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14-foot wide buffered bike lanes planned for 162nd Avenue

Posted by on November 20th, 2020 at 8:50 am

Plans for SE 162nd at Mill, looking south.
(Source: PBOT)

Portland’s plans for Southeast 162nd Avenue call for a road diet, but for bicycle riders the project will be more of a road buffet. With a $6 million budget the Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to re-configure the street in a way that reduces space for driving and vastly increases the space for cycling.

Green line is 162nd.
(Source: PBOT)

162nd between Stark and Powell (about 1.6 miles) is currently a typical east Portland arterial with on-street parking on both sides, a narrow and unprotected bike lane, and five general travel lanes (two in each direction and a center turn lane). The new cross-section will have three general travel lanes, with the extra space going to the bike lanes. PBOT is making the changes to complement a recent TriMet bus service upgrade on the street. In addition to the new striping plan, they’ll build seven new crossings (including substantial ones at Mill, Lincoln, and Tibbets), upgrade bus stops, repave the section from Division to Powell (0.7 miles), and build a few new pieces of sidewalk.

PBOT estimates that the change from five general lanes to three will lead to 68 additional seconds of travel time for the average driver.

Parking-protected bike lane design shown to the Bike Advisory Committee on 11/10.

According to project manager Liz Rickles, who briefed the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee on the project at their November 10th meeting, initial plans called for a parking-protected bike lane where bicycle riders are curbside and people can park cars in the street. But Rickles gave a variety of reasons for why they’ve decided against that design. Chief among them was how a parking-protected design would have removed too many on-street parking spaces. “The challenge here is that there are so many driveways, that to allow for visibility of the driveways most of the on-street parking would get eliminated,” Rickles explained to the committee. “So you end up with the single parked car floating in the sea of asphalt.”

Rickles added that streets where PBOT has installed parking-protected bike lanes — like N Rosa Parks and NE Glisan — have shorter blocks and more sidestreets where people could park instead. The parking-protected design was also estimated to be $200,000 more expensive due to the need for plastic bollards and more pavement grinding. Local resident feedback also favored the buffered bike lane design, Rickles said.

Existing conditions.

Plans for new crossing treatment at SE Lincoln.

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Plans for SE Tibbets crossing.

PBOT planner Zef Wagner, who was also at the meeting, reminded committee members that wider bike lanes were just a byproduct of the project’s main goal which was to make crossings safer on this dangerous street. 162nd is 76-feet wide and takes over 20 seconds for the average person to walk across. Combine that with a bad crash history and speed data that shows 80% of drivers go over the posted 35 mph speed limit (and 17% going 45 mph or more) and you see the need to tame auto users. “Doing a road diet was the way to provide crossings at an affordable price,” Wagner said.

If you’ve ridden the new bike lanes on North Denver Avenue in Kenton you’ll be familiar with this design. (It’s interesting to note that PBOT also initially proposed parking-protected bike lanes there too, and was going to implement them before they abruptly switched to buffered bike lanes due to pushback from nearby residents.) While wider, these buffered bike lanes offer no physical protection from car users. With the parking-protected design, bicycle users are separated from drivers by parked cars and concrete curbs and/or bollards.

One of the drawbacks of buffered bike lanes (opposed to curbside bike lanes) is that they weave back to the curb at intersections. With this project, PBOT will install bollards to help prevent right-hooks (see plan drawings below). Bicycle users will also share space with bus operators at some intersections (like SE Main and SE Division) where bus stops exist.

162nd and Clinton. Yellow circle shows bollard placement meant to lower right-hook risk.

This project is slated to be built in summer of next year. For more information, check out the official project website.

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

Utterly baffling. We have standardized designs that are based on best practice and research. It’s as if we need to relearn and test lessons that have clearly been solved already.

Eamon Haverty
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Eamon Haverty

I am glad that PBOT chose buffered lanes instead of parking protected, the problem I have with parking protected lanes in east portland is that they never get cleaned, I think that 162nd also needs speed/red light cameras.

matchupancakes
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matchupancakes

The problem is allowing dangerous behavior by design. You would think that cyclists were the ones needing to be slowed based on the amount of meandering proposed for the bike lane! 162nd is not an “important emergency transportation route” which is the standard excuse to not slow down auto traffic: why not have the full travel lanes wander around instead of the bike lanes?

https://gis-pdx.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/5f4369f08f344e2491cceaf0d6432cdc_181?geometry=-122.523%2C45.519%2C-122.475%2C45.530

cmh89
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cmh89

I guess it’s better than nothing. Paint is not protection and this project won’t do anything to change the downward trajectory of cycling in Portland, but it’s better than narrow lanes with a single line of paint.

I also hate that PBOT has institutionalized the concept of “neighborhoods” (read: property owners) deciding how safe the roads near their property are going to be. If PBOT thought parking protected bike lanes were the way to go, they should do that. When they are doing a freight expansion or road expansion they certainly don’t let property owners dictate the design.

FDUP
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FDUP

Another PBOT project that no one will use. I have yet to see a single cyclist on the redone portion of outer Glisan, and this is likely to be more of the same. Plus more ridiculous experimental designs, that seems to be the standard MO at PBOT now.

JZ
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JZ

The “meander” of the bike lane back toward the curb at intersections actually is a significant and important safety feature. This puts bicyclists within the driver’s cone of vision rather than keeping them in a blind spot or expecting drivers to turn more fully to look over their shoulder for bicyclists (unlikely). It’s a minor inconvenience with clear benefit and is certainly best practice.

grrlpup
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grrlpup

Very exciting for Powell Butte trips!

Ricky B
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Ricky B

So many other updates regarding bike lane and other cycling/pedestrian infrastructure projects have comments of people lamenting the lack of PBOT action in east Portland, yet here is a project in east Portland and so far there is only one comment that is straightforwardly positive about this. I’ll check back later and hope to see all the folks complaining about east Portland being neglected chime in.

GlennF
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GlennF

I would like to see a plan to keep these types of bike paths cleaner..I avoid these major street even with good bike infrastructure do to the shear amount to tire deflating debris that get pushed into the bike lanes.
The Springwater trail is also on my list to avoid for the above reason and more..
Will stick to finding my ways thru neighborhood street..

john Liu
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john Liu

To parking-protected bike lane fans, do you really want to get relegated to the dirtiest, wettest, most glass-littered, mud-filled and leaf-slimed part of the road up against the curb? We know a PBL will virtually never be cleaned. Especially not on 162nd . . . no, that’s not fair, but I think it is true.

Matt
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Matt

This isn’t enough. With no enforcement you’ll have another mess like NE 102nd. I’ve seen speeding drivers get impatient and pass other cars using the bike lanes. Thanks Hardesty.

John Liu
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John Liu

My recollection is that the great majority of bicycle/car accidents are at intersections, with dooring next. Of the dozens of bicycle/car accidents reported on BP over the past decades, I cannot remember any where a car departing the traffic lane struck a cyclist who was riding straight in a marked bike lane. Maybe there were a couple but I sure don’t think it is more than a rarity.

Given that, I think the “what kind of bike lane” debate is mostly a distraction. Make it wide enough and buffered (not door zone) and focus on where bike-car accidents actually happen. Safer intersections will also save pedestrian lives, which are taken far more often than cyclist lives.

On a street like 162nd, perhaps curb bump-outs and refuge islands should be used at every intersection to narrow lanes, slow drivers, allow pedestrians to cross more safely, force cars to make sharp, wide, and thus slower turns into side streets, and ensure clear visibility of cyclists as they approach the intersection. Combine with really good lighting and on-demand signals, with signage and aggressive camera enforcement.

For these blocks of 162nd, if budget is not a constraint then ideally we’d extend the sidewalk by 6′ to be a grade separated bike lane AND make the intersection improvements. If we can’t afford both, then I’d personally take the intersection improvements.

X
Guest
X

*Plastic bollard is an oxymoron. Take a look at Off Season Naito.
*Ted Labbe is right every single time he clocks in with his green space comment.
*We are all holding a different part of the moose (tired of elephants).
*With experience, bike users will ride the line with fewest conflicts and least trash, and no one else cares.
*Chronic lack of maintenance = deeply unserious bike ‘program’, lacking a better word.
*Fourteen feet apparently given to bikes is a frank invitation for MV operator chicanery. Yes I see the buried pun.