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First look at new bike lanes and other updates to NE 102nd Ave

Posted by on August 13th, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Changes include a two-way bike lane that starts on the I-84 overpass (a ramp from the sidewalk to the new lanes will be built later this summer).
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently completed phase one of a $331,000 project on Northeast 102nd Avenue that included new lanes for biking, fewer lanes for driving, and more. It’s part of a significant update of the corridor between NE Sandy and Weidler.

This section of 102nd is on the city’s “High Crash Network” list. It was the site of 258 crashes and three fatalities in the five years between 2012 and 2016. Like much of their work in east Portland these days, PBOT’s goal with this project is to tame a wide arterial known for fast and dangerous driving while adding better access for walkers, bicycle riders and transit users. Prior to this project 102nd had a cross-section that included seven lanes of driving access: two for parking cars, two for through traffic, and one center turn lane. The new cross section has swapped two of those through lanes for cycling-only lanes.

In addition to the restriping, PBOT has installed four new crosswalks.

The northern section of the project is pretty standard. The new bike lanes are buffered and they feel nice and wide. There’s room to ride away from the door zone on the right and drivers on the left. Unfortunately the bike lanes offer only paint for protection. (Unlike other recent projects the city didn’t opt for a parking-protected bike lane.)

As I biked south from Prescott the bike lane ended at Fremont (upper left photo). It took a few seconds to figure out what I was supposed to do. I noticed a “Use Sidewalk” sign and found a beg button on the southwest corner of the intersection. I used the signal to cross safely to the east side of the street where I found myself on the sidewalk going southbound (against traffic) over Interstate 84. Then I saw the two-way (a.k.a. “bi-directional”) bike lane that begins about mid-span on the overpass. PBOT has yet to build a ramp down to it, so I lowered myself down a big curb to give it a try.

Two-way bike lane on I-84 overpass.

The two-way bike lane felt nice and wide as I rode against bumper-to-bumper traffic. Then on the south side of the overpass near NE Morris Court, things got interesting: PBOT has installed stop signs (which will be yield-when-safe signs on January 1st) between the two bike lanes at NE Morris Court and NE Morris Street.

There are stop signs in the bike lane at NE Morris Court and NE Morris St.

I don’t recall ever seeing stop signs like this before. I was there during the evening rush-hour and as I approached the stop signs there was a lot going on. People were pulling out of a neighborhood on my left, people were turning left into the neighborhood over my right shoulder, and people were turning right into the neighborhood in front of me.

Here’s how it looked on video:

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View looking north toward the overpass.

We all know how confused many drivers get when they see a bicycle user at a four-way stop intersection. Now imagine how that plays out in this novel scenario. As always, if everyone is chill and respectful, it’s not that big of a deal. But that’s a big “if”. In the time I observed these intersections, everything worked OK. One problem I noticed, which I’ve also noted at other protected bike lanes around town, is that auto users frequently block the bike lane as they wait for a gap in traffic. Perhaps we need more “Do No Block Intersection” signs?

I’ll be curious to see how this works as more people start to bike here and the green pavement color and plastic wands begin to wear away. On a related note, I won’t be surprised when the stop signs are destroyed by a driver.

The two-way lane ends at NE Morris St and you’re supposed to cross if you want to continue south.

Looking north at end of two-way bike lane at NE Morris.

At Morris Street, the two-way bike lane ends and there’s a bike crossing that takes you back to the west side of 102nd to continue southbound toward Gateway. It’s great to have a new bikeway and safer street design that connects to the new protected bike lanes on the Halsey-Weidler couplet. I just wish the connection was a bit stronger. As I approached Weidler, my nice wide lane got narrower and the paint had worn off. The last block-and-a-half before connecting to the new protected bike lane was much more stressful than I had hoped.

Looking south toward Halsey-Weidler.

End of new buffered bike lanes at Weidler. Connection to Halsey should be much better than this.

PBOT is still working to complete this project. Later in summer they will add another crossing at NE Thompson, adjust signal timing at Fremont, built that ramp from the overpass sidewalk to the two-way bike lane, and add more bike symbols. The city also plans to lower the speed limit to 30 mph this fall. After everything is done, they’ll analysis traffic data and public input. Here’s what PBOT says will happen next:

“In winter and spring of 2020, PBOT will release a final design based on the project evaluation. If the new roadway configuration is maintained, the design will be implemented in Phase Two, including a crossing at NE Beech Street, converting the crossing islands to permanent concrete islands, adding curb extensions and upgrading curb ramps, adding several upgrades to the NE Fremont Street intersection, and adding any other project enhancements that are included in the permanent design.”

If you’ve ridden this and want to share feedback, contact PBOT Project Manager Christopher Sun at (503) 823-5391 or Christopher.Sun@portlandoregon.gov.

I’ll be riding this again tonight (8/13) with the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee during their annual bike tour (starts at 6:10 pm from Franklin High School if you’d like to join) that will be led by PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller. Stay tuned for updates.

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

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David Hampsten
Guest

This a horrible street to bike on before these changes. Unfortunately, all the alternatives are even worse. Looks like everyone was confused by all the changes, which gets everyone to move slow.

igor
Guest
igor

This was part of my regular commute for years. I always thought that 102nd was a great way to get north/south *except* for the I-84 on-ramp on the west side of the street. I’m kind of amazed that all this contra-flow bike lane construction has been done to work around a single on-ramp.

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

Typically if you are riding along and see odd junk (green paint,bollards) it’s time to just take the lane.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ve looked at those pics several times, and can’t figure out how it is supposed to work. Is a stop sign for a single lane of a street that otherwise has priority part of the MUTCD?

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

I need a drink of whatever PBOT has been drinking lately. When things are confusing, vulnerable users lose.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Are there any plans to add reflectorized RPMs in the buffer part of the bikeway…so that the bikeway section (without wands) is usually distant from the MV roadway at night during the fall winter?

dwk
Guest
dwk

Who do we blame for this crap?
Enough is enough, bike share is not going up in this city despite thousands of new residents who obviously are not riding bikes.. Spending stupid amounts on green paint just so someone can look like they are doing something is not helping at all.
It is time for a complete overhaul.

Andrew N
Guest
Andrew N

Someone at PBOT needs to make sure that the water filter also removes lysergic acid diethylamide.

rick
Guest
rick

SW Garden Home Road had stop signs for people riding a bike on the north side of SW Garden Home Road from SW 78th Ave to SW 92nd Ave. Those signs are gone and it now has a lower speed limit in that section.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Finally, PBOT found something where cyclists, auto drivers, and pedestrians can all unite. We can all unite in scratching our heads and wondering WTF at this monstrosity.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This is a huge improvement. This street was insanely dangerous to ride on before these changes. The closest I’ve ever come to getting put in the hospital was crossing 102nd at San Rafael. Car in the right lane stopped for me, and right as I started crossing, a car behind them illegally changed lanes and almost hit me. Getting the street down to one lane each way is the big improvement here.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

“(a ramp from the sidewalk to the new lanes will be built later this summer)”.

How stupid do they think we are????!

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

I commute to work on the Eastside and have mostly avoided 102nd. Since the change I’ve ridden it a few times, and while it isnt great, it’s a whole lot better than it used to be. The biggest disappointment I have with this iteration is that the ramp to the sidewalk wasn’t built from the get-go. That means either dismounting to step off the curb(its pretty tall), or keep riding the sidewalk until Morris. I’m not a fan of the stop signs either, it adds a bit of ambiguity where there need not be.
Is there any reason pbot decided against making the entire project 2-way bike lane? I understand why it needs to be that way at the I-84 overpass, but to me it doesnt seem unreasonable to have the whole thing run two-way, on the east side of the street it would link up much nicer for cyclists using the halsey/weidler couplet as well.

kittens
Guest
kittens

“Keep Portland Weird” was taken perhaps a bit too literally here.
But thx for the lol PBoT!

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

I have a question about the “Looking south toward Halsey-Weidler” image- is that about 50 feet of 2 way cycle track you have to cross the street for and then immediately jump back over to the other side?

comment image

It reminds me of something similar, though slightly longer, on Killingsworth.

TheCowabungaDude
Guest

As a bike safety instructor for middle schoolers in this area I’ve got my work cut out for me when teaching how to navigate this. So according to the rules of right-of-way a car heading southbound is turning right across this two-way bike lane they have priority over northbound cyclists, but not over southbound cyclists. If a vehicle turning onto 102nd from one of those side streets gets to the intersection before I do, I have to wait for them to execute their turn before I can proceed through the intersection (as evidenced in Jonathan’s video). This is kind of a mess. Any idea why they didn’t opt for two separate bike lanes? Was it a space thing over 84?

What’s going on in that picture with the caption, “Looking south toward Halsey-Weidler”? Is that a two-way bike lane for exactly one block?

Yikes

soren
Guest
soren

…upsets vehicular cyclists

This is almost always a *good* thing, ATMO. Sadly, PBOT has recently moved away from engineering bikeways for the non-elite uber-experienced rider (e.g. the SW Madison buffered bus lane for bikes)

Don Arambula
Guest
Don Arambula

With all the expanse of asphalt on 102nd, it’s unbelievable that a direct, convenient and safe route couldn’t be designed. Moreover, I couldn’t help but notice your photos showing buses caught up traffic. What a missed opportunity create a complete street that addresses all modes.

PDXCyclist
Guest
PDXCyclist

Jonathan, can you ask why they opted for travel lane, bike lane, parking instead of PPBL?

It seems like the parking lane is 8 or 9 feet, and the bike lane is 6ft + 2ft buffer, so the total width of 16-17ft is enough accommodate PPBLs.

I do understand people’s hesitation with visibility, but that can be accommodated with parking setbacks / daylighting. Currently though, I’m worried about drivers using the bike lane/parking lane as a turn lane (like what happens on Foster)

Bob
Guest
Bob

Although I’m happy to see the new 102nd and Halsey/Wielder bike infrastructure, for those people using the I-205 path going north and south, the 102nd Avenue bike lane is redundant because the two bikeways run parallel and in some places are only about 300 yards apart. In fact, my first impression was that the 102nd bikeway was a waste of money because of this. Between Gateway and Marine Drive I will always take the I-205 path only because there are no cars on it. The only real value of the 102nd bike lane is putting the bike lanes over the I-84 bridge. This will make it safer for those cyclist coming out of Fremont and heading southeast or vice versa. If, for example, I was on Halsey at 122nd and was heading toward Marine Drive by way of the I-205 path, I would ride on the residential streets only to get away from the auto traffic on Halsey/Weilder and 102nd. As I live near Rocky Butte and as I ride to Vancouver via I-205 a lot, it is not likely that I will ever use the 102nd bikeway. IMHO the money would have been better spent putting bike infrastructure on a place like the St Johns bridge.

Matt Meskill
Subscriber
Matt Meskill

This looks to be a total shitshow. I’m speechless.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

I live out here and all this SUCKS. Now we have backups from Halsey to Sandy on some days, making it hard to get in and out of the neighborhood on streets like Sacramento for example. You have people shooting in and out at any opportunity and it is definitely worse than before. Epic fail PBOT. Sorry there weren’t enough bike riders out here to warrant this.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Roger rules.

onegearsneer
Guest
onegearsneer

PBOT tops itself once again with a design that’s confusing to cyclist and drivers let alone dangerous. I live in the area and will not ride this path and now have to find a new north/south route on the occasions I drive due to all the backed up traffic. Too many other unsafe connectors to take advantage of the “improved” Halsey route as well.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

As was discussed upthread, closing this one on-ramp would have worked at least as well as going to all the trouble to build out a confusing, legally ambiguous mishmash. It indeed appears as though the only reason to do the shuffle back and forth across 102nd is so that bicyclists don’t cross over a freeway entrance. This entrance only takes drivers WB on 84; there are entrances to 205, both N and S, 3/4 mile north of Fremont at Sandy/Lombard, and WB access to 84 at Weidler/Halsey 1 mile south of Fremont. From Lombard, 205 S will connect to 84 both E and W. There is no need for the little on-ramp that splits off of 102nd from the overpass, it is merely a convenience for motorists. So rather than inconvenience motorists a teeny-tiny bit (they would not need to detour or travel out-of-direction, just stay on 102nd a bit longer), we instead create this.

What the what?

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

Looking at the lead image, what is the license plate or identifying number on the white SUV on the left side? I’m assuming that there is a temporary paper taped to the back window but I’m unable to read it. Is a car without legible license plates or identifying papers legal on public roads?

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

Two-way bike paths should NOT be used on city street grids where the path crosses driveways and side streets. I get they had to move through an overpass, but they need to find a better way. These designs need to STOP popping up in Portland, they are not good for bikes.

Let’s have some bike-first bike designs! This was another bike-last design. Thanks for cramming us in with a shoe-horn, PBOT.

Failure to expect riders coming from the immediate, curb-side right as vehicles enter the roadway.

Night and winter riding: oncoming traffic headlights (and other debris) in the biker’s eyes.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

One more issue about the cross-walks / cross-bikes.

Everyone should approach intersections with caution, but the stop signs on the bike paths at crosswalks are wrong and set inappropriate precedents. We see this more and more in new infra – that PBOT or Tri-Met (or the bad mix of the two) are just defaulting to throwing up stop signs on bike lanes at any circumstance, and at the same time, providing indication that the cyclist have the right of way (cross walk, being in the flow of traffic where the main travel lane has no traffic control or stop, etc).

Tri-met now training their drivers to not stop for bikes or peds in these painted cross-walks – what precedent does this set?

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

The whole idea that the city needs to send ALL the bikes to the other side of the road in order to avoid a potential right-hook where the bike lane and the right turn lane interact is the wrong idea. How about the city keep 2 options for bikes available – one where PBOT re-paints the bike lanes in the mixed right turn lane with extra thick paint to allow everyone who wants to keep in the lane to at least have some painted bike lane infra in place to indicate to the drivers that it’s okay to be there; a second option where the city “creatives” who work in PBOT can make a fairy-path of highly “engineered” bike routing through sidewalks, medians, islands, two-way temporary MUPs, beg-buttons, bike-stop-signs, bikes-go-here signs, bike round-abouts, etc.

City needs to keep both options viable, if they are going to create a new “super-safe” route for the cautious riders, they should also throw a little love and maintenance into the traditional (and pre-existing) bike lanes for the confident. Why not have two options? That would put us back on the path to Platinum.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Roger always rules.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

Long ago in a city that briefly succeeded in getting butts onto saddles, there was one and only one side path. The traffic engineers did exactly what has been done here; they gave the right of way to motorists turning across the side path. Not surprisingly, this was the site of the majority of all cyclist injuries (low speed, so no deaths that I was aware of).

I’m not a big fan of side paths where there are intersections or driveways because the conflicts just seem never-ending. Add in nonsensical right of way to adjacent motorists turning across them and it’s just never going to end well. Mind you that far-away city had an effective zero-tolerance traffic enforcement regime and still couldn’t make this sort of thing work well.

onegearsneer
Guest
onegearsneer

Live in the area and had to drive my car on 102nd northbound for an appointment (yes I drive a car but mainly bike around town) during evening rush hour and only saw one cyclist while crawling in traffic. They looked like a serious commuter and were headed southbound over the bridge in the southbound lanes where there’s no bike lane/shoulder with a confused look on their face. I couldn’t figure out the pattern either while sitting in traffic and will continue to avoid 102nd on my rides at all costs as just a mess….