PBOT adds more diversion to North Michigan Avenue greenway

The driver of this car was either unaware of the changes or felt they didn’t apply to him.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Making good on a promise made back in April, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has installed new plastic wands, signage, and striping at the intersection of North Michigan Avenue and Skidmore.

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PBOT wants diverters on N Michigan to reduce crashes and cut-through drivers

PBOT sketch of diverters proposed for North Michigan at Skidmore.

The rising number of people using cars on our neighborhood streets has many negative impacts. Among them are more crashes caused by people who make dangerous moves out of frustration, selfishness, impatience, or all of the above. One way to combat this is to constrain the driving environment so people have fewer choices and are forced to make safer movements.

And that’s exactly what the Portland Bureau of Transportation wants to do on North Michigan Avenue at Skidmore.

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In defense of greenways, city bolsters traffic diversion in two north Portland locations

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
divert-rodney-signnb

Try to drive through these concrete barrels filled with soil. I dare you!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation seems to be slowly losing their aversion to diversion.

On my way into work today I rolled by two examples of new infrastructure that aims to prevent people from driving through a specific intersection. It’s all part of PBOT’s increased priority on “traffic diversion” in order to maintain a comfortable street environment in residential areas.

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On Michigan greenway, diverter reduces driving but biking boost is modest

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Diverter at N Rosa Parks and Michigan -3

A full diverter was installed last October on
N Rosa Parks at Michigan.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new traffic diverter at North Michigan Avenue and Rosa Parks Way seems to be successfully preventing north-south car traffic from spilling onto Michigan from Interstate 5, recent city bike counts show.

That was the city’s intent when it agreed last year to install the diverter in order to hold down traffic on the neighborhood greenway there.

“From I guess Holman to Rosa Parks it has gotten a lot better,” said Noah Brimhall, a Piedmont neighborhood resident and an advocate for the diverter, in an interview Tuesday.

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As promised, PBOT will beef up diversion on Michigan Ave neighborhood greenway

Michigan neighborhood greenway-2

PBOT project manager Ross Swanson (red shirt)
and Piedmont residents Justin Thompson (middle)
and Noah Brimhall discuss ideas to make Michigan Ave
work better.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Nearly two years ago, the Bureau of Transportation made a promise to residents of the Piedmont neighborhood: If a partial median at N. Rosa Parks Way and Michigan Avenue (map) doesn’t reduce cut-through traffic on the Michigan neighborhood greenway, they’ll beef it up. Yesterday, project manager Ross Swanson said he’d do just that.

Michigan is a unique case for PBOT. It’s the only major neighborhood greenway route in the city directly adjacent to an interstate highway. During the evening rush hour, “regional drivers” (which is, I think, PBOT’s politically correct way of saying Washington drivers) race up Michigan in an effort to bypass the daily gridlock on northbound I-5. The traffic and inconsiderate driving irks people who live on Michigan and the presence of so many cars flies in the face of the core mission of neighborhood greenways — to create conditions for low-stress bicycling.

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Small but important changes make North Michigan a better bikeway

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Making Michigan better for bikes-5

When it comes to making neighborhood streets nicer for bicycling, sometimes little things can make a huge difference. N. Michigan Avenue is a good example. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) began to make Michigan an official part of their neighborhood greenway network just over one year ago. The improvements have come slowly and in phases; but recent changes have made a significant difference.

I ride Michigan twice a day from Rosa Parks Way to Fremont so I know it well. With just speed bumps and sharrows, I didn’t notice a huge difference in the bicycling environment. But with new crossing improvements and a host of stop sign changes, it’s starting to really shine and become the efficient and safe bikeway it needs to be.

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