At long last the construction of a new bikeway on North Greeley Avenue is imminent. At least we hope it is.
At their meeting this week Portland City Council is poised to authorize a contract for the construction of the Greeley Multi-Use Path project. This change to a notoriously dangerous yet extremely vital link between the central city and north Portland was first slated to be completed in spring 2017. Then it was pushed back a year due to what the city’s transportation bureau said was a glitch in state contracting laws, only to be delayed once again last summer when PBOT says they ran out of time to get a quality bid.
Now PBOT says the $1.9 million project will go to construction this summer and will take about 4-6 months to build.
Here’s an overhead view of the latest plans showing the lane configuration. The new two-way path is on the bottom:
As we’ve reported, the design will be a two-way physically protected path on the east side of Greeley that will connect with the existing path that connects to North Interstate Avenue on the south end. Northbound Greeley users won’t notice much change in their route (except for others coming toward them in the opposite direction); but southbound users will notice a big change. South of Going Street, the plans call for a new bike signal, signage, and pavement markings that will direct bicycle riders from the west side of Greeley, across the intersection to the east side where the new path will begin.
I’ve added a red arrow to the latest plans (which are at 95% design) to show the southbound cycling movement:
The path itself will vary between 11.5 to 12-feet wide. It will have a two-foot wide buffer filled with a concrete wall, a.k.a. jersey barrier.
It will be interesting to see how this new path works. For comparison, it will be a similar width as Better Naito, another protected, two-way facility. But unlike Naito, Greeley is a very loud and stressful street where auto and large truck drivers will be flying by at 45-50 mph. Downhill cycling speeds are also an “x” factor in how the new, two-way design will work. Even will these concerns however, it’s likely to be a significant improvement over the freeway on-ramp roulette we’ve been dealing with all these years.
Funds for its construction come from a $650,000 allocation from the city’s Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (the project was endorsed by the city’s Freight Advisory Committee), $600,000 in maintenance funds set-aside by City Council, and $600,000 from ODOT’s House Bill 2017.
In related news, a pending lawsuit accusing PBOT of negligence for cycling conditions on Greeley is moving forward. Lawyers for the plaintiff, Robert Smith, say they’re in the discovery and deposition phase of the case and they’ve received answers from their inquiries from the PBOT, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and Brandon Swiger (the man who hit Smith with his car in December 2017).
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