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Another sign of bike lane disrespect

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 15th, 2009 at 11:47 am

My view of NE Sandy
this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

On crowded Portland streets, where taking the lane isn't comfortable or necessary, people on bikes are usually expected to ride in a 4-5-foot wide bike lane. With cars speeding closely by on one side, and sometimes with cars parked just inches by on the other, I get pretty sensitive when something degrades the quality of that lane.

We've reported about various forms of bike lane disrespect in the past; from their use as loading/drop-off zones, the dangers of "door zones", to them being the permanent resting place of gravel. (Another big issue with Portland's bike lanes is the epidemic proportion of lanes where the paint stripe has been completely worn off...but that's a story for another day).

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Today on my way into work, riding happily down Sandy Blvd approaching SE Morrison, I experienced yet another form of bike lane disrespect -- the oblivious placement of a road construction work sign (see photo above). I know many of you have come across this yourselves. For me, it's become sort of a personal pet peeve, and I'm beginning to wonder whether there are specific laws that might help encourage work crews to be more sensitive about this.

Here's another situation I documented over near the Rose Quarter last year. It was so egregious that I called it in and I'm happy to say it was quickly taken care of.

These signs forced people on bikes to veer into the other traffic lane. (In case you're not familiar, no one follows that right arrow onto the sidewalk, it was put there to give folks a more perpindicular approach to light rail tracks).

A related problem I have come across several times is construction sites bulging out into the bikeway. Check out this situation I documented on N. Williams (a very busy bikeway) back in 2006. I considered doing a story about this one, but first called the construction company. It took them a while, but they eventually shoved their fence back, away from the bike lane.

construction blocking bike path

I realize that to some of you this will just sound like whining. That's fair. But my intention is to raise the issue and to see how others feel about it. I also know that the City of Portland has a highly responsive hotline to address these types issues, 823-CYCL (2923). But again, I feel like this is something worthy of broader awareness.

Do you have any experiences with signs and construction sites impacted the bike lane? Or should I just shut up and ride?

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Comments
  • a.O May 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I'm really glad to see you talking about this issue, Jonathan. This is foundational bike advocacy, key to making biking a "normal" and legitimate form of transportation. This stuff is far more important than some of the issues others here in town choose to focus on.

    Why is it that this so-called bike friendly city cannot treat the bike lanes with the same level of respect they give to the lanes motor vehicles regularly use?

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  • hanmade May 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The biggest problem I have in bike lanes is usually a truck parked for loading or, on a residential street, a landscaping truck parked next to the curb, blocking the lane.

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  • sue May 15, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I work in the confluence of two large construction projects at the end of the Eastbank Esplanade. I have many time called the city's hotline, mostly about tractor trailer drivers who decide it's OK it leave their trailer in the bike lane on SE 4th Ave (entrance to the Springwater on the Willamette). Fortunately, the city has been very responsive to that. What hasn't improved is pedestrian access under the 99 overpass along SE Division Place. I know it's tough, because of the replacement of the 99 overpass, but it's a dangerous place if you're on foot, even more than on bike.

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  • aljee May 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Within the last year on Vancouver/Williams, I have had a pretty decent experience with crews. This morning, in fact, there was a worker conducting traffic, in front of Emmanuel. He waved cars through and bikes through separately, because the construction was taking up some of the car lane and cars had to use some of the bike lane. He was very pleasant.
    Another time, the bike lane was obstructed, and the crew made a temporary bike lane out of cones and were also very pleasant.
    The recent repaving of Multnomah detoured traffic from 7th to MLK/Grand. Bleh, I used the sidewalk on 7th.

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  • indy May 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Before the whines start, I'd like to give a thumbs up to the bike lanes on Naito where the Saturday market is. They have consistently provided dedicated space for pedestrians and bikers throughout this year+ buildout.

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  • Allan May 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    i see this regularly in hillsboro. additionally, when a big road (like cornell or evergreen) gets choked from 2 lanes to 1, i have had to play dodge the cones to avoid merging into traffic. are there folks to call about this? i'll probably continue sucking it up like i do now

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  • sue May 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I should clarify that after the initial learning-curve with the construction crews for the above mentioned projects, that the crews themselves are very pleasant. In fact, the two flagers are very nice, always 'good morning' and 'good afternoon', let the line of cyclists go before the cars (rather than all together through a narrowed area), etc.

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  • Toby May 15, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I'd say the "Workers Ahead" or "Right Lane Closed" signs are uncool, but not as callous as the construction fence, mainly because they're temporary. And they'd hurt less if you brushed one. The use of bike lanes as a loading zone is obnoxious and common, but I'd thought that it was unfortunately considered legal (ORS 811.440, the clause about being in the bike lane when "required by official duty"; you know, like vital duty of delivering Doritos to Safeway).

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  • Matt Picio May 15, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    When I find one of those orange signs in the bike lane, I typically stop and move it over.

    The bike lane *is* a traffic lane - it's not legal to block it without following state and federal lane closure guidelines.

    Of course, just because the laws exist doesn't mean they're enforced.

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  • Tim K May 15, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    We are experiencing this in Seattle, too. I feel like the timing especially stings during bike to work month/week/whatever.

    And I also understand worry about whining, but if we don't speak up, who will? The truth is, the road crews wouldn't get away with doing most of these things to cars.

    A couple days ago, Seattle City Light closed a section of the Burke-Gilman trail. No warning, just boom: Roadblock. Carry your bike up the stairs. That's not so easy when you are on a Dutch Bike (my wife) or loaded Xtracycle (me). And what about folks with trailers?

    Meanwhile a ways back the trail crossed the very access road that the stairs emptied out on. A more thoughtful detour, would have occurred there. I asked the crew chief to move the roadblock and his first response was NO. I kept persisting until he relented and was able to grasp the importance of placing the detour in a wheels-accessible location.

    I was glad I stopped and asked for the change. It turned my frustration into a short term win (and hopefully he'll think about better detours next time.)

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  • Rixtir May 15, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    One of the few times I've had a dispute with a driver was caused by a construction site taking up the bike lane, leaving me the to either ride where the right streetcar track is, or to ride between the tracks. I rode between the tracks, and then got into an argument with a driver who felt I was being rude for taking up a lane of traffic. But where was I supposed to ride, with the bike lane used as a construction zone, and a streetcar track just beyond the construction fence?

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  • Becky May 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    On 5/13 there was a dumpster in the bike lane on the north side of the NE Alberta/Williams intersection, *right* after the intersection. Yikes!

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  • Joe May 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    On my morning commute nearly EVERY day there is the Lewis and Clark bus parked in front of Nordstrom on SW Broadway. It is there to pick up passengers, but it is there for more than just a minute or two. It really frustrates me, but not enough to take action yet and call Lewis and Clark about this. Perhaps someday I will get peeved enough.

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  • Faux Porteur May 15, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I suggested it before, but this brings up the idea again.

    For those of us with iPhones (or other "smart"phones with GPS and cameras) it would be a very simple program to snap a picture, GPS tag it, and submit it to the City. The city people could map/prioritize things and then send feedback to the submitters. Anybody want to write the software and sell it to the city?

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  • Michelle (BTA) May 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    In my experience, Portland's Bureau of Maintenance and the Multnomah County Bridges crews have really refined their practices for detours and sign placement on bike routes.

    Some other agencies and private contractors also do a good job some of the time (like here), but inconsistently. And sometimes they do a terrible job. But if you can find the person managing the project and make a suggestion, in my experience they are quite happy to improve it! It's not for lack of consideration, but simply lack of awareness and knowledge that they didn't address it from the start.

    This reminds me of a project the BTA has been wanting to implement for a few months - gathering together public agencies to create guidelines for bike-friendly construction practices and detours (this is a topic that will also be covered in the <a href="http://bikeportland.org/2009/05/06/southeast-residents-take-bike-plan-for-a-test-ride/"new Bike Master Plan). Thanks for the reminder Jonathan - I think I'll start that today!

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  • Andrew May 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Road Construction signs are currently located in the South bound bike lane on SE 26th just north of Clinton, they've been there all week. This is part of my regular commute route. I've had to come to a full stop in front of one of these signs (there are two about half a block apart) because traffic was too heavy to take the lane. It is a bit irritating and I don't think Jonaton's whining. But it hasn't bothered me enough to pick up a phone yet.

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  • RyNO Dan May 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I bet 99% of the construction zones that you ride past don't block the bike lane.
    But yea, definitely shoot for 100% perfection.

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  • commuter May 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I ran into a similar problem riding home yesterday evening on SE 42nd/Gladstone. I thought about where else they could put it besides the sidewalk which wouldn't give the right kind of warning to drivers. I couldn't think of a better place unless they redesigned those signs with a smaller footprint or have something that attaches to the sidewalk and hangs over the bikelane (with enough clearance for cyclists to go by).

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  • JDL May 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for calling this problem out, Jonathan. I commute on Walker Road across Beaverton; I often encounter construction signs in the bike lane. Moving into the auto lane to avoid the signs is dangerous because cars go so fast on Walker: the speed limit there is 45MPH.

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  • kellie May 15, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    THANK YOU!!! I'm able to commute to work a couple of times a week, and I encounter this quite often out in Beaverton.

    It's frustrating, but I honestly wasn't sure if the construction signs in the bike lane were legal or not. At the same time, I must say that I've been fortunate in several work zones to be the first to lead the pack of cars. The flagger has directed me to go first while still holding the stop sign for a couple of seconds. I can hear him/her on their radio that a cyclist is coming through.

    I'd love to be able to politely approach the work crew or City/ ODOT crew to let them know that it's not safe for me when they block the lane.

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  • El Biciclero May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    "Another time, the bike lane was obstructed, and the crew made a temporary bike lane out of cones and were also very pleasant." --aljee

    This is all I would ask from construction/utility crews. If you're going to block the bike lane, divert it with two rows of cones. Just do the same thing to the bike lane that you would if the only auto lane were completely blocked.

    I'm also out Beaverton way, and there is construction or utility work going on at the north end of Murray, and along Cornell a mile or two west of Sunset HS. Both of those projects have completely blocked the bike lane at times with no recourse but to merge with 30-40mph car traffic.

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  • chriswnw May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    You can't really use a bike lane as a guide for where you should position yourself on the road. The vast majority of them around here are pretty useless and merely lead you into the door zone of parked cars.

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  • Sean Carter May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    hello from calgary!

    it is interesting to see that you have the very same issues as us here in calgary. our city seems to use the cheapest paint possible as it wears off through the winter and (as of today) most of the lanes/lines/sharrows have not yet been repainted. also, many bike lanes are still full of gravel from the winter - making for very scary road conditions sometimes.

    one thing that i find really handy in our city is that citizens can call "311" and leave a report with the city. they document everything and - to the City of Calgary's credit - seem to react fairly quickly at getting problems solved.

    we also have a bicycle commuter organization here - http://www.bikecalgary.org - with almost 1000 registered users so far. we are going to start a new, weekly forum topic called "Road and Pathway Conditions for the Week of..." where site users can put info about sections of road/path that are in need of attention. The plan is then to send that info to the City's Transportation Solutions department every week to let them see exactly what area cyclists are concerned about. We hope this will help educate the city about where concerns are and what needs to be done.

    Keep up the great work!

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  • ScottG May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I'll add to this that when bike lanes are especially narrow to begin with, that parked cars encroaching in any way on the bike lane frequently make me choose between jumping into traffic or risking getting doored.

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  • Anonymous May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Waste Management loves to leave emptied curbside trash cans in the middle of the bike lanes here in Beaverton.

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  • One Less :( May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I'm really glad you decided to talk about this. Last Saturday I decided to ride out to Hagg Lake via Hwy 8. As I got close to Forest Grove, they were doing some maintenance work in the median, had taken the road down from 2 lanes in each direction to 1 in each direction, and had placed all of their signs in the bike lanes. I politely asked one of the workers who the foreman on the job was. A guy named Frank came over and I asked him if he knew whether or not he was required to put his road work signs in the bike lanes. He said it was the easiest place to put them. I explained that it made riding a bike more difficult and also a possible hazard with car traffic merging and bikes basically losing their lane to ride in. I told him that I was unsure of a law against this practice, but it would be nice to place the signs on the grass between the curb and sidewalk instead of in the bike lane. He agreed that it could be dangerous, but I was unsure whether or not he would do anything about it. I continued my ride out to Hagg and then when I was on my way back I noticed he had moved the signs on the side of the road where we had talked, but not on the other side, where I was riding at that point. I think it was great that he moved them, but there are a LOT of options when placing road signs.

    I think that state needs to address this issue, if it has not been addressed yet. Also the BTA should get on this!

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  • kevin May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    It isn't whining at all. Think if they pulled those shenannigans in auto lanes without permits and a line of cones to indicate merging traffic.

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  • Sean Carter May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    hello from calgary!

    it is interesting to see that you have the very same issues as us here in calgary. our city seems to use the cheapest paint possible as it wears off through the winter and (as of today) most of the lanes/lines/sharrows have not yet been repainted. also, many bike lanes are still full of gravel from the winter - making for very scary road conditions sometimes.

    one thing that i find really handy in our city is that citizens can call "311" and leave a report with the city. they document everything and - to the City of Calgary's credit - seem to react fairly quickly at getting problems solved.

    we also have a bicycle commuter organization here - http://www.bikecalgary.org - with almost 1000 registered users so far. we are going to start a new, weekly forum topic called "Road and Pathway Conditions for the Week of..." where site users can put info about sections of road/path that are in need of attention. The plan is then to send that info to the City's Transportation Solutions department every week to let them see exactly what area cyclists are concerned about. We hope this will help educate the city about where concerns are and what needs to be done.

    Keep up the great work!

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  • El Biciclero May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    "Another time, the bike lane was obstructed, and the crew made a temporary bike lane out of cones and were also very pleasant." --aljee

    This is all I would ask from construction/utility crews. If you're going to block the bike lane, divert it with two rows of cones. Just do the same thing to the bike lane that you would if the only auto lane were completely blocked.

    I'm also out Beaverton way, and there is construction or utility work going on at the north end of Murray, and along Cornell a mile or two west of Sunset HS. Both of those projects have completely blocked the bike lane at times with no recourse but to merge with 30-40mph car traffic.

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  • El Biciclero May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    "Another time, the bike lane was obstructed, and the crew made a temporary bike lane out of cones and were also very pleasant." --aljee

    This is all I would ask from construction/utility crews. If you're going to block the bike lane, divert it with two rows of cones. Just do the same thing to the bike lane that you would if the only auto lane were completely blocked.

    I'm also out Beaverton way, and there is construction or utility work going on at the north end of Murray, and along Cornell a mile or two west of Sunset HS. Both of those projects have completely blocked the bike lane at times with no recourse but to merge with 30-40mph car traffic.

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  • redhippie May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    For me, armored cars.

    These truck often sit in the bike lane, as to allow for a quick get a way. My particular peve is on Greely outside of the Adidas head quarters. At lease once a week, there they are and I have to divert out into traffic to get around.

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  • Schrauf May 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm
  • Blah Blah Blah May 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    To me this is a none issue. We have it pretty darn good in this town as far as the bikey kinda thing goes.

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  • Jeff May 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Mostly, it's whining, actually, but I appreciate your intellectual honesty.

    That said, there will always be improvements that can be made but we also have to be thanksful for all we have in terms of facilities and realize that getting things changed at the local, county and state levels takes time and progress has been and is being made.

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  • Rixtir May 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Joe, #12:

    Lewis & Clark has a Transportation Committee that, among other things, makes decisions about the shuttle. The good news is that the shuttle won't be running again until late August, so if you want to do something proactive, now might be the time to bring your issue to the Transportation Committee.

    They're not going to stop running the shuttle, and they have about a 5 minute wait for drop-offs/pick-ups, but one year, they contracted with either the City or Nordstrom's (not sure which) to have quasi-exclusive use of the parking zone (the only other allowed use was for Nordstrom's valet service). The problem was the zone was posted "no parking," but people being people, they parked there anyway, and the buses often had trouble getting into what was supposed to be their exclusive loading/unloading zone. I don't know if that's the reason Lewis & Clark now loads and unloads in the right lane, or if it was a matter of cost, or both, but they did try not blocking the lane one year, and may at least be open to not blocking it next year.

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  • Kris May 15, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I'm with a.O (#1) and others that these type of issues are not petty at all and should be much higher on the list of bike advocacy priorities. They are not merely about convenience, but all about cyclists' basic right for decent and safe access to the road (or bike lane) and our right to not being treated as second-class citizens.

    Compared to the Netherlands and many other European countries, this is an area where the U.S. (including the Portland metro area) is still a bit behind. The goodwill and recognition that bicycles are nowadays enjoying as an equal - even favorable - mode of transportation is still very much just that: goodwill, not rights. It's wonderful to have so many bike-minded folks among our elected officials and within the ranks of PBOT ranks and other agencies, but in an ideal world we wouldn't need them, because our transportation/traffic laws and policies would be based on the idea of "transportation equality" and basic rights for all road users. Construction crews wouldn't get away with blocking a bike lane without providing a safe alternative solution; our traffic engineers wouldn't get away with sub-par or totally absent bike/ped facilities, inherently dangerous intersections, or traffic signals that fail to detect bicycles (in the suburbs, this is still a major problem at many busy arterials); my neighbors down the street wouldn't get away with dumping a truckload of barkdust on the street without any signs to make the heap visible for night-time cyclists; etc... All little things that might seem petty, but these are the true indicators - more so than the total # miles of bike lanes or cyclepaths - of how much our communities are really are bike-friendly and respect all modes of transportation.

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  • Vance Longwell May 15, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Of course if the bike-lane wasn't there to begin with, there'd be nothing in it, right?

    Oh that's a little rude, sorry. Couldn't resist. Oh, and you do mean, "Taking the lane", when it's legal right? Not just when you want to spook some motorists...er...um... I meant make yourself feel safer?

    Ya, what's up with all the crap in the bike-lanes. Imagine me, the guy who hates these things. The guy diligently using them anyway. Only out of a sense of law and order mind you. Argh. When I encounter trouble in them it's doubly maddening 'cause I didn't even want to be there in the first place.

    If you folks are going to shove these things down every body's throat, could you leave a little in the political-gas-tank to protect our access to them, at least? You know, especially since you'all feel your judgement is so much better than mine, that is.

    Or we could quickly peel them up before anybody notices how much they just don't work.

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  • Vance Longwell May 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Chris #36

    http://www.dutchamsterdam.nl/47-move-to-amsterdam

    Let me know if you need help packing, or with a bike-move, neighbor!

    Bon Voyage!

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  • mjr May 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I'll echo #19 and #20, I'm also out in Beaverton, I have the same issues. The City of Beaverton actually has road construction sign rules, but most major streets (such as Murray or, I believe, Walker) are considered by the city to be owned by WA County. I've had much better response from Beaverton than WA County to emailed complaints about signs blocking the bike lane, but I have received responses from both. In at least one case they moved the signs.

    Use the contacts here:
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/localcontacts.shtml

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  • Joe May 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    perfect timing on this story :)

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  • Martha R May 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I don't think it's whining at all. Unless the construction folks are aware of bikes, they'll put their signs in the easiest place, which is often the bike lane. I, too have asked maintenance workers to re-locate their signs, and they're generally quite willing to do so. In other words, it's usually no problem to locate construction signs and fences in a way that doesn't hinder bike travel, but the people installing those signs and fences have to be aware of the issue.

    Michelle and the BTA crowd, yes, do compile guidelines for bike-friendly construction/detour guidelines. Projects all come with construction specifications, so it's no big deal to add another one to the list. If you get them on the jurisdictions' lists of standard specifications, even better.

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  • fool May 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    whining can be productive--squeaky wheel gets the early worm, innit?

    current peeve (ok, only current as of a week ago since i have been routing around since then, but it was there for at least 2 weeks before that) is the hotel remodel at weidler and williams--totally built over the little diverter lane to get bikes 15 feet up williams so they could make a legal left onto williams to wait for the light.

    this is a private contractor, but i have never seen anyone around (outside or in) to bring it up with. that lane was definitely used by hundreds of cyclists each day, though i almost never saw a car in the car-part (i rarely ride down there during blazers games or the like).

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  • Rixtir May 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I just wish Conan would bring back the Amsterdam Kids. :)

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  • Matt Picio May 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    RyNO Dan (#17) - In Portland, I'd agree with you 100% Clackamas County has had a pretty poor track record in this regard though (maybe not in the last year - I don't live in Clackamas anymore), at least on the contractor side - the county itself "gets it".

    Now that I commute through Beaverton and Hillsboro, I'm noticing that the problem exists out here as well. Really makes me appreciate Portland proper.

    Blah Blah Blah (#33) - it's a non-issue in many places in the city, but there's more to this place than just Portland. Heck, there's huge differences just between "inside 82nd Ave" and "outside 82nd Ave" as far as services, care taken by contractors, etc.

    Vance (#37) - yes, the "mandatory" provision of ORS 814.420 needs to go away. Confident cyclists should only *have* to be in the bike lane if necessary to prevent impeding traffic, and then only if it is safe to do so.

    In my mind, if there is more than 1 motor vehicle lane on the road, then a cyclist taking the lane cannot impede traffic. I'm sure someone will disagree.

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  • Vance Longwell May 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    #9

    #9

    Okay, game-face. In all seriousness, and with all due respect, man moving safety and signaling equipment around like that is dangerous, and insanely illegal.

    You've painted a completely innocuous picture please don't get me wrong. Can you imagine though? Ya, I'm guessing that my advising you to take a future very hands-off approach is well within the realm of, "Not being a jerk.", so I feel okay pointing it out.

    Wow, do something like that and then an accident happens?! Oi. The nads on some of you, "Can't we all get along", folks. The sheer, unadulterated bravado is awe inspiring. I'm really hoping that the no-big-deal nature of your actual actions is ALL that motivated you to do that.

    Wish I could write a whistling noise.

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  • Q`ztal May 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Found this some time in the past: Chapter 2 – Temporary
    Traffic Control Devices
    . Of particular interest is the part on page 9 (p. 2-7 of document) "ODOT requires the inclusion of “Bicycle” warning symbol signs in the TCP for all projects
    where a significant number of bicycles can be expected ..." basically requiring an extra sign warning of Bicycles on roadway if "construction operations" block the bike lane.
    Also: a document just labeled Unique 00225 - Bicycles that expounds upon the above

    requirement.
    I assume this includes blocking the bicycle lane with their temporary sign.
    This is only really useful with enforcement. There must be some Metro devision or ODOT department that polices and/or safety inspects construction projects that impede the public right

    of way (roads). I, further, hope that there is an adgency phone line I can call to narc on ... I mean report on for the good of public safety. Hopefully through the repeated application of fines

    apathetic sign placement will come to an end.
    If we can get enough fines written maybe we can fund a school or two.

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  • a.O May 15, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    #43: "In my mind, if there is more than 1 motor vehicle lane on the road, then a cyclist taking the lane cannot impede traffic."

    This is what I'm going to advocate for as a revision to the impeding rule generally and the bike lane rule specifically. If there are two or more travel lanes in the same direction, a bicyclist cannot impede traffic by taking any one of the lanes.

    Under such a rule, bike lanes would be irrelevant and thus no longer placed on any such road.

    Then we need a prohibition on constructing a bike lane immediately adjacent to motor vehicle parking zones.

    Finally, adoption of the California rule providing that bike lanes must merge into the adjacent travel lane at least 120 feet before an intersection where a right turn is permitted.

    Isn't this stuff just so much more important to safe and efficient bicycling than the Idaho stop? I'm sure someone will disagree ;)

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  • specialK May 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Experienced the same on SE 26th in the last week. Also, some other roads in the city, but can't recall which ones.

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  • Rich May 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I'm in the Sacramento area. The worst for me is garbage and greenwaste toaters that are dark grey. Especially when I'm commuting pre-dawn, and they've been left out from the night before. I have a good light, but it's still pretty freaky to suddenly have a big grey mass directly in your way.

    Another one was the "Your speed is" radar sign that the police put up. I called and left a message, and the cop who called back (and left a message) agreed that it was 'partially' blocking the bike lane. This was in a 40mph zone, and it was blocking all but about 6". At least he moved it.

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  • Vance Longwell May 15, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Amen Matt #43. Thanks for the support. Motorists/majority support for bike-lanes usually comes from people thinking, "Heck ya I'll pay for some bike-lanes, if that will get them out of my way!". I'd look for the law to be repealed altogether, and the lanes come up, before I'd look for an exemption. Sigh. Sure the Nanny-State wants to protect you, but the majority just want us out of the way.

    Beware the cage with golden bars.
    Beads and trinkets folks.
    Counter intuitive logic at its best.
    Everything you ask for can be used against you.

    Of course bike-lanes rock! Not enough to let them be the only place to ride. I've said it a thousand times, and just look at the Hawthorne. The Nanny-State is playing right into the hands of the opposition, and if we're not careful they'll have us all on the sidewalk duke-ing it out with the peds. On accident, and with the best of intentions goes without saying, of course.

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  • mmann May 15, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    "Respect" is the perfect word for this issue. I get the Orange-sign-in-the-bikelane on a regular basis on my commute from east Portland to Gresham and back. It feels like the rights of cyclists to the road are an afterthought (or less) to the folks putting up the signs. To be fair, construction inconveniences everyone and road construction is usually a thankless, damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't kind of thing, but still....

    Other signs of disrespect: The body shop near 98th & Burnside where the tow truck drivers regularly use the bike lane for parking.

    And the long-term closure of the Oregon City bridge with NO alternative for bikes, while cars still have the I-205 bridge. This one really bugs me.

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  • nothstine May 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Anonymous[#25] wrote:

    Waste Management loves to leave emptied curbside trash cans in the middle of the bike lanes here in Beaverton.

    Not just WM with the empties; a lot of residents leave the full containers in the bike lane [sometimes overnight] for morning pickup.

    I've mentioned this to Beaverton police officers twice, both times within sight of the offending containers. They suggested I take it up with the Mayor's office, which didn't sound like much help.

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  • Andres May 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I commute from downtown to Sherwood, and I can't count the number of times I've dealt with this - or trash cans, delivery trucks, etc.
    Barbur gets bad, as does Multnomah & Hall. most of the time though, these obstructions last for only a few days; so by the time I feel fed up with it enough to complain, they remove them.

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  • Patrick Valdez May 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    This issue is especially bad out in Washington county. In addition to the big road construction signs in the bike lanes I often find myself cutting into traffic when trucks and other vehicles park in the bike lane to make deliveries or whatever.

    The big danger for me has been the many times I have signaled to vehicles behind me that I am about to take the lane and they ignore me.

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  • Coco May 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    You can also call the City of Portland's maintenance hotline for things like gravel or glass in the bike lane etc.

    I used it this afternoon to report that the new HAWK signal at E Burnside & 41st wasn't working at all. They promised to send an engineer out right away to look at it.

    The number's 503-823-1700

    Put it in your phone, and don't shy away from using it!

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  • Todd Boulanger May 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    This topic 'multimodal work zone safety' is the weakest point of the MUTCD and most local jurisdication permiting/ inspecting work zone plans. The 1996 CROW manual is about the best example of how to manage this problem - but the US has nothing of equal quality yet.

    (Though I hear a rumor that our local bike planning super heros are working on this for national MUTCD adoption.)

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  • Paul Tay May 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Another great reason/excuse to TAKE the DAMN lane and quit gutter trollin', people.

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  • Jake May 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    What about the construction on the corner of NE Broadway and Williams? It has completely blocked out the right-hand bike lane at that spot where most people move over to turn left on Williams... drives me crazy!

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  • BURR May 15, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    When I find the MultCo bridge crews putting their construction signs in the bike lane on the Hawthorne viaduct, which they used to do with alarming frequency, I stop and move the signs out of the bike lane and into the adjacent travel motor vehicle lane.

    Also, there's been one of those 'permanent' construction blockages of the bike lane on SE Stark between SE Water Ave and SE 2nd, just east of the RR tracks, for going on two years now; and the construction activity there has permanently damaged the pavement in the bike lane and construction debris regularly litters the bike lane here, too.

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  • Jay R. May 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I suggest you check your phone's keypad again.

    CYCL is 2925, not 2923

    Re: the post

    I've seen this many many times near my home, as I live within blocks of the new MAX Green Line. Construction signs block the bike lane with frequency.

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  • BURR May 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Actually, construction sites are required to file site plans and a traffic control plan with the city, and someone at BDS and/or PDOT reviews and approves all of these plans.

    In the process of reviewing these traffic control plans, BDS and/or PDOT should be making sure that the final approved site and traffic control plans (1) do not cause the bike lane to be blocked with temporary signs, fences or other obstructions, and (2) provide a temporary bike lane demarcated with cones and signs, if the existing bike lane must be rendered temporarily unavailable.

    I'd say PDOT has a slightly better record of responding to cyclists' needs in this regard than BDS does, but there is no guarantee that City plan reviewers have bicyclists' best interests in mind when approving these plans.

    This isn't rocket science folks.

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  • Donna May 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    2-5 times a month I have to work in Washington County and ride from the Merlo Rd. MAX station along NW 158th to NW Cornell & Science Park Dr. There's a bike lane pretty much the whole way but any time they are doing road work they use the bike lane for their construction signage. They seem to have a special affinity for doing this on an uphill. I have not found the motorists to be particularly patient about me having to take the lane at those points. The responses have ranged from 6 inch passes to being called names I don't care to repeat to having open drinks thrown at me from vehicle windows. It's exhausting.

    And my boss wonders why I moan and groan so much when she makes me work out there...

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  • John Kangas May 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for the reminder Jonathan, I've been meaning to take a camera on my next commute for something like this: Hazel Dell Avenue, southbound just south of 99th St, sections of the bike lane and sidewalk were excavated about a month ago. The project's been abandoned ever since.
    It's kind of a weird thing Clark County does; they'll dig a hole in the street, abandon it for two months or so, then *bang* twenty workers pop up, work like crazy, and it's all over in a few hours.

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  • twistyaction May 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    When there is a big event at Reed College or the Rhododendron Garden SE 28th gets it's bike lanes used for parking. It was especially bad last weekend. Did anyone else notice this? I placed a call to parking enforcement, but it was a Sunday and there was no response before the event was over.

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  • wsbob May 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    "In my mind, if there is more than 1 motor vehicle lane on the road, then a cyclist taking the lane cannot impede traffic. I'm sure someone will disagree." matt picio #43

    I won't exactly disagree, but will just add that in taking a lane on a road where there is more than one lane, they may very likely reduce vehicle flow rate on the road, and that's an important consideration to keep in mind. Some people would say that constitutes impeding traffic.

    I think if there were enough of a mandate pressed upon city leaders by the public to do so, road engineers could definitely provide road designs that achieve a better job of accommodating safe traffic flow rates of both motorized and non-motorized vehicle traffic.

    At any rate, I feel that people on bikes should be able to take the main lane as circumstances reasonably call for. Bike infrastructure slowly gets better in the area, but most of it still seems minimal at best; lanes are minimum width, a lane will appear and disappear without signage, to name just a couple ongoing problems.

    With conditions like these, main lane road users should assume as a matter of course, that people on bikes will reasonably be having to at least jump in an out of the bike lanes if their cruising speed is not enough to justify there presence amidst main lane traffic. As long as they signal their intention before doing so, people on bikes shouldn't be hassled for taking the lane.

    I think its great when work crews have the smarts to put cones out to divert the bike lane when they need it to do their work. The fact that this isn't always done may be more due to poor job planning on the part of management rather than sloppiness on the part of guys actually working on the street.

    Out here in Beaverton, I think I've noticed, as anonymous #25 mentioned, Waste Management residential customer refuse containers setting out in the bike lane, but I can't say whether it was the resident or the company that put there.

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  • John Lascurettes May 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I'm particularly miffed 4 out of 5 days coming southbound on Broadway every morning downtown. There is almost always a taxi in the taxi stand at SW Broadway and Oak (NW corner), parked 2 feed from the curb and taking up a good chunk of the bike lane. Often, there will be another cabbie standing in the bike lane talking to the cabbie in the taxi stand. No amount of bell ringing gets him to move over for the wave of bicycles coming at him.

    One morning a cabbie was parked so far over, there was about a foot of bike lane left. I said to him (politely, I swear!) through his open window, "could you try to not crowd the bike lane please?" His response was a "F-you" kind of look as he shook his head no.

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  • peejay May 15, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    My personal fave was the motorcycle cop who performed a radar sting while parked in the bike lane on Eastbound Hawthorne Bridge just before the bus stop. Not only bad for bikes, but awkward for the buses. I told him he's blocking the lane, and he came after me, stopped me, and yelled at me. I told him I'm not talking to him because he was behaving irrationally, and rode off.

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  • Nikos May 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    This is my pet peeve. I always stop and talk to the crew about the bike lane closure. "You are actually closing a lane of traffic.... shouldn't there be a warning for cyclists that the lane is closed?"
    AAAAARRRGHHHH!

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  • Coast Rider May 15, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Recently I was riding on the Northern part of Oregon Coast on Hwy 101--the shoulder was so filled in with gravel that in spots there was no rideable shoulder--would this be an Oregon SDOT issue? It's really not safe anymore with the speed of traffic.

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  • jane May 16, 2009 at 3:29 am

    rixtir #35 the l&c committee's decisions are merely recommendations as it is only an advisory committee to the higher-ups who are the real decision-makers

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  • Andrew May 16, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I was outside Lloyd Center yesterday (going to my car from BPA) and saw

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  • Shawna May 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Re: The blocked access at 26th and Clinton — that was actually a street closure with a detour for cars. I've been using the sidewalk to pass that section ... one instance where bikes clearly have the benefit of being small and flexible in the face of adversity.

    And Vance, I'd say you're overreacting to Matt's admission that he sometimes moves signs that are parked in the bike lane. It's obvious most road crews don't use any kind of scientific placement for those. They're often scattered willy-nilly in the bike lane on 28th going around the golf course by Reed, and often when no crews remain to complain to. And it's not whining to say it's incredibly dangerous to have to try to take the lane when that section of road is nothing but curves, and very few cars seem to obey the 25 mph speed limit there.

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  • robert May 16, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Some p[ublic awarenes of this issue would be helpful for drivers and riders.

    The most common reason for a cyclist leaving the bike lane is obstacles and debris in the lane. The most common debris is glass, and for me the most common obstacle is roadwork signage.

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  • Curt Dewees May 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I think Martha (#41) has the right approach. Most of these signage issues happen on city or county roads, and it's because the construction workers (either government employees or employees working for a govt. contractor) have specific written instructions to put up warning signs "on the edge of the roadway" but they DON'T have any specific instuctions to not block the bike lanes. So the employees just do what they're told, as expediently as they can.

    The key is to get this important language (Do NOT block bike lanes--EVER!) written into the work rules, both the rules followed by the city and county employees, and also in the contract language that is signed by government contractors doing road repair and maintenance. We need to reach out to those in charge of writing the work rules and those who dole out the government road-repair contracts and convince them of this urgent and important safety priority.

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  • alex May 16, 2009 at 10:57 am

    i ride the burnside bridge both ways almost every day. often the orange construction signs block the bike lane and force people into fast traffic (think buses).

    while i have explained to the construction crews the danger most just blow me off. i have taken to moving the signs far enough out for bike to safely pass (often this means it juts into a main traffic lane). i have received many thank you from cyclist behind me and glares from traffic being forced to accommodate the sign placement.

    the neat thing is i have noticed that recently construction signs have been placed to allow enough room for bikes. i came across a crew one morning and stopped to thank them...

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  • Mike May 17, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I think that it's just a nice excuse to take the lane and make cars pile up behind me while I take my sweet time.

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  • Curt Dewees May 17, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Passive-aggressive behavior on the roadways! Wow, Mike, you're like the Ghandi of the 21st Century! Please let us know how that strategy works out for you. :-)

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  • Curt Dewees May 17, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Sorry, Mike. Seriously, tho: If your goal is to vent your anger and make a couple dozen car drivers as pissed off and frustrated as you are, you will probably succeed. But if your goal is to make a long-term, positive impact on public policy regarding bike lanes ... well, I'm not so sure about your approach. Remember to smile. Bike riding is about having fun! :-)

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  • hickeymad May 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    A huge peeve of mine as well. When Cirque du Soleil is in town the traffic folks consistently put the signs in the bike lane on SW Moody; even after being asked nicely and repeatedly not to. I wish the City would so something about this as during the pre-circus hour this is a hairy ride, and coincides with the commute home for many a cyclist.

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  • ME 2 May 17, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Jonathan thanks for documenting this. The worst form of "bike lane disrespect" I suffered was a few years ago at the hands of the car wash employees on NE MLK and Weidler.

    I was finally able to get back on my bike a few days after a snow storm. I was so enraged when I saw that on my commute home the employees shoveled a foot or so off of their lot into the lane making it unrideable.

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  • Tricia May 17, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I sympathize with the Beaverton crowd- its nearly as bad out here in Tualatin. I'm constantly dismayed by construction blockage and then even more dismayed when the project is done and the new bike infrastructure is worse than when the project began. (Ride Nyberg Rd.- the main Tualatin access road- east bound over i-5 for a super duper example.)

    I long to live back in Montavilla...

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  • John Russell May 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I thought I was one of the few people who actually took the effort to complain about most of these incidents. The City of Vancouver even has a number just for 'Construction barriers' listed on the Bicycle Resource Card.

    It's 360.487.7750.

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  • El Biciclero May 18, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I don't think blocking the bike lane can be avoided in a lot of situations...well, it could, but the alternatives are usually a) block the sidewalk (bad for peds, farther away from driver sight lines) or b) put signs to the left of the bike lane in the auto travel lane (awkward at best, potentially dangerous). I still say if you must block the bike lane with equipment or signs, just cone off a diversion. Also, as someone mentioned earlier, some advance warning that the bike lane is blocked ahead would be nice so I could start looking for a gap in traffic before the last minute.

    The principle is simple: treat the bike lane like you would any other travel lane. What would you do if you were going to completely block a lane of [motor] travel? Well, do the same thing if you are going to block the only lane of [non-motor] travel. The problem is most people don't view bikes as legitimate transportation, and just don't view cyclists, period. Sort of like before all the ADA rules were passed--nobody really considered the "crippled" when designing buildings or laying out spaces.

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  • christopher lee May 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    had that happen on highway 30. it pinned me between the sign and a fast movie semi with trailer. very, very scary.

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  • A thought May 21, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Group commiseration may be a necessary stage of grief. But if you're interested in reconciliation consider directing your concerns to the Transportation Bureau. Try the director's office.

    Direct your ire strategically.

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