Good news: ODOT will stripe bike lane at dangerous Lombard/42nd Avenue gap

Posted by on June 16th, 2021 at 12:38 pm

View westbound on Lombard under 42nd Avenue overpass. The white line in the foreground is end of bike lane.

On December 12th, 2015, new Portland resident Martin Greenough was riding home from work on Northeast Lombard. As he pedaled eastbound at the 42nd Avenue overpass he was hit from behind and killed by a drunk driver. Greenough was struck in a section of Lombard where there was a gap in the bike lane and the shoulder narrowed significantly. The City of Portland (who owns 42nd Avenue) and the State of Oregon (who owns Lombard/Hwy 30) both settled a lawsuit with Greenough’s family and the Oregon Department of Transportation built a separated path at the location two years after his death.

But ODOT’s work was only half-done: Unfortunately, the same conditions exist on the other side of the street in the westbound direction. It’s another dangerous gap in a bike lane that throws bicycle users into a shared lane where people drive cars at 45 miles per hour. Fortunately, a fix is finally in sight.

The reason for these gaps are support columns for the 42nd Avenue overpass that narrow the right-of-way. When the Portland Bureau of Transportation unveiled plans for a new 42nd Avenue Bridge back in February of this year, we reported it wouldn’t have those problematic support columns and would give ODOT an opportunity to finally address this scary pinch point.

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Months of back-and-forth between ODOT and PBOT planners (with persistent prodding by transportation advocate Scott Kocher), has resulted in an agreement between the two agencies to improve the bike lane on both sides as part of the $17 million 42nd Avenue bridge replacement project.

We’ve confirmed the good news with ODOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Manager Jessica Horning. She says ODOT will pay for the improvements as part of PBOT’s bridge project. The funds will be put toward, “widening to accommodate buffered bike lanes in both directions and standard sidewalk on the south side of US30 under the bridge.”

The project is still in the design phase, so we don’t have any schematics to share. Once we know more we’ll post about it here.

Thank you Scott Kocher for bird-dogging this issue! And thanks to ODOT and PBOT for working together to close this gap.

Now… if we would just build jersey-barrier protected bike lanes on Lombard from MLK to 82nd we’d really have something special. Let’s do it!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Alan 1.0 Scott KocherLesley F.drs Recent comment authors
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Great to see! I’d prefer if the bike lanes were truly protected, but I feel like buffered bike lanes allow for an much easier conversion to protected lanes at a later date than standard bike lanes do (just put up a jersey barrier in between), and this is very clearly better than the status quo. There seems to be a marked increase in PBOT/ODOT collaboration since Hardesty took over from Eudaly, between this and 82nd Ave. Hopefully a sign of good things to come!

Lesley F.
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Lesley F.

Yep, better than the status quo. Don’t think this has much to do with Hardesty though. Unfortunately, she’s not been a friend to cyclists.

 
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I’m going to judge her on what actually happens in a year or so, not what I think will happen. I doubt that any projects that have already begun construction were conceived of under her. And I think in some ways she’s been spot on, saying things that some bike activists don’t want to hear but are 100% accurate and needed to be said, like her answer on Hawthorne here. I definitely don’t agree with her on everything, but overall I think she has done at least an adequate job so far.

Lesley F.
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Lesley F.
drs
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drs

Great news. Another problem spot will be fixed. I sure wish ODOT went after deadly bike lane issues the way that they vigorously try to eliminate freeway bottlenecks and remedy locations with high numbers of low-consequence fender bender crashes.
Next they need to close all of the many gaps in the bike lanes on SW Barbur Blvd.

Lesley F.
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Lesley F.

Thank you Scott! Really unfortunate it took a death to make this happen (and even then it was tough slog). RIP Martin Greenough.

Scott Kocher
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You’re welcome! And thank you Jessica and the other folks at ODOT and PBOT who lined up the dollars and shovels, respectively. (Also, it’s not just for bikes. The westbound bike lane is also the eastbound ped facility, in practice and legally.)

Alan 1.0
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Is the plan just a paint stripe between the car lane and the Armco barrier? That’s such tight, narrow quarters! Why not a path behind the Armco like on the eastbound side?

Scott, great job getting this much. I just wonder why it can’t be that safer & seemingly easy separated path.