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

Coming this fall.(Drawing by PBOT)

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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