Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 18th, 2019 at 11:06 am
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.”
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