Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

First look: New green bike lanes in Rose Quarter Transit Center

Posted by on October 15th, 2008 at 10:36 am

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.

Looking south from NE Holladay. N. Interstate Ave is in the background.
(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.

New bike facilities in Rose Quarter Transit Center-3

Blueprint for new striping
and bike lanes.

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.

New bike facilities in Rose Quarter Transit Center-2

Newly installed advanced stop
bar at Multnomah and Wheeler.

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.

New bike facilities in Rose Quarter Transit Center-8

There’s nothing like the smell
of fresh bike lane paint
in the morning.

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.)

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

  • gabriel amadeus October 15, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Yay! Now I can legally do what I have always done!

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  • K'Tesh October 15, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Looks like I’m going to have to go and check it out soon… When’s last Thursday? 😉

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  • ME 2 October 15, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I might have to check this new option out. I currently bike on NE Multnomah to NE Lloyd and go past the convention center to access the Steel Bridge.

    The Trib article noted a portion on NE Wheeler that cyclists are required to walk past. Is this still the case or is it another example of their outdated reporting?

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  • Brot October 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I think the Trib’s reference to walking bikes describes the current system, and not the new one. Poorly worded, but not inaccurate. This intersection has been THE hang-up in my daily commute, so I’m extremely pleased the fix is now in place.

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  • Michelle (BTA) October 15, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    There will be a big fuss tomorrow (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. And lots of happy bike commuters.

    You should join them for an inaugural ride down the center and a ribbon-busting ceremony. Wear green!

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  • matt picio October 15, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Jonathan (or Roger, if you’re reading this), how much are the 4 sections of thermoplastic costing the city? How much would it have cost to cover the entire lane as originally envisioned?

    Thanks for continuing to cover this story!

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  • Steven J October 15, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Remember…Just Because It’s green doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention.

    Nuff Said.

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  • Dave October 15, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Sweet. But… Is green the right color? Seems to me it’s a color that’s already used in traffic control.

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  • Dana October 15, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Can I ride through here today on my way home from work at 5:00?

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  • red hippie October 15, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    In the future, can they raise up the cycling area or use a low curb or those plastic lane designators to really segregate it. This might be a great area to test out the concept of separated bikeways for the rest of the city.

    Cheers and yeah!

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  • Matthew Denton October 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    So they’ve run out of money for green plastic? Is this why they haven’t filled in the bike box on the NW Broadway & Hoyt, or is that the test intersection to see if someone dies if you just install a bike box but no green plastic?

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  • Jessica Roberts October 15, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    This is such a milestone. I have long thought of this as both a real and symbolic black eye for Portland, but honestly, I never thought we’d see a solution. I always said that if we ever actually solved the Rose Quarter I’d personally host a party to write thank-you notes to Fred Hansen, so here’s my chance:

    Please join me next Monday 10/20 at the Hawthorne Lucky Lab at 5:30 pm for a thank-you note writing party. I’ll bring the giant novelty cards and the felt-tip pens; you should just bring your stories about how much this fix means to you.

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  • ME 2 October 16, 2008 at 7:42 am

    So I tried to take this route this morning, but my trip straight down NE Multnomah took me to Interstate. Where am I supposed to turn to get on NE Holladay?

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  • adam October 16, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I’d been waiting to hear that it was actually open. I’m going to try it out tonight on the way home!

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