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City will begin adding new bike lanes to SE Division this Monday

Posted by on August 1st, 2013 at 11:31 am

PBOT graphic

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is set to begin work on a significant project that will add more vehicle access and capacity on SE Division. The project will re-configure the existing four-lane stretch of road between SE 60th and 80th into a five-lane cross section.

Instead of four standard vehicle lanes, the updated design of Division will include three standard vehicle lanes (one for each direction and a center turn lane) and two bicycle-only lanes. The changes came after PBOT identified Division as one of their “High Crash Corridors” and neighborhood residents said addressing bicycle safety concerns was one of their top priorities. In addition to the new, six-foot wide bike lanes, PBOT will also install a crossing improvement at SE 68th Ave.

Kyle Gunsul, who lives just off Division at 69th in the South Tabor neighborhood, is thrilled with the street’s new design. He says it will make Division much easier to cross and give him and other residents a safer way to access Mt. Tabor Park. “People fly down this stretch of the road,” he shared with us via email, “So trying to find a simultaneous opening across four lanes of road where cars are often truckin’ in the 40′s sucks… this created a Frogger [reference to a popular 1980s video game] situation in trying to get to the park or just attempting to head north.”

Gunsul sketched out the map below and described some of the bike access problems he faces and how the new bike lanes will help solve them.

The two red circles, Gunsul says, are areas he most often tries to access. “South of Division the I-205 path is pretty much cut off from South Tabor,” he notes, in reference to the circle on the right. The circle on the left is Lincoln, Gunsul’s “favorite bike boulevard” and the way he gets downtown.

“So, slapping down a bike lane solves many of these issues, but moreso, greatly reduces the barrier between South and Mt. Tabor. I’ve been very impressed with how PBOT rolled this out. Gotta dig Portland.”

We’re really looking forward to seeing these changes on Division. Expect a full report once the new lane striping is complete.

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  • Art Fuldodger August 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Fantastic!

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Paul August 1, 2013 at 11:44 am

    YES YES YES!

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  • Todd Boulanger August 1, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Yay! SE DIvision begins to join the 21st Century and is Right Sized!

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Todd Boulanger August 1, 2013 at 11:47 am

      AND drivers will also like that it is safer and less stressful to drive on and turn into/ out of driveways.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

  • AndyC of Linnton August 1, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Excellent news! Also really enjoy the additions to the bicycling map. A realistic viewpoint.

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  • Alex Reed August 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I haven’t heard anything about a Streetscape committee for this section of Division involving 20+ stakeholders and many months of deliberation leading up to this decision… can it be that Portland is streamlining its vaunted process?
    No offense intended to the hardworking PBoT process-leaders and community process participants!

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • spare_wheel August 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Another bike lane that terminates abruptly. Maybe some day PBOT will prioritize connectivity over free motor vehicle parking.

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    • maccoinnich August 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      20 blocks of new bike lanes (which do connect do existing bike lanes east of 80th), and you’re *complaining*?

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • sean August 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Agreed. The West point abruptly ends at 60th. This would have been much better served by connecting to the 52nd ave bike route.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • davemess August 2, 2013 at 7:15 am

        Which also doesn’t exist.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Mike August 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      What would it take for you to not piss in everyone’s cheerios?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • spare_wheel August 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

        my cheerios are already soggy because i cycle on lower division often. the division streetscape is a complete PBOT fail. its hawthorne all over again.

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        • Kevin August 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

          Because you have to have everything yesterday. _some_ progress is _no_ progress, eh?

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • spare_wheel August 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

            missed opportunities are no progress.

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  • Walnut Studiolo August 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Hip hip hooray! This “street diet” is absolutely needed in that section of Division Street. We live in the general neighborhood and are super-excited about it.

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  • Ted Buehler August 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Good work, PBOT and city council, for pushing through project after project like this.

    Even though this might not look like the revolution we’re hoping for, I think it is. It’s not going to happen all at once. Because unless someone magically comes up with $500,000,000 to build the Bicycle Transportation System Of The Future all at once, it will happen in bits and pieces. Which means bike lanes will end abruptly, here and there, all the time. But every year they’ll be pushed a little further, and to only build infrastructure where it already connects to bikeways on both ends and will be full of bikes the day it opens will keep us from achieving long-term goals.

    Thanks to all who went to neighborhood meetings in support, have submitted requests for improved bike facilities on the urban highways of SE, and to city staff for engineering yet another road diet.

    Ted Buehler

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    • 9watts August 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      “Which means bike lanes will end abruptly, here and there, all the time.”

      You’re right of course. Though it would be nice to, you know, have an idea when a specific piece of future connectivity is going to happen, is planned, learn how these people think, what their vision is.

      If some piece of auto-infrastructure were announced I’m pretty sure there would be a lot more connectivity (and communication around the phasing of future upgrades).

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      • Ted Buehler August 2, 2013 at 2:28 am

        Like this?
        http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2013/07/newberg-dundee_bypass_work_und.html

        After decades of talk, they’re finally building the Newberg-Dundee Bypass. Phase 1 will be done in 2016. What it doesn’t say, though, is that Phase 1 is really a road to nowhere — it goes around the south side of Newberg, but doesn’t put you back on 99 to Sherwood and Portland.

        That’s what it looks like to me.

        The good citizens of Newberg have had their two main streets as a de facto divided highway for 40 years, and they’re 3 years away from any relief, and an unknown number of years away from having a full bypass of the town…

        We’re not really all that bad off.

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      • Ted Buehler August 2, 2013 at 2:33 am

        I agree that a map would be good, though. Showing 2013 projects, 2014 projects, 2015 – 2017 projects, etc.

        The Portland Bicycle Master Plan for 2030 has the full-buildout plan. Maybe PBOT could update this map, filling in the projects that are complete, and doing a yellow highlight of projects for 2013, orange highlight for 2014, etc.
        http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597?a=379068

        Here’s a map like that for 2011 on page 3 of the 1 year update. I don’t see any more recent updates. & it’s kinda hard to read, like I can’t quite tell which of those lines might be Division. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/345419

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  • SEPDXRider August 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Now people will have the option to go around Mt. Tabor! Just turn at 60th off SE Lincoln, drop down to Division and reconnect at 72nd, 76th (I recommend it) or 92nd or on the bike path!

    I might still go up and over… you know, just to show off a little when I’m feeling spry. :)

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Ted Buehler August 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    for Kyle Gunsul & others who live down there —

    With regards to the traffic signal at 60th and Division that “light gives Division 2 turns before pedestrian crossing” — if you send an email to safe@portlandoregon.gov they’ll probably get that light readjusted so it works for peds. If you don’t, it will take them a long time to fix it on their own.

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Noah Brimhall August 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Gunsul is right about the greenway on the east side of Mt. Tabor being one of the worst in the city. Being indirect and having lots of turns is compounded by almost no signs or wayfinding of any kind. Crossing 82nd Ave. and 205 in this area is also pretty unpleasant. I’m happy to see this area get the connections and road diet it needs!

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  • GlowBoy August 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Hooray! This will be great.

    Then there must be another 20 more streets around town where we want to do the same thing.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Alex Reed August 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      SE Foster makes one… Division past 82nd could use a change from four motor vehicle-oriented lanes to three in order to make space for a buffer for the bike lane :-)

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • gutterbunnybikes August 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    And to think with what a completely terrible day at work I had, I almost loathed getting home and checking the news. Finally some good news today.

    I can’t wait.

    But I wonder whats going to happen at the staggered intersection of 76th(north of Division) and 75th (south of Division). It’ll be a mess if there is no new light, unless of course they make one of the a streets one way auto entrance (like no left turns on 75th).

    Though really I’m guessing they’ll stop the East bound traffic at 75th, and the west bound at 76th, and add a turn signal.

    I haven’t seen that intersection addressed in any of the literature thus far. But I guess I’ll find out sooner than later either way.

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  • Jim Kysela August 2, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Have been waiting for this since going to one of the meetings (last year?) to represent. Think it will really help change the character of the street and surrounding neighborhoods and give peds and cyclists some breathing room on an important and direct connector route.
    Yes! And thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Psyfalcon August 2, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Going all the way to 50th (or downtown!) would be nice, but this lets you ride west on Division and turn onto either Lincoln or Woodward.

    Division is pretty much the only way to cross 82nd at a light and currently the bike lane westbound dead ends suddenly at 80th with no connectivity to any bike routes.

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    • gutterbunnybikes August 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

      The path gets a little confusing west of 82nd but the path on Mill has a light crossing 82. East of 82 is a direct connection to the 205 path. It’s a much nicer ride than division will ever be. Other than the times that all the schools let out/start, it’s pretty calm too.

      West of 82 on Mill isn’t too bad either. Any of the east west streets are mellow so I usually don’t feel the need to stay on any designated path through there.

      And the Dahlia house on 80th Mill is awesome come fall when it’s in full bloom too.

      Of course South of division between 82nd and 205 is horrid. And east of 82nd till about 75th isn’t so great either.

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  • jim August 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

    How is going from 4 lanes to 3 lanes going to “add more vehicle access and capacity on SE Division”?

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    • 9watts August 3, 2013 at 7:34 am

      capacity is not just lane width; you have to have a free stretch of road in front of you. One way to increase the probability of that free stretch of road is to introduce a turn-only lane.

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      • AA in PDX August 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        The probability of going straight in a turn lane is zero. The probability of going straight in a lane that allows left turns is greater than zero.

        This project doesn’t improve car access at all, just bikes.

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        • 9watts August 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

          Are you including the impatient guys in the left lane who, when faced with someone wishing to turn who is blocking their lane dart over into the right lane, slowing everything down? Someone who knows this subject better than I could speak to the relative speeds of the four vs three lane scenarios, but I’m not sure you are accounting for all possibilities.

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          • AA in PDX August 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

            What are you talking about? Given an equal amount of cars, 2 lanes are better than 1. Is this that hard to comprehend?

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            • 9watts August 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

              “Given an equal amount of cars, 2 lanes are better than 1.”

              The better in your sentence isn’t lost on those who drive. This is called induced demand, upsetting/undoing the first clause of your sentence.

              But even without induced demand I am not sure you are correct. If under the existing four-lane layout everyone who did not want to turn left stayed in the right lane, leaving the inner two lanes for those who want to turn left, the effective capacity of the road for automobiles would be equivalent to the future three-lane version, wouldn’t you agree?
              Given that the left-turners now not only block the inner lanes with some frequency, but cause those stacked up behind them to jump into the right lanes, slowing down those already in them, I’m not seeing how the switch from four to three lanes decreases capacity for cars. But to really figure this out we’d need to know something about the number of cars per hour going straight vs turning left and which lane they are traveling in.

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              • AA in PDX August 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

                It’s less capacity for autos. Your assumptions are wrong and show a complete lack of knowledge about driving. Do you drive?

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              • 9watts August 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

                AA,

                you are getting very exercised about this but it doesn’t appear that you are doing any research to bolster your assertion.

                I just spent six minutes on a google search and found this:

                http://www.iowadot.gov/design/dmanual/06c-06.pdf
                “Typically, initial community reaction to the conversion [from four lanes to three lanes with two-way-left-turn-lane (TWLTL)] will be negative since it seems logical to assume that eliminating a lane will reduce capacity and increase delays; however, though the number of through lanes has been reduced, capacity is generally not reduced and the resulting increase in delay is very minor since the delay caused by left turning traffic in through lanes has been eliminated. This slight increase in delay can act as a traffic-calming device. The reduction in through lanes will also reduce lane changes and will benefit pedestrians and bicyclists since they are required to cross fewer lanes.”

                Just below, the authors note essentially what I have been saying:

                “Two-way left-turn lanes can be very effective in areas where the inside lane of a four lane facility is essentially acting as a turn lane, areas known as “defacto” left turn lanes. Left turning traffic is removed from the through lanes and the need for drivers trapped in the inside lane to switch lanes to pass a left turning vehicle is eliminated, thus further reducing the possibility of accidents. Though through traffic is reduced to one lane, delays increase only slightly since drivers are no longer trapped behind left turning vehicles.”

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            • gutterbunnybikes August 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

              The biggest reason this street is on the high crash corridor list is because of the soon to be forgotten 4 lane set up. The turn lane will make traffic much more predictable and steadier flow.

              No more accidents from inside lane drivers giving up their right of way so the left turning traffic can turn into oncoming traffic in the outer lanes.

              No more people hastily speeding around cars stopped to make left turns. Often cutting off traffic in the turning land and causing collisions.

              4 lanes invites speeding, texting, and other distracted driving practices. 3 lanes in theory should make such activities more uncomfortable for drivers, since they will have less room to correct the errors they make while piloting the vehicle.

              And last but by far the least is that this stretch of Division doesn’t have the traffic numbers to justify 4 lanes.

              On a side note, Sunday I took a ride down the four lanes for a final good bye. Can’t say I’m going to miss it, and I’m actually really looking forward to the change both as a cyclist and a driver that lives within a block of the street.

              Thanks to the city and the others involved in getting this done. It means a lot to us in the neighborhood.

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    • Alex Reed August 5, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Bikes are vehicles too, and two bike lanes fit in the space of one car lane. So, although motor vehicle capacity is likely diminished by a change from 4 motor-vehicle-oriented lanes to 3, *total* vehicle capacity is probably increased.

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  • Psyfalcon August 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    The real paint is not yet down but it is already rideable.

    Except for the gap between 79-80 or so and 81.5 westbound. The bike lane still ends while the road is at 4 lanes and before it picks up again 3 blocks latter.

    They can’t be leaving this gap, right?

    Now, it is temporarily signed as no parking, so its not too bad. Once (if?) parking is allowed again it will ruin the connection.

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  • PaulaOnABike August 14, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Rode it today just to check it out. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/freeheelgirl/9509132829/in/photostream/) Still unfinished at SE 60th, so a little confusing on going straight or turning right to head to SE Lincoln. Quite a different ride than when I rode this with cars in the same lane as me.

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  • Paulie August 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Rode it westbound this morning. The bike lane takes you to the right turn lane at 60th, and there is now a northbound bike lane on 60th to Lincoln. I didn’t notice if it continued past Lincoln.

    Also, the I-205 MUP undercrossing of Division is now open!

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  • 9watts September 25, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Since you asked how we like it, Jonathan. I think it is great. I bike that stretch of Division with some frequency (before the change, and have since). I was o.k. with it before, but now it is much nicer. And to the naysayers, I haven’t noticed any traffic jams from having done this. Seems like we should do this on lots of other streets.
    …Sort of like de-lamping in the seventies. It turned out that thanks to some nutty electric utility sponsored ‘research’ most buildings had way more lightbulbs in them than made any sense. So in the seventies someone figured out that you could take half of them out, or a third, with no loss of useful light.

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