Portland transportation director readies plan to roll back key downtown protected bike lane

(Map graphic: BikePortland)

(*Important update to the story posted 9/20. Read it here.)

Last Thursday, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Millicent Williams emailed a select group of PBOT staff with instructions to remove the parking-protected bike lane on a 16-block stretch of Broadway downtown between NW Hoyt and SW Salmon and replace it with a previous configuration that some insiders think would be less safe.

According to sources we’ve spoken with, Williams’ email was met with shock and disbelief.

Over the last 14 years, PBOT has built a parking-protected bike lane (where car parking spaces are moved away from the curb to make room for a wider bike lane) between the Broadway Bridge and I-405. The first segment, between SW Clay and I-405 adjacent to Portland State University, was completed in 2009. The next segment, between Hoyt and SW Harvey Milk, was completed in 2020. And the middle segment, from Harvey Milk south to Clay, was finished just last year.

Broadway is on PBOT’s High Crash Network, a list of streets with above average serious injury and fatal crashes. Its current bike lane design addresses a significant crash history and changing it could raise liability concerns if the new design is less safe. The Broadway bike lanes are part of a plan for a network of protected bike lanes downtown that was passed unanimously by City Council as part of the Central City in Motion Plan in 2018. This parking-protected design is the most popular bike lane design PBOT deploys and it’s currently in use all over the city because it provides ample separation from drivers and lowers stress for bike riders, while being relatively affordable compared to other designs.

Now, PBOT Commissioner Mingus Mapps and his hand-picked PBOT Director Williams want to revert all but the southern section back to the way it used to be —with cars parked next to the curb and bike riders pedaling in a lane with car doors on one side and car drivers on the other.

PBOT Commissioner Mingus Mapps (left) and PBOT Director Millicent Williams at Sunday Parkways, September 10th. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We learned about these plans last Thursday, when Director Williams first emailed staff that she had reached a decision about changing the design. According to sources who’ve asked to remain anonymous due to concerns of retaliation for speaking directly to the media, Williams asked for a briefing document several weeks ago. After reviewing a list of design alternatives prepared by PBOT staff, she and Commissioner Mapps chose the option staff didn’t recommend because they felt it would be less safe and would not align with Portland adopted goals and plans.

PBOT Communications Director Hannah Schafer confirmed the plans in an email to BikePortland Friday. “Yes, we are making modifications to the Broadway bike lane. We are working on a revised plan and will be able to share more in the coming weeks,” Schafer said. Asked for more information, Schafer added, “I don’t have any other details at this time.”

So far it’s unclear why Director Williams and Commissioner Mapps want to make these changes. (A call into Mapps’ office has not yet been returned.) The bike lane seems to be working fine from a bike riders’ perspective. I’ve heard no serious complaints that would warrant a major redesign. And given that PBOT analyzes traffic data from projects like this, if there were problems, they would proactively tweak the design to address them.

Businesses along Broadway, however, have a history of unhappiness when it comes to bike lanes. When the final segment of it opened last winter, management of the Heathman Hotel (on corner of Broadway and Salmon) complained to the media. The resulting story on KGW was lopsided and did nothing more than platform their grievances.

The other major hotel on Broadway with a well-known history of skepticism around bike lanes is the Historic Benson Hotel. Reached for comment via phone this morning, Benson Hotel General Manager George Schweitzer confirmed that he’s not a fan of the new design. “Those things have been crazy since they went in,” he said, referring to alleged conflicts between bike riders and his customers, who load and unload across the bike lane. “So, [the bike lanes] are problematic from my viewpoint.” Schweitzer also said he’s supportive of reverting them back to the old design.

Schweitzer also told me he has contacted City Hall with his concerns about the Broadway bike lane.

The other business interest that has City Hall’s ear is the Portland Metro Chamber (formerly Portland Business Alliance). Prior to council’s adoption of the Central City in Motion Plan in 2018, the Chamber opposed a protected bike lane on Broadway, saying the project, “Would have significant, unnecessary economic impacts on our downtown retail core,” and would “severely limit the capacity of our few remaining arterial routes through the city.” Portland Metro Chamber endorsed Commissioner Mapps and donated to his 2020 city council campaign.

Another important bit of context to this story is how downtown Portland — especially its hotel business — remains “in crisis” according to the city’s tourism bureau. A story in The Oregonian this morning says that downtown hotels are struggling to rebound and points to “street conditions” along with public drug use and crime as culprits.

“It is extremely disappointing both for Broadway and the potential chilling effect for future projects.”

– PBOT staffer

Is Commissioner Mapps responding to business owners who look out their windows and see the bike lane as a convenient scapegoat for other, much more complicated, problems? Or does he and Director Williams have other justifications for making such an unexpected change to a key downtown bikeway?

Whatever reason(s) they have for making this move, it’s an odd time to do it given PBOT’s severe budget shortfall. It would cost the bureau tens of thousands of dollars to make the changes.

Hopefully, if Mapps and Williams do intend to oversee a major redesign of the bike lanes on Broadway, they will do it in a way that addresses concerns and improves the cycling experience. Unfortunately, from the rumors swirling around PBOT right now, that is not the expected outcome. And the ramifications of this decision are likely to ripple well beyond this one location.

“It is extremely disappointing both for Broadway and the potential chilling effect for future projects,” shared one anonymous source who works at PBOT and has knowledge of the plans. “Not to mention the precedent set by allowing a few property/business owners to back channel and circumvent the extensive public involvement process that happened to develop the project in the first place.”

Stay tuned.


UPDATE, 9/19 at 1:55 pm: We have a records request pending and a separate set of questions for Commissioner Mapps office. While they work on all that, his office just sent this statement (that they’ve also sent to other outlets who are asking about it):

“Commissioner Mapps is committed to traffic safety, especially concerning pedestrians and bicyclists. It is important to acknowledge that we had our first bicycle fatality of the year this morning in North Portland. My thoughts go out to the family and friends of the cyclist. Since being assigned PBOT in January of this year, Commissioner Mapps has been discussing proposals for improving transportation infrastructure with Director Williams, including critical corridors. These have been very preliminary, and we will continue to dialogue with PBOT and the community moving forward.”

UPDATE, 9/19 at 3:15 pm: PBOT has just released this statement:

Since installing an update to the bike lane on NW and SW Broadway last year, PBOT has heard mixed feedback from people biking and people who work, visit, and own properties along the downtown Broadway corridor. Recognizing the dissatisfaction among people who use the street on a daily basis, Director Williams asked PBOT staff to review and evaluate a series of potential changes to the bike lane on SW/NW Broadway between NW Hoyt and SW Clay streets. After receiving additional feedback from PBOT staff, Director Williams asked staff to prepare 1) a full project evaluation that considers all users, 2) proposals for upgrading or “hardening” portions of the existing bike lane in its current configuration and in a potential future state (similar to the proposed bike lane for the forthcoming SW Fourth Avenue project) and 3) a proposal for a modified bike lane that clears parking corners along the corridor and increases signage and paint, while also returning the bike lane to its 2018 configuration between NW Hoyt and SW Salmon streets. PBOT staff will be preparing these options, offering additional insights and engaging in public outreach in the coming months. Additional information will be available on the SW Broadway Bike Improvements Project website in the coming weeks.

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.

Thanks for reading.

BikePortland has served this community with independent community journalism since 2005. We rely on subscriptions from readers like you to survive. Your financial support is vital in keeping this valuable resource alive and well.

Please subscribe today to strengthen and expand our work.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

188 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt
Matt
9 months ago

In March, Mapps was a guest on Jonathan’s podcast, and perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this stunning and disheartening reversal coming from a commissioner who in that podcast described the Rose Quarter freeway expansion project as a “really exciting project,”

In other parts of the podcast, Mapps says quite a lot which sounds encouraging for people on foot and bike, but it’s also vague, which has become a bit of a a hallmark in his public pronouncements.

So, now we have action beyond this rhetoric, and this is it, a jaw-dropping removal of valuable infastructure. Sure, the intrepid will still ride this segment, but as you mull his quotes below, even the heartiest Mapps acolyte would have to admit that none of the following of his professed ideals and aspirations enunciated in the podcast have been encouraged and supported by this decision. In fact, very much the opposite.

“I think we’re at the precipice of a new and exciting chapter in transportation, where infrastructure is going to emphasize cars less emphasize public transportation, biking and walking.”

“And I think driving a bicycle in Portland is often a scary experience. And I will tell you, we need to manage this better as we head into what I expect to be a couple of decades of growth, where we have more people, you know, in a confined space. This won’t work unless we reimagine how we help people get to where they want to go.”

“…we definitely want to increase the amount of miles that people commute in Portland on bike, I think part of that means infrastructure, for sure. I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done here. And frankly, one of the things I hope I can at least launch in the two years I have left on this council is to revisit the bike plan to see where we could do better.”

“Over my time at as Commissioner of PBOT I fully expect to piss off people who wish that there were no bikes on their streets. And I fully expect that the bike community will hold me accountable for not building enough bike lanes — it just has to be a balance. And what we’re trying to do is optimize the infrastructure we build and the culture that we build. We’re trying to optimize the trade-offs that we have to confront.”

Recumbent
Recumbent
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Anyone here actually ride this section of Broadway? Come on, people, take the lane! The new alignment is crap. Save your ammo for another city location which needs it more than here.

PDXTom
PDXTom
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

Yes, @recumbent, have ridden that route (from Broadway bridge past PSU) for 20+ years on a near daily basis and the new, emphasis, protected alignment is a huge safety improvement.

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

Yes. The current design is a huge improvement over the past. This used to be a gauntlet of right hooks and distracted drivers every ride. Going back to the previous design would be horribly irresponsible.

Octavio
Octavio
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

I could not agree more… all that f the latest changes including these ones seem to make biking more dangerous to me and I rode regularly. I don’t know who came up with this stuff but it makes nobody safer and just confuses y.

Ujkl
Ujkl
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

I’ve biked on Broadway a ton, both in the old door zone bike lane and now in the new parking protected bike lane. The new configuration is a vast improvement. I much prefer the new Broadway. I’m very upset to see moneyed, car centric special interest groups winning out over the active transportation plan that was adopted by city council four years ago. If mapps’ donors don’t like the Broadway bike lane, there should at least be a public hearing in which city commissioners put themselves on record as being in favor of taking out the bike lane. There was a multi year public engagement and hearing process that was required, culminating in a unanimous city council vote in support, before it could be installed. It should require the same process to take it out.

bjorn
bjorn
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

I vastly prefer the changes to what was there before, also lets not forget that bike messenger Kristine Okins was killed along this stretch prior to the improvements. This lane has quite literally saved lives and unfortunately this just continues to confirm that Mapps rides around on a bike just enough to pretend to care while undercutting safety whenever he has a chance. It is bad enough when we can’t get projects implemented, but this is just beyond belief… https://www.ahalenia.com/memorial/kokins.html

If Wheeler really wants to show that he is suddenly the bicycling mayor he will take the transportation bureau away from Mapps before he can shove this through.

Jeb
Jeb
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

Amen to that. As a biker who rides this route often, I can’t stand the new configuration. Feels confusing for cars, and less safe for bikes. Some things can be over-thought.

JM
JM
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

Yes. I’ve ridden before and after. Before it was 3 lanes with various vehicles weaving in and out of the bike lane. Whenever I rode it, I was keeping a wary eye on doors opening while paying attention to obstacles I’d need to go around. Now it’s much calmer and I don’t feel like I need to ride with traffic. I’ve never experienced a right hook problem but I also am cautious at intersections and stop at stoplights.

maxD
maxD
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

I biked this many many times and driven it a lot, too. The bike infrastructure is a big improvement here for people biking AND driving. I confirmed with my partner who mainly drives that this is an improver for her. We also hosted an event of 200+ people at the Benson and had zero conflicts

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

Yes, I ride that section.

Lianagan
Lianagan
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

I agree. I was never happy with the so-called “improvement”. I felt a lot safer just riding with traffic. The spot where right turning drivers and riders going straight cross paths is extremely dangerous and unsafe, especially as it is on a downhill, so you’re picking up speed on a bike. It’s much easier just to keep up with the traffic, especially if you have to make a left turn, which is impossible from the separated bike lane, which is usually filled with glass, trash and illegally parked vehicles. I want it to be the way it was before.

morganblee
morganblee
9 months ago
Reply to  Recumbent

I disagree. Yes, I use it daily and it significantly improved the safety and easy of my commute. Advocating for this lane does not mean loss of advocacy for another, and all improvements are valuable improvements for a complete network. Without a complete network, bike commuting will not be viable for a portion of the population who would otherwise be willing.

cc_rider
cc_rider
9 months ago

Adding a bike lane in Portland = years of outreach to as many people that PBOT can find to present to. Tons of changes that compromise the safety of the bike lane.

Removing a bike lane in Portland = Email to staffers that overrules their objections.No community input or even messaging.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that Mingus hiring someone with a conviction in a corruption case is not going to end up working out for him or Portlanders. Can someone check her bank accounts and see where she diverted the money this time?

joan
9 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I see, so bad things that happen at PBOT are the fault of Eudaly, Hardesty, or the new director? But not Mapps? Hmmm, interesting.

Mapps is so transparently wanting the support of the (former) Portland Business Alliance that I bet he had this in mind when he hired Williams. This is her first announcement. What a waste of resources, all to appease PBA. PBA famously opposed Better Naito and lots of great bike projects all around downtown. Their hands are all over this, and all over Mapps.

cc_rider
cc_rider
9 months ago
Reply to  joan

But not Mapps? Hmmm, interesting.

Huh? You read a whole lot in my comment that isn’t there. Not only do I think Hardesty did a good job at PBOT, she isn’t even mentioned in my comment.

Obviously Mapps hired the person who got in trouble for corruption, so he’s more to blame than anyone else.

Atreus
Atreus
9 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

This was pretty obviously Mapps’ decision, since he’s ultimately in charge of PBOT and he’s running for mayor and wants the PBA’s support. And I think he hired Williams not in spite of her corrupt past, but because of it. Her whole defense in that corruption scandal in DC was that she had to be loyal to her boss, who told her to do those things. I think Mapps looked at that and thought good, that means she is someone who will be a loyal foot soldier at all costs.

maccoinnich
9 months ago

If there are concerns about conflicts between hotel guests and people on bike the correct response is not to remove the bike lane, it’s to upgrade it (as Seattle did on 2nd Ave in front of the Courtyard by Marriott, as can be seen in the before and after on Google Street View).

maxD
maxD
9 months ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

COTW!

was carless
was carless
9 months ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

Portland doesn’t have the financial resources to build something like that – it would be a once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure expenditure that would be full of Ubers the day after it was built.

maccoinnich
9 months ago
Reply to  was carless

Portland doesn’t have the financial resources to build a couple of concrete raised loading areas?

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago
Reply to  was carless

Something like this?

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago

Was there a process or any reason given?

duck-e
duck-e
9 months ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

This. Provide or require a solution for safe loading/unloading. I ride this stretch of Broadway in to work most days and I do experience conflicts with hotel patrons. Crossing enhancements or reinforcements would improve that delineation between bike travel lane and vehicle loading zone.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago

This is not great but at least our bike culture is just as strong as ever!

More seriously, I wonder whether the planned facility on SW 4th is also on the chopping block. (Would…not…be…surprised…at…all.)

Andrew
Andrew
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I think removing the protected bike lane from Broadway also kind defeats the purpose of the protected lane in the 4th Ave project. Without the couplet, there seems to be almost no point. I’m not taking a protected bike lane one way just so I can get doored into moving traffic on my way back.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I’m sure that business and corporate “stakeholders” have lobbied Mapps to cancel or modify the SW 4th project because it threatens to reduce close on-street parking and vaporize shopping traffic (in their eyes).

I would also not be surprised to learn that part of the rationale* for the Broadway (and potential SW 4th) decision is an expectation that an increase in (or preservation of) desirable on-street parking will modestly boost PBOT’s revenue.

* a very, very stupid rationale

Nick
Nick
9 months ago

One would think you’d want to make downtown more pleasant and accessible if you’re trying revitalize it.

Can’t wait for ranked choice voting to get rid of these jokers.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Nick

A future Mayor Mapps would almost certainly pick a City Administrator that would be very, very friendly to the Portland Metro Chamber (PBA). Given that the City Manager is not accountable to the city council it’s conceivable that “day-to-day decision-making” in Portland is going to make our current system seem transparent.

Nick
Nick
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Certainly possible but the recent attempts by people trying to subvert and change what voters approved makes me hopeful nonetheless

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Nick

recent attempts by people trying to subvert and change

A strong city administrator that is not accountable to city council is exactly what voters voted for.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I read that the administrator will likely have 5 sub-administrators, each with a portfolio of bureaus, and that the police will still answer to the mayor.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.*

*Only this time appointed, not elected.

Fred
Fred
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Hmm – how do all of those Midwest cities happen to be so well-run by city administrators while Portland remains a s**tshow? We should ask them how they do it.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Midwest cities happen to be so well-run

LOL at this. Try cycling in St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, or Milwaukee and get back to me.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Midwest cities happen to be so well-run by city administrators

Because they’re run by Midwesterners? And how are you sure they are all actually so well-run? I lived in a large progressive midwestern city for a while, and was very happy to return to Portland where planners actually listened to residents. (This was a few years ago.)

I don’t believe a city administrator can’t work, but I do assert that the system will make the doers in the bureaus less responsive to what residents want than they are today. That’s great if you like business-as-usual (less interference from a meddling citizenry), not as great if you want things to change.

Austin
Austin
9 months ago

Well this doesn’t seem to align at all with the 2035 Transportation for EVERYONE plan does it? It also seems like a bad political stunt to pull by Mapps if he wants to be Mayor. I won’t vote for him if he goes through with this as it can have negative implications as previously stated in the article for future projects of similar scale. It just seems anti of what he believes in for the sake of equity. Also these two hotels do NOT represent the majority.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
9 months ago
Reply to  Austin

these two hotels do NOT represent the majority.

Do cyclists represent the majority?

https://bikeportland.org/2023/03/15/city-counts-reveal-data-behind-portlands-precipitous-drop-in-cycling-371407

zuckerdog
zuckerdog
9 months ago

Mapps really isn’t the City’s transportation commissioner, he’s the commission running for mayor.

John D.
John D.
9 months ago
Reply to  zuckerdog

Correction: He’s the commissioner running for mayor who is courting the deep pockets of the business community.

Mapps doesn’t give a flying F about the lives that will be lost by reverting to a more dangerous solution. He just sees $$$ from the donor class.

I wonder if this is reverted, and someone does (god forbid) gets injured or killed, if there would be grounds for potential lawsuits. The city is knowingly moving to a design that their own staff and studies have shown to be more dangerous.

RipCityBassWorks
RipCityBassWorks
9 months ago

So PBOT has a budget crisis, yet tearing out some of the minimal decent infrastructure that we do have is the priority? This is the biggest proof yet that PBOT despises pedestrians and cyclists. How are we collectively allowing these corrupt politicians to go all ‘scorched earth’ in retaliation to the voter approved charter reform?

Stephan
Stephan
9 months ago

Please don’t generalize about PBOT — it is a big bureau and had many people who are very dedicated about biking. I don’t work at PBOT but know a few people working there and can say that they certainly do not despise pedestrians and cyclists, quite the opposite.

billbowlrider
billbowlrider
9 months ago

Good! I prefer the previous design. Hate all the plastic batons and plastic curbs that have increasingly been used on infrastructure projects. And I say this opinion as a cyclist that commutes to work downtown everyday and sometimes bikes on Broadway during lunchtime errands. How does all the plastic crap align with Portland’s climate goals? Either completely separate bike lanes with concrete or don’t bother.

Atreus
Atreus
9 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

You preferred the non-existent bike lane that was there before?! The one that was only a few feet wide and constantly blocked by parked cars, taxis, trucks, etc? Broadway was not even remotely bike-able before this project.

Octavio
Octavio
9 months ago
Reply to  Atreus

Yup that was better than this crap which just has people guess at WTF that is and causes more accidents

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Octavio

and causes more accidents

citation needed

bjorn
bjorn
9 months ago
Reply to  Octavio

I would like to know your source for an increase in collisions. This stretch has seen people killed prior to the improvements, but as far as I know there have been no deaths since the updates went in.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  Atreus

Yes, It was remotely bike-able before the project… and taxis would close pass cyclists as they crossed Burnside, and the skinny bike lane was usually blocked by cars.

John V
John V
9 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

This is a false, nonsense trope that the protection has to be bullet proof or not at all. Plastic wands and curbs don’t stop an out of control vehicle, but they do more than paint and they also don’t direct cyclists to ride in the door zone. The new design is much safer.

Leif
Leif
9 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

I was hit and sent to the hospital in an ambulance riding to work in the old bike lane there. So were two other people I know, in that same section. The old lane was worth than nothing. A paint stripe offers no protection.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
9 months ago

The current director of PBOT is a convicted felon that was found guilty of corruption not even that long ago. She shouldn’t even be there in the first place. What is she getting from the hotels in exchange for safety? Where was the public processes behind the change?

joan
9 months ago

I don’t love the new Broadway bike lanes — right hook risks are a lot greater now that drivers are less aware of you, and too many drivers end parked up in the bike lane anyway — but they are so much better than what we had before and an important step towards a better downtown bike infrastructure.

This rollback is such a colossal waste of money and staff resources in tight budget times. It’s fiscally irresponsible and particularly galling given that Mapps has been going to council begging for more money for PBOT.

I don’t think anyone will convince me that this is anything other than Mapps courting PBA support in his run for mayor. And what’s doubly frustrating is that better bike infrastructure all over town would be so much better for the tourists and residents they want to bring back.

My condolences to PBOT staffers who spent a lot of time on this, and who must now be realizing that this is how Mapps and Williams will make their mark on Portland: by rolling back the limited progress they made with Hardesty and Eudaly.

What will they remove next? Greenways? Rose lanes? Let’s hope Mapps is done forever as an elected official after the next election. Maybe this is what it will take for local transportation folks to realize he’s not here for anyone but himself and the PBA. The only silver lining is that he doesn’t have much time left as transportation commissioner.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  joan

For everybody upset about this move commenting here, the only way this gets rolled back is if the commissioner feels more heat than he is feeling from the hotels right now. If you have time to comment here, you have time to send a quick email.

Mingus.mapps@portlandoregon.gov
Millicent.williams@portlandoregon.gov
Ted.wheeler@portlandorrgon.gov

maccoinnich
9 months ago
Reply to  John

I figure it doesn’t hurt to copy the other commissioners as well.

bpjs
bpjs
9 months ago
Reply to  John

Thanks for posting those emails; it inspired me to write them an email (along with my state legislators). FYI there’s a typo in Ted Wheeler’s address: portlandorrgon.gov should by portlandoregon.gov.

joan
9 months ago
Reply to  John

I don’t know if this was on purpose or not, but these email addresses are wrong.
MappsOffice@portlandoregon.gov
MayorWheeler@portlandoregon.gov (that one had a typo)

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  joan

The typo was a mistake, the Mapps ones will all route to the same place.

John V
John V
9 months ago
Reply to  John

I don’t have the money to out spend whoever greased the palms of Mapps or Williams on this.

maxD
maxD
9 months ago

Removing bike lanes for no apparent reason?! Sounds like PBOT has a bunch of money to burn! I guess all the potholes have been filled and the street lights are once again working (at the Steel Bridge). /s

what a waste of time and money- PBOT keeps getting worse. I guess this when Ted Wheeler should swoop in and save the day.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago

What can we do?

John
John
9 months ago

For everybody upset about this move commenting here, the only way this gets rolled back is if the commissioner feels more heat than he is feeling from the hotels right now. If you have time to comment here, you have time to send a quick email.

Mingus.mapps@portlandoregon.gov
Millicent.williams@portlandoregon.gov
Ted.wheeler@portlandorrgon.gov

Allan
Allan
9 months ago
Reply to  John

Done

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Allan

I messed up Wheeler’s address by mistake, extra R in Oregon

Mick O
Mick O
9 months ago

Thank goodness the Mayor is such a huge cycling advocate and will use his influence behind closed doors to nip these shenanigans in the bud.

/s

Andrew N
Andrew N
9 months ago

Is anyone really surprised at this point? Do any PBOT employees have the guts to speak up and/or protest? Does our lifetime-appointment “Bicycle Coordinator” have anything to say?

Jonathan (more questions, sorry), any interest in putting together a story/interview with the folks at the LAB? What will it take for them to finally pull the plug on our misbegotten Platinum status? What in the world are they thinking watching Portland through all these years of backsliding? If this really is a Mapps PBA-bootlicking strategy to get re-elected, that would be quite the blowback if this infrastructure removal was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Finally, I don’t really have any deep connections anymore with the bike activist community — is anyone talking about restarting Critical Mass as a form of climate protest?

Andrew N
Andrew N
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew N

Addendum to say that I did take note of the anonymous PBOT comment, which I very much appreciate.

I’ll Show Up
I’ll Show Up
9 months ago

OK, Mayor “Protected Bike Lane” Wheeler, here’s your chance to show some leadership!

Ujkl
Ujkl
9 months ago

Mapps comes off as a spineless, sinister, tool of the hotel owners and the Portland chamber of commerce. He doesn’t even have the fortitude to make a public statement. He just has his henchperson quietly make the decision to axe one of the best pieces of bike infrastructure in the central city without any sort of announcement. And this guy wants to be mayor?

joan
9 months ago

I think the move here is to go to the hotels directly. I don’t think the Benson and Heathman really want bicyclists protesting outside. Mapps has shown his unwillingness to listen to his constituents. But a gaggle of bike folks on the public sidewalks outside the Benson and Heathman — as part of a loud education campaign to inform bike commuters of the upcoming changes — could make a real impact in disrupting their hotel business. Can you imagine the signs? “Why does the Benson Hotel hate bicyclists?” and “Heathman Hotel loves fossil fuels” and “Benson Hotel supports traffic violence” and so on.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  joan

If the goal is to save the bike lanes, the focus should be on why they’re important as opposed to why the hotels are bad. The hotels will just dig their heals in and feel vindicated when the bike crazies show up outside their doors. More effective would be human protected bike lanes as far up Broadway as possible.

The “write nasty things outside of businesses” was the main tactic on NE 28th when the 20s Bikeway was under design and didn’t work then either.

The bikes versus businesses narrative isn’t the main point anyway. Of course they want it gone, they’re all scared and grasping at straws. The problem is having a commissioner and director who can’t hear their negative feedback and work out a solution that makes any kind of sense.

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago
Reply to  John

In addition it could not hurt to provide the convergence of evidence on how separated bike lanes tend to increase business profit from both local travel as well as from tourism. Business owners are shooting themselves in the foot.

bjorn
bjorn
9 months ago
Reply to  John

nah, a sustained protest might put these hotels out of business, they know the lanes aren’t the problem and will cave quickly, the heat should be on them. I wish a more direct approach had been taken on 28th.

Cathy Tuttle
9 months ago

It’s inaccurate for the Portland Metro Council to say the Broadway protected bicycle lane “severely limits the capacity of our few remaining arterial routes through the city.”

In downtown Portland, between I-405 and the Willamette River, there are 66 lanes dedicated to our collective transportation system. Here’s how they are allocated:

  • 33 lanes for moving people in cars
  • 20 lanes for parked cars
  • 7 lanes for moving people on transit
  • 3 lanes for moving people by bicycle

It is horrifying that one of the first major transportation decisions of the new PBOT Director and a person planning a run for Portland Mayor is to remove one of the few safe protected lanes for people who get around downtown Portland by bicycle.

I live downtown. I use the Broadway protected bike lane all the time, day and night. I can see it is an essential lifeline for people who cannot afford to own and maintain cars: For folks coming home from the late shift work at local businesses after transit has stopped. For students commuting to school in the morning. For disabled people who have appointments and cannot drive. Downtown is one of the most economically diverse areas of Portland. We depend on these tiny slivers of safe streets for all of us.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Tuttle

And 29 lanes for moving people on foot, each bi-directional, so maybe better thought of as 58.

Kyle Banerjee
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Tuttle

Are any disabled cyclists able to weigh in?

I’m able bodied, but as someone who often rides a trike , I despise the separation, particularly if there’s an intervening barrier or row of cars. Vehicles can’t see me and I can’t see them making every cross street super dangerous.

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

The prior “bike lane” was like 3 feet wide and constantly blocked. It was an order of magnitude more dangerous, with the same problems of right hooks as the current set up, but with tons of door zone, blockage, and other safety issues. I’m not even sure a trike would have fit in it on a typical Tuesday given how frequently it was obstructed

Kyle Banerje
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

The lane was narrow and often obstructed. But that never mattered because you can just shift out — riding in door zones is suicidal.

Broadway was/is neither scary nor dangerous. If the consensus among a group dominated by experienced able bodied people (i.e. the blog readers), no one should be giving anyone guff for not getting around via cycling as the distances, terrain, and circumstances are more significant pretty much everywhere else in town. Plus many people aren’t physically able to ride.

If you’re on a trike, separation blows. Problems from hooks are amplified, not the same. Sightlines are messed up, passing is virtually impossible, you can’t dodge normal stuff like falling branches, dealing with broken glass and other threats is awkward due to having 3 wheel tracks.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

There are disabled cyclists weighing in. I do like having the protected lane, but I am not a huge fan of being separated by the parking lane. It does my cyclists less visible to drivers, especially when there are a lot of large vehicles parked near the corners.

Eli
Eli
9 months ago

Long-time Portland “bike tourism” visitor here, who’s spent countless thousands of $$$ (including just 2 weeks ago) over 15 years coming down from Seattle by train.

I have to admit that the Broadway bike lane was the last redeeming attribute of downtown Portland — so easy to get to many hotels by protected bike lane.

On that note, might anyone recommend a bike-friendly place to stay in SE Portland that doesn’t involve supporting Airbnb? Sadly, with the death of the Hawthorne hostel, I’m not really sure where in the SE to stay.

Was already planning on avoiding staying in downtown PDX on future trips, and this just gives the final push.

bethh
bethh
9 months ago
Reply to  Eli

Friends stayed at Bluebird Guesthouse at SE 35th & Division – it touts indoor bicycle parking and had a very old Portland vibe. Certainly more expensive than a hostel though.

Eli
Eli
9 months ago
Reply to  bethh

Thank you! I only looked briefly (they’re popular and sell out weekends early: https://secure.webrez.com//Bookings105/activity-edit.html?table=hotels&listing_id=3612&mode=command&command=website_availabilitycalendar&hotel_id=3612 )

But I’ll plan ahead next time.

Definitely more expensive than the hostel, but competitively priced with downtown hotels.

squareman
squareman
9 months ago
Reply to  bethh

There is a hostel in NW on 18th at Glissan: Northwest Portland International Hostel. I’ve heard from visitors that’s it’s pretty decent.

Atreus
Atreus
9 months ago
Reply to  squareman

The owner of the NW Portland International Hostel is a great guy and a big supporter of pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
9 months ago
Reply to  Eli

Please explain to Mapps and Wheeler that this change will make you NOT stay downtown on your visits!

qqq
qqq
9 months ago

If PBOT does this, the anti-median people on Division can demand PBOT take the median out. They can say this proves PBOT makes mistakes, and if PBOT doesn’t take out the Division median, they can claim the City only cares about downtown businesses.

PBOT can reply that they’re not going to take out the medians because those weren’t a mistake, whereas the downtown bike lane was, but median opponents can say PBOT has no credibility. And they’ll have some validity in saying that.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  qqq

There is at least one median on Division that will be removed.

joan
9 months ago

Oh no. Is Better Naito next?

Pogo
Pogo
9 months ago

This is a slam-dunk lawsuit waiting to happen. I don’t believe PBOT has ever redesigned a street in such a way that blatantly made it less safe to this extent, and in a way that doesn’t even meet their own minimum guidelines. If they put Broadway back the way it was, that means completely removing the northbound bike lane from NW Broadway north of Burnside, and converting the southbound bike lane from Hoyt all the way to Salmon back to a 4-foot-wide door-zone bike lane next to three lanes of traffic and parked cars. None of that meets PBOT or really any transportation agency’s guidelines, and it quite obviously will be a big swing toward a less safe design. And it’s on the city’s adopted high crash network because of bike crashes! As soon as a bicyclist gets hit and seriously injured, they will file a lawsuit and it seems like a pretty easy case to win major damages. I’m very surprised that the City Attorney’s office is even letting them do something like this, based on risk management alone. Of course, this also violates dozens of city policies about following adopted plans, conducting rigorous public process, improving safety, promoting non-car modes, etc. But Mapps and Williams only care what the Portland Business Alliance (I refuse to acknowledge their pathetic rebranding attempt) thinks, and about whatever promises or threats they made behind closed doors.

surly ogre
surly ogre
9 months ago

Mapps just lost my vote for Mayor. Seems like a spineless, gutless, hypocrite. I wonder if Wheeler put him up to this. Was there ever any consideration for a pick up dropoff situation like St Mary’s school has at SW 5th Ave & Market ?? Would probably need to reduce Broadway to 2 lanes… 😀

Watts
Watts
9 months ago

Isn’t this what (some of) y’all want? A strong leader making “the right decisions” without letting the community interfere? It’s just that in this case, it’s the right decision for someone else, not for us.

Ryan
Ryan
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The city has publicly adopted plans, goals, and policies to support and encourage cycling. Making “the right decisions” to support these may be unpopular in a neighborhood or commercial district, but doing so is a hallmark of strong political leadership. This situation is simply a commissioner bending to desires of a special interest outside of any public process. This is the difference between having the spine to lead the city toward what it aspires to be versus bowing to desires of narrow self-interest.

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

Succinctly said Ryan. This needs to be on a sign at every Mapps rally.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Uh, no. Guess again.

Fred
Fred
9 months ago
Reply to  Chezz

I call it “peak Watts,” which is to find the tiniest chink in the armor of any pro-cycling argument and hammer away at it.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
9 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Oh is this part of a pattern? I didn’t see the other examples. Thanks.

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Chezz

It’s a pattern for those of us that spend too much time in the comments section here

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Fred

“Peak Watts” is my bedrock assertion that there should always be meaningful public input into decisions by the people they effect, regardless of the valence of the question.

This case is a good illustration of what goes wrong when you abandon that principle as many people here have.

Daniel Reimer
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

This case is a good illustration of what goes wrong when you abandon that principle as many people here have.

It’s really not though.

Abandoning sticking to decades of policy curation from outreach and seeking project feedback from the public during planning is not a principle found here.

What you are alluding to earlier about “without letting the community interfere” is complete BS. PBOT does so much outreach during NA meetings, online forms, and community events and it is so frustrating when PBOT abandons everything to a few NIMBYs because not only are they neglecting the policies, but also all the feedback that I see in these outreach attempts is the want for safer streets.

PBOT in general has been in my opinion a great job lately balancing local concerns along with broader policy goals.

  • Business concerns with Hillsdale Rose Lanes about access to business: PBOT responds by putting appropriate lane markings and signs instead of completely abandoning project
  • Local Hillsdale residents concerned about excess traffic on side streets: PBOT responds by putting traffic calming on side street, along with monitoring traffic levels on side streets instead of abandoning project
  • Direct neighbors to Red Electric Trail are concerned with privacy to back yard: Responds with the promise for plantings that will create privacy, instead of abandoning the project

Likewise here, there are Hotel owners concerned with direct street access. Well, there are a myriad of potential solutions that does not involve going against decades of policy and project planning.

Let the community have a say, but not to the point that it prevents solving larger regional issues.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

Abandoning sticking to decades of policy curation from outreach and seeking project feedback from the public during planning is not a principle found here.

In this case, PBOT did not do sufficienct (any?) public outreach before deciding to revert the bike lanes, so I think the principle is very much at play here. In this instance, it seems likely that if they had, they would have opted for a less drastic solution than reverting the street to its previous bicycle-hostile design.

I absolutely agree that addressing the concerns of stakeholders while moving forward is exactly what agencies should be doing.

So I’m not sure if we disagree on any of this. My earlier comments were targeted at those who express a desire for strong political leaders who move forward regardless of what the public wants, and pointing out that this reversion is an example of exactly that, and why I prefer process to “leadership”.

carrythebanner
9 months ago

Apparently the NW/SW Broadway team doesn’t talk to the N/NE Broadway team?

https://bikeportland.org/2023/09/07/pbot-will-seek-federal-grant-for-major-redesign-of-n-ne-broadway-379163

cct
cct
9 months ago

Might be time for staff to circle the wagons! /s

Alvin
Alvin
9 months ago

There must be a low cost version of what Seattle did as posted earlier- people arriving at a hotel should have space to unload. But we must never move backward in bike infrastructure improvements – or any improvements

Branden
Branden
9 months ago

If they want aggressive cyclists taking the lane and taking off mirrors from drivers that almost kill us then that’s what they’ll get! Sorrynotsorry

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
9 months ago

Maybe Williams is trying to unite the various bike advocacy factions towards a common cause?

blumdrew
9 months ago

Honestly at a loss for words here. If I was trying to think of the worst possible thing that PBOT could possibly do with their budget, this would be near the top of the list. Shockingly poor leadership from Mapps and Williams here

Orvil
Orvil
9 months ago

Anyone want to talk about how unsafe this cluster **** is for pedestrians and drivers of this street? What about the ability to maintain it?
PBOT continually tries to cram design concepts into space that is too narrow too short (block lengths). And now we get a smart decision to undo the mess people complain.
It takes a true leader to recognize a mistake was made.
5th and 6th. Should have bike and bus only a long time ago.
SW park is getting the green loop
And there are complaints about something that is a safety and maintenance nightmare

This city was not designed with bikes, scooters, w-bikes and the like in mind, the city planners have to adapt to what they have, not what NYC, Toronto, and other BIG cities have. Work with what you have not what you saw on your junket with your other planner friends.

Ujkl
Ujkl
9 months ago
Reply to  Orvil

The bike lane is unsafe for drivers and pedestrians? Really? How many crashes and injuries have been caused by it?

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago
Reply to  Orvil

What were the city streets downtown designed for back in the mid to late 19th century?

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Orvil

SW Broadway is 50 feet wide, how is that too narrow for bike lanes?

This city was not designed with bikes, scooters, w-bikes and the like in mind,

What do you think it was designed for? Downtown Portland was primarily designed for pedestrians, and all automobile access was retrofitted.

Chris
Chris
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Wagons and horse drawn carriages.

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  Orvil

I have ridden SW Broadway for more than 15 years. The current design is a huge safety improvement for people on bikes and walking.
To the other point, this area of Portland was not initially designed with cars in mind. Car infrastructure was “crammed” into this area and the more that is removed to create human-centered design, the safer it will be for everyone.

Karl Dickman
Karl Dickman
9 months ago
Reply to  Orvil

I have worked in downtown for thirteen years and I cross Broadway at least twice a day, sometimes four or even six times. The difference in how safe and comfortable crossing Broadway feels now versus before these projects went in is just night and day. The idea that this project has made pedestrians less safe is absolute nonsense.

SD
SD
9 months ago

This is the real Mapps that I knew was coming. The thinly veiled bike-friendly BS from him was always very weak. This is his opportunity to get a few campaign donations in return for a more dangerous Broadway. A failed political science professor becomes a failing Portland politician who is willing to throw bike riders under the bus in a sad attempt to become mayor.

Brad
Brad
9 months ago

From previous BP Article: “ Williams also served as facilitator of the Equity Roundtable for the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program.”

Well that checks out. Excited to hear from her cheerleaders from a few months back.

Kat
Kat
9 months ago

Not too long ago the people who live in the SW Portland area were asked to take a survey regarding the budget, and traffic etc. As a person with a vehicle who pays towards the roads with my vehicle registration etc, this is honestly great news. Apologies to the empty lanes but rush hour would vastly improve of the roads were reversed back to the purpose for a road. I would guess I’m not the only person who strongly holds this opinion and I’m also sure PBOT received many surveys that loudly and passionately stated similar opinions.

I propose if bicyclists need half of the road, they should have to have insurance, tags and license that cost as much as the vehicle drivers pay towards those very roads. If that’s unacceptable then understand the busiest of intersections/roads were not built for you and you do not directly participate in maintenance.

I think this is one of the first decisions made where someone actually listened to the working majority- we don’t have time for activism nor do we have 45 minutes to go the city blocks, especially when there is an entire lane empty 90%of the time.

qqq
qqq
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat

I propose if bicyclists need half of the road…

How is a bike lane half the road on a wide downtown street?

And do you prefer driving behind people biking to having them in separate bike lanes? Or do you believe they shouldn’t be allowed to bike in the lanes with vehicles? And if you believe that, do you believe they should ride on the downtown sidewalks? Or do you believe bikes should just be banned outright from downtown (and do you realize how many more vehicles would them be competing with you for lane space and parking spaces?

Ben
Ben
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat

They didn’t even remove travel lanes for this bike lane though.

Do you oppose sidewalks too because pedestrians don’t pay for insurance and tags? Doesn’t make any sense. Not to mention that road tax doesn’t cover the entirety of road maintenance, and that many cyclists own cars as well

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat

The motor vehicle lanes on Broadway are empty at rush hour, so I’m not sure what your point is.

JM
JM
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat

Cars are much heavier than bikes and cause way more wear and tear. If more people biked, we would have more money in our transportation budget due to less wear on the road. Plenty of folks bike for transportation, including myself. And there is a large portion of Portland that is bikeable. Also, would you get this, there have been many times where I’ve arrived BEFORE my friends who drive. What a concept…

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat

Do you not understand that your driving habit is subsidized at every level? If you want to make things fair then nondrivers deserve huge REBATES.

cct
cct
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat

“Bicyclists” almost always are also “drivers” who pay the same monies you do. Even if they are carless, they pay taxes, some of which goes to maintenance and roadbuilding throught the city, state, and country – even if they disagree with that.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  cct

Even if they are carless, they pay taxes, some of which goes to maintenance and roadbuilding throught the city, state, and country 

This is mostly not true. In Oregon, roads are paid for from transportation derived funds. The only real leakage of general funds into the system is a small amount of money coming from the federal government, where there have been some general fund injections into the highway trust fund, which is otherwise derived from fuel taxes and the like.

Karl Dickman
Karl Dickman
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

A dollar is a dollar is a dollar. It’s the most fungible commodity in existence. It truly doesn’t matter whether the government gets a dollar from a gas tax, or a payroll tax, or a fee, or anything else. Dedicated income streams are accounting fictions. If the general fund was starved enough, elected officials would raid the gas tax to top it up. If the reverse was true, they’d raid the general fund to top up the gas tax. The accounting fiction is, thankfully, powerful enough to stop that from happening in normal times. But the accounting fiction doesn’t tell you a damn thing about who pays for what. Every taxpayer pays for everything. Because a dollar is a dollar is a dollar.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Karl Dickman

It truly doesn’t matter whether the government gets a dollar from a gas tax, or a payroll tax, or a fee, or anything else… If the general fund was starved enough, elected officials would raid the gas tax to top it up. 

Not in Oregon they wouldn’t, because the state constitution says that funds derived from transportation can only be used for transportation. While there is no constitutional firewall blocking transfers the other way, the legislature has always acted as if there were. Transportation funds are sufficiently isolated/insulated that my statement is technically accurate at the state level.

At the federal level, gas taxes are placed in an account, and that account is used to pay for transportation projects at the state level. If you track the sources of income into that account over the years, you’d see that there have been a few recent general fund contributions to the account, but that it was largely funded by the gas tax.

Sure, the individual dollars are technically fungible, but the feds have kept the accounting pretty clean, and it’s all available for review with a simple web search.

paikiala
paikiala
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Watts,

In 2019 the share of road costs paid from such funds in Oregon only accounted for 59% of total costs.
https://taxfoundation.org/data/all/state/states-road-funding-2019/

You also ignore the fact that most everything bought arrives by truck, so most everything bought or delivered includes a share of the transportation costs to get that thing close to you.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  paikiala

In 2019 the share of road costs paid from such funds in Oregon only accounted for 59% of total costs.

Where did the remaining 41% come from?

You also ignore the fact that most everything bought arrives by truck

Not at all — trucks pay fees to use the roads as well, as they should. Why should auto drivers pay for that?

Andy
Andy
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat

I’m guessing you’ve never heard of induced demand? Adding traffic lanes does not reduce congestion. You’ve essentially just incentivized more cars to drive, so you’ll have less traffic for a little while, but then, surprise, you’ll be right back where you were in no time. Then who will you blame?

And yes, you have to register and pay insurance to operate your climate-controlled death machine. (And I’m not opposed to licensing and registering bicycles) Also, yes, bikes and pedestrians do deserve half or at least part of the street since taxes are paid by everyone regardless of car ownership, and guess what those also pay for? Yes, bikers and pedestrians do ‘directly participate in maintenance’. (Also, ‘directly’? Really? Are the SUV owners out on the street covering potholes?). Your registration pays for roads because of the insane amount of damage cars do to them. Plus the more lanes you open, the more money is needed to maintain them.

It is really sad when car owners do not recognize the amount of privilege they have when it comes to infrastructure and see any incentive given to walkers, bikers and public transit riders as unfair.

If traffic is really so annoying to you, I suggest you utilize the alternatives provided by the city.

Arturo P
Arturo P
9 months ago

This is the expected result when you hire a felon on the basis of identity politics instead of someone with the appropriate skills, knowledge and commitment to making our transportation safe for all users.

“Portland transportation bureau hires manager convicted of felony tied to corruption probe” https://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/2016/12/portland_transportation_bureau.html

Randi J
Randi J
9 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Tom Miller wouldn’t have done this. Not re-hiring him as PBOT lead was a missed opportunity. Millicent Williams was a mistake.

https://bikeportland.org/2022/11/15/tom-miller-hired-as-transition-team-leader-for-rene-gonzalez-367165

https://bikeportland.org/2011/01/07/mayor-adams-names-tom-miller-as-new-director-of-pbot-45333

Kyle Banerjee
9 months ago

I rode this every day for years. Use is too light to matter and traffic is s-l-o-w –overrunning lights when lugging panniers uphill is an actual thing here.

Why the same places in the already easy core get so much energy year after year is beyond me

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
9 months ago

They need to remove two travel lanes from cars to have the parking and loading zone they want.

Ed
Ed
9 months ago

If you can just wait another 30 years or so, the Green Loop is going to be a great alternative to Broadway.

EP
EP
9 months ago

I can be open to change, sometimes. I could see changing or improving something if it wasn’t _actually_ working at all, and then starting fresh with another idea, maybe even somewhere else. But I’d only do that if I had LOTS of $$$ and the power to do whatever I wanted, wherever. Broadway doesn’t really fit this scenario, and Mapps and PBOT don’t either.

Why mess with something that’s working, when so many other things don’t work at all? Why set a precedent for rolling back progress to appease interests other than those of the greater good?!

Ignacio
Ignacio
9 months ago

Where are all the people who were batting for the awful PBOT director when she got hired a couple months ago?

Ujkl
Ujkl
9 months ago
Reply to  Ignacio

To be fair, it seems that this is mapps’ doing. Millicent Williams is just doing as she’s told.

But the glowing praise that people on this blog heaped upon her has not aged well.

Atreus
Atreus
9 months ago
Reply to  Ujkl

A principled director can still stand up to a commissioner and fight for what’s right. After all, the director has the actual decision-making authority. The Commissioner can’t tell staff to do anything, only the Director, and the only thing the Commissioner can do is fire the Director. If Director Williams had principles, she would refuse this and accept the risk of being fired. Or at least resign as a protest.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
9 months ago
Reply to  Atreus

Williams introduced Mapps as “my boss” at his press conference last month.

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

We should set up a fund to pay for legal assistance for those wanting to sue the businesses WHEN (not if) WHEN a serious accident occurs because they DELIBERATELY created an unsafe situation, that predictably resulted in injuries or deaths.

We need to list these businesses beforehand and send them information so they cannot claim ignorance and increase their liability, WHEN their actions lead to the inevitable injuries and deaths.

Mark smith
Mark smith
9 months ago

Is this a test of the bike hegemonic reign to oppose and when defeated, mapps can then proclaim he “listened to the people” and therefore make the entire project his?

The whole thing has “never let a good crisis go to waste even if we have to manufacture one”.

So what’s really going on they dont want the bike folks to notice?

Steven Smith
Steven Smith
9 months ago

Here’s one thing the Mayor could do: remove Mapps from Transportation. The Mayor could take it himself and demonstrate his bona fides to Portland’s vision. Shoot, it’d be light-lifting for a person not running for office again as the agency can run itself. It certainly doesn’t need a politician like Mapps whose only vision is himself in the Mayor’s seat.

Oh and:

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Director Williams has got to go!
Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Director Williams has got to go!

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Smith

The mayor could do that if he cared.

Stephen F
Stephen F
9 months ago

Wow, these comments are straight-up embarrassing and the intentionally disingenuous headline (a bike lane is being redesigned, not removed!) doesn’t help.

This is a bad design and it’s not pleasant to ride. In fact I usually take the lane or avoid Broadway because the “protected” lane placement seems to encourage right-hooks. The bike lane itself is also frequently blocked by pedestrians around the hotels and theaters.

PBOT is not infallible and IMO they misfire about as often as they get something right. I think a lot of riders would agree with me too, but this proposed revision is unfortunately being scapegoated by the author. Predictably the usual voices fall in line, circle the wagons and call for pitchforks. Bike activism needs to move beyond this! Any objectivity whatsoever has been lost to emotional appeals and the pervasive “never cede an inch” attitude.

A mature take would acknowledge that hotels ARE important for our city and that yes, sadly, the protected lane on Broadway isn’t much fun to ride. Instead the peanut gallery is busy hurling insults, making unfounded accusations of corruption, etc. Just a bad look all around but all too typical. Sigh.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen F

Thanks for explaining to the audience how to be mature. I’m curious what your solution to the Broadway problem would be. Money can be spent to make it better or money could be spent to put it back to how it was, which was trash. What’s your proposal?

Atreus
Atreus
9 months ago

Jonathan, my read on this is that if they’re rolling everything back to the way it used to be, this would include completely removing the northbound bike lane from Harvey Milk to Hoyt. So it’s not just a conversion from protected to unprotected bike lane, it’s also removing a bike lane entirely in one direction.

maxD
maxD
9 months ago
Reply to  Atreus

I always hated taking the lane there before the bike lane was added- people drive poorly and fast on the stretch. I am angry to hear they are planning to remove the lane

Ujkl
Ujkl
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen F

I don’t think anyone is arguing that the Broadway bike lane is perfect and without problems. But this is Portland, every piece of bike infrastructure has problems. The recent reconfiguration of the Broadway bike lane solved a lot of the problems that plagued the previous configuration, but it didn’t solve everything.

The shocking and objectionable issue is the backroom subversion of years of public process and opaque decision making with no public announcement or transparency.

This blog reported is that the director of pbot asked for a range of options from her staff on how to resolve conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists, and then reportedly rejected all staff recommendations and went with the option to revert the Broadway bike lane back to the unsafe, door lane configuration that was replaced because it was deemed unsafe and substandard.

The option that was reportedly chosen by the pbot director will require the complete reconfiguration of the street, and presumably be far more expensive than any of the staff proposals. And this is coming at a time when pbot is in the midst of an existential budget crisis.

As an aside, one of the reasons we were told there couldn’t be a bike lane on Hawthorne is that pbot can’t build door zone bike lanes because they are inherently unsafe. Only a protected bike lane would suffice, and there just wasn’t room for a protected bike lane. Well now it sounds like pbot is going to be in the business of turning protected bike lanes into unsafe, door zone bike lanes.

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen F

The conflicts with the hotel patrons and staff were worse before the new bike lanes.

This change isn’t intended to decrease conflict of people on bikes and people using the hotels.

This change is to discourage people from riding their bikes on Broadway completely.

It’s a knee jerk reaction that will select for more “fearless” and aggressive riders, which may actually result in higher risk conflict between drivers, bikers and drop off.

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen F

If you would rather take the lane on Broadway, then you should at least acknowledge that the presence of the protected bike lane makes that more reasonable for you. Broadway is two lanes now instead of three, which I think has made the street generally better to be on/around for cars.

But also, you may not like the specific design of the protected bike lane on Broadway but tons of other people disagree with you. This is the only piece of bike infrastructure in the central city outside of Naito that I would feel comfortable riding on with my parents, or my less bike inclined friends. People like this facility, dismissing their concerns as “an emotional appeal” is insulting. I’m angry that PBOT is even considering spending scarce funds on rolling back a perfectly fine piece of infrastructure that is clearly better than what we had before (which is what they are floating as going back towards).

And frankly, how can you not see this as corrupt? Where it the public outreach? How is it possible that it can take 13 years for project to get done (with tons of outreach) yet it can be undone with a quiet email to a few staffers? At minimum, that is a very bad way to run a public agency.

Yes hotels are important. But I see no compelling evidence that this has even hurt the hotels. Is there a slew of police reports for injuries caused from crashes in hotel loading zones? If there is, I’d very much like to see it.

Chris I
Chris I
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen F

Hotels really aren’t that important. Per Travel Portland, our ENTIRE tourism economy supports just 33,000 jobs in the region. That is out of 1.3 MILLION non-farm jobs. Our entire tourism industry is a rounding error, and we shouldn’t be making major infrastructure decisions because of it.

Steven Smith
Steven Smith
9 months ago

A governance system where one person can capriciously undo years of planning and process, and with a flick of a finger take an action diametrically opposed to the stated goals and desired outcomes of the jurisdiction, is one that needs replacing. Thank goodness this one will be.

Mingus Mapps should never again be in close proximity to where people are deciding how to enhance the public good.

Arturo P
Arturo P
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Smith

That’s some serious hyperbole. Let’s hear the reasoning from Mapps before you attempt to politically execute him. The guy is intelligent and well educated, nothing in transportation (or life) is quite as cut and dried as it may seem at first glance.

Robert Wallis
Robert Wallis
9 months ago

I fear more of this. Downtown property owners have always been the special interest group with the most power over the City. They are seriously hurting. Good bike infrastructure is a long-term investment. I think that such investment will help downtown long-term. Short-term, the best thing that can be done to help downtown is to improve vehicular access. Sad but true. Historically, the downtown property owner interest group has significantly influenced decisions on light rail in a positive way because doing so benefits that interest group. It also had benefits for active transportation. One difference between Clark and Multnomah County is that the latter has invested a lot more in active transportation. Check out the recent population trends for the two counties and you will be astounded by how many people have moved from Multnomah County to Clark County. I think it was due to crime and homeless, not active transportation differences, but hurting like the downtown property owners are, and having so much influence, I am bracing myself for more bad news like this.

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Robert Wallis

Short-term, the best thing that can be done to help downtown is to improve vehicular access. Sad but true.

This is absolutely not always true. Improved vehicular access likely means more car traffic, but that does not mean that traffic will positively benefit downtown business owners. Or at least not more positively than roadway configurations that give space to people outside of cars. Are you more likely to hang out and linger (and then spend more money) on a loud, noisy arterial road or a quaint pedestrian friendly street? Is Belmont or Powell an easier place for a business to succeed? The answer probably depends on what sort of business you are running.

Surely a used car lot or a drive thru burger joint benefit from improved vehicular access. Does a hotel? Seems like a stretch. If you’re visiting from out of town and want to stay downtown, I hardly think that there would be an appreciable difference in access between somewhere on Broadway and anywhere else in the Central City. If vehicular access is a primary concern, I imagine you’d stay in a place less central.

The primary reason for people moving to Clark County from Multnomah County is likely housing costs, with crime and homelessness probably also being factors. No one is moving to Clark County because they have more walkable streets and better bike infrastructure.

qqq
qqq
9 months ago
Reply to  Robert Wallis

Short-term, the best thing that can be done to help downtown is to improve vehicular access.

I question that. Driving downtown seems as easy or easier that it was over the past decades. Parking is so available that the City shut down a Smart Park garage that used to be packed regularly. I can ALWAYS find on-street parking downtown now, and on weekends often within a block or so of my destination. That was never true until COVID.

Parking and driving downtown seem easier than in other places with businesses that are thriving relative to downtown–and many of those also have metered parking, which takes away that argument.

Shriveled commercial space demand due to people working from home and doing things online, crime, etc. are having far greater impacts on downtown than any vehicle access problems, even perceived ones.

I do think downtown property owners believe vehicular access and parking are major issues, and bike lanes are bad for those, therefore bad for business. And like you said, they have influence, even if it’s misguided.

Karl Dickman
Karl Dickman
9 months ago
Reply to  Robert Wallis

What exactly is the point of improving vehicular access to downtown? Where will all the vehicles park? Before the pandemic, more than 100,000 people worked in downtown Portland daily. A cramped parking space takes something like 360 square feet to build. To give everyone who works downtown their own parking space would require a parking lot 1.3 square miles in size. That’s bigger than downtown. At 360 sqft/space, a ten story parking garage can only hold about 1,100 spaces. You’d need to build 90 such garages to fit all the cars. There’s literally not enough room to fit 100,000 workers into downtown without most of them biking, walking, carpooling, or taking transit.

Robert Wallis
Robert Wallis
9 months ago
Reply to  Karl Dickman

Great feedback and appreciated – all three replies. I am reconsidering this opinion based upon talking to just a handful of business owners. thank

Cyclekrieg
9 months ago

I get the frustration here, but a few moments of reflection here.

As I repeat ad nauseum, if you want good biking/walking infrastructure, stop trying to lobby for bike lanes. In the USA, both the federal and state level design guidelines “glue on” bike lanes onto existing roadway lanes. This results in subpar infrastructure that no likes. It also makes it easy to remove that instrastructure. The thing to fight for and to fight hard for is to change the city’s default typical sections. These (typical sections) are what control how a street is built as and, when a full depth reclamation (FDR) happens, are what controls how a street is rebuilt. Using the typical section approach, there is no way to remove walking/biking infrastructure without altering the entire street.

EP
EP
9 months ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

Sadly, even in your ideal case they’d just jackhammer out that big protected curb and raised bikeway and throw down some fill and asphalt to patch it. The huge pickups and SUVs wouldn’t mind a little rumbling as long as they get their lane back.

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

Sorry Cyclekrieg, can you elaborate? I’m not sure the average reader (including me) knows what “typical sections” are. TIA

Cyclekrieg
9 months ago
Reply to  eawriste

If you have every used StreetMix, that is a typical section.

Why typical sections matter is that they define what items go in a right-of-way of a type of street, not an individual street. For instance, the city might have residential access street typical section. That typical section might control 50 streets in town as far as number of lanes, parking, sidewalks, etc. If, as an example, we have an existing residential street typical section with two 12ft lanes of travel, two 9ft lanes of parking, curb & gutter, 5ft of boulevard and 6ft sidewalk on each side, that is what get built at every street that is a residential street per the designation. Change that typical section and guess what, every update to any road matching that typical section will be changed when it gets redone. And (bonus points here), you can engineer better approaches to connectivity and safety as most typical sections also come with a typical intersection layout default. Plus, as I said, you can’t rip out any part of it on a whim because the typical section says you have to have X items on the street.

This (typical sections) is actually how European countries get good bike infrastructure. They aren’t designing a street in the Netherlands and then trying glue on a bunch of walking/biking bits. The walking/biking bits are part of the street.

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
9 months ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

Sounds interesting, but I don’t understand the terms you’re using:” default typical sections” + “full depth reclamation (FDR)”

Fred
Fred
9 months ago

Joining the conversation late (18 hours late) and haven’t read other posts, so my initial reaction is:

  • This is what happens when commissioners, who depend on PBA for re-election $$, have direct operational control of city streets. You get knee-jerk responses to whining donors, which trump years of otherwise thoughtful planning.
  • PBOT’s cycling-promotion efforts were lame even before the protected lane, and will continue to be lame til the adults take over.
  • Cycling on Broadway has always been dicey. The protected lane made things a little less dicey, but a return to fully dicey conditions is not a quantum change. I ride on Broadway when I have to, but I avoid it whenever I can.
Liz
Liz
9 months ago

It feels almost laughable that just weeks after demonstrations to protest the excessive deaths of pedestrians and cyclists this year, the city decides to remove protections on a major bike lane. I am laughing because otherwise I’d cry. As a cyclist, this bike lane has major issues with the hotel areas and people constantly parking in the lanes, but at least it exists! I f El so disheartened by this.

Tbone
Tbone
9 months ago

Wow, what a terrible idea. just another reason to avoid downtown portland!