PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A bike lane on Broadway in downtown Portland is brewing controversy as the city’s Bureau of Transportation considers its removal.

PBOT says director Millicent Williams is directing staff to study changes on the Southwest Broadway corridor – including hardening bike lanes- and changing the bike lane on Southwest Broadway from Northwest Hoyt to Southwest Salmon back to having bikes ride alongside traffic– rather than in a protected land along the curb like they do now.

PBOT and PBOT Commissioner Mingus Mapps says the considerations, which were first reported by Bike Portland, come after concerns over safety and from businesses nearby and changes are not imminent. But cyclists say reverting it to what it once was would not help with safety.

This stretch of Broadway is one of the high-crash corridors PBOT has identified.

This protected lane was only finished a year ago after being studied by Portland State’s Transportation Research and Education Center.

Cyclists say that could be better. But at least there’s something to protect them from the cars.

“Pushing it against traffic and removing the separation is going to cause a lot of biker accidents and deaths,” said bike commuter Daniel Slaughter, “I’ve actually be hit before on a bicycle. I think our city is known for biking but it’s not known for being safe.”

“I was very confused. I don’t know why you would do that,” said Sarah Iannarone, executive director of the Street Trust, “We want to keep the modes separated because it prevents them colliding and when you’re preventing them colliding you’re preventing the bigger, heavier vehicle from seriously hurting the person.”

A bicyclist uses a bike lane in downtown Portland, undated (KOIN, file)
A bicyclist uses a bike lane in downtown Portland, undated (KOIN, file)

In a statement commissioner Mapps’ office added, “Commissioner Mapps has been discussing proposals for improving transportation infrastructure with Director Williams, including critical corridors. These have been very preliminary, and we will continue to dialogue with PBOT and the community moving forward.”

PBOT says when they know exactly what changes will come, they will have public comment.