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Reports: PBOT’s Lincoln-Harrison greenway meeting goes off the rails

Posted by on December 5th, 2017 at 9:59 pm

PBOT’s proposal for diverter at 50th.

Remember earlier today when I told you tonight’s PBOT open house for the Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement project might get interesting? Well from what we’re hearing so far, interesting doesn’t even describe it.

I wasn’t there, but several sources are reporting that it was completely bonkers. The crowd that’s vehemently opposed to a diverter at 50th and Lincoln was apparently very aggressive and nearly took over the meeting.

Here’s what what we’ve gleaned so far about how it went from emails, comments and tweets:

Aaron I:

“It was a disaster. They never should have agreed to give a presentation and let the pitchforks form around them.”

Cory P:

“The nimbys were out in force for this one. I don’t think I’ve seen a more hostile open house. One guy was actually asking to see people’s drivers licences to see if they had lived here long enough to be ‘real’ Oregonians.”

Anonymous text:

“2nd Lincoln Harrison meeting blowing up. Commandeered by anti group.”

Joe Bike (via Twitter):

“Judging by hands raised, the anti group didn’t have anywhere near the kind of majority they had in the last meeting. They were just really loud.”

BikeLoudPDX via Twitter:

“Wow. Just left Lincoln greenway open house. Anti diverter spokeswoman actually hijacked mtg during Q & A and then only called on anti ppl 2 speak, despite strong pro-diverter support. Appalling behavior from small group of neighbors & shocked @PBOTinfo didn’t stop it sooner… They brought signs that looked like official signs and one guy actually put his sign over @PBOTinfo’s until I asked him to move it. Outrageous tactics.”

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vs via a BikePortland comment:

“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.”

Andrea B via BikePortland comment:

“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.””

I’ve seen some pretty racuous and angry crowds at PBOT open houses over the years, but this one sounds like the worst. It will be interesting to see what PBOT does from here. Remember that there’s also an online survey that PBOT will likely lean on heavily in tallying community response to this project.

Were you at tonight’s meeting? Please share your thoughts so we can gain a better understanding of what happened — and what is likely to happen next.

— 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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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John
Guest
John

Kudos to the PBOT staff for keeping their cool… very tough crowd!

However, I was a bit dismayed that PBOT allowed an anti-diverter ‘spokesperson’ to choose who got to ask questions during an impromptu Q&A (note that anti-people all wore stickers stating so).

Some of the anti-comments were laughable… may favorite: ‘diverters will create a food desert.’

Overall, I was a bit shocked by some of my neighbors and disappointed that the pro-crowd (which was present) was pretty much ignored / not allowed to speak. People were too worked up to listen and have an actual conversation about the problem / impact of possible solutions.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

I was very disheartened at what I saw at last night’s Lincoln diverter open house. I had arrived a bit late and was planning on discussing with PBOT staff my support for the diverters as designed. I live just a few streets over from the proposed diverters and am greatly looking forward to a safer and more comfortable Lincoln Street for cycling.

When I arrived, I was disappointed to see a large crowd in front of the stage, shouting questions. This seemed vastly different from every PBOT open house I have attended – usually there are PBOT staffers standing next to posters scattered around the room, and you are able to ask them one-on-one questions. I was not able to hear anything the woman on stage was saying, as I have a minor hearing disability. As I made my way to the front of the stage, I realized that the women holding up the poster map of the route were not actually city employees, and that the poster was not an official city one.

I do not understand why this group was allowed to take over a city meeting. This made me feel like my voice was not being heard by the city (the women never called on me despite having my hand raised). Allowing what can essentially be described as an “angry mob” to commandeer a city meeting with their own agenda is downright antithetical to the democratic process. Allowing everyone to have their voice heard is important, but not at the expense of shutting out others. In our current age of democratic breakdown, should we assume more city meetings will go this route? Why should any of us outside the mob mentality bother to try and make our voices heard if others will just shout over us? All this over one measly diverter?! What will happen when the topic is actually something of great importance?

I hope in the future PBOT can tame the angry crowd better and allow everyone to have their voices heard, not just those who yell the loudest.

soren
Guest
soren

“This made me feel like my voice was not being heard by the city (the women never called on me despite having my hand raised).”

When I confronted the protest organizers one of them admitted that they were only calling on people who opposed the Neighborhood Greenway safety project.

Please contact the commissioner and city staff and let them know how you felt (dan@portlandoregon.gov; leah.treat@portlandoregon.gov; art.pearce@portlandoregon.gov; Roger.Geller@portlandoregon.gov.)

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Exhibit A – “When I confronted the protest organizers” – We can see that you were already upset.

Allan Rudwick
Guest
Allan Rudwick

These open houses always felt useless to me… Supporters assume it’s going to happen, opponents show up assuming it’s their only chance to fight it and it gets a weird vibe. I’d politicians had backbone they would just make stuff happen and the electrons would be the consequences for bad decisions. But we don’t trust ourselves to be a functioning republic

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

The “open house” was indeed turned into a presentation/Q&A from the stage initiated and emceed by a woman who I don’t believe ever identified herself. She seemed to be a member of the community who was in opposition, but the role she adopted made her appear to be officially in charge.

I’m not sure of the thinking of PBOT staff in deciding to obey her and try to explain the project and to answer questions from the crowd. Many times they were booed down.

Three times I picked up materials from the PBOT information table displays that were provided by the opposition and handed them to the PBOT person monitoring the sign-in, information, and comment card tables. In classy contrast, a low-key guy holding a folder off to the side asked me if I was a supporter and when I said yes, he asked me if I would like to take a flyer.

The two shows-of-hands up until 6:55 PM when I had to leave showed supporters outnumbered opponents by maybe 3:2. As several of us supporters were leaving the meeting we were heartened to be tag-teamed by a large contingent arriving on bicycles together from an earlier open house for the Sullivan’s Gulch overpass.

I question the utility of holding a meeting/open house “asking for public input” like this. It openly pits neighbor-against-neighbor as though the resulting acrimony is worth what seems to be represented as a some kind of wholly democratic process of decision-making based on votes cast by those present. I think there are other ways of “getting to yes” that don’t leave people feeling so bitter and unheard or like they have been played by PBOT saying they want public input but “doing what they want anyway”. We went through this on Clinton. Anyone have any ideas on what could be a better way?

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

Correction: “The two shows-of-hands up until 6:55 PM when I had to leave showed *opponents* outnumbered *supporters* by maybe 3:2.”

Doug
Guest
Doug

I believe I heard that the woman who took over the meeting was Molly Hilts, who wrote the inflammatory flyer with the map showing comparative out-of-direction travel, the original of which she was holding up. The flyer said she was Mt Tabor Neighborhood Transportation chair from 1997 to 2005.

Doug
Guest
Doug

Molly was not the original “take over” person, but she was up there with the woman who was, and was holding up the other end of the map.

Catie
Guest
Catie

The sticky thing about this project is that the greenway is not compliant with PBOT standards. This isnt really a majority rules decision making process-these policies get set in the TSP.

I agree…there was got to be better public engagement strategies..If PBOT offered 3 diverter choice options and made people feel part of the process, instead of presented to, I wonder if the reaction would be the same. Maybe someone in that crowd has a better idea than PBOTs plan, but you cant hear them over people who want no chnge at all.

Shoupian
Subscriber
Shoupian

There are a couple of reasons why we see public meetings like this.

One, the planning profession beholds public meetings as the surest way to guarantee that the planning process is democratic, open and equitable, which is not true. It has become an end rather than just a tool. What most planners don’t think about is that when public outreach is open to anyone and not targeted at underrepresented communities, those who show up and provide input are generally white, older, higher income, and more privileged.

Two, planners depend on public meetings especially when a project does not have strong political support. PBOT is not technically required to hold public meetings anytime they want to do a small scale bike improvement. These meetings occur because planners on the project don’t feel supported by the very top level of the agency and they are uncertain that if they face public push back, their agency leaders will stand behind them and push the project through.

Ultimately, it speaks to the political culture on active transportation investments. Our elected officials and top agency leaders still don’t feel confident directing their agency to make decisions to improve health and safety without knowing that neighbors won’t be upset.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Well said. And the same could be said for other agencies within Portland.

Kate
Guest
Kate

But this wasn’t billed as a public meeting. This was supposed to be an open house. When we’ve had those in the past, they involve visual displays of the proposed project, opportunities to speak with the staff and opportunities to provide written comments. If it were intended as a public meeting, it required a neutral facilitator, a microphones so that people could hear each other, and adequate seating, none of which it had. It was not publicized as a public meeting. It should not have been allowed to deteriorate into people yelling. I was appalled by the conduct of my neighbors.

Eric
Guest
Eric

It doesn’t helping bicycling advocacy to throw around the word “privilege” as a way to question differing views. Let’s face it — Those of us who can afford to live within a reasonable biking distance from work and school are privileged. Those of us who have a job that allows us time to ride to work, especially during daylight hours, are privileged. Those of us who can afford to own and maintain a good bike with good gear and clothing are privileged. Those of us who were given a bike and taught to ride as a child are privileged. Those who are physically able to ride at all are privileged.

It’s not productive or helpful to suggest that someone who may have it better off is out to thwart our efforts. There are so many more valid and powerful arguments to support building a more bikeable community.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

An open house has always been primarily informational. Any wishes otherwise are just that, wishes.
That said, when meetings derail, being flexible enough to let those that want to vent is important. Fear and feelings of powerlessness have to be acknowledged. How many here have complained the city doesn’t listen to them?

soren
Guest
soren

This derailing involved harassment, intimidation, and silencing of other residents.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Exhibit B- You were inspired to return the favor.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

It was odd. The hands raised bit was unusual and amounted to not much at all.

Put the diverters in. If it is the end of Portland as we know it, tear them back out six months later. Try it out first and see what happens. I’d bet money that it won’t ruin the NIMBYs lives and we can go back to our favorite scapegoats of congestion, Californians, people without stable housing, et al you name it.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I think PBOT might have done well to initially involve the neighborhood in devising the diverter plan, e.g. at a meeting where different alternatives were presented and people got to put stickers on the plans they favor. It sounds like PBOT decided what it wanted to do and then told the neighborhood as a fait accompli.

That said, PBOT should look at all information to judge neighborhood support or opposition. The entire number of voices, not just the loudness of voices. When PBOT sent flyers to the neighborhood, it could have included a return postcard. What’s the yes/no split on Nextdoor? The show of hands at tonight’s meeting? The tally of online responses? The number of people signing yes vs no petitions?

Suppose a clear majority of the neighborhood does in fact oppose the 50th diverter. Should PBOT just ram it through, without exploring alternatives with the neighborhood? Well, that may cause other neighborhoods to oppose greenways, and damage support for cycling. Are the problems on Lincoln serious enough to make that worthwhile? Not a rhetorical question: I don’t know.

Doug
Guest
Doug

PBOT already held an initial open house, and then also presented to the HAND neighborhood, to Richmond, and to Mt. Tabor. They made changes in response to what they heard at those meetings, where they felt those changes would better accomplish the policy objectives (added the diverter at 30th, e.g.). As with many policies that the Council has adopted, designed to best serve the entire city, the opinion of those who live in one small area should not be the only determinant of what gets done.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

PBOT actually presented a different diverter design at the pre-meetings with the neighborhood associations, all three, and changed the diverter at 50th to enable left and right turns, when the original diverter was like the one at 20th, right in right out only.

maxD
Guest
maxD

John, as I understand this, the plans are based on traffic predictions and are designed to reduce traffic to an acceptable threshold for a greenway to meet safety standards. I realize this is not purely objective, but it is based on quantifiable data and proven methods and is working toward a quantifiable goal. I do not think you can achieve this by presenting options and letting consensus drive decisions. I think there is a time and a place for community input, and safety improvements is not the time. I think the openhouse should have been framed as as a presentation of coming changes and opportunity for PBOT to explain the rational behind the decisions, and an opportunity for the neighbors to express concerns. This should not have turned into a “should we do the safety improvements or not” situation, it should have been a “what options do you support to deal will impacts from the coming safety improvements?”

Clark in Vancouver
Guest
Clark in Vancouver

All this for a little diverter? Crazy. If they think this minor tweak to the street is an affront then they’re really not ready for the future.
You know some car people have become so accustomed to being able to drive everywhere that any tiny inconvenience like this is seen by them as a huge threat.
This is why I no longer support compromises like this. They’re never happy no matter what you do. Trying to appease them by meeting them half way doesn’t work so you might as well go all the way.

axoplasm
Subscriber

All of this.

Jay
Guest
Jay

Is there. ‘Comment of the week anymore?’

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

If being willing to spend a huge percentage of your energy on small projects by adopting a no compromise attitude towards opposition that is way stronger than you doesn’t work, I don’t know what will 😉

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

The support will grow from people riding bikes instead of giving up because all of our bike infrastructure literally puts cars first over and over. Urban transportation is a geometry problem and the people who complain loudest are the worst at math. Make it more convenient to ride a bike than drive a car, and voila.

Bjorn
Subscriber
Bjorn

Thanks for all the reporting on this and the links to how to comment. I couldn’t attend but took the survey and sent out some emails. This story and the impact it has is a perfect example of why I am a bikeportland subscriber and I urge others to consider joining if you haven’t already.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Wow, this sounds like a meeting to discuss whether or not to add trails in Forest Park.

flightlessbird
Guest
flightlessbird

id have to say it was worse than any MTB related open house I have ever been too. I don’t intimidate easy, but I felt very uneasy being surrounded by so many anti-50 stickers…poor form…

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

” There is no more potent force in the modern world than stupidity fueled by greed”

Edward Abbey

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” – Gandhi

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” -Woodrow Wilson, 28th U.S. president

Justin
Guest
Justin

The best things in life covfefe – Aesop

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

“People. They’re the worst.”
George Costanza

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

“Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet”

– Abraham Lincoln

VS
Guest
VS

Another of the silly anti diverter arguments were that property values will drop. There was a man at the mtg arguing that Clinton street has killed property values in that neighborhood.

Property values are an issue around Clinton, as they have gone up like a rocket and it’s hard to afford.

psyfalcon
Guest
psyfalcon

I think you could close the entire street to car traffic and property values would still go up.

Try it maybe? If they drop maybe I can afford to move back?

Ted
Guest
Ted

Yes, the descriptions accurately portray what happened. The opposition was well organized. They had someone stationed at the door with a poster of “statements from cyclists” in opposition to the diverters and someone inside passing out PBOT’s comment cards only to others in the anti-diverter crowd. I noticed someone smirk and nod when I made that observation to a friend. Many of those in opposition who spoke in the hijacked portion of the evening claimed to be a cyclist, but their comments ultimately ended up being about driving.

The flyer passed out among residents seems to have had a strong effect, but is dishearteningly misleading. Has the post-fact world made its way to progressive, well-educated Portland?

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

You may have noticed that many “well educated progressives” will morph in to stealth republicans when confronted with these three issues: 1) the market value of their real estate, 2) changing the attendance boundaries of the school their child attends, 3) anything that impedes their ability to drive little Britney to Soccer practice in the Yukon ( hybrid version of course).

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Those are not valid concerns?

9watts
Guest
9watts

privileged people also have concerns, but it is good to keep things in perspective.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Of course not — they live there. For their concerns to be valid, they’d need to want to close the street to “outsiders,” particularly those in motorized transport that is not technically classified as a bicycle.

buildwithjoe
Guest

You may have noticed that MLK said the “white moderate” was worse than the KKK. This is why Portland has a developer who started a right leaning housing coalition called “Portland For Everyone” (PFE) This developer evicted black renters on Albina then flipped the condos. A real Portlandia story. It’s also no shock that this developer opposes rent control, and is white, and well off financially. One of the nice landlords people might say. Who is the twitter manager for PFE?Answer: Michael Anderson from Bike Portland.

9watts
Guest
9watts

One wonders what role Nextdoor plays in this polarization? This hardening of an oppositional position? I’ve not seen the conversations on Nextdoor fostering mutual understanding, examining, interrogating the thinking on both sides, giving everyone opportunities to hear and perhaps even understand each other. Which is really too bad because it would in theory be well positioned to do just this.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Next door really does not have the structure to support that. If those kinds of discussion arise, it is usually an organic occurrence.

9watts
Guest
9watts

structure?

I was thinking of some guidelines for self-policing that recognized the propensity of this particular format to send conversations off the rails.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

I don’t see why people find this kind of behavior shocking in the age of Trump. It’s America’s new normal. Make it work for you. Have fun with it.

Manville
Guest

This sounds a lot like the ORMP meetings. It’s funny that in such a liberal city the “I am fourth generation Portlander” nationalist type argument is so prevalent. I guess people don’t see the correlation.

soren
Guest
soren

I entered the open house with the BikeLoudPDX group and several others who entered at the same time. There was a large cluster of people surrounding two people on stage conducting a Q&A. Many of the these people were physically blocking access to the informational posters and to PBOT personnel. When I and others started asking what was happening we were aggressively “Shushed” by the cluster of people surrounding the stage, many of whom were wearing anti-diverter badges. I was told to be quiet in a very rude way by one of these individuals — essentially told to “shut up”. Others were were also told to be quiet in a hostile manner. I later spoke to several people who said that they moved away and/or “zoned out” because the aggression of this group was so high. I noticed people leaving the meeting while this was happening and it’s not a stretch to assume that they were intimidated by this aggression.

I pushed through this aggressive crowd and climbed onto the stage and found PBOT staff essentially hiding behind the crowd. Because I was confused about who was leading this Q&A, I asked Roger Geller (PBOT bike coordinator) if either of the people leading the discussion were PBOT staff. To be blunt, it was hard to get a straight answer to this simple question. When it became clear that neither of the people leading the Q&A were PBOT personnel, I told Roger that allowing a crowd to silence and intimidate people at a public city open house was inappropriate.

I began to have “discussions” with some of the protesters on stage and was once again told to be quiet. The protesters and action-leaders told me that it was their right to have a “spontaneous” discussion at this city meeting and that if I wanted to be heard I should get off stage and raise my hand. I disagreed strongly and stated that since I had arrived only people who were opposed to the Greenway project were being called on (many of the protesters wore badges with a 50 and a slash symbol). Several of the protesters on stage admitted that this was true and one even admitted that this was a problem (this was the only brief moment of civility I experienced).

At this point, I became irate and once again looked for Roger Geller to voice my concerns. As I patiently waited for Roger to finish talking with a protester (wearing a badge), another protester moved very close to me and loudly proclaimed several times that they were next. I politely let them have their say. However, when I attempted to speak with Roger, the protest leader loudly interrupted me and spoke over me despite my telling her multiple times that I had patiently waited to speak with Roger. Despite my attempts to break into the discussion, the protest leader continued to ignore me and continued to loudly speak over me. When I tried to speak to the PBOT engineer (Scott Batson) a protester once again tried to shut me down using a similar tactic. IMO, there was a coordinated attempt to surround PBOT staff, block access, and shut down those who were perceived to be pro-diverter.

As a socialist, I am not opposed to direct action and support the right of Portland residents to hold actions at city events. What I found very troubling and unacceptable about this direct action was the strong hostility and aggression directed at other residents (who none of these badge wearing protesters knew personally).

I urge all Portland residents who were affected by this aggression and intimidation to write to Commissioner Saltzman, Director Treat, Projects Group Manager Art Pearce, and Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller: dan@portlandoregon.gov; leah.treat@portlandoregon.gov; art.pearce@portlandoregon.gov; Roger.Geller@portlandoregon.gov.

I also urge people who want to preserve the comfort and safety of our Neighborhood Greenway network to use the project survey form here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GK7STJ6

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

You should step on their feet and pretend it was unintentional.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Now democracy is dead in Portland too. (It’s been dead here in NC for quite some time, long before Trump.)

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

“At this point, I became irate and once again looked for Roger Geller to voice my concerns. ”

Exhibit C-

I was standing next to you. No one was telling you to be quiet. They couldn’t have because you were yelling and no one else could speak.

We could email Roger but reading these comments only gives me clarity on what I saw.

soren
Guest
soren

Funny how every single account in this piece, except for yours, suggests that is was opponents of the lincoln neighborhood greenway who were being rude…

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

As I have told neighborhood leaders there are ways to improve the functionality of the Diverter at 50th by improvements in auto capacity in other areas, signage or even an uphill curb tight eastbound bike lane combined with a semi-diverters.

But that means the residents would have to accept compromise and talk rationally.

Toadslick
Subscriber

There is no debate to be had when the people driving 4,000-pound exhaust-spewing SUVs yell that the people on 20-pound bicycles are the ones not “sharing the road.”

We know from nearly every example in recent history that ignorant people will fight tooth-and-nail against any minuscule effort at street-calming, only to embrace it after the infrastructure is in place.

PBOT, please do the right thing and install these diverters.

Robert Spurlock
Guest
Robert Spurlock

I showed up about a half-hour into the meeting and witnessed an ugly seen. There were several PBOT staffers up on the stage with a mob of about 80 people gathered around them, and a woman in front (who I was told was on the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association Board) directing a question and answer session. I have hosted several public engagement events, and I can honestly say that this is a worst-case scenario for any public open house because it actually limits the opportunities for Q&A and cuts off productive dialogue by only allowing one out of nearly 100 people to talk at any given time. This format actually limits participation by creating an intimidating environment where people with differing views, people who don’t speak English well, people who can’t speak loudly, etc, feel silenced.

I hung out around the perimeter of the mob, engaging my neighbors (I’m a Richmond resident) and fellow bicyclists in conversations about the pros and cons of the project. But to my astonishment, each time a new side conversation picked up, we were summarily sushed by the mob. We were literally being silenced. To me this was the ultimate insult and was unacceptable, so I took matters into my own hands.

I worked my way to the front of the crowd and told the woman “facilitating” the Q&A that she should disperse the crowd to allow the open house to continue as planned. To my amazement, she heard my concerns and complied. The mob broke up and dozens of one-on-one conversations picked back up. I left shortly after and didn’t witness how the rest of the evening progressed. I felt like I had done my part, but it was not a positive experience.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I am impressed that you all stayed so calm after being treated like children. Nice work. I’m not so sure I would have had the same resolve.

Smarty Pants
Guest
Smarty Pants

“….very aggressive and nearly took over the meeting.”
“….They were just really loud.””
“…Outrageous tactics.”
“…well organized and angry. Dare I say belligerent. ”

Wonder if most of those folks were Democrats?
🙂

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

There are good people on both sides 🙂

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Do you mean that to be a quote by our (p)resident, and if so, is it ironic or not?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Did the President even say that? If you asked him today, he’d claim otherwise.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

So Sad.

soren
Guest
soren

I also want to add that some who arrived with the BikeLoudPDX ride are low-income folk who rent in outer east Portland. To have their access to city staff blocked and to be told to be quiet by generally wealthy home owners in the Mount Tabor Neighborhood is an EQUITY issue.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

The last place in which I lived was in the Mount Tabor. I stopped following anything the NA did because it seemed like it was controlled by the NextDoor stereotypes – how they acted during the decommission of the Tabor reservoirs bordered on unhinged.

Andrea Brown
Guest
Andrea Brown

I have an old friend who lives in Mt. Tabor neighborhood and we certainly do not see eye to eye on this. But we sat down for coffee and talked things through. I didn’t convince him to change his mind one bit, but as we talked, I asked him if, given that Lincoln no longer meets Bike Greenway standards, does he think that Lincoln will remain the way it is, a long stretch with no/few stop signs? Because it doesn’t seem to me that it could, and if not, what might happen to its designation from there? What would the neighborhood think if it returned to a regular neighborhood street with stop signs every two/three blocks? Or if it were to become a collector or arterial to absorb auto traffic from eastern neighborhoods? Do they want their neighborhood divided by a heavily used street like that? Maybe they would be just fine with that, but based on the histrionics that a diverter on 50th has engendered, I’m guessing not. I have been a cranky and sarcastic commenter on this topic, I admit. I am just pretty stunned by the hypocrisy, facile virtue-signaling, and aggressive dishonesty of the anti-diverter folks. My friend and I made a pact that this would not come between us, and it won’t, but it’s been really, really discouraging. The statement that Clinton street values have cratered is risible. “Division Street is already at capacity!” I heard last night, which begs the question, “So where do you all go once you get to Cesar Chavez?” I’m all for logical resistance but over and over when you question people’s declarations of disaster (not everyone’s, but many) what they are saying makes no sense. Just, “I don’t want to change my driving habits. Period.” cloaked in righteous language.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

I went to the meeting last night as well. I think the common theme of the neighborhood is simple, every other street is either a dead end or doesn’t go through. Not every situation is the same. What works for one neighborhood may not for others which seemed to be a key element brought to the discussion last night. PBOT desires only the local community to use the roads. The problem happens that when the only access point that connects everything is slapped with a diverter. The local folks then get shoved onto Hawthorne or Divison. Anyone love those those two streets? I can’t say that I have in my 3.5 years living at 60th and Division. In my estimation, PBOT created a monster with Division and Hawethorne to make them more “friendly” but i don’t think people are feeling the kindness. If PBOT didn’t create the current mess of making major thoroughfares “calmed” then this probably wouldn’t be an issue but not everyone can or is able to ride a bike. I am thankful that I am and do but we have to be reasonable with the needs of the community and our own desires.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

I just don’t understand this thinking. You’d think that one less entry point into a neighborhood would result in less cars in the area but that’s not the logic people from this opposition group are taking. How long does it really take to drive four blocks over to Division, anyway? Can’t be any more than a minute. It’s not like PBOT is forcing them to get on bikes and pedal half a mile uphill.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

When it’s the only one, then one less one has more value then one that doesn’t.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

It’s not though. You can access every avenue from Division or Hawthorne (which is a local street east of 50th). The area bounded by Hawthorne, 60th, Division, and 50th really isn’t that large. An extra minute-long drive really doesn’t seem that big of a deal to me. I ride a bike as well as take the bus everywhere and both of those modes require some level of indirect access to my destination – whether having to cycle out of my way to get to a quieter street or having to walk a few extra blocks because the bus doesn’t go to exactly where I need to go. It’s really not that big of a deal and you learn to adapt. I suppose if you’re used to direct access by car, then it can seem like a huge problem, but I think the greater problem is that people get too used to personal convenience.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

I think we have found a place where we agree. They already do. With Hawthorne and Division already succumbing to the calming gods, people use Lincoln as the way to get home. This takes extra time to do so as it is the only access point. If it wasn’t then I’m sure less people would have showed up last night to voice their concerns. Even women who identified as cyclists were against this measure.

There’s plenty of streets in Portland that are unimproved, dead ended, and “calmed.” I do expect more resistance to the last few streets that are remaining as a result.

David
Guest
David

Even women?!?!

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Despite what others have reported, there were women who were present and who spoke. That is until a male approached the neighborhood association leader and told her that he wanted to say something. She backed down from his intimidation.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

Sure but traffic calming by definition means taking extra time. It’s about trading some time for added safety. When I ride, I purposefully slow down so that I have more time to react to hazards. This probably adds a few minutes to my overall commute, but it’s worth it because of the safety benefits.

I just don’t really buy the “only access point” argument. Not wanting to use Hawthorne or Division is a matter of personal preference, as the city is not adding any diversion there. Plus, there have been very few projects on either of those streets east of Chavez, so saying they have “succumbed to the calming gods” is inaccurate. More accurate is that they have succumbed to traffic congestion, which is a very predictable result of a city that has failed to prioritize more efficient modes of transportation.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

You wouldn’t call Division from 60th to 82nd an improvement? I wouldn’t either. It’s a disaster. When I lived there I couldn’t pull out in any mode of transportation from 6:30-9am and 3p-7:30p. That’s a “traffic god calming” measure.

I do wonder what role sidewalks still play in all of this. Do we remove them? Expand them to accommodate more cycling uses? At this point the runners don’t even use them? Oops I was daydreaming again.

Thanks for your input as I do appreciate it.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

Sure, but the issue is accessing the neighborhood from the east, and at 60th, you’re already past the area of concern. There are certainly better things PBOT could have done with that stretch, like bus lanes or protected bike lanes. Although the data does show that crashes and speeding were reduced there by 50%, while volumes and travel times stayed about the same, so I think it’s a decent tradeoff.

Honestly, maybe the compromise solution is to build protected bike facilities on Hawthorne and Division instead of trying to play whack-a-mole with neighborhood street calming. Let cyclists use the same commuter routes drivers do and give them quality safe facilities to do so. Hawthorne certainly has the room.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

Sorry, that first sentence should read “the issue is accessing the neighborhood from the west

I'll Show Up
Guest
I'll Show Up

Doug, you are one smart cookie! I agree! I mean, aside from the 40% reduction in pedestrian injuries since the Division 60th-80th project it completely sucks! I’m totally fine with more people getting hurt so you can drive faster. Thanks for making sure that the car as king perspective stays put! People need to just run faster across the street. And wear different clothes. And dress like a Christmas tree, tis the season!

Belynda
Guest
Belynda

This is a reply to one of your later replies about bike facilities on Hawthorne and Division. Bike lanes were proposed for Hawthorne years ago and the Hawthorne businesses and people on Clinton had a meltdown.

anna
Guest
anna

what the covfefe

Toadslick
Subscriber

not everyone can or is able to ride a bike

Gods, I’m so tired of this trope. Nobody is expecting everybody to walk, ride a bike, or take transit. But if the people who easily could did, then car traffic would not be a problem for those people that depend on them.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

It is equally true that not everyone can drive a car.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

There are WAY more people who can’t drive a car than people who can’t ride a bike, walk or take transit.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Public transit, walking, and cycling are not viable for many people.

The average Portland commute is 7 miles. That is unwalkable and will translate to a couple hours or more on transit for most people. Most people would think of that as long, particularly in the dark in inclement conditions when they have to haul stuff and be presentable.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Driving is flat-out impossible for some people.

Isn’t it curious that ‘safe routes to school’ are not already provided for as part of our transportation grid, and so a non-profit organization must devote much of its resources in lobbying for table scraps?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

This is certainly the case — I know many people who cannot drive.

But your contention that there are many more people for whom driving isn’t an option than those who can’t use public or active transit simply isn’t true except in certain areas.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Are you only considering people over the driving age? Wouldn’t surprise me — our transportation planners pretty much ignore kids too.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Not sure how that follows.

If you reduce the number of cars, there is much less congestion so the remaining ones move much faster with less need to constantly adjust to other road users making it easier to “multitask.”

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You should send this to the NMA as another propaganda point they can use.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I stay out of these turkey shoots — even when I live right where they occur. When everyone lobs grenades at each other on small stuff, there’s little to gain/lose and the cost of involvement is high because everything is accomplished by force.

Identifying areas where you can engage reasonable people to bring about improvement is a far better way to go than investing whatever it takes in specific targets — game theory describes why this works and why the methods advocated by many here result in marginalization.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I probably wasn’t clear enough. You said:

“If you reduce the number of cars, there is much less congestion so the remaining ones move much faster with less need to constantly adjust to other road users making it easier to “multitask.””

Are you saying more cars is better, because it reduces the number of drivers using their phones? This sounds like a great bit of propaganda that you could share with the National Motorists Association.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I was agreeing with Toadslick’s observation that if everyone who could use active or public transit did, there would be no traffic problems.

Traffic problems slow everything down so if you eliminate the problems, the remaining cars on the road speed up. To see this dynamic in action, try riding the same sections of busy road at 5pm and 2am.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

“…every other street is either a dead end or doesn’t go through”
You must mean 50th to 60th and only in the east-west direction.
There are about 16-18 access points to Lincoln from the higher order streets around that area of the neighborhood, and PBOT was proposing to partially close one of them.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

Clearly an attempt to kill the project outright. Everyone should be concerned that this incident might end up throwing this project into the gutter forever. And future diverted projects might now be very much in doubt.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Public meetings on controversial topics have to be tightly run lest they turn unproductive and rancorous. A person with authority has to lead the meeting. At the start of the meeting, rules of conduct have to be clearly stated. Presentation materials have to be visible to all, either via projector/screen or large posters mounted high. Audience questions have to be limited in time (e.g. 2 minutes). Microphones and a PA system help the softer-spoken be heard. Conspicuously videotaping the meeting tends to encourage civil behavior. It may be preferable to have the audience write questions on comment cards and have the leader read the question and have the appropriate person answer. There needs to be a way for everyone at the meeting to make their view known even if they don’t get microphone time, e.g. comment cards or comment sheets circulated and collected. The leader should call for a show of hands as each topic is discussed, and announce the count of hands yea vs nay, to further allow input and let everyone know what the majority sentiment is.

Advocates attending these meetings also need to do certain things to be most effective. Show up early. Bring and distribute handouts. Plan out the key points you want to make. Participate. Don’t leave early.

I’ll make this next point with trepidation, knowing it’ll be unpopular. You have to be sensitive to the concerns of both the undecideds and your opponents, including the concerns you consider baseless. They probably aren’t baseless, and usually they can be addressed, in a creative compromise that works for everyone – if people feel like they are being heard, not dictated to by central planners and non-residents who they might perceive as treating their neighborhood as nothing more than a commute route.

In other words, get out of the echo chamber, listen and exchange ideas not hardened positions, find areas of agreement, build on those.

There must be a way to find common ground here! Even the local residents who don’t ride bikes must realize that high volume of cut-through commuter traffic zooming through their neighborhood is bad – not just today’s volumes, but the 2-3X higher volumes that are going to come.

Find residents of the neighborhood who support this project and are knowledgeable and willing to lead the local effort. They should sit down with a couple opponents of the project, someone from the neighborhood’s board (whoever works on traffic/safety), and someone from PBOT who is very knowledgeable about the data for traffic volumes and the possibilities for diversion and mitigation. Do it over coffee, a small meeting in a quiet place to clear the air and explore options in a non-adversarial, open-minded way.

It will take time and it will be frustrating.

The alternative is to steamroll the project over what sounds like significant local opposition, and feed the backlash/opposition to cycling.

P.S. I’d point out that the behavior described in these comments sounds not unlike the disruptive protest behavior that has shut down some city council meetings in the past year.

soren
Guest
soren

This was not a presentation, a Q&A, or an organized forum. It was an informal open house with posters. I have attended many city open houses over the past 18 years and the hijacking of this event was a unique occurrence.

Bjorn
Subscriber
Bjorn

Contrast this to events around the Riverview Cemetery acquisition where city officials absolutely refused to allow people to say the word bicycle out loud. I am very surprised to hear that Roger allowed the meeting to be commandeered in this manner as I would have thought he would have kept better control. Likely he just blindsided by what happened I guess.

soren
Guest
soren

Yeah…I think city staff were in shock.

Brian
Guest
Brian

At that point they should have just shut it down.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

I actually talked with a few people with the NO/50 pins and they seem like reasonable people when talking one-on-one. I explained to them that I live in the area and ride the greenways often and how much better the diverters on Clinton improved the situation for me. We all agreed that we didn’t want more cars on streets and they seemed like they understood why I support the diverters. They seemed more willing to listen to me because I live in the area, but I explained to them that that shouldn’t be given extra weight because people outside the neighborhood might want to use the facility too and their voices also deserve be heard. They actually agreed, citing how the Mt Tabor Reservoir issue affected the entire city and not just their neighborhood.

We agreed that we actually need more diversion on a neighborhood-wide scale, rather than the corridor-based approach. PBOT really doesn’t properly address the issue of parallel streets getting additional motor traffic, other than telling people “it still meets our standards” and essentially telling residents to suck it up and deal with it. No wonder people are upset! While still a minor increase, the fact that PBOT really doesn’t do anything to address parallel streets is what seems to anger the neighborhood the most.

Point is, actually talk to these people face to face and they seem to listen for the most part. This is why the “large crowd talking at PBOT” set up doesn’t work – it encourages groupthink and doesn’t allow people to converse with each other on a more personal level.

Clark in Vancouver
Guest
Clark in Vancouver

This sounds good. A neighbourhood wide traffic calming plan, that people who live there can be part of creating. PBOT (or somebody) could set up workshops where people can identify what their needs are, identify what is currently a problem, learn best practise from around the world, make a plan and go from there. It’s a big step of course.
In general it’s better to involve opponents in the process instead of fighting them. They can then let go of their anger and do something productive to improve things. If they are there only for political gain then that will be found out in the process.

Vancouver, BC has done things like this successfully. There was the South False Creek improvement project that brought together all sorts of interested folks, people from interest groups (seniors, handicapped, cycling, walking, environmental, etc), city engineering department staff, etc. They held workshops to figure out issues and solutions. The process resulted in a project that included in a really good plan. It also transformed those opposed into allies.
Now they’re doing another one with the new Arbutus Greenway rail-to-trail project. A group was formed and they’re holding workshops and will work out a plan over the next year.
It’s a slow process but worth it in the long run.

I think this diverter is a tiny thing but people latch on to it because they’re not offered anything better. They really should be transforming the entire neighbourhood with an overall plan. If they just put in this one diverter and leave it at that, other issues will come up later anyway.

soren
Guest
soren

PBOT really doesn’t properly address the issue of parallel streets getting additional motor traffic, other than telling people “it still meets our standards” and essentially telling residents to suck it up and deal with it. No wonder people are upset!

PBOT installed stop signs and speed bumps to mitigate additional traffic on parallel streets for both the SE Division and 52nd diverter and the SE 32nd and Clinton diverter. Recent data shows that parallel streets around the 52nd diverter have typical very low traffic counts.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

Oh, well that explains those speed bumps on 51st then. Still, seems more complaint-driven than a meaningful effort to mitigate on a holistic manner. I’d still rather see a more proactive approach. If the data show that the neighboring streets had low traffic counts, how do we convince people to actually look at the data? It’s not as if the city hasn’t done project like these in the past that we can point to.

soren
Guest
soren

The mitigation was agreed upon before the diverter was installed. Here is the link to the count data:

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/663353

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

‘Mitigation’ implies post project, not pre-project. No one has a crystal ball to predict how people driving will shift.

Anne
Guest
Anne

Catie
The sticky thing about this project is that the greenway is not compliant with PBOT standards.
Wait, I’m confused. Doesn’t PBOT create Greenways?!

mark
Guest
mark

I think the point is that the street now has too much motor traffic on it for the Greenway classification. The diverters are meant to address this issue by lowering the amount of through traffic on the street.

Catie
Guest
Catie

There are recommended standards for the speed and volume of auto traffic on greenways. Preferred 1000 autos/day, 2000/day max. Over the years the number of autos using this greenway has increased over these numbers as people use it to avoid higher traffic streets. This Greenway Report has a nice analysis of the situation. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/542728

soren
Guest
soren

Lincoln-Harrison was built as a bike boulevard (different standards) and never fully upgraded to Greenway standards.

Art fuldodger
Guest
Art fuldodger

The initial Traffic calming on Lincoln and Clinton (circa 1987), which consisted of the much-reviled traffic circles (speed bumps not yet having arrived on the Portland scene) and traffic diverters at Chavez née 39th, was not in any way a bike project. The diverter cut-throughs were very much an afterthought, since the space needed to be there for emergency vehicles anyway. Speed bumps were added later on as part of a bike project, and more were added later as a byproduct of the Hawthorne streets ape project.

Bjorn
Subscriber
Bjorn

My take is that the only decent option these folks have left PBOT with is to install the diverters today. If they give even the appearance that these tactics worked to delay or derail the project then this nonsense will become the playbook for NIMBY’s throughout Portland and that definitely doesn’t seem like a road the city should want to go down.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Forget PBOT.

Forget BTA.

Learn to ride our bikes better!

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Perhaps mor inclusively phrased
– “learn to use our streets better” ?

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Like wearing a seat belt in a car, helmets and lights should be a requirement for biking.

Captain Obvious
Guest
Captain Obvious

Lights already are — at night, much like they are for cars. Hope that’s not news.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

How’s that working out in other countries where helmet use is mandatory? Let’s ask Australia.

X
Guest
X

This relates to traffic calming how? Are you just outing yourself?

I’m guessing that 80% or more of Portland bike commuters wear helmets already. Ditto readers of this blog.

9watts
Guest
9watts

People in Denmark and Germany and Holland also wear setbelts, but they don’t wear helmets (in cars or on bikes).

You’re not the first to try this equivalency but it isn’t, really.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Why aren’t helmets a requirement for motoring? People in motor vehicles are 12% more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries per hour of use than people on bikes. In other words, you first.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Can I see the source? Sounds useful.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

So the logic is we shouldn’t do the smart thing because someone else isn’t? What a winning approach.

Given how much faster cars move than bikes and that crash energy is a function of the velocity squared, a 12% differential per hour is testament to the safety of cars.

9watts
Guest
9watts

COMMENT DELETED. PLEASE DON’T BE MEAN 9WATTS. THANKS. – JONATHAN.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

COMMENT DELETED. PLEASE BE NICER KYLE. – JONATHAN

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

What’s the ‘smart thing’ you’re referring to? Wearing a helmet, or mandatory helmet laws?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Wearing the thing.

But it’s a total waste of energy to examine the merits of vehicle legislation with no bearing on cyclists for deciding cycling issues.

Speed limits, passing clearance distances, and a bunch of other things that affect cars directly affect cyclists. Whether a motorist who has already crashed is more or less injured does not.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

The initial point and counterpoint were regarding mandatory helmet laws.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

My point is that it is a waste of energy for cyclists to worry whether motorists wear helmets.

It is also a waste of energy to resist laws that mandate minor behaviors that people generally should be doing anyway and won’t be enforced if they don’t bother.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

“It is also a waste of energy to resist laws that mandate minor behaviors that people generally should be doing anyway and won’t be enforced if they don’t bother.”

Sure, if you put on blinders to

1) decrease in ridership everywhere that helmets have been made mandatory
2) decrease in safety due to the ‘safety in numbers’ rule
3) more reasons to harass minorities
4) liability laws that will reduce the victim’s damages when run over by a drunk driver because they weren’t wearing a helmet

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

Clicky Freewheel
In our current age of democratic breakdown, should we assume more city meetings will go this route?

If they succeed in getting the Council to cave then you can bet we’ll see more of it.

vs
Guest
vs

I just checked the online petitions pro and con. As of this moment there are 281 on the ‘yes’ to diverters petition and only 261 on the ‘no’ to diverters.

If you haven’t already, do the PBOT survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GK7STJ6 and then go sign the supporter’s petition at http://chn.ge/2hN2i5v

Those mean people last night are a minority opinion, let’s show our support for this project.

vs
Guest
vs

Actually, a huge chunk of the signers on the ‘no’ petition are anonymous. I think the mean people last night are signing their own petition multiple times.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Or they are worried about being personally targeted. Which does happen, sadly.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Let no one say that useless tactics belong to any political affiliation.

I’d encourage this behavior. Whatever you think you’re up against, this would not be it…

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

In the Netherlands, they install movable bollards in the street that only allow drivers with a transponder to lower them. All cyclists and pedestrians can access by going around them, of course. Couldn’t this be a good compromise? I imagine the cost spread out over all the affected residents wouldn’t be too much. We could even use fees from a theoretical parking permit program to build them.

Smarty Pants
Guest
Smarty Pants

I would say that the people who own homes along the route should be the only ones providing input to PBOT. Any changes to their street may affect their property values and/or the usability of their property.

Smarty Pants
Guest
Smarty Pants

JL,
Apparently the folks in the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood are the ones opposed to the diverter. What reasons are they giving for their opposition? And is the street that is proposed to be modified in their neighborhood? I’d agree that less traffic on residential streets would probably be desirable by the majority who live there.

maxD
Guest
maxD

I think a few of the Anti-Diverter organizers are trying to keep additional traffic off 55th. They live at 55th and Hawthorne and are well-known nimbys.

LB
Guest
LB

I oppose the diverters at the location at 50th & Lincoln for many reasons: as a person who drives a car, rides a bike to work, and walks my dog in the area. I live on the corner of 55th and Hawthorne and I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT an organizer and actually take offense at the implication. Jeez – I am not a bad-guy (gal) and I am not a NIMBY. I am not old (well, kind of) and I am a far cry from being rich. We purchased our house for well under $100,000 35 years ago and are fortunate to live in a nice neighborhood.

Yes, I would like to keep significantly more traffic off the stretch between SE 50th and 55th, which is a designated neighborhood street. Stand on the corner of 55th and Hawthorne sometime, especially at am and pm peak times and on weekends, and observe. My biggest concern is SAFETY. Most cars moving East at 55th and Hawthorne actually use the oncoming traffic lane in order to make the turn because Hawthorne from 55th to 60th is so narrow. Go to Portland Maps street view and google SE 55th and Hawthorne and look at the configuration of that intersection. Hawthorne is only 20′ wide or so and the sidewalks abut the road. Truly, it is not a safe intersection.

I remember a few years ago when there were two motorcycle police officers that hid behind the large hedge on the SE corner of 55th and Hawthorne who pulled over vehicles, and bicyclists (my best friend’s son got a ticket-seriously), that rolled through the stop sign on the NE corner of 55th and Hawthorne going West. As soon as they pulled someone over and got back to their hiding spot at the hedge after writing a ticket they would immediately pull the next person over. This happened all day long (it must have been a weekend). They also pulled over vehicles and cyclists that rolled through the NW corner stop sign, which happens all the time.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That’s an argument for thousands of “micro-cities” within Portland. Do we want to have fiefdoms, or a city? Good luck trying to drive or bike across the city in a reasonable amount of time.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Can you show me your deed for the road?

SorryJones
Guest
SorryJones

City streets are typically not publicly owned land — they are ROW easements over private property. The abutting owner holds fee title to street centerline. Neither the city or abutting owner has a possessory interest while ROW exists, so no, the prior poster could not show you a deed for the road — but it would revert to their property in the ROW were to be vacated. The public’s ROW easement is dominant, but not unlimited, and abutting owners have successfully won court cases related to diminished access or other damage.
See this explanation from Washington state:
http://mrsc.org/Home/Stay-Informed/MRSC-Insight/January-2014/What-is-the-Nature-of-a-Public-Right-of-Way.aspx

q
Guest
q

Not in Portland. Streets are virtually always publicly owned. Just look on http://www.portlandmaps.com.

SorryJones
Guest
SorryJones

Parcel maps only show taxable assessor boundaries. Not the same as underlying fee title. Unless the city purchased the land and has a grant deed, which is rare, it has an easement only.
A good example is the street vacation process, which returns land under ROW easement to the underlying property owner. Portland has just such a process:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/213937

John
Guest
John

Clicky Freewheel
Honestly, maybe the compromise solution is to build protected bike facilities on Hawthorne and Division instead of trying to play whack-a-mole with neighborhood street calming. Let cyclists use the same commuter routes drivers do and give them quality safe facilities to do so. Hawthorne certainly has the room.Recommended 0

The greenway ‘action thresholds’ for daily auto traffic (the threshold that triggered the whole proposal) are designed around making people who are new to cycling comfortable.

While Division / Hawthorne bike lanes may be effective for commuters, they will not help to increase cycling among newbies / children / etc.

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

While Division / Hawthorne bike lanes may be effective for commuters, they will not help to increase cycling among newbies / children / etc.

They can be if properly designed. Would you feel comfortable cycling with your kids on this street?

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Because people not cycling now are just a traffic diverter of encouragement away from becoming cyclist…? I don’t think so. I do not believe this diverter is standing between a non-cyclist turning into a cyclist.

John
Guest
John

vs
Actually, a huge chunk of the signers on the ‘no’ petition are anonymous. I think the mean people last night are signing their own petition multiple times.Recommended 0

I observed more than one person filling out multiple comment cards last night…

Ryan Janssen
Guest
Ryan Janssen

I was going to ask “Is fact-based, civil discussion dead in the USA?” Dumb question.

This is so disappointing.

Kate
Guest
Kate

We were there and it was horrendous! The anti-diverter crowd was completely out of control and rude. Their behavior was atrocious. It was supposed to be an open house, but the first part turned into an unfacilitated meeting, where people were yelling and booing. There was no mic, so you couldn’t really hear what people were saying. Whoever was calling on people was only allowing the antis to speak. The night before the meeting the antis put inaccurate scaremongering flyers on people’s doors, with things like “1,000 cars on your street!” in red. They also have flagged the pro-diverter petition on Nextdoor to try to get it removed. We live in the neighborhood and will be slightly inconvenienced by being required to drive around the block, but welcome the chance to improve safety on Lincoln. These people are snobbish and entitled. Their responses to reasoned argument are things such as anyone supporting the greenway “doesn’t live in the neighborhood” or “live in Portland.” However, many of us in the neighborhood do support this project. Or there is the woman who keeps suggesting that “children live on the side streets” or that parallel traffic isn’t dangerous for bikes, just perpendicular traffic. ?? This comes down to their unwillingness to be even slightly inconvenienced for the greater good.

sami
Guest
sami

Hey Kate, what’s with the snark? It’s not funny. It’s a fact: many children live on the side streets. They also live on the in-between streets and thoroughfares. Walk or bike around and look at the signs on the side streets between Division and Lincoln. They already say slow down, kids playing and drive like your kids live here. You’re saying the safety here doesn’t count? From the mouth of PBOT the Greenway isn’t a safety initiative. Where do you think people from Division or Powell will go when they want to get through the neighborhood? They’ll go on the side streets. It’s basic. They already do. The comments on this post sound disappointingly similar to rushing a tax or healthcare bill through the House just because. If you listened to the crowd it’s largely anti-diverter for really good reasons. It’s not anti-greenway. The city has many options to calm traffic that don’t require blocking 50th. How can the Greenway continue without blocking that intersection or the intersection at 60th? Everyone here seems mad because other people spoke in opposition as loudly as Critical Mass. Srsly drop the we’re so horrified we were angels at the open house facade. What about that really tall person who was pro-diverter, yelling and trying to drown out voices? Did you forget about him? Or the person in the yellow jacket who climbed on stage to shout at people. Or the other person who said the opinions of people there didn’t count because they’re old? All so sad and disappointing from such a supposedly progressive group of people. This message doesn’t matter anyway. Jonathan doesn’t seem to publish opposing comments to provide the full perspective of opinions here.

Catie
Guest
Catie

What are the many options to calm traffic other than blocking 50th? Do you mean slowing traffic or reducing the amount of traffic? Both are an issue here. I genuinely wanted to hear people’s suggestions to improve the design (such as 50th diverter as an inlet vs an outlet, locating diverters at different blocks) but did not hear anything specific at this meeting.

sami
Guest
sami

Hi Catie, Both speed/qty are on my mind since the city-planned density along 50th is bringing with it more vehicles, but it’s still so low key around here right now. If the main goal is to restrict access only to local traffic I’d like to hear from engineers re: ways to do that without shifting the sw inbound burden of the entire neighborhood to the side streets between Lincoln and Division, that permit access to locals without adding congestion to Division in front of the two schools or to the generally dangerous Hawthorne area around 50th where a girl was killed last year. We’re probably looking for similar things, I just don’t believe in this diverter solution because given the options: put more traffic on side streets with kids, put more traffic in front of the schools, or funnel more traffic to the area where a person was just killed, I have no problem saying none of the above, especially when the reason is bicycle “comfort.” A solution that doesn’t shunt drivers to less safe intersections to enter or exit the neighborhood is also desired. And to the person who somewhere on here said 55th and Hawthorne is really dangerous already: yes, that too. Don’t need to add more cars to that sshow.

(Catie, this isn’t in response to your comment) In general I hope options can be presented without rhetoric or sanctimonious speeches about the value of bikes over other modes of transportation since not all have the privilege of a commute within cycling range or the health needs required. It’s a nice thing when you have it. What’s with chastising people who don’t? People need equal safety consideration regardless of what they’re getting around by, what their income is, their age or ethnicity…riiiight??? My neighbor isn’t a friend when he’s biking and my foe when he’s driving a car. Yes, there are older people in Tabor too because they’ve lived on Tabor for decades. I’m not sure why that’s a problem for some people. I hope we can leave the sad prejudices and stereotyping from some voices in the bicycle community out of future conversations. PBOT can come up with something on point and creative that addresses neighborhood input, and the future and changing state of the city vs. ramming this one idea through.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’m finding this conversation very interesting, and appreciate the diversity of opinions here. Agree with much of what you said, except this:

“transportation since not all have the privilege of a commute within cycling range or the health needs required.”

I find it noteworthy that this is always and only mentioned in connection with bicycling, as if everyone can drive but only the rare, fit, beautiful(!) are able to bike. As others have pointed out here, it is almost certainly the case that more folks are able to bike than drive.

“People need equal safety consideration regardless of what they’re getting around by”

?
I think this is a categorical mistake. This entire fracas is not about the safety & comfort of those in cars (or buses); it is about those outside of them. Full stop. We’ve spent more than a century prioritizing comfort and safety of those in cars. It is hight time for a correction.

Catie
Guest
Catie

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I drive a car and bicycle and I think most people who bicycle fall into that camp as well. Comfort = safety in my mind. I dont think there have been major injuries here, but I have had experiences with being honked at and passed aggressively on this road which does feel unsafe, especially for younger kids or people new to biking. One of my best friends just bought a bike and is a bit hesitant to go out on her own still. When we bike together instead of driving, I still carefully select the greenways that have the best intersections and calmest routes. Many places in the city look safe on the map, but not in reality, and it can discourage people from biking when they accidentally turn on to a higher traffic street or have a car act aggressively towards them. I’ve been lucky to live within a few blocks of or right off a greenway in 3 different places I’ve lived and love the easy bike routes. Its also nice to live on a quiet street and watch the bike commute with a cup of coffee in the morning. I wouldn’t mind going out of my way a few blocks to get home to make the greenway safer but I also try to avoid driving on greenways in general.

buildwithjoe
Guest

Sami. Could you put those “really good reasons” to oppose diverters into some detail. ?

I’ve not seen a single detail as to why the anti diverter crowd would oppose these diverters. They might be afraid that traffic from Lincoln will now be going another route and putting the quiet street kids at risk. The point is that cars put all kids at risk. How do you get more people out of their cars?

A) Get them on other modes

b) Make the mode of driving less speedy. Yes time is what this is all about. Let’s be honest.

If we add to car trip times and promote other modes we will wind up with streets that are safer. So what’s other modes? Bikes. What makes bikes work for people, quiet streets with diverters.

Please sami don’t just sit there in silence now that the loud crowd can’t control the stage.

soren
Guest
soren

“Where do you think people from Division or Powell will go when they want to get through the neighborhood? They’ll go on the side streets. It’s basic.”

Some of your neighbors said the same thing about the diverter at SE 52nd and Division…and the increase in traffic did not happen.

sami
Guest
sami

Data please?

sami
Guest
sami

PBOT “diverted vehicle traffic will generally find alternate routes” Do you have new data about 51st, 53rd, etc. I have conversation input from residents. Do you have traffic measurements? Please do share here.

soren
Guest
soren
paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Sami,
“From the mouth of PBOT the Greenway isn’t a safety initiative.”
False.
Reducing auto traffic and speed on Harrison-Lincoln is entirely about increasing safety to encourage more people to choose bikes for short trips.

sami
Guest
sami

Incorrect. Words from PBOT at the open house at one of the tables “It’s not about safety. It’s about comfort.”

Jojo
Guest
vs
Guest
vs

Wow, the reddit feed turns into Mt Tabor residents threatening to cause physical harm to cyclists. Disgusting.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Predictable.

vs
Guest
vs

Smarty Pants,

Last night someone who lives East of 50th told me that my opinion didn’t matter because I live West of 50th. The diverter in question would be west of 50th, so on my side of the tracks, so to speak.

I agree with Maus that those adjacent shouldn’t be the only ones with a valid opinion, but if we use your logic, those on Mt Tabor should have no say, as they are adding traffic on the street within 2 blocks of my house.

The comments on the ‘no’ petition say as much. They want to be able to drive from the Mt Tabor neighborhood down Lincoln through the Richmond neighborhood. By your logic all the Mt Tabor folks should STFU. Your logic.

Smarty Pants
Guest
Smarty Pants

I agree. Those who don’t live on the street to be modified should STFU. Perhaps those who DO live on that street would welcome the change?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

You sound like a tyrant.

Jay
Guest
Jay

Is there a ‘Comment of the week’ anymore?

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

“People. They’re the worst.”
George Costanza

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

Whoops, double post. This was a response to the Great Philosopher Quotes thread up above.

MJS
Guest
MJS

Silly question: is there any way, based on what transpired last night, for PBOT to do a 3-6 month diverter trial? It wouldn’t be “pretty” but wouldn’t it be relatively cheap to set up a few concrete Jersey barriers or planters (like what was originally at Lincoln and 34th?) and watch the data? I have a feeling data will win this argument pretty convincingly if we give it a chance.

John
Guest
John

Ryan Janssen
I was going to ask “Is fact-based, civil discussion dead in the USA?” Dumb question.This is so disappointing.Recommended 3

Seriously…

Facts were presented from a traffic engineer (traffic count from rubber hoses) but people questioned whether these facts were real because they never saw the rubber hoses.

Conspiracy theories about falsified traffic count data!

Clicky Freewheel
Guest
Clicky Freewheel

Probably because they were driving. I see those hoses all the time from my bike.

Ryan Janssen
Guest
Ryan Janssen

I don’t even know what a winning strategy to combat this nonsense would be.

They’re behaving like spoiled children. At least with a child you can send them to their room and wait the tantrum out before continuing the discussion. What do you do when adults behave this way and it impacts the safety of so many others?

Serious question.

Mike Shaver
Guest
Mike Shaver

A couple of people have alluded to the mis-information being distributed by those in opposition to the diverter and I agree this is simply fear mongering. I wish PBOT had laid out the actual numbers to neighbors right away. Here is how the numbers could very well break down. The diverters could reduce the volume on Lincoln by 1,000 cars a day and of those only 20-40% would be local neighbors or cars continuing to cut through. Let’s say for arguments sake it’s 50%, so you have 500 cars a day that need to find an alternative route on the side streets. That is 500 cars a day that need to use one side street between 50th and 60th. That means there is no way any one street will get close to 1,000 cars a day as the opposition is painting the picture of. It’s much more likely that some side streets will see small increases with some increasing a few hundred. Many of the side streets between 50th and 60th already experience very low volumes by any PBOT standard. Many are less than 200 cars a day.

In many ways the diverter will reduce overall neighborhood cut through much better than the Clinton improvements did, since there is no adjoining East/West route like Woodward.

It’s very possible presenting this to neighbors would have little effect to change their minds, as they are more focused on the slight inconvenience of not using their current route. But I certainly think it would at least of put some of the hysteria at bay.

How can PBOT and advocacy groups get the true numbers out? It’s something everyone that is a supporter should point out to city officials.

X
Guest
X

SE Portland property values are golden unless and until several large ice sheets break up and slide into the ocean. Mount Tabor beach front? Happy motoring.

Smarty Pants
Guest
Smarty Pants

Just think of the awesome scuba diving in downtown PDX.
🙂

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

After studying the map and the traffic counts (thanks Soren for posting), I’m wondering if a diverter blocking westbound traffic at Lincoln/60 and, maybe, another diverter blocking westbound traffic at Lincoln/50 might be a compromise. These would discourage morning westbound commuters from using Lincoln as a cut through alternative to Division. Eastbound traffic volume seems lighter than westbound, and turning off Division eastbound to use Lincoln eastbound involves a left turn across Division.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I see paikalia responded to this idea in the other thread. He said a diverter at 60 wouldn’t reduce traffic as much. Maybe so but perhaps it would reduce commute cut through traffic while not impeding local traffic? Which might ease the residents’ concerns.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The diverter at 60th would have to accommodate transit as long as transit uses Lincoln.
I doubt the no crowd would agree to any form of diversion.

John
Guest
John

I like the idea of a compromise. Westbound diverters could be effective.

However, many Mt Tabor residents want to retain access to the westbound Lincoln route to Chavez. Ironically, this kind of use is exactly what is driving the city to take action on the Greenway (Mt Tabor residents using Richmond neighborhood as a cut-through).

buildwithjoe
Guest

I spent much of Saturday in this area as a volunteer going door to door by myself. One woman was willing to share why she opposed the diverters.

The defense came out quickly….. Joe did not live in the neighborood. Joe’s voice should not count as much as people who live there.

I pointed out that is not a reason to exclude me. I don’t live on Clinton or Division, but I need those 2 streets when I go to/from work.

So the choice is
a) Joe in his Honda Civic on streets.
b) joe on his bike on Clinton.

What do you want folks?

I might just find that It’s nicer to drive to work in my Honda civic up and down Lincoln at a very slow speed to keep everyone safe. It’s right on my path. It’s much faster than Division. I would encourage people with cars to be a bike ally. Bike the route. And use Lincoln/Harrison as much as possible in their very slow moving motor vehicle the next few weeks. Perhaps we can get some type of button too. It can be big enough for the people who live there to see it as we drive by slowly on our way to/from our jobs.

….

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

buildwithjoe
So the choice is a) Joe in his Honda Civic on streets. b) joe on his bike on Clinton.What do you want folks?

If that’s all it takes to get a strong bike advocate in a car in an area that’s pretty easy to ride, I’m not sure why we have any reason to believe that people who have no affinity for bikes and don’t like being in weather will suddenly start riding everywhere with some infrastructure improvements.

I’m not a huge fan of drivers on greenways, but I don’t blame them for taking them — especially to avoid Division which can be absolutely hopeless. Curiously, I find myself cycling on busier roads that move or that least have sufficient space to greenways because once you get a driver behind a really slow cyclist, everyone is scrеwed.

The diverters would obviously help with this problem in the case at hand, but unless those who support them have a better response to those legitimately concerned about aggravating a bad driving situation than something that boils down to, “suсk it in because cars suсk,” you shouldn’t be surprised by the response you’re getting.

Daniel Patrick Johnson
Guest
Daniel Patrick Johnson

Sorry I missed it. I’m a genuine Mt. Tabor neighborhood resident now. I often use that intersection on my bike. The car traffic has gotten terrible, and with insanely expensive cars. I just freeboxed a suit on my walk home. At least the brand new expensive cars have automatic breaking. Last year I witnessed a teenage girl die in the street when she was hit by a speeding SUV. A few months later people barely jumped out of the way in time when an SUV crashed into a vision clinic waiting room. The street side wall was touching chairs on the far side of the room. These were both on Hawthorne. Stuff like this happening and they are worried about a minute once a week grocery shopping.