(BikePortland video shows current conditions on SE Hawthorne eastbound (29th to 49th) and westbound (49th to 34th).
It’s been several months since the City of Portland finished making major changes to SE Hawthorne Boulevard as part of their “Pave and Paint” project.
As most of you know, this was (and still is for some) a very controversial project. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) had an opportunity to restripe the lanes any way they wanted. But instead of finding space for bicycling, they opted to remove one lane and make the existing lanes wider. They also added several new crossings and median islands.
The choices made by PBOT made it clear that they don’t expect most people to feel comfortable biking on Hawthorne. Their idea of bike access is to improve nearby neighborhood greenways and crossings, and to have people to walk their bikes on sidewalks to their destinations. That works fine for a lot of people; but many others will still bike on the street itself and will share the lanes with car and truck drivers.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
On Thursday, local bike advocate Cathy Tuttle, a former planner and nonprofit founder who recently moved to Portland to retire, shared her experience cycling on Hawthorne for the first time since the changes were made.
In a Twitter thread posted Thursday (below) Tuttle shared how even riding her e-bike at 20 mph people in cars still passed her. Tuttle pointed out that she feels the wider lanes — which vary between 11 and 14-feet — are too wide to simply “take the lane” and even for a “cycling pro” like herself this encourages drivers to make unsafe passes.
And that’s exactly what happened to her. “So I’m … pedaling at top speed for 5 blocks, looking for the café where my meeting will be, taking the lane, and a driver edges close to pass me because a wide lane + center turn lane simply are too wide to ‘take’.”
Today I biked to meet a colleague at a café on Hawthorne Blvd in SE PDX.
Hawthorne was just repaved w a center turn lane + two very wide travel lanes for cars. Wide travel lanes help people who drive go fast + feel entitled. I knew that, but still biked 5 blocks on Hawthorne 1/8
— Cathy Tuttle supports Good Trouble (@CathyTuttle) February 25, 2022
Have you ridden on Hawthorne since the changes went in? What has your experience been like?