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Five months after Clinton diverters, most people who bike say it’s much improved

Posted by on May 5th, 2016 at 1:10 pm

inner diverter

A new diverter at SE 17th and Clinton, designed to reduce automotive through traffic on the major bike route. The other new diverter is at 32nd.
(Photos: M. Andersen/BikePortland)

It’s been almost two years since we started reporting on the call by some Portlanders for traffic diverters on Clinton Street, one year since Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick approved them, and five months since two were installed.

So as the city prepares for similar diverters on Ankeny and considers them someday on Northeast 7th, we wondered: How are things going? I spent 90 minutes on Clinton Wednesday during the evening rush hour to ask passers-by what they thought.

Here’s what people said…

elizabeth williams

“I can’t say enough about how happy I am about the diverters,” said Elizabeth Williams, who’s been biking Clinton for three years. “I live just east of 39th. … I think they’re great.”

mike davis

Mike Davis has been biking Clinton for about a year and a half. He says the diverters have “definitely” changed things.

“I would say it’s been a lot better,” he said.

kate weltner

Kate Weltner has been riding Clinton for three years and never felt there was a major traffic problem on Clinton before or after the diverters. She said she hadn’t noticed a major change, at least during rush hour.

“I’m actually kind of surprised when I get to them how often there is a car behind me,” she said.

murph

Murph (she said she only goes by the one name) bikes more often in northeast Portland but has also been riding Clinton for about six months, since just before the diverters went in.

“I guess it’s slowing people down for sure,” she said. “You know, I haven’t really analyzed it.”

david thalen

David Thelen has been riding Clinton for seven years. He said the diverters had “reduced the amount of traffic.” His only problem was wishing that the parked cars could be a little further from the 32nd Avenue diverter so it wouldn’t be so hard to squeeze through the space with a bike trailer.

ben blechman

Ben Blechman has been biking Clinton for eight years and saw “immediate” improvement after the diverters appeared.

“The last couple years had gotten really bad, and then they put these in,” he said.

scott watkins

Scott Watkins said he hadn’t noticed the increased comfort of biking on Clinton traffic until a co-worker mentioned it to him.

“Once I took notice, it was pretty clear pretty quickly,” he said. “Seems to be quite a bit nicer now.”

tom kruger

Tim Kruger and his daughter Eleanor live on Woodward. He thinks the diverters are a “terrible idea.”

“It does make the street marginally safer for bikes — marginally,” he said. “I don’t think it makes a huge difference.”

Kruger also asked me to write down that he feels that most problems between bikes and cars are caused by people biking, and that this is because he thinks most people who bike in Portland have never learned to drive.

“For those of us who actually do use cars, the loss of the one street that you could actually get through fairly quickly” was a major blow, Kruger said. Also, as someone who lives on Woodward, Kruger doesn’t like the fact that more people are now driving quickly past his house.

“I can tell you it definitely affects all the neighboring streets,” he said.

tina williams

Tina Williams has been riding Clinton for five years and said the diverters have “made a huge impact as far as the traffic flow.”

“You feel safer,” she said. “It makes it so nice … less dust, less exhaust.”

She said she used to drive her car on Clinton to avoid Division, even though she felt bad about doing so.

“I’m a biker — that’s how I got the idea” to take Clinton, she said. Other people were doing the same, she realized. “The last two to three years it started getting progressively worse.”

When she drives today, Tina said, she takes Powell instead of Clinton or Division and is happy for the tradeoff.

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colleen mitchell

“We love them,” said Colleen Mitchell. “They make a big difference … There’s still some jerks, but they’re great.”

Mitchell has been riding Clinton daily for a year now. She said that until the diverters went in, she was considering telling her children to stop biking on the street.

“It was getting really scary,” she said. Now, she’s comfortable biking there with five-year-old daughter Zoe in tow.

“She’s going to be on her tagalong soon because of the diverters,” Mitchell said.

mark seguela

Mark Seguela didn’t have time to stop for longer than it took to say “They’ll just go around them.” How often, I asked? “Often.”

mary allison

Mary Allison had to hurry on, but first shared her take on Clinton post-diversion: “It’s great.”

matt radosevich

“I haven’t really noticed too much of a difference, to be honest,” said Matt Radosevich. “But I haven’t really been paying attention.”

kari schlosshauer

Kari Schlosshauer, one of the key organizers behind the successful pro-diverter effort, was one of those who walked past me.

“I think they’ve totally made a difference,” she said. “Definitely lower volumes of cars in sections … this section (near 23rd) is about the same, I’d say. I also think I’ve seen more kids on Clinton than before.”

larry smith

Larry Smith and Janna.

The last person I talked to was Larry Smith, who lives on the corner just next to the new diverter at 32nd Avenue.

“It’s got some positives and negatives,” Smith said. “Traffic has gotta be down to at most a tenth. … You see people that go zoom around it, that’s one of the negatives.” (As we spoke, someone did so.)

I asked Smith if it was annoying to have to turn a few extra times when he wanted to drive to or from his house. Here’s how he replied:

“When I first moved here back in ’87, I came down here once a week to help someone who had been involved in a collision,” he said. “I kept a blanket up here. They would go into shock.”

Smith said he’s been visiting his house since 1969, when it belonged to his grandmother. Before the speed bumps and the first diverter at Chavez, Smith said, Clinton Street was a very different place.

“The average speed on Clinton was 48 mph,” he said of Clinton in the 1980s, recalling a community conversation at the time.

On balance, Smith said, he loves having the diverters, and would change them mostly just by adding more signs to warn people not to drive around them.

“I think it’s a great thing,” he said. “Maybe they need more of them.”

diverter 2

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is also asking people what they think of the post-diverter Clinton Street in an online survey this month.

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

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soren
Subscriber

PBOT is also planning for diversion and other improvements on Tillamook…

Steve B.
Guest
Steve B.

That’s exciting! Is there a project/point of contact for this?

soren
Subscriber

steve, email me (sorenimpey@gmail.com) and i’ll send you the contact details.
s

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Yes for stop signs, unless at a greenway crossing.
Diverters at Rodney? 7th? Modify 16th? 21st? 33rd? One-way with contra-flow bike lane segments?
Hancock from west of 33rd to the businesses is contemplated as an alternate route, with surface repairs.
Crossing Sandy to connect to Hancock east is the trickiest part – maybe an Alameda like solution.
I’ve seen a south branch on 32nd that connects to Weidler.

Yashar
Guest
Yashar

I can already see people frothing at the mouth to respond to Tim Kruger’s comments. Let’s acknowledge one thing first: There has been an increase in traffic on Woodward. The biking community should work with the city and neighborhood to push for a solution.

As for his other comments, he seems to have a heavily skewed idea of how many cyclists don’t also drive.

soren
Subscriber

Let’s acknowledge one thing first: There has been an increase in traffic on Woodward.

I prefer data to anecdotes. So let’s have this discussion after the 3 and 6 month counts are released.

Yashar
Guest
Yashar

That’s a good point. I live nearby, and ride this area daily, so my impression is 100% anecdotal and not rooted in science.

soren
Subscriber

If there is even a mild bump in traffic on Woodward (e.g. a few hundred daily trips) I will personally lobby for mitigation!

my_eyes_are_a_speed_trap
Guest
my_eyes_are_a_speed_trap

It’s anecdotal for sure, but I live on Woodward west of 26th and I’ve noticed a marked uptick in traffic during the morning commute, with some a**holes, I mean terribly important people who must be late every morning (I recognize the same cars doing it – black BMW, black Audi wagon, black Dodge Charger), doing well over the speed limit.

I wonder how hard it’d be to make an open source, solar powered, speed measuring camera (seems a fairly simple engineering feat), that neighborhoods could communally purchase to gather data (speeds and license plates) that would be more than anecdotal and potentially used in support of traffic calming measures (I understand it’d have no legal ramifications – i.e. issuing tickets).

my_eyes_are_a_speed_trap
Guest
my_eyes_are_a_speed_trap

I forgot to mention that despite the increased march of morning (mourning?) death machines down my block (and I own a death machine too), I’m all for diversion on Clinton. I just wish we could put diverters on every residential block.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

Which is exactly what you’d have to do…
Diverters on Clinton, people using Waze or whatever just divert to Woodward. Diverters on Woodward… what’s the street one block south of woodward? etc

RM Hampel
Guest
RM Hampel

That’s exactly what Vancouver, BC has done in some areas. In a neighborhood I’m familiar with (not far from the UBC campus) there are diverters staggered on almost every block; making cut through traffic extremely slow and frustrating (and almost non-existent). I imagine a lot of Nimby-ism to wade through in order to make it happen here.
BTW I live at on Woodward inside 20th and I can tell you categorically that traffic at morning rush hour (perfect term — these drivers are always in a rush) has greatly increased in both volume and speed since the Clinton diverters went in. Remember, these inner PDX streets are often very narrow; someone’s going to get hurt, I’m afraid.

Patrick Sullivan
Guest
Patrick Sullivan

Regarding the camera, you can do it pretty easily if you have the camera in a set location and some objective visual tool for measuring distance. By which I mean either a painted board with alternating colors, or stakes set into the ground. As long as you can clearly see it and have it set at regular intervals you could have someone with a newer iphone take a high-speed video as cars drive by and calculate the speed from the video. Not the automated solution we would dream of but it would work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLuI118nhzc

galavantista
Guest
galavantista

Hand held speed cameras exist, even in the hands of neighbors who’d like to see less speeding on their streets. There are also ways of issuing “citizen arrest”-type citations.

my_eyes_are_a_speed_trap
Guest
my_eyes_are_a_speed_trap

Yeah, I’m hoping for a leave-in-place-long-term solution, a quick Google reveals: http://makezine.com/projects/make-10/radar-speed-detector/

I’ve basic coding and electronic knowledge, plus I’ve a wood/metal shop – anybody want to make something happen? PM me: junk@cyclecide.net

Adron @ Transit Sleuth
Subscriber

I’ve pondered doing this myself. Basically automating the process of citizen citations that I can just take every week to file w/ the court to initiate the citation process. It’d be great. Also… not enough time in the day to do this. :-/

sabes
Guest
sabes

I live at Woodward and 31st and there has been an uptick in the traffic, but nothing horrible, and nothing compared to the improvement to traffic on Clinton. It was worse when the diverters first went in, but it has settled down since then. A stop sign at 31st on Woodward would probably be helpful.

I do wish they would make the diverter at 32nd into the type that you can’t drive around.

soren
Subscriber

hey sabes, glad to hear this. i’d support turning some stop signs regardless of traffic counts.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

S,
legally, you can’t, but physically while still permitting emergency vehicle access is difficult. The final design is likely to look different in layout.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

If I lived on Woodward and didn’t have to work mornings, I’d just get on my bike and ride 15 mph down the center of the street up and down for an hour. That would be so frustrating to witness. I guess you know what people on Lincoln/Clinton feel… although even worse.

Spiffy
Subscriber

that would be me frothing…

he’s sad that he can’t go fast down a bike street… no sympathy from me…

he thinks most cyclists don’t drive, even though it’s been proven the other way around…

he didn’t mention why non-driving cyclists are an issue…

he’s just extremely nimby… the “I also ride a bike” kind, which is the worst…

Karl Dickman
Guest

Kruger said: “most problems between bikes and cars are caused by people biking.” I biked Clinton daily until November of 2015, and in that time I submitted 27 incident reports to NearlyKilled.me. 10 involved drivers blowing through a stop sign, 6 involved drivers exceeding the speed limit (sometimes by considerable amounts), 13 were passing without sufficient space, and 10 were near head-on collisions caused by drivers on the wrong side of the road. Adds up to more than 27 because some incidents involved more than one factor. Every single one was an egregious violation of the law. I would love to hear Mr. Kruger’s explanation for how any of those incidents were caused by me and not by the driver who chose to blow through a stop sign, speed, or drive against traffic.

Adam
Subscriber

Literally 99% of drivers I see run the stop signs on Clinton. Usually it’s the sorta slow down, roll halfway out into the intersection, then go – regardless if someone on a bike is there or not. Few seem to understand that you have to come to a full and complete stop at the sign, then slowly proceed into the intersection only if traffic is clear.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Literally 99% of the cyclists I see on Stafford run stop signs too. But you know what…as long as they make the effort to come to a near stop, it’s gonna have to be good enough.

Karl Dickman
Guest

When I say 10 stop sign incidents, I mean 10 different occasions on which myself, the driver, or both, had to jam on the brakes to avoid a collision. This isn’t nitpicking, this is seriously risky behavior. One stop sign incident was a guy who blew through a stop sign so fast while making a right turn on Clinton that he overshot the correct lane and barely avoided a head-on collision with me. (I didn’t count this in the tally of drivers on the wrong side of the road.)

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Not really comparable, given the relative risk to potential pedestrians and cyclists that they might hit.

Kelly Francois
Guest
Kelly Francois

I don’t travel on Clinton often – but when I do go that far South, I love taking Clinton now. As soon as I turn onto Clinton from 16th, it’s very obvious tha biking is important, valued, and protected. And that feels so good!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

So, basically, Tim Kruger was one of the drivers creating the uncomfortable environment for the rest of us. Thanks a lot, pal.

soren
Subscriber

It’s only uncomfortable because you never learned how to drive, Chris.

Adam
Subscriber

Clinton is much better, though there’s still a good amount of aggressive passing, it’s much less than before. The line-up of cars at 12th seems to have gotten better too.

However, east of Chavez, it’s as bad as ever. Every morning, I witness drivers turning onto Clinton from 50th to avoid Division. Some of the most aggressive drivers in the city, I encounter on this 11 block stretch. Just this morning, someone on a motorcycle screamed at me and passed me way too closely. Going uphill around the 40’s is the worst segment because it’s too narrow for a driver to pass safely, so they will often rev their engine at me. A driver “trying to get his kids to school” nearly ran me off the road last week.

PBOT was supposed to install speed bumps as part of phase one, but nothing has happened so far. We also need a diverter and signal at 50th to prevent rush-hour rat-running. Please finish the job, PBOT!

Ben
Guest
Ben

I still won’t take Clinton in the mornings because of the aggressive driving between 50th and Chavez. Every time I ride that stretch of street I wind up getting close-passed by at least one driver who I then leapfrog at the light.

I’d like to see a Chavez-style diverter at 50th or a set of barrel diverters at 47th. Turning onto 50th is nearly as dangerous for people in cars as crossing it is for people on bikes, so I’d love to see that discouraged.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Adam,
speed bump construction has a seasonal window. They are near the top of the list for this season, along with others that did not get finished.

Adam
Subscriber

Good to hear, thanks.

Karl Dickman
Guest

Drivers simply refuse to obey the speed limit in that stretch. Back when I was in shape I never did less than 20 mph between 50th and Chavez but still got passed all the time, often ridiculously closely. I would try pointing forcefully at the speed limit signs but it never did any good. Subjective estimates and objective calculations show that at least three of these passes were drivers going over 30, and at least one was over 35.

buildwithjoe
Guest

I see Adam every morning. 50th to Cesar Chavez is a very dangerous stretch of Clinton. 20mph limit with cars speeding at 30 on very narrow sections. Lawsuit waiting to happen against PBOT.

matt
Guest
matt

Portland cyclists really need to up there steez game, there’s a complete lack of from this sample… No wonder people hate them, they look like complete dorks…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Can you provide photo examples of dope steez? I need to know who I should be emulating.

jeff
Guest
jeff

I see a car once a week driving around the diverters in whatever way they choose.

sabes
Guest
sabes

It probably happens once every 10-15 minutes.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

I mean, just stand on 16th or something and watch cars approach the diverter and take a right… the majority you will see re-emerge a block east and continue on like nothing happened. I’d imagine a good percentage of these people (especially during rush hours) know exactly what is there, and plan to do the block loop.

Or they just swing a quick u-turn.

ethan
Guest
ethan

““For those of us who actually do use cars, the loss of the one street that you could actually get through fairly quickly” was a major blow, Kruger said. Also, as someone who lives on Woodward, Kruger doesn’t like the fact that more people are now driving quickly past his house.”

Ah, so apparently, driving quickly down Clinton was not a problem for him. But when other people drive down HIS street, it is a problem for him. Funny how that works.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Glad he is looking forward to a comprehensive network of diversion.

9watts
Subscriber

I attended the big convocation about these (then planned) diverters hosted by the Richmond NA late last year. Lots of hue and cry from folks on Woodward about how the sky was going to fall, and Rich Newlands did, I thought, an admirable job of standing up for the plan to install them and review the issue of spillover traffic onto Woodward after six months. The cutoff was 1000 cars/day I believe. If the traffic volume measured on Woodward was higher than that, PBOT committed to make some changes (take the Clinton diverters out? add diverters to Woodward? That wasn’t clear).
From the comments here I’m guessing that the spillover was nonzero but also not the dramatic increase some predicted. Seems like PBOT did the right thing and with the counts that will be released some day soon we’ll have a better understanding of this sort of thing. And maybe the next time diverters are planned those on adjacent streets convinced the sky is falling can take solace in the (anticipated) findings from this situation.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Traffic calming is the first tool of use.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

I hope you don’t mean speed humps, since they don’t fix the problem. If there’s too much cut-through traffic, we need to divert it all the way back to arterial streets. Nothing else is going to consistently keep speeds under 30mph or keep counts down.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

E,
of course I mean speed bumps. Your statement about diversion being the only thing that keeps speeds down is nonsensical. If true, then any low-volume road could not, by that logic, have a speeding problem.
Number of road users is unrelated to speed of those users. Volume problems and speed problems are solved with different tools.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Volume problems are going to bring speed problems, but non-local traffic generally brings both. By diverting traffic every few blocks, you cut down on long stretches, and thus speed?

Many SUV drivers barely dip below 30mph riding over speed humps. 5000lb with so much suspension rides like a couch. PBOT needs to quit wasting money on that nonsense.

Kapow
Guest
Kapow

The difference is Clinton speed is controlled by speed bumps and turn arounds. Speed on clinton was already controlled at 25mph and now someone wants it to go to 20 while no other street in the neighborhood has speed controls.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Can we use the word NIMBY here?

Adam
Subscriber

Just put all the diverters in Gateway!

Julia
Guest
Julia

I live on 23rd and Division. The diverters have made a huge difference in my commute. Some people do illegally drive around them but they are still an inconvenience, so the next time the driver will avoid Clinton, I hope. It doesn’t make sense to knowingly plan to take Clinton and go around the diverters. I have seen noticeably less vehicles driving there, however the number of people parking on Clinton just to hang out on Division still seems to be TOO HIGH.

Doug Klotz
Subscriber

At RNA meetings, some complained that the cars parking on Clinton near corners made it hard to for drivers to see cyclists, so we need more off-street parking requirements. Or….the city could sign and stripe for no parking within 50′ of any of those corners. But I guess we need those 16 spaces per intersection.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Doug,
50 feet from a corner? on a 200 foot block face = half the block no parking, on both sides?
Normal parking removal is one space, 15-20 feet.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

By “normal parking removal”, do you mean the existing Oregon law that we ignore entirely?

In that case, if we’re wishing for something… anything… to be done, might as well hope for better. 20 feet does not give adequate site lines from a sidewalk to safely cross a street.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Jeff,
‘not enough sight distance’ per what standard?

ethan
Guest
ethan

Why not block parking according to the laws? http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.550

20 feet from any crosswalk and 50 feet from every stop sign. Who cares if half the block is no parking? Is that really better than public safety?

tee
Guest
tee

I would love to see no parking signs, with subsequent enforcement, at corners around Clinton and most of SE. A few parking spaces are not more important than safety.

Andrea Brown
Guest
Andrea Brown

Clinton is much quieter than it was before the diverters and we love it. Even now, with tourist-ice-cream-pok-pok season upon us, it’s quieter. I’m looking forward to seeing the traffic data and hoping we can move the speed limit to 20mph.

I’d like the city to be watching traffic speed and numbers on Lincoln now. Evening rush hour seems to be getting pretty janky and it would be cool if it could get some of the same treatments as Clinton, signage, diverters, and speed bumps that mean something.

seRider
Guest
seRider

I’ve been commuting on Clinton for 9 years. The diverters have substantially reduced rush hour auto traffic on Clinton despite the fact that almost every day I see cars going around the 32nd diverter on the left and/or U-turning at the nearest driveway on 17th to defeat that diverter. Yes, cut-through traffic has increased on the neighboring streets. I think not as much as has been reduced on Clinton but I will wait for actual counts before saying I know that’s true. Cut-through seems worse on Brooklyn and Tibbetts than Woodward, presumably because they are wider and therefore faster (a narrow street is your friend because it slows and discourages frantic motorists). From my daily observations, cut-through varies a lot from day to day depending son how backed up Powell is. Powell is only going to get worse in future years; It will take many more diverters and other street “features” to keep the neighborhood anywhere near as quiet as it is now as tens of thousands more people move to Portland.

9watts
Subscriber

” It will take many more diverters and other street “features” to keep the neighborhood anywhere near as quiet as it is now”

Nothing a $5/gallon gas tax, phased in over a number of years, couldn’t take care of. 🙂

David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC
Guest
David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC

Michael, do you know how much these cost? We could use a few dozen here in Greensboro, but I still do not know, from all your articles, how much PBOT spent on these.

ricochet
Guest
ricochet

surprisingly little, it terms of infrastructure. Something like $10k or less, IIRC.

David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC
Guest
David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC

Including design and engineering? That seems to be the main costs at PBOT.

soren
Subscriber

definitely less.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

David,
the temporary devices were free – PBOT has them left over from previous use on the old bus mall. The height has been flagged as an issue.
The full diverter at 17th and Clinton costs about $8k.
Small islands range from $2k-$5k each.
An alternative temporary structure is to use the concrete rings for manholes. They come in a variety of heights and are 48 inches in diameter.
A recent quote for a 2 ft high version was about $160 here. Your city sewer utility might have them regularly stocked.
You can place a concrete sign base inside and add signs as needed.
Keeping them from being dislodged by disgruntled drivers, maybe tying a couple together, needs to be considered.
Fill the rings with gravel or soil for planting.
If a temporary install, they could be set aside for future use, or returned to the utility, so perhaps only install/remove costs.

soren
Subscriber

what do you think about converting portland’s many traffic circles to diverters? it seems to me that this would be very inexpensive.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

In the $5k-$10k range. The concept is to cut the bikeway sides of the low curb straight to create an oval aligned with the greenway, then add small islands, like at 17th and Clinton, to block east-west auto movement but leave gaps for bikes and pedestrians.

soren
Subscriber

do you think a “temporary” conversion using planters would be possible?

David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC
Guest
David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC

Thank you for the info. Very helpful.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

BP should do a double-blind text, Michael.

You photograph and interview riders at the diverters, then Jonathan photo IDs all those running the blinking red at 26th.

I guess there would good correlation between likers and runners.

Extra points for those runners who jump the curb in front of Noho’s and pick off TriMet customers using the 10 bus!

Craig Giffen
Guest
Craig Giffen

As someone who bikes through this intersection every day, this is the one intersection in Portland where I’m more concerned with bad cyclists than I am bad drivers. Twice I’ve nearly been hit there by someone on a bike blowing through the intersection without stopping.

One time I caught up to the cyclist and asked why they ran the stop sign when there were other cars waiting at the intersection. Their response was a simple FU.

Adam
Subscriber

Make 25th-27th car free and force drivers crossing at 26th to give way to bike and walk traffic.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

A diverter at every Greenway crossing as policy and we could build a Clinton like this for everyone….. Well, at least where we have a street grid.

Kapow
Guest
Kapow

I live on Woodward. I’ve biked in PDX since 1990 when I moved here. sure Clinton has a few less cars, I don’t drive or bike it anymore.I also noticed more bikes on Woodward since change. I can tell you with certainty that the number of cars on Woodward has increased dramatically since the diverter was installed. Near accidents happen routinely. conflicts between bikes and cars trying to get around happen frequently. friday and saturday night it’s a zoo as people get pissed that they are diverted up the hill and then have to circle back to find parking because guess what all the parking on top of the hill is now filled up. the diverter is an emergency responders nightmare. love to see a fire truck go around it -not enough room. as a pedestrian, yes i take the bus too,i’ve been yelled at by bikers when i try to cross. some bikers because of projects like this and the attitude a name like bike loud conveys have given some bikers a sense of priveledge and they’ve forgotten how to share the road.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Keeping score:

Drivers with a sense of privilege: All
Bikers with a sense of privilege: Some

Sounds like we’re making progress!

jeff
Guest
jeff

do you own a car? do you have a sense of privilege?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Why wouldn’t I?

As a driver I get direct, fast routes anywhere I want to drive. The cost of my gas is massively subsidized. I can go 10mph over any speed limit without guilt. I can sit in massively oversized parking lots and dump pollutants into the air for as long as I can afford it, and gas is crazy cheap so I can afford it for a long time. I don’t even need a reason. I can store my vehicle on the side of the road for free. My car is protected from theft by laws with actual penalties (up to 5 years & $125K). I can intimidate pedestrians and bikes with just my sheer size, coercing them to move out of the way, or give up their right of way. I can signal with just my pinky finger, if I’m in the mood to signal. I have air conditioning and a radio, and I can open my windows to share my obnoxious music. I have a ridiculously loud horn to say ‘hello’ or ‘watch out’ or ‘get off of my road you privileged cyclist’. I can pass cyclists much too closely or roll coal in their faces and know they have little chance of ever catching me, and if they do, so what? They ought to know better than try to talk to me when I’m in my rig. When I run somebody down, I can be assured that the victim likely won’t be able to give a statement until much later, if at all. And if I go to trial, I’ll face a jury of other drivers who can all relate to me, and not to the victim. Absolutely, I have a sense of privilege.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Zow! 🙂 Why, indeed?

buildwithjoe
Guest

My bike commute is 27 miles daily, and I use Clinton/woodward from 20th to 71st. The diverters have made a huge safety increase for me and all bikes and everyone. The downside is a few extra minutes of trip times for cars. Clinton diverters put more people on bikes and out of their cars. I pushed on every legal button and worked with many activists on this. Everyone should use every tool they can until we have city wide diverters on every greenway. Far SE and NE need them the most. And Ankeny.

Laura
Guest
Laura

There are roughly 500 units being built on SE 50th between Hawthorne and Woodward (including the Sewickly building at 49th/Hawthorne). PBOT needs to get ahead of this and get diverters on the eastern segments of Lincoln (Chavez to 60th) and Clinton (Chavez – 52nd) NOW.

Fillard Spring-Rhyne
Guest
Fillard Spring-Rhyne

The City of Portland has posted an evaluation survey for phase 1 of the diverter project. It’s linked to at the project page: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/68514

Unfortunately the survey is one-sided: It makes a point of evaluating whether phase 1 has gone too far, but appears to ignore whether phase 1 has gone far enough. For example, it asks whether you support diversion at 32nd and one-way traffic on 34th (these are elements of phase 1), but doesn’t ask whether you support new diversion at 26th* and at 50th.

(Even if the city has already decided that it’s not going to add diverters for phase 2, this is important information to gather for future planning.)

Please do fill out the survey, and add your comments on the “Anything else” page.

In related news, Rich Newlands will be making a presentation concerning the diverters at the Richmond Neighborhood Association board meeting on Monday May 9. http://www.richmondpdx.org/

*Assuming the #10-Harold bus route remains in place, the east leg of the intersection at 26th & Clinton could have a semi-diverter like at 32nd. The west leg could have “soft” diversion, i.e. signs prohibiting westbound traffic except buses and bicycles. Not perfect, but a big improvement over the current intersection.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Another witness for Woodward (I have a front-seat view of the corner of 26th and W): traffic’s definitely increased and there’ve been several fender-benders. Drivers dash across 26th dangerously. Woe to the pedestrian or cyclist when drivers on Woodward do their thing (right turn, left turn, cross) on SE 26th! Lots of people scrambling, trotting, running. Lots more honking too–usually at pedestrians and cyclists.

Conversely, Clinton’s become so pleasant, I’ve bumped my walk down to MAX over from Taggart, which has become less pleasant.

Adam
Subscriber

Another issue is that drivers feel they need to zoom around people cycling on Clinton. Can’t they just drive a bit faster and pass safely instead? Or just wait behind the person cycling? Far too many times someone zooms around me and almost hits an oncoming cyclist. Not sure diverters can solve this, but perhaps narrowing the roadway so they can’t pass would work? Or diverters at the collectors to discourage further motor traffic (at 26th ideally).

Adam
Subscriber

Drive a bit faster than the person cycling, that is. Instead of flooring it and accelerating to 30+ mph.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

put a diverter at 26th and Clinton and more motorists will use 26th to cut over to the Lincoln-Harrison bikeway.

Adam
Subscriber

Then put a diverter at Lincoln-Harrison.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

I have also observed a recent increase in motor vehicle travel on the Lincoln-Harrison bikeway between SE 20th and 26th that I would at least partially attribute to the new diverters on Clinton.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

When can we expect a few diversions on SE Harrison between perhaps 40th and 52nd Aves? It’s ridiculous just how many and how fast cars will zip around cyclists pedalling full speed in a road zoned for 20 Miles Per Hour. It reminds me of Clinton a year ago.

soren
Subscriber

I asked about this at the Ankeny open house and nothing is being planned yet. Harrison has traffic circles that I think could be cheaply converted to diverters. As Rodney, Clinton, and Ankeny show citizen advocacy works so please get involved, if you can.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Ladd/Harrison/Lincoln, possibly with a 16th Ave branch, already has data collected and conceptual maps.
Enhance existing diverters, maybe convert some circles and the thing at 26th. 50th semi-diverter like at Lincoln/Chavez. It needs a lot more traffic calming.

jeff
Guest
jeff

what is ‘full speed’ for you?

tyler
Guest

I agree. The 32nd Ave diverters need more room to the east and west to allow for a safer and smoother flow of bike traffic to pass. The parking space on either end is uncomfortably close. In general, I think these diverters are in the wrong place. They should be attached to the already existing center islands, as four sided spokes, at 30th, 37th, etc..

@Tim Krueger – Really? You think Clinton should be available for cars to rip through quickly, while biking with your child? I *drive* too. I’d like to see Clinton with diverters every 4-5 blocks, from the River to the 205 path. I do agree, there is a need of “downstream” traffic management with diverters in place, so we don’t overwhelm neighboring streets with collateral cut-through traffic. But, I live on Woodward too, and haven’t noticed an increase in traffic.

Adron @ Transit Sleuth
Subscriber

To me, this just further proves that neighborhoods surrounded by arterials need to have all the inner streets cut w/ diverters to prevent people and *Waze* from directing impatient, irresponsible, irate traffic through neighborhoods. It is actively and routinely done for the suburbs, in far more brutal ways (albeit traffic aggression/speeding/etc also happens as much or more in the suburbs because of wider streets). I saw one diverter recently in Vancouver WA that the local resident(s) just posted right in the middle of the street! It was kind of amazing, and made it impossible for cars to go through or around without serious damage to the actual car itself. I’d rather not have diverters like that, more like the ones they have in Vancouver BC with flowers and such, but at this point I’d take anything that’s effective.

Rider
Guest
Rider

I’ve been biking Clinton for about ten years. About a year ago I decided the aggressive driving on Clinton had gotten too bad and started to take most trips on Lincoln. About a month after the diverters went in I decided to try Clinton again and it was incredible! Some people go around them, which is upsetting but it seems most aggressive driving has been moved elsewhere. It seems Woodward now needs diversion of its own based on some comments here. Now can we move the number ten and get diversion on Ladd’s?

jess
Guest
jess

I’ve been biking on SE Clinton as a commuter often the past 3 years, and residing in the neighborhood for over 8. The diverters are certainly an improvement and over all, I’ve noticed an increase in bikes and decrease in cars, but I have noticed:
> more cars turning without stopping or barely stopping on the sidestreets heading into or off of clinton
> smaller cars — including car 2 goes — going through the 32nd diverters on a regular basis. seriously, I’d guess ever other trip on SE Clinton I see this happen
> yes, less car traffic, but more noticable zoom & pass activity, which nearly always has a car zooming to miss an oncoming bicycle
> I’ll add that it’s a shock to see so many bikers using Division itself, but they are usually of the no helmets/sunny day/tourist/new condo-er variety.

soren
Subscriber

more cars turning without stopping or barely stopping on the sidestreets heading into or off of clinton

BikeLoudPDX has been pushing for signage and/or pavement markings on cross streets that may discourage this. I am hopeful that PBOT will give this a try on a Greenway at some point.

smaller cars — including car 2 goes — going through the 32nd diverters

This is a temporary facility. If the clinton project assessment committee gives approval I’ve heard that than an improved cement facility is planned.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I just rode Clinton on Monday night, as well as another evening a couple weeks ago, and it seems waaaayyyyy better than before.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, I think.

soren
Subscriber

1. Get involved. (bikeloudpdx.org)
2. Make lots of noise.
3. Enjoy a calmed bikeway.

Jessica Wiseley
Guest
Jessica Wiseley

I have lived in the neighborhood for 13 years. With our evolving city, traffic on Division and Powell have become increasingly bad, so I used Clinton as a pedestrian, runner, cyclist, and driver. In my opinion, roads are meant to be shared. I have seen my fare share of both cyclists and drivers using the roadway inappropriately, and am sad to see that we cannot share Clinton. I do agree that it has increased traffic on other neighborhood roads. Selfishly, it is a pain to drop off my child at school on Clinton, then navigate to work. That being said, biking on Clinton now is easier.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Suppose instead of diverters, the speed limit was set at a strict 15mph. I wonder if drivers would be able to share under those conditions.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

It would be harder for bikes to get anywhere because of all the cars in the way, and drivers would still be passing (or trying to) at 15mph. At least a 100x power difference and 10x weight makes “sharing” difficult in dense and complex environments. Sharing means taking turns, bikes will get blocked by cars at every corner or tight spot and then left at a full stop while the car easily takes off at a bike’s cruising speed, soon bothering the family on the bike in front of the car, even if the revving sound is just the air-conditioner kicking on or the transmission searching for 2.5nd gear. If you want to use the bike route, use a bike.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’m not proposing it. I just don’t think drivers are much interested in sharing, except as a last ditch effort to try & carve out space on roads they generally should not be on. The whole “bikes need to share” and “bikes take up the whole road” thing kind of rubs me the wrong way.

Adam
Subscriber

Especially since cars actually do take up the whole road.

Tom Kruger
Guest
Tom Kruger

As the Mr. Kruger who stirred up so much controversy here, I thought I would take a moment to clarify and reiterate my position here. First, I think that all streets should be shared. The idea of cutting off a perfectly usable street – which was in fact designed and constructed for automobile use – is just stupid. It defeats the purpose of the city grid transportation network, and pushes problems to other focal points rather than resolving them. Second, as a nearly 20-year veteran year-round bike commuter I have seen and been involved with my fair share of incidents between bikes and cars, and the irresponsible party in those incidents has often (though definitely not always) been the bike rider – who is not paying attention or following basic traffic laws, acts erratically in traffic, and puts himself into a position of danger. Or worse, rides in traffic without functional brakes. Yes, there are definitely irresponsible drivers, but bikers too must take more responsibility to learn and follow the rules of the road. Finally, I don’t drive fast down Clinton, Woodward, or any other residential city street. It’s far too dangerous. But – Clinton was until recently the one decent east-west connector in the southeast that was not jammed up by buses and trucks and stop lights so its loss to residents who drive through this neighborhood is significant. That said, More Bikes, Fewer Cars!

Adam
Subscriber

2009 called and they want their bikelash argument back.

First of all, none of the streets in inner SE were designed for cars. In fact, a streetcar ran down Clinton to about 41st, and the streets were designed for people to be able to walk to the streetcar from home. Most of the time, the sidewalks would be constructed and the roadway left as dirt until the city came and paved it.

Second, no one rides brakeless fixies anymore. This fantasy of yours would quickly be disproven if you simply stood on Clinton Street and watched all the people on bikes go by. Riding a bike requires one’s full attention – mostly because of all the drivers making it unsafe – but also because all the hazards we have to avoid (you call this “riding erratically”) which a motorist can simply just drive over without problem.

Third, there would be near zero traffic deaths and injuries if it wasn’t for cars, while if all bikes suddently disappeared, people would still die in car crashes. Therefore, one can easily conclude that is is the car causing all the danger on the road, and it is the responsibility of the car operator to operate such a dangerous machine with due care.

Your entire argument screams of windshield perspective. Perhaps if you actually rode your bike down Clinton, you’d have more empathy for people cycling and walking. It’s a lovely day for a bike ride; hope to see you out there riding!

9watts
Subscriber

“The idea of cutting off a perfectly usable street – which was in fact designed and constructed for automobile use”

You sure about that?
My guess is that Clinton Street was laid out and built before very many people had cars and the majority of our ancestors got around SE Portland by other means. Horse rings?

Adam
Subscriber

And streetcars! The reason your SE neighborhood is so quaint and attractive is because it was designed before cars were widely used, when everyone got around via streetcar and walking.

Sam
Guest
Sam

>The idea of cutting off a perfectly usable street – which was in fact designed and constructed for automobile use – is just stupid.

You’re arguing against established city policy. I appreciate the effort to be conciliatory, but this is just not at all how traffic design works here. You’re not involved in the conversation in any meaningful sense; there’s no knowledge of traffic engineering, the city’s plans for its bicycle network…

You just don’t like the way things are going, and the only reasonable response you can expect is “Too bad for you.” Most of us bikers like the Clinton diverters, and yes, I want to make driving more uncomfortable on routes the city has designated as bicycle routes.

This is a thing the city has done, all over the city: bicycle routes. They’re doing exactly the stupid thing you describe, and I, personally, hope they don’t abandon that plan for your vision of “perfectly usable streets” for all automobiles.

Jessica Wiseley
Guest
Jessica Wiseley

Now I remember why I don’t post in these public forums.

jeff
Guest
jeff

who the hell is watching these intersections? I watched a semi-truck drive west on SE Clinton and right OVER the diverter on 17th this morning. simply plowed over the bollards and drive over the cement curbs.
he received a middle finger for his efforts.
they need to be better reinforced with concrete. they need to be taller. they need to extend the length of the entire intersection.
I’ve never witnessed such a complete disregard…the design was worthless to stop the behavior.

Adam
Subscriber

The 17th Ave diverter is specifically designed that way to allow firefighters to drive their trucks over it. Unfortunately, this also works for literally any other vehicle. Portland apparently can’t design any sort of permanent diverter you describe because of emergency access. The solution to this, obviously, is to design smaller trucks and for the emergency responders to drive 200 feet over to the next block.

The irony, of course, is if our streets were built smaller and safer instead of to accommodate emergency vehicles, we’d require less emergency response in the first place.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Retractable bollards.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Enforcement cameras.

Josh R Chernoff
Guest
Josh R Chernoff

This article is a false sense of security. I stood there for less that 2 hours and 8 out of approximately 40 cars drove through at 32nd between rush hour at 5/7pm and one woman even drove through a second time and waved me out of her way as I stood in her way and talked to a neighbor who said they are more but cause I’m out there videoing them they are seeing me and turning away. At peek hours almost 25% of drivers ignored the drivers on a random warm sunny day how is this a quantification of success?

David Lewis
Guest

Diverters only work as part of a traffic management system, and fail as a stand-alone segregation. Division, and the larger menace of the seven-corners @55-F8xK, is what causes road users of all stripes to use Clinton. Whether or not diverters exist, folks will avoid Division.

Tom Kruger
Guest
Tom Kruger

To create safe biking areas is awesome, and if it makes more bikers happy then I really have no complaints. But on Clinton the vast majority of the problem is, and always has been, cross traffic. So, without stopping all the cross-traffic, the diverters are a half-assed solution to a “problem” that would barely register as such in any other city in the world. Drop a Portland native in New York on a bike, and he’ll be dead in two days because he doesn’t have a clue what traffic actually is. You Portlanders are so fu#*ing lucky to live in a city of generally overly courteous drivers that half of you have gone completely lazy about watching out for your own damn safety. Take some goddam responsibility for your own actions, instead of expecting every driver to give deference. Just this morning, on Clinton, I was passed by riders blowing through three stoplights when they did not have the right of way, then some idiot on a bike who was not looking blew through a stop sign onto Clinton inches in front of me. Please folks, just remove yourselves from the gene pool and make our species smarter. Just don’t do it anywhere near me. Your careless riding endangers me! I have far fewer problems with cars and drivers than I do with careless bikers.

soren
Subscriber

Just this morning, on Clinton, I was passed by riders blowing through three stoplights when they did not have the right of way

The Clinton Greenway only has one stoplight.

Jerry Hanson
Guest
Jerry Hanson

The diverter at 17th is as smartly designed as the one at 32nd is ill-advised in it’s design and placement. To pick just one serious flaw consider that at 17th no left-hand turn is allowed from Clinton. At 32nd left-hand turns are allowed. Worse, cars are doing this from traffic speed – not from a stop sign. Why is this bad design? Cars can turn into approaching cyclists who are not well seen as well as traffic coming from the left. It’s especially bad at night because many cyclist have modest or no front lights. Poke around with Google on left-hand turn accident statistics to see how foolish it is to create this hazard for cyclist. The Oregonian has a story today of three who died trying to do a left-hand turn.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Another three months have come and gone. Anyone know what the traffic counts pre- and post on Woodward show? Adam’s article (link below) about bike and car counts on Clinton is encouraging but I’m still curious to hear about the fallout on Woodward.
http://bikeportland.org/2016/08/12/peak-hour-bike-traffic-on-clinton-street-now-exceeds-motorized-traffic-189251

Adam
Subscriber

Yes, we got the counts from Rich Newlands

West of 32nd Ave we counted 400 cars entering the intersection from the west (or eastbound) with 62 still heading eastbound on the east side of the intersection (violators).

East of 32nd Ave there were 411 cars westbound entering cars with 81 violators.

The overall volume entering the intersection is 1175, which makes the overall rate 5-7% (this counts the north and southbound traffic that also can be violators).

The numbers there are in a very general sense good in relation to our new guideline of not having an adjacent local street volume exceed 1,000 cars/day. North of Clinton the total after volume is 787 (+225) and south of Clinton is 612 (+422).

lop
Guest
lop

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/180473

You can get traffic counts on the map here. Once you open the map click the traffic volume tab, either navigate to the location you’re interested in or click ‘Options’ -> ‘Filter’ -> ‘Add Filter Expression’ -> ‘LocationDesc(String)’ -> change the pull down to Starts With -> ‘SE WOODWARD’. Uncheck the filter by map extent button only if you don’t want search results to be limited to locations in the map view. In May and June traffic counts on Woodward were done at 17th, 26th, 32nd, 34th, 38th. There are older traffic counts you can compare them to. Some of the entries give the address the traffic counts were made at as a comment, some give whether or not bikes are included in the counts. I don’t know if bikes are included when only an address is listed as a comment.