Joe Bike

ODOT changes paint striping policy

Posted by on November 11th, 2005 at 10:41 am

I know I’ve been harsh on ODOT in the past, but now I applaud them.

A few weeks ago I posted something about a couple riding a tandem that had slipped on wet paint laid down by ODOT road crews. The paint had just been applied and no signs or cones were placed to warn of the slippery substance.

After contacting ODOT, the riders were told they could receive compensation for their injuries and that ODOT has no policy for warning people of the wet paint because it “usually dries in 10 minutes”. The riders didn’t care about the money, they just wanted this policy changed so this wouldn’t happen again..

I’m happy to report that I just got an email and comment from Michael Ronkin, ODOT’s bike and pedestrian planner.

“This was brought to the attention of the head of ODOT maintenance for the Portland area, and she turned around and brought it to the regional manager’s attention right away. I’ve been cc’d on their email exchanges; it looks like they are planning to change their procedures.”

This is great news (if they follow through) and I applaud ODOT for listening to concerned cyclists and taking action to improve this policy.

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    Caroline November 11, 2005 at 2:15 pm

    That’s funny you post about painted stripes, because esp. on my damp ride home last night at midnight I wondered several times as I crossed those thick white lines just how much risk I was taking. I’m on slicks, but I’ve never slid on one. Last night I found their texture (Johnson Creek Blvd. on the Milwaukee/Portland border) was satisfyingly waffle-like and “grippy.” I wasn’t on acid, either. And, for the false sense of security they afford (it’s not the Rio Grande you know), I appreciate those lines.
    I wish Portland would come out and paint one over the intersection at 37th and Sandy Blvd. For me, that is THE most harrowing Portland intersection. What is yours?

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    Jonathan Maus November 11, 2005 at 11:45 pm

    Harrowing intersection? How about Burnside and 8th (on the way to KBOO and CityBikes)?

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    Caroline November 12, 2005 at 10:06 am

    I don’t know, sounds like a pretty straightforward four-lane intersection. Had a bad experience?

    Have you looked at Sandy & 37th? Since Nancy Wernert died on her bike there in 2001, there has been push for striping, but for some reason it has never happened. I think that “some reason” is the deadlocked Sandy Blvd. “streetscaping” project:

    It seems they could stripe it now and streetscape later, but I guess that’s not how it works.

    And as far as Burnside, why not go a block out of your way and use the bike route on Ankeny or the signal at 9th Ave? Only crazy people ride their bikes along Burnside! Way too many hazards.

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  • […] The O covers the ODOT paint incident (I guess imitation is the best form of flattery) […]

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    josh m December 12, 2005 at 1:42 am

    eh, i ride on burnside.
    I prefer main routes to the side streets. Too many stop signs on the side streets and too many cars just shooting through fast not watching. I’ve had more close calls on side streets than main streets.
    Ive only had on problem on burnside,
    and that is the crappiest intersection ever where sandy crosses burnside.
    I was on burnside starting to go when a suv passed me, pushing me straight into the median on sandy and thus effing my front rim up.
    good times.

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  • […] The good news is that I finally got a chance to meet ODOT’s bike and ped coordinator, Michael Ronkin (see photo). He’s seems like a good guy and has participated on this site in the past. It was also a good chance for me to learn more about the OPBAC and the inner workings of the immense organism that is ODOT. […]

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  • […] I told him about my good and bad experiences with ODOT and offered my site as a way to forge a more transparent and constructive dialogue with the bike community. […]

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  • […] Ronkin got wind of my post and was quick to respond. About three weeks later Ronkin posted a comment saying ODOT had changed its paint policy. […]

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