Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 9th, 2010 at 12:15 pm
against it, some people are riding
across the bridge in the
main travel lane.
(Photos © J. Maus)
I spent some time yesterday watching how people on bikes were handling the detour onto the Broadway Bridge. The bridge just (partially) re-opened to traffic last Friday and currently there are two lanes open as well as the south sidewalk. All bike traffic is supposed to only use the sidewalk, but I noticed yesterday that some people are taking the lane and there's some confusion about how to get onto it.
Directing all bike traffic to just one side of the bridge is complicated. When streetcar project folks did a similar closure the first time, it went relatively smoothly; but that's likely due to the fact that the south sidewalk was the only thing open and there were construction crew members out there to direct traffic. Now, not only are there two lanes open on the bridge, but the work crews are absent — and the result is a bit more mixing of traffic.
Most of the traffic heading westbound comes west down Broadway. When people on bikes get to N. Larrabee (the last intersection before rolling onto the bridge), they're faced with several options. Some people notice the "Detour: Bikes use crosswalk" signs and cross Larrabee to the sidewalk on the northwest corner to wait for the signal to then go south across Broadway and onto the bridge sidewalk. Others have already merged into the left turn lane of Broadway (which now has streetcar tracks in it) and they swoop into the bridge's south sidewalk on the green light.
But there are some folks who see the open traffic lane on the bridge and just take the lane. This is a legal move to make, but it's not recommended. I was surprised at how many people just rode right over the bridge on the open lane. One woman realized her error about half way across, dismounted, crossed the opposing (eastbound) lane, then carried her bike over the guardrail and onto the sidewalk. A few other guys started west in the travel lane and then swooped over to the bikeway/walkway — across the opposing travel lane — at the last minute. Here are a few more photos of folks taking the lane on the bridge...
officer, yet continued across the bridge
in the main travel lane, only to dismount
and make her way onto the
south sidewalk about half way across.
In the 20 minutes or so I observed the intersection, I heard a few horns and it seemed to be a bit more chaotic than it should be... and I haven't even observed what happens on the west side of the bridge yet.
Thankfully, Carter McNichol, construction manager for Portland Streetcar, tells me that the north sidewalk will be open a week from this Friday (9/17).
How is the Broadway Bridge detour going for you? Are you happy you've at least got the south sidewalk or are you waiting until both sides are open before switching back to your old route? I'd also love to learn more about how people are navigating the east side of the bridge onto Broadway and Lovejoy.
View more photos of bike traffic navigating this detour in our gallery.