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A “bold, creative” Clinton bike boulevard? See for yourself tonight

Posted by on July 13th, 2009 at 1:30 pm

This “bicycle mandala” graphic is one of the treatments PBOT is proposing to install in an intersection along SE Clinton Street to make it clear to people in cars that they are on a bicycle boulevard.

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation will hold an open house tonight for their Clinton Street Bicycle Boulevard Enhancement Safety Project.
a

Donna Bryan (R) shares her ideas with
artist Matt Cartwright at
an open house last summer.
(Photo: Brian Borrello)

The event will be an opportunity for folks to see PBOT’s latest proposal for improving the cycling and walking conditions along the street. Clinton is already a well-established bike boulevard. According to PBOT counts in 2007, 1,800 bikes travel through the intersection of SE Clinton and 26th each day, compared to 2,300 motor vehicles.

However, despite it being one of the most popular bikeway corridors in the city, PBOT acknowledges that for many Portlanders it still doesn’t feel safe. PBOT cites “uncomfortably high auto traffic volumes and speeds,” dangerous crossings at several major intersections (like at 21st, 52nd, etc…) and a lack of signage aimed at people in cars telling them that the street is a bike boulevard, as problems with the current conditions.

Map of the project’s geographic boundaries.

With their Clinton Street Enhancement Project, PBOT is trying to do something new. They are working with a team of local artists to “utilize bold, creative, communicative tools to draw the attention of motorists to the fact that they are on a bicycle boulevard.” Here are a few more of their concepts:

“Bicycle eyes” gateway feature.

A “bicycle arch gateway”.

PBOT has enlisted artists Brian Borrello (co-creator of Zoobomb Pyle monument) and Matt Cartwright (he did the metal figures atop River City Bicycles) to complete the project. Potential treatments are likely to include large on-street pavement markings, overhead banners, “eye-catching” street signage, and on-street bike parking facilities.

Come and check out what they have planned. Here are details of tonight’s open house:

    Open House for Clinton Street Bike Boulevard Enhancement Project
    Monday, July 13th, from 4 to 7pm
    St. Philip Neri Church, Carvlin Hall (2408 SE 16th)

— For more about this project, read our story from March 2008 or visit the project website.

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Brian
Guest
Brian

Great idea that I really hope works. I live on the corner of NE 45th and Davis (you might see me having a PBR on my front porch as you bike by) and I am hoping that if this works it will be employed in other parts of the city. I have seen MANY near accidents happen on our corner between cars and bikes, and bikes and bikes. We need some low cost solutions to these dangerous intersections besides adding stop signs.
Cheers.

brettoo
Guest
brettoo

Wish I could be there tonight (can’t) to tell them that better signage would be welcome, although I wonder if it would have made a difference in the near miss I had last month with a bimbette driving an SUV who stopped at the stop sign at about 38th (can’t remember exactly which street) and watched me riding downhill on Clinton — then pulled out right in front of me. I barely hit her car (thanks, roller brakes!) and yelled “You have a stop sign!”
Ditzi replied “But I stopped!” Yes, she did. And then she started again, despite the fact that another vehicle was approaching and had no stop sign.

A few guys who were hanging out on the street corner and saw the whole thing ragged on her for her idiocy, but it didn’t make me feel any better because it was really a close call. Of all places, you’d think a bike rider would be safe on a designated bike route like that one. Maybe some drivers are just too stupid to be allowed to get behind the wheel, but if anyone has any ideas about how better signs could prevent such dangerous stupidity from turning into tragedy, I hope they’ll bring them to the meeting.

Jay R.
Guest
Jay R.

I’m one of the many riders that takes that exact route when I commute to work. 26th and Clinton doesn’t bother me much, but the crossings at 52nd and 50th are a bear. At times, I’ve had to wait almost ten minutes just to get across 50th on my way home.

are
Guest
are

how is 21st a dangerous crossing? presumably you mean 21st and Division, but that intersection is regulated by a light.

Mike on Bike
Guest
Mike on Bike

21st & Division is dangerous because probably once a week I see a bike trying to head up Division and a car trying to turn right on 21st. It’s tough for cars to properly signal because they take a left and then a quick right.
21st & Clinton is also a nightmare because of the combination of buses turning, a fair amount of car traffic, and maybe 5% of the bikes actually stopping.

Zaphod
Guest

It seems the goal is to minimize auto traffic voluntarily through signage/education. This is great and I hope that we collect data before/after so we can learn about how effective it is. While I expect it to move the needle, a handful of rerouting barriers would do wonders to take all but local traffic off of this road. Division is only a block away and should be used by autos for arterial travel.

RyNO Dan
Guest
RyNO Dan

Just ban motor vehicles from Clinton. If you live withing two blocks, fine. Otherwise not allowed.
And get rid of parking on one side of the street.
Oh, and get rid of that bad stop sign at 32nd (so cars stop turning onto 32nd), and get rid of the light at 32nd and division (so cars stop turning onto 32nd).
And get rid of that rediculous, antiquated rush-hour-extra-lane thingy on Division while your at it…..

Matt Picio
Guest

Mike on Bike (#5) – that’s one reason why I don’t understand why so many cyclists hug the very right when going from Ladd Ave to southbound SE 21st. Some even go straight across Division (as if they were going to Dominos) and then do a hard left to hug the curb on Division before either going straight up Division or turning right onto 21st.

People – take the lane until you get clear of the intersection. You might anger a motorist or two, but the chance of a right hook are almost eliminated.

re: 21st & Clinton – yeah, lots of people don’t stop for those stop signs – cars included. And 26th is getting worse all the time, I recently saw a motorist on 26th go right through the intersection at 25 without stopping.

poser
Guest
poser

Hey Mike on Bike #5: I’m a regular at Clinton Corner Cafe (at 21st and Clinton) and you are totally exaggerating when you say that 5% of bikes actually stop at the 4-way stop. It’s at least 8%.

tisk tisk sir.

Agreed that it’s a nightmare corner. Aside from being a regular at the cafe there, I was a daily bike commuter through this intersection for 3+ years. There’s a surprisingly high amount of traffic: buses, delivery trucks, bikes, cars cutting though between Division and Powell – and a lot of them (not excepting the bikes) are hurried and roll through or just plain blow the stop sign.

There’s definitely upside to focusing on this corridor.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Personally, I like the alternate side of the street rush hour lanes on Division, they function very well as a 9-foot wide bike lane, which is much better than trying to ‘share the road’ with traffic on Division in a single lane.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

what does a sign of people throwing hoola hoops have to do with anything?

that’s a terrible sign if they’re actually trying to educate people/drivers/cyclists about bike boulevards…why not use arabic alphabet or japanese?

seriously, what’s wrong with a sign saying:

“This is a bike boulevard designated by the City of Portland. Please reduce speed and share the road with vulnerable users”

???? why the fancy yet cryptic art?

Brian Johnson
Guest
Brian Johnson

That’s not a very good symbol. It doesn’t read well at any distance.

What’s wrong with the “sharrows”? They are much larger and seem to do a good job of indicating that bicycles will be on the road or are allowed on the road.

However, getting folks in cars to slow down? That needs to start with driver education and continue through licensing tests.

But that “mandala” is just terrible as road signage.

Spencer Boomhower
Guest
Spencer Boomhower

#2 brettoo:

That kind of thing is rampant on the bike boulevards I frequent. Many cars don’t stop before they cross the boulevard, and even the ones that do stop only do it once they’re half a car-length past the sign.

And then there’s the ones like you’re describing, who seem unfamiliar with the concept of the 2-way stop. It can be pretty hair-raising.

The problem of cars crossing the bike boulevards is probably lower priority than cars traveling on the boulevards themselves, but it deserves more attention than it gets. I’d like to see the police do a plainclothes sting, like the ones they’ve done on crosswalks. Put a plainclothes cop on a bike and let them ride up and down the blvds, with backup a block away. It could probably produce as many tickets as the bike stings in Ladds, while at the same time going after some truly dangerous road users. And encouraging cops to experience things from the perspective of vulnerable road users might do us some good as well.

Donna
Guest
Donna

If they show off the bike corral design that Brian and Matt came up with, it’s worth it to everyone to attend this open house. IMO, the design ought to be the standard corral for the future.

It’s both practical and visually appealing.

mike m
Guest
mike m

How about a sign like this? “Bike corridor. Please drive carefully…or drive somewhere else.”

Brian
Guest
Brian

“Just ban motor vehicles from Clinton. If you live withing two blocks, fine. Otherwise not allowed.”

Couldn’t agree more for Clinton and Davis. In return cyclists should not be allowed to ride on roads such as SE 39th. Make perfect sense to me.

Deborah
Guest
Deborah

From South bound in Ladd, why oh why does the Tri-Met bus travel 21st to Clinton then Clinton to 26th? Why not left on Division & then right on 26th?
Why 5 blocks down a bike blvd?
No parking within 15-25 feet of the 21st & Clinton intersection would make this intersection much safer.

are
Guest
are

mike on bike comment 5. if you will not be turning right after you clear the intersection, you should not be to the right of other traffic. position yourself slightly left of center in the lane (behind and not to the right of any car that is already at the light), and assert your line through the intersection. forget what PBOT has been telling you about riding to the right and instead remember this mantra: you cannot be right hooked if you are to the left. infrastructure cannot solve everything, and it often gets in the way of learning sensible strategies.

Colin Maher
Guest
Colin Maher

@ Deborah #17

Good question. Buses can’t clear the turn @ SE 26th & Divsion. Bus routes (and Bike Boulevards) tend to follow old streetcar routes such as SE Clinton that have transit-supportive development and wider intersections.

Colin Maher
TriMet

Grimm
Guest
Grimm

As someone who rides Clinton daily and has gotten hit on on it news of improvements is welcome. The trick is to find a balance for the neighborhood and the people transporting through it. I would love to see more cars diverted to Division. The 32nd street stop sign somehow changed. And maybe some extra warning signs to drivers, especially near that little hill between 30th and 26th. In the early morning it seems to blind drivers and got me hit and a close call the other day. Signs can just say ‘yield to cyclists’ and maybe in smaller copy ‘through traffic use division 2 blocks north’, or something.

Deborah
Guest
Deborah

Colin Maher #19
TriMet

Wouldn’t another option be for the bus to continue southbound on 21st to Powell & then make the left there? There can be major congestion & 21st & Clinton when the Night Light or any of the other places are getting deliveries, & cars are parked up to the corner. I’ve seen bus drivers really caught having to thread the bus through the needle there.

f5
Guest
f5

I think it’s quite easy to look at a black and white drawing and scoff at it’s effectiveness, when really there’s no way to judge until you can see more if it’s implementation/utility/etc.

tbird
Guest
tbird

what a joke, just like most of the so-called infrastructure surround bike boulevards.
Let’s try simple, direct and powerful over artsy and ineffective.
How about this: a BIG bike icon on the street saying “bike blvd. cyclists and residents ONLY” then combine that with PPB presence to ticket the cut-thru maniacs that plague Clinton every single day from about 4-7 pm

Tigue
Guest
Tigue

The mandala is ok but I don’t think it communicates well the important message.

Try again.

lao
Guest
lao

I agree with #23. The art is nice but the approach is weak. It should be made extremely difficult for drivers to use Clinton (and Ankeny, Davis, etc.) as a thoroughfare. In fact, why not just cut it off in places? Make dead ends for autos by installing some poles to stop them every few blocks. Locals can still have car access to their homes, and other auto traffic is discouraged. I suppose the two ideas could be combined and the artsy gateway could act as a blocking device…or the city could not spend so much money and put in those bright yellow poles you see at path openings and “local access only” signs that already exist.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

The mandala could easily be interpreted as by the motoring public “the crazy critical mass cyclists are going to circle my car and attack me.”

Is it a warning to be on the look out for angry bands of fixie hipsters?

I feel threatened just looking at it and am going to speed through faster now because I’m scared.

John Peterson
Guest
John Peterson

More traffic calming islands would help…maybe one at each intersection…and more speed bumps…..

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Traffic calming with chicanes and those bollards that only retract in to the ground for buses and EMS. The videos of people in Europe in their private autos trying to sneak through the bus lane only to have their car smashed or lifted off the ground are FUNNY!

If automobile traffic flow is hindered about every 2 or 3 blocks like RyNO Dan says automotive traffic will be almost non-exeistant.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Clinton needs to block East/West traffic if we want to call it a “REAL” bike boulevard, much like the calm Lincoln/Harrison street that blocks cars at a few points. Clinton is a fast and long pipeline for cars when the Division artery fills up one block away.

The problem is that PDOT will hardly ever put cars in second place. PDOT will drag their feet or ignore any request to calm cars or remove a parking spot.

PS: that graphic belongs in an art gallery. What we need is a BIG OLD BIKE and lettering that says: Slow down and yield to FREAKIN bikes!

twistyaction
Guest
twistyaction

A little more timely notice of this event would have allowed me to be there. Sometime between 14 months ago and two and a half hours before the event would’ve been perfect.

Maybe the notice was up and I missed it?

andrew
Guest
andrew

I would love something like that on ANkeny. With each passing year it gets more car traffic trying to beat E. Burnside slowness, if E. Burnside is ever even slow.

LizardMama
Guest
LizardMama

I’m all for art, but I have to say I stared at that mandala for some time before I figured out they were bikes… and I ride my bike almost every day. I’m with the “just-put-a-BIG-BIKE-on-it” crowd and spell it out plain and simple.

steve
Guest
steve

I ride clinton from the teens, out East of the 205 nearly every day. My greatest fear is other cyclists entering from side streets while blowing their stops.

Sharrows make way more sense than that ridiculous mandala. We also have much bigger problems in town than Clinton, which feels safe enough to send handicapped children out on.

steve
Guest
steve

Almost forgot to reiterate, SHARROWS!! Pretty please?

This ‘art’ is wasteful, confusing, and distracting. It also appears to be utterly useless if the intention is to educate motorists. Here is a clue, if it needs to be interpreted by the motorist it = EPIC FAIL.

Vance Longwell
Guest

“…would do wonders to take all but local traffic off of this road…”

“Just ban motor vehicles from Clinton…”

“Bike corridor. Please drive carefully…or drive somewhere else.”

“I would love to see more cars diverted to Division.”

“bike blvd. cyclists and residents ONLY…”

“It should be made extremely difficult for drivers to use Clinton…”

“The problem is that PDOT will hardly ever put cars in second place.”

I thought we wanted to, “Share The Road”? I mean, we are selling license plates that say that, right? Ring any bells? Any?

Population expansion in Portland created situations where people who owned or rented a free-standing home couldn’t park in front of their own houses. When we complained that our neighborhoods were being over run with traffic, and livability was suffering, we were told that we were just resistant to change, and xenophobic. My own girlfriend had to frequently walk halfway across NW Portland to park her car.

Now you’re using the mode of travel I choose, that my life quite literally depends on, as a means to brow-beat the city into creating exclusive, environment controlled, neighborhood shangrilas for yourselves. Okay, so when you all moved here and the locals complained, we were just bitter hillbillys. Now that you’ve got the mortgage, it’s all about livability, and serenity.

That blows.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I think the City should get one of those Tour de France “Chalkbot” things. They could hire an intern to drive around…heck, I’d volunteer to do a day or two…painting “motivational slogans” like “This is a neighborhood. Slow Down” all over our bike boulevards, and main drags as well!

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

Vance…thank you. Sharing the road for many on this website = get off of it, its mine.

lame indeed.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

We want Clinton Street shared, but with safety measures that mean pedestrians and bikes come first. Vance, you are distorting the words of myself and others, much like PDOT and the Oregonian.

PDOT and ODOT are not bold. They are not creative. They are not open. When some populations wanted speed-bumps they would get mixed results from PDOT. A standard was created thanks to protest. X percent of neighbors needed to sign in support of speed bumps.

The most helpful thing to bike culture in Portland would be a standard by which PDOT would behave. We need a standard to create a bike boulevard where cars can only travel 5 blocks, and then get diverted right or left.

I’d jump for joy if getting 80% of residents ( not landowners ) to sign on, would force PDOT to create a bike boulevard. If this happened then we could call PDOT bold, creative, and transparent.

Set the percentage as high as you want. The first few “TRUE” bike boulevards would take a lot of funding for outreach. But once other neighbors saw how cars were made more safe, their property values and support for bikes would grow quickly. Other cites in the USA would follow suit.

brian b
Guest
brian b

Matt and I appreciate the comments offered here.
Although we had to acknowledge that a “true” bike boulevard would require a bold step in traffic engineering and implementation, we did try to work within, and then stretch, the existing parameters that PDOT offered us. And of course balance interesting form and useful function.
We hope the combined effects of the bike art imagery, signage, and new rack/corral designs will add up to a nice experience to approach and to ride on Clinton St!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Joe, glad for the report back. Bike boulevard’s seem like an idea with promise. It’s a practical reality though, that if people living in houses along those boulevards use cars, they probably would like to be able to drive to their houses.

Devising a method by which to sort out the cars of residents and their friends, delivery and service vehicles from those that are just passin’ through might be a challenge, but one that could help to reduce non-neighborhood motor vehicle traffic.

I wouldn’t be prepared to debate the degree of openness and creativity of PDOT and ODOT, but about speed-bumps, something I’ve heard in past, is that they are expensive infrastructure to install and deal with when repaving time comes around. Transportation departments got a budget they have to try stay within. Might that not have had something to do with the mixed results you refer to?

Guilty as Charged
Guest
Guilty as Charged

So I was approaching this intersection, patiently waiting for the cars in front of me to stop, figure out which one got there first, then go, stop/start, stop/start. I was really feeling impatient with the slow, if orderly, progress when I arrived at the intersection.

At this point there was, including me, three bikes now at the intersection. All hell broke loose. No rules. No order, no waiting your turn, even for fellow bike riders. No slowing, much less stopping, from an additional guy who rolled up and through, following one of the three bikes originally at the intersection.

We are guilty as charged, man.

Cars break rules all the time, etc, etc, etc, etc, but it was as if the rules did not apply to us at all. We are part of the problem. Sorry.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Fire and Police concerns can, and have been addressed in many different designs of streets that prevent cars from passing through. The barrier is PDOT and their lack of transparency in letting the public know what level of public consensus is needed. Set the spec, and I know the Bike community will build support in time.

People who live on a bike boulevard would retain the ability to “drive to their houses” The worst drama would be telling visitors in cars some slightly different driving directions. At best, their home would feel as if it is on a quiet cul-de-sac.

KruckyBoy
Guest
KruckyBoy

#41- totally agree. I am consistently passed by other bikers when I am in an intersection and have right of way. If I am stopped on my bike in at a 4 way stop and I got there first, any approaching bike should yeild to my right of way. I’ve yet to see this happen.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

How would the city effectively limit motor vehicle travel on bike boulevards to, for example, those of neighborhood residents, police and emergency and service vehicles? Isn’t the decision of MV drivers to detour away from a bike boulevard a voluntary one?

So, if someone driving a motor vehicle wants to cut through nasty main thoroughfare traffic congestion by using a bike boulevard even though they know it’s discouraged, what’s to stop them from doing this?

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Street signs, painting, and small cement humps in the road are just a few of the ways that bikes can flow straight on through, and cars are forced to turn right or left.

example 1:

When a car is on Clinton or Lincoln St going East from 38th to 39th they are forced to turn right or left onto 39th. They can break the law by ignoring the signs and going straight, but the layout is really hard to miss.

Example 2:

On Lincoln St at 20th a car must turn right or left. Going straight would mean their tires would go over a cement divider about 3 inches tall. That divider runs the middle of 20th street and acts like a double yellow line.

This google map photo takes 20 seconds to load but it speaks a lot of words that PDOT can’t understand on Clinton.

http://tinyurl.com/bikeboulevard1

eenie
Guest
eenie

Joe Rowe, etc.

I would so love to see more intersections along Clinton that use the model of 39th (2-way for bikes, one-way for cars). No need to have some complicated mechanism to sort out who’s a neighborhood resident–just make Clinton less effective as an alternative to driving on Division. I live in the neighborhood (off 21st between Division/Powell), and both bike and drive–when I’m in my car I often have to remind myself NOT to drive on Clinton, because it’s just so much more pleasant than Division.

Hart
Guest

How come none of this stuff got installed this fall like it was supposed to?