In 1993 an upstart bike advocacy group called the Bicycle Transportation Alliance — headed by Rex Burkholder (now a Metro councilor) — filed a lawsuit against the City of Portland because of a lack of bicycle facilities around the Rose Garden Arena.
This morning, 15 years after that legal battle (which ended after the BTA backed off two years later, their point being made), PDOT crews (with the blessing of TriMet) began the striping and installation of new bike lanes through the Rose Quarter Transit Center — making passage through the area for bicycles safer, more efficient, and legal.
(Photos © J. Maus)
The new lane is 12-feet wide to accomodate two-way bike traffic and it runs from NE Multnomah to N. Interstate.
The original plans called for the entire lane to be filled in with green thermoplastic material. However, budget constraints have resulted in a plan (see the blueprint of the work order at right) to only fill in four, 25-foot sections of the lane with green.
PDOT’s bike coordinator Roger Geller says that they decided to save money and focus the green areas where pedestrians, bicyclists, and TriMet operators should pay extra attention. Geller added that PDOT will also install new bikeway network signs in the area.
In addition to the new bike lane, a new bike box with the “WAIT HERE” marking has been installed on the SE corner of NE Multnomah and Wheeler (it will be filled in with green later today). This is intended to give more space, prevent right-hooks, and provide added visibility for bike riders who are headed north on Wheeler.
PDOT has also added a fresh coat of paint to crosswalks and TriMet will re-route some buses off of NE Wheeler. In addition, PDOT plans to remove the existing bike lane from NE Multnomah, which will now see more bus traffic and a new bus stop.
On a side note, the Portland Tribune published a story about the new bike facilities this morning. They tried hard to frame it as a controversy with the headline, Busy Rose Quarter Transit Center gets controversial bike lane: There’s still a conflict as TriMet bus drivers oppose bicyclists in transit hub . They dredged up the petition signed by bus and MAX operators that strongly opposed the changes.
What the Tribune didn’t mention is that the informal, unofficial petition was acknowledged by TriMet and the operator who wrote it has since attended a field review of the proposed changes and is now working with TriMet to develop training materials to help fellow operators deal with the addition of the new bike facilities.
There’s no controversy here.
The new bike lane, bike box, and signs are expected to be completely installed by this evening, at which time, the Rose Quarter Transit Center will be open for bikes. Finally.
UPDATE: Michelle Poyourow from the BTA just commented that there’s a ribbon-cutting event planned for tomorro (Thursday) afternoon at 1:45 pm with Commissioner Sam Adams, TriMet Director Fred Hansen, and the PDOT, BTA and TriMet staff that made this come together. (**Meet at the Peace Sign Garden above the Eastbank Esplanade. Do not congregate in the Transit Center.)