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City will share options for Clinton Street upgrades at Sept. 16 open house

Posted by on September 1st, 2015 at 6:30 pm

clinton speed

Portland’s second-most-ridden neighborhood greenway is being lined up for possible improvements.

Southeast Clinton Street currently sees auto traffic volumes near 26th Avenue that are triple the city’s target for a neighborhood greenway and long stretches where auto speeds are 6 to 8 mph above the 20 mph limit.

Three months ago, after joining Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick to call a summit about bike safety, Mayor Charlie Hales said the city “will experiment with diverters — which allow bicycles through but block cars — at different locations.”

It was the city’s single most substantive response to a series of major biking collisions this spring, and followed years of pressure from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and a year of noisy organizing by BikeLoudPDX.

In a mailer that arrived at nearby addresses Tuesday, the city announced an open house to start discussing the possibilities. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Abernethy School, 2421 SE Orange Ave.

clinton street

We reported in July that the city had chosen Clinton as the site of the first such experimental diverter or diverters. Hales’ concept of on-the-ground experiments was inspired in part by the successful recent demos by Better Block PDX of better walking and biking spaces on 3rd Avenue and Naito downtown.

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Last week, a major report from the city about the state of its neighborhood greenways named Clinton Street as one of five bike routes that need of some combination of diverters, speed humps or other traffic-controlling and calming measures. (Another was Lincoln-Harrison-Ladd, the city’s most-ridden neighborhood greenway.)

At stake is whether the crucial bikeway through Southeast Portland can be made comfortable enough to appeal to bike users of all ages and abilities. Also at issue: whether making it more complicated to navigate Clinton in a car might threaten the businesses that make Clinton such a useful part of its neighborhood.

Years ago, when the city took a political beating over installing a diverter at Clinton and Chavez, some city staffers swore off diversion projects.

But a lot has changed in the years since. Division Street’s population boom has increased the number of people who live close to Clinton’s businesses. Thanks in part to that diverter at Chavez, the number of people biking on Clinton during rush hour has doubled since 2006. Today, bikes account for a bit more than half the traffic on Clinton during the evening peak hour.

clinton traffic

Source: Latest city bike counts (June 2014) and auto counts (June 2015).

Most of all, the Clinton bikeway may have never had such an indefagitable and organized group of fans. In the last year, they’ve organized a month-long festival to celebrate the Clinton bikeway’s 30th birthday; won a series of seats on the Richmond Neighborhood Association Board; and conducted their own volunteer traffic analysis in case the city missed a chance to count the traffic itself. (The city didn’t actually miss the chance, so our understanding of Clinton’s traffic patterns is now even richer.)

Speaking of that volunteer traffic analysis, here’s the detailed set of recommendations for Clinton diverters prepared pro bono by one of the activists, traffic engineering pro Brian Davis of Lancaster Engineering. If you’re interested in attending this month’s open house, it might make for some good homework.

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rick
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rick

How about another chicane with trees for SE Clinton? Speed bumps help dump oil from leaking cars.

Chris Anderson
Guest

Big dreams might help here. I’d like to see 26th and Clinton turned into a pedestrian plaza. That would have the most positive effect on the businesses there, although they would have to see it to believe it. It would also help with the car traffic issue.

Adam Herstein
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Adam Herstein

It took a year of lobbying to get the city to listen, but I’m glad this is finally happening. Although, I’m disappointed that there wasn’t funding allocated to implement last year’s Better Block plaza at 26th nor for a Chavez-style signal/diverter at 50th.

Thanks, everyone, for your diligence and refusal to let go of this issue! Can’t wait for Clinton to be bikeable again.

Eli
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Eli

“auto speeds are 6 to 8 mph above the 20 mph limit.”

While the goal is to get to 20mph, Clinton is not 20mph ATM. Did you mean 30mph?

Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

I’d like to see a complete bike-centric redesign of Clinton and 26th.

Josh Chernoff
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Josh Chernoff
J_R
Guest
J_R

Bicyclists roll through the stops signs at Ladd’s Addition, which is illegal, but doesn’t result in any actual safety problems and the result is Enforcement Action annually against scofflaw cyclists.

The average speed of motorists on Clinton is 6 to 8 mph above the statutory speed and the result is nothing.

By the way, I ALWAYS stop at the stop signs at Ladd’s Addition.

TJ
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TJ

Clinton attention is great, but 6-8 over the 20 mph is nothing. This city has virtually no enforcement and hundreds of neighborhoods being tormented by reckless, noise polluting speeders.

I’d like a city/PPB action plan to regain control of our streets.

Buzz
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Buzz

Meh, once the city ‘engineers’ something for cyclists, I usually avoid that route completely. Because the ‘engineering’ is usually so sub-par as to be laughable and dangerous at the same time.

Tomas LaPalella
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Tomas LaPalella

Can’t address this problem without taking a hard look at how we’ve allowed development to run rampant on Division. We’re clearly beyond the density that Division can support (at least up to around 39th). A lot of those Clinton drivers are looking for Division St. restaurant and food cart parking. We can’t keep building foodie-destination neighborhoods that attract thousands of customers every night while ignoring the demand for parking. I’d guess that a very small number of Division St. diners ride bikes, walk or take public transit. On the other hand I see plenty of people circling the area in luxury SUVs. The obvious solution would be a public parking ramp. Works for downtown, after all.

Until then, prepare to endure an endless stream of tourists and wealthy visitors clogging up Clinton and doing dangerous stuff. Diverters will help, but won’t stem the tide. Make it easy for people to park and there will be less frustration and aggression from them.

Clark in Vancouver
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Clark in Vancouver

Josh Chernoff
I think it first and foremost sets the right away standard so there is no question or confusion that if you choose to take a greenway you are expecting to go slow which will address the anxiety for both the motorist and cyclist alike.

I agree and what would be even better would be the expectation that when driving, you also simply cannot get through the street you’re going down. That every 5 or 10 blocks it ends in a bike permeable cul-de-sac and you have to turn back. With the right signage and other features, it should be obvious before they even drive down a greenway that it’s different than other streets and that they will not be able to drive through it to get to somewhere else. This would mean only those living on or visiting this street will want to drive down it.

Granpa
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Granpa

paikiala
Examples?Recommended 0

Tillikum east bike/ped route