[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.”
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.
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.]