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PBOT makes official recommendation for SE Foster Road redesign

Posted by on October 22nd, 2013 at 9:40 am

Detail of PBOT’s draft recommendation for SE Foster Road.

Nearing the end of a one-year public process to update the Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan, yesterday the Portland Bureau of Transportation released its official draft recommendation for how to re-design SE Foster Road from 52nd to 90th.

Their plan, which will be put in front of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee at a meeting tomorrow night, calls for three standard lanes (one in each direction and a center turn lane), on-street auto parking, and six-foot bike lanes for the entire length of the project area. In addition, PBOT is recommending wider sidewalks in the eastern segment of the project (SE 84th to 90th, through Lents) from their existing five feet to nine feet.

“The recommended option,” explains PBOT in their five-page Draft Cross Section Recommendation document (PDF), “best addresses community input to date and meets the objectives of a safe and balanced multi-modal street that serves both local and district trips and supports the economic vitality of local businesses and the redevelopment of underutilized sites along Foster Rd.”

With the addition of standard (un-buffered) six-foot bike lanes and the lane reconfigurations, PBOT says, “there would be a significant increase in safety and convenience in cycling, walking and riding transit along and across Foster Rd.” The new cross-section would also reduce speeding since there would no longer be a passing lane for automobile users. PBOT also says that even with the lane reconfiguration, there would not be added auto congestion in the Foster corridor. Their models predict that up to thirty percent of Foster auto traffic would divert to other arterials.

A major issue throughout this planning process was whether or not PBOT and the SAC would opt to use the space currently taken up by on-street auto parking. PBOT’s recommendation would maintain 94% — or over three hundred total spaces. Their recommendation calls for only twenty‐one on‐street auto parking spaces to be removed. According to PBOT surveys this parking is “little used.”

Below are the existing and recommended cross-section drawings released by PBOT yesterday:

Download the PDF of the Draft Recommendation here.

There were many options discussed in the past several months that would have offered a much different bicycling environment. There was talk of a cycle-track, a buffered bike lane, and even a center-median bike lane. The Foster United neighborhood blog shared more on these options in a post titled, Something better than bike lanes for SE Foster.

PBOT will discuss their recommendation at the upcoming Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting this Wednesday (10/23) at 6:00 pm at SE Works (7916 SE Foster Road, Suite 104).

— Learn more about this project on PBOT’s website and by reading our past coverage.

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

  • Paul October 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Wow! Bold move. So innovative. Sheesh

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    • A.K. October 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

      No kidding, this is really pathetic. Portland is not any sort of leader/innovator currently in driving better bike facilities.

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  • Chris I October 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Good compromise between all users. Hopefully this will go through.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Chris I,

      Unfortunately, I still don’t think this type of bicycle facility will appeal to everyone. Will families ride on it? If not, I think we’ve once missed a chance to have a project live up to our adopted policy goals. And as an auto user, what have I given up? The ability to speed? The ability to save a few seconds/minutes on my trip?

      While on my bike, this design provides me with the absolute minimum facility and I’m not sure I would ride here with my 8 and 10 year old daughters. So, we have moved from zero access to arguably inadequate access.

      However, while in my car, I still have nearly the exact same level of efficiency, comfort and access that I had before.

      Not sure we will really move the needle for cycling in Portland if this type of compromise is all we can muster.

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      • Todd Hudson October 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

        This is how democracy works – all stakeholders get input in the decision-making process. Yeah, that includes motorists.

        Should PBOT ignore and run roughshod over what the adjacent neighborhood associations want?

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        • Psyfalcon October 22, 2013 at 10:37 am

          Are neighborhood associations actually elected? I guess people do vote at the meetings, but that is different from the whole area having the chance to vote.

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          • Bob K October 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

            Neighborhood association board members are elected. If you don’t think they are representative, encourage people to run and to show up for the annual elections.

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          • was carless October 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm

            Funny, I have never seen a n’hood rep on my voters ballot before. Who the heck votes for these clowns?

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            • naess October 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

              perhaps if you actually got involved with your neighborhood then you would see the ballots these reps appear on…

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            • davemess October 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm

              Show up to a neighborhood meeting and find out.

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        • mikeybikey October 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

          Since neighborhood associations have zero accountability to people who might be injured on the road facility, then yes, PBOT should absolutely 100000% run roughshod over them or any other non-governing entity that doesn’t have legal and financial skin in the game. Especially if people’s lives or safety are on the line.

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          • Dave J. October 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

            More motorists than cyclists are injured on every road. What if PBOT used that fact to exclude cyclists from the conversation?

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          • Todd Hudson October 22, 2013 at 11:29 am

            We don’t live in a dictatorship where decision-making is unilateral, so that’s not possible.

            Foster has x lane width – to meet the ideals of cyclists *and* motorists *and* Foster businesses *and* adjacent residents requires a road width that is larger than x.

            Bike commuters are still a relatively small percentage of road users, so a road diet on this major arterial is still a win even though we didn’t get everything we wanted.

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          • davemess October 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

            Don’t have legal and financial skin in the game?!?!?! Are you joking? Neighborhoods and NA’s have their homes and lives in the game. They drive/bike/walk these roads every day. Their kids try to cross them. Their property values are also tied to them.

            Not to mention this new configuration will SIGNIFICANTLY improve safety for all modes of transportation.

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        • John Lascurettes October 22, 2013 at 11:03 am

          Civil design is not a democratic process.

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          • rainbike October 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

            And increasingly, our democracy is not civil.

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            • John Lascurettes October 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

              Don’t conflate them. Civil engineering and design should not be a democratic process. Democratic processes should be civil.

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              • rainbike October 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

                It was intended to be a cute turn of phrase. We can disagree about the level of public involvement that is appropriate for infrastructure design projects. Certainly many here expect that their voice should be heard.

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        • 9watts October 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

          “all stakeholders get input in the decision-making process. Yeah, that includes motorists.”

          Yeah but there could be a whole lot more stakeholders if we got rid of more cars (parked, speeding, inattentively operated, etc.). Were grandma or Jonathan’s daughters considered stakeholders in this process? I doubt it. But with reasonable speed limits and no door zone they could have been.

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      • BURR October 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

        Why settle for better/good when it’s not Copenhagen-perfect? Sheesh.

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        • davemess October 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm

          Amen. We should have held out for the pie in the sky version that we can’t afford and gotten nothing! That would have shown ’em!

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm

          IMO this has absolutely nothing to do with Copenhagen or Amsterdam. It’s a matter of simply having our projects live up to our policy goals.

          We are clearly stagnating here in Portland, both in the decisions being made about street projects and in actual ridership numbers. Therefore to me, the question each project should have to answer is this: Will it move the needle in terms of getting more people to try biking? 6 ft bike lanes next to two lanes of motor vehicles, IMO, will not.

          This is an incremental improvement — which is something that nearly every Portland politician, bureaucrat and advocate are just fine with. I personally don’t think we should be happy with incremental improvements when it comes to such a basic service like transportation. Providing comfortable and connected bikeways isn’t an optional “amenity”, it’s a basic service the city is responsible to provide.

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          • BURR October 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm

            I don’t think so. The biggest safety gains will come from better educated and trained motorists, lower speed limits, and better enforcement tools that can be used against motorists who threaten, injure or kill vulnerable road users, and not from some idealized engineered bike facility.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

              We agree BURR. We need all of the above IMO. And I want you and other folks to realize that I do see this as a positive step and it will make riding on SE Foster possible and better of course than it is now.

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          • Todd Hudson October 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

            Bike infrastructure is not stagnating (which is defined as inactivity). It’s just not keeping up at a pace which reflects your ideals.

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      • Oregon Mamacita October 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        Jonathan, please don’t take your family between SE Foster and 52 -58th.
        There are sidewalks lined by garbage cans and illegal “A” signs advertising Live Nude Dancers as well as strippers taking cigarette breaks in their thongs, on the picnic tables outside of Devils Point. Next to that, another illegal A sign and a private dance place, aka a “jack shack.”

        If the city removed parking in front of the jack shack on the south side of Foster, the pathetic old contractors who show up to buy sex with young women would have to walk a few blocks, and that would be healthy.

        Yeah, I bike around there- what we need is less selling of young women.
        Right now, only a sarcastic broad like myself can stand biking there.

        Bike lanes are the least of that stretch’s problems. Be careful you don’t slide on a condom into a mountain of cigarette butts.

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      • Craig Harlow October 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

        WAS the Transportation Bureau’s Bicycle Advisory Committee asked to weigh in on this project?

        I didn’t find the proposed posted speed limit here or on the project web page. Does anyone know what it will be? I think that anything above 25 MPH with an unprotected bike lane is regressive, and mostly useless for increasing ridership.

        This is the neighborhood where the mother of my three teenage kids lives, and those teens won’t be permitted to ride on Foster with this new design, except on the sidewalk (status quo).

        If cars are, in reality, driving at 30 to 45 MPH, and there’s no buffer from auto traffic (drifting distracted drivers) nor from parked car doors opening, then this is neither comfortable nor inviting to any but the very brave (or careless).

        My mind will change when the speed is lowered to the 20 MPH standard for a business district, which I guess it won’t be since this is a major arterial as well as a business district.

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        • davemess October 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

          I understood (having attended some meetings), that the speed limits won’t be changed. So 35 for most of it and 30 in the heart of Foster. The 3 lane design will cut speeding down though (at least most of us anticipate it will).

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          • davemess October 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm

            Apparently (after the meeting tonight) the city will look to drop the speed limit to 30 for this stretch. I consider that a win.

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            • 9watts October 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm

              I’ll say.
              thanks for the report.

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        • Nick Falbo October 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm


          The PBAC did review this, and they had expressed disappointment in the conventional bike lane design.

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          • Craig Harlow November 13, 2014 at 1:10 pm

            Thanks Nick.

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      • BURR October 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        I disagree completely. Sure, the city should be providing family friendly options – that’s what the neighborhood greenways and so forth are for.

        But they also need to provide direct, practical, convenient and safe faster routes on the arterials for more experienced cyclists. Don’t forget, those ‘fragile’ children will grow up one day, and have a lot more experience cycling by then, and they will be glad for the option.

        I really don’t understand why people are complaining about this design; many cyclists would welcome even this basic design on numerous other arterial streets in the city, Including SE Hawthorne, Sandy Blvd., and more.

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    • wsbob October 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

      A compromise alright, but not a particularly good one. I suppose it’s better than doing nothing. Little commitment to biking infrastructure that’s viable for a broad cross section of residents. The vision implemented in these recommended changes is very narrow.

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  • Dave J. October 22, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Any safety gains from reduced lanes for cars, and the added bike lane, will be offset by the resulting chaos from cramming all the vehicles that currently occupy two lanes into one.

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    • Elliot October 22, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Maybe if by chaos you mean calm. Have you visited Division since PBOT added bike lanes? It’s quite pleasant. Less speeding, no sudden lane changes. And many, many more bikes.

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      • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        The traffic counts on Division (less than 20K avg daily) actually warranted the lane reduction. Add 4-9k additional trips to what you see on Division today and that’s what we’re getting on Foster. There’s going to be much more conflict.

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        • paikikala October 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm

          If you add that much. In reality those unwilling to go the speed limit, or the speed of the slowest driver, will choose another path, like Holgate, or Powell.

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          • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

            Which is unfortunate in the case of Holgate, where there is a library and more than one major school crossing. In the case of Powell it’s unfortunate in that the facility is already so crappy, it’s not really fair to encourage even more crappiness.

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  • mikeybikey October 22, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Sigh. Another lost opportunity to provide safe access to all ages and abilities. The bike improvements exclude so many potential users, I’m not so sure it should even qualify as a transportation facility.

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  • Andrew Seger October 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Wow a six foot door lane…I hate when PBOT makes me feel like the VC crowd is totally on to something.

    I think I’d prefer a compromise whereby only half of foster gets awesome buffered bike lanes and the other half there’d be no changes at all. Better to take half a loaf of extra tastiness than this spongy safeway special half a loaf.

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    • BURR October 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Shows how little you understand about ‘the VC crowd’. They would be opposed to ALL bike-specific facilities, INCLUDING the proposed bike lanes.

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      • Andrew Seger October 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

        Is this better than nothing? I’m not sure, to be honest. I really like the holgate buffered bike lanes, but the backlash was tremendous and in hindsight I wish PBOT had handled things differently. Will people use a six foot bike lane wedged in between parked cars and will it be worth the negative reaction? I really don’t know.

        At one point there was an idea of having something awesome west of 82nd and nothing at all east of 82nd. If that’s still an option I’d take that in a heartbeat.

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        • BURR October 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm

          Six feet is more than the previous three to five foot standard width for bike lanes and is wide enough that you can remain in the bike lane and still be outside the ‘door zone’.

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        • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

          Yes, let’s be sure the poor, diverse people that have to deal with the most diversion and travel time increases get nothing out of this project. Excellent plan. /sarcasm

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    • davemess October 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Andrew did you read the part about how parking spots aren’t used very often? So there won’t be quite as much of a door zone as you might think.

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  • sean October 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Mixed feelings about this decision. Pleasantly surprised about the 84th to 90th bike lane. No cycle track means fewer groups can use it. How much more money would a cycle track be to paint from 52 to 72? Parking would largely be unaffected. Maybe for continuity sake PBOT decide to axe it. Baby steps.

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  • Ted Buehler October 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Two thumbs up. Not every facility needs to be soft and cushy — this is a no frills, classic road diet. 6′ bike lanes between 8′ parking lanes and 11′ driving lanes allows safe, high speed travel for folks going to and from downtown.

    Taking away two car lanes is a huge victory. & allocating the space now allows for future reassignment of that space as a cycletrack or protected bikeway, as proposed by Foster United. While stuff doesn’t get rebuilt very often, its still a possibility, and would only have financial resistance, not political resistance.

    And diagonals are especially important routes for bike facilities, because bicycle mode share is limited by travel time and travel energy. If the diagonals have facilities, it increases the potential bike commute mode share into downtown more than doing a zig-zag route in on north and west streets.

    Of the major diagonals —
    Cully — done.
    Foster — in the works.
    Barbur — folks are clamoring
    Sandy next?
    & do something about the entrance ramp on Greeley?

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    • Ted Buehler October 22, 2013 at 10:56 am

      I’ll also point out that a no-frills road diet is less expensive than a protected bikeway. And if there are limited funds, we’re better off as bicycle revolutionaries to have different types of projects around town — some protected bikeways of different designs (like Cully, NE Multnomah, SE Oak and Stark), but also to crank out the conventional bike lanes on road diets.

      There’s a cost to having high expectations for costly facilities.

      The rate of bike mode share increase will probably happen faster with, say, 10 conventional road diets implemented each year, than 3 separated bikeway facilities. There will be a larger number of drivers that will switch to bicycling with a larger number of conventional, well engineered bike lane projects, than with a smaller number of cycletrack projects.

      & safety of individual bicyclists is partly dictated by quality of infrastructure and separation from cars, but its also dictated by how many other bicyclists there are in town.

      Also, the cost of protected cycletracks is a lower speed facility for bicyclists. You can’t blaze along at 20 mph on Multnomah, like you can in a conventional bike lane. And if we want people living in Lents to commute to downtown by bike, making it time-competitive with other modes is important.

      My $0.02
      Ted Buehler

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      • davemess October 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        Thank you Ted!

        As cycling grows we are going to have to have varying streets as well. This is an arterial. I’m sorry but I don’t know that it is meant to be safe to take a kid to learn to ride a bike there. We have lower trafficked streets (granted not as many as we need in this area), that can serve other crowds looking for a less stress and risk. The idea of taking a major auto-centered arterial and turning it into the Springwater Corridor (really far outer where there isn’t much traffic) is a tough sell (especially when the money isn’t there).

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

          I disagree with you completely. I guess it’s because when I look at road users, I don’t see any difference between people whether they are in a car or on a bike… So when I see vastly different conditions for each type of user, it concerns me.

          This arterial should be great for biking on for the exact same reason it is currently so popular for driving on – because it provides access to destinations and connections to other places.

          I never said anything about creating a multi-use path like the Springwater on an arterial… Cities in the U.S. and all over Europe are creating high-quality, protected space for cycling on arterial streets. The fact that Portland is afraid and/or unwilling/unable to do it is something I am very concerned about.

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          • davemess October 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

            Jonathan, if you don’t see any difference between users, then why do you have a problem with varied infrastructure for cyclists, as we have variety of infrastructure for cars (highways versus state highways versus arterials versus neighborhood streets)? Cars have this variety of roads based on how fast/far they want to go. Why can’t we have that for bikes too?

            i get that you want to get more people on bike. i do to. But I a pragmatist, and the options here were go with this recommended cross section, or do nothing and keep waiting years (maybe decades) for a cyclepath (which still has it’s own set of problems).

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

              Jonathan, if you don’t see any difference between users, then why do you have a problem with varied infrastructure for cyclists, as we have variety of infrastructure for cars (highways versus state highways versus arterials versus neighborhood streets)? Cars have this variety of roads based on how fast/far they want to go. Why can’t we have that for bikes too?

              When I bike, I already have varied types of facilities and I’ve never said we shouldn’t. We have off-street paths, cycle tracks, buffered lanes, n’hood greenways, and so on. I happen to think that on major commercial streets we need major bicycle access.

              i get that you want to get more people on bike. i do to. But I a pragmatist, and the options here were go with this recommended cross section, or do nothing and keep waiting years (maybe decades) for a cyclepath (which still has it’s own set of problems).

              You assume that “do nothing and keep waiting for years” is the only other option to getting anything. I don’t. IMO it’s partly because of that type of attitude that our current state of stagnation exists.

              We (as a city) have the option of framing these projects and working toward/demanding a more aggressive growth curve for cycling and taking the actions necessary to see it happen. Every time we fail to create high-quality space for bicycling in a major corridor, that growth curve flattens out.

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              • davemess October 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm

                I disagree, I see ALL cycling infrastructure growth as exactly that: growth. “Those who want to fly must first learn to walk”
                I understand many want big, bold change. But this is a HUGE change to street that has been broken for decades.
                I guess I’m not a visionary, but I see a need to push for more basic bike infrastructures (including pedestrian facilities like sidewalks etc.) first, and then improving down the road (like the slow slow process we’re seeing on Williams (which I agree could/should be moving much faster)).

                I understand what you are saying. But honestly I don’t know if the area is ready for a cycletrack (we’ve seen enough opposition to the current proposal).

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        • wsbob October 22, 2013 at 10:45 pm

          “…I’m sorry but I don’t know that it is meant to be safe to take a kid to learn to ride a bike there. …” davemess

          Bike infrastructure that people have reason to feel safe to transport a kid on, or accompany them on their own bike is a great objective. How well people feel a bike lane directly adjoining a major thoroughfare, meets this objective is something to think about.

          About the best that can be said about the viability of the planned bike lanes for Foster, is that between a choice of towing a child in a bike trailer in the main lane itself, and having a bike lane to tow the child in, the bike lane is the lesser of evils…but I think it’s still infrastructure many parents will have great reservations about using to tow their kids or even escort them on their own bikes.

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      • Dan Morrison October 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        Exactly. The people clamoring for their 8 year old kids to have access should probably recommend their kids stay off streets like Foster entirely. It’s not revolutionary, but it helps a major road convey car and bike traffic a lot more efficiently and safely all while requiring relatively little expense. I think this will be a great success.

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    • eli bishop October 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

      yes to all of this. next: SANDY PLEASE!

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  • daisy October 22, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Streetcar ready means a streetcar might/will go in eventually? I think that might make cycling worse, since many people don’t like driving over tracks. It can be confusing, and then sometimes those folks end up in the bike lane.

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  • spare_wheel October 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I want to point out that many copenhamsterdamistas were very critical of the buffered bike lane option. Could it be that a rigid and divisive approach to infrastructure (in the context of limited resources) is actually harmful? Could it be that this ideological rigidity is one of the reasons that PDX is stagnating?

    PS: I am on record as supporting a buffered bike lane OR an in-road cycle track for foster.

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    • BURR October 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Exactly! Once again ‘perfect’ (in the minds of the copenhamsterdamistas) is the enemy of good/better.

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      • Spencer Boomhower October 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm

        Personally I can live with the “good” as long as it doesn’t get in the way of continued movement toward the “perfect.” (Only there’s no such thing as perfect, so let’s say: the vastly improved.)

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        • Alex Reed October 23, 2013 at 7:38 am

          Personally, I don’t think door-zone bike lanes on a heavily trafficked, 35 mph street count as “good.” I can agree on “better than nothing” though!

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    • Alex Reed October 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

      Yeah, where’s our buffered bike lane? I would love to see parking removal in the 72nd – 82nd area (where the on-street parking is rarely used) to make room for an awesome buffered bike lane or cycletrack lite.

      Also, do the motor-vehicle-oriented lanes really need to be 11′ in the rest of the design? 10′ motor-vehicle-oriented lanes could make space for a 5′ bike lane + 2′ buffer design. If the streetcar ever arrives, we can repaint the lanes to be 11′ with very little money.

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      • Ben October 22, 2013 at 11:38 am

        11-foot lanes mean we won’t be squished by the 14 every time it goes by.

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        • Alex Reed October 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

          A 2-foot buffer next to a 5-foot bike lane would do that too plus give us more breathing room from cars and/or car doors.

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      • paikikala October 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm

        11 foot lanes are needed for buses and freight, unless you like mirrors to the back of the head.

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  • Brad Reber October 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Am I missing something? Looks like the plans jump from 80th to 84th. Do we lose the bike lane right when we’re getting to 82nd?

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    • Bob K October 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

      Unfortunately the intersection at 82nd Avenue has physical constraints and ODOT rules about volumes of vehicles turning right so bikes will either have to mix with traffic to get through the intersection or they will have to bail to the sidewalks. Far from perfect but my understanding is they will try to maintain the bike lanes as close to the intersection as possible and guide the transition through striping.

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    • Nick Falbo October 22, 2013 at 11:34 am

      The intersection with 82nd is a tricky tricky thing.

      PBOT has proposed a “mixing zone” similar in design to what you see on NE Multnomah where through bicycle traffic share the lane with right turning cars.

      It’s far from ideal, but it’s better than nothing. Even so, I suspect most bicyclists will mount onto the sidewalk and cross with pedestrians rather than ride in the shared lane.

      I think this crossing is worthy of more attention than it could get during this process, and I’ll be advocating for PBOT to collaborate with ODOT and implement a separate project dedicated to improving this crossing beyond what this plan recommends.

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      • Brad Reber October 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

        Thanks Nick and Bob K for the answers. I thought it might be an ODOT thing. I always get a sad whenever ODOT treats me as though I don’t deserve any of their valuable roadway but I guess I’ll just try to keep my chin up and maybe one day I’ll make them proud and they’ll love me too.

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  • Ted Buehler October 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Here’s another link to the cycletrack plan proposed by Foster United —

    & while I agree that cycletracks would make the street accessible for kids and families and all, it would not be as suitable for downtown commuters as bike lanes.

    I don’t think it would be a bad thing, or a bad tradeoff, to have fabulous cycletracks instead of no frills bike lanes.

    But if its going to be relatively easy to convince the city to put in bike lanes now, rather than waiting through 4 years of funding and design cycles for the possibility of cycletracks that may or may not be as wide and well engineered as the ones on the Foster United page, I think there’s a compelling argument to give the bike lanes 2 thumbs up, here and now.

    Ted Buehler

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    • wsbob October 22, 2013 at 11:29 am

      “…& while I agree that cycletracks would make the street accessible for kids and families and all, it would not be as suitable for downtown commuters as bike lanes. …” Ted Buehler

      How well a cycle track would work for downtown commuters depends in part upon how fast the downtown commuters are traveling. The word from across the ocean seems to be that where they exist, use of cycle tracks for commuting is the rule, rather than the exception, and that they’re also very suitable for kids and families as well. Of course, caveats may go along with the word about cycle tracks.

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      • Ted Buehler October 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm

        wbbob wrote:
        “How well a cycle track would work for downtown commuters depends in part upon how fast the downtown commuters are traveling. The word from across the ocean…”

        Portland has lower densities, people travel farther to work on the average.

        For bicycling to be time-competitive, Portland bicyclists need to travel faster than their European counterparts. It’s no biggie — look at those Copenhagen videos, its a bunch of healthy people putzing along at a much lower speed then their bodies can handle. Not to mention its a better workout riding at 18 mph than 10.

        If you live in Lents and need to pick up 2 kids at preschool by the 5:30 deadline so you don’t need to pay a late fee, then being able to boogie along at 18 mph from 50th and Clinton to 87th and Woodstock, mostly on a diagonal street, will get you there on time.

        Compare to the existing recommended route of Clinton/52nd/Woodward/65th/Center/80th/Boise/87th/Cora/88th/Elis/87th. Which won’t.

        Or, if you want higher speeds for a good workout, its 10.2 miles from the Hawthorn Bridge to 87th and Woodstock on the Springwater on the Willamette/Springwater Corridor, vs 6.2 via Ladds, Clinton, 50th and Foster.

        Ted Buehler

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        • wsbob October 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm

          “…For bicycling to be time-competitive, Portland bicyclists need to travel faster than their European counterparts. It’s no biggie — look at those Copenhagen videos, its a bunch of healthy people putzing along at a much lower speed then their bodies can handle. Not to mention its a better workout riding at 18 mph than 10. …” Ted Buehler

          Oh, that’s funny! Getting some of the creaky aunts and uncles, grannies and grampas, bike-phobic travel by car only moms and dads, on a bike is an accomplishment; somehow getting them them to whip it up to 18 mph for any length of time would be a major accomplishment. Remember: this is the United States of Fat, Lethargic America. You’re at least optimistic.

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          • Ted Buehler October 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm

            wsbob —

            There’s lots of well engineered neighborhood greenways in that part of SE. All the newbie, wobbly, young, old and timid riders have a whole network of well designed greenways to get to their destinations. They can use Foster for a couple blocks to find the fruit market, hair salon, Verison store, or whatever they’re looking for.

            Portland bicycle infrastructure development has been on a big “inclusivity” kick for a couple years now. Overall its an extremely positive thing. 10 years ago it was only the “strong and motivated” who could get around on a bike, now its the “interested but curious.”

            But, what’s been left out of this equation is that the “strong and motivated” as bicyclists have a distinctly different set of operating preferences and preferred infrastructure designs than the “interested but curious.”

            And if we make all bikeways they cater to the newbies, it, by definition, excludes those who want to get somewhere in a hurry and are willing to ride on a well engineered bike lane on a busy street.

            I spend a lot of time riding to points along MLK between Fremont and Lombard. I can putz along on the neighborhood streets, or, late at night, I bomb down MLK. I get there a heck of a lot faster on MLK, and have a lot more fun. Speed and fun are motivators for engaging in an activity. Putzing and being frustrated are not.

            Ted Buehler

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            • davemess October 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm

              Actually there aren’t that many well-enginered Greenways in the area.
              But I agree with you premise of different facilities for different types of riders.

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            • wsbob October 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

              Ted…sure, I agree that that “strong and motivated” riders…people that want to motate at 15 mph and faster, may feel restricted on cycle tracks. While I don’t have personal experience riding in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, etc., I’ve closely followed some discussions involving residents of those cities that are familiar with and have used the biking infrastructure there.

              One of the big questions people have about cities that have separated cycle tracks, is whether people still ride road main lanes nevertheless. Answer from discussion residents, was ‘yes’, people that want to travel on their bikes at higher speeds than is typical of that in the cycle track, do ride the main lanes.

              Same situation could apply to thoroughfares such as Foster. People that are fast, self assured and streetwise, could likely still ride the main lanes. With a cycle track available also, a much larger range of riders…and potential riders…would possibly find riding a bike to where they need to go, a viable option to motor vehicle travel.

              Some people fault them of course, but I feel that bike lanes are a great aid to road use for people that travel by bike, and those that travel by motor vehicle as well. One of the best things I think bike lanes can do, is provide an area on the road for a fast, self assured rider to move over into as needed, to help keep faster motor vehicle traffic from backing up. I think also though, that bike lanes often are seriously lacking in being able to provide the relatively safe, non-threatening riding situation that many people feel the need for.

              Thoroughfares such as Foster really should probably have both a bike lane and a cycle track.

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    • spare_wheel October 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      and ted conveniently omits the “buffered bike lane” option. this option is just as inexpensive and practical as a conventional bike lane but is far more conducive to both traffic calming and increases in mode share. maybe some day PBOT staff and the city government will grow some ovaries/balls and be able to take a little heat from motorists accustomed to subsidized vehicle storage.

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      • Ted Buehler October 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

        Spare — are you proposing:
        8′ parking lane
        5′ bike lane
        2′ buffer
        10′ car lane
        10′ center lane
        10′ car lane
        2′ buffer
        5′ bike lane
        8′ parking lane?

        It’s okay, but I don’t prefer it over the existing proposal.
        * it puts bikes closer to parked cars, which is not good
        * it narrows the car lanes, which is good
        * it adds extra areas of slippery thermoplast when merging in and out of the car lane, which is not good.

        I’m always a little concerned drivers will treat the buffer as driving space. Does anyone see this happening?

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        • spare_wheel October 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm

          getting rid of parking on one side would allow for door-zone free buffered bike lanes that would encourage people like my partner to ride foster.

          a conventional bike lane next to 40+ mph cut-through traffic is the epitome of bad design.

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          • Ted Buehler October 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm

            spare — you’re saying something like:
            6′ bike lane
            4′ buffer
            11′ driving lane
            10′ center lane
            11′ driving lane
            4′ buffer
            6′ bike lane
            8′ parking lane

            This is the profile from Figure 1 above, 60′ curb to curb. With one of the 8′ parking lanes removed, and split evenly into 2 4′ buffers.

            I’m all in favor of this, if it can be achieved. But, I still hold that if this would risk having so much pushback from business owners that it might fall flat on its face, or delay the project for a couple years and ultimately get watered down, that we’re infinitely better taking the 6′ lanes with no buffer and moving on to the next urban arterial calming project.

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            • davemess October 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

              That’s exactly the issue Ted. Cyclists/Peds and others have gotten A LOT from the project and it becomes a question of how much more do you keep pushing….

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              • davemess October 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

                I should add that it seems like the business community on Foster has been quite silent/absent on the issue. Very few have voiced concerns at the meetings I’ve been to.

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          • Brett Holycross October 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm

            How about maintaining street parking only on one side between 52nd and 80th, but thoughtfully alternating between each side as commercial densities dictate?

            i.e.: 52nd – 56th = south (SW) side, 56th-60th = north (NE) side, 60th-63rd/Holgate = south, Holgate-70th = north side, 70th-77th = south side,
            77th-80th = north side.

            This would allow enough room for a buffered bike lane and help calm the street by placing some slight bends in the road as the street parking sides switch. Just a thought.

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          • spare_wheel October 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm

            I just want to note that now that I’ve learned that PBOT has proposed speed limit changes I am more supportive of the 6 foot bike lane option.

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  • 9watts October 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Once cars dry up and blow away we can take over even more of the street width. Looks like an improvement over what we have now. Bold? Not really. But I bike on Foster now; this will be an improvement.

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  • Terry D October 22, 2013 at 11:27 am

    This is going to be primarily a commuting corridor and for local retail access. Those who who need less off putting facilities can use alternative greenways as long as a few crossings of Foster are Integrated into the plans. Overall, this is an EXCELLENT compromise I think as it will speed access to Lincoln-Salmon via the 50’s bikeway whenever it gets built and allow for quick connections between neighborhoods. Not all facilities can cater to all users. If a street car ever gets built, maybe then the neighborhoods will be ready to eliminate parking and add a more robust protected bikeway if demand dictates. This design should increase bike mode share enormously as it stands.

    We need to make sure when the specific intersections are designed that the crossings of 67th, 72nd/Raymond/Mitchel, 77th, and Ellis/82nd are SAFE for ALL users so we can have residential active transportation access to each stretch of Foster. Due to the diagonal nature, this is tricky (Particularly Mitchel-Raymond and Ellis) but still do-able. This greenway grid map shows what we are talking about.

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  • Ben October 22, 2013 at 11:42 am

    What Foster desperately needs is improved pedestrian safety, which this plan prioritizes. I’m thrilled to see wider sidewalks in Lents, and an end to the double-danger of braving four lanes to cross the street. I’d be happier to see parking removed along the length of the street and replaced with a wider/buffered lane, but I’ll take this for now. No one’s saying we can’t continue to push for more facilities in the future.

    Now what’s up with the 52nd Avenue bikeway, which seems to be over a year behind schedule?

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    • davemess October 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      There was an article about it a few weeks back. Synopsis: They didn’t get low enough bids to build it on schedule.

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      • spare_wheel October 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        let’s not spin this. it’s indefinitely postponed.

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        • davemess October 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

          I’ve heard conflicting reports. So I’m not sure.

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  • jd October 22, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I live in Foster-Powell, and this looks like a huge improvement for bikes and, out east, pedestrians. The median bike lane idea was awesome, but cycle-track and buffered bike lane seem like they require a lot of restructuring to make them actually safe for bikes. I would love to be corrected on this point, but track and buffered always strike me as a combination of decreased visibility and a sense of total safety that would lead to deadly right hooks.

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    • spare_wheel October 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      i don’t think there is much difference between an 8-9 foot buffered bike lane and a 6 foot bike lane when it comes to right hooks.

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  • BIKELEPTIC October 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I visited Salt Lake City back in August 2011 when they completed their TRAX line and was able to do a tour of the bus and bike lane installments of which I had been on the earlier planning committees in the previous years. I was thrilled with many of the improvements that they made. One of which that I liked was that they moved some bus and TRAX stops to center raised islands so buses from both side of the street can access them. This also created a center street curb. If we did that and then one motor vehicle lane on either side (with turn signal relays at intersections) and then bike lanes, THEN the curb cut parking. This design of course isn’t really efficient for Foster as there isn’t a bus or the potential of light rail (omg amazing!) going down it for a long period. Plus it’s an artery. Not meant to be a greenway. Would I love to see this implemented somewhere in Portland? Yes, of course. I also feel that Foster, while traffic needs to be calmed because it’s NOT a freeway, this is a compromise. It’s a meh. But a compromise.

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  • Granpa October 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Once cars dry up and blow away .
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    Won’t happen. Batteries with 500 mile ranges will be invented and electric cars will replace internal combustion power. People won’t give up the autonomy. In much of the country housing/ commercial layout can only be accessed by car.

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    • 9watts October 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      You just keep insisting.

      “People won’t give up the autonomy.”

      This isn’t about what people will or won’t stand for. It is about the crumbs we’ll be left with in a few years. Where does the electricity come from? M-hm.

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      • davemess October 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm

        Just like you keep insisting that the end of cars is “just around the corner”.

        The bottom line is that the automobile and personal transportation is VERY ingrained in US culture. It will take cataclysmic events to abruptly stop that. Even with scarcity of energy, people will be scrambling to find a way to keep cars going.

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        • 9watts October 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

          “It will take cataclysmic events to abruptly stop that. E[specially] with scarcity of energy, people will be scrambling to find a way to keep cars going.”

          We’re due for both, shortly.

          “Just like you keep insisting that the end of cars is ‘just around the corner’.”

          Fair enough, but only one of us will turn out to have been right. 🙂

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          • Grandpa October 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

            The rich aren’t going away. They are getting richer. The poor have just enough, and just enough hope in upward mobility to keep them from massing in the streets. Black bandana gutter punk anarchists who do take to the streets are considered by the authorities and public alike to be a criminal element. Middle class liberals who see and suffer injustice are jaded. Remember 50,000 marchers in the streets in Portland alone before the Iraq war? that resulted in nothing! Meanwhile sales of Mercedes and Audi are strong. Young people still lust for BMWs and Porsches and they pursue careers that afford them that luxury. Most of those people would feed you or help you if you were in need. (unless you wore a black bandana and came off as an ssshole who despises their “success”). Desiring wealth and comfort and working through the economy to get it does not damn people as selfish or evil.

            There may well be a catastrophic event that pushes global society over a tipping point, but it is unlikely that it will be transportation related. The money is too deeply entrenched to allow their interests to be compromised by disaffected societal critics who are eager to dance on the graves of the successful and pick on the bones of their accomplishments. My guess is a pandemic. Get a flu shot.

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            • 9watts October 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

              “There may well be a catastrophic event that pushes global society over a tipping point, but it is unlikely that it will be transportation related.”

              The event won’t be the result of something transportation related but the fallout will affect everything that relies on fossil fuels, which is just about everything these days (except biking and walking).

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              • Dave October 23, 2013 at 11:39 am

                The US is currently sitting on a mountain of fossil fuel reserves.

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              • 9watts October 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

                And they are all going to go into decline in the next few years:
                “Even if Unconventional production can help the world meet future demand growth in the medium term, we may be storing up trouble for the future. Conventional oilfields have a relatively moderate decline curve. Deepwater oilfields often decline more quickly, due to the inability of companies to work over sub-sea wells. Unconventional oil wells decline even faster (gas even more so). Thus it is possible that Unconventionals could be a short-lived resource on an historical scale, offering the illusion of energy security only for production to collapse faster than ever. We could end up with an even shorter “warning window” as the last of the fields deplete. I expect to hear more about Unconventional depletion as the segment matures.”


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              • 9watts November 3, 2013 at 7:06 pm

                “The US is currently sitting on a mountain of fossil fuel reserves.”

                a smallish mountain, perhaps.

                “Many wells behind the energy gush are quickly losing productivity, and some areas could hit peak levels sooner than the U.S. government expects, according to analyses presented last week at a Geological Society of America meeting in Denver.”

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      • Terry D October 23, 2013 at 9:07 am

        Solar power costs have decrease 99% since the 70’s and continue to drop. Once a smart grid is up and running, and some of the new baseline electrical solar-thermal generation goes on-line, combined with pricing carbon capitalist economics will create private auto transportation affordable to those in the professional classes as they always have done since the advent of the Model T.

        I do not see the number of vehicles in this city dropping much over the next generation. Our population will increase significantly, but the demise of the automobile that I have been hoping for since the 1990’s I do not think will happen. Between technological developments, driver-less cabs and battery technology individual automobile ownership will still be accessible to the professional classes unless we have a complete economic breakdown.

        Road diets like this though, if done throughout the city, will slow commute times enough that driving into downtown for work and play will become more and more difficult to do if “in a hurry.” If we make it more expensive to own a car in the city and start to directly manage on street parking, the “least used” ones will switch to car sharing and we can re-allocate parking and driving lane space for bike infrastructure.

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    • Chris I October 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Exactly. The pudgy masses are not going to give up their climate-controlled assist vehicles easily.

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      • 9watts October 22, 2013 at 6:08 pm

        The pudgy masses won’t be running their cars on willpower.

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  • Nick October 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    How does this address chronic speeding? The bike lane will be pretty sparsely populated, and car drivers will be left with a relatively wide, open swath of road on which to feel confident slamming the gas pedal. This problem exhibits itself on N Denver. Even relatively sedate drivers routinely speed because it’s so straight, wide, and open. Low confidence bike riders want nothing to do with bike lanes like these.

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    • Nick October 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      clarification: I mean N Denver between Lombard and Kilpatrick.

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    • davemess October 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      You’re talking about a MUCH more trafficked street in Foster. There won’t be lots of open road. Are you anticipating people passing on the right in the bike and parking lanes? I haven’t seen that to be a major problem in Portland, but who knows there are some nuts out there.

      The lane reduction will limit speeding (as others have already mentioned has happened on Division). As I understood it the speed limit was off the table for the SAC.

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  • Case October 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Stop the presses! More innovation from a LAB Platinum city!
    Too bad really, this was a chance to increase the reach of a low/no car Portland further to the east. But where would we all park?!?

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    • Case October 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      After reading the other comments here, I wonder why it’s assumed that Foster should be a major commuting road. Is it because that’s what it is for cars? I live in this neighborhood and I take neighborhood bikeways all the way to my job in Montgomery Park. It takes me the same amount of time on those as it does in my car on arterials. So would I go faster by commuting on arterial streets, probably not, so why do it? What I would have liked to see this project as an investment in Foster Road as a destination for business and commerce, not a high speed commuting pass through like Cully. I think the city just failed to take the long view on this issue.

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      • spare_wheel October 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        I use direct and signalled arterials as my high-speed cycling routes every day. Well-designed bike infrastructure would only encourage more people who cycle to do so.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu October 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    A significant step foward, I think. Six-foot bike lanes are a lot better, on an arterial like Foster, than riding in the traffic lane. Dieting 4 traffic lanes to 3 is a big deal. And it is a realistic plan that we can actually afford and execute now – not a more ambitious plan that will stay “on paper” for many years.

    If in the coming several years Foster does see significantly increased bike traffic along with no intolerable problems for auto traffic, the next step can be a parking diet and buffered cyclepaths. The heaviest lift – taking away a traffic lane – will have been done.

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  • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I’m non-plussed by the process and the outcome. Right now I’m just trying to mitigate the burden and damages to the existing populations and improvements in our neighborhood that this project is going to cause. (increased travel times, deleting 3-6 feet of our brand new streescape features, increasing pedestrian crossing distances, and still leaving us with sub-standard facilities).

    This is a project designed by, advocated for and benefiting no one but younger, wealthier, physically fit white people – and most of them are male.

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    • MP October 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      I would imagine that the elderly person of color trying to navigate her wheelchair between 82nd and 90th would consider having wider sidewalks without utility poles in the way as a benefit. Yes?

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      • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        And we only got to that point because the folks from east of 82nd had to pitch a fit to even get 9 ft sidewalks. We wanted 12 ft (standard). If we hadn’t be insistent, the project would have moved ahead doing little but striping a bike lane and leaving the crappy 3-6 ft sidewalks as-is.

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        • Terry D October 23, 2013 at 8:49 am

          I live on a high crash corridor with 18,000 vehicles a day that is a high frequency bus route. We have FOUR foot sidewalks right now with a 2 foot planting strip. Walking to the store in the morning is like walking next to a freeway. Two wheelchairs can not even pass. I would LOVE a six foot sidewalk and a three foot planting strip. This would be an enormous improvement. We are a highly dense area a half mile from the MAX stop with this substandard level of pedestrian service.

          Sometimes you can not get everything and you have to compromise for the better good. For Foster to work as a bikeway it needs to have conductivity from one end to the other. Making the same mistake that was made with Interstate and Woodstock and intentionally creating a “bike lane gap” would be repeating history that has not worked.

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          • Cora Potter October 23, 2013 at 10:13 am

            Terry – the existing sidewalks in the 84th – 90th area, [which the original plan and the plan update that had been the trajectory of the current committee process up until we (being the folks from Lents on the committee) put our foots down about 2 months ago had been to leave the current sidewalks ] are average 5 ft (they’re 3.5 feet in some places and slightly wider than 5 in others which averages out – thus the 3-6 comment) and have no planting strips and in many places have utilities smack dab in the middle that a person on foot has to turn sideways to get around – all next to 29,000 cars a day that are going 35 mph.

            Given part of the project (everything past 87th) is in a city pedestrian district where a standard sidewalk is 14 feet, and the rest is a city pedestrian corridor where the standard sidewalk is 12 feet, and 90% of the sidewalks to the west meet or exceed the standard (17.5 feet in the area that was slated to see most of the investment) I think it’s reasonable that we not settle for whatever costs the project budget the least so they can save money for things like sculptures and fancy streetlamps.

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    • Nick Falbo October 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      It’s a little extreme to say that it will “benefit no one but …”

      A three lane Foster will be ridiculously safer than a 4-lane Foster. Those safety benefits will apply whether you are old or young, poor or wealthy, physically able or not, white or nonwhite, male or female.

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      • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        The only difference is taking out an auto lane in each direction -yes, that will be easier to cross for some people. But, the crossing distances are still just as wide. So, ridiculously safer …I don’t think that’s quite accurate. Somewhat safer yes. As safe as it could have been without the bike lanes, no.

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        • davemess October 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

          Unless you ride a bike! (and yes we already know that your neighborhood (at least you and Nick) are convinced that no one rides bikes in Lents)

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        • davemess October 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

          Not to mention the project was required to add bike facilities?

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          • Cora Potter October 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm

            It wasn’t required – the bike bill actually only kicked in where they had to widen the sidewalks (ie East of 82nd).

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    • spare_wheel October 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      “This is a project designed by, advocated for and benefiting no one but younger, wealthier, physically fit white people – and most of them are male.”

      You are confusing nopo with fopo.

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      • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        If you think that’s the case you should take a closer look at FoPo. Just because all the chinese speaking folks that actually live east of 82nd go to the Holgate library, it doesn’t mean FoPo is diverse. It’s getting whiter and whiter every day.

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    • Chris I October 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      You complain about the city leadership ignoring east Portland, and then, when they finally decide to invest some money in a dangerous east Portland street, you complain about the results? Don’t expect much help in the future with that attitude.

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    • Oregon Mamacita October 24, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Cora, you hit the nail on the head, again. Please run for office- Mamacita will knock on doors for you.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu October 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Cora Potter
    I’m non-plussed by the process and the outcome. Right now I’m just trying to mitigate the burden and damages to the existing populations and improvements in our neighborhood that this project is going to cause. (increased travel times, deleting 3-6 feet of our brand new streescape features, increasing pedestrian crossing distances, and still leaving us with sub-standard facilities).
    This is a project designed by, advocated for and benefiting no one but younger, wealthier, physically fit white people – and most of them are male.

    Recommended 0

    Why will the existing streetscape be affected much? It looks like the existing curb line is largely unchanged. The eastern section is supposed to get more sidewalk, if I read the cross-sections correctly.

    Pedestrian crossing distance should be unchanged and it will be much safer to cross one traffic lane in each direction than to cross the existing two lanes in each direction.

    As for who this will benefit – 31% of bike riders in Portland are female (a little higher in the SE), so better bike facilities benefit both genders. I don’t think Portland’s utility bike riders (I mean people who use bikes to get to work, shop, run errands) skews significantly toward higher income or white. I would believe that group skews toward physically fitter, but what is cause and what is effect there? And I imagine all pedestrians benefit from safer crossing.

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    • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      The lane transitions between 92nd and 89th and completing the bike lane connections at 89th mean they’re going to shave 3-6 feet off our (NICE) sidewalks and landscaped pedestrian island/crossing. So, yes, the crossing distance will be increased here – a place we took great care to make very safe to cross because it’s in the middle of our pedestrian/commercial district at a spot where drivers aren’t quite mentally adjusted to non-freeway speeds yet.

      And, given that the crossing distances would have been 12 ft shorter (bike lanes have to be crossed) in the original streetscape plan because the curb extensions could go where bike lanes will now be placed, that’s an increase too- and on a 90 ft right of way with few signalized intersections, that’s a big deal.

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      • Ted Buehler October 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm

        Good point that Foster now has regularly spaced crossing islands all along its length (as I recall). And they’re not shown in any of these pretty diagrams as assets. So on many places on Foster pedestrians only need to cross two lanes of traffic at a time. Now they’ll need to cross three.

        Based on other road diets and road safety improvements, though, I’d predict that crossing Foster will become easier for all pedestrians, including the slow and wobbly ones, if the proposed changes are made. It feels like a speedway when driving it now, there’s something about 4 lanes, undivided that makes people drive fast and make risky lane changes. And this will be considerably different after the change. Not to mention that you won’t need to worry about getting clobbered by a car in the far lane after the car in the near lane has stopped for you (won’t be a problem anymore with only 1 lane of traffic in each direction).

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        • davemess October 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm

          I think almost all the current pedestrian islands will stay (and a few more might be added).

          This also has the added benefit of making sure the center lane is a turning lane and not a passing lane.

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        • paikikala October 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm

          Yeah, I don’t follow your math. If, with an island, they now cross 2 at a time, then, after the diet, they’ll cross one at a time, not three. Otherwise, your comparing two different locations.

          A center turn lane is a much easier place to put a refuge island than removing parking.

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          • Cora Potter October 23, 2013 at 11:39 am

            Except you can’t accommodate space for a left turning auto AND a ped island at intersections. With a three lane configuration, you have to eliminate the ped islands where they block turning autos.

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            • Psyfalcon October 23, 2013 at 11:50 am

              Sure you can. Powell of all roads has a few. You do need “no left turn” signs though, for about half of them.

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  • Andy K October 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    A redesigned bicycle segment is only as good as its weakest link. The intersection at 82nd needs more than a mixing zone.

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  • chasingbackon October 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I live in the 72nd and Foster neighborhood and this street change will be awesome. Sorry it doesn’t meet the ideals or goals some people have in mind, but like Division, which I have recently started riding regularly, this will be far safer and easy to use for many cyclist and pedestrians. As expressed by some other forum members, I’ll take the bike improvements, thanks.

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  • Cora Potter October 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    N Denver at Schoeffied (block before Kilpatrick) only has a ADT of around 3500 in each direction / 7k total. That’s significantly less traffic than what is on Foster.

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  • dwainedibbly October 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    On one hand, two lanes of travel are given up in some areas and 2 lanes of parking are given up in others. Those are big wins. The problem is that the space gained is used very poorly.

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  • gutterbunnybikes October 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Great news.

    Remember folks, once completed this will be the biggest commercial district on the east side with direct bicycle access. And though I’d love a cycle track, this is a great first step.

    Once people realize that hardly anyone ever actually parks on Foster that space can be taken as well in the future. I’m not sure why they kept the street parking. Most the businesses have parking lots, the ones that don’t people tend to park on the side streets and walk in.

    If traffic behaves anything like Division has so far traffic will slow down. It hardly ever gets over 35 mph on Division now, often its more like 30. And there has been definitely a significant increase in bike traffic, though how much of it is stealing from Woodward isn’t clear to me, but there is a lot more bike traffic on Division.

    Its a great first step, and it’s going to be a game changer (for the better) for Lents and Foster/Powell in general.

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    • Terry D October 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      The city is hoping long term that the parking lots become mixed use higher density developments, hence they will need on street parking for teaser spaces for storefront commercial. When you do a streetscape like this, you do not plan on coming back with any more investment for a generation at least unless something big like a streetcar comes along.

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  • Amy October 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve lived on SE 54th and Foster for nearly ten years and I am THRILLED with this development. All you kvetchers… sheesh.

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  • Doug Klotz October 22, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Despite being standard bike lanes, I think we should be celebrating this choice. It had to be difficult politically for PBOT to endorse a road diet from 4-3 lanes in the eastern sections of Foster. Not ideal bike facilities, but as pointed out, some of it is areas with no adjacent parking, and in some the parking is only on one side. (and as was pointed out, underused in all areas). I think PBOT needs to hear support for the road diet, to balance those who are concerned about the auto traffic effects.

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  • Max October 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Wow, looks like we’re getting another Barbur Blvd — obsolete before it’s even implemented.

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    • davemess October 23, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Yes they’re exactly the same……..

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  • Tessa October 23, 2013 at 3:05 am

    This could be so much better if they just switched the parking and the bike lane around, so the parking was between the bike lane and moving traffic. This was done in downtown Vancouver, B.C. at Richards Street here:

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    • Cora Potter October 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Actually – this is a horrible configuration for people with disabilities. It causes a number of problems for people with visual impairments, people in wheelchairs and people that rely on paratransit vehicles/ lifts.

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    • spare_wheel October 23, 2013 at 11:28 am

      These kind of facilities increase right hook risk (even with mixing zone intersection mitigation).

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  • spare_wheel October 23, 2013 at 8:59 am
    On streets with high traffic volume, regular truck traffic, high parking turnover, or speed limit > 35 mph, consider treatments that provide greater separation between bicycles and motor traffic such as:
    • Left-side bike lanes
    Buffered bike lanes
    • Cycle tracks
    Bikeway design — best practices.
    Buffered bike lane:
    • Bike lanes with high automobile
    traffic speeds and volumes
    • Bikeways with bike lanes adjacent to
    on‐street parking
    • Bike lanes with high volume of
    truck/oversized vehicle traffic

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  • Dan October 23, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Is the on-street parking on Foster really necessary? Seems like folks could just park on the side streets instead.

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  • Dan V October 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Is the on-street parking on Foster really necessary? Seems like folks could just park on the side streets instead.

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    For some reason, people seem to think that if you can’t park directly in front, then it isn’t worth it. I’ve had long discussions with fellow residents who seem to believe that vehicle break-ins are immenent if you don’t have your car in front of your house. As to the comment about loss of a passing lane, if you’ve ever ridden on Willamette, you know the passing lane is still there as the bike lane. My vote is still for the parking to be between me and the moving traffic…

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  • Dan October 23, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Imagine a world where cars drove immediately adjacent to large garage doors that would destroy those cars when opened.

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  • Clark in Vancouver October 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

    This is very good but for no extra cost they could have the bike lane between the sidewalk and the car parking.
    Vancouver, BC just did that on Richards Street downtown while they were repaving and doing sewer work anyway. It cost nothing more as they were going to repaint the lines anyway. I have heard of no opposition to it either. (There might have been some though that I didn’t hear about it.) It’s great! Really useful too. Doesn’t affect anyone else.
    I used to see those parking buffered lanes in pictures on blogs and thought that they weren’t as good as “real” separated lanes but now that we have a few and I’ve used them, I think they’re really good. The first day there were a few people parking in them but it doesn’t happen anymore.
    Potentially a passenger could door you but not likely. First of all, having a passenger in a car is rare, and you can ride in the right side of the bike lane away from the door and if you do have to swerve to avoid a door, you’re not having to avoid a car lane like you would in the usual door zone lane on the left of the car parking lane.

    So, from someone with experience with these, I recommend that everyone there push for this. Show that it costs the same and demand they have courage to stand up to naysayers.

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    • Clark in Vancouver October 23, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Here are some pictures of the Richards Street car parking buffered bike lane in Vancouver.

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      • Ted Buehler October 24, 2013 at 1:21 am

        I like those better than the pics on Pricetags — the green lane through the intersection gives some expectation of bikes to cars.

        Still, on Foster, there must be 30 unsignalled intersections between 90th and 50th, and almost none of them are at right angles. It may not be physically possible for drivers crossing Foster to be able to verify that not only are there no cars bearing down on the right or left, but also no bikes coming from behind parked cars.

        Even with the creative, effective modifications shown by Nick on his AROW post at it will still have safety and speed consequences for bicyclists on Foster. Drivers at the cross streets, or making a left turn off Foster, already need to be pretty vigilant about watching for cars, bikes and pedestrians. If the bikes are going to appear from behind a set of parked cars, just 40′ from the intersection (less than 3 seconds travel time at 15 mph) then it’s going to throw another spot to watch carefully, and I don’t know if drivers can actually look at 4 different places every 3 seconds.

        Richards St. has no unsignalized intersections. And all are at right angles. And its a one-way street so there’s no left-turn traffic off Richards crossing the Cycletrack.

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    • spare_wheel November 4, 2013 at 8:34 am

      There are 3 parking-separated lanes in PDX and, IMO, they suck:

      *Increased pedestrian conflict.
      *Leaves, trash, grit, sand in lane.
      *Poor visibility to motorists results in increased right hook risk.
      *Left turns are a complete pain in the arse.
      *A car-centric design. (We should be limiting vehicle storage, not maintaining it.)

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  • A PDX rider October 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    At equivalent cost, we could have a bike lane that is physically separated from traffic and out of the driver-side door zone, without the need for drivers to cross the bike lane to park or depart. Why does the transportation bureau in a world-class biking city continue to use an antiquated and dangerous traffic scheme for its road diets? The request is simple – order the traffic by speed (cars, then bikes, then pedestrians) and keep unprotected humans out of traffic. I appreciate this may be more difficult for those with mobility concerns. Certainly, this must have been solved in the many municipalities in which these kind of lanes are utilized.

    Just because a solution has been presented doesn’t mean we should be thankful and move on. It’s ok to push for a better/safer solution, especially one that’s proven and cost-equivalent. That’s the whole point of having a public discussion on the topic. Absent our voices as USERS of the system, it would be business-as-usual.

    And now I ask seriously: who do we need to start lobbying to make this kind of separated lane official policy?

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    • davemess October 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      And they are a greater right hook list, especially on a street with a fair bit of cross traffic (as is Foster).

      Is it Proven? Plenty of people here complaining about this set up on SW Broadway and that’s a street that doesn’t have any side auto traffic from one direction.

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  • G October 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Why would anyone ever ride there bike on Foster more that a block or two…
    There are perfiectly good residentual streets to ride on around there, and if memory serves me a bike way street in the area already.
    Some main streets should be bicycle free….

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    • MP October 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Because it is a direct route. You see how it is a diagonal on the map? That gets me faster from where I live to where I work, shop and visit friends. The alternative routes require a lot of jigging and jogging and aren’t fully connected to one another. When you drive a car, do you prefer a direct route or one that requires a lot of turns and takes you longer?

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      • 9watts October 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        Amen to that.
        Funny how many times something so basic has to be repeated. When you take out the trash do you go up the stairs and through your daughter’s bedroom and take the fire escape, or do you go straight from the backyard to the curb?

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        • Dan October 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm

          My bike commute has 42 turns, not counting going through a parking garage at the Sunset Transit Center and winding through Washington Park. In my car, it’s 7 turns. 42 turns is a lot to learn & keep track of.

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          • Dimitrios October 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm

            Wow. If I ever dedicate the time, I’ve had the inclination to compare the number of stop signs and turns that a typical cycling route incurs vs a car route (same start/end points). I think it may be a significant factor in stop sign/light compliance.

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    • 9watts October 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      “Some main streets should be bicycle free….”

      Huh? What would be the point of that? Would you also argue that some main streets should be auto free?

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  • Ted Buehler October 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    re: Richards St. in Vancouver BC — those pics show the streetscape in broad daylight, with clean roads, few parked cars, and few moving cars.

    Imagine at night, in the driving rain, with leaves in the road, SUVs parked in the parking spaces, and you’re trying to make decent time on a bike.

    I rode Richards St. plenty of times from 1996 to 2001, before there was a bike lane at all. I rode it in the dark, in the rain, with leaves on the street, with parked cars everywhere. Even at the worst, it’s not a particularly scary street, traffic is slow and the street itself only a mile long. Long blocks, all intersections at right angles. Most intersections signalized. But I still wouldn’t want to be in that separated lane navigating my way through intersections in the rain, at night, with piles of leaves and puddles everywhere.

    & Foster would be worse — funny intersections, diagonal intersections, cars (for the most part) driving to get somewhere else, not to be there. Lighting sketchy. If you want to ride from 92nd to 52nd thats a lot of harrowing intersections to be really careful when passing through.

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  • Ted Buehler October 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Still, all of you with the “Separated Bikeways for Foster” passionate opinion — I applaud it, I’d be totally down with it if it had made it through the design process.

    But I would have qualms if our choice for new bike facilities in Portland was something like this:
    With the annual budget:
    * 5 miles of separated bike facilities on major streets
    * 2 miles of separated bike facilities on major streets, and 12 miles of conventional road diets.

    I don’t agree with the budget, and bikes should be getting lots more by many ways of reckoning, but that seems to be what we have now.

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  • Ted Buehler October 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Shoutout to Cora Potter — thanks for coming on here and giving us the perspective from the local shopper/walker, with your concerns about the project, and the details about sidewalk loss and such that didn’t get covered otherwise.

    Its intimidating wandering into a room full of people that have different priorities than yourself, and kudos to you for sticking with it in the conversations.

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    • Cora Potter October 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      I’m also someone that bikes in the area almost daily. I rarely go on Foster, it’s not necessary.

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      • spare_wheel November 4, 2013 at 8:27 am

        Just because a direct and efficient route is not necessary does not make it any less direct and efficient.

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  • Ted Buehler October 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Another note — these are not “minimum standard” bike lanes.

    They’re 6′ wide, and the adjacent driving lane is 11′ wide.

    Minimum is 5′ bike lanes, 10′ driving lanes. That’s what you have on Broadway downtown, and a lot of other places.

    With the center lane, cars can generally wiggle to the far left side of the driving lane no problem. Unlike places where there are multiple 10′ driving lanes all in a row, like Broadway downtown.

    That 2′ makes a lot of difference. Might not seem like much, but there’s better visibility, less spray, less wind-wash from trucks. And you have twice the swerve-space in a 6′ lane vs. a 5′ lane. Your person takes up 30″, and if you want to stay 6″ away from the edge of the lane, you only have 12″ of wiggle room to dodge litter, roadkill, car parts. With a 6′ lane you have 24″ of wiggle room to dodge.

    Again, I’m not saying this is perfect or anything, but I think its significantly better than the minimum. And we should at least acknowledge that, because in lots and lots of places in Portland, bike facilities are built to the absolute minimum. Which leaves exactly zero wiggle room for anyone.

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  • oregon111 October 23, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Foster is a 4 lane road designed to move traffic — you car-haters want to take away 50% capacity and lower speeds to 20 mph — so you can force people out of their cars

    pretty soon, we drivers will revolt and elect people WHO REPRESENT THE MAJORITY — people who drive to get someplace — not bikers on welfare who want to steal our streets for their pleasure

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    • Ted Buehler October 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Oregon111 —
      A note of clarification — going from 4 car lanes to 3 car lanes + 2 bike lanes is only a 20% reduction in car capacity.

      On the 4 lane configuration we have now, right hand lane drivers need to stop for cars pulling into parking places. Left hand lane drivers need to stop for cars waiting to make a left.

      With 3 lanes, the parkers are only blocking the bike lane, and the left turners have their own lane.

      Makes for a much smoother flow for cars, too, and less stressful.

      Have you driven on Division St. from 60th – 80th area since they made the change this summer? What do you think?
      (This page — — shows the “before” and “after”)

      Ted Buehler

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    • 9watts October 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      “so you can force people out of their cars”

      Persecution complex?

      “bikers on welfare who want to steal our streets for their pleasure”

      Your streets?

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    • davemess October 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      Show up to your neighborhood meetings. Get involved.

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    • Dan V October 24, 2013 at 10:09 am

      If you have been voting already, then you have already elected someone to represent you. If you haven’t been voting, then you chose to not be represented. Do you think there was a secret ballot, or Illuminati appointment?

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  • Ted Buehler October 24, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I’m surprised that nobody has brought up the fact that Foster might soon be covered with 5 story tall mixed use buildings, with locally-owned restaurants, shiny new apartments, and a thriving street life on those nice wide sidewalks.

    20 years ago Portland had lots of streets that looked like Foster. Now Foster is one of the very last business streets in the pre-WWII grid that hasn’t have a flood of redeveloment.

    I’ve been a regular rider on N Williams Ave for 5 years. It went from having about 5 businesses and zero apartment buildings then, to about 50 businesses and 2 completed apartment buildings now, and in 3 more years it will have 100 businesses and 7 apartment buildings with well over 1000 brand new units.

    Like it or not, its the way Portland has been rolling.

    Congrats to the Foster crowd for getting the bike lanes in, traffic lanes reduced and parking reduced, and sidewalks widened in places, *before* the wave of development comes along.

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  • jim October 25, 2013 at 9:49 am

    “Streetcar ready”
    Does that mean the streetcar tracks will be moving across the bike lane every couple of blocks for its next stop? Maybe you should advocate for this to be a bus route instead?

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