Remember that glaring gap on the Naito Parkway bike lane I pointed out a few weeks ago? Well, it looks like we might see a fix soon.
City bike coordinator Roger Geller has announced details for the July edition of his monthly Bicycle Master Plan Rides. The route map for the ride points out various bikeway features and there’s one balloon titled “Naito Gap: we’ll fix it”.
According to City of Portland traffic engineer Doug McCollum, the initial scope of work for the recently completed Naito Parkway Reconstruction project, did not include money for a bike facility under the Steel Bridge.
This is unfortunate because cyclists are now left with a short, yet unsafe gap until the bike lane picks up again north of the bridge.
Besides cash, the larger issue is that the two-lane road narrows in this gap and there’s not sufficient room for a standard-width bike lane. City engineers are (understandably) reticent about installing substandard bike lanes, but they’ll have to do something innovative (and cheap, like a narrow bike lane) to connect this gap.
I’d much rather have a narrow bike lane than nothing at all.
This situation exemplifies a larger issue Portland is facing. As we continue to push the boundaries for bike facilities that can accommodate our growing legion of cyclists, we’re finding that federal traffic engineering standards are lagging behind when it comes to innovative treatments for bicycles.
If we truly want to emulate cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, we must be willing to prioritize connectivity over existing federal standards. The Naito Gap will be an interesting test case. Stay tuned…
To weigh in on the Naito Gap and other Central City bikeways, join Roger on his next Bicycle Master Plan Monthly Ride. Meet at 5:15 at Terry Schrunk Plaza (SW 3rd between Madison & Jefferson ) on July 3rd. More details on the PDOT website.