One of Portland’s weirder intersections has a new splash of color.
As part of its repaving project on inner Southeast Ankeny — which has, for the record, greatly improved the ride between SE 11th and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — the city has added some interesting and potentially useful new features to the six-way intersection of Ankeny, Sandy and 11th.
“Our design standards still point to bike lanes for this particular project… After reviewing the data, a physically separated bicycle facility did not appear to be warranted.”
— Jilayne Jordan, ODOT Community Affairs
Our story last week about an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) “safety project” on NE Sandy Blvd has gotten the agency’s attention. After being emailed by several readers who questioned the agency’s chosen design for handling bike access in the project, ODOT community affairs staff sent out a detailed, bulk email on Friday afternoon. The email explains why ODOT chose standard bike lanes on the busy freight route instead of something with more separation — like a cycle track or a buffered bike lane — as recommended by their own design guidelines.
As per the project, ODOT is widening a 1.1 mile stretch of Sandy to include a center turn lane as well as two, six-foot wide bike lanes. ODOT Region 1 Community Affairs Coordinator Jilayne Jordan says the new turn lane is intended to reduce rear-end and other collisions and serve as, “a refuge for vehicles turning left onto or off of the highway.”
The addition of bike lanes are a step forward from the gravel-strewn shoulders that exist there today. However, merely widening that shoulder and painting a stripe on it doesn’t seem like much in a $3.6 million project aimed at improving safety.
In their response, ODOT listed several reasons why they are moving forward with the bike lanes and not a more appealing bikeway.
“ODOT used the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (1995) when designing this project, which does not… mention buffered bike lanes or cycle track and design criteria.”
It’s a shame that outdated engineering guidelines continue to prevent us from designing streets in a way that matches our goals — but that’s exactly what’s happening out on a segment of Sandy Blvd in east Portland.
Last month, we shared the news that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is spending $3.6 million to rebuild a one-mile segment of Sandy between NE 122nd and 141st Avenues. The US 30 Bypass (Sandy Blvd) Safety Project comes with standard, six-foot bike lanes. That might sound good, but this type of bike lane is nothing but a continuation of a status quo that is inadequate for bicycle riders and that doesn’t match up our our city and statewide transportation planning goals. [Read more…]
Remember our story last week about NE Sandy Blvd? We shared the experience of riding on that large arterial street through the eyes of Esther Harlow.
Despite a lack of comfortable bike access, many people like Harlow prefer riding on Sandy Blvd because it’s a straight shot into the central city. While more significant bike access improvements on Sandy aren’t in the near-term pipeline, Harlow had an idea to improve bike access she felt would help the situation immediately.
To make the bike/car interactions a bit more pleasant, Harlow wants to have “Bikes on Roadway” signs installed. She made an official request to PBOT with her idea. Harlow heard back from a PBOT civil engineer and she shared the response with us. PBOT declined the request, but the engineer makes a reasonable case for his decision. The reply (below) might help others understand the thinking PBOT does before deciding whether or not to install signage (it’s also cool to see a government agency take someone’s request so seriously)…
(Photos © J. Maus)