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Protected corners and new bike lanes coming to West Burnside this fall

Posted by on June 27th, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Coming this fall.
(Drawing by PBOT)

It’s not exactly a full “protected intersection” as first envisioned by a Portland planner over four years ago; but the Bureau of Transportation is set to add concrete buffers between the bike lane and other vehicle lanes at several corners to a notorious intersection of West Burnside this fall.

As part of a series of projects to improve safety on the high crash corridor, PBOT will add median islands and green coloring to separate the bike lanes where Burnside meets 18th, 19th and Alder (just north of Providence Park). Burnside is a major thoroughfare between the West Hills and I-405 with 21,500 to 25,000 vehicles using it on an average day. That high volume of traffic, along with its four-lane cross-section and speeding drivers makes it very intimidating and dangerous. PBOT data shows that Burnside has three times the citywide average rate of collisions involving people on foot — and 76 percent of those crashes are west of the Burnside Bridge.

Here’s how it looks today:

Current conditions.

Despite being an important cycling connection between Goose Hollow/Providence Park and northwest Portland, the crossing is listed as a caution area on PBOT’s bike map.

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To help make it safer, PBOT plans to add green coloring and a series of median islands to protect the bike lane. New crosswalks are also in the plans. To help improve access to transit, PBOT will increase the size of the existing transit island that stands in the middle of the four streets. Traffic signals and curb ramps will also be upgraded as part of the project.

An earlier version of the design shown in the June 2016 West Burnside Multimodal Study created by Kittelson & Associates for PBOT.

As you can from the image above, the final design has changed from a 2016 report that showed even more green space and concrete curbs to protect bicycle riders. Unfortunately several elements of this more robust design have been left on the cutting room floor.

PBOT says they expect to begin construction in September. Learn more about this and other updates coming to Burnside on PBOT’s website.

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

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Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

Northbound bike lane to 18th isn’t too bad but SUV drivers will right hook a lot of cyclists.
Southbound cyclist will be trapped behind the barrier (unless it is 4 foot tall) by bigwheel 4WD driving across the barrier making the right turn. Myself southbound I will hit the light and go straight across Burnside in the straight traffic lane without sliding on the downhill braking, then cut into the bike lane on the left side if delivery trucks or taxi’s are not blocking it.

was carless
Guest
was carless

It looks great… exceeeeeeept… why did they put car parking to the right of the bike lane southof Burnside on 19th? Makes no sense. It will even be a difficult space to squeeze in, as you will have to nose into the pedestrian crossing and back into the bike lane to get there. Angle is too steep.

Placing the parking adjacent to the car lane would solve the issue and make the bike lane safer.

Buzz
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Buzz

Thanks for the warning, I’ll know to avoid this area in the future. All that hardscape is a hazard for cyclists, I’ll take alternate routes, TYVM. FWIW, the only thing preventing cyclists from taking the lane after this thing is built is the mandatory sidepath law, ORS 814.420. Repeal the sidepath law and the city can continue to build all of this experimental bike lane crap it wants, otherwise, I’m opposed.

Mark smith
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Mark smith

Wow, all the brave cyclists are out in force. Maybe those brace cyclists will also be happy to demonstrate taking their kids or grandparents through on their brave route.

Personally, that whole thing should be ripped out and a real roundabout should be put in. Not like the fake roundabout at 39th and glisan. No stop signs.

Mark smith
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Mark smith

What I love is…no room for bikes on Burnside. Cars get arterial routs…but not bikes. Go Portland!

John Liu
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John Liu

Bike lanes on 18th and 19th will be a real improvement.

The design right at the Burnside intersection looks unspecial. This is a complicated intersection, drivers are trying to keep track of cars, bikes, pedestrians from so many directions, that right hooks will remain a significant risk.

As for no bike lanes on Burnside, there never will be – unless and until the couplet happens (no sign it will be revived, so don’t hold your breath). A one way Burnside would be wide enough for traffic lanes, bike lanes, and wider sidewalks with more trees shading pedestrians.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

I ride through this intersection on 18th or 19th twice a day on the way back and forth from the Max stop at Goose Hollow. I find the single biggest hazard is the crazed motorists breaking any and all traffic laws to get in to the drive-thru lane at the Mcdonalds on the North Side of Burnside along 19th. They swap lanes mid intersection, u-turn, right- hook etc. For this to work and be safe the entrance to the Mcdonalds along 19th will have to be shut down or the transition zone to the Bike Box on Southbound 19th will become a scene of untold carnage.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

I lived really near this intersection for years. It is a scary intersection to traverse by bike, especially if you’re trying to head into downtown by turning left from 19th to Alder. By extending the existing bike lanes from Everett / Glisan to Alder, and adding protection, this will be a massive upgrade over the existing conditions. It will also be a huge improvement for people on foot who are trying to cross the street or even just walk along the south side of Burnside.

I hope that at some point in the future the 18th/19th couplet can be upgraded to a protected facility. It would also be great if the bike on Alder was protected and extended further into downtown. However, nothing in this project precludes those projects from happening in the future.

Buzz
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Buzz

A 3-lane section on Burnside might be as efficient as the current 4-lane section, and would be slower with space for left turning drivers out of the way of the through lane, both safer for operation.

The BTA said this in about 1991 about Hawthorne Blvd., too. The local businesses fought it, the city ignored it, and nothing changed.

Eastbound downhill on Burnside it’s easy to take the lane and keep up with, and even pass, the motorists stuck in traffic.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Looks pretty good! The crosswalks on both sides of 18th and 19th, crossing Burnside, is a much appreciated improvement. As someone who is in this area for Timbers/Thorns matches, those missing crosswalks are a big inconvenience. The new Burnside-> Alder maneuver for cars will help calm (impede) speedy motorists, making the crossing of Alder by bike or foot much easier, too.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

I frequently turn left across Burnside onto Alder. I guess that will now require a 2 stage turn? Why is everything safer also slower?

Joseph
Guest
Joseph

It’s the little things…

I hope there are bicycle signals that give cyclists a 5-10 second head start.

jered
Guest
jered

I rode that intersection for the past 15 years in my commute to beaverton. It honestly never came across as at all sketchy. I’ve made it unsafe by sprinting north down the hill for a yellow light and trying to pass on the right coming north on 18th, in which case it super sketchy, but that’s on me. Coming south it is chill, just take the lane down the hill to the light and watch out for traffic coming out of McDonalds. Shows how oblivious I am to intersections people find to be dangerous. Seriously, this was always my least stressful intersection on my commute.