Safety advocates uneasy about striping bike lane across Steel Bridge onramp

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
naito davis couch

New striping near the Steel Bridge at Naito will be done in the next few days.
(Image: Portland Bureau of Transportation)

Safety advocates are trying to balance enthusiasm for the city’s newly announced Naito bike lanes with concern over one key detail.

After nine years of delay, the plan to close the “Naito Gap” in the next few days drew joy from people like Reza Farhoodi, planning and transportation committee co-chair at the Pearl District Neighborhood Association and a member of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. But Farhoodi said it would be a “terrible mistake” for the city not to use a right-turn arrow signal to protect bikes from right-turning autos as the bikes head north across the Steel Bridge onramp.

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Portland is finally closing the Naito Gap by converting a passing lane

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
naito gap

This 1,500-foot stretch of NW Naito has been a barrier to biking between downtown and northwest Portland, but it’s about to change.
(Image: Google Street View)

After nine years of sometimes elaborate plans to connect NW Naito Parkway’s bike lanes north and south of the Steel Bridge, the city’s transportation bureau has found a way.

The secret: it’s removing an unnecessary passing lane in each direction between NW Davis and NW Ironside Terrace to create continuous bike lanes that will be, at their widest, 10 feet with a four-foot buffer.

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With $1.5 million proposal for Naito, Mayor puts money where his mouth is

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new bike lane on Naito

The existing bike lanes on Naito are outdated.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales released his final proposed budget this morning and it includes funding for a project we’ve been hoping to see materialize for several years: improved access for biking on Naito Parkway. $1.46 million to be exact. It was one of 14 infrastructure projects and over $42 million in new spending he’s put on the table.

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How Portland wants to finally close the notorious Naito Gap

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
naitocrossingmap

The project would build a new crossing of Naito, add bike lanes, realign the greenway path, and add railroad crossing safety features.
(Graphic: PBOT)

The “Naito gap” is one of the most glaring gaps in Portland’s vaunted bikeway network. Ever since Portland decided to take down a suspended overpass in 2003 (due to, ironically, safety concerns), the 120 feet across Naito Parkway between Waterfront Park and NW 1st Avenue has prevented people from walking and biking between Old Town/Chinatown and the Steel Bridge.

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City applies for funding of Flanders bikeway bridge, 70s Bikeway, and more

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redelectric

The Red Electric Trail, a dream for southwest neighborhood activists, could get over $600,000 in funding if a city grant request comes through.

City Council voted 5-0 yesterday to authorize grant applications for five major bikeway projects. The $9 million in grant requests would help the Bureau of Transportation fund a host of key projects, some of which have languished on lists and in the hearts of advocates for many years.

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A new bit of hope for fixing the ‘Naito Gap’

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Curving paths would help cross
the Steel Bridge railroad tracks.

After six years of promising to fix a persistent rift in downtown’s bike lane grid, city planners have a new plan to link the bike lanes north and south of the Steel Bridge on the Naito Parkway.

As you can see from the city’s tentative sketch, lots of hardware changes are required — tasks that will have to be completed by Union Pacific Railroad are marked in red — but project manager Rich Newlands tells us that the city is springing for its own analysis of the situation in order to avoid further delays from partner organizations.

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Railroad track project will smooth out Naito: “Gap” fix due next spring

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Existing tracks that cross Naito.
(Photo: Google Streetview)

Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) started on a project this morning to repair their tracks on NW Naito Parkway just north of the Steel Bridge. The existing tracks have large gaps between them that make for a bumpy and jarring experience for people riding bicycles.

Yesterday’s announcement didn’t share many details about what the project would entail, so I asked PBOT traffic safety manager Mark Lear for more details. I also inquired as to whether or not we could expect a fix to the “Naito Gap” with this project (the gap is a section of road where the bike lane and shoulder both drop, creating a squeeze situation north and south of the Steel Bridge overpass – see photo below).

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Checking in on five languishing bike projects

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
N. Rosa Parks Way at I-5-1

A plan to make N. Rosa Parks Way
safer for bicycling has been
in the works since
April 2008.
(Photos © J. Maus)

As part of my daily work here at BikePortland, I track a lot of projects. The other day, prompted by a question from reader Jessica Roberts, I began to think about all the bike projects that are currently delayed and languishing for one reason or another.

Below are updates on five such projects. Each of them has been planned, discussed, and promised, but none of them have broken ground.

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Naito project will remove auto lane, connect bikeway, and more

PBOT plan drawings for bike and ped improvements to NW Naito Parkway under Steel Bridge.

Big changes are coming to what is currently a very unfriendly intersection for anyone that’s not in a car. The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation recently received the final bit of funding for a $408,000 project that should drastically improve traffic safety in the area of NW Naito Parkway under the Steel Bridge.

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PDOT unveils plans for bike lanes in “Naito Gap”

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[Updated 10/10, 10:24am]

“There was quite an outcry from the cycling community, so PDOT engineers came up with a design that would allow bike lanes.”
–From meeting minutes of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee

At the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last night, committee Chair Mark Ginsberg confirmed that PDOT work crews will hope to soon be adding bike lanes to the notorious “Naito Gap”.

After meeting with the City’s Freight Advisory Committee, Bike Coordinator Roger Geller got them to sign off on a re-striping plan that allows for bike lanes in each direction has created a proposal that has been signed-off on by PDOT but is still awaiting final approval from the Freight Committee.

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