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Bill moving through Salem could hasten transfer of state roads to city control

Thursday, March 19th, 2015
jurisdictional transfer map
Portland-area streets described by ODOT as “highways to be transferred to local jurisdictions” are marked in pink. The blue line, Cornelius Pass Road, is a request from ODOT for a transfer in the other direction.
(Image: ODOT testimony on SB 117.)

Barbur Boulevard, Powell Boulevard, Tualatin Valley Highway, Lombard Street, 82nd Avenue and Macadam Avenue could all be lined up for gradual transfer from state to city control under a bill before Oregon’s legislature.

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Here are the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee’s top 10 priorities citywide

Friday, February 27th, 2015
bac top 10
What do you think?
(Click to enlarge, or see below for details and links)

As we reported earlier this week, the City of Portland is trying to hone its massive transportation to-do list by asking people to rank their 10 favorite projects.

In a letter circulated this week, the citizens’ committee that’s most closely tied to Portland’s biking policies shared theirs.

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Taming outer Barbur: MAX or BRT could bring raised bike lanes through Southwest

Friday, February 13th, 2015
barbur
SW Barbur near SW 78th – just west of the section that might be rebuilt by a new transit line.
(Photo by J Maus/ BikePortland)

This post is part of our SW Portland Week.

It would certainly be ironic if Southwest Barbur Boulevard became the first arterial in Portland to receive a Copenhagen-style protected bike lane retrofit through a high-destination commercial area.

But that’s exactly what might happen if a regional committee chooses Barbur as the best route for a major new transit line. And getting around outer Southwest Portland would certainly be transformed.

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What it feels like to ride Barbur Blvd for the first time (photos)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
to barbur
Seems easy enough.
(Photos Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

This post is part of our SW Portland Week.

Here’s a confession: though I’ve driven on Southwest Barbur, ridden the bus on it, and walked along it to reach a vigil for a woman killed while she crossed it, in four years of reporting on the street and its problems I’ve never actually ridden a bike on it.

Until this week.

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Novick says PBOT will use state study to address speeding, lack of bikeway on Barbur

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
SW Barbur Blvd-5
Barbur, last summer.
(Photo J Maus/BikePortland)

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick has responded to a volunteer advocate’s letter about the dangerous bicycling conditions on SW Barbur Blvd.

Last week we published a letter from Kiel Johnson, a man who has pushed for a road diet on Barbur through the grassroots Friends of Barbur group. The letter came after the Oregon Department of Transportation revealed results of their traffic study on the street that was conducted last fall during a construction project. While Novick had promised that PBOT would use the study to assess safety concerns, ODOT staff said safety wasn’t a priority of the study.

Commissioner Novick responded to Johnson via the email below (dated January 30th, emphases mine):
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Safety advocate to Novick: Where’s the Barbur study you requested?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Street fee press conference-1
Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick in 2014.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

When is a traffic study not a traffic study?

“Let’s work together to make Barbur safer,” Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick wrote in October 2013, promising that “the Portland Bureau of Transportation will commit the time and resources to work with ODOT and engage the surrounding communities to see the impacts of a possible road diet and find the right solution.”

Now, some of the advocates who helped persuade Novick to make that commitment are saying it’s still unfulfilled.

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State says it has no plans to restripe street where one person has died per year

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
barbur curve looking north
Typical midday traffic approaching a curve in Barbur Boulevard from the south.
(Image: Google Street View.)

During a construction project last summer, the Oregon Department of Transportation seems to have discovered that there’s a way to cut extreme speeding on a curving two-mile stretch of Southwest Barbur Boulevard where six people have died in the last five years.

Was it closing the passing lanes? Lowering the posted speed limit from 45 to 35 mph? Upping traffic enforcement and penalties? Simply marking it as a construction zone?

The agency did all of those things at once, so it isn’t sure which one worked, and it currently has no plans to find out.

Meanwhile, the state-owned street has returned to normal indefinitely.

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With or without Vision Zero, a safer Barbur might be an economic win

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
looking back
An organized ride on Barbur last year.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A few times each day on the wooded four-lane stretch of inner SW Barbur Boulevard, state data released last week suggest, someone decides to hit the gas and zoom through at an average 55 mph or more.

And about a dozen times each year, Barbur’s crash history suggests, someone on this part of Barbur loses control of their vehicle and hits something. Once or twice a year, someone dies.

Since narrowing the road in this stretch to one lane in each direction appears to make many fewer people choose to hit the gas, a redesign that would replace one of the northbound lanes with a bike lane and walking path in each direction could be seen as a perfect test case for Vision Zero. That’s the principle, endorsed by Portland’s transportation director, that safety is always a higher priority than convenience when it comes to road design.

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ODOT’s Barbur Blvd lane closure analysis finds 1 minute delay, big cut in speeding

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
SW Barbur Blvd-5
SW Barbur in August, when repaving work created a temporary simulation of a possible road diet. The state studied the results, and they make a redesign seem feasible.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Converting one northbound traffic lane on 1.9 miles of SW Barbur Boulevard to two protected bike lanes with sidewalks would apparently prevent unsafe weaving during off-peak hours without massive impacts to morning traffic.

That’s one conclusion from data released Friday that analyzed changes to people’s driving habits during construction work on Barbur this summer. A repaving project had temporarily closed one traffic lane in each direction.

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First Look: Protected bike lane on SW Multnomah Boulevard

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
entering sw multnomah curb
(Photos by M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Like NE Cully Boulevard before it, SW Multnomah Boulevard has become a relatively far-flung street with a few blocks of one of the city’s best bike lanes.

With work nearly finished on the city’s eighth protected bike lane — three years in the making, it’s one of the last few bike projects begun under the Sam Adams mayoral administration — I stopped by Multnomah Tuesday to check it out.

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