After months of working with the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association to make SE Division Street safer, the Portland Bureau of Transportation now plans to open up a road diet project for further public feedback. And today, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) stepped in to throw their organizational weight behind it as well.
Dubbed the Division Street Lane Reorganization Project (road diet must not poll well), the project would transform SE Division betwee 60th to 80th from its existing four standard lanes into three standard lanes and two bicycle-only lanes.
SE Division east of 60th is a classic urban arterial. Despite being adjacent to bustling residential neighborhoods, the speed limit is 35 mph and PBOT says 44% of people faster that that. Division is also statistically one of the top ten most dangerous streets in the city. In 2011-2012, it was one of three streets chosen by PBOT for their annual High Crash Corridor program. In a neighborhood presentation this past November, PBOT said they expect 8-9 fewer crashes per year after the road diet goes into effect (based on national studies showing a 29% reduction in crashes).
Adding bike lanes onto Division would help spur bicycling in the Mt. Tabor area. An article on the project published in the SE Examiner on February 1st pointed out that, “People on bicycles use Division St., but they often ride on the sidewalks to avoid the car traffic and make pedestrians feel unsafe.”
The BTA not only supports the project proposed; but they’re calling for extending the bike lanes eight additional blocks all the way to 52nd. In a blog post today, they wrote: “We applaud PBOT for their design. In fact, we like their design so much that we encourage the city to extend the bike lanes west to SE 52nd Ave, where the new 50s Bikeway will soon cross.”
Not only would extending the bike lanes make that vital connection to the forthcoming 50s Bikeway, the BTA points out that it would also connect them to several nearby schools.
It’s also worth noting that SE 60th and Division is the intersection where a man towing a bicycle trailer was rear-ended while attempting to cross southbound on Division back in December.
If this project continues to get community support, PBOT has the funds (estimated $80-100,000) to complete it by this summer.
Consider showing up to share your feedback on this project
at an upcoming open house UPDATE: We have learned that the events below are not open houses. They are neighborhood association meetings.):
- Wednesday, Feb 20 and Mar 20, 7pm, Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church (SE 54th and Belmont)
South Tabor NA: Thursday, Feb 21 and Mar 21, 7pm, Trinity Fellowship (2700 SE 67th, rear entrance)