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


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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