You’ve heard of rails-to-trails, how about rails-to-cycle-track?
That’s what in store for a defunct railroad bed on a 0.6 mile section of NW Nicolai Street that’s been paved over in the northwest industrial area. The Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to add some markings and a few other finishing touches to make this a two-way bikeway between Highway 30 and NW Wardway. It’s one of 18 projects that
will be built will receive funding in the coming year thanks to $2,085,000 set aside for small-scale projects identified through programs in the city’s Transportation System Plan (TSP).
When the most recent TSP was passed by Portland City Council in 2016 it included 10 programs aimed at addressing small-scale projects that aren’t large enough (below $500,000) to be part of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Think of the programs — which include Safe Routes to School, Neighborhood Greenways, Freight Priority, Bicycle Network Completion, Transit Priority, and others — as buckets PBOT uses to organize projects and to set-aside funding to build them. In the past, if a project wasn’t on the CIP list, it would languish without funding and/or would be starved of staff resources.
At the monthly meeting of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting last night, city staff shared the 2018-2019 project list and asked committee members for feedback.
The $2.08 million was divided up with 60% going toward “pedestrian” projects, 30% to bicycle projects and the remaining 10% going to transit/freight/signals/demand management.
Here are some of the projects on the list (taken from this PBOT document):
Nicolai, Hwy 30‐Wardway: A former rail line running along the corriodor has been filled in with asphalt, creating a 9-foot pathway with a 4-foot concrete buffer along the northwest side of Nicolai. Most of the work is done. This project will address: connectivity at the north end, intersection treatments at two‐three locations and striping and markings. No roadway reconfiguration or parking removal necessary. Funding is for design. $30,000
It’s great to see this project finally moving forward! Back in 2009 I wondered out loud why we hadn’t converted these paved-over railways as bikeways. Perhaps PBOT finally saw the need for this project after Daniel Feldt was killed back in May. Feldt was leaving a parking lot on NW Nicolai when he was involved in a collision with a large truck. This new bikeway would be on the north side of the street so it likely wouldn’t have helpled Mr. Feldt; but any progress for bicycle riders in this heavily industrialized part of town is welcome. (NOTE: This $30,000 will only fund design. Full build-out will require additional funds.)
Crossbikes: CW Install crossbikes at 16 intersections. $80,000
Crossbikes are an increasingly popular treatment PBOT is using to help make the presence of bicycle riders more conspicuous where bikeways cross larger streets. They debuted in 2016 and are now present at many intersections — especially along neighborhood greenways.
12th Ave Overcrossing: Improvements to the 12th Avenue overcrossing of the Banfield were made in 2011. Left uncomplete at the time were treatments for people bicycling to access the west sidewalk on the structure to travel southbound. This work will entail designing curb ramps at the north end of the structure for both the west‐ and eastbound approaches, pathway markings on the sidewalk, a redesigned curb ramp at the south end of the sidewalk and relocating a bus stop that is on the structure. $60,000
37th Ave/Prescott St. Bikeway: Improvements to an intersection for people using the north‐south greenway on 37th Avenue. $10,000
This crossing is notorious. Prescott is a busy collector street and 37th is a popular north-south bikeway. What makes it so awkward is a nearly right-angle chicane that reduces visibility. While signed for 15 mph, not everyone slows enough at the turns and it can be quite stressful to cross on foot or by bike. At the meeting last night, committee members had a robust discussion about PBOT’s proposed fix. PBOT bike program manager Roger Geller said the design will route bicycle users up onto the sidewalk and then have them wait for a chance to cross, “At the one place where it’s possible to see both directions of traffic and be out of the wheelpath [of drivers].”
Committee member Alex Zimmerman strongly urged Geller to consider using plastic posts because she doesn’t think drivers will obey painted lines. Another member (and BikePortland contributor), Catie Gould said, “I don’t want to have to hop on-and-off the sidewalk when I’m using a greenway.” And committee member Sarah Iannarone said she’d like PBOT to consider painting the entire intersection green. Geller took notes and said there’s still time to change the design.
Willamette Blvd, Rosa Parks‐Interstate: Upgrade local street portion of N Willamette Blvd to neighborhood greenway along the bluff south of Rosa Parks, and then east to Interstate Ave, filling network gaps between bike lanes on Willamette Blvd, Greeley, and Interstate. Improvements primarily include diverters on Willamette Blvd and parallel streets Villard and Atlantic, to prevent cut‐through traffic. Street already has speed bumps, and a crossing/diverter is already funded for the Greeley crossing. $68,000
PBOT has already built a full median diverter on Willamette at Greeley and another one is one the way at Villard and Rosa Parks. Now they’re going to put a down payment on proposals made by a nascent group of neighborhood advocates and the “North PDX Connected” plan created by a group of Portland State University graduate students.
16th Ave: Project will re‐stripe Sandy‐Irving to include a northbound buffered bicycle lane. $50,000
Protected Bike Lane Project Development: $30,000
Simpson St/41st Ave: Add a new neighborhood greenway on NE 41st Ave from Holman to Simpson Ct, Simpson Ct from 41st to Simpson St, and Simpson St from Simpson Ct to 55th. This will connect the existing Holman greenway and the upcoming 54th/55th neighborhood greenway in the Cully neighborhood. Includes traffic calming and an enhanced crossing of 42nd Ave. $50,000
Cully St/Mason St: Curb ramps, medians, crossing. $110,000
SE 130th Ave Sidewalk Infill: Fill in sidewalk gaps on east side of SE 130th starting at SE Stark and working south. $200,000
Foster Rd: at 11540 SE Foster Sidewalk gap infill. $12,000
Holgate Blvd: 102nd‐122nd, Sidewalk infill on SE Holgate between 102nd & 122nd. $180,000
Modular Transit Islands: PBOT will purchase roughly ten modular transit islands that can be deployed where needed to keep buses stopping in lane, reducing merging, and particularly reducing bus/bike conflicts. $150,000
Vancouver/Williams Ave: Russell to Killingsworth: Evaluate, implement and document signal timing changes to improve safety, mobility and wait times in the corridor. Review detection and other signals equipment. Analyze travel times, cycle lengths, traffic counts, crash history and other relevant data. Model appropriately. Make field observations. Replace any failing detection/wiring. $112,500
NE Sandy at 31st, NE/Glisan at 87th: Rapid flash beacons and curb ramps. $343,000
Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy: Safety improvements 39th ‐ 30th (lane narrowing, buffered bike/ped space, ped refuge median w/rectangular rapid flash beacon (RRFB)) $126,000
CORRECTION, 10/11 at 10:40 am: This post has been edited to make it clear that some of these projects are only partially funded. The $30,000 for NW Nicolai, for example, will just pay for design. The full build-out will require additional funds. I regret any confusion.
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