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NE 28th Avenue business owners split on bike access and parking, interviews show

Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on November 27th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

James Lanagen of Beulahland said the neighborhood
would "adapt" if buffered bike lanes replaced on-street
parking, but that he'd rather keep the parking.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The question of how to make biking better in the NE 28th Avenue area divides employees from their bosses, businesses from their customers, tenants from their landlords and different kinds of bike users from each other.

If there's one thing this project doesn't have, it's consensus — not among the "bike community" (whatever that is) and not among the "business community" (whatever that is).

We know because we asked.

On Tuesday afternoon, I left my bike and helmet at a parking corral and talked to as many business owners as I could in three hours about the options for how to run the "20s Bikeway" through their area. I introduced myself as reporter — I didn't say who for; only one owner asked — and did my best to get honest opinions from everyone.

I asked whether they needed auto parking outside their business, and whether it was important for the parking to be free. I explained how the narrow street made it impossible to run standard-width bike lanes without either removing two auto parking lanes or one standard travel lane from 28th, and asked if they thought it would be possible to make 28th bike-friendly without bike lanes, or if traffic should move to a side street like 26th or 30th.

Here's what I learned:

NE 28th Avenue on Tuesday, when auto parking
was temporarily removed for an unrelated project.

1) Everyone I talked to knows about the project. Many had heard about it from Jim Kautz, general manager of the neighborhood's biggest commercial landlord, Bitar Companies, and a vocal foe of parking removal. Others had spoken with Sarah Holliday of Staccato Gelato, who also happened to be one of the owners most firmly opposed to removing all parking. One said he'd seen a city mailing.

2) More than half would rather keep auto parking. For some, parking is more useful for employees than for their customers; in one case, it's mostly for an unloading zone. Several had simply assumed, upon hearing about the plan, that the city was planning to remove all parking on both sides and seemed to be mentally preparing to deal with that. "If it had to be this street, I would gulp and deal with it," said Chris Raak of Polliwog, a children's toy and clothing store who said he feels for environmental reasons that it's essential to dramatically increase biking in Portland.

3) Most, but not all, think 28th isn't good for biking. Of the 10 I spoke to, eight were open to giving up some auto parking on 28th to make biking better. Three said their preference was to remove all auto parking and get bike lanes, if that'd make the street better to bike on. "I'd just as soon make it easier for the bicyclists, because I'm always envisioning people getting smeared all over the road," said Carla Lichter, owner of Zim Zim, a gift shop at SE 28th and Ankeny.

4) Most, but not all, liked the idea of moving the bikeway off 28th. "This street is terrible for biking on," said Alison Weaver of Meadowlark Preschool.

5) Only one clearly opposed parking meters. "A neighborhood gets busy and you put in meters," said Jody Mathey of Wooptido hair salon. "It's not a perfect world, but it makes sense."

6) Several are frustrated with lax enforcement of time-limited parking on the street. Much of the auto parking on 28th is taken up by people parked for hours or all day, owners said.

7) Many are worried about parking overflow from two nearby apartment projects. More than half the owners mentioned this. "Seven years ago, eight years ago, it would have been fine" to remove parking, said James Lanagen, owner of Beulahland. "With the way that 28th has developed in the last six years, it's just going to cause more problems with the residential."

I spoke to nine business owners Tuesday, plus Lichter a few weeks ago by phone. Here's what they said:

James Lanagen, owner of Beulahland, bar at 118 NE 28th

Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "If it happens, it happens, and people tend to adapt. My business specifically would be among the least affected. I get a lot of pedestrian traffic. I get a lot of bike traffic."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? The "huge amount of very large trucks" that use 28th will make the street unpleasant to bike on no matter what, "especially on the weekends with families biking." "The people who bicycle on this street already know the gambles."

Alan Rhoades, owner of City States, cafe at 128 NE 28th

Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "I think most of our customers walk here anyway. But I do like that I have the parking. ... I'll get over $1,000 of groceries, park out front and get people to help unload. ... It's, like, backbreaking work to go around."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? When he used to bike more, "personally I actually didn't like these roads. I'd be on 27th, is where I'd be. ... I count it as a good thing that bikers go by, but I don't think it's that significant. I think pretty much people know we're here."

How would parking meters affect your business? Because so many customers walk, this wouldn't be a big commercial burden, but "I have staff who work eight-hour shifts. ... I once as a cook didn't take a job because there were parking meters. There was nothing I could do."

Sarah Holliday, owner of Staccato Gelato, 232 NE 28th

Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "Just about everybody who has a business" would agree that a reasonable solution for the street "for sure is not removing parking" all along the street. "There is no street in Portland that has removed on-street parking in both directions for a bike lane. So it would be an extreme example. .... Losing a few parking spots is not a big deal."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? She's strongly in favor of moving most bike traffic off the street, though she thinks some will still use it. "I'm a longtime bike commuter in this area. I'm very glad they're doing something. ... A skinny bike lane can be worse than no bike lane. ... It's not the speed of the traffic. It's the people pulling in and out. ... It's a combination of parked cars and people just not paying attention."

Chris Raak, owner of Polliwog, a children's toys, books and clothes shop at 234 NE 28th

Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "Losing a lot of parking spaces on this street would be pretty hard for us. Our business is already kind of from the previous century." But he thinks removing parking might be a good idea anyway. "The first thing we have to do is make it OK and safe and happy for people to ride your bike around. ... That has to happen, or we're all going to hell in a handbasket because of the weather changing. ... If it had to be this street, I would gulp and deal with it."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "The whole stretch of it from Belmont or Stark — it's not a good place to ride bikes," but there are "not many options" for other routes because of the lack of traffic signals. He doesn't think "traffic calming" works and prefers enforcement. "Speed limits — just enforce 'em. If it is a bike street, especially enforce them. ... I don't think people are going to adjust their behavior until there's some policing." He said adding a traffic signal to make the area better for bikes would be good: "If the future costs $100,000, fine."

How would parking meters affect your business? "I think it'd be good. ... There's 30-minute, 1-hour spots that never get enforced."

Jody Mathey, owner of Wooptido, a hair salon at 24 NE 28th

Mathey was the only owner who asked me before the interview who I worked for; I told her, but said I was interested in her honest opinion.

Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "If they would have asked me this two years ago before those big apartments came up, I wouldn't have cared. ... 28th is too busy. If you take the parking away, it's going to be a nightmare."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "Push it over. ... Bicycles always win in Portland. They always get their way."

How would parking meters affect your business? "I think that's a good idea, actually. A neighborhood gets busy and you put in meters. It's not a perfect world, but it makes sense."

Alison Weaver, owner of Meadowlark Preschool, 616 NE 28th

Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? Weaver's main concern isn't so much parking as it is parents being able to drop their children off at her front curb. "I don't know. It's sometimes hard for parents to get right in front. Parking is already bad enough in this neighborhood. ... I would love to be on a street where it's all bikes, but parking's always going to be a need."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "I don't own a car, so I'm a big bike commuter person. ... This street is terrible for biking on. It's terrible. I got doored." She likes the idea of sending bikes to side streets, but worries that people might not do it if the route zigzags too much.

Tony Edgeston, owner of Crossfit Stumptown, 535 NE 28th

What effect would less auto parking have on your business? "I'll tell you right now, our members don't like it. But me personally, because I sit at this desk all day and see the street, I'm for it." Edgeston, whose visitors use both on street parking and a small on-site parking lot when they arrive by car, said he regularly sees crashes and near-misses as cars and trucks try (and fail) to make it between the stoplights at Glisan and Sandy. He said replacing parking with bike lanes would increase safety. "I think it's a great idea."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "It's unsafe the way it is right now," Edgeston said. But he's dubious that people on bikes would actually turn off the street, even if the official route went elsewhere.

Chantal Angot, owner of Tapalaya, a restaurant at 28 NE 28th

What effect would less auto parking have on your business? "Honestly, I'm a cyclist. I totally understand the need for a north-south cycling route. But I feel pretty comfortable cycling on 28th, because the cars can't go that fast anyway. ... We need our parking here too."

If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? Angot leaned toward improving 28th and worried that bikes couldn't actually be lured away from it. She was intrigued by the idea of one-way auto traffic on 28th, with bike lanes and auto parking on both sides.

How would parking meters affect your business? "My first reaction is that it'd be bad. I wish we had an employee parking lot."

These business owners don't speak for residents of the neighborhood, of course, or for freight customers like the Coca-Cola bottling plant across the street from several of them. And they certainly don't speak for the many thousands of people who live elsewhere in the region and use 28th Avenue. Nor do they speak for their own employees.

"It is a bike route," said Mark Simmons, a Beulahland employee. "Cars can — how you say — go to 33rd."

Simmons's job title, he said: dishwasher.

— Learn more about the 20s Bikeway Project in our archives.

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Comments
  • Hart Noecker November 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I'm always far more likely to stop my bike and check out these shops when there aren't cars blocking their store-fronts. They're such a nice row of unique small businesses. It's a shame to hide them from the street behind a wall of automobiles.

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  • timo November 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I love that euphimism - "Cars can go to 33rd." I'm going to use that next time someone nearly right-hooks me.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

  • Nick Falbo November 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Great reporting. If parking is removed for a bikeway on 28th, it will be because these business owners rally together and ask for it.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) November 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks, Nick. This may well be true, but I want to be clear: based on these interviews, the scenario you describe is almost certainly not going to happen. Even the three-of-10 business owners I spoke to who come down on the side of bike lanes were conflicted about the tradeoffs. In a close-knit district like this, no one's likely to take steps to change the street in the face of opposition from neighboring business tenants or neighborhood customers, let alone their own landlord.

      If the public interest is for mobility to replace auto storage on this street (and maybe it's not!), the institution that would need to advance the public's interest is the government, not private businesses. Every one of these business owners have the general public interest in mind (though most would disagree about exactly what the public interest is) but it's hard to imagine any of them making it their top priority.

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      • Nick Falbo November 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        Exactly - that scenario is not likely to happen.

        I agree that the government can (and has the rightful authority to) replace parking with a sweet cycle track. But they won't, at least not in today's political climate.

        For bold changes and trade-offs to happen, the locals (businesses and community) needs to clamor for it. They need to demand it. I suspect this will be difficult to achieve in any moderately successful commercial district. Why fix it if it ain't broken?

        But if you go to the places that aren't working, the neighborhoods and main streets that are clearly suffering, you might actually get broad support for these bold ideas.

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        • Mike November 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm

          +1 for trying parking removal/cycle trackification first in those *potential* up and coming biz districts that need help and aren't yet overrun.

          Seems like several of the biz owners throughout the 28th corridor admitted that this idea would have gained more traction from them *before* all the new housing got built in the area.

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  • Paul November 27, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Great story. I like the idea of making it a 1-way street for autos and parking and a cycle track on each side, but I don't know if that would ever work since there isn't a parallel commercial street. But I've always like the configuration on the Spuistraat in Amsterdam: - 1-way with parking and loading on both sides and a cycle track: http://bit.ly/Itg0W5

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    • Garlynn December 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Yes, if 28th looked more like that cross-section from Amsterdam, it would seem to be better for everybody (except those folks who just want to drive their car as fast as possible down the street without stopping for anyone or anything).

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  • Carl (BTA) November 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Great reporting, Michael. Their words make me love business owners on 28th even more. It's a challenging stretch of road and a complicated group of competing interests but so many of them really get it.

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  • Allan November 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    What about removing one travel lane and making 28th 1-way between Sandy and Stark? Has this been considered? It would allow parking to stay while creating space for bikes!

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    • Lillian November 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      The issue is there is no viable alternative street for the excess automobile traffic - NE 28th is used as an access point to the highway, requiring drivers to be able to reach it from both sides. Because of the gap between 21st and 28th highway overcrossings and the high number of parallel narrow residential streets (most of which don't go through at all points), this really isn't feasible.

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      • paikikala November 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm

        28th doesn't have freeway access.

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  • eli bishop November 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    i wish each business district had a smart-park-style garage. when i drive, i would be thrilled to go there instead of hunting for a space, which causes me to move more erratically. THEN we could put bike lanes on belmont, hawthorne, 28th, etc. and nobody could complain about parking.

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    • Lillian November 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Oooh...but on-street parking calms traffic! Seriously! The thing that lowers speeds more effectively than a law and decreases severe crashes is on-street parking. That's because drivers are more aware and therefore more careful when operating their car in a zone where they expect cars to pull out/they are looking for parking themselves.

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      • paikikala November 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

        Got a study to back that up?

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      • spare_wheel November 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        on street parking injures cyclists. and more cyclists and pedestrians are far more effective at taming the bull.

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  • browse November 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Multiple times a week I bicycle from NE Broadway south along NE 28th Avenue. I consider myself what PBOT calls a "strong and fearless" bicycle rider, but there's no question 28th is an uncomfortable place for people on bicycles. Either you ride too far to the right and risk being doors by people in parked cars and sideswiped by passing people in cars, or you take the lane and earn the ire from people behind steering wheels.

    Because of this, I tend not to slow down to take advantage of the shops on 28th; I tend to rush through this unpleasant stretch as quickly as I (safely) can. There's no question this discourages me from picking up a sweet treat at Alma Chocolates, getting a drink at Beaulahland, doing happy hour at Tapalaya. I'm much more inclined to rush past and look for a more leisurely place to ride and consider my options.

    I am convinced the current configuration of NE 28th Avenue discourages potential customers of the businesses there.

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  • Andrew Seger November 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Fantastic reporting. I'm very curious what Central Catholic thinks about street parking, parking meters, and the bikeway. Especially since they count more than these small business owners.

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    • Bob K November 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      I live down the street from Central Catholic and know firsthand what a huge generator of auto traffic it is. Virtually none of the students bike to school. This is because virtually none of the students are from nearby neighborhoods. The morning rush and late afternoon dismissal times are going to be a big source of conflict if the route goes on SE 26th by the school.

      As for parking, the school has a good neighbor agreement that school parking be limited to the streets directly around the school and to Stark. It is rarely, if ever, enforced. The students are pretty good about parking in the defined areas because they can be punished if they don't. Their parents and guests visiting for events like sports games park wherever they want. I'm cool with it because the school existed long before I moved into the neighborhood and I don't care if the spots in front of my house are taken. Others in the neighborhood have great angst about the parking situation. Hence the good neighbor agreement.

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      • Adam November 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

        Ditto for Da Vinci Middle School. It is a magnet school, meaning most of the kids are ferried there in SUVs from miles away.

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    • Greg November 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      I'm curious what you mean by 'count more'.

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  • John Liu November 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    If 28th is one way, then a parallel adjacent street has to go the other way. That street won't have signals at the major intersections, unless it is 32/33rd which is a quiet residential street and too far away to be a practical "couplet" to 28th.

    On one-way commercial streets, people tend to drive past their destination, then zoom around the block to come around again, and that zooming will be through residential neighborhoods and, on Everett, a school where most of the kids walk and bike to class.

    A one-day 28th with bike lanes and parking on both sides would not just be a one-way street, it would be a one-way single-lane street. Those become constant traffic jams, since one person waiting for and then maneuvering into a parking place stops all traffic dead for blocks. Also, are we going to have a bike lane in the opposite direction as the adjacent traffic lane? That is a recipe for disaster.

    If we must have bike lanes on 28th, I think the "least bad" solution is to remove parking from just one side of the street. The west side has the least parking and is less convenient to the retail businesses. Meter the remaining parking on the east side, to favor its use by retail customers rather than business owners/employees and the coming apartment residents.

    But I personally favor the experiment of seeing if Portland can take a street that is already relatively low speed and heavily bicycled, and through signage, signal timing, calming instrafructure, education, and enforcement, make it a street where drivers and riders can smoothly co-exist, together in the same lanes, including riders "from 8 to 80".

    Because at the end of the day, a city where cyclists and drivers mingle peacefully will be better than one where they have to be figuratively fenced off from each other. "Fences" cost money, we can't put them everywhere, and when we do, cyclists will find that we're not welcome or permitted to ride on the "car" side of the fence.

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    • Alexis November 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      The problem with removing the west side parking (which is also something that has been suggested at SAC meetings as better) is that the greater need for a separated facility is on the uphill side, which is the east side. Putting separation on the downhill doesn't get you as much. Less pain, less gain.

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    • Chris Anderson November 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      I can also picture 28th as a decent shared street. Take out all the lines and signs and alternate which side of the road has parking so you can make the lanes no longer a straight line.

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    • Garlynn December 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Who says a parallel street has to provided for one-way auto traffic in the opposite direction? It's not a law of the universe; it's just the way things are usually done. You could argue that, for this stretch of 28th, a one-way northbound street from Stark to Sandy would just work -- traffic will find a way.

      Here's what the cross-section might look like:

      http://streetmix.net/GarlynnWoodsong/8/28th-street-one-way

      As you can see, bikes would be protected from traffic. Yes, parking would block auto traffic, but this generally happens anyways due to oncoming traffic preventing those waiting from pulling around. The world doesn't end, people just have to wait.

      I really think the one-way-street option is the only one that will both provide two-way protected bicycle facilities, on-street auto parking and the character of the street with calm, protected sidewalks and a leisurely neighborhood feel. The auto operations will just sort themselves out.

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  • Catbot November 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I head over to the NE 28th restaurants and shops in the summer on foot (about 1-2 times a month and takes about 20 minutes). I would go far more often (and probably spend more) if there were better ways to get there from the north on my bike. I already prefer not to drive there, and generally don't. If I'm driving, I might as well deal with heading all the way down to Division.

    It's interesting that there is a the zone for me that is beyond a 5 minute walk but seems not worth hauling the car out for (and I'm too skittish to deal with my bike).

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  • John Liu November 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    (Maybe this is where we see "super sharrows" come to Portland.)

    Also, I want to say that this sort of "roll up your sleeves and do real reporting on the ground" is something that distinguishes this website from the typical blog which merely republishes and comments on information generated elsewhere. Bravo.

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  • was carless November 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I don't like the idea that bikes can go away to another street, so that people - particularly nearby residents - don't have to support their local businesses! Maybe they can rely on customers from Vancouver, Washington and Beaverton instead?

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  • davemess November 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I worked at retail store in Seattle (around Green Lake), which had paid parking meters within two blocks (2 hr limit). Further up from the lake (in the residential areas) the parking was free, but hard to come by. When I had to drive to work (only once every few weeks) I would park up in those neighborhoods, as would all my coworkers. Thus I don't have much sympathy for Mr. Rhoades and his employees. Walking a few blocks and reserving close by parking for your customers is a good thing for your business!

    Also found if kind of funny that the only person who mentioned their customers being really upset with it was the Crossfit guy! HA people going to a gym upset about having to walk further from their car.

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    • Alan Love November 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      I noticed that too. I've always found our American attitude towards transportation and fitness quite ironic. We drive to the gym after sitting at a desk all day long, use a treadmill that requires power to generate resistance, and burn more power to run fans/AC to cool us off, then drive home and over-eat, thus necessitating another trip to the gym tomorrow. Kind of like turning on the heater because the AC in your car is too cold. OR you could bike/walk to work and not worry about any of that other stuff.

      One thing I'd like to see; if some sort of auto capacity is reduced to add more active transpo, re-survey the same business owners a year later and see if their pre-conceptions have changed. This isn't exactly apples/apples, but there were similar fears in NYC before changing the roadscape, and now most business are generally positive about the changes. Michael, hopefully your memory will serve you later if there is a change!

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  • Mindful Cyclist November 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    A few proposed ideas that can be easily accomplised with no meetings and no objection from a single business owner or nearby resident.

    1. Sharrows!!! I know PBOT likes to use them on greenways, but please put them on this street as well.

    2. Big, thick and conspicuous crosswalk stripes on every intersection. Even people that drive and part on 28th are going to be pedestrians and can appreciate this.

    3. Make this a 20 mph zone. I broght this up once and someone replied and said that the recent law of dropping the speed limit only applied to low traffic streets (ie neighborhood greenway types). If this is the case, then how was the speed lowered on NE Fremont for several blocks East of 41st? This is not going to work, of course, without enforcement, but on a narrow street like this, all it takes is one motorist to follow it and the rest will fall in line.

    These are three, albeit far from imperfect things, that PBOT workers could be out doing right now and not having to worry about any negative impact on business.

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    • paikikala November 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      ORS permits posting of 20 mph in Business Districts.

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      • spare_wheel November 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        20 is plenty!

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  • spare_wheel November 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    traffic calming and advisory bike lane.

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  • John Liu November 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Alexis
    The problem with removing the west side parking (which is also something that has been suggested at SAC meetings as better) is that the greater need for a separated facility is on the uphill side, which is the east side. Putting separation on the downhill doesn't get you as much. Less pain, less gain.
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    The commercial part of 28th, Stark to Glisan, is flat. No meaningful elevation change.

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  • paikikala November 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I know many of the side streets are narrower than the usual 36 feet, but on those that are 36 feet the space could be reallocated to 8 ft of parallel parking remaining on one side, a 12 ft one-way travel lane, and 16 ft for angle parking on the opposite side. Angle parking is a more efficient use of space than parallel (though driveways will interfere). Angle parking works in both directions where it will fit. Relocating parking to the side streets might enable reuse of the 28th Avenue parking lanes as buffered bike lanes.

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  • gutterbunnybikes November 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    There does seem to be one thing that all the business owners agree on, and most likely all the bike riders that would bother to post here as well. And that even if the path goes off 28th - many if not most the cyclists would still ride 28th.

    With that in mind I see no reason that the side walks and cross walks couldn't be improved with the pedistrians experiecne more in mind. Speed limit dropped to 20. And the super sharrows being used here where bike and cars have equil access to the lane of traffic. Perhaps add a center line curb (like on 20th) to keep autos from being able to hastely pass bicycles. And of course lots of big signage stating that the bikes belong in the lane for the sake of bikes and auto users.

    No one loses parking (though it should probably be metered), bikes get equil rights to the lane (which in turn further calms the traffic). And though no one really wins, it seems to be the best compromise and a fairly inexpensive one, when compaired with other options. And one which will actually get used, rather than toss a bunch of money of time into a path that won't get used much.

    Toss in a hopefully upcoming bike share rack in the neighborhood as one of the few east side locations to further toss a bone in to the commercial interests and the new residential developments. Which in turn will further increase ridership in the area, and thus make it safer for all.

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  • Erinne November 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I want Alan Rhoades's t-shirt.

    I'm glad to hear so many of the owners at least understand that getting bikes to move to another street would be difficult. I mean, some would because they want a calm riding experience. But I know I won't. If the city messes this up with a poor design, I will take the lane out of spite.

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  • Chris Anderson November 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    The "Common Sense Proposal" :)

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  • Mike November 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Fantastic reporting here BP!

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  • BIKELEPTIC November 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Were you able to ask them about the semitrucks and how that horribly affects the traffic?

    What happens is that they load up at Couch at 26th. They go down 26th, back up traffic heading westbound on E Burnside; wind around onto 28th and then back up 28th sometimes as far back as NE Davis. That's like 5 blocks worth of semi trucks. Monday mornings are the worst and with this holiday weekend you're going to have BOTH the bottling factory AND Whole Foods - trying to get over there to restock them after T-Day as well as the various restaurants, blocking the center of 28th (WTF!?) - nowhere to get around them; as well as various residentially tiny side roads to unload for these businesses like for instance Buehlahland, etc. Not to mention the after school mess.

    It's a FREAKING mess. I realize that this needs to happen and expansion doesn't mean pushing out the bottling factory to the airport or 100s/200s - because that's a whole other can of worms. . . (Honestly they dont make sense here though)

    But the semis are part of an issue. One we can't do a whole hell of a lot about. So we have to scrap the sides of the other issues. Like single-serve motor vehicle traffic. (Unless we want to fight the city's laws on semi truck limit/laws)

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    • Doug Klotz November 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      A large issue is the Federal laws on semi-trucks. Large trucks must be allowed on streets within a certain distance of Interstate Freeway on- and off-ramps. But the city actually allows them further away. Apparently they don't have to. Perhaps someone could fill in how far it is. Quarter-mile? Half-mile? The city should be taking advantage of this. But, of course, this would upset the powerful Freight Committee.

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  • Christopher Sanderson November 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    As a bike-based small business owner, I ride frequently on 28th from NE Glisan to SE Stark. Why do I take this route? Probably because it is the more flat, intuitive, stop sign-free route from NE to SE and vice versa. I have run into very few problems taking this route. Occasionally, there will be someone in a car, who will haul butt around me, only to stop at the red light on Burnside (nothing like hurrying up to stop!), and I have seen a car door swing open near the Coca-Cola building. I think the city should put sharrows on this road, letting other users know that it will carry bike traffic. If the city establishes a route on another road, I will likely not take it, since 28th is kind of an expressway for me. I can see the city putting a bike route on another road, only to have it hit one stop sign after another. With all the weight I carry on my bike, I avoid routes with stop signs like the plague (SE 41st from Belmont to Clinton being the exception). That's my "business owner" perspective on the issue.

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  • Adam November 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I don't like biking on 28th, but there is no viable alternative right now.

    How else can I cross SE Stark; E Burnside; NE Glisan; NE Sandy; I-84; and NE Broadway on my bike? By staying OFF 28th Ave (using 29th Avenue instead, for example) I would have to bike across FIVE unsignaled intersections with stop-gap times of minutes, not seconds, during rush hour. I'd also have to teleport myself somehow across I-84, because 29th Ave sure as hell has no bridge.

    I don't see why the storage of people's private personal possessions (aka cars) on public land (aka 28th Ave) should trump the safe and effective movement of ALL road users, whether they be bikes, cars, pedestrians, whatever.

    I think removing parking on ONE side of the street would leave enough room to stripe a bike lane both directions. There. DONE. Problem solved.

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    • Adam November 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      And to any drivers who essentially say to cyclists, "Oh, just suck it up, get off our street, and move onto 29th" - I would challenge THEM to drive from NE Broadway to SE Stark on 29th, and see how much THEY like waiting minutes at a time to cross all the major intersections unsignaled.

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      • Chris Anderson November 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

        You know you don't have to wait. As soon as your tire dips in the roadway traffic is legally required to stop. Just exactly where you need to be vis-a-vis the right hand corner is not clear, but I've taken the aggressive stance directly in front of police before and they seemed approving.

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        • Dimitrios November 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm

          I think you're referring to the crosswalk ROW. Yeah, there is that and I've used it a couple times crossing NE 33rd in heavy traffic. I make it clear by quickly dismounting and standing at the corner. You have to essentially barge you're way into the street and be prepared to immediately retreat though. I wouldn't base a route on it.

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        • Adam November 28, 2013 at 11:08 am

          You do have to wait. Oregon crosswalk law is written for pedestrians, not bicyclists. If I dismounted at every intersection and pushed my bike across each five lane road, motor traffic would technically stop. I say technically, because, come on, realistically - how many do?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 2, 2013 at 10:22 am

          Just to clarify.. The Oregon crosswalk law only pertains to people on bicycles when that person is in a crosswalk or on a sidewalk, dipping into an unmarked crossing. In other words, you only get that legal right while biking when you are acting like a walker. The law does not apply if you are on your bike in a standard travel lane -- in that instance you are treated like a motor vehicle operator.

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      • eli bishop November 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm

        SO MUCH THIS.

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    • Terry D November 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      And we get another substandard four foot bikelane that 60% of the population have said repeatedly they do not use. Problem "solved" for some, this bikeway needs to solve the problem for MOST and not make the same mistake we keep making over and over again. Hence, remove parking completely on both sides or a combination of two routes for different levels of riders.

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      • davemess November 28, 2013 at 11:27 am

        And let's not assume that there is ANY bike facility that we can build that will get all of those 60% to ride.

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      • spare_wheel November 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm

        "60% has said repeatedly they do not use"

        i'm no fan of narrow door zone bike lanes but equating "comfort with a facility" with "they do not use" is not correct.

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  • Jay November 28, 2013 at 5:17 am

    I didn't realize removing parking from both sides of the street was on the table.. I would say that's a non-starter.

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  • Beth November 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

    "The people who bicycle on this street already know the gambles."

    I think comments like is one are indicative of how very far we still have to go to change hearts and minds around excessive car-dependence. We will have conflicts as long as people look at automobile use as a right, rather than a privilege; and assume that anyone choosing to ride a bicycle for transportation should assume all the risks for making that choice. Even the hippest small-business owner in Portland still has residual pieces of the old mindset to own up to and deal with before any real change in our transportation systems can be made.

    Bottom line is that too many of us who are dependent upon cars could choose to be even a little less so but have not yet made that choice. We have a long way to go, and this article is a microcosm of why that's so. Excellent reporting.

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  • AndyC of Linnton November 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for giving a Dishwasher the last word!

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  • Robert Burchett November 30, 2013 at 8:20 am

    This article gives a pretty clear idea of which businesses on 28th want to serve bicycle riders and which don't. It's not about bike parking, exactly, but hasn't everybody heard about how bike corrals increase traffic in retail businesses?

    I take 28th when it's in my way but the congestion sort of makes me associate it with unpleasantness. There are good businesses on that street but they don't get much from me.

    If the design included more sidewalk seating area (well planned, not stolen from pedestrian travel space) that might turn some people around. I've thought for years that NW 23 would be vastly improved by cutting out all motor vehicle traffic except transit and marked delivery vehicles but you'd pretty much have to send all the business owners off to some kind of really harsh re-education camp to pull it off. OK, joking!

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  • Breesa December 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Really great reporting, Michael.

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  • Brad December 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

    As an occasional cyclist who was formerly a daily cycling commuter in Boston and Chicago, I don't at all see why cyclists want to ride through busy thoroughfares. I personally always planned my routes on the least major routes possible -- far more pleasant and safer all around. Why would it make more sense from anyone's perspective to radically change an established street simply to make it safer for cyclists when cyclists can better and more safely ride anywhere in Portland on existing residential streets? Why are you looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist? Why is is better for cyclists to use the main commercial routes when side streets are already safe and effective defacto bike routes? I see people riding on Precott all the time when there is a million dollar "bike greenway" on Going, just one block over --- if there are to be designated bike routes, wouldn't they be better placed on residential routes? Why does anyone ride on NE 33rd, when NE 32nd, 32nd Place or 31st is far safer and un-trafficked?

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  • Dimitrios December 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    The benefits of NE33, Prescott, 28th, etc don't disappear when you get out your car and hop on the bicycle. Sorry for the curt answer. I'm empathetic but I've realized as I've gotten older than it stops for people who aren't. My mind scrambles at the thought of people so unable to experience life through someone else's eyes. It seems so foreign to me and yet that is the one view I can't empathize with. I get why people choose fast efficient roads that they have to share with a bunch of motorists. I also get why people choose side streets with little traffic in spite of the stop signs, lack of light controlled crossings, steeper hills, indirect routing. I don't get why you can't.

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  • Charlie December 4, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I think removing a travel lane and keeping the parking on both sides is the best solution. The reduction of a travel lane would only affect traffic during peak hours, when traffic volumes are the highest. Removing parking would affect everyone that parks along the street at all times of the day. Businesses and residents benefit more from having the curbside space for loading/unloading and short-term parking than they do by having an extra travel lane. Plus, on-street parking has a traffic-calming effect.

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  • IanO December 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    This is part of my daily commute from Laurelhurst to Ankeny, and I choose to stay on the quiet side streets of 29th or 30th. The only really problematic crossing is Burnside; at rush hour I'll dip down to 28th to use the signal. I only take 28th on off-peak times, like late night.

    The bike corrals on 28th are *always* full in front of Bishops and Belulahland. My most frequented businesses are Staccatto Gelato and Whole Foods (though the Little Black Bike Cafe has a special place in my heart).

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