Harvest Century September 22nd

PBOT will restripe North Denver Avenue in Kenton next week

Posted by on August 30th, 2019 at 11:28 am

(Before and after)

It’s another paving project from the City of Portland that comes with changes to cycling facilities. And it’s another project where the bike lanes will be outdated from the moment the paint on the new striping is dry.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced today they will begin the North Denver Avenue paving project on Tuesday of next week (9/3). As part of their Fixing our Streets program that uses funds from a voter-approved gas tax increase in 2016, PBOT will spend $1.9 million on new pavement from North Lombard to Watts.

In addition to smooth pavement, the project comes with updates aimed at making crossings and bike lanes safer. “These upgrades,” PBOT wrote in a statement today, “will also improve safety conditions by adding safer pedestrian crossings and improving the existing bike lanes… and will include new striping and refuge islands at N Russet, Terry, and Watts streets as well as the widening of preexisting refuge islands.”

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Initial plans called for a more robust parking-protected bike lane. There was strong community support for the protected lanes, given how much people like them on nearby North Rosa Parks Way. But for reasons we still don’t fully understand or agree with, PBOT opted for these less-safe, unprotected lanes that will provide only marginal improvement over what exists today.

This seems like yet another example of PBOT making a significant compromise in the safety of the most vulnerable road users because of “concerns” from a small number of adjacent residents. In a December 2018 letter, PBOT Project Manager Geren Shankar acknowledged that most people he heard from wanted the parking protected lanes. However, because some neighbors complained about the lanes’ impacts to parking and garbage roll-cart access, PBOT backed away from the design, “In the interest of moving forward with the needed paving maintenance.”

PBOT has said they could still switch to a parking-protected design in a future project. But it’s unclear when that might happen.

This project is expected to be completed by October 1st.

— 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 productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

22 Comments
  • Avatar
    cmh August 30, 2019 at 11:56 am

    PBOT and ODOT have mastered the subtle art of building “bike” infrastructure that makes both biking and driving worse.

    And Chloe sits downtown and scratches her head; “What ever are we doing wrong!! Wont someone tell me”

    It’s nice that PBOT considers the welfare and safety of Peds, Bikes, and Cars is worth less than access to private landowners to the private-public parking in front of their house.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 30, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      It sounds like this wasn’t even about parking, but about trash can access. Is there a reason why PBOT couldn’t come up with a solution? (That said, I think parking-protected bike lanes are quite unsafe.)

      I wish they could have found a way to provide some sort of buffer for the door-zone lanes they went with.

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        cmh August 31, 2019 at 11:26 am

        I hate the configuration on Rosa Parks but I’d take parking protected bike lanes over PBOTs standard spray and pray bike lanes. At least motorist generally wont try and drive through a car (yet)

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    maxD August 30, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    PBOT could not be more lame. They have clear goals and mandates (modal hierarchy pyramid, Vision Zero) but they refuse to abide by or defend them. They are actively supporting SOV users at the expense of developing the bike/ped/transit networks.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 30, 2019 at 6:05 pm

      Trashcans are between peds and bikes in the pyramid.

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      David Hampsten August 30, 2019 at 6:27 pm

      About 10 years ago when I first participated on the PBOT Bureau/Budget Advisory Committee, we had an elaborate matrix agreed between our members and PBOT leadership on evaluating projects, all projects. It included points for livability, economic development, safety, and whatnot. After about a year of this, we sat down with a senior PBOT project engineer and asked, spur of the moment, how did she evaluate projects? She replied that she would consult with other PBOT engineers and look at how much money they could leverage from other sources AND figure out the political path of least resistance. This was before Vision Zero and the transportation hierarchy, but doesn’t it sound like they still evaluate projects with the same criteria?

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    Andrew August 30, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Cant be as terrible as the job they did on 102nd, eh?

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      Eric H August 30, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Here, hold my beer…

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    Josh Berezin August 30, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    The city’s position is pretty clear, right? Private car storage on public streets is more important than safety for people riding bikes. It would save us a lot of trouble if PBOT just came out and said that.

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    Fred August 30, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Jonathan, can you please say more about the residents’ specific objections to the protected lanes? Was it about residents’ confusion about where to park? Or they didn’t want to walk across a bike lane to reach a car? And on the topic of garbage roll-carts, did residents not want to put roll-carts on the traffic side of cars? (where should a resident put a roll-cart in this situation?).

    I’m thinking that every one of the residents’ objections could have been overcome, had PBOT tried hard enough.

    I know many cyclists like the bike lanes that are protected by parked cars, but I’m not really sold on them. I ride regularly on the PCPL (parked-car protected lane – I just made that up!) on Broadway by PSU, and I see lots of problems:
    – Peds don’t know where to stand to wait for a light so they stand in the bike lane;
    – Peds walk across the bike lane w/o looking;
    – Auto passengers open the pax-side door and dart across the bike lane, or just stand in the bike lane;
    – Cars don’t know where to park and park in the bike lane;
    – Cars, trucks, and buses pull up to the curb to drop off people & goods, and block the bike lane.

    What does the PCPL give cyclists? A barrier of cars, in the very unlikely event some driver pulls right.

    My own personal jury is still out on the efficacy of the PCPL. I know that riding in the “door zone” is a terrible feature of regular bike lanes, but peds seem to understand that when they step into a street they could get killed and they approach with trepidation. They don’t seem to know what the PCPL is for.

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    • Avatar
      Bald One August 30, 2019 at 4:24 pm

      Agree with you. The PCPL style protected bike lanes originally proposed on this project were very problematic and unsafe for cyclists in their proposal.

      Glad to see they found a better design. We’ll see how well it’s implemented – they always have the ability to mess it up translating paper to paint.

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    • Avatar
      sta August 31, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      i think it also does nothing to improve the location of most accidents – intersections. cars turning right continue to do so, seemingly with poorer visibility than before

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    Rebecca August 30, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Glad to see garbage cans finally getting their long-overdue promotion up the Hierarchy of Active Transportation.

    For so long they languished without recognition, but now here they are at the top along with parked cars. Bravo, cans. Bravo.

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    • Avatar
      John Lascurettes August 30, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Satirical comment of the week.

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        David Hampsten August 30, 2019 at 6:19 pm

        Are you trashing Rebecca’s comment?

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          Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2019 at 7:31 pm

          wishing won’t make it satirical

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    Christopher of Portland August 30, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    It’s amazing how little PBOT cares about getting anyone to ride a bike or making anyone who already does feel safe. I’m not sure I feel that bad about not getting another “confused/uncaring/malicious drivers will definitely park wrong” bike lane though.

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    Zaphod September 1, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    While I’d like to see PBOT stick to a logical, rigorous and consistent design approach, I think the buffered bike lane shown in the graphic is pretty good. The only real flaw I see is that savvy riders will avoid the door zone thus create an incentive for careless/clueless riders to pass on the inside for an unpredictable and dangerous experience. I realize that there’s only so much road width available so maybe it’s an ok compromise.

    I do object to the decision-making process of caving to a vocal minority against the greater good.

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    JimmysRad September 2, 2019 at 9:03 am

    All the trashy talk aside….I’d vote the stretch of Denver from Rosa to Killingsworth gets new asphalt over any “updated” re-striping. Does anyone have insight on how certain stretches of the same street get resurfacing before other sections that have clearly gone more years without it?

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    Suburban September 2, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    I was kinda liking the “de-striping” road look. Is that fad over so quick? Too bad, so clean, less clutter. Life would go on with half the sign posts bolted to my sidewalks.

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    dirk mcgee September 3, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I wish these were protected bike lanes instead…

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