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Mysterious (yet helpful) signage appears on I-5 bridge bikeways

Posted by on October 25th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Someone has posted this map and a
series of stencils on the pavement to help
riders find their way onto and over
the I-5 bridge.
(Photo: Beck)

A laminated map and stencil markings have mysteriously appeared on the shared-use paths leading up to the I-5 bridge. We haven’t figured out who’s behind them, but several people say the signs are a big help.

To ride a bike over the I-5 bridge from Portland to Vancouver is an exercise in frustration. Before even getting on the deck of the bridge (which is narrow and a bit frightening to many riders), people on bikes are forced through a series of awkward crossings and sidewalk riding. And that’s only if you can figure out where you’re supposed to ride to begin with.

The City of Vancouver has tried to improve signage (but was shot down by ODOT) and Metro’s solution was to put out a how-to video.

Now, someone has taken the matter into their own hands…

(Photo: Todd Boulanger)

A reader named Beck sent in photos of the signage a few weeks ago. He says there are two laminated maps (both near the bridge on the Oregon side) along with “probably six to eight stencils indicating routes on Jantzen Beach and on the Vancouver side leading to the bridge.”

Vancouver resident (and former City of Vancouver Transportation Planning employee) Todd Boulanger says, “They are the 3rd generation of this grass roots effort – and much more refined than before.”

I’m glad someone stepped up and did this, yet it’s too bad that an official and more permanent solution has not yet come to pass.

So… the question remains: Whodunnit?

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Champs
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Champs

They’ve been there for at least a week, and they made my last ride to The Couve bearable. By now I know how to get there by deduction (having made every possible mistake), but the sometimes-confusing signs were still a help. Extending that information as far as Delta Park would help even more.

beck
Guest
beck

I’m glad I sent the same pictures about three weeks ago and you’re just now posting this. All I got was a “cool Beck. thanks.” Must be a slow news day for you.

Lindsay
Guest
Lindsay

Reminds me of the fake I-5 freeway sign that Caltrans decided to keep.

http://www.good.is/post/the-fake-freeway-sign-that-became-a-real-public-service/

Hope ODOT recognizes the value.

Rob
Guest

In spite of the stickler for standard signs that I am… I must admit I’ve been tempted to do this on more than a few occasions to some streets in various Chicagoland suburbs.

beck
Guest
beck

AC I’m not crying about it. I guess I was a little more interested in it since I bike that every day. I would imagine someone going that was for the first time wouldn’t have a clue where to go since there was basically no signage anywhere. Whoever did this rocks in my book.

9watts
Guest
9watts

The first time I biked from SE Portland to Vancouver googlemaps had just started testing their bike option. I copied their directions and did o.k.
But this analog approach is excellent.

patrickz
Guest
patrickz

This makes me happy. Someone out there should feel VERY useful. I haven’t been that way in a while, but I got used to improvising through the years.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I’ve been known to use paint, but I can’t claim this as my work.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Oh, and for those who might be thinking of something like this, marking paint is designed to fade over time. Rust-oleum Striping paint doesn’t (but don’t bet money on getting the full length of striping that Home Depot claims you can get).

Dan V
Guest
Dan V

Now if they could only fix the crossing between the gas station and the Safeway parking lot; I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve almost been clipped by drivers making that (somewhat blind) right turn from the I-5 North offramp (incidentally, just beyond the picture of the “Map” stencil).

Steve B
Guest

Thanks to the wayfinding super-hero!

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

that’s the City of Vancouver’s official map for crossing the bridge… you can get one here: http://www.cityofvancouver.us/upload/contents/738/InterstateBridgeMap.pdf

stencils don’t look crisp enough to be a metal template so I’m guessing poster board… so probably not a rogue city employee… I’m guessing a few friends got together and did it… good job on those…

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

Great public service, by a member of the public. They should include some sort of reminder about the mandatory helmet law in Vancouver. Might save somebody a ticket.

kittens
Guest
kittens

I saw and loved it a week ago. Almost sent it in. I wish it was a tad sharper but still, well-done!

Ted Buehler
Guest

Nice work, rogue stenciler.

ODOT also had plans to install signs along the Delta Park/Hayden Island mazes. Guess that hasn’t happened.

Ted Buehler

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Nice! And much needed. The last time my friend and I tried to ride up to Washington on the I-5, we got turned around and ended up in Jantzen Beach.

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

It wasn’t you, Ted? That was my bet!

April
Guest

I hope whatever government agency leaves them there. That area is really confusing!

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Whoever defaced this public property should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Hopefully, they’re guiding people to the correct sides of the bridge on the state line side of Hayden Island, since it’s a divided MUP there. I’m glad to see the markings. After the official signage was stolen years ago and not replaced, about the only way I could find my way across it was with a bar-mounted Garmin, after I mapped it on OpenStreetMap. BTW, TriMet’s new trip planner will get it right, too, in both directions.

Also, Vancouver got shot down because they were inventing signage instead of suggesting MUTCD-compliant pavement markings and signs people would actually be familiar with. I like the Interstate shield used for wayfinding; I wish that ODOT would post I 5/I 205 route shields on the Interstate crossing officially and on the I 205 corridor trail to obviate it’s status and help cyclists arriving in town via freeway in Vancouver or Oregon City how to get through.

roger noehren
Guest
roger noehren

Thank You anonymous map poster & stenciler! This action was much needed (and made permanent).

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Paul Johnson
After the official signage was stolen years ago and not replaced …

A quick scan of the MUTCD didn’t turn up any guidelines for sign material composition other than a reference buried in 2A.08 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity about sign replacement interval needing to be matched to the retroreflectivity degradation.

With metal prices the way they are perhaps signs should be made from the ugliest of the low grade plastic recycling waste combined with UV stabilizers and reinforced with impregnated fiberglass or waste kevlar jacketing from fiber optic data installation.
Slap a smooth surface on the viewing side for the image and deploy.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

The map on the west side of the I-5 underpass on Hayden Island has been ripped off the post it was attached to. I think the one on the north end of the southern bridge span is still there.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

The nice laminated maps needed heavy duty staples too.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

I recommend a 2012 Alice B Toeclips award ‘in absentia’ for these stencil super heros (versions 1, 2, 3).

All in favor email: info@bta4bikes.org

Deryl and Lucy
Guest
Deryl and Lucy

As a voncouver commuter, I love the signage. Epic job. Robin hood!