View Full Version : Black Holes on Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton

06-02-2011, 08:34 AM
I've created a new set on flicker, called Black Holes... Bike Eating Catchbasins. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157626869018634/)
Here's a couple of highlights:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5184/5790158217_f12e67a550.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/5790158217/) http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3162/5790718364_9a5f1c5726.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/5790718364/)

You all know them, those hidden recessed storm drain grates (with or without a wheelsucker lurking inside). The kind that hurt your back, arms and backside when you drop unexpectedly inside.

Well, they're not supposed to be like that. So, lets get out there, and get them identified, so they can be fixed.

There's a couple of real beauties found on SW Barbur Blvd. in the inbound bike lane, between the turn off for the Ross Isl. Bridge, and the 405. Can't find my photographs of them.

See Something? SAY SOMETHING!!!

05-16-2012, 12:34 PM
On Sep 9, 2011, at 12:16 PM, K' Tesh wrote:

I'd like to call to your attention the hazard created when asphalt overlays are being done. I've found a couple of storm drain grates that are sunken, when these overlays don't include elevating the existing drains to the new surface level. For cyclists these hidden dangers are possibly dire as they are most often found in the bike lane, or close to the curb, where cyclists are supposed to ride when there is enough space for bikes and cars to travel side by side. A cyclist hitting the edges of these unawares could lose control and crash at speed, and putting them at risk of being run over by adjacent traffic. For pedestrians walking along in the areas where these are often found could twist an ankle or fall and suffer injuries.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5145/5790167193_dcd810acfb.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/5790167193/)

Several of these catch basins are found in Washington county. I want to bring them to your attention. One is located on the southwest side of the SW Cedar Hills/Hwy 26 intersection at the corner of SW Butner and Cedar Hills Blvd (just north of the new repaving project completed by Washington County). I've contacted Washington County, and am told that this is ODOT's responsibility. Occasionally cars making a right hand turn will encroach on the bike lane, and a cyclist could be forced into this grate.

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6121/6034187991_f2a849c34c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/6034187991/)

Several are located on SW Hall Blvd, between SW Statler/SW Ross and SW Durham Rd. Two of the worst of those are located in the NB lane in front of 15520 SW Hall Blvd. Here, dappled sunlight does a very effective job of camouflaging the grate until a cyclist falls in.

there are bad ones across the street in this area too.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2651/4015352389_2506a04c8e.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/4015352389/)

The following was taken from the document

JUNE 14, 1995

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/or_bicycle_ped_plan.pdf pg 174

New drainage facilities function well, but may sink and deteriorate over time. Catch basins
may need to be adjusted or replaced to improve drainage. A bike-safe drainage grate at the
proper height improves bicycle safety. Curbs used to divert storm water into catch basins
should be designed so they do not create hazard for cyclists. At intersections, there
should be no puddles in pedestrian crosswalks.

• Raise catch basin grates flush with pavement;
• Modify or replace deficient drainage grates with bicycle-safe grates;
• Repair or relocate faulty drains at intersections where water backs up onto the curb
cut or into the crosswalk; and
• Remove existing drainage curbs that encroach into shoulders or bike lanes.

Please take steps to fix these grates, or at least mark them like Tualatin and now Tigard are doing with 4" white thermoplastic stripes applied before them.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7003/6623155179_72b0c8247d.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/6623155179/)

Thanks for your time and attention...

NOTE: The grates on SW Hall in the photographs were addressed in January 2012.

05-16-2012, 12:37 PM
Hal Ballard
Hi Jim,

Thank you for the graphic and factual detail about this ongoing problem. It is always of concern and frustratingly confusing to address. To elevate the "existing drains to the new surface level" as you mention is more than just pouring concrete. I'll defer to those others on the list who are more knowledgeable than I on the subject.

While it may be regulation that drains be treated as you suggest, what goes on the ground project-by-project may be different than what is written in the code. Costs and other mitigating factors also come into play.

There are several ways to address your concerns that can have both immediate and long term results:
1. When you ride your bike, ride closer to the white stripe. You are more in the line of sight of motorists and, when I use you as an example on visibility in some of my storytelling, I call you Mr. Reflector! Storm grates aside, glass, lead pieces from wheel balancing, rock and other debris rolls or is windswept by traffic toward the curb.
2. Keep documenting your discoveries and in your communication to officials propose some solutions. One example is to ask that they direct project managers or contractor to at least smooth out the lip where asphalt meets concrete. That particular drop-off you show in your second picture would take the ablest cyclist pedestrian or runner who came across it.
3. Advocate locally like we do. Talk to local transportation committees, and commissions, CPOs, city council and county commission meetings. On the 1st Monday of each month, the Washington County Coordinating Committee meets at the Beaverton Library. Here is a captive audience if you ever wanted one. Each city in the county is represented on the committee with the Mayor of each as members. Each meeting consists of a time for the public to make comment. Put your case together, with handouts if necessary, and ask what the process for following up on your concerns are and how you can facilitate them.
You can be a strong advocate for cycling in Washington County, Jim. I say all this to encourage you in your efforts to bring change down to the pavement level.

Inside pedal up!


Shelley Oylear
I have spoken with operations about the markings and we agree that it would be a useful interim treatment but the real solution is to address the situation. To that end there are two things that we have identified. First, to refresh or remind contractors, operators, and inspectors–that as overlays are scheduled that they need to pay attention to the catch basins and determine if they need to be raised prior to the overlay. They also need to be alert to the quality of work around the catch basins. With this step we hope not to create more issues. The second point is to address existing locations where there are problems. The challenge is a) identifying these locations and b)figuring out which entity (city, county, clean water services, private development contractor) should take responsibility for the fix, scheduling to get it done, and following up to make sure that it’s completed. We are improving our interagency coordination but we need help from cyclists out there to identify where the locations are that need attention by reporting them on http://www.wc-roads.com/ .

Shelley Oylear
Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator

05-16-2012, 12:39 PM
Sent today:

Hi Shelly,

I went out there last night after seeing you, and I noted that nothing has been done.

If you're getting guff from the people who should be acting on this, I'd suggest you ask them these questions

"Would you feel safe riding down this road at 20+mph after dark with this?"
"Do you think it wouldn't feel uncomfortable or frighting hitting one of these at speed with traffic beside you?"

Again this region is found across the entire repaving project area. The one just south of SW Lanewood (at the bottom of that slope) is particularly frighting, it's deep, it sticks out into the bike lane quite a bit, and its an area where a bike is likely to be going at a high rate of speed.

I have a GoPro camera, and I'm sorely tempted to ride that area again tonight hitting the bumps (I'm aware of them, so I'll be cautious), and uploading the video.

Of course I'd prefer that these grates be elevated to current road height, but I could live with "shy" lines as a interim treatment.
Section 3B.10 Approach Markings for Obstructions
Pavement markings shall be used to guide traffic away from fixed obstructions within a paved roadway. Approach markings for bridge supports, refuge islands, median islands, and raised channelization islands shall consist of a tapered line or lines extending from the centerline or the lane line to a point 0.3 to 0.6 m (1 to 2 ft) to the right side, or to both sides, of the approach end of the obstruction (see Figure 3B-13).

Figure 3B-13 Examples of Markings for Obstructions in the Roadway (2 Sheets)

http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2003r1/images/fig-3b-13-1_sm.gif http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2003r1/images/fig-3b-13-2_sm.gif

For roadways having a posted or statutory speed limit of 70 km/h (45 mph) or greater, the taper length of the tapered line markings should be computed by the formula L = 0.62 WS for speeds in km/h (L = WS for speeds in mph). For roadways where the posted or statutory speed limit is less than 70 km/h (45 mph), the formula L = WS2/155 for speeds in km/h (L = WS2/60 for speeds in mph) should be used to compute taper length. Under both formulas, L equals the taper length in meters (feet), W equals the width of the offset distance in meters (feet), and S equals the 85th-percentile speed or the posted or statutory speed limit, whichever is higher.

I know that this doesn't say anything about recessed obstacles, but someone should be able to find something that addresses those..

I called Shelly after sending the email, and she was disappointed to hear that nothing has been done about the SW Cedar Hills issues. She now has my email, and is pursuing it again.