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The makeover continues: Speed bumps coming SE Clinton

Posted by on June 3rd, 2016 at 10:37 am

Location of new speed bumps coming to Clinton Street.

In their ongoing effort to reclaim Southeast Clinton as a low-stress bikeway, the City of Portland will install new speed bumps this weekend.

According to sources at PBOT, the plan is to install five to seven new bumps that will be located between SE Cesar Chavez Blvd (39th) and SE 50th.

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The bumps come nearly two years after people who use Clinton street began crying out for changes. A longtime bikeway, Clinton has seen a drastic increase in auto traffic in recent years. After a successful grassroots activism campaign led by BikeLoudPDX, the City of Portland launched a campaign of their own to tame the street. It included more enforcement, marketing and outreach, and most importantly, physical infrastructure that forces people in cars to divert onto other streets.

Speed bumps on a neighborhood greenway in north Portland.
(Photo: J Maus/BikePortland)

PBOT’s traffic diverters at 17th and 32nd — along with a new lane configuration on 34th — are still being analyzed but they appear to be working. Many people who ride on the street say auto volumes are down and people are driving more slowly.

Each bump is estimated to cost around $1,000 to $1,500. Learn more about PBOT’s speed bump policy on their website.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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  • Lester Burnham June 3, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Sigh…so much focus on streets like Clinton and nothing but empty promises elsewhere where improvements are desperately needed.

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      • Lester Burnham June 3, 2016 at 2:55 pm

        Well that’s something I guess! I wish enforcement was better out on the east side.

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    • TJ June 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm


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    • dbrunker June 3, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Ugh… PLEEEEEASE tell me they’re going to put cuts in the bumps for emergency vehicles and bikes the way Beaverton does!

      I hate going over the speed bumps on 34th.

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      • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm

        No. The channels degrade the effectiveness of the slowing. And Beaverton doesn’t use speed cushions to benefit cyclists.

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        • Jonathan Gordon June 3, 2016 at 5:43 pm


          If I’m understanding you correctly, your and/or PBOT’s position is that cuts aren’t appropriate for this particular treatment. I’m wondering if there is a solution that allows people on bikes to avoid the unpleasant bumps while still slowing people in cars. I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth — I’m happy that PBOT is interested in slowing car traffic on Clinton — I just wish it could be done in a way that maintains the pleasant biking experience I’ve come to know and love.

          One thing I find myself and observe others doing is cutting to the edge of speed bumps in the few inches of space between where the bumps end and the sidewalk begins. Would it be possible to make that gap slightly bigger and preserve a certain amount of no parking space before/after each bump? Or is there some other solution you can think of?


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          • Paikiala June 6, 2016 at 8:58 am

            Drivers would use the same technique. I’ve seen them .

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    • John June 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Exactly. Marginal gains on Clinton while that money could have a much more substantive impact beyond 82nd or on the west side anywhere outside of downtown. Once again, inner east side gets treated like the golden boy and the rest of the city gets ignored like the unwanted child of a previous marriage.

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      • paikiala June 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm

        SE Clinton was not performing according to the goals identified in the Assessment Report. That is the nexus for the current project.

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  • Teddy June 3, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Well this is good to hear since I assume some people are going way above the 25 Mike per hour limit.

    I have never driven much on Clinton since I prefer to stick to Powell or Stark or 7th to meander my way towards the Ross Island Bridge. Also, driving on Bike Routes can be stressful since I do not want to hit anyone even bicyclist who run stop signs.

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    • Teddy June 3, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Sorry for the spelling and grammatical errors since I cannot edit my comment.

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    • lyle w. June 9, 2016 at 8:08 am

      My experience on Clinton is that most people in cars are respectful, if not a little addled because of how close everything is packed in if you have cars and bikes going both directions.

      Every once in a while, though, there will be someone (who is probably battling a raging case of sociopathy) who thinks they’re on Powell or the Banfield, and will attempt to navigate down it at like 20 mph over the speed limit, shooting gaps, trying to beat cyclists to roundabouts by hammering it, and so forth and so on.

      Those are the people that are going to kill or severely injure someone on Clinton (and have)… and that’s what, in my opinion, all this infrastructure is really crucial in combating. At the end of the day, giving them no other choice than to be on Powell. Or Division at worst.

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  • I wear many hats June 3, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Speed humps only slow traffic to 25 mph if lucky. Clinton needs some “topes” and then it would be commuter free, local traffic only.

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    • Spiffy June 3, 2016 at 11:40 am

      unfortunately they can’t design slower obstacles until the motor vehicle volume goes down… it’d be nice if they could install 15-20 mph speed bumps…

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      • Austin June 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm

        25 is too fast for any neighborhood.

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    • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Based on what evidence?
      PBOT actually has been doing this for a while, and speed bumps, the shorter 14 foot versions, slow drivers down to about 17mph at the bump, while the speed tables (22-foot versions) slow drivers to about 22 mph.
      It’s the spacing that gets average speeds into the target range.
      300 feet for the 20 mph range and 400-450 feet for the 25 mph range.

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      • Eric Leifsdad June 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        Isn’t this a greenway? What spacing for a 15mph 95th percentile speed?

        How much does a speed barrel cost to install?

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        • Paikiala June 6, 2016 at 9:02 am

          Greenways that have under 2000 cars per day can be posted at 20 mph. PBOT can’t push the average 85th percentile below posted.

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          • Eric Leifsdad June 6, 2016 at 4:09 pm

            What is behind the “can’t”, exactly? Can it be turned into a “narrow residential roadway”? Can we close some blocks to through auto traffic randomly during rush hour? Can we hang red lights mid-block with cameras and activate them for 2 minutes if a car is moving faster than 15mph? (with “Except Bicycles” or a green bike light) Is there some level-of-service requirement in state law? Seems like there is a lot we could do if we wanted to, some without much money.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. June 6, 2016 at 4:25 pm

              Right, it’s frustrating to constantly hear excuses from PBOT and City Council as to why things can’t be done. Our city leadership needs to take the initiative to fix our streets. Hoping this can change with the increased revenue from the gas tax, though I don’t always buy the lack of funding excuse in the first place.

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            • paikiala June 7, 2016 at 1:11 pm

              State law describes statutory speed limits.
              Travel space more than 18 feet for two directions of travel does not qualify, by state law definition, as a narrow roadway.

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              • Eric Leifsdad June 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm

                AFAICT nothing dictates that we must have 18ft of travel space here.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Speed bumps should help but what we really need is a westbound entry diverter at 50th. I see so many people turning onto Clinton every morning to avoid traffic on Division, driving the entire length to Chavez.

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    • Spiffy June 3, 2016 at 11:42 am

      we need a full diverter like at 39th that prohibits entry both ways…

      I see people speeding down Woodward past the school and then Zigging over to Clinton to go the rest of the way to 39th… and vice versa in the evenings…

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      • David Hampsten June 5, 2016 at 4:38 pm

        A lot of speeders I’ve seen have NORBA, BTA or USCF stickers on their car bumpers. Portland at its most ironic.

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    • Adam June 6, 2016 at 1:41 am


      I would estimate at peak times, one out of every two cars turns onto Clinton at SE 50th to avoid the intersection at Division.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. June 6, 2016 at 8:49 am

        It’s because the Waze app is directing people onto Clinton in the mornings. I’ve verified this by installing the app and it always wants to route me down the bike boulevard.

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  • Terry D-M June 3, 2016 at 11:32 am

    We need a city policy on Greenway Diversion at every corridor and collector.

    Make diversion part of the standard urban form. Then we can use the Greenway report tool to access the safety inside of the “Greenway Grid” so to speak.

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    • Todd Hudson June 3, 2016 at 11:36 am

      I so badly wish the Everett/Davis/Couch bikeway would get diverters. I recall you had some proposals for that, and I’m guessing PBOT balked.

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      • Terry D-M June 3, 2016 at 1:58 pm

        The plan is still on the table and we will be trying again. It is part of a neighborhood wide safety plan. If we can not get diversion funded independently, then as part of the inevitable Burnside remodel. We could also cul-de-sac 68 th and turn that dead space on Burnside into a bike micropark rest stop. Want to spearhead that? I need a point person.

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        • Todd Hudson June 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

          68th really needs to be cul-de-sac’ed – it’s how I jump on to the bikeway. People FREQUENTLY use it as a way of evading the stoplight on Gilham. At high speeds – 68th “forks” off of Burnside, so people don’t have to slow down.

          After July 31, my time is done living near that hellhole of an intersection. No longer will I have to deal with people driving down Burnside going 55, and no longer will I find upside-down trucks in my driveway.

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      • David Hampsten June 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        PBOT will only consider improvements if a bikeway gets a lot of crashes. The Ankeny route has so many jogs that car traffic can’t go very fast for very long, plus the bad pavement on Everett at 57th(?) slows cars further. Clinton, on the other hand, is relatively straight, much like Lincoln/Harrison.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Yes! Don’t make drivers divert after they’re already halfway down the street. Make it clear before they even try to cut through!

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      • Spiffy June 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm

        we don’t need more signs… let them be frustrated the first time they try so that they never try again…

        they put a “not a through street” sign on Clinton and it’s a lie… yes, it ends in a T intersection, but you can continue left or right… street signs that lie like this encourage people to explore routes that aren’t properly signed…

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm

          Not, not a sign. I’m agreeing with Terry that the diverters should go at the collectors like 26th, 50th, etc. to prevent drivers from even attempting to cut through.

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        • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 3:58 pm

          I think you confuse ‘NOT A THROUGH STREET’ with ‘DEAD END’.
          Clinton no longer goes through, so the sign is correct, but Clinton does not dead end.

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  • Craig Giffen June 3, 2016 at 11:33 am

    They also need more stop signs on the other east/west streets. I have friends on both Woodward and Brooklyn and although they like the SE Clinton changes, it has made traffic on their streets worse. My friends on Woodward say that it is really noticeable at rush hour when people floor it down their street, stop at the stop sign, then floor it again to make up for the precious 20 seconds of their life they lost due to the diverter at Clinton.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 11:39 am

      If they think Woodward is bad at rush hour, tell them to come check out the 50’s bikeway at 52nd south of Division.

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    • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Craig, stop at the what?
      Woodward has a stop pattern already in place, it’s just that the grid is not complete, with several T intersections and a couple right next to each other.
      If speeding is a problem, traffic calming is the solution, not stop signs.
      And in accordance with the approved policy, diversion to parallel streets is permitted as part of a neighborhood greenway diversion project up to a total of 1,000 vehicles per day.
      Woodward had 500-680 trips per day before the diversion project, so can have another 300+ trips per day before required mitigation for volume.

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      • Eric Leifsdad June 4, 2016 at 3:48 pm

        Maybe we need our metrics to consider the number of aggressive trips? Say, anybody averaging more than 12mph (or whatever average speed would indicate hard braking, rolling stops, hard acceleration, and 30-35mph peaks.)

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        • paikiala June 6, 2016 at 11:04 am

          Portland’s standard data collection includes % going 10 mph over posted.
          For Woodward the 2015 count found zero go 10+
          in 2014 Clinton east of 48th had 6% going 10+ over the posted 20.

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          • Eric Leifsdad June 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm

            Aren’t the statistics completely different between getting hit at 20 and getting hit at 29? The noise and character of 29mph traffic is much worse than even 25. How much does the number of cars catching up and/or passing a bike change with a few mph? I guess what I’m saying is 10 is half of 20. Half seems significant to me.

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  • Hazel June 3, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I like the idea of speed bumps but I see more and more drivers take them at full speed so I don’t know that they are all that effective anymore.

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    • Spiffy June 3, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      you should be able to take speed bumps at full speed… they’re not there to slow down drivers doing the speed limit… if it’s a 25 mph zone then the speed bumps should allow you to drive over them at 25 mph…

      speed bumps are too keep from speeding, not to slow down already legal traffic…

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      • Hazel June 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        By full speed I mean well over 25 mph.

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  • Spiffy June 3, 2016 at 11:47 am

    finally! traffic volume is down, but speed is up… now people are flooring it to get past the increased bike traffic before oncoming bike traffic prevents it… 2 days ago I got buzzed by a speeding truck trying to avoid me in front of them and the cyclist coming towards us… no stop and no signal as they continued and sped on down 50th…

    the people that remain are the ones forcing it to work for them no matter what… they’ll bypass the diverters and increase speeds between obstacles…

    I hope these will be SHARP speed bumps that will rattle your car, but with a gap for cycling through…

    ultimately we should just have a diverter every 3 blocks…

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    • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      No. Standard 14-foot speed bumps like are on Clinton west of 21st and east of 26th.

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  • Jonathan Gordon June 3, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I think it would be great if they made the speed bumps bike-friendly with the cuts in them, like the ones on Cornell.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 3, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Here’s that example of cut-through speed bumps that have been mentioned. These are the ones on NW Cornell. IMO these don’t work because many many people illegally cross the centerline or make other dangerous maneuvers in order to drive in the grooves

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Agreed, this is a bad design. Perhaps PBOT could look into chicanes or “chokers” that narrow the roadway down to one lane and force motorists to slow down to squeeze into them?

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      • fourknees June 3, 2016 at 1:55 pm

        The design is bad, with cuts in them or not, these are not speed bumps and don’t work and are a waste of money. They are slight raises in the road. They don’t even impact small cars, let alone larger vehicles. If the paint wasn’t on them most people wouldn’t even notice.

        A better design already exists – Speed bumps like those installed in parking lots would be much more effective (thinner in width and more height). Put two cuts in, one each direction for bikes and spaced out enough that they are more than a standard vehicle width so they can’t be straddled. These will slow cars down, but a fire truck’s large wheels will have no problem driving over at speed in an emergency. They’d probably use less material as well.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 2:27 pm

          I believe that Paliaka has chimed in here claiming PBOT can’t install those type of speed bumps because cause more damage to vehicles and thus makes PBOT liable. Which is utter BS because then people would also be suing big box retails for their parking lots, too. Either way, it’s not my problem since its entirely the driver’s fault for not slowing down enough to avoid damage.

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          • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 4:11 pm

            maybe you can write the checks.
            Public streets, unlike private parking lots, are controlled by state law and the residential speed limit is 25 mph. Do you drive 25 mph or faster in private parking lots?

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          • David Hampsten June 5, 2016 at 4:52 pm

            In most of the US, such speed bumps are called “bike killers” because if you hit one at night, without your light on a dark street, at full speed, you will likely die of your injuries. They are (barely) legal in parking lots, because parking lots are generally well-lit.

            I’m appalled that any bicyclist would ever seriously suggest such devices.

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            • Middle of the Road guy June 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

              Much like a driver, shouldn’t a cyclist be operating at a speed where they can make any changes they need to based upon what is in the road? E.g., traveling at a safe rate of speed?

              If you are traveling too fast to negotiate a speed bump, it is your fault…regardless of time of day.

              Equality means equal responsibility.

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            • Adam June 6, 2016 at 1:42 am

              Get a bike light installed then. Duh.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. June 6, 2016 at 8:48 am

              I’ve ridden over tons of speed bumps and I’m still alive. Perhaps you shouldn’t be riding so fast at night without lights that a speed bump will kill you?

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        • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 4:09 pm

          are you offering to assume the liability?
          These things aren’t designed in a vacuum. There are actually national standards.
          BTW, what qualifies you to determine ‘bad design’?
          The Cornell test sight is achieving worst case 85th percentile speeds (the standard of measure) of 30 mph. Similar, or a little less effective than the former speed tables were doing. that is part of the test, figuring out the limits of the channels for ER response versus spacing for effective slowing.

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        • Trikeguy June 6, 2016 at 6:26 am

          Yeah, sure, screw those of us on a multi-track HPV. Thanks.

          Parking lot style speed bumps are for, guess what? PARKING LOTS where the speed shouldn’t be over 10mph and slowing someone to 5mph is a legitimate move.

          The bumps on Canyon court are the long flat kind, and most cars slow way below the 30mph limit for them – to the extent that I usually have to brake going into the slight climb before dropping to the zoo road if there’s a car in front of me.

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    • Spiffy June 3, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      that’s not an example of the ones we’ve mentioned, that’s a bad example… ones that we want are spaced so there are only 2 gaps which allow a large vehicle like a fire truck to pass through…

      designs like this are bad because they’re spaced for passenger vehicles and not the wide emergency vehicles… there should never be 3 gaps in a speed bump….

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      • Spiffy June 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        dbrunker linked to a good example above:

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      • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 4:17 pm

        you should refresh your engineering degree, I think it has expired.
        the link is a low volume local service road (Beaverton markings), where speed is already slow. The 3 cushion design easily permits most motorist to avoid the bumpy portion just as much as the 4 cushion design does, usually only one side of a car can use a channel.
        The 4-cushion design is by request of the Fire Bureau to avoid having to drive into oncoming traffic. It’s kind of important on roads like Cornell that move so much traffic. You may also notice PBOT posted a reminder on Cornell that it is illegal to cross the centerline.
        As discussed above, the channel effectively negates much of the speed reduction qualities of the standard speed bump, so using them on a road posted for 20 or 25 mph is the true waste of money.

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    • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      When was the picture take, date and time?
      Seems like you have all you need to have a citizen citation issued.

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      • Middle of the Road guy June 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm

        I would love to know how to do this…there are many cyclists that run the stop sign by my house.

        Equality works both ways.

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    • wsbob June 5, 2016 at 8:41 am

      I think that effectiveness of a speed bump’s design may be closely related to traffic characteristics distinguishing certain streets from one another; the speed bump design pictured, may not be the best one for that point on Cornell Rd.

      In Beaverton, an example of one road’s series of speed bumps which from my personal experience, seem to work very well, is on 124th and 123rd streets between Center St and Walker Rd (the two streets are continuous with each other, mid-point.).

      These speed bump’s bi-sected design use just two gaps; one for each lane on these two lane streets with curb parking. Relative to traversing this speed bump design, people driving have two basic options: (1) drive directly over the speed bump with all four wheels, and (2) Reduce speed to allow sufficient distance traffic from the opposite direction, so as to be able to move the vehicle slightly to the lane’s left, having one side of the vehicle’s tires go directly over the bump, and one to travel at street grade through the gap in the bump.

      Either way, people traveling by motor vehicle, experience a pronounced disruption in smoothness of travel over the streets’ otherwise very smooth surface. One side of the vehicle’s wheels positioned to travel through the gap makes the traverse considerably less abrupt, yet still highly encourages reduced speed. As a result of this speed bump design, at times of higher traffic use, motor vehicle speeds of 10 mph or 15 mph is common. 25 mph is about top speed, because of vehicle’s physical travel the speed bumps produce.

      With a little care for oncoming traffic, people traveling by bike, can roll right through the gaps in the speed bump, avoiding the vertical movement the bumps are designed to produce.

      In approaching speed bumps, response from road users, to traffic conditions may certainly vary…but on the street I’ve offered as an example people operating motor vehicles and crossing over the center line slightly to position one side of the vehicle’s wheels for passage through the speed bumps’ gap, hasn’t seemed to bring about problems. These are rather narrow, quiet residential neighborhood streets on which people using them seem to manage a fair amount of patience with each other.

      The quiet neighborhood streets I’m citing as example, I believe came to have speed bumps, because people driving increasingly had come to use these streets as a cut-through to avoid typically heavy traffic on Hall Blvd and Cedar Hills Blvd, slightly to the west, outside the residential neighborhood.

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      • Trikeguy June 6, 2016 at 8:22 am

        124th isn’t bad at all on a trike – I can go through (one wheel in the slot, one up) fairly comfortably at 20+.

        The only issue I’ve ever had on that street was a bozo in a big truck trying to pass me – I was going toward Center at 22ish, there were 3 cars at the stop sign waiting to turn onto Center and an oncoming car and this moron goes out to the left and tries to pass me. for the stupidity of human beings.

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  • Ted Buehler June 3, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Folks, if you have an opinion about PBOT adding more speed humps to slow down cars on your neighborhood greenways, make sure you let your civic decisionmakers know you support them.

    Send a quick note to folks like this.

    City of Portland Commissioner Steve Novick
    PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller

    The more they hear, support or otherwise, the more time and $ they are going to invest in improving bicycle infrastructure.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Kyle Banerjee June 3, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Lester Burnham
    Sigh…so much focus on streets like Clinton and nothing but empty promises elsewhere where improvements are desperately needed.


    Car and cycling traffic crawls on Clinton — it was already plenty slow before the diverters. I don’t drive out there, but when an area is hopeless for drivers — and that entire area is — they start doing crazy stuff.

    It’s time to say Clinton is good enough, that there’s no need to further hose the cars there, and find another area to improve.

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  • Stephen Keller June 3, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    I’m not convinced speed bumps work very well. In my neighboorhood, I routinely watch drivers along the Central St. green way slow way down the bump and then floor it to get to the next one; slow down, floor it; and so on. Except at the bump, their actual speed is not much reduced at all. My view is that green ways should be so constructed that cars cannot proceed for more than two (or perhaps three) blocks without encountering a diverter that takes them off the green way.

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    • paikiala June 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      How would that slow them between those two or three blocks, considering that speed bumps on greenways are now built about 300 feet apart, almost every block?

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  • Alex Reedin June 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    East Portland resident here. East Portland has indeed been neglected for a generation now. But the <$100,000 spent on Clinton is not substantially contributing to that neglect. Look towards the expensive brick sidewalks and other "design standards" for the transit mall, capital costs for the streetcar lines, property acquisitions for the Orange Line MAX (which could have been built by making SE 17th for local car traffic only enforced by retractable bollards that come down for the MAX, but noooo we had to maintain auto capacity regardless of the price tag), and the expensive overbuilt interchange on the new Sellwood bridge west side. These things probably add up to $1 billion+ of transportation that do little to nothing to move more people and lots to fancify the central city.

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    • Alex Reedin June 3, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      (Oops, intended this to be a reply to Lester Burnham).

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      the Orange Line MAX (which could have been built by making SE 17th for local car traffic only enforced by retractable bollards that come down for the MAX, but noooo we had to maintain auto capacity regardless of the price tag)

      Hey now. If we didn’t maintain auto access on 17th, how were TriMet employees supposed to get to the TriMet office? Use their own service? Please.

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    • Alex Reedin June 3, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Looking further afield… multimillion(billion?) dollar Dundee Bypass, Sunrise Corridor, and US-20 Eddyville bypass projects from ODOT. Portland Fires & Police funded like we had the fire and violent crime rates we had in 1980, not the much lower rates we have now. There are plenty of bad priorities in government. Making our greenways actually be nice to bike and walk on at rush hour is not one of them.

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    • Social Engineer June 3, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Orange Line MAX and streetcar do “little to nothing to move more people”? Sounds like just an axe to grind against transit projects.

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      • Alex Reedin June 3, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        You’re right, I overstated that. The Streetcar does little to nothing to move people more *quickly* than the bus it replaced. It is moving more people due to rapid development in the area, but the causal impact of the streetcar on that is up for debate. The Orange Line moves more people more quickly (although not as many as one would hope, yet, nor as quickly as I had dreamed) but the SE 17th property acquisitions do not help it do that compared to a retractable-bollard design; on the contrary, the demolitions contribute to an overly-wide and sterile environment that inhibits transit-oriented development there.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. June 3, 2016 at 5:05 pm

          That and they didn’t even build protected bike lanes on 17th. The entire roadway was reconstructed; literally no excuse here other than sheer indifference.

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        • maccoinnich June 4, 2016 at 8:21 am

          The streetcar didn’t replace a bus. When the original segment (between NW 23rd and PSU) opened in 2001 it was an entirely new service, designed to both handle and stimulate growth along its route. It’s been enormously successful. According to Metro, it is the 7th busiest transit line in our system (by number of boarding rides) and 8th most productive (by boarding rides per revenue hour):

          If it were to be replaced today by a standard trimet bus, that new bus service would almost certainly be slower, given the need to board a huge number of people through the front door. It’s doubtful that a bus running at the same frequencies as the existing service could even handle the number of riders that the streetcar gets.

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          • Social Engineer June 4, 2016 at 12:59 pm

            Correct. Not to mention that the streets in North Pearl didn’t even exist up until the late 1990s/early 2000s, remember everything north of Hoyt between 10th and 12th was still railyards.

            1986 central city transit service map:

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            • David Hampsten June 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

              Bus 77 on the Lovejoy viaduct. Boy, now that brings back memories…

              The reality is that both the 15 and the 77 served the streetcar area, and still continue to serve the area, so Alex’s point is quite valid.

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              • Social Engineer June 6, 2016 at 10:41 am

                Either of those lines take riders from NW and Pearl to PSU and South Waterfront? “Serving the same area” and serving the same route are totally separate things.

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              • David Hampsten June 6, 2016 at 11:13 am

                Your own 1986 map shows bus 17 connecting NW to PSU; the south waterfront was an equally awful industrial waste land in 1986, so no service was expected or needed then, and the current service was added only recently (within the last 10 years.) Bus 15 connected/connects the MAX to NW, while bus 77 still connects from the eastside to NW (as well as AMTAK, Greyhound, and all MAX lines). In this particular case, “serving the same area” does equal “serving the same route.”

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        • lop June 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm

          West of 17th you have some light industry, then a big intermodal rail yard. How much residential development was ever going to go there? How much should go in that environment? How effective would mixing trucks/buses accessing the industry lots with MAX have been? How much of the ~$200 million in land acquisition costs for the MAX line do you think was for 17th? If MAX didn’t have it’s own right of way would it have crawled down the street like it does downtown?

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      • Alex Reedin June 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        No, I think transit projects are great! I just think the way we scope, fund, and site them in Portland is overly expensive and biased towards rich areas and maintaining auto capacity. Orange Line and Yellow line? Located on real streets so actually nice to walk to (and allowing transit-oriented development). Green line? On the “transitway” in I-205 because it was cheaper (TriMet already had the land), even though it more or less cut off half of the possible catchment area and possible transit-oriented development due to I-205 being in the way.

        SW Corridor? Scoped so that light rail is an option (which ends up being chosen). Powell-Division? Scoped so that light rail is not an option (which ends up biting the project in the butt as it gets diluted from maybe-BRT into slightly-enhanced bus, which will probably not win any federal dollars).

        Both streetcar projects so far? Sited in the Center city.

        And – in none of these projects (OK, maybe the Yellow line?) did we give up any auto capacity, even though that would have decreased cost. As well as made the streetcar actually go faster than the bus it replaced (crazy idea, I know).

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        • Social Engineer June 4, 2016 at 1:04 pm

          The streetcar replaced nothing. It was a brand new corridor through the Central City that shared parts of the alignment with the 77 in NW.

          And the problem with building the at-grade “TOD-friendly” lines is that we end up with slower transit. MAX trains on Interstate and Burnside are governed by the same speed limit as cars. Not that I’m advocating for more freeway rail, but it’s nice to have both grade separation AND high density, mixed-use walkable development, and Portland seems incapable of building lines that get us both of those outcomes(because it requires $$$),

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          • Adron @ Transit Sleuth June 4, 2016 at 4:28 pm

            I’m 100% in favor of BOTH types, but would rather some real honest to goodness tram style service. Our mix of streetcars and light rail is actually pretty inefficient compared to regular tram service that anybody can find it pretty much any European city. It’s got reasonable redundancies, basically never goes out (unlike MAX), doesn’t push us off to last mile nonsense with buses, has frequency of 3-10 minutes, and is relatively cheap to implement and continue to operate. Unlike both buses and MAX here.

            But I digress… both Yellow Line style and Green Line serve a purpose, the limitations imposed because of automobiles is stupid, just like the limitations of automotives signage like stop signs (designed for cars) and other errata that is force imposed on cyclists and modes like trains. That’s just ridiculous.

            A prime example, Stops should be at the most, yields. 30mph on Interstate Ave for the MAX is silly, that sucker should easily roll 55 between any and every reasonable point (i.e. Rose Quarter to MS/Albina then to Overlook. The fact it pokes along is just absurd. :-/

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            • Social Engineer June 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm

              “30mph on Interstate Ave for the MAX is silly, that sucker should easily roll 55 between any and every reasonable point (i.e. Rose Quarter to MS/Albina then to Overlook. The fact it pokes along is just absurd. :-/”

              I think you’d find many “safe streets” advocates disagreeing with you on that point. The same tension exists in Seattle, where the at-grade MLK segment slow down trains between downtown and Seatac.

              In any case, it would likely be impossible to get to 55 mph between any of the at-grade Yellow Line stops on Interstate (except maybe between IRQ and Overlook), simply due to the relatively close stop spacing. Trains have to begin decelerating for the next stop not too long after leaving the previous station.

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              • David Hampsten June 5, 2016 at 5:09 pm

                And yet they are able to achieve it in most European cities. I’ve seen it in Amsterdam, Zurich, Metz, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Dresden, Le Mans, etc, etc. Shared streets, shared traffic, fast transit on street-level rail, pedestrians and bikes watching out for themselves, cars moving cautiously on rail. This separation of modes in the US is total BS.

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          • Alex Reedin June 6, 2016 at 9:22 am

            I was overstating the case (only thinking about Northwest), but streetcar *did* lead to bus service cuts in Northwest. The 77 used to run on Northrup/Lovejoy and 25th, and the 17 ran on Glisan/Everett and 21st. After the streetcar went in and the recession hit, TriMet truncated the 17 to end downtown and the 77 got switched over to the old 17 alignment in inner Northwest, leaving just the streetcar serving Northrup/Lovejoy. I think this was a smart decision, but yes – the Streetcar ended up replacing a bus for part of its alignment.


            The PSU to northwest alignment is indeed new, as well as the eastside streetcar alignment. I don’t think streetcar is that bad, but it just baffles me that the City wouldn’t give an expensive rail line its own dedicated traffic lane.

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            • maccoinnich June 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm

              I think it’s stretching things pretty far to argue that a bus route reorganization that happened 11 years after the streetcar opened, as part of a series of system wide cuts, is an example of how the streetcar replaced a bus line.

              While individual segments of the streetcar line have had bus service on them (and in some cases still do), there has never been a bus line that served the same route as the streetcar does today.

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            • Social Engineer June 6, 2016 at 1:21 pm

              That 2012 restructure resulted in a significant cut to transit service in NW. The biggest blow was that NW (and St Johns express service) lost direct access to the transit mall spine when the 17 was moved to take over the Broadway leg of Line 9. The streetcar serves the West End on 10th and 11th, which is between 4-6 blocks west of the core employment area of downtown, depending on which direction you’re headed. Not major, but not insignificant.

              But in addition, those cuts meant that frequent streetcar service, which used to start before 7 AM, now don’t start until 10 AM. Each of the lines now have roughly 20 minute service during the AM peak, a service reduction that we are still trying to reverse nearly four years later.

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  • maxadders June 4, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    As someone who commutes on Clinton 4-5 days a week, this is welcome news. But we also need bumps and / or diverters east of 50th on Woodward, as it’s a very attractive “cut” for drivers trying to get to 71st.

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  • Buzz June 5, 2016 at 10:41 am

    the more work like this they do on Clinton, the more motor vehicle traffic that gets diverted to other bike routes like SE Harrison between SE 20th and 26th.

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    • Alex Reedin June 6, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Lincoln/Harrison is also on the City’s list for auto diversion and speed bumps. Although I would like to see network-wide projects, the reality is that today’s political will is only sufficient for one corridor at a time, which is better than nothing. If you’d like to see that change, get involved with BikeLoudPDX or Bike Walk Vote!

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  • joel June 5, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    greenways are 20 mph. i feel like i always go faster than 20 on a bike and its a cargo bike. isnt clinton a greenway? sorry but f i missed this in the article. i think 25 is ok if cars actually go 25. by the way stark below 60th is 25 now.

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  • Laura June 5, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    As a Clinton resident, this is a great start, but as others have noted…a diverter/closure is needed at 50th, and similar work is needed on Lincoln/Harrison from 39th->60th…especially as we get closer to all of those new apartments and townhomes on SE 50th coming on-line.

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  • dan June 5, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Yes please, speed bumps and/or speed enforcement on Lincoln! And I wish we could get a traffic circle / obstacle (what are those things actually called?) at the funky intersection at 42nd and Lincoln. There are way too many close calls there as people try to cross Lincoln southbound on 42nd.

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  • RF June 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    the bumps are actually kind of annoying to ride over and I don’t see anyone slowing down. I live at 45th on Clinton…

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