In May 2006, a quick-thinking Bureau of Transportation employee, Jeff Smith, got a phone call from a maintenance crew leader who was about to re-stripe the southern end of N. Vancouver Avenue. The street had been repaved and the crew was about to lay down the same lane striping it had before — two vehicle lanes, two parking lanes, and no bike lane.
Smith saw an opportunity to reconfigure the roadway and install a crucial “missing link” in the bikeway. He acted fast, gaining approval form the city traffic engineer and a few hours later the road was re-striped with a nice, wide bike lane.
Right now, maintenance crews are doing a similar project just a few blocks away on N Williams. The street is getting repaved from Broadway to Stanton. The street currently has a bike lane, but it is too narrow and it does not adequately serve the high volume of bike traffic it receives (an issue we’ve reported on at length).
Is there an opportunity for a similar roadway reconfiguration and improvement to the bikeway this time around?
After talking with PBOT, I learned the current roadway is 40 feet. For most of the section getting repaved, there are two parking lanes (8 and 7 feet wide), two standard vehicle lanes (10 feet each) and a bike lane (5 feet).
Unfortunately, I also learned that the current plan is to replace the existing lane configuration.
As a consolation, PBOT will soon be doing a comprehensive evaluation of Williams to learn the options for improving the bikeway (which could include a cycle track). The results of that evaluation will be followed by a public process and then someday — if the promises and the funds ever come to fruition — we might have a safe and comfortable bikeway on this street.
With summer bike traffic on the way, I say let’s get an interim improvement on the ground. Now.
At the moment, we’ve got 15 feet set aside so we can park private vehicles on the road and we have 5 feet set aside for the hundreds of people who pedal through here every day. Even if PBOT widened the bike lane just for the first block north of Broadway (to Hancock, where the parking lane begins), it would help alleviate the dangerous bike congestion we see today.
What do you think?