Support BikePortland

Tell PBOT what 122nd Avenue should look and feel like

Posted by on December 11th, 2018 at 10:05 am

One of the projects under consideration would swap one of these existing lanes that go under I-84 for a two-way protected bikeway and sidewalk.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has opened the online open house and survey for their 122nd Avenue Plan. If you missed the November 7th open house event, this is your chance to weigh in on the project. They have funding to make changes and our voices can help them make the most informed decisions on how to spend it.

This is what we’re up against.

Imagine 122nd Ave with wide bikeways and transit-only lanes!

Specifically, PBOT wants your feedback on three things: which cross-section options should get further study; where new crossing treatments should be installed; and what to build in 2020 with the $3.3 million they currently have set-aside for the project.

Do you like being informed about projects? Please support our work today.

122nd Avenue has become a focus of PBOT for several reasons. For starters, statistically it’s one of the most dangerous streets in Portland. Between Marine Drive and SE Foster, 122nd has four of our top 30 highest crash intersections. Since 2010, there have been over 400 people injured while traveling on 122nd, including 127 people walking and biking. Nine people have died in the past 8 years alone. If you’ve ever ridden on it, the stats don’t matter because you can just feel how dangerous it is. Every time I’m out there, it’s an eye-opening experience.

Current conditions of I-84 underpass are not so good.

Back in September, I rode under the I-84 overpass and was appalled by the conditions. Overgrown vegetation and trash constrained an already dark and intimidating space. Riding in the main roadway wasn’t an option because driving speeds are high and there is no shoulder room at all. Thankfully, this underpass area is on PBOT’s radar. As you can see in their graphic below, one of the projects under consideration is to reconfigure the roadway and install a two-way protected bikeway and sidewalk on one side of the street. This is the type of thing PBOT needs to hear from you about. Do you think this should be a high priority?


122nd Ave doesn’t meet new City of Portland guidelines for crossing spacing.

The city is also looking to add more — and safer — crossings. 122nd currently doesn’t meet the new “spacing guidelines” for crossings that were developed through PBOT’s Pedestrian Master Plan. Those new guidelines call for crossings no more than 800 feet apart. The current average is 935 feet, or about four blocks.

Through surveys and the public open house, PBOT has heard so far that crossing safety, congestion and bike safety are the top three priorities.

What do you think? If you haven’t already commented on this project, now is your chance. Here’s the online open house and survey (it says 30 pages, but it’s really only five). It will be available through January 6th, 2019.

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

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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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    PDXCyclist December 11, 2018 at 10:14 am

    It’s odd that on the first page after selecting your language, they show 3 sets of alternatives, but don’t let you pick which you prefer within each. For example I wanted to say I like 1C, 2B and either 3B or 3C. The survey came off more as PBOT patting themselves on the back. Not sure what meaningful input I gave. And usually lots of open ended boxes show poorly thought out survey design. This survey was not confidence inspiring for the future of 122nd

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      Doug Hecker December 11, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Like most “open houses” and online surveys, many decisions have been made and the voices of the citizens who actively use the road are without choice. On a side note, I wonder how many north Portlanders use 122nd on a regular basis.

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        Gary B December 13, 2018 at 8:10 am

        Is using in on a regular basis a precondition? I’m a north Portlander. Some of my sketchiest moments have come when biking on a road I’ve never used, but a map tells me it has a bike lane on it so I ride it (outer Division came as quite the surprise to me once). So yeah, I think I can have valuable input on a road that I don’t normally use.

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    David Hampsten December 11, 2018 at 10:38 am

    The “typical” intersection diagram is missing the signal poles in the middle of the sidewalks and ramps (as well as the signals themselves). Most EP intersections are also missing curb extensions. The cars going straight should also be more than halfway blocking the crosswalk. It must be 3 am as there are so few cars in the diagram (and where’s the SUVs, heavy diesel trucks, and impatient delivery vans?) There should be a pan-handler on at least one corner, whichever one has the most cars turning. What else is missing?

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    Lester Burnham December 11, 2018 at 10:39 am

    That depressing picture at the I-84 underpass perfectly summarizes the city’s attitude towards east PDX. Spend any amount of time out there, particularly 122nd, and you’d know why people aren’t eager to hop on a bike.

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      Toby Keith December 11, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      I bet nobody on city council would use it for a photo op that’s for sure. Ha! Seriously though I know that stretch well, I live right near there. Keep hoping things will change out here. Oh well maybe someday.

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    David Hampsten December 11, 2018 at 10:46 am

    That under pass has “been on the PBOT radar” ever since the city annexed it in 1990. It was on the county radar before then. 28 years is a long time to be “on the radar”, even in Portland. The Parkrose public school district depends on that sidewalk to connect school children from the Parkrose Heights and Russell neighborhoods on the upper south side to the middle and high school on the lower north side of I-84, those few brave souls who choose to walk of bike to school; most kids take the school bus or drive as soon as they are able (or rely on their parental units.) The school has regularly complained about it to the authorities since it was built in the 1940s.

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    OldRider December 11, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I live close to 122nd and ride it frequently. yes, there certainly are some difficult areas.

    The I-84 underpass path is lousy, but there is so little bike traffic on this part of 122 that I would give that a low priority.

    On the whole stretch of 122, IMHO the MOST DANGEROUS intersection is at Halsey. Drivers are constantly trying to sneak in a quick right turn and do not see cyclists/peds. 122nd & Division is a disaster, peds/bikes (mostly homeless) just zipping across as if there are no cars. It feels like the “Wild West” in that area.

    I cross often at the Midland Library. The city , in all it’s ignorance, has planted new trees on the East side of the street, blocking the view of a person entering the crosswalk. The numerous auto dealers have delivery semi’s that block the center lane or bike lanes. At Taco Bell there are 2 trucks (Fed*x and U*S) that have drivers that routinely eat lunch there and park partially blocking the bike lane.

    Do want to give Kudo’s to TriMet bus drivers … we often play leapfrog (unintentionally) and they are most often courteous and careful/safe.

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    OldRider December 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

    picture captioned
    >>122nd Ave doesn’t meet new City of Portland guidelines for crossing spacing.

    could not place where on 122nd that pic was taken ? have come to the conclusion/guess that it is actually 102nd ? (just North of Burnside)

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      curly December 11, 2018 at 11:55 am

      It is 102nd Ave. just north of Burnside. The giveaway in the photo are the buffered bike lanes, no parking and fresh asphalt. 122nd doesn’t even have standard bike lanes in many areas along 122nd.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 11, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      You’re right! It is 102nd. Sorry for the error. I’ll swap out the pic.

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    Mike Sanders December 11, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I graduated from Parkrose High in the mid-1970s, and I used that pathway under I-84 along the west side of 122 Av. In those days, there was no fence, and the surface was dirt (which turned to mud in the rain) and small stones. Rocks, really. I was always afraid of slipping and rolling downhill toward oncoming southbound traffic. The path was supposed to have been paved a few years ago, so those pictures concern me. Looks like it’s been neglected for far too long. It definitely needs attention.

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    OldRider December 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    It is 102nd Ave. just north of Burnside. The giveaway in the photo are the buffered bike lanes, no parking and fresh asphalt. 122nd doesn’t even have standard bike lanes in many areas along 122nd.Recommended 2

    what got it for me was : nice street lights, the recessed TriMet bench and that brick medical building … yes, it’s just barely North of the Max tracks.

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    Doug Hecker December 12, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Wow, the lack of comments for this project/ post are slim. I would’ve expected more but I think 122nd isn’t ready for PBOT’s heavy hand. I would suspect a diverter in NoPo would cause more of an uproar then multiple miles of changes in east county.

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      idlebytes December 12, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Why would it surprise you that there are less comments and opinions about a dangerous road further out that sees much less bike traffic then an area that sees some of the highest? It kind of makes sense doesn’t it? Proportional to their use.

      I used to live on and around 122nd went to high school over there. It was dangerous feeling and a deterrent to getting into biking after I completed high school. I remember frequently using sidewalks even though there were bike lanes cause they didn’t feel safe. I tried to find neighborhood routes that paralleled it but there weren’t many that didn’t dead end after a mile or force me to cross a big arterial without a signal. I eventually got used to the bike lanes but had to be on constant guard from motorists only looking for other cars. I used to walk that street all the time it was made for cars. A 15 year old trying to get to the new library doesn’t really have the option to drive though and there are schools just a few blocks off of it in several places along it’s stretch. Unsurprisingly when I found a new place to live I chose a neighborhood with better bicycle infrastructure and so now have less opinions about a road I seldomly use anymore. PBOTs heavy hand was needed 20 years ago.

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        Doug Hecker December 17, 2018 at 10:39 pm

        I think it was made for horse and carriages.

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      David Hampsten December 13, 2018 at 1:46 am

      I think there’s also a lack of commentary here because so many people doubt that PBOT will actually carry out any of their promised improvements. PBOT loves to study East Portland, but has consistently failed to do anything significant in the last 28 years.

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