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PBOT works on cycle track design, legal issues

Posted by on May 13th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

City Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield
presented the new cycle track to
the bike advisory committee
at City Hall last night.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Last month, when Mayor Adams and the Bureau of Transportation announced the new, cycle track pilot project on SW Broadway, many people in the community were excited. The removal of an entire lane of auto traffic on a marquee downtown street just to create more space for bike traffic was cause for celebration in bike circles.

However, it wasn’t all smiles in Bikeville and some people raised concerns about the new facility.

The concerns seemed to be primarily about how folks would negotiate a left turn out of the cycle track (bikes are separated from motor vehicle traffic by parked cars), and how the cycle track (a new facility type not specifically defined in Oregon statutes) would jibe with existing traffic laws that govern bikeways.

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Since the plans were announced, I’ve discussed these issues with Adams’ Transportation Policy Director Catherine Ciarlo, local bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg, and City Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield. Burchfield also presented about the project at the monthly City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last night.

“We need to learn and get a sense of how this functions for people. This left turn issue is a really important question that we need to sort out.”
— Catherine Ciarlo, transportation policy director for Mayor Adams

Left Turns
Since the new cycle track puts bike traffic in its own lane (completely separate from auto traffic) many people wondered how they would make a left turn out of the facility. With the existing bike lane, most people simply signal, leave the bike lane a bit prior to the intersection, and then veer to the left to make the turn.

Catherine Ciarlo in Mayor Adams’ office said things will be different with the cycle track. “The design doesn’t anticipate someone leaving the cycle track,” she said. According to Ciarlo (and Burchfield), there are two main ways folks would make a left turn.

The first is to use a new bike box and perform what bike planners call a “two-stage” left turn. Note the proposed design in the drawing below:

Detail of a schematic from PBOT of SW Broadway cycle track.

Riders on the cycle track (shown in the upper left above) that want to go left would cross through the intersection, position themselves in the bike box, and then go across when the light is green (there would be a new “No Turn on Red” sign for cars turning from the bottom right corner of this drawing).

City traffic engineer Rob Burchfield, a regular bike rider himself and part of a delegation that went on a bike study tour of Amsterdam and Copenhagen last year, said the bike box will feel very safe for people on bikes, because it will be “in the shadow” of parked cars. In the drawing above, you can see what he means. The car parking is aligned with the edge of the bike box, so this will allow bikes a bit of breathing room, out of the way of moving cars, while they wait to cross.

The other way to make a left turn would be to anticipate your move at least a block prior. So, if you wanted to turn left at SW Montgomery, you should leave the cycle track a block before, at SW Mill, then proceed to take the lane in preparation for your left-hand turn.

Burchfield and Ciarlo both stress that they’re not sure how riders will use the facility, but that’s why this is a pilot project. “We need to learn and get a sense of how this functions for people. This left turn issue is a really important question that we need to sort out,” said Ciarlo.

As for right turns, there happens to be only one on the entire, seven block stretch of this cycle track (that’s one reason PBOT picked this location). Last night, Burchfield said they’re still looking at how best to handle those situations.

Legal Considerations
Since the cycle track design is new in Oregon, there are some grey legal areas that need to be addressed and worked out. One of the big concerns that commenters shared after the plans were announced was whether or not they’d be legally “forced” to use the cycle track facility.

[Note: Lawyer Mark Ginsberg, who has worked many bike-related traffic cases, said it will be important how the city identifies the cycle track. Will it be considered a bike lane or a path? (Those words have very different legal standings.) According to Burchfield, the city will consider the cycle track to be a type of bike lane.]

“If the City believes it is a type of bike lane, they need to clearly communicate that with the enforcement agencies and with the community so that people know how to operate in it.”
— Mark Ginsberg, bike lawyer

The concern over being forced to ride in the cycle track comes from Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 814.420 that says a person must use a bike lane when one is present. There are exceptions to this statute. You can legally leave a bike lane to safely pass another vehicle, to “prepare to execute” a left turn, or to avoid debris or hazards.

The statute also states that a person is not required to comply with the rule unless the responsible jurisdiction has established, after a public hearing, that the bicycle lane or path is “suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.”

City engineer Burchfield is meeting today with the City Attorney and the Police about how this part of the bike lane law would work. He said, “We need a decision on whether we maintain flexibility for bikes to operate in the [motor vehicle] travel lane and are not required to use cycle track. We may be able to do that in existing law by holding a hearing and finding that that [leaving the cycle track to make a left turn] is a safe way to operate.”

Ginsberg, well aware that legal cases often revolve around semantics, says his primary concern is that, “If the City believes it is a type of bike lane, they need to clearly communicate that with the enforcement agencies and with the community so that people know how to operate in it.”

On the issue of legal concerns, Catherine Ciarlo in Mayor Adams’ office said this is what comes with being innovative. “If we were to spin out every possible scenario that would happen legally in the future, we wouldn’t be able to innovate,” she said, “So our job is to put something out there that is as safe as we can possibly make it, then to watch carefully and evaluate how it’s used, get feedback from cyclists and others and then make changes, adjustments and additions to the system moving forward based on that.”

Ciarlo sees the cycle track as being directly aligned with the City’s bike-friendly goals. “One of our strong city policies is to dramatically increase the number of people bicycling. The way we can do that is to build facilities that feel safe to less experienced riders. We hear from countless people around the city who don’t ride because they are afraid, and that’s what this is targeted at.”

At the end of his presentation last night, Burchfield stepped back from the wonky details and offered some context about what this cycle track means to the City: “If we’re headed toward a future where more of our mode split is bikes and fewer people are driving cars, then this project is symbolically a big step to take.”



— The City has created an FAQ about cycle tracks. You can read it here.

— Left turns and legal issues aren’t the only things people have had questions about. Other concerns I’ve heard from commenters are are how pedestrians will interact with the cycle track, how the City will handle right turns (a very big issue), and how bus stops figure into the equation. I’ll consider addressing those issues in a future story.

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60 Comments
  • Avatar
    DJ Hurricane May 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    What a clusterf*ck!

    I’m not using that thing because it makes it *much* more difficult for me to turn left (something I do a lot from SW Broadway) regardless of how I decide to do it. I don’t see how this makes cycling better or easier at all!

    This is a bad use of a cycle track. The proper location for a cycletrack is not where there are turns every few hundred feet, but locations where people want to travel straight on a road for long distances, sorta like “bike highways.” A good location would be east-west on Hawthorne, for example. Imagine the Springwater next to Hwy 99E.

    Of course, none of this would be necessary if the PPB would just enforce safe and legal driving practices and drivers would not intimidate cyclists out of exercising the rights they already have.

    By the way, whether this thing is a bike path or bike lane will ultimately not be up to the City. The final word will be by the Oregon courts.

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    indy May 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Ginsberg is repeated twice:

    “If the City believes it is a type of bike lane, they need to clearly communicate that with the enforcement agencies and with the community so that people know how to operate in it.”

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    BURR May 13, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    If it’s *experimental*, it should be exempt from ORS 814.420. It’s that simple. Let’s hear a clear message from PDOT and PPB that this is indeed the case before any paint is ever put to pavement; that’s the best way to avoid the inevitable SNAFUs that will occur if clear policy is not established up front.

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    ScottG May 13, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I’m willing to accept that there may be some kinks to work out as this thing is implemented, and I’m going to reserve judgment on it until I’ve actually had the chance to ride it.

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    Aaron May 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I have to agree that this is not my idea of an ideal location. It will be difficult for people to get into and out of this lane, and the frequent intersections mean possible conflicts among many cyclists. I would suggest a long arterial which has fewer intersections.
    That said, I very much appreciate the innovative thinking and the focus on better facilities

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    amos May 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Well put, ScottG. If only the rest of us were so reserved.

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    Hart May 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    The ‘two stage left’ is pretty much the only way to turn left on NE Broadway as it is, and that’s without the protection of a row of parked cars. I think people will be able to deal.

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    chriswnw May 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Excellent, making the city more “bike-friendly” by making it less convenient to bike. This type of “bike friendliness”, I could certainly do without.

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    Amanda May 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Agreed, Scott. There are pros and cons to this design but I agree with Ciarlo that innovation requires experimentation. For many, this is a long, straight (uphill), route to get them to points further South.

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    toddistic May 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    We seem to be good in PDX of producing the proof of concept. We fail at the application thereafter.

    We install a nice bike boulivard on Clinton and a few other streets (nothing in NE or on the westside).

    We install a few bike boxes throughout the city.

    We are going to build a cycle track now.

    It’s time to apply the proof of concept. Give us several bike boulivards on the east side that go North / South and East / West. Downtown give us the 5th and 6th ave car lanes in the transit mall.

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    chriswnw May 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    “One of our strong city policies is to dramatically increase the number of people bicycling. The way we can do that is to build facilities that feel safe to less experienced riders. We hear from countless people around the city who don’t ride because they are afraid, and that’s what this is targeted at.”

    This is a deception. The cycle track is not going to protect most riders, as they will eventually have to interface with the street, namely at every crossing. This particular cycle track doesn’t actually have any crossings, but if the city expands the cycle track concept to other places (e.g., Cully Blvd), riders will be exposed to left hooks and right hooks at every intersection, in addition to pull-outs at every driveway. This is a bad idea for the same reason that it is a bad idea to ride upon the sidewalk.

    Also, people are confusing correlation with causation — just because European cities with high ridership rates have lots of cycle tracks, that doesn’t mean that the cycle tracks *caused* high ridership. There are many ways in which European cities differ from ours — they have greater population densities, lower speed limits, street design that doesn’t permit high speeds (arterials there are usually only two or three lanes), high vehicle registration fees, high gas taxes, fewer provisions for parking, etc. These cities would likely have high rates of ridership even without the tracks, and many in fact did. The construction of cycle paths in certain cities has actually been complemented by a fall in ridership rates, while in other cities, increases in ridership coincided with no additional buildout of infrastructure:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_path#Segregated_cycle_facilities_and_transportation_cycling
    In the UK, a ten-year study of the effect of cycle facilities in eight towns and cities found no evidence that they had resulted in any diversion from other transport modes.[83] A similar finding had been reported for Denmark in 1989, where it was found that there was no correlation between cycle facilities and increased cycling unless active traffic restraint measures were also present. In Denmark as a whole, the establishment of a huge cycling infrastructure has been accompanied by cycling levels that have stayed roughly stable (with minor fluctuations) since 1975. The construction of 320 kilometres (200 mi) of “Strategic cycle network” in Dublin has been accompanied by a 15% fall in commuter cycling and 40% falls in cycling by second and third level students. In contrast, in the late 1970s and early 1980s cycling underwent robust growth in Germany, the UK and Ireland while there was little or no investment in cycling infrastructure.

    I understand that many prefer not to integrate with fast moving vehicles, but what’s great about Portland is the fact that it was laid out on a grid! If one street is too fast and furious for one’s liking, there are plenty of alternate, low-traffic routes.

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    Spencer Boomhower May 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Amos #6:

    “Well put, ScottG. If only the rest of us were so reserved.”

    No kidding, right? This thing may not be perfect, and it’s always worth pointing out imperfections in any design because fault-finding makes designs stronger. But is there any reason to throw out civility while we’re at it?

    I happen to be listening to the Diane Rehm Show podcast while I work, and the contrast between that and some of the conversations I encounter here is stark. If there’s one thing that show illustrates, it’s that it’s possible to have a conversation that cuts to the chase while still remaining civil. (And this is coming from someone whose first impulse is often to rant and swear about things I don’t like; I’m even having to master that impulse in writing this comment.)

    I’m for the cycletrack, though I’m not 100% sure it’ll work perfectly, nor am even I sure I’ll enjoy riding on it. How could I be sure? I’ve never ridden on a cycletrack!

    At the very least it looks like the kind of thing that could lure less experienced riders onto their bikes. Simply not having to ride in traffic – or even next to traffic – can be the deciding factor for many potential riders.

    Still, I’d prefer that bolder, more experienced riders be able to legally ride in car traffic along side the cycletrack.

    No matter what, I think it’s freaking AMAZING that this thing is getting built at all.

    From my work (graphics and design for computer games), I know that sometimes progress only gets made by plowing forward to the next step, regardless of whether you’re absolutely sure it’ll work. It’s called prototyping, and it’s a hugely powerful way to explore options.

    The big question is: if you make that bold step, and it doesn’t work, can the flaws then be corrected? How does that play out in this case?

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    Jeff P May 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I ride this section daily.

    I reserved comment when the plan was initially published here.

    No more – these people and this idea are making things WAY too complicated! Keep it simple! Leave this alone and concentrate on a real problem elsewhere…like the hotel zone up the street? Bike lanes in areas they don’t exist? Whatever…but do it wisely!

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    Matt Picio May 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I look forward to using this. We can armchair quarterback all we like, but until it’s actually built and in-place, no one really knows how it will turn out, or how well it’ll work. I think it’s great that the city is willing to go out on a limb to see what works and what doesn’t.

    When I was growing up in Detroit, a lot of the freeways and ramp designs that sprung up in the 60s and 70s (most were before my time) were experimental, and Detroit is now saddled with a number of “improvements” that didn’t live up to expectations – but those that worked have influenced highway design for decades. Portland has a similar opportunity to be the driver of design. The best part is that if these facilities don’t work, they are fairly cheap and quick to change or remove.

    I think one thing that needs to be done is to pressure the legislature to repeal or modify ORS 814.420 so that cyclists aren’t forced to use the bike lane – it isn’t always appropriate to be in one when and where they exist.

    toddistic (#10) – There are a number of Bike Boulevards planned, and they’re detailed in the Bicycle Master Plan. Roger & crew have done a great job laying the groundwork, now we have to impress on Sam Adams and those in charge of the purse-strings to fund the plan and get them built.

    We have a tremendous opportunity for an integrated multi-modal transportation system that works, and to leverage that to influence planning and design across the US. Improvements like this are a great start.

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    matchu May 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    The City of Vancouver, Washington tried this in the mid-1990s along SE McGillivray Blvd. People complained about the logistics of moving out of the bike lane for left hand turns as well as did car drivers who were accustomed to parking against the edge of the curb. It was quickly changed to the implementation seen today and commonly elsewhere across the nation: There is a bike lane to the right of the two auto lanes with cars parked to the right of the bike lane immediately next to the curb. I’m not sure that I agree with the fundamental assumptions behind a “cycle track” as the design is being called now-a-days.

    One assumption is that bikes are not equal users of the road which I find very problematic. Downtown Portland is an ideal setting for “sharing the road” and treating all vehicles as equals due to the traffic lights sequenced to a speed of about 15 miles per hour. This is a comfortable rate of velocity for experienced cyclists and makes bike-only lanes and cycle tracks seem unnecessary except along avenues with higher speed limits (e.g. Naito Parkway). A cycle track in my estimate only reinforces the idea that bicycles should not mix with auto traffic when it is otherwise permissible and relatively safe to do so in the downtown core.

    I would love to a cycle track along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Sandy Blvd, east Burnside, Powell, 82nd Avenue, and Lombard to name just a few streets which more urgently require bold new designs to safely accommodate cyclists from aggressive auto drivers.

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    chriswnw May 13, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Spencer Boomhower @ 12″
    “At the very least it looks like the kind of thing that could lure less experienced riders onto their bikes. Simply not having to ride in traffic – or even next to traffic – can be the deciding factor for many potential riders.”

    Not unless their starting point and destination are the beginning and end of the track.

    Traffic is obviously not the sole factor or even the main factor in dissuading people from riding a bike. It’s not like they couldn’t roll around on sidewalks currently — I see many people do exactly that every day. I suspect that the real reason more people don’t currently bike is because they find driving or public transit more convenient. If you look at European cities with high rates of ridership, one common denominator is how inconvenient it is for people to drive. Cycling is actually faster. I suppose you could launch a crusade to make driving as difficult as possible for people here — all for the sake of increasing ridership — but I’m not really interested in making motorists more resentful toward us than they already are.

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    Hart May 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I’m interested in making drivers uncomfortable as possible >:)

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    chriswnw May 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    matchu @ 15:
    “I would love to a cycle track along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Sandy Blvd, east Burnside, Powell, 82nd Avenue, and Lombard to name just a few streets […].”

    How would that be any different or better than a sidewalk without pedestrians and telephone/electrical poles? (And I think it would be a big assumption to assume that pedestrians wouldn’t simply use it as a sidewalk extension.)

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    Brad Ross May 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I’d be interested in hearing more about how motorists are to make safe right turns over the track.

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    Dave May 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks but no thanks, and well put chris (#16). They’ll be magnets for double parking, bike salmon, blithe pedestrians, and litter. Traps for the inexperienced, avoided completely by the rest of us.

    At least they’re just doing it with paint – it’ll be sandblasted away and left to memory within a year.

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    are May 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    814.420 uses both the words “lane” and “path,” so unless this is called some third thing, it will be mandatory to use it once there has been a public hearing to determine its suitability.

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    BURR May 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    There actually is no requirement for a public hearing to determine it’s suitability before cyclists are required to use it under ORS 814.420, because, in all of it’s wisdom, the Oregon appeals court, in the Potter decision, states that (and I’m paraphrasing here) if the installation of a bike lane (or path) was performed as an official act of a lawful authority (e.g. PDOT), the presumption is that it is inherently safe and no public hearing is required.

    If you want to wrestle with the legaleze, see text of the court decision below:

    We turn next to defendant’s argument that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal on the charge that he failed to use a bicycle lane in violation of ORS 814.420. That statute provides:

    “(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.

    “(2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.” ORS 814.420.

    Defendant does not dispute that there was evidence that he was operating his bicycle outside the bicycle lane in violation of subsection (1) of the statute. He argues instead that the state failed to prove, as subsection (2) requires, that the city determined, after a public hearing, that the bicycle lane on the Hawthorne Bridge was suitable for safe bicycle use.

    The state responds that the evidence that it introduced, when viewed in light of a statutory presumption, was sufficient to meet its burden of production. Alternatively, it argues that subsection (2) establishes an affirmative defense; it does not constitute an element of the state’s case. We need not reach the state’s alternative argument. Even if we assume that subsection (2) is an element of the state’s case, we agree with the state that there was sufficient evidence to meet the state’s burden of production.

    ORS 810.250(3) provides:

    “When a traffic control device is placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of the traffic regulations or other laws of this state, the device is presumed to have been placed by an official act or at the direction of lawful authority unless the contrary is established by competent evidence.”

    A bicycle lane is a traffic control device within the meaning of ORS 810.250(3), (2) and ORS 810.250(3) creates a rebuttable presumption that the bicycle lane was placed on the Hawthorne Bridge in compliance with the requirements of ORS 814.420(2). Given the evidence in this case, the trial court could find that the state had proved the basic fact (3) and that the presumed fact was sufficient to meet the state’s burden of production. (4) The trial court correctly denied defendant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal on the charge of failing to use a bicycle lane.

    Affirmed.

    http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A115242.htm

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    AdamG May 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    This looks way too much like a sidewalk for my taste.
    It’s nice to see someone admit that some bikeways aren’t safer, just more comfortable for novices. How about education of novices instead?
    ORS 814.420 does prevent cyclists from riding on the road where there’s a bike path!

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    are May 13, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    what the Potter court said was that in a municipal prosecution for a traffic infraction there was a presumption that there had been a hearing, which the defendant had a burden to overcome by evidence to the contrary. of course the defense had not anticipated that it would be required to negate what should have been an element of the state’s case, so the conviction stood. an appeals court would not get away with this kind of nonsense in connection with an actual criminal conviction. in any event, it remains the case that 814.420 does not mandate the use of the facility unless there has been a hearing. if you get ticketed, you will need to request records from the city documenting whatever hearings it may have had. so far as I know, they have not had any on these other facilities (the ubiquitous badly placed lane striping and the green boxes that put you inside the right hook), but the city may be catching on, and they might have actual hearings going forward. of course, if someone brings in contrarian experts, the city will have to make suitability findings that overrule that testimony.

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    BURR May 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I still don’t think ORS 814.420 applies to *pilot* or *experimental* facilities, particularly ones like the proposed cycle tracks, which certainly are not standard designs as found in the MUTCD, and as such, cyclists can not be required to use them.

    However, good luck fighting the city in court when some knucklehead PPB traffic patrol officer decides to give you an ORS 814.420 citation for not using the cycle track….

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    Vance Longwell May 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Wow, I’ve spent more than two decades of my adult life fighting for my right as a cyclist to the public right-of-way. You people can’t seem to give it away fast enough. Thanks for nothing.

    This is an affectation. A superfluous waste of money to appease, “feelings”, and, “concerns”. What an outrage! Love the choice of locales too, boy that’s putting it right in those bad car-people’s face! Now reconcile pulling up the bike-lane, that just went down, with further spending on what?
    How long ’til the first automobile passenger exiting their car get’s pasted? More blood on the hands of the Nanny-State!

    What a joke. What a heartbreaking, gut wrenching joke this city has become.

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    Vance Longwell May 13, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Besides, the recall is just around the bend and this fairly wreaks of the dry-ice and mirrors show currently getting up steam in Adams’ camp.

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    eric May 13, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    before anyone gets their (rapha brand) knickers in a wad, I think this is a pretty good place to do this as then you don’t have to play chicken with the buses and peds along the road to PSU: in my experience, there’s regular bus, armored car, idiot, and pedestrian hazards in this section, and it’s mostly up hill so a lane which separates bikes from the typical slack-jawed blind cell-talkers who drive this stretch I’m all for it. Now, if only the PPB would do some “educational enforcement” along the right hooks farther north on broadway I would be a happier bike commuter.

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    tbird May 13, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    wow.
    The blind ignorance displayed here by the doubters and haters is staggering.Please know what you’re talking about before you say with utmost authority that something won’t work.
    The “right to road” is laughable. This is a road, it’s just a bike road, no cars.
    News flash: bikes and cars aren’t equal. Sorry to burst your bubble, but they’re not equal. Cars can crush and maim with the flick of a foot. Bikes, while it is possible COULD injure others, are highly unlikely to do the same level of damage at a similar speed.
    This type of infrastructure is sorely needed in Platinum level city. I agree it’s not needed everywhere, but it is needed in some dense high motor/bike traffic spaces. SW Broadway is the perfect test spot.

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    old&slow May 13, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    God, are you cycle track advocates nuts? What a waste of money. How hard is it to ride in a bike lane? I don’t even like bike lanes that much! Geez, does somebody have to hold your hand to get you to ride a bike on city streets? This is just the most pandering thing I have seen by bicycle “political advocates”, talk about dumbing down transportation. I am all for spending money for separate bike paths like the springwater trail but we don’t need to spend money on projects like this.

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    chriswnw May 13, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Vance, my feelings exactly. Cycle paths and bike lanes are *subtractions* of bikeable space (the former more so than the latter). Why would I be happier with *less* bikeable space? Again, there are numerous low traffic routes available in Portland and other grid-like cities for people who don’t want to deal with lots of cars, and I am very much in favor of increasing side street connectivity in newer suburbs so that people have that option there too.

    That said, I’m not particularly concerned about whether our bicycle modal share is 5 percent or 50 percent. As long as people have the option of riding on both low-speed and high-speed routes, I’m happy. Whether they actually take advantage of that option or not, I don’t care. Most people I know aren’t going to bike regular unless driving and public transit become extremely inefficient and expensive, and I’m not interested in making their current modes of transit less practical just for the sake of realizing some utopian vision.

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    old&slow May 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    In order to use this expensive waste of money, you have to get to SW Broadway so I assume you already know how to ride a bike on city streets. Why would anybody waste resources here except if you are Sam Adams and nobody (especially bikeportland) would question your motives? This is just a “bone” to throw to the cycling community and Maus and the rest of Adams sycophants just can’t get enough of Adam’s phony “pro-cycling” positions.

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    red hippie May 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    The few blocks of cycle-track on Broadway seems to be designed to create conflict. It is essentially taking one of the busiest streets in portland and condensing more cycles and cars into less space.

    The original concept of the park blocks cycle track makes much more sense. There would not be the turning issues associated identified in the article, and the park block could become more of a pedestrian/cycle only zone.

    Think about the ultimate manifestation of this: PSU to the Main Post office, bisecting the city with a bicycle arterial. There are also bridges at either end (Broadway and the I-5 overpass) so no real infrastructure is necessary to connect with the rest of the city. Some motor vehicles would be allowed for local residents with off street parking, drop off and local deliveries. This is like many streets in many european cities.

    This should be the vision of the future and not a few token blocks on Broadway, as a natural choke point with I-5. A pedestrian/bike zone can transform the park blocks into a promenade with shops, markets and life.

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    wsbob May 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    It’s definitely important to develop road infrastructure that encourages and provides extra comfort and safety margins to people lacking the experience, fitness and aggressiveness necessary to travel in the main traffic lanes. This is the way to get more of these people out of their cars on the road with their bikes.

    The barrier of the parked cars positioned to the left of the shy zone and cycle track might make some of these people feel more comfortable on the road. This idea of depending heavily on a left turn bike box across the intersection for people on bikes to be able to make left turns across Broadway…that just seems like a bad idea, likely to result in slowing down and clogging up bike travel.

    Everybody on a bike, wanting to make a left turn across Broadway has to get in the box(packed in with how many others on bikes at any given time?), pivot their bike 90 degrees to the left and wait for the green light (possibly the second if they’ve already waited for one on Broadway before entering the BB). That’s not a smooth transition from straight ahead to another direction. Sounds like it’ll be awkward, and a hassle.

    Then there’s the en mass departure from the bike box across the intersection. Of course, much of the time, there may only be 2-3 bikes in in the box.

    On the earlier thread on this subject, my thought was to retain all three present lanes and eliminate motor vehicle parking on the cycle track side of the street. That would allow a bigger bike lane and still allow for a shy zone. People on bikes wanting to make left turns could do so naturally, merging left into the main traffic lanes if they chose to. If the engineers wanted to try the left turn bike box, they could still do that with this configuration allowing people that option as well.

    I’m wondering how the traffic engineers believe they can reasonably eliminate one of the three main traffic lanes. Do their figures tell them that present traffic levels will flow efficiently when confined to just two lanes? Or, do they calculate that some traffic be diverted to other routes through town?

    I imagine the business community would not be pleased to lose any on-street parking, but it seems like nearly equal room and convenience in displaced on-street parking might be arranged for. Yes, the city should be trying out new ideas that might get more people riding bikes on the road, but maybe it’s some of the parked cars, just sitting there on the street taking up space all day, that should be the element to go in order to make this cycle track work out in the best way possible.

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    Serviceburo May 13, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    OK, so I’m riding down this “cyclepath” and want to take a left. How am I supposed to “exit” the “cyclepath” when the car parking area is bumper to bumper? This area has far too many parked cars to be navigable in these circumstances. This has to be the stupidest thing that I’ve seen this city propose. Sheltering cyclists like this just promotes the stupid and fearful riding styles that so many people around PDX seem to demonstrate so well. This week has demonstrated via the Hawthorne bridge incident that Portland cyclists don’t have the skills or intelligence to handle technical riding situations.

    So kudos all around for such a bright shining example of short sightedness and general incompetence. Would someone please tell me how it is this town got platinum certified anyway? Or did Sam Adams just sleep with the right person . . . ?

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    are May 13, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    re comment 33. it is one thing to remove cars from the park blocks, which is not what was proposed. it is quite another to relegate bicycles to a side path on what is already a very bike-friendly set of blocks (except for the crossing at burnside). the cycle track is a poor design generally for any situation in which there are frequent intersections. it is an especially poor design for the park blocks.

    re comment 34. the two-stage left is pretty much the only way to handle this (and a specific argument against the design where there are frequent intersections), unless you are going to allow people to leave the track a block early to merge across — which I cannot imagine is actually the plan.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 13, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    RE: removing parking.
    parking meter revenue is a major sacred cow for the City. they need the money so they’re not looking to remove large numbers of parked cars

    RE: left turns.
    “are” wrote above,

    “unless you are going to allow people to leave the track a block early to merge across — which I cannot imagine is actually the plan.

    i thought it was clear in the article, that that’s precisely what they might end up recommending for folks that don’t want to do the two-stage turn.

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    John Lascurettes May 13, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I’m very very curious. I do not mean to poo-poo on the plan because it intrigues me; but I have to know …

    How is the right-hook going to be handled on that one intersection mentioned in the article where a right is possible?

    Seems like the bikes are going to be much more invisible to the cars and those new “once-timid” riders that have a new found confidence – are they going to be checking for that right hook?

    I’m a little paranoid about that situation – or is it that cars cannot turn right at the intersection where the bikes can?

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    wsbob May 13, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    “RE: removing parking.
    parking meter revenue is a major sacred cow for the City. they need the money so they’re not looking to remove large numbers of parked cars” Maus

    Here might be a good time and place to throw this particular sacred cow on the City Club Bar-B-Q.

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    razzledazzle May 14, 2009 at 1:14 am

    re: 38

    There are different ways of dealing with right-turning vehicles. The most straight-forward would be to provide a separate green signal phase for bicycles, during which automobiles would not be able to turn right on red. This is similar to the situation on the Broadway Bridge heading westbound.

    Many folks seem discontent with the notion of a two-stage left. Without question, it will add time to your journey if you are turning east from the cycletrack. But realistically, we’re talking about 15-20 seconds maximum. That’s not, “the sky is falling and bicycle infrastructure is ruining my city” kind of delay. Just chill.

    re: 11 & 16
    Many bicyclists feel perfectly comfortable on streets outside of Downtown, and it’s only when they get Downtown – where bicycle infrastructure is lacking – that they find the facilities to be unacceptable. Facilities like cycletracks can encourage bicyclists who feel comfortable riding outside of the central city to continue riding once they reach downtown. Furthermore, I think it may be you who is conveniently ignoring that there are times in which correlation exists because of causation. The world’s best bicycling cities invest heavily in bicycle-specific infrastructure – including cycletracks – and they didn’t have that level of ridership before they started investing at such levels. The “greater population densities, lower speed limits”, etc. just weren’t getting it done. You also suggest that bicyclists who aren’t comfortable in Downtown streets use the sidewalks. This is illegal…obviously.

    I also find it interesting that folks suppose cycletracks and other similar facilities are for the new, timid bicyclists, and that the veteran, can-do-no-wrong bicyclists will avoid them like the plague. Just because you’ve been biking for a long time doesn’t mean you’re immune to the risks that bicycling presents. Can anyone arguing that this cycletrack is solely for the benefit of new bicyclists show me the dataset that demonstrates how experienced bicyclists are involved in fewer bike-car, bike-bike, or bike-ped conflicts? I’m waiting…

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    N.I.K. May 14, 2009 at 1:29 am

    i thought it was clear in the article, that that’s precisely what they might end up recommending for folks that don’t want to do the two-stage turn.

    It’s clear in the article, but even then only as a speculative reccomendation. Gut reaction: having it as one of three possible turns seems confusing at best. Wait, three? Yes, *three* – there are two already. Experienced cyclists may feel comfortable making the standard left. Newer cyclists (or the haggard experienced cyclist, on a rough day – we’ve all been there!) could carefully execute a box turn across the crosswalks and get in position to re-merge while the desired direction of travel is waiting on the light or other device, which is what many of them do anyway across wider and busier streets. As such – would a third option be necessary? Further concerns abound regarding how this third option would be publicized for cyclist’s and motorist’s information alike, but before all that, just consider it for a moment.

    Admitedly, I’m a cycle track skeptic. I’m all for infrastructure that encourages increased ridership. I’m concerned about bad laws and bad implementation turning them into short ‘n’ messy street-side MUPs. I’d like nothing more than to see the safe-feeling traffic-practical cycle track in the sky implemented if it’ll get more bikes on the roads. However, I *don’t* think there’s anything wrong with raising questions and concerns. Even the most bile-stricken remarks on the subject tend to have a salient point or two buried amidst all the blustery fuming. This sort of thing needs to be tested in a very careful and mindful sort of way, permitting flexibility in re-implementing the design several times over until it either works or is shown to be a lost cause for the locale in question.

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    peejay May 14, 2009 at 6:23 am

    Well, I suppose if you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never succeed. Still, this is a massive FAIL. Why? Right hooks, confusing left turns, debris build-up, pedestrian conflicts, etc. One bad crash, and the city winds up with a nasty and expensive lawsuit. Good luck with that.

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    are May 14, 2009 at 6:54 am

    re 37, Jonathan. what is clear from the article is that someone does recognize that this is a problem (that some people may want to get out of the cycle track early in order to merge across for a conventional left turn). when you quote Burchfield as saying he is meeting with the police and city attorney to talk it through, because “we need a decision,” you certainly are not reporting that a decision has been made. if they make that decision here, it undermines the entire concept. which is why I am saying “I cannot imagine,” etc.

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    Paul Tay May 14, 2009 at 7:57 am

    How to allow left turns from cycle track, without really trying: Lose da wall, approximately (insert some reasonable number here) feet from the intersection.

    Kudos for the symbolism: “If we’re headed toward a future where more of our mode split is bikes and fewer people are driving cars, then this project is symbolically a big step to take.”

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    E May 14, 2009 at 8:46 am

    As I understand it, this cycle track is a TEST. It’s going in, paint only, in a busy area to see if it works as a concept. If it works, it will be installed all over the city. If it doesn’t, away it goes. Yes, some money will be spent. It’s worth it.

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    matthew May 14, 2009 at 8:47 am

    hart #17

    wonderful sentiment. when my grandmother runs you over i won’t shed a tear.

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    Vance Longwell May 14, 2009 at 9:43 am

    hart #17, I was waiting for some one else to bring it up, and I think you aren’t totally serious. Alas, that’s an incredibly inflammatory sentiment that you won’t always be around to take responsibility for. Should a statement like that enrage some one with a car, do you really think they are going to track you down, or take it out on the first cyclist they come across?

    It’s like having a mouthy girlfriend that likes to watch fist fights. She does the talking, I do the bleeding.

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    Babygorilla May 14, 2009 at 11:19 am

    “One of our strong city policies is to dramatically increase the number of people bicycling. The way we can do that is to build facilities that feel safe to less experienced riders. We hear from countless people around the city who don’t ride because they are afraid, and that’s what this is targeted at.”

    How does a few, isolated blocks of “cyclepath,” which riders will have to, you know, ride on those scary main downtown thoroughfares to even get to, target riders who are “afraid” to ride in the street?

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    chriswnw May 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    razzledazzle @ 40:
    “Many folks seem discontent with the notion of a two-stage left. Without question, it will add time to your journey if you are turning east from the cycletrack. But realistically, we’re talking about 15-20 seconds maximum. That’s not, “the sky is falling and bicycle infrastructure is ruining my city” kind of delay. Just chill.”

    Those who promote cycle tracks do not want to merely install them on 7 blocks — they want a network of them spanning the entire city. Those 15-20 seconds — which I think you are underestimating — can add up quickly, especially if you have to do pedestrian left turns throughout the course of your entire journey. This doesn’t factor in the problem of being stuck behind slower cyclists who ride two abreast. On the street, you can easily pass with plenty of clearance — not so on a cycle track. I regularly ride on streets like Burnside, Stark, Belmont and Hawthorne because they are fast and direct routes, and I don’t need them screwed up by this sort of clutter. Those who prefer not to ride on them can take Ankeny, Salmon, Lincoln, Clinton, etc. That’s the great thing about having a well-connected street network.

    “re: 11 & 16
    Many bicyclists feel perfectly comfortable on streets outside of Downtown, and it’s only when they get Downtown – where bicycle infrastructure is lacking – that they find the facilities to be unacceptable. Facilities like cycletracks can encourage bicyclists who feel comfortable riding outside of the central city to continue riding once they reach downtown.”

    I currently see no lack of slower riders gliding through the streets of downtown with no issue at all — you seem to be underestimating people’s abilities.

    At any rate, I’d prefer to use traffic calming to create a few car-light routes that criss-cross downtown — Park and 9th would be two good options. They could lock up on such streets, and they wouldn’t have far to walk to their destinations.

    “Furthermore, I think it may be you who is conveniently ignoring that there are times in which correlation exists because of causation. The world’s best bicycling cities invest heavily in bicycle-specific infrastructure – including cycletracks – and they didn’t have that level of ridership before they started investing at such levels.”

    The data I posted and have read elsewhere does not support your conclusion. Also, look at Tokyo, which has incredibly high ridership. While I don’t know their exact modal share, they have Amsterdam-size parking garages full of bikes. They also have no bike specific infrastructure to speak of. It is, however, a densely populated city where driving is very expensive and inconvenient.

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    chriswnw May 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    razzledazzle @ 40:
    “Many folks seem discontent with the notion of a two-stage left. Without question, it will add time to your journey if you are turning east from the cycletrack. But realistically, we’re talking about 15-20 seconds maximum. That’s not, “the sky is falling and bicycle infrastructure is ruining my city” kind of delay. Just chill.”

    Those who promote cycle tracks do not want to merely install them on 7 blocks — they want a network of them spanning the entire city. Those 15-20 seconds — which I think you are underestimating — can add up quickly, especially if you have to do pedestrian left turns throughout the course of your entire journey. This doesn’t factor in the problem of being stuck behind slower cyclists who ride two abreast. On the street, you can easily pass with plenty of clearance — not so on a cycle track. I regularly ride on streets like Burnside, Stark, Belmont and Hawthorne because they are fast and direct routes, and I don’t need them screwed up by this sort of clutter. Those who prefer not to ride on them can take Ankeny, Salmon, Lincoln, Clinton, etc. That’s the great thing about having a well-connected street network.

    “re: 11 & 16
    Many bicyclists feel perfectly comfortable on streets outside of Downtown, and it’s only when they get Downtown – where bicycle infrastructure is lacking – that they find the facilities to be unacceptable. Facilities like cycletracks can encourage bicyclists who feel comfortable riding outside of the central city to continue riding once they reach downtown.”

    I currently see no lack of slower riders gliding through the streets of downtown with no issue at all — you seem to be underestimating people’s abilities.

    At any rate, I’d prefer to use traffic calming to create a few car-light routes that criss-cross downtown — Park and 9th would be two good options. They could lock up on such streets, and they wouldn’t have far to walk to their destinations.

    “Furthermore, I think it may be you who is conveniently ignoring that there are times in which correlation exists because of causation. The world’s best bicycling cities invest heavily in bicycle-specific infrastructure – including cycletracks – and they didn’t have that level of ridership before they started investing at such levels.”

    The data I posted and have read elsewhere does not support your conclusion. Also, look at Tokyo, which has incredibly high ridership. While I don’t know their exact modal share, they have Amsterdam-size parking garages full of bikes. They also have no bike specific infrastructure to speak of. It is, however, a densely populated city where driving is very expensive and inconvenient.

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    Shoemaker May 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    An expanded bike lane, mostly protected and generously separated. I can’t wait to ride on it and check it out!

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    Spencer Boomhower May 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    chriswnw #16:

    ‘Spencer Boomhower @ 12
    “At the very least it looks like the kind of thing that could lure less experienced riders onto their bikes. Simply not having to ride in traffic – or even next to traffic – can be the deciding factor for many potential riders.”

    Not unless their starting point and destination are the beginning and end of the track.’

    Even if the cycletrack is only one leg of their trip, if it’s an improvement on the sections that precede it and follow it, and if it’s an improvement on riding on Broadway as it is now, it’ll be a win for these riders.

    chriswnw #49:

    “I currently see no lack of slower riders gliding through the streets of downtown with no issue at all — you seem to be underestimating people’s abilities.”

    I was just today biking around downtown, and have to say I came away with quite a different impression regarding slow riders, and their lack (or lack of lack). My impression was that there was a whole lot of cars for every cyclist, and what riders I saw were exhibiting confidence simply by being out there in that sea of bumpers.

    Of course, I wouldn’t put as much stock in either of our anecdotal observations as I would in the actual studies that have been done on ridership.

    At the Bicycle Master Plan open house, there was the “Four Types of Cyclists” chart, which has “strong and fearless,” riders at 1%, “enthused and confident,” riders at 7%, and “interested but concerned,” not-yet-riders at 60%.

    So what you *aren’t* seeing is that 60%, those inexperienced riders who aren’t getting out there – in droves.

    Something like this cycletrack is part of an attempt to lure out those interested-but-concerned people, and I’m perplexed as to why the strong, fearless, enthused, and confident among us would want to piss all over the attempt.

    My enduring image of cycletracks is based on what I saw in Germany. As I was marveling at the bike-only paths between the sidewalks and roads, I was startled to see matronly, older women – in street clothes, with no helmets – zipping along on their bikes. And not just puttering along, but fiercely intent on reaching their destinations. The roads were pretty quiet, so they could easily have gone by car. Yet they preferred to travel by bike. I can’t think of when I’ve seen anything like that here. So when I think cycletracks, I think little old ladies emboldened to ride their bikes. FAST. Fast for little old ladies, anyway.

    And I think about this beautiful video from Copenhagenize:

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/04/city-of-cyclists.html

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    JR May 14, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I’d much rather ride on this than the bike lane there today… In fact, I avoid Broadway for pretty much the whole way through downtown because the lane is so narrow and cars pull in and out of the parking area without checking for cyclists, despite the frequency of cyclists on that street. I have even noticed cab drivers just hanging out in the bike lane leaning against their cabs.. This may be just what’s needed, here and in so many other parts of the city.. Can’t wait to see it out there!

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    cooper May 15, 2009 at 3:05 am

    re: 33
    i also think that the park blocks would be an ideal location for a north/south cycle path in downtown portland, and would be very easy to execute.

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    cooper May 15, 2009 at 3:05 am

    re: 33
    i also think that the park blocks would be an ideal location for a north/south cycle path in downtown portland, and would be very easy to execute.

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    chriswnw May 15, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Spencer, again, you are assuming that high ridership in places like Germany is in fact *caused* the presence of cycle tracks. I posted evidence that it is not, and nobody has posted counter-evidence. The old ladies that you refer to can also be found cycling around Tokyo, which is entirely free of bike-specific infrastructure.

    Also, a number of studies have shown that cycle paths have increased the collision rate in the European countries that have been mentioned:

    “For urban roads with many junctions, accident analysis suggests that segregated cycling facilities are likely to produce a net increase in the number of collisions. These conclusions are supported by the experience of countries that have implemented segregated cycling facilities. In the United States,[35]UK,[36] Germany, Sweden,[37] Denmark[38]and Finland,[39] it has been found that cycling on roadside urban cycle tracks/sidepaths results in up to 12-fold increases in the rate of car/bicycle collisions. At a 1990 European conference on cycling, the term Russian roulette was used to describe the use of roadside cycle paths.[40]

    In Helsinki, research has shown that cyclists are safer cycling on roads with traffic than when using the city’s 800 kilometres (500 mi) of cycle paths.[41] The Berlin police and Senate conducted studies which led to a similar conclusion in the 1980s.[42] In Berlin 10% of the roads have cycle paths, but these produce 75% of fatalities and serious injuries among cyclists.[43]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bike_path#The_safety_of_segregated_cycle_facilities

    But why do I bother posting facts and figures? They obviously don’t matter at this blog. The only thing that the fans of this idea care about are subjective feelings and impressions, and creating the *appearance* of “bike-friendliness”, no matter how bogus it may be.

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    wsbob May 16, 2009 at 12:58 am

    “But why do I bother posting facts and figures? They obviously don’t matter at this blog.” chriswnw #56

    Don’t they? Facts and figures might matter more to people if they were accompanied by a few simple statements from the linked wiki article and its long list of references, summarizing why certain researchers have concluded that cycle tracks may actually increase rather than decrease frequency of bicycle/motor vehicle collisions.

    In the 4-5 references that I checked out, researches arrived at a couple key conclusion that probably seems obvious: collisions tend to occur most at intersections because of road user failure to detect another road user on a collision path…and…road users fail to comply with traffic regulatory controls (in other words, they blow stop signs).

    There appears to be much, more material in those references, but better be prepared to possibly spend a few hours going through them to draw out of them, something coherent and relevant to our local situation.

    It sure doesn’t seem to me that everyone reading this blog is a fan of cycle tracks or the design of this one in particular.

    Based on the wiki article and its references, one might conclude that cycle tracks may offer an extra measure of comfort and safety to people riding bikes as they travel between intersections, but for the overall road infrastructure, cycle tracks may threaten to add a dangerous level of complexity that engineers to date haven’t been able to effectively deal with.

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    Spencer Boomhower May 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    chriswnw #56:

    “Spencer, again, you are assuming that high ridership in places like Germany is in fact *caused* the presence of cycle tracks.”

    I’m pretty sure I never said that, and if I did, I mis-spoke.

    I do think cycletracks could help increase ridership, but I don’t know that for sure. That’s why I think this little prototype track on Broadway might be worth doing: to help find out. (Also, that’s why all my thoughts on the matter are peppered with: could, maybe, might, if/then, etc…)

    I did say I *associate* cycletracks with the startling and inspiring sight of older ladies in Germany using bicycles to get where they were going. But that’s different than saying one caused the other.

    Also, I give credence to your point that not all cities with bike-specific infrastructure saw increased ridership, and that’s a point worth keeping in mind.

    Seeming to speak to that point, though, is this post that just appeared on Streetsblog:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/05/15/streetfilms-nyc-bike-to-work-day-2009/

    In the video they talk about how ridership shot up 35% last year, and give a lot of credit for that to their recent buildout of bike infrastructure, including cycletracks.

    Anyway, again, I want to stress: I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Broadway cycletrack. I think of it as a test, a prototype, something you build without getting too attached to, for learning purposes.

    I’ve just been reading Pedaling Revolution, and I’m on the Amsterdam chapter. One thing that stood out to me is that they make a point of building their cycletracks only along roads that are really fast-moving (on slower roads bikes and cars mix). So maybe Broadway doesn’t qualify as fast enough. I don’t know, but I’m interested in finding out.

    “The old ladies that you refer to can also be found cycling around Tokyo, which is entirely free of bike-specific infrastructure.”

    Can you point me to information on Tokyo as a cycling town? My image of Tokyo has always pretty much been: pedestrians, trains, and car congestion. You’ve mentioned Tokyo a couple times here, and it’s the first I’ve heard of it as a place with lots of bike riders (I did a quick search and didn’t find much). And I’m NOT disputing that point. It’s just new to me, and I’d like to see more on the topic.

    “The only thing that the fans of this idea care about are subjective feelings and impressions, and creating the *appearance* of “bike-friendliness”, no matter how bogus it may be.”

    As a fan of this idea, I guess I can only say: that’s not the only thing I care about.

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    chriswnw May 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    “One thing that stood out to me is that they make a point of building their cycletracks only along roads that are really fast-moving (on slower roads bikes and cars mix).”

    “Fast-moving” streets by Dutch standards are not particularly fast-moving by U.S. standards. Check out:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=52.365459,4.894924&spn=0,359.945068&z=15&layer=c&cbll=52.373068,4.879351&panoid=VQGy6ylOv21oCg_0zkw4jg&cbp=12,58.01,,0,15.62

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=52.359641,4.862523&spn=0,359.945068&z=15&layer=c&cbll=52.359605,4.862361&panoid=TO92aS8Npt3S01MbSMGdrg&cbp=12,256.89,,0,11.33

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=52.370516,4.864283&spn=0,359.945068&z=15&layer=c&cbll=52.374525,4.857259&panoid=gFLdkLCYLHc3F5GN8jDsBQ&cbp=12,82.62,,0,18.08

    The streets depicted above aren’t exactly like TV Highway. These are all two lane thoroughfares that wouldn’t be any more challenging than Belmont or Stark to ride upon. Personally, I think Belmont and Stark are already great riding streets, and aren’t in need of modification.

    To their credit, these cycle paths do seem to address the problem of being right hooked by positioning cyclists ahead of traffic at the intersection. However, these streets do force you to perform pedestrian left turns, which will slow one down significantly over the course of one’s journey. I imagine that getting around people riding two abreast would be a bit of a challenge too. Also, I notice that many of these tracks are made of bricks or cobblestones — another horrible idea that reduces speed and causes slipperyness during rainy weather. If I lived in this city, I guess I’d ride on side streets exclusively so that I wouldn’t have to deal with such nonsense, although that would deprive me of more direct routes.

    Tolerance for riding in the street where such tracks exist is not either tolerated or legal, which effectively means a subtraction of bikeable space. As a cyclist, wouldn’t you rather have more, as opposed to less?

    “Can you point me to information on Tokyo as a cycling town? My image of Tokyo has always pretty much been: pedestrians, trains, and car congestion.”

    I unfortunately have no ridership statistics. I do know that they have Amsterdam size bike parking facilities that are full, so their ridership is sufficient to support that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE4fvwTBtno

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afjqq4L73Wc

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=35.682904,139.772744&spn=0,359.972534&z=16&layer=c&cbll=35.682871,139.772842&panoid=v3S02THgFGaLxoQ-cy3Scw&cbp=12,184.38,,0,24.27

    Their side streets lack sidewalks and are no wider than alleyways and don’t support high automobile speeds. On main streets, slower riders use the sidewalks (illegally, although the laws are rarely enforced), and faster riders take the lane. Check out Google Streetview.

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    Spencer Boomhower May 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    chriswnw #59

    “If I lived in this city, I guess I’d ride on side streets exclusively so that I wouldn’t have to deal with such nonsense, although that would deprive me of more direct routes.

    Tolerance for riding in the street where such tracks exist is not either tolerated or legal, which effectively means a subtraction of bikeable space. As a cyclist, wouldn’t you rather have more, as opposed to less?”

    I want it all. I want there to be the right to bike in the street for riders who want that, while also claiming space like these cycletracks for riders – and potential riders – who would prefer not to mix it up with cars.

    Now, I’m reading Pedaling Revolution, and he’s describing Amsterdam:

    “And even during rush hour, you’ll see the occasional rider in full cycle-racing regalia eschewing the cycletracks to speed along the main road with cars.”

    I took that to mean that in Amsterdam, even on roads with cycletracks, bicycles can get out among car traffic. But you’re saying that’s not the case?

    Regardless, however much we might look to Europe for inspiration – or even for examples of how *not* to do things – whatever design solutions we arrive at will have to be appropriate to the situation on the ground here in Portland. The claiming-of-both-spaces approach might be more appropriate here.

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