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City eyes bike-friendly enhancements on NE Tillamook

Posted by on July 16th, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Detail of design proposed at Tillamook and 21st.

There’s more good news for inner northeast Portland bikeways: In addition to the new Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge over I-84 and a (potentially) revolutionary new neighborhood greenway on NE 7th, the Bureau of Transportation is planning to update and enhance the bikeway on Tillamook.

PBOT cleverly calls this “safety parking removal.”

Tillamook is one of Portland’s legacy greenways, first established in the 2000s when they were called bicycle boulevards. This key east-west bike route that connects north Portland and the Lloyd to the Hollywood district was one of six greenways identified in the City’s 2015 Neighborhood Greenways Assessment report because it failed to meet national standards for auto volumes. For being such a key part of the bike network, Tillamook’s meager accommodations include only sharrows and a few signs.

To help reduce auto use, lower driving speeds, and improve safety for walkers and bikers, PBOT has a host of minor changes planned. Among them are new crosswalks and other pavement markings, signage, flipping stop signs in favor of the greenway, removal of auto parking at some intersections, speed bumps, and more. The $150,000 project (which includes non infrastructure costs like planning) will improve a 1.5 mile section of the street from Flint to 28th.

When it comes to diverting auto users to other streets, PBOT is eyeing the intersection of Tillamook and Williams and/or Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. In this section, current analysis shows there are about 1,200-1,450 drivers per day — well above the City’s safety threshold of 1,000.

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Notable in the initial design proposal is the removal of auto parking near the corners of 21st. This is an example of “intersection daylighting” that activists have been clamoring for for years. PBOT refers to it as “safety parking removal” in project documents. Oregon law currently prohibits parking within 20 feet of an intersection but the law is rarely enforced. In addition to the auto parking prohibition, PBOT wants to add median islands, crossbikes and crosswalks, and a speed bump in the middle of the intersection.

Another element of this project worth watching is the fate of the little traffic circle at the off-set intersection of Tillamook and 7th. On the project website, PBOT says whether or not to keep the circle in place will be decided this fall as part of the Lloyd to Woodlawn project. During this month’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last week, PBOT Project Manager Nick Falbo made it seem like it would probably be removed. “I think that traffic circle has got to go… It just doesn’t work well,” he said.

PBOT expects to build this project in Spring of next year. To learn more, and talk to project staff, attend the open house set for August 1st at 5:30 pm.

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

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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

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Catie Gould
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Catie Gould

Been riding on Tillamook frequently since I moved to Rose City Park ~2 years ago. It is mostly lovely, but disappointing to see that the worst part (Hollywood) is not in the plan at all. I definitely plan on asking about it.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

This is phase 1 Tillamook. 28th east, maybe on Hancock to Sandy is phase 2, hopefully including a solution to cross Sandy.

soren
Subscriber

what’s the current timeline for phase 2? that section of tillamook is quite stressful and is anecdotally worsening.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Unclear.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The bike lanes near the library are unusable. They need to remove parking from one side of the street and add bike lane buffers.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

…at ONE intersection in Portland.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Dan,

Have you ridden Harrison/Lincoln lately?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

No, why? Am I supposed to go miles out of my way to find streets in compliance with Oregon’s parking laws? 🙂

mh
Subscriber

PBOT – when you turn stop signs to favor the greenway, you HAVE to put in diverters. Are we still in the process of learning that?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Based on what evidence? Please include the examples not in support of your conclusions, just to be fair.

soren
Guest
soren

[Tilamook] one of six greenways identified in the City’s 2015 Neighborhood Greenways Assessment report because it failed to meet national standards for auto volumes.

It’s important to note that this project addresses the part of Tilamook that had <1500 vpd and does not address the part of Tialmook that had over 3500 vpd:

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soren
Guest
soren

“tillamook”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

This project is phase 1.
East of 28th is phase 2.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Is the city violating the law, somehow? If anyone is violating the law by parking too close to the intersection, it is the people who are doing it. Unless there is another law you know about that requires PBOT to prioritize enforcement of this one.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

So we agree that PBOT is not enforcing the state law, but are not violating it themselves. Where it sounds as if we disagree is I believe the moral imperative to follow a law still falls on the individual, regardless of how vigorously enforced it is. I don’t believe people should be free to disobey laws as long as they don’t get caught.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Since PBOT has metered spots in illegal places, it would be entrapment to enforce the law in those spots.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In the same way it is entrapment for the state of Oregon to license people to sell marijuana while it remains illegal under federal law?

Momo
Guest
Momo

This is a commonly-held myth. State law in this case covers state roads. Cities are allowed to set their own rules for their own streets, and Portland does not have any law on the topic.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Except State law says speed limits are controlled by the State on all Oregon roads.

Momo
Guest
Momo

ORS 810 establishes the road authorities for various types of streets, and grants authority over all kinds of design questions to them. This parking setback is an example where cities set the rules for city streets. As paikiala notes below, for things like setting speeds, the state law is clear that the state controls it even on many city streets. That’s not the case for parking setbacks.

Long story short, it’s not true that the City needs to follow the parking setback law that keeps getting referenced.

Toby Welborn
Guest
Toby Welborn

I thought the general rule of law was to enforce all laws equally. Are certain laws supposed to be enforced more or less than others? I know it happens in “the real world” but…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You thought wrong. It means we are governed by laws, and not arbitrary power. There has never been a time or place where law enforcement (or any other enforcement regime, like your parents) has not prioritized some rules over others.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Equal protection means you can’t enforce a law subjectively. In this case, no one is singled out, everyone gets a pass, unless the space is signed or marked (yellow curb).

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

I’m unfamiliar with any jurisprudence that supports your EP theory. Can you point me to some? How do you explain prosecutorial discretion and plea deals? To my knowledge, EP requires the laws be equal. Discriminatory enforcement could be a violation, but that’s different than selective or limited enforcement.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Does yellow curb mean have any legal meaning in Portland? I was told not.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Parking at yellow curb can result in a citation in Portland. Portland does not use red curb on public streets.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Outside of Portland, curbs don’t have to be signed or painted to be illegal parking spaces. Drivers are expected to know where they can’t park (near intersections, crosswalks & fire hydrants).

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

A simple step to move the issue forward would be to paint the curb yellow within 20 feet of every intersection (with the city’s blessings).

maxD
Guest
maxD

crossing MLK on Tillamook has gotten sketchier as more drivers have been using this as a cut-through. I would love to see Tillamook a “right turn only” on to MLK in both directions for motor vehicles and let bike cross straight.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Review the plans for 7th.

Champs
Guest
Champs

PBOT calls NE 15th an “other bikeway” with no needs to address but as a bikeway it’s a joke and that crossing is why I use Knott instead. I rode almost the entire length of the Tillamook/Hancock greenway from 92nd this afternoon and for my money it’s one of the worst spots.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

‘Other Bikeway’ is a way to identify the TSP bike system on a project map – the connections a project supports.
All crossings of a greenway project are reviewed using NCHRP 562, with minimum service levels of 50 crossings per hour, 100 preferred. The current marked crossing (crossbike also) achieves 70 per hour. Since there is a curb extension at one corner, the next upgrade would be a rapid flash beacon, costing $50k+, or removing the curb extension and adding refuge islands – $30k, both budget busters.

Hazel
Guest
Hazel

I wish they would address Tillamook further east. There are a lot of problems from 33rd up through Hollywood as well. I think making traffic on Tillamook at the 33rd intersection turn right in either direction might help but it will probably never happen with the high school right there.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

You mean the US Grant/33rd intersection? That’s where the greenway is, and there is a traffic signal so it is easy to cross 33rd.

(Tillamook doesn’t go through at 33rd which is why I’m asking what you meant)

Hazel
Guest
Hazel

It’s great that there’s a traffic signal but the traffic on the greenway there is terrible. So many aggressive drivers all the way up through Hollywood. And sure, it’s US Grant for 3 blocks….

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Phase 2 project.
How about shifting bikes to Hancock, and contra-flow lane east to 38th, or so?
US Grant east of 33rd has and Emergency Response designation.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I think bike greenway on US Grant is preferable because it goes right by the high school and the road surface is better than Hancock. If looking at continuing to east of Sandy, they both have problems, Tillamook does a weird bend at Sandy while Hancock is interrupted at 43rd/Sandy.

David Hampsten
Guest

It never ceases to amaze me that in a city as well educated and assertive as Portland is, readers of BP passively wait for the next PBOT (or ODOT) bike way redesign and send in their reactions to it, rather than proactively tell the city what next needs fixing and making sure they do it. Or better yet, like Terry D-M, redesign several intersections and get the city to react; or best of all, change it on the ground like PDX Transformation.

Hazel
Guest
Hazel

I contact the city pretty regularly to report problems with greenways and other traffic issues. I rarely hear back from them.

Christopher of Portland
Guest
Christopher of Portland

Can we trade the speed bumps for more diverters?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Are there greenways with diverters in Portland that still have speeding issues?
Diverters are best for reducing numbers of auto users, not so much for reducing their speeds.

Christopher of Portland
Guest
Christopher of Portland

I’m guessing there are, along with greenways with speed bumps that still have speeding issues. Every road in the city has speeding issues once a driver who intends to speed gets on them. Removing whatever number of drivers will prevent them from speeding on the greenway since they won’t be there to do it. Riding among non-speeding drivers still isn’t low stress. I understand that even the most dangerous drivers will usually still be slowed by bumps, even if it’s just the physical force on their vehicle as the undercarriage scrapes and the vehicle bounces, but when your only suspension is two 38mm tires worth of air and your knees, it’s nice to not get jolted every block or two.

Resopmok
Guest
Resopmok

The corners are blind but, in my experience, not because of parked cars. The dog-leg shape of the through the street, 21st, is the culprit.

Nick Fox
Guest
Nick Fox

Our whole family uses Tillamook frequently on bike. I appreciate that PBOT sees that 21st is a really dangerous intersection–especially for kids and other more vulnerable users. The treatment there will maybe make it a bit safer, but it’s going to be a dangerous crossing until there’s something to stop southbound traffic which can zoom into the intersection without knowing what they’re going to find. I can’t see how you can really design it to avoid the conflict between east-bound cyclists and southbound autos–without, say, a four way stop.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

By slowing everyone down to about 20 mph?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I ride Tillamook often. Crossing MLK is not a problem because there is a traffic light. Crossing 7th is more of a problem at times, but the 7th greenway’s diverters should decrease traffic volumes. Crossing 15th won’t be any problem if traffic on 15th has a stop sign. On 21st, a HAWK beacon might be a good idea, as the waits to cross can be long. 33rd is no issue since the greenway moves to US Grant where there is a signal. If stop signs are turned, diverters will be needed.

It is nice that PBOT is willing to spend a little money here.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

15th is a Neighborhood Collector and ER route. ER access takes precedence.
Hybrid Beacons cost $200k each.
Hancock has a signal crossing 33rd as well.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Cool, I’d like to see 2,250 beacons added instead of the RQ expansion.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

John,
I ride Tillamook a few time a month. A couple of yeas ago, I would have agreed with you about crossing MLK. However, in the last year or 18 months, I have had dangerous/uncomfortable encounters with people driving. The conflict comes from me on a bike trying to do the dogleg across MLK while a line of cars moves into the intersection, some going straight, some turning left or right. People in cars turning left SHOULD wait for me to continue straight, but for some reason, I have been cut-off multiple times. In my experience, there is a lot of confusion for people biking and driving through this intersection, and I am surprised that you have not experienced this. Maybe I am just unlucky lately? Any thoughts?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

That is interesting. I don’t know why you and I have had different experiences.

Maybe time of day?

Normally I am crossing MLK westbound around 7:00-7:30 am, and crossing eastbound around 3:00-5:00 pm. Could be the timing and direction means I miss the worst of the driving behavior.

Maybe positioning?

Normally, as I approach MLK, I move into the middle of the traffic lane (aka take the lane) so it is hard for a right-turning car going in my direction to cut me off (aka right hook). If I get stuck hugging the curb (maybe traffic approaching MLK was too heavy and I couldn’t push my way into the lane), then I try to go through in the gaps between cars, so that I won’t get right-hooked. If traffic is really heavy with no gaps and I’m stuck at the curb, I might even wait there until the bulk of cars have gone through – I figure might as well have them pass me there, then have so may cars passing me as I’m riding.

As for left-turning cars going in the direction opposite to me, if I am going through the intersection in a line of cars, there’s not much worry, since drivers tend to not turn in front of other cars. If I’m riding through on my own then being cut off (aka left cross) is more of a worry, but because it is a dog-leg intersection, there is a fair bit of time to watch the on-coming car to see if it is going to turn left – you actually get more warning of a left hook than with a standard intersection.

Maybe definitions?

If a car turns in front of me, but I’m still a few car lengths away, I don’t count that as being cut off. I was never in danger, it was a routine maneuver, just like I’ll myself turn in front of a car as long as I have enough room to do it safely.

maxD
Guest
maxD

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I wonder if time of day has anything to do with it, I am most frequently on the opposite schedule as you. I also tend to position myself in the center of the lane. I will move left if the person behind me is turning right. I find the cars going the opposite direction and turning left are the ones I have most problems with. The people driving tend to make a lot of starts and stops trying to cut in front of me and figure out who has the right-of-way. I find it a very awkward and unpredictable intersection. I still think banning left turns would create clear xpectations and help the intersection function better, but I concede that it is maybe not a priority if others are not experiencing the same thing

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

Tillamook at MLK has always been a difficult intersection for through cyclists traveling opposite of left turning vehicles. Given that the opposite, left-turning vehicle is at least 10 feet to the right of said cyclist from the other side of Tillamook at the intersection, there is a strong compulsion to “complete” the left turn from the advanced placement prior to the intersection. “Left turn yield to oncoming traffic” signs may help. Entering the intersection early and utilizing the pedestrian crossing work too but neither of the last two options are desirable. Rest assured you are not alone in your experience here, maxD.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

What is ‘revolutionary’ about the NE 7th concepts?

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

1) Frequent diversion of some sort at every collector plus some. Should be default on all greenways regardless of volume.
2)A bike designed circle at the intersection of 9th/Going which should be standard at all Greenway intersections
3)Two microparks, an amenity we will need to provide if we want to boost bike mode share on many more greenways
4) Directness…..Oddly, for a green way, it is almost a straight line and doesn’t meander much.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Diversion? Look again. A couple more than usual south of Fremont (internal) but only Killingsworth is a collector with proposed diversion. Ainsworth is Local Service, but acts sort of like one. Volume proposed for diversion is new, maybe radical.

The bike circle is a mini-roundabout – no landscaped center, all apron, only a little larger than current traffic circles. PBOT has been looking for something to put at greenway crossings.

#3 is not new. See Holman west of 13th, or Klickitat east of 23rd.

Revolutionary? The sum of the parts is progressive.

Eric Porter
Guest
Eric Porter

To the sections of the map that say “Diversion?” I say YES!

I bike this greenway to/from work daily from NE 74th all the way in to Flint. Most of the cut-through issues start around NE 47th & Hancock, and then just increase as you head in. I’ve kept up with cars that have driven Tillamook all the way from Sandy to NE 17th, right before the NE 16th diverter.

Hopefully Phase 2 happens sooner than later. A diverter at Sandy & Tillamook would help the Hollywood cut through a ton. So many drivers are just using Tillamook to get from Sandy to Broadway.

BradWagon
Subscriber

How is the 21st intersection any different or better than it currently is? Still prioritizes drivers with the large turning radii, limited sidewalk space and making cyclists continuing on a perfectly straight road to weave around and avoid raised curbs.

Would be so easy and actually improve something if they just squared up the corners, moved stop signs to 21st and put in diverters to only allow bicycle entry onto Tillamook in either direction.