Typical midday traffic approaching a curve in Barbur Boulevard from the south. (Image: Google Street View.)
Four months after saying it had no plans to do so, the Oregon Department of Transportation will formally consider the possibility of new changes to a two-mile stretch of Barbur Bouelvard where six people have died in cars, on motorcycles and on foot in the last six years.
Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick in 2014. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
When is a traffic study not a traffic study?
“Let’s work together to make Barbur safer,” Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick wrote in October 2013, promising that “the Portland Bureau of Transportation will commit the time and resources to work with ODOT and engage the surrounding communities to see the impacts of a possible road diet and find the right solution.”
Now, some of the advocates who helped persuade Novick to make that commitment are saying it’s still unfulfilled.
The Oregon Department of Transportation brushed aside proposals to allow safe bike travel on Southwest Barbur Boulevard, raising the possibility of “unacceptable impacts” that might result from replacing a northbound travel lane with dedicated bike lanes.
“While some have framed the removal of a motor vehicle lane on the bridges as a quick and easy, ‘noimpact’ solution, there are impacts that need to be considered,” the agency wrote in a memo distributed Thursday evening.
The memo cited estimates that removing one of Barbur’s four travel lanes would increase northbound auto travel times between 5 and 15 percent today, and somewhere between 10 and 65 percent by 2035.
During the busiest few minutes of the morning on the 4.9 mile corridor in question, it comes out to an additional delay of somewhere between 84 seconds and 9 minutes over the course of the next 22 years.
Update 8:03 pm: I’ve changed these figures (previously 1.8 miles and 36 seconds to 4 minutes) to include the full stretch of road studied and to allow an apples-to-apples comparison of travel times in 2035. -MA
Friends of Barbur, a grassroots group working to make SW Barbur Blvd a safer place to drive, bike, and live, is doing what it can to support Henry Schmidt, the 20-year-old Lewis and Clark College student was hit and left for dead while walking his bike on Barbur early Friday morning.
Friends of Barbur is asking people to “Donate a beer for Henry for his 21st Birthday” via their website. Here’s more from an email they just sent out:[Read more…]