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PBOT will reconfigure Hawthorne Blvd without adding bike lanes

Posted by on February 9th, 2021 at 10:33 am

The new configuration aims to calm the street and make it easier to cross.
(Source: PBOT)

“I know many passionate advocates wanted to see bike lanes on Hawthorne. But this area is already well served with nearby greenways on Salmon and Lincoln.”
— Jo Ann Hardesty, Transportation Commissioner

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has released their final striping plan for Hawthorne Boulevard. As you can see in the image above, they’ve chosen to maintain five lanes for driving and parking. They had the option to create space for cycling, but have opted against it.

With a blank slate due to a paving project between 24th and 50th avenues, PBOT’s plan is to change the lane configuration west of Calle Cesar Chavez (24th to Chavez/39th) to two general purpose lanes and a center turn lane — a cross-section that would match the configuration east of Cesar Chavez. This design aims to tame auto traffic speeds, improve crossings with the installation of concrete medians, and it will give car and bus drivers a second lane to utilize for turns.

Today’s news will come as a major blow to thousands of Portlanders who supported a striping option that would have created bike lanes on the popular commercial street.

The chosen alternative.

An impressive, grassroots campaign from the all-volunteer Healthier Hawthorne group included a petition for bike lanes that had over 2,300 signatures as of Tuesday morning.

In making their decision, PBOT said in a statement they heard community feedback citing, “Improved safety for people walking or using a mobility device as one of their top priorities for the project.” As part of the project, PBOT will install median islands at several intersections and improve street lighting.

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Results of PBOT survey show significant support of bike lane options — but more for no bike lanes.

PBOT also surveyed people who live adjacent to Hawthorne and who travel through it via TriMet bus line 14. Results showed a strong preference for Alternative 2, the center-turn lane option.

PBOT had already recommended a three-lane cross-section back in September, but agreed to do more evaluations after community feedback pointed out a faulty analysis of traffic impacts led to their conclusions about transit delays. PBOT acknowledged the feedback and has spent five months taking a closer look at the project.

In the meantime, support for bike lanes grew considerably.

PBOT Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty acknowledged this support. “I know many passionate advocates wanted to see bike lanes on Hawthorne,” she said in a statement. “But this area is already well served with nearby greenways on Salmon and Lincoln.”

Drawing of Hawthorne with bike lanes. Created by Bicycle Transportation Alliance (now The Street Trust) in 1996.

Today’s decision from PBOT is very similar to their decision in 1997. As we shared this morning, the Hawthorne Transportation Plan included options that would have added bike lanes to the street. The city chose instead to do the option that had the smallest impact on existing motorized traffic flow.

In another nod to people who wanted space to bike on Hawthorne, PBOT said they will build better connection to the street in the future. “PBOT has set aside initial funding to develop additional north-south bikeway connections to Hawthorne from parallel neighborhood greenways on SE Salmon, Taylor, Lincoln, and Harrison streets.” PBOT says they’ll be in touch about those plans later this year and could begin construction on potential projects in 2022.

Construction for the new pavement and striping is set to begin this summer.

— 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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bjorn
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bjorn

I guess that once the striping is done we will all have to take the lane and ride slowly up and down hawthorne to demonstrate the need for bike lanes.

Geo
Guest
Geo

This is so disappointing. This could have been a real opportunity for PBOT to showcase how a protected bike lane could work on a major street. An evolution of what they did with Williams/Vancouver (equity issues aside with that project).

After seeing Better Naito become permanent, and seeing all the great progress with CCIM, I expected PBOT to be a little more bold and show a little more courage in roadway design.

To any PBOT people who read this: thanks for the lip service of additional parallel bike greenway, but an additional parallel route doesn’t come close to why we wanted bike lanes on Hawthorne properly. It’s a shame you believe that performing a study on an additional parallel greenway even comes close to making up for this lack of ambition.

Jake
Guest
Jake

If this is the direction PBOT is going, the push should be for enhanced greenways. Diverters every quarter mile at the minimum and a shared street design. Only having sharrows and speed bumps dont create a low stress environment for everyone.

zuckerdog
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zuckerdog

Seems like a twice weekly critical mass along Hawthorne will be order when the new striping is complete.

Christopher of Portland
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Christopher of Portland

This area is already well served with nearby carways on Belmont/Stark and Division.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

It’s harder to imagine a wider gulf between the aspirations of PBOT in their long range planning documents and their ability to actually implement these.

Ted
Guest
Ted

That center turn lane is exactly the configuration that resulted in Fallon Smart’s death at 43rd Ave. With Hawthorne’s traffic now limited to a single lane and potentially stopped at every bus stop, I hope they’re putting in a median at every bus stop.

rick
Guest
rick

Disappointed. Has Abdulrahman Noorah (killed Fallon) been caught or the person who smashed the Angelo’s restaurant on Hawthorne with their car in late 2020?

soren
Guest
soren

I repeatedly lobbied for rose lanes but this was deemed too expensive (would have required removal of infra) and too risk (parking is pdx’s third rail).

Of the alternatives presented, option 2 maintained transit access to marginalized communities at current levels and created a much safer environment for pedestrians. Instead of focusing on bike lanes at all costs I had hoped that there would also have been more calls for improvements to the Salmon Neighborhood Greenway (which will now likely experience more cut through traffic).

Douglas Kelso
Guest
Douglas Kelso

nearby greenways on Salmon and Lincoln

I wouldn’t exactly call six blocks to the south “nearby” if you’re planning to bike between multiple destinations on Hawthorne.

Personally, I’m willing to use the traffic lane to get from Mulligan’s to Powell’s if that’s what PBOT wants. Not sure how thrilled the motorists behind me will be about that, but they can deal with a few seconds of delay.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Looks like we have another 24 years to work on this.

Michael Andersen
Subscriber

One of the most disappointing things about this terrible decision is that it won’t even improve transit much — the projected decrease in bus travel time is 0 to 2 minutes, according to the earlier document.

By refusing to fully repurpose one or both parking lanes, PBOT naturally pitted busing against biking against walking, leading naturally to this conclusion. I don’t understand why repurposing the parking was kept off the table.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

LOL, no surprises here, including the false equivalency statement from Hardesty that Lincoln and Salmon are acceptable substitutes.

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

Can’t wait to drive over there, idle the car in a free parking spot while vaping and looking at my phone for an half-hour or so.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

The next time a person is obliterated by a car going 50 on Hawthorne I’m excited to hear what platitudes whoever the Bureau leader can give!

Karstan
Subscriber
Karstan

“I know many passionate advocates wanted to see bike lanes on Hawthorne,” she said in a statement. “But this area is already well served with nearby greenways on Salmon and Lincoln.” Imagine if we said that about cars. “Well the road gets you two blocks away! That’s good enough.” Think of the uproar.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Why not just get it down to two car lanes and make left turns illegal. Precedent on Burnside and reduces conflict and frees up a lane that can be used for 2-way bike lanes.

Jason VH
Guest

What about those of us that would like to frequent local businesses and not drive a car?

If Portland hadn’t already lost its reputation as a bike-friendly city this would certainly have clinched it. Talk about a step backwards.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Even if we don’t remove parking, wouldn’t it be better to (1) install a bike climbing lane between 12th and 30th, and (2) stripe advisory bike lanes east of there?

Seems like a good application for advisory bike lanes: cars only get one lane each direction, there is room for left turns and bikes get some space. Not ideal – maybe this is too busy a street for ABLs to work? – but better than what we have today.

Lidwien Rahman
Guest
Lidwien Rahman

I for one am very happy with this outcome. I’ll continue to use the perfectly comfortable greenways on Salmon/Taylor, Lincoln/Harrison, and Ankeny for bicycling, as I’ve done for years. I appreciate the proposed crossing improvements and connections to Hawthorne for pedestrians and bicycles, the retention of on-street parking, and the wider auto and bus travel lanes on Hawthorne.

The Dude
Guest
The Dude

What is it going to take for you to understand that PBOT, the city commissioners, and the rest of the political class don’t actually represent you, and aren’t interested in doing what is actually best for the community? Seriously.

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

What’s the difference between this layout and NE Glisan between 61st and 82nd? That street feels pretty unsafe to walk across. A few more pedestrian islands? Though as a plus, I actually find it only moderately dangerous to bike on as a fast cyclist. Not for the faint of heart, but more direct and quick that the greenways to the north and south.

Of note, recently someone had a little misadventure with the pedestrian island at 78th and Glisan, glad no one was actually waiting there at the time. https://montavilla.net/2021/01/29/glisan-crossing-light-repaired-at-78th/

Ben G
Guest
Ben G

Overall everyone is underserved by having major arterials also be commercial streets in this town. Wish business streets could be centers for pedestrians, bikes and commerce. But there is nowhere really viable to move the traffic nearby and so this would be a major political loser. So color me not surprised.

eddie
Guest
eddie

I don’t like biking on Hawthorne at all, it is way too sketchy. Too many cars, too much conflict which bike lanes won’t really eliminate. I have to agree with those who prefer taking parallel streets such as Lincoln through that area. Why is it so important to bike on Hawthorne when there are quiet side streets that will get you where you need to go faster and with less conflict with automobiles?

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Apparently many people whom ride bikes like being second glass citizens, and pbot is only so happy to accommodate. Hawthorne shall remain a shrine to the two greatest killer of people walking and biking:cars and buses. Yes! Go Portland!