get calmer, safer, and more
enjoyable for bikes in the
(Photo © J. Maus)
At a subcommittee meeting before the monthly Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting in City Hall last night, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Program Manager Mark Lear and Traffic Safety Specialist Greg Raisman outlined details on the bike boulevard portion of Mayor Adams’ “First 100 Day Action Plan”.
In that list, Mayor Adams promised to,
“Identify 15 miles of Bicycle Boulevards for implementation in the coming year,” and to “Complete the next link in the Bike Boulevard network on N Wabash, connecting N Willamette Blvd to the bike path along the Columbia River.”
Lear acknowledged that even though the 100 days are considered business days (which puts the deadline out to May), “there’s a lot of work to do.”
Portland’s next bike boulevard.
To make that work easier, Lear and Raisman said they’re focusing on streets that already have “favorable conditions”. That is, streets that have low traffic speeds, low traffic volume, relatively safe/easy crossings, are connected to the existing bike network and neighborhood services, and that are “fundable”.
The City likes Wabash for all the reasons above and because it connects at the south end with bike lanes on N. Willamette Blvd and with the terminus of N. Bryant Ave (already a popular bike street that will be a bike boulevard in the future). From there, Wabash goes north for about a mile, and eventually (after it turns into N. Hamlin) goes all the way to the Columbia Blvd. Bike Path.
“Wabash has a lot going for it, but no one knows it’s there.”
— Greg Raisman, PBOT
“Wabash already has a got a lot going for it,” says Raisman, “but no one knows it’s there.”
In addition to Wabash, two other bike boulevard projects are already pegged to be included in the first 15 miles: in Southeast Portland, Spokane Blvd. from the river to SE 21st; and Going Street, from N. Concord to NE 74th (both of these projects have been kick-started by advocates — Spokane by a neighborhood group, and Going by the BTA).
the bike boulevard effort for PBOT.
(Photo © J. Maus)
With money tight at PBOT these days, funding for this initial group of bike boulevards will be cobbled from three non-transportation department sources: “urban renewal” funds from the Portland Development Commission (PDC), “green street” project funding from the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), and finally, from a from a fund set aside for community traffic safety projects at PBOT that is generated from traffic fine revenue.
Lear said that PBOT will meet internally this week to discuss the next steps in the process. By the next Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting (February 10th), he said they will have an update on the first three projects (with budget estimates and outreach proposals for each) along with a draft list of more potential bike boulevards that “fit into this operational strategy”.
will have much larger
pavement markings than
(Photo © J. Maus)
As for identifying and choosing the final list, Lear says they’ll make their best attempt to distribute them throughout the city (“it’s a matter of geographic equity” he said). To find the routes, they’ll focus on the work that has already been done in the Bike Master Plan update. One area that is likely to be included is Southwest Portland. (Hilly and circuitous, that area of the city is bike facility deficient, but a massive, citizen-led effort to identify bike boulevards has helped routes in that area move up on PBOT’s priority list.)
What will be like to ride on these new bike boulevards? Lear says PBOT will unveil a new bike boulevard pavement marking (much larger than the existing “dots”). “The experience you can expect will be pleasant and and you will feel comfortable riding side-by-side.” Lear added that they’re trying to “flip as many stop signs as possible” and that there will be “some level of partial street closure”.
The idea is to make it obvious — whether you’re in a car or on a bike — that the street is meant for bicycle travel.
Working to fulfill promises made in Adams’ First 100 Day Action Plan is just one part of the City’s two-pronged effort for bike boulevards. PBOT is also working hard to make sure they’re at the front of the line to receive money for bike boulevards in President-elect Barack Obama’s in-process economic stimulus bill. Lear says they’re saving the “more complex and expensive” projects for federal funding.