Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Clinton Street will get extreme bike boulevard makeover

Posted by on March 12th, 2008 at 9:26 am

One of Portland’s most popular bikeways has been selected by the Portland Office of Transportation to become the city’s model bike boulevard.


A Bike Wedding Parade

Already a magnet for bikes, SE
Clinton Street is poised for a
major makeover by PDOT.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As part of an ongoing effort to expand and improve Portland’s network of bike boulevards, Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams and the City of Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) have launched the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard Enhancement Project.

According to project coordinator Kirsty Hall with PDOT, Clinton is a well-established bike boulevard but they city has not done enough to clearly communicate that the street is designed specifically for bike traffic.

“Many new cyclists,” she says, “don’t have a clue where to ride if they want to stay off the arterials, and most motorists don’t have a clue they’re on a bike boulevard.”

“The overarching objective of the project,” says Hall, “will be to communicate to all users that the street is a route prioritized for cyclists, and to make cyclists using the boulevard feel safer and more comfortable.”

Map of the project’s geographic boundaries.

Initially, Commissioner Adams wanted enhance markings and signage on all the 30+ miles of bike boulevards in the city, but cost concerns led to the decision to just focus on one bike boulevard. If the Clinton Street project is successful, the plan is to replicate the methods and process on other bike boulevards.

Elements of the project will include large on-street sharrow-type markings; on-street signage; on-street banners; bicycle-themed artwork, murals and more. PDOT has put out an official “Call for Artists” through the Regional Arts and Culture Council to create “a collaborative transportation safety-based public art project”.

The project has a budget of $80,000, with $70,000 from PDOT going toward planning and implementation and $10,000 from the RACC for the public art component.

Another component of this project is pre and post-evaluation of the new treatments. To that end, PDOT has just launched an online survey targeted at anyone who uses Clinton Street (either by bike, car, or foot).

Hall says Clinton Street was chosen because it is one of the most established bike boulevards in the city, it already has a good range of traffic calming methods in place, and it is surrounded by a neighborhood that is very supportive of it.

Another reason is the high volume of bike traffic on Clinton: According to 2007 bike counts, 1,800 bikes travel through the intersection of SE Clinton and 26th each day, compared to 2,300 motor vehicles.

The project’s scope will include Clinton St. from SE 12th to SE 53rd and the small portion of SE 21st Avenue from Clinton to Division at Seven Corners.

Hall says the project may also include Ladd Avenue, “given the extremely high numbers of cyclists who use it to get to and from the Clinton Bike Blvd.” However, she adds that, “Ladd Avenue’s status as a Historic Design District will limit what we are able to do in terms of markings, signage or other creative elements in the transportation right of way, so it may not be feasible to include it.”

PDOT plans to hold a series of open houses and design workshops in the neighborhood this spring and summer with final completion expected in fall.

If you’d like to sit on the Citizens Advisory Committee for this project, contact Kirsty Hall at kirsty.hall [at] trans.ci.portland.or.us. For more details, see the official project page on PDOT’s website.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Mmann
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Mmann

Couldn\’t happen to a nicer street. It looks like the emphasis is on education and infrastructure that improves safe coexistence, which I support over separate facilities for bikes. If successful, it sure would be nice to see equal treatment for an inner eastside north-south boulevard.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Hooray for the Clinton enhancement project! Some additional thoughts to the great things already listed by PDOT is to put some strategic signage on Division to alert unaware bikers that a bike friendly street exists one block over.

Aaron
Guest

Thank goodness this is on the table. I\’ve tried using Clinton a few times going to work, and during rush hour there\’s a huge amount of cut through traffic (many people turn onto an adjoining street and merge onto Clinton after 39th). During non-commuter hours it\’s a fine street.
I think Ladds will be very difficult to include because it\’s too wealthy.
I would suggest that 7-corners be prioritized over Ladds.

Donovan
Guest
Donovan

I ride Clinton everyday, and overall, I think it\’s a great street to use. I have a little bit of trouble crossing 52nd from time to time, but otherwise, no problems.

I think some bike art in the round abouts would be pretty cool.

RyNO Dan
Guest
RyNO Dan

Great ! Ban cars from Clinton.
Including the parkers.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

After reading the scope of the proposal…I am a bit confused…will the $70k be just for:

A) only the art design ($10k) and implimentation of the art community activities
B) will this $70k also include the cost of the capital construction work for striping, signing, traffic calming (if proposed), etc.? (This is a very long corridor…) or

C) the capital construction work for a small area phase 1 demonstration project (5 blocks in Ladds, etc.)

Please help. 😉

Peter
Guest
Peter

As part of the project, the city should ask the police to stop harassing cyclists for stop sign violations in Ladd.

Tonya
Guest
Tonya

I\’m torn about this. On the one hand, I like the idea of using Clinton street to figure out how to make a truly excellent bike boulevard and (hopefully) extend that idea to other parts of the city.

However, up here in NoPo (and also in SW, from what I hear) there is a lack of bike boulevards period. I know the master plan is supposed to address that, but it still burns me a little to see even more money poured into SE when the needs are great in the rest of the city too.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Todd,
It appears to read to me that &70,000 is going to just art…Hopefully this will be explained and is not the case.

This also confuses me and seems like a chunk of money that could be applied in a much more functional manner.

I mean, I like art. But art does not save lives.

Other than that this sounds great.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”I mean, I like art. But art does not save lives\”

Dabby, art on a bikeway can save lives if it improves the awareness and comfort of the corridor and encourages people to ride on it, thus calming traffic in the process.

Folks, to get our mode split up, it will cost money, plain and simple.

we have to stop being worried and feeling like we have to prove ourselves every time we spend one cent on biking.

Kirsty
Guest
Kirsty

Thanks for the great article Jonathan! I highly encourage folks who cycle, walk, or drive the corridor to take the project survey, so that we can begin to get more of a good feel for what specific stretches or intersections along the corridor people feel more unsafe or uncomfortable travelling along –

http://www.zoomerang.com/recipient/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB227J9ABBZ2U

Regarding project funding, one small clarification to make – there are two separate funding pots for this project –

1) $70,000 from PDOT for planning & implementation
2) $10,000 of totally separate funds from RACC\’s (Regional Arts & Culture Council) \”Art on the Streets\” programme fund, which will pay for a project artist to work with PDOT & the local Clinton Street/bicycle community.

Regarding the $70,000 PDOT funding, here\’s the lowdown – this funding has been allocated for the whole portion of corridor selected, and is for project planning and implementation (aka construction).

Given that this is primarily a markings/signage/other yet-to-be-determined creative elements-based project – and markings & signage are not overly expensive to deliver in the grand scale of engineering tool costings – we anticipate the project delivering extremely good bang-for-the-buck as it were.

Probably the biggeest determining factor relating to project costs will be what sort of frequency of markings/signage/artwork the community would like to see. Every block? Every two blocks? Every four blocks? On more uncomfortable stretches/intersections of the corridor? Those sorts of factors will determine how much gets spent where. Hope that answers your question, Todd!

Many thanks,

Kirsty Hall
City of Portland Office of Transportation
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
Kirsty.Hall [at] trans.ci.portland.or.us

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

Priorities.

All this art improvement and extra signs etc. is great and all, but…

1. Get the stop sign rules fixed. The key to promoting bike transit is to decrease transit times. Stopping and starting every couple of block kills momentum and add to travel time. 26th and Clinton is a prime example.

2. Art is cool and all, but i\’d rather see the money focused on the infrastructure first. For example \”flatten out the tree root humps in the cross peninsula trail\”, \”build the north portland greenway\” or finish the \”smith bybee lake loop\”. I\’m sure there are plenty more examples of projects that need to be done.

3. Put the time and effort into a new bike boulevard. Everyone with a brain already knows clinton is a major bike boulevard. Why re-tool it? Put the money into an area that needs it more (such as Ne and NoPo).

4. This is becoming a social justice issue where the focus of the program seem oriented to get the middle class out of their cars and onto bikes. How about focusing it on more egalitarian lines? Focus on people who have to rely upon bikes to get to work. How about Feseden, Greely, Foster, Powell, or 82nd?

Dag
Guest
Dag

I\’ve noticed that the percentage of drivers who are jerks on Clinton seems to be higher than on other streets. I think this is because courteous drivers avoid bike boulevards as a matter of course. We need more than artwork and awareness to stop these people; we need physical barriers.

Dag
Guest
Dag

I agree with others who have said that having more bike boulevards in other areas of the city is important, but I also see the value in starting by making a single bike boulevard the best it can possibly be, so we can model boulevards yet to come from that one.

Adam
Guest
Adam

What I don\’t get is why every talk of improvement for a bike boulevard is nothing but signage. Why not spend the money on repairing the road to make it a suitable route for a bike.

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

Dag #13,

In engineering school, they call that \”polishing a turd\”

Isn\’t Clinton already a model. Yeah I\’ll admit that the bike box at 39th should be re-done, but how much better can you get?

The first on my wish list would be to get people to stop riding on Division and move a block over to Clinton. Given such a narrow, busy street the urban hipsters with a parade of cars behind them give every cyclist a bad name.

Cheers

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I would really like to see more infrastructure like the \”no entrance\” stuff at 39th — i.e., actual objects or signage every few blocks to prevent cars from using Clinton as a through street, while still allowing access to every address on the street. I\’m not sure all drivers are lofty-minded enough to avoid driving on Clinton because of all the bicycle-themed artwork.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Well,

That is a major difference.
$10,000 compared to &70,000.
And the funds are coming from a different place for the art. So not being drawn from the funds for the road and signs..
Sounds more reasonable to me when the financial is clearly explained.

Over sharrows, I think street signs up where drivers actually are looking is a much better idea.I mean most drivers have no clue what a sharrow means.
I recall as a cyclist wondering what the hell it was supposed to mean at first.
I think it was the little ones on NW 18th.

Maybe if the sharrows were much, much larger?

true
Guest
true

Still complaining about stop signs?

Peter #7 – It\’s not harassent when you get a ticket for violating a traffic regulation, as you admit the violation part in your own statement.

Trying to get the stop sign or the law changed is one thing, but violating a regulation is just that. How many times do you yell at cars when they run stop signs? I do it all the time, but then again, I will stop at stop signs until the law is changed, so I\’m not a crybaby hypocrite.

More than that, there are only six stops between the downhill side of the intersection at 50th and Clinton all the way to the Hawthorne Burgerville, and two of those are lights, so you could hit them at a green. How is that so hard?

Laura
Guest
Laura

Jeff #16, I like your idea!

What we currently have on Clinton needs enforcement. The existing bike boxes have not, to my knowledge, had a ticketing \”sting\” for motor vehicle violators. Traffic bypassing jams on Division frequently speeds on Clinton, slowing over the bumps and then roaring off. There\’s one older pickup truck (the truck, not the driver) that just bounces over the curb on the SE 45th circle at speed in the mornings, bikes and peds be damned!

More enforcement, please!

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

what a matter, Peter?
get busted for blowing a stop sign in Ladd\’s recently…??

who\’s fault is that?

Paul
Guest
Paul

Sounds good.

And take the damn stop signs down from the roundabout. Who the hell puts stop signs in a simple roundabout?

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Yeah,

I am also tired of people bitching about having to stop at a stop sign, and even worse, bitching about getting a ticket for it.

Until it is a legal yield (which will take a legislative move different than the last one attempted), you have to stop.
If you don\’t stop, I guess that is your choice. I sometimes make that choice myself.
We pay the police to ticket offender\’s, and if you get caught not stopping at a stop sign, you deserve the ticket.

Also, I must note that the picture chosen to use with this article could not be a worse example of riding on a bike boulevard. (Sorry Jonathan)

It is however a good example of how not to bicycle properly, especially at that intersection.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Thanks for the reply to my questions Kristi.

The case may be that bicyclists know it is a bike blvd but not most district level car drivers who use it.

I think that is the aid of the education through design aspect of this project.

JayS.
Guest
JayS.

I\’m frustrated that what is regularly talked about as the best blvd. in town is slated for improvement when other parts of town have streets that are ripe for turning into something as nice or nicer than Clinton currently is. Take the best and improve it or spread the money around?? If your goal is to make a single showcase why not also help another part of town more in need at the same time. More sites around the city for the bike politicos to show off would make more sense to me.

Tbird
Guest
Tbird

I\’d love to see this extended all the way thru to 82nd. With a special emphasis on 50/52th crossings.

Dag
Guest
Dag

I for one am tired of people bitching about people bitching about getting tickets for something that they don\’t think should be against the law. Someone had to pay money for violating a ridiculous regulation, AND the police department is spending an inordinate amount time on bicycle stings where nobody\’s safety is being endangered. Seems to me that\’s a valid complaint.

I personally think that it is totally reasonable to ignore laws that one opposes, and complain loudly when they are enforced. It\’s a movement.

RN
Guest
RN

What about a SAFE connection from the waterfront to Clinton and opening the Clinton to bikes all the way to 92nd?

Need a light at 52nd too.

I ride main roads all the time, especially Powell from 50th to 82nd because I have not found a FASTER route.

RN.

mark
Guest
mark

I\’ve noticed that most every bike boulevard I ride on (especially on my morning commute downtown on SE Ankeny) has a lot of cars that use it as their own personal freeway, speeding down the streets and running stop signs from side streets onto the road your traveling on, cutting off cyclists, as if they aren\’t even there. I feel pretty vulnerable on main roads, no doubt, but riding down Ankeny, I can expect to nearly run into the back of a car every morning and afternoon when they glance my way (if they even look) and then just pull right out in front of me, then honk and yell at me when I tell them to look out for bikes. As great a biking city as this is, there is a long way to go.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Yeah 52nd needs some treatment on Clinton – and its near a school too. Vehicle traffic comes down a hill on both sides to the intersection and speeds really pick up where it is least needed. But those pesky lights cost a bundle more than 70K….

anon
Guest
anon

how many people have taken the survey?

instead of using blogs and (Shift) listservs to complain, whine, and moan-
how about using your time better well spent?

quit yer bitching and get involved.

If you don\’t know how, a good start is to participate in your neighborhood associations.

BURR
Guest
BURR

the more the city overdesigns their bike boulevards, the more I\’m inclined to avoid them

Scott Mizée
Guest

Not to be a broken record here… and I haven\’t yet read all the comments, but did anyone mention that the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard leads right to Imago Dei Community? I have used that route when riding home to the University Park Neighborhood from Imago.

Jerrod Potter
Guest
Jerrod Potter

This makes me want to run and jump and laugh and play. Yeahhhh!!!!!!!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Tbird (#26), RN (#28), Paul (#30)… YES!!

I just took the online survey and addressed this issue in the comments section. I take this route from my house in Ladd\’s to work at 122nd & Division everyday.

The Clinton St. bike boulevard is a great route to follow until you reach 52nd. After that, good luck avoiding potholes, fighting off irate motorists, and navigating dead ends.

Lenny Anderson
Guest

The key problem on most Portland bikeways…these are hardly Bike Boulevards…are too many motor vehicles.
Barriers are few and far between. Turning stop signs just gets you more cut thru motor vehicle traffic.
Two easy ideas: posted 15 or 20 mph speed limits on all bikeways with signs that state \”Bikeway: local motor vehicle traffic only.\” Yellow \”Bikes must yield\” at all Stop signs. Otherwise PDOT is just blowing smoke.

Tbird
Guest
Tbird

Lenny- don\’t you mean to say \” Yield TO bikes..\”?

Thats the mentality needed to discourage motorists from using BB\’s ( and I agree with your assessment of BB\’s).
Another idea is more physical barriers (diversions, if you will) that funnel/force all motor traffic off of BB\’s and onto higher traffic routes while letting soft traffic, bikes, peds etc…roll thru. We have this at 39th/clinton. We just need it at about 20 more intersections between 21-82nd

Roger Geller
Guest
Roger Geller

Lenny,

I agree. A lower speed limit would be great. We discussed it internally at PDOT. The main problem: speed limits are set by a state board. We, the local jurisdiction, can not legally go in and change the speed limit. So, what\’s really needed is a change in state law to give local jurisdictions control over their speed limits. Or, perhaps better yet, a state law to define bike boulevards and allow for 15 mph speed limits.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Roger G. –

As several posters have mentioned…

…that this bike blvd due to its (good) lack of stop signs attracts more district thru car traffic than may be comfortable for bikers…any chance of allowing mid route diverters to be installed (fire friendly of course)?

And how about the use of advisory (yellow/ black) speed signs to lower the speed limit in areas with traffic calming/ management such as this zone will have with the project?

Greg M
Guest
Greg M

Roger,

Do you know we could support a state law to define bike blvds w/ a lower speed limit?

Also, I live right next to Ankeny and would love a way to stop cars using Ankeny & Ash to avoid the awful 12th/Sandy/Burnside intersection.

Thanks

Zaphod
Guest

It seems to me that this is a great test case to understand what works and what doesn\’t. Does bicycle themed art and signage drop motorist utilization? Does it make them more aware? Does the average speed drop? Will cyclists gravitate towards this route.

We can all make reasonable guesses but they are indeed guesses. While it is difficult to gauge awareness, it is possible to accurately everything else. Lets see this thing get built and measure the results. Decisions to spend real money (and 70K is not real money from a transportation infrastructure point of view) should be purely data driven.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I would submit something if I thought this thread was alive. But after 2 days of discussion in March, it seems to be dead. Why is that? Anybody?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

The artists/finalists are:

-Brian Borrello
-Matt Cartwright
-John Early & Laura Bender
-Jennifer Corio, Leah Jackson, Dave Frei & Todd Boulanger

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

Great news about Clinton Street. However, to make Portland a truly bike friendly city, one where it safe to commute year-round for everyone including young children and older riders we need separate bike lanes that divide bike traffic from cars with concrete dividers or bike-only roads. Bike paths that are physically separated from cars are all over Europe. Concrete, separated bike lanes can make even a city as bike unfriendly as Paris was eight years ago a great place to commute by bike now. Nothing can really do the job of giving bicyclists their own safe space except giving them their own space. We bikers should not have to take our lives into our own hands–and, for us parents, the lives of our children–in order to commute by bike. In the long run it saves everyone money and benefits everyone in terms of decreased noise and air pollution.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Your idea of what makes a perfect bike route is just one idea, and it is not really compatible with, or appropriate for, a bike boulevard. A bike boulevard uses existing street infrastructure, discourages automobile through-traffic, while permitting those who live on the street access to their properties. Cars and bikes share the road, but bikes are the preferred vehicle. If you feel unsafe in this situation, then more needs to be done to discourage cars from driving on the route, and certainly from driving fast.

If you wish to promote fully separated bike lanes, you must realize that, aside from the much higher cost of such routes, there will be less place for bikes outside of these limited routes. The risk is that people will eventually develop the attitude that the only place for bikes is on the separated routes.

I\’m not a militant \”vehicular cyclist\” who believes that bicyclists should always mix it up with cars, but I\’d appreciate a mix of options as to how I navigate my way through town. I don\’t think there\’s any utility in replacing a bike boulevard – which already works pretty well, but perhaps needs some tweaking – with a separated bike lane. Rather, we should look to promote that strategy where it is most effective, like certain limited-access routes not frequently impeded by cross-traffic, and where it\’s highly undesirable to ride with the cars.

We can learn a lot from European cities, but we oughtn\’t copy everything they do; there might just be some pretty good American solutions, too.

Nate
Guest
Nate

What they really should do is put a diversion in at 17th to keep out all the cars trying to speed down Clinton to avoid traffic on Division.