Posted by Michael Andersen (Contributor) on October 12th, 2015 at 3:58 pm
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.