Gravel - Cycle Oregon

Flyers by Woodward residents question ‘isolated’ diverter at 32nd and Clinton

Posted by on November 3rd, 2015 at 4:56 pm

A poster taped to some poles in the Richmond area.

In advance of Thursday’s city open house about a proposed traffic diverter at SE 32nd and Clinton, a set of flyers shows the nuance among people who are concerned about the current plan.

In short: even the people who are trying to organize opposition to this plan seem to be arguing for more diverters, not fewer.

The anonymous creator of these flyers is concerned that if a new traffic diverter is placed at 32nd, “hundreds of cars” currently using Clinton as a westbound neighborhood cut-through during rush hour will turn south at 32nd and then make the first right, which is Woodward Street.

This is reminiscent of a sentence that advocates for bike infrastructure hear frequently:

I support bike safety and ride a bike myself but (PROPOSED BIKEWAY IMPROVEMENT) is wrongheaded because (POSSIBLE PROBLEM FOR ME) so the real solution is (POLITICALLY OR FINANCIALLY IMPOSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE).

But if you look closely, that’s not quite what’s going on here.

First of all, it’s worth noting that this flyer doesn’t dispute the basic problem at hand: that Clinton Street has too much auto traffic to function as a comfortable all-ages bikeway. Based on the public comments the city has received, not many people in the area seem to disagree with this.

Second, it correctly observes that the current proposal “gives no crucial safety support to bicyclists on the busiest stretch of Clinton at 21st through 26th.” There’s a fairly good reason for this — TriMet’s No. 10 bus runs through those blocks — but it’s a true statement.

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Third, though some of its proposals are financially infeasible (more traffic signals on Division) or mistaken (the idea that more off-street parking would make it any less appealing to park for free on a commercial street) some are legitimate: the city’s plan doesn’t currently include more speed bumps on inner Clinton, for example. A westbound left-turn arrow at Division and Chavez doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility. And the emphasis on the fact that the proposed diverter at 32nd will be “isolated” is fair enough.

I’ve exchanged emails with one of the people behind this flyer, and though she’s requested anonymity because she’s uneasy about putting herself out personally in front of such a passionate issue, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to look for common ground here.

Finally, there’s one important fact here that this poster doesn’t acknowledge at all: when the city says this diverter at 32nd (and the similar one planned for 17th) will be temporary and experimental, that’s the truth. The city is, like everyone else, genuinely uncertain how traffic will react, and it seems to be totally open to changing the plan if things turn out badly.

That’s the whole point of the city’s Better Block-inspired approach: When we all agree that the status quo is a problem but we can’t all agree on the best solution, let’s not just stick with the status quo — let’s start trying viable solutions until we find one that works.

It’s a new way of thinking about city streets. If you ask me, it’s exciting. But it’ll only work if we’re all willing to listen to each other in good faith. Hopefully Portlanders on all sides of the Clinton Street issue will be able to do that.

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

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102 Comments
  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty November 3, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I don’t read that poster as opposition to diversion, as much as an opposition to the particulars of the plan. Instead, I read it as wanting to keep “foreign” traffic out of the neighborhood as a whole, rather than just keeping it off Clinton (by diverting it to another neighborhood street).

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein November 3, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Then install diverters every four blocks thoughout the entire neighborhood. Problem solved for everyone.

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    • ethan November 3, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Hey, don’t forget the other neighborhoods! Install a diverter every 4 blocks on all non-arterial roads in every neighborhood and see livability increase and bike mode share in the double-digits throughout the city.

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      • Alex Reed November 3, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        I don’t think that would be enough to get bike mode share to double digits citywide. The obstacles that would remain:
        *Crossing major streets (a big deal everywhere, but especially in East and Southwest Portland)
        *Wayfinding – finding streets that go through and go where you want to go (harder when they don’t go through… more common in East and Southwest Portland)
        *The last-few-blocks problem – most destinations are on busy streets (which are now even busier due to the diversion). How do I get to them? (Especially when neighborhood streets don’t go through… in East and Southwest Portland).
        *Pavement quality and existence (quality a problem on neighborhood streets everywhere, existence an issue… in East and Southwest Portland).

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    • Soren November 4, 2015 at 5:58 am

      It’s been a huge undertaking to get the city to agree to temporary test diverters on Clinton. Accepting the fears of some residents on face value and postponing this pilot project further will likely make diversion on major bike routes more difficult.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 4, 2015 at 10:20 am

        Or, looked at another way, responding to the concerns of the neighbors will make the project more successful in the long run, making it easier to do these projects in the future.

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        • soren November 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm

          “in the long run.”

          like the bike lanes on hawthorne and 28th?

          perhaps the city will set up a stakeholders advisory committee to study the issue! who knows…we might even get a “vision woonerf” policy statement in time for the 2060 bike plan!

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 4, 2015 at 12:55 pm

            I’ve already voiced the opinion that PBOT should have just installed the diverters for 2 months, then removed them, and then did the public process with real data in hand. But if the city asks for public input, they have some obligation to listen to it, not to just blow it off.

            Should the PBOT ignore input from us when it proves inconvenient on other projects?

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          • lop November 8, 2015 at 12:52 am

            >“vision woonerf”

            Woonerfs aren’t supposed to be through streets for people in cars or on bikes.

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            • soren November 8, 2015 at 9:54 am

              and neither is woodward. so why are we discussing using limited bike infrastructure funds on woodward for no apparent reason?

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    • Jacob Mason November 4, 2015 at 10:36 am

      This! The author of the flyer doesn’t oppose bike boulevards, they want the same on their street too! Let’s use this as a call to think bigger. Let’s move beyond bike boulevards towards bike neighborhoods. Instead of neighborhood greenways, let’s build green neighborhoods!

      In the Netherlands they refer to this as unraveling the car routes from the bike and pedestrian routes. It makes for truly wonderful neighborhoods:

      http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2012/07/unravelling-of-modes.html

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      • lop November 8, 2015 at 12:58 am

        If you look at the diagram in your link you would see that most streets aren’t through streets for cars or for bikes. Getting or keeping car through traffic off a street is not the same as making it a through street for bikes.

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    • Tyler November 5, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      You’re exactly right. I wasn’t aware ( but I’m not surprised) that only one diverter will be installed.
      Way to go Portland! You are consistently ineffective if nothing else.

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  • maxD November 3, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I think the flyer has some great points. Woodward should be as protected as Clinton from cut-through traffic, if not more, because of the schools there. Stop signs could be added on Woodward so traffic has to stop at every block. Division should be improved for buses. This may mean removing on-street parking and creating bus pull-ins. The left-turn signal at Cesar Chavez also seems like a good idea. Getting the bus off of Clinton should be a priority. Plus all of the diverters on Clinton. IMO, they should consider expanding the safety pilot project and include some measures on Division and Woodward when they install the diverters on Clinton

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      As discussed elsewhere, bus pull-outs will not work if bus drivers won’t use them. Drivers won’t use them if they think autos won’t let them back into traffic. This is why they were not included in the project. It was an intentional choice.

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      • maxD November 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm

        I realize why bus pull-ins were not included, but they can work if they are located at the far side of an intersection (just through a signal). This keeps cars flowing and the drivers can always use the signal to re-enter traffic. The bus bus pull-in does seem like the most expensive and least likely option for Division. My larger point is that PBOT should be seeking ways to prioritize bus travel and discourage diversion. This is probably better solved at a neighborhood scale than at a couple of intersections.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 3, 2015 at 6:17 pm

          I know the issue of using downstream locations as pullouts was discussed, but I do not remember why it wasn’t done. As a practical matter, curb extensions and bioswales would make a retrofit difficult, even ignoring the political minefield of removing parking from Division in our new parking constrained environment.

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    • bjorn November 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Stop signs are not an effective traffic calming device and as much as the city says they don’t install them as such they often do regardless of how ineffective they are. Please don’t encourage this behavior as it only creates a less bikeable grid.

      Bjorn

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      • Eric Leifsdad November 3, 2015 at 9:27 pm

        How about if they are “STOP Except Bicycles” signs?

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        • Bjorn November 4, 2015 at 9:41 am

          During the efforts to pass Idaho Style we were told that signage is not allowed in Oregon at this point. While you would be hard pressed to find a bigger supporter of Idaho Style stop sign laws I think that for the foreseeable future in portland we need to try to stem the tide of unnecessary stop signs. Also again they are not the best way or even in most cases an effective way to calm motor vehicle traffic. You end up with people accelerating hard each time, what we actually want is the cars that are on the neighborhood greenway to drive slowly not 0 -> 30 -> 0 -> 30.

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      • Terry D-M November 4, 2015 at 8:51 am

        On 55 th between Burnside and Glison the 85% speeds were in the upper 20s before the 50 s bikeway. Then PBOT approved North Tabor NA’s request for a stop sign at the off set intersection at Everett allowing the bikeway east- west to gain priority.

        After the 50 s bikeway was built, the after speed counts on 55th dropped to the Lower 20s. The diverter on 53 rd did add 400+ to the traffic counts, but.PBOT was confused by the speed limit drop….then I reminded them about the stop sign. It might be due to the unique topography of the situation, but in this case the stop sign worked.

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        • Alex Reed November 4, 2015 at 2:12 pm

          Wait, you got them to put in stop signs facing the through street at an offset intersection?? I’m trying to do that in FoPo!

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        • Bjorn November 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm

          Stop signs often make things more dangerous, it is a bad practice in my opinion to just throw them in willy nilly, but that is what the city does because it is a cheap way to get squeaky wheels to go away.

          http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/04/26/to-get-safer-streets-traffic-lights-and-stop-signs-arent-the-answer/

          and page 12 of this:
          http://library.ite.org/pub/e271b7f3-2354-d714-518b-58ef17953fd3

          Stop signs may give people a warm fuzzy but they degrade the cycling experience and do nothing to reduce speed.

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          • Bjorn November 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm

            Effect on Traffic Speed
            Numerous studies have shown that stop signs are relatively
            ineffective as a speed control measure, except within 150 feet of
            the intersection. At the point of installation, speeds are reduced,
            but the effect on traffic approaching or leaving the stop-controlled
            intersection is negligible. In fact, some motorists actually increase
            their speed to make up for the “inconvenience” of stopping
            or disregard the stop signs. Studies show that more than 50% do
            not stop.
            13
            A study conducted in Boulder, Colorado, demonstrated that the
            85th percentile speed and mean speeds on 25 mph and 35 mph
            roads were greater in areas that were controlled by stop signs.
            Studies in various California cities showed a slight increase, or no
            change, in vehicle speeds after the installation of stop signs.
            While the request for stop sign installation leads all resident
            requests for speed control measures, it must be emphasized that
            studies have proven there is little or no effect on vehicle speeds
            in residential road networks after installation.

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      • maxD November 4, 2015 at 10:37 am

        Clinton is an appealing cut-through for cars because, a s a greenway, the stop signs have been mostly turned. This makes it great for bikes and cars. If cars had to stop every other block on Woodward, it would not be an appealing cut-through option. Bikes and cars could still filter through the neighborhood, just not quickly or efficiently.

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  • alankessler November 3, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Several weeks ago, I corresponded with a person who I understand is associated with this group. This person wrote (among other things):

    “Cars have to be discouraged from driving on Clinton in multiple places, so I think a better plan is to put one in every 5-10 blocks. Otherwise one street gets all the burden and it effectively made a major thoroughfare.”

    I agree with much of what the SE 32nd neighbors want: a comprehensive diversion strategy that makes it unfeasible to use the neighborhood as a cut-through.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      Keeping cut-through traffic out of the neighborhood will benefit cyclists on streets other than Clinton.

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    • Soren November 4, 2015 at 6:17 am

      This project is focused on reducing traffic on the Clinton neighborhood greenway. A comprehensive traffic calming project in Richmond is definitely something worth exploring but not at the expense of this temporary pilot project. Moreover, if we require comprehensive neighborhood traffic mitigation in order to “calm” major bike routes its very likely that these routes will continue to deteriorate.

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      • Aaron Smith November 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm

        A comprehensive diversion project for the Richmond neighborhood is EXACTLY what we need. We should not put off making the correct decision with more thought in favor of making a poor decision quickly.

        This needs to be done right, not as fast as possible.

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        • soren November 5, 2015 at 7:40 pm

          So a temporary test diverter requires a comprehensive project for an entire neighborhood but a traffic signal reconfiguration on Division does not.

          Car head.

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          • Aaron Smith November 5, 2015 at 8:11 pm

            Thanks for elevating the level of discourse here.

            I grew up in this neighborhood and have biked the city my entire life. I want a sensible decision for a growing neighborhood that needs to accommodate a lot more traffic. If they wanted to make Division/Clinton a couplet like Vancouver/Williams with giant bike lanes I would fully support it. I just don’t think diverters are the answer.

            You don’t have to be a jerk.

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            • soren November 8, 2015 at 10:07 am

              This neighborhood needs to accommodate more bike traffic and less car traffic. I welcome new residents (and old residents) who are not stuck in the past.

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  • Bjorn November 3, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Vancouver BC uses a lot of diverters, and they work great in part because they stagger them randomly throughout neighborhoods and they use diagonal diverters that only allow either a right or a left turn when a motor vehicle reaches them. This means that it is very frustrating to attempt to cut through a neighborhood unless you really know what you are doing, which effectively keeps most of the traffic on the arteries.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Minneapolis does this in places as well. It is quite effective.

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      • B. Carfree November 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm

        Of all places, Lubbock, TX beats all on this. They set up their city on a grid with every nine blocks in one orientation a major (six-plus lanes) road and every fifteen blocks in the perpendicular compass orientation is also a major road. The nine by fifteen block residential areas are only accessible from a limited number of entrances and there is only one entrance that will work for any given residence. It is not possible to cut through this rectangle, except as a pedestrian or cyclist (there are connections between residences for pedestrian and cyclist access).

        When I lived there, my eight mile commute was a dream. I had to cross a few of those major streets, but the sight lines were clear, there were traffic signals to keep the cars in packs and very few cars entered mid-block, so I never waited more than thirty seconds at any crossing. The only problem was their Beltline freeway, which didn’t have any way under or over, so I had to ride a major street for a couple of blocks (huge outside lanes and very courteous passes).

        It’s sad to think that bass-ackwards Lubbock TX is, and has been for decades, ahead of us on how to make a liveable city. The thought hurts my ego.

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        • canuck November 4, 2015 at 7:17 am

          Much the way Irvine is set up.

          The major streets are 3 lanes each way with a turn lane and have bike lanes. Secondary streets are boulevards that cross the major thoroughfares at lights, and have stop signs at intersections with the tertiary streets, along with bike lanes.

          The tertiary streets take you into the neighborhood.

          One of the things I like about their system is that there are no houses facing major thoroughfares and secondary streets. All housing is facing into the smaller neighborhood streets.

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          • Doug Klotz November 7, 2015 at 10:55 pm

            Sort of the definition of suburbda. All the arterials have no buildings facing them, and no life either. Plus few local streets connect to them. And exactly zero people walk there, and few bike.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 7, 2015 at 11:26 pm

              He said no houses… I’m hoping there’d be commercial buildings fronting the larger streets.

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    • Eric Leifsdad November 4, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      But “really know what you are doing” is as simple as following the directions on your smartphone. So at this point in technology, either the neighborhood is impassible or the cut-through traffic will find its way in.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 4, 2015 at 11:47 pm

        Rather than a physical maze, what if there prohibitions on entry during the morning rush hour (when most residents would be leaving, not entering)? How much compliance do you need to have the desired effect (especially when an irate resident with a cell phone can collect enough evidence to issue a citizen-initiated traffic ticket)?

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        • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm

          HK,
          prohibitions of who? How would you determine who has the ‘right’ to use the public road and who does not?
          How would you provide notice – static signs someone has to read (small letters) while driving and look away at the clock to see if it is the right time or not to turn, or electronic signs (at $5k each)?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm

            Prohibitions on everyone during certain hours. An electronic sign would be way overkill… we have “rush hour” lanes all over the city with similar restrictions on use based on time-of-day.

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            • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm

              We have freeway HOV lanes where friction is reduced so there are fewer distractions for the road users.
              We also have some pro-time lanes where persons in stopped vehicles can read a sign that says when you can and cannot park.
              Any examples in Portland of what you propose?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 3:37 pm

                None exactly the same in Portland that I know of. However, drivers must also consider the time when deciding whether to drive in the pro-time lanes, so that’s not as unfair a comparison as you suggest. There’s also school zone speed restrictions that are time of day or even date specific (is today a school day?)

                I don’t buy that such a sign would be confusing or distracting. People generally know what time it is; there is only a short time each day where you’re really at a point of uncertainty, and usually drivers will have a routine and will know before they reach a decision point what they’re going to do.

                I don’t see this as being any more distracting than the other time-of-day restrictions we have in Portland. Other cities have similar signs.

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  • fool November 3, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Seems like the “example” on tillamook at 16th is working pretty well too, in the “effectiveness” department.

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    • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      For 2004-2013 one reported crash. 100′ north of the intersection. Someone drove into a parked car with their car.

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      • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 3:20 pm

        That of course is a diagonal diverter that is impassible to emergency responders.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm

          Will emergency responders be able to pass the diverter at 17th & Clinton?

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          • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm

            yes.

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  • Mark November 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    The point is to discourage folks over time. The first few days? Sure…some cars on the worst possible cut through road… Woodward. After a few weeks, no problems.

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  • gutterbunnybikes November 3, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Is it even still happening? Isn’t the project in financial limbo (ie anywhere from tomorrow to 10 years from now).

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    • paikiala November 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      yes it is happening.

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      • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm

        Work orders have been approved. Next is scheduling the work.

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  • rick November 3, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    I think Woodward needs the tree-planed-in-the-middle-of-the-street treatement like Clinton has in order to calm traffic on that street, too.

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    • paikiala November 4, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Traditional traffic circles cost $15,000 each.

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  • younggods November 3, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    IMO a better solution than diverters everywhere would be for the city to purchase a fleet of mobile speed enforcement cameras and start issuing tickets. Start with a low $25 warning, then double fee for each ticket. Move the cameras to different trouble areas (but not the exact same location) at randomized times. Speeding will drop in no time.

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    • MArk November 3, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Enforcement never works. If it did, speeding tickets would have ceased years ago.

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      • Chris I November 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm

        100% enforcement (speed cameras all over the city) would work.

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        • Middle of the Road guy November 4, 2015 at 8:33 am

          I assume that includes cyclist infractions, also.

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          • Alan 1.0 November 4, 2015 at 1:52 pm

            Middle of the Road guy
            I assume that includes cyclist infractions, also.

            If we actually cited behaviors that significantly threaten bodily harm on our streets, then even if we cited 100% of such infractions by people riding bikes and yet only cited 50% of such infractions by people operating motor vehicles, we’d not only reach Vision Zero nearly overnight but we’d exceed Copenhagen or Groningen as urban biking nirvana. /$.02

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        • Terry D-M November 4, 2015 at 8:52 am

          Police state, ever read “Brave New World’?

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          • LC November 5, 2015 at 9:33 am

            Which is the correct response to a population that refuses to stop killling each other in the name of laziness. Freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as long as people insist on behaving like monkeys.

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        • Mark November 7, 2015 at 11:24 pm

          Said government gooms behind the iron curtain

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    • Bjorn November 3, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      The problem isn’t speeding on Clinton, although there is some of that too, the problem is the sheer volume of traffic on Clinton.

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  • Endo November 3, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    If Clinton is supposed to be a bike boulevard it should be treated like a real bike boulevard,: no car traffic on Clinton, full stop. Anything else is stupid half measures. Cars kill, removing cars from Clinton would be doing the neighborhood a favor.

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    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein November 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      At the very least, the business node at 26th should be closed to cars, one block in each direction down Clinton.

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    • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      E,
      How do home owners get to their property with their cars? Service vehicles? Deliveries?

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  • Doug Klotz November 3, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Isn’t diverters everywhere in the neighborhood the “Financially impossible alternative”?

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    • Bjorn November 3, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      In vancouver I recall that some diverters were initially just a couple of jersey barriers (cost for 2 jersey barriers to block the intersection is less approximately 2000 dollars and they can be moved if a better location if needed) then later the jersey barriers were replaced with more attractive permanent diverters. I can’t imagine that it is really financially impossible to place a 25k worth of diverters and that would cover a dozen intersections. Studies and labor for the install would add more cost but the idea that diverters are just too expensive to allow installation on streets that have excessive traffic seems incorrect to me.

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  • Todd Hudson November 4, 2015 at 8:17 am

    A passive aggressive flyer that concern trolls for cyclist safety.

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    • soren November 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      it surprises me that others don’t see this. what’s the point of bike advocacy if we fold at the first sign of pushback?

      have we learned nothing from 28th?

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  • Bald One November 4, 2015 at 9:11 am

    The #10 bus needs to move over to Division street for those 5 blocks where it uses Clinton. Any utility pole on Division in the way of its turning radius can also be easily moved.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Or just use a retractable barrier to block cars but let the bus through. This is a common solution in Europe.

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      • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm

        Not very inexpensive.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm

          Probably not; but what else could work given all the constraints?

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          • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 3:21 pm

            Move the bus to Division and add diversion.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm

              Why hasn’t PBOT proposed that?

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              • paikiala November 5, 2015 at 5:25 pm

                They are focusing on the ends first – edge of the fire 😉

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  • BeavertonRider November 4, 2015 at 9:26 am

    “But it’ll only work if we’re all willing to listen to each other in good faith. Hopefully Portlanders on all sides of the Clinton Street issue will be able to do that.”

    I hope this can be the case. I’m not surprised that the person you spoke with expressed anxiety about being named. While “passion” certain understates the problem with unfair and untrue characterizations of opinions that don’t conform to the in-the-main opinions, she was being graceful, so good for her.

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  • briandavispdx November 4, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I think some of the language in the flyer–stating the diverter “would force all cars from Clinton onto 32nd Avenue,” and imploring a strategy where all cars are kept on Division/Powell–sets up a bit of a straw person, albeit a well-intentioned one.

    The point of the diverters is precisely to keep the through-traffic on the arterials. Car volumes on Clinton are heavy because during congested conditions, it’s part of a quicker route between downtown and the southeastern outskirts than Division or Powell represents. If you divert at locations chosen to reduce/eliminate its utility as a cut-through route, your implicit goal is to ensure the quickest driving route remains on the arterials. Ideally, then, there’s less actual ‘diverting’ going on than merely ‘deterring.’

    With the 32nd Avenue diverter, then, the goal isn’t to force all the cars that just turned onto Clinton to avoid the traffic jam on Division back onto Division, it’s to keep those cars from ever turning onto Clinton in the first place. So is that how it will play out? Or, would the default cut-through street simply become Woodward (or Brooklyn, etc.) with Clinton choked off? Though there are reasons to be optimistic about these prospects, these are questions worth asking, and answering, which is presumably the sort of thing the experimental nature of this project is aimed at addressing.

    It sounds like most of you are keenly aware of this already, but I think it’s important to explicitly push back against the argument that one fewer car on Clinton means one more car on 32nd/Woodward. It does not, but if it did have an outsize impact on another local street, the solution would be more diversion, not less. If the people who are concerned about impacts to nearby local streets are genuine and open-minded, they should be winnable as allies.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 4, 2015 at 10:41 am

      I largely agree with your analysis. The question becomes is Woodward (or other parallel street) faster than Division? Given that people are already using other parallels as through streets implies that, at least in some situations, the answer is Yes. If so, there will be spillover onto neighboring streets.

      I think part of the problem is that many residents wonder if this is really a temporary project, or if they only have this one chance to get it right. If PBOT had just plunked the barriers down for 2 weeks, then removed them, we might have been able to have a much more informed conversation.

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    • soren November 4, 2015 at 11:56 am

      There is no evidence that diversion will cause a significant spike in traffic on neighboring streets. This is a hypothetical problem and a problem that has not manifested at other diversion sites (e.g. 52nd and Rodney). I also question why there is such strong opposition to a temporary pilot project.

      Is having to deal with a test diverter for a few months really such a huge sacrifice? I suspect that (some of) the “fear of cut through traffic” is a red herring for opposition to the loss of convenience that diversion of Clinton would pose.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm

        PBOT is not treating this as a temporary pilot project… when has the agency done so much outreach over, say, a temporary street closure or the like, which would cause an equal amount of disruption?

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        • soren November 4, 2015 at 12:33 pm

          sure they are.

          for example, the rodney diverter was a temporary project that is now being upgraded into a permanent installation. in fact, a few months ago the rodney diverter was potentially going to be removed or modified.

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    • paikiala November 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Further, the diverter proposed at 32nd does not require any particular direction of travel, it only discourages auto traffic continuing east or west past 32nd. The diverter at 17th requires eastbound to turn right and go south, and westbound to turn right and go north.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

        Are you saying that the intersection will allow all the normal motions, except for E-W through traffic on Clinton? How does that work?

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        • paikiala November 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm

          it is proposed to be like the Clinton/Chavez diverter. N-S out is allowed from any direction. E-W out is prohibited from any direction. Bikes excepted. Turns from the north or from the south would also be stopped.
          People driving on Clinton will not be required to go south any more than they will required to go north.

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  • oliver November 4, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Please excuse me if this has been covered before, but why is there no way to get from Powell wb onto Grand?

    If you could exit Powell onto grand I think that it would take a lot of pressure off the neighborhood streets south of Division.

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    • paikiala November 4, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      do you mean southbound Grand? there is a turn at 8th to woodward westbound that gets you to northbound on Grand.

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      • paikiala November 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

        after turning off Powell onto 8th and continue north to Division Place, you can go under Grand then head south on the ramp at the other side.

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  • Carrie November 4, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I live on SE 19th, which is finally getting ‘converted’ into the greenway/bikeway that is on the master plan. I’ve been speaking with neighbors on SE 18th that have seen a significant increase in traffic (anecdotal) since the speed bumps have gone in on 19th. (there are no diverters anywhere in our stretch). So the resident’s concern is not unfounded. And I really think it all stems back to the glaring and obvious lack of enforcement of traffic laws in our neighborhoods — stopping at stop signs, going the speed limit, and passing dangerously. If the laws that are ALREADY WRITTEN were consistently and constantly enforced, I really do believe we would see a change in driving behavior in our neighborhoods.

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    • paikiala November 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      people on adjacent streets from one that receives traffic calming frequently report more and faster traffic than before the project. The project increases their awareness. It is rare that parallel streets have increased volumes and even rarer they have increased speeds.

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  • soren November 4, 2015 at 11:34 am

    “In short: even the people who are trying to organize opposition to this plan seem to be arguing for more diverters, not fewer.”

    The authors of this letter did not call for more diverters. They called for speed bumps and improvements to Division and Powell. I think there is some wishful thinking going on here.

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  • Aaron Smith November 4, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I think a big part of the problem is that PBOT caused this issue by training drivers to use Clinton during the long period of construction on Division. In the process, they also completely screwed up Division as a viable option to get from inner SE to 39th, Powell, and beyond by making it significantly more congested during periods of higher traffic. It now appears that the “solution” that PBOT is trying to put in place will only worsen the issue by pushing traffic onto streets even deeper into the neighborhood.

    I think that enforcement, regardless of what you might think about it’s effectiveness, should be the first course of action. The police used to monitor the section of Clinton between 17th and 21st, but haven’t done so in quite some time. In the very least, having police monitor the greenway would reduce speeding, and could provide much needed insight into how much regulation is needed on Clinton. I would also point out that MANY cyclists ignore basic traffic laws, like not passing a school bus with lights flashing, slowing at stop signs, and thereby endanger people in much the same way cars do. The bike community needs to be respectful of the laws if they want support from the neighbors they are breezing past as they try to safely put their children on the school bus.

    Some data for perspective: over the last 4 years there have been around 100 accidents OF ANY KIND on the stretch of Clinton between 12th and 39th. In that same period, according to daily volume, over 2 MILLION cars have traveled down that stretch of Clinton. When I look at numbers like that I question whether there’s really any problem at all.

    This is not a matter of “not in my backyard”. The neighbors in the area want the issues with Division addressed before they complicate the matter with additional measures and potentially push the problem further into the neighborhood.

    We need to work together to figure this out, rather than just pointing fingers at different groups with different interests and saying “they’re the problem, they’re the bad ones”. That attitude doesn’t accomplish anything and only serves to further divide people that should be working together. The entire neighborhood needs a solution, and it should address the needs of neighbors, cyclists, and drivers.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      I don’t know what PBOT did to make Division more congested. It was always one lane east of 23rd. Was it the added marked crosswalks?

      It seems more likely that there are more cars because of all the new development; some of that new congestion has spilled onto Clinton.

      I totally agree with your notion that we need a neighborhood-wide solution.

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      • Aaron Smith November 5, 2015 at 2:40 pm

        Division used to have a rush hour lane that ran all the way from 11th to 26th. This relieved a lot of congestion, as cars could pass busses and turning cars. It kept traffic moving all the way up past 26th, and beyond that the volume of cars was low enough that Division kept moving.

        Eliminating the rush hour lane has created several points of congestion along Division, at 12th, 19th (New Seasons), 21st and 26th. Instead of having a mile stretch that moved during rush hour, you now have a long line of cars crawling along Division, stuck behind every bus, and every car making a left turn. I think that’s why so many drivers have migrated over to Clinton.

        Don’t mess up Clinton and the rest of the neighborhood. Fix Division!

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 3:06 pm

          Are you sure the two lanes went as far as 26th? I recall there being a chronic issue with the merging that occurred at the end of the lane around 22nd – 23rd.

          The intersection at 21st is no worse than it ever was (there are still two lanes in each direction going through the intersection); 12th has always been bad, subsequent degradation probably owes more to the situation with the railroad than anything. And buses have always blocked traffic east of where Division became one lane in either direction (though not to the west).

          Regardless of the cause, it is not in dispute that Division today is a slow street to drive on. It is a narrow street, has lots of pedestrians, high-frequency bus service, and way more people living on it than 10 years ago (many of whom brought their cars with them, and have to crawl through the neighborhood to find a place to park). Other than adding a left-turn signal at 39th, are there any practical ways to make traffic flow faster?

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  • ED November 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    It’s interesting that the City moved the diverter from another street (29th?) up to 32nd, which has a T-intersection with Woodward just two blocks south and thus has fewer options for diverted traffic. Was the limited diversion options–to Woodward or Division–seen as a benefit of 32nd or a downside? The 17th diverter seems driven by a different mentality, that traffic should be diverted at intersections with through streets so that there are options to divert north and south, and to prevent traffic on the cross street (17th) from turning on to the bike boulevard.

    I actually like many of the suggestions from the flyer to improve Division and Powell, but I think the City should go ahead with the temporary diverter at 32nd now and consider those options in the future. There’s no guarantee that car traffic on Clinton will divert over to Woodward, especially not 100% of vehicles, so let’s see the results before trying to engineer complementary parts of the solution.

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  • GreenTrax November 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Does anyone think it’s worth maybe trying something less drastic to start with, and then upping the game if it doesn’t work? I think the idea of multiple stop signs on Clinton could remove the convenience from the route, and cars might try to find other routes. I also think just enforcing the speed limit might scare a ton of cars away.

    If those options don’t work, then take the next step to test the diverters.

    Also, 32nd is basically a single lane street, so I’m not sure increasing the volume of cars there is safe or an improvement. I imagine there will be a line of irritable drivers waiting to go either left or right at 32nd, which will be backed up all the way from Division because of Pok Pok and the two crosswalks at that intersection. Those people will start pulling u-turns, honking, and generally making the situation worse.

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    • bjorn November 5, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      Stop signs are not an effective method of traffic calming and in many cases make things less safe, they also make a street far less bikable. There is a reason why stop signs are removed from neighborhood greenways, we don’t want to put them back in willy nilly.

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  • seRider November 4, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    If the purpose is to keep non-local commuters on the arterials and off Clinton and nearby residential streets, why not install a diverter that requires both west and eastbound Clinton car traffic to go north to Division rather than deeper into the neighborhood? How ’bout doing that on the soon to be one-way SE 34th Ave block where there is a signal at Division to help cars re-enter Division traffic?

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  • Ted Buehler November 5, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Folks, if you care about this issue,

    1) Attend the open house if you can. 7-9 pm tonight.
    2) Invite your friends to the open house, whether you can attend or not.
    3) If you or your friends are unable to attend, submit your comments to project director Rich Newlands at PBOT. Rich.Newlands@portlandoregon.gov

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/550243

    If they receive strong support on this it will make sure the project moves forward quickly, and will indirectly bolster support for similar projects elsewhere in the city.

    Ted Buehler

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