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City switches plan for Division detour: Signs will point to Powell, not Clinton

Posted by on August 21st, 2014 at 4:08 pm

clinton traffic

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

Six days after saying that it would detour eastbound traffic from Division Street onto the Clinton Street neighborhood greenway for two weeks, the City of Portland has changed course.

Starting Monday, electronic signs will instruct drivers heading east at 11th Avenue to turn south to Powell Boulevard rather than one block south to Clinton, the Portland bureaus of transportation and environmental services said Thursday.

It’s a measure of victory for people who called the detour an inappropriate use of an all-ages walking and biking facility that is already at or above the maximum national standard for auto traffic volume on a bicycle boulevard.

But the city also said Thursday that it still expects many people to detour onto Clinton anyway, because there are no plans other than signage to prompt them otherwise.

PBOT has also attempted to schedule the detour hours to minimize conflict with school release times and asked the Portland Police Bureau to station additional officers in the area for traffic enforcement. PBOT spokesman Dylan Rivera said he wasn’t sure exactly what that additional enforcement would focus on.

“Last summer, for detours, they were looking for people running stop signs,” Rivera said. “Drivers tend to get frustrated during a detour.”

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Rivera said Thursday that the city changed its official detour plan after “we just took a closer look at it.” He added that because people won’t be physically blocked from turning at the first available street — they’ll simply be told to head to Powell by signs — traffic is likely to increase on Clinton all the same.

“We can’t make people follow our detour routes,” he said. “That’s just a reality of any sort of attempt to change behavior like this. But we think it’s important to do all we can with signage to try to encourage people traveling with motor vehicles to stick to major arterials when they’re diverting from a major arterial.”

This work is part of the Division Streetscape Project, a $5.8 million task by the Bureau of Environmental Services, which is adding natural storm drainage along Division, and the Bureau of Transportation, which is improving crosswalks and sidewalk buffers on Division.

After last week’s coverage of the city’s plan, some local safety advocates planned a Super Legal Ride on Clinton next Friday, as a demonstration:

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!

Rivera said he didn’t know whether or not temporary physical diverters across part of the Clinton-26th intersection had been discussed among PBOT staff as a way to further reduce traffic on Clinton during the detour.

“Next week’s going to be different despite our best efforts,” Rivera said to Clinton Street’s regular users, “and we beg their patience and forgiveness. But we think we’ll have a more walkable Division out of this that’s going to be of more benefit to the community.”

Correction Aug. 27: A previous version of this post confused east and west, and also misstated the location of the electronic detour sign. It’s at 11th Avenue.

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Bjorn
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Bjorn

“We can’t make people follow our detour routes,”

Clearly you can make people detour around Clinton. Put up a couple jersey barriers and block access to the street by motor vehicles. It is called a diverter and the city needs to use them more often on Neighborhood Greenways.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

>Put up a couple jersey barriers and block access to the street by motor vehicles.

PBOT: “This would require a traffic study and a 90-day input period from all possible stakeholders.”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Untrue. Detours are implemented all over the city all the time with simple approval by the traffic engineers, without any public feedback. Most of the traffic engineers are familiar with local conditions and street classifications and uses, so understand sensitive areas. Sometimes, though, there are very few alternatives.
A semi-diverter a block east of 26th that lets bikes east but not cars, with signing at 26th for LOCAL ACCESS ONLY is an obvious solution that would deter the use of Clinton and still permit access to businesses in that first block. The bus only travels on Clinton between 21st and 26th.

Chris Shaffer
Guest
Chris Shaffer

I think Todd was being sarcastic.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

Diverters are, in my opinion, not only appropriate but essential for any neighborhood bike route that is meant to be used by “all ages”.

I know the phrase “all ages” is not yet in the PBOT standard patter, so thanks Michael for using it. The more it’s repeated, the more it will become part of the collective consciousness about what it means to be a great biking city.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

You are correct. PBOT active transportation staff use the term ‘8-80’, refering to the age bracket neighborhood greenways are intended to be designed for, but expecting an 8 year old to ride alone on one is not realistic.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

“We can’t make people follow our detour routes,”

That phrase — and the way of thinking that produced it — could have used some vetting under PBOT’s renewed emphpasis on communications.

http://bikeportland.org/2013/12/12/pbot-looks-to-awaken-from-slump-with-pr-moves-and-new-vision-98528

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Sometimes the truth hurts. No one can make someone drive a route they don’t want to, just like a speed zone sign doesn’t stop speeding. If PBOT did what would be required to force all non resident road users to follow 26th south to Powell, PBOT would be damned for spending the money and inflicting the necessary inconvenience, not to mention the over-stepping of such a totalitarian effort.
Have you considered what it might take to ‘make people follow’ a detour route?

9watts
Guest
9watts

“No one can make someone drive a route they don’t want to, just like a speed zone sign doesn’t stop speeding.”

You might want to brush up on Vision Zero thinking. Those folks not only think they can do what you say is impossible, they claim to have statistics to show that it works.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

You might want to brush up as well. The primary tenant of the Safe Systems/Vision Zero approach to road design is that users will always make mistakes. Designers cannot prevent such things from happening, they can only mitigate the severity of the outcomes.

http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/jtrc/safety/targets/targets.html

9watts
Guest
9watts

Paiki(k)ala,

you just switched horses midstream.

to wit:
paikiala: “No one can make someone drive a route they don’t want to, just like a speed zone sign doesn’t stop speeding.”

9watts: “You might want to brush up on Vision Zero thinking. Those folks not only think they can do what you say is impossible, they claim to have statistics to show that it works.”

paikiala: “users will always make mistakes.”

There is a world of difference between willful disregard of signage or the law, and making a mistake. I was responding to your post in which you were suggesting the former was a fact of(auto-) life.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

So placing one’s own wants ahead of other’s needs, willfully violating the law, isn’t a mistake?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

This was an important lesson in interdepartmental work zone planning and detouring at the City…I would expect.

hat
Guest
hat

I urge you all to write to Rivera:
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/article/488536?archive=yes

And ask for diverters on Clinton:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPNanFyC0vE

Just one would make a colossal difference.

Matt Youell
Guest

I’d like to see Clinton improved. Diverters are probably part of that strategy, but not in the locations and ways Michael suggests in the video. Even with diverters as suggested there still needs to be some traffic changes at 26th and at 34th.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The city might already be planning upgrades for Clinton, someone should ask Dylan, Diane or Roger Geller.

Aaron Shaver
Guest

Done! I sent an email.

Paul Swanson
Guest
Paul Swanson

I seem to recall seeing “Local traffic only” signs on other streets with detours. How about some of those?

I think if I lived on Clinton (wouldn’t that be nice!), I would not be so happy to see jersey barriers. I drive in addition to cycling.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Drivers tend to get frustrated during a detour.” (Dylan Rivera, PBOT)

But people biking? Not so much, in PBOT’s view:

“However, PBOT assumes most people on bikes will turn off of Foster prior to the bike lanes ending. They’ll expect westbound bike traffic to go north at 56th to weave through the neighborhood.”
http://bikeportland.org/2013/10/24/after-tempers-flare-citizen-committee-approves-pbots-plans-for-foster-96054

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

I keep trying to thumbs up this one after I already have.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

I am grateful that the City is choosing to do the safer, saner thing and route cars to Powell. However, I am impatient and disappointed with the lazy, whiny, inaccurate statement “We can’t make people follow our detour routes…”. Of course you can! PBOT can put up diverters, close Clinton to cars, work with PPD to enforce, use flaggers, cones, signs, trucks, etc. There are plenty of smart, creative, concerned staffers at PBOT who could easily handle keeping diversion off Clinton IF there was a will to do it. I appreciate that Rivera has a job to keep, but I would love to hear some honesty out PBOT, let them tell us they cannot be bothered to keep cars of Clinton, or it is not in the budget, or the risk is not worth the time to solve or whatever- just stop pretending to to helpless.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

PBOT may get a more walkable SE Division out of all this work but they are certainly not going to get a more bikeable SE Division.

And no doubt traffic enforcement during the detour will fall as heavily on cyclists on Clinton as it will on motorists.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Well, good on them to recognize their mistake and correct it. I can appreciate that.

On the other hand, it would be nice not to have to twist their arm every time they make what is obviously a poor decision. And even then, the excuses seem to be bottomless. “We’d like to put up some nice, inexpensive wooden diverters but people would just put their car in park, get out, and move the diverters.” Give me a break. If you’ve got a construction zone where tensions are high, detours are abundant, and drivers are confused, for Pete’s sake: have a police officer or two ( or three ) keep an eye on things and ticket people that blatantly endanger others.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Agreed. Better work zone traffic control places advance warnings at the major cross streets before arriving at the work zone at the west end those signs would be on 11th and 12th to warn drivers of closure on Division, use and alternate route, and expect delays.

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

OK, PBOT, we’re halfway there. Now, how about some diverters. Come on! You know you want to!

Nicholas Skaggs
Guest
Nicholas Skaggs

I don’t want to be ungrateful. It’s nice that a mistake was recognized, and that lip service was paid towards fixing that problem. Maybe now isn’t the right time for it, but it would be great to see a few more permanent diverters installed onto Clinton.

Also, has anyone else been through Clinton/Division and 34th Ave recently? There’s a street that’s 1) become a nightmare, and 2) used to be great for cycling on. That single block would become much more navigable with removal of on-street parking.

Has anyone else noticed?

mran1984
Guest
mran1984

It’s traffic calming to have such a compressed lane. The houses on that block were there long before you were pedaling on a regular basis too.I ride it frequently and never have any issues, but 28th does not trouble me either. In regards to traffic diversions the modern motorist will take the most expedient route their smart phone can “discover”. Btw, when did placing your foot on the ground become the “only” clear demonstration of a complete cessation of forward movement???

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

the 30’s is on an upgrade list as well, Ankeny to Gladstone/Crystal Springs.

Bill Stites
Guest

The PBOT website for the project indicates the detour is for drivers headed EAST [your second paragraph indicates going west].

This change in signage is an improvement, but everyone knows that signage without teeth is pretty worthless. +1 for diversion.

Stevie
Guest
Stevie

“We can’t make people follow our detour routes”

*sigh*

While I understand that PBOT is not willing to close Clinton to auto traffic during the detour, in many past detours I have seen Type 3 barricades with “Road Closed, Local Access Only” used to prevent diversion to side streets. Would this not be an appropriate treatment if PBOT truly thinks “it’s important to do all we can with signage to try to encourage people traveling with motor vehicles to stick to major arterials when they’re diverting from a major arterial.”

Christopher Sanderson
Guest

I am dead serious about picking up a load of lumber from Sustainable Northwest (to make some raised beds!), and ride home on Clinton at 5:30. Anyone else with a cargo bike or trailer want to see what traffic will be like out there on Monday?

F.W. de Klerk
Guest
F.W. de Klerk

I think creating artificial congestion is just plain childish. Grow up. Don’t we have enough of the real thing?

Christopher Sanderson
Guest

Hey, I really do need that lumber from SNW.

Champs
Guest
Champs

FWIW it looks like PBOT is monitoring traffic counts on Clinton. Anecdotally, auto traffic seems to be trending up, but courtesy hasn’t shown the inverse just yet. I will cross my fingers and grit my teeth for now.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The city probably already has a map of historic data on Clinton as part of the planning for the neighborhood greenway upgrades.

Tbird
Guest

This seems like the perfect chance to test temporary diverters, and gather data from local residents about their experience getting to and from home while in place.

Ted Buehler
Guest

“Clearly you can make people detour around Clinton. Put up a couple jersey barriers and block access to the street by motor vehicles. It is called a diverter and the city needs to use them more often on Neighborhood Greenways.”

Clinton riders ought to send this request to Novick and Treat. At this point, the only thing that can change the detour will be action from the top.

I went through this during Portland Streetcar construction on Broadway in 2010. I lived on Tillamook St., and there were tons of cars detouring eastbound on Tillamook even though the official detour sent them west to Flint. These were frustrated, late, careless drivers.

It wasn’t worth it sending the emails and letters to 823-SAFE or Portland Streetcar. We should have sent them to Keil/Adams from the get go.

Ted Buehler

Paul Cole
Guest
Paul Cole

I do a super legal ride everyday on my commute through Ladd’s.

Come join me, I’m the one who sticks out like a sore thumb as I stop with one foot on the ground while I get zoomed by on both sides.

Or just obey the law one day a year as a protest. Either way.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

If sticking” out like a sore thumb” really bothers you, you could always try looking both ways and rolling the superfluous stop signs.

Paul Cole
Guest
Paul Cole

It doesn’t bother me at all.

Rather, I’m embarrassed by the cyclists (and automobile drivers) who believe that it’s their right to choose which stop signs are worth paying attention to and which are superfluous.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Almost all stop signs are superfluous when it comes to pedestrian and cyclist safety.

Cyclists are not the BULL in the china shop. Moreover, the belief that good cyclist behavior will tame the BULL is beyond delusional.

Bill Walters
Guest
Bill Walters

Logic fail, there, Spare. Despite the literal meaning of what you wrote, no doubt you *do* want folks with motors to treat stop signs as essential, not superfluous, for your own safety when you’re pedding or riding in proximity. Eh?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Thanks for the correction. What I meant to say is that stop signs are not necessary for safe cycling or safe walking. Stop signs are used for car and truck traffic calming.

Paul Cole
Guest
Paul Cole

I have observed many cyclists in the habit of ignoring stop signs also fail to look for pedestrians.

This does not make for safe walking and it is not safe cycling.

Try walking a few clockwise laps around Ladd’s circle to see what I mean.

How hard is it to come to a full stop and look both ways before proceeding?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

I stop for people (walking, cycling, or driving) but I do not stop for no one.

Karl Dickman
Guest

Bravo. I also go out of my way to follow all the traffic regs, but putting your foot down isn’t required by any of the regs. I just trackstand for a second or two, which fulfills the mandate to stop all forward movement.

Paul Cole
Guest
Paul Cole

I know the foot down isn’t required, but it makes me feel safer and more in control, even at the expense of a little forward momentum.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

I’ve found that putting a foot down at a stop sign isn’t for my benefit– it’s for the other traffic users at the intersection.

It shows that I AM stopped, that I’ve come to a complete stop, as is legal. I could track-stand (well, I need more practice), but the other users then don’t think I’m going to stop and it makes them scared/frustrated/angry because they don’t know what to do or expect.

Katie Taylor
Guest
Katie Taylor

Here’s an issue with the foot-on-the-ground visual cue that many are likely unaware of – – if you are short and not skinny or not young, it can be difficult to jump fully out of the seat to touch down — so putting your foot down at a stop usually means balancing on the seat while you land your foot. Over the course of even a short ride, a body gets really tired of crotch pain at every stop sign, so I for one would really like drivers to get used to not expecting this visual cue. Track-standing is much more comfortable.

Karl Dickman
Guest

“[I]t makes me feel safer and more in control.” The vast majority of riders probably agree with you. I’m just hoping to clarify that putting the foot down is a safety/comfort choice, not a legal requirement.
Joe Rose Q&A for those interested (featuring a quote from bike attorney Ray Thomas): http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2013/08/joseph_rose_no_need_for_bicycl.html

elektrofietsen
Guest

This seems like the perfect chance to test temporary diverters, and gather data from local residents about their experience getting to and from home while in place.

RHampel
Guest
RHampel

“…try to encourage people traveling with motor vehicles to stick to major arterials when they’re diverting from a major arterial.”

Except that, the way the city has reconfigured Division St, it no longer is an arterial. Traffic will permanently be diverting around it to streets like Clinton because of the permanent slowing of traffic on Division. This “war” is not won. More cars on Clinton is the new reality.

Ted Buehler
Guest

“More cars on Clinton is the new reality.”

Unless enough folks complain to city hall and they install diverters.

Or, folk start a more radical organization to represent bicyclists in Portland, and goes to city hall on behalf of bicyclists to ask for diverters.

Ted Buehler

Randall S
Guest
Randall S

> “Last summer, for detours, they were looking for people running stop signs,” Rivera said.

Well, they’re in luck then, because about 100% of motorists on Clinton don’t stop at stop signs.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

closer to 80% is my guess.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

Unfortunately for that enforcement tactic, the only stop sign on Clinton between 26th and 39th is at 34th. (They’ve all been removed because it’s a bike boulevard!) However, perhaps you meant the side street stop signs leading onto Clinton, which I see drivers sometimes just slowing down at. I plan to ride my normal slow speed on Clinton on Monday (I’m tired after work, and it’s uphill)

jim
Guest
jim

Stupid things like the super legal ride is why my comments have to be moderated before they are published.

veener
Guest
veener

I was just nearly hit while taking the lane on Clinton at 27th heading east. This man in a small red truck told me to, “share the lane” (ie. Get out of his way) when I didn’t move he blasted around me and almost hit a man in a black beamer head on as he recklessly moved on his way. Just upset about the Sunday Parkway, who knows? If this is the new normal that’s not okay.

Matt Youell
Guest

Was this a beat-up handy-man type of Toyota? We had what sounds like the same guy play chicken with an oncoming car just so he could pass our family on the extreme left at high speed, somewhere around 30th or so, eastbound Clinton.

veener
Guest
veener

This may have been the same guy, beat up, dirty and red. Can’t remember if Toyota buy may have been. I think he turned off at some point. It was just before 2 pm I think.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I’ve had a truck matching the same description buzz me and other cyclists and act rudely. The truck turned south on SE 28th Pl. which is a dead-end. I called it in to the police, but it sounds like that may not have fixed the problem (I called it in at least six months ago).

Chris Shaffer
Guest
Chris Shaffer

I wrote this, copied to all the city council members:

Dear Dylan Rivera,

I read the quote you made with some dismay.

“We can’t make people follow our detour routes,” he said. “That’s just a reality of any sort of attempt to change behavior like this.”

http://bikeportland.org/2014/08/21/city-switches-plan-division-detour-signs-will-point-powell-clinton-110294

You darn well CAN make people follow your detour routes. Put up a concrete jersey barricade. Provide enforcement (flaggers or officers). Think creatively instead of giving up before you start. My teenage daughter rides this route every day and I expect you to provide her with a safe, pleasant street for bicycling. I am glad you changed your minds and won’t be intentionally diverting traffic to Clinton, but quotes like yours are downright depressing.

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

I’m glad they are not officially diverting traffic onto Clinton. I’m bummed that there will be more traffic on 26th near Cleveland High School as a lot of kids are in and out of there right now (on bikes) due to sports practices, etc (my kid included). Guess I’ll just have to remind her to be extra careful crossing Powell at 26th with the light.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

More protest rides on Clinton! BikeLoudPDX will be riding slowly up and down Clinton in a group starting at 5:15 and 5:45 on Tuesday the 26th (tomorrow) from SE 26th and Clinton. The group wants a temporary diverter at 26th and Clinton during the construction and a policy document from the City on diversion to bikeways during construction. http://shift2bikes.org/cal/#26-4635

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

What are the actual goals for this ride and How is this ride going to convey its group’s intentions to drivers? If there is an actual list of concessions that riders want from drivers how is that being conveyed to them? If I were asked, I would request that PBOT provide signage with the following information: 20 MPH speed on detour, No passing cyclists in roundabout and 3’ clear distance when passing. It is perfectly reasonable to initiate a ride where riders assert their right to the road and that drivers should share the road in safety with courtesy. Will ride participants allow drivers to demonstrate safe sharing of the road? Or will riders be unrelenting in constipating the transportation system and not even allow drivers to demonstrate good behavior.

Most riders are happy to share the road with courteous drivers, but there is a camp who don’t see drivers, only cars (that foster wrong development strategies and set the table for a global climate catastrophe) and don’t empathize with the fact that most drivers are decent people who are trying to go along and get along in the world as it exists. If this “awareness” ride becomes a rolling road block that attempts to punish house-fraus and office men for using the wrong transportation mode the cyclist’s reputation of elitism and arrogance will only be more deeply etched into the psyches of the non-cycling public.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

From alex’s link:

Our short-term objective is to get the City to put temporary diverters on Clinton near 26th during the construction.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Goals also include raising awareness of Clinton as a Bike Boulevard and discouraging unnecessary motor vehicle through-traffic on this street.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

OK I got that, but how is making life more unpleasant for the average commuter going to force PBOT’s hand? Are motor-commuters going to request diverters because cyclists make them drive slow? All the motorists are going to see (while they are frustrated by the detour, on a sweltering day, and obstructed by cyclists) is a bunch of elitist cycling anarchists who take dark delight in making their life more miserable.

Chris Shaffer
Guest
Chris Shaffer

This is anecdotal, but sad to see this report on one of the bike email lists:

> I just got a call about the fact that there’s NO signage advising drivers
> to detour onto Powell. There’s just a sign at Division telling people
> to turn right onto 26th. It’s they’re choice then where they want
> to continue Eastbound.
>
>On top of that, there was a cop at 34th and Clinton who gave two
> bicyclists tickets for rolling through the stop sign there (and of course
> there’s plenty of cars doing the same thing but they don’t get stopped).

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I rode up and down Clinton this morning, and also checked out 26th/Division, and did not see ANY signs anywhere directing drivers to Powell.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Please bombard these people with emails!

Email addresses:

joseph.annett@portlandoregon.gov

novick@portlandoregon.gov,
mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov,
Dean.Marriott@portlandoregon.gov,
nick@portlandoregon.gov

Text of my email:

Dear Joe,
The Clinton St bike boulevard is a major transportation route used by thousands of cyclists daily. It has already seen an unacceptable increase in aggressive “cut-through” driving due to construction on Division. I am very disappointed that the BES has chosen to exacerbate an intolerable situation by failing to divert motorist traffic from this heavily used bike route during the temporary closure of Division. Please install temporary diverters on Clinton as soon as possible.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I live on Clinton St and I’m cyclist as well. However I do require my car for work every day for my construction business. Aren’t we all suppose to share the road. I think we all agree it’s rough out there but I try to be considerate of all

Steve
Guest
Steve

I don’t understand…you’re frustrated because of construction on Division St so it can be made more pedestrian friendly. Hmmm, I wonder if they should barricade bikes from traveling on it once it finished. Can we all just get along.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Steve, if you live on Clinton you’re more than welcome to drive onthe street. But too many drivers, who don’t live or do business on this stretch of Clinton, are cutting though. It’s making things dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians, and those cut-through drivers have somewhere else to go. Cyclists do not.

“Can we all just get along” sounds to me like “accept your secondary status, peon.” No thanks. We’ve had enough.