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Mt. Tabor neighborhood votes 45-5 against diverters at 50th and Lincoln

Posted by on November 16th, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Pretty clear where the Tabor Rising neighborhood group stands on the issue.

Remember that opposition to the City’s plans for traffic diversion as part of the Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway project we we warned you about earlier this month? It hasn’t gone away. In fact, it appears to be getting stronger.

At the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s open house for the project just one day after our post was published, we heard that people against the diverters “swamped” people who support them. “By a lot,” our source said.

Then, at their monthly meeting last night, the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) voted 45-5 against one specific part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s proposal: a semi-diverter on both sides of Lincoln at SE 50th. According to a BikePortland reader who was at the meeting, the vote was a motion to oppose the proposed diverter at 50th and Lincoln as currently designed and to request more information and a meeting with PBOT to ask questions and share concerns.

Diverters are a tool PBOT uses to reduce the number of people who drive on a street — and the goal with this project is to restore Lincoln as a low-stress, family-friendly bike route. PBOT’s established guidelines say the target “average daily traffic” (or ADT) volume on a neighborhood greenway should be 1,000 cars per day. Lincoln at 50th has around 1,500 ADT.

PBOT proposal for 50th and Lincoln.

While many neighbors and people who use Lincoln are in favor of the diverters, the voices opposed to it are making themselves heard.

A summary of notes from the MTNA’s November 2nd meeting (PDF) offers a glimpse of what the group is hearing from its members. Here are some of the concerns:

➤ Diverters will just make drivers cross Lincoln at other streets, causing even greater safety problems.

➤ Neighbors say this is an “equity concern” because the money PBOT would spend on this diverter could be used in “other neighborhoods lagging in bike infrastructure.”

➤ “Policies that squeeze people out of cars ignore/dismiss the needs of the disabled and of the aging… Low-wage job holders are more likely to be dependent on cars.”

➤ There’s a fear that too many diverters will “isolate” the neighborhood and increase emergency response times.

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Instead of the diverters, MTNA says potential solutions could be a bike-only signal, more speed bumps, better enforcement of existing laws, and just one diverter on the west of 50th (instead of on both sides).

“We will take this vote and the sentiment it expresses into consideration as we continue to refine the design.”
— John Brady, PBOT

We asked PBOT to respond to last night’s vote. Communications Director John Brady said, “We are currently in the outreach phase of the project, so we will take this vote and the sentiment it expresses into consideration as we continue to refine the design.”

“We feel it is important for community members to know that we studied the car volumes along the proposed Greenway corridor,” Brady continued. “The diverters that we have proposed, including the diverter at 50th and Lincoln, are at intersections where the volume of cars exceed the acceptable standards in our city’s Neighborhood Greenway guidelines.”

Brady urges everyone to take the official project survey. While you’re at it, there are petitions floating around both for and against this project.

PBOT will host another open house for this project on December 5th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at Atkinson Elementary School (5800 SE Division Street). Construction on this project is slated to begin in spring of next year.

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

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dan
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dan

Install photo radar on Lincoln, send a ticket to anyone who drives over 20 mph. Done! Then we don’t even need the speed bumps.

Paul Atkinson
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Paul Atkinson

“Diverters will just make drivers cross Lincoln at other streets, causing even greater safety problems.”
Translation: we know there are a ton of cars on the greenway. We know there’s a safety impact. We’re okay with that.

“Neighbors say this is an “equity concern” because the money PBOT would spend on this diverter could be used in “other neighborhoods lagging in bike infrastructure.””
Translation: we’re happy to take as much of the city’s money as we can get our hands on without every questioning equity, but we’re pretty sure you won’t argue with us if we present that as our concern.

“Policies that squeeze people out of cars ignore/dismiss the needs of the disabled and of the aging… Low-wage job holders are more likely to be dependent on cars.”
Translation: I have never done any research on transportation mode share. I assume the aging and the disabled must always use cars.

“There’s a fear that too many diverters will “isolate” the neighborhood and increase emergency response times.”
Translation: I have never done any research on emergency response times as they relate to infrastructure, and also I don’t know what “isolate” means. But a pamphlet I read said this was a concern.

Okay…enough snark. Pretty sure this could be solved with a combination of education and open minds.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

The auto zombies strike back!

Christopher of Portland
Guest
Christopher of Portland

Policies that squeeze people off of bikes ignore/dismiss the needs of our lungs and of the environment…

soren
Guest
soren

The equity arguments in the NA notes are laughable.

1) In contrast to what is argued, lower income people and PoC are *less* likely to use cars for transportation to work.
2) The speed bumps, increased outreach, and bike signals called for in these notes are far more expensive than the several thousand dollars needed for a diverter.
3) This neighborhood greenway is also used by people who live further to the east of this relatively upper-income neighborhood.

Contrasting comments from “bikers” with those from “people with personal experience” is incredibly biased. “Bikers” who use Lincoln-Harrison are people too.

Toadslick
Subscriber

just one diverter on the west of 50th (instead of on both sides)

I’m guessing that Portland Rising lives east of 50th and is sad that they won’t get to drive on Lincoln anymore.

Richard
Guest
Richard

This…

“Neighbors say this is an ‘equity concern’ because the money PBOT would spend on this diverter could be used in ‘other neighborhoods lagging in bike infrastructure.’”

…reads as:

“Neighbors say this is an ‘equity concern’ because the money PBOT would spend on [saving lives] could be used in ‘other neighborhoods [to save lives].”

HOW ABOUT WE DO BOTH.

Also: “Policies that [prioritize] cars ignore/dismiss the needs of [people, such as those most vulnerable like] the disabled and the aging… Low-wage job holders are more likely to [not afford] cars [and should be protected in their needed modes of transit too].”

rick
Guest
rick

and the neighborhood’s plan for safety is ??

Clark in Vancouver
Guest
Clark in Vancouver

Low-wage job holders are more likely to be dependent on cars?
What planet are these people living on anyway?

Mike
Guest
Mike

As a resident of 57th Ave between Hawthorne and Lincoln I am in favor of the diverters as ride this route every day to work in Beaverton. There are a fair amount of cars that seem to use Lincoln to avoid Division or Hawthorne, but I rarely feel unsafe unless I am with my family (but that is the case on most streets).

However, I am less inclined to dismiss my neighbors concerns about cut through traffic as I could see this as an issue. Although, I would love to see some actual data posted as to the increase, or lack of, once a diverter is put in place like at 52nd and Division.

I am also very concerned about the constant speeding up or down Hawthorne between 60th and 55th by the Seminary.

Regardless of the outcome, some more rigorous traffic enforcement on these neighbor streets or bikeways is a must.

Mickey
Guest
Mickey

I also live in this area and am a regular bike commuter on Lincoln, and was also at Wednesday’s neighborhood meeting. Opposition to the diverter was closely followed by an equally strong desire for the city to share information and work with neighbors to define the problem and come up with solutions. The concerns outlined in that PDF are debatable, but big picture I think it’s reasonable for folks to expect the city to actually engage the various communities that would be affected (rather than just tell them what’s going to be done).

I can see some value of having a diverter, but in my experience riding Lincoln it is the cross traffic that puts riders at greater risk, and I can see why my older neighbors who don’t ride don’t want to be diverted to Division or Hawthorne just to get into the neighborhood (the long blocks south of Lincoln and the dead end streets north of Lincoln mean there aren’t a lot of other options if you’re coming from the west).

meh
Guest
meh

It’s not enforcement it revenue generation. Getting a ticket in the mail 2 weeks after the incident doesn’t do much to link the bad behavior to the penalty. There’s more impact when you are pulled over at the time of the offense.

RH
Guest
RH

45 against is 90%. 5 in favor is 10%. That is probably the mode split between auto’s and cyclists.

Chris
Guest
Chris

What a shame. The City has chosen to prioritize the Greenway network as the backbone of bicycling in Portland. However, those of us who use the Greenways daily know how many drivers use them as cut-through streets and roll through stops signs to cut across them. This is unacceptable for a City with a stated goal of increasing bike mode share four-fold in the next 13 years. Diverters are a simple, low cost solution to this problem. The City needs to show some leadership and significantly increase the number of diverters on Greenways throughout the City, regardless of whatever leaflet campaign is waged by residents of the adjacent streets.

James
Guest
James

So 90% of the hood says no. Move on.

SD
Subscriber

Breaking news: Some Portlanders not prepared to live in a growing city, would prefer time machine to 10 years ago.

Oregonlahar
Guest
Oregonlahar

Tabor Rising (to clog our streets with cars).

Rain Panther
Guest
Rain Panther

Can’t help wondering. Is that 90% opposition really indicative of the overall sentiment in the area? Or is it just that some portion of the population got sufficiently riled up that they were able to mobilize more people? Maybe the supporters figured it was already in the bag?

I'll show up
Guest
I'll show up

Is anyone going to start organizing an effort to fight for these improvements? I’m more of a shower-upper than a leader. I remember on Clinton, there were rides, postcards, rallying for open houses, showing up at neighborhood meetings. I’m not seeing that with this one and it has way, way stronger naysayers. As a Mt. Tabor neighbor, I saw my neighbors there. On next door, someone posted a pro petition. Of the first 35 comments, 3 were supportive of the project. Most comments were that we shouldn’t have diversion. Some were that it somehow isn’t bike friendly enough. Are we going to see people fight for this thing or is our community ok with how things are on Lincoln?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

John,
do you assume PBOT did not send out a postcard?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

By the way, what position have Richmond and Hosford-Abernethy taken on the part of the project in their neighborhoods?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Giving neighborhoods veto over a greenway just like we do with carways like Powell, right?

oliver
Guest
oliver

I will definitely make it a point to drive on 50th whenever I get over that way.

Of course, it’s not about increasing the traffic on 50th, it’s about forcing drivers who back on to Division or Hawthorne who would rather car commute on the neighborhood street greenway because there’s less traffic.

Bill
Guest
Bill

Has there ever been any discussion with regards to a solution that would allow vehicles of residents within that neighborhood to pass through the diverter? Perhaps special tags could be issued by the city to residents of the local neighborhood which could be affixed to their vehicle’s bumper for example. These vehicles would then legally be allowed to pass through such a diverter.