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PBOT opts for zig-zag to connect new SE Foster bike lanes to 52nd

Posted by on March 26th, 2014 at 3:57 pm

PBOT graphic of recommended bicycle connection between SE Foster and 52nd.


The Portland Bureau of Transportation will complete a new bikeway on SE 52nd Avenue later this year. They’ve also already green-lighted a redesign of SE Foster that will include new bike lanes in both directions. Unfortunately, at least in the short-term, there won’t likely be any bikeway available where these two major streets connect with one another.

Instead of removing on-street auto parking, PBOT will route the bikeway through a residential area.

For people bicycling westbound on Foster, PBOT will direct them to head north on SE 54th, then left on SE Rhone. That zig-zag will add about 250 feet of additional travel distance over a continuous bike lane on Foster. Here’s more from the draft Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan (PDF) released today (emphasis mine):

“In order to provide motorists adequate space to merge, the transition from four general travel lanes to three requires a minimum of 550 feet. In the eastbound direction this will take place between SE 52nd and 56th Avenues. Maintaining bike lanes in this stretch would therefore require the removal of on-street parking. Due to a lack of off-street parking for businesses in this area, relatively high parking usage in this segment, and concerns about parking spillover into adjacent residential areas, the recommendation is to not continue bike lanes directly to SE 52nd Avenue.”

When we first reported on this issue back in December, we shared that a 57% of respondents to a PBOT survey (both online and at public meetings) wanted the bike lanes on Foster to connect to 52nd. Foster-Powell resident Brett Holycross, who has followed this project closely, told us that he was disappointed in the design. “There is going to be a great new bike facility on Foster for 2 miles,” he shared, “but because the city is afraid to take away some on-street parking, they can’t make it the final 600 feet to what will be the main N-S bike connection in the area.”

Today, Holycross told us that the PBOT recommendation is, “A shame for an otherwise great project.”

PBOT did include a “future suboption” in the plan that would continue the bike lanes on Foster directly to 52nd. But they pointed out that — in order to do so and retain all the on-street auto parking — they’d be required to chop two feet off one of Foster’s sidewalks to make room for the bike lane. To make room for a bike lane on both sides of Foster between 54th and 52nd, they’d need to chop off two feet on both sidewalks. If the politics of that project could even ever get off the ground, PBOT estimates it would cost $250,000 – $750,000.

PBOT’s draft plan also explained how they could have made a direct connection for folks headed down 52nd and then east on Foster; but they’ve decided to compromise in that situation as well.

From the draft plan:

“A direct connection at SE 52nd Avenue would ideally include a left turn bike box at SE 52nd Avenue and Foster Road. Without a left turn box, cyclists would be required to merge across traffic between Powell Boulevard and Foster Road in order to use the left turn signal at SE 52nd Avenue and Foster Road. However, a box at this location would require relocating the curb and a utility pole, and would likely require right-of-way acquisition to maintain adequate pedestrian space.”

So instead, PBOT will recommend that people biking south on 52nd who want to head east on Foster, first cross Foster and then use SE Center Street one block south.

Read the full draft and learn more about the Foster Streetscape Plan here.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Brett Holycross was a member of the project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee. That’s incorrect. He’s merely a nearby resident who has followed the project closely. We regret the error.

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peejay
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peejay

PBOT again prioritizes the convenient storage of personal property on public space over the safety of the citizens of this city.

Harald
Guest

Same old, same old…

peejay
Guest
peejay

This really sucks, considering the proximity of this project to the location of a great many auto-caused deaths in Portland. This is the exact opposite of Vision Zero.

peejay
Guest
peejay

So glad the needs of Devil’s Point patrons are being met by PBOT. Wouldn’t want them to have to walk around the block now, would we, PBOT?

peejay
Guest
peejay

And Foster Burger, until you come out and say you did not request the preservation of auto storage in the street in front of your establishment, I’m gonna find other burgers to eat from now on.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Then there’s the concern of that for-lease building that had an auto upholstery shop in it. We can’t take their FREE parking away, can we?

Jen
Guest
Jen

I think they should start calling it Zero Vision instead.

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

No. This makes me feel ill. A “future sub option” that requires people to choose between bikes and pedestrians even if they had a ton of extra money to spend on it is a false option. I can’t believe they decided the best option to head east on Foster is to cross Foster TWICE. This is not right.

Andrew N
Guest
Andrew N

PLATINUM.

Allan
Guest
Allan

I’m glad folks are complaining about this just because if they weren’t even more compromises would be made.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

I love the red herring about how the pedestrian space would be diminished and how much money it would cost to add bike lanes….if we start with the assumption that we can not lose a single on-street parking place.

This is the worst, lamest compromise! All over town we have these great facilities that are are 80-90% but remain unconnected and instead create a convoluted, sub-standard bike route. Usually these lousy routes are in place to preserve parking.

I will admit that Tri-met and City are partially to blame- service cuts, infrequent service, and limited hours of operation for mass transit provide a good argument for people who rely on their car to get around.

I love Jen’s comment above: “Zero Vision”

gutterbunny
Guest
gutterbunny

Ahhh no one wanted to stop by food carts there anyway. Of course they wouldn’t see any benefit of hungry and thirsty people riding right by them in droves…..

But at least the Liquor Store is pretty much a straight shot.

Peejay
Guest
Peejay

I want to keep supporting the new PBOT leadership, and Leah Treat always seems to say the right things, but then this disaster happens.

Does anyone at PBOT understand the principle of the weakest link? If you have two pretty good routes connected by a substandard route, it’s as if the entire network is substandard. Frankly, it’s a huge waste of money NOT to have a high quality connection between Foster and 52nd.

The time has long gone when it was acceptable to put in facilities only where there is no political resistance. Bending to the will of the car-storage fanatics only strengthens them.

And yes, they ARE fanatics.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I plan on avoiding any zig zags and taking the lane. Zero vision.

spare_wheel
Guest

maybe this would be a good place for portland’s first guerilla bike facility. i’ll help pay for the paint.

Pliny
Guest
Pliny

Just out of curiosity, anybody have any idea how much it would cost in signage and advertising to make riders aware of the zig-zag to the point that the majority actually use it versus, you know, actually building it properly?

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

That will become a high-conflict spot where people are going to get hurt. When someone -dies-, they might consider the “future sub-option.” BUT THEY SHOULD JUST BUILD IT RIGHT TO BEGIN WITH.

Brett Holycross
Guest
Brett Holycross

Clarification: I am not a member of the SAC. I am a resident of Foster-Powell.

Jen
Guest
Jen

Why is the city willing to get rid of on street parking spaces for the streetcar but not for a bike lane?

citysp3ctator
Guest
citysp3ctator

Perhaps I’m stepping into the lion’s den with a comment like this, but…the people living along Foster are attempting multiple things with this streetscape plan. One of which is to add bike lanes and get more people biking. This plan accomplishes that.

Another goal is to make Foster safer for pedestrians and get people walking more. This plan accomplishes that.

Another goal, I like to think, is to improve the ability of the commercial district to thrive. Bike lanes and safer crossings for peds goes a long way in working toward that goal. However, we need people in cars to bring business to the district, too. Hawthorne needs its parking lanes. Alberta and Mississippi need their parking lanes. So, too, should Foster. Especially if it’s being preserved while ALSO adding bike lanes (just not for a very small stretch).

Yes, it’s a shame for the Foster bike lanes not to connect directly to the N/S 50s route. And maybe it’s shortsighted of PBOT to not find a way. But it’s not the end of the world to bike a few hundred extra feet so businesses can have parking spots.

Bill Stites
Guest

We’re not naive to the fact that these are challenging situations, but this outcome is embarrassing. Just look at the map – the Active Transportation mode of cycling is directed away from the logical public facility. With all the rhetoric, the car is still king … apparently for a long time to come.

Really, I find this egregious – maybe they just had to hit bottom here, and there’s some hope with the new leadership of Ms. Treat?

peejay, it’s time for a beer and some brainstormin’.

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

This does not bode well for the 20s bikeway options, either.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

Any department at PBOT squirms when you request parking removal…they do not know what to do about it. At North Tabor we are working on East Burnside, which will require parking removal between 41st-47th and 60th-68th. As transportation chair, I want to know what percentage of property owners need to agree to remove parking in front of their houses…that they are too scared to use due to its danger….before PBOT will treat us seriously.

I have asked that question several times….they do not even know what to do with the subject. PBOT is RUNNING SCARED of auto owners. I doubt they even have an answer. Our presenter from the high crash corridor program told me “I had to get the neighborhood board to come along with me first.”

I already have, and have support from the NA to the east in principle for the concept, just not on a specific plan. It passed unanimously…but all the presenter heard was the arguments of ONE community member who was arguing for the status quo. There are always going to be a few, but what % of property owners do we need…50% sign off? 75%? 90%? In other cities their departments remove parking for safety reasons all the time.

No one will tell me a % goal, probably because PBOT does not know since they do not want to be responsible for removing someone’s parking space….even if it is the only car parked for blocks….I am going to have to do MY OWN parking utilization study to show them how little it is used. She could not even give me an answer if that would help.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

PBOT talks about >25% bike mode share by 2030 but gives all six lanes of a major new bike route plan to cars and zero to bikes. Bike mode share is presently around 6%. Quadrupling that in 15 years is going to be challenge enough without blatant pandering to the dominant auto mode. Walk (ride) your talk, PBOT.

Chasing Backon
Guest
Chasing Backon

I will use the foster bike lane 4-6 times per week and eagerly look forward to it’s arrival. I will also take the lane for this connection and be sure to get in the way. Thanks for nothing, PBOT

Madison
Guest
Madison

Going South on 52nd, how is turning left onto Center supposed to be better than turning left onto Foster? To turn onto Center you still have to merge with southbound auto traffic – plus wait for a gap in the northbound traffic.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I frequent a lot of places on Foster… none of them have on-street parking… two of them you can’t even park in front of…

and because there’s only street parking available and the businesses are small and only have about 2 parking spaces each in front of them that means that when I do drive I rarely ever park on Foster…

I really doubt the loss of 2 parking spaces will impact the strip club… I know it won’t effect Foster Burger… and Buyright and George Morlan have plenty of parking next to their buildings on side streets…

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

“Sorry that we couldn’t make your transportation experience safer and more pleasant but we needed to give people from other neighborhoods a convenient place to store their two tons of property while they shopped.” –PBOT

Carl
Guest
Carl

Deja vu.

Regarding the Division St. Road Diet from 60th-80th:
“The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is very pleased to see this neighborhood’s concerns finally addressed and we applaud PBOT for their design. In fact, we like their design so much that we encourage the city to extend the bike lanes west to SE 52nd Ave, where the new 50s Bikeway will soon cross.

The extra eight blocks of roadway improvements would provide safe access to Atkinson Elementary School, Franklin High School, and Clinton Park but would require removal of some on-street car parking.

It is our strongly-held opinion that the City of Portland should provide safe access to its schools and parks before it provides free space for private vehicle storage in the public right of way.”

http://btaoregon.org/2013/02/speak-up-for-a-safer-division-street/

Kate
Guest
Kate

Implementation of the 50’s Bikeway has been delayed multiple times. A new update on the project website states construction has been pushed back to “early April.” PBOT, please note that we are paying attention, and that systematic project delays undermine your authority and any citizen trust you might hope to cultivate. Please do better or citizen discontent will make it even harder for you to do your job.

paikikala
Guest
paikikala

Mobility

Nick Littlejohn
Guest
Nick Littlejohn

Reducing sidewalks for bikes is never the answer. It is removing polluting auto parking.

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

It’s infrastructure “improvements” like this that make me want to come to the comments section and use all caps and all expletives.
Yeesh, Portland, get it together already.

Unit
Guest
Unit

There is space for both on-street parking and bike lanes. Here is how it could work:
– From 56th to Bush, include 2 eastbound car lanes, 1 westbound car lane, bike lanes, and parking on both sides. The eastbound lanes merge into one lane approaching 56th, where the center turn lane begins.
– From Bush to 52nd (a short distance), there are no parking-less businesses on the north side. So it’s a good place to drop the parking and add the 2nd westbound lane approaching 52nd, continuing the bike lanes. Which leaves 4 car lanes, parking on the south side, and bike lanes.

I think the issue is not the parking, it’s the amount of car lane storage being provided approaching 52nd and ultimately Powell. It’s excessive – sacrificing streetscape for storing car queues that occur 5-10 hours per week.

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

i would rather they just gave the $750,000 it will take to build the “future sub-option” to those businesses directly right now and say it’s payment for the parking spaces. then everyone should be happy.

Brett Holycross
Guest
Brett Holycross

Why has BTA been so quiet about this issue and this project in general? It made it on their “Blueprint for World Class Bicycling”, but I have not heard anything of substance from them on this project. They sometimes have a representative at the SAC meetings, but not regularly. Does this project (and the proposed zig-zag) “…raise our existing network to the next level to ensure that riders of all abilities, regardless of destination, have access to a safe place to ride.” Just wondering.