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Riding the new bike lane on Mississippi Ave.

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 31st, 2009 at 11:57 am

Bike lane on N. Mississippi Ave. hill-4
Notice the marks where
the road striping used to be.
(Photos © J. Maus)

As we reported last week, a bike lane has been installed on the uphill portion of the N. Mississippi Ave hill. This morning I got a chance to see it up close and personal.

This project is yet another example of how the City of Portland's Bureau of Transportation is removing re-striping and/or removing travel lanes on our roads to create space for bicycles (other examples are SE Holgate and the cycletrack on SW Broadway).

Bike lane on N. Mississippi Ave. hill-8
Trucks are still close, but the
bike lane feels better than nothing.

The Mississippi project was first announced back in June of 2008. The reason for the delay is that the City has two major equipment yards on the road that house very large trucks. That, combined with the fact that the road is steep and curvy, made the maintenance operations people nervous about the proposed bike lane.

Thankfully, City bike planners and the maintenance staff were able to agree on a design.

Bike lane on N. Mississippi Ave. hill-5
This sign will be changed.

The new bike lane is only in the uphill direction (speeds going downhill allow people on bikes to take the lane) and it goes from N. Graham to N. Cook. It is six feet wide and grows to seven feet in the corners. In addition to the uphill bike lane, PBOT will install (it's not up yet) a new sign in the downhill direction just before a sharp and steep right-hand turn that leads into a driveway of the maintenance yard. This sign is to warn bikes that trucks might be stopped (to turn left) in their path.

Observing motor vehicle traffic on the road this morning, compliance (staying out of the bike lane) was very good. Riding in the bike lane myself, I felt much safer than having no paint at all.

If you ride this new bike lane, we'd love to know how it feels to you.

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Comments
  • Ron August 31, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    First, this is great news, as I often ride home this way.

    I wonder, did they repave the portions of the uphill curb lane that were trashed? I'll hit the lane on the way home to see, but a few spots were in very bad shape when I last rode it early last week.

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  • Ron September 1, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Rode this last night -- was excellent. Still rough pavement in front of each of the drive ways on the upper portion, but the bike lane is really comfortable and welcoming :)

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  • janis September 2, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I love it! Thanks to all those that helped out!

    Janis

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  • Asher Atkinson September 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I ride this route all the time. Frankly, I never had a problem or felt uncomfortable going up hill. The wide path will make it even better.

    With that said, it is coming down and taking the lane that introduces problems at times. Now that the appearance of a median created by the striped center lane as been erased, aggressive cars compelled to pass descending cyclists may feel more contrained.

    Don't get me wrong, I think it is great. But when coming down, just be aware that cars no longer have the perceived "out" of the striped median and they will opt to take you out rather than getting near the center lane when there is an approaching car.

    - Asher

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