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Safety fixes confirmed for notorious Broadway/Flint intersection

Posted by on September 16th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

This Google Street View is looking north from Broadway at N. Flint and N Wheeler is off to the left. This intersection is slated for three short-term improvements.

In an effort to making biking safer, and increase compliance with a stop sign, the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation has given the green light for three improvements to the notorious Broadway/Flint/Wheeler intersection in North Portland.

N Flint and Broadway -4.jpg
Riders at the infamous N. Flint stop
sign, attempting to enter N. Broadway.
(Notice current lack of stop bar in bike lane.)
(Photo © J. Maus)

This intersection has been a thorn in the side of PDOT for years and is a common site for close-calls and collisions between bikes and cars (especially this summer with more people biking than ever before). But recently, several factors have spurred PDOT to take an even closer look at the issues here.

Those factors include a growing awareness for improving bike safety by key local partners including an adjacent property owner (Betsy Reese of Paramount Apartments) and a bike safety committee brought together by the Portland Water Bureau (whose facility is nearby).

“From our evaluations, it is apparent that there is an unacceptably high rate of non-compliance with the stop sign on N. Flint at N. Broadway.”
– Greg Raisman, PDOT

Another key factor figuring into PDOT’s concentration on this intersection is that Broadway is a future Streetcar route and that project will bring both major design changes and a massive funding opportunity that PDOT hopes to be involved with. PDOT traffic safety specialist Greg Raisman says he has been evaluating the intersection closely and has watched hours of video and made visits to the site.

From my own experience with this intersection, combined with comments I’ve heard from Raisman and local stakeholders, it’s very clear that something needs to be done. However, it’s also clear that the situation is complicated.

sign at N. Flint and Broadway-1.jpg
Share the Road signs have
been placed at the intersection of
N. Flint and Broadway.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The engineering configuration is inherently difficult to work with (high volumes of bikes, cars, and pedestrians combined with curves, a downhill, and high speeds) and the behavior of all road users is far less than exemplary.

Also making fixes to this intersection tough is the fact that PDOT doesn’t want to do anything too expensive or large-scale with the good chance it would all be ripped up once the Streetcar comes through.

However, given these realities, Raisman and PDOT staff are keenly aware that some short-term measures are needed immediately and Raisman confirmed with me this morning that PDOT has entered in work orders (meaning these improvements will be done any day now) for the following:

Install a stop-bar and “BIKE STOP” pavement markings across the bike lane on N. Flint

Aerial view of bike lane on N. Flint.

Raisman points out that the existing stop bar (the white painted line where vehicles are meant to stop) doesn’t reach all the way across the bike lane (you can see this on Google Maps). This measure is being taken to increase the amount of bicyclists that stop at the stop sign. Raisman says from an analysis of video and field observations as well as crash data,

“it is apparent that there is an unacceptably high rate of non-compliance with the stop sign on N. Flint at N. Broadway”.

Raisman estimated that about 15% of bicyclists blow the stop sign so fast that they end up in the motor vehicle lane on Broadway.



Vehicles headed NB on Wheeler will no
longer be able to travel straight across Broadway.

Left-turn only from N Wheeler
Vehicles coming northbound from N. Wheeler onto Broadway are currently allowed to go either straight (north) onto Wheeler or left (west) onto Broadway. Raisman says that in video and field observations, two problems emerged,

“First, the sight distance to travel across Broadway to the north leg of Wheeler (between NW Cancer Specialists and the Paramount Apts) is not adequate due to the distance it takes to cross coupled with the speed of traffic and curve in the road on Broadway. Second, too many motor vehicles and some bicycles are traveling against the flow of traffic on Broadway to cross from Wheeler to the north leg of N Flint. In video samples, this situation resulted in unsafe situations between motor vehicles traveling on Broadway and those crossing Broadway.”



This rider, headed down N. Broadway
just before Wheeler, will get more
breathing room with a wider bike lane.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Widen the bike lane on Broadway and update the striping
Raisman says PDOT will widen the bike lane on Broadway through the westbound curve as it passes the I-5 offramp and comes into N. Flint. The wider bike lane will be achieved by narrowing the adjacent motor vehicle lane (which Raisman noted is currently wider than necessary). This is being done because PDOT noticed a “significant portion of bicyclists” (Raisman estimated 10%) were not able to maintain their lane position while making this curve. Watch for a complete re-striping of the bike lane and adjacent motor vehicle lane.


Completion of these three fixes should happen any day now.

Raisman says that next steps in improving safety at this intersection include continuing to meet with the Water Bureau’s bike safety committee (which also includes reps from the BTA and the owner of the Paramount Apts. Betsy Reese), and working with the Streetcar planning effort on “a solution that works for them and their budget.”

In the long-term, Raisman says, “We’re hopeful we can come up with a solution that’s a lot better than what we have on the ground now, but it’s going to take some time to get there.”

——–

In related news, this evening the Water Bureau is sponsoring a Bike/Truck Safety event. More details here.

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Comments
  • John September 16, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Good to hear they are doing something, that intersection is very problematic for cars and bikes.

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  • Dana September 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    An interesting situation happened to me at this intersection last week and I don\’t know what to make of it…

    I was coming down Flint towards Broadway in the morning around 7AM. I came to a complete stop at the stop sign, saw a bicyclist coming down Broadway and let him pass in front of me.

    At that time in the morning, the sun was at a low angle and made it hard to see down Broadway to the East when I was stopped at Flint. Anyways, after the cyclist passed, I pulled out (turning right) into the bike lane to head down Broadway when a motorist on a scooter almost hit me as he was trying to make a right turn onto Wheeler.

    When I was stopped at Flint and was looking to see if it was clear to turn onto Broadway, I did not see if his turn signal was on or not.

    Whatever the case, when he almost hit me, I stopped and yelled at him (which I probably shouldn\’t have). He yelled at me \”THERE\’S A STOP SIGN THERE\” and I yelled \”I STOPPED, YOU JACKASS\”. I was a little heated.

    I thought that I was in the right of way because my lane was clear and he was making a turn across my lane, therefore violating my right of way. Others could say that I should have seen his turn signal and waited.

    What do you guys think?

    Unfortunately, all the solutions that Jonathan has reported on will not address this problem of cars making a turn onto Wheeler from Broadway as bicyclists are turning onto Broadway from Flint.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) September 16, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    \”Unfortunately, all the solutions that Jonathan has reported on will not address this problem of cars making a turn onto Wheeler from Broadway as bicyclists are turning onto Broadway from Flint.\”

    You\’re right Dana. I agree that Wheeler remains the gorilla in the room here.

    The Water Bureau has prohibited all their vehicles from using it… and I wondered if closing it completely would be possible.

    however, after a quick email with Betsy Reese from Paramount Apts. (she is very engaged and proactive in improving safety here by the way), closing wheeler just doesn\’t seem feasible.

    Apartment tenants need to use Wheeler, as do patients and staff of Northwest Cancer Specialists.

    What might help the situation is to push for a \”local access only\” situation with Wheeler.

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  • peejay September 16, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Wow. Recognition that most non-compliance issues are really engineering problems and not opportunities for more useless enforcement actions!

    Good for you Greg. Well-designed roadways create better road users. The challenges are great there, and I hope the proposed fixes improve everybody\’s experience there. Then, it looks like you have to do it all over again with the streetcar.

    (On a side note, I remember all the work done in, I believe 2004, on the Broadway Bridge. The roadway was resurfaced, and it looked like they uncovered old streetcar tracks while doing the work. I sure hope they planned ahead for future streetcar use back then, and the tracks only have to be uncovered again, rather than having to redo the entire bridge surface just a few years after the last resurface. Does anyone know?)

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  • dgc September 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Looking at the Google street view of the Broadway/Flint/Wheeler intersection, the five? bike riders captured in the picture are in a fairly dangerous formation – two are all bunched up in the bike lane, while two are out of the bicycle lane in the car lane. Perhaps the two out of the bike lane are passing the two bunched up in the bike lane? Looks like the one in front somehow negotiated out of that little cluster, and is on their way. Interesting – and informative – actions caught in real time, huh?

    I applaud PDOT\’s improvements here. I\’ve had several near misses at this point on Broadway. Vehicles coming off the I-5 turning right on Broadway. Vehicles coming off Flint turning right on Broadway. Vehicles turning right off Broadway onto both Flint and Wheeler. And by vehicles, I don\’t just mean motor vehicles. I\’ve had to brake hard and suddenly swerve into the right vehicle lane to avoid bicycle riders at the Flint onto Broadway intersection because they don\’t feel the need to obey traffic laws (stop signs). It seems hard for all forms of traffic to judge the actual speed of a bicycle traveling west on Broadway at this tough set of intersections.

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  • peejay September 16, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Dana:

    That sucks, but it may only get worse if NB Wheeler traffic cannot cross Broadway anymore. It seems to mean that the only way to get onto that section of Wheeler is by turning right from WB Broadway, leading to more of these incidents.

    I see only one solution, and that\’s to close off Wheeler access from Broadway, and to provide some kind of access to it from Flint.

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  • GLV September 16, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    \”Recognition that most non-compliance issues are really engineering problems and not opportunities for more useless enforcement actions!\”

    So what are you saying, PJ? If the stop sign were bigger, more cyclists would obey it? I ride through that intersection every morning, and every single time I stop and put my foot down. I fail to see an engineering problem with the sign itself. (everything else, though, bravo PDOT)

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  • dgc September 16, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    \”Unfortunately, all the solutions that Jonathan has reported on will not address this problem of cars making a turn onto Wheeler from Broadway as bicyclists are turning onto Broadway from Flint.\”

    While I agree with your comment, Dana, I will continue to advocate rear-view mirrors for cyclists. I ride through this intersection almost every day, and check the mirror constantly so I won’t become a hood ornament and possible organ donor. This is not the only tough ride on westbound Broadway that a mirror is nearly essential. Just to the east, where vehicles turn right onto I-5/N Williams is a place where I want to know if someone is coming up hard on my tail and may turn in front of me (even though I legally have the right-of-way at this intersection with the nearly-brand-new green bicycle strip). And then a bit further east, there’s the section where a bicycle has to negotiate from the right bike lane into the center bike lane between NE 1st and NE Victoria.

    Rear-view mirrors are not the end-all-be-all. In Dana’s case, the sun glare in a rear-view mirror may well have blocked his view of up-coming traffic.

    Ride courteous and ride careful!

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  • peejay September 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    GLV:

    J just ask yourself why is it that some intersections have compliance issues and others do not. Is it that people\’s attitudes towards the law are different as they travel throughout the city? No; it\’s that some intersections are better designed so that people clearly understand what they should do to get through them safely, and others are not.

    Why do people blow the stops at Ladd Circle? Because they rightly say to themselves: that sign makes no sense. Why do they stop when they get to Hawthorne at the light? Because they understand that that signal does something useful. They didn\’t change their belief systems or risk assessment strategies while riding under the shade of the elm trees for those few hundred yards; they reacted to their environment.

    Why don\’t more people stop at Flint? Because of a whole lot of things, some of which I think I understand, some of which could stand to be studied by the pros. Perhaps it might have something to do with the situation Dana was in, where even after stopping, she wound up in a conflict anyway. I don\’t have all the answers, but I can guarantee that engineering improvements will make a difference.

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  • BURR September 16, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    You could close Wheeler at Broadway and the apartments, NW Cancer Specialists and the rest of the local businesses would still be accessible by any of several alternate routes, just like the Water Bureau facility is.

    What the folks who say you can\’t close Wheeler at Broadway really mean is that they value convenience over safety.

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  • peejay September 16, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    dgc:

    Why stop at mirrors? Why don\’t we pass laws making helmets, chain guards, reflector vests, fenders, bells, horns, pumps, spare tubes, minimum spoke counts, little blinky lights on valve caps, and sensible shoes mandatory as well? Or, how about we let the individual cyclist decide what equipment is required for their own comfort and safety?

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  • Matthew Denton September 16, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I love the fact that street view shows a bunch of bicycles at that corner, it makes it a lot easier to get things like this fixed when it is very easy to show that people are using the intersection…

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  • GLV September 16, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I agree that engineering improvements will make a difference. But I don\’t see what is unclear about a stop sign. Whether you agree with it or not, every time you run one, you make a conscious decision to break the law. People who make that choice now will continue to do so after these changes are in place. (the royal \”you\”; this applies to drivers as well)

    Unfortunately for your comparison, this intersection is a lot more like the light at Hawthorne than the sign in Ladd Circle.

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  • Dan Kearl September 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I go through the intersection almost daily and a cyclist just need to STOP and it is not a problem. If you stop briefly you can see if cars are going to turn right on wheeler and yield to them. Running the sign is just asking to be hit by a car.

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  • ian September 16, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Since we\’re talking about engineering changes making an impact on traffic device compliance, perhaps PDOT should consider removing the bike lane on Broadway (say from Flint west until the lane migrates to the left of the right turn lane). One could argue that the bike lane serves as an incentive to run the stop sign and cut this corner since bike traffic is less frequent and less dangerous to the less-than-law-abiding cyclist. Perhaps if a bit more danger were introduced into the scenario, people\’s behavior might change? Maybe that auto lane should be squeezed up closer to curb, forcing cyclists to wait for all traffic, then turn into the lane and occupy it fully?

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  • peejay September 16, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    CLV:

    But I don\’t see what is unclear about a stop sign. Whether you agree with it or not, every time you run one, you make a conscious decision to break the law.

    This is just the sort of oversimplification that keeps us from actually improving our roadways. Again, I ask: why do the same people make a conscious decision to break the law at one location but not another?

    This morning, I sat through two complete light cycles without getting my left turn signal. I consciously blew the light because the signal failed to do its job, not because I wanted to thumb my nose at the Man. People make calculations like that all the time, and it would be stupid not to understand that when designing roads and signals.

    In the Flint case, here are more things wrong with the current setup:

    *As Jonathan pointed out in the article, there is no \”stop bar\” actually crossing the bike lane. (If you were to take two identical intersections, and put a stop bar across the bike lane of one, and not across the other, and find that the first had higher rates of compliance than the second, would you worry about the lawlessness of the second group of cyclists, or would you just fix the second intersection?)

    *The stop line is set so far back as to prevent a clear view of oncoming traffic from Broadway. The effort of stopping legally actually confers little advantage in terms of safety to cyclists; it\’s far safer to approach slowly and merge into the Broadway bike lane from the end of Flint, since that\’s where you can finally see the traffic.

    *In general, cyclists are less likely to stop when they\’re turning right, as they feel that they are not crossing anyone\’s right-of-way in almost all of the cases. Unfortunately, with Wheeler right next to Flint, this is a bad calculation, but it\’s one that people do all the time. I might add that if there weren\’t so many times that cyclists were asked to stop when there is no practical requirement for them to do so, then they might give more attention to the cases where they really ought to. (You can make this a moralistic argument or you can consider the practical aspects of dealing with human nature in this case. Here we have a classic example of \”signal fatigue\” working against safety. Such a phenomenon is recognized by traffic engineers, and modern signal design takes it into account – like, for instance, why \”half-signals\” are no longer used.)

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  • Zaphod September 16, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I alternate between threading the gauntlet by getting on Broadway much earlier (say 7th) versus taking the Flint St route.

    Because of the complexity, safety risk and enforcement of the Flint intersection, I opt for the complete and legal stop. Perhaps I\’m in the minority here but traffic is truly coming from all directions and I feel I should be especially predictable.

    It is really good that PDOT is addressing this in the short term.

    On a related note, I\’d love to see sharrows in the #3 lane on Broadway as it passes the double-right-turn highway entrance. I usually take the lane here and while it usually goes smoothly, a visual cue that what I\’m doing is appropriate might add an incremental layer of safety. This is often done with my kids on board so I\’m particularly keen on being safe here.

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  • peejay September 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    ian:

    I cannot believe you are seriously arguing that making the intersection less safe to increase stop sign compliance is a worthy solution. It\’s as if the ultimate goal is to get people to behave, not to keep them alive.

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  • beth h September 16, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    If not for the impending streetcar — which I think is a waste of time and money but let\’s not get started on that one — more permanent solutions could be made, including making Wheeler a local-access-only street. Adding the streetcar to the mix will only make things more ridiculous.

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  • sabernar September 16, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I go through that intersection every day and I would say that probably 90% of the people blow through that stop sign. I do a full stop and I know that plenty of people have almost rear ended me.

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  • Tom September 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    This is a scary intersection no matter how you slice it. Be careful, riders! This morning I was stopped on my bike behind 2 riders who were waiting at that exact stop sign for a good long while. They didn\’t seem to know what to do with all the traffic buzzing by so close to the bike lane. So a woman on a bike comes around us, yells something incoherent and blows through the stop, while cutting off another cyclist heading west with traffic on Broadway!! This could easily have sent them both onto the pavement in front of the traffic. I have often rolled through that stop, but not anymore…

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  • jeff September 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Complete stop or not at the end of Flint, it\’s still a dangerous place for cyclists. I head west on Broadway from 7th, but _always_ take the lane as I come around that corner. The best solution IMO (short of prohibiting right turns to Wheeler) would be leave the stop sign and make the entire right lane a sharrow.

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  • LoneHeckler September 16, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I, too, ride through this intersection daily and consider myself a reformed scofflaw: I used to consistently run the stop sign, but with the recent discussions here (coupled with the enforcement threat), I have changed my ways. I\’m now a foot-down, complete-stop kinda guy and I agree with any changes that PDOT proposes to increase safety through this area. It truly is a sketchy intersection.

    I\’m actually a little concerned about more streetcar tracks, not because I don\’t like streetcars, but it seems more and more of my routes have unfriendly endo-inducing rails I have to dodge.

    Then again, streetcars might mean fewer cars, and they won\’t turn in front of me onto Wheeler . . .

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  • ian September 16, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    peejay:
    i am arguing that in this situation, getting people to behave is exactly what will keep them alive. and i thought you were the one arguing that engineering should be used to get them to behave, so why the opposition to an alternate (and supplemental, to be honest) idea?

    maybe this situation needs to be looked at in a larger context: reducing the ease of use at flint & broadway could lead more riders to choose another route, one with fewer engineering issues. sounds like several other folks here are already making that choice…

    for the record, i would never support an infrastructure change that would make cyclists (or any road user) less safe. i simply believe it\’s useful in the course of a discussion like this to examine multiple, even radical options. that being said, you would be right not to take my comment too seriously — i mostly wanted to play a bit of the \’devil\’s advocate\’ role on this one and see how others would respond.

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  • dgc September 16, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    PJ says, \”Why don\’t we pass laws . . . \”

    Note that I said \”advocate\” not \”legislate.\” I believe we have enough laws for riding safely already. Compliance with those laws lacks for some.

    If one feels fine riding without a helmet, without lights at night, wearing clothing that blends into their surroundings making it very difficult to be seen, etc., so be it. That is an individual\’s own choice.

    I\’ve been riding bikes for a long time. Been hit by cars three times. Been run off the road by 18 wheelers twice (into deep ditches with lots of gravel). Have learned that riding as a commuter or tourerer with low spoke counts is pretty silly. That if I don\’t want to walk, I should carry those extra parts and bits needed to make roadside repairs until I can limp to a LBS.

    I don\’t know if anyone has said this in previous posts, but traveling on our roadways and trails is a privilege, not a right. To maintain that privilege, one must follow the rules and laws. When the rules and laws are disobeyed, one risks the loss of those privileges. Are some of the rules and laws counterintuitive? Yep. Should we then ignore them? Nope.

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  • BURR September 16, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    so how come I can\’t post my comments here? have I been banned or something?

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  • BURR September 16, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    The Water Bureau has prohibited all their vehicles from using [Wheeler]… and I wondered if closing it completely would be possible.

    however, after a quick email with Betsy Reese from Paramount Apts. (she is very engaged and proactive in improving safety here by the way), closing Wheeler just doesn\’t seem feasible.

    Apartment tenants need to use Wheeler, as do patients and staff of Northwest Cancer Specialists.

    If access from Broadway to Wheeler was eliminated there would still be access to the apartments, the local businesses and NW Cancer Specialists by multiple alternate routes, the same as there is to the Water Bureau facility.

    The people that don\’t want to eliminate access from Broadway to Wheeler are simply more interested in convenience than safety.

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  • peejay September 16, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Ian:

    I appreciate that you\’re willing to try new approaches to safety, although I don\’t think we agree on the specifics. I just don\’t agree with you on your solution in this case.

    dgc:

    I agree with you that people should be safe, and use whatever equipment they can to be safe. I also agree that we should follow laws even if they may seem counterintuitive. However, the best way to get people to follow laws is to make them seem natural and intuitive. That\’s part of a good legal system, and part of good roadway design.

    The design of this intersection, in conjunction with the adjacent street, is an EPIC FAIL, and no amount of compliance with existing law will make it safe. So, let\’s move beyond that, and think about ways to make it better. The proposed changes look like a small start in the right direction, but as long as people can turn right onto Wheeler, it\’s still broken design.

    My thoughts are that either Flint or Wheeler should not go through to Broadway, and that local access to the cut off street be provided by either Dixon or Hancock being extended through. Or, turn the whole area into a large rotary, feeding Broadway and Weidler. There are problems associated with both of those ideas, but at least they don\’t rely on moral browbeating to solve the danger.

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  • Lenny Anderson September 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

    The connection between Flint and the Broadway Bridge in both directions is the problem, as many riders use Knott/Flint or Vancouver/Flint to get to and from the Bridge.
    There is a ton of pavement for motor vehicles between Flint and the bridge…incouraging excessive speed, etc. More of that pavement needs to be designated for bikes in both directions; signals need to be in place to stop Broadway traffic in both directions to allow safe movement to and from Flint
    for this heavily used bike route. Both of these can be accomplished as part of the Streetcar design.
    Why does Broadway go from two lanes on the Bridge to 4 lanes at the Broadway/Weidler split? In order to move motor vehicle traffic, which is still the underlying principal of PDOT designs all over the city…not non-motor vehicle safety, Greg\’s brave efforts notwithstanding.

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  • peejay September 17, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Of course extending Dixon or Hancock might require some sort of deal with the owner of the parking lot that would have to be cut, but then the city could use the space created by cutting off Flint or Wheeler in trade. Some imagination would be required, but a solution is very possible.

    Lenny:

    I hate when the number of lanes suddenly increases rapidly, only to be cut back later. People who routinely drive such routes view these temporary bulges as an opportunity to get ahead of their fellow drivers before getting choked down again. It\’s a place of rapid acceleration, sudden lane changes, and aggressive driving followed by retaliatory moves. Happens everywhere this feature exists.

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  • patrick September 17, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    i usually take the lane at this intersection and after stopping/turning… seems to help a lot.

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  • JV September 17, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I agree that this is one of the sketchiest intersections in PDX, and am glad to see that there is a concerted effort to remedy it in some way.

    I don\’t understand why they could not close Wheeler or at least make it a one way (going SE only). This would eliminate the issue of people turning from Boradway to Wheeler, but still allow access from a variety of other routes to the Cancer Center/Apartments. I have seen cars cross over 3 lanes to make this Wheeler turn.

    I will also admit that I am a reformed \”Flint stop sign runner\”, after a close call where I failed to see another person on bike that was heading down Broadway. I didn\’t cause a collision, but I did gain a lot more respect for the hazard of that intersection, and now stop every time. I still refuse to put a foot down though…I maintain that trackstands are adequate evidence of a full stop and control of a vehicle.

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  • sabernar September 17, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Like I said earlier, I go through this intersection every day. I don\’t really see it as one of the most dangerous intersections for a bike. If you stop at the stop sign and take the turn slowly, there is little danger to it. Is it safe and easy? No. But common sense and obeying the law reduce the risk of accident drastically.

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  • matt picio September 17, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    peejay (#9) – respectfully, you\’re comparing apples and oranges here. Bikes stop at Hawthorne because there is a high amount of risk if they blow the light or stop sign – it has nothing to do with the engineering of the intersection and everything to do with the volume of motor traffic.

    Ladd\’s has a low level of risk to cyclists – so cyclists ignore the stop sign because they don\’t want to lose momentum. I\’ve witnessed a number of incidents where cyclists blew the stop sign at Ladd\’s Circle when pedestrians were either *in* or adjacent to the crosswalk and obviously planning to enter it. No slowing down to look, just barrel through, full-bore.

    If there is a large amount of non-compliance now, with stop signs in place, how will removing them make the neighborhood safer or less threatening to pedestrians. Our convenience does not trump their safety nor their right to feel unintimidated. We demand the same from cars (even though we are in many cases not getting it), so what right do we have to refuse that same right to peds, especially when many of them are the homeowners in that neighborhood?

    peejay (#15) – The difference is, you weren\’t breaking the law – the law allows you to disregard a malfunctioning signal. It\’s not an oversimplification, it\’s a statement of fact. Ignore the stop sign, you\’re breaking the law. Why is there a high rate of non-compliance? It\’s not because the intersection is poorly designed – is entering the intersection at speed safer? No. Is the stop sign unnecessary? No, it protects road users from entering uncontrolled into the traffic flow on Broadway. The rate of compliance is low because it lies at the end of a long downhill stretch and before another long downhill stretch. Cyclists have time to get up some speed and want to keep that momentum all the way to the Broadway bridge. Re-engineering the intersection won\’t change compliance much, but it may improve safety depending on how it\’s done.

    and in response to post #27, I agree that the intersection as it exists NOW is an \”EPIC FAIL\”, but it wasn\’t designed that way, it was the expansion of Broadway and the addition of I-5 and the off-ramp that truly mucked up this intersection.

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  • peejay September 17, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Matt:

    As long as you prioritize safety over compliance, we\’re on the same page. Compliance is often necessary for safety, but never an end product in and of itself.

    I agree on your last point. Freeway construction happened so fast relative to the history of road use in this country that many very bad designs entered common usage, and their faults were overlooked because the freeways themselves were perceived to be worth the cost in safety and infrastructure destruction.

    As for your points about Ladd, anyone who rides into (or near enough to) pedestrians is an idiot. The solution to the problem of idiots riding their bikes into pedestrians is not necessarily to put stop signs up that require 100% compliance even when there are no pedestrians. In fact, that actually endangers the pedestrians, because it makes people less alert to what they have to look out for in that situation.

    The proper solution is to paint crosswalk stripes at every entrance to Ladd Circle, and remove all stop signs. There is a legal requirement to stop at a crosswalk when it is occupied by pedestrians. The marking makes sense to what the danger is, and doesn\’t interfere with the vehicles passing through when there is no danger, thus not desensitizing the motorist or cyclist to the moments when they should pay attention.

    There, and engineering solution!

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  • peejay September 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Last sentence again:

    There, an engineering solution!

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  • k. September 18, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I just went through this intersection 30 minutes ago. There was a cop and ambulance with lights flashing. Didn\’t see anyone down but something happened…..

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  • Jacob September 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    There was another accident this morning involving a bicycle. I don\’t know how it happened, but I saw a cyclist on the ground being attended to by paramedics.

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  • Dan Kearl September 18, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I almost got hit here this morning by another cyclist.
    I approached the intersection as usual, signaled with my hand that I was stopping as there was a cyclist behind me. I came to a quick track stand type stop like I always do at this intersection and the guy behind me comes screaming around me, cuts right in front to avoid going into the lane and we miss by about 2 inches. I yell and he is says he is sorry but he CAN\’T STOP! He was on a fixie with no brake and shouldn\’t even be on the road if he is that lacking in skill. It\’s too bad they have become so hip & popular because clearly there are people who shouldn\’t be on one.

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  • Angela September 18, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I\’d like to add to this mix by saying I\’m more afraid of the bikers coming up behind me and blowing by me and the kids I lead to school, than the traffic at this intersection.

    It\’s a personal offense when a fellow cyclist pulls dangerous stunts that could at-any-time maim or kill another cyclist.

    The ONLY positive thing about these \”daily\” situations that the school bike bus is in, is that the \”jackass\” is immediately putting them in danger thus giving the kids hands on knowledge about why it\’s not cool to pull the crap that they do. I have very little explaining to do.

    It\’s not a good selling point for the parents though.

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  • Jeff TB September 19, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Dan Kearl and Angela,

    I agree that this is a common occurance (fixie or not). I\’ve been cut off while beginning to turn from Flint many times. Several times the offending cyclist was forced into the car lane (and into traffic) trying to avoid me. Is it that hard to stop? A little common courtesy, please.

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  • JDL September 26, 2008 at 9:40 am

    The stop-bar and BIKE STOP pavement markings across the bike lane on N. Flint were installed yesterday. I came to a full stop and dropped my foot there this morning. I hope the new markings inspire more riders to do the same.

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  • Meteorite December 2, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Go green? Consistent with the City’s “See and Be Seen” campaign, increased visibility of cyclists at this intersection would seem to be a priority. Has any consideration been given to the use of green thermoplastic in the bike lane on Broadway as it approaches and crosses the intersection with Wheeler?

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