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City has two years to make the case to save 26th Avenue bike lanes, it says

by on January 7th, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Protest on SE Powell-1.jpg
The bike lanes on SE 26th run in front of Cleveland High School and carry about 600 to 800 people daily.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Because 26th Avenue won’t be repaved for another year or two, the city will have time and data to try to persuade the Oregon Department of Transportation to reverse its decision.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation confirmed Thursday that it has agreed to remove the bike lanes from SE 26th Avenue near Powell in order to get the state’s approval for a new signal at 28th.

A city spokesman said that because 26th Avenue won’t be repaved for another year or two, the city will have time and data to try to persuade the Oregon Department of Transportation to reverse its decision. But an ODOT spokesman said the state can’t say what data it might or might not find persuasive.

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What the heck is going on with the 26th Avenue bike lanes?

by on January 7th, 2016 at 2:46 pm

26thbikelanesstreetview
SE 26th Avenue looking south toward Powell.

Is the City of Portland, newly anointed “Biketown”, really going to remove a bike lane because our state department of transportation said it would improve safety?

That story we reported yesterday has sparked outrage, confusion, and frustration — all completely reasonable reactions to the idea of removing a bike lane in order to make biking safer. While we work to clarify the details and get to the bottom of what’s really going on (weaving the different communications from city officials and state officials together into one coherent whole is proving more complicated than expected), I thought I’d share what two notable Portland bike advocates think about the idea.
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ODOT open house on Thursday looks at safety improvements for N Broadway

by on January 6th, 2016 at 1:39 pm

i-5lead

We covered this project a few weeks ago; but wanted to make sure you were aware of the official open house tomorrow (1/7) night. Check the ODOT press release below for more details…

Thursday open house looks at safety improvements for North Broadway

ODOT and the Portland Bureau of Transportation will host a public open house on Thursday, Jan. 7 to look at improvements planned for the intersection where the southbound Interstate 5 off-ramp, exit 302A, meets North Broadway.

The open house is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7 in the basement of the Left Bank office building, 240 N. Broadway. The entrance is on North Wheeler Avenue between North Weidler Street and North Broadway. Signs will be posted near the building.

Members of the project team from ODOT and PBOT will be available to discuss the project and answer questions.

The work is part of the larger N/NE Quadrant Plan which would make operational and safety improvements in the areas both on and off I-5. The Plan, a joint effort by ODOT and PBOT, does not yet have funding for all elements.
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City gives in to state demand to remove bike lanes from SE 26th Avenue

by on January 6th, 2016 at 11:32 am

26th powell crowd in bike box
10 a.m. southbound bike traffic at 26th and Powell.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Two of southeast Portland’s most-ridden bike lanes are slated to be removed at the insistence of the state of Oregon.

The bike lanes on each side of Southeast 26th Avenue near Powell draw something like 600 to 800 people per day (even in winter) and run in front of Cleveland High School. They will be paved over sometime in the coming months and not replaced, the Oregon Department of Transportation said last week.

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UPDATED – ODOT says bikers, walkers, people with disabilities are “problem children” in work zones

by on December 29th, 2015 at 2:07 pm

odot-workzoneslide
Slide from a presentation given by ODOT’s Traffic Plans Unit at a safety conference earlier this year.

For years now transportation advocates have been battling the tides of the Oregon Department of Transportation. It’s an agency — like all state highway agencies — that was born and raised in the automobile era yet now operates in an era where many people want to walk and bike and use our roads without a car. While there have been glimmers of reform, recent decisions have made it clear that the real changes many of us hope for are still a ways off.
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Advisory group backs bike lane separation on outer Powell, co-chair says

by on December 22nd, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Cully Blvd cycle track-3
A low mountable curb like the one on NE Cully
is among designs being seriously debated for
SE Powell east of I-205.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Bike lanes separated by a low curb and/or Copenhagen-style raised bike lanes continue to look likely for parts of Powell Boulevard between Interstate 205 and 172nd Avenue.

At least, that’s the word from Paul Grosjean, the co-chair of the Outer Powell Community Advisory Group and a member of the Outer Powell Decision Committee, both part of the state-run Outer Powell Safety Project.

“Separation between the bike and the travel lane has been a priority of all the committees,” Grosjean, who also serves as vice chair of the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association, said in an interview Monday.

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State and city fast-track closure of extra offramp near east end of Broadway Bridge

by on December 11th, 2015 at 10:55 am

i-5lead
The extra “slip ramp” from
I-5 onto Broadway would close.

Here’s some good news about one of the most dangerous spots on one of Portland’s most popular bike routes.

The Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Portland are planning to break ground this spring on much-anticipated changes to the area where a southbound Interstate 5 offramp drops people fresh off the freeway into a slip lane that curves across the North Broadway bike lane.

This project had previously been scheduled to start next summer.

The changes planned will mean that when someone exits I-5 to head across the Broadway Bridge, instead of seeing this (a “slip lane” that is all but begging people to roll through it, right into a bike lane)…

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Scary pinch-point on Lombard puts new ORcycle trouble-reporting app to the test

by on December 11th, 2015 at 9:06 am

bike lane ends lombard
Where the bike lane ends.
(Image: Google Street View)

After our report last month about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s new “ORcycle” app for reporting biking problems, BikePortland reader Hazel G. decided to try it out.

Hazel regularly bikes on NE Lombard Street, a U.S. highway managed by the state, under the overpass of 42nd Avenue. This is one of those overpasses where it suddenly becomes less important to separate people biking from 50 mph motor traffic than to ensure that both lanes of motor traffic don’t have to merge into a single lane. (This is a strange American approach to street design that we compared with European practices in 2013.)

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Republican legislators call for ODOT director to quit over emissions claims

by on November 19th, 2015 at 11:55 am

ODOT Director Matt Garrett
Matt Garrett has led ODOT since 2005.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few weeks after left-leaning former Metro president David Bragdon all but called for the firing of Oregon’s top transportation official, legislative Republicans are calling for it explicitly.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett is facing criticism from both sides over the incident, earlier this year, when his office and Gov. Kate Brown’s temporarily claimed that tens of millions of dollars in freeway investments would be part of reducing long-run carbon emissions in Oregon by more than 2 million metric tons.

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State’s ORcycle app is now a one-stop shop for reporting road safety issues

by on November 19th, 2015 at 8:35 am

orcycle screenshot
A screenshot from the
ORcycle app.

If you run into a bike safety problem in Oregon and own a smartphone, you no longer need to know who to complain to.

The ORcycle mobile app, a partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland State University, has just been hooked up directly to the state’s “Ask ODOT” hotline, which has pledged to forward all reports it receives about bike safety issues to the appropriate local agency — or to its own team, if the road is owned by ODOT.

It’s a huge leap for the project, which has existed in demo form for a year but has been little-used because any reports were stashed for weeks or months under PSU’s supervision rather than piped directly to ODOT, let alone forwarded to other agencies.

Now, however, the free app has been integrated directly into the state agency’s operations.

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