Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

First look inside Portland’s new bike box

Posted by on March 15th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

My five year-old daughter tests out Portland’s new bike box. By Monday it will be painted green just like the colored bike lane next to it.
Slideshow below
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland’s ambitious campaign to improve bike safety at 14 intersections has finally begun.

Colored bike box and lane SE Hawth. 7th -10.jpg

Today, I watched City of Portland crews put down the first bit of green paint to mark a new colored bike lane and bike box on SE Hawthorne Blvd. and SE 7th. This intersection isn’t complete yet but the crew member I spoke with said they plan to finish it (and paint in the bike box) on Monday.

I watched several light cycles along with PDOT traffic safety guy Greg Raisman (who just happened to be there). Raisman and I were both pleased to see that even without the green paint in the bike box, most cars obeyed the “WAIT HERE” markings and stopped well before the stop bar.

As for the green color — it seems much brighter than our existing blue bike lanes (which will all be converted to this green color soon). The surface is also a nice, non-slip material. In a comment below, PDOT bicycle coordinator Roger Geller writes the green surface is a, “non-slick thermoplastic (and different than the thermoplastic used for lane striping, crosswalks, etc). It’s embedded with corundum, a mineral that gives it a non-skid characteristic.”

I have to admit, it’s exciting to stand there and realize what these new markings might mean for our city. Stay tuned for more analysis on Monday.

View more photos in the gallery or watch the slideshow below:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

For more information on bike boxes, visit PDOT’s Bike Box Page or watch this Streetfilms video: How to use a bike box. You can also browse and read the BikePortland.org bike box coverage archives.

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  • Elliot March 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    It\’s even more beautiful than I imagined! Maybe we should have a ride touring the 14 sites after they get installed, wearing lime green clothing to match.

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  • Kevin March 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I really don\’t see the need for these, and think they could have a detrimental effect.
    I already pull into the lane at the front of the line if I\’m there first, and \”in\” the line if I get there after the cars are stopped. I will not ever put myself in the position of being able to be right hooked. It\’s happened to far too many cyclists with far too few consequences for the drivers. By painting those boxes it will be harder for me to explain to a driver why I have a right to be in that lane in other unmarked locations. As of now, if I explain to the driver why I\’m there I\’ve never had an issue once they understand.

    Just my $0.02


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  • April March 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I bought myself a second bike today (an older mixte!! whee! yay for craigslist) and was on the bus on my way home (…the bike needs some repairs) and we went by where they were painting this, and I was so happy to see it, I had to tell my poor seatmate what it was and why they were putting it there.

    Heh. My bicycle enthusiasm knows no bounds these days.

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  • matchu March 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I too have had tremendous success in explaining why, as a cyclist, I merge into the \”auto\” lane rather than the bike lane when I see right-turn signals on.

    I think the bike boxes are needed none the less though as it can be extremely intimidating executing a left turn on busier streets. The bike boxes allow the cyclist to position themselves safely, and with the full backing of the law, so as to be able to initiate a left-turn. This is particularly crucial along SE Hawthorne. Unfortunately it looks like intersection at 7th Ave will only extended the bike box over one lane but not all three. That still makes maneuvering into a safe left-turn difficult if not dangerous but it helps somewhat. I hope the bike boxes make it easier for cyclists to get around town and help motorists better predict cyclist behavior on the road.

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  • Atbman March 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Kevin, they work. They don\’t remove the rider\’s responsibility to watch for other road users\’ behaviour, nor for paying close attention to the timing of trafic signals.

    But they do put you in waiting drivers\’ eyelines and go some way to reducing right hooks because of that.

    They also give you a vital second or two\’s start.

    I would be somewhat concerned about the effect of the \”right turn on red\” rule, since I could see the possiblity of a driver being in the process of doing so just as the light changes to green and a cyclist setting off to go straigh ahead.

    I\’d hazard a guess that New York riders could give you a better idea of how they work in the US, rather than the UK.

    Almost all of the \”anti\” views I\’ve read on various forums come from people who have yet to use them.

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  • G.A.R. March 15, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I like the bike boxes at 39th & Clinton, but when it comes to legalities, I agree with Kevin.

    Where I do think these things will shine is when they are used by devil-may-care, scofflaw cyclists, of which we have many, in the presence of boorish, ignorant motorists, of which we also have many.

    Pre-bike box, invariably it is night and the scofflaws are dressed all in black with no brakes and no helmets and no lights except an icy moonbeam finding the occasional nosering. They swarm all around the boorish motorist at the head of the line, and the motorist\’s reaction is simple: \”I hate bikes.\” Now, post-bike box, all the bikes will have a nice organized place to be, well-lit by the motorist\’s headlights. I\’m guessing the motorist will hate the bikes a little less.

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  • joel March 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    the green is WAY better than the blue. much higher contrast, just pops more.

    im keen on these, but ill be even keener if we ever get priority signals for cyclists to make these really work to their full potential. and even keener still if *all* bike lanes got the green fill-in treatment.

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  • Axe March 15, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I love that it states WAIT-HERE in huge block letters. Kinda hard to ignore, though from the photos it\’s clear some drivers have thicker skulls than others…

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  • david4130 March 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Just in time for St. Patty\’s day!

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  • nw March 15, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    hi. are their any traction issues with the painted lanes when wet?

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  • Spanky March 15, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    So is it paint or that slick thermoplastic? I hope it is paint.

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  • Roger Geller March 15, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    It\’s non-slick thermoplastic (and different than the thermoplastic used for lane striping, crosswalks, etc). It\’s embedded with curundum, a mineral that gives it a non-skid characteristic.

    Has anyone ever skidded out on the 11 locations where we\’ve had blue thermoplastic in place for past 9 years?

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  • Matt Picio March 15, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Jonathan, I should have known you were already out there watching them put it in.

    More pictures here:


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  • Crash N. Burns March 15, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    That shade of green is totally unatural, and the \”WAIT HERE\” letters are in the wrong font… Seriously though, it\’s a nice start.

    I\’m usually hyper aware about looking out for cars, but I like the boxes because they may help create some consistency of behavior both from drivers and cyclists. Being a cyclist and a driver, it can be very frustrating when we are judged as a whole by other motorists/cyclists behaviors. I hope that the bike boxes bring more awareness to drivers that cyclists are there and have rights, as well as improving the predictability of both drivers and cyclists.

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  • Matt Picio March 15, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    matchu (#4) – Speaking for myself, I\’m usually either in the left lane already before 7th or I move over after 7th and turn on 8th or 10th to cut over towards Salmon. The timing on the light at Grand usually allows a bike to make it across 7th before the light changes to red – so I\’m not sure that having the box extend all the way across would do all that much.

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  • Gary March 15, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Crash N. Burns…why is it the wrong font?

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  • neonjones March 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    (mineralogy) an extremely hard mineral, a form of aluminium oxide, that occurs in the form of the gemstones ruby and sapphire; it is used as an abrasive

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  • Steveo March 15, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I think what really needs to happen, what would really help prevent right hooks, is painting and coloring the bike lane all the way across the intersection. This would remind drivers that they are crossing a lane of traffic. It would be most helpful on the most busy of bike-laned streets, particularly Broadway downtown.

    Though I Broadway every day to PSU, never ride in the bike lane because it is the most dangerous place to be.

    The bike box is helpful, but I don\’t really need any help in making myself visble while stopped at an intersection. Its easy to pull up until you are just in front of a stopped car.

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  • Scott Mizée March 15, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Yay!!! Just might have to ride down there tomorrow to check it out! Thanks for posting, Jonathan! I do agree with Joel #7. I still remember how wonderful it was to ride around Amsterdam and other parts of Holland on their red colored bike paths and experiencing the \”priority\” lights for cyclists. (Think of the scramble symbol by the Rose Quarter, except at nearly every intersection for cross traffic in both directions. Thanks for chiming in, Roger. I look forward to seeing these all over the city…

    This isn\’t exactly a location for a bike box, but it reminds me, do you think we could lay down some green on the way up Greely heading south towards Interstate at the I-5 on ramp split? It is the worst part of my commute in the morning.

    Right now, there is only a tiny yield to bikes sign. And 9 times out of 10, us bicyclists end up yielding to the 45+ mph automobiles. Has this intersection been discussed?

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  • Roger Geller March 15, 2008 at 10:08 pm


    I don\’t believe there is a \”Yield to Bikes\” sign at this approach. I\’m pretty sure the sign is for bikes to yield. The bike lane is designed to bring cyclists to a point where they stop and must yield to the very fast car traffic heading up the I-5 ramp. We designed that bike lane so cyclists would stop, turn back and look at the traffic, and then wait for a gap sufficient for a safe crossing.

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  • roadrager March 15, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Anybody ridden on oil-coated painted concrete!!!!!! It\’s a bit slick. I hope that someone put some texturing agent in the paint, if not I smell a couple of lawsuits.

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  • the other scott March 15, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    uh… roadrager? read the article and comments. that will answer your questions.

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  • Scott Mizée March 15, 2008 at 11:21 pm


    Thanks for your response. Here is a photo of the intersection we are talking about:
    closeup of sign:

    The sign is in pictures. I don\’t know if this is something I should have learned in studying for my driver\’s license, but when I saw the bicycle and the yield symbol below it I made the presumption that larger vehicles were supposed to yield to bikes. Are you saying that the sign means the opposite of that?

    I of course yield to large trucks when I check over my shoulder and see them before heading across the large vehicle traffic lane, but I had always presumed that it was also their responsibility to yield to the more vulnerable road user.

    Personally, I don\’t feel safe waiting at this spot between the concrete jersey barrier and high speed traffic. I\’d much rather get over to the center island as soon as possible.

    Surely I\’m not the only one who has thought this here?

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  • Metal Cowboy March 16, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Scott and Roger – I live not far from this spot, and use it every day on my commute and find it to be the most uncomfortable moment of the ride – I also feel unsafe waiting in that space for a gap to safely shoot across. Often, I get the lane and get the run without having to stop because I don\’t leave at high traffic volume times of day (benefit of working mostly from home) but that yield/bike sign is unclear to me as well. Though truth be told I always assume that when cars are coming that fast I will yield or become a stat. I\’d love a better set up but I can\’t think of what that would be – it\’s OK when I\’m pedaling at 10am but 8am is a ups truck nightmare.

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  • Roger Geller March 16, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Scott and Metal Cowboy,

    That sign means that you, the bicyclist, must yield. You, the cyclist, are crossing a travel lane when you go from right to left. You must yield to the traffic whose lane you\’re crossing.

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  • Refunk March 16, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Scott M.,

    Pretty sure Roger\’s correct. The sign\’s size and graphic style (color scheme, element proportions) says, \”bike,\” or Multi-User Path, not automotive traffic.

    As for any motor vehicle being required by ORS (as opposed to common sense or courtesy) \”to yield to the more vulnerable road user,\” I wasn\’t aware OR or WA used any such wording. If so, I\’m sure the majority of cagers would consider it a responsibility to be self-interpreted, like those oft-ignored 36\” b & w signs with numerals on \’em found along every roadway…

    Man, you are right on about how wonderful it would be to see more cyclist \”priority\” signals in town–now there\’s a project for funding. Wouldn\’t these serve multiple safety functions, some of which could equal the effect of a bike box? But Bike Boxes are good. I can think of a few places in the \’couve that could use \’em…

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  • Refunk March 16, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Hmmm. I began writing the posting @ #25 before the Metal Cowboy (#23) & Roger (#24) posted their most recent. Postus Interruptus strikes again, sigh.

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  • Esther March 16, 2008 at 2:03 am

    I happened to drive(!) by today and I shouted excitedly \”it\’s a bike box!!\” I had a green light, going east on Hawthorne, but I automatically slowed down and prepared to yield. Maybe I was over-prepared, but we had visitors from San Francisco in the car, one of whom is a an avid cyclist and a writer for treehugger.com, and I was excited to show off what was going on in PDX 🙂

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  • Esther March 16, 2008 at 2:10 am

    I would like to note it was particularly exciting for me to show it to my friends from SF because my 17 year old niece in California lost a point on her driver\’s license test, following spending summers with me and my many complaints about drivers cutting off cyclists in the bike lane (when in California the rule is to merge into the bike lane prior to the intersection- she answered the written test that a driver shoudl wait till the intersection and check blind spots to turn right).

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  • Paul Souders March 16, 2008 at 2:17 am

    Re: Greeley on-ramp (#19-22): I take the lane, traffic permitting, and merge two lanes left. I\’ve seldom done so at this location however as it\’s not on my commute.

    There is a similar crossing on my commute inbound on SW Barbur, where Barbur splits right to Naito. Bikes are intended to exit to the sidewalk, dismount, cross Naito in the crosswalk, then return to Barbur. I did this exactly once, the first time I rode this route (about 5 yrs. ago) and it was as stupid as it sounds. I ride that route 2-3 days/wk. + have never seen anyone else attempt the \”recommended\” crossing.

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  • Scott Mizée March 16, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Roger, Joe, Paul, Mr. Refunk,and others,

    I agree that the size of the sign communicates that it is most likely not to be seen unless you are in/on a slow moving vehicle.

    Couldn\’t we write on the sign something a little more straight forward like \”Cyclists Must Yield to Automobiles\”?

    The graphics are confusing. The dichotomy between the brutal reality of the situation in which cyclists find themselves and the message the sign is trying to communicate go against everything natural that our minds are trying to tell us. We are taught that we are vehicles and have a right to the lane, that we should merge with traffic when possible, etc, etc. Surely it is acceptable for traffic to stop at the bottom of this ramp for bikes as it is for them to stop at the traffic light on ramp meter at the top?!?

    I like the note that someone placed on my flickr photo \”Hey, I\’m just cruising along on my bike at 12mph. Oh wait.. holy crap, this bike lane ends and I have to get over. Wait, the traffic on my left, which I have to cross/merge into, is actually SPEEDING UP at 50+ mph to get onto this interstate highway onramp. And I have to cross it…\”

    What would have to be done for us to get this intersection changed?

    For those of you that would like to see a video of the situation, check out this youtube link:


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  • gwadzilla March 16, 2008 at 5:56 am


    I had mentioned painting the lanes years ago to the powers that be here in Washington

    there was a short rebuttal about cost

    to which I said…

    roads cost
    it should be part of the budget
    it is how things should be done

    I also worked hard on getting bike lanes on the street in front of my house
    a heavily trafficked bicycle route

    I was able to get the lanes
    they missed all my specific guidelines for bike boxes
    and the alternating between solid and dashed lines

    DC is not that progressive

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  • Jim O'Horo March 16, 2008 at 7:40 am

    The [bikes] yield sign at the I-5 on-ramp is really just a reinforcement of the right of way rules which already cover this situation. Traffic going straight in its lane (the on-ramp) has the right of way over traffic crossing the lane (bikes leaving the bike lane and crossing the on-ramp). Pretty straightforward when you think it through.

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  • Jim O'Horo March 16, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Greg Raisman: I can\’t tell for sure from looking at the pictures on my CRT monitor, but to me the green color looks like it\’s a little \”muddy\”. That\’s a highly technical term used in the graphics industries to describe a color arrived at by mixing different pigments together as in red + blue + yellow = brown (mud). From my monitor the green looks like a mix of blue + yellow. If so, you might be able to get a much more vivid, eye-catching green by using a single-pigment color system. It would probably be slightly more expensive, but it would almost certainly catch attention better. Just a suggestion.

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  • wheeledpower March 16, 2008 at 8:44 am

    I also go through the sticky wicket on Greeley every day– that particular moment of misery comes about 3 minutes after having to cross the ramp onto Greeley from Swan Island, from which UPS trucks are catapulted at 45 mph from around a blind turn, so that I only see them 2 or 3 seconds before they roar past. I\’ve always assumed I\’m supposed to yield at these spots, but that whole stretch from the Adidas campus to Interstate is very unpleasant. Rather than paint the lane green, what I\’d really like to see is the North Portland Greenway, which would allow me (and many others) to commute from St. Johns to downtown without having to contend with all the trucks.

    Also, if we can\’t get the one-way streets on the Park Blocks turned into bike corridors, which I think would be the best north-south route through downtown if it weren\’t for all the stop signs and drivers looking for on-street parking, we should have the Broadway bike lane painted bright green, as well, so people will stop making right turns across it without yielding. That might also discourage the Beamers and beer trucks from using the bike lane as a loading/unloading zone.

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  • BURR March 16, 2008 at 9:20 am

    There\’s enough bike traffic on this section of Hawthorne that the entire right lane should be a bike lane, or perhaps a bike-bus-right turn only lane.

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  • Refunk March 16, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Good Morning, Scott.

    Agree that the graphics on yer Greely sign could be better, or perhaps, more emphatic (yer set of three images @ #22 does a good job of illustrating your point). As for autos stopping for bikes at the bottom of the ramp, well, their last posted speed (let alone actual speed) has gotta be a factor.

    Personally, I treat intersections like this exactly like I do when cyclotouring through a stretch of Interstate highway (say, I-84 in the Gorge, or I-5 farther down the Willamette Valley). No way in Heck do I expect following traffic to slow down or stop for me as I cross an offramp entry from a high-speed roadway: if something\’s coming, visible turn-signal or not, I assume it\’s gonna cream me if I pull in front of it and wait at a point directly opposite from where I\’ve chosen to cross on the shoulder. If the lane adjacent to the offramp is clear enough to permit a safe crossing distance/timewise, I proceed after waiting at the side or directly in a straight path if no following traffic is present.

    Yes, I consider myself \”traffic,\” but from a safety standpoint (trust no one) as well as a practical deference to the fact of following vehicles\’ physics & legal operating speed in that segment of roadway, I do not feel inconvenienced at waiting any more than I would waiting to cross Burnside or 39th, etc.

    Other than a bike subway/underpass or the like, I cannot imagine what else PDOT could do there on Greely. Even a bicycle-activated signal would screw up that stretch of automotive traffic, most likely due to frequency of cycle usage.

    As for cycling on Interstate highways, yeah, I know, it\’s not everyone\’s cup of chai. I\’ll tellya what, though: once ya get over the sound of semi-tractors roaring past, it certainly seems safer than any shared roadway in the city (eight foot shoulders, excellent line-of-sight, all intersections lit up, and so on). Not to ride a whole journey upon, just as needed.

    That Greely Interstate onramp is no different than situations encountered riding on OR-224 or SR-14 in Washington, both of which are [kinda] in the metro PDX area & see their share of bicycle traffic.

    Bike Boxes, Green Lanes–go, Portland!!

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  • Steve March 16, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Scott, Roger, et al.,

    The crossing of Greely at the I-5 merge is the reason I now go out of my way and go over to Interstate and follow it south. Ironic that I feel safer going through an intersection (Greely and Interstate) where onecyclist lost his life and another was injured but the excessive driving speed along Greely just make it nerve racking. Along with HWY 30 two least favorite roads.

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  • Roger Geller March 16, 2008 at 9:54 am


    It would not be acceptable to ask traffic moving at 45+ mph, heading to a freeway on-ramp and in their own lane, to stop to allow bicycle traffic to cross their lane. I think it would be extremely dangerous.

    I think the best design for this type of intersection would be to create some type of grade separation between cyclists and auto drivers via a bicycle ramp that flew up over the off-ramp.

    When we designed this bike lane we wanted to swing it way out to the right and then bring it back to the on-ramp so that cyclists would be behind the Jersey barrier and aligned at 90 degrees to the on-ramp while waiting for a gap in car traffic. Unfortunately, the lane just behind those barriers is owned by Union Pacific and there was really very little hope of negotiating with them–even if we could have afforded such a design.

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  • Refunk March 16, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Yeah, like Wheeledpower says, the NPGreenway is the solution to Greely!

    And like Burr says, maybe PDOT could make over a lane on Hawthorne near the article\’s bike box. People pre-emptively whine about this beforehand (all cagers, of course), but an excellent example is busy Fourth Plain Blvd in Vancouver which was restriped from two lanes each way down to one each way with a median turn-lane and some bike lane: traffic not only did not clog up, it became smoother (some of which was attributable to big trucks moving over onto Mill Plain). Some kinda change on Hawthorne would be nice.

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  • Stripes March 16, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Re: #18 Steveo – I see your logic in thinking the bike box is not useful, as you \”make yourself visible just by pulling up until you are stopped just in front of the car\”. However, at that intersection, and at many others, the current problem is that many right-turning motorists wanting to make that right turn onto 7th, encroach into the bike lane, and into the crosswalk, as they are preparing to turn. Their head is usually turned to the left only, because that is the direction that oncoming traffic they are looking for a gap in is coming from. So a) it can be really hard, and really dangerous, trying to squeeze past the car to get in front in their field of vision when they are hogging the bike lane. and b) with a right turn movement allowed, even if you are in front/to the side of them, they sometimes don\’t see you until they are gunning the gass, as their head has been looking left, and not right.

    Bike boxes will solve both of those problems, by banning right hand vehicle turns.

    Re: #28 Crash N Burns – I think the *point* of the bright green color *is* to look unnatural! That\’s what makes it stand out. If the City had wanted the bike box & lane to look \”natural\”, they would have painted it…uh…black!

    Re: #36 BURR – Wowza, for the first time in my entire life, we actually agree on something! I think the mode splits for bikes/cars on the Hawthorne Bridge (& thus, logically, on the stretch of Hawthorne heading eastbound once you get off the bridge) really does mean we should have a double bike lane along this stretch of roadway. Probably 6000 or 7000 cyclists use this bikelane a day. When you get that many bikers, all squeezed onto one narrow, tiny 5 foot wide lane, it gets hairy. There\’s no room to overtake super-slow, relaxed cyclists, which is why I see so may cyclists just taking the auto travel lane along here.

    Roger – what would it take to get a double bike lane installed along this portion of Hawthorne, given the very high bike /car mode splits & the number of cyclists using the travel lane as opposed to the bikelane due to cyclist overcrowding?

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  • Stripes March 16, 2008 at 10:30 am

    ps – I like the new green bike box! I think it will do two things –

    1) enhance the safety of bicyclists on Hawthorne, AND the safety of pedestrians crossing at that intersection, as they will no longer have to compete with right-hand turning vehicles. I love it when bike & pedestrian love comes together!

    2) Send a really visceral, powerful message to people who currently drive Hawthorne, that Portland really is a a great place to bike, and that we are developing the infrastructure to put the money where our mouth is. Perhaps, who knows, one or two people who currently drive will be persuaded to hop on a bike when they see these great advancements like bike boxes across the city!

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  • e March 16, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Maybe I\’m missing it..but is there going to be/or is there any talk about FINES for *driving* into the bike boxes? I supppose it\’s similiar to stopping in cross walks….

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  • Scott Mizée March 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Did I say I love bike boxes?!? Kinda feel like I was carrying on a separate conversation in a room with a meeting going on. Roger, Jene-Paul, Joe and others, I\’ll reply with more content later. …and of course, you are all right that this is another reason why we need npGREENWAY. Perhaps the thought of another stoplight here would help the Railroad and others give us the right of way along the Cement Road and we could avoid this nasty conundrum all together?

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  • Scott Mizée March 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    ok… maybe not the Railroad… but the industrial users who have truck traffic on this road.

    And did I mention that there is already a light at the TOP of this onramp requiring EVERYONE to stop during high traffic times?

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  • Metal Cowboy March 16, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I also love the bike box colors etc. Sorry to splitter this to a different conversation. After watchin Scott\’s video I was NOT speaking of the on ramp to I-% where it splits to ramp or greeley to interstate near Brett\’s ghost bike – though that is another hairy spot – but I treat it in this manner – I just watch with my mirror and wait to cross or come to a slower track stand position until it\’s clear then cross over and keep going – sometimes when I feel fast and strong I take the lane and cross early – if the cars are far enough back – but the signage could be more clear – my biggest concern on the downhill coming from adidas is that merge over to the far right with the UPS trucks and everyone else coming up the hill at 45 miles per hour while i\’m barreling down it. I don\’t feel very safe slowing way down and waiting to cross over when there is traffic going very fast down the hill to my left. I do it almost everyday but a greenway would solve those issues – could I access the proposed greemnway from willamette blvd near greeley or will I need to backtrack to some spot to pick it up ( all pending we get a greenway someday.)

    Also, just to inject one more splinter topic – I\’m in the process of writing a piece about how many people who work at adidas actually bike to the campus – it should be a high number considering they are located in town with bike lanes etc. From my research right now the title is going to be Nothing Is Impossible except pedaling to work at Adidas – that should let you in on what I\’ve found so far. If there are any Adidas employees on this list/blog who want to give me additional data info about the companies nonexistent or ultra top secret as to not be located by a journalist carpool/bike/alt transport program – please email me.

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  • Zaphod March 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Two comments:
    1) Hurray to see delivery of some fresh green bike boxes. The data suggests that they will indeed increase safety at these locations. I think a secondary effect worth mentioning is an incremental improvement in legitimization of cyclists all over the city in motorist\’s eyes.

    2) Route finding. There\’s a fair bit of dialog regarding the Interstate Greeley area. I submitted a letter to PDOT on a nearby intersection where the Knott onramp merges with Greeley and they promised to investigate.

    This is great and I anxiously await their response BUT I will say that all of those roads are really best avoided in my opinion. While I\’m all for fairness in road and route access, I\’m also for staying safe. While Greeley/Interstate may be the most direct, much safer alternates can be had for the small investment of sub five minutes. I am by no means a timid cyclist but cars & trucks blazing at 50+mph… I\’ll stick to the urban grid.

    My point is that it\’s worth it to architect your commute to be safe and enjoyable at the expense of a few minutes. That\’s a few more minutes *riding* which is a good thing.

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  • Ian Clemons March 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Okay, I rode up Hawthorne and tried the bike box yesterday and I\’m sorry to say that I just don\’t get it.

    If I want to go straight, I\’m no going to move in FRONT of a car to my left, just to move over back into the bike lane when the light turns green.

    If I want to make a left hand turn onto 7th, heading north, then I still need to cross 2 lanes of traffic which don\’t have a bike box. More likely, I\’ll signal, move over to the far left lane, then make the turn, risking my life and wishing I had chosen a different route.

    What\’s the point? What am I missing?


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  • Esther March 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    By suggesting that PDOT and ODOT make some changes at the Swan Island onramp to Greeley and the Greeley offramp to I-5, I am not saying that I unreasonably or unrealistically expect that every single road can be made bike-friendly, that I refuse to go out of my way for safety\’s sake, or that I am not extra-cautious and yielding to cars and trucks for that reason. For instance, I doubt that Highway 30 could really be improved.

    So, living in St. Johns, pretty much my only safe and relatively pleasant option to get to work downtown or to the inner east side is to take Willamette to Greeley or Interstate, and my commute is already over 8 miles. Going to Vancouver/Williams adds another mile. Going over to Interstate (vs. taking Greeley) actually adds about a half mile, the lights on Interstate are poorly timed which adds even more time, and despite the higher speeds on Greeley I actually feel just as safe because the shoulder is wider than the narrow car & bike lanes on Interstate wedged in between the max and sidewalk, not to mention the spots where there is street front park–that is, I just about feel safer going down Greeley, EXCEPT at these two intersections.

    Yes the Greenway is the best long term long distance option, but in the meantime I don\’t see why putting the ideas of a bike overpass, light(s), a bike box, etc. at those two intersections is such a bad thing. Practically every other interstate highway on-ramp has a light at the intersection. In fact I have a hard time thinking of any that DON\’T!!! But usually it is because there is opposing car traffic, here the problem is that the only conflict is between cars and bikes, not cars and cars.

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  • Esther March 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I would also like to note that Greeley is not only the most convenient route for and used by those of us coming from St. Johns (and Cathedral park), but also for people coming from all of University Park and Portsmouth, as well as the west end chunks of Kenton and Arbor Lodge. I think there is currently a big influx of people into North Portland who will want and use more accessible bike routes – like myself and my partner, two different neighbors on our block who also moved up here from SE and NE in the last year and also ride bikes, a bunch of my best friends who have moved to Arbor Lodge and Portsmouth, et al.

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  • Metal Cowboy March 16, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I live on Willamette near greeley and Esther is not blowing smoke about it being a much used route to get to downtown. I find it safer than going over to interstate and down. Though it\’s the higher speed route the hill where brett was killed and the lights and traffic along interstate is not as enjoyable – once you get past the on ramp that shoots up from swan island it\’s actually a nice pedal along the railroad tracks followed by the somewhat confusing cross lane I-5 ramp, the next problem – and spot where ppb could make their budget in an afternoon would be handing out tickets to drivers who don\’t use the roundabout at interstate and russell where Widmir is. there\’s a ton of signage saying that the two right lanes are for turning only and that you need to go through the light go round and wait for the red light to proceed east on Russell – it burns me everytime I pedal through the green light wait at the red only to see cars using the right lanes to dodge their red light cross a double yellow and whip by me to make the green that I\’ve been waiting for. I\’ve sat there for a few moments and counted five out of ten cars doing this. There needs to be more signage – My wife got in an accident because of some jackdonkey pulling this nonsense. Roger has anyone complained about this because it\’s repeatedly violated all day long.

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  • Bikebillboards dot blogspot dot com March 16, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    (mineralogy) an extremely hard mineral, a form of aluminium oxide, that occurs in the form of the gemstones ruby and sapphire; it is used as an abrasive.

    Sounds like the road rash solution on the look-out for a PROBLEM.

    YEP. If PDX builds it, they will come and DIE. The whole set-up is destine to fail MISERABLY.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 16, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Metal Cowboy, Esther, and others… with all due respect I would love to keep this thread more specifically focused on the new bike boxes if possible.

    I\’d be happy to consider doing a separate story on the Greeley Ave. issue and then have a full discussion at that time.

    Or, I can also recommend that you start a thread on the Forums.


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  • Scott Mizée March 16, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Jonathan… sounds like a great idea. Lets get another thread going on this topic. I agree with you. See my note on 43

    I think a start would be to extrapolate the discussion thus far on this post and move to another story.

    With all due respect, I don\’t feel like the forums have the readership that this sort of topic deserves. But then again, I don\’t know the facts about that–just my perception.


    P.S. The kids and I drove by the bike box tonight to get a special look at it in person. My 4 year old said, \”look dad! It sparkles!\” They wanted to know why the road was painted that pretty green color and I did my best to explain it to them.

    I do have a question similar to others here. Perhaps I missed the point here, but why does the bike box not stretch across more lanes? I guess if you are going left, you really need to leave the box an merge on over with the far left lane. Am I correct?

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  • Roger Geller March 16, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    For now, if you wish to make a left from Hawthorne to 7th, just do it the way you\’ve always done it. Get out of the bike lane in advance of the intersection to move to the left lane, or do it in a two-phase pedestrian move. However you\’ve done it in the past, continue to do it that way.

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  • John Russell March 16, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    To get back on topic, I really like the bright green a lot more than I thought I would when I first heard that we were switching from blue.

    And in response to Crash N. Burns, it looks like a standard FHWA typeface. I don\’t see how it\’s the wrong typeface, especially considering I\’m pretty keen on fonts.

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  • Mr. Viddy March 16, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    I hope these things work but my biggest fear is that it will cause a road rage incident when some anti-bike jerk decides he has had it with having to yield behind a cyclist.

    Sorry, but my faith in the driving public is not very high.

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  • Metal Cowboy March 16, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    duly noted jonathan- Greeley has so many issues I just got carried away and off topic – as to the bike box color – I saw this same color used in NYC on a recent visit – where they have separated an entire street with pvc type poles – taxi\’s still pull into the lane sometimes but nyc taxi\’s will go anywhere – the sidewalk even – my point being that when I heard they had decided on green for the bike box color for portland I knew imho that it was the right call. It really pops while, for me, being something drivers will see.

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  • BURR March 17, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Ian #47 I don\’t think you\’re missing anything. Installing the bike boxes is a feel-good move by PDOT that offers little new in the way of safety for cyclists.

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  • Scott Mizée March 17, 2008 at 4:20 am

    I think you\’re off base, BURR. Think about if there is a large group of cyclists approaching this stop light at 7th. Instead of being strung out half way down the bock. They can all assemble side by side and naturally re-order themselves in a more efficient manner after they put the pedals down on the green light. Without the bike box, the faster bikes would have been forced into the traffic lane as they tried to pass.

    I\’m not sure if this is the main purpose of the bike box, but it certainly seems like a nice perceived result to me.

    Roger: duly noted on the left turn advice.

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  • Brian E March 17, 2008 at 7:14 am

    John Deere Green

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  • Moo March 17, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Sorry – had to pass alot of the postings on this one to get back to the meat of the thread. I think these boxes are going to take some time for riders to figure out their true workings. It might even be downright comical to watch the Hawthorne gauntlet riders start up and figure out how to merge with one another, as many will finally come to the realization that they are just not as fast and talented a rider as they\’ve always thought they were. Get your cameras ready for some good actiobn!

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  • Paul Souders March 17, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Re: bike box efficacy:

    My father in law lives in Taipei, where they have a similar box system for scooters. (Scooters have the kind of privileged place in Taipei traffic that bicycles do in Amsterdam). It seemed to work really well


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  • Sripes March 17, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Re BURR # 57

    And you have used a bike box how many dozens of times to come to your scientific conclusions?

    And you have read and correlated how many research papers into their respective safety>

    A lot of negative nancies in this thread today! That\’s all well and good, but please, rather than drown us in your rhetoric, why not wait until you have actually USED the bike boxes before condemning them? Then tell us what you think!

    As Paul mentioned in post # 61, bike boxes are used extensively around the world. One European city just installed 3000 of them overnight. Just because here in Portland we have had none until recently, does\’t mean they don\’t work.

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  • BURR March 17, 2008 at 9:58 am

    #63 I\’m guessing that they don\’t have \’scooter lanes\’ in Taipei, but that the scooters are allowed to filter forward at a red light by splitting lanes?

    Again, why isn\’t the entire right lane on Hawthorne marked Bikes-Busses-Right Turn Only?

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  • Paul Souders March 17, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Burr #65 — Both, actually. Scooters have many privileges and spaces that neither autos or pedestrians or cyclists have.

    Scooters : Taipei :: Bicycles : Amsterdam

    I used to feel \”don\’t treat cyclists as \’special,\’ we\’re part of traffic!\” until I noticed how special treatment works in other parts of the world. In Amsterdam, giving bicycles dedicated infrastructure creates the impetus to dedicate even more. Same for scooters in Taipei. Or tuk-tuks in Bangkok.

    I noticed the same thing in reverse in Beijing, and in my town (Xiamen, China). Bicycles used to be a special class in those cities, with dedicated traffic signals, lanes, and laws. They are being gradually \”mainstreamed\” with the effect that fewer people are riding, under ever-more dangerous conditions.

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  • Todd Boulanger March 17, 2008 at 11:01 am

    In this initial bike box…would it be better to continue the box across to the curb (through the parking lane)?

    – allow bikes more space to que for the right turn on green, and

    – to keep cars from illegally parking too close to the crosswalk/ or thinking it is ok to use the parking lane as a right turn lane when not full of parked cars.

    My 1 cent.

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  • rgratzer March 17, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I didn\’t see this mentioned in the post or the comments –

    The latest installment in PDOT\’s Bicycle Brown Bag Series will be covering the Bike Boxes.

    March 20, Noon.

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  • Stripes March 17, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    In response to the Vehicular Cyclist brigade –

    You might feel confident taking the lane, and not requiring any bicycle facilities or enhanced crossings facilities to get from point A to point B on your bicycle.

    Okay, fine.

    But please don\’t expect my four year old god-daughter, or my 78 year old grandmother, to take the lane, assert herself in traffic, and ride aggressively on their bicycles, because I\’m sorry, that\’s just not going to happen.

    Just because you are confident and assertive, doesn\’t mean everybody on the planet is. There are all kinds of different cyclists, from all kinds of different backgrounds, and expecting them to all just ride down Division or Powell is just farcical. That\’s what providing a balanced transportation system, with a range of options to get around, is all about.

    City of Portland survey data year after year indicates a staggering 60% of Portlanders would like to start bicycling, but don\’t currently, because they are too concerned about traffic safety. Ordering them to just \”go take the lane\” & telling them bicycle boulevards, bike boxes etc are pointless is not going do a single thing to change their mindset and get them on a bicycle.

    Thanks for listening.

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  • Crash N. Burns March 17, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    #\’s 16, 41, 56

    Sorry, critiquing the color and font was my poor attempt at sarcasm.

    I was trying to poke fun at people nit-picking an obviously positive attempt to make cycling safer in Portland.

    For me it\’s not necessarily the details of the design, but the awareness that the bike boxes may help to spread among motorists.

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  • Duncan March 17, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    word stripes

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  • Bikebillboards dot blogspot dot com March 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Good points, Stripes. But, if a particular facility is defective, do you really want to continue using it to encourage the 60% of Portlander to use it?

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  • DJ Hurricane March 17, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    There\’s nothing \”defective\” about any \”facility\” in Portland, but with the willingness of some drivers to exercise due care with respect to cyclists. These improvements make exercise of a proper level of care easier by more concretely and saliently expressing what is to be done and not to be done by drivers.

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  • Kevin March 17, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Abtman #5.

    I don\’t doubt that they work. My concern is that drivers won\’t think I\’m allowed that position if the pavement isn\’t green.
    I position myself there now.

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  • […] Jonathan Maus, at BikePortland.org, writes: As for the green color — it seems much brighter than our existing blue bike lanes (which will all be converted to this green color soon). The surface is also a nice, non-slip material. In a comment below, PDOT bicycle coordinator Roger Geller writes the green surface is a, “non-slick thermoplastic (and different than the thermoplastic used for lane striping, crosswalks, etc). It’s embedded with corundum, a mineral that gives it a non-skid characteristic.” (Source) […]

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  • […] [BikePortland] Via [The Oregonian] Via […]

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  • GREEN bike lane Opportunity: I know this is a bit off topic, but I haven\’t seen a new post about it yet here and I know Jonathan has been awfully busy. npGREENWAY has posted a new video of this intersection.

    [… G R E E L E Y gauntlet (bike lane commute)
    This Video attempts to document the poor cycling conditions where Greeley Avenue splits to the Interstate 5 Southbound on-ramp and the intersection of North Interstate Avenue.

    Rather than write a completely new post about this subject, I have compiled commentary from a BikePortland post and the npGREENWAY flickr page below the video…]

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  • Anonymous May 5, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I really appreciate the bike boxes on Broadway downtown, as I often bike this way after work.

    However, I\’m still not convinced drivers know what these boxes are for. For example I was riding up broadway, waiting on the left side of the road for an upcoming left hand turn (about a block away). The light turned green and I took off to a drivers horn, obviously I wasn\’t fast enough for him. To make matters more frustrating, when he passed me he yelled for me to get in my bike box. I\’ve had this type of situation happen a couple times on broadway, when drivers assume that is a biker\’s place…neglecting that bikers make left hand turns as well and need to navigate the streets safely for an upcoming turn. More education, such as commericals would be helpful.

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  • Simplicity Works « njmalhq’s weblog August 21, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    […] (Portland Traffic Bicycle Safety Simplicity) In Portland, Oregon where I live, the new bike boxes are being introduced.   It is being hailed by many, but I have my doubts.  Bicyclist safety has […]

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  • […] is an innovation borrowed from Portland, a premier North American city for bicycle commuting. A bike box allows for safer sharing of stoplight intersections between cyclists and motorists.  […]

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