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Marine Drive gets buffered bike lanes and new path into Kelley Point Park

Posted by on November 28th, 2018 at 7:14 am

New path funded by a tax on heavy trucks.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The 40-Mile Loop is now slightly larger thanks to a new path near the entrance to Kelley Point Park.

Green line is buffered bike lane, purple is new path. Red line is where there are two curb ramps but (so far) no crossing treatment.

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has striped a buffered bike lane on the north side of N Marine Drive for one-third of a mile between Leadbetter Road and the entrance to the park. They’ve also installed a new ADA curb ramps on both sides of the street to better connect the new path to the existing section of the 40-Mile Loop.

The updates come as part of a paving project funded through PBOT’s Heavy Vehicle Use Tax that was passed in 2016 as part of what’s more commonly known as the Fixing Our Streets program. This is one of three projects on heavy freight corridors funded through that tax this year. Others include paving on Lombard and Going (Interstate to I-5).

The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax was passed by City Council with a promise that it would raise $10 million per year for four years thanks to a 2.8% weight-mile tax. However, The Oregonian reported yesterday that after facing pressure from freight industry representatives, City Council is poised to repeal “pare down” the tax with a new ordinance at their meeting today.

Here’s more from The O:

“Truckers generally view the city tax as cumbersome and unfair, said Jana Jarvis, president of the Oregon Trucking Associations. She said it’s right for Portland to axe the revenue goal because the city will get additional money for transportation from the state owing to an infrastructure bill passed last year.

“Our perspective has been, ‘Let this thing die its death and move on,’” Jarvis said of the city tax.”

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Looking southeast at Marine Drive from the new path.

View north from the end of the 40-Mile Loop path.

Looking northeast at the new curb ramps.

Looking northwest toward the main Kelley Point Park entry from the new buffered bike lane.

Looking west toward the park from the new buffered bike lanes.

PBOT says the tax isn’t bringing in nearly as much as they expected. In order to meet the $10 million revenue target they’d have to raise the tax rate by 60 percent for the final two years. Instead of doing that (and face the ire of freight interests), they want to maintain the existing tax rate and adjust the project list to meet the resulting lower revenue. You can read the ordinance up for debate at today’s Council hearing here.

As for the updates on Marine Drive, we’re very happy to see anything that adds to the 40-Mile Loop; but this is a very small step. Despite the new path, it remains stressful to cross Marine Drive at this location. Truck drivers commonly go around 50 mph (speed limit is 45 mph) here and this crossing is in a curve where visibility is limited. If you choose to ride in the street, the unprotected bike lane (even with the new buffer) doesn’t yield much confidence. We’ve asked PBOT if there are any additional crossing treatments still to come — like a beacon and/or crosswalk striping — but have yet to hear back. (There’s another way to access this park via the path that goes under Marine Drive, but it requires off-road trail riding through an undeveloped (and not secure) part of the park.)

Another thing that concerns me about this new path and crossing is that it’s just a few hundred feet away from the main entrance to the park. This means we must trust car and truck drivers to slow down and scan for other road users at two locations in succession instead of just one.

Large trucks have an immense impact on our road system, both in terms of wear-and-tear and safety. We need to make sure trucking companies are paying their fair share so we can create safer, longer-lasting streets that are welcoming to all users.

UPDATE, 10:11 am: The ordinance to remove the $10 million target language from the existing Heavy Vehicle Use Tax ordinance just passed council 3-1. Eudaly, Saltzman and Wheeler voted in favor. Fritz voted against it on grounds that it would break a promise made to voters who passed it. Saltzman and Wheeler said it was a good compromise. We’ll debate this again in 2020 when the Fixing Our Streets program comes up for renewal and it’s likely this truck use tax will be a big part of the conversation.

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

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Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

It’s not only Portland. Americans are unique in that they continue to elect, and then re-elect, politicians who cater to monied interests over their needs and well being. Puzzling.

Su Wonda
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Su Wonda

Why are ramps/approaches like this always at a 90 degree angle? You practically have to stop to make the turn into the path

paikiala
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paikiala

Midblock crossings are not legal unless marked.

Jeff S(egundo)
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Jeff S(egundo)

I’m confused. Why was this constructed when there is already an underpass adjacent to the slough that just needs a short connection to the Kelley Pt. roadway? The Underpass to Nowhere (built by the Port of Portland?) has been there for at least a decade, awaiting a connection through Parks property. Does Parks have any plan to do this, ever?

Clicky Freewheel
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Clicky Freewheel

Jonathan, in this era of over-exaggerated and outright fabricated articles, I would think a publication such as yours would do more research into these important matters affecting our city rather than simply making stuff up.

The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax was passed by City Council with a promise that it would raise $10 million per year for four years thanks to a 2.8% weight-mile tax. However, The Oregonian reported yesterday that after facing pressure from freight industry representatives, City Council is poised to repeal the tax with a new ordinance at their meeting today.

The city is not repealing the tax. They are voting to strike the revenue targets for the ordinance that require the tax rate be raised to meet the $10M goal over four years. This is clearly stated in the City Auditor’s agenda item for today. This means that if passed, the tax would not be repealed but remain at it’s current 2.8% rate. Again, this is very easy to find on the city’s website for someone who actually wanted to pursue the truth: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/704194

Noel
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Noel

This is interesting. Back when Novick proposed this tax at City Council, I was the only active transportation rep that testified in favor of it. All other testimony was freight industry folks opposed to it. Amazingly, Council decided to move it forward – likely due to their promise to voters with the gas tax. I doubt anyone has been knocking on PBOT/commissioners doors about the importance of maintaining this tax. Meanwhile the freight industry has likely been knocking consistently on their door opposed to it. I’m not surprised this is getting pared back when there hasn’t been any advocacy to keep it.

I am also curious to learn more about this ‘paperwork’, referenced in the Oregonian article that allows trucking companies to say they don’t use city owned streets. That enabled 70% of the eligible businesses to avoid getting taxed. No wonder we aren’t meeting our targets, and now the freight community can point to this tax as a failure – adding to the political pressure to gut it.

Johnny Bye Carter
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Johnny Bye Carter

What’s the point of the path? To give people a more dangerous crossing option? I think that if you’re already in such a hurry that you don’t want to go on the path loop under the bridge to enter the park then this tiny little path isn’t going to help you at all.

How many pedestrians will choose to dodge 45 MPH traffic coming over a hill around a curve simply to save 2 minutes?

Alan 1.0
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That photo with the “Speed Limit 45” sign…ouch! Besides the under-width bike lane getting further pinched by the gutter drain, the drain grate is lined up parallel with bike wheels. Furrfu.

Andrew Kreps
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Andrew Kreps

That “40 mile loop END” sign has always been a favourite of mine. It’s like the opposite of a mobius strip.

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

In my best Detective Columbo impersonation: “Cut the tax on Freightliners through the city, install a disproportionate tax on human powered, traffic alleviating, smog-free bicycles… I Don’t get it.”

Alain
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Alain

I agree with other commenters who point out the existing path under the bridge, which is clearly the safest option. That said, this new alignment of the crossing is better than the zig zag that one was forced to do when crossing from the park’s entrance to the path on the south side of the road. And the site lines for viewing traffic are better as well. It’s both an unfortunate short coming, and an improvement. I enter the park with some frequency, and happy to see this change.

mark smith
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mark smith

When one can of paint fails to protect riders, it’s time to double the paint…because that always works.