(Photo © J. Maus)
A project to improve conditions for bicycling on N. Rosa Parks Way between N. Vancouver and Interstate seems set to finally get underway. Bureau of Transportation project manager Winston Sandino says they’ve selected a contractor and the project is slated to begin in May.
Here’s a breakdown of the changes coming, according to Sandino:
– PDF here –
- Stripe 6-foot bike lanes on both sides of N. Rosa Parks between N. Montana Ave to N. Vancouver Ave. (This will match the striping that already exists from N. Vancouver to MLK Jr. Blvd.)
- Two islands will be built at the intersection of N. Rosa Parks and N. Kerby St. to allow for people to cross.
- All signals at the I-5 intersection ramps will be modified and upgraded. Since we are shifting lanes to install bike lanes we need to move the signals to the new lane configuration.
- At the intersection of the I-5 on-ramp southbound and N. Rosa Parks we will be installing a new bike signal. Bikes will be able to activate the signal and get a green light while the right turn traffic (to the on ramp southbound) will be red. There will also be a “no right turn” flashing sign (similar to the intersection of N. Oregon and Interstate Ave by the Steel bridge).
- In the eastbound direction (south side of Rosa Parks) bike traffic will be routed onto an extended sidewalk between N. Montana Ave and the I-5 SB on-ramp (see image at right). The sidewalk will be 14-feet wide.
This is welcome news for neighborhood residents (myself included) because existing conditions on Rosa Parks — especially as it crosses I-5 — are very inadequate. There is no shoulder and bike access across the overpass and into the popular New Seasons market at Interstate and Rosa Parks is challenging even for confident riders.
The delays occurred in large part because the project modifies lanes and signals that feed onto I-5, therefore ODOT had to sign off on the designs (PBOT will also relocate a light pole that is on state right of way). A key issue was ODOT traffic models that showed the signal at Albina and Rosa Parks might cause traffic backups that could impact I-5 on-ramps.
Even with a project that turned out to be more complicated than everyone thought, it still seems like three-plus years is a long time to make this project happen. In late 2009, I asked ODOT rep Lou Torres about the delays. Is the process broken? Can it be streamlined to prevent these delays in the future? “I think that’s a valid discussion topic, no question about it,” Torres replied, “We’ll be very happy to have it finished… it’s been on the table for a while.”
So will we Mr. Torres. So will we.
— In other good news, PBOT plans to build a new crossing treatment at Michigan and Rosa Parks as part of their Neighborhood Greenway projects in conjunction with the recently funded Going to the River project. More info on that to come.