The City of Portland has installed new bike lanes on North Whitaker Road that connect the Columbia Slough Path to Delta Park.
The 0.4 mile section of road was a glaring gap that prevented safe bicycle access between the path and the Hayden Meadows shopping center just south of Delta Park. The park is a key destination because it provides access to off-street paths that lead to Jantzen Beach shopping center, the I-5 Bridge, and Vancouver, Washington.
The new bike lanes begin at Schmeer Road and continue up to the Delta Park/I-5 freeway entrance. Previously this section of Whitaker had no bike lanes, narrow shoulders, and a curb lane that was often used as long-term parking.
Here’s how it used to look:
And here’s what it looks like now:
In our initial report on this project 13 months ago, we shared how the Portland Bureau of Transportation initially approached this as a bus service improvement. They wanted to speed up TriMet’s Line 6 from Hayden Meadows Drive northbound to I-5, but then expanded the scope to include bikeways.
Reader Ryan T. sent us photos of the project (above). As you can see, the roadway has gone from no dedicated cycling space to about an equal distribution of space between general purpose lanes and bike-only lanes. The bike lanes have a large buffer and are separated from other lanes by plastic wands. This should not only create a lower stress cycling environment, the narrowing of the driving space should improve behavior of car drivers.
I haven’t seen this facility yet myself yet. The bike lane sections look good, but there are two sections I plan to take a closer look at: the short northbound section from Hayden Meadows Lane (at Shari’s restaurant) to I-5 where PBOT has created a shared bus/bike lane; and the connection between Delta Park and the southbound bike lane. That crossing near the gas station and the freeway/park entrance is very stressful. I’ll report back once I’ve seen and used it myself.
For now, here’s what Ryan said about it:
“It felt really nice turning onto Whitaker (which has always had several conflict areas in a short stretch), and feeling relatively low stress. Coming off the Slough trail connection at Schmeer and also southbound out of Delta Park (crossing the median gap) can still be sort of a frog-hop, but for now I’m grateful for these nice protected road upgrades.”
Have you ridden this yet? How does it feel to you?