Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

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.)

Advertisement

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: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

106
Leave a Reply

avatar
34 Comment threads
72 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
57 Comment authors
Kari SchlosshauerEthanwas carlessspare_wheelAlex Reed Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
peejay
Guest
peejay

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

KYouell
Guest

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.

Krista
Guest
Krista

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. 🙂

Eric
Guest

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

Kenneth Brown
Guest
Kenneth Brown

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.

Kari Schlosshauer
Guest

I already do that (natch) — but YES.

Kari Schlosshauer
Guest

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

Dave
Guest
Dave

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

On The Road
Guest
On The Road

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

John Burns
Guest
John Burns

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.

Adam
Guest
Adam

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?!

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

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!

Brian Davis
Guest
Brian Davis

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?

Randy
Guest
Randy

Another Mayors office flop = One more bike on Clinton

Eric Ivy
Guest
Eric Ivy

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

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

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.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

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.

Karl Dickman
Guest

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.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

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.

Nicholas Skaggs
Guest
Nicholas Skaggs

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.

Ugh.

JEFF BERNARDS
Guest
JEFF BERNARDS

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.

Matt Youell
Guest

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?

davemess
Guest
davemess

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?

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

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

Jonah
Guest
Jonah

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?

doug klotz
Guest
doug klotz

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

Moe Szyslak
Guest
Moe Szyslak

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.”

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

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.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

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

Dmitriy Zasyatkin
Guest

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.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“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.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

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

http://shift2bikes.org/cal/calforum.php?id=4623

Ethan
Guest
Ethan

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.

Kari Schlosshauer
Guest

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!

http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/491779