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City approves permit for 'bike hub' at First & Main building

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 5th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

First & Main Bldg
A rider rolls down the bike lane on SW Main at 1st Ave.
The building in the background is set to become
the location of a new "bike hub."
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A "bike hub" is set to be built in the ground floor of the First & Main Building at the foot of the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown Portland. If this sounds familiar, it's because this project was first talked about way back in May 2006, before the building was even constructed. However, even though the building was completed in spring of 2010 and is currently occupied by several tenants, the bike hub has yet to materialize.

Now, according to permit documents recently approved by the City of Portland, the bike hub looks to be moving forward.

On October 29th, the City's Bureau of Development Services approved a land-use application for 100 SW Main Street (PDF here). The proposal, being made by Cornerstone Architectural Group based in Kenmore, Washington, says the entrance to the bike hub would be placed mid-block on SW 1st Avenue between Main and Madison streets (where the orange dumpster is in the image above). With 1st Ave being a one-way street in the southbound direction, this would make bike access relatively easy from the busy bike lane that heads off the Hawthorne Bridge onto Main Street.

Here's how the project applicant describes the location (emphasis mine):

"The site is well served by public transit with major bus stops inbound on the north side of SW Main at Second Avenue, and outbound on the south side of SW Madison at First Avenue. The site is three blocks to the Downtown Transit Mall, and three blocks to a MAX stop. The Hawthorne Bridge is also major bicycle corridor from the East Side. As such, First & Main intends to create a Bike Hub (bike storage, showering and changing facilities) within the ground floor retail space to accommodate and encourage bicycling as a viable transportation alternative."

Previously, the developer planned to situate the entrance to the bike hub on SW 2nd Ave., but that location would have made entry by bike difficult (and this change in plans could be part of the reason the bike hub has been delayed).

We haven't been able to get updated specs on details such as how many bike spaces it will have; but given its location, it would be perfectly situated for Portland's first "Bikestation" type parking facility. The bike racks outside the building are often at capacity. One of the building's existing tenants, green energy firm PECI, says they already provide 130 secure bike parking spaces for their employees, of which 50% get to work by bike.

We've got a request for more information in with building managers and will update this post when we hear back.

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Comments
  • Tanner Volz November 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    this is rad.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Erin November 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I've been working in this building for a while and the bike room's been there and ready the whole time, though it's entirely oriented to 2nd Ave. In order to reach 1st Ave, a connection needs to be made inside the building. Accessing the building in general is far superior from 1st Ave, so this is exciting! It'll be interesting to see where the entrance to the Post Office will be once that's in place, as well. Lots of great changes here!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Dave W November 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Jonathan, just an FYI-PECI has 76% of its employee base use a sustainable commuting option (public transportation, bike, walk, car share). 57 employees take advantage of the biking benefits-which means they ride more than half of the time to and from work. During the summer time the 130 bike spaces are heavily used.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • are November 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    seems slightly tricky for a cyclist coming off the bridge to get positioned to make the left. will the city be putting in some kind of green lane for the merge across?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Alex Reed November 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

      And a green box for a Copenhagen left / "Portland pivot" for timid riders like me?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Eric November 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      It's actually not all that bad, but you are correct that you have to cut across 2 lanes of traffic coming off the bridge. I don't come that way at rush hour (I reverse commute) so can't comment on how that's going to work out) but I routinely make that left in the afternoon (and head up Jefferson) and it's not a big deal.

      For those not enthused with the idea of crossing those lanes, you could come off the bridge down to the Waterfront and take the crosswalk/bike path that sits just north of Main next to 3 World Trade and dumps you off on 1st Ave.

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  • Fly By Bike November 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    More info on 1st and Main:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_%26_Main

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • dwainedibbly November 6, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Isn't this the building where the University Station US Post Office (currently at SW 6th & Clay) is moving to in a few months? That will mean even more people working there, with potentially more bike commuters.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew K November 6, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Very cool. I work in this neighborhood just up the street so this will be a welcome addition.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jake November 6, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Great location! Wondering if they will need a coffee cart? I'm in search of a good spot.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Dave W November 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Hi Jake-there is a Starbucks in the building-on the NW corner. I think SB has a contract with the building to block out any competition on site :(

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • CaptainKarma November 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

        Starbucks gets NONE of *my* bucks. I'll go without or take a walk elsewhere.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bill W. November 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Cool story. I work in the building and caught the building manager in the elevator on the way out today. She confirmed that this is a complete rumor. A bike hub already exists for the tenants and that will be the only hub in the building.

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  • Erin November 7, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Jonathan -- here's an update from building management. The 1st Ave story is incorrect. There is no new bike storage facility being developed here at First & Main. There is already a "bicycle hub" for employees of the building with an entrance on SW 2nd Ave.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

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