Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 9th, 2011 at 9:51 am
buffered bike lanes.
Roads in Washington County are getting more bike-friendly. As I write, County crews are putting the finishing touches on three miles of buffered bike lanes on SW Tualatin Sherwood Road from SW Teton to Baler (map). The seven-foot wide lanes give people on bikes a two-foot painted buffer between them and motor vehicle traffic.
It's the first buffered bike lane project the County has ever done, and, according bicycle and pedestrian coordinator Shelley Oylear, it's not going to be the last.
Oylear says the road was up for repaving, so they seized the opportunity to narrow the existing lanes to make more room for bikes. Three other streets are slated for similar treatments:
- Brookwood Road-TV Hwy to E Main (Baseline)
- Evergreen Road from SW 25th to 253rd
- NW 185th-Westview High School to NW West Union
The new buffered lanes are symbolic of the County's efforts to work within a constrained budget to make bicycling easier and more comfortable. Oylear says she was hired back in May to spearhead an effort to look at all the County's road projects to see where they could "enhance the facilities" for bicycling.
Here's a look at how the new lanes feel at an intersection (photo by Jim "K'tesh" Parsons):
And here's another view from the traffic-cam:
While the new lanes on Tualatin-Sherwood give people on bikes more breathing room, it's still a high-speed, high-volume arterial with five standard vehicle lanes. Even with the buffer (and relatively wide seven-foot bike space) it's not a place that will beckon the "interested but concerned"; but it's a start.
Oylear says, "We will be looking for more opportunities and are looking at expanding the types of enhanced bicycle facility treatments that the County may consider in the future."
Since this is their first attempt as such a design, Oylear says they want feedback from all road users (you can call 503-846-ROAD to leave comments).