Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 3rd, 2009 at 3:00 pm
The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is just weeks away from unveiling one of the most important bike-related infrastructure projects in years. Their new bike boulevard on SE Spokane Street in Sellwood is the first of their “next generation” bike boulevards and the first of 60 miles of bike boulevards they have planned for completion between now and 2013.
December 19th is the date slated for completion of the bike boulevard on Spokane Street (the Sellwood Neighborhood is already planning a big party to celebrate). With much of the project already done, we figured it was time to take a look at what’s already been installed.
Some have expressed concern about these storm grates.
Cars and bikes have separate space at these pinch points.
These photos are of what PBOT is calling “channelizing islands”. The main reason for them is to prevent pinch points and separate bicycle and motor vehicle traffic. PBOT’s Greg Raisman says they are a good option for less assertive riders who don’t want to compete for space with a motor vehicle.
BikePortland news intern Adams Carroll went out to the location yesterday. He noticed people on bikes using both options — in the bike-only lane, and in the main lane. “There isn’t any bike boulevard signage up yet, save for the street markings, so I guess that the people using the channelized lane are doing so out of intuition.” Carroll reports that he did not observe a car and bike going through at the same time.
Raisman says the channelizers are also meant to slow down motor vehicle traffic, a behavior which Carroll witnessed yesterday (although he said they might have just been curious about his presence).
Caution: Human beings.
Striping and a median at SE 17th, but a much more substantial treatment is coming to SE 13th.
Besides the channelizing islands, the other major feature of the Spokane Bike Boulevard is safety improvements at crossings. At SE 17th, there are new, zebra-striped crosswalks and a median island in the middle of the intersection. There is also a new yellow traffic sign warning of the presence of humans. With these new treatments installed Carroll reported that while walking, cross-traffic was quick to stop, but that “very few people slowed or stopped” when he waited on his bike. He also added that he hopes the crossing is well-lit at night.
Carroll noted that the treatments at SE 17th were pretty standard fare. PBOT’s Raisman says major improvements are slated for the crossing at SE 13th, but those are not yet completed.
This is a comprehensive bike boulevard project and it includes many components not listed here. For a more thorough look at the project overall, see our examination of the plan from back in January.
Stay tuned for more coverage of this project once it’s complete. For more photos, see the complete gallery from Adams Carroll and also take a look at Greg Raisman’s Flickr photoset (which also has informational notes and captions).