24 hours after we shared the story that changes to the protected bike lane on NW/SW Broadway were imminent, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and their Commissioner Mingus Mapps have issued statements.
After hearing from several reliable sources close to PBOT that a plan had been hatched by Commissioner Mapps and PBOT Director Millicent Williams to revert the Broadway bikeway back to its 2018 configuration between NW Hoyt and SW Salmon, BikePortland immediately filed a public records request. I have also sent Mapps’ office six questions to learn more about his rationale for making these changes. I have yet to get a response to either of those inquiries.
However, since other media outlets asked PBOT for information about Broadway, Mapps policy advisory Adam Lyons sent us this general statement earlier today (while they work on replies to my questions):
“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.”
And just a few minutes ago, PBOT issued a statement of their own:
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.
I’m still very interested to learn more about what motivated the need to change the design on Broadway. I tend to hear a lot of feedback from bike riders, and I’ve never heard much about it. As for “mixed feedback,” and “dissatisfaction”? Well, every bikeway in Portland gets that! Bike riders regularly disagree about facility design.
It’s also nice to hear PBOT will do public outreach on this. Hopefully if/when any changes happen, they will result in a bike lane that works better everyone!
In other PBOT news, Deputy Director Tara Wasiak has announced her resignation. Her last day will be next Friday, September 29th. In an email on Monday, she said she wants to pursue other interests.