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PBOT seeks cash for Hawthorne, Vision Zero, outer Halsey, and a new Springwater connection

Posted by on September 22nd, 2016 at 11:48 am

 Concept drawing of SE Hawthorne upgrades. View is looking east from SE 6th Ave.(Graphic: PBOT)

Concept drawing of SE Hawthorne upgrades. View is looking east from SE 6th Ave.
(Graphic: PBOT)

A seasonal fix to Naito Parkway isn’t the only thing on the bureau of transportation’s fall budget wish list. With a total of $8 million in General Fund dollars up for grabs, PBOT is lobbying for several other exciting projects.

Three projects caught our eyes in PBOT’s official Fall Budget Monitoring process request (PDF here). Scroll down for details on each one of them…

Outer Halsey Safety Streetscape Project ($2,000,000)

NE Halsey in east Portland

Existing conditions on NE Halsey around 142nd. The project would add buffered bike lanes, sidewalks, and more.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In what appears to be the largest infrastructure project ever requested by PBOT under the banner of their commitment to Vision Zero, the agency wants $2.0 million for Halsey Boulevard. The project would redesign the streetscape from 122nd (a designated high crash corridor) east to 162nd (near the Gresham border). Between 2005 and 2014 there have been 18 reported serious injury crashes and one fatality on this two-mile stretch of road. Much more funding is needed to accomplish everything PBOT would like to do here, but this $2.9 million would be a good down payment.

Specifically, the project calls for filling sidewalk gaps, narrowing existing vehicle lanes to make room for buffered bike lanes, improved crossings and a reduction of the posted speed limit from 45 mph to 35.

Vision Zero outreach and education ($900,000)

(Chart: PBOT Vision Zero Task Force)

(Chart: PBOT Vision Zero Task Force)


Furthering their commitment to Vision Zero, PBOT also wants to bolster their ability to communicate with the public around safety. They want funding for three new projects: $200,000 for targeted outreach around drunk driving; $200,000 for a Safe Routes to School traffic safety program in local high schools, and $500,000 to build small projects that are flagged through the city’s 823-SAFE citizen complaint line.

With 62% of all Portland fatalities involving intoxication, PBOT wants to start a Safe and Sober Streets program focused on downtown Portland. The effort will, “provide people with free rides and the option to pre-pay for Saturday morning parking.” Downtown is the focus because Oregon Liquor Control Commission data shows that area has a high concentration of bars and restaurants that overserve.

A new program to target teenage drivers in high schools would include: safe driving advertisements that reach young people through Facebook, Pandora, and other web-based media; and working with student leaders to promote safety in schools through competitions, events and other promotions. A traffic safety pep rally perhaps?

We’ve covered the 823-SAFE hotline many times over the years. It’s an excellent way to communicate with PBOT and flag safety hotspots. The city says there are over 1,000 pending requests in the system right now and with the $500,000 they’d be able to, “prioritize those community requests based on PBOT’s safety data analysis for Vision Zero.” And better yet, once projects were green-lighted they could actually be built.

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Major fixes to SE Hawthorne Highway ($2.6 million)

New bike lane on Hawthorne Bridge viaduct-11

Existing conditions on SE Hawthorne looking east from 6th. (Compare to lead image)

As first reported in The Oregonian yesterday, this project would allow PBOT to update the design of Hawthorne to meet today’s demands. Specifically the project would build a separated bikeway, bus transit improvements that would allow bus drivers to jump the signal queue and access stops via islands. Island bus stops are preferred over curbside stops because they help avoid the bike/bus leapfrogging that plagues many of Portland’s busy streets. Another important piece of this project would be traffic signal improvements on the entire corridor from the Hawthorne Bridge to Ladd Ave. Signals can help distribute traffic and separate modes so that there are fewer drivers tempted to make right turns in front of others.

PBOT makes the case for these upgrades by pointing out that this section of Hawthorne between SE Grand and Ladd avenues is “an important bikeway and transit corridor between the region’s economic hub (downtown) and the highest bicycle and transit use residential areas of SE Portland.” Hawthorne carries over 7,000 daily bike and transit trips. When those mix with ever-increasing amounts of auto traffic, it creates a stressful environment. PBOT calls this area “one of the city’s highest bicycle crash corridors,” with 55 reported bike crashes between 2004 and 2013.

Interestingly, PBOT has also set aside $500,000 in this project to add a traffic signal to the ramp from northbound Naito that feeds onto the Hawthorne Bridge. “A signal here would reduce vehicle delay at this location and create more regular, predictable and less stressful vehicle traffic flow for automobile traffic accessing the Hawthorne Bridge,” PBOT writes in the project description. This location also happens to be the personal crusade of local citizen activist Josh Chernoff. For weeks now he’s been posted near-daily photos and videos of people who illegally place their cars on the crosswalk that acts as the entrance onto the bridge path for bicycle riders and walkers. His latest video (below) illustrates how broken this intersection is and why i needs to be fixed:

Connect the paths: Trolley to the Springwater ($300,000)

17th-path

The new path between Sellwood and Milwaukie is almost done!

By the end of next month the City of Milwaukie will have finished building a key segment of the Trolley Trail — a separated path that runs from the Sellwood neighborhood to downtown Milwaukie on 17th Avenue. That’s great news by itself, but unfortunately the terminus of this new path will stop tantalizingly short of the start of the legendary Springwater Corridor path (see map). Thankfully PBOT is on the case. With this project they’d widen the trail and the western sidewalk of 17th between St. Andrews Drive (end of Trolley Trail) and SE Linn Street where there’s a new median refuge island crossing treatment. People could then connect to the Springwater via Linn.

springwattrolleymap

While competition for city general fund dollars is fierce and PBOT isn’t likely to get all this stuff funded, it’s good to see that they’ve got these projects shovel-ready. There are other funding opportunities on the horizon.

CORRECTION, 10/21: This post originally stated that PBOT wanted $2.9 million for the Outer Halsey Streetscape Safety Project. The correct amount is $2 million. We regret the error.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Paul Atkinson
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Paul Atkinson

If we’re taking Vision Zero seriously, shouldn’t literally all money, on all projects, at PBOT be tied to VZ outcomes?

I don’t mean that in a pipe-dream way, but rather in a specific practical sense. VZ means every project must put safety first. If you’re not doing that — if your VZ funds are separate — then you’re not doing Vision Zero.

Buzz
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Buzz

Hawthorne needs to be fixed east of SE Ladd as well…

Adam
Guest
Adam

I have never heard of the Trolley Trail upgrade between Sellwood & Milkwaukie!! Any chance there will be a post on this when it’s finished? The photo looks awesome! And that segment is super-sketchy to ride currently.

Regarding Halsey, I’m curious why that particular segment was chosen? Crash data, I guess?

The reason I ask is, I feel the Halsey overpass near Gateway is honestly more important. It is the only connection over I-84 for ages, and is currently pretty much for vehicles only. The lack of connectivity around Gateway is awful.

Spiffy
Subscriber

that part of Hawthorne is the most stressful part of my commute because it’s a constant barrage of being right-hooked… this design won’t help that…

but it will help the bus leap-frog game, which isn’t as stressful…

I wish they would continue the bike lane all the way up Hawthorne to 50th…

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

Raised island bus stops in the middle of the road seems like just another attempt to funnel cyclists in a high cycle area into a narrow chute that moves the conflict zone from one location to another, not necessarily resolving it. These raised bump curb islands in the buffer zone will also cause crashes as cyclists hit them unexpectedly or veer to miss them.

9watts
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9watts

Looking at the design and rationale for fixing Hawthorne at that location evokes the E end of the Tillicum bridge and its non-functioning integration into the network of streets people walking or cycling might conceivably use. Hm.

Mike Sanders
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Mike Sanders

A Trolley / Springwater Trail connection would be very popular. Might give impetus to the gap between the Sellwood Br. & SE 17 Av. Improved signage for that connection would help, too. The Ladd / Hawthorne intersection and west to the bridge along the Hawthorne corridor needs that upgrade a lot. Outer Haksey, yes. Long, long overdue – renenber, many people use Halsey to get to / from Troutdale and the Gorge.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

PBOT’s cartoon image on Hawthorne shows most of the cyclists riding literally in the gutter within inches of the far curb. This is both unrealistic, but also generates a fake sense of space and width in this painted green lane in their promotional material. This is either naive on the part of their designers, or deliberately attempts to fool the public into thinking that bikes will be able to ride 3 abreast in what is currently a gutter parking strip.

Nobody should be riding in the far 2-3 feet curbside gutter zone of the green paint. It should not be counted. Riders should be shown riding at and into the buffer zone.

Paul H
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Paul H

Jonathan briefly mentioned the “new median refuge island” on 17th at Linn. As someone who rides that stretch daily — turning left from NB 17th to WB Linn — I be hard-pressed to overstate how much that island has helped. Automobile drivers see the island and slow down (as if by magic!) and they are now much more likely to let me merge into traffic as I prepare to turn left.

If people start to ride up 17th on the new trail extension and then make a staged turn to EB Linn to connect to Springwater, a stop sign would probably be in order. The sightlines are pretty good, but it’s definitely an automobile commuting corridor.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

How is it that we have a street posted at 45MPH adjacent to a bike lane in the first place? It costs little to ask for a speed reduction… why wasn’t that done years ago?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

This is NOT an argument against doing something on Hawthorne (which I’ve been advocating for since before they repaved it years ago), but it will be interesting to see how the parking issues play out. Parking along the S side of Hawthorne is always full, and while I will not be sad to see it go away, I imagine the businesses along there will.

kittens
Guest
kittens

RE: Hawthorne: I don’t get PBOTs bizarre aversion to physical separation of the roadway!

Thousands of people are moving here daily, bikes are expanding in popularity, why hamstring our growing population density with these ridiculous “buffered” bike lanes. They are a waste of valuable real estate and do nothing but provide the illusion of safety.

It is not like we are going to be expanding ROW anytime soon on Hawthorne. It is way past time PBOT stop squandering it’s capacity to move everyone safely.

Grandpa
Guest
Grandpa

The Trolley Trail link down Ochoco to the east bound Springwater is a slam dunk. The distance is only a few hundred feet. The missing link of the Springwater from where it ends at Ochoco and where it picks up under the Sellwood Bridge will, sadly, be a tough nut to crack. The prevalence of homeless and their behavior of abysmal stewardship of the land is more than enough reason for neighbors to want no part of linking the missing link. Add to that there has been enough criminal behavior by the homeless along the Springwater, both between themselves and into the neighborhoods, to warrant sweeps and the fact that fires started in homeless camps create a hazard to persons and property, and that their human waste is a health hazard, combine into the fact that they are not desirable neighbors. The upscale Garthwick neighborhood and the (now) middle class south Sellwood neighborhood are agreed that they don’t want homeless camps. It has become a fact that the Springwater Corridor has become synonymous with homeless camps, so if one does not want those camps, then prevent Springwater Trail connection.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

SilkySlim
Point is, once you switch to a car separated facility, it is tough going back to the streets.

This.

If you regularly get hooked, you need to examine what role your own actions play. I ride the same streets as everyone else, including this stretch (most recently last night). I haven’t been hooked for so many years I couldn’t say how long it’s been. On the other hand, it seems like I see others get hooked almost every day.

The vast majority of the time, motorists telegraph when they’re going to turn in. Even when they don’t, you should be ready anyway.. Good drivers don’t assume everything will be fine and everyone will do what they’re supposed to. Same is true for cyclists. That’s just defensive cycling/driving.

I’m all in favor of making things safer, but constantly droning that things are unsafe because we aren’t separated out feeds right into the narrative that bikes don’t belong on the road. Failing to take reasonable ownership of our own safety gets people hurt and perpetuates attitudes that cycling is unsafe.

soren
Guest
soren

The vast majority of the time, motorists telegraph when they’re going to turn in.

I’ve always maintained that telepathy is a fundamental cycling skill.

Failing to take reasonable ownership of our own safety gets people hurt and perpetuates attitudes that cycling is unsafe.

Those darn kids being hit by drivers should take reasonable ownership of their safety!

Adam
Subscriber

The design for Hawthorne looks great and is badly needed. Though, it would be better to make the entire buffer concrete rather than just the bus islands. This could be a good place to deploy the self-watering planters used on 2nd Av.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Don’t get me wrong — I favor making things safer. But advances in infrastructure and driving practice occur very slowly. Helping people be safe in the environment we actually have has to be part of the game plan.

As a community we do virtually nothing to encourage safe behavior. I would go so far as to say we practically encourage a wide range of dangerous behaviors that cyclists in other areas don’t do.

For example, this morning, I saw cyclists pull on the right side of turning semis after the light turned green both at Interstate and Going and just a bit later at Interstate and Tillamook. In both cases, they got blocked off because the driver did not think to look to the right for cyclists that weren’t there when the light was red, but caught up with them when the light turned. On Broadway, I think it’s safe to say I see people do similar moves every single day — and I see a lot of close calls. This is incredibly dangerous and slows the cyclists and drivers down to boot.

Let’s suppose for argument’s sake that 99% of drivers are awesome and the other 1% are bad for whatever reason (I suspect the real number of bad drivers may be higher). Given how many vehicles you encounter, who thinks taking that 1% bet is a good idea? The math is guaranteed to catch up with you.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

Thank you for featuring my efforts, I’m optimistic that any effort to do something there will make it better. While a light is fantastic I would love to see them join the two crosswalk and make a unified crossing for both peds and cyclist to make it easier for car traffic to cross the path.