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New “buffered bike lane” coming to SW Stark, Oak

Posted by on May 26th, 2009 at 6:53 am

This drawing shows design of new buffered bike lanes. Notice how a lane of motor-vehicle traffic has been re-purposed and will now be used for bike traffic.

Today the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation will announce plans for their “buffered bike lane” project (which they are also calling an “enhanced bike lane”). The new bike lane design will be implemented on SW Oak and SW Stark streets from Burnside (at 13th and 10th respectively) to Naito Parkway.

“The City wants Portlanders to be comfortable coming to downtown on a bicycle – whatever their skill level – and I want Portland to be the most bike friendly and sustainable City in the nation.”
— Mayor Sam Adams

The design is similar to the new cycle track that’s coming to Broadway, with the major difference being its location relative to parked cars. Like with the cycle track, PBOT will re-purpose an existing motor vehicle lane in order to create a wide, bike-only lane. But unlike the cycle track — where parked cars are to the left of bike riders and act as a physical barrier to auto traffic — the parked cars in the buffered bike lane design will be in their more standard, curbside location. (For more on the cycle track, check out PBOT’s website.)

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Once complete, people on bicycles riding on Stark and Oak will enjoy 10 feet of biking space all to themselves. The plans call for a six-foot wide bike lane with an additional two-feet of “shy zone” on either side (hence the term “buffered”). Mayor Adams says the goal for the new design is “to make cycling more comfortable and provide an inviting pedestrian friendly retail environment.”

In a statement released with the plans, Mayor Adams said he has directed PBOT to implement this new bike lane design along with the cycle track as one of two “innovative infrastructure projects to help take cycling in Portland to the next level and encourage more people to make sustainable choices.”

Adams’ plan is to evaluate the projects side-by-side to see which of the two work better.

Also in a statement, Adams acknowledged that these streets currently work well for people who are comfortable riding in traffic, but they’ve decided to try these two projects because, “most Portlanders tell us that they would use a bicycle much more often than they currently do if they had these kinds of options.” He also added that:

“The City wants Portlanders to be comfortable coming to downtown on a bicycle – whatever their skill level – and I want Portland to be the most bike friendly and sustainable City in the nation.”

City Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield said there are still a few design kinks to work out. SW Oak St. is currently two-way between Naito and 2nd (making the enhanced bike lane design impossible), so PBOT is looking into returning that section back to one-way operation.

I asked Burchfield about right-turn movements over the new bike lanes. He said at intersections with heavy right-turn activity — like on Stark at Broadway and 3rd — they will look to create (by removing parking) a right-turn lane for autos to separate right-turning motor vehicles from through bike traffic.

Like with the Broadway cycle track, PBOT chose Stark and Oak in part because they have relatively low traffic volumes and they found through modeling that the removal of one motor vehicle lane would not inhibit existing traffic flow.

Burchfield estimates the cost of each enhanced lane to be about $45,000 (similar in cost to the cycle track). PBOT hopes to have the new lanes installed in August of this year.


For more information, check out PBOT’s enhanced bike lane FAQ (also learn more on their website):

What is an enhanced bicycle lane?

An enhanced bicycle lane is designed so that it provides a more protected and comfortable space for cyclists than a conventional bike lane and does not have the same barriers to sight lines as a Cycle Track – where view of cyclists may be obstructed by parked cars.

Why are we constructing enhanced bicycle lanes (i.e., what’s wrong with these streets the way they are now)?

These streets currently work fine for people who are comfortable riding bicycles in mixed traffic. However, our designs are intended to make bicycling more comfortable for the majority of Portlanders who are not comfortable riding under such conditions. Our analysis indicates that most Portlanders would use a bicycle much more often than they currently do if they didn’t have to mix so much with automobiles. A buffered bicycle lane provides that opportunity.

 
Why not use a simple bicycle lane?
 

Because the enhanced bicycle lane, with the added shy zones, offers a more comfortable riding environment that we believe it is more consistent with our efforts to make bicycling a part of daily life in Portland.

 
How does an enhanced bike lane provide more protection for cyclists than a bike lane?

Enhanced bike lanes provide more protection for cyclists by providing ‘shy’ or buffered zones on either side of the cyclist.

 
What will drivers notice that is different about driving on a street with an enhanced bike lane?
 

There isn’t much of a change for drivers.  They will still need to watch carefully for cyclists when they are turning right at cross-streets or driveways.  They will also need to take care when parking on-street which is accomplished by crossing the enhanced bicycle lane.  Cyclists will always be clearly visible to drivers because, unlike a Cycle Track, the buffered bicycle lane does not have the barrier of parked cars between the bicycle lane and the travel lane.
 
The travel way for vehicles will also be narrower.  On SW Stark and SW Oak, the number of travel lanes will be reduced from two to one.

 
Will SW Stark and Oak Streets become congested if there is only one travel lane for vehicles?

Our traffic analysis indicates that these streets will operate with little additional delay for cars when reduced to one travel lane.  One of the reasons that these streets were selected for this demonstration project is because they have light traffic flows and extra street capacity available for other users.

 
How does parking work adjacent to an enhanced Bicycle Lane?

Drivers park parallel to the buffered bicycle lane in the same way that they do today except that they will need to yield to bicycles before crossing the enhanced bicycle lane to reach the parking lane.  The parking lane is adjacent to the curb.

Are buffered bicycle lanes expensive to implement?
 

The Enhanced Bicycle Lane proposed for this demonstration project eliminates a travel lane so no construction is needed.  As a consequence, they are low cost and relatively easy to implement.

Do Enhanced Bicycle Lanes provide any benefit for retail businesses on the street?
 

The reduction of one travel lane can provide a calmer environment for retail businesses without reducing area parking.  Additionally, this improvement will attract more cyclists to the street and more people will use the street in total.  This will likely be a benefit to businesses that attract passer-by shoppers.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Schrauf
Guest

I like this idea better than the cycletrack. No pedestrians will take it over, and it is easier to switch lanes prior to turning left.

Personally, I still prefer to just take a lane of traffic and share it with other vehicles, especially downtown with its slow traffic, but to help get more people out on bikes for the first time, some infrastructure such as this is very valuable.

John Peterson
Guest
John Peterson

This is a much better project than the other recent downtown proposals (cycle tracks). Not only does the route actually go somewhere, it actually seems like it might work in terms of traffic flow, turning, visibility, and keeping pedestrians and bikes separate.

Hopefully this is represents a new direction for bike infrastructure and planning.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

New blog post: New “buffered bike lane” coming to SW Stark, Oak http://bit.ly/Da2lJ

Jonathan Maus
Guest

New blog post: New "buffered bike lane" coming to SW Stark, Oak http://bit.ly/Da2lJ

joe
Guest
joe

nice, let’s see it and let’s see more.

Joseph Rose
Guest

RT@BikePortlandNew blog post: New “buffered bike lane” coming to SW Stark, Oak http://bit.ly/Da2lJ

Craig Bachman
Guest

RT @BikePortland: New “buffered bike lane” coming to SW Stark, Oak http://bit.ly/Da2lJ CMNT: Sweet this was kind of a bottleneck.

Dan Liu
Guest

This is super, and Stark and Oak are really good streets to do this on. I’ll be very interested to see how the northwest-bound buffered lane terminates at Oak & 11th: the 11th ave streetcar tracks are on the right side, exactly where most bikes would want to turn onto.

Extra signaling for bikes at Stark & Naito might be needed too, because the current traffic alignment has cars turning both left and right simultaneously at the green light. And, now that I think of it, turning onto Oak from Naito isn’t yet the most intuitive thing given current signaling and signage.

Zaphod
Guest

Excellent!

Spencer Boomhower
Guest
Spencer Boomhower

This looks great, and it’ll be interesting to compare and contrast it with the nearby cycletrack.

mmann
Guest

Nice idea. I’m curious about the “shy zones.” Are these just going to be painted, or will there be some sort of physical bump/barrier/etc to discourage cars from drifting over?

Chris
Guest
Chris

Looks great. I think this will take care of some concerns with turning that people have had about the cycle track. The buffer give me some room to pass if all is clear.

I’d love to see more bike boulevard work on the east side. More NE to SE bike boulevards would be loved!!! Even the beginning commuter at my work feels comfortable and safe taking up a lane in downtown.

Vance Longwell
Guest

These two streets represent a shrinking number of bike-able streets downtown. Since Portland’s push to make cycling more accessible in Portland includes changing existing infrastructure that works well for bikes into infrastructure that works well for the Nanny State, there should be no place to ride a bike in downtown Portland very soon.

Stark, Oak, and Broadway are, and even were just fine the way they are. These two projects will only serve to further alienate motorists, and seasoned vehicular cyclists, while providing a higher-level of service to people who can’t seem to be bothered to get over their irrational fears. Kool, make it harder for people you wouldn’t have to spend a penny on to ride a bike, in order to make it easier for people you have to spend a mint on to get to ride theirs.

Brilliant.

This is a joke, and an outrage. Never thought I’d see the day my worst enemy on the roads would be people calling themselves cyclists.

How pathetic are you that you need this crap to ride a BICYCLE down the road? Seriously, CHILDREN do this by the hundreds everyday. Why can’t grown adults manage where children do just fine?

John Lascurettes
Guest

Very interesting. I work in the old Fed Reserve building between Oak/Stark and 10th/9th. I look forward to seeing first-hand how this plays out.

I’m going to dig a little deeper to see how they’ll handle the terminus on Oak at 10th Ave. Like Dan Liu, I have some concerns.

As it stands, I always make my right from the left lane (and one can only make a right from either lane) as I always want to get across the streetcar tracks into the lane without the tracks heading north on 10th. If the buffered lane is there all the way to 10th, then they’re essentially forcing bikes into either the streetcar lane (hazard) or the right-turn-only lane to Burnside (bad design).

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

mmann,

about the “shy zones”. for now they will be just painted.

both of these projects are demonstrations, so PBOT wants them to be as least cost as possible. once designs are ironed out, they’ll likely bulk up the treatments with more permanent features… like bollards, bumps, medians, etc…

John Lascurettes
Guest

Hmm. No point of contact listed on those pages at PBOT. Anyone know who to contact directly with questions or concerns?

ScottG
Guest
ScottG

I like this not only for the increased comfort level it will offer newer cyclists, but for the way in which these setups raise visibility of bicycling on these streets in general. I’m looking forward to riding on them this summer.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Off topic but I’m seeing this route-bikes-past-right-turning-motorist thing begin to take root. The asinine policy of using painted bike-lanes to restrict bicycle access to the public right of way is outrageous. However the deadly policy of forcing cyclists and motorists into conflict, and calling it a safety improvement, is tantamount to murder.

You won’t stop at anything to grow your profits…er…I…mean…mode share, will ya’ll?For no other reason than to justify your new Green Church, you’ll inconvenience thousands and thousands of motorists, imperil seasoned users, and top it all off by deploying traffic affectations that only make cycling in Portland more dangerous and inconvenient for every one.

Every one has a right to safety. This includes seasoned riders who have been out there for years, you know? Clogging the streets with anything that will roll and calling it a bike, arbitrarily tampering with a vetted system, and then vilifying anybody in contention with unanimous support is hardly a, “Cycling movement”.

More like the popular kids just got to town and now they’re gonna show us all how it’s done. No matter who it kills, inconveniences, alienates, or injures.

Traveling forward by a right-turning car is rude, dangerous, counter-productive, and in every way vastly inferior to simply passing left. Regardless of what little lines the opportunists, and profiteers want to paint everywhere.

Neighbor
Guest

“Once complete, people on bicycles riding on Stark and Oak will enjoy 10 feet of biking space” and local delivery drivers will enjoy taking advantage of the wider short-term parking zone.

Sorry to rain on the parade- I think it’s great that these improvements are on the horizon, but I’m really concerned about the number of dissimilar, unproven approaches being implemented all over the city. How many unique lane and facility types do we plan to have? Green lanes, cycletracks, buffered, blue, boxes- the list keeps growing.

I think bike riders will get it- at slower speeds and being accustomed to identifying and using bicycle facilities, I think we’ll have a wonderful time with these zany lane-type changes from block-to-block (bike and skate parks thrive on variety of trick structures, why not our streets?). My real concern is drivers- especially visitors to the city who may not even have vanilla bike lanes in their home town, let alone 31 flavors of bicycle facility.

So keep it coming- more on-street facilities for the win- but seriously… a little consistency please?

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

I am really happy to see PDOT forging ahead on several demonstration projects in downtown. Downtown remains uncomfortable for beginning and slow bicyclists, so treatments like this are likely to make a big difference. And testing out two different designs will provide opportunities for evaluation and refinement for future projects. Exciting!

Vance Longwell
Guest

Roberts #16 –

“Downtown remains uncomfortable for beginning and slow bicyclists…”

This is an unsupported assertion. I know because I make many of my own. What is the legal definition of, “uncomfortable”, anyway? Regardless, you can’t produce any evidence of this. It’s too abstract a notion to prove. Since when are we as citizens subject to the, “Whim”, then as that’s no more or less accurate, of a minority of our citizenry?

Is this the Portland that you all want to live in? We have traditionally maintained a fairly zero tolerance policy for incompetent public-right-of-way users for how long now? All modes.

Since when is making people comfortable a higher priority than feeding, or housing others? If we’re going to be playing, I mean experimenting with, taxpayer money why not experiment with some full bellies, or some medicine, or somebody who has a clue what they are doing on the staff at PBOT?

You are decimating cyclists’ access to the public-right-of-way. You are increasing motorist, and cyclist trip-times simultaneously, and exponentially for what?

“…so treatments like this are likely to make a big difference.”

“Likely”. You guys don’t even know? “Likely”, and, “uncomfortable”, then are defined where in the ORS? Are these additions tested in anyway? No? It’s an experiment? With people’s lives at stake? Right. The Nanny State strikes again!!

Are you sure you aren’t excited about buffering your job security a little more than you are making anybody any safer?

Dave
Guest

I guess there always has to be at least one ranter.

I think this is great and will be interesting to see how it works out in comparison to the more separated cycle track. In this case, it will be interesting to see how it works with automobile traffic having to cross the bike lane, though I guess that situation already exists all over the city. As long as they manage intersections well, it should work pretty well, I think.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Experimentation with an idea like this would be significant over on say…N.W. Everette and Glisan between I-405(remember discussion of the riding environment of that section of those streets from last year connected with the re-use Sauvie Island Bridge on Flanders proposal?). Those streets are heavily traveled by people in cars and bikes. People on bikes there really do need a safety and a comfort margin from motor vehicle traffic.

On Oak and Stark, the value of this effort is questionable. I feel that keeping the bike lane to the left of parked cars makes it a better design than the planned SW Broadway cycle track. The intention seems good, but the experiment would likely produce a greater benefit on a busy street.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Once again, I stopped reading after “nanny state.” But I did skim ahead and saw “tantamount to murder.” Going for the gold, huh, Vance?

redhippie
Guest
redhippie

I am excited for the city to experiment with this concept. Creating biking arterials is an important step in creating a city with diverse transportation options.

That said, I am wondering how the City plans on addressing the following issues:
1. Parking enforcement for vehicles blocking bike lanes.
2. Repainting bike lanes lines in the spring after a winter of studded tires have decimated them.
3. Traffic enforcement for drivers that veer into to the bike lane to get around other stopped vehicles
4. Educating slow bike riders to stay on the right and pass on the left.

Julie White
Guest

RT @BikePortland: New blog post: New "buffered bike lane" coming to SW Stark, Oak http://bit.ly/Da2lJ

Spencer Boomhower
Guest
Spencer Boomhower

A couple things about the FAQ:

“How does parking work adjacent to an enhanced Bicycle Lane?”

“Drivers park parallel to the buffered bicycle lane in the same way that they do today except that they will need to yield to bicycles before crossing the enhanced bicycle lane to reach the parking lane…”

That, “except they will need to yield to bicycles,” would seem to imply that currently drivers are _not_ required to yield to bicycles in regular bike lanes when parking. That doesn’t sound right… Or am I reading it wrong?

Also:

“The reduction of one travel lane can provide a calmer environment for retail businesses without reducing area parking. Additionally, this improvement will attract more cyclists to the street and more people will use the street in total. This will likely be a benefit to businesses that attract passer-by shoppers.”

Sounds like a great spot for a bike corral 🙂

E
Guest
E

Folks, this is a test. Just like the cycle track. If it works it will be implemented in all those places it will do the most good; for now, it’s in an area busy enough to be useful but not so busy as to create a bunch of problems. Let’s give it a chance and see how it works.
Myself, I’m curious to try it out and see how it compares to the cycle track. I actually use these two streets regularly – and I make left turns – so I look forward to testing the design.

Vance Longwell
Guest

peejay #20

Nope, just reached a breaking point with people using made-up, AND irrational fears to justify impeding motorists. Cycling has nothing to do with politics, and I’m tired of BikePortland (Nothing personal J&E), and many of it’s readers trying to tie the bike movement to the Nanny State, and Green Church agenda.

I’m just trying to get from point a to point b on my bicycle. I do this because I’m too poor to afford a car. I do this because I’m tired of the diseases I keep getting on the bus system. For that matter, now that I’ve alienated this wholesome, welcoming, non-judgmental crew here at BikePortland, jobs have become scarce for me. So add to that I can’t afford the bus either. Now riding my bike get’s a little slower, and a little more dangerous every day, thanks to the people charged with getting traffic moving, and keeping me safe.

Mr. Maus, and Ms. Blue are doing a great job here, and I really admire this blog, I really do. This IS the headquarters/groundzero for a very certain type of cyclist though, hence my presence. Doesn’t do any good to preach to the choir, right?

So ya, going for the gold indeed. Way upset by the arbitrary nature of the way this stuff is being presented. Very upset about dangerously incompetent users, of any mode really, proliferating on the public right-of-way. Very upset with people who drive more than ride, dictating to me, and marginalizing me when they can’t win an argument, how I’m going to operate my bicycle.

People so frightened, so incompetent, so ridiculously short-sighted that they actually wear a Styrofoam cup on their head to FEEL safe are not the people I want making my safety decisions for me.

benschon
Guest
benschon

Portland is actually converting an existing traffic lane to be bicycle-only. Think about that. I never thought I would see the day. Rejoice!

Dave
Guest

@Vance: I understand that this kind of thing threatens certain cyclists’ ability to ride as fast as they like (which they can do in car traffic lanes). However, I think it would be more useful for you to fight the requirement to ride in a bike lane where one exists, than to fight new infrastructure aimed at getting more people on bikes. Again, these are tests, and if they prove successful, then they will be fleshed out to be implemented in other places, just like SE Clinton was the test for the bike box idea, which was then modified a bit for implementation in other areas.

I know you seem to think anyone should feel perfectly safe riding in the lane with automobiles, but that is simply not the case. I agree with you that it’s partly due to an imposed sense of fear, but also, not everyone has the physical stamina or skill to keep up in automotive traffic, and it is intimidating having a loud machine bearing down on you. Bike boulevards help that, and to some extent, downtown traffic is slow enough for people to feel comfortable in it, but I really do believe that infrastructure like this is going to be beneficial towards the end of getting more people on bicycles for more trips.

Schrauf
Guest

I enjoy Vance and the alternative views he sometimes brings to the table. I don’t believe his fear of cyclists eventually being relegated to crowded inconvenient bike routes and banned from general traffic areas will play out, but it is definitely a potential risk to be conscious of.

In the meantime, there are more benefits than there are costs to encouraging more people to try bike transportation. And to think otherwise primarily because of the inconvience it may cause (slower bike travel in some areas) is selfish.

Matt Picio
Guest

Vance (#9) – I would think that your worst enemy would be the state legislature who forced you to use that infrastructure. Face it, if ORS 814.420 did not exist, you wouldn’t be required to use the bike lanes, and you could continue to use every road the way you have in the past.

We’ll leave out the whole issue of keeping cycling for the “elite” – i.e. “seasoned vehicular cyclists”, et. al.

and in (#17) – “Since when are we … subject to … a minority of our citizenry?” Since the days of women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement. Be glad that we are, else the motoring majority could use that argument to restrict bikes from the roads entirely.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Gosh, I changed my mind. I now believe correctly that only the fittest and most fearless of all cyclists should venture out onto the streets, where they will mix it up with cars and will require no “nanny state” protections. These seven or eight bikers will remind us of our freedoms. And we who did not make the cut will stand there on the sidewalk, waving and applauding. Or something like that.

Hart
Guest
Hart

Great job, Mayor. This is why we support you.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

How about a “Buffyed” bike lane. No vampires allowed!

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Mike
Guest
Mike

The vampire minority will take to the streets to protest the state’s sponsoring of our arch-rival!

Andres
Guest
Andres

Awesome!! I can hardly believe this is actually happening! Many times I’ve wondered about this concept, especially after narrowly avoiding a collision with a right-turning car that didn’t use a blinker.
This approach would work in 2 way traffic also; with the two inner lanes closest to the yellow line dedicated to bike traffic, and the mid & right hand lanes to motorists. (Multnomah blvd, for example)

Paulo
Guest
Paulo

Cheers peejay! Getting around by bike isn’t about racing – to me it’s about getting to work comfortably, getting 3 bags of groceries home without spilling anything…

Vance Longwell
Guest

As usual some great suggestions. I hadn’t considered the ‘pursue the legislature’ angle and feel that is a valid argument. I concede many of my points then. However, it’s been my experience that the things I physically contact are way more within my control than the abstract, arcane scrawling in some book in Salem. It is my defense then that arguing for no bike lanes, over arguing for the finer points of regulation, serves to function as both. You can’t lock me in a bike lane, if there simply isn’t one there. You are asking me to sacrifice for the newbs, what’s the difference between that and me calling for their sacrifice?

The statistical reality that safe bike trips outnumber unsafe ones on orders of magnitude makes any so-called, “fear”, of operating your bike in traffic an irrational one, period. Hell, a rational fear is enough to warrant banning any operator from the public right of way let alone a cyclist, IMO. Just exactly what is the goal here anyway?

This isn’t about fear and safety anyway, and I really resent the distortion. It’s around 99.9% safe out there on about any mode, by about any reckoning. This is all about something else since fear and safety aren’t even rational, let alone an argument. That’s why I do my best to twist, and distort in my language. This is what my opposition is doing, why shouldn’t I? If I may do a bit of mind reading this about a whole bunch of incredibly abstract, and equally personal feelings about society in general, and not anything as practical as where and how we’re gonna ride bikes.

Have your little Greenfest! Go right ahead, we’ve got forums for that. Cycling and transportation policy are not the place for morality, and enforcing the social contract though. Especially by playing upon people’s fear to fund these outrageously short sighted, and superfluous additions to our roadways.

Add to that there is also a lot of money at stake, and I can’t see how advocating for regulation, over prohibition, is going to service me, or any one like me. Don’t forget the number of people who will benefit financially from increasing cycling as a mode. They’re still a minority on a large scale, but that number is still huge, and they are making huge amounts of money too.

F.U.D driven by profit makes me look sideways at Conservatives, why should it be any different coming out of the mouths of those who self-identify as Liberal? That’s exactly what’s going on. Beads and trinkets, for the constituency. Treaties that will be forgotten the second public sentiment shifts a micro-degree. Don’t forget I’ve lived to see this exact set of circumstances play out, not once, but twice before here in 3 decades.

Keep your beads and trinkets, I’m just trying to hang on to my hunting ground. If your fear is real, it makes you dangerous, and incompetent. Just exactly the type I’m in favor of keeping on the bus.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Vance, in his own way, brings up a valid point. Drivers would go absolutely batcrap crazy if the city decided to turn a lane of I-5 into a 40 MPH “Calm” lane for seniors and new drivers frightened by others driving 60 MPH or faster. Especially if the reason was to “increase mobility for honored citizens” or some such rationale.

How many sharrows could be painted for what this will cost? What about signs stating that “Share the Road-It’s the Law!” Cyclists already have many rights on public thoroughfares that they (and drivers) are not even aware of. Perhaps new riders wouldn’t be so intimidated if they were aware that they could stray more than six inches from the fog line? Perhaps car drivers would act differently if they knew bikes are traffic just like them?

As a VC, I couldn’t care less if Portland becomes Amsterdam II or Copenhagen USA unless it restricts my ability to travel via bike. Right now, I enjoy the right to ride anything that isn’t an urban freeway. I, like Vance, fear that enough of these faux-Euro solutions will restrict me to certain cycle tracks and speeds of no more than 10 MPH – for safety and niceness!

Why must we always cater to the lowest common denominator and absolve them of any knowledge or personal responsibility? Hell, isn’t that how we got so many unqualified drivers?

Dave
Guest

@Brad: The difference here is that a bicycle is a human powered vehicle, and as such, it can only go as fast as the person riding it can make it go. Introducing a 40mph lane on the highway doesn’t make sense, because all anyone has to do to go 60 is apply a little more pressure with their foot. It’s not the same riding a bike. A person who isn’t in top physical shape is not going to be able to ride 25mph, much less for any kind of distance.

Dave
Guest

@Vance: as for myself, I have nothing to gain by having more people cycling except fewer cars on the streets, a quieter city, less air pollution, a more easily walkable city, and public spaces that feel like they are dominated more by people than by automobiles.

I have no desire to force you into doing anything, which is why I suggest fighting to over-rule the Oregon law requiring you to ride in a bike lane if it exists. If you want to ride in the car traffic lanes, I fully support you. However, I also want to support the majority of people who don’t feel comfortable riding in the car traffic lanes, which you seem to be adamantly opposed to.

Getting more people cycling is not about some stupid trendy “let’s all be green” fad that has no practical benefits, it’s about actually improving the living quality of the city. Having a greater proportion of human traffic, as opposed to automobile traffic really does change the feeling of a city drastically, and I think it’s worth trying some options to make that happen.

What is there to gain from *not* increasing cycling mode share? Your convenience, and the convenience of cyclists who are able to and used to navigating automobile traffic.

Though, the only reason you see that as a benefit of not increasing the bicycle mode-share is because of that Oregon law that requires you to ride in a bike lane if one exists. Once again, are you sure you’re fighting the right battle?

Vance Longwell
Guest

Dave #38 you did a great job here of outlining the semantic differences between bikes and cars, without making any sort of real assertion. Brad #37 and I are talking about fear of operating any vehicle in traffic. Are you asserting that a person driving 40 m.p.h. down an expressway filled with 60 m.p.h. traffic is perfectly okie-dokie? I don’t think you are. That is kinda what you are arguing though. The point is that cyclists here seem to expect to be singled out of other modes, and given benefits, in this case the assuaging of irrational fear, that other modes traditionally are not afforded.

I swear if somebody pipes up with that, “Motorist planning mentality”, hogwash I’m gonna explode.

Feeling safe, and being safe are two very different things. One is a zero sum fantasy. The other is an infinitely complex organism which can only be mitigated to a varying degree, and never outright controlled. As such, how can we expect to solve our transportation issues by addressing people’s feelings of safety, at the expense of actually making things safer?

If you wanna get a newb on a bike, point out to them that it’s statistically safer than even walking is in Portland Oregon, to ride one’s bike to and fro. If you wanna spend a bunch of money, talk a bunch of politics, speculate about how to control people’s lives, don makeup and pose for the cameras, and when opposed appeal to the protection of the lowest common denominator, well I’m gonna call you on it and be suspicious of an agenda.

Agenda+Cycling=Bad for Vance about 9 times out of 10.

are
Guest
are

as a vehicular cyclist, I have a certain sympathy with the direction Vance is coming from, but agree with Matt P. that the front line has to be getting rid of 814.420. if I am not required to use these infrastructure treatments, I am still okay. even if you happen to find yourself in one of these tracks, you are not required to place yourself inside a right hook. it’s called avoiding a hazard, and is permitted under 814.420. I have yet to be tagged by the men in blue for going around the left side of a car turning right.

it seems the agenda here is to get so many more people out on bikes, and to create such difficulties at the corners for motorists, that the motorists simply back off, and maybe some of them get on bikes.

education would be a “better” plan, but unless you want to license cyclists (and I emphatically do not), you cannot force it on people.

Dave
Guest

@Vance: on the contrary, no matter how many statistics you throw at someone, they will not get on a bike unless they *feel* safe. Just like 80% of Portlanders will continue wearing helmets no matter how much evidence there is to show that they don’t really improve your actual safety all that much.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Dave #42 Um ya that was mostly for effect. I’m sort of looking down and kicking the dirt with my toe too.

I’m with you on helmets. The thing with ’em for me is that they’re good for scrapes and bruises, but not going to even mitigate a medium sized concussion or more. To make them resist those sorts of forces would require them to be much, much heavier. I wonder if newbs have any experience with heavy head-gear?

Plus IMO you’re trading off range of motion and visibility. This too, if you want to talk me down for being macho, or cavalier, what exactly are you up to on a public road that makes you feel that head gear is obligatory? Hmmm? I mean, I’m usually putting a helmet on to go fast, right? Right? Right?

Mike M
Guest
Mike M

@Jonathan #11,
The shy zone will likely always be paint, as the cars parking along the sidewalk will need to get in and out without driving to the end of the block in the bike lane.
This is a cool idea, but I commute down Oak whenever I ride and it is already fairly vacant. It seems like there are better places for this kind of path, but if it is truly an experiment to implemented in other locations I suppose it could make sense. In this location it is kinda silly.

are
Guest
are

re 44. it is possible we will be seeing most of these treatments installed where the effects on motorized traffic and curbside parking are minimal, and where the primary expense is paint. this would certainly be the politically expedient approach, pleasing the casual cyclist and not offending the motorist or the nearby business owner.