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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Neighborhood Greenway Frequently Asked Questions

Neighborhood Greenway FAQ

What is a Neighborhood Greenway?

Neighborhood Greenway is the label PBOT uses for a secondary system of streets for cyclists to use that parallel busier arterial streets many cyclists do not feel comfortable riding on. The ideal goal is to create linear park-like environments for walking and biking. The roadways are intended to be shared by people driving cars and people riding bikes. Safety of cyclists is elevated for Neighborhood Greenways because of the shared environment. To encourage use by people riding bikes, an ideal goal of 1,000 auto trips per day, with a maximum of 2,000 per day, along with 85th percentile auto speeds of 17-23 mph are the target metrics.

What is the 1,000 vehicles per day related to?

As part of its assessment of Neighborhood Greenways, PBOT identified a set of traffic volumes as measurements of success. 1,000 auto trips per day was established as the ideal goal for the number of cars daily using a street that families would be encouraged to use by bike. When an existing or proposed greenway route has a car volume below 1,000 vehicles per day, no diversion of auto traffic will be proposed. When a proposed greenway route has more than 1500 auto trips per day, diversion may be considered. If auto volumes on a proposed greenway exceed 2,000 per day, diversion of auto traffic shall be considered.

Will my side street see more traffic because of the project?

Many greenways are traditional through streets in a neighborhood, even though their designation is the same as the other nearby streets. The reasons one street is used more than others often involves fewer stop signs along that path, or the presence of signals at crossings of higher order roadways, both of which attract users. Diversion on a greenway redistributes local traffic amongst the local streets so all the local streets in a neighborhood share the load more evenly. Diversion along a greenway is expected to move traffic to other nearby streets. Since diversion on Neighborhood Greenways was adopted as part of the Neighborhood Greenways assessment report, a maximum threshold was established for side streets near the greenway to reduce the impact to adjacent local residents. As 1,000 car trips per day was the chosen ideal volume for cycle use, this number is also used as the permitted volume on any adjacent side street. This is not an increase of 1,000 cars per day, but a total post-project volume. So, if your street only has 300 current daily trips, it could see another 700. But if your street already has 800 daily trips, the available space is only 200 more daily trips. PBOT uses pre-project counts to help decide where to place diversion, preferring to place it where there is more capacity to absorb diverted drivers.

What happens if my side street ends up with more than 1,000 daily trips after the project?

PBOT takes numerous counts away from the project street to gauge the effects of the project on the nearby local streets. If a side street has a post-project volume above 1,000 daily trips, and it did not have a pre-project volume problem, PBOT will do follow-up counts to confirm the change is not random, and propose mitigation should a problem remain. The most common mitigation options are adjustment of stop signs, traffic calming on the secondary street, diversion on a secondary street and modification of the primary greenway project.

What if I live on a side street that already has too much traffic?

The focus of a Neighborhood Greenway project is the greenway. PBOT can review other issues in a neighborhood that may be related to the operation of the greenway, but will focus greenway resources on improving the greenway to encourage bike use along that path. Other traffic concerns should be directed to 823-SAFE, or the PBOT web site.
Lincoln Greenway Questions

Why Harrison-Lincoln? Aren’t there other streets with greater needs?

Traditionally, PBOT has modified a street for livability concerns and moved on. It has been uncommon for PBOT to go back to a street and upgrade to current standards, even when those standards are significantly different than with the original project. In 2015, PBOT initiated an assessment of all greenways, formerly called bike boulevards, to get a snapshot of how the streets were performing for cyclists, based on the draft metrics developed in 2009. The assessment report identified six former bicycle boulevards (legacy greenways) that carried a significant amount of bike traffic, and had high car volumes and speeds. These legacy greenways included:

• NE Alameda
• SE Ankeny
• SE Clinton-Woodward
• SE Lincoln-Harrison-Ladd
• NW Greenways, and
• NE Tillamook

SE Clinton, 12th to 50th, is complete, and SE Ankeny, 12th to 28th, is pending completion. NE Tillamook was to be next, but a BES project in the west end would have conflicted with the greenway project. NW in Motion is in the planning stages, which leaves Lincoln-Harrison-Ladd and Alameda as the remaining legacy greenways identified for future upgrades.
To be sure, there are many parts of Portland with bike infrastructure needs, and PBOT is currently pursuing over a half dozen such ‘new’ greenways east of 82nd Avenue, as well as continuing to identify missing links in the current system and plan enhancements on other legacy greenways.

Why is Harrison becoming a collector street?

SE Harrison, 26th to 30th, as well as 26th south of Harrison and 30th north of Harrison are already designated as Neighborhood Collector streets in Portland’s Transportation System Plan (TSP). The Harrison-Lincoln Greenway project is not changing any traffic classifications.
The purpose of Neighborhood Collector traffic streets is to provide a connection between lower classified Local Service streets and higher classified streets. The TSP does not define traffic streets by how much traffic uses them, since cities grow and shrink, but instead on the function they are meant to serve for a variety of modes. Portland has Neighborhood Collectors with hundreds of car trips daily and a few with thousands of car trips daily. It all depends on where the collector is and nearby land uses.
The next higher classification, District Collector, are the streets meant for traffic moving between districts in the city and meant to serve through traffic over longer distances. SE Hawthorne west of 50th is a District Collector.

Why only three diverters?

PBOT is still evaluating the effectiveness of diversion internal to a Neighborhood Greenway. PBOT has traditionally only placed diverters at major cross-streets. Internal diversion creates more inconvenience for residents inside the local area, and PBOT is expanding its knowledge about how different forms of diversion interact with neighborhood traffic patterns. On SE Clinton, 12th to 50th, two new diverters were added to the two existing semi-diverters at Chavez, bringing the total to four along a 2-mile corridor. The results on SE Clinton have been better than expected. The SE Ladd/Harrison/Lincoln (LHL) corridor is three miles long and four new diverters are proposed to be added to the existing three, for a total of seven diverters.