Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 29th, 2018 at 2:34 pm
Remember the bike lane on NW 14th Avenue we highlighted last week?
The lane had disappeared without any warning, forcing road users into stressful and dangerous situations. While they still haven’t explained why they didn’t catch the problem earlier, the Portland Bureau of Transportation told us the bike lane vanished because of a construction project on one side of the street and a new, wider sidewalk that was installed on the other side of the street. “These two things have narrowed the roadway,” PBOT’s John Brady said, “and we need to install some temporary striping to fit the new road conditions.”
Now we have the details on what that temporary striping will look like.
In a letter and email sent to nearby businesses and residents today, PBOT Capital Project Manager Scott Cohen explained the problem and showed a cross-section drawing of the “temporary operational plan” that will be in place for the next year.
Here are the elements of that plan (emphasis mine):
• Offering pedestrian and ADA access to all legs of the intersection during construction.
• Improved sidewalk corridor in a busy Central City neighborhood.
• Providing space for people bicycling on a busy corridor.
• Improving existing auto lane shift north of NW Glisan that addresses safety issues for merging vehicles.
• Improving freight turning movements and helping move vehicles through the intersection more intuitively.
Cohen says city staff will monitor traffic for the next year to determine the best way to permanently configure NW 14th after construction is completed. Hopefully by next year we’ll just keep this wide bikeway in place for good — since 14th plays a starring role in the future protected bike lane network PBOT is working on.
As for why PBOT failed to catch this before the bike lane became blocked by the sidewalk, we never got a reply when we asked about it. However, our smart commenters seem to have figured it out. Here’s the salient exchange from the comment thread of our post last week:
When the protected walkway was put in the striping was moved west, which can be seen in the first photo. When that traffic control plan was approved the person who reviewed that was likely unaware of the planned widening of the sidewalk on the east side of the street (to the same width as the block faces to the north and south). My guess is that no one realized the combined effect of these two separate projects would be to remove the bike lane, i.e. PBOT messed up here through a lack of internal coordination rather than through any kind of bad intent.
Correct. Permit jobs are reviewed independently, often by separate staff, and I can see how this got missed. Unfortunate, but these things happen.
If you have feedback about PBOT’s plans for 14th, you can reach Scott Cohen at (503) 823-5345 or via email at scott.cohen (at) portlandoregon.gov.
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