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Oregonian: Is “Copenhagen Left” a better way to turn on Portland Mall?


TriMet’s recommendation: become a
pedestrian and use the crosswalk.
Is there a better way?
See Oregonian video below.

When TriMet announced how they expect people riding bikes to turn off of the new Portland Mall downtown, many of you said, “Huh?”.

In an attempt to create safe conditions, TriMet said people on bikes who want to turn right (and across the bus/MAX lane) off of the mall should; move over to the curb, enter the crosswalk, become a pedestrian, and walk and ride at walking speed (that’s the law in crosswalks) across the street.

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The Oregonian’s commuter blogger Joseph Rose put together a little video describing how TriMet’s recommended bike turn would work. He also — with help from fellow reporter and author Jeff Mapes — describes a different turning method they call the “Copenhagen Left” (which is, actually, a right). Check it out:

With all the Copenhagen influence at the Bureau of Transportation these days (everyone from our Mayor to planners and our head traffic engineer have been there lately), I have heard more support for this type of turn. It is also sometimes called a “jug-handle turn” or a “two-stage turn” depending on your level of wonk.

Beyond the Portland Mall, this type of turn is preferable to some folks when trying to go left on a multi-lane, one way street (think of SE Hawthorne between 7th and 12th). I saw many people doing this at SE 7th when I was out observing the bike box last year. I usually do a two-stage turn when heading east on Broadway just over the bridge in order to get onto N. Interstate (there are no left turns allowed, so I will cross the N. Larrabee intersection and then get into the Larrabee bike lane to head north).

How about you? Will you channel your inner pedestrian and turn right the TriMet way on the new mall? Or will you go Copenhagen-style?

UPDATE: TriMet has clarified in a comment below that their policy is for bikes to ride in the crosswalk at walking speed — not to get off and walk as is suggested in the Oregonian video.

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