Get excited about the North Greeley bikeway project as it nears completion

Looking north on North Greeley from the Adidas pedestrian bridge.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

There’s been significant progress on the North Greeley Avenue bikeway project since the last time we checked in. Much of the bikeway between Willamette and Going is completed. All that remains is to turn on the new bike traffic signals, finish important crossing treatments, and a few other details.

I rolled over last weekend for a closer look and I’m convinced: When complete, this bikeway will be one of the best in Portland.

(Click for captions)

For one sublime, very short stretch you can feel what it’s like to bike in the best biking cities in Europe.

The one-block section that connects to the Willamette Blvd neighborhood greenway (above) is one of our only examples of the highest-quality design possible from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (as per the “money is no object” design they shared in 2018 in the yet-to-be-released Protected Bike Lane Design Guide). It’s at sidewalk-level, physically separated from drivers via planted concrete median, has ample width (even keeping mind that it’s for two-way bike traffic), and its black pavement helps contrast it from the adjacent sidewalk which helps keep the uses separate.


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Even as we leave this world-class block and transition onto street level, the bikeway remains physically separated. From N Emerson to just south of the Adidas Headquarters campus, the bikeway remains high quality. It has ample width, a striking paint scheme to set it apart (and make users feel special), bike-only signalization where needed, a floating bus island, and physical separation from drivers via a concrete curb, delineator wands and a painted buffer zone.

The quality goes down a bit south of the campus, but it remains protected with a concrete curb until you reach the new multi-use path south of Going that opened in August.

South of the campus we lose the fun paint and the buffer.

Riders pass each other near Going Court intersection.

This is an exciting project and I look forward to a full review once it’s completed; but I need to point out a major concern. This is yet another project where partial completion puts bicycle riders at risk. This issue has bothered me for years and it’s bad here on Greeley.

The problem is when contractors are in the middle of a project and they fail to erect work zone signage and/or adequate detours to keep people safe. We see this when PBOT installs a new parking protected bike lane and many people park cars in it. There’s no signage to let folks know what’s going on or how to manage the incomplete project. Granted, things eventually clear up, but it’s never OK to put road users at risk without proper work zone/detour signage — even for just a few hours.

Currently on this Adidas project, the new bikeway from Greeley down to Going (on Going Court) is almost done. From Going it looks 100% done and invites people to ride up to Greeley via Going Court on a nice, new path. Unfortunately, because the crossing at Greeley/Going Ct is not finished, the bike lane just dumps people right into a lane of oncoming car/truck traffic! And there’s no safe way to cross Greeley to get onto the new bikeway. Despite this clear danger, there’s no caution tape or any other signage of any kind warning road users that it’s still a work zone. This is very dangerous.

Relatedly, people riding northbound on Greeley are left in a lurch when they leave the protection of the concrete wall south of Going. The old bike lane striping encourages people to continue straight into a dead zone where there’s no longer a bikeway and the crossing and signal at Going Court isn’t installed yet. The new signal on the south side of Going isn’t working right and it’s very unintuitive to cross diagonally – especially in the northbound direction. A new bikeway sign encourages people to “use the sidewalk” to get to Going Court and down to Swan Island (via Going), but that sidewalk is ripped up and impassable.

The entire area around Going is a confusing mess. Greeley has relative high speeds and we can’t have all this indecision among bicycle riders because of sloppy work and incomplete projects.

I hear PBOT crews are out at the Greeley/Going signal today. I hope they can shore up some of these problems. In the meantime, please be aware that the Greeley/Going/Going Ct intersection is incomplete. Be very cautious.

I’ll share another update here when the project is done.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and [email protected]
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