(PORTLAND, Ore.) – A bicycle lane will expand and freight access will improve on the Broadway Bridge ramp into Old Town, with construction crews scheduled to make these and other safety improvements beginning on Monday, July 1, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick announced today.
“We’re pleased to announce this all around win. By restriping and transforming the lanes, which is a low-cost action, the City is improving the traffic flow and safety for all,” Novick said. He noted that the ramp is a commuting gateway into the central city for people traveling by bicycle and motor vehicle and also a designated truck route heavily used by U.S. Postal Service trucks turning into the adjacent postal service Portland headquarters.
To improve safety for all travelers, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is transforming the 5-foot-wide southbound bicycle lane into a 10-foot buffered bicycle lane with three feet of striped pavement separating bicycles and motor traffic. To improve freight access, travel lanes in both directions will increase from 9½ feet to 11 feet, improving the turning radius for trucks at the Broadway and NW Lovejoy Street intersection.
The work will begin after the morning commute on Monday, July 1, when a crew will remove existing pavement markings. One travel lane will remain open in each direction at all times. The new lane markings will be striped between 3 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 2, weather permitting.
To accommodate the wider southbound lanes, one of the ramp’s two northbound lanes will be removed. Because that northbound ramp is fed by only one travel lane from NW Hoyt to NW Lovejoy streets, the change will not slow traffic flow, a Transportation Bureau analysis found.
“This is an elegant solution to a longstanding safety problem,” said Lanny Gower, who commutes by bicycle to his work at Con-Way Freight and is a member of the Oregon Trucking Association’s policy committee and Bicycle Transportation Alliance board. “The city is cleaning up a bottleneck for people driving and bicycling. Safety will improve, especially for people turning right from the foot of the bridge, and so will traffic flow for all commuters.”
As a major entry point into the Downtown and Pearl District, the Broadway Bridge has seen the number of bicycle trips more than double since 2005, from 2,081 daily trips that year to more than 4,400 daily trips in 2012.
In addition to the restriping, the City will change parking rules along the corridor later this summer to better accommodate morning commuters. Parking will be allowed along the southbound lanes between NW Glisan and W Burnside streets beginning at 9 a.m. instead of 7 a.m., after the city determined that parking demand is light at those hours, and the change can accommodate bicycle traffic without compromising parking needs for people and businesses.
The NW Broadway ramp project was identified in the Pearl District Access and Circulation Plan, adopted by City Council on June 13, 2012. The Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 recognized its importance in the city’s network by giving it the highest bicycle functional classification.
Photo: Portland Bureau of Transportation