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Bikeway in name only? Clinton Street’s heavy traffic prompts calls for diverters

Posted by on July 30th, 2014 at 10:49 am

clinton traffic

Traffic on SE Clinton Tuesday evening.
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)

It was this March that Brian Sysfail, a regular user of Clinton Street, decided that if nothing else was going to get in the way of through-traffic on the Clinton Street neighborhood greenway, he was.

“Don’t like the increase in traffic on Clinton during rush hour and especially drivers cutting through neighborhoods?” he asked in a Facebook invitation to 278 people. “Neither do a lot of cyclists and pedestrians. So how about we all ride bikes together as a group after work on Friday.”

“This is a peaceful action to raise awareness that Clinton is not a short cut for drivers in rush hour,” he added.

Occasional activism like Sysfail’s is just part of a rising tide of complaints about Clinton Street, which has become a spillover for car traffic avoiding construction on Division or heading to its new apartment buildings and restaurant row.

“I’m terrified of SE Clinton anywhere west of 39th but especially between 12th & 21st where it’s a total speedway,” wrote Kari Schlosshauer, Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, in an essay on BikePortland last month. “We ought to implement more of those creative and interesting diverters that let bikes and people through, but make cars go back to the arterials — this helps make our neighborhoods places for people.”

The talk of traffic problems on Clinton puts an important question to Portland’s street designers: how much traffic can a neighborhood greenway handle?

Greg Raisman, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s traffic safety specialist and a co-creator of the neighborhood greenway concept, said in an interview that there is no question that Clinton’s auto traffic levels are at or above the traditional maximum for neighborhood greenways: 3,000 motor vehicles per day.

“Above 3,000, we put in bike lanes, generally,” Raisman said.

On March 31, two weeks after Sysfail’s ride, the city measured auto traffic at 25th and Clinton. The count was 3,028.

When are diverters necessary?

A family ride from NoPo to Sellwood-18

A traffic diverter allowing biking and walking traffic but preventing through auto traffic.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials’ street design guide, a document developed from the work of innovators like Raisman, says this about “bicycle boulevards,” a class that includes Portland’s more multimodal neighborhood greenways:

“Bicycle boulevards should be designed for motor vehicle volumes under 1,500 vehicles per day (vpd), with up to 3,000 vpd allowed in limited sections of a bicycle boulevard corridor.”

To keep motor traffic volumes at or below that target, NACTO says cities should install occasional traffic diverters to block through auto traffic while allowing bike traffic to cross.

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Raisman agrees that streets like Clinton (and Lincoln, a few blocks north of Division, where he said traffic counts are now around 2,500) would be better for biking and walking with another traffic diverter or two.

But he doesn’t think the diverters, which typically cost $20,000 to $100,000 to install including planning and outreach to the neighborhood, are a huge benefit to safety on greenways.

“Our safety performance over time has been excellent,” he said. “70 percent of our streets are residential. Less than 20 percent of bike and pedestrian crash activity happens there. … There’s comfort factors that are important in how many cars are on the road. But from a pure safety perspective, the big threat is where you’re crossing the busy streets.”

An academic study of injury rates in Vancouver BC, and Toronto, published last year, seems to differ slightly with Raisman’s take. Here’s its chart of the risk associated with different types of infrastructure, with the less dangerous marked to the left and the more dangerous marked to the right:

bike injury rates

“Traffic diversion from local streets has the lowest odds ratio, whereas traffic slowing devices (small traffic circles and speed humps) show one of the higher odds ratios,” study co-author Kay Teschke, of the University of British Columbia, wrote in an email.

In a related study, local streets marked as bike routes in Vancouver and Toronto actually showed more injuries per user than local streets not marked as bike routes.

Teschke theorizes that without diverters, the same things that make greenways attractive for biking — direct connections and few stop signs — make it attractive for driving, even with traffic calming.

How to make things better

clinton speed

Raisman said he’s familiar with Teschke’s work but doesn’t think it holds up in Portland because the same data shows that small traffic circles, common in Vancouver, are a particularly risky way to slow traffic.

“When they’re improving traffic calming, they’re using traffic circles,” Raisman said. “We don’t really do that — we use speed bumps.”

Even so, Raisman didn’t question that traffic diversion on Clinton could improve the street. The bigger obstacle is finding the $20,000 to $100,000 that it costs to install a diverter.

“Right now, while we’ve had advocacy to improve a place like Clinton, we don’t have the funding,” Raisman said. “Even if we had the political will to do something, we don’t have the resources to do something right now. And I think Clinton will be a difficult conversation. … It’s a very dense section of the city where a lot of people live, where you have businesses right on the route.”

Asked for advice to people like Sysfail, Schlosshauer and others who want to make the case for diverters on Clinton or other streets, Raisman said they should “get involved in a neighborhood” to start building local support for the change.

“The life of a city is a long, complex thing,” he said. “Eventually, once we have funding available, I’m sure we’ll have the conversation.”

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Bjorn
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Bjorn

In Vancouver BC I have seen intersections that needed diverters. Initially the intersection had jersey barriers placed in such a way to allow bicycles through but preventing cars from continuing straight. Later when I returned a much nicer permanent barrier had been built. It doesn’t have to cost 100k to divert cars.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Clinton has not had the typical upgrades common with a Neighborhood Greenway. It was made a ‘bike street’ before the NG program even existed.

matt picio
Guest
matt picio

There hasn’t been a budget to make improvements. As the oldest of the city’s bikeways, it has the least improvements.

This is not an unexpected problem. Several years ago, the city engaged a number of stakeholders and members of the public in the Clinton Bike Boulevard Enhancement Project. That project involved a very small pot of money and focused on means to raise awareness for drivers that Clinton is a bike boulevard. It was specifically aimed to prevent exactly what is happening now. At the time, I and several others mentioned the need for diverters, and expressed doubt that the enhancement project would significantly reduce cut-through traffic avoiding the construction on Division, or reduce automobile speeds. Those fears have fully come to pass, and now we have a situation where riders feel unsafe.

Frankly, it’s time that PBOT, the city council and the mayor take steps to rectify this, and to restore what was the city’s first designated bike route to what it is intended to be – a relatively quiet, relatively low-traffic neighborhood street.

We knew this would happen 5 years ago. We warned the city, and now it’s here. It’s time for the city to roll up its sleeves and fix this.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
Kiel Johnson

We need to install diverters! And cycle tracks! More neighborhood greenways!

Street fee to actually pay for it? No way!

Reza
Guest
Reza

Pretty much.

Randall S
Guest
Randall S

Where’s the pedestrian fee to pay for sidewalks?

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

The problem with the street fee was that it was terribly designed and terribly rolled out. To suggest that the rejection was the result of merely not wanting to pay for something ignores the reality of how bad Hales and Novick managed that whole disaster.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Agreed. The whole reason for the diverters is (too many) cars. Why should all of us who don’t even own or drive those damn things pony up? Make ’em pay.

Nicholas Skaggs
Guest
Nicholas Skaggs

I don’t mind paying for things, but I don’t support regressive taxes. I’d hate for lawmakers to get the idea that regressive taxation is acceptable.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Why are traffic circles risky?

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

Because impatient drivers try to pass you right before the circle and end up cutting you off as they cut back in. I don’t hesitate to take the lane which helps, but bike riders who hug the curb end up inviting the dangerous pass and get the worst of it.

Justin
Guest
Justin

Things can get hostile when I’m traveling east toward Chavez. When I take the lane approaching a circle, drivers have just passed me to the left of the circle. That Chavez bike box can feel pretty uncomfortable when you catch up with cars and wait in front of them.

Adron @ Transit Sleuth
Guest

[Rant On]

Had an incident there were someone pulled up behind me and revved multiple times at 39th. Then when the light changed drove THROUG THE DIVERTER and cut me off as I tried to turn left (with arm out) at 42nd. I then turned and followed them. They were staying around the 46th’ish’ block area, white older BMW. I told em’ they aren’t allowed through there and endangered everybody on the road, including the cars coming AT them exiting the diverter on 39th legally traveling west. He responded with a vulgarity about how he didn’t really care about all us hippies and such.

Needless to say, diverters would be a HUGE win, but there’s still the issue of fixing or getting people with the bad attitudes off the road. Maybe a few traffic ticket missions may help out? It sure sounds like a reasonable idea to help these bad attitudes knock off their bad habit of cutting down Clinton to bypass the Division arterial.

Anyway… anything and everything ought to be on the table to prevent wrecking this neighborhood further. I recently moved AWAY from this area because of the Division and Clinton Street catastrophe that is currently happening. Eventually I may opt to move back to the area, but not if something isn’t done about Clinton St – and preferably something to put Division in check too. The bridge and tunnel crowd needs to just go sit in their self-induced traffic congestion on Powell or something – not mess up a perfectly awesome neighborhood. 🙁

[/Rant Off]

Laura
Guest
Laura

word.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Hell yeah Adron

Robert M.
Guest
Robert M.

This happens a lot to me on NE 7th between Lloyd Center and Fremont, people trying to avoid the traffic on MLK. Cars rushing to pass cause some close calls, or they just go around the circle on the left, I can’t believe how some people drive. I try to take up as much of the lane as possible but it can get crazy sometimes.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The tillamook upgrade to greenway project will propose adding more speed bumps south of Knott and possibly removing one more traffic cirlce as was done for the Morris/Siskiyou crossing of 7th.

AG
Guest
AG

do you know the timeframe for the Tillamook upgrade? I prefer Knott currently due to the numerous stop signs and unmarked intersections.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

It is currently a funding issue.

mh
Guest
mh

And human beings – in cars or on bikes – seem to aim to meet at pinch points. There’s a psychology paper in there somewhere.

Jacob Mason
Guest
Jacob Mason

1) Why on earth would it cost $100,000 to install a small piece of concrete? 2) It seems that Raisman does not value perceived safety. People frequently use neighborhood greenways in Portland because they feel safe and comfortable to bike on. Most humans don’t make decisions on mode choice and route based on studies; they ride based on how safe it feels. When you start to erode that feeling, you’re going to get fewer people using bike facilities and fewer people biking in general. In addition, without improving rider comfort (through additional neighborhood greenways and protected lanes), you’re not going to see much increase in cycling.
3) Given Raisman’s neglect of cyclist comfort, it seems unsurprising that Portland has been so slow to implement protected bike lanes, which do wonders to improve comfort and increase bicycle mode share. By failing to add new low-street facilities, and letting existing facilities deteriorate, Portland has seen it’s bike mode share stagnate.
4) Mr. Raisman’s views reflect an entire movement in stagnation in Portland, one where people make excuses for decline and inaction instead of pushing to actually improve things.

Greg Raisman
Guest
Greg Raisman

Thanks for the feedback.

Actually, I care a lot about comfort. Comfort attracts people to ride. It makes families feel confident to ride together or to let their kids have more independence. It makes our time in the city more inviting, engaging, and enjoyable.

PBOT has recommended many more diverters through our Neighborhood Greenway program than were actually installed. The reason that we didn’t build all of the recommended treatments is that the people who participated in the public process did not support them.

The volume of traffic on a roadway is very important. That importance is both related to safety and comfort. If you ever hear me talk about residential safety, my message is always that the three key components are volume, speed, and crossings. However, when you look at where the crashes happen, the biggest crash threat along a residential corridor is when you’re crossing the street.

When we have more than 3,000 motor vehicles per day we recommend bike lanes as a safety and comfort measure. That conversation or, the more likely conversation about diversion, on Clinton is going to be rough waters. If you want to succeed at making that hard change, it’s going to take some hard work from the community.

Michael’s asked me about how to make a difference for these hard problems. I shared that I think people can make a big difference if they participate over a longer term period of time. Show up at your neighborhood, become a leader there, bring your friends and neighbors, build a conversation that can support hard changes on the street. As we stand, there just isn’t the level of grass roots organizing that is consistently having the long-term effect that your comments aspire towards.

Thanks.
Greg Raisman
Active Transportation
Portland Bureau of Transportation

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

The difficulty that I have in getting involved in neighborhood activism is that it feels like neighborhood associations have lots of influence on transportation projects in their own neighborhood. Yet, the projects that I personally care about are in neighborhoods that I don’t live in but travel through regularly. Should I get involved in the South Tabor and Richmond neighborhood associations to advocate for improvements to the Clinton-Woodward bikeway even though I live in Foster-Powell?

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I became Transportation chair of North Tabor. As such, I am on the T/LU committee at SEUL. I have been very vocal there about issues like diversion and other active transportation issues. I also have been able to communicate certain ideas…ie…road diets, the 60’s greenway Max to Cartlandia, to the SEUL representatives to most of the 20 neighborhoods.

As you know I have commented on here for years on transportation issues. I came with a huge knowledge base, but this site has also taught me an enormous amount over the years. It also help activate my activism that had sat dormant since my 1990’s Madison days. I am now in a position to transmit this information and educate. Locally, I have been defending the diversion at 53rd and Burnside, but I also gave a list of active transportation projects from every corner of SE to the representative who works with the city. When the new TSP comes out I am going to sit down with SEUL and a fine tooth comb to make sure every neighborhood is represented fairly with as complete of an AT network as possible.

This is how I have used my skills and activism. Everyone has their own skills, but if all of us locally followed Greg’s advice and got involved change could happen.

davemess
Guest
davemess

I can only speak for my neighborhood, but in the almost 2 years I’ve been on the board of my NA, we have had pretty much no involvement or influence in any type of PBOT decision. If anything we have been the catalyst for trying to get PBOT to do things in our neighborhood. We’re a little tucked out of the way and often forgotten, but at least in my area (which is not too far from your), the NA has not had much sway if any with PBOT.

Foster SAC was pretty diverse and not just straight up chosen from the NA’s, right?

Ciaran
Guest
Ciaran

Thanks Greg, for continuing the discussion.

Can you provide any more insight into your comment that “The reason that we didn’t build all of the recommended treatments is that the people who participated in the public process did not support them.”

Which people are we talking about? People in the neighborhood association? Neighborhood association transportation committees? Businesses? People that came to public hearings on this project in particular?

I guess I’m asking what is the best/most effective forum in which to participate given that we all can’t be full-time bike advocates?

John R
Guest
John R

Why should it take activism to have safe streets? If the threshold for bike lanes is 3,000 trips per day and that’s been exceeded, why is that a “tough conversation?” Isn’t that PBOT’s job?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

No. PBOT is a technical advisor and implementor and can only enforce existing rules. City Council makes policy and changes laws. Civics 101.

John R
Guest
John R

Um, since when can’t PBOT install a bike lane or take measures to ensure safety?

9watts
Guest
9watts

Who is proposing changing laws? Seems like smoke and mirrors to me. I understand the need for neighbor(hood) support to mess with traffic patterns, and I get the need for $$, but saying it costs (up to) $100,000 doesn’t seem like an invitation to make stuff happen.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

Getting involved is great advice in whatever neighborhood you live in. I know we can always use more volunteers at North Tabor!

Greg, it is difficult to believe that it is all about the locals or neighborhoods that have blocked diversion when the current 20’s bikeway has no diversion from Wasco north to Lombard. There are five arterials in this stretch that will be getting a crossing improvement….yet non of these include diversion. Going has it built in at MLK, 15th and 33rd. Even the first generation greenways like Lincoln do every mile (20th and CC).

When I asked why I was told “We do not think it needs it.” This article, and the comments, clearly show that bicyclists think greenways do.

Kirk
Guest

I know I am late to the game with this post, but I wanted to follow-up Terry D’s comment about getting involved and how that personally relates to my experience with the 20s Bikeway, along with my support for diverters in general. I apologize in advance for taking up so much comment real-estate, but I’ve got to get this out:

First – YES! I fully agree that we need more diverters on our network of supposedly *low-stress* bikeways. I’ll acknowledge (as Paikiala correctly pointed out bit.ly/1uL9sJq) that we have a good number of diverters already, but just because we can write out a list of 17 of them doesn’t mean that’s all we can or should do. One of the diverters listed was at N Central St at N Tyler Ave (you can see a couple images of them within this BP post: bit.ly/1qNx2na), I bet that setup didn’t cost $100,000.

Second – We need diverters not to avoid crashes, but to make biking around Portland a heck of a lot more pleasant with fewer interactions with automobiles. For example, we can talk all day long about how a person driving a car at the 85th percentile speed of 20 mph is most likely not going to kill me, but they can still drive super close to me with the intent of harassing me simply because I’m riding a bike. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. And I’m sure I’m stereotyped as the ‘strong and fearless’ rider that doesn’t care about these stressful encounters. LIES. These moments of harassment do not show up in crash data, but our data on stagnation would be a good place to look at the bigger picture of why more people aren’t riding.

Third – I fully agree that we need more people to show up to neighborhood meetings to demand change. It’s unfortunate that this is the case, but it is. The problem is, this request to active transportation advocates happens over and over again, with little increase in the # of people showing up – and this is Portland where already many more people ARE actively involved in transportation advocacy/meetings than in most any other place in the country. Why aren’t more people showing up to the meetings? This is my personal experience with why more aren’t:

At the beginning of getting involved in the 20s Bikeway project, I was completely stoked to see that the list of stakeholder advisory committee members was overwhelmingly bike-friendly. I was certain that this *bikeway* project would result in something awesome for the future of our city. Long story short: it likely won’t. I started the process really excited and wanting to find ways to get more involved. I started attending my neighborhood land use and transportation committee meetings. I also attended some NECN meetings related to the project. At the end of the project, I realized that it takes a LOT of time/energy to get a simple compromise out of the deal. I’m a wonk about this stuff, I love transportation and what we *could* change about it, but the process honestly tired me out to attend all of these meetings. But I stuck with it.

If I love this stuff, think about it every single day, and still walk (more appropriately, bike) away from the process feeling stressed about a watered down compromise solution at a time when we need to start making bold changes, how the hell are we supposed to expect regular folks to attend such wonky meetings that live within that specific neighborhood who do enjoy moving about actively/sustainably but have other legitimate passions that take up a good chunk of their free time?

Now that I’ve been introduced to the neighborhood land use and transportation committee I’ll be back at future meetings for sure. Not to expect great changes, but to make sure that a compromise for any project can at least be possible when the time comes. If we want more people to attend these type of meetings, we need to give them something that inspires them, gives them some form of hope, some form of feeling that their opinion is valued. I don’t see that right now. When our neighborhood land use and transportation committee met with PBOT to demand diverters in the northern section of the 20s Bikeway route, we were given every reason that has been mentioned within this thread as to why diverters cannot be installed as part of this project – EXCEPT the reason that we didn’t have enough neighborhood support behind it.

It’s as if it is a game of whack-a-mole: you show up online and demand change but you aren’t ‘real’ enough and are encouraged to show up to neighborhood meetings. You take time out of your day to show up to neighborhood meetings to demand change, but there isn’t enough money. You show up to stakeholder advisory committee meetings to advise PBOT how to use their couple million dollars specifically for a bike project in a certain way, but there isn’t enough support from the businesses……how again do we inspire people to attend all of these meetings?

Fourth – WWUD? (U = Utrecht, see http://bit.ly/1cmab8F & http://bit.ly/1ADxUNg) … request more of its citizens to attend meetings before making the transportation network much more bike-friendly? Maybe, but I doubt it. It’s about time to have this ‘difficult conversation’. It won’t get any easier the more we delay and have more people move into the city. We are adults. Let’s have that discussion. (Oh, but these randomly generated blog comments don’t count.)

Justin Carinci
Guest
Justin Carinci

This is great, Kirk.

Kirk
Guest

Thank you, Justin!

9watts
Guest
9watts

Well put, Kirk. I know you already got one last week, but even so I’d vote this comment of the week, or perhaps best comment of this massive comment thread here. Nice work!

“It’s as if it is a game of whack-a-mole”

=> so frustrating!

Kirk
Guest

Thanks, 9watts!

I was actually quite hesitant in writing/posting this, as I don’t really want to ‘hog the show’ on this forum. Just felt the need to get my thoughts out there. After reading many, MANY, of the comments within this thread of how people are simply frustrated by the process, I knew it wouldn’t help anything to hold all this back. 😉

davemess
Guest
davemess

The nice thing, is that it doesn’t take a lot of people to dictate the conversation. Neighborhood Associations are general only moderately attended, and elections are usually not hotly contested (except for maybe a few neighborhoods). If you are able to get a few folks with like ideas to continually show up you’re going to have a great voting block to help enact some real change.

The Foster SAC was a good example. While many did (and will) argue that the SAC wasn’t well diverse enough, pro bike/pro per/pro community people continually kept showing up (much more so than the business community, or other interest groups). This combined with the amazing groundwork put in over the years by various other local groups facilitated the dramatic changes we are going to see on Foster.

If this kind of stuff means something to you, show up to meetings, get involved in your neighborhood and stick with it!

Kirk
Guest

Davemess, thank you for highlighting this (often good in a strategic way) part of the neighborhood meetings. There are SO FEW people that attend. For our land use and transportation committee meetings, maybe on average 5 people show up. They are generally people that care enough about the system that they are overall quite progressive in their views. I definitely don’t want to discourage others from showing up, but would rather hope that the city takes notice that people get burned out from meetings for a multitude of reasons. There is a sweet spot in there for how much public process is a good thing, and I think Portland needs to find its sweet spot again.

davemess
Guest
davemess

I’m impressed you actually have meetings. Our LU/Transpo. is me and another guy.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I am using Foster as a template for what we want to do to Burnside.

Chris Anderson
Guest

Kirk,

The sentiments you express here probably apply to more people than anyone realizes. It’s “just” a matter of harnessing it.

Have any community members tried applying for grants or other ways to get funding? If we come up with the money it’s harder to say no. Maybe PBOT is already pursuing grants for diverters since they are so important.

When Portland talks vision it’s all bikes and roses but when it comes time for action it seems PBOT takes every excuse they can to maintain the status quo. We need to be shooting for diverters on MOST neighborhood streets if we are serious about the goals.

We don’t have a long window to de-stress Portland’s neighborhood before the dream of the Greenways becomes a memory. If we don’t act now, the vision Portland agreed on will fall into the dustbin of history and we will never get anywhere close to our goals.

PBOT will never implement the vision it’s charged with it if keeps catering to car-head at every decision point. If we want more people on bikes, we have to make it harder to drive. Diverters are a great start but there is really so much PBOT could do without changing anything but their mindset.

Read this report if you want to understand why we need big (inexpensive) changes if we are serious: http://sustainabletransportationholland.org/topics/bicycle-boulevards-including-fietsstraat/

Kirk
Guest

Chris, I completely agree. It is a topic that is about much more than diverters, but we obviously have a lot of interest around this particular form of treatment for a number of reasons.

One guess for me is that Portland has relied heavily on building out its network of neighborhood greenways in the last few years in place of focusing its efforts on modernizing the main roads. I’d love to be able to comfortably bomb down Sandy in a bike lane, or enjoy looking at the business storefronts along NE/N/NW/SW Broadway, but the way the road is designed right now really encourages me to seek out alternatives – many of which are the closest parallel neighborhood greenway. I know some people that ride bikes don’t like “being shoved off the main road”, I totally get that and agree, but I often find myself choosing neighborhood greenways because they ARE a better alternative than a roadway designed from the 1990s or earlier. However, when Portland’s bread and butter are the neighborhood greenways, there is a sour taste left in the mouth when we aren’t able to throw in simple diverters to make them true greenways. THAT is why I think this issue is becoming much bigger.

Like you said, fixes don’t have to be expensive, there are many inexpensive fixes out there (thanks for the link). As much as I love to drool over expensive bike projects from within the US as well as abroad, I understand our dire funding situation and will advocate for 10-100X the number of inexpensive fixes over having a single fix that costs a lot and covers much less territory, even if it is absolutely gorgeous and goes right outside my front door.

Paul in The 'Couve
Guest
Paul in The 'Couve

“I often find myself choosing neighborhood greenways because they ARE a better alternative than a roadway designed from the 1990s or earlier. However, when Portland’s bread and butter are the neighborhood greenways, there is a sour taste left in the mouth when we aren’t able to throw in simple diverters to make them true greenways. ”

I just want to highlight that statement.

It says enough by itself, but…I think the “bad taste” extends also to the cities complete inability to push back against any opposition the past few years.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I am convinced, after seeing the change in projects after the last Mayoral election that there has been a directive from Charlie to “not do anything controversial with bike projects.”

Hopefully it is only until a new funding source is found….but the point remains. Me Streetcar does not seem to care about bikes anymore.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Did Charlie ever really care about bikes?

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

“When our neighborhood land use and transportation committee met with PBOT to demand diverters in the northern section of the 20s Bikeway route, we were given every reason that has been mentioned within this thread as to why diverters cannot be installed as part of this project – EXCEPT the reason that we didn’t have enough neighborhood support behind it.”

Interesting. I have a many page e-mail exchange with this same project manager. If the NEIGHBORHOOD wants it, and this is the BEST grid pattern in the city then he needs to stand up to HIS boss. It seems to me that they have given some directive from higher up…It is obvious to me, after my interactions with him, that HIS boss is giving him a directive to stand up to US.

Kirk—-I am very interested in your experiences in your NA and with your interaction with the PM, can you contact me? Terry.dublinski AT gmail

Kirk
Guest

On it…

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Vancouver also has a ton of HAWK signals for crossing major streets on their greenways in addition to all of the diverters. Riding on their system really shows you how these things should feel.

Richard Campbell
Guest

Vancouver has bike and ped activated signals with red lights, not HAWK signals. HAWK signals proved to be dangerous as not all vehicles would stop. On bikeways with high volumes, Vancouver is starting to use timed signals instead as the signals are activated every cycle anyway and not having to press a button leaves bikes often in better road position.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Wow, classic non-answer.

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

Thank you for the reply. I agree with your comment about getting involved, and I try to get involved as much as possible, as making change requires cooperation from both within government agencies and in the community. I also agree that it is not your role to be a public activist, but I do think that as a public official you have a outsized role in guiding the dialogue on transportation. The things you emphasize echo the priorities of PBOT and the direction of the city, so when I read an article where you appear to downplay cyclist comfort, it makes me think that PBOT and the city are not holding up their end of the bargain in the push for safer streets. That is disheartening to hear, making it that much harder to push for change at the local level. I’m glad to hear that this is not the case, though.

Nicholas Skaggs
Guest
Nicholas Skaggs

“If you want to succeed at making that hard change, it’s going to take some hard work from the community.”

Isn’t that what we elect officials for? Or do the citizens elect you to tell us we need to work harder in our off-time?

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

I’m just going through responses. But briefly: I know Greg Raisman personally. I know that he rides a bike regularly, and I know that he cares about safety. I may disagree with his views, and I wish PBOT would just throw up some quick ‘jersey barriers’ around town to limit traffic and improve safety. But that’s different from telling someone you don’t know that they’re uncaring

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“Portland has been so slow to implement protected bike lanes, which do wonders to improve comfort and increase bicycle mode share.”

There is very little evidence showing that protection increases bicycle mode share relative to unprotected bike lanes.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Please link to evidence that protected bike lanes don’t increase mode share. In the mean time, I’ll point you toward the Netherlands, who has protected bike facilities all over the country and enjoys a near 50% mode share. Or how cities like NYC and Chicago I stalled protected. Ike lanes and saw an increase in people riding bikes.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

re-read my comment and stop building strawman.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

How am I making straw men? You propose that there is little evidence and I am presenting you with evidence. You say there is no increase, and I am saying there is. In no way am I trying to modify your argument into one that is easier to refute.

greg byshenk
Guest
greg byshenk

Unfortunately, what you’ve presented isn’t actual evidence of much at all. I don’t have the data for Chicago and NYC, but even taking your statement at face value, ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’ is a logical fallacy, and I believe that both Chicago and NYC have done various -different- things to encourage bicycle use (meaning that one cannot directly attribute increase in bicycle use to protected bike lanes).

As for the earlier comment, bike mode share in the Netherlands is not anywhere “near 50%”, at least so far as I would define ‘near’. The highest by city is Groningen, with 38%. Overall share is 27%, with 35% for journeys shorter then 7.5km. (Data from ‘Cycling in the Netherlands’, at http://www.fietsberaad.nl/library/repository/bestanden/CyclingintheNetherlands2009.pdf – in English.)

Additionally, though indeed there are a large number of protected bicycle lanes and paths in the Netherlands, there are also many, many unprotected bike lanes — as well as many other relevant features — making it (again) very difficult to attribute share directly to protected bike lanes.

JV
Guest
JV

As a resident in the neighborhood, I also have been guilty of using Clinton bikeway as a shortcut (on motorcycle), and definitely see drivers speeding regularly.

There is a simple way to use the existing small roundabouts as diverters. Just add a couple concrete jersey barriers and signage, (from overhead the intersection would look like ) so that each roundabout is a right turn-only diverter for all vehicles except bikes. This would be cheaper than a fully developed diverter, and could even be temporary to test the effectiveness. It would likely work, as there are enough existing roundabouts on Clinton that they would break up the street (for cars) into 10 block max sections.

Tbird
Guest

I suggested this further down too. Didn’t see your comment until after I posted :/

I agree. This is the low-hanging fruit in this instance. All that is needed is to make Clinton less convenient for cut-thru and traffic will sort itself out.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

How about fire trucks?

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

This is a very good grid pattern. They would be able to get at the properties from another side, another block. There are no gravel road issues or an outrageous system of cul-de-sacs to deal with. There can also be center poles that could be removed for fire trucks, emergency response routes to navigate.

The city wants to double the bikeshare in this neighborhood over the next generation. If that means diversion than PBOT will have to implement it. Citing every possible argument against it is counter productive. There are solutions to all of them.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Citing every possible argument against it is counter productive. There are solutions to all of them.”

Yes! A little proactive, scrappy action as some folks are proposing here wouldn’t hurt every now and then from PBOT.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Vancouver BC has many diverters on their system and it hasn’t burned down yet.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

Diverters are often constructed in ways that allow fire trucks to still get through, as can be seen in the 2nd photo down from the top.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

More like usually constructed to permit fire access, but those compromises also permit violations by others, though it’s usuall a small portion of the drivers.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I drive my motorcycle (scooter) on greenways all the time… because there are fewer cars… you don’t have to lack a motor to be afraid of cars…

Reza
Guest
Reza

Raisman misses the point. It’s not about safety, as drivers generally travel slow on Clinton; it’s about comfort. And Clinton west of 39th is simply not a comfortable route to bike on due to the high volumes. Particularly between 21st and 26th. I constantly see riders hug the door zone or curb instead of taking the lane (using the sharrow pavement marking placement as a guide). At least one driver has had the gall to gesture to me to get out of his way.

The great thing is that it’s easy to figure out when a bike boulevard isn’t working: anywhere it can’t qualify for 20 mph speed limit.

Erinne
Guest
Erinne

YES YES YES! More diverters along ALL neighborhood greenways. Visit Vancouver, BC, to see how well they work. And it doesn’t shut the city down! People still drive successfully! But you can also trust to have less cut through traffic on neighborhood streets. I find it disappointing and frustrating that PBOT once again lacks the will to implement what should be simple projects that will undoubtedly improve bicycling conditions in this city because it “will be a difficult conversation.”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

No lack of will. Check out the actual neighborhood greenways. Diverters on N Central at Tyler; NE Holman at 13th and 33rd; Going at MLK, 15th, 33rd; Klickitat at 23rd, 35th; Wabash at Willamette and Willis; Houghton at Westanna and Portsmouth; N Michigan at Rosa Parks; Spokane at 13th; Concord at Rosa Parks; Gladstone at 42nd; Bush at Benedict Park;

And all the greenway crossings that only have ped islands can be converted in the future to median barriers the same way Michigan at Rosa Parks was, should the need arise.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

Currently the 20’s bikeway has non diversion, even with five crossing improvements from NE Wasco to Lombard. If PBOT was listening to the bicycling community all five of these would include diversion at or near in some form then negotiated down with the neighborhoods. This is the most complete and best grid in the city. Instead the first round has none.

How can the bike community trust PBOT to do it later? Sorry…history has shown….

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

20’s is a bikeway, not a greenway. Most of it is bike lanes on collector streets that serve as primary corridors for motor vehicle traffic. You’re comparing apples to chipmonks.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

No. The bikelanes on The 20’s bikeway are 1) Wasco south on 28th to most likely Hoyt on the west side, Oregon eastside and 2) SE 26th southbound Woodward to Holgate and Holgate south to Woodstock, SE Woodstock to 32nd.

SE 32nd Woodstock to Crystal Springs to 46th is Greenway with no diversionb or any traffic calming on SE 32nd at request of Eastmoreland NA, 28th north from Holgate via 29th at Hawthorn to 30th north to Oregon is Greenway (Diversion northbound at Holgate and the new crossing at Powell and 28th, but no more diversion north to Oregon), NE 26th to Regents Greenway, Regents gets an uphill climbing bikelane, but Alameda Ridge via Regents to NE 32nd north to Rosa Parks is also Greenway with no diversion.

This presentation was done by the project manager. I asked him directly. I am comparing Apples to Apples….and this one is riddled with worms.

Justin
Guest
Justin

Clinton is a great boulevard largely because of that single diverter at Chavez. A couple bikeways with no diverters are truly bikeways in name only: the continuation of Clinton into Woodward and also Center Street. Both are wide, encouraging fast driving and making it impossible to take the lane.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

A ‘bikeway’ is a street designated for bike use. It’s the big umbrella. A boulevard is a subset as are NG’s. Clinton is still in the boulevard realm as is Woodward.
What part of Center? The SE Center NG is from 42nd (on gladstone) to about 82nd, and is not wide at all.

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Are you kidding me? From the 60s to 82nd, Center is a speedway.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

800 cars a day, going 18-24 mph (85% of them) is a ‘speedway’?

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Average.

There are plenty of cars doing the drag strip thing between the bumps. The street is visually too wide, especially when there aren’t a lot of parked cars.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Yeah, I’m also not sure what problem you see with Center Street. Although there is no diversion, there are tons of speed bumps and it is narrow with quite low traffic volumes.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Not as many as if designed for 20 mph, but 11 bumps 62nd to 80th.

Justin
Guest
Justin

East of 72nd, for sure, cars can be parked on both sides of the street, and a car still pass me, even if I’m taking the lane. Google Street View gives a pretty good picture. Of course, the parking isn’t usually used, so there’s never a hesitation to pass a bike, even with oncoming traffic. And those speed cushions don’t do much calming; you can take them at 30 mph without much of a jolt; people who don’t mind a bounce go even faster.

Justin
Guest
Justin

This Center Street aside in the comments here is a small version of the big problem: people saying they don’t feel comfortable cycling there and others responding with “my calculations show that you should feel comfortable.”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

There are no speed cushions on SE Center.

Justin
Guest
Justin

Are you pointing out that I used the wrong term — even though you know what I’m talking about — just to be confrontational? Really, what’s your game? I suppose you were probably joking, considering the content of my comment right above yours. I’m not a frequent enough contributor here to get your humor, if that’s what it is.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Good advocacy requires good communication. Making simple mistakes implies you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s not a personal attack. The people who craft policy for the people to recommend programs for the people to decide what to fund all have specialzed language to discuss the topics that reduces communication delays so ideas can be transformed into action as quickly as possible, and most have been practicing for years. Knowing a few simple terms and definitions shows you care enough to put some effort into the process. Traffic signals are not street lights. Speed cushions are not speed bumps (and outside portland they’re called humps) and speed tables are different still.

davemess
Guest
davemess

And that’s a huge problem with the disconnect PBOT and city government have with the general public. An average citizen should not need to know technical terms and be able to differentiate between a greenway/bikeway/neighborhood st/etc.
It’s arrogant to think so.
PBOT should be making this accessible for the average tax-paying citizen to understand.

It’s comments like this that have me convinced that PBOT really is purposely trying to keep public involvement on project to a minimum. “IF we just bore them enough with terms, they won’t come back and complain!”

TJ
Guest
TJ

I used to live in SE before Division became an experiment in posh infill and the noodle capital of the world. And “Boy, the way Glenn Miller Played”.

Nik
Guest
Nik

Cool story, bro

Moe Szyslak
Guest
Moe Szyslak

I skip Clinton westbound in the morning because, in my own personal experience, it’s the bike commuters that are biking recklessly… too much racing… I take Clinton eastbound every day and I rarely have a problem with cars. I am usually between 21st and 39th at around 6:00 PM…

grrlpup
Guest

I’d like to see a solution that preserves the #10 bus route: it serves Cleveland High School and Reed College, and uses Clinton between 26th and 21st.

gl.
Guest
gl.

Sightly off topic, but boy I wish the 10 ran later and on weekends.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The bus only uses clinton because it can’t make the turn from Division to 26th. The bumps on 21st to 26th are the longer speed table version because of the bus, and all the bumps on Clinton were put in before 20 mph was a design possibility, so the retrofit will add 20-30% more bumps.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

I know that this is crazy talk, but why on the world is enforcement not on the table here? Hardcore enforcements of UNMARKED crosswalks all along Clinton would drop speeds and make it undesirable as a cut through. We’re willing to talk about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lumps of concrete, but enforcements only seem to happen if the traffic division thinks the action will be revenue positive. There are elements at work here that are not talking to one another.

It also should be 20mph at all times, not just “when children present” as the signs say. But again, without enforcement, it’s just an exercise in futility.

I ride my son to school 3 days a week and use Clinton from 40th to 18th. At times it is certainly nerve-racking, especially for peds trying to cross as drivers make poorly timed attempts at passing.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

“when children present’ is a school zone. For a greenway to get 24/7 20 mph it has to have under 2000 vehicles per day.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

Yes, I realize that it references a school zone. And as an aside, it’s a dangerous way to determine a school zone speed limit. It’s not the children who are seen who are in danger, it’s the children who aren’t seen that are in danger.

As to the 2000 vehicle limit: perhaps the 25 mph limit, which is identical to what’s on Division, is one of the reasons why there’s so much traffic on Clinton.

Brian Davis
Guest
Brian Davis

This is frustrating if only because everybody saw this coming from a mile away. Volumes on Clinton Street–particularly during peak periods–have long been pushing the upper limits of what’s comfortable, and without mitigation they were bound to increase during the construction on Division.

I get that diverters are expensive, and we’re way too broke right now to even consider doing anything but paving projects. But with all this lead time, we couldn’t have come up with some small, simple, inexpensive things to head this off to some degree? No signage, no temporary traffic controls, nothing?

The current discomfort of cycling along Clinton was, and remains, avoidable. That we’re doing nothing is an indication of our priorities, not our abilities.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

You do know why what is there now to manage traffic was built, don’t you? all those circles and diverters were not installed to make it a bike street. Even the bumps came before the 2030 plan was adopted.

Brian Davis
Guest
Brian Davis

And the significance of this is what, exactly? That we are not committed to doing anything substantive to make this an excellent bike street? That we will gladly put up sign toppers and throw down some sharrows, but when it comes to real, meaningful traffic calming, nothing has been done with the stated purpose of making Clinton hospitable to bikes and therefore it’s unreasonable to expect anything?

I really don’t understand why the illustrious history of the speed humps and mini-roundabouts would prevent us from improving what is now (at least in the planning documents) a key bike route.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“we’re way too broke right now to even consider doing anything but paving projects”
Leah Treat makes, what, $170,000/yr? So $20,000 that we can’t apparently come up with would equal about six weeks of pay? Does she take vacations? Maybe as a symbolic gesture she could, you know, give back her pay while on vacation for one year and we could have a diverter. Why not? No one needs $170.000… every year.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

Man, I could live soooooo large on $170,000 a year.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Only with a lot of will power. The more you make the more you spend. The ability to afford something you couldn’t in the past tends to infuence purchasing decisions. It’s a creeping thing that’s easy to miss happening, like the frog in a pot of cold water…

Kari Schlosshauer
Guest
Kari Schlosshauer

I’d be happy to start a kickstarter campaign that goes in for those water-filled jersey barriers, as a start. Looks like they cost around $250 each, plus a willing neighbor to supply some water. Do I smell a “pilot”?

spencer
Guest
spencer

Clinton between 21st and 39th is totally unsafe and used as a high volume cut through. its a CF of Portland traffic engineering. Its in no way safe or inviting to ride on (nor is 26th for that matter). It needs bumps, diverters, and people to mellow out.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

It has bumps.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

“There’s comfort factors that are important in how many cars are on the road. But from a pure safety perspective, the big threat is where you’re crossing the busy streets.” – Greg Raisman (above)

However, I don’t think that cold hard statistics are what get more people biking, whereas “comfort factors” are key to convincing people to try bicycling for a change. I think that people are more moved to consider change (or to avoid it) by the emotional/psychological sense that they have about their probable safety and that of their families as vulnerable roadway users.

I’d love for the city to experiment with one significant section of a greenway, and just outfit that baby with diverters at every second street crossing, and then compare the bicycle stats along that stretch before and after.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

I’d like to try alternating contra-flow bike lanes on Hancock from 33rd to Chavez as a re-route of the Tillamook bikeway conversion to NG.

Justin
Guest
Justin

Just tweeted this:

@BikePortland From what I can tell, PBOT operating expenses something like $166mil, Vancouver BC $75.2. Is that right?

…so I’m still waiting on confirmation of those numbers. But seriously – where the hell is PBOT’s money going, if they can’t afford a simple traffic diverter?!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The wastefully excessive design/build of the new Sellwood bridge is a big chunk of it.

Justin
Guest
Justin

That’s the thing – operating and capital expenditures are two different line items. Are they dipping heavily into the operating budget in order to cover a massive hole in capital expenditures?

davemess
Guest
davemess

Should they have taken out some of the bike lanes?
What specifically do you find excessive?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Mainly the massive interchange and slope work on the west side. The sidewalks are spacious, considering that there are 6′ bike lanes on the deck as well, but that is a relatively small portion of the project.

Most of the savings could have been achieved through a different approach to the entire project. They should have pre-fabbed sections, done the in-water foundation work and then demo’d the entire bridge. It would have shut down the crossing for about 6 months, but they would have saved $100+ million they have spent on temporary spans, ramps, and purchasing of adjacent property.

davemess
Guest
davemess

And had the entire southern end of the city pissed off. It’s a balancing act for sure. The Sellwood is a well trafficked bridge and there isn’t an alternative for 3-4 miles North, and even further South. I really don’t think just shutting it down for 6 months was a real option (unless you live more North in the city and never use the Sellwood).

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

Keep in mind that when PBOT talks about their “safety performance” and makes reference to crash data as a justification for inaction on a clear and present issue like this… They are looking only at PPB and DMV crash data – both of which profoundly under-represent the true conditions on a street and the experience of its users.

There are hundreds (if not thousands!) of collisions, near misses, road rage interactions, and generally dangerous and uncomfortable incidents that are never reported to the authorities.

Like another commenter above so astutely pointed out… This post — and PBOT’s stance on Clinton in general — is the perfect illustration of how we’ve completely lost our mojo in this town when it comes to doing the right things for transportation and providing basic services to all citizens.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

How does PBOT measure the un-reported? And what exactly should PBOT do about ‘near misses’? PBOT cannot fabricate data like so many blog contributors. Even if there were no more fatal crashes in Portland, there would always be near misses. Even if every path was separated, users would still make mistakes that result in injury. PBOT knows that property damage only crashes are twice those reported, but do you want PBOT to spend money protecting people’s property first, or the actual roadway users first?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

How does PBOT measure the un-reported? And what exactly should PBOT do about ‘near misses’?

paikala,

I understand the political/policy imperative of having hard numbers and measuring things. But the absence of adequate reporting and statistics should not lead to ignoring safety issues that can be clearly ascertained by other means. There are a lot of smart people on PBOT staff who can do field visits, ask for citizen feedback, and so on. in order to make a decision about an issue. Then, when that decision goes through the City Hall meat-grinder, someone at PBOT would have to stand up and show the leadership required to demand the improvements/changes that are needed.

Even if there were no more fatal crashes in Portland, there would always be near misses. Even if every path was separated, users would still make mistakes that result in injury.

Come on paikala… that is a cop out and you know it.

The goal isn’t to prevent every near miss or mistake, the goal is to take the actions necessary to create a system that is as safe as possible for all users. The question is how far and how fast should we be going to achieve that goal?

I would love to see PBOT rank-and-file (and even Director Treat for that matter!) do more to create a compelling narrative for change rather than constantly make excuses for why we can’t.

9watts
Guest
9watts

didn’t Leah Treat mention VISION ZERO recently? Whatever happened to that? Maybe she was just kidding.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

” PBOT cannot fabricate data like so many blog contributors”

You are correct, but there are also those of us who identify themselves (even if only by comment) if not by name. I am very curious as to what YOUR position is at PBOT and if we have ever met. I do not hide behind a pseudonym even if many do… T D-M of North Tabor.

Also, as any good social scientist will tell you, there are a LOT of qualitative ways one can get good data. It does not all HAVE to be quantitative does it?

Kari Schlosshauer
Guest
Kari Schlosshauer

http://www.bikewise.org/pub/crash bike-accident reporting is Seattle-centric but could easily be replicated for other locations. That is, if the information was going to be actually taken into account.

Tbird
Guest

I was thinking this exact thing today as I rode Clinton into inner SE. I’ve been gone from Portland for a couple years, so the increase in cut-thru traffic is alarming. Traffic on Clinton is heavier than I remember it. It seems that the “circle/islands” on Clinton would benefit from the addition of diversion “arms” radiating from their four sides, with a bike pass thru for Clinton E/W bike traffic. That way auto traffic would be diverted off of Clinton at every 2nd/3rd block. Residents can still access the area, but cut thru traffic would be virtually wiped out for the cost of a few yards of concrete.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Ambulances? Police cars? Fire trucks? Garbage pick-up? School buses? Reality?

Tbird
Guest

It would be easy to make these low berm (drive-over) diversions that emergency vehicles could navigate. It’s already been done elsewhere, in slightly different applications.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

easy for fire trucks to drive over means easy for everyone. Violations might not happen in a busy location with lots of witnesses, but in an out of the way place? How’s the Ankeny/20th ‘low berm’ working?

Lyle w
Guest
Lyle w

Ankeny always has felt more safe to me, even though it’s straighter and wider than clinton… And would think drivers would be more apt to speed down it. I think it’s obviously because Burnside is much quicker for cars with the two lanes, thus not as much temptation for someone to divert and try to save themselves a minute or two at the expense of the safety of people who are cycling.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

vancouver BC has a ton of diverters that don’t allow any motor vehicle to pass through and they don’t seem to have any problem moving emergency vehicles around their city. The idea that we can’t have safer streets because then ambulances will have trouble responding to emergencies like people being hit by cars on unsafe streets is a red herring.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Most diverters do permit emergency access in the opposite direction, as such vehicles are permited to use the whole street to accomplish the response. It’s more complex than ‘just put in some diverters’.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

In my experience diverters in Vancouver BC do not mostly allow any vehicles to go around them, they are built to divert auto traffic and they do it very well, but because it is a grid system emergency vehicles have no trouble going where they need to go:

Here is an example
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pwkrueger/6004507796

Garlynn
Guest
Garlynn

In that photo, the diverter is a soft-hit post. And the very next image (if you clicwill divk on it) shows it bending down when a large truck drives over it.

So, yes, diverters do work that will divert most traffic, but allow emergency vehicles and trucks to pass.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

With all due respect. These arguments have been brought up hundreds of times in defense of the status quo. If you read earlier comments, the mention is made of steps that Vancouver B.C. has made without their city burning down for lack of fire truck access. Emergency vehicles don’t need to be able to drive down the length of Clinton, they just need to get to each block of the street

9watts
Guest
9watts

Hear, hear.
What is with this dredging up of firetrucks all the time?! Give the firemen bikes, some trailers for hoses, and that nifty five-cornered wrench which they need to open the hydrants. Like we need those enormous rigs to fight fires? Please.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Construction on Division, has definitely played a strong part in that.

Oregon Mamacita
Guest
Oregon Mamacita

How much of the new traffic is the unavoidable consequence of building
large apartment buildings on SE Division? What did anyone think would happen? Portlanders still drive. 75% of the new residents of the apartment buildings drive. This is smart growth, folks. Hope you like what you asked for.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

I think a lot of it is the repaving that’s been going on as well as a number of the north/south streets between Division and Clinton being closed at Division. That probably forces more cars to go through Clinton to get home/go to work. As someone who uses Clinton quite a bit, I’m guessing (hoping?) that it’ll calm down a bit once construction is finished.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

Which will be– considering there is development in the works that hasn’t even gotten to the ‘tear down’ phase yet– maybe eight years? Ten years? That corner across from the Hedge House on 34th is coming down for a huge box condo development, and I’m sure a lot of the other semi-ramshackle properties all the way from Chavez down to New Season can be expected to be torn down and re-developed in the next few years, too.

greg byshenk
Guest
greg byshenk

This is a silly argument. If there weren’t new housing along Division (or otherwise close-in), then people would just have to drive from further away (presuming that everyone will be driving, which becomes -more- likely the further people have to go).

Oregon Mamcita
Guest
Oregon Mamcita

Silly argument? Look around you when you are on Climton. They brought hundreds of new residents with cars. The apartment dwellers have cars and will drive them on Clinton. They will park the on the street around Clinton.
There aren’t any new jobs in the area to explain the traffic- no- its the new residents and as the buildings fill up it will get worse. This is PDX density Greg
and you can forget about a comfortable ride on Clinton. Those days are gone.

greg byshenk
Guest
greg byshenk

I ride on Cinton frequently — several times a week if not daily.

The ‘silly’ argument is the one that supposes that one can solve transportation problems by requiring people to travel longer distances.

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

Stop blaming the buildings for traffic and blame the people who are a slave to their car for creating traffic.

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

Okay…so…why not some cheap alternatives in the meantime? Like a few signs and saw-horses or something temporary until you find the funds to install the diverters?
Oh wait, we’re actually not interested in getting auto capacity down here, or anywhere in Portland anymore are we? My bad!

Paul in The 'Couve
Guest
Paul in The 'Couve

The cheapest alternative is public education of Cyclists first and motorists by proxy – take the lane, take the lane, cyclists take the lane, bicycles take the lane.

I rarely move right to yield on any greenway. I will when circumstances warrant. I am not just being an ass, or making a point, but I will only yield when there are no oncoming cyclists and when a car has been behind me for at least a block or two because often they are just going a block or two anyway.

Mike
Guest
Mike

If you put diverters on clinton the traffic will shift to lincoln so what then?

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Lincoln could use diverters too, with the current volume of traffic it doesn’t qualify as a State-designated “neighborhood greenway.”

Rob
Guest
Rob

How about a congestion fee to discourage auto traffic and encourage alternatives?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Maybe a gas tax increase…..

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

I believe that’s a state revenue source and not available for cities.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Other cities have it.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2009/08/oregon_cities_rush_to_impose_l.html

I think the moratorium is just about up.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

Both Lincoln and Clinton need diversion. Right now the 20’s bikeway in its current form is not even trying…there is no diversion from Wasco north to Lombard. Not one Diverter…how is this PBOT proposing them and the local NA blocking them?

With all respect Greg, your argument about cost is a red herring. How much was the budget for the full diversion on the Central Greenway in north Portland made up of moveable planters?

You can not tell me that two planters with a warning sign at one of the traffic circles on Clinton, forcing cars to turn off, would cost that much. Maybe local busnesses could even sponser a planter.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

About $2,500, having already owned the garbage containers, including signs and markings. Such ‘planters’ usually cost about $500 each, so if first purchased the ten of them would add another $5,000.
BTW, the NA maintains the plants.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I know I would personally if needed maintain a planter south of NE Glisan just past the medical center entrance on 53rd. The 50’s bikeway in this stretch will be over the 1000 Portland target the day it is opens without southbound diversion, though it might squeak by the 2000 legal requirement. This also could help with our problem of having medical center trips parking in then neighborhood.

If PBOT told me today go see if you can get this approved it would be on next month’s agenda.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The level of diversion recommended for bike projects varies with the engineering group in PBOT designing the project.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I will place that in the “Well Duh” category.

Jorgy
Guest
Jorgy

PBOT’s general aversion to diversion is the concern about where does the traffic divert to? The cars are not going to sit in traffic on Division, they are going to go over to Woodward/Brooklyn/Tibbetts. That is why Raisman wants to direct people to a neighborhood discussion.

The funny thing is most people in the neighborhood think it is cars running through on their way to Gresham, when actually most of the traffic is local. We are all part of the problem – just sit in traffic and wait your turn.

Personally, if you want action it helps to start with a neighborhood discussion, but if you want action, you need to skip PBOT and go to Commissioner Novick, the Mayor and the rest of the Council. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Pelatons! Departing every 5-10 minutes at 39th and Clinton every work day. Get a group of 15-25 or so and clog up the lane. It is downhill to start so keeping at the speed limit of 20 isn’t going to be that hard anyway.

Biggest plus would it would cost nothing!!

Moe Szyslak
Guest
Moe Szyslak

half of them would blow the stop at Clinton St. Market and break up the group…

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

8-13 riders appropriately spaced would still be enough to slow down a motorist.

Sho
Guest
Sho

What did they expect to happen when taking a lane of traffic from an arterial (Division)? A decent number of the added bioswells dont extend into the roadway but are simply a large concrete curb extensions causing the lane reduction at that location pointless (if they are meant to act as bus drop offs then they need to connect back to the sidewalk at the entry door however are unable to due to the new bioswell). What arterial are you thinking this traffic can switch too without adding larger traffic issues during rush hour? I guess powell could just become a parking lot hurting those that live further out.

Bob
Guest
Bob

When did they take lanes from division, and where? I’ve lived in NE for 10 years now, and I don’t recall the relevant section of Division (SE50ish through SE 11th/12th) having more than one lane each way. Am I misremembering?

Laura
Guest
Laura

Sho is referring to the removal of the peak period right lane. Mornings, wesbound had no parking to make 2 lanes westbound. Evenings, the eastbound side had no-parking to make 2 lanes. Those have been removed and made full-time parking and new swales. Loss of these lanes appears to have made it easier for buses to stop traffic on Division, and encourage drivers to go over to Clinton. I’ve seen Division effectively stopped from 39th to 34th during rush hour because of 1 bus.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Thanks for the very clear explanation.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

Please, that part of Division has always been a near stand still for the 20+ years I’ve lived here.

Sho
Guest
Sho

If that has always been an oh please standstill why remove the lanes to make it worse and cause other streets (i.e. Clinton) to become worse?

Sho
Guest
Sho

yep those are the lanes but it also in general reduces traffic flow not just specific to when the bus stops

Adam
Guest
Adam

I think Sho is refering to the restriping project that occured east of 60th on Division.

Clinton is not even a bike boulevard that far out. Woodward become that bike boulevard after SE 50th Avenue.

The problem zone for Clinton is SE 12th to SE 39th. This is where diverters are needed.

If you motorists want to free up more space on Division between SE 12th & SE 39th, why not remove the ridiculous pro-time parking lanes?

Sho
Guest
Sho

Referring to where Laura stated (as is where the article is referencing). If it were new stripes I was referring to that is what I would have stated, instead of bioswells and curb extensions (same location where the you state the diverters are needed). Please do a smidge of research prior putting words in someone’s mouth. I also bike commute through here daily, so please do dont assume I only drive it in order to express your animosity towards those who do but maybe actually take them into consideration as well.
Thanks

joe adamski
Guest
joe adamski

I was, and have been pleased with the diverters PBOT installed on N Central street. The diverters made Central much less a ‘cut through’ for avoiding Lombard and Smith, and actually funneled cars on to those collectors. With 3 schools, a county library, 2 parks and a community center along Centrals greenway, re-routing traffic away has made bike/ped more common and safer. PBOT did do a traffic island at St Louis,but just put a bunch of garden containers at Tyler to divert cars.. bikes can ride between them. Not sure of the cost but seemingly less expensive and able to be moved if needed.

joe adamski
Guest
joe adamski

oh, and BTW, there was a bit of whining about it, but most drivers just learned to change their routes to avoid the diverters if they are driving.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

clinton is out of the way, slow, and boring.
division, on the other hand, has destinations, people to look at, and traffic to calm.

if you are fed up with clinton please try taking the lane on division!

Randall S
Guest
Randall S

We could also use some STOP signs on the cross streets of Clinton, so motorists don’t drive through it at full speed.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Not a bad idea. Folks complain a lot about Tillamook having too many stop signs, but cut through car traffic has never been an issue.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Tillamook is not a greenway yet, still in the bikeway/boulevard realm.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Greenway/bikeway/bike boulevard, whatever you want to call it. Tillamook shows up on the bike maps that PBOT puts out and the sharrows every block makes it a “bike street.”

I noticed a lot less cut through car traffic on Tillamook when I lived in Hollywood and commuted versus Ankeny which I now use from Mt./North Tabor.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

If you mean stopping clinton, that would defeat one the purposes of a neighborhood greenway – time competitive with parallel main streets. Diversion is the preferred method to reduce auto numbers on a greenway.

Ciaran
Guest
Ciaran

What if you had stop signs that applied only to cars? (Yield for bikes)

Opus the Poet
Guest

That would take a change to the MUTCD much more difficult than installing diverters.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

Or a move to change Oregon law and make it like Idaho’s. Idaho has had a “stop signs can be yield for bikes if the intersection is clear” law for a long time now and it works fine. It was on the Oregon legislative agenda last year but did not make it out of committee.

mh
Guest
mh

Jules Bailey sponsored the rolling stop bill that went nowhere. He’s a Multnomah County commissioner now, and I don’t know if he can be of any help from there.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

It would be a change to State Law.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

PBOT won’t do it. I talked to them many times about getting some on our street and the quote was pretty much “Stop signs are used when right-of-way is a problem, not as speed mitigators.”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Studies in portland found drivers speeding up between stop signs to make up time. Speed bumps slow traffic down over a longer stretch of roadway and can sometimes be placed more frequently than stop signs.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

As more infill development occurs in these neighborhoods, the neighborhood collector streets are going to become increasingly congested, and cut-through traffic will continue to increase. Personally, I don’t have any qualms with those that cut-through, provided they do so with respect: operating your vehicle at 20mph and remaining vigilante and respectful of vulnerable road users.

To me, this is not an infrastructure problem, it is a cultural problem. The drivers that are speeding and passing unsafely need an attitude adjustment.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Great cities will always continue to grow. It’s one of the problems when you attach a number to a street classification. The ‘collector’ of 20 years ago will have had much less traffic than the ‘collector street’ of 20 years from now in a city many people will move to.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Great cities will always continue to grow.”

The point here, I think, is to do stuff that discourages the kind of auto-swelling that we don’t want, and that PBOT ostensibly wants to be known for but seems rarely to have the gumption to pull off anymore. Platitudes about growth (always gonna happen), and firetrucks (won’t work, cause of dem firetrucks) is wearisome. Why not some soul-searching for a change? Some straight talk about spending some of them millions on stuff that people recognize would make a difference?

Heck, why not just spin off a neighbors-build-diverters program that can be chaperoned just like the homeowner sidewalk repair manual spells it out for that bit of infrastructure?

spencer
Guest
spencer

correct- the increased density is going to make travel a sh__ show for everyone (but slightly less so for those walking and riding bikes).
my morning commute is now already growing more time consuming due to traffic grid congestion with bikes and cars.

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

Stop blaming the buildings, its motorists causing the problem

Paul Cone
Guest
Paul Cone

It’s not just recorded crashes — it’s also generally feeling comfortable on a greenway. Clinton in particular is unique in that it has traffic circles that are no longer installed, because they create pinch points for cyclists and cars both rounding at the same time.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

I dunno, I’m usually more concerned with my left pedal hitting the circle curb, than I am of cars passing me there.

Matt
Guest

How about using some of those System Development Charges from all the building happening along division to add a few diverters on Clinton? I’d also second what Greg Raisman said in the comments section about building support for this kind of thing. It takes a while, but someone needs to create a loosely affiliated group of folks willing to push the City Council and Staff to make these improvements. The BTA could also step up and support it as well. The City Staff take their orders (usually) from the Council, and without anyone on the City Council pushing these kinds of thing forward, they won’t happen. These things don’t happen overnight.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I brought up the idea of these charges being used locally to a “big Wig” at PBOT who came to SEUL looking for ideas. It makes sense for low/no parking buildings to use their SDC to build a more robust bike network to service them.

That is not however how city law works…it all goes into the general transportation fund which is then delegated to transportation projects citywide. In this case, it may help build sidewalks in east Portland which is good….but not fully retrofitting Clinton and Lincoln to accommodate the new residents is bad.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

‘System Development Charges’ develop the system, as in, expand roadway capacity. They do not prevent access by mode.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

Then what you have is our policies regarding carbon reduction and active transportation moving with one arm…..and the financing working against these goals with another.

If this is the case, then the rules regarding SDC obviously need to be modernized. Just like our Victorian City Council system that require everyone be elected at large.

John R
Guest
John R

The BTA was founded for exactly reasons like this failure on Clinton. Perhaps if they had not completely abdicated their role…

9watts
Guest
9watts

BTA? Who are they?

turdy mcpeanut
Guest
turdy mcpeanut

clinton street has 1 fourway stop between the movie theater and 39th. thats it. call me nutty but why not just add a few more stop signs. or just go over 1 block and roll up woodward. smooth sailing the whole way.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Stop signs are a horrendous method for traffic calming and the city is not supposed to use them that way even though they often do. 4 way stops are the worst.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The City does not use stop signs for traffic calming, not for 20 years.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

They’ve been installing them in the Cully neighborhood over the past few years. I think it happens every time two careless idiots hit each other going 30mph in a quiet neighborhood, thinking that they both have the right-of way at a 4 way yield intersection…

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

I can show you a half dozen within 10 blocks of my house. They say they don’t but they consisitently are installing them.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Stop signs are installed based on crash history or visibility issues that can be corrected with a stop sign.

Jack
Guest
Jack

I will volunteer some of my time and buy a few bags of concrete. Should take about 1 hour to install, plus drying time.

When is the community work party to install these traffic diverters?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Concrete doesn’t dry, it sets. Who does one sue if injured by an unauthorized barrier?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’m fairly certain that moisture is removed from “wet” concrete mix when it sets. I think “drying” is a fair term to use.

9watts
Guest
9watts

So now we’re quibbling with the physics of concrete? What next?! Are you going to lecture us on whether the concrete in Hoover Dam is still liquid in the middle?

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

One way to pay for diverters on Clinton would be to use the System Development Charges (SDCs) that are imposed on the developers building all of the new stuff on Division. This money is supposed to go towards mitigating the impacts on new development on the transportation (and parks) system. PBOT is not very transparent about how this money is spent. $100k is a drop from that bucket.

Joseph E
Guest

That’s a great idea! The charges from just one big apartment building should be able to pay for a new diverter. This is exactly the sort of project that new developments should pay for.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

I ride Clinton daily between 26th and 21st. Traffic on this road is noticeably less harsh than 26th and considerably slower than cut through traffic in the Ladd’s Edition. It is an unreasonable goat to want to restrict traffic on every road where the least confident riders feel uncomfortable.

Paul in The 'Couve
Guest
Paul in The 'Couve

Time of day matters.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Ive noticed this summer an uptick in car traffic, speed, and aggressive behavior from drivers on SE Clinton on my ride to work. I’ve also seen more cars violating the no thru traffic for autos sign at 39th and Clinton heading east. This is dangerous as the road narrows quite significantly there.

Adam
Guest
Adam

This is not a “new” problem revolving around new apartment builds or yuppie restaurants. I remember this being brought up at the Clinton St Bike Blvd Project years and years ago at their open houses.

The PBOT rep there told me the reason for high traffic volumes on Clinton was actually due to the antiquated traffic signal system on Division a block over.

They said, because SE Division at 39th has no facilitated/protected left turn signal in place, motorists find it quicker to head a block over onto Clinton, and THEN make the left-turn onto 39th.

I concur. Head eastbound out of town at peak commute hours in a car, and see how long it takes to turn left onto 39th. Because there is no protected signal there, about one car, maybe two, makes that left turn through the light. Everyone else waits. And waits. And waits.

I think what really needs to be looked at here is Portland’s antiquated, outdated signal system, the traffic that becomes backed up because of those inefficiencies, and the places where traffic decides to go instead, in order to beat these traffic backups.

In this case, Clinton.

We need diverters on that street TODAY.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Just re-read the post and have a question regarding the so-called traffic circles on Clinton. Are they? I see them as obstructed intersections. Clinton St traffic (bike, car) has the right of way in all cases that I can think of since the intersecting side streets are signed for stopping. Because of this, I always take the road going thru the intersection.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

As was easily predictable – and predicted – due to all the construction activity delaying traffic on Division: one of our key bike boulevards, Clinton (with cutesy sign toppers!) is now carrying more than double the bike traffic recommended for a bike boulevard. So YTF are we even debating whether to put in diverters?! Do it! Do it now!

Anyone else remember when the city decided (for very different reasons) to close off NE 14th at Alberta? They just dropped in a couple of Jersey barriers and bolted up a couple of signs. Then a few years later they came back and made it pretty.

(And BTW, the original station plan for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project shows a diverter at 12th and Clinton. What happened to that?)

Max S
Guest
Max S

Berkeley, CA does a good job of installing low-cost diverters to discourage cut-through vehicle traffic. Here is one example (of many) along Ashby Avenue. I can’t imagine this simple barrier design costing anywhere near $20k. PBOT should look into these if budget is a top concern.

Google Streetview link: http://goo.gl/maps/d1JGJ

Garlynn
Guest
Garlynn

Unfortunately, Berkeley, CA does a horrible job of planning out where to put the diverters. They don’t just put them on bike boulevards; they sprinkle them willy-nilly throughout neighborhoods. This goes a bit too far, as it forces all the auto traffic on to the arterials, which back up miserably.

I think that a certain amount of “cut-through” traffic is OK; that’s what the street grid is for. Diverters should just be used on bicycle boulevards, IMHO, to make it clear who the intended users of those streets are. Berkeley actually does NOT do a very good job of keeping cars off the bicycle boulevards, despite how many diverters they have installed, because they have not been very strategic about focusing their efforts on keeping cars off bike boulevards.

So, the lesson for us in Portland is: Use diverters freely on bike boulevards. But, use them very sparingly, if at all, elsewhere.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

yes, diverters please!

I hate when I’m doing 20 going down the hill and a car is riding my ass because they want to speed pass me…

this year I’ve made it a point to ride right in the middle of the lane (or road) where I’m supposed to be so that if impatient cars do pass me then they’re doing it illegally close…

traffic circle ahead? I ride closer to the middle of the road…

basically any time there’s a car on my ass for more than 2 blocks I turn around and give them a confused look…

Paul in The 'Couve
Guest
Paul in The 'Couve

Yep, if more would do it that way on greenways things would improve. What is needed is more cyclists and more delays for drivers. Not deliberately delaying or blocking traffic mind you, but exercising our right to safety, to take the lane, and not yielding to impatient and dangerous passing.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

That is how I handle them on our greenways. I ride to Saint John’s from North Tabor on a fairly frequent basis…..thus I take the greenway system Sam got built from the Alameda Ridge to Going-Michigan-Bryant-Wabash-Houghton-Central. I decided a few years back that I have the priority on these roads and do not pull over if there is an aggressive driver. Usually they turn off….but once and a while they speed past two feet away when they find a gap in the parked cars.

It is IRRELEVANT if there are speed bumps or not. I know the city REFUSES to accept this answer, but that is the truth. I am a Strong and Confident cyclist so these close calls do not disturb me…even if I yell an unkindly word to the aggressive (usually SUV or Pick-up driver)….but they would totally freak a new cyclist out.

The rule of thumb: If the typical Portland mother will NOT let their MIDDLE SCHOOL child ride the greenway to school…then it NEEDS diverters. Period, the end.

If PBOT does not accept this, then we will NEVER reach our bike mode share goals and all the planning in the world will only create gridlock.

Paul in The 'Couve
Guest
Paul in The 'Couve

Oh I totally agree. Diverters are the best answer and not everyone cycles like you and I. However, if a few more riders would take the lane and occupy it firmly, I do believe it would result in training impatient drivers to avoid the greenways, and the casual speeders to begin to recognize to just slow down.

Of course the question is how many riders would that take and are there enough riders confident enough to start doing that. I know I wouldn’t put my kids out there without several adult riders.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

An academic study of injury rates in Vancouver BC, and Toronto, published last year, seems to differ slightly with Raisman’s take. Here’s its chart of the risk associated with different types of infrastructure, with the less dangerous marked to the left and the more dangerous marked to the right:

This “academic” study reported that a fully-protected bike-only path had a about the same odds ratio as a crappy conventional bike lane.

I would hope that this would cast some doubt on study methodology…

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

Nope, that result is pretty typical of nearly all the studies on bike infrastructure safety performance. Statistically there isn’t much of a difference even when stacked against roads without the infrastructure.

I believe the most enthusiastic claim of a study was a separated bike path increased safety by roughly 10%. Though that particular study didn’t include intersections in the data, which is where roughly 75% of bike accidents occur anyway.

Many find that separated bike facilities actually increase the rate of intersection incidents.

Though I typically don’t like wikipedia this write up is pretty good on the subject. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities
You can follow the foot notes to read the studies, which link to others as well. (be warned it’s a pretty deep rabbit hole once you get started)

You also have to remember more people ride over the Hawthorn bridge on a busy day, than cyclists that are killed by automobile collisions in a decade. So safety is a relative term here. Riding a bike is a safe activity to begin with.

For me because people think they are safer, it do get more people on bikes. Which actually does make a marked difference in safety on the street. The lanes do what people think they do, however the end result is the same. And that is the only reason why I like bike lanes (though personally I feel safer taking the lane most the time).

Opus the Poet
Guest

Yet in the one place that has segregated infrastructure that extends to intersections their experience is the exact opposite. The Netherlands has a bicycle safety rate nearly 30 times better than ours, and it isn’t all just because everybody rides, if it wasn’t safe to begin with “everybody” wouldn’t be riding.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

A large study undertaken by S.U. Jensen et al.[12][13] into the safety of Copenhagen cycle tracks before and after they were constructed concludes “The construction of cycle tracks in Copenhagen has resulted in an increase in cycle traffic of 18–20% and a decline in car traffic of 9–10%. The cycle tracks constructed have resulted in increases in accidents and injuries of 9–10% on the reconstructed roads.” The number of accidents and injuries increased at intersections while decreased mid-block. These changes in road safety have been estimated taking both general trends in safety and changes in car and cycle traffic into account.

NIce try.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Copenhagen is not in the Netherlands and Dutch infrastructure is quite different than Danish, especially with the design of the intersections. I cycled the busiest intersections in Amsterdam every day and they seemed far superior to the Copenhagen ones, though I’ve only visited CPH on a few occasions and have not lived there. One study does not discredit an incredible amount of possible design and environment variables.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

this study excluded intersections…as do most north american studies.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

what kind of injuries were they counting that made a fully protected/separated bike-only path about as safe as a narrow door zone bike lane?

sore buttocks?
blisters?

spencer
Guest
spencer

isn’t a community resource (such as this site and comment thread) that provides commentary and 100’s of community comments re: traffic engineering substantial enough to be included w/ public commentary at community meetings?
I rarely have the opportunity to make a neighborhood meeting, yet I care greatly about these issues, and I feel that the opinions and concerns that a silent majority feel (neighborhood safety) get drowned out by outspoken retired persons or elected bureaucracy (fire engine routes) at such meetings.
We drastically need traffic calming throughout the ENTIRE city/ state/ nation. We can act locally to keep our city safe, but these comments should be included in PBOT planning.

Furthermore

yttocs
Guest
yttocs

I have lived east of 26th on SE Clinton for 25 years and can attest to the changing traffic patterns, number of automobiles (and bicycles) and driver’s attitudes. Sadly what I witness is just another cost of rapid and poorly mitigated urban expansion.

Major changes began around the time of the opening of New Seasons Market at 7 corners (19th and SE Division) when conjestion stalled impatient automobile drivers at the 7 traffic intersections at 7 corners. Cars would divert to Clinton from 12th to 39th to avoid the congestion/time delay.

My neighbors (ALL have since moved due to the changes/cost of living) and I decided to slow and impact the autocentric traffic with a bit of cordinated street theater. The most effective was the “Abby Road” crosswalk parade. We would organize 4-6 groups of 4-8 people to utilize our right to cross Clinton. And for 30-60 minutes we would cross and recross Clinton in a cordinated effort with the other groups. It engaged others to celebrate the action. And yes it frustrated and sometimes enraged the drivers (even though we had big arrows to guide them back towards Division). AND during our campaign it worked in calming our tiny section of Clinton.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Love it!! Next time, can you “engage” them by parking your cars across the street as home-made diverters, with big red arrows pointing them to Division? 🙂

Zaphod
Guest

I hope this comment is heard and understood by PBOT.

It seems to me that streets are designed with an idea of appropriate flow: Arterials, residential, etc. NE Knott is different than NE Brazee is different than MLK, etc.

So when we learn that a street is misused as compared to design, i.e. Clinton becoming Division’s overflow, logic would dictate that we might make changes to keep the design working as intended.

It should be that simple.

Leadership in this regard will, most likely, result in a solid 100 to 1 positive feedback from citizen voters. And since it’s based upon fulfullment of original design, PBOT has solid footing to simply act.

Those who use cut through streets to get to where they are going (especially those who speed) are taking away/stealing from those who live, walk and bike in the community.

This topic as it exists around the city is VERY important to me. But you won’t find me at neighborhood meetings because I simply lack the time. Those who do participate are likely semi-retired or otherwise have time to engage. Those of us really digging deep with our careers and families simply cannot dedicate the time. It’s this group that relies upon our city to do what is needed. That’s what our taxes are for right?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

This is the way the TSP works. The current circles and diversion on Clinton and Lincoln were a response to traffic diverting through the neighborhood from Division and Powell, back in the early 90’s. With the addition of the bikeway designation, a new level of auto control will be necessary to conform to the new standard. Bike boulevard retrofits is one of the projects in active planning, but portland doesn’t do anything without process, so these projects (Ankeny, Tillamook, Lincoln, Clinton, 16th, etc) will have to go through the same NG process before being approved for implementation. The Comp Plan and TSP are the documents for changing how success is measured. If anyone believes those policies are not sufficient, I encourage you to advocate for policies you believe will achieve your vision for Portland. And now is the time to do so.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

Yes…and I will be looking it over with a fine tooth comb for the area covered by SEUL with their T/LU chair.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I couldn’t agree more.

Clinton is little more than two extra lanes of “overflow” capacity for Division, and that’s how PBOT wants it to STAY.

Lame.

davemess
Guest
davemess

“But you won’t find me at neighborhood meetings because I simply lack the time. Those who do participate are likely semi-retired or otherwise have time to engage. Those of us really digging deep with our careers and families simply cannot dedicate the time.”

Or we just find a way to make it work because it’s important to us. Most of my NA is between 35-45. Most have kids, and most have full time jobs.
I think they (and I view it) as an investment in our kids future.

bjcefola
Guest
bjcefola

Diverters are a great idea, not just for cyclists but for residents too. Having your street used as a “shortcut” sucks.

Implementation has to be handled carefully, though. There’s pretty much guaranteed opposition from through-travelers, but they stand on a weak leg (neighborhoods should be for residents, not non-residents driving over them). The more potent opposition is from residents themselves. A diverter can have obvious benefit to one street, but residents on adjacent streets may fear traffic will be diverted to them.

There isn’t an easy way of handling that. One could implement diversions at multiple points simultaneously, effectively managing traffic over a whole area and not just one street. But that makes an already formidable cost problem worse. The other way is *strong* process, including explicit contingency plans for addressing traffic on adjacent streets should that become a problem, and the time and effort needed for residents to give those plans credibility. Such a process also allows better feedback from residents, who knowing local conditions may see problems that aren’t apparent from a map.

Diverters are a great idea, but a lot of work.

hat
Guest
hat

Semi-diverters cost between $5-20k according to the PBOT site.

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/83903

Speed bumps according to PBOT cost $1,000 – 1,500 each.

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/83338

So you have a good point. This is part of the reason why PBOT has been reluctant to add diverters. And since greenways are off commercial streets for the most part, businesses have little incentive to support them. What about some sort of non-profit like depave to use volunteers to fund and build? How else will this happen?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Speed bumps and speed tables cost $2200 each and the fire friendly speed cushions are $3,000 each.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

ummm you all know that you are traffic calming on the greenways. Just take the lane, it’s not only legal but encouraged.

Technically those arrows in the middle of the street are your implied spot on the road. And there in the middle of the lane almost always. Some on Clintons eastern sister (Woodward) were even slightly miss printed in the middle of the street in essence covering both lanes.

And even PBoT agrees. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/348902

The very first line is:
“Neighborhood Greenways are residential streets with low volumes of auto traffic and low speeds WHERE BICYCLES AND PEDESTRIANS ARE GIVEN PRIORITY. ” (caps were my addition)

Tired of drivers using your route to avoid the busy streets, ride your bike in the middle of the lanes and wave nicely (you’re choice in the number of fingers you wave) should they honk and yell.

I’m constantly amazed at how many bike riders cling to the side of the road in the door zone on the greenways. It’s your street and you’re giving it away.

By doing so, you are doing nothing but decreasing you safety, since there is limited passing space, and all your doing is inviting them to pass you too closely, and likely they are accelerating past the speed limit to do so.

By clinging to the side you are actually encouraging the cut through traffic.
Bike lanes are built to keep the cars running without interference of the bicycles, greenways are/were ordained to keep the bikes pedaling without interference of cars.

This isn’t an engeneering problem. It’s an education problem. Very few bike riders or drivers really know what a greenway is or what it’s purpose is.

are
Guest
are
Guest

also disappointed raisman is even mentioning lane striping. the whole point of a bike boulevard is to allow bikes to dominate the street, not push them to the side to accommodate traffic the city has failed to divert.

9watts
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9watts

That struck me as funny too. Sort of like suggesting we close the middle and left lanes on I-5 to cars because the number of trucks has shot up.

davemess
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davemess

Isn’t that why they removed the painted lines on SE Ankeny?

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

Thats the problem with the auto centric way of designing streets based around vehicle counts. It lets those that create the problem of congestion adapt the street to an auto trafficsewer.

paikiala
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paikiala

Untrue. The TSP specifically does not have traffic volumes associated with the traffic classifications so that this will not happen. This helps defend choices like diversion because Local Service Streets are supposed to be for the connection between private homes and higher classified streets (functional classification). It’s one of the best aspects of the TSP compared to other regions. It’s actual planning. If the definitions came with auto traffic volumes, then the motorists could change a street classification by just using a cut-through more often. The very definition of a cut-through would not exist if the TSP included auto traffic volumes because the classification of the street would change every time a threshold was crossed.

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

are
four years ago:
http://taking-the-lane.blogspot.com/2010/04/diversion-street.html

BikePortland may be too nice when it says Portland’s bike policy has stopped moving forward. In this case, it’s gone backwards.

Laura
Guest
Laura

the “bridge and tunnel crowd” is half the problem! Tonite, there were cars parked adjacent to the bulb outs (City has not yet painted them yellow…). Made it tough for eastbound traffic and nearly impossible for buses. Of course, parking enforcement doesnt work on Division St after 7pm…

abbie
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abbie

I am a resident of the Clinton area who bike-commutes when possible and car commutes when necessary. As someone mentioned above, anybody who bikes through this area saw this problem coming from a mile away when just about every block on lower-mid Division began a near-simultaneous building boom. I don’t believe that this problem will simply disappear when the construction stops. At that point we will just have many more people living in the neighborhood, many with cars and many with bikes.

Many above have called for just taking the lane as a safety measure and as a gentle reminder that bikes not only have that right, but also (along with pedestrians) have the priority on Clinton.

Here is my idea. Taking the lane is more fun in a group. Email me at bikeclinton@gmail.com

I will organize a mailing group. If there is strong interest, on a given evening next week we just might coincidentally meet in the after-work hours for an inaugural group tour up and down Clinton Street.

Traffic will be calmed and likely diverted for less than $20,000.

With the money we save we can stop at Apex after the ride for an adult beverage.

write to bikeclinton@gmail.com

I’m strongly for getting involved in your neighborhood associations too. The thing about greenways is that the commuters on the greenway do not necessarily live in the neighborhood. Think of this as an auxillary rolling neighborhood association.

(Tell your friends to email me too)

paikiala
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paikiala

Has anyone contacted the city regarding before/after counts and mitigation for traffic diversion? Asking about diversion mitigation before the project started would have been a good idea as well.

spare_wheel
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spare_wheel

“Many above have called for just taking the lane as a safety measure and as a gentle reminder that bikes not only have that right”

You’d think we would have the right to take the lane on a bike boulevard but we don’t. If it’s safe to do so, cyclists on Clinton are legally required to move over to the right to let motorvehicles pass.

Paul in the 'couve
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Paul in the 'couve

Not really. Read all the sections of the code again. You are correct in principle, but I don’t agree in application. Reading all the relevant sections of the Oregon Code, there are several ambiguous points regarding what roads count; the speed of traffic, and the possibility of safely passing in the opposite lane, or in the travel lane. Boiled all down it is clear that cyclists a1) don’t have to move over if they are not impeding travel speed for the road a2) with travel speed for a neighbourhood greenway by design intention suggested to be 20mph MAX, and b) if the opposing lane is clear for cars to pass then there is no requirement to move right. Of course courts would be necessary to determine where interpretation lies, but my interpretation is that I seldom move right on greenways.

gutterbunnybikes
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gutterbunnybikes

NIce try.

From the Wiki:

“A large study undertaken by S.U. Jensen et al.[12][13] into the safety of Copenhagen cycle tracks before and after they were constructed concludes “The construction of cycle tracks in Copenhagen has resulted in an increase in cycle traffic of 18–20% and a decline in car traffic of 9–10%. The cycle tracks constructed have resulted in increases in accidents and injuries of 9–10% on the reconstructed roads.” The number of accidents and injuries increased at intersections while decreased mid-block. These changes in road safety have been estimated taking both general trends in safety and changes in car and cycle traffic into account.”

You’ll a large increase in bikes, a reduction in auto traffic and an increase in accidents and injuries of 9-10% in Copenhagen.

Also don’t forget bike riders in the European bike capitals also have slow speed limits on a whole. Slower speed being the one other thing that makes bicycling safe.

hat
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hat

Strip the city of professed greenways that serve as throughways for autos. We should not recognize these streets that often fail at basic safety needs, and regularly do not reflect the city’s own definition.

PBOT’s definition: “Neighborhood Greenways are residential streets with low volumes of auto traffic and low speeds where bicycle and pedestrians are given priority.”

Change the definition of a greenway:
1. 20 mph limit
2. speed bumps
3. diverters every 10 blocks minimum

paikiala
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paikiala

Can you name a neighborhood greenway?

Paul
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Paul

How about 6 mph for motor vehicles and diverters every 3 blocks?

TonyT
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TonyT

I think a no passing bikes rule would be pretty rad.

TonyT
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TonyT

I’d add “above average enforcement” to the requirement. As it stands they pretty much get none. My neighborhood has been begging for years and have yet to get anything. Years.

paikiala
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paikiala

You called 823-safe and asked for enforcement and for the officer to contact you and nothing happened? So you complained to PPB and the ombudsman, correct?
the 2012 PPB statistical report lists 64 traffic division officers, including supervisors, for all of Portland. The weekend people only work the swing shift – starting around 4 PM. Anyone for more traffic enforcement personnel?

Robert Burchett
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Robert Burchett

Thanks for bringing that up. We have an existing PPD traffic division, they work every day. Police routinely do enforcement action in which they are _ordered_ to target specific behaviors with a particular severity. For example, in the recent downtown bike-on-sidewalk enforcement, only warnings were issued, not a single ticket. A decision was made to act in that way and the officers carried it out.

So: put the police out on Clinton Street with orders to strictly enforce speed limits and, at minimum, issue warnings to aggressive drivers. A warning doesn’t have to be defended in court, but it still takes minutes out of the drivers day and involves a talk with a police officer which nobody likes! Clear message to the officers: it’s a bike street, look at the cars.

Increased cost of this decision to the city budget: zero.

A person biking through Ladd knows that there is a chance they will encounter traffic enforcement aimed at them. A person driving hard through Clinton Street needs to know that traffic enforcement is a real possibility. This would take a few days of enforcement initially, repeated at random intervals in coming months. It would make a difference.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

I just called 503-823-SAFE to request enforcement of speed limits and against aggressive driving on SE Clinton. Since we have police, shouldn’t they help us?
–Called back to report a section of bike lane stripe that’s been MIA for years, and got a live human being! Thanks, PDOT!