The Williams Ave Project
Welcome to our comprehensive coverage of the City of Portland's North Williams Avenue Traffic Safety Operations Project. Browse the posts below and click on a headline for the full story. If you have tips or feedback, please contact us.

Reader mailbag: Confusion reigns on Williams Ave while City urges patience

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Reader Ted Buehler sent in this photo
yesterday with the subject line: “Lifeboat facility.”

Thanks to PBOT’s N Williams project, our mailbag has been pretty full lately.

Last week we shared some feedback we’ve received about how traffic back-ups on Williams are impacting users of NE Rodney — a street the city has tried to set aside as a lower-stress alternative.

And yesterday we received several more emails from people who are still trying to ride on Williams. Most of the emails have to do with concerns over how the project is being phased-in and the general confusion about where and how to navigate the newly striped bike lane — which is now on the left side of the road instead of the right.

For the city’s part, PBOT says they understand the concerns. Reached by phone this morning, agency spokeswoman Diane Dulken asked for patience. “It’s still an active construction site. We’re in an awkward phase of switching from right to left and we’re dodging the weather.” [Read more…]

Readers share concerns as Williams Ave traffic spills onto Rodney greenway

Friday, October 17th, 2014
new bike lane on Williams Ave

The lane redesign isn’t done yet, but the
change is already impacting traffic.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday I got two separate reader emails about the same issue just a few hours apart. Whenever that happens it gets my attention.

In this case, the issue is the increased amount of auto traffic diversion onto NE Rodney as a result of construction and lane configuration changes on Williams Avenue.

Most of you are well-aware by now that the Bureau of Transportation has finally begun construction on the North Williams Safety Project. With the redesign on Williams there is less space for driving and the backups of cars in the past week or so has been a lot worse that usual (and that’s saying something on a long-chaotic stretch of road).
[Read more…]

PBOT: N Williams restriping will begin tomorrow (10/4)

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Looks like PBOT will finally begin the lane restriping on N Williams Ave. Check out the news advisory they just sent out below:


North Williams left lane closure begins on Monday, October 6

(October 3, 2014) – The contractor for this project will prepare to restripe the left lane of N Williams on Saturday, October 4 and begin to close the left lane for restriping on Monday, October 6. By Thursday, the entire left lane from NE Broadway to Killingsworth Street will close for restriping.

Travelers should expect delays. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes, such as NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Bicyclists may continue to use the right bicycle lane on N Williams Avenue this week or may use NE Rodney Street as an alternate route. Construction hours will be 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day but the lane closure will be in effect around the clock.

Additional details about the North Williams Safety Project may be found in the news release below and at . View the “A Safer Place for Everyone” banner campaign. View the “A Safer Place for Everyone” brochure.

Eliot neighborhood gets temporary diverter on Rodney as part of Williams work

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
zef rodney diverter

The new temporary traffic diverter at N. Rodney and Ivy.
(Photo: Zef Wagner)

People using the future neighborhood greenway route on North Rodney Avenue got a surprise last week: a temporary diagonal traffic diverter at Ivy Street, designed to reduce cut-through auto traffic.

Project manager Rich Newlands said in an interview Wednesday that the city installed the diverter as part of its Williams Avenue traffic safety project after months of pressure from the local neighborhood association.

[Read more…]

PBOT launches “A safer place for everyone” campaign for Williams Ave

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

PBOT will hang these banners on light poles along N Williams Avenue as part of the campaign.

As we reported last month, at long last the Bureau of Transportation is going to improve bicycling conditions on N Williams Avenue.
[Read more…]

Williams Ave project will break ground next month

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Existing conditions on Williams Ave-9-8

It can’t happen soon enough.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

At long last, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is ready to break ground on a re-design of N Williams Avenue. The project began in January 2011 with an eye toward transforming Williams into a street that offered world-class bicycling conditions.

However, as many of you know, just five months into the public process, the project became embroiled in a wide-ranging and often emotional citywide discussion about race and gentrification.

At the end of a 16-month public process, PBOT and the project’s citizen advisory committee finally reached consensus on a suite of changes that will have a dramatic impact on everyone who travels on Williams.

According to PBOT project manager Rich Newlands, the project is slated to begin in the first week of September. The contractor then has three months to complete all the work. That means the new lane configurations and other changes will be fully functional no later than early December.[Read more…]

PBOT adds physical separation to Williams Ave bikeway plans

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Plastic bollards on Hawthorne Bridge-3

Separation similar to this is coming to
Williams Ave north of Broadway.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

As the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) gets closer to breaking ground on their North Williams Avenue Traffic Safety and Operations Project, they’ve released a set of new plans that include some key modifications. Among them is a protected bike lane in one of the busiest and and most important sections of the entire bikeway: just north of Broadway where bicycle riders will merge from right to left as a high volume of traffic enters the I-5 freeway.

And strangely enough, the idea came at the request of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

In an email to members of the project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee late last week, PBOT project manager Rich Newlands shared the 60% plans and highlighted several changes from the 30% plans released back in January. Back then, we noticed that the plans didn’t call for any physical separation. Instead, PBOT’s plans were to rely on buffer zones on each side of the six-foot bike lane in order to create separation from auto traffic.[Read more…]

PBOT will host open house tonight for ‘NE Rodney Bikeway Project’

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

You’re invited!
(Photo sent in by reader)

Just in time for the annual uptick in bike traffic, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is moving forward with a project that could alleviate bike congestion on one of the busiest streets in the city. Many people already eschew North Williams’ narrow and crowded bike lane in favor of NE Rodney a few blocks to the east because the residential street is much calmer, quieter and less stressful.

At an open house tonight, PBOT will share details on their plans to turn two miles of NE Rodney — from Broadway to Killingsworth — into an official “neighborhood greenway.” According to a flyer PBOT has mailed to area residents, the goal of the N Rodney Bikeway Project is to “provide a safer, shared-use environment for bicyclists.”

While funding for neighborhood greenways has all but dried up, this project is moving forward because it’s technically part of PBOT’s North Williams Traffic Operations and Safety Project. The idea for adding traffic calming and other bike-centric features to Rodney emerged two years ago as a recommendation from that project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee.[Read more…]

A closer look at Williams Ave and Rodney greenway plans

Thursday, February 6th, 2014
N Williams project design meeting-1

PBOT engineers, project staff, and advisory
committee members answered questions
at their Tuesday meeting.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

If all goes according to plan, your experience riding north on N Williams Avenue will be much different by the end of this summer. After a long and winding public process, PBOT is close to finalizing a design and going to construction on a significant re-design of Williams Ave between Weidler and Killingsworth. At a meeting Tuesday, city staff and members of the project’s stakeholder advisory committee shared details and answered questions on both the Williams project and a companion project that emerged as a priority during the public process — a neighborhood greenway on N Rodney.[Read more…]

Visualizing the cost of local transportation projects

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

More than just about anything else on BikePortland, we write about street projects — and, if our records are any indication, you like to read about them more than just about anything else, too.

But what do they cost, really? Sometimes it’s hard to visualize.

So we gave it a shot:

visualizing Portland-area transportation investments

Graphic by BikePortland. The area of each circle corresponds to the cost of each project.

[Read more…]