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PBOT draws lines for first Clinton diverter while neighborhood resistance percolates

Posted by on October 9th, 2015 at 10:26 am

Diverter coming to SE Clinton-17th-1.jpg

Outlines for future diverter at Clinton and 17th are on the ground.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.

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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.”

nextdoor1

Screenshot from Nextdoor.com posting.

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.

Diverter coming to SE Clinton-17th-2.jpg

Diverter coming to SE Clinton-17th-3.jpg

Looking north from 17th.

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).

Stay tuned.

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rachel bCarrieHello, KittyPetewsbob Recent comment authors
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Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

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.

Adam
Subscriber

“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.

dan
Guest
dan

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.

Todd Hudson
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Todd Hudson

“I’m an avid cyclist, but….”

Strange how they all make that claim.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

I wonder how many people will go down a block just to get back on right away?

ethan
Guest
ethan

How will this diverter block him getting to his home? Does he live where they are putting the diverter? I don’t think so.

Terry D-M
Guest

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.

daisy
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daisy

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.)

Mark
Guest
Mark

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.

Champs
Guest
Champs

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?

JRB
Guest
JRB

Adam Herstein
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.Recommended 1

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.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

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.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Does this writer at next door even understand what diverters do?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

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.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

26th needs crossing enhancements! Maybe some good video will help get the attention of PBOT.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

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.

rick
Guest
rick

Why does SE Division not have bus pull-outs in that inner SE area?

Doug Klotz
Subscriber

davemess
Seems more of a natural consequence of capitalism to me.Recommended 1

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.

David Lewis
Guest

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.

9watts
Subscriber

“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.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala
Pete Lewis
Guest
Pete Lewis

rachel b
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.Ugh.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.Recommended 2

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.

Pete Lewis
Guest
Pete Lewis

Gary B
rachel b was talking about drivers on 26th going upwards of 45 mph.Recommended 0

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.

Pete Lewis
Guest
Pete Lewis

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.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

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.

Pete
Guest
Pete

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.

Pete
Guest
Pete

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.