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  #1  
Old 10-16-2008, 05:33 PM
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djasonpenney djasonpenney is offline
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Default WES and Lombard: Screw Up By Design

OK, I finally whipped out Ye Olde Digital Camera and I'm ready to put together a comprehensive gripe.

Before I begin, let me say that Washington County has needed a north-south light rail for as long as I've lived here (almost 30 years), and I'm glad that it's finally going in.

Today they were testing the cars and cleaning the tracks. I got to wait on my commute and watch one go by. OMG those things are huge! Like, the size of a railroad car



But, now for the negative side. Let's start by heading southbound. K'Tesh, I don't see how the bike lane is marked as "optional" to detour onto the train platform:



Oh, and if you decide you don't want to mess with the train platform, the curbside on the street itself is...unappealing.



(continued...)
__________________
ORS 811.065 (1)(a):

The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “safe distance” means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic....

LCI #2105 Lambchop Rides!
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:35 PM
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djasonpenney djasonpenney is offline
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Default Part 2

Oh, OK. So, let's suppose we ride on the passenger platform at the train station. >BLAM< >BLAM< (Do I get points for hitting pedestrians in the bicycle lane? After all, it's marked as a bike lane...)

Now, I'm at the south side of the train station and I want to continue my trip on Lombard. Option 1 is to use the crosswalk. Even assuming I want to deal with only riding at a pedestrian pace as required by ORS, here's what you get to see as you approach...



Ayyup. That's right, a freakin' traffic light pole right in the middle of the curb, just so you can perhaps hit another pedestrian or two as you go around it.

Let's take a look at that curb from the other direction, shall we?



It's pretty clear to me that they've expressly disabled the curbside here, so you have to go either left (toward the train tracks), or right. Let's take a look at that curb near the train tracks...



Note how the curb cut is set up so that any disabled WES trains will have an easy time of it, but anyone actually on the platform might actually miss the edge as they step off.

Well, OK. So perhaps we should all be using the other side (the side at the crosswalk on Farmington). Sorry, I missed this picture, but perhaps you can see from the earlier pictures that the curb cut doesn't even go the entire width of the marked crosswalk.
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ORS 811.065 (1)(a):

The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “safe distance” means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic....

LCI #2105 Lambchop Rides!
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2008, 05:36 PM
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djasonpenney djasonpenney is offline
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Default Part 3

I'm done with the southbound rants. Let's turn our attention to northbound Lombard as it approaches Beaverton Transit Center. A month or so ago I noticed this strange chicane as you approach the WES tracks here:



It took me a couple of times riding through here before I finally understood what it was that the traffic engineers are trying to do. Bless their cotton pickin' little hearts, they wanted to help the cyclists cross the tracks at a right angle.

But...look a little closer...do you see how the motor vehicle roadway is bearing to the left there? Note how the traffic island leaves the cyclist's path unprotected as he crosses the tracks.

Let's take a look at that a bit closer.



Yup, as you cross the tracks you're pointed directly into vehicle traffic, and you can bet that those motor vehicles are going to be swinging to the right side of their lane as they go around the bend.

Notice the closer of the two riders? Here's someone who's figured out the snafu and wants to live. He's just going to ride the sidewalk a while and get back onto the street a bit farther north.

The thing about this is that the BTC was involved with the engineers on the WES Beaverton interchange from the outset, and they chose to ignore our advice and do whatever the hell they felt like. Excuse my French.

I know this has been a rant, but I've been wanting to get this off of my chest for a while. Most of these stupidities could have been easily avoided in the planning stages, and now it's going to cost Real Money to fix.

Sigh. Thanks for listening.
__________________
ORS 811.065 (1)(a):

The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “safe distance” means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic....

LCI #2105 Lambchop Rides!

Last edited by djasonpenney; 10-16-2008 at 08:16 PM. Reason: south, north, whatever :-)
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  #4  
Old 10-16-2008, 06:09 PM
Psyfalcon Psyfalcon is offline
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"Optional"

There is a requirement to use the bike lanes where they exist. Is there a requirement to use an adjacent MUP? You can't make a left from the MUP to Farmington without using 3 seperate crosswalks...
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Old 10-16-2008, 06:18 PM
bikerinNE bikerinNE is offline
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Just a thought on the light pole in the middle of the sidewalk...

It's not so large as to hide a person behind it. If you're going to hit a Ped. on a bike, don't let the pole be the excuse... just a thought.

That area does look to suck huge though. Way bad engineering design, looks as if cost was a factor.
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Old 10-16-2008, 07:20 PM
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K'Tesh K'Tesh is offline
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Lightbulb Lets hope that the lessons here are learned...

I have to say, you've tackled an area of it that I've pretty much missed thru the lack of need to travel that direction. I've avoided the MUP thru there by positioning myself in the lane.

Still, as everybody can see, this is a really unusual design, and the concerns of the cyclists were not addressed as well as we could have hoped for. I think that we now have a larger checklist of things that we need to ask about when presented with oportunities to become involved in the process.

Get Involved!!!
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Last edited by K'Tesh; 10-16-2008 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:14 PM
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q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
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This is an issue that K'Tesh and I hammered on at the Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee in October. The next meeting is December 2nd and hopefully we can get more cyclist there to chew on them.

K'Tesh: perhaps this is an issue that needs to vocalized to other government organizations. I guessing: Trimet, ODOT, some Federal cargo rail governing body. I don't know who; I defer to your wisdom. Perhaps in the vein of your "The $100,000.00 Scare Tactic" these organizations need to be convinced that they will at least partially financially responsible when the inevitable fatality occurs in this Charlie Foxtrot.

Last edited by q`Tzal; 10-16-2008 at 10:15 PM. Reason: oops
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Old 10-17-2008, 01:43 PM
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K'Tesh K'Tesh is offline
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Red face Could have been worse...

As much as I complain about the WES, I now realize it could have been worse...


Now, that's planning...

If only I could have been there a few years before, I'd have pruned them...

Rubberside Down!
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  #9  
Old 10-17-2008, 04:04 PM
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I rode the WES/Lombard bike routes again today. I'd ridden them last week to check out the expansion joints K'Tesh found to have caused him on his bike to wobble.

Note first of all that WES is not yet in service, so there isn't any pedestrian congestion resulting from the presence of people waiting, embarking, disembarking from WES trains. Without that kind of congestion present, I'd have to say I had no problems making my way through any of the areas shown in djasonpenney's pictures. That big light pole "...right in the middle of the curb..."? There seems to be a fair amount of sidewalk space to the right of it, and some to the left for people to pass around it. Directly in front of the pole, between it and the street, out of camera view, is a distance of about 8'.

It seems as though that is likely to be enough distance for pedestrians/bikes crossing the street to sufficiently pass to the side of the pole so as to avoid them popping out suddenly in front of people on bikes approaching from behind the pole. Also, note in the picture that the curb cut with rose colored tread panel directs peds crossing the street to angle away from the pole rather than direct them straight towards it.

Of course, with a lot of people milling around in close quarters, the pole could be a problem. This MUP section of the WES complex just does not seem like a place where people riding bikes should ever expect to ride 15 mph. Even though bikes are allowed there, it seems like bikes are going to have to travel at pedestrian speeds through the area.

On another issue Jason raised with his last couple pics in Pt 2; I still can't quite figure out why that curb cut wasn't made wider. Seems as though it should have at least went as far as the big expansion joint that can be seen in the pic.

I'm kind of undecided about the issues Jason raised in Pt 3. I didn't see a big problem there, but it wasn't very busy with car traffic, or pedestrians either, since, as I mentioned before WES isn't yet in service (last I read, won't be until February due to supplier difficulties). When swarms of people are present, the dynamic may be completely different. I'll reserve judgment on that one.

Speaking of the issue about expansion joints and efforts to eliminate the possibility of peoples tires from wedging into them (some comments from the last thread on the subject seem to have mysteriously disappeared): There seems to have been some efforts made to fill some of them, but not all. I deliberately tried to ride along and get my 23 mm tire stuck in them or have them throw me off balance. I felt maybe a slight wobble occasionally, but nothing that would threaten to throw me off balance. Someone with a lesser sense of balance than I have might not feel as comfortable with them as I did. Over by the watersports store, some of the expansion joints still look really deep and bad even if they wouldn't actually trap your tires.

Last edited by wsbob; 10-18-2008 at 09:12 AM.
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