A ‘Green Street’ made safer with new markings

Posted by on March 18th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

New markings at SE 12th and Clay-2.jpg

A new bike lane design encourages
cyclists to use an advanced stop bar.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) has added new bike lane markings on SE Clay Street at 12th.

In a partnership between PDOT and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), Clay Street has been the focus of a special “Green Street” project (this project has nothing to do with the new green bike lanes and bike boxes PDOT is also working on).

According to BES, the SE Clay Green Street project is intended to give residents a safer connection to the Willamette riverfront while providing sustainable stormwater management.

One way they’ve done this is to install curb extensions that are full of natural plants that soak up rain water and other runoff.

In order to encourage cyclists to take full advantage of the curb extension, PDOT’s bicycle coordinator Roger Geller says he’s decided to test a new bike lane striping method that encourages cyclists to position themselves all the way to the end of the curb extension. Geller says,

“The intent of curb extensions is to allow cyclists to get further out into the roadway, and thus make them more visible to motorists, give them better sight lines, and most importantly to decrease their crossing distance.”

(Photo: Roger Geller)
New markings at SE 12th and Clay-1.jpg

Geller adds that, “This new striping pattern we’re testing will hopefully clearly communicate that and encourage more cyclists to take full advantage of the design.”

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Elliot
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Elliot

This is interesting. I\’ve always considered it rude to pull into the crosswalk, and I like to be as courteous as possible to pedestrians, so I\’m not sure if I\’ll will take this hint.

In my experience stop bars are more or less unheeded, and most cars roll over them into the crosswalk and even into the parking lane before coming to a stop at intersections like this. But I do suppose that this striping could function like a bike box for intersections like at SE Salmon and 39th, when cars frequently pull into the crosswalk and turn right across bicyclists (waiting behind the crosswalk) who are waiting for the half-signal to turn.

Greg Raisman
Guest

Thanks for you consideration Elliot!

Just so you know, this striping design is actually past the ped crossing. If you look closely, you\’ll see a break in the line marking behind the cyclist in the photo. That is where the unmarked ped crossing is.

So, if you see pedestrians attempting to cross the street, stop before the crosswalk to allow them to cross (as you\’re required to do under Stop and Stay Stopped Law). But, if there isn\’t a pedestrian getting ready to cross as you approach, you will be out of their way should someone arrive while you\’re waiting to cross 12th.

Thanks again for your courteous operation of your bicycle.

Greg Raisman
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
Portland Office of Transportation
(503) 823-1052

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

I like it!

Adam
Guest
Adam

Very interesting. I like the idea of this. It\’s a very simple way to make intersections safer.

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

The real point of the markings was not discussed in the article. Once the foliage planted in the swale grows up and thickens, there will be an obstructed view. Thus, move the cyclist up to where they can be seen.

Utilizing the green pavement here would better communicate the intent of the box extension. As it is, it is ambiguous.

Back to obstructed sight lines. This is an issue that I think about ever day on my commute.

no. 1 many stop signs have pickup trucks and vans parked right next to the sign, blocking the view to the right. Maybe the city can restrict parking for a space or so along the bike boulevards so that bikes can see and be seen.

No. 2 is where the bike lane crosses the on-ramp to the east bound Hawthorne bridge sidewalk/bike path. The guy with the trumpet always sits in the sight line of the traffic waiting at the stop sign, blocking their sight or forcing them further into the bike crossing. I have almost been hit here. Bless the guy for making a living and at least he isn’t carring a big sign.

Thanks

Spanky
Guest
Spanky

That intersection was made a bit hairer for all users concerned for car traffic trying to make a left onto Clay from 12th N bound, especially if a largish vehicle is waiting to cross 12th or exectute a left to travel N Bound on 12th. First, the curb extensions impinge on turning radius. Second, as the brush grows up, unless the City that Works works on keeping it pruned, will impair visibility.

What would have been a better place to throw the money would have been a marked cross walk and bike crossing over 12th, and perhaps a ped/bike actuated amber or red light.

While traffic does tend to back up at the intersection from Hawthorne more than it did before (in my opinion) the extensions were added, I do think that they are an enhancement in forcing traffic to wait until after the intersection with Clay before moving left into the third lane that used to open to the left at that intersection. Traffic doing so did present a hazard to cyclists and peds trying to cross 12th.

It will be interesting to see how the bioswales do, and how clean they are kept of litter. I\’ve always wondered how well they drain. I hate mosquitoes!

And I think the \”mini bike box\” is a perfect idea for this type of intersection where traffic can not turn right. I don\’t think it will present much of an issue for bikes and crosswalk using pedestrians provided that bikes, as cars also should, stop short of the cross walk before moving forward for clear sight lines.

J
Guest
J

The vegetation or \’brush\’ in the swale appears to be sedges and rushes. These will not grow to more than 2ft or so. There is a tree in the swale too, but this is not different than a normal street tree in that visibility should not be an issue if it is limbed up as it grows.

49er..
Guest
49er..

The bioswales typically have groundcover and low-growing shrubs in them. I haven\’t seen one yet in this situation with high growing shrubs next to the roadway. Either way, if the wrong shrubs were planted, that\’s an easy fix to change them out with the right ones. Not all plants grow huge and block views.

kevin hedahl
Guest

Spencer, I believe there is a city ordinance restricting vehicles over 6 feet tall from parking within a certain distance of the end of a block. It isn\’t enforced and it doesn\’t remedy the entire problem, but of helps.

Randy
Guest
Randy

That looks confusing. Given that cyclists are supposed to follow the same laws motorists follow, cyclists should stop before reaching the stop sign, not past the stop sign.

In other words, positioning the bike lane stop line past the stop sign is a contradiction — should the cyclist honor the stop sign, or the stop line?

Kevin
Guest

I think this is a good idea. Just as the new green bike boxes encourage riders to position themselves to be seen, this also does. And just as I think that the absence of green boxes will lead folks to believe it\’s not legal for me to be in that position perhaps the failure of an advanced stop line will make those same folks scold me for being there when the line is not so modified. I already place myself in those locations. I smile, wave at the driver (with ALL my fingers) and if their window is down I\’ll tell them why I am there in that position. When the light turns green I quickly pedal across the intersection and move to the right if it is safe to do so.
I know all too well what happens if we trust drivers to see us (RIP Brett, Tracy, McDaniels couple, Austin and others!) I get right in front and make sure they see me.

chuck
Guest

I remember my driver\’s manual. if there\’s a stop line, stop there. if there is no line, stop at the sign. simple.

Doug KLotz
Guest
Doug KLotz

Well, actually, that mini-bike box is in the crosswalk. The crosswalk extends from the back of the sidewalk (where the stop sign is) to the face of the curb. Pedestrians are expected to utilize the whole corner, not just the 6 foot extended shadow of the sidewalk. Where crosswalks are marked, they are usually 12 feet wide, including the lines (10 foot inside). That\’s the common width of the \”sidewalk corridor\”, including the planting strip.

I am hoping that with the addition of bike boxes at many intersections, bicyclists will stop in them, instead of using the crosswalk as the defacto bike box. Even at Clinton and 39th, many cyclists pull forward and stop in the crosswalk to wait for the signal.

Spanky seems to have the right idea. Since this is an unsignalized crossing, stop behind the regular stop line (back of the crosswalk) and then move up into the crosswalk for better visibilty.

This is confusing, and I\’m wondering why Roger didn\’t bring this by the Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

All that paint will make bikes slip and fall in any type of moisture!! Green paint= bike death. Less paint in bike lanes the better. My tires slip on the blue paint on the broadway bridge. The city should make the paint markings red where the cars stop and mark it \”stop here and yield to bikes\” with a red stop sign on the pavement.

Steven J
Guest
Steven J

It\’s a simple fact of riding, the farther to one side you ride, the less room a vehicle will give you.
One of Murphy\’s laws:
If a car can stuff itself 3 wide in a 2 wide street.

It will.

It\’s one of the reasons we have the right hook problems. People are afraid to move out not only where they are seen better, but where they state by their presence \”I belong here\”
With these rights come responsibility…Like respecting the signs and signals as a rider should.

snapper
Guest
snapper

this is on my way home and i\’ve been using it all the time lately. i think its great.

its definitely an improvement because before there was no distinction for the biker.

man i can\’t believe how people analyze every bit of striping that gets laid out on the ground!

this mini box is NOT confusing at all.
there are hardly any pedestrians that cross here so the chances of you running over one on your bike is low. your speed is low because you likely came from a stop at the previous intersection. this was really innovative and I love it!

Biker gal
Guest
Biker gal

I can\’t believe that people are complaining when an innovative idea designed to help bikers is implemented. Let\’s at least give it 48 hours to see how it works before kvetching. Sheesh.

I ride this intersection every weekday and am very excited about the improvements. Thank you PDOT and BES.

Pete
Guest
Pete

There are intersections in Beaverton that could use treatment like this. On Millikan, for instance, the bike lane comes up to the sidewalk jutting into the road forcing you to take the lane before a stop sign. I\’ve driven behind cyclists coming up to this point trying to signal while taking the lane and been confused (was he trying to turn left?), and I knew the situation from biking it. The new stop sign there slows drivers down, but without markings the concept of a curb jutting into the bike lane is just plain dangerous. Perhaps with markings too?

JML
Guest
JML

Joe,

The treatment given to the green paint in the bike boxes is like that on the Hawthorne Bridge – it is safe in the rain, it feels like graphite or sandpaper, and won\’t have the Tour-de-France-disaster-esque slipperiness.

-JML

solid gold
Guest
solid gold

I HATE CURB EXTENSIONS! how can anyone on a bike like them? all they do is push you out into the middle of the street, \”calming\” traffic with your body.

if i want to take the lane, i will, but occasionally i don\’t want to be forced out in front of a speeding car. curb extensions are the worst traffic calming thing ever.

wet blanket
Guest
wet blanket

uhm – i rode this route yesterday [3/19, one day after this post], and the pavement has been razed, along with the new striping pattern pictured. with all the new gravel and potholes, i\’d call it a temporary hazard for cyclists.

BURR
Guest
BURR

curb extensions are not improvements for cyclists, they are hazards. cyclists already operate in the margin of the roadway by law and in practice. These curb extensions constitute dangerous obstructions and remove important emergency operating space that cyclists need for their own safety.

SE 12th is already a pretty narrow arterial and the curb extensions slow the crossing of SE 12 by creating a bottleneck for motorists on 12th, so it takes longer for the cross traffic to clear and the gaps in that traffic are shorter.

SE Clay was already working fine as a bike boulevard, and now BES is screwing it up with these curb extensions.

BURR
Guest
BURR

and that silly little piece of bike lane is just another place a cop can give you a ticket if you aren\’t in it.

Judy
Guest
Judy

If you are going to put in a curb extension and put in a bike lane, the width of the bike lane can’t remain the same. This bike lane is not to standard. The Bike Lane stencil doesn’t even fit in it and is written in the gutter. The Standard is at least 3 feet out of the gutter pane and 5 feet from the curb to the center of the line striping. If there is not enough room for the bike lane use a sharrow and give the cyclists control of the full lane. They can’t be required to stay in a non Standard lane.

Judy
Guest
Judy

A cyclist should not be stopping in the bike lane to move straight through.. good way to be right hooked. the bike lane should be dashed at the corner and cyclists move into the through lane to go straight.. cars moving to make a right from the right lane.. not making a right into bikes passing straight.

Judy
Guest
Judy

If the intent of the curb extension is to get cyclists out into the roadway why are you putting a bike lane in the gutter? Put a sharrow in the middle of the travel lane.. under the automobiles wheels.

Wayne Pein
Guest

Yet another experiment with magic paint, this time to get bicyclists to move forward to obtain better sight lines. Do bicyclists really need paint to get them to do that? And if it is good for bicyclists, why isn’t it also good for motorists to move up? In the photo, are motorists supposed to turn left from their stop line? No, they move up and turn because they have to. But bicyclists are considered so stupid they need a painted line to give them permission to move up.