Support BikePortland

28th Avenue update: A business owner explains why she signed the petition

Posted by on April 29th, 2014 at 11:52 am

Staccato Gelato owner and Stakeholder Advisory
Committee member Sarah Holliday.
(Photo courtesy Sarah Holliday)

The public dialogue around how to best improve cycling conditions on the central segment of the 20s Bikeway Project is heating up. Yesterday we posted a petition signed by 60 business owners on 28th Avenue who united against a City proposal to remove on-street parking on the street and replace it with a buffered bike lane.

Since posting the list, readers have contacted many of the business via email and/or Facebook. We have also heard from business owners directly. This has resulted in the removal of one business, Wolf & Bear’s, because an employee signed it without the owner’s knowledge (the only name on the petition signed by an employee and not an owner). One other business owner, Earl Ninsom of PaaDee, contacted us to request his removal from the list, saying he signed it in haste, without fully understanding the issues. And Captured by Porches, a beer brewer, says they don’t even own the beer dispensing cart on 28th and their name shouldn’t be on the list either. We’ll continue to investigate the list and update our reporting as necessary.

“Biking along the route demands that you take the lane and hold your ground; not ideal. I want to help improve the situation for cyclists.”
— Sarah Holliday, business owner who signed a petition opposing curbside auto parking removal on 28th Avenue

With dozens of businesses still on the list, many readers are reacting to it with disappointment. There are talks of protest rides, boycotts, and there might even be a counter petition. However, some people see this moment as a golden opportunity to engage business owners and move the conversation toward a productive outcome where all interested parties can claim success. (I strongly recommend checking out the ongoing discussion in the comment thread of yesterday’s post.)

I have also heard through various channels that there is growing support for a plan similar to the “cars as guests” concept we shared last week.

On that note, PBOT Project Manager Rich Newlands told us yesterday that the discussion about 28th Avenue “is not over.” While PBOT has switched their proposal from a buffered bike lane in one direction (and removal of 100 curbside auto parking spaces) to a an “enhanced shared roadway” (sharrows and speedbumps), Newlands says that, “A promising new idea or a change in our understanding of public sentiment on the core issues would certainly warrant continuing it.”

We have heard from members of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) who say they are not happy with how PBOT has handled the issue thus far. They say they look forward to the next SAC meeting where they can analyze the new draft recommendation and offer their support or opposition to it. The next SAC meeting might also be the place where a new proposal is presented. Perhaps one that is seen as a compromise.

While this issue continues to be discussed, we have been in touch with a business owner who signed the petition and wanted to explain her reasons for doing so in more detail. Sarah Holliday is co-owner of Staccato Gelato (near the corner of 28th and Everett) and a member of the 20s Bikeway Project SAC. We’ve pasted her essay below:

I am a cyclist. When I moved to Portland in the late 90’s I worked in Milwaukie and lived in NE Portland. I biked everywhere and didn’t own a car. I know very well the problems of finding a safe and direct route from the north to south on the eastside. Cycling is a big part of who I am – there are 9 bikes in my home, my husband bike commutes year round and my friends and family are all bike commuters, bike lovers and bike racers. I also now have a young daughter, and am learning the challenges of getting around town by bike as a family.

Being part owner in a business on NE 28th, I naturally jumped at the chance to be a stakeholder on the 20’s bikeway committee to help create a bike route for “interested but concerned cyclists”. I know the route well and the challenges of biking down the stretch of 28th between Broadway and Stark. It’s a busy street with pedestrians, cars, bikes and the enormous trucks from the Coca-Cola plant all vying for position. Biking along the route demands that you take the lane and hold your ground; not ideal. I want to help improve the situation for cyclists. Plus, as a fairly long term business on the street (11 years!) I also have seen how unsafe the street is for pedestrians. I have personally seen three pedestrians struck and seriously hurt on 28th. A 2012 Oregon Department of Transportation study found that pedestrian accidents have increased 51% over the past 5 years. With that in mind, it’s of key importance to me that the plan we as a community come up with makes the 28th area safer and more friendly for everyone – cyclists, pedestrians, children, those with access and mobility challenges – everyone.

One of the city’s initial proposals was to remove parking on the west side of the street and add a one way southbound bike lane. While that would be better than doing nothing, it would only really help cyclists travel south in a safer manner, and would not have done much for the northbound cyclists. Plus, bikes would still have to negotiate the busy intersection at Burnside, and it would not improve conditions for pedestrians and others. I believe we as a community can do better than that. The removal of parking along 28th would also have the unwanted effect of pushing car congestion to the residential streets as cars circulate looking for parking spots.

Another option was put forth to create a greenway on 30th with the addition of bike activated lights at Glisan, Burnside and Stark. Personally, I prefer the greenway option of biking on low traffic streets away from trucks, cars and congestion. For example, I much prefer the Going street greenway experience to access the Alberta area over the Williams/Vancouver bicycle lanes where you ride right next to cars (a cyclist was right hooked in front of my husband on that street during his ride home just a couple weeks ago… and I’m sure you all have your stories too). Plus, other progressive cities (Vancouver, B.C. is a great example) are finding that bike lanes next to traffic lanes are not as safe as they should be without other additional measures being put in place (physical buffers, lower speed limits, speed bumps, etc.).

Many small businesses on 28th signed a petition stressing the need for a more comprehensive plan for the users of 28th. On 28th we wanted crosswalks, a lower speed limit, bike sharrows and speed bumps. We want the street to be safe for everyone including cyclists. Based on this community dialogue the city is now proposing a plan that I (and many in the 28th community I know) are really excited about. This new plan makes 28th safer and more accessible, AND creates a greenway on 30th. The City is now proposing: traffic calming measures on 28th (lower speed limits, speed bumps, etc.) and bike sharrows for cyclists who want to access 28th, plus a greenway on 30th for bikes that want a mellower experience or who are just continuing south. I think it is going to be fantastic. Ideally I would love to see that section of 28th be something along the lines of the Rotterdam “guest car” street where cars, bikes and pedestrians are all going the same speed. Hopefully this is a step in that direction.

Thank you for letting me have this opportunity to share my point of view. I know many people may not agree with my perspective on this issue but hopefully we can continue to have an open dialog about improving the neighborhood for everyone.

Sarah Holliday
Staccato Gelato

We’ll continue to cover this project as it develops.

— Read past coverage in our archives.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Buzz Aldrin April 29, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    How many people will it take to get it through PBOT’s thick skull that sharrows, traffic calming and lower speed limits are at least an interim solution for the inner city’s many narrower arterial streets and business districts?

    If this is what the business owners who signed the petition actually want and have recommended, it puts their position in a whole new perspective for me, as the previous PBOT proposal really was far from ideal for all concerned, both cyclists and businesses.

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    • BIKELEPTIC April 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Speed bumps? Hah! Currently it’s like riding white water rapids. Speed bumps hurt cyclists more. And speed limits do nothing. We all know how wee people pay attention to speed limits on Sandy, MLK, 82nd, Powell and others…

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      • gutterbunny April 29, 2014 at 6:51 pm

        If they were put to the inner left and right side of the lanes where cars can’t avoid them, but the middle was left open (assuming a “bike are guests” plan) for cyclists to avoid them could work out quite nice.

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      • Buzz April 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm

        well, they’re not really speed ‘bumps’ anymore, more like speed ‘tables’; and, although I’m not a great fan of them, they aren’t that bad to ride over. Caveat is that they only slow the motorists down to about 25 MPH, IMO.

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        • paikiala April 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm

          A speed table has a 10-ft flat section between two 6 foot ramps. The fire friendly device currently being tested in Portland is called a speed cushion. It has four segments, one on the centerline and one about 4-5 ft from the centerline for each direction of travel.

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      • CharonPDX May 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        In my neighborhood, when they did a ‘traffic calming’ like this, adding a ‘walkway’ (outer SW with no sidewalks,) sharrows, speed bumps, removing the center line – turning it from “two-way no passing” to single-lane unmarked, and lowering the speed limit, they put in speed bumps that have gaps in them. Not wide enough for a car to use them to avoid the bump, but perfect for bikes.

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  • GlowBoy April 29, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Agreed, this does provide a new perspective. Maybe a lot of the business owners who signed weren’t just freaking out about the loss of parking, but rejecting the less-than-ideal compromise that PBOT was proposing.

    So if we’re coalescing around a “guest car” street alternative, how far can we take it? I think the lowest speed limit that state law will allow on a “street” is 20mph. Since 28th is fairly narrow, is it possible for us to pull a little legal sleight-of-hand and reclassify it as an alley? If memory serves, alleys (see Ladd’s Addition) can have 15mph limits.

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    • Joseph E April 29, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Nah, it’s not narrow, it has sidewalks, parking lanes and 2 main travel lanes. Definitely not an alley.

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  • Jacob April 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    A well-enforced 20mph speed limit with speed bumps, and the “cars are guests” signs at every entrance to the street, has a lot of potential. 15mph would be even better. To truly change the street, it needs to “feel” like you should only be driving 15mph there. Just adding a few sharrows and changing the speed limit signs won’t do much.

    This is good for businesses as well, as slower car traffic leads to more foot and bicycle traffic and more business. Plus, drivers going slower have more of a chance to see the businesses they are passing and maybe stop in. Also, it’ll be safer. Win-win-win.

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    • Spiffy April 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      having driven 28th just north of Burnside numerous times I can tell you that if you’re going over 15-20 mph then you’re going dangerously fast…

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      • gutterbunny April 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

        Putting bikes into the mix via a “cars a guests” approach would basically drop the speed limit to 12-15 mph. Think of it as a way of sidestepping the 20 mph speed limit limit.

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  • Terry D April 29, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    This seems to be a perfect opportunity for the Businesses to band together and form a creative LID (Local Improvement District). If everyone agrees on a new “compromise” that will cost more than “the 20’s” budget allows, then the business owners can band together and pay for the improvements:

    Proposed Budget: 13 Emergency Response approved speed bumps $40,000
    Sharrows (4 per block): $15,000
    Shared Street Signs: $15,000
    Pedestrian Crosswalks/Green Striping at Bike Crossings: $20,000
    With an ODOT request for speed reduction to 15 MPH and other random amenities/overhead I think $100K should do it (just a guess).

    Any Takers?

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    • paikiala April 30, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      15 mph is not likely to be granted. 15 is only permitted on narrow streets in residential districts. Narrow = <18 ft. In a business district. 20 is a permitted statutory speed limit. Neighborhood greenways can be posted 5 mph under the statutory, but it has to be residential, and under 2,000 cars per day.

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  • Todd Hudson April 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    28th Ave businesses, last week: “We don’t want bike lanes on our street, because [good reason].”

    30th Ave residents, in the future: “We don’t want our street turned into a greenway, because [good reason].”

    NIMBYism, yay!

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    • Reza April 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      30th Ave residents will have no problem with it. It’s 29th Ave, 30th Place and 31st Ave residents that may if there is a diverter placed, though.

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    • MK October 8, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      I live on NE 30th and I would love to see this street be turned into a greenway!

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  • spare_wheel April 29, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    “One of the city’s initial proposals was to remove parking on the west side of the street and add a one way southbound bike lane. While that would be better than doing nothing, it would only really help cyclists travel south in a safer manner, and would not have done much for the northbound cyclists.”

    The northbound lane would have been narrowed to 10 feet and super-sharrowed. In the context of a buffered bike lane and speed reduction this would have been a huge improvement over current conditions on 28th.
    See image of plan here:

    “Personally, I prefer the greenway option of biking on low traffic streets away from trucks, cars and congestion.”

    Try telling that to the thousands of cyclists who commute, shop, eat and drink on Williams.
    I prefer not having to make circuitous detours on slow neighborhood streets when my destination is 28th or the 28th street bridge. Even my interested but concerned partner prefers 28th to circuitous local streets. No one asks pedestrians or motorists to make these kind of detours to preserve “free parking”.

    The City is now proposing: traffic calming measures on 28th (lower speed limits, speed bumps, etc.) and bike sharrows for cyclists who want to access 28th”

    The petition that Stacatto Gelato enthusiastically supported sabotaged these improvements:
    “Unfortunately, Newlands and two city traffic engineers said, the first two strategies are likely to limit the possibilities for the third.”

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    • phawk April 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      I’m also baffled that she cannot see that her personal preference for the Williams area is at odds with thousands of others.

      I’m also a little confused about her route. Going to Alberta? are they not parallel?

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      • Spiffy April 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        sometimes I take Williams AND Going AND Alberta to get to my destination on Alberta…

        but usually I don’t use Going and just ride on Alberta… you know, because that’s where I’m going…

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    • Oliver April 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      I also prefer not having to make circuitous detours on slow neighborhood streets when my destination is 28th or the 28th street bridge.

      This is especially true since for southbound traffic, we’re talking about making a left hand turn across 28th. Additional crossings on 30th all the way along create an additional out of phase crossing on Sandy, Glisan and Burnside, adding to congestion and motor vehicle frustration for daily e-w commutes.

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      • Spiffy April 29, 2014 at 2:15 pm

        “out of phase”? doubtful… they’ll likely sync up the crossing so that it’s only allowing you to cross when the light at 28th is red and holding back the masses of cars… this seems to be the way it is for the Foster crossings…

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    • spare_wheel April 29, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Michael Andersen summarized the unfortunate result of this petition as follows:

      “The city’s new “interim solution” for the Buckman/Kerns commercial district (that is, keep things pretty much like they are now).

      keep things pretty much like they are now

      Contrast this with Ms. Holliday’s spin:

      …the city is now proposing a plan that I are really excited about…The City is now proposing: traffic calming measures on 28th (lower speed limits, speed bumps, etc.) and bike sharrows for cyclists who want to access 28th

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 29, 2014 at 1:51 pm


        You’ve touched on a key issue. One of the main questions is.. What will PBOT’s version of an “enhanced shared roadway” (as supported by Holliday and the petitioners) look like? The skeptical among us think that sharrows, speed bumps, and a few signs won’t be substantial enough to truly make the street accessible by bike for the 8-80 year old demographic (which should be the goal IMO). And then there are those – like Sarah Holliday – who are excited and feel that PBOT is on the right track.

        My concern is that PBOT has never tried to truly tame traffic on a narrow commercial street like this. A shared street where people on bikes do not feel pressured/scared from people in cars doesn’t exist in Portland yet. (I was just riding downtown — where lights are times for 12 mph or so — and had to have some jerk honking at me the whole time so he could get by me and wait at a red light. That is a failure of design (and a jerk too).

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        • spare_wheel April 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm

          i share your skepticism, jonathan. effectively calming this street would likely be expensive and would not work without at least some parking elimination. (i’d love to see it done because i think we in the usa need to be creative about building infrastructure that help increase mode share.)

          nevertheless, i will be even more irate if there is not some attempt to accommodate cycling on 28th. while green backed sharrows, speed limit reduction, and some signs are not 8/80, they are better than the “hawthorne bikeway” 20 years later.

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        • davemess April 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm

          I think there are a couple streets like that in the Pearl, but usually only for a couple of blocks.

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        • gutterbunny April 29, 2014 at 9:11 pm

          “My concern is that PBOT has never tried to truly tame traffic on a narrow commercial street like this. A shared street where people on bikes do not feel pressured/scared from people in cars doesn’t exist in Portland yet. (I was just riding downtown — where lights are times for 12 mph or so — and had to have some jerk honking at me the whole time so he could get by me and wait at a red light. That is a failure of design (and a jerk too).”

          Simple answer —- is you gotta start somewhere.

          BTW—Guy was/is just a jerk…You can’t design yourself out them.

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  • phawk April 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    What’s mellow about biking on 30th? Seriously, explain it to me like I’m 5. What do I do at Burnside and Glisan, and how do I cross the highway?

    To be honest, it would be nice to hear from Sarah on this. You would suggest I bike around Staccato Gelato instead of right in front of it?

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    • dwainedibbly April 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      She’s telling us to avoid her business. I think I can do that.

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  • Jim Labbe April 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    The original petition letter sounded reasonable (as Sarah does here) but ultimately it puts forth a very rigid position against replacing any car-space (parking) with more people space between Stark and Sandy.

    I think that is really short-sighted and underestimates the huge potential to transform 28th into a much safer, more vibrant, pedestrian-oriented streetscape with enormous potential benefits for local businesses, especially.

    That transformation is going to require local businesses and landowners to consider a new economic calculus, one that let’s go of trying to preserve and compete for existing parking. It is going to require getting past the reactive fear of parking scarcity to see the potential of creating a pedestrian-focused streetscape that will expand a shared customer base of non-drivers (walkers, bikers, and transit users). As regularly highlights, there is an increasing body of evidence demonstrating that pedestrians and cyclists are a more lucrative customer base for local business in situations like 28th Ave.

    If the businesses and landowners along 28th could fully let go of the old declining, car-centric model of economic development and fully embrace a pedestrian-oriented model, they could even lead the city in this pedestrian-oriented economic transformation. This would surely differentiate 28th from the other commercial corridors like Hawthorne, Alberta, Mississippii, and Sellwood that muddle along with the same half-measures and mediocre compromises.

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    • spare_wheel April 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Hawthorne is a great example of a commercial area that rejected bike lanes resulting in a complete mess for both peds and cyclists.

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      • Buzz Aldrin April 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm

        I live in the Hawthorne district and served on the street plan advisory committee and seldom patronize any businesses on Hawthorne now, although I do take the lane for an occasional recreational ride up and down the Boulevard.

        The city’s initial interim solution for Hawthorne was the signage that says Narrow Lanes Bikes in Lane (mostly covered by graffiti and stickers now), with a promise – read the plan, it’s in there – to install sharrows when they were approved in the MUTCD. That was at least five years ago and counting now and not one sharrow has appeared…

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        • Granpa April 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm

          Hawthorn: Nobody goes there anymore, its too crowded.

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          • kittens April 29, 2014 at 8:39 pm

            People are not cars

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      • Brian April 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        Great point. Hawthorne SHOULD be a mellow place to hang out, ride, etc. Instead it’s a thoroughfare for those commuting into and out of town. The lower speed limit has helped a bit, but I still feel like I have a target on my back when I am riding.

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        • dan April 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

          I live in the neighborhood and bike commute most days, but sometimes need to drive. On those days, I honestly don’t see a better street to take than Hawthorne. Where should commuting traffic go?

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          • Brian April 29, 2014 at 4:52 pm

            Same here. Using Hawthorne is fine. Just do it wisely and realize it isn’t going to get one from point A to point B quickly. Not 30+ mph with full parking and pedestrians/cyclists all over the place, while totally ignoring the turn signals.

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          • Doug Klotz April 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm

            Where should the commuting traffic go? Powell Blvd.

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        • Wino April 30, 2014 at 1:27 pm

          Go to Lincoln street if you wanna bike, it’s a bike lane/street. If you wanna hang out, do so on the sidewalk, that’s at least what my parents taught me. It’s ridiculous bicyclists take the easiest route rather than the safest. Lincoln street has speed bumps and roundabouts for cars. You’re just another example of how “we” should share the road.

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          • paikiala April 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            Lincoln has no roundabouts. Lincoln has neighborhood traffic circles – the most common form of circular intersection in Portland. There are only two roundabouts in Portland – Palater/Terwilliger and Airport long term parking. NE Yacht Harbor has a cul de sac roundabout, but all but one entry is a driveway. Gisan/Chavez is a traffic circle.

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            • Wino April 30, 2014 at 5:24 pm

              Who cares if it’s not a roundabout but thanks for the clarification. It’s a street that’s already been turned into a street meant for bikes that people seem to forget about while commuting BY BIKE. Same thing goes with Salmon/Taylor to the north as well. Both are free of hardly any stops signs and people seem to still ride on Belmont or Hawthorne. Entitlement and lack of self preservation are the key points to every drivers complaint with bicyclists in pdx

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              • Buzz Aldrin May 1, 2014 at 11:19 am

                they are all full-access local public streets usable by everyone regardless of their choice of transportation.

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      • caryebye April 29, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        yes, and I never hardly go down Hawthorne because of it, and hardly visit a lot of businesses I might if I could bike and see what was there.

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        • Brian April 29, 2014 at 2:13 pm

          And this sucks! Hawthorne is great for people watching, music listening, etc. We should all feel comfortable riding it any any time (at any pace- I feel like if I take the lane I need to go all Lance Armstrong to not piss people off), much less at non-rush hour.

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          • Adam April 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm

            To give you an idea of how farcically car-centric the Hawthorne business district is – they don’t even close the street to car traffic for their annual summer street festival!! (Which would explain a lot about why nobody bothers attending it, choosing Belmont / Alberta / Mississippi Street Fairs instead…

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            • Spiffy April 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm

              I tried attending it… the booths were a couple feet from traffic and it was very unpleasant to be on the street…

              had they closed the street it might have been welcoming… I kept riding without stopping and went to another neighborhood to shop…

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            • TonyJ April 29, 2014 at 7:52 pm

              To be fair they tried to get a permit to close it last year and the city denied it because of concurrent street closures on Division. They would like to close it this year, but have no commitment from the city yet.

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    • Paul in the 'Couve April 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      This is the best statement I’ve seen in quite a while. I sincerely hope some neighborhood takes this up. Motorists have easily 6 or 8 interesting neighborhoods to drive to and shop / eat / hang out – (and most of the time they walk while they are there). Instead of catering to motorists are directly competing with the other business districts, ONE district should go full on for Pedestrian / Bike centric design. Quite a few people would even drive there and park a few blocks away to have the opportunity to enjoy walking and shopping. Just look at the shops on the south end of Tom McCall park.

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      • Dan April 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm

        Maybe NW 21st or 23rd will beat them to it.

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      • Spiffy April 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        there are shops at the south end of Tom McCall Waterfront Park?

        oh, you mean those little places under the condos? haven’t been to one of those in many years… they’re way too yuppie for me…

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        • Paul in the 'Couve April 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm

          Yeah, I don’t go there either, but every time I do walk down there they are very busy and there are a LOT of people strolling there. Of course there is the river and the Marina so big draws, and close to Downtown and lots of parking ETC. Still, I honestly believe a really pedestrian oriented area would draw just as well, especially even in the winter when more scenic places are less inviting and awnings over sidewalks and multiple coffee and eatery places and doors every few feet are convenient when showers come through.

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  • scott April 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I checked out on the first line.

    In rebuttal: I am a gelato eater, but I will not eat Staccato Gelato.

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  • Reza April 29, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Until these business owners come right out and say in no uncertain terms: “We are 100% in favor of managing on-street parking demand through the use of meters and permits”, I cannot take any of them seriously on this issue.

    Staccato Gelato? Laurelhurst Theater?

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  • Matthew Strickland April 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I live in the neighborhood and both ride my bike and drive a car. I frequent many of the businesses on 28th and will happily continue to do so. One of the biggest issues as a bike rider and a car driver is that there are many side streets at or near full capacity almost all the time when it comes to parking. While I agree that we are moving towards a community that is less and less dependent upon bikes and that is a very good thing we still all need to share the road ways and make them safer for all whom utilize them. I dont think pushing those 100 parking spaces into the neighboring side streets will make the community surrounding 28th any better. I think that the 30ths bikeway combined with modifications to 28th would meet the needs in a balanced way of the many stakeholders in the area. It isnt just about those who travel through or travel to shop/eat once in a while – please remember there are many people who live in the neighborhood that will also be affected.

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    • phawk April 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      I’m sorry that your neighborhood has become more busy.

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    • Huey Lewis April 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      I am not sympathetic to those that want to park immediately in front of their homes and can not. It’s not any agencies responsibility to provide convenient parking.

      Cars are this weird thing that people buy and then expect a place to put it even if you can’t provide that place. I don’t buy more records/jeans/books/etc. than I can fit in my house and if I did I surely wouldn’t expect Portland to help me store them. Why is this alright with cars?

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      • scott April 29, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        Truly. If you purchase a house with no garage or driveway, you have no specific place that is yours for your car. If you are able to park within 2 blocks of your house that should be good enough. It’s the city, not the country.

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      • dan April 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        In Japan, you have to provide documentation proving you own / are renting a parking spot in order to buy a car. Otherwise, you’re limited to a scooter / motorcycle / kei-class (light car). I’d love to see the day that we have such a requirement here.

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      • Matt April 30, 2014 at 10:32 am

        I like to say “storage” instead of “parking.” Then – I like to think of what other things people think they have the right to “store” in the road.

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    • Huey Lewis April 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Also, welcome to city living!

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    • nuovorecord April 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Is there a reason you and your neighbors aren’t parking your cars in your driveway or garage, and need to use the public right-of-way instead?

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      • Kristen April 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm

        I think he’s referring to visitors, not himself and his neighbors.

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    • Kyle April 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Interesting… I live in the neighbourhood too, and I don’t see a problem with removing parking down one side (or even both sides) of 28th. Currently when someone visits me via car, they usually have to find a spot a couple of blocks away. It’s a quick and easy walk and it’s never been a problem. Also, if I do have to drive somewhere, I most often avoid 28th as a thoroughfare because I feel that my car, although smaller, is potentially dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists in a busy narrow commercial district.

      As for the fact that the neighbourhood is getting busier, I love it! With more apartment buildings under construction nearby and new shops opening on a regular basis, we’re going to soon have the kind of density that will power enough shops and restaurants to make a pedestrian and bicycle oriented lifestyle around here absolutely divine.

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  • Dave April 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hawthorne remains a mess for driving, too–needs to lose a trafic lane in either direction but gain bike lanes on the sides and a dedicated left turn lane down its middle.

    Hawthorne is a great example of a commercial area that rejected bike lanes resulting in a complete mess for both peds and cyclists.
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    • davemess April 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Yep, that street is sketchy all around!

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    • GlowBoy April 30, 2014 at 12:44 am

      Hawthorne already has the narrowest traffic lanes in the city – 9.5 feet wide IIRC from my Portland Traffic & Transpo class. I have personally witnessed at least a couple of incidents in which opposing vehicles’ mirrors hit because the lanes are so narrow. Just give up the idea of a 4-lane boulevard and make it 2 general lanes plus 2 bike lanes each direction. More room and more safety for everyone that way.

      My experience with Hawthorne is that a lot of the traffic is just passing through, and I’m guessing that accounts for most of the drivers who feel the need to blast through at 30mph. If calming Hawthorne diverts these commuters elsewhere, fine.

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  • Mike April 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Someone has to draft a counter-petition. Is this it? If not, I’ll replace the “we” with “I” and send it anyway…

    Mr. Rich Newlands
    Portland Bureau of Transportation

    The purpose of this letter is to communicate our interests in regards to the proposed “20s Bikeway Project” — specifically the commercial corridor along 28th Avenue between I-84 and SE Stark.

    Recall that in 2010, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030. The Plan states that in order to “create safer streets, reduce the causes of global climate change, promote a healthy environment, and limit the effects and health care costs related to inactivity,” the City must “design for people who are not yet riding, and must create conditions that make bicycling more attractive than driving for short trips.” Specifically, the Plan recommends that the City “create a cohesive network with direct routes that take people where they want to go.”

    In this spirit, we, the undersigned, are very concerned to learn that PBOT has decided to back away from an initial proposal to replace about 100 auto parking spaces on 28th Avenue near Burnside with a buffered bike lane as part of the 20s Bikeway.

    We believe this decision is short-sighted, and not in keeping with the spirit of the 2030 Plan.

    We are not blind to the political realities of executing forward-looking transportation strategies in a city still dominated by the automobile. Few of us expected PBOT or the local business community to enthusiastically embrace the “optimal” bike facility proposal you presented to the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee in early February (removal of parking on both sides of 28th Avenue to allow a buffered lane of non-motorized traffic and a lane of auto traffic in each direction).

    We did, however, expect PBOT’s final plan to hew towards a compromise solution for all stakeholders. One where the desires of the business community, automobile drivers and non-motorized travelers (especially those in the large “interested but concerned” demographic identified in the 2030 Plan) were taken into account in designing a route that “makes bicycling more attractive than driving for short trips.” Indeed, a “direct route that takes people where they want to go” — from their residences into the heart of a popular commercial corridor.

    We believe that the PBOT plan you presented to the 20s Bikeway Stakeholder Advisory Committee last week is not a fair compromise, as it favors the status quo of continued, unlimited free automobile parking over the type of improvements recommended in the 2030 Plan (specifically, those designed to make non-motorized transit directly into this commercial district a viable and safe reality for all Portlanders).

    Indeed, as you stated at the meeting, “We’re asking a lot of the public right of way. The future strongly suggests that parking will be at the bottom of the totem pole. Moving people, getting people to places, is going to be more important than storing cars.” Further, as you stated back in February, “we’re going to run into this situation in many other sections of this bicycle network that run through these relatively constrained commercial districts.”

    Portland is already more than four years into its 20-year plan to create a more sustainable city. We ask that PBOT find the courage to continue to make bold progress towards a future that truly works for all residents. The 20s Bikeway is a critical first step that we believe can serve as an important model for other development plans elsewhere.


    The Undersigned

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    • Jim Labbe April 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      I like the idea of a counter petition but if the petition is likely to get strong, broad support it really has to make the economic development case for replacing parking space with more people space on 28th. It is smart and strategic economic development strategy for the entire corridor from Sandy to Stark and should be put forward as such. The case for implementing the City’s neighborhood greenway vision including constructing bike facilities that serve the majority of cyclists (not just the “strong and the fearless”) is certainly critical…. but I don’t think it alone is going to get folks to see beyond the obsession with preserving parking and toward real transformation.

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    • Daniel Costantino April 29, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      This is a *far* more constructive way of dealing with the issue than a boycott, which is frankly totally uncalled for and serves only to attack the livelihood of people who are just trying to protect their legitimate source of income operating small neighborhood businesses.

      I would gladly sign such a petition, though, as I think that most of these owners are wrong about the issue, and that better bike facilities will in fact help the neighborhood develop further and promote business.

      Please put it on a site like or something similar, and ask Jonathan Maus to advertise it on this site!

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      • Mike May 1, 2014 at 11:06 pm

        Jim: I agree that any petition worth signing should also make a stronger case for the economic benefits of less parking/more diverse transport. I’ll noodle on it a bit. It’s not like studies haven’t been done.

        The tough bit tho will be getting the powers that be to be bold in THIS city, which has yet to really try this concept at scale.

        Daniel: I too prefer the counter-petition model over the boycott model. In fact, I think something along the lines of the “draw a bike on your sales receipt” idea floated by Russ Roca on today’s BP front page is getting at the real crux of this 20s Bikeway Project — cyclists are gonna have to reward any reconsideration by PBOT and/or 28th Ave businesses by playing a big role in making this experiment a success.

        I’ll throw up another draft here soon…

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    • Bruce April 30, 2014 at 11:26 am

      I’d sign it.

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  • davemess April 29, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Removing a row of parking will almost always improve conditions for pedestrians.

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    • Alan 1.0 April 30, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      As a pedestrian on a curb-abutting sidewalk, I prefer a row of parked cars to a traffic lane. A cycletrack next to the sidewalk is better than a car traffic lane but unless there’s very clear separation, I’ve experienced conflict from that configuration, too. The devil is in the details.

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      • davemess April 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm

        Sure, if there is a bump out of the sidewalk past the parking lane (which I don’t think this area has) making the pedestrians easier to see. Otherwise they are just jumping out from behind parked cars. I don’t think that’s safer than an open view with just a bike lane there.

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        • paikiala April 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm

          You’re being too simplistic. Pedestrian safety is purely a function of vehicle speed at the point of collision. If vehicles go above 20 mph, then there needs to be mitgation for that. The most common mitigation is space – so the motorist has more time to slow before impact – or a barrier. Parked cars serve this purpose, not as an impermeable shield, but better than open space. The other track to follow to reduce vehicle engergy before a collision is to start at a lower speed to begin with. Speed limits and roadway design, like speed bumps, serve this function.

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          • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:23 pm

            Vehicle speed doesn’t have that much to do with a car making a right turn and hitting a pedestrian because they couldn’t see them behind a row of parked cars.

            Sure speed limits are important. But given equal speed limits I still think the pedestrian is safer when they are more visible on a road without a parking lane, than a road where the are obscured by one.

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        • Alan 1.0 May 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm

          A row of parked cars separating a traffic lane from a sidewalk makes the moving vehicles feel less threatening. Along with simple physical separation, sound and wind blast are both reduced, and splash/spray is nearly eliminated. As Unit mentions downthread, it’s a well-known pedestrian preference.

          I would be remiss in my readings of 9watts if I didn’t mention that the ‘feature’ of parked cars providing such a buffer has an undefined yet finite design life, and good planners should be thinking ahead to that time. I’ve seen successful streets, including retail commercial districts, without cars as well as with shared ped/car streets, and I’d love to see that in Portland (or Vancouver). Simply removing a row of parking isn’t enough, by far, to make it happen.

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          • 9watts May 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm

            Perhaps a variant on Stockholm Syndrome?
            Cars (stationary) protecting us from cars (moving). As Alan 1.0 implies, perhaps we could get rid of both, eh?

            “Simply removing a row of parking isn’t enough, by far, to make it happen.”

            My understanding of what was being proposed here was considerably more than just that. Some of us have gotten a little carried away with this piece of the proposed changes since it was such a flashpoint for the 60 businesses….
            I thought removing the free, on-street auto parking was a means to an end–a more pleasant multimodal street with less harried bikey folk, slower speeds, etc.; one arrow in PBOT’s quiver.

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            • Alan 1.0 May 1, 2014 at 9:24 pm

              The proposal for 28th (as I understand it) would have traded a row of parking for a buffered bike lane, and maybe added some traffic calming stuff (raised crosswalks? speed humps? 20mph limit?). As a pedestrian, I’d still like a protective barrier between me and 20mph cars and you won’t catch me strolling off the curb to check out the window across the way. That plan is not an end game in the sense of a pedestrian street. No big objection from me to that plan, even if commuting bikes next to the sidewalk aren’t all that comfortable to moseying peds (the curb helps). I’d like to see PDOT go for it but it’s still a looong way from a “cars as guests” or an 8-80 street.

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  • Reza April 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    “there are many side streets at or near full capacity almost all the time when it comes to parking”

    You sound like someone who would be fully in support of parking demand management, correct?

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    • Reza April 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      This was supposed to be in response to Matthew Strickland, above.

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    • nuovorecord April 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Sounds like it’s time for a permit system.

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  • andy April 29, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    A poorly designed neighborhood greenways/bikeways can be just as dangerous as the main aerial they are adjacent too. A perfect example is Ankeny St. Many cars and trucks traveling West on Burnside cut over to Ankeny on 15 -17th St to avoid the lights near Sandy and Couch. The same can be said for cars traveling East on Burnside that cut over to Ankeny between 7-9th.

    Whats the point of a neighborhood greenway if you are only enabling auto traffic to use it as a cut through avoiding the lights?

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    • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Except there are diverters on Ankeny so you don’t see a ton of auto traffic on it. I for one think it works pretty well, and at least is is just a short block from Burnside so cyclists can access the businesses pretty easily.

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    • paikiala April 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Except #2: Ankeny has not been retrofitted to the Neighborhood Greenway standard – it’s still funtioning in bike boulevard mode.

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  • scott April 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I am curious as to why the business owners were even included in this process. You set up a business to serve customer interests, not your own. So it would seem more logical that every person in the city except for the business owners on 28th would be the deciders.

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  • Spiffy April 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Staccato Gelato has only 2 parking spaces facing them… how much business do they think those 2 spots really bring in? certainly not a large portion of their business… although they’re 30 minute spots so at least it’s turning around frequently…

    so instead of letting the city make the street better she’s going to stifle improvements unless she gets a plan that makes the street perfect?

    no, that doesn’t work, you can’t hold out for perfection and you know it…

    that’s like saying you won’t try adding a new flavor to your lineup unless you can revamp your entire lineup with awesome flavors… except this time you’re making the decision for somebody else… and that somebody is me!

    I want the one new flavor… if it’s good then we can add all those other flavors later…

    get it?

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  • bjorn April 29, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    One issue with the suggestion of a 20 mph speed limit is that I don’t believe it is allowed by current state law at the traffic volumes currently seen on 28th without permission from odot, which they don’t seem to like to give.

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    • paikiala April 30, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Traffic volume is not a factor for statutory speeds. Only adjacent land use, in this case Business District or Residential District.

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      • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:24 pm

        Then why is PBOT or ODOT first move when they’re thinking about changing speed limits to put down sensors to track speeds and volume?

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        • paikiala May 1, 2014 at 10:44 am

          Those are not used exclusively for speed zone changes. The tubes measure speed and volume. Basic information to determine the road use and speeding level by motorists.

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      • Bjorn May 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        If the city wanted to lower the speed limit based on ORS 810.180 then the street would have to have less than 2000 vehicles per day, which I am fairly certain 28th significantly exceeds today. If 28th met the requirement of <2000 vehicles and most of those cars were already travelling <30 mph then the city could lower the speed limit to 20mph without explicit permission from ODOT. This is how the city recently lowered the speed limit on our neighborhood greenways.

        20mph in a business district is the basic speed rule for business districts in Oregon but applies only when not otherwise posted. (ORS 811.105) ODOT has already posted 28th as a 25 mph street, and the City can not lower that limit without permission from ODOT, permission which they seem unlikely to grant based on recent experience. It would be interesting to know more about the history of NE Fremont east of 42nd as that is a similar street whose posted speed is 20 mph.

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  • Vanessa Renwick April 29, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I was just in Eugene for four days and rode my bike the entire time I was down there. Bike lanes everywhere. And some of them are two way. Has that been considered an option for the lane proposed on the West side of 28th? It worked well in Eugene.

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  • stephen salter April 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Magnolia Street in Fort Worth is the sort of story that urban planners dream of.

    In 2008, this mixed used street was re-striped. The street had featured two lanes in each direction, both of which had been mainly used by cars, plus a few fast and fearless cyclists.

    In its new incarnation it still had four lanes, one in each direction for cars, and one for bicycles. “It was the first ‘road diet’ of its kind in Fort Worth, and has been a genuine success,” Kevin Buchanan, a local musician and author of the Fort Worthology blog, told me.

    The best measure of this success was in the bottom line: after the road was rearranged, restaurant revenues along the street went up a combined total of 179 percent.

    this is one of many articles that point out this obvious effect. Sarah Holliday is short sighted.

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    • Joe Rowe April 29, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Valencia Street in San Francisco was a key bike artery and everyone was blaming bikes for a soon to come crisis for being put on a car diet. Guess what? No crisis. The result is now another round of road diet and a thriving community. Wider sidewalks were added as the next phase. Trek made the disc brake “Portland” model for Portland, and named the similar “Valencia” for this reason. I was the marketing volunteer.

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  • Livellie April 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    PBOT should take this opportunity to show some vision and leadership and push to remove parking along BOTH sides of 28th. Everyone would gain a safer, more user friendly street…car drivers, bike riders, pedestrians and even the big Coke trucks. The only losers would be drivers seeking a few free parking spots along a major street. I don’t buy the argument that cars looking for parking on side streets is somehow more dangerous for pedestrians and bike riders than cars looking for parking on a busy street. And the “livability” argument that somehow a neighborhood suffers if side streets have cars stuffed on them is lame. Parking sucks in most major cities…get over it. Or better yet, get a bike or take the bus. That is city living.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 29, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I am curious as to why the business owners were even included in this process.

    Because the decisions for 28th are being made in the real world?

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    • Huey Lewis April 29, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      And a very few people get to make a decision that may not be in the best interest of our city as a whole since they say “because money”? That’s weak. Their voice should be no more powerful than mine or yours. We can do better than this. There may be 60ish names on that list opposing bike lanes but how many thousands of people use that street a day? Business owners can say whatever they want like everyone else but it shouldn’t have any more weight than anyone else’s.

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  • dan April 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I’m duplicating a post I made on the other 28th thread, but I think it’s relevant here too:

    I think that people are forgetting that these are small business owners, not the Koch brothers. If you were at all the neighborhood meetings making your position clear, and if you biked this chunk of 28th for work and/or leisure all winter long, then you may have a legitimate kvetch. I kind of feel like everyone else is just jumping on the bandwagon.

    Personally, I’m a year-round bike commuter, but if I’m making a personal trip in the winter, like going to Laurelhurst Theater some rainy January night…well…chances are I’m going to drive, and I’d guess many local cyclists are the same way. Is removing parking to build a world-class bike facility that’s underutilized 2/3 of the year really that high of a priority on this street?

    While I would like to hear how these businesses feel about meters / permits for parking (which I think would make a lot of sense here), I don’t think that what they’ve proposed is that terribly unreasonable / bad, and in general, I don’t feel like this is a group of people that is “anti-cycling,” whatever that means.

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    • spare_wheel April 29, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      1. none of your *assumptions* apply to me.

      2. if a small business owner or MIC conglomerate do not represent my values i am not going to support them.

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      • dan April 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

        Yep, you have every right to do that. Just saying that the business owners may actually be right about the impact to their business of removing auto parking…

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    • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:04 am

      a. I don’t think anyone was calling the proposed facility “world class”
      b. Why do you think it wouldn’t be utilized for 2/3rds of the year? You yourself say you are a year round commuter (as am I) and there are thousands more like us in this city. Surely some of these commuters will continue to use these facilities during the rainy months. Roads are for transportation, not storage, so commuting trumps parking in my mind.

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      • dan April 30, 2014 at 11:10 am

        There’s been a lot of discussion about how bike lanes on 28th would improve revenues at these businesses, and they should just open their eyes to this. I’m wondering if that’s really true, given how ridership dips in the winter:
        And while there are year-round commuters, I don’t think they’re going to 28th for dinner, followed by gelato and a movie.

        Maybe these businesses are actually better off keeping the car parking, which presumably has fairly level utilization year round.

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        • spare_wheel April 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

          hawthorne bridge counts on rainy winter days are not evidence that people like myself (who live in the neighborhood) are unwilling to walk or bike relatively short distances to 28th.

          the planned improvements sabotaged by these businesses would have helped create a better environment for pedestrians (as well as cyclists). moreover, many of those who drive to 28th end up walking several blocks so these improvement would have created a more pleasant environment for them as well.

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        • davemess April 30, 2014 at 1:38 pm

          I don’t think they are guaranteed to improve with bike lanes. I just don’t think they will really see much of a drop. We’re talking about a small amount of parking spots in a neighborhood where most people expect to walk a few blocks after finding parking already. Removing these parking spots will not be a business killer.

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        • 9watts April 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm

          I don’t know, dan. Part of the problem here is that we (who bike) haven’t really had, you know, the red carpet treatment from any business district. Let’s assume, just for the fun of it, that the businesses on 28th, for whatever reason, decided that they wanted to cater specifically to us, the bikey ones. They spent some money on advertising this new stance. They offered incentives: have a helmet with you; get a second gelato/movie/drink free, or whatever. More bike corrals; they advocate at PBOT for traffic calming instead of suggesting we just bike somewhere else, just not in front of their businesses, thank you.

          If we had that as a case study, something to chew on, toss around, I think your mopey no one one a bike is going to go by the car-storage-free business district unless it is sunny and it’ll probably go bust in the meantime for lack of car-bound customers would look like sour grapes.

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  • spare_wheel April 29, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Sarah Holliday was interviewed by Bike Portland in Nov 2013. And this sentence jumped out for me:

    She’s strongly in favor of moving most bike traffic off the street, though she thinks some will still use it.

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    • Buzz Aldrin April 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      It’s a public street. We all pay for it. It crosses the freeway, has relatively flat topography, signalized crossing of major cross streets, is an excellent N-S bike route from SE Stark to well beyond NE Broadway and provides access to destinations like Ms. Holliday’s business. You can’t just ‘move’ bike traffic off of it.

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      • 9watts April 29, 2014 at 10:17 pm

        “You can’t just ‘move’ bike traffic off of it.”

        I know. But Ms. Holliday and everyone else who signed the myopic petition not only thinks they can call the shots; it is starting to look like PBOT is willing to let them.

        Oh, and about this zero sum car parking calculus that seems to underlie the whole counter-effort on the part of the businesses, and which many here are repeating as gospel. This is not how it works.
        Induced demand (build more freeway lanes and more folks decide to take the freeway and clog it up again in short order) also works in reverse: You take out a lane of traffic, or remove 100 spots of parking, and those 100 cars don’t automatically and forever circle the already full side streets. They, some of them, realize that the street is such a fun (even more fun than before now that is full of people rather than full of parked cars) place to be they’ll take the bus, or walk there. Some will get angry and go to Mall 205, or somewhere with huge parking lots, but many of those folks moving into the apartments all over the place will happily take their places.
        Mrs. Holliday and her buddies on 28th need to think about this a little more dynamically.

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        • Buzz Aldrin May 1, 2014 at 11:23 am

          PBOT has a long, long history of caving in to local businesses on this issue.

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  • Johnnie Metso April 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I take the lane when I ride 28th. I ride fast so am usually braking behind other cars. Nothing needs to change. It just needs to be understood by all that the occupancy is the rule. Whoever is in the lead sets the pace. Treat it like we are all guests. Anybody blows their horn or gets impatient is cited or is publicly shamed. Strictly enforced.

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    • Chris Shaffer April 30, 2014 at 8:44 am

      That’s not a proposal that will work for the 8-80 crowd.

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      • Buzz Aldrin April 30, 2014 at 11:07 am

        You know, we don’t always have to cater to the lowest common denominator, and doing nothing while continuing to wait for a ‘perfect’ solution is not in anyone’s best interest.

        An interim solution with sharrows and lower speed limits will work better than what’s there now for the 16 to 66 crowd; and while we wait for perfect, the 8-16 and 66-80 crowd can continue to ride on the adjacent greenway streets.

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    • spare_wheel May 2, 2014 at 10:33 am

      this petition squashed the prospect for any appreciable improvements on 28th (including speed reduction, traffic reduction, sharrows, and/or signage). it’s also clear that ms. holliday (and other business owners) want cyclists off 28th entirely.

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  • Charlie April 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Gotta say I agree with her. Either turn it into a neighborhood greenway, or leave it as it is. Taking out the parking and putting in a bike lane would just make cars go faster and lead to more right hooks.

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  • Joe Suburban April 29, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Not every street is ideal for biking. Yes it’s nice to use the big direct streets, but not while risking life and limb. I always move over 1 street. I pity the hapless soul biking on 28th or 39th, Powell or Burnside in front of a bus while taking the lane. The hipsters on Hawthorne are really playing with their lives. There’s barely room for 4 lanes there! That street should be 2 lanes with a turn lane in the middle.

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    • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Problem is that 28th isn’t exactly a “big” street. Every other road you mentioned is at least 4 lanes (some with parking lanes on top of that).

      We also all know this city severely lacks good N-S bikeways.

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    • GlowBoy April 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I don’t think 28th is even remotely analogous to Powell, Burnside or 39th.

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  • Puddlecycle April 29, 2014 at 7:32 pm


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  • fasterthanme April 29, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I’m having a hard time understanding why y’all are kicking the small businesses over such a little stretch of road that’s already pretty safe for cyclists. I’ve lived in this area and still bike through it every morning on my commute and don’t really see the problem.

    Why should this small area take the burden of additional bike amenities when so many other parts of the city are lacking ANY? Some folks mentioned Hawthorne, but what about Belmont, Division, Powell, Alberta, Sandy, 82nd Ave. These are all major arteries with businesses we could all patronize, with inconsistent and sometimes nonexistent bike amenities. (Some parts of 82nd don’t even have sidewalks).

    I’d really rather see the limited bike resources we have going into East Portland. While things have improved over the past 5 years there are still some very dangerous and intimidating crossings. (122nd) Many roads going north south don’t connect, lead to dead ends or make you ride along graveled lips on the side of the road.

    Compared to that, what we have on 28th right now is a freaken luxury.

    And personally, I find 30th is much nicer with fewer cars and a lovely park with tall trees.

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    • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:08 am

      You say “additional bike ammenities”, what would the initial ones be?

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    • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:10 am

      also this is a big deal because it was supposed to a key part of a continuous bikeway stretching 4+ miles North to South. It’s not just about the business district.

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    • spare_wheel May 2, 2014 at 10:43 am

      “I’d really rather see the limited bike resources we have going into East Portland.”

      I vehemently agree but this bikeway is funded by a $2.4 millon dollar federal grant that cannot be targeted to east portland.

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  • joel April 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    biking on ankeny, going, tillamook, harrison is great, but i never see retail stores. 28th is my best access to north portland, and probably the best to see businesses. I dont want to be pushed to another side street. I enjoy biking past the stores and seeing whats new. I also drive and parking on 28th is not important for me- so i guess im a fan of keeping all the biking walking driving on 28th, but im not sure why parking is important – fyi i mostly drive when i shop on 28th (crazy i know).

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  • Joe Rowe April 29, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Dear Ms. Holliday. You signed a letter full of distortions about safety.

    While your words here are more kind, you put your name to the letter full of half truths. (aka lies) I will boycott your place until you pull your name from that first bogus “safety” letter and start a letter more in line with your newest statement.

    Parking has a huge negative impact on safety of bikes & pedestrians, and I’d like you to admit that parking spots need to be put on the table. You are silent on this key issue.

    Signed, Dad and daughter who ride 28th several times a month, and will not stop in your shop until you pull back from the first letter.

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  • Unit April 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Some folks on this site seem intent on casting the business owners on 28th as anti-bike. The fact is, we’d likely see the same response to a proposal to remove parking on ANY community main street. Street parking is almost essential to walkable businesses. It makes businesses more visible; it protects the sidewalk for pedestrians.

    But please, prove me otherwise. Someone name a street in the area, that serves as a lively, walkable main street that doesn’t have parking. I bet you can’t. Walkable retail just doesn’t thrive without street parking. And you can’t have a good pedestrian environment without walkable retail.

    Aspiring to a future where this isn’t the case is intriguing. Threatening to boycott small local businesses over a reasonable difference of opinion is well….small.

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    • 9watts April 30, 2014 at 5:56 am

      “Walkable retail just doesn’t thrive without street parking.”

      I’m not sure if this was a serious contention of yours. But on the face of it this is ridiculous. Every city I ever set foot in (in Germany) has pedestrian zones where cars are not allowed. They are *the thriving* retail sections of the cities, without question. I didn’t think anyone questioned that fact. Did you see the link to the Fort Worth story by Elly Blue upthread? Here it is again:

      Just because we here in the US have so far caved to the PARKing god worshipers when it comes to this sort of decision does not an iron law of retail make.

      I think you have it backwards.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu April 30, 2014 at 6:55 am

        People have to get to the pedestrian shopping areas in those German cities. Look around those areas and you will see excellent mass transit (streetcars etc) and plenty of parking facilities, as well as high housing density, in the vicinity.

        How do customers get to 28th between Stark and Glisan for, let’s say, a dinner at one of the restaurants? There is not good mass transit (just bus, but not many people take the bus to go out in the evening). There is no parking garage in the area. Convenient walking radius is only about 1/2 mile. Many people don’t want to ride a bike at night, in the rain, to get to a nice restaurant.

        Count the bikes locked up in the several block stretch of 28th where almost all of the businesses are. Most days, there are around twenty bikes. Everyone else arrives by car or foot. There has to be parking for the ones who arrive by car.

        Suppose the street becomes a bicycle heaven (parking removed, big bike lanes installed) while car parking becomes extremely hard (parking removed, the no-parking apartments get finished and leased to people who mostly own cars). Will the additional biking customers make up for the loss of driving customers? During a few months in the summer, maybe. What about during the long winter when Portlanders’ bicycle use falls dramatically?

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        • John Liu
          John Liu April 30, 2014 at 8:42 am

          I forgot to mention parking meters. I think metered parking on 28th would help preserve parking for customers, by discouraging parking by residents and employees. Perhaps metered parking on just one side of the street would allow the same customer parking capacity as the current un-metered parking on both sides, which could permit bike lanes after all? I admit I don’t understand the views and politics around metered parking in Portland, and why it is so little-used here. Was a conversion to metered parking was considered by PBOT or discussed at the various meetings?

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      • Mike April 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        Is it really fair to attempt to compare Portland to Europe? Apples to oranges

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        • 9watts April 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm

          I’m comparing US/Platinum to Europe/Particleboard (or Potmetal, if you prefer). Not sure why this isn’t a fair comparison.

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    • davemess April 30, 2014 at 10:12 am

      I”m confused how street parking (cars/trucks literally blocking the roadway from seeing businesses) makes the businesses MORE visible? Please explain.

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      • JL April 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

        Im confused about Unit comment saying street parking protects the sidewalks for pedestrians…

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        • davemess April 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

          It could possibly protect them from an out of control car running up on the sidewalk (which doesn’t happen that often). I don’t think that is a good trade off for the risk factors that a parking lane (like on 28th) makes for pedestrians (blocking drivers from seeing people wanting to cross the streets at intersections going parallel or perpendicular to the street). Parking lanes (esp. with today’s taller cars) make it much harder for drivers to see pedestrians on the sidewalk.

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        • Unit May 1, 2014 at 7:24 pm

          A solid wall of vehicles protects the sidewalk from moving cars, like street trees do. It’s been proven that people are more comfortable walking on sidewalks with these features. Parking blocking crosswalk visibility is indeed an issue that should be better addressed by clearing our parking approaching crosswalks.

          Re: visibility, businesses seem to benefit from the possibility that there might be an open parking space in front; cars are typically less than 6 feet tall and so don’t block signs like trees do.

          You can disagree with me on those points if you want. But – the larger point is this. I haven’t heard anyone name a vibrant walkable street in the Portland area without parking. Even downtown, with all its density, seems to need parking for retail, although it’s probably less important. It works in Europe yes, where the dynamics are completely different. I wish we had Europe’s dynamics but the fact is we don’t. We can wish parking wasn’t important to walkable businesses all we want, but the fact is that it is in 2014. Which is why streets with parking support walkable retail: Hawthorne, Division, 23rd, 21st, 28th, Williams, Alberta, etc, and all the main streets in all the suburbs – every last walkable retail street.

          But I’d be happy to be proven wrong. Name a street, just one, and prove that it can work.

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          • 9watts May 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm

            “We can wish parking wasn’t important to walkable businesses all we want, but the fact is that it is in 2014.”

            I think you are collapsing two things here, Unit.
            (1) Businesses along this section of 28th, and just about anywhere in the urban US probably, are convinced that auto parking in front of their businesses is *essential,* that everything else is secondary to this one well-known fact.
            (2) The absence of counter examples ready at hand from the US, since the thousands (tens of thousands?) of examples from the rest of the world for some reason don’t count.

            Just because we here can’t seem to provide you a vibrant auto-parking-free counterexample off the tops of our collective heads–and someone probably could–doesn’t to me prove anything about whether those businesses are right, or if perhaps instead their stranglehold on the status quo simply snuffs out any attempts to try it.

            If the latter has any plausibility, then you might agree that this is frustratingly circular. Sort of like the US exceptionalism when it comes to the gas tax. Everywhere else they have stiff gas taxes and keep raising them higher and higher. But not here. No. Here that would not work at all.

            Why not do an end run around all this defeatist, circular, status-quo-beholden, unimaginative, auto-burdened garbage, and try something different, bold, inspiring; something we know works very well (thank you) in other places we sometimes imagine ourselves to be emulating.

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            • Psyfalcon May 1, 2014 at 8:48 pm

              Church Street in Burlington Vt?

              No parking at all. No driving for that matter (no biking too, unfortunately). Limited on street parking, a few garages, and things seem to be going fine, even during the winter there.

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              • El Biciclero May 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm

                In fairness, I think there is a difference between driving allowed but no parking, vs. no driving allowed (which implies no parking). If there is no driving allowed, then there is nothing for pedestrians to fear from out-of-control motor vehicles, and no need for a protective wall of parked cars.

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          • 9watts July 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm

            Hey Unit. Maybe we’ll get to see it come true – right here?

            “the six-month-old Old Town Hospitality Group sees their experimental road diet concept, which could narrow the streets’ car-oriented area from three travel lanes to one or two and might remove some on-street auto parking, as a way to make the neighborhood safer, more comfortable and better to do business in.” (emphasis mine)

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            • spare_wheel July 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

              You can be sure that I will spend my money in old town if they push this through.

              Boycott petition signers!

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  • Organic Brian April 30, 2014 at 2:08 am

    I checked recently, and Oregon Revised Statutes have 15 MPH as the speed limit in Oregon alleys.

    I don’t see how NE 28th will ever have a speed limit slower than 25mph, considering its use for freight and as a collector street that also crosses the freeway.

    I agree with folks who have said that if this area is to be treated as a parking lot, it should have parking lot speeds. If it isn’t to be made slower, then I think it should have bike lanes added. People who make themselves dependent on cars in such a high-density, should-be-walkable neighborhood can just suffer. Business revenue will go up for most businesses, as it did on NE Williams etc.

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    • paikiala April 30, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Business District statutory is 20 mph.

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  • Adron April 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

    What would fix this whole 28th street mess, if we have to be jammed into the road with the cars on a busy street like this, with tons of activity on both sides, is to have one simple thing mid-street between Burnside and Glisan.


    If we could have some serious, legit turnouts, maybe even a tree smack in the center, that only cyclists could go through I’d be 100% for mixing traffic and bikes. But as it is motorists – a lot who could care less about speed bumps or traffic calming anything (just go get some radar speeds on MLK or Sandy sometime, speed limit my !@#) – that tear up and down that road heading for the Interstate. Worse, many are tearing off of the Interstate so haven’t regained perspective on slower speeds (see the race car driver problem with this). They *think* they’re going slow when they’re cruising down the street at 45-50 mph. Which happens. Regularly.

    Where do cars get redirected to? I’m not sure, but the simple fact is most of the traffic is passing by the businesses anyway. They’re passing by the housing, the parking and the sidewalks. They’re not even going to a place anywhere near 28th – so why even have that as a primary through street? Seriously. (and yes, I know there’s a LOT of history where the streetcars dead ended there and other such reasons, but I digress, just staying focused on today).

    Turn outs should refocus the WHOLE street segment on two key things. Safe movement of cyclists and pedestrians through the area and to and from the residences and businesses on that street. Easy fix IMHO.

    As for those driving, there are still tons of other options and more efficient ways to get to the Interstate besides barreling down a very small (albeit arterial) road where thousands of people congregate to enjoy food, drink and hygge everyday. There safety should be the top priority over everybody else, the greatest and most obvious threat on that street are motorists.

    A turn out would help motorists stop being that threat and instead be great members of the community there.

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    • GlowBoy May 5, 2014 at 11:54 am

      “Turnouts” are places for slow moving vehicles to pull off to the side of the road to allow faster vehicles to pass.

      I think you mean “diverters”.

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  • Mike April 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Taking your ball and going home if you don’t get your way? Small business owners are what this city is about. We shun big box stores in favor of individuals attempting to make a living running their own business so it boggles my mind why some of you want to boycott them because they prefer to favor cars. Why not perform a show of force and inundate the area with bikes demonstrating to them how powerful the buying power of cyclists can be. Shutting them down will benefit no one.

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  • Jeff May 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Johnnie Metso
    I take the lane when I ride 28th. I ride fast so am usually braking behind other cars. Nothing needs to change. It just needs to be understood by all that the occupancy is the rule. Whoever is in the lead sets the pace. Treat it like we are all guests. Anybody blows their horn or gets impatient is cited or is publicly shamed. Strictly enforced.
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    Just because you feel confident and can keep a reasonable pace doesn’t mean its any safer even for you …even still the road needs to serve all users not just people in cars and strong and fearless cyclists

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  • Brian May 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Brian here from the Captured Beer Bus. I bike down 28th everyday for work. The petition somehow labeled my signature as “Captured by Porches” but I am my own entity. (I am a former Brewer/ Employee and love the beer, so I carry it).

    I’m removing my name from the petition. I fully support improvements for biking on 28th. In support of my biking customers, I will be making improvements at the food cart pod for bike parking and offer “happy hour” for bikers from 4-6pm on Wednesdays.

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  • 9watts June 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I don’t know if you are in the habit of reading the Monday Roundup, but you might want to this week. Here’s a link for you to a story there that touches on your article.

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.


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