Order Rev Nat's Cider Today

County installs speed bumps to slow down riders on Hawthorne Bridge viaduct

Posted by on November 8th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-1

Five new bike speed bumps greet riders heading
onto the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalk.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County has installed a series of speed bumps (a.k.a. rumble strips) on SE Madison Ave as it approaches the Hawthorne Bridge (westbound). The bumps are aimed at reducing bicycling speeds as riders transition from the on-street bike lane up a ramp to the shared sidewalk which also happens to be the location of a TriMet bus stop. This bike lane is slightly downhill and bike speeds are relatively high.

There are five bumps placed about two feet apart and they’re made up of thermoplastic strips about an eighth-of-an-inch think. That might not seem very high, but on a bicycle the bumps can definitely be felt — especially for riders with narrow tires. We’ve heard a lot of feedback so far that not only are the bumps jarring but many people swerve into the adjacent vehicle lane to avoid them.

According to Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen, the bumps were installed to “alert bicyclists that they are entering a shared space with pedestrians.” The county has also added the words ‘BIKES SLOW’ in the bike lane prior to the bumps, a new pavement marking on the sidewalk that includes the word ‘SLOW’, and markings warning bus passengers to ‘LOOK’ before stepping off the bus. There’s also a sign near the ramp reminding people on bikes to ‘Yield to Pedestrians’.

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-7

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-2

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-5

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-6

How do people feel about the new bumps? They have some support from people who think bicycling speeds at this location are too high; but we’ve heard more concerns and complaints than support. Even people who agree speeds are an issue feel other methods should have been considered. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve heard (taken from Twitter and a local transportation activism email list):

Peter W.:

I commute on my trusty aluminum frame road bike and feel every last bump on the new rumble strip, so count me in as someone who swerves to avoid them; I think if they weren’t quite as bad I might slow down instead. I asked a friend and she tells me she hates them (and she added an unusual expletive to quantify the extent of her hatred).

Jonathan G.:

To me, it feels like, “S..cr….ew Y..ou … Bi..ker…s!” every time I read [sic] over them. And I’m noticing some folks on bikes swerving left out of the bike lane into traffic to avoid them and then swooping back right to catch the ramp, which seems like it could be dangerous.

Gina Z.:

I see quite a few people swerving around them… which puts them dangerously close to cars in many cases.

Tara G.:

I like the intent but they are too thick! Totally rattle the teeth and make me lose loose bits. 🙂

Tony J.:

I don’t think it’s an effective treatment for trying to improve cycling behavior. IMO it is kind of dangerous… I think there should be a “Stop Here When Bus Present” sign and line and some periodic enforcement.

“starzipan”:

I get where they’re coming from but it’s a pain in the ass. Literally.

Scott M:

rumble strips are a bad idea on cycling facilities. They have potential to cause more harm than good.

Hart N.:

They’re too thick for thin wheels. I get the point, but they’re a safety hazard in their current state.

Here’s a photo that shows a narrow tire going over one of the bumps…

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-10

Clearly these bumps, which were installed just a few weeks ago, aren’t popular with many riders.

For their part, the county says they’ve received complaints about conflicts in this area. “Cyclists are often traveling at a high speed, as they start the downhill to the bridge,” says Pullen. “Pedestrians may be on the bridge for the first time, perhaps stepping off a bus to visit OMSI, and don’t expect a bicyclist to speed by them.”

The issue of people on bikes going too fast through a bus stop has been a concern of the county for many years. In fact, they installed similar bumps in 2003, only to remove them a few years later when they updated the pavement markings on the bridge sidewalk. Even back then the bumps were controversial and many people advocated for their removal.

A 2006 story in the PSU Vanguard published after the bumps had been removed noted some of the push back:

“‘Everyone hated the speed bumps,’ said [Elicia] Cardenas [former Vice-Chair of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee]. She said that no data was gathered on bike speed. ‘All they had was anecdotal evidence.'”

We asked Pullen if the county had any documented collisions at this location and he he said their bridge maintenance manager told him there has been “at least one collision” although Pullen didn’t have any details about when or how it happened.

According to a source who sits on the Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, some members of that committee see this and other recent changes on the bridge as interim solutions as the county grapples with the fact that bicycling makes up nearly 20% of the total bridge traffic.

On that note, Pullen says they’ve got another change coming next year: They plan to widen the existing sidewalk at the bus stop to create more space for everyone.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

272
Leave a Reply

avatar
80 Comment threads
192 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
105 Comment authors
ThomasMy Magic Hatq`Tzalwsbobspare_wheel Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
davemess
Guest
davemess

i rode over these for the first time yesterday. I was not impressed. The westbound experience on the Hawthorne is just horrible. It’s just a macabre game in the morning with mini races, narrow misses of pedestrians, and interactions with transit riders. Sad, considering the improvements they just added on the eastbound side.

This just feels like a bandaid on an amputated limb.

Can’t wait for the Light rail bridge in a few years, and I”ll be able to avoid the Hawthorne almost completely!

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

Bunnyhop?

spencer
Guest
spencer

wheelie

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

I guess the standard method city uses to slow cyclists was not available: install storm drains, utility pavement cuts, manhole covers, road debris, potholes, cracks, etc.

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

Yes, Portland has failed because the road isn’t velodrome-smooth…

spencer
Guest
spencer

ever ridden alpenrose? the speed bumps on the bridge dont even compare

paikikala
Guest
paikikala

The County owns the bridges not owned by the State or the railroad. This one is owned by the county.

Sho
Guest
Sho

You could just yield to the peds in the first place and kaboom problem solved. I bike this everyday and completely understand why they installed them, hardly ever do I see another cyclist yield for those getting on and off the buses.

timo
Guest

Call me prejudiced but I am all for erring on the side of protecting pedestrians over preserving cyclists’ velocity.
I’m also prejudiced in favor of welcoming more new people on bikes, so yay! to reducing the number of Cat VI racers passing my newbie friends at top speed with minimal clearance.
Of course my normal bikes are made of steel with city-appropriate big tires. So you can call me insensitive to the effects of rumble strips too. I save the skinny tires for heading out of town, fast.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

IMO the point isn’t about “protecting pedestrians over preserving cyclists velocity”. This is about facility design and basic planning theory/practice.

They had some complaints and they fear a collision so they install jarring speed bumps in the bike lane? Did they consult the NACTO guide and/or consider how those bumps would work?

And what about all the County roads where people complain about speeding cars and where people on bikes have been nearly hit? Skyline Blvd? Highway 30 perhaps? Why doesn’t the County put a bunch of speed bumps on Highway 30 to slow driving down? Where are the speed mitigation measures for Skyline Blvd?

As for skinny tires… I agree with you that wide tires rule in the city… But the fact is that 90% or so of Portland city riders have narrow road tires. Our facilities shouldn’t have jarring bumps on them.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Don’t know about the narrow tires (mine are wide). Perhaps these bumps should be lower to diminish the shock to people with narrow tires.

But I think the comparison to speed reduction for motor vehicles is not that strong an argument, Jonathan. I think there should be speed bumps or other speed reduction infrastructure or automated enforcement on those roads you mention Jonathan. And I think it’s a higher priority than putting these bumps in was on the Hawthorne. And I think it’s a shame that the County hasn’t gone ahead and done such things on high-speed dangerous roads like that. But, all that doesn’t change my judgment that these bumps are a good thing on the Hawthorne.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

First thing, whoever’s tire that is straddling the bump strip in this picture: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2819/10732609636_9ac15b7fe0.jpg

…looks like the tire is low and could use a little air.

I haven’t ridden these bump strips and can’t tell well from just looking at pictures of them, what kind of a jolt they transmit to bike or rider; doesn’t look like much, but I won’t say other than that without riding them. If riding over them doesn’t threaten to throw the rider or damage the bike, only causing a bit of rider discomfort and annoyance, the best thing may be to do as others have suggested…stand on the pedals slightly, lift up off the saddle going over them, slow down.

The roads you mentioned…Skyline Blvd, Highway 30 and county roads in general don’t have the complex of road user conflicts that this small section of Hawthorne does, which is likely one of the reasons the county doesn’t put speed bumps on those roads.

davemess
Guest
davemess

It also doesn’t remotely look like a narrow tire, unless we’re calling anything smaller than a MTB tire a narrow tire.

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

It’s quite a jolt. Try them.

Sho
Guest
Sho

Maus,
You serious? Your excuse is screw the pedestrians here, take it elsewhere that doesn’t involve a bike lane? You don’t ride this everyday do you? I do they need something here cause obviously the yield sign and slow paint have not been working. The design could definitely be better (such as just a normal speed bump or instead of bumps use grooves) but you can always say “Hey look at the problems over there instead!”. They take of other issues such that you brought up everyday – installing vehicular speed bumps and other slowing devices is pretty normal. There is a problem here and they are addressing it where a significant portion of traffic occurs on weekends and weekdays.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

There seems to be no guidance in the 304 page NACTO guide from April 2011 on bicycle speed bumps.
Only on page 195 (pdf page 197) of the document does it make an oblique reference to “tramline & ladder” tactile pavers to slow cyclists transitioning to a lower quality bike way.

A little digging on “tramline & ladder” turned up this 5 page pdf Tactile Markings for Segregated Shared Use by Cyclists and Pedestrians that not only shows some size specs (height 12-20mm) but demonstrates how to use the raised segments to ensure self segregation of bicycle traffic from designated walking paths. This pdf is from 1990.

What I think is most damming of the NACTO guide is that the Bicycle/pedestrian/bus stop issue is not addressed in any way. In several spots the words “Special consideration should be given at transit stops to manage bicycle and pedestrian interactions.” are written but that is the extent. No solutions are offered, no guidelines suggested, no contact info for who to talk to: just a big “welp, this is gunna be problem … yup”.

Best Grammy
Guest
Best Grammy

Um, slow down? That’s the best way to deal with bicycle/pedestrian interaction.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Yes, slowing down is the easiest outcome to verbalize but the hardest to enact.
It already is against state and local law to bicycle both on a sidewalk “too fast for conditions” and near pedestrians in a manner that endangers them.
And yet here we are: bickering about speed bumps ment to slow down people on bicycles that won’t adhere to the law.
Even after their application people posting here proudly admit that they are flouting both the laws and the speed bumps to keep riding dangerously fast in this area.

I repeatedly propose that we should consider how to solve the pedestrian safety problem here in the context of “we can’t slow down all dangerous people on bikes”.

This situation eerily resembles the paradigm where someone says we don’t need protected bicycle facilities because all automobile drivers need to do is slow down. How’s that working out?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

where has someone admitted to cycling in a dangerous manner on the hawthorne bridge ramp? just because you do not approve of cycling at higher speeds does not make doing so dangerous. in my experiences, it’s just as possible to ride like a jackass at 12 mph as it is at 18 mph.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Case and bdrunker observed people riding bikes swerving in to traffic to avoid these bumps.
SilkySlim, Trek 3900, Charley and even innocent little you spare-wheel admit, in your own words on this very page, to swerving in to traffic to avoid the bumps.

Perhaps you don’t think that behavior is dangerous this isn’t just about your perception of your own skill but how that behavior affects and influences others when you do it: there are always consequences.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

q’Tzal,
the “swerve” (more of a wee turn) occurs in a buffered area that is separated from the motorvehicle lane by a good 6-8 feet. if you think this is dangerous then i’d suggest you avoid cycling period.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

spare_wheel
q’Tzal,
the “swerve” (more of a wee turn) occurs in a buffered area that is separated from the motorvehicle lane by a good 6-8 feet. if you think this is dangerous then i’d suggest you avoid cycling period.

You’re right, I was focused on the point of contention and missed the buffer. It looks to be 3-4 foot wide but I expect that the distance from the outside of the bike lane to the automotive wheel rut is 6-8 feet.
If I ever ride my bike through here I think I’ll take the automotive lane.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I rode into Portland today so I could personally ride these rumble strips to get a sense of the degree of jolt they pose. Not to be insensitive to individual riding style, but what I discovered, is that the strips pose virtually no jolt…a little vibration is all.

This is riding an aluminum frame road bike, 23mm tires, body weight slightly resting on the saddle, most on the pedals and some on the bars. Maybe the people having the strongest dissatisfaction with the rumble strips, are those that ride with their weight primarily on the saddle and bars.

The brouhaha that’s ensued over these rumble strips seems to be much the proverbial ‘tempest in a teapot’. It’s embarrassing that some bike enthusiasts have made such a ruckus over what’s basically a non-issue. To clarify, by their height and riding experience, these strips are by no means, ‘speed bumps’. They’re rumble strips, designed to simply convey by moderate vibration, that caution with regards to the road ahead is called for.

Alex
Guest
Alex

This is probably the only time I have ever agreed with you.

The only thing more tragic than this is some cyclists seeing mountain biking as a threat to forest park.

JV
Guest
JV

Absolutely agree – these are not “speed bumps” in the sense that they don’t actually require you to slow down. So in that sense they are ineffective, though they do warn of the oncoming mini-ramp/merge with pedestrian traffic. They are more like rumble strips and if you stand on the pedals a little bit, they are barely even noticeable. Experiences may vary for those riding super skinny tires, but I have ridden sections of pavement that are rougher than this. In general, something does need to be done about the speeds at which some people on bikes ride the Hawthorne – it is just not wide enough for high-speed passing. I am generally in favor of passing slower riders, but some seem to treat it as a competition – if a car driver were exhibiting similar behavior passing closely they would (or should be) cited for reckless driving . While these rumble strips were probably not necessary and will probably not accomplish much, they are hardly something to get worked up about, whereas a real solution to speed differential on Hawthorne is a serious issue.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“Not to be insensitive to individual riding style…”

And you proceed to be insensitive to individual riding styles…

Apparently the idea that people ride a wide arrange of bikes with different geometries did not prevent you from dismissing their concerns with your personal anecdote. I happen to commute on bikes with light stiff frames and skinny saddles with little or no padding. I also use high-tension wheels with high-pressure training tires. Do you really believe someone who has over 200K in total mileage is complaining about this rumble strip just to be a prima donna? The two rumble strips on the bridge mup do not bother me. Nor do the rumble strips on the springwater. And yet I loathe this particular rumble strip.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Do you really believe someone who has over 200K in total mileage is complaining about this rumble strip just to be a prima donna? …? spare_wheel

spare_wheel…it’s difficult to know why you’re experiencing discomfort riding over these rumble strips, perhaps because you’re not explaining it well. Lots of other people apparently aren’t sensing much of a jolt, if any, riding over them…why are you?

Numerous people commenting here have offered suggestions for lessening the modest vibration riding that over the rumble strip produces; rise up off the saddle slightly, shift weight to pedals, moderate speed. People dissatisfied with the rumble strips haven’t responded with comments about whether they tried any of those suggestions.

You mention the Springwater rumble strips being comparatively not as averse to you personally, but leave off not offering details about them would give some insight as to why you have less discomfort riding over them. Go out, take some pics, measurements, whatever, and present that info here some people have some idea of what you’re talking about.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I agree with you timo. The Hawthorne Bridge is often the most stressful part of my commute because of people biking extremely fast passing rudely. If this helps with that, I’m in favor of it. I think they could use more of these sets of speed bumps honestly to slow people down on the downslope to the bridge.

Of course, this is a quick, cheap, suboptimal fix. What is really necessary is more space, and separated for people walking versus on bikes. I would love to see an analysis of whether the space allocated to people walking/biking is proportional to their mode share on the Hawthorne Bridge. I suspect that it is not, especially for biking (lots of people biking, too little space).

davemess
Guest
davemess

Or what we are getting on the Sellwood. Two areas for people on bikes of different speed! What you have on the Hawthorne is basically the equivalent of putting slow-moving farm equipment on the highway. The speeds just don’t mix very well.

One way to get more people biking is indeed to make a comfortable environment, but one way to keep them biking is to give them facilities that actually allow them to get places in a reasonable amount of time.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

To perhaps take an analogy too far… If you have a one-lane highway with lots of farm equipment where the only place you can pass is where people are walking – AND the section that skinny only lasts for a quarter mile – I’d say that people who go faster than farm equipment just need to cool their jets and wait until there’s a nice break in the people walking to pass. But I would also be in favor of a wider highway for that section. And I don’t favor wider highways very often! 🙂

davemess
Guest
davemess

yes, to kill this analogy. I’m saying the Hawthorne bridge is the equivalent of one of the 2 biggest highways in the city for bikes.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Despite the stereotypes promoted by some “people who bike”, not all fast cyclists harass pedestrians and “newbies”. Many fast cyclists simply want to get from point A to point B efficiently and respectfully. IMO, installing narrow rumble strips that are potentially dangerous is exactly the kind of thing a society that treats cycling as a second class mode would do. I would support a wide and shallow speed bump but sharp-edged rumble strips that could cause an inattentive cyclist who has not cycled this route to crash is completely unacceptable.

“are made of steel with city-appropriate big tires. So you can call me insensitive…”

In other words, everyone should ride a steel bike with fatties just like you. This kind of snobby attitude is exactly why I rarely attend Portland “bike culture” events.

Marcus
Guest
Marcus

I ride Hawthorne Westbound almost every morning on a steel road bike with 32c tires. The bumps still jar me and I have concerns about how much control I’m maintaining passing through that section, especially in weather like yesterday morning when it was pouring and blowing me around like crazy.

What the bridge needs is a lesson in etiquette for the people who use it. I’m not passing people going up the ramp onto the bridge because I’m a CAT VI racer, but because it drives me insane to be stuck behind most of the bikers I encounter on the bridge. Don’t try to race up the ramp if you’re just going to slow down and impede me then swerve towards me when I try to pass you. I can ride fast and safely, and far too many people don’t exercise common courtesy and pull over for those who wish to ride faster than them. I’m not going to tailgate and yell at you, but just like it is polite to get out of the fast lane on the freeway, so too should bicyclists scoot over when it is safe to do so

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Where am I supposed to “pull over” to? The part of the sidewalk clearly marked for people walking? No thanks, I’ll stay in the bike part.

I’ve had too many mornings biking slowly in the “walking” part of the sidewalk where faster cyclists never let me in and I have to stop to avoid hitting some poor person walking. Never again. I bike my slow butt in the bike part of the sidewalk because the rude racers poisoned the well.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Alex, I don’t know if you’re doing yourself and favors by classifying all cyclists who want to go faster than you as “racers”. I feel your pain. I try move to the right as much as possible on the bridge (even though I’m going faster than 90% of the bike traffic), and it can be rough to merge back over.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

You’re right! Written in memory-induced stress. Revised:
“I bike my slow butt in the bike part of the sidewalk because the small percentage of faster people on bikes who act rudely on the Hawthorne poisoned the well.”

davemess
Guest
davemess

Well I’m not offended as I slow and let people in if I see a pinch point with a pedestrian coming, I think most act this way, but I know a few don’t. Just sad that we have to fight with each other this way, rather than having enough space of our own.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Treat it like a road. Stick to the right unless there is either foot or bike traffic and let faster people to pass. Use your head and don’t be a tool.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

IMHO, people who pass unsafely are the “tools.” I prefer to think of myself as a stick-in-the-mud rule-follower 🙂

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I revise my comment. How about none of us bikers and walkers are “tools,” it’s the Man who keeps us down and makes us fight over the tiny scrap of space allotted to us who’s a “tool”?

Marcus
Guest
Marcus

Yeah! Blame the man! I want a bike only bridge with accelerator strips like in Mario Kart. This is Bicycle Capitol of America right?

I totally agree with you Allen. Courtesy is a two way street. Folks should be courteous and allow those of us who wish to move at a higher pace to do so, when safe, and those moving at a higher pace should allow those courteous folks back in by slowing down and chilling out. And no one should walk three abreast in the same direction as the bikes, because that is just awful.

Reza
Guest
Reza

Bravo Alex. You get the CORRECT way to bike on the bridge.

To everyone who disagrees because then you’re passing on the right: name ANY instance on the road where you as a slower road user are legally compelled to cede right-of-way to faster moving traffic.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Uh, staying in the right lane on the highway. The mandatory sidepath law for bikes (which I know on here most hate). I get it, it’s just a weird situation where the potential passing area is on the right of the bike area, but often there is not pedestrian traffic (esp. going westbound) and it’s easy enough to move over to the right side of the bridge. Note I said “often”.
Passing on the left or the right, they’re both dangerous. There really is no “perfect” solution here.

I just know that if I have someone directly behind me and I have some space with no pedestrians I get to the right.

All this talk makes me really glad I only have to take this bridge once a week, I’ll stick to my sub-quality biking facilities on the outer SE side.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i think that passing on the left is more dangerous since a mistake or misunderstanding could easily throw a cyclist into traffic.

JV
Guest
JV

Yes, but the advantage of the left pass is that then the person initiating the pass is in the vulnerable position, and deals with the consequences of their judgment. That is better than the slower (potentially less experienced) rider getting spooked by someone passing on the right, and then crashing off the pavement edge on the left.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“Name ANY instance on the road where you as a slower road user are legally compelled to cede right-of-way to faster moving traffic.”

1. Anyone who’s actually taken a licensing exam in either OR or WA would (good grief, at least I hope) remember that in these states, slower-moving vehicles on 2-lane highways are required to PULL OVER and allow faster vehicles to pass, when they are impeding 5 or more vehicles and it is safe to pull over. What else did you think those “slow moving vehicle turnouts” along our mountain highways were for?

2. Slower Traffic Keep Right is the generally accepted rule on multilane highways, regardless of whether it is codified in law. I don’t think Oregon and Washington enforce this but many states do – some states are serious enough about this that they ban passing on the right.

I’ve definitely seen slower cyclists (and nothing wrong with being slow) keeping to the left on the Hawthorne path even when there were no pedestrians in front of them, AND impeding more than 5 faster cyclists behind them.

Really, how hard is it to SHARE, people? You don’t even need to move all the way over — there’s actually room for a cyclist to pass another cyclist without taking up the entire width of the path. I am FAR from the fastest person on the path, and I have no trouble moving over a couple of feet and allowing faster riders to pass. Believe it or not, it is possible for cyclists traveling at DIFFERENT speeds – not just a uniform speed dictated by the slowest rider – to share the bridge safely and respectfully.

I agree there are plenty of jerks who go too fast on the Hawthorne and don’t respect others’ safety. But not all the jerks on the bridge are the ones going fast.

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

To be fair, I’m not sure the people staying left are always jerks. 😉

I think its more like the people who swear the middle lane is the safest and therefore too timid to drive in any other lane. This is different from the people in the left lane doing 5 under to prevent people from speeding.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

See, I’m happy to have people going different speeds on the bridge. It’s what happens now. I just want people who want to go faster to take responsibility for finding a good time to do so and go ahead and pass me on the right. Many already do, but a few squeeze by on the left (super unsafe given that I bike in the middle of the bike part or a lil to the left of the middle)

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

As far as there being a “bike part” and a “walk part” of the bridge … on the westbound approach, past the bus stop in question, there is a yellow-and-white stripe clearly delineating the bike “lane” from the walking “lane.”

But once you get on the bridge deck, the line disappears. There is just a bike symbol on the left side and a ped symbol on the right, with no formal delineation. In other words, it is NOT the case that the right/outside 50% is for pedestrians and the left/inside 50% is for cyclists. What the symbols mean is that pedestrians generally keep to the outside and cyclists keep to the inside. In other words, SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT!

Reza
Guest
Reza

Maybe the onus should be on you, the faster-moving cyclist, to decide when it’s safe to move in and out of the walking lane. Instead of expecting everyone to get out of your way. That seems to be the mentality of a lot of drivers towards cyclists.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Passing on the right is just dumb. Also, I don’t know why they give such breadth to foot traffic on the bridge. I bet there are more cyclists that go over the bridge everyday than people walking.

John D
Guest

Yes I bet there is more cyclist because pedestrians don’t feel safe on the bridge. I have only walked it a few times and both times I was nearly taken out by cyclist riding 4 abreast and not yielding to at all to pedestrians. I had to dodge to the edge to keep from being taken out.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

and i have been almost taken out by pedestrians and their animals. it’s simply an overly crowded situation where a small number of clueless and rude people can generate a bad experience for peds and cyclists.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

on a one way street i pass on the right all the time. and the hawthorne is a one way mup with two lanes.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

One vote for too bumpy. After rumbling through them the first time, I have been skirting around every day since. I totally get why they are there, but as someone who commutes along this route every single day (for the past six years), I didn’t need the reminder to be careful around the bus stop. And I certainly didn’t need the reminder in the form of a permanent impediment.

Robert L.
Guest
Robert L.

Why don’t they rework the bus stop to match the side headed east? Bike lane to the left of the bus stop like the rest of the city. Sure it will cost more money to fix, but it just makes more sense.

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

Robert L. , you took the words right out of my mouth.
These strips are not a fix to the mix of uses at this location, it seems like adding another problem.

Case
Guest
Case

I go over these every day and they do exactly what they’re meant to, physically warning you to pay attention. I have also seen quite a few riders avoid them by going into the auto travel lane to get around them. Many of these people hit that ramp doing 18+ MPH. It’s unnecessary to go that damn fast on that transition, in my opinion.

I slow down for the strips, going over them at 12 MPH isn’t uncomfortable. Face it, the reason they’re there is because cyclists (in whatever numbers) are engaging in behavior that makes them necessary. Slow down people.

One of the things I usually say about my commuting speed is “I’m just not in that much of a hurry to get off my bike.”

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

I don’t understand the furor over these. If you find them uncomfortable, get out of the saddle and stand on your pedals like going over any bump that might be unpleasant. If you don’t want to do that, use a different bridge. Bike lanes aren’t meant to be a magic carpet ride.

davemess
Guest
davemess

That’s a little tougher on a fixed gear…..

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

Who cares? That’s your choice for riding a mechanically and safety deficient ride.

davemess
Guest
davemess

I care. That’s why I wrote it. Apparently a lot of other people care too, as many appear not to like the bumps.

Richard Risemberg
Guest

I stand on the pedals on my fixed gear all the time. I’ve put 46,000 miles on it in the last seven years. It’s not difficult. And I do it in Los Angeles traffic, on Los Angeles roads, where a 1/8″ bump wouldn’t even register as signal among the noise of cracks, bumps, ruts, potholes, excavation cover plates, and general debris.

The solution to rumble-strip misery is, as many have already noted, to slow down as you approach the area of mixed traffic at the bus stop. As motorists are supposed to slow down in areas where they mix with us (and walkers).

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

98% of the time there are no pedestrians in this area.

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

Ok, apparently I’ll have to state the obvious for you. This isn’t LA. There’s a reason most of us choose to live here…

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

It’s just as possible to cycle safely at 18 mph as it is at 12 mph.
If there are pedestrians or other cyclists in front of me, I slow down. If not, then I don’t.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

Thank you for chiming in with the voice of reason, spare_wheel. 🙂

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

Case suggests, just slow down for the bump if you find it harsh! Right on. His example speeds: 12 mph vs 18 mph. Taking the congested part of the bridge to be one half mile (haven’t measured it) you could drop your speed to 12 mph for the whole stretch and it would ‘delay’ you less than one minute. Leave a minute earlier and be chill on the bridge. Problem solved.

If your hair is on fire, ride the deck.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

These people sound just like auto drivers that complain about speed bumps, speed limits, crosswalks, etc. If this thick paint is jarring you enough to warrant a complaint, I honestly wonder how you can ride anywhere in the city without crashing.

Dave Thomson
Guest
Dave Thomson

+1

Ben Waterhouse
Guest
Ben Waterhouse

They don’t look any thicker to me than the paint on the crosswalks on SW Oak.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Or any number of thermoplastic crosswalks all over the city (esp. the ones that have more than one application).

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

maybe if you tried riding over them you would not have to pointlessly speculate, ben.

in my experience and opinion, these are the most jarring (and annoying) road feature in the greater portland area. since i ride around them they no longer annoy me personally but the fact that metro thought they were a good idea is @#$%ing infuriating.

davemess
Guest
davemess

If they put all those things in the middle lanes of a major highway then you might have a point about the auto drivers. We’re talking the Hawthorne bridge which is the main way to cross the river for the entire SE, and sees thousands of cyclists a day.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

ODOT does this in quite a few spots, actually. Either thick thermoplastic or grooves etched into the pavement in a sequence much like this, prior to a sharp curve on a highway. HWY 20 west of Corvallis has a set prior to a hairpin turn after a long straight section. This isn’t a double standard. This is a standard.

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

It’s also a main route for people who walk. A bit of our time (i.e. slowing down) is worth the safety of the many who walk this bridge every day. Your statement sounds exactly like those against the road diet on Barbur.

davemess
Guest
davemess

No I’m suggesting adding facilities (so if the people who are arguing against against a road diet are also advocating for 2-3 more lanes of bike traffic on Barbur, than I guess I am in agreement with those people). I’m not suggesting pedestrians get out of the way or not use the bridge. I’m saying it’s a sketchy bridge to ride as a cyclist AND a pedestrian.

Again, these conflicts don’t seem to be as bad on the Westbound side of the bridge because they’ve engineered it better for users (granted that is a little easier I think because of the topography/ ramp make up).

John Lascurettes
Guest

The mechanical effect is profoundly different between a car tire (much lower PSI and much larger contact patch) and a bike tire.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

the “i ride steel bikes with fat tires and look down on speed racers” crowd cannot and/or does not want to admit this.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

Chris, I don’t fundamentally disagree with you but this is a pretty heavy handed approach in my mind. I ride this on occasion but I’ve never seen a bus stopped there and maybe once passed a pedestrian on that stretch. I don’t live or work in the area and ride the bridge regularly so I am sure there are times of day or days in particular when there are pedestrians there and the bus is off-loading / loading passengers. However, my experience is that much of the time it isn’t an issue.

So the speed bumps are placed there and are a nuisance to cyclists 24/7 in all kinds of weather. Because some percentage of riders don’t slow sufficiently for some peoples comfort everyone has to deal with these bumps ALL the time. Even when no pedestrians are present and a 20 mph speed is perfectly appropriate.

This does indeed differ substantially from auto infrastructure. Speed bumps and such are only installed in main travel lanes when it is actually desired and reasonably necessary to keep speeds down ALL the time.

Compare this to the issues on Barbur Blvd (I know mixing jurisdictions county vs. state). On Barbur there have been many documented instances of extremely high auto speeds leading in several high profile incidents to death and serious injury. Yet, nothing can be done on Barbur because we wouldn’t want to slow traffic at all, ever, or even potentially increase travel times. Meanwhile in this case, we have only slight anecdotal evidence of a problem. No document cases of accidents. Certainly no high profile examples of death or serious injury. Yet, we simply install a pretty aggressive speed control device that is the most blunt force type of solution possible.

How about we put a series of 5 speed bumps 20 feet apart before each of the bridges on Barbur? It’s a pretty similar solution.

BURR
Guest
BURR

This!

In the name of slowing traffic down they would never put a potential injury-causing traffic control device in the street for motorists to drive over. There are fairly strict standards for when and where speed bumps or the now-preferred speed tables can be used to control motor vehicle speeds, yet apparently anything still goes for slowing down cyclists; as far as this facility and the county are concerned, this is just one big FU to cyclists.

Rick Till
Guest
Rick Till

This comparison doesn’t make much sense. One can make the same argument about any speed bump, or nearly any traffic control device. There are many hours during the day when speed bumps are not necessary and that it would be perfectly safe to go 40mph in 25mph zone, but we still accept the benefits. Its the exact same situation on the bridge. The dangerous speeds during parts of the day warrant traffic control measures that slow people down. It may require individual sacrifices, but its for the general good.

For the record, I ride skinny tires and like to ride fast. But I slow down considerably from the rumble strips until I get around the blind corner. I don’t pass in that section – there’s no reason to go fast there. With a blind corner, there’s no need to go fast. I don’t find the strips too jarring when riding slower. Another design might be better, but the current design is better than nothing.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

No, you are wrong. There Are indeed places where it is always unsafe to drive 40mph. Places like quiet residential streets, streets in front of parks, parking lots – exactly the kind of places you see speed bumps.

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

+100000000 internets.

“There’s a bump in the road! Someone think of the children!!!” – breathless bike-rights belligerents.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Dan, it’s not just the speed bumps. It’s an overall crappy facility that almost guarantees user issues. You can poopoo it all you want (frankly I don’t find the bumps that annoying or a huge issue), but the bottom line is these bumps don’t really do that much to improve the situation.

BicycleDave
Guest
BicycleDave

They don’t slow me down. I doubt they slow down anyone who is going too fast. And they push some out into the adjacent vehicle lane. What was the goal again?

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

Perhaps we should put speed humps in the “car lanes” to reduce their speed to something safe for sharing with cyclists? I’m sure there are no breathless car-rights belligerents who would complain about that.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

How about a series of multiple speed bumps before every marked cross walk not at a signalized intersection.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

How about we just tear up all the streets and replace them with endless speedbumps. That’ll show them.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

Yes, yes, yes. The amount of complaints over what are the most minor of bumps is, frankly, cringeworthy. Ever wrote the floating ramp on the Esplanade? Now *THOSE* are serious bumps. These are nothing. Come on folks, this is silly.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Yes it is. At least there is bike infrastructure there to even talk about. Where I live I’ve got to deal with glass and gravel strewn streets and high speed traffic whizzing by me. : (

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i disagree completely. that single ramped lip is no where near as annoying as the ridiculously tall and sharp-edged rumble strip on the hawthorne bridge.

i also want to point out that not everyone rides a springy steel bike with underinflated tires, pixelgate. in fact, i have zero desire to ever ride a steel bike ever again.

DamonQuade
Guest
DamonQuade

I ride an aluminum frame with 25’s at as high pressure as I can push and these bumps are most definitely less obtrusive than most of the potholes and uneven pavement that I encounter on my daily commute. And that single ramped lip is much more severe. If you doubt it, go out there with a tape measure and measure it, not to mention the angle change in your road grade. Are the rumble strips annoying? Yes. Are they the product of cyclists going too fast in this area? Yes. If we want to be treated like traffic, we need to deal with some the controls of traffic. Pick an issue that really has some teeth.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

over-pressurizing tires is a very bad idea and your experience is not (necessarily) mine.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I ride them almost every day and they don’t bother me one bitl. They work. I slow down.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

These could be a lawsuit liability sooner than later. Speeding tickets to those who deserve them might be better. Wish people would self-regulate.

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

How is a thermoplastic strip a liability? You realize that you ride over them at nearly every crosswalk, right? They’re not like a bucking bronco.

BURR
Guest
BURR

There are plenty of places in Portland where irregular multiple layers of thermoplastic on the cross walk striping can be a hazard for cyclists as well; and studded tire users can largely be credited with creating this particular hazard.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i put 5K on my bike every year all over the metro portland area and this rumble strip is by far the most annoying road feature i have encountered. on my “A” commuter it causes teeth-chattering harmonic vibrations even at 15 mph.

Andrew N
Guest
Andrew N

Leah Treat has been pretty quiet as of late. I’m guessing she may be having “buyer’s remorse” after realizing that PDX’s reputation as America’s Bike Capital is a bunch of BS.

Paul Souders
Guest

I sympathize with the need here but lotsa luck with this. Most riders who move too fast on this stretch will just take the lane to avoid the strips, possibly INCREASING their speed in the process, and coming onto the sidewalk at an angle (with less visibility around stopped buses and possibly counter steering across the sidewalk.)

I never thought about it before but Hawthorne westbound is just kind of cruddy the whole way. The entry onto the bridge is a charliefoxtrot with the bus stop and foot traffic, and then no good exit into downtown when you get across. Just kind of dumps you into bus traffic on Main, or merge fast! across 3 lanes to go left on 1st.

I take Hawthorne EB every. single. morning. but almost never cross WB.

Neilx
Guest
Neilx

Fat tyres (2.3″), I don’t feel a thing.

dan
Guest
dan

Ditto. I commute on a beater front-suspension mountain bike with slicks, and though I remember thinking it was bumpy this morning, I have never consciously noticed that there are actual speed bumps here. I have certainly not slowed down as a result…it would take something the shape of a curb across the lane for me to feel like I had to slow down here.

This looks like a clear case of bad design to me: there’s bike / bus conflict inherent to the layout, and the bus itself blocks the view of westbound cyclists, making it impossible to see people getting on/off. Any cyclist who sees a bus there and thinks it’s a good idea to roll through at full speed is an idiot, but it’s the design that creates this problem.

Why don’t they just move the bus stop to the Hawthorne Blvd. ramp that comes up between the eastbound and westbound motor lanes?

pengo
Guest
pengo

700×23 at 95psi this morning, and I also didn’t feel a thing. I must have ridden over them. Guess I’ll have to look out for them tomorrow. Not really getting the outrage.

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

Gatorskins? If so, we ride same tire, same thickness, same pressure.

pengo
Guest
pengo

Close. GP4seasons.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

I know it’s crazy but — Why not just put sharows and green paint in the right lane and Fast cyclists take the lane, slow cyclists can take the sidewalk.

davemess
Guest
davemess

The metal grating probably has something to do with that.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

Unless the grating was replaced or improved somehow (unlikely) cyclists would still need a ramp and merge up to the MUP later on, but on this downhill stretch with a narrow sidewalk (narrower than the MUP later on) and the bus stop on a downhill stretch it makes much more sense to let faster, stronger cyclist take the lane.

davemess
Guest
davemess

I’m all for that.

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

The metal grating is not all that slippery, even with skinny tires. I’ve ridden on it many times, admittedly not when it was heavily raining.

Adron @ Transit Sleuth
Guest

So what does the number of cyclists have to grow to in order to just reclaim the outer lane? Seriously, it’d be safer for EVERYBODY involved. Just turn it into a cycle track lane and stop making the cycles mix with the pedestrians. On peak days, when there is over 5k cyclists that go across the Hawthorne Bridge, we’ve officially gone OVER the amount of cars that could ever hope to get into town on a single lane, so how about we get the lane taken for the growing number of cyclists?

As was pointed out in the previous blog entry http://bikeportland.org/2013/09/26/hawthorne-bridge-counter-logs-over-2-million-trips-in-just-over-one-year-94524

…Cycles are 20% of the trips across that bridge. Yet we’re assigned 0% of the actual roadway. That doesn’t make any sense.

Where, who and what do we have to do to get the lane turned into a dedicated cycle-track? That’s what it ought to be.

dan
Guest
dan

How about this? The travel direction in the two inner lanes becomes time-dependent. In the morning rush, one lane is westbound, the other is dedicated to 2-way bike traffic. In the afternoon rush, one lane is eastbound, the other is dedicated to 2-way bike traffic.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

Probably wont happen, I’m pretty sure the bridge motor couldn’t handle a replacing the grates with pavement.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I don’t think imaginative engineers have looked at this question yet so saying it “probably won’t happen” from a technical standpoint seems premature to me. “Probably won’t happen” soon politically, yeah. But that’s what activism is for!

BURR
Guest
BURR

Not concrete, something lighter.

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

Bikes don’t need pavement; plywood is adequate.

BURR
Guest
BURR

This is just stupid. The design catches water and there is no speed that is slow enough to ride over these comfortably with high-pressure tires; plus the county previously removed a set of similar speed bumps further down the sidewalk as part of a deal with the city when the existing bike lane on the sidewalk went in.

Regularly riding over these is harsh on both cyclists and their equipment, easily shortening the life of your bike frame, particularly if it is made of aluminum alloy, and loosening bolts and other hardware.

Trek 3900
Guest
Trek 3900

I just ride around them – I don’t want my axles to experience more impact than necessary – that could result in a catastrophic failure that results in serious injury at some time in the future – like when you are bombing down a hill at 40 mph.

If a rider is killed by impact from a car because they rode around the strips, their family WILL get a couple $million from the city – it would clearly be negligent design that caused the riders death – no jury anywhere would disagree.

The strips were an idea that didn’t work out in the real world. Time to remove them.

JonathanR
Guest
JonathanR

Trek: the plaintiff who gets hit by a car from riding outside of the bike lane to avoid speed strips will lose in court. Thankfully.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

The incredible danger of same direction vehicle traffic make me quake in my sidis.

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

I think you’re a bit neurotic about your axles. They’re meant to take a beating.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Axles of evil.

Trek 3900
Guest
Trek 3900

Who has a hammer and chisel?

Dan Morrison
Guest
Dan Morrison

It’s thermoplastic. A paint-stripping heat gun or torch would be a lot more effective.

Not that I’m suggesting that or anything…

J_R
Guest
J_R

I’ve ridden over them on my commuter bike with 1-inch, 80 psi tires and found them little more than an annoyance. I certainly didn’t think these rumble strips are worth swerving around. If it causes some of the more aggressive wanabe racers to slow down, I think they are accomplishing their purpose. The alternative is that we can all get along and be a little more cognizant of how our behaviors effect others.

I can think of lots worse things to complain about – the 1 1/2 inch lip on the ramps of the floating section of the Eastbank Esplanade, driveway lips that exceed an inch, loops that don’t detect bikes, leaves and debris placed in the street, delivery trucks that block the bike lane….

davemess
Guest
davemess

Or we can actually demand cycling infrastructure that allow for people to ride safely at different speeds.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Yes, that would be great. We need more space on the Hawthorne.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Rode over them this AM and would not even call them bumps. Maybe I need to ride faster so they would be more jarring then I could join the consensus and complain

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Looks like a place where water could collect, freeze, then with the “rumble” strip, allow tires to break traction.

I’m predicting a number of accidents (lawsuits?) over the winter months until these are removed.

dan
Guest
dan

If they do ice up, the only safe thing is to NOT hit your brakes, which would guarantee a wreck. Instead, ride in a straight line over them without slowing…definitely not the behavior they’re intended to elicit.

fasterthanme
Guest
fasterthanme

i’m surprised they’re trying this experiment again. It’s concerning that cyclists don’t yield to peds when the bus let’s them off but these bumps don’t really slow people down and as others have mentioned, they are very easy to avoid. BOOO!!!

Maks
Guest
Maks

i rode over them for the first time after a long period of not biking and i noticed it right at the last minute before going over. i’m pretty sure my teeth clattered. while i have front suspension and seat suspension, it was still felt. and i agree, it was a bit to high. shouldn’t it be lower like the ones on the bridge itself? i cannot recall where specifically, but there’s several white strips that are very low but still could be felt when going over it.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

hmmmm.. I hate to say it, but if these bumps are truly jarring and rattling your teeth that means you are GOING TOO FAST!!

Sorry folks, but a lot of bike riders go way too fast on the Hawthorne and it was only a matter of time before steps needed to be taken. I have personally witnessed so many near accidents heading west onto the Hawthorne bridge, all of which a result of a bicyclist going too fast, and something needed to happen here to slow people down.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

I agree that some people cycle too fast when approaching pedestrians and other cyclists on the Hawthorne bridge. Nevertheless, there is absolutely nothing wrong with cycling 20 mph, or even 25 mph, on the Hawthorne bridge if one does so in a safe and courteous manner. In fact, I do this two times every work day.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

The above post refers to the roadway, not the bridge MUP. I would support a posted cycling speed limit on the bridge MUP.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…there is absolutely nothing wrong with cycling 20 mph, or even 25 mph, on the Hawthorne bridge if one does so in a safe and courteous manner. …” spare_wheel

On the main lanes of the Hawthorne…sure…but not when approaching pedestrians and other cyclists on the Hawthorne bridge bike lanes and MUP, or negotiating the transition from the bike lane, around the bus stop and up to the MUP/shared sidewalk, which is the subject of this bikeportland story.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

bob, i guess your missed my clarifying statement (just above yours) where i agree with you.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

spare_wheel…no disregard intended…during the 10 minutes, I was writing the comment while you posted yours.

Other people have noted though, that what may have happened in part that prompted the county to lay down these strips, is that some people riding insist on doing the 20-25 mph racer thing as they make the transition through this little congestion point of bike lane, bus stop, ramp to the MUP, instead of staying on the main lane where they’d have to eventually ride over those fun steel grates.

Even if there aren’t collisions with people boarding and entering buses, some of these hurried, harried people on their bikes are likely scaring the heck out of the bus customers, or at the least, making a very bad impression.

Someone else inquired about removing the bus stop. If that’s something that could be done without depriving a lot of people of needed transit service, maybe it’s something that should be looked into.

JonathanR
Guest
JonathanR

I ride this stretch every day. Lots of bikers think they are in a race (me too, sometimes). The bumps are a good reminder that we’re not. It was also good that they added more stripe to the bike/pedestrian lane divider, as lots of bikes (again, racing) use the pedestrian lane.

As for people who complain about it being too bumpy, compare it to the pavement on Main, where buses and cars cross with bikes, and it’s nothing.

BURR
Guest
BURR

1. these bumps won’t slow any of the Cat6 racers down for more than a brief second. The County fails on this one, try again.

2. it’s not just the bumps themselves, it’s how their height and spacing/periodicity interact with the geometry of your bicycle. It’s probable that some bicycles react much more than others, and that the periodicity of the vibrations caused by this particular design can do actual physical harm to the frames and hardware of some bicycles.

3. hmmm, doesn’t mean that the pavement on SW Main should have been a higher priority?

Ben Waterhouse
Guest
Ben Waterhouse

Here’s an idea—how ’bout we remove the bus stop? I ride the 14 whenever I’m not biking, and that stop gets 1, maybe 2 riders. It’s not wheelchair accessible, so there’s no reason why the folks getting off at that stop couldn’t get off three blocks earlier and walk.

Or close the inner lanes of the bridge to auto traffic and let the peds have the walkway to themselves.

jeff
Guest
jeff

of course, why should you have to change your behavior, right?

davemess
Guest
davemess

Why are cyclists funneled into an unsafe environment?
Why are cyclists on here crucified for wanted to get somewhere in a timely manner?

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Nothing wrong with wanting to get somewhere in a timely manner. Those who want to go faster every time should advocate for a wider biking area. I’d join you from the slower cohort wanting a lower-stress facility. However, if someone doesn’t plan for enough time to bike considerately (which, given our current facility, may mean going slowly, depending on bike/walk traffic) while on a short, narrow bridge, that’s on them.

matt f
Guest
matt f

ride over it everyday…and didn’t think twice about them…but i do commute in cyclocross tires…and lift my arse off my seat when going over a bump…

mran1984
Guest
mran1984

The faster you go the smoother the “experience” is. Similar to a rock garden that may be encountered while mountain biking. Plus, how else can Tri-Met let a rider off to punch a cyclist before he builds up too much speed.

Brian
Guest
Brian

That’s what I was thinking. I think Portland is in desperate need of an adult mountain bike skills camp.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Would dealing with streetcar/MAX tracks be major portion?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Yep. And how to ride on wet leaves.

JL
Guest
JL

Is there a speed limit for the bike lane?

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

You’d think the speed limit would be the same as the road, but they put the speed bumps in the road, and not on the sidewalk.

“Slow” is rather non-descriptive too.

JL
Guest
JL

I just wonder because if there is a speed limit and these speed bumps make it unsafe to go near the speed limit, it seems that these would be an obstruction.

Beth
Guest
Beth

I rode over them today. I found them unusually bumpy, even on my 26″ wheels with non-skinny tires. I understand why they went this route — “periodic enforcement” is simply too expensive, as is any solution requiring human interaction. But they need a redesign.

pengo
Guest
pengo

Not trying to be facetious here, but isn’t “unusually bumpy” sort of the idea with speed bumps? (though for the record, I crossed Hawthorne this morning on a road bike with 700x23s and didn’t even notice the things)

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

They might not be that bad, but they are a bandaid on a broken design. People do need to go slower there, but speed bumps aren’t the best way. They’re potentially hazardous to half the commuters, and then the other half on mountain bikes isn’t going to have to slow at all.

If cyclists can’t get a lane on the roadway, the merge to the sidewalk NEEDS to happen after the bus stop, and hopefully after the ramp to the Esplanade. (Getting to the Esplanade would be harder…)

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes this is not an ideal solution, but a short term one…there needs to be a longer term real fix for this section given the bike volumes the Hawthorne crossing is carrying and will be carrying (2030 goals).

…Road diet anyone?! Would make it safer for all bridge users.

…Time for the City to buy this bridge and viaduct. 😉

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

The solution is going to be the new “as of yet named bridge”….Hawthorn will become obsolete for many riders once the new bridge opens up.

Once the bridge opens the only people that will continue to use the Hawthorn will be those who’s homes (ok destinations) are between Lincoln and Stark. And many of those between Belmont and Lincoln will probably opt for the new bridge too since it won’t be that far out of the way and with no auto traffic a couple extra blocks will be worth the diversion.

I got to admit I haven’t ridden over them yet, but I can’t imagine they’re any worse than the multitude, pot holes and cracks in most the middle to outer east side greenways.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

I rarely take the Hawthorne Bridge so will have to ride it this weekend to see what all the fuss is about.

Ted Buehler
Guest

So, this is the busiest bridge for bicycles in Portland. It carries 4500 bikes daily in the winter and 6800 daily in the summer ( http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/448401 , p. 7)

The bridge is already stressful for bicyclists because of the high bicycle traffic volume and substandard widths on the entrance and exit sidewalks.

In the official design standards and design guidelines, neither Portland nor Oregon have a specific statement on how smooth a road or path needs to be. But in the 1996 Portland Bicycle Master Plan, Appendix A, it states “After [pavement] overlays, raise inlet grates, manhole and utility covers to with 1/4” of the pavement. The 1996 maintenance guidelines are still in effect, as they were re-adopted as part of the 2030 plan. (see p. A-40 in the 1996 plan, http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=40414 )

I’ve been told that PBOT interprets this 1/4″ limit in bump size to be the design guideline for all bumps in all streets.

It looks to me that those rumble strips are taller than 1/4″ tall.

If they were only 1/4″, they’d still do the job, but wouldn’t jolt bicyclists as much.

If you think that the rumble strips should be eliminated, or reduced in height, you might consider contacting the Multnomah County bridge department and asking them to make a modification.

DCS.Bridges@multco.us
http://web.multco.us/bridges

Ted Buehler
Guest

&, do you think 1/4″ is too much of a bump to be allowable in bike lane construction?

As part of the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan, PBOT identified updating the 1996 guidelines as “a necessary and key action item in this [2030] plan.”
(Section 3.2.1, p. 64, http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597?a=379134 )

To provide your input on the engineering guidelines update, you can email Roger Geller, Portland Bicycle Coordinator, and ask them to consider adopting a more stringent standard for pavement smoothness.
Roger.Geller@portlandoregon.gov

If the standards are mode more stringent, then we won’t need to deal with fixing problems after they’re designed and installed. And we can be reasonably assured that they’ll be applied everywhere. As it is, it takes a problem on a major city bicycle route to get much focus on correcting bad design.

Ted Buehler

Ted Buehler
Guest

On reflection, regardless of the whether a 1/4″ step in the pavement is acceptable, I think that given the periodicity and jolting reported to be associated with the rumble strips, that “bicycle rumble strip” design guidelines should certainly be included, regardless of whether the 1/4″ step guideline is revisited or not.

The problem here is not just a single step, or a patch of rough pavement, but a section of pavement designed to be rough, but designed in such a way that it destabilizes the bicycle as a vehicle, because of the spacing and repetition, in such a way that creates an unnecessary hazard.

We’d need to take a careful look at the Hawthorn Rumble Strips to determine exactly how to redesign them, but something like

* spaced more than 1.5 wheelbase lengths apart so you don’t have both wheels hitting a rumble strip in close temporal proximity to each other

* no more than X inches high (something less than 1/4, if these are indeed no more than 1/4″) Or, different heights for different recommended speeds, with the speeds posted. (If they need everyone to slow to 5 mph, they use 1/4″ bumps, but post it for 5 mph)

* with a sinuous approach, so it gives the rider a gentle bump rather than a hard jolt

* only suitable for locations where the rumble strips can not be bypassed in a way that will mix bikes with car traffic

* only installed on straight sections of lane, no curves

* generally not installed on downhills (lots of forward-back jarring, wheels skidding if you apply the brakes hard on downhill)

* spaced a reasonable distance after bike traffic enters the lane, and a reasonable distance before the hazard point, so that users can see the rumble strips in advance, and recover from any destabilization before they pass through the hazardous section.

Ted Buehler

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I think someone else alluded to this earlier…sorry, looked, couldn’t relocate your comment…but I think it’s probably not the height of the rumble strips so much that’s causing the discomfort and displeasure in crossing that some people are objecting to…but essentially, the tire’s transition from pavement to the top of the strip and back down.

Can’t tell from the pics with the caulk there, but the strips may have 90 degree leading and trailing edge angles. I imagine these strips are just some kind of molded or extruded plastic. Strips with a camber top shape may be available…so lets say instead of a quarter inch abrupt leading edge(mitigated some by the caulking.) to make contact with the bike’s tire, a camber shaped strip may instead have an eighth inch leading edge for the tire to conpact…strip then rising to a quarter inch or maybe higher in the center.

Play around with the shape and dimensions to get the desired ‘warning-slow down’ undulating effect that won’t unnecessarily alarm people that have to ride over the strips.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…It looks to me that those rumble strips are taller than 1/4″ tall. …” Ted Buehler

I suppose you’re estimating by looking at this picture of the bike tire low on air, resting on the bump strip: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2819/10732609636_9ac15b7fe0.jpg

The strip appears to be slightly taller than the strip of caulking laid down in front and back of it. The caulking doesn’t look to be 1/4″ tall.

Ted Buehler
Guest

You could be right, have to go out measure to be sure.

John R
Guest
John R

Hmm. If only PBOT paid similar attention to protecting people on bikes and pedestrians.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I’m going to post this again, because there’s a lot of difference of opinion on the impact of these bumps:

It’s not just the bumps themselves, it’s how their geometry – height and especially spacing/periodicity – interact with the geometry of your bicycle.

It’s probable that some bicycles react much more than others, and that the periodicity of the vibrations caused by this particular design can do actual physical harm to the frames and hardware of some bicycles.

Very poorly considered design…

pengo
Guest
pengo

FFS, if these are going to break your bike then your bike is not in the least bit roadworthy.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

you should google the video of galloping gertie’s demise to get an idea of what harmonic vibrations can do. i personally have totalled a frame when i road over a set of nasty road “waves”.

pengo
Guest
pengo

So you’re suggesting that the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a useful analog for the effect that these five small thermoplastic rumble strips will have on a bicycle that travels over them at roughly 20 miles per hour.

I might have to have my palm surgically removed from my face.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

maybe you don’t have much experience as a cyclist but it’s perfectly possible to have a bike that will shake it’s self apart at a particular speed and under particular conditions:

http://sheldonbrown.com/brandt/shimmy.html

just because your bike does not vibrate like a motha’ @#$%er on these strips does not mean i am a liar. is it so effing hard to give other cyclists the benefit of the doubt?

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

“Very poorly considered design…”

I assume you’re talking about a bike that can’t take 1/4″ bumps….

Rick Till
Guest
Rick Till

Don’t lose sight of traveling speed when calculating the increased jarring from bike geometry, tire size, etc. I’m guessing that regardless of bike design, slowing down makes for a much less jarring experience, which might just be the whole point. I find the strips jarring on my skinny tires, but not nearly as much when I slow down to appropriate speeds.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Did you know that twenty years ago the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalks were about three feet wide?

The “narrow” sidewalks (shared MUP) that you are complaining about were installed about 15 years ago as part of a major renovation of the bridge. If you check the sidewalk westbound (north side) at the east end of the bridge, you’ll notice that they widened it as much as possible without replacing the column for I-5 that passes overhead.

It was a real challenge to get what’s there now. Among other things it required getting consensus that the historic nature of the bridge would not be harmed by the wider sidewalks. Besides that, there are actual physical limitations about working on an old bridge. As an analogy, think of retrofitting your old frame to accept disc brakes. Sure, it’s possible, but is it practical and cost effective?

Like many others, I expect the new TriMet bridge will be my primary access to downtown. There will likely be a huge diversion from the Hawthorne Bridge by both bicyclists and buses, reducing the conflict.

BaldOne
Guest
BaldOne

Wait till you ride the new bridge and see the rumble strips ( they’re supposed to play a song when you ride over them too fast: Sgt. Pepper’s – in Dutch!) And the multiple rail crossings at angle, and the bus malls, and the security cameras, and the sidewalk routings for cyclists to merge with pedestrians at either end. This will be a tri-met bridge with a token nod to peds and bikers – make no mistake. Speeds will be just as much an issue during rush hours, and access at either end just as much a problem as the Hawthorne.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

I thought the singing bridge idea was nixed to save a few beans. Too bad.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Whenever I call the County/City about Hawthorne Bridge-area issues, they tell me they hope it will get better with the TriMet bridge. I don’t think it will get that much better.
*Most important thing – I don’t think the “Clinton to the River” project is funded (please correct me, knowledgeable people!) so people trying to get to the bridge from non-Springwater points east will have to navigate a rail-infested industrial area with few clear ways through.
*For another thing, the Trimet bridge is pointed an inefficient way from a biking perspective for most trips (it goes somewhat northeast to southwest) so it lengthens trips a lil’ bit versus the Hawthorne.
*Last, despite a lot of investment, I still don’t think the South Waterfront is that great to bike in, so neither approach to the TriMet bridge seems super attractive. Not that the Hawthorne approaches are that great either 🙂

J_R
Guest
J_R

Alex: I think your claim that the new bridge will be inefficient for most trips is a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe it would be for you, but not for lots of us with different origins and destinations. I live south of Powell and my destination on the west side of the river is well south of the Hawthorne Bride near PSU. The new bridge will shorten my ride by at least a mile regardless of the slight northeast-southwest orientation.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

You’re definitely right. PSU and OHSU are huge trip generators, and the Trimet bridge will be the clear choice for people going to those campuses from points southeast of the bridge. I think most people coming from points southeast to downtown north of the Hawthorne, the Pearl, NW, will still take the Hawthorne though.

Charley
Guest
Charley

I ride a steel frame and fat tires. These bumps suck so I just go around. It would be better if they weren’t there. The City is having a hard enough time attracting new cyclists without making riding in the city more bumpy or dangerous. . . why add this literal obstacle?

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

Can we get some bumps installed where automobiles are about to enter shared space with bicycles?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

your comment perfectly illustrates the inequity. speed racing cyclist scofflaws get the rumble strip, while economically-important “real transportation” jetting across a bike lane get a small sign.

Bobcycle
Guest
Bobcycle

Not sure whats the thinking is but if you want more cyclists you eliminate as many obstacles as you can to enhance the experience. If you want to discourage cycling you make the experience as uncomfortable and intimidating as you can. The Hawthorne bridge has always been a bit of a challenge particularly at the west side interface where cars and bikes cross paths and at the east end where peds and cyclists are forced to share a relatively narrow space. Seems like the message being sent here is that fewer and slower cyclists would be an improvement.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

The objective of this change is to remove an “obstacle” to many people’s pleasurable cycling and on occasion walking experience on the Hawthorne which is people who go too fast for conditions and pass rudely. I don’t think this will cause any fewer cyclists. It might cause more, though slower ones (if people slow down enough to help more timid cyclists feel comfortable on the bridge). And I would be very happy about that.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I agree that these are a band-aid on a sucky design, and at 90psi on 700x38s I do find them slightly jarring, enough that I sometimes even bother to lift my ass a little. But I still find them less jarring than the broken pavement as soon as I exit the bridge, so big phreaking deal!

Only in MTB-hating, bikes-are-for-transportation-not-for-fun Portland could we end up with huge numbers of cyclists complaining about little 1/8″ bumps, and swerving into traffic to avoid them. I might have to go cross-post this discussion on MTBR for laughs.

Wait. And on top of that, some people think this is going to damage their axles? OMG, I just looked this up: the Trek 3900 is a Mountain Bike! Oh, I THINK your ride can handle larger bumps than 1/8″ without damaging its axles.

Tnash
Guest
Tnash

Good luck finding Any way to stop inconsiderate people from biking too fast on the bridge. Especially the ones “with the skill level to handle the speed” — a few more close calls and I’m going to weave like a drunk person from traffic light to traffic light, with my iPod set to 11 and a large can of mace

matthew vilhauer
Guest

call the whambulance!!! lots of comments on a story about things that may block your flow (this one & the recent leaf blower one) but really, come on, really….

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

I’m astounded by the outrage. I rode over the new bumps this morning, and my reaction was, “Is that it?” Seriously, it’s over within a second. It’s a reminder that you’re about to enter a shared space with pedestrians and merging cyclists who might veer into your path. I fail to see the downside.

Ted Buehler
Guest

While above I complained about the jolting nature of the bumps, I think that there is a need to slow bicyclists on this section of sidewalk, since its substandard even for a lightly used sidewalk, and completely inadequate for a sidewalk that needs to be navigated by 3400 bicyclists every day in the summer.

How about, in addition to the rumble strips (spaced out and made more bumpy than jolty) a speed limit sign that sets the speed limit to about 6 mph for the next 200 feet? They could even install a speed reader board that would give the output of speeds on approach.

Even with zero visible bike or ped traffic, in daylight, on dry pavement, that path should be taken very slow. It’s very narrow, has blind corners, and could have short pedestrians or recumbent bicyclists emerge from the waterfront connecting path.

That would establish a concrete speed, (rather than “slow” which could mean anything), create a rumble strip that doesn’t destabilize bikes, and set the distance for which the speed restriction is in effect for.

Ted Buehler

(& in light-traffic conditions, this would not increase bicycle commute time much, since most people go fairly slow through there anyway, and since people know its slow in advance, they can compensate and mitigate the lost time by pedalling extra-hard along the Madison viaduct and gaining a few seconds, then resting a while they ease down the sidewalk to the bridge deck, regaining their breath and only losing a few more seconds than they gained on the viaduct.)

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…They could even install a speed reader board that would give the output of speeds on approach. …” Ted Buehler

I really like the idea of speed reader boards, but without knowing how well or even whether they could be made to perform with the kind of bike traffic traveling this section of the road, it’s difficult to figure what their effectiveness could be.

Some people would just take it as a challenge to see how high a speed they could register. If the speed were posted 6mph, not quite twice walking speed…for this section, I wonder if people would respect that, through seeing their speed displayed on a reader board.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

Why does auto traffic get two dedicated lanes over this bridge (in the downtown, western direction) and cyclists can’t even manage to receive a partial/half dedicated lane along its span?

dbrunker
Guest
dbrunker

I’ll have to look for them tomorrow because I rode over the Hawthorne bridge today and didn’t even realize there were bicycle speed bumps. I have a aluminum frame, hybrid bike with 700 x 40 wheels (no suspension) but I don’t think that would make a difference. Maybe I’m so used to pot holes, crappy roads and torn up bike lanes I don’t even feel them anymore.

dbrunker
Guest
dbrunker

Yes, the bumps are there. I can confirm I saw a somewhat unsafe rider swerve around them.

HOWEVER…

there are bumps just like them on the deck of the bridge. Did anyone mention that?

Steve
Guest
Steve

It’s not a big deal to me. I simply slow down to pass over them and continue while watching for peds. -Although the ultimate solution would just be for cyclists (and pedestrians) to pay attention to their surroundings… many do not and this is one way to remind people.

joel
Guest
joel

maybe a sign on the bridge that asks bikers to be respectful of pedestrians. and maybe another sign for the bus. I know there is sidewalk signage, and a few post signs, but how about more. it sounds like the speed bumps for bikes are accomplishing exactly what they are meant to do. I have no problem with the bumps, but they certainly dont slow me down. I see no reason to slow down unless there are pedestrians in the area. There is every reason to go as fast as you like when no one is around, but then slow and be respectful when there are.

o/o
Guest
o/o

I ride bus via the bridge sometimes. Bus rarely stop there. What about eliminating the bus stop there?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

People need that bus stop there. I talked to someone waiting at the bus stop, just today, and asked them at length, why they waited at this bus stop and not one down one down on Grand or MLK. Reason is, the bus stops on those streets are considerably out of the way of business they have to do that’s near the bridge bus stop.

Lysenko
Guest
Lysenko

Just slow the f’ down and the bumps won’t be a big deal, no matter what you’re riding. That is the whole purpose. You can speed up again in 30 yards once you get past the chokepoint.