In their open-ended comments about traffic diverters and speed bumps proposed for Southeast Clinton Street, one Portlander after another has chimed in to support the concept of making Portland’s most important bikeways more comfortable to bike on.
“Please fix things before my girlfriend moves to Detroit,” one frustrated Clinton Street user wrote.
As we reported last month, people who’ve participated in the city’s very public open house and its online survey have been overwhelmingly in favor of the diverters. But as fans and critics of the city’s plan both organize politically, the city has received memorable comments on both sides of the issue. Here’s a selection of what they said, lifted from results of the open house and online survey that we requested under the state’s open records law.
“It will be hard at first”
I know it will be hard at first, but as someone who lives right on Clinton St I see near misses, egregious speeding, and a huge lack of collaboration with bicycles. And bicyclists aren’t going away, so designating a street for them is a public health measure.
“There are neighborhoods in deep SE that don’t even have sidewalks”
I live one block south of Clinton on Woodward Ave. These proposed changes are incredibly frustrating. Already traffic and speeding has increased dramatically on the two streets just south of Clinton (Woodward and Brooklyn) since the “improvements” to Division made traffic there slow and jammed and car commuters regularly cut through to and from Chavez. This will only make the issue much, much worse for the rest of this family filled residential neighborhood.
There are neighborhoods in deep SE that don’t even have sidewalks! How could this proposal even see the light of day given the vast disparity in resource allocation that already exists in SE Portland is beyond me. The changes will NOT make the area safer for everyone and that concern has not come close to being addressed.
“The biggest obstacle to safe biking on Clinton is the excess of parked cars”
Recent changes to the Division Clinton neighborhood have come at the expense of long time residents. With each new change, residents raise their concerns, only to be ignored. Then when the undesirable outcome materializes, the city proposes yet another change that further damages our quality of life. It was evident, when traffic and development projects came to Division, that these would result in more congestion along Clinton. Yet those policies were pushed through. The biggest obstacle to safe biking on Clinton is the excess of parked cars. Will the new parking policies still under discussion help to address this? It seems like Clinton Street should be the number one priority for parking permits and removal of nonresident cars (including those coming from all the new multifamily development). This would be a better restriction than imposing more impediments on local long-time residents ability to move around our neighborhood–it has become difficult enough, already!
“We’re trying to create a city that is actually people-friendly”
There are WAY too many cars per hour on SE Clinton right now; it is supposed to be an official neighborhood greenway, and it isn’t even CLOSE to meeting the minimum requirements for this designation.
These diverters will prevent car and truck drivers from cheating by going down Clinton when they should be sticking to SE Division or other streets.
We’re trying to create a city that is actually PEOPLE-friendly, rather than one that is a slave to cars and their ridiculously car-addicted owners. Once people see FAR fewer cars on SE Clinton, they will *finally* be motivated to get out of their cars, enjoy getting outside and getting some exercise, and revel in this wonderful emission-free way to travel.
Let’s make SE Clinton the model neighborhood greenway that it was *supposed* to be!! Other major cities all across North America and Europe are now WAY ahead of Portland in implementing people-friendly infrastructure and official plans. It’s about time that we caught up to the rest of the world by taking this tiny but critically important step.
Thank you so much! I drive a car much (if not most) of the time, but I am VERY excited to see these changes on SE Clinton!!
“Way too much car traffic for the neighborhood”
I’m a recent business owner at SE 26th and Clinton and am strongly in support of this. I would have supported it when we owned our business as well.
I ride this route daily and walk it multiple times a day. It has way too much car traffic for the neighborhood.
As a bike commuter I tend to ride from SE 28th west to the railroad via SE Tibbets in the morning and east on Clinton in the morning from the railroad to SE 26th. The amount of cut-through traffic in the morning from Powell is ridiculous. There’s no good way I can think of to fix that other than to reduce the number of cars. But I’m not sure how that happens. I fear that this change could likely make that worse, but I think that the long term benefit of the diverters and attention will have an overall positive impact for the non-car users.
“Auto cut throughs … are increasingly visible throughout Southeast”
The auto cut throughs we’re seeing on Clinton are increasingly visible throughout Southeast Portland. I live between Burnside and Stark and frequently see drivers cutting through our street to move faster than they would on nearby arterials (47th and 60th). I’m in favor of diverters on Clinton, but I think we need a larger solution to the arterial congestion that’s leading to these issues. Otherwise PBOT will just be playing a game of diverter whack-a-mole!
“I’ll tear the blockades down”
Fuck you all. I’ll tear the blockades down.
Guess it’s time to use bicycle nazi tactics against the bicycle nazis of PBOT.
“Stop the bicycle madness”
I am a plumber. I need alerternate routes to get around bottlenecks. You’ve already messed up NE 50th at Burnside and Stark. NW Everett is a joke. Two lanes to one. Trimet buses stop traffic for blocks while a bike lane sits idle. North Williams is always a fun trip with no parking. Can’t wait for all the low bid fixtures to start failing in those cracker box apartments.
Seriously, you say there is not enough money for street maintenance? Stop the bicycle madness. Spend the limited funds on paving and forget about bikes. Until you make cyclist pay for licenses, pass safety tests, and wear a color other than black. There will be no support from hard working tradesmen, delivery drivers, working commuters aka taxpayers, for these projects
“I have been avoiding it”
I feel the auto traffic has made it unsafe for bike riding and I have been avoiding it because the level of traffic makes it an uncomfortable place to ride your bike.
“I’ve taken my kids in a bike trailer a couple of times”
Clinton makes the most sense when I head downtown from my Foster Powell home on my bike. I’ve taken my kids in a bike trailer a couple of times, and I’d love to feel even safer doing that and teaching them to ride safely themselves there one day. Thank you for making this a priority!
“Changes here aren’t greatly needed”
I live in the area and ride Clinton often. I enjoy riding this street and other Portland greenways and rarely have problems on them. I would much prefer to see funding spent on building sidewalks/bike lanes elsewhere than Clinton. I feel that a small number of loud men have been advocating for changes here that aren’t greatly needed.
“This is long overdue”
This is long overdue and I am glad to hear it’s moving forward.
I am VERBALLY harassed at least once weekly by aggressive cars on my way between my home (Brentwood Darlington East) and my workplace (The Pearl District).
My actual PHYSICAL safety is endangered on a near-DAILY basis by cars on SE Clinton trying to overtake me while approaching stop signs, coming at me head-on while trying to go around cyclists in the other direction, blowing north/south stop signs, and other bad driving behavior.
As someone that ALSO drives, I understand that traffic can be nightmarish and frustrating. But that doesn’t meant you get to pretend your car is a bicycle and take the bike route in. It’s got to change.
“Neighborhood greenways all over the city need to be improved”
I live on Lincoln and love diverters even though I have to go a couple blocks out of my way whenever I drive my car. Neighborhood greenways all over the city need to be improved this way.
“You’re catering to a very loud minority”
By placing diverters on Clinton, you’re catering to a very loud minority who ignore the truth of the matter– that Clinton is a very safe street to bike on, even by Portland standards.
Invest where it is truly needed. Out on 82nd.
“Very excited to see the proposed changes in action”
Yes, please, to all of this! I bike on Clinton daily, (while pregnant even!) and while I generally find it to be a hospitable, non-intimidating route for the most part, I do notice that there seem to be a lot of cars using the street as a cut-through-street. It would be nice to see bike traffic prioritized, particularly since the Tillicum bridge makes Clinton an even more appealing cycling route. Very excited to see the proposed changes in action!
“The cars will not just disappear”
Most commuters are drivers, by a very large margin. Where is it you expect cars to go? With Division having become a nightmare, people still want to get where they’re going in a timely fashion. The cars will not just disappear. This will push them farther into our neighborhood streets.
“You can’t keep making it harder to drive a car”
You can’t keep making it harder to drive a car.
“Countless acts of careless driving”
For the last three years, my son attended preschool on SE Clinton multiple days per week. It’s ~2.5 miles from our home in Westmoreland and I would ride my son there by bike, w/ him in a trailer, then continue by bike to my job in NW Portland. For the last 1.75 years, we rode there together–he on his own bike and me on mine. In that time, we observed countless acts of careless driving, excessive speed and rude/dangerous behavior. As many have attested the increase in traffic is not a perception–it’s reality. I STRONGLY support the city’s efforts to curtail excessive commuter traffic on SE Clinton and to help create and sustain the bike-oriented nature of the street and ALL Greenways in Portland.
Thank you for time and effort!
“Irresponsible walkers and cyclists”
If this had been proposed in tandem with the changes that were made on Division, I think this would be a different conversation. There needs to be a realistic environment place for those of us who need to drive. It takes 15 minutes to drive 5 blocks on division sometimes bc of all of the irresponsible walkers and cyclists. They don’t follow the laws for them. Pedestrians ambling across the street -not at the crosswalk- even when there is traffic coming and expecting every car to stop for them no matter what. Cyclists weaving between the road and the sidewalk not looking before the run a stop sign or go through a cross walk. And now you want to divert me from my neighborhood as well? You want me to walk 2-4 blocks to get to my house or my work? I am 100% opposed to this change.
“I do not feel safe even walking on Clinton”
I just wanted to say that the issue isn’t isolated for cyclists on clinton. I do not feel safe even walking on Clinton sometimes because of the speed at which cars approach intersections coming off of Division. They often don’t stop at the sign initially, but speed up past the sign to turn onto clinton as fast as possible. Pedestrians are at risk every time a vehicle chooses to not stop at the sign and look for sidewalk users before inching up to turn. (It is 100 times worse on Division itself, but that’s a whole different story).
“You should have diverters for cars every 2 blocks”
I think you should have diverters for cars every 2 blocks. Also you need to consider the impact this will be having on SE Lincoln. Also you should consider diverters between 39th and 52nd, due to new developments.
“Why do the changes stop at 52nd?”
Why do the changes stop at 52nd? Many people biking (and Franklin HS students) travel the Woodward segment of the greenway between 52nd and 65th, and 65th is a well-loved conduit for bicyclists coming north to then travel west on Woodward/Clinton, by virtue of the signal at Powell. Similar changes should be considered for Woodward between 52nd-65th and 65th between Woodward-Powell.
“None of these are particularly drastic”
I actually think none of these are particularly drastic, but hopefully in total they lower traffic volumes to the point where Clinton feels more like a local street again.
“Does not go far enough!”
This is great! Does not go far enough! We need diversion at 21/26 (work it out w/ Trimet). We need diversion @ 50th. We need “no left” signs at 21/26. We need 30s diversion in Phase I. We need better education that greenways are for human beings.
“All the traffic on Clinton now will just get diverted onto Woodward”
All this nonsense is to appease a small group of overly loud bicyclists. All the traffic on Clinton now will just get diverted onto Woodward St. Woodward is too narrow. This is going to cause huge problems for those of us who live on Woodward. I deeply resent my taxes being used this way. Stop this nonsense.
“People drive SO FAST”
I live on SE Clinton & 43rd. People drive SO FAST down & up that stretch of Clinton. It’s not ok – we have little kids around & bike folks too, & drivers ___ (because there’s NO indications otherwise) that it’s a good place to zoom zoom their Ford Broncos, or whatever. Please help us fix this! Roundabout, bumps, signs!
“I want diversion at 12th, 17th, 26th, 29th, 35th & 50th”
I want diversion at 12th, 17th, 26th, 29th, 35th, & 50th. Repaint the no-pass stripes. Bikes may use full lane signs every block. Left turn prohibitions at 21st & 26th. Pedestrian plaza at 26th. Implement the 34th reconfiguration.
“Clinton is already safe”
Clinton is already safe and by making cars drive “two to four blocks out of directions” is a great way to cause more pollution.
“Diverters are essential to achieve goals”
Diverters are essential to achieve goals of reducing auto volumes, and – most importantly – increasing safety for vulnerable road users. Thank you – strongly support those improvements … toward vision zero.
Among all the comments the city has received from its live open house and online survey, 83 percent said they supported the city’s proposed changes to Clinton, with 73 percent in strong support. The other 17 percent of comments opposed the changes, with 11 percent in strong opposition. (Here’s the city’s summary of responses.)
And there are, of course, countless Portlanders who haven’t yet heard a thing about the plan.
If the city is hoping for consensus about the need to lower out-of-neighborhood traffic on Clinton, the comments above guarantee that it’ll be disappointed. But the same set of comments also show that almost everyone who cares strongly about this issue, at least so far, generally favors the city’s plan. We’ll see if that lasts.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.
83% in favor, 17% opposed.
That survey was also update 10 days ago. With the increase publicity, I’m curious if the results have changed?
not much. 75% in favor. 80% ok with a few blocks out of direction.
It won’t change much, unless they can recruit some more bicyclists to take it – or take it again. BikeLoudPDX has been running an aggressive guerrilla campaign to remove cars from the streets. And they refer to anyone who disagrees with their motives – or even requests for sensible planning – as part of “the resistance.”
I love to ride my bike, and I ride my bike safely with awareness that I’m sharing the road with cars. And according to Oregon law, my bicycle is considered a “vehicle” in relation to traffic laws.
But what these extremists want and how they behave makes me sick. I feel like I need to wear a shirt when I’m on my bike to let drivers know I’m NOT a bike dick.
I got a bit off track, but this survey will never be a legitimate representation of public opinion. It’s just created for propaganda support.
Thanks for stopping in here.
“You can’t keep making it harder to drive a car.”
Yes we can!
we’ve been making it harder to walk, bike, and transit for 50 years so I think it’s ok to make it harder to drive for another 50 years…
When the people saying this and “cars aren’t going away” choose to ride a bike for their 2 mile trips because it’s easier than driving, indeed we will have nearly solved most of our problems.
Plumbers “need” to be able to shortcut around traffic clogs. Hahaha. Everyone knows the best plumbers ride cargo bikes.
Can you give me the name of a good cargo bike plumber?
but I think he doesn’t do that any more.
Just imagine the plumber crack potential of a plumber on a bike.
The comment I like best is the one that turned ‘cars aren’t going away’ around.
If you get that one, respond:
‘Bikes aren’t going away any time soon, either, so now what?”
When gas is $25 a gallon, cars *will* go away (unless you believe there’s an infinite supply of it somewhere!). That’s another argument to try.
I’m selling my GM stock when gas hits $10/gallon 😉
Of all the arguments against the project, the equity/safety ones seem strongest to me.
Vision Zero is all about spending limited resources where it will have the largest effect on safety, and Clinton is not that location.
imo, preserving and strengthening clinton’s role as an essential cycling arterial will increase mode share and the “safety in numbers effect”.
clinton is a test case for this kind of intensive traffic calming. if the project is a success it will become a model for greenways in other areas.
A model for the greenways in east portland that won’t get built because money is spent improving something that is already very good west of 205?
The amount of money spent on Clinton would fund approximately a tenth of a mile on new greenway, if not less. This is a red herring. We can spend a tiny amount of money fixing inner Portland bikeways, and at the same time spend a much larger amount of money building new bikeways in under served areas. It isn’t a zero sum game. Come budget time, I would wager that BikeLoudPDX will be squawking loudly to increase general fund dollars towards active transportation – which have been chopped drastically by the Hales administration.
Money was meant to apply to other improvements near in of already good infrastructure more than the clinton diverter specifically. But the attention clinton gets from bike activists and city officials would do far more good elsewhere.
Federal grants are already in place to build greenways in the 100s, 130s, and 150s over the next few years. Another greenway between I-205 and 130th was supposed to be built, but City Council cut greenway funding early in this administration and hasn’t restored it since. When BikeLoudPDX testified at city council, we specifically mentioned this and asked for funding to be restored.
And we wrote a letter specifically asking that the 4M Greenway project (cut by Charlie Hales) be reinstated just a few months after we were formed.
“improving something that is already very good west of 205?”
Asking children riding to school to filter through a traffic jam of angry cut-through traffic on Clinton is very @#$%&@$ bad.
But the attention clinton gets from bike activists and city officials would do far more good elsewhere.
Just because you do not read about other efforts of BikeLoudPDX volunteers on BikePortland does not mean they aren’t happening. The 70s Greenway would not even be on the map without the tireless efforts of Terry Dublinski. BikeLoudPDX volunteers also recently held an action for Edgar Caceres who died at 82nd and Glisan and none of our online critics showed up
Sounds like you’re ready to take action to improve East Portland – great! Join BikeLoudPDX or start a group that focuses on East Portland.
Disincentives to drive can’t consist solely of traffic constraints. So long as driving is cheap it will be the mode of choice. GAS TAX. A carbon tax or a gas tax need to be part of the equation so that the cost of driving actually covers the externalities associates with that mode.
Decisions that are made only nibble at the edges of the issue.
I agree. We need to have some financial disincentives for driving like a gas tax and carbon tax. We also need some real disincentives for BAD and DANGEROUS driving. Currently, there is almost no enforcement of traffic laws in Portland and fines are relatively minor – a few hundred dollars for most infractions.
I’ve provided the statistics before, but here goes: The PPB Traffic Division has about 50,000 motorist/cyclist/pedestrian interactions per year for about 140 per day. Meanwhile, driving in the region totals about 24 million miles per day with about 10 million miles per day in Portland. So, that’s one traffic interaction per 70,000 miles of driving in Portland. Basically, enforcement is non-existent.
Driving is not very expensive and there’s little reason to obey the law, so the result is significant loss of life, injury, and impaired wellness due to the effects of injury.
“…one traffic interaction per 70,000 miles of driving in Portland. Basically, enforcement is non-existent.”
Enforcement is used against bicyclists when residents complain. It should be a tool used to curtail speeding or bad driving. There was one bicycle traffic stop a year ago at 21st and Clinton where some Portland Police Motorcycle Unit guys were out there pulling cyclists over for not stopping (or slowing) enough at the intersection. That was when an officer told me, “He, who has the most lug nuts, wins.” Anyway, all bias for cars aside, there should be law enforcement on the greenways (for drivers) along with public education campaigns to slow down. Speed bumps are not enough. Diverters are not going to be enough even though I welcome them. While I’m thinking about it, what about a new fine for speeding on a greenway? I’m not advocating putting more Portland Police officers out there to pick fights with the public. Basic speed enforcement on greenways specifically is worth doing.
“…So long as driving is cheap it will be the mode of choice. …” Granpa
You’re suggesting, people allow themselves be stuck in stop and go motor vehicle traffic, day after day on the freeways and thoroughfares, out of ‘choice’ because you consider driving to be a cheap, or low cost mode of travel.
Motor vehicle traffic congestion more likely arises from the massive number of people on the road for whom driving is an essential need. If there is no other viable travel mode for them, they’ll pay whatever it takes.
Driving isn’t cheap…at least that’s not my experience…and I’m only driving maybe 5K a year. 800 bucks a year for insurance, DEQ and tag renewal coming up in a couple months, another 100, I think it is. Gas right now, is relatively low priced, but that’s always susceptible to increase. Expect that to happen anytime, to 4/gal, or 5/gal, who knows? Although some people commenting to bikeportland seem to think if the price of gas, or the cost to drive…registering, licensing, insurance…is higher, all those people needing to drive to work, will just stop doing so.
Some people here seem also to take great delight in laughing off, or dismissing with outright contempt, the essential need some people have to drive, or travel by motor vehicle, including personal motor vehicles. No funny at all for people unable to walk or bike…and not talking about people that are simply out of shape and overweight due to overeating and lack of physical activity.
Most people I think, want their neighborhood to be a nice place to live, minimization of excessive motor vehicle traffic being one of the attributes that makes a neighborhood a nice place to live. They’ll support measures taken to reduce cut-throughs, but naturally have reservations about them if it makes travel for them excessively awkward within their own neighborhood.
I would actually love for there to be a penalty and sting operations for neighborhood cut-throughs. No one should be allowed to flee a traffic congestion problem they themselves are helping to create. I understand the frustration, and I feel for people who feel trapped into car ownership because of the way we stupidly decided to car-centrify the entire country starting in the ’50s, but it just can’t continue this way. We can’t continue to cram more and more cars into Portland and expect it to retain any of its vaunted livability. I’m strongly in favor of anything that makes driving frustrating, unpleasant and expensive.
“…Among all the comments the city has received from its live open house and online survey, 83 percent said they supported the city’s proposed changes to Clinton, with 73 percent in strong support. …” bikeportland
Any idea what percent of the 83 and 73 percent are residents of the neighborhood adjoining Clinton, and what percent of them are obliged to drive regularly to meet their travel needs?
In the featured comments, a number of people express their feeling that the city has not adequately addressed road volume demand issues on Division and Powell, and then trying to manage the ill effects of that through the use of diverters on Clinton. I hope the city, and people driving will be able to figure out something better, because the cut-through tactic used to beat traffic congestion has many bad effects.
yes, I do feel a little bad for the people living on Woodward/Brooklyn since they may see increased traffic… but it’s still a NIMBY attitude… they’ve been spared all this time from traffic… it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” cut-through traffic will come to your neighborhood… even if they never install diverters those other streets will see more traffic…
hopefully the city will install speed bumps and more stop signs on all the parallel routes to discourage cut-through there… and perhaps there will be more diverters…
I’d be curious to hear from someone who could help us understand the degree it is reasonable to anticipate spillover further South from adding diverters to Clinton? Did Ash get more traffic when Ankeny got diverters? Did the sky fall, or is this just sour grapes, an easy whack to take at a pinata out of un-focused frustration with all that has changed in the immediate vicinity of the lower thirties on Division?
I think Ankeny is a little bit of an apples to oranges comparison though. It’s closer (albeit only by a block) to Burnside than Clinton is to Division, and Burnside has more lanes and often better flowing traffic than Division.
I think drivers are more likely to abide by the Ankeny diverter (although I did see someone drive over it today for the first time) because Burnside is so close and pretty quick). I don’t know how many people would be willing to go 2-4 blocks out of their way to go parallel to Clinton.
Wrong. Clinton is a block off of Division and Ankeny is a block off of Burnside.
Actually sabes, you’re wrong. Ivon is one block off of Division. Clinton is two blocks away.
You’re both correct. Ivon is intermittent, so Clinton can be 1 or 2 blocks off Division. Three if you want to count SE Windsor which pops in between 43rd and 47th and 62nd and 64th.
But not *city* blocks.
Burnside has one lane Westbound. Division has one lane Westbound.
True. I had forgotten about that change. But Burnside also has a greenway (Couch) on the North side of the street as well.
Ankeny is too old for institutional knowledge.
When 33rd at Holman got the median barrier, traffic on Ainsworth to the south went up 11%-33%, while auto volumes on Holman east of 33rd dropped 66%. The increase on Ainsworth was not considered significant due to the way it was already being used (collector like) and the boulevard design (safer).
The diverter on N Central at Tyler caused auto volumes east of Tyler to drop 40% (-160) and Leonard to increase 300% (+290) but Leonard only had 74 cars before.
It is always good to have numbers. Much appreciated.
The underlying issue is the huge change in urban re-development which has come to Division: this is fueling the NIMBY and angry plumber issues. If those developments had never happened and folks were still able to get their cars through the crowds on Division, we would not be having this discussion. I really don’t think this has as much to do with biking as it does with development.
At this point, Division west of 50 should just be blocked to cars and it becomes the premier neighborhood greenway.
Why in the world is not wanting more traffic on your street a “NIMBY attitude”? You have to welcome more cars whizzing by your house to avoid being branded a “NIMBY”?
Not speaking for Spiffy, but I do smell a rat when someone who (if only implicitly) identifies as a driver complains about (car) traffic. It is like all those people who are aggrieved about the loss of ‘their’ parking spots, when it is other people just-like-them-in-their-unwillingness-to-jettison-their-cars who are competing for those spots. You are not stuck in traffic, YOU ARE TRAFFIC!
Another way to think of it is ‘balance’. people are using Clinton because it has an unfair advantage – fewer stops. Diverters restore some of that balance. If Clinton had the same stop pattern as the rest of the neighborhood, it might have half the current traffic. It would still have more due to the commercial uses. If it had the same stop pattern, fewer cyclists would also be using it.
woodward has a lot of stop signs and large stretches that are not well-connected with clinton/division. i think (hope) that increased cut-through traffic on woodward will not be an issue.
I live on Woodward, and I’m pretty sure you’re wrong, at least to begin with. Woodward doesn’t have enough stop signs to prevent people from cutting through. If there were one more on the stretch between Cesar Chavez and 26th, then it might be too much. Or possibly speed bumps.
All intersections on Woodward, 26 to Chavez have stop control.
“…but it’s still a NIMBY attitude… they’ve been spared all this time from traffic… it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” cut-through traffic will come to your neighborhood… even if they never install diverters those other streets will see more traffic… ” Spiffy
It’s most likely not people living in this neighborhood and driving to and from it that’s causing the neighborhood’s traffic congestion problems. Rather, the congestion problem is likely due to ‘cut-through’ traffic, the bane of any neighborhood that places a high value of being a good place to live.
Sure…neighborhood residents obliged to drive, very likely feel that something needs to be done to deal with the ‘cut-through’ problems…without unduly effecting neighbor’s travel to and from their homes by motor vehicle as needed.
Nimby doesn’t really fit here, unless people living in this neighborhood have been specifically championing installation of diverters in other neighborhoods, but not in their own. In other words: I don’t think it’s the congestion calming of Clinton St that some neighbors are taking exception to, but the means chosen to get it done. Especially if their may be less intrusive options that could be taken.
This is a good argument for putting in bike lanes NOW, while its less of a political battle, than later on.
Good question, wsbob. I forgot to include a link to the city’s summary of the responses, so you can see some of the details for yourself.
The only geographic information included at this level is “live on Clinton” vs. “live somewhere else.” At the open house, people who lived on Clinton and off Clinton had much the same attitudes: 84% in favor of diverters, 16% opposed. For the online survey, people who lived on Clinton were also likely to favor diverters (70%) but less so than people who didn’t live on Clinton (something like 87%).
Michael…thanks for posting the pdf link. Just now took a look at the survey results. Map of the 97202 area (it’s a big area, undoubtedly with many thousands more than the approximately 500 people responding to the survey, and living in the area.):
One figure from the survey that stands out, and which may not be representative of residents of the area, is the ninety percent of respondents that say they bike on Clinton. At best, it’s a vague indication of what percent of people living in the neighborhood drive on Clinton, to and from their jobs, school, shopping, etc.
The way the survey was conducted, is something to consider too, as to how representative it may be to neighborhood residents feelings on the issue: not by way of a random selection of neighborhood residents.
About fifty-five percent of respondents say they drive on Clinton, which raises questions not answered in the survey: On Clinton, do they primarily drive? Do they primarily bike? Half and half or thereabouts…which is it?
Motor vehicle related traffic congestion can be terrible and very damaging to neighborhood livability, so I think it stands to reason that many people, including those obliged to drive, will generally be supportive of ideas explored to to address this increasingly common problem. If the means chosen to manage thoroughfare congestion spillover are overly compromising to the travel needs of neighborhood residents, support may not be so forthcoming.
It’s not a matter of hoping at this point–it’s already happening. This is only anecdotal, but the traffic turning off SE 26th onto Woodward or crossing 26th on Woodward has increased in even the past couple months. I’ve witnessed two collisions there in that time and many more near misses. Have also frequently seen aftermath-of-some-kind-of-collision glass on Woodward/SE 26th where they meet.
Drivers cutting through here frequently endanger pedestrians and are creating a rather new mad dash phenomenon, even among people too old to be dashing and parents with toddlers or strollers. Out of necessity. Even two months ago I felt like I could cross the street in a relaxed way–drivers would reliably slow, stop, motion you to go. Not true anymore. Run, biped! Vroom vroom!
When I walk down to MAX I also see a lot of the Woodward cut-through jerks. It feels and IS unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians, and generally stinks up the neighborhood in more ways than one.
“what percent of them are obliged to drive regularly to meet their travel needs”
Can you elaborate on “obliged?” Would this be a self-declared obligation, or one based on the actual distance and requirements of the trip? Because I have a pretty good inkling that those would be two very different numbers.
It’s so far downthread, I almost missed your comment in response to my original.
I can expand on what I was referring to in using the word ‘obliged’, as in ‘obliged to drive’: What I’m thinking of, is people who by nature of their personal circumstances associated with travel needs, are not able to meet their obligation by walking, biking, or taking mass transit.
Could be a wide range of reasons people are obliged to drive. Maybe they’re not physically capable of walking, riding, or taking mass transit. Or, possibly they’ve got to transport people for whom travel modes other than motor vehicles, aren’t viable options. Or shopping, hauling stuff they’re not able to do walking, biking, etc.
I’m not suggesting the presence of people in the neighborhood in such situations should be the end of discussion about use of traffic regulating measures, but that they ought to be granted more consideration and respect than seems to generally be given them in comments to the recent bikeportland stories about the Clinton diverters.
I live on Division and 30th and I commute up and down Clinton multiple times a day. I take the lane. It’s simple and the most effective way to keep yourself safe. I rather see Portland focus on educating drivers and cyclists than putting in a diverter. Start ticketing people for violating the Crosswalk safety bill.
Stop the bicycle madness.
30,000+ are killed every year because of our car culture, but what we have in Portland is clearly “bike madness”!
‘Bikelash’ means we are doing something right.
One thing I noticed is the consistent if implicit acceptance of the car menace (=given) all the while blaming bikes for diversion (=loud):
“All this nonsense is to appease a small group of overly loud bicyclists. All the traffic on Clinton now will just get diverted onto Woodward St. Woodward is too narrow. This is going to cause huge problems for those of us who live on Woodward. I deeply resent my taxes being used this way. Stop this nonsense.”
Oops. That was meant for another post. That said, what I’m picking up here is that LOUD works. Without the activism, we’d still be waiting for these ideas to come out of PBOT’s mouth.
Have motorists forgotten about Powell? It’s a few blocks away and you can drive as fast as you want basically.
I really struggle with the idea (voiced by some of those critical of this project) that they have a right to all streets being through-streets.
I’ll occasionally get a bit annoyed, sure, when I’m riding on a street through a neighborhood and I reach a historical plat line, and the street jogs in a discontinuous way, or, even dead ends at an arterial. (See this photo for info on “street jog” if you’re not familiar with it: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/65679)
But it is unreasonable in a city, where you are nearly always on a grid of some sort, to expect — to demand, as many of the skeptics do — that there always be unimpeded access.
For example, I would love SE 31st when crossing Division to be a continuous through-street for me. That would be lovely. But, there is a plot with some buildings in the way. https://goo.gl/maps/YRhN9LG49mD2
My point is we have no obligation to offer unimpeded access to all modes all the time. Some blockages, like at 31st and Division, are historical, and thus somehow exonerated from being “bad” (even though the early grid was designed for profit-maximization by those “greedy developers” of the 1920s — does this rhetoric sound familiar today?). Should we plow through old lots to make way for through-streets? Definitely not! But should we accept all streets the way they are currently as some natural, best-possible-world? No way!
This is why I loved Seleta Reynold’s recent profile on this site, and this quote from it: “As a history major, it’s very similar to history. You can I can see the same event and have a vigorous debate about it. Transportation is the same. We’re going to look at the same 80 feet of asphalt and think about who it’s for, why it’s there, how it’s going to be organized.”
An astute observation.
Entitlement is such a corrosive force.
I think it’s more of people feeling they have a right to faster moving arterials. Most people don’t want to drive on these slower streets if the arterials are moving well.
At least that’s my guess.
“…Should we plow through old lots to make way for through-streets? …” zholz
A bit off your subject, sorry, but might there not be some situations where decommissioning or re-purposing some residential or business lots to create a protected bike lane or pedestrian bike lane might be a good idea? That’s what it may take to create a protected bike lane/cycle track system serving Portland’s already built out neighborhoods.
In the burbs, cul-de-sacs are sometimes major barriers to easy through travel. Against non-resident motor vehicle traffic, that’s a fairly easy to understand objection. I wonder whether the objection would be less so to recreational biking and walking, and maybe commute biking. Re-purposing a single lot on cul-de-sacs could open up some wonderful off-thoroughfare bike routes.
Love it, great suggestion, and for the record, I’m not opposed at all. I said that I’m opposed to cutting through historical plots only because I think it’s an easy comparison for the point I was trying to make, and because some people feel strongly about Portland’s old houses. In fact, I’m not a fan of craftsmans at all, personally, and think that the land use pattern that supports them holds us back from doing better things with our space. (But that’s again a personal/political feeling.)
Thanks for expanding on your thoughts. I think many people enjoy good architecture whether or not the structure they happen to live in is good architecture. Some of Portland’s older neighborhoods are great places to walk and bike in, even as visitors, because the setting is so beautiful due to the architecture of the houses and surrounding gardens.
Rather randomly tearing down these old houses or subdividing the lots they sit on in the pursuit of higher density, can have negative effects upon people beyond those that own the houses and live in the neighborhood.
The city could reduce the negative effects by doing trying to do a better job of planning the character of infill structures upon adjoining houses, the entire neighborhood, and by providing street infrastructure capable of handling the increase in travel demand made upon the streets resulting from infill’s having increased the population for neighborhoods.
My favorite is the one that laments about cars having to drive 2-4 blocks out of their way… Oh nos! As if DOTs and car drivers don’t currently EXPECT that of people riding bikes or walking!
Right. Bikes shall ‘weave through the neighborhood’ around the 52nd & Foster interruption. Ahem.
Amen. Still blows my mind we’d miss connecting two massive pieces of bike infrastructure by one block. Also a shame to skirt bikes around a, shady albeit, commercial district.
just because the city didn’t connect it doesn’t mean that activists won’t… it’s only paint at that point…
“…about cars having to drive 2-4 blocks out of their way…” KristenT
Sure,what a doozy. Depending on their travel obligations, because of the diverter barriers, some of the people living in the neighborhood may have to make additional roundabout 2-4 blocks, multiple times a day. Figuring the total number of people in the neighborhood that may have to do this, could reveal additional mileage and traffic on other neighborhood streets.
Biking is great for people that can do it. Many can’t. Clinton has a lot of motor vehicle traffic on it, and while some of the people biking in the area apparently don’t find that a comfortable situation to ride in, they weren’t obliged by the city’s use of traffic management diverters, to go 2-4 blocks out of their way.
Clinton is officially designated a neighborhood greenway, with special conditions implied, correct? Given that, physical diverters should not even be required for the sections of this street so designated.
All the city really need do, is put together an ordinance providing an exception to the posted speed limit for this street: basically, people operating motor vehicles on the street would be obliged to regulate their speed of travel to that set by bike traffic. No need for a bike lane on this street, because with greenways, the entire width of the street is effectively bike lanes upon which use of motor vehicle accordingly conditional.
People get to ride their bikes on the street. People get to continue to drive on the street. No diverters needed.
“Biking is great for people that can do it. Many can’t. ”
Can you be more specific? Statements like this are easy to toss out, but not very helpful. I submit that most actually could ride a bike; they just have not had much exposure or opportunity to become familiar with bicycling and as a consequence assume they can’t. I’ve, for instance, never skateboarded. Does that mean I can’t?
watts and all others interested…a link to another comment of mine with some further thoughts on a few of the circumstances under which some people can’t, or should I say ‘may not’ be able to bike.
“Could be a wide range of reasons people are obliged to drive. Maybe they’re not physically capable of walking, riding, or taking mass transit. Or, possibly they’ve got to transport people for whom travel modes other than motor vehicles, aren’t viable options. Or shopping, hauling stuff they’re not able to do walking, biking, etc.”
Sure, but much of that is cultural, habitual, has everything to do with what we consider to be alternatives. I can haul just about anything and anybody by bike. But with gas so cheap and the majority of our fellow bipeds lacking the experience of biking-for-transport, is it any surprise that they imagine a car to be the best or only reasonable way to accomplish this task?
“…I can haul just about anything and anybody by bike. …” watts
That’s you that’s able to do that, and by no means, not everyone else.
It’s amazing how oblivious some people commenting to bikeportland stories seem to be about people in various situations that have them unable to ride a bike, or use a bike to meet their travel needs.
You are missing my point. I am under no illusion that what is true for me is ipso facto true for everyone, but rather that the potential for someone to take a shine to bicycling is unknown until you give it a real shot, or the alternatives disappear.
No, I’m not missing your point, because I fully realize that people able bodied but that don’t bike, and that have viable opportunities to meet their travel obligations and needs with a bike…may be able to do so if they gave it a try.
That doesn’t change the fact that their likely is a number of people living in the neighborhood around Clinton St, for whom biking is not a viable travel mode for meeting their travel obligations and needs.
The city and people favoring use of street diverters ought to be receptive to the needs of neighbors with this situation, and be considering possible ways for minimizing the diverter’s impact upon them.
“That doesn’t change the fact that their likely is a number of people living in the neighborhood around Clinton St, for whom biking is not a viable travel mode for meeting their travel obligations and needs.”
Sure, but we don’t know that number; can’t well estimate it from where we sit, given the above. Which is why I am averse to tossing this “Many can’t” idea out. Let’s see what we can do to help everyone who can/could onto a bike and then see who’s left over, eh? Or do I need to (once more) mention Brian Willson as my favorite foil?
It’s hard not to be a little smug reading these comments on a day when I got to my kids’ school (Richmond) and realized I’d left my keys at home (Sellwood) necessitating a triple bike commute to retrieve them & lock up the bikes (home > school > home > school > work). Thus I logged about 20mi riding past the houses of all these lovely people who find a 3-4 block diversion while driving so unconscionable.
“by making cars drive ‘two to four blocks out of directions’ is a great way to cause more pollution.”
I’m trying to figure this one out. 2 to 4 blocks. There are no diverters proposed on Division. Where does the 2-4 block figure come from? Where were they going that these diverters are creating all this extra driving? Bikes causing pollution. I love it! Stop the Bicycle Madness!
Twice these comments mentioned building sidewalks elsewhere instead of these improvements along Clinton, implying that doing so is a matter of fairness. The City certainly needs to apply an equity lens to decisions about making safety investments. That may often mean greater geographic equity through targeted investments in underserved neighborhoods. It also may mean targeted investments in the bike and pedestrian network in a decently served neighborhood like Clinton in order to improve the connectivity of the entire bike/pedestrian system for those who can’t afford to own and drive a car.
I don’t know the answer to that question in this instance.
But it does seem to me a mistake to make sidewalks or any particular type of improvement the one size fits all standard for equity and fairness.
There are certainly plenty of corridors and arterials that need and deserve sidewalks in neighborhoods where sidewalks are deficient, such as in East Portland and Cully. However these same neighborhoods have a very different urban form and street density than the sidewalk rich inner neighborhoods. More sidewalks are not as necessarily the most needed or most desired improvement on many low traffic collector streets. On many of these unimproved or partially improved streets, neighbors actually prefer not having sidewalks that might give thru-traffic an excuse to go faster. Also PBOT’s sidewalk and street improvement standards are often implemented in such a way that they require removing large trees in or near the public right-of-way that are both highly valued by neighbors and provide their own traffic calming benefits.
The City needs to make more equitable and more nuanced in making investments in neighborhoods. That should not necessarily translate into sidewalks or other specific types of improvements everywhere.
I would comment though that many “outer” neighborhoods are just as dense or more so than many pockets in the sidewalk-rich inner neighborhoods.
Even if we want to just talk about greenways (not even sidewalks or other infrastructure), there are some huge holes in much of the city.
it’s an odd map… the densest area in Foster/Powell is half parking lot… but the other half is an apartment complex… I wouldn’t consider it dense at all with all that empty space…
But it’s averaged, so the apartment complex is what makes it dense.
It’s not an example of compact design, sure. But it is dense, both in terms of population and (likely) floor-area ratio.
I wished I’d seen the survey earlier so I could have voiced another opposition to the diversion(s). Maybe, its just me but I cycle, skateboard, walk and yes, sometimes drive up and down Clinton and I’ve been looking for problems and tension since following this story on BP and have yet to have or witness one. Compared to some other places I ride, it feels very safe and stress free.
I’ll echo what others have said, the energy and money on this project could probably be better served making another part of the city more cycle/ped friendly. I fear this project is just catering to a well organized affluent neighborhood who actually have it OK.
>I fear this project is just catering to a well organized affluent neighborhood who actually have it OK.
Just like most city infrastructure projects?
What time of day do you typically use Clinton?
Clinton has gotten a disproportionate number of reports on nearlykilled.me, which I think reinforces the need for these diverters. To date I’ve received 47 reports with Clinton in the location field, which I’ve posted below. When you look at them on the map, almost every intersection on Clinton from 52nd to 16th has a reported incident. Note that if multiple incidents are reported at the same intersection, only the most recent will show up when you click there. Many of them involve close passes, high speeds, and obvious through traffic.
I tried putting the full list in this comment but I think it was over the length limit, so you can view all Clinton-related reports here. And if you’ve had your own near misses on Clinton, you can submit your own report – it’ll show up on the map and stats page immediately, and the reports are rolled up every Monday and sent to PBOT, the Mayor’s office, and others.
Trying again with the reports:
Biking at SE Clinton St and SE 22nd Ave on May 30, 2015 at 08:27
Biking at SE Clinton and 26th on May 30, 2015 at 09:15
Biking at SE 21st and SE Clinton on Jun 01, 2015 at 12:57
Biking at SE Clinton and SE 31st on Jun 01, 2015 at 13:47
Biking at SE 35th and SE Clinton St on Jun 04, 2015 at 08:30
Biking at SE Clinton, & 32nd on Jun 05, 2015 at 08:35
Biking at SE 23rd and Clinton, Portland, OR on Jun 09, 2015 at 11:31
I was biking, the child was on a kick scooter on the sidewalk. at SE 21st and Clinton, Portland, OR on Jun 10, 2015 at 09:26
Biking at SE 39th and Clinton, Portland OR on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:04
Biking at SE 39th and Clinton, Portland OR on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:06
Biking at SE Clinton and 30th, Portland OR on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:13
Biking at SE Clinton and SE 24th on Jun 19, 2015 at 15:04
Biking at SE 29th and Clinton, Portland OR on Jun 29, 2015 at 22:31
Biking at SE Clinton St. and SE 43rd Ave on Jul 11, 2015 at 16:22
Biking at SE Clinton St. and SE 28th Ave. on Jul 11, 2015 at 16:28
Biking at SE 29th Ave and SE Clinton St. on Jul 11, 2015 at 17:57
Biking at SE 34th Ave and SE Clinton St. on Jul 11, 2015 at 18:07
Biking at SE Clinton St. and SE 43rd Ave on Jul 11, 2015 at 18:27
Biking at SE 29th Ave and SE Clinton St. on Jul 11, 2015 at 18:29
Biking at SE Clinton St. and SE 49th Ave. on Jul 11, 2015 at 18:39
Biking at SE Clinton St. and SE 47th Ave. on Jul 11, 2015 at 18:42
Biking at SE Clinton St. and SE 38th Ave. on Jul 11, 2015 at 18:48
Biking at SE 37th Ave and SE Clinton St on Jul 20, 2015 at 10:56
Biking at SE 23rd Ave and SE Clinton St. on Jul 20, 2015 at 18:34
Biking at se 52nd avenue & se clinton street on Jul 23, 2015 at 18:17
Biking at se clinton and 41st on Jul 24, 2015 at 09:52
Biking at SE 28th Ave and SE Clinton St. on Jul 30, 2015 at 10:11
Biking at SE 35th Ave and SE Clinton on Aug 04, 2015 at 19:17
Biking at SE 25th Ave and SE Clinton St on Aug 04, 2015 at 19:34
Biking at SE 27th Ave and SE Clinton St. on Aug 04, 2015 at 20:00
Biking at SE 45th and Clinton, Portland, OR on Aug 06, 2015 at 12:08
Biking at SE 28th and Clinton, Portland, OR on Aug 11, 2015 at 18:23
Biking at SE 35th Ave and SE Clinton St on Aug 12, 2015 at 19:56
Biking at SE 28th Ave and SE Clinton St on Aug 13, 2015 at 22:04
Biking at SE 38th Ave and SE Clinton St. on Aug 27, 2015 at 12:34
Biking at SE 28th Pl and SE Clinton St on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:38
Biking at SE 26th and SE Clinton on Sep 01, 2015 at 10:04
Biking at SE 20th and SE Clinton on Sep 01, 2015 at 10:59
Biking at SE 17th and Clinton on Sep 22, 2015 at 10:37
Walking at SE 43rd Ave and SE Clinton St. on Sep 22, 2015 at 17:37
Biking at SE 43rd Ave and SE Clinton St. on Sep 22, 2015 at 19:43
Biking at SE 22nd Ave and SE Clinton St. on Sep 26, 2015 at 17:33
Biking at SE Clinton & SE 16th Ave on Sep 30, 2015 at 09:11
Biking at SE Clinton and SE 25th on Oct 06, 2015 at 17:31
Biking at 3945 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR on Oct 08, 2015 at 15:48
Biking at SE Clinton St and SE 37th Ave on Oct 12, 2015 at 16:51
Biking at SW Clinton St. and SE 25th Ave on Oct 12, 2015 at 16:52
Discouraging, to say the least! But thank you for this excellent listing.
”you all are going to get killed if you ride in the road”….
(….’and i’m here to ensure that!’)
Good grief. Thanks for noting and sharing, Nathan!
Ah, the old, “there are drivers who might kill you when you ride like that, so I’m going to drive like them to show you how you could get killed, but unlike them, I’m doing it out of concern for your safety, because if I don’t show you what could happen you might get hurt by continuing to ride like that.”
Interesting, glad you and your kids survive, time after time. Maybe just a few of the reports and a link to another site with the full report would have been more practical for this discussion section.
43 complaints in 5 months on an app that is specifically catered towards people who actively seek out the service to complain about drivers.
WIth bicycle traffic on Clinton at nearly 3000 trips every weekday (or roughly 300,000 weekday bike trips since your report starts) all you’ve got is 43 complaints – granted your app is new and likely not used widely used, but still 43?
Toss in the auto traffic and you’re looking a millions of car and bicycles interactions peacefully on this street.
Over 10% of all reports submitted to the site occurred on Clinton, but anyways you’re missing the point. The point isn’t really the number, it’s the content of the individual stories. We shouldn’t settle for stuff like this! The city pushes neighborhood greenways as a place for the “interested but concerned” demographic and yet many scary interactions take place on what’s supposed to be the best our bicycle network has to offer.
Oh I didn’t realize that those weren’t all from one person.
Thank you for posting this, I’m sure these types of interactions have been experienced by most people who ride their bike on Clinton on a regular basis. I probably experience a negative interaction with a driver like these examples about 1 in every 5-10 times I ride Clinton between 12th and 50th, which is why I prefer to ride Lincoln more often.
Plumbers work on the clock. You may not think its reasonable to complain about slower traffic, traffic jams, and diverters, but the comparison to EMT or fire truck really misses the point.
everybody’s time is worth something… a plumbers time is not worth somebody’s life…
Then the logic for “the Plumber” should be that he advocates for more transit options, More bike commuting options (and safe routes) More trains and street cars to move more people during rush hours. Which in turn would “lighten the load” on our streets taking more people and cars off the road making it easier for him to Drive to all those “ever so important” plumbing calls!
If he’s like most tradesman I’ve seen, he’s probably on the phone all the time anyway.
Of course you’re assuming that all (and this one) plumbers do on-call house calls. Many commercial and industrial plumbers never do.
“it’s not going to destroy his livelihood.”
Exactly. And what’s more, the entitlement he feels to speed in this setting is simply out of phase with what is going on here. He needs to recalibrate his bid (by two minutes or whatever) to account for this. We all have to make some adjustments as the shape and density of our city changes. Perhaps this is the one he gets to make.
Personally I prefer mid-block diverters with parking spots removed next to the diverter so that U-turns for idiots trying to cut through can be made w/out too much trouble. That way they make the street a cul de sac for cars while retaining the grid access for pedestrians and cyclists. Everybody wins except the cut-through drivers.
PBOT’s experience is that people driving prefer to use nearby driveways for such U-turns.
That’s because when you’re driving a full-size pick-up or a Suburban, the turning circle is in excess of 50′. If you drive a reasonable car, you may actually be able to execute a U-turn in a 30-foot street.
Just came out of the NA meeting, and wanted to say that PBOT’s Rich Newlands did an incredible job with his presentation. He is good to have on this project.
Since the initial open house they’ve changed the diverter to 32nd, and decided that there needs to be another input meeting because of the change. It’ll be on Nov 9th apparently.
I’ll also say for those who were there, I wanted to apologize for perhaps speaking out of turn. I regret the small interruptions I might have caused. I’ll chalk it up to it being my first NA meeting. Tensions were high.
Was good to see so many out in support of a safer Clinton.
My notes have the PBOT Clinton meeting on Thursday, NOVEMBER 5. Rich did not have it completely confirmed, but thought it would be at 7 PM, at the same location, the Waverly Church at 3300 SE Woodward. Watch this space for the latest information!
The next regular RNA meeting, OTOH, is Nov. 9.
All this is pretty typical of making a new greenway. It’s to be expected. The City needs lots of support from multiple sources so that they don’t chicken out and they do the right thing. In a year, this will have been forgotten about and all those who fear problems will see that there aren’t any. People who drive through the area will find another way and forget about it soon enough.
This is great to see Portland do this. It’ll take them up to another level with greenways.
I just was at the Richmond NA meeting where Rich Newlands presented the Clinton project. There were lots of people there in support, but most of the people who commented were against the diverters — citing claims that traffic will just divert to other neighborhood streets. Rich’s response was that much of that traffic will disappear off Clinton, which got half the room scoffing (he’s right though — induced demand works in reverse). In a high note, nobody was opposed to the diverters because they themselves wanted car access; the concern was with other drivers.
Many people didn’t seem to understand the benefits of adding diverters since they assume traffic volumes in the neighborhood would remain constant; while this projects aims to reduce volumes while encouraging other modes of transport. I do believe that most of heir fears will not pan out; and this is the primary benefit to marketing his as a “trial project”.
If most of the cut through traffic is not local though, will the diverters really reduce overall traffic volume? (i.e. if you’re driving in from 6-10 miles away, you’re very unlikely to all of a sudden change your commute from car to bike because Clinton “feels” a bit safer)
I think that’s the big question.
But for people who currently don’t cycle but would like to, this will make the difference for them.
I’m just wondering if there are enough of those people (and I have my doubts as “interested but concerned” is overblown in my opinion) to actually noticeably reduce spillover traffic.
I’ve certainly noticed a recent, fresh influx of exceptionally impatient, fast and dangerous drivers. I think Portland Traffic Enforcement needs to take a fresh look at the new (and ever-morphing) traffic situation in neighborhoods and react accordingly. We need more enforcement, more photo radar, more signage, more crosswalks, more traffic calming measures. I can deal with more traffic–not happily, but I can; as long as there’s rigorous speed and safety enforcement. Absent that, it’s pure misery. And drivers learn so quickly which places they can get away with terrible driving behaviors. You need to draw the lines quickly, and really keep on top of it.
Based on my casual observations, it seems to be a combination of new out-of-state folks that are used to driving faster and people outside the city of Portland who have long commutes that are increasingly congested. They don’t live in the area (at least until recently) and they don’t know what it’s like to get around on foot or by bike. They don’t care about the safety of anyone else, they just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible.
It’s nice to blame out-of-staters and non-Portland commuters, but I see plenty of bad driving behavior in my neighborhood by my neighbors. Blasting down our neighborhood streets at 35 mph and rolling through stop signs faster than I can run, but it’s become so common place they don’t even realize that they are doing it.
Last evening, I saw a driver blow through a stop sign presumably on the theory that since she stopped behind the car ahead of her, it counted as a stop for her, too. This morning, I was behind a driver who was so impatient waiting for the driver ahead of him to make a right turn (he was yielding to pedestrians) that the second driver swerved into the left turn lane and accelerated straight through the intersection.
It might not be entirely the new residents, but immigration is generally coming from states with very fast driving automobile centric cultures, so I can not see it as NOT being a factor. This is a need for them to adjust to a new city which has a more polite and slower driving culture.
I know when I drove in California I had to revert to my old 1980’s teen angst driving style on the Chicago freeways just to keep up……HATED IT.
Next time we went to California, we took our bikes.
This is true. I was just trying to account for the increase in this behavior. It is possible that native Portlanders are growing impatient due to excessively busy schedules or the increasing traffic. I’m not sure.
I don’t think you were wrong, Chris I. And I do think that bad driving leads to more bad driving–it’s contagious. Increasing crowding does a number on people, too. I find myself twitchy and anxious more than I used to be, just because everywhere you go in Portland now, you’re confronted with way more humanity than you used to be. And people’s reaction to that crowding and feelings of frustration definitely leads to all the fallout, including increasingly dangerous traffic, that we feel here now.
PBOT’s license plate data recorded no out of state plates.
40%-50% of the licenses were from the area bounded by the Willamette River, Burnside, 82nd and the south city boundary. A generous definition of ‘neighborhood traffic’.
Like I said above, bad and impatient driving’s contagious, for sure. How quickly can a new resident get registered and get new plates in Oregon?
Well good for your inner city folks you now have your diverters. Meanwhile out on the east side of town you can’t even get speed bumps when you live a block from a elementary school on a street with a chronic speed problem. Or even one of those portable speed reader boards. “Just no money in the budget” we are always told.
What are you talking about? East Portland is sitting on millions of dollars for safety and greenways. I’m running into the opposite: safety projects that are getting turned down because the city isn’t focusing on inner SE right now. The Clinton greenway enhancement is being done on such a small budget they don’t think a desperately-needed crossing enhancement at SE 50th is fiscally feasible. No money for a sign that little flashing lights on it! This is a 5-figure project *at most.* The only reason they’re putting any money into Clinton at all is because the Mayor directly ordered them to.
There is also the facts to contend with.
Just marking the crossing at 50th at Clinton ($1,200) achieves a service level of up to 109 crossings per hour. Adding four poles for RRFB is another $48,000.
For about $24,000 PBOT could add the missing 2 curb extensions and shorten the crossing, achieving a service level of 184 per hour.
52nd is almost as busy and could use traffic calming.
NW 23rd, NW 21st, SE Hawthorne, SE Division, NE Alberta, N Mississippi, N Williams, SE Milwaukie, NW 13th, SW Broadway.
Does it make me some kind of weirdo that I never consider heavily trafficked destination shopping districts as my primary routes when I’m trying to drive across this city?
Because the outrage I’m getting from some of these comments it’s like people are upset that folks have dared to site commercial enterprises on the roads that they want to drive on.
Or is the issue more that almost all of our commercial areas are on fairly major arterials?
Where should we attract non-local traffic?
Is that a rhetorical question? Why would we (ever) want to do that?
So, you’re saying only local people can/should work in Portland? If not, where should the non-local people drive?
You said ‘attract.’ They can work here if they wish but I don’t think we should be in the business of ‘attracting’ folks who need to drive long distances to get here. Why would we want to do that?!
I would prefer non-local road users use some roads over others, so I would like to know how to attract them to those roads intended for their use, like Division or Powell, instead of them using Lincoln, Clinton, Woodward.
As for having non-locals visit Portland – taxes, businesses prospering, etc.
I’m not saying it’s good or bad, just that it is.
SHAMEFUL ADMISSION COMING UP: 4 years ago, when I was moving from 30th & Lincoln to the Brooklyn neighborhood, I would drive between the two moving my stuff with my car on Clinton instead of Division or Powell because of it’s lack of stoplights and quite frankly it was just faster. I had a Subaru so the speed bumps were no issue and I could hit them at 30 mph, which admittedly is kind of fun. This is at a time when I only biked for recreation and hardly ever for transit. Now I’ve parted ways with the car, and use Clinton by bike for transit on the regular. I see drivers doing exactly what I did, because like I said, it’s just faster and easier to drive on Clinton than the alternatives.
THIS IS WHY WE NEED DIVERTERS. For assholes like me who didn’t get how unsafe their actions were until they slowed down and rode the town via bike.
Now I help people move by bike, and set up grillbikes on the roundabouts on Clinton to slow traffic down and give hot dogs to commuters. My, how a bike can change a person.
love it…’how can I be expected to WALK 2-4 blocks”!?
are these people for real? they’d be eaten alive in any larger city..
People at my work would park next to their office if they could. They are all lining up to pay $20 more a month to park in our basement lot than across the street. There’s a long waiting list.
Sounds like they should charge more. A lot more.
Could be. It’s $93 a month across the street, and $115 a month in our basement. Not sure what the going rate is. Some people park a ways away in the neighborhood or in the Lloyd Center and pay nothing.
It would be nice to see traffic police making it known to drivers that speeding, aggressive driving, unsafe passing and other dangerous moves will not be tolerated.
Then again, they still call bike/car wrecks “accidents”.
Or course, busting people for a dysfunctional stop sign on Ladd Circle is so much better for media exposure.
Jeez, I hope in the future we don’t have all this drama and hand-wringing over every diverter. This is just so silly. And not every project should be essentially crowdsourced. City needs to take leadership, isn’t that why we elect people?!
“City needs to take leadership”
No kidding. What was that called? Oh, right. The Bicycle Master Plan. Dust it off, and get to it!…
…enter paikiala, who will tell us that this is not how it works… that PBOT can’t just do it but has to wait for Council to approve every nickel.
Council does not need to approve every nickel. Unless it is a high dollar project (>$500K, I believe), costs can be approved at the Bureau level.
Up to the first ellipsis, +1
After the second ellipsis, I have to say that paikiala has been helpful and informative in lots of these threads, and that I personally consider him/her to be a force for good inside PDOT, working for bikes, not against them. If you asked nicely, he/she might have something interesting to say about PBOT’s process of approving, funding and installing diverters.
PBOT can propose projects, and plan projects, on which to spend dollars, but Council approves budgets. Many on this list have pointed out that taxes paid into slush funds without defined outcomes, or projects, are not the preferred method for allocating limited resources.
Apart from the standard budget process, don’t forget the fall bump, which allocates excess revenue collected that is above what the approved budget allocated.
The greenway evaluation report identified the next 4 or 5 legacy greenways likely to be proposed for funding in the fall bump. There is also a certain popular waterfront project for which interim and ultimate design rough estimates have been bouncing around.
If the past is any predictor, the usual pattern is
‘concern during planning’
‘minority vocal opposition after open house’
‘complaints when construction notice goes out’ (‘I was never informed…’)
‘complaints during testing’
‘complaints when evaluation data provided’ (‘see, 50 more cars a day are using my street – your test failed’)
Sometimes traffic shifts erratically and unpredictably (first Maplewood bumps – an unpaved street suddenly got all the traffic), but it is uncommon.
It varies. Recently I’ve been returning home along Clinton after work to see what all the fuss is about. Probably between 6pm and 615pm. Sometimes in the morning on the way to work between 830 and 845am. And then on weekends between Friday and Sunday at various times throughout the day. Never seen or had a problem on this street and I’ve had my fair share of traffic altercations. What time does it get dangerous?
The stretch with the highest motor vehicle volumes is between 17th and 12th in the AM rush hr (highest on the day I was counting 7:30-8). The stretch with the highest speeds is between Chavez and 50th, and my perception is that those drivers are also mostly in the morning rush hour. Honestly, my feeling is that paikiala is right and Clinton is not that objectively dangerous (compared to say 122nd) but that it feels very uncomfortable for the non-fearless and that feeling is a huge obstacle to increasing the number of people who are willing to ride in the area.
I also think it is a perception issue, in part.
It is the difference between what users think Clinton should be like compared to how it is currently being used. The difference between these two metrics (slow, calm, ‘neighborhood’ street v. 2300-3,000 vpd with 85th percentile speeds of 27-35) is the definition of the problem.
Bad times on Clinton are 7:30-8:30am and 4:30-5:30pm. Though it can be drastically worse if traffic is bad on Division or Powell. Between 12th and 17th in morning, and 17th up in the evening.
I don’t ride Clinton at all, but I’m very interested in what happens there. If we can’t create a safe street in a location where the vast majority of people there WANT one, we have little hope anywhere else.
It will never happen…but…
Fine for violating a 20 mph zone… $1,000 or 100 hours community service.
That would get folks attention .
One solution to getting cars off the roads in Portland that hasn’t been mentioned is to make our buses free. Right now a round trip bus ride that takes longer than 2.5 hours costs $5, street parking and gas is cheaper. If all rides were free many folks would gladly leave their cars behind, and maybe even a few cyclists would as well.
They did that in Corvallis, and my parents complain that the buses are ‘full of homeless people’. I have no idea how close that is to reality, just sharing the anecdote, FWIW.
Can’t speak for Corvallis, but it seems logical that if there are free rolling shelters available, those who need shelter (&/| free transportation) will use them.
I’m late to this forum, but count this Clinton St. bike commuter as firmly against additional diverters on Clinton. As others have pointed out, to all the newbies in the area, this was first and foremost an important alternate east west car artery that is being strangled in every way. It results in greater and greater car congestion and stress on Powell and Division, or more likely, diversions to other smaller streets in the neighborhood.
“this was first and foremost an important alternate east west car artery that is being strangled in every way.”
This – meaning Clinton?
I think that ship sailed a generation ago.
Strangling and artery* is a mixed metaphor I am having trouble with.
* and cars, too(!)
A genuine caution for bikes passing through the diverter at 17th and Clinton: The removal of stop signs for Clinton traffic (east-west) here feels counterintuitive to me when I drive through (i.e. it’s different from, say, Harrison and 20th). Yes, there is a sign that says cross traffic doesn’t stop, but unconsciously when you see a big barrier your brain assumes that traffic won’t be cruising through it. I am just guessing that lots of drivers will assume it’s still a 4-way stop and treat it like one, and that perhaps cyclists should slow a bit and be alert so they don’t get hit.
I say this as a cyclist who is happy the diverter went up…I’m just genuinely worried that drivers who have no beef with bikes will follow the visual cues of the barrier rather than the signage and assume that bikes will be stopping as well. I don’t think that part of the design is safe, and I really don’t want anybody to get hit because of it.
“…perhaps cyclists should slow a bit and be alert so they don’t get hit.”
Are you new to cycling? Being aware of your surrounding & other traffic is YOUR responsibility – always. You can’t rely on drivers or pedestrians to pay attention to everything you do or where you intend to travel. Oregon law even defines a bicycle as a vehicle, and as a cyclist you’re responsible to observe (& follow) the traffic laws too. Including being alert.
Cyclists with an attitude of entitlement and reckless behavior give the rest of us a bad reputation. You know, like the quip, “99% of lawyers make the rest of us look bad.”
Um, no, I’m a veteran bike activist, actually. I’m just trying to point out what is a *particular* and possibly stealthy hazard – an intersection which sends lots of visual signals to drivers that run opposite to the signed traffic flow. You know, from one cyclist to another – watch out for this particular spot, it’s sketchier than it may seem.
xanthoptica, what I’m trying to say is cyclists need to have a cohesive outlook about traffic. Being a ‘bike activist’ is clearly describing yourself as an extremist, a fanatic, a zealot, and a propagandist. Despite what you might think, very few people will ever support an ‘activist’ cause. YOU may think that’s okay, but having an oppositional defiant attitude is what creates conflict. And right now, we don’t need anymore conflict with vehicles or pedestrians. It is bad enough that there are a handful of cyclists that weave between cars, blow through red lights & stop signs, pop-up on sidewalks and into the street regardless of traffic laws. You CANNOT be a hypocrite and point out drivers who fail to follow rules of the road if you don’t respect them either.
If you want to contribute to change, to create a safer path for cyclists (or for anything, really), you need to approach the matter with an open mind. Learn everything you can about why the current situation is the norm. And then advocate for change only after you can demonstrate how the change will benefit those who currently support the norm. To share one of my favorite quotes by Wayne Dyer, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Maybe complaining about the design of a diverter isn’t as important as recognizing the effort the city showed by installing one (or two.)
At first I thought you were having some sly fun at my expense, but apparently you’re serious. Serious about projecting a heck of a lot of stuff on me for making a constructive comment. Can I suggest you just read what I wrote without adding all the baggage? I *can* assure you that your description of me is wildly inaccurate.