First look: PBOT adds buffer to bike lanes on SW Barbur Blvd

Brand New Buffered Bike Lanes on SW Barbur Blvd. Portland

As seen just south of SW Whitaker St.
(Photos: Jim Parsons)

As we reported back in September, PBOT has repaved SW Barbur Blvd just south of downtown Portland. As part of that project, they’ve widened the bike lanes and have painted a striped buffer. The new buffered lanes are about 3/4 of a mile long and go from SW Caruthers near I-405 south to SW Lane at Naito.

The new lanes were completed late last month. Our roving correspondent Jim Parsons snapped a few photos…

Here’s the view (looking north towards downtown) just south of Pennoyer:

Brand New Buffered Bike Lanes on SW Barbur Blvd. Portland

Looking south, just south of Woods St.:

Brand New Buffered Bike Lanes on SW Barbur Blvd. Portland

SW Barbur is a main artery for north-south travel. The auto speeds are high, so any bit of extra width and paint for the bike lane is a good thing.

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9watts
9watts
10 years ago

Nice.
It also seems worth noting just how much extra infrastructure space cars have traditionally gotten, so that when you peel away a bike lane, and here even a buffered one, the right car lane is still adequate.
Kind of makes you wonder what took so long!

Sunny
Sunny
10 years ago

We’ve had these on a three mile stretch of tualatin-sherwood road and it adds a degree of safety, but drivers are still gonna hug the solid right line of their lane.

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

Safety squared. I’m not even going to use lights on that stretch now. Have anti-immigration pundits just considered painting an 8″ white line between us and Mexico?

Hugh Johnson
Hugh Johnson
10 years ago
Reply to  Scott

Legal immigration is one thing. Law breakers are completely different.

Scott
Scott
9 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Johnson

Are you a professional point misser?

Mark
Mark
10 years ago

It’s wonderful that they’re making an attempt at addressing the problems in southwest Portland. But, to be clear, that stretch had never been the scary bit of that commute. Continue on to where the lanes narrow over the two bridges and the city’s commitment to bike safety extends to a sign reading “bikes in the roadway.” When they start focusing on those issues instead of painting more of southeast green then I’ll feel like we’re getting the attention we need.

NoneOfIT
NoneOfIT
10 years ago
Reply to  Mark

> instead of painting more of southeast green

It occurs to me, Portland could use a blogger that actually rides bike. As a cyclist, I don’t want more slippery lines on the road.

Maus: take a break from blogging and go ride in the rain sometime.
Those lines might look great from your car, but I ride a bike, and I don’t want any more of them.

Jonathan
Jonathan
9 years ago
Reply to  NoneOfIT

That’s very interesting. I keep hearing that these lines are slippery but have never experienced it. I commute from Portland to college in Vancouver each day and have not found those lines to be slippery. Maybe if I was riding on crappy plastic tires, but my rubber grips just fine.

Randall S.
Randall S.
9 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You probably haven’t experienced it because it isn’t the case. LADOT tested thermoplastic and found it no less slippery than wet asphalt.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
9 years ago
Reply to  Randall S.

link please.

and perhaps ladot should test the inch thick layer of polished thermoplastic at the base of terwilliger. that stuff has been polished smoother than a baby’s ar$e by years of vehicle abuse.

Adam Gniles
Adam Gniles
9 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

This may or may not be the link, I went to a website called google and typed in these words: ladot thermoplastic slip

http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/update-green-bike-lanes/

Adam Gniles
Adam Gniles
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam Gniles

& this may be apples (green lanes) and oranges (white striping)…so whatever.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
9 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

i am guessing that you run wider low psi tires with low rolling resistance. spend five minutes on the hawthorne bridge and you will notice that many cyclists do not.

davemess
davemess
9 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Wider, low PSI tires are going to have MORE rolling resistance, not less.
But more rolling resistance could theoretically give you more “traction”.

Jonathan
Jonathan
9 years ago
Reply to  davemess

I would suggest you read up on some of the research done by Jan Heine from Bicycle Quarterly. This link http://janheine.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/bicycle-quarterly-performance-of-tires/ specifically addresses your assumptions.

Ben
Ben
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Totally agree!! I ride this route to work in Lake Oswego from Vancouver and teh section from Hamilton to Terwilliger is waht concerns me the most.

Craig Harlow
Craig Harlow
10 years ago

I would never ride so close to traffic moving as fast as it does along that stretch, except on the sidewalk–that painted buffer is no enticement. I would just find another way. Without a protective physical barrier, the odds are just too unfavorable that some auto or bus’s operator will eventually just plain smush me in a moment of distraction.

cyclist
cyclist
10 years ago
Reply to  Craig Harlow

I rode that route every day for two years, without the buffer and with no problems. I wonder how much BikePortland’s accident coverage does to discourage people like you from biking. The danger on this piece of road is damn near nil, to live your life scared of something with a .0001% probability of happening seems to me to be a waste.

Craig Harlow
Craig Harlow
9 years ago
Reply to  cyclist

cyclist, I think you’ve misread me. My remarks are about this route in particular, and routes with similar conditions in general. I sold my minivan, and I and my kids bike, walk, and bus–mostly bike–all about town.

As for your own experience… “danger…namn near nil”

Just because something hasn’t happened to you yet, doesn’t mean it cannot, nor that hasn’t happened to others already. Crashes happen, and these conditions mean that when crashes do happen, they will happen with high auto speeds and little room for people to avoid them.

Indy
Indy
9 years ago
Reply to  Craig Harlow

This stretch of road is straight, and has good visibility for bikers and cars alike. There are scores of other parts of Barbur that put real risk towards bikers, including the two bridges and the whole burlingame/Terwilliger clusterf***.

This stretch just isn’t that big of a concern. Especially because the light is almost always red by the end, so it doesn’t do you any good to speed along this final Northward stretch of Barbur.

It seems like you are just complaining without really experiencing the road. Go there and check it out. Then ride further South and really see how dangerous Barbur is…

Craig Harlow
Craig Harlow
9 years ago
Reply to  Indy

True, I haven’t ridden it, only driven it. So I’m only responding to me experience behind the wheel, combined with what’s represented in the article’s photos.

davemess
davemess
9 years ago
Reply to  Indy

Indy is totally right this is not remotely the problem spots. (How about the section further south where you have to go through a poorly lite tunnel, then jump up on the sidewalk for a few blocks, then get spit back out onto the street.

I think they just did this new lining because they were repaving the road anyway.

Thanks for covering this Jonathan, I’ve seen if from the tram the last few weeks and have been meaning to contact you about it.

NW Biker
NW Biker
10 years ago

I see too many motorists (usually SUVs, which I detest anyway) drift into bike lanes to dance with joy here, but it’s a start. There was some road widening near my neighborhood not long ago and bike lanes were added to the new part. Since then I’ve seen more cylists on that road, but I won’t ride there.

JL
JL
10 years ago

oh, that’s a buffer? I thought it was the new motorcycle lane 😉

OnTheRoad
OnTheRoad
10 years ago

Seems like another piece of low-hanging fruit.

I commuted for 15 years along this stretch (mostly southbound as I used Barbur to Naito going the other way) and never felt particularly threatened by 45-mph traffic.

Nice, but other places need the attention.

Niko
Niko
10 years ago

This is really great!

But- for me the scariest part of that section of road was at the bridges/overpasses further south that run parrallel with the Terwilliger Curves below- I would have to jump the bike on and off of a very narrow sidewalk and cross an entrance/exit ramp where Capitol Hwy meets Barbur/99.

Have these issues been addressed?

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
10 years ago

Niko
Have these issues been addressed?

No, they have not. I’d love to see ODOT put in 4 separate bridges (one pair for each of those bridges ) that would be wide enough for bikes AND peds to share.

Unit
Unit
9 years ago

Disappointing. They could have gotten rid of the unncessary 2nd northbound auto lane, and added a real 6 or 7-foot buffer. One or two feet are better than nothing, but that’s about it.

Indy
Indy
9 years ago

This stretch of road is straight, and has good visibility for bikers and cars alike. There are scores of other parts of Barbur that put real risk towards bikers, including the mentioned two bridges and the whole burlingame/Terwilliger clusterf***.

This stretch just isn’t that big of a concern. Especially because the light is almost always red by the end, so it doesn’t do cars *any* good to speed along this final Northbound stretch of Barbur.

It seems like you are just complaining without really experiencing the road. Go there and check it out. Then ride further South and really see how dangerous Barbur is…

Kristen
Kristen
9 years ago

It’s a good start. Hopefully they continue this trend down the rest of Barbur.

John
John
9 years ago

Maybe if they removed the sidewalks on the 2 barbur bridges to make them the same level as the road and then added an narrower inner and outer barrier it would be better? Riding on those sidewalks is like being on a tightrope over a canyon.

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
9 years ago

John
Maybe if they removed the sidewalks on the 2 barbur bridges to make them the same level as the road and then added an narrower inner and outer barrier it would be better? Riding on those sidewalks is like being on a tightrope over a canyon.

I’m certain that there are a dozen or more laws that would prevent the removal of the “sidewalks” there. The only way those bridges are going to get safer for bikes and peds is when new bridges are built that are up to modern standards.

Jonathan
Jonathan
9 years ago

Correct. I ride Resist Nomad 26 x 2.25 tires on my LHT. Cushy and fast. I prefer the suspension that fat tires afford.

Phil Richman
6 years ago

Jonathan, Can you remind us of what this stretch looked like prior to the buffered lanes being put in? We’ve got quite a robust conversation happening on Nextdoor in SW regarding the need for ODOT to fix the bridges now. Thanks!

Craig Harlow
Craig Harlow
6 years ago

.

Craig Harlow
Craig Harlow
6 years ago

Michael/Jonathan, any idea why this comments utility keeps errorring when I try to post a comment?