Big Streets

Make Big Streets Safe

Most destinations, particularly for work and shopping, tend to be on big busy streets – the same streets on which people walking and bicycling often feel unsafe. As a result, people riding bicycles tend to detour around our most vibrant commercial areas.This is not because people on bikes do not frequent bistros, boutiques, banks, and barber shops. In fact, studies have shown that customers traveling on bikes tend to visit bars, restaurants, and shops more frequently and spend as much or more money overall than those arriving by any other mode.*Wide roads with high volumes of speeding traffic necessitate more space, physical separation, and dedicated signals at intersections for people riding bicycles.

This type of robust, protected facility, frequently called a “cycle track,” is the only way to provide safe bicycle access to destinations on big streets. Cycle tracks also give guidance to people on bicycles, helping them ride more predictably with other traffic.

 

N/NE Broadway                                                                       Northeast Broadway (and its eastbound couplet NE Weidler) is full of destinations that benefit from customers who shop there despite poor bicycle access. Because many of these customers tend to ride on quiet nearby NE Tillamook, they do not always notice new businesses open, “SALE” signs in windows, and other business advertisements.The 2.5 mile NE Broadway/Weidler couplet between the Broadway Bridge and the Hollywood District is one of the east side’s most frequented retail corridors. Building physically separated cycle tracks with dedicated signals on both streets will finally make this corridor a safe and popular destination for everyone, and will increase visibility of businesses in the neighborhood.

Downtown Portland                                                              The east side of Portland generally has a robust network of streets safe for bicycling. Even the bridges across the Willamette are increasingly comfortable for people on bicycles. At the west ends of those bridges, however, bicycle facilities disappear.In downtown Portland, the region’s primary travel destination, the streets are busy and there is little physically protected space for bicycles. With its high density, limited parking, and soon-to-be-launched public bike share program, downtown Portland cannot afford to be intimidating for bicycle riding.To match the safety and comfort levels of the east side’s network, there must be significant changes made to downtown’s traffic signals and streetscape, including bus islands to ensure safe pedestrian and transit access and physically separated bike lanes.

Foster Road
Southeast Foster Road is a desirable route for travel because it is one of the few diagonal streets in Portland and has multiple commercial areas that serve the surrounding neighborhoods. As popular as it is, Foster has also been designated as a High Crash Corridor by the City of Portland.

The width of Foster Road currently encourages speeding in motor vehicles but it also allows room for many creative street designs which would improve the street for people walking and bicycling. Physically separated bicycle facilities, improved lighting, enhanced crossings, and access to transit on this high capacity corridor are critical to improve safety and grow the local economy.

Tualatin-Valley Highway                                                     The Tualatin-Valley (TV) Highway, with five to seven lanes of motor vehicle traffic, is one of the few east-west connectors between Beaverton and Forest Grove. TV Highway is also a key commercial corridor without safe space for people to walk and ride bicycles. As a result, many businesses miss out on some of the traffic that helps support the local economy.A bike lane exists along some of the corridor but it is inadequate even for some of the strongest and most fearless of bicycle riders due to unsafe intersections, key gaps in the bike lane, and frequent driveways to large developments. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic on this corridor is currently low because most people choose to go far out of their way to avoid compromising their safety on TV Highway.There are many opportunities to transition this auto-focused road into a multi-modal corridor that safely accommodates all types of traffic. Separated bicycle facilities, better street lighting, more crossings for pedestrians, and improved access to bus stops will reduce congestion while improving safety.