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Solution for Ladd Circle stop sign issue? Cookies

Posted by on July 1st, 2011 at 6:40 am

After reading and thinking about the latest debates over the stop signs at Ladd Circle, 24-year old Sellwood resident Joe Hand decided to take the issue into his own hands — or should I say, into his own oven.

Hand, a Colorado native who came to Portland to attend Reed College and then stayed here because he “loved it,” decided to embark on what he calls “an experiment in kindness.”

“Replace every controversial stop sign with a fresh chocolate chip cookie dispenser. Now, obviously this will be delicious. Sadly this is not a long term solution.”

On Wednesday night, Hand baked 100 chocolate chip cookies and then stood at the intersection of SE Ladd Avenue and Ladd Circle during the evening bike rush hour with a sign that read, “STOP for a Free Chocolate Chip Cookie.” This was the first of many experiments Hands plans to do with the goal to, “Address controversial issues with unconventional methods to put fresh perspective on the situation.”

Approaching the cookie experiment like any respectable Math-Economics graduate would, Hand documented the results and shared his observations on his blog (a highly entertaining read).

In a 30-minute stint (from 4:45 to 5:15), Hand says about 100 bike riders stopped (which was, “not even close to half” he recalls).

While he’s humble about any lasting impacts his experiment might have on people’s riding behavior, Hand says the he received a lot of positive feedback from neighbors and riders. And, in a nod to his greater mission, “Lots of people walked or biked away smiling.”

Beyond the smiles, Hand took away some important insights from his observations. On cars: “Cars exist on a different scale than bikers and walkers. They were very difficult to interact with.” On bikes: “People with headphones were mostly oblivious and generally slowed the least,” and “Most people stop when they have personal incentive to do so.”

He’s convinced that simply changing the stop signs to yields won’t solve all the problems (mostly, it won’t improve the situation for people trying walk across the intersection). Until the City does more significant engineering work, Hand suggests more respect and courtesy is the answer.

Hand says he hopes to tackle more controversial transportation issues with similar experiments throughout the summer. Read his recap of the experiment at SmilingJoe.com/freecookies.

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  • Paul Manson July 1, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Awesome!

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  • single track July 1, 2011 at 8:01 am

    So I’ve tried to change my stopping habits in Ladd’s. I’ve begun to put my foot down each way after seeing my fiance on the video earlier this week. I stopped the other night only to have a car lock up their brakes and come with feet of SLIDING into me and my bike.
    RE-engineering of the circle to slow traffic speeds needs to be done so that those who obey the law aren’t put in danger. Please put in yields and deflect cars more

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    • wsbob July 1, 2011 at 11:22 am

      “…I stopped the other night only to have a car lock up their brakes and come with feet of SLIDING into me and my bike. …” single track

      Did you use the hand stop signal sufficiently in advance of your stop, to indicate to the person driving the car behind you, that you were going to stop? Road users back from an intersection can’t always see stop signs until they actually get to the intersection, so persons ahead of them, signaling for a stop can be very important.

      Note the comments following yours, of Laurel, Eliot, and Antload. They’re some of the people that are familiar with this signal and use it regularly.

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      • Kristen July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

        Using hand signals is a great idea– except that while most car drivers know the hand signals to indicate turns, not many know the hand signal to indicate SLOWING or STOPPING. So I’m not sure if it would have helped in this case.

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        • wsbob July 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm

          I didn’t check just before writing this, but I think the hand stop signal is covered in the Oregon Driver’s Manual…so at least motor vehicle operators would know this signal.

          Many people riding bikes though, since no testing whatsoever, is required of them to ride a bike on the road in traffic, probably don’t know the hand stop signal, or how to properly use it. More people that ride bikes using the signal, would help refresh the minds of other road users that this signal represents a valid indication that the person making the signal, is preparing to stop. People…the hand stop signal is power…learn it and use it.

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        • wsbob July 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

          Kristen…o.k. … I took an opportunity to look at the 2010-2011 Oregn Driver’s Manual to check into what it says about hand signals for turning and stopping. It does talk about all three signals and show a graphic at (section/page) 2-38.

          I’ll say though, that the graphic is poor. It shows a picture of a person signaling from within a car. The arm position shown for stopping is poor: the persons’ arm held downward at a 90 degree angle to the uppers arm, rather than a more visible 45 degrees. There’s no graphic of a person on a bike displaying the signals. I suppose then, it’s possible that people studying to get their drivers license may not be clearly provided with examples of people on bikes displaying hand signals for turns and stops.

          Section 2-80 of the manual, is titled ‘Bicylcles’. That section is written to speak to both people that will be driving motor vehicles, and to people that will be riding bikes in traffic. The basically 3 page section mentions a lot of cautionary stuff to the motor vehicle crowd, including some of the current buzz-word issues, but it mentions nothing about watching for display of hand signals by people riding bikes, for intention to turn or stop. The very last paragraph of the section speaks directly to people riding bikes, advising them to signal right and left turns, but does not mention signaling for stops.

          I was disappointed that writers of the 2010-2011 Oregn Driver’s Manual weren’t able to convey information about people riding bikes in traffic, displaying hand signals…in a more clear and concise, easier to understand and remember manner. That this manual doesn’t provide that information in a more clearly understandable and easy to recollect way may be contributing to a lack of awareness on some road users part, about the meaning of hand signals for turning and stopping, as displayed by people riding bikes in traffic.

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          • Paul Johnson July 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

            The difference between the correct 90° version of the stop signal and the technically incorrect but still entirely recognized by any one with a clue straight-arm version is negligible enough to not warrant a separate diagram for anyone bright enough to be driving or bicycling to start with.

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          • wsbob July 3, 2011 at 12:09 am

            “…is negligible enough to not warrant a separate diagram…” Paul Johnson

            Not ‘a separate diagram’ …an improved diagram is what’s needed. An improved diagram is what the drivers manual needs to help people understand what a properly made hand stop signal should look like to other people using the road.

            It’s important to actually go to the Oregon Driver’s Manual and look at the diagram referred to. Your response suggests you haven’t looked at the diagram.

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    • BURR July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

      LOL, the only time I do a full stop is when there is a motorist behind me…

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      • Roger Geller July 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

        Hmmm, maybe another good time to stop is when there’s a pedestrian waiting to cross the street…

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  • Spiffy July 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

    packed full of awesome! this is the best way I’ve seen so far to get people on bikes to stop at stop signs…

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  • 9watts July 1, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I’m not sure why you think a fresh chocolate chip cookie dispenser in place of every controversial stop sign isn’t a long term solution. Someone should do the math, but in light of the insane budget that was mentioned here a few days ago in relation to ‘fixing’ the problem at Ladd’s Circle, perhaps the cookie approach is a bargain?

    Better yet, get the neighbors to bake and hand out the cookies, with the tax payers picking up the tab for the flour and chocolate. Win win?

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  • Katie July 1, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I got a cookie! And, sadly, was so delighted (& distracted) that I nearly hit a jogger on my way out of the circle, a first for me. Ah unintended consequences!

    In spite of this, I am highly in favor of the more-cookie solution to city controversies. Also, for the record– those cookies were GOOD.

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    • ian July 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Joe makes the best cookies in the world.

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      • SR July 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

        Seconded.

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  • SmilingJoe July 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for the positive comments everyone!

    I am working on my next experiment in kindness. I love making and giving out cookies, but also want to branch out a bit. I hope to do one major experiment per week this summer and lots of smaller acts of kindness daily.

    If anyone has ideas for more experiments or comments- send me a note or leave them here.

    Also, thank you Jonathan for the great review! This is my first time writing anything substantial online and your review gives me lots of motivation to continue.

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  • John Mulvey July 1, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Great story. (He’s right about changing to yield signs.)

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  • Laurel July 1, 2011 at 9:31 am

    He’s also right about looking both ways when entering the circle, and yielding to pedestrians. Also, does anyone else make the “stop” signal (left arm bent downward) anymore? This helps cyclists (and cars) behind you know that you’re stopping. I have never seen another cyclist make the signal, just curious if anyone else uses it.

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    • Elliot July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am

      I use this when I have bike traffic behind me. I especially use it at Ladd Circle, because the cyclists behind me may not expect me to actually stop at the stop sign and/or for pedestrians at the crosswalk… many often don’t slow down, and just blow by me on the right anyway…

      Haven’t been through there in a while though – maybe it’s changed?

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    • Antload July 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

      I’m with you. I use the “stopping/slowing” hand signal all the time to communicate to car drivers. “I’m observing right-of-way” is the easily discernible message. Otherwise, car drivers are prudent to assume that I’m NOT observing right of way. My cycling brethren have created a trend that requires defensive driving.

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    • wsbob July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

      “…Also, does anyone else make the “stop” signal (left arm bent downward)…” Laurel

      I certainly use this signal, and it’s very effective. In using it, it’s important to be conscious of how the way in which you happen to be making the signal, is visible to road users behind you. Have the arm clearly away from your body, for at least 5-7 seconds.

      Personally, when I’m making this signal, I also move it back and forth maybe 10 degrees along an arc, because I think the movement can help road users see that a signal is being made. Generally though, just making the signal seems to help a lot. My experience has been that once I’ve made the signal, rear approaching vehicles often dramatically reduce their speed and actually back off.

      By the way, awarding cookies for stopping at stop signs is smart thinking! Joe Hand, the guy making this effort has got a great idea. Positive psychology can be a very effective method of change.

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      • Laurel July 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

        “My experience has been that once I’ve made the signal, rear approaching vehicles often dramatically reduce their speed and actually back off.”

        That’s my experience as well. The way I make the signal, even if folks aren’t familiar with it, it looks like I’m making a flat-palmed “back off” signal, which I think is pretty universal.

        Another area where this signal is really important is group rides like bridgepedal & sunday parkways where there are many riders close next to you and close behind you. Hooray for communicating your intentions to people around you! :)

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    • justin July 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      I definitely use this signal. the only issue is if i need to make a sudden stop, sometimes i need both hands on the brake levers and cannot signal. How do you cover this situation? I typically try to follow at a farther than safe distance to avoid the sudden stops, but they still happen from time to time.

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      • wsbob July 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

        “I definitely use this signal. the only issue is if i need to make a sudden stop, sometimes i need both hands on the brake levers and cannot signal. How do you cover this situation? I typically try to follow at a farther than safe distance to avoid the sudden stops, but they still happen from time to time.” justin

        justin…good point. This is one of the areas where riding a bike in traffic is technically more difficult than operating motor vehicles such as cars and small trucks that have four wheels and turn signals and brake lights.

        Displaying hand turn and brake symbols while riding a bike requires a hand off the bars, so balancing the bike becomes a more critical skill that people have to allow themselves time to learn. Putting more weight on the single arm supporting the upper torso requires conditioning muscles to develop better muscle control of them for improved balance ability without both hands on the bars.

        Obviously, people riding bikes have to prioritize not losing their balance and falling off the bike, for whatever reason, hand signals included. People riding bikes in traffic have to be taking road surface conditions and traffic conditions into consideration as they prepare to hand signal intentions(bumpy roads…vehicles ahead, abruptly stopping, etc). That makes their opportunities for signaling turns and stops more limited than those of people operating motor vehicles, who can basically activate their signals regardless of road or traffic conditions.

        People making hand signals while riding bikes in traffic have to pick good moments when they can safely do so. Road and traffic conditions may not allow them to sustain the signal through the entire period between when they first display a signal to when they actually turn or stop, whichever is the case; they may have to display the signal…temporarily bring hands back to bars…resume signaling, etc., etc, before completing the action the signal is being displayed for. If the road or traffic looks to be crummy, sometimes the thing to do is begin signaling further in advance for the intended action.

        The impression I’ve got from other road users, particularly motor vehicle operators, but also most recently, someone on a bike behind me on Millikan Way in Beaveton…is that they really appreciate people riding bikes indicating their intentions with hand turn and stop signals. They tension of traveling in traffic goes down a little when they know in advance, where the guy or gal ahead of them on the bike is going to go or what they’re going to do.

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  • q`Tzal July 1, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Bensen Bubblers at every place PBOT wants cyclists to stop.
    Even the racers need water and then they would be carrying less weight.

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  • A.K. July 1, 2011 at 9:40 am

    OK, this is a pretty clever idea.

    However, in the spirit of the grand tours of Europe, and with the TdF about to start, I think someone needs to take it upon themselves to set up a “feed zone” right before the circle in Ladd’s.

    That way, cyclists can continue to ride though at full speed, and just be handed a bag of snacks and drinks – without even stopping.

    That would be a win/win for everyone! ;)

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  • are July 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

    someone raised the following point the other day on another of these threads, and i think this experiment needs to be run and the data published:

    a motorist slowing to three or five mph is perceived to have stopped, while a cyclist slowing to three or five mph is seen as rolling through (which of course she is, but so is the motorist).

    experiment: what we need is a lot of footage, continuous, unedited, showing actual behavior at thus and such an intersection, and then we need quite a number of untrained people to view the footage (independently) and note the number of motorists and cyclists they think they see stopping or rolling through.

    hypothesis: people will tend to underrate the number of motorists rolling through, because they do not actually see what they are seeing.

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    • BURR July 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

      pay attention to the cyclists feet as they roll the stop sign. very few of them pedal through; most of them coast and thus are prepared to stop if necessary.

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      • davemess July 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

        that logic doesn’t work if the cyclist is riding a fixed gear though.

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  • Steph Routh, WPC July 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Love it! Thanks very much, Joe. Brilliant idea.

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  • deborah July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Thanks for the cookies Joe!

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  • Lois Moss July 1, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Great idea…great blog post…great Joe!

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  • Roma July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am

    That’s great and everything, but there’s no way in hell I’m taking anything from a stranger on the street and putting it in my mouth.

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    • jeff July 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

      I’m with you. He offered. I stopped and declined. I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not eating out of a community cookie bowl from a stranger.

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      • wsbob July 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

        “…I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not eating out of a community cookie bowl from a stranger. …” jeff

        If everyone passing by is reaching into the bowl of cookies that are all together, that might be of some concern. Joe Hand could be wearing a food service glove and handing the cookies to people taking him up on his offer. That would mostly resolve the transmittable disease concerns.

        Life has it’s risks though. I’m willing to take some to be able to enjoy small pleasures such as helping kids make a little money by buying snacks at their neighborhood lemonade stands. Some kids had a stand set up on Hewett Blvd a couple weeks ago…really nice stop over after a few spins around Fairmount.

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        • Roma July 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

          wsbob
          “…I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not eating out of a community cookie bowl from a stranger. …” jeff
          If everyone passing by is reaching into the bowl of cookies that are all together, that might be of some concern. Joe Hand could be wearing a food service glove and handing the cookies to people taking him up on his offer. That would mostly resolve the transmittable disease concerns.

          I’m not worried about germs so much as someone putting something I don’t want in my body into something they’re trying to feed me. If this caught on it would only be a matter of time before you’d have some anti-bike nut passing out Ex-Lax brownies to unsuspecting commuters. So Jow could be wearing gloves and a hair net, but to me he’s still a stranger with unknown motives.

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          • Roma July 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

            Oops – I obviously meant Joe not Jow.

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          • wsbob July 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm

            “…If this caught on it would only be a matter of time before you’d have some anti-bike nut passing out Ex-Lax brownies to unsuspecting commuters. …” Roma

            I don’t mean to be insensitive to your concern for safe and healthy snacking. Kind of doubt though, that Joe’s idea could ever be a viable means of getting everyone to stop for stop signs (good cookies aren’t cheap to make!), but it’s a positive, upbeat way to get a point across to people.

            Ex-Lax brownies? o-o-o-h-h…that’s old school prankster stuff. For whoever was actually stupid enough to try something like that in a situation like this, it might turn out worse for them than it would be for people that unwittingly sampled a brownie loaded up that way.

            Back to routes across Ladd’s: Some of the folks that don’t like stopping at Ladd’s stop signs…just for an experiment in comparison…for a couple weeks, use the streets on Ladd’s perimeter instead. See how your route using those streets, compares to using streets within Ladd’s and stopping at the stop signs Try it and consider which is better.

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        • Karen July 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

          Oh, for chrissakes, wsbob and roma. I’m as OCD as the two of you combined and then some, but can you really not just celebrate the spirit in which this was inteneded? So don’t take the freakin’ cookie already.

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  • Thomas Le Ngo July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

    There used to be a cart selling vegan pate just past the stop sign on N Williams and Jessup St.

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    • A.K. July 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

      Mmmm… pate made from grass-fed vegans….

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  • BURR July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

    more engineering is not the answer.

    The city frequently overdoes engineering and often does it badly, while ignoring the much greater benefits and lower cost of education.

    That’s probably because PBOT is chock full of engineers and sorely lacking in educators.

    We need to take our city government back from the engineers and return it to people with better people skills.

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  • esther c July 1, 2011 at 11:57 am

    If you think Joe with his plate of cookies is any scarier than what you get in a restaurant you’ve never worked in food service before.

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  • Paul Hanrahan July 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    A possible solution?: Change out the stop signs for yield signs and add speed bumps at the intersection. Forced slowdown will protect the walkers crossing.

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    • BURR July 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      better yet, elevate the crosswalk to sidewalk level and make the cross walk the speed table.

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      • q`Tzal July 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        better yet, woonerf the whole Ladd’s Addition neighborhood.
        Then: EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE.

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  • GlowBoy July 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Awesome, creative experiment! I look forward to hearing about more of these experiments, bike related or not.

    “When entering the circle most people are looking left and less likely to see pedestrians crossing from the right.” (- Joe). To me this was one of the best insights, and I suddenly realize why ped-bike conflicts at Ladd Circle are a bit of a problem. Thinking back, I can remember at least one or two incidents when I myself failed to stop for pedestrians on the right because my attention was focused left. IIRC there is a big pole and some shrubbery that obstruct the view of approaching peds, which doesn’t help either.

    In addition to changing the stop signs to yield and narrowing the roadway to increase deflection, I’m guessing the pedestrian crosswalks could use some realignment to improve visibility. Not sure what could be done with the design that would encourage cyclists to actually LOOK right though.

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    • BURR July 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      if you don’t look to the right, you’ll never see the cop preparing to give you a ticket.

      :-)

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      • 9watts July 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

        “if you don’t look to the right, you’ll never see the cop preparing to give you a ticket.”
        You mean ‘because the cop’s always right?’

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        • Alan 1.0 July 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm

          9watts
          “if you don’t look to the right, you’ll never see the cop preparing to give you a ticket.”

          You mean ‘because the cop’s always right?’

          Except when he’s left.

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      • Paul Johnson July 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

        Reminds me of a Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy that used to slack off sitting in the (now long-gone) parking lot at Pioneer Park instead of doing their job. I’d fullstop at the adjacent intersection (which is a two-way stop for east-west traffic), and spot the same deputy more or less asleep and slacking off every day for a few weeks on my way home from school.

        So one afternoon in a torrential downpour, knowing nobody (at the time) lived north of that intersection, and traffic almost never approached from the south, I just ran the stop sign fullspeed.

        Deputy: “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
        Me: “Yup, do you know why I ran the stop sign?”

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  • captainkarma July 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I would suggest you hand out cookies at intersections, with a sign that says COOKIES FOR CAR DRIVERS WHO STOP instead of advertising in this way that it is scofflaw bikers that are a danger to civil society. Not denying that many bikers go through THAT circle w/o stopping. But pick ANY intersection and highlight all the motor vehicles that do not stop. Instead of helping to emphasize to the public that its those evil bicyclists out to maim your children & pets that need to be bribed to stop from doing so. I challenge you and your experiment.

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  • spare_wheel July 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    may i suggest people who discard pennies (a possible federal felony) or swear in public (a possible misdemeanor) for your next cookie experiments.

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  • Joe Suburban July 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    So for a view from afar. My hometown of Brasov, Romania, changed most of the major 3 and 4 lane intersections to roundabouts. What used to be a 3 lanes/traveling direction road has become a giant 6 lane 2 miles loop downtown. It used to be a giant gridlock all day long. Voila, no more problems. In the process they took out 25% of the crosswalks, and moved all of them in the middle of the block, not at the end where the roundabout is. Having stop signs at the corner of the blocks and the respective crosswalks works with a grid pattern and a stop sign. If you want a roundabout, you have to move them in the middle of the block. Roundabout, stop sign and crosswalk together in an intersection is pure and simple design idiocy.
    By the way, this is how you drive into a roundabout:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lay8aZlsbB0&feature=related
    This is the mama of all roundabouts in Paris – Place D’Etoile, where 5 boulevards meet. Look where the crosswalks are located. Not on the corners, there are no stop signs there!

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    • Christopher Perez July 6, 2011 at 9:12 am

      The French do it right. Portland should seriously consider this approach for Ladd’s.

      I’ve sat at Place de l’Etoile and watched the insanity. It’s a beautiful thing, particularly when some Madman careens into the circle and down a side street at a great rate of knots. Breath-taking, it is.

      In a country where risk taking is limited to brain cancer from cell phone use or death from texting while in motion, it’d be an interesting experiment. AND, Ladd’s is typically a low speed area (except for that Wall Street Wannabee 30-something who blasts through in his VW Passat at 7:05am every workday morning). Where better to give it a try?

      For the Piece de Resistance, if we plant a huge Arc d’Bicycles with an eternal flame burning at it’s base in the middle of Ladd’s… LOL!!!

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      • SmilingJoe July 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

        Hey Christopher,

        I totally agree! I wrote about that video and other similar solutions in my second post (officially experiment#1.5). Check it out:
        http://smilingjoe.com/07/2011/laddscircle/

        One of the most interesting parts of the roundabout in Paris is how pedestrians get to the middle of the circle. There are underground passages so pedestrians shouldn’t have to cross the street at all (although there are some youtube videos with people attempting this). This would be pretty awesome at Ladd’s, especially for those rainy days.

        I found there are lots unique solutions like that all over Europe. It is too bad we don’t try more innovative traffic controls like that in the states. But Portland is definitely the place to start!

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        • Christopher Perez July 7, 2011 at 9:13 am

          BTW, SmilingJoe, thanks for cooking up a batch of cookies. I declined your offer. Hopefully I didn’t grimace, but smile my appreciation for your efforts.

          Thinking about this a bit further, if we set a huge Arc du Velo in the middle of Ladd’s, perhaps someone could sculpt a nice bike pile under it and there could be an Eternal Flame under the pile… oh, and plant some climbing roses to grow up the sides of the Arc (we’re the City of Roses, right?)…

          Anyways, your post nicely articulates several viable solutions to the Ladd’s Problem. Nice work! I see nothing wrong in following Old Europe’s fine examples.

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  • a July 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Yield signs make the most sense, but stop signs are what we currently have. It isn’t difficult to stop. So do the cycling community some good and just stop. It makes us look better whether it makes sense or not. I’ve been bike commuting through Ladd’s for 10 years. I have definitely had more close calls with other cyclists than cars at the points in question. Getting rear ended by another bike is my biggest concern when stopping, and I’m always careful make sure those behind me know I’m actually going to follow the rules of the road. Nothing like getting grazed and/or yelled at by another cyclist while doing the right thing.

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    • spare_wheel July 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      hmmmm…i have never been yelled at in ladd’s and i am a completely unrepentant idaho-stopping cat6 commuter.

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  • Paulie July 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Didn’t Pavlov do this experiment already? ;o)

    The problem with Ladd’s is there are poor sight lines to the right. It’s as easy to spot pedestrians on the left as it is cars, but vegetation and the bus shelter block your view of the sidewalk on the right. You must slow at least to pedestrian speed to see oncoming pedestrians in time to stop. No signage or rule changes will change the physics of the intersection.

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  • Tim w July 2, 2011 at 11:57 am

    My favorite sentence: “On Wednesday night, Hand baked 100 chocolate chip cookies…” It took me a minute to figure out Hand was the subject, rather than hand-baked being an adjective.

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  • Jolly Dodger July 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    “People with headphones were most oblivious”… maybe that’s why it’s supposed to be illegal to ride while using earphones…though i see it all the time (any rule of the road which applies to motor vehicles, applies to cyclist vehicles – for better or worse. You flip-flopper riders, i’m talking to you)…and the law regarding hand signals reads “when safely possible”… written with hand brake and balance stability issues at stops and turns in mind…obviously written by a biker. Thanks BTA! Joind today!

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  • Paul Johnson July 3, 2011 at 12:46 am

    wsbob
    “…is negligible enough to not warrant a separate diagram…” Paul Johnson
    Not ‘a separate diagram’ …an improved diagram is what’s needed. An improved diagram is what the drivers manual needs to help people understand what a properly made hand stop signal should look like to other people using the road.
    It’s important to actually go to the Oregon Driver’s Manual and look at the diagram referred to. Your response suggests you haven’t looked at the diagram.

    Try reading the right manual. Page 8, Oregon Cyclist Handbook.

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    • wsbob July 6, 2011 at 9:16 am

      “…Try reading the right manual. Page 8, Oregon Cyclist Handbook.” Paul Johnson

      Here’s the initial question raised, referring to road users that would most likely be drawing their information from the Oregon Driver’s Manual:

      “Kristen July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

      Using hand signals is a great idea– except that while most car drivers know the hand signals to indicate turns, not many know the hand signal to indicate SLOWING or STOPPING. So I’m not sure if it would have helped in this case.”

      Repeat: “… car drivers …. not many know the hand signal to indicate SLOWING or STOPPING. …”

      It seems likely that people, mainly intending to operate motor vehicles, probably aren’t going to be studying the Oregon Cyclist Handbook. If there isn’t a good diagram or other descriptive means of conveying to them, what a well displayed hand stop signal looks like, that could contribute to the problem for other road users as Kristen noted. In particular, vulnerable road users such as people that ride bikes.

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  • PEPPDX July 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Big fan of the cookie idea! We’d like to help you with future cookie’ish projects in the future!

    Check out a Portland Enhancement Project (PEP) grant to help out with your future ideas.

    http://scr.bi/mTSpu4

    Best,

    P.E.P.

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  • Hugh Johnson July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I like this guy…I like what he is doing. The world would be a better place with more people like him…especially in cars AND on bikes.

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  • maxadders July 6, 2011 at 12:50 am

    solution for ladd’s circle stop sign issue? magic unicorns slathered in ironic frosting

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  • Mia Birk July 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks Joe for a positive action! I’ve written my own thoughts on this on my blog http://www.miabirk.com/blog. Here’s an excerpt:

    My daughter goes to school at Abernethy Elementary, a terrific little public school in this neighborhood. I’ve ridden my bike on Ladd Ave to get to my house regularly for 20 years. Many close friends live here, and over the years, it’s become a primary bicycle transportation spine, with three major bikeways converging in lovely Ladd Circle, with its gorgeous center park. Some 4000 people on bikes daily traverse the Circle, along with a high frequency bus (#10) and some 1500 motorists.

    As I’ve written about before, the geometric design of the circle – very close to what we call a modern roundabout – lends itself to motorists and cyclists slowing and yielding to those already in the circle or walking around the circle, rather than coming to a complete stop. In fact, almost no one comes to a complete stop, as evidenced by this video.

    Is this really a problem? Safety-wise, no. There’s almost no crash history. Perception-wise and emotionally, the answer is a resounding YES.
    The problem is not reasonable behavior, defined (by me) as slowing, actively searching for pedestrians, preparing to stop if needed, stopping until the pedestrian has crossed, proceeding into or out of the circle once safe to do so, but without coming to a complete stop.

    The problem is the many that don’t slow down one iota. In fact (go watch anytime), many speed up and/or do not slow, look out for, yield to, stop for, or even acknowledge that there are people on foot – many of whom are children – circumnavigating the crosswalks. Many of my neighbors, friends, and numerous others have told me that their children were nearly mowed down and that they daily observe behavior ranging from oblivious to rude to downright obnoxious. The main complaint is about people on bikes.

    When I first started hearing this, I wanted to deny it. The last thing I want is for the very mode (bicycling) that has been the cornerstone of my career to be causing a problem to the other mode I promote, use, love, and respect (walking). But when you hear the same thing over and over, you have to pay attention. You also have to look at who is saying this: educated people, most of whom ride bikes regularly, drive, walk, take transit, pay taxes, send their kids to public school, and are generally thoughtful, civic-minded, involved, and positive. All but two of the dozens of emails I’ve received have been kind and thankful for the efforts to create a more livable community, supportive of continuing to evolve our thinking and approach, but firm in the assertion that motorists and cyclists alike need to improve our behavior toward pedestrians.

    These various emails and conversations provoked serious soul-searching. The dramatic increase in bicycle transportation that I have championed for so many years is great BUT with it has come impacts that we can’t ignore. I want to make things better for everyone, and reduce the persistent, deep, and widespread rancor and anger that the cycling community has unintentionally induced.

    I believe strongly that the signage and markings should be improved. To me, yield signs and markings make a ton of sense, per the image on my blog. Other promising ideas include raised crosswalks, speed bumps, and changes to the pedestrian splitter islands. But the City isn’t likely to change them anytime soon. Any proposed changes will provoke debate, even controversy, and take time to develop, fund, and implement. And design changes alone won’t do the trick. We – all of us – can behave better, the sooner, the better.

    So I reached out to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Willamette Pedestrian Coalition to see if they’d like to help. Last week, a number of parent and community volunteers lined the streets with Burma Shave-style signs, giving cyclists and motorists a reminder of our state’s crosswalk laws. (We should have brought cookies!)

    It’s been my longstanding belief that when something’s not working, it’s time to try something else. Former Police Officer Robert Pickett asked me point blank to help, because, he said, “today’s situation is a lose-lose for the Police.” No matter what they do (or don’t do) in Ladd Circle, they piss people off.

    The sign-holding action was a small step toward what I hope will lead to positive change. I’m glad we put smiles on so many faces. This I know: working together – the community and the City – we can increase sensitivity to those on foot while continuing to embrace those on wheels.

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    • wsbob July 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      “…The problem is the many that don’t slow down one iota. …” Mia Birk

      That is the problem, for this neighborhood, but also for any neighborhood that could eventually find itself host to a route used by great numbers of people riding bikes for commuting. That such routes are likely to be increasingly used as commute routes makes it important to sort out the definition of appropriate road use according to various types of areas bike routes happen to pass through.

      The types of area, bike routes…designated on maps such as the ‘Metro-Bike There!’ direct people, without and within Ladd’s Addition vary widely. Outside of Ladd’s 10 block square area, the area type is heavily commercial, with high traffic volume motor vehicle thoroughfares. Passing within Ladd’s perimeter brings road users to a dramatic change in area type: that of a quiet, family neighborhood. That it is a quiet neighborhood, is no secret.

      Anyone riding or driving through this neighborhood should be able to immediately notice it is, just by taking in the surroundings. They should automatically take that notice as a sign it’s time to slow down, and carefully proceed so as to have their presence result in a little obtrusion to the neighborhood as is reasonably possible. Once out of the neighborhood…hammer those pedals…but not inside the neighborhood. Inside: relax, calm down, slow down, stop for the stop signs and for people needing to cross the street.

      An awareness and acknowledgement of the fact that some areas of town, such as quiet neighborhoods, are not places for full speed travel by bike, free of stop signs, is essential to broad based support of biking as travel mode, supported by networks of bike routes through all types of areas. People don’t like it when streets within their neighborhood become commonly used for quick and fast trips, at the expense of the neighborhood’s livability.

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      • spare_wheel July 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

        “Inside: relax, calm down, slow down,”

        the diagonal to seven corners is one of the best cat6 racing facilities in pdx. you should try it, holmes.

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        • wsbob July 8, 2011 at 12:19 am

          “…the diagonal to seven corners is one of the best cat6 racing facilities in pdx. …” spare_wheel

          “…i believe that the right of passage of thousands of cyclists clearly trumps the imaginary safety concerns of residents. …” spare_wheel

          In addition to being obnoxious and rude, your remarks aren’t funny. In fact, they’re probably self defeating. And most importantly: you’re wrong. “…cyclists…” don’t have a ‘right of passage’ that trumps the concerns of residents in this neighborhood over road users following the rules of the road.

          The right of people riding bikes on public streets through Ladd’s Addition is conditional. That people such as yourself either do not, or choose not to recognize this, is part of the problem that’s rousing residents to ask for stop sign compliance enforcement details.

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          • spare_wheel July 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

            “The right of people riding bikes on public streets through Ladd’s Addition is conditional.”

            the rights of cyclists are just as “conditional” as the rights of motorists or pedestrians.

            “is part of the problem that’s rousing residents to ask for stop sign compliance enforcement details”

            because that worked so well last time…

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          • wsbob July 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm

            “…the rights of cyclists are just as “conditional” as the rights of motorists or pedestrians. …” spare_wheel

            That’s right; there are conditions associated with the right to ride a bike on the street, just as there are conditions associated with driving a motor vehicle on the street, or walking across the street. Among those conditions, is showing respect for the surroundings where travel is taking place. If you’d care to expand on that, do so.

            What anyone wishing to use the road through Ladd’s Addition, or any residential neighborhood, should bear in mind, is that they’re riding or driving through a place where people live. The kind of presence of people using the road in such areas has a bearing on the quality of life experienced by people living there.

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    • spare_wheel July 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      “Perception-wise and emotionally, the answer is a resounding YES.”

      i believe that the right of passage of thousands of cyclists clearly trumps the imaginary safety concerns of residents. i also doubt that a speed bump or island will fix this so-called problem. imo, upset residents should either move or lobby the city to provide an alternative bike route.

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  • jered July 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Maybe the Portland police could generate some revenue in Ladd Circle. Folks seem to stop a bit more completely at the end of N. Flint after the repeated police work there. I’d agree I need an incentive to follow rules, not getting ticketed is a pretty good one usually.

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  • t.a. barnhart July 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    3 words: Idaho.stop.law.

    stopping for stop signs with no cars in sight? no way. (or peds. sorry). i always yield per the law.

    and i always stop for red lights & wait for the green. but stop signs are a different matter; this law should have been changed by now. BTA needs to make it happen in 2012. seriously.

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