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Asphalt mix-up closes bike gaps on SE 20th/Ankeny median – Updated

Posted by on August 12th, 2011 at 3:37 pm

SE 20th and Ankeny before…

If you’re one of the over 1,200 or so people who ride on SE Ankeny every day, be extra careful when you get to SE 20th. Earlier today, city crews filled in the gaps that allow bikes to pass through the median island (see photo below). The City says it was just a mistake and they plan to clean it up as early as tomorrow morning.

I got several reports from readers concerned that people would be caught off guard when they try to ride through.

… and after.
(Photo: Moira Ray)

Around 12:30 today someone posted this to the “damnportlanders” Livejournal:

“I Just watched a city truck drive up to the intersection at SE 20th and Ankeny. Two guys got out and them asphalted-in the two big gaps in that median divider, completely blocking them off and making that intersection far, far more dangerous to cross on a bike. Be warned.

I have no effing clue why they would have done this.”

Gabrielle R. wrote to me via email that, “Right now it’s really not safe for any skinny-tired bike to cross 20th there.”

I called Citybikes, a shop just west of the intersection. An employee there confirmed the situation. “I went outside and looked and thought, what hell are they doing?” she said, “It’s causing a lot of havoc.”

(Photo: Gianluca/Citybikes)

I also called PBOT to confirm what had happened. They say that this was just a mix-up. It’s likely related to work that will happen sometime next week in advance of Sunday Parkways Southeast. In preparation for that event, the City will place temporary asphalt on the median to turn the curbs into ramps for the large crowds. However, the gaps are supposed to stay open.

A source at PBOT told me a few minutes ago that, “It’s definitely coming out tomorrow morning.”

If you ride through SE 20th at Ankeny, be a bit extra careful. Hopefully it will be gone before the morning bike commute rush.

UPDATE: Someone has taken a shovel to the asphalt and put the bike gaps back in place. Read more


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

  • John Mulvey August 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    The city that works…

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  • Rob Sadowsky August 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Recommended alternative route: Pine Street.

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    • BURR August 13, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Personally, I prefer Ash Street.

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  • Schrauf August 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    No mix-up. More likely City employees that dislike people who bike for transportation. Probably not the actual employees that filled in the gaps. Somebody told them to do it.

    Please, how would one honestly make a mistake like that??? It’s obvious what the purpose of each gap is.

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    • jeff August 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      you never screw up at your job, right?

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      • q`Tzal August 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm

        Screw up? Really?
        Anyone whose job it is to do what they did could easily recognize on their first day that no material was needed there. The part they filled in was not specified as part of their job.
        This “patch job” they did on the bike cut throughs took effort, material, time and thought; planning you might say.

        Also there is the stereotype of government workers in play: these guys get paid by the hour and had no incentive to do what they did.

        Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.

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        • Mike Early August 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm

          don’t rule out those to which are uninformed. 5 years ago I didn’t know what the break in Ankeny at 20th was for. There are no signs that say the purpose. Only signs that say right turn only. I can admite, i have driven over the barrier, but only cause i was uniformed, not because i was malicious or stupid, ignorant of the truth, yea sometimes, but not on purpose, maybe laziness. step back and realize we aren’t the same, that can mean so many thing on so many levels.

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          • Paul Johnson August 14, 2011 at 2:11 am

            All the more reason the gaps should have MUTCD-compliant bike lane markings for Ankeney.

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  • Schrauf August 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Further, someone is going to get hurt there each night until it gets fixed. Will it be part that person’s fault for not looking close enough? Sure. But who expects random curbs to pop up? It’s even more dangerous if the new curb is black asphalt rather than light cement (I don’t know what the curb is in this case…).

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  • Joe Rowe August 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I wonder why the BTA director and Jonathan Maus are posting here, but not posting about the near end of any public input on the $4 billion CRC meeting I attended this week. It lasted over 6 hours and will mean construction could come as soon as the people in charge of the fast track LUFO give the green light for Oregon to take these loans.

    Investigate the workers who filled in the bike pathway with cement bumps. Investigate why many people in the bike community say almost nothing about the project that will put big bucks in the pockets of their friends and friends.

    Take Mia Burke and her huge donations to Rex Burkholder who is the driving force behind the CRC and was the first to motion for fast tracking the CRC. Include: The bike gallery, hopworks, etc, etc.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm


      You know full well that I understand how serious and important it is that we all know what’s happening with the CRC project — however it sort of bums me out that you come on this thread and direct your frustrations about that project toward me.

      Feel free to investigate anything/anyone you want about anything, but please don’t imply that I am somehow avoiding covering the CRC because someone is lining my pockets with big bucks. Give me a break.

      It’s ironic you say that, because I’ve actually made financial sacrifices to stay 100% independent with this business.

      Thanks for your participation in the comments. I hope to do some CRC coverage next week.

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      • John Mulvey August 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

        Jonathan — Thanks for being the most credible source of info in the city on the CRC and other transportation issues.

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      • Joe Rowe August 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

        Teachers, Cops, Reporters, Bloggers. We all take jobs knowing there will be people on all sides. It kinda burns me you gave Sam Adams an interview with no CRC mention. It’s your company, your income on the line. I respect you and at the same time I can raise questions. I’ve healed my burns.

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        • Andrew N August 13, 2011 at 12:59 am

          No dis on Jonathan intended here, but in a sense I’m happy to second Joe, who is rightfully frustrated. Clearly not enough has been said/exposed about the back-slapping corruption that has gotten the CRC “process” this far along. Burkholder in particular should be utterly ashamed. Luckily the federal and state funding is looking very shaky, regardless of how many of our local electeds (Sam, Metro, I’m looking at you) choose to roll over in the face of a project that goes against so much that this city is supposed to stand for.

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        • Dabby August 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

          Get over it Joe.
          We need a bridge.
          We however do not need to turn every thread into a thread about how much people don’t want a new bridge.

          I say build it now!

          On another note while this asphalt does not belong, it is no reason for a panic.

          And, really, City workers who don’t like bikes did this on purpose?
          Some of you actually are suggesting this is why it happened?

          Too much time on your hands..

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  • Janet August 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    thank you for posting about this so quickly!

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  • Racer XXX August 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Anyone have some white paint…to temp mark the new asphalt so Friday night rider see it before hitting it.

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    • John Mulvey August 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      I’m concerned about people riding through there tonight too.

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  • Peter W August 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Joe Rowe
    …it will mean construction could come as soon as the people in charge of the fast track LUFO give the green light for Oregon to take these loans.

    Just to clarify: The vote approved the LUFO, but Councilor Roberts successfully passed an amendment to not immediately give Tom Hughes the authorization to sign the Final EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), so that part of Metro council’s decision making will be delayed by a few weeks.

    Lets hope someone can poke some really big holes in the EIS within the next few weeks. After that the fight would move to the state level where opponents would need to block funding from passing at the legislature.

    Jonathan, thanks for you super coverage of the CRC in the past and I look forward to seeing more from you when you get a chance.

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  • Paul Johnson August 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    It would probably help if the median striping didn’t continue through the intersection there, ie, also had a gap, and possibly even had it’s own left orange and right white shoulder stripes in the gaps, to make it more obvious that it’s a legal lane and needs to be maintained as such.

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  • dwainedibbly August 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Did you know that gasoline dissolves asphalt?

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    • q`Tzal August 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      … and diesel and hot engine oil.

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    • Carl B. August 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      And would cause the whole area to be deemed a hazardous waste spill site, closed to traffic, and require an expensive cleanup, which could only begin after all the necessary permits could be obtained. Letting the city scrape it off tonight is a much better idea.

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  • Mike Early August 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Geez, i can’t believe everyone talking like this. Do you have a shovel? I do. And i commute through this intersection 5+ days a week. So i brought my shovel and changed the situation. I honestly think this was a random mistake. And im the one who fixed it. Haters gonna hate. So hate else where. If you want to be a productive member of society then DO something. Don’t get on here and whine before the fact.

    Keep portland Weird, not a bunch of whiney hippies! (coming from a dreaded cummuter who loves the city he lives in)

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  • Mike Early August 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Sorry, not everyone, just some of you

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  • joel August 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    seriously, this didnt need a bikeportland discussion – all this needed was someone to hop out there as soon as the truck drove away, and tear the new patch out with a pick and a shovel. problem solved.

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  • Mike Early August 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    seriously, this didnt need a bikeportland discussion – all this needed was someone to hop out there as soon as the truck drove away, and tear the new patch out with a pick and a shovel. problem solved.
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    Just took a flat shovel 😀 problem solved. ODOT needs to go clean up a pile though 😀

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  • mmann August 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks for getting to the bottom of this – I went through there about 4:30 this afternoon and wondered. I’m pretty confident this will be cleared soon – They built and dismantled asphalt ramps overnight in the same location last year when Sunday Parkways rolled through there.

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  • Mike Early August 12, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    An unofficial comment from an unknown Parkways worker/helper said that it had nothing to do with Sunday Parkways. It was just a mistake from a city worker that thought the “curb” was broken. Just doing his or her job.

    Nothing more to see here.

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    • Paul Johnson August 12, 2011 at 11:45 pm

      All the more reason why the striping for the bike lanes through the median should be properly marked.

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    • BURR August 13, 2011 at 11:59 am

      No doubt when they finish removing it the road surface will be worse than before….

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  • mmann August 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    All better now.

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  • jim August 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Bikes should use a decent headlight at night. Then they can see things before they crash into them and cry that it is someone elses fault

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  • Jacob August 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Those woulda made sweet jumps!

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