Vagabond Shark

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Hillsboro Bike Update

Posted by Peter W on August 14, 2007

Last Wednesday, August 8th, I had a great meeting with Don Odermott, the City of Hillsboro’s Transportation Planning Engineer. He discussed the history of Hillsboro’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Program, and told me that the city is interested in starting it up again. Even though I’ll be living in Portland soon, I said I’d be glad to help out … perhaps I can help import good ideas from over the hill.

We talked a bit about the need to raise more money for road projects, ideally through raising gas tax although the state legislature doesn’t seem inclined to even look at that. Instead, Hillsboro is looking at implementing a fee on people’s water bill based on how much impervious land is on their lot (e.g. how big their building or parking lot is). This would be a few dollars per month for most people, but could raise a million dollars a year for new projects and maintenance. That would also free up some gas tax money to be used for bike/ped projects instead of just maintenance.

Don also talked about expanding TV Hwy to 7 lanes, doing a land swap with the railroad so they’d have more room for a possible future commuter train, and removing bike lanes from the highway and putting bikes on an off street path just south of the railroad instead.

We talked about the need for better signs and maps near trails such as the Rock Creek trail that might be used for transportation. In fact, the Parks department just got federal funding for a southern expansion of the trail based on its transportation merit – so they really ought to be thinking about signs and transportation related improvements.

Finally, I brought up the idea of doing Bike Boulevards in Hillsboro and he seemed quite receptive to that idea.

Don seems like the kind of guy who is interested in figuring out what needs fixing, and working to create a system that really works to promote biking and walking. It was a very productive meeting and I look forward to working with Don and other Hillsboro engineers and planners again in the future.

Update: I just noticed that the Hillsboro Planning department’s Transportation System Plan Update [PDF] from 2004 actually discusses bicycle boulevards. Don had mentioned that he hadn’t read all of that document yet (he is fairly new at the job). Bike boulevards are first mentioned in the TSP a few paragraphs into the section on bicycles:

In order to address the need for the provision of bikeway facilities that were more safe for children and
commuting cyclists looking for routes on streets with less traffic volumes that provide connectivity to
key destinations, the Task Force determined that a new type of bikeway facility would be appropriate.
This new bikeway facility – a bicycle boulevard is suggested in the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian
[on pg. 76 of Part 2: Facility Design Standards -ed] as a refinement of the shared roadway concept (bicycle way network).

A bicycle boulevard is a shared roadway where the through movement of bicycles is given priority
over motor vehicle travel on a local street. Traffic calming and control devices including signage are
used to control traffic speeds and limit conflicts between automobiles and bicyclists and favor bicycle
movement on bicycle boulevard streets. There are three bicycle boulevard streets in Hillsboro (see
Figure 1-3). They include Connell Avenue from W. Main Street to NW Cory Street, Grant Street from
N. 1st Avenue to NE 28th Avenue and Walnut Street from S. 1st Avenue to SE 18th Avenue. These
streets were selected due to their primarily residential character, their length and connectivity to key
destinations and lower speeds.

Also, check out this very helpful bicycle boulevard design document [15 MB PDF] (thanks to my friend Janel at PDOT).


2 Responses to “Hillsboro Bike Update”

  1. JohnO said

    Nice post. I found it through the WashCo BTC. I’ve been meaning to blog about this, but thought I’d send it ahead first, in case your guy Don needs some inspiration or a role model.

    It’s the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, talking about cities. They implemented a huge bike network, which was also a huge hit.

  2. vagabondshark said

    Thanks JohnO, that is a great video!

    I love the quote:

    “We cannot continue to deceive ourselves, thinking that to paint a little line on a road is a bikeway. A bicycle way which is not safe for an eight year old is not a bicycle way.”

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