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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Narrow Williams Avenue to one lane for motorists?

That sure seems to be the plan.

Comments (36)

And then Wolfgang, (played by Arte), peeked out from behind the bushes and said "veeeeery interesting.....but, stupid"

As someone who travels Williams Avenue everyday on the bus, I say move the bike lane to another street. Williams can get very congested with traffic that is avoiding I-5, there are lots of trendy new shops and restaurants opening in one section, so lots of cars parked along the sides, lots of pedestrians (for whom bicycles never yield), and a bike "boulevard". It is a nightmare. The bikes do not belong on this street. Just as a point of information: I have been traveling this route for 50 years.

I was wondering what for and then this.
"It is a nightmare. The bikes do not belong on this street"

That explains the idea because as we've seen
in Portland many times failure promotes more of the same.
Portland motto: Do What You Wouldn't Do

Irene: I'll bet the auto traffic gets considerably less congested if this happens. I think that's probably the point. INFO: It's hard to say the plan on Williams has been a failure, if you remember what it was like the last 40 years vs. now.

"I'll bet the auto traffic gets considerably less congested if this happens"

The traffic doesn't just disappear. It simply congests additional streets. You see, that's why bright planners plan auto through ways...

I'm sure the plan calls for zero lanes eventually, but as the Wicked Witch of the West said, "These things must be done delicately... or you hurt the spell".

Aw, come ON! Williams is a major thoroughfare. WTF! YOu will not be able to get off 405 at Kerby, people leaving the hospital (workers and patients) will be clogged up, and coming out of the Broadway bridge from downtown will be stacked up worse than even now!

I live at the top of the Williams run, and it's great. I rode the 44 for three years, and buses and bikes danced together just fine. I've wondered why they didn't move the bike lane to the left, but the bikes don't need 10 feet! WTF!!!!

What the wicked witch of the West said was, "all in good time, all in good time, he, he, he".

The slow death of the car as a transport vehicle has been the plan for some time. These witches and their monkey slaves think they can make Portland some fantasy island where everyone is young, in spandex, and has a whole bunch of time on their hands.

So far they are right on target:

> Young - all the old folks are getting really pissed off at the insane planning and massive debt load, so are getting out.

> spandex - ok still working on a plaid version, but bike ware is high fashion these days.

> whole bunch of time - with the lack of good jobs and mostly part-time crap jobs, mission accomplished.

Don, Williams is at capacity for 10 hours a week. If you want to other travel lane preserved I suggest you take it up with the business owners who wanted to preserve free on street parking. Looking at the growth of biking on this road and the development its helped spur it makes total sense to change the lane configuration.

They did that with Interstate Ave, from 4 lanes to the now wonderful 1 lane in each direction.

It was quite amusing last week during rush hour, Interstate Ave was stopped because of the lights not being synchronized. There in the line of backed up traffic sat a police vehicle, officer included with its red lights and siren blaring going nowhere, but the lights were pretty and it sounded like something important needed to be attend to.

Changing Williams to one lane is the CoP's way of making the cops in an emergency situation slow down and give way to bikes.

Anyone who has to drive in Interstate knows knocking the street down to one lane makes it almost impassable by car. Sounds like Williams is next up for that treatment.

I drive home on Williams during the winter and bike home on it during the summer. It's fine as-is. This is yet another case of the Bike Portland crowd just wanting something for themselves, necessity be damned.

This actually would have already happened if the Black community in that neighborhood, led by the churches, hadn't made a stink about why, once affluent white folks started using Williams, there was $$$ for "improvements" while there never was before Sam's favorite constituents started using it as a route to their condos in NE. They've been running a dog and pony show to make it look like they're listening to the concerns of the Black community before ramrodding a new bike lane down their throats nonetheless.

Phil and Chuck, besides Interstate and Williams, this is what PBOT and Planners want to do to SW Barbur/99 from downtown through Tigard.

Here it is a state highway, and a large part of it they want to run lightrail down the middle with intermittent pedestrian/passenger islands, a few left turn refuges, eliminate parking in some areas and make ONLY one lane in each direction.

The southwest metro citizens should go explore Interstate to see how wonderful the Planner ideas are. Plus, 99 is a major highway servicing so many other cities and suburban areas, besides being a relief from I-5 backups.

That is one reason that a petition to vote on funding for lightrail in the SW Corridor is likely to happen, just like in Clackamas Co. The Pols/Planners aren't listening.

I forgot to mention the wide bike lanes in the Barbur/99 Plans.

The traffic doesn't just disappear. It simply congests additional streets. You see, that's why bright planners plan auto through ways...

Sounds crazy, but in fact it does.

I just finished a book titled TRAFFIC: Why We Drive the Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt and I recommend it to anyone who wants a better understanding of traffic dynamics. It should be required reading for anybody promoting the boondoggle known as the CRC.

One of the subjects discussed, and supported by many studies, involves this subject. If lanes are widened or additional lanes are not provided, traffic spreads out in another way. You don't end up with the same amount of traffic on a lot of different streets; you get the folks who have a choice about when they can use the streets choosing lower volume hours to do their business, you get people carpooling or taking other forms of transit.

I'm not a streetcar or bike nut and I was skeptical when I started to read about this but I believe it now. Conversely, the California highway experience and associated studies show quite clearly that if you build highways or arterial streets bigger, traffic will take advantage of the ease of going wherever it wants whenever it wants to completely consume available space in no time at all.

Weird, but true.

Interesting that the plans appear to be giving more space to parking than to auto travel. Maybe the CoP will run out of money and have to resort to the spot fix-ups (option 3) which leave 2 lanes of traffic with one 5' bike lane. It is my understanding that bike lanes are supposed to be situated on minor roadways that aren't heavily used by autos. Aren't they reading their own planning manuals?

This is beautiful! How much did it cost to produce this full color, very detailed design? How many people and man hours went into it?

I'm not a streetcar or bike nut and I was skeptical when I started to read about this but I believe it now.

Gee, one book and you're good for the whole pitcher of Kool-Aid.

Skeptical, my a** - "...many studies...", my other cheek.

Vanderbilt is just another purveyor of bike/planning/social engineering epistles.

Nut, meet tool.

I think the black community in that neighborhood is failing to fully grasp that they are, and will be driven from the neighborhood. The real estate underneath them is simply too valuable to the developer/investor cabal running the city to leave it as is. On the bright side, once gone I'm sure there'll be some cute Afro or Southern themed boutiques or hip cafes, that is unless the neighborhood gets "rebranded".

Total cost for the project is just over $300k. Alta's money comes out of that total. Basically this is paint on the ground. The city is also looking for an extra $250k for a much needed traffic light at Cook and Williams. We'd have the money readily available from System Development Charges but the great minds at the city somehow already have it earmarked for the new streetcar and light rail projects.

Take a look at the goals (Outcomes) of the 10, Four are specific for bicycles. The #3 goal is REDUCE MOTOR VEHICLE SPEEDS. It is designed to slow traffic. Not increase efficiency. To Slow you down.. grid lock, so Cyclists can smugly wiz on by!

We can hope that all that tight spandex and pointy bike seats make this generation of male bike riders permanently sterile.

This appears to be a plan by Alta, so of course it favors bikes over anything else. You only hire Alta if you are looking for this conclusion.

Dman, slower speeds are an outcome because scofflaw motorists break the law all the time and speed through our neighborhood. Other than the ten hours of rush hour a week there's zero reason for two lanes of traffic. The whole purpose of this project is to make this neighborhood main street better for everyone. If that means people have to follow the law it won't be the end of the world.

I think I remember reading about this for the first time in one of the local rags (could have been the Zero, could have been the Hollywood Star). That article said something about the bicycle folks wanting another lane on Williams because they needed a "passing lane" since there are so many "slow" cyclists. read that right. Some bikers just aren't riding fast enough for some people.


Congestion is the name of the game here and hardly anyone mentions the sacrifice of our livability within the UGB and the cause of much of the tension here as a result of it.

The planners may realize their plans of density leading to congestion is leading to gridlock, so is their plan to force and propagandize as many as they can to go by foot or bike?

I know a neighborhood association that was contacted to ask why more children were not walking or biking to school? Some Parent's response was that it isn't safe, that is why.

As lw noted, they're planning the same idiocy for Barbur/99W. One might expect that, as it's a state highway, they'd run into some resistance from the state, but as they've demonstrated with PMLR, that's a non-issue.

Dman, slower speeds are an outcome because scofflaw motorists break the law all the time and speed through our neighborhood.

Then isn't the answer to actually enforce the law, rather than expropriating more road space for the privileged bike crowd?

"Other than the ten hours of rush hour a week there's zero reason for two lanes of traffic."

Sorry, Andrews, this is the kind of logic encountered far too often. Usually in neighborhood association meetings. You imply an underlying assumption that roads should only provide for maximum capacity all the time, or else they are over built. Even I-84 has very little traffic at times.

I'm sure that Williams is at capacity more than 10 hours per week. But even if your assessment is correct, then it sounds like fairly open travel for bicyclists the remaining 178 hours... So how is the reconstruction justified?

No, why waste police time on enforcement actions? This is a permanent 24 hour a day method for slowing speeds. Quite frankly I'd prefer to have them fighting the gun/gang violence in our area. The other great benefit of one lane is for pedestrians. Much safer to just cross one lane of traffic. Compliance by bikes and cars isn't great right now. Shifting the bike lane behind cars will let pedestrians use the space as an island so you won't have to cross five lanes of traffic all at once.

What I hope happens is the SAC sets some goals in terms of auto delay and if it turns out segment four is causing massive delays photo can go back and change the lane configuration. Unlike ultraexpensive rail projects at the end of the day this is just paint. If it works the neighborhood will be a much better place that people want to walk around and where parents can let their kids walk and bike to school. If it fails miserably we can always go back and fix it for relatively little money. Unlike the various rail projects where we're stuck with them.

Portland cops -- traffic enforcement? Come on, man. You're pulling my leg.

Bikes are never going to yield to pedestrians on Williams. Never.

With curb bubbles, pedestrians do not have to cross more than two lanes on Williams, and it's a one-way street.

Have a nice ride.

Andrew S : No, why waste police time on enforcement actions? This is a permanent 24 hour a day method for slowing speeds.
JK: Why do you want to slow speeds? Shouldn’t the goal be a balance safety and efficient travel? Do you think that fire trucks and ambulances should also be slowed?

Andrew S : Compliance by bikes and cars isn't great right now. Shifting the bike lane behind cars will let pedestrians use the space as an island so you won't have to cross five lanes of traffic all at once.
JK: Why not license bikers and require compliance, like we do for drivers, instead of rewarding their bad behavior by stealing space from 90% of road users in cars? I do hope you realize that cars are a major contributor to our standard of living.


Also worth mentioning that they're putting a New Seasons on Williams at the old bakery site. Knocking it down to one lane is going to turn that whole stretch into a parking lot. That's really what the goal is anyway: make it impossible to get anywhere in the inner city by car. Tom Miller has basically said as much, at least in transpo code. This has as much to do with pedestrian safety as skydiving does to air traffic control.

And I don't know what street ya'll are driving on, but speeds on Williams aren't breakneck, at least in my experience. The biggest issues are cyclists being doored and pedestrians being clipped by cyclists who don't bother to wonder why cars are stopped randomly.

Finally, the capacity in the bike lane during the summer months at rush hour, are fine. I ride at a leisurely pace, and have no issues on Williams. And during the other 9 months out of the year, there's TONS of room in the bike lane. Portland really needs to have an independent organization do their traffic counts. When the boss has already decided the outcome, the worker bees make the appropriate changes.

PDXlifer: It's a good point about the underlying assumptions. I think Williams should be more of a neighborhood street with lower traffic speeds like Mississippi. Most streets are a balance of competing interests. We could certainly maximize auto throughput by eliminating the bike lane and the parking and turning it into a high speed arterial. I'd rather have lower speeds and more bikers with the same amount of auto parking. Especially with all the new apartments going in on the grass fields it will be good to give people options for how they want to get around, cars very much included, which is why the light at cook is so important.

I agree with Jim it's important to balance traffic flow with safety. Which is why we have a glorious multilane interstate located mere blocks to the west *and* we have bike lane free MLK located just a few blocks east. And Jim really just reinforces the reason why we need to have at least 10ft bike lanes on this corridor: they can provide access for emergency vehicles when there's congestion.

Also my apologies about the five lane typo, I meant three: two vehicle, one bike. Under option 1/left side bike lane pedestrians would cross 1 bike lane, have a space with better visibility to wait, and then cross one lane of motor traffic. As for cyclist behavior a bike licence is a pretty good idea (not licencing each bike, which doesn't recoup its cost).

It should be pointed out Vancouver is one lane for most of its length and doesn't suffer crippling congestion either. Granted they're not totally comparable streets, but I think the left side bike lane will be a boon for our neighborhood.

Of course, the problem with I5 is it needs more capacity. Add a lane, rework the on/off ramps or double deck it.

PS: you CAN build your way out of congestion!


And when a bus has to stop in the traffic lane instead of at the curb because cars are parked in the bus stop zone and the bus has to off-load a wheelchair, will all the traffic backup while the bus raises and lowers the lift? At least if the bicycles are on the left side bus passengers will not have to worry about being clipped by a bicyclist who doesn't think pedestrians have the right of way as they get off a bus.

Yeah, don't pretend that the narrowing of Interstate was for bikes. It's terrible for bikes; a good chunk of it around Killingsworth doesn't even have bike lanes so you have to ride in traffic and worry about getting caught by the door of yuppies on their way to New Seasons. The narrowing was done for the Max, and there would still be room for 4 lanes if they didn't have the middle two painted off most of the way to pretend that they only exist as turn lanes every 5 blocks.

Smart money takes the Greely exit off I5, which (past Willamette) manages to have capacity for both bikes AND cars during rush hour, as well as properly timed lights. Probably due to lack of a Max track in the middle. You take Interstate during rush hour, you deserve what you get.


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