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First Look: ODOT’s new I-5/Delta Park bikeway signage

Posted by on December 21st, 2011 at 8:06 am

ODOT has installed 36 new signs to help make it easier for bike traffic to navigate the shared-use path between Delta Park, the Marine Drive interchange, and the I-5 Bridge.

As promised, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has installed 36 new signs on the bike path between Delta Park and the I-5 bridge. I rode out there yesterday to take a closer look.

The route through the Marine Drive Interchange, Hayden Island and up onto the deck of the I-5 bridge shared-use path has long been confusing and somewhat difficult to navigate — especially for the uninitiated. Back in October, we shared the story of stencils and laminated maps that were installed by a Good Samaritan/citizen activist who was tired of waiting for an official solution.

A few days later, ODOT announced they’d remove the unauthorized signs, then they said they had a signage plan in the works all along.

As you can see in the photos, the signs that have been installed are a bit different than initially planned. Instead of saying “I-5 Path” at the top they just have a bicycle symbol. This was done because ODOT wanted the signs to be consistent with bikeway network signage already in use throughout Portland (and, as you can see in this photo, they’re nearly identical to PBOT’s signs).

When I rode out to see the signs for myself yesterday, I found them to work as advertised. They are placed at every junction, starting on the southern end of the path just north of Delta Park all the way up to the bridge deck. They are clear, large, and easy to read. The signs are also intended to work for both southbound and northbound bike traffic.

And in case you were wondering, those DIY stencils are still alive and well….

According to ODOT Public Information Officer Don Hamilton, the signs cost about $10,000 to fabricate and install and were paid for with funds set aside in ODOT’s bike and pedestrian program.

There weren’t many people riding on the path during my visit yesterday. When I got the chance to ask someone what they thought of the new signs, a man pedaling by yelled back, “They’re great!”

Have you noticed the signs yet? What do you think?

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LESTEREditzJennifer CamposBob_MPaul Johnson Recent comment authors
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Paul Johnson
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Paul Johnson

About the only thing I would change, for consistency sake, is to add route shields to the guidance sections pertaining to the I 5 or 99/99W/99E routes, and the City of Portland / City of Vancouver logo to indicate exits to the city cycleway network for clarity and consistency with the newer city trailblazer signs, which include network indication. This little bit of modern heraldry works great for at-a-glance navigation, especially given the reduced text size that makes bicycle trailblazers substantially more difficult to read than other signage.

David Feldman
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David Feldman

Ahhh, the power of spray paint!

Doug Smart
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Doug Smart

Tony the Tiger bikes?

Paul Johnson
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Paul Johnson

Wait, what?

Mork
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Mork

“When I got the chance to ask someone what they thought of the new signs, a man pedaling by yelled back, ‘They’re great!”

http://youtu.be/rEppEYxXaWA

Champs
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Champs

Is there any guidance through Delta Park? It’s not the most intuitive way to even find the path.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Champs,
Glad you mentioned that! I was thinking the same thing yesterday. There should definitely be better signage from Victory Blvd at the south entrance of Delta Park. Right now there is nothing telling people to head north through the park.

9watts
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9watts

$10,000 – impressive.
I’m glad they put up those signs. Seems about time.

But I have to ask whether ODOT would ever itemize signage costs like that for any non-bike project where signage lagged behind the road/route/path by years? I’m all for full disclosure and transparency when it comes to funds, but this tardiness coupled with the price tag invites some to see this as just more expensive pork for cyclists, when, really, this should have been done right from the outset, should have been budgeted when the path was first paved, no?

J_R
Guest
J_R

I remember bike directional signs in that area years ago. The original were likely vandalized and no one ever thought to report the problem or they reported it to Portland rather than ODOT. The specificity of and number of signs is far more comprehensive than what used to be there.

Jonathan Gordon
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Jonathan Gordon

I wonder if they published the price because it’s so darned low. $10K to design, fabricate and install 36 signs sounds unbelievably cheap. I’m having trouble seeing how anyone could spin this as “expensive pork”.

Paul Johnson
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Paul Johnson

Post the story to the KATU site and I bet you’ll get carcentric DERP real quick.

K'Tesh
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K'Tesh

Those look nice… Can’t wait to try them out myself… Perhaps next week (or more likely next year).

Julia
Guest

This area really needed the signs! I had several struggles using this route in the past. Looking forward to getting back out there now that there is good signage.

Joe
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Joe

nice sign 🙂 need more all around Oregon.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Indeed. Text could be larger, but I have that issue with the existing cycleway signage in general. Makes me wonder if transportation departments realize that the sign and text sizes listed in the MUTCDs are an absolute minimum and are frequently not ideal for the situation…

dmc
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dmc

I have guided so many people north and south through that area. Made some friends. Now that its all understandable and clear I fear my guided services will no longer be needed. :(…… 🙂

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Too bad there isn’t a MUTCD allowance for a way finding map under the Bicycle section of the MUTCD (Part 9).
Whether it be an annotated aerial photo map, a traditional road atlas style or even something as simple as a monochromatic topological map like is used prevalently by transit agencies.

Paul Johnson
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Paul Johnson

Seems like an idea to pitch would be a bicycle adaptation for diagrammatic guide signs currently approved for freeway use, given the complex, divided nature of the I 5 cycleway.

Jennifer Campos
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Jennifer Campos

The City of Vancouver produced a bicycle map for the I-5 bridge crossing through Jantzen Beach and Delta Park. We have the map posted at kiosks on the Vancouver side.

http://www.cityofvancouver.us/upload/contents/738/InterstateBridgeMap.pdf

Bob_M
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Bob_M

Horray for the signs. Last time I was up there I was almost captured by the Minotaur

Editz
Guest
Editz

Jonathan,

How about a long-term review of that Finesse of yours? I just bought one in November.

LESTER
Guest

Also this week, someone went through Delta Park and circled the worst potholes in the minefield stretch with white spraypaint. That should help reduce surprise jostlings or rim ruinations at night.

Often patch crews circle holes prior to patching them so maybe the gaping pits will soon be reduced to annoying bumbs.