New signals on Couch at Broadway and first-ever ‘pedestrian scramble’ are up and running

by on November 24th, 2015 at 3:03 pm

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One of the first people to wait at the new signal at Broadway and Couch.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation just flipped the switch on new traffic signals at Northwest Couch and Broadway, 10th and 11th Avenues. The signals on Broadway are on a major bike route where they were first flagged as necessary four years ago. At the intersection of Couch and 11th, PBOT has installed Portland’s first ever “pedestrian scramble signal.” (more…)

Why the new traffic signal at N Cook and Vancouver is such a big deal

by on October 14th, 2015 at 11:40 am

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This woman is waiting at the first-ever red light at North Cook and Vancouver.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Golden scissors, a red ribbon, coffee and pastries, television cameras and a large crowd that included Bureau of Transportation staff, business owners and neighborhood advocates.

From the looks of this morning’s event at the intersection of North Vancouver and Cook you’d think the city was celebrating the completion of a major project or milestone.

New bike signal north of Moda Center adds green time for southbound biking

by on April 13th, 2015 at 3:22 pm

The new southbound bike signal at Wheeler Avenue and Winning Way gives a little extra green time to people biking without interfering with people in cars.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s busiest bike crossings will flow a little more efficiently thanks to a new bike signal activated last Thursday.

The signal gives a green light to people biking southbound on Wheeler Avenue, preparing to curve around the Moda Center into the Rose Quarter Transit Center area. Northbound bus and bike traffic here has a green signal phase of its own, but that doesn’t conflict with southbound bike traffic.


Ask BikePortland: Can I go when the walk sign turns green?

by on November 18th, 2014 at 11:18 am

A LPI in action
An LPI in action at N Williams and Killingsworth (note the crosswalk has a green while everyone else still has a red).
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Have you ever noticed how the “WALK” sign over in a crosswalk sometimes turns green while your signal remains red? This phenomenon has confused a few readers who aren’t sure if they can start riding when the walk sign turns green or if they must wait for the main signal.

Here’s our first question from Dave M.: (more…)

On the podcast: The ‘invisible urbanism’ of traffic signals

by on June 5th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Portland’s traffic signal guru, Peter Koonce,
in our podcast studio.
(Photo J.Maus/BikePortland)

When you change something about a traffic signal, people don’t notice. They simply obey.

Well, mostly.

Maybe that’s why signals have quietly become one of the most important and unique ways that Portland has made itself a better place for walking, biking and driving cars at reasonable speeds rather than at noisy and unsafe ones.

In this month’s episode of the BikePortland podcast, Jonathan, producer Lillian Karabaic and I interview one of the wizards behind the curtain of Portland’s unusually safe streets: Peter Koonce.

Koonce, the division manager for Portland’s signals and street lighting division and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in municipal government, talked with us about all the tricks in the city’s signal system that you never even noticed. And as always, we close with a transportation tip of the month, Lily’s favorite tweets about TriMet and the uncannily appropriate song that Lily found for the subject of the show.


Study: Half of Portland bike riders don’t know how to trigger green lights

by on November 13th, 2013 at 9:57 am

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The place to place the wheels.
(Image by J.Maus/BikePortland)

The pavement marking to the right, which is supposed to tell people where to place the wheels of their bike to trigger a green light, is illegible to about half of Portland bikers, a new study (PDF) finds.

Even worse: Those figures don’t include many people who rarely ride, suggesting that interminable red lights are a particular burden on new bike riders.

Stefan Bussey, a PSU civil engineering student who conducted the survey, said he came up with the idea when he noticed that people ahead of him at the long Seven Corners traffic signals on Southeast Division would regularly stop a few feet away from the traffic signal stencil.

“It would happen three or four times a week,” Bussey said.

Bussey’s research confirmed it: even in Portland, about 55 percent of bicycle riders surveyed don’t know the meaning of the pavement marking.


New signal on NE Lloyd gives bike riders a jump on other traffic

by on October 3rd, 2012 at 11:09 am

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The new signal makes it easier for this person to merge left over two lanes of traffic.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) activated a bike-only signal yesterday at the northwest intersection of NE Lloyd Blvd and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (more…)

PBOT experiments with ‘intelligent’ new indicator light

by on June 20th, 2012 at 10:43 am

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One smart light.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

One unsung area where Portland is doing some very cool stuff for bicycling is with traffic signals and “ITS” — which stands for Intelligent Transportation Systems. The field of ITS encompasses all sorts of high-tech ways to make our streets smarter. From sensing vehicle patterns with RFID, to software that manages complex signal systems.

Around Portland, some of the most innovative examples of traffic engineering fall under this category. ITS is how PBOT managed to improve bike access on the NE 12th overcrossing without upsetting nearby freight-dependent businesses. It’s also how they dealt with the notorious right hooks on Broadway at Williams (with bike-only signals). (more…)

How to make that light turn green

by on December 8th, 2006 at 7:52 pm

A traffic signal technician at PDOT just released a really cool document titled, “Vehicle Detection: Or, Getting a Green Light on a Bicycle at an Intersection.”

Here’s an excerpt from the, “How we mark for bicycle detection” section: