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City set to make big changes to NW Marshall

Posted by on October 10th, 2012 at 9:22 am

Detail of changes coming to Marshall.

The Bureau of Transportation is scheduled to make long-awaited changes to NW Marshall Street between 10th and 11th (map). Their aim is to make bicycling conditions more pleasant by decreasing the amount of people who drive on the street and by adding dedicated space for bicycle traffic.

Auto traffic on Marshall has increased considerably after the bike lane on NW Lovejoy was removed and it was turned into a one-way street as part of the eastside streetcar project. This is problematic because Marshall is supposed to function as a bike boulevard. PBOT had hoped auto traffic would use Northrup (one block north), but that hasn’t happened. (For more on this issue, read our story from September 2011, PBOT eyes changes in the Pearl to reduce auto traffic on NW Marshall)

Existing conditions on Marshall.

Currently, Marshall is a standard, two-way street with sharrow pavement markings and auto parking in both directions.
The coming changes were outlined in a flyer (PDF) PBOT emailed to residents and stakeholders yesterday:

  • Marshall will become one-way eastbound for motor vehicles between 10th and 11th.
  • Motor vehicles will no longer be permitted to turn left onto Marshall from 10th Ave, or continue westbound across 10th on Marshall.
  • 2-way bicycle access on Marshall between 10th and 11th will be maintained.
  • This traffic control change will be installed in fall 2012.
  • The Bureau of Transportation will monitor traffic volumes and if this treatment is effective, the change will be made permanent.

And here’s the official plan drawing…

(View project PDF for full size drawing and more info.)

As you can see, the diverter and signage will prevent cars from turning left (west) from NW 10th onto Marshall. Two-way bike access will be maintained via a six-foot, curbside bike lane separated from parked cars by a one-foot buffer. The parked cars will be facing east, which should minimize dooring potential (because drivers will (should) more easily see people coming toward them in the bike lane). Eastbound bike and auto traffic on Marshall will share a 14-foot wide lane.

PBOT refers to these changes as a “test”. They plan to analyze whether or not it helps achieve their goals and then make changes if needed (which could include another diverter at NW 15th).

PBOT project manager Mauricio Leclerc (mauricio.leclerc@portlandoregon.gov) says the changes will be implemented either this week or next.

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As you come off the Broadway Bridge headed into the NW, I find Overton to be a much better route than Marshall.

RH
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RH

Me too. Overton is a nice wide street, not many stop signs, sharrows, etc..

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I typically try to avoid sharrows when riding around town. I wouldn’t want to destroy my vehicular cyclist cred’.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Take away, “cars, auto, automobile, motorized, etc., and replace with the phrase, “People’s choices”, and self-inventory. Are you part of the problem, or a solution?

shetha
Guest
shetha

Put parking adjacent to a stop sign near a corner? Why? This just means the vehicles will have to proceed past the stop to see if anyone’s coming!

ScottB
Guest
ScottB

How would removing parking change this? In most of downtown the buildings are constructed to the corner of the property line, already requiring motorists to pull forward to see, after first stopping of course 😉

NF
Guest
NF

I’m loving all of the ‘tests’ PBOT is doing. Do it cheap and do it fast to see how it functions, and to gauge any resident/business opposition.

David
Guest
David

I agree for the most part but all these tests get confusing for people downtown. A lot of the people I’ve talked to (who primarily walk and drive, and don’t cycle) don’t understand why the rules and markings change from street to street with seemingly little reason downtown. They want the city to pick one convention and to stick with it. I party agree with them, but also like that the city is willing to test different models.

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

can they take out some of the stop signs while they’re at it? it’s really frustrating to stop at every block.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

As someone who lives on Marshall and rides from Nw 21 down to 9th multiple times daily, I am 110% positive this project is nothing but a glorious waste of money. I had to read the story twice just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. PBOT: Don’t eat the brown acid.

otis
Guest
otis

Can you elaborate?

Andrew Seger
Guest
Andrew Seger

Any idea where the money is coming from to pay for this? I hope it’s coming out of the streetcar contingency fund as a needed mitigation project.

Eric
Guest
Eric

My guess is it’s coming from the pothole/repaving fund…no street repaving until 2027!

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

I’m quite certain that is the case, the couplet came out of the streetcar funds anyway and this was part of the plan all along, why it took 2 years is beyond me, thid is cheap and they knew cut thru auto traffic would be a problem.

Josh Berezin
Guest
Josh Berezin

Sounds like a good thing to try. I’m impressed that they can get it implemented so quickly.

It also leaves me wondering why we’ve been waiting so long for the Michigan Ave bike boulevard improvements to go in, even though they’ve fully designed and signed off on for over a year.

Joseph E
Guest

This is a great test, though preferably the westbound bike lane would be 2 feet wider. 7 feet (including buffer) is acceptable, but 6.5 feet plus a 2 foot buffer is the minimum allowed in the Netherlands for this sort of path, because it gives drivers room to get out of their cars without dooring anyone (though you can’t fling wide the door of a coupe), and lets 2 bikes pass, if they are very careful. 7 feet will be a tight fit.

Joseph E
Guest

I fact checked my own assertion. David Hembrow often mentions that new, separated one-way cycletracks in his part of the Netherlands are a minimum of 8 feet wide (2.5 meters), with 1.5 meters (5 feet) separation between the path and the road:
http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2010/06/14-and-half-feet-please.html

However, that refers to more suburban areas. In this post, by Mark W., a native of the Netherlands who also writes blog posts in English, we find that the standards allow cycletracks to be as narrow as 6.5 feet. But “when a cycle path sees over 150 bikes per hour, that minimal width goes up to 250 centimetres or 8.2 feet”: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/06/how-wide-is-dutch-cycle-path.html

But I recall reading that there should be at least a 2 foot buffer next to parked cars, and the buffer is preferred to be 1.5 meters (4.5 feet). This post has a photo of a new one-way cycletrack with a 3 or 4 foot wide buffer next to the cars: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2009/11/costings-of-improvements-for-cyclists.html

If anyone has a translation of the “Tekenen voor de fiets”, the Dutch bike infrastructure design guide, please feel free to post it.

NW Biker
Guest
NW Biker

Am I the only person around who wonders if the streetcar is causing more problems than it solves?

cold worker
Guest
cold worker

Probably not but I think you have a lot who disagree with that line of thinking. The streetcar isn’t the thorn in the side of cyclists the way so many people in here want it to be.

NW Biker
Guest
NW Biker

Perhaps, but motorists don’t like it much, either, if the “track straddling” is any indication. I ride and I drive, and I find myself trying to avoid the tracks in either case.

So maybe I’m just being snarky. It happens.

Matt
Guest
Matt

If you drive right on the tracks it’s nice and smooth and quiet.

cold worker
Guest
cold worker

I hear you. I don’t have experience driving around/on the tracks. So I don’t know what that’s like. I can’t imagine it’s all that bad, you’re *in a car*, and should be traveling at slowish speeds. But I have lots of experience cycling around them, as I’m downtown just about every day of the week. I really, truly don’t mind them. The streetcar is part of the urban landscape. They move people around. Their permanence makes them place builders. I like them. Since the streetcar opened in what, 2000, 2001, I’ve been on it exactly once. I want it easier for people to get around besides in just their car. The streetcar does that. Seems like a good thing to me.

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

Amen. Yes the route is and impacts on bikes is very unfortunate and definitely needs to be addressed on any future lines, they are also working to mitigate the impacts with things like this. But the anti-rail rhetoric on this blog is tiring.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The streetcar wasn’t designed to improve the cycling and/or driving experience in the city, so you shouldn’t be surprised.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Some stop-sign flips are next on the agenda for making Marshall function like a “real” bike boulevard, but this is a good step in that direction. Reducing the traffic volume, especially around the streetcar track streets, will make things a lot easier. Happy to see this!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

They need to eliminate the two weird short parking zones on the south side. This would enable a wider parking strip on the north side, more room for a buffer, and a wider bike lane heading west. Motorists would still be gaining parking.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I think there are more parking spaces on the south side that that (assuming the same number would exist as are currently in use on Google Maps).

Having said that…where else but the NW Pearl could on street parking be removed successfully for bike traffic safety? [This district has a wealth of transit, walkways, off street parking, and bikeability to become “car-lite”.]

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

What about the return of the sharrows for the east bound shared lane? Are these now gone?

And please consider reducing the shared lane width from 14′ to 12′ … so as to not make it so wide that drivers would expect cyclists to ride directly in the door zone.

Joseph E
Guest

I wrote an email recommending just this change. If the lane is kept to 12 feet, that give an extra 2 feet for a properly sized buffer between the contraflow bike lane and the parked cars.

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

No parking signs are up all along the north side of this block of Marshall so thankfully this long awaited improvement may be coming sooner rather than later

Adam
Guest
Adam

F**K YES!!

My only concern is, it seems it will only stop traffic headed in one direction. All traffic headed the opposite direction will still be free to drive totally unimpeded on our bike boulevard.

Also. Does anyone know what exactly a “type 3 barricade” actually is, that’s shown on PBOT’s plans above? I am hoping it is significant (ie tall & wide enough) to stop vehicles from simply driving straight over it, or straight around it, as they currently do with the totally hopeless & inadequate diverter we have on SE Ankeny & 20th, for example.

But anyway, back to what I was saying… F**K YES!!

Timo
Guest
Timo
Adam
Guest
Adam

Also. I would LOVE to see a similar diverter installed on our NW Overton St bike boulevard! Let’s not forget, Overton has also been absorbing a TON of car traffic too since Lovejoy was made one way. I would say eight out of ten vehicles turning off Naito onto NW 9th then immediately make a right onto Overton, rather than making a right onto Northrup where they should be. Overton is a truly awful street to bike on during rush hour commute time.

I am hoping this diverter on NW Marshall will be the start of a much-needed precedent of getting traffic diverters into this quadrant at last for our bike streets!!

jim
Guest
jim

Another one way eastbound? Doesn’t make sense to me.

dk
Guest
dk

So far the change hasn’t been too successful. I work right around the corner from this and watch as motorist rotuinely turn it into a 2-way street. Imagine how much of a hassle it would be to drive all the way down to Northrup! Someone is going to say, “but with the change, people just don’t know yet.” You should go watch this corner for about 15 minutes if you think that, it goes like this, pull up to the sign, stop when you notice the “do not enter” sign, look around and see the oneway sign, pause a couple more seconds, do a quick look to see if any officers are looking, then go. Either they’re illiterate and completely oblivous to universal symbology, or, they’re knowingly breaking the law. But again, the bicycle community should be self-policing because we’re a bunch of scofflaws while the driving community is upstanding and put at risk by cyclists.