PDOT to close right turns onto Greeley

Posted by on November 6th, 2007 at 3:02 pm

[Updated 3:05pm, 3:38pm (See report and photos from press conference.)]

Responding to concerns about the intersection at N. Interstate and Greeley where a person riding a bicycle was killed two weeks ago and another cyclist was struck by a car this morning, I just got word from Commissioner Adams’ office that PDOT’s head traffic engineer Rob Burchfield has made the decision to temporarily prohibit cars from turning right on N. Greeley from N. Interstate.

Here’s the official PDOT statement:

“Commissioner Sam Adams and the Portland Office of Transportation are closing the right turn onto Greeley from N. Interstate. Crews are setting up barricades and traffic controls to prohibit a right turn onto Greeley from N. Interstate. This is due to a bicycle collision that occurred there earlier today at this intersection – the second bike collision at this intersection within two weeks. Today’s collision although not fatal was serious.

This closure is indefinite while the Commissioner and PDOT explore other solutions to improve bicycle safety at this intersection.”

I just returned from the mini press conference. Photos and report coming soon…

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bikeseattle.org » How do you handle dangerous intersections?PDXJerzacDOBikealicious Recent comment authors
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pdxrunner
Guest
pdxrunner

How about some enforcement of traffic laws by the police while we\’re at it? Naw… That\’s too much to ask.

DO
Guest
DO

So someone is listening? Thank you PDOT and Commissioner Adams for quick action on this.

Now, when are failure to yield right of way enforcement actions planned?

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

damn…awesome. finally the city chooses to listen…Adams for Mayor!!

wow..i write a letter to the mayors office asking that the intersection be examined…and two hours later it happens!! I know, but I\’d be nice if it actually worked that way…

Robin
Guest

Well that\’s one out of 15 so far. Now lets see what we can do about the police.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Good job, Sam! Thank you.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Job well done!

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

Wow, I am impressed. Excellent job Adams!

Zaphod
Guest

Thank you!

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

Awesome.

Awesome!

Awesome!!

Awesome!!!

Awesome !!!

Thankyou!

Tasha
Guest
Tasha

Thank goodness. After reading about another accident (or whatever you want to call it) at that corner, I was getting very scared to ride down that hill tomorrow. This makes me feel a bit better. My thoughts are with the cyclist hit this morning. So glad she wasn\’t hurt worse.

Aaron
Guest

So the solution is to make a right turn illegal.

How is that different than the already existing illegality of making a right turn through a bike lane and cutting off a cyclist?

Mike
Guest
Mike

That\’s great. I was heading out on a ride this AM and went past as EMS was preparing to transport the victim. From what I could tell they were conscious and moving which is a good. I\’ve worked in ERs for the past 4 yrs. Right turns by cars, especially in spots like that, take out so many cyclist. Usually if there\’s traffic when I\’m headed down Interstate I just take the lane.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

My understanding is that this is being done as a temporary measure and that PDOT will immediately take a closer look at the intersection to determine a long term solution.

No, the solution is not to make a right turn illegal for the long-term. But, given that a police officer isn\’t going to be posted at this intersection 24/7, eliminating right turns will hopefully stop the death and injury occuring at Interstate and Greeley until a better solution can be devised.

nate
Guest
nate

Yeah, I have to agree with Aaron. I\’ll bet plenty of drivers will just make the turn anyway. I\’ve seen drivers make specifically prohibited turns in far dumber places than that. Ironically, this might make the intersection more dangerous because now cyclists are even less likely to expect a sudden right turn by a car.

Dylan VanWeelden
Guest
Dylan VanWeelden

Great call Mr. Adams. Thanks for your quick support.

Laney
Guest
Laney

wahoo! thanks Sam

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Aaron #10,

The issue at hand is the turn at THAT intersection.

If you read some of the comments on the original accident thread, you\’d learn that there really isn\’t a good reason for there to be a right turn there.

You start up at the top of Interstate, drive all the way down Interstate, turn right onto Greeley and go allllll the way back up Greeley where it hooks up with Going, which you can jump on from the top of Interstate.

It\’s really just a right turn for people who should have taken a right turn a mile and a half ago.

mac
Guest
mac

Thank you, Commissioner Sam, Roland, and PDOT.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

I guess I should include that they can make taking that right turn physically impossible. I imagine they\’ll be using construction barricades for the time being.

pdb
Guest

So the solution is to make a right turn illegal.

How is that different than the already existing illegality of making a right turn through a bike lane and cutting off a cyclist?

No, the solution is to make a right turn physically impossible. It\’s a huge difference.

kenichi
Guest

rawk. +1.

mac
Guest
mac

Also, it seems some of the commenters didn\’t notice from the post that not only will a right turn be illegal from southbound Interstate onto northbound Greeley, but some kind of barrier(s) will be installed to make it physically closed.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Enforcing traffic laws and making examples out of drivers, and cyclists, who disobey would be helpful. Prohibiting a turn is a decent stop-gap measure. For me, it is further evidence that bike lanes hurt more than they help. I ride every day, but I drive, too, and it is often quite a challenge to make sure that I see whether a cyclist is approaching. No easy answers, but this temporary closure is a good example of our elected officials taking needed action to protect us.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

Long-term solution…

Can you say, \”separated bike lane cycletrack on Interstate\”?

New York just did it. Why can\’t we?

brian
Guest
brian

Not impressed.

This is temporary fix for a single instance of the problem.

It does nothing to fix the bigger problem.

How about some enforcement please!

DO
Guest
DO

Furthering comment #24:

A separated path could be built along the edge of the MAX right of way for the entire length of Interstate. It would only need to be broken every couple of blocks for left turns. This would avoid right hooks into any of the numerous driveways along the more commercial stretches of Interstate, plus any chance of doorings.

Re-stripe and move the auto lanes 6ft to the right, either directly against the curb or directly against the parked cars. A low curb could then be used to separate cars from bikes. A curb already exists to keep bikes away from the trains.

At the intersection of Interstate and Greeley, because bikes would be to the left of auto traffic in a separated lane, the right turn could be reopened without conflict.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Here\’s a report on what Sam Adams said at a press conference at the scene about an hour ago. Also at that link are photos of what the closure looks like (barricades and no right turn signs as cars approach the intersection).

Robin
Guest

How would a cycle track be safer at intersections along Interstate? I just don\’t get how one wouldn\’t interact with traffic. It would help if we got the river path extended to St Johns still too.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Cycle tracks are exactly the last thing we need in Portland…

THE LAST THING!

There is no \”Sharing the Road\” with a cycle track.

a.O
Guest
a.O

There is no sharing the road without a cycle track. Or hadn\’t you noticed?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”Cycle tracks are exactly the last thing we need in Portland…\”

Dabby,

You know I respect you and all, but really man, please understand that cycle-tracks will be a good thing for this city. They will not be the only tool we use, they would be merely one of many ways we encourage more people to ride bikes.

I understand your concern about being separated from traffic… but let\’s keep that conversation going without putting up road blocks to cycle-tracks, blue bike lanes, and other new measures that PDOT wants to implement.

There are many solutions to 1) making biking safe 2) getting more people to ride and 3) sharing the road…. and I think we should at least try several of them before we shoot them down.

thanks as always for your invaluable contributions.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”wow..i write a letter to the mayors office asking that the intersection be examined…and two hours later it happens!\”

Thank you! Writing emails to elected officials is very important.

At the press conference today, I noticed Sam Adams\’ policy advisor for transportation Roland Chlapowski had printed out all the emails he had gotten from folks this morning… your voices are heard… that\’s why it\’s so important that everyone is educated about the issues and takes the time to get engaged.

Bikealicious
Guest
Bikealicious

Another reason to love our city. It may not be perfect, but you will not find much better. People matter here–on this forum & the many victims these accidents have claimed–its good to see a demonstration of that at last. The wheels of progress turn slowly, but theys turnin.

DO
Guest
DO

Alright, feel free to call me a nerd if you\’d like. Or a clueless fool. But I drew a quick sketch of what bike lanes along the MAX right of way could look like:

http://img46.imageshack.us/my.php?image=interstateib4.jpg

The sketch shows Interstate and Going, but it could be any of the signalized intersections. Bikes would only conflict with left turning vehicles, and if additional signals were added, bikes could be given a green only when left turning vehicles have red. So, as long as everybody obeyed their signals, there\’d be no conflicts. No right hooks, no left hooks, no doorings.

At intersections without left turns (i.e. N. Prescott and N. Blandena, directly to the north and south of Going), there\’d be no conflict at all. Cyclists would not cross the paths of any vehicles turning either onto or off of Interstate.

Separating the lane (Cycletrack) wouldn\’t be necessary, at least in the short term. The bike lanes would be just as safe as they are now away from intersections, and safer through the intersections.

And to bring it back to today\’s event, because there\’s no left turn from southbound Interstate at Greeley, there\’d be no possibility for conflict there (again, assuming all signals were obeyed by both cyclists and drivers). Therefore, the right turn could be reopened.

This would require re-striping of the full length of Interstate, plus bike specific signals at each signalized intersection. Obviously not a small cost outlay, but worth it?

Sorry for the long post.

zac
Guest
zac

Sam Adams for Mayor!

PDXJer
Guest
PDXJer

I am pleased that they are doing something to fix that dangerous intersection.

I own neither a bike or a car, but I think the \”failure to yield\” argument is setting a dangerous precendent. I agree that the law says cars must yield to bikes, but bikes are not that visible. Telling bikers that cars must yield to bikes, in reality, is only going to get more bikers killed.

I think the fundamental assumption that bikes and cars can share the road safely is flawed. They are just to different, and bikers are so difficult to see.

I applaud you you guys for bringing this to the attention of the city, and actually getting it fixed. I just ask that you value safety over pride. Teach bikers that they have to rely on themselves and their awareness, and not assume that others will yield.