After about a year on hold, proposed improvements to a much-used neighborhood greenway are back in action.
City project manager Sheila Parrott will meet March 10 with the Buckman Neighborhood Association to discuss the need for speed bumps and a new traffic diverter to reduce auto speeds and volumes in inner SE Ankeny Street.
“Much like Clinton, we kind of know we’re going to be looking at diversion, but there’s still a lot of conversation that needs to happen: where and what and how.”
— Margi Bradway, PBOT Active Transportation Division Manager
As we reported in late 2014, the city began discussing a diverter at Ankeny and 15th, near the Imago Dei church, after activist group BikeLoudPDX called for one and the Buckman Community Association tentatively backed them up.
Early last year, that plan was put on ice until after the city could complete a full study of traffic speeds and volumes on its 70-mile neighborhood greenway network. That study, which was unanimously endorsed by the city council, named Ankeny as one of the top six candidates for improvement.
Ankeny draws more than 2,000 autos per day on its innermost stretch, west of SE 7th Avenue. Between SE 28th and 15th, it’s common for autos to move at 26 to 30 mph. That’s 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit.
The “Burnside Corridor Bikeway,” which runs on Ankeny, Couch, Davis and Everett, is the city’s third-most biked greenway, after Lincoln-Harrison and Clinton-Woodward.
On parts of the corridor, bike traffic outnumbers auto traffic. Ankeny carries 2,115 bike trips per day at 28th, the city says.
City hires new project manager to specialize in small projects like this
Portland Active Transportation Manager Margi Bradway said in an interview Monday that the Ankeny project will draw on last year’s process for improving Clinton Street, where two trial diverters are now in place.
“Much like Clinton, we kind of know we’re going to be looking at diversion, but there’s still a lot of conversation that needs to happen: where and what and how,” Bradway said. “This is the next one in line. And for each of these, we promised City Council that we would implement the recommended neighborhood greenway report, but we also promised city council that each neighborhood association would have an opportunity to weigh in on the design.”
Bradway said the “draft proposal” would add the diverter at 15th, but she added that its location and design is flexible — the goal is to reduce auto volumes and speeds one way or another.
Bradway added that she’s excited to welcome Parrott to her team. The city’s new project manager, who has a civil engineering degree, is a recent hire from Eureka, Calif., where she specialized in building the biking network.
In Portland, Parrott will work on relatively quick, low-cost biking and walking improvements that will be installed by in-house workers.
That’s in contrast to recent projects such as the Clinton Street improvements. To get that project done, Bradway needed to secure time and buy-in from people in another unit, the city’s “capital projects” team.
“We needed someone solely focused on these smaller projects to get them out the door, and our capital projects group is really busy,” Bradway explained.
Parrott will be part of the active transportation group and report to Bradway. In the 2016-2017 budget, the group is lined up for an allowance bump of at least $200,000 per year of installation dollars for improvements to streets like Ankeny.
According to Bradway, the installation cost of a single permanent diverter comes to about $30,000. “Diverters are pretty cheap,” she said.
If you’re interested in supporting this project and want to get involved, BikeLoud has already organized a “Safer Ankeny Subgroup” and is planning a meeting on the subject this Saturday at noon at the 28th/Ankeny food carts. (Or the Crema coffee shop in case of bad weather.)
— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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Correction 11 am: A previous version of this post inaccurately said speed bumps had already been installed on Clinton Street.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.