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Safety concerns result in changes to new curves on Couch

Posted by on April 30th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Update on Burnside-Couch project-7
Sweeping curves on NE Couch are
causing a lot of safety concerns.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The new segment of NE Couch Street that leads onto the Burnside Bridge from NE MLK Blvd. raised red flags as soon as it opened. Sweeping curves make it difficult for people on bikes to avoid riding on slippery bike lane striping and people operating cars and buses encroach dangerously into the bike lane.

Many people who ride on the street feel the curves are not safe for bike traffic and they worry that the constrained space will lead to serious crashes and collisions. When we asked for feedback on the East Burnside Couch Couplet Project (which this new street is a part of) many people said the curves on NE Couch were a major concern. Below are just some of the reader feedback we received:

Reader Helen McConnell wrote:

“…As I rode the too-curvy lane, I thought “This was obviously not designed by a cyclist, nor with cyclists in mind. I wonder if Jonathan will be reporting on this?” Two thumbs-down from me for this new lane.”

Reader John Lascurettes wrote:

“I too share the concerns for the sharp s-curve with it’s narrow bike lane in the curves, the flat-to-wrong-way-leaning bank and the accumulation of gravel that’s bound to happen.”

Reader Wil wrote:

“The new Couch ‘on-ramp’ curve for the Burnside bridge is a scythe, very efficiently designed to execute cyclists…”

Reader Beth Hamon wrote:

“I’ve seen too many cars that have tended to veer too close to the bike lane as we all negotiate the sharp curve onto the Burnside Bridge — and then turn hard right and sometimes almost cut me off as I am trying to turn onto the bike lane on the bridge proper.”

A crash this morning on NE Couch hastened
some safety changes.
(Photo: Michael O’Leary)

This morning, BTA staffer Michael O’ Leary sent in a photo of a crash that occurred at the location. Carissa Mylin went down after crashing on something in the bike lane. She says she’s not sure what caused her crash but it was either gravel, the slick bike lane striping material, or the base of a traffic pylon that had been placed in the bike lane as a cautionary measure.

Aware of the issues, PBOT’s bike coordinator Roger Geller and Burnside Couch Couplet project manager Chris Armes went out to the location this morning to observe the situation. They realized quickly that a problem existed and they’ve come up with an immediate, interim fix and a list of longer-term solutions they hope to have completed by next week.

Here’s the short-term solution they will implement today (taken directly form an email from Geller):

As of now we are shutting down the bicycle lane between Couch and the bridge proper, shifting cars to the outside travel lane and directing cyclists to use the other travel lane that is currently closed to motor vehicles. This will keep cyclists out of the bicycle lane for now.

When I spoke to Geller back in his office, he said the striping crews made a mistake on the outside motor vehicle lane (closest to bike lane) — striping it two-and-a-half feet narrower that it should have been. That means motor vehicles are forced too close to the bike lane. Geller says re-striping will be done to make the lane the appropriate width.

To combat the issue of people riding on the bike lane striping while leaning into a curve (meaning their center of gravity is not directly over the wheel), Geller says they will replace the standard thermoplastic striping from MLK Blvd to the bridge with a skid-resistant material (like what’s used on green bike boxes, except in white).

Geller says they also plan to widen the bike lane from five feet to six feet to “provide a bit more margin for operating conditions.”

In addition, Geller plans to stripe a four-foot buffer through the curve “to keep motorists from encroaching into the bicycle lane.”

Given the existing hazards on the road and the many concerns expressed about this, we hope to see fixes come as soon as possible. Of course, PBOT can only do so much to make bike lanes safe. What we really need are physically separated facilities like cycle tracks. Hopefully major projects like this in future will include them.

Thanks to Michael O’Leary and everyone else who expressed concerns, offered feedback, and corresponded with PBOT about this issue. We’ll keep you posted as fixes happen and please write in if you still have concerns.

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Comments
  • Matthew April 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Nice to see them jumping right on this. Now if only they could do something about getting on and off the Morrison Bridge …

    Heh, not trying to sound grouchy. It really IS cool that they’re taking these steps, and so quickly, too.

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  • Michelle April 30, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    How about we skip a few years of trouble and just make it a cycletrack already.

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  • Lance P. April 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I hope that Carissa Mylin is going to be ok. I knew something like this was going to happen soon. I’m pretty fearless but I was intimidated by this curve. I actually was just taking the lane. I’m glad to see Roger helping out. I’m not sure why there isn’t a separated facility. Even the Hawthorne bridge has 2 bike lanes leading up to the bridge.

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  • Jackattak April 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Agree with Matthew @ #1. Nice swift and effective response.

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  • Dave April 30, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Awesome to see them jump on this so quickly, it really has been great to see the city responding to cyclists’ needs more and more.

    I do agree with you though, that now is the time to get started building separated facilities. We’ve hit the breaking point in terms of number of people on bicycles, and both our traffic and parking facilities are showing it.

    Now is the time, Portland is the place! :)

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  • MeghanH April 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Bike lanes on s-curves like this one seem inherently unsafe for cyclists — I live out near a hairpin turn at 71st & SE Woodstock where car tires repeatedly wear off the bike lane striping from driving over it. The city repaints the bike lane, and it’s gone again in short order.

    The speed limit through the curve is 15 mph, but cars rarely observe it. I learned to avoid that spot when biking pretty soon after I moved to the neighborhood.

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  • Babygorilla April 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Just speculating, and I hope that Carissa is okay, but it doesn’t seem like the curve was the cause of the crash as that location pictured is well in advance of the curve onto the bridge, which having taken it with an encroaching bus since my comments on the previous thread on the improvements, I agree is too tight and poorly designed.

    Could the cause have been the traffic pylons that were magically placed in the bike lane earlier this week without any signs or notice that the bike lane was closed? The ones magically placed just far enough ahead of the left hand curve that you don’t really notice them until the last second? Glad modifications will be made, but as of yesterday that was no sign indicating that the bike lane here was closed and I can see how that could have led to a crash. Good intentions, horrible execution.

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  • Carissa Mylin April 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks guys – I am okay, just some nasty road rash, bruises and pretty sore from landing on asphalt. Unfortunately about 2 minutes after I went down another cyclist came by and did the exact same thing. She was taken away in an ambulance. They think she broke her shoulder. This area is extremely dangerous. The cones they currently have on the strip are partway in the really narrow bike lane and you can’t tell if they are supposed to be closing the bike lane or protecting it. When you come around that angled curve, you have a split second to make the decision which way to go. Both me and the lesser fortunate rider made the decision to stay on the traffic side. I’m fairly certain it was the vinyl strip that I slid on. Without warning my bike just flew right out from under me. Same thing with the next girl. I’m just thankful that neither one of us was hit by a car when we landed. I appreciate the speedy response to correct the problem. I just wish that cyclists alarmed voices would have been heard when this plan was originally proposed. We don’t hate cars, we just want to co-exist peacefully with them. Ride safe everyone.

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  • Anonymous April 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Chicanes like the approach to the bridge ask for drivers to cut the apex encroaching on the bike lane.

    The design should have raised concerns before it was even built.

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  • John April 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I’ve been taking the whole lane every time. Especially in the past few days when they’ve put a ton of traffic cones everywhere.

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  • Keith W April 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I followed in right behind Carissa (who did a great job of comforting the woman who was injured!!). I’m real happy the City and Mayor’s staff jumped on this right away. It is a totally insane turn and have made a point to also just ride in the traffic lane. I spoke with a contractor during the whol affair (who is working the job) and he said he sees cars veer into the second bend all day. I still may ride the auto lane even after the improvements, unless the bike lane is completely sealed off.

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  • Adam April 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    “The cones they currently have on the strip are partway in the really narrow bike lane and you can’t tell if they are supposed to be closing the bike lane or protecting it”.

    I could not have said it better. I was totally clueless as to whether I was supposed to be riding inside the cones, or outside? I ended up riding outside them, in the motor travel lane. Only afterwards did I realize…. uh, perhaps that was supposed to be to protect the bike lane… perhaps…..?

    I’m glad a fix is getting implemented here, and fast. I couldn’t believe how narrow this bike lane was when I first saw it considering the curve. The City are often talking about how six feet is the “new standard”. Which this clearly wasn’t! Thank you Chris A and Roger G for jumping on this. I look forward to seeing improvements very soon.

    I wish the two cyclists a speedy recovery.

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  • Tbird April 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    That’s a bike lane?!?
    Oh no no no no. THAT’S a gutter.
    C’mon on Portland. Can we stop half stepping everything to do with bike transit and get real about making it priority #1…?

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  • John Lascurettes April 30, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Carissa, sorry it took you getting hurt before PBOT acted on previously stated concerns.

    Thank you to PBOT for making fairly significant changes and doing them quickly now though.

    I would still love to see a protected (walled) lane through the chicane though. That would do two things: minimize gravel in the bike lane and motor vehicles from cutting the apex of the curve.

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  • beth h April 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Glad to hear that the City concurs with cyclists and is trying to make it safer. I also have to agree with those who want this thing to be a cycletrack. Separate facilities for bikes increase rider confidence, which in turn increase rider usage of bike facilities — and, well, isn’t that what a lot of folks at PBOT want anyway?
    Ride safely.

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  • Steve B. April 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Kudos to PBOT and the contractors for being on top of this so quickly. Hopefully we’ll see this sort of quick response to other dangerous intersections throughout the city. I guess it helps when the contractors are still on site!

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  • michweek April 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    They’re adding a striped buffer zone?
    Why not a yellow curb-median?
    Striping is cheaper I suppose but by not creating a barrier they are only lessening the occurance of vehicle overlap, not removing it.

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  • George C. April 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    My rear wheel slipped on that paint in the turn and I almost wiped out. SCARY!!!

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  • Mike April 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    The BTA first contacted the city and TriMet with our concerns for the Couch onramp on April 13th after hearing criticism of the new route from a commuter who felt the onramp was unsafe.

    I’m disappointed it’s taken so long – and injuries – to get the city to close down one of the lanes in lieu of a having a safe and welcoming design for folks who’d like to rid over the Burnside.

    Roger Geller told me this afternoon that a better fix is expected as soon as Monday.

    I think separating the bike lane with a buffer and elevating it up to a sidewalk height would be a good start.

    There’s more wrong with Couch, though, than just the onramp.

    The combination of increased auto congestion, and the functional narrowing of the travel lane for cyclists by allowing onstreet parking on Couch (when there was not onstreet parking on Burnside during commute hours is a huge problem, forcing cyclists down a blind gauntlet between 14th and 6th where there’s simply not enough room to ride.

    Having multiple bus stops across the bike lanes is icing on the cake.

    Bike Boxes on Couch at 12th and Grand and at bus stops could help reduce right hooks and promote more positive driver-cyclists interactions at key intersections, but there is no doubting that Couch was built for cars, and the bicycle riders who are brave enough to take the auto lane and patient enough to never take the bike lane.

    What would Minneapolis do?

    What will Portland do?

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  • 180mm_dan April 30, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    After riding this once, I say: Who are these so-called traffic engineers?

    Geez, what was built is glaringly bad design – should’ve been left on the drawing room floor.

    We should be aiming to get-it-right the first time… not after injuries occur…

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  • Paul Johnson April 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    We have this problem on Cornell Road with the new design, too… the bicycle lane line is worn completely off and now motorists rounding the curve leading to Murray going westbound are working on wearing off the parking shoulder stripe to the right of the bike lane.

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  • John Peterson April 30, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I rode this the other day and just decided it was going to be much safer to take the lane…so I did…I think staying in the bike lane there would require slowing to like 5mph….

    so now it sounds like there is one lane open for cars here to get on the bside westbound????? gotta love it…some serious traffic calming…or giant clusterfrack….how much money was wasted on this BS? and why? why? why?

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  • BURR April 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    this was common knowledge among cyclists by last week and it took until an ambulance injury accident today for PBOT to respond? and people are calling that ‘rapid’?

    wtf?

    design fail all around, this never should have been built in the first place!

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  • Anonymous April 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Mike #19: The lights on Couch are timed at about 15mph and it’s on a downhill grade, taking the lane on this section of Couch is no more difficult than taking the lane downtown (i.e. a piece of cake).

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  • Joe R. April 30, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Great to see a quick response, but why was the bike lane designed for just 5′? I thought 6′ was standard now and buffered bike lanes would be used in new construction situations like this..

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  • alex April 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    perhaps some rumble bumps in the lane thermoplastic are in order?

    i ride this daily, its is bad, i do not even use the bike lane anymore…

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  • SkidMark April 30, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I rode inside those cones the other day on my ol’ Schwinn cruiser, it was fun! I don’t see the danger.

    A curb between the cars and the bike lane would be a good idea though.

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  • Paul Johnson April 30, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    A curb wouldn’t survive trucks offtracking into it, you’d pretty much need a K-rail if you want to go the physical barrier route.

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  • Ted Buehler April 30, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    They should also do an internal review — at what points in the design and construction problem did this geometry problem get “missed” by engineers and planners?

    Make sure it doesn’t happen again!

    If this type of problem was built, say, at N Denver and Victory Blvd it would last 10 to 30 years before it would get fixed.

    I’d like to see the design process refined to keep this type of problem from cropping up…

    Thanks for covering this, Jonathan!
    Ted Buehler

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  • Dwainedibbly May 1, 2010 at 2:49 am

    What a fantastically responsive DOT! Where I currently live (a town that is generally recognized to be very good for cyclists) it would take years to get something like this changed. From some of the responses here it’s apparent that much higher expectations are in place in Portland, as it should be.

    (This is all fine by me, as it appears that there is a very good chance that The Dibblys are moving to Portland in the next few months!)

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  • mik May 1, 2010 at 7:07 am

    It’s a curve!!! If you can’t negotiate a frickin curve then learn how to ride.

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  • JE May 1, 2010 at 10:40 am

    In addition, Geller plans to stripe a four-foot buffer through the curve “to keep motorists from encroaching into the bicycle lane.”

    What we really need are physically separated facilities like cycle tracks. Hopefully major projects like this in future will include them.

    If they have room for a four foot buffer, they have room for a curb. A physical barrier will keep motorists away from the bike lane and cyclist away from the paint.

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  • Bill Stites May 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I have to agree with folks who say they take the lane on these sharp curves. Be friendly, hand signal and wave a lot – it’s a pretty short distance to ‘inconvenience’ a motorist and greatly enhance your personal safety.

    You simply shouldn’t place yourself in a situation that requires high levels of attention and skill of a motorist right next to you.
    Especially true when motorists in the right lane have vehicle traffic to their left … that may be more of a repelling magnet than a cyclist.

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  • are May 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    taking the lane is obviously the best course. however, PBoT has striped a bike lane here, and 814.420 says you are supposed to take sidepath where it is provided, except where there has been no opportunity for public input. plenty of that here: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=46449 therefore what? are we supposed to just put our heads down and stay in the bike lane and wait to get pinched at the corner? let’s get rid of the striped bike lane here and put in sharrows. enough with the catering to motorists.

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  • bobcycle May 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Good response by PBOT to fix, but would be cheaper to critique these designs before they are built and make changes then. Money saved doing it right the first time could be used on other bike infrastructure. Current process of build, wait for comments and injuries, then change is inefficient. Speaking of “dangerous by design” check out new bike light at 57th and Sandy/Alameda. To cross intersection heading NW, instruction sign indicates to cross to left onto sidewalk and push button. Problem is as you cross left you are crossing a fairly blind corner where traffic heading east on Sandy at 35 mph can take Alameda without slowing (its an angled turn onto Alameda due to direction Sandy takes in a ne/sw manner) IMO with the limited visibility this is an accident waiting to happen.

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  • Red Five May 1, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    were the hipster’s jeans too tight?

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  • carless in pdx May 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Wait, so let me get this straight. The city spent about 20 years designing this new facility and they have done such a bad job on it.

    Really, just appalling. The engineers should all be fired!

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  • are May 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    re comment 31, the problem is not the curve itself or a cyclist not being able to take the curve, the problem is that >motorists< seem unable to make the right onto the bridge without cutting into the bike lane at the corner. there are many, many such facilities all over town. for example northeast 15th/16th between halsey and multnomah. PBoT should not be striping bike lanes in these places, they should be putting down sharrows to indicate to cyclists and motorists alike that cyclists have full use of the entire right travel lane.

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  • spare_wheel May 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    +1 on the cycle track.

    how much more expensive would a curb and some retroflective road dividers be? not only does the slick white paint wear off but the fine white gravel that results is a terrible hazard. virtually every curved bike lane in the city has this problem.

    take the lane!

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  • bahueh May 2, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I propose all roads in Portland be made perfectly straight…the city should get ride of all turns, curves, and inconveniences for all cyclists so we, as a whole, do not have to think for ourselves or pay attention while riding.

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  • Mike B May 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    My thought when I rode through the new Couch/Burnside on-ramp for the first time was: ‘this will be the site of something horrible’. I wasn’t surprised at all then to ride up to the scene Friday, moments before the ambulance arrived to take away the woman with shoulder injuries. I was only relieved that my worst expectations weren’t realized. The design at this site is poor for bicycle traffic (as many comments here support, and I’ve had the occasion to reach out and tap the fender of an encroaching car across the white line). The important thing is that we’ve dodged the bullet of a fatality and have opened discussion concerning remedies for this area. The City commendably responded quickly on Friday with a temporary redirection of traffic. How do we as cyclists maintain this momentum (paid for at the price of two riders hitting the pavement) to effect a solution? It seems like a design of physical separation of cyclists from cars through the curve is ideal. The project seems far from complete in that area– would it be reasonable to re-design and install a separation structure while equipment and materials are on-site?

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  • Paul Johnson May 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    @37: Wait, wait…engineers are group psychologists? News to me…

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  • Unit May 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Jeez, our designers may not be perfect, but they’re still some of the best in the country. The way some of you bitch n moan, the rest of us are lucky they stick around to build more facilities.

    They’re fixing the problem, so either make constructive suggestions or quit your dam whining please.

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  • mik May 2, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Hot air, lets analyze this until the cows come home. Lets blame the cars blah, blah, blah, engineers, blah, blah, the city of portland, blah, blah,blah. Figure it out and just ride your damn bike!!!!

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  • are May 3, 2010 at 8:32 am

    re comment 40, this particular situation requires that the motorist pay attention or the cyclist gets hurt, see? re comment 43, the constructive suggestion is not to stripe a bike lane here, but to make it clear to motorists that cyclists will be taking the lane. this is not bitching and moaning. how the cyclist “takes responsibility” here is by taking the lane regardless of the lane striping.

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  • Kt May 3, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Wow, bahueh, you obviously didn’t read Carissa’s comment on exactly how she crashed.

    It’s not that she wasn’t paying attention or thinking– it’s the fact that there were poorly placed traffic cones and she had to make a quick decision that put her on the paint line, which was slippery, so she went down.

    Geez, way take things WAY off course.

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  • Unit May 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

    @45, you’re right that is constructive. Also constructive are suggestions to make the design better, or motorist/cyclist behavior that would improve the situation. I was responding to @37, @23: make someone pay! We’re a community, let’s act like it people.

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  • matt picio May 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Unit (#47) – We *are* acting like a community, we’re discussing the issue, and many of us have differing opinions. Differences of opinion don’t invalidate us as a community, they preserve us – it’s only when differences can’t be resolved or accommodated that we run into trouble.

    Those commenting on the relative skills of the traffic engineers, ask yourselves this: Were you at any of the meetings? If not, why not? These design decisions are not simple, and sometimes there are exigencies that aren’t apparent to the public at-large. For example, nearly every utility in the city runs underneath SE Division St, practically guaranteeing no major changes will ever be made to that road. Before you criticize, you would do well to at least familiarize yourself with the location at hand, and visit it yourself.

    That said, this design sucks. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, I don’t like it. I’m willing to accept that there are probably design aspects that were necessary that I don’t know about, but I hope that PBOT can remedy some of the existing problems, and quickly.

    Jonathan – “What we really need are physically separated facilities like cycle tracks”. Respectfully, I disagree. What we really need are road users who PAY ATTENTION (primarily motorists, but also cyclists and pedestrians), and a system from top-to-bottom that treats cyclists as equal users of the roads. Cycle tracks would be nifty, but should we be spending more money on special-purpose infrastructure, or leveraging the investment we already have? Cycling infrastructure is necessary when we can’t adapt what’s already there – if we can already adapt what we have, let’s do that instead. It’s too hard to justify the rest of it, and we have limited resources of money, planning, and personnel.

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  • are May 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    re comment 48, yes, actually, there was a lot of stuff they had to work around — sidewalk widths, historic buildings, etc. –, but when they asked for an exception to AAHSTO road width standards they said couch would be posted 20 mph from 14th to MLK, and instead they posted it 25 mph.
    http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=46449&a=189248
    as you approach the ramp with the problem curve, there is a yellow diamond on the left (but not on the right) posting the curve at 20 mph — not 15 as has been suggested in these comments.

    in other words, okay, no, i did not participate in the hearings (most of which occurred before i moved to portland), but apparently it would not have done much good . . .

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  • Aaron May 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    MeghanH
    I agree with you about the Woodstock issue. I’ve seen lots of dangerous biking conditions around Reed College where Woodstock also does a narrow S-curve but this time on a descent.
    Incidentally we should talk because I regularly commute to SE 81st and Duke. If you take Tolman St, there’s very little danger and it’s so peaceful.

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  • Steve B. May 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Considering this is reactive and not proactive on PBOT’s part, it would be great to see this sort of thing nipped in the bud in the design process. But, in the context of other city-level DOTs, I’m still impressed with the responsiveness on this and other issues. Besides internal auditing, I want to encourage folks to call 503-823-SAFE early and often whenever you have a concern. I am not sure if any of the folks who first had issues with this ramp called their concerns in, but since most of this work is performed on a complaint-driven basis, we need more eyes-on-the-street reports from everyone.

    As Jonathan said, this was clearly never a bike infrastructure project, it’s just another big project that supports motordom (and I guess eventually streetcar). You know what they have planned for all that extra space they’ll get when they make burnside 1-way on the West side? MORE, angled parking!

    The next big bike-infrastructure projects are in open house stage right now. Come out, and represent your interests!

    NE Holman, Tues May 4th, 6-8pm Concordia Library

    NE Klickitat, Thurs May 6th, 6-8pm Alameda Elementary

    SW Vermont, Thurs May 13th, 6-8pm?Multnomah Arts Center

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  • BURR May 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    re. making a difference at PBOT Open House meetings.

    Maybe I’m just cynical, but I’ve rarely seen PBOT make anything other than minor changes to their designs in response to comments received.

    Their design engineers seem stubbornly attached to their deficient designs which continue to favor motor vehicle travel at the expense of other modes, despite PBOT’s rhetoric to the contrary.

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  • Duncan May 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I think the problem for drivers may be that the curve is sharper than it first appears- first time I took that corner on my motorcycle I was surprised to hear my pegs scraping at 25 MPH… maybe some signage?

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  • Chris May 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Terrible design all together, I am surprised the engineers and planners didn’t catch this while the plans were still on paper – doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this “S” curve will not work.

    And shouldn’t Chris Armes be out there inspecting the work? He should not have to be told to go take a peak — Armes should have been out there before the lane even opened measuring the lane lines, shame shame.

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  • are May 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    there is signage. it says twenty mph. should say fifteen. on the other hand, people will not quite believe fifteen and will still go twenty or twenty-five. the cyclist needs to take the lane.

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  • Kevin Wagoner May 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Glad to see the rapid response.

    PS: Curvy Terwilliger could use a bit of love like this too.

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  • Michael Miller May 4, 2010 at 7:26 am

    What was PBOT going to do immediately, as a stopgap measure? I went through the curve Tuesday morning before 7.00 a.m., as a passenger in a car, and I did not see anything in place that would add any protection, or provide a warning to drivers or cyclists.

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  • BurnsideBikey May 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I agree with a lot of what has been said here. The whole opening of this couplet has been a hugger-mugger. It took several days of my regular commute to figure out the new flow of traffic.

    1. It makes no sense there’s no bike lane on NE Couch, and then one magically appears a few blocks before the bridge.
    2. It makes no sense there’s a Trimet Bus Stop in the middle of the bike line right before the bridge.
    3. There’s been gravel and cones encroaching or sometimes right in the middle of the bike lane on the curve to get onto the bridge. I’ve had to thread the needle a few times to avoid hitting a cone.
    4. Agree the solution should be fast-forwarded to a raised cycle track, with a curb, in that curve approaching the bridge. Simply restriping isn’t enough. Agree cars are going way too fast in that curve, as usually over the bridge in general. (Got to get to the red light at the bottom of the bridge as quickly as possible, right?)
    5. What about when it gets really rainy? Worried the bike lane in the curve will be underwater.

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  • Brandy May 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I’m chiming in as a current car driver (though I do bike a LOT in the summers, i promise)who has lived and commuted all over close-in Portland for 15 years, bike, bus, walking, everything:

    I drove the couplet for the first time a little while ago, and I was really shocked at how steep the curves were! It wasn’t easy or fun to drive at all and it IS like a racetrack! I can just imagine someone coming down Couch too fast on a green light (on a dark wet night when everything is shiny?!?!) and just going straight over the curb trying to maneuver that S. Would NOT want to be pedaling anywhere near that mess.

    FYI: This story was on all the 11 o’clock news shows tonight, which means this issue really is getting out there. I haven’t read all the comments, but we all should continue to speak up about it.

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