Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

PBOT picks up two dropped bike lanes

Posted by on November 1st, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Note where PBOT removed
the old bike lane and extended it.
(Photo © J. Maus)

It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when I’m riding in a bike lane and then it suddenly vanishes just prior to an intersection. It’s like the City has a half-commitment to people on bikes — let’s give them dedicated space where it’s easy to do, but when things get tight and tricky let’s just forget about them.

Well, I’m happy to report that in the past several weeks I’ve noticed two separate intersections where PBOT has extended the bike lane striping all the way to the intersection.

The first is on N Rosa Parks Way as you approach Vancouver. Below is a before and after…


Hey, where’s the bike lane?!


Ahh, there it is. It may seem minor, but it makes a big difference. (Notice how the old striping has been ground away.)

In this case, the bike lane was most likely dropped due to the curb extension. However, with nice and new lanes for bikes on the other side of the intersection, PBOT must have figured it was silly to have such a blatant gap.

The other location I heard about thanks to reader Ray T.

Ray noticed new striping on NE 57th headed southbound just prior to Fremont. Similar to the example above, the bike lane used to unceremoniously disappear before the intersection. In this case, the reason was likely that PBOT wanted to avoid conflicts due to the presence of a right-turn only lane. Here’s how it looked before…

(Photo: PBOT)

And here’s how it looks now…

As you can see, PBOT not only extended the bike lane, they also re-configured the lanes completely and removed a standard right turn lane. Here’s more from PBOT spokesman Dan Anderson:

“Our traffic engineers examined whether the turn lane was needed, and found that it was not. We restriped the lanes to remove the right-turn lane, continue the bike lane all the way to the intersection, and touch up the affected crosswalk stripes.”

Unfortunately in this case, the new striping confused Ray. “What’s up with the new striping?” he emailed, “I’m confused where I should ride my bike now.”

I shared Ray’s comments with Anderson. He replied that, “People on bikes should not ride in the crosswalk when traveling through the intersection, but stay their course and ride the east of the crossing closest to the bike lane.”

It’s good to see PBOT making these subtle changes. They may seem small, but I think they have a big impact on overall bike network quality.

Have you noticed other intersections where once-dropped bike lanes have gotten picked up?

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  • Chris I November 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Nice. That stretch of 57th is bad enough as it is. This small improvement is greatly appreciated.

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  • are November 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    but a motorist is still permitted to make a right from the through lane, yes? next comes the green box, and then the lit sign saying right turn yield to bikes.

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    • Pete November 4, 2011 at 5:48 am

      Next comes the California law, where the lines become dashed to denote the merge and the cyclist takes the lane across the intersection to avoid the right hook.

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      • NF November 4, 2011 at 6:10 am

        Oregon is very committed to their laws on how right turning vehicles treat bike lanes. I’d be blown away if they adopted the California rules.

        To me, the California rules diminish the integrity of the bike facility, and make it instantly less inviting to the interested and concerned.

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  • Stripes November 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    “It’s like the City has a half-commitment to people on bikes — let’s give them dedicated space where it’s easy to do, but when things get tight and tricky let’s just forget about them”.

    I couldn’t agree more. The most blatant example of this is Naito Parkway under the Steel Bridge. What am I supposed to do between the two sections of bikelane, at the most dangerous part of the entire roadway?

    Teleport myself??

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    • Rebecca November 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Totally agree. That’s where the entire bike lane should be painted bright green, not where it should disappear.

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    • Pete November 4, 2011 at 5:52 am

      Totally share the frustration, but it’s not always personal. Sometimes the city (or county) just doesn’t have rights to the land, like that ridiculous MUP section on Murray in Beaverton where that poor young boy was killed by a bus several years ago.

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  • dwainedibbly November 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Orphaned bike lanes are a pet peeve of mine.

    On Rosa Parks it looks like they widened the bike lane, too. Nice!

    If it’s unclear to cyclists where they should be, it’s going to be *really* unclear to motorists. On 57th, couldn’t they extend the bike lane through the intersection by using green paint, to make it clear to everyone that there are bikes in that part of the intersection? That trapezoidal crosswalk (a result of 57th getting narrower south of the intersection) is a little goofy.

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  • K'Tesh November 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    there’s a new dropped bike lane on the the newly lengthened bridge over Hwy 217 (SW Wilshire where it meets the frontage road). Discovered that today when they finally re-striped the bride. Was dark so no photos. 🙁

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  • Champs November 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I’ve got less of a problem with disappearing bike lanes than disappearing bike routes, where there’s no clear way forward. Is there an unmarked turn, or is that the end?

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  • Tim W November 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I don’t see why that’s confusing… You just ride through the intersection and continue in the bike lane, right? Contining the bike lane through the intersection is always a nice touch, but that never happens in the auto lanes.

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    • Machu Picchu November 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      What I notice from the aerial, that might be confusing if you were actually riding it, is that the newly extended lane seems to aim you right into the space where the near crosswalk bar does not quite “close” against the curb. If you rode it, you might find it looks like you’re being directed into the crosswalk.

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    • was carless November 4, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Although I’ve never ridden that stretch, it does seem it would be nice if PBOT were to put dotted-lane striping through these types of intersections for bike lanes.

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  • Jacob Mason November 2, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    This is good news for Portland, but it seems strange that this type of design still exists there. Also, I still don’t think it’s up to best practice. It is pretty standard practice in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Berlin, NYC, Chicago, DC, Montreal, and elsewhere to stripe dashed bike lanes of some sort through intersections in order to inform turning drivers that they are crossing the path of cyclists. I do not understand why PBOT still refuses to adopt this well-established practice. Anyone have an answer?

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  • Tom C November 3, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Agree with Jacob’s point. Has everyone forgotten about this interpretation of Oregon vehicular code?


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  • tom November 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Jonathan Maus said:
    >>It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when I’m riding in a bike lane and then it suddenly vanishes just prior to an intersection.

    I frequently ride Burnside from Gresham to SE Portland ….at 202 & Burn, (going West) the bike lane just vanishes, rather startling the first time. Not enough room to “share the lane” and the road curves, so fast moving cars may not see you if you were “in the lane”…sidewalk is the only alternative.

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  • Jacob November 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Interestingly, the new Cully cycle track project looks like it has bike lanes striped through the intersection. This is a good precedent for other locations.


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