enforcement, before the lane is
this clear all the time.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Almost immediately after the thermoplastic cooled on the new cycle track on SW Broadway, reports came in that some folks were parking and driving their cars in the bike-only travel lane (one of them even ended up on the evening news).
Since the cycle track is new, this behavior is to be expected and there’s sure to be a learning curve for everyone. (Whether PBOT could have done more in terms of signage, markings, bollards, and so on, is a separate conversation.)
The situation reminded us of how the City rolled out their bike box campaign. When those were installed back in March of 2008, the City partnered up ahead of time with the Police Bureau’s Traffic Division for a strategic enforcement plan at each bike box location.
The bike boxes were experimental as well, but we should remember that they came in response to two very high-profile fatal bike crashes, so it’s likely that the bureaucratic momentum/political support/public enthusiam index was quite different. Regardless, with all this in mind, we wondered if PBOT had similar enforcement plans for the cycle track.
According to PBOT traffic safety specialist Greg Raisman, there is no such plan in place for the cycle track. He said the City’s parking enforcement crews have been monitoring the area. “They started yesterday by passing out information and giving warnings, but they will do regular parking enforcement immediately.”
As for the Police Bureau, Raisman said they too will focus first on education. Officers patrolling the area have been given stacks of PBOT’s new cycle track brochures. Raisman added that the Traffic Division is definitely aware of the project. “They will pay some extra attention to this area, especially early on when its in it’s still in the evaluation period, in order to make sure it works well.”
In general, PBOT sees the cycle track as more of a standard treatment than the bike boxes were. Raisman pointed out that all the traffic control elements associated with the cycle track — like no right turn on red and the buffer striping — are standard and people should “be used to using them”. The bike box, on the other hand, was totally new, not to mention they encouraged people on bikes to align themselves squarely in the roadway in front of motor vehicles.
I have yet to observe the cycle track at length, but according to sources at PBOT, things are going well and compliance with the new design is high. The true test — both of the cycle track itself and the compliance issues — will be when thousands of students and staff flock to Portland State at the end of this month to begin the fall term.
If you’ve ridden through or observed traffic on the new cycle track, we’d love to know what you’ve seen.