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PBOT to install new bike box, lane markings at Madison/Grand today

Posted by on November 3rd, 2010 at 11:06 am

PBOT plan drawing for SE Madison between 6th and Grand.
-Full image below-

PBOT will install a new bike box and colored lane markings on SE Madison just east of SE Grand today. Back in September, the City unveiled a list of 11 bike box locations, saying, “Our observation is that they’ve contributed to a safer, more comfortable travel environment.” This is the second bike box to be installed from that list.

Bike traffic in Portland-8.jpg

Bike traffic on SE Madison waits
for the light at Grand.
(Photos © J. Maus)

This bike box installation also comes with a new striping plan for the bike lane on Madison between SE 6th and Grand and a trial of a new type of material for the green pavement marking.

This location, which feeds directly onto the Hawthorne Bridge, handles a high volume of vehicle traffic (both cars and bikes) and there is a frequent service bus line that stops right at the corner. To “better manage the interaction,” PBOT says they’ll add a short segment of green bike lane that highlights the area where motor vehicles cross the bike lane to enter the right turn lane.” (Grand is a one-way headed north. Madison is one-way going west).

From PBOT:

“The green bike lane highlights the transition area where motor vehicles will cross the bike lane to enter the right turn lane. The bike box is to provide more space for bicycle riders to queue in the front of the travel lane to be able to more quickly clear the intersection. This improved bicycle operation will clear the bike lane faster and make it easier for buses to leave the bus stop. It remains important that bicycle riders yield to buses when their yield light is flashing on the back of the bus. It also is important that motor vehicle operators use the right turn lane for right turns and not make them from the through travel lane to the left of the bike lane.”

PBOT will also use this project for the first trial demonstration of a new material known as “streetbond.” Other green markings around town use a cold-formed thermoplastic that is laid down in sheets. That material is expensive and hasn’t performed as well through our cold winters as PBOT would have liked. In a statement about the Madison project, PBOT said, the new material is “being tested for cost-effectiveness, maintenance and general traffic performance.”

The new streetbond is a spray-on epoxy that is easier to apply to large areas. It’s also the same material being used in New York City (and they’ve applied a lot of it, so they should know!).

Look for the project to be completed by the end of today. UPDATED: See below for larger plan drawing complete with signage/marking notes and more info.

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  • Matthew November 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Hooray! Things have already been nicer since they installed the “No Right Turn On Red” sign and put down the “WAIT HERE” marker, and this’ll make it that much better.

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  • Spiffy November 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

    doesn’t matter what material they use, studded snow tires will still wear it away quickly…

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  • Sean G November 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    It’s already hard to imagine a time when we didn’t have these great bike boxes to help keep us safe. Talk about a great visible success for Portland!

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  • Steve B November 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Can’t wait for a bike box at 12th & NE Couch!

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  • Mike Fish November 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I think this is a great place for one – I travel by bike and foot over the Hawthorne Bridge almost every day – I feel safer travelling east because of the green lane and bike box. How much does it cost to install a bike box by the way?? Interesting to compare with the discussion we’re having on the TriMet authorization bond that got voted down.

    Anyway, I just biked through that intersection a bit ago and saw them installing it – way to be on top of it Mr. Maus.

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  • Ryan G November 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    A lot of the colored lanes in NYC are actual paint – not this spray-on epoxy.

    Anyway, cool! I’ve ridden through this intersection twice today. It’s progressing.

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  • Chris Rall November 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I like this new feature and look forward to more cyclists using it so we can all move up and clear the intersection more quickly. So far, it seems cyclists up front are reluctant to use it and remained queued in the bike lane backing things up.

    However, I thought the bike box should have been placed in the right thru-lane instead of the right-turn-only / bus lane. In the current design, cars queuing in the right-turn-only lane can delay buses rolling forward to the bus stop. I’d rather delay some motorists a few seconds than my bus-riding brethren.

    Hopefully there will be a long term fix that allows good bike separation and free-flow of transit on critical routes like this one, perhaps a dedicated bus lane leading up to and across the Hawthorne Bridge and up to the transit mall.

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  • Colin M November 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Just to add some thoughts from the transit perspective – this bike box was designed to allow bike traffic to move more swiftly and safely while helping buses to stay on schedule. BTA, PBOT and TriMet have had this location at the top of the list for improving bike and bus interactions.

    Like the bike box at Rose Quarter transit center, it is deeper than usual to give people on bikes more room to line up in front of the bus, where they are more visible to the bus operator. The design also gives buses more room to merge once bike traffic has cleared.

    This is an innovative design that will help bus and bike traffic work together at one of the busiest intersections for bikes in the counrty. Nice work PBOT!

    Colin Maher

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  • Todd Boulanger November 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    In looking over the plans…is the note about BRIX in reference to the Beaverton Streetprint contractor?

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  • Todd Boulanger November 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    To minimise the last minute right turns by car drivers (and right hooks) how about now installing a double double solid lane line with wands or a mountable planstic speed bump turned 180 degrees (‘hedge hog’)?

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  • Todd Boulanger November 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Correction – turned 90 degrees.

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  • Tim w November 3, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I’ve lived off of Hawthorne for over a year, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone properly use the existing boxes on Hawthorne. Bicyclists tend to still back up in the bike lane.

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  • NF November 4, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Study after study, and some of comments here, claim that people don’t use the bike box “properly.”

    But what is proper? I personally love rolling into the box and positioning myself directly in front of the travel lane, but the most important service provided by a bike box is increased visibility through the setback stop line. Cars are further back, and can see more of the cyclists that they might have conflict with.

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  • Michael M. November 4, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I’m not sure I understand the point of filling up the box with cyclists when everybody just has to merge back into a single-file bike lane. How does this actually speed up anything?

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  • OnTheRoad November 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Michael M (#14):

    The bike lane going up the ramp on the Hawthorne viaduct does actually become a two-lane bike lane. Maybe they could restripe that to start right at the Grand intersection than the short ways up the ramp.

    Lots of people pass slower bicyclers before the lane becomes double anyway. They don’t all go into single-file mode.

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  • BURR November 4, 2010 at 11:04 am

    why didn’t they just do this off the bat after they repaved? Instead, they painted something else first, which they had to grind away to change, and now there are giant rough patches from the grinding on the brand new pavement.

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  • so November 5, 2010 at 9:22 am

    The buses still cut off all the cyclists. Why not move that bus stop back a block between 7th and 6th (there is currently another one between 7th and 8th so they could combine the two), that way the bus is already in the lane to cross the bridge when the bike traffic crosses the bus traffic. This makes it crystal clear when the bus has the ROW and when the cyclist has the ROW. How many times have I missed that light because a bus cut off a bunch of cyclists just to sit there and wait for a car to let them in. This intersection has to have the highest volume of cyclists and a good number of cars, why slow everything down with a bus. I guess the downside is you have to walk one whole block to transfer to the #6 on Grand.

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  • Stripes November 5, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Please can there be a big NO TURN ON RED sign at this one?

    They forgot to install a NO TURN ON RED sign at the new bike box on Couch Street.

    And, all of the traffic turns right on red.

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  • Carl November 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Is it me, or is this streetbond stuff a lighter, brighter green? Not a complaint, just an observation.

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