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Old 03-08-2011, 12:20 PM
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Default Mucked up Merge on Milikan Way

Hey westsiders,

For at least the last year, on the stretch of Milikan Way between Cedar Hills Blvd and Rose Biggi Ave, there's been a situation having to do with the bike lane and the sign advising that the bike lane ends at Rose Biggi Ave, that has seemed to me to be woefully lacking.

I took some pictures. Here's the URL, so you can go take a look at them if you choose: Millikan Way eastbound btwn CHB and Rose Biggi Av/ 'bike lane ends' treatment
In case the pictures don't adequately explain the situation, here's what happens for a cyclist traveling this stretch of Milikan in the bike lane: They travel along in the bike lane, unable to see the symbol sign informing them of the bike lane's end, until there no longer is sufficient time to hand signal a turn for subsequent, safe, smooth flowing transition into the main travel lane.

This likelihood of this happening is due to an inherent flaw in the arrangement of the sidewalk border trees perfectly in line with the streetlamp pole upon which the bike lane symbol sign is mounted. As a result, the tree trunks and branches block cyclists view of the sign until they're less than 100' away from the sign.

As you'll see in the first picture, the street is posted for 20mph. That's a good thing. Of course, as we all know, motor vehicle operators, and, depending upon the speed capability of the vehicle being used...other vehicles such as bikes too... typically drive at least 5mph over the posted speed limit, especially on streets like this one where no side street development poses hazards traffic has to moderate its speeds for.

This is, at this point in Beaverton's growth, still a relatively low volume traffic street, though at the same time, it's a kind of critically important secondary east-west road. It passes by 'The Round', which has residences, offices, a gym, a college, and more. So, the street is used increasingly, and especially during rush hour, motor vehicle activity can be intense, despite the 20mph speed limit.

Typically, as the cyclist is cruising along in the bike lane, by the time they finally see the symbol sign, or otherwise pick up the idea that they've got to get over into the main travel lane to cross Rose Biggi, the point along Miikan that they're located at is not far enough in advance of the lane end to adequately signal intent of a turn to fast moving motor vehicles approaching from behind the cyclist.

As a result, the cyclist has to dramatically reduce their speed as they're slowly coming ever closer to the end of the bike lane, waiting for a gap between the cars backed up at the stop sign at Rose Biggi. The cyclist could choose to ride past the end of the bike lane alongside the cars in the main travel lane, but it's not smart to do this because the traffic calming curb extension road designers used at this intersection to more naturally reduce traffic speed, becomes a pinch point for cyclists not in the main travel lane, bringing them dangerously close to motor vehicles.

Maybe it's only my view and no one else's, that this a bad situation. I'd appreciate you all taking a look, maybe dropping a comment about what you think. And if you do think this is a situation needing attention, do drop a line to a city department. I'll dig up some contact info anyone wants it.

Here's just one of the pictures in the set of 10 (if you're not a registered member of the forum, you probably won't be able to see it.):




Editing as of 4/13/11: Sometime during the past week, something that occurred to me about Milikan Way, particularly the section of this street through the intersection with Rose Biggi, is how it bears some similarities to the idea of 'Neighborhood Greenways, a concept that the City of Portland has been developing to restore and enhance the ability of some of its neighborhood streets to become particularly good routes for use by pedestrians and cyclists. On its webpage offering info about that concept, Portland puts it this way: 'Streets with low traffic volume and speed where bicycles, pedestrians and neighbors are given priority'



Okay...thinking again about Portland's concept for Neighborhood Greenways, I suppose I've got to admit that Milikan Way isn't exactly prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists...at least not over motor vehicle travel. With this street though, it's certainly clear by the city's use of the 20mph speed limit and the traffic calming curb extension, that it has decided to encourage increased travel by walking and biking in lieu of motor vehicle travel. As such, with this type of infrastructure, it's very important that it works well.

Last edited by wsbob; 03-14-2011 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:52 PM
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I ride that section a lot as it is part of my eastbound excersize route. I have never seen significant traffic on this stretch. I simply merge into the lane way before reaching the stop sign. It might come up suddenly if you are not aware of it.

I am so use to the fact that bike lanes simply stop on the westside that this one never gave me pause. Hillsboro simply puts signs up that say "Bike Lane Ends"... like "now what?" At least there is a sign that guides the rider and traffic. Maybe a message to the transportation department will get the sign moved up a bit.

BTW: that style of curbing at the stop sign is a traffic calming measure
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:48 PM
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Simple Nature ...hey, thanks for the input. About the traffic, maybe the city feels the same way you do. Actually, in terms of volume, so do I. There isn't presently a great volume of traffic on the street. It's the character of the motor vehicle traffic that's there, and how it flows together with bike traffic that seems a problem to me. If it's only me that sees a problem here...then no big deal. I'll forget about it and otherwise make do with the situation.
There are times during the day when east bound motor vehicle traffic moves swiftly down the street to points beyond Rose Biggi. I'm not studying where these vehicles are going, so I can't say for sure; possibly to the gym, to the college, or as a cut through to Watson and proceed southbound rather than negotiating the big intersection of Canyon Rd and Cedar Hills Blvd to access Watson southbound by east bound travel on Canyon.

Down this stretch of Milikan, I estimate my speed on the bike at 15-18mph. So, considering the speed of motor vehicle traffic there, even if I've started down the street with no cars behind or alongside, by the time the sign is clearly visible, motor vehicles often are close to having caught up with me, or are right alongside, blocking transition to the main travel lane. There's not enough advance notice possible from the sign to allow cyclists to make a transition into the main lane.

Time of day? Generally, I ride eastbound through this section between 3:30pm and 5:30pm. I've found the street to have some fairly intensely driving motor vehicle operators on the street during this time frame. They swiftly overtake me on the bike, which suggests that they're easily traveling 20mph, and likely faster. Not much traffic on the street tends to enable the tendency to drive fast.

The trick for bike traffic is to get out of the bike lane far enough in advance of Rose Biggi to have time to safely transition into the main travel lane, but the sign presently can't help cyclists to do this. That's my point.

Riding in the bike lane to the intersection with Rose Biggi brings cyclists towards what I believe you're accurately identifying as a street calming measure, but which in this situation, can turn into a pinch point for bike traffic that has not already transitioned into the main travel lane prior to Rose Biggi.
I think the traffic calming measure/curb extension may very well be doing its bit to help calm motor vehicle traffic between Biggi and Watson.

Through repeated use of this section of Milikan Way with the bike, like yourself, I've tried to make a practice of signaling and leaving the bike lane, starting a couple hundred feet back from Biggi. This works, except when I forget. Of course, because they can't see the sign, this leaves some motorists wondering, 'Hey...why isn't the cyclist in the bike lane?'.

I have sent a link for the photo series and a letter of explanation to a city official. Whether they reply, or give some thought to whether there's a valid need to do something about the situation remains to be seen. If I get a response, I may post it here to this thread so everyone can know what's going on.

Last edited by wsbob; 03-14-2011 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:41 AM
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I have a much bigger concern at this intersection. That is only a 2-way stop!
Any cyclist deciding this isn't worth stopping really puts themselves at risk. I've had cars very confused and stopping for me when they have no stop sign.

The route is a shortcut to Hall-southbound when you don't want to deal with the mall traffic. Locals know it pretty well when you want to avoid TV Hwy and Jenkins but the general public hasn't found this route yet. At some point, this will become an issue.

At the very least, I would forward the picture posted in this thread to the appropriate department and let them know they have an obstructed sign that is located to close to the intersection. I don't know who that would be for Beaverton. In Hillsboro, there is a Transportation Committee that logs complaints like these and gets to issues rather quickly if they can do something about the problem.
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:56 AM
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Lightbulb I called it in for you...

I called someone in Public Works for you. Unfortunately, I could only leave a VM. But I expect I'll get a call back on this.

Keep your eyes open, and let me know when it's fixed.

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Old 03-09-2011, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Nature View Post
I have a much bigger concern at this intersection. That is only a 2-way stop!
Any cyclist deciding this isn't worth stopping really puts themselves at risk. I've had cars very confused and stopping for me when they have no stop sign.

The route is a shortcut to Hall-southbound when you don't want to deal with the mall traffic. Locals know it pretty well when you want to avoid TV Hwy and Jenkins but the general public hasn't found this route yet. At some point, this will become an issue. ...

"... That is only a 2-way stop! ..." Simple Nature

I would think you've certainly raised an important issue, although I expect city officials would respond by looking into whether the sign existing at the intersection that informs east-west bound Milikan Way road users that north-south bound Rose Biggi road users do not have to stop, is adequately doing its job. Next time you cross through the intersection, note that mounted directly below the stop sign, is a yellow and black horizontal rectangular sign that states 'Cross Traffic Does Not Stop'
The Rose Biggi traffic not having to stop has been lost on me a few times, even though I generally stop at the Milikan stop sign. I'm not sure why I've sometimes failed to notice or remember the aforementioned sign. Maybe because after having stopped at the sign, and looking south, my eyes have caught the back side of a sign on Rose Biggi, positioned in such a way that at first glance, it has registered to me, as a stop sign for Rose Biggi road users.

Once I pulled out in front of a Rose Biggi road user, after having stopped at the Milikan Way stop sign. There's something about the characteristics of this intersection that intuitively says to Milikan Way road users that Rose Biggi road users also have a stop sign, even though ithey don't have one. I don't know for sure why city planners have chosen to regulate Rose Biggi traffic this way. Probably though, the city has bigger ideas for Rose Biggi, that would have it carry a heavier volume of north-south traffic between Canyon, maybe as far as CHB. Some months back, I noticed on the city's website, that RB bridge, north of MW, was scheduled for an expansion.

On the eastbound Milikan bike lane ends question: I have a hard time describing the situation succinctly. Basically though, it boils down to the fact that the sign informing road users that the bike lane is ending, suddenly becomes visible only 100' from the end of the bike lane. My understanding of Oregon rules of the road, is that vehicle operators and bike riders are to indicate intention to turn, 100' from the intended turn. That the bike on Milikan does end, is not an intuitive thing. That's why the symbol sign is there.

If various infrastructure and installation flaws prevent road users from seeing the sign in advance of the 100' distance to the end of the bike lane, they are not being adequately informed to make the necessary safe use of the road.

I'll check my mail today to see if I get a response from the city official I sent the notice to. By the way....the Beaverton Bike Advisory Committee meeting is tomorrow night....Thursday the 10th at 6:30pm at City Hall on Griffith Drive (south of Beaverton Town Square).

Last edited by wsbob; 03-09-2011 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:57 PM
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I ride through there fairly often, and while I know to stop at Rose Biggi (I always stop at stops. Has saved me a couple of times), you are right, the intersection looks like Millikan should be the priority road. To the north, it dumps into a MAX station parking lot, and, if you know The Secret, you can cut through to Dawson (?) that, heading north, puts you on Center and Points East. My husband's bike commute route, and occasionally mine.

Good luck bringing it up at the BAC. I mean, you can bring it up, but it will likely be "yes we know about it and..." You gonna be there? I'm not sure yet.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:13 PM
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Lightbulb Why isn't Rose Biggi a 4 way stop? The MAX...

The reason that Rose Biggi isn't a 4 way stop is the MAX Tracks.

I've called on this in the past, and I was told that if there was a stop there, that there is a potential for a car being stopped on the tracks, and getting broadsided by a train.

Kinda weird, considering the Watson/Broadway/Farmington/P&W RR stoplight, but that's what I was told.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnef View Post
I ride through there fairly often, and while I know to stop at Rose Biggi (I always stop at stops. Has saved me a couple of times), you are right, the intersection looks like Millikan should be the priority road. To the north, it dumps into a MAX station parking lot, and, if you know The Secret, you can cut through to Dawson (?) that, heading north, puts you on Center and Points East. My husband's bike commute route, and occasionally mine.

Good luck bringing it up at the BAC. I mean, you can bring it up, but it will likely be "yes we know about it and..." You gonna be there? I'm not sure yet.
Hey Lynne, thanks for the tips! You know...I've almost never ridden north on Rose Biggi from Milikan. I'm struggling to remember what it leads to. I just assumed it was to the strip mall parking lot, but now...I do recall it leads to the parking lot next to The Round. Don't know about Dawson. I'll check it out.
Will I go to the meeting? Don't know. I have a kind of chronic anxiety, so it's far from the most fun thing for me to do. The city official I sent notice of the situation to, (also on the BBAC), hasn't responded to the email I sent them, so that may mean a deaf ear is being turned to my inquiry about the bike lane ends sign.
(I'm sorry to go on about this again, but here's the thing: even if savvy, experienced cyclists like yourself and simple nature are smart enough to know to leave the bike lane upon approaching an intersection like this one, as a matter of course, before they ever see a sign telling them to, the fact is that the city spent taxpayers money to make and mount this sign so other people that need to, could see it and help them get down the road to home and work safely. When the city doesn't take care to mount the sign in such a way that people can see it properly, the sign becomes almost totally worthless, and in fact is forced to fail to do its bit to prevent harm and injury to road users. I know this is a low volume street, but I think the city should be making a practice of taking care of details like this the right way.)
And maybe the sign issue is no big deal to anyone except me. If that's the case, then why bother? I've already spent a fair amount of time taking pics, uploading them, captioning them... . So if what they relate to is not an issue for most people, it doesn't make a lot of sense for me to pursue it any further, or spend time going to the bike advisory meeting about it, unless I'm aware there's some other reason of particular importance to attend for.

Last edited by wsbob; 03-09-2011 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'Tesh View Post
The reason that Rose Biggi isn't a 4 way stop is the MAX Tracks.

I've called on this in the past, and I was told that if there was a stop there, that there is a potential for a car being stopped on the tracks, and getting broadsided by a train.

Kinda weird, considering the Watson/Broadway/Farmington/P&W RR stoplight, but that's what I was told.
Yes, that's a very interesting answer to the question of why there isn't a stop sign for north-south bound traffic on Rose Biggi at its intersection with Milikan Way, because I'm guessing the light rail tracks are at least a 100' from the intersection; plenty room for a car or a truck or a semi-truck to get clear of the tracks. But maybe I'm guessing wrong. I'll check it out.
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