Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Cars will be detoured onto SE Clinton during Division Street repaving

Posted by on August 15th, 2014 at 4:12 pm

clinton traffic

Traffic on Clinton.
(Photo by Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

If you think the SE Clinton bike boulevard is already turning into more of a car boulevard, you won’t like this news: The Bureau of Environmental Services announced today that during a two-week re-paving project on SE Division set to begin later this month, all eastbound auto traffic will be detoured to SE Clinton.

Not surprisingly, news of the decision is spreading fast throughout the community and many people are very concerned. Why would the city purposefully add more auto traffic to a street that already has too much of it?

“I must say that I am shocked and disappointed that the City of Portland would make such a poor choice.”
— Kari Schlosshauer, nearby resident

Joe Annett, manager of community outreach for BES, tried to tamp down concerns when we called him today, saying it would only be temporary and that, “People will just have to be careful,” he said. “That’s just how it’s going to work. We’ve got to pave the road.”

Why not divert them one more block south to Woodward? “Even if we diverted them to Woodward,” Annett answered, “They’ll still turn on Clinton because it’s the first one they come to.”

Annett points out that a similar detour was in place when a different section of Division was repaved in June. He chalks up the current level of citizen pushback as the result of frustrations from the length of the project (which has already been going on for a year) and a recent story on KGW-TV titled, Cyclists upset Portland bikeway loaded with cars .

This work is part of the Division Streetscape Project, a $5.8 million ($2.5 from the feds, $3.3 in local funds) partnership between BES and the Bureau of Transportation. BES is involved because much of the work involves “green street” and stormwater management features like bioswales, street trees, and new sewer pipes. (It’s also important to note that, despite the major transportation component of the project, BES has been contracted to do all the public outreach.)

The impacts of auto diversion have been a major concern of this project since before it was adopted by Portland City Council in June of 2010. At that time, PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller told the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee that, “We already want to do something on Clinton because the auto volumes are too high.”

And in the Division Streetscape and Street Reconstruction Project Final Report (June 2010), PBOT refers to Clinton as, “a vibrant and well-established bicycle facility in the City of Portland and is an important east/west connection for the cycling community.”

In that report (page 16), PBOT promised to monitor traffic volumes on Division and Clinton before and after completion of the project and “take measures to prevent any further diversion” if it occurs.

But those promises refer to the impacts after the project is completed — not this upcoming, two week construction period.

For nearby resident Kari Schlosshauer, this is the last straw.

“I have just learned that, during repaving on Division, car traffic will be diverted onto Clinton,” she wrote in an email to Annett today, “and I must say that I am shocked and disappointed that the City of Portland would make such a poor choice.”

Schlosshauer suggests an auto detour to Powell (10 blocks south) or SE Grant (three blocks north). Adding to her plea for consideration, she writes, “Or would you kindly consider any other street that, while it may increase traffic on a neighborhood street, at least won’t add to what is already a difficult situation on one of the city’s originally dedicated Bicycle Boulevards?”

Schlosshauer and others think this might be a good time for PBOT to do a pilot demonstration of traffic diverters on Clinton; but Annett doesn’t think that will work.

He said they’ve tried temporary diverters in the past and people will simply get out of their cars, move them aside, and drive through. Not only that, he said, but if they put up barricades on Clinton, “Cars will go around them making it even more dangerous… There’s no safe way to do that.”

Barring any changes to the current plans, bicycling conditions on SE Clinton are likely to get even worse later this month. See the BES website for construction dates and times and more background.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • peejay August 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Sounds like a nonviolent protest may be in order. A nice big slow ride up and down Clinton sounds like the right thing.

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    • Christopher Sanderson August 15, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      I currently do not need to pick up lumber at Sustainable Northwest, but if there’s an organized protest, I’d be happy to place an order for about 400-pounds of lumber, and will haul it slowly and delightfully up Clinton at the end of the day.

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    • Spiffy August 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

      just riding my normal 15 mph in the middle of the lane should annoy motorists enough to make them happy to vote for separate infrastructure in the future…

      so business as usual for me…

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  • KYouell August 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I also live in the area (near the Clinton Street Theater) and I understand why they picked Clinton and why they can’t use diverters; what I don’t understand is why there has not been increased enforcement here. The two streets bordering Piccolo Park are regularly used as “shortcuts” when drivers going west on Division see the light at 26th turn red with ZERO attention paid to the “playground” signs. Now that we have semi trucks zipping down here too I would think that it’s time to put some coins in the city’s coffers via traffic tickets. Maybe nothing can be done until a child darting out from the park is hit? I’m about ready to sit in my front yard with a high-powered water gun to squirt the cars being driven dangerously.

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    • Alex Reed August 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      I understand that as well. I wonder if the truly bike-friendly thing to do would be to create a temporary bike diversion to Woodward (including turning stop signs) in this situation, and install temporary diverters on Clinton to channel drivers back to Division at the end of the car detour so that Clinton becomes a nice place for biking again outside of the car detour area.

      Annett’s protests that drivers will move any barriers they put up sound a little defeatist to me. Jersey barriers don’t seem to get moved – maybe PBOT just needs to use barriers heavy enough that a driver or two can’t move them through muscle power.

      The bottom line is, is keeping major bikeways comfortable for family biking during construction in nearby areas a high priority for PBOT? Based on what they’re doing in this situation, the answer appears to be, “No.”

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    • spare_wheel August 15, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      I understand why they picked Clinton and why they can’t use diverters…

      there are @#$% @#$es in the BES who are willing to endanger human beings for motorist convenience?

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      • Alan 1.0 August 15, 2014 at 11:39 pm


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  • Krista August 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I think it’s a grand time to show all the Clinton cars that we can and will come to full stops at the stop signs along Clinton. Especially at rush hour. One. Bike. At. A. Time. 🙂

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    • KYouell August 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      I love it! I’m in.

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    • Ben Waterhouse August 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      And don’t forget to take the lane—all of it.

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    • Kari Schlosshauer August 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      I already do that (natch) — but YES.

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    • Adam August 15, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      This is my primary method of getting car drivers off tiny side streets they are not supposed to be on. I bike very, very slow, away from the door zone. Can’t be too careful now!

      It angers them, and they generally peel off onto another street, tires screetching.

      You’re welcome.

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      • Mike August 15, 2014 at 9:41 pm

        How do you know they aren’t supposed to be on the street. Perhaps they live in the neighborhood.

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        • are August 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

          if they live in the neighborhood, they can go slow for a block or two

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          • Oliver August 18, 2014 at 1:07 pm

            I agree. If they live in the neighborhood, they’ll be driving slow anyway. We only have one family on our street that drives too quickly, and they live all the way down at the end of the 3rd block of Argyle.

            Everyone else is cut-through traffic.

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  • Eric August 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    This makes me ANGRY! Created a Shift event. One week from today on the 22nd. http://shift2bikes.org/cal/#22-4624

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    • Michael August 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Ok… but the link in this story says this round of paving doesn’t begin until the week of August 25.

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    • Kirk August 15, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      If you are hoping to hold this event during the construction period, you should revise the event date as that starts on August 25th. I’ll be sure to try and make it!

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    • John Liu
      John Liu August 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Just my thoughts here – make it for when construction and the diversion will start – the week of Aug 25 I think – and for the afternoon rush hour. The schedule for the diversion is at the link in the story. Of course the ride should be in the eastbound direction on Clinton, since that is how the diversion will go, but maybe riders with extra time could be encouraged to ride west on Division to do a couple of loops. Riders with GoPros or other video cameras might want to bring them.

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    • spare_wheel August 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      It looks like Eric or someone else updated the ride data to the 29th:

      Super Legal Clinton St. Ride
      Friday, August 29, 4:45pm

      The plan is to get as many cyclists at the intersection of 26th and Clinton at rush hour. Every bike makes a complete stop. EVERY BIKE STOPS. If 3 pull up to the same stop sign, each bike waits to stop individually. Take your time. Wave on cyclists or even autos. Make sure to let those cross-walkers go!


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      • John Liu
        John Liu August 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm


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      • Paul Cole August 18, 2014 at 11:48 am

        I never realized that by stopping at every stop sign and biking safely that I was taking part in a protest against car culture.

        I just thought I was obeying the law.

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  • Kenneth Brown August 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    So… when bikes blow through stop signs, they’re entitled scofflaws. When cars ignore or physically move/disable traffic control devices – well that’s just how it is?

    Also, I really hope those Annett quotes were cherry-picked out of context. “That’s just how it’s going to work” isn’t a phrase you usually hear from someone doing outreach, or really anyone who gives a crap about people’s feelings on a matter.

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    • Brian Davis August 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      I wish we used “That’s just how it’s going to work” a little more often. Like with regard to parking on NE 28th, or a lane removal on Williams, or making Holladay car free, or converting a lane on SW 12th to a cycle track, or…

      The double standards employed by this city with regard to bicycling are breathtaking at the moment.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Also, I really hope those Annett quotes were cherry-picked out of context. “That’s just how it’s going to work” isn’t a phrase you usually hear from someone doing outreach, or really anyone who gives a crap about people’s feelings on a matter.

      Hi Kenneth,

      His quotes were not taken out of context. I was surprised at his tone too. He seems to think the bike concerns are not that big of a deal and that this is just standard reaction from citizens who are frustrated with inconveniences during a construction project.

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    • was carless August 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

      He’s probably really tired of being patronized by us obnoxious, demanding (quality of life stuff) and pesky people who bicycle!

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  • Kari Schlosshauer August 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I already do that (natch) — but YES.

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  • Kari Schlosshauer August 15, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Seriously, why the defeatist attitude at the city? Why not be bold and nimble and TRY IT?

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    • was carless August 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Weak form of government, mayor and city council dont care, they dont bicycle, etc.

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  • Dave August 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    How about raised traffic fines and police saturation patrols? Let the city make some $ off it.

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    • Alan 1.0 August 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Washington doubles traffic fines in work zones; does Oregon do that?

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  • On The Road August 15, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Get over it. It is only for two weeks. Maybe take one of the neighborhood streets you are suggesting should be used for cars.

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    • Kari Schlosshauer August 15, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      Not to be obvious here, but I might suggest the same to car drivers who have to be diverted a couple of blocks. The last time I checked, it was more pleasant to drive three blocks out of your way than to be scared out of your wits by angry drivers coming within inches of you and your 2-year-old on a bike.

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      • On The Road August 15, 2014 at 8:01 pm

        So you are agreeing with me. That bikes can divert another block or two to avoid being scared out of their wits.

        If that’s not what you meant, you need to rephrase your comment.

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        • Kari Schlosshauer August 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm

          Let me be clearer. Every. Single. Street. has been made for cars, some exclusively. Cars can go anywhere they like without having to worry about their travel lane disappearing unannounced, not being able to cross a street because there is no crossing, being forced to drive on a street that does not take them where they want to go, or their drivers being yelled at and harassed by other vehicles who think they’re “in their way” or should “get off their road”.
          Those who wish to travel by bicycle, in order to feel safe and comfortable doing so, *already* have to go out of their way to designated bikeways that are as closely spaced as 1 mile apart, if they’re lucky (and live west of 205).
          Then a long-term construction project with a poorly mitigated traffic plan for pedestrians (expected to cross over Division at every block of construction) and bicyclists (required to absorb the frustrations of drivers who don’t want to drive through the construction on Divison, and divert onto the virtually stop-sign-free and free-flowing Clinton) comes along. Those who are long-time bicyclists and neighbors of Clinton are then expected to bear more brunt of frustrated drivers when traffic is INTENTIONALLY diverted onto the bikeway; those who are looking at a map and thinking about bicycling for the first time or with their families, see that Clinton is the best route through the area, only to have to deal with what I outlined above.
          To be clear. I think the city could make a better choice of a street to divert on to, and as John Burns says above, think more creatively and make this into a plus, not a negative.

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          • Zaphod August 19, 2014 at 5:24 pm

            Holy smokes if this isn’t the comment of the week or year, I don’t know what is.

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      • Mike August 15, 2014 at 9:55 pm

        So it is ok to push the diversion onto someone else’s street? I am sure they wouldn’t like it either.

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        • are August 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

          how about another large street, like powell

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  • John Burns August 15, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    We need to think more creatively.

    One full width lane will be open on Division during construction, but one car lane is plenty wide enough for bi-directional bike traffic. So, for the two week construction period:
    – Divert all bicycle traffic east and west-bound to Division.
    – Divert all automobile traffic to Clinton.

    This can be a plus for biking, not a negative.

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  • Adam August 15, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Who said the temporary diverter has to be something people can “pick up and move aside”.

    I vote for parking an enormous truck right across Clinton. I’d like to see a motorist pick up that and barrage through.

    Who’s with me?!

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  • Doug Klotz August 15, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Or, as I suggested to Annett when he came to the RNA years ago: Remove all parking from Clinton on the affected stretch. Put a row of Jersey Barriers down the middle of the street, and create a protected bike lane for that stretch. (Would it be one way in the direction of the detour?).

    But Annett rejected that idea then. He said it’ll just work like normal traffic, essentially, with cars joining Clinton at the beginning of the detour. He seemed to suggest that there would be a stop sign added (to stop traffic on Clinton?) I would suggest that BES just doesn’t get it, and it seems that PBOT is not willing to protect their Bike Boulevard users, the ones they seek to attract to cycling, either!

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    • On The Road August 15, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Again it is not a permanent detour, just two weeks. Can’t everybody adjust and not get offended by insinuating it as an invasion of the sacred Clinton bikeway.

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      • Alan 1.0 August 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm

        If you like what you hear here, you’ll love the sounds all those drivers will make.

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  • Brian Davis August 15, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I sent an email to Annett asking some specific questions about current and expected traffic volumes, what mitigative measures are being taken, what sorts of follow-up visits and analysis would be taken place to ensure the safety of the route, etc. I received a 3 line email in response that answered none of my questions or concerns.

    I keep hearing from the powers that be that the best thing to do is speak out, show up, be vocal, etc. And I’ve tried my best to respond by doing so in a constructive and collaborative way, offering ideas, assistance, etc., and putting a lot of personal time into doing so. The response has generally been, suffice it to say, insulting.

    So fuck it. When’s the next critical mass ride?

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    • spare_wheel August 15, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      I’ll cork.

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    • Brian Davis August 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      The answer to my (largely rhetorical) question is, of course, “four days after this ill-conceived detour begins.”

      Just sayin’.

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    • spare_wheel August 15, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      I was going to post the next critical mass on shift2bikes but it looks like the super-legal ride on Clinton is taking it’s place.


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      • Jeff Walenta August 19, 2014 at 8:13 am

        We need one every Friday at rush hour …preferably for 6 months in a row

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    • Ted Buehler August 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Brian — send your email, his reply, and any additional comments to Leah Treat and Steve Novick.

      Ted Buehler

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  • Randy August 15, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Another Mayors office flop = One more bike on Clinton

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  • Eric Ivy August 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    This diversion has already been happening for months/(years?), and making it sanctioned is just a slap in the face to those who have already been struggling with this

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 15, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      that’s the point that I’m not sure Annett and the City fully appreciate. In fact, during my chat with him he said “Seriously, is there going to be more traffic than there already is?”

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  • Psyfalcon August 15, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    I believe the signs they’re looking for is no right turn. Then park one of the motorcycles with the flashing lights right there. Then I’d have to guess people would use Woodward.

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  • CaptainKarma August 16, 2014 at 4:25 am

    As an aside (but maybe not), after what has developed on lower Division, that speed limit needs to be dropped to 20, sharrows or none. You really can’t even get a bus through there adequately. A most unpleasant byway, I say.

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    • gutterbunnybikes August 16, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Personally I don’t know why they don’t make 20 MPH the speed limit on all non arterial streets in the city and declare them all a Greenways.

      Easy, fast, cheap and suddenly the whole town is basically a bike route, then infrastructure improvement funds can be freed up for the improvements needed on collector streets, bridges, and other big money projects.

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    • 99th Monkey August 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      HB3150, signed into law during the 2012 legislature session allows for lowering the speed limit to 20 would fit here. Unfortunately the Portland Bureau of Transportation plan for Clinton was put together in 2010 and set speed limit at 25 except for school zones.

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      • paikiala August 18, 2014 at 10:48 am

        The law requires the vehicle volumes to be under 2,000 per day. Clinton is over this volume.

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        • Psyfalcon August 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm

          Because there are no diverters!

          Come on now, too much traffic to lower the speed limit, but not enough to get some willpower to put in the necessary diverters, so the bikeway is just rotting.

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        • davemess August 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm

          Can you explain the rationale behind almost solely using volume for setting speed limits? Seems to me from a safety standpoint the more cars you have the slower you would want it to be. Is this just an example of the laws being written solely to allow cars to get where they are going the fastest?

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  • Karl Dickman August 16, 2014 at 8:17 am

    I will drop in here with some optimism/wishful thinking. Woodstock Blvd. between 52nd and Chavez (where the bike lane drops) is an easier ride at rush hour. In off-peak hours, the drivers try to go 35 whenever possible, but at rush hour they can’t move faster than 15-18. Maybe more cars on Clinton will lower travel speeds?
    I admit I’m straining to find something positive in all this. Given the epidemic of aggressive, dangerous driving on Clinton I don’t expect my wishful thinking to be rewarded.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT August 16, 2014 at 9:23 am

    So Annett said, “Seriously, is there going to be more traffic than there already is?” Seriously? Okay, this is just denial at the expense of the safety of others. This to me demonstrates a serious level of disengagement from what is actually happening.

    If Joe Annett has a kid, I suggest quite seriously that he ride his bike with his kid in tow up and down Clinton during rush hour. This isn’t said in anger, just suggesting that he might get a better sense for why people feel the way they do.

    If nothing else, it seems that a temporary 20mph speed limit be put in place, along with stepped up traffic enforcement presence with an eye out for dangerous passing. Heck, get a bike cop to just cruise Clinton for the evening and morning rush hours. It needs to be made painfully clear that the cars are guests (even if a bit unwelcome) on a bike boulevard.

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  • Nicholas Skaggs August 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

    King Car wins again.

    I’m so sick of this city’s hypocritical priorities.

    They’re happy to use bikes as a marketing tool to make Portland seem cool and flashy, but when it comes to actually making policies that prioritize cycling in the city (like 28th, or Barbur Blvd, or ******** ANYTHING,) it’s all committees and inaction.


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    • gutterbunnybikes August 16, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      I’ve said it a million times and will a million more.

      Bike infrastructure isn’t built for the benefit of bike riders. It’s built to keep bikes from slowing down auto traffic. There is no statistical data that bike lanes are significantly (if at all) safer riding in the street. The bike lanes are built for cars. Get use to it.

      Of course as long as people believe in the safety myth of bike lanes, it’s win/win for the planners. They get to keep the bikes from slowing down auto traffic, while also saying it is a bicycle improvement. So in one fell swoop they improve automobile travel times and get to pretend to be supporting active transportation.

      It’s painfully obvious when you consider “plans” like 28th street, that the planners lack the will to take on cars. They hold “meetings” so they can push the blame to the businesses on the street. But ever since the project fist went public, they had two other alternative routes planned out ahead of time. Why? Because they knew while “designing” it, that they weren’t going to do a single thing to 28th proper.

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      • Nicholas Skaggs August 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm

        That’s a great point, and I agree with you. I’ve long been a proponent of vehicular cycling, but most people “feel” safer on bike lanes.

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  • JEFF BERNARDS August 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Get over it, it’s called “share the road”, they need 2 weeks, you’ll live trust me. There tons of apartment construction, bio-swells, Division is crumbling from it all and by the way, some of the food you eat comes down Division. Quit acting like babies and victims, it’s hard to beleive, it’s not that big of a deal. In the end cars may use Powell instead, anyway. There’s bigger issues that deserve this kind of attention.

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    • Nicholas Skaggs August 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Let’s hope no one is threatened, injured, or worse over these two weeks.

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    • Karl Dickman August 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      The point isn’t that I don’t want to share, the point is that the drivers on Clinton play games with my life and with other peoples lives so that they can get to the stop light 8 seconds sooner. If the drivers behave themselves it won’t be a problem, but I’m not hopeful on that score.

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    • Alex Reed August 18, 2014 at 8:55 am

      I think a lot of us see the issues on Clinton as emblematic of an overall issue, which is how poor construction mitigation is for bikes and pedestrians in Portland. When construction closes a road, or even a lane, to auto traffic, there are signs, cones, warnings, and (if necessary), marked detours in abundance.

      But if it closes the only marked crosswalk across an arterial for 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile in either direction, we get a “crosswalk closed” sign that can only see once you’ve already walked out of your way to the marked crosswalk. Or, if construction turns a formerly pleasant bikeway (one of the relatively few in the city) into a street with so many cars that most parents wouldn’t want to send their children down it, or does most anything else that significantly impacts bike traffic, it seems like in most cases the City does absolutely nothing. “That’s just how it’s going to work” is what we hear.

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      • El Biciclero August 18, 2014 at 10:12 am

        Amen. Not on topic RE Clinton, specifically, but right on. Also, the abundance of signage erected for driver information oftentimes blocks the only usable portion of the roadway for bikes or pedestrians as well—one of my big frustrations many times. I rode through a site like this just this morning; road closed, no detour signs. It doesn’t matter much for drivers, since the affected neighborhood is only used as a through route by bicyclists (it connects to another neighborhood via a short MUP). The first time I encountered this closure, there was a flagger there, and I asked her whether another street would connect to where I wanted. She said “yes”, and then told me that they were getting a lot of cyclists coming the other way riding down the closed street to get to the connecting MUP, and if I knew anybody who came that way (since, obviously, I was in The Club), could I tell them not to use the closed street. I nodded dumbly and moved on. Later, in a fit of esprit d’escalier, I realized I should have asked her in exaggerated surprise, “Really? They’re ignoring the detour signs?” which, in my imagination would have made her go “oooOOOOohhhh!”, since there are no detour signs.

        I think a complete unawareness of how and where bicyclists travel is at the root of such problems. I just hate to think there is awareness and complete disregard, although I do think that very many in the traffic realm (drivers, work crews, sometimes planners) want and wish bicyclists to just be invisible and evaporate away from anywhere their presence might be inconvenient for others. All the more reason to take the lane assertively.

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  • Matt Youell August 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    If you’ve only seen Woodward on a map it might seem reasonable as an alternate for either bikes or cars, but if you actually ride or drive Woodward you’ll know that it’s a lot of work to pedal up (it sits on a ridge well above Clinton; I’d wager some can’t ride 26th to 28th at all) and it’s rather narrow for constant two-way auto traffic.

    Clinton is well-situated as an alternate route, which is painful to acknowledge because that has been increasingly abused for over a year (something the “get over it” commenters don’t understand). But John Burns’ solution is pretty perfect in my mind. The only negative I can see is businesses on Division worrying that they won’t get their traffic. An awful lot of their business seems to be park-and-walk though, so I expect it would actually work well. Now how to convince someone in charge?

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  • davemess August 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Jonathan. I should know this, but with new pavement and the curb being moved, doesn’t that trigger the OR law that bike facilities have to be included on Division? Why does that not apply here?

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    • spare_wheel August 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Maybe someone should sue…

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      • Terry D August 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

        Clinton would be considered the “parallel facility” according to the bike bill. Meaning, that anyone who sues would have to prove that the changes to Division made Clinton dangerous to the point of needing mitigation.

        Any lawyers want to take this one? Sue the city and force them to MAKE Clinton a real bikeway….Diversion at 12th, 19th, 22nd, 28th, 33rd, 45th and 50th please…..oh yes, let us not forget those further east while we are at it…SE Woodward and 59th and 67th to start.

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        • Psyfalcon August 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm

          71st. No sense in turning drivers to Powell without a light to let them make a left. 65th has a light, but that is a tiny street to add more traffic to.

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      • Dwaine Dibbly August 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        Maybe, when I retire from my current profession in 12 years, I should go to law school and take up this sort of action as a hobby. Very tempting….

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  • Dwaine Dibbly August 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Take the lane and stay calm. We were there first.

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    • Psyfalcon August 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      So eastbound traffic is going up hill. I’m actually more afraid of the traffic as I head down the hill, are impatient drivers going to pass unsafely with bikes going pretty fast downhill?

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  • Jonah August 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, aren’t greenways supposed to give priority to pedestrians and bikes? Doesn’t that mean we can walk in the street and cars have to yield?

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    • Matt Youell August 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      It’s frustrating, but ultimately it’s just another street, albeit one with sharrows and some traffic calming measures. I don’t think there’s any actual legal underpinning for this (please correct me if I’m wrong, wonks), it’s more conceptual than legally framed.

      IIRC the phrasing for greenways from the city is “to de-prioritize auto traffic” on those streets. What exactly does that mean? (I just re-checked the city’s site[1], it doesn’t clarify much.) I’ve heard various unsubstantiated things about greenways: bikes can own the lane (no need to stay right), cars are only permitted for a few blocks and then are supposed to turn off, cars are guests and have to yield to pretty much everything, etc.. Is any of this accurate? Doesn’t seem to be except where everyone (drivers and non) agrees by convention.

      As for walking in the street, cars are supposed to yield to you if you’re somehow in the middle of any street. Not the most meaningful metric.


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      • Kirk August 18, 2014 at 2:09 am

        I believe what you are referring to is the state law from 2013 that allows people to walk in the middle of a NARROW street – 18 feet or less – IF the city signs it in such a way that it alerts people driving to the fact that they should watch out for pedestrians.

        See this post for more: http://bikeportland.org/2013/06/27/new-state-law-lets-cities-open-narrow-residential-streets-to-pedestrians-89287

        Furthermore, the following snippet of text from the linked post helps answer how (or more appropriately how not) the law applies to neighborhood greenways: “Though the law extends the humans-welcome spirit of Portland’s neighborhood greenway network, it won’t apply to most neighborhood greenways, which are wider than 18 feet. Routh said that in Portland, it’s likely to be a better fit for narrow and unpaved streets in parts of Southwest and East Portland that were developed when still outside the city limits.”

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    • Reza August 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Channeling my inner paikiala here…

      “Clinton is not a neighborhood greenway.”

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    • paikiala August 18, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Clinton has not yet been upgraded to greenway standards.

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  • doug klotz August 17, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    According to pbot bikes are supposed to center themselves on the sharrow. This puts you in the middle of the lane on Clinton.

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  • Moe Szyslak August 18, 2014 at 9:35 am

    LOL at this happening right after Sunday Parkways…

    Sunday Afternoon: “Wow, Clinton’s not that bad by bike. I can do this. Next week, I commute, I swear!”

    Monday Morning: “Whoa, never mind.”

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    • mh August 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      If many of us ride, starting 8/25, down the middle of the sharrows, then the Sunday Parkways people will find it familiar (the usual overcrowded Parkways streets), but perhaps easier. At least they’ll be riding with mostly adults, mostly riding on the right side of the street.

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    • A.K. August 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

      Is there a particular time that Clinton is choked with cars or something?

      When I lived in Brooklyn I’d commute several times a week via bike to my job out past the airport, and it always started with crossing Powell when hanging a right and heading up Clinton/Woodward all the way to the 205 bike path.

      I’d generally be on the road by 6:30 am. There were hardly ever any cars out. And the reverse trip coming home at 6 PM wasn’t bad either.

      Are all the people driving after 7 am or something?

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      • Bill Walters August 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm

        It gets pretty busy west of 39th during commute-time peaks. Maybe not so much further east.

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  • GlowBoy August 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

    To start this THE DAY AFTER Sunday Parkways rolls down Clinton is downright demeaning. Way to aim for LAB Aluminum status, Portland!

    To those who think it’s just crybaby-ism, the point is that Clinton has ALREADY become intolerable (and, if you try to ride with kids, dangerous) because of all the diversions, and many drivers becoming habituated to driving on it. Clinton now has more than double the amount of car traffic normally recommended for Neighborhood Greenways to function effectively. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    I don’t understand the city’s logic about diverters at all. Why not put diverters on Clinton, backed up by Jersey barriers? Local car access onto Clinton can still be provided on some of the minor streets, but the more significant streets used to move traffic down to Woodward should all have diverters as they cross Clinton.

    And BTW, although I don’t ride Clinton on a daily basis, I’ll be happy to go a little out of my way to increase the bike count there during those two weeks.

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    • Oregon Mamacita August 18, 2014 at 11:05 am


      Isn’t the degradation of Clinton Street as a bikeway an inevitable problem, given the city’s desire to make a SE Division so urban? The new no-parking apartments will bring in hundreds of tenants with cars. Right now, school is out- but expect heavy traffic from parents transporting kids. Utopia is running head on into reality, and reality will win. At some point the BTA types will figure out that Wally Remmers runs this town, and that the City only pretends to care about you or me.

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      • Alex Reed August 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm

        I don’t think it’s true that dense development will inevitably degrade nearby bike boulevard-style bikeways. Take a look at the Cardero St. Bikeway in Vancouver, BC. It runs through and near some very dense areas in the West End. Yet, it is a nice, quiet place to bike because of multiple (not just one!) auto diversion installations. http://goo.gl/maps/hQkWV

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        • Oregon Mamacita August 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

          Agreed that you can have density and a nice bike infrastructure. But we are talking about Portland- and I am unimpressed with our planners and our leadership. Perhaps the bike community needs to start pooling their money and making huge campaign contributions.

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      • GlowBoy August 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

        The degradation of Clinton street as a bikeway is only inevitable if we leave it the way it is. That’s why we’ve been calling for the installation of diverters that it should have had a long time ago.

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        • Oregon Mamacita August 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm

          The cars are going to go somewhere. Also- it’s not like the rich foodies bike to PokPok- so the restaurant patrons are going to be cruising narrow side streets looking for parking. As soon as the construction is over school will start and the new residents will move in and start cruising for parking. I hope Clinton isn’t ruined for biking- but I suspect little in the way of improvement.

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          • Doug Klotz August 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm

            You think the new apartment residents have kids that they are going to be driving to school? Everyone else complains that the apartments are not large enough for families.

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          • 9watts August 19, 2014 at 7:59 am

            “Also- it’s not like the rich foodies bike to PokPok”

            some do, and some walk. I think you should do a little impromptu observational study at PokPok sometime. Speaking of observation, why are there two of you here Oregon Mamcita and Oregon Mamacita?

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  • GlowBoy August 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Oh, and what do you want to bet the f-ing BTA won’t even weigh in on this?

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  • Dmitriy Zasyatkin August 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Its blatantly clear that the City isn’t going to do anything about all the cut through traffic endangering everyones lives, so we have to do what we can.

    The “Super Legal Clinton Ride” is a good start but we need to go much further. We need to encourage riders to take the lane when you see them hovering in the door zone.

    Cut-through traffic will stop using Clinton if enough people take the lane.

    If you get passed by a car on an NG, you’re not taking the lane enough.

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  • GlowBoy August 19, 2014 at 10:14 am

    “If you get passed by a car on an NG, you’re not taking the lane enough.”

    If there’s no oncoming traffic and you’re going 8mph up the hill, it’s not unreasonable for cars to pass you. No need to be a selfish a-hole about this.

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  • spare_wheel August 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    There is an initial meeting to discuss ways to promote moreassertive bicycle advocacy in Portland. I’m sure the Clinton diversion debacle will be discussed.

    3:00 pm Sunday the 23rd at the Hawthorne Lucky Lab on


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    • mh August 19, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you for putting a general call out for this. I knew of it, but got the impression it was “by invitation only.”

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      • Alex Reed August 20, 2014 at 8:54 am

        Definitely not by invitation only! All are welcome!

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    • Alex Reed August 20, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Correction, though – it is on the 23rd, but the 23rd is this Saturday, not Sunday.

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      • spare_wheel August 20, 2014 at 10:13 am

        Thanks…for the correction.

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  • Ethan August 20, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    This string of emails is pretty discouraging. Whatever happened to “share the road?” And when did it ever make sense to fight a sense of entitlement with… a sense of entitlement? Whatever happened to CREATIVE nonviolence…figuring out ways to engage and win friends rather than to punish, provoke, and solidify differences? What if we gave “I Drove Clinton Street” t-shirts to all the drivers? Invited drivers over to the curb for a cool lemonade and a chat about the nature of the street? What if we gave medals to drivers that looked to their right before turning right? It might seem satisfying to be part of an anonymous mob making the lives of drivers miserable, but in the end, that accomplishes nothing for us, only a short-lived sense of revenge for you. Keep in mind that we didn’t get transit in this region by antagonizing drivers. And we didn’t get greenspaces in this region by antagonizing homeowners and developers. Sure, there comes a time when direct action is needed (West Hayden Island, anyone?), but repaving Division is not one of them. The most discouraging thing about all of this is that the most educated generation in history can apparently only come up with dumbass versions of monkey wrenching. Not creative, not nearly enough. Dismal to think that this is the best that folks can come up with.

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  • Kari Schlosshauer August 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    We should still ride Clinton as often, lawfully, carefully, and slow or fast as we like during the construction and always, but at least for now, a tiny victory — traffic will be diverted to Powell (not Clinton) and there’s likely to be enforcement to ensure cars go that way. WOOT!


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