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I-5 widening project will bring new bike lanes to North Portland

Posted by on April 24th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

n. Portland Blvd.

Construction is underway on ODOT’s I-5 Delta Park Project, and that means much-needed safety improvements are on their way to N. Rosa Parks Way (formerly Portland Blvd.).

As part of project’s $60 million budget, $1 million was set aside for a “Community Enhancement” fund. Among other things, that fund will pay for ODOT to stripe bike lanes on N. Rosa Parks Way from Vancouver to Montana.

This stretch of Rosa Parks Way is a key connector to Interstate Avenue, which has seen a lot of development in recent years. Residents on the east side of I-5 who visit the new New Seasons Market, the MAX station or any other destination, must grapple with high-speed motorized traffic, narrow shoulders, and two freeway on/off-ramps in each direction.

The image below was created by North Portland resident and member of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee Shamus Lynsky. It was part of the project’s grant application and it shows some of the preliminary bikeway design concepts.

A preliminary design document for the project. Click to enlarge.

According to ODOT’s community relations staffer Shelli Romero, the project is set for completion by July of this year.

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  • John Russell April 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    There is also a bit about replacing the viaducts along Denver Avenue. Hopefully they can make these better lit and more bicyclist and pedestrian friendly in the process.

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  • Stripes April 24, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Given that the bikelane will cross the freeway, I wonder if the project will utilize the newly approved green color for the more contentious/dangerous stretches of bikelane prone to right hooks?

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  • zilfondel April 24, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I\’m going to use this opportunity to mention one of my biggest beef\’s with the bike lane system in Portland:

    you\’re riding down the bike lane, and just when there is a lot of traffic, it dead-ends into on-street parking.

    This pisses me off to no end…

    Example: 28th avenue just north of Sandy has bikelanes, 28th ave south of Sandy doesn\’t.

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  • Todd Boulanger April 24, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    This is very good news.

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  • Matthew Denton April 24, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    This is one of the gaps in the system that keeps a lot of people from bicycling. When I\’m talking to someone like my mother, she is always worried about streets like Rosa Parks where the bicycle lane just disappears for a few blocks at a time, (and certainly stories like this don\’t help:
    and then I have to explain that I very rarely ride down that section of Rosa Parks, that I normally take Byrant or Ainsworth when going East/West. Then she thinks that bicycling is dangerous AND confusing. And she is right, but it shouldn\’t be either of those things, and filling in the gaps like this help a lot…

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  • Hank Sheppard April 24, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    The Denver Avenue viaduct rebuild is part of Phase II which is not (will probably never be) funded. It was more a sop to N. Portland than a serious project.
    Just think, if…God forbid…we are unable to stop or derail the $4.2 Billion CRC project, of what can be done with 1% of that? $42 Million will build a lot a bike ways, trails, bridges, etc.
    But let\’s hope the CRC goes back to the drawing board and comes up with a real earth friendly option. Then even at $2 Billion there will be a nice little pot for Community Enhancement which is really pay back for building the damn freeway in the first place…a dagger near the heart of N. Portland that laid the community low for 40 years.

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  • Schrauf April 24, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    The design appears to include a bike signal and routing onto the sidewalk. That is good for the comfort of beginners, but hopefully more sophisticated cyclists realize they can just stay in the traffic lane and not have to wait for a super slow bike signal. Hopefully – depending on the design.

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  • Aaron April 24, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I wonder about the overall Delta Park Project. Isn\’t this project a widening (which will invite more traffic) and thus the added bike lanes will potentially be more dangerous due to the increased traffic generated?
    When we get this \’trickle-down\’ funding of a major road expansion project I see it as two steps forward and two steps back.

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  • Shamus Lynsky April 24, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks for covering this Jonathan. Just a clarification: I can\’t take all the credit (or blame, I guess – depending on your point of view), Shayna Rehberg from the PBAC and I worked with Roger Geller – who I believe created the image above.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 25, 2008 at 8:01 am

    The Delta/Lombard widening project is clearly for Clark county commuters. Freight off Columbia Blvd southbound onto I-5 will loose the add-lane its currently now enjoys.
    And in all likelihood, the bottleneck will shift south with traffic backing up adjacent to many homes and two hospitals making for much longer on ramp signal wait times.
    Winner: Clark county commuters
    Losers: Freight and residents of North Portland

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  • Spencer April 25, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Despite all the negativity, It is good to see this stretch of Portland Blvd. get Bike Lanes. This is on my regular ride home and I always think of it as the wild west.

    Good Job.

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  • kg April 25, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Actually this project eliminates the section of I5 that is only two lanes. It is three lanes before this section and three lanes after this section.
    This is a good project that will reduce congestion and make the freeway more efficient which will keep traffic on the freeway, save fuel and the air that helps us cycle around town.

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  • Matt Picio April 25, 2008 at 10:03 am

    kg (#12) – it unfortunately won\’t do any of that. More traffic throughput means an increase in number of trips, number of VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled), which will offset any reduction of fuel use and air pollution from idling.

    The system operates at a level of congestion / traffic throughput that is dependent on the regional population. Any attempt to reduce congestion will encourage more road use until the same level of congestion is reached. Congestion worsens because of increased overall population density within the service area. (Google \”Jevon\’s Paradox\”)

    This project actually placates the users of that stretch of road in the short term, and will provide temporary relief until the overall system responds to the changes in traffic throughput.

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  • kg April 25, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Matt(#13) – I agree with what you are saying but I think the cost of the use of the system can be regulated via fees, taxes, tolls whatever you want to call them thus mitigating the effects of Jevon\’s Paradox. In this way you may seperate the costs of using the system from the efficiency of said system. You seem to be advocating for an intentionally inefficient transportation infrastructure and I don\’t see how that will solve anything. Any problems that the approach may solve would be greatly outweighed by the side effects of the solution itself.

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  • jess oh. April 26, 2008 at 10:30 am

    I have commuted from my home on Ainsworth to my place of employment on Rosa Parks and Interstate for several months and have long been frustrated by the disappearing bike lanes. I think, above all the arguments, we should be celebrating the completion of these lanes! Whether a beginner or a well-experienced biker, a lane is always welcome.

    Unfortunately, accidents- such as the hit and run mentioned by Matthew (#5) will not stop due to lanes, bike boxes, signals, or any other measure the city takes. I think it is important to remember that probability is probability and regardless of your mode of transportation, accidents happen.

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  • […] You can find more information about the current status of the project at the BikePortland blog.  Bike Portland also has more details about the project and some background on the project. […]

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