10 months after the City of Portland widened the bike lanes on North Rosa Parks Way (where it crossing Interstate 5) the Oregon Department of Transportation wants to narrow them.
Paint is not protection.
That’s the message from people across America today who are taking part in the Red Cup Project. Inspired by the tragic death of Washington D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh (@darsal), the red cups are a quick and cheap way to define space and show how relatively little effort it takes to create safer conditions for cycling.
What began as a straightforward repaving project is now one of Portland’s best protected lanes. In the past two weeks, the Bureau of Transportation has finished restriping North Rosa Parks way between Willamette Blvd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This means it’s now possible to bike (or scoot!) in a wide curbside lane that has some form of separation from drivers on 3.5 linear miles of this important east-west neighborhood street.
“We’re definitely learning some lessons.”
— Scott Cohen, PBOT project manager
It’s been six weeks since the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) began grinding off pavement and laying down new lane striping as part of the North Rosa Parks Way project. Yet despite weeks of dry weather and no major controversy or pushback (at least that we’ve been able to confirm), the project is still not closed to being finished. Meanwhile, people who ride on the two-mile stretch between Martin Luther King Jr and Willamette boulevards are frustrated by incomplete striping and many people park their cars illegally in the new bike lanes.
At the end of May, PBOT posted an update that acknowledged the major elements of the project that remain: they haven’t even began on the sections from Delaware to Interstate and Williams to MLK; none of the promised, plastic delineator posts have been installed; no permanent “No Parking” signage has been added despite a major change in parking availability; many bits of pavement markings are incomplete; and a median island crossing at Villard has yet to be started on.
As paving machines and bulldozers rumble and beep along North Rosa Parks Way today as part of a repaving project that started a few weeks ago, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is considering a last-minute change to the project they say provides even more protection for people walking and bicycling.
At issue is the crossing of Rosa Parks at Villard, a street between Willamette Blvd and Greeley Ave. Currently there’s no marked crossing at Villard. That leaves just over 1,100 feet of this neighborhood collector street without a clear and safe place to cross.
Back in March we shared PBOT’s initial design proposal which included two zebra-striped crosswalks and median islands in the middle of the street. As a partial median, the design would do nothing to limit driving movements. Now PBOT says they have the “opportunity” to upgrade this design further by making it a full median diverter that would prohibit some turns for auto users while still allowing bicycle riders to get through.