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Lloyd District group proposes carfree Holladay Street

Posted by on May 19th, 2009 at 10:36 am

Detail from a plan to make NE Holladay Street a carfree corridor.
Download PDF (2.4MB)
(Graphic by Parametrix)

The Lloyd Transportation Management Association (TMA), a non-profit business association, wants to convert NE Holladay Street to a “carfree transit corridor” that would run between the Rose Quarter and NE 13th Ave.

View of NE Holladay showing car lane,
with MAX on other side of the median.

The street currently carries two-way MAX light rail traffic on one side and one-way (east) motor vehicle traffic and a lane for parked cars on the other.

By closing the street to motorized traffic, the Lloyd TMA says they’ll create “a green corridor that connects Holladay Park, Oregon Square, and the Eastbank Esplanade for the use of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.

Story continues below


In a proposal about the project sent to Mayor Adams’ office and City of Portland traffic engineers, Lloyd TMA staffer Heather McCarey wrote that Holladay street is, “a strong candidate for one of the City’s first conversions of an auto prioritized street to a bike and pedestrian prioritized street.”

“The corridor will be a place for tourist and business visitors to experience Portland’s famous bike infrastructure and culture first-hand. It will boost business for area restaurants, cafes and retail by creating an attractive furniture zone that is free from noise and pollution caused by the automobile.”
— From the project proposal

According to the proposal, once the street is closed to cars, the city would install bike activated signals at all signal crossings.

The Lloyd District is a major destination for thousands of Portland commuters, tourists, shoppers, and students. It is the home of major regional employers like Metro, Integra, Kaiser Permanente, PacificCorp, the State of Oregon, and the Bonneville Power Administration. Other major destinations within a quarter mile of NE Holladay are: the Lloyd Center Mall, which draws 15 million people a year; the Rose Garden Arena, home of the Trail Blazers; Benson High School; and the Oregon Convention Center.

Project backers at the Lloyd TMA say the plan is well-aligned with official transportation goals of the City and the region and that the costs would be relatively low “due to the ability to use existing infrastructure.”

So far, the idea is in its preliminary stages, but public outreach and planning is moving forward. McCarey shared information about the project at the recent Bike to Work Day breakfast and she plans to present the idea to the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee later this summer.

Stay tuned for opportunities to learn more and get involved with this exciting project.

Download a PDF of the graphic at the top of this story (2.4MB)

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  • chrisgunn May 19, 2009 at 10:51 am

    This would be fantastic. There is really no reason for any cars to be on Holladay. It would make my commute better!

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  • Jessica Roberts May 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Can we see a bigger version of that graphic?

    As you wish Ms. Roberts. You can now download the PDF of that graphic. — Jonathan

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  • DJ Hurricane May 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Let’s get a petition started saying that bus drivers can’t use it. Zing!

    Seriously, great idea. I’d love to see more of these around town.

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  • patrick barber May 19, 2009 at 10:57 am

    jeez, that’d be fabulous. I, too, would love to see a larger version of that map (or a link to a more detailed plan).

    Yay Lloyd TMA!


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  • Mike May 19, 2009 at 10:58 am

    That would be fantastic!

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  • Laura May 19, 2009 at 10:58 am


    BTW, I think paragraph 3 should read “By closing the street to motorized traffic…”

    Thanks for catching that Laura — Jonathan

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  • carless in pdx May 19, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Would signals be timed for bikes or always red that you have to activate?

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  • aljee May 19, 2009 at 11:03 am

    “It will boost business for area restaurants, cafes”

    Hopefully it would add some. I mean, there is the burrito cart….

    I would also like to see a larger graphic. I was at the bike to work party and found this map puzzling. Future streetcar on the max tracks? The streetcar will run up 7th, not on the max tracks, as the map infers. The arrows don’t really do much but cause more questions.

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  • ScottG May 19, 2009 at 11:04 am

    It’s my belief that the biggest tipping point to getting more people out on bikes instead of using their cars will be when it becomes faster to bike most destinations than it is to drive. Dedicating certain streets to non-motorized traffic is a huge step that can bring us to this goal. I would be thrilled to see this happen and intend to support it throughout the approval process.

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  • Allan May 19, 2009 at 11:06 am

    is anyone opposed? this street isn’t terribly useful anyhow for drivers

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  • GLV May 19, 2009 at 11:12 am

    …the Rose Quarter Arena, home of the Trail Blazers; Benson High School; the Oregon Convention Center; and the Rose Garden Arena.

    The Rose Garden Arena is the home of the Blazers. The Rose Quarter Arena does not exist.

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  • Blair May 19, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Really great idea.

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  • aljee May 19, 2009 at 11:25 am

    “is anyone opposed? this street isn’t terribly useful anyhow for drivers”

    one argument would be the loss of on-street parking and therefore, loss of revenue. there is AMPLE parking in the Lloyd though, so I don’t think anyone would really miss the spaces but the city. closing it to autos doesn’t seem like it would limit access to the parking garages.
    and after reviewing the map again…. really, what is with the arrows? bikeways? who knows!?

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  • Peter Noone May 19, 2009 at 11:27 am


    As the map implies. Or, as one might infer from the map. Sorry to be pedantic, but the distinction is useful.

    On topic, I love the idea, but it seems like these proposals always go down in flames. We *must* be able to drive and park on *every* street dammit!

    By the way, does anyone know of a similar car free zone in the US?

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  • kgb May 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Loves it.

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  • Tony Fuentes May 19, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Wow. This is significant for many reasons but one of the key being at the impetus is coming from the local TMA. Ultimately, the TMA represents the interests of its business members.

    When you have businesses viewing a car-free corridor as an economic and social benefit, that’s huge! Hopefully this is a harbinger of more car-free advocacy by local businesses.

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  • KWW May 19, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Call me when they close a residential street to car traffic, home buyers will be tripping over themselves to get a property like that.

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  • Kris May 19, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Sounds great, though still unclear whether Holladay would become a two-way street for both bikes and buses. Also, is there a future streetcar line planned along Holladay, like the map seems to suggest?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Sorry it was not more clear in the story… Holladay would not have buses on it. It is also not slated for Streetcar…. however Holladay would be an access point for future streetcar stations on Grand and SE 7th.

    The plan would put up bollards on Holladay so that cars/buses would not enter but they’d be removable so that emergency vehicle access would still be possible.

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  • Zaphod May 19, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I agree with KWW(#17), A car-free residential street will add a 20% or better premium. I live on a busy street and saved 20-25% to deal with the traffic.

    The Holliday route is valuable because it’s a safe and comfortable corridor that solves the biggest hurdle: linking routes together. I bike my kid across the Broadway bridge but would never have him thread the gauntlet where even a seasoned rider has to be extra vigilant. This will allow us to connect 9th to the Steel and and all destinations on the West side.

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  • PdxMark May 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    It’s a great idea. My first thought was that one-way Holladay might be a couplet with another one-way street, but I don’t think it is. If it were part of a couplet, the plan might include a change on that other street…

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  • mike m May 19, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    The had a street in my neighborhood closed for a week for construction. All the kids and their parents came out and played in the streets, every day. It was pretty cool to see.

    As for this project, sounds wonderful. I will even go to the mall if it helps. Cinnabon here I come.

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  • Kris May 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, Jonathan. That makes it sound totally awesome. Nice work, Lloyd TMA!

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  • John May 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Talk about unexpected allies. And jumping right to the front lines; I don’t think we could propose this and feel like we’d be taken too seriously.

    Right on!

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  • bean May 19, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I have always been intrigued with how Copenhagen developed their well known walking street district. The city changed some of the one way streets so that they to go in to each other face to face. This made driving very annoying and time consuming. Gradually the cafe’s sidewalk tables crept out, eventually taking over the street. No one objected when they finally closed the streets to cars. (except for delivery vehicles before 10 am)
    This could easily happen on Miss. St, NW 23rd…hell, even Alberta and Hawthorne, Belmont for a few blocks…do it!

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  • Hart May 19, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    What’s with all the “??????????” on the PDF?

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  • Brad May 19, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Another 5 MPH “solution”-yawn! What good is stopping every block for crossing auto traffic? Also, who cares what tourists and biz travelers think of bikey ol’ Portland? Spending money to impress out-of-towners and garner more PR does what? Encourage more people to move here to compete for scarce employment and drive up housing costs? Great idea!

    If you really want people on bikes and out of cars then we need to think about dedicated high speed bike arterials with over / underpasses instead of these little boutique projects. This Holladay proposal creates no real incentive to ditch the motor vehicle as it is a tiny stretch of real estate already served well by mass transit.

    Want some real impact? Dedicate a full lane on each side of N. Interstate to bikes. Do the same on the St. John’s Bridge. Or the Hawthorne. Dig something like Seattle’s bus tunnel for bikes that allows cyclists to transit through downtown without stops. What about a dedicated path that parallels I-84 from downtown to Gresham like the US-26 path in Washington County? These things make bikes travel faster and motivates people to use them.

    The focus needs to be bicycle based mobility for the masses and not bicycle friendly retail development that impresses visitors.

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  • Shasta May 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    This is great news! I am glad to see businesses recognize the importance of walking/biking shoppers.

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  • KO May 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    There’s an error of fact in the second paragraph, which states “the street currently carries … a bike lane…” I ride this stretch (Rose Quarter to Holladay Park) twice daily, and there is no bike lane. I wholeheartedly support this proposal. Currently, bikers heading east must ride/share the sidewalk, which can be precarious when there’s a crowd at the Convention Center. A separate, but related, matter, concerns the east-bound bike lane on Multnomah Blvd in front of the Rose Quarter. How about ticketing cars/taxis that stop in that bike lane to drop or wait for passengers? This creates a real hazard for bicylists, who are forced into heavy traffic during events.

    — thanks for catching that error. I meant to correct it before publishing but never did. it’s fixed now. cheers — Jonathan

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  • Matt Picio May 19, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Lloyd TMA rocks. This is fantastic, and I hope the city goes along with it.

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  • KO May 19, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    oops, I meant “west-bound” lane on Multnomah Blvd, not “east-bound.”

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  • Matt Picio May 19, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Hart (#26) – check your version of Adobe Acrobat (or whichever PDF reader you use), some readers can’t translate all PDF types.

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  • DJ Hurricane May 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Jonathan, re # 19:

    “The plan would put up bollards on Holladay so that cars/buses would not enter but they’d be removable so that emergency vehicle access would still be possible.”

    Why can’t this be done on every third block of every bike boulevard in the City? That would allow local traffic and solve the problem of through traffic on bike boulevards.

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  • PDXPam May 19, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Love the idea! How can we petition/lobby/support this proposal as it moves through the city’s red tape?

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  • Ian Stude May 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    This looks great!

    I can’t help but consider the possibilities for a future connection from 16th Ave to the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail. Cantilever to the MAX overpass then install a switchback down to the rail line… Oh, and while I’m dreaming, how about a BikeStation at the edge of the Lloyd Cinemas Parking lot…

    Kudos to Heather and the Lloyd TMA for pursuing such a bold & brilliant idea. Please find a way to squeeze this into the Bike Master Plan, if it hasn’t been already.

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  • Shelley O May 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    We need to make sure this gets added to the Bike Master Plan. Send in your support. Thanks TMA.

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  • Diogo May 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Awesome! They should do this in the inner SE area too, where there are a lot of bikers.

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  • Sarah May 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I can not support this proposal. This street is critical for car traffic and deliveries. Are bikers having problems on this street? I find it very bikable. As a veteran bike commuter in PDX (20+ years) what I’ve found most beneficial has been the designation of bike routes and boulevards. They provide a voluntary nudge to keep drivers on arterials and allow cyclists to enjoy lower car traffic on good side street routes.

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  • tbird May 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm


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  • Lillian May 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm


    Can you explain why this street is critical for car traffic & deliveries as opposed to the surrounding arterials?

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  • Peter Noone May 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm


    I would guess that deliveries would be allowed. Why is this path critical for autos–can’t they just use Multnomah and Lloyd?

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  • mark May 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    yeah I don’t see how this street is useful enough for cars to keep it the way it is. there are plenty of other streets around that are easier to use. I’ve driven it only a handful of times, and honestly it’s kind of annoying to drive on. you’ve got so many stoplights and there isn’t anything on this street that you can’t get to several different other ways. I think it’s a great area to go car-free!

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  • JR May 19, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    I work on this street and notice one or two blocks get more auto parking than others.

    The two-way travel would be a significant improvement over existing conditions.. I suspect an easy fix is to simply increase parking meter rates to help demand match supply. If this were to connect directly to the Sullivan’s Gultch trail, it would be absolutely perfect! I would just caution that while this would be a significant improvement for east/west travel, north south connections could still use major improvements – ie. 7th/9th north of mulntomah and 11th south of lloyd.

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  • CD May 20, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Ya know, you can always take the sidewalk. There’s freakin’ nobody on the sidewalk, ever, except for 15 minutes at lunch. This is a great shortcut if you want to drive to Lloyd. Really folks, let it be, and yes, I bike to work every day, but drive to the mall in my diesel fumes spewing Suburban!

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  • DJ Hurricane May 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Bicyclists and pedestrians can’t even have a single street to themselves in the whole city. Every single one must be dedicated to the supremacy of cars. People can’t be expected to deliver goods on the other sides of buildings or to walk any significant distance.

    All hail the fat, stupid motorheads.

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  • Matt Picio May 20, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Sarah (#38) – Then you should speak to the Lloyd TMA, who is proposing this – not bikers. This is being done as much for peds (perhaps more for peds) as for bikes.

    I’m curious why you believe this street is critical for deliveries, when none of the buildings along Holladay take deliveries on that street – they take them either on the cross streets or one block over on SE Pacific.

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  • Tigue May 20, 2009 at 11:46 am

    This is a no brainer.

    Get R’ Done !

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  • She May 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you so much for covering this Jonathan.

    Sorry Sarah, I completely disagree with you on just about all points. This is a great project and I believe it will improve the Lloyd District!

    I have walked and biked Holladay. This will be a vast improvement. This is not so much for the long time comfortable commuters or the speedies, but more for those tentative riders that feel safer on a street that does not have auto traffic. And yes this is for walkers and bikers. Although I suspect we will all enjoy it!

    This is a street that is not a through street, so those that use it as a short cut to Lloyd Center, you will just have to go around, there are really much more direct ways to go and between Lloyd and Multnomah, which are pretty direct east-west streets and still having the north south streets crossing Holladay, I really do not think car traffic will much be impeded by this change.

    Upon a survey the number of parking spaces lost was impressively small.

    Thank you to the Lloyd TMA and to Bike Portland for covering the story.

    Heather did a great interview on Channel 8 news last night!

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  • Ted Buehler May 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Great proposal. I might even go to the Lloyd Center once in a while if this goes in.
    Ted Buehler
    Vancouver WA

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