City wants feedback on new signs

BTA New Year's Day Ride
[Nice signs, but do they work?]

Have you seen these signs popping up around town? They’re officially known as bikeway network signs and according to City of Portland bicycle coordinator Roger Geller, there are finally enough of them installed that you should be able to rely on them to find your way. But just to make sure, Roger wants us to test them out and let him know where improvements can be made.

He’s sent me a special map of the city’s bike routes with a boundary drawn (in red) around where the signs have gone up. So if you have a few extra minutes, pick out a destination on one of these signs and see if you can get there without any wrong turns. If you already know your way around, try and act like you’re new in town and let the signs be your guide. Or better yet, encourage your less-bikey family and friends to use them and see what they think.

But before you give feedback, Roger wants to share the following:

1) We plan to place signs at approximately 300 intersections…but not all of the signs that we can afford are up yet, but a lot are. Most existing signs are within the area outlined in red.

2) We’re only directing cyclists on streets which we’ve either made some improvements for bicycling…There are often other, local routes that cyclists use in their neighborhood that may work better for some trips than the improved route, but only the
improved route is signed.

3) Signs are intended to be placed wherever cyclists face a decision about which way to turn–typically at the intersection of two bikeways.

4) The type of feedback I’m primarily seeking is whether or not the signs work for way-finding. I.e., can people get to where the signs direct them? I want to know particularly if there are signs missing at particular junctions.

People should feel free to respond directly to me. It would be helpful if the subject line of emails about the signs said: “Bikeway Signs” and then listed the particular intersection where they noted a deficiency, such as “Bikeway Signs: SE Ankeny & 7th”.

Here’s Roger’s contact info:
voice: (503) 823-7671

As for my opinion…I’m excited because these signs give bikes more credibility and respect as a viable mode of transport, not just a recreational pasttime. As for utility, I don’t think they’ll do much for veteran riders but I don’t think we’re the target market. For many riders (and would-be riders), these signs will encourage them to leave their car at home more often, and will help them discover new places by bike.

These signs, which were first conceived 1o years ago by Mia Birk (Roger’s predecessor) on a research trip to Europe, are a testament to the hard work of the pros at the Office of Transportation. They pushed this idea over many hurdles (including wrestling with ODOT and the Feds) and the result is something that makes riding easier and more enjoyable for all of us.

Now the least we can do is help them out by providing some constructive feedback.

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