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BTA gets behind push for bike lanes, road diet on SE Division

Posted by on February 19th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

SE Division. Time for a diet?

After months of working with the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association to make SE Division Street safer, the Portland Bureau of Transportation now plans to open up a road diet project for further public feedback. And today, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) stepped in to throw their organizational weight behind it as well.

Dubbed the Division Street Lane Reorganization Project (road diet must not poll well), the project would transform SE Division betwee 60th to 80th from its existing four standard lanes into three standard lanes and two bicycle-only lanes.

SE Division east of 60th is a classic urban arterial. Despite being adjacent to bustling residential neighborhoods, the speed limit is 35 mph and PBOT says 44% of people faster that that. Division is also statistically one of the top ten most dangerous streets in the city. In 2011-2012, it was one of three streets chosen by PBOT for their annual High Crash Corridor program. In a neighborhood presentation this past November, PBOT said they expect 8-9 fewer crashes per year after the road diet goes into effect (based on national studies showing a 29% reduction in crashes).

Adding bike lanes onto Division would help spur bicycling in the Mt. Tabor area. An article on the project published in the SE Examiner on February 1st pointed out that, “People on bicycles use Division St., but they often ride on the sidewalks to avoid the car traffic and make pedestrians feel unsafe.”

The BTA not only supports the project proposed; but they’re calling for extending the bike lanes eight additional blocks all the way to 52nd. In a blog post today, they wrote: “We applaud PBOT for their design. In fact, we like their design so much that we encourage the city to extend the bike lanes west to SE 52nd Ave, where the new 50s Bikeway will soon cross.”

Not only would extending the bike lanes make that vital connection to the forthcoming 50s Bikeway, the BTA points out that it would also connect them to several nearby schools.

It’s also worth noting that SE 60th and Division is the intersection where a man towing a bicycle trailer was rear-ended while attempting to cross southbound on Division back in December.

If this project continues to get community support, PBOT has the funds (estimated $80-100,000) to complete it by this summer.

Consider showing up to share your feedback on this project at an upcoming open house UPDATE: We have learned that the events below are not open houses. They are neighborhood association meetings.):

    Wednesday, Feb 20 and Mar 20, 7pm, Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church (SE 54th and Belmont)
    South Tabor NA: Thursday, Feb 21 and Mar 21, 7pm, Trinity Fellowship (2700 SE 67th, rear entrance)

Learn more:
Official PBOT project website
– BTA Blog: Speak up for a safer Division Street
– SE Examiner: Proposed “Lane Reorganization” for Division St.

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Dolan Halbrook
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Dolan Halbrook

This would be a wonderful thing if it happens. The initial designs I saw were one lane in each direction with a turn lane in the middle, which I think would have a hugely calming effect overall on the area, and make the transition from east of 60th to west of 60th much smoother overall.

John R.
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John R.

Great news, long over due. This same treatment could (and should) be done to Hawthorne.

bike me
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bike me

Everyone has given up on Hawthorne eh? “They” will not allow for road diets on every road.

OnTheRoad
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OnTheRoad

I guess things are evolving. About 15-20 years ago, the exact same 2 lanes and a turn lane for Division east of 60th was proposed as part of the Division Corridor traffic calming project. That project put in place some of the curb extensions and barriers on Lincoln/Harrison, SE Clinton and in Ladds Addition.

The road diet portion of the project east of 60th met with vehement neighborhood opposition and was dropped.

Mindful Cyclist
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Mindful Cyclist

Can we do the same thing on E Burnside from at least 60th to about 68th? I would prefer 47th, really, but the short 7 blocks would be very nice and past 68th there is already a decent bike lane and slower speeds to begin with. There are far too many people that use that street as a freeway at rush hour.

ScottB
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ScottB

I predict many more road diets in Portland’s future. For one thing, the bike lanes and center turn lane need less maintenance.

kevin
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kevin

While I think these ideas are ok especially for slowing traffic, I really do not understand why anyone would think riding down Division or Burnside is a good idea especially when Clinton and Davis/Ankeny are a few blocks away. Bike riders get caught in the same speedism as cars.

Ashley
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Ashley

Why pursue the needs of the few (bikes) at the expense of the many (cars/neighborhoods)?
I don’t understand how “slimming” this section of Division down will be beneficial to the residential and business blocks of lower Division below 60th. As it stands now (meaning today, not tomorrow, not yesterday – today) hundreds, if not thousands, of cars use this section of Division to get onto I-205. Even more cars use I-205 to get home but get on via other SE on-ramps. Decreasing the driving lanes going out to I-205 will create a traffic snarl up 60th to Belmont (even worse than there already is) while causing bumper-to-bumper traffic slowing below 60th all the way down Division. This will ultimately make drivers take alternative routes to I-205 thru neighborhoods, side-streets, and other routes more traditionally used for biking. I don’t understand why the city and the biking community continues to believe that reducing lanes on major traffic routes will somehow make biking safer and increase the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods. It does neither. Tempers flare and drivers make bad decisions when stuck in traffic. That makes biking more dangerous.
And also, what kind of crashes is PBOT talking about? Fender benders like the one on Division and 60th? Are they nuts? That makes Division a “High Crash Corrider?” That’s the reason you decrease a major traffic artery in the city? What utopian goal are we pursuing here? Sounds like government types making a lot of noise in order to justify the so-called validity of their jobs.
If it’s not broke don’t fix it. Don’t invent problems where there are none.

Craig Harlow
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Craig Harlow

Keep’em separated! :^)

BURR
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BURR

Too litte, too late. Where was the BTA when we could have had bike lanes on lower Division, between SE 7th and SE 39th?

Anyone who is used to cycling on lower Division is getting screwed by the Division streetscape plan right now.

Befuddled
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Befuddled

I should very much like to know what a “road diet” is.

Terry D
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Terry D

Great project. This will make the north-south greenway connections at 64th and the 70’s significantly easier and cheaper to build in the future since quarter million traffic lights could be replaced (in the case of the 64th street greenway crossing behind the park’s department at least, and in other cases as well) with $25,000 yellow flashing beacons with center refuge islands.

We need more of these “road organizations”…it would help out our half-mile greenway grid significantly while making our “inner city” arterials much safer.

BURR
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BURR

Actually, if you check your history, Division and Stark were the premier E-W bike routes in Portland in the early 20th century

http://www.cts.pdx.edu/pdf/lundgren_PSUSeminar_113007.pdf

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

and the carnage continues:

“Witnessed told police that a dark-colored SUV or truck was traveling eastbound on Southeast Division Street when it struck the woman as she was crossing the street.

According to the witnesses, the vehicle never slowed down after striking the woman.”

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/02/portland_police_investigating_39.html

Its time to stop favoring the “convenience” of single occupancy (motorized) vehicle users over the health and lives of human beings.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Thanks BTA! Nice work!