Project manager Rich Newlands said in an interview Wednesday that the city installed the diverter as part of its Williams Avenue traffic safety project after months of pressure from the local neighborhood association.
“Our initial stance was, ‘Well, we would like to build Williams and monitor the situation and approach the issue of whether diversion was needed based on that,'” Newlands explained. “We just continued to hear strong opposition to that approach. … The Eliot Neighborhood Association in particular, that was their strong position on the issue. They convinced us to put it in in advance.”
The diagonal diverter, whose cost Newlands put at a very rough estimate of maybe $5,000, isn’t far from the diagonal one at NE Tillamook and 16th. It’s paid for out of the $1.5 million state grant that is making the Williams-Rodney project possible.
The Rodney decision is notable in part because the city has resisted requests to install diverters as part of similar projects like the northern stretch of the 20s Bikeway or the Division Street road diet.
In the case of the temporary Rodney diverter, Newlands said the city “did not, I think, have a full conversation with the affected property owners.”
“I’ve received quite a few phone calls in the past week,” he said. “Those who live near the diverter are very concerned about local access impacts. … Otherwise, I’ve heard folks who live further down on Rodney that it has reduced volumes on Rodney.”
Here are a couple other shots of the diverter in context, from reader Steve B (you have to look closely in the first photo to see the paved bumps beneath the construction A-frames, which were temporarily used to call attention to the diverter):
Newlands said people who live immediately around the diverter are being “patient” in large part because they’ve been assured it’s only a test.
Speed bumps have been installed on the future greenway on Rodney, but it has yet to see signage changes such as crossing improvements, flipped stop signs or wayfinding signs. Newlands said those might be installed by late spring 2015.
There’s no timeline for removing the diverter, and no specific criteria for the success or failure of the diverter. Newlands said the next formal conversation about it will probably come in January.
“It’ll just be shaped by the data we collect and the reactions we get from future public involvement,” Newlands said.
On that note, anyone can register their own position about the diverter by getting in touch with Newlands: email@example.com or 503-823-7780.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.