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PBOT unveils new designs, online survey for SW Multnomah/Garden Home project

Posted by on December 20th, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Latest design from PBOT. Note the prohibition on driving via 69th on the right.

Unfortunately we posted our story on the City of Portland’s SW Multnomah/Garden Home intersection project one day too soon.

This morning PBOT sent over the latest concept designs, which show significant changes from the designs many of you are discussing over on yesterday’s post. They’ve also just released an online survey to formally capture feedback.

The two basic concepts we shared yesterday are still the ones under consideration; either a roundabout or a signalized configuration. But check out these new drawings before making up your mind. PBOT has supplied aerial and on-the-street views of each one.

And make sure to note that both designs show PBOT’s proposal would close off the southern section of SW 69th while maintaining access only for people on bikes and foot.



Now, after you’ve read through the comments on yesterday’s post and thought about this for a bit, head on over to the online survey and tell PBOT what you think.


— 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

  • Alan Love December 20, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I live just north of the Old Market Pub, and take a left onto Multnomah every day. Initially, I thought the roundabout would be a better option, but now I’m liking the signalized design better. As shown with the new roundabout mockups, drivers going east from Garden Home and continuing on (not heading to Multnomah) will continue to blast through in an almost straight line, likely at 40mph. This make people walking and biking no safer than the current design. At least with the signal, drivers are forced to slow down even with a green to make a right to continue on Garden Home (kind of like at Capitol Hwy and Vermont).

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    • Alan Love December 20, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Oh, and as a reminder for anyone interested in the project, Eric Wilhelm has organized a ride down Multnomah to the proposed site, meeting at 5:30 at Bar3 at the intersection of Multnomah and SW 45th.

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    • Fred December 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Won’t they introduce some sort of neck-down to slow traffic continuing west-bound on Multnomah? I hope someone who really knows roundabout design will chime in here.

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      • paikiala December 21, 2018 at 8:45 am

        All modern roundabouts in the US are designed to operate at 20 mph or less.

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    • paikiala December 21, 2018 at 8:51 am

      roundabouts eliminate right hooks.

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    • Chris I December 21, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Entering that roundabout at 40mph would be reckless driving. You must yield to any traffic in the circle.

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  • Kelly December 20, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Looks like they’re going to remove the bike lanes. Nice.

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    • paikiala December 21, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Bike lanes in a modern roundabout represents a dangerous design. As the roundabout should be operating at about 20 mph, confident cyclist can take the lane. The less confident can use provided ramps to a shared-use path outside the curb.
      The lack of detail provided for cyclists in the roundabout mock-up is curious.

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      • Eric Leifsdad December 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm

        I think you mean “the less confident can stay in cars” because that’s exactly what is going to happen when you prioritize moving cars over people walking and biking. There is no good way to make a protected bikeway work with a roundabout in such a small space. Expecting people on bikes to merge with traffic means expecting most people in cars to stay in cars.

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  • BradWagon December 20, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Signalized: That bike lane will be filled 80% of the time with people using it to turn right on red to stay on Garden Home.

    Roundabout: Cars will be driving so fast through here making crossing on foot or bike a life or death activity.

    I still like and responded to survey in favor of signals. Some enhancements should include no right turns on red and the bike lanes keep their proposed alignment but raise up to sidewalk level at intersection to prevent drivers from using them.

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    • paikiala December 21, 2018 at 8:48 am

      If you think 15-20 mph is fast…

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      • BradWagon December 25, 2018 at 1:08 pm

        If you think cars will only be driving 15-20mph through here…

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        • paikiala December 26, 2018 at 9:21 am

          There might be some 23 mph drivers…
          It’s what has been measured at the Lewis and Clark roundabout.

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  • Matt Meskill December 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Isn’t this all about 20 years out-of-date?

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    • paikiala December 21, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Modern roundabouts were introduced in the US in 1990.

      People using the road make mistakes (like running stop signs and red lights), always have and always will. Crashes will always be with us, but they need not result in fatalities or serious injury.

      Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world – the intersection type with the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes – (much more so than comparable signals). Modern roundabouts require a change in speed and alter the geometry of one of the most dangerous parts of the system – intersections.

      The reduction in speed to about 20 mph and sideswipe geometry mean that, when a crash does happen at a modern roundabout, you usually need a tow truck, not an ambulance. Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts. Roundabouts are one of several proven road safety features (FHWA).
      The life saved may be your own.

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  • BikeRound December 20, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    I filled out the survey from New Jersey and indicated strong support for better walking and biking facilities. I am trying to do my civic duties for Portland :).

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  • rick December 20, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    It needs protected bike lanes, street trees, TriMet bus 45 reroute to Allen Blvd, bus 1 reroute, and a lower speed limit. Voting for a narrow roundabout.

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    • paikiala December 21, 2018 at 9:10 am

      (skip to end for protected lane solution)
      The best modern roundabout design for cyclists provides two choices. The more confident cyclist should merge with through traffic and circulate like a motorist. This is made easier by the low-speed operational environment of the modern roundabout, which should not exceed 20 mph (30 km/h).
      The less confident cyclist should be provided a ramp to exit the street and use a shared use path around the roundabout. Such paths should be at least ten feet wide (3 m) and cyclist operate at low speeds, crossing at the pedestrian crossings. Sometimes space constraints, as with other intersection types, limit ideal design.

      Safety Analysis:

      Bikes in roundabouts videos:
      Clearwater Beach, Florida:
      La Jolla, California :
      Bend, Oregon:
      New York DOT:
      Vancouver, BC:
      Oslo, Norway:

      In other countries, separate cycle tracks are used and here’s a video of how they work at modern roundabouts
      The culture in those countries helps such designs work better.

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      • Phil Richman December 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm

        From the Bend Oregon published brochure on Roundabouts and Bicyclists-Making Safe Choices

        Decide if you’d like to perform like a car or a pedestrian. I got lost at “walk your bike.” What if I want to perform like a person on a bicycle?

        That being stated I think I favor the roundabout if designed like that in the Bend brochure. It’d be way better than the status quo and be faster and safer for everyone than the signalized intersection.

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        • paikiala December 26, 2018 at 9:24 am

          Faster only compared to all the stopped cars at red lights. Roundabouts are slow and go intersections that reduce total daily delay, but some drivers will still have to stop, just a lot fewer than with a signal. Efficiency is the second most common reason roundabouts are built.

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  • wayne December 21, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    This intersection was the sketchiest part of my bike commute for 12 years (it’s still sketchy; I just moved & ride a different route now). The first commenter got it right that the greatest danger here is to cyclists heading onto eastbound Multnomah, as drivers peeling off from the main flow of traffic to stay on Garden Home cut across the bike lane without slowing or signaling, as it’s essentially a straight line.

    I’m not crazy about either of the proposals detailed above, but the diagrams for the signal option show that it does a much better job of making that a right turn instead of a straight shot. This would still carry the usual risks to cyclists of any right-turn site, but it’s a great improvement over the current situation.

    The roundabout option would indeed slow traffic, but cyclists would actually have to take the main lane _before_ entering the roundabout, or stop and wait for a (rare) break in traffic, to prevent getting sideswiped upon entering the circle. The narrowing and driver confusion could very well make this intersection scarier than it already is. The pedestrian crosswalks in the roundabout scenario, too, are likely to be unseen and unheeded by drivers, as I witness daily in a roundabout on my new commute.

    Vote for signals and then advocate for the addition of a barrier solution to keep right-turning cars out of the bike lane.

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  • Vince December 21, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Am I understanding that there will be no access from 69th to GH road?

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    • Jack G. December 21, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      From the article:
      “And make sure to note that both designs show PBOT’s proposal would close off the southern section of SW 69th while maintaining access only for people on bikes and foot.”

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      • Vince December 22, 2018 at 8:34 am

        Thank you. I missed that. Was too focused on the drawings. Interesting choice given that on 69th already there is a 12 unit apartment , about 20 houses, others being built, and vacant lots that, given what is being done in the neighborhood, will also be built on soon. Yes, there is access to GH on 67th, but it looks like the backup I see at 69th will just be shifted to 67th.

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        • rick December 22, 2018 at 12:24 pm

          Or people will be more encouraged than ever to walk and bike.

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        • paikiala December 26, 2018 at 9:26 am

          having another exit/entry in the roundabout means additional downstream gaps for entering elsewhere.

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  • Vince December 22, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Shutting off the street will get a few people out of their cars. But why stop there? How about sidewalks on 69th and 67th people don’t have to walk in the street? Before there were sidewalks on Oleson, just around the corner, only the bravest would walk to the local market. Now it’s a safe walk that many people do.

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  • mark smith December 25, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Will the city sneak some stop signs onto it for years to come, claim to pull them down, not pull them down and then possibly do a “bike sting”?

    Asking for a friend.

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    • paikiala December 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Ladd Circle was never designed to modern roundabout standards, neither was Coe Circle.

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  • ac January 3, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    i like the circle, but it needs to be shifted east along Multnomah to create more of a T arrangement where Garden home intersects with the circle (thereby decreasing the urge to cut that corner as a straight line heading east)

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