Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Separated bikeway installed on Naito Parkway (sort of)

Posted by on March 6th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Bikers and walkers take advantage of a temporary protected lane on Naito Parkway.
(Photos © J. Maus)

OK, so it’s only temporary, but I couldn’t resist.

Separated bike-walk lane on Naito-4

Photo taken from the Burnside Bridge looking south.

If you haven’t done so already, take a ride on Naito Parkway, or along the Waterfront Park path near the Burnside Bridge, and you’ll be greeted with a very nice surprise. Construction crews working in the park (on the Saturday Market project) have created a temporary detour that has created a two-way, separated bikeway in a full lane on the northbound side of Naito Parkway.

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The lane begins just before Ankeny and goes under the bridge to Couch. I watched people using it yesterday and it was just as busy as the motorized traffic lane. I couldn’t help but dream that there was actually a significant bike facility on Naito Parkway instead of just the standard bike lane that is currently there.

new bike lane on Naito

This is how Naito feels
with just a bike lane.

Naito recently had a major re-construction and the city striped bike lanes on it for the first time. They work O.K., but I have heard grumblings from bike planners in town that feel the project was a missed opportunity to install some sort of cycletrack or separated bike lane on the east side of the street in Waterfront Park.

Who knows, maybe someday the city would actually consider doing something like this on one of our major streets. If not on Naito, than perhaps on another street. A guy can dream can’t he?

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  • GLV March 6, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    “bike planners in town that feel the project was a missed opportunity to install some sort of cycletrack or separated bike lane on the east side of the street in Waterfront Park.”

    I completely agree. At least they could have put in sidewalks, which could absorb a lot of the pedestrian traffic currently on the shared facility.

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  • Dave March 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Seems like especially leading to the new Saturday Market facilities, it would have been an ideal place to put a separated bike lane. Well, I guess we’ll have to wait until the next 30 years when they redo Naito again. Assuming anything changes by then 🙂

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  • Erik March 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I’m likely in the minority here, but I prefer bike lanes adjacent to car lanes over seperated “cycletracks.” With a normal bike lane cars greatly help keep it clear from debris. Seperated bike lanes usually have a much higher build up of gravel and branches and such.

    Also, I would rather ride next to traffic travelling in the same direction as opposed to sharing a single lane with oncomming bike traffic and pedestrians.

    Every day I commute north on Naito to the Steel bridge and I take the edge of the car lane, not this newly constructed separated bikeway. There are too many joggers and bikers traveling towards me.

    My thoughts…

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  • a.O March 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    They should do these in right lanes along major thoroughfares throughout the city. This is pretty simple engineering and pretty cheap, yeah?

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  • ms March 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I’m glad you covered this! I’ve been thinking about this stretch on my way home on this route. I am a pretty confident cyclist after 7 years of riding in Portland year-round and fine with riding in the road or bike lanes, but this little stretch has made me a believer in the possibility of cycle tracks increasing bike ridership.

    I agree – you do have to watch out for joggers/walkers. However, it is a noticeable difference of feeling safer when there is a physical wall between you and cars. I noticed that I immediately relax a little bit in this area. If I were cycling with kids, I would much prefer a set up like this. PBOT always talks about how do we reach that next percentage chunk of riders – and safety is a big factor in getting more women & children out on the roads.

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  • Dave March 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    My experience through downtown and SE Portland is that bike lanes painted on the right of car lanes often get the largest buildup of debris (as the stuff gets pushed out of the car lane, it ends up on the side of the road, which is where the bike lane is), they go over manholes and storm drains, and in some places are just really impractical to ride in. They just suddenly end, and dump you into a car lane unexpected, etc. I specifically take side streets so I don’t have to use them when I can, I’m able to ride more consistently that way, as I don’t have to keep swerving into the car lane to avoid debris and drains and any kind of junk people decide to dump on the side of the road. I prefer avoiding pedestrians to avoiding things that cause me to act erratically around automobiles or that put me at risk of crashing or blowing tires or whatnot.

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  • RJ March 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Man, that would be AWESOME to have a separated bikeway! Why not try to make it happen? Or at least let the City know that you would LIKE it to happen?

    I am having visions of big posters and flags, bells and horns, and lots of lots of bicycles..

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  • Dave March 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    It’s a big factor in getting more men out on bicycles too, just not the go-getting, super sporty types.

    Subjective safety and distance are probably the single biggest factors influencing whether people ride their bikes in the city or not.

    Portland (at least the main inner areas) is already very compact. We just need to get people feeling safe on their bikes.

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  • encephalopath March 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    … “It’s a big factor in getting more men out on bicycles too, just not the go-getting, super sporty types.” …

    Which makes me wonder, is that vulnerabilty one of the things that causes cycling to be met so much derision?

    Being exposed like that is unmanly. Men are alway in control and ready to defend their honor with fisticuffs.

    Therefore, since riding requires one to be able negotiate being vulnerable to harm, cycling is effeminate and worthy of mockery by manly men.


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  • Dave March 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    …and perhaps what has also prompted the majority of male riders in the US to view cycling as a sport, even when simply riding for transportation purposes? as a sport, it’s much more “manly”.

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  • encephalopath March 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I just never occurred to me before that alot of the resitance to bicycle infrastructure could be driven by gender politics.

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  • Dave March 6, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Yeah, it’s possible that it’s at least a piece of what’s apparently a rather complex puzzle – it seems so bizarre to me that there is so much resistance to bicycle infrastructure, it seems so blatantly obvious that designing roads to be friendly to bikes is beneficial to so many people, including those who usually oppose it.

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  • KWW March 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    We should concrete barriers on any roads where sampling proves that cars are known to speed, ie broadway, naito, etc.

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  • Carol McCreary November 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Now that the Legacy Fountain and the new home of Saturday Market are open, check out the newest addition to the area. A brand new Portland Loo on Naito Parkway at the foot of SW Ash opens on November 19 at noon, with the First Flush marking World Toilet Day. It’s really bike friendly: you take your bike right in with you. Everyone invited to celebrate.

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