As promised, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has installed new stop signs on NW Broadway at Couch.
Like we shared when this project was announced a month ago, PBOT had flagged this intersection due to a high rate of collisions. There have been 103 collisions (seven involving bicycles) in the past five years. The preferred solution is a traffic signal, but those are too expensive and the signs are considered an interim solution.
The plans were met with skepticism by both commenters and by members of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee when they were first unveiled last month. As for compliance by people riding bicycles, PBOT traffic engineer Rob Burchfield didn’t have too high of hopes, telling the BAC that, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we put the stops in and then hear about cyclists not being compliant.”
Turns out that Burchfield might be right. During my observations this morning, I found that compliance was nearly 100% among people operating motor vehicles, but only about 50% of the bicycle operators came to a complete stop (an estimate). This isn’t a surprise. For one thing, it’s a crowded intersection and there’s often not much room for cars on the other side of the intersection (thus lowering the motivation to roll through).
Overall, while the intersection is still a bit chaotic and this isn’t the most elegant solution, I think the new stop signs are a net positive for safety. They heighten the awareness of cross traffic and they make it more likely that cars and bikes and will stop for people trying to walk across the street.
What do you think?
— Below are a few more photos looking south on Broadway…