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.
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.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.