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.
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 email@example.com
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