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Mayor makes it official: PBOT will close Wheeler Ave tomorrow – UPDATED

Posted by on August 21st, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-15
Mayor Adams at a meeting this morning
about the N. Wheeler Ave closure.
(Photos © J. Maus)

In a meeting with over a dozen representatives from businesses in the lower Albina district, Mayor Sam Adams announced this morning that he will move forward with a partial closure of N. Wheeler Ave. PBOT crews will install a median barrier in the northbound lane of Wheeler and make other adjustments by tomorrow morning. The step is being taken to prevent right-hook collisions that have plagued the intersections for many years.

PBOT first floated the idea of a Wheeler closure on August 10th, saying it was the only “immediate” fix that would prevent right hooks and thus further injuries to people bicycling down Broadway. (PBOT analysis shows that Broadway/Wheeler has more bike/car collisions than any other in the city.) When it became clear that some business owners were not on board with the idea, PBOT delayed action to hash out their rationale and meet with those who would be impacted.

Addressing meeting attendees this morning, Adams said, “We have a very serious problem and it’s an urgent problem and it’s literally matter of life and death in the near term.”

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-11

“It’s not a question of if I like bikes or cars better, or whether or not I’m pro business… I’ve sat with too many families that have lost loved ones who were killed under trucks, or sideswiped by cars… I’m not going to wait to sit with another family member of someone that dies or is seriously injured.”
— Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland

While Adams made it clear that there are much bigger plans that will address safety and access issues in the coming years, he said he can’t sit idly by while people continue to get hurt. “It’s not something I feel I can let continue as it is for any longer,” he said, “It’s not a question of if I like bikes or cars better, or whether or not I’m pro business… I’ve sat with too many families that have lost loved ones who were killed under trucks, or sideswiped by cars… I’m not going to wait to sit with another family member of someone that dies or is seriously injured.”

Addressing the major public narrative (which is, not surprisingly, the focus of media coverage) about whose at fault for the collisions (many people are upset that so many bike riders ignore the stop sign at N. Flint, which is just a few yards away from where the Wheeler collisions are happening), Adams said, “There’s plenty of blame to go around. Bikes plow through the stop signs, cars don’t turn on their blinkers in time… or if they do turn on their blinker the structure of the intersection makes one wonder whether they’ll turn at Flint or if they’ll turn on Wheeler.”

On that note of people not obeying the stop sign at N. Flint, prior to this morning’s meeting, Mayor Adams visited the intersection while a Portland Police motorcycle officer did an enforcement action.

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-6
Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-7
Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-4
Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-9
Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-10

The motorcycle cop barely had time to rest between writing tickets. In the few minutes I was there, I saw three people on bikes pulled over. The officer was there for several hours and was busy the entire time. I heard one report that he pulled over someone in a car; but the vast majority of tickets went to bike riders and he was focused primarily on the Flint stop sign. (You’ll recall that enforcement focused on bicycle traffic has been going on at Flint since at least 2006. It is always controversial, and it doesn’t seem to be working. It’s also important to remember that there are many other high-volume, law-breaking behaviors at this location by all road users.)

At the meeting this morning, Adams emphasized that this partial closure of Wheeler would be a temporary fix. He said he’s focused on a traffic signal in the coming years — but that it would cost $500,000 and it still wouldn’t fix the right-hooks during green lights.

There was some concern and opposition aired at Adams from business reps at the meeting, but Adams countered each one of them with a laser focus on solving the immediate safety concerns.

One man asked Adams if PBOT had considered limiting the number of people that bike down Flint. “If I thought that was realistic,” Adams replied, “I’d pursue it. But it’s not. Respectfully, that’s just not realistic… They’ll go down the path of least resistance.”

When someone called for more enforcement at Flint, Adams answered, “We’ve had enforcement out there 1-2 days a week for many months. There are plenty of tickets we could write for everyone involved. When engineering of intersections is this chaotic, people forget to turn on their blinker, they forget to stop if they’re coming down the hill on Flint.”

First Inc. owner Bob Huckaby continued; “There’s got to be more law enforcement. That’s what we’re lacking out there.” Again, Adams countered:

“We’ve been putting significant law enforcement out there. Let’s say there were no cops there, we still have this problem. We can have a cop out there all day long and we’re still going to have the problem. They’re blowing with the cop sitting right there. The geometry of the area makes it hard for people to even see the officer sitting on the sidewalk. I understand you don’t like this. I’d say we’ve invested a lot of money on the work-around and I don’t think this, in the scheme of things, is a very big price to pay to save lives and prevent injuries.”

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-12
Bob Huckaby, owner of First Inc., a furniture installation company based just north of Wheeler Avenue. He has concerns about the closure, and feels more needs to be done to improve Flint stop sign compliance; but he is also very reasonable and understands the safety concerns.

“We believe in safety,” Huckaby said in response. To which Adams quickly replied, “Well then, what do you suggest we do?… You tell me you care about safety, I need to hear if you have a better option for safety. What I’ve heard is to close Flint. That’s not realistic.”

Adams spoke with confidence and respect and showed a solid grasp of the transportation issues faced by businesses in the area. For truckers concerned about limited access on Wheeler, Adams urged them to not use the street at all, pointing out that the City spent million upgrading N. Interstate Avenue as a main truck route and that large trucks negotiating Wheeler is inherently unsafe. (Adams drove a few alternate routes himself and found avoiding Wheeler would only result in about 30-45 seconds delay.) The mayor made it clear that he and PBOT staff plan to work with businesses to make access as smooth as possible. “We can work with you on curb cuts [to increase truck turning radii], removing parking, all of those things. I’m not going to leave you guys stranded out there,” he said at one point.

PBOT traffic safety project engineers gave a presentation to complement Adams’ closure plan. Greg Raisman said they’ve found collisions at Wheeler are caused by an even split of people riding down Flint and down Broadway. “Our analysis is that this location suffers from a significant geometry problem,” said Raisman, “Even if everyone behaved like angels here, we’d still be looking at a high-crash intersection.”

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-13
PBOT staffer Greg Raisman went through the City’s rationale for the closure.

Far from a knee-jerk reaction, Raisman explained (to the appreciation of meeting attendees in my opinion) that they have taken a very thorough look at the issues and have found the Wheeler closure to be the best solution at this time. He called PBOT’s approach “access management” and said the goal is to “reduce the number of conflict points.”

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-1
A view from east, looking west at the Broadway/Flint/Wheeler triangle. The black sedan is turning right on Wheeler; the people on bikes are stopped at N. Flint; the Jeep in the foreground is coming off of the I-5 slip ramp.

Raisman also acknowledged that there are myriad other problems (both with infrastructure and behavior) in this area and he assured everyone that PBOT is working on them. “But what we’ve got right now,” he said, “Is a critical safety problem.”

By the end of the meeting, the mood in the room seemed collaborative and productive, not angry.

In the end, Adams said, “This is transportation, no matter what we do it’s always controversial… We’ve gotten criticism for waiting as long as we have. We’re taking action; but we recognize your needs and we want to work with you.”

The closure is set to begin Wednesday.

— Read our full coverage in the archives.

UPDATE, 3:18 pm: Mayor Adams has just released a statement and a diagram of their fix…

Statement from Mayor Sam Adams on Safety Measures at Intersection of Wheeler, Flint, and Broadway

Today, after extended planning and engineering evaluation, I have made the announcement that the City is closing Wheeler Street to right turn traffic from NE Broadway as a short-term safety solution. As we go forward with the N/NE Quadrant plan, unanimously approved by stakeholders, we will be implementing a long-term solution that increases safety and supports freight and other needs. In the short term, Wheeler will be closed to right-turn traffic starting Wednesday morning (see attached diagram.)

For some time I have been concerned about this dangerous intersection that proves hazardous for cars, trucks, bicyclists and pedestrians. From 2000 to 2010, there were 20 reported crashes at this intersection. Seventeen of the 20 collisions were right-hook crashes involving a bicycle and an automobile.

After years of study, we have found that what makes this intersection so dangerous isn’t only the behavior of those using the roadway, but the roadway itself.

The blind curve of Broadway as it reaches toward Flint is a geometric puzzle that has one solution: closing Wheeler down to right-turning traffic. Even if every driver and every bicyclist that moves through this intersection follows every road rule perfectly, this would still be an extremely dangerous intersection because the curve of the road does not allow cars and trucks to see and respond to bicyclists moving downhill quickly and does not allow bicyclists to see and respond to cars and trucks.
Since 2008, the City has installed a long list of safety measures that did not bring about the needed outcome. Including:

- Installed a stop bar across the bike lane on Flint.
- Installed a legend that says “BIKES STOP”.
- Installed left turn only travel from northbound Wheeler.
- Installed large curb extension to reduce wrong-way driving/riding as people go from Wheeler to Flint.
- Adjusted the travel lanes on Broadway to bring travelers further away from the complicated traffic weaving on the north side of the street.
- Increased traffic enforcement by police officers.

Despite all of this reengineering, this section of Broadway continues to be hazardous to all who use it. When I became mayor, I made road and transportation safety a major focus. As transportation commissioner, I have had to make difficult decisions. It is a difficult decision, but Wheeler needs to be closed to right turn traffic in order to save lives until the longer-term solution offered by the N/NE quadrant plan can be implemented.

The team at PBOT will be working closely with the business community to find solutions that support their needs. We will all work together to keep things safe and keep things moving.

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Comments
  • Bike-Max-Bike August 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Way to go Sam!

    Recommended Thumb up 21

  • benschon August 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    This intersection is a public health hazard. Regardless of who is at fault, immediate action is warranted.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • kww August 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I still like the idea of routing bikes through the parking lot, then down Dixon st. Bikes are still at a hazard at the existing intersection.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Yep. It’s a good idea… But PBOT says it’d be aboutt $5 million and could take at least 5 years to happen.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • GlowBoy August 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      The parking lot/Dixon St routing works for cyclists coming down Flint, but not those coming from further east on Broadway. At least half the right-hook conflicts at Wheeler involve cyclists who were coming down Broadway rather than Flint.

      And BTW, it’s NOT bikes that are the “hazard.” How many people have been injured by cyclists here? Oh yeah, ZERO. It’s cars that are the hazard.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • John Boy August 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

        Right, that car jumped right out and hit that bicycle.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • A.K. August 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm

          Funny, that’s exactly what people say when they’re driving around, not paying attention, then hit something (usually a person).

          “They just came out of NOWHERE!!” No… no they didn’t. Sorry.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Case August 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

        “Bikes are still at a hazard at the existing intersection”

        kww wasn’t calling bikes a hazard, just that bikes were still at a hazard (as in still in danger) at this intersection. Just like knee-jerk angry reactions are a hazard of reading the comments of this blog.

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        • GlowBoy August 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm

          You mean, like yours? ;)

          Sorry, I missed the “at” when I was reading that comment. My bad.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Case August 22, 2012 at 9:00 am

            Yup, just like mine. :) Glad you read that into my post. Seriously. :)

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  • kiel johnson August 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Sam and people in the city know how to talk to a room of angry people. It is quite a skill and we are lucky to have people like that who work for our city. I hope our next mayor has a similar ability.

    Recommended Thumb up 24

    • rain bike August 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      He may, but he”ll be late to the meeting, cause y’all want him to take the bus…

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • q`Tzal August 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      ‘ You talk about valuing safety, what is your realistic solution? Removing bicycles from “your” neighborhood is not a valid solution’. (paraphrase of Adams)

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for throwing his ignorance back in his face where it belongs.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Ted August 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Bravo! Good precedent of a needed action being taken relatively boldly and swiftly.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Dan August 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    So when are they going to start ticketing cars who don’t come to a full stop at stop signs?

    Recommended Thumb up 14

    • Spiffy August 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      as soon as you ask the city to do an enforcement action and give them the intersection info…

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • oliver August 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      When business owners and their media start kicking their toys out of the pram over cars running stop signs.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Stuart Bell August 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      I got one of those tickets when I was 17 chief, they absolutely ticket for it, however since theres no one intersection where drivers have been getting killed repeatedly for running said stop signs, they haven’t allocated a motorcycle cop to any. I ride bikes, motorcycles, and drive cars, I’ve been on both sides – and as much as people in cars are oblivious and unsympathetic towards bicyclists, the entitled mentality bicyclists have in this city is pretty outrageous. Roll through stop signs at busy intersections, you roll the dice, nobody else should have to pay for that stupidity.

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      • q`Tzal August 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        My ultra-paranoid “no witnesses” policy on stop signs and traffic lights might be a little slower but in 20 years of commuting by bike my only crashes have been alone on empty streets taking turns like I’m a motorcycle racer in a hairpin turn. And the oil slick.
        Ouch.

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      • spencer August 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm

        the problem is stuart I’ve entered broadway up at 9th street and STILL encountered issues with drivers at wheeler. My think was that the flint/wheeler/broadway was dangerous but if I was biking along the bikers on broadway they would see me… Nope made no difference. It is just bad planning. People are acting like this is the end all and be all of this situation. It’s not it just the stopgap so no one gets killed while they figure out a better solution for everyone in that area.

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        • Stuart Bell August 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

          I’m actually not really opposed to the action – I’ve ridden and driven past the intersection myself often and there’s alot going on. With two right turns merging into a three lane sweeping left, cars are so busy jockeying for position to get onto the bridge that bicyclists are not necessarily on their radar.

          I just wish people could be more pragmatic on both sides, but especially bicyclists since they’re the ones with more to lose and hoping that car drivers will get better is the pipe dream of pipe dreams. When you ride motorcycles, where the stakes are typically higher yet, you ride like nobody sees you and everyone is out to kill you – I ride my bike the same way. Assertive behavior in traffic like rolling through busy stop signs is the opposite of this mentality – there’s no place for that when the distracted person in the 3500lb death sled is on the other side of the equation.

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  • Steve B August 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Well said, Mr. Mayor!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • 9watts August 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Isn’t the motorcycle cop on the sidewalk?

    And why does he have to chase every person who runs the stop sign? It seems far more productive to station a guy down a block who can flag the offenders down.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Spiffy August 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      issue a citizen citation!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Indy August 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      This reminds me of why Downtown Clean and Safe/cops can ride their bikes on the sidewalk while issuing citations to citizens that do the same thing.

      Even if they don’t issue citations, isn’t that sending the wrong message that it’s OK for people to do this downtown that might not know the law?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • John August 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    It is amazing how much people will fight something even if it would save lives. If they wanted to close ALL access routs to my house but one from a longer distance away to save lives, I would be in total support of it!

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • D_G August 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    How about this for a more long-term fix:
    1. re-align the I-5 ramp to 2 lanes that intersect Vancouver at a 90 degree angle with a new signal around 100-150 feet north of Broadway.
    2. re-align Flint to make an “S” (2 90-degree turns) turning east just past the Daycare, then south to intersect Broadway at 90 degrees just before the curve on Broadway. This would probably want a traffic signal, too.
    3. Broadway could drop a lane at the new Flint intersection so there are fewer lanes moving around the curve.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • spare_wheel August 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    one down, 11,342 to go.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Adam August 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Sweet. A little bit of safety brought to a chaotic and scary part of town to be a bicycle commuter in :-)

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Nathan August 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Great news and great article! A lot of the concerns and questions in the comment sections of previous posts seems to have been answered in the meeting.

    This website, despite sometimes playing host to unresolved/never-ending debates/arguments, is an excellent place for policy makers to see public viewpoints and be able to react with some foresight.

    Thanks, Jonathan, for your coverage and thanks, Sam, for acting with concern for our safety!!

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Ted Buehler August 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks for the well-documented story, Johnathan.

    And thanks to Sam, Greg and PBOT for getting on this one.

    Question — did they address enforcement of cars running the stop sign on the I-5 exit ramp? Seems that that is part of the problem, too, as if cars are going from I-5 south to the Lower Albina Industrial Area, then they’re moving too fast in that 100′ segment to properly see and react to other users in the area (like pedestrians crossing Broadway, or bikes who have stopped on Flint legitimately making a right turn into the bike lane as the driver is approaching.

    Ted Buehler

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  • John Lascurettes August 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    PBOT traffic safety project engineers gave a presentation to complement Adams’ closure plan. Greg Raisman said they’ve found collisions at Wheeler are caused by an even split of people riding down Flint and down Broadway. “Our analysis is that this location suffers from a significant geometry problem,” said Raisman, “Even if everyone behaved like angels here, we’d still be looking at a high-crash intersection.”

    So it had little to nothing to do with stop sign non-compliance. Huh. Imagine that!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Esther August 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I find it interesting that closing Flint is “not realistic” but my understanding is that ODOT plans to do exactly that with the I-5 widening….http://bikeportland.org/2012/06/07/time-is-now-to-engage-on-i-5-expansion-plans-near-rose-quarter-72846

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • John Lascurettes August 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      But not until they make other modifications to the area (removal of slip ramp exit, light changes at Vancouver, etc.).

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Aaron August 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Wait, are you saying you’re mad about that project? The plan would reroute traffic across a new bridge a block away, and then on to Dixon. This is a big, long term project with non-city money. Closing Flint is not realistic as a short-term safety action.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • John Lascurettes August 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Hoo boy. The KOIN story comments (oh, why did I read them?) are the typical tripe:
    “I’ll just run them over”
    “freeloading cyclists are punishing taxpaying drivers again”
    “when will we hold cyclists accountable”

    Thanks a lot, Huckaby. Way to throw blame and fan the flames where it was not needed.

    And again, the stop sign compliance has nothing to do with the right-hook situation as pointed out by PBOT in this article.

    they’ve found collisions at Wheeler are caused by an even split of people riding down Flint and down Broadway.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • spare_wheel August 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      i can’t believe you are trying to destroy an inflammatory wedge issue with mere FACTS. how do you expect the journalists at KOIN to earn a living?!!!

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Joe August 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    woo hoo, lives saved!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Patrick August 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    It’s time to start taking the lane.

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    • q`Tzal August 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      Great for cyclist bombing down Broadway but us less for those exiting Flint whether they stop or not.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • voline August 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Great news! Is it too late for Sam to run against Smith and Hales?

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • voline August 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    @Patrick So true. When I’m coming down that stretch of Broadway, I’m going at the speed of traffic or better because it’s all downhill. I take a lane. You won’t get right hooked when you have the right lane.

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    • Rick August 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      But if there is a bike lane present, you are obligated to use it. Just sayin’.

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      • are August 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

        i am willing to defend that ticket in court, with the argument that i am avoiding a hazard both from too close overtaking on the left, and in this specific instance from the right hook. and if i lose in traffic court, i will be satisfied that the fine is less than the ambulance and hospital bill would have been, and that i am still alive.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Gregg August 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

        You are legally allowed to leave the bike lane if it is unsafe for you to be there.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Sunny August 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    One would think that the decreased potential liability from one of Huckaby’s work trucks running over a commuter going to work would make the businessman realize monetary savings.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • q`Tzal August 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Funny thing happened after I was sent to a real commercial truck school by the military: I learned how to drive safely, I learned how to drive defensively and I learned that any screwup would likely lead to deaths and potential permanent loss of income in the field of truck driving. Class A truck drivers are simply better trained and their (our) entire job is to attempt to maintain total situational awareness at all times.
      What standard is there for Class C (normal driver’s licence) driver training? NONE. There is a standard test but no requirement for any instruction what so ever. The consequences to a Class C license holder are minimal to nonexistent; our automotive laws are a joke to developed countries.

      For truck drivers delays are expected and anticipated especially in dense urban areas. We simply drive slower, signal more often and sometimes even get out of the vehicle (blocking lots of angry cars) so we can avoid damage, injury and death.

      Simply put: there are far fewer truckers coming through here and it will only add time and cost to delivery. It might be an annoying place to drive in to but there are far worse.

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  • Hart Noecker August 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I’m a bit confused as to how we jump from the meeting to the ticketing at the intersection without a transition. Was this part of the meeting? Did Sam Adams get up and leave to go visit the intersection and then come back to the meeting?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      That’s my fault Hart… It’s just the way I wrote the story. The ticketing that I photographed and observed happened prior to the meeting. Sam visited it prior as well. Sorry if the story jumped around.

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      • Hart Noecker August 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

        Yeah, I missed that transition line just below the add. Thanks for the clarification, Jonathan.

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  • Rick August 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    As someone who was almost right-hooked twice within 45 minutes – once on SW Barbour and once on Spring Garden – both times, vehicle drivers DID NOT LOOK – I’m glad to see this particular area given at least a band-aid. Thanks Jonathan for bringing this issue to the forefront and lighting a fire.

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    • Dan August 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      To be fair, their views may have been blocked by their cell phones…

      Recommended Thumb up 13

  • Tom August 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    amazing what an elected official can do when not worrying about re-election.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • ScottG August 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you Mayor Adams and Greg Raisman and the folks at PBOT for doing this. And thank you to the business owners who will be dealing with access compromises due to this change.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Kenny August 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Bikes not obeying the law cause deaths, as a result, Sam punishes cars for the misdeeds of the bike. Not only is this unjust this is also bad for bicyclists because it further deepens the tension between bikes and cars. Everytime certain people pass by bikes they just get mad because of things like this then choose to pass by extra close and not yield to bikes.

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    • John Lascurettes August 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Kenny, I guess you didn’t read the article too carefully. There is no direct connection between blowing the stop signs and the cause of the right hooks. I’m not saying it doesn’t make it worse – but when half of the right hooks (PBOT’s stats) also happen to cyclists coming down Broadway (who DON’T have a stop sign), then it’s a problem with the geometry of the area. How is that cars being punished when cyclists are getting maimed and killed?

      And as far as your comment about:

      Everytime certain people pass by bikes they just get mad because of things like this then choose to pass by extra close and not yield to bikes.

      Sure sounds like you have some anger and aggression issues to deal with if this is what your personal belief is. And just like you shouldn’t speak for every cyclist, you shouldn’t speak for ever driver either.

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    • Paul August 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Bikes don’t break laws. Nor do cars, trees, stones or tomatoes. People do. No one is being “punished” here. Stop being ridiculous.

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    • Rick August 21, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Um, I had someone ask me why bike riders approaching from behind (in the bike lane) didn’t slow down for her so she could make her right turn across the bike lane. I told her there was no legal requirement for them to slow down and that she was crossing their lane of traffic and she must wait until it’s safe to make the turn. She said “Oh… maybe THAT’S the problem?”

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      • John Lascurettes August 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm

        Indeed. There’s quite a few people that don’t recognize that the law is (when there is a bike lane) that they must yield to the traffic that’s in it. This goes for a car, a motorcycle or a bike turning from the main motor lane across the bike lane. There is no ambiguity who is at fault if a driver turns across a bike lane and takes out a cyclist. It’s the driver’s fault.

        HOWEVER.

        When there is no side path, there is no yield to the lane law. In other words, it is a shared lane at that point and cyclists passing on the right must do so at their own caution and peril. If a car driver has his right turn blinker on and turns across a cyclists path, it’s likely the cyclist will be penalized for not yielding to the turning vehicle. If the driver fails to signal, then it’s likely his fault for failing to use a turn indicator. But you can see where it gets gray (as in shared fault) real quick.

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  • q`Tzal August 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    As someone who has driven a 53′ tractor trailer down Broadway and made this right turn on to Wheeler I can say that it can be done safely if you are aware of your surroundings.
    I can’t say I’m fond of the rest of that stretch of Wheeler down in to the pit that is this crowded little industrial haven. Wheeler is too narrow with on street parking to allow for safe passage of two way traffic, never mind big trucks. It has very poor sight lines at the north end and seems to be functionally even more narrow due to the odd street angles and business driveways entering at unusual angles.

    If I owned a business down there and was dependent upon traffic getting in and out I’d be loath to give up a single entry without some token fight.
    If I was given the Godfather’s Offer™ of which road to lose access to I’d have to say Wheeler is no great loss. If it is truly to be a heavy commercial and industrial entryway it would need to be revamped and widened.

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  • q`Tzal August 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Has someone already proposed a right turn only lane on Broadway for Wheeler/Flint starting just west of Vancouver, going through the grass area on the north side of Broadway, through the soon to be removed I-5 slip lane and through the two tips of property between the slip lane and apartment building?

    I envision the bike lane on the outside for consistency and a minimum of 6′ wide; wider would allow for large truck maneuvers when safety requires. Between the right turn lane and the straight through lane, starting at the exact inch Broadway starts to turn left to just past Wheeler, a continuous line of those candlesticks would installed to discourage illegal maneuvers.

    While expensive it would have the advantage of making automotive right turn prognostication unneeded while keeping Wheeler open.
    With a wide enough bike lane cut out here even poorly routed truckers could make the turn safely.

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    • are August 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      well, just east of vancouver, or should i say east of williams, they have committed to the opposite configuration, trapping cyclists inside two right turn lanes exiting onto the highway. it would be interesting, to say the least, to then have cyclists cross a lane to the left in order to create yet another forced right turn lane for motorists.

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  • Barbara L August 22, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Are they ticketing bicyclist who stop but don’t put their foot down or?
    What is a legal stop.
    What do drivers consider a legal stop?
    Frequently drivers do not consider a bicyclist as having stopped unless they put their foot down & even dismount the bicycle.They are ignorant of the laws.

    I was recently reprimanded by a enforcement officer near a trimet area when I had stopped to asked where to go to the bike path in a trimet area I was unfamiliar with then. He refused to answer it until I dismounted the bicycle.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 22, 2012 at 8:49 am

      People on bikes are not required to put a foot down. That’s absurd. The law states you must only “cease forward motion.”

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  • Rick August 22, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Since many people have gaps in their knowledge regarding the rules of the road, I would love to see the local TV news and newspapers (print and online) cover and clarify them, especially as they pertain to bike lanes, since this seems to be a gray area for many. Just getting that info out and making more people aware will be a great help.

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    • Kristen August 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

      A little education goes a long way; a lot of education goes even further.

      The info is already out there, it shouldn’t take too much work for a journalist to collate it all into an article. Especially as the commentators here on BP seem to have collated a lot of the info already, just spread out there a lot of articles here.

      I would also love to see local media cover the state transpo laws… or the state to start requiring people to take at least the written test again when renewing their licenses. Hey, a gal can dream, right?

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    • El Biciclero August 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      I can see the stories now…

      “BICYCLISTS RIDE ILLEGALLY…but not as much as we think. We’ve all seen those Portland cyclists who blow through stop signs and red lights, weave in and out of traffic without signaling, pass on the right, don’t stay in the bike lane, hold up traffic while hogging the whole car lane–and do it all with a smug, ‘I’m better than you’ attitude. But are all those things really illegal? Running stop signs and red lights is definitely illegal, even though we hardly ever see cyclists obey these rules. But what about the other things?

      [briefly mention exceptions to laws and other things that are legal for cyclists]

      We asked some drivers what they thought:

      Dave A. said, ‘Riding down the middle of the road like that? It might be technically legal, but I would never do that. Anybody that wants to put themselves at risk out in the middle of traffic like that deserves what they get. I mean, I hope it never happens, but they’re kind of asking for it, you know? Why can’t they go ride in parks and places like that?’

      Susie Q. told us, ‘I was driving downtown just the other day and when I went to turn right–this cyclist in the bike lane came out of nowhere passing me on the right! He almost slammed smack into the side of my car! If it’s legal to pass on the right like that, it sure shouldn’t be! To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not–if you’re on a bike and you tangle with a car, you’re going to lose every time.’

      Jim B. said, ‘I don’t see why they have to ride so close to the edge of the bike lane–or even outside it sometimes! I mean, I know there are legal exceptions to staying in the bike lane, but if it was me, I’d be as far over as I could get; I would want to stay out of the way of the cars! If I couldn’t ride in the bike lane for some reason, I’d ride on the sidewalk–or better yet, in a park! Why can’t they ride in parks?’

      Well, there you have it. How about you? Are cyclists a bunch of crazy enviro-hippies that never obey the law? Or are they just little boys and girls who never grew up? ‘Like’ us on Facebook!”

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  • Jason S. August 22, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Yeah for leadership. Nicely done, Sam.

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  • Barbara L August 23, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Yea I agree it’s absurb. I refused & reported the officer to tri-met. Unfortunately the real issue is that drivers are ignorant get angry, spout off when they don’t have a clue that the cyclist is riding legally. There has never been adequate or any driver education other than to be safe which to drivers means get out of my way when I honk & or get off my pavement.

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