Today’s Oregonian has the story of a major new downtown development that will include, “a regional bike facility grander than anything Portland has ever seen.”
It’s a very exciting proposition. Not only would this 3,000 square foot “bike hub” be the centerpiece of Portland’s commitment to sustainable transportation, but something like this could inspire other developers to consider similar facilities. This hub would likely include a ton of bike parking, showers, and some retail space (similar to a BikeStation)
However one problem with this proposal remains. Last Wednesday, I saw the drawings of the proposed building with Jessica Roberts of the BTA and Sam Adams staffer Jesse Beason. The issue is with how cyclists coming off the Hawthorne Bridge would safely access the entrance of the facility, which is planned for the western side of the building, on SW 2nd Ave.
Check out the graphic below. You’ll see that because of one-way directional streets, the only way to access the proposed bike facility would be to somehow get onto the sidewalk on SW 2nd Street. Sidewalk riding is not only illegal downtown, but If you are in the bike lane, coming off the Hawthorne Bridge, you would be on the right side of the street. Therefore, to get to the facility you would have to cross two travel lanes.
In light of this situation, we discussed the possibility of a bike only traffic signal, like the one currently in use at NE Oregon and Interstate near the Rose Quarter. This would allow cyclists to safely cross SW 1st and Main but would still put them on the sidewalk for one block along Main. The City would then have to grant a sidewalk riding exemption.
I don’t think this is a deal-breaker by any stretch, but it will be interesting to see the final outcome.