Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Update: Benson Hotel gets new bike lane markings

Posted by on October 11th, 2006 at 1:44 pm

[Scroll down for update]

Carye Bye noticed something strange in the bike lane on SW Broadway this morning. There are new markings in the bike lane as it crosses SW Oak Street and in front of the Benson that read, “Hotel Zone Ahead,” and “Slow, Hotel Zone.”


[New markings on SW Broadway
outside the Benson Hotel]
Photos: Carye Bye/Red Bat

The markings must have been meant to alert cyclists to the busy and dangerous Benson Hotel entrance, where taxis, tour buses, hotel guests, delivery trucks, through traffic and bicyclists all try to share the road.

I asked some bike lane gurus in PDOT about the markings and found out there was indeed a work order on file for this location. This means they weren’t some “guerilla installation” by either a disgruntled hotel employee or bike activist; they were installed by the city.

*Update: I’ve just heard from PDOT bike coordinator Roger Geller:

“This is a message to cyclists to go slowly through the area because of the level of activity and congestion, especially in the presence of many out of town visitors who may not understand bicycle lanes. It’s somewhat analogous to “SLOW SCHOOL ZONE” warnings to let motorists know that they’re expected to slow down in the presence of lots of activity and congestions, especially in the presence of children who may not respond predictably in the presence of motorists.”

I tried to find out more from someone at the Benson Hotel but no one there seems to know anything about them. I’m awaiting a call back from the General Manager, Ron Gladney. I’m curious because I’ve never seen markings like this in Portland and it would be interesting to know how they came about.

It’s also worth mentioning that this particular strip of bike lane has seen its share of attention and controversy.

Despite having more bike lane guys per foot than anywhere in the city last year, a cyclist was arrested for attempting to squeeze between a delivery truck and a parked car as he attempted to ride through without entering motor vehicle traffic lanes.

Then, who can forget the infamous Martini removal episode (here’s the aftermath)?

I’ll update this post if/when I hear more official details about how these new markings came about.

[You can see more photos of the markings at Red Bat’s Flickr photostream.]

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ericBikePortland.org » Blog Archive » A look at the “hotel zone” bike lanesMichaeljoshCate Recent comment authors
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TS
Guest
TS

I propose a contest: What should the city paint in that bike lane instead?

“Slow: Parking Lane Ahead”

“Danger: Loading Zone Ahead”

“Prepare to be Doored”

Ben
Guest
Ben

Seems like a great place for sharrows in the next lane over, i.e. bikes should probably not be in the bike lane there, and instead take the next lane over. Duh? Most of downtown I take the lane quite aggressively, since the lights are timed for very slow speeds (12-14 mph, IIRC).

Andy
Guest

A double-parked car is nature’s way of identifying drivers who have their brains turned off.

Hotel Zone? What bizarre wording. How about bigger letters. HoZo is shorter and can be used to describe the folks angled across the bike lane waiting for the valet service.

|HO|
|ZO|

L
Guest
L

Why aren’t there similar warnings on the road to cars about bikes having to merge left out of the bike lane?

Andre
Guest
Andre

Broadway is the worst, 12th or 3rd are way better with no bike lane.

At one point some group of people were doing a photo shoot of a bridge and groom pretty much in the bike lane outside of that hotel. Maybe there should be a giant cross roadway sign that says “That’s a bike lane, not your parking spot.”

Matt Picio
Guest

Maybe the markings will slow the cars in that stretch down a little, too.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

This is the sight of many a bike lane controversy and incident.
In no way should the BENSON, the largest violator of bike lane right of way in our fine city, should be given this type of consideration.
This pisses me off.
They continually open doors inot cyclists.
They continually double park cars IN THE BIKE LANE!
This is only a sign of our city caring more about the income of the large company, than the safety of it’s cyclists.
Between the Benson, and the Heathman, the collective of valets, bad management practices, and uneducated out of town drivers have made these bike lanes unsafe and unusable.
I believe that, instead of allowing this to go on as the city has for years, they should be instituting fines to the hotels for violation of bike lane rights of way.
Yet, here we are, giving them more right of way than ever.
I plan to ride faster than ever past this spot now, as we have the right of way on the road, and the Benson should be using the parking they have available, not the street….

Scout
Guest

This is in no way a good thing. It sounds an awful lot like the hotel is being given special privileges to do whatever and park wherever they want, while cyclists must navigate the demilitarized zone. Bah!

How about a sign warning drivers of cyclists and potential tickets for obstructing bike lanes, or some sort of comment coming from the Benson, stating they’ll change their ways? This isn’t just a cyclist issue, either; drivers should be equally outraged at the sudden stalls and stops in that lane which slow down traffic for blocks and cause accidents as well.

That whole block is a clusterf*#k (sorry, Jonathon!), and something worthwhile needs to be done. This is the most pathetic attempt at doing nothing under the guise of “proactivity” I’ve seen in some time.

John Boyd
Guest
John Boyd

>”It’s somewhat analogous to “SLOW SCHOOL ZONE”

“Somewhat” perhaps here meaning not at all?

I suppose the risk here is out-of-towners throwing their car door into traffic. The verbage doesn’t convey this. Going slow won’t help, knowing what to look for would.

Need an international symbol pictogram for a door being thrown into the lane, ala the trolly track warning.

Andy
Guest

“SLOW SCHOOL?” I didn’t know there was also a slow education movement.

Steve Kirkendall
Guest
Steve Kirkendall

So is it still a bike lane? I.e., is it still illegal for cars to park there, even temporarily?

It would have been more politic to paint that stretch of bike lane blue to warn drivers to be careful. And maybe put a bike lane marking every 10 feet, so even out-of-towners will know why they should be careful. And maybe put signs on the sidewalk explaining the law so that out-of-towners (and idiot hotel staff) know the consequences of breaking the law.

Putting “Hotel Zone” in the bike lane just gives the hotel an excuse to break the law.

Roger Geller
Guest
Roger Geller

Here’s a wild idea:

Why don’t we just treat other users of the roadway courteously–whether they are, in your eyes, using the space “legitimately” or not.

This is a congested area with a lot of demands on limited space. We are not encouraging people to park in the bicycle lane–that was the intent of the repeated bicycle lane markings. However, there is a lot going on here. If everybody just slowed down a bit–at the expense of perhaps as much as 4-5 seconds–we could maybe reduce the level of conflict and animosity that occurs here.

The inconvenience cyclists feel at potentially being delayed here–and the vitriolic reaction it creates–seems analogous to the inconvenience motorists experience at being slowed down by a cyclist on the roadway–and the vitriolic reaction it creates. To me that seems a disturbing parallel.

BTW, the law allows motorists to “momentarily” stop in a bicycle lane to pick up or discharge a passenger, as follows:

811.550 Places where stopping, standing and parking prohibited. This section establishes places where stopping, standing and parking a vehicle are prohibited for purposes of the penalties under ORS 811.555. Except as provided under an exemption in ORS 811.560, a person is in violation of ORS 811.555 if a person parks, stops or leaves standing a vehicle in any of the following places:…

(23) On a bicycle lane. Exemptions under ORS 811.560 are applicable to this subsection.

811.560 Exemptions from prohibitions on stopping, standing and parking. This section provides exemptions from ORS 811.550 and 811.555. The following exemptions are applicable as provided under ORS 811.550:

(2) When applicable, this subsection exempts vehicles stopped, standing or parked momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger.
(3) When applicable, this subsection exempts vehicles stopped, standing or parked momentarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers.

Definition of momentarily: “for a moment.”
Definition of moment: “a comparatively brief period of time.”

This stretch of bike lane is on my daily commute. I sometimes ride through here more than once a day. I’ve never had a problem here and I’ve been commuting that way for 12 years. Sometimes I have to slow down. There’s even been times where I’ve had to stop. That’s just life in the big city…

Roger Geller
Guest
Roger Geller

Steve, we did consider painting the bike lane blue, which was suggested to us by the Benson management. However, blue is used to convey the message that cyclists have the right of way in a merge area. That’s not the case here. We’ve also found that while the blue bike lanes clarify who is supposed to be where when, cylcists tend to be less careful in the blue zones (i.e., we noticed from video studies that cyclists look over their shoulders–head-check–less when the bike lane is painted blue than when it when it is plain asphalt). What we want to convey is that this is a congested area with a lot of activity and we expect cyclists to go slowly through the area.

burr
Guest
burr

How about marking it “No Double Parking in the Bike Lane” and “Watch for Cyclists When Opening Car Doors and Pulling Away from the Curb” instead?

Jonathan Maus
Guest

Roger,

I appreciate you chiming in and I think your comments (#12) are very wise words that we should all take time to think about.

I just had a good conversation with Ron Gladney, GM at the Benson. He seems like a very sensible guy and he’s even a regular cyclist himself.

I hope to share some of Ron’s perspective in a future article.

Andre
Guest
Andre

It’s not an issue of being delayed for 4-5 seconds it’s being delayed while I go to the hospital after getting doored. I’ve been doored going 10 mph and still broke an arm.

TS
Guest
TS

“Warning: Second-Class Vehicles May Be Present: Feel Free to Ignore”

“The Cyclists Standing Here? They’re Waiting for You, Tubby.”

“Momentary Delays Ahead.”

So is it legal to leave the bike lane when someone is momentarily discharging a passenger, opening their door, yelling at the doorman, saying “oh gosh, it’s not nearly as cold as I thought,” kissing their mom good-bye, laughing about that silly waiter at dinner, hugging mom, lugging the makeup case out of the back-seat, hugging dad, telling the doorman they haven’t checked in yet, tipping the doorman, weighing the cost/benefit analysis of valet parking, giving the valet special instructions about not driving the car too fast, tipping the valet, grabbing the NIKEtown schwag out of the trunk and then, yes, finally clearing the bike lane?

Because if not, I may really have to find another route (even if it’s not as well painted as this one).

el timito
Guest
el timito

Gotta side with Roger on this one, and not just because we’re both from the East Coast.

I hear you that it’s aggravating to have someone sitting in the bike lane, opening doors in the bike lane, or otherwise getting in the way in the bike lane. But bike lanes are not meant to be freeways. We just don’t have enough space between the sidewalks in that section of downtown. As a result, everyone gets to pay a little more attention, use a little more judgement, and once in a while, slow down or stop.

It’s called traffic. Remember “we’re not blocking it, we are it” ? Just because we ride bikes, we’re not exempt from it (although if everyone rode bikes we’d have a lot more room – for a while). As traffic, you have the right to change lanes, to perceive and predict where bottlenecks will happen, and to adjust accordingly. Personally, I move into the center lane on B’way before Taylor St. I know someone is always wanting to turn right there. Potential conflict avoided.

Congestion is a good thing. Like when you’re riding home on the Hawthorne Bridge at 5:15, it reminds you that you get to live in a beautiful city with lots of other beautiful people – some walking, some biking slowly, maybe a new rider, maybe an adult just getting used to riding in a peleton.

Congestion reminds you that you have the power not only to further your personal agenda, but to be generous to others and help them do what they need to do. Like walk with their kid, or their great-aunt from out-of-town. Or even unload their passengers at the hotel.

MJ
Guest
MJ

Delays, doors and what not I think the new wording is pretty darn ugly!

What ever happened to bicycle lane aesthetics?

Bring back the martini man!

nick
Guest
nick

My understanding is that I can leave the bike lane if it I think it is unsafe to ride there. The strong possibility of a car door opening, an open door, or a stopped car/bus/fedex van is my queue to slide into traffic, if I feel I can do it safely.

burr
Guest
burr

The cops may think otherwise, and then you’ll have to convince a judge.

Scout
Guest

I don’t think cyclists slowing down is really the issue. Most people I know (myself included) who ride this route fear for their safety… not for the fact they may have to lay on the brakes. After being regularly cut-off by cars on this block, and nearly hit a couple of times by people swerving into the bike lane, I now go several blocks out of my way to avoid the area altogether. I’ll get over it, and I can use the exercise, but that’s not the point, is it?

If this is merely a case of trying to get everyone to slow down, why aren’t there new signs for motorists as well? And why is the problem not as bad in front of the myriad other hotels in Portland?

Also: Roger, I appreciate your side of the issue, and I understand you’re trying to strike a delicate balance here. However, not only is Portland not a “big city”, but one of the reasons I love it here is due to the fact Portland isn’t (yet) overpopulated, and doesn’t act like it. Telling people to essentially get over it because we live in “the big city” is no way to win someone over to your side. Shame, because I felt you were doing a good job making you point before that.

Ethan
Guest
Ethan

or perhaps it should read:

VALET
PARKING
LANE

Martha
Guest
Martha

Have there been any studies done where the bike lane is one lane in from the curb lane? That is, on a multi-lane one-way street such as NE and SW Broadway, the lane to the far right is used more for turning and parking vehicles than it is for through traffic. Rather than put the bike lane to the right of this lane, why can’t we treat that far right lane as a pseudo-turn lane, and move the bike lane to the left of that far-right lane (in the same manner that the bike lane is placed to the left of a right turn lane)? The bike lanes would have to be marked VERY explicitly so that motorists are made aware that the space is reserved for cyclists, and I can imagine that a downfall of this idea would be oblivious motorists weaving into the bike lane or making unsafe lane changes. However, the design would put through-cyclists on the left side of cars that are turning right or parking. Given that most car/bike conflicts occur when one of those vehicles is turning, the benefit would seem to outweigh the danger.

organic brian
Guest
organic brian

Interesting anecdote: I had tried one day to get the PPD or parking enforcement to go over and cite autos that were obviously left unattended in the bike lane. I got the runaround, and one person I talked to (at PPD) just kept repeating herself that I should “talk with The Benson” about it… I kept explaining that I already had and what I wanted were for vehicles to be cited so that it would discourage this sort of disregard for the bike lane. Nobody in an enforcement role would show up. Apparently the hotels get a free pass when it comes to violations.

NoNamer
Guest
NoNamer

Hello,

How about using Holland’s bike lanes as an example to follow?
They have far greater bike and automobile traffic.
I found a picture of a normal bike lane there in this website: http://www.multiline.com.au/~bta/goodidea/gi941112.htm

Please observe the distance between the car parking lane and the bike lane to allow for opening and closing of car doors safely and the differences in the level between pedestrian sidewalk, bike lane and car lane.

If it may be too costly to make the alterations to Portland’s already existing bike lanes, maybe it would be a good idea for future road constructions.
Thank you for you attention

NoNamer
Guest
NoNamer

Sorry to be a pain but can you be so kind as to go through the pictures in that link I supplied above?
Some great applied ideas that work all around the world.
Thanks again!

Cate
Guest
Cate

What are the Benson staff trained to do in front of the Benson? I’ve seen them open taxi doors right into the bike lane with a bike coming toward them. I’ve seen them stand there for several minutes talking to someone through their car door window and blocking the bike lane.

I think it’s their job to help manage traffic in front of their hotel. Instead they add to the traffic problem. They could easily alleviate some of the problem if their management decided it was part of managing the hotel responsibly.

Why is the City making it easier for them? This is not a school zone full of children. It is a commercial hotel zone managed by adults for adults.

Roger said: “The inconvenience cyclists feel at potentially being delayed here–and the vitriolic reaction it creates–seems analogous to the inconvenience motorists experience at being slowed down by a cyclist on the roadway–and the vitriolic reaction it creates. To me that seems a disturbing parallel.” The parallel is yours, Roger. I haven’t had or seen a vitriolic reaction in front of the Benson. I have seen Benson employees blatantly disregard the bike lane.

half pint
Guest
half pint

i don ‘t know if broadway is a one way at this point or not, (but i seem to think it is)
anyway,
i’m from mpls.
and there we have bike lanes on the right if the street goes in both directions,
but on the left if it is a one way street.
basically this wouldn’t be a problem if that were the case, but we’re not in minneapolis.
just my $.02.
also,
with all due respect,
i want to reiterate andre’s point
it’s not about slowing down,
it’s about making it to your destination without being doored/cutoff/etc…

lee
Guest

Broadway is a lovely mess. I used to be freaked out about riding there; until I got wise and took the lane. No more valets, taxi’s, etc to bother me. Some students by PSU can be far worse when they’re not paying attention.

I don’t agree with the signage either. It kinda points fingers in the wrong direction.

Then. It sucks to get doored.

Macaroni
Guest
Macaroni

Hotel zone. Ha ha, pretty funny! I’m sure the markings are going to make a BIG BIG difference in this intersection.
I saw the markings this morning, though I didn’t actually notice the word “slow.” But really, how much slower could we go through there? 4-5 seconds slower would mean stopping in the bike lane while Bambi and Ken complete their cell phone conversation, open their door into a biker while a taxi driver pulls out into the street without looking or signaling and almost hits another bicylcist….still waiting in the bike lane while the doorman unloads Bambi & Ken’s SUV…still breathing noxious, carcinogenic diesel fumes and particles from passing RAZ buses, diesel pickups and delivery trucks. Ahhhh, a lovely morning! Sorry, Roger, but one of the perks to biking to work has always been not getting stuck in traffic jams caused by lemmings in their cars.
Shouldn’t something be done about clueless drivers (including so-called professional drivers) who endanger our lives continuously. But nooooo, we have to have marketing campaigns and dumb**s bike lane markings.
BTW it was fantastic seeing all the bikers out this a.m. Rock on!

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Flat black spray paint is a good color match for the street.

Tiah
Guest
Tiah

What the $@##*&%#!? First of all, cyclists who are riding on Broadway already know they have their work cut out for them. Secondly, how is the city painting “Hotel Zone” in the bike lane going to help any thing? It isn’t bikes that are going to do the damage if they accidentally run into a car, is it? I ride this street on my normal commute coming off the Broadway Bridge and have been able to manuever myself around, and through many a driver devoid of driving finesse. I am riding in the bike lane most of the time, with the hope and determination that if I stay in the lane as much as possible drivers will be forced to realize I am there, and not getting in their way. I ride as slow or as fast as I amable at whatever point I am at. Outside of the Benson this is never very fast, what with the valet parking and all,as most of you probably know. What a complete waste of money. Yes, we have already discussed that bike lanes are kind of useless in the first place but still, how can people argue cyclists should be using them if it is deemed acceptable for our usage to be impaired because of valet parking? or out of town drivers who don’t understand bike lanes? Hwo do you not understand a bike lane? How ’bout all those out of town drivers who drive in the bus only lanes and the wrong way down one way streets downtown? Are we re-zoning our city for them? sheesh. next time I ride past the benson I am just gonna jump off my bike and walk it slowly, ever so slowly, in the bike lane. *le sigh*

brock
Guest
brock

Double parked cars and folks stopped in lanes to pick up / drop off are a fact of life in a city, bike lane or not. I actually prefer when the delivery trucks on Broadway block the bike lane instead of parking in the rightmost vehicle lane – that way there’s room to pass them on the left while in the right lane. Otherwise it’s a dangerous squeeze. That said, on Broadway I’m 95% of the time taking the whole right lane from Burnside to PSU.

David
Guest
David

The Heathman Hotel approach on Broadway, just before Taylor, also has the markings.

I think the markings might be useful for someone riding along that street who’s new to Portland, but otherwise I think the markings are silly.

janis mcdonald
Guest

I think people make have made some really good comments on this subject. I too commute this way everyday. I stay in the bike lane until I need to take the lane to pass all the chaos in the bike lane. It is just part of riding Broadway.

It would be interesting to know who instigated the markings? It sounds like from here that the usual commuters navigated just fine without the markings- maybe with a little grumbling.

Jonathan/BikePortland.org
Guest

The markings came from meetings held between PDOT, Benson Staff, Sam Adams’ office and others. They’ve been meeting periodically to try and solve the problems with the bike lane…or at least this is my understanding after hearing about the meetings from GM of the hotel, Ron Gladney.

Brad
Guest
Brad

I am just curious, other than messengers that need to find the most direct and time efficient routes downtown, why can’t most riders avoid Broadway by taking a less traveled parallel street?

I do this this on my commutes largely because I value my safety and returning home to my family more than my “rights” on heavy traffic roads. What happened to pragmatism?

brock
Guest
brock

I take Broadway because it’s the most direct route through downtown, my commute is long enough. Is it really that much of a ‘high traffic’ route? The lights are timed such that you can run the whole stretch without stopping anyways. Trust me, I’m just going about my way as swiftly and safely as possible, not executing my “rights” as a form of protest, as you seem to suggest.

Doug
Guest
Doug

I take the Broadway bike lane on my way home, starting at Washington and ending at Madison. Me personally, I find it pretty convenient and much prefer it to not having a bike lane at all. Most days of the week I actually ride faster than traffic.

Matt Picio
Guest

Tiah – I can totally relate. I took a rest day from the bike on Monday, and while waiting for the #32 bus home, I watched a car drive in the bus lane on 5th and then make an illegal left turn (without a turn signal) to go the wrong way up Oak St.

Jonathan – What I’d like to know is where was the end-user involvement in this? Did “others” include representative bike commuters and messengers, the daily users of that route? If not, then this solution catered to the hotels, the business association, and what the city “thinks” should be done, rather than soliciting the input of the cyclists that ride it every day. If the PPD won’t even ticket those who are violating the law by parking in the bike lane (15+ minutes is not “momentary”), then it seems this solution may be aimed at the wrong people. I agree that the focus should be on alerting motorists that the lane is for bikes, rather than alerting cyclists to what they likely already know. In any case, the transportation bureau should be consulting those who will be impacted directly by these changes (cyclists) as well as those who are indirectly impacted (hotels and businesses).

I respect what PDOT (shouldn’t that really be “PBOT”?) is trying to do here, but all groups affected should be represented, not just the ones that have the largest commercial interest in the outcome.

If messengers and bike commuters were consulted and involved in the process, then I retract my above remarks. A second issue is that it would be nice to actually KNOW what is going on with these decisions before they happen, so that public input can happen before money is spent and work is done. (St. John’s bridge, anyone?)

(that remark isn’t meant to apply only to PDOT – also to ODOT, Tri-Met, and Metro.

Brad – why *should* cyclists have to take an alternate route? PDOT striped it for a bike lane, and unlike the streets to the north, every intersection has a traffic light. If Broadway’s bike lanes can’t be made safe for all modes, then PDOT should unstripe it – then cyclists could either choose to take the lane (without fear of a ticket) or take another route.

I like bike lanes, and I think they have a real and valid purpose, but they don’t work well in all situations.

Jonathan
Guest

Is there a list of when any other these meetings happen between PDOT and anything else that has to do with cyclists or traffic?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Has anyone else noticed that these new street markings are in the wrong order. As you approach them, they read “Zone Hotel Slow” and “Ahead Zone Hotel” which is backwards. I seem to recall that most street markings (like school zones) are written so that you read them in the correct order as you approach them. So a school zone marking reads Slow School Zone as you approach it. These markings are the wrong way around. Maybe it is because cyclists move at a different speed than cars, but shouldn’t all street markings be done the same way?

brettoo
Guest
brettoo

Roger: I appreciate your good work on behalf of cyclists and also the necessity of someone in your position to try to balance various competing needs, as well as your exhortations for courtesy to drivers. (I’m not sure the Benson folks deserve it, however.) That said, it appears Broadway is not working for a significant proportion of riders and I worry that someone’s going to get hurt.

Looking toward the upcoming rewrite of the city bike plan, what are the chances and pros and cons of adopting NoNamer’s suggestion (and I know others of us have also proposed it in other threads here) to re-do Broadway to institute Dutch-style bike lanes between sidewalk and parked cars, rather than between parked cars and moving cars? Would Sam Adams and other city powers support it? Is this something BTA would be interested in rallying bikers behind?

BURR
Guest
BURR

So now that the markings are down, are the city and the hotel absolved of liability in cases where a bicyclist is injured or killed in the bike lane in the marked hotel area? Do the markings make the burden of proof greater on any bicyclist injured or killed in the bike lane in the hotel area? And do the markings legitimize the use of the bike lane by the hotel?

Elly
Guest
Elly

Maybe it’s time Portland had its own brigade of bike-lane enforcement clowns:

http://www.thevillager.com/villager_122/clownsesriousabout.html

Brad
Guest
Brad

Matt and Brock,

I am not suggesting that bikes should take another route or give up on Broadway completely. Go the way you want as that is an individual choice.

I just take a realist’s view to this problem in the short term. If an area is dangerous due to bad drivers, careless valets, double parked vehicles, inadequate design, etc, then a stripe of paint or sharrows won’t make a difference. The dangers we are talking about are mostly a result of ignorant, selfish, or ingrained behaviors with the motorists. Unless the PPB puts a dedicated enforcement presence at that site, drivers will still pull up or pull out without looking, double park, or unload their buses in the bike lane without consequence.

Prudence dictates finding an alternate to avoid the danger or one must accept the risks involved. Again, that’s an individual choice. I choose to minimize my risk as a two or three minute reward is not worth the potential negatives. I agree that the areas in front of The Benson and The Heathman are dangerous but realistically, any meaningful change to those spots will take months or years of studies, planning sessions, haggling over the needs of businesses vs. bicyclists, public hearings, budgetary considerations, willingness of PPB to do enforcement, state regulations, and the like. I am not a pessimist but bureaucracy is what it is.

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

I like the idea, although it might be illegal. At one point I was going to print up fake tickets for all the yahoos in SE PDX that park on the wrong side of the street, but a little research indicated that putting anything on someone’s car violated Portland City Ordinances:

16.70.510 Trespassing – Leaving Pamphlet On Vehicle.

(Amended by Ord. No. 165987, Nov. 12, 1992.)

A. It is unlawful for any person to ride or trespass upon or within any motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or operator thereof.

B. It is unlawful for any person to post, stick, or place upon or within any motor vehicle any card, notice, handbill, leaflet, pamphlet, survey, or similar matter without the consent of the owner or operator.

C. The provisions of this Section do not apply to any card, notice, handbill, leaflet, pamphlet, survey, or similar matter placed upon or within such motor vehicle by authority of law, by an authorized officer of the City, County, or State or by a designee of the City Traffic Engineer.

Roger Geller
Guest
Roger Geller

Brettoo and others,

This has generally been a really good discussion that has generated a lot of thoughts and ideas. You’re right that the update of the Bicycle Master Plan will be a great forum to consider these kind of issues related to: facility design, congestion, bicycle operations, what are the elements that we think will be successful in attracting to cycling the 95% or so of Portland residents who don’t currently use a bicycle regularly for transportation, etc.

The appeal of the Dutch-style designs is obvious. They are great facilities and what’s exciting about them is the idea that they could attract Dutch levels of cycling. What’s not so obvious are their potential drawbacks in an American context, which has resulted in their almost universal rejection by North Amercian bicycle planners except in some rare and unusual circumstances. Keep in mind that one reason the Dutch facilities work so well is because the Dutch ride at a speed we would generally consider to be very slow. They’re typically riding single speed, heavy clunkers, wearing normal clothing, and not working up a sweat. They ride predictably and courteously. Could Portland be the first US City where they could work? It will be one of many intriguing topics I hope we fully explore.

The update of the Bicycle Master Plan is slated to be a 2-year process; we’re just in the first few months and are dedicating this initial time to assess current conditions and how well we’ve done in achieving the goals we laid out 10 years ago. To view the current master plan follow this link: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?a=38510&c=31608 –there’s a pdf link at the bottom of that page.

As for the Benson: all we’re trying to do is alert cyclists to a condition (“Hotel Zone”) that requires cyclists to slow down, be alert, and hopefully be courteous. Again, not much different than other roadway conditions where we want people to pay attention and be careful.

This treatment came about in part because of potential hazards to cyclists, but also because some cyclists were expressing a lot of anger and vitriol toward visitors to Portland and others at the hotel. Yelling at motorists, yelling at passengers, cursing them, giving them the universal salute. Over the course of about 2 weeks I’ve personally seen the following: a cyclist challenging a motorist to fight; a cyclist slamming his fist into a car because the motorist pulled into a parking space in front of a cyclist (it was clear the motorist was going to park and the cyclist actually sped up in order to not give way–the motorist was clearly confused b this behavior); cyclists cursing loudly at motorists and hotel employees; cyclists operating their bicycles in a threatening manner (i.e., high speed in close proximity to) in the presence of hotel employees and passengers getting out of cars seemingly in order to “make a point” about who is right and who is wrong.

Though I understand it I’m still amazed at the anger I’ve seen on the streets and seen expressed on this page. I know we’re a litiginous society, but at a certain point it’s less about who’s right (which is arguable in this case) than about how we can maintain a cohesive social fabric. Almost universally, traffic problems can be largely mitigated by slowing down. It’s what we want motorists to do. It’s what European cities are forcing motorists to do. Why can’t we do it for 200 feet?

brock
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brock

“Almost universally, traffic problems can be largely mitigated by slowing down. It’s what we want motorists to do. It’s what European cities are forcing motorists to do.”

Absolutely. But there’s hardly any enforcement for motorists. I can name a whole lot of surface streets where the speed limit is routinely exceded by 15 mph.

Citing a few bad apples doesn’t lend a lot of credence to an argument either – I can do the very same for motorists in that area.