Subscriber Post by Colin Reis on October 12th, 2015 at 11:26 am
[This post was submitted by BikePortland subscriber Colin Reis. See more BikePortlander Posts here.]
If you live in North Portland anywhere west of Denver Avenue, then you’re probably familiar with Greeley Avenue. It cuts diagonally from Arbor Lodge neighborhood through Overlook and towards the Fremont Bridge, where it meets up with Interstate Avenue. This means that if you biked south on Greeley from St. Johns or The University of Portland, the 12 blocks that you’d have to travel to get from Greeley to Interstate @ Killingsworth Avenue would be avoided entirely because of Greeley’s diagonal tilt. If you prefer direct and efficient routes, hopefully you’ve signed on by now, especially if you’re a North Portland resident. A nice bonus is that Greeley goes right through the Adidas Factory with all of its flair.
Being Overlook residents, my wife or I take Greeley on pretty much a daily basis. Yet, I have noticed that there’s rarely much bike traffic along Greeley, which is part of why I chose to profile this bike route. One thing I forgot to mention is that Greeley is located on a pretty massive hill that goes down when headed south and uphill when headed North (the Overlook neighborhood got its name for a reason). Here’s a look at downward slope heading south towards downtown.
When I bike down the hill I am peddling the entire time and reach a velocity of close to 30mph. The only issue is that close to the bottom of the hill, there’s an awkward transition where bikers must cross over an entry lane where cars may be entering Greeley from Swan Island.
I’ve biked down this hill more than a hundred times at all hours of the day. Only a handful of times have there been a car merging onto Greeley from this lane where you see the truck merging above. Among those occasions I never had to stop, as I could simply move over into the left lane and bike in the street until the car passed me, then shift over, back into the bike lane. Some people get uncomfortable crossing this lane, but for my wife and I, it’s a non-issue. After reaching the bottom of the hill, there’s a flat straightaway with one more snafu before reaching Interstate. The two car lanes separate with the right going onto the highway and the left heading to Interstate. Biker’s are then left to their own devices to make their way onto Interstate.
Again, I rarely have to stop when crossing this part of Greeley, but the speed limit is 45mph, so some may find this intimidating. Then again, you can see a very long distance, and rarely do you have to wait long for all traffic do clear up. This Greeley route, starting from Killingsworth and ending where Greeley is swallowed up by Interstate is only 1.6 miles, but goes by in a flash. That is, so long as you’re headed downhill!