Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

First Look: 50s Bikeway adds diverters, crossings at Burnside and Division

Posted by on October 15th, 2014 at 11:58 am

50scrossingma

The new green-striped bike lane in front of the new bike box at 52nd and Division creates a more visible crossing.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After more than a year of delay and months of construction, the 50s Bikeway is looking great, and two of the most important components are in place: comfortable crossings and traffic semi-diverters at two major streets. On Tuesday, I swung past to get some photos.

Here’s one of the most expensive but important components of the project: a new HAWK signal at Burnside and 53rd that lets people walking or biking push a button to stop traffic on Burnside, which carries 15,000 cars a day at this corner:

burnside signal

You can also see, in the photo above, the way that signs (two of them in each direction!) bumpouts and pavement markings have been used to allow traffic to turn off 53rd in both directions, but to make it clear that cars shouldn’t turn onto 53rd from Burnside. Here’s a closer look at the narrowed crossing:

burnside bumpouts

I wondered what the nearby Tabor Tavern, which sits on this corner and is one of the few sit-down restaurants in this area, thought of this change. So I went inside to talk to Elizabeth Powell, who was tending the bar. I asked whether blocking through traffic here had made it harder for customers to reach the business.

“Actually, it makes it a lot better,” Powell said. “We have a lot of regulars that live nearby and walk here. I bike here. It’s a lot safer.”

Advertisement

A mile or so south, the neighborhood greenway jogs over to 52nd and then crosses Division Street. This was the site of a major disagreement during the 50s Bikeway process; people who took part in a Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association vote came out 53 to 52 against a plan to block northbound motorized traffic here other than one motor vehicle: TriMet’s #71 bus.

However, the city’s plan to reduce cut-through traffic onto 52nd, which had the support of a large majority of people who showed up to the project open house as well as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other advocates for better biking and walking, won out. Here’s the result:

division bus lane

division 52nd sideways

It’s a little hard to capture in photographs, but the space that creates the bus/bike-only lane on 52nd is noticeably narrower than the space where auto and bike traffic are allowed. Here’s an overhead-view diagram of the redesigned intersection, from the project’s engineering documents (in this image, north is to the right):

schematic of 52nd crossing

I’m sure a few people are willing to ignore the signs and simply turn in, but this wasn’t something I observed while I was there. I also watched someone in a truck wait patiently behind the green bike box that serves southbound traffic and restricts right turns on red.

Though we’ve reported on some initial parking issues south of Division, where the project added bike lanes, it’s clear that this north-south route (which also includes various smaller crossing improvements as well as sharrows, speed bumps and wayfinding signs) is a major boon to riding through the neighborhoods it connects, running at just the route where you can avoid climbing into the foothills of Mount Tabor. It’s great to hear that it’s improved access to the Tabor Tavern, too.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

50
Leave a Reply

avatar
13 Comment threads
37 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
23 Comment authors
JJJJJohn Liupaikialaspare_wheelMichael Andersen (News Editor) Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

“Actually, it makes it a lot better,” Powell said. “We have a lot of regulars that live nearby and walk here. I bike here. It’s a lot safer.”

This type of real world, real people, real business reaction can’t be trumpeted loudly enough. Safer and better for business. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“However, the city’s plan to reduce cut-through traffic onto 52nd, which had the support of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other advocates for better biking and walking, won out.”

I’m stunned. Amazing. I wonder if anyone is tracking these little wins? Seems rather rare to me that our city/PBOT finds in favor of people on bikes and against putative convenience of people in cars to do just about anything that comes to mind. Wow.

Thanks, Michael, for this review.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Glad to see the investment in a half signal for the arterial crossings, this type of investment is absolutely necessary if PBoTs parallel network of bike blvds will ever truely become a useful district wide transportation facility vs intra neighbourhood.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Better late than never. I love the improvements!

JJJJ
Guest
JJJJ

HAWK + Stop sign at an intersection like that doesnt appear to be MUTCD compliant in any shape or form.

Whats wrong with using what works?

-Standard traffic signal
-Flashing yellow on major street
-Flashing red on minor street
-Button turns signals to flashing red in all directions for 15 seconds.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

my main issue with the project is the “copenhagen left” that they put in at the Woodward crossing… motor vehicles are constantly stopping illegally to let bikes in the turn box cross there… I made the mistake of using it once and had to stare blankly at so many stopped motorists… I could have gone after the first car if they hadn’t stopped, but I ended up there for a good minute waiting for traffic to clear after the jam they created…

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

The 50’s is a huge improvement, and I use it quite frequently! Yayy PBOT!

I do have a wish-list of tweaks though:
*There are two extraneous stop-signs delaying bike traffic between Hawthorne and Belmont. I know they are at offset intersections, but the visibility seems good enough that the cross-street could get the stop sign and the bikeway could have no stop sign.
*Crossing Belmont and Stark at peak times by bike is challenging, especially because the gradient means car speeds are quite high going West. I end up using the crosswalk to make cars stop quite a lot.

Cairel
Guest
Cairel

The 52nd & Division is my hood, and I have mixed feelings about it. Sure, its good to see some green, but that crossing of Division has some real conflict built into it. Right-turning cars must cross over the bike lane just before the intersection. Sometimes, drivers are polite and wait for me to proceed to the light. But other times, they try to beat me there and nearly cut me off. In many ways this design seems more dangerous. If we have to have such overlapping infrastructure rather than separated cycletracks, we should make sure our laws give the right of way to bicyclists and we have robust public information campaigns for motorists on safely sharing city streets with cyclists.

Pat Franz
Guest
Pat Franz

I ride the Lincoln/Woodward section every day, and I have to say that while it’s not perfect from a cycling standpoint, it’s so much better than it was before that I would *never* want to go back to the way it was.

The Woodward intersection is tricky. The sight lines are bad over the top of the hill, Woodward is offset, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic before and after school, it’s just not easy. I agree it would be better if drivers knew what to do, so the only thing I can suggest is signage. I can’t think of a succinct way to say it though- “Cars- stop for pedestrians. Bikes- stop for cars.” doesn’t quite cut it.

The Division intersection is likewise a difficult situation. I think it works about as good as it could also. It will be great when the old pole on the SE corner can be replaced. Waiting at the stop line will be much better when the right turning cars have more room. I’ve had a few NB drivers speed up to pass me before the mixing zone, but usually it works OK. I really appreciate the diverter northbound- it used to be a crazy race to Lincoln.

My only real beef with that stretch are the utility cover dips all over the NB lane. I don’t think they’d be done that way in an auto lane. I don’t think they’re safe in a bike lane.

Overall, for the $$$ spent, I’d say it’s a real winner. Maybe we saved enough for diverters on Clinton…

Dick Pilz
Guest
Dick Pilz

One reason the Tabor Neighborhood voted against the 50s Bikeway was there was to be NO mitigation for the northbound car cut-throughs from Division to Lincoln on 51st, 53rd, 54th, and 55th. We were told there was no budget for it. No speed bumps. No stop signs.

Something must have changed in the interim. There are now speed bumps on those streets AND stop signs at each Sherman intersection. Traffic is slower through there than before. Yay!

Reza
Guest
Reza

While diverters at Burnside are great, I think PBOT should have also installed them at Glisan to really dedicate the I-84 crossing for the almost-exclusive use of bikes/peds. Motorists are able to use 47th and 60th instead.

Ben H
Guest
Ben H

This would be a great solution for SE 72nd between Division and Foster (part of which is a emergency route without speed bumps) when the 70’s bikeway happens. Connecting Mount Tabor to Foster and Mt. Scott Community Center.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Anyone have a sense of how many blocks of 52nd/53rd were fog sealed as part of, or coincident with, the project? It sure looks like some of the route is freshly sealed. That makes it so much nicer to ride.