streetcar tracks, many people
still ride on Lovejoy.
(Photo © J. Maus)
The Eastside Streetcar project has radically altered vehicle access to the Pearl District. If you ride a bicycle, the changes have been especially acute (as I shared back in July). NW Lovejoy has been decommissioned as a bike route and the Bureau of Transportation now urges people to use Marshall as the main east-west street.
However, because Lovejoy remains the most direct route onto the bridge and because PBOT staff took many months to remove a bike network sign that encouraged people to use the street (even after the tracks had gone in*), many people still ride on Lovejoy. And by doing so, they put themselves at risk of becoming one of hundreds (if not thousands) of track crash victims.
“We are convinced that sooner or later one of these cyclists will fall in front of a car and be seriously injured if not killed.”
— NW Lovejoy resident
(*That sign has since been removed, and some bike-specific track warning signs have been installed, thanks to the work and complaints of citizen activists.)
For years, Lovejoy was the main through-street for bike access from Northwest Portland and the Pearl onto the Broadway Bridge to the east and up and over the hills to the west. It had a bike lane in both directions that led right onto the bridge. The streetcar project changed all that when it removed the bike lanes and replaced them with curbside streetcar tracks.
Last week I got a note from a woman who lives in one of the high-rise condos on NW Lovejoy between 9th and 10th (right at the base of the ramp up to the Broadway Bridge). Turns out people on bikes crashing on the tracks has become so common, they’ve started watching the action from their decks. I’ve pasted her message below…
I live in a highrise building on Lovejoy St. On the 1 block area between 10th & 9th we see nearly 2 crashes every single day. The residents here have taken to sitting on their decks betting on if cyclists will make it in the 1 block stretch of road.
Signs are clearly posted warning of the dangers due to the street car tracks recently installed, yet cyclists continue to take Lovejoy St to the Broadway bridge instead of taking Marshall St.
We are convinced that sooner or later one of these cyclists will fall in front of a car and be seriously injured if not killed.
We literally see, on average, two crashes a day. I am sending this only as a warning to take these tracks as a serious concern – PLEASE!
I would prefer that post this message, it be anonymous. We don’t know how else to get the word out!
The way the streetcar project has impacted bicycling access in this area (and several others) continues to be a source of much frustration for myself and others in the community. For some unlucky people, it is also a source of pain and blood and broken bones.
Surely we can do better.