The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced that they’ll fully close North Greeley Avenue for five days next week in order to complete a project that will repave the street and add a new protected bike path.
This $1.8 million project was first planned over three years ago but has been beset by delays. Greeley is a major north-south artery that provides access between downtown, Swan Island, and St. Johns. It has a history of crashes involving bicycle riders due to the high speed of drivers, lack of bikeway protection, and a horribly designed southbound bike lane that requires riders to merge across an Interstate 5 on-ramp.
In December 2019 a Multnomah County Judge found PBOT negligent for the design and awarded $350,000 to a crash victim to settle a lawsuit.
PBOT’s solution is to build a two-way path on the east side of Greeley between N Going and the start of the existing path just west of Interstate Avenue. A concrete barrier will be erected adjacent to the path to separate bicycle users from others. The two-way path will be 11 to 12-feet wide (with shy distance from the wall, the two bike lanes will only be about 5-feet wide). By comparison, PBOT has increased the width of the adjacent lane to 12-feet to accommodate a high volume of large trucks that access Swan Island.
To access the path, southbound bicycle riders will have to cross Greeley with a diagonal signal at Going. The signal will give bicycle users a separate phase to increase safety.
In a statement today, PBOT said the project will be completed by mid-summer following a full closure from June 15th to 19th.
Hopefully this time it will actually happen.
We were first promised this project in spring 2017; but a city contracting glitch pushed it back a year. Then it was supposed to be built last summer, only to be delayed again. A PBOT sign posted near the project a month or so said construction would be done by February 2020.
Suffice it to say we’ll believe this project is done when we see it. And we remain skeptical that two-way bike traffic (one direction going fast downhill) sharing 5 to 6-foot wide lanes will provide an adequate level of service for bicycle users. Here’s to hoping!
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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