PBOT has closed the NE Tillamook/82nd Avenue gap

Posted by on August 31st, 2021 at 11:27 am

Before/after looking west on NE Tillamook at 82nd.
(Photos: Trask C.)

One of Portland’s oldest neighborhood greenway routes recently got an important upgrade.

Northeast Tillamook has been a key east-west piece of Portland’s bike network for over two decades. It was first set-aside as a “bike boulevard” (former name of neighborhood greenways) and given bike-specific treatments in 1999 and was meant to be a low-stress option to the nearby commercial corridor on NE Broadway. Back then we had only about 10 miles of total greenways citywide (today we have about 130 miles).

While most of you probably think of Tillamook between its most popular section of North Williams to the Hollywood neighborhood, it actually runs a total of 4.6 miles all the way east to Jason Lee Elementary school at 92nd. Tillamook is designated Safe Route to School and a key route for getting to Gateway Green Bike Park (which is just on the other side of I-205). Unfortunately there had always been this four-block gap between 78th and 82nd where bike riders were simply dropped into a shared lane with car drivers. This was disconcerting to say the least, especially because it’s at major intersections like 82nd where vulnerable road users need more protection, not less.

So imagine my pleasure when reader Trask C. shared photos of newly installed bike lanes and bike boxes at this location!


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(Map: PBOT with BikePortland edits)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has spent about $20,000 to grind out the old sharrows, add speed bumps, and stripe new bike lanes that connect to the existing ones at 78th. Just as the bike lanes approach 82nd they are colored green and there is also a big bike box at the intersection so bike users can pull ahead of car drivers during red lights and avoid dreaded right-hooks. And right turns on red signals are now prohibited by drivers in both directions.


Looking east at westbound bike lane.

This gap has been on PBOT’s radar for a while. Their 82nd Avenue Plan (2019) included a recommendation for “bike lane gap completion on intersecting streets” that stated:

Pursue strategies to complete gaps in the bike lane network on street intersecting with 82nd Ave. This includes, but is not limited to SE Woodstock approaching 82nd Ave. Add bikeway network wayfinding signage for routes parallel and connecting across 82nd Ave. Improve Neighborhood Greenway routes paralleling 82nd Ave on both sides and connecting to 82nd Ave.

PBOT has been busy updating Tillamook with recently completed changes between Flint and 28th and an ongoing project between 28th and 62nd.

As you can see in Trask’s photos, these bike lanes are not ideal. The westbound ones look especially narrow (see image above) due to overgrown vegetation and it’s clear PBOT pushed the limit of this relatively narrow street to include dedicated space for car and bike users. This is one of the trade-offs between a shared-street (with sharrow markings) design and a bike lane design. The former gives you more room in a sense, but you share it with drivers. The latter gives you less room, but it is your legally dedicated space that no drivers are allowed into.

Have you ridden this? If so, how do you think it compares with the previous design?

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

Oh, great, PBOT added a little red house on the corner for the bicycle crossing guard safety officer to stay in. I hear if you ding twice he hops out and turns the light green for you!

Jason
Guest
Jason

I have used this intersection a few times in the last few weeks. This is a nice addition. Especially since Tillamook is so usable as a bike route, to have it dry up at the intersection was frustrating.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Is there any hope for 92nd?

igor
Guest
igor

I’ve ridden this stretch since the striping was put down. As was pointed out in the article, the westbound lanes are almost impossibly narrow for these four blocks, and bushes planted at the curb make it impossible to ride. I had thought there were standards for bike lane width in 2021…

It might have been better to continue the sharrows from the east side of 82nd for another four blocks, given that the westbound lane is unridable.

Jeff S
Guest
Jeff S

Vegetation blocking the right of way can be removed – either by the property owner, or by city crews that will bill the property owner. I’ve called it in, so something should happen…eventually.

maxD
Guest
maxD

this looks great, I can’t wait to ride it. I mainly ride this when heading to Rocky Butte, and people driving east tend to race to make the light. Having the bike box will be helpful is people actually wait to turn right until the green light.

NM
Guest
NM

The bike box is fantastic and the speed bumps are great. The skinny bike lane just west of 82nd is pretty pointless and I’d prefer to just take the lane for a couple blocks before the golf course lanes that are very roomy. Overall, a big improvement though!

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

I have enjoyed the new stretch from NE 32nd to Hollywood via Hancock several times. A big improvement over US Grant. You come into Hollywood right at Fleur de Le bakery…one of the best!

David Sweet
Subscriber
David Sweet

I came that way Sunday morning on my way back from Parkrose and was surprised to see the improvements. As others have noted, the skinny bike lane west of 82nd is pretty silly, but I appreciate the attempt.

Merlin
Guest
Merlin

I ride this both ways at least once a week. The speed bumps have been needed for a long, long time. But how does someone decide to put them across the entIre road instead of leaving a flat section like the bumps on 92nd on the way south toward Halsey?
Of course those flat spots on 92nd are in the very center of the road forcing cyclists into the middle of the lane if the want to ride on the flat section.
Does ANYONE think about these things beforehand?

PS – I think that little red house is a portable toilet.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

I am not a big fan of the flat sections, in my experience they cause drivers to suddenly veer towards the center of the road in an attempt to not drive over the bump, this can easily lead to a head on collision. I had an especially scary incident on 28th awhile back. The right solution here imho would have been to make the road 1 way for cars opening up enough space for proper bike lanes.

Steve
Guest
Steve

The flat spots are not intended for cyclists.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

I would have agreed with you except I was told by someone involved with the process that on the greenways those gaps are supposed to make the bumps cycle friendly, but there is nothing friendly about a person driving a car not noticing a cyclist coming the other way and swinging out into the oncoming lane to put their tires in the flat spot.

Jason
Guest
Jason

My understanding is yes the gaps in the bumps are meant for bike tires. And yes it is ridiculous to watch drivers try to hit both the middle gap and the gap in the middle of the lane. On SE28th and Ankeny area, the bumps have total three gaps. Not for cars, not safe to try and get your car tires in them.

DDG
Guest
DDG

The flat bits are for emergency vehicles not cyclists. Quoting from PBOT’s Design Manual

gaps in the bumps are provided at the width of the fire truck wheel base so emergency vehicles can traverse the bumps with minimal impact

NM
Guest
NM

I’m pretty sure the flat spots are for buses. In order to place speed bumps on streets like 92nd, Willis, 28th, etc. they need to have those. Streets like Tillamook don’t need them because there is not bus service. I used to think they were for emergency vehicles, but then you would need them on a street like Tillamook.

el timito
Guest
el timito

There are two reasons for having “flat spots” (gaps) in speed bumps:
Along 92nd they are there for emergency vehicles (yes, the bus uses them too I’d guess), since 92nd is a designated emergency vehicle route. Tillamook is not, except for a couple of small sections.
On SE Clinton east of 21st the gaps are there for cyclists. Thus the more convenient location (and narrower width of the gap).

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

Interesting discussion.
I have been a critic of these speed bump cuts, “flat spots” or what-have-you in the past. I’m totally unsure now, because I don’t know their intended purpose. It’d be cool to finally nail this down. Cyclists? Emergency vehicles? Buses? Ice cream trucks? Goat parades? Inquiring minds want to know!

GRH
Guest
GRH

This stretch has been a part of my 3-5 times/week bike commute for the past 5 years (I live a few blocks off Tillamook on the east side of 82nd). I hated the speed bumps at first but it’s made a real difference in car speeds. I feel less safe with the new bike lanes. They’re absurdly narrow, and aside from the overgrown hedge completely covering the westbound bike lane (which is not really that overgrown, it’s just that the lane is that narrow), a storm drain on the south side at 80th leaves you about 6 inches to ride in. I take the lane or ride on the stripe. Many drivers stop in the middle of the bike box, and some still turn on red despite a new ‘no turn on red’ sign across the intersection. Part of the problem is that there are no sensors where cars are now supposed to stop so they can’t trigger a green. The sensors in the bike box are still in the single location where the old bike symbol used to be so you have to know exactly where to place your tire to trigger the light. I don’t think PBOT could have implemented this more poorly if they’d tried.

soren
Guest
soren

SE 16th also has a newish bike box that painted over the tiny bike induction loop symbol so I routinely see people cycling stuck there for several light cycles on my north-bound commute.

Paikiala
Guest
Paikiala

The bumps by contractor cost $7,000 each, so the reported cost is too low.

KS
Guest
KS

I cycled this stretch last Saturday and noticed it as well. Definitely an improvement. Some cars headed west on Tillamook that want to turn right (north) onto 82nd use that Plaid Pantry parking lot as a way to skip the light, which can be annoying if you’re coming up in the bike lane.

Zachary
Guest
Zachary

This is right in my front yard and I’m astonished how fast people drive on Tillamook, right by a park and golf course with loads of bikes and pedestrians. Guessing, I’d say the average speed is 30-35mph, with many in the 40+ range on what is supposed to be 20mph road. There is absolutely zero enforcement.

The new bumps slow folks down a bit between 72nd and 82nd, but drivers still fly between 62nd and 72nd, again, right next to a busy park.

Until our society changes the norms around speeding OR until PPB installs ubiquitous speed cameras and/or ups their enforcement using patorols, these corridors will never feel safe for the average cyclist until their are physical barriers between them and the cars. The paint is… fine, but means little when drivers think they are Ricky Bobby.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Agreed with the lack of enforcement. I was just at the intersection and there is no way I’d get in that bike box for fear of getting run over! Not only are people speeding and driving aggressive there is also an amazing amount of licenses less vehicles in that area, so even if there were cameras who would they give a ticket to? I’m hoping with school back in session PPB will start enforcing basic traffic laws?