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Coming soon: A new protected bike lane on 2nd Ave and a plaza near Voodoo Doughnuts

Posted by on June 9th, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Mock-up of what 2nd Avenue will look like by the end of July.(Images: City of Portland)

Mock-up of what 2nd Avenue will look like by the end of July.
(Images: City of Portland)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation will make significant changes to 2nd and 3rd Avenues in downtown Portland this summer.

2nd, which is one-way northbound, will be re-striped with a parking-protected bike lane from SW Stark to NW Everett and there’s a new public plaza coming to the intersection of SW Ankeny and 3rd.

The changes come as a direct follow-up and complement to last year’s buffered bike lanes and new crosswalks on 3rd Avenue. The project will complete a north-south couplet on two streets that were previously striped without dedicated space for cycling.

PBOT hasn’t made any official statements about the 2nd Avenue or the Ankeny Alley plaza projects. Details were quietly released on their website yesterday.

According to the site, which calls this the “2nd Avenue Road Reconfiguration Project,” PBOT explains that the impetus comes from the same place as the 3rd Avenue changes: The Old Town Chinatown Community Association. After new bike lanes and crosswalks went in on 3rd, they wanted a similar treatment for 2nd. When PBOT did a traffic analysis on 2nd they felt a bike lane could be created with “no significant increase in delay for motor vehicle operators.” (Why they feel the need to justify these projects with that framing is beyond me. A city where people can drive without delay is not a goal stated in any adopted plans.)

Striping plan for NW 2nd between Burnside and Couch.

Striping plan for NW 2nd between Burnside and Couch.

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Striping plan for SW 2nd between Ankeny and Burnside.

Striping plan for SW 2nd between Ankeny and Burnside.

The existing cross-section on 2nd is typical of downtown Portland: three conventional travel lanes and two lanes for on-street parking. The new cross-section will include two conventional lanes, one bike-only lane (on the left side of the street), and two parking lanes. One of the parking lanes (on the right side) will remain with the parking lane on the west side of the street will become a “floating” lane that will separate the new curbside bike lane from the conventional lane. This parking-protected bike lane is the exact same design that was successfully piloted by Better Block PDX on their Better Broadway project one month ago.

Keep in mind it was Better Block that started this momentum. They first transformed 3rd Avenue with temporary barricades and hay bales in October of 2014 and PBOT has been capitalizing on the success of that project ever since.

In addition to the new lane configuration, the 2nd Avenue project will prohibit auto parking adjacent to some intersections in order to make them safer to cross. Because the City feels the need to do these projects without reducing any parking capacity (similar to how they prefer to not reduce auto travel times), PBOT will maintain the overall number of parking spaces by fitting more cars onto other parts of the street.

PBOT says the project will improve safety for everyone thanks to lower driving speeds and upgraded spaces for people on foot and on bikes.

And to add to this new 2nd and 3rd Avenue couplet, PBOT is working with business owners through the Ankeny Alley Association to create a new public plaza on 3rd between Burnside and Ash. The plaza will extend out from the popular destination of Voodoo Doughnuts and will line up wit the existing carfree street that was created on Ankeny in 2011. Last March we shared some initial designs of what the plaza might look like.

Design for plaza on 3rd and Ankeny.

Design for plaza on 3rd and Ankeny.

These projects are expected to be completed by mid-to-late July.

To share feedback on this project and/or to get involved in future planning efforts in this area, email the Old Town Chinatown Community Association Transportation & Mobility Committee at OTCTmobility@gmail.com.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Adam H.maccoinnichrickAndy KTurning R onto Burnside Recent comment authors
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John Liu
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That looks good!

I imagine there will be an initial period during which drivers learn where to park, with some continuing to park curbside. But people will figure it out.

Can you tell from the drawings how wide the parking-protected bike lane will be? Enough that it’s not a de facto door zone?

Eventually, it would be nice to see the bike lane extend further south than Stark. You should be able to come off the Hawthorne Bridge, turn right on 2nd, and ride in the bike lane all the way into Chinatown. Ditto the southbound direction on 3rd.

lop
Guest
lop

Is PBOT/fire chief going to insist that the no parking zones at the end of some blocks be kept clear for large vehicles to turn? Or can we use the space for bike corrals/bike share docks?

rick
Guest
rick

For 2nd Ave, why not all the way from Stark to Glisan?

maccoinnich
Guest

I’m glad that PBOT is finally going to build a northbound bike lane through Downtown, but its position on the left hand side of the street worries me. Many of the people who will be using this bike lane will be heading out of Downtown to the east side of the river. The configuration shown will make it really difficult to turn right from 2nd onto the Burnside Bridge.

lop
Guest
lop

>“no significant increase in delay for motor vehicle operators.” (Why they feel the need to justify these projects with that framing is beyond me. A city where people can drive without delay is not a goal stated in any adopted plans.)

From the draft 2035 comprehensive plan.

“Policy 9.39 Automobile transportation. Maintain acceptable levels of mobility and access for private automobiles while reducing overall vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and negative impacts of private automobiles on the environment and human health.”

Serious question. What level of delay is compatible with maintaining acceptable levels of mobility?

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Tell me, how many of the cycling deaths over the past couple of years involved overtaking vehicles striking cyclists in a standard (non-door-zone) bike lane or even in a sharrow (marked or not) and how many involved cyclists being struck in intersections? Just from the press coverage, it looks like the latter vastly outnumber the former, and yet here we are with people getting excited about a buildout that increases the intersection risks (and may increase the dooring numbers).

It may be time to leave the group-think behind.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

Sigh…, I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m really uncomfortable riding on the left hand side of the road. Drivers don’t seem to expect cyclists on that side of the road.

Keviniano
Subscriber
Keviniano

I’m excited by more separated lanes of travel (yay!), but the more I look at the drawing, the more questions I have about 2nd.

This reconfiguration, as drawn, doesn’t seem very functional for me personally. The big bike box on Burnside at 2nd — what is it for? I think of those types of boxes as being in places where the focus is preventing right hooks, but… there’s no right turn there.

I head north on 2nd to get on the Burnside Bridge as my usual route home from downtown, and I agree with maccoinnich. The lack of the right-turn bike box onto Burnside and all the obstacles to moving over to the right lane mean I’d likely move into the far right lane blocks back, maybe as far back as Stark, depending on how easy the lane change ends up being.

I’m already imagining the fun of dealing with drivers who would get frustrated with me for taking one of “their” lanes after they “gave up” a lane to bicycles.

Greg
Guest
Greg

The first parts might work depending on whether they’re in door zones or not – those bits could be fun for slower riders. Looks like there aren’t any intersections and there’s a light at Burnside.

But the intersection of 2nd and Couch looks pretty sketchy.

Insufficient sight-lines before the intersection (to preserve parking?) to increase left hook danger? Check.

Left side positioning to add a WTF surprise factor for drivers running the stop sign on Couch? Check.

In particular, this idea that maybe if we hide cyclists until they get to intersections no-one will be able to find them and hit them needs correction before more folks get injured unnecessarily.

One imagines the protected bike lane at all costs enthusiasts riding with their eyes closed under the theory that if you can’t see the cars they can’t hurt you 😉

Adam
Subscriber

This is what I’m talking about when I say the city should be engaged in street redesign! Thanks to Better Block for starting the momentum for this! Will there be flexible bollards in the buffer area?

peter hass
Guest
peter hass

I’m not a fan of the proposed left side bike lane on 2nd. It’ll make it more difficult and less safe to make a right turn onto Burnside. Plus it adds risk by being inconsistent…most bike lanes on one way streets, and two way streets, are on the right.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

Many of the car drivers who come off the Burnside Bridge W bound make a right on Second, left on Couch, left on Third. La la, protected bike lane, oops.

Justin
Guest
Justin

Not a perfect design, but I’m still exceedingly happy with the effort (and the direction it signals). Thanks PBOT!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…When PBOT did a traffic analysis on 2nd they felt a bike lane could be created with “no significant increase in delay for motor vehicle operators.” (Why they feel the need to justify these projects with that framing is beyond me. A city where people can drive without delay is not a goal stated in any adopted plans.) …” maus/bikeportland

Motor vehicle operators being somewhere around 85 percent of vehicle operators on the road…the vast majority…avoiding resulting traffic congestion from their travel being delayed, is what I expect, is the objective.

Adam
Subscriber

When PBOT did a traffic analysis on 2nd they felt a bike lane could be created with “no significant increase in delay for motor vehicle operators.” (Why they feel the need to justify these projects with that framing is beyond me. A city where people can drive without delay is not a goal stated in any adopted plans.)

Drivers cause their own delay simply by driving. Removing lanes, adding bike lanes, widening roads; it doesn’t matter. The problem is too many cars. The best solution to this is to give people options other than driving while slowly taking their space away to accommodate these other options. Bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and light rail all help with this. But we can’t frame it as “how do we do this without slowing down cars” because these projects are not the cause of congestion, they are the solution.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

They are building this just for you, Adam, and ruining two streets for cycling that are perfectly good as is.

ethan
Guest
ethan

This design looks terrible in my opinion. There’s just so much wrong with it. Can’t the city do better? And wouldn’t it help to have a comprehensive plan for the streets downtown before implementing the first low-cost design that comes to mind?

maccoinnich
Subscriber

Despite my reservations (stated above), I think the Ankeny Plaza is awesome. It will be great to see that ridiculously wide section of road narrowed, and to create new public space that builds on the success of Ankeny Alley.

I assume the plaza is just going to painted for now, but longer term it would be great if a funding source could be found to repave the plaza and alley with higher quality materials than concrete or asphalt.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Add me to the list of folks not at all enthusiastic about the Copenhagen turn at 2nd/Burnside. Very clunky. Is TriMet going to relocate their bus stop? If not, I don’t see this going well. I’m not going to do some sort of do-si-do nonsense in a bike box next to heavy traffic in front of a busy bus stop. I’ll take the lane and make my right turn like I always have. Put another way, this investment is nearly useless to me, as pretty as it is.

If the comfortable bike users aren’t really into using this bike box to make a convoluted left-but-really-right turn on a busy street, how on Earth does PBOT think that this design will actually help the casual or less confident riders?

Also, I don’t see a lot of traffic northbound on 2nd that continues across Burnside. I ride down there most afternoons, and it seems like most everyone is trying to get to the bridge. So, why complicate that?

John Liu
Subscriber

I don’t think turning from 2nd right on Burnside will be hard at all. Stop in the bike lane at the intersection, when light turns green for Burnside traffic, simply ride across 2nd and into the bike lane on Burnside. Safe and easy.

If you’re in too much of a hurry to wait for the signal, then simply leave the bike lane, get into the traffic lanes of 2nd, move into the right most lane of 2nd, and turn right at Burnside.

If you’re in too much of a hurry to wait, but ride too slowly to use the traffic lanes, then maybe reconsider your impatience because it might be sort of pointless.

Mark Smith
Guest
Mark Smith

An increase in streets where one doesn’t need to be “brave” or where one can bring their child with them…is a good thing. All this “oh, left/right hooks will increase” is just fear of the unknown. Calming streets is good.

Turning R onto Burnside
Guest
Turning R onto Burnside

Will they add any treatments that help cyclists turning east onto the Burnside Bridge from 2nd, such as a turn box?

Wells
Guest
Wells

About 5 years ago, I did a curb extension study of Old Town, mostly to improve pedestrian crossings of 2nd, 3rd & 4th Aves and of Burnside, Ankeny and Ash Streets. This is a lot more curb extensions, but pedestrian safety especially near Saturday Market warrants priority over bicycling. My inspiration was the creation of a triangular “Ankeny Plaza” between 3rd & 4th Aves after closing 1-way Ankeny and Ash restriped for 2-way traffic. I suppose city officialdom held their noses at my detailed renderings because I am not a business operator nor a next generation millennial with future employment prospects.

I’d say the Left side bike lane is a nod to Saturday Market businesses with a ‘perceived need’ for unhindered access during setup and breakdown on weekends. I’m glad to see my early efforts nearing fruition, but I’d rather see my Ankeny Plaza idea than a more cozy lineup for doughnut refugees.