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Construction begins on project that will add buffered bike lanes to North Lombard

Posted by on January 15th, 2021 at 10:43 am

By summer 2022 this will be the new look of Lombard through Kenton and Arbor Lodge.
(Graphic: ODOT)

The Oregon Department of Transportation has begun construction on a project that will significantly redesign a 1.2-mile stretch of North Lombard. The $16.5 million Lombard Multimodal Safety Project will re-stripe traffic lanes, repave the badly deteriorated street, upgrade signals, add more robust crossings, and stripe unprotected buffered bike lanes between N Huron and N Boston. The project will include new median islands and flashing beacons at N Emerald and Delaware.

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Shared lane design between Greeley and Villard (Green Zebra market).

New cross-section. Lanes were widened for freight truck drivers.

The changes are a result of ODOT wanting to improve safety and freight movement reliability. According to state data, Lombard is the 11th highest crash corridor in the city of Portland with a crash occurring every 9 days on average. The existing cross-section has five lanes; two general travel lanes in each direction and one auto parking lane. The new configuration will add two dedicated bike lanes and a center turn lane. The two general travel lanes will be widened from 10.5 to 12 feet in order to facilitate large trucks (Lombard is US30 Bypass and a major ODOT freight route).

ODOT opened an online open house and comment opportunity today that will be available through January 31st.

While work has begun on the project, the repaving and re-striping won’t begin until spring of next year. ODOT says the new buffered bike lanes should be finished by summer 2022.

— 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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Overall this is certainly better than the status quo, and with the restricted street width available I can live with what is presented.

However, I wish that ODOT and PBOT would work together to try to divert all freight traffic to the parallel Columbia Blvd and Marine Drive instead of Lombard; they’re much better-suited for freight and don’t run right through the middle of neighborhoods. I can’t imagine that either of those roads would become over-capacity as a result. That would allow for the narrowing of the lanes to 10-ft widths and hence the possibility of adding actual protection for the bike lanes, not just a single-foot buffer.

Matthew in PDX
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Matthew in PDX

I think this is much needed, however, I would prefer that the state legislature take a long, hard look at freight traffic in N Portland and find a way to move as much of it as possible away from residential streets, prioritizing moving freight along N Marine Drive to the greatest extent possible. The legislature should also consider a new Willamette River crossing so that freight traffic is not using St Johns Bridge, unless they are delivering to St Johns neighborhood businesses.

Mark in NoPo
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Mark in NoPo

I’m glad for these transportation improvements for Arbor Lodge, Kenton, and surrounding North Portland neighborhoods. If you are, too, please respond to the survey on the project page, to ensure that the cars-only crowd don’t manage to yank back some of the improvements at the last second, like they did to the bike lane on N. Denver into Kenton.

Jonathan, it’s a shame that this upgrade stops one block short of the bike lane on N. Denver. Do you have any ideas for how we might be able to get ODOT to complete the link (from Boston to Denver) as part of this project?

Starbreaker
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Starbreaker

I like the idea median islands on Lombard but I do not see why it needs to have bike lanes. There are plenty of side streets that parallel Lombard we bikers can use. Even with the road enhancements, Lombard will still be a sketch to ride on.

EP
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EP

Lets be honest about who they’re catering to… “The two general travel lanes will be widened from 10.5 to 12 feet in order to facilitate large trucks.” This is clearly for the next generation of huge pickup truck commuter vehicles that will be semi truck sized. Plus you need that buffer for swerving down the road as you stare at your infotainment system.

mh
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1″ marked with paint counts as “buffered”? We need to change the official definitions of misused words.

Kyle Banerjee
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This is a welcome change that will make a huge difference. What I don’t get is the obsession so many people have with trucks. How many of you actually ride Lombard?

Lombard is a bad road to ride on, but that has nothing to do with trucks (of which there aren’t many). It’s because cars go fast, they constantly switch lanes to avoid left turning vehicles and stopping buses and you’re butted up against a curb with zero shoulder.

The new configuration basically eliminates passing which is going to slow things way down and make traffic move way more predictably. People will enter turn lanes to pass buses and slow right turning vehicles, but it’s still going to be a big improvement.

Trucks are a good thing on roads like this as they serve a traffic calming function. They aren’t nearly as erratic in their movements as cars and they slow and speed up much more gradually. In any case, how do you think they’re going to get stuff to businesses without them?

I expect to see only a few cyclists on it when complete. Lombard is a garbage road from a riding perspective. The new config won’t change that it’s noisy, busy, and those who fear traffic will still experience issues with hooks and vehicles pulling out as there is a lot of turning — i.e. they’re better off on the side roads.

The big win here is that it’s going to slow the traffic way down and things safer and more predictable. Hopefully, it won’t cause long tailbacks because that will only push traffic onto neighborhood streets

JoBra
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JoBra

Anybody see the new stop signs installed on the 2-way cycle track on N. Lombard by Pier Park? COP inexplicably throws up bike stop signs all along the bike cycle path. Seems to be their design solution at crossing drives and side streets when building cycle paths along Lombard. Ridiculous, confusing, and non-standard loss of right of way for bikes when their should be no sacrifice for standard right of way. Just making it up as they go along from project to project. PBOT is teaching drivers not to stop for bikes when crossing a bike lane.

Momo
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Momo

This is a great project overall, but a bummer part of the project is that they’re replacing the half-signal at Delaware (which has bike buttons and works reasonably well for bikes) with a rapid flashing beacon only on one side, with no bike buttons. So bike riders who want to trigger the flashing beacon will have to cross Delaware and get onto the sidewalk to push the button and cross like a pedestrian, then cross back over. Delaware is a popular bike route and is actually supposed to be upgraded to full neighborhood greenway status in the coming years. This is the one design element that would be best to try to get fixed in this last round of feedback.