Support BikePortland

Construction of N Greeley bike path has finally started

Posted by on October 10th, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Drawing of north end of project at Greeley and Going where southbound bicycle riders will cross into the new protected path.

Construction detour map. Click to enlarge. (PBOT)

The City of Portland is finally building a new path on North Greeley Avenue that’s been nearly three years in the making.

We first reported news of PBOT’s plans for a protected path on Greeley in February 2017. After several delays, PBOT now says construction has begun and the $1.8 million project will be complete by winter or spring of 2020.

Advertisement


New cross-section.

Greeley is a high-speed arterial and major freight route that connects downtown to Swan Island and St. Johns. The existing bike lane crosses an I-5 freeway on-ramp (in the southbound direction) and many people find it pretty terrifying to ride in. Here’s how the northbound bike lane looks today:

This is where PBOT will build a 12-foot wide, 2-way bike lane protected with a concrete barrier.

The project will shift the bikeway to the east side of the street with a diagonal (signalized) crossing at Going Street at the northern end. A new, 12-foot wide, two-way bikeway will be built and it will come with a continuous concrete barrier to separate bicycle users from car and truck drivers.

In addition to the start of construction, PBOT has also announced that bicycle riders need to use a detour to avoid the Greeley work zone. The detour route is to use North Interstate and Willamette Blvd.

See the official project website for more details.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Please support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

Please support BikePortland.

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

49 Comments
  • Avatar
    PDXCyclist October 10, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Has PBOT considered using a travel lane for bicyclists and pedestrians during construction… you know like their construction manual states for roads with observed speeds over 35mph? (In situations where the bike lane is closed for construction purposes).

    I know I know. Don’t expect the PBOT to follow their own rules…

    Recommended Thumb up 21

  • Avatar
    B. Carfree October 10, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Don’t the new AASHTO standards for multi-use paths mandate minimum 14 foot widths for two-way, and didn’t Oregon adopt the AASHTO standards years ago? Are we moving on from building obsolete to building actual substandard now?

    Recommended Thumb up 12

  • Avatar
    dan October 10, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    I only ride the current facility in the downhill direction, and while it’s not great, crossing the street at the top and bottom of the hill will be a real drag, along with the kind of skinny 2-way path which I expect will be continue to be obstructed by vehicles driving to Hazelnut Grove. I won’t miss riding across the ramp from Swan Island though – that’s way scarier than the I-5 S ramp.

    Recommended Thumb up 14

    • Avatar
      Fred October 11, 2019 at 8:26 am

      Hi dan: Sounds as though you cycle on Greeley only, and dread crossing the ramp that brings cars and trucks up from Going St and onto Greeley. I see your point.

      I actually ride up Going, from Swan Island, crossing the RR tracks on the four-lane bridge, which is really scary (I try to time the light by McD’s to minimize meeting any big rigs on the bridge). Then I turn right onto the ramp itself, which is also really scary (sharing it with the big rigs) but then have a pretty easy time once I’m rolling down Greeley, as long as I imagine that the trucks going 50-60 mph five feet from my left shoulder cannot hit me due to a magical force field.

      Anyway, it sounds to me as though the Greeley improvement project is going to make it impossible to do this ride anymore, since the Greeley on-ramp will now dump cars and trucks directly into a MV-only lane that will rapidly increase in speed, allowing these vehicles to attain maximum velocity as they race to the I-5 on-ramp. Bikes will be moved into a narrow, protected lane on the east side of the road, and the only way to join this bike lane will be from the Greeley overpass of Going.

      What the project also accomplishes is to allow the cars and trucks to have the west side of Greeley entirely to themselves. I can see why the freight interests, along with the Swan Island workers racing home after their shifts, must love this arrangement – get those crazy cyclists out of our way! But will it increase safety for *them*? Will we soon be reading about horrific collisions between SUVs and 18-wheelers, enabled by the cycle-free raceway that Greeley has become?

      Recommended Thumb up 14

      • Avatar
        Bald One October 11, 2019 at 11:52 am

        sounds like you might actually have a not so bad new route – maybe you will be able continue up Going (East) from Swan Island and travel under the Greeley overpass, and then take the first right, which will bring you up to Greeley and put you right into the new bike alignment – you wont have to use the beg-button and stop and wait with the rest of us in the middle of the downhill for the new silly diagonal bike-only signalized crossing at that intersection.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Fred October 11, 2019 at 1:57 pm

          I dunno, Bald One. Doesn’t the four-lane freeway that is Going St narrow considerably as it passes underneath Greeley? I have to admit I’ve never been brave enough to ride up that far. And by that point the cars and trucks blasting up Going have had a good half-mile to gain speed and must be doing 40-50 mph. It seems dicey.

          The other route I’m considering is the sidewalk on the north side of Going. I’ll need to skip over to the sidewalk on N Basin St, but at least the sidewalk is protected on the north side of the bridge over the railway tracks. Not sure how to approach Greeley from there – will need to investigate. Any tips much appreciated.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Avatar
            Bald One October 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm

            agree, sidewalk on N side of Going is better than on-road under the underpass, up-hill. then you can ride like a salmon on the sidewalk and/or bike lane near the bus stop for the stretch of Greeley which is the overpass – shown in the diagram, above.

            If you keep your current route, you can ride to the top of the on-ramp to Greeley and cross Greeley in the ped crossing where the diagram shows the adult and child waiting to cross.

            Oh, for the cement road!

            Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Avatar
        Chris I October 11, 2019 at 11:52 am

        I think it specious to infer that motor vehicle traffic is slowing down at all because of the presence of bicycle traffic. Believe it or not, truck drivers do not want to hit cyclists. I’m sure they prefer this design because it reduces the odds that they will at some point.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Avatar
          Fred October 11, 2019 at 2:02 pm

          Wait, Chris: Are you saying it is misleading (or “specious”) to say that truck traffic is slowing down on Greeley, when in fact truck drivers care enough not to hit cyclists? If they cared enough, wouldn’t they slow down? Most careful drivers slow down in the presence of cyclists, walkers, children, pets, etc. Heck – even careful cyclists slow down in those situations. I know I do.

          Bottom line: the truckers won’t need to worry as much about hitting cyclists, and they will drive their trucks faster.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Avatar
    Buzz October 11, 2019 at 1:16 am

    good luck with that design, but it’s definitely not for the timid or the 8 to 80 crowd, and truly experienced cyclists won’t want to use it either; that’s a dangerous crossing.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • Avatar
      Gary B October 14, 2019 at 8:55 am

      The 8 to 80 contingent isn’t comfortable with a 12′ wide path with a concrete barrier? The diagonal crossing is via a new bike sinal. This may inconvenience the fearless folks that like to bomb down Greely and swerve through truck traffic merging from Swan Island (raises hand), but this looks like a massive improvement for safety.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        maxD October 14, 2019 at 9:16 am

        the 12′ wide path is only for 2/3’s the distance. After that it is less than 10-feet wide. Also, this is being called and sold as a MUP- a shared path for peds and bikes but it is being striped as a 2-way bike lane. Where will the peds go? How about the southern end where 2-way bike traffic will have navigate the Interstate sidewalk making 2 90-degree turns ina row and merging withte 5-foot wide bike lane at the bottom of Interstate Avenue? Is an 8-80 design?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    eawriste October 11, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Thanks a lot PBOT! Love the physically protected design (South of the intersection). Why not protect the bike lanes on both sides of the street with the existing jersey barriers North of the intersection with the Going ramp? Are the current ones fixed to the ground? Incorporate the bus stop if you need to. If you can make a PBL, why not do it?

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Avatar
    Hippie Joe October 11, 2019 at 7:00 am

    It was fun while it lasted, but I knew I was gonna die riding South on Greeley, 30 mph with a great view of downtown. PBOT solutions for bicycles keep getting weirder, and I think the drop in bike trips shows that.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • Avatar
      Fred October 11, 2019 at 8:33 am

      I’m with you, Hippie Joe. I think a lot of the design of new cycling infrastructure by PBOT revolves around the idea, “To keep you safe, we are going to stop you and make you wait for a light,” instead of finding ways to allow cyclists to move with traffic and let our momentum help us. It seems designed to make every cyclist behave like the weakest and most timid cyclist.

      Recommended Thumb up 28

    • Avatar
      cmh89 October 11, 2019 at 8:37 am

      This isn’t for bicycles. This is a PBOT plan to make Greeley faster for motorist by getting cyclist out of the way. PBOT has gotten clever and learned to use “bike improvements” as a way to remove cyclist by building useless infrastructure.

      Recommended Thumb up 25

      • Avatar
        Steve October 11, 2019 at 9:15 am

        You can’t use “gotten clever” and PBOT in the same sentence.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Avatar
      Dan October 11, 2019 at 10:42 am

      I guess I will never beat my current Strava PR for the Greeley hill bomb.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Avatar
      Chris I October 11, 2019 at 11:53 am

      You heard it here first, folks. The drop in commute modal share is due to MORE bike infrastructure.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Avatar
        Fred October 11, 2019 at 2:08 pm

        It’s a real dilemma. PBOT says, “To get more (currently) timid cyclists on the road, we need to design infrastructure that will allow them to feel safe.” But their interpretation of “safe” is “stop all MV traffic to allow cyclists to cross as if they were pedestrians,” which means that cyclists have to stop and wait even more (lights are always timed to favor MV traffic). These so-called improvements alienate the cyclists who are labeled “the strong and the brave” by PBOT planners. How about some solutions that accommodate BOTH types of cyclists? And where’s the acknowledgement that timid cyclists can made “strong and brave” through practice and experience?

        Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Avatar
        maxD October 14, 2019 at 9:20 am

        Chris I
        This is not more bike infra, it is less. The current northbound bike lane is being replaced with a 2-way bike lane that is too narrow and will also be used as a sidewalk. The dangerous ramp crossing is replaced by longer waits, out of direction travel, narrow/dangerous lanes, and a truly scary merge on toa narrow bike lane at the bottom of a steep hill.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Avatar
    BradWagon October 11, 2019 at 10:15 am

    That cross over is terrible. Bike lane should merge over before intersection and be next to the left turn lane at the light. Then bikes can turn left across intersection to two way track with the left turning car traffic. Well, I say “should” in a loose sense here as we all know what the bike lane configuration here actually “should” be.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Avatar
      maccoinnich October 11, 2019 at 11:19 am

      How would a bike lane merge before the intersection work?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Drs October 11, 2019 at 11:29 am

        It would work well for vehicular cyclists during periods of light to moderate congestion. A merge in that location would be awful for anyone else and for everyone during periods of heavy road use.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Avatar
          Fred October 11, 2019 at 2:11 pm

          Please define “vehicular cyclist.” Is it “a person using a bicycle for transportation”? What other type of cyclist is there? – a recreational cyclist, who doesn’t care if she arrives or not? An errant cyclist, who makes a lot of mistakes? A patient cyclist, who uses only lights at crosswalks??

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Avatar
            Drs October 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm

            My understanding of the general definition of a ‘vehicular cyclist’ is someone that is a strong, fast, confident rider, who feels comfortable riding in mixed traffic, even on streets that don’t have any designated bicycle infrastructure. They are people that can operate their bicycles in a manner that is similar to how people drive cars. This is a distinction that separates such a person from the majority of cyclists, who don’t feel confident taking the lane on streets with more than minimal traffic, and who prefer to only ride on streets that have, at a minimum, paint delineating space for bicyclists and motor vehicles.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

          • Avatar
            Bald One October 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm

            I thought “vehicular cyclist” was a person riding a bike who was also afforded the full protection and rights under Oregon state law to occupy the roadway – basically an “equal” treatment as all vehicles on the road, with a few distinctions.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Drs October 11, 2019 at 3:59 pm

              Well seeing as it doesn’t seem that there is much of any police enforcement of traffic laws in Portland, I guess that people on bikes do enjoy equal protection under the law – equally bad, that is.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Avatar
        Bald One October 11, 2019 at 11:56 am

        How about a true “fly-over” bicycle only bridge/ramp? That might be close to platinum. Maybe they could make it out of wood or recycled materials, and it could really be platinum.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Avatar
          dan October 11, 2019 at 12:58 pm

          I don’t remember who it was, but some longtime poster made a suggestion the last time this came up that there should be a physically separated ramp on the west side of Greeley (i.e., in the rail yard) that puts you off to the right of the existing road and rejoins Interstate downhill of the I-5 ramp. Now that would be platinum infrastructure. Too bad the railroad would never go for it even if PBOT had the will to make it happen.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

          • Avatar
            Drs October 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

            Or better yet, extend the east bank esplanade through the Rose Quarter, through Swan Island, and up to Cathedral Park, totally bypassing this area.

            Recommended Thumb up 11

        • Avatar
          middle of the road guy October 11, 2019 at 6:52 pm

          Someone would complain about the 4% grade.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Drs October 11, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I have serious concern over the construction plans for the freight project on N Greeley Ave. This project is being installed on a road that is designated in the TSP as a major city bikeway, yet the plan is for bicycles to take a miles-long detour for the duration of the project? Are people traveling in motor vehicles also expected to use the detour? If not, why?

    This bikeway has already been seriously disrupted by the ongoing construction at the Adidas corporate headquarters, which has frequently resulted in unannounced closures of the bike lane for weeks at a time over the last year. Now the entire route is going to be denied to cyclists for the next 6-8 months? The inconvenience to cyclists would be acceptable if the project was actually going to result in a tangibly improved bicycle facility. But that’s not what’s being proposed. Instead, PBOT is building a substandard width 2 way bike lane that will dump cyclists onto a narrow strip of sidewalk that has major cracks and discontinuities in the surface grade where concrete slabs have shifted, and which has utility poles installed in the middle of the surface. This is not an improvement for cyclists. It is a design that will discourage the use of Greeley as a bike route.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • Avatar
      Bald One October 11, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      You noticed that, also? But, you weren’t swayed by the clever marketing and dangled carrot of “protected bikeway”? You also think that a bikeway is only as good as the connections it makes on either end – and in this case, they suck at both ends?

      You think that Jersey barriers will be sufficient to protect you from the headlights, road-spray, and air-buffets of head-on traffic coming at 55 mph, just a few feet from your face, hitting you at a contrary direction – instead of these assaults coming at your back, as you cycle with the traffic, as most cyclists are prepared for? One row of jersey barriers will not be sufficient protection when head-on opposed-direction, high-speed truck flow in the adjacent lane is considered.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • Avatar
        Drs October 11, 2019 at 12:30 pm

        At least there are tentative plans to improve the bikeway in front of Adidas, though I haven’t seen any designs. But the crossover at Going is going to be awful, and it will add delays to all traffic light phases, slowing down all vehicles that pass through the Greeley/Going intersection (except those that bypass the light by using the eastbound to southbound ramp).

        I totally agree with you. Riding southbound on Greeley with high speed vehicles driving directly at cyclists with only a 1-foot wide barrier for separation is going to be absolutely terrifying. Add in blinding spray from a wet road and it will be downright dangerous. In front of the Hazelnut Grove camp, people are going to have to come to a complete stop if cyclists are coming from both the north and south direction at the same time.

        By all means, Portland needs projects that prioritize freight traffic, as freight does rate highly on the modal hierarchy. But building freight projects by destroying bikeways just doesn’t make any sense.

        During the time when freight traffic is the heaviest, the road serves as a drag strip that links 2 constriction points. Why do we need to provide a runway for vehicles to accelerate to 45-65 MPH, only to have to slam on their brakes on the I-5 on ramp in order to merge with crawling, congested freeway traffic?

        Recommended Thumb up 8

      • Avatar
        Fred October 11, 2019 at 2:20 pm

        Totally agree, Bald One, about the “connections that suck at both ends.” If you’re riding on Greeley to get to inner SE and downtown, as probably 90% of cycling traffic is doing, you will stop at the Going overpass and wait (probably for a long time – motor-vehicle traffic will be prioritized) as the signals cycle and you get your turn to cross in front of three rows of stopped, pissed-off drivers. Then you’ll continue in the narrow, two-way “protected” lane, past the homeless camp. And once you reach Interstate, you’ll stop again and wait for yet another round of signals before you can cross *back* over Greeley and continue south on Interstate. Is this really the best PBOT can do? I’m with the folks who say this is all about improving conditions for cars and trucks, not for cyclists.

        Recommended Thumb up 9

        • Avatar
          Drs October 11, 2019 at 2:33 pm

          I absolutely agree with your critique, Fred. The lengthy waits that will be created at the Going street crossover, and then again at the Interstate/Greeley intersection will add substantial delays to this route. I will be interested to see what the final configuration looks like when this project is complete. I’m guessing that I will personally continue to use the existing shoulder on the west side of Greeley instead of waiting to use the crossover to enter the 2-way bike facility. I just hope that they don’t totally eliminate the shoulder.

          Recommended Thumb up 6

          • Avatar
            Dan October 11, 2019 at 3:23 pm

            The images of the new infrastructure treatment make it look like there will be no shoulder on the right side anymore. Also, all motorists will feel justified in doing close drive bys and honking at you because “you’re supposed to be over there, ya idjit!”

            Recommended Thumb up 4

            • Avatar
              Drs October 11, 2019 at 4:03 pm

              The image on this post only shows the lane alignment between the ramps that are coming from Going St. It doesn’t show what it will look like to the south of those ramps. I’m holding out hope for a shoulder!

              Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Avatar
      cmh89 October 11, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      PBOT has allowed private construction companies to destroy the bike lane on Vancouver for the last 3 or 4 years. I can’t actually remember the last time it wasn’t obstructed. PBOT doesn’t seem to care if bike lanes are obstructed.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Avatar
        Drs October 11, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        So many bike lanes are blocked in a similar fashion in the Central City by construction projects.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Avatar
        idlebytes October 11, 2019 at 3:11 pm

        I kind of wonder if it’s PBOT allowing it or the construction companies just doing it. I do recall a number of stories where they they get fined for illegally blocking vehicle lanes and even the occasional one for bike lanes although not too often.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Drs October 11, 2019 at 5:56 pm

          Considering the money that adidas is investing in their construction project, they probably view code violations as just the cost of doing business. But I believe that their lane closures have been permitted most of the time. Don’t know about other construction projects.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        middle of the road guy October 11, 2019 at 6:53 pm

        What has the impact been, other than inconvenience?

        Any accidents you are aware of as a result?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    MaxD October 13, 2019 at 8:05 am

    PBoT came tour neighborhood meeting and pitched this as a a MUP, a path for pecs and bikes to share. The graphic on the project page calor a MUP, shows it as a 2-way bike lane and describes it as an under-sized, 2-way bike lane. They neglect to describe that this new protected bike lane/MUP only runs for 2/3’d the distance of the project. The remaining 1/3 is on an existing concrete walkway that is less than 20 feet wide and connects to Interstate with a single curb ramp for 3-way bike traffic. Where do the odes go? How do bikes heading south get on to Interstate?- has anyone tried that? I have, it sucks!

    I believe that this is a project to remove bikes and pedestrians from Greeley to satisfy the freight interests who are paying for it.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Avatar
      maxD October 14, 2019 at 9:25 am

      I just re-read this, I had typed it on my phone: I was trying to say:

      PBoT came to our neighborhood meeting and pitched this as a a MUP, a path for peds and bikes to share. The graphic on the project page calls this a MUP, but shows it as a 2-way bike lane and then describes it as an under-sized, 2-way bike lane. They neglect to describe that this new protected bike lane/MUP only runs for 2/3’d the distance of the project. The remaining 1/3 is on an existing concrete walkway that is less than 10 feet wide and connects to Interstate with a single curb ramp for 3-way bike traffic. Where do the modes go? How do bikes heading south get on to Interstate?- has anyone tried that? I have, it sucks!

      I believe that this is a project to remove bikes and pedestrians from Greeley to satisfy the freight interests who are paying for it.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Avatar
      maxD October 14, 2019 at 9:32 am

      The median speeds on Greeley are over 55 mph in each direction. 2 people in a van were killed this past May by a reckless driver. This project is not lowering the speed limit, and its in fact making the driving lanes WIDER. Wider driving lanes are closely associated with faster driving speeds.

      PBOT is not making this road safer for people driving. They are one safety issue for people on bikes, but they are introducing new hazards in the forms of lanes that are too narrow, (12′ for part of the route, less than 10-feet for the rest) and no safe connection for bikes at the southern end. PBOT is not accommodating pedestrians: despite calling this a MUP, they are striping it for 2-way bike traffic, and not building it wide enough to accommodate pedestrians. This is freight-only project that flies in the face of Vision Zero and Portland’s modal-hierarchy.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Avatar
    Champs October 14, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Recalling the train collision, no mention of the Going Street bridge repair?

    One of these projects is going to hold up the other.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Drs October 14, 2019 at 6:31 pm

      There won’t be any hold up. Going St bridge is a good distance away from Greeley. Now that PBOT has gotten additional lanes reopened on the Going bridge, there no longer are traffic backups onto Greeley. I’m sure that the work on the bridge will prioritize keeping lanes open while the work is ongoing. Both of these projects will be able to move forward.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar