Esplanade closure begins February 1st

PBOT’s latest greenway proposal includes pocket parks, mini-roundabouts, and a dead-end for drivers

Posted by on July 6th, 2018 at 12:43 pm

The quest for more humane streets sometimes means making them look more like parks. Just a few of the design concepts PBOT is considering fo the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway.
(Images: PBOT)

The two alignments.

Well over two years into discussions about a north-south neighborhood greenway that will someday connect the Lloyd District to Woodlawn, the City of Portland has finally shared concrete design plans. And they’re worth the wait.

The designs are a step beyond what we’ve seen before. Among the concepts for the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway project are an extension of the linear arboretum on NE Ainsworth that would create a “pocket park” traffic diverter in the middle of the intersection. The Bureau of Transportation is also proposing a mini-roundabout at the crossing of the N Going greenway that would allow all road users to get through the intersection without having to come to a complete stop. Perhaps the most bold design of them all is an extension of Two Plum Park (on 7th between Mason and Shaver) that would result in a complete closure of the street to drivers.

PBOT still hasn’t decided whether the greenway should be built on 7th or 9th Avenue (or a mix of the two); but the decision should be easier now that the public can more clearly see what’s in store. The new designs come as part of PBOT’s second open house for the project. It’s an online open house that will accept feedback and ask questions via a survey through the end of this month.

Here’s more about the proposals for each of the two alignments (note that the routes will be the same between Sumner (two blocks north of Alberta) and Holman):

NE 9th

PBOT is showing two options for the intersection of 9th and Ainsworth. Option A is an exciting, park-like diverter that would extend the existing, tree-lined median (technically a linear arboretum maintained by the Concordia Tree Team) that runs in the center of Ainsworth. Bicycle riders would be able to pass through the intersection while drivers would be forced to turn right. PBOT says this option, “offers a unique opportunity to enhance the crossing while expanding a community resource.”

Option B for this intersection is much less interesting and would offer nowhere near the comfort of Option A:

At 9th and Going (a heavily used neighborhood greenway) PBOT says they could build a mini-roundabout that would allow people in cars and on bikes to go through the intersection without stopping:

**The Ainsworth park concept and mini-roundabout at Going apply to both alignments.

At Fremont the route on 9th hits Irving Park. To get through the park PBOT is proposing a two-way bike path on the south side of Fremont (that would take space currently used for parking cars):

The path would continue around the perimeter of the park and connect to 9th on the other side:

Between Broadway and Thompson PBOT is showing another novel concept: smooth cycling strips in the middle of a shared roadway. This section would have sharrow markings, but the smooth pavement strips would have two impacts: They would make cycling more safe and comfortable, and they’d provide a visual cue to drivers that they’re on a bike street

Since the route would begin on 7th in the Lloyd, here’s how PBOT would transition bicycle riders over to 9th using Broadway and Weidler:


NE 7th

Because 7th is 1) highly favored to be the greenway and 2) has a relatively high volume of drivers (about 5,500 cars per day), PBOT’s designs would aim to dramatically reduce the amount of auto traffic. The most interesting example of this is what’s proposed on 7th at Two Plum Park (a small park between Mason and Shaver). Calling it a “unique opportunity to integrate traffic management into existing green spaces,” PBOT is proposing an extension of the park across the entire width of 7th Avenue that would close off the street to drivers. “The result,” PBOT says, “is simple and effective, and can strengthen a beloved community asset.”

At Fargo, PBOT wants to install a partial diverter that would prevent driving northbound. Auto users would have to turn off the street and use Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

At Morris, a partial diverter would prevent southbound auto use.

Another big diverter would be installed at Hancock. This one would stretch across the entire street and would force auto users to turn off the greenway.

To get bicycle riders safely from Broadway to the greenway, PBOT is proposing to build a protected bike lane northbound:

And between Broadway and Weidler they would add green bike lanes and bike boxes:

It’s worth noting that public feedback so far has been overwhelmingly in favor of the 7th Avenue alignment. This is due to its connection to the forthcoming Sullivan’s Crossing bridge over I-84, its more direct and flat profile, and its potential to reduce the amount of people who use cars on 7th as a cut-through. The budget for the project is also a big consideration. It’s only about $500,000. That means some of the design concepts being proposed would only be possible if and when PBOT could identify additional funding.

From here, PBOT will continue to do public outreach and there’s another open house scheduled for August 1st. A final design will be chosen later this fall and the project will be built in spring 2019. Learn more and visit the online open house on the project website.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

Please support BikePortland.

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

  • John Lascurettes July 6, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    OMG, 7th street alignment please! I love the plan here with the diverters and everything. I live just east of this and it is a frequent route for me. The cut through traffic on Klickitat and Siskiyou would drop significantly too with the diverters on 7th so that would also be welcome. The motor traffic on 7th has been traditionally pretty aggressive on what is supposed to be a major bike route.

    I do like the “smooth” street treatment on the 9th alignment. It not only provides for a more comfortable ride, but it shows drivers more definitively that that is exactly where the bicycle operator should be. I wish we’d do that on most greenways — particularly those that are made of concrete instead of asphalt.

    Recommended Thumb up 38

  • BradWagon July 6, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    So much narrow space and protruding concrete to negotiate. Despite this design fetish it’s actually surprising how well bicycles can ride through large open spaces without needing to be physically pin-balled through an intersection. Just stop cars from driving at us and cyclists can handle themselves.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • Johnny Bye Carter July 6, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      It’s difficult to prevent cars driving at us without pinballing us through a spot too narrow for a car.

      In the future those safeties will be built into the wide bike roads. But until then we have to be happy with narrow protected spaces.

      Recommended Thumb up 12

  • Andrew N July 6, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Very pleased to see a PBOT proposal for 7th that is pretty bold for Portland. Now advocates need to give them the political cover/encouragement to go with that alignment, which is the preferable option — especially if your goal is to abide by that wonderful “transportation hierarchy” graphic that has single-occupancy cars at the bottom and bicycles and pedestrians on top.

    Recommended Thumb up 25

    • Johnny Bye Carter July 6, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      PBOT seems to be good at bold proposals.

      They’re not as good at implementing them.

      Recommended Thumb up 20

      • John Lascurettes July 6, 2018 at 4:29 pm

        Unfortunately that’s too true for comfort.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

      • David Hampsten July 6, 2018 at 6:28 pm

        To be sure, $500,000 isn’t much money, barely enough to do the design and engineering work, but not really enough to actually build anything aside from some line markings.

        However, if PBOT is smart (or gets smart), this plan can be implemented as the city upgrades/replaces its ancient water and sewer lines, most of which were built to last 80-100 years and are now coming due. As we’ve learned here in Greensboro, as the city rips up the street to replace the pipes, there is a “golden” opportunity to add or move curbs, curb islands, and medians at a much lower cost that starting fresh, using a budget unrelated to PBOT. Basically, you’d be paying for your new bike and ped infrastructure with your water and sewer fees, quite legitimately too. And since everything is being ripped up, new pavement has to go in with new line markings, again paid for by PWS and BES and not PBOT, but designed by PBOT.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Matt July 6, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Why take green space out of Irving Park for a bike path instead of diverting on low traffic streets down to 11th?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • John Lascurettes July 6, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      It’s not even a good green space to use. Along the east edge of the park it’s also tree-lined, and therefore it wouldn’t take long for that new path to be ribbed with lumps from tree roots. Also, there’s a very steep drop as it approaches Fremont so it won’t exactly be friendly in wet or slippery weather without major regrading there.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

    • X July 7, 2018 at 11:34 am

      That would make for another “bike route” that zigs and zags all over the place. It’s basically status quo–take a busy street, or link up side streets that get there somehow.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • Matt July 9, 2018 at 12:17 pm

        But the proposal has a zig and zag through the park itself, so it doesn’t solve the problem of direct routes. Instead, it will create user conflicts in the park, whereas going 1/2 block to the east would keep it on the street and avoid the conflicts that are going to happen every day in the fall when kids are playing soccer on the lower field.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • John Lascurettes July 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm

          And 11th would also be an overall zig zag for the route (including at 11th where where it doglegs across Fremont — no thanks). Just keep the route on 7th please.

          Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Johnny Bye Carter July 6, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    For the Ainsworth and Fremont crossings it looks like they put the stop line for cyclists up at the actual intersection instead of before the crosswalk. While this works great for streets with a planting strip, the illustration provided shows that cyclists will be stopped illegally in unmarked crosswalks.

    Also, is it legal for a bicycle to not stop until the bike stop line? Does ORS 811.260(10) and ORS 811.260(15) allow cyclists to ignore the stop line at the stop sign and use the one at the intersection instead? It doesn’t seem like it according to the language.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Johnny Bye Carter July 6, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    The Irving Park perimeter path looks like it’ll be perfect for houseless campers.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • John Lascurettes July 6, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Can’t say I’ve ever seen any campers in Irving park after living in the hood for 6 years — I’ve seen houseless citizens passing through and using the park, sure, but not tents or sleepers (even under the shelter near the tennis courts nor the covered basketball courts).

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • David Hampsten July 6, 2018 at 6:33 pm

        Irvington is one of the squeakiest wheels in the city – they know how to complain to the right people. They are pretty diligent about making sure there aren’t any homeless campers in their park.

        Recommended Thumb up 7

  • SafeStreetsNow July 6, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Holy crap that 7th alignment is a game changer for greenways in Portland. That’s exactly the kind of diverter placement we should have on EVERY greenway in Portland. Make them truly low volume roads for local access only. Kudos to PBOT for thinking big. Now the question is will they actually implement these proposals?

    Recommended Thumb up 40

  • soren July 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    So most of the 7th proposal was pretty good but I do have some criticisms that I voiced on the web open house:

    1) PBOT’s obstinate insistence on a 9th option in the face of overwhelming support for 7th at the open house is ridiculous. Please stop pandering to a small wealthy minority, PBOT.

    2) No unnecessarily wavy or indirect paths through intersections. If PBOT’s goal is to get people cycling for transportation, then they should start treating bike facilities like transportation infrastructure.

    2) The greenway to greenway roundabout is nothing more than a glorified two-way traffic circle. Drivers will try to negotiate this at the same time as people cycling.

    3) The treatment between broadway and weidler is terrible. Are bike boxes and painted bike lanes really the best you can do here? How about some traffic armadillos or tough curbs?

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • X July 8, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Points well taken, especially #2.01. There’s not room for a functional roundabout at Going St. unless you condemn four houses.

      The Broadway-Weidler treatment really doesn’t fit with the rest of the design. Instead of managing car volume it’s back to bikes-color-inside-the-lines.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • John Liu July 9, 2018 at 8:48 am

      I agree w/ #1 especially. With such a tight budget, PBOT shouldn’t waste money coming up with pretty treatments for a 9th route that the public does not want, that won’t work well, and that PBOT can’t afford to build.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Bdog July 9, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      I like the idea of a mini roundabout (with a mountable center circle) at NE 7th & Going. It’s a nice, low cost option to calm traffic at a critical intersection. Allowing parking on both sides of 7th will also slow down traffic by narrowing the effective width of the street.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • maxD August 1, 2018 at 11:37 am

        The roundabout works OK for bikes and cars, but it is pretty terrible for people using the sidewalk. You are asking people to go 15′ out of their way to cross the street, then 15′ back. In a quiet neighborhood? People will just walk over the grass and cross in the same space as bikes/cars. That just leaves the worse route for people in wheelchairs who need the expensive, new curb ramps. It is a terrible idea for peds.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Paul B July 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Hot diggity. I am cautiously optimistic. This looks like a pretty solid first step.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • SD July 6, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    The idea of this going in on 9th and through Irving park makes me want to hurl.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • David Hampsten July 6, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Option B will be done first, then Option A later when the new sewers and water lines go in and PBOT rebuilds the streets using PWB and BES funds.

    It’s nice to see PBOT phasing projects using other bureau’s funds and a more reasonable expectation of what can or cannot be done in a community with no significant extra funding, rather than promising too much and doing nothing for 15-20 years.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Gregg July 7, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I LOVE the diverters- especially at Ainsworth and at 2 plum park. And I’m really looking forward to bringing my out of town guests on a ride from Cathedral Park down the new and improved Willamette, the new and improved Rosa Parks (Almost done), the incredible new 7th ave, and over the soon to be built bike/ ped bridge over I-84 into the Green Loop.

    Build it PBOT and the rest of the city/ country will try and replicate it. (And we’ll all be safer!)

    Recommended Thumb up 11

  • Jonah July 7, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    I like any idea that makes it safer for bikes. The perimeter path through the park isn’t necessary. There are already paved bike/walking paths through the park.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • X July 8, 2018 at 9:41 am

      To build a bike traffic way spanning miles of a city and dump it into the existing paths in Irving Park is like hubbing Alaska Airlines at Troutdale Airport.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Chris I July 9, 2018 at 8:25 pm

        Why not build a bike path parallel to the existing path? They use that approach in great bike cities all over the world.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • billyjo July 9, 2018 at 10:08 am

      In one way or another that path along the edge of Irving park has been a dream of some for a long time.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • maxD August 1, 2018 at 11:39 am

        That perimeter path will either negatively impact the trees or it will negatively impact the playing fields.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • John Lascurettes July 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      Too many dogs (including mine), kiddos, critters, joggers, and other users of the paths that make it a less-than-efficient path to take for getting anywhere. Add to that, that many of the paths are lumpy from tree roots, littered with branches and wet leaves in the winter, and often covered in slippery moss on the steep portions — so no thank you. I only ride my bike through the park if it’s my destination, never as a thoroughfare.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Chris I July 9, 2018 at 8:26 pm

        Sounds like a good candidate for tree removal and re-grading.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • John Lascurettes July 10, 2018 at 6:01 pm

          Uh … no. It’s a major city green space. Let’s not get car-headed with our approach to bikeways.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Champs July 8, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Quite a few features on NE 7th. Time will tell whether they’re a setup for failure or sacrificial options for the inevitable pushback.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Bdog July 9, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      I think many residents will be happy with the slower vehicle speeds, less cut-through traffic AND the added parking on the W side of 7th. I think the main push back will be from neighborhoods seeing higher traffic volumes from folks trying to avoid MLK.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • John Lascurettes July 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm

        Most of those people are using 7th for just that. There are also several people using Siskiyou to avoid NE Fremont between MLK and 15th. The design on 7th would cut out both of these cut throughs (because the diverters on 7th would cut off most easy access to cut through traffic on the west end of Siskiyou (where you have to dogleg north or south and will be met by diverters). Most of those cutters would probably go down to Knott which is a more appropriate E-W route for autos than Siskiyou or Klickitat.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Clark in Vancouver July 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Some good designs here. This almost looks like some sort of sample pack to test a selection of different diverters. Once something new has been done once in a city, it’s easier to do more of them. (That makes it important to do the first one right.)
    I especially love the two cul-de-sacs (or is it culs-de-sac) at 7th and Two Plum Park. Total motor traffic diversion like this is the best. It really lowers volumes making the street much nicer to bike on.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • paikiala July 9, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Street closures for MUP is not new.
      See Holman west of NE 13th, and Klickitat east of NE 23rd.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Mark smith July 16, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Sort of odd that PBOT is talking about a new round about when their roundabout at 39th and others…still have STOP SIGNS! STOP SIGNS!!!!!

    Fix that before you destroy other good ideas PBOT.

    Recommended Thumb up 2