Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 17th, 2020 at 8:22 am
The long-awaited and much-delayed bike path on North Greeley Avenue is finally coming together.
After years of starts-and-stops, the Portland Bureau of Transportation broke ground in October and expects to be finished “mid-summer”.
Greeley matters because it’s a key connection from downtown and the Broadway Bridge/Rose Quarter area to north Portland. With North Williams Avenue being too far east for people traveling to University Park and St. Johns neighborhoods and the bike lanes on North Interstate being unsafe, narrow, and unprotected, Greeley has always had immense potential. With this new protected bike lane, we might finally have a viable, low-stress north-south route to the peninsula.
[Please note: This path is not yet finished and PBOT has not given the “all clear” sign for full public use.]
I rolled over yesterday to check on the progress. I discovered that the northern end at N Going Avenue was open and the new path is fully paved. The new protective wall between the path and other traffic lanes is also installed. Unfortunately, there’s no indication on the north end that the south end is still technically “closed”. PBOT and their contractors must do a better job signing these work zones! There are “Road Closed” barricades up at the south end that require an awkward portage up a dirt hill next to the Hazelnut Grove camps.
As for the path itself. It felt great!
What a difference real protection makes. The concrete wall is a thing of beauty. It’s quite thick and just tall enough to make me feel safe, without feeling boxed-in. The wall reduces noice of passing cars and trucks (a major stressor for vulnerable road users) and I have a hunch its mere presence will reduce driving speeds. It’s hard to tell if the path will be wide enough. The final striping isn’t complete and the real test will be whether or not the 11.5-12-foot width is sufficient for two-way traffic.
The two photos below should give you a sense for how tall the wall is…
At Going Street, the crossover treatment from the southbound bike lane on the west side of Greeley to the new path is striped, but the bike-only signal isn’t turned on yet. There is however, a new marked crosswalk with a button-activated “Walk” signal.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you ride south on Greeley, please do not take the lane on the west side of the road. The old bike lane is gone (the road was repaved and restriped with this project) and there’s zero shoulder space (photos below). I saw two fast riders taking the lane and it looked very risky as drivers slowed down and swerved to avoid them.
Can’t wait for this to be finished. I think it’s going to be a very welcome addition to our network. And with the addition of the wall, the green space on the hillside adjacent to the path could be turned into a park. Or perhaps we could build some off-road trails in there? It’s truly amazing what’s possible when we create spaces that are physically protected from cars and their drivers.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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