Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Washington County installs first-ever buffered bike lanes

Posted by on September 9th, 2011 at 9:51 am

County traffic cam image of new
buffered bike lanes.

Roads in Washington County are getting more bike-friendly. As I write, County crews are putting the finishing touches on three miles of buffered bike lanes on SW Tualatin Sherwood Road from SW Teton to Baler (map). The seven-foot wide lanes give people on bikes a two-foot painted buffer between them and motor vehicle traffic.

It’s the first buffered bike lane project the County has ever done, and, according bicycle and pedestrian coordinator Shelley Oylear, it’s not going to be the last.

Oylear says the road was up for repaving, so they seized the opportunity to narrow the existing lanes to make more room for bikes. Three other streets are slated for similar treatments:

  • Brookwood Road-TV Hwy to E Main (Baseline)
  • Evergreen Road from SW 25th to 253rd
  • NW 185th-Westview High School to NW West Union

The new buffered lanes are symbolic of the County’s efforts to work within a constrained budget to make bicycling easier and more comfortable. Oylear says she was hired back in May to spearhead an effort to look at all the County’s road projects to see where they could “enhance the facilities” for bicycling.

Here’s a look at how the new lanes feel at an intersection (photo by Jim “K’tesh” Parsons):

And here’s another view from the traffic-cam:

While the new lanes on Tualatin-Sherwood give people on bikes more breathing room, it’s still a high-speed, high-volume arterial with five standard vehicle lanes. Even with the buffer (and relatively wide seven-foot bike space) it’s not a place that will beckon the “interested but concerned”; but it’s a start.

Traffic cam photo taken 9/1/11.

Oylear says, “We will be looking for more opportunities and are looking at expanding the types of enhanced bicycle facility treatments that the County may consider in the future.”

Since this is their first attempt as such a design, Oylear says they want feedback from all road users (you can call 503-846-ROAD to leave comments).

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

45
Leave a Reply

avatar
23 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
23 Comment authors
Ted BuehlerPaul JohnsonDave ThomsonDebi Nelsonpaul Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
A-Dub
Guest
A-Dub

Parts are 5 lanes and parts are 3 lanes. That said, it is certainly high speed and as K’tesh and other have pointed out has some pretty heavy duty freight/construction traffic as well.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

More of my on the ground photos can be seen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157627579696444/

Peter W
Guest
Peter W

That’s great news. I suppose the nice thing about the county having previously insisted on huge car lanes is that with a more bike-friendly administration they can now change the striping to widen the bike lanes, at minimal cost.

Still need more low traffic connections, but this is a start.

gl.
Guest
gl.

yay! someone go put hearts on the bike symbols! 😉

Andrew Seger
Guest
Andrew Seger

It’s a nice step but I’d love to see two way bike lanes with a jersey barrier on the arterial streets (like portland is planning as part of the Holman bikecrossing at MLK). Or some full on Alameda, Cal bike streets:http://www.flickr.com/photos/fragmentaryevidence/3410204592/

Paint only goes so far with Washington County drivers.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Cool!

Chris
Guest
Chris

As someone who lives on the affected portion of Brookwood Ave., I’m really excited to (eventually) have bike lanes. For those unfamiliar, Brookwood was previously a two lane road with drainage ditches on the shoulders. Once work is complete, it should be a great three lane road with bike lanes and sidewalks!

beelnite
Guest
beelnite

Well… I thought that buffer zone was a passing lane for bicycles… 🙂

beelnite
Guest
beelnite

PSU’s stretch of buffered lanes – buffered by parked cars… now THAT is buffering!

🙂

Ted Buehler
Guest

Very nice!

Jonathan or K’Tesh — did the county give the measurements of the various lanes?

It looks like the “7′ bike lane” includes 2′ of concrete gutterpan, 5′ of new asphalt surface. And the buffer is an additional 2′. So you have 9′ of “nondriving” pavement, but only 5′ of “ridable” pavement. (The gutter pan usually isn’t considered rideable, as even when new it doesn’t meet smoothness standards for a rideable surface).

Ted Buehler

Ted Buehler
Guest

Jonathan — thanks for including contact info for the Shelley Oylear, the Washington County Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.

If anyone wants to leave written comments instead of telephone comments, Shelley’s email is
shelley_oylear@co.washington.or.us

I found her email, and the contact info for all Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian officials, on this ODOT web page —
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/localcontacts.shtml

Ted Buehler

Belok
Guest
Belok

I would like to see rumble strips in the buffer zone, and bumps at corners to make autos slow and not drift into or cut off the bike lane.

woogie
Guest
woogie

Lived in Sherwood and rode T-S regularly and didn’t think it took much in the way of guts to do so.

Not sure how that buffer makes it any safer? Not that I ever felt unsafe on T-S any more than I felt unsafe using the bike lanes on Durham Rd or Tualatin Rd.

At 55mph how much longer is it going to take a car to cross that 24 inches?

If it makes you feel safer well then I guess it’s done something.

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

This is great! I’m really looking forward to the Evergreen and Brookwood improvements. Thanks for reporting on this–had no idea they were thinking of adding a buffer too!

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

They should at least put some Bot’s Dots on the thicker line. That’ll stop ’em!

Kevin Wagoner
Guest

Nice capture of the Conway truck. I use to work for Conway in NW Portland. It was a great place to work and the campus cycling culture was great and well supported by the company.

Ted Buehler
Guest

This is a good design. I like it. I think it will work well.

I predict that this striping pattern will soon become standard for all highway shoulders everywhere. Within 2 years you’ll see it popping up in the more progressive states, within 6 years it will be in the MUTCD, and within 10 years you’ll find them on most highways across the country.

Thank you Washington County!

Ted Buehler

Dave Cary
Guest
Dave Cary

The key to any new or older bakes lanes is having them swept regularly. Without it bikes are forced into the car lanes, but the vehicle drivers don’t understand why they are using the car lanes. Makes for rolling resentment from both drivers and riders.

paul
Guest
paul

I have rode from Tualatin to Sherwood and was wondering what was going on with the strips. I think it works as some people like to ride the right line no matter how much space they have on the left. The double line was used as the passing lane for a cyclist who passed me so it works good for that as well. And of course if he would of rang a bell or called out on your left before I noticed him passing I would have moved closer to the right but he obliviously didn’t feel the need.

Another interesting thing was it looked like the painted bike on the bike lane looked like some had hard hats on or i guess it could of been over spray. If I go see a movie in Sherwood this weekend I will send in a picture.

The only bad part is there is a lot of glass on those bike lanes and that is after they just finished all the work.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Ted Buehler
Dave and Debi —
Call the city and request that the street be added to the monthly street sweeping regime.
http://208.71.204.241/departments/publicworks/opsmaintenance/sweepschedule.aspx
Ted Buehler
Recommended 0

That would require Beaverton actually caring about bicycle facilities in the first place. They don’t.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Paul — what happens when you try it?

And, do you send them a thank you note whenever they do sweep your streets? Butter ’em up…

Ted Buehler
Guest

Here’s yer contact info

Margaret Middleton,
Senior Transportation Planner
City of Beaverton
PO Box 4755 Beaverton
OR 97076-4755
Phone: 503.526.2424 mmiddleton@ci.beaverton.or.us

As displayed in the ODOT “Bicycle and Pedestrian Program: Local Contacts” page

ODOT’s directive is to

“If you have concerns or suggestions relating to local streets, roads, other facilities, policies, etc. contact the appropriate person below.”

Be the squeaky wheel,

Ted Buehler
Guest