Update on Rodney Greenway

Ivy Diverter June 2015 Proposal
Ivy Diverter June 2015 Proposal

Starting 6 years ago, there was a long series of discussions about N Williams and what the community wanted to see there. A big part of that was seeing a neighborhood street with thriving businesses; seeing a street that was easy to cross and one that was not a racetrack for cut-through drivers. We have nearby MLK Blvd and Interstate-5 serving those purposes.

During that process, there was some concern that the bikeway on N Williams was not one that would encourage riders who needed a more protected place to ride, one with less car interaction. Riders like parents and their kids, or older riders who are less confident. There have been over the years a number of folks who have suggested NE 7th as a good road to make a bikeway, or NE Rodney, or perhaps some route farther west. With the exception of 1 block, a route could be put through Emanuel Hospital’s campus connecting N Flint with N Gantenbein or N Haight Avenue. Although those other routes may be good proposals and changes to them may be implemented at a later date, the city was able to win a grant to build the NE Rodney Greenway as a part of the N Williams project. As a result, NE Rodney will become a city-designated neighborhood greenway.

Greenways nearby like NE Tillamook, NE Going, and others are low-traffic routes that encourage long-distance drivers to find a different route while encouraging biking, walking and running in the street and generally low speeds. These greenways are exactly what neighbors were asking for: basically keeping the street as it has always been. It’s a place to park, a place to relax away from the business of some other streets, and to enjoy the shade of big trees. NE Rodney has always been a respite from the busier streets and it should remain so with the changes the City is proposing. Those changes are:

  1. Adding sharrows onto the street – this should have no real effect and may help unfamiliar bike riders find their way
  2. Adding speed bumps along Rodney – this should also help keep traffic slow
  3. Lowering the speed limit to 20 mph – hopefully most cars are moving slowly already
  4. Turning a few stop signs from north-south to east-west stops – this should reduce speeding on east-west side streets like NE Knott and NE Thompson which are longer blocks than those on Rodney
  5. Adding crosswalks on NE Russell, Fremont, and several other major streets that cross Rodney – this should make it easier to walk north-south across these streets.
  6. Adding a diverting element at NE Ivy and Rodney—A test diagonal diverter has caused a number of complaints and a new design has been proposed to make Rodney southbound only between Fremont and Ivy with a northbound bike-only lane on the east side of the street. An example of this can be seen at Marshall and 9th downtown.
    Diverter at Marshall and 9th
    Diverter at Marshall and 9th

    This diverter is needed due to evening rush-hour traffic from N Williams using Rodney as a cut-through route to get to NE Fremont and head east. Before the diverter and the Williams project, over 1300 cars per day were using Rodney, many as a cut-through route.  The city’s standard of 1000 cars per day on neighborhood greenways is intended to keep the greenways operating as local streets, and putting a diverter at this location was the best choice for doing that.

With all of these changes being proposed, the goal is the same: Keep Rodney as it has always been. Keep NE Rodney a neighborhood street.

The Eliot Land Use Committee meets the 2nd Monday of the month at 7pm at St Philip the Deacon Church at 120 NE Knott Street.

One thought on “Update on Rodney Greenway

  1. The diagonal diverter will stay, based on Public comments. Here is a statement from Rich Newlands, the project manager:

    I met with management today to discuss how we resolve the design issues that have been raised with the diverter at NE Ivy. The conclusion was to retain the existing diagonal diverter- though beefed up as discussed earlier to eliminate the ability of drivers to go over it.

    The decision was based primarily on the volume of public comment received that strongly supports retaining the diagonal design. While our technical assessment about the relative importance of restricting the southbound and east-westbound movements that the diagonal diverter provides compared to the one-way proposal differs from many commenters, the public process nonetheless has indicated a strong preference for the more aggressive approach to managing traffic on Rodney.

    As with all diversion projects we attempt to minimize the often unintended tradeoffs that result to adjacent streets, though acknowledge that our ability to truly mitigate those impacts is also often limited. The addition of speed bumps on Ivy should hopefully provide some mitigation of these impacts. 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. I suspect Rodney will become a prime example of neighborhood change creates the need for a more on-going approach to the maintenance of Greenways.


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