View Full Version : PSU Speedway/deathtrap?

10-21-2009, 07:54 PM
Has anyone ridden on Broadway past PSU lately?
There is a new bike lane wedged in between parked cars and the sidewalk. This sort of lane would be great if there weren't:
1.Such high pedestrian cross traffic
2.Business trucks loading/unloading in the bike lane (completely blocks route)
3.Buses loading/unloading long lines of passengers across the bike lane
4.Passenger exiting (drivers usually check - passengers never do)
5.Aimless un-caffeinated students standing in the middle of the bike lane with headphones on.

I ride this everyday... I ask all the bikers I see what they think about it - and the standard response I get is "It's terrible". I'd like not to get hurt while they experiment with this "Speedway"... ie I'd like to get it removed. One way streets are generally great for bikes (Broadway is excellent) I think this sort of infrastructure would be great somewhere else... dedicated bike lanes are great...just not there.
Let me know what you think. http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2009/04/adams_promises_to_sacrifice_a.html
Kevin Tharp

10-21-2009, 08:14 PM
We seem to have very different experiences. I've ridden the Broadway cycletrack a number of times now and think it's great. I've never seen a truck parked in the lane (which is illegal and should be reported - did you do so?) and have never had car passengers open their doors in front of me - in fact the cycletrack is so wide I don't even see how that would happen unless you're hugging the left side of the lane (was that what you were doing?).

As for pedestrians, there are definitely plenty around, but the existence of the cycletrack doesn't seem to make things any worse than they were before.


10-21-2009, 10:26 PM
Deathtrap? I haven't had any problems. I had to squeeze around a delivery truck one time - cars had parked in all the spots that must've been open when it pulled to the curb, so it was a narrow squeeze - but peds step back when they see me coming, doors don't open all the way across the track and I don't think there are any buses on Broadway anymore, are there? I wouldn't say it's terrible.

10-22-2009, 11:30 AM
Deathtrap is quite inflammatory. Maybe it's the time of day that I use the track but I find pedestrian traffic to be scant but very aimless and precariously positioned. I usually ride the track between 8:20 and 9:00 every weekday. I constantly see delivery trucks in the lane. I ride 2 ft in from the divider from the parked cars because I've been obstructed closer to the sidewalk. The passenger door issue is not the problem... It's the passenger hoping out of the car without looking and strolling into the lane without looking.
I really like these cycle-tracks, I just feel that this placement on a 3 way intersected 1 way street is a waste.

10-22-2009, 12:31 PM
i liked the width of the new cycletrack but its a little hard to get used to parked cars on your left side... i kept thinking they were about to start moving at any second before realizing there was no driver..

10-22-2009, 03:56 PM
The thing to keep in mind is that the cycletrack is an incomplete experiment, the outcome of which will determine whether other cycletracks are implemented elsewhere in Portland. Broadway doesn't need a cycletrack per se, but it's a convenient place for the city to experiment with the concept.

More fully realized versions of the cycletrack (with better physical separation between pedestrians, vehicles, and bicycles) are planned for future development elsewhere in Portland. These should include features to address the concerns in the original post. See related story here:

For now, if a rider's not comfortable with the Broadway cycletrack, there's always other options to ride -- either SW 5th Ave (perfectly good bike lane), or take the rightmost lane on SW Broadway, or ride south through the Park Blocks.
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10-22-2009, 04:29 PM
While I don't suspect that all cyclists love this cycle track (Vance L. certainly hates it and he is a cyclist) does Kevin Tharp seem like a bit of an Oregonian troll?

10-22-2009, 06:43 PM
Kevin, I do hope you're not trolling. I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here.

That said, your original post probably came off as a bit narrow-minded in its focus - you seemed looking for an excuse to get rid of the cycletrack and were hoping to find a chorus of agreement here in this forum. You can probably see by now that you most likely won't find a majority of cyclists here that agree with the "it's terrible" school of thought. :)

So given that, is there a compromise that you'd be willing to explore? What improvements to the existing cycletrack would make for a better experience?

It appears that your issues #1 and #5 are related to pedestrians entering the cycletrack from the sidewalk. As an aside, I find that on Broadway I'm much more likely to encounter a pedestrian conflict further north in the hotel district, usually related to hotel guests and their vehicles entering the bike lane on Broadway.

Regardless, the amount of pedestrian conflict with the Broadway cycletrack could be alleviated by adding planters or barriers parallel to the cycletrack on the sidewalks. This would serve to redirect foot traffic to the crosswalks, where it is more easily negotiated and managed via the crosswalk signals.

Issues #2 and #3 are illegal unloading and should be called into Portland Parking Enforcement. Call 503-823-5195 and have them write the driver a ticket. TriMet buses unload on 5th or 6th avenue, so you won't find them on Broadway at PSU.

Issue #4 could be addressed by adding a raised 'shy zone' for unloading. (as seen in this Paris cycletrack: http://tinyurl.com/yf5ved9)

All of these improvements would address Kevin's concerns and most likely wouldn't cost a great deal to implement. Improving the existing facility is a much better way to be proactive and cost-effective, rather than trying to eliminate it.
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10-22-2009, 09:08 PM
Axel, thanks. Great points. I'm not sure what trolling is, so - I can't speak to that.
I just wanted to get some opinions on my frustrations with the track in it's current situation... before I bothered spending my time chatting with the transit people.

The bus stop in the cycletrack is not for trimet buses... I think it's a PSU shuttle.

10-23-2009, 09:16 AM
I rode on that last weekend in the morning. I felt that passengers exiting their cars to the L. were not being totally aware of the new situation. (mindlessly walking into the bike lane). That's more of an awareness issue though w/ the pedestrian than it is a design flaw w/ the cycletrack. Obviously it's so protected from cars that peds feel like it's a safe place to stand.

It sounds like all of Kevins observations were of people acting slightly jerky instead of there being an issue w/ the cycletrack itself. (I would assume though that the bus load / unloading would probably require one to stop for pedestrians regardless of the vehicle they were driving.)

10-23-2009, 11:30 AM
My completely baseless assumption was that kevintharp was working for the Oregonian and was looking to whip up some rhetoric and vitrol so he could keep a job during the layoffs at the same.

Axel, thanks. Great points. I'm not sure what trolling is, so - I can't speak to that.

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29) :
"In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

From Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=trolling) :
1: "Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it's the internet and, hey, you can."
2: "Trolling is the act of purposefully antagonizing other people on the internet, generally on message boards."

Welcome to the Internet.