The new Flanders Crossing Bridge will open in nine days

Posted by on May 26th, 2021 at 11:42 am

Soon.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

At long last the time has come for us to walk and pedal safely across I-405 in northwest Portland on a bridge without those pesky automobiles in the way.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced today that the Flanders Crossing Bridge will open on Friday June 4th. The new, $9.5 million, 24-foot wide, 200-foot long span is the centerpiece of the Flanders neighborhood greenway project — both of which fulfill promises made to cycling advocates over two decades ago.

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(Flanders greenway. Click for captions.)

I’ve been watching progress on Flanders and was just out there on Friday. The good news is that this cool new bridge is far from the only good news.

As we shared back in March, PBOT is serious about keeping drivers off Flanders so that it can live up to its greenway billing as a “low-stress, family-friendly street”. Several new diverters have been installed and PBOT has made major changes and upgrades to the traffic signals and intersections on each side of the bridge to make sure people on bikes feels safe and welcome.

And while there’s plenty of new paint and new bike lanes, PBOT has also used quite a few, no-nonsense concrete diverters that physically prevent drivers from making turns onto the street. At NW 10th for instance, people using cars can no longer turn west onto Flanders. Where there used to be a general lane, there is now a bike-only lane. At NW 17th, there’s a full, median diverter. This is in addition to the complete driving ban through the North Park Blocks (8th and 9th) via a half-dozen huge concrete planters.

I cannot wait to see all the bicycle riders this new bridge and greenway attract. It is truly a huge step forward for our city. See you at the ribbon-cutting on June 4th (at 11:00 am).

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

I want to be excited, but I’m finding myself underwhelmed at this sliver of roadway that passes over the giant chasm our predecessors decided to gouge through the city.

I’ll ride it; it’s better than other routes. But the PBOT self-congratulation in their recent video, for instance, feels over the top to me.

We need to think bigger! See this NY Times piece from today about cities that are actually removing their urban freeways.

Fill the Moat
Guest
Fill the Moat
Momo
Guest
Momo

I would love for all the freeways to be removed from Portland, but if we have to choose I would rather remove I-5 through the Central Eastside rather than I-405 through downtown. As bad as I-405 is, it’s much narrower and has way more crossings than I-5, so there would more overall benefit if we removed I-5 on the eastside.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

Flanders is currently closed to cars between Broadway and 6th, for the redevelopment of the Westwind Apartments. It’s a bit of a squeeze to get by on a bike… but quite an effective diverter.

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

Excited for this. I was completely confused as to what to do coming off the Steel bridge to continue downtown yesterday.
Hopefully when this project and Naito are complete everything will be smooth and it will be intuitive.

hamiramani
Subscriber

That’s going to be super important. According to the planning documents it looks like there is a “future Naito crossing” planned.

https://www.portland.gov/sites/default/files/2020/nw-flanders-neighborhood-greenway-project-overview-map-20201020.pdf

Ed
Guest
Ed

Super important connection. My understanding is that the crossing depends on cooperation from the railroad so hopefully that won’t delay it by decade or five.

Momo
Guest
Momo

In the meantime, there is a new bike “couplet” on Couch and Davis from Naito to 2nd/3rd, you can use that to get up to Flanders.

Let’s Active
Guest
Let’s Active

It’s been in the “planning” phase for more than a decade. The railroad issues have killed any momentum to get it done. I’m hoping the nice work PBOT has done on the Flanders greenway from NW 3rd to the west helps the process to get that Naito piece done. I’m tired of pushing my bike across fast moving traffic at Glisan/Naito. I’ve been doing it for 14 years!

maccoinnich
Subscriber

As of last year I read in an email related to Flanders that “design [of the Naito Crossing] is moving forward with ODOT and UPRR and anticipate construction in 2022.”

drs
Guest
drs

I can’t wait for the Flanders Crossing to open! I’m going to bike back and forth over it a bunch of times!

I hope those little yellow bollards on the bridge aren’t going to be the only thing preventing motor vehicle access. And if they are, I hope that PBOT actually replaces them when they inevitably get removed in about a week or two.

rick
Guest
rick

Maybe there aren’t more diverters on that bridge because of the wide cargo trikes being used. It isn’t fun using a regular cargo bike and having to meander around the crossing gates on many trails and paths around the Portland area.

Steve Hash
Guest
Steve Hash

I kind of feel sorry for drivers in NW right now, there have been so many sudden road treatments between Everett and Lovejoy above 14th, it’ll be a steep learning curve.

X
Guest
X

That part of NW has been hellish to drive _through_ for quite a while. If it’s attractive to people for other reasons they’ll find a way to park and walk, or bike in, or take transit. Hopefully there is some kind of planning vision to make that possible.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Owning a car in this neighborhood seems like a bad idea, for a lot of reasons. As someone who occasionally drives though, I don’t find it confusing. A lot of drivers aren’t very attentive, though.

drs
Guest
drs

Too bad there aren’t many fast, frequent transit options to make car-free living more attractive in the NW. Until TriMet redefines frequent to mean sub-10 minute headways, transit just won’t be a viable solution for most.

Anna
Guest
Anna

I guess I set my hopes way too high because I’m deeply disappointed in the new Flanders greenway. Between the atrocious condition of the pavement on many blocks and the drivers running stop signs and driving right around many of the concrete diverters, riding on Flanders feels more unpleasant and dangerous to me than taking the lane on any of the other E/W streets in the neighborhood. I live a block away from Flanders but I’ve mostly been going ten blocks out of my way to take Johnson instead ever since I noticed that it also got some improvements recently.

drs
Guest
drs

Hopefully the people ignoring the diverters will decrease over time. I wish PBOT would design them to be more difficult to drive through, and/or adorn them with multiple “DO NOT ENTER” signs. But I’ve noticed that people tend to run other diverters less and less the longer they are in place (I’ve seen this happen with the diverter at Clinton/28th and the diverter at Willamette/Villard). I think that Google/Apple Maps learns that the diverters are there and starts to route people around them. Most people in cars just follow navigation directions like mindless drones these days.

maxD
Guest
maxD

This is going to be great! Any updates on how Flanders will connect to Naito? Will PBOT let cars coming off 405 turn right on Glisan? Currently they are supposed to go to Everett-15th-Glisan, but many people choose to cut over and turn right on Flanders, then right on 17th. This is a common movement and will create conflict on Flanders between 16th and 17th. I am hoping that this project will either keep the right on Glisan from the 405 ramp or move the diverter to 16th/Flanders.

Momo
Guest
Momo

There is a full diverter at the east leg of 17th & Flanders, so that won’t be an issue.

maxD
Guest
maxD

People driving use 16th-Flanders-17th-Glisan to avoid waiting at lights and using 15th. With the diverter at 17th,this movement remains an issue.

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

No it doesn’t, traffic will not be able to reach 17th using Flanders. In case there’s any confusion, the big DEAD END signs posted at the 16th signal should clarify things real quick.

maxD
Guest
maxD

The issue is people diving on Flanders between 16th and 17th as a shortcut. The diverter will still allow people driving to turn right on to 17th. A phased signal at Glisan that allowed drivers to turn right from the 405 off-ramp on to Glisan or something similar would stop this cuthrough, or preventing lane changes with a curb on 16th past Flanders would prevent this- I am wondering if any of the well-informed readers know if PBOT is proposing any solutions.

Momo
Guest
Momo

No, it’s a full diverter, no turns from Flanders in any direction. Flanders will be a dead-end street at 17th for cars. It’s like a bike-only cul-de-sac. No cars can do the thing you’re describing.

maxD
Guest
maxD

Thanks for explaining this!

maccoinnich
Subscriber

The movement you’re describing is no longer possible. The bottom left photo in the gallery above is of Flanders, looking east from 17th. The placement of the diverter prevents drivers traveling along Flanders from 16th to 17th, whether going straight or turning. If you follow this link and download the file “00001377 Plans.pdf” you can see the plan view of the diverter on page 52 and 95 of the PDF.

maxD
Guest
maxD

thank you for the explanation!

drs
Guest
drs

It’ll be a huge issue for at least a block. That is currently where most people in cars turn when getting off of I-405S to get into NW Portland. If cars aren’t deterred from making the turn onto Flanders from NW 16th, they will continue making that turn. I totally agree with maxD. That diverter should be located and NW 16th and Flanders, not NW 17th and Flanders.

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

There’s a hardware store right at that corner (that has hosted several PBOT open house events and has been an active supporter of the project btw) that needed to maintain access for loading and deliveries off 16th which is why the diverter went at the end of the block. But the end result is the same, you will no longer be able to drive from 16th into the neighborhood on Flanders.

drs
Guest
drs

Well, I guess you can’t lose access to Chown. Still, I’d like to see the directions flipped on Everett and Glisan and a diverter placed right on 16th to allow for the freeway-exiting traffic to be directed to a street other than a local service street, even if it is just for a single block.

Momo
Guest
Momo

But it will be a dead-end street, so literally no one will turn right from 16th to Flanders except people accessing Chown or the other few properties on the block. So what’s the issue?

drs
Guest
drs

Usually diverters allow vehicles to turn at the intersection. They just prohibit cars from continuing straight. Are you saying this will be an actual dead end for cars, requiring them to turn around and go back to 16th?

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

Correct.

drs
Guest
drs

Okay. That is much better than I had envisioned. I still think they should flip the directions on Glisan and Everett. But this is good to hear.

D2
Guest
D2

Intrigued to ride it and see if it is more efficient in getting from Naito over to the west hills than up to Overton. Hopefully it has a few less 2 way stops across roads that are consistently busy (21st and 23rd).

qqq
Guest
qqq

I love the project, but agree with Willamette Week that PBOT’s promo piece is bizarre: https://www.wweek.com/bikes/2021/05/26/portlands-newest-pedestrian-only-bridge-will-open-next-week/

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The “Built Ford Tough” Flanders Crossing!

Momo
Guest
Momo

TWO GIANT CRANES!!!

Kenny Green
Guest
Kenny Green

That will be fun to try out. Hopefully it won’t fill up with tents. 🙁