Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Vancouver (WA) gets a buffered bike lane of their own

Posted by on October 23rd, 2009 at 12:36 pm

The City of Vancouver announced today that they’ve installed a new bike lane along SE 20th Street (from 176th to 192nd) that includes a “buffer area between the bicycle and the travel lane.”

This is the latest in a string of bikeway news from Portland’s neighbor to the north. Last month we reported about a project to improve the dreadful crossing of the I-5 Bridge and a week later we shared news of Vancouver’s first on-street bike parking corral.

Here’s a photo of the new buffered bike lane from the State Department of Transportation:

New buffered bike lane on SE 20th in Vancouver.
(Photo: WashDOT)

In a statement, Vancouver says they added the buffer to “better delineate one lane of travel in each direction for motorists. The new striping also adds a buffer area between the bicycle lane and the travel lane.”

Project designer John Manix adds that:

“This project was completed at a very low cost because we were able to maintain most of the existing street striping. We kept the bikes lanes on both sides of the street and the four-way stop at SE 176th Ave. All of the existing marked pedestrian crosswalks were also maintained.”

Learn more about biking in Vancouver on the City’s website.

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.

  • nobody October 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    You’ve got to be joking. That used to be a perfectly usable CAR lane.

    And now we can’t drive in it so all five cyclists in Vancouver can be happy.


    It rains 9 months out of the year here. Get a real job, grow up, and buy a car like everyone else.


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Michelle (BTA) October 23, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    This is great!

    People don’t like biking next to cars, so creating more safe space between their left elbows and zooming traffic makes a bike lane far more appealing.

    Nice job Vancouver!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SAG October 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Nobody – people ride in our area rain or shine. You may not like it but bikes are a valid form of transportation. There are more than five cyclist in Vancouver, and each of those bike riders represents one more potential car that would cause traffic in your area. I have ridden in Vancouver and it was challenging at best!

    This is a great step for Vancouver, Thank you!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Zen October 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Hey Nobody, Most cyclists do own cars and have jobs…we just choose to ride our bikes! Hope your day gets better, its no fun going through life being such a grump.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Roger Horner October 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I ride every day from Vancouver into Downtown PDX. I helped with a bicycle count last fall on the Vancouver side of the I-5 bridge and I can guarantee there are more than 5 bike riders in Vancouver.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Oh Word? October 23, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    1 step closer towards bicycle transportation domination!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Frank October 23, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I have a real job (engineer), grown up and have a car. But I ride my bike to work every day, including the 9 months of rain. I happened to have been hit while on my bike, head-on by a car (with a driver in it) on 20th & 176th. This is great to have this traffic device along there. (And there still is PLENTY of room for cars).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • kitty October 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I always find it hilarious when someone who is totally awful ends up commenting on a site called BikePortland.org. How do they even think to come here to vent? Who’s mind are they thinking they are going to change?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • bubduk October 23, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    …no car lanes were lost. It was a very wide 2 lane road.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dan R October 23, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I love low-cost projects like this that make the way safer for cyclists and motorists. All they did was shrink a too-wide motor vehicle lane to a reasonable width to provide the buffer for cyclists. How can motorists complain about that?
    (One of the 5)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Russell October 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Actually, nobody, that was never a ‘perfectly usable CAR lane.’ I used to live within a few blocks of that street and besides the fact that it is visually one of the least interesting streets in Vancouver (white fences for over a mile) it’s wide enough for a five-lane arterial with bike lanes. Since its construction however, it’s been only three lanes, with the travel lanes being approximately 22 feet wide, or wide enough for two lanes while only being striped as one. This actually makes it quite a bit safer for motorists as well, as it is now clearly not wide enough to promote in-lane passing.

    Regardless, I still prefer SE 15th St, even before they ever put in bike lanes there.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Spencer Carson October 24, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I live in Vancouver, and I bike almost every day. I commute 11 miles to work at least 5 days a week! This is an awesome idea!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Russell October 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I went out and measured them today. The bike lanes are still the same 5 feet in width in before. The 22 foot lane is now split into a 14 foot through lane (as opposed to the usual 10 to 12 feet) and an 8 foot buffer (as wide as a car parking lane).

    One problem with the car-free buffer is that there are now even more leaves, as cars do not come close enough to blow them away. Throughout the entire length of the buffered lanes, there was only one car illegally parked in the bike lane.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Tracy October 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm


    Yep. Exactly right.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Brahman October 24, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    My wife and I just biked this today and it is an improvement. As someone else mentioned the road is more than wide enough for the it’s current number of lanes. And safer, because as someone else also mentioned the previous lanes were so wide that some people assumed the one lane was actually two and would pass in lane or pull up side by side at stop signs.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Marcus Griffith October 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm


    From the BTA webpage:

    “The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is a non-profit membership organization working to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon and SW Washington…”

    Is there any chance the BTA wants to honor its area-of-concern by lending a hand to Vancouver and the rest of SW Washington bike advocacy efforts or is your token compliment going to be the sum of the BTA’s SW Washington efforts this year?

    And yes, I still hold a grudge on the BTA, and you personally, for hanging Vancouver out to dry on the all ages helmet law and your walk out of the CRC.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Trish B. October 25, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Marcus (#16): you are honest with your beef with the BTA, so why don’t you just not renew your membership with them?

    I can understand the frustration Vantucky residents had when the BTA actively claimed to represent SW Washington but not actually do anything North of the Columbian, but I think the BTA has been pretty clear this year that they don’t represent Vancouver and that they never will. So, despite any technical wording, the BTA is, always has been and always will represent Portland first, some other parts of Oregon second and Vancouver never.

    From the number of pro-bike Vancouver projects being posted on BikePorltnad, I’d say that you guys don’t really need the BTA anyway.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • matthew October 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    for many of us here in vancouver the bta is like a spoiled kid who took his ball and left town. bikeme!vancouver is certainly gaining momentum. by working with bike/ped groups, attending city council, neighborhood association and crc meetings they’ve shown they want to be stakeholders in the community. to terri and leah-many, many thanks.

    The next BikeMe!Vancouver meeting is this coming Wednesday, Oct 28th
    6:00 social time – 6:30 meeting starts
    Wallis Engineering – 4th and Columbia 215 W 4th St (just SE of the Hilton)

    Come meet Drew Russell of Vancouver Police Department. Bring him your bikey questions.
    Hear updates on the bike projects around town – there’s exciting stuff happening.
    Organizations are requesting to meet with us – Bicycle Alliance of Washington (Nov) and CTRAN (Dec) – Lets talk about it!

    See you there!

    i believe drew is the neighborhood traffic safety officer for vancouver. and i for one prefer “vanfunky” over the old “vantucky”.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kt October 26, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Sounds like the BTA needs to change their mission statement/tag line to: promoting bicycling from the Columbia to the borders of the City of Portland.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Amber Hawkins October 26, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    If ‘Vanfunky’, as Matthew would prefer, is bucking the dominance of the BTA, I wonder if more bikey enriched cities like Euegene will start to question the benefit and need of the BTA? Could Bike Me! Vancouver start the rift that reveals the BTA as the Portland Transportation Alliance it truly is?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Steve October 27, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Since we’re bashing non-profits that have withdrawn their support for Clark County, I’d like to throw in a raspberry to the Community Cycling Center. They got grant money to start a shop in Vancouver, operated it for a while, then their new director decided to take their money to Portland and basically turned their back on Vancouver. I’m sure that I don’t know all of the facts, but that’s how it appears on the surface. Never the less, we don’t need your help!

    Recommended Thumb up 0