Change is finally coming to Southeast Clinton Street, and so are the heated emotions that often follow.
As we reported late last month, after years of community outcry and detailed analysis of traffic patterns by city engineers, the Bureau of Transportation plans to install two diverters on Clinton in order to discourage people from driving on the “bike priority” street. The diverters will be installed on a six-month trial basis.
The buzz about the diverters has ratcheted up in the past 24 hours since PBOT has stenciled the outline of the one at 17th and Clinton.
And that buzz isn’t all excitement.
With a meeting set for Monday night (10/12) at the Richmond Neighborhood Association, some local residents have taken to Nextdoor.com to voice their opposition. A volunteer with Bike Loud PDX, the upstart activist group that in many ways is responsible for making the diverters a reality, posted some of the Nextdoor messages to Facebook last night.
“I hope this is only a rumor,” one of them reads, “as I need access with my work vehicle to my home of 23 years. Blocking vehicle traffic is a knee jerk reaction to a difficult traffic situation created by the City of Portland.”
Bike Loud PDX says these postings are part of “an organized resistance” and is encouraging everyone who lives in the neighborhood to attend the meeting.
At the same time, PBOT is moving forward with the temporary diverters. We rolled over there this morning to take a look. The new diverter runs north-south across SE 17th. It will prevent people from driving east-west on Clinton at the intersection, while people on bikes will be able to easily bike through.
PBOT has determined that these diverters are necessary to maintain acceptable motor vehicle traffic volumes and a safe bicycling environment on this neighborhood street. They’ll have a big opportunity to make that case at the meeting on Monday.
If you’d like to attend, it’s at 7:00 pm on Monday night (10/12) at Waverly Church (3300 SE Woodward).
It’s a start, but vehicles will still be able to get on Clinton from 26th and 21st, which will keep volumes between 26th and 17th quite high. The real problem is not people in the neighborhood, but those cutting through from Powell. Given their location, these diverters will not really help with that problem.
Because PBOT couldn’t possibly limit auto access to that neighborhood node. How else are people supposed to get there other than driving?! Hmm, I wonder…
Actually, you don’t need to limit auto access there at all. What you need to do is prohibit turns off Powell into the neighborhood, at least during rush hour. You don’t even need to have everyone obey the prohibitions for it to be effective.
21st is a local street in neighborhood collector clothing, but 26th is a neighborhood collector for traffic modes. The purpose of such streets is to provide a connection between lower classified streets and higher classified streets like Powell and Division.
I agree that a turn prohibition onto 26th would be problematic. But I think it would work elsewhere (realistically, you would need one at every street from 25th to 20th). I don’t think the intersection at 26th would support the volumes required for everyone to just turn there and cut down along Tibbetts/Brooklyn/etc.
However, if you have a better idea for keeping Powell traffic off Clinton, I’d love to hear it. If I’m right, and volumes remain high between 26th and 17th, we’ll need to come up with some solution.
No one can say for sure where the traffic on Clinton is coming from, only generalities and educated guesses.
I support relocation of the transit line to Division and turning onto 26th from the through lane, which would not require any purchase of right of way. If Tri-Met needed an eastbound stop there it could be far side after the turn.
Without transit on Clinton from 21st to 26th, the speed bumps on that segment could be changed to the smaller version and a diverter added to keep retail auto traffic near the nodes of 21st and 26th.
The Lancaster report showed that 50%(!) of AM peak of vehicles heading north on 21st turned left onto Clinton (I forget the number for 26th). I am quite confident those were not all neighborhood vehicles, but I agree it would take more data to know for sure.
Transit aside, the problem with diverters at 21st and/or 26th (that would, presumably, restrict traffic from turning onto Clinton) is 1) They would be easily avoided, and 2) they would bisect a commercial area, which would likely generate strong opposition from the businesses there.
A diverter at, say, 24th would probably help with vehicles coming from 26th, but 21st is stickier if you restrict yourself to treatments of Clinton itself.
I think the most likely outcome is that PBOT would declare that some improvement is better than none, and just accept higher vehicle counts on that section of Clinton. A happier possibility would be that I’m wrong, and the diverter at 17th will be enough to deflect vehicles coming from 21st.
You’re right that it doesn’t go as far as many of us would like, but I think we should have a very positive attitude about these steps. City Council has made it clear that it is a priority of theirs to make the NGs work. Either this will help a little or it will help a lot. If it helps a little, let’s make sure that PBOT and Council hears a chorus of “Thank you! Please keep going!” If it helps a lot, let’s do the same 🙂
Additional diversion and traffic calming at 26th are options for Phase 2. If we want to see further improvements we need to make sure that Phase 1 is a success!
Traffic calming on SE 26th should extend north of Division to SE Harrison or SE Stephens.
26th north of Division is a collector (then east on Harrison to 30th and north). PBOT is proposing to make 30th south of Harrison the collector, add a signal at Division, and add an ER route north of Division to Hawthorne on 30th so that the 26th-Lincoln Collector link can be reverted to Local Service.
I have been saying that 30th should be extended south FOR FOREVER it seems. There needs to be a mainline auto “smallish” collector at least on the half-mile or the side bikeways do not work without major diversion. This would be the first step to fixing Lincoln-Harrison…..which has its own problems I will not get into…..yet….. 😉
I am very happy with the Phase 1 improvements. What I’d like to see for phase 2 is the Better Block curb extensions and public plazas at 26th made permanent. My dream would be to have the entire neighborhood node from 25th to 27th be a public plaza for people and through bike traffic only — no cars.
“Avid cyclist”? Check
A statement about how long they’ve lived in the neighborhood? Check.
Complaints about interfering with their job? Check.
Claims about “cars are here to stay”? Check.
Complaints about Division Street? Check.
“Let’s all get along?” Check.
Yep, meets all the NIMBY troll criteria. Other than saying it should be built elsewhere, of course. Can’t wait to hear them voice their “opinions” at the next RNA meeting.
FWIW I think it’s a big mistake to discount other people’s opinions like this. And the “NIMBY” name-calling isn’t necessary in my opinion. If you think people have such unevolved views, why not let their views speak for themselves? In my experience I’ve found it much more advantageous to both individual projects and to advocacy more broadly when I’ve resisted criticizing other people’s perspectives and given them the same respect I give people who happen to have views that more closely align with my own. Just some food for thought.
It’s not an opinion. He’s stating all these things as if they were fact and then claiming “oh I bike too so I can say whatever I want”. I’ve seen this time and time again, no matter what data they are presented with or arguments against their point of view, they will maintain their position that they must have auto access to every corner of the city. These are the same people who yell and scream at me on Clinton to get off “their” roads. Sorry, no sympathy for your driving issues – this is about improving safety. That’s all. you don’t get to oppose a proven safety project because you don’t personally like it.
Try coming to some RNA meetings and explaining things to some of the neighbors with “unevolved views”. They feed off each other and organize to oppose things that are a net benefit to the city just because they don’t like change.
You are 100% correct Adam. Jonathan just likes bickering with people online.
“He’s stating all these things as if they were fact and then claiming “oh I bike too so I can say whatever I want.”
That’s not what was said.
“…they will maintain their position that they must have auto access to every corner of the city.”
Nobody said that.
“These are the same people who yell and scream at me on Clinton to get off “their” roads.”
Who are you talking about? The post’s author, personally? Do you have any proof or evidence that (I assume) someone who yelled and screamed at you on Clinton is opposing the diverters through political action via the RNA, or are you painting all drivers with one brush?
“They feed off each other and organize to oppose things that are a net benefit to the city…”
The same could be said of cycling advocates, by irate driving advocates.
“You don’t get to oppose a proven safety project because you don’t personally like it.” Actually he does, just like you get to support the project even though some others oppose it. Your righteous outrage and character assassination is more befitting a 13 year old than somebody seriously engaged in an adult discussion about how to improve safety on Clinton. If you have the stronger arguments, why not rely on those to prevail rather than stooping to impugning someone’s integrity? Attacking the motives and integrity of someone because they disagree with you is a tactic of the weak-minded.
I’m really familliar with how people get at neighborhood meetings. I’ve been to tons of them and have seen the ugliness. I was just trying to share with you that approaching people in the way your comment was framed might not be the best way to go about things. That’s all.
I’ve faced some pretty extremely opposite views in my time and I’m sort of fascinated by what happens when I decide to accept those views and maintain a basic level of respect for the person… Then try and have them respect my views and have a conversation.
When we start by digging in and insulting people, all we get is two sides shouting and that’s not always productive.
Maybe you’re a better persuader than I, but in my experience, trying to convince someone who is opposing safety projects because of their own personal convenience is a lost cause. They repeat the same tired canned responses (“I’m an avid cyclist” or “cars are here to stay and nothing can change that”) and don’t bother to really understand what they are arguing against. It doesn’t matter to them that a diverter doesn’t actually block all car access to the street, or that much of Division Street was actually parking lots and dilapidated warehouses, and not affordable housing. I’ve had this conversation over and over again and it always ends up steering towards one thing: that they don’t really want people riding bikes on the street. It’s really hard to force myself to give them respect when they are arguing that my safety and the safety of thousands of other people is not important to them.
You don’t always need to convince, or win the argument. Sometimes just listening and acknowledging people is enough.
Fair enough, although I’d at least like to convince them that their concerns aren’t nearly as big of a deal as they think they are.
Nobody said it was easy to change someone’s mind, but your chances are zero if your starting point to the conversation is that their concerns are completely invalid. More importantly, in my experience showing that you hear, understand, and to some degree sympathize with someone’s concerns is the first step in overcoming their arguments, especially if you need to persuade the undecided or less than firmly entrenched that are also participating in the debate and decisionmaking. When you impugn someone’s integrity and reject their concerns out of hand, you are likely to alienate the undecided and others who see two sides to the issue.
I think the basic question comes down to: Do you think people who have different opinions and priorities than you do are allowed to have them and try to have them implemented?
Could they also ever possibly be right?
We’ve already tried the highways and car access thing. It doesn’t work. Time for a different approach.
Doesn’t work in what regard?
The decades of prosperity and comfortable living, not to mention ease and convenience of movement that millions and millions of Americans have experienced?
Sure it’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t exactly call that “not working”.
Prosperity and comfortable living? Ease and convenient movement? At what cost? People who can’t afford the expense of a car are now second-class citizens forced onto sub-par or nonexistent walking infrastructure. Building of highways in this country displaced millions (and in almost every case low-income black people). 30,000 people a year die in car crashes, an overwhelming majority being low-income people forced to live in auto-dominated neighborhood. Cars also pollute and contribute to lung diseases and global warming.
And you were complaining about him stating things like they were facts?
“…He’s stating all these things as if they were fact…” herstein
You’re referring apparently, to the person who’s comment to the Nextdoor.com weblog, is shown in a screenshot to this bikeportland story. Seems fair enough for that person, assuming they live in the neighborhood, to wonder about and be concerned with what effect the diverters soon to be installed on Clinton, may have on access to their house.
Though living out in Beaverton, I have some familiarity with Clinton St and the neighborhood around it. I’ve somewhat been browsing, not following closely, the stories on the sought after Clinton St diverters, so if it’s been reported already, I may have missed info on what provision the city is making for neighbors that drive and that need access to their homes between the diverters. Anyone with an answer about this, I’d imagine I’m not the only person reading here that’s wondering.
Generally, I’m opposed to excessively and insensitively used cut-though routes people, both those that drive, and those that bike, use to beat traffic on the thoroughfares and boulevards. If these diverters have been well thought out and provision has been made for people that drive to get to their houses (service vehicles too.), they may be a good counter to cut-throughs.
From the persons comment, it seems that they are not just wondering about the diverters, but assuming that car access will be completely blocked on their street. Whether this is a problem with lack of education on PBOTs part, or just an intentional oversight, I can’t say. In any case, if this person is concerned, they should be asking questions, not getting defensive about their truck problem and making assumptions.
“From the persons comment, it seems that they are not just wondering about the diverters, but assuming that car access will be completely blocked on their street. …” herstein
From Clinton, yes…it sounds as though side streets by way of Clinton, will be completely blocked off to motor vehicle travel at the diverter. Apparently, people will not be able to drive on Clinton past where the diverter or diverter(s) is located…unless they somehow reroute, and I would imagine this may be what some people living in the neighborhood are wondering about. Providing some straightforward helpful information about what the workaround for them may be, could go a long way to easing anxieties that word of the diverters may be producing.
I watched this Nextdoor battle unfold, and even chimed in a few times too. I completely understand Adam’s frustration. It was a depressing thread at times. I try to focus on hating the system (car dependency, etc.), and not the individuals.
That said, Adam’s checklist is really, really accurate. It’s super frustrating to hear these people repeat, again and again (like it will make it true), “let’s just all get along.”
The huge point that they are missing is that people are NOT getting along. And we shouldn’t have to stake our own safety out there on whether or not someone behind us in a car is feeling like “just getting along” today.
“Let’s all get along” says the dude operating a 5000lb commercial vehicle on a designated bike route. How is this one diverter going to affect his commute each day? Notice that he never states this.
Maybe having a real discussion with him might clarify that it’s not a big deal. I would guess that for local (resident?) traffic there are alternate ways to get around the diverter. If he’s misunderstanding something, then calling him a NIMBY won’t change that.
Yeah, it’s not like he won’t be able to drive to his house. I live on 42nd Ave, between Powell and Holgate; this block has several access points blocked by “no left turn” signs. I mean, life is hard, having to drive a few blocks around a diverter or other barrier isn’t the big deal that people think it will be.
“Yeah, it’s not like he won’t be able to drive to his house. …” Charley
Without knowing exactly where he lives…or do you?…with the diverters, you’re sure what his route will be, and how it will differ from what has been his route.
I would guess that no houses will be completely cut off from auto access. He may have to drive a different route, but he will be able to drive to his house.
“I would guess that no houses will be completely cut off from auto access. He may have to drive a different route, but he will be able to drive to his house.” doug klotz
Do you not believe neighbors have a legitimate right to consideration as to how traffic management measures implemented may, or will affect travel to and from their home by motor vehicle they may be obliged to rely on?
Without even knowing they guy whose comment to some other blog got front and center treatment, negative at that, in this bikeportland story…or other neighbors in the area,,,it stands to reason that likely all of them realize their houses won’t be completely cut off from access to their house by way of motor vehicle travel.
What they should be entitled to expect from people enthusiastically supporting installation of the diverters on Clinton, is some thought, consideration and help in understanding how the diverters will affect their day to day access to the street in front of their home.
The impression left by a number of people in support of the diverters and commenting to this story, is that they have little idea of how the diverters will access neighbor’s car travel to and from their homes…and worse, they don’t care.
“let’s all get along” is code for “stop complaining”. it’s just bemoaning the conflict, without addressing it. it’s demanding that the debate be shut down, and the aggrieved party be viewed as a trouble-maker and ignored.
Exactly. What you’re describing is a thought-terminating cliché.
Jonathan, Adam, and others involved in these hot neighborhood issues: right after I read your arguments here, this excellent Breaking Smart article appeared in my inbox. It’s entitled “Someone is Wrong On The Internet” and is about changing people’s minds. It’s well worth a read.
The three points from the article most relevant here seem to me to be:
15/ Once you eliminate bulls****ers, trolls and liars, you are left with sincere people who believe they are right.
16/ Your job is to either get their truths to harmonize with yours, prove yourself wrong, or prove them wrong.
17/ Only the first goal is truly interesting for Miller’s Law. If you suspect only one of you is right, it’s a zero-sum debate about a non-complex system.
Traffic, transportation, and cities are decidedly complex systems where zero-sum debates are non-relevant. The concepts in the article would be valuable to anyone involved in such debates.
That’s what I love about meaningless insults like “NIMBY” — we can just dismiss any dissenting opinion and be smugly on our way.
Sorry but they are not a NIMBY, a NIMBY is someone who demands the changes being called for, then balks at them being implemented in their neighborhood.
This is a resident of the neighborhood who opposes a change. Doesn’t make them a NIMBY.
Labels when applied should at least be applied correctly.
He said he is an “avid cyclist” so one can assume that he enjoys the benefits of the numerous diverters that have been built all over this city. I think that meets the definition of NIMBY.
Did he say he wanted diverters anywhere in the city? Again you are making assumptions so you can label someone and by labeling them can dismiss them.
My bad. If he is an “avid cyclist” and doesn’t want diverters anywhere, that would just make him dumb, not a NIMBY.
I think an “avid cyclist” who opposes cycling infrastructure in their neighborhood is a fairly good example of “not in my backyard”.
Or one that recognizes that there are other users (possibly a majority) in his neighborhood who don’t share all of his same priorities and views.
Or that all cyclists do not think in lockstep on every issue pertaining to cycling.
The cycling community is not a giant monolith with a single viewpoint. I bet there are republicans, anarchists, democrats, communists, greens, athiest, catholics, jews, hindus, muslims, buddhists , vegetarians, male, female, transgendered, gay, bisexual and maybe even the occasional left handed person.
“Or that all cyclists do not think in lockstep on every issue pertaining to cycling.”
I agree. Some people who cycle want cycling infrastructure, some don’t want cycling infrastructure at all, and some are OK with cycling infrastructure elsewhere but not in their backyard.
I’m in favor of cycling infrastructure elsewhere, but I categorically do not want a traffic diverter in my back yard. Nor in my front yard.
OK, your choice, but it seems to me that culs-de-sac, dead ends and other low-traffic residential streets often go along with higher property values. Are there enough diverters in Portland that such an effect has been measured, yet?
Yes, I’m suspicious too and it’s important to discuss what’s likely to be auto industry interference in this project but on the other hand, it’s good to educate the locals about the advantages to them and what the plan really is. Otherwise people just hear propaganda and believe it. And they shouldn’t be belittled. They live there and there’s a change in front of their homes. It’s natural and normal for them to be interested in it as they might have to adjust how they do things.
I remember when the Hornby St. protected bike lane was voted for in Vancouver, I was at a party and two people there were up in arms about the project saying that they’ll have nowhere to park anymore and that there will be only one travel lane left. I brought up the website that had all the detailed plans on it and showed them that in the plan, parking was still there on the other side of the street and that there were at least two travel lanes through the entire length. They didn’t believe it and somehow were suspicious. Eventually they did get over it and now we’re all at a different place of understanding.
It shows how our minds work. If we are first told a wrong idea it’s hard to let go of that wrong idea no matter how much evidence we’re shown. Eventually we do though but it takes time and experience.
So, in this case, there’s some damage being done by some instigators who are telling people lies. The task now is to find out what they’re saying and provide some education to counter it.
For example, if people are being told that they will not be able to drive to their homes, you need to show them that they can and show possible routes.
But no matter how nutty people seem, their needs are valid and you have to just keep inviting them to bring input into the process so that the desired traffic calming does not prevent them from having their needs met.
Being angry at them, while understandable, is counter productive. It’s been a huge struggle to get even this tiny bit of infrastructure to be considered so it is frustrating of course. You have to look at the longer picture. Getting angry at people will not bring them to understanding.
> it’s important to discuss what’s likely to be auto industry interference in this project
You think the “auto industry” is trying to kill this diverter?
I have sympathy for the person who posted on Nextdoor, but the diverters will not keep them from driving their work truck to their house, right? They will just need to drive most of the way on Division (or some other street), rather than driving all the way down Clinton. It seems to me that working towards getting bus turnouts on Divison would be more effective than keeping Clinton as a shadow arterial.
I do not share the value judgment that Richmond/HAND need to still accommodate fast through traffic. There are increasingly many people commuting through this area. Adding bus turnouts might speed up traffic for a while (and make being a pedestrian on Division worse), but that will probably just induce demand.
Perhaps it should just be policy that it’s okay if it takes an extra 6 minutes (1.51 miles @ 30mph versus 10mph) to travel between Chavez and 12th. Maybe saving those few minutes isn’t worth undermining all of the wonderful streetscaping we’ve seen in the last few years.
Portland has climate goals and mode share goals. We will not meet those if we’re unwilling to make driving a less appealing option.
I also reject the notion that our goals should be to move traffic faster. This has proven to be disastrous for safety and livability.
Faster doesn’t necessarily equate to speed. Driving a mile at 5mph but having to stop every 20 feet is slower than driving that same mile at 3 mph. I drive slower but travel the same distance in less time IE: Faster.
IMO, our goals should be to move people more effiently, not faster, and that means buses, rail, and bikes — not cars.
The two are not mutually exclusive, and in fact I would say that doing it in less time (faster) is part of being efficient. Again faster does not equate to speed it is a measure of time to get from point to point.
Travel speed isn’t the most significant factor in travel time when driving in an urban setting. Traffic volumes, traffic obstruction, and traffic control devices have a much greater impact on travel time than travel speed does.
Anyone that rides a bicycle at rush hour and drives at times too should be able to attest to this. Anyone that drives and “times the lights” (ie basically coasting towards red lights ahead of you) knows this too. You might pass me as you drive at 5+ mph between the lights, but I catch up and pass you while traveling -2 mph under the speed limit because I don’t have to stop at the lights. It’s a funny little game of traffic leapfrog.
Also in some cases you can have both slower speeds and more traffic volume. For example – slower speed limits allow more cars though light cycles than higher speed limit lights do if they have the same time cycles because the safe following distances are reduced at slow speeds and so more cars can pass through a single light phase than can at higher speeds.
Likewise one car caught in the intersection after the light changes to red, in essence blocks traffic for blocks away (even potentially blocking around the block and slowing the traffic directly in front of them)- especially in areas like downtown where nearly every intersection is lighted and timed.
I’m with you, but at this point we’re not talking about inducing demand – recent changes on Division mean it no longer meets the existing demand to drive through the neighborhood. Making driving equally inconvenient on all the potential routes through the neighborhood might well be the solution (i.e. reducing the demand by making all the routes unattractive to through drivers), but the acute problem here is that Division does not have the capacity for through traffic it did just a few years ago, and we’re bound to have some “whack-a-mole” traffic control measures until demand drops if we’re going to pursue this option.
I’m also going to make a little prediction. The new commuter route of choice will be W Powell to N 17th to W Division in the morning, and E Division to S 26th to E Powell in the afternoon. Just a guess, of course…
I can tell you that traffic now sometimes backs up for several blocks south from the SE Clinton/SE 26th intersection in the mornings, so it’s mornings and evenings (and all day and all night), here. We get the morning commuters, the parents and kids getting to school, the Division hotspot (Salt ‘n’ Straw and bfast version) seekers, the kids and parents leaving school, the evening commuters, the Division hotspot (evening version/restaurant and bar) seekers). There is no lull on SE 26th between Clinton and Powell these days. I hear obnoxious loud speeding traffic way past midnight these days. Absolutely hate it–esp. as the city was once promising (the 20s bike plan) to make this a greener street, with traffic calming and widened bike lanes. We were kind of counting on that. Oh, well.
There are no bus turnouts on Division because that was a deliberate decision made during the design process. The thinking was based on the observation that even with pullouts, bus drivers often leave their tail end out in the travel lane (thus blocking vehicles from passing) in order to ensure they can get back into the flow of traffic when they are are done letting passengers on and off. Vehicles on the roadway do not always yield to the bus re-entering the stream of traffic as they should, and that makes drivers frustrated.
Given that line of thought, and the cost of adding bus turnouts at this point, I feel fairly confident in predicting that it’s not likely to happen any time soon.
There is a bus pad next to the curb eastbound on Division nearside 26th.
34th looks the same to me. I don’t see curb extensions at 20th, or eastbound at 17th, either.
So, the inference that there are no pull-outs is incorrect to begin with.
Further, the point of a transportation system is to move people and goods, not necessarily vehicles. Bus curb extensions reduce dwell time for transit vehicles, improving service for transit users.
Bingo. A bus is about 30x more important that one dude in a work truck. He can wait a few more minutes in his comfortable climate-controlled bubble.
Well, for moving people, yes. Of course, a contractor can’t very well use transit if he really needs a truck full of equipment and supplies. Myself, I drive through here sometimes with a carpool of soccer kids. Let’s be understanding of everybody’s needs.
I’m a contractor and I use a bike trailer.
He can’t use the bus, but he also shouldn’t have the entitled attitude that his time is more important than that of the 30 people on the bus.
Would you rather wait behind 1 bus or 30 cars?
On streets without turnouts, there really should be a law (is there one already?), where cars are not allowed to pass a bus while it’s stopped. I watch so much driver impatience every day out my window (I live on Division) — a bus is stopped for all of ten seconds, but people zoom around the bus, often having to come to a quick stop to wait for a pedestrian that is halfway into the intersection. It’s so dangerous.
Transit already gets snared in single-occupancy traffic all around town. I hate seeing full buses stuck in traffic because all the people around the bus chose to drive their car alone. I’d love more transit only lanes (never gonna happen on Division, to be fair), but turnouts are, to me, a step in the opposite direction.
I live on SE 52nd and frequently see people driving over the double yellow line to get around a stopped bus. Most bus drivers are nice enough not to stop in the bike lane and the selfish drivers breaking the law make the situation incredibly dangerous for everyone else.
That law would be detrimental to the movement of vehicles. There is a law that motorists are to yield to a bus entering the through lane – it’s printed on the back left corner of the bus (with the ORS reference) with a red flashing triangle light the driver can activate.
The buses really need a swing-out yield sign, similar to what school buses have to remind drivers to stop when they’ve stopped. Those are a pretty effective reminder, and don’t cost much.
So what? As it stands now, the current law is detrimental to people. What do you value more, movement of vehicles or safety of people?
People. It’s possible to have both smooth auto flow and pedestrian safety, provided the people driving slow down.
How do you propose getting people to slow down?
In the short term it will require a change to the roadway on specific streets – speed bumps.
In the long-term it is a process like MADD that changes the way people think about their actions. Vision Zero. Better roads, better drivers, better vehicles, better laws, better enforcement, better adjudication, better trauma care.
Preventatives are likely to be less costly than post trauma treatments.
I agree. I’d love to see some of those “drive sober or get pulled over” ads converted to anti-speeding ads.
“It’s possible to have both smooth auto flow and pedestrian safety”
Hm. Monsieur Gil Penalosa doesn’t appear to agree with you, as mentioned here recently (can’t get the new search function to produce the quote: “you can make a city work really well for cars, or you can make a city work really well for people walking and cycling, but you can’t do both.” Something like that.
It was Gil’s brother, former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa who told a Portland crowd nearly nine years ago that it all comes down to “cars versus people.”
“The essence of the conflict today, really, is cars versus people,” he said during an event at the Bagdad Theater on SE Hawthorne. “We can have a city that is very friendly to cars, or a city that is very friendly to people. We cannot have both.”
If he lives in that area, he should be able to just go, what, one block over from Clinton and his problems will be solved? He’s missing the point of the diverters, the diverters are to keep people from using his neighborhood as a thoroughfare.
People are just afraid of change.
“I’m an avid cyclist, but….”
Strange how they all make that claim.
One of my best friends is a cyclist.
“I’m totally in favor of cycling, but….”
“I’m totally in favor of cycling, but I have a nuanced opinion about a complex issue that might run counter to the prevailing narrative on a website frequented by more political members of the cycling community.”
And perhaps your being a cyclist doesn’t dictate every opinion you have about politics and this city?
I wonder how many people will go down a block just to get back on right away?
Westbound at 17th ‘down a block’ is the signal at Division. It’s the eastbound traffic that might infiltrate the neighborhood.
Other bad behavior observed is the U-turn after passing the median. Michigan at Rosa Parks has this issue.
How will this diverter block him getting to his home? Does he live where they are putting the diverter? I don’t think so.
Judging by his comment, you’d think they were installing the diverter in his driveway.
No, you’d think he was resentful because you were demanding he change a pattern which has served him well for a long time, by telling him he’s part of a problem that he does not perceive.
And that, of course, is exactly what is happening.
I agree diverters are needed, but I don’t think his outlook is unreasonable at all.
I think it’s fairly obvious that the person who posted on Nextdoor doesn’t understand what a diverter is. He/she claims that car access will be “blocked”, as in not allowed on the street. Perhaps PBOT needs to do better education on what a diverter is? Either that or the poster is choosing to purposely ignore and construe facts to prove their point (happens quite a lot).
You could well be right. Perhaps helping him understand that the situation is not as bad as he thinks would be a more constructive way to respond.
Adam, your posts are becoming abrasive enough to turn even BP posters against you. Might want to try another approach.
I like Adam’s passion. The smiley “bike ambassador” approach has been a complete failure, IMO.
I like Adam’s passion to, but would hope that he could channel it a manner that is more likely to effect change. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that advocates be smiley doormats, but there is a middle ground to literally or figuratively shaking you first in the face of someone who disagrees with you and calling them names because you believe you are 100% on the side of the right. Being a doormat or a fist shaker is not going to bring about the change we need so long as we need to persuade others as to the legitmacy of our cause.
It’s different when you’re posting comments on a pro-bike website vs. talking to someone in person. I certainly take a more productive approach when discussing in person. Know your audience. I obviously wouldn’t go before the Richmond NA and insult everyone, but at the same time, I see BikePortland as a safe space to vent my frustration.
Adam – This isn’t a closed forum, it’s a public one. Not everyone that comes here rides bicycles or wants to. And it’s articles like this one that will draw in more non bike types than most the other articles/posts on this site.
Frankly they’re turning me off of the whole site.
He has a point about the bus pull out on Division. The streetscape placed priority on pedestrian crossing and environmental water retention, but did not take bus and bike connectivity into account. If the bioswales were placed other places and bus pull outs would have been added there would have been less congestion impacts, this also would have had the added strength of visibility around corners which is another resident safety complaint. We need to learn from this when other streetscapes get funded. Look at it globally when it comes to transportation in all its forms, as a modernization of Clinton Should have been part of the Division Streetscape.
Now, on diversion. I actually posted a pictures on Bikeloud’s FB site as I witnessed PBOT doing the spray painting as I happened on by. It is exciting. There will be less opposition to 17th than 32nd (or 31st depending on who you talk to). The questions that needs to be asked to those in opposition are:
1) why is a few minutes out of your day to drive around the block to access the traffic light at 34th more important that the safety of all the neighborhood children , residents and commuters.
2) What is your alternative to get Clinton down to internationally recognized safety standards if you do not want diversion? The next step is to remove parking on one side completely and stripe bike lanes from 12to to Caesar Chavez. Admittedly I would kind of like a nice wide curb tight bikelane for that up hill mile……..but where would they all park? Where is the money as this would be MUCH more expensive…..maybe through parking permits? Capitalism makes you generally pay for convenience.
Terry, you ask such great questions but I fear that the answers more often than not are “do nothing”.
That may be true, but the local residents need to understand that this is an international sustainable safety movement to modernize our transportation system….. so it is not deadly. Deadly through collisions and stress, deadly through through chronic disease because of inactivity.
To be clear…if they are not willing to divert and they still want the convenience of driving everywhere without delay, then parking has to go and THE AUTO DRIVERS will need to pay for it….wherever they are coming from. If enough people say that, as the current state is clearly not acceptable, then maybe they will take diversion as the “lesser of two evils.”
Saying “let us get along” is not a solution that has worked since the dawn of the automobile.
Bus pull-outs require space that would otherwise be used for curb-side parking; I think that’s the primary reason there are none on the ‘new’ Division.
Except there are bus pull outs on Division and the bus stops without pull outs have curb extensions that take up the parking lane.
Actually an in-lane bus stop with a curb extension preserves a lot more curb-side parking spaces than a curb-side bus stop, which needs much more over all curb space for the bus to turn in, stop and then pull back out. I’d say the difference is at least 3 to 5 parking spaces.
In Salem Bus pullouts were installed along several congested corridors. The had to stop using them because drivers would not let the busses back into the traffic lane. Bus pullouts also create visibility issues at crosswalks since the bus blocks the view of peds. Car drivers just need to accept the fact that it’s going to take longer to drive places. This would be the case with or without improved bicycle infrastructure.
Division should have had a monorail.
Actually… Powell should, instead of the insane idea of BRT.
Unfortunately, monorails always suck.
I’m surprised you would say that when we were just fondly discussing Wuppertal’s Schwebebahn here the other day.
I don’t think of the Schwebebahn as a monorail, though it probably is. I think of places like Seattle, Tokyo, and Sydney, where the monorails are either pointless, or a symbol of failed planning. The Schwebebahn gets a pass in my book because I feel I should wear a leather helmet and circular goggles when I ride it. And that means something!
upside down monorails are still monorails.
But it was built in the pre-sucky-monorail era. It gets grandfathered in.
I know just the guy to sell us the monorail! He’s sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook; and by gum, it put them on the map!
I’ve heard a narrative from some folks who live in this neighborhood that doesn’t make sense to me but goes something like this: Developers and pro-development neighborhood folks and bike advocates pushed for development on Division (where “Division” can be substituted for other growing commercial corridors). The developers tore down affordable, small bungalows for middle class type people and built new, ugly, large apartment units with really expensive apartments and no parking, which has pushed cars into neighborhoods and somehow resulted in raised rents across the city and has limited the stock of affordable small homes.
Division got busy enough that traffic has gone onto Clinton and other neighborhood streets. Now the pro-development, pro-bike people think they can solve this problem with Clinton diverters, but really they are going to push traffic onto even quieter neighborhood streets because people are never going to give up cars so it’s only all going to get worse. And all of this because pro-bike people think people don’t have cars, and the city supported greedy developers.
(Note: I know this doesn’t make sense. But a lot of people really truly believe that tearing down small homes and building apartment buildings has been the actual cause of increased housing costs, both for purchase and rent.)
Every time cheap housing is torn down and replaced with high-end units, it adds to this narrative.
New apartment buildings are always going to be “high-end” because new housing is always more expensive than old housing, and no developer wants to build mediocre apartment buildings. Part of the solution is building more du/tri/quad plexes in residential neighborhoods or even converting older homes into multi-family. Right now, it’s too easy for people to totally demo a house only to build a massive single-family home in its place.
Even so, these high-end units still take the pressure off of medium-priced units that would otherwise be occupied by people who really wanted a high-end apartment but couldn’t find any available due to lack of supply.
I think it would be more accurate statement to state that no developer wants to rent units for less than what people will pay, and right now they’ll pay a lot. You don’t need to have a mediocre building to have lower rents, and (as some of the new buildings on Division attest) you can have a mediocre building with high rents.
Nonetheless, economics aside, the “optics” of replacing low cost housing with high cost housing does support the narrative described by Daisy.
bungalows in central portland are the exact opposite of low-cost housing.
except when you compare them to newly built “mansions” in central Portland.
a natural consequence of banning multi-family development while allowing residential development.
Seems more of a natural consequence of capitalism to me.
uggggh but the narrative is just not true! (Not accusing you of agreeing with this stance Hello Kitty.)
People hate on the apartments because they are symbolic — they’re easy to point at (both while walking down the street but also in arguments) and claim are ruining all that is good.
My apartment replaced a parking lot (!!), but people tend to forget facts like these when bemoaning new development on arterials. Parking lots and apartments both happen to be good symbols for different eras, and different values. I’ll take the latter any day.
You are 100% correct. The question is, how do we convince these people that they are completely wrong? It’s not easy, since they frequently tune you out when you present a opposing argument. There are even some people that claim they were personally singled out of neighborhood involvement and claim that board members are out to get them. There’s really no hope in convincing some of these people. Trust me, I’ve tried, only to be accused myself of being in the developer’s pocketbooks.
Really, the “problem” stems from a people suddenly discovering that Portland is a cool city and wanting to move here, and a national trend of moving back to walkable/bikeable urban cores. The market then responded accordingly. No one person or group orchestrated a “bungalow takeover”. These are issues any growing city must face or end up completely unaffordable like SF. Although I suspect the latter is a secret goal of the anti-development folks.
Well, not *completely* wrong. It’s hard to avoid the fact that development along Division (mostly “destination” dining and shopping) has generated lots of traffic and parking demand. Drivers searching for parking have slowed down the speed of traffic on the street, as have all the new crosswalks – which are pretty essential to pedestrian safety now. Almost certainly this is causing drivers to divert to adjacent streets like Clinton. Even small stuff – like the way the wider sidewalks cause trash trucks to block a lane of traffic while emptying dumpsters from all the new restaurants – has contributed to Division congestion. It’s straight densification along a transit corridor, with lots of benefits, but it pretty clearly reduces car traffic capacity. Whether you like these effects or not is (of course) a matter of opinion.
(Note: I’m not saying anything here about rents, high-end or not, or any supposed conspiracies, just what one can observe in traffic and parking in the area)
The fact the traffic on Division has slowed down was built-into the design. The streetscape project was built to slow people driving down and to make Division a destination in of itself, instead of a place to travel though. Yes, an unintended consequence of this was increased car traffic on Clinton, as it is the closest continuous street. This is what the Clinton diverters aim to fix. Ideally, traffic on Division should be people going to Division, and people who want to drive though can use Powell.
Slowing traffic (except in a few isolated spots like 21st-23rd) was never a real goal of the project. Sure, everyone knew it would slow traffic somewhat, but I, for one, was somewhat surprised at just how much slower it has become.
This is not a statement about whether that’s good or bad, just noting that the magnitude of change was unexpected.
May not have been an official goal, but typically improving the safety of people walking necessitates slowing down people driving.
I wonder how these people would react if truly affordable housing was built on division. My guess is that most of them would be even more upset.
They’d probably be okay with it if it was built somewhere else.
Thanks fundamental issue here is, do the residents have the right to keep or change public street policy? Or, does the driving, riding and walking public determine policy?
The idea that a small group of alleged residents somehow have any effect on this proposed change is disturbing. People are dying, are injured and downright scared of using this road. That needs to change today. A few alleged residents who somehow believe their extra minutes in life is worth someone’s leg, life or peace if mind is completely contrary to a peaceful society.
>People are dying, are injured and downright scared of using this road
How many cyclists have been killed by cars on clinton?
Do you really want to wait for someone to be killed to do something? That’s reactionary. We need to be proactive, and there is a clear safety issue on Clinton that needs to be addressed.
It’s not so clear to me. Reducing volume on Clinton may make is safer for cyclists, but the primary impetus is so that the street can be easily posted for 20 mph along its entire length.
FWIW, crash data from ODOT for 2008-2012 identified 100 reported crashes on SE Clinton between from 11th to 52nd Avenues, inclusive. Twelve percent of the crashes involved cyclists (so 88% did not). Of those, 58% (7)were deemed the fault of motorists and 42% (5) the fault of cyclists.
No fatalities have been reported on Clinton. All of the bike involved crashes were injury crashes.
Data good. Thanks!
And before anybody slams me, I mean that it’s good to have data, not that there’s something good about crashes.
It’s also good to see that so few of the crashes on Clinton have involved cyclists (regardless of fault).
Data actually points out that the Greenways are the safest (as far as conflicts with automobiles) bicycle routes in Portland, even without the diverters.
According to the Vision Zero map at PDOT, between 2004-2013 there were only 14 injury collisions with cars on Clinton (12th to 52nd) the worst intersections were 52nd with 3 and 42nd with 2.
See for yourself here:
Granted these numbers are pre “New Division”. But still a 1.4 injury auto collision average every year is amazing considering the bike volume through this stretch. I suspect more riders injure themselves all by themselves every year.
Even if the rates have gone up a little the last couple years, the safety in numbers principle takes over – bicycle ridership has easily way surpassed any slight bike/car incident rate on Clinton. It is very likely that you are much safer on Clinton NOW than you ever have been as far as your individual chances of being involved in a car/bike collision go.
For myself, (I ride Clinton a lot) I don’t care either way about the diverters. Lower car volume will make the rides there more pleasant for sure (unless the diverters increase harassment from drivers), but I find it a very enjoyable ride to begin with (yes even during rush hour). Though I wish all this effort and money went to something more useful- like more or connecting broken greenways.
Agreed about the safety of the Greenways, but it’s also about perception. If riding in Clinton meant being passed too closely and yelled at, this would discourage many people from riding — undermining the safety in numbers. That and the traffic volumes far exceed what PBOT considers acceptable for a greenway necessitate this diverter project.
Glad to see that the data show the Greenways as the safest routes though. Probably because they have the lowest traffic volumes.
Read our two posts above, and honestly ask yourself which of us two is attempting to tear down the perceptions , and which of us two is promoting the idea of riding a bicycle is safe and enjoyable? Which of us is making it look dangerous and scary?
It’s short sighted to think that Greenways are “safer” only because of traffic volume – traffic volume is a double edged sword for bicycle data. If you go by bicycle riders exposed to auto volume then roads like Sandy, Barber, Foster, 82nd would be top of the safest streets list. Speed limits, encouraged lane placement of bicycle riders, fewer traffic controlled intersections, and the safety in numbers principle are also potential factors in the “safety” of greenways.
you may ride clinton the greenway but the the clinton the car boulevard is another beast altogether:
Been there done that, and it’s easy riding in fact it is some of my favorite riding. Just like downtown when the cars are slow or stopped (virtually no chance of auto conflict if you ride with half a brain), and you coast by with a big smile on your face knowing that you aren’t the one trapped in traffic. And looking on as you know most those people trapped in cars and long traffic lines are looking at you are jealous that you are just flying by.
riding in a 5 block traffic jam on a Greenway is your “favorite riding”?
People have died from riding in the metro area tangling with cars
People have lost limbs riding in the metro area from tangling we itg cars
People are afraid of this screamway for those to reasons.
Riders need and deserve a reprieve and need/deserve this one street to be calmed.
Do we have to wait until blood is spilled on a particular street or intersecting road before we do something?
It’s never inappropriate to figure out what is actually happening. Apparently the data don’t support your claim that cyclists are dying on Clinton. Personally, I think the diverters are a good idea, but it’s always a good idea to understand a problem pretty thoroughly before trying to solve it.
Well, the ‘Division Streetscape’ project was actually vetted by all the neighborhood associations, who though it was a good idea at the time.
Now, conflicts are arising because of the shortsighted-planning that went into the Division Streetscape project and the unintended (but not necessarily unpredictable) consequences of that project.
The NAs did agree with the project, and probably still do, though perhaps with more caveats than before.
I’m not sure I would characterize the planning as “shortsighted”. Traffic demand on the street has greatly increased; that possibility was never discussed. The thought that Division would attract people (in cars) from across the city seemed inconceivable.
The real problem, in my opinion, is that development on Division happened much faster than anyone expected. Better if it had happened more gradually, with people given time to absorb the changes and adapt incrementally.
I think the speed and magnitude of the changes has made many in the neighborhood gun shy, and some of that may be manifesting itself in the diverter discussion.
I know how priorities go in this city, so should I even ask why they’re doing 17th when the real heat on Clinton is in the 20s and 30s?
Volumes between 12th and 21st average 2300 cars per day.
westbound traffic at 12th is causing a safety problem for the tracks.
Transit operates on Clinton from 21st to 26th.
Diversion is proposed east of 26th, about 32nd, to address the average 2100 cars per day there.
Why can’t TriMet move the 10 bus off Clinton? Seems counter-intuitive to have a “bicycle priority street” sharing space with large buses.
Timet claims buses have difficulty navigating the right turn from Division onto 26th.
Why not use Powell to get from 21st to 26th then?
That’s the claim, but it has to have some caveats. If they want to pick up at the nearside bus pad, it is an expensive change and involves right of way purchase. If the 10 turns from the through lane and picks up/drops off far side after the turn, no right of way is involved, just a larger radius corner and adjustment of the signal span wire pole.
Speaking of which. In another thread, you had suggested using smaller buses on Clinton. I had suggested getting a different type of bus for one route would be a non-starter due to introducing new maintenance requirements on Trimet. I recently found myself on the no. 45 bus on the Westside, and it turns out Trimet already has smaller buses. So I stand corrected, and smaller buses could be one solution.
That said, I fully agree with the notion that all users would be better off it those buses were moved to run on either Division or Powell between 21st and 26th. Better yet: have the 10 bus line terminate at the new MAX station at SE 17th and Holgate.
Or, if serving Cleveland high and a direct connection to downtown are absolutely necessary, go via Powell to the Tillikum crossing like the 9.
According to Strava (not the best source, but better than nothing), SE 21st between Powell and Clinton has as many cyclists as Clinton from 21st to 12th, so routing the bus up 21st would not be ideal.
Adam, I couldn’t reply to your comment directly, but let me say here that I understand what you are saying about venting on Bikeportland versus engaging in a discussion with people who have more diverse viewponts. When I responded to your initial point, I broke my own rule and took a less than tactful approach and I apologize for that. What I am encouraging you to do is really consider where this guy is coming from and understand that to him his thoughts on this are completely valid and maybe to others too. People have pretty good BS meters and can tell when someone is just shining them on. To get someone to change or make up their mind, you have to convince them that you understand where they are coming from. That’s hard to do if in the back of your mind you are thinking that they are FOS.
I gave friends with businesses that use cars. Why does that make their driving or their car extra special? Why do they feel attacked because the road is slightly safer?
Honestly, it depends on the situation. If they provide a well-thought-out argument against the diverters, it would be one thing. However, as I pointed out in my original comment, this person is just repeating the same anti-bike clichés we’ve all heard 1,000 times.
I’d love to have this conversation in person and be proved wrong.
I just reread the post in the article, and I don’t really see any anti-bike sentiment there at all, cliche or original.
Jonathan – a point to clarify / adjust in your article:
You wrote the project outcome as, “…discourage people from driving on the “bike priority” street…”
Instead, it may be more correct to write, “…discourage people from using the ‘bike priority’ street for regional trips…”
In practice, the use of diverters does not close public streets to traffic, as vehicles still have access to all block faces but only make it less desirable for regional traffic to cut through or “rat run” off of congested regional arterial routes to these “bike priority” streets.
Does this writer at next door even understand what diverters do?
Yes, I think he does. He knows that these particular diverters make him use his truck differently from the way he’s been used to using it for a long time. He has a reasonable (if self-interested) reason for opposing them.
“He has a reasonable (if self-interested) reason for opposing them.”
I’ve been enjoying this thread. Lots of great comments. I know I stumbled over his phrasing, his priorities. He is, I think, essentially saying that ‘I need access in my work truck’ is much more important than ‘the traffic calming that might make biking on this Neighborhood Greenway a less stressful experience.’ Individual motor vehicle operator (me) vs. those who bike (them).
I happen to not mind biking pretty much anywhere: 82nd, Sandy, Foster, Powell, Barbur. I started biking before any bike infrastructure existed in the places I lived so I don’t mind it. Nonetheless, I think having some traffic calming on Clinton (for those who are less indifferent to close-by car traffic) would be a reasonable gesture, a timely opportunity for the City to comply with it’s stated goals of the Neighborhood Greenway system.
The way I read Mr. Work Truck’s comment is that he’s fine with biking in theory, but in practice what matters is having his direct shot in his work truck, and the bike folk should just figure it out somewhere else. Not very magnanimous.
Or, it could be that he wants a straight shot with his work truck and honestly doesn’t understand what the problem is. If you don’t ride on Clinton, you probably simply do not perceive the issues there (and perhaps even if you do — I ride inner Clinton twice a day and have yet to experience any of the bad things that others have reported).
I didn’t see any hint in his message that he wants cyclists off Clinton.
“Or, it could be that he wants a straight shot with his work truck and honestly doesn’t understand what the problem is. …” Hello, Kitty
And you may not understand the situation he and other neighbors in need of driving in the area, will have to sort out with the arrival of the diverters.
Rather than presume what route changes they’ll be having to make, sit down and go through what for them, the diverters will mean in terms of alternative routes, and what they’ll involve in terms of additional time and less convenience.
The lack of consideration shown in some comments to this story…(and on the part of some people, obnoxious and uncalled for contempt expressed) towards people with a legitimate need to drive to and from their homes and businesses in the area…is terrible.
Much better chance of winning their support for projects like this one, by showing them respect and offering assistance, even if they seem unhappy and irritable in their concerns expressed about the project.
“Or, it could be that he wants a straight shot with his work truck and honestly doesn’t understand what the problem is. If you don’t ride on Clinton, you probably simply do not perceive the issues there …”
I’m having a bit of a hard time imagining, though, how Mr. Work Truck I Am Also A Cyclist, who appears to live on Clinton, might not have ridden his bike on Clinton. But that aside, your point about the possibility that he has not ‘walked in our shoes’, as it were, may be apt. But whose fault is that?
I have driven work trucks around town (very occasionally), and biked Clinton (plenty). Traffic calming is, I think, a pretty proven means of reducing the stress that those in work trucks and cars create, and that are (probably more acutely) experienced by those on bikes.
Mr. Work Truck probably thinks that his work truck is just how things are, how he gets around, perhaps forgetting that for some of us our bikes are how we get around. Let’s all get along sometimes papers over a bit of a zero-sum thing. Let’s all get along, while I continue to enjoy a straight shot to my front door in my work truck… hm… what are the concessions each of the parties is being asked to make in this kumbaya future arrangement?
Good points. Just want to chime in and say speed enforcement, prominent and comprehensive signage (SPEED LIMIT 25MPH), traffic calming (within emergency corridor parameters) and crosswalks are becoming more and more of a priority on SE 26th. Esp. if efforts to calm traffic elsewhere are dooming us (on SE 26th) to even MORE traffic.
The traffic situation here becomes more unpleasant by the day. Am going to put up a video camera to capture some of what goes on. Impatient, pushy drivers clearly feel an increasing sense of ownership. Lots of horn honking (unheard of in even the recent past).
Latest sterling moment–80+ y/o grandmother w/ 3 y/o child ‘running’/tottering unsteadily across the road to avoid being hit by traffic that doesn’t slow or stop for them. This woman should NOT have been running. I’ve worked with not-so-ambulatory older folks and this woman was clearly taking a risk–very unsteady on her feet. But…how’re you going to get across the road? This is what neighbors are increasingly facing here.
26th needs crossing enhancements! Maybe some good video will help get the attention of PBOT.
Just need to get a camera. I have a dumbphone and no video camera at all. I think this makes me a Flintstone. 🙂
I just walked out to glare at speeders and met a neighbor who’s lived on the street for 30+ years. She told me traffic’s gotten truly insane in recent years. Her husband or another neighbor clocked people going past their house at 45mph. This is a 25mph street. I don’t have a radar gun but I swear people are doing 50mph, even 60 (souped up cars, motorcycles and even big trucks late at night. they just love that long, flat stretch. whee.). Just conjecture, though.
She said the telephone pole at their corner has been hit several times since they lived there and has had to be replaced 3x. She also said they built a fence in their yard facing the street because they were worried about cars crashing into the yard. I expect a lot of “accidents” on SE 26th and elsewhere have gone unreported. What a neglected hellhole of a street we’re letting (have let) it become. With a school on it. And lined with homes. With people in them.
I’m an ignorant newbie at activism (outside of using the pen…er, keyboard) but I’ve no doubt that when I start knocking on doors on SE 26th between SE Clinton and SE Powell, there’ll be a lot of stories. This neighbor I spoke to was sick to death of the situation here and it was (horrible) news to her that ODOT has been angling to rid SE 26th of its bike lanes. She (like me) likened SE 26th now to a speedway or highway and was delighted to talk to someone who is interested in addressing problems. She said she was one of the folks who signed the petition FOR the bike lanes, back when, by the way.
I would greet crosswalks and traffic calming measures here–hell, even a few visible “Speed Limit 25mph” signs!–with open arms, and I expect my neighbors would also.
I would highly recommend you (or someone from your street) attend a HAND meeting to discuss options. I am sure you will meet a sympathetic reception. Contact the chair (http://handpdx.org/blog/?page_id=15) to get on the agenda.
Thanks, Hello–it’s a challenge for this recluse to get out amongst other hominids but I’ll do it. Just curious–has SE 26th come up at all in discussions about traffic calming at these meetings? I really am getting the feeling it’s the sacrificial (traffic) goat, tacitly. I guess I feel that way because it’s my own personal goat. 😉 The traffic’s causing such an increasingly dangerous physical divide in the neighborhood, though–I would think it would concern everyone.
p.s…do I have to do a skit if I get on the agenda?
26th has not come up much in terms of traffic (though it has in terms of bike lanes). However, I think most everyone on the board is aware of the general conditions on 26th.
What you really need to do first is find a champion for your cause (I’m guessing that wouldn’t be your natural role, so maybe a motivated neighbor), someone who is willing to make calls, write letters, and help make PBOT see fixing 26th as a priority.
The board cannot really do anything per se, but they can 1) offer suggestions and advice about what to do, who to talk to, and what resources are available, and 2) write a letter of support if/when you want to ask the city to do something (like add crosswalks or whatever). A letter of support may seem like weak soup, but it shows that you’re serious, that you’ve vetted your ideas with an outside group, and they were reasonable. Without one it is really hard to get traction.
What I can say, with some degree of certainty, is that the HAND board will take your concerns seriously and will be sympathetic and welcoming.
Thanks so much for the guidance and good advice, Hello, Kitty. I appreciate very much the encouragement and your taking the time to clue me in. 🙂
Rachel, I could not agree with you more. My daughter attends CHS so we ride/walk/drive on 26th regularly and it is scary. More scary than Powell. You can’t cross it safely. You get buzzed by fast cars when riding. And then they want to remove the only thing that makes the street sort-of safe (the bike lanes)?
I’m really excited about the Clinton diverters. But worried about 26th.
Thanks for your thoughts and commiseration, Carrie! I can only imagine how I’d feel if I had kids at Cleveland–it’s pretty awful And I agree that it’s more scary than Powell. It’s that unfettered, unobstructed long drag strip stretch between Clinton and Powell–there’s just nothing visually or terrain-wise to defeat a driver’s sense of VROOOOOOOOOOM!!! Clear sailing! Wooohoooo! I can let it out for blocks, no stop signs, no crosswalks, nothin’! There are no cues whatsoever to tell or prompt a driver to SLOW DOWN. Not even speed signs. I really don’t get it. And it’s incredibly unpleasant and threatening to have to face when walking, biking and generally trying to get about, unmotorized.
Don’t know how handy you are, but here is a radar speed gun hack that is cost effective.
Zow! Thanks gbb! I am the antithesis of handy but I’ll forward to my more handy friends. 🙂
Walked over to the intersection at 17th today too to look at the fresh paint. The outlines look really good. I just hope they make the diverters taller than the ones on 20th that people routinely driver right over.
It will look like 15th and NE Going. Much beefier, wider and taller.
Why does SE Division not have bus pull-outs in that inner SE area?
Also, some blocks of inner SE Clinton don’t have enough street trees to help with traffic calming.
I can count three houses total in residential use that have been torn down on Division from 12th to 50th to build apartment buildings.. The majority of the sites were parking lots or commercial buildings, such as Fox Fence and the Transmission shop at 50th. And they’ve been replace with a couple hundred apartments added to the housing stock.
As stated above, because curb extensions work better for transit functioning. And, there are occasional curbside stops where the bus can wait if they’re ahead of schedule.
If there were no restrictions on what could be built where, we would likely see apartment buildings in the middle of the single-family areas as well. That would be pure capitalism. To see the effects of that, look at the Buckman neighborhood from Hawthorne to Stark, 12th to 30th, where apartments were built prior to the 1980 rezoning to prohibit them.
I am 100% against diverters when they do not address the root problem of bad traffic management, which in this case they do not.
Responsible government would solve the Division/Ladd a$$f@ck before installing activist-calming roadblocks, because drivers choose Clinton for a reason. They’ll make other choices now, and future activists will cry about that too.
I’m surprised I don’t see as much controversy around the Ladd/12th/Hawthorne traffic light that skips Ladd Ave ON PURPOSE. It’s like an insult added to injury everytime I ride my bike through Ladd, halted by a STOP SIGN ON A ROUNDABOUT (no good words to say about it), then greeted by a light that skips me like a second class citizen.
My comment is not specifically about this debacle, but about good traffic management. I ride Clinton both on bicycle and motorcycle, and I can see both sides of the argument. I side against diverters.
We agree, stops sings on round abouts are moronic. The fact that the Portland Police enforced it makes me wonder if PBOT is still haunted by traffic design of 1950.
Traffic lights and stop signs are evil and are over used.
As to diverters, they work and they work well. As someone who once held a job in the city driving a delivery truck, it’s well known that side streets are used as an effort to get around high traffic arterial streets. That’s wrong. Arterial streets will always back up for a car driver. 3 cars is often too much for a car driver. So yea, put a diverter every 4 blocks. Cars need to stay on main roads only.
“…stops sings on round abouts are moronic. …” Mark
In the small, Ladd’s Addition neighborhood, stop signs at the traffic circle intersections are very sensible. This is a neighborhood designed to favor walking, and the stop signs regulating vehicular travel, accordingly support travel by walking.
Elsewhere in cities, where there is a need to mitigate the demand produced by large volumes of traffic such as is associated with broad thoroughfares, true roundabouts that relieve the need for stop signs, can make good sense.
Diverters may be viable, useful means of regulating traffic. On the section of Clinton where they’ll be used, I’m not sure, though I have some familiarity with the street and the neighborhood. Wait and see is what kind of situation it looks to be.
I wonder if the city may have been able, without diverters, and instead through the use of other infrastructure changes, to more effectively manage motor vehicle traffic on the street and not compromise neighbor’s use of the street to access their homes,
Perhaps just narrowing the lanes of travel could have gone some way to discourage cut-through traffic. Somewhere, I believe I read in a comment or two that speed bumps were considered a viable option…though I think maybe the bi-sected type is worth considering.
You do know that Ladd is a Local Service street, not intended to collect traffic? Seems like traffic control to deter it’s use as a convenient cut through is traffic management.
You do know that Clay is a greenway connection to the bridges via 6th/Hawthorne or the Esplanade?
You, of course, are aware of the difference between a roundabout and a traffic circle? And the conversations the City has had with local residents regarding Ladd Circle?
people riding on clinton decrease congestion on division. encouraging active transport is, IMO, one of our most effective traffic management tools.
“they do not address the root problem of bad traffic management”
Can you explain? I guess to me a diverter seems like one form of traffic management, but it seems you are thinking of this differently.
Portland Safe Routes does pretty good:
There is no way people are going 60 mph on Clinton. Your exaggeration does little to help the cause. I frequently cycle on Clinton, have done for 15+ years. Sure its a little busier but I have seen very little that warrants this much hysteria.
rachel b was talking about drivers on 26th going upwards of 45 mph.
She clearly stated she ‘swears’ people are going 60 mph. Clinton or 26th, her comment was unclear but either way, its doubtful and an irresponsible claim.
Hi Pete Lewis–here’s what I said:
“another neighbor clocked people going past their house at 45mph. This is a 25mph street. I don’t have a radar gun but I swear people are doing 50mph, even 60 (souped up cars, motorcycles and even big trucks late at night. they just love that long, flat stretch. whee.). Just conjecture, though.She said the telephone pole at their corner has been hit several times since they lived there and has had to be replaced 3x.”
I’m gonna cry foul on the call of hyperbole because 1) I myself called it conjecture, and 2) I thought I was clear in stating that I hear the super loud motorcycles etc. racing SE 26th at super excessive (posited, by me) speeds “late at night.”
If you don’t believe it’s possible that some car and motorcycle ‘enthusiasts’ (my polite name for them) like to drag this particular strip between SE Clinton and SE Powell (no stop signs, no impediments) at excessive speeds when nobody’s looking (i.e., in the middle of the night) then I don’t know what to say to you. I live here. I see them and I hear them. Often. I’ve also seen freight trucks zoom through here in the wee hours. Whether they’re going 45 or 50 really makes no difference to me. They’re going way too fast.
If you think there’s a real problem on SE 26th, we disagree. If you think people aren’t driving excessively fast on it, we disagree. If you think I or anyone else living on this street shouldn’t be expressing dismay over it, we disagree. And if you think my expression of that dismay = hysteria, we disagree. You most certainly shut down a conversation when you whip out words like “hysteria,” though. And that truly ‘does little to help the cause.’
You may cycle here, and that indeed gives you a valid viewpoint. You are on this section of the street (between Clinton and Powell) for probably a couple minutes a day, each direction. But I live here. And cycle here, for what that’s worth. You get a very different perspective when you’re witnessing it nonstop, all day and night long.
Correction, 4th para: “If you DON’T think there’s a real problem on SE 26th…”
I’m not saying there isn’t a problem. There’s a problem all right, all over this city and every American city. I just think this neighborhood might be getting a bit more attention, energy and money than it deserves relative to other neighbourhoods in the city because of its relative affluence.
I’m also still calling bullshit on you saying people are going 60 mph between Clinton and Powell on 26th. I simply do not believe this and remain concerned that such exaggerations are not helpful and in themselves ‘shut down’ conversation, as you put it.
Se Clinton remains one of the most stress free and easy going places I ride my bike… just a personal anecdote. I don’t really care about traffic diverters but I’d hate to see money, time and energy spent that could be better used/ applied elsewhere.
“…I’m also still calling bullshit on you saying people are going 60 mph between Clinton and Powell on 26th. …” Pete Lewis
Yeah, 60 mph may happen occasionally, but I’d guess that’s an occasional exception. Now 45 mph being rather common, wouldn’t surprised me at all, and I feel personally that through a neighborhood, that’s way too fast on either Clinton or streets like 26th.
I sometimes think about how people that drive would feel about the excessive speeds they travel on neighborhood streets, if they had to hear inside their vehicle, the sounds at high speeds, their vehicle makes that people outside the vehicle, on the sidewalks, in houses, on bikes are subjected to. Tire noise, wind noise…it all gets very loud and harsh over 20 mph.
Motor vehicles today insulate the sounds they produce, too much for the people riding inside them.
Vehicles travel so fast on 26th because it is uninterrupted for a long stretch and feels so wide open.
Crosswalks would help in alerting drivers that there are pedestrians about (and might cause them to slow down a little), but the real problem is, I think, the “engineered feel” of the street, and the bike lanes.
Since the car “slot” is so well defined, it is easy to go fast when you see your space is open ahead. The bike lanes give the street an extra-wide feel (even if the auto lanes are not that wide), giving drivers some margin against crashing into a parked car or the curb.
If ODOT prevails, and the bike lanes are removed form 26th, and parking is restored to both sides, I predict travel speeds will fall because that margin between drivers and potential obstacles has been reduced, and the street will feel less wide and open.
Hi, Hello–didn’t see your comment earlier– yes to crosswalks! As I’ve said before, I’d be (cautiously) for the bike lane removal IF (and it’s a big IF) they promised a whole slew of traffic calming measures in exchange–anything to cut up that long stretch now so attractive to speeding drivers. I know you’ve suggested that very thing in the past.
I have serious doubts that just taking out the bike lanes and letting cars park (ugh) will make it a less driver-friendly dragstrip than it is now. Drivers have muscle memory (and, well, memory memory) going on at this point, and a huge sense of years-long, road-neglect-fed entitlement. There’ll need to be some big visual cue changes to kick their habit of speeding that yummy (and rare in Portland, nowadays) lawless section of road.
All good points, wsbob. It’s indeed, the difference in sound inside our house (which is crazy insulated w/ triple-glazed windows) between someone going by at 25 and someone going by at 40+. People routinely speed on our stretch of road so the opportunities for me to hear anyone going 25mph are few and far between, anymore.
“Yeah, 60 mph may happen occasionally, but I’d guess that’s an occasional exception. Now 45 mph being rather common, wouldn’t surprised me at all, and I feel personally that through a neighborhood, that’s way too fast on either Clinton or streets like 26th.”
And my original comment, just for the record, made clear (I thought) that the 60mph miscreants appear late at night, and that means, precisely, “occasionally.”
Hi Pete. Did you read what I said? You sound half angry at the Clinton neighborhood getting too much attention and half angry at me for perceived exaggerations that do “little to help the cause” and prevent the neighborhood from…getting attention. ??? And I’m talking about SE 26th–not Clinton. You should know SE 26th can’t be lumped in with the rest of the neighborhood, as far as attention goes. Our speed signs aren’t visible. There’s a school and there’re no crosswalks. Drivers drive it like they’ve been allowed to think–from all visible cues–they can drive it. Like they own it.
As to calling B.S…You are cordially invited to my home and you can check it out for yourself. You’ll have to be there 24 hours at least. I’ll feed you some triscuits and tap water.
Its confusing b/c you are talking about SE 26th on a story about SE Clinton. Again, I highly doubt people are driving 60 mph on SE 26th on a regular basis, and I don’t need to come over for milk and cookies to see that. That was my main contention with your argument.
Not angry, I just feel this neighbourhood is actually quite a comfortable place to ride and walk in relation to others in Portland (including Se 26th). Its a personal observation from living here 15+ years, obviously a different opinion than yours and others.
I’ve lived here my whole life, mainly in SE and in the neighborhood for 7+ years. I commented on the story because changes to other streets in the neighborhood have impacts on my street–this has been a part of the discussion, if you’ve been following it. And triscuits and tap water are about as far from milk and cookies as you can get. That was the joke, actually.
Traffic on SE 26th is directly relevant to the story about diverters on Clinton. While I don’t live on SE 26th, I observe excess speed on that road regularly, in an area with a lot of pedestrian traffic crossing the street. And those pedestrians are often “idiot teenagers” who yes SHOULD be paying attention but they don’t pay attention and yet still don’t deserve to be hit by a car gunning down 26th because they are mad they got diverted off Clinton and there’s nothing indicating that they should be driving slower.
as was the milk and cookies.
along with your original claim about 60mph drivers.
i just think it doesn’t do cycling advocacy any favors to get too outlandish in your claims but yes, you and your neighbours do deserve safety.
Alright, Pete. Have a good night.