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

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 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.

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

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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