PBOT wants to make W Burnside at 18th/19th safer for biking and walking

PBOT wants to make W Burnside at 18th/19th safer for biking and walking

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The Portland Bureau of Transportation has identified a section of West Burnside they’d like to tame; and the result could make it easier to cross the high-speed road that dangerously bisects our city.

The City’s West Burnside Multimodal Study aims to “evaluate opportunities to improve safety and accessibility along and across West Burnside Street between 15th Avenue and 20th Avenue.” We first heard about this project from a reader who saw a presentation about it from a PBOT staffer that was given at a meeting of the Northwest District Association’s transportation committee last night.

Here are more details about the project via PBOT’s website:

West Burnside Street is a major east‐west travel route through downtown Portland and connecting to the West Hills and areas to the west of the City. On an average day, between 21,000 and 25,000 vehicles use the undivided four‐lane facility to travel east or west in the blocks between Interstate 405 (I‐405) and the West Hills.

However, West Burnside Street also acts as a barrier to north‐south movement for bicyclists and pedestrians, due to crossing difficulties and a lack of facilities in some locations. Additionally, the existing configuration in the vicinity of 18th Avenue, 19th Avenue, Alder Street, and West Burnside Street is problematic in a number of ways:
– It does not allow for comfortable bicycle and pedestrian circulation;
– Vehicles and transit vehicle operations are not intuitive, and
– Vehicle speeds traveling eastbound on Alder Street are excessive.


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Google Streetview looking north on NW 18th across Burnside.

Apparently this section of Burnside has been a neighborhood priority for many years. PBOT says they’re taking action now because of a “limited time opportunity for funding” of other work on Burnside. In addition, Burnside is one of PBOT’s designated High Crash Corridors and this project will allow them to address clear and present safety issues. It’s also worth noting that the project manager, Rick Browning, is also in charge of the Central City Multimodal Plan (a.k.a. the downtown protected bike lane project) and his work on this section of Burnside will help inform that project.

Details on what type of changes PBOT is looking to make at this intersection aren’t confirmed yet. However our reader who was at the meeting says they shared plans to make walking and biking improvements to the intersection of Burnside and NW 18th/19th and Alder. “It would involve building curb extensions and extending the existing bike lanes at 18th/19th over Burnside to SW Alder. In order to make left turns from 19th to Alder possible they’re investigating a protected intersection treatment,” he said.

Keep in mind that this intersection is just north of Providence Park, a destination where thousands of Portland Timbers fans arrive for games by bike, foot or transit.

We’ll share more about this project as it develops. Stay tuned for opportunities to weigh in.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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