One-Year Project Implementation Update
In the fall of 2020, Portland City Council adopted the plan and since then PBOT has been hard at work building new projects throughout the district. We’re proud of the rapid progress that’s been made over the past year as we work to realize a more walkable, bike-friendly, and sustainable transportation system in Northwest Portland. This update provides a snapshot of some of the projects that are already on the ground as well as a preview of what to expect over the next year.
Projects In Motion
The Northwest in Motion Plan recommends two main types of projects for implementation:
- Neighborhood Greenways are calm and quiet local streets that are designed to be great routes for walking and biking, forming a network that reaches all parts of the district.
- Corridor Improvements are projects that include enhanced crossings, safety improvements at signals, transit spot improvements, and other investments to make Northwest’s busier streets safer and more efficient.
|NW Johnson St
NW Johnson St was completely redesigned and upgraded through Northwest in Motion. PBOT added new speed bumps, improved crossings of busy streets, and installed multiple traffic diverters to reduce speeds and volumes. The project also included several improved crossings along NW Kearney St to mitigate for anticipated traffic volume increases.
|NW Marshall St
The neighborhood greenway on NW Marshall St was upgraded and extended deeper into Northwest through the addition of sharrows and signage, new speed bumps, improved crossings of busy streets, and a traffic diverter at NW 15th Ave.
|NW 24th Ave
The neighborhood greenway on NW 24th Ave was upgraded with improved crossings and speed bumps along the entire corridor. A new traffic diverter was installed at NW 24th and Flanders to reduce speeds and volumes.
In addition to the Northwest in Motion recommended Neighborhood Greenways built over the past year, PBOT built the Flanders Crossing bridge over I-405 and implemented the NW Flanders Bikeway. These projects now provide a high-quality active transportation route connecting Northwest Portland to the Pearl District, Old Town Chinatown, and Waterfront Park. We also implemented a neighborhood greenway on NW 20th Ave, with traffic diverters at both ends at Everett and Raleigh. The traffic diverter at 20th & Raleigh was recently improved in response to neighborhood concerns about circulation and compliance.
|NW 25th Ave /
NW Westover St
New pedestrian crossings and speed bumps were added to these streets to help reduce speeds and improve pedestrian safety. An interim paint and post redesign of the irregular intersection at NW Johnson and NW 25th Ave was piloted during the past year and what we have learned will inform a future permanent redesign.
|NW 23rd Ave
A signal modification was completed at the busy intersection of NW 23rd Ave and W Burnside St to improve the speed and reliability of Line 15 and Line 20 bus service.
|NW 18th Ave /
NW 19th Ave
Crossing improvements and new bus platforms designed to reduce bike/bus conflicts and improve the performance of Line 24 bus were added at stops near NW Flanders St. Multiple paint and post curb extensions were also completed along this corridor to improve pedestrian safety. These interim treatments included creative decorative murals designed and implemented by community members.
|NW Everett St / NW Glisan St
Crossing improvements, signal improvements, and transit priority treatments at the Everett/21st and Glisan/21st signalized intersections to improve operations of Line 77 were completed on these two busy parallel corridors.
Project Evaluation & Refinements
The implementation strategy for Northwest in Motion is largely based around the idea of getting improvements on the ground as quickly as possible using interim materials, observing how these projects are performing, and considering changes before we invest in higher-cost, permanent materials.
For the Neighborhood Greenways, we will be measuring traffic speeds and volumes to assess whether the traffic-calming and circulation changes are meeting or exceeding our guidelines. We will also collect traffic data on nearby streets to measure the effects of diversion and identify any needed mitigations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty about the travel patterns, as well as the Cornell tunnel closures that have impacted traffic levels, we are holding off on doing a formal traffic study until we can more confidently assess whether further interventions identified in the Northwest in Motion plan are required. We hope to conduct traffic studies for these projects in Fall 2022, but this is subject to change.
For Corridor Improvements, we will assess the effects of traffic calming on measured speeds and determine whether any additional projects are warranted. We will also be evaluating the performance of the paint and post curb extensions to make sure they are appropriately located and working well, and will make recommendations about making them permanent. These assessments are also expected in Fall 2022. Finally, we will be evaluating the performance, design, and maintenance needs of the modular bus platforms installed in the area as part of a citywide evaluation process of this new tool. This evaluation will complete sometime in 2022 and will inform decisions about whether and how to deploy these platforms in the future.
Although full traffic studies and evaluations will be conducted later in 2022, we have been listening to public feedback on the recent projects and responding to needs that have been identified. After a year of observation and feedback, the Northwest in Motion team is recommending some tweaks and changes:
- NW Johnson Neighborhood Greenway: The current placement of diverters at 12th Ave and 14th Ave has led to 13th Ave being the only route into the area, which has become an issue for small businesses during temporary traffic closures on 13th Ave. In response, we plan to relocate the traffic diverter at 12th Ave to 11th Ave to reduce pressure on 13th Ave to serve motor vehicle access.
- NW 25th Ave: Since installing the paint and post redesign of this complex intersection, we have heard concerns about turning movements and stop sign compliance. While some further improvements have been made in the meantime, issues and concerns persist. Based on this feedback, we plan to accelerate design and construction of a revised, permanent version of the intersection realignment that will address these issues.
- NW 19th Ave: At NW Hoyt St & 19th Ave, a paint and post curb extension was installed that was larger than required to provide the intended benefit, resulting in the removal of more parking spaces than was necessary. We plan to adjust the overall footprint of the curb extension to maintain crossing safety while addressing parking impacts.
- Modular Transit Platforms: We are still studying the overall performance of the modular transit platforms that were installed on NW 18th and NW 19th Ave at Flanders St. The lessons learned from this trial period will inform future decisions about their use and whether they should be replaced with more permanent concrete bus islands.
- Painted Curb Extensions: Though we intend to programmatically upgrade the interim paint and post curb extensions with permanent materials over the coming years, we will be collecting feedback and observing the safety benefits of this treatment on a continual basis.
What to Expect in 2022 and 2023
*NEW* NW Pettygrove St Neighborhood Greenway: A new low-stress walking and biking route along NW Pettygrove St, connecting Wallace Park, the growing Slabtown area, the North Pearl District, and Fields Park. The route briefly transitions to NW Overton and NW 9th Ave to connect to protected bike lanes on NW Naito Pkwy. Expect to see improved crossings at busy streets, traffic diverters to reduce volumes, speed bumps on some blocks, rail removal at 15th Ave, and a bike lane connection in the higher traffic area and across the railroad tracks near NW Naito Pkwy. This neighborhood greenway will replace the one currently on Overton St in the Northwest District.
*NEW* NW Vaughn St Corridor Improvements: A new median crossing at NW 24th Ave will improve crossing safety for people walking and biking, and bike lane enhancements along Vaughn St will help improve bicycle safety. The Vaughn St to 23rd Ave right-turn lane will also be extended back to 24th Ave to help the Line 15 and Line 77 buses get past the freeway-bound traffic queue.
Upgrades and Changes to Existing Neighborhood Greenways
- NW Johnson St: We will relocate the traffic diverter at NW 12th Ave to NW 11th Ave to improve business access and support a more pedestrian-oriented NW 13th Ave. The abandoned rails will also be removed at NW 15th Ave to improve bicyclist safety and comfort.
- NW 24th Ave: We will be adding a new median island and traffic diverter at NW 24th Ave & Vaughn St as part of the NW Vaughn Corridor Improvement Project. This treatment will also benefit the NW 24th Ave Neighborhood Greenway by lowering traffic volumes and improving access to the industrial areas to the north.
Additional Northwest in Motion Transportation Investments coming soon:
- Permanent crossing improvements at 22nd/Everett, 23rd/Westover, 25th/Quimby, 26th/Vaughn, and 25th/Westover/Johnson.
- New speed bumps on Thurman St from 27th Ave to Balch Creek Bridge to address very high measured traffic speeds.
- New modular bus platforms on 18th and 19th Ave at Marshall St (pending evaluation results).
- New bus stop curb extensions on Everett St and Glisan St at 14th Ave to improve reliability and accessibility for the Line 77.
- Additional decorative paint and post curb extensions along 23rd Ave and 25th Ave.
- New speed bumps on NW Couch St and NW Davis St between 16th Ave and 19th Ave to mitigate traffic impacts related to the NW Flanders St neighborhood greenway diverters.
The Northwest in Motion Plan was adopted by City Council in October 2020!
This is the culmination of over two years of data-driven analysis, community outreach, and collaborative problem-solving to develop a near-term implementation plan to improve walking, biking, and public transit in the Northwest District and surrounding area.
Download the Adopted Plan here:
Highlights of the plan include:
- 5 near-term Neighborhood Greenway upgrade and expansion projects
- 5 near-term Corridor Improvement projects focused on pedestrian safety and transit reliability
- 7 longer-term neighborhood greenway and corridor improvement projects
- 10 ongoing area-wide programs to address other community-identified needs
- Recommended updates to street classifications to support the plan
- An implementation and funding strategy clearly laying out a path forward for these projects and programs