Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 17th, 2014 at 10:48 am
change is already impacting traffic.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Yesterday I got two separate reader emails about the same issue just a few hours apart. Whenever that happens it gets my attention.
In this case, the issue is the increased amount of auto traffic diversion onto NE Rodney as a result of construction and lane configuration changes on Williams Avenue.
Most of you are well-aware by now that the Bureau of Transportation has finally begun construction on the North Williams Safety Project. With the redesign on Williams there is less space for driving and the backups of cars in the past week or so has been a lot worse that usual (and that’s saying something on a long-chaotic stretch of road).
In a press release on October 3rd, PBOT encouraged drivers to use Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd as an alternate route — in part because Rodney is being set-aside as a neighborhood greenway where biking and walking are prioritzed. However, PBOT is well aware that some drivers might still use Rodney to avoid backups on Williams (after all, it’s just two blocks to the east). That’s one reason they installed an auto traffic diverter at N Ivy last month.
But that measure (they’ve also installed speed humps) clearly isn’t enough, at least based on the two emails we received yesterday…
Here’s the first one:
…. I live off Rodney (close to Russell) and was blown away with the amount of traffic flying through the neighborhood from cars trying to escape the backed up traffic on Williams today around 6pm… the city has done a horrible job with this. I am not sure how Rodney is supposed to be a safe alternative for bikes when not much has been done to make Rodney less attractive to cars. Yes, they put a few speed bumps in and, yes, they put the diverter thing just before Fremont. But, this is not stopping traffic from cutting over between Tillamook and Fremont.
This stretch of Rodney is narrow and not intended for the amount of traffic I saw tonight. Riding it with my 9 year old and impatient, speeding drivers trying to pass is not safe and definitely not inviting to any new riders. Also, try crossing Fremont with a kiddo during traffic – it’s like playing leapfrog. Again, less than fun. I am seriously disappointed/upset in what is happening over here.
Also, what’s with closing a sidewalk just before the crosswalk at NE Stanton?! Walking and biking safely during this project are not a priority for the city it seems.
I could go on and on with the issues I am seeing – no crosswalk enforcement, etc.., but you get the point.
Have a lovely day.
And the second one:
Jonathan. Hey. Would you happen to know very specifically who I can direct a complaint to regarding what seems to me and my gf to be a huge jump in auto traffic on Rodney. She lives on Graham and Rodney. Usually very quiet. But lately it’s insane! I’m pissed!
Anything you might have would be appreciated.
Because these two readers asked — and because I’m sure more people have had similar experiences on Rodney lately — the best person at PBOT to contact about this issue is Project Manager Rich Newlands. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (503) 823-7780.
PBOT is dealing with similar situations on SE Clinton and Ankeny where the presence of auto traffic is having a negative impact on bicycle access quality.
This is a complicated issue for the city. The rules of diversion have changed now that PBOT has developed more parallel streets into neighborhood greenways with the explicit purpose of moving bicycles through corridors that are simultaneously experiencing a boom in housing and commercial density — all factors that increase street use demands.
Stay tuned for more coverage as we continue to track these issues and share PBOT’s responses and plans to deal with it. In the meantime, please keep us posted with what you experience out there.