Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

TriMet projects on Orange Line path at SE 8th should improve cycling

Posted by on January 13th, 2016 at 11:18 am


Looking west from the path toward SE 8th.
(Photo by Adam Herstein/Twitter)

TriMet is making changes to the path that runs along the new Orange MAX line in inner southeast.

After seeing pictures of the path closure shared by a reader this morning on Twitter, we followed-up with TriMet to find out what was going on. Turns out they’re making two key changes to the intersection of SE 8th and Division Place and you can expect to detour around the construction zone through the end of January.

Here’s a map with the location of the coming changes…


Advertise with BikePortland.

Here’s more from TriMet Public Information Officer Mary Fetsch:

“Beginning Monday, January 11th through the end of this month, construction crews will be reconstructing the eastside of the intersection of SE 8th Avenue and Division Place. This work will require the westbound closure of Division Place between 8th & 9th avenues. Traffic and pedestrians will be detoured and local access will be maintained during this work.”

Fetsch says the project aims to address to concerns they’ve been hearing about.

They will add a right-turn pocket lane for westbound traffic on Division Place. The new lane will also have its own signal phase. Fetsch says this will eliminate the conflict between people who turn right (on 8th) with their cars and people on bikes and foot who continue straight on the path.

Here’s more from Fetsch:

“In order to create the space for the right-turn pocket, we have to narrow the north sidewalk, just east of 8th Avenue. The new sidewalk will have a minimum of 12 feet clear approaching the intersection with 20 feet of width at the corner. The signal operations will also allow westbound through traffic to move while trains are in the crossing.”

TriMet is also widening the sidewalk on the northwest corner of SE 8th and Division Place. Currently there’s a pinch-point at that location as the path veer sharply around a large utility pole. This is great to hear because I just rode this yesterday and grumbled to myself that it was way too narrow.

Detours around the work crews will remain in place for all users until the work is completed.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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  • EmilyG January 13, 2016 at 11:25 am

    YES! These were obvious issues that a bunch of us in BikeLoudPDX pointed out to PBOT and TriMet last May. Glad to see they’re being fixed!

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  • Spiffy January 13, 2016 at 11:28 am

    “In order to create the space for the right-turn pocket, we have to narrow the north sidewalk”

    is that a sidewalk or a MUP? it’s got ped and bike symbols on it and bikes are directed up onto that path from the road…

    are we required to ride there due to sidepath laws, or can we stay in the street

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    • jeff January 13, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      “the road” is a bus access road for buses traveling east. you can use it if you want. I wouldn’t suggest it while riding west however. Its your life.

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      • soren January 14, 2016 at 8:24 am

        division place allows me to zip around this entire fustercluck and has relatively low levels of traffic — especially in the evening.

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    • soren January 14, 2016 at 8:37 am

      The mandatory sidepath law is unenforced and irrelevant.

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  • Dawn January 13, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I’m concerned about that right-hand turn pocket. What about bikes that want to continue straight onto SE Division Pl? I prefer to exit the MUP and enter the driving lane to go straight, rather than executing all the stops and turns of the MUP from that point on. I fear that the new turning lane makes this even more challenging to do than it is now. I guess I could do what many cyclists do now (prior to this construction)…exit the MUP at the point on SE 9th where bikes coming northbound on 9th can pickup the MUP…which is also a dangerous option.

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    • Bald One January 13, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Yes, exactly. This small curb cut on-ramp at in the elbow at 9th and Tillikum way (at the entrance to where the bus only road is) needs to be widened and the strict angle removed so that folks who want to enter the street from the MUP and the MUP from the street can do so more easily.

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  • El Biciclero January 13, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I love that little sandwich sign; can we scatter those all over the streets?
    DRIVERS: Be Patient, Be Safe, Share the Space. Why does it seem only bicyclists have paternalistic signage like this directed at them?

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    • Chadwick F January 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Maybe they’re not put on all the streets because they would be run over by drivers in short order.

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    • Tom January 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      ODOT might remove them within hours.

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    • jeff January 13, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      paternalistic signs like this are all over the city for drivers. billboards. plastered on buses. could it be you’re simply choosing not to see them?

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      • q January 13, 2016 at 4:22 pm

        Product advertisement and condescending finger waggling are hardly comparable..

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      • El Biciclero January 15, 2016 at 3:26 pm

        I’m making a distinction between signs that remind of actual laws (“click-it or ticket”, “don’t drive drunk”, “SPEED 35”) or permanent hazards (“Slippery when wet”, curve advisories, etc.). The warnings drivers receive simply indicate the hazard or remind of actual laws. As far as I know, there is no law requiring “patience”, we don’t put up signage telling drivers to “be safe!” The only sign we use to tell drivers to “share” is ambiguous and half of drivers think it’s directed at bicyclists (i.e., “Share the road”).

        If this sandwich sign were aimed at drivers, it would say “Caution, Pedestrians”, or simply “Pedestrians”, or maybe, “Congestion” on a yellow background. It wouldn’t insinuate that they were impatient, unsafe, and selfish, and in need of reminders on how to overcome these personality deficiencies.

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        • 9watts January 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

          Thank you, El Biciclero!

          This is so well observed. This kind of careful reading is precisely what undergirds what Alan Durning calls Car Head, and what we need to retire to the dustbin of history. I’d pay money to see you go head to head with the ODOT (or PBOT) guy who is in charge of this copy.

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  • El Biciclero January 13, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    “Fetsch says this will eliminate the conflict between people who turn right (on 8th) with their cars and people on bikes and foot who continue straight on the path.”

    “Eliminate”. I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this one. Drivers will quit trying to make rights on red? Will there be a “NO RIGHT TURN ON RED” sign they can ignore? Will an “enforcement action” be carried out to ticket drivers who ignore a NRTOR sign?

    Nothing will “eliminate” stupid behavior by any road user: bicyclist, pedestrian, or driver. Bicyclists (and pedestrians) will still have to be prepared to jump out of the way of turning drivers.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      There is already a NO TURNS sign that illuminates when the train crossing bars are down. Perhaps the signals could be set up to also illuminate the sign when the light is red?

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      • El Biciclero January 15, 2016 at 3:16 pm

        Indeed. I’d like to see that, and then see how many drivers obey it when there is room to make a right turn. My guess is that even if that sign is lit now, drivers continue to sneak onto 8th until those two or three car-lengths of lanes are full and blocked. Any witnesses able to confirm or refute my abstract, cynical hypothesis?

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 13, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for posting about this, Jonathan! Since the path opened, I’ve been expressing my concerns about the right-hook potential at this intersection, and am glad that TriMet is finally fixing it! The detour is a bit clunky, however. Since TriMet has the entire westbound lane blocked off, people riding bikes west have to cross the street, ride on the sidewalk, and cross the street twice to get back to the path. Still, this is far better than most construction detours in this city, so I’m glad TriMet is making an effort to maintain access.

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  • realworld January 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Or in about 30 minutes and no hassle to bike/ped commuters, they could have put up a “No Right turns” sign and force the few/rare drivers into a single lane?!

    Nah, instead they shrink the bicycle and pedestrian facility that is already very busy to “Make way” for the almighty car

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    • ethan January 13, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Don’t you know, there’s always an infinite amount of room for cars. Drivers don’t like sharing, even with other drivers, so they all need special lanes for each direction while people walking and biking have to share the same confusing mess of a sidewalk.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      There’s already a NO RIGHT TURNS sign there that is illuminated when the stop bars are down for the train. TriMet could have just had that sign turn on when the light was red, and added a separate bicycle green phase.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 13, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Another question we should be asking PBOT and TriMet is why a crossing for drivers is even needed at 8th Avenue at all. People driving can cross at higher-capacity 11th/12th/Milwaukie. Car traffic volumes don’t seem to be high enough to warrant two crossings three blocks apart. Why not just make the 8th Av crossing only for people walking or riding bikes?

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    • jeff January 13, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      huh? traffic volume is actually quite high during commute times at that intersection for people trying to get to Grand or over the Ross Island.

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      • ethan January 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm

        They can’t drive the 3 extra blocks?

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        • jeff January 13, 2016 at 4:54 pm

          oh, do you really want to go down that path of conversation? Can’t cyclist just ride in parks? Can’t cyclists just use another street? Why are cyclists using “my” road?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 13, 2016 at 4:03 pm

        Anyone coming from the east on Powell or Division that wants to cross the Ross Island Bridge will hit 12th Avenue or Milwaukie Avenue first. Same goes for Grand Avenue access.

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        • jeff January 13, 2016 at 4:56 pm

          this road does not serve that traffic however. have you ever driven this piece of road? do you actually know why its used? its mostly a diverter from inner SE industrial to get across the Ross Island, effectively alleviating a lot of traffic from 11th. why does it bother you so much?

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. January 13, 2016 at 7:55 pm

            Doesn’t bother me that much. Just was an idea to make this stretch more people-friendly instead of the serving the needs of drivers. It seems weird to me to have a cut-through street for drivers when there’s a perfectly good couplet three blocks to the east.

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            • Opus the Poet January 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm

              Plus it feels good to use the language normally used against bike/ped projects against cars for a change. It’s a lot easier to drive that three blocks than it is to ride, or walk especially.

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  • Chris Rall January 13, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    These make sense as band-aid fixes, but I still scratch my head at how huge this intersection is considering it doesn’t carry much car traffic. From a walkability perspective, the curb radii are enormous, the crossing distances are long, and it’s hard to picture this becoming a high-value walkable neighborhood as infill development occupies the vacant and under-developed property.

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    • jeff January 13, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      it won’t become a neighborhood, its zoned for light industrial.

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      • Chris Rall January 14, 2016 at 11:02 am

        Some people still need to walk to their jobs in light industrial.

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  • Bald One January 13, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    The “BUS ONLY” giant road that goes from 9th to 11th needs to be opened up to say “BUS and BIKES ONLY” (for Eastbound travel). The amount of spaced allowed for cyclists is quite narrow, relative to the number of cyclists that this long straight stretch of MUP carries, is shared with peds; meanwhile, this “BUS ONLY” adjacent road is rarely occupied by anyone. This needs to change. It is a short section, and if cyclists want to ride in it (one-way, Eastbound), it should not impede bus traffic much.

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    • jeff January 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      oh, I use that anyway when riding. nothing saying you can’t

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      • Mark smith January 13, 2016 at 11:22 pm


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  • Bald One January 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I’m glad to see Tri-met is willing to go back and fix, and fix again many of the poorly implemented little details of the bike path in this area. But, there are many more sections through here that need a similar treatment with respect to reducing tight turn radii, removing/reducing obstacles (poles, signs, railings) and dealing with better angles on all the curb cuts (wider, bigger, longer curb cuts) that allow for more smooth travel along this section of path (from 17th / Pershing to OMSI).

    I’m glad to see they are still willing to go at it, but they need to be a little more aggressive with these fixes and expand the area to many of these corners, curbs, and sidewalk treatments. Why so little space was allowed on that sidewalk between 8th and 7th and around the corner of the building with the zoobomb mural? This area mostly remains a gravel lot, I think they could have cut out and used a few more feet of land for the bike path.

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    • 9watts January 13, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Is it too much to expect it to (mostly) be done right the first time? Not to be too grumpy about this, but I’ve been stunned by the overall impression of disfunctionality in this corner of town. I realize there are rails at odd angles, but there was also a multi-year billion dollar+ effort that gave us all of this, am I right?

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      • Captain Karma January 14, 2016 at 12:49 pm

        You are right. We have been to the moon, left several cars there, we’re fixin’ to go to Mars, and talking about Venus. We have hurricane and stock market modeling software of high calibre. We can study other countries with massive crowds of bike commuters to determine what flows. I don’t get it.

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  • jeff January 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Good, that was a right hook waiting to happen.
    Now could they address the light timing for cross traffic on Moody coming off the bridge? the intersection there is so long, cyclists get the green light to cross Moody over to the raised
    cycle track and about 3 seconds later cars are still driving past.

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  • Andrew Kreps January 13, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I actually take division pl because of the stop sign on Caruthers. During rush, it takes a while.

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  • Randy January 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Was the “improvement project” vetted with readers/riders who frequent this blog? If not… it’s just a band aid on a intersection designed by clowns

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  • Mark smith January 13, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    With all that space….could have put a roundabout in. Intersections are like your aunt Molly. You hate dealing with her….but she keeps coming around and ruining your life.

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  • Mark smith January 13, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    “In order to create the space for the right-turn pocket, we have to narrow the north sidewalk”is that a sidewalk or a MUP? it’s got ped and bike symbols on it and bikes are directed up onto that path from the road…are we required to ride there due to sidepath laws, or can we stay in the streetRecommended 5

    Mup….sidewalk. All the same for me.

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  • Opus the Poet January 14, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    If only there was some process where actual users of the infrastructure could see and comment on a project before it’s built so that dangerous or annoying mistakes could be caught and fixed without having to tear out the mistakes, saving $$. Something like maybe an advisory committee of cyclists and pedestrians? Or would that make too much sense?

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  • EricIvy January 15, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    “you can polish a turd, but it’s still a turd” – Old Abe

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