Citizen activists request fixes to make streetcar tracks safer for cycling

Volunteers working with Active Right of Way (AROW), a grassroots, Portland-based transportation advocacy group, have launched a campaign to make the newly constructed streetcar tracks in the Pearl District and on the Eastside safer for cycling. The effort is being led by AROW volunteer Amos Hunter, who has created the Streetcar Safety Working Group. The group — which included Chris Smith as a representative from Portland Streetcar Inc. and met for the first time last week — is concerned that new streetcar tracks laid down as part of the Eastside Streetcar Loop project have created several bike safety issues that are in need of immediate attention.

The new streetcar tracks on NW Lovejoy, NE Broadway, and on Martin Luther King Jr. and Grand Boulevards have brought major changes to designated bikeways and the roadway surface in general. While the public right-of-way has changed considerably, there is concern that not enough has been done to warn of potential safety hazards the tracks create for people riding bicycles.

Hunter and several other volunteers will sign onto a letter (PDF) outlining four immediate concerns (listed below) that will be published on the AROW website in the coming days and then sent to Mayor Sam Adams and officials with Portland Streetcar Inc. The activists are also working on a more comprehensive list of concerns, but their focus now are problems that, “should be addressed and resolved at once.”