I picked something qqq wrote as “Comment of the Week,” partly because qqq did my job for me with a nice summary of an informed discussion buried in the avalanche of comments to Jonathan’s Division Street median post.
This kind of discussion is what keeps BikePortland readers checking the comments. The participating commenters support active transportation, and their decades-long familiarity with PBOT projects combined with current thinking about urban planning give their conversation depth.
Here’s what qqq wrote:
… the Division project (and the comments) is generally polarized between people who dislike the median (mostly for being anti-business) and those who support it (mostly for safety).
In comes Allan, who from past comments strongly supports biking and walking, and understands transportation issues. He describes something that’s obvious—once he points it out—that the Division project adds a median similar to what was added to MLK around 1980, yet large sections of the MLK median were removed because it was seen as anti-business. He points out that that makes it more likely the concerns are valid that the Division median is anti-business.
His comment shows a possible way to move the discussion into something more productive than each side digging in.
He’s not saying (as I read it) that the median is certainly bad, he’s saying that the MLK median experience calls it into question. People who oppose the median deserve thoughtful answers of why the median makes sense on Division.
My view after reading his comment is that PBOT missed an opportunity to support Division businesses. But the reason isn’t that it catered too much to biking and walking advocates. It’s that (like Max S said) PBOT focused on making it work for commuters and through traffic at the expense of enhancing it as a community main street. PBOT might have had reasons for that, but (like Foot Patrol said) PBOT needs to be honest about that. That could diffuse the businesses-versus-bikes standoff that’s arisen, and maybe reduce future standoffs.
Finally, Allen knew about the MLK median history by doing tons of historical research (that he’s written about as I recall) to inform his understanding, which I really appreciate.
Thank you again qqq and the other participants of this thoughtful conversation! You can read what qqq wrote under the original post.