Machines for Freedom launch at Western Bikeworks

City council will weigh new neighborhood greenway guidelines Wednesday

Posted by on August 24th, 2015 at 4:33 pm

clinton speed

Southeast Clinton Street.
(Photo:M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Some biking advocates are planning to wear green to Wednesday’s Portland City Council meeting to welcome the arrival of a long-awaited city study of Portland’s neighborhood greenways.

The study, first reported on BikePortland in November, has since evolved to include a new set of recommended guidelines for what makes a comfortable greenway. The guidelines would, in some ways, enshrine modern neighborhood greenways into city practices for the first time.

Over the last year, many Portlanders have warned that some neighborhood greenways — the theoretically low-traffic, low-stress side streets that form the backbone of the bike network in most of inner east Portland and a major component of its city’s planned network — are uncomfortable and unwelcoming to bike on because of high car traffic and speeds.

The city data gathered for this report essentially confirmed those warnings.

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Most notably, city staff are proposing a formal target of 1,000 motor vehicles per day on neighborhood greenways, with 1,500 acceptable and city action required for levels over 2,000 cars per day.

For crossings of major streets, the city is proposing a target of at least 50 opportunities to cross per hour on bike or foot, with at least 100 crossings ideal.

Both of these guidelines would represent changes over the current benchmarks. Look for a more in-depth exploration of the proposed guidelines in the next couple days.

Advocacy group BikeLoudPDX is organizing Portlanders to testify in support of the staff recommendations, which are being submitted to the city council for formal review. The group is inviting supporters of neighborhood greenways to show up at Portland City Hall, 1220 SW 5th Ave., at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The council’s agenda calls for the report to be presented at 9:45 a.m. and last 30 minutes.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

63 Comments
  • ethan August 24, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    It would be nice if any of these greenways were actually safe. There isn’t a single greenway that I’ve ridden on that’s been safe enough for me to consider advising it as a route for someone who is new to biking.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu August 24, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      I’m not sure what street in the city you actually consider safe enough for a new rider?

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      • ethan August 24, 2015 at 10:50 pm

        None of them. Which is exactly my point. Even the best of the best (SW Moody) has issues on both the north and south ends.

        One of my friends lives on Ankeny and they haven’t biked in years. They rode Sunday parkways with me, but literally as soon as the event ended, we were nearly hit by several cars. We were even buzzed by a police officer on a motorcycle.

        Keep in mind that we were riding on greenways, yet they felt unsafe enough that they will not even consider biking the 3 miles to work.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu August 25, 2015 at 7:58 am

          A person who is too frightened to ride on the Ankeny greenway is, in my opinion, a person who is looking for excuses not to ride. That person won’t ride regularly, no matter what we do to our roads. If it isn’t cars, it will be other cyclists, or hills, or weather. Maybe if we turned all of Portland into a pan-flat protected cycleway, then they might ride, occasionally, from May to September, then they’d disappear with the first raindrop.

          I disagree with the idea that we should insist on making our roads suitable for the most timid and least capable cyclists. In a perfect world, with unlimited budget and few drivers, that might be nice. In the world we have, with tight budgets and the fact that the 80-90% of Portlanders who drive have rights and needs too, I think setting such a standard so high, that even Ankeny is considered too dangerous to ride on, is unrealistic and unproductive. It results in the constantly negative, complaining attitude that is so prevalent on BP.

          If I were a city manager, and if I thought that the most negative BP commenters actually represented the view of the average Portland cyclist, I would stop investing in bike infrastructure.

          Ankeny east of Sandy is a fine greenway. Ankeny west of Sandy needs work. Parts of Clinton need work.

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          • peejay August 25, 2015 at 9:29 am

            So, are you happy with the measly bike mode share we have now? You think that’s enough? That everyone just has to get tougher, and then we’ll have more people on bikes? I honestly don’t understand your point of view. If a lot of people are not riding because they say they feel unsafe, maybe it’s because they don’t feel safe.

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            • davemess August 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm

              He’s saying that a lot of the people who use “interested but concerned” aren’t really that interested, and there is very little outside of making driving completely prohibitively expensive that will get them to consistently ride.

              Perhaps we have hit (or are nearing) our threshold of mode share, and building more and better infrastructure will not see a large increase.

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              • ethan August 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm

                The person I’m referring to is VERY interested. They brought their bike from out of town and has been wanting to ride it for quite a while. Sunday Parkways was a nice opportunity, but it was short lived.

                Their work is only 4 miles from their house and is almost entirely downhill. Unfortunately, the way drivers acted on Sunday made them think that they should stick to the bus.

                This is someone who used to ride their bike daily all over other parts of Oregon, but is scared of drivers in Portland. I think their fears are justified, seeing as within 15 minutes of Sunday Parkways ending, we were run off the road by people driving.

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            • John Liu
              John Liu August 25, 2015 at 2:49 pm

              What I am saying is:

              1. It is impossible, as a practical matter, to make a dense network of greenways through Portland that are all MUCH quieter and MUCH more car free than today’s Ankeny greenway west of Sandy. (I’m using that stretch as a reference, because most of us are familiar with it.) Impossible within the constraints of the city’s budget, which is tight, and the needs and demands and political power of all the road users, which includes drivers, and given a realistic time frame, call it five years. Maybe we could blanket a few greenways with enough diverters to make them practically car free, but not dozens of miles of road, and then what about the connecting streets that cyclists still need to ride to/from those greenways?. So I don’t think that is a realistic goal, or a realistic standard by which to judge projects in the Portland of 2015.

              2. It is not necessary, in the medium term, to achieve such a network that I’ve described as not practically possible. Cycling’s mode share in Portland is, let’s say, 5%. That’s probably 15% in the most bike friendly parts of Portland (say, people who live close in, by Ankeny and in similar areas) and 2% in the least bike friendly parts (people who live near SE Foster, in Parkrose, etc). I’m guessing at these numbers, but plug in whatever you think the correct numbers are. Suppose we hope to get it to 15% in five years. We can do that by getting the 15% to be 20% and getting the 2% to be 10%. That means a greenway like Ankeny doesn’t need to get much better, it needs to get a little better, to get 15% to rise to 20%. More critically, a neighborhood that has no greenway at all needs to get some real greenways, that are about as good as Ankeny, to get 2% to rise to 10%. The 2% neighborhoods are the low hanging fruit. It is always easier to pick low hanging fruit than to pick from the top of the tree.

              3. Why is it easier to get 2% to 10%, than to get 15% to 20%? I think basically the same distribution of people live in all of these areas, in terms of their varying “propensity” – that is the combination of interest, ability, determination, and need – to ride a bike instead of drive a car. In the 15% neighborhood, many of the people who have higher propensity to ride a bike are already riding. To get to 20%, you have to get people to ride who have lower propensity to do so. That’s hard. That’s pulling teeth. It is too hot, too cold, too wet, too hilly, too slow, too nervous to ride, they’re going to find an excuse to drive. They are say they are “interested” in riding, but we all say we are “interested” in doing things that we never do. In the 2% areas, if you provide a good greenway, you can get the people with higher propensity to start riding. You know they will, because similar people are already riding in the 15% area. You don’t have to get the lower propensity people.

              (Put another way, using peejay’s terms, I don’t we can make people get “tougher”, I think we should realize that the “least tough” people just are never going to ride, they will always find an excuse, so let’s work with the people who are “tough enough” but just live in an area with no decent greenway.)

              4. So, just to be concrete about it, what should we do? In my opinion? Good greenways like Ankeny west of Sandy should be improved if it can be done inexpensively and if there is a specific problem spot: better crossings at Sandy and at Cesar Chavez, road markings reminding drivers it is a greenway. Less good greenways like Ankeny east of Sandy and some of Clinton should get more improvements: diverters and speed bumps, lots of signage, speed cameras or displays. And areas without greenways, or with greenways that don’t work at all, should get most of the improvements.

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              • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 7:11 am

                I disagree about the relative ease of increasing bike mode share through greenways in the inner and outer parts of Portland. Greenways in Southwest and East Portland face some tough obstacles: residential streets generally don’t go through; many of the ones that do currently serve as minor arterials and have high car volumes and really aren’t candidates for diversion because people need them in order to drive to their homes; the major arterials are in general more intimidating to cross or ride along than the ones in inner Portland; trip length is on average longer; and destinations are still along arterials (but side street connectivity is bad, so people will need to bike along the arterials for longer distances to get from the greenway to their destinations). Overall, I think there is more scope for increasing bike mode share through buffered and protected lanes in East Portland and Southwest than through greenways – but even that will be challenging.

                Not to say that East Portland (especially) and Southwest shouldn’t get outsize investments in active transportation infrastructure – but I think the case is stronger on an equity/safety basis than on a number-of-additional-riders-per-additional-dollar basis. I could see cheap improvements on already-extant inner greenways garnering more riders-per-dollar than somewhat-less-cheap new greenways in East Portland. We should absolutely do the new greenways in East Portland (not least because East Portland asked for them in the East Portland in Motion plan), but I don’t think it’s going to be a silver bullet nor get East Portland to 10% bike mode share.

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          • ethan August 25, 2015 at 9:33 am

            The problems with Ankeny are mostly enforcement. People park well into the crosswalks or into the lane and it greatly reduces visibility. Another issue is drivers who do not respect the people on bikes. Yesterday on my way to my friend’s house, I saw someone driving a large delivery van down the left side of the road while texting. I managed to get their attention before they ran over the group of people who were biking up the hill, but what if I hadn’t been there? They were in a collision course with about 5 people, who could have very easily been injured.

            On top of that, Ankeny doesn’t connect well to anything else. Burnside connects to everything. Ankeny doesn’t. If you want to get to the Esplanade, there’s no way to get there that doesn’t involve sharing the lane with drivers, riding in a door-zone bike lane, or riding next to freight traffic with only an 8″ wide strip of paint to protect you.

            Keep in mind that this is one of the most heavily biked neighborhoods in the entire country. Yet, the “bike infrastructure” is so little that it barely even counts for anything. Adding some curb bulbouts to cross streets may be a little more expensive than doing nothing, but it will save the life of people someday (whether they are walking, biking or driving). I think it’s worth it to put more money into our greenways. Right now they’re just convenient for people driving and parking and inconvenient for people like my friend who just wants to get around without getting squashed.

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          • invisiblebikes August 25, 2015 at 12:23 pm

            Your essentially preemptively victim blaming, fear of being hurt while riding a bike is the 2nd most complaint I hear when I talk to others about bike commuting… the number 1 complaint is the fear of just being thrust into the same space with cars. This is a fear of change.

            Do you remember when you took the drivers test for the first time? Do you remember how timid and afraid you were during the driving test?
            That fear may not have been based on doing something wrong and getting hurt for you but many people experience exactly that when taking the drivers test.
            That fear gets worse with age, it becomes a fear of change and all the scary things that come with it.

            The biggest issue I face working in the bicycle industry for the last 25 years is the anxiety of consumers of all the things they have to change or overcome just to ride a bike.
            saddle soreness
            Hand soreness and numbness
            muscle aches and pains
            fitness deficit, fatigue and depression from that

            over excursion is a real problem, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met that rode their bike to work one day and puked the minute they arrived.

            Then there is the fear of riding a bike and not falling off, people get talked into so many things by “cyclist friends” and sales people that once they get home with their new purchase they literally have to spend days just learning how to use it all.
            Clipless pedals
            shifters
            braking nuances
            stopping and starting
            know what gear to be in when restarting
            where to focus while riding
            back packs full of crap they don’t need, and unbalanced loads
            safety accessories that cost more than months worth of gas in their car.

            Now put those people into traffic…even the lightest traffic of a greenway

            not only do they have all of the above to remember, but they also need to remember;
            Rules of the road
            Rules of cycling
            traffic laws
            where are they going?
            safe and complete route to their destination, alternatives if they get off course.
            obstacles in the road way
            when to signal, and having to take a hand off the bars to do it

            And the biggest fear of all… how to react when their life flashes before their eyes because of someone who could care less in considering that they may be A New Bike Commuter.

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            • gutterbunnybikes August 26, 2015 at 6:09 am

              Many of those issues you mention aren’t the purchaser’s fault its the salesperson fault. They’re taking advantage of clueless customers.

              Clipless pedals for a new rider (actually a detriment to urban/commuter riders)? A bicycle with too many gears and confusing shifting systems (IGHs take care of this and can be shifted at a stop), upselling over the top safety gear, not recommending a rack.

              The problems you point out (and they go across the board for most the bicycle industry) is that they’re selling Lamborghinis to people that only need a Civic.

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              • invisiblebikes August 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm

                gee thanks for reiterating my points. As if they weren’t clear enough.

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      • tee August 25, 2015 at 10:38 pm

        Actually, NE Holman between 7th and 33rd. Went 3 years of daily use with not a single close call biking or running. Still ride there now that it isn’t a mainstay route and it is a keeper. It does have two well placed and effective diverters.

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        • ethan August 26, 2015 at 9:11 am

          Holman is easily the best greenway. However, as someone who uses it pretty frequently (walking and biking), I’ve had way too many close calls. Often, people won’t stop when crossing it at 9th, 10th and 11th.

          The diverter at 13th is perfect. It allows bikes through, with priority while restricting auto access to everything but a driveway. (Unfortunately, the person who drives to that house has a bad habit of parking their car slightly into the right of way, which is profoundly annoying. They have this excellent infrastructure that was created solely for their use, and they take up space that should be for other people).

          I imagine our use of the greenway is at differing times. For me, I use it westbound during the morning occasionally (although, I’ve mostly switched to 13th, since it’s more direct to my work). In the evenings, usually I’ll ride it for a short distance eastbound (and this is where most of the issues occur ~ 6pm). Then, if I’m getting groceries, I’ll walk on it both ways.

          I’ve noticed that in the PM rush hour times, it’s mostly residents of the neighborhood who are a threat, since they don’t like stopping. Later in the evening, it appears to be mostly people from other areas (usually Washington) bypassing MLK and crossing between Ainsworth and Dekum. They really, really don’t like stopping and I’ve been almost hit a few times at 10th.

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    • Garlynn August 25, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Maybe, eventually, this situation will be improved. If the Greenways Report is seen as an incremental step forward, then it is a positive step. The question is, do its recommendations go far enough?

      Read it for yourself here:

      http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?a=542365&c=50265

      I would support it at Council, but also ask for the City to immediately look at ways to make it stronger. Where it is weak is in its insistence on using performance to dictate urban form, rather than using urban form standards to dictate urban form. That is, where sidewalks intersect a street, there are standards that say a curb cut must be provided. This is regardless of the volume of traffic on the street, or the volume of pedestrians, etc. on the sidewalk.

      Similarly, our greenways should have diverters or alternating one-way treatments every few blocks, as a matter of urban form, to structurally inhibit through automobile traffic while allowing bicycles to flow unimpeded. Everywhere. Regardless of traffic.

      That’s not what this report calls for. But, at least this report calls for something that is better than the situation on the streets today.

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  • Todd Hudson August 24, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    So the city is setting guidelines for itself, a non-binding and non-enforceable statement that determines a course of action. I’m not particularly confident they’ll follow them.

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    • ethan August 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Hey, maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll make a NEW LOGO for the greenways!

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      • Mark August 24, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        I’m hoping for a nice banner!

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      • Eric Leifsdad August 24, 2015 at 5:47 pm

        If they can find the money to pay the logo consultant, sure. But I think the logo comes after funding the timeline for establishing a taskforce to make a plan.

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        • Mark August 24, 2015 at 5:49 pm

          Wait, when do they fit in the meetings with nearby parking dependent businesses and other stakeholders?

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        • Dan August 25, 2015 at 8:03 am

          Has Portlandia done a bike facilities planning skit yet?

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    • tom August 25, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Exactly, and it’s always buyer beware when it comes to the government and politicians. So we need to show up at City Hall on Wednesday morning, and keep talking about this here, on Twitter, etc., and keep pushing for them to deliver the real deal.

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  • B. Carfree August 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    They’ve set the bar pretty low, and it won’t exactly make the greenways a pleasant ride. A thousand cars per day, with double that just fine, likely means seven hundred and fifty of them during the peak four hours of the day, which is more than a car every twenty seconds: more than one car passing a cyclist every block. And it will be worse during the peak hour.

    Then, to add insult to injury, they are fine with a wait of seventy-two seconds on average to cross “major” streets. Considering that, for cars, a wait of over 85 seconds is considered a failing intersection, this just smacks of second-class treatment. And let’s not forget that different people need vastly different gaps to get across these things.

    We’re supposed to be happy with wait times that are considered failures? I simply cannot support such a capitulation. This is very sad news, indeed.

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    • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 7:48 am

      There is also:

      “An alternate vehicle volume
      measurement based on vehicles per hour may be used in
      lieu or in addition to ADT: to design, build and maintain
      for an average of 50 vehicles per hour in the peak
      direction, understanding that a neighborhood greenway
      can operate at an average of 75 vehicles per hour in the
      peak direction, but should be improved or maintained to
      not exceed 100 vehicles per hour in the peak direction.”

      If we hold PBOT to 50 per hour in the peak direction during commute time….that is 150 per shift, or 300 commuting cars per day. Combined with the goal of 100 bike and ped crossings per hour……we can get most of the trouble spots fixed…..if we are vigilant. I do agree that diversion or some sort every few blocks should be part of the Urban Form design guidelines, but Portland residents are not there yet and this administration can not take anything really progressive in the bike transport world……it makes them gag.

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  • Adam H. August 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    This is good news, but I find it interesting that PBOT is setting a “standard” of 1,000 cars per day, but is allowing volumes above that amount anyway. Our Greenways should be nearly car-free with local traffic allowed only.

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    • Tyler August 25, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Agreed. And I’m a resident of a so-called “greenway”

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  • Christi U August 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Why are any cars on the greenways? The city could limit car travel to those living on the street.

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    • Tyler August 25, 2015 at 9:04 am

      You’re right Christy. IF the City were ACTUALLY committed to supporting bicycle transit as a REAL solution, they would simply install diverters every 5-7 blocks and cap the segments with one way exists – like at 39/Clinton.
      The only reason not to do this is the power that be simply don’t have enough political pressure.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu August 25, 2015 at 9:24 am

      How?

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      • ethan August 25, 2015 at 10:48 am

        Make it physically impossible to drive more than 2 blocks on any greenway. Problem solved. No one in their right mind would drive down a route that they have to turn off of every 2 blocks.

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      • PorterStout August 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        You don’t really even need a diverter every two blocks. That one on NE Klickitat between 23rd and 24th has changed the traffic flow all the way to 15th. That whole stretch is much easier riding now.

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  • Brian Davis August 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Perhaps this will become clearer after a detailed reading of the full report, but I’m not sure what the 1,500 cars/day standard means. Setting a target volume (1,000 vpd) and a threshold above which mitigation is needed (2,000 vpd) is common practice, but if that’s the case then the middle number seems relatively meaningless. If you don’t require mitigation until you hit 2,000 vpd, then it sure sounds like you’re willing to accept volumes of anything less than 1,999 vpd, not 1,500.

    Also, suppose mitigation is triggered by a greenway exceeding the 2,000 vpd threshold, what is the purpose of the mitigation? Would it be to get the greenway below 2,000 vpd? Below 1,500? 1,000?

    These are important details, and I’d encourage BikeLoud and other activists to make sure they get firm answers on this to shape their work moving forward. There’s a BIG difference in comfort between 1,000 vpd and 2,000, and it might be the case that only one of these numbers has any real teeth.

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  • peejay August 24, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    How about a “No Passing in the Greenway” law? No exceptions. Makes that route useless for all but a few blocks for all cars.

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    • shirtsoff August 25, 2015 at 3:40 am

      I appreciate the sentiment behind such a rule, peejay, but sometimes on my commute home, I find it necessary to pass cyclists climbing the hill after 26th Ave on Clinton. If there were “no exceptions” would not cyclists also be held to the same law? I could see this backfiring. I appreciate the sentiment as it handicaps cars from using greenways as “shortcuts”, but the phrasing of any proposed law has to be considered carefully.

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      • Brian August 25, 2015 at 8:50 am

        How about no passing by motor vehicles?

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        • Matt August 25, 2015 at 11:40 am

          How about no street parking in hilly areas? That would allow people to pass safely at a lower speed.

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      • peejay August 25, 2015 at 9:59 am

        Agreed. The details are where things work or don’t. Laws are best followed when they’re simple to understand and don’t have a lot of special cases, but that’s how we wound up having to follow laws designed for cars.

        We could put bollards down the length of the road, but I fear that aggressive drivers will try to squeeze past bikes anyway, and some riders might feel obligated to move to the side.

        A sign that says “No Passing on this Street (except cyclists)” might be misinterpreted. How about “Cars May Not Pass”?

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        • Adam H. August 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

          Just put up “NO PASSING” signs all over the route and only enforce for drivers. Most people riding will ignore the sign anyway.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu August 26, 2015 at 11:01 am

            How would this be enforced?

            On BP, whenever something like this is discussed, many people say that enforcement is the solution.

            Portland, like many west coast cities, has relatively few police officers for its area. PPB has 1150 officers and Portland is 145 square miles, which is 8 officers/square mile. (Not all officers are available for street patrol, and like all of us they can only work a part of the day. Maybe there are aactually only 2 patrol officers per square mile in normal daytime hours.) Compare to New York with 45,000 officers (including Traffic officers etc) for 468 square miles, or 96 officers/square mile. More than 10X Portland’s density.

            And PPB has lots to do other than enforcing a hypothetical no-passing law on the greenways. Lots of more important things to do.

            That’s why “enforcement” is never going to be the primary solution to a bike/car issue. Roads need to be designed to be self-enforcing: if you want to slow traffic, make the road narrower, add bumps, remove lanes, time lights, add signage, divert traffic, add speed cameras – don’t rely on police officers writing tickets, that is a help but no more.

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  • Joe Adamski August 24, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    As much as traffic is an issue, why are most of the greenway streets I ride the ones in the worst condition? buckled ashphalt, uneven surface, riding them is like operating a jackhammer. I present the N Bryant from Willamette to Greeley, Holman from 7th to 30th or so.. its almost like the decision was made to prolong their useable life by putting more bikes on them to discourage cars.

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    • ethan August 24, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      “its almost like the decision was made to prolong their useable life by putting more bikes on them to discourage cars.”

      People who ride bikes are merely pawns. The city does not care about the people at all. We’re just used to garner attention, investment and photo opportunities for the elected. Who cares if the bike lanes and streets are unsafe? At least Portland gets to keep its platinum star, even though people riding don’t get to keep their lives.

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    • Alex Reed August 25, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Agreed, though traffic and crossings are the #1 and #2 issues in my book, and therefore this report is worth advocating for, there are other things that need to be fixed before greenways will be truly good facilities. I think the major additional ones that are feasible to fix are pavement quality, signage to destinations, and stop sign turning (and concomitant diversion).

      Circuitousness and excess hilliness compared to arterials are pretty much immovable objects from a political perspective but should be quantified in these reports in an overall measure of whether our greenways are truly convenient (to provide ammunition for making them more convenient in other ways – turning stop signs, providing shorter wait times at arterials, etc.)

      I am hoping that the above topics are covered in this greenway report but suspect that they won’t be and we’ll need another advocacy effort to get a the next version of the greenway report to include them.

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      • Alex Reed August 25, 2015 at 10:58 am

        Oh yeah, and cross-street danger (so parking removal at intersections, plus stop lines for cross streets with stop signs).

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    • Emily G August 25, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Joe, I don’t have the report in front of me to give exact language, but one of the recommendations is that greenways be prioritized for paving/fog-sealing. I ride Holman and Bryant regularly, so I definitely hope they follow through on that guideline.

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  • Ted Buehler August 25, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Folks,

    I’ve seen the document, haven’t read it thoroughly yet.

    But, I’ve read enough that I’m convinced that this single document has great promise to become an “automatic” fix for our neighborhood greenways.

    Instead of trying to convince PBOT to fix one greenway, then another, this document is a plan and has guidelines for how and when greenways have too many cars to be a safe place for folks like moms, kids and grandmas on their bikes.

    At this point, it’s my opinion that the best choice for the bicycle constituency moving forward is to send
    ** Enthusiastic Letters of Support **
    to city council.

    The strength of the document in future months and years, and PBOT’s effectiveness in reclaiming neighborhood greenways for nonmotorized transportation, will be how strongly city council supported it on Aug 26, 2015, not the details of what is actually written in it.

    Want to be part of reclaiming any and all greenways in Portland? Send your statements of support to City Council. Share your concerns, your experiences, your photos, but make sure your message carries the opinion that our greenways need fixing, and you want them to do it!

    Names and contact info for the five councilors is here:

    http://www.portlandonline.com/Auditor/index.cfm?a=191877

    Ted Buehler

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    • Adam H. August 25, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Done, thanks Ted!

      I fully support the guidelines for maintaining the safety and comfort of our Neighborhood Greenways. Over the past year or so, I have experienced an increase in dangerous driving, harassment, and threatening behavior while riding my bike down our Greenways. To maintain a livable and green city, we need to make sure that riding a bicycle is safe and comfortable for all. This bill goes a long way towards establishing a standard for just that.

      I urge you to vote yes for our Greenways.

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  • AndyC of Linnton August 25, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Is the event Wednesday morning or Friday morning?

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    • Emily G August 25, 2015 at 10:05 am

      It’s at 8:45am on Wednesday morning in front of City Hall. The report will be presented to the council no earlier than 9:30.

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  • Mark August 25, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I have been to other cities where side streets are car race tracks and that city has no plans to fix it. This on the other hand is promising

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  • Bjorn August 25, 2015 at 9:27 am

    This morning on Going I had the unpleasant experience of being followed closer than I would have liked by a semi truck. There really wasn’t room for him to pass, and with the speed bumps he wasn’t going to go much faster than me anyway but it created a very unpleasant experience that went on for many blocks. When we got to 42nd the semi parked on the wrong side of the street to unload at a restaurant/bar. One thing I think that the greenway motor vehicle counts miss is that not all motor vehicles are the same. People who live in the neighborhood and are just trying to get to their house are likely to drive better than people using the greenway as a shortcut around traffic on arteries and both of those are probably preferable to trying to share the greenway with giant loud semitrucks that some would argue don’t belong in the city at all. There is no reason the semi couldn’t have routed to be on 42nd and never be on going, why not ban semi trucks from all the greenways?

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  • Michael Van Kleeck August 25, 2015 at 9:42 am

    At council in April, Steve Novick accused me of being a “climate change denier” when I tried to convince council that adding a driveway to an 18-unit development at SE Lincoln and 50th would further increase the danger at that intersection for bikers.

    Now look at this report- see that red line on Lincoln at 50th- and tell me that it’s safe to let that developer build the driveway.

    Council’s unabated rush to sell out everything in this town- and the Three Amigos’ collecting the fees at the gates- is going to get bikers killed.

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    • Alex Reed August 25, 2015 at 10:06 am

      I’ve got no problem with development, but we need policy changes so that it doesn’t have undue negative effects. I agree with you that that development shouldn’t have a driveway on Lincoln when 50th is perfectly feasible.

      Also, if I’m not mistaken, the City currently has a policy that says that the systems development charges (SDCs) from new development should only be used for capacity expansion (moving more motor vehicles), not for mitigating impacts (e.g. on biking and walking). Hence why SDC’s from Division apartments weren’t used for mitigation on Clinton although more traffic on Clinton is an obvious consequence of Division St. development.

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      • maccoinnich August 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        State law is that SDCs can only be used for capital projects that increase capacity (i.e. they can’t be used for maintenance projects). I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think there is any law or written policy that says they can’t be used for projects that increase bike capacity.

        Here is NW Portland there is a huge amount of development going on, that literally dwarfs anything happening in the rest of the city. I would love to know where the SDCs generated by those projects are going. They’re certainly not going to the greenway network in the neighborhood. The report correctly identifies the NW Greenways as some of the worst in the city (and consequently least used).

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        • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 7:52 am

          Increasing “bike capacity” is increasing capacity and is allowed.

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          • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 11:39 am

            But what if it comes with decreasing “car capacity” through diversion/speed bumps/road diets/etc.? This is an issue I’d like to see PBOT address and get a clear policy on.

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    • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 7:57 am

      As I have said to some of your neighbors at public meetings, this one development highlighted the dangers of Lincoln-Harrison. Modernizing it would mean retrofitting 50th to look like Cesar Chavez and adding a westbound diverter at either 60th or 55th. This would make the bikeway MUCH safer, but I have been told …. very adamantly…..that this can not be done without a dedicated left turn signal at 52nd and Division to get south…….by some very angry locals who use it as a cut through.

      Without real funding locally, PBOT will not have any money to make changes like this.

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  • Josh Chernoff August 25, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    No amount of paint, signs or detours will address the real underlining issue here. There is animosity on both sides of the fence. Drivers feel cyclists put drivers at a disadvantage and are held to a double standard while cyclist feel drivers act selfishly and recklessly. This is all really a symptom of a lack of accountability and consequence from taking risk and poor behavior on all sides. The reasons why people take risks may greatly vary but the bottom line is that when you have crossed the line there is little consequence unless you mange to harm or kill someone.

    How about this for a solution. Lets have laws that hold people accountable for their actions and have a police force willing to enforce said laws.
    There, problem solved. You drive on the bike greenway and act with disregard towards the others who are sharing the road and there is evidence to prove this you have a consequence. If you ride your bike with the same level of disregard towards the others you get a ticket too.

    I really don’t understand the lack of willingness cite someone for poor road use in this city.

    How about this, more money for the system via tickets and incentivize better behaved road use and not a single bucket of paint. BOOM!

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    • Adam H. August 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Enforcement is a huge part of implementing Vision Zero, but there also needs to be infrastructure to go along with it. Infrastructure that is self-policing (i.e. a bike lane that prevents people from driving in it by using a physical barrier) will work even if there isn’t a cop on the corner.

      The other half – education and enforcement – needs to come after infra but is still vital for success. However, it is evident that PBOT will continue to push for more “shared spaces”. “Shared spaces” without enforcement do not work. Currently, there is nearly zero enforcement, and if PBOT insists on maintaining a “shared space” mantra, then we need to ticket and arrest people driving dangerously on designated bikeways.

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      • B. Carfree August 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm

        I disagree that separated infrastructure is required and that enforcement wouldn’t be sufficient. I have the advantage of having lived at a time and place where there was very little bike infrastructure (a few bike lanes and a bike path) but zero-tolerance traffic law enforcement for all modes led to unrivalled bike use (in Davis in the late ’70s to the early ’80s).

        Oddly, as that city added more separated infrastructure in the late ’90s, the cyclists disappeared almost entirely, likely due to the disappearance of the law enforcement prior to that.

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      • gutterbunnybikes August 26, 2015 at 6:24 am

        All in all, infrastructure only keeps the honest people honest. If people choose to drive poorly, infrastructure has no effect.

        People drive over the sidewalk on the broadway bridge, cars driving over the 205 bike path, people parking in bike lanes, people speeding, even look at the articles here on that guy on 34th getting the tickets. a curb isn’t going to stop these people.

        Blaming infrastructure only excuses and ignores those bad behaviors and individuals.

        Infrastructure is the very last piece of the puzzle once legislative (ie changing the crappy laws and rules), education and enforcement have been beefed up and supported.

        If done right and consistently I don’t think we need that much infrastructure. Despite all the hype, all the great bicycle cities of the world the majority of the bikeriders ride in the streets with cars – not separated cycle tracks.

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    • Ted Buehler August 25, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Josh wrote:
      “No amount of paint, signs or detours will address the real underlining issue here. ”

      While enforcement is certainly lacking, fixing the problems is both easiest and best if you approach it from all sides. Paint and signs won’t fix everything, but they’ll certainly fix some things. Diverters, where they’re installed (like 16th and Tillamook, Rodney and Ivy, Ankeny and 20th, Harrison and 20th) do pretty well at eliminating car cut-through traffic.

      Certainly enforcement is also a problem, and hopefully we will see better enforcement in the bicycle world as well (as shown in today’s post about a person in a car being cited for unsafe passing of a person on a bicycle).

      Typically, the bicycle movement has cited 4 or 5 “E”s as key to success in creating bicycle-friendly streets:
      * Engineering
      * Enforcement
      * Education
      * Encouragement
      * Evaluation

      Ted Buehler

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