Bike box, green lane and smooth pavement coming to SW Main

Detail of SW Main paving project striping plan.
(Images: PBOT)

Last night at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, the Portland Bureau of Transportation shared an update on their SW Main paving project.

Current conditions on SW Main between 1st and 2nd.

As we shared back in December, the section of Main between 1st and 3rd (just west of the Hawthorne Bridge) is getting a much-needed renovation. The project will come with new pavement and updated striping that will improve access for bicycle users. We got our first look at the plans at the meeting last night from PBOT Project Manager Norberto Adre (

The striping plan calls for a new, unprotected green bike lane and bike box on Main as it approaches the intersection with 1st. There will also be a left-turn box installed at the northwest corner of that intersection to help bicycle users who want to go left (south) on 1st. The unprotected green bike lane will continue westbound between 1st and 2nd. Mid-way through the block the green will be striped to give motor vehicle users and TriMet bus operators a place to merge into the right-turn-only lane. Between 2nd and 3rd the unprotected bike lane returns to the curb and loses the green color. There will be a new, green left-turn box at 3rd and Main. West of 3rd the bike lane goes away and PBOT will install sharrows.


Here’s the image PBOT shared last night:

UPDATE, 9:00 am: I asked the project manager for the lane widths and he sent me the plan drawing (below): The green bike lane between 1st and 2nd will be six-feet wide and sandwiched between two 10-foot lanes to the left and the 10-foot right-turn only lane on the right. The curbside bike lane between 2nd and 3rd will be six-feet wide with a two-foot painted buffer next to lanes that are 10.5 and 11.5 feet wide.

Construction on the project is expected to start any day now and will last for about five weeks. PBOT’s plan is to do the work at night (between 7:00 pm and 6:00 am) to avoid traffic impacts. During that time they will close the block between 1st and 2nd to all users (sidewalks will remain open). During the day, only one lane of SW Main will remain open. It will be shared by all users. Because this section of Main gets so much traffic, PBOT has rerouted buses away from the block and is strongly encouraging bicycle users to avoid it.

At the meeting last night the project manager handed out the map below with suggested alternate bicycle routes. The idea is to use Naito via the Hawthorne Bridge off-ramp and then enter downtown via either Jefferson or Taylor.

This project has an estimated cost of $500,000 (much of the cost is due to a concrete (not pavement) pad that will be installed for the TriMet bus stop between 1st and 2nd) and is being paid for through the Fixing Our Streets program.

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

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