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Get a sneak peek at potential changes coming to Lloyd District bikeways

Posted by on February 22nd, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Detail of concept for new shared-use path, buffered bike lanes, and other bikeway elements being proposed for NE 12th Avenue south of the Lloyd District.
Download larger version (PDF) –

Moving forward on a slate of projects we first reported on last May, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced the first public open house for their trio of Lloyd District Bikeway Development projects.

The public process for the Lloyd District projects began back in December when PBOT convened a Stakeholder Advisory Committee led by consultant Scott Bricker (former BTA Executive Director). Since then, the committee has taken walking tours of the area to learn more about the issues and PBOT has hashed out design concepts for the three projects on the table: improving the 12th Avenue overpass; adding a bikeway to NE Holladay Street (between Wheeler and 13th Ave); and closing the bikeway gap on N. Vancouver/Wheeler between Broadway and Multnomah.

12th Ave overcrossing of I-84-3

Existing conditions on 12th Avenue overcrossing.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Of the three projects, PBOT tells us the 12th Ave. overcrossing is the most developed thus far. This stretch of road (where 12th Ave. goes over I-84 just south of Lloyd District) has been a sore spot in the bike network for a long time. Complicating matters further are a large high school just to the south and a parking garage to the north. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the design concepts currently under consideration.

The 60-foot right of way on the overpass currently consists of two, 10-foot sidewalks and four, 10 foot vehicle lanes…

All the concepts under consideration would swap out one of the existing vehicle lanes in order to make room for either one or two bike lanes. PBOT is looking into both a conventional cross-section with five-foot bike lanes on each side (concept one below), or a plan that would make the 10-foot sidewalk on the west side of the street into a shared use path for use by walking and biking traffic. See the three cross sections below…

Standard, 5-foot bike lanes on each side.

Shared-use path on sidewalk and a 5-foot bike lane to the left of a standard vehicle lane.

Shared-use path on sidewalk and a 7-foot, curbside bike lane.

In addition to the overcrossing, PBOT is planning for many other bikeway elements including bike boxes and buffered bike lanes on Irving and north up to NE 11th Ave. Check out the two concepts below (and click for larger versions in PDF form).

Here’s the concept with bike lanes…

And the shared-use path idea…

You can learn more about these proposals as well as what’s in store for Holladay and Vancouver by dropping into the open house next Thursday. Details are below…

    Lloyd District Bikeway Development Projects Open House
    Thursday, March 3rd from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (drop-in)
    Calaroga Terrace Auditorium (1400 NE 2nd Ave)
    Project website

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

  • Spiffy February 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I’m all for putting the bikes on the road where they belong…

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  • Dave February 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I can’t make it to the open house, but I like the shared path and bike lane option, and am happy about the bike box on Irving as well. Buffered bike lanes on 11th also a plus 🙂

    In any of these designs, I think it will be much nicer than it is now, as it’s currently one of the more awkward spots in the area.

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  • Doug February 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Definitely a fan of the bike lane version over the shared path version. Whenever possible we should keep bikes on streets one way or another.

    Both of the aerial view concepts show a couple turn boxes though, and I never really get the impression that those get used very much. If you were to head south on 12th and then want to head east on Irving, I’d rather break out of the bike lane and stay in traffic to make the left onto Irving from the left turn lane on 12th, rather than stay in the bike lane and awkwardly slow down in the middle of a crosswalk and stop and wait for the signal to change.

    That said, if traffic is such that you can’t break over to the turn lane the turn box offers a 2nd option which can’t hurt. I just feel obligated to use the facilities that are present when I see them, but they’re not always the most efficient option.

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  • matt picio February 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Agreed – I’d much rather have the bike lanes than the shared path version.

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  • Allan February 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Shared path would be nice if we weren’t forced to use it. We need to rid ourselves of the mandatory sidepath law once and for all.

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  • KJ February 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    bike lane!

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  • BURR February 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    forcing cyclists onto a shared path with Copenhagen left turns is a bad idea.

    I’ll second (or third) the bike lane option; the shared path option is only viable with repeal of the mandatory sidepath law.

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    • Steve February 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      I agree for the most part, however, many who commute through here, myself included, already take the wide sidewalk south across the bridge to make the Copenhagen left onto Irving. I’m a very assertive cyclist and believe in equal access to the roads as much as the next person, but in the case of the traffic situation here in the evenings, which is very busy, doing this turn is often much faster. It also feels safer to me and apparently others. I also feel like this is the right situation for such a turn and a good approach to getting more people to commute by bike into and out of the Lloyd District.

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  • Andrew Seger February 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Not sure why everyone hates the shared path. Seems like a great alternative. And if there’s money there we should spend it on the best possible facilities. Repealing the mandatory sidepath law is easier than rebuilding this if it gets money spent in the wrong way. Also I suspect that most people commenting here are already comfortable (or at least willing to ride on) with the current setup, whereas this is aimed at increasing ridership, I think.

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  • are February 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    agreed the final design should keep bikes on the deck, not up among the pedestrians. even if the MUP might not be a mandatory sidepath, it would be perceived as such by motorists and make life that much harder for cyclists who choose to assert the roadway.

    however, if you stripe a bike lane heading south over the bridge, you make it that much more difficult to assert the left turn lane. what is needed instead are sharrows.

    about a quarter of all bike traffic on this bridge during the afternoon rush is southbound heading left onto irving.


    more than a quarter of these do some kind of copenhagen left, often taking the sidewalk rather than the bridge deck to arrive at the corner. but another twenty percent or so do it in a vehicular fashion, and they do not appear to have any difficulty with the maneuver.

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    • skyc February 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      I bike over this bridge on a fairly regular basis, typically as part of my connection between SE 11th/12th and NE 7th. I rarely have any major issues except at peak traffic time. My main issue is cars trying to pass me dangerously close after the turn onto 12th Southbound. The people who drive here are usually extremely impatient. For this reason I wouldn’t have a problem with bike lanes being put in on the bridge. What I usually do now is ride out in the middle of the lane rather than to the right, which usually discourages drivers from trying to pass, but I doubt it fosters any good will either.

      I can see how the bike lane may impact the ability to make a vehicular left. I don’t make that left very often so I may be out of my element, but it seems like it should not be very hard to take the lane before you make the left and then just stay in the lane all the way through the intersection. I don’t think adding a bike lane would necessarily change that, though the one thing that may result would be confused drivers who expect bikes to be in the bike lane.

      I agree with you that the MUP solution is not ideal

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      • are February 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        confused drivers expecting cyclists to be in the striped lane (or on the MUP) is exactly what i am concerned about, yes. on the plus side, the plan does call for only one travel lane southbound for the first few feet, allowing you to stake your claim. one reason i have not been too concerned about fostering/not goodwill by taking the lane here is that the alternative — trying to squeeze a bike and an overtaking car into a ten-foot lane — would foster even less . . .

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  • Don Arambula February 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    These alternatives will no doubt improve the existing conditions for those who already are cycling over the freeway, but are not likely to attract a significant amount of additional cyclists- those that are concerned about safety. What is needed is a “big picture” solution that minimizes auto-bike conflicts and directly links Lloyd to Benson High School to the Couch-Broadway corridor. A protected bi-directional protected bikeway (cycle track) on the east side of travel lanes between Lloyd and Broadway might be an alternative that addresses safety concerns.

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    • Alex Reed February 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      I agree. The Bike Plan clearly states that we need low-stress bike facilities to achieve our city’s ridership goals. Why do we continue to plan and build non-separated bike lanes? We’re just going to have to replace them in a decade or so. I know it probably comes down to funding, but it seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to me.

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  • Stripes February 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Oh my F-ing G!!! This might be divine intervention. I have just started using this 12th Ave overpass at Lloyd Center for my daily commute.

    It sucks ASS. Especially when cycling southbound on 12th heading away from the Lloyd Centre, and trying to turn left onto Irving.

    There is so much pissy traffic at that intersection. Lights are long, and when you are pedalling in the roadway, there is almost always some grumpy motorist revving their engine because you are holding up their progress to make the NEXT light.

    I particularly welcome the idea of a shared sidewalk eastbound to solve this problem.

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  • dwainedibbly February 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Bike lane option, please. And whatever option is picked, do NOT widen the vehicle lanes. Wider lanes encourage drivers to go faster.

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  • Andrew N February 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Well, count me as disappointed in the city (and, by extension, Alta) right now. This strikes me as another example of Portland continuing to pick at low-hanging fruit rather than making the kind of infrastructure commitments one would expect from a “platinum”-level city –like building the 7th ave. bike/ped bridge over the interstate that has been proposed for years. I doubt that either of the two proposals above is going to get a whole lot more of the “interested but nervous” folks onto their bikes to commute through this area.

    Jonathan, while you’re focusing on Lloyd District happenings… I’d love to see a story about the cycle track about to be installed on 7th as part of the eastside streetcar project. 1. how the facility will connect across the Broadway-Weidler couplet to the rest of 7th (which is a defacto bikeway) and east-west neighborhood greenways such as Tillamook. And 2. what the transitions at the southern end will look like, especially with the bridge proposal apparently dead in the water.

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    • resopmok February 25, 2011 at 2:10 am

      Don’t really think this is low hanging fruit. This bridge is an important connection over the Banfield and currently a gaping hole in the surrounding bike infrastructure. It needs to get fixed and should have been fixed a long freakin time ago.

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  • peejay February 23, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Shared paths are terrible because of the “shared” part. It’s as if the drivers got together and said “I got it: let’s force bikers and walkers to share the same space! In a few years, they’ll be fighting with each other, and we can go speeding through!

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  • Katie February 23, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Concept 1. There are a ton of walkers on those sidewalks in the morning going to school.

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    • snapbrim February 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Yeah, I wouldn’t think the ideal place for a shared path would be right next to a high school.

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  • Kathy February 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    WOW! This just so happens to be exactly my bike commute!!! It is awesome that there are people tring to think of solutions to a really unfortunate and tricky place for cyclists to manuever.
    Coming in, I ride up Irving going westbound. There is one really troublesome spot there at the highway 84 ramp entrance. You have cars heading westbound behind you wanting to get on to the highway and they seem to be racing the people heading eastbound on Irving trying to turn left onto the highway entrance. In addition, you sometimes have the people coming in northbound on 16th or whatever that is, trying to go straight across 12th to get on the highway. Poor little cyclist in the bike lane to the right of it all. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost been right hooked, had a driver look RIGHT AT ME and turn left practically on top of me anyway, or have some car gun it straight across 12th only to see me at the last minute with their “Oh no” face on.
    Other than that, coming in I don’t have too many problems.
    Going HOME, on the other hand is a total cluster until I get onto Irving. I work at Bonneville Power Administration so I start off heading eastbound on Lloyd. Turning right (southbound) onto 12th is truly Russian roulette. I’ve tried “asserting” myself in the lane by being firmly in the middle of right lane. Somehow a car is still able to squeeze by me on the right. I’ve also tried being over to the righthand side of the lane. And of course, cars just take advantage of that space to squeeze to the left of me. All of this is troubling because where I REALLY want to be is in the LEFT lane of 12th so I can turn left onto Irving. So as I’m turning right onto 12th, I have really NO SAFE way to turn into the left lane. Mostly, what I do is I turn lane to lane (and hope the car to my left who is “sharing” the lane with me doesn’t also have the same idea) and hope that some cyclist has asserted themselves into the left lane and I can just sort of shimmy my way into the space next to them. Or I just end up riding up to 12th, turning right and then U-turning immediately to point myself east on 12th and wait for the light there (which TAKES FOREVER to turn.)
    “Stripes” has it right – the cars on 12th are EXTREMELY impatient and aggressive and it is very unnerving to EITHER:
    1. Try to stick out your left hand and see if someone will let you into the left lane. There is VERY little space to get into that lane as traffic backs up quickly at the light at 12th and Irving.
    2. Stay in the right lane with someone behind you revving their engine behind you.
    From when I am on Lloyd turning onto 12th until I am safely heading eastbound on Irving, I am just mostly cringing and flinching and really just hoping for the best.

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    • Sarah June 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

      Kathy – There’s a much easy pm route. Go north on 11th, turn right/east Multnomah, then turn right/south at NE 21st (avoid the overpass and the freeway onramp altogether). The overpass is fine for me just as it is northbound in the am. I just use the right lane to turn left onto NE Lloyd (like every other cyclist at that intersection). Can’t we just make that a legal left turn for cyclists?

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  • Paul Johnson February 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Shouldn’t the 12th Avenue bike lane at Lloyd have a left turn arrow, not a straight through arrow, given that you can’t go straight through the “top” of a T intersection?

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  • Tim W February 24, 2011 at 12:38 am

    A concern I have with the Copenhagen turn is the size of the box. It looks like there is only comfortable room for one person, but what about during heavy traffic hours when there is a large number of cyclists? It would make sense for the wait area to be as big as a regular bike box. And I second Paul, the arrow heading north on 12th should be pointed left. Overall though, very exciting news.

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  • Lenny Anderson February 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Time for the 7th Avenue bike/ped bridge across Sullivan’s Gulch. That plus a bikes only Holladay Street. I would even give up the bike lanes on Multnomah which would allow the return of on-Street parking to that underused street.

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  • Doug Klotz February 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Why do the 10 foot wide auto lanes get wider in some versions? (to 13 feet in one version) If they were always 10 feet, you’d at least have room for 5 foot bike lanes in both directions.

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    • Paul Johnson February 24, 2011 at 11:27 pm

      Lane width standards are minimums. The narrowest allowed lane in Oregon is 4 feet, which is a bicycle lane adjacent to a bicycle lane that travels in the same direction. Bicycle lanes adjacent to motor traffic in the same direction or any traffic (including bicycles) in the opposite direction is six feet. 10 feet is the minimum width for tertiary residential roads, 11 feet for arterials and 12 feet for freeways. Oregon’s bicycle lane standards are more generous than federal standards (4 feet for all bicycle lanes), and ODOT generally tries to go for wider lanes than the minimum standards when practical and generally recommends local jurisdictions follow suit. The only time a five foot bike lane is permissible in Oregon is a secondary bicycle lane adjacent to another bicycle lane traveling in the same direction (in which it would be a generously wide lane by state standards).

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      • Paul Johnson February 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm

        That said, PBOT’s “alternative” suggestion for 5′ bicycle lanes is an automatic non-starter because the lane is too narrow to meet state standards for lane widths.

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  • resopmok February 25, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Not sure why designers want to complicate things so much with the shared use path. Every surrounding bike facility is a bike lane on the street level. Can anyone explain what is the point of forcing people onto the sidewalk for one block? If I didn’t already feel safe riding in a bike lane on the street, I wouldn’t be anywhere near this place to begin with, so I don’t understand how a one block shared path is going to attract any “interested but concerned” (whatever that means).

    I think the northbound bike lane design works pretty well – I don’t like the one lane on 12th splitting into two lanes on the bridge. I don’t see how it helps traffic flow anyway; better light timings might be a good solution for that. The transition for the right turn lane seems awful short and close to the intersection, though. I wouldn’t be surprised at seeing it blocked when traffic is not moving, or having difficulty with cars allowing you through. Fixing that would require taking more of the bridge from southbound lanes, but would that really be so bad?

    Not sure how I feel about the Copenhagen left for southbound traffic, but it probably beats waiting behind a line of cars, assuming you can get into that lane in the first place. Also I might be wrong, but I don’t recall there being an actual left turn only signal phase here either, which seems like it would be a great improvement. I know to watch that lane carefully when headed northbound for as many times as I’ve almost been hit by people either jumping the light, not seeing me in echelon to another northbound vehicle, or running the yellow/red. I’ve also seen the aftermath of multiple motor vehicle collisions as a result of the same behaviors – makes me feel lucky.

    EOF – good on PBOT for finally trying to fix it. I really hope they don’t screw it up.

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    • Paul Johnson February 25, 2011 at 6:32 am

      No doubt…Portland gets enough cyclists that it really should be thinking pedestrian-free cycleways, or if you’re going to have a shared use facility, pull a London or a Tulsa and put sidewalks on it.

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  • Brendan February 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I used to bike over this bridge daily. I must say that a shared sidewalk would not work well as there are tons of Benson kids on those sidewalks, which make it a tight squeeze for a bike, but the lanes in the road.

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