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PBOT reveals design updates for Sullivan’s Crossing, Flanders bridges

Posted by on February 15th, 2018 at 10:13 am

[*Note: This is a duplicate of a post originally published yesterday. The original post caused display issues so I made a duplicate and recreated 15 comments left on the old post. Sorry for any inconvenience. – Jonathan.]

The new look of NE 7th and Lloyd — the northern landing of the Sullivan’s Crossing bridge — is beginning to take shape as PBOT moves forward with the project.
(Graphics: PBOT)

By 2020 Portland will have two more carfree bridges — both of which will span across freeways that currently present onerous barriers to our central city transportation network.

At the monthly Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeeting last night, Bureau of Transportation project managers shared the latest updates on the Flanders Crossing and Sullivan’s Crossing bridges. Both bridges are at the very early stages of design (about 10 percent), but they have similar schedules. PBOT’s Dan Layden even joked last night that during construction they might even close both the I-84 and 405 freeways at the same time.

The big decisions at this stage in the game are what the bridges will look like. PBOT staff wants to narrow down the cross-section and striping plans and they showed their latest thinking on both fronts to the committee last night.

Flanders Crossing

Unfortunately this is the only image we’ve seen of the actual bridge design.

Flanders is a bridge with vast potential that will be complemented by the NW Flanders neighborhood greenway creating a low-stress street for biking between Waterfront Park and NW 24th. It will also come with new signals at NW 14th and 16th (we hear ODOT is giving PBOT the business about how a new signal at 16th will disrupt freeway-related traffic). The budget is $6.4 million, split between an ODOT Connect Oregon grant and PBOT system development charges.

At 24-feet, the bridge will be the widest carfree facility in Portland. The Waterfront Park path is just 16 feet (including those annoying ship “cleats”) and the Tillikum crossing path is 14-feet wide. To make biking, walking, and rolling as easy and comfortable as possible, PBOT is eyeing one of two options that, “Range from less flexible space with more separation to more flexible space with less separation.”

The first option is to have two, six-foot wide bike lanes in the middle and two six-foot wide paths on either side. The bike lanes would be on a different grade and separated by a rounded curb:

The second option is to put all four lanes on the same level and separate the bikeway with the color green (and other striping). This is the option currently preferred by PBOT:

A third option is similar to option two but without the coloring and with even less striping. The minimal striping would aim to encourage a shared space:

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Sullivan’s Crossing

Introducing, Skip! That’s the name of the bridge design PBOT wants to build. This design has won out (the “Leap” design came a close second) because, as Layden put it, “It’s more elegant, easier to build, and it’s cheaper and within our budget.” Speaking of budget, this bridge is much longer than Flanders (460-feet compared to 199-feet) and has a price tag of $13.5 million (paid for mostly by PBOT system development charges).

Since PBOT expects people to take in the view of the downtown skyline from this bridge (unlike Flanders, which they assume everyone will be eager to get across), their current preferred cross-section design puts a 12-foot walkway on the west side of the bridge and a 12-foot, bi-directional bikeway on the other side:

The design of the intersections on both sides of the new bridge also came up last night. Layden said they’ve opted against a roundabout for the north landing in large part because “the geometry for trucks just doesn’t work.” Instead, it will be a signalized crossing. Here’s the latest sketch of what it will look like (note that the project is likely to come with major changes to Lloyd Avenue including a lane reconfiguration and a new two-way bike path on the south side):

And here’s a sketch of what PBOT is considering for the southern entrance:

Unfortunately the meeting ran late and there wasn’t much time for committee discussion. The one person who did sneak in feedback was new BAC member (representing Bike Loud PDX) Catie Gould. She said six feet was much too snug for a bikeway — especially if we want to encourage people to ride side-by-side and reach our cycling trip goal of 25 percent.

If you’ve got feedback on these designs, visit the official project pages — here for Flanders, here for Sullivan’s — and contact Dan Layden directly. You can also sign up for emails about each project and of course stayed to your local BP stations for key updates and opportunities to weigh in.

— 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 welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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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Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

For the northern bridgehead intersection: should not the design account for the propensity of peds to cluster in the NB crosswalk closest to the MV lane, they will likely wait in the EB bike lane and create a conflict? [How about creating a small ped waiting island by flaring the EB thru bikeway into the plaza…creating a two stage ped [and bike] crossing…like a roundabout has?

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

Once again, transportation options that are becoming completely muddled by the idea of turning a transport connection into a linear park. They should design this to allow for the most efficient passage of the most number of people at one time, and attempts to keep the cycles separated from the tourists and sight-seers as much as possible would be advised. Especially at the landings – this is the most important area to keep free-flowing transitions to the adjacent paths, walks, roadways, and bikeways.
This is, after all, directly above a 6 lane freeway – although it might have nice views, it will always be over a noisy and smelly freeway and rail tracks. And the views may not be permanent – in a few years, these views might all be shadowed over by new development.

No to linear parks masquerading as transportation. This is not the next high-line.
Yes to free-flowing cycle paths that are not overly corrupted by extraneous hard scaping, signs, curves, and conflicts with peds.

Build a park, great. Build an outdoor civic engagement area, great. Build a homeless camping area, great. Build a cycle path, great. Do not combine these areas without allowing for a wide, safe, free passage for moving cycles through the crowds and obstructions.

I will be impressed if they do not put in a chain-link fence cage around the whole thing, but seems like they will need this to be installed along the whole stretch over the freeway and train tracks once the lawyers, railroad lobbyists, and ODOT minders get a hold of the final design – hopefully not.

Allan Rudwick
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Allan Rudwick

The flanders bridge design looks fine, but I’m much more interested in the idea of how they’re going to get across the 16th avenue “weave lane” mess. No details on that yet

Rebecca Hamilton
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Rebecca Hamilton

Ned Flanders Crossing.

I really want this to happen.

David
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David

At the meeting last night the feeling I had was a disappointment that there was only 24 feet to work with in each of these bridge designs. Each span has its own challenges as you want to keep everyone “in their lane” on Flanders because we know how detrimental created conflict can be but on the Sullivan’s Crossing (Skip) span the grade is a bigger concern and cyclists going downhill will have significantly more speed than most other users of the bridge.

Barring any unforeseen infusions of cash that could solve these problems by allowing a wider span this should be watched closely to see if six feet for each type of user in each direction is really enough or if we need to be advocating that much more for wider spans as the default option.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

Option 1, please! Keeping pedestrians and cyclists separated is important.

Also, 24 feet seems awful stingy for a brand new bridge. Would making it 28 or 32 ft really cost that much more?

maxD
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maxD

The Sullivans Crossing is so long and has so much grade that passing will be a significant issue for people on bikes. I think the shared, 2-way path bike portion should be 14′ wide. Peds will be more spread out, and a 10′ wide path with no cyclsits on it should be very comfortable. I agree that, although this bridge will have nice views, they will all be through protective fencing, and will be offset by the extremely loud and smelly experience of crossing a freeway. Very few people will want to linger here.

The bridgeheads, howver, do deserve some planning to create places for people to linger, meet-up and allow people walking and biking to get through with minimal conflict.

Justin
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Justin

I’d be interested in knowing the prices of the options for Flanders bridge. Any chance money we would save by having even pavement could be spent on other improvements?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I think Option 1 – grade separation of cyclists and pedestrians – is a good idea. Much more effective in keeping people separated than paint.

X
Guest
X

Could we have a cost estimate for adding a few feet to the width?

I’m for a flat deck and minimal markings. Maybe an overhead sign at each end–the pavement markings on the Hawthorne are pretty ineffectual.

It seems clear to me that if you have bikes riders on one half of the deck and walkers on the other people will cross to look over the other rail. Because it is there.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Perhaps the additional width sought by previous commenters can be rationalized as a way to plan for resiliency: to be used by pets and bike now but to allow transit to cross in case the other bridges fail in an earthquake? (Given their older designs they may not be cascadia proof – just a guess.)

Clark in Vancouver
Guest
Clark in Vancouver

They both look pretty good. I have just a few comments on how they could be even better.

The curb separation of Option 1 is good but it would be better if the walking part was on one side (like Option 4) and not split into two.
How the paths are designed on each end after the bridge is very important. This is where people when they walk are going to intersect with people when they bike. There needs to be good sight lines. The natural desire lines of people have to be considered.
And both bridges need to be wider.
The walking part does not have to be as wide as the cycling part. (But because of politics maybe they have to show them as being exactly the same width.)

Cory P
Guest

Speaking for skateboarders, rollerskaters and scooter riders. I am concerned about using continuous green thermoplastics on MUPs. The treatment around the Tillikum crossing is so textured it makes riding small wheel vehicles very unpleasant. Most skaters and many scooters are traveling to fast to safely operate in the pedestrian lane.
I would push to either move to a medallion style lane marker at regular intervals or create a spec for the finished surface texture on the green paint. The later might be a problem since wet/smooth thermoplastics get slippery.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Sullivan’s Crossing bridge:
– Bike part should be wider, ped part narrower
– If you think people will hang out on the bridge to enjoy the view, include a wider “observation” section, such as on the Tillikum bridge
– Separate bike from ped with wands or tactile surface
– South landing is too constricted, eliminate the seating area and whatever the “S.W” area is, maximize the space available for bikes and peds
– Remember bikes going S/B on the bridge and onto the south landing will be moving fast(er) due to downgrade

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

The north landing is much improved over some earlier proposals. I also dislike the narrowing of the south landing on Sullivans bridge. I’m guessing SW is a stormwater facility. Does it have to be right in the way of a ped/bike mixing zone? Reduce the size of the sidewalk cafe, if that’s what it is. Why must we “meander” through there, as if we’re just out for a stroll, rather than trying to get somewhere? Sounds like a suburban landscape architect’s idea. Make it a straight shot.

Shoupian
Subscriber
Shoupian

Option 2 is much better. The curb that separates bikes and pedestrians in option 1 narrows the functional operating space for bikes, making the bike lane less than 6′ in each direction. No need to waste that functional operating space.

Evan
Guest
Evan

If memory serves, the cheapest bridge design would have been about $4 million, about 9 million cheaper than the chosen option.

What could we have done with $9m in SDC money elsewhere in Portland?

Evan
Guest
Evan

I agree with other commenters that it’s silly to build space for hanging out directly above a highway.