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PBOT: Broadway/Williams bike signal coming next week

Posted by on October 8th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has just announced details on their project to make the notoriously dangerous Broadway/Williams intersection safer for bike traffic.

PBOT’s solution revolves around a new, bike-only traffic signal. Learn more about the City’s plans in our report last month. The new signal and lane re-striping is slated for installation by next week. Read the press release from PBOT below for more details:

New Bike signal at N Broadway, Williams is part of traffic redesign
A remodeled traffic signal that includes a bicycle-only signal display at the intersection N Broadway and N Williams is scheduled to be turned on next week. The new signal is part of a long-planned improvement of the intersection that is being implemented along with the installation of streetcar tracks.
The general public should pay close attention to the new signals, signs and lane markings and be aware of fellow travelers in the vicinity of the intersection, which is adjacent to an on-ramp for Interstate 5.
The Broadway/Williams redesign includes the following lane configuration, from north to south: a bike lane next to the curb, two right-turn only lanes for traffic heading to N Williams and I-5, and two through lanes for traffic continuing through the intersection and toward the Broadway Bridge and N Interstate. Broadway is a one-way, westbound street in this area.
The new traffic signal for bicyclists provides signal control that separates the through movement of bicycles from the heavy right-turn movement of vehicles. It will  eliminate conflicts between motorists and cyclists and improve overall safety. It is important for motorists to note that right turns are not permitted when the right turn signals are red.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation will likely activate the new signal on Tuesday, October 12, or Wednesday, October 13, depending on the weather.

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  • matt picio October 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Presumably PBOT will put up the “signal change ahead” signs topped with flags for a couple weeks after the signal is turned on?

    If this works, it’s going to be awesome. One concern – the window for cyclists is going to be pretty short so that the I-5 traffic can be serviced – presumably cyclist traffic will go first, and some sort of bike box treatment will be there – what provisions will be in place to let cyclists know when and where they need to stop while the right-turn lanes are “active”?

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  • Andrew Kreps October 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    That sounds great, I’m looking forward to the implementation. I imagine there will be a period of adjustment where cars are still turning right on red. Keep those eyes on the back of your head peeled, folks.

    I noticed something new at Westbound N Broadway and Larrabee. The bicycle lane used to be between the dedicated right turn lane and traffic traveling straight onto the Broadway Bridge. Now, however, the right turn lane is gone, and the bicycle lane has been moved over to the curb, creating a conflict between bicycles going relatively quickly downhill and traffic turning into an industrial area.

    This is the perfect recipe for a right hook accident just like N Interstate and Greeley, and W Burnside and 14th. Take a lane, dodge the cars, and please watch out for large trucks down there. Look over your shoulder even when travelling quickly, because vehicles can and will try to pass you and turn right directly in front of you.

    Be safe.

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  • Allan October 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Will it (still) be legal to turn from Broadway onto Williams from the left of the turn lanes? As an occasional person in car through the intersection, it seems like either going onto I-5 from the right lane or going onto Williams from the left should be illegal. However that does not appear to be the case.

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  • Amos October 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Great! This is a much-needed solution that took far too long to develop.

    @Andrew #2. I’ve been noticing the conflict in this area since the construction as well, I put in a call today to the city’s safety and livability line (503-823-SAFE) requesting attention to the current situation. I’m sure the more people that do this the quicker this will be addressed, and hopefully we can avoid a disastrous situation.

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  • David October 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Hopefully there will be an advanced stop bar for bikes (to prevent freight that will inevitably drag through the bike lane from hitting people on bikes) and an even more advanced stop bar for automobiles, perhaps coupled with a bike box(to reinforce the “No Right on Red”). Looking forward to seeing it in action.

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  • Lazllo October 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    “I imagine there will be a period of adjustment where cars are still turning right on red.”

    This shouldn’t be happening now, it’s illegal. Although, I’ve been waiting at that light in a car many times and had the car behind me honk. This realignment sounds like a great solution.

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  • BURR October 8, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    …and then you head down to NE Broadway and Interstate to get on the bridge, and guess what? The bike lane on Broadway at Interstate that used to be to the left of the right turn only lane AND the right turn only lane are both gone, and it has been replaced by another right-hook death trap bike lane along the curb to the right of right turning traffic at the very end of that looong downhill.

    PBOT should lose the bike lane and mark the right lane with sharrows, or simply as a combined bike/right turn lane.

    What they actually did there is highly hazardous to cyclists. I’m sure it will get a green box soon, I feel so much safer!

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  • BURR October 8, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I guess I’m talking about Larrabee/N Denver too, I alwasy think of that intersection as Broadway and Interstate.

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  • are October 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    anyone who knows differently is welcome to correct me, but to the best of my knowledge neither the treatment at williams nor the treatment at larrabee was reviewed by the BAC. also, we have heard nothing from BTA on either of these.

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  • Paul Tay October 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    RE: “neither the treatment at williams nor the treatment at larrabee was reviewed by the BAC. also, we have heard nothing from BTA on either of these.”

    Shouldn’t we be OUTRAGED? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

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  • BURR October 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    PBOT will probably say that BAC reviewed the Broadway/Larrabee changes as part of the overall eastside streetcar plan review, but these details, unless specifically called out, are easy to overlook in a project that large.

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  • noah October 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    @Allan #3, currently it is legal to turn onto the freeway from either turn lane and only legal to turn onto Williams from the inside lane. With the vast majority of turns being for the freeway, that configuration will doubtless continue.

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  • jim October 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    “It is important for motorists to note that right turns are not permitted when the right turn signals are red.”

    There always has been no turn on red here, so hopefully that will help. I know a lot of people who have gone on the red and got ticketed. It is pretty well enforced there.
    Will there be a bike box there also? This might be an occasion where that might actually be of use, as long as it is on the right only- not in front of the cars

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  • jim October 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    perhaps some pylons between the traffic lane and the bike lane at the intersection will help keep cars from cutting across the bike lane – right hooking someone

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  • Red Five October 9, 2010 at 7:03 am

    They should just build and overpass for the bike lane.

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  • BURR October 9, 2010 at 9:57 am

    If I lived in that part of town, my solution would be to take Tillamook to Flint to Broadway.

    But that will only work until ODOT gets around to widening I-5 through this area, I believe that ODOT’s plans call for removing the Flint overpass completely.

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  • Adam October 9, 2010 at 11:56 am

    So happy to see changes coming here!

    SO MANY vehicles currently illegally turn red on right here (there is a “no turn on red” sign, but it’s ignored by most) that even when the light is red, I feel threatened biking up Williams crossing that intersection.

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  • BURR October 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Adam #17. How do you think these changes will help?

    You readily admit that many motorists ignore the ‘no right on red’; yet nothing in this proposal is going to change that.

    The only thing that’s changing is that cyclists will now have two lanes of potential right turning traffic to watch for, instead of just one, and cyclists will have to wait longer and get a shorter green signal.

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  • Vance Longwell October 9, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Increased trip-times for cars, likely increased trip-times for bicycles. Direct hit! “You sank my battleship!”…Meh, it’s not like a degree from PSU is worth the paper it’s printed on. …and some of you wonder why black people, and Mexicans don’t ride more.

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  • Red Five October 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Vance, just curious what this has to do with “people of color” ? Honestly, I am not being sarcastic.

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  • JJ October 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Yay, longer wait times for everyone and more right hooks for bikes!

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  • jim October 12, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Why do you think there will be more right hooks when the bikes will not be in the intersection at the same time as the cars?

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  • are October 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    because now the bike lane is to the right of _both_ travel lanes from which motorists are permitted to turn right, and under the mandatory sidepath law _not permitted_ to assert the further left of the two lanes, so as to stay to the left of right turning cars.

    on the green signal phase, after the people who were waiting for the light have cleared, and the motorists start turning right, _there will still be cyclists arriving from farther back,_ who were not there when the light was red. these will be inside a right hook, and will pretty much have to stop, despite the fact that the light is green.

    or get hooked, which will in fact happen. watch this space.

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  • JJ October 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Jim, Oregons combination of mandatory sidepath laws (which most states dont have) AND requiring cars to turn across instead of over a bike lane (which as far as I know is the only state to do this) AND on top of all that painting a forward lane to the right of two right turn lanes is a death trap. On it’s own, each of those is dangerous, put together and it’s pure madness. Might as well start setting up a memorial now.

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  • jim October 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Who will go first? the cars or the bikes? It seams if the cars go first and then the bikes you won’t have to worry about bikes clearing the intersection before the cars start. The only right hook would be from someone running a red light (which could happen). Am I guessing wrong?

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  • are October 12, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    it is true that the through signal for bikes is to be a separate phase from the green for motorists. so, yes, it is a question of compliance.

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  • Darwin October 13, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Bike light was not functioning this morning.

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  • snolly October 13, 2010 at 10:47 am

    As Darwin put it, “Bike light not functioning this morning”.

    Kind of ridiculous that you’re required to hit a crosswalk button to get the signal – why no camera like down the road at the west end of the broadway bridge?!?!

    I’ll revise complete judgement of this intersection until the signal is operational, but as of now I see it as a big failure. I’ll plan on taking the lane instead, especially if the light timing is horrible.

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  • are October 13, 2010 at 11:30 am

    in principle, this is the same device they have put at the far end of the bridge, with the signal toggling between through for bikes and right turns for cars heading down lovejoy. except that for some reason we do not seem to mind being sidepathed on the bridge. i am thinking that if i am insisting on taking the lane at williams maybe i should also be taking the deck over the bridge. just to keep it real, y’know.

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