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“I don't hate bikes”; Rose Quarter petitioner reaches out

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 29th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

bikes and buses
(Photo © J. Maus)

The TriMet bus operator who started a petition hoping to stop a plan to allow bike access through the Rose Quarter Transit Center has just left a comment here on BikePortland.org explaining his views.

Dan Christensen wrote that he loves to bike and that "one of the best times" of his life was a bike tour through Europe with his wife.

In his comment, Christensen also tries to make it clear that his concerns do not come from a hatred of bikes ("I love bikes and what they are bringing to my beloved city"), but that, "before we put bike lanes through Rose Quarter all voices should be heard."

"If anyone would like to speak to me on this issue or have me come and speak before my fellow bicyclist of Portland I would gladly do so."

Christensen makes a plea to discuss the issue in person in an open forum with bus and MAX operators and people that bike through the area. He writes, "I would jump at the chance of talking to anyone or any group on this issue."

He also shares that while, "we have a few drivers at Tri-met that would ban bikes from Portland if they could," he also says those drivers are the exception to the rule.

Back in March, in the wake of an emotional period following the tragic death of Austin Miller, I met with two TriMet operators. We discussed many issues including bike safety, TriMet's internal commitment to creating a bike-friendly work environment, how TriMet communicates with and trains its drivers, and more. One of the operators (who did not want to be named out of fear of retaliation by TriMet) expressed a willingness to moderate a discussion between bicyclists and bus operators.

It seems like now Mr. Christensen would like to assume that role. I'll have more on all this soon. For now, read the full text of his comment below:

"My name is Dan Christensen

I'm the driver who started the petition at Tri-Met.

I love to bike. I should be doing more of it but right now according to my doctor but I can only fit in a once a week bike commute. One of the best times of my life was going on a bike trip through Europe in 1990 with my wife. Nothing can be as fun as getting trapped on the Swindon five way roundabout hub in rush hour with a bike full of camping gear. Weeeeee! Some how I made it out alive thanks to a cabbie that let me grab onto his side of his car. He pulled me out of harms way and I learned a good lesson about head up driving.

Now it's been a while since I biked full time but back in the day I only used a bike to get around for years and Portland was not half so bike friendly as it is right now. I’m sure most of you reading this will remember those days when you were surprised to find a bike lane.

I just wanted you to know that I don''t hate bikes. I love bikes and what they are bringing to my beloved city. Portland has a bright future and it’s only going to get better. Bicycle and the Biking community is going to be a large part of that bright future.

This petition was not a knee jerk reaction against bikes. I am not going to sugar coat things here, we have a few drivers at Tri-met that would ban bikes from Portland if they could. We also have some who say "let them go through and as soon as one of them is killed they will know" These are the exception. On the opposite side of the spectrum we have drivers who are bicyclist as well. Most drivers fall right in the middle.

Ask your self, when was the last time you heard of 250 bus drivers who use an area signing a petition? This has never been done before in Portland. I don’t think this forum is a good one to go through the why’s but I think it’s far to easy to just discount this unique event and the perspective of those driving the ninety ton train and twenty ton bus next to you. It may be valuable to hear what it is they are saying and ask questions in person.

I would jump at the chance of talking to anyone or any group on this issue. All I’m saying is before we put bike lanes through Rose Quarter all voices should be heard. Not just spokesmen pr spokesperson for one side or another. Clearly the unprecedented petition of drivers willing to risk their jobs to speak out should be cause to say, lets put this on hold or maybe we have not thought of everything.

If anyone would like to speak to me on this issue or have me come and speak before my fellow bicyclist of Portland I would gladly do so.

My name is Dan Christensen
My home phone is 503 933-2758
My email is dan@sonnetoptics.net

No matter how you come down on this issue clearly not all voices have been heard. Can we not delay a week or two until all the voices are heard? How can this harm anyone?"

Could this be an opportunity to heal divisions between TriMet operators and people who ride bikes in Portland? What are your thoughts? Would you be interested in attended an open "Town Hall" style forum?

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Comments
  • a.O August 29, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    In a word: Disingenuous.

    If you wanted to have a conversation about it, why\'d you go through the trouble of signing a petition that said \"No\" and then going to the media without starting a dialogue first?

    And why should I care whether you like bikes? Because you want it to look like your proposed ban is reasonble. It isn\'t.

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  • Whyat August 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    What EVER a.O. I am so sick of the knee jerk reactions on this board.
    God forbid you give someone with an opposing view point the time of day.

    Dan- I\'m sorry that the first comment on this board is so negative. I for one appreciate your comments. While I might not agree with every one of your points, I appreciate you taking the time to explain yourself and to reach out to the PDX cycling community.

    Here\'s the deal people. If you live in a major urban area there are going to be times that you don\'t get catered to 100% of the time. God forbid people like Dan try to save lives in the way that they personally think is the best.

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  • a.O August 29, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    So now you get to have an opinion but I don\'t? FWIW Whyat, I\'m sick of your opinions too. Maybe you should try doing what Christensen purports to want and be open to dialogue rather than calling names.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 29, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    a.O. and Whyat,

    both of your opinions are valued and appreciated on this site. But please just watch the tone and make sure everything is written as respectfully as possible.

    And remember, your comments play an important role in determining the impact and effectiveness of BikePortland.org as a tool to help make biking better here in Portland.

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  • anon August 29, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Amen, Whyat. The negativity is really, really tiresome. How about we, as a biking community, focus on all the things we have in common instead of denigrating anyone with a slightly different opinion?

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  • Dan Christensen August 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    A.O.

    I am sorry for my rather harsh approach. I\'m not a political person and I have never done anything like this in my life.

    Time was short and working 10 hours a day six days a week and trying to coordinate with other drivers at three different garages who are also working just as long hours as I am very difficult.

    I had to be heard and heard quickly because we only found out about this changed in the last two weeks and we have only been briefed in the last two days.

    I beg you pardon for my abrupt approach. I hope that you hear my heart felt words for dialog and a pause and forgive the short cuts I made to get this before the people of Portland.

    I hope we can sit down, have a beer and talk this out. I\'m sure that we are not as far apart as you imagine.

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  • compassionate warrior August 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Jonathan, you\'ve got a great site and wonderful command of language which helps us enjoy the news we seek every day -- but those of us who weren\'t born in the united states already know that there are many, many, MANY americans who know how to fight -- but not fight for their lives.

    It\'s the american way -- or so much of the rest of the world who look into the fishbowl will say so. how can one defy such a consensus? the other americans who aren\'t this violent seem to accept it.

    also, there are many, many, many, MANY americans who do not give any value to any voices but their own, so of course what tri-met drivers have to say will not matter to some who are not aware that they live in a society that considers itself democratic.

    best you can do is live by example. your time is best spent on continuing your work, in my \"humble\" opinion, not trying to teach others what their upbringings should have already instilled in them: compassion and fairness.

    my two rambling cents. thanks.

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  • SkidMark August 29, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I don\'t see what the big deal is about going around it. I can do without playing chicken with buses and crossing MAX tracks at weird angles. The only reason to enter the transit center is to get on a train or bus, which means you are on the platform and should be walking your bike. If having a route though there is sooo important then a bike lane should be put in so you are not dicing it up with buses.

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  • Paul Souders August 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Dan:

    Thank you for posting here, and thank you for being open to discussion. I seldom bike around the Rose Quarter but every time I do it\'s confusing and hair raising. I can\'t even imagine what it\'s like from inside a bus.

    I\'m sympathetic to your issue and think you have a legitimate concern. Please rethink the language and means you use to express that concern.

    Your petition isn\'t just a statement of concern, it\'s a proposed solution. We can\'t all come to the table with open minds when one of our minds is already made up. Rather than having a discussion that starts with \"mixing bicycles and buses in the RQ is dangerous,\" we\'re starting with \"bicycles shouldn\'t be allowed in the RQ.\" So instead of discussing the thing we have in common (concern for safety) and reaching a common solution, we can only debate the merits of your proposed solution.

    Moreover, the nature of the solution in the petition is negative: \"no bikes.\" It\'s hard to keep an open mind in a conversation that starts with \"no.\"

    Finally, the passive language with which you choose to express your concern, both in the petition and here on BikePortland (\"as soon as one of them is killed they\'ll know\"), worries me. Dwelling on the inevitability of fatal crashes implies many drivers are unable to control their vehicles, or maneuver safely around bicycles, or anticipate hazards in areas they know are dangerous, or see other people on the road as legitimate traffic (\"we have a few drivers...that would ban bikes\"). I don\'t think this was your intention, but this is how it reads.

    Elsewhere I wrote on this site that the petition serves as an \"anti-argument.\" This is what I mean:

    When I first heard of the petition I thought \"well that seems like a legitimate concern.\" In other words, I was predisposed to your position.

    But after reading the petition -- especially the ledge analogy on the last page -- I thought: \"there are at least 250 Tri Met bus drivers who claim they can\'t control their buses to prevent a fatal accident.\"

    At best, your own petition and arguments have turned me against your position. At worst, it makes me wonder about the professional abilities of many Tri Met drivers. Now every time I\'m biking near a bus -- which is dozens of times a day -- I\'ll wonder: \"is this bus driven by someone who thinks bikes should be banned, and thinks fatal crashes are unavoidable?\"

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  • a.O August 29, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    \"I hope we can sit down, have a beer and talk this out. I\'m sure that we are not as far apart as you imagine.\"

    Thanks, Dan. I\'m sure you\'re right. And it would be great to get a beer. I\'ll give you a call after the holiday. I still don\'t understand why you said, \"No\" instead of, \"We can find a solution that works for everyone,\" but I suppose that\'s what we\'re going to talk over! I\'ll be looking forward to that.

    (By the way, it was pretty bold of you to publish your phone number. Last time I did some bike advocacy in public, I got death threats. As you can see, the nastiness comes from all corners.)

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  • jack August 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Whatever you want to make of the exact wording of the petition its hard not to see its motivation based in fear. I don\'t mean afraid of a biker going aggro or \'losing to the biker community\', but a fear of harming/killing someone, fear of losing job/career, fear of not being able to provide for your family. This a cry for help from a slice of the portland community that feels the bureacratic heads of agencies have come to a resolution that does not deal safely with the conditions/needs of the vulnerable road users and the work environment of the trimet operators.

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  • Donald August 29, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    hey Dan.

    thanks for your added input. you seem like a reasonable fellow.

    I go through this area twice a day on my way back and forth between d-town and nopo.

    I\'ve always told my wife, if it\'s going to happen, it\'ll be at the RQ.

    This area is a flustercluck from the point of view of a daily bike commuter. It\'s dangerous and inefficient.

    the folks scofflawing through aren\'t doing it to thumb their noses at authority, they\'re doing it because it makes sense. (some of us who do go around, however, do take small delight in the fact that we always seem to catch up to them at the next light)

    in my opinion, the more you can be part of a solution, the better. I feel this petition only serves to fuel the fires of dissention. check out the comments on KGW\'s version of this story.

    thanks for chiming in, but the bell\'s been rung.

    (speaking of which, good luck with the phone thing...)

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  • BURR August 29, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    The time for the bus operators\' participation was back when the city, the BTA asd TriMet were discussing options for bike access throught the RQTC, and that was months ago. Mr. Christensen apparently didn\'t like the process and/or outcome so he\'s trying to sandbag the agreement by going to the media at the 11th hour.

    I can\'t tell you how sick I am of this type of behaviour, and, although I\'m not aware of the bus operators using this tactic in the past, it certainly has been used by other anti-bike special interest groups in the past to derail other valid and beneficial bike projects.

    Two examples that come to mind are the local businesses on Interstate Ave. complaining about loss of on-street parking to bike lanes, and the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) and the Building Owners and Managers Assoc (BOMA) fighting against Planning Bureau requirements and standards for on-site bike parking facilities in new commercial buildings and parking garages.

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  • PoPo August 29, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Dan,

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and concerns and for putting yourself out there in the interest if furthering communication and understanding and safety.

    It is important for people to share perspectives, and that of actual Trimet drivers is not one that is often heard here.

    While you may find varying levels of agreement with your points on this forum, please know that you\'ve certainly earned my respect.

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  • PdxMark August 29, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Do we know what the proposed re-design actually is? Are the bus driver & MAX operator concerns about the specifics of the proposed re-design or about the overall concept of adding bikes to the RQTC? I am dubious about the thoughtfulness of the concerns expressed by drivers/operators when it goes beyond design specifics to seeking a continued total ban on bikes in the area.

    I ride north from the Esplanade around the RQTC almost every day. There are rarely more than two buses there at a time, and they are mostly stopped. It\'s hard to imagine an area with less likelihood of major conflict with some thoughtful traffic design.

    This discussion could be worthwhile, but concerns about deign specifics from the drivers/operators would be a much more useful starting point than a categorical generalization.

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  • Evan August 29, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I\'m a public sector land use planner and I\'m dealing with a very similar situation locally. With all due respect to Dan, we know what the petition says, but we don\'t always know what tactics were used in order to gather signatures for a petition. Not every person who signs a petition understands the issues. I can certainly understand that bus drivers, who drive vehicles that handle like, well, a bus, may get really nervous around cyclists who dart in and out of their way. Bikes and buses are both legitimate users of the road, but that doesn\'t mean they always comingle well. If bikes and buses are to play well together in the RQ, it will require a great amount of consideration, and politeness, on behalf of everybody. If this means opening a dialogue, so be it. But if either side takes the low road and a cyclist is hurt or killed, chances are the cyclists will lose access inside the transit mall. Problem is, some cyclists will continue to ride there, no matter what we do. Short of a police presence, very little will deter certain riders from going certain places. It should not have to come to that.

    I don\'t have a solution to this issue. And I am sorry to hear that a petition has been filed \"after the fact.\" But it would appear that the cycling community must come to the table on this and at the very least work to assure Tri-Met that we will do our best to respect the needs of bus drivers in and around the RQ transit center. We should expect the same of the drivers regarding cyclists.

    These people are our partners in finding alternatives to dependency on single-occupant vehicles. We must work with them to ensure that the quality of life in the Portland area continues to be a model for the rest of this country. Not another slanted headline in the Boregonian.

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  • brettoo August 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    It\'s great of Dan to appear here and offer to talk. I hope that he or someone else will clearly present on this forum (not just in private conversations) the specific reasons some drivers object to the plan. Then we can get responses, rebuttals, suggestions, etc. It\'s a good chance to use the forums for a productive --and, let\'s hope, polite and respectful -- dialogue, and maybe a solution that works for all users.

    Rather than a yes or no debate, I hope the goal can be something like, \"how do we give Portland bike users a safe, convenient way to get from Esplanade to points north and east.\" Thanks again, Dan.

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  • mike August 29, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I appreciate Jonathan stepping in early to keep this discussion above a 6th grade level. No disrespect to 6th graders intended.

    I live on N Gantenbein Ave, two blocks west of N. Williams and I work in SW for the past 4 years. Obivously, a direct route would be great, but what is an extra quarter mile down interstate and up to Broadway? An extra quarter mile is nothing, right? I think the argument pushing for access is weak, especially when we look at all the other projects that could be completed with the amount of time and $$$ spent to make passage through the RQTC as safe as possible.

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  • kasandra August 29, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks to Dan for the considered perspective, and to Jonathan for providing the forum to disucss it.

    I hope that the BTA and Tri-Met are able to work out a satisfactory solution.

    And I hope that all the folks who spend their days on the internet realize that bus drivers do NOT spend their days on the internet, and that information doesn\'t always flow freely in large organizations.

    Dan says he was working ten hour days and only got briefed about this a couple days ago. I believe that he is telling the truth and trying to do the best he can with the time, information, and resources available. Because he cares about the city, cares about his fellow drivers, and doesn\'t want anyone to get run over. That\'s what I want in a bus driver. Thanks again, Dan.

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  • BURR August 29, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I want TriMet to hire enough bus drivers so they don\'t have to work 20 hours of overtime each week, that\'s a sure-fire formula for crashes caused by lapses in attention and/or judgement due to chronic fatigue.

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  • Icarus Falling August 29, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I think it is great that Dan has come out and claimed responsibility for this petition.

    I also think it is great that he wants to open up discussions on this matter.

    That being said, I think that the damage of this petition has already been done, and the pain was not applied to the cyclists.
    It was applied to the drivers who signed it, for the wording of it screams of inability to safely operate a bus, of worry of being able to safely negotiate around bicycles, and of not wanting to share the road.

    Where as his personal comments say exactly the opposite.

    What are we to think at this point?

    We do know that it is safe to ride a bicycle near buses, when \"BOTH\" drivers and cyclists are making the right moves. I say both because we all know that neither all cyclists, nor all bus drivers operate safely by any means.

    We also know that safe passage can be made by Buses,trains, bicycles, and pedestrians through the R.Q. Transit Center.

    This has been displayed through the years as , though against the law, many, many cyclists have used the passage through the R.Q. transit Center with no incidences. (reported as seen or heard by me that is)

    So, there really is only one problem.

    Bus drivers do not want us there. And due to the reasons laid out in this petition, I do not see any legitimate reason other than they say they cannot operate buses safely around bicycles.

    Well, I am sorry, but operating buses around bicycles is part of the job you are paid to do. And the bicycles are not going to disappear. They are in fact going to continue increasing in numbers.

    The answer to the problems bus drivers lay out in their petition?
    I have said it before. Training, training, and more training.

    Once again, I appreciate the effort by Dan to make the drivers case known.

    And open discussion between bus operators and cyclists is a great idea.
    But not in relation to passage in the R.Q. But in relation to the actions of many bus drivers around cyclists, and of a small percentage of cyclists around buses.

    I could go on and on, and won\'t.

    I will finish by saying that I believe I have known about the possibilities, and then the finalized changes to the R.Q. Transit center regarding bikes for months, although the final decision has only been known for about a month?

    It s hard to imagine that Tri Met would just now inform their employees. It helps to confirm what I have known and believed about Tri Met. That it is a poorly run system that is not really \"public\" transportation at all. Public Transportation serves the public. The whole public, whether on the bus, or around it.

    And it is even harder to imagine that such a petition will change anything.

    I just think it is obvious that in order to make a case for change, it must be based on something other than your own professed inability to do what you are paid to do safely.

    Thank you Dan for your thoughts, and for your obvious hard work. I hope my speel here has not come across entirely negatively, but more productively, as I love the City Of Portland, and everyone in it.

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  • John Reinhold August 29, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Burr, good point...

    I just question this whole darn issue, but mostly the petition and the RQ bike ban in the first place.

    If it is too dangerous to have bikes around buses or MAX then bikes should NEVER be around buses or MAX. Which means no bikes crossing MAX tracks or on streets with bus routes.

    What makes the RQ so different than any other place where buses are in close proximity to bikes?

    How come no one gets run over by bus \"10 Harold\" which goes down a couple of the busiest bike boulevards in the city? (I personally won\'t ride bus 10 because it is so slow through SE Ladd and SE Clinton)...

    All knee jerk reactions aside - if bus drivers cannot operate safely around bikes, and if bikes cannot safely negotiate a train which operates in a set location and path - then what makes the Rose Quarter so special? There is bus/bike interaction ALL OVER THE PLACE. And lots of MAX crossings...

    And for reference, I ride bike, bus, MAX, and even drive a car and ride a motorcycle. I am multi-modal and do not take any particular sides. We need all modes for transportation to work in our society... Today alone I used bike, bus, MAX, and car. I wish I had time for a motorcycle ride.

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  • a.O August 29, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Wow, lots more thoughtful replies. That\'s what\'s typical of \"this board.\" Icarus summed up my quandary when he said:

    \"...I think that the damage of this petition has already been done... [T]he wording ... screams of inability to safely operate a bus, of worry of being able to safely negotiate around bicycles, and of not wanting to share the road.

    [O]perating buses around bicycles is part of the job you are paid to do. And the bicycles are not going to disappear. [As John Reinhold said \"bus/bike interaction\" is literally \"all over\" the City.]

    Whereas his personal comments say exactly the opposite.

    What are we to think at this point?\"

    I think Dan really gets to the bottom line, which is that we need to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation. I\'m definitely going to invite him out for a beer, and I bet there are others who would like to participate in the conversation.

    If I don\'t hear from anyone, I\'m going to meet with Dan on my own. But if you\'d like to join us, let Jonathan know and maybe we can meet up at the Lucky Lab or the Green Dragon or somewhere next week for a pint.

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  • Alan August 29, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Dan, thanks for opening up the discussion. That\'s a fearless move and it calls for a similar move from bike riders.

    When the Esplanade opened up a couple of years back, I spent days trying to figure out how to get from my home in inner NE to the Steel Bridge path and back again without going through the Rose Quarter. I\'ve solved my commute, but I\'m a lucky one. Those coming from NoPo aren\'t so lucky.

    Also there are times when I find myself on a street leading into the RQ and no easy way out. The area is just too big to go around and putting a large obstacle in a bike rider\'s path almost begs a few riders to find a way through it. So while I think you have a good point, I also think that it would be extreme to make the RQ a bike-free zone.

    Thanks for reading and writing. Please keep the lines open. This problem isn\'t going to be solved in one sitting.

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  • Icarus Falling August 29, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Re \"Clearly the unprecedented petition of drivers willing to risk their jobs to speak out should be cause to say, lets put this on hold or maybe we have not thought of everything.\"

    Tri Met drivers are unionized, and will not be risking their jobs for speaking out. The union will not let that happen. That is how it works.

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  • Mr. TriMet August 30, 2008 at 5:13 am

    Could this be an opportunity to heal divisions between TriMet operators and people who ride bikes in Portland?
    Actually, this just pours a pound of salt onto an already open wound with TriMet riders, who weren\'t asked their opinion on this.

    No matter how you come down on this issue clearly not all voices have been heard. Can we not delay a week or two until all the voices are heard? How can this harm anyone?
    Perhaps more people (including myself) would\'ve come out in droves against the plan, due to moving the bus stops. Not all of us opposed would be transit riders, as Multnomah St. was a throughway for auto traffic, so motorists would probably disapprove of this as well.
    Seriously... TriMet provided months of notification for a 3-week MAX shut-down across the Steel Bridge, about a month of notice of the 3-month long bus detour for the same Steel Bridge/MAX construction, and has a open solicitation for comments regarding a 6-block section of Line 71 between 52nd and 60th.
    Where was the solicitation for public comment from transit riders? We\'ve practically lost a perfectly good transit center that\'s been there, with the same bus stops, for years!
    I want my transit center back! This isn\'t \"sharing the road...\" this is demanding the entire thing, and then some.

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  • joe adamski August 30, 2008 at 9:05 am

    common traits:

    both modes require facilities specific to their modes.

    neither mode is an undesireable mode.Bikes and transit are both critical in our cities moving away from the current carcentric reality.

    No one person or group speaks for the entire group of transit drivers // cyclists.

    Keep talking.

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  • zagreus August 30, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Beaverton Transit Center, Gateway Transit Center, Hollywood Transit Center, Willow Creek Transit Center, to name a few, are all closed to non-transit vehicle traffic. The only users are riders, buses, trains, and service vehilces. This has been a very safe solution, so that cars and bikes do not come into contact with buses, trains, pedestrians, and each other. It has worked as intended.

    Rose Quarter transit also fits this description. Automobiles aren\'t allowed to take the most direct route to I-5 north from the Steel Bridge, which would be through the Rose Quarter and continuing on Wheeler to Broadway. Bikes are allowed on Wheeler, but not through the Rose Quarter. If the true goal is sharing the road, there would be no justification for banning northbound automobile traffic on Wheeler.

    When too many solid objects are attempting to occupy the same space, a collision is inevitable. This is not a malignant or indifferent statement, but simple physics. Someone will misjudge or not see someone else. This is not a perfect world where everyone is on top of his game every second, or where everyone will obey the rules of the road and respect other people\'s rights. The purpose of a Transit Center is to minimize traffic for a safe environment for everyone.

    I did not sign Dan\'s petition because I did not know about it, and may not have since there was language that I did not find appropriate, but I do believe that he is speaking for the majority of drivers and MAX operators in general. The gist of what he says is accurate.

    There was some notification, and I was part of taking a poll among operators for their opionion, and Dan has captured the concerns very well.

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  • AL M August 30, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I also driver for TRIMET and echo the sentiments by Dan and Zagreaus.

    My blog deals with many Trimet related issue.

    I was speaking with the driver of the Austin Miller tragedy attempting to get her to give me an on camera interview about her experience. What she went through is every bus drivers worst nightmare come true.

    I think what Dan is trying to do with this petition, is to prevent another Austin Miller heartbreaking tragedy.

    How can any sane human being find fault with that?

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  • BURR August 30, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I\'m curious - The downtown transit mall will accomodate cars when it reopens, as a result of the lobbying efforts of the PBA. How do the TriMet operators feel about this? Are they planning to submit a similar petition regarding cars on the downtown transit mall shortly before it reopens?

    And I\'ll repeat that Paris, France designates shared bus - bike lanes throughout the city, which seem to work just fine.

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  • BURR August 30, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    My blog deals with many Trimet related issue.

    didn\'t Eileen or someone say that \"TriMet operators were \'too busy\' driving busses to spend time on the internet?\"

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  • zagreus August 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Drivers did prefer that the downtown mall be car free, and said so many times. The city of Portland trumped them, so we will have pedestrians, cars, truck, trains, bikes and buses in a very congested area. Burr, if you are saying that this sounds unsafe, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    Rose Quarter is not open to all traffic, as is the downtown mall. Like the other Transit Centers I mentioned, it has been restricted to transit usage.

    Bikes are not the only vehicles prohibited in transit centers, including Rose Quarter. If bikes were being singled out while automobiles proceeded apace, I could understand the high dudgeon.

    Transit Centers have proven very safe with no fatalities that I am aware of, and no major accidents. It would be nice if we could keep it that way.

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  • beth h August 30, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Bicycle riding isn\'t a weight-bearing activity.
    We need weight-bearing activities to maintain muscle tone and joint health.
    I, for one, don\'t really *mind* getting off my bike and walking it through that 1.5-block zone in the Rose Quarter where busses and MAX trains have to go through.
    This area may seem like a mess, but redesigning it probably isn\'t on the table.
    I personally don\'t have a problem with asking bike riders to get off and walk their bikes in places where bikes and motorized traffic won\'t EVER mix well. Considering how many places I CAN ride my bike in this town, \"losing\" a block and a half isn\'t a loss at all. it\'s an effort to keep everyone safer, and I appreciate that.
    I realize I may be nearly alone in my sentiment.

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  • zagreus August 30, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Al, I know the driver you are speaking of, and she is still heartbroken. She will never truly get over it. I would not trade placed for her for any reason, and she is indeed living every operator\'s worst nightmare. None of us want to harm another person.

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  • al m August 30, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    “And I\'ll repeat that Paris, France designates shared bus - bike lanes throughout the city, which seem to work just fine.”

    ~~>You’re comparing apples and oranges. Paris and the European attitude about travel is so completely different from American culture that you cannot make the comparison!

    “didn\'t Eileen or someone say that \"TriMet operators were \'too busy\' driving busses to spend time on the internet?\"

    ~~Apparently not all of us fit into that category

    “Al, I know the driver you are speaking of, and she is still heartbroken. She will never truly get over it. I would not trade placed for her for any reason, and she is indeed living every operator\'s worst nightmare. None of us want to harm another person.”

    EXACTLY THE POINT!
    This is what the petition is attempting to prevent.
    Any efforts to prevent accidents and injuries should be applauded not scorned.

    IT’S ALL ABOUT SAFETY, why can’t some of you see that?

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  • Joe August 30, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I appreciate Dan\'s point of view. Regardless of whether he\'s part of a union, speaking out is a difficult thing to do for some people such as myself. I would think buses are difficult to operate in normal auto-bus traffic, where vehicles are larger, easier to see, provide occupants a little more protection from collisions, and travel speeds are similar. I can only imagine the complication of dealing with smaller, harder-to-see, and more vulnerable bicyclists. However, I don\'t think this is a situation of creating a more dangerous interaction between buses and bikes at this location. Safety tests have been conducted, hundreds of hours of time has been spent looking into this issue, and necessary changes to the transit center are being made in conjunction with allowing bikes through there.

    Given all the attention and research that has been given to this issue, I feel confident the proposed \"fix\" will work. When it comes down to it, even Fred Hansen could be against this proposal and the City could still allow bikes through the TC, since it\'s City property (the Rose Quarter TC is not TriMet-owned).

    To those complaining about the change of the bus stops there, get over it. For one, it\'s not a big change to walk a hundred more feet (if it\'s even that much). Secondly, other TCs have similar walk distances, and thirdly, if you read a sign you\'ll know exactly where to go to catch whatever bus you need there.

    As a regular transit rider, I find the current bus arrangement already confusing, especially the #33 southbound all the way across the street on Interstate. Allowing cars through the area on Multnomah, Interstate, and the Steel Bridge is what causes so much delay and confusion - not the bikes. After the Green Line opens fall 09\' we\'ll get a chance to see exactly how bad the delays to MAX, bus, cars, bikes, ped, etc. because cars, buses, and four MAX lines are all going through the same intersection at Interstate and the Steel Bridge. This fix will at least move most northbound bicyclists out of that equation.

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  • Mr. TriMet August 30, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    To those complaining about the change of the bus stops there, get over it.
    Then, at the same time, I should be saying \"get over it\" to bicyclists that didn\'t like the route that goes under the freeway twice. That transit center was there for years (with the same bus stops), and the Eastbank has been open for 7 years. Bike riders are better equipped to \"a hundred more feet\" than people with limited mental capacities (who might not be able to understand their bus stop moved, even if someone assists them), or those with walkers, scooters, or wheelchairs. This will also mean additional \"loitering\" at a place that already has crime problems unless more bus operators wait for riders frantically trying to transfer from MAX or another bus route to avoid waiting for up to an hour (even the Frequent Service routes run hourly at some point), or to make their bus routes\' last run of the evening/night (some routes don\'t run very late, and I don\'t like what they did with 33F and 35G in 2004, either).

    I realize this is a *bike* forum, so I know my view on the subject probably isn\'t receiving any love here. However, it\'s obvious bike interests were contacted regarding the change–I went through RQTC everyday over the summer, saw the cones, wondered what in the world was going on, but as a bus rider I was never asked if moving the bus stops would affect me, riders I know, or riders I represent. That\'s my complaint regarding this issue.

    I haven\'t even mentioned the problems of being moved away from the large shelters that were designed to accommodate bus riders, the coffee stand, or the one drinking fountain in the area.

    And if anyone wonders how I can claim to being \"Mr. TriMet\" (a term dubbed by someone I know): Given the per capita ridership of 81 unlinked rides per year, I\'m at least 12 people.

    I apologize if anyone here feels I\'ve been abrasive, blunt, or rude. Providing my opinion here has helped deal with another backroom decision by the electeds and appointeds. Thanks for reading.

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  • zagreus August 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Joe, you hit the nail on the head. Wheeler St. going through the transit mall is city owned.

    Earlier administrations, less radical, and better informed and able to see questions from multiple perspectives, decided that the Transit Mall should be for transit users as a matter of safety. The \"study\" you refer to was done after the decision was made, in order to make the best of a very bad situation.

    There is no urgent need for a change in configuration, and there is only demand from a very small minority. As Mr. Trimet pointed out, others who use the Transit Mall were neither informed beforehand, or given an opportunity for input. That is a high handed approach.

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  • Eileen August 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Burr, nope, I didn\'t say anything like that. I haven\'t commented on this issue at all because I see both sides and I\'m not sure what the best answer is. I can\'t imagine why tri-met drivers would be too busy to be on the internet. It seems like the kind of job you could leave at work - do you think they would spend all their free time studying up on how to improve their driving or plotting against bicyclists? Maybe they have a lot of laundry? =)

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  • al m August 30, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Well I\'ve been reading the comments and had already come to the conclusion that the bus drivers would never get this changed to \"safe mode\".

    There is no doubt in my mind which political group in Portland has the power, and its the bike lobby. (don\'t get all upset by that comment please)

    I just hope that we are never in a position to say:

    \"TOLD YA SO!\"

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  • Cøyøte August 31, 2008 at 8:08 am

    al m you mentioned that Europe and the US could not be compared because our attitudes about travel are so different. Many of us are here to change that. Not to necessarily ape Europe, but to reach a place where attitudes and engineering make for a safe and livable city. That is going to mean denser cities, many fewer cars, and revised attitudes about the use of public space. The RQTC is public space, policies for the use of public space should lead us to where we want to be, and not reinforce our past mistakes.

    I am a big fan of transit. I don\'t use it much because it is too slow and too expensive. (Plus, I inevitably end up sitting too near the drunk obnoxious guy.) So I am all for special facilities for buses that speed travel and thereby reduce costs. However, if the engineers think they can make RQTC work safely with the inclusion of bicycle traffic, I would need to see specific details why it won\'t work. If the driver\'s objections are that bikes and buses can\'t mix, then it is an attitude problem.

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  • zagreus August 31, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Coyote, Dan Christensen isn\'t advocating restricting bike traffic at the Rose Quarter Transit, but All non-transit traffic, which has been the norm since the transit center was opened. Autombilies aren\'t allowed to use Wheeler St. northbound at all, but bikes are, except for the Rose Quarter.

    When I was working the bus bridge at Rose Quarter and at the Convention Center, I had two close enounters as a pedestrian with bikes speeding down the sidewalk, oblivious to the danger they posed to pedestrians. (These were a minority of bicyclists, granted, but a sizable minority do not care about other people.) Since there were no public hearings, the majority of transit center users, who are pedestrians, had no input at all. Is that democratic or autocratic?

    Restricting Transit Centers for transit use had been safe and successful wherever it has been tried in the Portland Metro area--no fatalities and no major accidents.

    Saving a few bicyclists 2 blocks seems to me a bad trade off for safety. I agree with Al, it seems like a this is a politician currying favor with a voting block without regard for consequences.

    I hope that this does not presage more of the same.

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  • BURR August 31, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    EXACTLY THE POINT!
    This is what the petition is attempting to prevent.
    Any efforts to prevent accidents and injuries should be applauded not scorned.

    IT’S ALL ABOUT SAFETY, why can’t some of you see that?

    Your position is entirely based on fear; and the (il)logical extension of your argument is that people using different modes of transportation are incapable of successfully sharing our public streets, and each mode needs it\'s own separate right of way to operate on, and I call BS on that.

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  • Sarah O August 31, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Beth #33, you are not alone. I have no problem walking my bike through the RQ. And while I am a bike commuter and bike advocate, I have a lot of sympathy for bus operators and the dangerous position they are both put in and put others in. I see for myself every day cyclists who ride unpredictably, unsafely and unlawfully, either through ignorance or out of an \"F you, rules don\'t apply to me\" attitude. I can\'t even imagine trying to maneuver an enormous TriMet rig around a weaving, helmetless, signalless cyclist or two riding through the RQ.

    Most cyclists are careful, predictable and defensive riders. Lots of others aren\'t and I won\'t lie, they anger the crap out of me. It\'s a rare day when a TriMet bus gets too close or drives aggressively, but I see other cyclists blowing lights and stops and cutting me off every day. I don\'t know what the answer is in regards to the RQ but I don\'t automatically run to the cyclist\'s side in this argument; these bus operators are behind the wheel full time plus every week and I don\'t think they\'re out to teach us a lesson by squishing us. In the meantime I\'ll walk my bike through when there are any buses around and zip through when there aren\'t.

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  • zagreus August 31, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Burr, again, if your argument is that all traffic has the right to share a public roadway, do you also support allowing automobiles into the Rose Quarter and northbound on Wheeler once you have passed the Rose Quarter?

    The Rose Quarter is more than a public steet, it is a mixed use transit center.

    Bus operators do share the road with other traffic on the roads, and as a driver, I have had few bad experiences--most of my bad experiences have been as a pedestrian.

    Why should the Rose Quarter be treated differently than Gateway T(ransit
    C (enter), Hollywood TC, Willow Creek TC, Beaverton TC, or any other TC? They are relatively safe compared to other places.

    What is different about a TC is that there are multiple buses at any given time, not simply one every 15 or so minutes, there are multiple Max lines, and last and most important, there are anwhere from dozens to hundreds of pedestrians. The Rose Quarter TC is already a madhouse when an event lets out.

    No study that I have seen has considered impact on pedestrians.

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  • BURR August 31, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    The city is supposed to be promoting alternatives to single car occupancy. Transit and cycling both qualify as beneficiaries under this scheme, and, although busses may move more people, bikes don\'t pollute or damage the roads like busses do.

    The RQTC is the most direct route with the most favorable topography for cyclists.

    I am certainly not in favor of letting private motor vehicles through the RQTC as well; but I do find it extremely unfortunate that something can\'t be worked out to allow access for both transit vehicles and cyclists, because cyclists are almost certainly going to continue using that route for the reasons stated above, legal or not, and IMO it would be best to have a prescribed route for cyclists to follow instead of the free-for-all we\'ve got now.

    If a pilot program for allowing bikes through on a prescribed route fails primarily because of the bus drivers\' fear and intransigence, I would find that even more unfortunate, but not completely unpredictable, given all the arbitrary, artificial divisions people create between themselves in our society today.

    Pretty sad, really.

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  • zagreus August 31, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    The present bike route is exactly 2 blocks longer, Burr, than the proposed new one. How much of an imposition can that possibly be?

    ...\"cyclists are almost certainly going to continue using the route for the reasons stated above, legal or not.\"

    That is exactly why it should not happen. People who disobey a law merely because it is inconvenient are unpredictable, immature, indifferent to the rights of others, and unsafe. Rewarding people for breaking laws is a recipe for disaster--it makes suckers out of people who do obey the law, and when things get too far out of hand, it provides the state a pretext, with popular support, for a crackdown with resulting oppression. In the meantime, fewer and fewer people will respect or obey laws, and it will come back to bite you in the end.

    The problem we have had is lack of enforcement. Enforcement does work if it is consistent and costly to the lawbreaker. I certainly notice on my commute how much slower traffic moves after a patrol and ticket action on Highway 30--and it lasts for weeks.

    Do the artificial and arbitrary divisions between people that you speak of include bike lanes and bike paths? Bicycling advocacy groups lobbied long and hard for these, with the idea that bikes are safer if other traffic is kept at bay.

    Dan, Al, and I do not have irrational fears of bikes or of change, but we do have experience with the public and with traffic, and we base our opionions on that exprience.

    Disagree if you choose, but you are saying more about yourself than you are about us when you label opposing viewpoints as irrational and fear based.

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  • BURR August 31, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    enforcement will do nothing except further alienate the police from the cycling public.

    speaking of enforcement, what\'s up with bus drivers speeding over the hawthorne viaduct among other places and running red lights downtown?

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  • al m September 1, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Obviously we will all go round and round on this, there is no meeting of the minds, pretty much shows the schism between the motoring public and the biking public.

    Hey, its your lives on the line, not mine or any other auto motorist.

    I guess if your willing to gamble with your lives for no particular reason other than it is \"more direct\" then you have that right.

    Good luck to you all, I wish none of you any bad fortune.

    Thank you for your time.

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  • peejay September 1, 2008 at 2:08 am

    #1. Non-compliance of laws is highest in confusing, ill-designed areas. People break laws they least understand, or least know how to follow at all. They don\'t just arbitrarily choose to be less law-abiding in certain places.

    #2. Any use of the Austin Miller tragedy to further the argument about restricting bikes in RQTC is specious. Austin died because of a criminally bad MUP that was designed to throw bikes into the path of buses. I fully agree that bus drivers should resist at all costs such a potential hazard, but I do not believe that there is even a close approximation of one in RQTC.

    #3. At Sunset TC, the exit road has a bike lane, and it works fine except for where there\'s a limb of an oak tree blocking it just as the hill steeply descends around a corner, but I take the lane and never have had a problem with the buses there.

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  • antloader September 1, 2008 at 2:19 am

    \"We do know that it is safe to ride a bicycle near buses, when \"BOTH\" drivers and cyclists are making the right moves. I say both because we all know that neither all cyclists, nor all bus drivers operate safely by any means.\" -Icarus Falling #21

    This is a really important point. So is Zagreus\' #47, when applied to all human components of traffic.

    Things would be much different if cyclists, as a group, were statistically more predictable and law-abiding. Equal traffic enforcement among motorists and cyclists would help to present a much more manageable and harmonious road-sharing situation.

    We shoot ourselves in the foot each time we act outside the law in ways that elicit fear and subsequent anger. Imagine walking (driving) a mile in a professional bus driver\'s shoes. The average, not-ever-busted-on-average, cyclist presents a statistically scary road interaction especially in congested areas, especially when said cyclist is negotiating the same real estate with a huge, clumsy-by-nature bus, no matter how skillful the bus driver may be.

    Empathy: a little more, please.

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  • zagreus September 1, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Burr, if enforcement is a bad thing when applied to bikers breaking the law, why are you upset about other people doing the same thing? That is hypocrisy. You certainly expect others to obey the law when it is in your own interest.

    If you can selectively obey laws, so can I or anyone else. The law applies to all, or none. Anything else creates first and second class citizens, and I refuse to be a second class citizen. Would you want enforcement if I rode my Harley down the Springwater Trail at highway speeds because it was handier, more direct, and had less traffic? It would definitely save me more than 2 blocks. Would you say that enforcement should not happen because it would further alienate motorcyclists from police officers?

    Peejay, the Sunset Transit Center, proper, is for buses and pedestrians only. The exit road is open not only to bikes, but to automobiles as well.

    The majority of Rose Quarter TC users are not buses or trains, but pedestrians. The lack of public hearings allowing input by the majority of transit users is just plain wrong. It reminds me too much of the so-called democratic decision in the mid \'60\'s to put a jail in the middle of a residential neighborhood (Wood Village) despite the fact that the neighborhood was unanimous in its opposition. I attended those hearings, and it left a lasting impression on my young mind.

    Al, you may be right, but I don\'t believe that you are. We have heard from some very sensible, reasonable, and open minded people on this thread, as well ss the usual die-hards who come with their minds already made up. Don\'t judge everyone by them, and give up trying to dialogue.

    Most bicyclists are responsible, obey the laws, and operate safely. They will cause no problem anywhere. It is the rather sizable minority with juvenile attitudes who believe that their own judgement is supreme that we have to worry about.

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  • AL M September 1, 2008 at 10:28 am

    \"Most bicyclists are responsible, obey the laws, and operate safely\"

    NOW HERE IS A STATEMENT WE CAN ALL AGREE ON!

    I know the decision has been made is not going to change, I would imagine Dan knows it to.

    But thanks to DAN, the issues have been brought into the public consciousness.

    If everybody is careful and considerate, there will be no problems.

    But we all know thats not how things go.

    There always are a few people that just don\'t care about anything.

    And it\'s true, a point that was made earlier, even if it was \"illegal\" to ride through the rose quarter, that wouldn\'t stop people from riding through the rose quarter.

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  • AL M September 1, 2008 at 10:43 am

    About 5 years or so ago, I drove a route 40 up Williams Avenue around 5pm in the middle of the summer.

    It was the most exasperating experience of my life dealing with bicycles. There were times I thought I was in Amsterdam there were so many bicycles going up that road.

    They were “herds” of up to 20 bicyclists at once. And at every red light and at every stop the “herd” would catch up to me.

    They were EVERYWHERE, on my left, on my right, in front of me, behind me.

    I used to have to actually pull over the bus and just stop because the herd was like a bunch of hyena’s tormenting me like a wounded water buffalo that the hyena’s wanted for dinner.

    Too bad I didn’t have video capability back then.

    None of the bicyclists were being particularly ‘bad” but they all had different skill levels and would spread out all along Williams until I stopped, then the herd would all catch up to me again!

    I faced that every day, five days a week.

    And they say TRIMET bus drivers are overpaid.

    I imagine its worse now!

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  • Eileen September 1, 2008 at 11:14 am

    \"It is the rather sizable minority with juvenile attitudes who believe that their own judgement is supreme that we have to worry about.\"

    Well I\'d rather those \"kids\" on bikes than behind the wheel of a car. At least on bikes, the main lives they are risking are their own. How many of us know someone who was killed in a car accident between the ages of 16 and 25?

    I do appreciate how stressful it must be for bus drivers to navigate between bicycles. It is stressful just in a car and I think we all need to be careful about the us/them mentality developing on this thread. If our goal is to reduce carbon emissions on this planet, then buses are an important piece of that since not everyone can ride a bike.

    I think it would be best if there could be a separate route for bikes and buses, but if it is separate, it should be equal. And if that isn\'t possible, then it seems that in all planning decisions, the most convenient options should be divvied out in the following order: most convenient goes to pedestrians, next convenient to bicycles, then to buses and the least convenient option to cars. So even if it is a difference of a few blocks, it shouldn\'t be the bikes having to go a few extra blocks. However, since the transit center is already in place and it would be a silly waste of money to re-route the entire thing, I think buses should still be allowed to go through the transit center. It would be very gracious of the bicyclists to share that space with them.

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  • Ashley September 1, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I appreciate what Dan is doing. I think it\'s important that all vested parties have a voice. Personally I would rather go around. Though I would like to see a bike signal for the lefthand turn headed north just past the transit center. It\'s not a friendly place to sit at waiting for the cars going west to get through. Additionally it would be most helpful if the light crossing Weidler was timed for bikes. You get the signal after a long wait at the I-5 entrance, then you pedal trying to catch the weidler light and it turns yellow right as you get there. It\'s very evidently timed for car speed. 3 seconds more would be sooo helpful.

    Back to the rose quarter...It\'s been written that it compares to other transit centers, but I don\'t think it\'s a fair comparison. The Hollywood, sunset, and beaverton transit centers all have a very clear and wide path of travel- and the tracks are in a safer location. The rose quarter blends buses, tracks, people, and bikes in a one block area of space running with perpendicular traffic flow N-S and E-W. I don\'t trust a bus to see me even with a bike lane, and I don\'t trust people or bikes to see each other as they zip through AND across the axes.

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  • zagreus September 1, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Al, I think that you let your frustration get the better of you in that last posting. I know as well as you do what it is like to deal with people day after day who work so hard and dillegently to win the Darwin Award, and who reward you the one finger salute for thwarting their efforts.

    I also, like you, know what it is like to have to deal with the adrenaline rush you get from a close call--high energy with no place to burn it off. We can\'t get off the bus and walk it off or do pushups, we just have to keep going as if nothing has happened. Adreneline that does not get worked off turns to chloresterol, which may explain why so many of us die so soon after retirement, or don\'t live long enough to get there.

    We can also empathize when it happens to others, especially those on bikes who are more vulnerable than we are in 20 plus ton vehicles, though as the driver who was involved in the Austin Miller tragedy can attest, we wish that we can change places with the other party.

    I was driving the 72 north on 82nd at Foster, and was at a stop loading passengers. A bike went by, carefully, on the sidewalk, when a car made a right turn in front of the bus at a high rate of speed, and nearly killed the bicyclist. I know what the bicyclist was feeling. I caught up with him, and told him \"wow, that was a close call\" and invited him to put his bike on the rack. He said that he had no money, so I gave him a free all zone pass, and said, \"bub, you aren\'t in any condition to ride after that. This isn\'t your day to ride.\" He appreciated it, and rode with me to Holgate, where he transferred to line 17 eastbound. I think that the vast majority of us have done similar things, have reported reckless drivers, assisted bicyclist who have had accidents, etc.

    Al, we need to remember these things, and take it for granted that most people will not care, or realize that we react the same as they do to stress.

    I do appreciate the thoughtful and well reasoned posts I have read in this thread, even if their conclusions differ.

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  • steve September 1, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Zagreus,

    Francis Zappa- “The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.”

    Henry Thoreau- “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for law, so much as a respect for right.”

    William Shenstone- “Laws are generally found to be nets of such a texture, as the little creep through, the great break through, and the middle-sized are alone entangled in it.”

    Oliver Goldsmith - “Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson - “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my own constitution; the only wrong what is against it.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson - “Good men must not obey laws too well.”

    Sir Winston Churchill - “If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.”

    Edmund Burke - “Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.”

    Lucius Annaeus Seneca - “Laws do not persuade just because they threaten.”

    Hermann Hesse - “Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them.”

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  • zagreus September 1, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Steve,

    If I follow my own internal compass and say that only fools obey man made laws, and ride my Harley on the Springwater Trail bikeway, I will remember everything you have quoted. I doubt that you will come to my defense. If I took your right of way at an intersection, would you applaud me for thinking for myself?

    People who randomly disobey laws are as guilty of lack of thought as those who blindly follow them. Thoreau never advocated lawlessness. Neither did Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. or my Quaker ancestors who were part of the underground railroad. They were quite clear about what conditions justified civil disobedience, a concept pioneered by Thoreau.

    Thoreau\'s time in jail was in protest of the Mexican War, an act of naked aggression that was condemned at the time by Congressman Abraham Lincoln.

    You quoted several deep thinkers, but I did not hear a single thought coming from you.

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  • steve September 1, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    As I have not from you zaggy.

    I have no opinion on this debate, as I do not ride through there. I have been nearly creamed by so many buses that I have lost count. As such, I tend to side with cyclists on matters of contention.

    I do not take issue with your thoughts or opinions on this issue. Merely your apparent position that the law being on your side somehow makes your case for you. It does not.

    If you have a point, make it. It is a weak mind that relies on \'the law\' to win an argument. If you need an example, re-read your post #52.

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  • steve September 1, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I would also recommend researching the concept of a \'Strawman\' argument. Your nonsensical Harley on the Springwater is a textbook example.

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  • zagreus September 1, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Steve,

    You have not read the posts at all, evidently. There has been a lot more presented than simply \"it is the law.\" That has never been the entire case.

    There was no strawman--I simply took your argument to it\'s logical conclusion, and if it looked ridiculous to you, it is because the argument that obeying the law is mindless and disobeying it is thoughful is ridiculous.

    People who cannot diffentiate between civil disobedience and criminality, between social responsibility and selfishness, need a refresher course in logic.

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  • AL M September 1, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Actually-

    I never drive in Portland anymore, nor do I intend to drive in Portland, hopefully for the remainder of my TRIMET career.

    (never say never when working at TRIMET)

    I will say this, west-side bicyclists are very much better than Portland bicyclists.

    I leave the Rose Quarter to folks like Dan and Zagreus.

    To quote one of my favorite all time movies:

    THE HORROR
    THE HORROR!

    Just the thought of having to drive in there is enough to give me the shakes!

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  • r September 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    if there were a facility -- let\'s say, a railroad switching yard -- and some roads led into it and other roads with maybe the same names on the signposts led out the other side, and there were paved surfaces in the switching yard that one could in theory ride a bike over . . . but the facility itself was clearly a railroad switching yard, would we even be having this discussion?

    I live not far from the Rose Quarter facility, and I very often have to go from east to west or from north to south on routes that could, I suppose, include the TriMet facility, . . . and I have no difficulty biking on crowded thoroughfares like Broadway or Burnside or Hawthorne or even MLK or Sandy, but it would never occur to me to bike through this death trap when there is a perfectly manageable route a block or two over. why all the furor?

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  • zagreus September 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Al, I share an office with Pete, Drop in and say hi.

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  • peejay September 1, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Not saying people shouldn\'t obey the law. Just saying that the laws most commonly disobeyed are the ones least understood.

    People try to be law-abiding, more here than in a lot of places in the world. But when things don\'t make sense, like having a gaping big area you can\'t ride through for no apparent reason, people are bound to improvise. Same as the idiotic stop signs at Ladd Circle: people don\'t understand why they\'re there. Most people think it\'s some kind of mistake.

    No judgement on whether it\'s OK to break the law, just a comment on human nature.

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  • Eileen September 1, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    \"People who randomly disobey laws are as guilty of lack of thought as those who blindly follow them. \" - Zagreus

    This is the point I\'ve tried to make on other threads (like graffiti). I don\'t think that riding through the transit center is necessarily random, but it does seem that there is an air of willingness to follow the laws that you like and not willing to follow the laws you don\'t like. Choosing to purposefully disobey certain laws should be done carefully and with full knowledge. I think those who believe with conviction that bikes should be given priority to gas-powered vehicles might be able to justify riding places where bikes aren\'t typically allowed. But if you are just being lazy or you don\'t FEEL like following certain laws today, don\'t try to take the moral high ground. I\'m not perfect and I break laws from time to time but I\'m not going to pretend that it makes me a good person when I do.

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  • wsbob September 1, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    \"Not saying people shouldn\'t obey the law. Just saying that the laws most commonly disobeyed are the ones least understood.

    People try to be law-abiding, more here than in a lot of places in the world. But when things don\'t make sense, like having a gaping big area you can\'t ride through for no apparent reason, people are bound to improvise. Same as the idiotic stop signs at Ladd Circle: people don\'t understand why they\'re there. Most people think it\'s some kind of mistake.\" peejay

    Lack of understanding doesn\'t mean the reasoning for regulations pertaining to certain situations don\'t have merit. As I understand, from reading this thread and other info relating to the RTQC, lots of effort has been made to help people understand why valid concern exists over allowing access to bikes through this area. Tri-Met conducted an expensive study to determine what kind of a mix of transport mode the RTQC might safely handle. Wasn\'t a link to that study posted on one of the threads on this weblog? Has anyone here actually read that study and from it developed some understanding of what the RTQC can safely handle? Or are the reflexive complainers on this thread preferring to fall back on the excuse \'I don\'t understand, so I\'ll just do what seems right to me, despite the law\', whatever the study says, despite efforts that have been made to help them understand the situation?

    \"Same as the idiotic stop signs at Ladd Circle: people don\'t understand why they\'re there.\" peejay

    The stop signs are \'idiotic\'? Plenty opportunity for understanding why those stop signs are there exists, yet people casually claim they \'..don\'t understand ..\', and go on to break the law and disrespect the interests of everyone else it\'s designed to protect.

    If people not wishing to be perceived as common criminals, fools or idiots are going to break the law in some valiant stand for justice or what is right, the least they could do is to make an effort to understand why the law they intend to break is there before breaking it.

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  • al m September 1, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    \"Al, I share an office with Pete, Drop in and say hi.\"

    You got it!

    The bottom line on this discussion is that it is up to the bicyclists to make sure they are obeying all the laws when going through the Rose Quarter.

    I drove the last year of the old transit mall, it was complete mayhem, total chaos, cars were no longer banned, one way streets became two way streets, nobody used cross walks,

    YET NOBODY GOT KILLED!

    There were hardly even any accidents

    It\'s a testimony to the skill of the Trimet Bus drivers.

    I\'d like to remind folks that statistically, transit bus drivers are the best drivers on the road.

    Nothing can be as bad as the last year of the old transit mall.

    This is the best description of how I feel about the prospect of driving through the Rose Quarter:

    http://rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-i-feel-about-prospect-of-driving.html

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  • Pete September 2, 2008 at 1:00 am

    peejay (#50): #2. \"Austin died because of a criminally bad MUP that was designed to throw bikes into the path of buses.\"

    I think that should be qualified as opinion; the history of that MUP is such that it was beyond Washington County\'s control to continue the bike lane (it doesn\'t fall under the City of Beaverton as many mistakenly assumed around the time of the tragedy). I rode that route daily for years and found it confusing the first time (not seeing the sign instructing riders onto the sidewalk) but not incredibly unsafe. I suspect the officers investigating the tragedy know a little more about the details than us casual observers (I rode by minutes after it happened, but certainly wouldn\'t claim to know the cause).

    (Incidentally, I\'m not the same Pete that shares an office with Zagreus, though I\'ve appreciated his comments here and on other blogs).

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  • wsbob September 2, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Pete, I don\'t really get your statement:

    \"I think that should be qualified as opinion; the history of that MUP is such that it was beyond Washington County\'s control to continue the bike lane (it doesn\'t fall under the City of Beaverton as many mistakenly assumed around the time of the tragedy).\"

    So who does have jurisdiction over the design of that infrastructure? I understood it to be the county. The physical solution to the dangerous situation represented by close proximity of the MUP intersection with the bus turnout is simple and straightforward: Simply move the bus turnout approximately 20\' further to the west of the MUP terminus with Farmington than it is now. It\'s time for people to hear that something substantial has been done to remedy that situation.

    At least at the RQTC, Tri-Met has made a serious effort to determine whether and to what extent a mix of pedestrians and transit riders, people on bikes and buses can safely move about in that area. The agency has developed plans for infrastructure that would enable their estimations to work out to the best of their ability. The least that people could do is give those plans some serious consideration before flat out deciding they have no merit.

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  • Icarus Falling September 2, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Aren\'t the new changes supposed to start today?

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  • Pete September 2, 2008 at 11:28 am

    wsbob (#71): good points. The county does have jurisdication, but I was told by a Beaverton engineer they are lacking the easement (and funding) to move the curb in and create a continual bike lane, and an eminent domain claim against the church (that owns the land) would be costly and controversial. Personally I don\'t know why the sidewalk needs to be so wide there and it couldn\'t be split with a bike lane.

    I could see your solution working - right now bus drivers have to accelerate through the light and then cut short to swing in, often contending with right-turning traffic (who sometimes create a \'third lane\' in the little space that\'s there on the southbound side).

    That MUP is definitely a disruption to cycling flow (which also confuses drivers), but when cycling on a sidewalk (something I\'m adamantly against) it\'s best to behave like a pedestrian - slow down, use the crosswalk signal, and make sure drivers see you before stepping out (they\'re often looking left there to race oncoming traffic onto Farmington).

    My disagreement was with the wording of the statement: traffic engineers aren\'t out to create murderous conditions for us, and we don\'t know that Austin didn\'t have some negligence, albeit innocent in intent. We don\'t know for sure that Austin would still be with us if that intersection was designed differently, so it\'s unfair to lay blame. And believe me, I don\'t mean disrespect by saying this; I feel for his family\'s deep loss and also the driver\'s grief.

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  • al m September 2, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Regarding Austin Miller-

    It was a heart breaking tragedy!

    Could it have been avoided?

    Who knows! My gut says no.

    The roadways are dangerous!

    As Americans we are in the greatest peril when we are on America\'s roadways.

    I personally would never ride a bike in NW Portland, which is where I live.

    I tried it, I thought it was nuts!

    I don\'t like the bike lanes, I much prefer the side roads.

    What needs to be done IMO is to segregate (oh no, there\'s that word) the bike traffic from the vehicle traffic, that\'s about the only thing that would improve the chances of someone not getting killed.

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  • El Biciclero September 2, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Bike traffic cannot be segregated from auto traffic. At every intersection--segregated or not--bike traffic must cross auto traffic. If bikes are segregated only between intersections (out of sight, out of mind), only to pop out at the intersections, it would be much more dangerous then bikes remaining visible at all times. \"Segregation\" is part of what got Austin killed.

    If segregation is to be in any way safe, there must be separate signals at every intersection (like pedestrians have), or overpasses at busy intersections, or some other radical (expensive) infrastructure change so that segregation can be complete. IMO any partial solution would end up being more dangerous then just riding on the street where everyone can see you.

    The only thing that will decrease the chances of someone getting killed is greater care being exercised while driving/riding.

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  • zagreus September 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    El, I partly agree with you. You are absolutely right that everyone needs to be aware, careful, and conscientious, and allow for the fact that someone else may not be on his \"A\" game that day. Whenever human beings interact, misjudgements, miscommunication, and accidents occur. Being lawful and predictable means safety for everyone.

    I agree with Al that bike paths are a good investment. The paths that parallel I-205, and the Springwater trails, come to mind. The I-205 path passes over Powell altogether, with an off ramp for those who wish to exit there. I would like to see more of them, and would consider it money well spent. So far as I know there have been no fatalities on these paths, or major accidents, but correct me if I am wrong.

    I am not an absolutist about keeping bikes and cars apart, and think that bike lanes are also a good idea, but they are not as good as the bike paths.

    I do not think, however, that Transit Centers are a good place for such a mix, and for that, I completely agree with Al.

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  • El Biciclero September 2, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Sure, paths like Springwater and the 205 and 26 paths make good \"express routes\" if you have no particular destination along the path, but to get anywhere useful (work, grocery store, restaurants, other businesses) you must leave the path. That is the problem I have with most people\'s notion of \"segregation\": a lot of folks have the idea that people on bikes aren\'t going anywhere specific and they can just ride on \"the bike path\" wherever it happens to go. That idea is like telling car drivers never to leave the freeway. What would it be like if drivers could never use surface streets?

    This is just my opinion, but I think \"bike paths\" are only safe/useful as the cycling equivalent of freeways. Just like freeways, they should have no intersections, only on- and off-ramps. But such paths would not take cyclists all the way to their destinations. For that, one has to ride on the street.

    This doesn\'t really have much to do with the RQTC discussion, so I\'ll refrain from any further posts in this vein.

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  • zagreus September 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    El, Al brought up the subject, and dialogue is really good. You are right, of course, that bike paths are not the only answer and do not serve all needs, but they are very good and having more of them may save lives.

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  • a.O September 2, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Segregation is BS. And, despite the original intent, it\'s clear that the anti-bike crowd has seized this thread to propound its agenda. If it wasn\'t about politics at the beginning (debatable), it is now. That\'s unfortunate. Particularly if they think they\'re going to make any headway in this town.

    Sorry, but you\'re going to have to share the road. I know it\'s tough, but you\'d better get used to it. Seriously.

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  • Mr. TriMet September 2, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Sorry, but you\'re going to have to share the road.
    \"Sharing the road\" would mean accepting that transit passengers also need adequate facilities as well, and if the safest bike route involves an additional two blocks for others\' comfort and safety, then so be it.

    That\'s nice that the reports of a study might have been posted here. Once again, there really should\'ve been an open comment period for everyone to participate, and advertised everywhere (i.e., front page of the TriMet website, e-mails, printed materials on buses, etc.). Then we would\'ve weighed in via those online venues, rather than being personally attacked for being \"anti-bike\" here. Despite all of this, the empty seat on the bus is still for you when you need it, as always.

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  • wsbob September 2, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Pete, thanks for the additional info you offered about the Murray/Farmington intersection. I\'d heard of the easement issue associated with property the church apparently owns, but have been kind of surprised that resolving it would be such an issue. I\'m wondering if somebody with the church is failing to to see the priority related to this situation.

    Could the Austin Miller tragedy have been avoided with a more safely designed intersection? In reading the police investigators report, it witness accounts and the investigators hypothesis seem to suggest that Austin Miller did not stop at the intersection though the crosswalk signal across the intersection indicated \'Don\'t walk\'(however, it\'s not certain which direction he intended to go.)It\'s thought that he proceeded without stopping, into the intersection across the bike path 6\' from the curb/end of MUP.

    When I\'m driving my vehicle, I consider it my responsibility to anticipate that people on sidewalks or MUP\'s entering bikelanes may do this sort of thing, and take precautions accordingly. Should we expect less of people driving...what do they weigh?...7 ton buses? O.k., fine, accidents happen and normal, well functioning human beings can only follow a certain number of details at one time. Maybe it would help matters if we didn\'t resign ourselves to living with dangerous situations that have obvious solutions available. First thing: improve dangerous intersections. Second thing: Where intersection can\'t be improved right away, drive and ride more safely.

    I\'m not personally familiar with the RQTC or studies that have been conducted to determine the feasibility of having bike traffic course through it. As for the people that are familiar with the RQTC and studies that have been made it seems to me that people could have a more substantial discussion of what the RQTC with improvements in place might be like if they considered what the study and the plan are attempting to bring to the RQTC. Maybe it will be better and maybe it won\'t, but careful study and discussion might bring a better answer than that arrived at on this thread so far. So far, it seems like a deadlock.

    One outcome of the admission of bikes on a permanent basis to the RQTC, is that bus drivers may very likely have to change the driving style they\'ve been accustomed to in in that area while bikes have not been present in substantial numbers. What\'s wrong with that? Everything changes. Everything has to change sometime. If it slows down service through the RQTC, or makes conditions treacherous, then it can be changed again to make the situation safer.

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  • mark September 2, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    yeah, i always avoid the bus mall, the RQTC, etc., and will continue to do so whether I\'m allowed to be there or not. I want to live to ride another day. So I don\'t have any problem with having to go a block or three out of my way. big whoop. more time riding. ride more bitch less. yup

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  • Zagreus September 3, 2008 at 7:49 am

    WS, there are 2 overriding concerns. One, mentioned by Mr. Tri-Met, is pedestrian interactions. The second is the human factor--people take chances, people operating large vehicles with multiple blind sponts may not see the person taking a chance. Others may not even be aware of how many blind spots a bus has, or that it is not as manueverable as a smaller vehicle, and that sudden stops injure people on the bus.

    Sensory overload is also a possibility, one that several drivers mentioned when speaking to me. Our primary focus at the Rose Quarter has always been pedestrians/passengers, MAX, other buses, and bikes and autos that may be in the TC illegally.

    We also have to deal with passengers inside the bus. I actually had a passenger come up to me while I was driving westbound on Sandy, ask me a question and at the same time shove a piece of paper in front of my face wile the bus was in motion. As a consequence I passed up an elderly woman in a wheelchair because I did not see her, and thankfully I avoided an accident. Remeber, I can\'t stop quickly without injuring my passengers inside the bus. We deal with these issues daily.

    Sad to say, we are not superhuman, but like you we are all too human. Increasing traffic load anywhere increases the odds of an accident happening, and I don\'t believe that saving someeone an extra 2 blocks is worth the cost.

    If Wheeler is for bikes, perhaps the answer is for the transit center itself to move to the present bike route.

    Our mutual goal ought to be safety.

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  • wsbob September 3, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Zag and all the rest of you....all I\'m saying is that you might have a more productive discussion if you spent some time and looked at information that people studying the RQTC have come up with. That information may help confirm whether or not the possibility that some kind of road user mix in the transit center is a workable arrangement.

    I\'ve no doubt that a lot of information is available about the RQTC; how many sq ft of roadway there is, how much of it buses need to safely move about, turn in, turn out; how many buses move through their per hour and to what number they might be increased in years to come; how much sq ft is available for a bike lane; how many bikes could be moved through there per hr.

    At least consider some of the numbers before falling back on purely gut reactions.

    Zag...so what did you do about the passenger that shoved the paper in front of your face?

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  • zagreus September 3, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    WS, I very politely told her to sit down and NEVER do anything like that again, or she would never ride any bus that I was driving again. The adrenelin spike was deadly to me. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is frequent, though this was worst than most. I also had a person jump in front of my bus in order to force me to stop when I was on a solid sheet of ice and of course could not stop quickly.

    I have looked at the data, and have taken part in the discussions at TM--it is very optimistic in my view, hoping that everyone will be on their best behavior, and that is not realistic.

    No drive driver can simply ignore all of his or her experience when coming to a conclusion. There are people of faith in our ranks to be certain, but I tend to be a skeptic.

    If you are not expecting the worst and are not prepared for the worst, you will end up killing someone if you are operating a large vehicle such as a bus or a car. Our collective experience has taught us that the worst will happen every day.

    What Dan has done is to ask people to look at it from a driver\'s perspective. I own a vintage Motobecane myself, and I am not hostile to bikes per se. I am glad that Dan has asked people in a position to do something about it to take a good, hard, look. From what I can see, people are thinking bikes and buses, and forgetting all about the pedestrians.

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  • wsbob September 3, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I wouldn\'t want to drive a bus, that\'s for sure. Zag, you got to get a handle on that adrenaline. I\'m not sure what else you could of done though. Some people would have just had such a passenger get off the bus at the very next stop.

    Glad to hear you looked at the data.

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  • Zagreus September 4, 2008 at 5:08 am

    WS, let\'s hope for the best.

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  • Icarus Falling September 4, 2008 at 10:36 am

    After all this commenting, it still appears that the real problem is bus drivers can\'t drive around bikes, or pedestrians for that matter.

    Once again, training, training, training, (for bus drivers) cause the bikes aren\'t going anywhere.

    Plus, by now, the bikes are rolling right through the transit center legally.

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  • Zagreus September 4, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Icarus, training is a great thing, but so is enforcement. People who put themselves above the law while expceting lettter perfect compliance from others will always be a problem. No amount of training can prepare anyone to anticipate actions that are neither lawful nor sensible.

    Why not take some responsibility for yourself?

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Zagreus,

    Speaking of personal responsibility....

    When is actual enforcement going to be applied to Tri Met drivers? If you are asking for more enforcement against/towards one vulnerable user group, you should expect that the same amount, if not more enforcement/scrutiny would be applied to your road user group.

    After 20+ years as a bike messenger in this town, I can attest to the fact that Tri Met bus drivers are the biggest violators of the rules of the road in the City Of Portland.

    This is, and has been a very disconcerting thing to me and many others. And what happens when you have an incident with a Tri Met Bus?

    Nothing. Nothing at all. NO response from Tri Met other than \"We can\'t tell you anything\". Which certainly means \"We are doing nothing about it, go away.\"

    You used the words \"above the law\". This could be used as a nice big slogan advertising the ideals of Tri Met.

    In fact, it appears that \"Above The Law\" could be the letterhead for Tri Met\'s new \"Mission Statement\".

    \"Above The Law\"
    \"We own this town. We do what we want. But we cannot operate safely around you, so we recommend that you either ride the bus, or just stay home.\"

    I digress.

    The daily, and multiple irresponsible acts of bus drivers near and or around other vulnerable road users is atrocious.

    And then to read a driver such as yourself, speaking out about a need for enforcement, against a user group that many bus drivers now have on paper, signed and admitted to not being able to do the job they are paid to do around, sickens me.

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  • grasshopper September 5, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    superlatives are always dangerous:

    In my experience, cops have broken the most traffic laws I have ever witnessed in this own....so...

    oh, that\'s right, they\'ve already been flogged on at least one of these forums...

    =)

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  • a.O September 5, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    What Icarus said.

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  • Zagreus September 5, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Icarus, I did not specify any specific user group when I said that enforcement works.

    CDL drivers are held to a higher standard, and moving violations can cost us our livelihood. There are real legal consequences for our actions. We cannot operate vehicles without proving competency to the state. Not so bicyclists. In addition, a citation from a Tri-Met supervisor can also cost a driver his or her livelihood.

    Most of the posts I have read on this thread have been well reasoned and well thought out, even if the conclusions differ from mine.

    There is an element on this thread ,though, with a sense of excessive entitlement, who have stated in words and actions that they believe that the law apples to others, but not to themselves. These are the operators, be they motorists, motorcyclists, or bicyclists, with whom I have issues.

    Enforcement does work. I don\'t think that bikes should be the exclusive focus of law enforment. Neither do I think that they should be excempt.

    The petition that the bus operators signed pointed out a safety concern that a crowded transit mall is not the best place for a bike lane. There have been many reasons given.

    I was at the Rose Quarter Tuesday and Thursday mornings, observing. Many bicyclists went the old route, others walked their bikes through, and others rode through very carefulls, covering their brakes as bus drivers do. There is no problem with these bicyclists, who are a majority.

    A sizable minority blew the stop light at Multnomah, and sped through the transit center without any regard for pedestrians or other traffic. We genuinely fear these cyclists, fear for their safety, and fear for the safety of other transit users, our passengers.

    This petition did not single out bikes. We do not currently allow automobiles through the transit center, either, even though we share the road with them on the streets. If the decision had been to allow automobile traffic, we would have fought that , too. Bikes are no different. We lost the battle to keep automobiles off of the new downtown transit mall.

    What the drivers who signed this petition did was honorable, honest, courageous, and responsible.

    At no time did any driver commenting on this post think that bikes should simply \"go away.\" We know that bikes are here to stay--many drivers do not own cars, but rely on bicycles and public transportation exclusively. We are trying to find a way to peacefully coexist.

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Zagreus,

    While your last comment was apparently addressed to me, it\'s content did not address at all my concerns, nor the obvious truths included in my post. Instead, you speak of lost battles in attempts to not only not share the road, but of lost battles in controlling the road.

    For each scofflaw cyclist, there is apparently a scofflaw bus driver. Stand on any major corner in this city and this fact will become amazingly apparent.

    Which once again leads me to believe there is no real bearing or weight whatsoever behind this Bus Driver based petition to \"Not Share The Road based on an inability to operate a bus near vulnerable road users\".

    It does however lead me to believe, due to the wording and corresponding signatures on the petition, that we certainly have at least 250, and certainly more, Tri Met employed bus drivers who really cannot do their job safely, and should perhaps not be employed to drive a bus at all.

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  • jack September 5, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    holy promoting an us v them mentality icarus/a.O

    y build bridges when it\'s so much easier to sabotage the attempts to build bridges, eh?

    you say the bus drivers need training training training. i say that you need some empathy empathy empathy.

    ps. may want to grab a napkin and wipe the froth from your mouth

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Us versus Them?

    Did you notice how many times I refer to \"Sharing the Road\"?

    The last thing I am promoting is a \"Us versus Them\" attitude.

    I am however very effectively pointing out obvious problems.

    If taking the content of this petition, and putting it and the posts here from those who signed it/ or claim to be bus drivers, into context to point out the obvious difficulties, and where they lie, is promoting an \"Us versus Them\" menatlity, then I do not want to be either \"Us\" nor \"Them\".

    I will however continue to burst bubbles as they float by.

    You people just keep on blowing \'em my way.

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  • jack September 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    portion of #90 You used the words \"above the law\". This could be used as a nice big slogan advertising the ideals of Tri Met.

    In fact, it appears that \"Above The Law\" could be the letterhead for Tri Met\'s new \"Mission Statement\".

    \"Above The Law\"
    \"We own this town. We do what we want. But we cannot operate safely around you, so we recommend that you either ride the bus, or just stay home.\"

    sorry my bad, after re-reading i feel the love and community that you are promoting

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  • wsbob September 5, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Icarus, can you prove this:

    \"After 20+ years as a bike messenger in this town, I can attest to the fact that Tri Met bus drivers are the biggest violators of the rules of the road in the City Of Portland.\" Icarus Falling

    Maybe you and some of your friends could set up a video sting like KATU did in Ladd\'s.

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    WSBOB,

    Stand on a corner downtown, and watch buses.

    The proof is in the pudding.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) September 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    \"Stand on a corner downtown, and watch buses.\"

    hate to say it Icarus, but I bet you\'d see more (and more egregious) law breaking by people on bikes than buses, cars, or anyone else (except maybe peds).

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  • a.O September 5, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    I recommend SW 4th & Taylor. You can see at least a few bus drivers go through the red light there each hour. You can also see non-professional drivers and cyclists do the same.

    Or drive across the Hawthorne Bridge and pace a bus. They\'re like everyone else in a motor vehicle in that they\'re not going under the speed limit. According to ODOT, excessive speed is the cause of most crashes on Oregon\'s roads.

    \"holy promoting an us v them mentality icarus/a.O\"

    Hmm, guilty as charged I guess. Or at least I can understand how it can be perceived that way. But it wasn\'t my intent, really.

    I was merely trying to reinforce the truth that people using all modes of transportation are breaking the rules and that needs to stop. I\'m particularly concerned about people operating large, heavy vehicles doing so because those are the people who are particularly likely to kill or seriously injure others when they do. I think Tri-Met drivers who break rules should be held responsible for that, just as bicyclists should.

    I think we do all want safety, but that requires sharing the road with other types of vehicles. Banning vehicles won\'t achieve safety, because illegal users will make the sole legal user group less vigilant.

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I have to counter that it might be equal infractions between buses and bikes. If not more by buses than bikes. Not just red lights violations, but also other infractions, many of which would involve actions taking during the miniscule portion of time that the lights are yellow.

    Watch a corner. You will repeatedly see buses pulling out from stops, ( a bus stop meaning the bus is stopped) many times, across bike lanes and crosswalks, after the light has turned yellow. This puts the full bus in the middle of the intersection while the light is red. This also appears to be a common practice.

    I could go on and on but I won\'t.

    I could go on and on.

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  • a.O September 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    \"I bet you\'d see more (and more egregious) law breaking by people on bikes than buses, cars, or anyone else (except maybe peds).\"

    That has not been my experience being downtown each weekday for the last two years. My experience is that it\'s about equal on both rate and eggregiousness.

    I\'ve seen cyclists go through lights like they weren\'t even there, but I\'ve also seen busses and cars do the same.

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  • jack September 5, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    the breakdown of meaninful conversation regarding the attempt of bus drivers to start a dialogue for issues they feel are important and not being taking into consideration into a \'they break the law more than us\' is pretty much my point. this is primarily driven by your (icarus) refusal to empathize with a legitimate point of view, and misdirect to anger/negativity for past experiences/grudges

    analogy:

    man walks up to another man and says i have concerns on a matter that involves both of us. other man quickly kicks first man in nuts and shouts \'you and those like you have endangered me for the last 20 years\'

    from post #4:

    And remember, your comments play an important role in determining the impact and effectiveness of BikePortland.org as a tool to help make biking better here in Portland.

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Jack,

    I know how to have meaningful conversations.
    You want to speak about breakdowns in conversation?

    The breakdown started when this petition was brought to light, and the question of safety around buses became frightening when it was discovered, by their own admission, that bus drivers could not drive safely around cyclists.

    It was also brought up, by a bus driver above, that the \"other\" problem with buses and bikes being near each other is the law breaking of cyclists, which bus drivers are saying makes it unsafe to drive near them.

    It appears that whether the cyclist is obeying the law or not, the bus drivers cannot do their job around them. This is by their own admission, here and in the petition document.

    I am successfully pointing out, in reference to that mainly, that bikes are not the only problem, as bus drivers consistently break traffic laws.

    There are many predictable/unpredictable violations by bus drivers that make it at times very unsafe to be anywhere near a bus.

    But, the one place this is not the case is at a transit center, where the scrutiny and close proximity of others involved/ fare inspectors, supervisors, pedestrians, seem to curb the law breaking. And slow the buses down considerably.

    It is in my opinion one of the only safe places to ride a bike near a bus is at a transit center, and therefore should be entirely open to bus/bike/and pedestrian traffic.

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    \"And remember, your comments play an important role in determining the impact and effectiveness of BikePortland.org as a tool to help make biking better here in Portland.\"

    This is exactly what I am doing in my comments is calling out an obvious yet glossed over hazard, which is abuse of the rules of the road by bus drivers.
    Drivers which are paid to drive safely.
    Paid well to drive safely.

    A old problem which is rarely brought to light, and even then nothing is really done about it.

    Bringing attention to this problem can and should be used as a tool to help make biking better here in Portland.

    It appears my comments just might be useful and informative after all, doesn\'t it?

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  • wsbob September 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Icarus, it\'s not me that needs to be convinced there\'s a problem. Whoever it is, for whatever reason, that\'s not taking care of the issue of bus drivers ignoring traffic regulations, are the ones that have to be persuaded that there\'s a problem.

    That\'s why I suggested a little video sting. I think there were people skeptical that people on bikes were really blowing stop signs over at Ladd\'s. At least for me, just a short video produced (pretty sure it was KATU), was the clincher. There before your eyes....irrefutable proof.

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  • Icarus Falling September 5, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    WSBOB,
    I agree with you fully.

    However I don\'t think the 20 seconds of video my camera holds will do the trick.

    I would however be interested in being involved in just such a venture.

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  • wsbob September 5, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Icarus, if you think you\'ve really got something, there\'s plenty of guerrilla videoistas around with access to cameras that would do the job. If the situation were as easy to capture as it was at Ladd\'s, you could probably get one of the tv stations to do it. From an exposure standpoint, that would be far better.

    At this point, I\'m neutral about the allegation, because I\'m not experiencing it personally or seeing a lot of tangible proof of it. If it\'s really happening, then the situation needs to be addressed. If bus drivers are disregarding regulations, it\'s probably because they\'re under too much pressure and are having to take undue risks to maintain schedules. There\'s only so much cutting they can do until something really bad happens. Well, despite the conclusions of the police investigator re; Austin Miller...isn\'t that what might have happened there? Read and study the investigators report. You\'ll see.

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  • zagreus September 6, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Icarus, the thread is about safety in a transit center, not bikes vs. buses per se. As I pointed out in my post, and you ignored, I also oppose automobiles in the transit center, for the same reasons. This is far from a dead issue. It is a pilot project, not set in stone.

    Many passengers (pedestrians) were completely unaware of the plans for a bike through the transit center, and you can count on them to express their opionion to the city council when there is a close call. Politiicans respond to pressure. If others can help them more than you can, well...

    At no time have I excused bus drivers, truck drivers, or motorists who break the law. I did, in fact, advocate equal enforcement.

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  • Eileen September 6, 2008 at 9:33 am

    It would be interesting to actually find out who does more law-breaking, but also pointless. All this finger pointing is divisive and reminds me of my four and seven year old \"you started it\", \"no you did\" on and on like broken records until I have to do something dramatic to get their attention or put them in their rooms. I think the best thing to do right now is to let go of all the petty resentments leftover from past encounters with people who aren\'t even part of this conversation and try to make the best of the situation at hand. Right now there is an experiment underway at the transit center and both the buses and the bikes and the peds have a chance to see if they all can\'t get along and make it work. If it doesn\'t work, we\'ll have to figure something else out. Right now instead of trying to predict the future, why don\'t you focus on trying to influence the future? Be your own best self and wish the same for others.

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  • Icarus Falling September 6, 2008 at 10:19 am

    And I was advocating equal enforcement as well, if you read what I wrote.

    By the way, this thread is all about safety in a Transit center.

    So that would make a conversation about whether or not there is proper enforcement towards laws of the road broken by bus drivers/ bikes/ and pedestrians very, very relevant.

    Look for me in the Transit Center on my bike, as this ill worded petition is not going to make much of a difference.

    It is now I believe legal to ride there, and surely will continue to be.

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  • a.O September 6, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Jack (#104), do you see the irony in discussing the need for empathy followed by your apparent dismissal of the hard feelings of many bike riders, expressed by Icarus, for having their lives endangered repeatedly by Tri-Met drivers?

    Empathy and compassion should be the starting point in our conversation. I understand the concerns of the bus drivers and I think they are legitimate, and many commenters have made clear that they do as well.

    But I haven\'t heard many people who claim to drive busses discussing the facts that there are many bus drivers who actively dislike people riding bikes and some who, whether through negligence or ill intent, have seriously endangered the lives of bicyclists and refused to share the road. Indeed, the spirit of the petition seems to be that they will not make an effort to do so.

    That too is a legitimate concern and there needs to be some acknowledgement of that - and some indication that there is a willingness to address this problem - as part of achieving rapproachement.

    All I\'m saying is that it\'s a two-way street here.

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  • zagreus September 6, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Bus drivers who drive unsafely face progressive discipline, and should. No one defends reckless drivers.

    I did not want to digress too far from this tread, that the petitioners have asked for a reconsideration of the decision to add congrestion to the transit center at Rose Quarter based on safety concerns. By now everyone on this thread has his mind made up.

    Ao, I can\'t count the number of times that bikes have come out from between parked cars or otherwise caused me to brake hard. I have kept many people from winning the Darwin Award despite their sincere and ardent efforts to achieve it. You are right, this is a 2 way street, and perhaps Jonathan can start a separate thread for his discussion. I would welcome it.

    Icarus, if you ride through the transit center, please do so safely. I have no desire to injure you, and I have no desire to see you injure one of my passengers. Whether or not Rose Quarter will continue to be open to nontransit usage remains to be seen. Nothing is set in stone.

    It has been nice chatting with all of you.

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  • BURR September 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    hate to say it Icarus, but I bet you\'d see more (and more egregious) law breaking by people on bikes than buses, cars, or anyone else (except maybe peds).

    jonathan - I spend many hours walking downtown, and by far pedestrians, followed by private motor vehicle operators, are the most frequent violators of traffic laws, followed by bus operators and cyclists in about equal amounts. OTOH, a city with a lot of jaywalkers is a pedestrian friendly city (quote whose source I can no longer recall).

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