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PBOT goes back to the drawing board on Terwilliger/Condor fix

Posted by on March 5th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

After bollards were uprooted — and despite new signs that say “No left turns” — this taxi pulls onto Terwilliger from Condor. This is the same maneuver that resulted in serious injuries to a bicycle rider in August and spurred PBOT into action.
(Photo: BikePortland reader)


PBOT has decided to end an experimental traffic safety measure they installed at the intersection of SW Terwilliger and Condor last month. The fix was meant to improve the safety of bicycle operators at the notoriously dangerous intersection. The combination of poor sight lines from Condor along with curves and high speeds on Terwilliger have made this intersection a safety problem for a long time (activists first brought the issue to the City’s attention way back in 2005). In August of last year, a Multnomah County judge who was riding into work was hit and seriously injured when a woman driving a car pulled out from Condor right in front of her.

“While this is not an illegal maneuver, it significantly increases the number of potential conflicts with bikes along Condor.”
— PBOT, describing one of three maneuvers they observed since the bollards and signs went in

To improve safety, last month PBOT installed plastic bollards in the middle of the intersection and installed signs in an attempt to prohibit left turns onto Condor from Terwilliger and vice versa. They also added green thermoplastic to the bike lane and made other striping changes.

Almost instantly, motor vehicle operators uprooted the bollards and continued to make the prohibited turns. In addition, some people would drive past the intersection and turn into a parking lot just south of it to turn around — a maneuver that isn’t illegal but added potential for collisions. One OHSU employee, Barbara Stedman, shared her concerns with us via email:

“Today, I witnessed a car that was traveling south on Terwilliger turning left onto Condor just before the bollards (the first few are knocked out). The car was traveling fast, did not stop and had to go diagonally across the opposite lane to turn left onto Condor. There was both a jogger and me as a bicyclist approaching this intersection going north (downhill). Luckily, we had a safe distance, but the driver also didn’t pay attention to us.”

Stedman was appreciative that PBOT has tried to fix this intersection, but she lamented the lack of compliance and courtesy by motor vehicle operators.

After receiving complaints from concerned citizens and after their own engineers observed the dangerous and illegal driving behavior, PBOT removed all the bollards and signage and officially ended the experiment on Friday.

In follow-up with PBOT, they confirmed that engineers they sent to observe the intersection observed a mix of dangerous and illegal behaviors.

Here are the results of observations by PBOT engineers during the PM rush hour on March 23rd:

  • PBOT engineers witnessed 31 motor vehicles in 30 minutes drive south, past the Condor intersection, then pull into a parking lot to turn around, head north on Terwilliger, and then make the right onto Condor. “While this is not an illegal maneuver,” says PBOT, “it significantly increases the number of potential conflicts with bikes along Condor.”
  • PBOT says they received “several reports” of motor vehicles flipping a u-turn on Terwilliger just south of the plastic bollards. They observed one motor vehicle make that illegal maneuver during their observations.

  • The worst behavior PBOT heard about was drivers that would be headed southbound on Terwilliger and then skirt over into the northbound lane just before the bollards began — driving the wrong way — in order to access Condor and bypass the plastic bollards. PBOT engineers observed one motor vehicle operator make this illegal maneuver.

Now that PBOT has decided to go back to the drawing board, they plan to attend next week’s meeting of the Homestead Neighborhood Association. At that meeting, they’ll discuss the behaviors above, address citizen feedback, and then talk about next steps.

Stay tuned.

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Nik
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Nik

But cyclists are the dangerous scofflaws!

9watts
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9watts

entitlement

was carless
Guest
was carless

Concrete Jersey barriers. Or anti-tank mines.

JJJ
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JJJ

So they will reward scofflaw behavior by removing the safety features? Sounds like the 85% rule. Speed, and get rewarded with higher speed limits. Ignore no left turn sign and be rewarded by sign being removed.

Indy
Guest
Indy

The green thermoplastic is pretty much in the worst possible location as well. If a car pulls in front of a bike during rain the bike WILL be hitting it. It is extremely slippery when it is wet to bike tires. At the very least they need intermittent thermoplastic with the natural road material.

Chase
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Chase

Since motorists can’t be expected to behave in a safe, responsible manner, it sounds like the only workable options are to either allow this intersection to remain dangerous for cyclists, or to completely close Condor to motor vehicles. Guess which one PBOT will choose?

J-R
Guest
J-R

I suggest that PBOT remove the “experimental” stop signs at Ladds Circle. I’m frustrated that only a few of us stop at the signs even though there is no safety rationale for stopping at what should clearly be a yield sign for all vehicle users.

If the Terwilliger/Condor intersection is so dangerous, why no enforcement action by PPB?

Chad Berkley
Guest

So, has PBOT learned that they can’t just hot-glue bollards to pavement and expect them to stay there? This has failed in two major spots now. Look at the bollards on Hawthorne. They’re *bolted* down and they’ve been there for years. Are bolts really that expensive and hard to install? Instead of giving in to bad behavior, just use some bolts next time.

Jim Hook
Guest
Jim Hook

From the map it looks like the simple fix of closing Condor Lane to motorized vehicles is feasible. There appears to be excellent access to Barbur and alternate access to Terwilliger (via Lowell).

The city needs to decide if Terwilliger is a calm road through a park-like setting or an urban expressway serving a very large academic medical center and health care complex.

A.K.
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A.K.

I hope Amanda Fritz notifies all drivers that until this unacceptable scofflaw behavior ends and all drivers are accountable for other drivers actions, drivers will be receiving no more road improvements! /snark

dwainedibbly
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dwainedibbly

This won’t be fixed until Terwilliger becomes a 1-way street, northbound.

Kevin Wagoner
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Kevin Wagoner

Interesting. That has to be frustrating for PBOT. They are trying to do some good work here and our collective driving behavior is not cooperating.

Driving the wrong way and the U-turns are pretty good indication of the fact that road needs a lot more enforcement.

Is it illegal to destroy public property and not report it? PBOT might want to consider putting up some kind of recording device through the initial roll out period of their implementations. It would be great to get some data and maybe even penalize the people that continue to destroy our public property (which we paid for).

gfunc
Guest
gfunc

I was hit by a woman making a right turn onto Condor a month ago. I was lucky, with only minor damage to my bike. I sure hope PBOT can do something to make it safer.

Opus the Poet
Guest

It should be easy enough to identify the cab in the picture at the top of the article and institute a citizen traffic ticket. That would be a start. How much does the citizen get from one of those citizen traffic tickets anyway? It could end up being a decent source of income for someone who was unable to work for one reason or another and also contribute to improving the safety of that road.

Merckxrider
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Merckxrider

Maybe some folks could hide in the bushes with paintball guns and mark some cars doing illegal turns……

Steve Brown
Guest

Would really like to see a comment by PPB about enforcement or the lack of with regard to this intersection.

k.
Guest
k.

Making Condor a one way road (north bound) might alleviate a lot of these conflicts. That still allows emergency vehicles access to the hospital as well.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

Wow. This is very interesting to me. Enough drivers behave illegally and destroy traffic control devices, endanger themselves and others, and the response is, “gosh, we must be using the wrong traffic controls, here.”

Enough cyclists behave illegally by running stop signs in places where there shouldn’t even be stop signs, endangering very little, and the response is, “time for an ‘enforcement action’.”

It almost looks like everybody is allowing themselves to be bullied by drivers in cars: PPB, PBOT, ODOT, pedestrians, other drivers, cyclists–when do we castrate the bull? Do we keep letting him run rampant through every china shop in town and just keep sweeping up the mess?

Tom M
Guest
Tom M

How about a traffic camera? It would be the one location where it *would* actually be appropriate.

KT
Guest
KT

How did the PBOT engineers observe during rush hour on March 23rd when today is March 14. They must have a time machine or maybe it was another dimension ruled by bike enthusiasts. RIde defensivley, Ride safe