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See PBOT’s latest tweak to Broadway/Williams bike signal

Posted by on December 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am

Broadway Williams Bike Signal-1
PBOT crew at work this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

A Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) signal operations crew was out at the new Broadway/Williams bike signal this morning. The new signal was installed on October 13th to try and decrease the amount of right-hook collisions that have plagued the intersection for several years.

After over two months, even after some initial tweaks to make it work better, some motor vehicle operators are still not complying with the “no right turn on red” sign.

At issue is a curbside bike lane that is to the right of two right-turn only lanes. PBOT’s new bike signal gives the bike lane its own green light, but the problem is that people in the right-turn only lanes would see the green indicator and assume it was for them — and then make an illegal turn that put non-motorized traffic in danger.

Peter Koonce is the manager of PBOT’s traffic signal operations division. He says they think compliance has been “pretty reasonable” at Broadway/Williams given the complexity of the lane configuration. He said they’ve been trying to make the green bike signal indicator invisible to motor vehicle operators. They’ve used louvers to shield the indicator but the green light could still be seen.

This morning, Koonce’s crews installed an “optically programmed signal head.” Koonce said the new signal head allows them to change the aperture of the light to narrow its focus, thereby making the green light visible only to people in the bike lane. “Think of it like a laser, as opposed to a light bulb that can be seen 360 degrees.”

This morning, crews tweaked the green light on the bike signal so that it can be seen only from the bike lane. It seems to be working perfectly. Here’s some photographic evidence…

The photo below shows the view from the standard vehicle lane to the left of the bike lane. At this moment, the bike lane has a green light but notice that you can’t see any hint of green from this lane…

… But when you’re in the bike lane you can see the green light no problem.

The new bike signals are experimental treatments that have yet to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration. While Koonce acknowledges that, “There’s no national standard for this that’s one of our problems,” he also says, “we’re not going to rest until we feel like it’s as safe as it can be.”

This is a good improvement and hopefully signal compliance will continue to get better in the coming days and weeks.

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Comments
  • A.K. December 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Hmmm, interesting solution. We’ll have to see how this works.

    Though I think you’re being a bit optimistic/generous with this: “but the problem is that people in the right-turn only lanes would see the green indicator and assume it was for them”.

    Rather, I think it’s people driving like jerks because almost everywhere else right-on-red turns are legal, and no one has any patience to wait for their turn. If people driving are mistaking a green bike-shaped signal for them, they need to have their license revoked and be sent bike to drivers ed, or be taught basic comprehension skills.

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  • rider December 28, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I don’t think the reason people are still making right turns on red at this intersection is because they’re jerks is generally true. Moreso, I think it’s conditioning. I know when I take the Rosa Parks exit off I-5 southbound the light at the end of the ramp is a no right on red. I’m so conditioned though, to turn right on red that I have to make a conscience effort every time I approach it to not go into default mode. That’s why they installed the more attention getting flashing no turn sign, unfortunately it isn’t going to work every time.

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    • q`Tzal December 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      Funny that you use the word “conditioning” because both the “jerk” driving angle and the unconcious driving “conditioning” angle can be solved with what psychologists call “negative feedback”.

      Be it fines, licence revocation, jail time or something as simple as social stigma there simply is not enough negative feedback in the Good Ole US of A to encourage drivers to obey the law.

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    • spare_wheel December 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      i have no sympathy for this kind of thinking. driving on “autopilot” is like playing russian roulette with someones life.

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      While there is a lot to be said about paying attention for changes in traffic control devices, I wish people were more aware that they can turn on red arrow in the absence of a sign saying otherwise, and that left turns on red to a one-way street from a two way street are legal throughout Cascadia except where posted otherwise.

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      • Matt December 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm

        not true. Red arrow means that you cannot go that direction until you have a green arrow. You can’t turn right on red in the presence of a red arrow, even if there is no sign reminding you of that.

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        • Paul Johnson December 31, 2010 at 1:23 am

          You must be new, so I welcome you to Oregon. In BC, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, signals are mounted one over each lane on the far side of the intersection, you may turn right on red after stop, and you can turn left on red to any one-way street even if you’re on a two way street, and the arrow only indicates which direction you MUST turn in absence of other signage. You may turn on red arrow after stop. See page 25 of the current Oregon driver’s manual: You are already expected to know this before arriving in Oregon.

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  • Dave December 28, 2010 at 11:48 am

    This is pretty cool, and interesting technology – my only worry is that I hope it won’t confuse people when everyone in the bike lane just starts going suddenly, with no indication (to the person in the car) that anything changed. Of course, if they just follow their signal, nothing dangerous should happen, and I suppose people should get used to it eventually.

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    • PDXCyclist December 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. Will drivers get angry because they think cyclist are going on a red light when in reality the cyclist have a green light that the motorist just can’t see?

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      The NO TURN ON RED sign is only lit when the bicycle signal is yellow or green, based on what I’ve read on this intersection.

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  • Andrew Seger December 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Eh this is still really bad design that drivers wont follow ’cause it’s not intuitive.

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    • tonyt December 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      This.

      This intersection has gone from bad to worse. It is now a cacophony of signals and signs that becomes incomprehensible visual noise.

      It reminds me of doing demo on an old house of mine where I uncovered layer upon layer of bad remedies on top of bad solutions upon bad ideas.

      This intersection needs a redo. Is there not a creative soul in PBOT who can better approach this issue?

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  • adam December 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I drove by this area this morning and it seemed like someone had been injured or worse at this very location. can’t wait to read the official report on this one.

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  • Lazlo December 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    It’s been illegal to turn right on a red there for many years, and I think the addition of the bike signal increased the occurence of violatons. It seems like the bike signal goes green without being triggered by a bike, which may have added to driver confusion.

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm

      Most signals in the downtown area on one-way streets are timed to 5MPH below the posted speed limit. While it’s been a while since I’ve been through this particular intersection, I haven’t found evidence that the signal timing has changed.

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  • Alexis December 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    A friend of mine just reported being hit there today. No broken bones apparently but he may have other injuries. “Reasonable” compliance is a nice traffic engineering goal, but it isn’t much comfort to the people riding through here and getting hit.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm

      I saw the aftermath of a collision near here today, but it was not at the B’way/Williams intersection… it was down a block, west of Vancouver. I’ve got an update coming from PPB and will share more when I get it.

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      • Alexis December 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm

        Yes, I apologize for the misinformation here. I misunderstood my friend’s early report. He was hit at Vancouver where the situation is quite different.

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  • BURR December 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    more band aids on a patient that needs major surgery

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    • Aaron December 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      Burr. Very succinct and appropriate. I couldn’t have said it better

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      • Alex Reed December 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm

        Agreed!

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  • Ethan December 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I have watched some crazy dangerous stuff happening there (admittedly from the safety of a van) and I applaud PBOT using every arrow in their quiver to clearly communicate when cars must stop at this intersection.

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  • Paul Hanrahan December 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    People who turn right illegally will continue to do so. Not seeing the bike signal will aggrevate the situation because the drivers will percieve bikers breaking a red signal. Better they should see a green signal, but it should be in the outline of a cyclist, so the drivers will be aware that it is specifically for bicyclists. This keeps them aware of other traffic (us) and so they may be more cautious as they attempt to turn right on red illegally.

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    • A.K. December 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm

      I believe the signal for the cyclists WAS already in the shape of a bike (as shown in JM’s photos above), but drivers were ignoring it any ways.

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm

      This is why I really think ODOT needs to go back to allowing Joe Average to call DMV to request a retest for any driver.

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  • michweek December 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I don’t believe that anyone who has passed a driving test could mistake this signal treatment.
    What’s missing here is enforcement against offenders who are blatently braking the law.
    Aren’t there red light cameras in use elsewhere (beaverton comes to mind) specifically for right turns?
    Doesn’t it seem like negative reenforcement(sp) is a plausible strategy here rather than adding more and more signage?

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    • q`Tzal December 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      I think this is the slow incremential progress of politicians becoming aware of reality.

      In the redesign of this area cycle advocates screamed that this layout would be bad and this particular violation would be uncontrollable without a major redesign to the intersection. They didn’t believe us.

      The “upgrade” to the intersection occurred: the problem remains.
      The previous “upgrade” to the traffic lights occurred: the problem remains.
      This new “upgrade” to the traffic lights just occurred: the root cause of the problem (bad drivers) has not been resolved – the problem will remain.

      Welcome to the PBOT cyclist facility guinea pig area.
      Until we can prove that the old problems are not being solved with the old tools there won’t be any change to allow new solutions.

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      Californians might not be able to figure it out. Then again, you can get a California license pretty easily: Answer key available on request while taking the test, and if you get a high enough written score, it won’t matter if you fail the driving portion.

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      • JJJ December 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm

        Completely false.

        My sister took the California test. She did perfectly on the written, and failed her first driving trial. Where are you getting these lies from?

        Needless to say, the answer key is kept behind the desk of the DMV employee.

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        • JJJ December 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

          Just to add to that, you are allowed to see the answer key if you fail the written test, but you cannot retake the written test that same day, you have to reschedule it.

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  • Andrew Kreps December 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Neat-o.

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  • beth h December 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    “I don’t believe that anyone who has passed a driving test could mistake this signal treatment.”

    And therein lies the problem.

    While we’re talking about requiring bicyclists to get licensed, we haven’t mentioned the need for drivers to undergoe occasional refreshing and re-testing of their skills.

    I have a tough time trusting the “intuitive” nature of all this signal tweaking when non-compliance — willful or otherwise — is still such a huge issue.

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      Considering food handlers have to re-qualify every other year to flip burgers, why aren’t we requiring the same level of training out of motorists and bicyclists alike?

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      • Kt December 29, 2010 at 9:40 am

        Good question.

        As a driver, I’m all in favor of having to re-take at least the written portion of the test when I renew my license.

        It would be great if that renew test would include questions on cycling and walking, too– and that you have to get those questions right to pass the test. As in, even if you ace every other question but get those wrong, you don’t pass and have to take it again.

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  • Mark C December 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Seems like motorists comply with the signal at the west end of the Broadway Bridge, which is similar, so I would hope compliance at this location will improve as people get used to it.

    As I’ve said before, though, the best thing to do is head a few blocks farther north to Tillamook or Knott and bypass the whole mess via Flint.

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    • BURR December 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      you do realize that ODOT is considering eliminating the Flint overpass completely in all the proposed redesigns of the freeway in this area?

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      • matt picio December 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

        Yeah, the ODOT proposals as envisioned by the planning firm all look bad for cyclists. I hope the BTA is looking closely at that project – I definitely am.

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  • craig December 28, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Jonathan, what time was this? I drove there at about 11 am and noticed from my car that the green bike turn signal looked extremely bright from the car lane, and it occurred to me that this would easily be misinterpreted in a car driver’s peripheral view . This was before reading your article (just now).

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm

      I took the photos at about 10:30 am.

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      • K'Tesh December 30, 2010 at 2:33 am

        I started taking pictures there in 2008, after nearly getting hit at this intersection…

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157607183119733/

        You bet I raised HELL over it too.

        http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2360

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        • K'Tesh December 30, 2010 at 3:09 am

          Correction: I was nearly hit at Broadway/Lovejoy… not Broadway Williams…

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          • adam December 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

            I appreciate what K’Tesh is saying here because I used to navigate this area daily to and from downtown back to hollywood or wherever. to be polite, it is a hazardous area.

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        • Paul Johnson December 30, 2010 at 6:20 am

          I’m glad we read signage and the road ahead for unusual features when we ride…I saw the signal the first time I crossed the Broadway Bridge, also at night, back when the signal didn’t use a bicycle shaped filter inside the lens and only had the “BIKE LEFT TURN SIGNAL” above it.

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  • El Biciclero December 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    No amount of signalizing, special-signalizing, “no-right-on-red” signage, flashing red “no-right-on-red” signage–nothing short of retractable bollards or spike strips is going to make a straight-ahead bike lane safe when it is to the right of TWO right-only auto lanes. Nothing. Not. One. Thing.

    “we’re not going to rest until we feel like it’s as safe as it can be.”

    …Then either break out the paint and move the straight-ahead bike lane back over where it was (but farther over to accommodate the TWO right-only lanes), or break the bank and install retractable bollards. Oh yeah–or just declare it to be “as safe as it can be” and let the occasional cyclist get run over. No big. As long as the largest possible volume of Single-occupant motor vehicles can be shoved through the turn every minute. Since that’s the real priority here, not safety. Caveat cycleor.

    …right-hook collisions…have plagued the intersection for several years.

    …and many years to come.

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      Or stop honoring driver’s licenses with states that have poor licensing standards, and require mandatory retesting for all drivers, all ages every other year…

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      • q`Tzal December 29, 2010 at 8:34 am

        About the inevitable cost to taxpayers rant:
        charge all costs to the insurers.

        This would essentially privatize just the testing. This should force the auto insurers to draw they direct line from driver proficiency to profitability.

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        • Paul Johnson December 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

          Privatization never works. Just look at your electric bill, and realize that you’re paying twice as much for electric as Californians to pay off California’s electric bill from 10 years ago still.

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          • q`Tzal December 31, 2010 at 5:15 pm

            Just the driver training and testing.

            Similarly to the code inspection of buildings by government officials where the actually construction of buildings is donve by private entities.

            The DMV work load would then be lessened by a need

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          • q`Tzal December 31, 2010 at 5:29 pm

            … by a need to only certify trainers at insurance companies.

            Most driver insurers will want to train their liabilities/customers until they are not hemmoraging profit.
            Some comapnies will choose to scrimp on training; DMV and police records will show disproportionate vehicular incidents and the GOV will take action to decertify the company.

            BTW: privatization doesn’t never work – you may notice we are not in Soviet Russia. The are currently many private companies delivering goods or services that the government could if only we could find some way to motivate jaded apethic civil servants better than profits do.

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        • are December 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm

          how about we raise SR-22 rates through the ceiling and impound cars driven on suspended licenses

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  • A.K. December 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Mark C
    As I’ve said before, though, the best thing to do is head a few blocks farther north to Tillamook or Knott and bypass the whole mess via Flint.

    Agreed. When I lived in NE I’d never bike across the overpass on Broadway, and I consider myself a strong and confident cyclist (I take lanes without issue, riding among cars doesn’t bother me, etc. etc.). It just felt, to me, like it was asking for trouble to try and continue straight while two lanes of fast-moving traffic are trying to turn, thinking about the freeway and other cars rather than cyclists.

    It is one of the few areas I’d actively avoid.

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    • are December 29, 2010 at 10:37 am

      except that they have created a version of the same problem at the foot of the hill at larrabee

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  • Spiffy December 28, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    as El Biciclero points out…

    At issue is a curbside bike lane that is to the right of two right-turn only lanes.

    they can make this safe by installing lanes that aren’t in direct violation of their own laws… as we’ve read we aren’t required to bike in these lanes because of their location… their incredibly bad location… the rules were there before they “fixed” the intersection and they ignored them…

    keep the turn lanes against the side of the road… let cars merge into the turn lanes with the bike lane having right of way going straight… just like the book tells them to design it…

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    • Dave December 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      I don’t know that the situation we have in many places where the bike lane and right hand lane kind of “swap” in order to make a right-hand turn lane is really much better though – that always feels really awkward to me, and I have had people going for the right turn lane have to stop short, because they didn’t expect me to suddenly cut over in front of them.

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      • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:16 pm

        Their fault for not reading the road ahead.

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        • are December 29, 2010 at 10:39 am

          plus one

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    • Patrick December 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm

      You’re right about this configuration being an issue for a straight ahead bike lane, but what about all the people heading up Williams from Broadway? You have two major bike routes connecting here, and it would be foolish to not let people turn right onto Williams. I do this multiple times every week, and I’m glad the bike lane is where it is currently, so I’m not fight cars and slowing them down by being in the right-most turn lane.

      The current configuration is the best compromise for a major straight and right turn situation for bicycles.

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      • El Biciclero December 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

        Those wanting to turn right onto Williams would stay in the rightmost “car” turning lane.

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        • Patrick December 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm

          True, but whenever I cycled through there during an off peak hour I had cars whipping around me because I was in their turn lane and they wouldn’t wait for me. In that specific instance taking the lane was more dangerous, though I agree it is usually the safest method for a cyclist.

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  • Steve B December 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    It’s fascinating to watch the process of tweaking the signals here.. it’s a considerable challenge to segregate the different modal symbols, and I’m glad we’ve got talented folks working on it every week.

    I was out here the other day and watched two people on bikes fly through the red bike signal, while the two turning lanes had the green. Thankfully, two attentive motorists saw this, were traveling at a reasonable rate of speed, and were able to stop before a crash took place. Just wanted to share that it’s not just drivers who have compliance issues.

    Early on, there was a concept that included a concrete barrier at this intersection, separating bike and auto traffic. I hope such an idea for separation is considered going forward, Broadway presents a great opportunity for separation.

    The signals are top notch, but the lane striping on Broadway leaves a lot to be desired.

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    • El Biciclero December 28, 2010 at 5:59 pm

      …two people on bikes [flew] through the red bike signal, while the two turning lanes had the green.

      Interesting. Great effort has gone into making the bike signal invisible to motorists to avoid confusion, but the converse isn’t true. I suppose it’s a compliment that traffic engineers consider cyclists to be smarter than motorists in that they need no such clarification of whose signal is whose.

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      • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:06 pm

        More likely, cyclists need to be able to see the turn signals in advance as well in case they need to merge over to the turn lanes for a right turn.

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  • Stripes December 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Not sure if it’s been fixed since I last biked through this intersection, but the “No Turn On Red” lit up sign DID NOT FLASH.

    It really needs to flash for motorists to comply.

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm

      Never mind no other blackout sign flashes, and most drivers tune out flashing signs as advertisements.

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  • mello yello December 28, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    we need more paint on the ground, not this…maybe some red that says “Hey Numbnuts, Don’t Cross” or somesuch

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    • Paul Johnson December 28, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      Photo red light that also triggers a loud bell when someone runs it. Hey, works for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority toll plazas…

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  • spare_wheel December 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    it would have been less expensive to just install a red light camera.

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    • q`Tzal December 29, 2010 at 8:37 am

      I suspect that there will such an uproar at the idea of a red light camera that PBOT is trying to build their case incrementally so that they can go to the people and say “We’ve proved nothing else works here; we have to do this”.

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      • El Biciclero December 29, 2010 at 9:31 am

        Uproar from whom? Those that would have to pay for it, or those that would have their portraits taken for $200?

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  • El Biciclero December 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

    El Biciclero
    Uproar from whom? Those that would have to pay for it, or those that would have their portraits taken for $200?

    …I meant pay for the installation, just to clarify. Anyone caught by a camera could be considered to be “paying for it”…

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    • q`Tzal December 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      A great deal of the motoring public seems to be enraged at the mere existence of red light camera.

      A quick google of “red light camera” turns up less than a handful of unbiased information followed by page after page of hate filled screed and intensely convoluted avoidance schemes that will require more of the driver’s attention than actually driving safely.

      Even though there is no legal expectation of privacy in a public intersection nor inside autos with see through windows red light and speed cameras are believed to be yet another invasion of Big Brother.

      Red light cameras are a major paradigm change for drivers who are used to being able to drive lawlessly; we can expect them to be drug kicking and screaming in to the future.

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      • spare_wheel December 29, 2010 at 9:51 pm

        This is not a new paradigm. There are quite a few red light cameras in the pdx area.

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        • Paul Johnson December 29, 2010 at 10:16 pm

          I think what was meant was in the history of automotive transportation, red light cameras are pretty new. And there’s a lot of baby boomers who … hang on… GET OFF MY LAWN!!

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        • q`Tzal December 31, 2010 at 12:37 pm

          Right now they are an anomaly; the amount of deployed red light cameras deployed is less than 1% of the total traffic light equiped intersections in the Portland Metro.

          The government admits that drivers won’t obey the rules of the road withouth enforcement.
          The government admits that there is not enough money no manpower to police all problem areas.
          The government knows that certain basic offences can be addressed; speeding & red light running, with automated systems.

          Maybe we are clearing the carnage from high traffic roads too quickly.
          Perhaps if more people were to see the voilence inherent in the system enough of the public would care for progress to occur.

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  • are December 29, 2010 at 10:39 am

    plus one here as well

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    • are December 29, 2010 at 10:41 am

      sorry, this should have nested with biciclero’s comment that a cyclist turning right onto williams should get in the right turn lane

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  • Aperture December 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

    At some point, Portland should consider following the lead of New York City where the rule is simple and easy to remember: No turns on red. Any time. Anywhere.

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    • Paul Johnson December 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      That rule was such a massive failure that Québec has already reversed it, and New York is considering taking Québec’s lead on allowing right turn on red. The problem isn’t restrictions, you still can’t turn right on red if there’s pedestrians crossing, but with drivers who don’t obey the rules we already have.

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    • Joe Rowe December 30, 2010 at 10:18 am

      I drove my car to NYC and got a red light turn ticket. $250 tourist tax. NYC can get away with that, Portland can’t. Every time we try to make things more safe for pedestrians there is a media war of lies to flame the war of cars v safety.

      Look what happened with the crosswalk law that had like 4 revisions in 2 years of Salem back pedaling. I feel that raising a hand at a crosswalk should mean a ticket for the driver who does not stop.

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  • Jack December 29, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Aperture
    At some point, Portland should consider following the lead of New York City where the rule is simple and easy to remember: No turns on red. Any time. Anywhere.

    I couldn’t disagree more. Safety should always be the highest priority, but efficiency is still on the list.

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  • BURR December 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Screw efficiency, right on red is the ultimate motorist-first law. It assumes that motorists are smart enough to determine when traffic is clear and it is safe to turn right on red but; for example, that pedestrians looking at the exact same traffic situation are too stupid to see that the way is clear and it is safe to cross against a red light.

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    • are December 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      what makes it unsafe for the pedestrian is the right turn on red

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      • BURR December 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm

        I always step out into the street and make the RTOR motorist wait for me to cross.

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  • Allan December 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Just a comment. As a result of this change, traffic coming from points south getting off at the I-5 Rose Quarter exit used to take a left onto broadway and then a right onto williams to head into the neighborhoods. Most of that traffic now goes straight across broadway and then left on the next block (hancock), then right at williams. From what I can tell, this reduces the number of vehicles turning right at this intersection while increasing cut-through traffic in the “neighborhood” although nothing is really on those streets (victoria, hancock).

    Does PBOT care about this? Is this an acceptable outcome? I think yes, but I wonder if anyone else has noticed this/cares.

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  • tonyt December 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    If you’ve got to throw this many signals and signs and a freakin’ polarized light at an intersection . . . STOP!

    You’re doing it wrong.

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    • Paul Johnson December 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Turn and restricted lane signals are already usually polarized. Oregon’s addendum to the MUTCD requires one signal per lane, anyway (though some older (pre-1990s) intersections that haven’t had recent retrofitting still lack signals over the bike lanes)

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    • Spiffy December 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      I think you’re on to something here…

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    • adam January 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

      tonyt for mayor

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  • jim December 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Why not put the bike signal on a post on the sidewalk right next to where the bikes stop? The separation would help motorists differentiate the two types of signals

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    • Paul Johnson December 29, 2010 at 10:03 pm

      Signal placement is standardized so people have an expectation where to look for their signal and can see it easily without taking their eyes off the rest of the intersection. Placing it on the near-side of the road would not be ideal for visibility or driver expectation.

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      • JJJ December 29, 2010 at 11:44 pm

        Actually, signals are placed on the far side so that a motorist stopped at the line can see the signal AND the crosswalk in front of them. The logic is that a signal placed on the nearside would have them look UP, and away from the street. Obviously, this logic came before SUVs.

        Bikes don’t have that issue. You can have a nearside signal and still have 100% visibility of the street. Just place the signal at bike height, and not 9 feet up, like a car signal.

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        • Paul Johnson December 29, 2010 at 11:47 pm

          Do you usually expect signals to appear on the near side of the street? If a truck breaks down and is against the curb for emergency parking, how are you supposed to see the signal when approaching? Low signals also are targets for theft and vandalism.

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          • JJJ December 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

            Do cyclists expect bike signals…?

            These are pretty new, why not create the near side expectation?

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          • jim December 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

            many street corners have stop signs that would be blocked by a broken down trucks. Normally a truck would not just decide to stop right there. Most truck drivers know that it is illegal to park a vehicle over 6 ft high at an intersection and will not do that.

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        • jim December 30, 2010 at 12:08 am

          Portland might even still have one of those old corner mount stoplights around in the boneyard somewhere. It would be kind of cool to have an old retro signal for the bikes

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  • JJJ December 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    How much money has been spent on the failure of this project so far? Is the guy in charge related to the contractors who keep going out there to “fix” it?

    The only logical answer was clear on day one.

    Straight traffic should be to the left of right turning traffic. Always. No ifs or buts.

    Real easy project.

    Stripe right turn lanes on the right. Stripe bike lane to the left of them. Paint it green.

    At most, you’d need one sign
    “Right turning traffic yield to bikes”

    But even that would not be necessary.

    And that signal pole violates the number 1 rule of traffic engineers:
    -Use as few signs as absolutely necessary.

    One Way!
    Only!
    No Turn on Red!
    Only!
    No Turn on Red!
    Bike Signal!

    Is this a speed reading test or an intersection?

    You know how many bike signals would have been needed if you placed the bike lane on the left?

    Zero.

    How many flashing signs?

    Zero.

    How many optical tricks?

    Zero.

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    • jim December 30, 2010 at 12:05 am

      even if the bike lane was on the left, there are still people running red lights

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      • are December 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        this particular signal phase would not exist if the bike lane was to the left of the right turn lanes. anyone turning right against the red would be clipped by cross traffic. you can bet motorists will defer to that risk a bit more readily than the risk of taking down a cyclist or a pedestrian.

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  • HarryTasker December 29, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I pass through this intersection frequently. The issue isn’t the light or placement, it is timing. Right now the bike lane gets the green light before the cars in the right turn lane but at the same time as the cars heading forward on broadway. This tends to have drivers eager to go right off the line as soon as they see green, even if not for their lane. If the light on Victoria, the street before Williams, goes red before the light on Williams then that will allow the block between williams and victoria to clear and it is then that the cyclists should go, there may be a few cars turning on from victoria, but that is a great deal less than those heading straight on broadway.

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  • K'Tesh December 30, 2010 at 3:27 am

    DAMN!!! Those lights look just like the ones at Broadway/Lovejoy. I’ve been trying to get improvements made there. Anyone? Anyone?

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    • are December 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      your mileage obviously differs, but for the most part my experience has been that motorists do respect the signal at the west end of the broadway bridge. possibly this is a function of the device having been in place for awhile, and maybe PBoT calculates that the same will happen here.

      but in my view this is an entirely different situation. though pushed to the side by the lane striping, cyclists are sharing the same road surface here, and there are two forced right turn lanes.

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  • One Less :( December 30, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Maybe its time for PPB to do a traffic “sting” at this intersection. I’m guessing the people that ignore the signal one day, do it everyday because there is never anyone to slap their hand and give them a ticket.

    Come on coppers, do yo job, and bust them bad drivers already!

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    • jim December 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      They do a lot of stings at that intersection. Most people are satisfied with one ticket and don’t do that anymore, problem is the high volume of cars.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    In response to ‘Paul’s comment about near side traffic signals…in my professional experience they are very effective and useful for bicyclists and pedestrian when set up correctly, as is common in Northern Europe. Sadly they are not a more common tool in the US…

    …Nearside signals are self-enforcing the behaviour of keeping motorists back off of marked crosswalks/ stop bars and help to open up the sight triangle at intersections. They do need different intersection engineering, take away some traffic capacity and often need a smaller bike friendly signal head lower on the nearside signal pole. Their effect on right turn on red movement also tends to restrict their adoption too.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    It is easy to forget that the wide scale adoption of “right turn on red” is a very recent in the lifespan of our communities. I remember it coming out to NJ in the late 70′s/ early 80′s…out of the desire to keep traffic moving for purposes of fuel savings (oil shock #2) and not to improve traffic safety.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Looking back at Jonathan’s photos of the signage at this intersection…the right turn only sign is missing the allowed “except bicyclists” regulatory sign?

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    • are December 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      that’s because cyclists are “supposed to” be in the bike lane, which is not controlled by that sign. if a cyclist were in one of the two right turn only lanes, s/he would be required to turn. the only way out of this is to take the third lane. because the bike lane here is non-standard, taking the third lane is arguably legal.

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      • Paul Johnson December 31, 2010 at 1:34 am

        Without the “except bicyclists” tab, no turns are allowed on red, even if you’re on a bicycle, regardless of what lane you are in. Wait your turn. This intersection gets a lot of bicycle traffic in both directions.

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      • jim January 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        I have noticed bikes doing this at the light, I don’t know if it is really legal? I guess we will find out. It will catch on as bikes will notice that they don’t have to wait for the signal if they go around in that 3rd lane…

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  • adam December 30, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    can we just get an easy way for bikes and peds to get thru or around the rose garden already?

    I mean, how long do we have to ask nicely for some real safety while we ride around?

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  • jim December 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    The painted stop line for bikes needs to be moved back a few feet from the corner. The cars in the right lane turning onto williams tend to run accross the end of the bike lane, this can’t be safe. It is a common thing for painted lines for cars to be set back when they think turning traffic might encroach in on them, especially trucks that need every inch they can get.
    Please don’t censure this, I think it is an important safety issue and it contains nothing political.

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    • Paul Johnson December 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

      Except the idea that people should not cut corners and stay in their own lane.

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      • jim December 31, 2010 at 7:58 pm

        It’s a bad design. Phsycally a truck will use all of that corner. They just need to move the line back a few feet for safety sake. Its not just bikes, some car lanes are held back also in places

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  • Paul Johnson December 31, 2010 at 11:21 am

    JJJ
    Do cyclists expect bike signals…?

    Given that other kinds of restricted lanes have their own signals, it shouldn’t be a surprise.

    These are pretty new, why not create the near side expectation?

    Because we’re talking about a restricted lane signal, ultimately, and the standard for those was long since established for the far side of the intersection, over the lane. The only thing that’s really nonstandard about the bike signals is the shape of the filter inserted behind the lens (the bicycle logo).

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    • JJJ January 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Why are you so content to lump bikes and bike signal/signs etc in the same pile of laws as signals designed for trucks and cars?

      Who will be using the bike signals?
      Bikes, and only bikes.

      It doesn’t matter what the standard is for restricted lane signals used by buses or trucks….they won’t be using this! They don’t need to expect to see the signal because they won’t be using it.

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  • adam January 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I have, literally, biked all over this world. portland is the first place I have been where politicians are patting themselves on the back so hard they cannot make anything happen. Amanda Fritz excluded.

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  • suburban January 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    It’s still effective to use the wider through-lane, as there is obviously a hazardous condition in the narrower lane.

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