City, advocates say ODOT’s plans for outer Powell buffered bike lanes are not enough

Help is coming to Powell east of 122nd, but will it be enough to attract a wider swath of bicycle riders?

18 months of debate about how to provide safe bike access on a 14-block stretch of Southeast Powell Boulevard is finally coming to an end. At least the Oregon Department of Transportation hopes it is.

Saying they are now months behind schedule, ODOT wants to move forward into the final design stage of a project that will rebuild Powell between SE 122nd and 136th. With $17 million from the State Legislature and another $3 million from Metro, the latest incarnation of ODOT’s Outer Powell Safety Project will add a host of updates to this state highway (U.S. Route 26), which has one of the worst crash records of any road in Oregon. This project will bring long-awaited changes and additions to signals, sidewalks, intersections, landscaping, crosswalks, and bike lanes.

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State wants your advice to prioritize Portland-area biking and walking projects

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
odot bike needs

An interactive map of ODOT biking facilities,
including gaps.
(Click for live version)

As the Oregon Department of Transportation sprints to meet an August grant deadline that could bring federal money to local biking and walking improvements, it’s asking for public input about the deepest needs.

As we wrote in February, this project is part of the state’s first-ever comprehensive list of the existing state of its biking and walking facilities.

If awarded, the federal grants that ODOT applies for after this process will go toward projects being built from 2018-2021.

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ODOT is building its first complete wishlist of biking and walking projects

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
east 82nd

82nd Avenue: a priority, but how high?
(Photo: Elly Blue)

As Oregon creates its first-ever comprehensive biking and walking wishlist, it’s run into a hard question: how should it rank the importance of the many projects on its list?

The question comes three years after a round of ODOT’s federal grant applications for Portland-area biking and walking projects came up completely empty. As the next federal grant deadline approaches, ODOT is hoping that by creating a more sophisticated system to choose its top projects — a complete sidewalk along 82nd Avenue, maybe, or a crosswalk beacon on North Lombard street — it won’t miss out on the next round of federal grants.

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Citing a possible 9-minute auto delay by 2035, ODOT dismisses bike improvements on Barbur

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Riding Portland's urban highways-40

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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

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ODOT will install automated counter on new State Trail in the Gorge

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Manufacturer’s graphic of how the counter works.

The Oregon Department of Transportation just received shipment of an automated counter similar to the one in use on the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland. After ODOT Region 1 Transit and Active Transportation Liaison tweeted a picture of the new counter today, we followed up and learned a bit more about where it’s headed.

Horning says the counter will be installed on the new segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail that is set to open on September 15th. As Horning shared in a guest article here on BikePortland back in May, ODOT has been investing millions to renovate and re-build the Historic Columbia River Highway’s eleven miles that are set aside exclusively for hiking and biking. In September, ODOT plans to celebrate the opening of a 1.6 mile section that connects John B. Yeon State Park in Warrendale to the existing restored section of the state trail at the Moffett Creek Bridge (towards Cascade Locks).

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Meet Jessica Horning, ODOT’s new active transportation liaison

Jessica Horning

Jessica Horning.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In case you missed it, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently hired a Transit and Active Transportation Liaison for the Portland metro area (what ODOT refers to as Region 1). The new hire is 31-year-old Humboldt neighborhood resident Jessica Horning. Since we’ll surely be seeing and hearing a lot from Jessica in the future, I figured we should get to know her a bit better.

I recently asked Jessica a few questions via email…

What is your primary responsibility at ODOT?

My primary responsibility is to guide ODOT Region 1 in developing a collaborative and strategic approach to pedestrian, bicycle, and transit issues in the Portland Metro. That includes:

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