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City proposes parking-protected bike lanes for Gateway retail district

Posted by on December 10th, 2015 at 9:38 am

nacto parking protected
A rendering by national organization NACTO of a parking-protected bike lane. A similar configuration could be coming to the NE Halsey/Weidler couplet in the heart of the Gateway district.
(Image: Urban Bikeway Design Guide)

If Gateway is ever going to get going, it’ll take tricks like this.

City planners have high hopes for this area on the inner edge of East Portland — literally. It’s zoned for downtown-style skyscrapers but (despite being fed by three MAX lines) currently devotes its real estate to gas stations, fast food joints and parking lots.

Still, some new investments have been popping up. If bigger ones are going to arrive, a lot is going to depend on how pleasant the city can make one of outer Northeast Portland’s few solid commercial districts: the half-mile stretch of Halsey and Weidler between 102nd and 112th avenues. That area is already home to a mini-mart, a string of independent bars and restaurants, a liquor store, a handful of other small employers and outer Northeast’s only independent bike shop, the Outer Rim.

Next week, the city will pitch a plan that would greatly improve biking on this couplet of one-way streets by upgrading the painted door-zone bike lanes there to parking-protected ones.

Reversing the bike lane and parking lane to create a more comfortable space to bike got its first experiment in Portland on SW Broadway near Portland State University in 2009. It’s since become part of the protected bike lanes on NE Cully Boulevard, NE Multnomah Street and SW Multnomah Boulevard and is used in many other cities around the country.


halsey parking protection
NE Halsey today.
(Image: Google Street View)

The Halsey-Weidler couplet has a few challenges.

Visibility: The main drawback of parking-protected bike lanes is that cars are hard to see through, so there needs to be plenty of no-parking space near intersections and driveways where people driving can see if they’re about to turn in front of people biking.

Mis-parked cars: In order to get people to not park along the curb as usual, a parking-protected lane needs either a physical obstacle to prevent their doing so or at least an expectation that cars will be parked there continuously, so each person who arrives in a car will be able to copy someone who’s already parked.

Bus stops: Two TriMet buses, the 77 and 23, run along this stretch. When they stop to add or drop passengers, will they have any space to pull to the right? If they do, where will they stop? (Neither line is frequent, but the 77 is on TriMet’s list of routes to upgrade to frequent service when they’re able.) One option might be to move the bike lane to the left side of the street, but that might create an awkward transition wherever the left-side lane ends.

All of those problems can probably be solved, though. And if they are, this could be the first strip of storefronts in Portland that have a protected bike lane out front.

Replacing the current door-zone lanes and connecting to the curbside bike lane on 102nd would also be a major improvement of the biking network that’s supposed to one day spider outward from Gateway Transit Center.

The project’s open house is next Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Riverview Community Bank, 10401 NE Halsey. We’ll be eager to see exactly what the city proposes.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

77 Comments
  • Nick Falbo December 10, 2015 at 10:03 am

    This is pretty exciting. Here’s another design challenge to add to the list:

    Because Halsey/Weidler is a couplet, and assuming the bike lane follows the same couple form, the design should pay special attention to how bicyclists are supposed to turn left onto cross streets and to access the other direction bike lane.

    This project has the potential to be a model for the way the city designs and constructs protected bike lanes as a part of the Center City Multimodal Safety Project. Will this be classic “paint and posts” as illustrated in the NACTO guide? Or will a more robust, (and more attractive!) design be adopted at potentially greater cost?

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • maccoinnich December 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

      What is the best practice for how to design for turns on one-way couplets with protected bike lanes?

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      • ethan December 10, 2015 at 11:28 am

        Put the bike lane on the left?

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        • maccoinnich December 10, 2015 at 12:11 pm

          That just moves the issue to the other side of the road.

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          • Harvey December 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm

            Yeah. Most people who ride N Williams can testify that every commute is a dance with danger.

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          • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 1:08 pm

            At a standard intersection, a 2-stage left works well. At a T intersection the space in the shadow of the parking lane is all available for a bike left turn pocket.

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            • Buzz December 10, 2015 at 5:53 pm

              Two stage left turns are a concession to the hegemony of the motor vehicle.

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              • soren December 10, 2015 at 6:38 pm

                I will one up you by stating that all bike infrastructure is a concession to the hegemony of the car, suv, and light truck.

                We bike with hegemony we have, not the hegemony we want.

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              • paikiala December 11, 2015 at 9:45 am

                Buzz,
                that, and defensive riding.

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              • Mark December 11, 2015 at 9:51 am

                I feel like a chump any time I have to take a two-stage turn or jug handle turn, or whatever kind of BS, second-rate options are presented to less valued road users.

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      • Jeff Snavely December 11, 2015 at 3:19 am

        What’s the best practice for having one automobile lane turn right, though a lane going straight?

        Not to do it.

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        • Hello, Kitty December 11, 2015 at 11:06 am

          Using this system, how would cyclists turn left?

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  • mark December 10, 2015 at 11:02 am

    So, no bollards or armadillos to actually keep traffic from intruding into the bike lane? How is that constructive? What is the difficulty of throwing down a true barrier? Is there some political cost to making a true bike lane?

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    • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      the armadillos are not cheap and would be a hazard to cyclists.

      Flexible wands give a visual cue without being as hazardous.

      Bollards, or low barrier might work and not present too much of a hazard to motorists since it is behind a parking lane (space + permeable barrier).

      A raised median has drainage impacts and would run about $150 per foot.

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  • Chris I December 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I used to ride this section of Halsey, but switched over to San Rafael. I’d rather get hit by a car going 30mph through the neighborhood than by one doing 50mph on Halsey. A 5ft bike lane with no buffer just doesn’t cut it when cars are moving that fast.

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  • maxD December 10, 2015 at 11:27 am

    This is coming with a bunch of other improvements along the corridor including a new park at 106th! A real game changer would be some sort of connection from the MAX stop at Gateway to…anywhere! There is no signs, no wayfinding, and definitely no safe route to get from the MAX to Halsey or even 102nd. I have done this a couple of times, and even knowing where I was going I found it very confusing and unsafe. Portland claims it wants this to be a town center, but this transit center design tells a completely different story. Anyway, good for Halsey-Weidler- I can see this being a great place for redevelopment in the very near future!

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    • Chris I December 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

      The Fred Meyer complex/maze is a major barrier. The city really needs to address this if they want Gateway to succeed.

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    • sean December 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      The biggest improvement other than a separated bike lane on Weidler/Halsey would be to separate the bike lanes on 102nd. Make the outside lane for parking (8ft) plus a buffer for the separated bike lane. 4/5 lanes of traffic is killing any development on that street. I’d actually consider living in Gateway if that were the case.

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      • paikiala December 11, 2015 at 9:44 am

        Wish I’d said something like that before /snark.

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    • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      PBOT has preliminary plans for greenway routes:
      a. From Gateway Transit Center north on 99th, to 100th/Bell and connecting to Tillamook via 102nd.
      b. From Gateway Transit Center east along Pacific/Oregon/Holladay past 122nd.
      c. NE 108th, Klickitat to Burnside
      d. NE 117th/114th/113th, Klickitat to Stark

      99th south has not been reviewed, but there is also the I-205 MUP that intersects the Gateway Transit Center for north south travel to link to other east-west routes.

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      • Chris I December 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        If they are going to count the MUP as a viable option to the south, they need to fix that horrible situation at Glisan.

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        • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 3:19 pm

          Maybe a median refuge and direct crossing, except how close it is to the signal.

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          • Chris I December 10, 2015 at 7:02 pm

            Crossing at the signal is fine, but it is awkward with limited space. Use some of the extra space in the median to shift lanes and widen the sidewalks.

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            • paikiala December 11, 2015 at 9:43 am

              Doesn’t the median east of the signal align with the left turn lanes west of the signal? Your solution would seem to put westbound traffic facing a turn lane.

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  • Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 11:47 am

    How do you prevent right-hooks when cycles are over in a lane that is shielded from drivers’ view by parked cars? The problem is pretty bad even on streets where speeds are low and visibility is much better (I’m looking at you, Broadway); how would this design improve things?

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    • Harvey December 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Yeah…like, all of these still look terrifying if you imagine yourself riding. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/separated_bikelane_pdg/page10.cfm

      Maybe car turn lanes with railroad crossing style barriers to the right that lower on red right arrow/during bike green signals?

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    • Cora Potter December 10, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      The other issue is getting pedestrians further out where they can be seen by oncoming traffic when they want to cross. A bike lane in this configuration doesn’t work without having a peninsula that extends out to the edge of the parking lane. This is also needed to bring blind pedestrians close enough to the auto travel lane to effectively hear and judge the cross traffic.

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      • mark December 10, 2015 at 12:45 pm

        Are you blind? Do you speak for the blind? Just curious.

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        • Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm

          Maybe she’s just pointing out a problem with the design… longer crossing distances are bad for everyone (on foot).

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        • Mao December 10, 2015 at 5:28 pm

          I’ve always wondered how blind people use the internet

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          • Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 10, 2015 at 6:28 pm

            I think it depends, but a lot of people have audio-enabled browsers that read text out loud. Lots of websites aren’t built to make this easy, unfortunately.

            Anyway, I know Cora and she’s professionally qualified to speak to disability issues, in case anyone else was curious. That’s not to suggest that everyone who can speak to disability issues would have the same perspectives, of course.

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      • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm

        The solution for pedestrians is the same as for the buses. Convert the parking lane space to an island with the bike lane between the island and current curb. Vancouver, BC, has already showed how it can be done retasking the parking space for these uses at key locations, like a bike corral next to a corner so sight lines are clear.

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        • Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

          Will this projet implement those solutions?

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          • paikiala December 11, 2015 at 9:41 am

            I haven’t seen any diagrams for the project yet.

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    • MNBikeLuv December 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Curb extensions, “bus bulbs/islands”, or a bike merge zone into a protected intersection.

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  • soren December 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Cross-posting a comment about parking-protected lanes I made on the BikeLoudPDX list.

    Poorly-designed parking protected lanes can have negative impacts on safety. For example, the Broadway cycle track in Portland significantly increased right-hook risk over the previous bike lane.

    Google street view (imagine the scene from car-view level):

    https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5097963,-122.6847615,3a,75y,241.65h,94.09t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sfaBxOdaXURwBZadyXunlHQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

    An example of a parking-protected facility in Seattle with a much better design:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6136368,-122.3208277,3a,75y,15.35h,83.65t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sNxz8UyicnIRyjOsUJx47tg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    If parking must be preserved (boo!) then I think it’s essential that there be large areas approaching intersections free of cars (e.g. a minimum of 3 parking spaces; ~60 feet).

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    • mark December 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      I hope we call agree the broadway lane is garbage. Unless it has recently been restriped with bollards..and possibly curbs. Doubt it though. The city seems interested in building new and not always maintaining old. Here is a tip oh city of Portland, keep the cars and buses off of the striping if you are not going to scarify the ground first.

      The whole debate of “well, protected bike lanes make right hooks a sure thing”, I got news for you. Except for the brave, protected bike lanes are the way to get more butts on bikes. Period.

      Why don’t they have a rash of right hook drama in Copenhagen and Amsterdam? Maybe because vehicles are actually required to look before right turning?

      Do YOU look in your right mirror EVERY time you right turn?

      Let’s dispense with burning the protected bike lane in effigy just because our leaders don’t require those in a vehicle to act appropriately.

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      • Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm

        Adding bollards to Broadway would fix some issues, but the chronic right-hook issue would still exist. It would only be worse if the cyclist were obscured from view and further from the vehicle travel lane.

        There may be fixes for this, but I think the issue needs to be addressed head-on. We can’t wait for better driver training to fix the problem.

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      • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm

        Soren and Mark,
        the protected bike lane on Broadway begins at Market and goes to Jackson. If you’re talking about driveways, have you called 823-SAFE? Because there are no streets that intersect the protected lane for which right hooks would frequently occur.
        This is the view approaching that one driveway.

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        • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm
        • Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 1:46 pm

          To clarify, the Broadway _I_ was talking about was the deathtrap that runs south from Burnside.

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          • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 3:20 pm

            The part not actually protected by parking, the topic of the discussion?

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            • Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 3:33 pm

              Yes. And if we can’t figure out how to fix right hooks where sight lines are good, how will we do it where cyclists are obstructed by a line of parked cars?

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              • Mark December 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm

                People get run down in sidewalks and are killed. So…what does that say about the effectiveness of crosswalks?

                Bikes get run down in broad daylight and right hooked on normal bike lanes with nothing around.

                Should we remove bike lanes and crosswalks?

                I have a few protected lanes with cars. What gets me is the mixing zone being sold by natco. Utter garbage…where else I’m life are two lanes merged at a 45 degree angle where both users have turn their head?

                Just curious….where?

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                • Hello, Kitty December 11, 2015 at 12:21 am

                  Where else do we have vehicles turning from what is, in effect, a center lane, across another lane that is going straight? Despite riding on them daily, I have never been right hooked on Oak/Stark downtown… vehicles do not make turns across the bike lanes, but rather get into position at the proper edge of the street before making their turn. I am convinced it is the safest design.

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      • B. Carfree December 10, 2015 at 9:14 pm

        Perhaps those social infrastructure things in N. Europe play a role in why they don’t have the same level of CARnage that we do.
        -traffic law enforcement, much of it automated
        -expensive, mandated, professional driver training requirements to get a license
        -strict liability
        -actual license revocations for failing to adhere to the law

        Those also hit on the lack of truth of your statement about so-called protected bike lanes being the only thing that gets butts into saddles. So far, they have failed to create a single N. American high-cycling city. However, zero-tolerance traffic law enforcement created bike modal shares that were clearly higher than Copenhagen has today back when it was done in Davis, CA (mid-1970s-early-1980s).

        So, traffic law enforcement has been done once and succeeded smashingly. Guttered “protected” bike lanes have no substantial successes in N. America. I would rather go with what has worked than gamble on something with such clear flaws as “protected” bike lanes.

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        • Mark December 11, 2015 at 9:57 am

          Maybe add:

          -Real penalties for being caught driving with license revoked.

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      • Dave Thomson December 11, 2015 at 2:42 pm

        “Do YOU look in your right mirror EVERY time you right turn?”. Yes, I do.

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    • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Soren,
      you compare a one way parking protected bike lane to a 2-way bike lane in Seattle.
      The clear space in Seattle looks comparable to the clear space at the driveway on SW Broadway.

      https://goo.gl/maps/htTNu9KCYir

      If one links to the street view in Seattle, and turns around, you’ll notice driveway crossings of the 2-way bike lane without any clear space.
      Raising up the Seattle design while negatively commenting on the Portland design that closely mimics it, or does better, seems wrong to me.

      You have also extrapolated the entire road design based on a single graphic not located at a driveway, bus stop, or intersection.

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      • LC December 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm

        The two way bike lanes in Seattle are the worst. The one on broadway has so many driveway crossings you might as well be on the sidewalk. They’ve had to hire police officers to direct traffic leaving parking garages crossing the bike lane on 2nd. People driving cars just refuse to look before blasting out into traffic and the bike lanes are the first thing they hit.

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        • soren December 11, 2015 at 12:16 pm

          I don’t like the 2nd 2-way facility but the one on Broadway is a huge improvement over faded sharrows position close to the door zone.

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      • Gary B December 10, 2015 at 2:28 pm

        There certainly may be some extrapolating gong on (I have no familiarity with that Seattle road) but the particular view Soren chose to illustrate does look to have about 2 car lengths of no parking, plus a fairly long island, then the wide marked-crosswalk: in total about 4 car lengths between the last bumper and the collision point. For reference this is the view I’m looking at:
        https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6138004,-122.3207089,57m/data=!3m1!1e3

        It’s not substantially different (other than the island), but it does seem to be more clearance than at our Broadway’s Jackson St and College St. (parking lot driveway) intersections.

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        • Al Dimond December 10, 2015 at 3:07 pm

          If you just “turn your head” from Soren’s view of Seattle’s Broadway Cycletrack you get this: https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6136368,-122.3208277,3a,75y,140.76h,73.27t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sNxz8UyicnIRyjOsUJx47tg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

          This illustrates a bunch of things about the Broadway Cycletrack:

          1. It’s shocking how dirty the green-painted part of the street is already. That’s either cigarettes or vehicle exhaust. There’s no happy answer to why either would accumulate along the cycletrack.

          2. There’s not much of anything between the parked cars and the cycletrack. The glass truck is probably parked over the painted buffer (based on the location of that exhaust spot it probably parks in the cycletrack often).

          3. It happens that nobody’s parked in the spaces directly around that driveway, but the spaces are really close to the driveway.

          4. Even with clear sight lines the turning driver is still probably getting in the cyclist’s way.

          There’s only one way it gets better: fewer cars and more bikes.

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          • Mark December 11, 2015 at 9:55 am

            No bollards and no armadillos? Why? Probably because the city is cool with trucks and cars crossing the bike lane and parking at the curb.

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      • soren December 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        Paikiala, This intersection has been associated with right hook issues for multiple OHSU commuters:

        https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5095235,-122.6849087,3a,75y,271.65h,48.4t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGVg-4aFg1Gh7K86rtxmX5g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

        You have also extrapolated the entire road design based on a single graphic not located at a driveway, bus stop, or intersection.

        Sorry if it came across that way. It was intended as a plea for more buffer space at intersections (and driveways).

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        • paikiala December 10, 2015 at 3:22 pm

          And you’ve contacted 823-SAFE regarding your safety concerns?

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          • soren December 10, 2015 at 3:36 pm

            No, I did not, and I predicted that you would write that.

            Thank you for your comments and for engaging the BP commentariat, paikiala.

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  • Hopeful December 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    We REALLY need a safe connection from 108th and Halsey all of the way west past 82nd

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    • Chris I December 11, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Halsey could easily have an eastbound lane removed between 68th and 102nd. The traffic levels do not warrant two lanes, and the resulting configuration encourages speeding.

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      • paikiala December 11, 2015 at 9:39 am

        It’s on a short list for road diet.

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  • Todd Hudson December 10, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Next year: City abandons proposal for parking-protected bike lanes for Gateway retail district due to complaints from business

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson December 10, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I thought the city was making protected cycle tracks the new standard? Why not use one of them here?

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    • Steve B. December 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Where did you hear that?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      That’s not exactly the new standard Kiel. It’s an aspiration from PBOT Director Leah Treat and she’s said it only applies to developers doing new projects…. very very far from an across-the-board, set-in-stone policy.

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      • John Brady December 11, 2015 at 1:36 pm

        Hi, it’s John Brady, Comms Director for PBOT. I saw this exchange and just wanted to add a bit of clarification here. Director Treat wanted her guidance on protected bike lanes to apply to all projects on roadways where separation is called for between people driving and people bicycling.
        So not just to development projects. Director Treat gave this guidance because encouraging more bicycle transportation is a key element to Portland’s efforts to address equity, population growth, safety, health, climate change and prosperity and providing the highest quality bikeways is essential to that encouragement. Also, Jonathan is correct to point out that PBOT is in the early stages of developing the process for putting this guidance into practice.

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        • Beeblebrox December 12, 2015 at 10:54 am

          That’s great to hear! Thanks for providing that clarification.

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  • Mike Sanders December 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I used to live in the Gateway area. Those stop lights on 102 and Halsey/Weidler have always been a problem. Lots of cars making right turns, badly timed signals, badly designed crosswalks with no center-of-street refuges on 102, and horrible nighttime lighting. Being adjacent to a major freeway off ramp doesn’t help. And streets around that area have always been badly signposted, too. The off ramp from 102 northbound onto westbound Haksey is an example. It used to be signed “Halsey St, WEST.” it was replaced by one that says “Halsey W-Bnd”. Ugh. The I-205 trail needs guide signs showing how to connect to 102 and Halsey via Pacific St. (99th and Pacific needs stop lights and ped / bike signals, too, as well as marked crosswalks.) And it is nearly Impossible to cross Stark on the I-205 trail because of all the freeway on-and-off traffic. (Ditto for Sandy Blvd in Parkrose.) That spot (and Sandy) really needs some help!

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  • Jeff Snavely December 11, 2015 at 2:57 am

    I’ll reserve judgement until I see a proposal for an intersection. You know. where most designers concede defeat, and where everyone around here seems to get hit.

    Either way, I’ll be in the traffic lane, not getting right-hooked by the car behind me.

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    • Chris I December 11, 2015 at 8:26 am

      I’ve never seen a cyclist take the lane on Halsey east of 102nd. Have you done it? The cars typically go 40+.

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      • paikiala December 11, 2015 at 9:37 am

        PBOT has also requested the speed limit be changed.

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        • Mark December 11, 2015 at 9:56 am

          Changing speed limits are pointless unless you have massive enforcement. Change the design of the road. Narrow roads slow drivers. Wide roads speed them up.

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          • Hello, Kitty December 11, 2015 at 10:52 am

            I agree, and this is why I support on-street parking. It provides a real narrowing effect that, when combined with the possibility someone will open a door or step into the lane, slows traffic.

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      • Jeff Snavely December 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

        No, I’ve never been in that area. I did commute for years in a town with no bike lanes and 45mph speed limits throughout (with even faster traffic). Speed itself wouldn’t bother me.

        I did say ‘In the lane”, not “take the lane” which has a different connotation, at least for me.

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  • Mark December 11, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Hello, Kitty
    Where else do we have vehicles turning from what is, in effect, a center lane, across another lane that is going straight? Despite riding on them daily, I have never been right hooked on Oak/Stark downtown… vehicles do not make turns across the bike lanes, but rather get into position at the proper edge of the street before making their turn. I am convinced it is the safest design.Recommended 0

    Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Yes…riding in traffic is fun for a lot of folks. Not me with my kids.

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    • Hello, Kitty December 11, 2015 at 10:54 am

      When we get a real driver training system in place for licensing, maybe they’ll work here.

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      • mark December 11, 2015 at 12:29 pm

        Until then, we should probably rip out any protected bike lanes…nationwide…and maybe rip out some crosswalks?

        And….possibly red lights..people run those.

        Heck..what can we do because we don’t have a real system of training?

        But…what if we got this mythical system of training? Would we send everyone back through or just wait 50 years until everyone died that hadn’t gone through?

        So many questions.

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        • Hello, Kitty December 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

          No, until then we should use turn lanes like those on Stark/Oak. Let people focus on one task at a time. First get into the proper lane without killing someone, second make your turn focusing on people crossing ahead of you.

          Just as a cyclist turning left would do.

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