Michelle Poyourow of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) will issue a statement later today about a recent petition and document that has surfaced from a group of TriMet operators who oppose a plan to allow bike access through the Rose Quarter Transit Center (RQTC).
Poyourow is the BTA’s main liaison to TriMet and she has worked even more closely with them since the death of Austin Miller back in February.
Her statement says that that the operators’ concerns are “absolutely legitimate,” and that, “I don’t have any doubt that they are acting out of concern for everyone’s safety.”
Poyourow also acknowledges that because it is currently illegal and because there’s no bike lane through the RQTC,
“bicyclists who do ride through the Transit Center add an element of unpredictability that compromises any operator’s power to be careful and prevent a crash on that street.”
She also plans to explain that the reason a good connection through the RQTC is important and has been a “very high priority for the BTA for years” is that the existing route from the Esplanade to N. Williams is “awful” and that,
“In neither direction is [the existing] route acceptable for any but the hardiest bicyclists. A major crossroads in the Portland bike network should not be challenging and unsafe. It should be intuitive, easy, and low-traffic.”
According to Poyourow, the BTA has worked with TriMet engineers and operators, city planners, and representatives from the Lloyd District Transportation Management Association to “develop a solution that would allow safer bicycle passage” through the RQTC.
She explains that these changes will include:
- Engineering (such as striping, painting, curbwork, additional train crossing signs at bike-height, and lengthened signal times)
- Bus re-routing (removing most of the current bus routes from Wheeler and putting them on Multnomah)
- Planned enforcement and educational efforts to accompany implementation
In conclusion, Poyourow feels that the BTA is,
“confident that this solution will normalize bicyclist behavior and create a more predictable operating environment than operators are currently faced with… and will also bridge an unacceptable gap in Portland’s otherwise good network of bicycle routes, by connecting N Portland, the Lloyd District and the river more safely and comfortably than ever before.”