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Fate of traffic calming on Lincoln-Harrison hangs in balance at open house tonight

Posted by on December 5th, 2017 at 11:03 am

This is what PBOT wants to install on both sides of SE Lincoln at 50th.

I’m sensing a disturbance in the Force. Various respected sources and a general feeling of uneasiness in my bones tells me that tonight’s open house for the City of Portland’s Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement project will be very consequential.

In other words, there’s auto traffic diversion on the table — specifically a duo of semi-diverters on Lincoln on both sides of 50th — and a lot of very loud and very angry people are opposed to them. Yes, there are lots of people who support the diverters at 50th, but from what I’ve heard the nos have it.

As we reported last month, the Mt Tabor Neighborhood Association voted 45-5 against the diverters at 50th. And that opposition has continued. Yesterday someone went door-to-door and passed out this flyer:

Flyer drafted by Molly Cliff Hilts, Mt Tabor N’hood Association traffic committee chair.

As you can see, people are afraid. They think the diverters will unleash havoc in their neighborhood and they just can’t fathom being told they can’t drive in certain directions on certain streets.

Regardless of how you feel about how the project and claims being made in that flyer, the fact remains that PBOT is hearing this opposition loud and clear. And even though we might wish that PBOT could simply lean on one of their many adopted policies that support the diverter at 50th, the reality is that politics matters. And in Portland, the loudest voices often shape the politics. City hall and PBOT staffers have memories like elephants when it comes to controversy and anger from neighborhoods. That’s partly why they are so fearful of making major changes to the automobile-dominated status quo: Because it brings back fraught memories of angry people yelling at them at council meetings and open houses. When there’s opposition from a neighborhood that’s not counter-balanced by support, PBOT can’t present the project to City Council with the all-important “supported by the community” stamp-of-approval.

We need to fix that political/PBOT dynamic, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Right now, if you think the diverters at 50th are important and you want to see them in the final design, you should make your presence known at tonight’s open house.

There’s also an open house for the Sullivan’s Crossing project tonight. Since that one is earlier, BikeLoudPDX is leading a ride that will leave Metro HQ on NE Grand at 6:00 for the five mile trek to the Lincoln-Harrison open house which takes place at Atkinson Elementary School at SE 58th and Division.

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

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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

67 Comments
  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 5, 2017 at 11:08 am

    someone has posted this flyer in a NextDoor post and here’s a rebuttal of its main points:

    Hi neighbors, I received this flyer on my porch today, and noticed that many of my neighbors had it as well. It’s not signed, so I don’t know who wrote it, but it’s very misleading and clearly an attempt to manipulate public opinion ahead of tomorrow’s meeting. This flyer makes several inaccurate claims, and basically amounts to scare-mongering. I suspect that whoever wrote it knows they are being dishonest, and deliberately did it at the last minute so their claims wouldn’t be challenged. So, in the interest of timeliness, I’ll respond to some of the more outlandish claims here:

    1. “Our local streets are going to be jammed with more cars.”
    This is simply inaccurate. There are many diverters in Portland, including several in our neighborhood. The city collects data on the effectiveness of them, and it repeatedly shows that they successfully reduce traffic on neighborhood streets, by diverting it to thoroughfares—that’s the point. The diverter at 52nd/Division (which was also opposed, with very similar rhetoric) has successfully reduced total traffic on neighborhood streets by more than 1,000 cars/day. There were modest increases in traffic on some close, parallel streets, but in total it was only about 20% of the diverted traffic. The rest stayed out of the neighborhood. And the data also shows that the traffic on 51st and 53rd remains slow and safe, averaging between 10-15mph, with almost nobody going faster than 25.

    2. “the city is creating an 11 BLOCK DIVERSION for area residents”.
    This doesn’t make sense. Lincoln is only 4 blocks from Division. Anywhere you can go on Lincoln, you can get to on Division. There’s no logical reason anyone in the neighborhood would have to go more than 4 blocks further than they are going now. Right? Am I missing something?

    3. “-1,000 cars a day on your street-”
    This is complete hyperbole designed to scare you. The stretch of Lincoln between 50th-60th has about 3K total cars/day, split evenly between each direction, so only half of that traffic will be affected by this plan, ~1,500 cars/day. If we assume that the pattern of other diverters holds, about 80% will go to other thoroughfares, and about 20% will go to side streets. That means 300 cars total to all other side streets, and 1,200 total to Hawthorne and Division. If the drivers who are diverted to Hawthorne and Division split evenly, it will be about 600 more cars/day on each street. That increase will be pretty marginal, since Hawthorne currently has about 14,000 cars/day at 48th, and Division has over 12,000 at 50th.

    4. The “long blocks (have) no capacity to absorb diverted drivers.”
    This also doesn’t make much sense. Again, data shows that most of these diverted drivers will just stay on 50th/60th or Hawthorne/Division, probably about 80%. The remaining traffic (likely a few hundred total cars/day) will presumably be spread across all the N-S blocks between 50th-60th. We’re talking about maybe a few dozen more cars/day on each street, and those people will almost certainly be your neighbors, because that’s the only rational reason to use some random half-mile side street between Division and Hawthorne—why would a speeding commuter cut through 10 blocks of side streets? That doesn’t make sense, because it won’t save them time. The “long blocks” are more likely a disincentive to people cheating the diverter with side streets. The actual increase in local traffic will probably be just your neighbors who are now driving a different way to the store…and those streets are all pretty quiet now, with more than adequate capacity to absorb a few more cars.

    5. “It’s CRAZY! PBOT hasn’t thought through the broader implications of this traffic change.”
    I’m not a traffic engineer, so I’m not qualified to really evaluate the nuts and bolts of this plan. But I am on board with our City’s overall strategy of creating safe neighborhood greenways that prioritize bikes and pedestrians. Some people disagree, and that’s ok. Maybe you prefer plans that are only about increasing speed for cars? That’s a reasonable opinion, but I think most of our community disagrees, since we continue to elect leaders who support greenways and alternative transportation.

    But do people really think that transportation engineers just haven’t thought about this stuff? Do you actually think they are unfamiliar with the layout of streets in our city? Are you aware of any other examples where they have made catastrophic decisions with terrible consequences because they missed obvious factors that neighbors tried to warn them about? Maybe the professional engineers who study transportation planning haven’t thought about this stuff. Maybe they just hate cars, or are in the pocket of the Big-diverter industry? Or maybe they are just totally negligent at their jobs, and some random flyer-maker knows more about traffic infrastructure than they do? Maybe, but I doubt it. And I’ll leave it up to everyone else to decide which perspective is “CRAZY!”.

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  • Phil Richman December 5, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Advocates who live in the impacted neighborhoods would be wise to thank this poster and post more of this logical support on Nextdoor.

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    • Phil Richman December 5, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Also, the poster should be made aware the people who wrote it provide their names and contact information on the flyer so he/she might correct the post and/or contact Molly & Dave.

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      • maxD December 5, 2017 at 1:05 pm

        The authors of the flier and petition are well-known nimby’s who simply want to keep traffic off of 55th.

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        • CaptainKarma December 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm

          Names please.

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  • dan December 5, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I am perfectly happy with photo radar with auto-ticketing for those exceeding 20 mph. Failing that, huge speedbumps (like the ones on Stark going over Mt. Tabor) would be just fine.

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    • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 8:35 am

      The bumps on Thorburn are fire friendly 14-foot standard profile bumps, called speed cushions.

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  • Josh G December 5, 2017 at 11:38 am

    The flyer is signed by a couple of homeowners who signed the petition (Her comments here: http://www.gopetition.com/petition-comment.php?cid=21882374 ) The petition was signed by Wade with the same last name.

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  • I'll Show Up December 5, 2017 at 11:45 am

    There’s a long conversation on Next Door happening on this thread right now. The flyer maker is involved in the conversation and it has been clarified that there is a name on the flyer. That issue is now moot in the conversation. The debate is about the substance of the misleading flyer and the merits of the project. Phil is right that it’s time for folks in the neighborhood to stand up.

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  • I'll Show Up December 5, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Just reminding you that the last time you threw out this counterpoint, you were informed that state law does not allow photo radar on Lincoln. https://bikeportland.org/2017/11/16/mt-tabor-neighborhood-votes-45-5-against-diverter-at-50th-and-lincoln-254714#comment-6843582

    Plus, it only works at 11 over per state law. Do you think we shouldn’t do anything unless everyone is driving over 31 on Lincoln? I know you’ll say just put in giant speed bumps that also don’t exist. Please stop dissuading people from supporting these improvements with your non-legal ideas. Your words are being used against the whole of people who ride on the street, like families with kids. This is not the time to start brainstorming a new bike plan for Portland. Your on the flyer as “Cyclists have come out against!” Not really helpful.

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    • I'll Show Up December 5, 2017 at 11:54 am

      This comment was meant as a reply to dan above.

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    • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

      *fixed* photo radar is not permitted on Lincoln. The mobile, 2-hour time limit vans (2 for the whole city) can park anywhere they can park.

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      • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

        if there is staff to do so, which is very limited.

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  • John December 5, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I live in the neighborhood and completely disagree with the flyer.

    There are some very loud voices here… my voice isn’t as loud but I will do my best to show up and represent my perspective.

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  • Support Greenways December 5, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Showing support of the current plan to this incredible Neighborhood Greenway by going to the open house tonight is great. It is also important to email or call Dan Saltzman and project manager Shelia Parrot.
    sdan@portlandoregon.gov 503-823-4151
    Sheila.parrott@portlandoregon.gov

    503.823.5817

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  • Buzz December 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    This is a poorly planned project that does not provide any mitigation for the traffic it will force onto adjacent parallel and perpendicular neighborhood streets.

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    • I’ll Show Up December 5, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Ok. So you’re against improving our network for the most vulnerable because you don’t want to see a street with 200 cars a day wind up with 300 cars a day. That’s the biggest real threat on this project and that on Harrison between 50th and 47th. Are you for serious? There is no other through route other than Hawthorne and Division. Where is this threat you’re afraid of? Do you see Lincoln as an “artery” or “arterial” like many of the people scaring folks have been describing Lincoln? Should it just become a street for cars so they can travel more quickly through my neighborhood while they’re avoiding Hawthorne and Division? Has the world ended because of the diverters at Lincoln and 39th? No. Actually that diverter is one of the things that has made our neighborhood have a legacy of being livable and safe for children. Now that’s under threat and you don’t want to inconvenience drivers. Thanks!

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      • Buzz December 5, 2017 at 3:10 pm

        I really don’t care about inconveniencing drivers, nor am I endorsing the flyer, I am simply expressing my own opinion as to why this project is controversial.

        If you really want to keep this traffic off the greenway and out of the neighborhoods, you don’t put diverters only along the greenway, you attempt to keep the traffic out of the neighborhoods in the first place.

        Since I’m more familiar with the SE 26th and Harrison location, what I will say is that, in my opinion, northbound traffic on SE 26th should be dealt with at SE 26th and Division and not at SE 26th and Harrison. By the time that traffic has reached SE Caruthers, it has already penetrated the neighborhood and it’s too late to do much about it.

        The same goes for southbound traffic on SE 27th and SE 30th, it needs to be dealt with at Hawthorne if you don’t want this traffic to penetrate the neighborhood.

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        • I'll Show Up December 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

          The only diverter at that location stops westbound traffic. There has been a lot of rumor mongering in the neighborhood about not being able to drive north-south. That is not, in fact, what the project is trying to do. The only impact at 26th is that it will not allow traffic to continue westward from 26th to 20th.

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          • Buzz December 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm

            Yes, and a good amount of that traffic will then either continue north on 26th to Stephens, which are both local neighborhood streets, or it will filter west into the neighborhood south of Harrison, and perhaps emerge further west on Harrison as cross traffic, which is actually a greater hazard to cyclists on Harrison than same direction traffic.

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        • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 8:39 am

          Buzz,
          26th, Harrison, 30th is a Neighborhood Collector. Diversion is not permitted on such streets.

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          • Buzz December 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm

            Yes, but things like speed tables are.

            How come there are speed tables on 20th and roundabouts on 30th, but nothing on 26th between Division and Harrison?

            26th north of Harrison isn’t classified as a Neighborhood Collector, why hasn’t diversion been proposed at this location to keep traffic from going north of Harrison on 26th as part of this project?

            How come there still isn’t an all-way stop sign at the relatively busy three-way intersection at SE 26th and Stephens, nor is one proposed as part of this project?

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    • SilkySlim December 5, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      How much planning do you need for this?

      There is too much traffic cutting through a neighborhood, so place some sort of barrier in the way to keep people mostly on the nearby arterials. Yes, some of those cut through folks will find new cut throughs, but most will get the message.

      I hate that they even ask for public input on things like this. Just do it. At least they aren’t convening to determine how to convene a committee to discuss possibilities for future meetings.

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      • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 8:47 am

        So, you would have the city ‘implement’ what it judges best, without input from the public. Works if their vision is your vision, not so much if not. Seems like many in this echo chamber would disagree with you based on feedback from recent stories.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 6, 2017 at 9:15 am

          paikiala,

          First. You act like this is a debate about having a lengthy and ugly public process OR simply ramming things through w no process at all. That’s a cop-out. What a functioning city gov’t does is uses its best judgment to determine when (and what type of) a process is needed and then sticks to its guns and go through with it, leaning on adopted policy and confidently sharing a vision for a better future. It’s about using discretion, honed by wisdom and used with credibility and trust for constituents. Same thing happens when we talk about police: we can’t let them run amok and we can’t let them be too passive either. Or with advocacy: we can’t all be brick-throwers and we can’t all be passive lapdogs.

          What’s frustrating is that in some ways PBOT gets this. Look at Willamette Blvd restripe. No process whatsoever and that got done.

          Also, everyone else: We need to remember this type of stuff is inherently messy. Thinking that PBOT will do it perfectly every time is just fantasy. The agency is spread very thin and has dozens of projects and initiatives on their plate at one time. They need to either do less and do things better, or get more staff and budget to tackle everything with more resources.

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    • bikeninja December 5, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      The argument that we should not have a diverter on a certain street to keep people from speeding, and endangering people there because they will move to a different street and do the same thing is the same as arguing that a given neighborhood should not implement a neighborhood watch, improve lighting and other crime prevention tools because the criminals will move to other neighborhoods and increase crime there.

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    • soren December 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      PBOT implemented side-street mitigation for both the Clinton and 50s bikeway diverters.

      Do you have any evidence to support your claim that PBOT would not abide by its Neighborhood Greenway policy and offer mitigation, if it is needed?

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  • GlowBoy December 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Interesting that the flyer is careful not to take an anti-bike perspective – that wouldn’t fly in this neighborhood – so instead they’re saying “cyclists … have come out against!” as if that’s representative of most cyclists. Which I very much doubt.

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    • Andrea Brown December 5, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      I can tell you that at the last Richmond Neighborhood meeting, when asked about cycling habits, nearly every single person in the room claimed to be a cyclist and also, that they cycle to work. On one hand it’s cool that people consider themselves to be cyclists, on the other hand, judging by their attitude toward the Lincoln-Harrison project, I’d say the self-reported data is, shall we say, malleable.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu December 5, 2017 at 8:30 pm

        Are you saying they must have been lying when they said they were cyclists and bike commuters? Why do you think that?

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        • Andrea Brown December 5, 2017 at 8:51 pm

          Oh, I’m sure those who object to improved bike infrastructure are totally cyclists and regular commuters! Absolutely. The mystery is why they are so terribly, terribly concerned about inconvenient changes to other people’s driving habits. The mystery is why they insist there is “little traffic” on Lincoln yet if Lincoln is not accessible to all cars that there is going to be this bizarre spike from all that nonexistent traffic onto their own side street. How would I know if they are lying? I’m still just puzzling this all out.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu December 6, 2017 at 12:16 am

            Cyclists can in fact have different views from each other. Just because another cyclist disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are lying about being a cyclist. Maybe they are more comfortable riding in traffic, or they have a spouse who is dependent on driving, or they commute at different hours.

            We see those differing views here on BP all the time. One regular commenter insists that streets without a concrete barrier separating bikes from cars is too dangerous to ride, others disagree and don’t want to be walled off from the rest of the road.

            Inability to comprehend others’ point of view isn’t usually a good thing.

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            • X December 6, 2017 at 6:28 pm

              “I’m a cyclist too and. . .”

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  • Dawn December 5, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I’ve voiced my mildly anti-diverter stance here in the previous post, so I’m not going to get into that again (and yes, I’m a Richmond resident who bike commutes daily and uses a vehicle on an extremely limited basis – less then 3,800 miles per year primarily to do weekend trips or errands). But I do want to add that the biggest problem with traffic on Lincoln-Harrison and proposed diversion of this traffic either back to arterials or onto other neighborhood streets is due in large part to commuter traffic from east of this area (East Portland, Gresham, etc.). Unless we find a way to mitigate traffic flow with improved bus service, park and ride locations in East Portland or other creative solutions, we are going to continue to play whack-a-mole with traffic. People from east of these neighborhoods are just trying to get to their jobs or schools or what have you…they do not yet have any real incentive to get out of their personal vehicles. Making their route more challenging with slow traffic on Division/Hawthorne or increasing the difficulty by encouraging cutting through our neighborhoods is not going to be enough or a disincentive to driving…just add to their frustration.

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    • I'll Show Up December 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Well, the Division Transit project is in active discussion. The same cast of characters has been showing up to stop that project as well. Are you saying that until there’s better transit and park and rides built in East Portland that you don’t support diversion in the inner-portions of our city? If that’s the case, will you ever support diversion while we’re alive? Not trying to be hyperbolic, this stuff just moves so slow and there are so many loud anti-voices that that would be the way it would work out if we waited for these other things first.

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      • Dawn December 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm

        I have supported diverters in the past and I fully support the Division bus project (although I feel it would have been better suited to Powell for long term benefits and I wish it wasn’t moving at such a slow pace). I just don’t really support these diverters on Lincoln-Harrison for a bunch of reasons that I’ve elaborated on before. I think we need to be doing more to encourage car sharing, park and rides and other options to get people out of their cars.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu December 6, 2017 at 12:17 am

          You must not actually ride your bike! Just kidding, see discussion above.

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          • I’ll Show Up December 8, 2017 at 7:32 am

            That’s not nice, John. I noticed you complaining that sometimes it feels like people target you personally. I’m not totally surprised. As the chair of the Laurelhurst historic district committee, you are working on one of the most classist efforts I’ve seen in my lifetime. Just like my bullying neighbors have done to diverted supporters, you’re doing everything you can to protect your privilege and not inconvenience yourself so that the less privileged have to contribute to solving big problems like housing – Laurelhurst specific-, safety, health air quality – Lincoln crew- and oh so much other problems that you’ll leave it to us commoners to solve. In the case of the substantive comment I left and you snarled at, Dawn was saying diverters are fine for others. Just not near her house. Congestion on Hawthorne and Division make it so it’s just not ok to create a street that’s safe for kids to ride on. The speeders on the long blocks will be our neighbors as there will no longer be a time advantage to cutting through our residential neighborhood. The speeders that all this fear mongering is about will be us.

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    • maxD December 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Great point Dawn! Maintaining this route as a safe Greenway IS part of that solution to provide an alternative to bad traffic. There are also significant bus improvements coming for Division Street. I do think that the City should commit to monitor adjacent streets and provide additional traffic mitigation if it gets bad.

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      • Dawn December 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        The Division bus improvements are not planned to be in service until 2021 and I have serious doubts about Trimet’s projected service times in that corridor for 4 years in the future.

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        • dan December 5, 2017 at 3:18 pm

          Yeah, I may be too dumb to understand this, but does anyone know why Division is set up so buses stop in the lane rather than pulling over to the curb and letting traffic go by? It just doesn’t make sense unless the intent is to encourage people to use Powell.

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          • Adam L December 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm

            Trimet has the buses stop in lane to speed up the busses. When they stop in lane, once they are ready to leave the stop they can leave right away. If you provide pullouts to let cars go by, when the bus tries to leave the stop it often has to wait until a person driving a car to stop to let them in. Those 15 second delays waiting for people to let you in add up for a bus fairly quickly. It looks like the Division bus stops 15 times between SE 50th and SE 10th (2 miles). If the bus is delayed by 15 seconds at every one of those stops that 3 minutes 45 seconds added to every single bus trip for just that 2 mile section.

            I say give the vehicle carrying 30 people every advantage it can get over the ones carrying one person.

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          • maxD December 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm

            I think the intention is to prioritize buses, streamline the stopping and loading of passengers, and eliminate bus /car conflicts from having to re-enter a lane.

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          • osmill December 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm

            And a side ‘benefit’ – at least from a politics-of-automobiles standpoint – is that having the bus stop in the traffic lane at an extended sidewalk *preserves parking*. The extended sidewalk only has to be long enough to extend from the front of the bus to the rear door, while a parking-lane stop requires enough space for the bus to swerve into and back out of the parking lane, in addition to the length of the bus.

            (I suspect that the underlying rationale for implementing this on Division was to preserve some of the parking lost to rainwater treatment planters.)

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            • osmill December 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm

              Although either the swerve-in or swerve-out maneuver typically takes place across a crosswalk and intersection, so it’s usually just one of those lengths, not both, at a given parking-lane bus stop.

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            • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 8:56 am

              “rolling speed bumps”

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          • John Liu
            John Liu December 6, 2017 at 12:18 am

            Or to encourage people to use Lincoln.

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    • Chris I December 5, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      There is a threshold of frustration and delays that will push people into alternate modes of transit. Unfortunately, there are too many potential alternate routes in inner-east Portland.

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      • I'll Show Up December 5, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        We’re talking about Lincoln-Harrison. Look at a map. Between 20th and 39th, there’s no other way through except Division and Hawthorne. Then, between 39th and 50th, you can not enter from either end of the segment. Some drivers will decide to go against the safety measures and wiggle, but it will be way less than currently use Lincoln as their “arterial”. From 50th to 60th, there’s no other way through except Division and Hawthorne.

        I’ve seen a lot of your comments on here saying that bike projects don’t live up to modern designs. Are you now saying that we can’t apply those designs in inner-Portland because its got a grid street layout?

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  • Laura December 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    One of the concerns I have about this deal is that the City designated Lincoln as a low-traffic bike/pedestrian focus street (bike boulevard, Greenway, whatever jargon it was then and now is) many years ago. Some residents bought in this neighborhood because of the Greenway. The City, in my mind, has an obligation to maintain that facility within their rules or guidelines for a Greenway. Which includes providing mitigation for the 500+ new units on 50th between Hawthorne and Powell; in other words, protecting and improving Lincoln (and Clinton). Otherwise, they need to go through a process to remove the designation. I suspect many of the nay-sayers/nimbys are relatively new residents, many who probably failed to do due diligence on what it means to live on or near a greenway.

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  • Doug Klotz December 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    See you all there. Make sure you leave written comments, as they tend to get tallied up in “for” and “against” piles. And look for folks with petitions to sign in favor of the project ( not those Other petitions.)

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  • Todd Boulanger December 5, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Jonathan – please consider revising the description of the proposed improvement as a “rendering” or “simulation”…just so future readers do not get confused that it was already built etc.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 5, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Good luck tonight!

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  • vs December 5, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Just back from the open house on this project and I am shocked and disturbed by what was on display from the opponents of this project.

    The opponents were well organized and angry. Dare I say belligerent. One person was assertively questioning a PBOT staff person about, ‘who thought up this thing, everyone who lives around here hates this project.’ A couple of us spoke up saying we live in the neighborhood and we think it’s a good project. We were curtly told that ‘bikers need to learn to share the road’.

    The event was intended as an open house and the ‘no on 50th’ crowd demanded a person to speak. A city staffer was trying to explain the reason for the project (the greenway is failing and if we are to follow our plans as a city we need to lower traffic and slow it down) only to be shouted down. When he said, “as a city we decided we aren’t going to build freeways’ people shouted that down and shouted out, ‘who decided that?’

    Remember, this is Mount Tabor in SE Portland. I felt like I was watching the Tea Party shouting down someone trying to talk about Obamacare. It definitely had a mob-like and hostile feel.

    I am shocked by the way the opponents behaved. I was holding a bike helmet and had a few people angrily say, ‘you cyclists need to learn to share the road’. When we replied that we don’t think Lincoln is safe for kids, people said, in direct response, ‘well, I don’t want to have to drive on Division, it’s too busy.

    Yes, in SE Portland, liberal mecca, where we all hate Roy Moore, a few minutes saved is more important than the safety of kids. I am extremely disappointed in my neighbors tonight.

    That said, PBOT staff were great, super professional and they kept their cool despite treatment no one deserves.

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    • Andrea Brown December 5, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      I think you were the fellow we talked to as we were leaving. Fortunately at that point the Bikeloud contingent arrived, it was like the cavalry, they all hauled their bikes in there and we wished them well. The meeting being co-opted by the neighborhood was a big fail on PBOT’s part but they held their own well and I hope everybody here sends a short note of appreciation to their staff. I am really starting to think that the public comment venues are counterproductive. As somebody just noted on Nextdoor, “No stage, no drama.”

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      • sami December 5, 2017 at 9:44 pm

        How can a meeting with the neighborhood be co-opted by the neighborhood? PBOT’s job is to listen and respond, not carry out something like this in back rooms after hours with no input. Unfortunately, the way PBOT’s handled this to-date has not been as inclusive or informative as the neighborhood would expect.

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        • Andrea Brown December 5, 2017 at 10:32 pm

          If you’d like more details on how it was co-opted read Jonathan’s post from tonight. It was an open house, not a forum. An anti-diverter person took charge and that should not have happened. She only called on others of her cohort to speak. That’s how.

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        • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 9:03 am

          Sami,
          Where do you get your information?
          PBOT has previously met with all three neighborhood associations, the BAC, and had one previous open house. A full featured web site is available with more information than anyone needs to thoughtfully contemplate the project, including a survey with free-form section to ‘really tell us what you think”.
          PBOT is meeting again with RNA next Monday.
          The perception that PBOT is doing something in secret is false.

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          • sami December 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm

            Hi paikiala, I get my information from PBOT directly. My comment about the “no input” was in response to a comment above that says “I hate that they even ask for public input on things like this. Just do it.” If you hold a neighborhood meeting don’t be surprised if the neighborhood has something to say. If you’re aware of the other project at the long blocks past 60th imo they’ve done a far better job of communicating and gathering input.

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            • I’ll Show Up December 7, 2017 at 9:50 pm

              I was there, Sami. When your advocate asked for people to raise hands about who supported and who didn’t, somewhere less than half but more than a third of the room raised in support. Yet, during the question period, she literally only called on opponents to ask questions. When supporters tried to get attention, we were literally shushed and moved out of the way.

              What explanation do you have for the fact that not one question was asked from someone trying to learn how to support the project? Not one.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu December 5, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Would it be possible to place the diverter at 60th instead of 50th? Would that address the point made above about wanting to divert cars before they get into the area of long blocks, rather than letting them get into the area and then sending them speeding up the long blocks to get around the diverter?. (Sorry if I’m misinterpreting you, Buzz.)

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    • paikiala December 6, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Possible yes.
      Effective, no. Southbound transit turns west there, so it would have to be something like at 52nd north of Division.
      It would also not reduce as much traffic as the diverter at 50th.
      Then there is the oft heard comment from the meeting: “have you seen the back up on 60th at Division?”.

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  • Crowsby December 5, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Judging by the percentage of “cyclists” at the Atkinson meeting, one would think we should make Division a bike-only street and let the cars have Lincoln.

    On the upside, if it wasn’t for this goofy flyer I wouldn’t have known about the meeting. So that was nice of them.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 5, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    I’ve just posted something about tonight’s meeting. I wasn’t there, but I’ve collected some impressions from people who were. Check it out and please share your thoughts on this post if you were there.

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