City settles on diagonal design for diverter on NE Rodney

City settles on diagonal design for diverter on NE Rodney


The current temporary diverter would be “beefed up.”
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

After hearing from many people who are fans of the temporary diagonal diverter at NE Rodney and Ivy, the city has tentatively scrapped plans to remove it and is now planning to beef it up instead.

That’s significant news for the planned north-south Rodney Neighborhood Greenway through inner Northeast Portland, and also for Ivy Street; it’ll presumably reduce the use of Ivy as an east-west alternative to driving on Northeast Fremont.

We reported in June that the city was planning to replace the current diagonal diverter with a one-way street on Rodney just north of Ivy, similar to the one at NW Marshall Street and 10th Avenue. In July, we covered a city open house about the subject.

In an email last week to the Eliot Neighborhood Association, city manager project manager Rich Newlands said the diagonal diverter concept has won out.

Newlands added that the current diverter will be strengthened enough “to eliminate the ability of drivers to go over it.”

Newlands said that though PBOT’s “technical assessment” had found that restricting only northbound traffic would be good enough to suit the needs of the intersection, it had received a “volume of public comment … that strongly supports retaining the diagonal design.”

“The public process nonetheless has indicated a strong preference for the more aggressive approach to managing traffic on Rodney,” Newlands wrote.

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Ted Buehler, co-chair of the group BikeLoudPDX and a leading voice of support for Rodney’s diagonal diverter, said he was glad to hear about the city’s new course. He said the city’s earlier proposal to remove the diagonal diverter had been informed mostly by feedback from immediate neighbors, not by the future users of a bikeway that doesn’t yet exist.

rodney ivy detail

The city’s previous proposal for Rodney at Ivy.
(See here for full plan)

“A mother of two who lives in Concordia or Arbor Lodge and would use Rodney to shepherd her kids downtown once in a while has no way of knowing about an obscure public meeting,” said Buehler, who himself lives two blocks from the diverter in question.

Buehler added that BikeLoud has been campaigning vigorously for diverters on neighborhood greenways citywide, with measures such as a postcard campaign specifically about the Rodney diverter and, most recently, with a “photobooth” at July Sunday Parkways in Northeast Portland. The photobooth encouraged people to take photos asking the city to add more diverters and other safety upgrades to neighborhood greenways and share them with the city council and on social media.

In his email to the Eliot Neighborhood Association, Newlands added that the city is preparing to release a report that will set a firmer policy for when to use diverters like this one:

The upcoming Greenway Assessment Report will be providing more refined design guidance for diversion as part of Neighborhood Greenway projects, which should better clarify the issue ‘boundaries/ thresholds’ for these discussions in the future. We also hope the Assessment Report eventually leads to an actual Greenway program that provides on-going funding and thus the more timely ability to adjust the tools we use on Greenways so they can adapt to changing conditions and needs.

That report is due at the end of this month, and we’ll be covering it. Stay tuned to learn whether likely decisions like this one are a sign of further trends in city practice.

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