Don’t call it a sidewalk or a bike lane.
Action 5.1: Provide Lower Cost Pedestrian Walkways
- Portland residents cannot wait another 20 years or more to address gaps in the sidewalk network… In addition to costing less than a traditional concrete sidewalk with a full curb and gutter, lower-cost pedestrian walkways can also be a more context-sensitive approach for providing pedestrian walkways in neighborhoods.
Next spring the Portland Bureau of Transportation will build a new type of facility they refer to as an alternative pedestrian walkway. It will be built in the Cully neighborhood on Northeast 60th between Going and Lombard/Portland Highway. The idea is to provide safe space for vulnerable road users when full-fledged sidewalks are considered too expensive or onerous to build.
In a statement last week PBOT said the 60th Avenue project, “presents a unique opportunity” to try one of the treatments outlined in the city’s PedPDX Pedestrian Plan adopted by council back in June.
The new facility will be made out of a six foot wide strip of pavement separated from other lanes by a raised concrete curb and PBOT will prohibit on-street parking between Going and Killingsworth to make room for it (north of Killingsworth the path will tie into existing sidewalks). As you can see in the concept drawing above, the design is much more akin to a protected bike lane than a standard sidewalk, but PBOT is framing this as a space for walkers.
“In terms of bikes, we recognize the need for better routes on either side of 60th, and we have two Greenway projects in the works to provide that.”
— John Brady, PBOT
PBOT Communications Director John Brady said bicycle users won’t be prohibited from the new facility, but the city’s hope is that most riders will use other routes: “The primary intended use [of 60th] is for pedestrians.” In development of the PedPDX Plan, 60th was designated by the community as a key walking route. However, as one of a few continuous, north-south streets in the area, and with no shoulder space, 60th is stressful for many people to bike on.
“In terms of bikes,” Brady said, “we recognize the need for better routes on either side of 60th, and we have two Greenway projects in the works to provide that. The first is the 50s Greenway which is currently slated to start next spring or summer. And then there is the 60s Greenway planned for 2021.” The 50th Greenway route uses 54th and 55th and the 60s Greenway route is on 66th and 67th. (You can these and other projects coming to Cully here.)
As for whether these new alternative walkways will replace sidewalks, Brady says, “We continue to be committed to filling in the sidewalk gaps that exist in the city. In the meantime, however, we want the flexibility and tools to increase pedestrian safety in the here and now. Thus, the walkways.”
See PBOT’s website for more on this project.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I think it would be beneficial to add sharrows so drivers don’t think bikes belong in the pedestrian lane, which looks a lot like a bike lane.
This…nailed it on the head. Drivers are not only going to assume its a bike space but we can already assume we’ll be subjected to the usual yelling and harassment, for not riding in this space.
Oregon already does a lousy job in terms of driver education when it comes to sharing the road.
Really? I thought I read somewhere on this blog that traffic enforcement in Portland has been eliminated. And since I read it on the internet, I know it must be true!
But I’d bet my entire paycheck that the big white signs with the black numbers on them as well as the Red Octagonal ones are not only covered in the manual but included in the competency test that you take before receiving the certificate of your driving privilege.
Yet only about 50% of the drivers in my neighborhood seem to remember what either mean.
As a biker and someone who regularly drives down 60th, I would NOT risk my life biking on that street. I’ll use the new sidewalk-that’s-not-a-sidewalk when it’s finished, but until then I’m taking the side streets (future greenway on 47th?) or the Cully cycletrack.
And as long as you are courteous to pedestrians there would be no harm in doing so as it is permitted to share sidewalks in Oregon under state law, outside of downtown Portland (City Ordinance).
“We can’t figure out how to retrofit sidewalks in some neighborhoods so we’ll just do this neither-fish-nor-fowl thing which I’m sure will never get parked on because Cully folks don’t use Amazon. Surely motor vehicle users will never stray over the thick paint stripe into the pedestrian zone because they are always on task and don’t make mistakes.”
Meanwhile bike riders wander through the side streets. PBOT: would you ever direct motor vehicle traffic primarily through a maze of rights and lefts on the usual hummocky pavement?
Didn’t think so.
Well, it’s going to be more than paint, but how high and how sharp the corners?
You mean, like, intentional diverters that cyclist can bike through?
X’s comment is valid and insightful. Bike routes–created by PBOT or other agencies as the route they prefer that bike riders use–are often “a maze of rights and lefts”.
In contrast, the “intentional diverters that cyclist can bike through” that you mention are built to discourage vehicles from using those routes because there are other routes (typically busy streets) that have been created intentionally by those agencies to accommodate vehicles, and that are set up to cater specifically to drivers’ needs (wide lanes, higher speed limits, restrictions on where pedestrians can cross, etc.).
In other words, bike routes PBOT and other agencies create FOR bikes have similar characteristics (inconvenient turns, etc.) to what the same agencies use when they want to DISCOURAGE vehicles from using a route. That’s really bad.
No paint stripe. Raised concrete separator. Zoom in on the illustration and you’ll see. That raises different concerns.
Note the gravel shoulder on the other side of the street. A gravel shoulder is probably what this new sidewalk replaces. It is not raised, but it is behind a “raised concrete traffic separator” as indicated in the illustration. The separator’s major function is to enforce the parking ban. Bicyclists can cross without dismounting only at intersections and driveways. The separator can topple bicyclists either from the street onto the sidewalk, as with a conventional curb, or from the sidewalk into the street. Bicyclists must stay away from the separator to avoid pedal strikes, so both are effectively narrowed. Riding on the sidewalk will be more common for that reason and because it will be seen as a safe refuge. There are potential issues with drainage. including flooding (and ice, though Portland rarely freezes) that do not occur with a conventional crowned street and raised sidewalk. Main advantage I can see of this design is that it is cheaper to build than a conventional sidewalk, all other things being equal.
There are advantages in having a sidewalk, but there are tradeoffs with this design including some that would not occur with a conventional sidewalk.
Can the curb be driven over by an inattentive, drunk, or high driver? If so, its a design fail.
Then every sidewalk in Portland is a design fail.
Even a 2″ curb is a massive improvement over no curb. I don’t think it’s a design fail for this reason. Agreed that most curbs in Portland are design failures under that standard, since more than half of all passenger vehicles are pickups or SUVs that can easily mount standard curbs.
Doesn’t look like a bike lane or a sidewalk to me. Looks like a substandard-width MUP.
Maybe this will serve as a good example for why PBOT should use raised concrete curbs more often? I can think of a lot of bike lanes that could use a raised curb to keep cars from crowding into them, especially NW Lovejoy @ Broadway bridge… Anything’s better than just a strip of paint…
Glad they’re at least putting speed bumps here, and glad there’s at least some improvements to pedestrian safety on this popular corridor.
So Brady’s comment positions this as bikes and peds and fighting over scraps. That’s the wrong framing.
Why isn’t the city proposing making these 20-25ft roads one way couplets and using the other lane as a MUP with those barriers? Driving time would be slightly longer but it would be an immediate, huge benefit.
I’m not being sarcastic either. There are so many E-W and N-S couplets in outer East and SW Portland that could benefit from this method.
Given that this project is going to happen and my comment will be ignored, I wish they made it 18ft ROW for cars/bikes without a centerline so when two vehicles from opposite directions approach, they have to significantly slow down.
Not in Cully and East Portland there isn’t. It’s in these areas the treatment is intended, not inner Portland where there is already a plethora of sidewalks.
Well David there just may be something to work with here. Parts of Cully have very long 5-block chunks oriented E-W, so there are many ways to go in those directions but relatively few ways to go N-S. If you make it easier to go N on one street and easier to go S on another, it’s a couplet. If there happen to be a few 1 or 2 block jogs in your way, welcome to Portland!
The 4-wheel speed limit on that stretch must be dropped to 20 mph and dnforced 😉 if you expect babies in strollers to mix with cars w/o a real barrier.
No! Enforcement is racist and has been declared so on BikePortland. However maybe we could hire that lady who fooled people into thinking her hair dryer was a radar gun?
Lots of silly things have been declared on BP by lots of different people with different points of view. Are you attempting to roll them up into one opinion?
Maybe. We do have some real experts who post here.
Everyone is an expert. The confirmation bias proves me right!
I think he’s rolling up all the people who oppose enforcement because of racism into a group who oppose enforcement because of racism.
Yes Kitty, yes.
Then why did he say this?
“Enforcement is racist and has been declared so on BikePortland.”
Has BikePortland declared that ‘enforcement is racist’? That’s one possible implication. Has even one person declared that ‘enforcement is racist’? I think the opinions we’ve seen on that matter have been quite a bit more nuanced, but he’s attacking a straw man.
>>> Enforcement is racist and has been declared so on BikePortland. <<<
That's an objectively true statement. It doesn't mean that Jonathan has said this (though I think he has), it means that people have used this platform to make that declaration.
Many if not most of those declarations have been notably absent of nuance.
“Enforcement is racist”
First, show us a statement where someone says that law enforcement is racist. If law enforcement is racist, then gosh, I guess we’d better stop all law enforcement.
The existing situation on many streets in Cully is that one strip of pavement serves all purposes– walkers of all ages, runners, bike riders, and motor vehicles whether driven or stored. There was a bit of a “kid gap” for a while but now you see a lot more. Social commentary omitted. Strollers actually are a traffic calming device because even the most brazen mv operators do not want to see an aroused parent. People who live there know that the street is everything to everybody.
NE 60th is a bit of a race track with a dashed center line and crumbly edges. Car hell, basically, and not much of a local street. I don’t really see how long paint stripes will make it much better. A side path as described would be sort of OK I guess, but doesn’t feel like ‘Hey, let’s go for a walk’!
NE 42 is a slightly different sort of motorway with sidewalks but fairly rampant speeding between Killingsworth and Prescott, and the same up to Fremont.
In Cully nobody is in a hurry to put in sidewalks unless their building plan makes the bell ring at 1900 SW 4th, and then it’s the usual $16,000 for sidewalk, curb, and drainage inlets. That’s a real amount paid by people I know.
The city doesn’t have a pot of money for sidewalks, but maybe we could support sidewalk districts so that a group of homeowners could get economy of scale and a low interest rate if they actually want sidewalks? Old Cully isn’t really a straight-line-white-concrete sort of place but a little design work, some pavers, a bit of creativity with easements and some sweat equity could produce amazing results.
I’m well aware that design work isn’t free but you can get software for cheap.
I’m on one of those streets in Cully. the mild chaos of all users in the same space seems to work fine for the most part. there are occasional speeding drivers, and somebody crashed something into my neighbor’s parked pick-em-up truck hard enough on the 4th of July to knock the tire off the rim. otherwise, I like the shared space. I could see sidewalks actually making things worse.
I agree sidewalks can make things worse. Once they’re provided, many drivers feel there’s no excuse for anyone to walk anywhere else (or bike, in the case of the walkway in the article that looks like a bike lane). It can be a greater problem when the path or sidewalk is only on one side of the street, making walking on the other side more dangerous. Path on one side also means half the people walking can’t walk facing traffic.
Not arguing against the solution in the article, just against the idea that sidewalks are always good. My neighborhood successfully got PBOT to NOT add sidewalks here.
Maybe I’m being way too pedantic, but if we have a modal hierarchy pyramid which prioritizes pedestrians, how can any sidewalk project be deemed too expensive? That would only make sense if PBOT was spending no money on Bike, transit and/or automotive infrastructure.
Sidewalk infill should be PBOT’s top priority. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bicycle and transit advocate, but if the city is crying poverty on providing sidewalks, we clearly don’t have money for any other project at this time.
It is those “texture bumps” as you rightly call them, but on a flat section like at a pedestrian island. It’s for blind and legally blind people to know where the street and sidewalk edge is.
But you don’t really design roads for a living, do you…
A curb is part of sidewalk construction.
A curb impedes previous water flow.
Impeded water is required to be collected and disposed of.
Disposing of water requires a drainage basin, or multiple along the road, or an inlet and pipes to a treatment facility.
Sidewalks require space, so unless right of way exists, it has to be purchased.
Survey, design, construction, it all adds up.
The ‘all or nothing’ attitude is a poor starting point for negotiation and is easy to accommodate considering the numerous demands on limited resources. no soup for you.
That’s not what I do for a living, no. I have built streets, curbs and sidewalks, and I know a lot about the soil in Cully. Curbs attached to sidewalks is a canned design that isn’t going to play well in place where lots of people have trees planted IN the sidewalk easement. It’s easy for you to throw a template on that and say ‘work done, the trees have to go’ I guess.
From my point of view the city treats every situation as the same, a blank slate. That would work ok if the neighborhood was newly platted and most of the constituents were cows. Cully would be a good place to think outside the box and use a design that handles all street runoff on site instead of dinging property owners $200 a foot for inlets and pipes.
I agree that curbs cost a lot of money and cause a lot of problems. Seattle did some promising works with SEA (Street Edge Alternative) streets that are curbless/flush curbs and the sidewalk is built without curbs. Maybe this could inspire a more creative approach form NE 60th that creates a cueing street with pullouts in between filter strips with trees that separate the walking space?
pervious pavement could solve the problem, too. as I understand it, though, there is a bit of conflict over that in Portland government. BES likes it. PWB is afraid of stormwater in contact with their pipes. PBOT doesn’t want additional maintenance.
You only have to look at the Seattle examples (I’ve toured them) to see how much more expensive and intensive they are, and Seattle rests on glacial till.
closer to home, Gresham reports good luck with them. Portland’s few installations have also worked well without much maintenance.
The first example, on Huber street, is likely more expensive than what PBOT is proposing but far less expensive than a typical PBOT curb with integrated gutter. And I think PBOT’s proposal could be modified to reduce the driving width, increase the MUP width, add turn-outs, and replace the raised curb with sections of vegetated swales- no curbs, just flow through planters with native soils. These would treat and infiltrate some stormwater, support street trees, and buffer the pedestrians. I would want a geotech report/soil test to confirm, but this project is likely far enough east that soils are probably depositional from the Missoula Floods and will be cobbley and fast draining.
I was part of a coalition of transportation advocates, planners, developers, and community residents pushing for precisely this type of solution in East Portland, Cully, and B-D, areas that will not see sidewalks in the next 50 years because of the high cost of sewers and gutters that have to be put in with sidewalks, not to mention right-of-way and NIMBY issues. The reality Mr. Sanow is that parents with strollers are already sharing 30 mph residential streets with fast SUVs, they have no choice – the cheaper places to live and raise a new family are always those places with the worst services and infrastructure. These pedestrian lanes are a cut-rate solution to an already dangerous and expensive ongoing problem. That lack of sidewalks persists even in parts of the city annexed over 100 years ago, let alone areas annexed by 1991. MTW, it costs the city about $800,000 to $5 million to put in a sidewalk for 1 mile (5,280 ft) on a street without gutters and sewers, depending on slope, soils, and right-of-way acquisition costs. PBOT doesn’t have that kind of money, not often anyway.
I know they’re different agencies with different budgets, but comparing that price to the $500,000,000 (at minimum) it will cost to add two miles of auxiliary lanes to I-5 sure puts it in perspective. I’d rather spend that money on making 200 miles of our neighborhood street much safer and more walkable by installing sidewalks. Not to mention the infrastructure improvements gained by putting in new sewers and gutters.
OK, checked your arithmetic. Bingo. I happen to know that the soil in Cully is really stable and well-drained, courtesy of the Missoula floods that dropped it there. I think an engineering study could show that not a drop of storm water would ever need to go in a pipe because even with no built drainage existing, it disappears. That’s thirsty ground and “French” drains are extremely effective. Cully is also very gently sloping for the most part.
But no, it won’t wash. Gotta have freeways.
And wellhead protection? Contrary to popular belief, sumps cannot be built anywhere the soil ‘drains well’.
Your point is well taken.
If wellhead protection is an issue here then all the street water that is now going straight into the soil in Cully adds another dimension to this. I just added wetland plants to my design for a Cully Catch Basin using construction debris and local materials.
which wellheads need protecting in Cully?
wellhead protection has a habit of expanding rather than contracting since groundwater doesn’t pay attention to lines on a map:
I take your point, but I’m not seeing any part of Cully colored yellow on your map.
even where wellheads do need protection, there are simple treatment trains that would solve the problem. curbs might even make things easier. sure, they’re a trigger for requiring storm water facilities, but that storm water is there already, as X mentions.
It’s absolutely possible that there is a well, or several, in Cully. There’s all kinds of stuff that somebody’s actual grandfather did out there. Nobody talks about it naturally. I’ve been curious about how far down the water table might be but not curious enough to start digging.
I spent some time with water quality data from storm water facilities in Portland. pollutants didn’t make it very far into the ground from sumps.
Thanks for the perspective. The only question I’d ask is whether acquiring the ROW is necessary (the above example appears to be using the existing ROW to provide a solution) but I’d defer to your expertise on this issue. Appreciate the history and how this appears to be a “win” from a neighborhood advocacy perspective.
While this dome good news for 60th it would be nice if it extended all the way to Prescott where folks walk to Albertsons or to access transit.
That paint will keep pedestrians from being murdered by texting drivers… That is a BS solve.
There’s a concrete divider.
Those are not “domes.” Domes are spherical.
They’re “truncated domes”.
I’d like seeing this accompanied by adding stop bars at every stop sign, so drivers entering from side streets don’t pull all the way across the walkway before stopping. Not that the stop bar guarantees they’ll stop behind the bar, but at least it makes them legally required to stop behind it, before pulling forward more.
Actually PBOT should go ahead and do that at every stop sign in the city regardless of this project. But including it at every one of these should be automatic.
Even with stop bars, most drivers will still blow right past the sign, and go as far out as they can without getting clipped by traffic.
Indeed. Teach your kids to watch out for this! Whenever I approach an intersection with a stop sign next to the crosswalk or bike lane I want to use, I assume that they are both likely to be entered by drivers who aren’t looking for me.
The sign requires them to stop behind it, not the paint on the ground. Drivers are expected to stop twice if they can’t see from the legal stopping point before the sign. The second stop may indeed cross the pedestrian path and even enter a parking lane if needed.
True, but if this isn’t wildly hypothetical, I don’t know what is.
I’m not sure that’s true, but I’d love to be proved wrong. I recall a discussion of this from an earlier article. I’ll try to find the law. Or feel free to cite it if you know it.
Stop signs. A driver approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no marked crosswalk, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it.
drivers are required to stop behind the stop sign, but they do not. And stop signs are frequently blocked by vegetation. Stop bars are redundant to stop signs, but they are not useless. They greatly improve the visibility/message of where and when to stop. At a minimum, I would like PBOT to paint stop bars at all cross streets along greenways.
I’d always thought that was true that drivers had to stop behind stop signs, but per the citation above, it doesn’t appear to be true if there’s no stop bar or marked crossing. But you totally get the most important point–that even if they’re redundant, they’re not useless. Paikiala’s response to me ignored that. Since he believes they’re redundant, then he should ask himself why PBOT installs them ANYWHERE. The answer would be because of what you understand–that they reinforce the visibility and message about stopping behind the sign before proceeding. He may understand that too, but instead he seemed focused on telling me I was wrong about the law, so the fact they may increase safety seemed to become irrelevant.
paikiala–your response, followed by your silence, is ironic because it illustrates exactly what happens–not usually, but way too often–when I try to communicate with PBOT or other bureaus.
First, I make a suggestion (add stop bars to encourage drivers to stop before entering the unmarked crosswalk in this case). Then, instead of responding to the suggestion, you look for some way to tell me I’m wrong, typically by citing some code or technical issue (telling me stop bar paint has no legal impact in this case) which isn’t vital to the suggestion anyway. For most citizens without technical knowledge, that would be the end of the communication, because most people are not going to try to challenge City technical staff on technical issues.
But then, I respond (as I did with you) that no, here’s the code, and it seems in my reading to contradict your answer to me.
Your response? Silence. No telling me why I’m wrong (if I am) or acknowledgement that I’m right. Just silence.
Status of my suggestion? Never got a response to it, and probably never will.
This has happened time and again between you and me here, as it has time and again when I try to communicate with City staff. I’m not saying I’m communicating to City staff when I communicate with you in the comments here, I’m just saying the parallels are ironic and frustrating.
If you put in too many stop signs and/or stop bars, especially “everywhere”, motorists will ignore them even more. Most DOTs, including PBOT, try their best to limit where to put them for maximum safety (and minimum maintenance costs.)
Domes are not necessarily spherical.
What we will the process be for property owners who elect to fill in the sidewalk where the alternative pedestrian walkway is? Is that still an option or will they instead have to contribute to the LTIC (Local Transportation Infrastructure Charge)? If voluntary sidewalk infill is an option, what specifications will they have to follow and what will the ramp design look like where a newly installed sidewalk ends at the property line and is higher than the adjacent alternative pedestrian walkway? I.E. Will the adjacent property owner be responsible for developing an ADA ramp to the newly installed sidewalk or will it be shared between the separate property owners?
Legalities aside, I’m excited to see pedestrian infrastructure happen where none existed before!
Normally the sidewalk drains water into the street gutter, but in this case it looks like the walkway ‘is’ the gutter. Cars will splash water over the barrier into the walkway where it will be trapped. Will it need to be slightly sloped with gutter drains on the outer edge, or are they solely relying on the permeability of the pavement? And how well does the permeable pavement drain when the underlying soil is already saturated?
Similar issue issue with leaves. Leaves will blow in from yards and stop at the barrier, collect water splashed over the barrier, and turn to mush. Are they planning on using the protected bike lane sweeper (just one?) to sweep the walkways?
Will homeowners along an alternative walkway still be required to install normal raised sidewalks for new home construction or renovation? Or if its a site of a future alt walkway, will they be required to install a short section of alt walkway instead? If there are going to be islands of raised sidewalk surrounded by alt walkway, then I assume the islands will need ADA ramps on either side.
From what I’ve observed in Portland, most concrete sidewalk islands (“floating sidewalks” is what Steve Novick called them) already have cheap and poorly maintained asphalt ramps at each end per ADA, which are supposed to be removed as new concrete sidewalks and gutters are added for each new development in the next 50 years or so. Unlike the Pearl, redevelopment in Cully and East Portland has been spotty, random and haphazard. This proposed “quick fix” is meant as a stop gap between what currently exists and what a total build-out will look like when the city is fully urbanized in 3237 AD.
A few thoughts:
Discussion of projects like this needs to include the design speed. This stretch of NE 60th is a collector
in a residence district. So it should already be posted 20 MPH per the Ordinance
which says “the City of Portland establishes by ordinance a designated speed that is five miles per hour lower than statutory speed on non-arterial streets under the jurisdiction of the City of Portland in a residence district.”
5 MPH lower than statutory is 20 MPH. Is it posted at 20? Street view shows 25 MPH signs.*
[*PBOT’s failure to comply with the 20 MPH Ordinance on most collectors city-wide deserves an advocacy response and full discussion elsewhere.]
Assuming PBOT is compelled to comply such that 20 MPH is the posted speed, and speed cushions are placed to achieve that, I would be much more comfortable with my family walking or biking on this proposed design than on the current cross-section:
But… What’s the plan for trash pickup? If people put trash and recycling bins in the walkway will the curb (hopefully) prevent haulers from picking them up, or will the people who drive those trucks “mount” the “mountable” curb (pictured) and drive in the walkway? If that’s the plan scratch what I said about my family walking there.
Although use of on-street parking looks to be sparse here, PBOT is showing some courage in providing space for walking instead of prioritizing parking. It’s far from putting peds at the top of the modal hierarchy as existing policy directs, but it moves peds up one notch compared to many Portland streets and the existing operation. Ped advocates are accustomed to being—and are expected to be—grateful for the crumbs we’re given.
Permission to vary from state law and not doing so is not a failure to comply.
A lawyer knows this, and as you are a lawyer, and familiar with the law, implying so is a falsehood. Any such assumption is wrong and you know it.
PBOT policy permits posting of 20 mph on a minor emergency response route like NE 60th.
So if PBOT policy permits posting it at 20 mph, why not do it?
One irony with your comment is that you as a non-lawyer are questioning the legal knowledge of someone who apparently is a lawyer.
There’d be no irony if someone else did the same thing, but you often dismiss others’ comments because they are not credentialed (as in your condescending “But you don’t really design roads for a living, do you…” in your response to someone else above).
Credentials are irrelevant here. Either someone’s point is valid or it’s not.
@paikiala your suggestion that I’m wrong is welcome. Your suggestion that I know I’m wrong feels unproductive but I’ll flesh this out because it’s an important issue. The ORS authorizes Portland to go to 20 MPH if Council passes an ordinance. The ordinance Council passed (link above) directs PBOT to implement the ORS in full. It doesn’t give PBOT “permission.” Rather, it is mandatory. Council could have chosen less than full implementation. Council chose full implementation and by the clear language of the ordinance has directed PBOT to post 20 MPH on non-arterials in residence districts. If PBOT staff or leadership have cold feet they could go back and ask Council to water down what is probably the single most compelling piece of the city’s Vision Zero efforts to date.
There is a fair amount of misinformation about speed setting and its vocabulary. For example, PBOT PIOs have said the ordinance applies to “residential streets.” Legally there is no such thing. There are local, collector and arterial streets (federal functional classifications). Also, streets in urban Portland are generally in “residence” or “business” districts, a distinction based on land use. The ordinance only applies to streets where they pass thru residence districts because business districts were already statutory 20 MPH. So it creates consistent speeds, unless there is a Speed Zone Order setting a higher speed in a business district. The ordinance does not apply to arterials because Gov. Brown’s ODOT wanted to retain its ability to run fast traffic thru Portland on streets like Powell and 82nd. Grr.
Coming back again to collectors, where I think you’re wrong about permissive vs mandatory is this: while Council had a choice about whether to accept the legislature’s invitation to lower speeds on non-arterial streets in residence districts, PBOT doesn’t get to decide whether or not to comply with the direction of Council. Ultimately that is probably a good thing. On the rare occasions when Council makes a bold move we don’t want the natural timidity of (some) staff to water it down.
If you (or anyone who is still reading this deep into the comments) wants to have a respectful conversation about wonky or legal details, or appropriate advocacy next steps, I’d be pleased to connect offline.
Oh, and emergency response route designations have no bearing on whether a street can be posted at 20 MPH. PBOT threw that out there early on as a reason to delay posting some collectors at 20 MPH. I met with the fire bureau. There’s no legal or policy basis for emergency response to be a factor in posting 20 MPH, or for them to even review speed reductions. They can turn on their lights and go as fast as they need to go. I’m told some years back they were limited to 10 over but it’s no longer true. They want safer streets as much as anybody.
rad only thing lacking is a buffer always worries me the folks that speed thru this design.
This has got to be the best half measure Portland has ever come with. Seriously. I thought routing the bike lane into the sidewalk was the best, but this really takes the cake.
Let’s put it another way. Pbot wants the people walking to act as barriers against the car going to far, and they want the people biking to act as speed control.
Wow. And these are educated people