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Medians, new bike crossings coming to NE Tillamook at 21st

Posted by on October 1st, 2019 at 1:54 pm

(Conceptual renderings of NE Tillamook and 21st from City of Portland)

The City of Portland says they’re all set to start building a set of safety updates at a tricky, off-set intersection on the Tillamook Neighborhood Greenway.

Tillamook is one of the oldest and most vital east-west streets in our cycling network. It provides a link between the Eliot neighborhood near I-5 to Madison South near I-205. But the once proud bike boulevard has started to show its age as the number of people who drive fast on it and use it as a cut-through is currently above acceptable thresholds.

Just this morning at NE 15th and Tillamook, BikePortland reader Chris Thomas witnessed a kid on their way to high school get hit from behind by someone driving a car.

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Note area of focus for Lloyd to Woodlawn meeting.

Back in February, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) released plans for $150,000 worth of changes to “enhance” the section between N Flint and 28th. In July they added speed bumps to the street to slow people down. Their plans for the intersection with 21st will include concrete median islands, new “cross-bike” markings and ADA accessible curb ramps.

The new design should slow drivers down as it will effectively narrow the driving space and force people to make sharper. It will also give bicycle users a more direct, safer, and predictable route.

In other neighborhood greenway news, PBOT announced an open house for the Lloyd to Woodlawn Greenway project. On October 17th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at King Elementary School (4906 NE 6th Ave), they’ll be open to your questions and comments on the northern section of the project (see graphic above).

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

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Hollywood BikeridlebytesMatthew FranklinBill StitesJohn Lascurettes Recent comment authors
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billyjo
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billyjo

So will there be a stop sign on 21st?

Who will have the right of way?

Let's Active
Guest
Let's Active

No, does not look like 21st traffic, north- or southbound, will get a stop sign. To be honest, I’ve never had to wait too long crossing 21st Ave on Tillamook. People driving tend to stop and wait for people cycling. That said, I like the enhanced striping to give people biking more prominence at the intersection.

stephan
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stephan

Here is a question: if a street where presumably people biking or walking have priority intersects a street where people driving have priority, who gets priority? Thought so.

Let’s Active
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Let’s Active

Yep.

mh
Subscriber

While we all talk about and want better infrastructure, getting people who can’t drive off the road is another necessary piece. Other than keeping cars off greenways entirely, and greenways not intersecting with other streets, there is no infrastructure that would have prevented this. I assume the impaired (by age, by bad vision, by whatever) driver was moving slowly or that kid would be far worse than just shaken up. (Which is all I hope he was/is.)

While I want frequent diversion on all greenways, I don’t think that would have prevented this, unless this was an elderly and impaired cut-through driver. Injure locally only!

stephan
Guest
stephan

Thanks for the update! I ride Tillamook almost every day and this street design strikes me as being ignorant about how people driving cars use this intersection.

The space for cars is way too narrow and the bike lanes unprotected, so people driving cars will just continue doing what they already do: ignore the paint and drive into the bike lanes. I really would like the city to stop wasting money this way and instead spending it on street design improvements that are actually effective in changing driving behavior.

Buzz
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Buzz

Please don’t mess with it!

Thnx!

JD
Guest
JD

Any redesign of this intersection is not an enhancement without a 4 way stop.

matchupancakes
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matchupancakes

The pedestrian median island refuges are very welcome. If nothing else, this element will help reduce speeds and protect all users.

As other commentators have already mentioned, the dynamic of a person cycling within the bike lanes which legally continue through intersection thanks to the last Oregon legislative session and literally thanks to the striping proposed may confuse ROW order for cross traffic.

A four-way stop would be most welcome to alleviate confusion; however, I’m sure that NE 21st Ave status requires a level of service that discourages traffic control devices. Perhaps in the future as the climate crisis advances this will be revisited.

Let's Active
Guest
Let's Active

Lack of clear sight lines might be a reason that a four-way stop here would be tricky. It might be that a signal would be needed to more safely control the skewed intersection.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

I just wish PBOT had a budget to buy ROW on corner lots so they could flatten some these blind chicanes at offset intersections. Yes, it might encourage faster cornering but they’ll also mitigate some of that corner cutting that goes into the bike lane (and strips the paint).

Bill Stites
Subscriber

Probably so, that a 4-way stop would be difficult – though a little confusion with everyone stopping could go a long way toward safety in the intersection.
But why not simply switch the stop signs so that N-S travelers on 21st stop at this intersection? Seems like the proper way to go with the offset – rather than having drivers taking fast turns because they’re not even being asked to slow down. This would even take advantage of all road user’s inclination to treat a T intersection [1 offset = 2 T intersections] as a default stop and yield location.

Seems to me everything else – all the paint – will be literally run over as it is subserviant to the all-important stop signs. Really seems obvious, but if your goal is to maximize car throughput … we really need to do better than this these days.
It’s very frustrating to see the lack of real protection for vulnerable road users.

Matthew Franklin
Guest
Matthew Franklin

This is one of the goofiest so-called “improvements” I’ve seen so far. The concrete median structures are now in place. The one north of Tillamook actually was placed on top of a manhole cover. Not sure how that’s gonna work out. They also constrict 21st to the point where cyclists on 21st are forced into the traffic lane precisely at the point of lowest visibility to other street users.

Of course the concrete is in place now, and in the current traffic lanes, but not painted, so anybody driving through here under low-visibility conditions is likely to hit one, causing loss of control or a busted wheel, or both. Yay team.

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

I thought it was considered generally safer to not ride to the right on roads that are narrow because it reduces your visibility to cross traffic and encourages drivers behind you to make unsafe passes. Isn’t that why PBOT marks greenways with sharrows more to the center? To indicate where it’s safest to ride so cross traffic can see you easier without having to pull out as far.

I went through here Sunday I enjoyed all the stop signs being turned but yes I agree they should try to get this finished soon cause curbs in the road without proper markings are a hazard. Didn’t see the manhole cover.

Hollywood Biker
Guest
Hollywood Biker

I just rode through this intersection and I think the work is done. It was at night so I couldn’t tell if it was 100% done but the green paint was down on the bike lanes and everything else looked complete.

And I’ve got to say it worked awesome! I never did like this intersection and when the work started I was skeptical any design could fix it. But boy I think they did fix it. The bike lane goes straight, is well marked, has good visibility to spot oncoming traffic, and feels like you belong vs the feeling you’re intruding on a race track. I also observed the medians worked for slowing car traffic (at least the few cars that I saw while riding through it).

Great job PBOT! Now why didn’t they use the same design for NE 37th and Prescott?