At neighborhood meeting, PBOT explains why they’re making it harder to drive

PBOT Project Manager Scott Cohen explained the design to Kenton residents at a meeting last night.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Can we just stop beating around the bush for a second and talk about what the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is doing to our streets?

From Southeast Foster to St. Johns, they are slowly but surely redesigning roads citywide so there’s less space for driving cars and trucks. In addition, they’re also intentionally making it harder and less efficient to drive. This is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s worth a huge celebration. If we want to make good on our potential as a great city we must move aggressively beyond the driving-alone status quo.

While it’s fun to observe PBOT’s progress from an advocacy, political, and bureaucratic perspective, I often find neighborhood meetings are the most fascinating window into the sausage-making process.

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PBOT delays protected lane in Kenton, citing neighborhood concerns

Today on N Denver Avenue, bicycle riders use a standard-width, door-zone bike lane.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A protected lane on the Kenton neighborhood’s main street was supposed to be built by now.

As of last March, with funds from the Fixing our Streets program, the Bureau of Transportation was set to (once again) leverage a scheduled repaving project to reconfigure lanes on N Denver Avenue. The plans called for switching the existing, door-zone bike lane to the curb and adding a buffer on Denver between North Lombard and Watts that would protect vulnerable road users from other traffic. Auto parking would be provided in the street, creating the same type of “parking-protected bike lane” that PBOT has recently installed on nearby Rosa Parks Way.

But PBOT now says the project has been delayed a year until summer 2019. Here’s more from an email they just sent:

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City wants to build a parking protected bike lane on Denver north of Lombard

(Graphic: PBOT)

North Denver Avenue could be the latest street in Portland to get a parking-protected bike lane.

The Kenton Neighborhood Association says the Portland Bureau of Transportation is shopping around that idea as part of a repaving project this summer. “Last Friday, PBOT went door-to-door between N Lombard and N Watts on N Denver,” stated a KNA blog post published March 13th, “and spoke with roughly 35 people at 20 addresses, finding most neighbors enthusiastic about the project.”

We’ve since confirmed that PBOT has set aside $938,000 from their local gas tax-funded Fixing Our Streets program to pave and make ADA upgrades on Denver Avenue from Lombard to Watts. As of late February the project was at 60 percent design. According to a document available on PBOT’s website, a “final decision related to parking removal remains and relates to public involvement.”

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