A blog post this week from Bike Portland contained some good news for all of us concerned about bike and car accidents here in the city: “After more than a year of focused activism… one of Portland’s highest-traffic neighborhood greenways has been chosen as the site of a traffic calming pilot project.”
The announcement referred to Clinton Street where, it said, Portland will soon begin building a series of “diverters, speed bumps and signage” designed to slow down traffic in an area that a city study found “has some of the higher auto traffic volumes and speeds in the neighborhood greenway system” according to Bike Portland.
The group notes that “Diverters are already used on many neighborhood greenways to allow foot and bike traffic while blocking car traffic at certain intersections, preventing it from being useful to non-local car traffic.” (if you are unsure what exactly a “diverter” is click on the link below and look at the photo accompanying the article)
The group said that much of the credit for the city’s announcement belongs to local activists who have focused attention on the “perception that Clinton Street has become too thick with fast-moving motor traffic in the last few years. Some people say this is preventing the street from serving as the all-ages bikeway it’s supposed to be.
As a Portland attorney with a special interest in bikes and bike advocacy I am excited by this announcement, despite its limited, and in some ways tentative, scope. The program in question is only an experiment. Bike Portland’s post was careful to note that the exact nature of the changes along Clinton Street – including a final decision about whether or not to use diverters and whether they will be permanent – remains to be made. That means that none of us in the cycling community can take this victory for granted. Like all civic infrastructure projects the Clinton Street modifications will be subject to much additional planning and review. It is up to all of us to keep the pressure up, and to do everything we can to guarantee that the final modifications are as significant and effective as the cycling community hopes.