Jonathan Maus’s website, Bike Portland, has floated the idea of a center median bike lane for Foster.
The idea was originally proposed by one of its readers/commenters, and has no official consideration by the city. However, Maus’s site is making the assertion that PBOT and the stakeholder advisory committee need to commit to something bold for Foster Road’s redesign, particularly in regards to adding bike facilities.
A center median bike lane, as suggested on Bike Portland, seems like a tall order, and one that the city isn’t likely to consider. First, it essentially eliminates two lanes of car traffic. And second, the loss of lanes isn’t compensated with a center turn lane. While this may be good from the standpoint of slowing car traffic, creating a phenomenal biking environment, and making for a main street feel, it would be a hard sell for a group that’s already finding opposition to reduce one lane of traffic (from four to three)—one current option is for a travel lane in each direction with a third, center turn lane.
Though the idea of slowing speeds, reducing sheer car volumes, and creating a completely safe biking and pedestrian environment is appealing (and even a goal of the committee), my guess is it won’t be considered by PBOT as they near the end of their analyses and community engagement on the project. Still, it’s an interesting read and an interesting thought. And even if the suggestion doesn’t find any takers, it is clear that Foster could stand for bold and innovative planning. Slowing car speeds is a must. Keeping pedestrians safe is a must. Adding bike lanes and making it safe for those using them is a must. And so, too, is it a must to make the street more appealing to use—for bikers, pedestrians, and drivers alike.