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Adams announces new cycletrack coming to SW Broadway

Posted by on April 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am

PBOT’s drawing for proposed cycletrack on SW Broadway.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Speaking at a sustainability conference at Portland State University this morning, Portland Mayor Sam Adams announced a big shake-up in his plans to build the city’s first “high-profile” cycletrack.

“It will be shocking to a lot of Portlanders…and we hope it’s shockingly positive.”
– Mayor Adams, speaking about a new cycletrack on SW Broadway

Initial plans revealed last month had the cycletrack (which was one of his “First 100 Days” promises) going in at the North Park Blocks. But those plans are out because the Portland Fire Bureau said there wouldn’t be enough room for their trucks to operate on the street if it was narrowed for the new bikeway.

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The new cycletrack will run from SW Clay to Jackson.

I spoke to Adams’ transportation policy director Catherine Ciarlo this morning and she said the Fire Bureau issue is “an intractable problem and we can’t work around it.” (In Europe, Ciarlo told me, fire trucks are much smaller).

But the problem seems more like a blessing in disguise. The new cycletrack — which both Ciarlo and Adams says has always been in the plans — will be much more high-profile (the Park Blocks cycletrack had a lot of detractors). Adams announced this morning that the new cycletrack will run on SW Broadway from Clay to SW Jackson — right through the heart of the Portland State University campus.

To complete the cycletrack, the city intends to remove one of the three existing motor vehicle lanes. The new road configuration will include a 7-foot bikeway, a 3-foot “shy zone” (so people can get out of their cars and open doors without impeding bike traffic), an 8-foot parking lane, and then two, 12-feet motor vehicle lanes.

Mayor Adams at PSU this morning.

When asked how they’ll deal with potential pushback about removing a motor vehicle lane from a major downtown street, Ciarlo said SW Broadway is “under capacity” in that area (which made the location “even more attractive” to them).

Ciarlo said their office feels that the capacity will actually increase once the cycletrack is installed. “It will change the number of lanes, but it won’t significantly effect the number of vehicles,” she said, “but it will increase the number of bikes…so it’s really a win-win.”

Ciarlo also added that they have done significant outreach to business owners and to PSU officials and that everyone is “excited” about the project.

In addition to this new cycletrack, PBOT also has new plans to install a “buffered bike lane”. The location of the new buffered bike lane — which will be installed in conjunction with this new cycletrack — is expected to be announced publicly next week.

The SW Broadway cycletrack is expected to be installed this summer and it will drastically alter the streetscape. Speaking with me before addressing the PSU sustainability conference this morning, Adams said he thinks the project “will be shocking to a lot of Portlanders…and we hope it’s shockingly positive.”

According to Adams, a high profile bikeway in this location will serve an “untapped capacity” which makes it a “great test case”.

SW Broadway at Clay.

Ciarlo, Adams’ transportation policy director, said the new facility will provide benefits not just for people who bike, but that it “will also provide a huge humanizing benefit for PSU students and pedestrians. The cycletrack will give the entire area a very different feel.”

Definitions (from PBOT):
    Cycletrack: Exclusive bicycle facility
    adjacent to — but separated from —
    the roadway by a physical barrier
    (which in this case will be parked cars.)
    Buffered bike lane: Roadway
    designated by buffered striping
    and bicycle pavement markings
    for the exclusive or preferential
    use of bicycles.

Asked how the new facility will be paid for, Adams said, “We will identify a funding source in my proposed budget.” That statement would lead me to believe that Adams’ budget — which is set to be unveiled Friday evening — might include some sort of new, dedicated funding stream specifically for bike projects.

I don’t have specific budget estimates for this project (will have them soon), but Rob Burchfield, head traffic engineer for PBOT, said it will have only a “modest” cost. Like the bike boxes, this new roadway treatment will only consist of paint and signs and will therefore not be a very expensive. Burchfield estimates it will cost $47,000 (not counting outreach and marketing).

Also new this morning is an announcement that PBOT will work with the Institute for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation at PSU to conduct an evaluation study that compares the functionality and impact of the cycletrack versus the buffered bike lane.

Stay tuned for further developments.


You can learn all about PBOT’s plans for cycletracks, buffered bike lanes, and much more at the upcoming Bicycle and Streetcar Master Plan Update Open Houses. Check out when and where they’re happening in your neighborhood.

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Comments
  • Scott Mizée April 30, 2009 at 10:15 am

    fantastic!

    now if we can just get it extended the full length of Broadway and avoid all of those nasty conflicts near the hotels…

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  • Mike April 30, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Why is 7 blocks of track such a big deal?

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  • Scott Mizée April 30, 2009 at 10:16 am

    because it’s seven times what we have now and it is in a high profile location. …at least that’s MY opinion.

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  • aljee April 30, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Nice. I concur about the hotels, but still, nice.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 30, 2009 at 10:22 am

    mike,

    i think this is a very big deal because they’re taking away an existing motor vehicle lane.

    also, if it works, it could be a very highly-trafficked bikeway which would then put a lot of other gears in motion…

    it’s also another important step toward phasing cars out of downtown.

    also, next week they’ll announce the location of the buffered bike lane… which is again, a re-allocation of roadway space away from cars and towards bikes…. a very good thing.

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  • shooter April 30, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I think its a big deal because it’s a first step, and will get people used to the idea of a cycle track. It has to start somewhere, and I think that this is a good, high profile start. I like this decision even though my neighborhood looses the N Park Blocks cycle path.

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  • Mike April 30, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Re #5:

    I hope it does turn into more. Baby steps, I guess.

    Do you think a car-free downtown Portland will happen in your lifetime?

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  • patrickz April 30, 2009 at 10:41 am

    A fine idea and indeed a big deal. Very encouraging. (Also, I can’t wait to hear and read what the Cantankerous Front will have to say. I’m referring to the righteous anti-cycle crowd, the folks who usually write in at The O.)

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 30, 2009 at 10:41 am

    “Do you think a car-free downtown Portland will happen in your lifetime?”

    without a doubt. absolutely. the writing is on the wall.

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  • wsbob April 30, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Removing a main travel lane on Broadway? That gives pause for consideration. If, as editor Maus reports, ‘Ciarlo said SW Broadway is “under capacity” ‘, I wonder if they’ve determined this to be true during rush hour. That section of Broadway can be very congested at times because people are jockeying around trying to get on-street parking while others are trying to make their way through further south to exit onto I-405.

    This seems like an excellent idea from the University’s perspective, but I’m really wondering how it’s going to work out for traffic in general. It seems like an idea worth experimenting with at any rate.

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  • ScottG April 30, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I’m excited to see this and get the experiment underway to see how well cycletracks can work here. The concept has been somewhat controversial, and I’m eager to ride one to see for myself.

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 10:58 am

    So stupid. Sounds like a project that will serve no other purpose beyond self-congratulation for the city government and getting write-ups in magazines. It won’t benefit cyclists like myself, and it’s a complete waste of money at a time where the city is deep in debt.

    Oh well, I guess the bright side is that they are no longer planning to destroy Park and 9th — which are already perfectly good biking streets — with this ridiculous scheme. Downtown traffic is slow enough for cyclists to integrate with it — we don’t need the padded cell treatment.

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 11:02 am

    You might see a car-free downtown if energy prices become permanently high, making driving unaffordable for most people (and under those circumstances, cyclists wouldn’t need any specialized infrastructure). Until then, however, banning cars downtown would only increase “job sprawl” to the suburbs. People are going to drive until they can’t, and they are going to prefer places that allow them to.

    Downtown Portland isn’t special or important enough to get away with that sort of thing — it isn’t the international business meccas that Manhattan or central London are.

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  • Mike April 30, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I ride through Old Town up to PSU along SW Broadway most days of the week.

    I’m glad we’re demonstrating a traffic redesign, as was earlier done with the bike boxes that were added, but these engineering gizmos haven’t made the most dangerous part of SW Broadway safer.

    The problem area on SW Broadway is the hotel district from the Benson to the Heathman, where cabs, shuttle buses and rental cars dodge in and out, park and get met by valets to tug around the guests and their luggage through a high traffic bike lane.

    The only reason more cyclists don’t get hit is because we spend a lot of our energy dodging the cars and their passengers.

    Why not move their loading zone to the side street? Why not segment the traffic around them? Why not a failure to yield to bicycles sting? Why a cycletrack in an “under-capacity” area?

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  • commuter April 30, 2009 at 11:04 am

    This stretch of Broadway is part of my daily commute to OHSU. It will be interesting to see how it will affect my commute. At times there are plenty of pedestrians near PSU and they tend to cross against the light. Usually I’m concerned with doors on my right but now I will have doors/passengers on my left and also the pedestrians on my right.

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  • Snowflake Seven April 30, 2009 at 11:05 am

    HOTELS
    Extending it past the hotels in the future will be a nice problem to have. I’ve ridden the area a few times, though not during commuting hours, and the hotel area doesn’t seem that congested, but the valet/loading zones would be an awkward street space to work around.

    TRAFFIC MALL
    It is interesting that this is a block West of the redesigned traffic mall on 6th. Its one way running South, opposite direction of the traffic mall, so unfortunately it is not an alternative to 6th for bikes. Long term, what would be the best North/South pair to make a significant bike corridor?

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  • Seager April 30, 2009 at 11:13 am

    How do we keep the pedestrians from using the cycletrack like another sidewalk?

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  • Duncan Idaho-Stop April 30, 2009 at 11:16 am

    It seems like a bad idea to have the bike lane inside the parking area. How do bikes turn left? How do cars turn right? What happens when there’s an obstacle in the cycle-track?

    What is the “physical barrier”? Is it big enough to keep motorists from using the cycle-track as a pick-up/drop-off zone?

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Alas, our mayor and city government care more about its “green” image than the actual logistics of riding a bike.

    Let’s just stick with the bike boulevard thing, as we already know that it actually works. The built environment of Holland is very different than here, and cyclists have always constituted a large modal share. I don’t think people can rightfully assume that their methods would work here.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

    chrisnw,

    bike boulevards are for residential areas. we’re talking about the city here.

    also, do you have a different idea for creating more bike-friendly space on downtown streets? (and yes, I realize people can just ride with traffic, but that’s not feasible for a lot of people).

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  • Steven J April 30, 2009 at 11:43 am

    many city’s in Europe have adopted the attitude of no longer making it not so attractive to drive a car around downtown and instead focusing on mass transit,cycling & truck delivery efficiency.
    It’s simple..if you cannot monitor the resource yourself, we will not accommodate your wastefulness.

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  • Bjorn April 30, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I’m disappointed that this will not include the section of Broadway where Kristine was killed in 2005.

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  • maxadders April 30, 2009 at 11:53 am

    The hotel loading zones are the worst part of SW Broadway. I’m disappointed this doesn’t address that area, but perhaps it’ll encourage us to address it in the near future.

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  • GLV April 30, 2009 at 11:56 am

    “without a doubt. absolutely. the writing is on the wall.”

    Do you honestly think the entirety of downtown will be car free? What planet do you live on? Maybe a few streets, but all of downtown. Never.

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  • mmann April 30, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    It’s a relatively small stretch, but I agree that in this case the symbolism is important – to prove what can be done. And the PSU connection is perfect, considering the bike-centric work that’s happening there in the department of Urban Studies and Planning. This will create a kind of real-world display window for them.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 30, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    “Do you honestly think the entirety of downtown will be car free? What planet do you live on? Maybe a few streets, but all of downtown. Never.”

    GLV,

    not 100% carfree…but you never know.

    there will be some delivery cars/trucks and still some holdouts getting to work, but yes, I do believe we’ll see a massive shift in downtown mode share.

    when there is no good reason to drive downtown, people will stop driving downtown.

    never say never GLV!

    and I live on earth, just to answer your question.

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  • are April 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    the drawing does not show a grade separation or a curb, so I am guessing the physical barrier is bollards, though burchfield says just paint and signage. not sure how paint and signage “dramatically alter[s] the streetscape.” it will be interesting to see what they propose for managing conflict points at the intersections. and assuming there is a public hearing to designate the facility as “suitable,” 814.420 will make this a mandatory sidepath. agree it is good the park blocks are off the table, but this is not necessarily an improvement.

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  • toddistic April 30, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    If Scam Adams thinks this is going to get the cycling “community” behind him he’s sorely mistaken. I could care less about 7 blocks near PSU.

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  • Zaphod April 30, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    This is cool. I’ll go out of my way to ride on it once it’s done. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Simple eh?

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    “also, do you have a different idea for creating more bike-friendly space on downtown streets? (and yes, I realize people can just ride with traffic, but that’s not feasible for a lot of people).”

    Yeah, eliminating all those pesky surface streetcar and MAX tracks would be a good start, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

    As for people who find slow 15 mph downtown traffic intimidating, my suggestion is: don’t ride. Biking is not for everybody. I don’t share your philosophy that current and actual riders should be punished for the sake catering to *potential* and not yet existing riders, who may or may not start to ride after these infrastructural measures are implemented. Most people I know do not ride bikes on a regular basis, and are not going to ride a bike no matter how easy you make it for them. You can only make cycling so easy and safe up to a point before you start to get diminishing returns. Davis and Irvine, CA have a very thorough network of separated MUPs. While Davis’ ridership is decent, it’s modal share is only 15%, just barely higher than ours.

    What’s with the evangelism anyway? Riding a bike works for some, but not for others. Me, I just like to ride. It’s not my aim to convert people, as I know that many peoples’ needs are better served by other modes of transport.

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  • steve April 30, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    If we were letting perfect be the enemy of good, you might have a point.

    Instead we are letting stupid and wasteful be the enemy of good. Simple, eh?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 30, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    RE: my “evangelism”.
    I get excited sometimes. that’s all. i’m not trying to force anybody to do anything, I just see amazing potential for Portland.

    RE: physical separation.
    i should have been more clear in the story… but the way PBOT is planning their cycletracks, the separation would only come from parked cars.

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    this is a desperately stupid move by Sam to win the support of a few noisy and selfish dutch-o-phile cyclists.

    Are they going to install a separate bike signal phase? Are they going to prohibit motorists from making right turns off of Broadway? Will cyclists still be able to ride in the regular lanes after the cycle track is built? If the answer to all of these questions is no, this project should not move forward.

    Cycle tracks are just a new name for thoroughly discredited side paths.

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  • steve April 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Perfectly said, Burr.

    This is sure to rally up the bike advocacy droids, nothing more.

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  • Paul Cole April 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    “without a doubt. absolutely. the writing is on the wall.”

    Jonathon, are you considering (or have you in the past written) writing an editorial post on the subject of a carfree downtown Portland? I’d love to hear more about your certainty and the steps that need to be taken to get there.

    I live downtown and this idea crosses my mind fairly often. I have to say that I agree with you that it’s only a matter of time. It seems like downtown Portland has the perfect constrained geography to pull this off.

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  • RonC April 30, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    “…it’s also another important step toward phasing cars out of downtown.”

    Really? Isn’t that goal just a little over the top? I enjoy your enthusiasm for cycling, but maybe just a wee-bit overstated. Don’t want to “feed the bears” on The Oregonian’s rant page.

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    looking closer, I see that they picked a location where there are no right turns possible across the cycle track, due to the presence of the PSU campus.

    I guess this way they can say it was a success even though the biggest hazard to cyclists isn’t present along the entire length of this project.

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  • Duncan Idaho-Stop April 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    the separation would only come from parked cars

    That’s a drag. The cycle track will turn into a car loading zone, and to avoid cars there, you’ll have to get outside the parking zone and then back in later.

    I’m still curious about the turning arrangements (left for bikes/right for cars).

    BTW, I’m not a vehicular dude that opposes all bike infrastructure. I’m just skeptical about cars parked to the left of a travel lane.

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  • Suzanne April 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Hmmm, I’m torn, part of me agrees with #28:
    “If Scam Adams thinks this is going to get the cycling “community” behind him he’s sorely mistaken.”

    But I also agree with #3: “because it’s seven times what we have now and it is in a high profile location”.

    The deatils are a bit fuzzy to me also, like how new paint is going to make such a big deal, seems like the impact would be more pronounced if there was going to be a physical barrier. But beggars can’t be choosers I guess, and it probably will be a good step forward.

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  • Scott Mizée April 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    @ #33 BURR and #34 STEVE

    ouch… why the hate?

    Steve, what is your argument on the stupidity and wastefulness of this?

    @ #30 chriswnw

    don’t worry, no one is forcing you to convince others to ride their bikes. You are completely free to continue exhibiting the selfish attitude displayed in your comments above and advocate for eliminating all rail based transportation downtown or any other impediments to your desire for vehicular cycling.

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  • Calvin April 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Okay wtf? How are bikes supposed to turn left with parked cars in the way? How are cars supposed to turn right without hitting bikes, as the blocked cars would block their line of sight? I, for one, will boycott this lane and continue to ride in traffic. It’s ridiculous – I’m not going in a straight line from Clay to Jackson.

    This is a cool idea but it’s really going to suck. We’re going to be expected to use the lane. People that might be traveling two blocks on Broadway will be forced to waste time merging into this little lane and finding a way to get out of it and cross the street.

    I don’t know. Maybe it works for most people out there but people that enjoy going a decent speed on bikes (most young commuters) are not going to use this.

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    @ #40. Because these clowns are building something most smart cyclists would not use willingly but will be forced to use or face citations under ORS 814.420.

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  • steve April 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Scott-

    The arguments against American style cycle tracks have been repeated ad nauseam, both on this site and in many other locales. If you can’t be bothered to educate yourself as to the nuances of complex issues, I am not going to pick up the slack.

    So sorry!

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm
  • matt picio April 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    chriswnw (#19) – Cycle Tracks work great in Europe, but they’re still very new here. Even in the cities currently experimenting with them, the results may not be completely valid here because PacNW people have their own driving patterns which are very different from places like NYC. The only way to see if it’s a valid solution to the problem is to build one and see what happens.

    It’s inexpensive, easy to revert, and something that will instantly reinforce to motorists that they can’t just relax and operate the car on autopilot – it’s new, and different, which grabs a driver’s attention and puts it back on the road where it belongs.

    We live in an imperfect world, in challenging economic times and an evolving energy environment. While the fossil fuel-powered auto is about to enter terminal decline, there’s still the chance that an alternate fuel might keep things going – and in any case, the evolution to a new system of transportation may take decades to realize. (Indeed, the current one took 50 years) None of us can afford to be stagnant, unyielding, unchanging – the system has to evolve, and that means experiments need to be made. Some will fail, some will waste money – but the successes don’t happen without the failures. If we could predict success with any real accuracy, none of us would need to work and we wouldn’t all be complaining about government and how we perceive it to NOT be meeting our needs.

    This is a great idea, a great implementation, and a very visible location. And if it fails, it’ll be public enough to discourage another one. If it succeeds, then why should any of us complain? The issue isn’t how we get there, it’s giving cyclists the same level of access and safety that motorists enjoy (and vice versa).

    and in response to (#30) – First, how does this punish current riders? Second, 15% is 2-3x what Portland currently has (probably 2x), which is a lot more than “just barely”, and third, “What’s with the evangelism?” – in my case, it’s because we can’t all continue to drive cars – some of us HAVE to transition to other, smaller modes. There is a fixed amount of space and not everyone can drive in it. The more people we have moving here, the more that fact is true. For the extreme example, look at Manhattan, where only a very small fraction of the population drives.

    We have a choice between encouraging alternate modes now, or mandating them later – either through government regulation or market-based pricing. I’d rather have people leave their cars voluntarily rather than being forced to, and I think most people given that choice would agree.

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  • Liz April 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Cars turning right isn’t an issue here, because they aren’t able to drive through the middle of the PSU campus. The roads don’t go through.

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  • alex April 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    i believe that any new infrastructure that de-legitimizes (in the public/driver eye) a cyclist right to travel on a public road is ultimately damaging.

    i am a proponent of vehicular cycling (which i understand is not a choice for everyone), and i believe that we need as many bike in the streets (lanes of traffic) so that car/trucks/etc. will take it as a given (and not the exception) that there will be bikes on the road.

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  • Scott Mizée April 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    @ #43 Steve

    Thanks. I appreciate your generosity.

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  • shawn. April 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Well put, Matt Picio!

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Matt, from the Wikipedia article on Davis where I got that figure: “From 1990 to 2000, the U.S. census reported a decline in the fraction of commuters traveling by bicycle, from 22 percent to 15 percent.”

    15 percent is down from what it previously was. My point is that ridership will only rise so high unless alternatives that people find preferable are no longer an option for them. Driving is easier and cheaper in Davis than in Amsterdam.

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    #46, what about left? I guess we could pop over the divider in between parked cars and do a blind merge into the right lane, before merging into the left lane.

    How do they do left turns when riding the cycletracks of Amsterdam anyway? I guess they’d have to do a box left turn every time.

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  • christopher lee April 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    i’m a little confused on the orientation. are the new lanes listed right to left going southbound? do i really have to get stuck in a pack of commuters and be walled in by a sidewalk curb and a line of parked cars and people hopping out of car doors?
    has anybody else been paying attention to bikesnob’s photos of the NYC cycle tracks? i’ve been anti-cycle track since the word first started getting whispered. i know everyone else will be happy and i realize “the blow this deals to motorized traffic downtown!” but i don’t care. i’d rather the police just do their job and pay attention to bad drivers and scary situations (and not run over cyclists) and i’ll just take the whole lane and everyone can wait and not be aggressive thank you very much!

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  • Martha R April 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Cycletracks keep coming up in the discussion of bike infrastructure, and this seems like a good place to try one out and see if it really works. I do hope that PBOT includes budget for publicity and education so that people understand how to use it (i.e. that it’s not just an extra-wide parking space).
    I rode on some cycle tracks in Paris and found that they were a comfortable relief from heavy traffic — perfect for a vacationer on a super-heavy rental bike who’s out for a casual pedal. The down side was that I was forced to ride slower than usual because it was only possible to pass other bicyclists at intersections. Also, one cycletrack was adjacent to an open-air market, and vendors blocked the lane to load/unload their trucks on market day. When that happened, it was a pain to maneuver between parked cars and into the heavy traffic, and the drivers acted like I didn’t belong in “their” lane since I supposedly had my own lane.

    So if the Broadway cycle track is wide enough to allow bikes to pass one another, and if there’s enough public education to ensure that car/ped/bike interactions go smoothly, it could work.

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  • Andres April 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    This move by Sam has political gain written all over it. But I’ll take it anyways, the alternative being NO bike-related projects.
    I think a smarter move would’ve been to make 6th and 5th bike & mass transit only, leaving Broadway and 3rd for cars. But that has less political gain built in and more business opposition.
    Anyhow, I’ll take it, because even if it’s not perfect, it’s definitely a start. And a good start at that; it’s not a fire but it’s a good spark.

    And Jonathan, I too, would be interested in hearing more about the car-free downtown article. I personally think that in the SW quadrant there will be enough mass transit options in a couple of months that could allow for a car-ban from Burnside to 405 & Naito.

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Well, I guess we will have to give it a chance to demonstrates its advantages and faults here in Portland too. I of course think that we will see more of the latter than the former, but maybe we need a pilot project that people can point to. And I am happy that they are no longer doing this on Park or 9th.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    RE: carfree downtown article

    it turned into sort of an editorial combining a bunch of things I’ve had in my head for a while. I just posted it.

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  • GLV April 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    re: car free downtown, reality check here. While I also don’t doubt that car mode share into downtown will decline, transit is going to absorb as much of the change as cycling will. Probably more, especially from November to April. We have and will continue to invest billions in transit, and it still isn’t nearly enough. Buses will be prevalent downtown for 100+ years.

    Speaking of investments, do you know how much money has been spent building parking structures downtown, by the city and private interests? Again, billions. No one is going to let that go to waste without a fight. Imagine a politician who tells condo owners their garages are now closed? And the city gets a LOT of money from parking revenues. If there was no parking downtown, there would be no streetcar and even less road maintenance than we have today.

    It’s a nice vision, to have a central plaza like they have in old European cities, that couldn’t accommodate cars if they tried, but our entire city is built around cars. Maybe old Town could go that way, but all of downtown? Never.

    Americans will never give up climate controlled vehicles that are self-propelled. Never.

    Jonathan, you said “you never know” before you said “never say never” so I reserve my right to say never :-)

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  • Meg April 30, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    MLK and Grand, now that would be transformational. They’re perfect streets for cycle tracks, and would provide a much needed N/S connection on the east side, and God knows there’s enough right-of-way.

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  • carye bye April 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Very interesting discussion. My first thought was cool, we could really use this. But many valid points have been made about why this needs more discussion. I bike up Broadway once a week up to OHSU. On most days, compared to pre-green bike boxes, I find cars more aware of bikes and not as often turning in front of me now that there is a visible stopping point and reminder of bicycles. I still get few ignorant cars, but it seems less. I also agree that more of the trouble is down by the hotels as well, and even in rush hour the upper part of Broadway doesn’t have as many cars turning because of the non-through streets at PSU. Also really good point was made if there is this separate lane, how will bicyclists get out of it if they are only going a few blocks. I think Broadway needs a makeover all the way from Burnside to PSU, but instead of the separate cycletrack, move the bike lane out from the cars and make it wider. Perhaps the city doesn’t want to lose a car lane, and that is why they are only looking up by PSU to put in a cycletrack. But I think bicyclists need to keep their mobility in and out of the bike lane for left turns. Perhaps paint the entire lane green, and put in more bike boxes instead. Broadway is really important bike way. I can get to lower OHSU up Twilleger Blvd in 25 min all the way from north of the Mississippi neighborhood because traffic moves so swiftly on Broadway during rush hour in the a.m. The park blocks and the waterfront would be too slow, and 3rd ave gets cut up by the stretch of parks.

    So keep Broadway bike lane, move it out from hotel parking and make it green, and lets get more bike people painted, many of the originals are pretty faded now.

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  • PdxMark April 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    This project sounds like a good test of the cycletrack design feature with minimal expenditure. Cycletracks aren’t for all road situations and aren’t replacements for bike boulevards, but they might turn out to be a good design option in some street configurations. I think a downtown test location is much better than one way up in NE Portland. Let’s just see how well it works…

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  • Scott Mizée April 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    @ Chris #30

    If you want to “eliminat[e] all those pesky surface streetcar and MAX tracks” you’re really not going to like the announcement today that “we” won approval today for [$75 million for] the 3.35-mile eastside streetcar
    extension…

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  • matt picio April 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    GLV (#57) – No one will have to tell the parking structure owners that their garages are closed. If we reduce the number of cars downtown, the demand for parking will fall, and so will parking prices. Those buildings are economical because on average one parking space brings in $150 per month.

    Once the value falls to a point where it is competetive with other uses, those buildings will be repurposed into offices, condos, shops and restaurants, just as many of them were repurposed into parking garages decades ago.

    And by car-free downtown, it doesn’t have to mean everything in the “cup” between the western hills and the river – it could just mean everything inside 10th from Alder south to Salmon. (the inner downtown core)

    It’s doubtful we’ll ever be truly car-free. There are too many applications where the car is still the best mode of choice – but “car-lite” is not only attainable, but may be the most desireable outcome.

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  • cyclist April 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    The entrances to 26 and 405 make this a pretty heavily congested area during peak rush, so you’re going to see a lot of people upset about this. Anybody who cycles (or drives) this stretch between about 5 and 6pm knows traffic can be pretty nightmarish with 3 lanes. Considering that the proposal is for 7 blocks, there’s already a bike lane, and a good chunk of us don’t even *want* the cyclepath in the first place, I’d much prefer us to expend our energy elsewhere.

    If we’re going to piss off rush hour commuters, shouldn’t we do it somewhere that really makes a difference? What about Barbur/Front, where there’s a long stretch of road that’s downright dangerous to cycle? Or how about spending some money in SW Portland, where bike lanes and bike boulevards are few and far between, and promising projects like the Red Electric trail seem to be going nowhere? I’d really rather take heat for something that will make a difference, you know?

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  • GLV April 30, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    matt, very good points. What about residential buildings? There’s a reason why the vast majority of condos come with parking spaces. The people who can afford several hundred thousand dollars for a condo are also likely to own cars. That trip to the coast, the weekend at Mt. Bachelor…at $9/hour Zipcar is not going to serve those folks.

    The revenue foregone by the city is another issue. How are they funding operations for the eastside streetcar? They were going to pay for it by eliminating line 6 sough of the Convention Center, forcing a transfer to get downtown, but public outcry stopped that. Have they identified money yet? I heard part of the solution may come from installing parking meters in the central eastside. Hardly a recipe for a car-free city.

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  • SkyC April 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    As a PSU student that commutes to campus by bike every day, I think this is a bad idea. Obviously, as previously mentioned, there are no right turns on this stretch of the road so really the only danger for someone in the bike lane is getting doored. So it’s not like it’s a dangerous stretch of road. I don’t think putting in a track is going to make that stretch of the road any more appealing to riders on the whole. Regardless, I usually only ride on Broadway for a block or two- if I am riding through campus southbound, I tend to take 5th since the new bike lane is on the left side, so drivers can see you more easily when they’re coming up for a turn. And, the cars tend to drive more slowly. Being stuck in a bike track where I can’t get over to the left lane to make a turn would actually be a big pain for me, and I think for a lot of other people who are trying to get around campus. Given that there aren’t that many people riding straight through PSU on Broadway, a cycle track might actually decrease ridership on the road. I think cycle tracks are a good idea… in the right place. North Park Blocks was a bad spot and so is this one.

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Since there is no real right hook hazard in this location – the campus is closed to the motoring public – this may actually be a one of the better places in the city for this type of facility.

    Just don’t be misled into believing that a successful ‘test’ in this location translates into safe use of this type of facility in other locations with much higher hooking hazards.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    A cycle track experiment thru the heart of PSU makes sense, but I urge everyone on a bicycle downtown to simply MAKE the thru vehicle lanes on 5th and 6th Avenue defacto bike lanes. Let’s just take them over.
    Portland removed 10 lanes of auto/truck traffic in the 70′s (Harbor Drive 6, 5th & 6th Avenues 4)and was a lot better for it. Let’s remove some more

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  • matt April 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    On a different note – What about fixing the problem of riding on 6th ave? Terwilliger dumps cyclists on 6th, and if one wants to head east and cross the Hawthorne bridge there is only one street that a cyclist can turn right on. It ultimately requires a cyclist to cross MAX/Streetcar tracks at least 2 times, and not at a particularly safe angle of approach.

    Can’t help but feel that someone totally screwed the pooch on that one.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    7 blocks? This is a bit timid. I was thinking Burnside to I-405…that would be bold. Time to give back the Platinum thing.

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  • cyclist April 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    matt: You have two choices for right turns:

    1) Do what cars do, make three left turns and come around.

    2) Do what Trimet advises (and what I do when I bike home from PSU), pull over on the left at the intersection you want to turn at, turn your bike 90 degrees, then proceed when the light turns green. You lose about 20 seconds compared to intersections where you can legally turn right, but you also don’t have to deal with the tracks (other than crossing them at a 90 degree angle) and looking for bus/train traffic.

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    @ cyclist #70 – neither of those choices are particularly bike-friendly.

    matt #68 is correct, the design of the new 5th-6th-MAX couplet completely ignored cyclists’ needs.

    Why, for example, did they add sidewalks, curb extensions and parking for motor vehicles on SW Main between 5th and 6th instead of adding a bike lane??? SW Main is a major route for cyclists coming from PSU and heading for the Hawthorne Bridge, and they actually made it worse for cyclists instead of better.

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  • aljee April 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    @ BURR #71 “Why, for example, did they add sidewalks, curb extensions and parking for motor vehicles on SW Main between 5th and 6th instead of adding a bike lane???”

    To satisfy the businesses.

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    scott @ 61:
    To clarify, I’m not opposed to rail transit. I just think that the tracks should be either underground or elevated. It would provide a faster trip for transit riders, and it wouldn’t be such a hazard for cyclists.

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Lenny Anderson @67:

    You can have fifth and sixth if you want, but as for me, I think 3rd and 4th will be the best streets once the new bus mall is active. Once those buses are off of it, those two streets are going to be great! I suspect that within a month of transit mall’s opening, a cyclist will pull an illegal right turn and get smacked by the MAX.

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    of course, if you’ve looked at the city’s proposed bike master plan maps, you would know that the city is proposing cycle tracks on both 3rd and 4th downtown, which will effectively ruin those streets for cycling, too.

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  • tbird April 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    nice

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  • brettoo April 30, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Say, Burr, where are those proposed city bike maps posted online? I’d love to check ‘em out.

    As usual, I agree with Matt P — let’s give this a chance, especially after we see the rest of what’s proposed for Broadway next week. I’m a proponent of carefully considered cycle tracks and other bike only lanes, but I bike this area most days, and I’m not convinced Broadway’s the best place for bike riders. The hotels are doorings / pedestrian collisions waiting to happen — I’ve had to dodge them every week or so. I’m comfortable taking the lane, although I know it’s technically illegal to do so, but that’s not really a solution.

    I generally just use the park blocks to go N/S, all the way up through PSU. I wonder if the fire dept would complain if the city just removed one of the parking lanes from the Park blocks — which seemed to work fine until they added the second lane last year — leaving the other as a buffer for bikes?

    Actually, I still don’t understand why we don’t just ban cars from the Park Blocks, turn the stop signs, fix the Burnside crossing, and call them a cycle track and be done with it. they could even get rid of the dangerous broadway bike lane if they did that. it’d sure make that pedestrian heavy area (art museum, PCPA, etc) a lot calmer and friendlier if reserved for only bikes and peds.

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  • Psyfalcon April 30, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Go ride this area every day for 2 weeks. Wait until someone stops in the bike lane to pick up a student (2/ day average in 7 blocks [blocking what would be a cross street]) or play tag with the buses.

    I will be glad to be separated from both of those things.

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  • Scott Mizée April 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    brettoo,

    I would check this page for the proposed city maps. It says they were freshly updated yesterday.

    The input we receive will help us finalize the draft network to present to City Council for adoption.
    DRAFT Southwest Bicycle Facilities Map (PDF Document, 1,826kb)
    DRAFT North-Northwest Bicycle Facilities Map (PDF Document, 1,534kb)
    DRAFT Northeast Bicycle Facilities Map (PDF Document, 1,978kb)
    DRAFT East Portland Bicycle Facilities Map (PDF Document, 1,259kb)
    DRAFT Southeast Bicycle Facilities Map (PDF Document, 1,787kb)
    DRAFT Central-City Bicycle Facilities Map (PDF Document, 1,817kb)
    DRAFT Bicycle Facility Types (PDF Document, 257kb)
    A PDF illustrating both shared roadway and separated bicycle facilities

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  • are April 30, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    matt picio 45. how it punishes current riders is it makes biking in the travel lanes illegal, in effect pushing vehicular cyclists onto other streets entirely. an “experiment,” as you put it, ought to be well designed, taking into account known difficulties. how is anyone supposed to make a left from this configuration? (and if your answer is, do the box turn, or whatever they call it, how is that “giving cyclists the same access as motorists”?)

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  • matt April 30, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I think expanding MAX and the streetcar lines are important goals, I just see many a bike wreck from this problem. How many people come down from OHSU or Terwilliger and want to head east?

    It would be nice to see some sort of bike friendly route from the 405 overpass to 4th ave. I know there are safe ways to head east, and there are direct ways to head east. I wish the two weren’t mutually exclusive.

    I should quit whining because I didn’t attend any public meetings regarding the development of the new transit mall. My gut tells me this problem was probably brought up but ultimately not deemed important enough to remedy given cost constraints.

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  • eric April 30, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I ride the broadway bike lane every day, as I prefer it to dicing with the peds on the esplanade + hawthorne bridge: I am shocked and surprised every day there is not an accident on that bike path because of the ferocious right hook situation and the aggro behavior of many drivers: basically, only about half of them watch out for bikes when they turn across the bike lane, and the other half do the “half turn” where they block the bike lane to wait for peds to finish crossing.

    The hotels aren’t so bad, as the valets are pretty aware of the bikes (they get bells, whistles, cat calls, and high-fives all day long), but the regular drivers are murderous.

    Maybe they could make a cycle track down the middle lane of broadway until you get to clay: this would skip all the right hooks and if you make some right/left turn zones with go-around the block paths it wouldn’t be too bad.

    Of course, this will never happen.

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  • Donna April 30, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    do i really have to get stuck in a pack of commuters and be walled in by a sidewalk curb and a line of parked cars and people hopping out of car doors?

    Yes, you really do. You also get to personally rate the parallel parking skills of Portlanders because there is no physical separation between you and them. Even better – you risk a traffic ticket if you don’t want to play that game but still ride on that street. Enjoy.

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    brettoo, I guess we should just ban bikes from most of broadway, eh?

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  • BURR April 30, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?&c=44672

    Jonathan posted a story but it seems to have disappeared…

    I’m all for making the Park Block car free btw

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  • Mark C April 30, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    I suppose this is an OK location to try this out, but I’m not really exited about it. I actually kind of like riding downtown, because the signals are timed for bike speeds, and I can just take the lane. I generally use Broadway to go south, and fourth to go north. I can’t say I’m real enthusiastic about being stuck behind bikes going 7 mph up the hill in the cycletrack. That sound about as appealing as riding on the Springwater, Eastbank Esplanade, or Waterfront Park, all of which I avoid like the plague outside of the early morning hours.

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  • chriswnw April 30, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I’d amend what I said earlier. For people who would prefer not to ride in heavy traffic (which sometimes includes myself), I think the bike boulevard idea would work very well on at least two streets downtown, namely Park and 9th. Improve the crossings (especially around Burnside), remove the parking and make it so that cars can’t use it as a through street. Maybe you can find a few east-west routes for the same purpose. People could then lock up and walk the remainder of their route.

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  • Seth D. Alford May 1, 2009 at 3:28 am

    We already discussed many of the negatives of cycle tracks here: http://bikeportland.org/2009/02/02/support-grows-for-cycle-track-on-capitol-highway/

    Those negatives are still applicable to this project. I’ll reiterate one of them: how do you get the street sweeper to sweep the cycle track? Does the city have some sort of special sidewalk only street sweeper? If not, are they going to buy one for just this 7 blocks of cycle path? Or are they going to ban cars from parking on a particular day and run the regular street sweeper over the parking area and the cycle track? That’ll go over poorly with people who drive to PSU. How often will that happen? Once a year? Never?

    This idea smacks of desperation on Adams’ part to drum up support from the bike community. Why would he need support from the bike community? Because the 6 month waiting period for his potential recall ends July 1st, which is about 2 months from now.

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  • Seth D. Alford May 1, 2009 at 3:43 am

    One more point: a cycle track is just another variation on the grade separated side-path. Two examples of a poorly designed grade separated side-paths: the north side of Garden Home Road, west of Oleson; and Farmington west of Kinnaman.

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  • Clarence May 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Looking at this plan, it is almost entirely what the NYC model did in beginning our lanes which continue to expand. As familiar as I am with Portland, I think a good place to try it out and evaluate. 7 blocks is long enough to experiment.

    If it works I say put one on MLK Blvd. I am from NYC and used to riding in all sorts of dreck, but that stretch of road even scares me.

    People who aren’t so hot to the idea have to keep one thing in mind: this design is ultimately hoping to draw more people not cycling to give it a try – the young, the old, the physically-challenged or those who may bike a little but are very afraid.

    More cyclists on the road = more amenities for cycling = more respect = more funds dedicated to biking = a healthier environment.

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  • BURR May 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I’ve got a great idea, let’s encourage novice cyclists to try out our *experimental* cycle tracks without warning them that this experiment was already conducted years ago and it’s actually less safe for cyclists to use the cycle track than it is to ride in the regular traffic lanes.

    If you really want to cycle on a separated facility, you’re perfectly welcome to ride on the sidewalk in the Park Blocks, one block to the west.

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  • christopher lee May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    now that i understand the orientation of the lanes, i think i’ll be taking a different route through there.
    this is begging collisions with parents pushing double wide strollers in the cycletrack because “what’s the point in popping it up on the sidewalk, there’s a driveway ten yards up?” as they walk to the farmer’s market.
    does anyone in the city’s transportation planning groups play “devil’s advocate”? or do they just give in to every whim that sounds immediately like a half way good idea?

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  • Oliver May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    This a great spot for a cycle track. 5th is going to be very busy soon (with cars/MAX/buses) and so more cyclists will want to use Broadway. PSU is an enormous destination for cyclists. The existing bike lane feels narrow and exposed to dooring threats. And, of course, faster cyclists will still be able to use the vehicle lanes.

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  • brettoo May 1, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    My, we Portlanders certainly have dark and vivid imaginations. FWIW, in a few weeks of using cycle tracks in Utrecht and Amsterdam, I encountered very few dead babies run over by cyclists — I believe the number was zero in fact — and detected no collisions or dangerous conflicts whatsoever between pedestrians and cyclists or fast cyclists and slow cyclists. Yes, occasionally, a cyclist had to slow down or ring the little bell to alert an unwary tourist but no more than I ever have to do on the Hawthorne bridge or Waterfront Park. I don’t know yet whether this cycle track will be designed the same way as they were in Holland (actually there were different kinds there), but I have confidence that Portlanders are just as smart as the millions of people in other countries that use cycle tracks safely, and can figure it all out as easily as the Dutch have. If not, this and other experiments will tell the city how to modify them.

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  • BURR May 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    brettoo, I take it you’ve been riding in the street up until now and have yet to be run over by any of the scawy, scawy motorists, so why do you continue to insist that the city waste money on an unnecessary and highly restrictive piece of cycling infrastructure like this?

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  • brettoo May 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    It’s true, I do ride in the street (and prefer it to the bad bike lane on Broadway, for example), but I just think it’s better for Portland and for the planet if we get more people out of cars and on bikes, and the experience of Europe and studies show that separated facilities will get those “interested but concerned” folks on bikes, because they make them feel safer. I understand that you and others dispute whether they actually will be safer, but what studies I’ve seen (e.g. Pucher) suggests that they will. History suggests separated facilities will really boost the percentage of cyclists by several times what we have now, and I’d love to see that happen.

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  • Donna May 1, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Clarence – How will respect for cyclists improve the parallel parking skills of the average Portland motorist?

    Brettoo – When you were in Amsterdam, did you see any cycle track with no physical barrier between you and the parallel parked cars to the left of the track? And if you did, how would you compare the drivers’ education system in Oregon with that of The Netherlands?

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  • jon May 1, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    first, this is wonderful

    will this cycletrack be two-way or remain as south-bound only?

    any plans to add a curb in the shy zone?

    there really needs to be a good skeletal network of cycle tracks round the city in the main bike corridors especially one in the hawthorne corridor.

    while they are doing this i’d love broadway to be converted back to two-way its whole length, a major street like broadway should be two-way and now with an even number of travel lanes it makes more sense as two-way than having an odd and therefore un-equal amount of lanes in each direction.

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  • brettoo May 1, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    It’s hard to remember (I was just getting around, not studying bike infrastructure), but I think most of the Dutch cycle tracks I saw that used on street parking to provide physical separation had a slight (like an inch or so) grade separation. So bad drivers could still park in the bike lane, I guess, (though I don’t recall seeing any), but you’d probably feel it when your car tire hit the little bump. Sometimes I think the path was just a different color from the adjoining road and sidewalk. If we start to see bad parking here, then maybe that’d be a result of the experiment: put in a grade separation. Maybe the city’s doing it this way because it’s cheaper and they’re seeing if cheaper can work.

    No arguments from me about education. I agree completely that EVERY driver, and every kid, should be educated in proper riding behavior and safe ways to drive in proximity to bicyclists. You should have to pass such a test in school and to get a driver’s license. But I don’t want to wait till we educate a whole generation before we put in separated facilities. Did they do it that way in Europe?

    From my admittedly anecdotal experience in Holland, I spied with my own four eyes a much greater variety and number of people getting around by bike than we have here in Portland, and the people who’ve studied it attribute much of that greater participation to the physically separated facilities.

    See, I don’t think these cycle tracks are mostly for us reading this. I imagine most of us here on BP are experienced bicyclists who are confident about taking the lane. (Actually, Jonathan, have you done a reader survey to find out how BP readers fit the categories the city assigns cyclists?) Cycle tracks are more for the grammas and grampas I saw riding bikes around Dutch cities. They’re for my friends (including a Dutch guy who rode his whole life in Holland but was afraid to share lanes with Portland drivers) and their kids who simply won’t ride without physical separation from cars. I’ve seen it happen there, and I don’t see why it can’t happen here. Maybe this new cycle track is just step one of a much bigger experiment. Though I’d still rather see the Park Blocks turned into a cycle track….

    BTW, Alta planning here put out a nice little summary of their study of Euro cycle tracks called Cycle Tracks: Lessons Learned, and it’d be worth perusing. I’m no expert on this stuff, just a guy on a bike, but I figure the city staffers who are went to the cities where cycle tracks worked and gleaned the lessons– what went wrong, what went right. I’m happy to rely on their expertise and study than on imagined worst case scenarios. (I felt the same way about the Idaho stop law discussion — imagined dire consequences vs. decades of actual positive experience.) I feel lucky to live in a city with innovative government employees who are eager to learn from other successful models and try to reduce car dependence. It’s rare in this country.

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  • Clarence Eckerson May 1, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Donna: The answer to that question seems irrelevant to this discussion. I thought we were talking about cycletracks…

    BURR: Stop thinking old school, the new age of cycling is upon us. It will not be a waste. The cycletracks in NYC already have improved safety for peds and cyclists where installed. Injuries/collisions are down more than 30% and car speeds have slowed since there has been a removal of a car lane. I predict if the design is similar to NYC you’ll all end up loving them. You should come here and try em out.

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  • Clarence Eckerson May 1, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    brettoo:

    You hit it right on the head – alot of cyclists commenting here (and ones in the advocacy field) are very experienced, not as timid as your average rider – these cycletracks or separated lanes are not for us!

    People have to open their minds, stop being selfish, stop thinking about themselves as a cyclist and think about the bigger mission. Sure when I take the Hudson Greenway in NYC I might average 1 or 2 mph slower because it gets crowded, but that’s too bad for me, I better behave when surrounded by kids, families, older folks, new riders. It’s my obligation as a human being and a cyclist. Those future riders will mean better cycling for me in the long run.

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  • JR May 2, 2009 at 12:49 am

    About time SW Broadway get some improvements.. Unfortunately, the most needed section – in front of the hotels further up Broadway – is still unimproved. However, the success of this project will help get us a couple steps closer to major improvements there as well..

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  • Seth D. Alford May 2, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Clarence @100, @101:

    Donna’s driver ed question is relevant because, I’m guessing, part of the Netherlands’ more extensive drivers education includes teaching, and testing, parallel parking.

    As BURR @42 pointed out, once this goes in, cyclists will have no choice but to use this cycle track southbound on Broadway, or get a ticket from the sometime anti-bicyclist Portland police. See ORS 814.420 at http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/814.html

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  • Seth D. Alford May 2, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Re hotels (see @1, @4, @14, @16, @23, @59, @77, @82, @102:) don’t expect any improvement there until after Adams survives a recall election. Until then, and maybe not even after, Adams won’t risk annoying the business community by inconveniencing the hotels and improving the situation for bikes.

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  • Dan Liu May 2, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I attended PSU only for one quarter, but if memory serves me correctly, the majority of the campus is to the right of Broadway. More importantly, the majority of PSU’s *bike parking* is to the right of Broadway. For PSU commuters, this means the cycletrack is exactly where they’d want it.

    I’d say that would have been best for PSU commuters if it could be extended north to SW Main, where anyone coming off the Hawthorne Bridge would start their journey up Broadway. South of Main, Broadway is still somewhat hazardous at Jefferson and Clay (a lot of potential for right hooks), which has been exacerbated by ongoing construction.

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  • Donna May 2, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Clarence, look at the plans – this cycle track is not similar to the one in NYC. If they were planning to build one like that in Portland, I’d have a far more open mind about this. As is, there is no physical separation between the track and the parallel parked cars, nor will there be any kind of bike-specific light cycles on Broadway. If there is to be no barrier, that 3′ shy zone is pathetically narrow.

    Because of that, the success of this cycle track is highly dependent on the parallel parking skills of the motorists who park along side it. We also will need to hope and pray the driving motorists don’t do anything lethally stupid at a green light because there is no bike-specific light cycle. That is why when it comes to this particular proposed cycle track design, the driving skills of motorists is a very, very important aspect of the design. I am not opposed to cycle tracks as a whole, but it’s foolish, wasteful, and negligent to create bicycle traffic facilities that cannot ensure a basic safety level for bicyclists unless the motorists around them have better than average driving skills. I’ve shown this design to friends who drive and haven’t been on a bicycle in years. They were incredulous to see no physical separation. None of them would try this out because none of them believe the average motorist is a good enough parallel parker.

    And why are we stuck with such a crappy cycle track design in Portland, OR? Because on-street parking of motor vehicles is one of the few absolute sacred cows in this city. You take away one on-street parking space anywhere in this town, and hordes of angry voters call City Hall to rant and complain. Until the city puts the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians ahead of this special interest group, we’ll continue to see inherently dangerous designs like this one.

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  • wsbob May 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    “Because on-street parking of motor vehicles is one of the few absolute sacred cows in this city. …. Until the city puts the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians ahead of this special interest group,…” Donna

    Motor Vehicle operators, a special interest group? That’s a gross distortion of our modern synthetic reality. Like it or not, motor vehicles have been and continue to be a fundamentally essential component of our civilization.

    For a lot of reasons, it’s not the best situation for Portland, other cities, or the world in general to be in, but it’s the dependent system that’s been built. Changing that system is going to take some time. If anyone has ideas about how it could be easily and rapidly accomplished in a reasonable way, let’s hear them.

    I’m not sure Portland could be a car-free city. Setting aside situations of people that depend on the city’s streets for through travel, there’s still many people that, due to disabilities, could not transport themselves on any currently available mass transit, let alone propelling themselves on a bicycle. Down the road, the city might be able to get some of the through traffic out of Downtown, but eliminating the need for use of cars downtown seems like it will be a much more difficult challenge.

    Improvements can be made in present road infrastructure that will enable safer and more enjoyable bike use for practical rather than simple recreational purposes….that’s for sure. That’s a good reason to keep thinking and talking about this latest proposal to experiment with a cycle track design in Portland. Perfect designs often don’t happen on the first try.

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  • brettoo May 2, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Yeah, I’m not sure we should be necessarily advocating for permanent “car free” anything at this point, though maybe a monthly car free downtown Sunday (obviously you’d exclude people with a demonstrated need to drive, like disabled people) is an achievable near term goal. No point in sparking a backlash.

    Mostly what I’d like to see is real options, so that no one is forced to take a car, or at least to own one, in order to get to work, school, shopping, entertainment, etc. (Zipcar, taxis and rentals can play a big role, as they do in places like SF and NYC.) The problem with postwar car culture is that the infrastructure designforced dependency on cars. Even in sprawly America, something like 40% of trips are less than 3 miles, and a quarter are less than 2 (or something like that); if most of those could be replaced with some combo of walking, bikes, and mass transit, we’d go a long way toward making the central city, at least, more people friendly, and help the environment a lot, too.

    Another place to start is getting rid of the massive subsidies, many of them hidden, for car culture, from subsidized parking to tax breaks for the oil companies to the military budget for guarding oil supplies to the Columbia River Crossing. Compared to them, the cost of bike infrastructure is negligible, and bikes provide offsetting benefits (less pollution, less road wear, less obesity, less traffic congestion, etc.) If drivers really had to pay the true costs, to the environment and to livability, of driving, then biking and mass transit would naturally be used a lot more, and we’d all save a lot of money to boot. The Europeans pay closer to those real costs to drive, and they’ll tell you that they don’t bike to save the planet, merely because it’s more convenient (not so much subsidized parking) and cheaper.

    To get back on topic, this cycle track is just an early step in redressing the artificial imbalance and starting to provide options, not mandating anything.

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  • cyclepete May 3, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Brettoo – on those Dutch cycletraqcks that were to the left of parked cars: how did you cross the intersections or turn right and left safely? I’m guessing they either had separate light phases for the bikes or were next to very low-speed streets ( many Dutch streets have a speed limit of 18 mph/ 30 kph).

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  • Donna May 3, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Wsbob – if the City of Portland is absolutely hellbent on shoving a cycle track down bicyclists’ throats but give us an inferior and dangerous facility because the politicians will not allow removal of any on-street parking (because they’re terrified of how voters with cars will react), I would call that being held hostage by a special interest group. Either break the power of that group and give us a safe cycle track or don’t. I just don’t want to be riding on a political compromise – when what got compromised is my personal safety. I don’t want my safety sacrificed so that some people can store their personal property on city streets.

    Brettoo – Oregon law states that if a bike lane is present, a cyclist must use it or face a traffic ticket. Cycle tracks are considered bike lanes. If they build one – no matter how flawed it is – cyclists are required by law to use it. When you’re required by law to do something, it’s a mandate, so how exactly is this cycle track not a mandate?

    If you want artificial imbalances redressed and options provided – even if what’s being offered is more dangerous that what is currently there – fine for you. Some people enjoy that sort of excitement, I know. I am not an adrenaline junkie, however, and don’t appreciate the city building inferior and dangerous bicycle facilities that I am required by law to use.

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  • BURR May 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I will restate my position, from posts 37 and 66, that this location may be one of the few places in the city this type of cyclist-specific facility could work, because motorists cannot make a right turn across this proposed cycle track for its entire length.

    However, it would be a mistake to use this particular cycle track as a ‘test demo’ and extrapolate from its success that similar cycle tracks should be built elsewhere in the city where significant ‘hooking’ hazards are present for cyclists.

    I also object to the narrow width of the proposed facility, and second Donna’s and other’s concerns regarding potential dooring hazards.

    And finally, the city should make it clear, through a joint public statement from PDOT and the Police Bureau, whether or not cyclists who chose not to use this *experimental* facility will or will not be subject to citation under ORS 814.420.

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  • Scott Mizée May 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    For those that are entering this conversation late, or have not yet hit the hyperlink to the ORS Code, here are two sections relevant to this discussion:

    814.420 Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty. (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.

    (2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.

    (3) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:

    (a) Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.

    (b) Preparing to execute a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    (c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.

    (d) Preparing to execute a right turn where a right turn is authorized.

    (e) Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.

    (4) The offense described in this section, failure to use a bicycle lane or path, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §700; 1985 c.16 §338; 2005 c.316 §3]

    814.430 Improper use of lanes; exceptions; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of improper use of lanes by a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions and the person does not ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

    (2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:

    (a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction.

    (b) When preparing to execute a left turn.

    (c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side. Nothing in this paragraph excuses the operator of a bicycle from the requirements under ORS 811.425 or from the penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.

    (d) When operating within a city as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of a roadway that is designated to allow traffic to move in only one direction along the roadway. A bicycle that is operated under this paragraph is subject to the same requirements and exceptions when operating along the left curb or edge as are applicable when a bicycle is operating along the right curb or edge of the roadway.

    (e) When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

    (f) When operating on a bicycle lane or bicycle path.

    (3) The offense described in this section, improper use of lanes by a bicycle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §701; 1985 c.16 §339]

    I’m no expert on this, but it appears that a person is allowed to use the main traffic lanes provided they can safely move out of the bike “lane” or in this case “cycle track” for the purpose of over taking other cyclists, preparing to make a left turn, or avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions. (See §814.420 3, a, b, and c) I believe that doing this at an intersection where there is a break in the cycle track, would be a safe place to do this.

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  • BURR May 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Scott, the trouble with this proposed facility is that it is impossible to move easily between the bike lane and the normal travel lanes due to the intervening presence of parked motor vehicles.

    The city could, however, choose to eliminate parking on the west side of Broadway in conjunction with installation of the bike facility, which would (1) allow free movement of cyclists between the bike lane and the normal travel lanes, (2) eliminate the dooring hazard posed by the facility as proposed and (3) allow the bike lane to be significantly wider than proposed, increasing its width from 7 feet up to 18 feet wide.

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  • Donna May 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Scott, what if you need to leave the cycle track because of a hazard before there is a break in the track? Do you have any suggestions for moving out of this cycle track when you’ve got a line of parallel parked cars blocking your way out? I’m hoping you’ve got some idea for how to do this because I’ve been wrangling this issue for days and can’t seem to come up with a way to do it.

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  • wsbob May 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Donna, do you know for a fact that terror or apprehension over how voters will react is the reason that on-street parking is being retained as part of this planned cycle track?

    Well, I don’t either, but I kind of doubt it. Shouldn’t the city’s politicians with the help of their road designers and planners be trying to come up with ideas that might help the city work better? I’m inclined to think that they might be keeping the parking in part because the areas parking needs exceed the capacity of other parking opportunities there.

    If the project is to cover 7 blocks….figure parking for 10 cars per 200′ block, both sides of the street minus some spots at entry points to PSU…that may be parking for than 100 cars. Having a good diagram or going down to look at it first hand would be the way to know for sure.

    I notice BURR’s comment #113. That sounds like a good possibility. My own thought would be to eliminate the parking on that stretch of Broadway, and retain the third main travel lane for more efficient through travel. Figure out another way to add ready, short term access for the 100+ parking spaces displaced; parallel parking on that stretch of Broadway is crappy anyway. If I did the math right, this would still allow a 14′ cycle path without a ‘shy zone’, 11′ with.

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  • Spencer Boomhower May 3, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I read through a bunch of comments before I got a good look at the drawings, or even the whole article. I see repeated concern here about doorings and bad parallel parking on the part of drivers. But now I look at the drawing, and I see a 3′ buffer zone (the “shy zone”) between parked (and parking) cars and the cycletrack. Isn’t that enough? 3 feet gives you a lot of protection, certainly a lot more than you get riding in your *standard* bike lane, elbow-to-door-handle with cars. So in that regard at least, the cycletrack design looks like a vast improvement over standard bike lanes.

    (Note to BikePortland admins: it seems like maybe a blockquote tag didn’t get closed, causing a line down the length of the last bunch of comments. It’s causing my nit-pick-o-meter to go crazy!)

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  • cyclepete May 4, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Can someone answer me on this simple question:

    How do you make a left turn off the cycletrack?

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  • tbird May 4, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Cyclepete et al
    Re: left turns; follow this link:
    http://tinyurl.com/bl4ylq

    This is an intersection just around the corner from my old apartment. I’ve ridden thru here 1000′s of times. NEVER have I seen a right hook, not even close. There is a slight delay in the auto signal, but only few seconds. Note that cyclists stop well forward of the stop point for motorists, effectively creating a bike box situation. Yes, there is no right on red. The rules for cycle tracks crossing driveways are simple: Bikes have right of way over ALL intersecting traffic, streets and driveways alike. The difference is that in the Netherlands, there are few private driveways, but plenty of crossing streets.
    Pedestrians may use cycle tracks at their own peril. In other words it’s a bike track only…The separation of the track from the street insures that delivery vehicle rarely if ever block the track. There is a large berm preventing vehicles from easily crossing the track.
    As for left turns: that’s simple. Look at the image above. Cross the intersection, pause and wait for the signal allowing you to proceed onto the next street. Never do you need to merge into auto traffic. That’s the point of being separate. Don’t let your current strategies for dealing with traffic cloud your perception. This is a very simple and effective solution to high auto/bike traffic situations. You won’t be dealing with traffic in the same manner…although I doubt our fair leaders will implement all the required components which make this system work properly, I remain optimistic.

    Please, please, please….all you Nay-sayers, Doubters and Haters, PLEASE use a cycle-track someplace, sometime BEFORE you post your expert opinion about why this won’t work. Nothing smacks of arrogance more than ignorance. Sorry to unload on you, but it really does not lend legitimacy to the discussion to have your expertly penned scenarios playing out across the web(s) with absolutely 0 experience to back it up.

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  • Donna May 4, 2009 at 7:55 am

    tbird – it’s hard to tell from that map – is there a physical barrier between the parked vehicles and the cycle track?

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  • tbird May 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Only a small berm. Maybe 3-4″ high. It doesn’t stop a vehicle from crossing it, but rather provides a visual and slightly physical DMZ.

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  • Donna May 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Spencer – theoretically, most bike lanes in Portland are supposed to give about 3′ between the opening of a parked car door and where the cyclist rides. Have you ever seen a parallel parking job so bad that the car is taking up most of the bike lane? I have and it’s not exactly a rare occurrence. Fortunately when that happens in a bike lane, we can merge into the next traffic lane and pass the obstruction.

    Do you have any suggestions for how to do that when, thanks to an awful parallel parking job, the cycle track is blocked? What is one supposed to do when cars randomly back into the travel lane of the cycle track in their clumsy attempts to get parked? Without a physical separation between the line of parked cars and the cycle track, both scenarios are going to happen.

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  • Donna May 4, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Tbird, I would assert that that small berm is more important for drivers of motor vehicles than the City of Portland believes. Every day downtown, I see a good number of drivers using the street curb as a guide when parallel parking – often a physical guide. What are they going to use when there is a cycle track to the right of them? If they had something like what you describe in this design, you wouldn’t find me posting to this article.

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  • tbird May 4, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Donna- I’d wager that would have to be a world class bad parking job. I guess anything could happen, but would we not see parking enforcement issuing tickets and or towing the offenders? Again, I doubt our fair leaders will mandate this type of protection, but I will hope for the best.
    As for your repeated concerns about how to navigate the above referenced scenarios, I’d say First, slow or stop. Second, dismount the bike if needed, and walk or cycle carefully around the hazard. Problem solved. :)
    I feel there are far more hazards in the current model than in the cycle track. Motorists whizzing past at speeds above 25mph, having to merge across “motor vehicle lanes” ( get used to that term) in order to turn left, overlapping bus lanes (ouch!!!!), etc…

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  • tbird May 4, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Re Berm: point taken.
    I had initially said it was a large berm, then next called it small. Which is it..?
    Both.
    About 3-4 ” high, and 3ft wide.
    Not a barricade, but rather a point of reference with a physical component.

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  • cyclepete May 4, 2009 at 8:23 am

    We call this a pedestrian left turn ( using crosswalks two lights to turn left). Is that what is proposed for this design?

    I HAVE ridden urban cycletracks in the Netherlands. Back in the 90s. But the ones I used either had bike-only phases at the intersections and/or the roads were 30 kph ( 18 mph). The cycletracks were ridden relatively slowly by American standards, maybe 10 mph or so, but that’s true for most Dutch bicycling in urban areas. Typical trip distances tend to be short ( under 2 miles). So the pedestrian-left turns weren’t really noticeable at these slow speeds. I’ve heard the Dutch phrase “accelerated walking” applied to urban bicycling.

    I personally found these facilities acceptable for 1-2 mile bike trips done at slow speed with significant intersection delays but would have found them unsuitable for my typical commuting distances here of up to 10 miles.

    I’m sure there are cycletracks on higher speed roads without special light phases but I never saw them

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  • Johnny May 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

    7 blocks in one direction doesn’t do much for me personally. It’s nice to see some better routes for bikes, but what about some of the really screwed up “bike friendly” roadways like Lovejoy?

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  • Spencer Boomhower May 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Donna #121

    “Spencer – theoretically, most bike lanes in Portland are supposed to give about 3′ between the opening of a parked car door and where the cyclist rides.”

    That’s surprising; I guess I think 3′ seems like plenty of buffer zone to keep from getting doored, but in most bike lanes alongside parked cars I feel like I’m going to get doored at any moment (I’m not a huge fan of bike lanes).

    “Have you ever seen a parallel parking job so bad that the car is taking up most of the bike lane? I have and it’s not exactly a rare occurrence. Fortunately when that happens in a bike lane, we can merge into the next traffic lane and pass the obstruction.”

    Sure, but there’s a motivation for the driver to park in the bike lane – it gives the driver easier access to the road, and it’s easier for them to park if they don’t bother maneuvering deeply into a parking space.

    With a cycletrack, however, I wonder if the motivation will be there for a crappy parker to not only manuever into the full depth of the space, but also overshoot it by 3 feet.

    And even if they do overshoot by a whole 3 feet, there’s still 7 feet of cycle track width you can use to get past them.

    The car parking space is 8 feet wide, but the “shy zone” plus cycle track add up to 10 feet of width bikes can use. So cars could conceivably park two abreast, with one car fully in bike territory, and there would still be two feet of cycletrack left over to get around them.

    It just seems like it would take a pretty epic example of bad parking to block off this cycletrack, and it seems far less likely that it could be blocked off than could a bike lane.

    Worst-case (and highly unlikely) scenario: you pop up onto the sidewalk for a car length or so, to get around someone who parked diagonally, or perpendicularly, or whatever they had to do to fully block off the shy zone and cycletrack combined.

    None of this is to discount your concerns, which I think are worth bringing up. It’s always worth pointing out faults in a design; that makes a design better. But on balance, it seems like bad parking would have far less impact on this cycletrack than it would on a bike lane.

    In general it seems like the negatives are outweighed by the positives.

    This is a forward-thinking piece of bike-specific infrastructure that somehow got funded in a time when even a law as worthy as the vehicle homicide law got shot down because it required funding. It’s kind of amazing this happened, particularly because a cycletrack is, AFAIK, something we haven’t seen before, and I don’t get the sense that transportation engineers are all about trying new things on the public roads.

    Even if it’s not perfect, it’s really impressive that this is getting made.

    At the very least, it’ll push the conversation about bike-specific infrastructure forward in ways that just talking about this stuff can never do.

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  • Clarence May 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Actually the design that is going to be tried out is almost exactly the same as our Grand Street bike lane in lower Manhattan, which cyclists are loving. It’s a bike lane on a one way street that is curbside and “protected” by car parking. This design has no actual physical barriers, no light signals (though I think those would be great.)

    Not sure from this plan, but there is no parking for the end of each block so the cyclists become more visible. Is that so for the Portland cycletrack?

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  • Donna May 4, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Spencer and tbird – your suggestion about getting up onto the sidewalk and riding would be one worth considering if you weren’t recommending doing something that is illegal downtown.

    But why should I have to be forced to use a bike facility that requires me to dismount my bike on a street anyway? Doesn’t that seem like a return to the 70′s and 80′s to you?

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  • wsbob May 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    This entire cycletrack will only be 7 blocks in length. Portland’s blocks are each only 200′ long. What need would a person riding a bike on the cycletrack have that would lead them to want to move left at mid-block?

    My impression is that this cycle track will be particularly suited to allowing easier, safer and less stressful access by people on bikes to various points along the length of PSU’s main campus.

    I don’t believe that people on bikes that are riding straight through this section of Broadway should be obliged to enter and stay within the confines of the cycle track for its entire length. Use of the cycle track should be optional to people riding bikes. They should be welcome to use the main lanes of travel as well.

    Equally so, people entering this section of Broadway with a route in mind that requires that they transition to the left-most lane of Broadway at some point along the length of Broadway that the cycle track exists, shouldn’t be obliged to stay within the confines of the cycle track if using the main lanes of travel serves their needs more efficiently.

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  • Spencer Boomhower May 4, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Donna #129,

    Actually, I didn’t say anything about riding on a sidewalk. If a rider was forced up onto a sidewalk downtown, that rider would have to walk the bike.

    More importantly, I made an effort to examine how unlikely an event that would be. It would only happen if someone blocked off ten feet of cycletrack width.

    You seem concerned about bad parallel parking jobs on the part of drivers, and I was trying to examine that concern.

    Let me ask you, how likely do you think it is that someone will do such a bad job of parallel parking that they will end up occupying so much of the cycletrack – all ten feet of it – as to render it impassible to bikes?

    From looking at the drawings it seems to me that they would have to be parked entirely in the cycletrack, and rotated a little bit in order to block it completely. That seems very unlikely, about as unlikely as, say, a tractor trailer blocking the two car travel lanes; it would be that extreme a case. Either extreme case would prompt a rider to do something as extreme as popping up on a sidewalk.

    Let me ask you, is this, for you, mainly a question of preserving rights of cyclists to roads?

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  • Dominic May 5, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Long Beach, CA is trying to do this and the local advocacy groups are fighting it.

    What kind of traffic controls are going to be placed at the intersections? Seperate bike signals I imagine. So now there will be an extra light cycle and each intersection will take longer.

    What kind of controls will be at the driveways/alleyways? None I bet. Cars will be pulling in and out, blocking the cycletrack. Before, a cyclist could just use another lane to go around a car, now they are trapped between a curb and parked cars.

    How difficult will it be to leave the track? What if a cyclist needs to go to someplace that is mid-block, on the other side of the street from the track?

    I hope sharrows will be going in the adjacent lanes, so that this track doesn’t increase harrassment towards cyclists from motorists who think that if there is a cycle track, that cyclists must use it.

    Sharrows are cheaper, accomodate all roadway users, and don’t trap cyclists.

    I wish Portland the best of luck with this.

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  • chriswnw May 6, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Check out the results of the NYC cycle track: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5372176073453078136 Pedestrians simply use it as a sidewalk extension! :D

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  • chriswnw May 6, 2009 at 9:38 am

    +1 on sharrows. Make it more explicit that the right lane is the “slow lane”, for bicycles, transit vehicles, right turning cars, motorists who don’t mind being held up, etc.

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  • [...] in the region. Portland will be building its first cycletrack near PSU over the summer. Check out Bike Portland for details. As for us, I don’t see a cycletrack in the cards for a while, although I hope [...]

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  • Erik May 17, 2009 at 2:05 am

    P.S. Right Turn on Red is not allowed in Europe.

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