With new markings, PDOT hopes ‘Bikes stop’

New markings in the bike lane on N. Flint at Broadway.
(Photos J. Maus)

As a follow-up to a story I reported last week, one of the measures meant improve bike safety at the notorious intersection of N Flint and Broadway was installed by PDOT yesterday.

bike stop markings at broadway flint-3.jpg

Cyclists on their way into work this morning noticed bright white “BIKES STOP” lettering in the bike lane on Flint, accompanied by a re-painted bike lane and a new extension of the existing stop bar.

Speaking about the improvements, PDOT traffic safety specialist Greg Raisman said,

“When we have unacceptable compliance — especially when it leads to crash activity — we do things to make it more noticeable and help people comply.”

Besides low compliance, the reason PDOT is so concerned about this particular stop sign is that Broadway is major, multi-lane thoroughfare and just a few yards west of Flint is Wheeler and the threat of right-turning motor vehicles.

bike stop markings at broadway flint-1.jpg

While watching for a few minutes this morning, I noticed a few folks roll right on through (seemingly oblivious to the new markings), but most people came to a complete stop. One of them wrote in to say, “I came to a full stop and dropped my foot there this morning. I hope the new markings inspire more riders to do the same.”

I think they will.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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K'Tesh
K'Tesh
15 years ago

Hopefully it works in preventing a tragedy.

Bent Bloke
Bent Bloke
15 years ago

Interesting that they reversed the order of the words in comparison to how they paint other phrases on the pavement. In car lanes I generally see the first word of the phrase below the second word:

Only
Bus

… which is meant to be read “Bus Only.” But if you read the new bike marking that way, it would read “Stop Bikes” — I don’t think that’s what PDOT meant!

toddistic
toddistic
15 years ago

i usually stop at that intersection, today i did, no foot down just a quick trackstand. i’ve done it when there was a cop watching for compliance and had no issue!

Jason
Jason
15 years ago

While it is more noticeable for a cyclist that a ‘stop’ is required here, this is NOT a noteworthy safety improvement to this wacked intersecton. I say this primarily, because it does nothing to address the multiple ways one can get tangled up with right turning motor vehicle traffic (off Flint, onto Wheeler, and off Wheeler). I also agree with Commenter #2 in that the word order has a negative conotation.

Dave
15 years ago

Also, hopefully with more cycle-commuters stopping at stops where they are supposed to, not only will everyone be safer, but the general perception of cycle-commuters disregard for stops will begin to change as well, as they see cycle-commuters actually making an effort to do the safe thing over the convenient thing.

Jason
Jason
15 years ago

I’ve made suggestions directly to PDOT on this before, and while it is more noticeable for a cyclist that a ‘stop’ is required here, this is NOT a noteworthy safety improvement to this intersecton. I say this primarily because it does nothing to address the multiple ways one can get tangled up with right turning motor vehicle traffic (off Flint, onto Wheeler, and off Wheeler). I also agree with Commenter #2 in that the word order has a less than desirable conotation.

tofutodd
tofutodd
15 years ago

yeah, what is the law? I “stop” here everyday, but never put my foot down. I move a few inches for a half second to second, but I guess that is not legally a stop. Is a trackstand a stop, and if so how long do I need to stay still? If I move backward while doing a trackstand, is that a stop, even though I am never stationary? What constitutes a stop?

Tom
Tom
15 years ago

I noticed that yesterday too. Seems good, if only to help bikers stop getting ticketed for rounding that corner. Though I wonder if that bike lane could use some color. The thing that irks me at that corner is the way right turning cars often crowd the bike lane.

Both problems, of course, are greatly exacerbated by the fact that people coming off the highway ramp, just to the left of your photos above, NEVER STOP. So there’s real pressure on both bikes and cars turning right off of flint, to hurry up around that corner.

John Lascurettes
15 years ago

The markings are great. The guy in front of me kind of blew through it. I did a standing stop and then went. The guy behind me seemed kind of annoyed by me stopping, but oh well for him.

Still, I think the *best* (additional) solution is to close off Wheeler right there on the north side of Broadway. That section of Wheeler is still accessible by going one more block west and rounding the block with a few rights.

As you mention, it’s easy for a bike (and cars coming off of Flint) to get right hooked there by a car.

Also, there seems to be quite a bit of confusion about right of way there too with regards to stops. Vehicles turning right off of Flint should always have right of way over the cars coming out of Wheeler. It is not a contiguous intersection. Wheeler is “down the street” from the intersection of Flint and Broadway; but it’s so close some people treat it as all the same intersection. So you have folks coming south off of wheeler jumping out onto Broadway when they should be yielding to traffic coming down Broadway, whether that traffic comes from Broadway or Flint.

Just cap it off and eliminate a lot of the confusion and safety issues.

Paul Cone
Paul Cone
15 years ago

As has been noted before, I think this is more of a stopgap measure until this intersection can be reworked in a more major way. Most likely this will happen when the streetcar comes through.

Officer Pickett (aka Popo) wrote a detailed article on this website about what is a stop, earlier this week.

Greg Raisman
Greg Raisman
15 years ago

Paul’s correct. This is not the final product. Jonathan wrote a nice article with more background here: http://bikeportland.org/2008/09/16/safety-fixes-confirmed-for-notorious-broadwayflint-intersection/

This location presents complicated challenges in lots of ways. There are also great opportunities. For example, the neighbors in the area recognize the issue and are working hard to improve the situation. Here’s an example http://bikeportland.org/2008/09/17/at-safety-event-water-bureau-share-challenges-of-seeing-bikes/

The neighbors also, generally, have a very open mind about what can happen to make it much more safe.

Also, the Streetcar coming through presents a great opportunity to have enough resources to actually have an impact on a problem of this magnitude.

The 3 changes that happened yesterday are simply short-term improvements. They are by no means the type of comprehensive solution this location needs. It’s going to take time, resources, and a lot of coordination to get to that comprehensive solution.

I’d encourage everyone to keep tabs on the process here. Showing up at street car open houses will be really important. Participation matters in finding solutions to problems like this one.

The BIKES STOP pavement legend reads the way it does because it’s at the stop sign. The words get reversed when trying to communicate with people moving a greater speeds. These words are there to communicate with people slowing to a stop, not traveling through at 15 or 20 MPH.

To my mind, reversing the wording would make it read to a lot more people “STOP BIKES”. Yes, Bent Bloke, that is definitely not the message we have in mind!

Beyond Robert’s article the other day on stop signs, here’s something that may also help.

This is the legal definition of STOP in Oregon. Part 2 of this definition has to do with parking, as in NO PARKING OR STOPPING.

Note that it’s a complete cessation of movement. Not for some prescribed amount of time. Not with a foot on the ground. Just a complete cessation of motion. 801.510 Stop. Stop means the following:

(1) When required, it means the complete cessation from movement.

(2) When prohibited, it means any halting even momentarily of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic control device. [1983 c.338 92]

The stop law then goes on to say what you have to stop to make sure happens. The key phrase that does that is “After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection”

See ORS 811.260 for the complete stop sign law.

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

tofutodd
tofutodd
15 years ago

thanks Greg. It doesn’t seem I have to yield to cars when I turn onto Broadway, since I am going into a Bike lane, so in effect I only yield to bikes coming down broadway. Then the everyday occurance of avoiding getting right hooked at Wheeler. Why so much car traffic turning onto wheeler, are they shortcutting to interstate? I don’t get it. thelength of bike path in front of wheeler should be green at a minium.

Stripes
Stripes
15 years ago

I like it. Eyecatching, and to the point!

Paul Tay
15 years ago

Oh, fo’ shure. I’ve blown through that intersection many times. It’s pretty dicey. But, it’s my own butt. The design made me do it.

G.A.R.
G.A.R.
15 years ago

Is the BIKES STOP legend what they do in Idaho when they really want bikes to stop?

Lenny Anderson
15 years ago

If safety is an issue, PDOT should be working with PPB to reduce speeds on Broadway, to enforce the light for the freeway off ramp and protect the bikelane which should probably be wider and green…half for thru bikes and half for bikes off Flint. Narrow traffic lanes to slow traffic and widen the bike lanes; bikes should have to yield only to other bikes as one does not enter a traffic lane.

Aaron
Aaron
15 years ago

Let’s not split hairs about the wording. They probably reversed the order because bikes aren’t traveling at the same high speed that cars do (sometimes through stopsigns) so they wrote it just like a street sign would be written.
Let face it. Most of us don’t stop legally before the crosswalk at stopsigns. I’m as guilty as any one else. Since there are no parked cars on Broadway to limit vision, we should all act responsible and stop at the line.

Vance
15 years ago

This is redundant. A redundancy necessitated by cyclists ignoring the stop-sign. This appears to be fairly inexpensive, but it’s the principal of the thing. I’m disappointed that some cyclists choose to ignore some road-rules, resulting in this ridiculous waste of time, and money. The sign says, “STOP”. Not, “STOP if you feel like it.”, I mean, c’mon…

In all fairness, and to soften my tone, additional lighting, and whatnot, on signaling devices of a more car-centric nature, irk me as well. I just want to know what goes through one’s head while exempting themselves from rules meant for everyone to follow. Sure would like to see my tax-contribution end up feeding, or housing, or providing medical care for some one who needs it. Sure would rather that.

bahueh
bahueh
15 years ago

I hope the PPD puts an office there with a big ticket book and a strong writing hand…

PdxMark
PdxMark
15 years ago

I rode through the new Flint/Broadway treatment this morning. I liked it. I’ve been making a point for some time of “having a complete cessation from movement… even momentarily” at stop signs, and that one in particular. I feel much safer when I proceed onto Broadway.

I have to say that the concerns expressed here about right hooks at Wheeler underscore an apparent lack of compliance at the Flint/Broadway stop sign. A benefit of actually stopping is that you can gauge if there is a right-hook risk coming down Broadway. That’s much harder to do when you take the turn at speed. Until the city can spend a couple hundred thousand dollars re-building that intersection, I bet we could substantially eliminate the right-hook at Wheeler problem by just obeying the stop sign.

BURR
BURR
14 years ago

when did they stripe a bike lane on Flint, and Is it really necessary? That’s a pretty low traffic street, and it seems hugging the curb at that intersection is not really the safest place to be, I’d want to be further out in the lane myself.

Joe
Joe
14 years ago

BURR, The bike lane is great there. It makes sure there’s room for bikes to approach the intersection without waiting for cars and since cars could be waiting there much longer because of the traffic flows and possibly because someone needs to traverse several lanes of traffic as opposed to just turning right into the bike lane on Broadway. So, whether or not it’s necessary, it’s very helpful. I suppose a militant bicyclist wouldn’t care about the lane, but someone who bikes infrequently like me appreciates it very much.

jimbo
jimbo
14 years ago

isn’t this going to create a big crash when a bike does stop and all the bikes behind him don’t understand what stop means …..

Peter
14 years ago

i would think an additional ‘you can die here’-type of sign 10 to 20 yards before the intersection would be helpful. or something like, ‘3 bike fatalities here’ or whatever.

rlpdx
rlpdx
14 years ago

I used to run this sign pretty regularly when there was a break in traffic (why wait for the cars to gun it down broadway and then have to merge: they are accelerating on an off camber turn, with some forgetting to signal, and those that do you can’t tell which turn they are making. f it was clear I’d go, feeling guilty but safer. If the cars were already rolling towards me, I’d stop and merge)

I’ve stopped since these changes were made.

I agree. Close/cap wheeler.

Even more, cut the bike lane through the curb so the bikes can roll right without having to merge and have a curbed bike lane down broadway to the next light.

I also have had several close calls from folks heading north *across* broadway. Some cut up to flint or wheeler, and they are gunning it to make it across. It feels like the wild west. It’s just great.

D.
D.
14 years ago

Just looks like a bone thrown to velophobic motorists.

BURR
BURR
14 years ago

Peter, the thing is, there haven’t been any cyclist fatalities here, and it would be pretty safe to make a right turn from Flint into the bike lane on Broadway without stopping IF motor vehicles were prohibited from turning right at Wheeler.

BURR
BURR
14 years ago

Peter #24, the thing is, there haven’t been any cyclist fatalities here, and it would be pretty safe to make a right turn from Flint into the bike lane on Broadway without stopping IF motor vehicles were prohibited from turning right at Wheeler.

Nat West
Nat West
14 years ago

I stop at all red lights, and wait for a green. But just tonight, I blew through that stop sign like I’ve done hundreds (yes, literally hundreds) of times in the past. “BIKES STOP” won’t encourage me to stop.

That being said, I have stopped countless times at that intersection, as traffic demands.

Just across the Broadway Bridge, you can take a right turn via the raised bike sidewalk. That’s an excellent way to protect bikes taking a right turn.

rlPDX
rlPDX
14 years ago

Police giving tix this morning.
Guy in front of me blew thru the stop.
Cop pulled out from s. of the apartments without looking! Pulled out right in front of me. Guess nobody’s perfect.