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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 9, 2012 7:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was We're no. 13!. The next post in this blog is Honeymoon's over at Umpqua Bank. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Belt and suspenders

As a person who enjoys walking from Point A to Point B when time permits, we're always glad to see pedestrian crossing aids installed on busy streets. Those push-button yellow blinky lights are nice, although nothing beats the gold standard, the push-button steady red. And on really wide and busy streets, where the drivers run at near-freeway speeds, pedestrian overpasses have a lot to be said for them.

But an observant reader sends us this picture, from 85th and Division, with the question, Do we really need both in the exact same place?

Surely there are many other dangerous spots in the city where one or the other of those tools could have been deployed. But for the bureaucratic mind, that thought would make too much sense.

Comments (23)

In Seoul, South Korea, where pedestrian overpasses are quite common on busy streets, they actually eliminate crosswalks and make it illegal (with signs) to cross without using the pedestrian overpass at those locations. Seems like a similar approach would make too much sense here...

Wouldn't it be hilarious, yet sad, if that bridge went in while Sam Adams was Katz's chief of staff and Charlie Hales was transportation commissioner?

It seems like the deep SE area has more people on mobility devices than the rest of the city. That bridge is not ADA compliant.

It shouldn't have been built that way.

You missed the major prob, Jack. That's a lot of stairs for a bike!

As I recall from growing up in mid-county, that ped bridge, as well as one on 122/Sacramento & a couple on Glisan, were built by Multnomah County in the 1960s. ADA concerns were obviously not on the radar screen then.

I guess they had two options: (1) redo the bridge for ADA, keeping motor vehicle traffic flowing, or (2) put in a stop light. Guess which one Portland City Hall chose.

“That's a lot of stairs for a bike!”, damn you Kent, I just blew a mouthful of coffee on my computer keyboard.

I think that ADA would recommend a maximum grade of 5%, so to get down from 20' to the sidewalk level would require 400' of ramp on each side.

Couldn't they do circular ones, like on the east side of the Morrison Bridge?

Jack, you know the city doesn't have any money for that.

They could do circular ones, but the overall length along the helix would be the same. Based on the photo, I'm guessing part of that apartment property would need to purchased on that side of the street.

"I brake for people!?" Good God. I sure hope so. Is that sign really necessary?

That stretch was on my daily commute for five years until about a year ago. I would often see elderly people crossing in that area as well as people with grocery carts. It's area with a lot of Asian immigrants and many of them probably don't drive or own a vehicle. Even an ADA ramp there would be significant work for an elderly person wiith a cart load of groceries.

They overkilled this. I guess some guy got hit on a bike there, so they made the sidewalks 12 feet deep and took their sweet time (apparently this is Portland's version of the Champs Elysee).

Unfortunately, this put the Bun Bo Hue soup place out of business (no parking) and it was a pretty good place.

Who the hell knows what drummer they march to at City Hall? They killed parking along SE Holgate for bike lanes no one uses and SE Division will prove to be the same way.

If you've seen the overpasses that have to be built today to meet ADA requirements, it would be a monstrosity and an eyesore. Between the length of the ramp on either side, or the installation of elevators on either side.

An overpass like that can't be built today.

Here's a pedestrian overpass over two streets and a set of railroad tracks in Seattle that shows you what kind of ramp structure is required.

Here's another one at Sea-Tac International Airport - the overpass over Tukwila International Boulevard to access the Central Link (light rail) station.

Now why would they need curb side parking once they have reduced the masses to peddling a bike wearing a Mao jacket.

Why go up when you can go down? It would make more sense to construct underground tunnels than build these overpasses. For ALL SORTS of good reasons:

1) easier for the disabled to use
2) nobody will be throwing rocks and concrete down onto cars from an underpass
3) protected from the weather

However I suppose the powers that be would not like them because they'd offer shelter to the homeless and be a prime mugging venue.

Underground tunnels, hey that would be the new bathroom for the homeless.

If you want the case against an undercrossing, look at the pedestrian tunnel below Naito Parkway just south of downtown by the Ross ISland bridge. It's always dark and dingy, and sometimes at night you basically can't cross because of all the homeless people sleeping in there.

As someone who spent some time volunteering at Harrison Park Elementary, a few blocks from here, the at level crossing was definitely needed. It looks like overkill but it's more like the city realizing the pedestrian overpass wasn't working. Too steep, especially for people who just picked up groceries at the asian market down the street.

I know the area, and it's not like they installed these things at the same time. There are is high crossing demand at that location, and it's adjacent to nearby schools.

Unfortunately, like Andrew says, the existing overpass didn't work. (Human beings are particularly sensitive to out of direction travel, including Up and Over.)

Putting in an at grade crossing was the only sensible, respectable solution for the the people that live, work and go to school in the area.

It's also important to keep in mind that Division St. is not a limited access highway. There is no right to unlimited high speed travel on urban city streets.

John Benton

I second that line of thought. You need both for people with mobility problems. Or build the bridge to be ADA compliant. I'd have to look at the site more to see if that was even possible here.

Elevators at those locations are always scary. Dunno why. Feeling trapped in a box with street strangers maybe?


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