home

The case for neighborhood greenways: Portland's 'bus system for biking and walking'

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 16th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

PBOT traffic safety expert Greg Raisman speaking up for bike boulevards at the recent Transportation Safety Summit.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

"... We're going to have a neighborhood greenway system that will basically be like our bus system for walking and biking.. a basic level of service that serves the whole city."
— Greg Raisman, PBOT

Like I've said in the past, the City of Portland's work to establish a network of neighborhood greenways (a.k.a. bike boulevards) will have a transformational impact on our city. Yes, I would like to see our main commercial streets provide better bike access, and I've been critical of the lack of progress for bike access in the central city, but that should take nothing away from the great work happening on our residential streets.

Before I share an eloquent defense of neighborhood greenways by one of their most ardent supporters, let's consider how far PBOT has come with them, just in the past few years.

Portland's new transit line.

In 2006, just 29% of Portland homes were located within 1/2 mile of a neighborhood greenway. In 2012, that number has more than doubled to 60%. Since PBOT has started to make these streets even better in recent years, usage of them has shot way up. In the last bike counts, bike traffic on the 11 most recently built neighborhood greenways shot up 61%.

At Tuesday's Transportation Safety Summit, I happened to have my recorder on when PBOT traffic safety staffer Greg Raisman spoke up in defense of their neighborhood greenway work. In many ways, Raisman is the main architect behind Portland bike boulevard effort — if not in official terms than almost certainly in spirit. His dedication and enthusiasm for safety — and biking and walking in particular — is unmatched at the bureau.

His short, unscripted defense neighborhood greenways came in response to a question about whether or not investment in them is worth it.

I might have missed the first few seconds, but here's what he said (it's worth sharing verbatim):

"Portlanders are striving to make a place that is safe and comfortable to live in. I think the Portland Plan and the Healthy Connected Neighborhood strategy is really creating a model where we can think of, instead of a complete street, a complete transportation system. When we drive, we start on a residential street and work our way up to busier and busier streets. As we do that, the way that, the trip changes. As we are walking and biking we have that same kind of need. We need a complete, network strategy.

What we're doing with this strategy and effort is to say, we're going to have a neighborhood greenway system that will basically be like our bus system for walking and biking. It will be a basic level of service that serves the whole city. Everybody in the whole city should be able to have a basic level of active transportation that's safe and accessible to them in their home.

The second thing is, really looking at civic corridors — busier streets that make major connections. These require much more significant investments and have much more significant engineering challenges... But key connections really need to be focused on to make those kind of connections for a complete system. We're going to plant trees, we're going to manage stormwater, we're going to make it safe, we're going to make it comfortable and we're not going to just make it comfortable for the young, fit person, we're really looking to make it comfortable and safe for everybody that lives in our city, and that's why I'm excited.

In terms of the money side. Active transportation is just a great value. Our neighborhood greenway system to date, we have about 45 miles that will be completed by end of this year. We're averaging about $141,000 a mile. To give you a sense of that, $250,000 buys one traffic signal. Building this network is a great value and when we leverage that on our busy streets that support local business and bring more money and people to those streets, making those major investments on those busy streets like Broadway and all these others are really important and that's why people will continue to support it."

And here's the audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This is good stuff to keep in mind when the media, politicians (existing or aspiring) try to frame spending on safe neighborhood streets as some sort of perk or simply a "bike route." In addition to equating good bike streets with public transit, these words from Raisman are also interesting for his use of the term "civic corridors." I hadn't heard that used by PBOT before and it makes me wonder if that will become an official term for their main street efforts (UPDATE: Turns out "civic corridors" is a term in the Portland Plan. Thanks to Chris Smith for educating me. I'll share more next week). PBOT has said all along, that the thrust behind neighborhood greenways was to "build the constituency" for bicycling that would eventually pressure City Hall to tackle the larger, more politically/financially/logistically hard stuff. Time will tell.

Email This Post Email This Post

Possibly related posts


Gravatars make better comments... Get yours here.
Please notify the publisher about offensive comments.
Comments
  • CaptainKarma March 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    We're gonna be needin' new revised biking maps all over again! yeeha!

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Paul Johnson March 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      OpenStreetMap has 'em.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Andrew K March 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      HA!

      Now there is a complaint I LIKE to hear.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • craig harlow March 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I'm very curious to know whether sharrowed greenways are influencing any shift from cars to bikes.

    I appreciate those routes, and the protocol of the sharrows that tells cars that I belong in the main travel lane, but biking is already well established as my main mode of transport.

    I wonder if the city is tracking any intelligence about whether--and to what extent--greenways are converting auto trips to bike trips.

    The main problem, in my view, is much the same as with unmarked crosswalks: lack of education--if people in cars don't know the protocol, then they have no respect for me as a legitimate road user. Even on greenways, cars tail me (and my kids) closely until I get out of their way.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Rol March 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Is anyone else getting tired of all the phony thrift in public debate? The ascendancy of faux-conservative blowhard extremists throughout the media they own, seems to have created an environment where everyone's always asking "Is it worth the cost?" Except where it counts. For example, is it worth the cost to continue to support a hyper-rich overclass by means of the wealth-extraction mechanism known as "the motorized transport industrial complex" and other such mechanisms? Nobody asks about that expenditure. Matter of fact, when it's for a big stupid project somebody's trying to sell me (CRC comes to mind), expenditures are "good" because they "create jobs" and "stimulate the economy." Fact of the matter is, any expense a politician and his cronies stand to profit from is "a visionary stimulus to create jobs" and any they have no vested interest in is "a wasteful boondoggle"... it's that simple!

    "Well which is it young feller? You want I should cut expenditures or create jobs? Mean to say, if'n I cut costs, I can't rightly hire. And if'n I hire, I'm a-gonna be spendin'. You see..."

    Recommended Thumb up 16

  • Jeffrey Bernards March 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks so much Greg for your dedication to the bike blvd. form of transportation options. It's 1/10 the cost per mile compared to a dedicated cycle track, cycle tracks are nice, but I would rather have 100 miles of bike blvds. than 10 miles of cycle track, any day. The city budgets are tight, don't let the idea of the best thwart a very good solution to riding safely.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Gregg March 17, 2012 at 6:06 am

      I'll take both the Cycle Track and the Neighborhood Greenway please.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Tourbiker March 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    In building a bike Infrastructure, Bikes need the equivalent of a freeway system.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

    • spare_wheel March 17, 2012 at 6:59 am

      +1

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Machu Picchu March 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

      If we gave the urban parts of the existing freeway system to bikes and let cars sort it out on the surface streets, I bet a lot of people would opt for biking with zero congestion. I bet a lot of people would not opt for commuting so far, and claiming to "need" CRC-like projects to accommodote them.

      It would be just like a bike boulevard, in that as you arrived in the metro area you would encounter an exit for cars, with a clear lane (or three) ahead marked: Non-Mototized Traffic Only.

      Of course this would be a catastrophe if implemented overnight, and it doesn't allow for commerce (trucks, et cetera) and emrgency vehicles. It does seem, though, that we own a lot of prime transportation infrastructure that is mostly squandered on encouraging people to live wherever they please and let the cars make up for any ensuing inconveniece.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Alex Reed March 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I agree with Greg & others: though cycle tracks are a best practice, neighborhood greenways are a darn good step. Although agitating for more and better cycletracks is crucial if we want to get to 25% mode share, my off-the-cuff guess extended **and improved** greenways on their own could get us to perhaps 15%, which ain't too shabby.

    Note, though, that I said "improved" - greenways that give you no help in crossing streets such as Hawthorne, Madison, Division, or Glisan are not good enough for the "interested but concerned."

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • spare_wheel March 17, 2012 at 7:08 am

      i think the idea that cycle tracks are always best practice is flawed. cycletracks on major arterials are a good idea but bike lanes on less busy streets also work well. cycle tracks have their place, but imo, the obsession with cycle tracks and greenways has caused us to lose track of how many of our major arterials are heaven for motorists and hell for cyclists.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Alex Reed March 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        You're right- I overlooked bike lanes, which I think are better than nothing on streets without on-street parking. However, most streets have on-street parking here. As far as I'm concerned, door-zone bike lanes make a street worse to ride on than no infrastructure at all. At least if there's no bike lane you can take the standard vehicle lane without inspiring (much) motorist anger.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • spare_wheel March 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

          bike lanes can have a buffer that eliminates dooring risk. although its unlikely that we will find the funds to build hundreds of miles of cycle tracks any time soon, building hundreds of miles of buffered bike lanes is far more feasible.

          i support well-designed segregated infrastructure because it is likely to increase mode share. however, it is important to note that car use has increased and cycling mode share has stagnated during the period when there has been proliferation of cycle tracks in denmark. i doubt that cycletracks are better at increasing mode share than dutch style traffic calming (woonerven), lanes, and/or paths.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Tom March 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I don't share the rosy view of others. While the concept is good, the execution is so poor that the program should be suspeded until the defciencies can be fixed. The long term benfits of doing things right outweigh the delay.

    First of all, except the the world of PBOT, they are bike ways, not greenways. They contain no added elements of what normally is considered a greenway--namely vegitation. This confuses a great may people, both people looking for a traditional greenway and those looking for a bikeway unfamiliar with the odd way PBOT uses the term, and leads to charges of greenwashing. Why not stick with the term bikeway, or something like human power corridor or people power corridor?????

    Second, some of the routes chosen are not very safe due to a large number of intersections and driveways, and don't comply with the city's own guidelines/rules. The same bikeway is also narrow and makes it hard to safely pass cars coming the other way. I won't ride this bikeway because I feel it is less safe than the main street a couple of blocks away or another bike route a few blocks in the opposite direction.

    Third, the quality of design and construction is poor. The city did not even patch all the potholes, and they built traffic calming features on top of worn out pavement that needs to be repalced already, causing the new work to have to be repalced at the same time, wasting money. In other spots, the new curb cuts are build with sharp corners that are likely to break off after they are hit/run over by a few trucks (likely due to the narrowness of the streets), rather than rounded. Some of the traffic calming features are uncomfortable (sharp bumps) unless you stand on the pedals--not a good idea in my book if you are trying to attact new, less confident riders.

    Fourth, execution of the flawed contruction plans is dangerous. There are illegally parked construction vehicles blocking visability, narrowing an already narrow street even further, and forcing pedestrians to walk in the street because they are working on both sidewalks at the same time. Add to that the nails and nail containing wood with exposed points left in the street and the poor coordination resulting in half completed projects siting for weeks waiting for the next crew to show up. Complaing to the city does not help much. Usually someone does not try to take action until a couple of days later.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • HUTCHiMON March 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      Um, first, have you seen the bioswales included in greenways (SE Ankeny comes to mind among other examples). There's green implementation happening not just "green washing"!

      Secondly, you'll ride a main street a few blocks away? According to statistics I've read, and those cited in this article, you're in the minority there. You feel unsafe passing cars in the other direction? Maybe you should slow down and not do that!

      Fourth, can PBOT be expected to be responsible for "illegally parked construction vehicles"? That sounds like an enforcement problem.

      I appreciate the spirit your opposing view but it reads more like a personal ax to grind.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • spare_wheel March 17, 2012 at 7:22 am

        could you please cite those statistics.

        i live in inner SE pdx and have noticed increasing numbers of cyclists on major arterials. sadly, there was also recently a fatality on one of these SE arterials. when are we going to calm the bull?

        "Maybe you should slow down"

        thanks for the suggestion but active transport is about getting from point A to B efficiently. are you against cycling for transportation?

        Recommended Thumb up 4

      • El Biciclero March 19, 2012 at 10:59 am

        "You feel unsafe passing cars in the other direction? Maybe you should slow down and not do that!"

        I'm going to borrow from the British here and make a distinction between "passing" and "overtaking". I think "passing" oncoming cars is what Tom felt uncomfortable about, not attempting to "overtake" a slow-moving car. I have the same problem on streets where 2/3 of the street width is taken up with parked cars, causing everyone to essentially play "chicken" when passing each other in opposite directions.

        Also, regarding "slowing down": What? The notion of some speed-demon "scorcher" on a bike these days is kind of ridiculous. If the speed limit on a "greenway" is the standard 25 mph, how can anyone on a bike be going "too fast"? Unless there is a serious down-hill, it's tough for the average commuter to maintain 20mph for very long, let alone 25 (yes, I know some of you can do it--but you're still not speeding). The seemingly increasingly popular notion that people on bikes are going "too fast" if they exceed something like 10mph makes me uneasy. If I had to stick to that slow of a speed, I'd never get anywhere I need to go in a reasonable time.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Tony March 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      Tom, which bikeway are you referring to in point 2?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Kiel Johnson March 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Raisman for mayor!

    I like that he offers a point of cost comparison for different transportation projects. This makes it much more helpful for a public to be informed and make constructive opinions.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • spare_wheel March 17, 2012 at 7:28 am

    "The second thing is, really looking at civic corridors — busier streets that make major connections. These require much more significant investments and have much more significant engineering challenges... But key connections really need to be focused on to make those kind of connections for a complete system."

    Painting sharrows or a bike lane on Hawthorne is a significant engineering challenge?

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • are March 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      it is weird how they put sharrows down as wayfinders on a bunch of side streets but they won't put them on hawthorne or northeast 28th or 20th or 12th or

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • spare_wheel March 18, 2012 at 10:36 am

        SE 20th is by far the major north-south cycling route in SE portland and gets virtually no attention from pbot. i have personally witness 2 cyclist-motorist accidents on SE 20th. sharrows on this route would make a tangible difference on a truly dangerous route.

        why is this not being done?

        Recommended Thumb up 4

      • ScottB March 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

        Do you even know what classification those streets are?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • are March 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm

          judging from the maps at
          http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=52495&a=370470 and
          http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=52495&a=370469 it would appear that
          - 28th is a neighborhood collector between stark and broadway and is otherwise a local service street
          - 20th is neighborhood collector between hawthorne and broadway and is otherwise a local service street
          - the 11th and 12th couplet is a major city traffic street between powell and belmont and a "traffic access street" north to the sandy/burnside interchange, or in in the case of 12th on up to lloyd
          - hawthorne itself is a district collector out to 50th

          and no, i did not specifically know these details before i made my earlier post, but i do not see the significance

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • ScottB March 19, 2012 at 10:59 am

            Local Service streets are prioritized for non-motorized access between private property and higher classified streets.
            Neighborhood collector is the first level of street where the needs of motorists and non-motorists are equalized.
            District Collectors are the first level where the needs of motorists are prioritized over those of non-motorists.
            Major City Traffic streets are streets prioritized mainly for motorists.

            Neighborhood Greenways are (mainly) Local Service streets prioritized for non-motorized traffic through movements. They are the equivalent District and Major City Bike streets. They are the low cost, low speed routes that will attract the most new riders, aka, 'interested but concerned'.
            The other kinds of streets need much more investment to make them safe for cycling and the cyclist that use such streets (which are a small portion of the cycling community). It's pretty much a return on investment equation.
            Sorry.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dan March 17, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Yes, it is a significant challenge. As one who regularly rides on Hawthorne, putting down sharrows would be a great start, but putting in a bike lane would most likely require removing a parking lane, pushing more business parking onto the side streets (which are crowded enough, thank you). Granted, getting more of the traffic flow out of cars would reduce that volume, but there is a vicious cycle at work here. Perceived safety is necessary to getting more people to ride where they need to go, but is hard to gain without those self-same people getting out of their cars in the first place. I think once we have a critical mass of riders (yes, and walkers), then the change will snowball. Developing a system first for citizens to efficiently get where they need to go without being forced to use the major arterials (with safe and useful crossings of those arterials) will allow that critical mass to develop. The traffic volume will then decrease to the levels required to allow removal of parking/traffic lanes ncecessary to build the dedicated bike lanes. The auto-centric system was not laid down overnight and change will likewise be gradual.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • BURR March 17, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Bike lanes could be implemented on Hawthorne without removing parking by changing the current four lane configuration to a two lane configuration with a center left turn lane. This proposal has been on the table since about 1991 when it was originally proposed by the BTA.

      Improvements to the current substandard lane configuration on Hawthorne have never been made largely due to the strenuous objections of the Hawthorne Blvd. Business Association.

      On the other hand, the lanes on Hawthorne are narrow enough that they clearly can't be shared, so it's relatively easy to take the lane, especially in the downhill westbound direction, where it's pretty easy to keep up with the flow of traffic.

      The HBBA and PBOT have also rejected past proposals that only included one climbing lane for cyclists on Hawthorne, in the eastbound uphill direction from approximately SE 12th to SE 30th.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • are March 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      putting in a bike lane rather than sharrows on hawthorne would do more harm than good, forcing cyclists to ride at the edge of a busy street rather than taking the lane

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • BURR March 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

        Personally, I like the climbing lane option, the uphill section from SE 12th to SE 20th is where cyclists are going the slowest and the speed differential between cyclists and motorists is greatest, and I think it would be nice to have a separated facility there.

        Sharrows would work better everywhere else, and I agree, I wouldn't want to be stuck in a bike lane going downhill from SE 27th, or through the central business district

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • BURR March 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

          that would be uphill from SE 12th to SE 30th.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

        • are March 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm

          i guess i do not object to a climbing lane, but would note that there are two lanes in each direction through most of this, and a motorist who feels a need to pass can always go over to the next lane.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

  • BURR March 17, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I've got a story about a neighborhood greenway that is about to become a traffic nightmare.

    The new Hawthorne Safeway at SE 27th is having its Grand Opening on March 21. It is going to be the largest Safeway in the city. They are mailing promotional material right now (I got mine yesterday) claiming how 'Green' the new store is. I can assure you that it is not, and here is why:

    The new store has a giant new underground parking lot which empties out directly onto a neighborhood greenway bike route at the corner of SE 27th and Clay. That's going to generate a lot of traffic up and down SE 26th/27th between SE Hawthorne and Division, to and from points south.

    The City claims on their bike map that SE 26th/27th between Division and Hawthorne is a completed bike boulevard. It most assuredly is not. There are absolutely no improvements to speak of unless you count a few stormwater swales they added last year, which do almost nothing to slow traffic down.

    In addition, adjacent north-south routes on SE 20th and 30th both have had true traffic calming measures implemented, which already makes SE 26th/27th the preferred route for motorists wishing to avoid the circles on SE 30th or the speed tables on SE 20th.

    PBOT told me last November that because there had been a preexisting Safeway on the site, Safeway didn't have to do a traffic study and there is no traffic mitigation plan, other than 'spreading traffic around' all the surrounding neighborhood streets like SE 26th/27th and SE 29th.

    In my opinion, at a very minimum there should be a new three way stop sign installed at SE 26th and Stephens ('T'-intersection, no stop signs at all, many close calls), and speed tables along the entire SE 26th/27th corridor between Hawthorne and Division. Another alternative would be to install a diverter at SE 27th and Clay that prevents motorists leaving the new Safeway parking garage from going south on SE 27th, and requires them to exit via the signal-controlled intersection at SE 27th and Hawthorne.

    If you cycle on SE 26th at all, you should be concerned about the higher levels of traffic you are going to encounter in the future as a result of PBOT's failure to make any meaningful traffic calming improvements on the SE 26th neighborhood greenway or implement a true traffic mitigation plan for this Safeway store.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • ScottB March 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      26-27th is listed on the map as 'Improved or Funded'.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BURR March 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I've got a story about a neighborhood greenway that is about to become a traffic nightmare.

    The new Hawthorne Safeway at SE 27th is having its Grand Opening on March 21. It is going to be the largest Safeway in the city. They are mailing promotional material right now (I got mine yesterday) claiming how 'Green' the new store is. I can assure you that it is not, and here is why:

    The new store has a giant new underground parking lot which empties out directly onto a neighborhood greenway bike route at the corner of SE 27th and Clay. That's going to generate a lot of traffic up and down SE 26th/27th between SE Hawthorne and Division, to and from points south.

    The City claims on their bike map that SE 26th/27th between Division and Hawthorne is a completed bike boulevard. It most assuredly is not. There are absolutely no improvements to speak of unless you count a few stormwater swales they added last year, which do almost nothing to slow traffic down.

    In addition, adjacent north-south routes on SE 20th and 30th both have had true traffic calming measures implemented, which already makes SE 26th/27th the preferred route for motorists wishing to avoid the circles on SE 30th or the speed tables on SE 20th.

    PBOT told me last November that because there had been a preexisting Safeway on the site, Safeway didn't have to do a traffic study and there is no traffic mitigation plan, other than 'spreading traffic around' all the surrounding neighborhood streets like SE 26th/27th and SE 29th.

    In my opinion, at a very minimum there should be a new three way stop sign installed at SE 26th and Stephens ('T'-intersection, no stop signs at all, many close calls), and speed tables along the entire SE 26th/27th corridor between Hawthorne and Division. Another alternative would be to install a diverter at SE 27th and Clay that prevents motorists leaving the new Safeway parking garage from going south on SE 27th, and requires them to exit via the signal-controlled intersection at SE 27th and Hawthorne.

    If you cycle on SE 26th at all, you should be concerned about the higher levels of traffic you are going to encounter in the future as a result of PBOT's failure to make any meaningful traffic calming improvements on the SE 26th neighborhood greenway or implement a true traffic mitigation plan for this Safeway store.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • BURR March 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      he y Jonathan, you can delete the duplicate post.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Antload March 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks Jonathan. Thanks Greg!
    Greg is so good at distilled argument backed by a graceful blend of theory and empirical evidence. He's always got the numbers at the ready which is invaluable for mellowing conservative status-quo opposition. I'm really grateful.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • ScottB March 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    spare_wheel
    SE 20th is by far the major north-south cycling route in SE portland and gets virtually no attention from pbot. i have personally witness 2 cyclist-motorist accidents on SE 20th. sharrows on this route would make a tangible difference on a truly dangerous route.
    why is this not being done?

    Per the 2030 plan, 20th is designated as a future in-road, separated facility. Would you like PBOT to downgrade it to a shared lane facility with the volume of traffic it carries?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • BURR March 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      ...a future in-road separated facility that is a pipe dream which will probably never be built in our lifetimes, mostly because it would involve on-street parking removal, and would not be cost effective to construct given PBOT's current budget woes.

      so why not install extremely inexpensive sharrows as a long-term interim solution until the funding is available and politics are right for parking removal?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • BURR March 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

        Instead we get nothing.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • spare_wheel March 19, 2012 at 11:08 am

      painting sharrows requires a downgrade of "the plan"? with due respect, that is a very inflexible attitude.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • are March 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

      you think 20th is wide enough for separated in road? sounds to me like yet another instance of forcing cyclists to the right and allowing overtaking motorists to pass too close, with a line of paint providing imaginary protection

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Steve B March 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you Greg for all of your leadership and stewardship of Neighborhood Greenways!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Fred Lifton March 19, 2012 at 9:34 am

    The greenway on NE Going is a major win, as best I can tell. I've lived in the immediate neighborhood for 12 years and the transformation on that street is dramatic. At all times of day you see loads of cyclists of all sorts, people running, walking, skating. It has clearly become a major "alternative transportation" corridor. I was skeptical when it went in, but in this case, anyway, it has proven to be a brilliant piece of urban planning.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Peter Buck March 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

    In three years of twice-weekly bike commuting from Aloha to Gresham (which I don't do anymore since my office moved closer to home) I experienced the changes to bikeways by the addition of sharrows but did not notice any difference in how drivers reacted to me as a cyclist. I think the two things traffic design can do to make cycling safer are 1) lower the speed of cars and 2) separate cars and bicycles. Lowering speed makes the most sense in neighborhoods, separation makes more sense for collectors and higher volume streets. In my current commute in Washington County I enjoy direct access to wherever I want to go via a good bike lane system along major roadways (separation). I can go practically anywhere a car can go, at a good speed, with widely spaced traffic controls (intersections). When I commuted through Portland from Aloha to Gresham, I had to use the confusing, complex mesh of bikeways to avoid the direct routes to which cars had exclusive access. I'd wear several sets of brake shoes away each year with all the stopping and starting. If the money spent on bikeways (greenways, I guess they're being called) slows traffic to make it safer to cycle in neighborhoods I'm all for it, but I fear we are really sidestepping the real issue of cyclist access to main routes.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • El Biciclero March 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      "...I fear we are really sidestepping the real issue of cyclist access to main routes."

      Holy cow--this! Does it not seem blatantly ridiculous that the city's attempts to make biking for transportation more attractive involve encouraging cyclists to meander along a zig-zagging course from one "greenway" to another, while reserving the most direct and convenient routes for autos? I guess the thought process involves the assumption that if someone is going to choose an inherently slower vehicle anyway, they shouldn't mind being further slowed by being pushed off onto out-of-the-way, circuitous routes with no crossing assistance at major thoroughfares.

      If anything, we should be prioritizing non-motorized access to the most direct and efficient routes available, creating a safe way for those not in cars to minimize their out-of-direction distance between destinations. I've been criticized before in this forum for having a "windshield mentality" because I value having direct "high-speed" (i.e., > 10 - 15 mph) routes to ride to work or other destinations, but why should this not be the case? I'm sure there are a few, but how many people, if asked why they ride for transportation, are going to answer, "Oh, because, it's slow and inconvenient--I hate getting places quickly..."

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Ethan March 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I just wish the Holman Greenway (our local corridor) wasn't a street of broken pavement and potholes . . .

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • jeremy March 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I love my "bikeway" greenway... SE Salmon/Taylor, but I do wonder, other than the sharrows and more bikes usually, what is particularly bike-y about that route? I ask because I am FREQUENTLY (every morning) overtaken at relative high-speed by a motorist zipping down the best street for driving (as all the stops are for cross traffic. It isn't until I get all the way down to 16th that I encounter my first "traffic calming" feature. Aren't there supposed to be diverters, planters, speed bumps, something? As it is, the motorists love this street because there are no lights and few stops?????

    As for Hawthorne, I'll leave that to others. I wouldn't want to ride that street anyway. Too many cars, too many doors opening, too many lanes. There is hardly a day that I am on Hawthorne that I don't see a Ped get nearly creamed by a car that didn't stop for the crossing ped when the other lane did...yikes!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

- Daily bike news since 2005 -
BikePortland.org is a production of
PedalTown Media Inc.
321 SW 4th Ave, Ste. 401
Portland, OR 97204

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Clemens Orth.
Subscribe to RSS feed


Original images and content owned by Pedaltown Media, Inc. - Not to be used without permission.