Harvest Century September 22nd

City settles on diagonal design for diverter on NE Rodney

Posted by on August 17th, 2015 at 4:23 pm

ivydiverter

The current temporary diverter would be “beefed up.”
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

After hearing from many people who are fans of the temporary diagonal diverter at NE Rodney and Ivy, the city has tentatively scrapped plans to remove it and is now planning to beef it up instead.

That’s significant news for the planned north-south Rodney Neighborhood Greenway through inner Northeast Portland, and also for Ivy Street; it’ll presumably reduce the use of Ivy as an east-west alternative to driving on Northeast Fremont.

We reported in June that the city was planning to replace the current diagonal diverter with a one-way street on Rodney just north of Ivy, similar to the one at NW Marshall Street and 10th Avenue. In July, we covered a city open house about the subject.

In an email last week to the Eliot Neighborhood Association, city manager project manager Rich Newlands said the diagonal diverter concept has won out.

Newlands added that the current diverter will be strengthened enough “to eliminate the ability of drivers to go over it.”

Newlands said that though PBOT’s “technical assessment” had found that restricting only northbound traffic would be good enough to suit the needs of the intersection, it had received a “volume of public comment … that strongly supports retaining the diagonal design.”

“The public process nonetheless has indicated a strong preference for the more aggressive approach to managing traffic on Rodney,” Newlands wrote.

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Ted Buehler, co-chair of the group BikeLoudPDX and a leading voice of support for Rodney’s diagonal diverter, said he was glad to hear about the city’s new course. He said the city’s earlier proposal to remove the diagonal diverter had been informed mostly by feedback from immediate neighbors, not by the future users of a bikeway that doesn’t yet exist.

rodney ivy detail

The city’s previous proposal for Rodney at Ivy.
(See here for full plan)

“A mother of two who lives in Concordia or Arbor Lodge and would use Rodney to shepherd her kids downtown once in a while has no way of knowing about an obscure public meeting,” said Buehler, who himself lives two blocks from the diverter in question.

Buehler added that BikeLoud has been campaigning vigorously for diverters on neighborhood greenways citywide, with measures such as a postcard campaign specifically about the Rodney diverter and, most recently, with a “photobooth” at July Sunday Parkways in Northeast Portland. The photobooth encouraged people to take photos asking the city to add more diverters and other safety upgrades to neighborhood greenways and share them with the city council and on social media.

In his email to the Eliot Neighborhood Association, Newlands added that the city is preparing to release a report that will set a firmer policy for when to use diverters like this one:

The upcoming Greenway Assessment Report will be providing more refined design guidance for diversion as part of Neighborhood Greenway projects, which should better clarify the issue ‘boundaries/ thresholds’ for these discussions in the future. We also hope the Assessment Report eventually leads to an actual Greenway program that provides on-going funding and thus the more timely ability to adjust the tools we use on Greenways so they can adapt to changing conditions and needs.

That report is due at the end of this month, and we’ll be covering it. Stay tuned to learn whether likely decisions like this one are a sign of further trends in city practice.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

59 Comments
  • Avatar
    soren August 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    “The public process nonetheless has indicated a strong preference for the more aggressive approach to managing traffic on Rodney,” Newlands wrote.

    I’d like to thank the several dozen people who showed up and left comments at the Rodney open house. The City and PBOT pay very close attention to those comments so it’s important for those of us who support active transport to show up and make our voices heard.

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    Chris Shaffer August 17, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Woo hoo!

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    Amy August 17, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    This is great news! Now all we need is diverters every five blocks across the entire greenway system, and then we can be a Platinum city!

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      Adam August 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Seriously!!!

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      Tyler August 18, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Absolutely! This should have been done at the inception of the bike blvd system, but it’s not too late.

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      John Lascurettes August 18, 2015 at 10:28 am

      It doesn’t even need that many. It would just take one diverter on a greenway between every major pair of streets. That would be enough to stop cut through. For example, put one on Siskiyou between NE 15th and NE 7th; that would stop people avoiding traffic on Fremont. In that case, it’s one in 8 blocks.

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        PorterStout August 18, 2015 at 12:08 pm

        This! And those folks are often in rush hour mindset too – I’ve seen folks doing probably 40 mph through the neighborhood. Siskiyou has speed bumps but the numbered cross streets don’t.

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    Ted Buehler August 17, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Folks — it’s important to give the city feedback on this. It’s fine to shout for joy here in the echo-chamber of the BikePortland comments blog, but if you really want to let decisionmakers know that you’re excited about this diverter staying put, drop a thank you note to

    Rich Newlands, PBOT Project Manager
    Rich.Newlands@portlandoregon.gov

    Steve Novick, Commissioner responsible for PBOT
    novick@portlandoregon.gov
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/novick/

    Charlie Hales, Mayor
    mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/60975

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      AndyC of Linnton August 17, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      Maybe add this comment to the bottom of the story text? Seems important for next steps around the city & to show people appreciate this treatment. Just a suggestion, thanks.

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    Huey Lewis August 17, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Oh man, this is really satisfying. My girlfriend and I were at that last open house meeting just a few weeks back. We were kinda grinding our teeth listening to a handful of people whine about this *tiny* inconvenience to their commute. I was thinking just today as I rode home, on Rodney, that I wished there were more diverters on neighborhood streets. You can’t just paint some dumb bikes on the asphalt and call it done. We have to keep pushing for more infrastructure to make biking safe, fun, inviting, etc.

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      Ted Buehler August 17, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      Huey — that’s a compelling story — that you ride Rodney as part of your commute. And that you were in attendance at the meeting, gritting your teeth, dreading the loss of quiescence and safety on your route home on a bicycle. And now you’re satisfied.

      Make sure you share that story with more folks than just those of us already surfing BikePortland!

      The mayor just got on a Climate Change kick in the past couple weeks, make sure he gets positive support for taking controversial steps forward, no matter how small they may be. It’s easy to toss around lofty greenhouse gas reduction strategies using dumb things like high MPG cars that cause no inconvenience to anyone, but don’t really solve the problem either. It’s another thing for him to get down and dirty and back up Active Transportation staff in a “car-convenience vs bicycle safety” decision at a local level. Make sure he knows his staff’s decision is appreciated, daily, as you make lifestyle choices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions…

      Ted Buehler

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    Adam August 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Fan-tast-ic !

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    9watts August 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    This is great to hear.
    I do wonder, though, how this is done in other countries? What ever happened to doing something like this on principle? You know, reference the policy that puts safety and human transport ahead of Car head, and do it?

    I am all for public process, public comment, etc., but why is the threshold always so high for doing the right thing when it comes to people-powered transport? No one at PBOT or ODOT waits to widen the Rose Quarter, or rebuild the bridges on I-5 North of the Terwilliger Curves, or add digital sign boards along our metro area freeways until enough people in cars come to a meeting to voice their support for it. No, PBOT and ODOT just do it, reflexively.

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      paikiala August 18, 2015 at 9:32 am

      All of your examples appear to be ODOT.

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    Ted Buehler August 17, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    “The photobooth encouraged people to take photos asking the city to add more diverters and other safety upgrades to neighborhood greenways and share them with the city council and on social media.”

    Link to photo on Facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/bikeloud/photos/a.601828346592717.1073741827.600426656732886/754633207978896/

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    Jason Brune August 17, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    This is great news. I also commute by bicycle on Rodney frequently. My hope is that the beefer diverters include some nice planters to green up the area too.

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      paikiala August 18, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Planters are the plan.

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    Spiffy August 17, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    “The public process nonetheless has indicated a strong preference for the more aggressive approach to managing traffic on Rodney,” Newlands wrote.

    I hope he’s only saying that to appease the masses and would have gone with the diagonal diverter anyway because it’s the right thing to do and not because of public pressure…

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      paikiala August 18, 2015 at 9:35 am

      ‘Public pressure’ is how policy is often crafted. Don’t decry it when it goes the direction you want.
      The neighborhood greenway report to council is apparently not getting a public vetting beforehand. Voicing concern about that might be more helpful for the future.

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    oregon111 August 17, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    another project with the intention of more gridlock,
    cars are here to stay — soon, the really large mass of portland voters will stop voting for ***word deleted by moderator*** stuff and start voting for more driving lanes and less congestion

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 18, 2015 at 12:49 am

      I can’t think of anywhere that has managed to fix their congestion problems by building more lanes. It’s one of those things that seems like it should work… but doesn’t.

      What does work is enough gay stuff that people have good options not to drive everywhere. Houston has a road with _26_ lanes in places (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_10), yet they still have congestion.

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      Granpa August 18, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Although I disagree with oregon111, I am pleased to see a post of a dissenting viewpoint.

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        Lester Burnham August 18, 2015 at 7:50 am

        Typically not something allowed on BP.

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          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

          that’s not true at all Lester. I love dissenting opinion and have zero problem allowing people to disagree. In fact, I love to see people who go against the majority… But… If it’s done in a way I feel is mean, insensitive, or unproductive, I will delete it every time I see it. Take it as a challenge: Disagree and dissent all you want, but do it carefully and creatively if you want to actually see it show up as a comment. Thanks!

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        Clark in Vancouver August 18, 2015 at 8:41 am

        And I like how someone is finally seeing the similarities with anti-queer and anti-cyclist sentiments.

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          Eric Leifsdad August 18, 2015 at 4:59 pm

          My ability to get somewhere on a bike while smiling somehow invalidates their investment in a car as a status symbol? That would explain the pointless rage.

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        are August 18, 2015 at 11:04 am

        lately it seems you can count on “oregon111” for the dissenting view, but apparently not with any supporting argument, and with a glib disrespect for those with whom s/he disagrees.

        what is hir basis for saying the “intention” is “more gridlock.” for the assertion “cars are here to stay.” why argue “more driving lanes” will create “less congestion,” when this has been repeatedly disproved.

        like granpa, i welcome a diversity of views, but the arguments from each perspective should be reasoned, and should reflect basic human respect for those with other perspectives.

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      paikiala August 18, 2015 at 9:37 am

      ‘gridlock’ belongs on a local service street for which the only function is access between private property and higher classified roadways.
      Let us know which street you live on, since you’re volunteering to let it be widened.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 18, 2015 at 10:52 am

      To the moderator: please restore the original content of oregon111’s post. “Gay stuff” isn’t really that offensive, and the original provides insight into the writer’s POV. Plus, I thought it was pretty funny.

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        are August 18, 2015 at 11:08 am

        the use of the word “gay” as a pejorative is “that offensive.”

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 18, 2015 at 11:19 am

          The use of that word in this particular context is so ridiculous that it serves to underscore the attitude the writer was expressing in a particularly effective way.

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            Chris I August 18, 2015 at 11:39 am

            A lot of people wouldn’t get the humor (I do), so they generally have to censor comments like that.

            We all know why Oregon111 comments here, but we can’t call a spade a spade, because that comment would get censored as well.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 18, 2015 at 12:14 pm

              I think most of the readers here are pretty intelligent, and share the same social agreement that using “gay” in this context is not appropriate. I think we all “get it”, and it’s revealing when someone doesn’t.

              are’s comment not withstanding, I would be shocked if anyone was actually offended by the expression Oregon111 used. Removing the word in this context treats us like children.

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                Alex Reed August 18, 2015 at 1:53 pm

                I’m gay, and I’m not “personally” offended, but I am offended on behalf of others. Think of life as a young gay person who’s not out, hearing “gay” used as a synonym for “bad” by myriad friends and even loved ones. It’s a bad feeling put on some people who really don’t need more bad feelings.

                Not accepting that using “gay” as a synonym for “bad” in the BikePortland internet community is a small step towards not accepting that use in general. So thanks, moderators!

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm

                I don’t accept it, and I don’t say it was an acceptable usage. What am saying is, despite that, in this specific context, the usage is valuable because it revels something about the writer that is relevant to the point he was expressing.

                In the same way, Donald Trump has said some things that are offensive and not acceptable, but our understanding of him is enriched by knowing that he said them.

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                are August 19, 2015 at 10:35 am

                @ hello kitty,
                that is a rather strange logic for allowing hurtful comments through. on the other hand, no one has promised a “safe space” here, and absent some definite criteria, deleting or editing comments can seem arbitrary.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 19, 2015 at 1:57 pm

                I guess I just don’t think that particular comment, in that particular context, rises to the level of hurtful. Inappropriate, yes, and somewhat offensive, but not hurtful. Obviously you read it differently.

                For the record, I would support removing the comment if it were targeted, threatening, or hateful (or even deliberately offensive). And I totally understand (and fully agree with) your objection to using ‘gay’ as a synonym for ‘bad’.

                In this particular case, I feel the value of the comment outweighed the damage it did. That’s why I object to censoring it.

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      pdx2wheeler August 18, 2015 at 11:52 am

      If you have an open mind and are able to take a moment please have a look at the following article oregon111…

      http://www.wired.com/2014/06/wuwt-traffic-induced-demand/

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    Clark in Vancouver August 17, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    These diverters are really great and a good thing but I wonder if Portland might try to push for even more advanced greenway treatments instead.
    Vancouver added this style of diverter in the ’80s and ’90s in a few neighbourhoods and they’ve made those neighbourhoods some of the nicest and most desirable ones in town and they were part of building the political base for cycling. Now we’re going to another level with greenways. Portland should look at them and push for them.
    Two streets to check out are the York Bikeway and the Comox-Helmcken Greenway. Both use techniques like having two blocks one-way but going in opposite directions, (two-way for bikes). A two-way separated lane on one side, one way general traffic in the rest of it. It drastically cuts down on motor vehicles while still letting people who live on a block access it by car. The intersections are interesting design too. Diverters that physically enforce the one-way for cars movement.
    http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/point-grey-cornwall.aspx
    http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/comox-helmcken.aspx

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      paikiala August 18, 2015 at 9:41 am

      PBOT proposed this on NE 9th and it was soundly objected to.

      PBOT will again propose it on a rather popular neighborhood greenway with volume issues, though not on consecutive blocks 😉 It is also proposed as part of some legacy bike boulevard retrofits in NE and has been used on some narrow streets already. I recall a story on bikeportland also regarding SE 34th.

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    Alex August 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

    This seems like good news but being a “new” rider to Portland my first thought is ” we need another North/South greenway? What about improving the existing greenways? I could see the need for a greenway further east and I suppose there is the thought that a lower “stress” route then Vancouver needs to exist but I am not sure I agree with that either (especially after the improvements to Vancouver). I don’t know, my first impression of Portland biking is that there is a big push to boost our miles of greenways and some of the infrastructure while the roads crumble. Take Michigan as an example, yet another N/S route, you have the time and money spent to build the median buffer at Rosa Parks onto Michigan but Michigan is horrible to ride, the road is in horrible shape. We have a ped/bike bridge over I5 at Bryant st but again Bryant is horrible to ride. The list goes on and on… I find myself searching out the greenways and bike lanes that have roads that aren’t completely riddled with gaping cracks and falling apart and honestly, they are getting harder to find. We certainly won’t be a platinum city with roads in the condition they are now. I know I am getting off topic and this truly seems like a great win but I just look at all the other issues and the cities intent to add sharrows wherever they can to boost the amount of bike routes on the books while 60% of those routes are only suitable to ride if you are on a fat tire bike with full suspension.

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      paikiala August 18, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Rideability is discussed in the NG evaluation report. Also, NG’s are classified among the essential roadway network that gets priority maintenance over other local service roadways.

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        soren August 18, 2015 at 10:35 am

        “NG’s are classified among the essential roadway network that gets priority maintenance over other local service roadways.”

        given the disrepair of many of our greenways and the possibility of further inexpensive improvement during re-paving this is a big deal. kudos to pbot and the city for this policy change.

        i would also like to see NGs classified as an essential roadway network where active transport has explicit priority over other modes.

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      Adam H. August 18, 2015 at 10:13 am

      We wouldn’t even need the Greenway on Rodney had PBOT not botched the N Williams project.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu August 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

        No matter what is done to Williams, it will always be a busy street handling lots of bike traffic, lots of commute and local car traffic , stopping buses, turning cars, pedestrians crossing. It can never be a quiet neighborhood street. Some people are uncomfortable riding on any thing but a quiet neighborhood street. So, the Rodney route is helpful.

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          Adam H. August 18, 2015 at 1:39 pm

          This is why Williams should have gotten cycle tracks with floating bus stops and protected intersections. It is possible to create stress-free cycle infra on busy business corridors.

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            Steve B August 18, 2015 at 1:55 pm

            Yes it is, but it is not currently feasible for Williams. We went over all of these possibilities and more on the project SAC. Trimet ruled out bus islands, a cycletrack would have cost many millions of dollars, new signals and so forth. We had about $250k to work with, though thankfully PBOT went for more funding and got it, enough to add some signals basically. I encourage you to get involved on a project committee and voice your concerns during the planning phase, as well as listen to the concerns of others who do not share your viewpoint.

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              Adam H. August 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm

              I always make sure to email my concerns and ideas to project managers when this issues arise. I also try to take every survey that Metro/TriMet/PBOT send out, and I’m active in my neighborhood association. So no, I don’t only complain on BikePortland and Twitter. 😉

              You might want to ask TriMet again about the floating bus stops. They seem pretty okay with them now considering their recent changes to the Moody cycle track.

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              davemess August 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm

              I couldn’t agree more Steve. Getting out and interacting with all the “crazy car people” that so many on here rail against is a really good thing to do. These people aren’t the enemy they just have different lifestyles and priorities than some of us here do. Going to planning and SAC meetings has certainly turned me away from a more militant stance on biking, cars, and infrastructure, and it definitely helps you see a lot of complications and constraints many of these projects are under. There’s a big city out there with a lot of opinions, don’t get caught in your own little bubble and echo chamber.

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                9watts August 19, 2015 at 7:53 am

                “These people aren’t the enemy they just have different lifestyles and priorities than some of us here do.”

                Fair enough. But we here, generally, are not talking about or dismissing these individual differences, these variations. We’re talking about POLICY, about what we need to do to change the system conditions to make it less likely, less appealing, less cheap for people to drive, and more appealing or urgent for people to consider getting around by other means. Recognizing that there’s this variation is a good starting point, but it doesn’t invalidate the urgency, the dedication to making change happen, in bold, sweeping steps.

                “Going to planning and SAC meetings has certainly turned me away from a more militant stance on biking, cars, and infrastructure, and it definitely helps you see a lot of complications and constraints many of these projects are under.”

                Again, that is a useful insight but it doesn’t really help us hold PBOT’s feet to the fire to realize that everyone’s got their own story to tell. At the end of the day you still have to allocate fund toward something, and more paving, more autos-first infrastructure, is no longer acceptable. Roger Geller knows this. The Bicycle Master Plan tells us this. Vision Zero now admonishes us about this. The challenge is to do THE RIGHT THING and stop pussy-footing around.

                “There’s a big city out there with a lot of opinions, don’t get caught in your own little bubble and echo chamber.”

                How are you suggesting we operationalize this aphorism? Although we here do tend to gravitate toward certain familiar ideas, I don’t think it is even remotely fair to classify/dismiss this conversation as an echo chamber.

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            davemess August 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

            Stress free until you get to an intersection.

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              Adam H. August 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm

              http://protectedintersection.com/

              The bike lane (or lack thereof now) should never have been moved to the left. This breaks all standards and creates additional conflicts – especially considering the signals were left as-is (i.e. no dedicated phase for people riding bikes).

              Williams was a half-assed approach that actually made the street less safe. If lack of funding was the primary issue, then we should have waited until we had enough funding to do it properly.

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                paikiala August 19, 2015 at 9:25 am

                Which ‘standards’? How is one side less safe than another on a one-way road? A hook crash is a hook crash.
                Cycle tracks have their own problems, particularly if they are 2-way.

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          Steve B August 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          Indeed. That is exactly why we requested the city prioritize Rodney in addition to the improvements on Williams.

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          Eric Leifsdad August 18, 2015 at 5:09 pm

          It sounds like Williams has a speeding problem. 20mph traffic is pretty tame, even with confusing turns and signage.

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        paikiala August 19, 2015 at 9:22 am

        Adam,
        I disagree. The two pathways are for different types of riders and this pattern is deliberate on the part of PBOT.

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    Aaron August 18, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Awesome!

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    rain waters August 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Anything that turns the meat grinder down a notch helps.

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