Together, We Saved the Bike Lanes on SE 26th!

Great news: With the help of thousands of grassroots supporters, we saved the bike lanes on Southeast 26th Avenue outside Cleveland High School!

We are thrilled to announce that we have secured an agreement from both the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that the bike lanes on SE 26th at Powell Boulevard will remain in place. This is a momentous victory for safe streets and the direct result of the tireless work of advocates, neighbors, and Cleveland students, parents, and staff. Thanks to their unparalleled dedication and grassroots energy, we have won this fight for the safety of those who travel on SE 26th — be it on foot, by bike, via public transit, or in a motor vehicle.

Years ago, when we first got word that ODOT was preparing to remove the bike lanes at one of Portland’s most dangerous intersections, we knew we had to take action. As advocates for street safety, we’ve opposed this idea since the beginning. Earlier this year, we fought back, launching a more public campaign to prioritize the safety of vulnerable road users. More than a thousand of our neighbors joined our call to save the bike lanes, and thanks to their support, these facilities will continue to reduce the likelihood for crashes and help prevent fatalities and serious injuries on our streets.

In February, dozens of community members rallied at the intersection of SE 26th and Powell Blvd to oppose the proposed removal of the bike lanes. Braving an unexpected bout of snow, ice, and cold winds, these advocates spoke out to demand real solutions to the safety hazards faced by pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users — particularly on streets known for having a high potential for crashes. We are grateful that our transportation agencies have heard these advocates’ voices and opted to rethink their initial plans.

Under the new plan, the bike lanes ODOT had ordered PBOT to remove will be restored following the repaving of SE 26th. While the bike lane itself will technically be reclassified as a shoulder, the bike lane striping will preserve the three-foot wide area for bikes. The new plan will also prohibit right turns on red from SE 26th and provide a leading pedestrian interval to protect people walking and rolling from right turn crashes.

This new plan acknowledges that, even with the new signalized intersection at SE 28th Avenue, bicyclists will continue to use SE 26th and deserve safe facilities to do so. Unfortunately, the new plan will not maintain the existing bike boxes on SE 26th at Powell Boulevard. This aspect of the plan is disappointing, and we’re reviewing our next steps on how to address it going forward. Stay tuned.

Beyond its immediate safety impact, this victory helps set an important precedent for our city. Together, we made it clear that proposals to remove facilities that make Portland safer can and will be met with remarkable grassroots opposition. And as PBOT’s and ODOT’s agreement goes to show, our voices can make a decisive difference and inspire others to join the fight for safe streets — from traffic engineers and elected officials to high school students and their families.

Read PBOT’s full letter to ODOT regarding the bike lanes on SE 26th.

We work to make it safe and easy for everyone to get around on foot, by bike, and via public transit. Join our movement by donating now.

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Comments (1)

  1. sw person Permalink  | May 04, 2018 01:20pm

    They won’t be bike lanes now.

    Will you push Multnomah County to make a road diet on their section of SW Scholls Ferry Road?