The Concord Avenue neighborhood greenway has only one gap in its 2.4 mile route between Overlook Park and North Argyle Street in the Kenton neighborhood: the offset crossing of Lombard Street (a.k.a. Highway 30). But with a new agreement between the Oregon Department of Transportation (they own and manage Lombard) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, that gap will soon be filled.
The two agencies recently hashed out an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) so that PBOT could do the work to build a new crossing that will link Concord on the south side of Lombard with Fenwick to the north. It’s a much-needed upgrade to an intersection isn’t as safe as it should be. Not only is this a designated neighborhood greenway route, but it’s a popular connector between two neighborhoods (Arbor Lodge and Kenton) and there’s a high school directly adjacent to it.
The existing crossing infrastructure — known as a pedestrian half-signal — is also not compliant with federal guidelines. A half-signal exists when there’s a standard traffic signal for the major road, but only stop signs for the minor roads. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) explicitly prohibits the use of half-signals due to safety concerns. Studies have shown that when someone actuates the traffic signal on the main road, drivers from the side-street think it’s an opportunity to turn and they don’t realize (or they don’t see) the people in the crosswalk. As of 2015, Portland had 47 such signals and because they’re not recommended by the MUTCD, we haven’t installed one since 1986.
PBOT plans to spend $2 million in Transportation System Development Charges to improve this crossing. In addition to the full signal upgrade they plan to add ADA improvements to the curbs and sidewalk, and create a new bike lane on Lombard. As you can see in the latest concept drawing, the plan is to stripe an unprotected, five-feet wide eastbound bike lane and create a westbound bike lane on the sidewalk for the short distance between Concord and the crossing at Fenwick.
As you can see in the cross-sections below, the bike lanes would be separated by a two-foot buffer. The space to add them would come from an existing planted median on the sidewalk and from narrowing one of the existing lanes:
Longtime readers will recall that we first mentioned an improvement at this crossing in 2010.
PBOT Communications Director John Brady said today that with the IGA with ODOT now signed, they can move onto final design work. It will be a few months yet until we get an estimated date of completion. Stay tuned.
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For the first time, BikePortland’s reporting has been chosen by the Society of Professional Journalists as some of the best from small newsrooms in the Northwest.
In the annual awards announced Saturday, Jonathan’s December report about the circumstances around the death of Martin Greenough (“Why would anyone ride on that scary stretch of Lombard?”) took first place for general news reporting in the five-state contest among news organizations with 10 staff members or fewer.
(Image: Google Street View)
Hazel regularly bikes on NE Lombard Street, a U.S. highway managed by the state, under the overpass of 42nd Avenue. This is one of those overpasses where it suddenly becomes less important to separate people biking from 50 mph motor traffic than to ensure that both lanes of motor traffic don’t have to merge into a single lane. (This is a strange American approach to street design that we compared with European practices in 2013.)
A half-mile section of North Lombard (Highway 30) in the University Park and Portsmouth neighborhoods is getting bike lanes.
(Image: ODOT testimony on SB 117.)
Barbur Boulevard, Powell Boulevard, Tualatin Valley Highway, Lombard Street, 82nd Avenue and Macadam Avenue could all be lined up for gradual transfer from state to city control under a bill before Oregon’s legislature.
support to improve Lombard Street.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
The fact that 100 people showed up to last night’s Lombard Re-Imagined open house, is a clear sign that a group of Portland State University graduate students has spurred an important conversation about the future of Lombard Street. Put together by Swift Planning Group, the open house came after months of meetings, walking tours, design analysis, a neighborhood survey and more.
With a final report due next month, Swift and their neighborhood partners are zeroing in on specific recommendations they hope to get implemented by the City of Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and other local agencies.
Lombard is a classic, auto-centric urban arterial. It’s a state highway, but it also happens to run through dense residential and commercial areas where people live, shop and work. With its high speed traffic and lack of humane design features, the street lacks the social and commercial vibrancy and sense of place that neighborhood residents are clamoring for. Put another way, Project Manager Kathryn Doherty-Chapman wrote via email to me after the open house, “People want places to meet their neighbors, to be able to walk their kids to school and to nearby parks, and to support locally owned businesses. Currently those activities are limited on Lombard, but they don’t have to be.” [Read more…]