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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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Christopher of PortlandMomoBen HubbirdraktajinoChris I Recent comment authors
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Chris I
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Chris I

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.

Hazel
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Hazel

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.

Champs
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Champs

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.

soren
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soren

yeah…crossbikes are great!

9watts
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Hawthorne is next?

Or maybe 82nd?

😉

Johnny Bye Carter
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Johnny Bye Carter

“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.

morgan
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morgan

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

Johnny Bye Carter
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Johnny Bye Carter

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.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

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.

Momo
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Momo

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.

dwk
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dwk

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.

stephan
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stephan

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.

julia
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julia

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

Bill Stites
Subscriber

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.

Mark smith
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Mark smith

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

raktajino
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raktajino

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.

Ben Hubbird
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Ben Hubbird

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.

Christopher of Portland
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Christopher of Portland

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.