Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 20th, 2012 at 3:50 pm
The Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the N. Williams Traffic Operations Safety Project met today and came to a decision about how to reconfigure the street to improve bike access. I'm in Washington D.C. attending the National Bike Summit, but thanks to Twitter and to phone conversations with people at the meeting, I can share some info about what was decided on.
According to committee member Steve Bozzone, they went with option "4B: Left-Side Buffered Bike Lane with One Motor Vehicle Travel Lane and Turn Lanes (Segments 2 to 5) and Shared Left-Turn Lane/Bikeway in Segment 4" (see below).
In other words, the committee realized that a left side solution was needed, but that a parking-separated cycle track — which was proposed by PBOT as the best solution — wasn't what everyone felt comfortable with. The "mix zone" in Segment 4 is a compromise with those concerned that congestion in this stretch (near N Failing) would be too severe if autos were not allowed access to a second lane. The street will have two lanes accessible for autos only in the stretch from N. Fremont to Skidmore, but it will be a shared environment with sharrow markings and curbs at the start of each block to deter through auto traffic.
According to one source at the meeting, the final vote and decision came in a flurry right at the end of today's meeting and not everyone was on board (two committee members voted to leave the street the way it is), but a 2/3 consensus means the decision is final. Bozzone says the committee will meet one more time to iron out the details.
Here's the PBOT drawing of option 4B (note: I wasn't at the meeting, so I don't know if they passed this as it is presented below or if alterations were made):
And the cross-section:
And here are two drawings that show what the mixed lane environment will look like
In addition to the lane reconfiguration, the project will come with new curb extensions, marked crosswalks, several rapid flash beacons, and most likely at least one new traffic signal. I'll have more details when I return to Portland. If people who attended the meeting can chime in with comments that'd be great.
Before I get back to Summit coverage, I want to leave you with some Twitter quotes from Bozzone that capture the mood during today's meeting:
A good portion of SAC members came to the process very skeptical. To have near unanimity on a choice is a reflection of a meaningful process
Pastor Hennessee: "This isn't about who drives or who bikes, this process is all about thinking about everyone's needs.."
As fellow SAC member Noni said today, "Just think about all the great new relationships that have come out of the last year."
The jubilation and camaraderie! hugs all around, group photos, in honor of Ellen's retirement there was cake, funky hats
*PBOT Project Manager Ellen Vanderslice, known for her fashionable hats, is retiring at the end of this month.
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13 months of public process and very intense debate among the SAC. This is a design that truly incorporates all of the input. I'm proud!