Neighborhood group will gather support for Burnside road diet near Mt. Tabor

Neighborhood group will gather support for Burnside road diet near Mt. Tabor

Renderings created with Streetmix by BikePortland (top) and Terry Dublinski (bottom).

A neighborhood transportation activist backed by the North Tabor Neighborhood Association is looking for volunteers to help him research the effects of adding buffered or parking-protected bike lanes on Burnside.

“If it gets high-quality bike lanes, Burnside is the street that has most uptick of single-occupancy [vehicles] moving to bikes.”
— Terry Dublinksi, co-chair of North Tabor Neighborhood Association transportation committee

“Burnside, in the Metro active transportation plan, is the high-end bicycle parkway connector between East Portland and downtown,” Terry Dublinski, co-chair of North Tabor’s transportation committee, said at a meeting Tuesday night. If it gets high-quality bike lanes, Dublinski said, “Burnside is the street that has most uptick of single-occupancy moving to bikes. Glisan has all those onramps, and Stark and Belmont are too steep.”

A recent city lunch-and-learn presentation on those Metro findings inspired Dublinski, who lives on Burnside, to start gathering local support for a general restriping of Burnside that he says would also calm traffic near Mount Tabor Middle School and greatly improve Burnside crossings for people heading to Mount Tabor on bike or foot.

In the short term, he’s already gotten tentative city support for new bike lanes between 71st and 68th avenue. But Dublinski also hopes to make the case for bike lanes west to 48th, replacing “pro-tem” parking lanes that are sometimes used for parking and sometimes for travel. In the long run, he hopes to find a way to reduce traffic at the intersection of 47th and Burnside so the lanes can continue west to 41st.

Dublinski says people rarely use the “pro-tem” auto parking today, in part because speeds on Burnside are so high and off-peak traffic volumes are relatively low.

“Most of the time, all four lanes are open, so people just speed down the mountain,” Dublinski said. He’s already gotten signatures from nine of 10 people on his own Burnside-facing block, saying they’d be willing to forfeit auto parking on Burnside in exchange for safety improvements, and hopes to gather more.

Dublinski also says narrowing the auto travel zone will lower the cost of a controlled crossing at 57th Avenue.

“Without a crossing at 57th, Mount Tabor middle School is currently too dangerous for school children to safely access,” Dublinski writes in a memo describing his proposal. “Mount Tabor Park is a regional asset that should have safe access from every direction.”

The North Tabor Neighborhood Association unanimously endorsed buffered bike lanes on Burnside as part of its response letter to the city’s comprehensive plan.

With their blessing, Dublinski is forming a new working group called CURBS (“Citizens United Rebuilding Burnside Safely”). Its first meeting is Thursday, April 17, 7 p.m. at Laurelhurst Cafe, 47th and Burnside. The first order of business, he says, will probably be to gather hard data on the current demand for auto parking.

“I’m going to ride up and down the street taking parking counts at random times of day — hopefully I can get some volunteers,” Dublinski said. “I’m also slowly going door to door and knocking on each of these doors, trying to get support.”

Here are a few more renderings by Dublinski of possibilities for an East Burnside redesign, prepared using Streetmix.net.

Dublinski knows it’d take money to make these changes. That’s why he wants to gather the supporting data now.

“We’ll have a plan in hand in a few years when they have to grind down Burnside and repave,” Dublinski said. “If they really want to prioritize it, we could get this done in 2016 or 2017.”

To contact Dublinski, write terry.dublinski@gmail.com.

Correction 3:30 pm: A previous version of this post incorrectly summarized the position of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. That group endorsed the general principles of a North Tabor letter to the city without commenting on its “detailed recommendations” such as buffered bike lanes on Burnside.

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