more bike boulevards]
In case anyone gets the wrong impression after my post about Berkeley’s bicycle boulevard efforts, I thought an update on Portland’s progress was in order. Here are a few things I’ve come across just in the past week or so.
SE Foster Bypass Bicycle Boulevard
With strong leadership from Commissioner Sam Adams, City Council recently decided to allocate one-time funds to create a new bicycle boulevard to bypass SE Foster Road. Adams’ office listed a safe Foster Blvd. bypass as one of their top priorities. Back in November they said:
“Over the last few years, Foster Boulevard has experience a high number of injury crashes involving kids on bikes. Developing this bike boulevard will dramatically reduce the number of kid and adult bicycle crashes and will likely increase the overall number of bike riders.”
PDOT traffic safety and crash experts love bicycle boulevards because, as one of them puts it,
“While 70% of Portland’s roads are residential, only 20% of bicycle crashes happen on residential streets. Boulevards provide real transportation options on these pleasant, lower crash-rate streets.”
PDOT is considering the following improvements in the SE Foster area:
- A clearly marked boulevard that travels from 42nd & Gladstone to the Lents Town Center
- Curb side bicycle buttons at two signals
- Improved signage
- A short bicycle lane connection on SE 52nd
PDOT is now working with various neighborhoods to sort out the details.
On the other side of town, neighborhood activists in North Portland are speaking out about bicycle boulevards too. At the recent PDOT Budget Forum, someone mentioned the need for a safe bypass to N. Lombard Blvd. She also added that the term “bicycle boulevard” may not go over so well in working-class North Portland. She prefers “Local, non-motorized corridors.” Sam Adams disagreed and said, they have no reason to think anyone will push back on the existing term.
One N. Denver Ave. resident wonders if neighborhoods can designate their own streets as bicycle boulevards:
“Is it possible for a neighborhood to declare a street as a bike boulevard and then get the city to mark it as such? If so, would it be possible to get the neighborhood associations to take action on this?”
I doubt it, but I’m sure PDOT will be glad to listen to neighborhood input. Roger Geller would be the man to contact [roger.geller[at]pdxtrans.org].
BTA Data Gathering in N/NE Portland
As part of their Bicycle Boulevard Campaign, the BTA’s new policy advocate Emily Gardner wants to reach out to a more diverse part of the population to ask them where they think boulevards should go in N/NE Portland.
Emily isn’t comfortable moving forward with existing survey data. She doesn’t think it goes deep enough beyond the “low-hanging fruit” of existing cyclists.
She plans to go out into the neighborhoods to engage non-cyclists and ethnic communities. She wants to talk up cycling’s health benefits to the black community and has created two surveys; one for existing cyclists and one for people who don’t ride (yet).
SW Trails Group Pushes Ahead
Vaunted neighborhood activist Don Baack of SW Trails has been rallying the folks of the Hillsdale Neighborhood to get their ideas and recommendation for bike boulevards included in the current Bike Master Plan update.
Baack has put maps in the hands of residents so they can map their ideas for improvements and preferred routes to focus on. They are also planning a series of evaluation rides and hope to have open houses to discuss their proposed bike boulevards in March.
From all these updates, it’s clear that Portland is looking to be a leader in developing, safe, low-traffic streets. Stay tuned!