Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Neighbors distribute survey to help fix Ladd Circle traffic problems

Posted by on October 18th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Stop sign in Ladds

Stop sign at Ladd Circle.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Ladd Circle has been a thorn in the side of neighbors, vehicle operators, and the City of Portland for years. The circle — which happens to sit on one of the most heavily traveled bicycle corridors in Portland — has stop signs at every entry; but they’re notoriously ignored.

The survey is titled, “A Busy Circle – In Search of Solutions.” Here’s more from an email being distributed about it:

“Ladd Circle is a memorable landmark in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood and during commuting hours can be a very busy thoroughfare. Thousands of cyclists, drivers and pedestrians make their way through each day.

In the last few years, neighbors, commuters and various advocates have raised a wide range of safety concerns related to traffic movement (cars, people and bikes) within and near the circle. What are the most concerning problems? What are the most appealing solutions?

The neighborhood association, Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood Development (HAND), wants to know what you think. In an effort to better judge the concerns our community has about traffic issues in Ladd’s Circle, we’ve compiled a list of questions in an online survey.”

The 20 question survey includes questions like:

  • As a motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian in Ladd circle have you yourself had a “near miss” where you felt very lucky to have not been involved in an crash?
  • What level of concern to you have about motor vehicle/cycle/pedestrian issues in and around Ladd Circle?
  • Given the current configuration of Ladd’s circle please state how concerned you are about the following types of crashs taking into account the likelihood they will happen and the potential consequences.

The survey also asks people for feedback on a variety of “interventions” to fix the problems including “Change stop signs on entering the circle to yield signs,” “Increase police enforcement of traffic laws in the circle,” “Provide volunteer crossing guards during school transportation times,” “Paint a bike lane in the circle,” and more.

Creators of the survey say the goal is to define the issues and facilitate a solution. Questions were developed by the Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood Association, PBOT, resident expert Mia Birk, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The survey closes November 8th and it’s available online.

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. Thank you.

  • Joseph E October 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I haven’t walked thru the circle, but I’ve ridden bikes thru there a few times (usually while test-riding a bike from Clever Cycles). From that perspective, the right solution is yield signs and 15 mph speed limits on the circle and at all entry points (as is usually done with roundabouts). I think this would be fine for people walking, as well.

    The current solution of ignoring the stop signs seems to work fine, in my limited experience; traffic is low and speeds are reasonable. But it’s bad to encourage “lawbreaking”, no matter how minor, thru unenforced laws.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • Paul Johnson October 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      No doubt re-engineering it as a true roundabout is best. Kind of lame how it wasn’t done that way a long time ago.

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      • wsbob October 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm

        “No doubt re-engineering it as a true roundabout is best. …” Paul Johnson

        I wonder if people that actually live in the neighborhood, that like to walk by themselves and with their kids…ride their bikes in the neighborhood, walk their dogs…feel the same way as you do. Maybe this survey will help to answer that question.

        Managing the use of neighborhood streets so as to retain neighborhood livability, would seem to be more important than using such streets as a ‘cut-through’ for travel by non-neighborhood commuter traffic.

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        • Mike Fish October 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

          I live there. I feel that way.

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          • Bjorn October 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm

            I basically lived there for a year and I tried to make it happen, then I realized that it is ridiculous to spend a bunch of money re-engineering what is already one of the safest intersection in the entire city. Please PBOT do not waste resources on Ladd’s Addition.

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        • Paul Johnson October 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm

          If they didn’t, they wouldn’t live on a roundabout on a major crosstown cycleway.

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    • Carl October 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

      Just a reminder: commenting on BikePortland ≠ taking the survey.

      If you have opinions on this matter, and many of you seem to, don’t forget to take the survey:


      Kudos to HAND for creating such a thorough and neutrally-worded survey.

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  • Jim Lee October 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    We must accommodate those who wish to ride centuries in the solution.

    Also realize that the inside curb is almost exactly 250 meters in circumference with slight banking to the pavement, making it our city’s only true Olympic standard velodrome.

    Hour record, anyone?

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    • Dan Kaempff October 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      OCCUPY LADD’S CIRCLE!!!…on bikes. 🙂

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  • Elliot October 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I wonder what would happen if a couple hundred pedestrians got together to go for a walk, single file a couple times around Ladd Circle during rush hour… it would probably look something like this.

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    • dmc October 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      I have had an extremely rough day. I am so glad I found this. It’s 10pm at night and I smiled for the first time today. Thank you so very much. (the music is perfect!)

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    • Jacob October 19, 2011 at 8:25 am


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    • Neighbor Gregg October 19, 2011 at 8:53 am

      I just watched that video. Ha Ha! Thanks for posting.

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    • KJ October 19, 2011 at 10:34 am

      that was awesome thanks! =D

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  • Tyler October 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Yield signs — and possibly very low speed limits, as posted above.

    Stop signs before traffic circles sort of defeats the point — just have one!

    For motor vehicle operators, that “yield” is greener than “stop,” right?

    The reason that nobody follows the stop signs, is that the stop signs don’t make any sense.

    Nobody followed the one by OMSI, either, because it made no sense, and eventually the PBOT came to their senses and removed the thing.

    Here’s hoping it doesn’t become simply a traffic-ticket cash cow…

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    • Paul Johnson October 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      In Oklahoma and Kansas, four-way yields are common on residential streets. People actually operate more carefully when they encounter “YIELD – ALL WAYS” sign, because they’re not expecting the other guy to stop. Counter-intuitive, I know, but introducing a sense of danger has a tendency to make people’s preservation instinct trigger. Plus, the overuse of stop signs in this region is why motorists and bicyclists alike frequently ignore them entirely. Most other countries rightfully reserve stop signs for locations where you can’t even roll the intersection at low speed safely, and a traffic signal is impractical.

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    • meh October 19, 2011 at 7:50 am

      Stop calling it a traffic circle, it is not a traffic circle.

      It is a wagon wheel street design incorporating rose gardens.

      Only 2 of the 8 streets entering the circle are designed correctly with merge style lanes, the rest join Ladd Circle perpendicularly.

      It was not designed as a traffic calming device.


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      • Matt October 19, 2011 at 9:22 am

        You’re technically correct but that is how it’s functioning. And just because something was designed one way doesn’t mean it can’t be modified to function better.

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      • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

        Not all circles are roundabouts. For example, almost every traffic circle in Beaverton has perpendicular entry (and a central island almost too small to navigate around).

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  • Spiffy October 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I got the survey via the Shift list and just finished filling it out…

    I basically said that there aren’t any problems and they should turn the stop signs into yield signs and enforce the law requiring vehicles to yield to pedestrians…

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  • dan October 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    My biggest concern is actually cars parked in the circle pulling out without checking their rearview mirrors. Second concern is cars parking in the circle in such a way that vehicles exiting the circle can’t see pedestrians who are crossing the street. I don’t see cyclist/pedestrian issues as a serious concern, though maybe the pedestrians see it differently.

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  • Tony October 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I realized something interesting about this debate a while back. Why is it that no one complains about the lack of stop signs for cars and bikes LEAVING the circle? I understand there’s some visibility issues on the one entrance coming NW on Ladd, but how is it really any more of a problem that bikes (and cars) use the stop signs as a yield while entering the circle, but there is no traffic control (other than yield) when leaving the circle.

    Obviously, we don’t want people speeding right into the circle and colliding with cars, but I don’t usually hear that as the reason this is a problem.

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    • Paul Johnson October 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      Standard etiquette is to let people out of a relatively confined space before you barge into it. Using this as basis for intuition, it makes more sense to let people out of the circle easily than into it, since space in the circle is more limited.

      Plus, user expectation. Roundabouts and traffic circles are forms of intersections (and this one is already fairly unique in that it allows parking in the intersection circle, which doesn’t help sightlines or mesh with user expectation). Turning stop signs to face traffic exiting the circle would be like turning stop signs to face the center of an intersection and expecting them to stop on the way out: Operating exactly the opposite of every other intersection like it would cause more problems than it solves, which is already how we’re even having this discussion to begin with.

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  • peejay October 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I’m glad that the Shift list has distributed this, and now you have, Jonathan. And of course we’ll all just mark down “remove stop signs” in the questions, as i have already done. Hopefully, rational cyclists make up the majority of the respondents. But what if we never found out about it, and it got picked up by crotchetyoldfolks.org, instead? And they got hundreds of responses like “get off my lawn”?

    I guess what I’m asking is: how is an internet survey in any way a valid reflection of the community as a whole?

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    • wsbob October 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      “…I guess what I’m asking is: how is an internet survey in any way a valid reflection of the community as a whole?” peejay

      Or, of the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood itself.

      The survey asks respondents where they reside, but it doesn’t require verification of residence. The results then, aren’t likely to be able to be relied upon to reflect concerns and needs of neighborhood residents related to the way their neighborhood streets are being allowed to be used, the way a door to door personally conducted survey could.

      This open, anonymous survey that HAND is conducting is probably a good idea, but it would probably be worth considering backing it up with a door to door survey as well.

      I notice in your comment, the insulting remark “crotchetyoldfolks.org”, which isn’t called for and isn’t likely to add constructively to this discussion.

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      • captainkarma October 18, 2011 at 9:10 pm

        For some folks it has become stylish (?) to put down older folks and hippies. Probably because those groups are gentle & forgiving. Who’s next to hate on, buddhist monks?

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        • q`Tzal October 19, 2011 at 8:18 am

          We only need to respect bullies and thugs, anyone that will not injure us is unworthy of respect.

          So sayeth `Murican common sense.

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  • dan October 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Good point, in market research terms we would say the sampling frame is all wiggy. Or more accurately, there are no protocols in place to ensure we get a representative sample. Of course, there are open questions around whether certain group’s opinions are more important — should people living on the circle have a bigger voice than people who bike through? Etc. I would say that addressing hazards should be the first priority, then ensuring smooth traffic flow.

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  • SilkySlim October 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Just took the survey as a cyclist/runner. My final summary: “Remove the stop signs, but don’t add any yield signs. Let the situation govern itself. It will work. I promise.”

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  • Jason October 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I’m not sure we’ll all ‘just mark down remove all stop signs in the questions’. Being someone who rides through that area as part of my commute but also walks the circle taking my daughter to school occasionally I have to say my biggest problem is vehicles and bikes not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk or vehicles/bikes in the circle.
    I’m not sure how changing the requirement from stop, yielding right of way to pedestrians and vehicles will be made better by easing that requirement. One of the reasons this is an issue is the lack of people obeying the current law creating a safety issue. What makes you think someone will yield to pedestrians and vehicles/cycles with a yield sign when they already fail to do so with a stop sign.

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    • peejay October 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      Well, as you say, they don’t stop now, so how does keeping the status quo help anyone?

      Perhaps if there were a yield sign there, or a “YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS” sign, or better yet, “YIELD TO PEOPLE AND CHILDREN WALKING”, then people would stop ignoring a useless sign and start paying attention to a sign that tells them what’s what.

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      • Jason October 19, 2011 at 11:39 am

        I was not arguing to keep the status quo, I was simply commenting on the few posts above stating that cyclists should ‘check remove all stop signs’ on the survey. I think something should be done, and after taking the survey I’m really not sure what exactly the perfect solution would be. I’m also not a traffic engineer or a planner, but feel that making the intersection all yield signs would not solve the issue of vehicles and cyclist not yielding right of way. I like the idea of more forceful signage like YIELD – ALL WAYS, again not sure that would solve the problem.

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  • Alex Reed October 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    It is true that some motorists and more cyclists are rude to pedestrians at Ladd’s Circle.

    That said, I think there are probably 500 locations around the city that are more in need of PBOT’s attention than Ladd’s Circle. I would start with just about every non-signalized crosswalk on every high-traffic street.

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  • are October 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    how about moving the crosswalks a few feet back from the circle

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    • was carless October 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Thats actually standard operating procedure in roundabout designs.

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  • commuter October 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I usually come to almost a stop but and I never feel like I am in danger or have never had close calls. The Ladds circle area is probably the safest part of my commute. I think a yield sign would be great but fear that some cyclists would blow through crosswalks. What I find annoying is other cyclists who fail to yield to pedestrians, especially children. On the hierarchy of yielding, pedestrians in crosswalk trumps all. If we can’t even yield to children how can we expect cars to share the road with us? Drivers who see cyclists blowing through crosswalks with pedestrians would give a second thought to viewing us as equals on the road.

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  • Porter October 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    The only danger I face when riding in Ladds is when I stop (yes, I actually stop when entering) and someone behind me doesn’t think I’m going to and almost runs me over.

    I’m all for turning the signs into yield signs.

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    • Paul Johnson October 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      SIGNAL!! I don’t tailgate, but when someone stops unexpectedly (emergency, or they’re seeing a traffic control I’m not), having some warning before the brakes fully apply really goes a long way in not creaming someone.

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      • Porter October 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

        Why should I have to signal that I am stopping at a posted stop sign?

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        • A.K. October 19, 2011 at 11:02 am

          You shouldn’t have to, but it might keep people who are not use to stopping there from running into you. I’d rather put my hand up behind my back for a second then deal with some idiot running into me.

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        • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm

          Because the guy behind you might not see the stop sign, but does see you. And it’s state law to signal when slowing or stopping.

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        • are October 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm

          because 814.440 requires you to do so, for a hundred feet, continuously. this is actually one particular in which the law for cyclists is more stringent than the law for motorists, whose brake lights do “signal” stops, but often not for a hundred feet. compare 811.395.

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      • whyat October 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

        How do you know they aren’t signaling? And it’s a STOP SIGN. That you constantly flaunt the law and right of way doesn’t excuse your bad behavior. If you’re constantly running into other cyclists then the problem is WITH YOU.

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        • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

          I stop. I know people behind me might not be aware of this. I don’t want to get a stupid ticket for not signalling I’m stopping. Therefore, I signal. Thanks for making a worse assumption than I did.

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      • ED October 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

        It’s not “unexpected” to stop at a stop sign. I’ve nearly been rear ended when stopping or slowing at the circle also.

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        • Paul Johnson October 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

          I don’t disagree, but pretend for a moment that it is for the guy behind you.

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  • Bjorn October 18, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    The survey is biased and was clearly written to push respondents to cite issues where cyclists or motor vehicles were at fault. Notice that it has questions about motorists hitting cyclists or ped, and cyclists hitting motorists or peds, but no questions about issues where pedestrians are at fault. The survey’s authors have an agenda.

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    • wsbob October 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      “…The survey’s authors have an agenda.? Bjorn

      Which in your opinion is…?

      So far, comments to this story, expressing support for not obliging vehicle road users to stop at the stop signs or significantly slow down upon approaching, entering and leaving the Ladd’s Addition traffic circles, almost exclusively favor a ‘vehicle-centric’ road users perspective, rather than a perspective that may represent neighborhood residents views on this issue.

      There is lots of discussion about the current and future state of street infrastructure, and the excessive use people make of motor vehicles to travel that infrastructure.

      An underlying theme of such discussion is that people would feel encouraged to step out of their motor vehicles and walk…or bike…if they didn’t feel under siege by people’s use of motor vehicles in ways that virtually dominate the street.

      Domination by people operating vehicles, which includes bikes…at the expense of the walk-ability and general livability of the neighborhood, is what’s been happening on the streets of Ladd’s Addition. Addressing this issue and trying to arrive at possible solutions to it appears to likely be the agenda of the people that prepared the survey.

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  • John Springer October 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    As anyone with experience driving in the UK knows, you don’t need stop signs at simple traffic circles. But people have to rigorously follow the yield rules: you cannot enter the circle if there is any traffic (or peds) on your right… I mean left.

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  • jim October 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    If bicycles had license plates they could do a photo enforcement. That would change some attitudes in a big hurry

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    • A.K. October 19, 2011 at 11:03 am

      And that would cost how much to implement and maintain and operate, so solve what problem exactly?

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      • A.K. October 19, 2011 at 11:03 am

        TO solve, even.

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      • jim October 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm

        It would help keep cyclists from breaking laws if they were to get caught on camera. It would also help identify stolen bikes. The cost would be covered by the fees paid of course. They are liking the revenue they are collecting from red light cameras. I could also see this for helping enforce the problems at cross walks.

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        • Paul Johnson October 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

          You say that, yet the costs associated with doing that aren’t covered by existing motorist registration fees (or it would cost five or six times what it does now).

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    • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      We’ll get right on that after motorist registration covers the costs cars create on our infrastructure.

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  • Brian October 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    “Thousands of drivers make their way through every day….”.

    That should say, thousands of drivers THAT SHOULDN’T BE THERE make their way through every day. It’s a bike boulevard. There’s no way that many cars should be on that street. Even the Ladd’s Addition local plans says that in its opening pages.

    The Safer Routes to Schools plan voted to put speed bumps in on Ladd Avenue, but Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood Assn voted it down, and the school was unable to get the speed bumps.

    Now they are moaning about too much traffic in their neighborhood. Go figure.

    I live in this neighborhood, and HAND really frustrate me 99% of the time. They are so out of touch, it makes me mad.

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    • wsbob October 18, 2011 at 10:51 pm

      “…but Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood Assn voted it down …” Brian

      And in your recollection, HAND’s reasoning for voting down the speed bumps was?

      Left unanswered, the suggestion of your mention of HAND’s not opting for speed bumps, is that the neighborhood association was not sufficiently interested in taking measures to reduce volume of traffic through the neighborhood.

      Could be true, but I suspect the actual reasons don’t include that one.

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      • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 7:34 am

        Is there any situation where speed bumps are less expensive or safer than chicanes, chokes or other passive traffic calming measures that don’t involve increasing the wear and tear on city vehicles, present a terrain hazard for cyclists and don’t increase long-term maintenance costs?

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        • Brian October 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

          Their reason HAND voted down the speed bumps on Ladd that Abernathy Elementary School had voted FOR as part of Safer Routes to Schools funds, as I was told by a BTA staffer, was that HAND saw the speed bumps as merely a “band aid” and were waiting instead for the City to spend a multi-million dollar budget on an entire neighborhood-wide streetscape plan. That’s what they have been holding out for all this time. The fact they are never, ever going to get it in this economic climate doesn’t seem to occur to them.

          They should have taken the band-aid while they had the chance. Now they have nothing, and $25,000 of safety improvements flew out the window for them.

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          • Donna October 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm

            Figures. As if their already safe street should be renovated when other neighborhoods don’t even have sidewalks or paved streets. I live in the HAND neighborhood and they frustrate me, too.

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    • jeff October 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

      and exactly why shouldn’t cars be there in your opinion? It was a residential street and thoroughfare LONG before it was ever a ‘bike boulevard’. And the two things are NOT mutually exclusive.

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      • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm

        It’s a bicycle boulevard, it’s not supposed to be used by cars except for local access. If they are, then there’s design issues that need to be addressed.

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      • Brian October 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm

        It is a designated bicycle boulevard, by the City of Portland. One of the main criterium of bicycle boulevards is that they must be low traffic. This is in order to allow more vulnerable members of our community access to bicycling without safety issues – children, seniors etc.

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    • wsbob October 20, 2011 at 1:00 am

      “…”Thousands of drivers make their way through every day….”. HAND email explaining background for the survey

      That should say, thousands of drivers THAT SHOULDN’T BE THERE make their way through every day. It’s a bike boulevard. There’s no way that many cars should be on that street. Even the Ladd’s Addition local plans says that in its opening pages. …” Brian

      “…It’s a bicycle boulevard, it’s not supposed to be used by cars except for local access. …” Paul Johnson

      Brian offers in a later comment, his recollection of why HAND elected not to approve the installation of speed bumps on Ladd’s streets: http://bikeportland.org/2011/10/18/neighbors-distribute-survey-to-help-fix-ladd-circle-traffic-problems-60791#comment-2093800

      Basically says the association didn’t feel speed bumps would be sufficiently effective in view of the fact the that a chance at the time existed for a more sophisticated, more effective remedy, down the road. Doesn’t say that HAND was unconditionally opposed to speed bumps.

      Just on that little bit of info, which probably isn’t enough to really explain the situation, it seems that HAND is trying to do the right thing.

      The ‘Bicycle Boulevard’ provision and obligations on the part of neighborhood’s whose streets become so designated is probably something that should be looked at more closely. From previous discussions here on bikeportland, I vaguely remember some of that. In some city document, there may be a bit about it being suggested that bike boulevards have a minimum of stop signs.

      Some people consider this to be a part of bike boulevards and use such a point to argue for the removal of stop signs. Good question would be, ‘What part might Ladd’s Addition residents have had in designating Ladd’s streets as a bike boulevard, carrying with it some kind obligation to allow a flow of commuter bike traffic, unrestricted by stop signs, through the neighborhood?’.

      If Ladd’s residents, or HAND on their behalf, signed onto that designation and it did carry some sort of obligation to remove stop signs as part of creating bike boulevards, that may…make for some kind of justification for getting rid of the signs.

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  • BURR October 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    The whole thing is a joke, based on the erroneous assumption that Ladd’s Circle is somehow unsafe for pedestrians, with the secondary unstated assumption that cyclists are the primary culprits.

    There is no real data to back any of this up.

    Furthermore, as a cyclist who goes through Ladd’s Addition twice a day, I have never had any conflicts with pedestrians there, and most if not all of the conflicts I’ve had with motorists have occurred on SE Ladd at the small circles rather than at the main circle.

    The worst problem I see in Ladd’s Addition is speeding motorists, and I see nothing in this proposal that would address that issue.

    Installing bike lanes will force cyclists to ride in the door zone and to the right of right-turning traffic, and narrowing the lanes will just cause more cyclist-motorist conflicts.

    IMO, it’s better that they do nothing, as these are all solutions in search of a problem, which will only make things worse.

    When it comes to traffic safety issues, Ladd’s Circle is already about as safe as it gets, and this should be very close to the bottom of the city’s priority list.

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    • NF October 19, 2011 at 7:34 am

      Yeah… Ladd is probably the safest intersection in the city and it gets all sorts of attention. Meanwhile, people are dying while trying to cross the streets at other, less favored, parts of the city.

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      • MossHops October 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

        +1 on this. I did complete the survey, I live about 10 blocks from Ladd’s and bike through there twice a day.

        Yeah, It’d be nice to have yield signs and I do see a slight problem with everyone entering the circle looking to their left for traffic and not noticing pedestrians crossing from the right.

        However, I can’t in good conscious condone a redo of Ladd’s when cyclists and pedestrians are dying on Barbur Blvd.

        I believe the highest and best purpose for infrastructure investment is to reduce the fatalities of the most vulnerable road users. Based on that criteria, Ladd’s is WAY down the list.

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  • mark kenseth October 18, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Find something better to worry about beside this round-about. I moved to Portland from Chicago just over a month ago, and I bike through LC every few days to go downtown. It’s the dreamiest intersection I’ve ever been through in my life via bike. It’s such a pretty, smooth, and carefree ridie. Nobody stops at the stop signs (even cars), and nobody should…it’s a round-about. The most dangerous exchange I almost had was when a kid was about to throw a frisbee from the center island to the other side. I stuck my hand out to catch it, but he stopped in the nick of time. The LC reeks of neighborliness, and ya’ll should be proud to have such a fine faux round-about (one with stop signs).

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    • wsbob October 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      “…I bike through LC every few days…” mark kenseth

      So you’re actually in Ladd’s all of about 20 minutes a week, and that as a road user rather than a pedestrian.

      You’re not experiencing the issues with road users that residents of the neighborhood generally appear to object to, because you perhaps don’t reside there, pass through the traffic circles at other times of the day, or spend time passing through them for longer periods of time than it takes you to ride your bike along the neighborhood’s streets as a road user.

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  • kittens October 19, 2011 at 4:23 am

    This survey is what what you call a “push-poll” in which a bunch of questions lead people to think certain things. Like if i asked how worried you are about rising sea levels and their effect on sea salt production in San Francisco Bay…

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    • oliver October 19, 2011 at 8:30 am

      If this is indeed the case, as it appears to be, any “findings” ought be immediately and thoroughly discredited upon publication.

      You don’t ask a 3rd grader if he wants Chocolate cake or Ice cream for breakfast and then declare that as proof that Chocolate Cake is the best breakfast for children in the 8-10 age bracket.

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    • wsbob October 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

      “This survey is what what you call a “push-poll” in which a bunch of questions lead people to think certain things.” kittens

      And what things do you consider HAND’s survey, coincidentally or otherwise, is leading people to think?

      This survey is by no means the first expression of concern over how the Ladd’s neighborhood streets have been used by vehicle traffic. The survey is just the most recent effort to approach a resolution of problems associated with that use.

      The manner in which vehicle traffic uses Ladd’s main streets is exactly the type of traffic activity that led housing developments in later decades to have cul-de-sacs, a type of street planning notoriously known for entirely blocking off through travel on designated streets. The message here is that people don’t generally like to have their neighborhood being being traveled through by people whose particular use of the streets reflects little respect for livability of the neighborhood.

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      • BURR October 19, 2011 at 10:32 am

        ‘ws’ stands for west side, doesn’t it? In other words, you rarely ride through Ladd’s Addition, yet here you are in post after post claiming to know more about it than people who bike through it daily.

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        • wsbob October 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

          ” ‘ws’ stands for west side, doesn’t it? …” BURR

          It does not.

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      • MossHops October 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

        wsbob, Are you proposing that Ladd’s should be a cul-de-sac design? That could be done by cutting off many of the streets that head into the neighborhood.

        Then again, that would push more traffic to division and hawthorne. Which, classic to the cul-de-sac style will mandate bigger blvds for both of these streets. Plus, the cul-de-sac style would make things more difficult for both pedestrians and cyclists to move about the city.

        My point being, Ladd’s can’t have it both ways. Either you like flexibility and design of our east side grid system that allows for more traffic on the side streets, or you move to a cul-de-sac neighborhood that is decidedly unfriendly to peds and cyclists.

        The fact that there is a bike boulevard running through the Ladd neighborhood means that Ladd’s gets a better deal than most of the surrounding neighborhood. I live on Lincoln and everyday I find myself thankful for all of the bicyclist riding on the street in front on my house, helping to keep the street “sane.” Lincoln would be (and was) a disaster if they took away the bike friendly facilities.

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        • wsbob October 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm

          It has occurred to me that, as a last resort to address the issue of irresponsible use of its main streets by people and their vehicles, Ladd’s Addition’s traffic circle could be closed to through traffic, using a kind of cul-de-sac configuration.

          And true, this treatment would likely have the effect of diverting through traffic to Hawthorne, Division, 20th and 12th avenues, which are probably the streets that most through traveling non-resident commuter traffic should be using.

          But no, I’m not seriously proposing the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood take the cul-de-sac approach. I would hope resolving the situation would not take that course. Despite the specific defensive measure they offer neighborhoods and people that live on them, cul-de-sacs produce some very negative situations.

          It never has seemed that residents object simply to the presence of vehicles not from the neighborhood using Ladd’s streets. The fundamental ongoing issue and objection seems to be that vehicle road users decline to use the neighborhood’s streets with regard for the fact the streets are residential neighborhood streets.

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  • jon October 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

    remove the pavement around the roundabout down to the cobblestones. cobblestones are the perfect traffic calming design because you have to go slow. speed limit signs are worthless.

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    • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Does that area still have cobbles? Downtown Portland regulates speed to 15 MPH by strategic light timing.

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  • Mindful Cyclist October 19, 2011 at 9:43 am

    The stop signs in Ladd’s Addition, in my opinion, can be taken further when we look at the rest of the Inner Eastside of Portland. I have no idea why there has to be some sort of traffic control device (ie. at least a stop sign) on what seems to be at least 90% of the intersections in the area. I don’t understand why in the low traffic side streets why the city just does not switch to uncontrolled intersections. It is very simple. You approach intersection, slow down, make a left-right-left check and proceed if there is nothing coming. If there is something coming and it is on your right, you are required to give the right of way.

    Motorist start getting keen on knowing what side streets have few stop signs and often speed through them to beat the other traffic. I think if they knew they may be required to stop, it could potentially help.

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    • wsbob October 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

      “…It is very simple. You approach intersection, slow down…” Mindful Cyclist

      It should be simple, but many people don’t slow down. This has been documented in Ladd’s time and again by pedestrians and vehicle users and video crews.

      From a vehicle-centric point of view, approaching what people that like to rationalize is infrastructure that encourages them not to stop at stop signs or slow down, not stopping or slowing is not a problem.

      The tables are entirely reversed for people that live in a given neighborhood…not just Ladd’s…that seek to walk and travel streets in their neighborhoods at a measured pace.

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      • Mindful Cyclist October 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm

        “It should be simple, but many people don’t slow down.”

        From my experience living in a place that was set up like a grid, motorist understood that there were no stop signs either way. Sure, some people will not slow down, but as I said, many people also learn ways to cut through the neighborhoods where they know the stop signs are in their favor.

        “The tables are entirely reversed for people that live in a given neighborhood…not just Ladd’s…that seek to walk and travel streets in their neighborhoods at a measured pace.”

        I am talking about lower traffic side streets. Not main artials. Motorist, for the most part, understand that pedestrians have the right of way here at least in Inner East Portland. When I have been in Vancouver, WA or the Western ‘burbs, I find it to be a different story. But, I also felt very safe walking the streets in the grid where I used to live where the neighborhoods had uncontrolled intersecions. Oh, and the streets were at least 50% wider, too.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 19, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Mindful Cyclist

    .. I have no idea why there has to be some sort of traffic control device (ie. at least a stop sign) on what seems to be at least 90% of the intersections in the area. I don’t understand why in the low traffic side streets why the city just does not switch to uncontrolled intersections.

    Mindful Cyclist,

    It’s important to understand the PBOT/inner SE N’hood dynamic. I would be willing to bet that the reason all those stop signs exist is that PBOT is very attune to inner SE n’hood demands and that many of the signs are the result of complaints/requests of residents. In the past, PBOT would just put up stop signs to quiet n’hood anger about speeding and other conflicts… I think PBOT has gotten better about this as their expertise and commitment to n’hood streets has improved over the years… But if I’m not mistaken many of the signs are relics of past n’hood complaints and unfortunately it’s a lot easier to put a stop sign in than to take it out.

    Also important to note that PBOT says on record that stop signs are only supposed to be installed as right-of-way devices NOT to reduce speed.

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    • Mindful Cyclist October 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks for the response, Jonathan. I didn’t realize what PBOT’s stance was. A follow up question for you (if you know off hand) is that has PBOT ever considered trying uncontrolled intersections when Bike Blvds have been created? I guess I am thinking of a place like Going St when the signs were flipped around on some of the intersections.

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  • elil bishop October 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    i’m way more concerned at the glisan traffic circle at 39th. i feel like i’m taking my life in my hands every time i use it it. in fact, there’s no safe place to cross 39th between burnside and halsey. despite the bike boulevard through davis, you have to jog over to the crossing stripe at couch, and that stripe is about as effective as you would expect.

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    • Paul Johnson October 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      That’s Coe Circle, where Cesar Estrada Chavez and Glisan meet. The 40s Greenway runs up 41st Avenue there. http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=45.52726&lon=-122.62025&zoom=16&layers=C

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      • eli bishop October 24, 2011 at 10:12 am

        yes, and the only place to cross is couch, which has a measly crosswalk that is difficult to see/react to when you’re in a car getting up to speed up the hill after burnside.

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  • Carter October 19, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Has there ever been an accident at Ladd Circle because of a cyclist ignoring a stop sign?

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    • Jeremy October 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

      I know of two right hooks that have happened at the Harrison exit when a car driving around the circle has gone to exit on Harrison and cyclist blow through the Ladd stop sign and come up on the right side of the turning car. Fortunately neither was overly serious but the danger is definitely there from running stop signs.

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      • Psyfalcon October 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm

        Sounds like a failure on the driver still. Even if the rider entered without stopping, the same thing could have happened to a rider who picked up speed after entering the other side of the circle.

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        • are October 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm

          sounds like a cyclist was riding to the right of a moving car

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          • Psyfalcon October 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

            Which you are required to do.

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        • wsbob October 20, 2011 at 10:36 am

          “I know of two right hooks that have happened at the Harrison exit when a car driving around the circle has gone to exit on Harrison and cyclist blow through the Ladd stop sign and come up on the right side of the turning car. …” Psyfalcon

          Especially where side streets are equipped with stop signs regulating traffic on the side streets, road users traveling the circle would have the right of way over road users entering the circle from side streets.

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    • GlowBoy October 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Yes, I have been hit from behind (gently, but still …) because I stopped and the cyclist behind me did not.

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  • John Landolfe October 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Ladd’s was the first neighborhood I lived in in Portland and I love it. As annoying as this process must seem to some, my only two cents is that this should continue as a civil conversation between commuters and residents. I absolutely think police interventions are a serious waste of resources when we have under served streets that people are literally dying on and Ladd’s, by all statistics I’ve seen, boasts some of the safest streets in the City. So continue the conversation sure, but send the police elsewhere.

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  • Stephen October 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I live a few block from Ladd’s Circle and bike around twice daily (and have for 10 years).

    As a cyclist, my major concern is the speed differential between cars and bikes/peds. For that reason anything to reduce speeding through Ladd’s Addition is positive. I would be oppose traffic changes (such as replacing stop signs with yield signs) if such a change makes it easier for cars to speed into and around the circle. While stop signs may inconvenience cyclists slightly, if their presence slows traffic, they are a good thing.

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  • BumpyTopped October 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I live in Ladd’s. I ride my bike through the circle four times every day. I take my 3 years old to school on the sidewalk every weekday. I drive through it about once a week.

    The biggest issues are 1: cars and bikes not taking the time to look both ways for peds and 2: Cars and Bikes not yielding to peds (about 50% of the time) when they do see the peds.

    Make the stop signs yield signs, add “yield to peds” signage/blinking lights, and start ticketing people who do not yield to peds.

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  • Bjorn October 19, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Repeat after me “Ladd’s Addition is not a dangerous place to walk or bike!”

    Here are some maps about this, zoom in on the injury crash numbers involving bikes in any way for 10 years. 12th to 20th, hawthorne to division, from 1995 to 2005 there are ZERO!


    and here is another map of injuries showing part of ladd’s over a different 10 year period, again no injuries:


    If these people actually cared about safety they would be be actively working to make 12th, Hawthorne, and Division safer, because there simply is no safety problem within Ladd’s, especially not when compared to the actual safety problems that exist right on the edge of Ladd’s.

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    • A.K. October 19, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      I agree I think it’s a very safe place, but there was that crash earlier this year(?) in Ladd’s that sent the Nike employee to the hospital in a coma.

      So I don’t think you can say it’s zero, BUT I would personally regard Ladd as one of the safest places I bike in the city.

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      • BURR October 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm

        that was a car on bike crash, and not a bike on ped crash.

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        • A.K. October 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm

          And? It’s still a crash between two different transit modes within the Ladd neighborhood, exactly what this whole discussion revolves around (car/bike/ped conflicts). It’s too recent to be reported on either of the links the original poster provided.

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          • BURR October 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm

            the whole thrust of the neighborhood’s concerns is with bike on ped crashes, and not with car on bike crashes. As far as I can tell, the loudest voices in the neighborhood on this issue don’t give a crap about cyclist safety.

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      • Mabsf October 20, 2011 at 9:18 am

        Thatcher was 2 years ago, on l’addition avenue and was bile/car crash

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        • Mabsf October 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

          Sorry, my son switched to French on the keyboard…what I wanted to say is: that was 2 years ago on Ladd’s Avenue and it was a car/bike crash

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    • BURR October 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      Bjorn, is there a similar map for pedestrian injuries? That would get closer to the issues in this case than the cyclist injury map, as it seems the Ladd’s residents claim is that cyclists in Ladd’s are dangerous to pedestrians.

      I’ve never had a serious incident in Ladd’s circle as either a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist; in my opinion, the worst spot for cyclist-motorist altercations is at the small circles at the intersections of SE Ladd and SE Palm and SE Ladd and SE Lavender, and not in the main circle.

      As a pedestrian, I have had a total of one incident in Ladd’s Circle, and it was not with a cyclist, it was with a speeding motorist in the circle as I was trying to cross the street into the central park.

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      • BURR October 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

        As a frame of reference, I live just up the hill from Ladd’s Addition on SE 26th and have biked, walked and driven regularly in Ladd’s Addition for 22 years.

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        • wsbob October 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm

          “…’ws’ stands for west side, doesn’t it? …” BURR

          It does not.

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      • Tony October 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

        But if it is pedestrian safety, then why are people exiting the circle not more of a problem than people entering the circle?

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        • Paul Johnson October 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

          Good point, but I wonder if we’re trying to solve for X instead of Y if this is the case. Perhaps some <– LOOK pavement markings pointing upstream could help as well, since a circle is technically an intersection. Especially if the ring gets narrowed and parking eliminated, which would make the ring a no-standing-zone like conventional intersections and every other circle.

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  • RonC October 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I used to live in Ladd’s Addition from 1983-95, and I never had any problems with cyclists while I was walking around the neighborhood. I lived on Mulberry near the intersection with Palm, and twice in the same month a car (probably trying to shortcut the light at Ladd and Hawthorne) came speeding around the corner where I lived, ran over and killed one of my cats. The traffic calming effect of bike riders in the neighborhood has got to be an improvement over the way it used to be. Just change the stop signs to yield signs and stripe the crosswalks and all will be good.

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  • Opus the Poet October 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I have been proposing a new sign for the MUTCD that allows localized Idaho stops, octagonal red with a yield triangle inside with a bike symbol in the triangle, which would be “bikes treat as yield, all others stop” aka The Idaho Stop. I think a good testing ground would be Ladd’s Circle, opinions?

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  • MossHops October 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Just a bit nuts that this survey of Ladd’s gets so much attention when we have stories like this (http://bikeportland.org/2011/10/19/collision-on-sw-canyon-road-in-beaverton-sends-woman-to-hospital-60810?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BikePortland+%28BikePortland.org%29) on the front page of BikePortland.

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  • was carless October 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I basically lived there for a year and I tried to make it happen, then I realized that it is ridiculous to spend a bunch of money re-engineering what is already one of the safest intersection in the entire city. Please PBOT do not waste resources on Ladd’s Addition.
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    Same. I lived there for about a year, just up Ladd. I have NEVER experienced any issues walking, driving, or cycling. They should just yank the stop signs and put up some yield signs + 15mph signs. Add some extra lighting at the intersections, strip the crosswalks, and you are done.

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  • GlowBoy October 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I used to live in Ladd’s and still live nearby, and go through it by bike and car regularly. My young child often rides the bus to his school from Abernethy.

    As a cyclist I’ve been tapped from behind by another rider who failed to realize I might actually STOP, I’ve had a driver try to force their way past me around the east circle when there was no room to do so, and I’ve had slower cyclists cut across the inside of the circle and almost clobber me as they attempted to exit. I’ve also seen both cyclists and drivers fail to stop for pedestrians, numerous times — especially for pedestrians actually trying to cross to/from the center of the circle itself, which is a city park. (On another Ladd’s Addition note, the 20th/Harrison intersection, which I used to ride through daily, also has major problems with cars running the stop signs).

    I don’t think the circle is particularly dangerous statistically, but it certainly is poorly designed. Here’s how it could be made better.
    Reconfigure the North entrance with better sightlines, 90 degree turns, and even more prominent pavement markings indicating the need to yield to people in the crosswalk.
    NARROW the circle roadway drastically. That slab is way too big. This would greatly enlarge the park at the center, make it much easier for pedestrians to cross, and clarify the proper path for bikes around the circle.
    – Change the stop signs to yield signs at the entrances.
    – Ask for better (not just more) PPB enforcement: issue tickets not to everyone who rolls a stop sign, but just to cyclists and drivers alike who fail to yield to pedestrians.

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    • wsbob October 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      “…- NARROW the circle roadway drastically. …” GlowBoy

      Narrowing the street surrounding the rose garden circle to a single lane, maybe 12′ wide, is an interesting idea. Saw it in one of the questions on the survey, and indicated it would probably be an improvement, but I’m not sure exactly of the effect narrowing the street would have.

      Technically, a narrower street on a circle could be designed to shorten the sight-lines for people looking down the road. How much a reduced view would help persuade people operating vehicles to slow down when traveling the circle and in approaching and leaving the stop signs, is a bit hard to say.

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  • mark kenseth October 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Maybe pedestrians should wear lights, too.

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  • GlowBoy October 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Narrowing the circle would entail replacing somewhere around 12-18′ (depending on whether or not a bike lane were included) wouldn’t impair sight lines. To do it properly, the area replacing the pavement would be planted only with grass, no shrubs or trees that would impair visibility. Sightlines would actually be improved because drivers would be further out to the edge of the circle (where visibility is better because of the plantings in the center). Combined with the shorter crossing distance, that would make things much safer for pedestrians crossing to and from the center of the circle.

    Of course the main reason to narrow the pavement is to force traffic (which could now have a YIELD instead of a STOP) to slow down very substantially to make the turn.

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  • GlowBoy October 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Oops, didn’t properly finish editing that, did I? I meant the pavement would be narrowed to 12-18′ and the rest of the existing pavement would be torn up and replaced with grass. Sorry for not being clear about that.

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