The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Construction company creates bike-only traffic lane around project

Posted by on June 26th, 2009 at 11:06 am

construction detour on N. Vancouver-6

A bike only lane, compliments of
Hoffman Construction Corp.
More images
(Photos © J. Maus)

A few months ago, I shared a story of bike lane disrespect about how construction crews often have no regard for bikeways during their projects.

Today, we have the complete opposite; a construction detour that goes above and beyond anything I’ve seen.

Hoffman Construction is building a new parking structure for Legacy Emanuel Hospital in North Portland and today they are repaving the curbside lane adjacent to the project. In order to handle the reams of bike traffic that comes down N. Vancouver — it is, after all ranked as Portland’s best bike lane — they have constructed a temporary, bike-only lane out of traffic cones.

Story continues below


It is a sight to behold.

construction detour on N. Vancouver-2

construction detour on N. Vancouver-4

According to project engineer Jason Haslam, who smiled and waved on bike riders this morning, they did the bike detour because they’ve been working on the project for eight months and “we’d seen all the bike traffic going by.” “We’ve been planning this,” he added, “so we didn’t just throw all the bikers into the roadway.”

Seems like an obvious sentiment, but you’d be surprised at how some construction folks are not so sensitive to bike traffic. A few years ago, just a few blocks away on N. Williams, I noticed this horrible encroachment into the (already narrow) bikeway:

construction blocking bike path

construction blocking bike path

(Thankfully, after I sent them the photos above, the nice folks at Adaptive Construction moved back their fence.)

Thank you Hoffman Construction for respecting ALL traffic!

See more photos of this temporary, bike-only traffic lane (including a shot of one of the workers giving me the “A-OK” sign as I rode by) in the gallery.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Bob June 26, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Excellent. Hopefully this becomes the norm and not the exception.

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  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth June 26, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I’m glad that you’re giving props where they’re due Jonathan. This is my morning commute and have really appreciated the cones.

    Thanks also for suggesting to others where improvement is possible.

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  • Liam June 26, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    That is pretty awesome.

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  • Borgbike June 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I really appreciated that lane when I rode into work yesterday. The number of cones where pretty silly so I suspect it may be a symbol of them over compensating for their initial oversight.

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  • Racer X June 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Someday it will be the norm … and the law.

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  • Jessica Roberts June 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    (I thought I left a comment but it hasn’t appeared…apologies if this ends up being a duplicate.)

    According to PDOT, over 3500 daily bike trips were made on N Vancouver in 2008, while 2007 counts showed between 5000 and 8000 motor vehicles. With bikes making up half of traffic on this street, it only makes sense to accommodate them during construction. Kudos to Hoffman.

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  • indy June 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    This was done on Naito during the Saturday Market construction months ago.

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  • a June 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    nice that they did it FINALLY

    (mind you…this happened AFTER a few days of just parking a rig at the bottom of the slope out of sight of the downhill approach, forcing riders to stop outright or take the lane in a spot where following drivers might not see or expect it)

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  • El Biciclero June 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Actually, if there are 4000 bike trips and 8000 car trips, bike trips make up 1/3 (4000 bike trips out of 12000 total trips) of traffic. Bike trips have to equal car trips to make up half of traffic.

    BUT Still–this kind of thing is awesome; I wish it was city policy for utility, groundskeeping, road construction, and any other kind of work crew that blocks or mostly blocks an existing bike lane during their work to do something like this. At the very least it should be mandatory to put up a sign 500-1000 ft. ahead of time that explains to bikes AND CAR DRIVERS that the bike lane is closed ahead, bikes will be merging into the remaining open lane.

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  • Jessica Roberts June 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Doh! Thanks for math-busting me, EB.

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  • ME 2 June 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I ride this route in the morning to work. A lot of credit should also be given to the onsite construction workers. A few months ago I came upon a flagger who was letting bikes through on the lane when it was clear. Today, the flagger on staff and I had a nice exchange when I came from N Mason to turn onto Williams. I appreciated her sincerity in giving me a heads up about the pylons and to be careful. It was a nice exchange from some of the condescending looks and words I’ve gotten from the crew that’s been working on the Fountain under the Burnside Bridge.

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  • Meg June 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I rode by this, just this morning! So cool!! I gave them big smiles and got them in return.

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  • Justin June 26, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Yay. Good on you Hoffman. I ahve been around a number of HCC projects and their staff are really top notch. Great job for considering us, even if it too a few days.

    on a side note to this (a little tip of hat wag of finger) i am glad this article links the one about problems with construction sites because just today i was faced with an absurd inconsideration on the hawthorne bridge while trying to get to work today. ODOT crews had put their “lane closed ahead” signs directly in the bike lane heading west into town. in fact, they put the second warning sign directly in front of the ramp where the bike lane joines the separated sidewalk. Why they couldn’t use these signs on the walk path before that point, forcing us bikers to veer into the high speed traffic lanes (i know we have the right to take the lane, but try explaining that to a car approaching at 40 mph from the rear) I just don’t understand. infuriating

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  • bikesalot June 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Outstanding to have this example. From what I am told, ODOT needs to take a page from this book. I have two reports now from riders who have encountered shoulder repair work on I-84 eastbound just after Warrendale. Riders touring up the Gorge that direction have no alternative to using I-84 at that point, and no choice but to TAKE THE LANE ON I-84 to go through there.

    I have not checked it out in person (for obvious reasons) but apparently there is not much in the way of warning or bike accomodation.

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  • Jon Bridenbaugh June 26, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Copy on post #8. They were way out in the lane with no warning for at least a couple of days. On top, one was a day when I was riding with my wife to get her comfortable with commuting 🙁

    Anyway, definitely a step in the right direction.

    Now if someone could just figure out/redesign the transition just south of Fremont where motorists have to cross over the bike lane to turn right on Kerby (and get on 405)


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  • Michael M. June 27, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I have taken it as yet another sign of how much more car-centric Portland is than anywhere else I’ve lived as an adult (namely, NYC and London) that construction sites in this town regularly defer to auto right-of-way at the expense of bike and pedestrian rights-of-way. It’s actually worse here for pedestrians than for cyclists, because at least as a cyclist you have the right to take the lane. As a pedestrian you are forced to cross the street. That just doesn’t happen in cities where pedestrians actually have rights — a temporary, usually sheltered walkway is constructed, even if that means closing a lane to auto/bike traffic (which it often does). Here, no such consideration.

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  • […] it doesn’t have to be that way. Bike Portland recently reported on a construction firm, Hoffman Construction, that created its own bicycle only lane around […]

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  • Paul Cone June 29, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Actually, they’re building an 8-story building to house the new Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital, and it comes along with a 3-story parking garage that could be expanded to 6-stories later.

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  • TM July 1, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Keep using the sugar and not the vinegar! I’ve generally found that most construction people like cyclists because:
    1. The average cyclist is actually nice to them.
    2. It’s just a much more human touch to see and talk to, even briefly, the folks they are helping.

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