Bicycling Portland

I recently enjoyed several days exploring Portland, Oregon by foot, bicycle, and tram.

Given their high rate of bicycling, often without helmets, and many years now of decriminalized recreational use of marijuana (and now fully legal to grow and purchase) I expected the carnage and debauchery that we’re so often warned about with both of these. Imagine my surprise that Portland is such a wonderful, inviting, healthy and safe place!

Over three days I was able to spend my mornings and lunch walking and riding around town on their brand new Nike Biketown bike share system. My exploration was mostly limited to the area currently served by Biketown though I did venture outside a couple of times.


Portland’s Nike BikeTown network. Note that the blue dots represent one or more individual bikes that are not at a hub but are available — if you can find them.

Though it falls far short of The Netherlands and many other places outside of the US, biking and walking around Portland feels safer and more comfortable, for me, than Minneapolis or Chicago and much more so than St Paul or New York.

On the other hand, my wife enjoys riding to lunch or the grocery store on the protected bikeways in Shoreview MN but won’t ride in Portland with only paint for protection.

A large number of Portland’s streets include painted bike lanes and on most of those that do not the traffic level is low, fairly slow and fairly patient. The narrower traffic lanes likely contribute to the slower and more attentive drivers. Thanks to this, I didn’t feel the need to plan a special bike route to get wherever I wanted to go as nearly every street felt fairly safe—to me at least.

This motor traffic lane is fairly narrow and does a relatively good job of slowing traffic. I only had one close call of being doored though that was only over 3 days of riding.

This motor traffic lane is fairly narrow and does a relatively good job of slowing traffic. I only had one close call of being doored though that was only over 3 days of riding. Drivers overall seemed fairly careful and usually parked closer to the curb than bikeway. All in all I think better than no bike lane at all.

Most of Portland is Bicycle Driver infrastructure. You have to be a good vehicular cyclist, good at bike handling and comfortable in traffic because you’ll have a lot of interaction and conflict with drivers. Bicycle riders in Portland often have to share turn lanes with drivers or do a lane exchange—a conflict not for the timid. It’s better than nothing but still only good enough for a very small minority of people to feel and be safe.


Lane Exchange. Imagine this with a lot more traffic or a bus on you’re left and a semi-truck on your right as happened to me a few times (and that left me too busy to take a photo). Would you send your 10-year-old off for a thrill ride to school with this infrastructure for protection?

There was a surprising amount of glass and other debris in the bikeways and more so than typical in MN. I had to veer in to motor traffic numerous times to avoid broken glass. Fortunately the Biketown bikes appear to have very good tires for those cases where motor traffic wouldn’t allow me to avoid it.

You really don’t want to slip off to the left with cars traveling 50 mph next to you. BTW, that's a 10-14" drop. A cement barrier or even just steel pipe railing would have been appreciated.

Cyclists are supposed to stay to the left here and people walking to the right. You really don’t want to slip off to the left with cars traveling 50 mph next to you. BTW, that’s a 10-14″ drop to the grate traffic lane. A cement barrier or even just steel pipe railing would have been very appreciated.


I did find someone wearing a helmet.

Bike racks and parking are very plentiful.

Bike racks and parking are very plentiful.


Most disabled think Portland does OK but can be better.


Parking, Motor traffic lane, Buffer, Bikeway, Parking. This generally works OK though dooring is a problem as is cars using the bike lane.

One of the more anxiety inducing roads in Portland.

One of the more anxiety inducing roads in Portland. Faster motor traffic, closer to parked cars and potential dooring.

If you build infrastructure for 8% of bicycle riders then that’s the best you’ll get.

Overall, Portland’s infrastructure sort of works. At least if you’re part of the Strong & Fearless or Enthused & Confident contingent of Bicycle Drivers. Portland’s bicycle modal share — how many people commute via bicycle — has hovered near 6% since 2008. This largely validate’s Roger Geller’s ‘Four Types’ chart.

Little or no bicycle infrastructure (St Paul prior to 2015) is for the Strong & Fearless. Painted bike lanes like Portland has will add in the Enthused & Confident. For any more you need protected bikeways. Bikeways designed to Dutch CROW standards or better should attract all of the Interested & Concerned and likely convert a large chunk of the No Way No How.

Little or no bicycle infrastructure (St Paul prior to 2015) is for the lycra-clad Strong & Fearless. Painted bike lanes like Portland has will add in many of the Enthused & Confident. For the other 92% we need protected bikeways. Bikeways designed to Dutch CROW standards or better should attract all of the Interested & Concerned and likely convert a good chunk of the No Way No How.

We were in Portland with a bunch of healthcare folk from across the nation. I queried a lot of them about bicycling around Portland and 9 out of 10 said that they would not ride on streets with just painted bike lanes — they want more protection than that. A few had tried and found the cars passing close by, shared turn lanes, and lack of protection in intersections to be too uncomfortable.

It’s Important

Portland views this as not only important for safety, improving downtown, and attracting businesses, but also for improved health and lower healthcare costs. They know that each $1 invested in making it safer and more comfortable for people to walk or bicycle instead of sit in a car (that will also need space to drive and park) will be more than paid back in a healthier community and lower costs of healthcare.

Portlanders have faced a choice of giving up their food trucks or becoming more active. They weren’t going to give up their food trucks.

Portlanders have faced a choice of giving up their food trucks or becoming more active. They weren’t going to give up their food trucks (and for good reason).

Catching Up

St. Paul is installing some painted bike lanes similar to those in Portland and are also working on protected bikeway in downtown. In my experience people drive much faster in St. Paul than Portland though, perhaps due to the  wider traffic lanes in St. Paul. Some who will ride in a painted bike lane in Portland’s slower and lighter traffic will not in St. Paul. Walking and crossing streets in Portland is also much safer feeling than in St. Paul due to shorter crossing distances and slower motor traffic that is more likely to stop.

New Cleveland Avenue bike lanes in St Paul. Similar to some in Portland though narrower parking so cars more likely to intrude in bike lane, narrower bike lane, no buffer, wider motor traffic lane, and higher speeds.

New Cleveland Avenue bike lanes in St Paul. Similar to some in Portland though sometimes narrower parking so larger cars are more likely to intrude in to the bike lane, narrower bike lane, no buffer, wider motor traffic lane, and higher speed motor traffic. If Portland’s are good for 8% of people then these are likely good for perhaps the bravest 5% which is better than before which was maybe 2%.

Minneapolis is ahead of St. Paul and to their credit are now doing more with protected bikeways. I give Portland the nod because a much higher percent of their roads have some infrastructure, even if just for the bravest 6%, and those that don’t have narrower traffic lanes, slower motor traffic, and shorter crossing distances. However, I’d not be surprised to see Minneapolis top Portland in the near future.

How about Rochester, Duluth, and other Minnesota cities?

I’ll rank Shoreview, a suburb of St. Paul, better than Portland if for no other reason than people like my wife (and many many others) will ride there. Shoreview has protected bikeways on all but a couple of major county roads and those two are scheduled for 2017 and 2018. The other streets are slow and rarely-see-a-car residential streets.

Even with similar traffic and often higher speeds people feel safer and more comfortable on this part of Hodgson that has a side path. The number of people walking, riding bicycles, and on mobility scooters is massively higher than on that part of Hodgson south of Hiway 96. (Hodgson Road north of Hiway 96, Shoreview, MN)

Even with higher levels of traffic and much faster speeds people feel much safer on this protected bikeway in Shoreview than on the unprotected painted bike lanes in Portland. (Hodgson Road north of Hiway 96, Shoreview, MN)

Portland however aren’t resting on their leather saddles and paint. Taking Geller’s Four Types Of Bicycle Riders to heart, they are aiming to build infrastructure for everyone, not just the fearless and confident minority.

Beginning this year they have instituted a policy that every new bikeway must be a protected bikeway. They are also planning to begin upgrading older painted bike lanes to protected bikeways and program traffic signals to provide people walking and riding bicycles protection from turning cars — separation in time.

The core of Portland is a wonderful inviting and comfortable city. Very walkable and more comfortably bikeable than almost all other cities in the US. Portland is what I imagine St. Paul could be. Or better.

Portland is far from perfect (and beyond the core is not as good) and far behind cities outside of the US, but they’re making progress and more so than most US cities. The coming years will be fun to watch.

Next — a look at Portland’s new bike share system.

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25 Responses to Bicycling Portland

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke October 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Thanks for writing this up Walker. You came to a very similar conclusion as I did from my trip a few years ago, and even took a few of the exact same pictures! (see for example:

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell October 11, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

      Thanks. Those food trucks didn’t do anything to help me keep my boyish figure 🙂

      They should list miles of riding by each item to indicate how many miles you need to ride to work off what you’re ordering.

      • Bill Lindeke
        Bill Lindeke October 11, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

        that’s actually a great idea!

        • Walker Angell
          Walker Angell October 12, 2016 at 10:35 am #

          Gyro 11 miles
          + quac 13 miles

          Falafel 9 miles

          Chips 2 miles

  2. Alex October 11, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    Nice article. I lived in Minnesota for 30 years and moved to Eugene, OR (about 100 mi south of Portland), a bit over a year ago. I’ve done some riding and a lot more walking in Portland, and Eugene and Portland have similar transportation cultures, so I thought my observations might add a little to your piece.

    One significant difference I noticed between Oregon and Minnesota traffic engineering culture is that Oregonians are a lot more willing to “experiment” with different treatments. In MN, what they call “professionalism” can take as extreme a form as Minneapolis’ refusal to change striping configurations outside of at least a resurfacing. While this can lead to a lot of delay in expanding a network, it also makes the network composed of infrastructure of a relatively high quality. In OR bike lanes are often striped as a result of political pressure, which is inconsistent and generally not detail-oriented. As a result, Portland has that frequent driver interaction you noted. Both Portland and Eugene have very constricted segments of lanes (Eugene’s bike lane standard is 4′ — but that includes the gutter pan, so lanes can be as narrow as 2′). Basically the networks in both cities could be described as dense but disconnected.

    On the whole, cycling in Oregon is a more pleasant experience than cycling in MN, though, because of the driving culture you also noted. Motorists here tend to drive slower, yes, but also more cautiously and courteously. On the paths I commute on daily, motorists yield rate at crosswalks is north of 75% (and near 100% for pedestrians). Whether that culture is due to the infrastructural inconsistency encouraging caution or one or many other causes is up for debate of course.

    One last thing I’ll note: one of Portland’s big new infrastructure changes is the buffered lane on Williams. This was apparently their most-used facility in the city as a right-side, unbuffered lane, and a couple years back they moved it to the left and buffered it. It breaks all the rules of safe infrastructure: it’s unpredictable (paint actually directs cyclists to pass each other on the right) and has frequent mixing zones. I was uncomfortable the one time I rode on it, yet I hear that it’s well-like and has an undeniable internal logic. I’m just curious what others think of this and want to bring attention to its fairly radical approach.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke October 11, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

      “Motorists here tend to drive slower, yes, but also more cautiously and courteously.”

      This is a recurring theme when comparing Minnesota to other bike-friendly places. Maybe it’s connected to the standardization you mention? In Boston, for all its planning foibles, drivers are much more courteous than they are in Minnesota. Our (mythical?) vaunted culture of being “nice” to each other does not extend to being behind the wheel of a car.

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell October 12, 2016 at 10:43 am #

        MN Nice from a driving perspective is interesting. I think people feel anonymous in a sheltered car and too often assume every other anonymous driver is beneath them or something. It’s particularly noticeable returning from Europe — MN drivers are much more aggressive, less considerate, and seem to have more of a this-is-my-road attitude.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell October 12, 2016 at 11:18 am #

      Like Bill, I wonder about the difference in driving culture. It is quite noticeable. I do think that lane width plays a fairly significant role (both speed and driver attention) and that so many streets have narrow lanes kind of provides a mindset of I-can’t-be-in-a-hurry-so-don’t-try.

      Portlander’s seem to have less of an entitlement to roads and parking mindset and overall there seem to be many fewer people driving. Individual car modal share seems much less than the 60-70% typically quoted for Portland. I wonder if it’s shifted a fair bit towards bicycling and transit? It also seems like many Portlander’s either walk and ride a fair bit and so have some bit of understanding or have the understanding without doing it themselves.

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell October 12, 2016 at 11:55 am #

        Something else that occurred to me about lane width is how much wider lanes make walking unpleasant and so fewer people walking (and riding bicycles) lulls drivers in to a mindset of this is a car road and I need only worry about other cars so I can drive as fast as I want so long as I don’t hit other cars.

    • Joseph Totten
      Joseph Totten October 12, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

      Second! Drivers stop for pedestrians who haven’t stepped into the street. If you’re riding in a somewhat predictable manner you’re fine.

      I am amazed at 1 – how crappy my current bike lane is for commuting (3′-ish and full of rocks from a shear cliff on one side, no curb) and, 2 – how many drivers just move over in their lane for me, if I’m in a bike lane even, people move over an extra foot or two and reposition their vehicle in the lane to give me a little extra space.

      For all the talk about Portland and its great bicycling, Saint Paul is doing more than Minneapolis to catch up, with Stop4Me and trying to actually highlight the law and change the culture in the city.

  3. Carson October 12, 2016 at 11:43 am #

    Thanks for the article Walker. I, like Alex, have lived and biked in both the Twin Cities and Portland. I agree with many of the observations above. When I am asked to compare the two I often find myself discussing culture as well. I am a moderately confident bicyclist and generally do not think twice about biking in vehicle traffic, but I noticed a difference between the motorist/bicyclist interactions in Portland. It did feel like they were on the whole safer than those I experienced in St. Paul and Minneapolis. The narrower roads in Portland definitely have something to do with slowing all traffic down to safer speeds for all users. It also felt like Portlanders were generally looking out a bit more, and perhaps a little more patient. I was more comfortable on roads with Portland drivers. That said, I have been away from MN now for a couple years and things change. Also, I did little biking in the Portland suburbs where I imagine the culture/infrastructure changes a bit, as it does in MN.

    And now, I am in New Orleans where the differences between Portland and the TCs seems trivial. New Orleans is flat and not massive. Yet there are many reasons why it lags behind cities like Portland, St. Paul, and Minneapolis. Biking in vehicle traffic here is a harrowing experience, for any level of confidence. The drivers are very aggressive and generally not concerned with what bikers (or walkers) are doing so I don’t expect any courtesy and I am constantly on the defensive as a result. There are bike lanes and some other infrastructure, but much of it seems disjointed. The quality of the road surface leaves something to be desired as well. Despite all this there are still many people out there biking. Certainly potential to get more people out if it felt safer.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell October 12, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

      I’ve heard horror stories about riding around New Orleans. I was in Birmingham AL a few weeks ago and they are similarly behind most cities in providing bicycling infrastructure (OTOH they have the first in the US e-bikeshare system).

      Yes, you nailed it with safe feeling. I think the majority of the population would ride bicycles for some or most of their transportation if we had safe infrastructure built to Dutch standards. Riding is simply easier and more enjoyable, particularly for shorter trips. I fear that too often we’re building stuff that looks Dutch but misses the critical bits that make it as safe and as safe feeling and comfortable as stuff built fully to Dutch standards. We’re slowly getting there though.

  4. T October 12, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    I’ve never been, but I read once that Portland has a lot of one way couples that (in addition to narrower streets) the traffic engineers program the signals to assume a 15 mph speed limit and advertise it as such. Drivers get sick of stop and go at 30, so they just get used to going 15ish to catch the green wave. That could be a pretty good idea to use in other core downtown one-ways where bike lanes/heavy bike traffic is.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell October 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

      Yes, Portland has a lot of one-ways and you may be very correct about the 15 MPH green wave. That would seem to have an impact if people knew that they were programmed for 15 and any faster would just result in lots of extra braking.

      Perhaps something Portland have accomplished is making a good distinction between 15 MPH streets for access, somewhat faster and higher volume transport streets, and significantly faster and higher volume transport streets. This is a key element of the Dutch sustainable safety initiative. I took a stab at it for St Paul in a couple of earlier posts:

      I used similar techniques as Netherlands engineers do with opposing one-way streets and limited crossings that discourage through traffic but allows permeability for people walking or riding bicycles.

    • GlowBoy October 12, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

      Portland does indeed have “green wave” signal timing downtown. (I once took a signal timing class at Portland State, so I’ve learned some of the details). The speed limit is 20 mph, and the actual progression speed is even less, by how much depending on the timing program in effect. At rush hour I believe it’s down near 12-13mph (which is often faster than traffic moves anyway), and I think it may go as high as 17-18mph late evenings and weekends.

      My experience is that most drivers figure it out, especially those who drive downtown every day. Not everyone does, though: there are often a few drivers here and there racing from red light to red light block after block, not conscious of what’s going on. Fortunately it’s more amusing than dangerous, since they never get very far at those higher speeds.

  5. GlowBoy October 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

    Having grown up in Minneapolis and recently moved back after 18 years in Portland (where I still go 5-6 times a year for business), I enjoyed reading this review. My own perspective is that while Portland does have a somewhat higher share of people biking year round, I find the overall experience in Minneapolis to be somewhat better.

    Yes, driving culture is definitely more mellow in Portland. In general, that is: I don’t find this to be true towards cyclists. As a driver in Minnesota I see a lot more aggression, higher speeds and impatience overall (although, to their credit, Minnesotans are better about using turn signals).

    – Different speed limits make an enormous difference in the on-the-road experience. Oregon’s standard speed limits are 25 on residential streets and just *20* in business districts. From what I can tell, both street types are usually 30 in Minnesota. I’m an enthused & confident rider, but I find downtown Minneapolis absolutely terrifying to bike on streets that don’t bike lanes. In Portland, the signals are timed are set for 13-17mph (depending on which signal program is active) and bikes can often keep up, making for a much less stressful cycling experience. Honestly — no business district is ever more than a mile or two across — why in the world would anyone need to go 30?

    – One other legal difference is that in Oregon, cars are not allowed to drive in the bike lane, even to make right turns. They are required to turn *across* the bike lane when making right turns (just as you turn across oncoming lanes when you make a left turn, and never drive in them). When you see a car turning from the bike lane, there’s a good chance it has a California plate (where the law is the same as in Minnesota). I personally prefer the Oregon system, because turning vehicles that end up stopping in the lane (due to congestion or pedestrians in the crosswalk) don’t end up blocking bikes, a major issue at rush hour in congested areas like downtown. I’ve heard people argue that the Minnesota/California law creates a mixing zone that reduces right hooks, but I’m not convinced it reduces conflicts overall, and it certainly inconveniences cyclists.

    – On the other hand, although Minnesota drivers are far, far worse than Oregon drivers when it comes to respect for pedestrians, I actually find them to be *more* polite around cyclists. I think this is because the “bikelash” of anti-cyclist sentiment is far worse in Portland. Although mode share for driving is lower in Portland, a strong majority still drive. Cyclists are still a small minority (maybe 15-20% in some neighborhoods, but still less than 10% overall) are widely seen as spoiled, entitled, angry freeloading lawbreakers. Yes, really, much more so than in Minneapolis. And this translates directly into drivers being less patient towards cyclists.
    – As infrastructure goes, Portland still (barely) has the edge in terms of bike lane mileage in the urban core (by which I mean downtown, inner Northwest and the central Eastside). Some of Portland’s suburbs, particularly the Beaverton-to-Hillsboro corridor, also have more decent bike lanes than just about any Twin Cities suburb. But Minneapolis is catching up in these respects, and already has the edge in a bunch of areas:
    — More protected bike lanes. Portland still has only a couple miles of these. Minneapolis has leapfrogged way, way ahead.
    — Better bike infrastructure once you leave the urban core. Particularly in the West Hills and east of 82 avenue, Portland either lacks bike infrastructure and even sidewalks) or has absolutely abysmal bike lanes. In the West Hills this is due to the topography and the 1950s development timeline; in the east, this is because this is a poorer, historically neglected, strip-mall side of town, but public outrage is starting to change that.
    — Minneapolis has had bikeshare for years, whereas Portland just got it 3 months ago.
    — The multi-use paths common in suburbs like Woodbury, Eagan, Eden Prairie, etc. (not to mention the urban parkways in Minneapolis and St Paul), are largely absent in the Portland area. On suburban roads without bike lanes, you’re either on the sidewalk (if present) or forced to take the lane, and I can guarantee you *suburban* Oregon drivers won’t be any more patient with you than Minnesota drivers.
    — Mountain biking. The Twin Cities have 13 mountain bike trail *systems* within the metro area, totaling dozens of miles. Portland has a total of about 2 miles of mountain bike trails. In the entire metro area. Although Forest Park is famous for its dozens of miles of hiking trails and 27 miles of “bike trails,” the latter are mostly just dirt roads: there’s only 0.3 mile of actual singletrack in Forest Park. If you want to mountain bike in Portland, you’re looking at a 45-60 minute drive to the mountains. Every effort to build mountain bike trails around Portland in the last 30 years has failed. Even with newly acquired parkland that has no developed trails, mountain bikers come up with great proposals only to have from the powerful hiking groups shoot them down. The same Lucy-yanking-the-football phenomenon has happened all over town, with the current battlegrounds being the former Riverview Cemetery property and Cooper Mountain.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell October 14, 2016 at 7:26 am #

      Thanks. This adds some critical perspective. I didn’t get out in to the Portland suburbs but from what I’ve seen elsewhere the Twin Cities are not doing too bad compared to other US cities (far behind Europe and Asia though).

      This got me to thinking – would I rather have 50 miles of interconnected painted bike lanes or 10 miles of protected bikeways built to CROW standards. The first will get a lot more of the brave 5% out riding as it will provide more places to go but may tell the other 95% that bicycling is not for them. The second won’t go many places from a practical standpoint but will show people how safe, comfortable, and enjoyable bicycle can be with proper design (and that it will actually make driving better).

      • Clark in Vancouver October 23, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

        I say the latter. The reason is that the higher quality bikeways, even though there are fewer of them will cause new people to take up cycling and then that will create more supporters for more.

  6. GlowBoy October 12, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    On the Vancouver/Williams buffered bike lanes, I actually agree that they aren’t a good design. They used to be on the right, but were moved to the left when a New Seasons Market (fancy natural food store) was built in the middle of this couplet, at Fremont Street. This was based on the very reasonable assumption that many cyclists would want to turn left coming to and from the store, which is true, but I still don’t believe it outweighs all the downsides of left-side bike lanes, which end up being counterintuitive in too many ways (including the markings that indicate faster cyclists should pass on the *right*). I’m sure many people do like them, but I’m under the impression that a large number of people still don’t. When they were moved to the left, about two years ago, I predicted that they would get switched back within 5 years. I’m sticking to that prediction.

    • Joseph Totten
      Joseph Totten October 12, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

      I actually lived along Williams(-ish) for a few weeks before moving to my apartment, and I heard the same sentiment from my host who bikes it daily. It makes engineering sense, and even planning sense, but the lane is uncomfortable and awkward. He thanked me for giving him the idea to take a (slightly disjointed) bike boulevard instead, because the stress level was less.

  7. Charles October 13, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    Thanks for the article, Walker!

    I moved to Portland from Minneapolis back in May and agree with your assessment. In my opinion, the only thing standing in Minneapolis’s way to make its streets as good as Portland’s is a lack of political will. Streets like NW 23rd, Mississippi, Alberta, Division, etc. all are far better than Hennepin, Lyndale, Central, NE University, etc because they’re much more people-friendly. If Minneapolis put a serious road diet on its streets it would have good streets AND the nation’s best network of off-street trails.

    Although I don’t think this is likely to happen anytime soon, I am hopeful because these changes are totally doable. Having alleys, a (mostly) complete grid, and lots of road width means getting better infrastructure isn’t as tough to do in Minneapolis as it is elsewhere.

    Hopefully after hearing news about Minneapolis’s worker recruitment problems city leaders will take these kind of issues seriously, because good infrastructure is attracting people to competing cities.

    • GlowBoy October 13, 2016 at 11:15 am #

      Thanks for another Portland-to-Minneapolis perspective, Charles. I agree Minneapolis needs to take on more road diets (although to be fair, there have been a good number already, and more are happening).

      I would point out that all the Portland streets you mentioned by name — 23rd, Mississippi, Alberta and Division — are high-vitality commercial districts that would be great to have in Minneapolis, and they are highly pedestrian-friendly, but not at all bike-friendly. Every one of these streets has two drive lanes, two parking lanes and absolutely zero room for bikes. Fortunately these areas are all busy enough to keep speeds down (as does Oregon’s 20mph business-district law) but for the most part it is still hard for cyclists to “keep up” on them.

      • Charles October 13, 2016 at 11:02 pm #

        I totally agree. Although I think the neighborhood greenways are great, it would be better to have bikeways on the streets with more destinations.

        Hopefully the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition can continue to make gains and get protected bikeways in more of the city!

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell October 14, 2016 at 7:19 am #

        Perhaps some of these should be rebranded as bicycle streets — max speed is 20 MPH or bicycle pace. Motor vehicles are guests and may not pass bicycle riders.

  8. Adam H. October 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    “Beginning this year they have instituted a policy that every new bikeway must be a protected bikeway. They are also planning to begin upgrading older painted bike lanes to protected bikeways and program traffic signals to provide people walking and riding bicycles protection from turning cars — separation in time.”

    This is not true. Our director of the Bureau of Transportation has stated they will consider protection from the get-go, and will force themselves to come up with excuses not to add protection (which they undoubtedly will). We are still building door-zone lanes in new projects, such as the Foster Streetscape. We also have a few Neighborhood Greenway projects in the pipeline that completely lack any motor traffic diversion.

    As far as I know, there is no such initiative to upgrade painted bike lanes to protected bikeways, nor is there any effort to “program traffic signals to provide people walking and riding bicycles protection from turning cars”. Curious where you heard this from? Portland has a history of making big promises, then executing on exactly zero of them. Just take a look at the 2030 bike plan that has not even been remotely implemented. I expect the exact same outcome for our “Vision Zero” plan that is set to be completed very soon.

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