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PBOT plans to stripe new 3rd Avenue bike lane this weekend

Posted by on October 16th, 2015 at 12:40 pm

3rdpage

Image from PBOT website showing new configuration of SW 3rd just south of Burnside.

The new lane will be a wide, buffered bicycle lane to increase comfort for all ages and abilities of bicycle riders, such as tourists and families.
— PBOT

The demonstration that inspired it happened one year ago, the compromise among stakeholders that confirmed it happened four months ago, and it was first promised to be on the ground one month ago.

Now, at long last, the Bureau of Transportation has made an official announcement that they plan to “reconfigure” 3rd Avenue this weekend.

As we reported back in August, the plan is to re-stripe nine blocks of 3rd from NW Glisan to SW Stark in order to make room for a bicycling-only lane. The new bike lane will be installed in place of the existing standard lane and it will be seven-feet wide with extra “buffered” space on boths sides.

PBOT has also published a new website for the project.

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Here’s more about the project from today’s announcement:

This community-led project will result in safer pedestrian crossings, a bicycle lane, reduced travel speeds for motor vehicles, and increased pedestrian space. As a part of the plan, PBOT recently installed 14 new marked crosswalks in the area. The new two-lane roadway configuration will further increase pedestrian safety by creating a shorter distance for pedestrians to cross with moving motor vehicle traffic. The project will also improve the bicycle network by connecting the existing bicycle lane on Third Avenue that terminates at NW Davis with the existing bicycle lanes on Stark and Oak Streets. The new lane will be a wide, buffered bicycle lane to increase comfort for all ages and abilities of bicycle riders, such as tourists and families. The bicycle lane design will also reduce conflict between bicycle and motor vehicle traffic.

While it’s not a physically separated and protected bike lane like many people want, this is a very significant project for Portland. Giving more downtown real estate to bicycling is a big deal (as explained rather well by our News Editor Michael Andersen in this comment). Not only that, but this project happened from the bottom-up. The grassroots momentum that led to the Better Block demonstration a year ago included local business owners, and the neighborhood committee that ultimately endorsed it included the Portland Business Alliance. Yes, the PBA.

We’ll be out there first thing next week with a full report and photos. Stay tuned. And let’s hope for dry weather. If it rains too much, PBOT might delay the work.

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47 Comments
  • Avatar
    Buzz October 16, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Will. not. be. safe. at. intersections. with. westbound. streets.

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    ethan October 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Not to be a downer, but this bike lane will not suit my needs at all. Whenever I ride on 3rd, I’m always in the left lane, since I always turn left off of third.

    And I’m very skeptical to how this will work in the transitions (as this “bike lane” will only be 6 blocks long).

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      paikiala October 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Transitions? you mean at the south end, where the bike lane stops and a car lane resumes on the other side of the intersection?

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        ethan October 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm

        Yes, that’s what I mean. I imagine there will be some drivers getting into that lane extra hasty-like and making it very unsafe.

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      Mark October 17, 2015 at 8:59 am

      Won’t suit my needs either. I often take NW Everett to 3rd and take a left to go across the Burnside Bridge. I worry about motorists resenting my presence in the left lane when there’s a “perfectly good” bike lane that doesn’t go where I need it to go.

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    Champs October 16, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I’ll miss riding in the middle lane at 15mph, making all the lights, and never getting hooked or waiting for turning traffic. RIP.

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      soren October 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      There are traffic lights downtown?

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      Scott H October 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      What’s stopping you?

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        ethan October 16, 2015 at 3:15 pm

        After the “bike lane” is installed, it will be required to be used by law, unfortunately.

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          soren October 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

          Oh please…no one cares if you violate the mandatory sidepath downtown (where max speeds are ~16 mph).

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            ethan October 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm

            Unfortunately, drivers will.

            I’ve had things thrown at me and been yelled at for riding outside the bike lane on Williams (even though I was turning in less than 50 feet).

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          Andy K October 17, 2015 at 7:22 am

          In the unlikely event that you are being pulled over, put your left hand out to signal left as soon as you can. Tell the officer that you were preparing to execute a left turn at [next available eastbound street], so you needed to start changing lanes in advance. ORS 814.420 3(b)

          Alternatively, if the cop car has been following you for a few blocks, you can say you had to be in this lane because you didn’t know what left turn you needed until you saw it and recognized it.

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          Scott H October 19, 2015 at 10:14 am

          With the frequency that bike lanes are treated like loading zones it won’t be. One of the exceptions in 814.420 will almost always apply to the chaos we encounter.

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        Buzz October 16, 2015 at 3:15 pm

        Mandatory Bike Lane Law, ORS 814.420.

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    Scott October 16, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Are we supposed to magically teleport to a new street when it abruptly ends, or will the teleportation be based on Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future? I think this project is more important than PBOT is letting on, since teleporting a human would use the entire output of the sun just for the matter to energy conversion.

    Whoever is planning these things needs to get on a freakin’ bike and see if it makes sense in the first place. It’s just a diversion from projects that would actually help alternative transportation in underserved areas, such as east of 82nd, Barbur, or Swan Island.

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      paikiala October 16, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Scott,
      The project length was specified by local business interests. PBOT did not have the time at this time to take the concept farther south than the bike couplet at Stark/Oak.

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        soren October 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm

        Does this mean that there are plans to extend the bike lane?

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          paikiala October 16, 2015 at 4:37 pm

          That will depend on the downtown plan that Rick Browning was hired to do, but if 3rd is in place, and works well, I don’t see what would stop the extension.

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            soren October 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

            imo, a protected/enhanced facility couplet on 3rd and 4th would be a much better option than the transit mall.

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    paikiala October 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    FWIW, buffer will only occur south of where the current lanes exist (S of Davis). North of that the lane will only be widened.

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    peter haas October 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    I often ride across the Burnside bridge coming into town and cross on 3rd to get to the green lane on Oak. I’ve never felt the few blocks I travel on 3rd to be dangerous or high risk, especially compared to the Burnside bridge crossing, but I welcome this new section of bike lane. Even if it is a little on the short side.

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      Daniel Costantino October 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      For that matter: what’s the plan for getting from Burnside to 3rd? The current alternatives aren’t particularly attractive.

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        paikiala October 16, 2015 at 4:37 pm

        Left turn bike box.

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          Mark October 17, 2015 at 9:02 am

          I hate those. Clumsy and inefficient. I’ll continue to take the lane to make my left turns.

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    Daniel Costantino October 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Will the new buffered lane be striped in green like on Oak and Stark? The picture doesn’t suggest the project will have much visual impact, which would seem really important if part of the goal is to reduce vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian safety (and the safety of everyone else).

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      paikiala October 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Only at the beginning of SW 3rd south of Burnside.

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein October 16, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    This bike lane is a far cry from the Better Block demonstration and connects to nothing from the north. It also disappears at intersections. Better than before, yes, but we need to try much much harder if we want to create real safe space to ride a bike and get people out of their cars.

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      paikiala October 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      And, there it is.
      Maybe PBOT should just stop trying to please everybody. That’s the one surefire way to achieve failure.

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      • Adam Herstein
        Adam Herstein October 16, 2015 at 5:49 pm

        Yes, please! Stop trying to please everyone and do what’s best for the city. When you design for compromise, you get bad design. Instead, design based on the city’s stated goals of reducing car use and increasing safety. This design does none of those things.

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          Eric Leifsdad October 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

          Add sharrows to all of the lanes? Sharrows are all about compromise. Maybe some little ones on the sidewalks too? Compromises all around.

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    Adron Hall @ Transit Sleuth October 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Really cool to see this finally being done after all the work being put into it. It always seems a little half hearted that mostly only paint ever gets put down, as if in some future all the bike lanes just get erased and some future mayor wrecks the city and tears up all the bicycle infrastructure. :-/

    But on the positive side, I’m stoked for the moment. Onward to the next battle to get this upgraded to some serious street quality and…

    …while on this topic, is it ONLY being restriped? Are they not turning it into public space (the type that actually attracts MORE customers to the space)?? What happened to that part of the plan? I just see/hear “more parking” which does NOT help.

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      paikiala October 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      The public space on the east side of SW 3rd requires private commitment to maintain the space, similar to Ankeny Alley. The businesses can’t agree (maybe one really doesn’t want to help?).
      PBOT has determined the space they can have, and the temporary marks may still be out there.

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    chris October 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    This bike lane is worse than useless.

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      paikiala October 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      You might be over 20 years old and less than 60 years old.

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        ethan October 16, 2015 at 8:40 pm

        So, paikiala, do you know any children or senior citizens that will be and feel safe riding in this bike lane?

        Where would they come from? Where would they go? I doubt the connections will even be noticeable top someone who doesn’t know the plans by heart.

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          soren October 16, 2015 at 9:20 pm

          the perfect is the enemy of the good.

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            ethan October 18, 2015 at 10:52 am

            What’s good about this bike lane? See how many conflict areas where collisions could occur, its extremely short length, its bad connections, its design that squishes you between parked cars and moving cars.

            I don’t think that’s good. It will be worse than Broadway, which I thought was already a terrible design for such an important connection.

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    J_R October 16, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    What I want to know is whether PBOT’s Equity and Inclusion Manager and Communications Manager approve of this new bike lane and did it “move the needles on the PBOT dashboard” revealed to us earlier this week?

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    Mike October 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Tough crowd. No good deed goes unpunished around these comment parts.

    Thank you, PBOT. There are cyclists out there who understand that progress often moves slowly and who appreciate your efforts.

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      Mark October 18, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      This is simply because pbot used the bike community for optics, then let the Portland business alliance decide the design.

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      Todd Hudson October 19, 2015 at 10:30 am

      It’s no surprise that this comments section is rife with people who will be unhappy no matter what. Pretty much on par with the rest of internet comments sections.

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    Todd Boulanger October 16, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    It is great news that this overall project concept has kept up the momentum internally to emerge into implementation.

    BUT I have to ask the question: has this project been reviewed internally (as a pilot) for purposes of Vision Zero, only as it relates to on-street parking layout (between Burnside and Ankeny)?

    One issue not yet mentioned in the discussion above is how the left side parking looks to be still laid out as a nose-in (back-out) diagonal stalls. Drivers can have great difficulty in backing out in moving traffic from such a stall placement. One would expect a higher collision rate with it. (I reached out to the PBoT PM today but we missed each other’s call backs.)

    So should not there be parallel parking spaces on the left side curb in this new design…and if “more parking is needed” then an alternative layout could be considered with the bike lanes/ ped enhancements.

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      Todd Boulanger October 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Looks like 90 degree nose-in (head-in) parking was striped with a wide outside lane…from Monday’s post implementation photos on BP.

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    Mark October 17, 2015 at 8:51 am

    The nose in concept is odd. So…solve one problem but create another? It’s a simple “camel under the tent” tactic. Yeah, it’s useful but…again..bikes are just cannon fodder against traffic. One text message and boom-a bike is squished against a car. Just like that. Portland cops roll up…

    “Accident”.

    DA “No charges will be filed” (After 3 months of waiting)

    Driver “I didn’t see him/her/it”.

    So Portland builds another non enforceable, unsafe…painted lane that does little and just pisses off F350 drivers. All so the PBA can say “Look, we allowed a bike lane over there”.

    Oh, the city can dwindle funds away on the project while many miles of bikes lanes fade into non existence.

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    Clark in Vancouver October 18, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Very disappointing. This might have been considered okay in the ’80s but it’s well into the 21st century now. We’ve all seen parking protected bike lanes and know they could be put in here.
    Is it now time for a protest about this outdated design?

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      soren October 19, 2015 at 10:57 am

      i very much prefer protected bike lanes without free vehicle storage.

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    brian October 19, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I rode it this AM and I will use a few of the crosswalks going to lunch today, which will probably be the highlight of it.

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