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Update on the North Concord Avenue bike boulevard

Posted by on March 3rd, 2010 at 9:00 am

New crossing treatment coming in the next few weeks to the intersection of N. Rosa Parks Way and Concord.
(Graphic: PBOT)

In the next few weeks, PBOT crews will install a key piece of the new bike boulevard on Concord Avenue in North Portland — a crossing treatment at Rosa Parks Way.

The project will include a new median barrier, two new crosswalks and added signage to warn motor vehicle operators of the presence of people biking and walking.

The new median barrier will have cut-throughs for people on bikes and on foot. In addition, motor vehicle operators will be prohibited from turning left at this intersection (no matter which direction they’re coming from). To make room for the median barrier and to improve visibility from Concord Avenue, PBOT will remove three parking spaces.

This project is just one part of PBOT’s Concord Bike Boulevard, which comes with a host of bike-centric improvements along a three mile stretch of Concord from N. Skidmore Ave. (Overlook Park) in the south, to Argyle St. north of Kenton (where the route is on Fenwick after it crosses Lombard).

There are crossing treatments coming to five intersections along the route. In addition to the Rosa Parks intersection, a new median barrier has already been installed at Killingsworth. At Ainsworth (another off-set intersection like Concord), PBOT plans to facilitate bike traffic with buffered bike lanes made possible by the removal of eight parking spaces on each side of the street. A raised crossing is slated for the crossing of N. Bryant (a minor street) and at Lombard (a major street which is also an off-set crossing), the plans call for a new signal and a two-way cycle track on the south side of the street.

Another notable component of this new bike boulevard will be the conversion of Concord into a one-way street for motor vehicles between N. Going and Humboldt and the addition of a contra-flow bike lane.

Also in the plans are 17 speed bumps, more stop signs for cross traffic, and the removal and/or turning of stop signs at nine intersections in order to keep traffic flowing on the bike boulevard.

PBOT project manager Kyle Chisek says the project is on course for completion by July 1st.

For more on PBOT’s 15 miles of new bike boulevards, check out their website. You can download the Concord Ave. project map here.

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48 Comments
  • matt picio March 3, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I don’t want to sound ungrateful here, because I really appreciate all the infrastructure going in around North Portland – but this seems like a LOT of infrastructure in a short stretch – Denver and Interstate are both bike routes with bicycle lanes, and now Concord is becoming a Bike Boulevard?

    I’d rather have the boulevard than the bike lanes, especially since I still have the right to a full lane width on that road. I guess I’m concerned with how the neighborhood feels about this. The blocks preventing through car traffic are great, though – and it’ll be nice to have a low traffic alternative.

    I’m glad PBOT is doing this, I guess mostly I’m concerned about backlash.

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  • Esther March 3, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Matt- as someone who lives on the Peninsula (St. Johns) I’d like to state that Concord is far preferable for travelling north/south, than Interstate and denver. Also, the bike lane on Interstate ENDS at Willamette, two blocks after Alberta and one block before Killingsworth. so there is no bike lane for the entire stretch from Killingsworth to Rosa Parks.
    Denver also has a bike lane, but it is old asphalt that is very, very bumpy, until you reach Rosa Parks.
    So this is not an unnecessary addition by any means. I am under the impression that my friend who is an occasional bike-commuter, teacher for PPS and mother to a toddler uses Concord on her commute. She lives at rosa Parks & Denver.

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  • John Beaston March 3, 2010 at 10:02 am

    The city conducted at least two neighborhood sessions on the plan. They were lightly attended. But the city did a good job of listening and incorporating neighbor feedback and suggestions. The objections were primarily the usual suspects of cyclists blowing through stop signs and not yielding to peds. There was a concern about the increase in bike traffic making it hard for people to get in/out of their driveways. Everyone liked the expected increased property values. There was no significant objections raised at the meetings.

    It will be interesting to see how this boulevard usage will compare to the block away Interstate bike lane usage – both in quantity and demographics. I personally use Concord over Interstate now and believe these changes will significantly increase the number of safety conscious riders in the area.

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  • Kimberlee March 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I agree with Esther. As a member of the neighborhood, I am thrilled.

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  • Lance P. March 3, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I agree, this is needed. Interstate has a lot of truck traffic and taking the lane when the bike lane ends is intimidating, and I would consider myself close to fearless. That being said, I do wish that the city would put some more of these treatments around the city center. Regardless of where people live, the most intimidating part of most of a commute is in the city center. The Lloyd district desperately needs something like this. I actually know people who will go around the district instead of through it, and it is 20+ blocks long! Regardless, it will take the city a very long time to change how our streets function, and the sooner we start regardless of where, the better.

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  • Bryn D March 3, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I am on the Safe Routes to School team at Beach school which is directly impacted by the one way change. We think it is going to be good for the school but nervous how people are going to react as we are changing some the routine for drop off and pick up at Beach School. Please be aware of the kids between 8:30-8:50 and 3:00 and 3:15.

    By the way the one way change is going to be implemented over Spring Break which starts the week of March 22nd.

    If anybody is looking for volunteer opportunities we are looking for parents but all would be welcome to help direct and inform traffic on March 29th when kids return to school.

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  • encephalopath March 3, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I thought that as a rule, bike boulevards got rid of speed bumps rather than create them. (Instead of trying to tame the monsters, push them off the bike route using the cut throughs. Then the speed bumps become unnecessary.)

    Why are so many speed bumps in the plan?

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  • Lester March 3, 2010 at 10:29 am

    As a former Denver and Killingsworth area resident, it seems like overkill to me. There are pretty good North/south options in existence. Concord development would be nice, since that’s where the ped bridge over Going is, but this area needs at least one good East/West route before it needs a third good North/South route.

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  • Lester March 3, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Making PCC Cascade bikeable from the St. Johns and Concordia neighborhoods should be top priority, THEN work on the Concord improvements.

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  • Steve B March 3, 2010 at 10:48 am

    All I know is that riding on Interstate really stinks. I wish with the implementation of the MAX along this route they would have considered a center-aligned two-way cycletrack. THAT would have been totally sweet. The bike lanes seem to disappear as fast as they appear on this road. 🙁

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  • Esther March 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Lester – I agree with you east-west links are of vital importance and I’m always advocating for that – especially since (contrary to what most people seem to think) the access issues with the peninsula to the rest of Northeast Portland are mainly east-west and not north-south — but it seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater a bit to downplay the importance of Concord as a north-south route. Alberta, Willamette, Ainsworth, Bryant are all good east-west routes, and Farragut (north of Lombard) is great though I’d LOVE to see some intersection improvements along there. But Concord allows people better access to all the businesses in Kenton, the Lombard Transit Center, and Fred Meyer.

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  • Bryn D March 3, 2010 at 11:14 am

    In terms of trying to improve the health of all this bike boulevard is on or near three different schools. (Beach, Trillium, and Village School). I know at Beach we are using this change to promote and hopefully increase the number of kids who bike and walk to school.

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  • Lester March 3, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Maybe I’m overemphasizing the importance of biking to school, but going from PCC Cascades campus to either Concordia or St. Johns is a nightmare compared to PCC Cascade to Downtown Portland or Kenton.

    I’d ride Denver over Alberta, Ainsworth or Killingsworth any day of the week, so I guess that’s why I feel East/West needs more work than N/S.

    I’ve honestly never tried Bryant, however. I’ll have to give it a shot. I’m guessing it’s riddled with uncontrolled intersections or stop signs every couple blocks, but it might be a good one.

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  • John Beaston March 3, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Lester #13… Bryant is also getting boulevard treatment so all the stop signs will be set for continuous biking. Take a look at the maps at
    http://www.portlandonline.com/Transportation/index.cfm?c=50518
    It’s all goodness.

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  • Coldswim March 3, 2010 at 11:32 am

    As someone who lives on Fenwick which is one block west of Concord I only have one concern. Fenwick Ave between Rosa Parks and Lombard has no stop signs at all going in the north/south direction. We already have issues with cars speeding through this route. Do you know of any plans to add stop signs to Fenwick since there would likely be even more traffic on my street due to Concord being off limits?

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  • Jimmy March 3, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I’m happy that there are plans to put up stop signs at the uncontrolled intersections on this route.

    I’ve never heard of or seen an uncontrolled intersection before I moved to Portland.

    I don’t like them.

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  • Lester March 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Good news about Bryant, thx John.

    I’d always hoped that Portland/Rosa Parks would be made to have uninterrupted bike lanes, but the Bryant plan sounds almost as good.

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  • are March 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    the intersection treatment looks good. at least two of the parking spaces they are supposedly removing should be illegal anyway, within twenty feet of a crosswalk, etc.

    not wild about biking interstate. got no problem with alberta, killingsworth, ainsworth.

    agree they should use some calming method other than speed bumps.

    uncontrolled intersections can actually be good, because no one knows what to expect, so they are more cautious. putting up a stop sign, or especially a light, causes motorists to focus on zipping from one intersection to the next.

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  • q'Ztal March 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I get the impression from the Speed Reduction page on Portlandonline and other design documents from same that the fire departments won’t sign off on any speed abatement treatment other than speed bumps due to concern over being able to get increasingly large fire engines into neighboorhoods.
    It might be time to invest in smaller, more nimble fire engines. I’ve heard it said many a time that size is not as important as technique.

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  • stace March 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Wow, glad to see this happening. I am a St. John’s resident and usually take interstate to willammette on my way home (into town I ride Greeley). Intersate can be a bit hairy and as others commented the bike lanes disappear after Killingsworth. I didn’t even know about concord st. until seeing this map and I can’t wait to checkout this route with the changes in place.

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  • morgan scott March 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Thank You Jesus, Buddha & Atheists!!!

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  • matt picio March 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Esther (#2) – Yes, I’m aware of the comfort of Concord, I use it too (and commented on it in the original post), and I don’t believe it’s unnecessary at all. I’m merely remarking that it’s a lot of infrastructure for a very small area. (if anything, I’d advocate for removing the bike lanes on Interstate)

    Jimmy (#16) – Where did you move in from? I’ve lived in 3 states, and everywhere I’ve lived has them. I’m curious to know what locations have chosen not to have them. (genuine curiosity)

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  • Lester March 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Now I’m starting to worry about what the possibly increasing popularity of this route is going to do to the suitability of the ped bridge. I typically ride up and over it (watch those metal strips in the rain), but if there are going to be other users on it on a regular basis, the spiral ramps are going to feel a little cramped. If passing cyclists are walking their bikes down the ramps, that should be a pretty tight squeeze.

    Guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, though.

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  • Janis March 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Lester, Holman is a great street to ride too if it isn’t out of your way. I live over by the PCC campus (Rosa Parks) and travel Holman to get to a lot of NE.

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  • John Beaston March 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Coldswim #15 – I was at all of the neighborhood meetings and I don’t recall traffic on Fenwick between Rosa Parks and Lombard coming up as a potential issue. I recommend contacting PBOT about it. Increased traffic on Concord was brought up since all of the stop signs will be aligned. The solution was a bunch of speed bumps.

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  • Hart March 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I’m still wondering whatever happened to the SE Clinton Street overhaul that was supposed to take place last Fall.

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  • flowb33 March 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I live just off Concord and am looking forward these improvements for several reasons.

    First, Interstate pretty much sucks to ride on as the bike lane comes and goes.

    Second, this actually does a good job of connecting a few pieces of existing infrastructure, like the spiral ped bridge and the Failing St. ped bridge just south of this route.

    Third, Beech school is experiencing a great revival and this builds bike transport right into school property.

    Last, this is a great chance to try out a few major new street crossing treatments that do not exist anywhere else in the city. In particular, the Lombard crossing is pretty radical and will give many people their first glimpse of what the PBOT team has been learning with all their trips to Holland and Denmark.

    Though nothing is happening this round, I can’t wait to start taking about getting bikes E/W across I-5, as there are highway entrances and exits on every single overpass from Skidmore through Killingsworth. That makes getting over to the NE on low traffic street a total pain in the ass for many Overlook families.

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    • maxD January 3, 2019 at 1:20 pm

      Skidmore would an ideal connection between Concord and 7th. Remove parking to complete the buffered bike lanes that go from Interstate to Michigan and the route would safe crossings at all the major interactions using EXISTING equipment!

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  • Chris Sullivan March 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Very cool. This is going to make biking with my daughter to school so much better.

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  • eric March 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    2 questions:
    Are they going to do something about the hoboes who sleep under the going st overpass?

    Are they going to do something about the murderous parent traffic around beech school? I ride to PSU every morning around 8:30 and holy-crap it’s dangerous. I turn and go down interstate because I’d rather risk my neck with truck traffic.

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  • John Beaston March 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    eric #29 – There are huge changes coming over Spring Break to the Beech school area. Check out the map at

    http://www.portlandonline.com/Transportation/index.cfm?c=50518&a=256071

    Notice the contra-flow bike lane going southbound on Concord.

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  • Oliver March 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

    If I align my departure to a MAX arrival at Kenton/North Denver, I can ride all the way to the Rose Quarter without stopping at a single light.

    As such I won’t (often) be changing my route.

    However, this facility isn’t being built for me and I’m happy for those on the Northside who are uncomfortable with riding Interstate. (kind of a blessing lest it become like Williams in the summer)

    The problem with the bike lanes coming and going on Interstate is the parking. There are many residences and businesses who have ample driveway/lot space and should not be afforded extra onstreet parking.

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  • Scott Mizée March 4, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Excited to see what this does for the area. Would really like to see an improvement to the access and egress to the Concord Pedestrian Bridge over Going Street.

    –also, access to an improved off street facility paralleling Going Street for a great way to get to and from Swan Island and the North Portland Greenway. (yes, had to throw that plug in there…) 🙂

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  • Anonymous March 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    They said they are removing parking from Concord, what they are really doing is removing a safe drop-off spot right next to the school where the kids do not have to walk into the street. it was only 15 minute parking before. Somebody said that the parents could use blandena street on the south side of the school for dropping kids off. Denver is the main arterial that you would use to get to blandena, the problem with that is that there is no parking when you come down blandena unless you park on the wrong side of the street which means that the kids open the door and stepout in the traffic side of the road, both unsafe and not legal.
    The recomendation is for parents to park 2-4 blocks away and walk the kids the rest of the way to school. This will never work- these parents will park anywhere they can in crosswalks, handicap spots, middle of the road…
    .
    walking is not an option for most of the parents dropping off. There will be no extra kid crossing guards for the famillies parking blocks away.
    They put a chain across the entrance of the parking lot – so there goes that option
    All of this just to punch a bike lane through, very poor planning

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  • Laurie March 5, 2010 at 7:31 am

    #33 – There are indeed a number of related efforts underway at Beach to keep students safe. There have been a number of near misses with students and cars. The parking lot is an area where many of these incidents have occurred. We recognize that everyone is not able to park a few blocks from school and walk. Even getting a modest number of parents to stop a few blocks from school makes it much safer for everyone. If you have better ideas or concerns please come to the green team meeting next Tuesday, 3/9 in the library. We will be discussing the upcoming traffic change and how to keep students safe at 6:00.

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  • Anonymous March 5, 2010 at 8:15 am

    How could anything be any safer than dropping your child at the curb, at the school- with NO streets to cross. This will not be an option anymore

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  • Bryn March 5, 2010 at 9:03 am

    The traffic change at Beach is not just about those few spots where you can drop off on the curb.

    Currently there is tremendous congestion at Beach in the mornings with cars trying to go both ways on Concord with cars parked on both sides of the street. This means kids are being dropped off in the middle of the street and cars are blocking crosswalks.

    The goal is to build a safer, healthier environment for all of the kids who go to Beach while being part of bigger effort to making different transportation options more accessible for all.

    Please note those statistics

    “In 1969, about 90 percent of kids who lived within a mile of school walked or rode bikes to get there. In 2004, just 48 percent did that at least one day a week, the new study found.

    Separately, federal statistics suggest the numbers are worse, of course, for children who live farther from school. In 1969, 42 percent walked or cycled and in 2001 (the most recent data available for that group), just 16 percent did.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19750027/

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  • anonamouse March 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

    lets try this one more time
    In 1969 it was safe to walk to school, now its not- thats why parents don’t alloy it. This Interstate coridor is full of crackheads and there is a lot of police action all through this area. Remember that these are just children, and if a parent only feals safe droping their child off right at the school than that should be the parents right to do so. If they don’t feal comfortable letting their child cross the street by themselves than they shouldn’t. You just took away the only spot next to the school where you could do that because of the new bike lane. I can see sometimes taking away parking from in front of houses for progress, but to take away the dropoff zone from in front of a school is crazy. If you come from Denver onto Blandena there is no parking on that side of the street.Also from Blandeena it is stairs and is not handicap accessible, nor can you see if thhere is anyone on the grounds, this is an unsupervised area before school.
    There is a chain across the parking lot, which works quite well for keeping parents from being involved with school. There are some parents with disabilities and some with other babies in their car that are going to be greatly inconvienenced.
    The rd right in front of the school is not an option because it is closed for busses before and after school.
    What is more important, a new bike lane (in addition to interstate and denver) or to have a curbside dropoff area for little children at school?

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  • Anona mouse March 5, 2010 at 11:47 am

    this will be interesting to watch after spring break

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  • Kelly anderson March 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I live on Concord and I am thrilled with the outcome. I attended all the meetings with the project staff and feel they did a wonderful job listening to the community and implementing decisions that are practical and make sense. The staff were very well informed about biking safety locally and internationally.

    Concord was selected to appeal to those that have children, are older or aren’t fast and fearless. Interstate isn’t comfortable when my 9 year old daughter is with me.

    Also, I believe federal funds were brought into the community to help fund the project.

    It’s a win-win and I am ecstatic!

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  • Bryn March 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    A couple of things for the Beach community. First, the staff parking lot is not allowed for pick up and drop off. People were not obeying the signage so please expect the chain to be up on a regular basis for the rest of the year.
    Second, I personally do not think the safety level is much different between now and 30 years ago. What is much different is the coverage of issues which gives the appearance that the world is scarier today.

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  • Anonymous March 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I din’t grow upin Portland so I can’t speak for it from any personal experiance. I understand with the race riots things were not at all good here back then (1969), I wasn’t here so…..
    I was in a small town in Oregon. We didn’t have to lock the doors on our houses. Things have changed. Maybe in that small town we didn’t have crackheads siting on the steps in front of our house, if we did we wouldn’t have been free to roam. This neighborhood has improved leaps and bounds in the last decade, it still has a long ways to go before I would call it safe.

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  • Paul Johnson March 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Speed bumps? I’m against it automatically. Use chicanes or barriers at intersections that force motorists to turn. Bumps just make cyclists want to turn and usually cause drivers to speed up to spite those in the neighborhood who had them installed.

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  • Anonymous March 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    The people in the neighborhood usually don’t like the speed bumps and didn’t ask for them. There is a person that works for the city that has the job of going around installing speed bumps wherever they think is good- regardless of what everyone else wants….

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  • Anonymous March 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Bryn #40″Second, I personally do not think the safety level is much different between now and 30 years ago.”
    #29- “Are they going to do something about the hoboes who sleep under the going st overpass?”

    A lot of bikes avoid the pedestrian bridge as its not as much fun as you might think it is. If you add more bikes and more kids to the bridge it can be a dangerous place for the kiddies

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  • Scott Mizée March 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    RE: #44: Why don’t we focus on improving the pedestrian bridge as one of the ways to make the neighborhood (and bike boulevard) better?

    You talk about it not being fun if there are too many people on it. Maybe I haven’t ridden or walked it enough, but I rarely meet more than one or two people at a time on this bridge.

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  • jim March 9, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    i like it ok, but i’m not the typical cyclist thats in a big hurry to get somewhere

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  • Anna March 17, 2010 at 7:52 am

    I find it shameful that in the 12 years I have lived a within 2 blocks of Beach elementary school and had a child attend their for 6 years, with the problems surrounding traffic congestion being present this whole time, that only now is something being done by the city or anyone else due to a bike blvd being put in. I feel it has really nothing to due with safety for the children it has to due with the bikers only and that the city is useing the school as an excuse to get the support of the community and it’s residence. Shameful just shameful.

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