The Portland Bureau of Transportation is facing pressure from its counterparts at the Oregon Department of Transportation to do something it’s almost never done before: remove bike lanes from a street.
An ODOT official said she could not cite evidence other than the site-specific judgment of her engineering colleagues that removing the bike lane on SE 26th Avenue would improve overall road safety. But she said that because 26th is not as safe to bike on as 28th would be, it stands to reason that the bike lane on 26th should be removed in order to encourage people to cross at 28th.
Therefore, ODOT has agreed to approve the city’s request to add a new traffic signal at 28th and Powell only on the condition that the city remove the bike lane and bike box from 26th.
“There’s no doubt there’s going to be some out-of-direction travel for the bicyclists. We just think it’s safer.”
— Sue D’Agnese, ODOT regional traffic manager
“If you gave me a choice of crossing at 26th and crossing at 28th, I’d cross at 28th if there was a signal there,” said Shelli Romero, ODOT’s interim west area manager for the Portland region, in an interview last week. “We’ve got freight that go through there, we’ve got a high volume of cars that go there.”
Cleveland High School sits on the northeast corner of Powell and 26th, so if the bike lane were removed, anyone heading to the high school on a bike from the southwest would either have to cut east to 28th, cross the street and get back west toward 26th, or else would travel on 26th without the bike lane.
“There’s no doubt there’s going to be some out-of-direction travel for the bicyclists,” said Sue D’Agnese, ODOT’s regional traffic manager. “We just think it’s safer.”
Sub-standard bike lanes
The bike lanes on 26th near Powell are unquestionably some of the worst in Portland. They get as narrow as 3 feet wide, or 3.5 feet in the northbound door zone just south of Powell. The national standard requires at least 4 feet for new bike lanes, or 5 feet in a door zone.
But that hasn’t stopped people from biking on 26th. Bike counts at 26th and Powell in February 2012 and June 2013 show that the 26th Avenue bike lanes are some of the most-ridden in southeast Portland, carrying between 60 and 80 bikes in the morning and evening peak hours. That suggests total daily bike traffic in the 600 to 800 range.
Except at the point where it crosses Powell, SE 26th Avenue isn’t actually very dangerous for people biking. Between Division and Holgate, 26th Avenue saw 17 bike-related injuries reported from 2004 to 2013 — eight of them at the crossing of Powell.
26th Avenue, a onetime streetcar route north of Powell, is flatter than 28th in the area and connects directly to more commercial destinations.
City and state agree that new crossing at 28th would boost safety
The proposed signal at 28th Avenue would be part of the city’s planned 20s Bikeway. In the city’s early plans for that bikeway, 26th and 28th would form a couplet, with 26th Avenue replacing its 3.5-foot-wide bike lanes with a single southbound buffered bike lane and with a separate neighborhood greenway at 28th. However, the city has since rejected that idea in favor of leaving the narrow 26th Avenue bike lanes as-is while also creating the neighborhood greenway on 28th.
“We’re moving them in a location where they don’t have to compete with left or right turns of cars.”
— Shelli Romero, ODOT interim area manager
The city’s original proposal to remove the northbound bike lane from 26th, though, had caught ODOT staffers’ attention. If removing the northbound lane at 26th would be expected to divert northbound bike traffic to 28th, wouldn’t removing both bike lanes from 26th be expected to divert even more bike traffic to 28th?
“It shifts an already over-capacity high-volume intersection — it shifts those users over to 28th,” said Romero. “We’re moving them in a location where they don’t have to compete with left or right turns of cars.”
Romero said the presence of the bike lanes and boxes have no impact on Powell traffic capacity or travel time, though a new signal at 28th would increase travel times a bit.
City and state officials said in interviews that they’ve been involved in a months-long negotiation, with the city angling to keep the 26th Avenue bike lanes in place and the state angling to have them removed.
Rich Newlands, the city’s project manager for the 20s Bikeway, called the long disagreement an “unfortunate situation.” Ultimately, because Powell is a state highway, ODOT holds authority over any signal changes there.
Biking advocate: People will use both intersections, so both crossings should be safe
The corner of 26th and Powell drew heavy media attention in May when two separate collisions injured two men riding bicycles on 26th. One man’s leg was severed in a collision with a left-turning truck and the other man’s leg broken by an eastbound Jeep.
“You’re not going to stop that travel choice, so you end up putting people in danger.”
— Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance
The first incident led to a demonstration by many locals who urged ODOT to prioritize safety by redesigning Powell Boulevard to reduce unsafe driving. ODOT responded by saying it would add a left-turn arrow phase to the signal at 26th.
Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and stepfather of a Cleveland student, called ODOT’s position “kahooey.”
“26th and Powell being a major school that people are biking to, how are you going to get them there?” Sadowsky said. “You’re putting students at significant risk because now they have to travel from 28th to 26th either via the sidewalk or via Powell.”
“It forgets to look at both the macro and micro at the same time,” Sadowsky said. “You’re not going to stop that travel choice, so you end up putting people in danger despite their stated best intentions to make it safer. … If they have an alternative way to get people to Cleveland High School safely, then let’s see it.”
Plan follows logic of neighborhood greenway system, ODOT says
There’s no question that Romero and D’Agnese see themselves as arguing in the interest of bike safety by trying to make it less desirable to ride a bike on 26th Avenue.
“We support the city in their off-major road system, to keep bikes on lower-traffic roads,” D’Agnese said, referring to the city’s neighborhood greenway network. I replied that the bike plan approved by the city in 2010 includes both neighborhood greenways on side streets and separated bike lanes on major streets, including on 26th Avenue across Powell.
“I’m not up on the city’s latest plans,” she said.
I asked Romero and D’Agnese whether they had any evidence that removing a bike lane from 26th would improve overall safety, or whether the additional risk to people who would still bike on 26th without the bike lane might outweigh the safety benefits of shifting bikes to 28th.
D’Agnese replied that there are “conflicting studies in the transportation safety realm” and that some show that “when bike volumes are high, crash rate goes up.” Therefore, she said, it’s not necessarily true that people biking on 26th would be worse off without a bike lane.
“It depends on the geometry and the site-specific conditions,” she said. “I’m trusting the state traffic engineer.”
Road user: I’d rather have both crossings, but I’d use 28th
Finally, on Thursday morning I visited the site to get some photos of how people are using 26th Avenue right now. I asked one man biking past, nearby resident Vinnie Mey, what he’d like to see happen.
Mey, who bike-commutes to his job at Portland Teriyaki at 125th and Glisan, said he’d prefer to have both crossings. Given a choice of which to use, though, he said he’d rather ride 28th across Powell and up to Clinton — due in part to what he thinks is a bad bike crossing of Holgate at 26th.
“It’s dangerous,” Mey said. “There’s a time when all the lights are green. That’s when people get hit.”
Correction 8/14: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said this was the first time Portland has removed bike lanes without something else taking their place. It previously did so on NW Lovejoy west of 11th Avenue.
I’m not sure what that removal would accomplish. People are creatures of habit and will continue to use 26th regardless. It goes right past Few Meyer corporate HQ, one of our biggest employers.
The space gained will be marginal – six or seven feet of roadway. What will that be good for?
Finally, issuing ultimatums and conditions like this makes me nervous. It’s not their road. They have no say in what gets painted on 26th Ave.
I wonder how ODOT would react if the tables were turned, and PBOT were ordering them to add or remove things to their property or else lose proposed infrastructure. They would throw a hissy ODOT fit!
It’s not that adding the 6-7′ to the roadway makes it better, it’s that the 3-3.5ft wide bike lanes currently there are not great lanes when stacked with traffic and on street parking.
Remove automotive traffic; that’ll make it safer.
What does the T stand for in Oregon Department of Cars?
As a truck driver just let me say:
Seems the more logical and productive approach would be to create a functionally safe and usable cycletrack and signal/signage along with concentrated enforcement, rather than change an existing route to another street that will only be ignored. Maybe look at removing on street parking on 26th to “creat” more space.
Then again, both PBOT and ODOT seem to be fundamentally committed to consistently doing the wrong thing. So…
Perhaps a bike specific signal? Anyways. There would be no room for a cycle-track. Keep trying.
Well, there are 3 car lanes there… Why not take some of that space for bikes?
Nonetheless, there has to be a better plan than removing the bike lanes
There’s a hill on 28th, so I imagine many would still want to ride 26th. I live off 28th Place, and I actually prefer 20th, which has no bike lane, but does have a light at Powell and speed bumps.
20th/21st is a great facility, and deserves to be elevated to a “proper” bike street.
Thank you for mentioning the hill. I’m tired of feeling like I’m the only one that gives a crap and has to deviate from official bike routes to avoid hills. I just can’t do them, and it’s stupid to think I should when there’s a flatter way just a couple of blocks off.
They will rout us over hills to discourage us.
take more than a little hill to discourage any rider I know.
So you don’t know anyone with a bakfiets?
95% of my friends don’t bike, either.
you need to get out more, jeff. some people have physical limitations that make climbing a deal killer. the idea here is to make the public space accessible for nonmotorized users, not just your small circle of jocks.
Of course ODOT’s solution to bike safety is to remove the bikes. All they care about is moving cars as fast as possible. Absolutely negligent.
Johnathan Moss drives a car.
False equivalency: it is just as reasonable to say that YOU comment here AND our roads are unsafe THEREFORE our roads would be safer if you were to cease to exist mysteriously.
Do you mean “Maus” ? @ WAR.
“Johnathan Moss drives a car.”
You mean Jonathan Maus?
He does own a minivan. last I knew, but I heard he also likes to ride his bikes. What is your point?
Stagnation? No. Regression.
Heretical, yes, but I actually think this is a good idea for a couple of reasons:
1. Removing bike lanes would allow reintroduction of parking on both sides of 26th. This might actually slow traffic speeds and make riding in-lane more comfortable. Currently, 26th feels pretty wide open, and speed are high. The section by Clinton, with no lanes, is my favorite part of the street to ride on.
2. Removing bike lanes would allow addition of crossing improvements by Cleveland HS and by the bus stops along the street. With several marked crosswalks, this might serve to calm traffic a little, and help make 26th feel more like a neighborhood street and less like a through-connector.
Stormwater swales could be added, and more vegetation could be planted closer to the travel lanes, helping reduce speeds.
3. 28th will be a great place to ride, but strong cyclists can (and probably will) still use 26th. If traffic speeds are reduced, it riding in-lane will be no worse than many other streets. The bike lanes we’ve got now are poor, and combining them to create a one-way bike corridor isn’t really a solution. Focus instead on slowing traffic.
That’s what I’ve got… Flame away!
1) There’s plenty of parking on 26th & side streets. Physical barriers protecting the bike lane would accomplish the same speed reduction. The part by Clinton is great, yes, because everyone is going slow enough to ride safely in the lane.
2) Physically protected bikeways on 26th would be a much better improvement for Cleveland, and accomplish the other traffic calming you mention. And young kids shouldn’t have to ride up that steep hill for no reason. Most of those roads fill with commuters zipping down the hill, so they’re no picnic to ride on either.
3) If we’re only building streets for strong riders, we’ve totally failed. Streets should be for everyone, not just the fearless. I agree we could pull it off if we reduced everyone’s travel speed to 20MPH or less, but where have we succeeded in that? No where I’ve seen. Even the greenways have speeding problems, and people are flinging their vehicles all over Williams.
We could have a real bikeway on SE 26th, and more room for freight traffic in the travel lanes, if we removed parking and build a real, honest-to-goodness protected bikeway, or “cycletrack”. There. I said it. 🙂
I agree a cycletrack would be pretty awesome to ride on. I disagree that it would, in any way, make it easier to cross 26th; it would probably make it harder (longer distance to cross, more oncoming travel lanes to navigate). And it would not add the “chaos” of parked cars and curb extensions that might help slow drivers.
As a practical matter, I think removing the parking on the other side of the street would be politically impossible, especially with the bike route on 28th so close by.
Line the cycle track with planters or posts, boom- you have a consistent visual signal that the lane is narrow. Parked cars are intermittent, encouraging dangerous behavior like zig-zagging in and out of the parking lane while riding, and they block the view of the road for people coming to perpendicular stop signs, encouraging them to charge past the sign to where they can see past cars.
Removing parking along there would be easier if we looked at it honestly. Many residences on SE 26th have off-street parking that, right now, is often empty. And every time I’ve bothered to count, there’s been more than enough parking within one block on the side streets to fit all the cars parked on SE 26th.
It would also help freight move along SE 26th too. Like it or not, business is booming at UPRR. I doubt we will see the number of trucks go down in the future. Right now the lanes on SE 26th are too narrow for these truck operators. I’m not questioning their skill – there’s just not space for the truck in one lane so they have to be over the line or off in the parking lane.
If we remove parking on SE 26th, build physically separated bikeways, and increase the width of the travel lane by a foot or so (I bet there’s room), it’d make life easier, safer for everyone. We could finally step up and build real, protected intersections at Holgate, Gladstone, and Powell too.
I totally agree. And you don’t have to be a kid or newbie to not want the hills. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 90 pound bike + 130 pounds of kids and I will not take the hills. You can wiggle a block here and a block there to avoid them so that’s what I have to do. I really don’t think they look at topography at all when they lay out bike routes. I wish Clever Cycles and Splendid Cycles would set up a day of “Politicians and Engineers Riding Around on Heavy Cargo Bikes” and we could lead them all over and show where the routes *could* have been. They need some more experiential learning before they screw this new route up.
Depending where you’re going, 21st is flat, and pretty chill (most of the time, anyway).
21st can be flat and chill… at night. I don’t understand people’s love of this intersection. There’s no bike lane, the cars are super aggressive trying to turn on and off of Powell, the light takes forever to change, and the section of 21st south of Powell is trapped between a park and railroad tracks, leaving few navigation choices unless you just want to keep heading south.
Obviously, it goes where it goes, but 21st makes a nice connection between 28th and Clinton/Ladd. It could use bike lanes south of Powell (easy — no on-street parking to remove!). It provides good access to the Orange Line, and gets you oh-so-close to the new bike trails that got built with it. I agree the crossing at Powell can/should be improved… something like what’s proposed for 28th would be a huge upgrade.
I don’t take 21st anymore because of the 22nd/Gladstone connection, near the yards. Drivers are often really eager to pass bikes, and I’ve seen too many close calls where cars approach that gravelly turn going really fast and in the wrong lane.
It’s hard enough to get planners to design with bikes in mind; they’d get tarred and feathered if they designed streets with bakfiets in mind. Imagine what Lars Larson would say!
I guess PBOT could take the bike lanes off, wait for ODOT to install the signal, then add speed bumps and sharrows. I agree with Hello, Kitty to a point- that is the removal of terrible, substandard infrastrucure is not necessarily a bad thing. Getting rid of skinny bike lanes means that bikes will no longer HAVE to use them. However, PBOT should NOT support ODOT’s goal of shunting bikes over to 28th. PBOT should be bold and creative in finding ways to support bikes using 26th to their heart’s content.
Unfortunately, I think PBOT may be incapable of this, so I would not support removing bike lanes.
Max and Hello,
26th south of Powell is in a truck district. The standard lane width is 11 feet, leaving 14 feet for parking, or just one 8ft lane on one side.
26th is a Major Emergency Response route, prohibiting the use of traffic calming like speed bumps.
Parking should be removed on 26th.
thanks for the explanation. I totally agree, remove parking and, I assume, add buffered bike lanes.
Do you mean south of Holgate? Because I think the neighbors north of Holgate on 26th have been wrestling w/ UPRR to get them to stop using the road there (which in recent years they started using in earnest) because they were never supposed to. ?? Anyone know?
I do not. 26th Powell to south of Steele is designated Freight District.
Thanks, paikiala. Can you point me to where to find that designation? Not challenging you–just want to do a little research before tackling proliferating speeding semis in the Powell-Division section.
challenge away. Discourse is the stuff of good politics.
It is part of the 2007 TSP:
Need to re-define what PBOT considers “freight”. This is an old term, and no longer consistent with the unique exploitation of this designation that the railroad barons are now using it for: moving the international cargo (enormous, 40 and 53-foot, dry box containers headed to and from China) from one side of their yard to the other side of their yard (in order to get across their own tracks) by driving it down SE 26th Ave. Why does PBOT continue to defend this practice? What local economic benefit does this activity have? Sure, freight of local business who actually make a product in the industrial area of SE 26th is fine and tends to be on smaller trucks, but 99% of the freight in this area are these giant international containers moving on ancient black-smoke belching trucks around the neighborhood all day and all night. These guys are not the most considerate drivers, and I don’t think too many of them live in the local area. They are just moving freight between Chicago and Shenzhen, and they happen to need to get it across the tracks in SE Portland, and so they load it on a truck and drive it around SE 26th and then back to the other side of the yard. This needs to get cut. City needs to restrict 5-axle trucks on SE 26th.
‘Freight’ is any goods transported by trucks. SU-30, WB-40, 50 and 67.
FedEx, UPS, Yellow Line, interstate transport to local distribution centers, mom and pop long haul operations, etc.
Yes, particularly since it is redundant and there is little commercial need. PBOT needs to step up and take out the parking lane. If not here, where?
SW Milwaukie ave from Powell to Sellwood! Please, please please! And SW 17th in Sellwood!
…I meant SE, not SW.
The section on Clinton is my least favorite. Especially when the Line 10 bus puts in an appearance and almost knocks me off the bike!
Wouldn’t removing the auto lanes be the safest option? There are numerous alternative comfortable crossings for people in cars to use.
100% The only thing wrong with this street is that cars are allowed on it.
bury the auto lanes on Powell… only accessible at Milwaukie, 52nd, 82nd, and I-205…
ODOT can have their freeway and the rest of us can have our neighborhood back…
Is that the best use of our limited resources when much of Portland doesn’t have sidewalks?
What is with ODOT?
A really good question.
Think of a clever, compassionate solution related to how some of us on two wheels get around, and then figure out what the opposite would be: that is what ODOT will come up with.
Maybe they are just trying to distract us from the Barbur Boulevard fiasco.
Acquiesce to ODOT, but put down hundreds and hundreds of sharrows on 26th.
Great reporting—thank you. I live on SE 26th and the reason I hate this idea is that the street is daily turning more and more into a freeway and I don’t support anything that further fosters that. More people are driving and cutting through and many more are speeding like bats out of hell. Just witnessed a crash recently at SE 26th and Woodward (a popular cut-through street for increasingly impatient motorists).
OK—I may have just made a case for moving bikes to 28th (doh!). But, why oh why can’t we just enlarge the current bike lane on 26th, as originally planned? And go ahead and make 28th an alternative bike corridor? Anything that discourages speeding and dangerous driving and encourages traffic calming is a positive. And SE 26th is not Powell, though commuters are currently driving it like it’s Powell.
Whatever the solution, let’s please not go backward and tacitly encourage the opposite of traffic calming (traffic frenzying?) on streets like SE 26th that were headed positively (or so I thought) in the traffic calming direction. SE 26th may not be an ideal biking street now, but the plan is to make all streets—especially streets lined with residents –better for bikes and pedestrians, right? Not to discourage anything but motor vehicle use because of a once-quiet road’s increasing lack of safety. That sounds like what Romero’s suggesting–giving up on SE 26th.
There are tons of pedestrians along the avenue, and crossing it daily. Please don’t abandon it—and us, the residents–to pushy cars and freight. It used to be a lower traffic street, not all that long ago (like many Portland streets) and it should not be allowed to continue morphing into a dangerous and congested speedway.
P.s… I thought freight traffic was restricted on SE 26th. What’s the deal w/ all the semis barreling through, now? I need to make a video… I think drivers just see that flat, long stretch and the drag racer comes out in them.
I think better pedestrian crossings can be build if bike lanes are removed — bike lanes make it impossible to add curb extensions, which both help people cross, and also send a signal to drivers that there are pedestrians about.
Adding curb extensions and crosswalks by the HS and at every bus stop will definitely improve safety for people crossing the street.
I’m all for any traffic calming measures. If they indeed did what you’re suggesting (curb extensions, crosswalks, bioswales, etc.), I’d be happy to give up the bike lanes, even. But what I read above didn’t inspire any confidence in me at all that officials are looking at SE 26th as anything now but a poop chute for freight and commuters. They’d likely nix any curb extensions citing “emergency vehicle corridor” too, I suspect.
Personally, I think HAND and Creston-Kenilworth could demand such amenities as the price of removing the bike lanes. Without those upgrades to 26th, I would probably withdraw my support for bike lane removal.
I have a vague memory that they’ve tried and that the emergency corridor has always been the sticking point. I’d love to know if there’s any way around that. It really does seem as though the City’s intent on keeping it a drag strip and (wink, wink! we’ll just look the other way, UPRR!) bloating freight route. Terrible for livability in the neighborhood. SE 26th has gone from sleepy little neighborhood street to a freeway and dividing line, smack in the middle of everything. And it’s rapidly getting worse, unchecked.
The emergency corridor designation rules out some types of traffic calming, such as speed bumps. I’m not sure why it would impact curb extensions, any more than it does parked cars. I hope you are mistaken about that.
I don’t know what they’re talking about. You can have a complete barrier to motor traffic installed on a street and design it so that emergency vehicles can still get through. We have loads of examples in Vancouver.
It’s just an excuse. They probably truly believe that motordom will continue on the same way forever and that the popularity of cycling is just a fad. They probably really think that.
So… how does one in Oregon, change the make up of ODOT? Are they elected? Do elected state officials have any influence on them? Do standards or regulations need changing?
This kind of thing is systemic and can only be solved at a system level. You might negotiate something for this particular instance but there’ll only be more problems like this in the future.
That’s good to know!
Clark — Can you post or link to a photo of such a barrier?
curb extensions are not prohibited on Major Emergency Response routes.
‘Complete barrier’ is overstating it.
NE 18th north of Failing
SE Clinton at east and west of Chavez
SE Spokane at 13th Ave
NE Going west of 33rd
N Michigan at Rosa Parks Way
I have not heard of curb extensions being a problem for emergency vehicles, except perhaps for the turning radius of a long fire truck. But I don’t think they use the long ones on the narrow neighborhood streets in SE Portland. Don’t need the tall ladders for two-story houses.
PF&R uses the aerial bucket to shower water onto the roofs of one and two-story buildings.
Remove parking, Protected bike lane or just elevate it as it approaches intersection, bike specific signal ? Surely there is another option than removal.
http://protectedintersection.com/ is the proper solution.
There’s no money for that. We spent it all on the failed CRC project.
PBOT is not ODOT.
That would restrict freight access, throughput and the Hole-in-the-Air.
Want it, ain’t happnen.
Too many enemies from too many angles.
A protected intersection is the right solution if you’re in the construction business (and yes, it does seem that perhaps the city council has a cousin or two with a concrete truck who is in favor of the street fee.)
If you just want to cross the street (or efficiently turn left) what you need here is a simultaneous green for bikes and pedestrians: twice per cycle, all auto traffic stops and everyone on bike or on foot goes directly to whichever corner they want. Diagonal / left turn, whatever. There is plenty of room for people walking or biking to not hit each other, no vehicles are in motion, it’s a shorter walk, and if you miss a green signal, you only have to wait half of a cycle for another turn. Now, if only we could afford some light bulbs…
That introduces a lot of delay to auto traffic. The common names for this operation is ‘Scramble Signal/Ped Phase’ and also ‘Barnes Dance’, I believe.
Such an application would work well in a location with a lot of pedestrian use, Seaside, Pike Place Market, etc. Crossing at state highway, even in an urban setting, and particularly the way Powell is currently configured, is likely to be counterproductive.
We don’t want to delay auto traffic for safety, or perhaps reduce the amount of auto traffic by making biking or walking safer? How much of the traffic is moving more than 2 miles? How much less delay would there be without that traffic on the road?
Maybe you don’t need 20s twice every cycle if you have detectors and beg buttons with priority response.
Drivers also save 2-3 minutes per trip at 10mph over the posted speed, even with the occasional delay for killing and maiming.
the coming congestion on streets like 26th will be outrageous with ‘shared’ lanes. riding in the lane with car traffic as its jammed to 0 mph will make riding bikes ridiculously slow. NW Marshall in the Pearl is a terrible/great example of shared spaces only allowing 5 mph speeds for cars and bikes (great for Pedestrians though).
What will removing bike lanes accomplish? They get to widen the vehicle lane? How does that allow people to move through the intersection faster?
It’s not about vehicle throughput (surprisingly)… ODOT wants to ensure enough riders use the crossing at 28th to “justify” its installation.
Apparently PBOT also gave figures to ODOT to justify the 28th Ave. crossing. The ODOT engineer I spoke to said that PBOT promised that 90 percent of cyclists would switch to the 28th Ave. crossing when it is built. This was probably a necessary conversation to reach consensus. Perhaps PBOT is right and that is what will happen.
“Perhaps PBOT is right and that is what will happen.”
I ‘m just thinking how this conversation would go between the two agencies if the proposal were to eliminate cars from one of these streets:
26th gets the striping it now has removed and is to become a bike-only street , while 28th gets car-facilities (of course it already has those-duh!). PBOTmakes the case to ODOT that 90% of people driving will switch to 28th. Hahahahaha.
So… is PBOT going to stand out there and re-direct 90% of bicyclists themselves?
That’s not a promise that they can keep– there’s no way they can guarantee 90% of bicycle traffic will go where PBOT and ODOT thinks they should go.
“…the vehicle lane? …” Chris I
Also known as ‘main lanes’. Are the width of the main lanes on 26th greater than 12′? I suppose not, or the 3.5′ wide bike lanes would have been made wider through a reduction down to 12′.
Eliminating the north bound bike lane on 26th, doesn’t sound like a great choice. The city needs more bike infrastructure’, not less.
If ODOT is insistent that the north bound bike lane be removed as part of the deal for the 28th Ave crossing signal, put a counter offer before them: Agree on condition that posted mph speed on 26th be brought down to 20 mph. That rate of travel puts many people that ride, close to or right in the ball park, at say 15 mph minimum cruising, for riding the main lane of the street.
This being an inner city, neighborhood street, it’s not especially persuasive to try and say bike traffic should be elsewhere because the street is used to move a lot of freight by truck.
To be pedantic, the City has removed a bike lane before. There used to be a bike lane on NW Lovejoy through the Pearl towards the Broadway Bridge. They removed it as part of the construction of the streetcar CL line, and didn’t do much to replace it.
That’s true! That’s why I included the phrase “in favor of blank pavement.” On Lovejoy, they removed it in favor of streetcar tracks. Or do I have that wrong somehow?
Well for much of its length (west of 11th) there was no physical change other than removing the striping and bike symbols. East of 11th the streetcar tracks do seem to partially encroach on the former alignment, but it looks like there had would have been room to keep it if the city had been willing to prioritize safe bike access to the bridge over on street parking.
Thanks! I stand corrected and will fix.
Didn’t they remove a short distance of bike lane on Rosa Parks recently? I mean not to split hairs… I certainly get your point.
Yes, but it was replaced with a shared-lane marking.
Those “mixing zones” are (words I can’t say here). I told the engineer that I will personally hold them responsible for any incident there. The other day, I was nearly hit at that intersection and earlier that day I was nearly hit at the “mixing zone” of NE Multnomah and 11th AND Grand.
This kind of “infrastructure” is terrible and it’s unsafe.
if the bike lanes on multnomah were not separated, you would not need a mixing zone.
Ethan, ‘unsafe’ = opinion? evidence?
” ‘I’m not up on the city’s latest plans,’ she said.”
Yes, those latest plans…from 2010.
And I asked an ODOT traffic engineer at the open house what the average speed was on Powell. Her reply was she didn’t know that, only that it was posted for 35 mph.
That’s pretty ridiculous for a supposed “safety” project.
Maybe someone should contact ODOT about raising the speed limit here too while they’re at it.
Yes. Engineering it so more cars can pass through the intersection means fewer impatient drivers queuing during the red phase of the cycle. Safer for everyone!
There’s no money for that. We spent it all on the failed CRC project.
It is bad policy to discourage cycling on a city street by making it more dangerous or unfriendly for cyclists.
I am very happy that the PBOT and the BTA disagree with ODOT.
This is clearly more evidence that ODOT is out of touch with the mode share goals and needs of Portland.
“It’s dangerous,” Mey said. “There’s a time when all the lights are green. That’s when people get hit.”
I bike that intersection almost every day and I never see the time when all the lights are green. Interviewing people is good, but quoting nonsense diminishes the validity of the article. FWIW, I think eliminating this bike route is stupid.
I assumed he was just talking about turning conflicts when cars have a green light and the ped signal is also active, but I could be wrong.
I think a better plan would be to go with PBOT’s previous idea: add a legal, wide bike lane in one direction, and sharrows the other. Find out which direction at 26th and Powell has more right turns, and put the bike lane in the other direction. Many cyclists will prefer 28th to sharing the lane with cars on 26th, so ODOT will accomplish their goal. However, cyclists that continue to use 26th will now have a safer commute. Win Win.
Lots of talk about how inconvenient this would be to Cleveland HS. Really? 28th is the backside of the school and where the bike racks are located. There are entrances from that direction.
For me, I prefer the less-traveled bikeways (like NE Going for instance) over crappy bike lanes next to impatient drivers. I think 28th is an excellent option as part of the larger 20’s plan.
Pretty good points, seems to me.
& Nathan Hinkle echoes your account in detail below. I wonder if Sadowsky is unaware of this fact about his step kid’s school, or if he’s being willfully obtuse to make a point. Or I’m missing a third option?
not true there are racks in the parking lot
And the largest number of racks (I think!) is along SE Franklin St., closer to SE 26th than SE 28th. There are bike racks on three sides of Cleveland, so it’s wrong to say that “the bike racks” are on SE 28th even though there are indeed some bike racks there.
Fair enough . . . but a detour of 1 to 2 blocks is not too much to ask on a bike. And 28th IS the backside of Cleveland, so the route would lead *directly* to the school. From 28th & Powell, how long do you figure it would take to get to the bike racks on Franklin? I’m guessing 30 seconds at the most. (And you would probably get a HAWK beacon for even faster crossing at Powell than you currently have at 26th). I still say this is a great proposal. Not sure why everyone’s so attached to 26th. I hate it.
The signal at 28th will, very likely, be timed with the signal at 26th so as to not inconvenience anyone driving, so it’s also likely to take just as long as waiting for the light at 26th. But let’s back up a second: this isn’t an either/or. That’s a false narrative being pushed by ODOT.
Ignoring 28th for a moment: people have the right to travel on foot or on whatever wheels they want on SE 26th. Removing the bike lane does not change that, it only puts people traveling on bicycles on SE 26th in a more dangerous, more stressful situation. Asking people to take small detours here and there on bikes adds up. If you want to ride across town and you start adding up these “small” detours, you end up going many, many blocks out of your way, which makes riding a bike even less convenient. We need ODOT and PBOT to fulfill their duty to make our streets safe for legal travel, which means we need better bikeways on SE 26th.
Ignoring 26th for a moment: people have the right to use the marked & unmarked crosswalks at and near SE 28th across Powell. Right now people driving along Powell are violating the law by failing to yield to people crossing. It’s incredibly blatant, but I don’t really hold people driving responsible. Why would they think there’s a crosswalk there, after all? It looks like a freeway, complete with 50MPH+ traffic, where we normally ban people from walking all together. We need to have a slower speed enforced all along Powell plus enhanced crossings for all crosswalks where there’s a lack of understanding of people’s right to cross, at SE 28th and elsewhere.
ODOT has been neglecting their duty to keep people safe on these roads. They’ve strangled the budget for walking and bicycling, and they keeping putting up these false either/or scenarios to make people fight over scraps, while they waste our money expanding freeways.
I feel it’s entirely appropriate to demand both SE 26th & 28th (and all roads, for that matter) be made safe. I’m somewhat surprised people think that’s too much to ask.
What ODOT is also doing, as a condition of the 28th Ave. bike crossing, is removing the marked crosswalk with a pedestrian island a block east at 28th Place, between the McDonald’s and the Wendy’s. A traffic engineer at the open house said that they figured the Cleveland students that use that a lot to get to Wendy’s could cross at the new crossing at 28th Ave. instead. Of course, they’d have to decide a block away which “restaurant” they were aiming at. I asked why they couldn’t have both. 28th Place is not a signal, so it wouldn’t conflict with their signal-spacing rules. I was told that the cars queuing for the 28th Ave. signal would back up to 28th Place. I’m not sure it’s a problem to have cars stopped at 28th Place as well. Surely the drivers wouldn’t stop blocking a striped crosswalk, would they?
I did ask if, instead, a marked crosswalk with an island could be installed at 29th, and she didn’t seem to rule that out, so perhaps we should advocate for that as well.
Is ODOT telling PBOT to remove bike lanes on 26th just at the intersection? For a block away? From Brooklyn to Holgate?
Excellent question, It stands to reason that they would also remove the bike lanes north of Powell to Woodward. Imagine the speed cars will travel through this residential neighborhood, and in front of the school, without the lanes narrowed by the bike lanes.
That’s my fear. They’re already feeling mighty comfy speeding.
My understanding is that it’s for the entire length of 26th.
Blah…. 28th is just as if not more dangerous than 26th is if you consider the incidents to traffic volume.
Using Portland maps traffic counts 26th & Powell has a daily automobile traffic volume of 7,496 (counts from Southbound Franklin and Northbound Rhone), 28th Ave and Powell has a 1008.
Cross referencing PDOT’s Vision Zero map for the injuries and fatalities of the last decade of available information you get this.
SE 28th Ave & Powell
38 Motorist injuries
1 Motorist Serious Injury
2 Bicycle Injuries
1 Pedestrian Injury
SE 26th & Powell
60 Motorist injuries
8 Bicycle Injuries
5 Pedestrian Injuries
1 Serious Pedestrian Injury
I’m willing to bet that bicycle traffic on 26th is much more than 4 times of that of 28th. And if that is the case, ODOT is asking to move bicycle traffic to a much more dangerous intersection to cross Powell on than 26th is.
I just wonder why I got to do this work for them, after all it’s all their data I’m using (even the PDOT Vision Zero map was made with information given to them by ODOT). Do they even check this stuff before they make offers and proclaim such false statements?
28th is getting a new signal as part of this. It will almost certainly be a pretty safe crossing for cyclists.
The point isn’t that the cross streets isn’t safe, it is what they are crossing that isn’t safe. I largely suspect that most the incidents outlined in my post above, that most the incidents have little to do with crossing Powell. Many are likely just like the high profile collision earlier this year with bicycles on Powell.
Which is where all this data falls short.
Also crossing at 28th is silly, you’re riding halfway up a decent hill to get from 26th to 28th, then up another hill from Clinton to Powell. 26th skirts all these hills for those heading south. And most likely most people will continue on 26th if this all goes down (I know I would there is nothing on 28th to ride to).
If you look at all the bicycle data on the Vision Zero map, you’ll also notice that the base of hills are bicycle incident collectors. You might even make Clinton worse, as the faster moving downhill bicycle traffic heading north on 28 goes to make their turns through this intersection.
Diverting bicycle traffic like this potentially has greater consequences than just one intersection.
Well, they are blocking the intersection to through and TURNING motorists, different from what’s there now, and putting some sort of signal. I didn’t get details on what kind. Presumably that will lower the crash count at 28th.
What’s up with three-foot bike lanes? State law mandates a six foot minimum with the only exception being “where the right of way is too narrow”, then four feet is allowed. If there’s room for parking or more than one travel lane or travel lanes of more than ten feet, then there is,by definition, enough right of way width for the legally mandated six foot wide (minimum) bike lanes. These substandard implementations really need to be brought up to standard.
Sure, one can take the ODOT approach and simply remove them and hope those people on bikes go away, but that’s more than a bit backwards. We should be calling for improvements of substandard implementations, not removal.
Also, the national standard, assuming you are referring to AASHTO, mandates the total width of the parking plus door-zone bike lane and sets that at twelve feet. Coincidentally, twelve feet is exactly the width from the curb of the widest SUV door zones. The not-yet-state-approved NACTO standards are for fifteen feet, which leaves the outer three feet of the bike lane clear of the door zone, assuming there is parking enforcement to tow the cars that inevitably park too far from the curb.
I was referring to AASHTO — thanks for dropping this additional knowledge. I’ll add a link.
The safest route to crossing Powell is to ride along the Esplanade to Sellwood, go out the spring water corridor, up SE 45th place, and then you just have that small climb up 52nd.
People should just do that.
Ummm….. not everyone lives in Sellwood.
Your recommended “safe route” to CHS via the Esplanade would add about 4 1/2 miles to my children’s bike commute to CHS in EACH DIRECTION. Really NINE MILES per day!
Ummmm, I think this was a little sarcasm — meaning there’s no safe way but for a HUGE detour with a steep hill. I’ve ridden 45th and 52nd in that area. It’s a burner!
Don’t forget the 205 path, and the Gresham-Fairview Trail.
Another ‘one step forward, two steps backwards’ solution. Portland will never be able to increase their bike mode share much beyond what it is currently at this rate.
I get that it’s hearsay around these parts, but hear me out… I think this could actually be beneficial, if sufficient infrastructure improvements are made in the area to connect things right.
I went to CHS, I biked to school every day, and I frequently used 26th, 28th, Clinton, Franklin, and other streets in the area. The fact of the matter is, 26th isn’t any good to bike on in the first place. The bike lane disappears suddenly around Taggart, forcing bikes into the primary lane. South of Powell, the bike route jogs up to 28th at Gladstone, and that section has always been hairy to ride. I’ve had many near-misses in that area.
If 28th were developed into a proper greenway (complete with favorable stop sign priority, sharrows, etc) connecting from Clinton to Gladstone, it would make a straight shot all the way from the Bybee Bridge to Clinton with either a wide bike lane or neighborhood greenway the whole way. Maybe throw in a diverter at 28th and Holgate, because 28th between Holgate and Gladstone is very narrow.
Franklin St, though not an official greenway, provides a low-stress E/W route with a light to cross 39th, and this would provide easier access to Franklin. There would also be less CHS-related conflict. The bus stops right in front of the school, there’s often parents stopping in the bike lane to drop kids off, and it’s generally hectic. 28th is much safer to bike on and would reduce conflict, plus because CHS occupies the whole block (and the bike racks are half-way between 28th and 26th anyways) it would not make it any more difficult to access the school by bike.
Here is a map I made to illustrate what I’m talking about:
Aside from the signal construction and possible diverter construction, it should be a cheap project – all we’re talking about is some new sharrows, moving a couple stop signs, and maybe adding some of the green direction-finding signs. In my experience – from years of biking extensively to and from this exact location – this would be a huge upgrade to bike access in the area.
Yeah, ODOT shouldn’t be shoving PBOT around and making demands like this, but if you stop to look at the bigger picture, I think it’s actually pretty reasonable.
I’m not sure anyone is saying “don’t develop 28th as a proper bike route”. I think people have a problem with “let’s remove any biking infrastructure from 26th”. Having more options would be terrific!
The thing is, the 26th ave bike lanes – there they’re even present – are terrible. Removing bike lanes would encourage people to either use the greenway (were 28th to be developed into one), or take the lane, which would be much safer in this area. As it is right now, people drive too fast for the conditions, and pass too closely to the extremely narrow bike lane. It’s already bad infrastructure, so let’s build something proper on 28th and not encourage people to bike on 26th where it’s already so bad.
“the 26th ave bike lanes – there they’re even present – are terrible.”
I think reasonable people can disagree about this. I’ll bike just about anywhere, with or without a bike lane. But I think what we are talking about here is the *removal* of bike infrastructure, however imperfect or inadequate. Symbolically this says you are no longer welcome here; in the name of your own safety we want you to go somewhere else, learn a new route. Thanks.
Even if as you suggest the efforts on 28th may represent a win in some sense, the tone and pitch of this communication only serves to reinforce the bikey people are third class attitude.
I mean what kind of a process is this when people who don’t bike in these agencies are arguing over which piece of bike infrastructure to eliminate? Is that how we do things here/now?
the existing, substandard bike lanes are an active hazard, particularly when coupled with the mandatory sidepath law, but also just because paint does tell people where to ride.
taking out the substandard lanes would be an improvement, but as several people have noted it would also send a message both to cyclists and to motorists that this is no longer bike territory.
what should be done, regardless what happens at 28th, is to take out the substandard lanes and replace them with sharrows. but this probably would not meet ODOT’s demand.
I partly agree with Nathan, but just the other day I was legally riding down Prescott and a woman tailgated me for a while then shouted that there was bike route a couple of blocks over (referring to Going). The City could do a much better job informing motorists that bicyclists may use any street. In this case, I think the removal of the bike lane may be fine provided the City provides sharrows, or signs (yield to bikes on roadway, or something) and some enforcement similar to crosswalk enforcement (would it really be so hard for the mayor to ride down a coupel astreets for a couple of hours and have 6 motorcycle cops pull over peopple for unsafe passing, speeding, distracted driving, etc?).
And what about people biking, that have business on 26th rather than 28th? It’s just kind of dumb for the city to allow its roads to be configured in ways that preclude use of them with vehicles useful for practical travel.
If people know how to use them, even narrow bike lanes can be better than no bike lane at all. Not knowing how to use bike lanes, and how the law acknowledge people’s right to use all lanes of the road, are likely reasons some people are having trouble using 26th.
Hear, hear! I’m terrified of what’ll happen to 26th if it’s abandoned for the new puppy.
(responding to Carter’s comment)
It wasn’t that long ago that we said, “Southeast Clinton and 26th could be Portland’s next great public space.”
Now we’re talking about removing the bike lane on 26th, ceding the whole space to motor traffic, and directing bikes somewhere else. Not only will that encourage cars to drive faster on 26th, but will reroute bikes away from a pleasant commercial intersection. How far we’ve fallen!
I ride 26th from Gladstone to Clinton daily, and recently I’ve found myself thinking that it might be better without the bike lanes. They’re comically narrow, and I wonder if they’re doing more harm than good.
Drivers seem comfortable going way too fast past cyclists, perhaps because the bikes seem contained in their lane. Cyclists are restricted to little more than a door zone. But on a street this narrow, they’re probably better off taking the lane. But this requires some confidence, and it would confuse and irritate drivers. All in all, a bad combination.
None of this is to say 28th is much of an upgrade, but I’m curious.
I kind of agree. With Oregon’s sidepath law, you are required to use these substandard, sketchy bike lanes. However, without them you are free as a cyclist to use the street.
This does not support Portland 8-80 goals, but including sharrow markings would go along way to notifying cars and trucks that they are on a route where bikes are to be expected.
Good luck getting PBOT to install sharrows on any arterial street, even one as low level as 26th. For example, it would be highly beneficial to have sharrows on the short stretch of SE 26th between SE Division and SE Taggart, north of where the existing bike lanes on 26th end in order to make room for curb side parking, but PBOT has failed to do that for many years.
You are required to use them, yes, but can leave them if a hazardous condition is present, and this to me appears to be a hazardous condition.
For a cycletrack to be built on 26th, not only would parking have to be removed, but the left-turn-only lanes at the 26th&Powell signal would have to be removed. Even if PBOT were all about removing parking, ODOT would object to removing the left turn lanes.
Take the lane. Jam the road. Force ODOT to reinstate the bike lane.
Taking the lane doesn’t “jam the road”..
It does if there are enough people on bikes doing it and they’re going slower than the motor vehicles.
For a given road situation, moderating top vehicle speed of travel can manage the tendency for traffic to back up. Flow of traffic will vary according to the particular street situation, what vehicles are being used together on it, and what speed relative to each other they’re traveling.
The closer to each other is the speed of different types of vehicle’s travel, the less likelihood is there for traffic to back up. Some experimentation with bringing 26th Ave’s top posted speed down to one closer to the general cruising speed of bikes on the road could provide some useful information. To do that, the city could easily put up some of their temporary speed limit signs.
Efforts to reasonably manage minimum mph speed traveled, is also necessary to help avoid traffic backing up.
I agree that the bike lanes are too narrow on 26th but the obvious solution is to put that miserable block on a road diet and install enhanced/protected bike lanes. I mean, FFS, it’s adjacent to a freaking school!
The biggest battle, even bigger than parking removal, would be the removal of the left-turn lanes on 26th. If parking is removed but the left-turn lanes are kept, then cyclists would be dumped from a nice cycletrack to a 3.5′ ft wide bike lane at the one place where crash rates are highest … the intersection of 26th and Powell. Neither PBOT nor ODOT would agree to get rid of the left-turn lanes.
I think that problem could be solved by isolating north and south bound traffic with the signals, so first northbound can go straight, right or left, then southbound gets a turn. There should probably be an overlapping phase with no green arrows that allows any safe movement north/south. This probably adds time to the signal, which may support lowering speeds on Powell. I am not a traffic engineer, but I believe the turn lane could be removed if ODOT/PBOT could stomach the longer signal phase.
If you have a combined N/S phase then whenever you have a car trying to turn you’ll have some share of drivers pass them in the bike lane. I thought the point of getting rid of the turn lane would be to put in a wide bike lane? If the only issue is that one intersection, there isn’t much on the corners. Probably enough room for a protected intersection. When school lets out if pedestrian volumes are high cyclists would probably have to deal with kids waiting to cross the street in the bike lane though.
You’re going to road diet a 2 lane street?
(unless you were talking about removing the parking lane? I don’t think most would call that a road diet though.)
ok…remove the turn lane.
I ride 21st, 26th, and 28th regularly. I prefer 21st if I’m headed for downtown. My kids go to CHS and are nervous about both 26th and 28th.
Between Steele and Gladstone both 26th and 28th are too narrow and have traffic moving too fast (regular speeding of limit +5 mph) to be comfortable for many riders. Vehicles parked along the east side of 26th were there is a bike lane regularly encroach by a foot into the already narrow lane. On 28th there is untrimmed vegetation that smacks you in the face if you have to hug the curb for autos whizzing by. Others have already commented on the hill on 28th between Powell and Francis. On 28th, I see more east-west autos roll through the stop signs.
Considering all the negatives of 26th and 28th, I currently opt for 26th for myself.
I’d be willing to give up the bike lane on 26th, but only if several conditions are met. 1) The new signal proposed for 28th would need to be truly responsive to bicyclists and pedestrians. None of the long waits currently required for north-south traffic at intersections such as 21st. 2) Traffic volumes are SIGNIFICANTLY reduced on 28th with barriers to prevent through traffic. (My number one priorities would be a barrier to prevent northbound traffic on 28th north of Steele and southbound at Gladstone.) 3) A Greenway designation for the entire length of 28th with a 20 mph speed limit WITH ENFORCEMENT.
Since there is virtually ZERO chance of those things happening, I call upon ODOT to include widening of 26th near Powell so that bike lanes of ADEQUATE width can replace the TOO narrow ones there today.
I told Shelli Romero and several other ODOT staffers at the Powell open house a few weeks ago that the problems in the corridor are related to speeding and red light running. I regularly see people westbound on Powell doing 40 mph and see cars blowing the red light at 26th. If you want to see some real improvement in safety, establish a school speed zone, reduce the speed limits, put in red light cameras and speed zone cameras.
Their “solution” of sending bicyclists elsewhere is a pretty strong indication that Romero and Sue D’Agnese are not bicyclists. I’m greatly disappointed.
According to Portland Maps, the worst speeding in the area is 26th from Rhone to Powell where average speed is roughly 10 mph over the speed limit and nearly 10% of drivers are more than 10mph over the posted 25 MPH.
Though I’m sure the average speed on Powell is off too, because of the traffic jams when volume is at it’s highest. (where the average speed is listed at the speed limit).
They need to retest closer to Clinton. I’m seeing speeds up to that intersection lately that I’ve never witnessed before–drivers of cars and big trucks just barreling up to the intersection and slamming on the brakes, then roaring off again. People used to drive as if they knew it was a neighborhood. No more.
I agree, and like I said I highly suspect that the average speeds on those charts are heavily diluted by near standstill traffic at peak hours.
I think a better average speed calculation should done in which peak times are removed from the equation. As one who does drive at the speed limit, I can honestly say I’m easily in the very small minority of drivers who do so intentionally. By and large given the chance most drivers prefer the 5-10 MPH over the speed limit allowance – even though traffic control devices keeps them from arriving anywhere significantly faster than had they driven the speed limit.
I thank people like you aloud (in my house, to myself) when I see them going the speed limit on SE 26th, gutterbb. It makes such a difference, and it seems to make other drivers in both directions do the same. Until a speed demon comes along, and then everyone emulates them. Speeding is really contagious–I don’t think most drivers recognize that. Monkey see, monkey do–even texting, half-aware monkey.
I’d give anything to get a couple of “Your speed is” signs out here, or a camera, or just a couple of traffic cops, for gudsakes. And some “Go slow: Children Present” signs. And some actual speed signs, ’cause I don’t see any. These are all things I want, gimme gimme gimme! 🙂 But seriously–I do. That flat stretch between Clinton and Powell is just WAY too conducive to puttin’ the pedal to the metal, esp. when you get past Woodward. I’ve noticed a lot more motorcyclists and they love that stretch–vrrroOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooom! Ugh. 🙁
it wouldn’t actually be an ‘average’ then, would it 😉
Most engineering studies don’t use average speed, they use 85th percentile.
Asking high school students to bike 2 blocks out of direction is not a good idea. The logic here is inconsistent with the City’s and Metro’s goals. It also is against the policies of the USDOT. It defies logic. It is the single worst idea I have heard in 20 years as a transportation professional. ODOT leadership should be ashamed.
28th is the east end of the school; there is no biking two blocks “out of direction,” it literally directs you to the school and the school’s bike racks.
This just highlights for me that Powell and other urban boulevards (Barbur Blvd anyone?) should be transferred to city control. A state agency that is notoriously out of touch with the needs of Portlanders has no place dictating Portland’s transportation policy.
P.S. I agree that this intersection needs further improvement, in the form of a proper bike lane on the W side of 26th that runs continuously from 26th/Division through 26th and Powell.
Maybe they should start by removing the unsafe cross walks first.
That will help pedestrians.
I’m getting tired of Shelli Romero’s smoke and mirrors, contradictory statements, and nonsense about ‘geometry.’
Romero said the presence of the bike lanes and boxes have no impact on Powell traffic capacity or travel time, though a new signal at 28th would increase travel times a bit.
Then why bother removing them? In the name of safety? That’s insanity Shelli. Go away forever and hand Powell over to PBOT.
I’m confused. I thought the original plan for the 20s bikeway was to remove the N. bound bike lane on 26th anyway. This would create a couplet: a large, hopefully separated bike lane on 26th southbound, and a low-traffic northbound lane on 28th (with a full bike-only signal at Powell).
As for grade change, 28th is really no that bad. Hard for me to admit this, but if this is the plan, I agree with ODOT. What a weird feeling.
Which department do you work in at ODOT?
My initial opinion all of our roads inside our city should be safe and encourage an active lifestyle. All roads near a school should be safe. My gut reaction to this is that we should figure out how to make 26th safe. I didn’t read anything hear to sway me otherwise. Interesting push and pull between the DOTs.
Yes. At present it’s sounding too uncomfortably much like 28th gets safer at the expense of 26th, which is thrown to the big metal wolves.
Bike crossings will remain a joke as long as we have daily ricky racers speeding with no thought or their surroundings… How about speeding tickets as a proportion of one’s income?
Could an elevated path, say 20 or 30 feet above the ground be provided? One going N/S acrosss the city and one going E/W to be used only for cyclists? Every 5 or 10 blocks there could be a ramp back to earth. It would not need to support a lot of weight, except when riots occur and the teeming hordes protest for peace and justice and loot, shoot, and burn down everything they see. 🙂 (Wonder how many people miss the irony of that – I’ll bet there are more than just a few.)
If such an elevated path is ever proposed, please let the engineers do the design with the input of a few cyclists. Do not get the imbeciles of City Goobermint involved, or the historical society, or the Art committee, etc, etc, etc. Those folks will just drive the cost to Pluto and the whole project would never happen – just like they did to the Columbia River bridge.
Are you writing the check?
We should get rid of the bike lanes and add more parking. In fact, let’s add a lot more parking, like back-in angle parking on both sides and some bollards to keep the parked cars safe. Also add diverters every second or 3rd block and some chokepoint bollards in the middle of the road to keep people safe. We don’t need bike lanes and there’s plenty of room for parking. Everybody’s happy and safe. Maybe PPB could enforce the speed limit i.e. ticket 80% of the traffic.
Except I got the priorities wrong: speed, parking, freight, trimet, dogs, pedestrians, trees, then people biking very slowly on sidewalks on the weekend. Right? I’m looking forward to hearing about the ODOT and PBOT bike ride through this stretch.
Maybe they could implement simultaneous green signals in all directions for bikes and peds twice per cycle? Stroads like this would be much safer and easier to cross that way, and with a headstart on traffic, you wouldn’t need the bike box but perhaps no right on red during the ped/bike cycles.
Quite apart from any of the details, the reason I think this is a big failure is that ODOT’s suggestion evokes the all-too-familiar middle finger to people who bike. Are they really so out of touch that they don’t know or care how this sounds? They would never dream of this zero sum garbage if the mode in question were cars. Why even go there?
This zero sum logic is eerily familiar from the City Club’s final report:
“Separate routes (such as cycletracks or paths) and low-speed routes (such as bicycle boulevards) should be prioritized over alternatives, even if it means eliminating bicycle lanes on high-speed or high-capacity streets. PBOT should perform a city-wide audit of traffic corridors and intersections that are difficult and/or unsafe for bicycle riders and pedestrians.”
I just don’t understand the resistance against separated cycle lanes. We’re Portlanders currently cycle touring through Europe. From Oslo to Croatia, in cities dating back to Roman times, major cities and rural towns alike have incroprated cycle paths into the sidewalks. The sidewalks are wide to accommodate all users, the bike lane is painted a separate color and there are bike lights at every intersection. It’s not that complicated. Surely, ODOT has the capacity to make this happen in Portland, they just prioritize motorized vehicles.
“The sidewalks are wide to accommodate all users, the bike lane is painted a separate color and there are bike lights at every intersection. It’s not that complicated.”
“…Surely, ODOT has the capacity to make this happen in Portland”
Um, have you talked to anyone at ODOT lately? Capacity for this sort of thing seems exactly what they have the least of. Besides, I think in this case ODOT isn’t talking so much about what they would do *along* Powell (the street of ours which they manage for us) but what they want PBOT to do *along* the streets they manage for us, which happen to *cross* one of the arterials they manage.
“…The sidewalks are wide to accommodate all users, the bike lane is painted a separate color and there are bike lights at every intersection. …” Jen
How much wider relative to say, commonly existing 6′ sidewalks in our area? How extensive are the wider sidewalks to which you refer, throughout individual cities you’ve seen them?
Not that they don’t sometimes work, or can’t but people biking on sidewalks poses potentially big problems for people walking. If the countries in which you’ve seen these type sidewalks have worked out ways by which to keep everyone using them safe and happy, that’s great. Let’s hear about it.
To resolve road use problems locally, and maybe specific to 26th, could multi-use sidewalks much wider (say 12′), work for people biking and walking along that avenue better than the sidewalks and rather narrow bike lanes there now?
It’s expensive and a different culture. the culture is the hard part.
The Germans and French like to drive just as much as we do… not to mention their southern neighbors.
One cultural aspect in common does not make two cultures equal.
The current roadway on SE 26th at Powell has 2 substandard bike lanes and 3 lanes for cars: 2 thru lanes and a left turn lane in each direction. So the problem is the left turns. Solution: ban left turns from 26th to Powell. This will reduce car traffic on 26th and eliminate the dangerous turns across the bike route. It will also provide room for full-size bike lanes now, or curb-separated bike paths in the future, while maintaining access for the Trimet route on 26th.
“…Solution: ban left turns from 26th to Powell. …” Joseph E
And with your solution eliminating left turn lanes (left turns also, or just the left turn lanes?), what realistic alternative for accessing Powell, do you propose that 26th Ave traffic?
Their ability to help reduce traffic congestion, is the reason left turn lanes are installed. They can be eliminated, but it’s not a good idea if it makes traffic congestion conditions worse.
heh. “We just think it’s safer.”
I don’t care how much freight and cars need to be pushed down Powell. First, every intersection should be safe for human-beings to cross, especially children on their way to school.
You are not going to out-engineer the fact that 35-mph speeds are inconsistent with safety in this kind of urban environment. Speed is the problem here, period.
If the DOTs are unwilling to put safety first then it’s our moral obligation to put an end to this insanity. Too many lives have wrecked unnecessarily on this road (and so many others like it).
Let’s get Dan and Matt (Garrett) in the ring.
DOTs across the country have as their priority the capacity of streets vis a vis autos. Safety is second. I worry that Vision Zero, while ostensibly putting safety first will continue to be used as a secondary measure. The point of transportation is safe movement for every mode, NOT fast movement for one mode.
Until DOTs evaluate streets based on the principle of safety FIRST, we will have terrible places to live and move around.
You are aware that most people that die in auto crashes are in autos, yes?
Exactly my point. Evaluating roads based primarily on capacity has created a culture where people think about roads as “for cars” not “for people,” as a place of “fastest possible route,” not simple enjoyment in transit.
Running an algorithm that evaluates capacity is beside the point. Roads should be designed for safe movement, e.g. speed, different modes, livability. Only THEN should DOTs talk about capacity.
Capacity has never been the only metric upon which roadways are designed. I would also doubt that it has been the highest metric. I would agree that many State DOTs have historically focused on a single mode, though I also think that is a reflection of the expectations of society, which are clearly changing faster than the DOTs are capable of. Ideally, the DOTs should be the leaders, not the followers.
This actually gives me hope. Thanks Paikiala.