SW Barbur Blvd

With Blumenauer in his corner, Novick pressures ODOT for changes on Barbur

by on November 9th, 2015 at 4:38 pm

southbound barbur street view
Almost half of southbound rush-hour traffic on Barbur turns right here. Converting the right lane to exit-only could boost driver safety on Barbur while making room for continuous bike lanes to the south.
(Image: Google Street View)

Consensus seems to be building around a new concept that could finally create continuous bike lanes on state-run Barbur Boulevard.

And now, support for changes to a notoriously dangerous section of Barbur have a new ally: U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer. (more…)

Safety audit reveals new approach to fixing Barbur bridges

by on October 20th, 2015 at 11:08 am

southbound barbur street view
Almost half of southbound rush-hour traffic on Barbur turns right here. Converting the right lane to right-turn-only could boost driver safety on Barbur while making room for continuous bike lanes.
(Image: Google Street View)

Buried inside 115 pages of analysis of Barbur Boulevard, a “safety audit” released Monday seems to have come up with something interesting: a pretty solid new idea for fixing the dangerous wooded section of Southwest Portland’s most important street.

It’s fairly simple. Instead of losing a northbound auto lane from Miles to Hamilton, one of Barbur’s two southbound auto lanes could peel off at Capitol Highway.

South of Capitol Highway — which is where 40 to 50 percent of southbound Barbur traffic exits anyway — the street could be restriped to add continuous bike lanes across a pair of narrow bridges, ending the current situation that pushes bikes and cars to merge into the same 45-mph lane.


ODOT releases Barbur Boulevard Safety Audit

by on October 19th, 2015 at 12:12 pm


The Oregon Department of Transportation has just released their Barbur Boulevard Safety Audit. The 115-page report takes an in-depth look at the safety issues of one the most deadly and dangerous urban highways in our region and it has been eagerly anticipated by advocates for months.

The audit came about after ODOT received significant pressure from the community (including a petition from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) to do something about street’s dangerous bicycling conditions.

After media reports, state says it will smooth sunken grates on Barbur

by on August 7th, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-14
Jim Parsons in a 2011 photo.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

For at least one last time, the squeaky wheel known as Jim Parsons has gotten some grease onto the gears of government.

After the veteran Portland-area bike advocate’s unsanctioned paint job of two sunken grates in Barbur Boulevard’s bike lanes landed them on TV news for two consecutive days, the Oregon Department of Transportation said Friday that it’ll follow his recommendations for addressing the problem within the next week or two.

An agency spokesman added that ODOT owes thanks to Parsons, who recently finished a degree at Portland State University and is planning a move to China.


After man adds warning paint to sunken grate, state roads agency calls it vandalism

by on August 5th, 2015 at 1:23 pm

sunken grate prepaint
A 2012 photo of the offending grate, long before Parsons’ unsanctioned paint job.
(Photos: Jim Parsons)

Update: After this and other media coverage of Parsons’ action and ODOT’s repsonse, the agency has announced plans to fix the grates and says it is grateful for Parsons’ work.

A local man who says he’s been warning state officials for seven years about a sunken grate in the middle of Barbur Boulevard’s northbound bike lane has finally gotten some action from the agency.

After he marked the grate himself with yellow warning paint and with the letters “ODOT KNOWS,” the agency is planning to visit the site … to erase his paint.

In a Wednesday email to the man, Jim Parsons, an Oregon Department of Transportation staffer with the title “citizen’s representative” scolded him for what she said would make the street more dangerous.


Big upgrade to commercial stretch of Barbur looks likelier as Metro rejects OHSU tunnel

by on June 16th, 2015 at 9:13 am

buczek walking
Metro staffer Anthony Buczek walks Barbur’s
current auto-oriented commercial strip in February.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Long-term plans are falling into place for a federally-subsidized biking and walking upgrade to one of Southwest Portland’s most important main streets.

And oh, it might come with a rapid bus or rail system, too.

Staff at the regional agency Metro announced last week that they weren’t going to recommend a $900 million light-rail tunnel beneath OHSU, instead sending the proposed Southwest Corridor high-capacity transit line on the surface of SW Naito and Barbur as it passes through Southwest Portland toward Tualatin and Tigard.


By pushing for road safety audit, state Rep. Ann Lininger steps into leadership role on Barbur

by on May 29th, 2015 at 11:04 am

Lininger says she had “a number of conversations”
with ODOT’s new regional manager about safety
improvements on Barbur.
(Photo via Oregon Legislature)

When the Oregon Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday that it had decided to change course and formally consider a road diet on Southwest Barbur, its news release included two words that hadn’t been associated with the issue before:

Ann Lininger.

The state representative appointed last year to represent much of Southwest Portland and her hometown of Lake Oswego, Lininger was quoted by ODOT itself as favoring “improving safety for all users on this crucial roadway.”

Though she’s only one of many people who’ve contacted ODOT in support of low-cost, short-term improvements to Southwest Barbur — multiple sources said that U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer has expressed his opinion, not to mention Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and hundreds of local residents and organizations — Lininger is one of a few who’ve done so from a position few people have: direct authority over ODOT, thanks to her seat in the state legislature.


State will conduct safety audit of Barbur and formally weigh road redesign

by on May 26th, 2015 at 2:01 pm

barbur curve looking north
Typical midday traffic approaching a curve in Barbur Boulevard from the south.
(Image: Google Street View.)

Four months after saying it had no plans to do so, the Oregon Department of Transportation will formally consider the possibility of new changes to a two-mile stretch of Barbur Bouelvard where six people have died in cars, on motorcycles and on foot in the last six years.


Advocate has near-death experience on Barbur, a street he’s pushing to make safer

by on April 15th, 2015 at 8:38 am

lonely biker on barbur bridge
No room for improvements, state says.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

One of Southwest Portland’s most passionate advocates for a safer Barbur Boulevard said Tuesday that he was nearly killed while biking on the street.

“FYI since you’re waiting for someone to die before safe Barbur bike access: it was almost me today,” wrote Damian Miller, an assistant director of research and assessment at Lewis and Clark College’s graduate school, in the first of a trio of open Twitter messages to the Oregon Department of Transportation and its new regional manager. “Speeding delivery truck came up behind honked, veered wildly, almost hit me & left lane car.”

Though the route’s design evokes a freeway, it’s the only flat and direct street between most of Southwest Portland and the rest of the city. During the summer, about 300 to 500 people bike it each day.


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

by on March 19th, 2015 at 12:04 pm

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.