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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!

Beeblebrox
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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
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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 ??

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
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Buzz

Gateway plans have been proposed before and gone nowhere.

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.

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…

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/

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.