PBOT will hand out 1,000 free yard signs to promote neighborhood greenways

Postcard mailed to people who live on greenways. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portlanders love yard signs and neighborhood greenways and a new initiative from the Bureau of Transportation wants to take full of advantage of it.

About 25,000 people who live on our 110-mile network of neighborhood greenways citywide received a postcard in the mail this week that exclaims: “You Live on a Neighborhood Greenway!” The postcard offers all recipients their choice of two sign designs. One of them is a general neighborhood greenway sign with stick figures biking, walking a dog and playing ball; the other is yellow to mimic a traffic caution sign and includes “15 MPH” in large font.

Portland’s greenway network.

This isn’t the first time PBOT has sought to use private front yard real estate to hammer home a traffic safety message. In 2018 they could hardly keep “20 is Plenty” signs in stock as folks were eager for anything that might help deter speeders from their streets. And who remembers last April when local artist Mike Bennett created a variety of “Slow Down” yard signs and could barely keep up with demand?

In passive-aggressive Portland, anonymously planting a sign in the grass that tells other people how they should act is the perfect way for many people to exercise their activism muscles.

PBOT says they hope this latest effort helps raise awareness about the 15 mph advisory speed limit and other traffic calming installations they’ve recently installed on greenways.

PBOT Interim Communications Director Hannah Schafer says, “Our goal is raise awareness among people traveling and living along greenways that they are great streets for walking, biking and rolling.” Funding for the signs comes from the Slow Streets program.

Schafer said they’ve printed 1,000 signs, 500 of each design. If you want one, you better act fast as she reports they’ve had 287 orders in the first two days of the campaign.

This free sign program is available only to people to who live on neighborhood greenways. If you’re one of them, you can request yours here.

PBOT makes big changes to NE Hancock in Hollywood District

The Tillamook neighborhood greenway, which extends east-west across northeast Portland just three blocks north of Broadway, is one of the city’s oldest, and it’s a key bikeway for people traveling through bustling neighborhoods like Grant Park and Hollywood.

Unfortunately, Tillamook has become so bustling around NE 33rd and Grant Park, that it’s no longer the recommended bike route.

As we reported last year, instead of making changes to Tillamook east of 33rd, the Portland Bureau of Transportation opted to route bicycle riders south onto NE Hancock, a less-trafficked street with more potential for traffic calming interventions.

Yesterday PBOT revealed how they’ve realized a big chunk of that potential.

In the two blocks between 41st and Cesar E Chavez, PBOT has prohibited through auto traffic and created an alternating one-way for drivers while maintaining two-way access for bicycle users (see Instagram video from Armando Luna at right). To enforce the changes, they’ve placed two concrete barricades on either end of the two-block stretch.

This lane configuration is already in use on several blocks of NW Flanders in the Pearl District.

PBOT still permits on-street auto parking on both sides and one lane is shared (marked with a “sharrow” marking) while the other is a bike lane buffered from parked cars.

Infamous Portland blogger Jack Bogdanski posted an article airing his grievances about the changes, titled “the stupid never stops.”

Here’s more from Bogdanski:

“The only souls who will be able to get through there on the road now are the 1 percent who do so on bicycles. Everyone in a motor vehicle gets diverted onto the nightmare that the bureaucrats have already made out of the nearby streets… But oh, the city’s many bikey children are no doubt beside themselves with glee.”

PBOT drawing of lane changes on Hancock.

Greenways are supposed to divert car traffic to create a safe biking route, so hopefully Bogdanski’s assessment is correct! We’ll see how these changes continue to pan out in coming months so this greenway is safer for people to bike on.

In addition to these lane changes, PBOT also plans to install a push-button activated crossing at Hancock and 33rd, speed bumps and greenway signage on Hancock from 28th to 62nd, and “enhancements to greenway crossing of NE Sandy via Kelly Plaza.”

These changes are part of the larger Tillamook Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project which launched in 2018. Learn more at PBOT’s website.

The Line 10 bus is off the SE Clinton Street greenway for good

TriMet sign at SE Clinton and 23rd.
(Photo: Betsy Reese)

As of Sunday May 15th, TriMet’s Line 10 has been moved off Clinton Street between SE 21st and SE 26th — much to the pleasure of advocates who have wanted to clear bus traffic from the popular neighborhood greenway route for many years.

The Clinton Street Neighborhood Greenway is the only greenway between Division and Powell Blvd. Without it, people biking would have to go out of their way and cross busy corridors in order to move east-west through the Hosford-Abernethy and Richmond neighborhoods.

This greenway is one of Portland’s most beloved, and many people have pushed for more car traffic diverters to keep driving volumes low so that it can live up to the city’s “low-stress, family friendly” promise.

It’s nearly impossible to meet that expectation when people are sharing the street with large, loud, and toxic vehicles.

Line 10 will now go eastbound from SE Ladd and Division to SE 26th Ave (and vice-versa westbound) and avoid Clinton St entirely.

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Looking east on SE Clinton at 25th.
(Photo: Taylor Griggs/BikePortland)

Nearby resident and veteran bike advocacy volunteer Betsy Reese notified us of the change. She said she’s been “working to get the number 10 off our greenway for many, many years.” “Thanks to Covid,” she continued, “it has finally happened.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, the 10 bus was rerouted from Clinton St as part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation shutting off car traffic on Clinton between 25th and 26th Avenues as part of their Safe Streets Initiative. As you can see in the photo above taken Monday, the busy intersection has become a carfree plaza with several restaurants teaming up on a Healthy Business permits that has allowed them to make the block carfree.

The plaza is very popular with business owners and many nearby residents. Moving the bus off Clinton not only improves the cycling environment, it makes it much more likely the block at 26th remains carfree forever.