Here’s the latest in the East Burnside Couch Couplet story. Yesterday PBOT released an official statement about the dangerous bike lane from head of that bureau, Sue Keil.
In the statement Keil writes, “It has come to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s attention that the bike lane leading from NE Couch onto the westbound Burnside Bridge may present a hazardous condition for bicyclists.”
Since Friday, April 30th Keil lists the actions her department has taken “in response to complaints and a bicycle injury”:
- Ground out the slippery bike lane stripe and replaced it with temporary (non-slip) paint;
- Prepared to re-stripe the street with a wider (6-foot) bike lane using non-slip textured striping;
- Prepared to install a new solid center lane stripe with raised bumps between the vehicle lanes to keep drivers from drifting out of their lane on the curve; and
- Prepared to install a three-foot painted buffer zone between the new, wider bike lane and the vehicle lane on the second curve of the transition.
Keil further explains that the buffer zone and bike lane striping will have “bumps on the vehicle side so drivers receive a tangible warning if they enter the space designated for bicycles.”
After these changes are implemented, PBOT plans to conduct a safety evaluation and then assess whether any long-term safety fixes need to be implemented.
“The Couch transition is a key link between the eastside and the central city,” Keil writes, “and we are committed to ensuring that it serves as a safe, attractive connection for all users.”
The BTA says the entire East Burnside Couch Couplet project is “not ready to ride” and they want PBOT to look at bike safety improvements beyond just the Couch s-curve bike lane, but Keil’s statement makes no mention of those suggestions. The statement also doesn’t mention that one of the reasons cars were encroaching on the bike lane in the first place was because PBOT crews striped one of the motor vehicle lanes 2.5 feet too wide.