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Neighborhood greenway status report calls for more diversion and traffic calming

Posted by on November 18th, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Map shows 25 locations where PBOT wants to install more robust car driver diverters.
(Source: PBOT Neighborhood Greenways 2020 Status Report – edited slightly to add yellow circles for better visibility)

Report cover

The City of Portland wants to take some of their Covid-inspired “slow streets” to the next level. And there are still too many drivers on streets where bicycle users are supposed to have priority. Those are two key “challenges” shared by the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s 2020 Neighborhood Greenway Status Report released Tuesday afternoon.

The new report follows up on PBOT’s 2015 Neighborhood Greenway Assessment Report, which was a more technical analysis of how greenways were performing in terms of traffic volume, safety, and speed. PBOT’s latest report is meant for a wider audience (11 pages versus 58 in the 2015 report) and offers an overview of neighborhood greenways in Portland two decades after city planners first began to create calm streets with the specific intention of reducing driver volumes and improving cycling conditions.

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The Portland neighborhood greenway network.

(Source: PBOT Neighborhood Greenways 2020 Status Report)

There are currently 103 miles of neighborhood greenways in Portland, the majority of which are in northwest, north/northeast and southeast neighborhoods. East Portland has long been trailing behind in greenway mileage but PBOT is working hard to reverse that narrative. The agency has 25 miles of greenways in east Portland either recently completed, under construction, or breaking ground soon.

North Bryant greenway with slow streets signage in place.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The big takeaway in the report is that PBOT recommends 25 locations where they’d like to install temporary traffic calming. The idea is to expand on the “Slow Streets” program they launched at 100 locations back in May. “As traffic moves back to pre-Covid levels,” reads the report. “These temporary installations will slow or reduce traffic on neighborhood greenways where there were high levels of traffic before the public health crisis.” In addition, PBOT wants to create a “seasonal Slow Streets program” that would make the “local access only” concept more permanent. The report also recommends the creation of “neighborhood-wide slow zones with fewer cars driving through residential areas.” The report doesn’t explain these “slow zones” but PBOT has already created one in northwest by a combination of lowering speed limits and strategically making driving more difficult on certain streets.

In addition to these 25 traffic calming locations, PBOT recommends more diversion on greenways in general. Portland adopted a goal in 2015 to build neighborhood greenways to have less than 1,000 drivers per day. When that doesn’t happen they try to keep them below 2,000 drivers per day. The new report recommends a diversion plan (focused on equity of course) that will, “provide proactive support for neighborhood greenways so they meet the standards adopted by city council in 2015.”

PBOT first started building cycling-priority streets in the late 1980s in an effort to protect neighborhoods from drivers trying to avoid SE Division. Portland built 10 miles of “bike boulevards” (what we called them before PBOT changed the name in 2010) in the ten years between 1996 and 2006. Beginning in 2010 with the passage of the Bike Plan for 2030, greenways supplanted bike lanes to became the dominant bikeway built in Portland. We’ve built 73 miles of them since 2006.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Oh gee, even more investment for the inner Eastside while the remainder of the city gets almost nothing. Again, Eudaly’s PBOT showing that they truly don’t care about equity at all.

cmh89
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cmh89

Ah yeah, I’m excited! Temporary signs that motorist ignore are what’s going to bring alternative transportation to the next level in Portland! Despite the fact that existing ones do nothing, I’m sure these new ones will be top notch. I’m looking forward to PBOTs announcement that these “local access only” signs are essentially the second coming of Christ.

ChadwickF
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ChadwickF

I still don’t really understand why the diverters have to be temporary. Only because it’s a part of the “Slow Streets” program? I’m a little confused why greenways wouldn’t warrant diverters permanently if there is a too much auto traffic on them.

Mark Linehan
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Mark Linehan

I’m eager to find out what the “enhanced temporary traffic calming” may be.

Paul Cone
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Paul Cone

Do they define “temporary traffic calming”?

Fred
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Fred

Out in SW Portland, the signs and the routes are just silly. There are so few “through” routes out here that the couple of through routes currently “reserved” for bikes are routinely ignored by drivers – even by me when I am driving, since there are exactly TWO ways to reach my destination and I prefer the second one. The other “reserved” routes go through neighborhoods where there are already better through routes, meaning the diversions aren’t actually diverting anyone.

My conclusion is that designated routes don’t really work outside of a traditional street grid. In hilly SW Portland, there are only a few areas with a traditional grid.

Interestingly, some avid walkers in SW have appropriated the unbuilt street-ends – often hilly and inaccessible to cars – to create a wonderful network of walking trails (the “SW Trails” network). https://swtrails.org/trails/

Eawriste
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Eawriste

Is anyone aware of a greenway that has <1k cars a day?

buildwithjoe
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Please call your Salem Rep and Senator. The list of 26 is below.

We could easily have protected greenways with no gaps. Currently there are so many gaps and dangerous crossings. For a few million we could remove the gaps and have a network of Sunday parkways every day, with no cops needed at dangerous crossing. There would be no dangerous crossings.

A reminder that 26 lawmakers from Portland work for you as reps/senators in Salem. They have laid out $12 billion of mega freeways for the future. $800 million just for the Rose Quarter. All in loans/debt.

Link to your Salem rep and senator email, phone, district map
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hR94sTjafcsSUeYbuxZJaZYPxUECxwiDKYdQs-g4cN4/edit?usp=sharing

Link to the PBOT doc showing all the gaps.

https://www.portland.gov/sites/default/files/2020/2020-greenway-status-report.pdf

X
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X

The 70s greenway is meant “…to connect seven neighborhoods with a slow, safe corridor…”

Hell, if I don’t mind slow, safety is no problem, just leave it alone and save the money. I’ve ridden that route across town a dozen times, maybe dozens, and 99 percent of it is already the Portland greenway experience, it wanders a bit, the pavement is nothing special, you might count a few cars at the big streets but that’s bike travel in the Incremental City.

Can we aim a little higher than “slow”? How much would “brilliant” cost? Is there anything on the menu that “sizzles” or “smokes”?

If my head didn’t already hurt I’d bang it on this table.