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PBOT to stripe buffered bike lanes on Holgate this weekend (Updated)

Posted by on August 20th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

(*Note: After PBOT said they had changed the design of the buffered bike lane since I last reported on it, I updated the cross section drawing below).

Holgate will get a new traffic lane
just for bicycles this weekend.

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation will re-configure SE Holgate Road this weekend and install a new type of lane specifically for bicycle traffic.

As we reported back in July, the project will create new “buffered” or “enhanced” lanes for bike traffic between SE 122nd Ave and the new I-205 MAX station near SE 92nd Ave.

Here’s more about the project from a PBOT press release:

“In order to install these bike lanes, this section of Holgate will be converted to three motor vehicle lanes from its current configuration of five lanes. One motor vehicle travel lane in each direction will be replaced by a 7-foot wide bicycle lane with an additional painted 3-foot buffer on the traffic side. Analysis indicates that this design will provide adequate traffic capacity.

Buffered lanes help to reduce the risk posed by car doors on the parking lane side, and provide additional space between cyclists and motorists.”

Here is a drawing of the new lane configurations:

Proposed plans for SE Holgate. (Note: Final design might differ slightly from this drawing.)

Buffered bike lanes are also coming to downtown Portland on SW Stark and Oak in September.

PBOT has published a set of F.A.Q’s and an overview of buffered bike lanes on their website.

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  • Matt Picio August 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Yay! I can’t wait to try it out! Finally, a project in outer SE!

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  • ScottG August 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Do I read correctly that this buffered bike lane is going to be 30 blocks long? If so, that is outstanding.

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  • Anonymous August 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Buffer is on the wrong side.

    Should be next to the cars.

    That’s the three feet of bike lane I won’t use because

    a. That’s where you get doored.
    b. That’s where people getting in and out of cars walk.
    c. That’s the part of the road parked cars pull into to check their blind spot.

    Putting the buffer next to the cars leaves the full 6 ft bike lane for use.

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  • PdxMark August 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Are any car doors 6 feet wide? I don’t think so. Ride the outer margin of the bike lane, and you’re safe from being doored and have 3 feet of buffer from moving cars. I don’t think the buffer in on the wrong side.

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  • Jeff Smith August 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    anonymous (#3)- we discussed where to put the buffer at considerable length. Because parking on this part of Holgate is so light and turnover is also low (it’s a predominantly lower density residential area) and traffic speeds/volumes are quite high, it seemed like the buffer had considerably more value on the left (travel lane) side.

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  • Dan August 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Sweet. I’ll be curious to hear how motor vehicle congestion is affected, if at all.

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  • are August 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    comment 5, when you say “we discussed,” are you talking about a public hearing within the meaning of 814.420(2), or some kind of internal decisionmaking process

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  • Machu Picchu August 20, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    are (#5),
    I sincerely hope that “we” are not going to expect every nuance of pavement marking engineering to be subject to public approval. Here we have municipal employees brainstorming to make the right decision after committing a lot of resources to cyclists. They can move the chevrons later if they don’t work on that side. Let’s see how she rolls, eh?

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  • Carl August 20, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Right on, Machu.
    NYC is moving faster than Portland ever has right now because they’ve got Janette Sadik-Khan with political backing at the TOP. She’s got a strong vision and she isn’t scared to try stuff out and put it on the street overnight, answering questions later. One look at our bike boulevard system network in Portland and the rate at which improvements and expansions have been made to them (Clinton?) clearly shows that Portland would do well to rely a little less on tiptoeing around community consensus and just get some stuff DONE.

    That said, the Holgate project DID have public meetings at which proposals were discussed. Luckily, most folks in attendance were supportive.

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  • JR August 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm


    I have to agree with your sentiment.. Relying heavily on public input is time consuming and expensive. I suspect that this project employed a nice balance between public discourse and professional opinion, but i’ve seen far too many transportation projects squashed as a resultof illegitimate public opinion based on cheap sound bites..

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  • Giant Hogweed August 20, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    to be clear, I am not insisting on (or even suggesting, really) formal public hearings on each and every striping project. however, 814.420 says unless there is a hearing, I am not required to stay inside the striped lane. my guess is that essentially zero public hearings have been held on any of these facilities, which is fine by me. but after the Potter decision, we need a clear record on this point. of course, the simpler path (pardon the pun) would be to repeal the mandatory sidepath statute altogether.

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  • are August 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    to be clear, I am not insisting on (or even suggesting, really) formal public hearings on each and every striping project. however, 814.420 says unless there is a hearing, I am not required to stay inside the striped lane. my guess is that essentially zero public hearings have been held on any of these facilities, which is fine by me. but after the Potter decision, we need a clear record on this point. of course, the simpler path (pardon the pun) would be to repeal the mandatory sidepath statute altogether.

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  • are August 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    comment 12 posted from someone else’s machine, for which I apologize

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  • Schrauf August 21, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Any progress is good.

    I do however agree the buffer should be on the parking side of the bike lane. Bike lanes are intended primarily for beginner and/or less comfortable cyclists, and they are the ones more likely to be unaware of the danger of parked cars, or objects pulling out or jumping out from between parked cars.

    Everyone, on the other hand, is aware of the speedy auto lane – and accidents involving autos hitting bikes from the rear are rare. With the buffer between the bike lane and auto lane, I will even propose that drivers will be less aware of cyclists when turning right, because cyclsts are farther away and drivers will simply pay attention to them less. With obvious results.

    In any event this is light years better than the bike lane being placed between the parking strip and sidewalk.

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  • Afro Biker August 21, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I hope the lane loss doesn’t cause retalitaion from motorists.

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  • Cycle Coaching August 21, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I think there should be buffers on both sides!

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  • Bent Bloke August 21, 2009 at 9:16 am

    This is great news. This section of Holgate has fairly light traffic, and doesn’t warrant 4 motor vehicle lanes. It’s almost entirely residential, too, with few cars parked along the street. The risk of being doored is very low.

    Jonathan, what ever happened to the Springwater Corridor repaving project? According to your article in March (http://bikeportland.org/2009/03/06/stimulus-for-the-springwater-trail-gets-18-million-for-repaving/), it was supposed to happen this summer, but when I biked that section a couple of weeks ago, it looks like they haven’t even started. Seems like for a project expected to take a couple of months, they are running out of good repaving weather.

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  • James August 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    work started this morning with no parking a-frames being set out and a crew with a line eraser going at it.

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  • rolinon August 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    I rode most of that stretch Thursday afternoon before any work was done and I was almost sideswiped by a speeding car even though I was riding where a bike lane should have been. The new bike striping will be much appreciated. Thanks PBOT!

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  • Carl August 21, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I’ve watched the 814.420 argument fail multiple times in traffic court. There’s a whole list of reasons you can leave the bike lane in Oregon, but the it-hasn’t-had-a-hearing defense doesn’t seem to fly in Portland, for various reasons. Just something to keep in mind.

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  • are August 22, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    re comment 21: yes, but the key reason why I might “leave” a bike lane (or really, not be in it in the first place) is that the lane is often situated where, if I use it, I will be encouraging overtaking motorists to pass too close. in other words, I would be trying to argue that I was “avoiding a hazard” on my left by moving left. I cannot imagine a judge buying this, because it is really an argument that the lane itself is not “suitable,” and the Potter decision says I lose (unless Jeff comment 5 would like to speak up and acknowledge that these decisions are not made on full blown public hearings).

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  • jeff smith August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    are (#22) — “unless Jeff comment 5 would like to speak up and acknowledge that these decisions are not made on full blown public hearings”.

    The City’s position, as i understand it, has been that the Bicycle Master Plan (adopted in 1996) fulfills the requirements of 814.420, as it specifies design guidelines for bike lane design. I’ve sat through one traffic court proceeding where the judge found this to be an acceptable argument, but I have no idea what the overall track record of this argument is.

    Since the design on Holgate is a “demonstration project” (not a standard adopted design), as are the forthcoming Oak/Stark buffered bike lanes and the Broadway cycletrack, there may be some question as to whether the requirements you refer to pertain. But I’m not a lawyer.

    I should have elaborated on the “who” when i said “we discussed” – the design discussion was amongst PBoT traffic engineers & bike planners, as well as the City’s bicycle advisory committee.

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  • are August 22, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    thank you, Jeff, for the clarity

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  • are August 22, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    setting aside the “demonstration projects” for the moment.

    it seems to me the relevant portions of the Bicycle Master Plan are Appendix A, pages A-1 through A-3 and A-10 through A-12, in which PBOT describes its “guidelines” for implementing various sidepath treatments in various situations. of course none of this relates to any particular facility, and I am pretty sure there are facilities where the guidelines have not been precisely followed. . .

    but in any event, for purposes of 814.420, I would be very surprised to learn that the appendix was itself adopted after a “public hearing,” as it claims on its face to be based on AASHTO and OBOT standards, with input from PBOT staff.

    but I am not a traffic court judge.

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  • eli bishop August 23, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    i’ve seen it: it’s ugly and awkward. i prefer narrower bike lanes: because this one so wide, cars still think it’s a lane and drive in it. the occasional striping marks just look odd.

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  • John in NH August 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Indeed, it is a large lane, however that needs to be the case. a 7foot lane allows faster cyclists to safely overtake slower ones while still maintaining good distances with the parked cars and lanes of traffic. Too often I have passed a slower cyclist because I am in a groove, I almost always have to swerve out into the lane of traffic, yes its my choice to go faster, however I think that having the option to do so safely is very important! I agree perhaps that some stripping needs to be done next to the parked cars, maybe the typical door length? It cant hurt…

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  • thinking its a lame one August 24, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    i think losing a traffic lane in east county is lame. i have been on holgate for many years and the main cyclists in this area are towing a shopping cart full of stolen property. you would think that real cyclists could have used the existing springwater trail that runs east and west just blocks away. holgate has always been a back up when traffic is heavy on powell and foster.

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  • Fred September 14, 2009 at 10:34 am

    @Afro Biker
    I hope these large lanes don’t give bicyclists a large head and have them continue to break laws while yelling at cars for driving safely. Rather than giving more freedoms to the bicycles, why not better enforce the current laws. Bikes have to stop at traffic lights. they do have to look before changing lanes, they do have to ride safely.

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  • oregon111 November 10, 2009 at 10:39 am

    i will dedicate my life to stopping bike lanes

    there is no reason to take driving lanes away

    this is all a plot to ban driving

    i am but one of the majority of portland voters who feel this way

    lets ban biking instead of driving

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