Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Get involved with the 50’s Bikeway project

Posted by on September 28th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

PBOT’s Rich Newlands gave an update on
the project at a recent Bike
Advisory Committee meeting.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is rolling ahead with their 50’s Bikeway project. The $1.5 million, federally funded project aims to make a 4.5 mile north/south corridor between the Hollywood and Woodstock neighborhoods more comfortable and efficient for people on bikes.

Tomorrow night (9/29) is the second meeting of the newly formed Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the project and there are plenty of big issues to weigh in on. According to PBOT project manager Rich Newlands, who shared details of the project at a recent Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, the biggest challenge for the project is how to make room for bike traffic on SE 52nd south of Division. That stretch of road not only has high volumes of (relatively fast) motor vehicle traffic, but PBOT estimates they’d have to remove 200-250 on-street parking spaces to make room for bike lanes.

At the BAC meeting last month, some members of the committee questioned whether the alignment should include SE 52nd at all. Newlands says at this stage of the planning, the final route is still up for discussion. If you have insight into riding conditions in this area and would like to help with this project by offering your input, consider following this project and attending the meeting tomorrow. Another opportunity to learn about this project will be a group ride of the currently proposed alignment on Saturday, October 9th.

    50’s Bikeway Project – Citizen’s Advisory Committee Meeting
    Wednesday, September 29th
    6:30 to 8:30 PM
    Providence Center Cancer Clinic, Conference Room A (NE 47th and Glisan)
    Project website with more info

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • BURR September 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    No room for bike lanes on SE 52nd without parking removal?

    Wake up PBOT, that’s exactly what sharrows are for.

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  • shirtsoff September 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    My friends live off 52nd Ave in SE and as a resident of N Portland, this is a welcome move which will help to secure a quick and safe north south connection in the middle neighborhoods of Portland. As it is now, much zig-zagging has to be done to reach my destination which is mostly safe but slow.

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  • Dan V September 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Living south of Holgate, and seeing the amount of traffic the moves along 52nd, I’m not certain that sharrows are appropriate. As a cyclist, I would like dedicated space so traffic is not backed up behind me. As a driver, I would like to move along 52nd quicker than many cyclists ride.

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  • Unit September 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    The problem with sharrows on a street like 52nd is they don’t provide enough protection to make most riders feel comfortable. Clearly, they’re enough for Burr, but the city is trying to appeal to a wider variety of widers, including families, as they design these bikeways. Families won’t ride on 52nd with sharrows, nor will most of the rest of the population of the city.

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  • BURR September 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    So put sharrows on SE 52nd for those cyclists that feel comfortable using them, and designate another lower traffic route for the timid and fearful.

    How hard is that?

    Sharrows cost next to nothing to install, and could be providing real benefits NOW, compared to the cost and lead time for the hardscaping that PBOT and the Dutchophiles so love to promote.

    By the time the advisory committee makes their recommendation, engineering documents get drafted and contracts get issued, we’ll be lucky to have any hardscape improvements at all built before 2015, and they will most likely be inferior, compromised designs.

    Meanwhile, cyclists are out there every day with nothing at all, and you don’t think that sharrows would offer an immediate improvement?

    Oy Vey!

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  • Andy September 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    53rd gets you across 84

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  • Chris September 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Yeah, Burr, screw appealing to a larger base of people, encouraging parents and children to ride and promote a greater biking community that’s more inclusive. Fearful and timid riders getting in the way. Jesus. Can’t stand those losers who just want to get to work/a friends place/anywhere without using a car. Who they hell do they think they are?

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  • Matt September 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I disagree with BURR. 52nd S. of Division is no place for sharrows. Save those treatments for a true bike boulevard, where bike traffic parallels major auto streets.

    This part of town needs a family friendly bike-way for riders of all comfort levels. With a child in tow, I would choose to weave through the neighborhood, which is where sharrows and wayfinding signs should be used. It would probably lower the cost of the project and keep drivers happy (not mad at cyclists) because they could still have their 200-250 on-street parking spaces.

    Question: Given that 52nd has a fire station located on it (just N. of Holgate), how does the city plan on reducing rates of speed for autos, while still allowing emergency vehicles the ability to speed on 52nd to a fire, while still ensuring a safe trip for cyclists?

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  • charmed into submission September 28, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I ride five days a week from Burnside south to Woodstock and back again north through the 52nd Ave corridor, twice a day, in typical rush hour traffic. I ride a tandem with a nine-year old child as my stoker. The most difficult, exacerbating difficulty of this commute (beside watching several automobiles run the left turn red light at SE 52nd @ SE Foster every single fucking day) has always been the extraordinary amount of broken glass along the route.
    The street has been graciously swept within the past week. Smooth cycling! Except for the clusterfuck that has been installed surrounding the intersection of Gladstone (which I believe is a ‘sharrowed street,’ and SE 52nd.
    Out of NO Where, the path of reasonably tolerant, understanding and accepting motorists has been pinched in a very unnatural and seemingly unnecessary way.
    This street worked fine, in my experience, with plenty of understanding and admiration between the local community and the bicycle commuters who ‘trespass’ through the neighborhood.

    I question if we need to ram infrastructure through neighborhoods that are not adverse to bicyclists, if we need to ram infrastructure into neighborhoods that are adverse to bicyclists, and if there is any possible way to get more people on bicycles beside simply talking to anyone and everyone who seems to be an interested candidate for changing their level of consumption, their commitment to their own health as well as the strength and wealth of their community.

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  • resopmok September 29, 2010 at 1:37 am

    I commute regularly on 52nd between Duke and Powell. Without a costly widening of the street, yes, on street parking (including a bike corral) would have to be removed in order to make way for a bike lane. I can only imagine the outrage of homeowners here to the removal of that parking.. I’m not sure what the route would look like north of Powell, since 52nd dead-ends somewhere between Division and Hawthorne, but the southern stretch has pretty heavy auto traffic for as small a road as it is.

    Matt, there is no clear intended use of sharrows given in the MUTCD that I am aware of, but I believe their use on bike boulevards has obscured their real usefulness. That is, to remind drivers that bicycles are legally allowed to be riding in the regular lane of traffic. This reminder is most useful in places where auto traffic is heavier, not to mark bike routes for people too lazy to read a map and look for street signs. NW 19th Ave is one of few places in the city that sharrows are used (mostly) correctly.

    Whatever the case may be, it is true that north-south connections are the most difficult routes to find on the east side, for a variety of reasons. 39th and 82nd are basically autos only, and the 50s really do provide the least geographical hindrances to be made into a decent route. I think the whiners who complain about losing the on street parking to new bike lanes – parking maintained at no direct cost to them – should consider pouring more driveway on their property to accomodate their oversized moving cages. It’s time for the city to grow a pair and do what is right, give bikes a real route in the 50s. World class facilities are not built for any purposes without stepping on some toes somewhere. Compromise will lead to mediocrity, not world class.

    I won’t be able to attend this meeting because of work, unfortunately, but I hope someone will take this message to heart during the project.

    Last thought: if the 50s really aren’t doable, 72nd is quite viable, with the largest difficulty being the connection around Washington/Stark/Burnside and also at Division. Otherwise, it connects quite nicely from Johnson Creek all the way to Columbia, with minimal climbing along the east slope of Mt Tabor.

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Matt – Even though this is how PBOT has chosen to (wrongly) use them, sharrows are not and were never meant to be route or wayfinding markers on low traffic bike boulevards, they were specifically designed as destination positioning markers for higher volume arterials.

    Chris – I never said we shouldn’t spend (waste?) tons of money to improve already-safe low traffic streets for the timid and fearful; I simply questioned why we should have to wait five to ten years for that when there are simple and inexpensive improvements we can make immediately.

    I also see no reason why we can’t create multiple routes on both arterial and lower traffic streets, why does route selection always have to cater to the lowest common denominator?

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  • Spiffy September 29, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I often go north from Holgate and 52nd… I go up 54th across Foster, cross Powell at 55th and continue that straight through Clinton park to Lincoln…

    south of Holgate it seems like 50th would be a better north-south connector since you can go north on it all the way from the Flavel ridge to Belmont without losing it…

    I think that 71st/72nd is a better north-south connector but it’s a little far east… and it’s already fairly low traffic and not too bad on a bike…

    plus wee need something closer to the 50’s…

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  • are September 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    relatively fast moving traffic? the street is posted 30 mph. leave the onstreet parking (which functions as a calming device) and put down sharrows. maybe motorists who want to blast through can be persuaded to take another street (nearby 50th is posted 35 mph). then everyone can feel comfortable on 52nd.

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  • h September 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I sometimes use 41st/43rd route a few block west of 52nd. I like the route as it is not as busy as 52nd. I prefer to avoid car-heavy routes whenever possible.

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  • Nick September 29, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I own a house on 52nd close to Woodstock, and I’d be happy to give up parking for bike lanes.

    People are already using 52nd as a major biking route, and there needs to be bike lanes, so that cars can know to watch out for them. If you build the lanes, the street will become safer for everyone.

    Most people who live on 52nd can find other places to park, or already have their own driveway. If you’re in a car looking for a major route free of bike traffic, then 39th and 82nd are always available.

    If Sandy Blvd can have bike lanes, then why can’t 52nd? Sandy is an even busier street, with very dangerous intersections.

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  • are September 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    i went to this meeting tonight. was pleasantly surprised to find a near consensus among the community advisory committee that finding a workable
    solution on 52nd south of division is preferable to shunting everyone over to 53rd, and it appeared rich newlands and crew were getting the message. of course it remains to be seen whether this will fly when it gets to the open house phase.

    kudos to alicia crain and ian stude of BAC and to gerik kransky of BTA for pressing “alignment option A.”

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