BikePortland.org

PBOT will reconfigure Hawthorne Blvd without adding bike lanes


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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