Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 10th, 2019 at 12:33 pm
*N Willamette greenway route on the left, HOP greenway route on the right.
While the Portland Bureau of Transportation looks to continue the positive trends of 2018 with projects on high crash streets, they haven’t forgotten about neighborhood greenways.
This week City Council approved $1.2 million in funding for a low-stress route between NE 128th and the Gateway Transit Center in east Portland. And late last month PBOT visited the Arbor Lodge neighborhood to pitch their proposal for a new neighborhood greenway on North Willamette Blvd between Interstate and Rosa Parks Way.
The east Portland project is known as the HOP Neighborhood Greenway because it uses Holladay, Oregon, and Pacific streets to give bicycle riders a more pleasant option than the fast and stressful arterials of Glisan and Halsey. The project will include the usual trimmings of a street where cycling and walking are prioritized over driving: sharrow markings, special signage, a 20 mph speed limit, fewer stop signs, more street trees, speed bumps, and so on.
In addition, PBOT says they plan to improve the crossing at the intersections of NE Pacific and 102nd and at NE Holladay and 122nd. There are also two sections of the HOP route that are currently “unimproved” (gravel) roads where PBOT has significant upgrades planned.
Construction on the HOP greenway is scheduled to start sometime this year.
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Willamette Blvd in north Portland is already a de facto bikeway. Many people use it as an alternate to busy, stressful conditions on Interstate Ave and Rosa Parks. It’s also a nice shortcut if you’re riding between downtown and University Park/St. Johns. Unfortunately as the amount of drivers in this area has increased, many of them cut-through neighborhood streets in this area. You might recall this issue coming up in our stories about people who vandalized “20 is Plenty” signs on N Villard.
PBOT plans to thwart this disrespectful driving behavior through “traffic pattern changes that reduce the number of people cutting through.” Methods they plan to employ include speed bumps to slow drivers down and all the typical greenway features so people know to expect bicycle users on the route. Here’s more from PBOT:
“People using N Curtis, N Villard, N Atlantic, and N Willamette to avoid busier main streets has been increasing for several years. Community members have increasingly asked for solutions to the high volume of cars speeding down their typically quiet, calm streets. PBOT collected traffic data and found the speed and volume of people driving is impacting the local street network and creating unsafe conditions. The N Willamette Neighborhood Greenway project will create a new, low-stress bikeway on a key connection on the peninsula and improve residential streets by instituting traffic diversion and calming measures in key locations.”
The exact location and design of the diverters remains to be seen and is likely to be hotly debated. Given their past experiences with diverter proposals, PBOT felt the need to post a statement on the project website that might limit their options: “All changes will allow full access to homes for residents, visitors, and deliveries.”
The city can hit the ground running on this project in part because Willamette Blvd has already been the focus of plans by neighborhood advocates and a group of Portland State University urban planning students. North PDX Connected: A Community Based Active Transportation Plan for N Willamette Blvd (PDF) is the title of a project published in June 2018 that included many recommendations on how to improve the street.
Back in October we reported that the city has $68,000 already set-aside for this project.
PBOT plans to do outreach on this project in the coming weeks and months, then test potential changes in March. Final plans are due to be completed by this spring with construction in the summer of this year. See the official project page here.
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