Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 13th, 2012 at 11:27 am
streets safer. In this photo, people use the new
crossing treatment at N. Concord and Rosa Parks.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
It's hard to overstate the importance of the Portland Bureau of Transportation's neighborhood greenway program. The combination of considerable expertise in, and dedication to, neighborhood traffic safety from veteran staffers and engineers, and the $1 million (or so) annual budget thanks to Mayor Sam Adams, has resulted in a burgeoning and connected network of neighborhood greenways (a.k.a. their previous name of bike boulevards) that just keep getting better and better.
As I ride around, I've noticed the progress in almost every quadrant of the city; from new crossing treatments in outer southeast to speed bumps right outside my front door in north Portland. According to PBOT, they've got nine projects that are either currently under construction or just recently completed.
Below are just a few signs of progress I've come across recently...
The most significant components of these projects (in terms of physical infrastructure) are the crossing treatments. Compared to the ubiquitous sharrows and wayfinding signage, new crossings make arguably the most impact. Here's a new addition to the Bryant-Holman Connection greenway project at NE 33rd Ave...
PBOT has also installed a new median, bioswale, new crosswalks, and signage on NE 15th where it crosses Holman (sorry I don't have a photo).
Reader Gretchin L. sent in two photos — along with a note of gratitude to PBOT (below) — of a brand new signal that has been installed on SE 122nd at SE Bush...
And here's the note she sent to PBOT...
"Hello! I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the new crossing light at 122nd and Bush.
When I first saw the light go up I was afraid it was going to be just a blinking "caution" light, like ones I've seen on Division (e.g. the Gresham/Fairview Trail and the 205 trail). So I was absolutely delighted to discover it is a proper light with pedestrian activators, bike activators, walk signals, red lights to stop traffic, and... a bike signal! *swoon*
Bush is right near a Safeway. So in addition to being a helpful way to cross 122nd via a neighborhood greenway, this light makes that Safeway accessible for a whole bunch of people between 122nd and Powell Butte. Thank you so much for making this neighborhood better!"
As part of their federally funded Going to the River project, PBOT is working to connect Going St. to the Bryant overcrossing of I-5 via N. Michigan Avenue. As you can see by the markings in the photo below, sharrows are on the way, and I'm happy to report that numerous speed bumps have been installed on Michigan between Fremont and Bryant (my new favorite pastime is sitting on my porch, watching people slow down for them!)...
And look what PBOT just did on Going St a few days ago...
These new "sign toppers" are part of a focused marketing push for the Going Neighborhood Greenway.
I asked PBOT for an update on all the neighborhood greenway projects they're currently working on. Here's the list:
- North 80s – construction is complete, including signal work at SE Division
- N Central, NE Holman, SE Bush – construction complete (except for some planting of swales and clean up work) – HAWK at 122nd and Bush is on; raised crosswalks on N Central to go in this month
- North Portland Connector – under construction (pathway to connect with the Penninsular Xing trail to start next week)
- SW Maplewood – under construction
- South 80s – under construction
- Bryant-Holman Connection – under construction
- Going to the River – bumps and sharrows going in (though between Alberta and Killingsworth will need to wait for some street repair)
- SE 19th – outreach complete
- NE 77th/Sacramento – outreach mostly complete – we’re going to have a Cully specific meeting later in the year to look at the route options
These improvements might seem small (and I'm the first one to say we need more urgency to improve bike access on main streets), but the impact of connecting these bike-friendly neighborhood routes is — and will be — nothing short of transformative. When Portlanders from nearly every corner of the city can hop on a fully-signed, traffic-calmed neighborhood greenway that connects into other parts of our network, more people will start to ride. Connect these greenways to dedicated bikeways on main streets and before you know it bicycling will be more appealing than driving (and even transit in many circumstances) and our little bike boom will become a full-fledged shift in the status quo.