The major snow and ice storm that moved into Portland Friday is still having negative impacts on bicycling conditions throughout the city. While conditions for drivers have improved greatly in the past few days and some bikeways are clear — large amounts of snow, ice, gravel and debris continue to block access to most bikeways and walkways.
The lack of sweeping on major bikeways shows that either PBOT doesn’t prioritize them or that they are unable to address the issue due to capacity limitations. Either situation should be cause for concern.
One issue that seems to be causing the problem are protected bikeways. I’ve noticed several bikeways that have concrete curbs and/or plastic wands separating them from other lanes that look to have not been touched by sweepers. Portland has a very small street sweeper that was purchased in 2013 specifically to reach narrow bike lanes, so it’s not as if they don’t have the equipment.
Below is an example on N Interstate Avenue at Skidmore where it looks like plows cleared the street but protective wands in the bike lane prevented them from clearing all the snow.
Here are more photos from around town (including some from reader Robert B)…
Reader Robert B sent us several photos yesterday that show major bikeways are still impassable by bike. The Burnside Bridge is still in bad shape, as are the approaches to the Broadway Bridge. “What I’m seeing is infrastructure not designed to be maintained and actually made worse by snow ‘removal’,” Robert shared. “With no attempt to keep bike lanes and crosswalks operable. There is no apparent connection between the active transportation people at PBOT and the road crews.”
In my neighborhood, North Rosa Parks is completely under snow in most places. And reader Brendon C shared via Twitter that even as of Friday morning (today), the bike lanes on N Denver Avenue were “Completely blocked by huge piles of snow that must’ve been shoveled/plowed from nearby roads/driveways all the way from Kilpatrick to Rosa Parks.”
Bike lanes on NE Cully Blvd and NE 57th are still “pretty messy” with “mostly gravel but still some snow” another reader shared.
It appears PBOT crews are clearing and sweeping some bikeways and the natural melting is slowly doing its trick; but it’s been a week!
The presence of snow piling up in bikeways and walkways is dangerous because it forces people to spend more time exposed to more dangerous vehicle users in a shared-lane environment.
We raised this issue in 2017 and found that PBOT’s plow routes and snow removal plans didn’t include neighborhood greenway streets — which are in many ways the backbone of our network. I’ve reached out to PBOT once again to ask about bikeway-specific clean-up plans and will update this post when I hear back (see below).
How are the bikeways where you ride? Please share status updates in the comments. See reports on conditions in this Twitter thread.
UPDATE, 3:17pm: PBOT says “Yes, we have been clearing bike lanes and streets that have downed trees. If there is a lane that needs attention, please encourage your readers to call our maintenance hotline — 503-823-1700 — to report it and get it on the list.”
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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