Bike boxes not the only green on Portland’s bikeways

Green thermoplastic material has just been re-applied (it used to be blue) on this bike lane at SE 7th just before Morrison.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland’s bike boxes have gotten a lot of attention, but selected bike lanes around town have also been getting the green makeover.

The green material — made
from the mineral corundum —
is not slippery at all.

PDOT crews have been installing the same, green thermoplastic material used in the bike boxes in existing bike lanes. The idea is to highlight a zone in the bike lane (usually near or in an intersection) where conflicts are most likely to occur.

I’ve noticed sections of green bike lanes at SE 7th Avenue north of Morrison, on SW Madison Street at 2nd and at SE Hawthorne just before MLK Jr. Blvd.

The green bike lane on SE 7th is very busy on the morning commute. Unlike the bike lanes that have come under fire recently for being placed to the right all the way to the intersection, this one encourages people on bikes to merge left prior to the intersections. The result is a careful dance between bikes going straight and cars merging through the bike lane that is amazing to watch (I need to buy a video recorder)…

Looking north from Morrison on SE 7th.

The new green bike lane on SW Madison is actually in the middle of the intersection…

Looking east on SW Madison before 2nd.

And continuing on Madison as it becomes SE Hawthorne you come to this…

The sign hasn’t caught up yet.

By the way, if you’re keeping score, Madison/Hawthorne is by far the greenest street in Portland. It’s got a green bike lane and bike box at SW Madison and 3rd, a green bike lane a block later at SW 2nd, then another piece of green bike lane once you cross the Hawthorne bridge, followed by a green bike lane/bike box combo at SE Hawthorne and 7th and then again a few blocks later at SE Hawthorne 12th. Whew!

And that stretch deserves it as I’m sure it is one of (if not) the highest volume bike routes in the city.

PDOT has done extensive evaluations of their blue bike lanes and has found them to offer improved safety for cyclists. With this new, and much brighter green color, I would expect safety to only increase.

But remember, no amount of color or thermoplastic on the roadway will protect you from a motor vehicle. PDOT’s study also found that cyclists did less “head checks” when in colored lanes, so always be aware of your surroundings and double-check your periphery before proceeding through an intersection.

Have you noticed more green bike lanes when you ride around the city? What do you think of them?

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