A closer look at the PBOT design for NE 7th and Tillamook

Detail of new plans for NE 7th Ave in Tillamook. (Source: PBOT)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation yesterday released its final dispatch plan for the redesign of northeast Tillamook and 7th. For some reason, despite announcing the start of a project to remove the existing roundabout on this staggered intersection earlier this month, they hadn’t released plans for what they had upgraded. its place. In fact, it wasn’t until we inquired about them yesterday that we learned the render would be posted on their website.

My interest in these plans increased when I heard of growing opposition from people who do not want the roundabout removed and/or who do not believe the City’s new plan will solve the problems. As I reported yesterday, these concerns have led to an unexpected meeting this evening where PBOT staff will explain their rationale for removing a major traffic calming function in order to calm traffic.

They will probably also be asked a lot of questions about this distribution plan. Since posting it on Tuesday afternoon, I’ve seen plenty of replies from relatively smart people who think it’s pretty bad. Let’s take a closer look…

(Source: PBOT)

First, a bit of context…

These changes are being made as part of the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway project. The public process for this project was extremely problematic for the community and for PBOT. In 2018, the city’s project managers and engineers presented a very innovative and bold plan to turn NE 7th Avenue into a priority street for world-class cyclists. They have received overwhelming support from many who want biking to be safer in Portland and who fear 7th will become a race track with motorists who would be better suited using Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. near. But, surprisingly, everyone seemed to forget what had happened on North Williams Avenue about a decade before.

Much like on Williams, once the process began and the plans were publicized enough to excite many people, some black residents spoke up and said they weren’t considered. One person said plans for the 7th would “continue to whitewash the neighborhood and lead to more gentrification.” Some of them also didn’t like the idea of ​​7th Avenue becoming less convenient for drivers. After an embarrassing about-face and several more meetings, PBOT changed the roster from 7th to 9th, much to the chagrin of many who thought it was a very sub-optimal plan B that lacked the direct connectivity north-south so vital for an efficient network.

But PBOT didn’t give it all on the 7th. While the route will officially be the 9th, the 7th will also see changes.

Which brings us to the crucial intersection of NE 7th and NE Tillamook (one of Portland’s oldest bike boulevards established in 1999).

North on 7th with roundabout circled in red.

Currently, in addition to the aforementioned roundabout and the large tree planted in the middle of it, this intersection only has scavengers. The new plan would create buffered cycle lanes in both directions. PBOT will build a protected intersection (similar to the one on W 19th and Burnside) with bike cross markings in the south part of the intersection. To get cyclists from northbound 7th Avenue to cross 7th and west on Tillamook, they will paint a left turn pocket/box at the intersection where people will reposition themselves on a painted cross bike.

The main complaint I’ve heard so far is that without the roundabout or any other feature to slow drivers down, they’re likely to speed through all that new paint. Seems like a valid concern, especially if PBOT doesn’t put plastic or concrete curbs or beading in the bike lane buffer (not sure if they will or not). Others said that if people wait for a break in traffic at the left turn, it will create conflict with cyclists who will continue north.

While the design is widely criticized, at least one person thinks it’s great. Stephen Judkins replied to us on Twitter this morning say, “I don’t understand hate. Now that I ride a lot with my kids, I prioritize separation over most other considerations. This intersection has always felt sketchy with car interactions, and having to stop once if I’m going north is a reasonable compromise.

What do you think? Come to the meeting at 6:00 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, 9/14) at NE 7th and Tillamook if you want to learn more and share your thoughts with PBOT.


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