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City Council votes 4-0 in favor of 50s Bikeway project

Posted by on September 29th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Mayor
Sam Adams listening to testimony on
the 50s Bikeway project today.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland City Council voted in unanimous support of the 50s Bikeway project today (Commissioner Saltzman was not present).

The $1.5 million, federally funded project will fill a 4.3 mile gap in the north-south bikeway along 52nd and 53rd Avenues from SE Woodstock to NE Thompson. A mix of bike lanes and bike boulevards, along with crossing improvements at eight major arterial streets, will connect the nearly 20,000 nearby residents and 12 schools within a half-mile of the route with a low-stress biking experience.

One of the people who testified
in opposition of the project.

39 people signed up to testify to commissioners and Mayor Adams today. The majority were in favor of the project. People in opposition to the proposed semi-diverter at SE 52nd and Division — which I shared more about earlier today — showed up and made their case known. However, they weren’t as numerous or organized as some people thought they’d be.

John Mulvey, a citizen who has followed this project closely, said the opposition was, “Hardly the pitchfork-wielding mob we thought we might see.”

Almost every person who showed up to oppose the diverter said they support the overall project.

One woman, a resident of SE 54th (one of the streets some fear diverted traffic will flow), told council that she was opposed to putting the diverter in and then evaluating the impacts. “You don’t first build a dam and then decide where water will go,” she said.

The BTA added to the love for
the project with these stickers.

Another woman (who lives on SE 53rd) said 52nd Avenue is the “safest and least stressful” way to get to her driveway. She was concerned about the “cumulative impact” of the diverter “throughout the neighborhood.” “Most especially,” she said, “the City’s plan is silent about the impact of forcing hundreds of more cars onto an undersized thoroughfare like Division Street.”

Bruce Treat, former president of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, said that residents who oppose the diverter should just “be good neighbors and absorb some of the traffic.”

Another local resident testified that she also drives on SE 52nd and that the proposed diverter would be a hassle. But, she added, “This inconvenience is something I’m willing to accept in order to see the safety of all enhanced.”

Opposition to the diverter wasn’t persuasive enough to stop PBOT’s plans; but it did cause Council to take note of the considerable neighborhood displeasure it has drummed up.

On that note, Commissioner Amanda Fritz proposed an amendment to have PBOT develop a report that will be given to Council and to surrounding neighborhoods within one year. The report will provide full analysis of traffic counts, crash data, and other traffic impacts. The amendment passed and it served to re-affirm what PBOT had already planned to do — move forward but analyze the impacts and react to them if necessary.

Commissioner Nick Fish told those in opposition to the diverter that they shouldn’t consider today’s vote a failure. “Don’t consider it a loss,” he said, “You’ve helped make a record of your issue and have had the City make a commitment to testing.”

Commissioner Randy Leonard, who knows what it’s like to ride in this area, wasn’t as diplomatic with his comments. He said issues like this are all about balance and that it’s the City’s job not to “myopically look at the impacts of 51st, 53rd and 54th… But to look at the more broader analysis” to see if the project meets its goals of improving bike safety conditions.

It’s a solid win for Mayor Adams to get this large project through with minimal controversy.

“I’m really pleased we can move forward on this major north-south safety improvement,” he said at the end of today’s meeting.

PBOT says they hope to have design engineering and federally required environmental work completed before the end of 2012, with construction to follow shortly after that.

— Learn more about what’s in store for this new project by downloading a PDF of a report by the PBOT project team to City Council. I’ll update this post when I hear back about a construction timeline.

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jon
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jon

Since when has Fritz liked bikes?

John Mulvey
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John Mulvey

jon
Since when has Fritz liked bikes?

Recommended 0

That’s not fair. Amanda raised concerns about the Bikeshare project and stuck up for funding bike/ped improvements on Barbur instead. Frankly, I find that to be the more pro-bike position.

jon
Guest
jon

like blaming all cyclists for a few bad apples that ride on the sidewalks and using that as a reason to oppose bikeshare. or complaining about bike spending and that too much focus was on bikes?

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

I’m not going to defend that statement –I thought it was asinine and I told her so. But I hope she repudiates it.

Have you emailed her about it yet?

Chris Rall
Guest
Chris Rall

It seems to me that the mitigations and clear path for testing the impacts of the diverter at Division put a lot of my neighbors at ease, hence the preponderence of support in the testimony.

Ted
Guest
Ted

I hope this is the beginning of expansive change to Southwest Portland as well. I note that recently the city painted high quality bike markers in Maplewood. I’m so pleased! And Fanno Creek is soon to be completed, Yes!! Bravo City!

A. Gnostic
Guest
A. Gnostic

good work, Sarah & Rich – not to mention all the many committee volunteers. This will be a great project, one of the best for bicyclists in Portland, ever.

Hart Noecker
Guest

Now let’s see some of the same forward thinking take down that nightmare freeway expansion that’s being planned.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Thank you council, and thank you everyone who went to the meeting and spoke in favor of the plan.

I did an AROW blog post on how you can participate in supporting these decisions from home.

http://www.activerightofway.org/p/watch-the-50s-bikeway-hearing-from-city-council/

Ted Buehler

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

I’ll doublecheck OpenStreetMap to the proposal and change it’s status to reality sometime this weeken.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

I’ll be happy when the Division diverter goes in… it gets a little uncomfortable there during peak times…

Mike
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Mike

I bike on 52nd all the time and rarely see other cyclists. I wonder how 52nd was picked for such a huge project. Will this draw cyclists out of the woods or could the money have been better spent elsewhere. Just curious.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I will typically ride on the 41st bikeway when I am heading SW of my house near Providence Portland. Once this is done, I will start taking the NE 50s. I will also be more likely to visit shops and restaurants around 50th and Division, since I will have better access.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

If you build it, they will come. This goes for all infrastructure: Additional motorist lanes begats more motorists. Additional buses begats increased transit usage. Additional bicycle infrastructure begats more cyclists.

Chris
Guest
Chris

I live on 52nd and Division, and believe me, people bike it.

deborah
Guest
deborah

So happy that this passed! It will mean huge improvements for traffic (esp at 50th and Division) while provide much safer bike routes, especially south of Division to the Woodstock area. Congrats to PBOT (Sara and Rich especially) on exceptional handling of this project! The data collected and disceminated at the open house I attended was REALLY impressive, and it clearly made a difference in the final outcome!

Jason Skelton
Guest
Jason Skelton

I am excited. I bike on these streets with and without children all the time. The current sharrows on 53rd are nice but I am hoping this is better.

Joe Maddon's Rays
Guest
Joe Maddon's Rays

Mike
I bike on 52nd all the time and rarely see other cyclists. I wonder how 52nd was picked for such a huge project. Will this draw cyclists out of the woods or could the money have been better spent elsewhere. Just curious.

Recommended 0

If you look at a map of SE, 52nd/53rd (the route is on one of these streets at different points) is the best option for a more or less straight line from Woodstock to Rose City. Most or all North of Division is through quieter neighborhood streets as opposed to say 60th or 39th. South of Division is much busier but is generally wider and a straight shot. Also, both South and North tips connect with exisiting bike paths at Woodstock and near Sandy respectively.

Rithy Khut
Guest
Rithy Khut

Joe Maddon’s Rays

Mike
I bike on 52nd all the time and rarely see other cyclists. I wonder how 52nd was picked for such a huge project. Will this draw cyclists out of the woods or could the money have been better spent elsewhere. Just curious.
Recommended 0

If you look at a map of SE, 52nd/53rd (the route is on one of these streets at different points) is the best option for a more or less straight line from Woodstock to Rose City. Most or all North of Division is through quieter neighborhood streets as opposed to say 60th or 39th. South of Division is much busier but is generally wider and a straight shot. Also, both South and North tips connect with exisiting bike paths at Woodstock and near Sandy respectively.
Recommended 0

I would like to add that the current neighborhood greeways are connecting neighborhoods to downtown (i.e. east to west) whereas the 50s bikeway is connecting neighborhoods to neighborhoods (north/south) where there is less of a constant draw of people. So it will seem like less people travel on those streets.

In the end it is about the completeness of the network that will shine through.

Dolan Halbrook
Guest

Glad to see vote and looking forward to the diverter lowering the overall traffic in my neighborhood. There are days when I want to nail up a sign that says “I don’t cut through your neighborhood, so please don’t cut through mine”. This is even better.

jami
Guest

I’m really excited about this, as I just moved into the Foster-Powell triangle, which is a lovely neighborhood, but completely surrounded by cars. It’ll be really nice to have safer ways to cross Foster and Powell on bike or on foot. Thanks to everyone who worked for this!

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

You’re a member of the best neighborhood association in Portland. Be sure to get involved with them.

Steve B
Guest

Sarah & Rich did an incredible job managing this project and going the extra mile for public process. As Russ said in his testimony, this process should be a model for future projects to follow.

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

It’s too bad this money is not being diverted to a more worthwhile project. I bike between Flavel and Woodward daily, only I use 67th and 65th. These are both very low traffic streets with signals for crossing the major roads. I don’t know why anyone would prefer to ride with all the noise and pollution on 52nd. As someone else pointed out, there is also the 41st route.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Geoff, there are convenient and safe through-streets for people driving about every ten blocks. Why should there not similarly convenient and safe routes for bikes every ten blocks?
And re: 52nd in the southern portion, let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. They’re making more space to bike and hopefully slowing down the car traffic some. What’s wrong with that?

R Schlechter
Guest
R Schlechter

Interesting to know we were viewed as pitchfork-wielding. Apparently the rest of use were just supposed to shut up. We are 200 neighbors who came up against the Power Base (City Council and PBOP) and got hammered. Who speaks for us?

Worse than having our pleas for moderation rejected is learning that insiders got the Mayor to stick our little street with speed bumps whether we want them or not. The City employee on our street had pledged he’d circulate a petition asking us to support those speed bumps. But why bother with that if you don’t have to.