PBOT adds new striping to NE Wheeler Ave

New striping on NE Wheeler -3-2
New striping gives bike traffic a
buffer from cars on NE Wheeler
behind the Rose Quarter.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has begun implementation of a project to make bicycling near the Rose Quarter more comfortable.

NE Wheeler Ave between Winning Way and the Rose Quarter Transit Center now has wider bike lanes in the northbound direction and a new buffered bike lane and sharrows for bike traffic headed southbound.

The project is one of three “Lloyd District Bikeway Development” projects the City embarked on in December 2010. This particular project was targeted for changes because there is a gaps in the bikeways between N. Vancouver Avenue (at Broadway) and the Rose Quarter Transit Center.

A stakeholder advisory committee looked at several different options and decided on the current striping plan back in May.

PBOT project manager Ellen Vanderslice confirms that they’ve only implemented Phase 1 of the NE Wheeler/”Vancouver Gap” (my term, not theirs) changes. The next phase of changes will focus in the northern section of the project area (from Winning Way north to Broadway) and south to NE Oregon (where the Esplanade path comes out).

This two-stage left concept
for Broadway/Vancouver is
Phase 2 of this project.

Vanderslice says Phase 2 of the project will take longer because it includes more detailed traffic analysis and design/engineering work. One feature of this project is to create a “two-stage” left turn for westbound bike traffic at both Broadway and Vancouver and Multnomah and Wheeler. (Two-stage left turns are used when a standard vehicular merge movement is considered too dangerous for most riders. Instead, westbound riders would position themselves in the northwest corner of the southbound street to make the left. See graphic at right)

PBOT might also trim the existing curb at the northwest corner of Wheeler and Multnomah in order to gain enough room for a dedicated bike lane (between the turn standard turn lanes) for bike traffic headed straight into the Rose Quarter Transit Center.

Here’s a tour of the changes…

Heading northbound, you’ll notice a wider bike lane starting at NE Multnomah (see the old lane ground away)…

The lane gets buffered up near Winning Way (where the I-5 onramp is)…

Headed southbound, you’ll notice a buffered bike lane begins at Winning Way…

But it ends mid-way down Wheeler where the Rose Quarter bus and service access is located (the latest drawings I have show skip stripes the whole way and green caution markings, but they were either dropped from the plans or they’re yet to be installed). Some on the committee wanted a continuous buffered bike lane here, but ultimately agreed to a compromise in order to allow unfettered access for buses and trucks during big Rose Quarter events…

Then, sharrows appear as you approach Multnomah where bikes and cars mix (this is the location I mentioned above where PBOT might reduce with of the curb to allow room for a dedicated bike lane for through traffic)…

What do you think of the changes so far?

Changes are also coming to the NE 12th Avenue overcrossing and a project to make NE Holladay Street more bike-friendly is also ongoing. Follow all the news on these projects at the Lloyd District Bikeway Development Projects tag.

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