I just moved to inner NE, so I’m discovering all the new routes I need to take regularly. I’ve mostly been sticking to bike lanes, bike boulevards and neighborhood streets, but a few nights ago I noticed while driving down 15th with a friend that Knott is marked as a bike route. Huh? I thought Tillamook and Klickitat were the way to go. Indeed, a consultation of Portland’s citywide bike map shows Knott in gray, meaning it’s not considered a notable bike route, while Tillamook and Klickitat are marked with the outlined green indicating preferred bike boulevard routes.

So on a whim tonight I decided to check it out: I took Knott from 28th to 14th, cutting back west from my usual SE-to-NE route via 28th on my way home. It’s flat where Klickitat at least has a fair bit of minor up and down, and has only a few stop signs and signals. With the lower traffic in the later evening (it was around 8:30pm) it was stressless to ride in the lane when there were cars parked, and move to the outside if any traffic came along. So it seems Knott is a “bike route” in the classic sense: a lower traffic side street with a wide outside lane that can be used for parking or bike/car coexistence. It’s probably best if you’re comfortable riding in the lane, and can ride pretty briskly so your speed isn’t too different from the motor vehicle speed.

The takeaways:

Route planning is extremely time-sensitive. Before you decide to include a street in your route — whether for commuting or for any other travel — think about what time you’ll be taking it, and check out the traffic volume and people’s behavior on the route at that time. I’ll have more to say about this in a future post about commuting downtown!

Always be open to new routes, even “unofficial” ones. I’ve certainly got a few favorite meanders to avoid slopes, bad intersections, or poor signal timing that haven’t made it into any map!