Bike boxes are a new roadway engineering treatment being used by the City of Portland Office of Transportation to improve bike safety at intersections. They are intended to improve awareness and visibility of cyclists and to help prevent dangerous “right-hook” collisions.
For more information, read the stories below and check out these links for more information:
–Listen to BikePortland.org editor Jonathan Maus discuss bike boxes during an interview on the KINK-FM Morning Show. Download the MP3 (10MB)
–Listen to City of Portland Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield talk about bike boxes. Download MP3 (2.5MB: 2 min, 50 sec)
On Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) pledged their full support for PDOT’s efforts to improve bike safety by installing bike boxes at intersections.
Their support came in the form of a letter written to Scott Wainwright, a top highway engineer for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), who also sits on an important committee that is in the process of formerly approving PDOT’s “Request to Experiment” with the bike boxes.
The Portland Tribune has published an article about concerns raised by citizens and the Oregon Department of Transportation over the usage, safety and efficacy of the newly installed bike boxes.
The story’s sub-headline reads, “Some cycling advocates are trying to stick a wrench in the spokes of Portland’s new bike box program, saying they’re confusing and inherently unsafe, and should not be approved by the federal government.”
The article focuses primarily on concerns raised by Ryan Conrad (a daily Portland bike commuter and mechanic at the Beaverton Bike Gallery store) and concerns about bike boxes (in certain situations) by ODOT’s head traffic engineer Ed Fischer.
This morning, officers from the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division began a series of targeted enforcement missions at the new bike box on SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Traffic Division Lieutenant Bryan Parman and three of his officers were on hand to watch the intersection and make sure road users complied with the newly installed traffic control device. As per their strategy, the officers are only giving out warnings and the plan is to follow up this mission and issue citations when necessary after a two week grace period.
Billing it as an, “event to celebrate Portland’s new ‘Green Space’,” the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation has just announced details of a press event next week that will draw attention to their first installation of a series of bike safety improvements around the city.
The event will be held at Clever Cycles (908 SE Hawthorne), just a few blocks from where the city’s first bike box went in last weekend.
The City of Portland’s campaign to remake several intersections with colored bike boxes and bike lanes is made up of much more than just markings on the pavement. Along with the new markings comes a significant change to the law; at all intersections slated to receive a bike box, right turns on red are now illegal. Motor vehicles must also stop prior to the bike box when the light is red.
In addition to a bike box advertising campaign (who hasn’t seen one of the new billboards?), PDOT has coordinated with the Police Bureau on an enforcement strategy to complement their outreach and education efforts.
I asked Traffic Division Captain Larry O’Dea to share a bit about their strategy.
This morning, in well-timed nod to St. Patrick’s Day, City of Portland crews finished the installation of the green bike box and bike lane at SE Hawthorne and 7th. They also installed new permanent signs adjacent to the intersection warning motorists to yield to bikes in the green lane and reminding them of “No Turn on Red”.
The box is large, highly visible and offers quite a welcome mat for cyclists. The box is 14 feet deep and the green stretches across an entire standard-width lane and the adjacent bike lane.