An awkward and dangerous intersection on the Hawthorne Bridge is set to get a major makeover. Portland City Council is expected to authorize an agreement between the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Multnomah County to build the Hawthorne Bridge Traffic Signal Improvement Project. (Project plans available in council ordinance PDF here.)
The signal will be located at the top of the on-ramp from northbound Naito Parkway that feeds onto the eastbound Hawthorne Bridge. If you’re one of the 3,000 or so daily bike riders who pedal through here from downtown to the central eastside, you know this intersection: It’s where drivers often illegally block the bike lane as they peek at oncoming traffic, forcing bicycle users to swerve around or wait until they move out of the way. Currently the intersection has a stop sign for drivers coming up from Naito and no stop sign for people using SW Madison.
I got a call this week from Portland resident Alec Boehm, who’s looking for advice on a question many Portlanders have grappled with over the years.
When people biking and walking have dedicated spaces on a relatively narrow multi-use path, should faster bikes pass slower bikes on the right, or on the left? And (by the same token) should people who expect to be passed keep to the left of the biking lane, or to the right?
You can see the same situation constantly on the Hawthorne Bridge, and sometimes the Broadway, too. Until this week, you could sometimes see it for northbound bike traffic on Naito Parkway’s temporary protected biking and walking lanes, too.
Portland Police are looking for a tan SUV after its driver was involved with a high-speed hit-and-run crash last month.
It happened about 2:30 pm on January 27th in the eastbound lanes of the Hawthorne Bridge just east of the Willamette River near the TriMet bus stop on the viaduct. Amazingly, so far the biggest lead the police have in the case is footage from a handlebar-mounted camera taken by a person who happened to be cycling nearby.
As you can see in the video below, the driver was going very fast and was unable to control his/her vehicle. They ran into two other vehicles, causing one to roll, which, according to police, “nearly struck a person riding a bicycle.” Luckly there were no injuries. The driver didn’t stop and is still on the loose.
Crystal was egged one day coming back from a bike tour, her guests trailing behind her on their bicycles. We don’t know why; just, bam, splat. The assailants only got her.
We’re both tour guides for the same company and I heard the story when I got back to the shop that afternoon. It’s busy work, with the tourist industry on the same upswing as everywhere-to-Portland immigration.
Multnomah County has erected work zone barriers at the eastern entrance of the northern path of the Hawthorne Bridge. Maintenance crews are repairing damage to the railing inflicted by a person who failed to maintain control of their automobile and rammed into it.
Two months ago, we made an unfortunate error: We ran a post observing that the new Tilikum Crossing was simultaneously boosting bike traffic and reducing bike congestion on the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalks.
Trouble was, the source of our data — the Hawthorne Bridge’s automated bike counter — had been malfunctioning, so the findings were bogus.
Now the better data has arrived … and it shows pretty much the same thing that the fake data had seemed to.
Correction 10/5: Unfortunately, an earlier version of this post was based on inaccurate data. As explained in the comments by Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller (and first noticed by reader Psyfalcon), the Hawthorne counter failed to capture eastbound bike data from Sept. 9 through the end of the month. This problem wasn’t noted on the city’s website but we should have noticed the east/west discrepancy and checked with the city before running this story.
This means it’s likely that the Tilikum has boosted total bike traffic across the Willamette, but that Hawthorne bike traffic hasn’t dropped by anywhere close to one-third. It’ll take several weeks to learn the truth. In the meantime, we regret the error. The original (incorrect) version of the post follows.
Some or all of Multnomah County’s four busiest bridges across the Willamette River — the Broadway, Burnside, Morrison and Hawthorne — could see major biking and walking upgrades over the next fifteen years.
One possibility being discussed: physically separating bike and foot traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge by moving either biking or walking to one or two of the four auto-dominated lanes on the bridge deck.