets are cleaner, healthier and more pleasant for everyone, residents included. So why would it be ok for N Williams residents/pedestrians to get the shaft under a Rodney-only proposal?
    - removing the bikes from Williams eliminates the bike-on-bus conflict
    ---> As would a left-side cycle track.
    - N. Williams functions as an arterial instead of a collector
    --->No thanks. I'd rather the street my front door opens on to not be a freeway. I have a feeling others may feel the same way.
    - the cycling community already has a rep for being bad citizens. This is an opportunity for cyclists to show leadership...
    --->Really, this if anything is an oppor. for people to realize that people on bikes don't break laws, PEOPLE do, regardless of travel mode. This notion of "scofflaw cyclists" turns my stomach. Here are people trying demonstrably and concretely to make city streets cleaner, safer, and cheaper to maintain, and what do we do? Paint them as law-breakers and propose shuffling them onto second-class facilities. We should focus not on blind adherence to every single law & regulation, but the scale of danger that such lawbreaking poses.

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    • Joe C August 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      To illustrate how silly worrying about scofflaw cyclists is, yesterday while walking to a WPC event I had 2 experiences w/ other modes of travel. In both cases, I was crossing the street, and in both the other users didn't see me (in spite of my generous height) / didn't look as they were turning left. See if you can spot the person who poses the most danger to other road users?

      1) a person on a bike turning onto N Flint from Russell. He weaved around me, said "sorry!" as he passed. No contact.
      2) person in car waiting for chance to turn onto NWill from Fargo, stopped & blocking xwalk. I tried to go around the front (bc of other cars behind him) & he accelerated into me, bouncing me back as I threw my hands in front of me.

      Though low-impact and low-speed, it was the first time I've been hit by a car in my life.

      I'm not at all worried about the scofflaw cyclists. I'm worried about the scofflaw drivers.

      http://bit.ly/p0tgS7
      http://bit.ly/qJHn4F
      http://bit.ly/qablg2
      http://bit.ly/qSMawt

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      • A.K. August 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm

        A-freakin'-MEN! The "scofflaw cyclists" argument is such a red herring, I believe anyone who brings it up as some sort of legitimate point should have the rest of their "argument" thrown out as equally unsubstantiated.

        I'm not saying cyclists don't do dumb stuff, but they hardly have a monopoly on bad driving.

        Ugh.

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        • Tacoma August 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm

          To go further on this tangent, this article is interesting, especially the comments.

          http://www.theurbancountry.com/2011/07/on-scofflaw-cyclists-exemplary.html

          Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Joe Rowe August 13, 2011 at 8:51 am

          It's really bad behavior when a few cyclists don't stop for pedestrians on Williams. It's also really bad behavior when people get emotional and stereotype all cyclists as those who don't stop. It's also really bad behavior to say the comments of another person don't belong because there is some bad behavior here. Bad behavior is a fact of life. It would help if the bike community allowed errors to happen and ceased the goal of being the topic police.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • marshmallow August 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    "Rodney" has bad connotations because of Rodney King's beating and now someone wants to remind the bicyclists of racial cop beatings?

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  • 9watts August 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    "We need BOTH safe cycling facilities on arterials like Williams AND traffic calmed neighborhood streets like Rodney"

    ...and keep in mind that within a few years (5? 10?) all of these streets are likely going to be see more bikes than cars, no matter what we decide to do now. This isn't argument for doing nothing but an appeal to make decisions that will work well under those very different circumstances.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Joe C August 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      Agreed. By 2025, who knows? We may want to make Williams completely car-free, and then all of the work on Rodney will be for naught.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • otis August 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    NE Rodney, not N Rodney.

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  • Jason August 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    As a homeowner on Rodney I have been advocating for Rodney as a bike blvd at a minimum and ideally turned into a 15MPH street. Slow the traffic on Williams to 25MPH through a series of lights (like downtown) and give cyclists an alternative with Rodney. Fix the jog at Fremont with a cycletrack-like improvement and Rodney becomes another great street in the city while preserving the business access and total throughput on Williams.

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    • sarah C August 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      I am with Jason. I lived on Rodney until last year. 10 years ago the BTA and PBOT stated that it should and would be a greenway. Then they dropped it. BTA lost (and then found 9 months later) emails from citizens in support like myself.

      I now live on Concord. Rodney has no greater issues to becoming a greenway than Concord. Yet, as I sit at my computer I see cyclists using Concord all day long.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • sarah August 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    "Danley envisions Rodney as a two-way bikeway in the center of the street with motor vehicle access for permitted residents only and with no on-street parking."

    I'm curious about how this will work - I live on Rodney (and bike to work, and own a car) and don't have a driveway, like many houses on my block. Where would this plan have me parking, exactly?

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  • james August 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Ha! Good luck getting property owners on Rodney to give up their on-street parking. In our neighborhood the parking spot in front of your house is like abirthright.

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  • FauxPorteur August 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Another hypothetical to think about:

    Would you rather have:

    Bike lanes added to MLK/Grand

    Or

    Have east 9th avenue be treated for proper bike traffic (stop signs all facing east/west), microparks blocking north/south auto-traffic every 10-20 blocks or so, better crossings across busy roads with active signal triggers, etc...

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  • T August 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Wait, are the people that live in the neighborhood actually asking for commuter car traffic to be funneled into their area? If I lived there, I would want to be able to safely get around by all modes and not worry about road raging people trying to short cut thru and put my children in danger.

    Make Williams a two-way bike only, make Vancouver a two-way car only, but block it off to make it inconvenient for through traffic... make it function as a local street. Force the thru traffic to MLK and the I5, where it belongs. If the traffic gets too bad on those streets, it's because too many people are driving...

    If you turn Williams into another freeway, aren't you just repeating history?

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  • Ted Buehler August 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    There's only 4 streets that go from Broadway to N/NE Portland without a steep climb up the Wilamette Bluffs or Alameda Ridge.

    Williams
    Rodney
    MLK
    7th

    Given current and future bike levels, all of these but MLK should be prioritized for improvements for bicycles.

    I don't think it's likely that on-street parking could be taken off Rodney -- way too many houses face it, and parking is already in short supply near the Rose Quarter and at Russell.

    But Rodney would make a great neighborhood greenway, with improved crossings of Fremont and others.

    Note also that streetcar construction is adding traffic signals to NE Broadway and Wiedler at NE 2nd, so the Rodney corridor now goes south to the Convention Center and Rise Quarter transit station.

    Still, the best option for bicyclists (and those nonbicyclists that benefit from cleaner air, quieter cities and safer streets) is to add capacity for bicycles on Williams, so bicycle travel is convenient and safe at a variety of speeds for commuting Portlanders and neighborhood residents.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Joe C August 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      "Still, the best option for bicyclists (and those nonbicyclists that benefit from cleaner air, quieter cities and safer streets) is to add capacity for bicycles on Williams"

      Sing it, Ted!

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  • fredlf August 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Danly stated: "N. Williams functions as an arterial instead of a collector because the need must be there or people would travel MLK or the I-5 were they really meeting the need."
    I think that is a naive view of "need" (aka, demand). Numerous studies have shown that road demand is elastic, in a "if you build it, they will come" sense. The "induced demand" effect of new freeway lanes is well documented. All road users will always seek the fastest route, so if you provide a fast arterial, it will be used as such. If you calm traffic on Williams so that it is no longer a viable alternative to I-5/MLK, it will cease to function as such as people modify their travel needs.

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    • Joe C August 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      +1

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    • Aaronf August 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      So, if you build a nice greenway on Rodney, bike traffic will exhibit the same elasticity. Experienced riders could still use Williams (I think removing the bike lane on Williams is impractical) and the current overload on the bike lane on Williams will be alleviated as more cyclists switch to Rodney.

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  • A.K. August 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    All the hand-wringing about the "hills" going into N. Portland makes me think that 4 out of 5 riders here in PDX must be using inappropriate bikes and/or gear combos for their level of fitness, or people don't ride as much as they say they do.

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    • BURR August 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      you're probably one of those people who also claim that riding on and around the streetcar tracks is no big deal.

      Not all cyclists in Portland are roadies in training for the Tour de Flanders; I'm always looking for routes that avoid the steepest hills, and my knees thank me for it.

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      • dan August 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        Seriously? There's lots of beater MTBs out there with triple chainrings. Are you saying that grannying up a hill in the small chainring (a ratio designed for pitches considerably steeper than anything we see in N Portland) is too hard for people?

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        • Psyfalcon August 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm

          Apparently, it is. This applies especially to people new to cycling, out of shape, and perhaps overweight.

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  • dan August 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I will admit that if you have a single-speed fashion bike that some of the other routes into N Portland could be prohibitively steep. The solution there might revolve around the bike, not the bike route, though.

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    • BURR August 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Y'all haven't the faintest idea what kind of bike I ride.

      My point is simply that topography counts where human power is concerned, and poking fun at people for not wanting to ride hills is not moving this conversation forward. Utilitarian bike routes should always follow the lowest topography routes, but maybe you skipped class that day in Bike Route Design 101.

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      • A.K. August 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        Exactly - if they aren't training for the tour of Flanders their commuter bike should have the gearing capable of handling going into N. Portland without issue. If you hate hills get a triple and a 27t cog in the rear. I'm not trying to poke fun, I'm being realistic.

        Your bike choice should play into what type of rider you are and what terrain you may need to go over. Don't buy a bike with a very limited set of gears then complain about going into N. Portland on anything but Williams (not saying YOU do this, just an example).

        According to my Garmin, the hill going up Interstate to the Kaiser hospital is about 100 ft. (+/- 10 ft or so for GPS accuracy). Max grade of about 5.8% for a very short time.

        Going over the Broadway bridge, and up Weidler to the left-turn to Williams is also about 100 ft. in elevation change. Max grade about 3.8%.

        Just trying to give some perspective here on these dreaded climbs going into N. Portland.

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        • Psyfalcon August 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm

          6% is steep. Some of the West Hill routes aren't any steeper than that. Its length doesn't impact the peak power you need to make.

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          • A.K. August 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm

            The difference being that in the west hills that 6% can go on for several hundred feed in elevation gain, while on the Interstate hill that is the absolute maximum achieved for a very, very short period of time.

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          • middle of the road guy August 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm

            So much for the argument about how fit cycling makes a person.

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      • bsped August 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm

        I find it sad that in this thread of comments, people are getting super defensive over being called "scofflaw cyclists " and then poor BURR is being picked on for wanting a route that doesn't have a lot of steep hills.

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  • are August 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    another very basic problem with the KATU story is that it allows the viewer to believe that there were no blacks on the SAC until these new members were added. i sat and talked with this preston fellow for several minutes before the meeting began -- noon, incidentally, not evening --, trying to give the guy (who probably hasn't even unpacked yet since arriving from columbus, ohio) a little background on the situation. the oregonian also a reporter there, but no coverage apparently.

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  • dwainedibbly August 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Well, at least the whole thing has people coming up with creative solutions.

    What about leaving the Williams bike lane as-is, AND make Rodney care-free? The more-relaxed tone would probably pull bike traffic off of Williams, possibly enough to where there weren't the current issues of bicyclists passing other bicyclists.

    I'm also wondering what sort of precedent this would create. "You can leave out a bike lane if you create a bike-only street nearby." I can't decide if that would be good or bad.

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  • BURR August 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    dwainedibbly
    I'm also wondering what sort of precedent this would create. "You can leave out a bike lane if you create a bike-only street nearby." I can't decide if that would be good or bad.

    PDOT already set that precedent with the Hawthorne Boulevard Transportation Plan, at least ten years ago.

    At the time, Hawthorne was a designated bike route in the Bike Master Plan and bike routes on SE Salmon and SE Lincoln/Harrison were substituted for a bike route on Hawthorne itself.

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    • roger noehren August 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      talk about picking the streets with the biggest hill for the bike route. I ride on Yamhill instead of Salmon and Grant instead of Harrison - because they're flatter.
      I also ride on Rodney and agree with those who would like it to be an official "greenway" (with restricted access for cars - which should be an aspect of all "greenways') and more space for bikes on Williams (at least during the evening rush).
      Ultimately I think residents of any neighborhood would prefer not to have motorized commuter traffic passing through. It's currently too easy to access Williams from !-5. A little creative traffic engineering could route the through traffic from Kerby onto Fremont with no left turns permitted into the neighborhood streets including Williams for eastbound traffic, which would be diverted to MLK.
      To draw a line in the sand (or on the street) and say "There's No Going Back" is asking for a similar response from people fixated on cars as the dominant mode of transport. This is all about going back to the drawing board and rethinking how we all get around and what makes our neighborhoods most livable (or it should be).

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  • sorebore August 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    For M. DePass... "one is not the cause of the other.." For some these days it seems as though it is. How are we going to move forward with out the name calling and negative outlook towards cycling in this part of the city? What if everyone traveling Williams was in a car as opposed to riding a bike? Would we be hearing the same arguments? The changing face of a city is something I am truly familiar with .I fully support all the concerns of those affected by the past, but not everyone living and cycling in North Portland moved here with an agenda to infringe upon or displace others. It is my sincere hope that people in this town can sort this out. I move to Portland from an inner city community with a 27-30% African American population base, and have witnessed social injustice beyond ANY to compare to Portland. I chose to live in an urban enviroment for it's diversity. GO TEAM PORTLAND!

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  • Charley August 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Rodney would be DOA. After a lot of work (and taxpayer's money) on Williams, too.

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  • Dabby August 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Carfree Rodney?

    Do people actually believe that that is a viable option?
    Or that even a share bike way on Rodney could be an option?

    It is obviously NOT an option..

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    • Hugh Johnson August 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm

      And we wonder why the "gentrification" fight is raging on. : (

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      • Dabby August 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm

        Your comment has nothing to do with my post..

        Way to go.

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  • aaronf August 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    So, Danley wrote a longer email, and you excerpted out the "relevant" points for this story.

    Besides helping stoke the fire a little more, how does showing us that Danley told you that she thinks the cycling community has a bad rep contribute to the story? Clearly it's the bullet point your readers latched on to the most, and it has elicited an entirely negative reaction.

    We can go back and forth on the merit and degree of bad rep, but it might be politically accurate in PDX. Someone who is on the advisory committee might be a little more pragmatic than some around here.

    I like the Rodney idea. A good cycle-track on Rodney would be excellent, and it would be a 2 block detour to Hopworks. Boo hoo.

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    • BURR August 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

      These days, the BAC seems more concerned with attracting the 'interested but concerned' to cycling, rather than improving cycling conditions for all the cyclists already riding today.

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      • Jack August 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

        I think this is what they should be doing. Do you disagree?

        I, and probably most commenters here, ride daily already and feel pretty safe doing so. I wouldn't stick with it if I really thought there was a good chance of injury.

        For all sorts of reasons that I'm sure everyone has heard time and time again, we need to change the standard practice of most people choosing to drive every time they go anywhere. This means biking/walking facilities need to be extraordinarily safe & efficient. If someone who has never even considered cycling as an option perceives even a hint of danger, it is extremely unlikely they will ever give it a try.

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        • spare_wheel August 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

          I used to agree but many new facilities have made cycling less safe for experienced cyclists. For example, I've ridden the cully cycle track half a dozen times and on two occasions I barely escaped being right hooked (the barrier of parked cars reduces awareness of cyclists on cycletracks).

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        • BURR August 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm

          PDOT spends a lot of their time and money creating neighborhood bike routes for people that just want to tootle around their 'hood and not go anywhere, but if they want people to actually use bicycles for transportation they also need to create routes on arterial streets to make the connections between neighborhoods and between neighborhoods and employment and commercial destinations, because the neighborhood routes won't get you to those places.

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          • Mindful Cyclist August 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm

            Have you ever bicycled on Ankeny at 5 pm? How about NE Tillamook or SE Harrison/Lincoln? I bike Ankeny and Tillamook frequently and there are a lot of bicycle commuters. They are hardly the "tootle around their 'hood and not go anywhere" crowd. Same with Tillamook at 5 pm. Sure, they aren't crammed like Williams or the Hawthorne Bridge, but they are still well used.

            And, NE Tillamook served me fine going from the Hollywood District to Downtown all the time. I think the connection was just fine.

            I can understand using a busy street if that is truly where your destination is, but if I am just commuting home, I have no problem with the the bike blvds.

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          • BURR August 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm

            you can't get back or forth from downtown to either SE Ankeny, SE Salmon or SE Lincoln/Harrison without leaving the neighborhood bike routes and riding on an arterial street at some point.

            Beyond that, SE Ash SE Yamhill above 20th and many other neighborhood streets are just as good if not better for cycling than the designated neighborhood bike routes, and zero dollars were spent on these streets.

            Spending lots of money 'improving' neighborhood streets that are already relatively safe for cycling is a huge waste; that money should be spent on improving cycling conditions on arterial streets, where the real need is.

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      • middle of the road guy August 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm

        Burr, i doubt there is any situation that would make you happy.

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    • fiat_luxe August 4, 2011 at 8:15 am

      Actually, the first response to the "bad rep" quote was pretty far down the comment chain. To me it seemed that most readers immediately picked up on the pros and cons of converting Rodney at the expense of cycling facilities on Williams, which, really, is the lede.

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      • aaronf August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

        You're right.

        I still don't see the merit of adding more polarizing dialogue to the Williams debacle, which has been plenty polarizing already. That's not going to help solve the situation, if the situation involved compromise.

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  • Ely August 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I rode Rodney last night, just out of curiosity. It was great! Yeah it would be handy to turn a few stop signs, add something to help folks cross fremont/alberta... but those fixes should be as cheap and easy as all the other greenway work that's been done. But even as-is, I'm glad to know I don't have to take Williams anymore.

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    • sarah C August 4, 2011 at 9:08 am

      I could not agree more. I used to ride Rodney everyday to take my kids to school - the only rough spot for us was Fremont. I never take the kids on Williams. I ride Williams when it is late, dark and I am more comfortable having more people around. Of course, it is not congested then.

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    • are August 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      there is a rather steep climb on rodney from russell to maybe stanton, which i think would dissuade some people, especially with williams just a block or two away. we are talking about a commuting route.

      also, in some alternate universe where you actually persuaded (or forced) three thousand cyclists a day onto rodney, you would find that rodney is not adequate to the task.

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      • Joe Rowe August 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

        There is a one block slope up hill on Rodney. You can call it steep. I would not use that adjective.

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    • Paul Johnson August 5, 2011 at 2:33 am

      In fact, Rodney's already better than most of the neighborhood greenways if only because it lacks those dangerous speed humps that PBOT loves to install. Half of the existing greenways are unusable for anybody who values their safety on a wet or icy day because of the humps.

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  • Jimmy P August 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

    This project is going backwards now. It's really sad that a former leader of bicycling in this country is now giving up. But, that seems to be what Portland does when it comes to bike improvements anymore.

    How is Rodney even a viable solution? Taking out the issue of the stop signs facing Rodney which would have to be addressed or we'd get 1,000 Oregonian articles about "outlaw cyclists" running stop signs, the big issue is that Rodney doesn't start until Fremont. So, we're supposed to take Williams to Fremont, take a right, take a left on Fremont (not always easy at rush hour) and then go north on Rodney? Sure, some people will do that, but I see a lot of people just continuing on Williams.

    And the "demand" issue seems to be taken right from the CRC playbook. Isn't working out well for them either.

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  • Sugata August 4, 2011 at 10:50 am

    +1 to Car Free Rodney.

    I feel that we need to have car-free streets as Carla mentions, in order to make bicycling reach people who are afraid to get on their bikes now. That is how the future should look like- a network of real bike boulevards - criss-crossing the city.

    That is a fantastic idea.

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  • Mindful Cyclist August 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Just a couple of thoughts about this whole thing:

    1) NE Rodney is going to be very hard to make car free. There are people that live on that street that will need to access it. Despite the fact that people that live on the street can access to it, how does it get enforced?

    2) Let's quit this power struggle already with removing a auto lane on Williams. Make NE Rodney a bike blvd like Ankeny in SE. This will lessen the bike traffic at rush hour on Williams. It is flat. If there is a HAWK light installed on Fremont, it will slow traffic and make Fremont easier to cross.

    Some of the people in the neighborhood have felt ignored for years. Suddenly there is word that an auto lane is being taken out and they did not feel informed by it. There is a long history of being felt ignored, and unfortunately, it has caused a big power struggle.

    I currently live off NE Broadway and commute down the bike lane during rush hour. I play leap frog with busses, I take the lane to avoid right hooks (30 mph posted), and watch out for dooring hazards. That bike lane is not for the timid. However, a few blocks North, there is Tillamook that is a nice wide bike blvd that one can take if you want to avoid the following hazards. Why not give this option to people that have to commute to N/NE Portland that do not want to have to climb a steep hill?

    We have more important projects to focus on now. Think about Barbur. Cyclists really do not have any other options to get to SW other than that high speed arterial short of going up pill hill. Build that, and more people may start cycling. I have used Barbur before and it is not a pleasant ride. But, it was my only option. How about the Suillivan's gulch path? How about a MUP along I-5?

    I feel the more we worry about removing an auto lane on one street that is busy for a couple hours a day, the more we lose persepective of the bigger picture. All that is happening now is a back and forth about who is right and who isn't and that is never going to produce any kind of results that work for everyone.

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  • Rol August 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I like the Rodney idea. Still don't really understand the attraction of Williams. I guess some people ride bikes so they can be close to a lot of cars? Me, I figure in my simple-minded way, that to be in a crash with a car, you have to be near a car. Therefore, to increase your chances of getting in a crash with a car, be near a lot of cars.

    If you manifested this attitude as a transportation network planning policy and took it to its logical extent, you'd probably end up with:
    * "car-free and bike-free streets"
    * not a lot of "sharing the road" which frankly is fine with me. Sharing is great (I learned it when I was 3) but why share when each mode can have its own?
    * not a lot of showy, conspicuous improvements of the sort people like to point to as proof that their city is bike-friendly
    * plenty of simple, effective improvements that actually do help make a city LITERALLY BE rather than simply APPEAR bike friendly, but aren't flashy/sexy (or costly either)
    * essentially a reversion to the dominant bike planning model used in Portland throughout the 80s and 90s, resulting in a bike network that was briefly #1 in the land

    e.g. There's not even a bike lane on most of Hawthorne, yet people somehow manage to use the parallel "bike streets," and seem to be able to access Hawthorne just fine, and don't seem to be suffering from the loss of those VALUABLE SECONDS they would supposedly save on the major arterial. (Which I still don't buy, BTW. 30 seconds at a red light utterly destroys the overall standing of dozens of "Cat 6" commuter racers on imaginary time trials every day. Anyway, if speed is your top criterion, there's an app for that, it's called a "car.")

    The top priority should be to make a path for people to get from A to B safely. When things are safe, they tend to be efficient too. (Presence of a traffic light being a sign of UNSAFE conditions, requiring mitigation. If it were a safe intersection it wouldn't need a light.) If all that is in place, "demonstrating" or "proving" something takes care of itself, and therefore should be the LAST priority. Nobody should be trying to demonstrate or prove anything. Don't hitch one of life's most enjoyable and basic activities (moving around) to some boring inflexible ideology. That goes equally for "pro-bike-ism" as well as "anti-gentrification-ism." The whole point is to get from A to B safely. Beware and distrust anyone pushing any other agenda.

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    • spare_wheel August 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      If you believe that cyclists have the same (or similar) rights as motorists there is no reason to express your "lack of understanding" with my attraction to getting from A to B QUICKLY.

      'there's an app for that, it's called a "car."'
      the recent OPB car/bike/bus race debunks your "app for that" claim (as does my personal experience).

      "but why share when each mode can have its own"
      if cycling continues to increase its mode share then increased sharing is inevitable.

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  • BURR August 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    There's not even a bike lane on most of Hawthorne, yet people somehow manage to use the parallel "bike streets," and seem to be able to access Hawthorne just fine, and don't seem to be suffering from the loss of those VALUABLE SECONDS they would supposedly save on the major arterial.

    You're not using the right metric here. As far as I'm concerned, and I certainly don't speak for all cyclists, it's not about the time savings, it's more about access to commercial business districts. What you need to do is poll cyclists to find out how many don't shop Hawthorne because the bike access is crappy, and would if access was better and more direct.

    Beyond that, signalized crossings of major arterials are much safer crossings than unsignalized ones, when you compare and contrast Williams and Rodney.

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  • rev August 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Ive been traveling around, experiencing lots of seperated paths and i feel the same way about them as I do about bike lanes: good for beginning cyclists, bad for experienced cyclists.

    carla, i think i love you.

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    • Dabby August 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      I agree.
      Not to mention that.

      Separating is not sharing the road anymore....

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    • Paul Johnson August 6, 2011 at 12:08 am

      What about segregated cycleways? Having sidewalks on the cycleways is a good thing, for the same reason having bike lanes on major thoroughfares is good.

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  • Lucy Temple August 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    It really bothers me that the whole issue of making N. Williams safer seems to have gotten completely lost in all this. I'm sorry but I think safety should be the number one focus. Not addressing the safety issue doesn't turn back the gentrification process that has already occurred and continues to occur. While I understand that everything is connected I really feel that when it comes to safety these issues need to be addressed separately. Creating a safer N. Williams should not be held hostage to other social issues.

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  • Alain August 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I've walked and ridden Rodney frequently, and it's far from a worthy alternative or replacement to Williams. The jogs at Fremont and Alberta can be a pain to cross (on foot or bicycle) many hours of the day, esp during commute hours.

    I think we can stick to Williams. It needs to improve, and will. Williams is a direct route with traffic lights and gradual climb... which is ideal for all levels of bicycle road users.

    Rodney is not a real alternative. Williams is already built... the conversation is now about improving what already exists.

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  • Rand Henrichs August 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

    This committee needs to stop wasting time with discussions of how the neighborhood was 60 years ago. Neighborhoods and cities change. They are living things. Anyone attempting to create a better environment for those within a city need to focus on current information and uses and put away the rearview mirror. Cycling is a viable form of transportation in a time of ever increasing fuel costs and degrading environment. To bring race and gentrification into a conversation like this one is very counterproductive. I have lived just off Williams for a little over 20 years and have watched it change. I have cycled for all of that time and still do today. This street has always been choked with Washington cars trying to beat the time on the freeway. If you want funds for transportation improvement in Portland, a toll on the bridges and freeways to and from Washington would collect funds from those who are taxing our infrastructure.

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    • Mindful Cyclist August 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

      In all fairness, the people who live in Washington and work in Oregon do pay Oregon state income tax. I know it is fashionable for Portlanders to rip on Vancouverites (I do it myself at times), but I never would consider someone from Washington working in Oregon a freeloader. Even the people that jump across the bridge to shop sales-tax free are still spending money in Oregon which still benefits Oregon.

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  • jim August 6, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I sugested rodney before and I got censured out of the discusion. I guess its not the most popular idea.

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    • Joe C August 8, 2011 at 9:22 am

      I think developing Rodney in tandem as a neighborhood greenway is a great idea, but abandoning N Williams to the cars completely will not make things easier on the residents, pedestrians, transit users, hospital patients, churchgoers and those patronizing businesses on it.

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  • roll with it. August 8, 2011 at 1:00 am

    For years my neighbors and I have thought this would be a good idea to turn Rodney into a car free street. We live right by the corner of Fremont and Rodney. There are many reasons this would improve the environment here. We have a major drug problem at that intersection and closing Rodney to car traffic would keep drug seekers and all that comes from that from trolling around this loop between MLK and Williams. I've never found any reason to want to ride up Williams with all the traffic and noise and we never do. There are a ton of kids who live at this intersection who would benefit from this, people treat that turn onto Rodney like its a drag track and its extremely dangerous for them. We need a solid crossing on Fremont between Wililams and MLK, there is NO place for bikes or peds to cross and it takes forever. I would gladly sacrifice my parking if there was an enhanced crossing for bikes and walkers that functioned efficiently, and many people here would back that. We( the folks that live here and we all bike and walk, regardless of race) all complain about it all the time. We want to slow things down here. I'm a life long cyclist, 30 years and going strong and I drive and have kids...I support this for sure. Glad and surprised to see this proposal, and willing to get involved to make this happen. I'm aware of many of the drawbacks of this option so don't bore me by trolling this. I love the bike bells and all that comes through and we would welcome more. +safer kids+better community, less drugs+ more pleasant riding= a better life.

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  • Joe Rowe August 13, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I agree with many people who say the bike community has a bad citizen reputation. That goes beyond street behavior into public meetings. Cyclists are trying to frame this so other perspectives don't belong.

    You can't have it both ways: You can't say the comments of people don't fit, and also say you care about equity.

    I accept the perspective that Jonathan is unbiased. I would agree sometimes. Loot at his perspective on this issue. Many cyclists are with Jonathan on this.

    "Maus doesn't think race and gentrification belong in the safety discussion. 'They are not well-suited in an engineering conversation about a roadway, in my opinion' "

    North Williams is not just a discussion about safety or engineering. You can't blame the messengers of other perspectives, and no one person can't try to trim the scope or frame the topic.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/08/north_williams_traffic_safety.html

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