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PBOT adds green box to help with crossing of N. Interstate

Posted by on October 4th, 2011 at 11:13 am

As part of their N Vancouver/Wheeler Access to Rose Quarter project, the Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has added a green box to the median island on N. Interstate.

The idea is to help make the southbound left turn from NE Wheeler to Interstate easier and safer. It was interesting to watch bike traffic respond to the new treatment this morning.

When no auto traffic was present in either direction, people on bikes would turn left far south of the green box…

But when there was southbound auto traffic, they’d seek the safety of the box…

In addition to this change, the northbound bike lane on Interstate just past the signal near the Steel Bridge off-ramp now has a one-foot painted buffer, as does the southbound bike lane on NE Wheeler just past Weidler. Learn more about this project in my story from last week.

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16 Comments
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    Jim F October 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Personally glad to see it, but not sure what good the green box will do, since almost everyone just blows through the intersection at full speed. I think I am the only one in town who stops at this stop sign.

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      NF October 4, 2011 at 11:32 am

      The visibility is great on the approach, so I presume those that blow the stop sign are doing so with confidence and safety. When oncoming traffic is present, I bet you see more yielding, stopping, and as wonderfully illustrated by Jonathan, use of the new green box.

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      Schrauf October 4, 2011 at 11:44 am

      Part of the problem is heavy, fast cross traffic. Common sense would say in that case it is even more important to stop, but in the real world you have to go for it quickly, when there is a gap, and that might involve looking both ways to ensure it is safe and then rolling the stop sign.

      It seems to work. The alternative is installing traffic lights, and there are already too many lights in this short stretch.

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    craig October 4, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Another improvement is that the splitting of northbound traffic into two lanes north of Oregon street has been moved further north beyond the intersection, so that bikes southbound on Wheeler have one less lane of traffic to cross at Interstate. Satellite photo of old lane configuration.

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    Joe October 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    watch bind spots, glad to see green 🙂

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    Heather October 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I am thrilled to see this! I’m not sure if this infrastructure will be what it takes to get the “interested but concerned” folks to navigate this intersection, but it definitely brings more visibility to the fact that bikes are crossing here, as well as provide a bit of a refuge.

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    seeshellbike October 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    For those of us going trying to go from Interstate to Multnomah-Holladay, this was the area that I would use to wait so that I wouldn’t have to stop in the bike lane (south) blocking bicyclists. There is NO other way to get from Interstate to go east on multnomah/holladay except to ride on sidewalks. Now what am I suppose to do. The green box isn’t two-way.

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      Lance P. October 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      There now will be a turnout to go east onto Holladay. This will be installed with the new Holladay bike improvements.

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    Spiffy October 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I find it very odd that bicyclists needed a reminder that it’s ok to use the center lane before merging onto the road…

    before the box did everybody just wait until both directions were clear before they crossed the closest lane?

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      gumby October 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      It also helps motorists accept that cyclists have the right to stop and wait there. I’ve had motorists honk and cuss at me when I stopped there before.

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      craig October 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      Note that the lane striping has also changed and the new refuge is MUCH wider than the non-lane space that existed before the restriping. What was there before was not a center lane, and was far too narrow to be used safely or confidently as a refuge.

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      shirtsoff October 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      @Spiffy

      Yes, I would wait until traffic was clear in both directions before proceeding. Like gumby mentioned, some drivers would take offense to a cyclist using the center (turn) lane on busy roads and while I certainly have a right to, I’m also inclined to do what creates the least conflict. Waiting for both directions to clear may not be the most efficient method and foregoing legal rights, but sometimes I find myself slipping into that comfortable, if unnecessary, spot.

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    deborah October 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    As someone that has seen some REALLY close calls here I’m happy for the improvement. Thanks PBOT!

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    ambrown October 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Well, my commute just got safer. Thanks PBOT.

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    PedInPDX October 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Sweet! Gf will appreciate that one.

    Now if only they’d add a crosswalk there…

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    007 October 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Big safety improvement. That’s a wide intersection. I’ve had a close call there before.

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