A closer look at ODOT’s bike lane upgrade on SE Division at I-205

Late last year the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) spent $2.7 million on a project to reduce conflicts and crashes on a short stretch of Southeast Division where it passes under I-205. Since the project included upgrades to the bike lanes, I wanted to take a closer look.

(Source: ODOT)

The new bike lanes are just slightly better than the old ones. We now have a bit more breathing room, but there’s still no protection from other road users. It’s clear that the vast majority of funding from this project was aimed at making it safer for drivers and toward building 10 ADA-compliant curb ramps (both of which are much-needed things, I’m just pointing out a fact). As you can see in the video, there is still high risk of right hooks in this area, despite the new green coloring and other striping changes.

Before this recent ODOT investment, we had just typical 1990s-era unprotected bike lanes:


Westbound SE Division at I-205 in 2014.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

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And here’s how it looks now:

View westbound on Division before I-205 northbound on-ramp.

Keep in mind I only rode in the westbound direction, so I couldn’t assess the changes to the eastbound lanes. In that direction, ODOT made more substantive changes, including changing the shape of the turn to decrease the turning radius (and slow drivers down) in the northbound I-205 offramp where it meets Division (see map of changes above right).

With so much federal money on the way to ODOT and with a new law just announced today by the US DOT that they want more “highway safety” funds to be spent on bicycle and pedestrian safety, we should pay close attention to the outcomes of these type of projects.

Have you ridden or driving this stretch of Division yet? If so, what do you think about the changes?

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Jim Chasse
Jim Chasse
5 months ago

This was my daily commute for 10 years. Funded in 2017, it was ODOT’s part of the “Division project” that has been ongoing for 8 years. Happy to see this part of the project almost complete. ODOT actually attempted to increase water drainage from the NW corner in your video to address some stormwater management issues that led to a puddle from the MAX overpass that would sometimes grow to 30 Ft. long and cover the entire bike lane. Thanks ODOT. They do listen.
On the south side of the project they extended the bike lane striping to give some extra room between the lane marking and a pesky storm drain. There was literally 8″ clearance before. I measured.
Overall, I think the project was a huge improvement over what existed and they did exactly what they had to do. On time!
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/732568

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
5 months ago

Unfortunately no bicycle specific inductive loops made it into the project, travelling along Division the minimum green light time is 15s at NB ramp and 13s at the SB ramp to ensure there is enough time to cross at night. Also that last photo of the bus stop bike lane interaction was built by the transit project.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
5 months ago

That’s part of the transit project. I’ll be bringing it up today with the project.

Christopher of Portland
Christopher of Portland
5 months ago

It’s definitely better than it was but going downhill westbound feels like gambling with my life as I approach the onramp. That spot and the I-205 south onramp going east should really have some proper protection from drivers turning right. I do like how ODOT sometimes uses thermoplastic with little bumps in it rather than a thin coat of paint for bike lane lines.

Andrew Kreps
Andrew Kreps
5 months ago

What’s going on with that narrowing curbed ramp (final image)? Someone’s going to crash their bike on that in the dark since it’s never been implemented before and has no marking on it. I wish they’d use things that work instead of changing it up for every project.

Andrew Kreps
Andrew Kreps
5 months ago

The angle seems similar to the Hawthorne westbound ramp but if you miss that you just roll off the backside. The angle and height of the curb virtually guarantees you’re tumbling off your bike into the path of car/bus traffic.

cmh89
cmh89
5 months ago

The way they’ve designed it, that section is going to be a right-turn lane anyway. I’m sure motorist will drive down the bike lane if the car at the front is continuing straight. Might as well leave the arrow.

Vans
Vans
5 months ago

Seems a bit lost in translation here that the two Westbound left lanes are both left turn only lanes now where the middle lane was a sketchy left turn or wait for the green and go straight lane. Now all traffic wanting to go straight is forced at the last minute into the far right lane that is also the right turn onto the Northbound I205 lane. This is sketchy in a car, never mind on a bike. IMO this is more dangerous than ever. Especially for the less confident riders the assume the bike lane is somehow safer. All of this is even worse for much of it being under an overpass, shading, sight lines, room to maneuver and or course correct with vehicles everywhere and nowhere to go.

Steven Smith
Steven Smith
5 months ago

Did you wonder why they aren’t protected lanes? I thought ODOT guidance now called for them.

James
James
5 months ago

Pathetic is the best I can hope for.

dirk
dirk
5 months ago

Why do all the utilities always end up in the bike lanes??

BreadBoi
4 months ago

A major improvement! though I still don’t think any parents would be comfortable with their kid using it. Please ODOT, add a concrete barrier.