Southeast Salmon bikeway gets a full median diverter at 7th

PBOT has also added curb extensions and striped crosswalks. Full gallery below. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s most important bike streets has received a big upgrade. The intersection of SE Salmon and 7th now has a full median made out of bright yellow plastic curbs and wands. There are also two new striped crossings and all four curbs have been bumped out.

The new median was installed mainly to discourage car drivers from using Salmon as an alternative to the larger SE Hawthorne Blvd, which is just two blocks over. After the transportation bureau restriped Hawthorne with fewer driving lanes in early 2021, they wanted to make sure people didn’t use Salmon as a cut-through to avoid congestion.

In addition to preventing drivers from crossing 7th east to west, the median also prevents them from turning left from 7th onto Salmon. The new media and curb extensions also improve safety for walkers and rollers who use the popular route to access the Eastbank Esplanade and southeast Portland neighborhoods. 

The presence of the wands and curbs calms traffic and makes it more likely people will drive more slowly and stop for people waiting to cross.

According to PBOT, the project cost just $15,000 using these temporary materials and they plan to replace it with higher quality concrete curbs and other features in the coming years once they build the full SE 7th Avenue project that’s called for in the Central City in Motion plan. That project will make a number of upgrades to the bikeway on 7th between SE Division and Stark, including new signals, crosswalks, and wider bike lanes.

“The temporary materials [at Salmon and 7th] allow staff to evaluate if this is the right crossing improvement for both the SE 7th and SE Salmon corridors,” PBOT’s Interim Communications Director Hannah Schafer shared with us today.

The project is also part of PBOT’s effort to improve the Salmon greenway with better connections between the Willamette riverfront, through the Central Eastside Industrial District, and inner southeast neighborhoods.

Later this fall, PBOT will break ground on the related Central Eastside Access and Circulation project that will add long-awaited traffic signals to Salmon at SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and Grand.

Hami Ramani, a local bike advocate who volunteers with BikeLoud PDX, said he’s happy to see it. “We’ve been waiting for this for a while and I think it’s going to complement the rest of the work at MLK and Grand.” While Ramani isn’t a fan of the temporary aesthetic, he thinks the visual distractions for drivers will slow them down. “Overall, I think it’s a good thing,” he said.

One issue that I saw pop up on Twitter is that, without an accessible center turn lane, bicycle riders going north who want to turn left onto Salmon will now have to make a slower and more awkward approach.

While I observed the intersection for several minutes Wednesday night, it seemed to work well. Drivers stopped nearly every time a walker or biker was present at the corner. 

Have you ridden through this yet? What do you think? 

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Andrew Kreps
Andrew Kreps
1 month ago

Fan-dab-tastic. Can’t wait to ride it.

Boyd
Boyd
1 month ago

I’m pretty excited to see this. I wish they had done something like this at SE 20th and SE 30th instead of the barrels.

Incidentally, the first time I encountered this new diverter, I was traveling northbound on SE 7th. Within seconds of first seeing the diverter, I saw a person in a SUV make an illegal u turn in order to turn left from seventh into SE Salmon. All diverters have some level of non compliance. But the fact that this one doesn’t even include a ‘no left turn’ sign just seems like an invitation to scofflaws.

Bob Murphy
Bob Murphy
1 month ago
Reply to  Boyd

YES! I like this much better than the barrels. Better visibility.

soren
soren
1 month ago

OK…now do 11th/12th (half diverters), 20th, 34th, and Chavez (half diverters+bike box a la Clinton).

David Hampsten
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

Also Market@122nd & 112th, Russell@148th, Mill@148th, Main@148th…

Bob Murphy
Bob Murphy
1 month ago

I ran across this on my ride this morning. I think it was definitely an improvement but I’m not sure it’s positioned correctly? I’ll need to ride it again to really judge, though it’s usually pretty quiet when I cross 7th so I might not be the best judge.

Really my big complaint with 7th is delivery trucks parked in the bike lane!

Boyd
Boyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob Murphy

Delivery trucks in the morning, Uber eats drivers in the evening… The blockages are frequent.

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
1 month ago

Been on my commute for 10 years. I turn left on Salmon but now I have to go into the 7th Ave northbound lanes for a moment to pull it off. Usually no traffic anyway at 3:30 AM. Anything to keep traffic away from Salmon I am ok with.

soren
soren
1 month ago

Does anyone know how much laborious and expensive “stakeholder” [gag] outreach there was for this very cheap temporary diverter? The entire purpose of the city-council approved greenway report was to allow for traffic calming on the basis of policy as opposed to the whims of homeowner-associations.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

I think I probably agree with you but I’m not sure what your point is? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m just asking b/c I don’t completely understand your comment. There aren’t any HOA’s there, but there is the CEID, and one of the neighborhood assns., whatever’s north of Hosford-Abernathy in that area.

Anyway, can we all agree the PBOT BAC is worthless and PBOT engineers tend to over-design any improvements they make like this, regardless of whether they are temporary or permanent?

Whatever final design they eventually come up with should more easily accommodate cyclists turning left from southbound SE 7th to eastbound Salmon or it’s not worth a dime of the money spent. And I’m not talking about ‘Copenhagen’ left turns, which I doubt interest you either.

soren
soren
1 month ago
Reply to  FDUP

I’m asking whether there was outreach to Buckman residents and “stakeholders”, such as the CEID because this process is often used by PBOT to delay or kill implementation of cheap traffic calming elsewhere.

kbrosnan
kbrosnan
1 month ago

I found the zig-zag of Taylor <-> Salmon on 7th to be fairly convenient. I was one of the rare riders that used the Morrison bridge. I would take the center turn lane which would mean only crossing half of 7th at a time. This cuts that maneuver out. A center bike turning lane along 7th could be a good improvement for the final version.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

LOL those plastic poles are a joke. If Portland had real initiative, they would plant solid steel ones in the asphalt like they do in Europe.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

Wow if there is one thing this city loves, it’s plastic bollards. Just looks so trashy and visually distracting.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

OK, so you think Jersey barricades are more aesthetic?

Just wondering….

one
1 month ago

This is lovely. Any updates on the Lloyd to Woodlawn Greenway? Anything new coming to 7th or 9th or around/ through Irving Park?