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New protected bike lanes coming to key stretch of Hawthorne Blvd

Posted by on April 2nd, 2021 at 3:48 pm

The pendulum is set to swing from cars to buses and bikes.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

(Graphic: PBOT)

Construction has begun on a project that will bring significant changes to a key bikeway couplet in southeast Portland just in time for summer.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is building new bike and bus lanes on Southeast Hawthorne and Madison from the Hawthorne Bridge viaduct to SE 12th Street. The designs are adapted from the Central City in Motion and Rose Lane initiatives which reduce road space for drivers in order to improve conditions for bus and bike users.

Highlights of the $1.1 million project include:

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  • a seven foot wide, curb-and-post protected bike lane on Hawthorne between Grand and 12th,
  • two floating bus islands to prevent conflicts between bike and bus operators (one at 6th, the other at 12th),
  • bus lanes (a.k.a. bus and turn or “BAT” lanes) on Hawthorne and Madison,
  • new bike signal phase at Hawthorne and 7th to prevent right hooks,
  • car turning ban on Madison and Hawthorne onto 6th to prevent right hooks,
  • eight new upgraded crosswalks,
  • reduction in car parking spaces to improve visibility at intersections.

Here are details from the technical plan drawings:

SE Hawthorne and 7th:


Intersection of Hawthorne, 12th, Clay and Ladd:


Hawthorne between 10th and 11th:

The changes should bring welcome relief to one of the most important — yet stressful — streets in the network. Hawthorne currently has five lanes that can be used by drivers (three for driving, two for parking) and one lane exclusive for cycling. The new cross-section will have a wider bike lane, an 11-foot wide bus lane and two general purpose lanes. The two general purpose lanes will be available during the weekday rush from 2:00 to 7:00 pm and will be reduced to one lane at all other times with the northernmost lane being used for parking and loading.

The project will also attempt to improve the complex intersection of Hawthorne, 12th and SE Ladd Ave. A new buffered bike lane will be installed on 12th between SE Clay and Hawthorne and will continue to Madison. Currently this block has no dedicated cycling space.

On Madison (the westbound part of the couplet), the bike lane will be similar in width to existing conditions. The big change will be removal of the parking lane to make room for a longer and more consistent bus lane. Between 6th and 7th, bus and bike operators will share a lane before the two trade places at Grand just before the bridge viaduct entrance.

We’ll be eager to see how this project turns out. It’s the most ambitious example yet of how PBOT will integrate their enhanced transit and protected cycling corridors.

Construction is expected to wrap-up by July.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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EP
Guest
EP

Welcome to Hawthorne Blvd. Kindly follow this nice path downhill and then please exit at 11th or 12th and head into the Ladd’s vortex so we don’t have to make any further improvements on Hawthorne east of here.

Zach Katz
Guest
Zach Katz

On the bright side, since 12th through 24th isn’t getting repaved this summer, this stretch is probably still a candidate for getting attention soon (unlike the rest of Hawthorne, which will have been “just “”””””improved””””””).

ivan
Guest
ivan

Yeah I still don’t get how you’re supposed to get from Hawthorne EB to the Salmon Street greenway. The new bikeway on 12th will be nice, but if it’s only going as far up as Madison then I guess you’re just supposed to weave through the neighborhood streets?

Paul
Guest
Paul

To be fair, the neighborhood streets are pretty friendly. I only sometimes use the greenways around here because all the other streets are basically just as good.

marisheba
Guest
marisheba

There’s a left-turn bike box at 7th. I personally hate turning left at 7th, because it forces me to get rid of all of that nice downhill momentum! But it also looks like there are protected spaces that you could use to wait with your bike before turning left at 8th, 9th, and 10th. I still don’t think it’s a great solution, but it’s at least a slight improvement over today. Not giving a good bike left-turn option at 12th seems like a big oversight though.

soren
Guest
soren

Given the high volumes of people cycling turning left off Hawthorne what’s needed is a bike-only left turn phase at a major intersection.

Scott Kocher
Guest

Super! I just heard today the most dangerous intersection in Portland for bikes is… Hawthorne and 11th (probably based on total number of crashes not per person risk exposure).

marisheba
Guest
marisheba

Ugh. Yes, and looking through the plans, 11th and Hawthorne stood out to me as the biggest safety oversight in the whole project! Big right-turn conflict there, basically no bike lane protection right there and certainly no protected intersection, and the traffic lane is actually angled *towards* the intersection in a way that makes the angled larger and easier to go fast for cars.

soren
Guest
soren

I’ve personally witnessed several gruesome collisions at Hawthorne and 11th over the 20+ years I commuted this route.

PBOT KNOWS!

Matt
Guest
Matt

Yeah, I know somebody who got right-hooked (by a drunk driver, no less) at that intersection.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Very excited to see this on the ground. Has to be one of the more heavily used bike segments in Portland. Will be interesting to see how it functions for those of us who are heading eastbound and want to turn left onto something other than 7th (which hopefully is next in line for some fixin’).

maxD
Guest
maxD

this is great news! My office is at 11th and Madison and I have been watching this get started. I did not know about the 12th ave bike lane but I love it. Any idea if they will re-open the crosswalk for people walking at 12th/Madison?

ivan
Guest
ivan

I’m curious about that, and also to know how they plan to help bicycles from a new protected bike line on NB 12th to the bike lane on WB Madison. Maybe bikes will get a leading green light from 12th/Ladd to give them time to get up to Madison before the cars come barrelling down behind them?

squareman
Subscriber

Reduction in parking, both for bike facilities and to improve sightlines at corners? I had to read it twice to believe I hadn’t dreamt it. Nice!

ivan
Guest
ivan

I’m excited about this, but completely perplexed as to why they wouldn’t want to address the much more serious, dangerous, substandard narrow lanes between 12th and 20th (or I guess to 24th if that’s where the work further out is stopping).

That stretch, barely mitigated by the pedestrian/bike light at 16th, really needs some action. I can’t imagine business owners, drivers, bus operators, bicyclists or walkers see the current state as ideal.

(Personally of course I think this’d be great for protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, reduced parking at intersections and one driving lane in each direction, but almost anything over the status quo would be an improvement.)

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

The mid-lane concrete islands w curbs are a significant hazard for cyclists, they need to rethink this part of the project; either use paint or mountable curbs, but not hardscape with hard edges please!!!

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

You’re talking east of 20th, right? The islands, in the median? They’ll be out of the travel lane, and no more dangerous than the existing curb extensions, which are also out of the travel lane. Anything that limits where drivers will be going is an improvement, IMHO.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

No, I’m talking about between SE Grand and SE 12th.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

Thanks Jonathan for posting all maps with north at the top, for those of us easily confused!

Gregory Cosmo Haun
Guest
Gregory Cosmo Haun

There is a mistake in the 2nd technical drawing, the one illustrating SE 12th as it crosses SE Madison, labeled here as “Intersection of Hawthorne, 12th, Clay and Ladd”. The left-most lane on SE 12th displays a Left or Straight arrow, labeled “E-LA”. “E-LA” means Left Arrow. The straight option would make no sense in this context. The correct E-LA arrow illustration can be seen in the “Permanent Striping Legend” on the project website.

The good news is that it looks like this design is anticipating future bike facilities on SE 11th and 12th which to me is even more exciting than the SE Hawthorne improvements.

mark
Guest
mark

Oh good, more lanes that will never get swept!

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Turning a completely easy, flowy stretch of riding into a dangerous clusterfudge.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

Is seems pretty counterintuitive to me to be isolating, slowing cyclists down and creating new unsafe conflict points when all signs point to a surge in e-bike use which will speed bike traffic up to at or near the speed of motor vehicle traffic on this stretch of road. Plus, this is a slight downhill grade and even human powered cyclists can move pretty fast through here.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Says everyone but kids, elderly, families, people with disabilities, the interested but concerned, and 90% of other people who bike.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

We should not be designing solely for the lowest common denominator. Kids grow up and their cycling skills improve, this is a major arterial used by many adult cyclists with sufficient skills to navigate it as it is; any redesign should be done with the intent of accommodating cyclists of all skill levels, and not just designed for the slowest, least skilled cyclists that *might* use this facility. Besides, this project is mostly about the increasing the perception of safety without actually doing much to increase the actual safety of cyclists using it. Skilled cyclists will now ride somewhere else and the city will be stuck with another white elephant bike lane that no one wants to use.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

One last point – this type of facility should only be built if and when the state repeals the mandatory sidepath law, which would legally protect and allow cyclists who don’t want to use this facility to ride in the travel lanes.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

“Any redesign should be done with the intent of accommodating cyclists of all skill levels.” Agreed.

Do you have any evidence to support your opinion?

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

We’re locking ourselves into narrow, congestion inducing, right hook enabling hardscape infrastructure with 5.5ft pinch points. And along a route that currently allows over 20mph riding at very low effort and easy passing. Can it be made safer? Sure, but I don’t see how this project does that and it compromises the efficacy and scalability of this stretch of road for cyclists in the future. We need to think about moving lots of cyclist, considerably more than we currently have, at various speeds and skill levels.

The danger I experience when I ride this section is at the intersections. Something you are usually very vocal about. I don’t see protected intersections. I see some new feel-safe only mid block infrastructure that removes cyclists from the road at their least venerable and reintroduces them without protection at the most dangerous moment (and in the case of 11th, actively creates conflicts by angling the bike and right turn lane together).

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Totally agree. All/most of the money for this project would be better served by designing quick and dirty, separated intersections and signal separation at 7th, 11th and 12th. It’s not a great design. Large planters that serve as right hook barriers are cheap/easy.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

Planters?!?! Plz explain how they are any better than any other hardscape that presents a crash hazard and confines cyclists to the gutter?!? 😉

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Few examples:
NYC, vancouver, Denver, bunch of places.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

You mean a four lane race track….

Another Engineer
Subscriber
Another Engineer

The lack of accommodation of northbound traffic on 12th, westbound out of Ladd’s, making a left onto Madison to continue westbound is somewhat concerning. A safer treatment would be signalization. I hope people making a left on Madison, who aren’t comfortable with merging into the vehicle lane will know they need to yield when headed towards green paint but have a protected movement when headed toward red paint. Signalization with protected intersection design or bike box westbound seems more appropriate. Or updating the NB receiving paint to be green on the far side and not green on Madison.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Great point Another. The intersection at 12th and Madison would be a prime candidate for a separated intersection design. Merging into cars within an intersection going both straight and left is an inherently dangerous design. It is very difficult to see how PBoT came up with the current intersection configuration if safety were a priority. Practically speaking, people on bike will likely stack up in the center of the intersection waiting for a pause in car traffic in order to turn left on to Madison. If I’m reading the schematic right, 12th will actually be expanded to 3 lanes wide in order to maintain car capacity and shoe-in a bus only lane. This is a truly awful design. Kind of one for the record books, even for PBoT.

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

Jonathan, I think the second technical drawing is mislabeled. It looks like that is the intersection of 12th and Madison, a crop of page 26 (S-5) not Hawthorne, 12th, Clay and Ladd, shown on page 25 (S-4) of the Final Signed Plans document.

Thank you for covering this project.

maxD
Guest
maxD

They have completed quite a bit of the striping, and they have been adding parking signs along Hawthorne. Unfortunately, they are keeping the parking signs along the curb, which implies to me (and a lot of people who had parked today) that the parking is along the curb. There is a buffer between the bike lane and the parking area. It seems to me that it would be far easier to perceive the info on the sign and more intuitive for people trying to park if the signs were placed in the buffer instead of at the curb. Anyone know why they don’t place the signs in the buffer? (I am afraid that PBOT is too afraid the signs will get run over…but they are not worried that people in the bike lane will get run over! I hope I am wrong)

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

Unfortunately, they also did a lot of grinding of the old paint in the ROW now designated for cyclists; I thoroughly hate that grinder and the crappy pavement it leaves behind!

Dan
Guest
Dan

I’m glad you are getting your way and taking over the city streets. It’s not enough that you have Lincoln, that is set up for bikes, Taylor that is a designated bike route, but now need to take over the 2nd busiest street in inner SE. I’m glad my gas tax is so go to you.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Soon, if we get our way, whoever we are, only the driveways will be safe… or… will they???

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

Actually, it is legal for cyclists to ride on all local streets including arterials, and if the motorists were better behaved, none of this reimagining would be necessary. As far as the so-called greenways, they may be great for commuting downtown or going on recreational rides, but they access very few commercial destinations that cyclists might want to go to.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

PS, AFAICT none of your gas tax money goes to these projects, most of it is general fund $s which everyone pays into whether they own a motor vehicle or not. Streets are *public* space and not just for motorists.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

It’s not “your” gas tax. The gas tax belongs to all users of the roads. All people.

roger noehren
Guest
roger noehren

The “floating” bus stops on Hawthorne will require passengers to cross the bike lane to board and after disembarking, which creates a potential hazard, with cyclists riding downhill fast from the viaduct. They will need to slow down considerably and/or come to a complete stop to permit passengers to cross.
The city should put crosswalks there, with flashing lights, like they have on SE 17th just south of Powell Blvd.

roger noehren
Guest
roger noehren

This is the same set up as on Division, except instead of just one bus line, there are three,so all cyclists will either have to stop for passengers disembarking and boarding (some of whom will be in wheelchairs) or ride around the buses in the through traffic lane.
https://bikeportland.org/2021/04/07/new-division-street-bus-stations-raise-questions-about-traffic-laws-and-expectations-329802

roger noehren
Guest
roger noehren

Since the reconfiguration of lower Hawthorne will continue to encourage cyclists to turn off at 12th to use Ladd and then Harrison or Clinton (which are designated as “neighborhood greenways”), why not direct us onto Clay from the viaduct, so we won’t need a protected lane between the bus lane and the sidewalk (putting bus passengers at risk as they board and disembark)?
Cyclists who are going to Buckman could turn left at seventh, which already has traffic signals to facilitate crossing Hawthorne and Madison and is being upgraded and will connect to the new Earl Blumenauer bike/pedestrian bridge across Sullivan’s Gulch to the Lloyd district.
This would only require cyclists to go one block out of their way and be safer for all users.
Westbound cyclists headed for the Hawthorne bridge could also be directed onto Clay as far as seventh (if they’re coming from the SE). Cyclists from Buckman or the Lloyd district generally access Madison from seventh or sixth already, so we’d only need a bike lane on Madison for two blocks, from seventh to Grand.