BikePortland.org

First look: New intersection treatment at NE 9th and Emerson

Looking west from southeast corner of intersection.

New crosswalks and traffic calming at NE 9th and Emerson. View is looking southwest from northeast corner of intersection.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is hard at work on the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway. This is the $2.0 million project that faced controversy in March 2019 when the initial route on 7th Avenue was rejected by some residents and PBOT switched it over to 9th.

Over the weekend I happened upon the intersection of NE 9th and Emerson. It’s an offset intersection with only Emerson having stop signs. A lack of traffic calming had led to a lot of drivers shooting through the turn at high speeds and cutting into oncoming lanes. To make this a low-stress cycling street, PBOT needs to calm things down. Their solution is to add striping, plastic curbs and wands (which haven’t been installed yet).

As you can see in the photos, PBOT has striped the intersection to encourage people to make a more predictable, slower turn through the offset. There are now four zebra-striped crosswalks and they’ve used paint and plastic curbs to create de facto median islands. (Note: This is five blocks south of the new median at Killingsworth PBOT installed in 2020.)

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As I observed the intersection on Saturday, a man who lives on the corner popped his head out. “Hey are you Jonathan? From BikePortland?” he asked. “I’m a subscriber!” We were instant friends.

The man said he’s absolutely thrilled with the changes. He says it has helped slowed people down and greatly improved safety thus far. While we chatted, one drivers completely disregarded the striping and curbs and flew through the intersection. Compliance from almost all others I saw was very good. Forthcoming plastic wands that PBOT is yet to install should encourage people to stay in the lanes and drive more responsibly.

Stay tuned for more reports as this project moves forward. If you’ve seen, driven, or ridden any of this, please let share your thoughts.

For more information, check out the BikePortland archives and browse the official PBOT project page.

CORRECTION: This story initial referenced the intersection as NE 9th and Webster. That was wrong. It is NE Emerson. Sorry for any confusion.

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