It’s winter doldrums not just for our psyches here in Portland, but also for our transportation bureau’s construction season. Two projects that didn’t get completed before the winter shut-down have big implications for bicycle users: new separated bike paths on NE 47th and the new, two-way protected bike lane on N Greeley near Adidas. I recently checked progress on both projects.
Just north of Columbia, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is doing a complete rebuild of NE 47th Avenue — a crucial connection to the Portland Airport and the newly remodeled Whitaker Ponds Nature Area. PBOT, Portland Water Bureau, Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Environmental Services came together to invest $7.7 million into this section of the road.
To goal is to bring 47th up to city standards. Before the project broke ground in 2019, it was a two-lane, 40-mph speed limit thoroughfare with many industrial businesses sharing big driveways and competing for space in gravel shoulders. On a bike, it was a nerve-wracking mess. If the close passes from huge trucks didn’t rattle you, the debris and potholes would.
The new street should be much more chill. The design has kept the two-lane profile and adds a separated lane for walking and rolling. Street trees, green street planters, and more street lights are also on the way.
Much of the construction is complete and all that’s left to finish up in the spring are the landscaping and some utility pole work.
The other big thing left for this project will be an educational and enforcement campaign. That’s because folks are used to parking in the shoulder where the new path has been built. When I was out there last week there was a lot of activity on the new path — and not just from construction crews. Given the heavy industrial land-use here, getting business owners, their employees, and their customers to respect the new path could be a very heavy lift. Hopefully PBOT has some plans to manage this. We’ll find out soon enough as construction should be done by late spring or summer.
Lost in the hoopla of the new concrete-wall separated bikeway on North Greeley last summer was the northern section of project. We detailed the plans for this project back in August and showed how PBOT was making major changes to the road configuration. Instead of the current bike lanes protected by plastic-curbs and wands on each side of the street, the new plan is to create a two-way bikeway on the west side that connects from the existing neighborhood greenway on Willamette to the new protected bike lane that begins at N Going.
As you can see in the photos above, the new protection will come via the same small, concrete curb PBOT used on N Rosa Parks and a few other locations. Another big feature will be a floating bus island to serve the Adidas campus (photos below).
We’ll be watching both of these project as they near completion. Stay tuned for updates.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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