The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Funding campaign would be a boon for bike boulevards

Posted by on October 11th, 2007 at 11:20 am

This map shows the proposed bicycle boulevards that would be built if Commissioner Adams’ “Safe, Sound and Green Streets” funding initiative is approved.
(Click for larger map, or see below for section-by-section views.
NOTE: The map shows planned multi-use trails.)

Next week, Commissioner Adams and his staff will begin a series of Town Hall meetings where you’ll get the chance to review the proposal developed by his “Safe and Sounds Streets” Stakeholder Committee.

“Safe, Sound and Green Streets” is the name of Adams’ Herculean effort to fund traffic safety improvements and address a growing road and bridge maintenance backlog.

One component of the funding package is $24 million for 110 miles of new bicycle boulevards. No, that’s not typo. We’re talking about an initiative (that will likely be on ballots next spring) that would transform our bikeway system in unprecedented ways; creating a network of safe streets throughout the city where bicycles have priority over other vehicles.

This is the not a drill. I repeat. This is not a drill.

Starting Tuesday, citizens will get their first chance to lay eyes on a map of this proposed bike boulevard network.

At this month’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, PDOT bike route mapping expert Jeff Smith gave us a sneak peek at the map and a detailed list of the proposed projects (which you can download below).

PDOT has compiled a list of 42 potential bike boulevards. At this point, not knowing how long it would take to build them if/when the funding measure is approved (Adams says three years, but insiders expect longer), they have separated the projects into “Priority 1” and “Priority 2”.

In an attempt to prime you for the upcoming Town Halls (you are going, aren’t you?) and give you an idea of what the future of Portland’s bike network might look like, I thought I’d share the project list and maps.

Below is a section-by-section view of the map, followed by the list of proposed projects in the area…


Click to enlarge

Proposed projects (lists separated into Priority 1 and Priority 2):

    #2 – Failing Street Willamette Blvd. Connection, 2 mi.
    #16 – Rodney Ave. Bike Blvd., 3 mi.
    #19 – Bryant Corridor Blvd., 3.7 mi.
    #25 – Going St. Bikeway, 3.2 mi.
    #38 – Kenton to St. Johns Blvd. Connection, 4.25 mi.

    #4 – Willamette Bikeway Improvements, 1 mi.
    #11 – Wabash Bike Blvd., 1.1 mi.
    #18 – Failing Street Bike Blvd., 3.5 mi.
    #27 – Mason-Skidmore Bike Blvd., 4.4 mi.
    #34 – N. Portland Trail Completion Project, 1.7 mi.


    The most interesting project on this list is the Willamette Bikeway Improvements. That street is a major route for both cars and bikes. Motor vehicle speeds are notoriously high, but the good news is that it’s wide and I think it’s a perfect candidate for innovation. Perhaps we can get rid of the southbound bike lane and trade it for a contra-flow (bi-directional) separated bike lane (cycle-track) treatment near the northbound sidewalk?


Click to enlarge

Proposed projects:

    #22 – Flanders Street Bike Blvd., 1.3 mi.
    #30 – Park Blocks Bike Blvd., 1.3 mi.
    #3 – 13th Ave. Universal St., 0.8 mi.

    #6 – Johnson St. Bike Blvd., 1.0 mi.
    #7 – NW Connection to Morrison Bridge, 1.0 mi.


    The Flanders Bike Blvd. was promised to us long ago and is supposed to be a binding component of the Burnside-Couch Plan. I’ve heard there is some progress in the Pearl to re-use the Sauvie Island Bridge as the I-405 crossing.


Click to enlarge

Proposed projects:

    #5 – 50s Bikeway, 4.4 mi.
    #9 – Holman St. Bikeway, 2.0 mi.
    #25 – Going St. Bikeway, 3.2 mi.
    #28 – Kickitat Bikeway, 4.6 mi.
    #31 – 20s Bikeway, 5.0 mi.
    #12 – Ninth Ave. Bikeway, 2.75 mi.
    #18 – Failing St. Bike Blvd., 3.5 mi.
    #27 – Mason Skidmore Bike Blvd., 4.4 mi.
    #29 – Rocky Butte to Gateway Connection, 2.3 mi.
    #39 – 70s Bikeway, 7.5 mi.


Click to enlarge

Proposed projects:

    #5 – 50s Bikeway, 4.4 mi.
    #10 – Tacoma Corridor Bike Blvds., 2.0 mi.
    #13 – 17th Corridor Bike Blvds., 3.25 mi.
    #15 – 30s Bikeway, 2.5 mi.
    #17 – Foster Bypass Bike Blvd., 3.3 mi.
    #33 – Market Mill Main Bike Blvd., 5.5 mi.
    #1 – Crystal Springs Bikeway, 1.5 mi.
    #8 – Brooklyn to Oaks Park Connection, 1.7 mi.
    #21 – Complete 92nd Ave. Bike Lanes, 0.7 mi.
    #23 – N of Tabor Bike Blvd., 2.75 mi.
    #39 – 70s Bikeway, 7.5 mi.


    It will be interesting to see how the bike boulevard planning effort is integrated with the expansion of MAX into Southeast.

Outer East

Click to enlarge

Proposed projects:

    #26 – One Teens Bike Blvd., 4 mi.
    #33 – Market Mill Main Bike Blvd., 5.5 mi.
    #35 – 130s Bike Blvd., 3.0 mi.
    #36 – 150s Bike Blvd., 3.0 mi.


    One Bike Advisory Committee member was concerned at the lack of boulevards proposed for this section. They pointed out that it’s a growing part of town with many schools that are hard to get to. We discussed possibly swapping a project from another part of town to free up more funds for out here.


Click to enlarge

Proposed projects:
#24 – Hamilton Corridor Bikeway, 3.0 mi.
#30 – Park Blocks Bike Blvd., 1.3 mi.
#40 – Vermont, 1.7 mi.
#41 – Fairmont Connection, 1.3 mi.
#42 – Broadway/Barbur/Terwilliger/6th Connection, 0.4 mi.
#14 – Downtown to Fairmount Loop, 4.3 mi.
#32 – W of Multnomah Bikeway, 2.7 mi.
#37 – SW Parks Bikeway, 3.8 mi.

Here is the PDF of all the proposed projects that has more details for each one.

So what now?

First, feel free to chime in below with comments. Then, make sure to show up at the upcoming Town Hall Meetings! Tell Sam what you like and/or don’t like about these proposed projects and be ready to share your thoughts with neighbors that may not understand what all the bike boulevard hullabaloo is all about.

Also, stay tuned for more coverage, including how the BTA figures into all this, and an opportunity to help PDOT come up with a new name for “bicycle boulevard”…

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • a.O October 11, 2007 at 11:24 am

    You are going to those Town Hall meetings, aren\’t you?

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  • Chris October 11, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Sure am going. Especially now that I see my street is on the priority 1 list! Yippee!

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  • tonyt October 11, 2007 at 11:50 am

    I\’m really curious to see how they plan on improving the Willamette/Bryant intersection.

    Turning left onto Bryant from Willamette is a nightmare. Turns my knuckles white which is a rare rare occurance.

    I often just watch for a break in traffic and take the first left I can as I get closer to Bryant and then take the sidewalk. Or I just continue along Willamette til it turns to Rosa Parks and then turn left somewhere along there and wind my way back to Bryant.

    Traffic goes too fast on Willamette. Taking the lane to take a left on Bryant is BEGGING to get rear ended.


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  • peejayemm October 11, 2007 at 11:58 am

    So according to this map, there is already a multi-use path paralleling the Banfield between I-5 and 205. Can anyone shed light on this?

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  • toddistic October 11, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Looks good but I\’m more interested in what they are going to do to ensure that we are given priority. Just saying its a bike boulivard doesn\’t change anything.

    I will definately be at the town hall meetings. Bike boulivards should have as little stop signage as possible and plenty of car diversions.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 11, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    \”So according to this map, there is already a multi-use path paralleling the Banfield between I-5 and 205. Can anyone shed light on this?\”

    Should have made this clear… the map shows planned multi-use paths in addition to existing ones.

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  • Jessica Roberts October 11, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Quoting Jonathan: One Bike Advisory Committee member was concerned at the lack of boulevards proposed for [outer southeast]. They pointed out that it’s a growing part of town with many schools that are hard to get to. We discussed possibly swapping a project from another part of town to free up more funds for out here.

    I\’ve gone on several bike rides out here and spent lots of time looking at maps. Blocks in outer Southeast are big and local streets often (in fact, usually) don\’t go through. And even when you can find a lower-traffic street that goes for far enough to get you anywhere, every time it hits a major street you have an unprotected crossing of a 5-lane arterial.

    I\’m telling you, it\’s a mess, and I don\’t have a lot of hope that calling it a \”priority\” can make a big difference.

    If anything, this is a reminder that the land-use/transportation connection trumps everything. Once you build those streets, they\’ll never change.

    So, vote yes on 49, support Metro\’s planning work and 1000 Friends of Oregon, and do what you can to educate yourself about the bigger picture.

    As for boulevards…well, I\’m sure the best and smartest people will be working on it, and I assume they\’ll do the best they can. But it\’ll never be inner Southeast no matter how much money we invest in it.

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  • Tasha October 11, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Ugh! The NE meeting is on the night I teach. Can I go to another one even if I live in NE? I really want to put in my two cents. I guess I could go to one that I use while biking downtown/North/SE. This is a HUGE project and I predict a few snags, but I hope it IS a priority.

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  • Spencer October 11, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I live in St. Johns (on Willamette) and ride Willamette every day into the City.

    The South bound bike lane is one of the great views in Porltand. Literally hundreds of people bike this route on the weekends with the majority going South. If you ride north bound, you can\’t look over the edge of the bluff and you miss most of the view.

    I would propose to keep the bike lanes the way they are and put in some traffic calming devices to keep the traffic speed down to 30 mph. This would also address the issue of street rods tearing through at 90 at night.

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  • Matthew October 11, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Could they just re-stripe Willamette? Remove the parking, (not many people park on it anyways, and the few that do could just park around the corners,) and widen the bike lanes… A (real) sidewalk on eastbound side would allow peds/runners to enjoy the view, and would justify a bunch of pedestrian refuge islands/traffic calming…

    But 110 miles of Bike Blvds would do amazing things for ridership…

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  • Ian Clemons October 12, 2007 at 8:25 am

    #31, the \”20\’s Bikeway\” seems to go along NE 28th avenue which is a narrow, 2 lane street with really heavy trafic from the burgeoning restaurant scene there near Burnside. I wonder what sort of signage would be needed to make this stretch safe.

    Overall, I am ecstatic about the proposal. My 7 year old is now off the back of the Xtracycle and pedaling with the the rest of us on her own 2-wheeler to school. We cross Belmont, Hawthorne, Division, and Powell to get the the Winterhaven school in Brooklyn. Her courage and spirit are inspirational and I love thinking that this might make her ride safer.

    -Ian Clemons

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