A Tour of Portland's New Neighborhood Greenways

BikePortland publisher and editor-in-chief Jonathan Maus took a ride along two new neighborhood greenways to report on successes and opportunities for continued improvement.

Read Time: 2 minutes

September 17, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery

Green Bike Lane

Vitpho / Shutterstock

The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently completed almost seven miles of neighborhood greenway bike routes in East Portland, a part of the city that critically lacked bike infrastructure. Jonathan Maus took a bike tour of the “130s” and “HOP” projects, snapping photos along the way to illustrate the transformation. 

"The lack of street grid and high speed of drivers makes every bike network investment important out there. While I focused on the crossings, what’s really great about these new greenways is how they will help people find their way between neighborhoods," Maus reflects. 

The "130s," a north-south route jogging between 128th and 132nd, spans the distance between SE Foster Road and I-84 in Northeast Portland. Maus sees a new signalized crosswalk median leading to a protected bike lane at Southeast Powell Boulevard as an improvement, noting that the Outer Powell Safety Project will further improve the protected lanes. Nearing East Burnside Boulevard, "The route took me onto the sidewalk following those green dots again and then directed me over the rail tracks via a narrow sidewalk hemmed in by railings," says Maus, sharing concern about the difficulty in crossing at this intersection housing the MAX light rail. 

Heading west on the "HOP" (Hassalo/Holladay-Oregon-Pacific) greenway, Maus navigated to the Gateway Transit center. "I found the eastern end of the HOP disappointing. I didn’t find any clear connection to the transit center itself. I mean, this is a major transit center and the bikeway just seemed to fizzle out," Maus says. 

Among key takeaways from the ride, Maus cites inconsistencies in sidewalk routing treatments and proximity to high-speed traffic on arterials. " It doesn’t matter how good our low-stress greenways are if the crossings are high-stress. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, remember?"

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