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PDOT issues statement on Ladds Circle engineering

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 13th, 2007 at 9:29 am

One of the issues that has come up after the recent stop sign enforcement at Ladds Circle is whether or not PDOT should consider changing the stop signs to yields.

In response to many people contacting PDOT about this, they have issued a statement from a city traffic engineer with more details (click image for larger version):



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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis April 13, 2007 at 9:47 am

    "At this time resources to devote to improvements where no clear safety benefit will result do not compete well with other capitol improvement projects."

    Well, that was about as predictable a result as the sun rising. Note the consideration of relative safety benefits for determining priorities for capitol expenditures. Why can't the Traffic Division use this kind of analysis rather than selectively responding to (some) citizen complaints?

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  • steve April 13, 2007 at 9:51 am

    $11,000? That sounds pretty cheap.

    What is that new bridge up north going to cost?

    Billions?

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  • Tbird April 13, 2007 at 10:05 am

    What's that I smell..?
    Eww! I think I just stepped in some...

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  • michael downes April 13, 2007 at 10:07 am

    In my country (England) roundabouts, as we call traffic circles, are as common as stop lights. In fact they are favored precisely because they are cheaper to install and maintain than electronic signals in areas with relatively low traffic flow. They operate on the premise of 'yield' or 'give way' as we refer to it. The advantage is that it encourages all traffic to slow down and sends a clear message as to who yields to who. I have always been puzzled by stop signs at traffic circles in this country.

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  • Burr April 13, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Sounds like a giant FU to me.

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  • p2r9s April 13, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Why don't we take the money earned by tickets from these enforcements and apply it to rebuilding Ladds circle. I'd pay a onetime fee of 241 bucks if it meant a nice smooth ride through Ladds addition.

    How much does it cost to pay officers for this type of sting each time? How many more years will they do this? Couldn't money be better invested? Put cops out on 122nd Ave where 5 of the deadliest intersections in the city reside.

    bleh!

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  • sam April 13, 2007 at 11:06 am

    $11,000?

    Give me $100 and I will change the signs in one day

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  • Scott Mizée April 13, 2007 at 11:18 am

    ditto to Attornatus_Oregonensis

    I sent an e-mail to Scott Batson questioning such logic earlier this morning.

    $11,000 in a budget of how many thousands (millions) of dollars?

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  • bArbaroo April 13, 2007 at 11:30 am

    I think at least one of the above responses sounds a bit cranky - maybe some Courier Coffee is needed?

    It seems pretty cool that Scott took the time to respond to the issue - so quickly too. I don't understand why it's ok to be so rude. How does that help the dialogue? If you don't like the answer that's understandable, but the rude tone is totally uncool and totally counter productive(in my opinion).

    Oh and AO - I like your logic. I think that's a great point. I too would like to see the traffic division allocate resources using analysis rather than responding to random squeeky wheels (no pun intended).

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  • Burr April 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    All Scott is doing is covering PDOT's ass. This issue came up after the PPB bike sting at this same location about this time last year. Subsequently PDOT did some design work and there was anticipation that yield signs would go up replacing the stop signs, but nothing ever happened. So his response may be 'quick' relative to this Wednesday's clusterfuck, but it certainly isn't quick relative to the history of this issue and these particular intersections in Ladd's Circle.

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  • pdxMark April 13, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Ironically, the city just grossed about $12,000 in fines with the sting operation...

    (True, the city won't collect that much, but the match-up of the numbers is fun to point out.)

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  • Charles April 13, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    $11,000 to change some signs and do some painting? Really...

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  • Spanky April 13, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    The neighborhood will do everything it can to see that the stop signs stay. The car and bike traffic and pedestrian traffic and the businesses on the circle, as well as folks traversing the circle to get to the park, will all be cited in opposition to yield signs. Cost is a liegitimate part of the PDOT analysis, I think. Stop for a minute and take a look at the size of the city and all the competing needs for street and sidewalk improvements.

    The traffic circles I came across in Britain and northern Europe were not in the center of a nice, quiet neighborhood. They were on thoroughfares the equivalent of state highways, it seemed to me. I have, however, no experience with traffic circles in southern Europe.

    Scott responded very courteously to a message from me after I read the above, and I think many posting on this board would do well to take a cue from his kidness and courtesy. There really is no place for rudeness and snide comments from folks posting here. Rude and/or snide commentary causes the substance contained in such posts to be discounted.

    I could be wrong, but some of the posts I ahve read on this subject read as if written by fairly myopic people thinking only of their own self interest and nothing else whatsoever.

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  • Donald April 13, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    It's been my understanding, too, that the unique quality of the Ladd traffic circle being in the middle of a pedestrian-rich neighborhood is the real driving force behind the stop signage.

    Comparing Ladd's to Euro or other traffic circles seems to me to be an apples/oranges issue. Now the 39th circle is a different animal altogether.

    Every close call with a ped/dog/stroller I've ever had in Ladd's circle has been because I was focused left for traffic as I blew the stop sign, totally missing the threat waiting to cross my bow from my right.

    Cheers to Mr. Batson for taking the time to respond. Maybe we can cut him slack as we put words to our various and heartfelt opinions.

    _DA

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  • Anonymous April 13, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    In the neighborhood, we've already been told that $8,000 is too much to put in speed bumps up the NorthEast section of Elliott Ave. That would have a definitive safety impact as the neighborhood has even gone so far as to rent a radar gun, record speeds for an entire day, and then submit the data to the city.

    We in the neighborhood are pleased with the stop signs given the frequency of pedestrians trying to navigate around the circle. We have a very active neighborhood council (HAND), and I'll confirm that they agree.

    I can assure you that replacing the signs with yeild signs in order to bicycle more quickly through our RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD will not occur.

    Please, look at this from the outside. We see a bunch of bicyclists playing victims for being caught breaking the law. Some of you claim you can see everything they need to to avoid injuries to pedestrians, but you couldnt spot SEVEN motorcycle officers watching them. Now you are calling for a change to our neighborhood that will effect safety so you can bicycle fast with fewer interruptions?

    The neighborhood council should enjoy this as much as I do.

    I'm a bicyclist too, guys... but those who want to make such a big deal about this... shouting that they are victims of The Man, claiming super awareness of all around them, and issuing Great Comparisons between the Ladd's Circle and roundabouts on the M25... You are doing the whole community a disservice. While you trumpet your "rights", drivers and neighborhoods everywhere will become even more resolute in their archaic no-bicycles mindset.

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  • grrlpup April 13, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    As a pedestrian in Ladd Circle, I'd be nervous about a switch from stop signs to yield signs. (Because of cars, not bikes.) Yield signs seem to promote a "creep out and see" action before the drivers even think to look for pedestrians.

    The roundabouts I saw in England were busy and speedy, like mini highway exits.

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  • Klixi April 13, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Jeez. All this fuss because, from the entrance of one side of Ladds Addition all the way to the other side, you have to stop a whole ONE time at the center roundabout. If you're so rushed that you can't be bothered to stop at a stop sign (note: it is illegal to run a stop sign, regardless if you are in a car or bike), then you should probably leave your house approximatly 15 seconds earlier to allow time for the few seconds it takes to stop. If you think it's worth risking paying a $200+ ticket because you couldn't be bothered to obey the law, then the last thing you should be doing is complaining about it. Just sayin'.

    This doublestandard of "bikes don't kill so we should be able to break this law and that law and that law too" is getting out of hand. And bikes can (and have) killed. Not on the same level that cars do, but to act like running stop signs is a safe and smart idea on a bicycle is outrageous.

    No driver should have to deal with the emotional trauma of hitting a cyclist who illegally darted out into the road and got hit. Besides, we live in Portland. It's a beautiful city. Why are all of you in such a rush to get where you're going? Take it slow and easy occasionally.

    Why is it always the speed hungry cyclists who always seem the most pissed off?

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  • Todd B April 13, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    How about us bicyclists joining forces with the Ladds Addition pedestrians and seek a win win solution (politicans and department managers love this type of stuff): support their call for traffic calming (which also helps us) and link it to the affordable conversion of the stop controlled circle to a roundabout.

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  • Spanky April 13, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    It will be interesting to see if there can be a resolution of this mini-crisis, or if it will simply be repeated ina few months or so.

    I don't know what the solution is.

    The stop signs are more or less treated as yield signs now, by a large percentage of bicyclists and a smaller, but still largish percentage of motorists. The fear that yield signs will result in greater danger at the circle seems somewhat well founded to me, especially from a "pedestrian in the cross walk while driver is looking left point of view"!

    I wonder if some additional signage and a change in city code to allow bikes to slow and go might not fix the problem. I would have concerns with that though, given how close the streets feeding the circle enter it one to another. Especially with parking along the outer curb of the circle creating an obstruction of view.

    I do hope that the tensions associated with the issue die down a bit, but at the same time stay warm enough to get some resolution on this. But I also hope the resolution doesn't place bicycle traffic flow above pedestrians, motorists and general safety. I have little experience commuting on a bike (wish I could have more), so I have been reading with interest the posts in this and other associated threads. I have been especially interested in those by folks who commute by both bike and car. I can only offer commentary as a neighborhood resident, motorist and pedestrian with four kids who walk across the streets we all use.

    There's got to be some solution, whether it be signage, striping, yield signs for bikes only, or a formal or informal change in enforcement policy. After all folks, it is just a stop sign(s) along the way, isn't it? Our energies might be better spent on impeachment or something....

    Spanky

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  • Brian E. April 13, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    I forsee condemnation of the nearby properties. With proper easements gained the street can be enlarged for a yield entry roundabout. That's what your citizens complaits will get you! Ha!

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  • anon April 13, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    perhaps a super legal pedestrian walk around the circle is in order...

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  • andy April 13, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Anonymous,
    I'm sure that, as a cyclist, you will speak with your neighborhood council and continue to promote the programs and infrastructure improvements which aid in pedestrian and bicycle safety. I'm sure that you, as a cyclist, will also assure them that the rants of a handful cyclists on a blog are not represententative of all cyclists in the city, in your neighborhood, or even on this particular blog. After all, it wouldn't do for a neighborhood association to begin actively opposing cycling in the city. As a cyclist, wouldn't you agree?

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  • Dabby April 13, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Yields should not be put up in Ladd's, and I for one am kinda glad they do not have the resources to do it. (financial I mean)

    This is a neighborhood that is already abused in too many ways, by too many forms of transportation and recreation.

    Leave Ladd's like it is.
    Stop at the stop signs. Everyone.

    Or, don't stop and take your chances.

    Really, this is what everyone is going to do anyway..

    In my many, many years of riding through Ladd's. I have had but a few incidents.

    And they have almost ALL been due to runners or pedestrians listening to headphones, and walking out into the street without looking....

    That is just a matter of pure ignorance, and life will teach them a lesson..

    Oh, and what may have been the cause of other incidents I have had in Ladd's?

    Being cut off by cyclists not paying attention, and running stop signs...

    Leave Ladd's alone....

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  • Vigilante April 13, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks, Dabby.

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  • N.I.K. April 13, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Stop at the stop signs. Everyone.

    Or, don’t stop and take your chances.

    Really, this is what everyone is going to do anyway..

    Yup, just like all over the rest of town. Residents who made the complaints get to feel satiated for a week or two, a couple of the ticketed cyclists will change their tune, a few more will change their behavior or route relative to the location where all of this went down, and everybody else keeps doing what they're doing. Meanwhile, the city scrapes in a tiny bit more revenue and gets to keep pretending it's doing a fine job of moving towards Platinum, while the perceived divide between cyclists and everyone else fails to improve.

    Really, what can we do? Pushing to change signage or laws is going to piss off anybody who thinks poorly of us already, and likely rope in others in the process. More actions like this are change some folks behavior but encourage others to break the law in the name of civil disobedience, while having a large number of cyclists ticketed and a substantially smaller number of cars ticketed also polarizes both sides heavily.

    What's the solution, other than for the willing to follow the law and hope nobody lumps them in with "those rascally troublemakers"? Even that's a weak hope, as so many already seem to just equate the term with "cyclist" with that sort of behavior anyway...

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  • brad April 13, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    What ever happened to the Idaho law...did we give up on that or what?

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  • Alan April 13, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Looks to me like PDOT and PPB are reading from different books. PDOT says "there isn't a large enough safety problem at Ladd Circle to warrant any changes." PPB says "we have to ticket cyclists and change their behavior to protect everyone's safety".

    So who's right? Is there a safety problem or not? If PDOT is right, then PPB gave out a bunch of tickets mainly to keep some cranky neighbors happy.

    It wouldn't be the first time. And it won't be the last. You need to look far down the road when you ride (or drive).

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  • Matthew April 13, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    The problem that the Ladd's neighborhood association were complaining about was cyclists doing 20 mph through the stop signs, not the ones that slowed down to 5 mph, looked both ways, (I admit it, I'm looking for a cop,) and then sped back up... If they changed the signs to yields, it still wouldn't be safe to go through them at 20 mph, (how would you feel if a car did that?) so I'm not sure that yield signs are exactly what we really want anyways...

    And yes, high quality thermoplastic roadway paint, (that lasts a few years with buses and garbage trucks driving over it,) and good quality aluminum backed signs cost a lot of money.

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  • P Fin April 14, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    How much would it cost to make Stop as Yield for bikes a law? I'll pitch in! Yeah!

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  • scott b April 16, 2007 at 9:42 am

    some more context:

    Regarding the small sum of $11k, that's compared to the section budget of $80-$120k per year for such 'fixes'. It would take a special Transportation System Plan project to find funding for the ideal Ladd Roundabout (perhaps like could be proposed in the updated Bike Master Plan). As a comparison a 'new' roundabout costs around $250k+ where no sidewalks currently exist.

    as for the citations, the $242 is the warrant amount, the amount you pay if you don't contest the ticket. Judges lower that amount and since Portland cannot have its own courts the county in additon to the state take a cut. For the $242 original ticket the ballpark amount Portland gets is about $60-70.

    I'm an engineer, so some humor is lost on me, but neither the paint or 'correct' solutions require right of way. Ladd circle is much larger than a typical roundabout would normally be as is the circular roadway. Visit SW Terwilliger at Palater for a modern roundabout. It has typical dimensions though the amenities are on the high side.

    Speed bumps: PDOT requires there to be a defined speeding problem and the current definition is 15% of vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit by 5 mph or more. It's a matter of wise use of public funds since 60% of most projects are public money. Ladd qualified in 2001 but in 2006 the speeds were down. The same goes for Elliott north of the circle, 85% of vehicle operators are going 28 mph or less (south of the circle Elliott is a school zone so the bar is lower).

    I'm always willing to discuss modern roundabouts, I think half the signals in the city could be changed to them, but I'm also an optimist. The 'correct' solution involves changing the entries on Ladd and Elliott to make the corners a smaller radius and with narrower islands. It also could include raised crosswalks on those busier streets set a little farther back from the circular roadway. Access to the central island park is unusual for a modern roundabout, but not impossible. I would recommend raised crossings again from the entry islands at Ladd since the traffic that passes those islands is much less than at Elliott. I'm curious where pedestrians cross now (sometimes not marking a crossing makes people more cautious, hence the crossings safer). Parking in a roundabout is usually a no-no, but again this is a low-volume street compared to others of a similar nature in Portland.

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  • Michelle April 19, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Klixi,
    I agree with you (about how we should take a few extra seconds to stop at stop signs) but be aware that no bicyclist has died because they ran a stop sign in Portland in ten years. Stop sign running is pretty low on the list of behaviors that cause motorists trauma via the cyclist's death. Riding at night with no lights, running red lights, riding against traffic - those are high on the list. But not stop signs.
    Michelle

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  • Curt Dewees April 20, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Re: Post #26, "Whatever happened to the Idaho law…did we give up on that or what?"

    Answer: The BTA's Legislative committee decided not to push for an Idaho-style law this season and is pushing for three other laws instead.

    No one else seems to be making a concerted effort to introduce "Idaho-style" legislation this year, and no such bill has been introduced this season.

    Here's a quote from the BTA website: "Roll and Go at Stop Signs.
    A bill to permit cyclists to roll and go at stop signs may be introduced in 2007.

    "In 2003 HB 2768 passed the House, it would have permitted cyclists to proceed “without stopping if the person slows the bicycle to a safe speed” at stop signs." [Note: HB 2768 died in the Senate in 2003.]

    "BTA Supports this concept and would have to Review a Proposed Law Change

    "Measure history:
    NO BILL IN 2007."

    For more info on what the BTA is pushing for this year, go here:

    http://www.bta4bikes.org/at_work/BTALegislature2007.php

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  • Dabby April 20, 2007 at 10:28 am

    I for one feel that the wording of the Idaho Style bill did not help it in any manner.

    I am somewhat glad that it did not pass at this time. We do not need someone like this passed and presented in the wrong manner.

    Instead of being based on safety, it has the feel of being based on cyclist convenience, not exactly the way to get a yield law pushed through. And not the real reason to pass a yield law at all.

    So, in retrospect, since this is the second time in recent history that this ( A yield bill) has been turned down, we may want to get someone behind it (as in authoring it) who understands the reality and the safety factors behind effective yielding...

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  • Brad April 20, 2007 at 11:22 am

    I just witnessed a situation in The Pearl this morning that makes me question the safety of an Idaho type rule.

    A bike and a car both rolled up to the intersection of 13th and Kearny at the same time. Cyclist slowly rolled into the intersection without stopping. Driver also pulled a "California rolling stop". A collision was avoided and much yelling and gesturing followed.

    Both were WRONG. I started thinking that even if the Idaho rule passed, how many deaths or injuries would occur in the first year or so as word gets out to riders and drivers that the law has changed? Many riders will assume they have the right to keep rolling regardless of traffic and many drivers moving away from a stop will be surprised to see a bike suddenly appear on their hood.

    I just don't see responsibility and smarts being demonstrated on either side immediately following implementation of such a rule.

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  • MikeOnBike April 26, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Brad,

    If there was almost a collision then the bike and car must not have been on the same street, ie. headed perpendicular to each other. Usually, in most locales, there is an additional rule to yield to the vehicle on your right.

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