Support BikePortland

A look at opposition to street updates on Lincoln and Willamette

Posted by on November 7th, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Tabor Rising’s graphic on the left. The thing they oppose on the right.

If your understanding of Portland is only through Portlandia episodes or the glowing, brochure-like visions shared in magazines and conference presentations, you might think we ride everywhere on perfect paths while passersby wave at us benevolently.

As real as it may seem, that happens only my dreams (thanks Debbie Gibson).

The reality is often much different: Some Portlanders — even those who ostensibly “support biking” — will fight against safer streets. Usually the backlash is motivated by a loss (real or perceived) of driving convenience. Often it’s just about distrust in the City of Portland, a general fear of change, the feeling that “they” are gaining while “we” are losing, or all of the above.

We’ve got our eyes on two projects where opposition hasn’t yet boiled over, but is definitely starting to simmer.

Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway (PBOT website)

Flyer opposing diverter planned for SE Lincoln at 50th.

As part of their renewed approach to “legacy greenways” (a.k.a. older bike boulevards that need to be updated to current standards) PBOT is spending arond $170,000 to tame auto traffic and improve the cycling environment on Lincoln-Harrison between Clay and 64th.

One way that’s proven to be effective at keeping cut-through traffic to a minimum is to install raised medians (diverters) at strategic locations. There are several diverters planned for this project, and it appears there’s growing unease about them among some people in the neighborhood.

Someone posted to the BikeLoud PDX email list last week that, “As with many bikeway improvements in the city that involve diversion of cars, there is always opposition from neighbors worried about their street and access to their houses. It’s clear that the improvements to the Lincoln/Harrison Greenway is also bringing out this opposition.” The man said a special meeting hosted by the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association on November 2nd was, “dominated by these neighbors.”

If a flyer being distributed in the neighborhod is any indication, it appears that much of the opposition is to the proposed diverter on Lincoln at SE 50th. An unknown source has framed the issue as PBOT purposely diverting more traffic onto adjacent streets and completely ignoring the safety benefits of reduced motor vehicle access (emphasis theirs):

“The City is ready to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to change our neighborhood forever. Why? Not for safer neighborhoods, not for better streets, not to reduce the impact of unmanaged growth — no, the City of Portland says it hopes to, ‘create a low-stress environment for people walking and biking.’

Join your neighbors in telling the City “Enough is enough!”

Tax dollars must be spent to solve real problems, not on unproven experiments with unintended consequences that erode our neighborhoods.”

Both sides of this issue are mobilizing behind the scenes and encouraging supporters to fill out PBOT’s online survey about the project and attend the first open house tomorrow (11/8) at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church (2408 SE 16th Ave).

Willamette Blvd Re-striping (PBOT website)

Screengrabs from Nextdoor Arbor Lodge neighborhood.

As we’ve been reporting, this project is pretty straightforward. PBOT seized an opportunity to improve a bikeway that’s been unsafe for many years.

But if you think PBOT can repurpose space currently used (albeit very sparingly) for on-street parking — and do it in relative lightning speed compared to standard operating procedure — in order to expand bicycle access and not hear from some number of disgruntled people, you must be new to this.

I’ve downplayed opposition to this project because there’s really no defensible argument against it (if there is I haven’t heard it). However, after I received an anonymous phone call from a very irate woman over the weekend, I don’t think any celebrations should happen until the paint has dried. About that call: I picked up the phone even though it was an unknown number (being accessible is part of my job) and a woman began screaming at me. She said all the classic things: “You people don’t even pay taxes! I’ve lived in my house for 62 years!” and so on. I listened and told her I pay taxes too and reminded her she owns a home and a yard, not the street. She eventually just hung-up, mid tirade.

I’ve also got people monitoring Nextdoor for discussion about the project and they tell me there’s been quite a few people upset about the plan (see image). Someone has also posted a petition titled: “Portland Residents against the removal of parking on Willamette Blvd between Rosa Parks Way and Woolsey Avenue”. People being upset on Nextdoor isn’t necessarily anything to worry about, but I’m not taking any chances.

Neither is Kiel Johnson. He’s the guy whose quick action in forming Friends of Willamette Blvd added fuel to a fire started by a group of neighborhood activists. He emailed supporters of the project on Sunday, urging them to contact PBOT Commissioner Dan Saltzman. That was after Johnson and a crew of concerned citizens went door-to-door on Willamette to discuss the project with residents and invite them to a celebratory potluck on November 18th.

Unless PBOT backpedals, the new striping should be in place by then. Whether it’s a celebration, will depend on who you ask.

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

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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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Buzz November 7, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I’m afraid I’m actually with the opposition on this; the semidiverter proposed at SE 26th and Harrison will definitely increase cut-through traffic in front of my house one block away unless additional measures are taken on the cross street, SE 26th, north and south of Harrison.

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    • Dawn November 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      I’m sort of with Buzz on this one too…although I generally support the one at 26th, but I’m semi-opposed (more like concerned) about the ones at 30th and 50th. FWIW, I live on SE31st and bike commute on a daily basis. My husband does not drive and is exclusively a bike rider/pedestrian and we have an elementary aged child. I guess I’m trying to say I strongly support safe(r) streets for all users, especially vulnerable road users. However, Lincoln/Harrison just doesn’t seem that dangerous and I’m afraid that these changes may increase unsafe driving in this area. Unlike the changes to Clinton where diverters were sorely needed, I think drivers on Lincoln/Harrison are generally respectful.

      I’m keeping an open mind, but I think this bears watching.

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      • soren November 7, 2017 at 4:50 pm

        Can you please expand on why you believe that a semi-diverter or entry diverter could increase unsafe driving?

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        • Dawn November 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm

          By increasing cut trough traffic on smaller side streets with increased driving speeds to “make up for lost tine”. Like I said, I’m only mildly opposed/concerned. I live here and bike here (about 90% biking to 10% driving) and I’m just not convinced that these changes will improve safety since it doesn’t seem unsafe now.

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          • soren November 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

            pbot has data on changes in traffic levels from a number of diverter installs. it’s my hope that this data will change your mind.

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            • Buzz November 7, 2017 at 9:33 pm

              I’m sorry, PBOT is not to be trusted, they’ve demonstrated this time after time on botched ‘improvements’ over the years and their recent track record is not encouraging; I will continue to be skeptical, and blind agreement with their plan is willful ignorance.

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              • soren November 8, 2017 at 7:51 am

                Care to name the diversion on Rodney, the 50s, the 20s, Ankeny, or Clinton that is “botched”?

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          • curly November 9, 2017 at 9:34 am

            I’m with Dawn on this one. While the peak traffic is probably above Greenway Standards, the remainder of the day Lincoln/Harrison is a great “low stress” bikeway. $170K could go for improvements in other areas that have little, or no safe bikeways. This is a portion of my commute route and it’s always enjoyable to get on a Greenway like Lincoln/Harrison. Most of the drivers are considerable and careful to avoid, or be patient with, a slow cyclist. Spend the $ where it’s needed most.

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            • soren November 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

              While the peak traffic is probably above Greenway Standards,

              Peak traffic in several areas is above Greenway standards of <1000 vpd, above standards that call for diversion to be considered 2000 vpd where traffic calming is mandated.

              the remainder of the day Lincoln/Harrison is a great “low stress” bikeway.

              Peak hour traffic is very heavy and often aggressive.
              Just because you are privileged enough to be an experienced bike commuter who can cycle during the “remainder” of the day” does not mean that we should give up on creating facilities that encourage children, families, the elderly, and the “interested-but-concerned” to give utilitarian cycling a try.

              $170K could go for improvements in other areas that have little, or no safe bikeways.

              the three new diverters cost a few thousand dollars each. this is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the ~$200 million allocated to the east portland in motion plan and the ~$7 million in EPIM funding for neighborhood greenways. imo, the real issue when it comes to bike infrastructure in east portland is not lack of funding, but rather, the fact that inner-portland-centric politics allow for year, after year, after yea, of delay.

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              • soren November 9, 2017 at 3:10 pm

                The blog’s html tag removal reformatted my text:

                Peak traffic in several areas is above Greenway standards of less than 1000 vpd, above less than 1500 vpd standards that call for diversion to be considered, and above greater 2000 vpd where traffic calming is mandated.

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              • curly November 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

                I was thinking of the signalized crosswalk folks are asking for in North Portland. $170K would probably cover that cost. As far as diversion at 50th to bring vehicle counts down below 2K, PBOT will need to consider diversion on the 50’s Greenway also. Vehicles traveling westbound will simply use 52nd from Hawthorne to get to Lincoln, then to 60th. Status Quo preserved, and money not well spent.

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              • soren November 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

                except that the majority of that $170K is being spent on speed bumps. thus, the focus on diversion suggests that much of the dissent is about fear of changing traffic patterns rather than spending.

                and most diverter supporters would be happy to see the speed bumps eliminated, btw.

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        • Craig Giffen November 7, 2017 at 6:52 pm

          Go stand at 28th and SE Brooklyn between 7-9am on a weekday. Cars come flying down Brooklyn after being diverted from Clinton. It is a crazy amount of traffic. I like the diverters, but they also need to four way stops at every single intersection in a neighborhood to make it less attractive as a cut-through.

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          • Buzz November 7, 2017 at 9:34 pm


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          • paikiala November 8, 2017 at 9:37 am

            500 cars a day fly at 24 mph?

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          • CaptainKarma November 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm

            Just for the record, stop signs do not seem to cause rush hour cut thdough traffic to necessarily stop. I’m under-stating here. Take a lawn chair and a beverage down to the corner and tally them them up.

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            • Craig Giffen November 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

              True, there was a wreck the other day near my home because the driver didn’t stop. Granted, even a 90% success rate in getting cars to stop is better than nothing.

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          • Bjorn November 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm


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            • Craig Giffen November 8, 2017 at 3:01 pm

              What is the solution then? The two stop signs near my house cause speeding drivers to, well, stop.

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              • USbike November 9, 2017 at 7:37 am

                Do they actually come to a full stop (like they are legally suppose to) or usually only a rolling one? Of course there are cases where stop signs are appropriate and useful. But stop signs are so overused in the US that I feel its intended effect has largely been diminished, as several others have also mentioned here. The only times I can actually remember people coming to a full stop are at intersections with multiple stop signs, and even then only when there are several cars that approach at the same time. Otherwise it gets treated like a yield as well. Here in the Netherlands, and many other European countries, stop signs are so rare that you hardly ever see them. They are only used at locations considered extremely risky due to bad sight lines, etc. Instead, the yield signs and/or the priority from the right rule is the norm. For cyclists this is also especially nice when traffic is light, as you then don’t have to choose between coming to a complete stop or breaking the law at every stop sign when there’s no other traffic around.

                If speeding is the problem, a stop sign probably won’t fix it. It’s not meant to serve that purpose after all. Speed bumps, road narrowing and other measures can more effectively address such issues.

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            • Dan A November 8, 2017 at 3:53 pm

              I’ve encountered many stop signs that have caused me to slow to 0 mph. They seem to be working.

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          • oliver November 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

            If only the city had a department, staffed by some kind of public servant, equipped with the means to measure speeds, and authorized to issue some kind of penalty for driving unsafely.

            Imagine the difference it would make if there was a legal mechanism to disourage unsafe driving.

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      • Amy W November 7, 2017 at 7:15 pm

        I think the thing with Lincoln/Harrison is depending on the time of day you ride you either get a TON of traffic and see lots unsafe driving. That is what the data shows, the number of cars and speeds are unsafe. There are times though when it is totally fine with no issues.
        I am going to trust the data on this, the area needs changes to make it safer. My own experience is full of unsafe drivers and speeds but my feelings should not be enough to make these decisions.

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        • Buzz November 7, 2017 at 9:36 pm

          they plan for ‘peak hour’ traffic and ignore the other 20 hours of the day.

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          • NH November 8, 2017 at 9:31 am

            Yes, because “peak hour” traffic is when the problem occurs. Should police not respond to gang shootings because they mostly happen between midnight and 4 AM? Should the water bureau limit water in July/August because it’s only the “peak months” for water usage and there’s plenty of water the rest of the year? Should PGE only plan for the 20 hours of the day where current generation is enough, and just accept brownouts during the 4 hours of peak demand?

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            • Buzz November 8, 2017 at 11:30 am

              Planning for peak hour traffic is what got us into the transportation mess we are in in the first place, i.e. designing oversized roads for motorists based on the capacity needed during only 4 to 6 hours of peak use per day.

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            • Dan A November 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm

              You’re equating the need to not be shot, to drink water, and to have the lights on to being able to get wherever I want with no delay at any time of day?

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          • paikiala November 8, 2017 at 9:39 am

            You’ll need to explain that one, since most everything PBOT does works 24/7/365.25

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      • Buzz November 7, 2017 at 9:49 pm

        don’t expect a lot of likes…

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      • Evan November 8, 2017 at 6:56 am

        If your vision for a safer neighborhood is to allow *more* cars to drive through (by opposing a diverter on that basis), then I think you and I disagree fundamentally on what a safe neighborhood looks like.

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      • Paul Atkinson November 8, 2017 at 11:27 am

        I’m a little confused by this; I ride this route sometimes, but on other greenways I see concerning traffic so I’m curious how this works for you.

        On the one hand you’re saying that diverters will move an unacceptable number of cars onto other streets.

        On the other, you’re saying that there aren’t enough cars on the greenway to be worth a diverter.

        Not trying to be snarky, but how do you reconcile those? If no one is using it as a cut-through then I wouldn’t imagine the diverter would push many cars onto other streets. If lots of drivers would be diverted, that seems like it means there’s too much car traffic on the greenway.


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      • Doug Klotz November 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        Buzz and Dawn seem to be assuming that after diversion, the same number of drivers will attempt to use Lincoln, and will turn up or down 30th when they get there. But it could very well be that the drivers, after a week, learn that it’s too much of a pain to try to do a runaround at every diverter, and choose to do something else. Maybe even stay on the Collector streets. That’s the point: to make it difficult to use Lincoln as a cut-through street. And there are few parallel streets that run the whole length like Lincoln does.

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        • Buzz November 9, 2017 at 8:49 am

          No, I’m assuming that all the drivers who now turn west from SE 26th on to Harrison will instead proceed straight on 26th to Stephens.

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          • Dawn November 9, 2017 at 8:56 am

            If they are trying to get to 20th or Hawthorne (or depending on where they live or work in the immediate neighborhood), it’s more likely that they will turn left onto Grant or Lincoln to avoid the diverter and stop signs and catch up with Harrison a block or two over.

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            • Buzz November 9, 2017 at 1:25 pm

              Either way, because of the grid, there will be multiple options that take the motorists off of the neighborhood collector streets and put them in greater numbers on the perpendicular or adjacent parallel local streets in order to avoid the diverters.

              Nobody that lives on the affected local streets wants this.

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    • m November 7, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Careful. You might be accused of NIMBYism.

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      • Dawn November 7, 2017 at 5:30 pm

        Because of where my house is located this is unlikely to affect my life in any real way. I just have concerns about the design and safety impact. When dollars are being allocated here, it means other (possibly more worthy) projects are not getting funded

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        • m November 7, 2017 at 8:23 pm

          I was responding to Buzz.

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      • mran1984 November 7, 2017 at 11:55 pm

        You can call me all of the weak names that you want, but I agree with Buzz and Dawn. I also live right in the middle of this. Lincoln is safe. I have decades of DAILY experience. You want safer streets? Increase your skill and fitness, lube your chain, remove YOUR device and ear buds, ride with awareness, use proper lighting when appropriate, wear a helmet. I walk my dog in this neighborhood and live to cherish it. I don’t require any more pseudo, “feel good safety”.

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        • Evan November 8, 2017 at 6:58 am

          Wow, thanks for this great advice! Next time somebody in a huge SUV cuts the corner in front of me, passing so close I can (and do) hit their mirror, I’ll take that as a reminder that I need to lube my chain.

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          • mark November 8, 2017 at 8:13 am

            I can see the police report now:

            “Driver remained at the scene. Cyclist was wearing a helmet, but had a dry chain and the front tire was underinflated by 6 psi, so was basically asking to get hit.”

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        • Hazel November 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

          What does fitness have to do with safety?

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        • soren November 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

          The idea that traffic calming on Greenways is primarily about safety is a strawman. The major argument for traffic calming is to keep these increasingly congested but vital bicycle arterials comfortable for young people, older people, and the many other “interested but concerned” people who are not necessarily skilled or fit and who may rarely lube their chain.

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          • paikiala November 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm

            Those speed posters for the project are color coded and the percent numbers listed are the risk of fatality in the event of a collision.

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          • John Liu November 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm

            There has to be a lube joke in here somewhere

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        • Paul Atkinson November 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

          Greenways are one place I want my kid to be — and feel — safe on a bicycle. That’s not a fitness question; rather, it’s a matter of keeping dangerous auto traffic on those streets to a minimum.

          Diverters help. Removing earbuds doesn’t, because we don’t ride with them. Chain lube doesn’t help with that either. We always ride with at least the legal minimum of lights — and if we ride with more that doesn’t mean we must.

          And as for a helmet…that doesn’t make you safer in this context. Whether we wear them or not, if your helmet is helping you then *YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN A CRASH* and by definition you were not safe. Maybe it’ll prevent that crash from ending in death and maybe it won’t, but safety on a greenway doesn’t mean you have all your limbs broken but you survive. Jesus…what a place to set the bar.

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        • Charley November 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm

          Yeah. Those victims had it coming.

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    • Catie November 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      The biggest take-away from diverter controversy is that NO ONE wants more car traffic on their street. The only win-win solution is to reduce car traffic throughout the whole city. To do that we need to support biking.

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      • emerson November 8, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        Biking, transit and walking.

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  • Travis November 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Concerning Willamette. There’s Next Door. Then there’s the 14k member (and always entertaining) St. Johns FB page. At first Scott and I were concerned the against-petition would net many more signatures and traction. But shared sound logic from cyclists and non-cyclists alike seems to be winning the debate.

    Oddly, a few of the same pro-parking/anti-bike lane folks are cool with a guy running a scrap towing business via the free public parking / right-of-way in front of his home… and neighbors homes.

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    • Barry Cochran November 7, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      That petition post was remarkable even by STJ Facebook page standards. When one starts out a post with “This is not a petition against bike lanes…” and then attaches a petition against bike lanes, one is unlikely to win the argument based on anything resembling “sound logic.”

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  • David Hampsten November 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    The local government here won’t pave if the temperature drops below 60 degrees nor add striping. Something to with the temperature of the old pavement to receive new asphalt, then paint/plastic striping. Given Portland’s low temperatures November through March, I wouldn’t expect any finished improvements on Willamette before April 2018, just some chalk lines. I hope I’m wrong.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2017 at 9:41 am

      you should remind people where here is from time to time.

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    • Gary B November 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      We’re pretty steady in the 40s right now. But it’s ok, all the drivers that can’t operate their vehicles without driving in the buffers will make sure the new stripes are well adhered.

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  • SilkySlim November 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I definitely get where the opposition – at least to diverters – is coming from. Heck, anyone who travels on Clinton (and I am talking walk, bike, or drive) has witnessed the new Cannonball Run paradigm post-install. I was the first person to arrive on the scene of a terrible incident last week, where a young bike rider badly broke their arm avoiding a car that just couldn’t wait…

    But even with that said, I am still for taking measures that attempt, however imperfectly, to reduce traffic through neighborhoods. I consider a small part of the grand approach to solving our giant traffic problem.

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  • bikeninja November 7, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    When I read the flyer, images of banjos and Burt Reynolds keep running through my head.

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  • m November 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm


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    • B. Carfree November 7, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Not quite. Anything that makes driving slightly less convenient may have the effect of directly reducing driving by creating the sense that a given trip isn’t worth the time/hassle and indirectly reducing driving by creating an environment that is perceived as better for cycling so the next person up gives it a go.

      That’s how I hope these things play out. That also may only happen in my dreams.

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      • m November 7, 2017 at 8:28 pm

        When you have a massive grid like we do on the Eastside, this is nothing but anti-car uptopian BS.

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        • paikiala November 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

          Your ‘eastside’ must end at 82nd Avenue.

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        • paikiala November 8, 2017 at 9:44 am

          And when you have an massive grid in inner Portland, you don’t really need better access.

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  • BarnOwl November 7, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    That flyer has a useful link to a survey that we should all fill out!

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  • Chris I November 7, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    NextDoor is such a hot mess.

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  • Pat Franz November 7, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    That flyer is a smarmy mess of half truths. Chilling to think how carefully it was put together to push the right rage buttons without shedding light on anything, least of all the true motivations.

    Where do they live, and why do they think there will be more traffic down their street? Might be true, might not, depends on a lot of things. What level of traffic would be fair for their street to have? And can we talk about the alternatives (including doing nothing)? Will doing nothing address the problems the best?

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    • J.E. November 7, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      I like how these “neighbors, this will increase traffic on your quiet little street!!!” arguments always conveniently leave out the neighbors who live along the greenways and have 2000+ vehicles pass their houses every day.

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  • Stephan November 7, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    “Not for safer neighborhoods, not for better streets, (…) but to create a low-stress environment for people walking and biking.”
    Aren’t streets where people can walk and bike better? And their neighborhoods safer?

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  • Stephen Smith November 7, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Sounds like it might be good to show up to the open house tomorrow night. Many of those opposed to these improvements to Portland’s bicycle network certainly will. I ride Lincoln occasionally and I’ll be there.

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  • Buzz November 7, 2017 at 9:34 pm


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  • Evan November 8, 2017 at 6:54 am

    I can totally understand people who live off-Greenway being upset about this. I can’t understand any resistance from people who bike on the Greenway.

    Diverters make streets safer by reducing vehicle volumes & speeds. If they don’t go far enough, we need more.

    If your vision for a safer neighborhood is to allow more cars to drive through, then I don’t think you and I agree on what a safe neighborhood looks like.

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  • Evan November 8, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I think I met this PM at a MLK ped project meeting this fall. She talked to another constituent there about how there are too many “bike streets” and not enough “driving streets.”

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    • Chris I November 8, 2017 at 9:28 am

      These people are insane.

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    • Dan A November 8, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Let’s compare the number of bike highways to car highways.

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  • oldguyluvs2ride November 8, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I have lived, driven a car, walked, and biked on SE Lincoln for 25 years. I have seen the traffic on this street (a bikeway, BTW) increase a lot in this time. I see, and experience myself, unsafe passing of cyclists by drivers of cars. I have seen drivers who treat this street as a 3-lane road, passing cyclists at the same time that a car is coming toward them. With all of the school age children who walk and cycle on this street, this safety improvement is long overdue. And, there is the speed issue – I routinely see cars going over 25, often scraping the undercarriage of the car on the inadequate speed bumps.

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  • Clark in Vancouver November 8, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Craig Giffen
    I like the diverters, but they also need to four way stops at every single intersection in a neighborhood to make it less attractive as a cut-through.
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    My experience from a place that went crazy putting four-way stops all over is that they become meaningless. People (driving and biking) learn that they can treat them as yield signs and it’ll be okay most of the time.
    What’s better is a series of diverters, making alternating blocks opposing one-way streets, parkettes, etc.

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  • Clark in Vancouver November 8, 2017 at 9:53 am

    It’s a good idea to keep aware of what those opposed are saying and spreading. Then you can be prepared with counter arguments based on evidence instead of being surprised and not ready.

    They should just work out a greenway network plan for the entire city and publicize it with a time line of implementation. Then people can discuss the concept of a multimodal city instead of debating each and every element of it.
    Hold workshops with people to work out the plan. Have all sorts of folks involved. Specifically invite those opposed so that they can both feel included as well as learn the larger picture and have their needs met so that they aren’t opposed anymore.
    I’ve seen it happen. I think it’s natural for people to freak out about any change. They become vulnerable to propaganda. The city needs to be firm and educate the citizens of why these things are being done and keep repeating the message while all the BS gets flung around. If one street is considered a bad one for a greenway then ask which one it should be. A new thing in Vancouver, BC is instead of picking a specific street to pick a “corridor” which would be a direction and include several streets. That way it can be discussed and debated and researched as to which one would be best.

    They could also add diversion as a trial. It has to be a long enough trial so that motor traffic readjustment can happen since the first few days or weeks of any traffic change isn’t representative of what it settles down to. You could tell people that if it doesn’t work out that it can be changed so that it does.

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  • Clark in Vancouver November 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

    In my opinion this diverter plan doesn’t even go far enough. Lincoln should end in two bike permeable cul-de-sacs. Here’s a good example from Vancouver.
    (Note that Streetview has not yet been updated and still shows what was there before.)

    You can see that 7th Avenue ends for motor traffic in cul-de-sacs. They’re bike permeable. There are no low bushes so visibility is good when crossing Oak St. Overall it’s a very good design.

    Here is the proposal document:

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  • JeffS November 8, 2017 at 11:23 am

    I’m curious. When is car traffic a problem on Lincoln? I’m honestly curious. I’ve never seen it.

    From a safety priority standpoint, this has to be near the bottom of the list.

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    • Doug Hecker November 8, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Whether I bike or drive I have the same feelings. I’d like to see some answers to the money being spent. Have there been accidents or deaths? I surely haven’t heard of any.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 8, 2017 at 1:11 pm

        Doug… So you are saying that you don’t feel bicycle access improvements should be made until someone is seriously hurt or killed. That’s really sad.

        Willamette is a high-stress street for bicycling and it’s a crucial link in the bicycling network. That’s all PBOT needs to make the cycling better. It’s complete and utter B.S. that people have to spill blood before anything happens.

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        • Doug Hecker November 8, 2017 at 7:30 pm

          Just looking for the justification. PBOT claims to be data driven and I need to know what amount of drivers are “cutting through.” If there aren’t any accidents then what exactly needs to be changed? If it’s proven to be safe then yes, Dan, let’s spend the money on project that keep the cars on the freeways instead of the neighborhoods. Thanks for respond Jonathan and DAN 🙂

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 9, 2017 at 8:06 am


            It’s simply unfair to rely on data alone when looking at infrastructure. Why? Because bicycling and walking crashes are vastly underreported. It’s just one more part of the systemic oppression of vulnerable road users in our transportation system.

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            • John Liu November 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

              To the extent that under-reporting is partly because the un-reported accidents are minor (little or no injury or other consequences), then the under-reporting may not be a big deal.

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              • El Biciclero November 9, 2017 at 11:01 am

                Except that any kind of “incident”, no matter how “minor”, affects exactly the kind of comfort level that will encourage or prevent more people from using bikes. That’s the data that’s missing from any data-driven decision-making process.

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          • paikiala November 9, 2017 at 11:05 am

            Your paradigm is to enact safety changes after crashes have occurred and in sufficient quantities to ‘justify’ expenditure of funds.
            The Safe Systems/Vision Zero approach seeks to *prevent* future crashes from happening in the first place.

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      • Dan A November 8, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        “I’d like to see some answers to the money being spent. Have there been accidents or deaths? I surely haven’t heard of any.”

        And yet you support the I-5 RQ project. Hmm.

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    • dwk November 8, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Low hanging fruit, the only bike improvements that are being made these days….

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    • John November 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      I have seen it consistently… speeding, flying over the ineffective speed humps, passing in unsafe manor, etc.

      I live off Lincoln @ 47th. I absolutely support the diverters on 50th. Long overdue.

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      • paikiala November 9, 2017 at 11:09 am

        Effectiveness is a function of speed bump size and spacing. Past traffic calming on Lincoln was intended to achieve an 85th percentile speed within 5 mph of the posted 25 mph speed. That was generally achieved.

        The new bar to achieve is to get as near 20 mph as possible, and PBOT will use the shorter speed bumps along the entire route in an effort to accomplish that new goal.

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  • CaptainKarma November 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I am skeptical of information presenred on anonymous flyers door-to-door. It feels like pitchforks and torches somehow.

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  • Doug Hecker November 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Yep, 500 signatures for Friends of the Williamette probably didn’t feature a good number of people who live on that stretch of road. Then they weren’t asked and Saltzman folded under the pressure. Are we surprised? PBOT throws around everyone all the time but they didn’t ask the people who this affected the most. Wonder why?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Doug Hecker wrote:

      Yep, 500 signatures for Friends of the Williamette probably didn’t feature a good number of people who live on that stretch of road. Then they weren’t asked and Saltzman folded under the pressure. Are we surprised? PBOT throws around everyone all the time but they didn’t ask the people who this affected the most. Wonder why?

      Don’t forget that PBOT went to people who live on the street first back in 2011. Not only did PBOT ask them first, PBOT never even brought the plans to the public eye before giving up on the project based solely on those peoples’ opposition. That’s partly why I’m finding it hard to sympathize with those people this time around.

      Those were bad decisions by PBOT. A city should never ask people if they’re willing to sacrifice personal convenience for the common, greater good. That’s just naiive, because they’ll always say “hell no!” in that context.

      So they didn’t ask first this time. Why? Because they’re smarter and didn’t want to make the same mistake. Not to mention the fact that parking personal vehicles in the public right-of-way is not a priority in any single city-adopted plan… Whereas prioritizing bicycling in the public right-of-way is enshrined in several important city plans that have been adopted by our elected representatives. (Bicycle Plan, Comp Plan, Transportation System Plan, Vision Zero Action Plan, Climate Action Plan, Livable Street Strategy, and so on).

      Again I ask… Besides “We weren’t notified!” thing… What is the actual policy rationale for not doing this? Is there a good argument to be made — beyond simply not “losing” parking – by people who live on Willamette?

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    • Mike November 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      You and I (and many others) do not agree on the definition of “who this affects most”. There is documented evidence (from people posting in the various Nextdoor and Facebook forums) of how few cars are ever actually parked there on a day-to-day basis.

      Whereas there are hundreds of people on bikes, every day, riding on this road.

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  • John Liu November 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    A glance at Willamette on Google Maps shows a grand total of 10 cars parked curbside in the entire stretch from Portsmouth to Rosa Parks. The houses have sizeable driveways and the lots are flat so those driveways could be widened. From Woolsey to Bryant every house is on a corner lot with direct access to a side street.

    If street parking were a real issue here (like, if everything in the preceding paragraph were untrue), the north side of the street could be widened to create a parking area where the grassy parking strip is now. But I don’t think that is necessary here.

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    • Travis November 8, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      To be fair, Google Maps does not capture the reality of day-to-day parking on Willamette when UP is in session or big UP events like Gonzaga and graduation. Willamette parking could be removed and UP could build more parking on campus (even charge for it).

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      • Chris I November 8, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        UP should definitely not be encouraging car commuting.

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        • Travis November 8, 2017 at 3:26 pm

          More car storage.

          UP charges for on-campus parking ($5 day; $75 semester; $150 year). UP offers shuttles to Union Station, airport, downtown STJ, and other parts of the city. They are not encouraging commuting by car.

          But student from California still brings his car. Rents house with roommates on Willamette. He or she walks to class. But drives around town.

          Students living in other parts of Portland still drive and park around neighborhood to avoid paid parking.

          Event parking is still a huge problem despite recently added parking below bluff.

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          • John Liu November 8, 2017 at 3:37 pm

            That the reality – very few people will choose to be car-free, if they have the means to own a car. So if housing has no off-street parking, the cars get parked on the street. But in this case, all of these houses have plenty of off-street parking.

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            • Eric Leifsdad November 10, 2017 at 8:32 am

              People will adapt to a shortage of parking, and neighbors can opt for permitted street parking if they’re willing to pay for it. Parking permit fees can be used for crosswalk and other improvements.

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          • Matthew in Portsmouth November 9, 2017 at 9:02 am

            I don’t believe any of the houses on the Rosa Parks to Woolsey section of N Willamette are rented to students. Most of the rentals are, in fact, on N Willamette between N Olin and the cut, and there are lots of cars parked along there. The houses along the Rosa Parks – Woolsey blocks are mostly large, well maintained and occupied by single families as far as I can tell. Even when there is an event at UP, I haven’t noticed too many of the participants parking that far from the campus. Most of the drive-to events (like high school graduations) at UP seem to happen during UP breaks.

            I don’t think UP parking is going to be affected by this project.

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  • Stephen Keller November 8, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Sigh. Cut-through traffic is the symptom. Unless we address the real problem, too much driving, infrastructure changes are just going to move the problem around.

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    • 9watts November 9, 2017 at 5:54 pm


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  • rachel b November 8, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    “Thanks, Debbie Gibson,” indeed. 🙂

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  • Kathy November 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Anyone else who cycles the majority of the time, find themselves on auto-pilot while driving and end up driving the same route as cycling and wind up at a diverter and go “oh yea! you can’t drive this way!” Happens to me and my husband all of the time. We are both 100% bicycle commuters and only drive when something isn’t within walking/cycling distance.
    RE: the parking situation on Willamette – people can be CRAZY about the parking in front of their house. I had a neighbor who used to get SUPER upset when someone parked in “her” spot. I reminded her all of the time that it wasn’t “her” spot but public property anyone would use to park. She would just sputter in response and then ask to use my driveway. She would also give long diatribes on how unfair it was that WE had a driveway when we rarely ever drive. Needless to say, I was glad when she sold her house and moved away. We live by a middle school and when they have events, it was beyond tiresome to listen to her complain about how the parents would park in “her” spot.

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    • Matthew in Portsmouth November 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Yeah, my husband used to talk about “our spot” in front of our house. Every single time he said this, I would say that it is a public street and anyone can park there. However, people do get territorial about it, doesn’t mean they’re correct (they’re not). If you buy a house without off-street parking, you take a gamble on being able to find parking, and presumably pay less for the residence. None of this persuades some of the neighbors on our block who leave disgusting messages (usually body fluids) for anyone who has the temerity to park in front of their house.

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