Six years ago, 33rd Ave residents asked the city for a bike lane on their street

Newly striped NE 33rd. By the way, that’s the new fourplex without off-street car parking on the right. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“Remove on-street parking to install bike lanes between Holman and Dekum.”

– 2017 letter from NE 33rd Avenue residents to PBOT

As the city regroups and dust settles on the Northeast 33rd Avenue bike lane removal saga, I came across an interesting piece of history yesterday.

In September 2017, a group of people who live on the street were so concerned about speeding drivers and other safety issues on the stretch of 33rd between NE Holman and the Columbia/Lombard overpass, they penned a detailed letter to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Atop their list of requests was to remove the parking lane and replace it with a protected bike lane.

To refresh your memory, PBOT installed a bike lane (unprotected, with a painted buffer stripe) on that exact stretch of 33rd last month; but then tried to remove it after some residents complained and the bureau says they forgot to give any notification of the change. Now the bike lane is in limbo as PBOT scrambles to engage with residents and find a path forward.

2017 letter from “residents of 33rd Avenue and Concordia Neighborhood Association.

In an interview yesterday, PBOT Director of Policy, Planning and Projects Art Pearce said complaints from some residents about access to parking (specifically at a new fourplex without off-street car parking built since the plans were finalized) was one of the major reasons for his decision to remove the bike lane.

But back in 2017 the Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) endorsed a letter to PBOT and city council that supported the removal of the parking lane in favor of a bike lane. The letter was signed by “the residents of 33rd Avenue area.”

“We wish to address the frequent disregard for the speed limits between NE Holman and N Lombard that creates risk for those using 33rd,” the letter states. “Many of the residents who have been here for decades and those new the neighborhood have seen auto accidents, hit and runs, cyclists being struck, risky attempts to pull out of parking lots, smashed garbage cans, cars speeding up to get onto Lombard, cars neglecting to slow down from Lombard, cars hitting parked cars, a car hitting a house, and pedestrian near misses.”

The letter went on to say CNA hoped to collaborate with PBOT to develop a safety plan for the street.

The lack of a bike lane was one of the specific problems identified in the letter. “Cycling route is disconnected. No bicycle signage, speed bumps or lanes are present from the Holman Street bike boulevard until Dekum despite the fact that this is the main route cyclists must take in order to connect to the Marine Drive Trail,” the letter stated.

Under a heading labeled, “Options to reduce community safety risk,” CNA requested that PBOT, “Remove on-street parking to install bike lanes and/or cyclist pavement markings between Holman and Dekum.”

One of the people who wrote the letter was former CNA board member and Land Use and Transportation Chair Garlynn Woodsong. I spoke to him on the phone this morning.

Woodsong, who’s no longer on the CNA board, said PBOT’s response to the letter was to say the street would be repaved in a few years and the city would address the issues at that time. Fast forward six years and that’s exactly what they did.

Woodsong said he’s frustrated that PBOT doesn’t follow their own plans and policies as outlined in the city’s Comprehensive Plan and he feels PBOT, “Has a big outreach problem.” “They either do too much of it, or they don’t do it at all and they don’t do it right.”

When I asked Woodsong to address the fact that some of the complaints Pearce is hearing loudest come from longtime Black residents, Woodsong acknowledged that there is a racial dynamic present. “But what I see is that PBOT will always find an excuse to not do the right thing when it comes to bicycles. If it’s not a Black person, it’s ‘We heard from this disgruntled business owner. If it’s not a disgruntled business owner it’s this white-dominated neighborhood association.”

That last point matters. The City of Portland weighs neighborhood association feedback much differently in 2023 than it did in 2017, and there’s widespread belief at PBOT and other city agencies that neighborhood associations often don’t include the voices of everyone in the community — especially Black, Indigenous and other people of color.

That being what it is, Woodsong continued, “It’s a sign that this is an agency in chaos, without effective leadership. They don’t have good direction, they don’t know where they’re going, they don’t have a good game plan. It’s just this constant scramble. And they’re like, in a frenzy.”

Right now that “frenzy” consists of having direct, one-on-one conversations with people who live on 33rd. A meeting with CNA isn’t scheduled yet. PBOT’s Pearce shared yesterday he’s reluctant to call a public meeting given the racial make-up of who’s pushing for and against the changes. His bureau has bolstered their commitment to transportation justice in recent years, and this episode is an opportunity to demonstrate progress toward it.

And so far, I haven’t heard back from current CNA board members whether or not they will wade back into the issue.

Stay tuned.

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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HJ
HJ
7 months ago

The ongoing litany we hear from PBOT, or WashCo Roads is that we have to wait for construction, be it a new building or repaving, to get alternative transportation infrastructure added. Then when we patiently wait sometimes decades for that opportunity we still usually have to fight to make it happen, if we succeed at all.
For once PBOT actually made good on a promise of that to the neighborhood that did the begging and now they’re going back on said promise. Because 1 or 2 NIMBY residents complained, despite the larger neighborhood wanting it.
Yes, Portland has a horrific track record of institutional racism. However given the demographics of the area I sincerely doubt that the initial letter was entirely devoid of people of color contributing to it. If they hadn’t put this in we’d be continuing the long running conversations about racism in construction and how people of color are consistently forced to deal with unsafe road conditions while walking and riding and PBOT breaks promises to address those issues.

Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago
Reply to  HJ

By “NIMBY” you mean your “neighbors of color” correct? As this was the demographic of those complaining of these bike lanes added.

Black voices matter right?

EP
EP
7 months ago

*** Editor: EP saw this on a NextDoor post. BP contacted Finch-Brown to verify her authorship. ***

“Good afternoon, my name is Demetri and I am the Constituents Services Coordinator for the Portland Bureau of Transportation responding to your email on behalf of Director Williams. I would like to thank you for sharing your concerns around the four blocks of bike lane we prematurely striped on NE 33rd Avenue. We have postponed our work to grind it out for now. However, we want to share some helpful background on what happened here as well as next steps.

Background

After the Portland Bureau of Transportation
(PBOT) completed the
Columbia-Lombard Mobility Plan and council adopted it in 2021, PBOT staff were supposed to do a parking study, look at the impacts and tradeoffs, and do proper outreach to the community about certain elements of the plan, including the removal of parking for the proposed bike lanes on NE 33rd Avenue from Holman to the over change. These steps are supposed to be routine as our planners hand off to our project managers who then continue to do outreach as projects move through phases of design and pre-construction.

We clearly skipped these steps around this portion of the bike lane. Staff included this striping in the design but had never spoken to affected neighbors or told them when these changes would be coming. This went straight into work orders and our crews striped it without knowing we skipped these steps. We realized the error too late to stop it or properly notify neighbors outside routine notification we do whenever we do paving work.

Community concerns

If we had done the parking study and outreach like we should have, we would have learned months ago how some adjacent residents don’t have off-street parking and that others live in multigenerational households who need safe access to their homes. These are concerns we are hearing now after this mistake. We commit to doing further outreach to learn how we can find a solution.

To be clear, our bike and walk maps have long identified this stretch of NE 33rd Avenue as a difficult connection for biking. Putting a bike lane here has been part of the Columbia-Lombard Mobility Plan as well as the 2030 Portland Bicycle Plan and the Transportation System Plan. However, adopted plans are exactly that: plans. They are not final. It’s not only customary but a sign of good governance that we talk to community members and affected neighbors throughout a project’s life, sharing designs, talking through access issues, and using community feedback to make projects work better.

Next steps

Fast forward to today. Regardless of how they might feel about the new bike lane, neighbors were rightfully surprised, even upset, we gave them no notice. Likewise,
biking advocates are rightfully upset we planned to grind out this much-needed bike lane at a spot noted to be difficult for biking.

Until we can do the outreach we should have done before anything got to this point, we’re going to be in limbo. We’ll be out talking to the community and deciding a path forward. Whatever happens, we recognize this is a painful, costly mistake at a time when PBOT’sbudget crisis is forefront on our minds.

Again, we appreciate you taking the time to contact us regarding your concerns. We hope this background has been helpful.

All the best,
Demetri Finch-Brown
Demetri Finch-Brown (She/her)
Constituent Services & Public Records
Coordinator
Communications & Public Involvement”

Doug Hecker
7 months ago

Much of this to me doesn’t make sense. Someone bought a 4 plex and somehow expected that they’d get free parking? I purposely didn’t buy a place because I know the city can come by and change it with little care. Except for this time. This time it is somehow different. The overall community wants it but somehow Art feels bad. Also, don’t call Art and ask why. He will become rude and aggressive.

I recall neighbors on Willamette not wanting to lose parking and 5 bazillion friend of Willamette signed a letter and wallla!

I recall people along SE Lincoln not wanting a diverter and showed up in force to an open house against it.. what happened? Diverter was installed.

I recall KGW showing the feedback from the Glisan repave and paint in east county where they didn’t want to lose traffic lanes and guess what, there was a lane reduction.

So yeah, this is wild. The city all of a sudden has feelings about a few detractors and not the whole. Does Cully need 5 bazillion friends to sign a letter for Art?

Doug Hecker
7 months ago

Just had a pleasant conversation with the project manager. She mentioned that ADA situations that came to the surface and the city needs to address them. And there was mention of similar situations that could happen retroactively in the future with bike lanes that are currently in place. And also sounded like there were from the BIPOC community who were uprooted from Williams end it gave them similar feelings. And overall, she was very pleasant to talk to, and it was very refreshing compared to talking to Art. If I were to guess, it is sounding like other N/S streets will be in play for improved infrastructure. Maybe a hybrid Greenway of sorts. AnyWho, it’s easier to comment when you actually have more information and I’m glad I was able to talk to her.

cc_rider
cc_rider
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Hecker

She mentioned that ADA situations that came to the surface and the city needs to address them.

I’d be interested to hear what those “situations” is. The ADA doesn’t prescribe accessible on-street parking spaces. CoP seems to know this

“There are no requirements for the size or number of accessible on-street parking spaces—Yet. “

https://www.portland.gov/officeofequity/disability/accessible-parking

Nothing in the ADA requires a street to have parking. So what’s the “situation” here? And what makes it different than some with a disability who lives in say, NW? Those folks don’t get a permanent spot right in front of their residence.

And there was mention of similar situations that could happen retroactively in the future with bike lanes that are currently in place.

LOL it’s gonna be open season on bike infrastructure. Broadway and 33rd are just the start. It looks like anyone who doesn’t like the bike infrastructure in front of their home or business could potentially get it ripped out.

Todd/ Boulanger
Todd/ Boulanger
7 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Per the ADA topic, speaking as a transportation planner who has worked for several cities’ ADA plans for the public rights of way, there is an interesting developing dynamic over the last 20 years with buffered and protected bike planes…many folks with wheelchairs prefer to travel on these bikeways than the adjoining legacy sidewalks. The bike lanes are often smoother, have less cross slope and typically cleared of debris more often than residential sidewalks.

Atreus
Atreus
7 months ago

That’s a great point! A lot of people don’t realize this, but it’s totally legal to use a motorized wheelchair in a bike lane, and yes, often the bike lanes are smoother and easier to use for people using wheelchairs than navigating sidewalks and ramps.

Charley
Charley
7 months ago

Yup. I see this regularly. Given the state of many local sidewalks, I completely understand.

Doug Hecker
7 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I guess if the individual uses a mobility device and owns a car to get to the store or appointments then PBOT is willing to work with them. I’m sure you’d like that in the event you need it.

cc_rider
cc_rider
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Hecker

Every single house on this street has a private driveway. If you look at Google street view, there is a whopping 4 cars packed on the street for the whole stretch from Holman to Dekum.

Ernie
Ernie
7 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I think that pbot will add wheelchair restricted street parking where it is requested, even or especially on residential streets, where the likeliest user is the adjacent resident. It’s not a private space, since any permit holder can park there, but it will usually be the resident, and if you use or support someone in a wheelchair, that will feel like a reasonable accommodation. If it doesn’t, look within yourself and consider your abelism. Active transportation is great, but not everyone actually can.

cc_rider
cc_rider
7 months ago
Reply to  Ernie

I think that pbot will add wheelchair restricted street parking where it is requested, even or especially on residential streets, where the likeliest user is the adjacent resident.

Sure, PBOT will do that in areas where there is parking. I’m unaware of PBOT putting random parking spots in where there otherwise would be no parking.

If it doesn’t, look within yourself and consider your abelism. Active transportation is great, but not everyone actually can.

Why is it vulnerable road users need to always make that sacrifice? Take away space from motorists if you need parking there. Turn 33rd into a one way.

All of these houses have driveways. I’m trying to figure what the actual issue is that means the person can’t use their driveway like people in most of the city would be expected to do. Needing a place to store your 4th car isn’t an “ADA situation”.

The irony with your comment is that people with mobility issues frequently use bike lanes because our sidewalks are generally in bad shape. I see folks in scooters going down Willamette all the time.

Atreus
Atreus
7 months ago
Reply to  Ernie

Keep in mind though that ADA only requires a new ADA parking space to be somewhere on the perimeter of the entire block the house is located on, with an accessible path. So there is no expectation or requirement that the space be right in front of the house. It can be right around the corner on a side street. I think this is the rule because the writers of the regulations recognized that not all streets should prioritize on-street parking.

Quint
Quint
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Hecker

What are the north-south routes that could be used instead of 33rd? No other streets connect from Holman to the bridge.

Doug Hecker
7 months ago
Reply to  Quint

I heard 34th being tossed out but didn’t write down all of the items.

Quint
Quint
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Hecker

I suppose you could make 34th a greenway from Holman to Liberty, then cut over on Liberty to 33rd, but you would still have to remove parking for the bike lanes from Liberty to the bridge, and you would need a new crossing at Liberty whereas there is already a crossing at Holman. And for people biking east on Holman going to the bridge, they would have to take a pretty awkward route going past 33rd and then back to 33rd. It seems pretty ridiculous.

Fred
Fred
7 months ago

It’s clear but it still doesn’t make any sense. Lynn is right: PBOT is all over the place.

Let's Active
Let's Active
7 months ago

“That’s just how things are in this town.” As they should be in every town. It hasn’t always mattered who complains in our racist history. So listening to groups of people that have been inordinately impacted in the past matters. I would like to see bike lanes along every stretch of every road in this city. But, as you have pointed out, these projects need to be rolled out in a way that brings the communities they impact into the process.

ShadowsFolly
ShadowsFolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Let's Active

Strange that race overrules safety.
I never thought I’d live to see this day.

LaTosha Wilson
LaTosha Wilson
7 months ago

it’s interesting you bring race in to this. Why don’t you also complain about PBOT caving to bicyclists and installing absolutely useless bicycle lane on outer east side where we do nto even have sidewalks? Instead, because of PBOT caving to bicyclists, we lost lanes of traffic which means : a) more time lost for POC, low income and immigrant folks in traffic b) more traffic accidents, c) more people using side streets and causing issues d) more air pollution. I get that this is a bicycle advocacy site, but the completely unnnecessary and not asked for bicycle lanes that PBOT is shoving down our throats because of your site and others is causing a lot of harm to POC and other vulnerable folks. PBOT listens almost exclusively to car haters (while not really providing an alternative). Thank God we do not have Eudaly or Hardesty anymore so it is a little bit better now, but pissing off people by screwing up traffic, air quality and causing more accidents is not a good way to get people to ditch cars.

I personally will no longer vote for progressives. Why should I vote for people who only listen to radicals and make our lives far worse?

dw
dw
7 months ago
Reply to  LaTosha Wilson

Oh my god drop the catastrophic rhetoric and maybe give biking a chance. There are many in East Portland who ARE asking for bike lanes and DO use them. Get over yourself.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
7 months ago
Reply to  dw

Most of the basic painted bike lanes you see in East Portland were put in by Multnomah County as curbside bike lanes in the early 80s before the city annexed the area between 1986 and 1991. What the city subsequently did was remove certain traffic lanes on 122nd and Division to encourage on-street car parking (which the county didn’t allow), with the best of intentions – to provide a buffer between pedestrians and car traffic – and moved the painted bike lanes into the door zone, again this misguided policy was “best practice” back then. Later when certain streets were rebuilt (102nd, Division, Weidler/Halsey) facilities were upgraded. The County even had a marked bike boulevard or greenway along Market/Mill/Millmain/Main. The 110s, 130s, and 150s bike facilities were added by the city after lots of neighborhood pressure, state aid, and long delays. The bike lanes on the state highways (Powell & Sandy) have been there since the late 1970s – those on Powell are being upgraded.

John V
John V
7 months ago
Reply to  LaTosha Wilson

we lost lanes of traffic which means : … b) more traffic accidents … d) more air pollution

These are both categorically false. Driving faster and with more cars means more accidents (particularly, more dangerous ones) and more pollution. It’s a persistent myth that slowing down traffic increases pollution.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  LaTosha Wilson

LaTosha—or is it Jeremy Myers, or Albert, or Rebecca or whatever. I don’t want my weekend wasted with the foodfight you are trying to start. Don’t bother switching email addresses or IPs, I will still recognize your writing style.

Here’s the rules: pick a name, stick with it, express your opinion and then get out and let others do the same. I think you have written enough for the next few days.

Thank you.

Marika S
Marika S
7 months ago

I don’t agree with the anti-bike positions but I think it’s plausible that more than one person may possess those opinions. No offense Lisa, but I don’t think your “writing style” detector is as good as you think.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Marika S

Good morning Marika!

WordPress is organized as a collection of databases, one of them is the “Comments” database. The databases have a backend with a search function, and all the information you enter is searchable–18 years worth. In the case of “LaTosha,” well, hey, I’m not gonna give away the trade secrets. But my scary-good pattern recognition abilities did not need to kick in.

cc_rider
cc_rider
7 months ago
Reply to  Marika S

I don’t agree with the anti-bike positions but I think it’s plausible that more than one person may possess those opinions

When you comment, they can see data like your IP address. It sounds like “LaTosha” is submitting under different names using the same email address and IP address, so Lisa can see its all coming from the same person.

Lisa isn’t just guessing here.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  cc_rider

There is a Venetian Carnival aspect to anonymous posting.

There must be some really popular coffee shop in east Portland that a whole lot of BikePortland posters with the same opinion, and a flair for colorful names (that’s the pattern recognition kicking in), like to use to post to BP.

Et tu, Marika?

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor

What the hell. I’ve got a folder on you and all the duplicate names and email addresses you use posting from the same IP. Occasionally you have blown it and used the same email address from a different IP address, which allows me to link up a set of different names.

I don’t mind if you post occasionally–hey an opinion is an opinion!–but when you dominate a thread with too many posts, or waste other commenters time by goading them into responding to what sometimes seems like self-stimulation, well, then I step in.

Anyway, SeaTacgorie, Jim Knox, Jimmie Green, Ralph Chang, Randi J, Arturo P, Mary Vazquez…can you give it a rest?

socially engineered
socially engineered
7 months ago

The fact that BP allows blatant sockpuppetry—let alone impersonating minorities to push reactionary talking points—explains why the comment section has become such a dumpster fire in recent years. But I’m sure nicely asking the trolls to give it a rest will totally succeed lmao

socially engineered
socially engineered
7 months ago

OK, *subtle* sockpuppetry then. On Wikipedia an account or IP that is credibly suspected of abusing multiple accounts would be banned outright. Just saying.

Nick
Nick
7 months ago

an IP address is not generally one to one with a person, for a variety of reasons: cell networks will put multiple phones behind the same IP, multiple people in a coffee shop may have the same external IP of the coffee shops router

It’s sort of a game of whack a mole, and for every solution there’s generally something you can do to get around it, big tech companies have way more resources ($$ and people) to combat stuff like this but on a smaller site like this one it’s pretty reasonable to be doing it like this.

The cure is worse than the disease because to get enough money to support better solutions you’d be looking at stuff like more ads, more tracking, BS/inflammatory articles to drive “engagement”

One of the best ways to make it better is to not “feed the trolls” by ignoring/not responding to comments like the one above.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor

Hi socially engineered,

Jonathan is correct, we don’t allow “blatant sock puppetry,” or any sock puppetry. Sock puppetry is really easy to detect.

The WordPress backend is rudimentary, it would have been really impressive in 1985. Unfortunately, I have to link users together manually—I have to notice something to think to make a search.

Moderating is subjective, and Jonathan and I don’t have any big system. A couple things are particularly important to me: 1) not wasting the time of our excellent, informed commenters by expecting them to do a bunch of scut work arguing with soft trolls, 2) keeping the threads interesting and informative. I think we do a pretty good, but imperfect job at both.

Oh, also, you read me way too literally, “…can you give it a rest” is not a polite request. I control the knobs, remember?

socially engineered
socially engineered
7 months ago

Yet here we are wasting time arguing with trolls both soft and not-so-soft ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Damien
Damien
7 months ago

The fact that BP allows blatant sockpuppetry—let alone impersonating minorities to push reactionary talking points—explains why the comment section has become such a dumpster fire in recent years.

I’ll +1 to Jonathan’s and Lisa’s defense – I detest these…let’s say less than good-faith actors as much as the next (my favorite is the new flavor of pro-Mapps “oh, it’s clear what BP is doing here!” posts which are almost too-on-the-nose obvious), but BP’s comment section remains among a shockingly small minority of sane, insightful comment sections left on the internet. You want to see dumpster fire, go look at Willamette Week’s comment sections.

And I applaud Lisa and Jonathan for it, because I suspect it’s this way only due to time-consuming, manual moderation, which many outlets simply do not want or have the resources to do.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Damien

Thank you Damien, as I remember you are someone with excellent pattern recognition skills yourself.

Things aren’t as bad as this conversation makes it look. The last bunch of dups snuck in over the past six weeks. I was on vacation for three of them, so we were a little short-staffed.

As we enter election year, I expect more coordinated messaging from different campaigns and PACs. We’re on top of it! LOL.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago

“dumpster fire”

Not so. This comments section is one of the most useful and well tended ones on the internet.

Charley
Charley
7 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Hear, hear! Even the commenters with whom I most disagree seem pretty knowledgeable.

John V
John V
7 months ago
Reply to  Watts

At least when I’m stuck in a Watts-off, I think I’m talking to a real person or an LLM trained on a real person 😉

Seconding Damien’s observation, the WWeek comments aren’t even worth scanning. They’re a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  John V

the WWeek comments aren’t even worth scanning.

Occasionally there is something really useful there, but mostly it is total dreck.

John V
John V
7 months ago

It’s the internet, there isn’t that much anyone can do about a determined person making duplicate accounts, sadly. Unless it’s paid and that would really not work. Really, the only defense is keeping your ways of detecting duplicates secret and things like shadow banning so people don’t know they’re being muted, or limiting access of new accounts, etc. I don’t think they have the staff or (so far, hopefully) requirement to get too heavy handed.

Quint
Quint
7 months ago

From what has been reported, exactly one long-time Black homeowner complained about the project. One. That is not representative of the Black community, Black leaders, or Black organizations. It’s not the same as Williams Ave project or the 7th Ave project, where there were large groups of Black residents collectively upset about the project. With those, there was a sense of it being a widespread feeling. When it’s just one home-owner, there’s no way to tell if this is really an equity issue, as opposed to just one person who doesn’t like their parking going away. It’s possible that other Black residents in the neighborhood actually like the bike lane. No way to know without asking them.

Doug Hecker
7 months ago
Reply to  Quint

I was told it wasn’t just one.

Quint
Quint
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Hecker

I was told it was one multi-generational household. I was using “homeowner” but I can see how that would be confusing. It’s one homeowner speaking on behalf of a large household. But it’s still not enough to make any suppositions about the larger Black or BIPOC “community” (really many communities) and how they might feel about it.

Marika S
Marika S
7 months ago
Reply to  Quint

Even if it was more than one Black person objecting why would their opinion hold more weight than others? Do some races get more votes than others? This is a slippery slope towards racism.

cc_rider
cc_rider
7 months ago

PBOT is cooked. I don’t see a way, without major restructuring that they can ever become not a dumpster fire of an organization. Like, this whole series of events just shows how wildly incompetent PBOT leadership is.

Portland is spinning in the drain. We are talking about eliminating funding for landslide removal, and PBOT is spending $25k to remove a perfectly good bike lane because they are too scared to be called “racist” by people who already think they are racist.

Using public funds to make improvements to private property due to a perceived loss of space is not only unethical, but it sets a dangerous precedent that could and probably will hamstring all projects with parking removal going forward.

There is a property owner on N Willamette having NextDoor tantrums about how parking removal will make running his business out of his house harder. Is PBOT prepared to use public funds to make improvements to his property as well?

PBOT should listen and go out of their way to outreach to communities affected by systemic racism and address concerns when they can. That doesn’t mean they need to pretend that generic NIMBY complaints are anything more than that. Complaining about the white lines “glaring” at a home owner is just as dumb as a white resident complained about ugly traffic diverters destroying their view.

Jamie P
Jamie P
7 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Maybe PBOT will only provide new parking spaces on privatre property if it is owned by Black people. Since African Americans are only about 5.6% of the Portland population it should be fine. What could go wrong?

Fred
Fred
7 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

PBOT is spending $25k to remove a perfectly good bike lane because they are too scared to be called “racist” by people who already think they are racist.

Pithy and correct observation of the week.

LaTosha Wilson
LaTosha Wilson
7 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

A bike lane very few people use and makes vast majority of other people’s lives worse? That is your idea of “perfectly good bike lane”? Some of you really only seem to care about your own comfort and sticking it to drivers and POC/low income as a result.

We need more parking space, removal of most new bicycle lanes in outer east side. I think people are sick of how their lives have been made incredibly difficult just to cater to the loud people at city halls.

You can’t just shove bike lanes in places where they make no sense, and have very little usage. There are no alternatives for us – bicycles are not a good fit for majority of people, especially for those who are vulnerable populations. You think a Black single mom who has couple kids will hop on a bicycle?

We can get rid off cars when this city stops catering only to bicyclists and invest in safe public transportation. Bicycles are a NICHE solution.Some of you treat it as the only solution which really is unfortunate because we will not vote for such radical people like Hardesty/Eudaly who doesn’t care about the huge majority.

cc_rider
cc_rider
7 months ago
Reply to  LaTosha Wilson

A bike lane very few people use and makes vast majority of other people’s lives worse?

LOL what vast majority of people are we talking about here? Currently, these spaces are used to store the private vehicles. This is an area with low street parking demand, so for the most part this space is used to benefit between one and zero people a day. These houses all have private driveways.

Some of you really only seem to care about your own comfort and sticking it to drivers and POC/low income as a result.

“Comfort” is definitely a word you could use. I definitely feel more comfortable when I’m not sharing a lane with a motorist speeding down the road playing on their phone and potentially maiming/killing me.

We can get rid off cars when this city stops catering only to bicyclists and invest in safe public transportation.

The entitlement here is so wild. PBOT pretty much only cares about motorists. Believe me, if cyclists ran PBOT, the streets would look radically different. Get over your victim complex. Your post is comically dramatic. Go take a walk! That is if you live in a walkable neighorhood that has pedestrian friendly street design!

dw
dw
7 months ago
Reply to  LaTosha Wilson

Literally no bike activist is pretending like bikes are one-size fits all solution. Find me a person who advocates for bike infrastructure and doesn’t also believe that public transit should be improved.

They built bike lanes on Division but guess what, they also improved transit! My commute by bus is now 25% shorter thanks to that project. But you probably don’t know that because your entire conception of the city is from behind a steering wheel. Bikes and transit compliment each other.

No, it’s drivers, who view cars as a one-size fits all transportation solution that are trying to impose their way of life on everyone. I truly don’t understand how you can have such an entitled world view that removing a single lane for a small stretch of – probably Glisan you’re talking about – makes you think that some strawman white cyclist is out to ruin your life. What’s the alternative? Widen roads? Build more parking lots? Should we destroy Black homes and businesses to do so??? You think we should just “shut the door” and turn away the thousands of Black and Brown climate refugees who are about to show up on our doorstep?

There are no alternatives for us – bicycles are not a good fit for majority of people, especially for those who are vulnerable populations

I need you to really pay attention to who is riding bikes in East Portland. Just look. Hint: It’s mostly not wealthy white folks.

You think a Black single mom who has couple kids will hop on a bicycle?

I know they will if the infrastructure exists! One of my coworkers, a Black single mom with a 4-year old, bikes her kid to daycare.

Next time just say that you don’t like bikes and leave it at that.

John V
John V
7 months ago
Reply to  LaTosha Wilson

makes vast majority of other people’s lives worse

Nonsense.

As has been explained elsewhere on this site, about 18 houses are even POSSIBLY affected by this change. All but a fourplex has at least one off street parking spot. The fourplex has parking literally a couple hundred feet around the corner (and you know, it’s new so you bought a place that doesn’t have parking if you bought there).

The whole road is very low traffic and they did not remove a lane. So drivers haven’t had their lives made worse.

So we’re down to cyclists. Is it thousands of cyclists per day? No, but it’s more than 18, and that’s every day.

But regardless, this is safety infrastructure. Free parking isn’t. And nobody is losing parking here.

You think a Black single mom who has couple kids will hop on a bicycle?

Do many of them? Not that I know of. But why? Being a single mom isn’t a problem, we have plenty of parents of big families biking everywhere they go. Not a lot in absolute terms, but enough to know it isn’t some herculean task.

So is it that being black makes it dangerous to ride a bike? How? I’m honestly curious.

Todd/ Boulanger
Todd/ Boulanger
7 months ago
Reply to  LaTosha Wilson

In a city I used to live in the neighborhood traffic engineer used to say in reaction to comments similar to yours…there are ’11 good reasons to install bike lanes and only 1 deals with bicyclists’. Typically they would then discuss the benefits for managing traffic speeds, moving car traffic further from pedestrians on sidewalks/ street corners, etc. See AARP link for a similar discussion.

https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/getting-around/info-2016/why-bicycling-infrastructure-is-good-for-people-who-dont-ride-bikes.html

The newest benefit is giving wheelchair users an additional route to use to avoid a sidewalk barrier…or having to wait a day/ hours for their paratransit reservation to be accepted.

Charley
Charley
7 months ago

The houses I’ve lived in for the last ten years have had no street parking in front of them (SE 42nd, between Powell and Holgate and SE 43rd, in Milwaukie). Both streets have bicycle safety facilities on them that preclude curb parking.

Both houses have a driveway and garage on the lot. The fact that my parking is on my private property means that I, as the person on the title, pay the property taxes on that parking space. I also, as property owner, pay for the maintenance of that parking space. Since I am the beneficiary of this parking space, paying for it myself makes a ton of sense.

Curb parking, in contrast, is paid for by all of us, collectively, as part of our taxes that go to street maintenance.

That means that the taxpayers have been *subsidizing* this free neighborhood parking for generations. Compared to the safety benefits of PBOT’s modern street designs, and the opportunity cost of more dangerous streets, more traffic deaths, and increased carbon from drivers who don’t feel safe on a bike, we are getting a terrible return on that subsidy!

So I’m glad to see that the CNA advocated for a safer street.

SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
7 months ago

Neighborhood Associations are open to all—those of all races, creeds, beliefs and orientations. If one doesn’t participate in the civic process should we blame the Neighborhood Association or those that choose to stay home?
I hope the Concordia NA and Cully NA’s can re-engage their respective neighborhoods on this issue and advocate on their behalf with PBOT.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
7 months ago

As yes, BC versus PC. Before Covid we followed various rules, sort of. Post-Covid we make them up as we go along. I’ve seen a lot of this everywhere, not just in Portland.

Jamie P
Jamie P
7 months ago

NO PBL’s on Hawthorne because PBOT basically said they were “racist”. Now it appears PBOT tired tp remove bike lanes on 33rd primarily becuase Black residents don’t like them? The “White Saviors” of Portland are destrotying this town with their lack of common sense.

dw
dw
7 months ago
Reply to  Jamie P

Don’t forget no neighborhood greenway on 7th because some folks are ho happen to be black complained. I understand that urban renewal and freeway construction decimated black and brown communities all over this country. That is disgusting and inexcusable.

But we can’t for a second pretend that parking removal or painting some sharrows is even remotely on par with bulldozing entire neighborhoods. It’s ridiculous and insulting to those who lost businesses and homes in the 50’s and 60’s to compare the two.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
7 months ago
Reply to  Jamie P

Nope.
PBOT said that they wanted to spend money in areas that were historically neglected and are not as infrastructure-rich incredibly as bougie inner SE. PBOT is a joke of an agency but I do agree that we should freeze spending on new projects in inner PDX until we bring transportation infrastructure in outer E Portland, Cully, N Portland, and SW Portland up to minimal standards.

.

PS: I live in inner PDX.

EP
EP
7 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Yeah, but wasn’t the PBOT no-bike-lane-on-Hawthorne rationale something about how bike lanes would delay buses that low-income minorities from East Portland use to get to work?

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  EP

The no bike lanes decision was also — astoundingly — supposed to be about climate change as well.

Vans
Vans
7 months ago

Wow!

Great unearth here Jonathan, good job.

This really underscores the disconnect in so, too many ways for these situations of which there are too many.

It seems to me that it has somewhat always been this way but the constraints were managed mostly by the authority and confidence of the entity.

Not so any more, every aspect and project is a potential political and much else minefield that few have the conviction or confidence to navigate, let alone succeed on.

Too much gray area to get to the rubber meeting the road.

Let's Active
Let's Active
7 months ago

The striping looks so sloppy. Amateur hour all around for this project.

Fred
Fred
7 months ago

His bureau has bolstered their commitment to transportation justice in recent years, and this episode is an opportunity to demonstrate progress toward it.

How is letting a few homeowners block a bike lane for *EVERYONE* – Black, brown, BIPOC, etc – a way of demonstrating progress toward justice of any type?

It smacks of pure landed entitlement. I can’t think of any other description.

The fact that PBOT is privileging a few voices over the multitude of users is the real issue here.

SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
7 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Well with Millicent Williams and Mapps at the helm, what did you expect? The PBOT underlings are simply following their leaders.

socially engineered
socially engineered
7 months ago

PBOT could demonstrate their commitment to transportation justice by removing *more* on-street parking further south on 31st/32nd/33rd. This could help create a usable and safe bicycle-priority route crossing I-84 and connecting the ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Concordia and Cully to several historic city parks and other amenities. Such a route is currently missing from the city’s bike network.

30s bike route concept map.png
Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago

I think bike advocates should have to go through the same bureaucratic process as everyone else. The city having to capitulate agreeing to demands, everytime the Bike Loud shows up in “critical mass” sets a bad precedent and is not a way to govern…

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
7 months ago

Regardless of race, If you are a homeowner in Portland, you are a member of a privileged class (I include myself in this group.) And if you’ve had the good fortune to be able to park your private cars in our public space in front of your home, that’s also a privilege you’ve enjoyed. As a society, we’re increasingly recognizing the need to shift away from an auto-centric transportation system for environmental, safety, and livability reasons. That shift may entail a different use of the public right of way in front of your home, one that no longer allows you to store your car in our space.

It’s really too bad (truly) that no one communicated this impending change to the homeowner, but the benefits outweigh the indignation, IMHO.

SD
SD
7 months ago

That area of 33rd just underwent major construction. Did the city reach out to local residents to ask them if wanted to have that street rebuilt to maintain a high speed connection to the highway that has resulted in all of the problems outlined in this letter from residents?

I think it’s time for PBOT to tear down the 33rd overpass and do the proper community outreach before more damage is done. If people don’t want their neighborhood to suffer from all of the problems of dangerous polluting car and truck traffic, then they should be able to oppose that project. Especially since PBOT has a disgraceful history of building these types of roads through traditionally marginalized communities.

The loss of several parking spaces pales in comparison to the scale of harm caused by these high speed highway connections. It is time for PBOT to truly carry out restorative justice that will actually improve the health and lives of NE residents instead of this performative “listening” BS.

maxD
maxD
7 months ago
Reply to  SD

cotw

Clarity
7 months ago

In my social circles (mostly trans folks Gen X and younger), most of the people I meet see the idea of owning a home as an impossible pipe dream given their economic conditions. I understand the complicated political situation here given Portland’s dire history of racial oppression and yet at the same time, I wonder what voice is being given to financially strained lifelong renters, especially those from marginalized backgrounds. Joining a neighborhood association sounds like a nice thought but when your circumstances force you into moving every 3 years (very much the norm for us!) it’s hard to want to bother. Many people I know aren’t even aware that it’s possible to complain to the city about their conditions and needs, and certainly don’t expect to be listened to if they do.

What would this city look like if these people were given a voice too?

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
7 months ago
Reply to  Clarity

As someone who is very tired of hearing the many complaints of cishet homeowners, I very much appreciate your comments.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
7 months ago
Reply to  Clarity

I liked your comment too, Clarity.

I’ve observed that people fall into two groups among the renters in my neighborhood: 1) young people without children who are living in their first apartments and move around a lot and 2) older people with children who are committed to living in the neighborhood because of the schools. Some of the renters with kids are my longest neighbors. For a few years, the president of our neighborhood association was renting.

The more transient, younger renters are harder for an NA to engage, but it can be done. When the transportation committee was putting a lot of time into SW Broadway Drive, one member made a survey which he carried down to the apartment buildings at the bottom of the hill and gave to the rental office to distribute to the tenants. Including stamped envelopes. We got a high response rate.

I read, and believe, what BP commenters say regarding bad experiences with their NAs. I think my NA is really good, Our current president is a Latina vet, who works on veteran’s housing issues and, I could be wrong, but I think she is renting too.

I think NAs can be very good, but in the years I’ve been involved with them, I’ve not been aware of Civic Life keeping any basic data (about participation or board turnover, for example) or giving any best-practices guidance.

Basic grassroots organizing is a skill set which can be taught. Trouble getting parents of young children involved? (well get your rear end out of bed and ask them questions as they walk their kids to school.) Want to know how neighbors are going to feel about upcoming infrastructure? (sit in a chair at an intersection with a clipboard, believe me, people will stop to talk).

Regarding getting a voice, ignore Pierre and VOTE. Ranked choice voting in multi-member districts gives you more of a voice than you’ve ever had.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
7 months ago

Regarding getting a voice, ignore Pierre and VOTE.

I would enthusiastically vote for someone who prioritizes low-income people, unhoused people, jobless people, and especially low-income people who come from marginalized groups.
.
I voted for Eudaly, even though my politics are far to her left, because she genuinely wanted to make life less cruel and repressive for low-income renters. I have yet to see a single candidate who will prioritize those who are being continuously traumatized by liberal democratic capitalism so, yes, I may very will sit this one out.
.
— a moral socialist

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  pierre delecto

I just have to poke you once in a while to make sure I’m still alive.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago

As far as I know, Civic Life has never been helpful to neighborhoods who want support reaching out to renters.

Keith
Keith
7 months ago

I agree with Woodsong’s comment about an agency in chaos. PBOT has historically had its problems, but it is clearly entering a new phase and beginning to spiral out of control. Quickly following the SW Broadway debacle, we have another! This is disturbing on multiple levels – many articulated in the preceding comments. I’ll add a couple more. First, PBOT is quick to point out that it doesn’t have sufficient funding to implement planned bicycle infrastructure projects in the TSP and In Motion plans, but then has no qualms about wasting it by installing a facility and then taking it out! Your tax dollars at work. Second, the policy to not require off-street parking is appropriately intended to reduce housing cost (as with the 4-plex in the story), but the city (and state that now mandates this approach) has failed to recognize how this will only make on-street parking removal for active transportation needs more difficult politically and practically. The transition to a car-free society will take time, and we need neighborhood parking strategies to deal with this issue so we don’t inadvertently create political roadblocks to provide the active transportation infrastructure that essential for us to become car-free.