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City aims to tame Sandy Blvd through central eastside with bikeway, safety updates

Posted by on October 19th, 2018 at 11:34 am

The striping work at Sandy and Ankeny has already begun. See the official project drawings below.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is making updates to SE Sandy Blvd between Burnside and Alder. Sandy is being repaved, so the city is grabbing the opportunity to tweak the striping and add other features they hope will make the street safer.

This half-mile section of Sandy is a key connection between the Lloyd (via 12th Avenue) and the central eastside (where it turns into 7th Avenue). However, despite its value in our network, this section of Sandy is currently striped as a standard, unprotected bike lane. We need better facilities here because it’s on a hill (down going south, up going north) and because there are several tricky crossings. In particular, the crossing of the Ankeny neighborhood greenway has been a stressful spot for years. The large intersection of SE Washington and 7th is also a sketchy spot that isolates bicycle riders in a wide expanse of pavement with threats from all directions.

PBOT’s fixes will include a lot more green coloring to add conspicuity to the bikeway, more buffers to increase the separation between modes, and plastic delineator wands that will act as low-budget median islands and effectively reduce the width of some of the intersections (second to last image below). In addition, to improve the notorious Ankeny crossing, PBOT says they plan to pull back auto parking, “to daylight the pedestrian crossing.” A new bike corral is also slated to be installed.

The new striping will connect in the southbound direction to the existing green-colored bike lane on 7th Ave as it approaches Morrison.

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Here are the more of the project drawings supplied by PBOT (from north to south):


Note how PBOT will use striping and plastic delineator wants at corners to narrow the intersection.

This project will also include a new signal at the tricky Ankeny/11th/Sandy intersection. Funding for the signal comes from PBOT’s federally-funded Central Eastside Access and Circulation Enhancement Project which we covered back in February 2017.

UPDATE: Friend of the blog John L shared this hair-raising video of this exact stretch of Sandy in a Facebook post last month:

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

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50 Comments
  • John Lascurettes October 19, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I love what the’ve done between the start and finish and what they plan to do so far. The green lane dashes across the side street crossings should help bunches. The narrowing of the intersection of SE 7th, Washington, and Sandy is particularly good since I used to see so many cars fully run the southbound stop sign at SE 7th where it meets Sandy and Washington.

    However, I’m upset that they’re seemingly doing nothing to improve the drop in from NE 12th as it crosses E Burnside onto SE Sandy. That is a huge pinch point where every single day I see drivers put their right wheels squarely in the center of the bike lane, often as I’m right next to them, as they round that bend. I see where they’ve marked the bike lane to be painted and it’s in the exact same place. I see no improvements to it in the planning photos above. I should speed up my plan to make a supercut of my GoPro recordings of that corner so I can send it to PBOT.

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    • John Lascurettes October 19, 2018 at 11:50 am
    • soren October 19, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      yeah…crossbikes are great!

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      • Dan A October 19, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        It’s just a matter of time before somebody is killed in one, and their family learns that they had no legal protection while they were in it. I know, you’re not concerned about the liability issues after the fact, but some people are.

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        • soren October 21, 2018 at 12:39 pm

          IMO, excessive concern over being killed and attendant legal liability is a form of fearmongering.

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      • John Lascurettes October 19, 2018 at 3:19 pm

        Are these even “crossbikes” here? Are they not a continuation of the bike lane across the intersection? There is no traffic control device for the through bike traffic at these intersections and there is for the side street traffic — pretty much a reverse situation of what “crossbikes” are normally used for. It is definitely more inconsistent application of markings for PBOT.

        In reply to Dan A: these just may have some legal standing (especially in light of the recent court ruling in Bend) because they reinforce the notion and reality that the bike lane continues through the intersection and no other cross traffic should be “resting” on them when waiting to cross the roadway or turn into the roadway — a serious problem on this stretch up until now.

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        • Dan A October 19, 2018 at 5:23 pm

          The way I’ve seen crossbikes implemented in Portland implies some sort of right of way over cross traffic, when there is none. One in particular that I’m familiar with is where Johnson crosses 14th next to REI. I have on more than one occasion seen someone on a bike roll through the stop sign when they cross 14th, without accounting for the actual right of way of cross traffic.

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          • Johnny Bye Carter October 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm

            “The way I’ve seen crossbikes implemented in Portland implies some sort of right of way over cross traffic, when there is none.”

            Yes, that’s a major problem with cross-bikes now since they look just like a bike lane continuation. But people are treating them like crosswalks thinking that it gives them the right of way when it doesn’t because they have no legal meaning.

            Now we have the bike lane dashed green through the intersection break and that is actually a legally protected space.

            We’re asking drivers to think more than they’re capable of.

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            • soren October 21, 2018 at 12:29 pm

              I guess you missed the post below where a judge ruled (for the 2nd time) that bike lanes do not continue through an intersection and are, therefore, not legally protected spaces.

              It’s bizarre how upset “experienced” people are about crossbikes and how how supportive most of these same people are of these nearly identical “continuation of a bike lane”.

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      • Johnny Bye Carter October 21, 2018 at 12:01 pm

        Looks like a legally meaningless crossbike but is actually a legally defined bike lane.

        Not sure why they expect drivers to be able to tell the difference.

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    • stephan October 20, 2018 at 12:30 am

      Totally agree — and what annoys me is that people drive into the bike lane at *every* street that bends and where the bike lane is on the inner side of the curve. Take 21st and Tillamook. Or the 20s bikeway up the ridge at Alameda. Or really any other example. Just look a the paint disappearing and you can see where people drive! Or hang out at one of these places for, like, 5 minutes and watch the traffic. And yet, we do this over and over and over again. Why continuing an infrastructure design that’s clearly not working and that puts people who bike in danger? We need a physical separator here, so that people driving these streets notice where their lane ends. This design, in may view, accepts that people will drive into the bike lane all the time, because it is plain obvious that this is what happens (and will happen). It accepts that risk and I find that, well, not acceptable.

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      • Johnny Bye Carter October 21, 2018 at 12:04 pm

        It’s not just on curves. The bus rides the white line the entire length of SE Flavel, eroding the paint. It’s only a bike lane when bikes are in it, the rest of the time it’s a buffer for drivers to get then away from the only thing they care about, danger from head-on collisions.

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  • Chris I October 19, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Not good enough. NE 11th north of this intersection needs to be turned into a dead-end street. Ankeny east/west should be bike-only and dead-end for drivers. Then you can add proper crossings for cyclists and pedestrians.

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    • maxD October 19, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      I think they should divert southbound travel on 2th on to Couch/11th, and make Sandy one way NE between 11th and 12th.

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    • sikoler October 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      “NE 11th north of this intersection needs to be turned into a dead-end street. ”

      Adding congestion to traffic will only make things worse. Especially at this particular intersection. It will force car commuters to divert down neighborhood and greenways in order to just drive north-south across central SE.

      We must design to allow traffic (particularly the imminently predictable rush hour traffic) to flow not intentionally reduce throughways.

      “Not good enough.”

      Absolutely nothing ever will be for many bike activists.

      We need to work together with car commuters to improve the situation for everyone, and we absolutely must ditch the “bad for cars good for bikes” mentality…it’s simply counterproductive.

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      • 9watts October 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm

        “We need to work together with car commuters to improve the situation for everyone, and we absolutely must ditch the ‘bad for cars good for bikes’ mentality…it’s simply counterproductive.”

        Your bland assertions that we must sing kumbaya with automobilists is charming but hardly adequate. Several of us have specifically asked you in comments here to respond to critiques of your assertions, but so far you haven’t.

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      • Chris I October 20, 2018 at 9:11 pm

        Burnside has 3 lanes for auto traffic. If you have ever tried to drive or bike through this interesection at rush hour, you’d know how disfunctional it is. Both cyclists and drivers get delayed here because there are too many directions of travel. Closing 11th would improve throughput.

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        • sikoler October 21, 2018 at 10:08 am

          “Closing 11th would improve throughput.”

          No, routing cyclists somewhere safer would, however.

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          • Johnny Bye Carter October 21, 2018 at 12:07 pm

            You admit that motor vehicles are dangerous and you advocate for more danger by telling the victims to get out of the way.

            This is bully mentality.

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          • Chris I October 21, 2018 at 8:19 pm

            It’s obvious what you are trying to do. I will ignore all future comments you make here.

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      • Johnny Bye Carter October 21, 2018 at 12:11 pm

        “We must design to allow traffic … to flow”

        No. That’s incorrect.

        We must design to allow traffic to be safe. Then if possible we can make it more efficient as long as that doesn’t make it less safe.

        Victims don’t care that their assailants are in a hurry.

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        • 9watts October 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm

          This is as good a time as any to point out the different ways modes scale. One car doesn’t endanger the rest of society or a street that much. But a thousand cars is an entirely different matter. The speed, risk, emergent dangers all increase nonlinearly.

          But with human powered transit it works very differently. One person walking or a thousand? A bike or a thousand? I can’t think of a study that suggests much less finds a nonlinear increase in risk from scaling human transport up.
          Flow, so understood, is or could be a goal of human transport. I can’t think of any reason not to install enough turnstiles at the entrances to subway stations that maximize throughput of humans. But when you substitute cars for humans, everything changes. Flow as a goal comes with risks, dangers, tradeoffs, the costs of which someone will bear.

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  • Hazel October 19, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I can’t quite tell from the drawings but it looks like they’re not going to put in a physical barrier just south of Burnside. It’s rare that I don’t see a car encroaching on the bike lane here. I’ve reported this problem to PBOT numerous times.

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  • Champs October 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Other than right hooks at Stark, you could see and react to everything from a mile away at those vast intersections.

    My girlfriend was nervous about the former design but I guess it’s my turn now.

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    • Chris I October 19, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      I have trouble predicting which cars are going to completely cut into the bike lane while going southbound on 12th as it passes Burnside. I guess one could just assume that they will all do it…

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  • 9watts October 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Hawthorne is next?

    Or maybe 82nd?

    😉

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    • Brian October 20, 2018 at 7:20 am

      Hawthorne seems to be evolving on it’s own. Thankfully. I am seeing more and more people reclaiming the right lane to ride side by side and chat, as well as e-scoot. Drivers are then channeled into the left lane, and from what I have observed have been doing so without being complete jerks about it. The lower speed limits were a good first step. I hope it continues. It’s a perfect street to reduce to two auto lanes, at the very least.

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  • Johnny Bye Carter October 19, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    “PBOT says they plan to pull back auto parking”

    Which they should have been doing the entire time because there are laws against parking near an intersection that the city won’t enforce.

    Wondering why nobody has implicated them in a lawsuit for this lack of enforcement.

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    • Momo October 19, 2018 at 7:34 pm

      Because there is another law that says cities are the road authority over city streets and therefore the parking setback law only applies to state-owned roadways unless the City chooses to pass a similar law. In other words, no lawsuit on this issue would be successful. If you want universal parking setbacks, you would have to convince Portland’s City Council to change the City law, not rely on a state law that doesn’t apply to City streets.

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      • Johnny Bye Carter October 21, 2018 at 12:13 pm

        I keep hearing about this law but I can’t find it and nobody cites it. If you know what law this is then please let me know.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 19, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    UPDATE, 3:17 pm: We’ve also heard from a reliable PBOT source that a signal is coming to the SE Ankeny crossing! It’s funded “in the near-term”. We are working to get more details and will share them when we do.

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  • morgan October 19, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY. Hopefully 16th and Burnside crossing will get a signal next.

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  • Johnny Bye Carter October 19, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Interesting that they’re only putting the green pain on the north side lane where cyclists are going downhill and they assume it will be a problem with drivers not properly gauging the speeds of cyclists. However, with more e-bikes on the road I think it’s safe to assume that any given cyclist will be doing the speed limit in a bike lane no matter the terrain.

    It’s also playing to the inattention of motorists, like all paint, and they may stop paying so much attention to the bike lanes without color. We need to start using colored pavement so that it lasts.

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  • maccoinnich October 19, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    TBH, this is pretty disappointing. Central City in Motion didn’t study inner Sandy, because it was shown as a “will be built” part of the low stress network (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/671701). What we have here is better than before, but it’s still mostly door zone bike lanes with fresh paint, and far from an all ages and abilities design. Much like the recent repaving of SW Jefferson, I feel like we missed an opportunity to do something much better.

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  • Momo October 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    The reconfiguration at 7th/Washington/Sandy is great! I was riding on Sandy the other day and very happy to see it. Really simplifies a gigantic intersection.

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  • dwk October 19, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    These are all useful for able cyclists and I ride this stretch daily.
    It is not for children or new cyclists at all.
    We need all we can get so I am happy for anything.
    Sandy is not for the 8 to 80 crowd no matter what.

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  • julia October 20, 2018 at 8:04 am

    That’s a lot of paint… and I imagine I’ll feel the same way riding on the street as I did before.

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  • Bill Stites October 20, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    The intersection of Sandy and Stark [and 8th] is very dangerous relative to turning movements, especially from Stark onto Sandy. I often use the southwest crosswalk to get across Sandy, and have to be super-diligent about westbound auto drivers turning left onto Sandy … they rarely anticipate and look for pedestrians. They end up getting themselves committed to clearing the intersection and charging toward pedestrians in the crosswalk. REALLY dangerous there, and I see no fixes here.

    Kudos on the treatments at Washington [our shop is right near there]. However, even when I drive, I don’t enter Sandy from the east side of Washington … northbound traffic on 7th is coming around a blind corner and accelerating in anticipation of the hill up to Stark. T-bone potential is too great for my tastes – I’ll go down 8th to get to Morrison, thank you.

    And if we’re going to consider future dreams, the final block of Sandy from Stark to Washington would make a great car-free pedestrian plaza / parklet. For those who would cry foul of busting the link from Sandy to 7th: with the recent closures of Sandy for repaving, I observed surprisingly few traffic jams – people drove like water and got around obstacles easily.

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  • Mark smith October 21, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    So, slow Sandy Blvd with the bodies of cyclists with green paint (but no protection in the in the intersections)….when something great could be done…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gohSeOYheXg

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  • raktajino October 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

    I’d love to see the rest of Sandy get bike and slow-down modifications: perhaps turn it into on lane each way with bike lanes on either side, less parking, and a dedicated left turn lane? Given all the backups and chaos that come from drivers taking lefts, maneuvering around cyclists, and avoiding people getting out of cars, it might even make the whole boulevard smoother.

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  • Ben Hubbird October 22, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Rode this stretch this morning. I gotta say, it’s not great. I only noticed two places where there was significant improvement: the intersection with Stark SW-bound on Sandy provides great separation (although just paint) that makes right hooks feel much less likely, and the bollards on the intersection with Washington are great: although the intersection ends up feeling a bit cluttered/confusing, it’s actually having the effect of making people slow down.

    The biggest question for me is: why the heck do we need auto parking on this stretch of Sandy? There’s plenty of side-street parking and almost no businesses that front Sandy itself. Losing the parking would allow plenty of room for a physically separated bike lane that doesn’t have to swerve around parked cars in the door zone.

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    • John Lascurettes October 22, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      There’s a whole block currently where cars are parking directly in the bike lane because it’s not properly painted yet. That is, the buffer zone doesn’t have it’s hash marks or bollards yet, and the lane itself doesn’t have an official bike lane symbol. You can see where they intend on painting it, but haven’t yet, as seen here (which I think is Ankeny to Oak): https://youtu.be/ljyC_HncOFc

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      • John Lascurettes October 22, 2018 at 1:53 pm

        * Ankeny to Ash.

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      • Ben Hubbird October 22, 2018 at 2:36 pm

        Oh shit, I totally just assumed that was intended to be parking and the buffer was the bike lane. Actually a little more positive about the approach if they paint these & get up some no parking signs.

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  • Christopher of Portland October 23, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    I rode this today. I guess it’s a small improvement. That section with the unmarked buffer mentioned in other comments is still like that. There’s a spray painted hash mark that makes it appear they’ll properly paint them, hopefully. The smooth pavement and not quite the worst possible bike lane here makes 7th look even worse than before. What a disaster of a bike lane that one is.

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