City of Portland considering protected intersections, bike-only lanes for West Burnside project

City of Portland considering protected intersections, bike-only lanes for West Burnside project


Proposal from City of Portland for changes to West Burnside, 18th, 19th, and SW Alder. Green color shows new bikeways.
(Image: Kittelson & Associates, Inc.)


Riding on 18th across Alder looking toward Burnside.
(Photo: City of Portland)

Now we know how the City of Portland wants to improve safety along a key section of West Burnside near Providence Park and includes some exciting possibilities: our first protected intersection and a redesign of two other streets where lanes would be changed from a mixed vehicle lane to a bicycling-only lane.

On February 4th we shared the first news about the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s West Burnside Multimodal Study project after being tipped off by a resident who learned about it at a neighborhood meeting. At that time PBOT hadn’t released any details about the project publicly. Now they’ve shared a presentation about the project created by planning consultants Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

The project centers around a host of changes to Burnside at 18th and 19th as well as SW Alder — a cluster of streets that poses safety problems due to hilly contours and diagonal crossings. Improvements here would make all users safer; but PBOT says their focus for this project is to improve conditions for biking and walking.

While PBOT envisions 18th and 19th as future “major city bikeways,” they’re currently listed as caution areas on city bike maps. The current cross-section of 18th and 19th is two vehicle lanes that include sharrow markings and two parking lanes. The City’s proposal would convert one of those vehicle lanes into a bicycling-only lane. The new lane would be seven-feet wide with additional 2-3 foot buffer zone. Here’s how it looks in Kittelson’s presentation:


To get people on bikes and foot safely across Burnside, PBOT is considering what would be Portland’s first protected intersection. Protected intersections were conceived by Portland-based planner Nick Falbo and are already on the ground in several cities. Last week we shared six locations where Mr. Falbo said they could work in Portland — and Burnside and 19th was one of them. Here’s how the city’s proposed design looks (Note, we’ve added blue arrows to show new concrete median islands that would “protect” bicycle riders through the intersections):


The final significant change to this area would be to Alder, where PBOT wants to create a bike-only lane from SW 19th to 13th. Here’s a look at the cross-section comparisons:


PBOT is also showing two future designs for Alder. One with a contraflow bike lane and the other with a two-way bike lane physically protected from auto traffic on the north side of the street:


We’ll keep you updated on any developments with this project.

For now, if you have feedback or input, contact PBOT project manager Dan Layden at and visit the project website.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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