Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on October 8th, 2013 at 12:45 pm
(Photos © M.Andersen/BikePortland)
As inner Southeast Division Street grows up — literally, thanks to its new hedge of multi-story apartment buildings — Portland’s transportation bureau decided in April to redesign a section of the thoroughfare a bit further out to feel more like the city street it now is: with better walking and biking plus a regular flow of slower-moving traffic.
Instead of four narrow travel lanes, Division between 60th and 82nd now have one bike lane and one auto lane in each direction, plus a shared center turn lane.
We wanted to know what local folks thought about the restriped street. So I pedaled down during the Monday evening rush hour, stashed my bike around a corner, and walked around introducing myself as “a reporter” and asking what people thought.
I learned two things: That everyone I met more or less likes it, and that low-car life is now very common in mid-Southeast Portland.
to make her want to raise children in the area.
“I think it’s great,” said Adrienne Ellis, who lives in an apartment building at SE 76th and Division. “They needed to do it a long time ago.”
Ellis, who said she doesn’t own a car, moved to South Tabor a year and a half ago because inner Northeast’s Boise neighborhood had become “douchebag central.”
“Driving traffic is a little worse, but I prefer it because of the bicycle lanes,” said Ellis of the road changes. She said she usually rides the bus because her bike is currently in “disrepair.” “People in Portland refuse to get around without a car.”
As she spoke, she gestured to the line of cars on Division, slowing down for a stoplight a block away but still rolling. “This is as bad as it gets.”
Angel Villalvir, who said he lives in another nearby apartment building, said traffic was “a little crazier” since an auto lane was removed, and cars sometimes back up. But he didn’t mind.
“It’s good for the bike lane,” Villalvir, who was waiting for a #4 bus, said in his thick Spanish-language accent. He shrugged and smiled. “I don’t have a car right now, so it works for me.”
A weathered blond man pedaling westward in the bike lane was proud to endorse the changes. “”It’s the best idea they ever had,” he said. “They did that to another street here, too — Holgate. They say Portland’s the most bike friendly city there is.” Asked if he could pause for a photo, the man said no and quickly pedaled away.