Imagining an inner Powell that would actually solve the street’s problems

Posted by on July 26th, 2016 at 2:46 pm

When more people use cars on a street, it becomes less and less efficient. When more people use mass transit, it becomes more and more efficient.
(Image: Nick Falbo)

The City of Portland and the State of Oregon both say they want to free more of their constituents from traffic congestion and to reduce planet-killing pollution.

There’s no mystery at all about what this would look like on inner Powell Boulevard. Everyone with some measure of power who has considered the issue knows the answer. But for some reason, the millions of public dollars spent talking about that possible answer have never resulted in a street-level picture of it.

That changed Monday when a Portland-based street designer, Nick Falbo, threw up a rough image of a Powell that would get more and more efficient as more people use it rather than less and less efficient.

Here’s the full before-and-after rendering Falbo shared on his Twitter feed:

Notice how both images feature the same number of cars.

Falbo’s day job is with Alta Planning + Design, but his Twitter feed is his own.

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In March, project managers pulled the plug on short-term plans for a “rapid” bus line on inner Powell because they realized it wouldn’t actually be rapid. There was one basic reason: the Oregon Department of Transportation had silently vetoed the possibility of fully prioritizing bus traffic over car traffic with a dedicated lane, and no politicians in the state, city or regional government had tried to force them to do otherwise.

Would removing cars from two lanes of Powell in favor of buses (plus ambulances and, maybe, trucks) get a lot of people angry? Of course it would. Is it far easier and less stressful for an independent contractor like Falbo to throw up a nice-looking image and enjoy the cheers from like-minded folks on the Internet? Definitely.

But there’s a reason that people cheer for images like this one. Unlike any other traffic plan for inner Powell, including the status quo, it offers a way to actually solve the problems before us, rather than closing our eyes and hoping our grandchildren never ask us why we never got around to making those problems go away.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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94 Comments
  • Avatar
    Spiffy July 26, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I was just over at the Powell-Division Transit Development Project web site (http://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/powell-division-transit-and-development-project) yesterday to see what was going on and I took the survey this morning…

    it focused exclusively on Division…

    I filled out the forms and felt like they were completely avoiding the issue of non-transit commute traffic on Division…

    they stated less stops, better signal timing, and larger buses as reasons it will speed up the street…

    what they forgot to account for was the currently congestion level that will never let them realize any greater speeds due to the bus sitting in traffic…

    I wasn’t happy…

    in the comments section at the end I stated that they needed to move this idea over to Powell and dedicate an entire lane for the bus so it wouldn’t get stuck in traffic…

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      Josh Gold July 26, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      I left the same comments you did about dedicated bus line for Powell. Also recommended to look at moving #10 off Clinton between 21st and 26th, and asked for more frequent service during peak times for #4 to alleviate crowding.

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        Betsy Reese July 26, 2016 at 5:29 pm

        Thanks for recommending that the #10 be moved off Clinton, Josh.

        I and other advocates have been told for years that the #10 bus cannot be moved off Clinton over to Division Street because it cannot make the turn at SE. 26th Ave. and Division.

        Here is proof that it can and does every time it is detoured from Clinton. I watched this detour operate smoothly again yesterday while Clinton was closed between 25th and 26th for movie filming.

        See my Youtube video of the #10 – easily, smoothly, and without leaving its lane – making the turn from Division to 26th southbound.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y4Pd6tPHgU&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share

        Let’s get this big bus off our Greenway for these five blocks.

        Betsy

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          Spiffy July 27, 2016 at 8:11 am

          speaking of getting buses off the greenways, I’d like to get the 71 off of Lincoln from 52nd to 60th and have it also take Division instead…

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

            I agree! The bus seems to have trouble getting around the traffic islands on Lincoln. TriMet did this a few times, so I know it’s possible.

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              nuovorecord July 27, 2016 at 9:27 am

              “…seems to have trouble getting around the traffic islands on Lincoln.”

              I ride the 71 a lot. This is certainly not the case.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 9:36 am

                I also ride the 71 a lot. The “trouble” is that the bus driver has to greatly slow down to get around them. Which means the islands are working, I suppose, but why even have the bus driver deal with that when the bus could be routed over Division instead?

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            Daniel Costantino July 27, 2016 at 10:11 am

            Yes please! It would be great to have that bus turn onto Division between 52nd and 60th.

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            Dick Pilz July 28, 2016 at 2:21 pm

            The claim I heard, at a neighborhood meeting about the 50s bikeway, was a southbound bus could not negotiate the right turn from 60th onto Division

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          paikiala July 27, 2016 at 2:47 pm

          Betsy,
          The video needs to be more clear as to the constraint/lack thereof. A view from 26th south of Division looking NW that shows the bus number, where it started it’s turn, and the distance from the corner, would better illustrate the feasibility of the movement.

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      eawrist July 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      DOTs in cities around the country (such as PBOT) in many cases have a clear precedent of successful design, have the relevant research, know what design lends itself to safer and cleaner neighborhoods and what is ultimately better for our future. Their hands are equally tied by political positioning and constraints that render projects ultimately ineffective. This is what happened to the Powell-Division project.

      We know what to make, we just don’t have the politicians who will do it.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      The Powell-Divison BRT project is dead as initially envisioned. The project is now effectively an express Division bus, running entirely in mixed traffic. Which itself is a good improvement, but it is not BRT. Why do Metro and TriMet need until 2021 if all that’s being done is the removal of a few stops and nicer bus shelters?

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty July 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I agree that something like this has to be the future of Powell, however, the “same number of cars” caption sort of glosses over the fact that the photo shows a very low-volume time of day. There is no way a redone street could carry anywhere near the volume of vehicular traffic Powell does when it is full (which it is much of the time).

    Many people (here and elsewhere) complain about the changes to Division (which were much less dramatic than this proposal). How would a redone street actually function in practice?

    Images are powerful, and I hope that these help move the conversation beyond where it has been stuck for approximately forever.

    PS A minor quibble: my understanding is that ODOT didn’t veto the idea of a dedicated lane on Powell because no one asked.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Totally agree. One of my frustrations with this project was that “retention of car lanes” was a metric of success from the very beginning. The project was set up to fail.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty July 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        Is this true? Was that ever a stated goal or criteria of the project?

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm

          When using the interactive plan map, every single segment on Powell said something along the lines of whether it could be done without interfering with motor traffic. Why even state that if it wasn’t a goal of the project?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty July 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm

            Probably because they didn’t want to scare off the 95% of Portlanders who don’t want to disrupt auto traffic on Powell? (Because where would it go? Probably more would filter through the adjacent neighborhoods.)

            I don’t know what this was ever an official goal of the project in the way you presented it; it was probably seen as a constraint on what was politically feasible.

            I want to be clear that I do want to take a closer look at lane removal on Powell, but I recognize that most people would oppose it, making it a very tough political sell.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 4:40 pm

              I don’t buy scaring people away as a valid reason. We elected our leaders to lead, and it’s their job to convince us why it’s needed. Come up with a compelling argument why we need this project, rather than throwing up their arms and dejecting “well, this will make people upset”. Someone is always going to get upset, but we need our elected leaders to make tough (even unpopular) choices that will benefit everyone in the long run.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm

                Of course they should lead. But they also need to reflect the will of the people who elected them, otherwise they won’t get elected again. I agree that Powell needs a reboot, but I am really unsure how accomplish it.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm

                I would argue that the job of elected officials is not solely to represent the will of the people, but to work towards a future that benefits all their constituents as well. I’m willing to bet that highway widening would poll well in the region, but most of us here would agree that is bad for our future. Let the government represent the will of the people, but also let them make the decision on implementation. If the will of the people is to “solve our transportation issues” let Metro come to the conclusion that bus lanes on Powell would solve that and help more people that it would inconvenience.

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          • Avatar
            Keviniano July 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm

            I think that the TriMet version of BRT will rarely have 24/7 dedicated lanes. If they thought a project deserved that, they would want to put in a MAX line.

            Not saying I agree with that approach, but it seems like that’s how they think about it at a high level.

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              paikiala July 27, 2016 at 2:50 pm

              Tri-Met on an ODOT road = ODOT vision = more cars. ODOT staff has actually told PBOT staff that projects like Clinton are messing up their roads.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

                What we really need is for PBOT to get control of Powell and other not-highway highways.

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                was carless July 27, 2016 at 10:53 pm

                That will never happen. It’s a state Highway and a nuclear evacuation route. They won’t even allow signals or crosswalks on Powell or Barbur because it could interfere with troop movements.

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                eawrist July 28, 2016 at 5:25 am

                Wow. We really need ODOT out of Pland ASAP.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 26, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Yeah, it’s entirely possible that no staffer for TriMet, Metro, PBOT, etc, ever actually transmitted the words to any ODOT staffer “seeing as it’s the only actual solution to rush-hour congestion on inner Powell, why don’t we have a dedicated bus lane there?” ODOT’s cultural conservatism creates a pretty convenient villain for people at other, less conservative agencies who would rather not force the question. Same goes for politicians.

      Ultimately, it’s on our politicians — Gov. Brown, state legislators, the city councils, the Metro council — to force difficult questions. Not ODOT staff, though IMO the top ODOT staff could be forcing them if they wanted to and they could also be doing a better job of making it feel safer for the questions to be asked.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty July 26, 2016 at 10:09 pm

        Ultimately, it’s on its to make sure our politicians are asking the hard questions, and won’t be out of a job if they do.

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      • Avatar
        Chris Anderson July 27, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        ODOT is insulated from political pressure. So wouldn’t it be nice if they would use that situation for good instead of evil?

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          Blake July 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm

          I don’t think ODOT is insulated from political pressure, it is just getting a good deal of cover from Governor Kate Brown who has the power to appoint the 5 member commission who is the parent agency for ODOT. If the governor decided that the approach ODOT took was inappropriate, she could push change.

          It might meet bureaucratic resistance but I doubt the pressure is being pushed from the Governor’s office for a change of priorities to something more progressive like PBOT: http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/green-hierarchy.jpg

          For example, the governor would not be talking about freeway expansion as a tool to reduce congestion in a positive light like this: https://twitter.com/OregonGovBrown/status/758739322627436546

          As Oregon moves to becoming a more reliably blue state, it would seem possible to change the person who is at the top to someone with more progressive transportation priorities (at least relative to other states where getting a Democrat elected is more difficult).

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  • Avatar
    m July 26, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    It’s disingenuous to take a picture during a non-rush hour period and say the “after” shows the same number of cars. Powell is packed with cars during rush hour. We all know that. That said, it makes no sense to install a BRT without a dedicated lane. Car capacity will be cut by 50% but it is worth it to encourage the use of BRT – It has the speed of trains with the lower expense of Buses.

    My view is that the “powers that be” never really want BRT all along but would much prefer to wait so they can install MAX down the road. BRT is practical but not sexy. Tri-Met likes sexy.

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      eawrist July 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Light rail was never on the table despite 50% of the survey results contained comments who were interested or in support. If Metro wanted LRT, they did not want it to happen soon.

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        m July 26, 2016 at 3:51 pm

        Exactly. Their focus now is on Southwest to Bridgeport Village.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Yeah, Powell never looks like that except maybe at 3 am. That being said, we shouldn’t even care about how many cars we can fit on Powell at all. We should care about the effect the road has on our built-up neighborhoods and how we can use public right-of-way to improve livability. Don’t like how slow Powell is now? Well, then why not take this fancy new bus or MAX line we just built?

      Right now, Powell functions as a car sewer and nothing else. Crossing on foot at rush hour takes forever because the signals are timed for maximum car throughput. Everyone seems to complain about traffic reducing their quality of life, but what about the quality of life for the people who live nearby? Powell is hugely detrimental for those who live along the corridor, and it’s high time we fix that. We can even improve things for drivers if we get them to take the bus instead, so there’s no drawback to this.

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        Charley July 26, 2016 at 4:20 pm

        WORD. I live off of Powell. It’s a transportation barrier to me, not a transportation corridor. I route my whole commute around how to avoid Powell. My wife and I love our neighborhood, but Powell is like a giant festering wound in the middle of it. There’s little beauty or fun commerce on Powell- mostly strip clubs and weird old greasy restaurants. It will always be like that as long as Powell is a highway.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm

          I also live a block from Powell. I frequently take the 9 bus to get downtown so it does function as a transportation corridor for me, though it often gets stuck in car traffic. Walking along or crossing Powell on foot, however, is not a pleasant experience. There is so much lost potential and it’s all because of how dangerous Powell is for anyone not in a vehicle.

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      • Avatar
        Craig Giffen July 27, 2016 at 11:45 am

        Powell is actually fun to bike on at 3am, if you see a car though, get the hell off the road because the driver is either drunk, driving 20mph over, or both!

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    Eric Leifsdad July 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    ODOT out of Portland!

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      B. Carfree July 26, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Step Two: ODOT out of Oregon.

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    B. Carfree July 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Nice drawing. However, it would fail California’s standards for bike lanes since he left the street light pole in what should be the clear zone for the bike lane. The lack of any clear zone on our bike facilities is a constant irritant and safety hazard. It’s long past time for us to raise our game in this regard.

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      Spiffy July 27, 2016 at 8:20 am

      if you want to move the light pole because it’s a foot away from the bike lane then you’ll need to move all the trees as well…

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    meh July 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    What’s the definition of efficient here? Is taking twice as long to travel to and from a location an efficient use of my time? Waiting for mass transit is not an efficient use of time.

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      eawrist July 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Waiting in a car in traffic is a much worse waste of time for everyone else.

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        Eric Leifsdad July 26, 2016 at 6:17 pm

        also waiting behind a bus in the bike lane.

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          eawrist July 26, 2016 at 7:04 pm

          I hear you. DC just decided to designate a shared bus/bike lane on a major street. Remember dodging buses on Williams? Yeah.

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      SaferStreetsPlease July 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      BRT would run often and be much more efficient than driving during peak hours if Powell were redesigned as such. I’m not going to hold my breath since ODOT is involved.

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      dan July 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      So many people agree with you that we have 1+ hour commute times to the outer suburbs. In those circumstances, personally I would much rather take transit (and do, when I visit my parents in Vancouver on weekday evenings) – at least I can read rather than creep along at 10 mph. It is, of course, your prerogative to prefer holding the wheel and creeping along at 10 mph. 🙂

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      JeffS July 26, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      No, that’s absolutely not the measurement.

      Perhaps if you want to factor in the extra time you have to work to pay your insurance, tax, registration and gas, then maybe.

      Cheaper, faster, and more convenient isn’t the benchmark for mass transit.

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      Spiffy July 27, 2016 at 8:26 am

      I gladly choose 60 minutes of care-free playing on my phone/internet and chatting with society over 30-45 minutes of stress being on high-alert for idiots breaking the law with only a radio as my escape…

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      paikiala July 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      meh,

      People moved per hour, not cars moved per hour.

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        eawrist July 28, 2016 at 5:29 am

        Yes. I would also add the oft overlooked variable of whether during this movement people report they are happy or not.

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      GlowBoy July 29, 2016 at 10:18 am

      As someone who uses both bikes and mass transit regularly for transportation, I disagree about transit being an inefficient use of time.

      In fact, I often make the decision to use transit instead of a bike precisely because I’m short on time that day. On a bus or train, I get work done (or maybe just some reading I haven’t gotten to, if it fits my mood). Can’t do that in a car or on a bike.

      Yes, transit can take longer to get somewhere, but that’s just a simplistic view of how we use our time as it is to eschew biking because it often takes longer than driving.
      – Time spent in a car is completely unproductive other than getting you to your destination.
      – Time on a bike is less wasteful because you’re getting where you’re going and getting exercise at the same time. Yes, the transportation aspect often takes longer than by car, but it’s time efficient because the amount of time spent is still less than if I’d driven to my destination, then driven to the gym and worked out separately to get that half hour of exercise.
      – Likewise, time spent in transit vehicles is efficiently spent because I’m getting where I’m going and working at the same time. Again, this generally takes longer than by car, (and usually longer than bike, if transfers are involved), but the total amount of time spent is still less than if I’d driven to my destination and done the same amount of work at a desk somewhere,

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    Huey Lewis July 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Because I’m clueless; what is the clear zone? What the f does California have to do with this?

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      Huey Lewis July 27, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Fantastic. All the mega commenters on this site and no one can answer a question.

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        nuovorecord July 27, 2016 at 9:56 am

        Did you not get the Googles installed on your computer?

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          Huey Lewis July 27, 2016 at 10:10 am

          With all the people who seemingly never leave BP ever I figured someone could answer. I check BP a couple times a day. And sometimes not at all! Blue collar work doesn’t allow me non stop internet access through out the day.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 9:26 am

      The “clear zone” is used for highways and is empty space along the roadway so that a driver who leaves the roadway doesn’t crash into something. It’s been shown to actually reduce safety because its existence encourages speeding.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 9:46 am

        This is exactly why I like on-street parking!

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        Huey Lewis July 27, 2016 at 10:11 am

        Thanks, Adam.

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    Bjorn July 26, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    It is going to need enforcement cameras too or people will just drive down the red lane.

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      Spiffy July 27, 2016 at 8:27 am

      much like how people drive in the Belmont bus-only lanes… never seen a cop in that area during commute…

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    rick July 26, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I’ve taken the Tour d’ODOT and Powell is a mess. It needs to be safe.

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    David Lewis July 26, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Maybe we should ask why we have these problems to begin with!

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    Nick Falbo July 26, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the share Michael!

    Implementing this would require a dramatic departure from our standard practices with regards to accommodating motor vehicle traffic. Portland is learning where their limit is when it comes to road diets, and this drawing goes so far beyond their limits that it is unlikely to be taken seriously. I do hope however that it can become a discussion point for asking some questions about my future option vs. today:

    Which street can move the most people?
    Which street produces the highest speed for transit?
    Which streets produces the highest serious injury crash rate?
    Which street can be more economically prosperous?
    Which street can support the future population growth of our town centers on Powell and in Lents?
    Which street gets more people to their work on time, reliably?

    My take is that the answer to all of these questions is the multimodal version of the street.

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      Ms.Haole July 27, 2016 at 10:58 am

      I want to get involved and do everything I can to make dedicated BRT or light rail on Powell a reality. Is there anything I can do aside from just attending the Powell-Division Transit meetings, and writing to politicians? Can we somehow band together to pressure Trimet/ODOT/politicians?

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      Eric Leifsdad July 27, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      If we look at how much we’re willing to spend on road maintenance, our “limit” for road diets looks like: most streets are closed to through auto traffic and arterials are as you’ve shown above.

      I know — suggesting we stick to a budget isn’t taken seriously. Hey, no problem: we’ll just add some toll lanes to the freeway.

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    eawrist July 26, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I think it’s important to note the corridor itself negated the potential effects that LRT would have in connecting the East parts of the metro area. The narrow corridor as it was defined prior to the project precluded any consideration of anything other than Powell-Division. This was both nonsensical and predictive of one impossible solution. A line from the Tillicum down Powell connecting at 205 would not be one line (i.e. it would allow lines on existing track to Clackamas, to the PDX and to Gresham). The effects multiply with connectivity. The narrow corridor mindset made the project essentially worthless from the get go.

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    Tom July 26, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Straddle bus. Should be able to buy them in a few years from China.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu July 27, 2016 at 1:34 am

    I don’t understand how the rendering fits with the actual dimensions of Powell.

    Powell is five lanes wide, currently four travel lanes (two in each direction) and a center turn lane.

    The rendering shows four travel lanes (a car and a bus lane in each section), two bike lanes (look like each is 5′ wide), and a center bus stop island that looks about as wide as a lane.

    Seems to me the rendering assumes you can squeeze one more 10 foot wide lane into Powell. Maybe you can, but if there is actually room for bike lanes, they are probably not going to be roomy and buffered enough to satisfy many here on BP.

    Also, are there a lot of BRT-suitable buses with passenger doors on the left side?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 8:49 am

      It’s not at all clear to me how the intersections will work, or how vehicles will make left turns. What, for example, would the plan for 39th & Powell be?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 8:59 am

        Typically with center-running bus lanes, left turns are banned at most intersections. At major streets like Chávez, there would be separate signal phases for buses and drivers. It works the same way left turns across MAX tracks do.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 9:03 am

          That would put all non-through traffic onto Division, right?

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 9:28 am

            Some of those people will take the bus.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 9:45 am

              And many won’t. How will Division handle the increase in volumes?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 9:51 am

                It will slow to a crawl to the point that no one will want to drive on it, so they make other transportation choices.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 10:06 am

                That’s already happened! The mantra when we redid Division was “let them use Powell!”. If Division becomes the main access to the neighbourhood, in not sure that will work well.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 10:06 am
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                Rick July 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm

                Is this a serious answer?

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                Alex Reedin July 27, 2016 at 9:20 pm

                Yep, this is a serious answer. With population growth strong in Portland and no one making any more land, we physically cannot have as high a percentage of people get around by car, the most space-consuming form of transportation, anymore without extreme congestion. Any affordable attempts to improve other modes require taking space away from cars. Therefore our choices are extreme car congestion or even more extreme car congestion – and even more extreme car congestion by making space for other ways to get around makes more efficient use of our space, allows more people to get their daily needs met in a reasonable amount of travel time, and is better for our health and the world. Seems like a slam dunk to me.

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      Nick Falbo July 28, 2016 at 8:48 am

      My assumptions about widths are slightly different than yours, but yes, at station areas there will be some road-widening necessary. Along segments without stations, the median would be reduced to a minimum width and it can fit curb to curb.

      http://streetmix.net/nickfalbo/32/powell-remix

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    Adam July 27, 2016 at 6:31 am

    I love it!

    But you’re going to have to put one HELL of a lot more diversion on Clinton for THAT to ever happen.

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    Chris I July 27, 2016 at 6:53 am

    A lane reduction on Powell is going to be a non-starter. This project needs to be LRT, as it would nicely tie into the Orange line on the west end, and the green line on the east end (with potential extension east on Division). It would be expensive, but would add significant new service options and system flexibility, all on a dedicated ROW. Powell has extra ROW east of 52nd that was set aside for the Mt. Hood Freeway, and we should take advantage of that. Between 17th and 52nd, a few elevated sections would be required (near Cleveland HS and at 39th due to ROW width and traffic impact). A MUP could be built adjacent to the MAX ROW for the length of the project, flying over many busy intersections, safely separated for the entire length.

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      ethan July 27, 2016 at 7:01 am

      A partially elevated MAX line would be very cool.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. July 27, 2016 at 9:01 am

        Agreed. If we can’t take away a lane on Powell, then why not elevate a line above it?

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        Bald One July 27, 2016 at 10:36 am

        new Orange MAX line is elevated at numerous locations (I guess this is partially elevated) between Milwaukee and Portland.

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      i wear many hats July 27, 2016 at 8:20 am

      I have a monorail for sale Portland.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 8:45 am

        Simpsons aside, why not?

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        Chris I July 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

        The Orange line already has several long, elevated sections. Seattle’s Link system has even more. They do add cost, but don’t require any new vehicle technology and can be designed in a way that doesn’t greatly degrade the street below:
        http://www.alexblock.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/VTA-San-Jose-1-1024×450.png

        Benefits include faster, more reliable service and increased safety for all users (vehicle, pedestrian, transit user). If elevated stations can be avoided, the costs are not that much higher.

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      m July 27, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Like I said above, Tri-Met likes sexy (and expensive).

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        eawrist July 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm

        Expensive compared to current highway spending? Current cost of vehicle ownership where other options are not viable? Current cost of health deficits due to SOV use? Cost of infrastructure related to fuel? Looks a lot cheaper in the long run to me.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty July 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        Max is sexy the way your creepy uncle is sexy.

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    Lance W. July 28, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I live on SE Gladstone between Chavez and 26th. We’re supposed to be a neighborhood street, but we carry more and more traffic in the form of short cutting commuters. 20 years ago I saw counts that put the volume at 9,000 vehicles/day, typically neighborhood streets are below 1,000. I know these numbers have escalated. Commuters are looking for alternatives to Powell. As traffic slows ever more on Division, has been largely eliminated from Clinton and Holgate is already congested, I’m expecting even more cars on our street! Especially with the upcoming narrowing of Foster! People continue to move out, thereby requiring longer commutes. They move to cheaper housing, they move to escape what they perceive as negative living conditions. They do not recognize the burden this puts on those of us who live ‘in’ the City. The regional town centers have not as of yet grown enough to be significant job centers…will they ever? The pattern of development in outer areas is auto oriented. These people won’t/can’t give up their cars…at least nowhere in the near future. Downtown will remain a major ‘draw’ pulling people in. I fear that our inner city neighborhoods will continue to degrade, not because of some inherent urban malady, but because of the burden all of this traffic creates. Outer city areas demand better vehicular access. We demand a high quality of urban life. The two are in direct opposition to one another. Compromise satisfies neither and perpetuates the problem. A note, the same pattern of suburban sprawl, makes leaving the City for outings outside the City more tedious. This all reminds me of of the Sellwood Bridge finance fiasco in which the bulk of commuters come from Clackamah county who voted to stiff the rest of us with the costs that their choices have put on us.

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      Eric Leifsdad July 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      I don’t think planners have caught-on to the new era of waze and ubiquitous maps/gps navigation. If there’s a path for traffic to cut-through, it will keep doing that until you plug the holes or make that path slower. Stop catering to auto use and people will make different choices.

      Our first response to any problem with traffic should be to close or restrict access or connectivity. (People will say that’s not possible or make some excuse, but they’re either in denial or can’t do math.) Once waze tells drivers it’s fastest to stay on the main road, they will do that.

      The other thing is eliminating free parking. Suburban commuters don’t get to vote on that either.

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    Tom Hardy July 28, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    It would be nice if ODOT would actually do something like is drawn up here but what is more likely for inner SE is like was done in San Antonio to some of the state highways that were through streets in neighborhoods.
    What was done is at the first part of the arterial id to make ramps up to a second level for through traffic. This would start at about 12th to 17th. a second level would go to approximately 92nd. then return to street level for interchange to 205. The lower level would continue. Through buses would take the upper level to Gresham and the lower level would Accommadate local buses and traffic.

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