PBOT wants state grant to redesign North Denver and Lombard intersection

(Video: BikePortland)

A very unsafe and stressful intersection in north Portland could get a drastic makeover if the City of Portland wins a state grant that will be announced later this year.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced at a meeting of their Bicycle Advisory Committee Tuesday night that a project that would remake the intersection of North Lombard and Denver has made the first cut for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Great Streets grant program. The announcement came during a presentation by PBOT Planner Mike Serritella. He’s in charge of the North Portland in Motion plan that is nearing final adoption. During the outreach process for that plan, Serritella said he and his team heard many concerns about the intersection and decided to seize an opportunity with the Great Streets program to make it work better. (Since Lombard is an ODOT facility, the project isn’t part of PBOT’s North Portland in Motion Plan.)

“If any of you have ever biked or walked or ridden the bus or driven through this intersection, you know that there’s an aging signal there, there’s a bike facility that merges with general traffic, the bus often gets stuck in traffic, and there’s a pattern of pedestrian crashes of this intersection,” Serritella said at the meeting last night. “We’ve heard a lot from neighbors and stakeholders, and the shelter that’s going into the corner there, about kind of a call-to-action to do something.”

PBOT slide shared at Tuesday’s meeting.

Serritella said the time has come to address this intersection because of community concerns and because of its crash history. In the five-year stretch between 2014 and 2018 there were 30 crashes here, eight of which involved vulnerable road users with seven of them being people on foot or bike. That history helped PBOT’s project score high enough to make it into the second round of consideration with just 14 other projects statewide.

Now PBOT is refining the project and garnering public support to make sure it competes well when final decisions are made later this summer. ODOT has about $35 million to spend in this program for the 2024-2027 cycle. The Great Streets program is new and ODOT says it’s in its “proof-of-concept” stage — meaning they need to choose projects that will prove the program’s worth. They want projects that, “address community safety and multimodal connectivity” on major arterials. Projects are scored in part on their expected reduction on greenhouse gas emissions and social equity factors.

As for what PBOT has in store, Serritella revealed a drawing of their latest concept. The project would fully rebuild the old traffic signal which would allow PBOT to separate vehicle turns from pedestrian crossings. They’d also extend the bike lanes on Lombard recently installed by ODOT that unfortunately end a few blocks west of Denver on N Delaware. This would fill a big gap and connect the Lombard bike lanes to existing ones on Denver that stretch north and south into the Kenton and Arbor Lodge neighborhoods.

One of the most exciting features of the project would be to finally close the slip lane in the southwest corner of the intersection. PBOT says they’d depave the corner and plan some trees.

PBOT’s final application is due in August and they’ll need as much documented community support as possible. If you’d like to share your support or feedback for this project, email Serritella at mike.serritella [at] portlandoregon.gov.

Good luck PBOT!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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David Hampsten
David Hampsten
11 months ago

Paint

Susie
Susie
11 months ago

This is a bunch of bullshit. Just another way to bail out the city and provide more money to waste. PBOT is broke and groping for any funding and the project will not be even started and they will want more money. The projects that they do construct are dangerous and unsafe. There are very few bike riders. Bike riding is down 47%. How do you carry groceries etc on a bike or bus, or walking?
This crap needs to stop now!!!

Caleb
Caleb
11 months ago
Reply to  Susie

I mean I’m not a fan of the lombard improvement project but that’s because the bike lanes are thin, have grates and collect stormwater runoff (aka bike gutter) plus it’s difficult to cross N/S as a pedesrian except at wabash and, ironically enough, denver. If they are improving the roadway on the side of 7-eleven though, that’d still be a big change.

Also carrying groceries all the way out to the third row parking space sounds dreadful 🙂

Douglas K.
Douglas K.
11 months ago
Reply to  Susie

How do you carry groceries etc on a bike or bus, or walking?”

My bike has a cargo rack with saddlebags, plus I have a backpack.

Walking or bus? Backpack again, plus I carry a couple of canvas bags in the backpack if I need to buy more more than a backpack load.

There’s nothing I need in the way of groceries that I can’t transport easily by foot, bike or bus. I’ve lived without a car for years, and grocery shopping has never been any kind of problem.

cc_rider
cc_rider
11 months ago
Reply to  Susie

. How do you carry groceries etc on a bike or bus, or walking?

Well, its something billions of people all over the world do every day, I have faith you can figure it out!

There is a beautiful irony of you stating

The projects that they do construct are dangerous and unsafe.

and

Bike riding is down 47%

while still not being able to connect that those two statements are related.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

not being able to connect that those two statements are related

Because what PBOT is building is sooooo much more dangerous than what it replaces, which explains the sharp decline in ridership.

cc_rider
cc_rider
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I think the sharp decline in ridership has to do with the massive increase in danger from motorists more than anything else. Add in that we lost most of our MUPS.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

The ridership decline was well underway before the MUPs were converted to their current use, and well before the anti-police protests/riots led to a decline in enforcement and the consequent adoption of novel driving techniques.

It may be that COVID era societal changes contributed to the decline in ridership, but it was already well underway beforehand.

Cc_rider
Cc_rider
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

No it hasn’t. People have been talking about how dangerous the 205 path and Springwater path are the entire 10 years I’ve lived here.

The PPB are useless but that’s not what I’m talking about. Cars have gotten much bigger over the last ten years, cell phone and distracted driving is ubiquitous now, and we’ve imported thousands of people who drive like they did in LA or Florida.

Vulnerable road user deaths have dramatically increased nationwide. It’s just a reality that our roads are more dangerous than they were ten years ago

Portland has built one piece of real bike infrastructure in the last ten years (better naito), we’ve lost the MUPs, and drivers can’t put down Snapchat and drive.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
11 months ago
Reply to  Susie

Comments like this would be funny if they weren’t tragic.

Most Americans can’t imagine living without a 2ton metal box to carry them and 20lbs of groceries around.

36 years I’ve lived without a car – getting groceries (by foot, bus and bike) was never an issue.

Of course, at 56 I’m fitter than most Americans half my age – I almost cried when a 20 year old with no health problems told me he couldn’t ride the easy 20mi/day I’m currently doing for my commute.

While I didn’t ride during chemo, not much else keeps me from doing it.

I just remember the wisdom of 3 very sage people:

Eddy Merckx “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades”
Dr. Ruth Westheimer “Use it or lose it”
Ricky Bobby “I wanna go fast”

dw
dw
11 months ago
Reply to  Susie

Hey it’s ok to just say you don’t like bikes and we can all move on with our day.

idlebytes
idlebytes
11 months ago
Reply to  Susie

How do you carry groceries etc on a bike or bus, or walking?

With a question like that how could this be anything but a troll comment? No one with any life experience would seriously ask something like this. I get it when people who shop once a month for all their groceries at Costco have trouble grasping how they would make up that trip on a bike. That’s a specific situation that obviously is made possible by an unnecessarily large vehicle. The answer to which is you don’t have to live like that. Asking how you carry groceries at all without a car is absurd.

The social medias do seem to be attracting more of this nonsense to the comment sections here.

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  Susie

A visual guide, in case words didn’t do it for you and you didn’t try just typing that sentence into a search engine instead of a rant on a bike website comment section:
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=APwXEdfgDv2KS8-aeqRtPlTyoYb4psimOA:1686852007131&q=carry+groceries+on+a+bike&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiE9bC17cX_AhXWMjQIHT44BckQ0pQJegQICxAB&biw=1585&bih=1363&dpr=1.5

dw
dw
11 months ago

I would like it better if there was more concrete separating cars and bikes in the intersection itself, but I’ll take an incremental improvement over nothing.
bike lane paint? How much does the paint itself cost? How much does it cost to apply it? How long does it realistically last until it needs to be reapplied? Ultimately it probably ends up in our waterways – so what are the environmental costs?

cMckone
cMckone
11 months ago

I’m on the committee for Great Streets and this project was the last one to make the cut.
If I had to guess I would say it has maybe 40% chance because in the project docs we were given, the project was listed in two arts. This could cut costs enough to fit it in over something else.

Closing the slip lane was listed in phase one FWIW

Caleb
Caleb
11 months ago
Reply to  cMckone

IMO this is one of those places where the slip lane does matter a bit, And planners will unfortunately need to be careful in a design without it because dumbazzes will take the 120 degree turn blind AND hop the curb.

Foot Patrol
Foot Patrol
11 months ago

Square all intersections. Noodly intersections accessible to motorized traffic have no place in the urban grid.

Caleb
Caleb
11 months ago

Looks like a natural extension out from what they did a bit out west. Just need it to go all the way out through piedmont where I almost died at a (now closed) crossing.

cc_rider
cc_rider
11 months ago

This is the type of project that PBOT loves that I really hate. Paint, interestingly, can’t stop an out of control vehicle from hitting a vulnerable road user. This is really a car project but PBOT is spending the cycling communities social capital to get it done.

N. Lombard should either have no bike lanes or cycle track. What they’ve built is not going to attract riders. Unprotected gutter lanes don’t feel safe, because they aren’t, and N. Lombard has more cars parked in the bike lane than any other street in Portland I interact with, forcing what I can only assume are lost cyclists, to merge into 45 mph traffic.

But the real problem with stuff like this is that the layperson driving around Portland sees this stuff and doesn’t understand it has no value. Then when it comes time to ask for PBOT to build actual bike infrastructure, bad projects like this are pointed to as a ‘we built it but they didn’t come’ rationalization for not building more bike infrastructure.

Paint is not protection.

idlebytes
idlebytes
11 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

But the real problem with stuff like this is that the layperson driving around Portland sees this stuff and doesn’t understand it has no value.

This is the issue with a lot of road projects with bike infrastructure in East Portland. PBOT needs to be more honest about what their goal is. They’re using bike infrastructure to inexpensively narrow the roadway and make it more chaotic to slow down drivers.That’s what 102nd, Halsey, Glisan, Foster and I would say even the Division project was about. They’re not built to attract riders and are pretty bad design for cycling safety. My social media pages though are full of drivers complaining about traffic and how they never see any cyclists.

PBOT gets a narrower roadway with lower median driver speeds and cyclists get the blame. It’s a win win for them I guess.

blumdrew
11 months ago
Reply to  idlebytes

I don’t really think that justification makes sense. I mean it does in part, but why would PBOT not design actual good bike infrastructure to go along with it? It’s not like it would be radically more expensive to install concrete/metal bollards rather than wands if they are reconstructing an entire street.

“Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence”

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
11 months ago

If, like me, you wonder why there seems to be so little progress in addressing traffic safety perhaps the work habits of $200,000/year PBOT managers is explanatory:

A Portland Bureau of Transportation employee used a city car for personal errands and worked as a high school volleyball coach during work hours, according to the city auditor’s office.

.

Krueger, whose duties include meeting with developers to resolve permitting issues, has worked for the city since 2002 and earns $194,604 annually.

$200,000 each year to kiss up to real estate speculators. Anyone who believes PBOT prioritizes the safety of Portlanders traveling on our streets is very naive.

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2023/06/transportation-manager-commuted-in-city-car-coached-volleyball-during-work-hours-audit-finds.html

Matthew in PDX
Matthew in PDX
11 months ago

This intersection would be greatly improved with a roundabout rather than traffic lights. A roundabout would keep the traffic moving slowly and would eliminate blockages caused by left turning traffic. The bus stops should be move further away from the intersection so that other traffic can pass the bus while passengers are boarding or alighting. Personally, I prefer to avoid Lombard wherever possible, whether I’m cycling, walking or driving.