Oregon’s Highway 30 is an extremely important part of the cycling network, so we watch very closely for any opportunity to make it better.
You might recall last fall when we shared a hopeful story about how the stretch of what many locals call “Dirty 30” for its often debris-filled bike lanes could see cycling upgrades as part of a major Oregon Department of Transportation repaving project.
Now we’ve gotten our first-ever look at plans that confirm what the bike lanes will look like…
To refresh, the $8.5 million U.S. 30 NW Industrial Area Repavement Project will repave 2.5 miles of the highway between NW Bridge Avenue (just beyond the southern ramp up to the St. Johns Bridge) and NW Saltzman Road — which is a legendary road that offers an excellent cycling connection into Forest Park, Leif Erikson, Skyline, and beyond. In addition to smooth pavement, ODOT will update signals at NW Bridge and NW Front avenues, add and improve ADA curb ramps, and “look for opportunities to improve the roadway for people using bikes.”
According to an ODOT cross-section drawing (above), the plan is to install a more consistent bike lane with a wider outer stripe. The current lane has a relatively thin outside stripe and the width varies from just two-feet in some spots to five feet in others. The ODOT drawing shows they’ll narrow the two inner general purpose lanes by one foot to make the bike lanes wider and more consistent.
Yes you read that right: ODOT will take space away from a general highway lane and use it to make bicycling conditions a bit better.
Reached for more details today, an ODOT spokesperson said they’ll make the bike lane five-feet wide and even wider where space allows. There will also be a two-foot painted buffer stripe wherever possible. Another big upgrade will be paving of some driveway aprons as far back from the road as possible. This was done at the urging of cycling advocate Scott Kocher to decrease the spread of gravel into the bike lane.
We need to do a lot more to make Highway 30 safe for cycling and these are small steps forward.
Construction on this project will start in spring 2022. Learn more on ODOT’s website.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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Oh! I always thought HWY 30 was what they meant by “gravel riding.” I will be enjoying the improvements once they are completed!
Yay, I’ve thought about complaining about Site One’s yard a lot, it consistently pushes me out into the road. Otherwise I don’t hate 30 as is, but a bit of repaving and touch up would certainly be nice.
Seems like Site One should be required to pay to mitigate for the impacts that are caused by their business operations. If their vehicles are dragging gravel onto the road and breaking up the asphalt, they should have to pay to pave their own apron. But as long as it gets fixed, I guess it’ll be a good thing. But it doesn’t make me happy to know that state resources are paying to offset the externalities of a private business.
This is wonderful news! Now I hope next ODOT repaves Bridge Ave itself. When I ride down from the St Johns bridge to Hwy 30 (usually heading to Saltzman), the bumps are very treacherous.
Gosh yes @momo. I encountered those the other day. Please join me in sending that pothole repair request to AskODOT@odot.state.or.us. Sometimes it takes multiple reports to get a response. Other issues on Bridge Ave include the crazy speeds, and the poles in the middle of the sidewalk that make it impassable for people using mobility devices.
Done! Thank you for inspiring me do do this. It is crazy how often I (we?) go past something we KNOW is a hazard to others and don’t do anything to help get it taken care of.
From: Scott Kocher
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2021 9:58 PM
Subject: NW Bridge Ave Potholes (and poles)
The potholes on NW Bridge Ave between the St Johns Bridge and NW St Helens Road (Hwy 30) in Portland are a hazard to people riding bicycles on the downhill. I experienced these on the southbound downhill after coming over the St Johns Bridge and turning left (toward NW Portland). I have not ridden the stretch northbound (say if you came over the St. Johns Bridge and turned right toward Astoria). It would be helpful if the crew would check that stretch as well (the full 1-mile length of Bridge Ave) when they’re out.
Also the utility poles placed in the middle of the sidewalk block access for people using mobility devices (less than minimum ADA clearance).
Scott F. Kocher
I would be super excited to see an actual pedestrian crossing on the south side of NW Bridge Ave. I used to live in St Johns and I absolutely hated trying to figure out how to safely get across there when coming from downtown. I’d usually cross at the traffic light at NW Front Ave and then ride the wrong way into oncoming traffic, but that felt extremely unsafe. Sometimes I’d just try to merge over into the left turn lane on NW St Helens, but I’d always end up having cars zoom around me at 70 MPH, racing to get into the turn lane ahead of me. That also felt extremely unsafe.
my trick is to hit the ped crossing request button@ Front and keep pedaling, waiting to hear the traffic cease by the time I get to the left turn lane on to Bridge Ave. Take the left turn lane onto Bridge and your golden.Not for the less confident, but it is the best option for me. I don’t live in SJ anymore, so not certain this is still workable.
Last word (a few months ago) was they’re installing a pushbutton at the existing signal that will help peds across the main hwy lanes at the south (Portland) end of Bridge Ave. Crossing the Portland-bound lane of Bridge Ave itself at that location will remain “self help” (i.e. awful) for peds and other non-motorized users. The similarly awful situation at the that location where people on bikes traveling on Hwy 30 (from, say, Sauvie Island) toward Portland have to get across the lane of merging Bridge Ave traffic from their right will remain unsolved. This one: https://email@example.com,-122.7618025,3a,75y,184.73h,85.09t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sAF1QipM34qz-3SQjImZFNgfZE1pMmMMiid9edESF3y2I!2e10!3e11!7i5504!8i2752
Great to hear that a beg button will be going in on the south side. I suppose pedestrians or cyclists could go up the north side of bridge Ave and back down the other side to rejoin NW St Helens if they want to avoid crossing in front of the cars that are going up to the bridge. But who would want to do that?
This is better than nothing, but you still won’t find me riding on any road with a speed limit over 35 mph, unless it’s in a protected bike lane. The consequences of being hit by a careless driver are just too grave at those speeds.
Too bad you feel this way, Matt. When I was growing up, I had to get used to the feeling of fast cars passing me on my bike – sometimes really close. Protected bike lanes didn’t exist – heck, bike lanes themselves didn’t exist! Only when I moved to Oregon did I find consistent (sort of) bike lanes.
The idea that infrastructure could keep a cyclist from ever feeling scared may be unrealistic, IMHO.
I feel this way as well. I live near UP and would *love* to ride my bike into Forest Park via the bridge and Lower Saltzman, but am frankly too scared to ride on 30. These wider lanes are nice but…not enough to get me on that road. I’m glad it will benefit others I guess?
Isn’t the worst section of Dirty30 the southbound section between Linnton and the St. Johns Bridge (i.e., just north of this project area)? I remember the bike lane being particularly narrow there, and squished up against a concrete wall. Would be more critical to see some restriping there – or did it happen in the last year or two, and I missed it?