Splendid Cycles Big Sale

First look: Going Street bike boulevard gets two-way cycle track at 33rd

Posted by on October 9th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Riding north on Going Street on the new two-way cycle track.
– Video and slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

PBOT has installed a key piece of their marquee bike boulevard on N. Going Street. There’s now a two-way cycle track on NE 33rd Avenue where it crosses Going. This is an “off-set” intersection (Going doesn’t go straight through) and the cycle track is PBOT’s solution to make the crossing safer for bike traffic.

Two-way cycle track on Going at 33rd-80

A sharrow marking directs you
onto the cycle track from Going.

The new crossing consists of two, six-foot wide bike lanes on the west side of 33rd. The lanes are separate from the sidewalk and are on a separate grade from the standard vehicle lanes. Bike traffic headed east on Going is directed to the left (north), up onto the cycle track via a sharrow marking, just before 33rd. (Motor vehicle traffic is not an issue here because there is no entry allowed from 33rd onto Going). There is a curb ramp that drops bike traffic back onto the roadway to continue east on Going.

I shot a short video to give you a bikes-eye view of how it works (sorry for the raindrops on the lens!):

When I first saw the plans for this, I was a bit skeptical on how it would work out; but after riding it I found it to be pretty intuitive. It feels a bit strange to ride north on the left side of the street with cars coming at you on your right, but it never felt dangerous. It’s also worth noting that this intersection is a good example of how “green street” treatments can integrate with bike boulevards. There are two bioswales included in the design.

Back in August, PBOT bike coordinator Roger Geller called Going the “best bike boulevard in the city.” In addition to this crossing treatment, PBOT has also flipped 19 stop signs and added 30 speed bumps to Going in an effort to make it a family friendly bikeway.

This is the first two-way cycle track PBOT has installed. They have plans to do a similar treatment on the N Concord bike boulevard where Concord crosses Lombard.

For a closer look at the Going St. bike boulevard project, see PBOT’s project page or read our in-depth report from last year. See more photos in the slideshow below:

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Zaphod
Guest

I’ve recently integrated sections of Going into my route and *really* like it. The 33rd connection looks like a thought out and ideal solution. We need more of these.

BURR
Guest
BURR

It looks like you rode that at a pretty low traffic time, and in the eastbound direction you crossed or hugged the centerline the whole time; I think it will have a much different feel during higher traffic volume periods with oncoming bike traffic on your left and oncoming car traffic on your right, plus it doesn’t look like it’s that easy to check northbound traffic on 33rd when you are crossing 33rd headed east.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

BURR,

You’re right. It will be a much different experience with higher bike traffic volumes. You’re also right about checking northbound auto traffic. You have to really check over your right shoulder… but there is room on the curb ramp to position yourself and point a bit east, which makes it easier.

Rip Tatermen
Guest
Rip Tatermen

I used this a few days ago; it took a long time to get an opening in both directions at once, although I don’t think all the paint was down yet, so maybe that helps. I was hoping for an island in the middle, something like Going & MLK or 33rd and Bryce, so that you only need an opening in one direction at a time.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Perhaps a good spot for a hawk signal. I’d like to see a similar treatment at skidmore as well. The city picked going, but the connections are bad further out on going and I like many people continue to use skidmore. The crossing at 33rd is the only bad connection between 82nd and Vancouver Williams. Well 15th isn’t fantastic, but really that is the one that is sketchy.

Dan
Guest

Glad to hear that they’re putting the same thing in where Concord crosses Lombard! Something like that really is a necessity at such offset crossings of busy arterials.

Red Five
Guest
Red Five

Still no explanation why the 205 bike path at Division is one of the most dangerous crossing anywhere? Crossing a four lane road with no stoplight? Oh that’s right, it’s east Portland.

bobcycle
Guest
bobcycle

Speaking of crossing 33rd in busy traffic, the yellow sign that faces 33rd traffic at the painted crosswalk shows a picture of a pedestrian as well as a bicycle. Does that mean traffic is required to stop and yield to bicyclists waiting to cross 33rd as they are required to do for pedestrians?

BURR
Guest
BURR

So how is this any different than just using 33rd for that one block? Either way, you still have to cross both lanes of 33rd.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

my first impression is that it looks too much like a sidewalk and may discourage motorists from yielding to cyclists. are they planning a yield to bikes sign?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

my first impression is that it looks too much like a sidewalk and may discourage motorists from yielding to cyclists. are they planning a yield to bikes sign?

Borgbike
Guest

Regarding the Ped Xing at 33rd and Going, my best guess is that 33rd will, at the very least, get striped here as a cross walk. I don’t think the city is done yet. Also I hope there is some repaving done on the section of Going just east of 33rd. The asphalt there is a mess.

My family used this for the first time last week during the National Bike/Walk to School day. I agree with Jonathan. I was a little worried about the execution of this when I saw it on paper. It looked like a mess. However confronted with this new feature, we figured it out instantaneously and we had no problem getting across the street at 8 am.

I worry for the political flack from the homeowners in front of 33rd who have lost a number of on-street parking spaces. This improvement is definitely a greater good but certain people might be pretty miffed. Is there a loss of property value here? Maybe not if the bike boulevard becomes successful. Maybe the calmed traffic and easy access to this amazing transport artery will be a selling point? I guess this’ll depend on the eye of the beholder.

If you consider that this improvement helps connect Going up into the 70s with the Vancouver/Williams couplet, it is a significant boulevard indeed. I hope it plays out well.

Lisa G.
Guest
Lisa G.

I’m looking forward to checking this out. Since I don’t currently use that route during rush hour, however, it may be easier to get with the flow on 33rd for one block the way I usually do. My mirror is on the left side of my helmet, not the right.

Borgbike
Guest

I just watched Jonathan’s video. There are ped stripes already installed at the crossing. I think the stripes and the signage will be sufficient to get cars to stop for bikes. I’ve had no problem getting across MLK with the same sort of signage. Even in busy traffic, drivers tend to stop for bikes.

I like how car traffic is now restricted from turning on to Going from 33rd now. This is the case in both directions now!

are
Guest

i see that southbound motor traffic on 33rd is forbidden to turn right onto westbound going, but apparently northbound traffic can turn left. this is not the way the plan was presented.
http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=50518&a=261645

it would also be interesting to see how the visibility from the box is when there are cars parked just north of the intersection on the west edge of the road.

BURR
Guest
BURR

While I may question the facility itself, I have no sympathy for people who ‘lose’ parking spaces in front of their homes to street improvements.

Those parking spaces don’t belong to the homeowners, they are part of the public right of way. Just about every home in Portland has a driveway or other off-street parking available.

If anything, the city needs to be more aggressive about parking removal, both in residential and commercial areas, if the space is needed for other purposes that have a greater public benefit than simply providing a parking space for the adjacent property.

BURR
Guest
BURR

@ are #14, I couldn’t see the signs on westbound Going in Jonathan’s video, but eastbound Going is posted do not enter (except for bicycles), and there is only a bike lane -not a full lane – on Going in the westbound direction at the intersection, so I’m guessing that northbound traffic on 33rd is also prevented from making a left onto westbound Going.

Babygorilla
Guest
Babygorilla

Why would cars need to yield to bikes at the road crossing? Its not a crosswalk and if bikes want cars to yield, they should get in the crosswalk, dismount, and become pedestrians, who cars do have to yield to.

That said, its an improvement for east – west bike traffic, but has no benefit for eastbound traffic wanting to go north on 33rd (to get to New Seasons, etc.) and it removed a bus stop to boot.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Just about every home in Portland has a driveway or other off-street parking available.”

While I agree with your sentiment about the public nature of the streets vis-a-vis car parking, the above statement is not even close to true. For starters, 33′ wide lots aren’t usually going to accommodate both a house and a driveway.

Michweek
Guest
Michweek

Maybe it’s just the low traffic time, but I don’t see what was so un-safe about just merging with traffic for that half a block. I usually prefer to be in the lane, be seen and predictable instead of being separated from traffic and dart in and out of lanes or dart across roads surprising the motorist who thought I had my own special place to ride.

are
Guest

re burr 17, what jonathan’s video did show (or maybe it was one of the slides) was a car turning left from northbound 33rd onto westbound going. early this afternoon i went over and scoped this out. there were no cars parked on the west side of 33rd just north of this device, but there was also no posting forbidding it, and the curb extension is shallow enough that when cars are parked there it will be difficult to see southbound traffic. the turnout or copenhagen box or whatever you want to call it was also rather shallow, so although you would want to stop there to check the cross traffic, you would have some difficulty orienting yourself perpendicular to the street. finally, though i imagine they will get to it, the transition from the track to the street at the south end of this device is very rough.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

@babygorilla

“they should get in the crosswalk, dismount, and become pedestrians”

riding in pedestrian facilities is legal as long as its done at pedestrian speeds.

“Why would cars need to yield to bikes at the road crossing?”

bikes previously had right of way when turning right onto going. the current treatment now requires cyclists to dart across a gap in traffic.

Gregg Woodlawn
Guest

I love this new crossing.
There is a similar crossing being planned right now to help cross MLK at the developing Holman Street Greenway.

bobcycle
Guest
bobcycle

@babygorilla

“they should get in the crosswalk, dismount, and become pedestrians”

I guess my confusion comes from the road sign adjacent to the bikeway and crosswalk with a picture of a bicyclist and a pedestrian. If different treatment is implied (yield to peds but not bikes) maybe bike picture should be left off sign or have a separate sign. So I guess the sign means look out for bikes and peds at crossing but you are only required to yield to peds.

Steve
Guest
Steve

+1 Red Five @7.

wally
Guest
wally

seems like when you are heading eastbound on Going, and you get on the cycle track to head north on 33rd, you will be blinded by the headlights of oncoming traffic. headlights are aimed slightly to the right to avoid blinding oncoming traffic on the road, which is on the left side. This is one of the problems caused by cars from England driving on continental Europe–the headlights are aimed the wrong way. This seems like it will be especially dangerous during the rainy season.

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

I agree with BURR (#16) 100 percent. Most of the residential streets in my area are so choked with parked cars they’re essentially one-way streets. Think of how much nice the streets would be for both bikes and cars without all of the parked vehicles mucking things up. Bottom line: if you can’t park all of your cars on your property, then you have too many!

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

#27
All the parked cars reduce visibility for vulnerable road users. Very bad for safety.
The narrowing of the lane that occurs because of this slows traffic somewhat causing a parking clogged residential lane become vaguely woonerf like.
I believe 100% if BURR’s opinion on street parking: the private property owner does not own the road and while I have some vestiges of sympathy for property owners I don’t believe any of them has the right to park in the street no matter what.

All that being said, if you remove all the on street parking on a residential road like this it will quickly turn in to an express highway. Removing on street parking would need to be coupled with some intensive traffic calming measures.
For at least the conscientious drivers the narrowness of a narrow parking clogged residential street coupled with the terror of some unseen person jumping out from behind a parked car calms traffic speeds.

are
Guest

re comment 24, the yellow diamond does not indicate “yield,” it is a warning that pedestrians or cyclists may be crossing here. the striped crosswalk separately indicates a place where motorists (or cyclists) are to yield to pedestrians actually crossing.

Babygorilla
Guest
Babygorilla

Are #29. Yup. That sign means nothing as a traffic control device.

As for bikes at this particular pedestrian crossing (at the crosswalk, not the road), the infrastructure makes it very difficult to position a bike in the crosswalk (there’s not much of a sidewalk on Going east of 33rd and the road surface is horrid making it difficult to transition from road to sidewalk) so the only reason a bike should be in the crosswalk is if the rider dismounts and is actually walking, not riding.

For bikes at the road crossing (in the traffic lane east of 33rd or at the new cycletrack-ish thing, cars are not required to and actually should not yield (even if riding at a walking pace, the crosswalk rule wouldn’t apply because the road lane is not a crosswalk). It creates an unsafe situation when cars selectively yield right of way when not required (and this frustrates me on bike and in car) and try to wave someone through.

GLV
Guest
GLV

I believe 100% if BURR’s opinion on street parking: the private property owner does not own the road and while I have some vestiges of sympathy for property owners I don’t believe any of them has the right to park in the street no matter what.

Actually, you are both wrong. In most residential areas in PDX, the property line extends to the center of the street, and there is an easement allowing public access (street and sidewalk). If the city were to ever vacate a street (a specific legal process), the adjacent property owners would regain control of the land on which the street once stood.

I am speculating here, but there may very well be situations in which the use of the street for parking is specified in the easement agreement, and hence would be considered a right.

Bottom line: if you can’t park all of your cars on your property, then you have too many!

I own a house on a 33′ x 100′ lot with no driveway. I also own one car, that I park on the street. Is that too many cars? Are you saying that only people with driveways should be permitted to own cars? You should run for office on that platform.

Manji312
Guest

I cross Going at 33rd on a daily basis. For me this new crossing setup doesn’t really improve things for me. I can definitely see where it might encourage those who are a little more concerned about safely crossing 33rd. I personally have a few complaints about the setup. At the point of crossing the turn is so tight that you essentially have to look backwards to see the north bound traffic. I deal with this by sitting in the oncoming lane, but that may not be possible as usage increases. The transition from the street to the cycletrack is a bit rough and at an angle that could lead to someone on a bike falling. Hopefully the city plans on smoothing this out. I was really hopeful when they started work on this, but as it stands right now, I’m a bit disappointed. The whole things seems over designed. I also agree with others, the east side of Going seriously needs repaving. The road is more like the surface of the moon and in winter with more rains, lots of debris, gravel, etc. gets all over the road making it even more of a hazard for someone riding that section.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

looks like it puts bikes in a bad spot that nobody expects…

I’m also wary of the oncoming headlights on the wrong side (right) of the path…

and the curb ramp looks like a harsh bump… the whole thing makes the motor lanes look very appealing…

I’m not sure if motor vehicles are required to stop for bikes in the crosswalk or not, but a lot of people do, and it doesn’t annoy me like it does when people stop for bikes that are in the street making a turn like any other vehicle… but the mix of everything here just doesn’t look very good…

and yes the I-205 path at Division sucks, but this isn’t that conversation…

Whyat
Guest
Whyat

@Mark C- so families with with one car and no drive way have too many cars? Did you even think about it before you typed that? Not trying to be negative- just wondering how you could type such an erroneous statement…

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

GLV #31
the property line extends to the center of the street, and there is an easement allowing public access (street and sidewalk).
Please show a Oregon government or Oregon legal site where you get this information.
Portland Maps (http://www.portlandmaps.com/) seems to show what common sense would suggest: that property lines end at the edge of the property. See http://goo.gl/JmAt .
Following the “view in Google Earth” link for some properties in just the one block area surrounding this cycle track shows some of the plot lines ending in the sidewalk. Please back up your supposition with verifiable fact.
If I’m wrong, I’m wrong; I’d like to see where though. Not someone ranting as incoherently as me.

I own a house on a 33′ x 100′ lot with no driveway. I also own one car, that I park on the street.

Is the segment of pavement adjacent your lot reserved for you alone? Anyone can park there. If someone is having a party and invites 100 of their friends, who all of course show up in SOV’s, do you have the right to have these cars towed? Odds are not because you don’t have any rights over the road even if some ancient deeding artifact shows that yours and everyone else’s lot lines extend to the center of every road.
It’s that lack of power over the road that I’m speaking about and sort of resembles the argument that some are having about the Fanno Creek Trail extension (http://goo.gl/JErA) where it isn’t occurring on their property but they take objection to someone else doing something they don’t like where they have no say. The road is a public space for travel for all. It may occasionally be other things: a playground, a football field, a party spot. In the end the rights of the people to safely travel all public roads must take precidence over all other uses.

Anything else is just a convenience.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Mark C #27: When a residential street is “choked with parked cars” it helps to naturally slow down traffic speeds on the street. I happen to live on one of these fairly narrow streets, and I can tell you that the parked cars do a much better job of traffic calming than speed bumps do. Getting rid of parked cars on the street would have some really nasty unintended consequences.

Jolspoke
Guest
Jolspoke

I love this new crossing and I find it quite useful. I haven’t ridden it at night yet, so I’ll be curious to see if the headlights from oncoming traffic do create an issue.
One of the successes of this project is that I feel it make me more visible at this intersection. Drivers are now looking for peds/cyclists at this intersections.
One big failure I’ve found is the placement of the No Right Turn sign for cars southbound on 33rd. I’ve already seen two cars making the now illegal right turn. The sign is placed on the sidewalk side of the cyclepath instead of on the curb closest to the street. Maybe locals will get used to the new traffic pattern, but non-regular users aren’t likely to the sign. In any case, when you are heading west on going and making the left onto the cyclepath, don’t assume there won’t be a car making a right turn into your path.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I’m so happy motor traffic won’t be allowed through here.

Although I already saw three cars today disobey the semi-diverter and turn right onto the bike boulevard from 33rd anyway 🙁

GLV
Guest
GLV

Please show a Oregon government or Oregon legal site where you get this information.

I don’t have time to dig up the citation. Portlandmaps shows the easement line, not what some legally-enforceable, “ancient deeding artifact” might say. Like I said, it’s not the case everywhere, but in residential areas, depending on how the original subdivision was completed, it is common.

As for the rest of your comment, yes those people have the right to park there, and no I don’t have the right to get them towed. Not sure how you inferred otherwise from what I actually said. I was responding to your suggestion that on street parking be made illegal for everybody.

bobcycle
Guest
bobcycle

@ babygorilla Are #29. Yup. That sign means nothing as a traffic control device
OK thanks for clearing that up. But still, if sign means nothing why put it up? If it’s to point out that cyclists may be crossing here maybe they should put one up at every intersection in Portland. I’ve often thought they should put up signs at each road that crosses the boundary into Portland. Something like, “Entering Portland expect many bicyclists on road!” Anyway, I really like the way Going is now and use it often. Turning and adding new STOP signs works great! As far as 33rd crossing, seems like a pretty expensive solution with limited results. Eliminating Parking along with painted bike lanes along 33rd (both directions/sides) for the short distance between the East and West Going’s would have been cheaper and probably accomplished the same thing. But its nice to see experiments like this. I am sure that all the alternatives were discussed prior to implementing this and this solution while not perfect does offer some added safety while on that short stretch of 33rd.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

#38
GLV
Deed/plot lines are far too often very difficult to find out accurately without hiring a gubment surveying team to come out and physically lay lines on the dirt. I’d love to think that PortlandMaps.com is 100% accurate but I think we all know better. Its just the best information I know of that is free.

Let me revise by opinion on on street parking pursuant to my last sentence of #35 “Anything else is just a convenience”.
On street parking will likely be found to precede any significant traffic, traffic speeds or traffic noise as most areas with on street parking will have been rural in character within the last 2 generations.

What this means to me is that while there is has been a reasonable past expectation that on street parking can be accommodated with minimal impact to anyone, as density increases to sub-urban and urban living densities the impact on all users increases until the street becomes an auto lined canyon of parked vehicles obscuring visibility which leads directly to safety issues. Added to this that as increased density translates to increased demand we have a road with more travel demand shrinking due to more parking demand.

At some point we have to decide, as a society, if a road is for travel or parking 1st. If we are to travel on these roads then the on street parking will eventually have to be eliminated.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I’m pretty sure property lines end at either the curb or the sidewalk.

If you look at the Multnomah County tax lot map in GIS, right of way is separate, and tax lot lines don’t extend to the center of the street.

Steve B
Guest

It’s so beautiful.. I just want it to keep uh, GOING!

Imagine riding something like this on Broadway?

This project shows the innovative leadership within PBOT, I hope we can find the political will to support our innovators and build more world-class infrastructure like this!

gene b
Guest
gene b

I find this design appalling and manifestly unsafe. It is a setup for a bicycle to motor vehicle head on when the bike surprises a vehicle on 33rd by pulling wide onto the cycle track on the vehicles right side.

jeff, the first
Guest
jeff, the first

i live near going and use it a lot, especially since they installed the humps and turned the stop signs. as a longtime cyclist, i never had a problem crossing 33rd, but i know quite a few less experienced cyclists that love the new crossing and feel a lot safer – no need to merge onto 33rd, to worry about cars turning into their lane (other than the illegal turns, i’ve seen one too), and the increased visibility that the infrastructure brings. great use of resources here and for the going/mlk crossing imo.

dan
Guest
dan

That design does not win me over at first glance (looks scary, in fact), but I’ll wait and see how it goes when I actually need to ride over there. What’s the rationale for not using bumps / rumble strip or similar to clearly demarcate the bike lane from the car lane?

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

NE 33rd Ave has a crossing sign for cycles. It looks like a pedestrian sign. Does that mean vehicles on 33rd Ave *must* yield if they’re able to when a cycle or pedestrian is present on the sides of the crossing?

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

Oh.. If #29 is correct then it is only the marked crossing that requires vehicles to yield. Interesting addition to this observation is that cyclists can operate as a pedestrian legally (e.g. ride on the sidewalk, ride in crosswalks) if they operate no faster than a pedestrian, yield the right of way to pedestrians, and observe other rules applicable to pedestrians (e.g. only stepping into a crosswalk if the cars have sufficient stopping distance).

Greg
Guest
Greg

#31 GLV
” In most residential areas in PDX, the property line extends to the center of the street, and there is an easement allowing public access (street and sidewalk).”

I’d love to see evidence of that. All of the land surveys done in Multnomah County are available here (sadly IE only) – http://gis.co.multnomah.or.us/sail/

Machu Picchu
Guest
Machu Picchu

“means nothing as a traffic control device” is not the right way to say it. This is not a regulatory sign, it’s a warning sign. While one is not legally required to do or avoid doing anything because of it, it could still mean plenty, in that the city has installed it so road users will be more aware of potential hazards (in this case, vulnerable road users who may or may not have the right-of-way.)

Not all signs are about giving people tickets. A lot of them are just trying to give people good info to use when making choices. This one says, “Hey! There’s pedestrians and bikes crossing this road up here, so open yer eyeballs!”

Bobcycle: I love the city limit sign idea. Much better than the “every intersection in Portland” idea.