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New plan would make East Portland’s Gateway district the bike-friendliest in the city

Posted by on May 10th, 2016 at 5:16 pm

halsey bus stop

NE Halsey with a very nice bike lane and bus stop.
(Image: Portland Development Commission via Nick Falbo)

It looks as if the commercial district just east of Gateway Transit Center will have parking-protected bike lanes and bus stops by this time next year.

No other business district in the city has fully protected bike lanes; the closest is on Northeast Multnomah Street in the Lloyd District, but buses, bikes and cars there must still merge into “mixing zones” at intersections.

From the look of the renderings recently circulated week by the Portland Development Commission, Gateway’s bike lanes will also be marked with crossbikes at intersections.

The proposal applies to NE Halsey and Weidler streets between 102nd and 112th avenues. We wrote about the possibility of protected bike lanes back in December. Since then, the city has decided to move forward with them.

halsey no bus stop

The intersections at 103rd, 106th, 108th, 111th and 112th will also include “a mix of improved corner ramps, curb extensions, pedestrian-scaled street lighting, street trees, and marked crosswalks at rapid flashing beacon locations.”

Today, the area is Portland’s only sidewalk-facing commercial district east of Interstate 205. (It also happens to include outer Northeast’s only independent bike shop, the Outer Rim.) It’s quite auto-oriented today, and it would still be after this project: both major streets will still have two lanes of one-way auto traffic and a parking lane on each side, just as they do now. The main difference is that the lanes will be narrower (which will make them safer) and the bike lane will fall between the parking lane and the sidewalk.

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Here’s the PDC’s description of the bike lanes planned in their project:

“The separated bike lanes will serve more than the cycling community in this area. The new bike lane design will facilitate shorter and more visible pedestrian crossings as well as more efficient transit stops.”
— Portland Development Commission

Although Separated Bike Lanes were not originally a part of the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Vision, the Portland Bureau of Transportation sees this element as an opportunity to improve bike connections and bike and pedestrian safety, and to add to business district vitality. …

PBOT wants the Halsey-Weidler Commercial District to be accessible by people using all modes of transportation (car, bike, walking, and transit). The new separated bike lanes will help attract cyclists of all ages and abilities that have serious concerns for their safety when trying to ride in narrow bike lanes next to fast-moving traffic. However, the separated bike lanes will serve more than the cycling community in this area. The new bike lane design will facilitate shorter and more visible pedestrian crossings as well as more efficient transit stops. The bike lanes will be separated from moving traffic by vehicles occupying on-street parking spaces, and drivers will no longer have to cross the existing bike lane [while driving] to reach the on-street parking. Halsey-Weidler will become not only the most bike-friendly commercial district in the City, but also a pedestrian-friendly community main street that is comfortable and accessible to all users.

Here’s what the city says about timeline:

PBOT and PDC will continue to have conversations with business and property owners on Halsey-Weidler to address any site-specific concerns before the design is finalized in May. PBOT and PDC staff will be visiting business along the corridor during the week of May 2nd. Construction is expected to start in winter-spring 2017.

Only a handful of commercial districts, like Broadway in the central city, Kenton in North Portland and Stark Street in Montavilla, have striped bike lanes, let alone protected ones. But after years of pressure, the city seems to have found a newfound energy for adding protected bike lanes where possible. We’ll have more on this promising trend in the next day or two.

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

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PMannDavid Hampsten, now in Greensboro NCpaikialaChris IJim Chasse Recent comment authors
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Adam
Subscriber

This looks really nice! Glad to see the city embracing corner islands!

Adam
Subscriber

Also note those floating bus islands. This is what we should do on all bus routes that also have bike lanes.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Sheesh! It’s Adam H. first AGAIN, with another cheerleading, Pollyannaish comment about how awesome he thinks the City’s plans are 🙂

/jk

Adam
Subscriber

Hey, it’s a protected bike lane with corner islands and floating bus stops. This is what I’m always asking for in my comments. No complaints here. 😉

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

This might finally be the break Gateway has been waiting for all these decades. This has the potential to be a nice pocket of urbanism that could hopefully spread over time.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Well they spent enough time ignoring this area after incorporating it. I guess better late than never.

SE
Guest
SE

Plans look nice. I ride this area about once a week , but don’t think I’ve ever encountered another bike out there.
Why do they improve areas where there really is not much demand/bike traffic ??

Adam
Subscriber

Because it’s politically easier. Less density, less motor traffic, and therefore, less opposition.

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

Actually, the density within a quarter mile of Halsey/Weidler is as high as anywhere in the city outside of downtown, with crowded 2-story woody-walkup apartments and townhomes, but it does drop significantly beyond that to low-density suburbs. The traffic is greater than inner Hawthorne or Belmont, but it has greater speeds and throughput, being a couplet. It is also much more racially and economically diverse (huge mix of rich and very poor) than most of Portland. Not only is there little opposition, but the surrounding neighborhoods (Hazelwood, PHAN, Russell, & tiny Woodland Park) and Gateway Business Association asked for bike/ped facilities back in 2000 in the Gateway Plan, using designs current at the time. This version is updated and much improved.

Adam
Subscriber

You raise good points. Perhaps this is similar to when Foster gets investment from the city: the area has been neglected for so long that new attention and development from the city is welcomed. Now if we could just do something with the massive Freddie’s parking lot!

q
Guest
q

I see bikes on Weidler regularly. Halsey would never be my first choice for biking eastbound now. You could argue that the lack of bikes on Halsey now is an argument in favor of spending money to improve the facilities. Biking on Halsey could take off with these changes.

There’s no reason there shouldn’t be more biking there. It’s flat, and as others have said, there are lots of people living near that commercial area. The streetscape changes could inspire some new commercial/retail investment there also.

Angel
Guest
Angel

I bike the Gateway area when I visit my friend who lives there. In my opinion, if you don’t see many people on bikes around there, it’s because there’s just no infrastructure for it. Really looking forward to this. Especially those crosswalks!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Seconded. The Halsey bridge is the biggest barrier in this area. The existing traffic levels do not warrant two lanes in each direction. Speeding is rampant, and the bike/pedestrian environment is terrible.

Hebo
Guest
Hebo

When I ride this area, I usually take a complicated, winding path of back roads because I find the main streets so unpleasant – too fast, too much traffic, too much exhaust, aggressive drivers, debris-filled bike lanes and shoulders. Because the residential street network is really chopped up, it’s much slower, but seems a lot safer. I wonder if these improvements will change how I feel riding the area, especially since it only covers about 10 blocks.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Ditto. I prefer to share space with cars on San Rafael than ride on Halsey. This project could change that, though.

PMann
Guest
PMann

Maybe they think more people WOULD bike if the neighborhood wasn’t so risky. We live in the neighborhood and found out it’s dangerous to “share the road” there.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

This commercial district is totally full of potential! There are tons of apartments nearby, a super nice park on the way, and great strip of small blocks ready for some redevelopment. It is also really close to Gateway Green. It is very close to the MAX transit center, but the connection for someone walking is total joke! Hopefully PDC/Trimet and PBOT can team up on that one next! It is great to see these improvements coming, hopefully it will spur some new businesses along the corridor!

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Gateway plans have been proposed before and gone nowhere.

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

All too true. This project was delayed well over 15 years, and only moved forward when the Parks Bureau announced funding to build Gateway Park (now Discovery Park) at 106th & Halsey. The Feds funded a $3 mil rebuild of sidewalks and adding bike lanes along 102nd from Glisan to south of Washington/Stark, but PBOT delayed so long that they could only afford Glisan to Burnside. The long-awaited and funded bike lanes from Washington to Division on 102nd/Cherry Blossom/112th was designed, but the funds were moved elsewhere, and the project never implemented. And so on.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Gateway is the new Montavilla.

Jim Labbe
Subscriber
Jim Labbe

Bike friendly access to Lily’s market would be great!

I hope they improve the access to/from the Gateway Transit center. Right now getting to Halsey and 102nd from the Transit Center is a real obstacle course.

Jim Labbe
Subscriber
Jim Labbe

And it would also improve access to pending improvements at Gateway Green and the I-205 underpass if it ever gets built.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

We still need a connection from Gateway Green to the neighborhood just north of Halsey on the east side of I-84. The underpass will not fix that problem, especially given how terrible the Halsey overpass is.

Hope
Guest
Hope

I’ve biked to and from work on Halsey 4-5 days a week for 6 years. I’ve never felt the need to be separated from cars on Halsey…never had a problem feeling safe. The area where I see a real issue is on the bridge on Halsey on 92nd that takes you across 84 and 205. I wish the city would put money into creating better bike access across that bridge. Or just sweeping the glass off the streets more…

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

Agree, the connections in that area are a mess. Freeway interchanges are a menace in general to bike access, but it’s quite difficult to get to Gateway TC or onto the 205 path from northwest of there.

Hebo
Guest
Hebo

I agree with this – better bridge access/crossing would do more to make connecting to Gateway by bike a safe and pleasant experience than improvements in a small retail corridor.

Adam
Subscriber

Also, a better connection to the MAX (and therefore the I-205 path) would be welcome. Currently, the transit center sits behind a Fred Meyer’s parking lot, disconnected from the rest of the neighborhood.

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

Do you have any specific suggestions on how to fix the connection from the I-205 path to 102nd & Halsey, with or without the underpass that Jim Labbe writes about (& PBOT is trying to fund)?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

PBOT already has plans for a bike lane connection north, a shared path connection to the signal, little Weidler/101st to 102nd, with an enhanced crossing (possibly barrier) to connect to Tillamook.

There is also the east connection via Pacific/Oregon/Holladay, nicknamed HOP. One version puts a 2-way bike lane on the south side of Pacific out to 102nd.

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

The bottleneck of your fixes is still the Gateway TC. What fixes has PBOT negotiated with TriMet, PDC, and ODOT for the area?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

then there is a twinkle in PBOT’s eye of a right sizing of 102nd north of Halsey.

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

Any plans to fix the I-84 underpass of 122nd? 148th?

maccoinnich
Subscriber

Assuming PDC is funding this project, they are restricted on where they can spend money. Anything funding raised through Tax Incremented Financing can only be spent within the boundaries of the Gateway Urban Renewal Area:

http://www.pdc.us/Libraries/Gateway_Regional_Center/Gateway_URA_Map_pdf.sflb.ashx

While I would agree that improvements to the bridge are badly needed, any work on it would need to be part of a different project.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It wouldn’t cost much. All they need to do is move the jersey barrier south 12ft, creating a 12ft wide bike/walking space on the south side of the bridge. The remaining space would be used for one general purpose lane in each direction, and a westbound buffered bike lane.

The only complicated part is where the new south side path would cross the eastbound freeway offramp. It would need to make an S-curve and shift south, but it would be even better if they completely reconfigured that area to reduce the speed of the cars exiting the freeway.

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

I like your suggestion. If you’ll excuse the pun, it’s very concrete. Every time the Hazelwood NA would ask PBOT to fix the crossing, PBOT would give 20 excuses, including that they don’t own it (they do) and that ODOT controls it (maybe, but ODOT usually denies this.)

PMann
Guest
PMann

Glad to hear that’s been your experience, but ours has been the OPPOSITE.

q
Guest
q

The comments about the connections being a bigger problem than the street itself seem true, as far as bikes are concerned. The overpass is bad, and many drivers on it are nuts–bad even for other drivers. But the streetscape improvements seem like they have positive impacts well beyond biking. They’ll also help pedestrians and buses. They’ll help slow traffic, and give Halsey more of a main street character, and less of a through-street one. They’ll have symbolic value for businesses that this stretch is going to become a commercial center with some special character, more like other areas that have taken off, and less like an auto-oriented strip.

This area used to be more of a “neighborhood” in many ways a couple decades ago than it is now. This could help it regain that feeling of a neighborhood center. If the streetscape improvements go ahead, hopefully they’ll create more pressure to fix the connections.

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

The Halsey bridge is terrifying to walk or ride. T-HOP is the answer to how people will be able to get across I-205 in the future.

http://www.odotr1stip.org/explore-by-program/enhance/tillamook-holladay-oregon-pacific-bikeway-t-hop/

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I ride the Halsey bridge (on the north sidewalk) every day. That project is great, but it is not a solution for me. It would be a significant detour and would require me to cross dozens of additional intersections. It would be significantly cheaper to reconfigure the Halsey bridge, but really, both projects need to happen.

Jim Chasse
Guest
Jim Chasse

Yes, a much anticipated improvement for the Gateway town center. The connections are in the process and will greatly improve access to the outer NE area where there is currently no low stress bikeways other than the I205 MUP.
The lack of sufficient bike parking in the Gateway area is another issue that could be addressed with the Halsey/Weidler upgrade.
The city is finally moving east with bike infrastructure. A very positive move.