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20s Bikeway Project: Policy History and Framework

The purpose of this document is to provide a background on City policies and policy documents  that are most likely to be relevant to the development of the NE/SE 20’s Bikeway Project. 

The following three documents provide a history of how the route’s alignment has developed over time through a series of policy documents that have defined Portland’ bicycle network since 1973. 

 

Bicycle Facilities for Portland: A Comprehensive Plan (1973)

Portland’s first bicycle plan was developed by a citizen task force in 1973.  This followed closely on the heels of State legislation (HB 1700) in 1971, known as the ‘Bicycle Bill’.  The law requires that in any given fiscal year, a minimum of 1% of the state highway fund received by the ODOT, a city or county is used to provide walkways and bikeways located within the right-of-way of public roads, streets or highways open to motor vehicle traffic.

Sections of the 20s Bikeway were originally identified in this plan to be part of Portland’s first improved bicycle network.   North of the I-84 Freeway, the route (# ‘10’) generally followed the current proposed alignment along 28th Ave to Alameda Ridge.  To the south of I-84, the route (#22) followed 28th Ave to SE Stark St, where it then shifted east to 30th Ave as it made it way south.  At SE Grant St it shifted back west to connect to SE 26th Ave, continuing south to just past SE Powell Blvd where it jogged back to SE 28th Ave all the way to Bybee Blvd.

 

Arterial Streets Classification Policy (1977-1983)

Originally developed in 1977, the Arterial Streets Classification Policy was the beginning of Portland’s classification of streets by mode of transportation.  The Arterial Streets Classification Policy eventually became what was known as the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan and after that, the Transportation System Plan

The 20’s Bikeway route identified in the plan is very similar to the current alignment identified in the Bicycle Master Plan for 2030.  North of NE Knott St, the route was generally a couple blocks east of the current alignment.  To the south of NE Knott St the route followed the 1973 alignment along 28th and 30th Ave to SE Harrison St where it shifted to 26th Ave.  South of SE Gladstone St, the route continued to use 26th Ave, instead of the current alignment along 28th to SE Reedway, where it connected 28th Ave adjacent to Reed College.  The section south of Bybee Blvd to 45th Ave was also identified.

 

Bicycle Master Plan (1996)

Website:  http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/369990

By 1996 the City had developed a bicycle network of over 150 miles of bicycle facilities and had seen dramatic increase in interest in bicycle planning.  The first bicycle master plan adopted by City Council was produced to provide more detailed policy guidance for the development of the bicycle network and guide updates to the City’s Transportation System Plan (TSP). 

The 20’s Bikeway alignment was refined to its current version at this time.  The most significant changes from the previous alignment being the continued use of 28th Ave south of SE Stark St to Hawthorne, and the use of 28th Ave between SE Gladstone and SE Reedway, instead of 26th Ave .

 

Bicycle Master Plan for 2030 (2010)

Website:  http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597

In 2010 the 1996 Bicycle Master Plan under went a major upgrade resulting in the Bicycle Master Plan for 2030.  The new plan provides a more refined vision for the role of bicycling within the City’s transportation system that is intended to achieve a 25% mode share for bicycling. This is in response to a number of factors, including the dramatic increase in bicycling’s mode share of all trips over the past decade, direction from the City-County Climate Action Plan (2009), direction from The Portland Plan and direction from Metro in the form of the Regional Transportation Plan. All these documents call for a 25% mode share for bicycle transportation.

To help continue the growth in bicycling’s overall share of all trips the plan expanded the network of planned bikeways from 630 to 962 miles, based on the objective of creating a denser network where most residents would be no more than 3-4 blocks from a bicycle facility.  This is based in part on the desire to place greater emphasis on the role of bicycling for shorter trips- trips 3 miles or less in length.  This distance represents half of all trips made in Portland, regardless of mode, and corresponds to research which demonstrating that trips three miles and less can be readily and efficiently traveled by bicycle, making it an attractive alternative to the automobile.

The plan also created a new way of viewing how the system might serve existing and potential new bicycle riders.  The plan categorized Portlanders into one of four types based on their relationship to bicycle transportation.  It acknowledges that roughly a third of the City’s population for a variety of reasons are not going use bicycling as an  option because they are either uninterested or unable to do so.  Of the remaining 2/3rd , about 10-12% of the total, fall into one of two categories, the ‘strong and fearless’ and the ‘enthused and confident’.  These are the people who comprise most of Portland’s current regular bicyclists.  This leaves the final  category, the ~50% known as the ‘interested but concerned’.  These people would like to ride more, but often find existing roadway conditions too intimidating for their comfort.  They therefore greatly value improvements which address safety and provide a low stress riding environment.  These residents have become the target audience for bicycle planning because they represent a huge reservoir of potential bicyclists whose mode choice decision for short trips could be triggered by improvements to the system.

The Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 reconfirmed the alignment identified in the 1996 Bicycle Master Plan for the NE/SE 20’s Bikeway.  What has changed though is that this version introduced a new classification for bicycles, in addition the City Bikeway, known as the Major City Bikeway.  The 20’s Bikeway, between NE Broadway and SE Stark St is proposed to be upgraded from a City Bikeway to a Major City Bikeway.

 

Major City Bikeway:

Major City Bikeways are intended to form the mobility backbone of Portland’s bicycle transportation system and provide primary connections to major attractors throughout the city, such as downtown or regional centers.  The classification of a Major City Bikeway is intended to set a new threshold for bikeway function.  To achieve the width required to provide safe, comfortable facilities on streets developed as separated in-roadway bikeways it may be necessary to make tradeoffs such as removal of travel lanes and on-street parking.  The purpose of the Major City Bikeway is to create a policy basis for emphasizing bicycle transportation on such streets, provided that the essential movement of other modes is addressed.  

See page 28 of the Portland Bicycle Master Plan for 2030.

Though adopted by City Council, the new classification has not yet been incorporated into the TSP, which is currently being updated.

 

Transportation System Plan:

Website:  http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/52495

The Transportation System Plan (TSP) is the City’s primary transportation policy document.  It is adopted as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  The TSP provides overall guidance on how Portland’s transportation system is supposed to function in coordination with its Comprehensive land use plan.

What follows is not a complete listing of relevant policies to the project, but rather a highlighting of several of the key policies.

 

Policy 6.7 Bicycle Classification Descriptions (page 2-12)

Maintain a system of bikeways to serve all bicycle users and all types of bicycle trips.

Objectives:

A. City Bikeways

City Bikeways are intended to establish direct and convenient bicycle access to significant destinations, to provide convenient access to Major City Bikeways and to provide coverage within three city blocks of any given point.

Land Use. City Bikeways should support 2040 land use types and residential neighborhoods.

Improvements: City Bikeways emphasize*  the movement of bicycles. Motor vehicle lanes and on-street parking may be removed on City Bikeways to provide needed width for separated-in-roadway facilities where compatible with adjacent land uses and only after taking into consideration the essential movement of all modes.

NOTE: *The phrase ‘emphasize the movement of bicycles’ in the description of City Bikeways is intended to support a connected bikeway network and bicycle mobility and access on these streets in a manner that is appropriate for the adjacent land use setting and is consistent with other adopted modal street classifications.

The TSP also provides guidance on the goals and objectives for bikeway tools such as ‘Traffic Calming’ and its relationship to Emergency Response:

Policy 6.13 Traffic Calming (page 2-27)

6.13 G (Traffic Calming) [NEW]

Use traffic calming tools and other available tools and methods to create and maintain sufficiently low automotive volumes and speeds on bicycle boulevards to ensure a comfortable cycling environment on the street.

Policy 6.14 Emergency Response (page 2-27)

Provide a network of emergency response streets that facilitates prompt response to emergencies.

Objectives

A:    Use the emergency response classification system to determine whether traffic calming devices can be employed.

Policy 6.10 Emergency Response Classification Descriptions (page 2-18)

Objectives:

A.    Major Emergency Response Streets

        Intended to provide a network of streets to serve primarily the longer, most direct legs of emergency response trips.

 

  • Traffic Slowing.  Major Emergency Response Route are not eligible for traffic slowing devices in the future. 

This is assumed to refer to speed bumps.

Policy 6.26 On-Street Parking Management (page 2-33)

Manage the supply, operations, and demand for parking and loading in the public right-of-way to encourage economic vitality, safety for all modes, and livability of residential neighborhoods.

Objectives:

A.    Support land uses in existing and emerging regional centers, town centers and main streets with an adequate supply of on-street parking.

B.    Maintain existing on-street parking in older neighborhoods and commercial areas where off-street parking is inadequate, except where parking removal is necessary to accommodate alternatives to the automobile.

 

NE/SE 20s Bikeway TSP Street Classifications

Route

Section

 

Traffic

 

Bike

 

Freight

 

Transit

 

Pedestrian

Emergency

Response

NE 27th Ave

Lombard to Ainsworth

 

City Bikeway

 

 

Access

Street

City Walkway

 

NE 28th / 29th Ave

Ainsworth to

Broadway

 

City Bikeway

 

 

 

 

 

NE/SE 28th Ave

Broadway to Ankeny

Neigh.

Collector

Major City Bikeway

 

 

City Walkway

Major

Response

NE/SE 28th Ave

Glisan to Stark

Neigh.

Collector

Major City Bikeway

 

Access

Street

 

Major

Response

SE 28th Ave

Ankeny to Stark

Neigh

Collector

City Bikeway

 

Access

Street

 

Major

Response

SE 28th / 26th  Ave

Stark to Harrison

 

City Bikeway

 

 

 

 

SE 26th Ave

Harrison to Division

Neigh

Collector

City Bikeway

 

 

 

 

SE 26th Ave

Division to Gladstone

Neigh

Collector

City Bikeway

 

Access

Street

City Walkway

Major

Response

SE Gladstone

26th to 28th Ave

 

City Bikeway

 

 

 

 

SE 28th Ave

Gladstone to Bybee

Neigh

Collector

City Bikeway

 

Access

Street

City Walkway

Major

Response

SE 27th / CrystalSprings

Bybee to 45th Ave

 

City Bikeway

 

 

 

Major

Response

Note:  Fields left blank indicates local access only.

 

Neighborhood Plans

Webpage:  http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/34248

The project route traverse a total of 12 official neighborhood association boundaries.  The following is a list of those that have adopted neighborhood plans that may contain policies relevant to the design and function of the project.

  • Concordia (1993)
  • Sullivan’s Gulch (1987)
  • Kerns (1987)
  • Buckman (1991)
  • Hosford-Abernathy (1988)
  • Creston-Kenillworth (1998)

 

Grant History

In 2008 the City of Portland applied to Metro for a Regional Flexible Fund Grant for development of the 20s Bikeway.  $2.5M in federal funds were awarded.

The 20s bikeway was prioritized for both the City of Portland and Metro for a number of reasons:

 

  • It serves many land uses in an area of town where the potential for increased bicycle transportation is high because of the many short trips
  • It will result in a north-south bikeway corridor in a part of town where north-south corridors are relatively few and far-between
  • It will provide connections to east-west bikeways and provide proximate access (within one-half mile) to 19 schools, including 11 elementary, three middle, three high schools and two colleges, and
  • It will connect to areas identified as strategic areas in the Regional 2040 Growth Concept, including main streets, corridors, station communities and industrial areas; specifically, it provides good access to commercial streets like NE Alberta, NE Broadway, SE Hawthorne and SE Division, industrial areas including the Brooklyn Yard and future station areas along the Portland Milwaukie light rail line.

 

Because of these attributes, the project was ranked highly by Metro in awarding the grant and by the city in seeking funding to develop the bikeway. As the city noted in its application to Metro, “one notable benefit of increased bicycling is that money that residents save by bicycling can be spent in the local economy.”