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20s bikeway project

At 20s Bikeway open houses, narrow support for bike lanes instead of auto parking

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
A ride with the family-6
Riding with traffic is currently the only safe option through the 28th Avenue commercial district.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

"If parking is so valuable to business owners that our right of way can't be used for traffic (bike traffic) flow, then that parking should be priced,"
— Open house attendee

Trying to summarize all the opinions of Portlanders who came to last month's trio of open houses on the 20s Bikeway would be "like summarizing 250 essays on 25 or so different subjects," project manager Rich Newlands wrote in an email Wednesday.

But on one high-profile issue, it's actually not too hard to tally attendees' opinions: should the west side of 28th Avenue between Stark Street and Interstate 84 have a buffered bike lane, or auto parking?

At its public open houses, the city got 90 direct comments on the subject. Of them, 48 supported at least one buffered bike lane, while 42 preferred to reserve the space for auto parking.

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New fire bureau policy could allow speed bumps on more commercial streets

Friday, March 21st, 2014
BAC bike ride-8
Speed bumps used to calm traffic on neighborhood greenways could be used on more streets under a new city policy — potentially with slices cut from them to allow emergency trucks to cruise through.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

For years, as Portland has looked for ways to calm auto traffic in commercial districts like N Denver Avenue, SE Stark Street or NE 28th Avenue, the biggest tool in its shed — the speed bump — has been off limits.

"PBOT and Fire are in the middle of a conversation about the city’s emergency response network."
— Diane Dulken, PBOT spokeswoman

The reason: Portland Fire and Rescue says major streets need to be flat and smooth enough for emergency trucks to rush down them, when necessary, without losing critical time when responding to emergencies.

But a new Fire and Rescue policy in the early stages of discussion would soften this rule by designating some major streets as being of secondary importance to emergency response routes. City officials say this might allow speed bumps on some such streets. But it's not clear whether the decision by the city's fire chief could be completed in time to affect the design of one street where the option might matter most: 28th Avenue.

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At first 20s Bikeway open house, a moment to focus on the full 9 miles

Friday, March 14th, 2014
Karen Gramp, 44, called herself a confident biker
but said she often hesitates to bike
to visit a friend who lives near SE 40th Avenue,
because the current route feels like a hassle.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Rich Newlands, the planner of one of the longest bikeway projects in Portland history, seemed relieved Thursday night for a chance to talk about something other than its most controversial 4,000 feet.

"It's not all about the central section," Newlands said, noting that the city faces a similar tradeoff between auto parking and comfortable biking between SE Gladstone and Steele, at its southern end, as well as a series of many route choices up the Alameda Ridge and across Killingsworth Street at its northern end.

Thursday's open house on the 20s Bikeway, the first of three over the next week, was also a reminder that when bike access improvements can come without removing on-street auto parking or changing existing lane configurations, they're almost totally uncontroversial.

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'20s Bikeway' project will bring city plans to a wider audience

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
Along 28th near Burnside, the city's lead plan
calls for northbound green-backed sharrows and
southbound buffered bike lanes.

A few weeks after taking the temperature of bike advocates and local retail businesses on its proposal to make 28th Avenue the city's bike-friendliest commercial district, Portland is opening the debate up to the broader public.

The much-discussed stretch of 28th between Stark Street and Interstate 84, though, is just part of a 9.1-mile route that runs mostly on 26th, 27th and 28th avenues from Northeast Lombard Street to the Springwater Corridor, connecting many of Portland's fastest-growing neighborhoods, Reed College, Concordia University, Grant and Cleveland High Schools and three major grocery stores.

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Editorial: A pro-bike-lane argument that seems to work - '23 Powell Boulevards'

Monday, February 24th, 2014
If it doesn't reduce the use of cars for short trips, the Portland of 2035 will need room for the equivalent of 23 more Powell Boulevards.
(Graphic by Roger Geller, Portland Bureau of Transportation)

Roger Geller, one of the most respected bicycle professionals in North America, was not having a terrific afternoon. His baritone had slid up to a tenor.

PBOT staff at NACTO conference-1
PBOT Bike Coordinator Roger Geller.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

"This is beneficial," he said to the roomful of owners of retail businesses along 28th Avenue near Burnside, gathered at Coalition Brewing Wednesday afternoon. "This is a good thing for your business district."

Portland's bicycle coordinator for the last 14 years — a confident and amiable man, but always known more for his groundbreaking analyses and head for numbers than for a silver tongue — was pitching the benefits of replacing auto parking on one side of the street (including a couple blocks in each direction, it's maybe one-eighth of the district's auto parking) with a buffered bike lane. Geller made one argument after another as to why there was no reason to think the district would suffer. But for each fact he cited, someone had an immediate rebuttal.

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28th Avenue business owners give chilly reception to city bikeway proposal

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Attendees of a meeting Wednesday at Coalition Brewing
to discuss the 28th Avenue commercial district of
the planned 20s Bikeway.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

For the most vocal business owners along 28th Avenue's commercial strip, the mystery seems to be: why can't people on bikes just take 30th instead?

At the city's first meeting with businesses on the subject Wednesday, Portland Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller made a data-rich argument that business owners don't want to push bikes two blocks away from their storefronts.

Instead, he argued, the city's lead proposal for the street would give them a chance to be "the most bike-friendly business district in the most bike-friendly city in America" while increasing the flow of people past their storefronts as more Portlanders shift from cars to bicycles for commercial errands.

"If 28th were any other district, we wouldn't even be here," Geller said. "We're talking about 28th because people want to get to 28th."

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City's top idea for 28th Ave: Shared lane in one direction, buffer in the other

Friday, February 14th, 2014
One shared lane and one buffered bike lane is probably the most bike-friendly option the city will accept between I-84 and Stark, Project Manager Rich Newlands said Tuesday.

An "optimal" facility with buffered bike lanes in both directions, but no auto parking on 28th Avenue through its busiest commercial district, probably isn't in the cards for the 20s Bikeway, a city project manager said this week.

The most comfortable biking plan "achievable," city project manager Rich Newlands said in a presentation Tuesday to Portland's Bicycle Advisory Committee, is a design that hasn't been seen before in Portland or almost anywhere else: a shared lane in one direction, marked by green-backed sharrow stencils, with a buffered bike lane in the other direction.

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'20s Bikeway' is an ideal artery for bike sharing, calculations show

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Bike corral on SE 28th at Ankeny-10
Bike traffic is already healthy at SE 28th and Ankeny.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

Buried in Portland's new application for $2.5 million to expand its proposed bike sharing system into Portland's eastside neighborhoods is a bit of analysis worth noting.

According to modeling prepared early last year by Alta Bicycle Share, the commercial spine of the 20s bikeway project, between NE Sandy and SE Clinton, is cut out to be one of the city's best areas for bicycle sharing outside downtown.

It's a calculation that raises the stakes somewhat for this much-discussed project, since a successful bike share system depends on creating bikeways that appeal to people who don't frequently ride.

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

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
James Lanagen of Beulahland said the neighborhood
would "adapt" if buffered bike lanes replaced on-street
parking, but that he'd rather keep the parking.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

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

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

We know because we asked.

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City reveals early options, sets stage for '20's Bikeway' project

Monday, November 18th, 2013
A ride with the family-6
Some people will ride with cars
on 28th, but others won't.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

One of the most important bike-related projects in the city right now is at that wonderful point in its life-cycle where interesting ideas have a chance to take root. But some fear they won't.

The Bureau of Transportation's 20's Bikeway Project will create the only continuous, street-level north-south bikeway in all of Portland, running essentially from the city's southern border to the Columbia River. Though its length means that there are numerous issues involved, the most complicated stretch runs through a much-trafficked "streetcar suburb" on 28th Avenue between SE Stark Street and NE Sandy Boulevard.

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