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Is Burnside construction making Ankeny worse for bikes?

Posted by on July 6th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I got a tip from a reader about a traffic safety situation that more people should be aware of. Erik Isaacman, who runs Inner Gate Acupuncture witnessed the aftermath of a severe collision* on Friday (7/2) in front of his shop on the corner of SE Ankeny and 14th.

Isaacman says the person on the bike was riding west on Ankeny when a car heading east “took a sharp left” from Ankeny onto 14th (to go north).

Here’s a photo from the scene:

This collision occurred on SE Ankeny and 14th. The person riding the bike was injured but is out of the hospital and is “doing okay.”
(Photo: Erik Isaacman)

Isaacman is concerned that a lot of people driving cars are avoiding the major construction project at the E Burnside/12th/Sandy intersection and using Ankeny instead. If so, this is a trend worth watching because Ankeny is a popular east-west bike boulevard that serves a lot of bike traffic.

Isaacman said he’s concerned with the increase in motor vehicle traffic on Ankeny and warns people on bikes to be extra cautious in this area. “While out taking pictures of the site I watched a dozen other cars do the same thing… another biker came by and told me that the exact same type of accident occurred at 16th and Ankeny only 2 days earlier.”

Has anyone else experienced this? How can the City better manage situations like these (when major construction projects create a significant amount of diverted traffic onto bikeway streets)?

*I haven’t heard from the person riding the bike yet, but Mr. Isaacman says he spoke with her a few days after the collision and she is limping and is pretty banged up, but is “okay.”

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Comments
  • Scott Mizée July 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    ouch… that’s terrible. I haven’t seen many bike crash scenes… but is is common for the forks to completely snap off at the headset and stay attached to the wheel?

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  • ScottG July 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Yikes. On a slightly related note, I’m hoping that the enormous sharrows popping up on bike routes everywhere don’t end up signaling to drivers “hey, here’s a low-traffic street for me to use during rush hour.” I’d like to see PBOT use more diverters with the cut-through for bikes when possible to prevent this from happening.

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  • The Biking Viking July 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I live a couple of blocks off Ankney, and drivers are constantly using it to avoid Burnside, even before the construction. The relatively new speed bumps put in help a little. At 20th there is a concrete barrier that keeps cars (but not bikes) from going straight.

    I’m not sure what you can do other than erecting more of these barriers, which I don’t imagine the neighbors would like.

    I’m hoping that when this construction is over drivers will resume using Burnside.

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  • david....no! the other one July 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Its unfortunate shop owners in the area, couple of blocks or so, don’t just close the street in the early morning and evening hours themselves. There arnt enough customers anyway they are trying to get to work or home. Might just save a life. Silly me, its about parking, and customers. Fffft!

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  • MIndful Cyclist July 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Ankeny is such a wonderful bike boulevard, but yes at times I do find cars that seem to use it as a way to get around Burnside. Where I honestly think it is worse is from MLK to Sandy.

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  • beth h July 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    This is a rhetorical question, right? Of COURSE there’s increased auto traffic on SE Ankeny, and I don’t see this improving even after the Streetcar tracks go in.

    # 4′s response is unclear: are you suggesting that businesses on Ankeny close their shops early, or that they actually take over and close the street to auto traffic? If the former, reducing business hours reduces income. If the latter, can you suggest specifics?

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  • Amos July 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I’ve noticed this as well. Until the city gets around to making improvements in the area here are some tricks I’ve learned from a well-known Tillamook St. resident and bicycle advocate…

    1. Slowly roll a playground ball across the street just before a speeding car approaches. It will simultaneously slow down their travel speed and speed up their heart rate.

    2. Using a megaphone, politely welcome passers-by in motor vehicles to the SE Ankeny bicycle boulevard and give them advise on how to find the nearest, fastest, thoroughfare for cars.

    3. Stand on the side of the road with a radar gun (those meant to track baseball pitch speeds can be purchased inexpensively at sporting goods stores or online) and a camera. Regularly submit speeding data to PBOT and encourage them to take action. For a low-budget approach use a hair dryer, the data is less accurate but the effect on traffic speeds is usually just as powerful, especially if you happen to be crouching behind a semi-opened car door or astride a two-toned motorcycle.

    We Tillamookians have even considered submitting an RFP to the People’s Dept. of Transportation for some improved signage and striping if the conditions continue.

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  • Andrew (#1) July 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Another thing to watch out for on Ankeny around this intersection is the proposed senior housing. It seems to be quietly moving under the radar — and part of the proposal is a ground-level parking garage that will have at least one entrance and/or exit right onto Ankeny. Bad news both from an urban design standpoint and bike-boulevard safety. Not sure what the city’s position is on this. The pre-app notice is here: http://www.portlandonline.com/bds/index.cfm?c=47126&a=303107

    @#2: I don’t understand the application of sharrows on bike boulevards at all. I thought they were meant for streets with moderately heavy auto traffic. Does this mean that, to avoid sending confusing messages to motorists, we won’t be seeing sharrows on busier streets like SE 11th/12th and NE 7th that also carry quite a bit of bike traffic?

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  • BURR July 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Personally, I avoid Ankeny and ride on Ash instead.

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  • Marcus Griffith July 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Perhaps there can be a way to mitigate safety issues? Not a big fan of the “warning signs” solution to every problem, but this may be a case that could benefit from Caution bike traffic? Those not used to driving on Ankey may not be aware of the cycling traffic.

    Be safe out there.

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  • cyclist July 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Hey, let’s continue to run out half-researched stories that speculate on an incident without having all of the facts in hand first, what a fantastic idea! And if it turns out that the one eyewitness account you used for your story turns out to be wrong (and remember, this particular eyewitness only saw the aftermath, not the actual incident), then just run an update that says, “this still speaks to general truths about the interactions between bikes and cars, even if the actual reporting was wrong.” Does that sound about right?

    All you’re doing is making people out there think that Ankeny is dangerous (which it most assuredly is not). This creates what the computer folks call FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), and will do nothing more those who are on the fence away from biking. Stories such as these would be so much more useful if you were to talk to everybody–the driver, the cyclist and the police–before you make generalizations about how dangerous this particular stretch of road is. Your one eyewitness might be wrong or biased.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 6, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    cyclist,

    thanks for the comment. more research is always better.

    i do not make any generalizations in the story. I am sharing a photo and the perspective of someone with a business on that street who has concerns about a traffic issue and how it impacts bike traffic. I am asking for community input.

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the feedback.

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  • SkidMark July 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I have a suggestion: people in cars should look for oncoming bicycles before taking a left turn. You know, like the law requires them to do. If the person on the bicycle was oncoming traffic and the car took a left in front of it, then the collision is the fault of the person driving the car. They should get a ticket for failing to yield to oncoming traffic.

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  • Ak July 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Just to add to the tally, I saw the aftermath of a car-moped collision at se Ankeny at 16th. Once again, the car turned left in front of the Westbound moped. I don’t know how the rider fared, but he or she was carted away on a backboard and the moped was destroyed. Interestingly, the car sustained little damage.

    My first thought was that the driver of the car had been avoiding construction traffic on Burnside. I live just up the street and since the construction started there has been a big increase of traffic on all of the surrounding neighborhood streets.

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  • Mork July 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    My personal observation: I’ve noticed a dramatic up-tick in automobile traffic on Ankeny since the new couplet project began. Automobile drivers seem to be using Ankeny to avoid the bridgehead couplet and the closed segment of Sandy, it is particularly noticeable between 7th and 16th. I would love to see a bike-friendly barrier to entry onto Ankeny at 12th (a la 20th).

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  • Lenny Anderson July 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Bikeways need diverters, not just bumps, sharrows and curb extensions. Watch what happens when stop signs get switched…the “motor vehicle cheaters” will flood the route. Just leave stop signs and only require bikers to yield on designated bikeways. Also post speed limits at 20mph or even 15, even though speed limit signs don’t do much. Oh, and why not remove the center strip from Ankeny? that bit of paint only increases motor vehicle speeds.

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  • Tom July 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Ankeny from 20th to 14th during rush hour has become very dangerous as cars rush thru stop signs trying to avoid Burnside. In the last three weeks 5 close calls. In addition to failure to yield the impatient drivers pass at excessive speeds driving down the wrong side of the street. One drive yelled to get out of the road as he passed me. Drivers do not realize how many bikers use Ankeny.

    I am on the street at least three days a week.

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  • Steve B. July 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Without diversion, a bike boulevard is just another side street.

    Please, if you live or ride on this street, ASK FOR MORE DIVERTERS! Call 503-823-SAFE, share your concern, and ask for a solution. If PBOT says ‘NO,’ let us know what the explanation is. Thanks!

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  • Steve B. July 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    @Lenny — the removal of that double yellow would be effective AND affordable. Good call!

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  • are July 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    andrew comment 8 is today’s winner. it is difficult to believe that PBoT is not doing this intentionally. the intended function of the sharrow is being systematically undermined by using them as wayfinders on bike boulevards.
    http://taking-the-lane.blogspot.com/2010/06/sharrows-as-wayfinders.html

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  • Pete July 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    are/andrew: In my current city sharrows are used on sections of planned bike routes that are typically awaiting funding. The reality of a city that exploded in growth in the 1950′s is that it’s auto-centric, and change takes time and persistence. Disconnected sections are common, often due to varying ownership/jurisdiction on roadway sections (for example the Murray MUP by the church in Beaverton/TV Highway). As a BAC member (in my CA city), I personally recommend the use of sharrows in combination with the new “Bicycles May Take Full Lane” sign, because drivers tend to remember the “as far to the right as operably possible” portion of the law…

    My experience with traffic departments is that they are not cyclists and have no idea how to plan mixed-use road sections from a rider’s viewpoint, and that they meet with us (the BAC) as a job requirement and do not initiate conversations or keep us in the planning loop. Sharrows to them are simply a budget’s line item, as is much bike infrastructure.

    The concept that a traffic department would intentionally use sharrows to route auto traffic is, well, I’m skeptical. Seems like too much thought for what I’ve seen put into it. (Not to belittle anyone’s professional position, they simply use sharrows as a tool from a different mindset than an experienced cyclist would).

    Seeing that you have some advocacy experience, maybe you have a different experience with planning/traffic departments than I do though.

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  • MIndful Cyclist July 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Although I do think Ankeny is a great BB, one of the drawbacks is that there are a lot of apartments and businesses on the street that do not have driveways or parking lots. So, there are a lot of cars parked on the street and the city allows cars to park way too close to the intersection.

    I really, really wish that the city would not allow this practice. Or at the very least, limit the cars that park closest to the intersection a maximum height of 5 feet.

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  • Luci July 6, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Its my understanding that the sharrows indicate that this street is a bike route and that cars should not pass cyclists on those routes.
    If drivers are indeed looking for the sharrows as an indicator of less congested streets, then they are defeating the purpose of the markers and its time that they are legally held to the use of them. I’m sure a few hefty tickets and a write-up in the Oregonian would go a long way in deterring drivers from taking up us cyclists limited space.

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  • are July 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    pete 21, my point is that yesterday there were zero sharrows, and today there are hundreds, but every single one of them is on a low-traffic “bike boulevard” and is planted (on the narrower streets) literally on the center line. they are taking the MUTCD-approved device and using it as a “wayfinder,” to designate bike routes. meanwhile, higher trafficked streets with ten- or eleven-foot travel lanes next to a line of parked cars and posted limits of 30 mph or even 35 mph get nothing. motorists who have not been part of this conversation will see the sharrows on the bike boulevards and think, okay, that’s where the cyclists are being told to ride (or “given priority” in newspeak), and if anyone two or three years from now tried to put sharrows on the roads where they are actually needed, a motorist would be somewhat justified in thinking “wtf?”

    because the sharrow will have acquired a secondary meaning that is inconsistent with its intended meaning.

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  • Pete July 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Ah, thanks are, I understand now. I did read your blog entry but now it sinks in. Good lesson for me, thanks!

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  • resopmok July 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    First, I am not intending to place blame here, but I think cyclist (#11) makes a good point about posting a story with very incomplete factual information. What time of day did the accident take place? Often in the morning in that area, the sun might be shining directly in the eyes of the eastbound driver, who would have difficulty determining the actual speed of a bicycle moving quickly (westbound is downhill here). I’m very cautious about people turning left in front of me early and late in the day when the sun is at my back. I’ve also ridden this route almost as many calendar days are in the past two years – at least with the construction, crossing 7th is now possible. Nobody stops at the stop sign at 13th to yield, and often crossing at 20th is a long wait too.

    When I was learning to drive, I was taught to do so defensively – always ask, “What’s the danger? What’s different about this place that makes it unsafe? What do I need to pay particular attention to or watch for?” The reality is that it doesn’t matter who’s “at fault” in an accident except to the insurance companies – people get hurt, property is damaged, and it’s generally not a happy thing. They are bound to happen, but we can only blame ourselves if we fail to be vigilant, or just assume that another vehicle will behave a certain way because they’re supposed to according to the law.

    I was doing everything right the last time I got hit and feel lucky that my split second decision to turn slightly saved me any injuries vs. probably being in a coma. It was at night, and despite my blindingly bright flashers, the car that hit me really, honestly, did not see me at all. I’ve also almost been hit numerous times by errant bicyclists (while on my own bike) who run red lights, go unsafe speeds in certain areas, cut me off, shoal me at intersections and all other manner of things. Guess what, the sun is out now and all the people who can’t ride in the rain decide now’s finally a good time to dust off their bikes and hop on. They don’t know what is safe or not, what is up or down or how to ride in a straight line.

    Here’s what we all can do. Drivers: Keep your eyes open and watch for bicyclists, especially on marked bike routes. Seasonal cyclists: wear a helmet and lights and stop at stop signs and red lights, staying stopped until it is a green light or safe to proceed (when at a stop sign). Seasoned cyclists: Expect the unexpected, and try to help seasonals who get flat tires whenever possible.

    I’m sorry for the lady who got hit, really. It sucks to be down for a long time with injuries that may take years to fully heal, if ever. Based on the incomplete information in the story, it would seem the driver was probably at fault, and will likely pay the financial burden of the affair. Hopefully the system will work the way it’s supposed to for the injured party, but at least it wasn’t also a hit and run. Moral of the story folks? Be careful out there!

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  • hogan46 July 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I hate to say this but several times I have found that it is much faster to take Ankeny from Burnside to get to 12th rather than going down Burnside and then Couch and left to 12th (3 signals??) when I am in the “cage”. I am familiar with Ankeny from when I ride my bike and know that it is a much more direct route than the Burnside etc. route. To preserve Ankeny as a primary bike route there needs to some sort of restriction to using it as an alternative.

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  • Andrew (#1) July 7, 2010 at 1:40 am

    are #24: That is very well put, thank you. Geller?

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  • ruhbie July 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Ankeny has (since 1988) been my preferred route to NW Portland, I have recently had to brake sharply to avoid cars that either blow through the stop signs or turn without stopping……I am also one who does not ride on through streets like Burnside, Hawthorne, Belmont etc feeling that with the nice bike routes we cyclists do not need to be there.

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  • david....no! the other one July 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

    On my way to the baseball game last night, from Gresham we drove(sorry) Burnside to 14th? to Couch. Couch couplet to Burnside Br.
    Somehow with the direction one way and with TWO lanes it seemed narrower, than it did with ONE each direction. Also drivers each slowed at each intersection to dertermine WHERE they were at in relation to Burnside.
    The curves in the couplet are interesting, a bus was driving along side us, and thru the curves the driver was very cautious, thank you tri-met. Unfortunately, the driver ahead of me was all over the road, went into the opposite lane(on comming traffic) then swerved into the buses lane. This happened at about 5:20 in the evening.
    I also noticed traffic seemed to speed up going through the couplet, asthough they were getting on a freeway.

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  • Emy July 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I live right on Burnside and SE 24th ave.. My route anywhere is pretty much Ankeny. I also was nearly ran over by a truck making a left turn and I guess didn’t see me riding in the opposite direction. Many cars seem to be making illegal turns off of Burnside onto Ankeny due to the construction. People get irritated cause they have to wait and rush over to streets that should not be treated like a major street such as Burnside. We don’t need irritated drivers hustling down any roads.. Maybe we should make our own diversions.. our own signs to help drivers realize that Ankeny and other streets are also high volume bike traffic streets too!

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  • trail user July 7, 2010 at 10:10 am

    #24

    In Seattle they also have sharrows everywhere, including heavy traffic streets with 35+ mph limits. I remember riding a main thoroughfare through Bellevue and being surprised and welcome at once that there were sharrows reminding drivers a cyclist may be around a fast, blind corner. Personally I feel much safer sprinting in an wide open lane than a narrow bike shoulder.

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  • Oliver July 7, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Bollards. Bollards. Bollards.

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  • Hazel July 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I saw what looked to be the aftermath of another bike/car collision on Ankeny and SE 9th on Monday. As someone who rides on Ankeny every day, I have noticed a huge increase in car traffic on Ankeny but also what seems to be a lot traffic crossing Ankeny from side streets. These folks tend to barely stop as well.

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  • Ryan July 7, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I can think of one simple way to discourage drivers from using bike boulevards at all: impose a low speed limit on them- 15mph, even 10mph. People who live on the streets would not be inconvenienced because they’d never have to travel more than half a block (to the nearest cross-street), but drivers looking for a convenient short cut or bypass (as in this Burnside/Ankeny example) just won’t go that slow. I know that reassigning speed limits is a bureaucratic nightmare, but I can dream.

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  • Jessica Roberts July 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Mindful Cyclist #22 said: I really, really wish that the city would….limit the cars that park closest to the intersection a maximum height of 5 feet.

    Parking is prohibited within 50 feet of an intersection when “the vehicle or a view obstructing attachment to the vehicle is more than 6 feet in height.” Full text here.

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  • MIndful Cyclist July 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Jessica (#36): Thanks for the info on that. It’s one of those laws that do not get enforced much, I guess.

    I do think, however, that six feet is really too high. There is a mini-van often parked on the corner of an intersection where I live that is just shy of six feet, yet it completely obstructs the view of oncoming car and bike traffic. Also, cars that are over five feet tall tend to be SUV’s or vans which are square in the back and make it that much more difficult to see around.

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  • SkidMark July 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    To the people in favor of proposing these ridiculously low speed limits,why do you want cars to take longer to get to their destinations? I would think you would want them to get where they are going sooner. Modern automobiles are more than capable of stopping from 25 mph,many of them are designed to travel at speeds greater than 100 mph so they have the brakes to match.

    Also, on a bicycle I average 15 to 18 mph occasionally being passed by commuter-racers. Should bicycles be held to 10 mph as well?

    25mph is plenty slow enough if you actually pay attention to the road.

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  • Ryan July 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    @SkidMark, #38: I can’t speak for everybody in favor of proposing these ridiculously slow speed limits, but for me… I don’t want cars to take longer to get where they’re going, I just want them to avoid bike boulevards. And since most drivers (and yes, too many cyclists) are in a big hurry, I think they would not drive on streets where they could only go 10 or 15. I was only suggesting those speed limits on bike boulevards.

    As for having the brakes to match the speeds, I believe that’s true. But that doesn’t help if the driver is too busy texting, drinking a latte, fiddling with the radio, fussing with children, etc. I’m quite aware that the technology is up to the task, but if the driver isn’t paying attention, the technology is irrelevant.

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  • BURR July 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    these drivers are diverting to Ankeny because they can go faster on Ankeny at 25 than they can sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on Burnside.

    Of course, most of them don’t drive 25 once they get there and lowering the speed limit is meaningless without enforcement.

    Since the cops don’t even ticket the speeders on Hawthorne, Division and other arterials, good luck ever getting them out to ticket speeders on the side streets. Most likely they would just end up giving a bunch of cyclists tickets anyway.

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  • SkidMark July 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    So you agree with me that people need to pay more attention to the road. It has nothing to do with the speed they are traveling at. I think they would pay even less attention if they drove slower.

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  • trail user July 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Ankeny street party!

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  • Whyat July 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I’m not sure how well kicking drivers off of Ankeny melds with the oft heard ‘Share the Road’. Cars are allowed to be on bike boulevards. They should be allowed to drive reasonable speeds. Purposely lowering the speed limits to ridiculously low speeds isn’t going to slow down drivers that are already breaking the law by rolling through stop signs. I have almost been hit on Ankeny near 13th by both cars and bikes that did not have the right of way. I’m just not sure how punishing law abiding vehicle operators will prevent this sort of occurrence.

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  • are July 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    the city does not have unilateral authority to set speed limits, but needs to get approval from ODoT. but as has been noted, a posted limit accomplishes not much anyway. what would be effective, and the city does have authority to do, would be to install various calming devices, such as diverters. there are already eight speed bumps on ankeny betw. 12th and 20th, but only the one diverter. maybe some of these swales we keep hearing about, or some of the street art they were supposed to put on clinton to help calm traffic there (still waiting).

    re comment 41, let’s turn the logic around and cause people to drive slower _because_ they have to pay attention.

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  • spencer July 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    call call call 911 EVERY time an accident happens and get a cop to issue a ticket and report. it will go on the record, and pay fix you and your bike. if you are injured seriously a police report will greatly enhance your case in court.

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  • Emy July 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    The car traffic on Burnside should just be directed toward Sandy and Ankeny should just be a bike boulevard! There are just too many accidents in correlation with the construction and there will only be more accidents causing the bicyclists to be at greater risk when riding.

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  • Margaux July 7, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Mindful Cyclist #22 and Jessica Roberts #36: Good points about the hazards and law regarding larger vehicles parked close to an intersection.

    You can call the city’s parking enforcement hotline to report parking violations in residential areas, but the neighborly thing to do is leave a polite note on the windshield first and see what happens.

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  • lothar July 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Just look at how close the car is to the curb.People cut left turns sharp like that when they are going fast after being stuck in traffic to try to get around. Oh BTW, looks like a out of state-er tearing through our streets as well. (one of those suburb states)

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  • Adam July 8, 2010 at 1:36 am

    I’m not surprised by this crash at all. It’s always been a case of “when” rather than “where”.

    Ankeny Street is a terrible, terrible street to ride a bike on during rush hour time. I don’t know a single car-driver among my friends who is aware of Ankeny Street’s bicycle boulevard status. The way they all see it, Ankeny Street is just an extra two-lane extension of Burnside, on which they can speed at will to avoid the lights, and get to SE 20th. All the taxi drivers I know take Ankeny instead of Burnside now. Car drivers come off the Burnside Bridge all the way down at Grand, & take Ankeny the entire way to 20th. I also see many, many, MANY drivers turn right onto Ankeny from SE 20th to avoid waiting at the light at Sandy.

    Much of the traffic using the boulevard is NOT the patient kind either. Think about it: what sort of motorists are the type that use bike boulevards for 20 blocks?? Answer: the impatient kind that rev their engines and honk their horns at you.

    It makes my blood boil to see SO MUCH non-local car traffic using the boulevard. And although I hate to sound whiny, it makes me even more mad to see how indifferently the City’s response has been thus far towards creating a safer fix on this bike boulevard (namely diversion at SE 6th, & again at SE 12th).

    I commute along Ankeny every day, and it’s the most fraught segment of my bike-commute, hands-down. I’ve grown to despise it and fear it, and it makes me sad, because this isn’t what a bike boulevard is supposed to be like, for me, for my friends, or for my family.

    Rant over!

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  • roger noehren July 8, 2010 at 2:04 am

    I’m very happy to see this issue of car drivers using Ankeny and other designated bike boulevards to avoid congestion on the neighboring arterials being discussed in this forum.

    This has been my pet peeve since I began working at the Bicycle Repair Collective (when it was where Citybikes’ mother shop is now) in 1981.

    I began working at Citybikes Annex at se 8th & Ankeny in 1995 and found the problem to be even worse (drivers turning off Grand and racing uphill to Sandy & 11th. Before the construction on Burnside, most would turn off Ankeny after the first or second speed bump.

    I have raised the issue many times and have recommended diverters every four or five blocks.
    There is no traffic calming whatsoever on lower Ankeny.

    There are frequent fender benders & car/bike mishaps in this vicinity.

    I started riding on Ash & Pine years ago – much mellower (& the hill is more gradual).

    I lived at se 24th & Yamhill which is adjacent to Belmont for 16 years. It is a neighborhood street with stop signs and no problem with drivers using it as a shortcut/speedway.

    I frequently ride on NE Rodney, another very relaxed neighborhood street (one block off MLK) with stop signs & no speeders.

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  • SkidMark July 8, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I can’t even begin to express how much I hate “traffic calming” whether on a bike or in a car.A grid is supposed to function as a grid,in other words you travel in x direction,then travel in y direction, instead of having to jog this way and that way every few block. It just make it take longer, once again making cars stay on the road longer. It is frustrating,which i believe is the exact opposite of calm.

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  • are July 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

    re comment 51, there is a coarse grid, with burnside and sandy and suchlike, and then there a finer grid, with ankeny and all those little neighborhood streets back there. you stay on the coarse grid, you don’t have to jog this way or even that. the only thing making cars stay on the roads longer is other cars.

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  • SkidMark July 8, 2010 at 11:16 am

    You’re missing the point. For it to truly be a grid you should be able to get from point a to point b on any street without zigzagging.

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  • are July 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    imagine for a moment, skidmark, that ankeny does not go to point b. are you saying we have to build it through? no? then think of the diverter as being the end of the road. for motorists.

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  • rigormrtis July 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    @48 Lothar

    “Oh BTW, looks like a out of state-er tearing through our streets as well. (one of those suburb states)”

    So you have such powers of prognistication that you can divine everything about a driver simply by their license plate? Surely it has occured to you that it might not even by the driver’s car or might have been someone who has moved here but not yet changed their tags.

    And yet you are probably flummoxed as to how and why drivers have stereotypes of bikers….

    you know, just by looking at the bike you can tell it was someone who zips through neighborhoods and does not pay attention to signs……hopefully that sounds as idiotic to you as your statement did to me.

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  • Daniel (teknotus) Johnson July 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Ankeny has gotten to be such a bad route with the construction that I started using Couch even though that is the major road now. At least there the traffic is fairly predictable. People who are trying to use cut throughs are both the impatient type, and operating in lost mode.

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