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New diverters on Ankeny and Lincoln part of plan to keep drivers off side streets

Posted by on December 14th, 2018 at 10:46 am

New driving discouragers on SE Ankeny at 15th.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)


“Things have changed a lot since we did our neighborhood greenway assessment [in 2015]… There’s more traffic pressure.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT

Life is slowly but surely getting harder for people who drive in Portland. And that’s exactly what the Bureau of Transportation is aiming for. In the past week they’ve laid down median diverters that limit where we can drive. The goal is to encourage us to keep our cars off what are known as neighborhood greenways — streets where cycling is supposed to be the priority mode of travel.

But as Portland’s roads have become filled with too many drivers in recent years, PBOT has had to do more to defend greenways from an onslaught of traffic-dodgers staring into Waze and Google Map apps in an attempt to shave a few seconds off their trip. Unfortunately those apps often lead people onto (what should be quiet) side streets that have been engineered specifically to make cycling less stressful. To end this cycle of more drivers and more stressful conditions on side streets, PBOT has added new diverters at two locations: on SE Ankeny at 15th and SE 50th at Lincoln.

SE Ankeny and 15th

As it should be: Driver forced off, bicycle rider allowed to continue.

PBOT image shows what they’ll look like when finished.

As we reported in 2014, many drivers swoop onto Ankeny to avoid the traffic further west at the Burnside/Couch couplet. Thanks to activists with Bike Loud and Buckman neighborhood residents, PBOT agreed to install a temporary diverter at 15th. They made good on their promise in July 2016 by placing large concrete planters and yellow caution signs in the middle of the intersection. The treatment prevented people from driving straight through 15th, forcing westbound drivers to turn north (back to Burnside) and eastbound drivers south.

This week PBOT made those temporary diverters permanent by laying down concrete median islands. The new islands are easier on the eye and are intended to accomplish the same result. PBOT told us this morning that more signage and vertical elements are still to come. They include (but are not limited to): stop signs facing north and south, yellow warning signs that alert people to the presence of people biking through the intersection, yellow and black striped sign, and signage leading up to the intersection indicating that it’s not for through-traffic, only bicycle traffic.

SE Lincoln and 50th

PBOT’s final design (note the car parking space on northeast corner).

It’s been a year since the infamous open house where opposition to the Lincoln-Harrison neighborhood greenway project went absolutely off-the-rails. PBOT’s attempts to reduce the amount of driving on Lincoln were met with epic opposition. Ultimately PBOT won the day with a revised plan that came out in March.

One of the biggest sticking points was a diverter at 50th and Lincoln. PBOT had to do something because this intersection had the highest volume of drivers of anywhere on the greenway — 2,300 cars per day east west of 50th and 1,500 east of it. The city’s goal for greenways is under 1,000 cars per day.

They settled on a compromise design that would place diverters in the middle of 50th to prevent people from driving through the intersection and limit some turning movements.

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Work began this week to install the diverter. However, some activists are crying foul because PBOT has altered the design since it was last shown to the public.

The plan before PBOT made the tweak to add a parking space. Compare it to the image above.

On Tuesday, local resident Andrea Brown with the Safer Lincoln group emailed PBOT Capitol Project Manager Sheila Parrott. Brown was concerned that the new design, “Has created an unsafe jog in the bicycle flow in order to accommodate an extraneous parking space on the northeast corner.” Brown added that her group was aware that an adjacent neighbor had contacted PBOT to request a parking spot in front of their house (which has its own driveway).

Parrott wrote to Brown that, “Following resident input, we revised the plan to remove the on-street parking on the south side and provide a disabled parking space on the north side. Although this type of parking space is generally used by the person making the request for the space, it is not a personal space. Anyone displaying the disabled placard can use the space.”

Another transportation activist and local resident named Betsy Reese emailed PBOT with several concerns about the new design. One problem she mentioned was that it, “Forces westbound cyclists to veer to the left to get past a stopped car, then veer to the right to line up at the gap in the diverter.” Reese wanted the parking spot moved further east to avoid conflicts at the intersection.

A PBOT traffic engineer replied to Reese to say the current layout is only a prototype and they plan to monitor her concerns as part of the evaluation

A brand new greenway treatment

Conspicuity is the goal.

In other neighborhood greenway news, PBOT unveiled a new idea at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting on Tuesday night. Citing what he sees as, “more traffic pressure” on neighborhood greenways since PBOT’s assessment report was passed by council in August 2015, PBOT bicycle program manager Roger Geller said they’re considering a new approach. Geller shared a list of projects up for possible funding in 2019-2020 that included one described as, “An innovative attempt to highlight the visibility of bicycle priority on neighborhood greenways.” The idea is to double the frequency of sharrow markings, possibly add painted stop lines on side streets, and add other signage as needed.

Geller said he’s noticed that many people ride in the door-zone on neighborhood greenways — a sign of stress likely caused by fears of drivers coming from behind. Geller wants to make Portland greenways more “readable as a bikeway.” In addition to more sharrows and signage, he’d like couple that with an education program. The goal would be to make it more difficult for people in cars to pass bicycle users, which would hopefully discourage people from driving on greenways altogether.


UPDATE: Reader 9watts (who’s concerned about the width of the biking gaps being too wide) has sent us fresher photos of the Ankeny/15th diverters:

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

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EP
Guest
EP

Not sure about that change on the NE corner. Seems like a PBOT comprimise w/ the homeowners. Their house has a driveway on 50th, they converted their garage to an ADU in 2016, and the driveway into trailer storage. There was concern about safety of turning into their driveway off of 50th, with high-speed traffic and the bus stop there. Seems like the diverter would help calm traffic for them. Considerations for handicapped parking makes sense, but maybe not at the detriment of a design of something that benefits the many. Moving that space east would keep bicyclists closer to the north curb, and out of the way of people making a wide turn in their car.

Interesting that they have blurred out their house on all Google street views… It wasn’t that way awhile back. Wow, this diverter issue made things crazy.

Per PBOT:
“A property owner may request a disability parking space be placed along their fronting property when:

-Property is located outside of a metered or permitted zone and
-Property is zoned residential and
-There is no off-street parking (off-street parking space definition: An off-street parking space included parking lots, parking structures, garages, carports, driveways without carports or garages or any other legal parking space on private property) and
-There are no more than 2 disability spaces already on the block face or 500 feet of lineal curb feet from the requestor address and
-The property requesting accommodation is not on an unimproved roadway.”
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/64922

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Someone should tell Roger that if the city keeps eliminating lanes on main thoroughfares then this is probably going to be the result. This really isn’t brain surgery. It’s common sense. As I have thought more about Aaron Brown’s campaign against the freeways and induced demand, I can’t help but wonder what die hard “transportation geniuses” think will be the result. If ODOT wants to put people on other roads, city streets, what do we really think the end goal will be? More stress for everyone and tranporting on eggshells.

This will be enjoyable to watch over the next few years. Hopefully by then I won’t be cycling downtown daily or hell, live in this mess.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

The openings are seven feet wide:

Ford F150: 6ft 8 inches wide
Honda Accord, modern: 6-1
Honda Accord, 90s: 5-7
Honda CRV: 6-6
Honda Odyssey: 6-6
Volvo 240: 5-7

Ah, but it’s hard to squeeze a 6-8 truck through a 7-0 opening, you say. Sure, but it can be done at slower speed, especially if that width is at the curb, not full height.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

The problem is not eliminating lanes on main thoroughfares, or putting diverters on side streets , the problem is as a form of transportation in relatively dense urban areas the personal automobile is a technological dead end. It takes up too much room to store (park) it takes up to much space to travel anywhere ( bad capacity per lane), and it uses too many resources to make and too much energy too operate. Nearly every one of the things discussed here on Bike Portland is an attempt to mitigate the inherent problems with useing a mismatched technology ( cars) to accomplish a goal (personal urban transportation). Try to solve these problems inherent in the technology just adds complexity, and causes problems to pop up elsewhere. Its like doing surgery with a chain saw, or mowing your lawn with a helicopter.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Great! Now let’s do the same on Clinton and 50th. Barrier it just past the new apartment driveway.

dee
Guest
dee

The diverter at SE 32 + Clinton is perplexing, with its narrow entry points on the sides, and yet, there is space on the curb (not painted yellow) where a car is consistently blocking the narrow NW entry way. I have reported countless parking “violations” that block this diverter, written to the city…and nothing.

John
Guest
John

Now only if the traffic diverters were tall enough to stop 4×4’s from driving over them…

maxD
Guest
maxD

I love the idea of adding more sharrows marking and painting stop bars on side streets. I also like both of these diverters. I think PBOT was adding signs to the one on Ankeney this morning.

Bill Stites
Subscriber

If the openings are 7 feet wide, that is clearly too wide – due to mentions above of driver abuses. Just take a look at what happens out there in the real world.
Why not 5 feet?

With turning movements by drivers allowed from 50th northbound to Lincoln eastbound, the jog created by adding the parking space near the NE corner creates a genuine hazard for westbound cyclists on Lincoln – of getting head-on’d by drivers taking the turn too fast and wide.

Safety must override convenience.

paikiala
Guest
alex toevs
Guest
alex toevs

i railed against the design and lack of visibility of the 15th and ankeny diverters when the temp design went up. the permanent design lower profile and significantly better!

now if we could only remove parking 20 feet from the edge of curb on all sides of intersections along bikeways..

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Ankeny at 15th already has parking removed per the new policy (nearside left of side street on bikeway), and has parking removed on 15th opposite the stop signs.

soren
Guest
soren

“Things have changed a lot since we did our neighborhood greenway assessment [in 2015]… There’s more traffic pressure.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT

One of BikeLoud’s arguments for more pervasive diversion was that we would need to accommodate the natural tendency of Neighborhood Greenways to attract cut-through Uber/Lyft drivers and other “app” users (wayz). I hope this means that PBOT is becoming more willing to consider diversion by default.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

the 52nd Greenway southbound is now so backed up some days with cars, that wait several light cycles at Division, making cyclists have to either pass and squeeze in front of a stopped vehicle or in between the travel lane and the parked cars. If this diverter at 50th is going to work, Westside parking on 52nd from Division to Lincoln needs to be converted to a bike lane, as I said when this design first appeared.

Hopefully, Tri-Met delays will show this so PBOT can react appropriately.

mh
Subscriber

I want diversion on the intersecting legacy greenway – SE 16th! Evening rush hour on 16th anywhere near Ankeny is often bumper-to-bumper northbound cars. Southbound is not as bad.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Seriously, I can get my 2001 camry through there without skipping a beat. It’s waaaay too wide.

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

BikePortland.org
“possibly add painted stop lines[…]”

This should be standard. Does the current inventory of stop signs within the City include a variable for “stop line present?” What is the cost of adding a stop line? Can it be scaled to roll out across the city? Where do I send my check to get this started?

Doug Klotz
Subscriber

What happened to the giant arrows planned at 15th and Ankeny (at the top of the diagonal-striped signs, which also looked larger in the photo mockup)?

soren
Guest
soren

“The goal would be to make it more difficult for people in cars to pass bicycle users, which would hopefully discourage people from driving on greenways altogether.”

There is a cheap and effective solution to this goal, Roger.

Pervasive diversion!

Glenn of Confusion (that's what the world is today, hey-hey)
Guest
Glenn of Confusion (that's what the world is today, hey-hey)

Maybe this has been discussed previously elsewhere, or maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture, but if I’m driving north or south on 15th, doesn’t the diverter force me ONTO a greenway?

Ted
Guest
Ted

I think this is an unfortunate design. The precast concrete pipes set on end had soil in them, creating micro spaces for green in the ‘greenway’. This design nips out that micro green. PBOT needs to get real about integrating green in their greenway designs. They’ve gone backwards in recent years. Many of their earlier designs had more green.

Joseph Munsinger
Guest
Joseph Munsinger

Heads up, I don’t think the diverters at Lincoln and 50th are very popular. The reason why I say this is that last night, I was stopped at the light, headed north on 50th. A guy in big red truck, westbound on Lincoln, then TURNED LEFT, between the diverter an my car, almost hitting me. I gave a spirited honk, so maybe he has been shamed from ever doing that again. But I would be very careful of these neighborhood denizens, as they are ignoring the planters.

MantraPDX
Guest
MantraPDX

paikiala
Mark,Was your complaint about a specific intersection (what 823-SAFE can address) or proposing a city-wide implementation plan? 10,000 intersections x $75/sign+post x 2 per intersection = $1.5M just to meet the minimum standard of removing the nearest approach first space. I’m still not sure most on this blog would be satisfied.Recommended 0

This tax payer would be satisfied, despite the veiled insult.

1.5 mil out of a budget of over 400 mil is a drop in the hat and the benefits would easily justify the cost.

sikoler
Guest
sikoler

If we didn’t intentionally gridlock main rush hour streets with ‘traffic calming’ motorists wouldn’t *need* to divert through neighborhoods.

This is another example of irrational bike activists working against their own interests. It’s irrational to make all vehicles with 4 wheels the enemy.

We must start working to help rush hour commuters and design for flow. The “bad for cars = good for bikes” mentality is actually harming our city.

MantraPDX
Guest
MantraPDX

sikoler
If we didn’t intentionally gridlock main rush hour streets with ‘traffic calming’ motorists wouldn’t *need* to divert through neighborhoods.This is another example of irrational bike activists working against their own interests. It’s irrational to make all vehicles with 4 wheels the enemy.We must start working to help rush hour commuters and design for flow. The “bad for cars = good for bikes” mentality is actually harming our city.Recommended 0

I’m not sure what you’re getting at. We’re here talking about a diverter on a greenway. Last I checked about 2% of the streets in Portland are designated greenways. Greenways full of peds, cyclists, etc that could otherwise be in a car adding to the traffic mess. In other words… easing car traffic on other streets to help keep things flowing.

I don’t understand how a discussion about the design of a diverter installed on a greenway constitutes ‘irrational bike activists working against their own interests’ or a ‘bad for cars = good for bikes’ mentality.

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

“2,300 cars per day east of 50th and 1,500 east of it. ” I assume the first east is west?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

MH,
Unfunded.

X
Guest
X

Well then, this is the diverter for that, the common situation where a bike hauler is carrying a load of drywall crosswise 😉 That’s the way to take a lane.

I did a scrap-wood-and-screw-gun modification to carry panels longways on my trailer, it looked pretty scrappy but it worked.

MantraPDX
Guest
MantraPDX

paikiala
You’re describing a city-wide effort? 823-SAFE is not the place to make such requests. Any criteria for where to invest first, since it appears the trained professionals are clearly wrong.Recommended 0

It’s unfortunately you’re taking this approach, Paikiala. I’m not sure why you’re treating me (us?) as the enemy, but that’s not the case. Since it’s been alluded to that you’re here representing PBOT I assume we have the same or similar interests.

You said you don’t believe anyone here would be satisfied. I replied that I would be satisfied and offered my opinion. That’s it. It’s just like, my opinion, man. Geesh.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I was actually thinking recently that I’d like to see more of the concrete barrels on Ankeny.

I’ve already spotted black tire marks on the fresh yellow paint. This is a sad and futile waste of money. Nothing has been accomplished. There is no deterrence.

soren
Guest
soren

This cracked me up:

paikiala December 14, 2018 at 1:40 pm
CROW says 6.5-8.2 feet.
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/334689

If I had to guess, I would expect automobile compliance to be fairly high at this diverter.
PBOT is fairly data-driven so I’m sure we will know whether this diverter has been successful soon enough.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Daniel S
I don’t think concrete barrels are the solution. Motorist compliance at the Clinton and 32nd facility got much better when the permanent, concrete facilities were installed. Compliance is still far from perfect there. But the barrels were essentially useless.Maybe barrels with narrow gaps, like the ones on N Central in St Johns would be OK. But PBOT doesn’t seem to be doing bikeway diverters like that anymore.Recommended 1

All I know is that when the concrete barrels were at SE 15th and Ankeny, cars could not bypass them. Now, the cars can drive over / through the “discouragers”.

MVK
Guest
MVK

The 50th and Lincoln diverter seems to be a success! The roundabout at 51st and Lincoln, previously a significant danger due to cars racing to beat bikes, is now calm in the evening commute. Thank you PBOT!

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Geller said he’s noticed that many people ride in the door-zone on neighborhood greenways — a sign of stress likely caused by fears of drivers coming from behind. Geller wants to make Portland greenways more “readable as a bikeway.” In addition to more sharrows and signage, he’d like couple that with an education program. The goal would be to make it more difficult for people in cars to pass bicycle users, which would hopefully discourage people from driving on greenways altogether.

If you don’t ride in the door zone then when a car passes you it’s very close to your handlebars (and you). Many feel that people getting out of car is less threatening than a close pass. The routes with slight hills are the worst. Uphill you get the revving sound from the car’s engine along with the greater speed differential. Downhill you get a speeding driver that doesn’t like traveling within the speed limit stuck behind a cyclist.

On many greenways it’s not legally possible to pass a cyclist because the road isn’t wide enough to leave room for them to fall over (7′) and not be in the path of the passing car. Most drivers are passing so close that I can touch their car.

soren impey
Guest
soren impey

The slow moving traffic law was appealed and is now binding legal precedent.

Ted
Guest
Ted

I witnessed an SUV roll right through the diverter on SE Ankeny & 15th this past weekend. It hardly slowed down.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Ted
I witnessed an SUV roll right through the diverter on SE Ankeny & 15th this past weekend. It hardly slowed down.Recommended 2

Been really hoping I catch it with mmy bike cam. Not like video evidence would change the rank complacency that let this happen!!! Ironically, I’m told that cyclists complained the barrels were too narrow. Well now they are too wide!!!

Jason
Guest
Jason

9watts
Irony is misplaced. This is what standards are for. PBOT isn’t playing a game of darts after hours; this is supposed to be their wheelhouse.Recommended 0

“Standards” and “PBOT” are not words that I associate positively. Look aroumd Portland and you will see loads of zaney – one off implementations of bike infrastructure. PBOT is like a college freshman with the urge to experiment with illicit hallucinogens.

soren
Guest
soren

I spent 30 mins observing the diverter during pm rush hour on Fri and did not see a single motorvehicle violation. This stands in stark contrast to my observations at both permanent Clinton diverters after they were installed.

9watts
Subscriber

Check out figure 3.21.4 here: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/ePrimer_modules/module3pt3.cfm

(It is a long document and you have to scroll about half way through.)

Although no dimensions are included, it seems pretty clear to me that the authors (transportation dept. folks) were clued into the specific relationship between auto track widths and diverter widths/approach angles, and that a standard bike lane width does not—as paikiala constantly tries to tell us—govern the thinking about diverter passage width.

9watts
Subscriber

And this from ODOT:

“If the crossing island acts as a diverter to through motor vehicle traffic, include a separate opening in the crossing island 6’ to 8’ in width, or two openings, each 5’ wide. The cut-through area may be angled up to 45 degrees to position bicyclists to face oncoming traffic.”

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Engineering/Documents_RoadwayEng/HDM_13-Ped-Bicycle.pdf#page7
Section 13.5.2.9

9watts
Subscriber

Any update from PBOT about compliance, usefulness of the installed width at this location?

I bike through there all the time, and the shiny yellow paint has been very thoroughly blackened by car tires, which doesn’t even reflect all the cars which could easily pass without making contact with the curbs… Just curious how and whether any learning takes place over there, or if we get to play along?

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

I’ll throw in an update. Drivers constantly bypass these diverters. I just saw 2 back to back drivers do it, one in a full-sized pick-up truck. I’ve been told that this is now an enforcement issue. So PBOT goes in, takes out diverters that work, which admittedly could have been a tad wider, and replaces them with diverters that are 7′-10″ apart, 10″ wider than they claimed, and then they just walk away and leave it to us to call for enforcement which will never happen. So much winning. SMH.