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An apology, anger, and glimmers of hope at Holgate bike lane meeting

Posted by on July 23rd, 2010 at 1:24 pm

SE Holgate bike lanes meeting-9

Nearly 200 people packed into
Holgate Baptist Church last night.
(Photo © J. Maus)

If last night’s meeting at Holgate Baptist Church was any indication, PBOT has its work cut out for them in selling big bike projects to outer East Portland residents. The Holgate buffered bike lanes have become a lightning rod and many residents that live near them shared their anger over the project with City staffers last night.
But it wasn’t all bad news for PBOT. There were positive signs of support for the bike lanes (which were installed last August), even from people who initially opposed them.

“Clearly it wasn’t an adequate public involvement process for a project like this … and the amount of people here tonight definitely demonstrates that. From the City’s perspective and from my personal perspective, I apologize for that.”
— Mark Lear, PBOT

The purpose of the meeting was to provide background and traffic data on the project, share potential improvements, and most importantly, hear feedback from residents — feedback that PBOT admits they should have asked for before the striping was laid down.

The turnout last night — which I’d estimate at about 200 people with a majority being against the project — was a clear indication that this has become controversial and that many people in the neighborhood do not feel like the City has heard their concerns. PBOT brought Traffic Safety Program Manager Mark Lear — one of their top staffers — in to lead the meeting. One of the first things he did in his introductory address was to offer an apology:

“… Clearly it wasn’t an adequate public involvement process for a project like this and I think the feedback we’ve gotten from the neighbors and the amount of people here tonight definitely demonstrates that. From the City’s perspective and from my personal perspective, I apologize for that.”

SE Holgate bike lanes meeting-10

Why don’t bikes just use the Springwater?

The City focused on safety and speed reduction in making their case for the lanes. Lear told the crowd that East Portland is “the most challenged” part of town in terms of traffic safety. “Nobody should have to die walking to school, nobody should have to die walking to the bus.”

But the safety argument did not sway everyone. There were a number of complaints and criticisms about the project leveled at PBOT staff last night. Here were the most memorable ones:

  • Getting out onto Holgate (in a car) from side streets is now much more difficult because people have to wait longer for a break in traffic.
  • Putting all the motor vehicle traffic in just one lane (instead of two) is causing premature wear on the pavement.
  • Business property values are being negatively impacted.
  • The Springwater Trail is just .7 miles away, why can’t bikes just use that?
  • Having just one motor vehicle lane is causing major back-ups and congestion. One person said, “They’ve created a traffic jam that we never had before!”
  • No one is using the new lanes.
  • “TriMet buses have bike racks on them, why can’t people just put there bikes on those?!”
  • The markings are confusing. One man said, “Taking a right is totally chaotic!”

I talked with several people outside the meeting to learn more about why they were so upset…

SE Holgate bike lanes meeting-3

RestoreHolgate.com passed out
flyers at the event.

Can you tell me why you’re so against these bike lanes?

“I’m not against bike lanes but what they did here is just ridiculous… this meeting is just to pacify us and they’re not gonna change anything, we’ll just have to live with it. I don’t want to see anybody get hurt… but now we’ve got more pollution because we’ve got the cars now just sitting in line instead of cutting through.”

I know you’re upset about the congestion and pollution it causes, but isn’t saving lives more important that cars backing up? If it this project prevents people from dying, isn’t that a good thing?

“Isn’t the poillution gonna kill you too? It’s gonna end up killing my trees… look at all those big trees I’ve got in my yard.”

You don’t like trees more than people do you?

“Some!” [As in, he does care more about trees than “some” people.]

Are you more upset about the lanes themselves or the process?

“I didn’t know anything about this project happening. The letter I got came while they were painting the lanes outside my house!”

You’ve mentioned a lack of bike traffic in the lanes. Do you think that some day eventually more people will start biking on them?

“No. It will never happen.”

I also chatted with Rick Bradford, the guy behind RestoreHolgate.com, the grassroots effort opposing the bike lanes I reported on yesterday.

Bradford thinks Holgate is simply the wrong street for bike lanes like this. “The city has made these things and now they’ll do everything they can to prove it will work, rather than say ‘Hey, maybe we got the wrong street here.'” He also wanted to make it clear that he’s not anti-bike:

“This isn’t the cars against the bikes. Everybody I’ve talked to has said, ‘Hey, I’m not against the bike lanes, but it takes me 2-3 times longer to get out onto Holgate now because we’ve got a parade of cars two blocks long and I sit and wait and finally get out and when I get out on the road, I’m aggravated.’ Now you’ve got an aggravated driver on the road next to bikes…”

Back inside the meeting, there was another exchange that I feel sums up the feelings about both the process and the lanes themselves…

Citizen:

“I feel like you guys came up with your plan and this is just a sales pitch to us. Is there any chance you will take this bike lane out of here? Or is this written in stone and you’re just trying to sell it now? … You mention this safety business and slowing down the traffic… If that’s such a wonderful thing why don’t we do it on Division, Foster, in fact, get rid of the pavement and let’s go back to dirt roads and we’d have no speeders!”

Mark Lear, PBOT:

“You can take my word for it or not, but personally, We’re doing the evaluation to make sure that we have a project which works well, if we have a project that doesn’t work, than we shouldn’t have a bike lane.

I personally feel that all of our busy streets in the city, if it’s possible, need to have bike lanes. Does it need to look like the bike lane that we have there today? No. I think there are significant modifications that can be made there.

I’ve championed hard within the organization [PBOT] that we need to work our butts off inside Transportation to understand the specific transportation needs for East Portland. Again, more people are needlessly dying in East Portland than any other part of town… I’m really committed to having this be the start of the conversation that leads to bicycle and pedestrian facilities that there’s a high level of support for. I wouldn’t be here tonight making this long of a presentation if I wasn’t seriously committed to trying to make this project work.”

While the vibe was definitely tense and angry at times (I heard people yell things like “You’re just a bunch of professional manipulators!” and “This is a farce!” before storming out of the room), there was also support, most of which mentioned how the new bike lanes had slowed traffic. One young man stood up and said, “I was one of those drag racers [the street was notorious for drag racing]… this works!” Others said they used to be afraid to bike on Holgate, but now they enjoy it.

SE Holgate bike lanes meeting-2

BTA executive director Rob Sadowsky said his favorite moment was when a nearby resident of 42 years shared here story. “She was initially opposed to the bike lane… but now likes the treatment since it has significantly reduced speeding, crashes and noise in front of her house. I see that as a huge victory for active transportation.”

The importance of this project transcends Holgate Avenue. This learning experience for PBOT (both in the communications and engineering around the project) will impact how they approach East Portland for years to come.

On a different note, it’s very unfortunate that much of the anger about this project has little to do with the actual bike lanes themselves. From talking to people, it was clear that other factors were driving their sour mood. From a dislike of Mayor Sam Adams (who’s closely tied to biking in a lot of people’s minds), to “annexation without representation” and scars left by TriMet’s recently completed “crime train” MAX line along I-205. It was also telling that two men who were staunchly against this project also shared with me how extremely upset they were about not being able to freely leave their homes in a car during the recent Sunday Parkways event.

One man I spoke with said for many of the elderly residents who showed up last night, “They’re just tired of waking up and seeing things change.”

PBOT plans to make a few immediate improvements (guidance markings) to help folks navigate around the new lanes. Then, over the next six months, they’ll evaluate the performance of the street on a number of criteria and have another meeting to share their findings in February 2011.

— See more coverage of the Holgate bike lane project in our archives.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Matthew
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Matthew

‘Hey, I’m not against the bike lanes, but it takes me 2-3 times longer to get out onto Holgate now …

So … he’s not against bikes … so long as no one driving a car is inconvenienced in the slightest. Great attitude.

matt picio
Guest

So, the take away from this is a lot of people are pissed, and largely for reasons that are their own fault, like not being able to handle change, not being involved in their local neighborhood association or city committees, and because their convenience in their mind trumps the safety and access rights of others.

The city made a bad call not soliciting more public input, but the residents have to meet the city halfway. You can’t ignore the public process because you think it’s biased and then claim you have no say – in that case you’ve merely taken steps on your own to reinforce the reality you’ve created for yourself.

MeghanH
Guest
MeghanH

I. just. don’t. get. it.

Why is it that people will get emotionally invested over the “right” to speed or pass others when they’re driving a car? Are we really that deep in the car culture that ANYTHING that says there are alternatives provokes a knee-jerk reaction?

I have a theory that people have seen gas prices and taxes for highways/bridges/roads go up, and it’s scaring the hell out of them. Therefore, any perceived sign of this move away from subsidized, overly-cheap car transportation (a bike lane, a MAX line, whatever) must be immediately attacked.

Other than that, all I can say is that I’m sad that so many of my fellow East Portlanders don’t want safer streets for themselves and their kids. Just don’t get upset when pedestrians and cyclists continue to be targeted in our neighborhoods if you oppose things like bike lanes, public transport, and lower speed limits.

Hart
Guest

Possible solution: get rid of street parking on Holgate (plenty of room on side streets), move the bike lane over, give the locals their four lanes back. Moving on…

jordan
Guest

It was quite the meeting. Very heated at times both literally and figuratively. I really think that there is a disconnect between East Portland and rest of Portland. I noticed that the representative of PDOT referred to the people that live “out here” which I think contributes to the feeling by many in the room that the City doesn’t view them as a part of the city.

As a very active commuter, and cyclist and sometimes driver who lives in East Portland I think we have to have improved access for walking and biking. But since there are significant challenges and the City and the powers that be need to do a better job of outreach.

Thank you to everyone who showed up at the meeting to support biking and walking. As a side note I didn’t see any proper bike parking at the church…

Ely
Guest
Ely

tired of seeing things change???? sorry folks, that’s the one constant in the universe. deal with it.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Hart,

many people suggested getting rid of on-street parking and doing just what you propose in your comment.

the problem is if PBOT did that, it would undermine the goals of the project — which is to slow down the cars. The one lane of motor vehicle travel is key to the speeding problem. … Also, the whole idea is to make the street more comfortable to people on bikes and the days of just sticking a standard bike lane off in the gutter while cars zoom by at 40-50mph are over.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

@MeghanH (#3)

Are we really that deep in the car culture that ANYTHING that says there are alternatives provokes a knee-jerk reaction?

‘Fraid so. :/

Bob R.
Guest
Bob R.

Why are people required to sit in a hall which bears slogans of religious proselytization in order to comment on transportation issues?

“God is moving, are you?” — I guess in one interpretation that’s transportation related.

My own neighborhood association has its general meetings in the basement of a church, however that church has taken care to avoid placing religious symbols or slogans in the meeting hall. That’s perfectly reasonable.

Is it the case that the city has devoted so little to public infrastructure in the outer Holgate area that there are no civic/secular meeting venues available?

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

It’s funny how East Portlanders are vocal and angry that The City Never Does Anything Good For Us, yet when something good is done for them, they get mad. I know, an oversimplification, and we’re probably not talking about the same people making the two complaints, but still. Way to make it hard to do the right thing.

Allan
Guest
Allan

I guess i wonder if the folks on my street in NE PDX know that they’re going to get like 5+ new speedbumps in a couple weeks. I haven’t gotten anything in the mail.

Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

I think this person says it all “They’re just tired of waking up and seeing things change.” East of 82nd ave wasn’t even a part of Portland until it was annexed around 20 years ago (http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=30426&a=51673). It was simply unincorporated Multnomah county. This part is simply 100 years behind in urban planning. When the city attempts to improve livability, people that were there prior to annexation get upset. Treating this as anything but an urban environment now is just silly. People do and will continue to walk/bike. Simply ignoring this is just going to cause more people to get hurt. That fact that Holgate was ever a four lane highway was a mistake from 50s freeway planning. Lastly, “crime train”. That is also silly. Crime has been high on 82nd ave waaaaay before the green line ever went in. While I don’t ride everyday, when I do I have never had any issues at all. When you look at crime statistics it also doesn’t hold any water. The small crimes that do happen are mostly, auto break ins in the parking lots near by.

Done ranting.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I went to the Eastside Sunday Parkways event, and the traffic/non-participant management was a bit clunkier than other Parkways. The layout seemed to make it less convenient for residents. I heard a few ask volunteers, “What is this?” And Portland Police were stopping lines of cars to let two Parkways participants cross Holgate, instead of waiting for a group of participants to form. I had a great time though, out there on the active transportation frontier, and on my way home was pleasantly shocked to find that Holgate was such a bikeable street.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Can you state the number of deaths on that stretch of road before the bike lanes went in?

Marcus Griffith
Guest
Marcus Griffith

The resident’s seem to collectively feel like something they had a right to was wrongly taken away from them and there is nothing they can do get it back or stop it from happening in the future. Some of them might feel a bit vulnerable and defenseless. So of course they are mad (wouldn’t we if bike lanes were removed). No one likes feeling bullied or ignored by an government agency.

So yeah, this is transportation project issue, but its still a human issue as well.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

I will never understand why Portland is always trying to impede traffic. Personally I would prefer the cars that are on the road to get to their destination as fast as safely possible so they are off the road sooner. More room for bikes, and less pollution.

There are more cars on the road now than when the boulevard was constructed and they cut the flow of traffic in half. What did they think would happen?

No one cyclist needs a 7′ wide bike lane with a 3 foot buffer, essentially a ten foot wide bike lane. You shouldn’t need 7′ to go in a straight line and 3′ more to feel “safe”.

The best solution would have been to leave Holgate as is,and picked a street one or two blocks away to make a Bike Route with those big Sharrows that they have been putting down all over the rest of SE.

Michael M.
Guest

Kudos to you, JM, for an excellent summary of the objections. What’s less clear to me is the purpose. Are these extra-wide lanes primarily designed to calm motorized traffic, to make conditions safer for all modes of travel? Or is the aim to provide better (more convenient, faster) connections for people on bicycles? Some combination? Other things?

You write, PBOT will “evaluate the performance of the street on a number of criteria….” I guess what I don’t understand is how different criteria stack up against each other. How does PBOT, ultimately, decide whether this treatment is a success or failure?

Bob R.
Guest
Bob R.

SkidMark –

You’ve got it backwards. The 7′ / 10′ buffered bike lane isn’t to give room to the cyclists to keep them from drifting into the automobile lane, it’s to create a buffer to allow for the fact that cars frequently drift into bike lanes.

I really should drive around with a camera and document just how many times I see people casually driving, completely unaware that their right tires are over the paint stripe and in the bike lane.

If _all_ road users could maintain strict lane discipline, we wouldn’t need more than a 4′ or 5′ bike lane. And that doesn’t even get into the issue of dooring from parked cars.

trail user
Guest
trail user

Why weren’t we told of this meeting beforehand? If we had we could have turned out en masse to stifle dissent.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Please bring more bike lanes, safer roads, and more congestion (to get people out of their cars). Thank you pbot. Thats exactly what I want.

Cora Potter
Guest
Cora Potter

Michael M.

The three foot buffer was added primarily to reduce the vehicle travel lane to 10 ft. The traffic engineers determined that having an auto lane wider than 10 ft would not be sufficiently narrow to reduce excessive speeds.

But, the added benefit is that the buffer does provide a lot of comfort for the cautious bike rider – beyond the auto speed reduction. And, given the number of schools in the area and the senior housing at 104th, having an extra wide bike lane provides a lot of benefit for kids and older adults.

beelnite
Guest
beelnite

Dear PDOT –

Please tear up the bike lane on Holgate and give those people back their expressway and auto-centric neighborhood.

The Starkwood Neighbors hereby officially request that you move the bike lane north approximately 2.7 miles to Stark between 108th and 122nd.

We are in desperate need of a connected bike lane and slower traffic around our middle school, grade school, community center, local market and densely packed neighborhood.

Many of us are poor and have to walk or ride a bike. We’d love to not have to run for our lives just to visit a friend across the street.

If the people of Holgate want to act like idiots well just remember you have people who will welcome you with open arms just up 122nd.

Thank you.

beelnite at yahoo dot com

Red Five
Guest
Red Five

Possible solution: Get rid of east Portland.

aaronf
Guest
aaronf

Give East Portland to Gresham!

Hart
Guest

Did any of these people complaining about having to sit and wait in their cars consider actually getting out their bike and USING the new buffered lane?

jordan
Guest

Here! Here! beelnite #22 🙂

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

I’ve noticed that cars hug to the right, too. It’s especially annoying on a street with no bike lanes with stopped traffic because you end up sitting in traffic with them. I ride a bicycle so I don’t have to sit in traffic. Where I live I actually prefer to travel on roads with bike lanes. When I encounter someone looming into the bike lane I just knock on their passenger window, it usually gets them out of their stupor. I don’t encounter it that much, not nearly as much as cars pulling out from sidestreets and driveways right in front of me, driving past me and turning right in front of me, or taking left turn while I am oncoming traffic.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

Sorry that was directed at Bob R’s comment about my comment.

Michael M.
Guest

Thank you, Cora (#21).

So if that’s true, then the whole “bike lane to nowhere” angle is irrelevant. It seems like bikes are being scapegoated in this whole debate. The real issue is that PBOT needed to slow motor vehicle speed on Holgate, and it is at least partly incidental that it chose to do so by using the extra-wide bike lane as a tool to accomplish that. Objections quoted in the article like cyclists can use Springwater or TriMet bus racks are really beside the point. The question is, do the residents support the idea of a traffic-calmed Holgate, or do they like it the way it was, with excessive speeding?

JR
Guest
JR

Please bring the bike lanes to NE Glisan between I-205 and NE 47th. We have fatalities on Glisan, a plethora of vehicle on vehicle crashes, dangerous biking conditions, and we care about our sustainable transportation. Buffered bike lanes are exactly what we need.

At least East Portland is consistent in their complaints about everything… 🙂

Nik
Guest
Nik

The argument about Holgate that resonates most with me is right-sizing the street. It doesn’t make sense for a medium sized residential street with single lane connectivity to anywhere to have multiple vehicle travel lanes in each direction.

The implementation of the experimentally wide bike lane is clunky because traffic engineers have much more pavement to work with than is needed, rather than the typically insufficient width they’re used to.

I’d restripe the street to make the overall bike lane area narrower so it didn’t look like a repurposed vehicle lane, but make the parking lane wider–wide enough for a car door to open without entering the bike lane. Add parking spot hashes like in metered parking areas to encourage people to use the curb side of the parking area.

I’d also remove the remnant of the second travel lane that appears and disappears as Holgate crosses 92nd. These extra through lanes encourage people to try and race other traffic through the intersection. Replace them with right turn lanes and extend the bike lanes further west on Holgate. There’s plenty of room for them at least until you reach the Walmart.

Elena
Guest
Elena

I’m curious to know whether, and to what extent, the City and advocacy groups are taking advantage of the opportunity to make the point that if the motorists worried about traffic jams would use other forms of transportation, there wouldn’t be as much traffic in the first place. Whether or not the bike lanes stay on Holgate is almost inconsequential in the grand scheme of things – this city is headed away from cars and towards alternate transportatation, and the removal of bike lanes now would just mean fighting them again a few years down the road.
This seems like a great time to prove the real-world advantages of severing the attachment to cars. But most of these residents seem to be crafting their arguments around the assumption that no one’s willing to give up driving, even in awful traffic conditions – and even advocates for the lanes don’t seem to be challenging that assumption (at least from the info provided here).

A lot of these folks claim to be “all for” bikes – what better time to make the switch?

Chris
Guest
Chris

On the RestoreHolgate.com website, there was one particular paragraph that was quite interesting:

“What’s a buffered bike lane? Fancy name…… The buffered bike lanes on Holgate Boulevard are 7 feet wide, with a 3 foot buffer between the bike lane and the traffic lane. This, on top of the curb area for parking leaves cars and trucks (yeah, remember us… the real definition of mass transit), with two small crater filled lanes to travel on. (Try to remember who’s paying for those roads).”

That last bit about “who’s paying for those roads”, we all know the answer is “everyone”, so I’m really confused by his statement and really makes me question any of the information on his website.

Supercourse
Guest
Supercourse

I’ve been riding around Portland since I moved here in 1972….. I rode the same streets that we just spent a million dollars to paint with really ugly sharrows, I rode to work up Cully that we’re about to spend millions more on. I rode Holgate to see what that was all about…all alone! I ride everywhere…and it seems to me the city is stuck more on good looking numbers than on good working plans. We need more paths…not more paint.

Ted Buehler
Guest
Ted Buehler

Question for anyone in-the-know —

Many states have shared bike and right-turn lanes.

I saw the Holgate lanes for the first time on Sunday, I didn’t remember seeing and right-turn lanes.

They could improve traffic flow and placate drivers by adding shared bike and right-turn lanes at some intersections.

This would give the car-centric voices a “win” — they fought back City Hall and gained something. I don’t think it would negatively impact bicyclists, given the light bike traffic and that it would eliminate a big right-hook risk.

Jonathan or anyone else, did this come up?

&, as always, thanks for the in-depth coverage!

Ted Buehler

John
Guest
John

Angry town halls are to baby boomers what fixies are to hipsters.

Cora Potter
Guest
Cora Potter

Michael M.

One of the difficulties is that it’s hard to say what the residents as a group support, because the opinions are divided.

What I can say is that there are a large number of people who live on or near Holgate that appreciate the traffic calming, and that putting Holgate on a road diet was not an idea that just came along last year when they striped the bike lanes. Both neighborhood associations approved a three auto lane cross section – the adjustment that PBOT made and didn’t really publicize well was that they decided to go with 10 ft auto lanes rather than 12 or 14 ft auto lanes.

I live on Holgate and I am ecstatic about the reduction in speeds. It’s hard to explain to someone who isn’t familiar with the street – but it wasn’t just the occasional speeder, it was consistent speeding that precipitated other problems and crashes even beyond the former 5 auto lane cross section.

PBOT’s data is showing that the number of speeders just in this section of Holgate has been reduced by 19%. Mark Lear stated that a 5% reduction is considered really good – 19% is phenomenal.

Hopefully PBOT will put the presentation notes and data they passed out last night up on portlandonline.com soon. That handout also outlines the measures they are using for the evaluation.

jeff
Guest
jeff

What is is about forum contributors to this blog who can’t validate or understand the thoughts and feelings of the residents at this meeting? Why do they have to see life as you do? The smugness displayed here is unbelievable.

“Stiffling dissent”, calling them “idiots”, etc. Very indicative of immaturity.

Speed changes were required on this stretch of Holgate. I live near there, I’ve seen and heard the problems/crashes/races. This type of bike lanes may not have been the best solution and PBOT screwed up by not inviting shareholders opinions. Bike lanes are great, but other options could have been considered.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I was at the meeting last night and it had a lot more people but they were a little more civilized… maybe because the pro-bike-lane people actually spoke up more (me included) so the anti crowd wasn’t as fueled…

there were still some of the “we want our road back” people but not as many interrupting the meeting… and PBOT only had to give the mic to the mediator a couple times to control the outspoken…

many older residents (some there since 1944) voiced their support of the bike lanes and the effect they’ve had in calming the street…

I thought it was great that a self-proclaimed “Holgate drag racer” stood up and said that the bike lanes have worked in slowing down the traffic…

PBOT had a handout (but they only had 100 copies and ran out) showing lots of statistical data they’ve gathered before and after the bike lanes to show people what has changed…

as was already mentioned there were quite a few people who just flat out refused to believe what PBOT was saying… PBOT mentioned that they did a video survey last week of the bike lanes and counted nearly 200 riders… a lot of the crowd called foul… it’s a video! I’m not sure how the anti crowd thought that PBOT was faking a video but they were all invited to go to PBOT to watch the video and count the bicycles themselves… but they were still doubtful…

there was still the usual concern of people not knowing how to drive or ride bikes correctly… these people didn’t seem to realize they were outing themselves as inattentive drivers with no ability to adapt to their surroundings… there were still many complaints of cars turning incorrectly and bicycles going the wrong way… as if PBOT can control how poorly people are driving… sure they can help a little with initial confusion but once you’ve turned onto Holgate you should have learned… the person sitting next to me suggested mandatory retesting with driver’s license renewals…

the open forum presented to us worked well and they tried hard to keep it moving smoothly… they asked for observations, then improvements, then questions about their data… they never really went into the emotional area of asking people to just speak their minds about how they felt, just what they saw… that didn’t stop everybody but it kept the discussions more civilized…

it was awesome of the church to let PBOT use their building… they had a presentation on the projector and were using the sound system so they could be heard… but I don’t think they turned on the AC because it was HOT in there by 9pm…

they don’t have a bike rack… it was amusing to see all the bikes locked to the chain link fence like an art project… I walked to the meeting because of that…

and if you’ve ever walked on Holgate you could understand the joy that the person in the electric wheelchair expressed during the meeting at being able to safely navigate Holgate… due to all the sidewalk obstructions (bushes, cracks, poles) they can now use the bike lane when they have to… they seemed very happy to have their mobility in their own neighborhood and I think it was a wake-up call to a lot of people that hadn’t considered the use of bike lanes by people in electric assist mobility devices…

overall a much better meeting than last time, mostly because PBOT came prepared with numbers to back up the project and was able to answer most of the questions…

Holgate will be seeing some improvements to help keep all modes of traffic running smoothly and I think in the end we will get to keep the bike lanes because they’re already making a measurable improvement…

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Not to comment-spam, but it sounds like PBOT accomplished exactly what they intended with this project — slowing down traffic — and the residents are angry because … PBOT accomplished exactly what they intended.

If you have to drive a car, slow down. And if you don’t have to drive a car, don’t. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but sheesh.

John Reinhold
Guest
John Reinhold

I encourage people to bike out there, bike along these bike lanes. Stop and buy something at a local business, or get some food at a local shop.

Let them see you on your bike.

Then they are no longer bike lanes to nowhere.

Oh, and although the Springwater may be .7 miles away – it doesn’t go in the same direction! If you need to go ANYWHERE from Harold or Woodstock north, the Springwater doesn’t go there. It goes Southwest from that area. To hit most of SE Portland, the Springwater goes the wrong way. So if you are going to businesses on 82nd, or Mt. Tabor, or Hawthorne, or Woodstock, or Division, or Ladd, or Laurelhurst, or even Lloyd Center – the Springwater is not even near your path.

Peter Smith
Guest
Peter Smith

I was glad to see PBOT’s Mark Lear say that we need bike lanes on all major (aja ‘busy’) roads in the city. Of course that’s what we need, and that’s the minimum that we need — and even a simple buffered bike lane is not enough — we’ll take it for now as a step in the right direction, but this is not the end game.

And appropriate bicycle infrastructure and traffic calming _will_ be implemented on every single public road in the entire city of Portland — without exception. Auto traffic concerns do not take priority over allowing pedestrians and cyclists safe, comfortable, and dignified access to every single public road under PBOT’s jurisdiction. This correcting of a historic injustice is being corrected before our very eyes — can I get a witness?! It’s time to become a true believer — get on this bike bandwagon — these injustices will not stand — get on the right side of history — these corrections are inevitable — don’t fight them — they’re like quicksand — you’ll only sink faster if you fight it.

I agree that the single auto travel lane in each direction is important to keeping auto speeding/law-breaking under control — this is the reason to oppose any multi-lanes-in-one-direction setups, like one-ways, freeways, etc. — they’re just ‘crimeways’.

The buffer is necessary to help cyclists feel a little less uncomfortable traveling next to massive and dangerous cars and trucks — in addition to the many other reasons the buffer is necessary.

Vance Longwell
Guest

“The importance of this project transcends Holgate Avenue.”

A statement like this TRANSCENDS the stated goal. Which is to allocate more funding toward so-called active transportation, and to reduce the general public’s dependency on personal automobiles. I thought it was about, “Reducing automobile ABUSE, and not USE.”?

What’s implicit in this statement is that there exists an agenda with a higher priority than implementing infrastructure. This is precisely the sentiment that set Dan Christensen off, and what inspired the license-plate-gate that just went down.

Before this coverage the line was that the community was consulted. That people WANTED this. This was countered with, “No, the people whom might otherwise attend such meetings work for a living, and simply can’t/won’t attend.”, and was immediately rebuked with yet more citations of community involvement. Bull. The two out-of-state hippie couples on the block went to your dumb meetings, and that’s it. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

Quickly now. Rationalize. Justify. Descend into the semantics. Complexity will protect you from sophistication, and large scope. Fools. Yeah, and ignoring it has not made it go away either, huh?

Rick Bradford
Guest
Rick Bradford

In response to Chris,

I don’t know how much you pay in fuel taxes, and I’m sure the liabilty insurance on your bike is pretty hefty too. Not to mention the excise taxes on your tires. Add in your Licensing fees and your bike inspection fees. I’m sure you realize by now that the person driving a car has paid a far greater feed to drive on this public road than you on your bike. Granted you might own a home and pay some property taxes that find their way into the transporation system, but c’mon…. Who is really footing the bill here.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

There is nothing calming about sitting in traffic. How about “Traffic Frustrating” or “Traffic Infuriating”?

Geana Tyler
Guest
Geana Tyler

In Response to Rick Bradford #44

I own a car and a pickup truck and have just started using the Holgate bikelanes, I live on Holgate. I have both vehicles registered, insured and just put a new set of tires on both of them the past year or two. I think I am footing the bill enough to be able to ride a bike down the street if I want.

Hart
Guest

Driving around in a car should be frustrating and irritating, all the more reason to live car-free.

suburban
Guest

35 John- your comment, while off topic, is so spot on, and I think you are on to something. There are sociological forces that act on all demographics. There is obviously enough pavement on this huge street to accommodate all users, and we may agree this discussion is about something less tangible.

Rick Bradford
Guest
Rick Bradford

In response to Geana Tyler,

Very good points

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

Re: SkidMark #16: ““The best solution would have been to leave Holgate as is,and picked a street one or two blocks away to make a Bike Route with those big Sharrows that they have been putting down all over the rest of SE.

Sounds nice, but no can do. There isn’t a single local street parallel to Holgate that goes through from I-205 to 122nd. Just look at a map. The street grid isn’t complete in East Portland like it is closer in to town. Between Division and Foster, the only east-west through streets are, count ’em: Division, Powell, Holgate, Harold and Foster. (Division, Powell, and Foster have bike lanes). Sorry folks, bikes are going to be on arterials in East Portland whether you like it or not.

Or… maybe some of the anti-bike lane folks at the meeting would like to offer up their houses for demolition so the street grid in the neighborhood can be completed in order to create a feasible parallel route for bikes? And hold a bake sale to raise a few million dollars for a new bicycle and pedestrian overpass across I-205 so bikes don’t have to detour to Holgate to get across the freeway, too? Then, we could take the bike lane off Holgate and everybody would be happy!

Well… probably not gonna happen. $30,000 worth of paint on Holgate sounds a lot better than that alternative, doesn’t it?