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In Portland, separation is the new standard

Posted by on December 22nd, 2011 at 10:41 am

The bridge on N. Vancouver Ave over the Columbia Slough in North Portland is one several recent projects where the bikeway is separated from auto traffic.


Have you noticed?

Something interesting is going on in transportation projects around Portland. There hasn’t been a press conference or an official decree about it; but it looks as though separated bicycling infrastructure is now just a standard procedure when new roads and bridges are built. This is a trend I’ve been following in the back of my mind for about a year now.

What follows are photos and brief notes/links on five recent projects where bicycles have their own dedicated space — physically separated from auto traffic. Taken all together, this move toward separated facilities definitely illustrates a larger trend that we can expect to see more of.

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge

TriMet has already started building their PMLR Bridge over the Willamette River. When it opens in 2015 bike traffic will share a 14-foot wide path with other non-automotive bridge users.

SW Moody

Similar to Cully Blvd, this is another example where PBOT had a clean slate to work with and they decided to build out a world-class bikeway. For more images and thoughts, see my photo essay from back in November.

Sellwood Bridge
The cross-section will be a 12.5 foot wide shared path and a 6.5 foot bike lane.

This project just got underway last week and it’s the latest to show how separated bikeways are now “baked in” to major bridge projects. Kudos to the citizen volunteers and Multnomah County officials who came up with this cross-section.

Cully Blvd

For PBOT traffic engineers and planners, this was a dream project. They got to completely re-do an entire roadway, which isn’t an opportunity that comes along very often. The result was Portland’s first major cycle track that begins to mimic designs seen in Europe.

Vancouver Avenue Bridge

This project hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as the others, but it deserves a second look. The bridge is a key connection between North Portland, Hayden Island and the City of Vancouver. When it was recently rebuilt due to a fire that damaged its supports, engineers ended up directing the bike lane up onto a shared sidewalk. This happened without much of a peep at all from PBOT (I didn’t even fully understand the design until riding it myself yesterday evening.)

Taken together, these projects are important on many levels. Most road users — on both sides of the windshield — appreciate the lower-stress environment produced when bikes and cars are not sharing the same space. The projects also give us a taste of what’s possible. While they are all just small pieces of roadway, they plant the seed of what could be. Hopefully, they’ll make people start to think: “Why can’t I enjoy this type of experience for my entire trip?”

While PBOT, TriMet, and Multnomah County deserve kudos for these signs of progress, the real challenge will be in making these type of facilities the norm and not the exception; and figuring out a way to retrofit existing cross-sections to include more separation (the over two year “pilot project” of the SW Broadway cycle track — which is yet to get any major expansions or improvements — is a good example of this challenge).

So, is separation really the new standard? I asked Mayor Sam Adams’ Transportation Director Catherine Ciarlo. She stopped short of saying that separated bike facilities will be in every future road project; but she did say that the City is looking for ways to achieve separation whenever possible:

“I’d say separation is the gold standard. But at the moment we’re in an economy struggling for bronze. So the challenge is to figure out how to achieve separation in creative or economical ways. An example: Neighborhood Greenways create “separation” by making the environment more desirable for bikes and walking and less conducive to driving. Another example: upgrading signal efficiency at the 12th Avenue Overcrossing allowed us to “find” more right of way and allow for a higher degree of separation.”

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Comments
  • Cat December 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Let’s separate now so we can all get comfortable and confident riding our bikes (lord knows I need some comfort and confidence), and then once alternative transportation is the dominant mode, we take over the streets too. If I was a benevolent dictator, that would be my plan.

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  • Paul Johnson December 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Wow, dogging fail on the Moody photo. Curious if the Traffic Division plans on citing people walking in the cycleway.

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    • davemess December 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      The area is kind of bad news right now. People still don’t understand how the flow is, and the hook you have to make right after the light when heading south (to go around the large highway pillar) is super sketchy into a blind corner. I ride this route once a week and have already had two VERY close calls with absent minded construction works deciding to walk around this one way corner. I have to say routing the path around that corner on a blind turn like that was pretty stupid.

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    • No Spin December 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      A great question? What are the laws (lets call them guidelines) for these so called cycle tracks. A quick text search of the 2011 drivers manual ( no mention of cycle track). Search pedal power (no result). You get where I am headed with this.

      I have expected when the street has been taken away by one of these things that we will be able to operate at the same speeds in the cycle track. Hey designers how about chiming in.

      By the way, the design of the South end of South Waterfront Cycle Track is going to get someone killed!! To call it Amateurish is a compliment.

      The sidepath law does need to be repealed.

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      • Paul Johnson November 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

        Well, what’s the rules for walking in traffic already? A cycleway is just a road with all lanes open only to nonmotorized vehicles.

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    • rain bike December 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      This has been addressed elsewhere, with many other solutions offered, but I wish that the row of trees on Moody were placed to separate peds from cyclists, rather than separating the north and south bike lanes.

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      • dwainedibbly December 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

        I maintain that that was the original design but somewhere along the way the paint got put down incorrectly.

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    • jon December 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      The Moody Cycletrack is very poorly designed. Why couldnt they design it like those we’ve all seen photos of in the Netherlands where the cycle track is asphalt and 6 inches lower than the sidewalk and buffered with a row of trees on each side? Now the Moody cycle track just looks like a regular sidewalk which is confusing to all. Plus pedestrians got short changed with narrow pedestrian space, no wonder they walk in the generous cycle track. Why did they put the trees between the two directions of bike traffic as if its some divided highway, and not between the bike traffic and the sidewalk?

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      • davemess December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        Pedestrians also have access to a large sidewalk on the other side of the street, so I really don’t think they were shortchanged.

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        • jon December 22, 2011 at 6:52 pm

          i’d hardly call it large, more like 5-6′ wide

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          • davemess December 23, 2011 at 7:59 am

            which is the size of the bike path, actually it may be bigger.

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  • JAT in Seattle December 22, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I’ll preface by saying I’m not opposed to all bike specific infrastructure, though I’m stridently against poorly executed infrastructure, but (you knew that was coming, right?)

    When I read “Hopefully, they’ll make people start to think: ‘Why can’t I enjoy this type of experience for my entire trip?’” I lose a little bit of hope for humanity…

    We can’t possibly put a separate bike lane on every road in every city, town, village, farm, and wilderness, and we shouldn’t be striving to. At some point we all need to courteously share and co-exist. A bike lane on NW Cumberland Rd? Uphill, sure maybe, but on NW Luray Terrace? Why bother? On cross-river bridges? Yes! On twisty rural NW Skyline Blvd? No!

    When I drive my car I like traveling at freeway speeds on freeway-like facilities, but when I exit the offramp I don’t get pissed that they didn’t put the freeway everywhere; I drive with a different set of expectations and behaviors. I don’t want a freeway to my house.

    It’s an analogy, okay?

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    • Paul Johnson December 22, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Actually, Skyline and West Union could really use that, as could Germantown and Corn Pass until the Westside Regional Corridor gets finished to Sauvie.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

      JAT in Seattle,

      I don’t think anyone feels like it’d be feasible to put separated bikeways on every single road… But surely we should have a network of separated facilities that could serve the tens of thousands of daily bike riders within a 4 mile radius of downtown.

      All I want is a similar experience to when I get in my mini-van or when I take the train or bus.

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    • Schrauf December 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

      And I like your freeway analogy, because that is exactly what most people want in regards to separated bikeways – a network that enables people on bikes to travel quickly and safely around town, but generally requiring some surface street travel to the final destination. I don’t think anyone realistically expects more than that.

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      • El Biciclero December 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

        Except the problem with separated bike facilities is that they are (usually) the opposite of the analog to freeways: they slow down cyclists. Next to most specialized infrastructure, surface streets are the “freeway”, while separated facilities are the “sidewalk”. I still maintain this is the number one fear of experienced “fast” cyclists; I don’t want my 35- to 40-minute bike commute to suddenly take an hour because I’m stuck on lovely, separated “facilities” that consist of MUPs and pushbutton signals and pedestrian left turns.

        Another personal fear of mine regarding separated facilities is that “separate” = “invisible”, and at those necessary points where bike infrastructure must necessarily mingle with “car” infrastructure there is either great danger or great impediment.

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        • jon December 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm

          you should really just drive a car, you have the windshield mentality of a motorist singlemindedly focused on speed and getting from their distant suburban location to their destination as fast as possible.

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          • Greg December 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

            I think that attitude is fairly common to all modes, from the “can’t wait 2 seconds” motorist”, to the “on your left get out of my way” cyclist, to the “what are crosswalks?” pedestrian.

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          • El Biciclero December 23, 2011 at 10:14 am

            Well, I might say that “you might as well walk everywhere, since you obviously have nowhere to be in any kind of bounded time frame.”

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  • spencer December 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I still dont understand why this approach wasn’t used on the Burnside remodel. It made no sense NOT to separate it when they remodeled, and now many cyclists are faced with 50+ mph traffic just inches off of their shoulders on the bridge. A retrofit is needed soon.

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    • Paul Johnson December 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

      If people are doing 50 on the bridge, might call PPB to get a photo radar put up. Burnside Bridge is posted 35, with 25 MPH zones at either end. Someone doing 50 would be leaving the bridge at twice the legal limit!

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    • davemess December 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      That is a pretty wide bike path too.
      Burnside is one of the least sketchiest bridges in the city to me.

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    • jon December 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      amen, the burnside bridge is a perfect place for a protected cycle track. just take it down to 2 auto lanes each direction (vs. 3+2 now) and you have enough space to build a barrier protecting the bike lanes on each side.

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  • are December 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

    i am concerned that there was no obvious opportunity for input into the redesign of the vancouver bridge. did they even run this by BAC? we do still have a mandatory sidepath law in this state, and we need to be attentive to where the sidepaths are being put in, so that we are not forced to use inferior facilities simply because they are there.

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    • NF December 22, 2011 at 11:55 am

      that is a good point. If we’re separating the bicyclists, we want to make sure we’re doing it well.

      I’m surprised there hasn’t been a push by advocacy groups to remove the mandatory sidepath law.

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      • Paul Johnson December 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

        I’m not. It’s still illegal to drive at night without someone walking 50 feet ahead of your vehicle with a lantern.

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        • matt picio December 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

          and to have an erection while on a city bus. Portland’s got a lot of odd laws from olden days.

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          • El Biciclero December 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm

            …And to run stop signs without coming to a complete stop. Lots of stuff is fine to scoff at until you need the backing of the law. Oregon’s “mandatory use” statute isn’t so old and arcane as to not be considered if I am hit while riding outside the bike lane that is right next to me. Most juries and/or judges are going to put me at fault for “getting myself run over” regardless of any part the driver may have played by, you know, running me over. “What was he doing outside the bike lane?”, they’ll ask themselves. The conclusion that I was just another self-righteous, arrogant “biker” who thought he was too good for bike lanes and deserved what he got will inevitably jump to mind, after which much dismissal of citations and slapping of backs will ensue and I (or my family) will be SOL.

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    • J_R December 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

      I ride the Vancouver Avenue bridge regularly. The section where the bike lane is brought to the same elevation as the sidewalk (about 8″ above the motor vehicle lane) is 200 feet long at most – it’s just on the bridge, not the approaches.

      In my opinion it makes no difference in this location whether the bike lane is at the same elevation as the motor vehicles, at the elevation of the sidewalk or some intermediate elevation. This is because: there is plenty of width for all modes (wide motor vehicle lanes, moderately wide bike lanes, and wide sidewalks). In addition, traffic volumes and speeds are moderate (there’s a traffic signal at Columbia and an all-way stop at Schmeer, so there’s no point in going fast.) Pedestrian volumes are quite low. I can’t remember seeing even one pedestrian during my regular commute hours.

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  • don arambula December 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

    The City and County should be congratulated for these nice incremental projects… the real test will be how over time, these segments will be extended and integrated into a complete network of protected bikeways. If not, they risk the label of simply being “bikeways to nowhere”

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  • Gail Amara December 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    As a disabled person who is stuck with a car now, but used to ride, I have wondered at Portland’s building a system of bike lanes on main routes, rather than on streets that parallel them a block away, with periodic car traffic interrupters, as they do in Berkeley.

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    • Paul Johnson December 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      We do both, though if you want Berkeley, you know where to find it.

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  • Oliver December 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I like that separated bikeways say ‘this area will not be re-striped as a motor vehicle lane’ due to the whim of some future administration.

    But they are unsuitable for high (bicycle) speed routes because of the need to move into the traffic lane for safety concerns or overtaking. Skyline for example.

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  • Ty December 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I (as with many others) TOLD people, councils, leaders this stuff 10 years ago when I moved back to Oregon with lessons learned from the streets of California. Leaders were like yeah we’ll take that into consideration.. I really detest having to say ‘We told you so.’ But I’m glad it’s happening 10 years later.

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  • BURR December 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    separation will not be achievable on many streets with narrow cross sections that already carry heavy cyclist traffic, and are essential routes for cyclists. East 28th immediately comes to mind, and there are many other examples of low to mid level arterial streets with the same problem. Meanwhile, instead of putting inexpensive sharrows down in these locations, the city continues to do nothing.

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    • Andrew Seger December 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      actually if we removed a side of street parking there’d be room for a two way cycletrack NYC style, remove both lanes of parking there’d be room for Amsterdam style seperated cycletracks. Ditto the very underused on street parking on 20th.

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      • are December 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm

        the immediate consequence would be to push customer parking for all those storefronts onto neighboring residential streets

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        • Andrew Seger December 23, 2011 at 12:53 am

          This is a bad thing how? People don’t own the parking spots in front of their house. If it’s better for the public good to have them utilized more often then great. Granted the neighbors immediately effected might feel differently :)

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    • resopmok December 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      don’t be silly, sharrows are for marking neighborhood greenways now. i mean do you actually expect people to want to share a lane with a bike?

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  • daisy December 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Jonathan, I’m a bit confused as to why you are saying that the Sellwood bike lane is separated. Isn’t it the same height as the road? Or are you saying separated because bikes will be allowed on the raised, outside lane? You called it “shared” but I wasn’t clear on who would share it.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      daisy,

      the sellwood bridge will have both a separated path, up on a curb away from moving auto traffic… And a standard bike lane.

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      • daisy December 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

        Thanks!

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      • JJJ December 28, 2011 at 12:45 am

        For now.

        The skeptic in me notes thats the bike lanes happen to be 13 feet wide.

        I doubt it’s a coincidence that its the exact amount of space needed for a future car lane in one direction.

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    • jon December 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      why didnt they make the cycle facilities on the sellwood either all at sidewalk level or all at roadway level? i just dont see the reasoning behind building two separate cycle facilities in each direction on the bridge each at a different level.

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      • El Biciclero December 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

        See JJJ’s comment above. My inner cynic is telling me that painting green bike lanes in the artist’s rendering makes for a nice concept. It may even be initially built that way. But…if “they” ever need more auto capacity, “they” can just sandblast the green paint (if it hasn’t already been worn off by drivers driving on it), and re-stripe for an extra non-bike lane. After all, there’s a raised cycle track already there, isn’t that “safer” anyway?

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        • Paul Johnson December 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm

          You must be new here. Let me fill you in: In Portland, you’re more likely to see automotive traffic reduced to one-way, possibly reversible based on peak flow, to move both bike lanes off the sidewalk.

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          • are December 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm

            a specific example of this is where?

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            • Paul Johnson December 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm

              Hawthorne eliminated a motor vehicle lane to install two bike lanes westbound starting at 99E. Foster lost a motor vehicle lane in both directions for a cycletrack each way. Eugene’s seen Alder go one-way for motorists to make way for two bike lanes. Most thoroughfares throughout the metro region, Washington County in particular, that now have bicycle lanes either lost on-street parking, a general purpose lane, or both in both directions.

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  • q`Tzal December 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Is it entirely out of line to remind people of an old phrase:
    “Separate but equal”?

    As far as I know that never worked out for the best.

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    • resopmok December 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      i was going to post the same thing at the bottom of the page, good thing i read through the comments first i guess. just to say my peace though, separated facilities for cyclists have some very glaring if not obvious problems. probably the most relevant in this case is that i believe it encourages drivers into the mentality that bicycles do not belong on the roads. the more we relegate ourselves to these sidepaths, the more anger we can expect to incur among drivers for “being in their way” at the times we do need to be in the street. two other things to keep in mind among all the cheerleading for separation: an article regarding frankfurt’s transition to street use for bicycles because their sidepaths are too crowded now, and the additional build out and engineering expenses attributable to the additional facilities (as opposed to paint on the pavement).

      there are plenty of reasonable arguments which could support both sides, and it saddens me a little to see such a lopsided article which primarily portrays only one of them. to be frank, it’s a waste of time to cater to the “cautious but curious” crowd. they’ll get on their bikes when driving regularly becomes either prohibitively expensive, very difficult, or socially unacceptable. or maybe if it’s a sunny, beautiful, warm portland summer afternoon. but until then, let’s make logical, economical decisions about how to provide efficient bike infrastructure.

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  • Jim Lee December 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Technically, many of these examples are Multi-Use-Paths, not Cycle-Tracks. Most experienced cyclists regard MUPs as the worst of both worlds, even without their notably higher crash rate.

    Check the first video on this web site to learn how our neighbors to the north see things: http://onbicycles.com/

    Pay special attention to what the councillor of Vancouver, B. C., says about needing to separate all THREE modes of traffic.

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    • Paul Johnson December 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      Which ones? I saw mostly segregated cycleways. This is a good thing, mixing pedestrian and bicycle traffic isn’t smart.

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    • El Biciclero December 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      This is the other thing. I fear that separated “bike” paths are not built to accommodate the needs of cyclists. They are built (in the U.S., anyway) under the guise of “safety” to clear the decks for inattentive, speeding drivers of autos. Nobody cares where cyclists go, as long as they are off the frickin’ street. So what if they have to crawl along at pedestrian speed or dodge rollerbladers and dog leashes–at least they’re out of the way.

      I know there is a clause in the mandatory sidepath law that says a bike lane or path must be deemed safe for use at “reasonable” rates of speed. I would like to know what governing bodies find to be “reasonable” when it comes to bike travel. I would say that “reasonable” ought to be defined as anything up to and including the speed limit for neighboring auto traffic. Depending on the grade, I might be traveling anywhere between 8 and 40 mph. Is that speed range considered “reasonable” by designers of bike infrastructure? Or is “reasonable” more like an arbitrary 10mph?

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      • BURR December 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

        Read the Potter decision for the Oregon Appeals Court’s opinion on what constitutes a public hearing declaring a bike lane safe for use at normal rates of speed.

        http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A115242.htm

        The judge decided that if the engineers who designed the bike lane deemed it safe, that is sufficient proof.

        Yikes!

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        • q`Tzal December 23, 2011 at 1:36 am

          I’m not so good at reading legal.
          Does this essentially say “If the engineers put in a bike lane then it must be safe”?

          Do we think the law believes that in all circumstances, in all weather conditions, in all surface conditions, in all future obscuring development that bike lanes are safe because some engineer said so?

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  • Charley December 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Anybody notice city workers putting plastic barriers on the Broadway Bridge ramp. I’m talking about the one that has the issue with drivers avoiding riding on the new streetcar rails and driving on the bike lane instead. The new barriers will keep drivers over in their lane! AWESOME!!!! I’d actually like to see those little barriers on more bike lanes, mid block. It’d make a lot of lanes next to high speed traffic feel much safer.

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  • Dabby December 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I guess someone should go around scraping the “Share The Road” sticker’s off of stuff, as this is no longer the case…

    We do not need to have separation folks…

    This will be shown to not be what we need.
    Sadly this will only be realized after to much money is spent on dividing traffic up..

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  • Severin December 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Separation has been very successful in the country with the most cyclists– the Netherlands. Of course they don’t separate everywhere, only where appropriate to increase physical, and subjective safety. Also, cycle tracks do not slow them down over there, they actually allow cyclists to go faster, with fewer interruptions than ‘sharing the road’ with motor vehicles. And their cycle tracks accommodate more cyclists than Portland’s busiest streets combined in some cases.

    So, yes, cycle tracks need to be designed well, doesn’t mean we should drop support for cycle tracks, just means we need to advocate better design. My understanding is that we been ‘equal’ with motorists for 30 plus years and it has done nothing to increase ridership or safety or respect.

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    • BURR December 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      Actually, cyclists have been ‘equal’ with motorists ever since the 1890s or thereabouts, when the original League of American Wheelmen succeeded in having bicycles defined as vehicles by the powers that be.

      And, based on many of their designs so far, I don’t really trust PBOT to design a safe cycling facility of nearly any type, which is why casting cycle tracks in concrete as it were seems more than a bit risky to me.

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      • Severin December 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm

        Exactly, Portlanders need to advocate better design not inferior design like bike lanes where a cycle track is possible. And relying on being treated as equals to increase ridership or safety has been a huge failure. People are still too scared to cycle, they still get injured, and still get treated like rubbish.

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        • Paul Johnson December 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

          No, not quite. The design isn’t flawed, in fact, it’s the right design for most situations (like, any time there’s a midblock driveway or almost anytime there’s street on the opposite side of the street, so you can move left to turn left safely). The design is sound. What’s broken is motorist licensing and revoking of privileges for problem drivers.

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        • BURR December 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

          cycle tracks are possible in lots of places, the real question is are the cycle track designs really safer than bike lanes?

          I would argue no in almost all circumstances where the cycle track is repeatedly punctuated by driveways and/or intersections where motorists are allowed to drive or turn across the cycle track.

          In other words, cycle tracks only work where long stretches of road unbroken by driveways or intersections are present.

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          • Severin December 22, 2011 at 11:14 pm

            These myths just won’t die, will they? Of course they have driveways in the Netherlands on streets with cycletracks. Please read this blog post and its accompanied video.

            http://hembrow.blogspot.com/2011/08/but-we-have-driveways.html

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            • davemess December 23, 2011 at 8:06 am

              you know you do kind of sound like a broken record:
              In the Netherlands,
              In the Netherlands,
              In the Netherlands.

              I think you need to come to terms with the fact that we’re not in the Netherlands and have unique issues they don’t have to deal with.

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              • Paul Johnson December 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

                DINGDINGDINGDING! We have a winner!

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              • Severin December 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

                The ‘issues’ you use as excuses have been addressed, you guys write as though we are hopeless but that’s not the case. Yes I want us to learn from the number one cycling nation, they have driveways, they have intersections, just like us. Why make false excuses? The truth is driveways do not need to hinder safety or rule out cycle tracks– you guys just make excuses because you’re afraid of achieving a high cycling rate by looking to the experts, or something.I don’t understand, we know what best design looks like and you guys don’t want it because it’s from a different country?

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                • davemess December 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

                  It has nothing to do with being from a different country, but you might want to stop and think that there may be other ways to do things equally well or even better.

                  I wasn’t even talking about driveways, how about the fact that most Portland blocks are VERY short, so we’re talking about streets more than driveways in my opinion. the PSU cycletrack only works because it faces non-motorized traffic on 50% of it’s sides.

                  “And relying on being treated as equals to increase ridership or safety has been a huge failure. People are still too scared to cycle, they still get injured, and still get treated like rubbish.”

                  And yet somehow ridership is still on the upswing in Portland (and the whole US). I’m not exactly sure why you call this a fail? You make it sound like if we just add cycletracks suddenly 40% of our population will bike everywhere. That just isn’t going to happen!

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                • El Biciclero December 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

                  “…relying on being treated as equals to increase ridership or safety has been a huge failure.”

                  Yet this is a large part of what makes Dutch cycle tracks successful. The legal structures there grant much greater status to cyclists and place a much greater legal responsibility on drivers to watch out for cyclists. I think we must have both to make even separated cycleways successful. I would bet that in The Nederlands, drivers more often stop before bombing out of driveways, stop prior to entering the cycleway portion of cross streets, don’t rush to make quite as many right turns on red lights, have to study and pay a lot more to get a driver’s license in the first place…all these things go toward helping make cooperative roadway sharing (even when facilities are “separated”, we still have to share at times) more successful and less dangerous for everyone.

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              • Severin December 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

                You guys say “oh well that works in the Netherlands because they have quaint Dutch streets without driveways” You guys say things that are false– they too have driveways. Do research before making sweeping assumptions about why the Dutch have achieved a high cycling rate

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                • BURR December 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

                  Every time Portland installs a bikeway to the curbside of lanes from which motorists turning across the bikeway is possible, there are conflicts and safety issues; this applies equally to bike lanes and cycle tracks, and likely even more so to cycle tracks, since the cyclists using them can be obscured from the motorist’s view until the last minute by parked cars and other visual obstacles.

                  The American legal system does not protect cyclists the way the Dutch legal system does, and American motorists simply don’t have the same safety ethic when it comes to cyclists and bikeways as Netherlands motorists do; several people here have already explained that to you and yet you continue to choose to ignore this basic fact.

                  On top of this, even the Netherlands has problems with motorists right-hooking cyclists in their bikeways.

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  • Severin December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Also, WTF with the sellwood bridge? Why a cycle track and a bike lane– why not just one wide cycle track or creating a buffer between motorized traffic and bicycle traffic

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    • davemess December 23, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Have you ever ridden on the Hawthorne bridge?
      I think the the bridge design looks great.

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      • Paul Johnson December 23, 2011 at 8:39 am

        It could use two bike lanes in each direction and proper pedestrian/bicycle seperation. The westbound lane gets *very* narrow at a critical junction with the exit/onramp for the Katz Esplanade interchange.

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        • davemess December 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

          I guess you didn’t get my rhetorical, I’m saying the Hawthorne bridge (while touted as one of the best cycling bridges we have in Pdx) is actually not that great.

          I think Sellwood will be the best bike bridge access in the city, hands down!

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  • Seth Alford December 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Yet another problem with separated facilities is that the powers that be, like Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), view them as convenient corridors for their projects. For example, the Fanno C

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    • Seth Alford December 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      Creek trail was torn up twice. (Sorry, hit the send button too soon.)

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  • Jim Lee December 23, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Please consult Amy Walker’s new book, “On Bicycles,” specifically the chapter on road improvements, which discusses all these issues in detail. There even is a drawing of how lower Lovejoy SHOULD have been designed for safe and convenient use by cyclists and pedestrians.

    If you look at the video from her web site, http://onbicycles.com/, you will see a completely separated two-way cycle-track carved out of a ramp with high-speed motor traffic by the simple expedient of Jersey barriers. The sidewalk appears to have been part of the original design, so now the pedestrians have their own space, with the protected cycle-track between them and the motorists.

    It is hard to imagine a better solution, at least for such a situation. At one point in the video we even get a quick look at a “NO PEDESTRIANS” sign at the entrance to the cycle-track.

    I Have written a review of Amy’s “On Bicycles” for Jonathan, which he may post sometime soon. Meanwhile, check these on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycles-Ways-Bike-Culture-Change/product-reviews/1608680223/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

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  • BURR December 23, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    q`Tzal
    I’m not so good at reading legal.
    Does this essentially say “If the engineers put in a bike lane then it must be safe”?

    yes

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  • El Biciclero December 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Vancouver Bridge = MUP
    Moody Ave = MUP
    PMLR Bridge = MUP

    These are not separated bikeways in my book. They are non-motorized segregation facilities.

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  • Adron @ Transit Sleuth November 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Moar please. :)

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