Oregon DOT Plays its Trump Card to Remove Portland Bike Lanes

A bike advocate tells the story of the how the state department of transportation convinced local officials to remove a popular bike lane in Portland.

2 minute read

January 12, 2016, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


SE 26th Ave Portland

SE 26th Ave, Portland / Google Streetview

"Two of southeast Portland’s most-ridden bike lanes are slated to be removed at the insistence of the state of Oregon," reports Michael Andersen.

According to Andersen, the "[bike lanes on each side of Southeast 26th Avenue near Powell draw something like 600 to 800 people per day (even in winter) and run in front of Cleveland High School. They will be paved over sometime in the coming months and not replaced." The decision comes from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), which announced the project last week.

The city of Portland, however, had to accept the decision of the state to remove the lane, despite disagreement over the potential safety impacts. The ODOT believes that removing the bike lane will improve safety at the intersection of SE Powell at SE 26th by reducing the number of bicycles on the street. Many bike riders, according to an ODOT spokesperson, will switch to 28th Avenue instead "when a new traffic signal and neighborhood greenway are installed there in the coming months."

Andersen clearly opposes the removals, providing several examples of evidence and policy maxims that contradict the claims made by the ODOT. By providing a lot more information on this specific example and the other projects and events that led to the decision to pave over the lanes, Andersen also provides an unfortunate case study of a city and a state failing to resolve differences in their approaches to streets.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 in Bike Portland

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