The City of Portland has installed a very helpful new link in the inner southeast bike network. There are now double-buffered bike lanes on SE 12th between Madison and Salmon. The Portland Bureau of Transportation completed striping the new bike lanes in September.
“This new stretch of bike lane connects two important pieces of infrastructure in SE Portland: the Central City in Motion Hawthorne/Madison improvements and the Salmon Neighborhood Greenway,” wrote PBOT in a social media post Wednesday.
The bike lane is unprotected and offers only paint as a separation from other road users; but the “double-buffered” design means that there is space between the one general purpose lane to the left of the bike lane and the door-zone of parked cars on the right. The previous cross-section included two general purpose lanes and two lanes for free car parking. PBOT swapped the eastern general purpose lane for the new bike lane.
This a nice connection because 12th handles a lot of bike traffic from the Ladds Addition area (and points south) and the new bike lane connects directly to the popular greenway on SE Salmon. At Salmon, PBOT has previously installed a concrete barricade to tame traffic and the street has a 15 mph “Shared Street” advisory speed limit. It also leads to a nice little coffee place (Good Coffee) on the corner of Salmon and 12th.
Funding for this project came from PBOT’s Multimodal Missing Links program. This is a small and flexible pot of money PBOT uses to build small projects. The total annual budget for Missing Links is about $200,000 (I don’t know the cost of this specific project yet, but will update this post when I find out). (UPDATE: Here’s what PBOT said when I asked how much this project cost: “As with many Missing Links projects, this was too small to have its own line item in PBOT’s budget. This was grouped among 25 quick projects we had a contractor perform for about $300,000. We won’t know the final cost of each of the 25 projects until the invoices come in.”)
I visited this site a few days ago to see how it’s working. The new bike lane starts as a shared bus/bike lane at a Line 70 TriMet bus stop on the northeast corner of 12th and Madison. Similar to the cross-section on North Vancouver Avenue, you feel like a respected road user since the bike lane width is equal to the adjacent car lane.
Unfortunately, the paint-only design and general disrespectful behavior, led some drivers to use the bike lane while I was there. Hopefully that subsides in the future as folks realize it’s a bike lane — and as more bike riders fill the space.
The response to PBOT’s post was mostly good and I’ve heard positive feedback so far. “It makes crossing this street on a bike on Salmon a lot easier – only crossing one lane of traffic is so much better. Now please do 11th as well!” wrote one person. “Now can we get a lane all the way up 12th to get to the Ankeny and north of Burnside lanes?” wrote another.
I second that call to extend this up to the Ankeny greenway. I’ve always been a fan of 12th for its direct connection between Hawthorne and Burnside/Sandy, but I’ll only ride it if I can maintain a 18-22 mph speed given the shared-lane conditions and 25 mph speed limit.
Have you ridden this yet? What has your experience been?