Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Check out PBOT’s new carfree section of NE Klickitat Street

Posted by on June 20th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

This is the new and improved NE Klickitat Street between 23rd and 24th. It’s the latest from PBOT as part of their ongoing development of the neighborhood greenway network.
(Photo: Craig Harlow)

Earlier this week we highlighted changes PBOT has made to the western end of the NE Klickitat Niehgoborhood Greenway. Further east on that same project is something else worthy of your attention. Reader Craig Harlow has tipped us off to a new carfree section of NE Klickitat between 23rd and 24th.

PBOT concept drawing.

PBOT has converted one block of a standard, low-volume residential street between a school and a playground, into a carfree “green street” (which they create in partnership with the Bureau of Environmental Services). I haven’t been out there myself, but from these photos it looks absolutely fantastic.

Check out the before and after images…

(Photo: Scott Batson/PBOT)

Harlow is a citizen activist and transportation wonk, so he also shared more about the project’s features and a few comments. According to Harlow, this carfree section of Klickitat includes:

  • auto-traffic diverting bollards at either end
  • narrowed roadway serving bikes-only access
  • concrete roadway surface (instead of asphalt)
  • stormwater planters and other green treatments
  • sidewalks separated from roadway using green strips about ten feet wide (inclusive of the preexisting parking strip / furnishing zone)

“What used to be a dangerous crossing for children between the school, the transit stop, and the adjoining playfields,” writes Harlow, “now functions more like the Tom McCall waterfront pathway, with just bikes rolling east and west across the center roadway, and tiny kids riding their little bikes in loops around the green strips. The entire setting now feels more like one big park.”

“The entire setting now feels more like one big park.”
— Craig Harlow

Harlow adds that the school used to block off this stretch of Klickitat to auto traffic during drop-off and pick-up hours; but, “some parents took that as license to treat the blocking of auto traffic as an extension of curbside parking, leaving their cars in the path of east and westbound bikes where a bicycle boulevard has been established for about two years now.”

Harlow, who has chaired advisory committees for transportation projects in northeast Portland, likes what he sees. “I think this is an impressive model for how the city could be implementing auto traffic diversion along the city’s neighborhood greenways, which seem too often to serve as quick auto cut-throughs that avoid the traffic and signal-stops of the nearby main thoroughfares.”

This project brings to mind the “pocket park” on the NE Holman neighborhood greenway. On that project, PBOT and their partners (BES, Parks, and the Water Bureau) took a tiny park and extended it across Holman. Auto access was cut off while people can still cut through the park on foot and on bicycles.

PBOT’s neighborhood greenways czar (my title, not theirs) Greg Raisman says, “I think this is another great example of what Neighborhood Greenways are all about. This project is about getting a lot out of the public realm: streets that are great to walk, bike, and live on where sustainability goals are met and a comfortable place is created where neighbors can meet neighbors.”

This is the City at its best. Collaborating between agencies to get more value and livability out of our public spaces. And we desparately need more diversion like this on neighborhood greenways if we expect them to actually work as advertised.

Have you ridden on NE Klickitat before or after these changes? What do you think?

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  • CPAC June 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    “I think this is an impressive model for how the city could be implementing auto traffic diversion along the city’s neighborhood greenways…”

    I couldn’t agree more. Just a few strategic placements of diverters, adding or changing signals to major crossings, and our greenway network becomes a whole new level of awesome.

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  • Patrick June 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    With the old set-up the school set up barricades and it was unwelcoming to bicycles. This new method looks good for everybody. Cut through traffic is a bit of a problem (some cars can roll over the speed bumps quite fast without consequence) and more of these are needed on all greenways.

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  • Chris I June 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    So awesome. This needs to happen everywhere.

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  • Bjorn June 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I really hope they aren’t going to leave that bollard that color. I complained to the city about one that was painted black on skidmore at 68th as you enter the park. They repainted it yellow, which is an improvement, but those invisible color metal posts are a huge hazard to cyclists.

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  • Erinne June 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Love it! If only every greenway could have something like this or the pocket park on Holman to decrease auto traffic. Makes me wish my commute went a few blocks further east so I could roll through it every day!

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  • Andrew K June 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Well, if nothing else, it sure as heck LOOKS more inviting and peaceful. I can only comment on the look of it as opposed to the functionality as I have yet to visit this area but still, when a space just simply looks welcoming to people that is an improvement in and of itself right there.

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  • mh June 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I’m jealous. Riding east on Salmon a bit later than usual last night, I saw impatient drivers heading south on 20th use Salmon as an escape cut through. Lots of honking, too many people I don’t want blasting up my neighborhood greenway.

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  • was carless June 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    NIce. a couple of these along “bicycle boulevards” would be really effective in reducing auto through-traffic along them. Also provides a linear park, which is rather nice to look at.

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    • sabes June 21, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      SE Clinton! Let’s get one installed between 21st and 26th!

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  • yoyossarian June 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    This is really great! We need to really agitate for more of these in sections of neighborhood greenways where there is more of a problem with people cutting through off busier streets. Too often it seems PBOT implements these in areas where there’s almost no possibility of push back, meanwhile streets like Salmon and Ankeny continue to see a lot of cut-through traffic due to lack of barriers to auto drivers.

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  • Paul in the 'couve June 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Nice project. Thanks PBOT. I have been down on PBOT must this is good stuff. A dozen of these small projects would certainly equal one big flagship project. It seems like there are a couple of other small projects like this that I’ve happened across but haven’t taken good note of. Does anyone have a list?

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  • Ted Buehler June 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Very nice. I’ve buzzed through there a few times already.
    Ted Buehler

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  • John Lascurettes June 20, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    LOVE IT!

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  • Reza June 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Clinton needed this yesterday.

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  • Alex Reed June 21, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Wow! Great implementation. That first photo is so idyllic, I at first thought it was a computer-created mockup.

    Agreed with above commenters that most of our “legacy” neighborhood greenways need additional diverters. A clue for PBOT: if the traffic volume is too high to qualify for a 20mph zone under state law (e.g. SE Lincoln/Harrison, SE Clinton between Milwaukie and 39th), the volume is too high to be a truly pleasant place to bike or walk or play in the street carefree. Both Lincoln/Harrison and Clinton need diverters.

    Compare this map of 20mph zones:
    With this map of greenways:

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    • FarNorth June 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

      I think PBOT is not done with Klickitat yet and I’m pretty sure those legacy greenways are on a list for full projects.

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      • Terry D June 21, 2013 at 9:21 am

        PBOT has applied for a $5-7 million flex funding grant from ODOT to upgrade our “established bikeway network to modern standards.” Even if we get it, it will take a few years for the money to trickle down…but we should be prepared to advocate for treatments like this. PBOT traditionally since the 1990’s has been reticent to build traffic diversion projects…..but they are slowly getting a little less shy about it.

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        • Alex Reed June 21, 2013 at 9:31 am

          Ooh, yay! That’s exciting! Anyone know how the public can provide input in favor of ODOT choosing to fund this?

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      • Craig Harlow June 21, 2013 at 10:38 am

        Per their web pages, the PBOT work on Klickitat is on the “Completed Projects” list, but the BES work is ongoing…



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    • Craig Harlow June 21, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Yeah, funny how that photo turned out. I thought it looked like a book illustration from the 60’s. I took it using my phone camera (Galaxy), and the only post-editing was to bump up the color saturation and midtones.

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  • Art Fuldodger June 21, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Nicely done!

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  • Terry D June 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

    This is exactly the type of treatment are calling for at https://www.facebook.com/COPINGWithBikes in our half-mile greenway grid plan….redevelop gravel roads or parking lot connections into this type of “Promenade”…..our master map is here with the gravel road connections in red.


    East Clinton from 84th Place to the Division Street Max Stop—Thus creating an uninterrupted Greenway from the Green Line to Downtown

    Multiple gravel road connections in South/North Portland

    Through Parking lots next to schools connecting:
    NE 26th at Couch and Davis to create a 26th Greenway from Hoyt to Salmon and points south
    At 60th and Ogdon so a Bybee-Ogdon greenway in south Portland can connect the Orange and Green MAX Lines with multiple schools parks and the community center

    Last week we posted pictures of other bioswale improvements along Klickitat including the beginning of a small “Pocket Park” at Alameda. I had to defend this “$130,000 waste of money for bike paths” to some elderly residents who did not understand that this was part of sewer reconstruction and storm water management that also creates public space in the process….but “Alameda has been working well since the 1920’s, why change it?”


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  • justin June 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    i’ve been using klickitat for over a year now as part of my regular work commute, and the work done on this block is quite an improvement. not just for the cyclists, but for all the children using this area too. my one complaint about this area is the stop sign at 24th. if it stopped traffic going the other direction, it would slow down traffic even more (which would probably make it an even safer area) and allow cyclists on klickitat to keep moving. just saying…

    a few more of these projects in strategically placed areas around the city and bike commuting in portland would be that much more awesome.

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  • PorterStout June 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I rode through it unexpectedly a couple of weekends ago and for a moment thought I was lost. It was just your standard neighborhood block before, but now really stands out as part of a bikeway. I don’t ride it enough to say for sure but imagine it will have some impact on reducing traffic all the way down to 15th.

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  • Mindful Cyclist June 22, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Just rode through it today. Loved it and it felt very comfortable.

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  • 007 June 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    it’s really nice and keeps the *ick wads from using Klickitat as their personal freeway.

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  • GlowBoy June 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Rode Klickitat all the way in from 48th to Irving Park last night, just to check it out. Nice treatment on that block, and a great alternative to some of the other diverter designs we use. Like others have said above, I too would like to see these installed every 20 blocks or so on some of our other neighborhood greenways.

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  • Hebo July 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Every time I ride Klickitat, which is rare – I usually ride a parallel street, I wonder why so many thousands of dollars are put into these improvements and not a dime* can be spared to address the deplorable condition of the pavement. I prefer more stop signs, or even more traffic, to the jarring on Klickitat. I’m not even looking for fresh pavement, just some repairs to enormous cracks, potholes, and drop offs.
    * I will acknowledge that I have seen one filled pothole.

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