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City gives in to state demand to remove bike lanes from SE 26th Avenue

Posted by on January 6th, 2016 at 11:32 am

26th powell crowd in bike box
10 a.m. southbound bike traffic at 26th and Powell.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Two of southeast Portland’s most-ridden bike lanes are slated to be removed at the insistence of the state of Oregon.

The bike lanes on each side of Southeast 26th Avenue near Powell draw something like 600 to 800 people per day (even in winter) and run in front of Cleveland High School. They will be paved over sometime in the coming months and not replaced, the Oregon Department of Transportation said last week.

The decision comes five months after the city’s top biking expert said he thought it would reduce safety on the street.

In an email late Wednesday, the city said it expects any lane removal to be more than a year away.

The City of Portland’s decision to accept the change comes five months after its top biking expert publicly cited four studies showing, he said, that even a narrow bike lane like the one on 26th improves road safety compared to no bike lane.

ODOT spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie said Tuesday that removing the bike lane would improve safety by reducing the number of people biking through that intersection. Many, she predicted, will switch to using 28th Avenue when a new traffic signal and neighborhood greenway are installed there in the coming months. (28th avenue runs along the back of Cleveland High School, which is home to its largest bike parking area.)

Dinwiddie could not identify any evidence, beyond the state’s judgment, that this combination of changes would improve overall safety. She said she was trying to find the information but wasn’t sure when she might.

The change is necessary, Dinwiddie said, because “the intersection of SE Powell at SE 26th is already over capacity for the sheer number of users across all modes: bicyclists, pedestrians, vehicles and buses.”

Dinwiddie said Tuesday that she was unable to say what the “capacity” of the intersection is.

She said the state will “revisit” its decision if large numbers of people keep biking on 26th after the lane is removed and the nearby signal added.

26th Avenue has bike lanes, and is marked for having them in the city’s 2030 bike plan, because it is the flattest and most direct connection between several Southeast Portland commercial nodes. TriMet’s No. 10 bus also runs on 26th once every 30 minutes or so.

Decision follows major collisions, safety demonstrations
Powell protest ride-53.jpg
A May 11 protest of Powell Boulevard. The street is also U.S. 26, a state-run highway.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The state seems to be reacting in part to two high-profile collisions last year at SE 26th and Powell.

In one, a man in a truck turned left from 26th to Powell on a yellow light just as a man biked south through the intersection, also on a yellow light. The left-cross collision severed Alistair Corkett’s leg.

In the second incident, three weeks later, a man driving a Jeep ran a red light on Powell just as a man biked north across it. The collision broke Peter Anderson’s leg.

The incidents became a focus for continuing anger about Powell Boulevard from people who live nearby, who say that typical speeds on Powell exceed the 35 mph limit and that the state has refused measures, like narrower lanes, that would reduce those speeds. During the 10 years to 2013, the state-run road saw 381 traffic injuries and three fatalities on the 12 blocks of Powell surrounding Cleveland High School.

Aside from the point where they cross Powell, the 26th Avenue bike lanes don’t seem to show a particular bike safety problem.

Aside from the point where they cross Powell, the 26th Avenue bike lanes don’t seem to show a particular bike safety problem, though they are uncomfortably narrow and run in the door zone at some points. Out of 17 bike-related injuries between Holgate and Division in that period, eight were at the Powell intersection.

About 100 people joined a May 11 protest by legally walking and biking back and forth across Powell in a crosswalk near 26th Avenue during the evening rush hour. Two days later, two dozen people joined a die-in outside ODOT headquarters.

Hours after the second collision, on May 29, ODOT said it would add a new left-turn arrow phase to the signal at 26th Avenue, a change that lengthened the traffic signal cycle. This also lengthened the red light facing Powell.

Meanwhile, the state was reviewing an unrelated request from the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The city had asked for permission to add a new signal at 28th Avenue for the new neighborhood greenway that had been planned as part of the 20s Bikeway — designed to be a less direct but lower-stress alternative to 26th Avenue’s bike lanes.

The state agreed to allow a new biking/walking traffic signal, but on one unusual condition: that the city remove the bike lanes from 26th.

State says it will “revisit” decision if substantial bike traffic remains on 26th
students biking in crosswalk 26th powell
Some people who bike on 26th already don’t bother with the bike lanes.

In an undated memo by the City of Portland, city staff projected that removing the northbound bike lane from 26th in order to widen the southbound bike lane there (which was another scenario discussed) would divert 90 percent of northbound bike traffic over to 28th.

That memo apparently inspired the state’s proposal to remove bike lanes from 26th Avenue completely. BikePortland received it in August after a public record request.

In an email last week, ODOT spokeswoman Dinwiddie wrote that if the bike lanes are removed from 26th Avenue but bike traffic falls less dramatically than the city expects, then ODOT “would be willing to revisit the agreement to remove bike lanes from SE 26th Avenue.”

“Encouraging bicyclists to use the new crossing at SE 28th Avenue or opt to use the travel lane on SE 26th Avenue will raise the visibility of the cyclist in the roadway as well as increase the likelihood they will be seen.”
— ODOT Spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie

“We recognize some cyclists will continue to use the intersection, which is perfectly legal,” Dinwiddie wrote. “Removing the bike lanes on SE 26th Avenue and encouraging bicyclists to use the new crossing at SE 28th Avenue or opt to use the travel lane on SE 26th Avenue will raise the visibility of the cyclist in the roadway as well as increase the likelihood they will be seen by bike and vehicles using other approaches at the intersection. … SE 28th Avenue crossing at Powell has fewer conflict points for bikes and pedestrians than a traditional signal and provides a safe and comfortable location for bike to cross. The City will be installing bicycle wayfinding signs on 26th to encourage bicyclists to cross at the safer location two blocks away rather than using the intersection at 26th and Powell where we have seen a number of serious bicycle crashes in the past year.”

Rich Newlands, the city’s project manager for the 20s Bikeway, confirmed on Dec. 23 that the state had approved the signal at 28th but said he couldn’t comment on the decisions surrounding 26th Avenue. Newlands referred questions about 26th Avenue to city spokesman John Brady, who couldn’t find time in the next two weeks to answer any questions about the city’s decision.

(Brady did send a text message Wednesday saying “we appreciate that there seems to be room to revisit the issue after the much needed signal at 28th is installed.”)

As a result, it’s currently unclear when the city expects to remove the bike lanes, or why it agreed to do so despite its policy to prioritize bike traffic over auto traffic, its designation of 26th Avenue as a future bikeway and the four studies that it had said showed that removing the bike lane would make the street more dangerous.

In August, the state said it feels those studies do not support such a conclusion, but declined to say why.

Update 7:30 p.m.: City Spokesman Dylan Rivera got in touch late Wednesday to answer the question of when any lane removal is expected: a year or more after the 28th signal is installed.

Rivera also offered, for the first time, a description of the city-ODOT agreement that differs from ODOT’s description. He said the city has agreed that “a year or more after the new signal at 28th is installed, we will revisit the need for bike lanes on SE 26th based on the data we gather after the 20s Bikeway signal at 28th has been installed.” Expect further coverage of this developing story.

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

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220 Comments
  • Joe January 6, 2016 at 11:38 am

    way bummed 🙁

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    • Buzz January 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Total BS!

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    • K'Tesh January 6, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Way to go ODOT… #ODOTSafetyThird

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    • Capizzi January 7, 2016 at 12:20 am

      Powell seems much slower than last year, especially with Division narrowed. I see a lot of speeding and poor driving thru the neighborhoods, and it is not just Clinton. I expect to see more cars zooming thru stop signs between Powell-Division and Division-Hawthorne if Powell is slowed by another traffic light at 28th. At first I liked the idea of slowing traffic especially right next to a school, but on second thought I would prefer fast efficient routes with limited stops for both bikes and for motor traffic. I like to cross Powell at 33rd where visibility is better.

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      • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 12:26 am

        I expect the signal will be coordinated with the one at 26th so as to minimize disruption to Powell traffic.

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    • TOM January 7, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      The road belongs to the state: Game-Set-Match. Check Mate.

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      • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 6:29 pm

        l’état, c’est moi

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  • Paul Atkinson January 6, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Will the city be on the lookout for aggressive drivers who buzz, harass, or threaten cyclists who use the full lane on 26th once they remove that bit of infrastructure?

    I’ll be taking video…I always do. When that happens — and I’m confident it will — where would the city like the video sent so that citations can be delivered in a timely fashion?

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  • alankessler January 6, 2016 at 11:41 am

    *this comment has been self-moderated*

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    • Kirk January 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      My thoughts exactly.

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      • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 3:54 pm

        I think we should remove car access to the driveway and street in front of Matt Garrett’s house; but if contrary to expectations he and his wife continue to drive there ODOT will consider whether to reinstate car-driving privileges at these locations.
        WTF is wrong with these people?

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    • Charley January 6, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      Those !@#$%^& !@#$s.

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  • KD January 6, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Although it isn’t the route that always feels the safest, it is one of the fastest and most direct ways to get north and south in this area. The loss of the bike lanes here is huge for those of us that live and commute daily through here.

    Also, it wasn’t clear to me that they planned for the traffic light at 28th to be installed before the lanes are removed from 26th, so that could create a major problem for those that need to cross Powell.

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    • jake January 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Yep, this is what kills me (perhaps literally, one day) about it. On a bike, you are continually forced to make the trade between convenience and safety, and that is what will both deter some people from riding and get other people hurt or killed.

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  • Greg Haun January 6, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I lived just a few blocks from 26th and I am ready to celebrate good riddance to one of the worst residential bike lanes in Portland. With guests or kids I’d rather ride 28th and when going fast I’d rather ride 26th without bike lanes. There simply isn’t enough room for bike lanes there and riding through Cleveland High School is a nightmare. 28th is a great route, try it! (you’ll have to imagine the new crossing at Powell).

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 11:59 am

      This is our chance to get the city to install some good pedestrian crossings along 26th. Cleveland needs a crosswalk (at Franklin), as do the two bus stops further north (and probably also at the bus stops to the south, but I know less about that section).

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      • Scott H January 6, 2016 at 9:42 pm

        What’s going on? Why do you keep saying things I agree with?

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    • soren January 6, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      “and when going fast I’d rather ride 26th without bike lanes”

      Hundreds of people use this facility, including students, and I doubt that most want to ride fast in the middle of truck traffic. Moreover, removing the bike lanes is likely to encourage aggressive driving near a school.

      Aficionados of extreme cycling can ride on the many Portland roads without bike lanes. For example, bombing down Powell or Chavez is pure dumb fun! What I do not understand at all is why someone who clearly enjoys taking risks would be upset about wee little bike lane on 26th.

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      • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 12:33 pm

        Most of those hundreds will move to 28th, which is much less stressful all around, and still gets you to Cleveland. The driving-in-front-of-the-school issues can be dealt with with a narrowing of the street or other design to slow traffic.

        Cycling on 26th sucks today. It might actually get better. With 28th so close, it’s not a huge loss.

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        • J. E. January 6, 2016 at 1:41 pm

          I agreed with you… until I actually rode the route up 28th. There is a HUGE hill at 28th and Woodward, whereas 26th is almost perfectly flat. As someone who believes cycling should be accessible for all, including people unable or unwilling to chug up steep hills, I will continue to fight for 26th. Most greenways in this city somehow manage to run along much steeper routes than nearby arterials (compare Clinton, Harrison, Salmon, Ankeny, to nearby Division, Hawthorne, and Burnside) which means that vehicles with motors get the routes requiring the least exertion, while people-powered transit experiences the most. “8-to-80 cycling” doesn’t just refer to safety, it refers to physical ability too.

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          • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 5:12 pm

            THIS. The Hill makes this feel like a huge loss, as well as the direct connection.

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        • davemess January 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm

          Why are you assuming that most cyclists are going to Cleveland? In my experience most are coming to/from downtown.
          I haven’t ridden 28th, so have no idea if the rest of the route from Gladstone or Holgate to Division or Clinton will be as fast as 26th (even if they put in a decent signal for Powell, and that seems like a big IF)

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          • Kath Youell January 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm

            I’m not going to Cleveland… yet. But we go to Burgerville and this is our route home from Trader Joe’s. Such asinine b-s that they completely ignore topography and that the most vulnerable won’t be able to use 28th.

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          • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm

            I don’t think they’re all going to Cleveland, but connecting to Cleveland is important. I was just noting that 28th connects there just as well as 26th.

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    • wsbob January 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      “…and when going fast I’d rather ride 26th without bike lanes. …” greg haun

      What mph speed for a bike traveling 26th, do you regard as fast? 20-25mph?

      ODOT spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie apparently believes that removal of bike lanes on 26th will persuade some of the people biking this street, not to bike that street any longer: at what mph speed might this particular type of rider generally have been riding the bike lanes on 26th? 8mph? 12 mph? 15mph? (By the way, help out and remind us what the width of the said to be narrow bike lanes are…4′ or less?).

      I’m thinking of what number of the reported 600-800 people that ride 26th, may depend on the narrow bike lanes for their travel on this street at speeds which I’d personally consider slow….say l5 mph or less. If that number is less than 25 percent of the total number of people riding this street, removing the bike lanes may not be much of a gain if any, for either traffic flow, or vulnerable road user safety.

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      • Kath Youell January 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm

        I average 4mph. And now I’ll be out in the lane. Enjoy the view, drivers, it’s not changing soon!

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        • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 5:13 pm

          You are braver than I am, Kath, but I commend you!

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          • Kath Youell January 7, 2016 at 6:39 pm

            Brave or stupid, who’s to say? I do know that I have some Mom on a Huge Bike privilege and places like this are when I use it.

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      • Greg Haun January 6, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        I measured the width of the bike lane on 26th at Powell before the bike boxes were installed. 40″. That’s crazy narrow. Yes that is less than 4′.

        15-18 MPH is ‘fast’ for me in this context. At 15MPH I prefer the stretch of 26th from Taggart to Division where there are no bike lanes and I don’t have to deal with cars whizzing by me so close I feel the wind from each one. I certainly hope the new configuration means parking on both sides of the street to create the same calming effect as on the Taggart to Division segment.

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        • GlowBoy January 6, 2016 at 8:59 pm

          40″ is narrow, but a lot wider than the 22″ wide bike lane (no, I am not kidding) in front of Key Bank on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, just west of the Portland city limit.

          And it is still way better than no bike lane at all.

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          • davemess January 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm

            I remember when they put that in 5-6 years ago. On the plus side it is pretty short and kind of just acts as a transition at the County line where it goes from no bike lane to an okay bike lane.

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        • wsbob January 6, 2016 at 9:48 pm

          greg…thanks. 40″ is narrow for bike lanes, but wider than a lot of the road shoulders to the left of fog lines on roads outside the city. With road handlebars 42cm (less wide than cruiser bars?), riding right down the center of that 40″ width, leaves the left side of the bars just 10″ distance from fast moving vehicles (26th is posted for 25 mph?) in the right main lane of the road: not much margin for road user error with people cruising in the 10-12 mph range in the bike lane.

          Speaking for myself…since I can ride 15-20 mph easily enough, and faster, I wouldn’t generally be riding the bike lane, but instead, the main lane. I’m fine with riding the line dividing main lane from bike lane, but riding actually in the bike lane, especially on ones like this that are rather narrow, often is not good. Nevertheless, it’s still very important and useful for bike travel, and motor vehicle travel, that there be bike lanes, even ones as narrow as 40″, on streets such as 26th.

          If Portland were able to sustain traffic flow on 26th, to about a 15 mph range, I kind of feel that would be reasonable for inner city travel. Inner city streets supporting motor vehicle mph speeds of 30, 35, and faster, tend to become noisy and hostile for anything but driving. Traffic volume flow and capacity is the big appeal. City’s with growing populations, fret about handling it. Streamlining streets into thoroughfares must be tempting to city leaders.

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          • Bald One January 7, 2016 at 10:41 am

            I think most of you are forgetting the typical long line-up of cars waiting at the red light in order to turn into the non-moving traffic on SE Powell. Do you want to ride in the lane and wait at the end of that line, inching along a few cars per red light? Removal of the bike lane and “taking the lane” here will make it harder to negotiate the stopped rush hour traffic by bicycle. This is ODOT’s wish, along with figuring out how to pack more 53′ semi-trailers onto SE 26th.

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            • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 10:50 am

              That’s a really good point, one I hadn’t considered before. It probably is ODOT’s wish, not because they want to punish bikes, but because they want, more than anything, to never have another bike crash at that intersection.

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              • El Biciclero January 7, 2016 at 1:01 pm

                “…they want, more than anything, to never have another bike crash at that intersection.”

                Shouldn’t they want that for every intersection? Is the solution then to remove or discourage bike traffic from every intersection? Whether it is their intention or not, stating a rationale of increasing safety by removing bike traffic sounds a little ominous. Sort of like the teacher telling the small kids to stay off the playground equipment because the big kids are playing on it, and they’re just not careful; so if you’re little, just play with wood chips.

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                • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 1:13 pm

                  I meant to suggest that it is this intersection in particular that they are concerned with, given the reaction to what happened to Crockett. Were it to repeat, they might have to acknowledge they have a safety problem that cannot be fixed with a quick signal upgrade, and might require more significant changes to address.

                  I suspect ODOT decision makers saw the request for a new signal at 28th as a way to remove a potential danger (to the status quo) and grabbed it.

                  I don’t see their decision as being intentionally anti-cyclist, but more as an attempt at self-inoculation against a perceived threat (to their way of managing facilities).

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                • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm

                  “I don’t see their decision as being intentionally anti-cyclist, but more as an attempt at self-inoculation against a perceived threat (to their way of managing facilities).”

                  Except they would never take this approach if the mode in question were cars. El Biciclero’s metaphor is spot on.

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                • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 1:21 pm

                  Of course they wouldn’t. But car crashes don’t have the same political volatility demonstrated by the reaction to Corkett’s injuries.

                  [My apologies for misspelling his name earlier.]

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            • wsbob January 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm

              “I think most of you are forgetting the typical long line-up of cars waiting at the red light in order to turn into the non-moving traffic on SE Powell. …” bald one

              Could you offer your personal rough estimate of what times of the day that queue builds up, and how long it lasts? Unless traffic at 26th and Powell is extraordinarily heavy for those streets, over hours considerably beyond the am/pm commute, biking the main lane likely isn’t going to generally mean being stuck in a long line of motor vehicles stretching way back from the intersection.

              Again, I feel like ODOT and PBOT’s main idea behind the arrangement at the departments are reported to have come to, is enhanced vehicle capacity and flow…based on anticipated use of motor vehicle, rather than pedaled vehicles…in other words, bikes (to refer to bikes according to how state law regards them to be.).

              With population and density growing, transportation departments reaching for greater vehicle road capacity in this way, may not be taking opportunities available for greater road capacity that could exist if more of the vehicles on road were bikes, rather than motor vehicles.

              This is an old, fairly familiar argument of course, and although one not entirely certain, to increase the street’s vehicle capacity, encouraging more, rather than fewer numbers of people to bike on 26th, as well as 28th, would seem to be the more productive experiment to try out.

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      • Tom Hardy January 6, 2016 at 7:17 pm

        12-18 mph is adequate for 26th. Take the full lane and use camera’s since there are no bike lanes the motorists and trucks are obliged to slow down and follow you. If PBOT or ODOT do not paint Sharrows, shame on them. Let the motorist’s complain! Weather permitting I am going to ride back and forth for about 3 blocks on either side of Powell until PPB decides to arrest me for obstructing traffic. Then I show the Judge the video’s of the harrassing motorists.

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    • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      “With guests or kids I’d rather ride 28th and when going fast I’d rather ride 26th without bike lanes. ”

      I am not seeing why we should choose? Do people in cars have to choose? Of course not. They can go anywhere except in the 0.000001% of locations where there are diverters.

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    • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Great! Having 28th should make you happy, then. Why take away 26th to do it, though?

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      • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm

        A case can be made that 26th will be safer without bike lanes. If parking is reinstated on both sides, the street will feel more constrained, which should help bring traffic speeds down. The best parts of 26th to ride on today are those where there are no bike lanes, and where there is parking on both sides of the street.

        26th sucks today; 26th will suck when the lanes are removed. But I think it will suck less.

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        • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 8:20 pm

          Suck less FOR WHOM? For cars? It won’t suck less for bikes.

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          • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm

            I believe it will be safer for cyclists. That’s a big part of sucking less. For cyclists.

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            • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm

              You believe it will be safere for which cyclists? Those who continue to bike on 26th because they live there, have business to attend to there, it’s flat, etc.? Or those who have been cowed to go elsewhere?

              What about the unfortunate but all too real message that some will take from this along the lines of: ‘you cyclists don’t belong here any more; why aren’t you over on 28th?!’ This to me is the problem. Removing a bike lane sends this message LOUD and CLEAR, and it is not a welcome, or sensible, or smart, or forward looking message.

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            • soren January 6, 2016 at 8:33 pm
              • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 8:40 pm

                Excellent. Thanks for that, soren.

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              • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 10:22 pm

                Thanks for posting that link. I don’t think Roger presents a slam dunk case, but he does provide some food for thought. I am making certain assumptions about how the the street will be reconfigured, such as the restoration of parking on both sides of the street, and how it might operate, such as slower traffic speeds due to the narrower feel of a street with parking. If those assumptions are wrong, all bets are off.

                I also think this situation presents opportunities for the advocacy community, and I don’t think the final chapter has yet been written.

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                • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 10:25 pm

                  betting on salutary repercussions of bringing on street car parking back is to me a dubious proposition. Some folks argued that for 28th between Stark and Sandy, but it never made that much sense to me. Too much Stockholm Syndrome for me. But perhaps I just haven’t seen the case made well.

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                • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 10:38 pm

                  Parking narrows the road. It adds busyness to the road. It makes things less predictable. It adds some degree of visual differentiation to drivers. All of this slows traffic.

                  Parking also provides a buffer (physical, noise, visual) from traffic for pedestrians. Streets with no parking and high traffic speeds/volumes always make me (at least) feel vulnerable.

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                • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 10:42 pm

                  I get that. But I also think that stuffing cars everywhere as ballast falls far short of what we could and should be imagining, building, working towards. And then there are the doors-that-might-fly-open-at-any-moment from any of those parked cars. And the folks entering and leaving those rows of parked cars, or were you imagining these to be public art, towed vehicles, for instance, that just provided these services of which you speak without any of the attendant dangers when someone actually exits or interacts with or drives those erstwhile buffers?

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                • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 10:47 pm

                  Yes, sure, other things than parked cars could provide the same benefits. I wouldn’t object to creating a linear public garden in the bike lane, for example, or perhaps something else. What else is on offer?

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  • realworld January 6, 2016 at 11:51 am

    “Dinwiddie said Tuesday that removing the bike lane would improve safety by reducing the number of people biking through that intersection.”

    A better “safety Strategy” would be to remove all the auto traffic lanes if you really want to “Improve Safety”!

    **portion of comment removed – personal insults are not tolerated **

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    • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      We can also improve safety by reducing the number of people driving.

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      • realworld January 6, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        Which will never happen if we allow ODOT to dictate where we’re allowed to ride and walk.
        ODOT is making a very clear statement that the safety of neighborhood residents means nothing to them and they will do what ever they want when ever they want.

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  • Keviniano January 6, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for reporting on this Michael. I can only imagine the self-control it took to write this.

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  • soren January 6, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Newlands referred questions about 26th Avenue to city spokesman John Brady, who couldn’t find time in the next two weeks to answer any questions about the city’s decision.

    Platinum.

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  • Granpa January 6, 2016 at 11:58 am

    This is my commute route. Although change (of any sort) frightens me, it will not be an inconvenience to use 28th. I have had conflicts with moms dropping off their little darlings in front of the high school.

    My question, how is the speed limit allowed to be so dangerously high on Powell in a school zone?

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  • Paul Wilkins January 6, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    While it will add about 6 miles to my 6-mile commute, I’m thinking of working 26th and Powell into my route to work.

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    • soren January 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      I’m going to start riding this route every freaking day.

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      • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        I did today. And have for years.
        I don’t see what all the fuss from ODOT is about. The only message that removing the bike lane here sends is that if ODOT doesn’t want anyone to bike there, feel welcome, be offered a modicum of road inches they can claim, they can order that. And this seems so unbelievably anachronistic and wrongheaded I could …
        …never mind.

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  • Adron Hall @ Transit Sleuth January 6, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Just continued failure…

    …I’ve so given up on this city at this point. I’m just honestly not sure what to even attempt anymore. ODOT seems to have no clue or act purposely hostile and with malicious intent. PBOT seems powerless, the mayor (Hales) doesn’t seem to actually care. He faux biked to work a few times then withdrew and is now even more lame duck then before.

    …Portland used to be a shining light amid the darkness of America’s dystopian auto-dependent transportation system. Now it’s fading into that dystopia one bike lane at a time it seems. 🙁

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    • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Have you ridden the 26th bike lane? It’s a glorified shoulder. It fails completely for safety metrics and only attracts the “Strong and Fearless”. If 28th is done properly, it will vastly improve safety over the not-up-to-current-standards bike gutter on 26th. 28th and Powell would be a terrific spot for a protected intersection.

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      • Beth January 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        Not strong. Not fearless. Not fast.
        I, for one, will miss the bike lane at 26th.
        Cars get to go in almost straight lines all over the city; why not me on my bike, too?
        Oh, wait. Because, cars.
        Right, sorry, forgot where I was for a second.

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      • davemess January 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm

        So you think there are roughly 800 strong and fearless riders in the SE?
        Regardless of how safe or not you think it is, it still gets A LOT of use.

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      • Kath Youell January 6, 2016 at 2:26 pm

        I use it when I have no other way to go north/south. I live close by and if there is no other way to get where I’m going on a flat-ish route then I use 26th. I’m not stupid so I don’t choose it unless I absolutely have to, and I’ll continue to have to. So livid.

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      • soren January 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        Taking away infrastructure that benefits the 18-60 crowd is not progress. We should be upgrading that bike lane, not removing it.

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        • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 4:07 pm

          I agree. We are sort of upgrading it my moving it two blocks over. However, there’s no reason we can’t do both.

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          • soren January 6, 2016 at 5:28 pm

            The city has been trying to get people to stop cycling on commercial streets and arterials for decades. Greenways are great but we also need to be able to cycle on direct routes.

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            • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm

              This was ODOT’s decision, not PBOT’s. If PBOT did not give in, there would be no new signal at 28th.

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              • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 6, 2016 at 8:19 pm

                Bottom line is we shouldn’t be making deals. This isn’t a game. There’s no good reason to remove the bike lane. Why is PBOT enabling ODOT’s auto-centric tendencies? The whole thing is strange. Doesn’t smell right to me at all. And the poor communication from PBOT is really unfortunate.

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                • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm

                  comment of the week.

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                • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 8:37 pm

                  PBOT needs to get on top of their messaging game. By remaining quiet, they are making people think they want to remove the bike lanes. I believe they do not, but agreed to it to get 28th, which they feel is more important.

                  I think I could present ODOT’s case on this (which is logical though I disagree with it), but I don’t want to get lynched.

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                • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                  Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 6, 2016 at 9:57 pm

                  Yes, PBOT staff have avoided criticizing ODOT’s decisions on this but they’ve been explicit about the fact that the city would not be considering removing this bike lane if not to get the state’s permission for that new crossing at 28th. As we reported in our first coverage back in August, they’ve already spent most of a year trying to negotiate their way around this order from ODOT’s engineering staff.

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                • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 10:02 pm

                  Makes you scratch your head.
                  ODOT doesn’t listen to us (non-car-bound constituency);
                  ODOT doesn’t listen to PBOT’s reasoned arguments;
                  ODOT doesn’t care for Vision Zero.

                  With friends like these who needs enemies?!

                  And my apologies to those within ODOT who are trying. We know you’re there and would rather the cheeses handled all of this differently, but eventually the pot boils over.

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                • Bald One January 7, 2016 at 2:39 pm

                  PBOT needs to build the full, deluxe bike route on SE 28th, with all the paint, signs, and treatments all along the route, from Gladstone to Franklin, without touching SE 26th. Then, put the pressure on ODOT to put up the lights on Powell at 28th. After the new signals are completed, turned on, and fully functional and up to everyone’s satisfaction, then, and only then, they can start a new discussion about taking action on “improvements” to 26th. As of today, it seems like a lot of words and not a lot of action to back it up. They need to force the action at ODOT by taking action at PBOT.

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                • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 2:44 pm

                  How would PBOT pressure ODOT?

                  When it comes to 28th, ODOT has sole veto power. And it is backed up by pre-existing policy. I’m sure if PBOT could have got a signal at 28th without giving up bike lanes on 26th, they would have done so.

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                • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 3:14 pm

                  “ODOT has sole veto power”

                  Wait a minute – ?
                  I thought both agencies worked for us because we pay their salaries. What is this veto you are talking about and how does it work? I don’t understand this at all. ODOT doesn’t OWN Hwy 26, they are charged with managing it FOR US.

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                • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm

                  You really don’t understand? At all?

                  As you may know, governmental bodies/agencies can own property, and they can control what happens on it. This is not a direct function of whatever a particular agency’s mandate may (or may not) be.

                  ODOT owns/controls Powell. PBOT does not. Hence ODOT has the final authority over what happens on the road. I expressed this authority as “sole veto power”, which is correct enough for our purposes.

                  It is also true that ODOT is a state agency, and that we can, through our elected representatives, exert control over them, thereby influencing how they manage their property.

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                • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm

                  You’re right. I don’t understand. At all.

                  Nothing ODOT does makes any sense to me, passes the laugh test, much less the good PR test. I get the feeling they are becoming a rogue entity, an anachronism that is dangerous to our public health. I say get rid of them altogether. I can’t imagine that whatever arrangement were to succeed ODOT could do a worse job on the issues of interest to us here.

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                • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm

                  I think if you look at it from their point of view, their actions do make sense. You will probably still not agree with them (I certainly don’t), but pretending what their doing is totally wild-ass crazy won’t help us get better outcomes.

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                • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 3:49 pm

                  valid points. But given that I (and a few others apparently) think what they are doing is, as you say, wild-ass crazy, you’d think that any agency worth their salt would find within itself the ability to do some damage control, turn over a new leaf, hit rewind, COMMUNICATE….

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                • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 4:13 pm

                  What they are doing is not wild-ass crazy; they are behaving very logically. They are just starting with a different set of values and priorities than most of us are. And I assure you they are communicating. Just not with you (or me).

                  The way to reform the agency is to change their starting point. This may well require new leadership and/or structural change.

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            • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 10:45 pm

              Right because Greenways are great for commuting, but what happens when someone wants to bike to a destination on Hawthorne or Division? If the last few blocks of riding are on dangerously busy commercial streets, they may not make the choice to ride at all.

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              • soren January 7, 2016 at 11:15 am

                Greenways (with paikiala’s full Greenway report treatment) are awesome for people who want/prefer a calm and comfortable route. They are OK for commuting but a direct and comfortable arterial route is great.

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      • David Parsons January 6, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        Adam H.
        Have you ridden the 26th bike lane? It’s a glorified shoulder. It fails completely for safety metrics and only attracts the “Strong and Fearless”

        Uh, that’s not quite the case. I’ve not seen any omafietsen when I’m riding back and forth along that stretch (it’s a nice way back to Sellwood from central SE) but the ratio of casual commuters vs the fearless is tilted a long way away from the fearless.

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    • jeff January 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      goodbye cruel world!!

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  • Champs January 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Realistically, how many tears will be shed? The popularity of 26th is practically in spite of its quality.

    I guess the thing that upsets me is that PBOT’s trade comes with no commitment statement about the rest of 28th. The Gladstone Jog will not be missed, but the route between it and Holgate is ambiguously marked. And this is just a small stretch of the larger 20s Bikeway.

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    • Granpa January 6, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      “Rich Newlands, the city’s project manager for the 20s Bikeway, confirmed on Dec. 23 that the state had approved the signal at 28th….”

      The commitment to improve the crossing at 28th was mentioned.

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      • Champs January 6, 2016 at 3:05 pm

        I’m well aware of it. The problem is that this alone comes with enough compromise to negate anything one might consider an upgrade.

        There isn’t much point in changing if PBOT won’t commit to anything more than a lateral move. For all its faults, the status quo is cheap and remains popular.

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  • EricIvy January 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    HANDS SHAKING WITH ANGER

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  • Pete January 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    May I suggest notifying the Oregonian and explaining that the state’s solution to the traffic problems on 26th is to take the bicyclists from beside the motorists and put them in front of them instead?

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    • Spiffy January 6, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      is there suddenly a shortage of anti-cycling comments on O’live and you feel there needs to be more?

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  • Brad January 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    The state will revisit its decision if large numbers of people die on 26th after the lane is removed.

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    • Beth January 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Possible quote of the week.

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      • Dan A January 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm

        If a driver dies on a road, do we get to remove a car lane?

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  • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    The bike lane was terrible, to the point of being essentially useless. This was the narrowest bike lane in the city and really just serves as minor traffic calming for drivers by narrowing the lanes instead of as real bike infrastructure.The facility is really being moved two blocks over instead of removed entirely, so it’s not quite on the level of Rob Fordism. Painted bike lanes fail for safety anyway, and a design that aims to reduce auto traffic (e.g. Neighborhood Greenways) are far more effective for safety.

    As a consolation prize, there should be diverters on the route over to 28th so that the street is a car-free as possible. There should also be a bikes-only phase crossing Powell that holds all drivers in all directions to a red. Either that or install a full-blown protected intersection on Powell. Something needs to be done since the problem of crossing Powell hasn’t really gone away, it’s just been moved two blocks east.

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    • alankessler January 6, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      I’m sure ODOT will be happy to do that, just so long as you can propose signal timing that won’t inhibit flow on Powell.

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    • Clark in Vancouver January 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      I agree. The city could make it a protected intersection. Then make it car-free between Franklin and Powell. Protected lanes south of Powell to Rhone.

      I can’t tell from satellite pictures but is there a way to bike from Waverleigh Blvd to 28th by bike? (And do locals call it “Whateverly Boulevard”?)

      If they’re going to have greenways it’s time to upgrade them to a higher standard. If the state is trying to prevent the velorution, the city can still do what they can to continue it.
      A similar thing happens in BC. The provincial government is constantly messing with Vancouver and it’s pro transit and pro cycling policies. The city does what it can anyway and has the support of the people. I think the city of Porland can be shown that there would be support to make 28th a AAA greenway.

      Turn this setback into a big leap forward.

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    • Kath Youell January 6, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      That doesn’t fix the topography problem. Me, my kids, and our bakfiets will still be on 26th.

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    • Pete January 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      “…so it’s not quite on the level of Rob Fordism.”

      Too funny. There’s a joke about smoking crack in there somewhere! 🙂

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  • paikiala January 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Take the lane. Invite PPB to do the same, on a bike, they do for pedestrian crosswalk enforcements.

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    • fourknees January 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      This is an interesting idea. If there are targeted crosswalk enforcement, drunk driving checkpoints, speed focused enforcements, etc…why not have a plain clothed office ride down a neighborhood greenway or other problem spots around the city with motorcycle officers at each end of a couple block stretch? Seems like it would be the same amount of effort as other enforcement efforts. Or maybe this has been done before?

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      • Kath Youell January 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        It hasn’t. All of the cycling advocates calls for enforcement in this area since I’ve been here (2011) have resulted in lots of people on bikes getting pulled over and not a bit of dangerous passing or aggressive driving being addressed. Even Rich Newlands doesn’t seem to be able to get PPB to understand what enforcing passing laws means.

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  • davemess January 6, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Here’s to hoping the timing of the new signals at 28th are set up a lot better than anything around the Tilikum bridge!

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    • Paul Atkinson January 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      I’m sure they’ll look out for cyclist safety by adding some push-gates.

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  • axoplasm January 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    So much for my New Year Resolution to not get so het up about crappy local politics

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  • mpop January 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    “draw something like 600 to 800 people per day”

    Those riders should start using the main travel lanes now, ideally in large clusters, so everyone can get a taste of how traffic will be affected before they take out the bike lanes.

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  • J_R January 6, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    There are multiple problems with 28th that make it less than desirable for a bike route. The section between Powell and Francis is fully parked with cars almost all the time and it has pretty high motor vehicle volumes. The intersection of 28th and Rhone has really poor sight distance because of a huge hedge in the SE quadrant and cars parked along Rhone. Maybe some of those issues can be “fixed,” but with Portland’s refusal to inconvenience motorists, I rather doubt it.

    Since ODOT insists that PBOT remove the bike lane on 26th, I guess I’ll be taking the lane.

    ODOT hates bikes!

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    • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      28th should get protected bike lanes south of Holgate.

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      • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        Wow, Adam… I actually agree!

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        • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 12:56 pm

          😀

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  • El Biciclero January 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    “ODOT spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie said Tuesday that removing the bike lane would improve safety by reducing the number of people biking through that intersection. Many, she predicted, will switch to using 28th Avenue when a new traffic signal and neighborhood greenway are installed there in the coming months.”

    Of course you can reduce the number of injuries while doing a thing by reducing the number of people who do that thing. But that’s backwards. If the injuries suffered while doing Thing A are mostly the result of other people doing Thing B in a less-than-competent fashion, then it makes sense from an ethical perspective to see what can be done about those people doing Thing B. Maybe discourage Thing B somehow. Why can’t the removal of bike lanes come with the addition of sharrows and a lowering of the speed limit to 25, which is the statutory speed limit for a residential street anyway.

    Does increasing “safety” at this intersection by discouraging bicycle use lead to increased safety at other locations that are assumed to absorb those displaced from 26th?

    I hope at the very least that the improvements to 28th will be completed before the removal of these bike lanes. It would be interesting to study bicyclist preference after the addition of the 28th improvements, but prior to the 26th pave-over. Which of these routes would be truly preferred?

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      “It would be interesting to study bicyclist preference after the addition of the 28th improvements, but prior to the 26th pave-over.”

      That window will provide an interesting time for political action. 28th will already be built, yet there will still be lanes on 26th. That overlap could provide a toehold for changing the final outcome.

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  • Keviniano January 6, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Maybe PBOT could throw up “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs when they take out the bike lanes.

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    • soren January 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      A few diverters would be nice.

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  • Dan A January 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Hmm, new strategy emerges from drivers who want to get rid of bike lanes on their favorite roads…..

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  • Bald One January 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Where to start… I have mixed opinions.
    1) It is never good to lose an important part of existing bike infrastructure.
    2) If the new bike route along 28th is actually better than 26th, it will go a long way to building some trust in this process. But, they will have to do more than just put up a light and a couple of signs. I am skeptical they will dress up this 28th route enough to make it an equal or better exchange.
    3) The existing bike lanes on 26th (from Gladstone to 1 block south of SE Clinton, where both bike lanes on both ends disappear) are too narrow and too poor quality to shed a lot of tears about losing the crossing. But, will the “new” facility on 26th simply have disappearing bike lanes several hundred feet from Powell? Or, will they erase them all the way along the stretch of Gladstone to Clinton? Many bike users come and go from 26th south of Holgate, and they will be left out in the cold to find another route. I still think the City can improve 26th all along this whole section in order to widen the bike lanes – this would involve some curbing changes, non-native tree removal, but are these things really that expensive? (we see the constant city investment in ADA curb cuts all over the city as evidence). An improved 26th should be the goal, not swapping it for 28th.
    4) I attended some of the meetings for the 20’s bikeway. The one at Cleveland high last year had several members of the freight community there. I expect ODOT wants to see more 53′ semi-trailers using SE 26th from Holgate and Gladstone to Powell. The continued expansion of the enormous trucking facility at 22nd and Gladstone and the Brooklyn yard is an egregious stomping on all livability and sustainability issues in this neighborhood. SE 26th needs to have 5-axle truck/trailers BANNED from it, and the international railroad tycoons need to invest some money in this facility to improve truck flows in/out of Portland of their international trans-loading cargo facility – there is almost no local neighborhood economic impact of this facility, yet it dominates the local community and transportation flows (and congestion).
    5) I have used SE 26th as a bike route for over 25 years. I have used it much less since the new Powell overpass along the Orange line at 17th. I expect many other SE commuters have also used this route less in the past year, but there are still many users there. I will give 28th a try. There will still be conflicts with the High School on 28th north of Powell – not necessarily from cars crossing the bike lane in drop-off like on 26th, but from students milling about and hanging around and crossing anywhere along this 1-block stretch on the east of the HS before and after school. And there are drop-offs on that side of the school, also.
    6) The guinea pig problem. When the new light goes up on Powell, which is on a hill where folks are really gunning their cars up to speed (50 mph) when there is not gridlock (think: night times, mid-day, weekends, etc), a lot of drivers will run this new red light during the first few months before they realize it’s there. Do you want to be the one crossing when that happens?
    7) I’m sure there will be an inappropriate amount of gold-plated traffic control signals here: beg buttons, bike traffic lights, etc. It’s hard to imagine they don’t blow their whole budget on these extra bells and whistles. And, I’m sure these are great, but I would like to see the money spread out for 1/2 mile on either side of this new light to improve the overall route: parking changes, stop-sign turns, improved street conditions, visibility issues, pavement changes and markings, etc. At some point, this route may connect back with SE 26th and have to go through SE Clinton intersection – where the bike lane completely disappears in favor of on-street parking. This intersection needs improving as part of this project.

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    • Granpa January 6, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Good point about drivers running that red light on 28th. In spring and fall mornings the horizontal light is blinding and drivers go by braille.

      Red light cameras are needed

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      • El Biciclero January 6, 2016 at 2:02 pm

        “Red light cameras are needed”

        Oooh. No can do. Red light cameras would decrease safety by causing too many rear-end collisions…

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  • ECW January 6, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    PDOT’s also caving because it suits their masters at Union Pacific who run their huge container trucks on 26th. Same folks who brought you that joke of a bike lane on Gladstone west of 26th that’s actually on the truck route where the trucks have to swing clear to the curb to turn the corner. These clowns don’t care and they never have. Sorry this if this is news to anyone who thought they did

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  • VTRC January 6, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    You gotta be kidding me.

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  • SD January 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    It is bad policy to discourage cycling on a city street like this one and to designate special routes that all cyclists are “supposed to ride on.”

    The next bicycle rider injury at this intersection will be accompanied by a description that states the cyclist was taking unnecessary and irresponsible risks by not riding on 28th. This statement will be made regardless of the nature of the injury.

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  • Joe January 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    yes i ride this! and still will, i can just see the amount of bad drivers getting their way now. getting zipped etc…. its a black eye for Portland if you ask me.
    HAS ANYONE REALLY seen what has happend in the last 4 years? so many disconnects.. * what if you get caught on this at a bad time of the day ? *

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  • Paul January 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    So, if that street must accommodate cars, then why not make it a one-way street (with one auto lane) and there will be room for bike lanes going both ways. You don’t need to be able to drive a car in every inch of of space in the city whichever direction you want. It’s just not necessary.

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  • Greg Haun January 6, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Just to make everyone’s day, ODOT is also planning a safety project along Powell from SE 20th to 34th. From the meeting I attended, the main safety features will be widening the intersection at 26th to allow faster truck turns, removing street trees to improve visibility, and prohibiting red light cameras to prevent rear-end collisions on Powell. I kid you not. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/Pages/Powell-Boulevard-Safety-Project–SE-20th-to-34th.aspx

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    • Bald One January 6, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Get ready for one continuous truck-stand of roaring and idling semi-trailers from SE Gladstone to SE Powell along 26th.

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    • axoplasm January 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Powell is like a toxic vein bleeding long-distance commuter traffic into the neighborhoods, from at least Foster into Brooklyn.

      Top priority for SE Portland should be taming Powell US-26, not setting it loose.

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      • davemess January 6, 2016 at 5:07 pm

        I hate to say it, but is anyone surprised by this?
        The Mt. Hood Freeway died decades ago, and there really wasn’t any other options for that corner of town. We’ve seen a large increase in development in Happy Valley, Gresham, even out to Damascus.
        It really isn’t surprising that many folks (both close in and far out) are using Powell to get into the downtown Portland area.

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        • resopmok January 6, 2016 at 8:14 pm

          On the contrary, most of those locations can be accessed via 212 and 224, to either 99E, or, with the new Sellwood Bridge, 43 (Macadam) to head towards the central city (I predict even worse traffic on Tacoma between 99E and 43 than there is now). Furthermore, it can be argued that those looking for the suburban lifestyle such places offer should be prepared to pay the price of a suburban commute – a lot of driving over long distances. Why should the government subsidize choices that pose a greater cost to society as a whole?

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          • davemess January 7, 2016 at 7:32 am

            Do you know how far south 212 and 224 are?
            So what about all the other folks who have been forced to move out to East Portland? With today’s housing climate many people have not freely chosen to live further out.

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    • J_R January 6, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      I attended the meeting about the Powell “Safety” Project and I was also stunned by ODOT’s insistence that trees needed to be cut along Powell to improve visibility of pedestrians.

      I told ODOT staffers that what was needed on Powell for safety was a lower posted speed and some serious enforcement of the speed limits and signals. My kids attend Cleveland HS so I regularly go through Powell and 26th by car and by bike. I see so many cars blow the red light, especially westbound (down the hill) I am surprised there are not even more crashes.

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      • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 4:47 pm

        Increasing sight lines for drivers (by cutting down trees, etc.) only results in faster travel speeds. Faster travel speeds makes the street LESS safe. What ODOT should be doing is narrowing the travel lanes and planting MORE trees. Trees also provide a nice buffer from motor traffic.

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        • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 4:49 pm

          My goodness, Adam… that’s twice today!

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      Greg: I think you meant a “safety” project.

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    • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      AND YET NO BIKE LANES ON POWELL

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    • xanthoptica January 6, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      The page says there will be “Red light enforcement aid (not photo radar)”. I think that means red-light camera enforcement but not speed enforcement.

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      • Hello, Kitty January 7, 2016 at 9:35 am

        The “aids” are not cameras, but rather some sort of indicator that a vehicle ran the light, to make it easier for an observing officer to determine if a violation occurred.

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  • Josh Chernoff January 6, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I want to know what if anything the community can do to change this? Its our street, we should have a say. This is not how the system works. I want to know how many of at Odot or PDot uses 26th for their commute. Why is their opinion greater than the people who really use the road?

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      I hear you, but there is a danger if we open facilities design to popular vote. There’s far more drivers than cyclists.

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    • SD January 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      DIY Sharrows? A preemptive ghost bike “rider’s name TBD”?

      I realize these suggestions will not change this. It is hard to know the answer to that question when PBOT is unable/willing to explain why they changed course.

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      • Craig Harlow January 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm

        “R.I.P. (your name here)”

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  • Joe January 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    I agree you can’t give something and take it away, shows major failure in the system..

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  • Paul Atkinson January 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Serious question, as I’m not clear on the whole plan for 28th:

    One of the advantages to using 26th is that from Gladstone to Clinton there is only one stoplight (at Powell). This makes my ride relatively fast (I use that connection both northbound and southbound). 28th is not, as near as I know, a through street.

    So what’s the plan for 28th? Will I have more stop signs / stop lights to deal with? Will auto traffic be discouraged from using 28th even as bicyclists are discouraged from using 26th?

    This could literally be life and death information for me.

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  • Clark in Vancouver January 6, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    This really shows that the problem is systemic on both state and city levels.

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  • sarah gilbert January 6, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    This is the ODOT/PDOT thought process:

    “Too many bicyclists are using this street. WAY too many. It’s unsafe! Let’s do everything we can to make it less safe.

    “If they still use it, we’ll go back to the current levels of poor safety. Maybe.”

    COMPLETELY ignoring that many commuters (like me) prefer 26th over other nearby options, like 33rd or 28th, because of the steep hills and crazy-fast speeds at those other two intersections. Dozens of kids use this route to get to Cleveland and Hosford — this just baffles me.

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  • Kyle in Creston Kenilworth January 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I ride northbound on SE 26th every morning. The light update on Powell has made that intersection a lot safer. But I try to avoid SE 26th southbound coming home. At night cars turn right onto Powell without paying much attention to the lane. And turning left from the bike lane onto any of the streets between Powell and Gladstone on a busy day is sketchy.

    Instead, I use SE 22nd and ride past the Fred Meyer and up Gladstone from there. The light changes pretty quickly at 22nd/Powell and tends to have fewer motorists waiting to make hasty right turns.

    If they eliminate the bike lane on SE 26th, I wonder if they would consider making that stretch of 22nd a bike corridor?

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    • Bald One January 6, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Yes, the light on Powell at 21st needs a left turn signal, just as they did at 26th. Not sure why they are delaying or down-playing this need, as clearly the 26th Ave new left turn signal on the light made a big difference.

      Would be great if they greatly improved the approaches on both sides of Powell to 21st intersection: on-street parking removed, better signage, etc. They could easily improve this intersection. This should be a requirement for the overall project at 26/28.

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      • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        The problem with a left turn signal at 21st is that it would rule out bike lanes on 21st, something that some say is needed, especially south of Powell where there is a lot of industrial traffic.

        At a minimum, 21st should get sharrows; I would prefer the existing signal at 21st be replaced with something similar to what’s planned for 28th, which would make it safer to cross than a left turn signal would.

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    • Kath Youell January 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      How flat is that? If I have 2 kids (130 pounds) and a load of groceries in my bakfiets (90 pounds before the cargo) and am coming from Trader Joe’s on SE Cesar Chavez to near the Clinton Street Theater, will I have to go up any hills after I conquer Gladstone/36th?

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      • sarah gilbert January 6, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Kath, this is my regular route — although I hook over from 22nd to 21st at the glass factory. You WILL have a hill to get back up Clinton 🙁 but that’s it.

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        • Kath Youell January 6, 2016 at 3:34 pm

          I know 2 ways — no, 3 ways around the hill on Clinton from 21st to 25th, depending on how tired I am and how much load I have. Thanks, Sarah!

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    • Spiffy January 6, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      “And turning left from the bike lane onto any of the streets between Powell and Gladstone on a busy day is sketchy.”

      and is also illegal… you can’t turn left from a right-side bike lane…

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      • Kyle in Creston Kenilworth January 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        Thanks! I actually didn’t know that was illegal so I’m coming away learning something here. Not sure if this changes anything, but to clarify, I mean merging left from the bike lane into the busy traffic on SE 26th in order to then turn left off SE 26th onto one of the streets between Powell and Gladstone.

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      • davemess January 6, 2016 at 5:09 pm

        Do you have a source for that law?

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        • Psyfalcon January 6, 2016 at 10:09 pm

          The same on saying I can’t make a left from the right car lane?

          Either merge, or do it in 2 steps.

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          • davemess January 7, 2016 at 7:34 am

            I assumed he meant he was merging first (which he confirms ahead).
            Misunderstanding I guess.

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  • Ed January 6, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I’m truly shocked at the mostly docile response I’m seeing on this blog so far. The “bike community”–That’s us–has absolutely got to respond to this.
    First, someone from the City has to find the time to clarify crucial facts. Don’t have the time? Then you’re fired and replaced by someone who does.
    Second, what’s the planned sequence of events? We absolutely should not accept any consideration of removing those lanes before 1) The changes on 28th Ave are completed and 2) Enough time has passed to know that they work as an equivalent or superior replacement for the 26th Ave route. The ODOT spokesman could not make a credible case for removing the old bike lanes at all, let alone doing so before we’re sure that the new route has really proven itself. If the new route turns out to be a real “carrot,” they wouldn’t need to close the old route as a “stick” to force people away from 26th and Powell, after having failed to show evidence that they even needed to do that. And is the maintenance of all those white stripes that forms the bulwark of this platinum city’s renowned bike infrastructure so burdensome that we can’t have a few blocks that some bureaucrats find redundant?
    This is just one more reason to let Kate Brown know that she has to purge ODOT, starting at the top. And we should expect at least an apology from someone at City Hall at how they’ve approached this. Yes, you do have time to talk to us, within 2 days, not 2 weeks, and you’re so sorry that none of us have been approached about a decision that affects how thousands of us get around this city every day. If we accept anything less, then we really have no self respect and deserve to be treated like shit.

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    • Bald One January 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Agreed! They should not erase one route until the new route has proven to be a successful and preferred alternative.

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    • EricIvy January 6, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      In response to Ed, this seems like a good cause for BikeLoud to get Loud about!

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      • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 5:20 pm

        Yes, this calls for a bunch of group rides again.

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      • soren January 6, 2016 at 5:33 pm

        Added it to the agenda for the meeting this Sun. Given how shitty the ped facilities are here, I think crosswalk actions are needed too.

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    • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      The removal of any bike lanes is just bad policy. However, the lanes on 26th are incredibly narrow and don’t provide any protection or buffer from motor traffic. Their replacement ideally should be much safer.

      The main issue here is ODOT holding PBOT hostage to get infrastructure built. There has to be a better way to get interdepartmental projects done.

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      My understanding is that there will be lanes on 26th for at least a year after 28th is completed. The lanes on 26th won’t be removed until the facility is repaved, which has been scheduled, but is still a couple of years out.

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      • davemess January 6, 2016 at 5:11 pm

        “They will be paved over sometime in the coming months and not replaced, the Oregon Department of Transportation said last week.”

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        • K'Tesh January 7, 2016 at 5:33 am

          You know striping paint does wonders for getting ODOT’s attention.

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  • rick January 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    great leadership?

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  • Lukas January 6, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Seems like ODOT is asking us all to take the lane on 26th to calm traffic speeds down to bike speed. I love a challenge. How big of a campaign donation would it take to get a city commissioner to ride along.

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  • Chris Anderson January 6, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    This is why we need to convert 26th and Clinton to a pedestrian plaza. That will cut down on car traffic throughout the neighborhood and increase livability and foot traffic to local businesses.

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    • Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Definitely! Why not make that node a bike-friendly people space? I’d be willing to bet that many of the businesses would support this.

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      • Bald One January 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        Why don’t you ask them all that question, and then we can keep a list on this site of those that would support it and those that would not. I mentioned removing the on-street parking there at the intersection to one of the owners of a business at the corner, and they were not interested in it. They wanted to keep the free on-street parking. But, a ped plaza is a new idea. Of course, all of the neighbors would deal with beer trucks, food trucks, and garbage trucks running their routes on the side streets, so I’m sure there might be some local opposition.

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  • Eric Leifsdad January 6, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Why not full-sized bike lanes and remove the center stripe? And a 20mph speed limit. That would be safer for everyone.

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  • Todd Hudson January 6, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    PBOT should re-stripe 26th once ODOT installs the signal at 28th. U mad ODOT? Well I guess we can daydream.

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    • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      This is my secret fantasy.

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    • Charley January 6, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Well, even if PBOT doesn’t, I bet someone else could. Hm hm. I’ve got a couple of cans of spray paint in my garage.

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      • K'Tesh January 7, 2016 at 5:34 am

        I’m sure that I could guide my mom to my stash of paint and dedicate it to this cause.

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  • yashardonnay January 6, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Et tu, PBOT?

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  • charlietso January 6, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    “removing the bike lane would improve safety by reducing the number of people biking through that intersection” – That is like saying we will improve road safety if we remove all the roads so no one will injured on roads because no one will be able to use them.

    “the intersection of SE Powell at SE 26th is already over capacity for the sheer number of users across all modes: bicyclists, pedestrians, vehicles and buses.” – and who is taking up most of the capacity here? Cars.

    As Michael points out, the 26th Avenue bike lanes don’t seem to show a particular bike safety problem. There is no logic (or evidence) in ODOT’s argument that removing the bike lanes will encourage people using the new signals on 28th and Powell. Bike lanes and signals are different things and serve different purposes. One cannot substitute another.

    Removing existing and functional bike infrastructure does not improve safety and eliminates travel choices. And yet every state or city transportation planning document talks about improving safety and providing choices.

    I am surprised that the PBOT gave in to ODOT’s request. I am sure they had their reason but it makes me wonder what PBOT’s reason was.

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      PBOT wanted ODOT to build a new signal at 28th, and this was ODOT’s price.

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      • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        Yes. Commonly called blackmail. It is obscene that our tax dollars support the actions by both parties.
        Pewter!

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        • Eric Leifsdad January 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm

          biketown city limit

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  • eli bishop January 6, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    So if ODOT’s terms are onerous, can we get a light installed the way we did on N. Cook, with local business support?

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Not on an ODOT facility.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 6, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Clearly SE 26th needs to be closed…to motorized traffic! And ODOT needs to surrender their ROWs with the City of Portland to local control…hmm what am I sounding like here!

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  • Mark Dawson January 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    ODOT spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie makes about $70,000 per year.

    ODOT Director Matt Garrett makes about $180,000 per year, one of the top-five highest paid DOT directors in the nation.

    Why doesn’t Bike Portland demand to speak to the ODOT Director instead of a spokeswoman? Dinwiddie can’t answer questions about capacity or volume or relative safety measures unless ODOT technical staff provide them to her in talking points. ODOT will continue to roll out spokespeople so long as Jonathan and Michael accept it.

    One last, key point is Garrett is one of the longest-tenured state government directors in Oregon, having just reached his 10th anniversary last month. With an external audit of ODOT pending at Governor Brown’s request, the time is nigh to apply political pressure on the agency. Change, much less improvement for the bicycle community, won’t happen under the current regime.

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  • Charley January 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    It’s so bass ackwards: this intersection is unsafe to cyclists because of cars. . . and the solution is to make it less safe for cyclists. I don’t get it.

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  • resopmok January 6, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    There must be a lot of noseless people walking around at ODOT.

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  • Opus the Poet January 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    So when the inevitable cyclist death or serious injury happens does the victim sue Dimwitty or someone in PBOT? Or just everyone even remotely responsible for this?

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  • S. Brian Willson January 6, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Unless and until there is an extraordinary serious commitment to dramatically reduce king car use in our society (including of course Portland) in deference to pedestrians and bicycles, virtually all these little tweaks of road design continue to miss the policy changes needed to really reduce carbon emissions, increase safety, and have an authentic impact on climate betterment. I know, people say it is not going to happen, but there will come a day when it will be seen as indispensable for our survival, that is, if we survive.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 6, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      I think about this quite a bit too, and I’ve concluded that if a handful of cities like Portland can continue to demonstrate that it is not only possible but desirable for a city to reduce its auto dependence, then it will be somewhat easier to win the global political battle required to prevent disastrous levels of climate change.

      I’m sure there are many people in Oregon, government employees and otherwise, who more or less understand what a moral catastrophe our current lifestyle is. (Mine included – I fly in planes.) But I don’t understand how so many of them continue to devote not just their private choices but also their collective actions (like voting and arguing and working) to prioritizing auto use over transit and bike use.

      I know you aren’t part of this problem, Brian. But I wonder if these other people rationalize their choices by assuming that none of this piddly stuff matters unless we can price or ban carbon. I guess that would make sense.

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      • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 9:55 pm

        “But I wonder if these other people rationalize their choices by assuming that none of this piddly stuff matters unless we can price or ban carbon. I guess that would make sense.”

        I think so. And they have the majority of opinion makers on their side, from Bill McKibben on down the line. It is rather unfortunate that no one with much stature at least in this country has come to grips with the fact that bottom up change is the only kind of change that we are likely to pull off, and having done so will have the salutary side effect of supplying the outrage-generated-by-our-own-solutions to demand changes up the line.
        But waiting for some bureaucrats or oligarchs to solve this for us is not only profoundly disempowering but a fool’s errand.

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      • S. Brian Willson January 6, 2016 at 11:35 pm

        The dynamic throughout history of when and how radical shifts in thinking and behavior occur remains a bit mysterious. Shifts occur in human consciousness, one person at a time, but simultaneously each person’s thinking impacts a collective consciousness not necessarily obvious until there is a zeitgeist moment when behaviors shift radically and rapidly in sweeping ways. Perceptions can change quickly when there are new and deeper understandings of survival needs. It is an example perhaps of chaos theory, as well as a principle of quantum physics where ideas/behaviors themselves are energy fields that communicate across space and time even without apparent directly talking to one another.

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      • soren January 7, 2016 at 7:24 am

        (Mine included – I fly in planes.)

        Minimize your flying.

        Offset: http://www.terrapass.com/shop/individuals-families/
        (currently 0.6 cents per lb but will become much, much more expensive in the near future.)

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      • Capizzi January 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

        We dream of bicycle superhighways like in Copenhagen or London, and there are a lot of pieces of infrastructure that have to be in place before it can be a reality, but it can happen.
        http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/11/how-the-danish-cooperated-to-build-a-bicycle-superhighway/382982/
        The after-thought-design of the path along the Orange Line and now the 26th anti-design, seems to happen without vision, or commitment to the future. There is a systems failure within government that seems to sideline the most reasonable solutions in favor of politically favorable and quick action. I’ve seen beautiful transit solutions offered up by Portland engineers eventually get compromised into the creation of bicycling death zones. You’d think that if we can have North/South and East/West Max lines we could have bicycle highways that do the same, and at the same time funnel bicyclists away from death zones.
        People keep telling me about their routes to work, going down sidewalks, taking hairpin turns across railroad tracks, riding down roads which are basically motor-highways … I’d rather drive my truck to work every day. I hope one day we can transform some of our sharrows into routes which really protect bicyclists. And frankly, I don’t want to put my foot down and stop.

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  • GlowBoy January 6, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Wow, Portland. Way to keep earning that Platinum status and stay ahead of Minneapolis.

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    • Alan 1.0 January 6, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Bike infrastructure so advanced you can’t even see it!

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      • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 10:27 pm

        Is there anything higher than platinum?

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        • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 10:33 pm

          Why do you ask?
          What is the meaning of all this metallurgical mischief anyway?

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          • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 10:39 pm

            I thought perhaps Alan’s infrastructure might just catapult us to the next level.

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        • davemess January 7, 2016 at 7:36 am

          Actually, didn’t they come out with a Diamond class a few years ago?

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  • Kevin Wagoner January 6, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Maybe ODOT should remove the bike lanes on Barbur to make it more dangerous so they can then reconsider if they should make it safer for cyclist 2 years from now?

    I actually don’t think that makes any sense to me.

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    • rick January 7, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      There are many floating bike lanes and sidewalks on Barbur.

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  • Jeff Snavely January 6, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    One less road for motorists to get pissed at me for not using the poorly designed bike lane.

    Guess I’m an “extreme cyclist”, as defined by soren and many others here — though I prefer to think that many years of commuting in a town with no bike lanes and near-universal 45mph speed limits has taught me that hugging the narrow edge of a road is not safety.

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  • devograd January 6, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Not for nothing, but two seats on the Oregon Transportation Commission have terms expiring in June 2016: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/pages/otc_members.aspx

    Among other avenues of approaching ODOT perhaps a campaign requesting that Governor Brown appoint some less auto-centric members to the OTC is in order.

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    • Kevin Wagoner January 7, 2016 at 7:03 am

      This is a great idea. We really need our Governor to step up and this is a great way to ask! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Mark s January 6, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    ODOT: getting you home safe. If you drive.

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    • Hello, Kitty January 6, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      And maybe not even then.

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      • 9watts January 6, 2016 at 10:34 pm

        175 days of the year, maybe.

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  • Pat Franz January 6, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    How much of this is about money?

    Are we fighting over scraps, ideology, or both?

    Auto, bike, and pedestrian traffic have all increased. It’s part of the consequence of more people moving here. The flip side of that consequence (more people to pay for needed additional things) seems to be missing. Why can’t we accept that infrastructure is needed, yes it costs money, and yes, there is a strong positive ROI if you’re at all thoughtful about it? Why do we accept fighting over scraps?

    It’s clear no one (except Chris Anderson and a few others) are talking about what really needs to be done. What do we want 10, 20, 50 years out? How many people and how many trips per day through here? What will the people want to do here?

    Yes, ODOT, there is a highway here. A highway cutting through a CITY. A city full of people, with lives that don’t have much to do with the highway. Yes, moving lots of cars and trucks through to get to other places is important, but it is not the most important thing *right at this intersection*. Not at all.

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  • bjorn January 6, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I hope that the times and dates of bicycle counts used to consider if the lanes should stay will be published in advance, so that I won’t somehow inadvertantly schedule my 26th avenue 20 laps from franklin to lafayette out and back Criterium bike race to coincide with their count as we wouldn’t want to skew their results…

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  • J_R January 7, 2016 at 6:13 am

    I just returned home from dropping my child off at Cleveland HS for a 6:00 am sports practice. As I waited at the signal at Powell and 26th, three cars blew through the red signal westbound on Powell. Maybe the first motorist would have had to brake hard to stop, but the other two clearly entered on the red.

    If you want to improve safety put in a red light camera or put some traffic cops out to enforce the damn law.

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  • rick January 7, 2016 at 6:44 am

    What is taking place in Oregon?

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  • Mark smith January 7, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Here is the funny thing. If odot was successful in getting pbot to remove a lane and make things better for the cars, will this not bolster odot and cause them to ask for other removals?

    Put it another way: will pbot not be more inclined to give bike infra away in the future? The fact that pbot dodged bikeportland for two weeks tells you all you need to know.

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  • BB January 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    If they cared they would have made the alternative attractive or atleast try.

    But its not all bad. Now we can implement this new policy against cars. More diverters please.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    In situations like this – it is very critical for DoTs (like ODoT) to have a high level traffic engineer (or planner) communicate the reason (and study methodology) for any roadway alterations that remove a traffic safety feature or active transportation facility.

    If it is only handled by the agency’s communication’s officer then there can be little or no “discussion” since they are only reading the prime bullet points given to them versus having the technical training and design experience necessary to engage in the pluses & minuses of the proposal.

    It would also give more technical authority to ODoTs position if it were handled by those undertaking the research/ study and implementation…so they can shed light on their process of evaluation and what they will do to make it right if their “solution” makes things worse.

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    • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      You seem to be assuming that ODoT deputized a high level engineer to take a look at this. What makes you think that?

      Me? I’m thinking they are shooting from the hip, just like with their Fatality-Free-Days-that-are-better-than-Vision-Zero and the stumping-for-the-CRC-all-the-while-knowing-we/they-were-broke, and Barbur-where-they-stonewalled-until-someone-else-rubber-their-noses-in-a-solution-and-they-finally-caved…..

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      • Todd Boulanger January 8, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        It was a “hope” at best…given the freight and school zone safety…and that the removal of an arterial bike lane would elevate the politics and public interest in this.

        [So just a “hope” that they would not “phone it in” and then have the upper tier of ODoT be blindsided by “weak” analysis at a lower tier and then need to go into “full circle the wagons” mode…]

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        • SD January 8, 2016 at 9:46 pm

          ODoT: disconnected on the inside, disconnected on the outside.

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