Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 5th, 2013 at 3:26 pm
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has been busy making bike-related tweaks and additions to several streets across the city. We've noticed a few of them lately and figured it was time for an update...
New bike lanes on SE Stark connect I-205 path with Montavilla business district
The most significant item in today's roundup is the new striping of SE Stark. Triggered by a repaving project between 92nd and 82nd, PBOT has restriped a one-mile stretch of Stark from the I-205 bike path to SE 75th. The new lane configuration includes a dedicated bike lane the entire way. This morning I visited Stark between 75th and 92nd. The new configuration has five lanes in the westbound direction: two lanes of on-street parking, one bike-only lane, and two standard vehicle lanes. As you can see in the photos, PBOT simply re-sized the existing vehicle lanes to carve out room for the bike lane.
Similar to our discussion about the plans for SE Foster, while these bike lanes provide legally dedicated space for cycling, they are still just standard, unprotected bike lanes. People who ride on Stark have to ride next to people driving 30-plus miles an hour on their left and people opening car doors on their right. The environment is similar to what exists today on N Williams (an environment deemed so inhospitable to all road users the city has plans for a complete reconfiguration). That being said, these new bike lanes on Stark make the bustling Montavilla neighborhood commercial district only the second such area with dedicated bike lanes right out front (Williams being the other).
The buffer provided by the bike lanes not only provides space to ride, it improves the street environment in general by slowing down people in cars and by keeping their tailpipe exhaust and noise a few more feet away from the sidewalk.
The only gap in the new bike lane on Stark comes at SE 86th. PBOT has added a crossing treatment at this intersection that includes curb extensions on both sides and a center median island. That's great for people crossing the street; but unfortunately PBOT has completely dropped the bike lane through this section, creating a dangerous pinch-point where suddenly people on bikes are forced in a shared-lane situation. This is a common treatment throughout the city. What other options are there?...
These changes to SE Stark show PBOT's opportunistic eye toward bikeway improvements and connections. It will be interesting to see if the new bike lanes spur more ridership and development similar to what has happened on Williams Avenue in the past few years. Stay tuned.
New bike lane buffer on N Greeley
This one comes from reader Scott Mizee via Twitter. He noticed a new buffer zone on the Greeley Ave bike lane just south of Killingsworth. PBOT tells us there's also a new left-turn box at the intersection. Here's the photo Mizee shared:
New bike lane striping through MAX tracks near Holladay Park
I unfortunately don't have a photo of this one; but I noticed it a few days ago while riding by. There had been an annoying (and dangerous) gap on NE 11th Ave between the new bike lane striping on the NE 12th Ave overcrossing and the new bike path on NE Multnomah. 11th is a natural, northbound connection between 12th and Multnomah; but the lack of a bike lane and the very bumpy and tricky MAX track crossing has limited its quality. PBOT has painted a bike route over the tracks that helps riders make a 90-degree crossing while directing them to Multnomah.
Williams Ave bike lane finally gets smooth out and repainted (sort of)
A PGE utility project on the very busy Williams bike lane just north of Russell resulted in a bumpy bike lane that has lasted about eight months. In addition to the poor road surface, crews had removed the bike lane striping. We had several people contact us with concerns about this situation, so we're pleased to share that it has finally been re-paved and re-striped. For some reason however, PBOT only "skip-striped" the bike lane. We asked them about this and they assured us it will be striped in full soon.
Here's how it looks now:
These are just some of the new bike lanes and little fixes/changes happening all over the city. We're working on a story to share more about how PBOT's bike project "work plan" is carried out. In the meantime, please email, tweet or text us with any bike lane additions or changes you come across.