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But wait, there’s more: Greeley protected path will continue to Willamette Blvd

Posted by on August 17th, 2020 at 11:10 am

Bike lanes adjacent to Adidas North America headquarters on N Greeley Ave will be shifted to the west (left).
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If you appreciate the new protected bike path on North Greeley Avenue between Interstate and North Going, you’ll be interested to know that by the end of this summer it could extend all the way to North Willamette Blvd.

In September 2019 we reported that apparel brand Adidas — whose North American headquarters are located on Greeley — would help fund a “cycle track” outside their offices to the tune of $1 million. Adidas is in the middle of a major office expansion project at their campus in the Overlook Neighborhood. Corporate construction projects like this usually come with fees known as Transportation System Development Charges (SDCs) that are paid to the City of Portland to offset impacts of increased road use. As per the ordinance passed last year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has agreed to give Adidas a $1 million SDC credit in exchange for the construction of this capital project (which will be built by Adidas contractors with PBOT oversight),

The expansion project that spurred this investment is nearing completion and since PBOT has finished the southern portion of the path, we figured it was time for an update.

We recently came across plan drawings for this project and can now share more details.

According to the drawings, the plan is to build a two-way protected bike lane between Willamette Blvd that will connect to the existing path at Going Street. The two-way facility will be on the west side of Greeley and will transition to the east side at the bike signal that was turned on last week. Greeley currently has bike lanes on both sides of the street between Going and Willamette that are buffered from other lanes with plastic wands and paint.

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(Click images for larger version and captions with more info.)

The new facility will vary from about 10.5 to 12 feet wide and will be protected with short raised concrete curbs and plastic wands similar to what PBOT used on North Rosa Parks. Plans call for a 4-inch tall, 16-inch wide curb with a one-foot gap every 25-feet. This protection will feel much different than the continuous, 12-inch thick jersey barriers PBOT used on the southern section. This difference is likely because the northern section has driveway access to Adidas offices and a lower speed limit (30 mph) than the southern section (45 mph).

The project also calls for construction of a new bus stop island just north of Going Court (the short street that leads down to Going Street). The island is needed so TriMet operators can service the stop without encroaching on the protected bike lane.

The new two-way connection down Going Ct to Going St.

Just south of the bus stop island the project will build a new crosswalk to connect to Going Ct/Going St (image above). A bike signal will be install to facilitate bikeway users who want to cross to the east where they’ll connect to a new two-way buffered bike lane on Going Ct. This new bikeway will be grade-separated and connect directly to an existing sidewalk/multi-use path on Going St that’s the preferred route into Swan Island. The existing buffered bike lane on the north side of Going Ct will be removed.

Once the new bikeway is built we will have a protected, two-way facility from Interstate Avenue to the neighborhood greenway on Willamette Blvd — a distance of about 1.5 miles.

These plan drawings are nearly final and I’m working to get confirmation of a construction timeline from Adidas. I’ll update this post as soon as I hear back from them.

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

Last year PBOT applied to Metro for funding to build the “N Willamette Blvd
Active Transportation Corridor
“, which would potentially include a two-way protected bike lane on the west side of N Willamette, from N Rosa Parks Way to N Olin Ave. It’s not totally clear to me, but this Draft Project Evaluation makes it look like it was funded, or will be. That would then result in three and a half miles of physically separated path, with the only exception being the a 0.7 mile stretch of neighborhood greenway along the the quiet section of N Willamette (and given the width of that street, you could easily create dedicated bicycle only space via a combination of parking removal and one-way sections for cars).

Momo
Guest
Momo

Yes, that project was funded, with design/construction around 2023/2024. The two-way cycle-track idea may or may not happen, it depends on the stability of the bluff. If it’s not possible to do two-way, then northbound bikes would continue to cross at Willamette & Rosa Parks. Either way, it will be a huge improvement.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

I hope it does happen. Two-way paths can have their disadvantages, but the big ones (turning conflicts, hitting red lights) aren’t an issue here. With the the same road with a two-way path will have more room for overtaking and/or side-by-side riding than unidirectional lanes on each of the street. In the same amount of street width there’s also room for more protection width, because the protection only needs to happen once, rather than twice.

Looking at the concept level engineering drawings there’s only a handful of locations where the path would need to extend beyond the existing curb line, and they seem to occur at the locations where there’s some flat area before the slope starts (i.e. at the west bound bus stop at N Chataqua).

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Not to mention that a left turn from N Woolsey will wake you up in the morning. Trying to balance speeding and heavy traffic from two directions is not fun. Can’t imagine doing it with kids.

maxD
Guest
maxD

It is beyond depressing that they are not continuing the bike path on the same (east) side of the street. The diagonal crossing is a horrible inconvenience and uncomfortable to use. Adidas is simply doing this to make it easier to access their giant new parking garage- another ploy to show bikes out of the way. PBOT should have used the Adidas money to complete the sidewalk on the east side of Greeely and kept the perfectly good bike lanes. This a another step backward for the North Portland bike network- more disconnection and out-of direction travel. I hate this so much.

Mischa van Buuren
Guest
Mischa van Buuren

Hi Max, I’d like to clarify that PBOT provided the direction to move the cycletrack to the west side of Greeley Ave. This was not a decision made by Adidas. Moving both lanes to the west side will remove a lot of vehicle/bike interactions as bikers will no longer have to cross the two driveways on the east side of Greeley that will access the majority of the Adidas employee parking.

maxD
Guest
maxD

That will be nice for those drivers, and that convenience comes at the expense of direct, convenient and safe bike routes.

Mischa van Buuren
Guest
Mischa van Buuren

The new crossing at Greeley Ave. and Going St will have a bike specific light. In my opinion this is much more comfortable than the uncontrolled interactions with drivers at busy right-hand turns, so we’ll have to agree to disagree. The bottom line is that the layout was directed by PBOT and was in no way some nefarious effort by Adidas to provide convenience for their employees at the cost of bicyclist safety.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

So someone coming from east of Going St. will need to sit at 3 beg lights just to get to the bottom of Greeley and get back on N Interstate?

Wow, just wow.

X
Guest
X

This is odd for me because I’ve complained about PBOT designs and given Adidas props for locating their payroll and property taxes in town but here goes: Let’s not mix flavors. PBOT should at least keep design of bike infrastructure in house, the product of disinterested people. Letting a corporation design a travel route for its own ends is kinda swampy. Since when do we let taxpayers decide, individually, what their particular tax dollars go for? If only we had somebody sworn to fix this sort of thing. /S

On the other hand, switching bike riders from one side of the street to the other is kinda PBOTish. Maybe they were in it all along.

Mischa van Buuren
Guest
Mischa van Buuren

Not sure if you saw my response to Max above before you posted, but PBOT provided the Adidas design team with the direction for the cycletrack layout and provided a full standard review of the design. The combination of the cycletrack improvements with the required Adidas frontage improvements under a single permit allows the cycltrack to be installed and integrated into the new signals at the Adidas campus. This was a request from the City due to a capital improvements project aligning with the schedule of the Adidas campus expansion. In the end I think the process will result in a better finished product for the public than if PBOT has come in after the Adidas improvements were constructed.

X
Guest
X

No, I didn’t see that, but I’m not sure if that would have changed my comment much. I’m kind of used to right-hook hazards, one of my three knock-downs was at the NE Broadway/Williams/I-5 intersection which somehow has killed nobody yet. I think what I’m reacting to is, when we want to keep car drivers safe we give them a cloverleaf or a flyover. When we want to keep bike riders safe we give them another signal cycle to wait through, or some plastic wands.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

It’s not like PBOT is any good at designing bike infrastructure. Maybe Adidas will be an upgrade…

jake
Subscriber
jake

Respectfully, I disagree, and I think avoiding conflicts with cars entering/exiting the parking garage is a very positive outcome.

Southbound traffic must have an awkward diagonal crossing at some point – the new setup avoids putting that crossing at the freeway on-ramp (not to mention the ramp to Greeley from Swan Island) and replaces it with a dedicated signal phase. I’ve ridden this several times now and think it’s orders of magnitude better than what we had before.

It makes sense, IMO, to leverage that same crossing for northbound traffic, which would likely have to stop at that signal anyway, to avoid conflicts at the parking garage and create an easier connection to Willamette, which I’m guessing is the target for most bicyclists on this stretch.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

The peninsula has no representation in PBOT. The people who live there don’t live or work in the neighborhood, they don’t care if our streets are safe, and they certainly don’t care about our mobility.

PBOT is dressing up a freight expansion project as a major cycling project with no evidence that it will be faster, safer, or increase cycling.

And bike mode share keeps going down….

And the death toll on our roads keep going up…

And the PBOT staffers go to their next sustainable transportation conference…

maxD
Guest
maxD

If only they could connect their MUP to Interstate!

Chris
Guest
Chris

I like the new setup. When I rode down the hill this weekend, my bike triggered the lights to change right when I got there. Granted, there was no traffic at the time. In the past, I’ve had to stop or make some quick decisions to get across the on-ramp safely. Now, I get a protected light and a very protected bikeway. Yes, it’s a minor inconvenience to have to cross over the intersection, but it seems like an acceptable trade-off for big safety improvements.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Just wait until its dark and rainy and folks are in the path. Wont feel so safe then.

HJ
Guest
HJ

I will take dealing with people any day of the week over playing russian roulette with semis. Semis are a far greater threat for a responsible rider.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

You’ll still get to play russian roulette with the semis when you are on N Interstate. Last time I checked, the 6 inch bike lane on N Interstate still exists.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Right, so, because bad things exist in one place, we can’t work to eliminate bad things in another? Interesting.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

What bad thing was elimnated with the Greeley MUP/sidewalk configuration? PBOT removed the only useful thing about Greeley by slowing down the route. N Interstate was always safer but now its faster.

They essentially eliminated bikes from Greeley and call it progress.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The extremely dangerous crossing of the freeway ramp that has injured several people and nearly killed one.
https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2018/08/portland_cyclist_struck_at_60m.html

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Give it some time. There will be an inevitable head on collision, red light runner killing a cyclist crossing four lanes of traffic, or when a cyclist flips over the handlebars after hitting someone laying in the path.

I truly don’t understand why the “activist” community in Portland is so content with garbage infrastructure with a motorist-first design. I truly don’t.

Oh well, I took N Interstate before and can continue to use it. I was just hoping that PBOT would take this opportunity to build bike infrastructure instead of car infrastructure dressed up as bike infrastructure.

maxD
Guest
maxD

And 2 sisters were killed driving on Greely. The median speed is over 55mph in each direction on Greely and PBOT refused to add any changes to address high speeds. This project, in PBOT’s own words. was explicitly NOT ABOUT safety, it was improve freight movements: more trucks going faster.

BeL
Guest
BeL

Aren’t you lucky. I rode it once downhill mid day and won’t again. I decided to see how long or if I could trigger the signal. Waited through 5 signal changes. Never happened. Even if could that diagonal isn’isnt comfortable. Feel vulnerable.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Now we just need it to continue all the way along Willamette to UofP, oh, and actual bike lanes all the way to St. Johns…

Steve Hash
Guest
Steve Hash

At least this should make the inevitable right-hook at Going Ct. less likely. I like it and it will certainly get me off Interstate.

maxD
Guest
maxD

If I understand this correctly, the City is going to tear out the buffered bike lanes on Greeley and the new concrete center median at Greely/Willamette and replace them with a 2-way MUP that is buffered the same way so that people on bikes have to wait at the diagonal crossing in both directions! Same amount of buffer, just longer travel time and one million dollars. But there is no money to add a sidewalk along Greeley on the east side, or make a half-way decent connection to Interstate/Greely? I am honestly shocked that anyone is neutral/supportive of this. This is a flagrant waste of money with no benefits.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Don’t worry! PBOT will just lie about the safety benefits like they did with the section they already built!

maccoinnich
Subscriber

They’re not removing the concrete median at Greeley/Willamette.

I’d also disagree that a continuous concrete traffic separator is equivalent to the existing condition, with is paint and flimsy plastic posts.

maxD
Guest
maxD

do really think a 4″ concrete curb offers more protection than the wands? Neither offers any protection forma speeding, distracted or impaired driver. The only curb does is make it nearly impossible for a bike to slip through the wand head east.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

Yes, from having cycled in cities that use low concrete curbs (such as Montreal) I really do think it’s a significantly better design than the plastic wands. I wish the curb that’s doing to be installed on Greeley was a little bit wider, like the Montreal example, but they are installing the standard ODOT detail that gets used highways, so I don’t think the durability of it is in question.

maxD
Guest
maxD

Thanks for responding! I also do not dispute the durability of the concrete curb, but I disagree that it improves safety over space buffered by plastic wands. One would need to be a truly horrible driver with a complete disregard for their car and human lives to intentionally drive over either a very low curb or flexible plastic wands; so both are effective at controlling attentive drivers. However, neither a low curb nor a flexible wand will stop a distracted driver or one driving under the influence or one that has lost control of their vehicle. The 2-way cycletrack does introduce a few new hazards to people biking: 1) conflicts with bikers traveling in the other direction with a large sped differential, 2) conflicts with people driving who are entering Greeley from Adidas (west side) or on of the handful of residences. If you are traveling north in a lane typically reserved for people traveling south, it is totally common for a driver wanting to enter the street and head south to only look left and not come to a complete stop. I experience this daily while walking on sidewalks, and I can bike uphill faster than I walk.

Kimberlee
Subscriber
Kimberlee

So what is the plan for folks heading north on Greeley who want to head east on Emerson or Willamette? How am I supposed to make that turn?

Momo
Guest
Momo

You rotate your bike 90 degrees, and then cross the street. Try it sometime, it works!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

You would perform a staged turn, or you could hook left and loop around so you are facing east, and then cross Greeley from the side street.

Kimberlee
Guest
Kimberlee

It’s not very easy to cross Greeley is all I’m saying. It makes it a lot less likely that I will use this infrastructure than if they had left the lanes on the right.

jake
Subscriber
jake

Kimberlee, I agree with this criticism and acknowledge this is probably the biggest downside of the project. On the other hand: right now everyone who wants to get onto Willamette has to do the same maneuver in reverse. So I think this is a case of an unfortunate tradeoff that makes sense in the grand scheme of the network.

IMO the long term fix is to make Interstate significantly more pleasant to ride, at the very least to Concord but ideally all the way to Kenton, so people trying to get somewhere between Greeley and Vancouver have another viable option. It feels to me like there’s maybe enough ROW to build a Moody-style cycletrack on the west side of Interstate up through Overlook Park.