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In defense of greenways, city bolsters traffic diversion in two north Portland locations

In defense of greenways, city bolsters traffic diversion in two north Portland locations

divert-rodney-signnb

Try to drive through these concrete barrels filled with soil. I dare you!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation seems to be slowly losing their aversion to diversion.

On my way into work today I rolled by two examples of new infrastructure that aims to prevent people from driving through a specific intersection. It’s all part of PBOT’s increased priority on “traffic diversion” in order to maintain a comfortable street environment in residential areas.

The first example I came across today was the intersection of North Mississippi and Holman. This location is just one block east of the Michigan Ave Neighborhood Greenway. Michigan is used as a cut-through to avoid traffic congestion on northbound Interstate 5 between Interstate and Rosa Parks Way. When initially implemented, that greenway had too many people using Michigan to access the Interstate 5 on-ramp at Rosa Parks Way (one block north of Holman) so PBOT installed a full median diverter at Michigan and Rosa Parks Way in October 2013.

But then many people — likely thanks to Waze — simply cut over on Holman one block east to Mississippi to continue northbound. Residents on that street were not happy so now PBOT will add another diverter at Holman. We haven’t seen the final designs but markings on the street today show a diverter that will force people to backtrack and turn south (right) at Missippi back to Ainsworth. The overall goal is to keep non-local traffic on collector streets like Ainsworth (east-west) and Albina (north-south).

divert-miss-2tall

Looking northwest across Holman on Mississippi.
divert-miss1







PBOT has also beefed up diversion is on the North Rodney Neighborhood Greenway. Created as an alternative to North Williams, the Rodney greenway also had too much auto use when it was first implemented. To help prevent northbound cut-through traffic PBOT put up a diverter at Ivy (one block south of Fremont) in September 2014. Because the design was weak, many people simply drove their cars right over the diverter and it became clear that something more permanent and substantial was needed.

divert-rodney-sbfull

Looking southbound on Rodney at Ivy.
divert-rodney-walkway

Not sure if PBOT meant to do this but there’s now a protected and raised diagonal crossing of Rodney at Ivy.

Now PBOT has finally sealed the deal by placing 14 large concrete barrels full of planting soil in the middle of the intersection. They’ve been placed in a diagonal from the northwest corner to the southeast corner of the intersection. Bike riders can squeeze through between them (hopefully it’s wide enough for all types) but there’s no way someone in a car could. While out there this morning I saw two people take advantage of the raised, protected walkway that now exists in the middle of the barrels. Not sure if PBOT meant to do this but it’s a cool feature.

It’s great to see the City of Portland get serious and stick up for neighborhood greenways. These quiet streets have been picked on by big bullies for too long it’s time to rise up and defend them.

Thanks to the readers who tipped us off about these projects. We rely on you as our eyes and ears so please drop us a text, tweet, or email if you come across anything interesting.

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

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The post In defense of greenways, city bolsters traffic diversion in two north Portland locations appeared first on BikePortland.org.

City settles on diagonal design for diverter on NE Rodney

City settles on diagonal design for diverter on NE Rodney

ivydiverter

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.


The post City settles on diagonal design for diverter on NE Rodney appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Neighbors weigh in on designs for new diverters and bike lanes on NE Rodney

Neighbors weigh in on designs for new diverters and bike lanes on NE Rodney

rodneylead

Neighbors gathered to discuss NE Rodney Street last night.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

More than 30 people squeezed into a small church on NE Knott Street last night to get the latest on the NE Rodney Neighborhood Greenway project. The Bureau of Transportation hosted the meeting with the specific intent of garnering feedback on one of the last pieces of the project that remains undecided: the design of a diverter at NE Ivy and Rodney.

While the diverter was PBOT’s focus, most of the comments I heard had more to do with a new crossing design at Fremont. As usual, conversations about both issues were about the balance of convenience for people when they drive and safety when people walk and bike.

As we reported yesterday, PBOT currently has a test diverter in place that prohibits driving north-south and east-west at the intersection (although neighbors say people drive through it frequently). While this diagonal diverter limits driving access in the neighborhood, it has been very effective in reducing auto volumes and creating the low-stress cycling environment PBOT aims for with neighborhood greenways.

PBOT data shows that the diverter has reduced cut-through traffic on NE Rodney south of Fremont by a whopping 31%.

rodneytraffic

Poster shared at last night’s meeting
ivydiverter

PBOT’s temporary diagonal diverter at Ivy and Rodney is looking very ragged. Neighbors say people still drive right through it.

PBOT Project Manager Rich Newlands told attendees of last night’s open house that the test diverter has had “Very noticeable benefits.” While he acknowledged driving access concerns, he urged people to “Remember the bigger picture of what we are trying to accomplish.”

rodney2

PBOT Project Manager Rich Newlands led an informal discussion.

Newlands was speaking directly to residents who feel they’ve been so inconvenienced by the diverter they circulated a petition to have it removed. That pushback led PBOT back to the drawing board where they created a new potential diverter design that would only prevent driving in the northbound direction (between Ivy and Fremont).

The new design would turn Rodney into a one-way (southbound) street between Fremont and Ivy (since most of the cut-through traffic is only in the northbound direction). In the southbound direction people on bikes and in cars would share a 10-foot lane and in the northbound direction there would be a new, parking-protected bike lane (6-feet wide with a 4-foot buffer). The other option on the table is to beef up and polish the existing diagonal diverter.

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At this point there appears to be support for both options. And from my read of the meeting attendees last night, I didn’t sense major opposition to either of them. That’s a good sign. It shows that the neighborhood understands that some type of traffic diversion must happen. The question is, which option will PBOT move forward with?

We’ve heard strong support for the diagonal diverter from the Boise Neighborhood Association. The Chair of their Land Use & Transportation Committee Stephen Gomez said via an official letter to PBOT on July 10th that they want the existing diverter made permanent:

“We are aware some residents near the NE Rodney/Ivy intersection have stated they are inconvenienced by the temporary diverter, due to out-of-direction movement traveling by car. We believe this is an acceptable tradeoff to enhance the safety of all cyclists and pedestrians traveling along this corridor.

We believe the proposed design—converting Rodney from Fremont to Ivy to one-way southbound—is an inferior safety design, particularly as it relates to east-west movement on Ivy crossing Rodney.”

Newlands said he will take the stack of written comments they received last night back to PBOT for further analysis and then schedule another meeting with the neighborhood before making a final decision.

As for the crossing of Fremont, the design of that portion of the greenway might prove more contentious than the diverter.

rodenyfeemont

Latest design for Fremont/Rodney crossing. New bike lanes would be placed in the public right-of-way where people currently park their private cars.

At issue is how to facilitate safer biking and walking where Rodney crosses Fremont. Fremont is a relatively busy east-west street and the intersection is off-set, which makes for a tricky crossings. In order to make it safer, PBOT wants to create short bike lanes on each side of the street. That design will require the re-allocation of right-of-way from private car parking to bicycling — which homeowners are upset about.

Paula Kreps, who lives on Rodney just south of Fremont was very opposed to the loss of parking (which would be about 10 spaces total) on Fremont because she thinks it will lead to more parking in front of her house. “You’re moving more vehicles onto a street with already maximum capacity,” she said. When Newlands from PBOT said their data shows plenty of excess parking capacity on Rodney, another person from the crowd yelled, “Why don’t you come and live on my street?!”

Another woman (didn’t get her name) who lives directly adjacent to where the new bike lane would go told me she doesn’t like the idea of the new bike lane because it will mean she won’t be able to park her car on the street. She’s worried that it will be dangerous for bicycle riders if she has to pull out of her driveway onto Fremont. What about the safety benefits to people who ride bikes, I asked. To which she replied. “I only drive, so I guess I don’t want it for my own selfish reasons.”

After that exchange, another woman said that she supports the bike lanes and new crosswalks on Fremont. “I think diverting a few auto parking spots is a small price to pay for safety in our neighborhood.” That comment got a few “Hear hears!” and claps of support from the audience.

— Stay tuned for more coverage. Learn more about this project in our archives or on PBOT’s project page.


The post Neighbors weigh in on designs for new diverters and bike lanes on NE Rodney appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Traffic diversion debate shifts to north Portland with open house tonight

Traffic diversion debate shifts to north Portland with open house tonight

rodney2

Existing diverter on Rodney at Ivy prevents through auto traffic from all directions.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s ongoing struggle to tame motorized traffic on neighborhood streets will get a serious test tonight.

“While I agree the diagonal diverter is a good functional design for that context, success is still measured by public support as well. Unfortunately residents on Ivy have raised serious concerns…
— Rich Newlands, PBOT project manager

While the recent focus has been on SE Clinton street, where activists have finally pushed the Bureau of Transportation to address the issue, tonight the city is poised to consider the rare step of removing an existing diverter in favor of a new diverter design that is more palatable to local residents.

NE Rodney Avenue is just one block east of N Williams and it’s a popular north-south alternative for people on bikes and in cars. When PBOT updated Williams they turned Rodney into a neighborhood greenway. Unfortunately a lot of people who drive on Williams were using Rodney as a cut-through, which made for an unpleasant and unsafe cycling environment.

To help reduce cut-through auto traffic on Rodney PBOT installed a diagonal diverter at NE Ivy (map) that prohibits people from driving north-to-south and east-to-west. At first, people simply ignored the diverter and drove right through it. Now, with continued complaints from some residents PBOT is proposing a new design that would allow driving in the southbound direction and would completely open up travel in the east-west direction.

rodney

Detail of PBOT’s new proposal for Rodney and Ivy.
Click to enlarge

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This change has spurred concerns from some people who see it as a step backwards for safety.

Alan Kessler emailed PBOT project manager Rich Newlands to voice his support for the existing diverter. Kessler shared Newlands’ response on the BikeLoudPDX email list:

“Thank you for your comments. While I agree the diagonal diverter is a good functional design for that context, success is still measured by public support as well. Unfortunately residents on Ivy have raised serious concerns (access impacts) with the Eliot Neighborhood Assoc, whose support we need, along with other neighborhood and business associations if we are going to make significant progress with implementing diversion on greenways. Please stay involved, and I hope you are able to attend Monday’s meeting.”

Another person active with BikeLoudPDX, Ted Buehler, is encouraging people to email Newlands with their feedback. Buehler think it’s, “imperative to keep motorized vehicles off the street as much as possible. And that the intersection should be protected from cut-through motor traffic in all for directions, not just one.”

To settle the issue, PBOT is hosting a Rodney Diverter Open House event tonight from 6:30 to 8:00 pm (with a presentation at 7:00) at St. Phillips Church (at NE Knott and Rodney). If Newlands doesn’t hear any objections to his new design, the existing diverter will be removed and PBOT will install the new traffic control scheme later this summer.

— Read more about neighborhood traffic diversion in our archives.


The post Traffic diversion debate shifts to north Portland with open house tonight appeared first on BikePortland.org.

New plan to control cut-through traffic on NE Rodney uses one-way street for one block

New plan to control cut-through traffic on NE Rodney uses one-way street for one block

rodney ivy detail

The city’s new proposal for Rodney at Ivy.
(See below for full plan)

After some neighbors objected to (and some people completely ignored) an experimental traffic diverter running diagonally across the corner of NE Rodney and Ivy, the city is trying a different approach.

Instead, the two-way block of Rodney between Ivy and Fremont would be converted to a one-way street for cars, with a pair of planters and a car parking space blocking northbound auto traffic at the south end of the block.

Bike and foot traffic would be unaffected on the street, thanks to a contraflow bike lane to the right of the parking spaces.

The diagonal diverter in place today would be removed when the change is made later this summer.

rodney plan

These changes are part of a plan to build a new neighborhood greenway on Rodney as a lower-stress alternative to biking the Williams-Vancouver couplet just to the west.

Allan Rudwick, the transportation and land use chair for the Eliot Neighborhood Association, said he thinks the city’s new proposal is likely to address the main problem with cut-through traffic on Rodney: people using it during the evening rush hour to drive north to Fremont, avoiding traffic on Williams and cutting the line on Fremont.

“Fremont between MLK and Williams is jammed up the whole way,” Rudwick explained in an interview Tuesday. “It’s more a problem about Fremont being full of cars.”

The new plan shouldn’t affect emergency vehicles, he said, because they’re allowed to drive against traffic on one-way streets.

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“I think the new proposal solves a number of problems with the old one,” he said. “This design has not been done in neighborhoods before, so it’s going to be different. but I’m optimistic that it will make more people happy.”

City project manager Rich Newlands said in an email that the most similar design in the city is on Northwest Marshall Street between 10th and 11th avenues. There, the contraflow bike lane doesn’t have to cross any driveways, because it runs adjacent to a city park, but the setup is otherwise similar.

changes on NW Marshall

NW Marshall and 10th.

Rudwick’s organization tentatively approved the new plan for Rodney in a letter to the city last week, “unless significant opposition materializes.”

Rudwick said he hasn’t yet heard from everyone who lives on the block between Ivy and Fremont, but he’s hopeful that they won’t find it a major annoyance.

“People live on one-way streets,” he said. “You can also park like a block away, at the end of the block, and not deal with it.”

If the new plan doesn’t successfully ensure that Rodney retains its feel as a neighborhood street, Rudwick said he expects more actions.

“The whole goal of this is to keep traffic on Rodney less than 1000 cars a day, and if that goal is not met by this new proposal, then the city should be on the hook to do something else in addition to this partial diversion,” Rudwick said. “The whole goal of this project is essentially to keep Rodney the way it’s always been.”


The post New plan to control cut-through traffic on NE Rodney uses one-way street for one block appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Rodney Avenue neighborhood greenway gets open house next week

Rodney Avenue neighborhood greenway gets open house next week

New traffic diverter at Rodney and Ivy-2

NE Rodney at Ivy.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Rodney Avenue, already a decent low-stress alternative to the Vancouver-Williams couplet, is lined up for an upgrade to full neighborhood greenway status.

At an open house next Wednesday evening, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will be asking people for their thoughts on the plans.

To make the route comfortable for all riders, the city will need to find good ways to help people navigate two jogs in the street grid, at NE Alberta and NE Fremont (pictured below).

Bike Gallery warehouse sale!

It’ll also be important to control cut-through traffic. Last fall, responding to worries about commuters driving on Rodney to avoid Williams Avenue construction, the city installed a temporary diverter. But people have repeatedly chosen to drive directly through the barrier rather than following the rules there.

New diverter on Rodney not working that great-1

The city later installed metal-pole signs to block moves like this, but some people have driven around those, too.

The event is 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1 in the Immaculate Heart Church at 2926 N Williams Ave. For more information, contact Project Manager Rich Newlands at (503) 823-7780 or Rich.newlands@portlandoregon.gov.

For more background on this project browse our Rodney Neighborhood Greenway story archive.

The post Rodney Avenue neighborhood greenway gets open house next week appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bike Loud PDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots

Bike Loud PDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots

zed ted marsha

Bike Loud volunteers Zed Bailey, Ted Buehler and Marsha Hanchrow show off signed and stamped postcards in favor of permanent traffic diverters, gathered in a few hours from people using Clinton Street.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s newest bike advocacy organization is bringing back the postcard.

In the last few weeks, three Portland city officials have received an estimated “three or four hundred” individually stamped postcards from Portlanders sharing their opinions about local transportation projects on Southeast Clinton Street, Southwest Third Avenue and Northeast Rodney Avenue.


The documents, designed in Microsoft Word, are the brainchild of longtime bike advocate Ted Buehler, a volunteer for the new “gathering point for grassroots activists” that calls itself Bike Loud PDX. In an interview Friday, Buehler said he’s stamped and mailed about 150 each of the first two postcards and also some from the Rodney campaign, which had begun the week before.

Here’s what they look like:

clinton postcard
3rd postcard

rodney postcard

Buehler and other volunteers gather people’s opinions by setting up a table on the street in question and asking passers-by if they’d like to share their thoughts. He estimated that 90 to 95 percent of the people who’ve done so are people “out of the blue,” not members of Portland’s core bike advocacy network.

“We always engage people in conversation first, so there’s nobody who’s really doing it casually,” Buehler said. “Certainly the vast majority are interested in the topic and they’re not just going to sign their name to anything. … They’re on site, viscerally frustrated or viscerally pleased with the transportation system that they’re using.”

Greg Raisman, a PBOT staffer who works with Burchfield, confirmed in an email Monday that Burchfield had received the postcards about 3rd and shared them with colleagues.

“It’s always great to get feedback,” Raisman wrote. “They will be a part of the discussion as we examine the important issues related to 3rd Avenue in Old Town.”

The campaign’s costs in paper, ink and stamps is mostly self-financing, Buehler said.

“We put a tin can on the table, and money lands in it,” he said. “We have about a $100 deficit right now, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll make that up.”

bikeloud maps

To help passers-by understand the issues involved, Buehler creates maps and has them on hand to help explain the significance of each project in the local system.

Buehler thinks the postcards are worth spending time on because they make the process of contacting a public official more concrete.

“In a digital media age, there’s something nice about having something tactile that you can write on with your own pen, sign it with your own name, put a smiley face on it if you want and drop it the mail,” Buehler said. “I think it engages people’s brains in a slightly different way and it probably affects the recipients slightly differently too. Instead of one more line in their email box, it’s a small, medium or large stack of postcards in their mailbox.”

Another aspect of the campaign: All the postcards are either thanking the city for something it’s done or asking to make a temporary measure permanent.

“I like mixing the positive and the negative, but I always find that the world’s kind of short on the positive side,” Buehler said. “Plus, we’re a new organization. Let’s get some warm fuzzies out there.”

Buehler has a more subtle agenda, too. He’s not just trying to shape the way city officials understand city residents. He’s trying to get more city residents to think about city officials.

“Personally, I’ve observed that Portland bicyclists really lack a grassroots – they don’t have confidence in their ability to be heard,” Buehler said. “They’re more fatalistic than idealistic, let’s say. And in the advocacy world, there’s known ways to change that.”

One of the ways, Buehler said, is to get them thinking about the fact that there are real people in city government who they can contact about their problems.

“They figure out that he’s their city commissioner and he’s in charge of transportation, and he’s our traffic engineer,” Buehler said. “And it starts getting people’s brains thinking in that direction.”

The post Bike Loud PDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots appeared first on BikePortland.org.

BikeLoudPDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots

BikeLoudPDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots

zed ted marsha

Bike Loud volunteers Zed Bailey, Ted Buehler and Marsha Hanchrow show off signed and stamped postcards in favor of permanent traffic diverters gathered from people using Clinton Street.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s newest bike advocacy organization is bringing back the postcard.

In the last few weeks, three Portland city officials have received an estimated “three or four hundred” individually stamped postcards from Portlanders sharing their opinions about local transportation projects on Southeast Clinton Street, Southwest Third Avenue and Northeast Rodney Avenue.

The documents, designed in Microsoft Word, are the brainchild of longtime bike advocate Ted Buehler, a volunteer for the new “gathering point for grassroots activists” that calls itself BikeLoudPDX. In an interview Friday, Buehler said he’s stamped and mailed about 150 each of the first two postcards and also some from the Rodney campaign, which had begun the week before.

Here’s what they look like:

clinton postcard
3rd postcard

rodney postcard

Buehler and other volunteers gather people’s opinions by setting up a table on the street in question and asking passers-by if they’d like to share their thoughts. He estimated that 90 to 95 percent of the people who’ve done so are people “out of the blue,” not members of Portland’s core bike advocacy network.

“We always engage people in conversation first, so there’s nobody who’s really doing it casually,” Buehler said. “Certainly the vast majority are interested in the topic and they’re not just going to sign their name to anything. … They’re on site, viscerally frustrated or viscerally pleased with the transportation system that they’re using.”

Greg Raisman, a PBOT staffer who works with city traffic engineer Rob Burchfield, said Monday that Burchfield had received the postcards about 3rd and shared them with colleagues.

“It’s always great to get feedback,” Raisman wrote in an email. “They will be a part of the discussion as we examine the important issues related to 3rd Avenue in Old Town.”

The campaign’s costs in paper, ink and stamps are mostly self-financing, Buehler said.

“We put a tin can on the table, and money lands in it,” he said. “We have about a $100 deficit right now, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll make that up.”

bikeloud maps

To help passers-by understand the issues involved, Buehler creates maps and has them on hand to help explain the significance of each project in the local system.

Buehler thinks the postcards are worth spending time on because they make the process of contacting a public official more concrete.

“In a digital media age, there’s something nice about having something tactile that you can write on with your own pen, sign it with your own name, put a smiley face on it if you want and drop it the mail,” Buehler said. “I think it engages people’s brains in a slightly different way and it probably affects the recipients slightly differently too. Instead of one more line in their email box, it’s a small, medium or large stack of postcards in their mailbox.”

Another aspect of the campaign: All the postcards are either thanking the city for something it’s done or asking to make a temporary measure permanent.

“I like mixing the positive and the negative, but I always find that the world’s kind of short on the positive side,” Buehler said. “Plus, we’re a new organization. Let’s get some warm fuzzies out there.”

Buehler has a more subtle agenda, too. He’s not just trying to shape the way city officials understand city residents. He’s trying to get more city residents to think about city officials.

“Personally, I’ve observed that Portland bicyclists really lack a grassroots – they don’t have confidence in their ability to be heard,” Buehler said. “They’re more fatalistic than idealistic, let’s say. And in the advocacy world, there’s known ways to change that.”

One of the ways, Buehler said, is to get them thinking about the fact that there are real people in city government who they can contact about their problems.

“They figure out that he’s their city commissioner and he’s in charge of transportation, and he’s our traffic engineer,” Buehler said. “And it starts getting people’s brains thinking in that direction.”

The post BikeLoudPDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Readers share concerns as Williams Ave traffic spills onto Rodney greenway

Readers share concerns as Williams Ave traffic spills onto Rodney greenway

new bike lane on Williams Ave

The lane redesign isn’t done yet, but the
change is already impacting traffic.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday I got two separate reader emails about the same issue just a few hours apart. Whenever that happens it gets my attention.

In this case, the issue is the increased amount of auto traffic diversion onto NE Rodney as a result of construction and lane configuration changes on Williams Avenue.

Most of you are well-aware by now that the Bureau of Transportation has finally begun construction on the North Williams Safety Project. With the redesign on Williams there is less space for driving and the backups of cars in the past week or so has been a lot worse that usual (and that’s saying something on a long-chaotic stretch of road).

In a press release on October 3rd, PBOT encouraged drivers to use Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd as an alternate route — in part because Rodney is being set-aside as a neighborhood greenway where biking and walking are prioritzed. However, PBOT is well aware that some drivers might still use Rodney to avoid backups on Williams (after all, it’s just two blocks to the east). That’s one reason they installed an auto traffic diverter at N Ivy last month.

But that measure (they’ve also installed speed humps) clearly isn’t enough, at least based on the two emails we received yesterday…

Here’s the first one:

Hi there,

…. I live off Rodney (close to Russell) and was blown away with the amount of traffic flying through the neighborhood from cars trying to escape the backed up traffic on Williams today around 6pm… the city has done a horrible job with this. I am not sure how Rodney is supposed to be a safe alternative for bikes when not much has been done to make Rodney less attractive to cars. Yes, they put a few speed bumps in and, yes, they put the diverter thing just before Fremont. But, this is not stopping traffic from cutting over between Tillamook and Fremont.

This stretch of Rodney is narrow and not intended for the amount of traffic I saw tonight. Riding it with my 9 year old and impatient, speeding drivers trying to pass is not safe and definitely not inviting to any new riders. Also, try crossing Fremont with a kiddo during traffic – it’s like playing leapfrog. Again, less than fun. I am seriously disappointed/upset in what is happening over here.

Also, what’s with closing a sidewalk just before the crosswalk at NE Stanton?! Walking and biking safely during this project are not a priority for the city it seems.

I could go on and on with the issues I am seeing – no crosswalk enforcement, etc.., but you get the point.

Have a lovely day.

And the second one:

Jonathan. Hey. Would you happen to know very specifically who I can direct a complaint to regarding what seems to me and my gf to be a huge jump in auto traffic on Rodney. She lives on Graham and Rodney. Usually very quiet. But lately it’s insane! I’m pissed!

Anything you might have would be appreciated.

Because these two readers asked — and because I’m sure more people have had similar experiences on Rodney lately — the best person at PBOT to contact about this issue is Project Manager Rich Newlands. He can be reached via email at rich.newlands@portlandoregon.gov or by phone at (503) 823-7780.

PBOT is dealing with similar situations on SE Clinton and Ankeny where the presence of auto traffic is having a negative impact on bicycle access quality.

This is a complicated issue for the city. The rules of diversion have changed now that PBOT has developed more parallel streets into neighborhood greenways with the explicit purpose of moving bicycles through corridors that are simultaneously experiencing a boom in housing and commercial density — all factors that increase street use demands.

Stay tuned for more coverage as we continue to track these issues and share PBOT’s responses and plans to deal with it. In the meantime, please keep us posted with what you experience out there.

The post Readers share concerns as Williams Ave traffic spills onto Rodney greenway appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Eliot neighborhood gets temporary diverter on Rodney as part of Williams work

Eliot neighborhood gets temporary diverter on Rodney as part of Williams work

zef rodney diverter

The new temporary traffic diverter at N. Rodney and Ivy.
(Photo: Zef Wagner)

People using the future neighborhood greenway route on North Rodney Avenue got a surprise last week: a temporary diagonal traffic diverter at Ivy Street, designed to reduce cut-through auto traffic.

Project manager Rich Newlands said in an interview Wednesday that the city installed the diverter as part of its Williams Avenue traffic safety project after months of pressure from the local neighborhood association.

“Our initial stance was, ‘Well, we would like to build Williams and monitor the situation and approach the issue of whether diversion was needed based on that,’” Newlands explained. “We just continued to hear strong opposition to that approach. … The Eliot Neighborhood Association in particular, that was their strong position on the issue. They convinced us to put it in in advance.”

The diagonal diverter, whose cost Newlands put at a very rough estimate of maybe $5,000, isn’t far from the diagonal one at NE Tillamook and 16th. It’s paid for out of the $1.5 million state grant that is making the Williams-Rodney project possible.

The Rodney decision is notable in part because the city has resisted requests to install diverters as part of similar projects like the northern stretch of the 20s Bikeway or the Division Street road diet.

In the case of the temporary Rodney diverter, Newlands said the city “did not, I think, have a full conversation with the affected property owners.”

“I’ve received quite a few phone calls in the past week,” he said. “Those who live near the diverter are very concerned about local access impacts. … Otherwise, I’ve heard folks who live further down on Rodney that it has reduced volumes on Rodney.”

Here are a couple other shots of the diverter in context, from reader Steve B (you have to look closely in the first photo to see the paved bumps beneath the construction A-frames, which were temporarily used to call attention to the diverter):

steve rodney diverter close

steve rodney diverter wide

Newlands said people who live immediately around the diverter are being “patient” in large part because they’ve been assured it’s only a test.

Speed bumps have been installed on the future greenway on Rodney, but it has yet to see signage changes such as crossing improvements, flipped stop signs or wayfinding signs. Newlands said those might be installed by late spring 2015.

There’s no timeline for removing the diverter, and no specific criteria for the success or failure of the diverter. Newlands said the next formal conversation about it will probably come in January.

“It’ll just be shaped by the data we collect and the reactions we get from future public involvement,” Newlands said.

On that note, anyone can register their own position about the diverter by getting in touch with Newlands: rich.newlands@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-7780.

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