Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 2nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm
(Photos by Barbara Stedman)
The Portland Bureau of Transportation has been busy in southwest Portland lately. We recently shared their plans for a new protected bike path on the Terwilliger "teardrop" and BikePortland reader Barbara Stedman has been keeping us in the loop on a host of other, bike-friendly changes going on in the area.
Stedman is a daily bike rider who lives in Hillsdale with her daughter Helena and husband Kenneth (we profiled their morning commute last year).
Stedman has recently noticed a new sidewalk and bike lane on SW Sunset near the Hillsdale Library and she's eagerly watching progress on PBOT's project on SW Multnomah (between 22nd and 40th) which will include a new sidewalk and cycle track. With a six-year old who rides her own bike in traffic, Stedman is also excited for the soon-to-be built SW Ilinois-Vermont neighborhood greenway project.
Today we're going to share Stedman's photos and thoughts on the new buffered bike lanes on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway (BHH) that PBOT installed about a month ago
The newly buffered lanes go about 2 miles from SW Dosch to about 45th. To get room for this extra, bike-only space, PBOT simply narrowed the existing standard vehicle lanes (there are four total, plus a center turn lane) by one foot (from 12 to 11 feet wide). Stedman reports that the newly widened bike lanes are also expected to be used by people walking, since sidewalks are absent along much of this corridor.
These changes to BHH come out of PBOT's High Crash Corridor program. With little in the way of traffic calming, BHH is notorious for its high speed driving. The widened bike lanes are just one in a host of measures PBOT will take to tame BHH in the coming months and years.
Stedman is happy to see them; but she calls it just "a small step" in the right direction. "They offer a little bit more protection on a fast paced highway, but nothing that would encourage the “interested, but concerned” or children. I wouldn’t voluntarily ride longer stretches on it." To really get people out on bikes, Stedman would have liked to have seen a full-fledged cycle track.
It's interesting to see how PBOT addresses safety problems on BHH. It has a similar profile to nearby Barbur Blvd, but that notoriously dangerous road is managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation.