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Comment of the Week: Lawsuits, the quiet pressure behind city decisions

Friday, December 19th, 2014
clinton speed
Traffic on SE Clinton.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

As we wrote beneath the last Comment of the Week post, BikePortland has decided to be the only blog we’re aware of that pays for great comments. The person whose thoughts we select for this feature gets a crisp $5 bill in the mail, as a way for us to appreciate the site’s amazing discussion community. So watch your email — we might be in touch.

Street safety matters to cities. So does street comfort. But only one of those issues will land you in court.

That’s the insight shared this week by BikePortland reader paikiala, responding to the discussion on Wednesday’s post about a guerrilla traffic diverter installed on Clinton by anonymous activists.

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Guerrilla traffic diverters installed – then removed – on SE Clinton

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-6
Police observe while people ride down Clinton and City of Portland crews work to remove the unpermitted traffic diverters.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

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Guest Article: Four things BikeLoudPDX has learned in their campaign for SE Clinton

Monday, December 15th, 2014
First meeting of BikeLoudPDX-7
Alex Reed.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Publisher’s note: We’ve been covering the work of local bike activist group BikeLoudPDX since their first meeting back in August. Since then they’ve been busy with their campaign to tame traffic on SE Clinton. The update below was written by their founder, Alex Reed. It follows a meeting the group had with top-level PBOT staff last week.

——

Since August, BikeLoudPDX has been advocating for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to take action on SE Clinton Street. Clinton was one of the city’s first two “bike boulevards” and continues to be one of the busiest bike streets in Portland. However, as more people have moved to Portland, and especially as more buildings have been built on close-by SE Division Street, Clinton has felt less comfortable to bike on. The reason is simple: Too many people are driving on it.

In the meantime, PBOT has done nothing to deter people from using Clinton to get to or bypass the new destinations on Division.
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City staff will meet with activists about conditions on SE Clinton

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
clinton_topper_430
(Photo by P. Cone)

SE Clinton used to be one of Portland’s marquee streets for bicycling. As one of the original “bike boulevards” it has long been a popular bicycling route that connects inner southeast neighborhoods with downtown and points beyond.

Unfortunately, Clinton has recently become a bikeway in name only. For the last year or so, as development on nearby Division Street has led to increased auto congestion, a steady stream of drivers have begun using Clinton as a cut-through. All these extra drivers have had a very negative impact on cycling conditions.

That reality, combined with efforts from grassroots activism group Bike Loud PDX, has led top brass from the City’s Bureau of Transportation to take notice. On Thursday, a group of concerned citizens will meet with PBOT staff in the Portland Building to talk about existing conditions and how to improve them. (more…)

BikeLoudPDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
zed ted marsha
Bike Loud volunteers Zed Bailey, Ted Buehler and Marsha Hanchrow show off signed and stamped postcards in favor of permanent traffic diverters gathered from people using Clinton Street.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s newest bike advocacy organization is bringing back the postcard.

In the last few weeks, three Portland city officials have received an estimated “three or four hundred” individually stamped postcards from Portlanders sharing their opinions about local transportation projects on Southeast Clinton Street, Southwest Third Avenue and Northeast Rodney Avenue.

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In ‘Requiem for a greenway,’ Clinton Street user renews call for diverters

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Clinton bikeway signage-4-4
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Has one of Portland’s first and most beloved bikeways drowned in car traffic over the last six months?

The data isn’t there yet to say for sure. But Brian Davis, a transportation analyst for Lancaster Engineering and a regular user of Clinton Street on his bike, has written a short, moving essay on Portland Transport about his changing experiences riding on the street. (Emphases mine.)

Just a few years ago, the thought of going two whole months without setting tire upon Clinton Street would have been unfathomable to me. One of the best things about my job is that I get to travel throughout the city to look at roads and intersections, and Clinton has long been my superhighway to all points southeast. If you got there early enough, you could often go from Seven Corners all the way to Southeast 26th without seeing a single car. On my many ambles through the corridor I discovered the best cup of coffee in Southeast, the best corn muffins in the city, and the best hot buttered rum anywhere. I realize now that I developed something of a sentimental attachment to the street while riding eastbound all those mornings, mesmerized by constant stream of people cycling past me on their way downtown. Those sign-toppers really meant something back then.

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After city balks at neighbors’ request for bike lane, 34th Ave resident goes public

Friday, September 5th, 2014
narrow passage
Riding on 34th between Clinton and Division.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After nine months and 270 petition signatures, the people who live on SE 34th Avenue between Clinton and Division just can’t seem to persuade the city to remove five parking spots in front of their houses in order to add a bike lane.

“It’s not strictly a bicycle issue. It’s just traffic working more smoothly.”
— Mark Zahner

“We’re just framing the argument as safety on this block vs. parking spots,” said Mark Zahner, who lives at 34th and Clinton and has led the campaign. “We see there’s a lot of near misses, we’ve acknowledged the problem, we’ve got support from the neighbors. Where do we go from here?”

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Safety advocates win on Clinton: city installs barricades during Division detour

Friday, August 29th, 2014
type three barrier
The city’s two new temporary barricades at 26th and Clinton created a visual cue that reduced detour traffic onto the SE Clinton Street bike boulevard.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Hours before a pair of protest rides were planned to start, the City of Portland on Friday used light barricades to reduce through auto traffic on Clinton Street during the remaining week of a detour for eastbound traffic on Division.

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Community demands change as SE Clinton remains in the spotlight

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
bikeloudontv
Bike Loud PDX founder Alex Reed made
local TV headlines in his group’s
first-ever protest action.

Traffic conditions on SE Clinton have created a perfect storm for concerned members of the community who are pushing to maintain the street’s status as a low-stress bicycle boulevard.

Three years ago, the Portland Bureau of Transportation was so eager to show that Clinton was a bicycle route that it became the first street in the city to receive special, bike-inspired signage. It was a marketing push PBOT called the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard Enhancement Project.

But those signs don’t seem to be doing much. Since then, Clinton has become a popular cut-through for drivers looking to avoid SE Division. Even before the City threatened to detour auto users onto Clinton during the recent paving project on Division, we had already reported about concerns and calls for more diverters to keep them away.

Thankfully, after community outcry the City reversed its detour plans. But the problem remains and now volunteer activists have taken to the street in hopes of strengthening their calls for change.
(more…)

City switches plan for Division detour: Signs will point to Powell, not Clinton

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
clinton traffic
Traffic on Clinton.
(Photo by Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

Six days after saying that it would detour eastbound traffic from Division Street onto the Clinton Street neighborhood greenway for two weeks, the City of Portland has changed course.

Starting Monday, electronic signs will instruct drivers heading east at 11th Avenue to turn south to Powell Boulevard rather than one block south to Clinton, the Portland bureaus of transportation and environmental services said Thursday.

It’s a measure of victory for people who called the detour an inappropriate use of an all-ages walking and biking facility that is already at or above the maximum national standard for auto traffic volume on a bicycle boulevard.

But the city also said Thursday that it still expects many people to detour onto Clinton anyway, because there are no plans other than signage to prompt them otherwise.

(more…)

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