Special gravel coverage

The Foster Road project is starting: Here are the latest concept drawings

Posted by on May 2nd, 2018 at 11:19 am

Foster at Gladstone. (Insert witty Abbey Road reference here.)

It’s finally happening.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has mailed out notices to residents that the Foster Road Streetscape Project will be breaking ground in a matter of weeks. This is right in line with what we reported back in January so it’s a good sign that the project is moving ahead as planned.

Of course it’s been 15 years since the Foster Road Streetscape Plan was passed by City Council, and four years since the City Council unanimously approved the project itself. But let’s focus on the positive: This $9 million project ($5 million from federal government, $4 million from various City of Portland sources) will completely redesign this key corridor from SE 50th to 90th and repave the street between 82nd and 90th.

In one of the final administrative steps at their April 25th meeting, City Council accepted the $5 million bid from the private contractor (which was, shockingly, lower than city engineers estimated).

Another update since we last covered this project are new concept drawings released by PBOT that give us our best view yet about what we can expect.

For the bikeway, in stretches where on-street auto parking exists the bikeway will be 7-feet wide including a painted buffer zone. When there is no parking, the bike lane will be six feet wide. None of the bikeways will be physically protected from other road users.

Here’s the view at 84th:

Foster at 84th.

In total, nine intersections will be updated with a variety of changes including things like new crossings, curb extensions, new sidewalks, and so on. Six locations — SE 58th, SE Mall, SE 65th, SE 69th, SE 74th and SE 84th Ave — will get new median refuge islands with rapid flash beacons.

Other upgrades in the corridor corridor include: 9-foot wide sidewalks (from existing 5-foot) between 83rd and 90th, 190 new street trees, decorative street lights, 69 ADA-compliant curb ramps, and modern signals. “The project will transform Foster Road into an inviting thoroughfare,” PBOT promises on their website. “That supports a vibrant commercial district and enhances the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

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To say this is a high-profile project for PBOT is a vast understatement. Given that there are some critics already, and simply because Foster is such a busy, growing, and marquee street to begin with, the project will be highly scrutinized. As such, PBOT seems to be pulling out all of the stops to make sure everyone is happy. The official word is that the project, “Will deliver a street that is safer and more attractive for people walking, biking, taking transit and driving.” (We’re not sure which adopted City of Portland goal says any project should make driving more attractive.)

Keep in mind that when the plan was passed by City Council in 2003, the ordinance language said the goals were to, “Provide an acceptable level of service [for vehicle travel] and ensures smooth, consistent traffic movement.” And no, they were not referring to human-powered vehicles. In the same ordinance, another goal stated, “Ensure appropriate bicycling access on Foster.” They didn’t define “appropriate,” but we all know what that means.

The council ordinance adopted in 2003.

Back to the verbage being used today, the City says, “The changes to the street and urban design will transform Foster Road from a high speed, auto-oriented corridor into a more balanced streetscape that is safer and more accessible for people walking, biking, taking transit and driving.”

PBOT expects the change going from four lanes for driving to two (plus a center turn lane) will reduce the crash rate by 20 to 50 percent. The newly configured standard lanes will be 10-feet wide.

We can’t wait to see how this all shakes out.

The City says construction will last 6-7 months and they hope to have it completed before winter.

Do you live and/or ride in this area? How are you feeling about all this?

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

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  • 9watts May 2, 2018 at 11:53 am

    This looks auspicious. Thanks for the update!

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  • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Yep, I use it daily. I am definitely a proponent for leaving it the way that it is. The city works hard for greenways and making those stress free and calmed for people to ride and walk on. If that is true then there should be places were the opposite exists. Powell/Foster and Sandy are great example of places to let the buses and vehicles (preferably carpools) should exist. Not everyone can wait for a bus to take them from 181st and Powell to roll up or people who used to live in Portland and now live in places like Damascus people they can’t afford anything else. One can look at Foster every morning and evening and know what the cut through opportunities will become as a result. Then what happens? We call in to KGW about people speeding up and down their neighborhood. I think it’s a bad idea and I can’t wait to see who all disagrees but such is life. And yes, I ride my bike daily in FoPo, Mt. Scott, and Brentwood Darlington.

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    • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Where the opposite*^

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    • 9watts May 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      “I think it’s a bad idea and I can’t wait to see who all disagrees but such is life.”

      You think what is a bad idea? The road diet, or everything?

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      • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        Totally against the road diet 🙂 plenty of greenways exist that can handle the cyclists. But like I said, I actually live and use the road daily. Thanks for the question.

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        • MTW May 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm

          Greenways are great (well, pretty good) for commuters, but occasionally people actually need to go to one of the shops, restaurants, residences on a main street.

          It would be like saying that automobiles already have I-84 so why should they be allowed on Burnside as well? Because that’s where all the stuff is.

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          • soren May 2, 2018 at 1:56 pm

            There is no diagonal neighborhood greenway running alongside Foster or Sandy.

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            • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 2:10 pm

              Still waiting for you to respond on my last question to you….

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          • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 3:33 pm

            Greenways don’t connect users to shops and restaurants? I think a quick look at the greenway map would reveal the answer to your statement.

            Your analogy doesn’t make sense. And if you would like to point to Burnside, most of it has uses for at least 3, if not 4, modes for the majority of its stretch.

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            • 9watts May 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm

              “Greenways don’t connect users to shops and restaurants? ”

              Why don’t you tell us which green ways you have in mind.

              SE/NE 28th famously got the axe.

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              • eawriste May 5, 2018 at 3:19 am

                Clinton? I cannot think of another greenway that provides direct access to commercial districts.

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        • Ryan May 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm

          I’m curious what you think would actually make the roads safer in that area. I see you comment frequently on BP and PBOT FB posts, complaining about how these types of efforts are unnecessary or actually make things worse. So I wonder, what do you think would be better? Are you OK with the current safety situations on these roads (and I’m not just talking about cycling, since this project is more about ped safety even than cycling)?

          I don’t mean to sound accusatory, but the general vibe I get from your comments is that, because you live and bike in these areas, you feel your experience is representative of the entire community, and since things work fine for you then they should work for everyone. That may not be your actual stance, but that’s what I get from your comments.

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          • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 2:56 pm

            I’m curious as well. Under Vision Zero we saw more people die last year than any other year since 2005. That being said, is it really a safe option? It most definitely sounds nice but with any project people have to be reasonable. I do believe we have enough, yes enough, infrastructure and what we are severely lacking is a solid community policing effort to match all the changes that PBOT likes to hang their hat on. It’s meaningless to spend money on an ad campaign if you don’t have anyone to back it up with enforcement. I still see people driving like they have zero vision up and down my street. A $5 orange sign pegged up on a light pole isn’t going to change behavior. I’d love to see speed camera vans spread out from some of their normal areas… 115th/ Se division, Flavel and Se52nd, Marine dr, and SR 30. I’d like to see cops hanging out in my neighborhood and let them see what goes on and act accordingly, hell at crosswalks too! PBOT constantly says they don’t enforce, so while people are celebrating these wins, I sit back and wonder why can’t we have some sort of enforcement until after the fact that an accident has occurred.

            I’d also be a fan of routine sobriety checks for all roads users as well as I’m tired of hearing about another DUI accident that killed/ injured an innocent person.

            So yes, I’m curious and I ask plenty of questions. I call PBOT and the mayor quite frequently. Thanks for inquiring.

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            • 9watts May 2, 2018 at 3:10 pm

              “A $5 orange sign pegged up on a light pole isn’t going to change behavior”

              This is an easy claim to make on a bike blog, but do we/do you actually know this? I think attitudes and culture and peer pressure work in a lot of subtle ways and I wouldn’t be so quick to claim that only one thing is going to accomplish this–the one thing we don’t seem to have. Change takes time, regardless of the means we choose to accomplish it. Thanks to King Car, we’ve all been habituated for a century+ to think that the speed limit is actually a speed minimum. Etc.

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              • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 3:18 pm

                I’d argue that “subtle ways” and “peer pressure” aren’t measurable and tickets and fines are. We don’t have time to leisurely step into safety and hope for the best IMHO. I changed my driving habits after getting a speed camera ticket about 3 years ago. I also ride my bike more as a result. Aren’t those results viewed as desirable? I would “hope” so.

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              • 9watts May 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm

                I never disagreed that enforcement was a salutary strategy, and, generally, am all for it. The PPB however seems to have tied itself in knots over its inability to be unbiased in its enforcement. I think this is commonly called a stalemate, and I think you and I both would like to see the powers that be get themselves past this impasse.

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            • Ryan May 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm

              I feel like many (not just you) point to the number of deaths under VZ and don’t just see a correlation but a causation, and therefore assume that VZ must be a bad thing. Personally, I think the problem is how PBOT is choosing to implement VZ, or at least some ideas from it. I think if they went all-in with it there would be a lot of pissed off motorists, but far fewer deaths and injuries (which is what the goal is supposed to be). You want more enforcement – many of us here do – with the idea that that will change behavior enough to make a bigger difference than VZ. I’ve known too many people where a ticket does nothing but give them something else to complain about, and they still behave exactly the same, sometimes even after many tickets. I think one of the ideas behind VZ is to change the system to mitigate the necessity of behavioral change, since some people simply won’t. Unfortunately, our culture is pretty selfish when it comes to convenience vs. safety.

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              • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 10:19 pm

                The city can’t go “all in” as that would be impossible. Even common commenters on this feed who own vehicles, although they downplay it, would be pissed too. My common thought for many of these discussions that beg for zero cars is that we do actually need cars. Yes, those who are young and those who are able should ride their bikes or the bus. Sort of the same thought process with Obamacare. You need a youthful and able crowd to buy into the bike idea. It’s damn near impossible to have a family and ride them around town in the bike edition of a grocery getter. While I respect those who can do so, it’s a rare sight. I see more kids in cars then in one of those specialized bikes. Why is that? Because the work life balance that Portlanders desire means that you have to give the nest to your family and yourself. In order to make that happen, a car is pretty damn necessary. My personal goal is to limit the amount that I do actually drive which I would consider a win for PBOT, although I dislike doing so.

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        • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 6:47 am

          But can the cyclists handle the Greenways?

          The greater distance (because not diagonal). The poorly maintained road surfaces. The frequent stop signs even at local streets. The slow, obnoxious, and stressful crossings of bigger streets. The fear of stop-sign-running vehicles on cross streets.

          I bike on Foster. It saves me 20 minutes each way vs. the alternative Greenways for all the above reasons.

          In the selfish corner of my brain, I am kind of scared of the road diet making my bike commute less comfortable because the non-door-zone part of the bike lane is so incredibly narrow and right next to heavy traffic. In my non-selfish brain, I am thrilled that Lents will finally get dignified sidewalks on this section of Foster, that people will be able to cross the street more easily on foot, and that people speeding in cars will quickly be slowed down by those following the speed limit.

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          • Eric Ivy May 7, 2018 at 2:30 pm

            I often seeing you blasting down Foster and other main streets taking the lane and say something inside my head like “F YEAH”

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    • Dan A May 2, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      This is probably the wrong place to make a point that starts with “Not everyone can…”

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      • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm

        Do you have a better universal statement for those who live on the out edges where bus service doesn’t exist or takes an hour plus to get down town? Oh and what if they have children who need to be all over the city for various activities? Thanks for your thoughts

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        • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 6:26 am

          “Kids who need to be all over the city for various activities” – as a fellow parent, East Portland resident, and Foster road user, let me question this for you.

          1) A vast and increasing literature indicates that free play, ideally outdoors, way more than most American kids are getting today, has huge benefits for kids’ mental health and development of decision-making skills.

          2) An also vast and increasing literature indicates that the top threats to kids’ physical health today are a sedentary lifestyle and motor vehicle crashes (mostly while the kids are in motor vehicles).

          So… Are all these activities really a “need” – or even always a “good thing”?

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          • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 7:13 am

            Also, I forgot – the parents. Self-abnegation serves no one. Schlepping kids around to activity after activity is a serious impediment to maintaining needed social supports, having time for rest, healthy and affordable meal planning and prep, etc. My friends with 12-year-old kids in soccer etc. are required to spend hours at the field hanging out for no good purpose while their kids are practicing in order to protect someone from legal liability BS. Yes, we signed up for parenting, but parents’ personal needs must be attended to – “put your own air mask on first.”

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            • Doug Hecker May 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm

              Foster saves you 20 minutes and you’d rather ride it as is then with the safety improvements? Wow.

              Do you ride on Powell as well? Or connect to 50th| 52nd? I would think that the 205 path us burnside/ couch would be equally as fast.

              But to answer your kids being outisde question, that is probably happening a better rate on the soccer field when they also have the ability to socialize with other humans their age. We also live in a place that affords is a great opportunity to be in a wilderness area in under 60 minutes. So I see your point about kids biking to soccer practice but I would also say that isn’t the only way they can recreate outdoors.

              Are you children in day care or a specialized school? I’d argue that if they are then there’s a high probability that out of mere ease and convience, yep I said it. You’d probably drive to pick them up. Especially 6 months out of the year when it’s the die hards who still ride their bikes.

              Your lines about rest and sitting at a soccer field doesn’t make sense. Perhaps you could word that differently so your point could be better made?

              But all in all, id rather have time with my kids in places I’d would choose which mostly doesn’t involve a bike because I simply don’t worship it, but use it as tool to deal with the powers that be.

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              • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 12:27 pm

                I’m not talking about having kids bike to soccer practice (though if they’re going to go, that’s a good option for many people that is underused IMO).

                I’m talking about having them not signed up for soccer at all, and letting them play with the other kids in the neighborhood instead. Or instead of having them signed up for two different things each for a total of four things to schlep to, having them both signed up for one thing, for a total of one thing to schlep to.

                Um, my kids are in a daycare and I bike them there. Except when I’m quite sick, in which case I drive them there. Occasionally there are snow/ice conditions in which the major & semi-major car roads are clear but all the neighborhood streets, sidewalks, and bike paths are still sketchy – in that case, I also drive them (I live on a semi-major car road). Maybe I’m a die hard, or maybe I’m thrifty, healthy, and enjoy using a mode of transportation that sticks to a schedule even at rush hour (and have an e-bike). Maybe both?

                Apparently “die hards” make up an extraordinarily large percentage of the population in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, where 10-50% of trips are made by bike year round (Copenhagen and Amsterdam have ‘worse’ weather by common understanding than we do). Cultural difference… or infrastructure/enforcement/taxation/land-use difference?

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              • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm

                I think Foster will actually be better for biking after the changes… but I’m a worrier, and I worry that the door-zone situation will be too sketch for my taste, and that I’ll lose 40 minutes out of my day on weekdays. I used to not bike on Foster, and let me tell you, those 40 minutes made a TON of difference to my quality of life (2 working parents, 2 kids under 5….)

                It took me a long time to feel up to it, but I just take over the travel lane on the right on Foster. I have an electric cargo bike so I go ~20mph and am a bit wider than the average bike. Both of those I believe help to diminish harassment by auto users. I also have a bunch of blinkies I use when it’s dark/rainy. I still occasionally get a honk, a close pass, or a incoherent yell – one time an empty Starbucks cup – but it’s way better than having to weave in and out of the parked cars, 35mph traffic, crosswalk bulb-outs, random areas where the road narrows, etc. The fact is that I only marginally slow down anyone driving, because traffic on Foster is just not that heavy, so everyone driving merging into the left lane doesn’t cause a massive problem. It just means that some people who otherwise wouldn’t actually follow the speed limit for a little while. There is significant “daylight” of no cars passing me between “platoons” of cars passing me – I don’t cause a traffic jam of any sort. Based on my experience as an extremely temporary, human, mobile road diet, I predict that no traffic-pocalypse will come to pass on Foster when there is one fewer motor vehicle lane and two more bike lanes.

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        • twowheeler May 3, 2018 at 10:38 am

          So the solution to poor bus service is to continue to not give them decent bike access as well?

          I agree that cars need a place to go. For me that place is Powell. There is no good alternative to Foster for bikes that isn’t substantially longer (and usually with more stops).
          As someone who lived in the area for 7 years (and am annoyed that I’ve now moved out of Portland and won’t get to ride these facilities because they’re 4 years late), I’m really excited to see what this street transformation will do for the businesses and community around Foster.

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    • Toadslick May 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      If you’re somebody that uses Foster daily, then you’ve no doubt seen the many families that cross the road on foot. And you’ve no doubt seen how dangerous it can be when one car lane stops for them, but the other keeps moving.

      Should they have to brave these stressful and dangerous crossings every day just because there are greenways elsewhere in Portland? This project isn’t all about bikes. It’s also about the people and communities that live along this road, who deserve the same safety and comfort as people that are fortunate enough to live along our greenways.

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      • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        This a biking blog. My response is geared towards biking but in any regard you bring up a good point. To which I’ll respond with community policing. Your sentiments are undoubtedly shared and there is much to say about how drivers interact with other modes of transportation. Most people seem to think that drivers will somehow get better overnight or that we should end driving, I’m not one of them. A fat ticket in your pocket with change the way people interact with other modes. I’d also add that crosswalk should be uniform so that all of modes know how to engage them. Lastly, the city has many streets that have streetlights on one side of the road and somehow that is safe? So yes, other improvements could be made to make crossing the street more safer which is what I think most people desire.

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        • Chris I May 2, 2018 at 4:26 pm

          You clearly just don’t get it.

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          • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 8:37 pm

            Thanks for a helpful rebuttal. 🙂 but in general, I don’t. There really is nothing like creating new rules with no one to oversee them and then we all come on here and complain about how drivers suck when there isn’t anything done to help create better drivers. Yep, I just used a run on sentence. Please enlighten me to a better way of thinking.

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            • Spiffy May 3, 2018 at 1:09 pm

              “there isn’t anything done to help create better drivers.”

              except for this project… since, like you said, we can’t make drivers better overnight they decided to change the road in a way that makes it more difficult to be a dangerous driver…

              did you think we could make drivers better and also keep the roads fast AND safe?

              there’s no safety with speed… before long the entire city will be 20 MPH like the majority now is, and there won’t be any roads with 2 lanes in each direction that aren’t a freeway, because drivers aren’t good enough to be trusted with multiple lanes…

              this project is doing what you want…

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              • Doug Hecker May 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

                I have never mentioned anything about wanting roads to be fast. Speaking of what I want… which is littered throughout this comment section, I think we have enough. We’re now #4 in “places for bikes” and #1 for cities of 500,000 people. Now we need enforcement. Thanks for your thoughts and questions.

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              • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm

                #1 in the U.S.

                In the world.

                Don’t set your sights too low just because you live in this backwards country.

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        • twowheeler May 3, 2018 at 10:39 am

          Can’t the solution be BOTH improved facilities AND improved (or in this area of town really ANY) policing?

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          • Doug Hecker May 3, 2018 at 12:22 pm

            If you don’t have enforce of the current facilities then what good is it to keep changing items? It’s almost one or the other. I swing on enforcement because we continually talk about the same thing…. bad drivers. People speeding, running refs, and cutting through… someone mentioned about people crying about getting tickets and|or just letting moving violations pile up… but we all know the points system and getting a license revoked is a perfect way to get people out of the car.

            You mentioned something about bike service. We rank in the top 5 for cycling. Is that not enough? I know you mentioned you moved out of town but Powell isn’t the answer for people that probably find themselves in your predicament that move out of town and need a way in. Oftentimes we think the city is ours, the taxpayers, but what happen to those who work in Portland and live in the burbs? Some have to drive and when they do, Foster is the answer. It probably won’t be in the near future and continued cut through tactics will happen and people will call in to KGW to complain and the cycle continues.

            I am all for keeping big streets big and limiting the bullshit driving on neighborhood streets. In reality, there’s only a few left that are still big – Sandy, Powell, 99, 30, Portland Highway, 39th… let the cars drive on them and leave the cycling to the greenways.

            People want everything and we simply can’t get everything that we want. Then they size it up to some sort of human right to play on the heartstrings. Greenways don’t like cars. Is that fair to cars? Probably not. Let’s have havens for both.

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            • 9watts May 3, 2018 at 2:40 pm

              “Greenways don’t like cars.”


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              • Doug Hecker May 3, 2018 at 4:42 pm

                What would you like for me to elaborate on besides the obvious?

                For more information on greenways and how the city feels about cars using them please refer to the greenway handbook:


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            • twowheeler May 4, 2018 at 11:12 am

              “If you don’t have enforce of the current facilities then what good is it to keep changing items?”

              Because you make facilities that can deter speeding by themselves. Do you really doubt that going from 4 lanes to 3 won’t have dramatic effects of auto speeds on Foster (with or without police presence)?

              You make the argument of how we should feel bad for people in Damascus. First of all, if you want to use a “people who are being forced out of PDX due to housing costs” argument you should have went with somewhere next to Portland like Gresham. Damascus seems like a stretch for “affordable” housing refugees in the area. So many of the people have chosen to live far out in Damascus (even more so the case when the Foster planning process was going on 6 years ago). I don’t feel bad for them having to commute into Portland. That is/was their choice, and really past Lents Foster doesn’t really lead to any other suburbs/towns besides Damascus.

              I prioritize the neighbors who live around this street 24/7, not the Damascus commuters who may use it for 10 hours a week. Building a street for a capacity that it only uses 10 hours a week is not a good plan, and given the crash history on Foster has been majorly problematic for the adjacent neighborhoods.

              And BTW, I didn’t get priced out of Portland, I moved out of Portland for a job.

              The bottom line is that Foster has been a broken street for decades. The neighborhoods around it deserve better. They deserve a vibrant business district and a safe road.

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              • Doug Hecker May 4, 2018 at 2:46 pm

                It’s been broken because it been neglected.

                We’ll see what vibrancy will happen but I’m glad you have hopes for it.

                Congrats on the new job. I wouldn’t mind being in your shoes but then again someone has to speak out against the craziness.

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  • Jason VH May 2, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    More magical paint that is designed to repel cars? Why can’t the city actually take actions to make it feel and be more safe for cyclists?

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    • soren May 2, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Magic paint buffers were used on SE Holgate and they dramatically improved safety for all road users.


      It will take a while to install a network of cycle tracks on arterials but until then we should definitely buffer the @#$% out of every 5 foot bike lane

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    • Spiffy May 3, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      “More magical paint that is designed to repel cars?”

      where is this magical paint you speak of?

      “Why can’t the city actually take actions to make it feel and be more safe for cyclists?”

      oh, you didn’t read the article, now it makes sense…

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  • Champs May 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Shower thought: what if the SAVE FOSTER AND KEEP FOUR DRIVING LANES signs are performance art? Juxtaposing across the street from a Foster icon is high irony, but next door would be a little on the nose.

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    • Spiffy May 3, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      the Phoenix is owned by the same guy that owns the stove place… Bud? he had the same signs plastered in his windows… I think the Foster Windows project with the painted scene in the Phoenix windows was the only thing keeping him from plastering them on that building as well…

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      • 9watts May 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm

        He’s quite the character.

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  • eawriste May 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    A design antiquated before it was built. Would you take your grandma or kids on this?

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    • twowheeler May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am

      More likely to than on a four/five lane road with no bike facilities at all.

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  • B. Carfree May 2, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    The remark about the bike lanes having seven feet where there is parking needs more details in order to know if these are just dressed-up door-zone bike lanes or are an actual step forward. The door zone extends twelve feet out from the curb (widest vehicles parked at the greatest allowed distance). If this is a seven-foot parking lane and a two-foot buffer on the travel lane side, then we’re talking about a bike lane with exactly zero feet clear of the door zone.

    Frankly, I don’t see this as a job well done. This sort of implementation will cause PDX to continue its long plateau (in the absence of external factors). I’m greatly saddened that people who are influential advocates for active transportation are willing to accept, and even laud, this sort of dangerous infrastructure. Frankly, I’d rather they just left the thing as is if this is what is going to be done (and that’s saying something, considering how bad it is).

    Please tell me there’s something I missed in this.

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    • soren May 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      A lot of people have been killed by people driving on Foster. IMO, this is a safety project primarily and bike lanes are basically an afterthought. That being said, I’ll take a 6+1 foot buffered bike lane* over cycling a few feet away from 45 mph traffic any day.

      *just big enough to not be a door zone bike lane

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      • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        With all of that doom and gloom you’re starting to sound like, well, myself. 🙂 But in any regard, the added biking facilities and slower moving traffic is a win. You should be celebrating. But also, the city would rather you ride on the underachieving bus line than riding a bike.

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    • Ryan May 2, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Is your math assuming that car parking and the bike lane are shared space? I may be misunderstanding, but I took it to mean a certain width of space for parking in addition to the 7 foot bike lane. Or is the parking lane really only 5 feet wide?

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      • B. Carfree May 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        I’m assuming that the parking lane is seven feet and that there is, as stated, another seven feet for the bike lane plus its buffer. That totals to fourteen feet for the buffer, bike lane and parking lane. If the buffer is two feet (there doesn’t seem to be a standard, but that’s quite common), that leaves twelve feet for the parking lane plus the bike lane, which is coincidentally what I have measured as the widest sweep of doors from parked motor vehicles.

        Given a choice of riding in a dzbl or being harassed for legally riding in the adjacent travel lane to avoid the hazard of the door zone, I’ll do the latter. Given that I will not ride where they award door prizes, I’d be less unhappy if the street was left without its road diet, since then I get less harassment.

        All choices given to me by PBoT are losers. Why is on-street storage of private property a higher priority than providing a bike lane free from an obvious hazard? If PBoT can’t solve this rather simple problem, then PDX is doomed to keep repeating its failure to grow bike modal share.

        That said, perhaps the parking lane is 8 feet, which would give 15 feet for the parking/bike lane/buffer. If so, this road diet could almost work if they just didn’t put the buffer on the travel lane side (that thermoplastic can be awfully slick).

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  • John Mulvey May 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Apologies for making the same comment I’ve been making for fifteen years, but please indulge me once again:
    The Foster Road project isn’t about bikes versus cars –It’s about pedestrians not getting killed. The removal of auto lanes may have the added benefit of creating more space for better bike lanes, but the main rationale is addressing the “double threat” problem. (See, e.g., https://www.twincities.com/2014/10/30/theyre-called-multiple-threat-crashes-now-how-do-we-prevent-them/ )

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    • eawriste May 5, 2018 at 3:35 am

      True. PBOT and many other DOTs have a long convergence of evidence to suggest lower crash #s and speed on 4 to 3 conversion.


      I would suggest that creating an apparent opportunity for cycling where there was none may make conditions less safe for bicycling. People in cars will use the wider unprotected bike lane to pass and park, and people on bikes will feel unsafe as a result (using the sidewalk instead).

      Conditions at present are awful. But with an extra few thousand for plastic bollards (and some invaluable political will), we can have a gold standard, which essentially rules out the above behaviors.

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  • SD May 2, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Glad the Abbey Road reference was pointed out. At first, I thought the transparent figures were the ghosts of people who were killed while walking on Foster.

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  • Jason May 2, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    I’m looking forward to it, the bars and restaraunts will definitely be more attractive with the area designed for customers. This summer is gonna suck but it’ll be worth it.

    For anyone who enjoys drinking from a firehose the engineering plans offer ALL of the information if you’re curious about exact lane config and what-not:

    And this tidbit on page 48 of the overview under “Alternative Speeds and Travel Times” is interesting:

    Here we go!

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    • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      Don’t forget the newest addition to that stretch, the foster shelter.

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      • 9watts May 2, 2018 at 10:03 pm

        You tipped your hand there.

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        • Doug Hecker May 2, 2018 at 11:21 pm

          It’s an honor that you sign up for my updates. Should I mention that I am an outreach worker to low income/ homeless individuals? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. But yes, tip all of your waiters, bar staff, and bariastas (at speedboat of course) while enjoying the new look streetscape.

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  • paikiala May 3, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    “which was, shockingly, lower than city engineers estimated”.

    Stellar reporting, really! (snark).

    What percentage of contracts come in under the PBOT estimate?

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    • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      I see why you read that as a dig, and it probably should be reworded to exclude that possibility. However, I didn’t read it as a dig. I thought Jonathan was just referring to our extremely tight construction market, which has, in my limited media attention, seemed to drive prices for these types of projects up. I imagine it’s hard to get accurate data on how expensive construction is this instant, much less how expensive it will be in a year (or however long ago PBOT city engineers gave their latest estimate).

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  • Catie May 3, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I would have applauded PBOT ten years ago for this project, but this project has dragged on so long our policies have changed significantly. New unprotected bike lanes are not All Ages & Abilities design and against our “new bike lanes= protected bike lanes” directive that Leah Treat issued in October, 2016.

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    • eawriste May 4, 2018 at 2:53 am

      Yes. It is clear for at least the last two mayors our planning, best practices and advocacy toward implementing infrastructure that has a lot of evidence to support its effect on safety is worth nothing without political decisiveness. This project will certainly slow people in cars, and assist people crossing. It will also encourage bike riding on the sidewalk and have a negligible effect on safety compared to best practices (PBLs). We know what works. But our mayor sucks.

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  • Bill May 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Time to buy up some property in Foster Powell because it’s about to sky rocket! You’ll have frustrated commuters moving in closer to decrease their commute and the street will be more appealing to the walkable crowd. Sorry old Portland, you’re about to get priced out yet again

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    • Chris I May 4, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Who or what is “old Portland”? Why do they have more rights than everyone else? Am I old Portland because I was born here? Am I not old Portland because I support density?

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      • eawriste May 4, 2018 at 4:32 pm

        We need a word for reminiscing for a time that never was.

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        • 9watts May 4, 2018 at 4:43 pm


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          • eawriste May 5, 2018 at 3:37 am


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            • Tim May 6, 2018 at 7:09 pm

              I vote for Portlandia….

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  • Eric Ivy May 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    I live right at the corner of Fo & Po and pretty much never ride on Foster because it’s uncomfortable. So I have to zig and zag in weird tetris shapes and “guess the foster cross street” of the business I want to bike to. I’m often off by a block or two so then I ride on the sidewalk, pissing off peds most likely. I look forward to the conversion!

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  • Morgan Maiolie May 15, 2018 at 8:34 am

    I cross Foster often with my toddler to get from our house to the businesses on the other side. Greater pedestrian safety will benefit us immensely on our trips to Bread & Roses, Hammer & Jacks, Off the Griddle, Pieper Cafe, Henry Higgins… all the good south side spots. As my little guy gets older I hope crossing Foster will feel safe enough that I can let him bike with us to Mt. Scott Community Center. Whatever the case, when we stop traffic from screaming through, Foster Road will feel more like a part of our neighborhood.

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  • Mikal July 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I saw how this type “improvement” destroyed Holgate, “The bike path to nowhere”. Driving it is a nightmare now and it didn’t need to be and wasn’t before. I went to the neighborhood meetings and it was overwhelmingly not wanted by the neighborhood. It is best known now as a place for “Homeless RV’s” to park and generate road trash and add ugly to the streets. Yes they are occasionally moved, but they come back.

    I am also an avid biker and have ridden Holgate thousands of times, before and after the adding the ridiculous bike lane. I take my life seriously and don’t want to rely on anyone else to protect me, a big problem with the bike mentality in Portland. A car, a bus, anything bigger then me is going to kill me or seriously injure me in an accident, so blindly riding along feeling safe is just the opposite of that. Buffers and ruining the road to normally flowing traffic is a bad decision made by people that don’t live in the area, they just have a god complex agenda. It is infuriating and frustrating to go to the meetings and voice your opinion for no real reason. The meetings are a requirement by the planning oversight but have no value in the decisions.

    The Foster plan is on a road that is a major road, not a dead end. This will increase traffic congestion and increase noise and air pollution. A running, moving car is more efficient and quieter. This seems to be the straw the broke the camels back and I am looking to leave the area, unfortunately I have family still there which will require me to be back anyway.

    The Foster plan is ridiculous. If they want to spend federal money, convert SE Powell (US26) to four lanes from the I-205 underpass east to 182nd.

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    • rick October 2, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      Adding more car lanes to Powell won’t solve traffic or reduce deaths. 3 people have died on TV Highway / SW Canyon Road over the past 24 days.

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      • Dan A October 2, 2018 at 10:21 pm

        Maybe I’m misreading this, but your entire comment comes off rather self-centered. Have you ever considered how certain road changes might be good for people other than you?

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      • Dan A October 2, 2018 at 10:23 pm

        Sorry, nested incorrectly. Should be a response to Mikal.

        My response to rick is this: ODOT policy decrees that the way to prevent deaths on TV Highway and Canyon is to dump $500 million into a Rose Quarter safety improvement project.

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