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Council vote today would allow more diverters on neighborhood greenways

Posted by on August 26th, 2015 at 8:18 am

A family ride from NoPo to Sellwood-18

A traffic diverter allowing biking and walking traffic but blocking auto traffic.
(Photos: J.Maus and M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Traffic diverters: back by popular demand.

“If people are telling us ‘I don’t feel comfortable riding a bike on this street,’ then the greenway is not performing its intended function.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT bicycle planning coordinator

At their weekly meeting in City Hall this morning, Portland’s city council is poised to adopt a set of guidelines sweeping away an internal barrier that had led the city to avoid using diverters in many situations where they would improve a neighborhood greenway.

Neighborhood greenways are Portland’s name for the side streets that use sharrow decals, speed humps, signs and stoplights to make them comfortable for biking and other outdoor activity.

Traffic diverters are facilities like the ones at Northeast Tillamook and 16th or Southeast Clinton and Chavez that block cars from driving through certain intersections.

Wednesday’s council vote would be one of the biggest steps Portland has ever taken to enshrine neighborhood greenways as a higher priority than other side streets — and to acknowledge that the city must not only build new greenways but also tend to problems on the ones it has already built.

ngs map

“More people are traveling on Portland’s streets,” the city’s transportation staff explains in a new report on neighborhood greenways. “Increased residential and commercial development is requiring new strategies for managing the neighborhood greenway system.”

The report and guidelines come in response to a year of sustained activism from pro-bike Portlanders for the city to use diverters more often. New diverters on Southeast Clinton have been the No. 1 issue for the upstart group BikeLoudPDX, and were one of the main requests in a rally that group organized at City Hall in June.

City officials say that message has been heard.

“People are saying ‘This is not comfortable, this is not safe,'” Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller said. “If people are telling us ‘I don’t feel comfortable riding a bike on this street,’ then the greenway is not performing its intended function.”

diverter not dirty word

A June rally by BikeLoudPDX included many calls for more diverters.

The guidelines proposed in the new Neighborhood Greenways Assessment Report would essentially direct city planners and engineers to install a diverter on any part of a neighborhood greenway that sees more than 2,000 cars per day.

That means Southeast Clinton, Southeast Lincoln, Northwest Johnson, Northwest 24th and Southeast 130th would all get diverters to reduce non-local auto traffic.

In all, the report’s recommendations would trigger an estimated $1 million in improvements to a handful of the city’s existing neighborhood greenways, said city active transportation manager Margi Bradway, who has been the driving force behind the report.

According to the city’s study of traffic speeds and volumes throughout its network, new diverters and/or speed humps are needed on these existing routes:

• NE Alameda
• SE Ankeny
• SE Clinton-Woodward
• SE Lincoln-Harrison-Ladd
• NW Greenways, which includes short sections of several streets throughout inner Northwest
• NE Tillamook-Hancock

The city’s goal with speed humps would be to slow traffic until less than 15 percent of people are driving faster than the 20 mph speed limit on greenways.

The $1 million is unfunded. Bradway hopes that Wednesday’s council vote on the new guidelines (expected around 10 a.m.) will lay the groundwork for that cash being included in the city’s 2016-2017 budget.

Mayor Charlie Hales has already called for a new experimental diverter on Clinton to be built in the current fiscal year.

Earlier this year, we shared two advance tidbits from this report: a map showing traffic speeds on neighborhood greenways and another showing traffic volumes.

Of those two, the city feels that traffic speeds represent the bigger problem. Though the city is aiming for 20 mph speeds on its greenways, traffic moves faster than that on 84 percent of the system.

auto speeds

Traffic volumes are a smaller-scale problem. Only 9 percent of the system sees traffic volumes above 2,000 cars per day. But those trouble spots are concentrated in inner Northwest and Southeast Portland.

auto volumes

Both maps above also show major problems on the 130s neighborhood greenway in East Portland. That’s because the greenway doesn’t exist yet. It’s already scheduled to get speed humps, and the data suggests that it might need one or more diverters, too.

Here’s a useful chart in the report that shows why traffic volumes matter so much to the biking experience: on a street like Clinton that carries 3,000 cars per day, about 21 cars will pass a bike during a 10-minute trip.

passed by a car times

In addition to the maximum of 2,000 cars per day, the report offers an “alternate guideline” that neighborhood greenways should never have more than 100 cars in a single direction over the course of an hour.

“The traffic volume during the rest of the day may be very low, but the significant increase in peak-period autos creates a high-stress environment for people biking during that time,” the report explains.

margi bradway

City active transportation manager Margi Bradway, left, kicked off the creation of today’s report and the new guidelines.

Understanding the significance of today’s report requires understanding a set of internal guidelines that few Portlanders have ever heard of.

It was created in the 1990s, when then-Transportation Commissioner Earl Blumenauer pioneered a program that let residents lobby the city to install diverters on their streets. The goal was simple: force car traffic to use arterial and collector streets instead.

But according to the rules written in those days, diverters couldn’t be used simply to swap large amounts of traffic from one local street to another.

If a proposed diverter on any local street would be expected to send a substantial number of cars per day to a different local street, the diverter couldn’t be built. The city saw no upside in merely moving the traffic problem around.

Today’s guidelines scrap that system. Even if a new diverter on a neighborhood greenway would send hundreds of cars onto other local streets, that would now be OK.

The new guidelines draw the line at 1,000 cars. Diverters still aren’t allowed to direct so many new cars to any single local street that its traffic exceeds that level.

The rationale for the rule change is simple, Geller said: neighborhood greenways are more than just local streets.

“It may be a local street for automobile traffic,” he said. “But it’s an important street in the city’s classification system for bicycle transportation.”

Correction 3:20 pm: A previous version of this post misstated the maximum amount of auto traffic the new guidelines will allow on non-neighborhood-greenway local streets. They will allow post-diversion levels up to 1,000 cars per day, not up to 1,000 additional cars per day.

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  • Aaron August 26, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Fantastic news!

    I hope we can get more *real* diverters that actually restrict car traffic. In my experience, speed bumps do little to change driver behavior; I’ve seen people race between the bumps. Also those mini roundabouts (not sure what they’re called; there’s a couple on Clinton) suck. They just make me feel pressured to get through them if there’s a car behind me. The only diverters I like are those shown in the top image of the article that let bikes through one-way.

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    • Spiffy August 26, 2015 at 9:22 am

      when I live on SE 99th just south of Holgate there were many people that would haul azz between the speed bumps… we were right between them so people were going as fast as they could by our house…

      they need about twice as many for them to be effective…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 26, 2015 at 10:23 am

      I think the “tone” of the street is just as important as the presence of speed bumps.

      On SE 21st between Powell & Division, auto speeds dropped significantly after speed bumps were added. There’s enough going on that most drivers get the message and don’t go too fast between them. On other streets, you really do get that race from bump-to-bump phenomenon.

      I think the difference can be attributed to activity along the street, street trees, presence of cyclists, lane markings (a center line signals “fast street”), etc.

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    • Paul Cone August 26, 2015 at 11:47 am

      The City doesn’t build traffic circles like that anymore because the Fire bureau has trouble navigating around them quickly.

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      • Chris I August 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm

        They need to be able to respond quickly when speeding drivers maim and kill people.

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    • Alexis August 26, 2015 at 11:52 am

      I have the same experience on the “death cookies” (what I call the mini-roundabouts) on NE 7th. I’ve had a few cars squeeze around me in a roundabout, essentially running me onto parked autos or curbs.

      If those are going to be effective means of making cycling safer on greenways, we need something like yield signs to educate drivers.

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      • Eric Leifsdad August 26, 2015 at 1:24 pm

        Widespread use of diverters is going to be more effective than anything else at improving driver behavior. If we eliminate non-local traffic, any driver causing problems is either starting or stopping their trip very near the incident location. Localizing our streets would lead everyone to more civility.

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  • Clark in Vancouver August 26, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Diverters are great! Locals who primarily drive often complain at first but after living with them for awhile they grow to love them and accept the slight inconvenience when driving home as the price for a nicer street to live on.

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  • Spiffy August 26, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I wouldn’t call the example in the lead photo a diverter, more of a deterrent… it doesn’t block auto traffic, but it lets them know they shouldn’t go that way… they can still go that way and drive up the nicely sloped edges and over those low concrete sections…

    we need real diverters that can’t be driven over or easily driven around…

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  • m August 26, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Excellent use of data to target the biggest problems first with limited resources.

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  • dan August 26, 2015 at 9:36 am

    A big yes please for more/bigger speed bumps, diverters, or little tiny traffic circles (what are those called?) on greenways. I live on Lincoln between 39th and 50th, and in my informal observations (I have a porch couch, sue me) maybe one in five cars is doing 25+.

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    • Chris I August 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Vancouver really has it figured out. I was really impressed when we visited a few weeks ago. A lot of low-cost, effective solutions that we should be using in Portland.

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  • Johnny August 26, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Hope these are more effective than the diverters on N Williams. I saw an SUV absolutely drill one of the islands a few weeks ago and blow out a tire. Lucky for them someone had already driven the sign over. lol

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    • Gary August 26, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Well that actually sounds like it was very effective! Maybe we should aim to blow out all 4 tires, though.

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  • Wells August 26, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Innovative designs for bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure are evolving to address the severe impediment, hazards and various costs that travel by automobile presents. No one should allow themselves to be deluded into believing the hype that self-driving autonomous cars are any sort of solution whatsoever. Transit vehicles and routes also need to evolve. The ‘new’ Gillig buses are much the same as the ‘old’ roaring rattletrap New Flyer buses designed to run at high speeds and fully loaded yet run less than half full most of the time on stop/start routes. Bicycling, walking and transit systems must continue to evolve.

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  • jonno August 26, 2015 at 9:55 am

    “Today’s guidelines scrap that system. Even if a new diverter on a neighborhood greenway would send hundreds of cars onto other local streets, that would now be OK.

    The new guidelines draw the line at 1,000 cars. Diverters still aren’t allowed to direct that many new cars to any single local street.”

    This idea does not sit well with me. I live on a local street (NE 52nd north of I-84) that parallels a greenway and which is often used as a cut-through to avoid the greenway anyway (53rd). I don’t see 53rd on the list where diverters would be considered, but I can say that adding 999 trips per day would fundamentally change the character of 52nd which has no traffic calming whatsoever. The current traffic load is ~600 trips per day most of the year (except when Rose City Futsal is in full swing).

    999 extra trips per day is a massive increase, and would lead to yet another protracted fight for new traffic calming measures. I would strongly oppose a diverter on 53rd for this reason, and I’m sure neighbors on other greenways would as well.

    This proposal is yet another case of just not going far enough in addressing the problem — it’s not just greenways that are being eaten up by auto traffic, it’s all local streets. Keep the thru traffic on the avenues where it belongs, and keep local streets local.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 26, 2015 at 10:30 am

      I know someone here is going to call you a “NIMBY”, but I think you are spot on. One minor quibble — it’s not 1000 extra cars, but 1000 cars in total.

      That said, for a quiet street, it will make a huge difference, and while I kind of agree with the underlying logic (if 1000 cars a day are ok on street A, they should be ok on street B), I also see a huge potential for pushback from residents on street B, and I am afraid it will derail PBOT’s already-reluctant efforts to divert traffic from greenways.

      So I guess from a “systems” viewpoint, the new policy is correct; from a political viewpoint, it could be a disaster.

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      • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 11:51 am

        I’m at least going to call him “putting his own street’s needs above the neighborhood and city’s needs.” As Roger Geller said, “neighborhood greenways are more than just local streets.” In many areas, they are the equivalent of arterials for bikes (and to a lesser extent walking) and carry thousands of people from point A to point B by bike.

        In a less constrained funding environment, I’d say, “Yes, we should have speed bumps /diversion/whatever on the local streets diverters will push traffic to.” But in the funding environment we have, I’ll definitely take a trade-off that gets hundreds or thousands of bikers (plus a couple dozen residents) feeling safer on 53rd if it means a couple dozen residents on 52nd feeling less safe on 52nd.

        If you want it to be different, support a citywide progressive income tax street fee and/or a paid parking permit district in your neighborhood so that we have money for additional improvements.

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        • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 11:56 am

          Sorry, I thought you were on SE 52nd south of I-84. North of I-84 is a trickier situation, because 53rd there serves as a minor arterial. Somehow, we need to get 47th flowing freer for cars so that we can do traffic calming on 53rd without pushing traffic into the neighborhood. I believe Terry Dublinski-Milton has a plan….

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          • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 2:33 pm

            I usually have a plan, and yes this is my hood. Through North Tabor PBOT will be adding speed bumps south of the overpass, but no to the southbound diverter we unanimously endorsed… I will keep trying. The local politics of the neighborhood North of the gulch is a little different….so putting the needed diversion or parking removal with dedicated bike space will be tough.

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        • jonno August 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm

          “If you want it to be different, support a citywide progressive income tax street fee and/or a paid parking permit district in your neighborhood so that we have money for additional improvements.”

          Check and check 🙂 though, this has gotten everybody precisely nowhere of late…

          Point is, I’m sure I’m not the only who feels this way. We have a lot of vocal residents on the NA board who would emphatically oppose a potential traffic increase like this — the city listens to their voices, for good or ill.

          FWIW I bike 53rd multiple times daily and drivers are almost always chill, so it’s fairly moot for me personally.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm

            I think this is why you have to get the politics right, not just the policy. Otherwise, even a great plan risks dying on the vine.

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            • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 12:48 pm

              Absolutely. It’s also important to remember that politics is not an immovable object. BikeLoudPDX and the BTA work to actively change politics – so join if you want to see more biking projects in the city! Our opponents already think there’s a powerful bicycle lobby in Portland; we may as well actually create one!

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

                Agreed… getting the politics “right” has to include swaying people to your side. But you also need to anticipate how people are going to react, and be ready to respond.

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              • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 2:10 pm

                Yup! Clinton will probably be our first big test (the Rodney diverter was our first little test, along with the mini-rebellion from the Mount Tabor NA about impacts from the 52nd diverter at Division).

                I think the keys are supporting low-cost changes to reduce undue impacts to other streets (e.g. left-turn signal on Division eastbound to Chavez Northbound so people driving have a better option than Clinton for going that direction, supporting speed bumps on other streets as needed) and mobilizing the large but hard-to-mobilize group of people who bike and walk on the greenway in support of diversion to counteract the small but easily-mobilized group of people on neighboring streets who fear an influx of cars.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm

                There is a unique opportunity at Clinton. The Lancaster report shows a lot of the traffic feeding Clinton comes from Powell. If turns off of Powell into the neighborhood are discouraged, it would help reduce the number of vehicles getting to Clinton, and would do so in a way that the neighborhood might really support.

                Many locals see Clinton as their primary access to the wider world (rightly or wrongly), and I am afraid that a narrow focus on Clinton will make them feel that they are the targets of the diverters, which could turn them into opponents. But with a wider approach, residents might feel instead that the diversion is targeting “other people”, and benefiting them, and might be willing to suffer some inconvenience as a by-product. It turns a bike project (benefiting them) into a neighborhood project (helping us).

                The geography of Clinton inside of 26th is such that deflecting traffic from Powell would be really easy… perhaps as simple as installing some signs.

                I think this is a good example of where tailoring the project to the politics can achieve the desired outcome, and turn likely opponents into supporters.

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              • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 6:31 pm

                Good idea. Wonder what it would look like? I have lots of ideas that would need ODOT cooperation – ha! (No right turns from Powell onto 26th or 21st? Remove the giant “17th Ave Northbound” exit sign from Powell?)

                In terms of things that PBOT could do on their own – prohibit left turns from 26th (both northbound and southbound) onto Clinton and 21st (both northbound and southbound) onto Clinton? That would cause some diversion into the neighborhood but I think would mostly lead people (at least those who actually obey the no-left-turn diktat) to continue on to Division.

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              • Alex Reed August 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm

                However – between 26th and Chavez eastbound in the afternoon rush hour, I believe that residents are a goodly percentage of the problem. I have been passed aggressively many a time only to watch the car turn onto some little street between 28th and 37th. I can’t imagine that people cut through to Powell on those streets?

                Maybe a diverter in the environs of 28th can be justified on the grounds of making extra sure that people don’t (for example) go south on 21st from division, turn east on Ivon, south on 22nd, and go east on Clinton from there?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2015 at 8:04 pm

                East of 26th, the Powell connection becomes more tenuous, and you may be right that the traffic has a more local flavor.

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    • Adam H. August 26, 2015 at 10:35 am

      I’m on SE 52nd just north of Powell. My street was included in the 50’s bikeway project, but got bike lanes instead of a Greenway treatment. There was only one diverter installed, but it only blocked northbound traffic at Division. I’ve noticed people using 52nd (a neighborhood street north of Powell) as a cut-though for avoiding 50th. Since my street isn’t technically a Neighborhood Greenway, even though traffic volumes are just over 3,000, the street likely wouldn’t get more diverters as a result of this plan being passed. It’s frustrating because the project was billed as the 50’s bikeway, but not much traffic calming was done, other than reducing lane widths.

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      • davemess August 26, 2015 at 1:22 pm

        Is 52nd really a neighborhood street north of Powell? I’m having trouble finding its official classification.

        I’ve ridden 52nd every day for 4 years, and it still seems like an arterial (up to Division) to me. Very little difference between North and South of Powell.

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    • soren August 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      999 extra trips per day is a massive increase,

      the 1000 trips per day explicitly referred to maximum standards for greenways. it’s hard to understand how your confusion on this point isn’t disingenuous.

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      • soren August 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        i missed michael’s statement so i retract the above until i look at the report more closely. i should note that recent diversion projects have not resulted in large increases in traffic on neighboring streets so i think arguing 999 extra trips is a bit absurd. pbot is also very willing to mitigate this diversion by working with residents of neighboring streets. for example, a few stop signs and/or or speed bumps would help mitigate any increase in cut-through traffic on neighboring streets.

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        • soren August 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm

          “The new guidelines draw the line at 1,000 cars. Diverters still aren’t allowed to direct that many new cars to any single local street.”

          I just searched the greenway report and could not find any reference to a new guideline allowing up to 1000 extra trips on streets adjacent to diverters. 1000 extra trips on a single street is an absurd number for a residential street.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 26, 2015 at 1:12 pm

            It’s buried, probably intentionally, and represents a big policy change (but probably one that is necessary if these projects are to move forward). But it is not an additional 1000 cars that would be allowed, rather a total of 1000, including both diverted and existing vehicles.

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            • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
              Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm

              Thanks, Kitty. I can’t find the buried information you’re referring to in the report itself, but assuming you’re correct, this was an error on my part. I’ve emailed Bradway and Geller to resolve this and will correct ASAP if I can confirm that I was wrong.

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              • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm

                Update: yep, I was wrong! This is now fixed. +1 yet again for awesomely informed BikePortland readers like yourself.

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    • Chris I August 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      I live near 52nd, and I would actually be okay with them adding diverters on 53rd IF they add more stop signs (one every block) and speed bumps to 52nd. 52nd is already bad enough with the added traffic from Rose City Futsal. Diverters on 53rd and the treatments listed above would push people over to 47th or 60th, where they should be.

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      • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 2:44 pm

        In North Tabor I have called for a southbound diverter at Glisan for years (now unanimously Neighborhood Board approved), PBOT says that even peak hour traffic volumes don’t call for it. I asked for new counts in a different location.

        Due to the spill over traffic from the Burnside diverter, PBOT will be installing speed bumps on the entrances to 52nd at Burnside and Glisan to discourage traffic and speed bumps on 53rd to cut down on the southbound speed from Rose City Park. We are also doing some parking removal on 55th to encourage the usage of the traffic light at Burnside for automobiles.

        North of the gulch, it is a much more difficult situation. Rose City Park is not the most politically progressive when it comes to bikes and diversion between Halsey and the gulch would create all sorts of fun. I am all for it, but unless we get 60th moving better I think it will be a tough sell. If you live in this neighborhood I would encourage you to get involved.

        Providence is looking long term at changing the afternoon access to the east from the parking ramp away from 53rd. When that happens, then that one awful block can be fixed as 2000 cars per day use that left turn lane to get east.

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        • Jonno August 26, 2015 at 9:33 pm

          I’d be interested in your take on the causes for the NA opposition. I did attend one RCPNA meeting where a certain gentleman made vociferous anti-bike statements but which were not echoed by others. Is there more going on than that? I’d like to help where I can.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      This was a misunderstanding on my part – I apologize. The new guidelines will actually allow up to 1,000 cars per day total on the new streets, not 1,000 additional cars. This is now fixed above, with the correction noted.

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      • Jonno August 26, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        Thanks! That does make me feel a little better 🙂

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        • soren August 27, 2015 at 9:36 am

          I believe PBOT will go out of its way to mitigate any spillover — especially since many of the changes are relatively inexpensive. After they installed a diverter at 52nd and Division, PBOT installed speed bumps on adjacent streets and conducted surveys to address spillover. They also had a conservative additional trip cut off (80 trips per day, as I recall) for additional mitigation.

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  • Champs August 26, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I haven’t seen a stink about it on OLive via the Portland Business Alliance, so there’s a reasonable chance of this thing passing.

    Then again we’re talking about the kind of city leadership that would crash into a mountain peak at the controls of a train. Case in point: in “related articles” there’s talk of SE 15th & Ankeny diverter this spring. Uh…

    Whether or not this happens (as partisan to practical, effective, and equitable transportation, I hope it does), it’s not too soon to start talking about what does and doesn’t work.

    Besides the Clinton and Tillamook example diverters, there’s the mutant roundabout thing just north of Broadway on NE 28th. The Holman micro-park as another, too.

    Absolutely none of these is perfect, but the Clinton example (at the top) is the worst. Cost and emergency considerations likely put these at the top, but as diverters, they are suggestions AT BEST. I’m really hoping these are real diversions, but also not tiny hidden paths wedged between (ultimately) overgrown hedges.

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  • JP August 26, 2015 at 10:08 am

    In my personal experience, the biggest safety issue facing the greenways is not cars driving on them, it’s that the greenways sometimes cross busy streets which lack proper signaling.

    Just one example, the greenway intersection at SE Belmont and 41st is especially difficult to cross during rush hour. It really needs a signal and beg button for bicycles.

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    • Adam H. August 26, 2015 at 10:31 am

      50th and Clinton, too. It’s nearly impossible to cross during rush hour. I emailed Rich Newlands and he agreed with me, but doesn’t currently have the funding for it.

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    • Eric Leifsdad August 26, 2015 at 10:57 am

      My experience is mostly in SW, where we don’t have any greenways. SW Vermont? Hahahaha. Taking the lane at 30mph.

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    • pdxer13 August 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

      And SE Lincoln at SE 60th. This is the longest wait of my daily commute home to Montavilla. The backup is lengthy and it’s dangerous for bikers wanting to move straight through the intersection. Google Maps’ street view is currently illustrating the problem in not just one, but both directions!

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      • Chris I August 26, 2015 at 12:45 pm

        You could dismount and hit the crosswalk button?

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    • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      This report calls for all crossing to have a minimum of 50 bike/ped crossings per hour and preferably 100. So, now that it is adopted and let us say Davis at 60th, which is considered a “Major City Bikeway” takes 2 minutes to cross at mid day…..then it needs an upgrade.

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  • Adam H. August 26, 2015 at 10:28 am

    This is great news! Hoping for some real positive change to our Greenways. I like the idea of starting with cheaper, temporary diverters to collect data; then making things permanent later on. Looking forward to Clinton finally being fixed.

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  • Eric Leifsdad August 26, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I will be glad to see our leadership take a step forward. But, sometimes you need to take a really big step to avoid putting your foot in something unpleasant. The concern about pushing cut-through traffic onto other streets should be answered by eliminating all cut-through traffic. It’s time to blanket the grid with diverters and set the limit at 20mph on all residential streets so everyone gets the same benefit. You don’t need speed humps if cars cannot go more than 1 block without needing to turn.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu August 26, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Greenways often have stop signs turned so that bikes can ride along without starting and stopping. This makes then attractive to “through drivers” who are using the street to travel through the area (as opposed to local drivers, who are driving a couple blocks to their homes). Adjacent streets that are interrupted by stop signs are less attractive to through drivers. If they can’t use the greenway, some of them may choose to use the parallel arterial.

    In theory you could put diverters throughout a neighborhood, so that trying to get to your home is like driving through a PacMan maze. Interesting to see if the residents will stand for it.

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  • Scott Cohen August 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

    The report is now available on the neighborhood greenway homepage on PBOT’s website.

    Direct link to download –

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 26, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Quick update: The report and accompanying resolution passed unanimously. A great day for biking at City Council. Mayor and all the commissioners are excited and on board. Stay tuned for full thoughts and recap.

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    • ethan August 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Wow, they finally did something right (well, at least it’s not entirely bad). By the way, when is that Lloyd article coming out? Or do we have to wait until the 7th Ave bridge gets opened before we are able to read that we need a 7th ave bridge?

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      • ethan August 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm

        And, as someone who works in the Lloyd district, I’d gladly write the article myself. I have some (not so) crazy ideas that would help bike / transit access to / from / through the area.

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  • Adam H. August 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I was very pleased to see and hear City Council’s support today. Protected bike lanes and bike share were even mentioned by Commissioners! Let’s get those projects on the ground!

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  • Tony T
    Tony T August 26, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Jonathan and Michael,

    I think BP should cease using the Auto Speeds and Auto Volumes maps until the City redoes them. They combine low speed and no data on the speed map and low volume and no data on the volume map. This is terrible map making at best, and purposely misleading at worst.

    They could have arbitrarily combined any of the speeds/volumes with the “no data,” but they chose to lump “no data” in with what made them look better.

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    • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      The maps on the report used 1500 data points.

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      • Tony T
        Tony T August 28, 2015 at 11:30 am

        Your point?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 26, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Good critique, Tony. I think we’ll have to continue using them because they’re so much better than no data.

      I have a sense that the city tried to measure each section of street that it had reason to think might be a problem. Is there a particular section they didn’t measure where you’re aware of a problem?

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      • Tony T
        Tony T August 28, 2015 at 11:29 am

        “Is there a particular section they didn’t measure where you’re aware of a problem?”

        That’s just it. There is NO WAY for me to know what they didn’t measure by looking at this map. Is it a successful, low speed/volume street, or has it simply been relegated to the no data wasteland? There is no way to tell the difference.

        I absolutely disagree that it is “so much better than no data.” I certainly wouldn’t use “so much.”

        Misleading/confusing data is worse than no data, and that is what these maps are. Erase the thin green lines and you have a map that is better than no data.

        Ask yourself why they chose to combine low speeds/volumes with no data, rather than high speeds/volume and no data. The no data areas could JUST as easily be suffering from high speed/volume.

        This was a conscious choice with an obvious flaw in regards to predictable interpretation error. At a glance it makes the thin green lines seem like success, when they may very well be a gap in data obscuring speed/voume failure.

        I also think that BP’s use of these maps rewards this misleading method. I think you guys should push back and tell the city that you won’t use the maps until the issue is fixed. You have sharper elbows than you give yourselves credit for.

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  • Terry D-M August 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Now we need to get the city to FUND these diverters. So far they have only committed to Clinton. North Tabor UNANIMOUSLY endorsed a neighborhood diverter plan for Davis-Everett, a major city bikeway that is the only complete connection from inner to East Portland between Rocky Butte and Mount Tabor.

    Including a southbound on at 53rd just south of the medical parking lot there is also a diagonal one at 45th to stop the Providence Morning commute traffic, at 58th to stop the “speeding to the freeway ramp to avoid 60th congestion” problem and a pair of semi-diverters at 65th-67th east-west bound to stop the speeding through the sidewalk-less zone where there is no visibility due to a hill.

    All unanimously approved, notification will be sent out via neighborhood newsletter to all 2600 households. No funding….no diverters. All we need is $25K for some planters and signs…..we will water the plants.

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    • davemess August 26, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      You guys still send out a newsletter via snail mail?

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  • Dave Thomson August 26, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    As Google Maps and competitors show more drivers the real time fastest route, anything that increases travel time on a street will quickly shift traffic to other streets. I suspect GM is currently behind some of the traffic shift to minor streets; it used to be only drivers who knew a neighborhood would try and bypass a slightly congested major street, now anyone with a smartphone knows the quickest route.

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  • Kristi September 2, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Re: the main photo and description. “Blocking traffic” is funny. My roommate and I used to love to sit outside of the Gino’s at this corner and count the number of SUV’s that have no problem speeding over this lump to cut through the local streets, jumping the traffic light. Being on a bike and approaching this intersection, I feel used to watching large vehicles pummel over the lump and then get mad at you for being near the center of the road coming towards them. It’s not a real diverted if drivers don’t have any trouble going over it.

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