A traffic diverter is a barrier placed in an intersection to prevent auto traffic from going through it. The goal is to make certain streets less attractive to auto drivers and reduce auto traffic volumes overall. So, when it’s relatively easy to drive through one — which is the case with a new diverter in northeast Portland — it sort of defeats the purpose. (more…)
change is already impacting traffic.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Yesterday I got two separate reader emails about the same issue just a few hours apart. Whenever that happens it gets my attention.
In this case, the issue is the increased amount of auto traffic diversion onto NE Rodney as a result of construction and lane configuration changes on Williams Avenue.
Most of you are well-aware by now that the Bureau of Transportation has finally begun construction on the North Williams Safety Project. With the redesign on Williams there is less space for driving and the backups of cars in the past week or so has been a lot worse that usual (and that’s saying something on a long-chaotic stretch of road).
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.
N Rosa Parks at Michigan.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
A new traffic diverter at North Michigan Avenue and Rosa Parks Way seems to be successfully preventing north-south car traffic from spilling onto Michigan from Interstate 5, recent city bike counts show.
That was the city’s intent when it agreed last year to install the diverter in order to hold down traffic on the neighborhood greenway there.
“From I guess Holman to Rosa Parks it has gotten a lot better,” said Noah Brimhall, a Piedmont neighborhood resident and an advocate for the diverter, in an interview Tuesday.
Project manager Rich Newlands said in an interview Wednesday that the city installed the diverter as part of its Williams Avenue traffic safety project after months of pressure from the local neighborhood association.
Over beers at the Hopworks Bike Bar happy hour Saturday, Seattle City Councilor Sally Bagshaw didn’t bother dithering over whether Portland’s Sunday Parkways street festivals are an idea worth spending city money on.
“We are determined to,” she said, waving dismissively at the question.
From barflies to neighborhood officials, most east Portlanders seem to agree on the highest-priority biking improvement for east Portland: a few really good neighborhood greenways.
Consensus has benefits. The 130s Greenway is scheduled to be built next fall, and the 100s and 150s greenways are in the works.
(Image courtesy City of Portland. Annotated by BikePortland.)
Whenever we report on a new neighborhood greenway project, the discussion always turns to diversion. That is, how will the project promote or prevent a higher volume of driving on a street specifically set aside by the Bureau of Transportation to have “low traffic volume and speed where bicycles, pedestrians and neighbors are given priority.”
Last week we shared PBOT’s first swing at plans to turn NE Rodney into just that sort of street. And sure enough, many readers asked about diversion.
“Can we get some diversion please? Rodney near Russell gets a lot of car traffic from motorists going to Wonder or other nearby establishments continually circling the block for on-street parking.”
Craig Harlow wrote;
“PBOT, please start installing diverters along ALL of the n’hood greenways.”
Four years ago next month, a $1 million slice of the federal economic stimulus package started leaving its mark on Portland: 2,100 durable thermoplastic sharrow decals, intended to greatly increase the visibility of the city’s new neighborhood greenway network.
Now, as the city’s fog seal street maintenance efforts have been covering up sharrows, the city faces its first big decision about this bit of bike infrastructure: how to maintain them?
The good news is that the city is “committed to maintaining sharrows in good working order,” spokeswoman Diane Dulken said this week. “They could be thermoplastic, they could be paint, or they could be modified paint with extra beads for reflectivity.”
(Photos by J.Maus and M.Andersen/BikePortland)
If Portland has contributed any innovations of its own to the craft of designing great streets, it’s this two-word idea: neighborhood greenways.
A remix of ideas from Utrecht and Vancouver BC, these low-cost retrofits of low-traffic side streets — adding speed humps, sharrow markings, traffic diverters and signalized crossings of big arterials — have taken the national bike world by storm since Portland’s Greg Raisman and Mark Lear developed the concept in 2008 or so. In 2010, a citywide network of greenways became the first priority to emerge from Portland’s landmark 25-year bike plan.
The concept went viral.