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New plan to control cut-through traffic on NE Rodney uses one-way street for one block

Posted by on June 17th, 2015 at 10:26 am

The city’s new proposal for Rodney at Ivy.
(See below for full plan)

After some neighbors objected to (and some people completely ignored) an experimental traffic diverter running diagonally across the corner of NE Rodney and Ivy, the city is trying a different approach.

Instead, the two-way block of Rodney between Ivy and Fremont would be converted to a one-way street for cars, with a pair of planters and a car parking space blocking northbound auto traffic at the south end of the block.

Bike and foot traffic would be unaffected on the street, thanks to a contraflow bike lane to the right of the parking spaces.

The diagonal diverter in place today would be removed when the change is made later this summer.

These changes are part of a plan to build a new neighborhood greenway on Rodney as a lower-stress alternative to biking the Williams-Vancouver couplet just to the west.

Allan Rudwick, the transportation and land use chair for the Eliot Neighborhood Association, said he thinks the city’s new proposal is likely to address the main problem with cut-through traffic on Rodney: people using it during the evening rush hour to drive north to Fremont, avoiding traffic on Williams and cutting the line on Fremont.

“Fremont between MLK and Williams is jammed up the whole way,” Rudwick explained in an interview Tuesday. “It’s more a problem about Fremont being full of cars.”

The new plan shouldn’t affect emergency vehicles, he said, because they’re allowed to drive against traffic on one-way streets.


“I think the new proposal solves a number of problems with the old one,” he said. “This design has not been done in neighborhoods before, so it’s going to be different. but I’m optimistic that it will make more people happy.”

City project manager Rich Newlands said in an email that the most similar design in the city is on Northwest Marshall Street between 10th and 11th avenues. There, the contraflow bike lane doesn’t have to cross any driveways, because it runs adjacent to a city park, but the setup is otherwise similar.

changes on NW Marshall

NW Marshall and 10th.

Rudwick’s organization tentatively approved the new plan for Rodney in a letter to the city last week, “unless significant opposition materializes.”

Rudwick said he hasn’t yet heard from everyone who lives on the block between Ivy and Fremont, but he’s hopeful that they won’t find it a major annoyance.

“People live on one-way streets,” he said. “You can also park like a block away, at the end of the block, and not deal with it.”

If the new plan doesn’t successfully ensure that Rodney retains its feel as a neighborhood street, Rudwick said he expects more actions.

“The whole goal of this is to keep traffic on Rodney less than 1000 cars a day, and if that goal is not met by this new proposal, then the city should be on the hook to do something else in addition to this partial diversion,” Rudwick said. “The whole goal of this project is essentially to keep Rodney the way it’s always been.”

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  • Adam H. June 17, 2015 at 10:35 am

    It’s great that the city is moving forward with more traffic calming measures in our greenways. Hopefully, if successful, this concept can be implemented on other greenways, such as Clinton.

    Also, it’s ironic that the city is trying to create a low-stress alternative to a brand new bike way on Williams that was supposedly intended to also reduce stress and increase safety.

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    • daisy June 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      So this Rodney Bikeway was part of the N Williams recommendations — this isn’t a new plan developed after that. I didn’t like it at first (I live south of Fremont a half-block from Rodney, so this is my neighborhood), but now I get it.

      My 10 years old son and I rode our bikes from Metropolis to New Seasons on a recent Saturday, and it felt unsafe for him. He’s still a bit wobbly, especially stopping and starting. We managed fine, in part because bike and vehicle traffic are lighter on the weekends, but I much preferred our ride home on Rodney.

      Williams is okay for confident commuters, but, especially near from Ivy to north of Fremont, it’s not a family-friendly route.

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      • Adam H. June 17, 2015 at 2:49 pm

        I agree with you, but my point was that Williams should have been designed as family-friendly to begin with. A right-side, curb-protected lane would have been far safer than the shared lane with diverters that was installed.

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        • rita June 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

          There is a need for family-friendly, and there is a need for commuters to simply get to where they are going. Some times separating the uses is helpful – there is no one true way that is all things to all people.

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    • paikiala June 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Just as there are different roadways for auto users, there are different roadways for bike users.

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  • maccoinnich June 17, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Does the City ever even look at the 2030 bike plan? I understand that there isn’t funding to build everything shown in it now, but you would think they’d at least avoid building infrastructure that precludes building out its recommendations. NE Fremont is supposed to have bike lanes between N Vancouver and NE 7th. The design of those curb extensions will make that impossible.

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    • ethan June 17, 2015 at 10:45 am

      When I spoke to an engineer about the bulbouts on Division precluding future bike lanes from being added, I was told “well, we can always remove them in the future.”

      My response was that is a dumb way to do things, and it will cost way more money in the long run to do in incorrectly and then do it all over again to make it right. That’s possibly why PBOT doesn’t have money. They keep spending it on the same stuff over and over again because there is no foresight.

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      • Doug Klotz June 19, 2015 at 7:44 am

        Regarding Division St. Bulbouts: Those on the north side of Division include stormwater facilities and trees in them. BES would argue for keeping those. However, on the south side of Division, there is a piece of secret infrastructure beneath the street in the curbside lane. This precluded planting trees in bulbouts there. So, the bulbouts on the southside are raised and paved, and (except at intersections), exist solely to keep cars from parking next to the stormwater facilities on the sidewalk side of the regular curbline.

        So, the south side curb extensions (bulbouts) could be removed from Division, and parking removed on that side, to get 4.5′ bike lanes on both sides of Division. But to get standard or better bike lanes, you would need to remove or narrow the north-side stormwater facilities.

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    • Beeblebrox June 17, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Whatever the bike plan says, Fremont is very unlikely to have bike lanes due to the very narrow width and the need for turn lanes at intersections. BES has also built bioswales between MLK and 7th. Sometimes other needs take precedence, especially when there are good bike routes on either side (Morris/Siskiyou to the south and future Failing Street greenway to the north).

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      • maccoinnich June 17, 2015 at 11:37 am

        Are the bioswales new? Streetview doesn’t show them as of August 2014.

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        • Alexis June 17, 2015 at 11:40 am

          The bioswales referred to might be the ones on NE 9th.

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          • John Lascurettes June 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm

            yes, the bioswales were recently added east of 7th, where Fremont is much wider on the north side of Irving Park.

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      • soren June 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

        Suggesting that people biking can bike “over there” when their destination is on Fremont, 28th, or Alberta is not platiunum. Providing space for people biking on commercial streets should not be an afterthought — it should be one of our priorities.

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        • Eric June 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm

          In Platinum Portland, every lane is a bike lane.

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    • Chris I June 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      It sounds like the 2030 bike plan needs to be updated.

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      • Andyc of Linnton June 17, 2015 at 1:21 pm

        Yes. Probably should rechristen it the 2050 Bike Plan.

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    • kittens June 17, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      This is a great example of why writing reports and plans without funding is an exercise in futility.

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  • Ted Buehler June 17, 2015 at 10:41 am

    This won’t keep westbound commuters in cars from using Ivy as a cut-through route between MLK and Vancouver to get to the I-405 bridge on-ramps.

    Sorry to see the diagonal diverter go.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Bjorn June 17, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Agreed, seems like the same design could be used on ivy between rodney and MLK.

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    • Allan June 17, 2015 at 11:26 am

      I agree. However as a somewhat discouragement to this, PBoT is putting in a left turn from Fremont to Vancouver signal so there will be less incentive to take this route

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  • Allan June 17, 2015 at 11:27 am

    PBoT specified that they might only do 2 of the 4 curb extensions shown – the NW and SE corners were marked as ‘optional’ in their drawings shown to the Eliot NA

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  • Steve B June 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I applaud any type of diversion on Rodney. I like the current diverter.

    Minor quibble with the new design: I associate greenways with bikeways where people can ride side by side comfortably. When I’m riding with friends who I want to talk to while riding, I choose greenways. I would imagine as a parent riding next to your child is an important factor when choosing your route. This design feels cramped for northbound users (as does the current install on Marshall) and not the most appropriate treatment for a greenway. That said, it’s only for a block.

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    • Steve B June 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      I do hope they put some means of separation along that contraflow route. Without it, folks parking will creep further and further toward that lane to try to stay out as much as possible out of the main travel lane. See Multnomah for a reference.

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      • Kyle June 17, 2015 at 1:21 pm

        I feel like these things are symptoms of an underlying problem: drivers can’t seem to follow laws, signs, and pavement markings anymore.

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    • Reza June 17, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      With Marshall, the city wanted to keep the meter revenue from those parking spaces while stopping drivers from using the street as a cut-through (and avoiding Northrup, the major westbound street in the area). This is the compromise we got.

      Obviously in this neighborhood, there is no revenue to be had from the parking.

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  • Terry D-M June 17, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    There are many ways to divert traffic on a greenway. If it keep ths volumes down below 1000 and discourages speeding I am all for it depending on the design.

    Hence why planters and paint, anywhere where the bike advocates and the neighborhood associatons can come togther is great. Let it ride and see if it works….We can always replicate it again a few blocks down.

    The 2030 bikeplan is getting updated in an ad hoc way . Gaps are getting filled through activism, and some streets are prioritizing bioswales and pedestrian.crossings, precluding later bike lanes. Fremont and Division. Hence the need for HIGHLY diverter parrellel routes with great kiok signage for bike parking access and business advertising.

    After the comprehensive plan and TSP is approved and some projects move forward, there will be time to take a more global view.

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    • paikiala June 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Diverters reduce auto traffic. Fewer opposing auto conflicts are unlikely to reduce the tendency for motorists to speed.

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  • Huey Lewis June 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Good. I live on Graham and Rodney and traffic on both streets in the afternoon is way too high. Driving in neighborhoods should be annoyingly difficult. Biking and walking should be easy peasy.

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    • Anne Hawley June 17, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      I wish this idea could be built into the City’s whole transportation policy. About 80% of my riding is on quiet side streets, since I’m extremely cautious, and whenever a car is dogging me for more than half a block, I think, “Why are you driving on this side street? You have through streets.” I AM the irritation to the driver in that case, and it is NOT a comfortable position to be in.

      Lately, in my usual territory around Central Northeast, this is becoming the rule rather than the exception. Quiet neighborhood streets were a big part of my decision to live a car-free life, and watching them become cut-throughs is deeply discouraging. It’s not dire yet, but it will be.

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      • Anne Hawley June 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm

        While I’m wishing for things, I wish Google Maps had a “route with fewest bikes” option that it would tout to drivers.

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  • daisy June 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    This looks like a great solution! Three cheers to Rich Newlands, PBOT, the Eliot neighborhood association, and Allan Rudwick! I have been concerned that neighbors’ legitimate frustrations with the diverter meant it might be removed completely and we’d end up with thru-traffic cutting through on Rodney. This solution makes Rodney less tempting but helps residents who were feeling constrained by the diverter.

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  • intjonathan June 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Are they going to keep the E/W stop signs on Ivy?

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    • paikiala June 18, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      probably. greenway stop signs favor the greenway except at busier intersections.

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  • Todd Boulanger June 17, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    If the curb extensions will need to be removed for the future “planned” bike lanes, how about installing temporary planters instead?

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  • Dwaine Dibbly June 17, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Reasonable start, I suppose, but it needs some of those “severe tire damage” things to really discourage wrong-way drivers.

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    • paikiala June 18, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      what about ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles?

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  • Charles McCarthy June 18, 2015 at 9:16 am

    People activated stop lights absolutely needed on Fremont for both Rodneys. Like NE 41 at Burnside and at Glisan.

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  • Jacob June 22, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Cool! We do this in DC too.

    R St NE, between 2nd & 3rd St.

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