Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

New signs, markings coming to bike boulevards thanks to federal stimulus

Posted by on April 22nd, 2010 at 9:17 am

Crews from PBOT’s contractor on the project
have already installed a few sharrows on
N. Bryant Avenue.
(Photo: PBOT)

This week, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation will begin to install new signs and pavement markings on bike boulevard streets. The money for the project comes from a $1 million award the city received last year from the the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

PBOT project manager Kyle Chisek said the first of these new signs and markings will be installed in Sellwood, the location of PBOT’s first of many “next generation bike boulevards.” Specifically, the new markings and signage will be installed on SE Spokane Street (6th Avenue to 19th Avenue), SE 19th Avenue (Spokane Street to Linn Street), and on SE Umatilla Street (6th Avenue to 23rd Avenue).

Chisek says, “Sharrows will appear at the start of each block and wayfinding signs will be added where there currently are none.”

After Sellwood, crews will move to North Portland and put new signs and markings on existing bike boulevards and the new bike boulevard coming to North Central Ave. In total, the stimulus-funded project will cover 30 miles of existing bike boulevards and it will help identify 23 miles of new bike boulevards which are slated for completion by June of this year.

Here’s more on the project from the Mayor’s office:

“Currently, Portland’s bicycle boulevards lack consistent pavement markings. The newest bicycle boulevards lack directional signs to identify direct, low-stress routes to commercial and cultural destinations. Many bicycle boulevards lack crossing signage at major arterials on bicycle boulevards to alert drivers that cyclists and pedestrians may be crossing. The ARRA funds will help solve these problems.”

Learn more about PBOT’s bike boulevard plans on their 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 — Jonathan

  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth April 22, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I always thought that bike boulevards were like speakeasies for cyclists without the bathtub gin.

    Hopefully these will make BBs/neighborhood greenways more conspicuous and bring more new cyclists to them, while also alerting drivers that this is a bike- and ped-focused street.

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  • John Lascurettes April 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Hallelujah, SHARROWS! Great to be seeing them go in instead of more of those little tiny circles.

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  • Bent Bloke April 22, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I’ve noticed these sharrows have already been installed on SE Clay between Ladd and 6th (where I turn off). They are much more visible than the smaller circle markings. Good job PBOT!

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  • Daniel Ronan April 22, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I see this is as a great investment of stimulus funds, but is there someone from PBOT that can speak to prioritization of this funding to pre-existing bikeways? Is this absolutely essential? Could some of this money have been given to communities east of 82nd that lack any such bicycle infrastructure?

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  • A.K. April 22, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I think this is a great idea. I bike often and without referring to a map, I really have no idea where official “bike boulevards” are… I simply ride on routes I know and streets I feel comfortable on.

    This will also give motorists a heads up on where to expect more cyclists, so they can avoid that area of they so choose.

    I am glad these are going in now… it was brought up very briefly at the Klickitat Greenway meeting the other week.

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  • jim April 22, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Who is going to repaint these when the paint is worn off? We don’t have enough money to run the city now!

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  • pat h April 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Nice. I really like the ones on SE Clay.

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  • Adam April 22, 2010 at 11:34 am




    Thankyou City of Portland.

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  • David April 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I love that consistent pavement markings are being applied to boulevards, but I have to say that I don’t think sharrows are the right design for low-stress bikeways.

    I much prefer the idea of just blowing up the bike “dots” to make them more visible. The ones up here in Seattle are twice the diameter as those in Portland, which makes them a lot easier to see. Why not take that one step further and double the diameter again?

    To me – from a design interpretation perspective – the chevrons on sharrows connote speed; as in, “keep up with traffic and faster-moving vehicles.” This is precisely the riding experience I do NOT want to have on a bicycle boulevard.

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  • BURR April 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Great, but we really need sharrows on higher level arterial streets like East 28th, SE Hawthorne and East 11th and 12th, and not on low traffic neighborhood streets and bicycle boulevards.

    And why can’t they use paint instead of thermoplastic? The thermoplastic is annoying to ride over.

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  • Camp Bike Fun April 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I love these too.

    I rode on Bicycle Boulevards in Berkeley ten years ago that were marked like this. It made a huge difference for all road users on the BBs.

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  • peejay April 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Whatever happened to the new name: “neighborhood greenways”?

    While I am 100% behind increasing the size of the markings, I’m not sure it needs to be the same marking as a sharrow. Still, glad to know they’re bigger. Love the speakeasy analogy.

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  • Steve B. April 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Awesome! Finally some sharrows in biketropolis. I have goosebumps.

    I think they are planning to use 2 different styles of sharrows, one for non-greenway streets, and one for greenways/boulevards. I’m not sure if they have finalized those designs yet.

    I’d love to see these in places that don’t have adequate facilities but see a lot of traffic, i.e. the right lane of Williams, to help folks understand that people on bikes can leave the bike lane when there are congested conditions.

    Thank you, PBOT!!!

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  • Paul Johnson April 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I hope this means we’ll be getting rid of the round bike boulevard logos which are easily mistaken for utility covers under rainy or low light conditions.

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  • Joe April 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    my old home town installed these. very cool. Santa Clara Ca. makes traffic smarter lets say, or wakes auto minds up.
    what Oregon lacks is bike lanes that lead into no bike lanes, or car traffic that cant slow down for peds. * we have along way to go for = rights i say 🙂

    some use cars as a weapon still. sorry for the rant, but its true!

    peace on the streets 🙂

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  • are April 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    agree w/ comments 9 and 10 that these should be used on higher trafficked streets and should not really be necessary where calming measures and diversions are supposedly already in place. for example on the new burnside/couch couplet, on hauwthorne, on division, on 28th . . .

    the function of the sharrow is not to designate a bikeway, but to alert motorists to the likely presence of bikes in the travel lane and to indicate to the cyclist that a lane position somewhat to the left of the gutter is permitted . . .

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  • Allison April 23, 2010 at 8:02 am

    As a new Seattle resident, I hate sharrows! Yes, yes, this is probably the appropriate use of them, saying “Hey, Bikes are way more likely to be on this road” to cars and to bikes it says “Bike This Way!” But the way they’re used in Seattle is on much busier streets that probably should have a dedicated bike lane – as a cop-out instead of a real bike lane. According to other commenters this is their purpose. I hate them. They don’t tell anyone how to behave and drivers get confused and cyclists are on streets that are too busy and to narrow to be ridden safely for a great length.

    I’d have preferred something that size but just not that symbol 🙁

    I want to come home.

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  • BURR April 23, 2010 at 11:36 am

    So Jonathan, can’t you talk to someone at PBOT and find out what streets they are planning to install all these new sharrows on, or is that a big secret which PBOT won’t tell anyone about until they install them?

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  • Paul Johnson April 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    @17: You’ve been mislead. They indicate cyclists should take the lane. Extra-wide right lanes are worse than narrow lanes on multilane roads because it encourages motorists to drive faster and pass more wrecklessly. If you’re not taking the lane, you’re Doing It Wrong™, and you should RTF(cyclist)M again.

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  • GlowBoy April 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Burr (#10), thermoplastic lasts many times longer than paint. Maybe a bit annoying to ride over, for princess-and-the-pea types or those on thin saddles and 120psi tires.

    But to address the comment of jim (#6) the city won’t have to repaint these for YEARS. If they were actual paint instead, the busier ones would need repainting THIS FALL. I don’t mind thermoplastic (unless you have several layers on top of each other as in some places downtown) and it sure saves money.

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  • Paul Johnson April 26, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I’m not opposed to multiple layers myself, bumps from thick thermoplastic layers like at your standard crosswalk and poor pavement as found in any major city is just part of the experience. If anything, we should be demanding rough lines on the buffered bike lanes to make it irritating for folks who aren’t on two wheels to drive in buffered bike lanes.

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  • BURR April 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    paint would last just fine if it wasn’t for all the unnecessary use of studded tires, and paint is a lot cheaper to purchase and install than thermoplastic, you can probably repaint several times over for the cost of a single thermoplastic application.

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  • Steven Vance April 26, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I thought the tiny circles were kind of cute, but the sharrows are much more visible (especially in the dark).

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