Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 18th, 2011 at 8:42 am
Remember our story last week about NE Sandy Blvd? We shared the experience of riding on that large arterial street through the eyes of Esther Harlow.
Despite a lack of comfortable bike access, many people like Harlow prefer riding on Sandy Blvd because it's a straight shot into the central city. While more significant bike access improvements on Sandy aren't in the near-term pipeline, Harlow had an idea to improve bike access she felt would help the situation immediately.
To make the bike/car interactions a bit more pleasant, Harlow wants to have "Bikes on Roadway" signs installed. She made an official request to PBOT with her idea. Harlow heard back from a PBOT civil engineer and she shared the response with us. PBOT declined the request, but the engineer makes a reasonable case for his decision. The reply (below) might help others understand the thinking PBOT does before deciding whether or not to install signage (it's also cool to see a government agency take someone's request so seriously)...
"Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns regarding bicycle safety on NE Sandy Blvd. I appreciate your concern for the safety of Portland’s streets. As you requested, I considered the installation of BIKES IN ROADWAY signs on NE Sandy Blvd.
Bicycles have an equal right to the roadway as motor vehicles according to State law. The installation of such signs is not necessary to designate NE Sandy Blvd as a shared-use facility. Drivers of motor vehicles should expect to encounter cyclists on all public streets. The City prefers to install signs only where they would be most effective. For example, you may have seen similar signs on SE Hawthorne Blvd. That roadway features substandard lane widths which increases the risks to bicycle safety. NE Sandy Blvd features standardized lane widths and a straight, level alignment which provides drivers adequate visibility when approaching cyclists in the roadway. Additionally, the installation of such signs on NE Sandy Blvd would set a precedent that all arterials without bike lanes should have such signs. City-wide, this would require the installation of hundreds of signs, an undertaking which would be financially irresponsible to carry out. For the reasons listed above, I do not recommended the installation of BIKE IN ROADWAY signs on NE Sandy Blvd at this time."
The engineer also encouraged Harlow to contact him directly with any questions.
We've asked PBOT if there's anything planned — or anything possible — in the near-term to improve bike access on Sandy Blvd (there's a repaving project slated to start very soon). We'll keep you posted if we hear anything.