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NW Broadway to get 10-foot buffered bike lanes

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Before and after cross-section of plans for Broadway Bridge viaduct project.

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is planning a major re-design of NW Broadway from the Broadway Bridge (at Lovejoy) to Burnside.

The plan is to re-stripe the lanes on the bridge viaduct (from signal at Lovejoy to NW Hoyt) from four, 9.5 foot wide vehicle lanes and a five-foot wide bike lane to three 11-foot wide vehicle lanes and a 10 foot bike lane. In order to create the space for the wider bike lane, PBOT will do with one fewer northbound lane between Hoyt and Lovejoy. Then, south of Hoyt, PBOT will install “pro-time” parking on the west side of Broadway between Glisan and Burnside during the morning peak (from 7:00 to 9:00 am). They will also stripe a “floating bike lane” in that same stretch. (This basically means there will be two places for the bike lane, depending on whether or not parking is allowed. For more on floating bike lanes, read this case study from San Francisco.)

In their analysis, PBOT notes that the northbound lanes on the Broadway ramp are fed by only one lane, so this project will just extend the same lane configuration that exists on Broadway between Burnside and Hoyt. The removal of a northbound lane will have no impact on existing auto traffic volumes. And, while the bikeway will be improved, the width of the existing vehicle lanes will be increased — which will help with trucking movements.

As we shared earlier today, bike traffic has mushroomed on this stretch of Broadway. PBOT counts show a more than doubling of bike trips from 2005 to 2010 (from 2,081 to 5,200 average daily trips).

If you think this is all happening quickly, remember that this isn’t a new idea. This project was identified in PBOT’s Pearl District Access and Circulation Plan which was adopted by City Council back in June.

Along with the confirmation of the project today comes word that the Bicycle Transportation Alliance played a key role in making this happen. As we all know, just because a project is in an adopted plan, that doesn’t mean it will ever get built. In order to line up the politics and make sure that downtown freight and business interests supported this project, PBOT looked for a major assist from the BTA. The BTA’s lead advocate, Gerik Kransky, called on relationships he’s developed in the past few years to deliver the support PBOT — and City Hall — needed.

Here’s what Kransky wrote on the BTA Blog a few minutes ago:

“…by simply repainting the lanes on the ramp to match the lanes on NW Broadway from Hoyt to Burnside, we can dedicate more space to people on bicycles while providing wider travel lanes for cars and trucks. This project is small but important, and it serves as a fantastic example of the kind of collaboration we should strive for as we rebuild and maintain our transportation system.”

Reached via phone today, Kransky said he was well-positioned to play the role of “peacemaker” between PBOT and local freight and business advocates. He especially called on Lanny Gower, who not only works for Con-Way Freight and is on the policy committee of the Oregon Trucking Association; but he’s also a BTA board member. “I came to Lanny and said, ‘The City wants to do this, what can we do to make sure that everybody understands it and how can we built the best possible project that everyone supports?'”

PBOT estimates the total cost of the project will be $30,000 and they expect to get started on it in June.

I’ll follow up with a more detailed look at the official design drawings once they’re made available.