Harvest Century September 22nd

A vision for bike access on Hawthorne Blvd

Posted by on September 5th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Detail of a mock-up of bike
access on Hawthorne. See full
image below.

Reader Paul Peterson sent over an inspiring mock-up of what SE Hawthorne Blvd could look like if Portland’s transportation infrastructure lived up to its sustainability and bike-friendly rhetoric.

Peterson is a locally based designer, director, and cinematographer. After he sent over the image (see full version below), I asked him to share more about why he was inspired to create it. “I did this mockup mostly for my own curiosity and out of frustration that Portland is supposed to be a platinum bike-friendly city, but has virtually no bike access in the commercial corridors,” he said.

With his mock-up and his thoughts on main street bike access, Peterson gets at what I think is a growing issue in Portland. While we are moving forward nicely with neighborhood greenways, we have yet to muster the political will to create adequate access for people who want to ride bicycles on main streets. Peterson puts it this way. “The neighborhood greenways are great for commuting to the city center, but the majority of my trips are to the grocery store, barber shop, a bar, café, bank, etc., and there’s no really convenient and direct way to get there on a bike.”

Without quality bike access on streets like Hawthorne, Alberta, 28th, Sandy, and so on, Portland is not only creating unsafe situations for road users, they are sending a signal that driving is still preferred and respected over other modes. “It really is much easier to drive,” says Peterson, “and that seems silly in this city when I live so close to half a dozen commercial areas.”

For Peterson and others like him, the lack of comfortable and convenient access on main streets is bad for business because, he says, “There are a lot of businesses that I just don’t know about because if you’re on a bike, you’re diverted to the back streets.”

PBOT (which is overseen by Mayor Sam Adams) has taken a direct role in this diversion. Back in June they posted signs on NE Alberta encouraging people on bikes to leave the street in favor of a “low-stress” option a few blocks over.

Fueling Peterson’s thoughts and vision for Hawthorne, is the fact that he once lived in Amsterdam, a place where all streets are bike accessible and many major streets have the separated infrastructure that Portland officials have been dreaming about — and promising to deliver — for many years. It’s a place where, according to Peterson, you can, “Ride side-by-side with a friend, partner or child without sweating car doors, buses, cars parallel parking, and when you saw a business that caught your eye you could stop and lock up right there.”

How long until the same thing can be said for Portland?

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

120 Comments
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    john pinkerton September 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Dope, however how would I protect myself from all those hipsters on their fixies with no breaks as they fly 30mph down the sidewalk?

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Good one John.

      I think people riding fast on fixies is a direct result of the type of infrastructure that exists now. We currently force bikes to compete directly with cars for road space… So for some people, the reaction is to ride fast, take chances, and let their survival/adrenaline instincts take over.

      With more sane infrastructure that serves bicycles the way it should (on par with the infrastructure used by transit, cars, and even walking), we would see a lot less daredevil behavior and a lot slower, more civil riding.

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        John September 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm

        Demonstrably false–evidence Springwater Corridor.

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          lavie.lama September 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

          John I ride the Springwater twice a day and get almost nothing but smiles and politeness and lots of families and friends having conversations and people signalling audibly… I’m sorry you’ve had a couple bad experiences there though.

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          matt picio September 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm

          Even if that *were* true, the Springwater is not “bike infrastructure”, it is a multi-use path. If there were a dedicated bike *and* pedestrian infrastructure in that corridor, the experience might be different.

          I’m still trying to figure out Jonathan’s phrase the city is “creating unsafe situations for road users” – how so? If The roads are currently not safe, then they aren’t “creating” anything of the sort, and if they *are* safe, well, then they’re still not “creating” unsafe conditions unless they expand car use. That’s not constructive rhetoric, Jonathan. I would like to see expanded infrastructure as well, and there’s certainly a demand for it, but hyperbole doesn’t get us there – it makes us more difficult to take seriously.

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            Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 5, 2012 at 10:32 pm

            Matt,

            I agree that maybe, technically, using the word “creating” in that situation isn’t the best language choice. But I disagree that it’s hyperbole and not productive.

            I think it’s clear that what I mean is when PBOT allows our commercial main streets to be dominated by motor vehicles (parking on both sides and standard narrow lanes), they are creating conditions that are inherently unsafe for people who use the roads without cars.

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              wsbob September 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

              “… I think it’s clear that what I mean is when PBOT allows our commercial main streets to be dominated by motor vehicles (parking on both sides and standard narrow lanes), they are creating conditions that are inherently unsafe for people who use the roads without cars.” maus/bikeportland

              While it’s true that thoroughfares or commercial main streets basically are dominated by motor vehicles, the fact that they are, is more likely due to the fact that motor vehicles are the travel mode of choice for 90 percent of road users, rather than some bureau level choices made at PBOT’s level.

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                Craig Harlow September 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

                chicken >>> egg

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        wsbob September 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm

        “…With more sane infrastructure that serves bicycles the way it should (on par with the infrastructure used by transit, cars, and even walking), we would see a lot less daredevil behavior and a lot slower, more civil riding.” maus/bikeportland

        Assuming such infrastructure was designed and built so “…hipsters on their fixies with no breaks…” could and would ride on it without being a big problem for everyone else riding it in a civil manner.

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        was carless September 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

        Absolutely.

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      Hart Noecker September 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Spandexers on a $5,000 21 speed are just as capable of riding too fast for conditions. I don’t ride fixed, but let’s not hate here for no reason. This is a great mock-up of what Hawthorne should look like, and it’s exciting to see what we could have with the right kind of imagination.

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    Chris I September 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Needs taller buildings that would allow more residents to live in apartments, rather than low density houses to the east, which is why there are so many cars on the street today.

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      Bike-Max-Bike September 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Don’t worry, with rail on Hawthrone all the old, cool, low density buildings will get bull-dozed and replaced with 6-story condos with high-priced (empty) retail space on street level. Remeber, rail is not about moving people but about lining the pockets of developers and land owners. If we wanted to move people, some 24hr BRT and less parking would work wonders.

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        Chris I September 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

        BRT would need dedicated lanes to work more effectively than a streetcar. Mixed traffic “BRT” is exactly what you have right now on Hawthorne.

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        HAL9000 September 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        Buses are actually wider than the current lane configuration. Only the streetcar is narrow enough to fit within the lane widths.

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      DK September 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Everyone gets to live in an apartment with neighbors stomping on your ceiling, blocking your parking spot, and filling the dumpster 3 days before pickup. The sun disappears behind the tall structure, while the street-level pollution takes longer to disperse in the constrained environment.

      Yeah, wouldn’t that be great?

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        9watts September 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

        Very evocative, Dickensian picture you paint, DK, but I note that several of the gripes you have do not arise from density per se but from (too many) cars:
        ‘blocking your parking spot,’ and
        ‘street-level pollution takes longer to disperse…’

        Some of us who live along Hawthorne Blvd. actually like many of the aspects that accompany higher density, look forward to helping shape the ways we accommodate density to make for a more vibrant, pleasant street and living along these corridors. Density isn’t necessarily the problem, but cars are (my opinion).

        If you see this as a zero sum game (and Bob Huckaby and Dan L. seem to) then accommodating people who don’t drive is perceived as a slight, a loss of my (car driver’s) share of the pie. This is unfortunate, and does not bode well for the future. I prefer to see this as a process of transition where if we’re smart about it we can not only improve things for people who don’t drive but help those who do see that fewer cars clogging up our city improves conditions they care about too.

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          DK September 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

          I don’t disagree with your premis or the end-goal you are seeking, with the understanding that these are YOUR goals.

          I have a hard time reconciling high density living and some of the adjectives you use like; “vibrant and pleasant”. If you like strangers stumbling past your door at 3 in the morning, or sirens sounding through the city’s streets, or, or, or…more power to you but it’s not for all of us.

          While I love bikes…Love them enough to devote my yearly vacations to for the past decade+. …Love them enough to design and craft my own frames. …Love them enough to dedicate one room in my house to their manufacture and another to their storage….I also own 3 cars that I use whenever I see fit and without guilt.

          As it is, we are trying to build a society that proves equitable for a majority of individuals. This is no easy undertaking and will require us to incorporate a multi-faceted approach to solving our issues. While there’s room for multi-family dwellings as part of the picture, said picture is not exclusive. The city’s not built for me, nor is it built for you. Rather, it’s built for us and we’re best served as a community if we, as individuals, make the effort to empathize with those who see the world differently than ourselves. …These are the circumstances that often times produce the best collective results.

          I encourage you to stay in your high-density living situation and enjoy it. It works for you. My hope is that you’ll extend the same courtesy to the rest of us, regardless of whether our chosen living situation is in contrast to your own.

          Peace.

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            Paul September 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

            That’s the beauty of a city. There are different types of house for everyone. For instance, one block away and you’re in single-family living. Why argue?

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        Chris I September 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        It sounds like you want to live in Houston.

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        Unit September 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        Don’t forget the muggers, murders, and alligators in the sewer…

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        HAL9000 September 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        Too bad – Hawthorne has been zoned a commercial street for over 100 years. Why the sudden hate? Don’t you realize that Portland has spent the past 20 years attempting to densify the city, to both make it more sustainable, but also to allow more people to live here?

        If you don’t like it, there’s always Salem. I hear they like to build sprawl down there!

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    9watts September 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Just the other day I was screamed at by a fellow driving a Subaru Outback who was consumed with the thought that I and my bike did not belong on Hawthorne at 21st heading uphill. The guy was so enraged he was over in the passenger seat craning his neck and with as much attention as he was devoting to me he failed to maintain his lane. The whole thing was so far from the scene you show above it is hard to reconcile the two.

    But I (of course) like it!

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      Dan L. September 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      You do NOT belong there. It’s too narrow @ 21st & H. and there’s two bike lanes, two blocks north and two blocks south paid for by tax dollars. As a cyclist and a driver myself, it’s aggravating when self-righteous cyclists like you ride in a rude fashion, slowly, up a hill in traffic. Get your tail on the sidewalk on hills, especially the Hawthorne hill. Just don’t do it downtown, where you can get a ticket.
      Let the drivers drive and future votes might be more kind to our cause for increased cycling infrastructure.

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        9watts September 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

        It is funny. There are quite a few cars on Salmon St. More in fact than bikes on Hawthorne. Would you consider those driving cars on Salmon to be self righteous, rude drivers?

        As for two narrow, come on. There are two lanes in both directions. Why are you in such a hurry that you need both?

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          Dan L. September 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm

          Speaking of Hawthorne at this particular point: A bike can go on the sidewalk, a driver can’t. If you had an older person, with slower reflexes behind the wheel, try to avoid you as you putter up the hill, during rush-hour or in the dark (got light?) all the while, you, being able to go onto the sidewalk at that particular point, you’re just asking for confrontation. Bikes simply can’t ride on ALL streets ALL the time in a safe manner. Instead of asking taxpayers to pay for improvements to all roads, move it over a bit; not that hard. Perhaps you think it’s an equally good idea to ride on Powell, uphill, from the Cleveland High intersection. If so, I know who I’m dealing with and will leave you alone.

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            9watts September 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm

            ” Bikes simply can’t ride on ALL streets ALL the time in a safe manner.”

            Dan L. … whoa, lots of anger. Do you, by any chance, drive a tan/cream colored Subaru, license plate ZLQ 396? Your posts on this topic are so reminiscent of what the aforementioned driver screamed at me.
            It was Friday, August 17, 7:20pm. I found my notes and it was actually at 24th & Hawthorne – I’d misremembered the cross street.

            Bikes *could,* by and large, actually ride on ALL streets ALL the time in a safe manner, but for the impatient or inattentive drivers. I am intrigued by how you portray this as a turf war. You and others who drive own all the roads, were here first; we’re imposters, newcomers, who are slowing you down from getting to your all-important meetings (did you forget that if we all drove cars you’d really be late to your meeting?)

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              chucklehead September 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

              Bikes could drive safely all the time if bike riders chose to. They do not always choose to do that. Don’t blame it on the cars……the cyclist owns his/her own responsibility.

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                9watts September 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

                “Don’t blame it on the cars……the cyclist owns his/her own responsibility.”

                I’m sure Christeen Osborn, Marcellus Tijdink, Essya Nabbali & Martha McLean, Reese Wilson, Dave Apperson, Hank Bersani, Kathryn Rickson, Dustin Finney, Bret Lewis, & Steven Dayley, just to mention a few people recently maimed or killed by people driving in this state appreciate your perspective.

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        are September 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm

        yike, dan l. that is some seriously misinformed hateful garbage you are spewing. sidewalks? for real? and how is a street with two lanes in each direction, posted limit 25, “too narrow” to share? maybe you should clear some of those parked cars out of the street. are you going to tell me there are no motorists on clinton?

        phew. for a minute there i lost myself.

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          Dan L. September 6, 2012 at 1:51 am

          Umm, Clinton is an excellent place for cyclists. I’m talking about that section of Hawthorne, going uphill onlly. Let’s not be too judgemental here; I’m trying to advocate for cars and bikes as they both have their place.

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            9watts September 6, 2012 at 7:54 am

            Dan L. (5:41pm):
            “You do NOT belong there. […]it’s aggravating when self-righteous cyclists like you ride in a rude fashion, slowly, up a hill in traffic. Get your tail on the sidewalk on hills, especially the Hawthorne hill.”

            Dan L. (1:51am):
            “Let’s not be too judgmental here.”

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            Paul in the 'couve September 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

            I 84 is an EXCELLENT place for driving faster in a car. Or if that is too far try Burnside or Division. If you are on Hawthorn, just expect it isn’t a high speed corridor.

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            spare_wheel September 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

            when i am riding on hawthorne and a caged person shouts at me to go ride on the bike street it makes my day. really, it does.

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            HAL9000 September 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

            Dan is COMPLETELY right. Obviously he has a PH.D in urban planning and bike transportation! I’ve never seen someone so cognizant and articulate on such matters.

            Bicyclists should obviously, by way of emulating Dan’s amazing logic, relegate themselves to ONLY using Clinton St. If you are a greenwashing cyclist who is secretly plotting to destroying the planet and not elect Mitt Romney, please stay on Clinton. Clinton st. connects all of the bicycle businesses (which of course are the only businesses that cyclists need to frequent), such as the Clinton St. Theater (bike movies), 21st and Clinton intersection (cyclists 2nd-favorite intersection they love to blow the stop signs on).

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              Spiffy September 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

              speaking of 21st and Clinton it seems that cyclists are better about who has the right of way lately… I used to have lots of problems with almost getting hit there by people blowing the stop sign but in recent years they seem to be paying more attention… they’re still not stopping, but they yield the right of way as they should and everyone moves along…

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        lavie.lama September 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

        Dan, there are signs at every single block on Hawthorne there helping drivers be aware that bicycles will be in the lane. They have every legal right and you don’t need to get angry about getting to your destination 20 seconds later because you had to change lanes.

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          Dan L. September 6, 2012 at 1:46 am

          Ok, ok, you all win. Keep going 8 miles an hour, up the hill from 21st & Hawthorne to the Safeway while I wait behind you in my big ol’ snarky Subaru; even though you could go onto the sidewalk at that very short section.
          Actually, I parked the Subie a few weeks ago and enjoy riding every day to work and back, on streets with sharrows, at or near the posted speed limit on my bicycle. Y’all must really like the adrenaline rush of a bumper on your left shoulder on one very narrow Hawthorne; can’t say it won’t be mine someday.

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            Spiffy September 6, 2012 at 8:07 am

            while I’m riding Hawthorne I’m under no obligation to give notice to the impatient drivers behind me…

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            NF September 6, 2012 at 8:46 am

            Isn’t this whole discussion about how to get the bicyclists out of the way? If we change the street as illustrated, you will no longer have a bicyclist in front of you at 8 mph. You should be thrilled, and should support this design!

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            are September 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm

            when i am claiming the lane, the bumper is not at my left shoulder

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            spare_wheel September 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

            lets assume that you don’t angrily pass me and attempt to estimate what my getting in your way costs you. i typically ride ~15 mph when going uphill on the stretch between hawthorne and safeway. given the 25 mph speed limit i am slowing you down by ~10 mph over ~600 feet. is 40 seconds of your time really that important to you?

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              spare_wheel September 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

              should be 20th and safeway.

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            Alan 1.0 September 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm

            Dan L.
            Actually, I parked the Subie a few weeks ago and enjoy riding every day to work and back, on streets with sharrows, at or near the posted speed limit on my bicycle.

            There is the evil, dark side of sharrows: some people think that recommending particular streets for bikes means that bikes should not be on any other, unmarked street. There’s no such law, of course, and I don’t agree that’s the implication of sharrowed routes, but Dan L’s statement echoes others I have heard who read that into marked bike routes. It’s sort of like the Alberta Street uproar where the city didn’t (IMHO) mean that bikes couldn’t or shouldn’t ride on Alberta, but that was the subtext message received by many bike riders.

            I’m not sure how to avoid that interpretation. In this case, Hawthorne could be marked with sharrows because bikes are allowed to take the lane. But that only further reinforces the erroneous implication that bikes aren’t welcome on other streets. Ultimately, all streets would have to be marked with sharrows except those where bikes are prohibited (some freeways), and then what’s the point?

            Y’all must really like the adrenaline rush of a bumper on your left shoulder on one very narrow Hawthorne; can’t say it won’t be mine someday.

            I hope Dan L. doesn’t mean that as the threat it sounds like.

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            Matt M September 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

            “Y’all must really like the adrenaline rush of a bumper on your left shoulder on one very narrow Hawthorne.”

            That sounds kind of threatening Danny. You need to chill out. Bikes have all the right in the world to ride on Hawthorne. Do you yell at the elderly on sidewalks when they don’t walk as fast as you?

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            HAL9000 September 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

            Funny, that is my exact same argument against people in cars when I bicycle in downtown Portland: they slow me down.

            Am I up in arms and wanting to ban cars from downtown Portland? Well, no. Maybe I should be, judging by your amazing logic and viewpoint.

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              Spiffy September 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm

              I was cruising through downtown on my scooter the other day, ~20-25mph, and got passed by about four bicycles… I thought it was hilarious…

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        Randall S. September 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm

        You realize there’s signs on Hawthorne announcing that bicycles are using Hawthorne, right? And what’s stopping you from driving over to one of the car streets, one, three, four, five, six, seven… lanes over in each direction?

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        Spiffy September 6, 2012 at 8:14 am

        just because you’re impatient doesn’t mean we have to care…

        sharing the road means that everybody uses it, not that one mode gets preferential treatment…

        you WILL get stuck behind a slow bicycle/bus/tractor/pedestrian now and then… deal with it… everybody has to put up with everybody else whether they like them or not…

        you mentioned there are other streets, maybe you should be following your advice and using them…

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          chucklehead September 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

          Strange, most of the people here seem to want preferential treatment for their bicycles.

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            Matt M September 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm

            That simply isn’t true. The same treatment isn’t preferential.

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    Champs September 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    So help us if riding a main drag like Hawthorne with a “buffer” of parked cars gives us the choice of

    * being stuck behind slower riders for blocks at a time
    * passing other riders with space by riding in the door zone
    * passing too close because there isn’t much room, e.g. Brodway Bridge

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      Bike-Max-Bike September 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      To really make this vision work subsidized on-street parking would need to go and back street, metered parking garages would need to be built. If there is proven need for them, unlike 23rd.

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      Alan 1.0 September 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Use trackless trolleys (rubber tires) and repeal the mandatory sidepath law, then the street would work fine for faster bikes.

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      Paul September 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      This is from a street in Amsterdam where I lived. The bike path is not in the door zone. It’s well out of it. You can ride side by side in this land. In fact you can ride 1 inch from the short curb and your pedals will not hit it. You can pass slow riders with plenty of room. It’s not an issue. This is the standard bike lane and there are 1000’s of kilometers of them all over the Netherlands.

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    Gibran Ramos September 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Would the cars be “forced’ to use alternate side streets if they wanted to get somewhere quickly because the once 4 lane Hawthorne is now 2 car lanes wide?

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      Chris I September 6, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Cutting through the neighborhood won’t exactly be “quick”, given that there are stop signs every two blocks.

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      Spiffy September 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

      if you’re using Hawthorne to get somewhere quickly then you’re doing it wrong…

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        Indy September 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

        I used it very quickly during WNBR!

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        spare_wheel September 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

        you ride faster than 25 mph? wow!

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      ScottB September 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Your question presumes both lanes are always clear. That only happens in the early hours. Otherwise those four narrow lanes are almost always blocked by turning motorists, parking motorists or transit.

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        are September 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm

        well at least we know who is blocking the lanes

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    Laura September 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    The illustration presents a shiny, nice image. But the streetcars require overhead power, which means poles… lots of poles, likely in the sidewalk/bike area.

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      bicycle rider September 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

      there would still be light poles and signs, the power poles go in the same place, actually they can even be suspended from adjacent buildings as is common including downtown along the streetcar line in a few places.

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      Chris I September 6, 2012 at 7:52 am
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    Owen Walz September 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Any link to the full-size image?

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    Curbmudgeon September 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Not being aware of businesses is a real bummer, but getting to a destination by creating the least impact on other road users is what is what we need to design for. Not removing bummers. I would love to see better bicycle access on Hawthorne. I would love to have Portland look like Amsterdam in 30 years. This image however, is pure fantasy.

    I had a big critique half written out, but I realized I was probably spending more time on the criticism than the designer spent making the image. So I’ll boil it down. It is insane as illustrated. You cannot just try to fit every mode of transit on one street and call it useful. This is the least safe for all users and modes. It wouldn’t all fit anyways. A bikeway on Hawthorne would be neat. So would a zipline on Mt. Tabor.

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      NF September 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I’m trying to understand the problem here? Is it because Hawthorne no longer has 4 lanes of auto traffic? 2 lanes seems to work just fine for almost all of the other commercial districts in Portland.

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      Alexis September 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      You said both:
      “I would love to have Portland look like Amsterdam in 30 years.”
      “You cannot just try to fit every mode of transit on one street and call it useful.”

      You seem a bit confused about what it would mean to look like Amsterdam in 30 years. They have many streets that hold trams (center lane), cars (outside travel lane), bikes (cycletrack), and peds (sidewalk). That’s what we like to call “every mode of transit”.

      It is indeed challenging to implement this in Portland because our streets are comparatively narrow, but if you do want Portland to look like Amsterdam, then all modes on one street is exactly what you want to see.

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        9watts September 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        “It is indeed challenging to implement this in Portland because our streets are comparatively narrow..”

        Compared to?
        I don’t think so. Not if you take the two rows of parked cars away.

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    Jim Lee September 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    At least the streetcars are in the middle, where they belong.

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    Kris September 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    “It really is much easier to drive,”

    Crazy. I bike in Portland business districts every day. I’d go insane trying to do that in a car. The driving or the parking alone would be more than enough.

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    Spiffy September 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    if they put the bike lane up next to the sidewalk I’d still be forced to ride in the street like I currently do… there’s already nto enough room on the sidewalk for pedestrians…

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      NF September 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Yeah, the sidewalks on Hawthorne are narrower than they should be. I suspect though, the volume of bikes on a new Hawthorne cycle track would be so high that pedestrians would learn quickly not to walk in the bikeway.

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        Spiffy September 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

        we could hope… but they already pour into the street on nearly every block between 30th and 50th on the weekends… a curb would help…

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      Chris I September 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

      This type of configuration really does work well in Amsterdam. But cyclists need to be okay riding at 10-15mph instead of 15-20. We are constantly asking drivers to slow down for safety, is it really that terrible to expect cyclists to do so as well?

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        Sarah H September 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

        Exactly. On a commercial street, neither motorists nor cyclists should feel entitled to speed through. It’s much more important to provide infrastructure that kids and grandparents can feel comfortable using. At the same time, it would make sense to allow bikes to use the car lane too if they wanted to go a little faster. The mandatory side-path law is really unfortunate but thankfully laws can be repealed.

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    q`Tzal September 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    This town could really use two crossing pedestrian/bicycle only shopping malls.
    Hawthorne might be good choice but I think the mission of having a reference example of +10 blocks of economically prosperous car free retail.
    For this idea to politically tenable it will need to allow access not only EMS and fire truck access but also access to delivery by large trucks.
    This can be safely done. Emergency access is naturally a priority and they will need to be able to enter the street at any time, 24/7/365. As long as the street physically already has room for combination trailers it needs to be maintained but we can reasonably restrict them to 5MPH and off hours access. This will require very bright lighting if at night but this is a minor cost consideration.
    Any street like this is going to have to have selective barricades that can be routinely removed and replaced. Retractable bollards are the way to go as has been demonstrated worldwide and can be seen quite amusingly on youtube.

    I believe that with a solid example that this works, an example that business owners support is ultimately the only way forward with this idea.

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    jim September 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I foresee a lot of right hooks in this scenario. Drivers don’t see bikes riding on the other side of parked cars, they ride out into the intersection in front of a turning car and BAM.

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      jim September 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Even more dangerous for children or people on recumbants.

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    Chris September 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I would like to see similar drawings for Belmont too. Nevertheless, it’s really cool when people take time to dream a different road experience, especially Hawthorne!

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    kittens September 6, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Streetcars cant do that because of the way they operate in the US. They need station platforms with attendant infrastructure. Think ADA. Though it is a lovely vision it fails to account for numerous untidy things like signs and street lights? Overhead lines and poles? Forthcoming parking meters? Outdoor dining? All these parts must be considered. I guess my suggestion would be to route the light rail up Hawthorn and down a adjacent street thereby freeing up more right-of-way for peds and bikes.

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    spare_wheel September 6, 2012 at 7:42 am

    i think its funny that the author placed a bunch of oma-type bikes on this path. i have seen only two of these in the wild in pdx. the average bike trip in copenhagen is a few miles while in pdx we bike faster and longer (distances). in this context, the placement of a bike path adjacent to a heavily-used pedestrian area would create silly levels of conflict.

    instead of pining away for copenhagen’s cycle tracks we should implement solutions that are possible now: bike lanes and/or sharrows.

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      Spiffy September 6, 2012 at 9:14 am

      I’ve been surprised by the amount of dutch style bikes I’ve seen in the last couple months… maybe it’s the nice weather, maybe it’s people actually using bikes for transportation… whatever the reason, it’s nice to see…

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      Alex Reed September 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

      I bike my oma 8 miles round trip every day and considerably further when I have post-work engagements. I find it to be a very practical bike for getting around the part of Portland west of 205 and east of the West Hills.

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        spare_wheel September 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

        I am going to quote lovely bicycle:

        “When I first started riding for transportation in Boston, my trips were about 2-3 miles each way and took me almost exclusively through relatively flat urban areas, bike trails, and quiet side streets. But as the nature of my work changed over the past few years, I found myself making more long distance trips that took me out of town…The effect of this on my choice of transportation bikes has been significant. I could not tackle most of my trips today on a heavy upright 3-speed geared for the city and still arrive at my destination energetic and presentable – which is, after all, my priority.”

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          Alex Reed September 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

          Sure, a heavy oma doesn’t work for everyone – Lovely Bicycle found it didn’t work for her for many of her trips. It does, however, work extremely well for me. I’ve been using it for three+ years now and while a magical titanium version of my oma would be great, I don’t find myself wishing for a Lovely Bicycle-style rivendell type machine.

          I think Omas would work well for a lot of people in inner Portland. Being almost maintenance-free is in my opinion what seals the deal in terms of convenience.

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          Alex Reed September 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

          The key phrase in that Lovely Bicycle quote is “out of town.” When I’m going out of town, I’m usually going 50+ miles round trip – so I drive. Within town, I bike on my oma – generally less than 10 miles round trip. Personally, I make few trips in the 10-50 miles range that would be well-served by a faster/lighter/less durable/less upright/less hauling-capacity bike.

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    Gregg September 6, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Paul Peterson,
    Thanks for the images. I think that they are really cool.
    To be able to build it, you must dream it first.

    I’m looking forward to Portland taking some big next steps and building out new bigger projects that help the masses take to the streets on their bikes. Hawthorne would be a great start.

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    deborah September 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Hawthorne is a shopping street. There is absolutely no reason anyone should need to go faster than 20 mph along there. Driving slower along shopping centers does everyone a favor by allowing time to take in the sights and sounds and be safer for the large amounts of pedestrian traffic.

    And there are so many great reasons to advocate for better bike facilities along that road! I was so happy to see this article today and even see a mock up for what a possible next step would be. Cars that want to ‘make time’ moving East or West across the city should not be on that street anyway. Let the pedestrians, bicyclists, and slower moving cars shop to their hearts content. It will only benefit our local economy!

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      Spiffy September 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

      deborah
      Hawthorne is a shopping street.

      and that’s why I love riding in the lane…

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    Terry D September 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

    We need to experiment on one of these long commercial corridors with removing two travel/ parking lanes and turning them into bike lanes somewhere…the question is where. It needs to be a LONG stretch of road to work….a few blocks here or there would not be a functional demonstration project.

    Hawthorne would not be the best choice since it was redesigned recently and the curb extensions make for a difficult conversion…plus the neighborhood businesses were NOT happy 15 years ago when the city talked about bike lanes, so we should try somewhere else.

    Of all the possibilities in the city right now on the east side, of the four lane roads the best possibilities are either Sandy if you want to be really aggressive or Foster. I think Foster would be the best first choice since the city is slated to put $3.7 million into the corridor in 2014 from 50th to 90th or so and the neighborhood WANTS the city to slow traffic down and look into bicycle access. So, let us slow down the “Mount Scott Freeway.” The original study was done around 2003 and the city said at that time that adding bike lanes would “double the cost” of the streetscape modernization because of curb and sidewalk changes….but they did not even consider eliminating a lane of traffic at the time. Next year, in preparation for the 2014 work, the streetscape plan will be updated. This would be the perfect opportunity to put the Mount Hood Freeway on a road diet and either move the parking lanes over into the middle to leave a sidewalk tight buffered bike lane, or do a “mixed use outside lane” where the outside lanes on both sides could only be used for parking, right turns and bikes…..maybe add buses in there for good measure to speed up the 14 a little bit during rush hour. It would not be a pure bike lane, but would certainly ease access and slow down the commuters speeding through the neighborhood. It also would remove most of the autos in the outside lanes.

    28th would be my first choice if we are eliminating parking on both sides of a commercial corridor because 28th between Ankeny and Broadway is a narrow nightmare for bikes that everyone uses and creating a parallel Greenway (26th from Salmon to Couch east to 29th then back to 28th at Oregon) is a PAIN. It is round about and would not remove the bikes from 28th anyway. 28th street bike lanes would require all parking removal and moving some bike corrals around the corner, but this short stretch would greatly increase safety and conductivity north-south while showing the retail establishments that publicly subsidized parking in front of your store is not always needed.

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      HAL9000 September 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Hawthorne was redesigned sometime in the 1990s. I wouldnt exactly call pre-internet/google “recent.”

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        Terry D September 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

        from an infrastructure perspective, since most public infrastructure is built to withstand generations of use, the 1990’s is very recent.

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    Kristen September 6, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I don’t think cyclists “miss out” on browsing business districts by not being able to ride directly on those streets. If you’re aware that there’s a business district nearby, then get off your bike and walk. If you weren’t previously aware of the district but are in the vicinity, you’ll notice by looking around and seeing where all the traffic is going.

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      spare_wheel September 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

      i would like to know why you think i should get off my bike and walk when there is plenty of bike parking right on hawthorne?

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        Kristen September 6, 2012 at 11:31 am

        Ummm … you get off your bike, park it, and then walk on the sidewalk?

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          HAL9000 September 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

          Only a hipster would recommend walking a bike instead of riding it.

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          spare_wheel September 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

          is this your attempt at serious conversation? i bike to my destination, dismount, and lock it up. i have absolutely no desire to walk my bike in a crowded pedestrian area.

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        Kristen September 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

        Really, I’d like us to cast off the victim/martyr complex and think rationally about things for a change. I recognize that we are vulnerable road users, but jeezus — we can bike on SE Madison, get off and walk a block, then park our bikes on Hawthorne.

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          9watts September 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

          “we can bike on SE Madison, get off and walk a block, then park our bikes on Hawthorne.’

          sure, until Madison abruptly ends (it doesn’t go through six different blocks near where I live). See how this doesn’t work so well? And it is often not a block, but more like two blocks left at 30th to go on Salmon and then three back to Hawthorne.

          I don’t mind the walking and parking part. That is easy. I mind the paternalistic ‘these roads are not for the kiddies and their training wheels, why don’t you stay on the quieter side streets?’ which completely overlooks the fact that we who bike also live/work/shop at the same locations all those folks in cars do. So pernicious, this entitlement.

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          spare_wheel September 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

          madison is not my preferred route because is is littered with stop signs, un-signaled intersections, and dead ends. moreover, hawthorne is an interesting area that i find to be a more appealing route then madison.

          i also find it interesting that you would like me to change my preferred route when i have absolutely no problem with your choice to ride on madison.

          ==>why are you concerned with my choice to ride on hawthorne?

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      9watts September 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

      By ‘where all the traffic is going’ do you mean cars?

      We do have a problem here. I get yelled at and buzzed by the occasional enraged male in a car on Foster, too. But the reason I’m on Foster Rd is the same reason all those folks in cars are driving there. It is the only sensible way to get to where I’m going. The logic by which I should follow what googlemaps (for bikes) suggests I do, and memorize 47 right turns and 46 left turns while I zig-zag along Foster, occasionally crossing it escapes me. I’m not going to do that, and I doubt it is even any safer.

      But the real trouble is that a segment of the population who without realizing it suffer from a severe case of carhead (and Mia Birk) have latched onto the notion (no doubt derived in part from statutes like the mandatory sidepath law) that bikes have no business on my arterial. Anger management would be a more targeted strategy than some of the other proposals floating around in relation to this.

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      Lindsay September 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

      I’m not really interested in shopping. Yet, there are items I need things. I’m not out for a leisurely stroll peering into windows. However, I have many times live less than a mile from a hardware store of great cafe and not known it, because I only travel down the bike boulevards. Within a week of moving to Portland this became my biggest gripe. And we tout our amazing bike infrastructure? This is not a big or unusual ask. Vancouver, BC, Seattle, NYC, Madison & Morristown in NJ and Tucson all have wide back paths down major arterials. And those are just the cities I’ve been to; I’m sure the list is far more extensive. Memphis, Louisville, NYC, Fire Island, Mackinaw Island, San Antonio all have at least one car free business / shopping district. Most important to note, however, is that this is not an infrastructure decision for cyclists! Business districts thrive when pedestrians can walk down slower traffic streets with less pollution and eat at sidewalk cafes.

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    April September 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Paul!

    Thanks for a nice, big vision!
    I think both Belmont and Division need these visions also, just to mention the SE.

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    Kenny September 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I’ve been saying this ever since moving to Portland in 2006. We need real infrastructure. Why can’t we be as good as the best of Western Europe? That one U.S city that “gets it”? With a desire to increase mode share at a rate of 20% it will require, at a minimum, cycle tracks on every main street corridor possible. That’s how you reach families with kids riding bikes, the interested but concerned, mobility challenged, etc. with street cars next to the parked cars. Saying this for years because it makes sense

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      9watts September 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Europe doesn’t just have infrastructure. They also have real gasoline taxes to pay for it and discourage frivolous driving, or some of it.

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    Adam September 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    This is awesome!

    One of the most overheard conversational topics I heard during the recent Sunday Parkways SE was WHY OH WHY is Hawthorne Blvd not closed down to car traffic during their Hawthorne Street Fair, which coincides with Parkways?

    So many people were perplexed about it. As I overheard someone say, “Keeping two lanes of traffic open during a frickin street fair just makes it miserable for ALL modes!”

    I can’t think of a single other street festival in Portland that allows car traffic. Mississippi, Fremont, Belmont, and Alberta Street Fairs all close off to traffic.

    I mention this, because it seems the Hawthorne business assn is just far more car-centric than most. Wasn’t it them that shot down bike lanes a while back?

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      HAL9000 September 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      The answer is that the Hawthorne business association – which, by definition, includes most businesses on Hawthorne – are anti-bike and VERY pro-car. Its been this way for 20 years, and will doubtfully ever change.

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      HS206 September 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      The business association requests the street closure every year and Tri-Met denies the request because it is considered a major route. The HBBA will continue to make that request for years to come until Tri-Met finally says yes. The City supports the closure. It is very unfortunate.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson September 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks Paul, a great vision. Hawthorne should be the start, then Sandy, Foster, 28th and NE Broadway and other commercical streets, if Portland really wants to be all it can. Bikes and streetcars can go together just fine if the latter is properly designed (see NE 7th). Anyone who knows Amsterdam knows this; it has tram tracks all over the place.
    Here’s another idea: make Stark Street from Water Avenue to way out in East county a sort of bike expressway type street. Remove parking…there are few businesses…. and stripe a big wide lane for bikes and one for cars each way. It could be a sweet straight shot at very low cost.
    PS we could stripe bike lanes on H. between CC and 50th tonight!

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    Paul September 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    FYI: This is the original StreetView image from A’dam:
    http://is.gd/7EamCB

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    Webstrider September 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    There are enough bike boulevards that parallel Hawthorne that both cyclists and car-users can find a path to their destination. Riding Hawthorne uphill just isn’t worth the aggravation to both.

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      9watts September 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      “Riding Hawthorne uphill just isn’t worth the aggravation to both.”

      Not sure about you, but I don’t experience any aggravation riding on Hawthorne. And where does the focus on uphill come from? Is this some new rule I’ve not hear about? You’d think there was a minimum speed on Hawthorne the way some folks carry on about this. The problem I think resides entirely with a few entitled men in their cars who apparently can’t tolerate the presence of others who are less motorized on this road with them. I realize that these individuals experience aggravation, but so do people who can’t find their car keys, or leave the stove burner on when they leave the house. These frailties of theirs are not my concern.

      See, I don’t subscribe to the separate but equal philosophy that has two-wheeled folks biking on Salmon and four-wheeled folks driving on Hawthorne. Often the places I want to go are on Hawthorne. Going the same direction as Hawthorne is fine for some trips, but when, for instance, I want to go the laundromat at 30th and Hawthorne, I’m not going to jog several blocks out of my way each direction. It just doesn’t make any sense. That would be like taking the garbage out by detouring through your daughter’s upstairs bedroom because your neighbor doesn’t like the sight of garbage cans.

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    jim September 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Why not put the bikes in the center and the trolly on the side? No more right hook problem from drivers not seeing bikes riding hidden behind parked cars untill they spring out into the intersection.

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      Spiffy September 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      bikes in the center? but think about all the motorists that will be killed when the bicyclist right-hooks them!

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    Deebo September 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    You guys are funny. You constantly minimize any inconvenience you may be causing car drivers and in the next sentence lament being inconvenienced by having to ride one street over that doesn’t go through or whatever. We live in a city which means we need to compromise and find ways to minimize our friction with others. Some of you seem to think that you are special and the car driving world needs to pay attention to you. Congratulations, you’re 20 and just read that Travis Hugh Culley book. Eventually you will either get tired and give up riding or you will carry on and get over yourself and realize that being a good example every day is more effective than spouting your bike ideology. Sometimes that means not riding on Sandy or Powell or the St Johns bridge so that you don’t have to take the lane because you realize you only get high fives from your internet buddies for this and everyone else it just pisses off. It also means looking around and realizing what you have. For a reminder see Jonathan’s recent post about Florida: http://bikeportland.org/2012/05/10/postcard-from-siesta-key-florida-71527. He didn’t go into great detail but what he mentioned briefly and what I can confirm is that the bike infrastructure is crap by comparison where it exists at all across most of the country which is why deeming Portland’s bike friendly claims as “rhetoric” rings hollow to me. People in Portland also generally like bicyclists as opposed to almost everywhere else where even if they do not yell at you they are silently wishing for your immediate death.
    Also this infatuation some of you have with Copenhagen is bordering on a neurosis. If I go there I will expect nude models effortlessly riding pedal powered flying machines, boundless joy and happiness, bottomless Klondike bar milkshakes and free energy machines on every corner.

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      9watts September 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      My gripe is not with the physical infrastructure but with the ill-considered sense of entitlement exhibited by some. The fact that they think and act as if the roads are theirs and theirs alone is galling besides being flat wrong.
      I don’t think I’m special. What about using a public road, asserting one’s right to do this in the face of occasionally hostile behavior, suggests that? If the teacher wrongly accuses you of hitting Charlie on the playground and you stand up for yourself does that suggest you think you’re special?

      “You constantly minimize any inconvenience you may be causing car drivers and in the next sentence lament being inconvenienced by having to ride one street over that doesn’t go through or whatever.”

      Is this a tally of inconvenience? On what basis do you conclude that my presence on a bike (uphill on Hawthorne even) is inconveniencing someone in a car. I don’t actually habitually take the lane. People in cars in a rush can and do pass me all day long. If I were in a car instead he would need an extra lane to pass me–and I predict wouldn’t as easily pull the same threatening let-it-all-hang-out behavior.

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      spare_wheel September 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      share the road does not mean go ride on a different road you #$%@#$#% biker! it means share *THIS* road.

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    HS206 September 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Hal9000,

    I attend the HBBA meetings every month and have been for the last few years. Your statement that the association is “anti-bike” contradicts some of the efforts on community sustainability they are working on. The association is all run by volunteers and anyone is invited to join the meetings. I would encourage you to visit their next meeting on 9/12. You can visit http://www.thinkhawthorne.com to download the agenda.

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