Call to action: Let’s make ‘Seasonal Better Naito’ a reality

Posted on October 21st, 2016 at 10:08 am.

Naito Parkway traffic observations -14.jpg
We can set this in stone every summer for five years if we let City Council know we want it.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Bicycle access through and to Waterfront Park is in dire need of help. And ‘Seasonal Better Naito’ — a project proposed by the Bureau of Transportation and supported by Mayor Charlie Hales — is our best chance to get it.


Cascade Locks unveils designs for new carfree bridge into Marine Park

Posted on October 20th, 2016 at 1:17 pm.

One of three options would include a ramp and an elevator.(Drawings: Port of Cascade Locks)

One of three options would include a ramp and an elevator.
(Drawings: Port of Cascade Locks)

For over a decade the city of Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge has wanted to rebuild the entrance to their marquee destination: Marine Park. Now the project is moving forward and they want to hear what you think about the options.

Currently, the only entrance to Marine Park (a place that attracts 350,000 annual visitors) is down a narrow road at the far end of the main commercial area. The road makes a sharp right turn under a set of railroad tracks before emerging on the other side. Besides having height restrictions, the underpass is so narrow that there’s no accomodation for people on foot or on bikes. “The current undercrossing’s narrow width is dangerous to pedestrians, strollers, wheelchair users and cyclists trying to enter or exit the park at the same time as vehicles,” wrote the Port of Cascade Locks to the Oregon Department of Transportation in a project grant application. “It has a steep grade, blind 90-degree corner, and shared lanes. The new overcrossing would protect non-vehicle traffic from potential crashes.”


Metro gives east Portland bikeway and safety projects highest rankings for federal funding

Posted on October 20th, 2016 at 11:09 am.

The top-ranked project would make walking and rolling to 82nd Avenue and Gateway much easier.

The Cully neighborhood would get a new biking and walking “parkway” and big roads that run through two major commercial districts in east Portland near I-205 could be updated and vastly improved for people on bikes and foot if the City of Portland is able to convince Metro to give them the cash to do it.


PBOT will install permanent crosswalk and median island at site of Fallon Smart’s death

Posted on October 17th, 2016 at 10:46 am.

Coming soon: A permanent refuge island and crosswalk installed by the City of Portland.(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Coming soon: A permanent refuge island and crosswalk installed by the City of Portland.
(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Ending weeks of emotional back-and-forth between transportation reform activists, neighbors and the City of Portland; the Bureau of Transportation confirmed with us this morning they plan to install a permanent crosswalk and a median island on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard at 43rd.

This is the intersection 15-year-old Fallon Smart was walking across on August 19th when a man recklessly and illegally drove his car into her and killed her. It’s also a stretch of Hawthorne that local residents and business owners have complained about for many years; because despite being a bustling main street filled with popular destinations there are no marked crosswalks for eight full blocks (between 41st and 48th).

Just days after Smart was hit the community made a presence at this intersection with their own bodies and a variety of objects. They had one goal: Slow people down so that a tragedy like this never happens again. The intersection became filled with a mix of memorial items like flowers, signs and photos; and guerrilla traffic-calming devices like a orange traffic cones and an unsanctioned crosswalk. The center turn lane used by Abdulrahman Noorah to speed passed someone who had stopped to let Smart cross was effectively closed.


City Budget Office recommends no funding for Better Naito, vision zero, Springwater, Halsey and Hawthorne projects

Posted on October 14th, 2016 at 9:24 am.

This version of inner southeast Hawthorne is still just a dream. For now.

This version of inner southeast Hawthorne is still just a dream. For now.

The City Budget Office (CBO) just threw a bunch of cold water on some hot active transportation projects.

Last month we were happy to share that the transportation bureau had requested city funding for five projects that would upgrade our streets and make them safer for everyone to use. The request was made as part of the fall budget monitoring process or “BUMP”. This is where the city takes the growth in tax revenue that went beyond projections and re-invests it back into worthy projects. Competition for the funds are fierce and all city bureaus compete for a limited pot of money (estimated to be about $8 million total this go-round2).

The Bureau of Transportation trotted out five projects that were especially exciting for transportation reform advocates: a seasonal reconfiguration of Naito Parkway (aka “Better Naito”); the Outer Halsey Streetscape Safety project and a Vision Zero educational effort; a new path connection for the Springwater, and a major redesign of inner Hawthorne Boulevard.

Unfortunately the CBO isn’t recommending funding for any of them.


Bike law expert says PBOT’s crossbike markings create confusion

Posted on October 12th, 2016 at 3:39 pm.

A crossbike at Tillamook and NE 15th. (Photo: Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton)

A crossbike at Tillamook and NE 15th.
(Photo: Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton)

This post is part of our Get Legal series made possible by Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton.

When we first reported on crossbikes in August, concerns about them began almost immediately. While some people were happy to see the increased visibility for bicycling traffic at crossings via the big green stripes, others said the treatment creates confusion.

Now Ray Thomas, the Portland lawyer who literally wrote the book on Oregon bike law, is adding his voice to the chorus of concerns.

Before we get into his critique, let’s review what crossbikes are and what problem they aim to solve.


PBOT unveils design proposal and timeline for bikeway on SW Capitol Highway

Posted on October 12th, 2016 at 8:25 am.

SW Capitol Hwy-44
Riding on Capitol Hwy today is a risky proposition.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Thanks in part to the passage of the Fix Our Streets gas tax increase the City of Portland is finally going to build what many consider to be southwest Portland’s highest priority transportation project: A redesign of SW Capitol Highway between Multnomah Village and Taylors Ferry Road.

This one-mile north-south stretch of Capitol Highway has been on the radar of PBOT and neighborhood advocates for over 20 years. It was listed as a priority in the 1996 Capitol Highway Plan and since then has been bounced around many project lists and planning documents. The reason for the delay has been the relatively high cost: Because of its topography and stormwater management issues the project has always been on the expensive side.

Last night at the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, PBOT project manager Steven Szigethy said the project is estimated to cost $10-12 million. Funding is now in hand thanks to $3.3 million from the Fix Our Streets fund and another $6-7 million from transportation and stormwater system development charges (fees paid by developers to improve infrastructure).


First look at bikeway upgrades on Interstate, Fremont, 2nd Avenue, Morrison and Vancouver

Posted on October 11th, 2016 at 8:43 am.

New SE Morrison bikeway-5.jpg
New one-block section of contraflow protected bike lane on SE Morrison Street between Grand and MLK is one of several new projects PBOT has installed in the past few months.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The merry little elves at the Portland Bureau of Transportation have been busy over the past several months. If you like to bike in the city and are waiting for major projects to be completed (like the 20s Bikeway, the bike lanes on Foster, the protected bikeway network downtown, and so on) you’ll still have to wait. But while those projects are still in the workshop, the elves have pushed out lots of smaller ones.

Today we’ll take a closer look at five places where PBOT has added bicycle access upgrades to the street: North Interstate at Tillamook, North Rodney at Fremont, North Vancouver at Fremont, 2nd Avenue, and Southeast Morrison.

Scroll down for notes and photos on the projects…


New PBOT design connects Foster bike lanes all the way to 52nd

Posted on October 7th, 2016 at 2:44 pm.

Before/after of typical cross-section on Foster Road project.

Before/after of typical cross-section on Foster Road project.

Good news everyone: the Bureau of Transportation has found a new design for their Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project that allows them to continue the westbound bike lanes on Foster all the way to 52nd.

This is a big deal because the plan that passed City Council two summers ago dropped the bike lane at 54th and led westbound Foster bike riders on an annoying zig-zag to the north in order to reach 52nd and eastbound riders would have been led south of Foster to Center Street in order to reconnect to Foster a few blocks east of 52nd — all because PBOT didn’t want to remove a few blocks of on-street auto parking.

At the time, Foster-Powell area resident Brett Holycross told us the zig-zag was, “A shame for an otherwise great project.”

News of the new design leaked out at the City’s town hall event on the new gas tax in east Portland on Tuesday. Members of BikeLoudPDX attended the event and reported back about what they heard from PBOT’s Foster Streetscape Plan Project Manager Rich Newlands. “The bike lanes on Foster will extend to 52nd Ave! This made my day,” wrote Dan Gebhart.


PBOT removes Hawthorne memorial, responds to Clinton crosswalk controversy

Posted on October 6th, 2016 at 9:29 am.

The center turn lane on Hawthorne at 43rd is now available for driving on after PBOT removed a makeshift memorial last night.(Photo: PDX Transformation/Twitter)

The center turn lane on Hawthorne at 43rd is now available for driving on after PBOT removed a makeshift memorial last night.
(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Last night under the cover of darkness City of Portland transportation bureau crews cleared out the cones, signs, candles, photos and flowers that had created a traffic calming memorial to Fallon Smart on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard.

The makeshift memorial in the center turn lane at the intersection of 43rd Avenue had grown from a few flowers on August 19th to a memorial so large that it closed Hawthorne’s center turn lane. In fact, closing the lane was a secondary and symbolic goal of the memorial — since it was that center lane that allowed Abdulrahman Noorah* to speed recklessly past another driver (who had stopped) just before he hit and killed the 15-year-old Smart.