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Take PBOT’s survey if you want better bike access on North Rosa Parks Way

Posted by on March 5th, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Rosa Parks is dangerous and outdated. We can do a lot better.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When we reported on the major changes coming to North Rosa Parks Way last month, the City of Portland hadn’t released their survey for the project.

It’s out now. And because this project is so important, we want to make sure you take a few minutes to fill it out.

To refresh your memory, the Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to update the street after they do a repaving project. The plan is to redesign the street from Willamette to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. PBOT says changes will include: “Improved pedestrian crossings at key locations, improved transit stops on N Rosa Parks at N Albina Street, protected bicycle lanes in the corridor; and a street design with a more neighborhood feel.”

This is a crucial neighborhood street that desparately needs a makeover.


In the survey, PBOT wants to know specific locations you have difficulty getting to transit stops, walking, or bicycling. And in classic PBOT fashion, they also want to know about, “Any specific locations… where on-street automobile parking is important for the community.” There’s also a question that asks about your overall level of support for the proposed changes.

We’re tired of having to advocate for what should be common sense updates to streets where auto users are given way too much priority. But at this point, PBOT still puts value into these surveys so it’s in everyone’s best interest to fill it out and share your input.

Here’s that link one more time.

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

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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

  • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Your phrase “We’re tired of having to advocate for what should be common sense updates to streets where auto users are given way too much priority.” reminds me of my elderly curmudgeon neighbors when I was a child, complaining about government in general, but especially about anything they normally argued against, such as taxes and the opposing political party.

    It’s not that I disagree with you, I don’t, but that the whole point of advocacy in a free democracy is that everyone, including you, me, and our SUV-owning gun-toting live-free-or-die neighbor, has an equal opportunity to voice their opinions. I feel your frustration and I recognize your right, and even obligation, to state your own opinions in your blog, but I do question the need for you to make that statement.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 5, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      I get where you are coming from David.

      But it’s 2018. These roads are designed like it’s 1970 still. We have myriad adopted plans saying that we need to prioritize everything but driving — yet our roads still do just that. My comment was meant to reflect the fact that we’ve already advocated for what we want, yet PBOT sometimes still seems to approach each project as if we have to convince them and everyone else of what we want all over again. It’s maddening to me that there are still people at PBOT who are looking at surveys and tallying up who wins: the “cyclists” or the “neighbors upset about losing parking”.

      But yeah, I could have left that statement out of the post.

      Thanks for the comment.

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      • Mr. Grey March 6, 2018 at 7:59 am

        While the “Please let us know your level of support for the project” question is suspect, I don’t think anyone at PBOT is treating feedback from a survey like this as representative of how folks in the neighborhood feel; surveys like this are usually exercises in information gathering about the biggest issues in a given project area; the people who experience the area daily are likely to have detailed information about what is and isn’t working for them–information that can inform a better design. All the same, you’re right that it is very frustrating the City has decades of adopted plans and policies that tell PBOT how to proceed but PBOT seems to have to stop each time we take a step and make sure everyone is on board with making things safer and more convenient for vulnerable road users.

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      • MR March 6, 2018 at 2:36 pm

        “1970”, really? That picture looks like the road diets you are so keen on. I used to ride Rosa Parks a bunch and it was one of the more pleasant roads to ride on in Portland, in my opinion.

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        • Gregg March 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm

          I ride it with my family (school, park, grocery store) – and we have to keep the kids on the sidewalk. Rosa Parks is not for the 8-80 crowd. I have had many near misses on this stretch. I’m looking forward to the safety improvements!

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    • Tom March 6, 2018 at 9:52 am

      A survey is not a democratic vote. There are many recorded cases of bots being used to send thousands of fake survey responses in some cases.

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  • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    As for the project itself, my biggest complaint about any city that adds either parking-protected bike lanes or buffered bike lanes is the total ignorance by city agency staff of how much angst is generated each time a delivery truck blocks the lane, be it UPS, FedEx, Postal Service, or a local food delivery. The delivery needs to be made, but the driver often has no choice but to double-park, and naturally parks at the location “of least resistance”, the bike lane. What they do in downtown areas is a simple solution – they create “loading zones” at likely busy areas. Why they, including PBOT, cannot do this in suburban areas like Rosa Parks is beyond me.

    So, no, I neither like the current configuration nor the new plan. They need to add loading zones, which will further take away parking, but help prevent large trucks from blocking the views at corners as cyclists and pedestrians are trying to cross the street.

    In addition, I’d reduce the bike lane and buffer to reduce the opportunity for a drunk or otherwise misguided car driver, and a desperate delivery driver, from using the protected bike lane as a parking lane. The distance from the candlesticks to the curb should be no more than 6 feet, so the bike lane + buffer = 7 feet total on each side. Next I’d reduce the parking lane to 7 feet, since half the bike lane buffer can be used for parking delivery vehicles. I’d also reduce both travel lanes from 11 feet to just 10 feet. The savings ought to allow for a parking lane on the other side of the street, better protecting cyclists on that side.

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    • Pete March 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      What is the speed limit there? In my community we lost lane width reduction fights based on a 35 MPH limit (11’+) versus 25 MPH (10′)… your city’s “standards” may vary.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu March 6, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      If we prohibit parking within 30′ of the intersection but permit short stops by delivery drivers, that would make it unnecessary for delivery trucks to double park and improve visibility at intersections.

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  • Tom Hardy March 5, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Portland Boulivard/Rosa Parks, like a plague, while on the bike in North Portland.
    Since the late 50’s I have always taken Ainsworth from Willamette to Vancouver. In the 60’s Ainsworth was more or less designated as the bike throughway from Willamette to NE 47th or 50th. How come nobody ever mentions Ainsworth as having bike friendly lights where present and nice intersection sight lines where signals are not present.
    Of course before I learned that Vancouver/Williams were pretty bike friendly, I used Greely/Interstate to get to and from the Broadway bridge riding from Kenton to the Zoo.

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    • Tom Hardy March 5, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      I avoided (above)

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  • Toby Keith March 6, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I like Ainsworth too. But it always seemed like impatient drivers where there as well. Is that still the case?

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    • Kevin Geraghty March 6, 2018 at 7:50 am

      Last year I was “brushed back” on Ainsworth at speed by a motorist who resented my presence. But it is still my preferred N Portland E-W route across the freeway to Vancouver/Williams. If one does not count the Failing street overpass, which has charms.

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      • oliver March 6, 2018 at 8:37 am

        I sometimes ride over to do a lap of Tabor and take Lincoln or Clinton in to work. Experiences with drivers on Ainsworth between say Williams and 15th cuts my frequency of this by about half.

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    • maxD March 6, 2018 at 9:35 am

      YES! My 9 year old daughter were tailgated and honked at by a woman in a SUV last summer. It has been very hard to get my formerly bike loving daughter back out on the roads since then.

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      • bikeninja March 6, 2018 at 10:20 am

        When they rewrite Dantes Inferno as an modern action movie I certainly hope they reserve the lowest level for adults that tailgate and honk at Children on bikes.

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      • Pete March 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        Bummed to read this. Non-sequitur; I picked up a copy of the CA Driver’s Handbook while spending four hours to renew my DL last week and was pleasantly surprised to read on page 60 the guidelines to when not to use your horn actually referring to bicyclists as well as slow-moving vehicles. Now, if only people didn’t suck!

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      • Toby Keith March 6, 2018 at 8:07 pm

        Sorry to hear that. I quit riding Ainsworth some time ago. The fast aggressive passing really put me off.

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  • Emily March 6, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Does anyone else notice that this street design that people want changed (I ride Ainsworth because RP generally feels too busy/fast) is similar to the design that has been proposed for improving N Lombard circa 2013?

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  • Pete March 6, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Your “dangerous and outdated” road design pictured is the ‘road diet’ configuration many of us elsewhere are still fighting to get to. Good luck!

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  • Roland Klasen March 6, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I’m not so sure a major bike lane on a heavily traveled street is such a great idea. There are plenty of bike boulevards in the area, such as Bryant and Concord which are much more enjoyable to ride.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu March 6, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    I find riding a bike on this stretch of Rosa Parks to be fine. What is not fine is crossing Rosa Parks, as pedestrian or cyclist.

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    • Roland Klasen March 7, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      My neighbors are trying to get a crosswalk installed between Greeley and Willamette.

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  • Bald One March 7, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I always use Ainsworth for travel west of Vancouver/Williams. RP seems a bit sketchy, mostly due to how wide it is, which gives the impression cars are going to pass you on the right in an unexpected manner or location. I think my preference using Ainsworth is that it is faster, with fewer stops or long lights. I’m sure any “improvement” to RP that the city will dream up will simply slow down bike travel even more – more stops, more signals, more waiting, more convoluted routing – but these changes do have the potential to make it feel safer on a bike. They could definitely improve the portion of RP from Interstate to Albina, especially the area around I-5; any improvements in that section would be welcome.

    My trouble with Ainsworth is east of MLK, there I find the drivers are less patient with bikes and the difficulty to pass cyclists is higher.

    Ainsworth should be a designated Greenway with sharrows on the road from N. Greeley to NE 33rd.

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  • Christopher March 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I 100% agree that crossing Rosa Parks on foot or bike is difficult now, and it’s great to see this aiming to be addressed. Speeds are really high on Rosa Parks. It’s a real drag to have seen people die in front of my house.

    As for the commentary on Ainsworth, I avoid this street as it has become a fast path for cars as well, but has bike lane. While the speed limit has been reduced to 25, cars are still too fast. I would love a bike lane or some other way to make this a better east-west connection from Willamette to Williams/Vancouver.

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    • Christopher March 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      on Ainsworth, I meant to say “I avoid this street as it has become a fast path for cars as well, but has NO bike lane”. Oops!

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