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Foster Streetscape update: How many (and what type of) lanes in Lents?

Posted by on July 25th, 2013 at 12:22 pm

(Image courtesy Nick Falbo.)

Southeast Portlanders are split over how to handle a big choice for the Lents area, surrounding the intersection of 92nd Avenue and Foster Road: keep Foster at its current four standard vehicle lanes, or cut it to three in order to add bike lanes and wider sidewalks?

Or, put another way: if a redesigned Foster Road needs to transition from three to four auto lanes somewhere, should that happen east of Lents, west of it, or two blocks from the middle of its commercial area?

The project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee meets tonight to hash it out, so we thought it was time to get you up to speed about the options and hear from a few members of the committee…

Here’s how Foster is designed now between 80th and 90th avenues (apologies for the low-res graphics):

Last month at an open house the city shared a few other concepts for this stretch of street, one with buffered bike lanes:

One with three lanes, bike lanes and auto parking:

And one with four auto lanes, no parking and a narrow bike lane:

In a blog post earlier this month, Foster area resident Nick Falbo argued that if Lents stakeholders don’t achieve consensus soon, they’ll lose out on a precious chance to win city dollars that could improve their stretch of road. Falbo, for his part, thinks the answer is three auto lanes throughout.

“Three lanes west of 82nd and four lanes east of 82nd will only exaggerate the barrier that 82nd presents and strengthen the divide between our neighborhoods,” Falbo wrote.

Nick Christensen, chair of the Lents Neighborhood Association and one of Falbo’s colleagues on the Foster stakeholder advisory committee, agrees that changing the lane alignment will draw a line through the neighborhood — which is exactly why he thinks Foster should retain four auto lanes not only in Lents, but into central Portland, too.


“I hate the situation where the last passing lane is in the middle of our business district,” Christensen said in an interview Wednesday. “If there is a road diet, if we are going to go ahead with three lanes, there is going to be a point where there is a last passing lane to go in and and first passing lane to go out. … Some people will make choices that are irresponsible in their cars.”

Christensen, who was speaking for himself because the neighborhood association hasn’t yet weighed in, said his preference is for the city to invest in sidewalks on Foster, not bikeways.

Nick Christensen chairs the
Lents Neighborhood Association
and sits on the Foster
Road stakeholders committee.

“I think there are ways to get cyclists around on that area without putting them on Foster Road,” Christensen said. “I’d like to see 10-foot sidewalks; I’d like to see street trees; I’d like to see benches and lights.”

Improvements like those would be far more expensive than restriping street lanes, of course. But as LNA member Cora Potter pointed out at last month’s open house, the most dangerous part of Foster is east of 80th Avenue, yet the city’s current plan is to make most of the changes west of 80th.

“Things are bad along the sidewalks in that area,” Christensen said. “No doubt about it. Drivers are driving too fast.”

But Christensen said he thinks cars are too important to Lents for the city to remove an auto lane.

“24,000 people a day are choosing to use their cars to get somewhere,” said Christensen. “I’m fortunate that I have a job that enables me to commute by transit, but I know that a lot of people in my community aren’t that fortunate. … For those people who have a 45-minute car commute, and there’s a lot of them, adding 5 minutes a day to that or 10 minutes a day to that is not welcome.”

“For those people who have a 45-minute car commute, and there’s a lot of them, adding 5 minutes a day to that or 10 minutes a day to that is not welcome.”
—Nick Christensen, Lents Neighborhood Association

Christensen said he hopes Lents will one day have more local jobs and better public transit, reducing the pressure for its residents to own cars, but he personally thinks the neighborhood is “not there yet.”

“The things that get people out of their cars because they choose to, not because they’re forced to — those are the things that set up the situation,” Christensen said.

Falbo, meanwhile, takes the view that people will be unlikely to choose bicycles or other modes until the city prioritizes those modes over auto traffic by making Foster Road more “neighborhood friendly” instead of “highway style.”

The Foster Streetscape Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee’s next meeting is tonight from 6 to 8 pm at SE Works, 79th & Foster. If you’re a Lents-area resident with thoughts about the direction the area should take, you can contact Christensen (nick@ilovelents.com); Potter (cora@ilovelents.com); Falbo (nick@fosterunited.org) or their colleague Adam Simmons (adam@lentscreative.com). For more general thoughts on the streetscape project, the city project manager is Mauricio Leclerc (mauricio.leclerc@portlandoregon.gov).

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  • davemess July 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I’m just curious about who would want to hang out on benches and trees next to a four lane Foster? Discontinuing the bike lane at 82nd (and preventing it from reaching the 205 path (and/or the Springwater) is a bad idea, and just forces cyclists to look for other (not that obvious) routes. Discontinuous bike lanes are just not very useful.

    Continuing the status quo into/around Lents does not seem like it is really going to help improve the area (which is currently struggling).

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  • resopmok July 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Probably the trickiest section of redesign east of 82nd will be the area where Foster crosses with I-205 and configuring the lanes in a manner that prevents cyclists from being run over by people using on- and off-ramps. Either of the three-lane configurations seems appropriate to me for the rest of it. I would prefer a buffered lane, personally, but if parking is needed for compromise I would be willing to put up with the potential of getting doored to be able to use Foster as a route to get between the 205 path and 92nd, and 52nd/50th/Powell. And I guess the construction to make it all happen doesn’t bother me either, since I don’t ride on Foster as it is now, anyway.

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    • davemess July 25, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      That section is not in this streetscape scope. That area actually already has bike lanes too.

      https://maps.google.com/maps?q=portland&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x54950b0b7da97427:0x1c36b9e6f6d18591,Portland,+OR&gl=us&ei=IojxUbzAO-OQjAKt54G4Ag&ved=0CKcBELYD

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      • resopmok July 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        I had forgotten about that, actually. That bike lane begins shortly after Foster splits to “SE Couplet” on the approach to I-205. There’s still not a real connection though from 82nd and I would still like to see a 3-lane configuration that ties in well with what now exists there.

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      • resopmok July 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

        also note that a lot of paint has worn off the bike lane already at the right turn that leads to the southbound on-ramp, perhaps that’s part of the reason I had forgotten..

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        • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:25 am

          The bike lane on Woodstock between 90th and the 205 MUP was restriped two weeks ago.

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    • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:24 am

      There is currently a complete bike lane between 205 and 92nd.

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    • Paikikala July 26, 2013 at 8:01 am

      The couplet section, 91st to 96th, is the ideal place for the transition zones to occur. There’s lots of space, necessary for all the crossing and weaving movements, but also this presents opportunities to better define pathways with parking restoraton/enhancement, dedicated turn lanes and buffered bike lanes.

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  • Paul in the 'couve July 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Off topic somewhat, I usually refrain from commenting specifically on PDX neighborhood issues unless it is a route I actually ride regularly since I don’t live in PDX.

    I noticed this statement:

    “The things that get people out of their cars because they choose to, not because they’re forced to — those are the things that set up the situation,” Christensen said.

    I’ve been thinking about statements like this after following transportation politics in NYC. This report from Streetsblog regarding discussion of parking minimums in the densest area of Brooklyn sounds so similar:

    “We of course want to encourage people to use mass transit,” Fox said, though she did not support eliminating or reducing parking requirements. She believes that families or older residents moving into new apartments might also own cars and could exacerbate the existing on-street parking crunch if they don’t have off-street parking. “It may not make the most sense to get rid of those parking requirements,” she said.

    Fox and Cumbo were also hesitant to embrace congestion pricing or bridge tolls. “I’m always a person that looks for incentives to change behavior, not fees and fines to change behavior,” Fox told Streetsblog, using her mother as an example of someone who has difficulty using the subway and drives to Manhattan because there is no bus service.

    “There are other ways that we can decrease the amount of vehicles in the city, and I don’t know pricing, or another fine, or another fee, is necessarily the way to go,” Cumbo said, suggesting carpooling as an alternative.

    So these pols are taking the stance that they
    1) I want to encourage better transportation options like cycling and transit
    2) think cycling, transit and walking are good things
    3) want to at least appear to agree that those ideas line up with reducing driving and getting people out of cars
    4) but oppose anything that would actually make driving less convenient or more expensive because it is “too coercive.”

    :p :P :p

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    • Nick Falbo July 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      In my opinion advocacy for a bikeway here is not really about “Getting people out of their cars” as Nick Christensen frames it. Mostly, it’s about providing a safe facility for our neighbors who are already bicycling.

      Foster is a hugely popular route for bicyclists, due to it being a diagonal and having all of the neighborhood destinations. You really cannot spend any time walking along Foster without seeing someone cruising up the street on a bike. Most often, this is on the sidewalk, where it is unsafe to everyone.

      Getting bike lanes (or, something better than bike lanes) on Foster would help give my neighbors that bicycle today a safer place to be. Maybe it would also be helpful in letting other interested neighbors decide to hop on their bike, but that is secondary. This is about improving the safety of everyone who uses the street today.

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      • davemess July 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm

        exactly what Nick said.

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  • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I think what needs to be made clear is that unless significant investments are made in the area between 80th and 90th, and unless we’re making extra effort to leave the areas East of 90th and the Lents Town Center Pedestrian District and Main Street (which is on 92nd not Foster) in better shape, as a result of this project, than they are today – the equity goals of the streetscape are not being met and the west of 82nd residents on the committee would essentially be thumbing their nose at them.

    Getting East of 82nd residents to be *happy* (as opposed to angry) about a lane reduction anywhere on Foster is going to require that they get to see and experience significant benefits from this project. This means replacing the sub-standard (so sub-standard that they’re sub-sub-sub-sub standard) sidewalks east of 82nd with better than standard improvements. Improvements that residents East of 82nd will actually be using – not just looking at as they sit in traffic West of 82nd.

    Whether you have 3 or 4 lanes, to make the level of improvement needed to gain acceptance you need to acquire right of way, even if we get rid of the parking. To do this, you need to look at the flow of bike traffic systemically – using the whole grid in the area rather than insisting that it remain on a single facility.

    That’s just what it’s going to take.

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    • davemess July 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Is the money available to fix the sidewalks in this section?

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    • Alex Reed July 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      Well let’s get moving on good options in that area then then! Why do none of PBOT’s proposed options include wider sidewalks between 82nd and 90th? That would also allow improvements to one of OPAL’s identified “Worst Bus Stops in East Portland” (on Foster near 82nd).

      Let’s see some plans that address the worst problems east of 82nd – pedestrian and transit access and road safety chief among them.

      Re: no space for bike lanes in that area if we widen the sidewalks – I’d be OK with a plan that created a good non-foster bike route between Foster & 82nd and LTC. Sadly, there are currently few popular destinations on Foster between 82nd & 90th ish so the jog away wouldn’t exclude too many bike trips (I mean, I love koi as much as the next guy, but it’s a specialty item :-) )

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      • davemess July 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

        It was my understanding from attending 3-4 of the meetings that moving the curbs (in any of the sections) was unlikely, as it appeared to be outside of the budget of the project. Thus most of the options that involved that were shelved.

        I’m just curious how the numbers add up. How much would moving curbs and adding sidewalk in the eastern section cost? (not even counting buying right of way to expand) What percentage of the $3.25 would this be?

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        • Paikikala July 26, 2013 at 8:15 am

          Curb costs about $20-$25/foot to build; Sidewalk and swales about $10/SF, or $40/ft for 4 ft width, so$60/ft for materials for another 4 ft of space, plus overhead. This might be a good place to tap BES for money. If you moved the curb toward the center 4 ft and used the repurposed space for trees, poles and swales, the current furnishing zone, in wider areas, or crowded sidewalk (narrower sections) could be converted to better pedestrian areas(The usual way sidewalks are widened is redevelopment, where the new building is built back farther from the existing curb).

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          • davemess July 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

            Is that contractor pricing, or city contractor pricing?

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      • Brett July 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        Putting in 1.7 miles of bike facilities (52nd to 82nd), then leaving a 0.4 mile gap until the existing bike lane at 90th St. would be a shame.

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        • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm

          especially because it is such a vulnerable place.

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      • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:06 am

        The entrance to the koi place is also in the back off the building off Reedway, so you have to take 87th then Reedway to get there anyway.

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    • Brett July 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      I agree that the area East of 82nd is a much more difficult (narrow) cross section to implement improvements. But, he amount of money needed to acquire enough right-of-way in this area for “better than standard improvements” would be very high. To me, it is a great long-term goal, but I don’t think that other parts of the project should kept from happening until that is done.

      As far as “using the whole grid” for bike facilities instead of “insisting that it remain on a single facility”, one of the SAC’s stated goals are to have “a safe attractive, and comfortable cycling environment on Foster…”.

      The big question in my mind: Is the SAC being asked to prioritize near-term, realistic projects for the money in-hand (and applied for), or to create the best possible long-term plan, regardless of what is currently feasible? It seems like these are 2 separate topics and PBOT hasn’t always been clear which the group should be focusing on. They often dismiss options because they would be too expensive. Long-term vision for the area VS. what can realistically be constructed in the next 3-5 years.

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    • Alan 1.0 July 25, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      The photo and renderings of the sidewalks with utility poles in the middle really brings home the “sub-sub-sub-sub standard” to me. I’m appalled that those would not be among the very first things fixed in any improvement project. Can a wheelchair even pass by those?

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      • davemess July 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

        yes, I agree. Part of the problem is that I think the city made the scope of this project too big. If they had focused on just the eastern section (without dangling bike lanes and other goodies in front of the Western section folks) then there probably wouldn’t be much of a problem. Seems like now the city has almost set up a neighborhood versus neighborhood situation (FP vs. Lents). I agree the sidewalks should have some priority, but now they have to take priority of the rest of the entire project, which is hard for many to stomach who have been waiting for these changes for years.

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      • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:09 am

        No, and in some sections the slope on the (4ft) sidewalks is actually steeper than an ADA ramp- on the sidewalk where it’s supposed to be level.

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    • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      If Lents Town Center is on 92nd, can we connect the bike lane through there as part of the improvements for the Lents Town Center Pedestrian District and Main Street? 92nd is a pretty good N/S route all the way from Sunnyside to Stark except for the Lents gap. It’s especially difficult to feel safe there because of the hill at Lents Park just south of Holgate.

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      • davemess July 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

        That ship has sailed, and almost all the improvements are finished. Can’t say I’m super excited about the new island signs, making the left from Foster to Woodstock even sketchier!

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        • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:31 am

          All the more reason to turn left on 87th instead and get to the tool library via Reedway. :)

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      • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:49 am

        It would be nice Eli, but probably not a priority since the 205 MUP parallels the stretch, has lots on access points and is only a block away.

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        • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 9:58 am

          So if I’m coming from 92nd, I should detour onto the 205 path to get though Lents before getting back onto 92nd? How does that make any sense unless Lents doesn’t want bikes to visit or travel through the Town Center?

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          • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

            No, you should take the lane and ride on 92nd. But, if you’re aiming for straight-shot long distance travel, the 205 Path is much better. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would use the bike lanes on 92nd to get to the Town Center unless they were going somewhere between Duke and Harold on 92nd and were starting somewhere between Duke and Harold on 92nd.

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            • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

              There’s a terrible 205 gap near Flavel where it’s much easier to be on 92nd. The point is: why leave the gap through Lents? Taking the lane to Holgate feels very vulnerable with the fast and impatient traffic, especially going up that hill. I took someone that way once and never again.

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              • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

                ODOT is fixing the Flavel gap. I live on Holgate, and I generally take 87th or get on the MUP if I’m going anywhere North of Harold. If it’s a calm day, I’ll stay on 92nd and cut through the park at Schiller.

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                • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm

                  When I see “take the lane” it’s like seeing “take your chances.” And again, we’re arguing details rather than the concept of bike gaps and access. Are you saying that since ODOT will fix Flavel someday, Lents no longer needs to care about the gap in their own infrastructure? I mean, it’s ridiculous to see the bike lane end at Lents and pick itself back up on the other side.

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            • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm

              No, I’m saying that ODOT is planning the fixes right now. Shelli Romero has been a great advocate for the 205 MUP, and region 1 is committed to fixing the gaps and making significant improvements every year. Right now, they’re under-construction on the Division underpass. I think Flavel is next for capital funding/construction. Either way – right now all we can do is say “yay” because they’re already on it.

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      • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm

        Eli- the reason we don’t have a bike lane on 92nd between Woiostock and Steele is that we’re “waiting for redevelopment” at the New Copper Penny and the 92nd and Harold site. The same goes for the sidewalk improvements along those frontages.

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    • Jim Labbe July 30, 2013 at 8:48 am

      As a cyclist and an occasional driver, I’d take three lanes, no bike lanes, and wide sidewalks over four lanes with bike lanes. The result would be safer for everyone, especially the least mobile and including experienced cyclists who could take the lane with greater safety if they needed to make a straight shot (which I often do). More importantly it would catalyze local business and eventually increase evening street life.

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      • Nick Falbo July 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

        What if you could get 3-lanes, wider sidewalks and bike lanes? We have the space to improve conditions for both pedestrians and bicyclists if we want to.

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  • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Dave, yes, any of the money currently allocated for the Streetscape could be spent in the the area between 80th and 90th, including the URA money, the MTIP money and the pending STIP grant.

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  • Pliny July 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Did I miss a new study or model that shows commute time slowdowns from a road diet on Foster?

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  • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    During PM peak average speeds in a three lane cross section would decrease from 19 mph to 14 mph. The distance between the 5000 block of Foster and the 9000 block of Foster is 2.4 miles. Which means it takes about 7.5 minutes to cover that distance today, and will take about 10.25 minutes to cover the same distance in the three lane configuration (even with traffic volumes reduced by 30% as a result of diversion). That’s a travel time increase of 2.75 minutes per peak hour trip. If we assume AM peak will be equally or 10% less congested, it’s fair to say that travel time for peak hour commuters will increase by 5 minutes a day. That’s 25 minutes a week, around 1.8 hours a month or 21.5 hours (almost a complete day lost) a year.

    http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/451460

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    • 9watts July 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

      “That’s 25 minutes a week, around 1.8 hours a month or 21.5 hours (almost a complete day lost) a year. ”

      So you’re saying because I bike everywhere that I lose months out of every year because, theoretically, I could have been driving in (someone else’s) car and getting there months faster?
      Weird – I don’t think of biking that way at all.

      What about all the time it takes to earn the money to buy and maintain and insure and gas up the car. Have you figured that into your equation? What about the cost and time and resource requirements to build specialized high-speed infrastructure for all those stuck in cars?

      Ivan Illich did, and before him Henry David Thoreau.

      “Bicycles are not only thermodynamically efficient, they are also cheap. With his much lower salary, the Chinese acquires his durable bicycle in a fraction of the working hours an American devotes to the purchase of his obsolescent car. The cost of public utilities needed to facilitate bicycle traffic versus the price of an infrastructure tailored to high speeds is proportionately even less than the price differential of the vehicles used in the two systems. In the bicycle system, engineered roads are necessary only at certain points of dense traffic, and people who live far from the surfaced path are not thereby automatically isolated as they would be if they depended on cars or trains. The bicycle has extended man’s radius without shunting him onto roads he cannot walk. Where he cannot ride his bike, he can usually push it.”
      http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/2007/10/ivan-illich-on-bicycles.html

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      • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

        I think you just win the ludicrously out of context troping award for this comment page! Congratulations! Here’s your straw man carrying a red herring statuette you can proudly display on your mantle or bike handlebars.

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      • Alan 1.0 July 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

        In case you haven’t seen it, 9watts, you might enjoy this blog piece:

        http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/

        Biking vs. Driving

        Driving a car at 70MPH for one hour:

        20 minutes of lifespan erased
        $35.00 per hour of money burned

        Riding a bike at 12MPH for one hour:

        4.5 hours of lifespan gained
        $100 of monetary gains secured

        On a Per-Mile Basis:

        Car: Lose 50 cents and 18 seconds of life
        Bike: Gain $8.33 and 1350 seconds of life

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        • 9watts July 29, 2013 at 7:26 am

          haha. excellent piece. Thanks for the link.

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  • spare_wheel July 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    “24,000 people a day are choosing to use their cars to get somewhere,”

    “adding 5 minutes a day to that or 10 minutes a day to that is not welcome.”

    so its a bad decision but we should still subsidize it with 4 paved lanes. to heck with that.

    i don’t think fancy sidewalks and lamp posts will make Foster any more livable. a road diet should be the starting point of any changes.

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  • Garlynn July 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Great. I currently don’t ride my bike to go visit Lents for any reason, and I wouldn’t consider it unless Foster was an option, and it had a road diet reducing it to three lanes. How many extra minutes do bicyclists spend going out of their way to avoid Foster, given that there are no parallel diagonal routes? I’m guessing it’s more than five per round-trip of comparable length.

    Driving is too easy… when there is more friction associated with driving, people will choose alternative modes.

    Also — these are just plan-view cross-sections of the street, but isn’t it possible that you could get the road diet, buffered bike lanes, a turn lane just at intersections, and on-street parking between intersections by weaving the lanes around a bit? The weave would itself add some additional traffic-calming effects; bicyclists would get the buffered bike lane; businesses would get on-street parking; pedestrians would get a buffer from moving traffic; it seems like a win-win-win. The only loss would be center-block middle-of-the-street trees, but these could in theory be replaced by adding traffic circles at select intersections in place of turn lanes, with the trees in the middle of the traffic circles.

    And finally — yes, Foster’s road diet should start at 91st, where the one-way couplet starts/ends; the extra lane should feed to/from the turn-around lane. Seems to be plenty of ROW through the couplet for two lanes in each direction plus on-street parking and a buffered bike lane, no?

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  • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    There would only be room for one through lane on Foster between 92nd and 90th if the north lane were converted to a buffered bike lane. The south lane has already been converted to parking where the lack of driveway cuts allows, so it’s technically two lanes right now. It would be two lanes with northern bike lane, center through and south left turn only lane between the 205 MUP and 92nd.

    Woodstock is currently 3 lanes with a 5 ft bike lane between just west of 91st and the MUP and “SE Couplet street” is two lanes. So it’s spatially feasible to convert the whole south lane to bike lane, keep one through lane and have left turn only in the north lane up to 92nd and then convert the north lane to parking east of 92nd.

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  • Jim Labbe July 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    As some one who fairly regularly commutes through and patronizes businesses in this stretch of Foster (including now as I type), I have to say I think the three lane option with plenty of bike and pedestrian improvements looks to me like the best shot this neighborhood has for promoting local business and more local employment. It is already happening on the slower side street indicating to me that there is pent up demand. Foster is a pedestrian nightmare compared to the very walkable
    residential areas on either side. I would respectfully disagree with Nick Christensen. I respect his judgement and local knoweledge, but I think the neighborhood is ready for a serious road diet. I seriously doubt, given the proximity of I-205 and the reduced demand, that there would be much of a reduction in commute times. Even if slightly so in the shoe term, the increased safety and accessibility for children, seniors, and mobility-limited would be well worth it.

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    • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      That would seem to be the case Jim, but the models show we don’t gain that many bike trips, while the auto traffic is diverted 30%. I can’t recall the exact numbers but it’s something like (corridor wide) exchanging 8700 auto trips for 400 bike trips a day. Even if we assume all those bike trips spend more – it’s not enough to make up for the lost auto based commerce. So, the bikes promote local business argument is going to fall flat.

      Also, while the East of 82nd proposed cross section seems okay on paper where it’s totally abstracted- it’s still a substandard sidewalk (5 ft) and at best a 6 ft bike lane if we give up streetcar width auto lanes, and a total of FOUR street trees total in the 5 block stretch between 82nd and 87th and absolutely no room for any street furniture. It will still present as a stark difference from the better than standard sidewalks (17.5 ft!) West of 82nd and the 30 spacing of street trees and ample street furniture.

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      • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

        My point being – to the general community, especially those who rely on automobiles, it’s going to seem like they’re not getting anything in exchange for the road diet.

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        • Brett July 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm

          … besides safety, livability, less pollution…

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          • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 4:08 am

            How is a leaving sidewalks that are 5 ft it less, with significant ADA accessibility issues, striping a couple of bike lanes to reduce the number of auto lanes, and not planting any street trees (because you left the crappy substandard sidewalks that are too narrow to allow trees -or people really) promoting livability?

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            • spare_wheel July 26, 2013 at 8:51 am

              motorist behavior changes when you put their lanes on a diet.

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        • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm

          Not getting anything except fewer accidents in a high crash corridor, perhaps.

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      • Chris I July 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm

        Just curious, how likely is it that the diversion group (the 30%) are looking to stop and spend money in the neighborhood? I would imagine that those looking at Foster as a shortcut are not spending much money there, and they are going to be the first to go when you add 5 minutes to their commute. In the end, I guess it’s the neighborhood’s choice. Glisan is undergoing a 4 to 3-lane conversion in my neighborhood, and I am completely behind it. The few added minutes to my commute are an acceptable price to pay for improved pedestrian safety.

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        • was carless July 26, 2013 at 9:05 am

          I guarantee that the car commuters are rarely, if ever, stopping on foster. I have been commuting along the street via car by almost a year, off and on, and i have never stopped anywhere on the street.

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      • Jim Labbe July 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm

        Thanks for the analysis Cora. What about pedestrians though? I think Nick right on to empahsize them. I bet a narrower street (three lanes) that is safer and easier to cross is going to do more for pedestrians than super wide side-walks and four lanes.

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        • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 4:04 am

          9-14 feet isn’t super wide, it’s standard. With on/offs at each of the bus stops at 82nd and Foster being 300-400 a day (which means the combined use at the intersection rivals a relatively high use MAX station), I think we’re right to prioritize widening the sidewalks to at least standard widths.

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          • 9watts July 26, 2013 at 7:58 am

            “9-14 feet isn’t super wide…”

            …it is if it were a bike lane we’re talking about. About the same number of people on a bike as in your average car. Hm.

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          • Jim Labbe July 29, 2013 at 5:18 am

            Agreed. Standard or wider sidewalksare are preferable but 3 lanes is much preferable to 4, for both pedestrians and cyclists. It is more likely to engender the more vibrant and safer streescape that this section of Foster is begging for.

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  • Spiffy July 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    reading what Nick Christensen said makes me so incredibly angry… he doesn’t want the business of bicyclists on Foster… he thinks that people driving somewhere else through Lents is more important than the safety of the people that live there…

    those people with the 45 minute car commute? screw them! seriously… the entire point is to get people to NOT drive that far… especially on Foster since their car commute is obviously meant for the freeway if it’s 45 minutes… so if we continue to make it less attractive then people will stop doing it… nobody is forcing anything… I’ve changed houses and jobs to adjust my commute… if you want to sit in traffic for an hour in a car then that’s your choice… don’t force society to compensate for your bad choices…

    it’s the outdated and backwards views of people like Nick Christensen that made Foster dangerous…

    yes, I want to make it MORE DIFFICULT for us area residents to travel by privately owned automobile…

    yes, I want Foster to be more inviting to PEOPLE and for ALL modes to be able to get there safely, and that probably means more slowly…

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    • JebJeb July 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      I want an “I’m with Spiffy” tee shirt.

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    • 9watts July 26, 2013 at 7:38 am

      Couldn’t have said it any better myself!

      cars first is so 20th century.

      And wouldn’t you know but 6% of Lents homeowners, and between 10% and 40% of renter households don’t own a car*, according to the 2010 census. What is it about them that allows Nick Christensen to discount them over those 45 minute car commuters?

      * census tract 6.01 = 10%; 6.02 = 18%, 83.01 = 40%

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  • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    When I read Nick C. say “I think there are ways to get cyclists around on that area without putting them on Foster Road,” I think he’s never tried to “get around” there with a bike. There is NO DIRECT WAY to get anyplace on Foster without going onto Foster. There are dozens of wiggly, confusing and nondirect ways that have hinky connections. Foster desperately needs better sidewalks because walking there is terrible — and biking is even worse because both the sidewalks and the street are not currently shareable.

    Foster should be treated the same all the way to 205. Leaving a gap through Lents would be incredibly shortsighted and sends a message that bikes are not welcomes in Lents. Even Foster east of 205 has better bicycle facilities than west of 205. It’s a shame and keeps people like me from going to Foster businesses more often. Even though Lents is my closest decent neighborhood, it’s much more comfortable to go further to Woodstock or even Johnson Creek, because biking there is much less stressful and explicitly welcomed.

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    • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:38 am

      Nick C used to ride his bike around the neighborhood quite a bit. Now that he’s taking transit most days, and got rid of his cowboy truck, he doesn’t use the bike as much anymore. He just walks or takes the bus or MAX.

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      • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 6:41 am

        I, on the other hand, ride my bike just about everywhere for trips within 3 miles of my house. I walk to Eastport and the park and use transit to commute. The only car I own is a truck that hasn’t been started for 3 years and would be at the VOA donation center except I can’t find the title in my file drawer, and I hate going to the DMV (which I would bike to using the 80s greenway).

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  • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Eli – I’m a little confused. There are complete bike lanes in both directions on Woodstock that allow easy access to Lents Town Center. (I use this route to get to the Lion’s Eye from my home near Lents Park all the time) So, if you’re south of Woodstock in the Lents area there’s really no disconnect. Even if you’re coming from Mt Scott-Arleta, it’s only a couple blocks of out of direction travel to get to Woodstock. Also, the street grid south of Woodstock in Lents and South of Harold in MSA is pretty connected and complete without that many jogs.

    Foster-Powell is the area where the street grid breaks down quite a bit and the areas of MSA just off Foster have the usual complications that come from angle streets.

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  • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Yes, the Woodstock bike lanes are great, especially when your destination is right at that intersection. But they don’t connect well to anything on the north side of Foster or east of the couplet.

    A bike lane on Foster would immediately open access to Oliver’s, Sushi Sushi, Fred Meyer & the fruit stand on 82nd, Foster Burger, etc etc. Heck, if I wasn’t taking the Foster bikes lanes east of Lents, I would never make it to the Lents International Farmer’s Market. I can’t imagine coming from the west.

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  • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    The 87th neighborhood Greenway gets you to Oliver’s, LIFM (just head East on Reedway), Sushi Sushi and Fred Meyer (go west on Ellis or Insley) with ease directly from Woodstock. The fruit stand is accessible by using Woodstock to cross 82nd and then taking 80th to Harold. 87th to Center greenway gets you to Foster Burger.

    It’s not a maze – it’s a normal street grid.

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    • Chris I July 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      If the grid is so easy to navigate, why not just close down Foster completely and turn it into a giant park?

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      • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 4:11 am

        Because it has auto capacity for the 29,000 cars a day that use it.

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        • spare_wheel July 26, 2013 at 8:54 am

          4 lanes of induced demand.

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  • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Also – Foster is one-way going west between 92nd and 89th and there’s already bike lanes there. Even if bike lanes get added on Foster, you’d have to use the bike lanes on Woodstock to go east in the couplet. Those lanes are already in place. So, technically, the infrastructure you are requesting to get to Oliver’s and LIFM is already there. Just click your heels in those Ruby Slippers. You have to believe you can get there.

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    • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      there is a 2 block gap between the end of the Foster bike lanes and Oliver’s that’s pretty scary. I see your point about Woodstock east to LIFM, but still think a direct bike lane through a business district is the better choice.

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      • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        Still confused – the bike lanes on Foster end at 87th. That’s past Oliver’s, so there’s no gap. Even so, I’d hang a right on the (beautiful) new 91st and then a left into the Parking lot for the building before I’d continue west on the bike lanes. It’s nicer and quieter.

        No matter what happens with the streetscape there’s not going to be a “direct” through eastbound on Foster. It’s a one way street westbound past 89th. You have to divert to Woodstock.

        I ride 87th and the 85th greenway as fare south as the Springwater and as far north as Division all the time. I guess I’m not really understanding how a 1/10 of a block jog is an obstacle.

        As far as crossing 82nd goes, none of that actually reflects on getting around within Lents (which is really freaking easy despite the hyperbole). It reflects more on ODOT and PBOTs inability to coordinate to get safe crossings at reasonable intervals. Putting bike lanes on Foster isn’t the solution for that in any way. Adding safe crossings is the solution for that – and it actually provides a lot more access than forcing out of direction travel to a regional collector street just to cross 82nd.

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        • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

          What? No, the gap is heading west to Oliver’s right before the end of the couplet, especially now that it has a bioswale.

          “getting around within Lents (which is really freaking easy despite the hyperbole).”

          Lots of little jogs in a N/S greenway may not be a big deal to you, though it is to me. It also doesn’t answer the E/W issue of Foster access.

          “It reflects more on ODOT and PBOTs inability to coordinate to get safe crossings at reasonable intervals.”

          I agree!

          “Putting bike lanes on Foster isn’t the solution for that in any way.”

          I disagree. It’s certainly not the only solution, but it’s a start.

          More importantly, I feel like we’re arguing details rather than looking at the big picture. It sounds as if you don’t think bikes on Foster are a good idea through Lents, and I doubt anything I say about how frustrating I find biking around Lents will convince you otherwise.

          However, it sounds like the FoPo business districts want bike lanes. So why is Lents fighting this so darn hard against them? Why not take advantage of this to shape the Lents you want rather than the Lents you have?

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          • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm

            What I think is a bike lane isn’t worth giving up street trees or acceptable sidewalk widths. This is especially true because, despite what appears to be a cognitive block for you, getting around Lents Town Center is actually easier if you stay off Foster, even if there were bike lanes on Foster.

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            • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm

              “Cognitive block?” Nice way to dismiss my concerns for biking in Lents, Cora. Because you are on the LNA, it concerns me you have so little regard for people who want to visit your community.

              At any rate, we are in agreement that Foster needs better sidewalks.

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              • Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 6:05 pm

                From what I understand, your concerns are that you have to occasionally turn the wheel of your bike to get around, and you prefer not to. That’s not really a concern, it’s a preference. It also doesn’t mean it’s hard to get around in Lents on a bike. Within Lents it’s actually really easy to get around on a bike … If you’re willing to steer a bike every now and then or use a path it greenway that’s generally within a block of the arterial that the cars use.

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                • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

                  Snark doesn’t win arguments, even if it might silence them.

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                • Paul in the 'couve July 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm

                  I know that with a few tries, a jog left, jog right route can become perfectly Okay. I ride routes in my own neighborhood and other parts of Vancouver that most people don’t know exist. They aren’t straight or “simple” but they work really well for me. I also ride in other cities and sometimes have to cross unfamiliar neighborhoods and find it to be a real pain in the butt to navigate. I”ve ridden in Lents / Foster area about a dozen times. I agree with Eli, mostly. A straight through route is better, always. And a route on a street that has businesses and connects well across major streets and freeways is preferable to one on a side street.

                  I do agree with Cora that for those that know the route, probably riding her route is pretty effective. I know roughly how to get through there, but I don’t go to that area unless I have to because I think biking there sucks overall compared to other parts of town.

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                • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 4:24 am

                  Paul- I’m back to it being a perception vs reality issue. Our mainstreet is 92nd, not Foster. There’s a multiple-use path that parallels it one block east, and the business district is flanked by well marked neighborhood greenways at 87th as well as Ellis Street. All the side streets are quiet, low traffic and very bikeable. And 1/4 mile to the south, both the 205 bike path and the 87th greenway connect with the spring water corridor. 87th also connects with the Center greenway to the North.

                  So sure, biking is not intuitive for folks that only see our business district as they drive by on Foster. But, most folks I know that bike in Lents agree its easier to bike within our neighborhood (that is the size of about 7 close-in neighborhoods) than it is to bike in inner SE or NE Portland, and frequent and adequate crossings of 82nd are actually our main bike infrastructure need.

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                • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 4:32 am

                  And honestly- our bike grid should be designed to work for the 22k folks that live in the area, not for the occasional visitor from the ‘Couve (who can easily get straight to the heart of our business district by using the 205 MUP and making a right onto Ramona – there’s a giant sculpture of a blackberry vine right there marking the spot and a pretty swank cul de sac treatment with a valley drained street).

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            • Doug Klotz July 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm

              I’m confused. None of the cross-sections I see here include widening the sidewalks or installing street trees. It’s just choices within the existing curb configuration. So that’s not a valid argument at this time. Any future development SHOULD be required to dedicate ROW to get wider sidewalks and hopefully will be required to. That is when you’ll get those sidewalks and trees.

              Having the buffered bike lane between you and the passing cars makes a lot of difference for pedestrians. Trees would be better, but the bike lane is do-able under the current funding scenario.

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              • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 8:34 am

                Considering that we’ve already invested a lot into bike infrastructure, and there’s a parallel route to the south that converges with Foster 10 blocks to the east, and there’s been no investment in the pedestrian infrastructure resulting in 3-5 ft, non ADA compliant sidewalks with utility poles and fire hydrants in the middle of them… How about the city make the investment in sidewalks that it readily makes in other areas of the city and we “wait for development” to add ROW for a bike lane. Lets even do it one 40 ft lot frontage at a time so folks on bikes can see a lane up the block but know they can’t get to it without riding in the road, just like a person in a wheelchair gets to experience with the sidewalks right now.

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  • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Are you kidding? 87th jogs at Duke, Woodstock and Ellis and is useless past Lents Park. There’s no direct access to 87th from the east. Its only benefit is that is has a signalled crossing at Foster. Reedway and Harold both jog to get to Ellis, and Ellis doesn’t even go all the way to 82nd! Insley drops you right in the middle of 82nd without a way to cross 82nd without backtracking to Foster. None of these ways is direct; none of these ways tells me biking is welcome in Lents.

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    • eli bishop July 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      ack. that was meant to be a response to “It’s not a maze – it’s a normal street grid.”

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    • Paikikala July 26, 2013 at 8:36 am

      The Duke Jog is 72 ft with a new speed bump built west of 87th. The Ellis jog is 75 ft, with speed bumps added to Ellis. The Woodstock jog is 40 ft with curb extensions to prevent left turn corner cuts. Steele provides access to 87th from the east, connects to the 205 trail, and crosses I-205, connecting to the 101/100th greenway. There is not a designated bike connection E-W south of Woodstock, but Duke looks pretty simple/low cost to convert. Raymond has a signal at 82nd, if you don’t mind using some sidewalk to get there.
      Diagonal streets do this sort of thing – break up the usual grid.

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      • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

        Which is why cars use Foster: because it is a direct straight line. No car would put up with a dozen little jogs through a broken neighborhood. Why should bikes?

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      • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 10:25 am

        It’s actually no different than anywhere else in SE Portland where the old sub-division streets don’t line up exactly. I don’t see anyone freaking out that SE 20th is impassible because it has a few jogs in it, or that you can’t possibly bike through Ladd’s Addition.

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        • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm

          20th is not a great example if you’re trying to compare to the 80s bikeway (it’s a fairly high-traffic & bike unfriendly street). A better example would be the 40s bikeway, of which I am also not fond, for similar reasons. At least it has signage in some places. But really, if there was an opportunity to advocate for a bike lane on a more direct street, I’d be advocating for it.

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  • encephalopath July 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    4 lanes and no median is an abomination in the sight of the lord… someone’s lord, anyway.

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    • Chris I July 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      And proven to be one of the least-safe road designs for all users. I’ve seen it first hand in this city. Everyone in the left lane is speeding past someone driving the speed limit in the right lane. Then someone in the left lane slows down to turn left, so everyone jumps over to the right lane. But wait, they were actually slowing down to stop for a pedestrian legally crossing the street, who now nearly gets creamed by the cars speeding past in the right lane. And God help you if you try to ride your bike in the right lane. Even though going around is very simple, you face constant harassment.

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  • Joe Adamski July 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Is Foster going to configured for the people of Portland or of Damascus? That same burning question from the old Mt Hood Freeways days… why should my neighborhood be destroyed to facilitate the commuters from the suburbs?

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    • spare_wheel July 25, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      i think we portlanders should go out of our way to build cut-through capacity for the nice citizens of clackistan. its the right thing to do.

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      • davemess July 26, 2013 at 7:17 am

        Why not, we’re paying for their mostly used Sellwood Bridge!

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  • gutterbunnybikes July 25, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I simply don’t buy what everyone says that by going down to 3 lanes that it will slow down traffic. The biggest hold ups on roads like Foster, Glisan, Division is the fact that there is no turn lane.

    One car turning left will cause a significant back up which also slows down the outside lanes as people in the middle lanes quickly and hastily change lanes to get around the turning vehicle, often cutting off traffic in the outside lane. And as a result slowing down two lanes of traffic in one direction.

    Of course that doesn’t include the fact that the same left turning vehicle can even slow down traffic going the other direction, as people in the inside lane give up the right of way to try and allow the left turning vehicle to make its turn. They often don’t realize that traffic in the outside lane isn’t yielding to the turning vehicle. Or worse the left turning vehicle takes the turn into oncoming traffic in the outside lane creating an collision.

    I live off Division where this is the a common event. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t at least hear squealing tires as someone tries to stop when these situations occur. At least once a month I hear a crash with the squealing tires. I often tick off other drivers when trying to make a left onto my street when people in the inside lane stop to let me turn and don’t realize I can’t see behind them, or that traffic on the outside isn’t yielding. They also don’t realize that if they would have went and not given up their right of way, I had a gap I could have taken my turn in 5 seconds behind them, but that since they stopped that gap is gone and they have now slowed everyone on that stretch of street down in both directions.

    Eliminate this back up and travel times for automobiles should stay pretty close to the same, if the new street is designed well it could actually improve time.

    And the complaint that adding time for people in long distance commutes is ridiculous. Has any of those people saying this ever tried driving the 205 or Powell at rush hours, they are hardly an example of consistent travel times.

    Working in construction I often have 45+ minute commutes and I pretty much assume that 205 is backed up between Airport Way and West Lynn every day in either direction. And that Powell is backed up over the Ross Island Bridge to 92nd as well. If they aren’t and I have to take those roads I consider it a good travel day.

    Best option is three lanes with bikes from 50th to the Springwater Trail intersection.

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    • oregon111 November 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      the holdup will be waiting behind cars for multiple lights. That will add hours to a commute. Just think, when Damascus (now in the urban growth boundary) gets all its high density apartments, Foster will be 10 times as busy as Sandy blvd

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      • 9watts November 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        you are not stuck in traffic; you are traffic.

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  • chasingbackon July 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    It’s amazing how people justify the lack of necessity of a road diet which will greatly improve mobility and safety of people who live in that area AND those who pass through or come to visit from other areas of the city.
    Personally i see no justification to maintain a high speed corridor through a pedestrian and cyclist heavy section of the city. Please use powell to get quickly to the freeway when heading to parts farther out.
    I hate that as a pedestrian and cyclist, my physical safety is a low priority. PBOT, please use three lanes and a buffered bike lane on both sides of foster

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  • David July 25, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Hi, David here from Lower Lents. I ride my bike through this area everyday and would like to weigh in. I don’t ride Foster because I value my life, so I ride Woodstock and side streets (inconvenient, but works o.k.). Turning Foster into three lanes with a bike lane would be great (from 52nd all the way to 92nd)! Not only would it make things safer and create a more direct route for cyclists, but I believe in the long term it will help the businesses along this area. By the way, 87th is a not a very good n’hood greenway in my opinion.

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    • davemess July 26, 2013 at 7:18 am

      You should go to your Neighborhood Assoc meetings!

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    • Paikikala July 26, 2013 at 8:43 am

      How would you make it better (besides the missing crossing improvements/links at Holgate, Powell and south of Flavel)?
      http://tinyurl.com/kxwwrdk

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  • nut4squirrel July 25, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Because Foster is a diagonal radiading out from the city center, bicycle lanes should be given priority so as to shorten travel times. Cars have other options like the freeway, higher speeds in general and an enclosed climate controlled space to get around. Plus more cars, increases noise and danger for pedestrians and cyclists. Three lane for cars all the way down Foster, no more.

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  • was carless July 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Anyway, hasnt the city proved that a 2+1 lane configuration works well in the example of SE 7th ave? that street also acts as a critical connector while providing for bike lanes, left turns and pedestrians. Turning your neighborhood arterial into a traffic sewer does not help livability at all.

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    • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

      And Holgate! Traffic accidents plummeted, speeding was reduced, and neighbors who live there appreciate the buffer.

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  • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Here’s a handy map for getting around Lents. http://goo.gl/maps/it7iw

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    • gutterbunnybikes July 26, 2013 at 11:15 am

      I’m not a Lents resident (just neighbor that frequently rides in the area). But you inadvertently aren’t helping your case of scaling back the bikes in the Lents area.

      When I ride in the area I seldom use the paths outlined in your map. One shouldn’t need a map to get around “the grid” but even you who bikes in the area feel the need to do route consultations and publish a map in an area where it should be pretty easy to navigate. After all with the malls, Foster, Lents Park, and the 205 the grid doesn’t work like it does in say Foster/Powell, South Tabor. I typically just take a side street till it ends and turn to get around what ever the obstacle is.

      Wouldn’t be easier to just say, go down Foster and hang a left at “whatever” street.

      And I think in all your posts that you are missing a pretty major point. Lents with decent bike structure (and extending the bike lanes to the Springwater trail intersection. Would likely become the bicycling hub of Portland. No other place in the city with significant bike infrastructure would have as much access to so much of what the city has to offer.

      It would have direct safe bike routes from Gresham to Sellwood (and would be the only real business district between the two. Coupled with the 205 path Gateway/205 to Oregon city. With improved access to the following districts (assuming 82-50th gets paths). Foster/Powell, Montavillia, Hawthorn, Division Clinton, Woodstock. When the 52nd street bike highway get going you can add Hollywood/Lloyd. All of that within an easy 20-30 minute leisurely paced bike ride.

      Don’t’ get me wrong I do understand the sidewalks there are abysmal. And they need work. But to pass up what could easily become one of the busiest and best bike commercial districts in Portland it’s a wasted opportunity. Especially since your main concern seems to be benches and trees. But I don’t see a huge need for either if the street stays four lanes. No one is going to sit there to watch auto traffic go by.

      This is the opportunity that Lents has been needing for a long time. Way better than a Stadium.

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      • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 11:45 am

        I’m not missing the point. The point is that a lot of the infrastructure is there already. What everyone else seems to be missing is that the infrastructure even exists, because they’re so focused on using Foster.

        Even with bike lanes on Foster – it’s going to be more comfortable and convenient for most folks to use the infrastructure that we have today.

        I’m sorry, but a 5-6 foot bike lane (whether the cross section is 4 lanes or 3) is not worth having to live with 5 ft sidewalks and no other pedestrian amenities, especially when diverting to Woodstock or Ellis at 83rd/84th adds a whopping .1 mile to the bike route and gets folks exactly where they need to go anyway.

        We don’t need bike lanes between 83rd/84th and 90th. And, by omitting them, we’re able to have 14 ft sidewalks in an area that needs pedestrians much more than it needs the 20-30 folks that would use a 5-6ft bike lane.

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        • davemess July 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

          Are the sidewalks a realistic possibility with this money? What would they cost and what percentage of the budget would they be?

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        • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm

          “We don’t need bike lanes between 83rd/84th and 90th.” Ahhhh! It’s helpful to see you state this so baldly, because on a site like Bike Portland you’re probably not going to find a lot
          of agreement. :)

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      • Paul in the 'couve July 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

        Thank you for taking the time to express so well many of my thoughts that I couldn’t get formulated. When I have ridden in the area I’ve been impressed at the convenience and the surrounding neighborhoods the # of interesting businesses in the area. Yet, even though I know that it is very bike able and close to many areas / destinations, I am mentally reluctant to plan a trip or route through that area because it requires revisiting maps and writing que sheets and then paying careful attention for where to turn and then inevitably time wasted when I make a wrong turn or discover my plan was flawed. Much easier to stick to a route that is on more direct streets and easier to follow even if it is fairly significantly longer.

        I know well that if I had a regular trip that would take me through the area I could find a route that would work. It is the new riders, and those making irregular trips to different destinations that won’t generally be bothered unless it is fairly straight forward to find your way.

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      • eli bishop July 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

        SO MUCH THIS! Lents could be a hub between a lot of eastern Metro communities and instead chooses to be a terminator.

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    • Alex Reed July 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      That is super helpful and I will totally be using it! However, the fact that I’ve navigated around Lents a good bit and failed to find most of these backways (except for Reedway and the MUP) says we need better routefinding at least.

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    • davemess July 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm
      • Alan 1.0 July 26, 2013 at 2:12 pm

        That just gives me a high-level satellite view of Portland, no bike routes. Turn on bike routes in the pull-down menu under the “traffic” label, or try this: http://goo.gl/maps/NIc5b

        Keep in mind that Google’s bike routes are crowd-sourced.

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        • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

          Yeah – the google stuff is off in a lot of spots and really incomplete. For example, that loop path in the middle of Lents Park really isn’t good for bikes. It’s a wood chip jogging path that gets pretty spongy.

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        • davemess July 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm

          My fault sorry. But I think you get the picture. And I think it being crowdsourced makes it even more important. It shows that not that many people are riding through Lents, and few of them are finding these “other” bike routes.

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          • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm

            The crowd-sourced version also shows 0-zero-0 bike facilties on Williams until you get North of Killingsworth. It’s not even marked as a “bike friendly route”. I guess that means you can’t bike on Williams and no-one bikes in that area.

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            • davemess July 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

              Many on this site would argue that you shouldn’t.

              But seriously, when you get to Williams it becomes very obvious that there are facilities and where to go. I can’t say that’s the same in Lents.

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          • Alan 1.0 July 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

            Oh, no apology, please! The respectful discussion of these complicated issues is great! (FWIW, maps.goog must use the chain icon menu for URLs; the goop in the browser address bar isn’t accurate with all the scripting going on.)

            The picture I have, and besides g.maps it includes an urban study of Lents some years back as well as brief biking in the neighborhood (thx Sunday Parkways, including some off-piste exploring) and occasionally passing through by car, is that all sides of the discussion here have reasonable POV. There are lovely quiet streets for biking but they do require local knowledge to use them effectively and they don’t match the needs of stronger and longer commuters.

            In my view, sidewalks on Foster (83rd-89th) are so far below any acceptable standard that they MUST be fixed, first and foremost. While I’m not a fan of sidewalk biking, in the present circumstances that would at least provide a work-around option for some riders until something better can be done.

            Cora mentioned “need to acquire right of way,” upthread, and that looks like a very key piece. That part of Foster looks like it would mostly be do-able, most buildings are set back. At the very least, pocket easements for utility poles could get them out of the sidewalk. While budgets may not (yet?) exist for the whole thing, at least get zoning overlays onto record that full ROW is planned. (Maybe that’s done?)

            Finally, stepping back and looking at wider view of the area (http://goo.gl/maps/KCr4K) g.maps bike routes look to me like the FoPo-Lents area is not well-served with bike routes at that wider scale, and that Foster runs right through the heart of the under served zone, and being diagonal makes it just as attractive for bikes to move around the wider area as it does for cars. Makes sense to me to accommodate bikes on it!

            Dave, you mentioned it seems like the city has set up FP and Lents as potential competitors or adversaries in this plan. I don’t know the politics or issues well enough but I wonder if those neighborhoods couldn’t turn that table on the city, band together and insist on substantially greater commitment to completing a comprehensive plan that benefits them both?

            (I think all the “bike trails” shown in parks by g.maps are pretty much noise to this discussion.)

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  • Adam July 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I bike everywhere, but drive Foster twice a week for work.

    It seems unnecessarily wide, to be honest, and a good deal of the traffic snarls on it seem to stem from left-turning vehicles blocking the lane til there’s an on coming gap.

    A center turn lane would eliminate this problem, prevent erratic traffic weaving patterns (another cause of traffic jams), and leave room for a bike lane both directions.

    I see SE Division is getting this treatment between what, 60th & 80th or so, and NE Glisan between 60th & 80th is also getting a long-awaited road diet.

    Let’s bring this to Foster, stat!

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  • Oregon Mamacita July 26, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The transient camps under the 205 ramps and the junkies begging for change have got to go before people will patronize Lents Town Center.

    There is something wrong about the traffic design- but I can’t put my finger on it. Last week I stopped for gas in that area and attempted to access 205. Despite a clean driving record and a knowledge of “deep” SE Portland, I ended up having a hellacious time getting from the gas station to 205 south. I had to take a scary left turn. Is it just me or is there a
    flaw in street design? I am used to city driving and also driving in the mountains- so a traffic situation in broad daylight, surrounded by commercial drivers, should not freak me out. It just felt like a place where there are going to be T-Bones.

    If there are any traffic engineers, I was trying to get from the Chevron station to I-205 souht, and people were using the gas station as a short cut.

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    • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 11:53 am

      When you’re exiting the Chevron, exit onto Foster rather than 92nd. Then you can use the slip lane to get onto Woodstock. It’s pretty slick.

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  • Unit July 26, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I’m a SE resident (not Lents) who thinks Foster/Lents has great “bones”, the beginnings of a vibrant business district, but is just too undesirable to be in, due to the speeding traffic on Foster, and the difficulty of crossing the street. I’d like to spend more time at Foster-area businesses, but realistically I won’t until Foster is addressed. With 4 lanes, it will never be a comfortable place to be for me.

    Comments like “we shouldn’t take lanes away because the neighborhood isn’t there yet” all but ensure that it never will be there.

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  • Paul in the 'couve July 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Note: The biggest reason for my mental reservations is that Foster. Whether going North South or East West you are likely to end up at Foster. If it was safe to ride on Foster, and generally safe to cross Foster it would make everything easier IMO.

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  • Cora Potter July 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Note: The Foster/Woodstock Streetscape added safe crossings, or improved existing crossings at 92nd, 91st and 90th. There’s an exising ped/bike signal at 87th that will be improved in the next streetscape and plans to add a rapid flash at 84th as well.

    The 205 path has both a signalized street grade crossing of Foster/Woodstock at 94th, and an overpass over the couplet that’s part of the Lents/SE Foster RD MAX station improvements.

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    • Stevie July 26, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      The fact that such crossing facilities are needed in order for a pedestrian to safely get across Foster shows that the current environment/lane configuration is hostile to pedestrians.

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  • gutterbunnybikes July 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    The sad truth is that if it doesn’t happen soon (bike and pedestrian improvements in this area), it probably never will. The forecasts for population growth for this city are pretty spectacular. To allow growth of such size to happen so fast without going all out – will just make all of this at best harder and more expensive in the future, at worse not possible at all.

    I know not all but some of the sidewalk issues could be handled differently. I’m not sure why, but it seems like the city gives a pass to the landowners on Foster for maintaining the sidewalks in front of their property. Some of the bad side walks there would never be allowed in other Portland neighborhoods.

    Honestly Cora you’re the first and only person I’ve ever heard that rides in the area say that things are fine there. I’d love nothing more wear those rose colored glasses you’ve got on. Because South Tabor (where I live) isn’t great for bikes or pedestrians, but at least I can it’s way better than Lents. And as much as I like my neighborhood, the lack of bike and pedestrian facilities (or in many cases just really bad haphazard implementation) here irks me to no end.

    This is mid South Easts time, lets not loose it. It can be phenomenal out here in the middle ring, 52nd bike highway, Division, Foster. It’s our time we have to make the best of it.

    And perhaps that is the part that you are missing, this isn’t just about Lents. It’s an important part of the entire mid section of SE, Lents is “THE” master link to all the neighborhoods in the area, the link for better access in the out rings of Portland too. It’s way more important than just Lents. It’s for all of us out here.

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  • Cora Potter July 27, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I think the difference is that, in Lents, we have (good) options for using other (more historically and physically) correct streets as the anchor streets for our pedestrian activity. SE 92nd is our Main Street (literally, it was named Main Street prior to annexation) and Woodstock is a better scale, and has better more cohesive commercial zoning.

    In Lents, Foster is like the freight elevator. It moves a lot of stuff, it’s a more efficient route for the employees, but it’s the gritty working guts, not the marble foyer, the ballroom or the hallway to the guest suites.

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  • gutterbunnybikes July 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    So Cora….

    I’m regressing a little bit to an earlier post(s) of yours. And it seems to me that you are advocating for 14′ sidewalks. Let me talk this out so that there is no confusion. Since the space for the entire roadway with sidewalks and other potential uses is 60′.

    You are in favor of dropping the auto traffic to one lane each direction with a middle turn lane. There is no way to get 14′ sidewalks without doing this, and keeping the auto lanes at 10′ which is pretty much as low as an auto lane can get with highway access.

    You have no plans for the extra 2′ of space this leaves open. (Why not make it 15′ sidewalks).

    And just to be clear, none of the outlined options for this area feature 14′ sidewalks. At least none that I’ve seen here on this site – or elsewhere.

    And now assuming the above is true…..

    So why does Foster need 14′ sidewalks? Is there any street in town that has 14′ sidewalks? All the thriving commercial districts on the East Side do well with sidewalks that aren’t 14′ wide. I don’t even think the sidewalks downtown are 14′ wide. Alberta does great with Last Thursday without 14′ sidewalks. All the other districts from St. Johns to Sellwood have cafes with seating, plantings, bike racks etc. without 14′ sidewalks. Why in world does Foster need 14′ Sidewalks?

    Lets say for a minute that you do get your 14′ sidewalks without bike lanes. How do you plan on keeping bikes on Ellis/Woodstock and the rest of the maze-like paths in that area when you’ve got 14′ sidewalks down Foster? What commuting cyclist isn’t going to take that ride down Foster with a 14′ sidewalk? I would, most of us would even if they wouldn’t admit it. You’re going to invite the bike traffic on Foster with 14′ sidewalks regardless if you design for it or not.

    You’ve also made statements along the lines that you have to give the auto users a bone to accept the road diet. Isn’t that bone gone when they park their car and while walking to the store they’re going to patronize are narrowly missed by a cyclist on the sidewalk. You don’t think at that moment the person looking around at all the room on the giant sidewalk you’ve installed would say “Why didn’t they use some of this space for a bike lane – if they were going to take the lanes away anyway?” God forbid the time when there is a collision with a pedestrian and a cyclist on that sidewalk.

    Also wouldn’t the 14′ sidewalk cost substantially more money than a 10′ sidewalk with bike path. Assuming a height of 6″ for sidewalk, that extra 4′ (10′ vs 14′) feet of sidewalk would amount to roughly an extra 2 cubic feet of concrete to pour for every foot of the length of the sidewalk. The stretch of road were talking about is approximately a mile long (5280 feet) That extra four feet of side walk over the 10 foot would be at the minimum 10,560 square feet of concrete (almost an extra 400 trucks worth of cement – average 9 yards per truck) over the bike lane option (amounts only go up if the sidewalk is more than 6″ thick, of course it goes down if it’s only a 4″ slab. That does not include the added amount of material like re-bar or mesh screen to reinforce the slab or the added time of extra excavation, forming, and finishing the added sidewalk space. And all this is just one side of the road.

    Dropping the extra 4′ of sidewalk you want for a bike lane would most likely drop the cost of the project by 20%-30% in contractor costs depending on the cost striping the bike lane.

    What’s wrong with 10′ of sidewalk and 5′ or bike path on each side. So far your only argument has been that there is already a path on Ellis and Woodstock, and most us would like a better reason. Because 10′ sidewalks makes for plenty of room for plantings, benches, cafe tables, bike racks, utility poles etc with good pedestrian flow. And the 5′ path would give ample room for cyclists and keep them from running into the pedestrians using the sidewalk.

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    • Cora Potter July 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Foster is a city walkway. Most of Foster, west of 72nd, has existing 17.5 ft sidewalks. The portion between 72nd and 82nd has 12-14 ft sidewalks.

      The portion east of 82nd currently has 3-5 ft sidewalks. Because this is a city walkway classified street, required standard sidewalks are 12ft. As you approach 90th, you enter a city pedestrian district where the required standard width increases to 14 ft.

      http://www.portlandonline.com/index.cfm?a=437808&c=61813

      Why not 15 ft? Because the auto lanes need to be 11ft to accommodate the existing frequent service bus line, and future streetcar. Why no parking? Because it’s currently not utilized. Most businesses have lots, or accommodate parking on the side streets. And, it saves us money of needing to acquire 16 ft of ROW.

      So, with 14 ft sidewalks and no parking your road cross section is 14-11-10-11-14 for 60 feet of ROW.

      To accommodate even a 5 ft bike lane, you have to reduce the sidewalk widths to 9 ft, which is sub standard and allows only minimal area for planting if you reduce the ped through area to 6 ft, or no planting at all if you maintain the standard width ped through area of 8 ft.

      To make the connections, we will need to carry the bike lanes across 82nd to 83rd /84th/Ellis. In this area, I’d like to see ROW acquired from the Jackson’s on the SE corner of the intersection to help maintain sidewalk widths. Once the bikes are diverted to Ellis and Woodstock (via 83rd) the sidewalks can continue at standard widths without needing to acquire ROW or demolish buildings (which are currently built right up to the ROW in that area.)

      From an urban design standpoint, this scenario actually presents good opportunities to revitalize Ellis with moderate density housing, 82nd/83rd by creating two frontages where commercial businesses currently turn their backs on 83rd, and Woodstock, which is already well designed to support CM uses and pedestrian/bike scale businesses.

      Foster, throught this section is actually better suited for office uses and eventually national retailers closer to 82nd. This also helps us by providing a place for these national retailers to go, rather than moving into our more neighborhood serving/local business supporting commercial streets like 92nd and Woodstock.

      I’m not motivated by trying to keep bikes out, I’m motivated by good, context-sensitive urban design.

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      • Doug Klotz July 27, 2013 at 10:10 pm

        Actually the Ped Design Guide specifies 15′ in Pedestrian Districts.

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        • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

          That’s if you are including the 1ft building setback, yes.

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      • davemess July 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        Yet, Cora, you were repeatedly arguing against reducing the auto lanes from 4 to 3 above. Which is? Reduce the auto lanes, but only if the sidewalks get redone, but no bike lanes are added? Or don’t reduce the auto lanes and not improve the area at all (potentially this could still include bike lanes by taking out the parking lane)?

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        • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm

          Please point out where in this thread I made a case for not reducing the auto lanes? At this point, I’ve been assuming that the neighborhoods west of 82nd have succeeded in dictating what the auto cross section will be, and if 82nd west of Foster has to be three lanes, then a consistent three lane profile will be the only way to ensure that the Lents segment doesn’t become a drag strip as a result.

          Now that we’ve been forced to accept the three lane configuration, I’ve been trying to actually make it a fair trade off for the neighborhood. That means standard or better sidewalks, which means removing parking and not including a bike lane on Foster, but continuing bike movement through on Ellis and Woodstock.

          You all are arguing with what you’d like to assume I’m thinking rather than what I’m actually saying.

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          • davemess July 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm

            Fair enough, but I think almost every one here is inferring that you are against the lane reduction when you keep quoting the “models” for the high auto use in the area. You have not stated that you disagree with Nick C. on this subject either.

            It sounds like you are saying that if it has to be three lanes, then the lane reduction is more palatable for your neighborhood if there are bigger sidewalks than if bike lanes are installed in the space. I don’t think you ever clearly came out and directly said you supported the 3 lane cross section (regardless), unless you were talking about sidewalks.

            Frankly, this whole east or 82nd / west of 82nd division you keep throwing in people’s faces doesn’t help the process. We’re all neighboring neighborhoods, and many of us want the same things (ie. a nice place to live). Yes we know Lents gets a raw deal sometimes. My neighborhood does as well (probably even more so). On the plus side you have gotten a pretty decent new MAX station, nice renovation of the 205 path, the SE 87th greenway (regardless of all the discussion on here about it) and all the street work currently being done in Lents Center. But holding a grudge against Foster-Powell and Mt Scott residents isn’t really going to help your cause.

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            • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 6:21 pm

              Well, inference isn’t reality and is highly subject to ideological static and selection bias.

              And, I wouldn’t have to be bringing up the east/west issue if the western neighborhoods would acknowledge that they are shifting burdens and using resources from the eastern neighborhoods to do it. It’s Pollyanna thinking to believe that we benefit in any way from improvements to your neighborhoods. And, when those improvements shift burdens, it’s even more ennerving when western neighborhoods insist that there’s some sort of “trickle east” benefit.

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              • davemess July 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

                And it’s very isolationist to think that people in your neighborhood won’t also benefit from improvements to Foster west of 82nd. I’m not in any of these three neighborhoods. And you all have valid concerns. I would just hate to see whole project derailed because the money isn’t there to completely revamp the sidewalk in the eastern section.

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      • Brett July 29, 2013 at 9:45 am

        Foster Road is also a Recommended City Bikeway… http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/379068
        Foster Road from SE 84th to I-205 included.

        I hope there is a way to include the much-needed sidewalk improvements while still having bike facilities on Foster in this area.

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  • gutterbunnybikes July 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you for the response and the link to the Portland Pedestrian Guide. I see that part of this confusion is on my part.

    I’ve never really considered the furnishing zone as part of the sidewalk. I’m pretty sure many others would say the same. Especially those of us that grew up or lived in other parts of the country where the city isn’t so generous to pedestrians and often there were no furnishing zone just street, and those furnishings were just plopped into the sidewalk area. (Humm much like Foster). And even on my property I just figured that area was for for better access to the utilities that are buried there so they wouldn’t have to dig up road or sidewalk to reach them should a problem occur.

    Personally. after reading the whole guide(you think it’s dull try reading the AWS structural welding code), I think there should be the option to replace the furnishing zone with bike access. Especially in commercial zoned corridors.

    Make the utilities bury the power and phone lines as the areas get improved (makes the street look better and makes the delivery systems less prone to interruptions). And increase the through zone by 1′ to 18″ for traffic control posts, parking meters, and signage.

    That would get you 4′ bike lanes, and maintain the 6′ pass through 7′+ foot pass through where there is no furnishings. Larger furnishings like PO drop boxes and newspaper boxes (if they’re even still around by this time next year) could be placed at the corners on the cross streets.

    I am glad to see you are thinking big. There was a part of me that thought you might be trying to resist any changes to the area, sort of a development/gentrification block if you will. But I can clearly see now that is not the case.

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    • wsbob July 28, 2013 at 1:33 am

      “…I’ve never really considered the furnishing zone as part of the sidewalk. …” gutterbunnybikes

      From the Portland Pedestrian Design Guide, (Cora, thanks also, for the link.) http://www.portlandonline.com/index.cfm?a=437808&c=61813 Section A3.4, ‘The Through Pedestrian Zone’: “…The Through Pedestrian Zone is the area intended for pedestrian
      travel. …”.

      Goes on to offer recommended width of ‘The Through Pedestrian Zone’, for several types of areas ranging from 5′-8′. For sidewalks to be used for both foot and bike travel at the same time, 6′ is just barely wide enough. Link to earlier story showing graphics labeled as having 15-17.5 ”
      sidewalk+planting”: http://bikeportland.org/2013/06/06/can-we-fix-se-foster-while-saving-room-for-auto-parking-87843

      If Foster had sidewalks with a ‘Through Pedestrian Zone’ that was actually 12′ wide, that would be not too bad. 17.5′ wide would be great. From Section D-5 of the guide:

      “…Where the path is to be shared by pedestrians and bicyclists, a minimum R.O.W. or easement width should be 7.6 m (25 ‘-0″). This width would easily accommodate a 3.7 m (12′-0″) path. …”

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  • Doug Klotz July 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    So it seems there are two schools of thought about when (or if) we’ll get bike lanes on Foster.

    One, advocated by Cora, would have us never get bike lanes, but get wider sidewalks now. When a new development comes in next to Foster, you would get 1′ foot more for a slightly wider sidewalk, because you already have a 14′ sidewalk. You wouldn’t get room for an eventual bike lane, unless the city asked the property owner to move the curb out 8′ AND then rebuild the sidewalk at 15′. I think the tendency at the city would be to keep the curb where it is, and not get extra room for the bike lane.

    The other, advocated by me and others here, would have bike lanes go on Foster now, in the existing cross-section. The sidewalks would remain 5′. But…. when a new development comes in, the city would be able to require them to dedicate 10′ of right of way to get a 15′ sidewalk with street trees for the length of their frontage. So you’d get 10′ more in the sidewalk. And, without the expense of rebuilding the curb, which the city is less likely to do.

    I think getting bike lanes now is the better choice, and over time we’ll get the sidewalks too, if the city is adament with each developer. And if there are a few persistent holdouts, the city could actually condemn the land. Look at all the condemnation done along SE 17th. It’s not impossible, it just requires a committment, and money to do it.

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  • Cora Potter July 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Doug, I’d recommend you actually go walk that section, then revisit the idea that the existing sidewalks should remain and we should just remove an auto lane and stripe a bike lane.

    Then think about who is going to be the folks most burdened by the project, and who is getting the benefits. That bike lane is going to be the symbol if that inequitable investment as well as the increase in travel time burden. Then add in that with your suggested configuration, there is going to be a very visible difference in the overall quality of infrastructure between 82nd and 90th vs. what it will look like west of 82nd.

    All that so 20-30 bike commuters headed for the central city can shave 1/10 of a mile off their commute. Because that’s all a 5-6 foot bike lane will get in this section.

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    • 9watts July 28, 2013 at 7:01 am

      “All that so 20-30 bike commuters headed for the central city can shave 1/10 of a mile off their commute.”

      Ouch!

      Cora, is it possible for you to think of this as a dynamic problem, as one where *induced demand* might conceivably operate? What if Doug’s suggestion, which you ridiculed, were to be implemented, and a bunch of extra folks who either bike or might bike found themselves welcome on Foster who didn’t before, and then others saw them biking and decided this might be worth a try, and then others. Let’s face it, the reason there are so many cars on Foster is that their drivers find it a convenient route to take. Why should this be any different for people who bike, or people who might like to bike?
      With the attitude you have exhibited here in this comment section we never would have gotten any of the key pieces of bike infrastructure we now have around town.

      I happen to bike on Foster now, all the way out to 136th when I need to. I don’t mind it, as I’ve said here many times, but if you read closely the majority of bikeportland readers who post comments are decidedly uncomfortable/feel unwelcome/unsafe on Foster now. Your dismissal of these concerns doesn’t exude empathy or give the impression that you are understanding where those folks are coming from, that they may feel they have as much of a right to a safe trip up or down Foster as Mr. Clackamas in his SUV.

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      • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

        I’m basing my estimate of 20-30 cyclists on the models. I could be generous and say 50… But my point still holds. And a 5-6 ft bike lane next to a 3-5 ft sidewalk and 22-25,000 ADT auto lane is not going to induce any demand.

        What it is going to induce is a lot of folks who will get angry that they lost an auto lane to a bike lane they’ll never use.

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        • 9watts July 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

          “What it is going to induce is a lot of folks who will get angry that they lost an auto lane to a bike lane they’ll never use.”

          You sound like the folks KATU interviewed about the bike lane on Holgate…

          Static view: these are different folks; the ones in the car you imagine prone to anger and the ones who now bike circuitously or uncomfortably or not at all in and around Lents because it is so uninviting. The fact that you and Nick Christensen are so keen on preventing imagined discomfort to the former over allowing the latter a tangible and symbolic upgrade to the infrastructure that matters to them is what some of us here are objecting to on principle.

          Dynamic view: the car-bound folks who you surmise would get angry if one lane were removed are going to get a whole lot angrier when the social rewards of driving alone disappear, when they can afford to buy gasoline less and less, when more and more of their peer group switch to bikes and they–angry and alone–realize that they are still stuck in the 20th century.

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          • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 9:46 am

            FYI- I was one of the primary advocates for the Holgate road diet, where conditions and use actually warranted the lane reduction.

            Please stop filtering the reasons for car use in our neighborhood through the inner neighborhood/everyone could be fit and able lense.

            A commute to downtown via bike from Lents amounts to over 100 miles and 7.5 hours of bike travel per week. Reducing the distance by 1/10th of a mile won’t really have a significant effect on that and create bike commuters.

            People drive cars in this area because of the employment/housing imbalance in Portland. And, if we were able to miraculously bring jobs to the area in the near future, the bike infrastructure to reach our employment areas is already in place, and only a small percentage of folks would be using Foster between 83rd and 90th to get there.

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            • 9watts July 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm

              Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 9:46 am
              “A commute to downtown via bike from Lents amounts to over 100 miles and 7.5 hours of bike travel per week. Reducing the distance by 1/10th of a mile won’t really have a significant effect on that and create bike commuters.”

              Cora Potter July 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm
              “If we assume AM peak will be equally or 10% less congested, it’s fair to say that travel time for peak hour commuters will increase by 5 minutes a day. That’s 25 minutes a week, around 1.8 hours a month or 21.5 hours (almost a complete day lost) a year.”

              You have a knack for dismissing anything that resembles an infrastructure upgrade to Foster that invites biking there. Your retort is to calculate miniscule savings in time (for the bikey folk) and/or calculate that peak car travel delays from eliminating one car lane weigh more heavily. Although you are quick with the barbs you aren’t really hearing my point about the potential for certain kinds of changes here to have dynamic effects, ripple outward over time in ways that could align with trends observed not just in Portland but in most of the overdeveloped world: more biking & less driving. Do you really believe the paltry number of bikes counted on Foster you keep mentioning is the last word on that subject? That forever and ever that number will not/cannot go up because in your view there are better alternatives right now that folks need to just use, or the number who will bike is fixed?

              One of these days there may be no cars on Foster. You probably can’t conceive of that. I can, and think any changes to transport infrastructure should anticipate that possibility.

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        • gutterbunnybikes July 28, 2013 at 11:00 am

          I ran some errands yesterday and went slightly out of my way and took 92nd to 82nd and did a count.

          The trip was roughly 3 minutes at around 5 pm.
          There were 4 bikes riding on Foster, and 7 pedestrians on Foster.

          The biggest thing that I noticed about all of the above was that 3 of the cyclists (riding on the existing sidewalks against traffic, had multiple new looking shopping bags from local neighboring businesses (Goodwill and Fred Meyers). Everyone else was empty handed.

          So did I luck out and see 20% of the cyclists that day on Foster in 3 minutes. You keep downplaying the amount of cycling that does occur NOW on Foster. Every single time I ride, walk, or drive Foster and 82nd I’m always amazed at the bike traffic that is there despite having no infrastructure other than a wore out sidewalk.

          And I will admit I have never liked “the all roads lead to downtown” method of bike development in this city either. And I see the bike development of Foster as being a major step against this. I don’t SE Foster as pass for commuters to downtown, but as the first business district in the whole city with direct bike access it wouldn’t be a pass through it’d be a destination. It would draw utilitarian (shoppers) cyclists from the outer and middle east side. And create many more in the area as well. You don’t have to look too far to see that cyclists do make an economic difference, a major part of the success of the Cartlandia food carts is due to cyclists.

          Bike paths would also be a big draw to a couple of the bigger retailers that you’ve mentioned in other posts too. I could see Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods moving into the area and both those companies would see a direct bike path would be a major factor in their decision to move in.

          Do I ride to downtown, yes on pleasure trips, I often drop down to Springwater and do the waterfront loop and then head home from any number of ways, it’s a great ride. But I’ll also ride the Springwater up into Gresham to Blue Lake and come back on the Columbia.

          Do I shop downtown on a bike, not really. Or at least not much perhaps a scone and a coffee. Where do I ride my bike for the errands I need to do. Mostly Hawthorne/Division, Montavillia, Mall 205/gateway, Foster /Powell, Lents. If Foster developed a better system along it’s entirety and the shops and boutiques continue to develop like they have been the last couple years I can easily see my errands shorting and focused much more on Foster. Dropping the Hawthorn trips and Gateway trips which are farther away from me than Foster is.

          Part of the reason downtown does draw shopping cyclists is that even most of the worst of the roads in the Downtown area are pretty easy to bike. Traffic is slower and controlled intersections on every corner calms the traffic and makes it possible to make a direct route to your destination. Even I on my 50 lbs 40 year old Raleigh 3 speed can usually keep up with traffic. That kind of direct access doesn’t exist on the East side at all.

          Allowing Fosters commercial district develop around a bike paths/track would in many ways is a big middle finger to the “all roads lead to down town”. Because many of cyclists here in mid and outer SE aren’t like the commuters of Inner SE/Downtown. For the most part most don’t buy expensive bikes, don’t buy all the clothes or the other stuff that goes with it, they’re less likely to go onto a blog and complain about it. But regardless there is almost always a full bike rack at Freddies, or the Library on Holgate, and lines of them at the Farmers Market, and bunches of them locked up to signs and posts all over your neighborhood all the time. They are riding and doing local runs and they deserve just as much consideration on the road and in the development of their neighborhood as everyone else. And you seem so quick to dismiss them.

          And again I should remind you that during this last local bike boom, mid SE had some of the biggest increases in cycling in the city. And I bet probably near the top of highest rate per dollar invested. After all we’ve been pretty much ignored for most of it. Look at how much cycling has taken off in the areas that have gotten all the improvements, we can get those numbers out here too. In fact, we can beat them, because most those areas don’t have the residential populations that we have.

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          • Nick Falbo July 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm

            Thanks for the real-world counts and the thoughtful plea to recognize the potential here. It’s clear to me that the current auto-focused design is not supporting the businesses (or residents) in the neighborhoods in the way that a real multi-modal street could.

            One of the reasons I’ve been advocating for a cycle track here is because I don’t think regular bike lanes are good enough for the average person who rides on/near Foster. Even with a bike lane, I bet a large portion of people will continue to ride the wrong way on the sidewalk. Providing a safe, separated cycle track will be the most useful for the most people.

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        • wsbob July 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

          “… And a 5-6 ft bike lane next to a 3-5 ft sidewalk and 22-25,000 ADT auto lane is not going to induce any demand.” Cora Potter

          On Foster, a bike lane on the street, or a cycle track off street could very well enable more people to bike, make them feel that riding a bike is a realistic, appealing possibility for them. Some people don’t like them, but bike lanes help a lot on heavily traveled thoroughfares like Foster. Though they’re not perfect, bike lanes definitely makes such streets easier to travel by bike. At the very least, on-street bike lanes help to unequivocally convey the fact that streets so equipped are definitely infrastructure for bike travel.

          A cycle track just off the street, or a sidewalk with a really wide ‘Through Pedestrian Zone’, would be better for a thoroughfares with high average daily motor vehicle trips. When thoroughfares like Foster…Beaverton has its share of them…are surrendered so completely to motor vehicle travel, they become big, nasty guts. Nobody wants to live next to them, or do much of anything next to them. In terms of effects on neighborhood livability, they’re more of a detriment than a benefit. High speed thoroughfares made into slightly slower, quieter streets, still get people where they need to go.

          About the significance of the motor vehicle travel time increase calculated in the comment the following link leads to: http://bikeportland.org/2013/07/25/foster-streetscape-update-how-many-and-what-type-of-lanes-in-lents-90985#comment-4307165

          That’s a good point, and it helps get down to the question of what’s really important towards building community for the future.

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        • eli bishop July 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

          “And a 5-6 ft bike lane next to a 3-5 ft sidewalk and 22-25,000 ADT auto lane is not going to induce any demand.”

          Disagree. Anecdotally, I am perfectly willing to ride Division or Powell or east Foster even though they are high-traffic with minimal bike lanes, because it is perfectly clear I am allowed there and I don’t have to jump on the sidewalk.

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  • Cora Potter July 27, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Then take a walk down Ellis street and see what kind of sidewalks you get when you wait for private development to do it lot by lot.

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  • davemess July 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Cora, you haven’t really answered my question, which gutterbunny also asked. Is your sidewalk plan financially feasible with this streetscape remodel? If so, why was it never pushed for during the SAC meetings? (I acknowledge I was not at all the meetings, but the 3 I was at, I heard very little about this idea, other than Nick saying that your neighborhood commutes on Foster and they didn’t want to lose the lanes). Everything I heard at the SAC meetings, and subsequent design options said that moving curbs and/or utilities was off the table due to the cost.

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    • davemess July 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Am I correctly in understanding that you are arguing against a lane reduction for the entire length of the project (ie. to 52nd)? Do you have a problem with bike facilities for the other two sections?

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      • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm

        I don’t think this is a good application of a road diet, because of the ADT. But since we’re at the point in the process where we’re getting one anyway- right now I’m just trying to mitigate the travel and safety burdens that have been shifted from West of Foster to East of Foster because of the road diet.

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    • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      I can’t answer that until I see the cost estimates. What I can guess at is that the neighborhoods west of 82nd might have to sacrifice some of the aesthetic treatments in their area in order to make sure the funding is equitably applied to the whole project. It’s easier if we get the second RFF grant and the STIP grant, but if one falls through then funding will be tighter.

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    • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      But no- it won’t be financially feasible if all 6 million of the money is hoarded for areas west of 80th.

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      • davemess July 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        Which does make up almost 82% of the project’s length.

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        • Cora Potter July 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm

          And already has 12-17.5 ft sidewalks…

          So what’s more equitable? 12-17.5 ft sidewalks between 52nd and 80th with street trees and lighting and all the safety /crossing improvements plus bike lanes while only adding a bike lane, four trees and one rapid flash beacon east of 82nd – OR ensuring that the entire corridor has standard or better sidewalks, street trees and necessary crossing/safety upgrades even if it means minimal decorative lighting in the areas West of 82nd and moving bikes to nearby parallel corridors between 84th and 92nd?

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          • davemess July 29, 2013 at 10:12 am

            But if the cost of the eastern sidewalks eats up most or all of the budget, then you are really only achieving 1-3 of the 8 stated goals of the project, which is then not equitably distributing the project either.

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            • Cora Potter July 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

              Actually, it would be equitable, because the area with the disparity in infrastructure quality is the area between 82nd and 90th. In addition the neighborhoods west of 82nd are shedding lower quintile income earners and rapidly gaining folks that earn $75k-100k, while the neighborhoods east of 82nd are still struggling with income and educational attainment and gaining more minority residents daily.

              Equitable investment isn’t the same as equal investment. In this case, equal investment would actually be inequitable.

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              • Nick Falbo July 29, 2013 at 11:44 am

                One issue complicating these discussions is that we are not planning from scratch. Our task on the committee is to update an existing plan, with existing planned costs. This plan was approved by the original committee 10 years ago, and approved by City Council. The original plan has a cost of ~$5 million. The original plan specifically stated that sidewalk expansion in Lents would come with redevelopment.

                To the extent that we are adding things to the plan, the base assumption is that new elements will add costs to the plan, rather than reallocate from other areas.

                That’s not to say that we won’t be able to reallocate the budget, and I suspect we will, but presuming that we can somehow fit a half mile of sidewalk reconstruction into the existing budget seems like a stretch at this point.

                We are making a more expensive plan, and we will need additional funding to make this all happen. And that’s OK.

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                • Cora Potter July 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

                  Portions of the original plan have already been completed West of 82nd, so the actual remaining project cost was something like 3.25 million dollars to complete the remaining safety improvements.(as estimated when the LTCURAC allocated the 2 million). Including the grants currently in process right now, there’s 6 million worth of funding out there.

                  And, if we’re going to nitpick about what’s in the original plan and what isn’t, bike lanes were never in the original plan, nor was a lane reduction. Those are both adds. Maybe we should wait for redevelopment for that too.

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                • Nick Falbo July 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm

                  Cora, you know I’m not calling for the redevelopment approach to the Lents sidewalks. I am in full support of calling for sidewalk upgrades as a part of the plan. And yes, the restriping for 3-lanes is definitely an “add” to the plan as well.

                  There are many new things to pay for, and we’ll need to find ways to pay for it. I think some of it will come from reallocating the budget in light of new priorities such as wide sidewalks in Lents, but It’s too early to tell how much that will cover these additions.

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              • gutterbunnybikes July 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm

                Actually the Portland Bike Plan for 2030 calls for “future separated in roadway” bike lanes the entire length of Foster to the city limit.

                Map of the 2030 bike plan
                http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597?a=379068

                Even your own “The Foster Road Transportation and & Streetscape Plan Update” under the title Goals (page 2) says and I quote (added parenthesis and caps are mine – added for effect):

                “Bicycle Travel: Create a safe,attractive,and comfortable cycling environment “ON” Foster for both local and non local trips….”

                That link once again.
                http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/451460

                Further down that same document it says that by 2030 with a three lane plan with a bike path that there would an estimated 3000 daily bicycle trips. Sure that is for Foster on the whole, but that sure is a much bigger number than the 20-50 that you giving us.

                Underneath that is a nice little map that clearly shows that most those trips would come from surrounding areas, Not pass though commuters.

                For awhile I was thinking that perhaps you two were trying to hold out for streetcar on Foster. But even in that plan it doesn’t go down Lents Foster. It turns south from Foster around 72nd/75th (map isn’t specific) to continue East/West on Woodstock. SO not only is there not going to rail service on Foster through Lents, you want put all the bikes running in (most likely) the same lanes as the street cars. That’s just brilliant, I can’t see any safety issues there.

                Streetcar Plan
                http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/321180

                well, I’m done, there really isn’t much to say cause as you both said above, we are getting the lane reduction and the bike lane. And honestly with statements that the Lents stretch of Foster only sees 20-50 riders a day makes it clear that your just patronizing us. So I really don’t see the need to bicker anymore.

                So enjoy the 10′ sidewalks, and 14 mph commute….I’ll wave as I ride by…

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  • Cora Potter July 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    - The update is the process that is going on now, not the 2003 City Council Adopted Foster Streetscape plan. That is what Nick F and I were referring too when we were citing the original plan scope. That plan had no road diet and no bike lanes.

    - What you’re citing is the goals set by the committee during this process – and they’re just that- goals, not absolutes, and there’s an understanding that there will need to be trade-offs to get to a final plan and project that meets the needs of all the communities that use Foster. That same list of goals also includes “improves pedestrian environment including crossings and sidewalk conditions” as well as “provides smooth travel for vehicles and access opportunties” (ie don’t make a corridor end to end stop-and-go experience or back traffic up so much that people can’t enter the roadway from side streets and driveways).

    - When they actually ran the models they came up with an (average weekday in May) delta of +1,107 bike trips with a build vs. no build situation by 2035. That’s not a lot. And the “immediate” increase would only be 695 trips corridor wide. This also assumes full build out of the zoning (which won’t happen) And, of course, there’s no analysis of how many of these trips would be happening on Woodstock or another street anyway. The 2035 delta at 87th would be +406 trips a day IF all the EX(d) and CG/CM zoning was built to capacity. Again, that’s really not a lot.

    http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/436921

    - The streetcar on Foster continues all the way to 122nd. So, I don’t know what map you’re looking at but it’s not the actual system plan. Follow your own link. The 72nd turn is an historic route. The modern system plan route continues on Foster. So, that’s another good reason that bikes will be better served on Woodstock -according to your own argument.

    - We’ll enjoy what we choose, which will be 14 ft sidewalks and routing bikes to the parallel bike corridors of Ellis and Woodstock (which are also the streets I currently ride my bike on. When this project is in place I will be commuting to Gateway by bike via the 205 MUP – to a beautiful building I helped make happen with state and federal transportation grants…because I actually DO community development and transportation work).

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  • spare_wheel July 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Ms. Potter’s day job involves motorized transport. I think its fair to suggest that her employment may contribute to her strong opinions about traffic calming and road diets.

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  • Cora Potter July 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    It also involves transit, walking, biking and any other mode that is the most appropriate and least restrictive for any given trip.

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