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State officials endorse Portland’s bike boxes

Posted by on May 16th, 2008 at 10:48 am

On Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) pledged their full support for PDOT’s efforts to improve bike safety by installing bike boxes at intersections.

Their support came in the form of a letter written to Scott Wainwright, a top highway engineer for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), who also sits on an important committee that is in the process of formerly approving PDOT’s “Request to Experiment” with the bike boxes.

The letter was signed by the ODOT’s head traffic engineer Ed Fischer, and the Chair of the Oregon Traffic Control Devices Committee, Cynthia Schmitt.

more bike boxes springing up-8.jpg

(Photo © J. Maus)

A recent article in the Portland Tribune characterized Fischer as being opposed to the bike boxes. In that article, Tribune reporter Nick Budnick wrote:

“The critics’ concerns echo those of the state’s head traffic engineer, Ed Fischer of the Oregon Department of Transportation, who in an e-mail late last year laid out eight reasons he thinks Portland’s bike boxes are a poor idea.”

In response, I reported that Mr. Fischer felt his comments were taken out of context.

In the letter to the FHWA (dated May 13th), ODOT writes that their traffic control device advisory committee voted unanimously to support the City of Portland’s “request to use Bicycle Boxes and Colored Bike Lanes as FHWA approved experimental traffic markings.”

They went on to write that (emphasis mine):

“Traffic control for bicyclists has received very little attention from the traffic engineering profession in the United States. Research, analysis, and guidance on the best treatments for improving bicycling conditions and safety is sorely needed.

Portland is the right community to experiment with bike boxes. City leadership has made a strong commitment to bicycling and the significantly increased cycling mode splits. And although the same City leadership forced PDOT to move forward with the bike boxes prior to receiving FHWA experimental designation, PDOT transportation professionals have a solid commitment to understanding the operational and safety parameters of bicycling.”

To have ODOT’s head traffic engineers writing things like that bodes very well for the future of bicycling in Oregon.

Download the letter (490k, PDF)

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Paul ConeralphBikeBillboards dot blogspot dot comSUBURBANzilfondel Recent comment authors
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a.O
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a.O

Poor, agenda-driven reporting from the Tribune – no way?!

BURR
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BURR

Flawed engineering from PDOT and ODOT? No way!

Whiney McWhinerson
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Whiney McWhinerson

Unsubstantiated criticism and sarcasm on the interwebs? No way!

Matthew
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Matthew

Way!

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Priceless.

Axe
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Axe

Take that, Tribune! Ha!!

BURR
Guest
BURR

Cyclists shouldn\’t be forced to ride in experimental facilities.

Repeal ORS 814.420, the mandatory bike lane law.

zilfondel
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zilfondel

^ Fully protected Dutch-style cycle lanes, ha!

oh, wait…

SUBURBAN
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SUBURBAN

The bike boxes require meetings, vendors and paperwork, thus are fovored. Actual riders do not use or like or want them. They are a crutch for cars and beaurocrats; junk.
Where are actual engineers/visionarys on this topic? Any Alta voices here?
Problems do not always require adding somethig- as is a classic DOT solution. Dear friends,
Am I just too far out there? Should I loose the suit and get with the anarchy- rah-rah-rah kids?
I\’m with BURR (7) and will teach the young riders accordingly. Pumas! this green paint noise.

BikeBillboards dot blogspot dot com
Guest

Ditto to ALL of the above. More manifestations of cycling inferiority complex by traffic engineering GENIUSES classically trained in the auto-centric curriculum.

FWHA, PDOT, and ODOT has NO credibility in engineering for bikes. There is NO accredited bicycle traffic engineering curriculum ANYWHERE in America. Lawsuit BAIT.

ralph
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ralph

The key word in the approval is \”experimental\”. That would imply a level of study of the effectiveness of the bike boxes.

What is the \”experiment\” studying?

What is the time period of the \”experiment\”?

What metrics are used to determine the success or failure of the \”experiment\” and thus determine if the bike boxes are kept or removed?

Paul Cone
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Paul Cone

When will the naysayers give it up and see that they\’re in the minority on this?

Love that he signed it in green.