Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 4th, 2019 at 2:07 pm
The Oregon Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on a project that will add bike lanes to North Lombard between Newman and Wilbur avenues.
This 1.2 mile section of Lombard currently has five lanes, four of them are general purpose vehicle lanes and one of them is used for on-street auto parking. ODOT’s $10 million Lombard Multimodal Safety Project would repave the street and reconfigure the roadway space to include two, seven-foot-wide bicycle-only lanes, two through vehicle lanes (one each direction), and a center turn lane.
Here’s more from ODOT’s website (which inaccurately states the project will reduce travel lanes):
“This project will improve safety along US30 Bypass/Lombard, which is currently ranked as the 11th highest crash corridor in the City of Portland based on the frequency of both fatal and serious, near-fatal crashes for all types of road users. The project’s elements include adding a median with turning lane, bike lanes, and updated pedestrian crossings… The project also includes many pedestrian improvements throughout the corridor such as new crossings, audible pedestrian signals and ADA ramps.”
In addition to changes on Lombard, this project will also impact crossings of important bicycle routes on N Wabash (a neighborhood greenway), N Chataqua (connects to Charles Jordan Community Center), and N Woolsey (Columbia Park).
The current width of this section of Lombard is about 50-feet. The existing cross section devotes all that space to drivers of cars and trucks. The proposed cross-section would have 24-feet for through drivers and a 12-foot center turn lane.
Two years ago ODOT completed a very similar project on Lombard from Portsmouth to Wall. Those bike lanes don’t get much use because they are unprotected and adjacent to drivers going 25-35 mph. And people still park their cars and delivery trucks in them with impunity.
The final design of this project is still undecided. It would be great to see ODOT consider a wider bike lane protected by a curb or some sort of delineator. If this were a city-owned road, we’d probably see 10-foot wide driving lanes which would lead to lower driving speeds, a safer street overall, and provide more space for bicycling. However, ODOT is unlikely to consider such an option since this is a freight route and ORS 366.215 makes any “reduction in carrying capacity” difficult for them to justify (but it couldn’t hurt to ask!).
ODOT will host an open house for this project next Wednesday, March 13th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the New Columbia Community Education Center (4605 N Trenton St). You can bet some business owners and residents will be upset about any loss of “their” parking spaces. If you want to encourage ODOT to provide safe access for bicycles on this crucial neighborhood street that provides access to many key destinations, please make sure ODOT hears from you at the open house or via email to Community Affairs Representative Ellen Sweeney at Ellen.SWEENEY@odot.state.or.us.
Once design is finalized, construction is scheduled for 2021-2022.
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