At last night’s meeting of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee, PDOT unveiled their initial concepts for adding new bike boxes and blue bike lanes to fourteen Portland intersections.
Commissioner Adams dropped in on the meeting and said he wants to move “quickly but prudently” and hopes to have these safety improvements (see all of them below), “approved and on the ground by the end of the year or sooner.”
These intersections are a subset of a larger list of known hot spots and, following a spate of recent high-profile collisions, were recently fast-tracked by Adams and his Bike Safety Committee for emergency improvements.
At the meeting, PDOT’s head traffic engineer Rob Burchfield and traffic operations staffer Matthew Machado (in photo), presented a series of 16 aerial maps and graphics that showed, for the first time, where these new bike boxes, blue bike lanes, and signage might go (remember these are still in planning stages and PDOT is open to input).
The maps aren’t available online yet, so here are photos I snapped of each one. As you look them over (click to enlarge), listen to this audio clip of Rob Burchfield. In it, he explains PDOT’s thinking and goals behind these improvements:
Download MP3 (2.5MB: 2 min, 50 sec)
[NOTE: There is more information from the meeting — including what Commissioner Adams heard from the Portland Business Alliance — after the photos.]
*NOTE: The difference between these two options is that in Option 2, the bike box stretches the entire width of Hawthorne. This would be done to make it easier for cyclists turning left (north) on SE 7th. To help educate cyclists, the northernmost bike symbol in this bike box would have a left turn arrow on it.
As Burchfield mentions in the audio clip above, all of these bike boxes would be accompanied with new regulatory signage and “No Turn on Red” would be in effect for all of these intersections.
At the meeting, the Bicycle Advisory Committee agreed to draft a letter of support of these plans. The letter will state that the BAC agrees with these changes “in concept” but that they would like further input on specifics before anything is finalized.
Unfortunately, weather might play a factor on when these improvements can be installed. City bike coordinator Roger Geller says the installation will go best in dry and warmish weather. The material being used will likely be thermoplastic (not paint), but Geller says they’re considering other materials as well.
Adams also said he has met with the Portland Business Alliance (since many of these intersections are in the downtown core). He reported that the business community is “very supportive” of these bike safety measures.
Adams said business leaders are concerned about all the PR following recent collisions and the perception that downtown is dangerous. He said, they consider the bike boxes and “No turn on red” a minor inconvenience to keeping people safe.
For more on PDOT’s philosophy on bike boxes and blue bike lanes, read this guest article from Roger Geller.