City helps with left turns by taking a “two-stage” approach

Box turn at Weidler and Williams-6
Riders on the new two-stage left turn
facility at Weidler and Williams.
(Photos © J. Maus)

When you’re riding a bicycle, making a left turn across several lanes isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for less-confident riders. To help make the maneuver a bit more pleasant, it’s sometimes helpful to do what traffic engineers refer to as a “two-stage left turn” (it’s also referred to as a “Copenhagen Left” or “box turn.”)

Markings and infrastructure for two such left turn movements have recently popped up in Portland.

Look south on Vancouver.

On N. Vancouver Avenue at Going, PBOT has striped a two-stage left turn (see photo at right) to help southbound bike riders position themselves to head east on Going. According to PBOT project manager Kyle Chisek, the new striping gives less confident riders a “place to pull out of he bike lane so they don’t impede bike traffic and have a refuge to wait before crossing.” Chisek also pointed out that anyone who feels comfortable enough to take the lane is still welcome to do so.

There’s also a new two-stage left turn treatment at N. Weidler and Williams. This location sees very heavy bike traffic in the evenings. A construction project on the corner recently removed the sidestreet previously used by eastbound bike traffic to better position themselves to go north on Williams. The project (a affordable housing building) is now completed and PBOT worked with the developers to build a custom cut-through. The result is a deluxe two-stage left turn facility:

Looking east on Weidler, the arrow points the way.
Looking west toward Weidler, riders roll out onto Williams (a one-way street).

The only problem with the above solution, is that many riders don’t yet seem to notice it as they ride by.

These aren’t the only places in town with two-stage left turns. PBOT also installed one on the cycle track on Broadway near Portland State University.

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