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City wants to build a parking protected bike lane on Denver north of Lombard

Posted by on March 22nd, 2018 at 4:13 pm

(Graphic: PBOT)

North Denver Avenue could be the latest street in Portland to get a parking-protected bike lane.

The Kenton Neighborhood Association says the Portland Bureau of Transportation is shopping around that idea as part of a repaving project this summer. “Last Friday, PBOT went door-to-door between N Lombard and N Watts on N Denver,” stated a KNA blog post published March 13th, “and spoke with roughly 35 people at 20 addresses, finding most neighbors enthusiastic about the project.”

We’ve since confirmed that PBOT has set aside $938,000 from their local gas tax-funded Fixing Our Streets program to pave and make ADA upgrades on Denver Avenue from Lombard to Watts. As of late February the project was at 60 percent design. According to a document available on PBOT’s website, a “final decision related to parking removal remains and relates to public involvement.”

It’s likely that PBOT has found low utilization of the existing curbside lane used for on-street parking on these five blocks and they want to use the space more efficiently. They did a similar analysis on Willamette prior to installing a buffered bike lane on that street late last year. And in a project announced just last month the agency also cited low-parking utilization as rationale for restriping North Rosa Parks Way with a parking protected bikeway.

Parking protected bikeways already exist on NE Multnomah and SW Broadway near Portland State University, where the bike-only lane is curbside and auto parking spaces float in the street. The design would result in less space available for parking due to turning movements at intersections.

The parking-protected bike lane on SW Broadway adjacent PSU.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On a flyer for the project the agency writes, “PBOT is taking the opportunity to improve safety conditions by adding protected bike lanes, safer pedestrian crossings, and a better waiting area for bus riders… We hope this project will increase access to and through the Kenton neighborhood for people of all ages and abilities.”

This section of Denver Avenue sits between Kenton’s commercial main street that was significantly upgraded via the Portland Development Commission’s Denver Streetscape Plan in 2010. That project widened the sidewalks and bike lanes.

North Denver south of Watts.

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Denver south of Lombard.

Kenton loves bikes! They’ve got these cool pole banners and a great bike shop right off Denver.

At the southern end of this project is the intersection with Lombard that ranks third highest for crashes involving walkers on PBOT’s High Crash Intersection list.

Denver is also a key connector between neighborhood greenways as evidenced by its inclusion in a family-friendly route to Smith and Bybee Lakes and Kelley Point Park we shared in 2017.

North of Kenton’s downtown, Denver already has a protected path and buffered bike lanes that connect to the regional trail network thanks to a 2015 project by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

As for this current project, the KNA says PBOT is still finalizing their plans. PBOT’s schedule says plans should be completed by this month and construction is set to start in June.

This project will be on the agenda of a meeting tonight (3/22) of the North Portland Land Use Group (a coalition of neighborhood reps) at 7:00 pm at the Historic Kenton Firehouse. It will also be discussed at the April 11th KNA meeting which is also held at 7:00 pm at the Firehouse. Stay tuned for an open house once the design is finalized. If you have feedback or questions, contact PBOT staffers Michael Serritella Mike.Serritella [at] ortlandoregon.gov or Mychal Tetteh Mychal.Tetteh [at] portlandoregon.gov.

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

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24 Comments
  • Huey Lewis March 22, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    That’s tight! Does the city want to finish sidewalks on big east/west streets on the scumbag side of 205?

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    • Huey Lewis March 22, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Oh christ. I hadn’t even seen the BP post one down from here. Seriously, any kind of help out here would be welcome.

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  • Todd Boulanger March 22, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Its all about reinforcing functioning [multimodal] commercial centres….

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  • eawriste March 23, 2018 at 2:54 am

    Excellent news. Please include protected intersections PBOT. Even bollards help.

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  • Dan March 23, 2018 at 8:34 am

    I don’t like these “parking-protected” bike lanes, both as a cyclist and a driver. When I’m biking, I feel I am less visible to car traffic, and more vulnerable at intersections (both from cross-traffic and cars turning right). I also have restricted visibility myself of potential hazards. As a driver, I worry about not seeing a cyclist moving at speed in one of these lanes when I am turning right at an intersection.

    Personally, I’d much prefer either complete separation or travelling in the traffic lane – this seems like a poor compromise.

    I also don’t understand this location. I’m a Kenton resident, and this stretch of Denver (north of Lombard to downtown Kenton) is currently a pretty stress-free cycling experience. This will probably make it more stressful for the reasons I indicate above.

    The Lombard/Denver intersection is terrible, of course, but this plan won’t fix that. It’s a bad intersection because of the angle that Denver intersects Lombard, the turning traffic from Denver onto Lombard east and west bound. I certainly avoid it as a pedestrian, and am very cautious cycling through it.

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    • Andrew Kreps March 23, 2018 at 11:19 am

      I use the 2nd ave bike lane on occasion, and I would never call it “protected”. I would call it a visibility issue and dangerous, though. The 2nd ave lane has a lot of mid-block crossings as well, which are a large part of the issue.

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      • X March 23, 2018 at 12:34 pm

        The pavement, don’t forget the pavement. Lots of conflicts, check, left hooks every block, check, and the pavement is for s–!

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

          Snakes?!?

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  • Bald One March 23, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Seems like so-called parking-protected bike lanes in a residential neighborhood, in front of people’s homes who are used to car storage and curbside garbage can service, is a misguided application of pro-biking infra design. I would caution very much to make any type of comparison to downtown applications of same design, where no traditional residential homes and heavy parking enforcement and temporary use is the norm.

    Putting this type of striping into a residential neighborhood seems to be asking for on-going conflicts between cyclists and other obstructions of the bike lane: parked cars, parked boats and RVs, garbage cans, and additional conflicts with unwitting pedestrians. Not to mention the unexpected location of the bicycle-vehicle traffic popping out at intersections from a parking-protected location (again, not like downtown at all).

    Now, removal of street parking and expansion of bike lanes to wider designs on N. Denver that are NOT shoe-horned into an awkward location in the gutter behind parked cars seems like a great idea. Just remove the parking if it’s not needed. Don’t make the current design worse.

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  • Hazel March 23, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Please no. They feel really unsafe due to lack of visibilty and unless they’re actually going to install some sort of raised buffer, people just park in them. If you haven’t seen this yourself, check out the Instagram @whatsinthebikelanenow

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  • Andrew Kreps March 23, 2018 at 11:20 am

    I don’t really understand this statement:

    On a PBOT flyer for the project they don’t mention protected bike lanes, but they do write, “PBOT is taking the opportunity to improve safety conditions by adding protected bike lanes,

    The flyer does, in fact, mention the protected bike lanes.

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  • rainbike March 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Looks to me like $938,000 in search of a problem. The current configuration seems fine. Use the money to identify and solve a real problem.

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    • Ed March 23, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      Most of the money will probably be spent on fixing the condition of the road and the ADA ramps. Both are identified problems.

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      • rainbike March 23, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        You’re probably right and that sounds good. Fix the road, but don’t convert to parking-protected bike lane.

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  • Gregg March 23, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Doin’ it for the 8 year olds and the 80 year olds. I love it. This entire street is going to feel like a model that could be replicated in the rest of the city. Complete streets, separated cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, I’m all for it. Let’s do one street really really well, and let’s set a standard for the rest of the city.

    Also, imagining bringing my out of town guests on a ride across Tillicum crossing, across the new bridge that will be built on seventh over I-84, Up the new seventh Street Greenway that will have diverters, along Rosa parks with upcoming separated cycle track, and then to Denver. Dreamy!

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty March 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Street view shows the street is very wide. Pushing parked cars towards the center of the street is good (narrowing perceived driving space), but every driveway presents the opportunity for a hook. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with the proposed solution unless there were a way to ensure visibility at each conflict point. Which would probably mean no parking.

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    • Kyle Banerjee March 23, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      The street is wide. As others have mentioned, this is already easy riding.

      Putting a parking buffer will significantly reduce visibility for cyclists, motorists, and peds. I expect more conflicts — especially since it’s downhill from Lombard into Kenton making it easy for cyclists to go at speed.

      Wanna know what’s not great riding in this immediate area that could use improvement? Lombard. It’s not much fun, particularly if you’re crossing I-5. For those who don’t know the area, you might notice a ped trail over I-5 a couple blocks away. Don’t be fooled — as is the case with many of these structures, you’d be nuts to take them at night.

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    • Bald One March 23, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      I advocate just ripping out 8′ – 10′ of concrete on both sides of the street and moving the curbs in, removing 16′ – 20′ of street width. Plant some trees, put in some benches, petanque, badmitton courts. That’s a road diet.

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  • Kevin Geraghty March 23, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Note that Lombard-to-Denver-downtown-strip is the only portion of Denver that does not have speed bumps, and in addition it is slightly downhill to the N and is the most heavily used portion of Denver by both N- and S-bound car commuters . It is also *wide*– significantly wider than Denver to the S of Lombard or than the pedestrian-enhanced Denver downtown strip. The posted 25mph is routinely exceeded by 10+ mph. Given traffic patterns and low-volume crossing streets I believe the project will improve things so long as it does not increase the risk of right- and left-hooks at the Lombard intersection. But automotive speeds still need to come down for pedestrian safety.

    The big problems here, as I see them, are excessive automotive speed, an inappropriately wide street design, and a lot of commuter cut-through traffic avoiding Interstate. Speed-bumping these blocks would be a good thing IMHO to help address the pedestrian part of the equation.

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    • Arden Shelton May 7, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Please slow down….only you can prevent speed bumps!

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  • eawriste March 25, 2018 at 3:50 am

    PBLs are the gold standard based on research. Nearly every time I have observed one going in many people say they “feel more unsafe.” This is likely due to becoming accustomed to a “new” design. But there is a partial truth in this. PBLs are unsafe when implemented without protected intersections. It is somewhat discouraging to see so many people advocate against what should be PBOTs primary job: separation of modes to improve safety. In the future we will know Portland has become a safe place to ride when PBOT installs a PBL and everyone shrugs.

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  • Arden March 26, 2018 at 10:56 am

    This is a huge waste of money…No wonder that people hate bicyclists and cycling! I live in Kenton and have ridden on Denver regularly for the past 12 years. It is a nice wide street with wide bike lanes. There is no need for this plan. I don’t like protected lanes anyway because of the cars parking on next to the lane. The lane does not provide for enough space to avoid a car door opening on the passenger’s side. Really big waste of taxpayers’ money.

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    • Arden March 26, 2018 at 11:01 am

      In fact, now that I think about it more, it is a really stupid idea. A waste of money for such a short few blocks. Ridiculous….

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