City lays out priority project list for new bike funding

Bike traffic - N. Williams-9

Riders on Williams could get a
wider bike lane with new
city funding.
(Photo © J. Maus)

City planners are working to determine which projects should be funded with the new, $500,000 “Affordable Transporation Fund” included in Mayor Adam’s budget. The money — which is to be dedicated specifically to bikeway network improvements — became available on July 1st. A draft list of high-priority projects was shared at last night’s City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting.

City bike coordinator Roger Geller shared that some of this year’s $500,000 is already spoken for. Half of the money will pay for the upcoming cycle track on SW Broadway (will be completed by end of this month), buffered bike lanes on Stark and Oak and the 15 miles of bike boulevards PBOT is working on.

With the remaining $250,000, and in advance of another $500,000 becoming available in July 2010, Geller asked the committee for feedback on a list of high-priority projects.

Geller told that committee that $500,000 isn’t a lot of money, so he wants to pick projects that get attention. “We want to pick projects that are highly visible. Things that make people aware of what we’re doing. We want them to be seen and used, and we want media attention for these projects.”

Using a criteria matrix that includes things like visibility, expected ridership increase, cost, barriers to biking that the project would address, and so on, here is the current draft list of projects:

Sauvie Island Strawberry Ride

Willamette Blvd. needs more room for bikes.

1. Going St. Bicycle Blvd. crossing at MLK: This would likely be a user-activated signal like PBOT has installed at 41st and Burnside (known as a HAWK signal).

2. Going. St. Bicycle Blvd. crossing at 33rd: PBOT is considering an innovative, two-way cycletrack with a HAWK Signal to handle this offset crossing (I’ll have a separate story on this soon).

3. Buffered bike lanes on N. Williams: Geller said PBOT gets regular complaints about the bike lanes on this street being too narrow and feeling unsafe. At the meeting last night, Geller said their analysis shows that bike lanes carry 1/3 of all vehicular traffic on N. Williams. (There was a lot of support among bike advisory committee meeting attendees for this project.)

4. 12th Ave. I-84/Banfield overcrossing: Referred to as a big barrier to Lloyd District access, PBOT is considering some type of pathway connection on both sidewalks on the existing overpass and a scramble signal at the north end.

5. South Portal Bicycle Improvements to Downtown: Geller said there’s a “whole package” of improvements they’d like to do to make the connection from SW Portland downtown easier and safer for bike traffic.

6. N Willamette Blvd. Improvements: Currently this road has only 4 1/2 foot bike lanes. Geller said they’d like to consider removing on-street parking from a section of the road (where the houses also have sidestreet parking available) in order to widen the bike lane and connect it to a nearby bike boulevard.

According to a document distributed by Geller at the meeting last night, these projects were recommended based on their estimated costs and “the leverage they offer to existing and ongoing investments and their expected improvement to Portland’s bikeway system.”

Implementation of the first projects selected could start by Spring of 2010. Stay tuned for more details on each of these projects as they become finalized.

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Dave
13 years ago

I think it would be great to see some improvements on SE/NE 20th, as it’s just about the only straight route from inner SE to inner NE that actually has stoplights at major streets (burnside, sandy, etc), and is currently a 30mph, very little breathing room road without many stops. Even just putting in some stop signs, speed bumps or that kind of thing would make it a lot nicer, it seems.

Cruizer
Cruizer
13 years ago

I second what Dave said.

Joe
Joe
13 years ago

I agree with Dave as well. It seems like a lot of focus is on streets going East/West. There are plenty of bike options (at least in inner SE) going these directions. But, it is always harder to figure out a way to go North/South.

And I dont find an improvement at 12th avenue over I-84 that necessary. It is just a one block stretch that is often just full of slow/stopped cars. I think there should be other priorities.

Mr DeJerk
13 years ago

Are those streets actually referred as to “bike boulevards”, or the implementations are “bike boulevard-ish”, as to turn those streets into bike blvds?
Because they are not bike boulevards. I am only asking this because recently i had an argument with someone that referred to NE Going as bike blvd. Also, as far as I know there aren’t any bike blvds in N Portland for N Willamette to connect to.
Unless, of course, the standards for Portland are so vague that, as long as people use those streets for bike transport, you can call them bike boulevards. The only street in Portland that resembles a bike boulevard, IMO, is NE Tillamook. And, even that is not so clear for motorists. Sorry this is off-topic, but I am really curious about it.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
13 years ago

Mr DeJerk, thanks for asking about the definition of bike boulevards. As I understand it (and hopefully someone will correct me if this isn’t the case), Portland currently has zero miles of bike boulevards. We have funding set aside to create our first bike boulevard miles, but all we have to-date are signed, low-traffic bikeways.

Peter W
Peter W
13 years ago

It probably wouldn’t be cheap, but we could really use some improvements to make the Hawthorne Bridge PSU connection easier (PSU is the #1 destination in Portland, and the lack of connections is certainly holding back the potential bike mode split).

sabes
sabes
13 years ago

Not many improvements in the queue for SE, eh?

peejay
peejay
13 years ago

Sabes:

Apparently, we in SE have it too good. Let’s let the other parts of the city catch up.

coyote
coyote
13 years ago

Of course a metro-wide $1 a gallon fuel tax would render the above projects moot, provide a citywide improvement in all forms of transportation, and raise some needed revenue. (I know, I know that is just crazy talk.)

Q`ztal
Q`ztal
13 years ago

I have nothing against the concept or application of bike boulevards.
In what way is this going to affect my commute? Lets assume I use this road no matter what.
More importantly, what about a bike boulevard is going to make it safer to cycle around the hardcore anti-bicycle cagers? Other than signs and road markings is there anything to discourage impatient and aggressive drivers from using bike boulevards as high speed bypasses?

f5
f5
13 years ago

I think there are several bike bouldvards. Clinton Street, Lincoln Street…etc.

old&slow
old&slow
13 years ago

The route from Barbur blvd north to Naitto is really dangerous. The bike lane on Naito is almost worthless because getting there from Barbur past the Hawthorne ramp is ridiculous. An accident waiting to happen. There are a lot of commuters on this route as it is the most direct way from southwest to downtown and across the city. I hope the bike planners are aware of this.

jon
jon
13 years ago

Has there been any thought of an off street bike path along North Willamette Blvd along the ridgeline, say between Killingsworth and U of Portland? You’d have to use some of the street right of way for this to work but could be a very nice piece of bike infrastructure and would have a sweet view.

Its too bad the Broadway cycle track is really short. I take it that it would be one way, no?

bicycletothesun
bicycletothesun
13 years ago

I admit: I am worried about the cycle track idea.

Why?

Because I imagine riding SW Broadway, in the street with car traffic, could potentially be banned. This would FORCE me to use the cycle track where there will be significantly slower riders in my way.

If I’m not commuting 20+ mph and blowing lights….what am I going to do? I need SW Broadway.

They better allow bike traffic to still be riding in the street!

I will NOT be forced on a cycle track that resembles the divide on the Hawthorne bridge (you know…the one where you can’t go as fast as you’d like, and walkers are ALWAYS in the bike lane).

jon
jon
13 years ago

^
well then the park blocks are 200 feet to your west and 5th is 400 feet to your east. these arent suburban arterials where all the traffic has to use the same road to get to a certain place, there are numerous parallel routes hence the beauty of the street grid.

there are a lot of people out there who will only ride a bike on off-street paths or on protected cycletracks. without them they dont ride or barely ride.

Jeff Ong
Jeff Ong
13 years ago

I would really like to see SE Milwaukie get some improvements. It’s just about the only way to head into Sellwood-Moreland from inner SE, and it’s pretty wretched — parking lanes on both sides, big door zones, and lots of traffic buzzing cyclists.

Randy
Randy
13 years ago

How about an over or under route at SE 39th. It’s a nightmare street for cyclists even with the Clinton crossing.

Dag
Dag
13 years ago

Jeff Ong: 17th is pretty good, and there’s the springwater to oaks bottom, too. Milwaukie is pretty gnarly, I agree, but there are alternatives.

As for bridges over busy roadways, I could sure go for one over Columbia Blvd connecting Cully Blvd and Alderwood Rd. Those things cost way more than half a mil, though.

Dave
13 years ago

@Q’ztal: Bike boulevards often have traffic calming and diverting measures, like speed bumps, roundabouts, and traffic diverters (where cars have to turn, but bikes can go straight), as well as frequent stops. All of this keeps automobile traffic at low speeds, and encourages them to take different streets that allow them to drive faster and stop less. Granted, some of the applications in Portland are fairly minimal, but that’s the idea anyway.

BURR
BURR
13 years ago

+1 to #16’s suggestion of improvements to SE Milwaukie from SE Division to Tacoma or beyond

East 28th: Sharrows from Stark to Broadway

BURR
BURR
13 years ago

@ #14: the city needs to work proactively in Salem to repeal ORS 814.420, the mandatory side path and bike lane law; or set local policy stating that ORS 814.420 will not be enforced where the city is testing experimental treatments such as cycle tracks

Bjorn
Bjorn
13 years ago

I wish they would rethink the going blvd. That street is in horrible disrepair when compared to skidmore. There are about 10 bad blocks on skidmore from MLK to 80th, the number is much larger on going. I doubt there will be a budget to fix the street anytime soon.

Matt Picio
13 years ago

Elly (#5) – Salmon and Clinton are both Bike Boulevards, at least as far out as 50th Avenue.

She
She
13 years ago

#3 Joe – you may not find the 12th – I-84 – Lloyd Blvd such a problem for you but many, many cyclist go through that intersection and it is a free for all. It is not really wide enought for a bike and a car to ride side by side; the sidewalk is wide BUT the signals are really slow, so if you go that way leagally you have a long wait at each signal and if you take the lane on a bike cars still try to go around you dangerously. I have tried all sorts of permutations to make this as safe as possbible on my commute and it is not easy. Businesses in the Lloyd district would like to encourage others to commute to work and that intersection is a barrier for MANY potential riders.

That is an important project – I hope it makes the final list!

Vance Longwell
13 years ago

Matt Picio #23 – Ya, I’m searching for this as I speak, but I just saw Maus state that there were like 386 miles of lane, and like 35 miles of BBs, in another article here real recently.

I’ll find it.

Babygorilla
Babygorilla
13 years ago

12th street overpass. I take this twice a day. Heading north and wanting to make a left on Multnomah Blvd, there are two lanes, a left turn only lane and a straight/right turn only lane (where straight is directly to the parking garage). Since traffic is fairly slow here, I generally take my place in line in the left turn lane. On a super busy day, I might have to wait (the horror) for an extra light cycle. Heading back the other direction, I also take my palce in line in order to take a left turn on Irving. Never had any problems from cars in this area even when I’m taking a lane as most drivers understand that the light cycles mean wait times for them (especially afternoon traffic heading South and East to the I-84 on ramp on Irving).

I’m a confident cyclist and don’t mind riding with motor vehicles in traffic, but I can understand how newer / inexperienced cyclists (and even experienced cyclists) can find this area confusing or intimidating, but its because they’re not paying attention to trafic signals / signs (especially heading north where without fail I weekly encounter cyclists line up in the straight / right hand turn lane only to make a left turn into the bike lane). Using common sense, however, and not expecting some sort of entitlement equals an easy ride through that area even at slower speeds.

She
She
13 years ago

Babygorilla,

I agree that if you take your time, you can navigate if ok, but having said that it still is not a very clear or safe intersection. I do what makes most sense for safety give the current circumstances. I was particularly uncomfortable when my 13 yo commuted with me to work a couple of times. We were much more conservative. I have had too MANY cars turn left from the far right lane illegally and nearly hitting me. Yes, that does not happen all that often but it happens enough to make you look twice as you move through the intersection.

I had another time when a car behind me almost mowed me down when an emergency vehicle was coming up from behind. The ambulance was too close, the car should have stayed but instead chose to go around me (too closely) and out into the intersectin the ambulance was trying to navigate through with lights and siren on!

Michael M.
13 years ago

I agree with Bjorn (#22) … NE Skidmore strikes me as a much better canditate for bike boulevard status than NE Going, at least along the stretches I’ve ridden. I’ve tried Going recently, since I read about the push to make it a BB and it is no where near as pleasant or fast as NE Skidmore, except for the excessive number of unnecessary stop signs on inner NE Skidmore.

Vance Longwell
13 years ago

Well, talk about a needle in a haystack! I did find this quote from the O, in a piece back a ways:

“Which is not to say that Portland’s bike advocates have been ineffective in the past. They’ve been doing something right or Portland wouldn’t already have 30 miles of developed, lower-traffic bike “boulevards,” 67 miles of off-street biking paths and 170 miles of bike lanes. That’s 267 miles in all, but we need more.”

J did a pretty in-depth piece within the last 30 days that stated both totals, but I’ll be darned if I can find it.

Esther
Esther
13 years ago

YES!!!! #6 would be SO important because Willamette is the ONLY way to access anything west of Columbia park–which pretty much includes all of University Park, Portsmouth, Cathedral and St. Johns–from the south/east, without taking Lombard, trying to find sidewalks that don’t exist through Columbia Park, or going all the way north into KENTON to take residential streets. For the half-mile+ stretch between the Bryant/Dekum street “shared bikeway” and Columbia Park Annex, there are NO through streets except Willamette and (*shiver*) Lombard–even inexperienced bikers have no choice but to take Willamette next to 40+ mph traffic.

The next nearest east-west through street suggested on the bike map is Willis – over half a mile north, and way out of the way for anyone who lives south of Lombard or even it could be argued, Fessenden.

Willamette improvements will be important improvements to a huge bike arterial for 5 neighborhoods with few choices!

Jeff TB
Jeff TB
13 years ago

She and babygorilla,

I’ve never had problems heading north from 12th onto Multnomah west, though I don’t usually hit it during the commute.

I have more issues with eastbound Multnomah onto southbound 12th. The coupling of the lights at 11th and 12th, the high curb at the intersection, and the sharp right onto 12th can make it uncomfortable. I’ve had more close calls there than I’d prefer.

G
G
13 years ago

My issue with 12th and 84 is approaching on Lloyd Blvd. and taking a right turn onto 12th. I tend to get passed by cars who are in the same lane while I am taking the turn. This is one of the few areas in town where I consistently get freaked out. I think part of this is the mentality that takes over a driver when they get close to interstate on-ramps, people tend to lose their ability to share the road towards those things.

Jeff TB
Jeff TB
13 years ago

G,

Yes, of course. In #31, I should have said Lloyd instead of Multnomah.

My issue exactly.

Lenny Anderson
13 years ago

A few years ago Alta Planning looked at a whole range of trail ideas on and around Swan Island in north Portland (Swan Island Trails Action Plan). Among them was Willamette Blvd between U of P and Killingsworth where they showed that by removing on street parking and shifting the roadway, enough room could be had for a very generous multi-purpose bike/ped facility along the top of the bluff. One variation was for southbound bikes and bi-directional peds with northbound bikes across the street in a bike lane. But beware, homeowners are very jealous of on street parking, and PBOT years ago got pretty beat up by residents along Willamette and just barely managed to get the bike lanes in.

Jim B
Jim B
13 years ago

Geller’s list of goals significantly left out any mention of safety. Getting attention for new stuff seems like secondary to REAL improvements in people’s safety. How about some attention to where bicyclists have been subject to crashes, injuries or fatalities. I quote, “… he wants to pick projects that get attention.” “We want to pick projects that are highly visible. Things that make people aware of what we’re doing. We want them to be seen and used, and we want media attention for these projects.”

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
13 years ago

Bike improvements for Barbur heading to and from downtown are definitely needed. The bike lanes simply end, dumping you into the middle of four lane of traffic (4th) onto high speed traffic on Naito, or fighting for space on the transition between Broadway / 6th / Barbur (heading south). Not to mention the terrifying bikelane-less bridges on Barbur & the exit onto Capitol Highway. Lots of improvements needed to make bike commuting from SW into downtown a real option for any but the most dedicated bikers.