Finally Getting Diverted


It looks like PBOT took advantage of today’s nice weather to start installing the diverter at NW 10th and Marshall.

This is a small bit of mitigation for the Streetcar Loop that is finally being fulfilled. As part of the project we moved the bicycle facility from the now-track-filled-cycling-wasteland of Lovejoy to Marshall St.

But Marshall attracted far too much auto traffic to work well for bikes. This is one of several measures to try to win back the street for people on bikes. A concrete diverter should shortly replace the sign, and the buffer area will become parking, while the bike lane will remain curbside.

I must say it gave me some pleasure to watch drivers approach with their turn signals on, look quizzically at the sign, turn off their signals and proceed north to Northrup. Let the re-education continue!


33 responses to “Finally Getting Diverted”

  1. Good job! I live downtown and am a regular streetcar rider, but have real concerns over the impact of streetcar infrastructure on people on bicycles.

  2. @dwainedibbly:

    That’s great, but the problem of too many autos using Marshall St was solely due to the couplet, and had nothing to do with Streetcar. The Streetcar has been here for over a decade.

  3. solely due to the couplet, and had nothing to do with Streetcar

    Not quite true. People did not use the couplet as intended, but in part that’s because the signal installed at 10th and Northrup for the benefit of the streetcar turning movement had a very unfriendly cycle. We fixed that, but the drivers were already trained to use Marshall by then.

  4. Yay, awesome!!!! Primarily a streetcar rider too but I can say this was definitely hugely needed especially whenever riding my bike on Marshall, you pretty much get run off the street riding on this supposedly bike boulevard. PBOT is awesome and I really appreciate what they do, I dont mean to sound negative but why did this take so long to install because it has been needed since day 1 of the couplet and isnt the most expensive or complex fix?

    This design is WAY better than the previous proposed design for this intersection since it makes it makes Marshall between 10th-11th one way for cars. With the earlier plan there was a temptation for cars to just squeeze past the do not enter sign and then they’d be home free on a two-way street in that block. Now if cars squeeze through they will be stuck on a one lane one way heading in the opposite direction, so they wont try it.

    I do also really wish the streetcar stayed the extra block on Lovejoy to 11th instead of the out of the way “north-to-go-south” loop around Tanner Springs Park, but anyhow too late now.

    NW Overton will need some traffic calming too once Marshall is fixed. It too is a bike boulevard without traffic calming and cars take advantage of the bike boulevard design to speed through Pearl and Northwest with few restrictions… in particular lots of cars traveling westbound from Naito/9th again running bikes off the road.

  5. Streetcars and bikes co-exist all over the world. This seems to be an adjustment for riders here in Portland. Just another part of the learning curve, I guess.

  6. It worked well for going westbound. I saw a lot of cars using Marshall Eastbound, I can see why folks want another diverter. The crews were out again, I don’t think they’re quite done with this project

  7. I was thinking about that the other day. That project would have been awesome… I did not realize it at the time what a great thing that would have been. I’m sure that’s the case with the rest of Portlanders as well.

  8. Thank you PBoT! Agreed with other commenters that this is long overdue.

    If I’m not mistaken, most of the cities where cyclists happily co-exist with on-street rail have copioua cycle tracks (without dangerous rails inside) that provide a comfortable place for bikes. Portland does not, and cyclists figure out their own way instead. For a lot of cyclists, that’s between the tracks until they learn otherwise. Many learn painfully – my boyfriend separated his shoulder.

    Thatt’s why additional infrastructure and signage for bikes should accompany any new on-street rail lines and should be retrofitted ASAP for existing max and streetcar lines. If we leave cyclists to learn on their own, many will learn what my boyfriend did – that cycling in the central city is not for them. That would be a shame.

  9. This is one of several measures to try to win back the street for people on bikes.

    I thought the streets belonged to the public, not for “people on bikes”.

    I sure hope that this street is thus excluded from the city’s standard transportation budget, and is funded by those “people on bikes” who have assumed ownership of this formerly public street.

    It is this attitude that streets belong to specific classes of people, that breed resentment amongst the citizens. I have ridden my bike on many streets and by the simple act of following the laws and working cooperatively with motorists, I have never been honked at, been in a collision with another car, and I can count the number of near-misses with other cars on one hand. Everyone gets to where they are going. In Portland, the philosophy of transportation planning seems to be segregating people into different classes, and giving different classes different levels of convenience for travel, depending on where you are. That isn’t planning – that’s politics.

  10. Erik, your argument works only if you’re prepared to apply it to every one-way street.

    We add auto capacity on Lovejoy and Northrup (by creating the couple) and reduced (virtually elminated) bicycle capacity on Lovjoy. The offset was to increase bicycle capacity on Marshall, but we did it ineffectively, and are now correcting that.

    The goal is a system that works for all users. One class of users got disadvantaged by the change, and we’re fixing it.

  11. I sure hope that this street is thus excluded from the city’s standard transportation budget, and is funded by those “people on bikes” who have assumed ownership of this formerly public street.

    Erik, the curb-to-curb is 36 feet. The bike lane is 6 feet. The remaining 30 feet is an eastbound auto lane, and 2 auto parking lanes.

  12. Grant is correct… the majority of the street real-estate is still allocated for and open to use by motorists. (And that’s fine by me.) No need to argue about conflicts that don’t actually exist.

    A similar argument about allocation of infrastructure and ROW real-estate toward “specific classes” would prevent the installation of bus shelters. After all, a bus shelter represents an allocation of space that was formerly useable by all pedestrians and sets it aside for a “specific class” – transit riders. Right?

    Snark aside, we should be looking at transportation networks where all modes can work together… some specific areas will emphasize one particular mode (bike boulevards, freeways, transit lanes, etc.) but the point is arriving at a balanced network that serves a variety of users and goals.

  13. In the Pearl District as in Downtown proper the goal should be for all bicyclists to take the lane. Police officers can lead the way here…get off the sidewalk! Yes, we need bikeways for those not yet ready to take the lane, but over time as riders gain experience riding where speeds are kept low, taking the lane will become easier, safer and more common.

  14. It is this attitude that streets belong to specific classes of people, that breed resentment amongst the citizens.

    If one were to look around this country, one would see that the specific class, if there was one, would be car users. Certainly not bicyclists. And certainly far from everyone (bicycles, pedestrians, etc included) feeling like they can use the street as safely and enjoyably as other modes.

    Do you feel safe and comfortable bicycling down 99W at any hour of the day? Or 82nd Ave, Foster Road or Sandy Blvd, to name some streets on the other side of the region (and in Portland) that don’t offer any accommodations for bikes? Do you think most people would? These are serious questions.

  15. In the Pearl District as in Downtown proper the goal should be for all bicyclists to take the lane. Police officers can lead the way here…get off the sidewalk!

    I’ll second that. I’ve been nearly mowed down many times by cyclists on Pearl sidewalks. My dog and I were nearly clobbered walking west on Flanders, by a cyclist dude who came roaring around the corner from 10th, on the sidewalk. Maybe he was on the sidewalk because 10th goes north and he was going south? The bozo didn’t even bother to stop and apologize to the gray-haired geezer with the little tan pooch. Didn’t his momma teach him any manners?

    I wonder how many cyclists are aware that bikes aren’t allowed on Pearl sidewalks. Well, actually it’s only half the Pearl. Last time I checked, in the city bike ordinance the no-bike zone covered only the blocks south of Hoyt. If you’re in the north end of the Pearl, you can bike on the sidewalk with complete impunity.

    That code provision made sense 15-20 years ago. Maybe some day the city will wake up to the fact that the Pearl is now one neighborhood that runs from Burnside north to the river. No more rail yards in the North Pearl. Oh well.

    Look, if I wanted solitude, I’d live in the suburbs. I live downtown because I don’t mind sharing public space with all sorts of people and all sorts of conveyances. I don’t mind people on bicycles; I do mind inconsiderate jerks on bicycles (and inconsiderate jerks on foot and in cars, too).

  16. Bicycles on the sidewalk are a sore point with me, and that is why I am not particularly sympathetic to their agenda.

    BTW, I have been told that walking is not particularly enjoyable any more in Amsterdam. and that cyclists will mow one down without any hesitation.

  17. I am not particularly sympathetic to their agenda.

    Sidewalk-riding is discouraged by most bicycle advocacy folks I’ve heard from, so not sure what you mean by “agenda”.

    I have been told … cyclists will mow one down without any hesitation.

    Perhaps you should seek out more sources. In any case, please don’t spread rumors and stereotypes here.


  18. “I have been told … cyclists will mow one down without any hesitation.”

    >>>> That’s exactly what I was told by someone who was just over there in Amsterdam.

    The ‘agenda’ means more bikeways and bike lanes, etc.

  19. I was just in Amsterdam in June of this year. The problem with tourists in Amsterdam is that they don’t understand how traffic works there, and they don’t pay attention to the cycle tracks. The tourists are often distracted, and focus on the trams and cars, as they unknowingly walk right in front of a group of speeding bicycles in the separated cycle track. When you say “mowed down by a bike” it makes it sound like they intentionally ran them down, when it reality, they probably stumbled into a cycle track and got hit by a cyclist that had the right-of-way but could not stop in time.

    Traffic in many parts of Amsterdam functions solely on the concept of yielding. Many intersections are non-signaled, even unsigned in some cases. Riding a bicycle and walking in Amsterdam is uncomfortable for Americans. We are trained to follow signals and signs.

  20. The ‘agenda’ means more bikeways and bike lanes, etc.

    The more bikeways and bike lanes, the fewer bicyclists riding on the sidewalks (hopefully).

    And for those who insist on continuing to ride on the sidewalks, I agree with Lenny that the police need to lead the way on cracking down on this.

  21. This is a birthing process for our system. We need to build out a robust bike system, that uses separate ROW, and if it is great, then bikes won’t use the sidewalk. Why would one dodge old dudes and dogs, if there was a kick-ass distinct ROW system for bikes only.
    AND yea , that means taking some of the existing ROW away from cars, which currently have too much. I would start with lane width, the bigger the lane the faster the cars go. The safer we make the bike system , the more peeps will feel empowered to ride !

  22. “The ‘agenda’ means more bikeways and bike lanes, etc.”

    Then the “agenda” is completely opposite of the thing you profess to be a sore point. Sheesh.

    Again, drop the stereotyping and rumor-mongering.

  23. [Moderator: Complaint against moderator admonishment, and failure to understand the concepts of rumors and stereotypes removed. – Bob R.]

  24. Well, over 4,000 pedestrians were killed by cars in the U.S. last year. I’ll take my chances with the bikes.

  25. Its true, in European cities with good bike systems, woe to the pedestrian who strays into the bike only ROW; locals know the deal, but visitors have a learning curve. But its not likely to result in much beyond a scare, unlike what a 2 ton motor vehicle will do to an errant pedestrian.
    re “Bikers” There is not such group per se, just more and more people of all stripes enjoying a bicycle ride, saving money, getting a work out, and NOT wanting to get killed or injured. A most reasonable desire.

  26. “re “Bikers” There is not such group per se…”

    >>>> What’s the BTA, then? That’s the bikers ‘lobby.’

    [Moderator: Yes, Nick, you’ve correctly identified the BTA as a lobbying group. However, you have incorrectly identified them as representing “the bikers”. You have a nack for broad-brushing all cyclists. That’s the stereotyping which I want you to stop using here. It’s a simple concept. Just as bad as making negative statements about all transit riders, all pedestrians, or all motorists. Inaccurate and counterproductive, too. – Bob R.]

  27. re Police and sidewalks, what I meant was not a crackdown…we have enough of those, but simply setting an example and taking the lane. Police bike patrols always seem to be on the sidewalk; I have never seen one in a travel lane. Some of that is due to sidewalks being the site of much criminal behavior, but still its time they led by example.
    Sidewalk riding gives only an illusion of safety (except on Swan Island where its my preference); bicyclists are more difficult for motorists to see, and that can be deadly. The volume and speed of traffic, especially large trucks, makes the sidewalk a reasonable option on Swan Island.

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