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After a delay, 50s Bikeway will roll out by summer

Posted by on January 23rd, 2014 at 9:53 am

A Sunday ride-9

Better rides are ahead for Portland’s low 50s.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

After sitting on ice for a year while the city waited out high construction costs, Portland’s north-south 50s Bikeway is alive and moving forward.

The 4.3-mile, $1.5 million route down Portland’s middle east side, which was delayed last August, is likely to start construction in late March and wrap up by late July, the project manager said Wednesday.

When finished, it’ll stretch from the Alameda Ridge south to Woodstock Street along 53rd and 52nd avenues (PDF), connecting the Rose City Park, North Tabor, Mt. Tabor, South Tabor, Richmond, Creston-Kenilworth and Woodstock neighborhoods, which include 20,000 residents and 12 schools. North of Division, it’ll be a neighborhood greenway marked with sharrows and directional signs; south of Division, a pair of 6-foot painted bike lanes on either side of the street.

Diverters will block northbound and southbound auto traffic onto 53rd at Burnside. Further south at 52nd and Division, signs will forbid northbound auto traffic, but because TriMet’s #71 bus needs to continue northward there, there won’t be a physical obstacle to block cars.

South of Division, one auto parking lane will be removed from the east side of 52nd to make room for the painted bike lanes. On the west side of 52nd, the bike lane will run alongside parked cars.

A planned neighborhood greenway that weaves an alternative route into the neighborhoods east of Southeast 52nd hasn’t yet been funded and won’t be built this year.

Much of the project’s cost will go to improve crossings of major streets, including a new HAWK beacon at Burnside and 53rd, a median element at Stark, curb extensions at Belmont and Lincoln and a rapid-flash beacon (PDF) at Woodward.

The city’s transportation bureau had sidelined the federally funded project after the first round of construction bids came in more than 20 percent higher than expected. As we shared back in August, city workers estimated that this was because “the construction market has recently reached saturation” for the year. In an interview Wednesday, Project Manager Rich Newlands said the second round of bidding seemed to have confirmed the city’s hunch: this time two of the eight bids, he said, had come in below the original projection.

Some people who live near the project have expressed concern about auto traffic diverting onto nearby streets such as Southeast 51st, 53rd and 54th. As a condition of approval for the project, the city council ordered a 12-month test of where and how much traffic was diverting from Southeast 52nd.

Though these improvements aren’t perfect, they’re good news for neighborhoods that are becoming major destinations in their own right, with no frequent north-south public transit but more and more need for north-south travel. It’ll be nice to see this route interact with the nearby bike lanes on Southeast Division and the ones planned for Southeast Foster, sending relatively comfortable bike connections through the southern side of Portland’s all-important east-side street grid.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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sean
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sean

Fantastic news. Why no bike lanes across I-84?

Kevin
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Kevin

This is great news. It will make riding with my daughter to Glencoe Elementary much safer.

Jessica Roberts
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Jessica Roberts

If you care, the HAWK Beacon is now officially called a pedestrian hybrid beacon. Only slightly less jargon-y, but at least it’s not trying to be a cutesy bird name.

Todd Hudson
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Todd Hudson

This is great! On 52nd somewhere near Woodstock, there’s a bike lane that starts and mysteriously ends after 100 feet.

I hope that it’s eventually extended to the Springwater Trail. Also, start planning the 70s bikeway.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

On 52nd somewhere near Woodstock, there’s a bike lane that starts and mysteriously ends after 100 feet.

that would be the Center to Gladstone connecting bike lane just south of Foster before Holgate… I live a few blocks away and that thing drives me crazy… southbound drivers are always driving in it to avoid having to swerve left and then right within a half-block distance… I’m always worried because the law forces me to ride in it but that means I’m effectively swerving in front of the vehicles after passing the Dougy Center and then swerving out of the way of traffic after Gladstone when the bike lane ends…

Spiffy
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Spiffy

I’m super excited to get a bike lane all the way up 52nd… I ride it frequently and it’s a narrow street with underutilized parking… bike lanes will make it so I feel comfortable going on it with my kid… no more zig-zagging through the neighborhood just to feel safer…

Art Fuldodger
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Art Fuldodger

Fabulous news, really been looking forward to it. Michael, you say toward the end that “some people who live near the project are concerned about diversion…” – I think this concern is just near Division, where thee will be a northbound auto (not bus) diverter. You might want to clarify this.

Alex Reed
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Alex Reed

Woohoo! Great news!

Too bad that a quarter of the route is door-zone bike lane. I probably will never ride southbound on 52nd south of Division again after the door-zone bike lanes are put in.

annefi
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annefi

The SE 19th Avenue bikeway is also showing signs of life. 20 mph signs with flags have recently been installed along several blocks in Westmoreland. Does that mean the city will soon be turning the north/south stop signs and installing diverters at relevant intersections?

Bjorn
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Bjorn

Is a hawk signal significantly more expensive than the rapid flash beacon? The rapid flash beacons seem really inferior to the hawk signal IMHO.

Adam
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Adam

What a wasted opportunity of a project. Without diversion a Halsey or Glisan, this project is worthless.

I emailed the project manager last year asking why diverters weren’t being installed at those locations , and the response I got was “We can’t, they would impede car traffic”. UMMMM… Isn’t that the entire point of a bike boulevard?

And don’t even get me started on the fact one if the diverters is nothing more than a fricking SIGN. Wow. Because motorists totally obey signs!

I see now why Portland is falling and falling in the bike league tables. With mediocrity like this, it explains everything.

Adam H.
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Adam H.

No protected bike lanes?

John Liu
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John Liu

I don’t get the view that a door zone bike lane is worse than no bike lane at all. If you ride on or near the white line, it is almost impossible to get doored. If you also stay alert to the parked cars you are approaching, you will usually see heads in the ones that pose a dooring threat. Heads = watch out.

50 y/o, been riding in cities all my life, and have never been doored. Just two close calls.

If we insist on separated cyclepaths or nothing, in many locations we’ll get . . . nothing. That is the reality of limited budgets and competing interests. Maybe in 10 years it will be different. I’d like to get more people on bikes this decade.

Jeff
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Jeff

Todd Hudson
This is great! On 52nd somewhere near Woodstock, there’s a bike lane that starts and mysteriously ends after 100 feet.
I hope that it’s eventually extended to the Springwater Trail. Also, start planning the 70s bikeway.
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That little stub of bike lane is to connect Gladstone to Center. It’s actually kind of handy for West to East travel.

Jonathan Gordon
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Jonathan Gordon

It’s been almost 20 years! This project was first proposed in the 1996 Bicycle Master Plan. It was listed as a Priority 2 project, meaning those projects that would be completed in 5-10 years. So it was supposed to be complete by 2006. Though it was projected to only cost $130K, it was supposed to make it as far south as Harney Dr, spitting distance to the Springwater Corridor.

I’d love to understand what it is about Portland that it takes two decades to implement a simple transportation solution that’s both relatively cheap and widely embraced.