Special gravel coverage

PBOT will extend Naito Parkway bike lanes into NW industrial area

Posted by on January 24th, 2017 at 8:54 am

The new Field Office development on NW Front between 15th and 17th will come with new bike lanes.
(Graphics courtesy City of Portland)

The catalyst for this project is the Field Office development just north of the Fremont Bridge.

Last April we highlighted the massive potential for cycling in the northwest industrial area — a place with thousands of jobs, burgeoning residential and office development, and lots of wide streets.

Now, thanks to the ongoing building boom along the Willamette River north of the Fremont Bridge, the City of Portland will create nearly a mile of new bikeways to connect the area’s new residents and employees to the rest of the city.

The new bike lanes will connect to existing ones that currently end at NW Naito Parkway and 9th. From 9th to NW 15th, PBOT will reconfigure the roadway from its existing five standard travel lanes to three standard lanes (one lane in each direction and a center turn lane), two buffered bike lanes and an auto parking lane.

Here’s the cross-section that will be up for a vote at City Council on Wednesday (January 25th):

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Then from 15th to about NW 19th, the cross-section will change from four standard lanes to three standard lanes, two bike-only lanes and two auto parking lanes:

In addition to smooth pavement and new lane striping, PBOT will rebuild the traffic signals at NW 9th, 15th, and 17th Avenues, and bring all ADA curb-ramps up to code.

Over 40 percent of the project’s estimated $2.6 million price tag will come from a private developer. That’s because PBOT grabbed the opportunity to work with Park Office LLC, the developer of the Field Office currently under construction at 2035 NW Front Avenue.

Park Office LLC has agreed to be the sole member of a Local Improvement District (LID) and they will put $1.1 million toward the project (and could receive an equal amount of credits in system development charges in exchange). PBOT will pay the balance of the project with $1.5 million from their pavement preservation budget.

Slide from a PBOT presentation shows current conditions on Naito Parkway.

In documents filed with City Council, PBOT notes that they have received “multiple complaints” from developers about the lack of bike lanes in the area in light of “rapidly growing residential development.” The Field Office project, the City says, will be “built with bicycle access in mind.” According to Next Portland, It will have 96 bike parking spaces and accompanying lockers for its tenants.

As Portland grows, PBOT is simply doing their job to make sure that our roads keep up with current demands and user preferences. “A goal of this project,” they state in council documents, “is to increase the bike mode split in NW Portland from 4.9% measured in 2012 to a higher level more commensurate with the Citywide average of 6.1%. New residential development is occurring in this area but multimodal transportation facilities have not kept pace with this new development.”

Construction is slated to happen this year and will be completed by early 2018.

Portland City Council is scheduled to vote on this project Wednesday (1/25) at 10:15 am.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

  • Alan Kessler January 24, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Could any of this be parking-protected instead of buffered door-zone?

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  • another test January 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm


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  • maccoinnich January 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    I’m very glad to see this project moving forward, which will be a huge upgrade to NW Naito. However, I think it’s disappointing to see buffered bike lanes in a project as large as this, which will rebuild the entire street for a significant distance.

    Between NW 9th and 15th it seems like a protected bike lane could be created just by swapping the position of the bike lane and the parking. Between NW 15th and 17th they would probably need to lose parking on one side of the street to accommodate protected bike lanes on both sides. Given that this area only has intermittent on street parking today that would seem reasonable.

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    • David Hampsten January 24, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      What I cannot understand is why a progressive city such as Portland still insists on designing 11-foot car travel lanes and 8-foot car parking lanes, when my supposedly regressive car-oriented community here in NC now is designing significantly narrower car lanes (10 feet, including for center turn lanes) and 7-foot parking lanes to reduce traffic speeds and to allow for more bike lanes. With such changes, this project would save at least 4 feet that could be used for bike lane buffers.

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  • John Lascurettes January 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    <blockquote?In documents filed with City Council, PBOT notes that they have received “multiple complaints” from developers about the lack of bike lanes in the area in light of “rapidly growing residential development.” The Field Office project, the City says, will be “built with bicycle access in mind.” According to Next Portland, It will have 96 bike parking spaces and accompanying lockers for its tenants.
    Love the outcome coming from a strange-ish bedfellow (but not that strange). I’ll take it.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    PBOT should not be striping obsolete door zone lanes. They need to be protected cycleways. Especially since this is an area with heavy truck traffic. Why aren’t SDC’s from the adjacent property being used to fund their construction?

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  • MaxD January 24, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    This is great news! I hope they consider extending the bike lanes to Kittridge. With a new visitor center and entrance to Forest Park planned at the the intersection of Kittridge/US30/St Helen’s Road, this would be a great way (maybe the best way considering it is flat)to encourage people to use active transportation to access Forest Park.

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    • GlowBoy January 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      I hadn’t heard about the new visitor center. Yikes, that is the bottom of Firelane 1. Are they planning on “improving” the trail? I hope not: that roller-coaster traverse is one of my favorite rides in the park. But I don’t see how they won’t, unless they’re also planning on building new trails out of that location.

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  • galavantista January 24, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I thought the city had committed to making protected bike lanes from now on?

    “There is a growing body of research and experience across the U.S., North America and the world demonstrating the effectiveness and desirability of protected bicycle lanes to encourage more bicycle transportation. It is also a key element of our Vision Zero strategy for people when riding bicycles. That is why I am asking our engineers, project managers and planners to make protected bicycle lanes the preferred design on roadways where separation is called for. I am asking for this design standard for retrofits of existing roadways as well as to new construction.” — Leah Treat


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Nope. That’s another one of the many Portland biking myths that have been propagated over the years. You must have missed when I addressed this last week in my story about Washington County’s new protected bike lane policy – which is now stronger than Portland’s!

      Portland has tried to establish a formal policy on protected bike lanes; but thus far no such policy exists. In 2015 PBOT Director Leah Treat issued an internal directive stating the bureau’s preference for protected bike lanes to be installed adjacent to new development. While hailed by advocacy groups and the media as a move that would make protected bike lanes the default treatment, it actually has no legal authority.

      FWIW here’s how PBOT communications director John Brady responded to my questions asking for clarification about Treat’s “policy”:

      “…we don’t have a protected bike lane policy yet. We have Leah’s directive to consider protected bike lanes the default treatment option in all new development. We hesitate to call it a policy because we don’t yet have the legal authority to require protected bicycle lanes. That is what we are working on at the moment: language on protected bike lanes that we can put into an administrative rule and that would stand up to legal scrutiny.”

      This isn’t to say Treat’s memo and directive is meaningless. Far from it. It has had a big impact on PBOT and the decisions they make internally about what type of facility to design into projects. I just like people to be accurate and honest with stuff like that. Sort of a pet peeve… I was sort of annoyed when the media covered it as a binding legal policy when in fact it was just an internal memo. This type of thing happens quite a bit to Portland because of our vast reputation for cycling… Rumors and myths spread about things that are not actually happening here. I like to set the record straight whenever i can.

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  • Ben F January 24, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I try really hard to be optimistic, and 99% of the time I really enjoy cycling in Portland, but… these designs are really discouraging. It feels like we’ll never learn how to make safe cycling infrastructure the norm… Can’t we make them parking protected at the very least? It seems like that wouldn’t have a significant cost impact?

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    • Matt Meskill January 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      I agree 100%. This is really lame. So many cities are passing us in the design and manufacture of good, safe infrastructure. If I worked at PBOT I would be embarrassed by this. To continue to hold the belief that a white stripe on the pavement is all cyclists need is shameful.

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  • Mike G
    Mike G January 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Very familiar with this area.

    I called the city and complained that the temporary construction fence dumping southbound cyclists into the narrowed lanes for construction of this building in the rendering. Fortunately, it was moved back to the curb the next day, which created a somewhat safer condition. I thank Portland for that surprisingly quick response.

    This area is a strange juxtaposition of truck freight, rail, and residential use blending truckers, trains, runners, cyclists and walkers together…and oh yeah cars too.

    Bad surfaces, gritty shoulders, and dangerously angled RR track crossings hopefully can be addressed also.

    Divided lanes however seem to be a long way out.

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  • peejay January 24, 2017 at 6:41 pm


    Why do we still have to say this?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 25, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Here’s why I think didn’t do more than bike lanes.. Because this is a paving project. As such, they are only able to do restriping… If they were to do something more significant for the bike lane they’d have to do a separate process. I see this as PBOT trying to quietly sneak bike infra into a project. Notice how they didn’t make any noise about it. At council today they didn’t even mention the bike stuff when Satlzman introduced the ordinance and the PBOT presentation about the process didn’t show the cross section or anything direct about the bike stuff. Not saying I agree with this, just sharing my observations. I’m thinking about following up with PBOT about it.

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      • Adam
        Adam January 25, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        The bike lanes should at least be along the curb. PBOT can always go add protection later.

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      • David Hampsten January 25, 2017 at 10:18 pm

        Jonathan, forgive me please, but I don’t understand PBOT’s argument. Here in Greensboro, the city will only do bike lanes if the street is going to be repaved. If you are grinding down the pavement and laying new stuff, then all the old lines disappear and has to be replaced. The bike lane paint/thermoplastic is virtually free, as you don’t have to remove (scratch out) the old stuff and you have to lay in new lines anyway. Why are the processes separate? If the new pavement is going in, why would they lay in the new linework just like the old? Why not add new bike lanes right away? This seems absurdly inefficient.

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      • maccoinnich January 25, 2017 at 10:48 pm

        I don’t think it’s entirely correct to describe this as just a paving project. The developer that is part funding this project will get SDC credits for their LID contribution. If they had instead paid the SDCs in the regular fashion that money could then have only been used to help fund a capital project… such as building a new bikeway. That money couldn’t have been used for a paving [only] project.

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  • Randy January 24, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Bike lanes full of ice storm gravel are just… gravel lanes. After several years, I’ve yet to see a street sweeper in PDX.

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    • Adam
      Adam January 24, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      I see them all the time on my street. Usually late at night.

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      • rick January 25, 2017 at 8:05 pm

        How about industrial neighborhoods ?

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  • Richard January 24, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Why do we still have to say this?
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    My thoughts exactly.

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  • Adam January 25, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Bike lanes? What is this, the 1980s?

    I hope they’re as wide as the existing buffered lanes on NW Naito.

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  • Adam January 25, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Also, is lowering the speed limit for this stretch of road on the agenda? I believe the speed limit “only” drops to 35mph once you hit the Broadway Bridge heading towards downtown. Ludicrous.

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  • Adam January 25, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Also also, there doesn’t appear to be a sidewalk on the western side of the street from NW 9th to NW 15th. I know that’s where the rail line is, but people WILL walk on that side regardless from the Pearl to access the new development. Ppl are not going to cross the street twice to access a building that is already on the same side of the street as them.

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    • Chris I January 25, 2017 at 7:31 am

      I typically just use a railroad hand cart.

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    • maccoinnich January 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      The Northwest District Association Transportation Committee wrote a letter in support of this project, which noted the need for sidewalks on the southwest side of the street and urged the council to find ways to fund and build them.

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  • Adam January 25, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Agreed. Kittridge Ave does NOT need to be four lanes wide!

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  • rick January 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

    The Fremont Bridge needs a bike / walk access bridge attachment. Carbon fiber for weight savings? It would serve blue collar jobs.

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  • Bill Clinton's Ghost January 25, 2017 at 9:03 am

    The biggest obstacle to cycling in this area is regular street sweeping.

    I have given some thought to sweeping up a square metre and photographing the pile of shards of scrap metal and debris.

    Would be interesting to compare to other areas in town.

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    • rick January 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      Very dirty streets there.

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  • Scott Kocher January 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Even before this project happens, the 40 MPH posted speed needs to be fixed. It is crazy to have people driving that fast and faster in this now-multi-use area with multifamily housing, at least two schools, and businesses.

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    • rick January 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      Yes. Should be 25.

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  • SE January 25, 2017 at 10:55 am

    >>Slide from a PBOT presentation shows current conditions on Naito Parkway

    the pavement in that photo would be a big improvement over some of the city streets that I ride 🙁

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  • GlowBoy January 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I’m thrilled that sixteen years after I started bike-commuting to outer Front Avenue (as it was then known), attention is finally being paid to the substandard conditions along what is now known as Naito Parkway:
    – Missing bike lanes.
    – Unneeded multiple lanes on both Naito and Kittridge.
    – Excessive speed limits.
    – Missing sidewalks along the west side of the street.
    – Acute angles of rail crossings, especially on the west side endangering southbound cyclists. (I often rode Naito to work northbound, but usually returned home via Kittridge and St. Helens because of this, and also the aforementioned missing bail-out sidewalks on that side).
    – Aggressive driving*.

    Keep ’em coming folks. This is better late than never, anyway.

    * The only time I ever used someone’s license plate to obtain their registration information and contact them for road-raging me was due to an incident on this road. I got an apology letter too – not quite admitting guilt, but it was clear the threat of consequences scared the miscreant driver enough to deter him from reoffending. My eternal thanks to Ray Thomas for making this process known and available to me.

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  • rick January 25, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Did the vote pass in today’s meeting? Why not cat parking-protected bike lanes?

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  • Adam January 27, 2017 at 12:34 am


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  • Spiffy January 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    glad to see they’re redoing the signal at 9th… I’m sure it will now prevent all the illegal passing on the right that the US Mail trucks (and everybody else) currently does…

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  • Spiffy January 30, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    wish they could do this up past 21st… this section of Front is where I experienced the most road rage from drivers thinking that bikes shouldn’t be in the middle of the lane in the absence of bike lanes… luckily I don’t work up there any more, but I doubt it’s gotten better…

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  • Gary Becker January 31, 2017 at 8:33 am

    If the developer funds a LID and gets an SDC offset, what they’ve effectively done is prioritize their personal needs over the general public’s. While I think this is a decent project, that 2.6m has higher and better needs than 10 blocks of smooth pavement, traffic lights, and stripes to serve new (high-end) development.

    Thanks, public-private “partnerships.”

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  • rick April 14, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Did city council approve this in January, 2017?

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  • diarmid April 18, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    just to let you know, Field Office construction is completed and there has been no sign of planned improvements to the aforementioned sections of Naito.
    two thirds of the sidewalk area they built is loose gravel, I assume built to discourage sidewalk camps??
    what sidewalk exists is basically single file, and their nighttime lighting alternates from overly bright in small sections with large swathes of darkness. super welcoming to the homeless scavengers at night. (Bridgetown lofts has had two bikeroom breakins, and a car stolen from their “secured” garage, for example )

    but hey Better Naito in only a few more days, amirite????

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