The Portland Bureau of Transportation has made an important update to a recent project on Southeast 34th Avenue.
One month ago, as part of a larger traffic diversion project, PBOT made a significant bicycle access improvement to 34th between Clinton and Division. They changed the narrow residential street from a standard two-way street with an auto parking lane on both sides into one-way only for drivers (northbound) and two-way for bike riders. To do this they put a new bike lane in the southbound direction (and removed all the auto parking on the west side of the street) and added sharrows in the northbound direction.
This is a change residents of the street were begging for.
When it finally happened, PBOT stopped just short (literally) of what those residents and many others hoped for. Instead of continuing the new configuration all the way to Division, they stopped about 50-feet south of Division in order to maintain driveway access for a restaurant. This design confused people who would turn onto 34th from Division only to see “Do Not Enter” signs after it was already too late. Some people would then try to make a u-turn and others would just continue on 34th, breaking the law and putting other road users in danger.
Now — thanks to attentive and flexible City of Portland staff, activists with Bike Loud PDX, and Mark Zahner, the man who lives on 34th and pushed PBOT to make these changes — PBOT has fixed this.
Here’s another before-and-after looking south on 34th from Division:
Zahner told us last month that PBOT had decided to make these changes. The way Zahner tells it, a PBOT project manager met with the owner of Sen Yai Noodles (Andy Ricker of Pok Pok fame) and successfully ironed out some truck delivery issues. (Now instead of using 34th to make deliveries, trucks will use the driveway on Division.)
Not only does the new configuration improve the bikeway and overall safety, it also allows PBOT to add back two auto parking spaces to the southeast corner of the intersection adjacent to Anders Printing (a business that has supported Zahner’s efforts all along.)
The design is much clearer now that the bike lane is striped all the way to Division and PBOT has added more forceful and clear signage.
“Although drivers still speed down the street and go the wrong way,” Zahner shared with us via email this morning. “The street works much better and has become a more livable, pedestrian/bicycle street.”
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – email@example.com
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