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City pushes Clinton diverter proposal to 32nd, sets new open house

Posted by on October 21st, 2015 at 10:25 am

The issue on Clinton.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Here’s the latest on the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s effort to decrease the amount of people driving on SE Clinton…

A trial traffic diverter is now set to be installed at Southeast Clinton Street and 32nd Avenue, instead of Clinton and 29th as first proposed. In addition to the east-west diverter, it’ll use semi-diverters to prevent turns onto Clinton from 32nd while allowing traffic on Clinton to turn either north or south.

That’s in addition to the trial diverter planned at Clinton and 17th.

That revised proposal has raised objections from some neighbors, just as the initial one did. While some nearby residents are reportedly organizing to oppose the latest plan — possibly at a mostly unrelated town hall this evening attended by Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales — the city has delayed installation to allow a second open house early next month.

The change to 32nd is needed, city project manager Rich Newlands said, because fresh traffic counts show that daily north-south auto traffic on 29th Avenue north of Clinton is already quite high.

“The day of the 9/16 open house we got another batch of updated traffic counts, including 29th,” Newlands said in an email. “The new count was above 925, which under the new Greenway diversion guidelines of 1,000 being the upper limit of acceptable total after volumes on adjacent local streets, gives us a very small cushion to test within. The next street to the east that less than 850 is 32nd Ave (~650).”

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Newlands said the reason to block cars from turning onto Clinton from 32nd while allowing cars on Clinton to turn either right or left onto 32nd (rather than just right) is to “allow more flexibility for local circulation while still addressing our primary concern- the longer, through trips on Clinton.”

During both the morning and evening rush hours, more than half of auto traffic on Clinton currently comes from outside the ZIP code, mostly from the south.

Unlike 29th Avenue, which extends both north to Clinton and south to Powell, 32nd goes north to Division but hits a T intersection at Woodward one block south of Clinton.

As a result, it’s possible that traffic diverted from Clinton might be more likely to turn instead onto Woodward. That’s likely to be a concern for some Woodward residents, though it’s also likely that other Woodward residents prefer the lower traffic on Clinton since it’s a priority street for biking and walking.

As we’ve reported, public response to the city’s proposals has so far been overwhelmingly supportive but not unanimous. Between a previous live open house and online survey, 83 percent of the 493 comments the city received were in support of the initial diverter plan (17th and 29th), with 73 percent in “strong” support. Those ratios don’t change depending on whether people live on Clinton or elsewhere.

However, some of the 17 percent of people who’ve expressed opposition are very upset.

Most of the city’s outreach so far has been to people who live near Clinton, so it’s likely that many people who drive long distances to commute on Clinton are unaware of the plan.

The diverter proposal was also discussed at a busy Richmond Neighborhood Association meeting on Oct. 12, where it faced both supporters and opponents among local residents.

“We did not hear one objection based the diverters interfering with people’s preferred motor vehicle routes on Clinton, only objections based on traffic increasing on neighborhood streets,” said Betsy Reese, a supporter of Clinton diverters who attended the Oct. 12 meeting.

The new open house on the new diverter is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m. at Waverly Heights Congressional Church.

Read more of our SE Clinton coverage in the archives.

Correction 12:45 pm: An earlier version of this post confused 29th and 32nd at one point.

— Michael Andersen
(503) 333-7824
michael@bikeportland.org
@andersem

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121 Comments
  • PDXFixed October 21, 2015 at 10:36 am

    This is bringing to attention the major problem: too much vehicle traffic heading East-West in the entire neighborhood, not just Clinton. Diverters are needed on Clinton, but something needs to be done about the traffic that is spilling onto every single side street in the entire area.

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    • soren October 21, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Woodward has a stop sign at almost every intersection and therefore sees little cut-through traffic. PBOT has also emphasized that Woodward would get additional mitigation if there is any measurable increase in traffic (unlikely, IMO).

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      • sabes October 21, 2015 at 9:29 pm

        You’re joking, right? The stop signs on Woodward are spaced every third street or so. 26th, 29th, 32nd, etc. I live on it, so maybe you can stop with the exaggeration that you feel the need to use in order to make your point. And there is virtually no way that Woodward won’t see an increase of traffic, if only from people in the neighborhood using it instead of Clinton. (FWIW, I’m pro-diverter)

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        • soren October 22, 2015 at 10:21 am

          After the 52nd diverter was installed the cut-through traffic evaporated from that neighborhood. I think Woodward is even less attractive than 51st or 54th.

          Moreover, this is a pilot project, a test, a temporary facility. PBOT has already stated that this project would be modified or mitigated if there are problems.

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    • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Too much north-south traffic, too. And for what it’s worth, Woodward, from my window, appears to be getting steadily increasing cut-through traffic from SE 26th (and across 26th).

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      • soren October 21, 2015 at 11:26 am

        What time and which direction?

        I’ve ridden up and down woodward and clinton during evening rush hour and the difference between the two is night and day.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 11:47 am

          No one would claim Woodward is as bad as Clinton, only that Woodward (and other parallel streets) are rapidly getting worse, a process that will likely accelerate after the diverters are installed.

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          • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm

            Agreed! No comparison. Just pointing out that Woodward is indeed becoming a popular cut-through.

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            • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 11:07 pm

              And, for what it’s worth, I’m pro-diverters on Clinton, too. Just worried.

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          • soren October 21, 2015 at 2:32 pm

            But you are claiming that:

            1) That cut-through traffic on Woodward between 26th and 39th is rapidly getting worse.

            2) That diversion at 32nd will significantly increase cut through traffic on Woodward between 26th and 39th.

            Do you have any evidence to support these claims?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 2:55 pm

              Point 1 is what people who live there claim. As this fits with my general observations and other independent (anecdotal) reports about nearby areas, I have no reason do doubt the claims.

              Point 2 is a logical outcome of directing vehicles off Clinton and onto Woodward. That said, I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen, or that the problem is minimal, because it would be awesome to have some examples of diverters that don’t have negative impacts on the surrounding areas.

              I want to apply diverters to other areas, and so I am looking for models of how to make them more palatable to the larger community.

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              • soren October 21, 2015 at 4:20 pm

                So no actual data.

                The newish diverter at 52nd had a negligible effect on neighboring streets according to PBOT counts. Moreover, there tens of diverters scattered around Portland with little sign of neighborhood uprisings over diverted traffic. In general, people who live near diverters like them.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 4:40 pm

                If you don’t find the reports of traffic on Woodward credible, just say so.

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            • sabes October 21, 2015 at 9:31 pm

              I live on Woodward. It’s busier than it used to be. Everyone on Woodward agrees with this. It’s not bad, but is it busier? Yes.

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        • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm

          Mainly rush hours, but SE 26th gets a weird mishmash of “rush hours.” There’s the school rush (early mornings and afternoons), then work/ commuter rush (several hours in the morning and evenings) then Division Street noshers/scenesters (there are a lot of them using SE 26th now–evening traffic has gotten very heavy), after 5 and onward. During the day there’s a lot of general traffic, delivery trucks, buses, etc.

          The commuters and scenesters seem to be using the Woodward cut-through most, and they most frequently turn east off of SE 26th and zoom up the hill. I do see plenty of cars headed west on Woodward, though (going across SE 26th–this has caused a few crashes)–commuters, mainly, I think–and also turning off of SE 26th onto Woodward headed west (again–commuters).

          I saw a semi coming west down Woodward to SE 26th yesterday. !! I have no idea how it made it through all the trees.

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          • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm

            26th is a neighborhood collector and is intended to connect local streets with higher classified streets.

            Woodward has 490-690 trips per day, compared to Clinton’s 1970-2300 trips per day.

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            • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 2:19 pm

              Aaaaaaand I’ll say it again: never meant to compare Woodward to Clinton, apple to apple. That wasn’t the point.

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            • soren October 21, 2015 at 2:34 pm

              paikiala, can you please put these numbers in context. what are typical daily trips counts for residential streets in the inner SE?

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              • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:07 am

                Context for ‘normal’ varies widely based on adjacent land use. For general purposes the rule of thumb is 8-10 trips per household per day. So if the street you’re looking at has 20 homes, the high volume is expected to be around 160-200 trips per day. An isolated location is likely to have less. A location near commercial uses more due to circulation.
                Woodward, 26th to Chavez has about 132 parcels and a couple have apartments, so if we guess 140 households, then we might expect up to 1400 total trips per day measured at one end or the other if every one went east or west. Assuming they don’t, half that is 700 trips per day maximum at the ends, expecting that some go north or south instead of east or west.
                East of 26th the recent count is 585 trips and west of 38th it is 484, so this implies that most of the traffic on Woodward is local, not all, but most.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 23, 2015 at 10:41 am

                I find this analysis flawed on many levels. First, 8-10 trips per day seems rather high for a household in inner SE. That translates to 4-5 round trips a day (by auto, since we’re not counting walking or biking trips here). I think the actual count would be either lower or much lower for most households.

                But even accepting that, you are assuming that 50% will travel along the entire length of (in this case) Woodward. If your counter is, say, midway along the street, you’ll actually only count half the vehicles (as half will head east, and half west). Same if your counter is at the end of the segment, as half will travel the other direction.

                But it gets worse. If we make the reasonable assumption that people might stick to the backstreets during peak hours (to avoid the congestion on Division an Powell), we should also assume that during off-peak hours they try to get to these major streets as quickly as possible, and would be less likely to drive the entire length of a segment. That would reduce the likelihood of hitting a counter during off-peak hours. Since it is unlikely that a household would be making most of their 4-5 trips during peak hour, that would reduce our expected vehicle counts further.

                What I am saying is that I think your analysis is overestimating the number of local vehicles counted at every turn. I suspect that at least half the counts represent “foreign” traffic cutting through the neighborhood. If we looked at the time-of-day distribution, I would expect that during the peak hours there are far more vehicles than could be accounted for by reasonable local traffic generation rates.

                I understand your analysis was, by its nature, “quick and dirty”. But I think your conclusions are wrong. I think these counts likely represent a high number of cut-through trips.

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  • ethan October 21, 2015 at 10:43 am

    It is no longer summer (it’s been fall for an entire month) and still no diverters.

    But knowing how the city handled the 3rd, they will probably just paint “diverters” and call it a day.

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    • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Nothing borderline mean there.

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  • jeff October 21, 2015 at 10:44 am

    yes, by all means, lets just keep talking about it.

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  • AndyC of Linnton October 21, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Here’s hoping this open house will help the city figure out when to schedule the next open house.
    Meetings! Now that’s really getting things done!

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    • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Because talking about it on BP is soooo effective/see your snark and raise you.

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  • Matt M. October 21, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I live near 34th and Division, and hadn’t commuted on Clinton much until recently, when occasionally trying out the Tillikum as an alternative route downtown. Even after riding Clinton a half-dozen times I could immediately see what the problem is, and understand what people have been talking about in posts on this topic. Will be happy to see diverters.

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    • soren October 21, 2015 at 11:24 am

      If you have not already done so, please email Rich Newlands (and cc Steve Novick) and let them know this. Direct contacts from residents near the change are very important and will do a lot to counteract the petition currently being organized.

      rich.newlands@portlandoregon.gov
      novick@portlandoregon.gov

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      • Scott H October 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm

        I emailed them and already got a positive response back from Rich. If it’s our support they need, they’ve got it.

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  • Scott H October 21, 2015 at 11:14 am

    “However, some of the 17 percent of people who’ve expressed opposition are very upset.”

    It seems like this is the problem with Portland these days. A very loud, small minority of what would otherwise be a population that generally agrees on common sense, throws a temper tantrum at a town hall and nothing ever gets done. If city council can’t even muster the strength to tell the 17% that they’ve been outvoted, we’re screwed.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Ha! This is exactly what people opposed to spending more on bike infrastructure would say!

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      • Scott H October 21, 2015 at 11:56 am

        Only the ones that think “cyclists don’t pay taxes”

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    • davemess October 21, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      “A very loud, small minority of what would otherwise be a population that generally agrees on common sense, throws a temper tantrum at a town hall and nothing ever gets done.”

      Some in Portland would like say the same about cycling advocates.

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      • Scott H October 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm

        What if you don’t label them cycling advocates though, what if you label them safety advocates or healthy lifestyle advocates?

        If you remove the old cars vs bikes stigma you’re left with a community that has the same basic common-sense transportation priorities: They want their loved ones to get home from work or school safely. They want their kids to have safe ways to get to school. They want to be able to go for a walk without getting run down by someone else.

        There’s a little bit of disagreement on some of the specifics, what to spend money on first, etc, and there are some extremists on both sides of the conversation, and you know who I’m talking about when I say there are some commenters here that have unpopular opinions about how to go about it. But still, like I said, the community generally agrees on common sense.

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        • davemess October 23, 2015 at 11:17 am

          generally, but the rubber really hits the road when you start talking about specifics. There is a big difference between getting someone to agree with the statement: “I agree we should have safe space for bikes”. But it’s a completely different thing to get them to agree with: “I am okay with a diverter that forces me to drive an extra two blocks to get to my home”.

          It’s the same reason I have such a big issue with the large group of “interested, but concerned” riders. It’s very easy to say that in theory you support cycling and are a potential cyclist. It’s also very easy to come up with a ton of excuses for why you aren’t.

          The same thing happens with funding debates all the time. People are very much in favor of good schools. But are they as enthusiastic about an increase to their property taxes for a school bond?

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    • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      S,
      It’s always been this way. The vocal minority at traffic calming projects is notorious.

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley October 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I felt my heart sink at this phrase: the city has delayed installation to allow a second open house early next month. The rest was all “17% blah-blah-blah” to me.

    It’s not only, or even primarily, as a bike rider and BikePortland reader that I feel so discouraged by this, but as a citizen AND as a former long-term City employee. That hopeless, helpless refrain of “let’s check one more time before we take any action” was all too often followed up with no action, late action, or wrong action.

    I never even worked in PBOT – this happened all over the City in all kinds of departments. It’s deeply institutionalized, and helps create the feeling that one has spent one’s career in what David Graeber calls “bulls**t jobs”. It’s incredibly disheartening to the smart, educated, and generally public-spirited people who try to make the City go.

    Whether it’s fear of the 17%, fear of the Oregonian, fear of not being re-elected, or what, I don’t know, but the City can’t seem to lead. Somehow, deep in its veins, Portland doesn’t seem to want real leadership.

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    • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      So, if the city changed it’s proposal for work 3 blocks from your house to something right in front of your house, you would be ok without any additional outreach?

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      • Anne Hawley
        Anne Hawley October 21, 2015 at 1:51 pm

        Huh?? I didn’t say that and I don’t think I implied it. I was agreeing in general with Adam Herstein’s comment, which I was replying to: I hadn’t previously thought about the impact these diverter decisions could eventually have
        on me, specifically, and his remarks made me do so. I want increased density in the city and I want the City of Portland to come up with better and more system-wide solutions to the problems of pollution, noise, and grisly pet death (or potential human injury/death) on EVERY street.

        Sorry if how I stated that caused affront. I never know around here whether I’ll offend someone by being too NIMBY or by being not NIMBY enough.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

        paikiala: Do you know why the diverter at 17th is awaiting the process for 30th? Are these two items somehow co-dependent? I think most people would be satisfied with more process at 30th if the other, settled, unrelated parts of the project started moving forward.

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        • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm

          The diverter at 17th is awaiting sign off by senior engineers and utility locates, nothing else. Perhaps you confuse the two diverter locations?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 2:43 pm

            No confusion, I thought it might waiting approval of the other components of the project because I’ve seen no action for so long. Glad to hear I’m wrong, because it would be great to see some forward motion, even if more process is required on other components.

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        • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

          BTW,
          The work orders for the BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE signing NEIGHBORHOOD GREENWAY riders and marking the crossing at 50th have all been approved, and only await scheduling.

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          • Adam Herstein
            Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm

            How is the crossing at 50th going to be marked? This is the first I am hearing of this.

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            • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:20 am

              Standard continental (aka, ladder bar) crosswalk. It already has curb extensions at the SE and NW corners and warning signs.

              Per the NCHRP 562 analysis marking and signing alone can serve up to 109 hour peak crossings (though the method also discusses local bike culture influences that work in Portland’s favor). The crossing currently has about 150 crossings at 5 PM.

              RRFB would boost crossing accommodation to up to 350 ($48,000) while adding two more curb extensions would get you to 184 crossings accommodated ($27,000). A median barrier ($15,000) would also get you to 350 crossings accommodated, but usually requires the curb extensions be removed ($10,000?).

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      • sabes October 21, 2015 at 9:35 pm

        I live near 31st & Woodward. The city has done enough outreach. Put in the damn diverters already.

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        • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:20 am

          The people that live on 32nd and Woodward would disagree with you.

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I attended the Richmond NA meeting where Rich explained the diverters on 32nd, and there were MANY upset neighbors, some even literally brought to tears. Rich explained that some of the car volume would disapear and not just all redirected onto Woodward, but the neighbors didn’t seem to understand and audibly scoffed at the idea.

    The main takeaway, however, is all the opposition seems to agree that they don’t want the increased car volume. It’s not because they demand car access. This leads me to beleive that we should all be able to agree on a neighborhood (and city) wide car management program. Install diverters thoughout the neighborhood, and make it so confusing to drive though that only locals can figure it out. And charge for parking. I cannot stress this enough. The fact that the city gives away free parking on Divison is a serious livability issue that needs to be addressed ASAP.

    As someone who lives on a fairly busy residential street (SE 52nd), I understand the want for a quiet neighborhood street and the negative effect that car traffic has on livability. This is why we need a city-wide plan to reduce auto dependence and discourage people fron driving everwhere.

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    • Anne Hawley
      Anne Hawley October 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      This bigger-picture view helps me with a thought experiment. I live two blocks off Fremont, and I never stopped to think how that could affect my reliably sleepy little Failing Street (worst name for a street in the whole city).

      But oh look, there are two-story apartment buildings going up on that corner of Fremont, and that corner…and oh look, they just tore down an old wooden church and here come some fancy rowhouses. There’s commercial zoning on Fremont at 7th, 15th, and 24th, like a string of handy beads between the large, longstanding business districts centered on MLK/Williams/Vancouver to the west and 42nd-through-57th to the east. It’s probably only a matter of time before I, too, could be worried about cut-through traffic in front of my house.

      Unlike a lot of lucky inner-eastside homeowners, I celebrate the increased density. I like it. I don’t have a car so I don’t care much about parking. But I honestly hadn’t thought about cut-through traffic on MY STREET until right now. Noise, pollution, and grisly pet-death. No thank you.

      There has to be a bigger-picture solution.

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      • Adam Herstein
        Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

        Part of the solution is the mixed-use density you’re decribing. If people can just walk 5 minutes down the street to the grocery store, bar, restaurant, etc., then they won’t need to drive across town. A city-wide scattering of smaller nbeighborhhod grocery stores can actually go a long way towards reducing car trips.

        Another part is effectively managing parking. All those parking-free buildings on Division are great, but when parking on nearby neighborhood streets is still free, it doesn’t do much to discourage those residents from bringing their cars.

        However, many people see the increase density as a threat to the Portland they loved years ago and blame the 4-story mixed use buildings for bringing traffic to the neighborhood. Without giving people other options than driving while not doing anything to actively encourage driving, increased traffic congestion is the result. It’s not directly caused by the density, but rather, a function of Portland becoming more popular and still too easy to drive in.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 12:54 pm

          Alas, the economics of a network of neighborhood grocery stores just doesn’t work, and hasn’t for decades. If it did, someone would have filled that niche.

          To claim that an influx of new residents is only contributing to traffic problems because we haven’t properly managed our parking, or because these new residents have no options (on Division!), or because we haven’t made driving painful enough, is either utopian, disingenuous, or naive.

          Large apartment buildings come with some big negative impacts, which tend to be externalized onto people in the surrounding community. Let’s acknowledge that, and look for ways to either internalize or mitigate those costs.

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          • chris October 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

            What negative impacts? I live in one of those big mixed-use apartment buildings. It puts me and 100+ other people within close walking and biking distance to everything we need. There is no downside.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 2:46 pm

              My point exactly. Talk to people living in the shadow of one these new buildings, and they’ll tell you what negative impacts.

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              • chris October 21, 2015 at 2:57 pm

                Portland is a big city, not a village. If you seek a village existence, Portland isn’t for you.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 21, 2015 at 3:06 pm

                I don’t seek a village, but I do seek a city where people don’t say “if it’s not a problem for me, it must not be a problem.”

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              • Alex Reed October 22, 2015 at 9:14 am

                What I find frustrating is that the hyper-local negative externalities (which are real, although there are hyper-local positive externalities too) of high-density seem to have quite a bit of political pull already (witness the vast swathes of the eastside zoned single-family only). Meanwhile, the regional and global externalities of low-density (climate, health, sprawl, needing to pay for 20-mile-long MAX lines to cover a metro area that really doesn’t have THAT many people) seem to mostly be left in the political wilderness.

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              • Alex Reed October 22, 2015 at 9:55 am

                I know that politically, the way to make it work is to do even more to soothe local concerns. So I am interested in any local-externality-paying-for options.

                (Can we make new suburban tract housing developers pay for THEIR negative externalities too? Just sayin’).

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              • davemess October 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm

                That because many people moved to this city for the lower density (living in a single family house, close in where they can still walk and bike to a bunch of stuff). It shouldn’t be surprising that many of them are annoyed that that is starting to be changed.

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              • rachel b October 23, 2015 at 1:41 pm

                Bingo. What davemess said. And ditto for the many of us who were born here and have lived here all our lives. We wanted a low density, peaceful, low-key livable city. Not too peopled. Writing’s on the wall about the future of Portland and all, we have to adjust, etc. ad nauseam, but it always surprises me how much it surprises density enthusiasts/newcomers that Portland’s existing residents aren’t keen on the increasingly cramped and sizzling future of Portland. That’s just not the city we chose, many of us. We were quite happy here.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 23, 2015 at 6:05 pm

                I wonder if there are many long time residents among those advocating for converting inner SE into wall-to-wall apartment blocks…

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              • rachel b October 23, 2015 at 10:07 pm

                Doubt it. The following is not a rant at you, Alex, by the way–the discussion just got me thinking about this again. The way some people moving in now get disgusted with long-time residents for not “embracing the new paradigm,” even going so far as to imply or openly call them greedy and selfish and provincial, always makes me want to point out it’s like going to someone else’s, some stranger’s house and marching in and saying “OK, now here’s what we’re going to do, see, we’re going to play charades RIGHT NOW and then we’re going to dance and then we’re going to etc. etc…What’s WRONG with you people?…” taking no note of the fact that people are sitting at dinner and quietly conversing and looking at you like “Who the hell are you?” I can’t imagine moving to another city and then starting to dictate “See, this is how it’s gonna be…” …just because, Hey, I’M here now, and I’m telling all my friends and everything’s changing and you’d better adjust, quick-like, and do what I say, you selfish NIMBY land barons!

                It’s not weird that people who’ve lived here a long time kinda thought life may continue to go on as it had in Portland, quietly, peacefully and with plenty of elbow room and manageable growth It’s how it was for many many years–in fact, all my life until only very recently. As I’ve noted before, Portland was always great, always beautiful, always geographically situated as it is now. And very few were interested. For decades. So when someone sneers “Well, did you expect you could just hog it all to yourself?” I think; well, yes! Because I (we) did, for so many years.

                And it was great then. It’s not like it just improved SOOOOO much recently and that’s why everyone flocked here (I know some of you will disagree with that but I personally find so many of the “improvements” not improvements, I’m not an extrovert, though, and so much of what people like about Portland now is having places to go and see and be seen and buzz about and tweet about and FB about and Instagram about. The vibe now makes me twitch and itch. I see people taking pictures of food all the time, for example, which just inspires in me the desire to slap the phone out of their hands).

                The big influx happened simply because of the internet and the very faddish, FOMO nature of humans nowadays. Portland got caught in the zeitgeist. We became the poster girl for the zeitgeist, gud help us, ground zero.

                There was no Magic 8 Ball telling all of us here to gird our loins, the masses are coming, better get ready to squinch up and mow down/transform your city to make room and accommodate everyone else and THEIR dream, even if it is the polar opposite of yours, better get ready to change your city’s whole personality and daily life. And I have to say, even if there was some kind of Magic 8 Ball, that deal seems awfully lopsided. I can see clearly what the newcomers get out of it. What do the existing residents get out of it? I say that merely to point out the myopia of lecturing people who were here before you on THEIR selfishness while telling them simultaneously to shove over for YOU, “and be graceful about it already.”

                OK, this was long and I’ve been over it before, but it seems to bear repeating as I hear over and over again from recent arrivals how selfish, rigid and NIMBY people who’ve lived here for a long time are because “they’re not doing what I want and need.” Many of us are trying, believe it or not. We’re realists. But we’ve had very little time to adjust and we’re not just intransigent obstacles to newcomers’ idea of “progress.” It’s just that we have ideas of our own, and they may not jibe with yours. We may not think your “progress” IS progress, actually.

                It might be helpful to remember that over long years we cultivated the green, eco-friendly place you were attracted to in the first place, and put a whole of money and votes where our mouths were/are. We’re probably not so different. We’re certainly the same in that we’re all thinking of our own needs first, just like people forever and ever throughout history, amen.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 24, 2015 at 8:02 am

                I don’t even like charades!

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              • soren October 24, 2015 at 8:55 am

                “converting inner SE into wall-to-wall apartment blocks”

                I’ve lived at the same address just off Hawthorne for 16 years and I would love to see this. My apartment dwelling neighbors agree. Funny that.

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              • soren October 24, 2015 at 9:12 am

                “It might be helpful to remember that over long years we cultivated the green, eco-friendly place you were attracted to in the first place, and put a whole of money and votes where our mouths were/are.”

                Long-time residents also cultivated the socioeconomic cleansing of NE/N Portland, regressive property taxes, and discriminatory housing policy. Moreover, according to surveys it is new residents that have contributed most to the thing that I love about Portland — it’s bikeyness.

                I don’t find Portland particularly green or eco-friendly. When I moved here I remember being shocked at the ubiquitous promotion of biodiesel — absolutely terrible for our environment. The ongoing fixation with local, organic, and artisanal foods is another example of counterproductive green-washing. Heck, even composting is a significant contributor to CO2e according to LCAs.

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              • rachel b October 24, 2015 at 8:44 pm

                Har, Hello! 🙂 And you’re preaching to the choir, Soren, re: the not-so-good things about Portland past, esp. as regards our horrendous policies and treatment of the black community–something I’ve written about myself here, at length.

                Rereading it, I don’t find anything I wrote that should lead a reader to conclude I see Portland citizens of the past as paragons of virtue. The quote you pulled was simply a reminder that a lot of folks here have been thinking green-ly for a long time and paying for it (voting in light rail, supporting the UGB, supporting parks and Metro land/open space acquisition bonds, etc). We’re not the obvious population to give a lecture to about “thinking globally.” Not in my opinion, anyhow.

                Also–what could me more damaging to the environment than hordes of people descending on one area with cars, trucks, babies and consumer goods needs (meaning more planes, trains and diesel trucks) in tow, and infrastructure not nearly ready to meet their demands? We disagree on the value of apartmentizing Portland and cramming more people in.

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              • Alex Reed October 25, 2015 at 6:20 am

                I don’t find it surprising that (some) people who have lived in single-family-only areas of Portland for a while want to keep it that way and are annoyed that apartments are being developed nearby. In fact, it makes perfect sense – people generally move to a neighborhood (or stay there after being born there) because they like it the way it is!

                However, I do think that continued City policy based on that preference would be unfortunate for the city, region, and globe. Based on what I can see, the history of population growth in the Portland area is one of constant growth, with a faster period 1990-2000 and a little slower since. http://mkn.research.pdx.edu/wp-content/uploads/demog/A06F03.png This overall rate of growth is very hard to impact with policy options, although I would be in favor of making darn sure that the complete life cycle costs of growth are included in developer fees.

                Policy can have a bigger impact on where the growth happens. Most of the population growth in the Portland area has gone to the suburbs, where people live in large, suburban homes on average and the vast majority of people drive for the vast majority of trips. http://mkn.research.pdx.edu/wp-content/uploads/demog/A06F03.png But since 1990 and especially 2000, a good share of the growth has gone to Portland proper, where people live in smaller homes and drive less. I see this as a good thing and it definitely reduces carbon emissions.

                The recent crazy increase in prices in inner Portland is indicative of more people wanting to live in these areas than there are homes available for them. If someone wants to live in a smaller home in an area where they can drive less, more power to them in my opinion. This is why I’m in favor of pro density policies in Portland so more of these people can live in areas where they are likely to live lower-carbon lives.

                Am I coming in and telling you what your city should be like? No, because I live here too. It’s OUR city now (long-time residents’, new-comers’, and people who just moved in yesterday.) I’m expressing my opinion just like you and others are welcome to.

                And – there’s diversity of opinion in every group. Many longtime residents are among the strongest density advocates out there (and we can thank them for the recent building boom, and for prices being somewhat less crazy than they would otherwise be!) Many new residents are tepid or anti density. ( my husband would fight tooth and nail against an apartment building next to our house). I’m not sure there’s even a strong correlation between the two traits/opinions.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 25, 2015 at 10:31 am

                How many residents want to discard our zoning code and let developers build whatever they want, wherever they can? That’s a pretty radical position that I suspect most people would oppose.

                Also, developing “satellite” cities (e.g. Hillsboro or even Gateway) makes a lot of sense. It is easier than fitting everyone around a single downtown, and adds texture to the urban area. Suburban areas can be dense and interesting places.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 25, 2015 at 12:24 pm

                Also, in response to Soren’s comments, Portland has had a “bikey” culture for as long as I can remember… it is nothing new.

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              • rachel b October 25, 2015 at 6:15 pm

                For what it’s worth, I don’t have a car, by choice. I won’t bore you (or me), though, with a litany of my green cred and liberal views. What I object to, Alex, is the hectoring, lecturing tone of someone just or recently having moved here and telling many of the folks previously here how selfish and NIMBY they are, “get with the program, people!” Not only does it boggle the mind, it’s ill-mannered beyond belief. It is simply bad form to do this! When you move someplace, whether you like it or not, it behooves you to behave respectfully and as a guest for a bit–not to jump in there and declare yourself on equal footing with people who’ve lived there a lot longer than you, who’ve experienced a lifetime in that place, in many cases! At least, not as regards matters we’re discussing here. If you move to a place and they’re sacrificing virgins in volcanoes, it’s your duty as a human to step up, right quick, and vocally try to put a stop to that. A little criticism and name-calling in that case would not go awry, either.

                But meanwhile, in the real world, here in Portland (I can’t believe I just called Portland the real world)…That’s not to say you have no voice. You, anyone, absolutely do/does, and should. But there’s a way to express it that’s far less scornful and insulting to your dissenting predecessors. When you’re in the room with people who’ve had a history in a place, a long history, your opinion, as a newcomer, like or or not, does not hold the same weight, and shouldn’t. I would never have presumed during my 4-year stint back east (many years ago) to dictate to long-time residents how they should think or live, or attempt to shame them for their views and feelings. And I certainly saw a lot that could change for the better, which I quietly and (I hope) respectfully worked toward improving (recycling programs, i.e., which were nonexistent–even at big high paper-waste-generating businesses). I was acutely aware of my guest status, of my newness and lack of history in that place. I had a very healthy respect for the people who had lived there their whole lives, or close to that. And I think that is as it should be.

                We probably agree on a whole lot more than you think. I know you love it here and want the best for the city, and are passionate about it, and that’s a good thing indeed.

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              • Alex Reed October 25, 2015 at 7:52 pm

                This is just a guess, but… I feel like I’m saying, “Hey, I think a little more density in Portland than is currently allowed under the zoning code would be good for the world’s climate and have a bunch of other more local benefits too!”

                It sounds like you think I’m saying, “Hey, give in to more density or you are an uncaring climate-change denier/head-in-the-sand/NIMBY horrible person!” If that’s the case, I’m sorry I wrote a comment that led to you feeling that way. Climate is one of those issues (like race) that is really easy to go from a fact-based discussion to guilt and the line is different for everyone. So, sorry about that – I really was intending to stay fact-based. The kinds of responses I had in mind were things like, “Hey, actually I don’t think the new development in Portland is that low-carbon… got any facts to support your opinion?” or “Hey, yes, climate is important, but there are other important things too like X Y and Z.” So, you saying “I feel like you/other density advocates are trying to shame me for my opinions” makes me think I didn’t communicate very well.

                However, I disagree with your underlying belief that newcomers’ opinions about the future of a region don’t have as much validity as long-time residents’. I think newcomers DO need to be curious about the region’s history, humble about our lack of knowledge about that history, and interested in the reality of facts on the ground here – and the remedy for all that comes from long-time residents.

                At the same time though, newcomers may have information that long-time residents do not! Some newcomers have lived in regions with different development and transportation patterns than Portland and can speak from lived experience or from multiple friends’ stories about what it would be like to live in a neighborhood of rowhomes, brownstones, or courtyard apartments – all of which are only occasionally found in Portland.

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              • Alex Reed October 25, 2015 at 8:35 pm

                Hello, Kitty –

                I certainly agree with you about the blanket zoning changes and suburbs.

                Here’s what I think is reasonable and hopefully politically feasible
                *Widen zoning codes to create zones that allow the “missing middle” housing types
                http://missingmiddlehousing.com/
                *Use those new zones as a “step-down” from commercial areas.
                *Resolve the neighborhood parking issue (citywide) with a solution that gives priority to incumbent residents (but lets them resell their permits at market value)
                *Once the parking dispute is resolved and new development isn’t a threat to existing residents’ parking, reduce parking requirements at new developments
                *Pay neighbors of new developments for externalities (construction noise, shading, ongoing hubbub and traffic)

                Developing the suburbs is a great idea, but doing it in a way that actually works well and minimizes externalities – particularly driving – is really hard.
                http://www.citylab.com/commute/2011/10/has-new-urbanism-failed-portland/275/

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

                I think tying the zoning code to climate change is not useful — there’s a lot of things we can do that are climate positive, but which are so small as to be effectively worthless. If we spend all our energy arguing about the marginal impact of tweaking the zoning code, we will miss the boat on the big items that really can make a difference, such as industrial emissions and our energy system.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm

                Alex – the missing middle types of development (or at least some of them) are one of the ways we can add density to our residential neighborhoods without changing their character or making them feel more crowded. I really don’t understand how those building forms disappeared from our menu, but I would like to have them back.

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              • Alex Reed October 25, 2015 at 9:03 pm

                Hello, Kitty –

                This may come from working in energy efficiency, but I disagree. Well more than half of our residential carbon emissions comes from things that are influenced by home size and location (which are heavily influenced by zoning). And, residential activities (in the form of buying stuff) are responsible for a goodly share of industrial emissions.
                From the Union of Concerned Scientists:
                http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/images/gw/cooler-smarter/household-emissions.jpg

                *Home heating and cooling – energy use on this is pretty much in lockstep with home size.
                *Stuff we buy – people who live in smaller spaces buy less stuff.
                *Transportation – well, this is BikePortland, is it not?
                *Other home energy use – not as heavily influenced by home size but larger homes still have space for more lights, TVs, and other energy-using gadgets (or larger, more energy-using TVs, refrigerators, etc.)

                Food is the only category not directly related.

                Yes, a carbon price / cap and trade would hit the issue more dead-on. But think globally, act locally, right?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 25, 2015 at 11:11 pm

                We’re starting to drift pretty far afield, but according to the second graph here:

                http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html

                transport (which includes things like flying, commercial transport, heavy rail, etc.), combined with commercial and residential building uses, produces only 21% of emissions. Completely eliminating emissions associated with residential buildings worldwide might reduce overall emissions by what… 4%?

                Everything you said was right: buying stuff contributes to industrial emissions, and smaller houses are more efficient by any number of measures. Nonetheless, I stand by my position that the Portland zoning code can only have a very slight impact on our overall emission profile. The (political) energy that it would take to fight the highly contentious battles there would be better spent tackling the problem from more productive angles, such as tightening building codes, raising the price of fuel, etc., all of which can be done at the city level, would meet less resistance, and would reduce emissions more. (For example, why do we allow any any new buildings without solar hot water and PV on their roofs?)

                As an interesting side note, you’ll notice that in that graph, water treatment gets (almost) its own category, and comes in a 3%. Every gallon of water that goes down the sewer comes with a very high energy price tag. Water treatment consumes a huge amount of energy!

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              • rachel b October 25, 2015 at 11:23 pm

                Hi Alex–thanks for your response to my response to your response to etc. “At the same time though, newcomers may have information that long-time residents do not!” This makes it sound like we’re doing something more important here in Portland than accommodating elective lifestyle nomads. If we were making room for those in an emergency situation (i.e., Syrians), I’d say that the urgency of that statement might make more sense.

                Using the party analogy again–you may know how to put on a better party (in your opinion) than the stranger whose party you decide to walk into. You may be Heloise! But it would be rude to walk into this stranger’s party and start telling her how it should be done, simply because you ‘have information’ that she may not. For one thing, you’re assuming a lot. For another, you may have different taste and opinions–which doesn’t mean she’s uninformed. Mainly, though, you walked into her house, uninvited.

                Please forgive me if I’m not remembering what you’ve said correctly, but I have gotten the impression you see people’s current attachment to their home (Portland, as they loved it) and their homes as somehow selfish, and that you feel the good citizen should be embracing our new, elective nomads and density with open arms–as though any good bungalow owner knew somehow from the get-go that “ohhhhh nonononono, this is not gonna last, are you kidding?! Time’s up, you had your stint–call in the bulldozer.” Like that’s the only way and we should’ve known it.

                No amount of density is going to counter the destructive effects of the increase in population here, in a city that was not designed for and is not suited to a huge population or huge increase in traffic of all kinds (air, train, street) and more people needing and competing for more and more infrastructure and more and more stuff. I hate the perpetual brown haze that’s with us now. I hate the smell, the increasingly bad air. I hate the heat, the warm fetid air that seems to stick around the bulk of the year now. People, at this point, aren’t making Portland better. And encouraging more to cram in will only make it worse.

                I am not anti-density–but I am not happy, no, about the idea of razing neighorhoods and terraforming Portland. If we were doing it for some noble cause, I could stomach it, and shove over willingly. If we were accommodating thousands upon thousands of refugees of war, for example. That is not our situation here, though.

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              • Alex Reed October 26, 2015 at 7:56 am

                Rachel –

                I hear you about the party – but I don’t feel the same etiquette rules apply to a party as a city. I feel a better analogy is a church.

                Let’s say that I joined a church eight years ago. Am I to show deference to long-time members now in decisions about the future, saying their opinions are more important than mine? In the church I am actually a part of, that is not the social norm. The norm is to take everyone’s opinions in guidance, and sort through them with an eye to having the church do things that will serve the community as a whole and its shared values.

                To take the church analogy further – let’s say I joined a church (inner Portland) eight years ago. I immediately noticed, “huh, this church doesn’t have sunday school and the few kids just run around” (Portland has very little mid-density development like rowhouses and courtyard apartments.) I asked a longtime member about it, and they said, “Well, it worked for us when our kids were little! Oh, those were the days, we had like fifty kids running wild during the service – what a beautiful noise!” (inner Portland used to be affordable for lower-income folks).

                Eight years on, I’ve noticed that young families come to the church, see that there’s no Sunday school, and leave within a service or two. I’ve talked to them and they say, “Yeah, we need our kids to have a structured activity.” (Inner Portland is now too expensive for low-income folks.)

                How do I raise the topic of maybe starting Sunday school with the congregation, which now has a mix of longtime members and newcomers, but few young families? (How do I talk about allowing middle-density development in Portland)? I think I have to just say, “Hey, I think it would be valuable for the congregation to start offering Sunday school. Yes, it would be a big lift – we would probably have to pay for a Sunday school lead teacher because we’ve never done it before – but it would help serve our shared goal of an age-diverse community.” (Hey, I think it would be valuable for Portland to change zoning and parking laws so rowhouses and courtyard apartments become feasible for developers in much larger numbers. Yes, it would have some negative impacts for longtime residents, but the alternative is to keep having only wealthy people move to inner Portland – which I’m pretty sure longtime residents don’t want either).

                I really don’t think about people advocating against development as selfish (well, maybe only a very few of them 🙂 ) – I think it mostly as myopic / not taking the big view / not thinking about where that development pressure will pop up in the metro area. Or, not knowing about / thinking are true some economic theories (more supply means lower prices than their would be otherwise; supply constraints in one area will probably lead to more development in other areas). I do get frustrated by the social dynamics because so many of my friends are being priced out and people who already own homes (NB: I own a home) seem to be less concerned (on average!) about that than people who rent. I think that a lot of that is about who you’re exposed to – I’m young and know a lot of renters; a lot of homeowners are older and don’t know many renters.

                Anyway, I hope that I didn’t make you feel attacked or lesser in any way. I think you’re a cool person from your comments here on BikePortland, and your perspective matters, and I hope you continue to engage. (You too, Hello, Kitty!)

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              • soren October 26, 2015 at 8:01 am

                “Portland has had a “bikey” culture for as long as I can remember… “

                2000: 1.79%
                2014: 7.1%

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              • Alex Reed October 26, 2015 at 9:20 am

                I guess in terms of being cool with change, my thinking is that it would be healthy if everyone, everywhere went into buying a house with “this area/city/whatever will probably change in the future.” How it’ll change, for sure, there was no way for anyone to know – and it totally makes sense that you’ve been blindsided, disoriented, and seriously put out by what’s happened!

                From a many-decades-ago perspective, inner Portland could just as well gone the way that Baltimore did (post-industrial decline) as the path it’s actually taken. Or, we could have had hundreds of absurdly wealthy tech companies start in the suburbs (like San Francisco/San Jose).

                But change of some sort really is a constant, and I think our responsibility as citizens is to advocate and vote for government responses to change based on our own experience informing our answer to “What would be best for the community/city/region/planet?”

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 26, 2015 at 10:07 am

                I think it would be just as reasonable to say “Hey I really like it here; let’s work hard to preserve the things that make this place great!”

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 26, 2015 at 10:16 am

                And… biking to work is not what makes a place “bikey.”

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              • rachel b October 26, 2015 at 1:10 pm

                Hi Alex–thanks for the continued discussion (and Hello, Kitty and soren for your thoughts here too, in this tangent).

                Eight years, to hearken to your church example, isn’t a newcomer! My pleas for respect apply to those who JUST or very recently moved here and start pushing their weight around and start badmouthing existing residents in their impatience to “get things done.” I’ll repeat here that I’m not against brand new newcomers speaking up and putting in their two cents, even passionately–as long as respect and consideration of those who came before is maintained. There are people very new to Portland who I’ve seen do this very well.

                There is change and there is CHANGE. I’ve swayed as gracefully as fescue in a summer breeze with years and years of gradual and then not-so-gradual change in Portland. It has only been in the past 7 years (I date the tipping point exactly to 2008) that I’ve turned into something a little more like teasel. Spiny and snarling. 😉

                I’m not feeling so welcoming anymore, only partly because I’ve seen a very different kind of very pushy newcomer move in recently (not so much of a problem in Portland’s past, I feel) and I’ve watched my city’s skies become brown and dirty and plane-filled and its roads become choked with cars/trucks and its once open spaces crowded with people. Simple chores now aren’t so simple–harder to get places and everywhere I go, there’s a line. All big city stuff, all laughable in comparison with NYC, i.e., I know many are thinking. But I lived near NYC and was there a lot, and by my reckoning Portland’s got a few problems that simply feel more acute here, due to it’s more delicate, small skeleton (avian bone syndrome?) 🙂

                So, to sum up: totally for everyone’s input, new and old; totally anti bad manners. And actually pretty flexible (have had to be), but we are talking about extreme, rapid unusual change here in Portland. There’s nothing normal about it. It’s a very stressful era for some of us.

                I enjoy hearing your thoughts and the discussion made possible here. Thanks for talking!

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        • chris October 21, 2015 at 2:23 pm

          The sheer amount of driving and congestion from cars in Portland, particularly on on Saturday, is baffling to me, because I think your description of everything being a 5-10 walk away is already a reality. Most people already have bars and cafes within 10 minutes walking distance, and it’s possible to order pretty much anything you need online and have it delivered. It is already far less necessary to get into your car to get things done than ever before, but people continue to do it nonetheless.

          I think you’re right that people require a little bit of an incentive to cut out the discretionary trips.

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          • Eric Leifsdad October 21, 2015 at 3:17 pm

            It’s still just so cheap and easy. Most people haven’t internalized the cost of traffic into their plans, so they assume they can always drive 10 miles across town in 10 minutes and have plenty of parking right by the door. In fact, this is still true very often.

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          • sabes October 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm

            Yeah, why would someone want to try out a restaurant across town, or go shopping at a new shop. Stop traveling across the city! Stay in your own area! Do not leave, lest you bring traffic to someone else’s neighborhood!

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            • davemess October 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

              Man, sometimes I feel that is Portland to a T.
              You know the friends you have in NE that rarely want to come to your house in SE because it’s “just too far”.

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    • soren October 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      If advocates going to concede to the need for additional diversion elsewhere to install one measly test diverter then this project is toast.

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    • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Yes, esp. to that last paragraph.

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      • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 11:09 pm

        (that was re: Adam’s initial comment)

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  • Champs October 21, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I guess the city’s hoping to push this eastward… “it’s Gresham’s problem now.”

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  • mark October 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I don’t care if there are 50,000 cars/day on Clinton..as long as they are all going 15 miles an hour. The problem is, they pass, they honk, they yell…etc. The culture is “pass that damn bicycle!”.

    Car centric people perceive they are being kicked off the roads. People get emotional and shut down…depending on their emotional intelligence.

    You would think people in the neighborhood would be cheering to make their road safer. Just goes to show how deep the car centric love goes with folks when they apparently WANT more cars, speeding, passing, yelling, verring on their neighborhood road.

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    • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      mark–Hear, hear! I could handle the numbers if people simply drove the speed limit (I’m on SE 26th). Few drive the speed limit here, ever.

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    • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      oh–and as Adam said above, the problem isn’t so much (I think) with neighbors wanting the car access–it’s that they fear the increased traffic diverted from Clinton to their streets.

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  • Josh Chernoff October 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Honestly I’v completely given up on clinton. Let the cars treat it like a highway I’ll never ride it again.

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    • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

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      • rachel b October 21, 2015 at 10:42 pm

        paikiala–your comments sometimes lead me to believe you’ve given up on SE 26th, though. And as you seem to work for PBOT? ODOT? Some OT? it’s quite discouraging and puts the fear in me that PBOT? ODOT? have given up on SE 26th and it’s not worth fighting for because it’ll be an exhausting, time-consuming uphill battle w/ no real wind or City interest behind it. It really does seem to me to weirdly be the ugly stepsister of the Clinton neighborhood streets. I’d like to be its champion but I don’t have the energy for that kind of fight, realistically.

        Not meaning to be a nettle, here–just honestly would appreciate your and any other traffic experts thoughts on how to go about making this street the green-ish traffic-calmed bike street it was very recently (or so I thought) slated to be, how to talk to the PBOTs and ODOTs. Or, if the powers that be are in a place where they’re not interested in supporting it as anything other than a car- and truck-centric connector, I’d like to know that, straight up.

        I greatly appreciate the links you’ve posted and the advice that Hello, Kitty has provided here, re: this issue. There’s no reason in the world you or anyone else should help any further with this, but I think there are other people in the neighborhood and on this forum who’d appreciate any words of wisdom and insider know-how, too.

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        • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:50 am

          First, existing traffic has to go somewhere. I prefer they use Powell, Division, Chavez and 11th/12th. The bottlenecks on those streets are part of the problem, as is the mindset of most road users regarding a falsely perceived right to go fast. Fixing the bottlenecks requires either less traffic or more capacity (wider roads or less delay). Portland focuses on the first because the second is very expensive and past experience elsewhere throwing money at congestions hasn’t worked.

          Selfishness is a factor as well, not the kind that says my needs are more important than your needs, but the kind that says my wants are more important than your needs. I saw a motorist today driving down a two way left turn lane (blocks of travel) just to avoid waiting in the line of cars like everyone else. Changing culture is a long-term, 20-year project, just ask MADD.

          26th is a neighborhood collector and major emergency response route. If we agree that 8,000 cars a day is not the issue, but 15% of them going over 28-33 mph in a 25 mph zone, the first point of attack is speed enforcement.
          New speed counts might help convince PPB to set up photo radar vans.
          823-SAFE is the intake for enforcement requests. Specify a location and 2-hour time of day – rush hour may be too slow (ironically). 6-7 AM, 11-Noon and 2-3 PM look good. The Clinton project will order a new count near Brooklyn (request #923730) and it will take about 4 weeks to obtain.
          There is a rumor that Fire and Rescue might be more amenable to speed cushions on some of it’s routes, but having data before the inquiry is important.

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          • rachel b October 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm

            I would dearly love to get photo radar vans on SE 26th. Many thanks for the insight and the info, paikiala!

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty October 22, 2015 at 12:42 pm

              You can request one. I’d start by calling the city at 823-4000.

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              • rachel b October 22, 2015 at 2:05 pm

                Ah! Thank you, Hello!

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              • paikiala October 23, 2015 at 2:00 pm

                Which will transfer you to 823-SAFE.

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  • davemess October 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    “If people can just walk 5 minutes down the street to the grocery store, bar, restaurant, etc., then they won’t need to drive across town.”

    This would be more true if we had more and dispersed employment centers in town. Many people will still want cars to drive to their job at Intel, Nike, or Wilsonville.

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    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      True, and improving transit is part of the equation too. Especially as traffic on 26 gets worse and worse. We already have a good transit system that is well-used. Imagine if the west side MAX didn’t exist and how much worse car congestion would be.

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      • sabes October 21, 2015 at 9:40 pm

        Imagine if you could get from the east side to the west side on MAX in a reasonable amount of time. Or if buses didn’t stop every two blocks. I’ve never seen a mass transit system that was so incredibly slow at moving people such a short distance.

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        • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:53 am

          You’re talking about big city express routes. Not sure people in Portland want to live in such a place. ‘reasonable’ is subjective. light rail is much more predictable than roadways. I suspect predictable is preferred to unpredictable, which private auto use will inevitably become.

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  • chris October 21, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    It seems to me that the city could easily install 50 strategically placed diverters throughout the city, thereby making our city multiple times more bike-friendly than currently, and for less money than a quarter mile of light-rail track. The bureaucracy involved in building just two is a bit frustrating, as these are theoretically some of the cheapest improvements a city could make.

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    • chris October 21, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      A determined city government could also probably install all 50 within the course of one month!

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      • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:56 am

        Ridiculous. 10 per month at best. Your imagination implies all other work would stop. I would also point out that governments that impose a will on the people without their input often do not last long.

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  • mark October 21, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Honestly, they could build a curb with a cut in it for less money over a weekend every 4 blocks. But…that’s not good enough.

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    • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Like the one at Rodney/Cook that keeps getting driven over?

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  • RMHampel October 21, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I live on SE Woodward at 20th and I can attest that E>W cut through traffic has increased during the morning rush.
    I’m concerned it’s all going to get worse. The diverters on Clinton are needed – that’s for sure. But where is that E>W morning traffic going to go? Division is backed up to at least 32nd most mornings and Powell is a cluster-fk going West as well. There are no other through routes besides Stark (it’s also crawling at that time of the day). Transit is slow and there are no trains besides the I-84 line (too far North for many to be practical).

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    • soren October 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      “But where is that E>W morning traffic going to go? Division is backed up to at least 32nd most mornings and Powell is a cluster-fk going West as well.”

      Other modes, other routes, and other times.

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    • sabes October 21, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Hawthorne is an easy drive westward from at least Cesar Chavez all the way to the river in the morning rush hour.

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    • soren October 22, 2015 at 7:39 am

      “There are no other through routes…”

      Bike traffic on Clinton at SE 26th has gone up by almost 1400 trips per day since 2006.

      http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/clinton-bike-traffic.png

      Cycling has already significantly reduced cut-through traffic in your neighborhood.

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    • paikiala October 22, 2015 at 11:58 am

      There is something going on south of 20th (400 northbound, 600 southbound), most likely related to the grocery store (that 5-10 minute walk thing isn’t working).

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  • Ted Buehler October 22, 2015 at 3:23 am

    If there might be too much traffic on 29th already, let’s do one at 29th AND 32nd. That would reduce the amount of diverted traffic at 29th.

    Ted Buehler

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  • RMHampel October 22, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Soren, get over yourself. You are absolutely blind to the fact that a car-free lifestyle is not viable for everyone. Sure, “other modes” exist. Try telling the single mom living east of 82nd that she should tack an hour onto her commute so she can drop the kids off at daycare AND make it to work downtown by public transit (bus) in this part of town.

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    • Alex Reed October 22, 2015 at 9:31 am

      1) When my daughter enters daycare in a month (a few miles from my house, and east of 82nd), I am going to take here there then get to work downtown, both by bike. I’ve test-ridden it and the whole trip is under an hour each way. How? Electric cargo bike. Fast and way cheaper than the total cost of ownership of a car. Not something that’s going to appeal to everyone, but it *is* an option.

      2) Only *some* people are likely to shift modes, times, or routes – and that’s fine! Soren wasn’t implying that Powell was going to be a ghost highway with no vehicles on it after the Clinton diverters go in, just that it wouldn’t be an apocalypse and that many people have other viable options.

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    • soren October 22, 2015 at 10:57 am

      Getting an additional 2800 people to switch from driving to cycling would facilitate the car and/or bus trips of the single mom living on 82nd. Likewise, getting more people to bike on Clinton reduces the local congestion that contributes to neighborhood traffic.

      Soren, get over yourself. You are absolutely blind to the fact that a car-free lifestyle is not viable for everyone.

      I own a car and so does my car-commuting cohabitant.

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  • steve January 9, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    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.

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  • steve January 9, 2016 at 9:16 pm

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