As we reported last week, a bike lane has been installed on the uphill portion of the N. Mississippi Ave hill. This morning I got a chance to see it up close and personal.
This project is yet another example of how the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation is removing re-striping and/or removing travel lanes on our roads to create space for bicycles (other examples are SE Holgate and the cycletrack on SW Broadway).
The Mississippi project was first announced back in June of 2008. The reason for the delay is that the City has two major equipment yards on the road that house very large trucks. That, combined with the fact that the road is steep and curvy, made the maintenance operations people nervous about the proposed bike lane.
Thankfully, City bike planners and the maintenance staff were able to agree on a design.
The new bike lane is only in the uphill direction (speeds going downhill allow people on bikes to take the lane) and it goes from N. Graham to N. Cook. It is six feet wide and grows to seven feet in the corners. In addition to the uphill bike lane, PBOT will install (it’s not up yet) a new sign in the downhill direction just before a sharp and steep right-hand turn that leads into a driveway of the maintenance yard. This sign is to warn bikes that trucks might be stopped (to turn left) in their path.
Observing motor vehicle traffic on the road this morning, compliance (staying out of the bike lane) was very good. Riding in the bike lane myself, I felt much safer than having no paint at all.
If you ride this new bike lane, we’d love to know how it feels to you.