These N Willamette Blvd project visualizations are the best I’ve ever seen

Detail of PBOT conceptual design of N Willamette at N Wabash and Bryant. Note the new bus islands, much larger median island at the top, and newly carfree section of Wabash.

I am extremely excited for PBOT’s North Willamette Blvd project. And it’s not just because I live nearby and have lamented the current conditions on this crucial corridor for many years. It’s also because from what I’ve seen and heard, this project represents PBOT at its best: listening to what people want, coming up with designs that can actually move the needle, getting the funding to build it, then showing real urgency to get it on the ground as soon as possible.

And the latest greatest thing they’ve done? They’ve just put out the best visuals for a bike project I have ever seen. These new visualizations come as PBOT reaches their 60% design milestone and readies to begin construction on the first phase of the $6 million, federally-funded project (via Metro).

Check out the new visuals below and start preparing mentally for how these changes will impact you, your neighbors, and the people you love:

As I reported back in January, PBOT will seize an opportunity to restripe the roadway with bike lanes beginning this spring/summer along with a planned repaving project. The full project will break ground summer of 2025 and we’ll be riding on this thing in 2026. For more info, check the project website.

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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

28 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JM
JM
2 months ago

I saw “Williams” at first and got excited and then realized this was for Willamette. Still looks really nice though! Excited to ride it whenever I’m up in that area.

pdxblake
pdxblake
2 months ago

Looks great, can’t wait until it’s built!

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

I live nearby and have lamented the current conditions on this crucial corridor for many years.

Remember that these conditions, which you lament, are still far better than almost everything cyclists have to endure in SW Portland.

Yet PBOT puts $$ into improving conditions east of the river while we get nothing on the west side, esp in SW. Go figure.

blumdrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Okay, what about Capitol Highway? That’s a fairly comparable road to Willamette and it was just redone in SW and is definitely better now than existing conditions on Willamette.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  blumdrew

Cap Hwy was one project which took 30 years of advocacy to get (and Fred hates it so don’t ask him).

SW has the least sidewalk coverage and lowest rate of building bike infrastructure of any area in the city, by far. Don Baack signs off his emails, “SW PDX has 280 mi of streets, but 210 mi have no sidewalks.”

Wooster
Wooster
2 months ago

And yet lots of people in SW don’t want sidewalks, so it’s not that simple.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Wooster

All the evidence I’ve seen says the opposite, including PBOT’s own polling. Look at the SWIM Implementation Survey Summary, it’s mainly people asking for sidewalks: https://www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/documents/southwest-motion-implementation-survey-summary-2023/download

According to PBOT’s numbers, about 32% of SW arterials and collectors don’t have sidewalks–the big fast streets. That’s not OK.

The “people in SW don’t want sidewalks” is a fig leaf to cover inaction on the city’s part. (And a few decades from now a way to blame the victim, “this area of town didn’t want sidewalks, now look at the problems they are causing the rest of the city.”)

qqq
qqq
2 months ago
Reply to  Wooster

I think a lot of small, quiet streets work better–for walking and biking–without sidewalks, and more small streets could with traffic diversion. My own neighborhood argued against PBOT (and “pedestrian advocates”) about plans to put in sidewalks, and won. Sidewalks would have destroyed the street for walking.

When people are saying they don’t want sidewalks, they’re almost always talking about those types of streets, not the arterials and collectors that Lisa mentions. There’s lots of support for sidewalks on them, like she says.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the City uses our case as proof that “people in SW don’t want sidewalks” without acknowledging that tiny streets are different than arterials.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
2 months ago

Check out those ‘bike lanes that drive everybody crazy’ — or at least the beautiful renderings of them! Actually, I try not to use “crazy” in a haphazard manner, because it’s ableist to invoke terms that colloquial connote mental illness like that. And also, we do not need to use “drive” as a metaphor given that we need everyone to drive less. So I guess its “bike lanes that fill everybody with delight” even just to see the renderings!

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago

My 3 Cents on Missing Opportunities for already a great plan (its so close to be stellar, don’t give up):
1) How about raising the bike lane only sections of Wabash? This would better manage the expected bike lane debris and make the park look more inviting from the residential areas.
2) And how about using ‘Dutch Style” raised crosswalk / driveway style sections for the minor streets when they connect to the major arterials? Very ADA friendly and traffic speed / cut thru traffic reducing.

Seems like a winner given the scale of this project.

Serenity
Serenity
2 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

Be PBOT doesn’t want to do anything Dutch Style.

dw
dw
2 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

$$$

Raised bike lanes and crossing cost a lot more than sole paint and a few curbs.

Wooster
Wooster
2 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

What “park” is near Wabash?

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
2 months ago

I’m curious, does anyone have rough idea of the costs of these low concrete humps versus full jersey barriers or metal bollards? That’s my only real issue with this project.

Wooster
Wooster
2 months ago
Reply to  Max S (Wren)

Jersey barriers would be overkill on a residential street like this. It’s not like Greeley south of Adidas where traffic goes 55 mph. And they would only work on the bluff side anyway, they wouldn’t work in areas with lots of driveways. And definitely they’re way more expensive.

Wren (Max S)
Wren (Max S)
2 months ago
Reply to  Wooster

I dunno, being hit at 25 MPH still isn’t great. And they are already planning to put the humps on the side with east side so they’ll need to leave gaps for driveways either way.

Semi-related, but does anyone know why there are installing these super-low humps versus the slightly taller extruded curbs you see around parking lots? Seems like the latter would be a lot harder for a car to just drive over.

concrete-curb-extruding
Steve
Steve
2 months ago

Can they perhaps do a full repaving in the process? The patchwork approach over the past several years (plus restripes that leave asphalt seams right under wheel-paths) have made Willamette a major hazard to all road users.

Serenity
Serenity
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

We can dream! But probably not.

SD
SD
2 months ago

When every road looks like this, drivers won’t think it’s weird.

Matthew Denton
Matthew Denton
2 months ago

While the bike lanes are amazing, I’m also thrilled with the sidewalk extensions at Oatman/Liberty and Vincent/Saratoga. Every time I’m walking there I’m always worried that someone will take that turn at 30 mph, (cause it isn’t much of a turn,) and hit me, and because the crossing is so wide I spend a lot of time just getting across the intersection…

It doesn’t look like Olin is getting the same treatment, (another wide crossing,) but that is understandable because there is a driveway there and there isn’t an easy solution.

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Denton

The traffic separator at Olin carries all the way across the intersection, those homes will use Harvard to access driveways.

Wooster
Wooster
2 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Denton

I agree, it’s always nice to see those funky weird skewed intersections get fixed up. I suspect the same at Olin, it’s because there’s a driveway absurdly close to the intersection, and it’s right at a curve in the road so it wouldn’t work to have the driveway connect to Willamette.

Aaron
2 months ago

Most of these look really nice, but one spot in particular stood out to me and I’m not sure if I am reading it wrong.

Where N Ida Ave meets Willamette the opposite side of the street has a grey section that looks like it’s level with the street and has no protection at all around the inside edge of a corner where it’s needed most. Surely I must be interpreting this wrong?

To my eyes it looks like this is a spot where the design is making it easy for drivers to cut into an unprotected bike lane when cornering which is a huge safety hazard for cyclists traveling in that lane. Somebody, please tell me I’m incorrect because I do not want to be right about this.

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Send me an email or give me a call and I’ll explain what’s going on there. My info is on the project website.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Bus stop?

Gerard
Gerard
2 months ago

Yeah… that’s going to make getting onto my driveway even more difficult than it is already!!

ClimbFrosty
ClimbFrosty
1 month ago
Reply to  Gerard

I love riding on Willamette now though, back when there was parking and a small bike lane it wasn’t unheard of to be passed by cars doing 40+mph! These changes will make Willamette an even more desirable place to recreate and live (congrats btw, as someone who lives north of Lombard I envy your location!) hopefully you’ll be chuckling all the way to the bank with a higher property value.