Bike traffic will get a real lane for remainder of Broadway Bridge project

Posted by on October 2nd, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Broadway Bridge detour observations-1

Portland Streetcar will direct bicycle
traffic onto a vehicle lane on the bridge roadway,
instead of the sidewalk.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last week I wondered out loud if we could do better when it came to the disrespectful and dangerous detour for bicycle traffic on the Broadway Bridge. Well, it turns out we can and we just did.

Portland Streetcar Inc., whose project to repair the non-slip coating on the bridge sidewalks is what has caused the detour that began on September 24th, just announced that when they move the project to the south sidewalk this Thursday (10/2), they will convert the eastbound vehicle lane on the bridge into a bike lane.

According to their construction advisory, the work on the south sidewalk will take three days. Here’s more from their statement (their caps, not mine):

– WITH THIS CLOSURE THE NON-TRACK EASTBOUND TRAVEL LANE WILL BE CONVERTED INTO AN EASTBOUND BIKE LANE. PEDESTRIANS WILL BE DETOURED TO THE NORTH SIDEWALK.
· BIKES AND MOTORISTS ARE ADVISED TO USE CAUTION AS THEY EXIT THE BRIDGE ON THE EAST END.
· EASTBOUND DRIVERS SHOULD EXPECT LONG DELAYS

I had to confirm that my eyes did not deceive me, so I emailed Julie Gustafson with Shiels Obletz Johnsen (the company managing the project). Sure enough, it’s true! Gustafson said it wasn’t possible to direct bicycle traffic up onto the bridge on the north side “due to the serious right hook issue at Lovejoy,” but they were “able to pencil it out for the south sidewalk closure.”

This is great to see. The current (and past) bicycle detour when the sidewalks close is unacceptable. People riding bicycles deserve to be routed in the most direct and safe way possible, and herding them onto sidewalks with two-way bicycling and walking traffic was not befitting of America’s most bicycle-friendly city. Thanks Portland Streetcar Inc. for listening to the community and doing the right thing.

UPDATE: For more on how this came about, read the BTA’s blog.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

23
Leave a Reply

avatar
17 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
20 Comment authors
Joelq`TzalSteve B.JoeBen Guernsey Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
John Lascurettes
Guest

Very interesting. I’ve been taking the lane going westbound for a week and it’s been fine.

I’m unclear, is it one bike “lane” and an auto lane? Or is it a shared lane and an auto lane? Or is it a single shared lane?

John Lascurettes
Guest

Okay, re-read more carefully. The “non-track” lane (meaning the right one) will be a bike lane (presumably dedicated). The other lane will be streetcar and auto. I predict: very irate drivers as they see cyclists stream by them in the other lane. Still, nicely done BTA. Seems the safest solution all around.

daisy
Guest
daisy

This is great news! Unfortunately, I have seen problems with the current configuration. Cyclists going west, towards downtown, are not directed anywhere in particular, so some go on the sidewalk and others go backwards up the ramp. The other day,I was part of a group where a few of us went on the sidewalk and a few went on the street towards the ramp. Predictably, there were cyclists coming toward us who then had nowhere to go.

Nothing bad happened, but I can’t imagine any vehicle detour situation which didn’t actually tell cars where to go.

Thanks for writing about this, Jonathan. I’m sure your advocacy made a difference.

Alexis
Guest
Alexis

YES! This is awesome.
I gotta say though, I don’t really think it is an issue on the other side either. If bikes are in the lane and not on the sidewalk, they can obey the regular signal. What is complicated about that?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Thanks BTA for working hard on correcting this work zone safety issue. [I just renewed my annual membership too.]

Gerik
Guest

Thanks Todd.

For more of the backstory on how this came to be, read BTA Advocate Carl Larson.

http://btaoregon.org/2012/10/quick-advocacy-work-improves-broadway-detour/

Joseph E
Guest

Wow! Now that’s the right way to do it.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Hey, here’s an idea: Let’s keep the configuration when the work is finished…

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Dan…that may be its [platinum] future…as the bike traffic on this bridge is very high and that the current motorized traffic may be accommodated with a single traffic lane in each direction…with some intersection changes. Talk to your Multnomah County representative.

Ted Buehler
Guest

*Diamond* future

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Soon to be surpassed by Unobtainium, Adamantium or gold pressed Latium rating.

Andyc of Linnton
Guest
Andyc of Linnton

Yes and yes! That is awesome. It would be nice to eventually not have to ride on a sidewalk over this bridge. Great detour for now though!

jim
Guest
jim

does this means more bollards to drive over?

jim
Guest
jim

Does this mean that the trolley will be shut down on the bridge? What about trolley service on mlk?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The streetcar runs in the center lanes, so it will still be operational, albeit much slower, as it will be stuck behind a bunch of cars.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Alright! Drivers: expect long delays. Cyclists like me who take this everyday to work: fly on through.

commuter
Guest
commuter

Thanks BTA!

Bicycle Curtis
Guest
Bicycle Curtis

Thanks for the update, I travel this route twice daily for my work commute.

One thing I’d like to ask everyone. While the repair is being done, please respect the work and why it’s being done. The North side of the bridge had the barricades on both ends moved and knocked down several times because someone (pedestrian or cyclist) didn’t want to make the detour.

The coating needs time to cure before being ridden or walked on. By walking and riding before the coating is properly cured, it requires additional expense and time to complete the project.

LDA
Guest
LDA

Great! I always thought the most dangerous situation was when they south sidewalk was closed and east-bound bicyclists were routed over the north sidewalk. This will help A LOT!

Ben Guernsey
Guest
Ben Guernsey

The broadway was such a headache I started taking the lane on the Steel this week. Cant wait to take the lane on the Broadway soon.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I would love a sign thats share the lane 🙂 for those that have a hard time sharing the road.

Steve B.
Guest

Folks, if you’re happy to see this change–and want to see more quality bike detours like this–please send a quick note of thanks to Mayor Adams & Tom Miller:

Sam@portlandoregon.gov || tom.miller@portlandoregon.gov

Joel
Guest
Joel

Good. Been taking the lane (southbound) during the 6AM morning commute with no incidence until this morning when some joker felt the need to point out there was a detour by screaming this out his passanger-side window. Did the fact his car had Washington plates contribute to his helpfulness? In any case, I’m much more nervous about the evening (northbound) trip on the sidewalk with the southbound bikes flying by on the inside downhill. Have images of a ill-timed gust of wind and freak collision sending me for a swim. Two-way bike traffic with those speeds on that narrow of a sidewalk is ridiculous.