About a year after taking temporary measures, the City of Portland has finished installing a permanent traffic diverter on SE Clinton at 32nd. With the diverter complete, the final piece of the puzzle in reclaiming Clinton as a bike-priority street (a.k.a. neighborhood greenway) will be to install five new speed bumps between SE 17th and 26th.
Here’s a look at the new diverter, followed by some new information about the speed bumps…
BikePortland subscriber Adam Herstein gave us an early look at the new design just before Christmas. Since then PBOT has added several finishing touches including bright yellow paint and more signs. I rolled out yesterday for a closer look.
Compared to what PBOT first installed last year, the new design is a massive improvement. The old design, with its large concrete drums and orange cones, not only looked bad it also didn’t work well. People in cars would routinely drive right through it (into oncoming traffic!) and people would park too close to the gap where bicycle riders were supposed to cut through.
Here are a few more photos:
The new design seems to work well (it got a rave review from Mr. Herstein).
According to reports on the Bike Loud PDX email list (that’s the group that has worked tirelessly for over two years to force PBOT to calm and reduce auto traffic on Clinton), the only part of the project that remains are speed bumps.
PBOT plans to install new speed bumps on Clinton between 17th and 26th sometime this winter. Five of them will be “bike-friendly” or “fire-friendly” bumps that will come with a channel through the middle. The channel will allow both emergency vehicles and bicycle riders to roll over the bumps more easily. Portland city code has prohibited speed bumps on emergency response routes since 1998. PBOT is still experimenting with speed bumps that will effectively slow drivers down while still allowing emergency vehicle access.
To get an idea of what’s in store for Clinton, you might have seen some of these channelized speed bumps on NW Cornell west of Lovejoy, on SE Crystal Springs near 34th, or at SW 51st between Maplewood and Multnomah. The channels are 12-inches wide and 14-feet long with a six-inch taper up to a curb on each side that’s about four inches high. According to a 2013 report by PBOT, some of the speed bumps on Cornell reduced auto speeds by five miles per hour. However, the City’s analysis showed inconsistent results and noted that, “motorists appear to have learned how to mitigate some of the slowing effect.”
I observed some of this behavior on NW Cornell back in April. This is despite signs that warn against driving on the centerline…
PBOT says they’ll monitor the new bumps on Clinton closely, with hopes of using them on other residential streets where both a speed reduction and emergency access is desired.
If you have feedback or ideas for PBOT please share your thoughts below. We’ll make sure they see it.