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What’s in store for NE Rodney? A dispatch from the open house

Posted by on April 11th, 2014 at 11:52 am

NE Rodney neighborhood greenway open house-7

(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

As we reported earlier this week, PBOT held their first open house for the NE Rodney neighborhood greenway project on Wednesday night. I wasn’t able to put it on my schedule, but I found myself biking up Williams well before it was scheduled to open at 6:00 pm so I rolled in to see if I could get a sneak peek. Fortunately, PBOT project manager Rich Newlands was already there and everything was set out. I only had a few minutes, but I learned enough to share here on the Front Page.

Judging from comments on our last story, many of you are concerned about all the stop signs currently on Rodney. You’ll be pleased to hear that PBOT’s proposed plan would get rid of almost all of them. Currently there are 19 stop signs (no signals) on Rodney between Broadway and Killingsworth. That’s out of a total of 27 intersections. And the way they’re spaced out means you have to stop almost every other block. That much stopping is a deal-breaker when trying to make a street attractive for bicycling.

According to drawings unveiled at the open house, PBOT would flip 10 of the existing stop signs. While this would still be more stopping than you experience on NE Going, it will be a big improvement over the existing conditions. Below is a detail from one of the posters showing which signs they’ll flip (the ones with orange square outline)…

NE Rodney neighborhood greenway open house-3

Of course, with fewer stop signs, Rodney will also become more attractive to people using cars. Many of you expressed hopes for diversion infrastructure; but at this point there isn’t any in the cards. I still need to confirm this with Newlands, but I haven’t heard about any plans for diversion and there isn’t any mention of it in PBOT’s plan drawings so far.

Another way PBOT will make driving less attractive on Rodney, and to further calm driving behaviors, they plan to install one speed bump per block. They’ll also reduce the speed limit to 20 miles per hour and install one sharrow per block in each direction. Here’s a detail from one of the display boards titled, “Proposed Street Improvements”…

NE Rodney neighborhood greenway open house-1

Perhaps the largest component of this project (at least infrastructure-wise) will be changes at six intersections in order to improve safety: Russell, Fremont, Shaver, Skidmore, Alberta, and Killingsworth. PBOT shared more detailed drawings of several of these crossing treatments…

Killingsworth will see curb extensions and improved curb ramps on every corner:

NE Rodney neighborhood greenway open house-2-2

Fremont is trickiest due to the large off-set. PBOT is considering two options. Option A is bike lanes on both sides with curb extensions…

NE Rodney neighborhood greenway open house-4

Option B is a two-way bike lane on the north side and a rapid-flash beacon at the eastern end. This option would require PBOT to prohibit auto parking on several sections of the street (a total of 13 spaces)…

NE Rodney neighborhood greenway open house-5

At Russell, where traffic from the Wonder Ballroom and restaurants creates stressful conditions at time, PBOT would add two new crosswalks and curb extensions on the southeast and northeast corners…

NE Rodney neighborhood greenway open house-6

At Shaver, Alberta, and Skidmore, PBOT will add just crosswalks. Also keep in mind that, as per usual with neighborhood greenways, all the streets that cross Rodney will get new yellow caution signage that announces the presence of bikers and walkers.

One final note about the timeline: We’ve reported that this project is slated to be constructed this summer. However, I learned from Newlands that PBOT plans to contract out the North Williams Ave project first, and do a separate bid for the Rodney work (you’ll recall that improving Rodney was a recommendation from the Williams Avenue project stakeholders advisory committee). That means crews aren’t expected to begin work on Rodney until September. That’s right at the tail-end of PBOT’s prime dry-weather striping and construction window, so hopefully there are no delays.

If you couldn’t make the open house and would like to offer feedback on this project, you can email the project manager at rich.newlands@portlandoregon.gov.

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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Reza
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Reza

Happy to hear that some stop signs are being turned, but this street needs some diversion to be a successful greenway.

A.K.
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A.K.

Flipping signs without diversion infrastructure just seems counter-productive. They should go hand-in-hand or these projects shouldn’t be done at all. Stop half-assing it PBOT.

Blake
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Blake

For the Fremont crossing, I like the way that N Concord is laid out in the NB direction crossing Rosa Parks with the median so you can cross one direction at a time.

Chris I
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Chris I

I have a feeling the residents on Rodney are about to see a few more Washington State license plates…

andy
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andy

I agree there needs to be diversions for it to be a successful bikeway. I live in SE and commute on Ankeny and several cars use Ankeny as a cut through to avoid waiting at various intersections on Burnside.

MaxD
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MaxD

I strongly prefer option A at Fremont. Option B is unexpected and counter-intuitive for cyclists and motorists. Straightforward is safer and better IMO.

Jonathan,
you refer to this (in this article and the previous) as connecting to Broadway, but I don’t see it. Any chance you could elaborate? This seems like an orphan stretch of Greenway that may end up better serving cut-through cars than bikes.

daisy
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daisy

I couldn’t make the open house either, so thank you so much for writing this up! This is really great news. I’m also concerned about the lack of diverters — I can imagine cars figuring out it’s a way to avoid Williams and MLK to bypass I5 during afternoon rush hour — but we’ll see how it goes.

I also wonder if they could move parking back a bit on Russell at the intersection with Rodney, so that, when you’re on your bike, it’s easier to see if cars are coming. Maybe the curb extensions will help with that a bit.

I’m also glad to see the options for Fremont. My family and I walk through that intersection regularly when we walk from our house to restaurants on N Williams, and it’s such a pain to cross there. That’s one of those spots where people in cars like to pretend they don’t have to stop for pedestrians. The crosswalks will definitely help with that. I prefer Option A, not because of the parking situation, but because it adds two crosswalks, which should help with traffic calming in that area.

I’ll definitely contact the project manager, too. Thanks again!

Audrey
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Audrey

So this is a off-topic, but the other day I drove home (North Portland) from work (downtown) for the first time in like 3 years. I took the freeway and got so angry at all the single-occupancy cars ignorning the HOV lane rules. Does that ever get enforced? No wonder neighborhood cut throughs look are so tempting when faced with the disaster that is I-5 at rush hour. Towards the end of my 5 mile drive I caught myself actively hoping that the scofflaws in the HOV lane would wreck into each other. It is probably good that I never drive, it’s way too stressful and makes me a mean person.

David McCabe
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David McCabe

I don’t understand what either option A or option B gets you. The problem with this crossing is that you have to make a left turn onto Fremont. Because Fremont becomes congested here, there is generally a long wait for both lanes to be clear simultaneously. Neither of these options removes the need to cross both lanes at once.

A bicycle-sized center turn lane would allow you to cross one direction of traffic during a gap, then later cross the other direction during a different gap. This should shorten the wait time. The city already has such a turn lane on 42nd, on Stark or Belmont if I recall.

Adam
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Adam

No diversion. No surprise from a PBOT project these days.

Doug Klotz
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Doug Klotz

The added curb extensions at Killingsworth are good, but miss an opportunity. The north side features an existing wide street opening on Rodney, which then necks down north of the intersection. This is a remainder of 1910 construction (the intersection was built wider than the street eventually got built). While building the curb extensions into Killingsworth, why not also narrow the entrance to Rodney north of K., so it’s similar to Rodney south of K.. This will slow down turning drivers (as well as make for shorter pedestrian crossing distances across Rodney.)

Terry D
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Terry D

That area of town has a greaat built out street grid. Any of the intersections where bulb outs are being added for cross walks, like Russel, it is a waste of money unless they also prevent right turns from the main street into the neighborhood…..we will want diversion later, so why not do it now?

Because, just like in parking removal, PBOT is way too timid.

jim
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jim

2 years ago when I kept suggesting a Rodney alternative to Williams, I was shunned as a troll. Thanks a lot.

Scott B
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Scott B

I just recently moved into the Lloyd District and I have come to rely on Rodney as my main throughway into North & Northeast.

Hopefully this wont be another failed bikeway because at this time even with the problems it has is a good route.

My route that I take from my place in the Lloyd takes me down 2nd crossing Broadway & Weidler then bumping over to Rodney by the Portland Design Works office.

For me the big issue spots are the Broadway/Weidler Crossing, Russell, Fremont, Shaver and Alberta.

For Russell I would like to see some sort of curb bumps.

Fremont – A looks like the best option.

Shaver & Alberta – Possibly curb bumps or something like Ankeny at 20th.

To answer an earlier question and give some background Rodney changes into 2nd crossing Broadway/Weidler then proceeds past the Crown Royale Hotel to 3rd and joins up with Multnomah so makes a lot of sense to take it across with the aim of eventually putting a protected bike path across Broadway/Weidler ending at Multnomah with all the development that is planned for this area.

Sadly, I didn’t know about this 1st meeting but would love to be able to go to anymore meetings about Rodney & Williams.

Jonathan Gordon
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Jonathan Gordon

Any chance there would be cuts in the speed bumps like those on Cornell?

Vinny Dehta
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Vinny Dehta

Lotsa people who’ve been riding bikes for most/all of their transportation needs for most/all of their adult lives due to the cheapness of the mode have been using Rodney as a way to avoid the recent arrival of masses of ill-mannered right-passing bike commuters on Williams/Vancouver, not to mention the cops. I’d hate to see all of us hafta pay many thousands of tax dollars for some switched stop signs and painted symbols on the street. I’d also hate to see all those bikecommuters migrate over to Rodney. Most of the stop signs are easily runnable due to good visibility–obviously excepting the major intersections. We don’t need expensive “bike infrastructure” on Rodney (nor did we need it on Going). Keep Rodney douchbag-free!