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City relents to neighborhood concerns, will stripe unprotected bike lanes on N Denver

Posted by on December 20th, 2018 at 1:08 pm


*PBOT conceptual drawings from September showing the original design (on the left) and the modified one created after hearing concerns from some residents.

A project that initially proposed parking-protected bike lanes on North Denver Avenue will now get just standard bike lanes.

“The project can be delivered with standard bike lanes and curb-tight parking while leaving open the potential to switch to parking-protected bike lanes as part of a future project.
— Geren Shankar, PBOT project manager

That’s the decision made by the Portland Bureau of Transportation after tallying public feedback and responding to concerns in the neighborhood about how the bike lanes would impact their lives.

Back in March we shared the original plans for Denver between Lombard and Watts. The idea was use a planned repaving project as an opportunity to create an “all ages and abilities” bikeway that would connect the Arbor Lodge and Kenton neighborhoods. Instead of a bike lane next to moving traffic and parked cars, the proposal would have built curbside bike lanes protected from drivers by a parking lane (similar to what we have on Rosa Parks) The newly designed street would be much safer for all users and it was scheduled to be constructed this past summer.

But when the project got to the Kenton Neighborhood Association, PBOT received pushback and opted to delay the project a full year. In a meeting back in September to allay concerns, garner feedback, and consider other options, PBOT Project Manager Geren Shankar characterized the neighborhood opposition as: confusion over where to place trash cans, how the new design might impact driving, and complaints about inadequate public outreach. At that time the plan was to take a survey and get as much feedback as possible then tally the responses and make a decision.

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The choices were: A parking-protected bike lane or a standard bike lane. In a letter being sent to Kenton neighbors today, PBOT says their choice is a standard bike lane.

Here’s the text of the letter from PBOT’s Shankar:

“We initially proposed repaving N Denver Avenue this past summer with protected bike lanes, transit stops and crossing medians. We received positive support, but also heard some concerns about the proposed design and placed the project on hold to continue our outreach with the neighborhood. Outreach included a direct mailing, an online survey, a presentation at a meeting of the Kenton Neighborhood Association, and a public open house held on October 2, 2018.

While most of the Portlanders providing feedback on the project supported the original design, many residents still had concerns. In addition to reviewing the concerns about the design, we evaluated the possibility of signalized crossing improvements along the corridor but found that they were not warranted at this time. Our project team has determined that the project can be delivered with standard bike lanes and curb-tight parking while leaving open the potential to switch to parking-protected bike lanes as part of a future project. In the interest of moving forward with the needed paving maintenance in the summer of 2019, this is what we will do.”

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

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Su Wonda
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Su Wonda

Truly Platinum

bikeninja
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bikeninja

I think these folks will be sorry. The parking protected lane would have minimized the danger to their houses from burning cars when the “Yellow Vest Movement” comes to Portland from France.

Racer X
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Racer X

Hello, The Streets Trust: This looks like a great opportunity to dust off your legal council and move towards suing the City for a street design that would likely have higher injury rates AND not completely fulfill Council policies for complete streets and vision zero and the 2030/35 Plan. I know its been almost 30 years and 5 (?) office moves since this tool was last used…I hope it is still in the tool box marked “BTA”.

Bjorn
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Bjorn

What is the percentage of support needed to make a safety improvement? 90% 95% 99%??? It is crazy that most people wanted this, they know it will be a safer design, yet still they are not going to do it.

maxD
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maxD

PBOT is so lame! Why is it so hard to advocate for safety? There are simple answers to all of the concerns about trash cans, etc. This is pathetic.

Bald One
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Bald One

The decision represents a pragmatic improvement to bike safety on this street. Parking protected bike lanes have many complications and additional safety concerns that the standard bike lane does not have. For those that will still feel unsafe in the standard bike lanes proposed on Denver, the sidewalks here present many of the same benefits and car-free safety features of the parking protected bike lane and will be an excellent alternative. This was the correct decision.

Gary B
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Gary B

Won’t someone think of the trashcans!!

Maria
Guest

Yay! I really dislike the configuration on the left (bike lane between parking lane and curb). I’m riding Rosa Parks daily and am constantly challenged by: cars parked in bike lane, trash cans in bike lane, debris in bike lane, strollers/car seats in bike lane (car drivers unload), yard maintenance crew unloading equipment into bike lane, near right hooks because drivers can’t see me. I hope this style goes away – it’s inconsistent, confusing and in my opinion – dangerous.

julia
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julia

Some people aren’t used to this design and it can cause huge safety issues. Near Lloyd Center / Green Zebra, I’ve seen people not knowing where to park and they end up parking somewhat in the bike lane and their passenger doors fly open and they walk right into cyclists on their way to get to the sidewalk.

B. Carfree
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B. Carfree

What an awful choice: a DZBL or a door-zone gutter lane that is likely even more hazardous. Why is it so impossible to remove some on-street parking so that people can use the street to, you know, actually move down the street with a modicum of safety.

Mao
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Mao

As someone who grew up in Kenton, my concern about the ‘car potected’ bike lane is making left turns. It’s already tricky, where I need to do a good ol’ Copenhagen to make my left. But if I have a wall of cars I wouldn’t be able to move to the turn lane as easily.

Mark smith
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Mark smith

Cars over bikes when push comes to shove in Portland

Jd
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Jd

This is actually a really good call in my opinion. I used to think protected bike lanes were a really great idea. I now think they are a disaster and pose more of a threat to cyclists than a traditional bike lane with a buffer. I ride NE Multnomah every day and deal with multiple close calls with passenger doors and right hooks. Keep in mind that I’m not riding fast (about 12-15 mph) and am paying close attention. I do think education is a key in reducing this problem but you simply can’t solve the visual obstruction issue. I’d like to encourage everyone who thinks that this change to the N Denver plan is regeressive to go ride Multnomah for a few days in a row. I’m sure your prospective will change as well.

Jason
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Jason

Having used the “protected” bike lane on SW 2nd from Pine to Burnside, I say good!

So called “protected” bike lanes are fine, until the next intersection. Numerous times I have had to reliquish -give up, sacrifice- my right of way so as to **save my life**. The hooks, in this case left, are real. Deadly real. When is a cyclist most vulnerable? When they are not seen. What does a motori see, a line of parked cars or a bike riding behind a line of parked cars? Parked cars of course!! Parking protected bike lanes are the wrong solution to the problem.

Jason
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Jason

John Lascurettes
“The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.” — Lt. SporkRecommended 5

Did you intemd to misquote that? =P
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v1mE_lyVKRQ

John
Guest
John

But if we followed this logic wouldn’t it mean that PBOT actually was catering to cyclists?

Chris I
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Chris I

Can we just compromise and remove all of the street parking?

Patrick
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Patrick

As I recall from ST2: The Wrath of Khan, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…that’s why spock sacrificed himself to get the warp engines back online.. =)

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

AND as the smart rabbit once said: “Trix are for Kids!”

…what about lowering the design speed of the street to 15 mph AND removing the kerbside car storage AND shifting parking to the unused median lane when there are refuge islands at each intersection?! (The project rendering just shows the median space as “striped pavement” (not even tree space). I am sure most residents would rather have some on-street parking for “holiday visitors” than easy turning access into their driveways…just do a “USPS turn” (the opposite of a UPS turn).

Jason
Guest
Jason

Chris I
Definitely not the same. Protected bike lanes are typically wider, have better sight lines, and a smoother rolling surface.Recommended 2

I can point to numerous sidewalks that are in the 7′ wide range, so no – not wider. Certainly sightlines are worse in so called protected bike lanes, bikes are hidden from cars until the intersection. This increases right hooking. So far as smooth goes, I don’t know what city you live in, but in portland every city street is rough. Sidewalks are much smoother.

Pushing bike lanes behind parked cars panders to the two arguments, “bikes don’t belong on the road” and “bicycling is not safe”.

I advocate for bike lanes in the road. Because that is where bikes belong.

Steve B.
Guest
Steve B.

I’m OK with this decision on Denver. Traffic speeds are relatively calm thanks to prolific speed bumps and horizontal deflection, and these parking protected lanes hide people on bikes and surprise people driving at each intersection. It’s also difficult to make left turns out of the lane.

I know we have typically given PBOT guff for not putting in the cheapest, easiest semi-protected lanes everywhere, however given the challenges involved, it seems we should probably not do protection “on the cheap” and instead rely on buffered lanes until we can properly fund a protected bikeway.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Jason
Fact of the matter is, so called protected bike lanes create ” deer crossing” scenarios at the intersection. Suddenly a bicycle appears. Just not safe.Recommended 0

Sure. Keep hitting that broken trumpet. Guessing you want your child to be the human buffer between cars?

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

It’s interesting to see all the “cyclists” that have capitulated to a car first solution. It’s like this website should be called Carbikeportland.org

Roberta Robles
Guest
Roberta Robles

Seems Vision Zero was a waste of time, if the city doesn’t use this policy tool now, why did we even bother advocating for it? This is the time to use it.