Currently, the City of Portland is undergoing a project called the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway. This project is looking at making a calm, safe route for bicycles from south of Broadway to north of Ainsworth Street. However, this project is also the best chance we have had for years to solve some major problems on NE 7th Avenue (NE 7th). Some neighborhood residents have been advocating for a safer NE 7th for over 5 years.
While many neighborhoods in Portland have a local bike shop, few neighborhoods have what could be considered to be a “Bike Hive”. Eliot is home to a vibrant community of businesses and nonprofits passionate about supporting people who ride bikes at any level of expertise. The intersection of North Page Street and North Williams Avenue is home to several local businesses dedicated to cyclists: Metropolis Cycles, Igleheart Custom Frames and Forks, Ahearne Cycles, Breadwinner Cycles and Café, Signal Cycles, and Endurance PDX, with Bike Farm and Cycle Oregon just a few blocks away. I wanted to learn more about these businesses, how they collaborate, their views on what they offer to Eliot, and what they want the neighborhood to know about them.
The recently adopted NE Quadrant Plan (a part of the Central City and Comprehensive Plans) was conducted in cooperation with the Transportation offices of the State (ODOT) and City (PDOT) to coordinate ODOT’s plans to expand capacity on I-5 through the Rose Quarter and the I-5 ramps with PDOT’s plans for the area between at Broadway/Weidler, an area known as “the Box”.
A bicycle and pedestrian bridge across I-84 could provide the continuous north-south route that inner Portland needs. NE 7th Avenue would provide a safe route north from the highway and NE/SE 9th Avenue would provide a safe, low-traffic route to the south. We predict that this corridor — connecting the Lloyd District, a burgeoning inner eastside industrial district, neighborhoods like Powell and Brooklyn, and recently built streetcar and light-rail stations — would quickly become one of Portland’s most heavily used and important neighborhood greenways.
There wasn’t too much Land Use news this month, but on the transportation side of things there were a number of things happening. First and foremost, the gas tax increase of 10 cents/gallon increased, which will provide money for repaving and reconfiguring some streets. This is seen as an opportunity to get changes on NE 7th avenue including removing the unsafe roundabouts which have caused many crashes over the years. There is a group of folks focused on making NE 7th a better place to be and a safer place to walk and bike.
Bryan Hance started StolenBicycleRegistry.com in 2004 because he was tired of having bikes stolen. Seth Herr started the Bike Index in 2013 because he was a bike mechanic and wished there was an easy way to register bikes for his customers. They merged Bike Index and SBR in July of 2014 because it made perfect sense—Seth makes sure registration is effortless, and Bryan recovers stolen bikes.
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.
By Stuart Malkin –
You may have already noticed the speed bumps being installed on NE Rodney. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is converting NE Rodney into a family friendly bike route, known as a Neighborhood Greenway. Neighborhood Greenways are a type of street treatment that provides a safe shared-use environment for bicycling. The road conversion will run south to north from NE Broadway to NE Killingsworth and offer a calmer alternative bike route to the soon to be improved Williams street bikeway.
On Monday, the transformation of Williams will begin as construction starts on the North Williams Safety Project. There are a lot of changes, but the biggest on Williams is that most of it will be one lane and the bike path is moving to the left side. Rodney will also see the addition of speed bumps and a diagonal traffic diverter at Ivy.
Last night Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) held an open house for the “Rodney Bikeway Project” at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church community room. In summary, PBOT wants to make Rodney, from Broadway up to Killingsworth a “Bikeway”. The idea is to give bikers a calm and safe route up and down Rodney. It was a well-attended event.
Looking at the designs, there are three problems to be concerned about.
The biking community in Portland continues to grow, making our city healthy and cleaner with fewer car on the roads. One of the major bike-ways in Portland passes though Eliot’s Lower Albina area. A new bike shop opened last fall just off of Interstate on North Mississippi. The location is very convenient to all the Interstate cyclists who pass by every day.
Since it was platted by Edwin Russell, William Page, and George Williams in 1872, the city of Albina (now Eliot) was set up with a Manhattan-style grid with long east-west blocks that are 2.5 times as long as the north-south blocks. This, combined with the steep cliffs separating the neighborhood from the river made all the north and south streets important connections for a huge area north of Eliot over the last 140 years. In 1888, the Steel Bridge opened and life on the east side was booming. Electric streetcars started running over the bridge in 1889 on the original Albina line. In the early 1900s, streetcars ran up and down Williams and Union (now Martin Luther King, Jr.) Avenues. The speed limit before cars came along was 6mph, with streetcars allowed to go 12mph. Crossing the street was no big problem for the early residents of Albina.
Do you need a bicycle helmet? Here is a great opportunity to get one! Discounted helmets provided by grants from Legacy Foundation, Legacy Portland Hospitals Medical Staff, and Trauma Nurses Talk Tough.