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Old 11-08-10, 08:11 AM   #1
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Portland bike boulevards become neighborhood greenways

Portland has turned some of its streets into bike boulevards as one of a variety of bicycle friendly street treatments in its bikeway network. These have been met with widespread approval from property owners and neighborhood associations for increasing property values and enhancing quality of life in neighborhoods while making bicycling a greater reality for more Portlanders.

Portland is moving forward from its success with the bike boulevards and expanding the concept of bike boulevards as 'neighborhood greenways'.

a recent video on the new evolving american streetscape in Portland.


vimeo film on portland bike boulevards

Using bike boulevards across neighborhoods as part of a community bikeway network is a positive step cities can take to reclaim the bicycle as normal transportation in the 21st century.
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Old 11-08-10, 09:36 AM   #2
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That is cool, wish something like that would be done down here in Houston.
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Old 11-08-10, 10:20 AM   #3
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This is almost sickeningly thoughtful.
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Old 11-08-10, 10:58 AM   #4
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This is almost sickeningly thoughtful.
It really is. The love the intersection sharrow (forget what he called it). And I really *love* the median crossings. We have a couple spots in our city where that should have been done and wasn't.
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Old 11-08-10, 11:08 AM   #5
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Have ridden in Portland... and think I have met some of those people.

What they are doing there sets a good example for us all no matter where we live.
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Old 11-08-10, 02:15 PM   #6
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It's basically just greenwashing



I've had more trouble with motorists on those greenways than anywhere else on the street grid

They are way overdesigned, and all those smug bureaucrats speaking in the video are talking down to their audience as if we were all a bunch of children

meh

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Old 11-08-10, 02:23 PM   #7
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I like this type of bike route program, which leverages the low-speed, low-traffic nature of local streets and does not require cyclists to operate contrary to the normal rules for drivers of vehicles. The sharrows seem to be located well into the travel lane rather than curbside or in door zones.

I also like the median openings for bike traffic. In my area, medians at locations where motor vehicle movements are prohibited are constructed without ADA pedestrian crossing facilities. The expectation is that no pedestrians may cross the median if no motor vehicles may cross the median. That's too bad, since the raised median improves safety for pedestrians crossing.

Of course, designing median refuges for cyclists crossing is different from designing them for pedestrians, and in this case Portland seems to have done it well. Cyclists can act as drivers of vehicles crossing from and to travel lanes; the opening just happens to prohibit wider motor traffic. The median width seems a bit short for storage of a bike plus child trailer, however; I would probably park in it diagonally if I needed to stop there with my child trailer.

A minor point of semantics - most communities refer to those raised traffic calming surfaces as "speed humps" rather than "speed bumps." True "speed bumps" are designed for under 5 mph; speed humps accommodate speeds up to 25 mph depending on their design. This distinction is often important for overcoming resistance to traffic calming with speed humps.

How much neighborhood opposition has there been to adding medians to reduce through motor traffic, since they also prohibit left turns by motor vehicles? Here, such medians (installed for safety at arterial/neighborhood intersections) are usually strongly opposed by residents whose left turns become prohibited.
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Old 11-08-10, 02:24 PM   #8
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actually, they are 'speed tables'
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Old 11-08-10, 02:34 PM   #9
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They are way overdesigned, and all those smug bureaucrats speaking in the video are talking down to their audience as if we were all a bunch of children
I agree about them being overdesigned. Median openings and good wayfinding tools (e.g. maps and signs at junctions) are all that is really required to get around effectively on such streets.

But the markings are just part of the whole marketing spin that bike planners like to use. Talk to us all like we are a bunch of children? When have they not? Besides, children have become bike planners' target design user, not adults. My only concern about that is when they mess up the rules of the road for all cyclists. Here, at least, they didn't do that, and allow cyclists to remain integrated with the traffic flow on most of those bike boulevards featured in the video.
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Old 11-08-10, 02:35 PM   #10
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actually, they are 'speed tables'
Yes, that's another common word for them, although not what my local engineers call them.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:46 PM   #11
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It's basically just greenwashing



I've had more trouble with motorists on those greenways than anywhere else on the street grid

They are way overdesigned, and all those smug bureaucrats speaking in the video are talking down to their audience as if we were all a bunch of children

meh
randy - I don't think either of us has a problem riding anywhere and if a little "greenwashing" brings out more cyclists this is a good thing.

I taught a cycling class at the University today and decided to take a shortcut home which involved me taking the freeway... in all the imtes I have ridden here I have never seen another cyclist and to avoid this means riding many km out of my way to the next bridge crossing.
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Old 11-08-10, 07:29 PM   #12
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randy - I don't think either of us has a problem riding anywhere and if a little "greenwashing" brings out more cyclists this is a good thing.

I taught a cycling class at the University today and decided to take a shortcut home which involved me taking the freeway... in all the imtes I have ridden here I have never seen another cyclist and to avoid this means riding many km out of my way to the next bridge crossing.
IMO, a lot of the designs they are using are questionable or just downright bad.

Just to mention a couple:

Curb extensions, with bioswales in them or not, don't benefit cyclists at all unless you like being a human speed bump.

Bike lanes to the right of right turning traffic are the city's worst liability nightmare
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Old 11-08-10, 07:58 PM   #13
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The video shows some good work and a lot of greenwashing. I'd like to see the video shot on a wet February day rather than during the dry season. I like the fact that PDX is not afraid to change the traffic controls and make some streets go through for bikes and peds but not for carcissists. My city has a formal policy of never putting in another traffic diverter for cars.

There is still way too much not being addressed for anyone to feel that more than a mere beginning has been made. Did anyone else notice the large number of cars being stored along these "bike blvds"? A goodly portion of the roadway is in the door zone. The only bike lanes shown also were in the door zone. Yikes! The little median cut-throughs are too small for even a family of three to occupy.

Also, how about giving the bike boulevards the priority at intersections with major thoroughfares? Oh, I forgot. We must always make sure it is convenient and fast for cars to move about. This attitude that it is acceptable for cyclists to have to go well out of their way to avoid hazards and having discontinuous infrastructure is why there are currently no cities in America that have a majority of trips being made without cars.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:03 PM   #14
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IMO, a lot of the designs they are using are questionable or just downright bad.

Just to mention a couple:

Curb extensions, with bioswales in them or not, don't benefit cyclists at all unless you like being a human speed bump.

Bike lanes to the right of right turning traffic are the city's worst liability nightmare
I share your lack of enthusiasm for curb extensions and poorly placed bike lanes... I did take a ride up to the University to check out that bit of bad planning.

I know that there is a lot that needs to be improved but when you compare where you live to many other places you are the envy of many.

I am fighting here to see that our city follows through on their bicycle plan and does not implement any bad ideas like curb extensions and poorly placed bike lanes as that will simply encourage people to get out and then get themselves injured.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:04 PM   #15
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I like the fact that PDX is not afraid to change the traffic controls and make some streets go through for bikes and peds but not for carcissists. My city has a formal policy of never putting in another traffic diverter for cars.
Portland isn't building a whole lot of new traffic diverters, and cars can get on and use these bike boulevards for long stretches of road.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:07 PM   #16
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By the way, it looks like most of the video of happy people of all ages riding on car free streets, was probably filmed during one of the five 'Sunday Parkways' cyclovia events this past summer, when the streets were temporarily closed to all motor vehicles for a few hours.

Pure propaganda.
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Old 11-08-10, 11:02 PM   #17
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boy, with the rancor exhibited by some over this bike boulevard expansion/enhancement for Portland, I can't even imagine the utopian bikeways some of you must have in mind if this type of roadscape doesn't cut the mustard.
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Old 11-08-10, 11:36 PM   #18
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those streets were fine for cycling on without all the 'improvements'

the video is pure propaganda, presented with the patronizing, condescending, sanctimonious, parental attitude typical of 'true believers'

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Old 11-08-10, 11:48 PM   #19
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Yes, that's another common word for them, although not what my local engineers call them.
My understanding is a speed hump is an elongated speed bump with higher design speeds. a speed table on the other hand is a flat raised area in the road. You climb up onto the table, then back down.
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Old 11-08-10, 11:54 PM   #20
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It makes sense. I'd like to see more neighborhoods around here get that kind of treatment. As it is, they tend to just mark neighborhood streets as bike routes with sharrows and save the fancy stuff for more visible streets through the business districts. That's not a bad tactic either, but not as nice as the bike boulevards cutting through neighborhoods.
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Old 11-09-10, 12:16 AM   #21
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Anyone else notice how they are already advertising these Portland bike boulevards as MUPs good for runners to use.

I do not like the speed tables, the bulb outs and the median cut outs are way too narrow. Imagine starting across the street expecting the cyclist ahead of you to ride through an easily clearable street, but the cyclist stops in the small cut out, leaving you hanging out in the roadway (time to do some bunny hop training).

Making a long section without stop signs is about the only thing I like about the Portland bike boulevards, assuming that they do the same thing for many of the cross streets.
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Old 11-09-10, 01:05 AM   #22
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those streets were fine for cycling on without all the 'improvements'


If the streets were already so amenable to bike on, why in the world is Portland seeking to further enhance their bike boulevards?

Bike boulevards 2.0 have many facets. The city reorients the stop signs to prioritize bike traffic along the boulevards. Portland wants to further discourage thru motorized vehicle traffic. The protected medians at arterial crossings are a great idea, as are incorporating bio-swales into the traffic calming measures. All these improvements will further enhance the human scaled nature of Portlands new neighborhood greenways.

I've ridden several of Portlands' bike boulevards and think they are quite pleasant, very pleasant. These further improvements and repurposing of the boulevards into greenways is very progressive.

The city wants to enact a 20MPH speed limits on the bike boulevards, turning them into a US version of the rest of the worlds TEMPO30 zones.

For all the laudation this new plan merits, sgoodri and others need to keep in mind bike boulevards are not the solution for every type of street. I'm sure sgoodri already knows this, but i want to reiterate: bike boulevards are one way to plan for bike traffic across communities, but are not the only solution for planning for bikes on all roads.

As traffic speeds and volumes increase, planning for bicycle traffic usually merits a different approach than shared lane treatments. This may violate some people's artificially sanctimonious notions of traffic sorting but its important to keep in mind that boulevards are just one of the many appropriate tools in the toolbox to plan for roadway bicycling.

there will still be high speed, high volume arterials in and around greater Portland that will merit a different type of treatment. Main, arterial and collector roads in the city, routes leading to the suburbs of Beaverton merit preferred class treatments. Bike boulevards are enhancements for bike traffic on minor roads, further enhanced and prioritized for for bike traffic over motor vehicle traffic.

Bike boulevards as neighborhood greenways is quite an impressive rethinking of Portlands streetscapes. It was quite novel to see the parks and recreation people talking about improving the recreational LOS of Portland by connecting parks with comfortable park like street spaces.

Developing bike boulevards in other cities may come easier as Portland and Berkeley and other cities innovate with bike boulevards and show the numerous benefits from their application.

Last edited by Bekologist; 11-09-10 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 11-09-10, 09:21 AM   #23
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My understanding is a speed hump is an elongated speed bump with higher design speeds. a speed table on the other hand is a flat raised area in the road. You climb up onto the table, then back down.
Locally, I've only seen "true" speed tables used for crosswalk treatments - raised platforms like speed humps, level on the top for the walking surface. I have only seen these speed tables on private roads in office parks and shopping centers.

The municipality never uses speed bumps on public roadways - only 25 mph speed humps. The fire department absolutely hates speed bumps, and often opposes speed humps for the same reason, although speed humps are much less likely to damage fire trucks or slow their response times. The default alternative to speed humps for traffic calming is to reduce street connectivity for motor vehicles, which increases emergency response times more than speed humps will.
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Old 11-09-10, 06:43 PM   #24
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If the streets were already so amenable to bike on, why in the world is Portland seeking to further enhance their bike boulevards?
Typical Portland government propaganda.
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Old 11-09-10, 11:22 PM   #25
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what a curious perspective on Portland's creation of urban greenways.

with benefits not limited to:

reaching within a half mile of every portlander
increases recreational use and connects park spaces with park like street settings
reduces traffic speeds on these streets to 20mph
prioritizes bike traffic and reduces thru traffic use of bike boulevards
minimize impact of stormwater runoff
beautifies a neighborhood
increases property values
makes bicycling more accessible to portlanders

not quite sure how a plan like this can in any way be construed as 'propaganda'..... well, maybe if the mayor is a 'bike nazi'
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