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City will update NW 16th Ave with buffered bike lane


The new bike lane will fill a gap in the network and help people connect to the new carfree bridge coming to NW Flanders. (Image: PBOT)

The new bike lane will fill a gap in the network and help people connect to the new carfree bridge coming to NW Flanders.
(Image: PBOT)

The City of Portland is reconfiguring the lanes of Northwest 16 Avenue between Johnson and Glisan. That three-block stretch of road in one of the most dense areas of the state currently lacks dedicated bicycle access.

According to an email sent to nearby residents and business owners, the Bureau of Transportation plans to stripe a 10-foot wide bike lane. This stretch of 16th currently has three lanes — one for auto parking and two standard vehicle lanes. The new design will retain the parking lane and switch one of the standard lanes into a bicycle-only travel lane (see the cross section above).

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Green shows existing bikeways. The new bike lane is in red. The forthcoming Flanders Crossing Bridge is yellow.

Here’s what the intersection of 16th and Johnson looks like today (facing south, notice the existing bike lane in the lower right):

Jeff Smith with PBOT’s Active Transportation and Safety Division says they considered a parking-protected bike lane (where the bike lane is curbside and auto parking “protects” bicycle traffic from motorized vehicle traffic); but the Portland Fire Bureau objected. “Since 16th is a designated major emergency response route (with fire station nearby on Johnson),” Smith wrote in the email notice, “the Fire Bureau was concerned about motor vehicles being unable to clear the lane at times when parking was heavily utilized. The proposed design, with a bike lane and shy zones adjacent to the motor vehicle lane, provides this necessary ‘pull over’ space when an emergency vehicle needs to get through.”

In addition to the new lane configuration, PBOT has recently reduced the post speed limit in this section of 16th from 30 to 25 mph. The project was prioritized by PBOT because it complements the new carfree bridge over I-405 coming to nearby Flanders Street in 2018. The new bike lane will also improve connections to the bike lanes striped on NW Everett in 2014.

Also worth noting is that NW Johnson is a major bike route and the crossing of 16th is quite stressful. The reduction of one standard vehicle lane and addition of cycling space should make it much safer.

Nearby resident Iain Mackenzie is happy to see this project. “As someone who lives on NW 16th and cycles on the street regularly,” he shared with us via email this morning. “I’m very very pleased to see the gap filled.”

PBOT says this project cost about $8,500 and is should start soon (depending on the weather).

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

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