Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Cycle track coming to North Park Blocks

Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Cross section of new cycle track coming to North Park Blocks.
(Graphic: NeighborhoodNotes.com)

Details of the Mayor Adams’ promised “high profile” cycle track have been leaked on the Neighborhood Notes website. The new cycle track is one of the promises the Mayor made as part of his “First 100 Days Action Plan.”

The Mayor’s Office was hoping to keep details of the new cycle track quiet until area businesses could be briefed in more detail (since the project includes removal of on-street parking, often a sore spot for businesses), but now the cat is out of the bag.

According to Neighborhood Notes — who heard details about the plan during a meeting of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association on March 17th — a new cycle track (which is essentially a bikeway that is completely separated from motor vehicle traffic) will run along both sides of the North Park Blocks on NW 8th and NW Park from Burnside to Glisan and on one block of SW Oak. Here is a plan drawing that was published on the Neighborhood Notes site:

Design plans for new cycle track.
(Photo credit: NeighborhoodNotes.com)

Also according to the report, PBOT plans to connect this cycle track with a new bike boulevard coming to the South Park blocks. “The goal is to create a safer route for bikes to move between downtown and the northwest district,” reports Neighborhood Notes.

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To make room for the two, one-way cycle tracks, PBOT reportedly plans to move existing curbside parking nine feet away from the curb. The cycle track is slated to be six feet wide, with a three-foot “shy” zone to help prevent dooring.

Another safety feature reported by Neighborhood Notes is that parking “would not be allowed within the 40 feet leading an intersection, increasing visibility for both bikes and cars.” At intersections, the bikeway would be painted solid green, the same color as Portland’s bike boxes and other painted bike lanes.

This cycle track is similar in concept to the one PBOT has in the works out in the Cully Neighborhood. The big difference with the North Park Blocks facility is that it will be separated only by paint (and parked cars), and not built on a completely separated path like the one slated for Cully.

I’ll share more details as I hear of them. For more, see the full story on NeighborhoodNotes.com.

[Thanks to reader Ben F. for the heads up.]

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126 Comments
  • Michelle (BTA) March 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    This is currently a “concept” and that’s important to keep in mind – the designs, the crossings, the directions are very much in open discussion with the neighborhood right now.

    For example, in this drawing that happened to get uploaded, the directions of 8th and Park Aves are switched. In another drawing, the directions are as they are today. The City and neighbors will figure out later which direction the streets ought to go with the cycletrack.

    Another example, the little purple route to NW Hoyt would pass through what is today a parking lot, but in a few years might be a road between PNCA’s new building and a new Park Block. Also completely conceptual.

    The BTA started pushing the concept of using the Park Blocks as a downtown bike route – north and south of Burnside – after Tracey Sparling was killed in 2007 at 14th and Burnside.

    We realized that there were no connected low-traffic north-south routes in downtown, and that PSU and PNCA students would likely use them if there were.

    The Park Blocks are already pretty pleasant to ride. All that’s needed to make them an easy and intuitive route is a good crossing at Burnside, some turned stop signs or yield signs (south of Burnside one must stop at nearly every block) and signage and markings. Using the North Park Blocks to pilot a cycletrack design is a great idea too!

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  • BURR March 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Cycle tracks in the downtown grid will do nothing to eliminate right hooks (or left hooks in this case), in fact they will make the risks of hooks greater, because the cyclists will be mostly hidden from the motorists by the parked cars. As a result, the North Park Blocks will become a formerly good cycling route that smart cyclists will now avoid.

    A ‘cycle track’ is nothing but a new name for a ‘sidepath’, a 70s design that has been thoroughly discredited more that once already.

    Besides, there are already paths in the park that it’s legal to cycle on (the Park Blocks are exempted from the Downtown sidewalk riding ban), which makes this project completely redundant and unnecessary, and a waste of money.

    The other better option is simply to close the Park Blocks to motor vehicles completely and make them bicycle only, but let me be the first to say that City Council probably doesn’t have the cojones to make that happen.

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  • a.O March 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    And at over five whole blocks long, this is indeed an ambitious start for CRC Sam.

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  • Tom March 23, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    The Park Blocks are a very pleasant ride as designed right now. I am a cyclist and a regular user of both directions on these streets. Please find a better and more creative use of our limited financial resources.

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  • Rikthankless March 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Hmm sounds like 6 blocks of awesomeness. It would be really nice to have it go from NW 24th Place across the river to MLK where it intersected a bike box. Great concept to begin with though. Seeings as that part of town is pretty messed up right now.

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  • are March 23, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    agree with comment 4, the existing setup is very rideable, why mess with it, especially as (here also agreeing with comment 2) it will create safety issues?

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  • chriswnw March 23, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    What’s wrong with the street that runs along the park blocks? Seems to work fine already.

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  • old&slow March 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Again, it seems like the B.T.A. and Adams have no clue about what makes sense for cyclists in downtown Portland. The park blocks are a pretty mellow place to ride now if you want to, why spend money there? The safest place to ride in downtown is to ride like a car and just take a lane? Getting into and out of downtown should be the priority.

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  • chriswnw March 23, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    To clarify, I don’t favor employing the cycletrack concept here. It is already very easy to transport oneself throughout the city using 25 mph streets, many of which have very little traffic. I resent being herded onto narrow paths — which I don’t consider safe outside the confines of the Netherlands, which was already a very cycling-oriented culture prior to the construction of the paths — by a mayor who cares more about creating the *appearance* of a pro-cycling city than the actual logistics of cycling. The streets are fine, and the expenditure of money on such pet projects funnels money away from, you know, boring but essential city services like sewers, filling potholes, police, etc. If the city wants to do something that actually benefits me as a cyclist, it can repave torn-up streets like Everett, Davis, Salmon that are commonly used by cyclists. Paving low-traffic residential streets on the outer eastside that are currently filled with mud and gravel would also be fantastic. The Morrison bridge path is worthwhile too, because the speed limit on that path is too high for most cyclists to comfortably integrate. However, these little strips of cycle-tracks are pat-yourself-on-the-back, feel good measures to use as meaningless advertising for Portland in magazines. “Look, we’re like Amsterdam!”

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  • n8m March 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Any cycle track news is good news in my book. But where we need cycle tracks is on arterials where there are lots of cyclists (and ‘progressive’ thinking) – such as Alberta and Hawthorne streets. PBOT might even get most of the businesses on those streets to support removing a lane of auto parking for track if it brings in more bicyclists.

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  • dsaxena March 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I’ve never had any issues riding through this area. 6 blocks through an already relatively safe are seems like an attempt to appease the bikey folks. Back to the drawing board I say. Same goes for the Cully cycletrack. A track through broadway, both on east side and west side, solving the hotel zone issues and the right hook on Williams is a track that would actually be of use.

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  • chriswnw March 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Alberta and Hawthorne are only 25 mph. They aren’t like TV Highway or 82nd Ave. If a rider can’t hack that…well, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

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  • jim March 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    How much?

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  • Kris March 23, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    I disagree with BURR (#2) that cyclepaths are “a 70s design that has been thoroughly discredited more that once already.”

    Based on my experience of cycling in Europe, I find cycletracks – when designed correctly – to be a great way to improve both the safety and comfort level of cyclists. At the same time I think that cycletracks are much more appropriate and needed along busy streets with heavy traffic; think Grand/MLK, Sandy Blvd, Burnside, etc. Along more residential or low-traffic streets like the North Park Blocks, they might indeed seem a bit redundant. I would be interested in finding out whether PBOT is considering to make them a standard feature of their future Bike Boulevards.

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  • Donna March 23, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t get it. Why on the North Park Blocks? How about on 82nd Ave.?

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  • Krampus March 23, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    haha this is so stupid my brain hurts, and I live in the Pearl. Of all the areas in Portland that need help with bicycle infrastructure, this is where money is going? so a few blocks in the Pearl can have a cycle track?

    Pathetic and embarrassing.

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  • Michelle (BTA) March 23, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    I agree that streets like 82nd Ave and E Broadway and – thinking outside of Portland – Hwy 43 – are exactly the places cycletracks are most valuable.

    But I think the city engineers are wise to test them someplace a little easier first. I’d rather have them work out the kinks on the Park Blocks, and then pitch the 82nd Ave and SW Broadway and N Williams neighbors on cycletracks for those streets with confidence.

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  • jon March 24, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Why not put in a basic curb or a 1 ft wide island to divide the parked cars from the cycle track? I dont think striped paint will do the trick.

    Broadway makes more sense, of course somehow the hotel drop offs would have to be dealt with. My guess is that because of this issue it shifted to the park blocks. Or better yet a 9th ave cycle track which goes all the way to Naito by Centennial Mills and also lines up better with the street grid to the south of Burnside.

    Why not extend the cycle track all the way to hoyt on 8th and park instead of ending at Glisan and having to zigzag over to that purple colored path on the map?

    While I celebrate any plans for cycle tracks, I agree there are better places for cycle tracks particularly in dangerous high auto traffic areas.

    Streetsfilms: Physically Separated Bike Lanes
    http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/physically-separated-bike-lanes/

    Maybe Jan Gehl or Jeanette Sadik-Khan can visit Portland and hole up inside the Multnomah Hotel designing a seperated bike network for Portland just like what Robert Moses did in 1941.

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  • Andrew March 24, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Yeah, this seems like the definition of “low-hanging fruit”.

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  • chriswnw March 24, 2009 at 12:53 am

    My goodness, N Williams too? Williams is already a very easy street to ride on. Maybe I’m just the curmudgeon of the blog, but I don’t see the need to create a virtual padded room for cyclists, as if we needed constant protection from the big bad automobiles. Although I’m not a “take the lane on a 65 mph arterial” vehicular cyclist, I take a more minimal approach than this blog: if an interconnected network of 25 mph streets spans the city, then the city is bike-friendly. (This criteria would make many suburbs unfriendly to bikes — those are the areas that need some work.) The rider has to take some level of responsibility for navigating the streets in an intelligent manner, in addition to accepting some level of risk. I see a sufficient number of riders do stupid things everyday to know that no amount of infrastructural investment will ever protect everybody from themselves. If a street like Williams is too harrowing for somebody, perhaps cycling is not for them.

    Now do something useful, City of Portland, and pave those mud puddles that you call streets out in the “hundreds”.

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  • Schrauf March 24, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Yeah, this is rather silly, given the street is already acceptable.

    If this is an experiment prior to a larger project, fine – simply tell it like it is.

    If this is a pet project for the Pearl, not quite okay, but at least don’t use PSU and PNCA students as an excuse.

    And I could be wrong, but does this route not have a plethora of stop signs? That will never attract cyclists. Oh wait, maybe they are expecting the stop or yield law to pass soon…

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  • Mike B. March 24, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I sometimes feel that cyclists in this town are the biggest group of whiners imaginable. This encompasses many aspects, not just this one issue.

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  • Donna March 24, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Why do they need to experiment on a street that will be ruined for biking by a cycle track? Don’t get me wrong – I do believe there’s a place for them in our roadway network. I just think this would make an otherwise pleasurable street to ride on pretty unpleasant.

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  • cyclist March 24, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Mike B: I’m with you, though I think that the people who comment here aren’t necessarily representative of Portland cyclists in general.

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  • LC March 24, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Three things about the diagram make me nervous as a cyclist.

    1- having pedestrians drift into the bike line to approach their cars or to pass slow moving sidewalk walkers.

    2- many (most?) parkers use the curb itself as a physical aid to bump against while parallel parking. I don’t know that PDXers are good enough parkers to park in a free standing lane. (Sorry, I’m a native SFer and we’re the pros at this)

    3- the right hook issue mentioned earlier by cars and pedestrians. What if there are delivery trucks or tall SUV’s parked in the lane? Scary.

    In most areas of town, I’d rather interact with traffic than have some false sense of security.

    Speaking of whiny PDXers — I’m currently visiting SF and am amazed by the poor condition of roads here in the city. Potholes, glass, exposed asphalt seams – it’s really bad here in SF, and makes me very glad to live (and ride) in PDX.

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  • Dianna March 24, 2009 at 9:03 am

    My question is, what would this do for the crossing at Burnside? I tend to agree that the NW Park Blocks are already a pretty nice and low-stress ride… except for crossing Burnside with no light, poor visibility, that tiny narrow curb cut through the center divider, and the eastbound cars going about a million miles an hour down the hill. It frays my nerves a little. If the cycle track provides the impetus to make a non-life-threatening bike crossing there, SWEET.

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  • Jessica Roberts March 24, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Why does anybody try to do anything for such a whiny lot? Sheesh.

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  • are March 24, 2009 at 9:18 am

    the way to address NE Williams and the hotel zones on downtown Broadway is to get rid of the striped lanes altogether and let cyclists take the lane. which is what I do anyway. the urban core is absolutely not the place to do a cycle track (if anywhere actually is), and an “experiment” that destroys a perfectly good stretch along the Park blocks is harmful. if you have to do it at all, do it on Culley, where people actually imagine that they have trouble sharing the road with motorists . . .

    BTA on the wrong side of the issue yet again.

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  • are March 24, 2009 at 9:18 am

    the way to address NE Williams and the hotel zones on downtown Broadway is to get rid of the striped lanes altogether and let cyclists take the lane. which is what I do anyway. the urban core is absolutely not the place to do a cycle track (if anywhere actually is), and an “experiment” that destroys a perfectly good stretch along the Park blocks is harmful. if you have to do it at all, do it on Culley, where people actually imagine that they have trouble sharing the road with motorists . . .

    BTA on the wrong side of the issue yet again.

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  • shooter March 24, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Thanks for the link Jonathan.

    One point about the direction of the streets, a proposal to change the direction of both NW 8th and NW Park has been floated around for a number of years. Someone attending the meeting asked the astute question “why”. No one at the meeting, including the PDOT representatives, could answer the question. The idea predated any of their involvement.

    If anyone knows the reason why these change of directions were proposed, please share. To me, the proposal to change direction looks like a solution in search of a problem.

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  • are March 24, 2009 at 9:37 am

    jessica 27. I wish “they” would stop doing things “for” me, thanks.

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  • John Peterson March 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

    “The Park Blocks are already pretty pleasant to ride. All that’s needed to make them an easy and intuitive route is a good crossing at Burnside, some turned stop signs or yield signs (south of Burnside one must stop at nearly every block) and signage and markings.”

    So why mess up something that is already working with an expensive “fix” that is unnecessary and possibly more confusing and dangerous?

    Hopefully intelligent design will prevail and one of the more pleasant and low vehicle traffic routes will remain.

    How about focus on that Burnside crossing?

    How about build a cycle track where it is needed (high volume, fast traffic streets that are already being used by bikes because of routing necessity)

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  • old&slow March 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Jessica 27, Why is it whining to want limited resources and political capital spent on worthwhile projects. Who asked for cycle tracks in the park blocks. Who is making these decisions and doesn’t the public get to question these things or is that considered whining? Sheesh!

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  • GLV March 24, 2009 at 10:28 am

    “My goodness, N Williams too? Williams is already a very easy street to ride on.”

    I could not disagree more. Between Broadway and Alberta during weekday rush hour, cars average about 50 mph on Williams. With on street parking at at some points very narrow bike lanes, it’s a miracle no one has been killed there. I almost get right hooked all the time.

    Aggressive cyclists don’t help. I’m that guy deliberately going slow who is pissing you off.

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  • Coco March 24, 2009 at 10:36 am

    That’s awesome news! The park blocks are such an intuitive safe, low-car traffic route to get around downtown. Particularly if you are heading up to PSU on your bike. They sure beat Broadway any day of the week! I was wondering when efforts to make them more bike-friendly were going to be on the way…

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  • Andrew March 24, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Making the Park Blocks a bike artery seems like a good idea, but why not just turn the stop signs and fix the Burnside crossing? That seems like the real solution here.

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  • chrisw March 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

    “I could not disagree more. Between Broadway and Alberta during weekday rush hour, cars average about 50 mph on Williams. With on street parking at at some points very narrow bike lanes, it’s a miracle no one has been killed there. I almost get right hooked all the time.”

    Hmm…I haven’t experienced that. What is the speed limit Williams? 35 mph? Well, the police should be enforcing that. I do think that speed humps have a place in forcing drivers to maintain a speed close to the limit. Still, I haven’t had a problem — the right lane is nice and wide, and I’d I’d feel comfortable on it, bike-lane or not. Drivers are able to pass without getting very close to you.

    Getting right-hooked is avoidable. Either take the lane at the intersection, or pay very close attention to what any driver to the side of you is doing at an intersection (possibly even yielding to them).

    “Aggressive cyclists don’t help. I’m that guy deliberately going slow who is pissing you off.”

    On a nice wide street, I can easily pass you while giving you plenty of berth — no getting pissed off necessary 🙂 It works for both of us. And if Williams has a overly fast speed limit, there are calmer parallel streets like Rodney and Mallory. The logistics of passing on a narrow cycletrack, however, are quite a bit sketchier.

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  • Blah Blah Blah March 24, 2009 at 11:02 am

    So what exactly is wrong with our current bicycle infrastructure here in Portland? I think we have it pretty good as it is now. Yes, there are spots that need fixing but not this kind of fixing!!!

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  • chrisw March 24, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Also, one other thing that would worry me about a NE Williams cycletrack (or a cycletrack in a lot of places) would be its proximity to the sidewalk. North and Northeast Portland aren’t thoroughly gentrified. There are still thugs there. If you ride past them on the street, you are too far away from them to attack you — by the time they decide to do anything, you’re gone. If you’re on a cycletrack next to a sidewalk, they can clock you or pull you off your bike on a whim.

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  • bjorn March 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

    BURR- Since part of this plan is to remove parking near the cross streets I think that the sightlines will be improved by this change not made worse. The biggest improvement from this project clearly will be the implementation of a hawk signal or something similar to allow crossing at burnside though.

    Bjorn

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  • BURR March 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I don’t think cycle tracks will work on NW Broadway throught the hotel zone, either; the blocks are too short, there are too many turning manuevers across the cyclist’s path, and pedestrians will be in the bike lane in the hotel zones even if motor vehicles aren’t. The first two are certainly going to be true pretty much anywhere in the downtown grid.

    The only place cycle tracks make any sense to me are on busy arterials with long distances between cross streets. SW Barbur Blvd. or maybe SE 28th and SE Bybee over by Reed College and the Eastmoreland golf course, for example.

    Cleaning the cycle tracks is another issue that the city hasn’t addressed, are they going to purchase new undersized street sweepers that fit on the cycle tracks and maintain a regular sweeping schedule, or not?

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  • BURR March 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

    #39 they can easily put in a new crossing at Burnside without building the pointless cycle track

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  • BURR March 24, 2009 at 11:32 am

    One more thing: If and when this is built be prepared for the police to do enforcement stings citing cyclists who choose to ride in the street instead of on the cycle track for violation of ORS 814.420, Failure to Use Bicycle Lane or Path.

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  • steve March 24, 2009 at 11:45 am

    This excellent post from another thread pretty much sums it up for Michelle, Scotty, and the safe routes/CRC crew. Oops, I mean the BTA.

    Is the BTA completely inept?

    Let’s ask ourselves the question based on the current crop of BikePortland stories.

    1. The Idaho law outreach. Inarguably poor outreach. Eugene is the state’s second largest city. Moreover it enjoys a strong reputation as a bike-friendly city. Not getting Eugene to neutral is a political disaster for this cause. You have to feel bad for Kopel-Bailey, though he will shrug this off politically. It’s the BTA that takes the hit in Salem for being poorly organized. But if you’re Jules, it’s a ‘fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me’ situation.

    2. The Idaho law merits. Get 10 cyclists together and they’re not all going to agree on anything. That said, 10 Oregon cyclists might all agree that rolling through stop signs isn’t the highest and best use of limited political capital in Salem. Who decided this was a legislative priority?

    How about moving from 1% of highway funds earmarked for bikes to 2%? when Democrats are in charge top to bottom. I bet we could all agree that would be a good use of political capital. Even Republican gubernatorial candidate Jason Atkinson would likely support this.

    3. Opposing the CRC now. Are you kidding? Where was the BTA when its opinion on this issue actually mattered? It’s one thing for individuals to do their fun skits after the fact, but the state’s most influential bicycle organization can’t get away with being a day late and a dollar short. This ship has sailed, folks.

    The entire environmental community, BTA included, left the mayor, city council, Bragdon, and Metro high and dry. They provided no cover whatsoever.

    It’s one thing to be incapable of getting your constituents motivated on a particular viewpoint. It’s quite another to johnny-come-lately after the votes. That’s just embarrassing.

    4. Without revealing sources, the fact is it’s the mayor’s office pushing for cycle tracks and innovations generally, not the BTA. A general observation: taking credit where credit is not deserved is tacky at best and a proven way of undermining credibility among those who know.

    5. And the final thing that comes to mind (at the moment): the BTA works to host the national Safe Routes to School conference in Portland the same year its local transportation bureau proposes to gut funding for the very program.

    That’s right: PBOT proposes to kill funding for its Safe Routes to School program, which is an extremely lucrative contract for the BTA, incidentally. Look at their budget. What does that tell you about the BTA’s pull with the bureau’s leadership?

    Imagine hosting that conference and having to stand up before hundreds of attendees from around the country and admit your program is gone because it was defunded. Adams will no doubt bail out the program, and by extension, the BTA with it before the final budget is completed. He won’t embarrass himself politically like that. But the fact that the bureau’s leadership can even propose to gut the program – the same year Portland hosts the national conference (!) – says BTA has no sway with Sue Keil or the leadership generally.

    What happened to the scrappy non-profit that sued the city for bike lanes and kicked ass? Please redirect my annual membership dues to those people.

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  • mark March 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    this is a solution in search of a problem.

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  • Shoemaker March 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    This proposal is giving bikes given more room on the road and more protection when they ride by providing a buffer. Sure there’s the odd crank who will say “Hey, no thanks” to just about anything, but whoa, this is bringing out the cranks today!

    The city is considering a protected bike lane instead of just letting everyone fend for themselves. I’m all for the protected bike lane *wherever* they apply it. Go PBOT!

    Hey mom, come join me in the lane in front of this Reddaway truck. No really, it’s completely safe, come on. Oh yeah, I want my kids or partner taking the lane with FedEx, UPS, or the street car too. Not!

    I’m all for taking the lane because it’s my only safe choice today, but really I’m all for having something more than a stripe of paint between me and the motor vehicles.

    Thank you to PBOT for considering protecting bike riding through down town.

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  • Ben Foote March 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    shooter #30:

    IMO here’s why they need to switch the direction of the Park Blocks…

    http://tinyurl.com/dn7amr

    The crossing at Burnside is much easier if you’re traveling south on Park. Cars are flying down the hill on Burnside unless you time the light at 10th.

    http://tinyurl.com/cm27l6

    I’m not sold on the true bicycle utility of the cycle track vs what is there now (though I’m willing to be convinced) but I am curious how the park blocks will feel with an extra 9 feet of space on either side. It could be nice.

    As a resident of Old Town and someone who uses this corridor daily I’m particularly keen on improving NS crossings. Right now the Bus Mall is probably the best crossing, though not nearly as pleasant as the Park Blocks.

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  • chriswnw March 24, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    “The city is considering a protected bike lane instead of just letting everyone fend for themselves. I’m all for the protected bike lane *wherever* they apply it. Go PBOT!”

    Eventually you’re going to have to cross a street, and you’ll have no choice but to turn around if you wish to remain protected. Better yet, don’t leave the house.

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  • a March 24, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Cycle track is a good thing wherever it gets a toehold…bring it on!

    May it be wonderfully successful so that we can point to it and continue to add them to our cycling infrastructure!

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  • BURR March 24, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    @ Shoemaker #46. Since when does opposing a dumb idea make a person a ‘crank’?

    OTOH, I’m sure you’re eager to paint the opponents of this dumb idea as cranks, that just makes it easier for you to dismiss valid criticism.

    PS-If you don’t want to ride in the street here, you can always ride in the park.

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  • Joe March 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Jessica Roberts writes in #27 about the whiny nature…. isn’t this what you want? Input is part of the process here and I think it is great that this many people care. Sorry if that bothers you, but we are all stakeholders – we are taxpayers!

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  • brettoo March 24, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I ride the park blocks, N and S, most days, and I agree with andrew that the highest priority is to fix the Burnside crossing and either turn the stop signs or turn them into Yield signs.

    Does anyone know how the upcoming Burnside reconstruction / couplet will fit with this change? We need a safe Burnside crossing.

    I generally like cycle tracks, having ridden on them in Europe. Maybe other streets here need them more, but let’s see how this experiment works. It could take a lot of pressure off Broadway and turn this pleasant central artery into a real haven for cyclists and pedestrians. If it works there, maybe it’ll be easier to get cycle tracks installed elsewhere?

    Steve, I’m impressed by your grasp of the political situation. You seem to know your stuff. I’d love to hear the BTA’s response. I’m for the Idaho stop and against a 12 lane CRC, too, so I applaud their efforts and will therefore renew my membership. But you’re right that the way they handled these issues should be discussed further, and I’d like to get their side of it.

    And yeah: how about 2% for bikes? The mayor has said bike infrastructure provides the highest return on investment. After ODOT grabbed so much of the stimulus money for sprawl-enabling highways, and decades of nothing but a pittance for bike facilities, we’re way overdue to redress the balance. If that has to happen at the municipal level, where unlike the state, the highway lobby doesn’t totally rule, let’s get going.

    I’ve said it before: BTA or someone needs to draw up an agenda of practical, achievable bike projects — state, county, and city. (I know BTA and others have a wish list.) Then BTA needs to send them to each political candidate and get them to commit to working for each one. Then determine our endorsements and campaign efforts and donations based on the answers to that scorecard. We need greater accountability for supposedly pro bike, pro livability, pro environment politicians.

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  • Peter W March 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    brettoo@52:
    > Then determine our endorsements and campaign efforts and donations based on the answers to that scorecard.

    Sounds like something Bike. Walk. Vote. could work on. See:
    http://www.bikewalkvote.org/

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  • Donna March 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    All I know is that you folks who think you will be safer whilst trapped by a row of parked cars must have a lot more mad bike skillz than I do. You also have a lot more faith in the ability of the average motorist’s parallel parking abilities than I. Notice please how that 3′ shy zone has no physical barrier between the parked cars and where we’ll be required by law to ride. Does that really make you think your kids and parents will be safer riding on the Park Blocks?

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  • Steve March 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I’m of the opinion that cycle tracks work, I’ve ridden on them and they are glorious. Concerns about right hooks will be addressed in the design. You will see!

    Traffic needs to be calmed on N. Williams, I agree that many motorists drive quite fast and close to you on this busy thoroughfare. A cycle track on this block could easily be accommodated, I like the idea! I would love to see one side of of the street car-parking-free to really open it up (or get rid of a travel lane). One can dream..

    A cycletrack on MLK would be kickass. Can you imagine how quickly you could get to SE/NE portland with a cycltrack on this street??

    I also dig the idea of cycletracks on the park blocks, sure the riding is relatively calm as-is but the net benefit of having such infrastructure in this part of town, particularly implementing more cycletracks on busier streets, would be outstanding!

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  • are March 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    what exactly is the mechanism for public input into this process? seems like this is being presented as a fait accompli. also, what exactly is the diagram saying is going on between oak and ankney?

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  • Donna March 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Steve,

    How did the cycle tracks where you rode on them address the issue of lack of motorist skill in parallel parking combined with no physical barrier between the parked cars and the cycle track?

    (BTW, I totally agree with you about a cycle track on MLK.)

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  • are March 24, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    until you get down to about Hancock, where it becomes one way, MLK has two not very wide lanes in each direction, with not always a center turn lane. where are you proposing to put this cycle track? why not simply slow the auto traffic down and take the lane? or use 7th or Rodney or Vancouver/Williams? not every little thing needs to be addressed with segregated infrastructure.

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  • n8m March 25, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Can we bring in some Dutch consultants or something? I don’t think half of us know what we’re talking about here. We need cycle tracks wherever we can get them to properly build the infrastructure, but a priority list should be made and integrated into the bicycle master plan. If we can humble ourselves enough to let Dutch/Danish cycle track (/land use) experts give us some pointers, we would do well. It seems logical to build cycle tracks where there is the highest volume of cyclists (in the city core) and/or where there is no accessibility – or to complete routes. I live on Hawthorne, and I’m not going to ride my bike the speed of auto traffic, thank you. I think (selfishly of course) its a brilliant street for a cycle track. 🙂 That and 39th, etc. Bike boulevards are a temporary solution for the city core, bikes need access to businesses just like autos enjoy everywhere. Why not bring in some consultants.

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  • Donna March 25, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Who is going to pay for these consultants, n8m, and with what money?

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  • are March 25, 2009 at 8:53 am

    again with Hawthorne. what is the matter with biking on Hawthorne? two travel lanes in each direction, take the right lane and let overtaking traffic move left. the way things are built here does not in the least resemble the crowded urban core of a place like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, with much narrower streets and shorter blocks and cobblestones and pedestrians milling everywhere and no real opportunity to kick it up to 35 of 40 mph. to move toward that, we have to do a huge cultural shift. putting a cycle track alongside a road on which motorists are already speeding from one light to the next is actually a step in the opposite direction.

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  • Lenny Anderson March 25, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Bravo to the BTA and PBOT for looking at ways to make is safer and easier for bicyclists to travel north/south through downtown. Remember these efforts are on behalf of the vast majority who would ride bikes if they felt it was safer. For me…downtown, I just take a lane, and look forward to riding the Mall and turning it into a defact bikeway. But most new riders want something with more protection and dedicated bike facilities.
    re turning stop signs…all it does is reward cut thru motorists; hence the need for the Idaho law. There is already a big crossing signal at Burnside. Looks like it just went in.

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  • Clarence Eckerson March 25, 2009 at 10:59 am

    One thing to keep in mind: this is actually a very good place to “try it out”. Here in NYC when NYC DOT first announced its plans for a cycletrack on 9th Avenue, we were happy but a bit confused saying things like, “Well there are a lot of places that need one more.”, “Why only 6 blocks!” etc.

    But what they were doing is picking a place they knew it would work with not so much traffic disruption so they could test it out, make sure the street geometry and design supported it, measure effectiveness, etc. Now I don’t know if that is truly what is happening here with PDOT, but it is now over a year later in NYC and we have more cycletracks in the ground in much more congested areas and plans for more. We all now realize the gravity of what our DOT was trying to do – not go for the whole enchilada until they have proof and data and testing to back them up.

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  • Clarence Eckerson March 25, 2009 at 11:00 am

    One thing to keep in mind: this is actually a very good place to “try it out”. Here in NYC when NYC DOT first announced its plans for a cycletrack on 9th Avenue, we were happy but a bit confused saying things like, “Well there are a lot of places that need one more.”, “Why only 6 blocks!” etc.

    But what they were doing is picking a place they knew it would work with not so much traffic disruption so they could test it out, make sure the street geometry and design supported it, measure effectiveness, etc. Now I don’t know if that is truly what is happening here with PDOT, but it is now over a year later in NYC and we have more cycletracks in the ground in much more congested areas and plans for more. We all now realize the gravity of what our DOT was trying to do – not go for the whole enchilada until they have proof and data and testing to back them up.

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  • Clarence Eckerson March 25, 2009 at 11:02 am

    ne thing to keep in mind: this is actually a very good place to “try it out”. Here in NYC when NYC DOT first announced its plans for a cycletrack on 9th Avenue, we were happy but a bit confused saying things like, “Well there are a lot of places that need one more.”, “Why only 6 blocks!” etc.

    But what they were doing is picking a place they knew it would work with not so much traffic disruption so they could test it out, make sure the street geometry and design supported it, measure effectiveness, etc. Now I don’t know if that is truly what is happening here with PDOT, but it is now over a year later in NYC and we have more cycletracks in the ground in much more congested areas and plans for more. We all now realize the gravity of what our DOT was trying to do – not go for the whole enchilada until they have proof and data and testing to back them up.

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  • Roger Geller March 25, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Why the N Park Blocks?

    Conditions for cycling in the North Park Blocks are most favorable for confident, experienced riders. However, our overriding goal is to make conditions favorable for all people who might be interested in bicycling. The city guideline for when to consider a bicycle lane is 3,000 cars per day in both directions of travel. Currently, one way traffic volumes at some locations in the N Park Blocks ranges between 1,000 to 2,000 cars per day. Most Portlanders still find that type of shared environment to be unpleasant.

    Can we improve conditions for bicycling in the North Park Blocks by creating a cycletrack there? More likely than not. Will a cycletrack there make conditions for bicycling less safe, less comfortable and less attractive? Most likley not. Keep in mind that we are doing this because we believe it will improve conditions for most cyclists. Will we know if that’s the case without doing it? No.

    We have some of the most skilled and experienced bicycle traffic engineers and designers in the country. We have a tradition of successfully introducing international bikeway designs to Portland. We are reasonably sure that if we are to create world class cycling conditions in Portland then cycletracks are likely to play a prominent role. The N Park Blocks is a good place to start.

    Busier arterials are ultimately the type of environment where cycletracks will provide the most beneift, but such an environment is not the place for us to develop our chops. It is better if we start on a roadway with car volumes and speeds toward the lower end of the spectrum than toward the highest. Designing a cycletrack is not as straightforward as you might think. There are many design elements and human factors to consider. We want to make sure we get it right.

    As for cost–it is negligible. Most of the money spent on bicycling by local jurisdictions in this country amounts to little more than rounding errors in overall transportation budgets. This is not an expensive design that we are planning, but it will be invaluable for what we learn from it.

    And yes, we need to improve the Burnside crossing.

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  • BURR March 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    The problem is that PDOT has never once to my knowledge removed a poorly designed on-street bike facility once it has been installed.

    If this project moves forward, it should have a clear lifespan and measurable goals, and it should be removed at the end of that time if it doesn’t work as intended.

    I also think that if the city wants to build these types of facilities, the city should be lobbying hard in Salem for repeal of ORS 814.420, as not all cyclists are the unskilled lowest common denominator cyclists the city appears to want to attract with these types of facilities, and the smarter more skilled cyclists who recognize the hazards these facilities present and choose not to use them should not face police harassment and fines for making this choice.

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  • a.O March 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Roger (#63), thanks for that. Your reasoning makes sense to me.

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  • are March 25, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I do understand that in some utopian future we might have a comprehensive infrastructure that allows people to use bicycles who would not be competent to operate in “traffic.”

    that being said.

    as a person who uses the “park blocks” in their existing configuration, I need to know this:

    once the cycletrack is installed, does 814.420 require that I use the sidepath, or will I be permitted to continue to ride in the street?

    one reason I ask is that I do not care to share the sidepath with people who would not be competent to operate in “traffic.”

    if the answer is “no,” then we have an agenda item for BTA that should bump a lot of the other stuff they are pushing. actually, this should have been a priority item for BTA at least since the Potter decision in 02.

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  • matt picio March 25, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    BURR (#2) – Did you even *look* at the diagram? They’ve got bikes going counter to the flow of traffic – right hooks are impossible with this design. It might make a left hook more dangerous, since bikes and cars will be head-on to each other and the relative collision speeds will be higher, but probably less likely since cyclists will easily see oncoming cars.

    A cycle track certainly isn’t needed on the Park blocks streets, but I can understand why PBOT and Sam are putting it there *first* – this is a proof-of-concept. If it can’t work on what is already a safe street, then the city likely won’t roll it out anywhere else without re-engineering it. This is obviously to allow PBOT to work the bugs out of the Portland implementation before reproducing it across the city.

    Ah, looks like Roger already beat me to it, but I’ll post anyway.

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  • matt picio March 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    BURR (#64) – BTA and everyone else needs to lobby for a repeal of 814.420 ANYWAY. Bikes as transportation users have a right to full use of the street – this arbitrary restriction imposed by the legislature is curtailing use of public right-of-way for valid users. There are many circumstances where leaving the bike lane is appropriate that have nothing to do with the exceptions listed in the statute. Bike lanes should be optional when they exist.

    I’m sure that motorists wouldn’t like it if we built 4 bike lanes on Hawthorne and told them they could only have a single lane in each direction, and that they could only leave the car lane if there was an immediate hazard.

    Our status as a transportation minority does not abrogate the state’s responsibility to provide EQUAL ACCESS for all its citizens to public resources.

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  • are March 25, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    matt 71. we gotta get rid of .430 as well, the “far to right” law. where has BTA been on this stuff? maybe we need a more strident advocate.

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  • e March 25, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Yay, a cycle track for FIVE! whole! blocks! on the Park Blocks. Putting a cycle track on Broadway would be a much better use of time and money, and it would be truly “high-profile”.

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  • e March 25, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    @63..You make a good point. I hope that’s how things play out here!

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  • Donna March 25, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Clarence (#63),

    With all due respect, I’m having a hard time with comparisons between your situation in NYC and this one. Your cycle track on 9th Ave. is 10′ wide with an 8′ shy zone between you and the parked cars, plus there are bollards to protect you from the parallel parking skills of motorists. We get 6′ from the curb to the 3′ shy zone and no physical protection whatsoever from the motorists.

    If PBOT was going to give us that kind of space and actually physically separate us from the cars, I’d be willing to try it out. Like I’ve said before, I’m not fundamentally opposed to cycle tracks. But there is no way I’m going to ride on a street where I am at the mercy of parallel parkers with no escape possible. I have never been able to pull off a successful bunny hop up a curb in my life.

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  • BURR March 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    @ Matt #70 Of course I looked at the diagram. Did you? they are proposing to reverse the direction of all traffic on the north park blocks.

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  • BURR March 25, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Here’s the thing: If PDOT is willing to get the City Attorney’s office and the Police Bureau to publicly agree that no ORS 814.420 citations will be given out along the routes of any of the city’s *experimental* bike facilities, (along the routes of any of the city’s segregated bike facilities would be even better), I’d feel much more comfortable with this proposal.

    That being said, I still don’t think this is the right place to test this design, since the Park Blocks are already an excellent bike route as is.

    And surely the city was already planning to improve the crossing at Burnside for pedestrians (and cyclists) as a matter of routine policy.

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  • BURR March 25, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    @ Matt #71: Don’t be naive, PDOTs primary goal is to facilitate movement of motor vehicles. There are still plenty of PDOT traffic engineers, and even many bicycle advocates, who believe that separated/segregated facilities for cyclists are appropriate and necessary. The whole push for ‘cycle tracks’ is Exhibit A.

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  • old&slow March 25, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Question for Roger Geller, if cycling improvements require nothing more than “rounding errors” in the budgets, why are we dealing with cluster**cks like Broadway, Lovejoy, etc.? If putting cycle tracks are so inexpensive that they are just “rounding errors” in the budgets, why don’t we have them now? This is just “spin”!

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  • Kris March 26, 2009 at 6:59 am

    For anyone advocating here for a repeal of ORS 814.420, a couple things to keep in mind:

    1) Advocating for a repeal of OR 814.420 would probably cause as much of a PR backlash as what we’ve just seen with the Idaho stop law. Think for a second what message we are sending, when we are clamoring for additional funding for bike facilities and then feeling entitled to use them at our own discretion. You can already hear the indignation about cyclists wanting their cake and eat it too. Instead of a repeal, I am much more in favor of BTA and others advocating with local police bureaus to make enforcement of OR 814.420 a low priority.

    2) The Oregon law and its underlying principles are not an aberration. All “bike-friendly countries” in Europe, have very similar traffic laws. In both the Netherlands and Belgium the law mandates cyclists to use the bike lane or cycletrack, whenever there is one, with the same exceptions as OR 814.420. It’s common there for cyclists to get warnings or citations for not complying with the law.

    3) Two notable exception to the law in Belgium and Netherlands:
    – in Belgium, organized groups of more than 15 cyclists are allowed to use the roadway, even if there are bike facilities. However, they are hold against higher standards in terms of riding in a safe manner and not impeding traffic (riding single file when going slower than average speed of cars). When the group is larger than 50 riders, they need to be followed by a car that features special signage.
    – in the Netherlands, bicycles (with or without trailers) that exceed a width of 0.75 meter, are allowed use the roadway.

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  • matt picio March 26, 2009 at 7:48 am

    BURR (#76) – My mistake, I didn’t catch that. Makes sense to reverse traffic on those streets, but then all your comments on the right hook situation are completely valid.

    BURR (#78) – I’m *not* naive. I wasn’t commenting on PBOT’s goal, and frankly, I don’t care. I also don’t expect the city, state, or federal government to recognize our rights without us fighting for them.

    I’m not naive, I’m a crusader, and an idealist. We ARE a transportation minority – and like all minorities, we are going to have to fight for our rights until the majority at-large recognizes those rights. One of those rights is equal access to the road network.

    are (#72) – I have no problem with .430 – it makes sense for slow-moving traffic to be as far right as is practicable. We do need to educate the police as to what that means and when enforcement of the statute is applicable.

    Kris (#80) – Bring on the backlash. With the Idaho stop law, we’re asking to be treated differently than cars. With repealing 814.420 we’re asking to be granted equal access to something we already own, and to be given equal footing (not privileged status) with motorists on the roadway. They’re not the same thing.

    The biggest problem we have is that much of the public at-large doesn’t care about the rights of others, but merely their own rights.

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  • are March 26, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Kris 80, you have identified exactly the problem. I for one am not clamoring for funding for bike facilities, except possibly racks. What is the average trip distance in the Netherlands or Belgium? My typical trip is at least three to five miles, sometimes eight or more, average travel speed twelve plus mph, often closer to twenty. I am unwilling to share a sidepath with incompetent cyclists and stray pedestrians. You may say, oh, the sidepath is only a block or two here or there, but then we have to negotiate conflict points exiting and re-entering the road grid. I am sorry that BTA and PBOT have gone so far down this path, and I hope it is not too late to turn back. I think bike advocates would find themselves in an odd position saying to the police, enforce this but don’t enforce that.

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  • matt picio March 26, 2009 at 7:52 am

    BURR (#76) – to correct my previous comment, you won’t have “right hooks” per se, but you’ll have a left-handed version of that (since the cycle track will be on the left side of the street). Hopefully, being on the driver’s side, the motorists will more easily notice bikes they are about to cut off. The green paint will help in this, at least until enough green paint exists in the city for drivers to start tuning it out.

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  • are March 26, 2009 at 7:56 am

    matt 81, you and I will have to disagree on this. in my view, 811.425, the slow moving vehicle law, is sufficient.
    http://oregonlaws.org/ors_chapters/811/ors_sections/425
    the “far to right” law, 814.430, relegates cyclists to a second class status.

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  • BURR March 26, 2009 at 11:43 am

    matt #81 and #83, please note that in my original comments in post #2 I indicated that the risk in this case would be from left hooks.

    😉

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  • chriswnw March 26, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Kris:
    “1) Advocating for a repeal of OR 814.420 would probably cause as much of a PR backlash as what we’ve just seen with the Idaho stop law. Think for a second what message we are sending, when we are clamoring for additional funding for bike facilities and then feeling entitled to use them at our own discretion. You can already hear the indignation about cyclists wanting their cake and eat it too. Instead of a repeal, I am much more in favor of BTA and others advocating with local police bureaus to make enforcement of OR 814.420 a low priority.”

    It certainly would create the appearance of wanting to have our cake and eat it too, but the cyclists that want to have it are not the same as those who want to eat it. Regarding bicycle infrastructure, bike boulevards, sharrows and MUPs are really the only type available that do not compromise the freedom of cyclists. A network of bike boulevards serves people who prefer not to ride in heavy traffic, and MUPs serve those who prefer not to deal with cars at all — and neither constrain the mobility of cyclists who would prefer not to use them. Cycle tracks and bike lanes, on the other hand, do. Bike lanes generally don’t serve as a very good guide for proper positioning on the road — the extra room they provide can also be done with wide outside lanes. The narrowness of cycle tracks creates congestion, as it removes a lot of available clearance for passing.

    The Dutch model might “work”, but that depends upon what you are trying to create. If you’re trying to create something that looks like Holland, I suppose that cycletracks work, but I’d rather not be forced into pedestrian-style riding. I think Portland’s current infrastructure already works, as it currently accommodates a wide variety of cycling styles. It might not lay claim to the same modal share of cycling commuters as Amsterdam, but I don’t think that’s because cycling is more difficult here. More people cycle over there because Amsterdam is a medieval city — high population densities and narrow roads make driving slow and expensive, while also making cycling a more efficient way of getting around. Even if the cycletracks didn’t exist, people would probably find it more efficient to cycle there. People are only going to switch to bikes in mass if driving becomes a completely miserable experience, and I’m not particularly interested in imposing that upon people out a sense of bicycle evangelism.

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  • chriswnw March 26, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    “I also think that if the city wants to build these types of facilities, the city should be lobbying hard in Salem for repeal of ORS 814.420, as not all cyclists are the unskilled lowest common denominator cyclists the city appears to want to attract with these types of facilities, and the smarter more skilled cyclists who recognize the hazards these facilities present and choose not to use them should not face police harassment and fines for making this choice.”

    Yes, and the city should not punish actual *existing* cyclists for the benefit of *potential* cyclists who may or may not come into being after these “infrastructural improvements” are made. I suspect that the population will not be deserting their cars in mass as a result. That will only happen if driving becomes much more expensive or much slower, or if people become much poorer.

    I bike everywhere because I like it and don’t own a car due to my Spartan lifestyle preferences, but I grant that I am not like most people.

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  • chriswnw March 26, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    “I for one am not clamoring for funding for bike facilities, except possibly racks. What is the average trip distance in the Netherlands or Belgium? My typical trip is at least three to five miles, sometimes eight or more, average travel speed twelve plus mph, often closer to twenty. I am unwilling to share a sidepath with incompetent cyclists and stray pedestrians.”

    This is an excellent point. Supposing that our cycle track network were as extensive as that of Amsterdam, it could potentially prolong our commute time. The distances that many cyclists regularly travel in America require one to move at a decent speed if one is to cover it in a reasonable amount of time. Pedestrian-style cycling could potentially double one’s commute time.

    I share your lack of need for bike-specific infrastructure, although I think that many suburbs can be served better if there were at least one low-speed route that ran roughly parallel to every arterial. Too many side streets do not connect in places like Beaverton and Hillsboro. Creating more connections would not only benefit cyclists, but also pedestrians, emergency vehicles, and even motorists. Portland, however, is fine.

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  • Kris March 26, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    are (#82): I hear you about the convenience factor of having the right to the road on longer commutes (mine is 15 miles one-way). I just wanted to point out that repealing OR 814.420 is not going to be an easy task. And maybe you are not clamoring for cycle tracks, but many other bike advocates here in Portland are, because they believe that cycle tracks – and the level of perceived safety and comfort they provide – will get the interested-but-concerned crowd to start riding a bike. This will increase our overall numbers, therefore increasing our safety (a correlation that has been proven time and again), and then hopefully things will keep snowballing from there.

    Sure, there might be some design and safety challenges that will need to be addressed around intersections. Sure, OR 814.420 will “limit the freedom” of cyclists on streets that feature cycle tracks. Sure you might find yourself caught every now and then behind a stream of slower cyclists (already happens all the time when riding on sunny days on the Eastbank Esplanade, the Broadway Bridge, the Hawthorne Bridge, or any other popular bike thoroughfare). But I think it’s a price that many of us are willing to pay as a trade-off. Or in other words, let’s first build cycle tracks, have them fill up with cyclists, and then call for a repeal of OR 814.420.

    One other thing to consider regarding the benefit of cycletracks on the Park Blocks or other low-traffic streets (especially one-way streets): by adding a 6 feet wide cycle track plus a 3 feet wide shy zone, without eliminating car parking at either side, PBOT is effectively narrowing down the usable roadway for cars by 9 feet. This will help lower average car speeds, deter large vehicles to use these streets and overall make these streets less inviting for cut-through traffic. All good things in my book.

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  • BURR March 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    More than half of the park blocks ROW is used for storing parked cars, a PDOT sacred cow. In fact, PDOT recently doubled the amount of parking on the south park blocks, in conjunction with the N-S light rail project. An undersized, door-zone, hook prone cycle track is a piss-poor tradeoff for unfettered cyclist use of a low traffic route like the park blocks.

    PDOT should either close the park blocks to motorists all together or remove half the parking on both the north and south park blocks and provide a real 10-foot + wide cycle track without the dooring and hooking hazards presented by the current design proposal.

    I’m sorry, but the current design proposal is a joke.

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  • BURR March 26, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Some more alternatives: paint giant sharrows in the middle of the street every block up and down the park blocks, or just do nothing and use the money to provide some bike infrastructure where it would do some good. More bike parking almost everywhere would be a good place to start.

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  • are March 26, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    agreeing with burr 90 on this one, get rid of the onstreet parking.

    again: where is the public input on this project?

    roger? are you still here?

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  • Donna March 27, 2009 at 12:22 am

    On-street car parking is a huge political sacred cow in this city, are. Politicians are terrified of the potential backlash from eliminating significant amounts of it. I don’t believe PBOT employees who aren’t “political appointees” have any control over that.

    That said, I believe the problematic bicycle facilities in this city are mostly the result of trying to create them while also trying to maintain all the car parking on the streets. It seems to me the politicians are trying to keep everyone happy (because they want to continue winning elections) but instead they end up pissing off a whole lot of bicyclists and motorists.

    I just don’t want to be at the mercy of abysmal parallel parkers, which is exactly where I’ll be without bollards in the design.

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  • chriswnw March 27, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Kris:
    “And maybe you are not clamoring for cycle tracks, but many other bike advocates here in Portland are, because they believe that cycle tracks – and the level of perceived safety and comfort they provide – will get the interested-but-concerned crowd to start riding a bike.”

    And they’re wrong. The key to making cycling mainstream, if that is indeed your goal (it isn’t mine — I don’t care if people cycle or not), is to make driving both miserable and unaffordable. Dense cities, narrow roads, few parking spaces, high gas taxes, high automobile registration fees. See Japan — they don’t have cycle tracks, but they have a high-ridership, given the layout of their cities and the cost of automobile ownership

    Poverty also helps — if much of the population cannot afford a car, they are more likely to bike. Look at China as an example.

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  • BURR March 27, 2009 at 8:45 am

    There seems to be more and more cyclists every year in Portland without the ‘assistance’ of ill-conceived projects like this, the city’s own statistics of ridership vs. miles of cycling infrastructure bear this out.

    Message to PDOT: cyclists are doing just fine without any more of these types of poorly designed on-street segregated facilities.

    If PDOT really wants to build separated facilities for cycling, they should be putting their effort and their dollars into the North Portland Greenway, the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail and the southern extension of the Willamette Greenway Trail to Lake Oswego on the west side of the Willamette, these are actually useful projects that I would support.

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  • Kris March 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Chris (#94),

    You are 100% right that there are many other ways to make cycling more attractive. I’m 100% for the alternatives you list (minus increasing my poverty rate), but as far as I can tell there is not much political will or broad public support to go any of those routes yet. So the handful of bike-minded folks at PBOT are doing with what they have and go for the low-hanging fruit. It is still better than what you have in most other American cities.

    Why not giving this demonstration project a chance and continue our discussion a year from now. It’s a tad depressing to see people here shoot down any initiative or innovation that might increase ridership, even if I do understand that you don’t care whether other people bike or not.

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  • chriswnw March 27, 2009 at 10:32 am

    “Why not giving this demonstration project a chance and continue our discussion a year from now.”

    Well, if it is going to happen, I am not likely to stop it, considering that I don’t go to city council meetings and wouldn’t wield much influence even if I did. I’ll just have to risk a ticket on those streets, much as I do when rolling through stop signs (no tickets yet! 😀

    I do like the idea of more riders, although I don’t think it should be forced. Why not just continue the bicycle boulevard idea, and expand it to the suburbs? More side-street connectivity would also greatly benefit suburban areas. Those type of measures benefit classes of people beyond cyclists, and they don’t impinge upon our freedom to use the roads.

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  • chriswnw March 27, 2009 at 11:19 am

    In case anybody is interested, Amsterdam has recently been streetviewed: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour…09863&t=h&z=14

    Interestingly, the cycle tracks only seem to run along their arterials. (The streets running along the Portland Park Blocks are not arterials.) Also, their “arterials” appear very tame in comparison to ours — most have only two lanes for traffic and two tramways. Some of the side streets have standard bike lanes, and I have already seen a few shots that show delivery trucks parked in them. There are numerous shots of cyclists “taking the lane” on side streets (most of which have only one lane to begin with).

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  • Kris March 27, 2009 at 11:46 am

    chriswnw:

    Thanks for the heads-up about Google Map streetviews being rolled out in Europe. I can’t wait to be able to take a virtual ride through all the cities I lived in Belgium.

    And, yes, your observation is correct about cycle tracks in Amsterdam being primarily featured along arterials. It sounds like that’s ultimately the goal here as well.

    FYI: Here are some impressions about cycle tracks and other bike facilities from a recent trip I made to Belgium: http://www.bikegallery.com/blog/

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  • BURR March 27, 2009 at 11:55 am

    A poorly designed test facility in an inappropriate location isn’t going to make scaling cycle tracks up for use on arterial streets an easy task.

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  • BURR March 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

    FWIW I don’t think the downtown arterials are appropriate locations for cycle tracks either, too many intersections present hooking possibilities; there need to be minimum standards established whereby this type of treatment IS NOT used where the streets are gridded and intersections are close together.

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  • Robert Hurst March 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    It is easy to paint the critics of this proposal as ‘cranks,’ as we have tangled with such facilities refuseniks in the past. Please notice, however, that the critics of this particular proposal come from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, riding styles and philosophies. It is not (just) the Usual Suspects.

    Reasoned opposition to this cycle track from a broad based group of experienced Portland bicyclists has convinced me that the best option for the city (and the country at large, which looks to Portland for ideas and inspiration) would be to put this one to sleep and work on more worthwhile and practical projects. Call it a swing and a miss and move on. Beside the many serious objections — not least of which is the fact that a rider on the inside edge of this path will be solidly in the Door Zone, a particularly galling situation for a so-called ‘cycle track’ — the hopeful assumptions and justifications of the proponents don’t hold water.

    I wrote a little about this on my blog:
    http://www.industrializedcyclist.com

    Robert

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  • Donna March 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you, Robert. I have to say, it’s been pretty surreal to be the one arguing against a bike facility that in other circumstances I’d be enthusiastically in favor of.

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  • John Schubert March 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I’m amused by the notion that we have to experiment to find out if barrier-separated bikelanes (now called “cycletracks”) have safety problems.

    That’s because the experiment has already been done. For years, the city of Davis, CA, had barrier separated bikelanes. The research team of Lott, Tardiff and Lott studied the accident rate on every kind of street, bikelane, sidepath, etc., in Davis, and published several papers giving the relative accident rates of the various designs.

    Mind you, the Lotts were bikelane advocates. They were committed to finding the data that would produce the best bikelane designs.

    What happened? The data clearly showed what so many people on this forum have stated: barrier-separated bikelanes cause intersection collisions. Davis responded by removing those barrier-separated bikelanes.

    And now, more than 30 years later, what has changed?

    Renaming barrier-separated bikelanes and calling them “cycletracks” doesn’t change anything.

    People are no better able to look in two directions at once while operating their bikes and cars.

    People continue to ignore data. It’s a shame, really.

    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

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  • Donna March 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    John – this proposed cycle track is not even barrier-separated.

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  • John Schubert March 30, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Donna,
    The parked cars are the barrier in this instance.
    — John Schubert
    Limeport.org

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  • Robert T. March 31, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Many years ago, Columbus Ohio tried bike lanes separated from the road. They weren’t separated by cars, but by concrete curbs instead.

    The experiment was a dismal failure. They ripped them out. Too many cyclist crashes.

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  • BURR March 31, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Get rid of half the parked cars in the ROW and there would be much more room for cyclists. These are supposed to be the Park Blocks, not the Parking Lot Blocks.

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  • John Schubert March 31, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Burr,

    I’ll dodge the question about the desirability of parking on that street, but I do have another comment: Every road is a bicycle facility. Adding width makes for a more convenient passing facility for motorists.

    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

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  • Peter R March 31, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    As many comments have pointed out, these sorts of separated sidepaths have been fully tested in the past and found to be quite dangerous, as dangerous as riding on the sidewalk.

    Yes, you find these in the Netherlands and Germany, but bikes travel much slower and motor vehicle traffic is also much slower – typically the speed limit in the Netherlands where these things are used is 18 mph (30 km/hr), the residential street speed limit. The much slower speeds more than compensates for the dramatically higher probability of collision. If they have these paths on the faster 50 km/hr (30 mph) streets the sidepath will have its own signal light phase at every intersection.

    If the city insists on experimenting in these already thoroughly disproven designs, they should also lower the speed limit to Dutch inner-city speeds or put in lights with a bicycle-only phase at each intersection.

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  • brettoo March 31, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    If the designs are “thoroughly disproven,” why are they so popular in Europe?
    I hear what you’re saying about the lower speed limits, though, and I like the idea of adding the separate signal lights as you do see in some places in Holland.
    I think it’d be terrific if the city dropped the speed limit around these tracks, and other bike- and ped-intensive areas of the central city, to 20 mph — and really enforced the law. Too many drivers treat the city like a raceway and make it unfriendly for people who are getting around by bike or walking — which is what we want them to do to reduce climate change, lower infrastructure costs, increase business activity and make a more livable city. If as experience shows, having more bicyclists on the streets makes drivers slower and more careful, combining that with properly enforced lower speed limits for cars would make Portland a much better and safer place to live.

    Does anyone know — can the police recoup the costs of hiring more traffic enforcement officers by increasing ticketing for speeding? If not, maybe they could divert some of the funds used to ticket slow-and-go bicyclists (who don’t hurt anyone but themselves) and use them to pay officers who focus on giving tickets to speeding central city car drivers, who endanger everyone.

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  • Dave Thomson March 31, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    My only hope is that the new separated side paths will be too expensive to ever make any headway out into the ‘burbs where I do most of my riding. Maybe this will bring out a whole new set of cyclists who are terrified of other traffic, but it will absolutely make things worse for existing cyclists who fare very well with today’s cycling infrastructure here in Portland.

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  • John Schubert April 1, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Peter R and others,

    Often, a “solution” doesn’t work like you think it will. The city of Denver just finished a study with bicycle-specific signal heads. The conclusion was informally reported to me as, “the signals have no influence on the bicyclists’ decision when to go.” Anecdotally (i.e. not in a formal study) I have heard reliable reports that the same is true in Montreal.

    As for why sidepaths are popular in Europe: Europe makes serious mistakes too, y’know. The European proponents are forced to sweep under the rug a lot of safety-related data.

    Here’s a study showing vastly increased accident rates in Denmark:

    http://www.ecf.com/files/2/12/16/070503_Cycle_Tracks_Copenhagen.pdf

    Here’s one from Germany:

    http://www.john-s-allen.com/research/berlin_1987/Berlin5.pdf

    And here’s one from Amsterdam:

    http://www.nieuwsuitamsterdam.nl/English/2008/04/blind_spot.htm

    The Amsterdam report is a triumph of hope over reality. It describes four fatal right-hook bike/truck collisions (all in one year) and wrings its hands over “exaggerated fear of blind spots.” When these collisions become one of your leading causes of death, I’m not sure how one exaggerates the severity of the problem.

    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

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  • Peter R April 1, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    John – I’m sure you are correct. I was merely trying to address the question of why the bicycle fatality rate lower in the Netherlands in spite of the dangerous sidepaths.

    I think the answer is pretty simple. As studies have shown, their risk of colliding with a car is significantly higher with these sidepaths than without. This is also true for the Dutch. But the much lower automobile speeds there reduce both the actual number of car/bike collisions and the fatalities that result from the ones that do occur.

    As I said earlier, most of their roads are painfully slow by American standards – 18 mph. And I believe this speed is actually observed there.

    The faster roads there are still slower than most urban streets in the USA as their speed limit is 30 mph and, as I understand it, drivers actually stay below this speed unlike in the USA. So they are going slower than the typical automobile speed on our “slow” 25 mph roads. Plus, these faster roads will have a light at nearly every intersection with a special bike-only phase. My observation is that Dutch bicyclists aren’t much more law abiding than American bicyclists and likely run the special phase. But the frequent lights with the longer red for auto traffic probably slows down traffic overall, even slower than suggested by the speed limit, probably to a level very unacceptable to American drivers. But between the enforced speed limits and the frequent stops by drivers, I think this can account for why the Dutch bicyclist fatality rate is lower than the American one overall.

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  • John Schubert April 1, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Peter,

    You’ve made good observations. Another observation is that the Dutch know how to ride better than Americans. There’s a web site (which I was unable to find in a brief search) that shows this by displaying dozens and dozens of photos of people in Amsterdam riding their bikes, doing things that require a lot of coordination and bike savvy. They text on their cell phones, smoke cigarettes, carry large and odd-shaped parcels, carry passengers, and so on. These are all activities that demand you be proficient on a bike — not proficient in a Lycra-go-fast sense, but proficient for Dutch cycling.

    This proficiency comes from many sources, not the least of which are education, practice and role models. Knowledge of how to ride is a cultural meme there, in a way that it isn’t here. One piece of that knowledge would be an awareness, however subliminal, of the drawbacks of certain intersection designs. The cyclist would then compensate for those drawbacks without having a conscious thought about the fact that s/he is doing so.

    Gary Fisher once told me that a bicycle rental outfit operator in Amsterdam told him that when he rents bikes to Americans, about half of them bring the bike back within a half hour. They find the traffic too stressful. I wish I could observe these people and see what they see and see how they respond to conditions.

    When judging safety, note that fatal accidents have a different pie graph of causes than do non-fatal accidents. Data on fatals is sketchy and data on non-fatals is painfully extra sketchy, but I care about non-fatals a lot. Non-fatal accidents can be quite tragic.

    Many people get scared by non-fatal accidents and both (a) stop riding, and (b) repeatedly tell the world that cycling is unsafe and there is nothing the individual cyclist can do about it.

    In the U.S., about two thirds of all reportable bicycle accidents (i.e. a hospital visit is involved) do not involve a collision with a moving motor vehicle. They involved a collision with a fixed object, another bike, a pedestrian, a pothole, or whatever. By definition, dooring accidents fall into this non-motor-vehicle category. (Hey, I didn’t make the rules; I just have to follow them.) Anecdotally, I can tell you that a surprising number of accidents that don’t involve a collision with a motor vehicle result in grave injury or death.

    A really clear view of bicycle safety in the US versus Europe would involve knowing fatals and non-fatals; car/bike collisions and non-car-bike-collision accidents, and a rather deep drilling of the data in all categories. The U.S. doesn’t have recent data at this level, unfortunately. The old data (Ken Cross’s 1977 study) remains very useful, but a 2009 remake of the Cross study would be better.

    I have what I’ll call educated speculation about the reasons for Europe’s apparently better fatality rates, but I’m out of space for now!

    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

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  • brettoo April 1, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    “Gary Fisher once told me that a bicycle rental outfit operator in Amsterdam told him that when he rents bikes to Americans, about half of them bring the bike back within a half hour. They find the traffic too stressful.”

    A Dutch friend (big 40-something guy) who visited Portland last year refused to ride a bike in Portland because he found it too stressful to mix in with car traffic — and he and his family had been riding their whole lives in Holland! But mostly on the separated paths, which felt much safer to him, and to me.

    My experience cycling in the suburbs of Utrecht was that the cars actually drove pretty darn fast, but of course the road was unencumbered by bicyclists, pedestrians or even motor scooters, all of which used the separated side path next to it. Cars seemed to go slower in the central cities, of course.

    That figure about bike accidents not involving cars doesn’t surprise me. My anecdotal impression is that American riders, even in Portland, tend to ride a lot faster, and on bikes that are less stable than the upright Oma and Opa models the Dutch use so much. It’s much easier to spill on a typical American bike — I know, I’ve done it a couple of times when I hit loose gravel or wet leaves while cornering. But I’ve never — yet — come close to toppling off my Dutch bike. So one factor in Holland’s better safety rate may simply be that more of the bikes are moving slower and are more stable. It’s certainly not because of helmets, because hardly anyone over there wears them (except organized teams of bike racers), at least in my experience.

    It seems that this whole discussion of separated tracks and the Park Blocks may have a lot to do with speed, of both drivers and bicycle riders.

    John, I think you’re also on to something re: education. I think I read here on BP that for the past generation or so, Dutch kids have been taught in school how to ride safely. If we’re going to have massive increase in bike ridership (and I really hope that we do, even if it means some of our current Lycra class have to get where they’re going 2 minutes later), I wonder if we’re going to have to require drivers (especially) and bike riders to take classes in school, or at least change the driver’s test to include a test that deals with how to drive safely around bicycles. Maybe they could give you $10 off your test fee if you say you ride a bicycle and agree to participate in a bike safety test along with your car driving test.

    Anyway, one good thing about this Park Blocks experiment is that maybe it’ll give us some of the kind of useful data that, as you noted, is scarce.

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  • Peter R April 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Bretto – useful data may be scarce about some aspects of bicycling, but not the impact on the accident rate caused by these separated sidepaths. Several cities in the US have put these in and then removed them after a large increase in the accident rate. The city of Copenhagen also measured the accident rate before and after these were put in and found a large increase in accidents, even though the bicyclists said they felt safer on these.

    Regarding speed of bicyclists – yes, people go slower on their Oma bikes. But most bicycling distances in the Netherlands are very short compared to US distances and I suppose they find this acceptable. The Dutch sometimes say bicycling is just a form of “accelerated walking”.

    So this reduced speed of bicycling is another major factor in reducing collisions when using facilities that make intersections more dangerous. And remember, bicyclists MUST use these facilities. So someone needing to go faster on their bike is out of luck – if they have any sense they will stay at their Oma speeds or be likely to get killed.

    Maybe in some of our compact US urban centers these reduced bicycling speeds and enforced use of unsafe facilities might be acceptable. But it’s hard to see why we would voluntarily accept these.

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  • brettoo April 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    “Accelerated walking” — yes, that’s how it feels in the inner cities there. But that’s also how it feels when biking around downtown and inner SE and NE Portland. Stop signs and other traffic signals, pedestrians, driveways, stores … there’s really not much point in accelerating like we do elsewhere.
    Just like we need different road facilities for cars depending on the setting (inner city vs. highway), shouldn’t we have different bike facilities depending on the context? For much of central Portland, it makes sense to have facilities, like maybe the ones planned for the Park Blocks, that work for the kind of “accelerated walking” that a lot more people would do if they felt safe, even if that means some cyclists would have to slow down a bit in them. Or maybe the city’s thinking of having some streets, with separated facilities, set aside for “accelerated walking” and others more amenable to the speedsters?
    I wouldn’t mind riding a few streets over if that means we can have separated facilities that encourage a big increase in “accelerated walkers” as we see in some European cities. Even if there really is a tradeoff (and I’m not sure there will be), on balance, having facilities that encourage a lot more people to ride bikes rather than driving cars benefits Portlanders more than a setup that allow many fewer bicyclists to ride much faster.

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/04/youre-safer-than-ever-in-danish-traffic.html

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  • peteathome April 3, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Note that Brettoo’s attached paper shows that risk has fallen for ALL users( auto drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) except scooter operators.

    Now obviously, you can reduce these risks to zero by reducing traffic speed to zero.

    In Copenhagen, I believe that they have achieved these risk reductions by slowing down all traffic speed. Whether they have reached a more ideal speed for urban living, compared to the USA approach, would make an interesting discussion for another time.

    BUT – to put in an urban sidepath, which is well documented to increase the risk of collisions at intersections, without putting in other changes – such as forcing bicyclists to slow down to “accelerated walking” speeds (and how would one do that – allow only Oma bikes on them?, bicycle speed bumps?)and automobiles to slow down to no more than 18 mph ( or put in lights with a special bike phase at each intersection to effectively achieve the same thing) is simply irresponsible.

    I seem to detect an argument here that these facilities are OK because bicyclists feel safer in them even if they are not and this is good because it will attract more bicyclists and eventually reduce the fatality rate.

    Is this an ethical approach – is the city going to tell the early bicyclist users that their chance of death on these things is much higher than biking on the road but that is OK because their death will train the other users to be more careful?

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  • Mikael April 4, 2009 at 3:20 am

    The whole Vehicular Cycling angle is nothing more than a theory, and a strange one at that. It’s like the cycling version of the Flat Earth Society.

    100 million Europeans ride each day and they do so because of separated infrastructure. They feel safe. It’s anthropology.

    When you mention this VC angle to traffic planners in European cities, they just laugh.

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  • John Schubert April 4, 2009 at 4:39 am

    Mikael,

    Bikes cannot turn in place. The rider can’t look straight behind while proceeding forward. A bike cannot instantly stop from its normal cruisng speed. These are qualities of vehicles, and no quantity of insults can change them.

    Several posts ago, I posted the sources for some studies of bike crashes on separated infrastructure. It’s eye-opening reading.

    I take issue with making a rider “feel” safe when your own analysis of accident causes shows they are in fact subject to a significant hazard. I think that victimizes the people who are least involved in this discussion. They’re the ones who haven’t thought through all the traffic movements and blind spots, and don’t know how to outthink the drawbacks of the separated infrastructure.

    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

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  • BURR April 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    MIkael # 120. I’ve ridden all over Paris within the past five years and there is actually very little separated infrastructure available, and most cycling is done in the street, with motor vehicles.

    My overall impression was that Parisian motorists were much less likely to encroach on cyclists’ right of way than American motorists are.

    This points to a need to reeducate American motorists to share the road better, and not to a need to build separated cycling facilities.

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  • Mikael April 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Paris is increasing the number of bike lanes and most bike lanes are shared with busses. The current plans from the Ville de Paris are for increased separated bike infrastructure on a par with scores of other European cities.

    The whole VC cult is counterproductive to promoting cycling positively and I’m pleased that so many American cities are rejecting their theories. I’d love to see cities like Portland – and every other city in America – boast 30% plus modal share for bikes. Portland is on the right cycle track and Portlanders should be proud that their city planners have their finger on the pulse.

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  • BURR April 4, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    I’m sorry, MIkael, but it’s a big mistake to label critics of cycle paths the way you have, as the opposition is much broader than that. I’m as eager to build bike lanes or other bike infrastructure where it makes sense and actually adds to cyclist safety, but I know a truly bad engineering design when I see it, and this cycle track is a truly bad engineering design.

    Intersections are the place where most crashes occur, and cycle tracks do nothing to make a intersections safer for cyclists, in fact cycle tracks will most likely make intersections less safe for cyclists. And there are a lot of intersections in Portland, the length of blocks on the street grid is not that long.

    Even if cycle track actually were safer than shared roadway (and they’re not), Portland doesn’t have the available right of way space on most arterials to implement cycle tracks on the scale PDOT is dreaming of in the Draft Master Plan maps, at least not without removing either large amounts of curbside parking or reducing the number of existing travel lanes, and the motoring public isn’t going to let that happen on most inner city arterials, and when push comes to shove our politicians most likely aren’t going to support it either.

    Integration, not separation, is going to be the key to successful bikeways in Portland. It’s too bad the city seems to have bypassed sharrows almost entirely in favor of cycle tracks. I think that is a huge mistake.

    Sharrows send a clear message to motorists that cyclists belong in the lane and guide cyclists without constraining them by forcing them to ride a dangerous segregated facility.

    We should be teaching all the baby-killing motorists to share the road better with cyclists, not teaching them that cyclists don’t belong on the road by building a network of dangerous new side paths, and not by trying to train them to look for through cyclists on their right when turning right, which is unsafe for cyclists, counterintuitive to motorists, and a terrible engineering design that deserves all the ridicule it receives.

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  • peteathome April 6, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Mikael – you sound anti-science and anti-facts. You remind me of the flat earthers I use to be in charge of dealing with back when I was in grad school.

    This discussion has nothing to do with VC per se. It’s trying to objectively looking at the causes of car/bicycle crashes and what can be done to reduce them.

    I’ve stated my theory that, in the Netherlands at least, it’s the much slower traffic speeds that hold down the bicycle fatality rates in spite of some of the infrastructure. The hazards of the infrastructure have been documented by other bike friendly places such as Copenhagen. I may be wrong, but it is at least a testable hypothesis.

    You seem to think that any bicycle facility is a good thing without any concern whatsoever on its impact on users.

    Shame on you. Hopefully people like you have no impact on facility designers.

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  • ignatz April 6, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Anecdotal, but my experience of living in Montreal for the last three years is that cycle tracks in the urban core are a bummer. My shop was located on one of the busiest and doorings, bike/ped, bike/bike, bike/car collisions and near misses were alarmingly frequent. For long distance connecting routes, separated tracks can be excellent but in dense, multimodal populations, I’d put the money into reducing speeds and educating all users how to share and look out for one another.

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