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There are bike lanes on SE Foster Road

Posted by on June 5th, 2019 at 10:56 am

Pretty sure the “BS” stands for bicycle symbol. PBOT still adding some finishing touches to the new lanes.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been about 78 months since we first covered the possibility of dedicated cycling facilities on Southeast Foster Road, a major arterial coined the “Foster Freeway” by former mayor Sam Adams when he launched an attempt to make it safer in 2010.

A few nights ago it finally happened. PBOT striped bike lanes as part of the finishing touches on their $9 million Foster Transportation and Streetscape project.

Fresh pavement in the western section of the project between 82nd and 90th.

The stated goal of the project is to, “Transform Foster Road [between 50th and 90th] from a high speed, auto-oriented corridor into a more balanced streetscape that is safer and more accessible for people walking, biking, taking transit and driving,” and to, “support and enhance the growing mix of businesses and residences in the neighborhood.”

My initial impression is that — despite being outdated, narrow, and unprotected — the bike lanes have helped PBOT reach that goal. The presence of bicycle riders in the street on their own right-of-way dramatically changes how the street feels for everyone. The new lanes also make Foster a more feasible place to ride a bike in general, which will increase customers to businesses, encourage window-shopping by bike, and add vibrancy and humanity to the street.

In addition to the cycling-only space, the $9 million project repaved the street between 82nd and 90th and included: upgrades two traffic signals; wider sidewalks in some sections; new median islands and flashing beacons at six intersections; new street trees and ornamental street lighting; and upgraded ADA curb ramps at 69 locations.

While these bike lanes are clearly lacking from a design standpoint, it is no small thing for PBOT to add cycling space to such a major arterial.

Below are more photos and a video to give you a better sense of how it turned out.

PBOT did that thing where they drop the bike lane right before a big intersection (82nd) to create a shared lane.

Some sections have a buffer, like this one just west of 82nd Ave.

Curbside going westbound. It’s definitely not low-stress and it’s definitely not for everyone; but it’s better than nothing.

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PBOT retained 94% of the on-street parking in this project, so much of the new bike lane is sandwiched between parked cars and drivers.

With one lane for drivers, the back-up was pretty severe yesterday. It will be interesting to see how people respond and how/if diverted drivers impact adjacent residential streets (I saw many people bail off Foster out of frustration at being stopped).

With frequent bus service, leapfrogging will be an issue as bus operators cross over the bike lane to service stops. Really wish they would stop in the lane instead.

A look at the new cross-section.

A buffered section.

This is the section just before 52nd (outside Devil’s Point).

And of course it didn’t take long for people to take advantage of the new space…

Striped just in time for a Pedalpalooza ride last night!
(Photo by Matchu Williams)

PBOT says there will be a ribbon-cutting event next Thursday (6/13) at Portland Mercado.

Get out there, ride these new bike lanes, and let us know what you think.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Huey Lewis
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Huey Lewis

I’m pretty stoked these are finally down. I haven’t noticed anyone getting too pissed these are here, traffic on Foster surprisingly never seems that bad. Maybe I just hit it at the wrong time (though I’ve been using Foster just after 5 pm and that’s primetime for backups if there are gonna be backups). I know paint doesn’t provide legit protection but it still feels pretty good there are bike lanes down because previously I would have never used Foster like I have lately.

Jason Skelton
Guest
Jason Skelton

Exciting! A side benefit is the sidewalks are now safer for people on sidewalks because cars are not driving 45 MPH inches from them. The sidewalks on Cesar Chavez are scary.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Did the world end? From the signs on that furniture store these last few years I would have thought when this day came that armageddon would arrive soon after and the earth would perish in a cloud of smoke and fire.

Edward
Guest
Edward

It’s a huge improvement. The Pedalpalooza “No More Four Lane Roads” ride ended at the Mercado on Foster Monday night (after riding in the lane on 82nd, Glisan, 102nd, Stark, & 122nd). When we rode it the bike lane for the block or so just west of 82nd had been striped, but a lot of it was empty not yet painted. We rode by the street sweeper and just as we ended at the Mercado, the painting / striping crew showed up. After riding all that other fairly awful non-existent bike infrastructure, Foster now seems like the promised land.

Emily Guise (Contributor)
Subscriber

On one hand, I am SO EXCITED to be able to finally ride on Foster! On the other, I’m sad that these lanes have been in the works for so long that they are already outdated in design from a safety standpoint.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Pretty awesome stuff. My FoPo friends are beyond amped, their neighborhood just got a helluva lot more livable, as already evidenced by new businesses opening (it feels like weekly) up and down the block.

On the flip side, as someone who lives just off Holgate (at 35th), I’m a little worried about traffic that will be bailing off Foster and coming down “my” street. But as others have stated, I only anticipate this being a concern during rush hour, which I avoid like the plague. And that includes both driving and biking and running – just too many people out there at that time.

Carl
Guest

“PBOT did that thing where they drop the bike lane right before a big intersection (82nd) to create a shared lane.” …but, I suspect, mostly because ODOT insisted on it. Maybe it’s a convenient excuse but I do know that the state sometimes insists on this type of thing where city streets cross theirs. It’s unfortunate because, inevitably, these are the busiest, scariest crossings where protection is most desired.

Shimran George
Guest
Shimran George

This is awesome! Can we please do the same for Hawthorne between 12th and 39th? Calling that road a a four lane road is a joke, and given the recent enhancements to 50th, we can make a seamless connection all the way to Foster.

dirk mcgee
Guest
dirk mcgee

One of your photos claims the unbuffered bike lane is “low-stress”, but I think you meant to say stressful

el timito
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el timito

What a difference a day makes! Just rode this yesterday when all I had on the pavement were little circles that said “BS”. Which I took to mean Bike Serenely. So I did.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I’ll never understand why they keep on street parking on arterials. Letting cars parallel park is dangerous for cyclists and annoying for drivers. Everybody wins with no parking – more dedicated space for bikes or buses.

Kittens
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Kittens

Finally, YES, woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Time to go visit Foster, except this time, I won’t be in a motorized vehicle!

pdx2wheeler
Subscriber

Congrats to those who will benefit. Hope this inspires a few to join our team.

Toadslick
Subscriber

The recent death on 99W demonstrates why these paint-only lanes are insufficient. Veering a few inches to the left or right shouldn’t be a death sentence, but with lanes like this it can and will be.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

No surprise when I was watching the video above and saw somebody using the new bike lane as a passing lane.

Zac Christensen
Guest
Zac Christensen

Now as safe as Broadway

Maria
Guest

I’m a bold confident cyclist and have lived in the neighborhood for 15 years. I’ve avoided riding on Foster because traffic is too fast and the street too narrow, but then, last night, while on the Foster Night Ride, I was DELIGHTED to see these sparkly white paint stripes.

I know there’s controversy about the effectiveness of paint. My argument is this: imagine a two lane road without yellow striping in the middle – it would be scary for drivers and hard to navigate. Another example: picture a parking lot without lines and imagine the chaos. When people park in fields for events, they need people with vests and flags to tell them how to park in rows. Bike lane paint also tells other road users that bikes belong on the road.

Anyway, WOOOO HOOOO I am one happy Faux Poor felony flats hill killer!

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

SilkySlim
Pretty awesome stuff. My FoPo friends are beyond amped, their neighborhood just got a helluva lot more livable, as already evidenced by new businesses opening (it feels like weekly) up and down the block.On the flip side, as someone who lives just off Holgate (at 35th), I’m a little worried about traffic that will be bailing off Foster and coming down “my” street. But as others have stated, I only anticipate this being a concern during rush hour, which I avoid like the plague. And that includes both driving and biking and running – just too many people out there at that time.Recommended 5

There is anticipation of traffic diverting from Foster Rd due to the lane reconfiguration and onto three nearby roads: Holgate Blvd, Woodstock Blvd, and Powell Blvd. Traffic counts are planned later this year to determine the degree of spillover traffic. In good news, the speed limit along the inner portion of Holgate Blvd was reduced recently as you pointed out and there are longer term plans for bike lanes and other design changes such as crossings per the latest High Crash Corridor analysis along Holgate. I still have a hard time believing that bike lanes along inner Holgate will ever exist but on outer Holgate before Powell Butte they are wonderful!

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

Adam
I understand their concern though… since obviously people who use bicycles don’t own furniture… (or at least probably won’t from that store).Recommended 0

I’ll share this story again as I feel it helps to humanize and expand upon the Euro Classic Furniture sign saga. Jon Shleifer, the current owner of Euro Classic, actually lived for a few years in the basement of the Euro Classic Furniture as a child. His development and understanding of the neighborhood and by extension the world is been shaped by growing up on Foster Rd. The income from the business during better years provided shelter and security. To him it worked. If it works for him, why shouldn’t it work for others too, right? Not right, as Foster used to have four travel lanes back with two parking lanes for most of its length and a history of multiple injuries and fatalities, but knowing this life story certainly helps to foster understanding behind the bizarre messages originating from that building.

Taco
Guest
Taco

Paint certainly isn’t much protection, but coupled with a lower speed limit and a few calming of traffic bits here and there makes the whole feel of the street less stressful.
Seems like a big plus for all modes of transit, unless you are impatient and driving a car.
Deep breath and patience people.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

It’s depressing to see that door-zone bike lanes are still being implemented. Good grief, how many cyclists have to be injured or die before we send this spawn of hell back to where it came from? Either remove the parking or admit you’re not going to create a reasonable cycling environment. By putting in a DZBL, cyclists who know what the score is are faced with a terrible choice: ride in the door zone, which the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has noted is the number one hazard in terms of injury and death, or eschew the bike lane and ride in the travel lane, where one will definitely be harassed.

Whoever signed off on this design should be required to put some skin in that game. This is more about getting those pesky people who ride bikes out of the way than anything else. I must have either misread the priority pyramid or the oh-so-valuable storage of private property in the public right of way was in a color that the printer was out of and sits at the top as job 1.

There’s no amount of lipstick that can pretty up this particular porcine creation.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I was sitting outside NWIPA last week (first time hanging on Foster in quite some time) and realized just how great the area is going to be moving forward with the redesign. I look forward to many bike trips over there for pints and food.

Tasha Danner
Guest
Tasha Danner

I rode this today, after having mostly used Clinton, 52nd/Woodstock to get to work on 92nd & Woodstock. It took about 7 minutes off of my commute, but I’m not sure it is worth it, due to the safety hazards. It seems those on 52nd and Woodstock are used to bikes being on the road, whereas the vehicles on Foster are obviously not yet and are often larger vehicles like trucks and buses. There were also random orange cones in the bike lane, east of 82nd going east and along most of it to 52nd going west. Is this because it is not officially “open” yet? It was truly annoying to have to get out into traffic to dodge all of these cones. There did not seem to be any reason for the cones, like a pothole or obstruction, so it was confounding. I’ll return to the old route until I’ve heard the cones are completely gone and it’s been broken in a bit.

Harth Huffman
Guest
Harth Huffman

I’m late to comment, but I am very thankful for these changes. This is my third year using Foster regularly, heading east from Holgate to get on the Springwater every morning. I feel infinitely safer than I did three years ago. But it is coming home when the change is most noticeable. Going westward around 4:30pm, I would often resort to the sidewalk because it felt so unsafe, especially from 205 to 72nd Ave with a curb to my right. It’s easy to argue it was not smart to even ride that section at all. But now I can breathe more easily and feel relatively confident that I have the space I need. I am relieved and stoked these bike lanes are in place!

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Hello, Kitty
I disagree that paint isn’t “legit” protection; it’s the same protection that drivers get, and yes, steel cages, but a head-on car-car crash at 30 MPH can be fatal, and all that prevents that is paint.Despite claims that bike lanes offer no safety value, I think these lanes will be a huge improvement to Foster.Recommended 11

It’s imperative the marginal/half measure infrastructure group have as many boosters as possible.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Shimran George
I use Harrison all the time.My frustration with Hawthorne comes as a driver….it simply isn’t a very good 4 lane road. The lanes are narrow, and barely any space between opposing traffic. You can tell someone tried to stuff more road capacity into a roadwidth that simply didn’t support it. I much prefer intentional design than a road planner trying to add capacity by giving a very mediocre solution.As far as bike lanes go…I can tell you I appreciate a more direct route where possible. As someone that lives and uses the 20s bikelane frequently, I ride on 28th from Stark to the bridge over 84 rather than divert over to 30th/Oregon Park.Anyway, I know not everyone can bike everywhere, but I am not going to complain about taking away a lane that shouldn’t be there in the first place and replacing with a bike lane, or some sort of a mass transit option.Recommended 2

Hawthorne should have a protected lane end to end as one of the most liberal streets in Portland…or well.was before all the beards and flannel showed up. It should not have a center turn lane. But alas Portland is still staffed by half measure Bob’s who can’t really imagine a true bike way.

Jeff Forbes
Guest
Jeff Forbes

:”With one lane for drivers, the back-up was pretty severe yesterday. It will be interesting to see how people respond and how/if diverted drivers impact adjacent residential streets (I saw many people bail off Foster out of frustration at being stopped).”

It should perhaps be pointed out that practically the very first thing that happened in this process was re-striping Foster to have 2 driving lanes and a center turn lane. Drivers on Foster, including myself, have had at least six months to get accustomed to the new traffic pattern. While we’ve had extra wide driving lanes it was still obviously a single lane. And my experience as a resident who both drives and bikes from FoPo to downtown is that the increase in congestion has been pretty minor. But my bike commute did get shorter by 3 minutes:)