Support BikePortland

City adds new buffered bike lanes to N Skidmore Street

Posted by on June 24th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

New bike lanes on N Skidmore-7

New, six-foot bike lanes on Skidmore.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has installed new bike lanes on N Skidmore Street. The new lanes begin at the intersection of Michigan Ave and continue west toward Interstate.

According to Ross Swanson with PBOT, the work on Skidmore is part of the Going to the River Project. That project is a $2.3 million effort to connect “Portland’s premier neighborhood greenway” on NE Going Avenue to the employment and industrial areas on Swan Island.

The new bike lanes are six-feet wide and have an added five-foot buffer zone where Skidmore crosses Interstate 5. There is no buffer on portions of Skidmore that are not on the bridge overpass (reader Allan Rudwick explains below that ODOT prohibits people from parking on freeway overpasses, thus giving PBOT plenty of width to widen the bike lanes). Crews were working this morning to install the hash-marks inside the buffer, which create more separation between the bike lane and the standard vehicle lane.

Here’s how the bridge looked prior to the new lanes…

And here are a few more shots I snapped this morning…

New bike lanes on N Skidmore-3

New bike lanes on N Skidmore-4

New bike lanes on N Skidmore-5

The bike lane is curbside, the area adjacent to the car is the buffer zone which will have hash marks in it eventually.

New bike lanes on N Skidmore-8

New bike lanes on N Skidmore-2

New bike lanes on N Skidmore-6

The buffer zones vanish as you leave the bridge and approach Michigan.

PBOT says they’re installing the new bike lanes from Michigan to Maryland and intend to complete the final blocks (to Interstate) once a construction project on Interstate is complete. Skidmore is not only a crucial connection between Swan Island and the Going neighborhood greenway, it’s also a key route for residents of the Overlook neighborhood to access popular shops and restaurants on Mississippi Street. For more on the Going to the River project, see PBOT’s website.

Please support BikePortland.

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

  • RH June 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Very cool! This will make my trips to Mississippi Ave a little bit more easy going! Thanks PBOT!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Marty June 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    When ever I ride from Kenton to downtown, this is one of my crossing points (other would be Ainsworth). Glad to see them put those lines on Skidmore.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew N June 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Would love to see these lanes continued to MLK. Are there any plans for this?

    Skidmore between Mississippi and MLK is a wide street with higher car speeds and an oversupply of 2 parking lanes; one side could be removed and turned into two bike lanes, which would make the ride safer for those of us east of MLK who use it to access Interstate MAX/Williams/Vancouver/Mississippi.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Allan June 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      One of the reasons why this was somewhat easy to do is that there is no parking on overpasses in Oregon. That meant this lane could go in without taking anything away from cars. If you want extended bike lanes, this will be the fight you need to win.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • kittens June 24, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        Actually, people park all the time on Ainsworth overpass.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hart Noecker June 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      It’s just another sprinkling of bike lanes here and there that don’t connect to one another. This is how PBOT does things. They won’t make the significant, bold changes necessary to achieve the 2030 Bike Plan.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • MaxD June 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm

        I agree, Hart! Why not connect the sidewalk expansion from Swan Island to Interstate? Connect Skidmore from Concord across MLK. Improve the safety on Interstate Ave by painting a vehicle lane from Killingsworth to Lloyd in both directions. Connect the missing chunk of bike lane on Interstate from Killingsworth to Dekum (sharrows would be perfect here!). Make Willamette one-way north-bound, one travel lane and one parking lane from Rosa Parks to U of P (Fiske or so, or better yet, to Portsmouth adn pave Van Houten for bikes!) and build a ramp on the Waud Bluff Bridge. The little bits and pieces that get soooo close are maddening!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Panda June 25, 2013 at 7:05 am

      Andrew, if you dump parking on one side, is there room for 8′ bike lanes on each side of the road? One side could curb-tight and buffered by parked cars. It seems to me tha the route is relatively short, and users would want to going both north and south on interstate, Michigan, Mississippi, Vancouver/Williams, and 7th (I think skidmore should connect to 7th, and 7th developed into a north/south greenway). With that many north/south connections, it seems unsafe to be riding contra-flow. What am I missing?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew K June 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    It’s a step forward and for that I am grateful.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Andrew N June 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      I was trying to be nice earlier but I actually agree with Hart. I don’t think “a step forward” is enough; PBOT needs to do a better job at thinking systematically and not just doing these little, politically-easy projects that create more gaps than they fill.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • MaxD June 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    This needs to connect to MLK! Mississippi at least. It is quite a shock to have your wide, buffered bike lane simply disappear with no warning or signage for bikes and cars what to do! 2 lanes of traffic merging with no sign- is this standard practice?

    Can we get a 10.5 foot vehicle lane painted on to N Interstate from Killingsworth to NE Lloyd please! Cars and bikes need to have some idea where a buffer exists and where vehicles and bikes will be uncomfortably close! And Cars NEED some help staying out of the bike lane, maybe a lane line and some bumps?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger June 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    This is such a good low hanging fruit option! – there should be buffered bike lanes on ALL ODoT over crossings (I-5 etc) where there are only 1 lane in each direction.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BURR June 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Aw crap, why’d they have to go and do that? I was hoping they’d wait until they could afford a full-blown cycle track!


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Spiffy June 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    reminds me of the I-5 bridge from Ainsworth… wide and unstriped… so much bike potential…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kevin Wagoner June 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Awesome! Strip it all the way to Barber then keep going please.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ted Buehler June 25, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I rode these yesterday, pretty sweet.

    Proof once again that there are lots of low-hanging fruit waiting to be picked.

    Thanks PBOT!

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Steve B. June 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Easy. Simple. Done. Thanks PBOT!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Alain June 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Nice improvement, and easy! I agree, Ainsworth overpass would be a great next project.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • q`Tzal June 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Now if only we could end the unconscious discrimination that is on display in the first photo of this article.
    Notice that the bike lane ends for some construction zone issue: this is to be expected because sometimes work must be done in the road space.
    What is discriminatory is the fact that if this was an automotive lane closure we would have signs and alternate routes. We close a bike lane here in the good ole usa the functional policy is “F#@% you, DIE!”
    No advanced warning for cyclists in the same manner that is mandatory for automotive traffic.
    No alternate travel path as mandated for automotive traffic. Bike lane just ends.
    No sign for automotive traffic telling drivers that bikes will be swerving unexpectedly in to the now shrunken auto lane.
    Most of these 3rd party contractors treat bike hazard mitigation as a non issue because they can’t imagine that bikes belong on the road.
    Perhaps as part of BOLI’s licensing and continuing education requirements for licensed workers that perform duties in Oregon roadways the state could require these people to take a few classes hammering home the concept that despite their individual prejudices they are not allowed to endanger cyclists and pedestrians.

    Recommended Thumb up 0