Transportation: PMLR CAC Jan. 21 Meeting Report

Update from the CAC meeting, Jan. 21, 2010

The Milwaukie Portland Light Rail Citizens Advisory Committee meeting discussed a couple topics of importance to the AJC neighborhood notably a new traffic analysis (see links below). I expressed our concerns about the traffic signal changes as outlined in our letter. Neighborhood resident Linda Hattlelid made a long and informative speech that will go in the meeting minutes.

The neighborhood letter was received well but I had no questions about it and I handed out a hard copy to those who did not receive the electronic copy. Those who care about the issue will need to follow up with their elected officials to have any impact on this issue. Also read the note from Police Chief Jordan at the end of this report.

Here are links to the documents presented at the meeting (the first link is the most important).

The Jan. 21 meeting included a discussion on additional traffic studies on Johnson Creek Boulevard/Tacoma and highways 99 and 224. The main issue was determining if there was a “tipping point” in the park and ride sizes that would mute the issue of traffic mitigation.

The idea of reducing the size of Tacoma revealed even if Tacoma were reduced to 600 spaces the recommendation would still be to signal 32nd and 42nd and remove the stop signs at 36th. However, there was some question as far as the striping on 99E exit to the Tacoma overpass.

There is some risk to the entire project if the size of park and rides drop and rider ship is limited.  There would also be the risk of people parking in the neighborhoods if the park and rides filled up quickly (something I am not sure would be problem with Tacoma due to the distance it is from any easy neighborhood parking.

The issues of Some of CAC members were concerned about reducing the size of the park and rides. The meeting ended with a round table with few topics of concern except ours.

Please note these open houses:

Thursday, Feb. 11 – time and place unknown (but I presume it will be at Ardenwald Elementary) – this is another meeting planned to discuss Tacoma and JCB. There should be more information coming or you can check the website:

Monday, February 22 4:30 –6:30 p.m.
St. Philip Neri Parish, Carvlin Hall
2408 SE 16th Ave.?Portland
Thursday, February 25, 4:30 –7:30 p.m.
Milwaukie High School
11300 SE 23rd Ave.Milwaukie

Information from Milwaukie Police Chief Bob Jordan that was presented at the NDA meeting (note the comment about traffic build-up):

From:   Downey, John
Sent:   Friday, November 20, 2009 11:13 AM
To:     Jordan, Bob ?Cc:     Bartol, Steve; Marl, Floyd
Subject:        Johnson Creek Blvd

My goal for the week was to work one hour every day this week on Johnson Creek Blvd.   During that time I would vary my hours and work after school lets out 2-3pm and then work 3-4pm, 4-5pm, and 5-6 pm.   The Friday would be as time permitted after the school zones closed.

So far I have worked all the projected times at one time or another during this week.   Traffic seems to be fairly steady throughout every time slot with a few spikes here and there.   The longest backup I have seen at 42nd has been three blocks and was only for eastbound traffic.

I usually sit on the sidewalk on the south side of Johnson Creek Blvd. at the “Entering Milwaukie” sign and face east, using both the front and rear antennas on the motorcycle.   The traffic leaving 42nd Westbound will generally accelerate to 25 mph within the first block and then either level off or continue accelerating to 33-37 mph.   I would guess the average speed of all the westbound traffic to be around 30 mph.    The traffic leaving 36th usually rounds the corner at the 3900 block at 28-37 mph.  The eastbound average speed is probably the same, around 30 mph.

Because of the speeds, many cars drive on the edge of the bicycle lane eastbound and cut the corner onto the bicycle path westbound.   At the curve at the 3800 block the lines for the path have been worn off as a result.

Bicycle traffic is pretty light, and I have only seen two bicyclists during my time at that location.   I presume most cyclists take the Spring Water Corridor.
I have made approximately 30 traffic stops in the Ardenwald area and 26 were on Johnson Creek Blvd.   All 26 stops were for speed and all but one (40 mph) were given warnings and reminded of the posted speed and the fact that it was a residential area.   In addition to those warnings two were warned for driving onto the Bicycle Path and one was cited for DWS.

The speeds are fairly consistent and I suspect the short distance between the two stop signs, in addition to the traffic keeps vehicles from reaching 40 mph, with few exceptions.    If the stops signs were removed at 36th Avenue, I would suspect the speeds to increase between 32nd Avenue and 42nd Avenue.
The only down side to working this area is the limited space for traffic stops and contacts.   Because there are curbs, bike lanes and only one lane in each direction, any vehicle stopped on Johnson Creek Blvd., will cause immediate congestion in both directions.   If the violator does not pull off on a side road it is difficult for vehicles to pass in both directions. There are a few delivery trucks with two axles, and Tri Met buses, which have the most trouble negotiating around a stopped vehicle.   I did not see any trucks with three axles or more during the time I was in the area.

My original goal was to make contact with as many drivers during the time periods and remind them of the posted speed.   Secondarily, I wanted all the other motorists who were driving through the area and the residents to see active enforcement along Johnson Creek Blvd.   I believe I accomplished the goals I had set for the area.

Hopefully this answers most of the questions, but if not, please feel free to call me.

John Downey, Jr. Motor Officer

Download PDF file of this report.