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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 โ€” 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.


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.

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  • davemess November 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    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!

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  • Nathan November 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm


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    • spencer November 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm


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  • Bald One November 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    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.

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    • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

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

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      • spencer November 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

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

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    • paikikala November 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm

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

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    • Sho November 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      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.

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  • timo November 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    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.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      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.

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      • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm

        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.

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      • wsbob November 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

        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.

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        • davemess November 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm

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

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        • mark kenseth November 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

          It’s quite a jolt. Try them.

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      • Sho November 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm

        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.

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      • q`Tzal November 8, 2013 at 10:34 pm

        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”.

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        • Best Grammy November 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm

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

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          • q`Tzal November 13, 2013 at 12:50 am

            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?

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            • spare_wheel November 14, 2013 at 8:48 am

              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.

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              • q`Tzal November 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

                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.

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              • spare_wheel November 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

                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.

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              • q`Tzal November 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

                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.

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      • wsbob November 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm

        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.

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        • Alex November 12, 2013 at 10:02 am

          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.

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        • JV November 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

          Absolutely agree โ€“ these are not โ€œspeed bumpsโ€ in the sense that they donโ€™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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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.

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        • spare_wheel November 13, 2013 at 10:19 am

          “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.

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          • wsbob November 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

            “…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.

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    • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      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).

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      • davemess November 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        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.

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        • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm

          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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • davemess November 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm

            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.

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    • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      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.

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      • Marcus November 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        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

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        • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm

          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.

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          • davemess November 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

            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.

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            • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm

              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.”

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              • davemess November 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

                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.

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              • Alex November 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm

                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.

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              • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm

                IMHO, people who pass unsafely are the “tools.” I prefer to think of myself as a stick-in-the-mud rule-follower ๐Ÿ™‚

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              • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm

                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”?

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              • Marcus November 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

                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.

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          • Reza November 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm

            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.

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            • davemess November 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm

              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.

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              • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

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

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              • JV November 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm

                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.

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              • GlowBoy November 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm

                “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.

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              • Psyfalcon November 9, 2013 at 11:26 am

                To be fair, I’m not sure the people staying left are always jerks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

                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.

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              • Alex Reed November 10, 2013 at 6:53 am

                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)

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          • GlowBoy November 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

            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!

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        • Reza November 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm

          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.

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          • Alex November 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm

            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.

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            • John D November 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm

              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.

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              • spare_wheel November 9, 2013 at 10:22 am

                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.

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            • spare_wheel November 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

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

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  • SilkySlim November 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    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.

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  • Robert L. November 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    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.

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    • AndyC of Linnton November 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      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.

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  • Case November 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    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.”

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    • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      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.

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      • davemess November 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm

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

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        • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm

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

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          • davemess November 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm

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

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        • Richard Risemberg November 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm

          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).

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          • spare_wheel November 11, 2013 at 7:44 am

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

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          • Geoff November 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm

            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…

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    • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      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.

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      • shirtsoff November 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        Thank you for chiming in with the voice of reason, spare_wheel. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Robert Burchett November 9, 2013 at 8:19 am

      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.

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  • Chris I November 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    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.

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    • Dave Thomson November 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm


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    • Ben Waterhouse November 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

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

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      • John Lascurettes November 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm

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

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      • spare_wheel November 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm

        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.

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    • davemess November 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      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.

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      • Chris I November 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

        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.

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      • Alan Love November 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        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.

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        • davemess November 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

          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).

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        • John Lascurettes November 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm

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

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          • spare_wheel November 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

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

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    • Paul in the 'couve November 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      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.

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      • BURR November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm


        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.

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      • Rick Till November 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm

        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.

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        • Paul in the 'couve November 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm

          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.

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    • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      +100000000 internets.

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

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      • davemess November 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm

        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.

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        • BicycleDave November 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm

          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?

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      • dr2chase November 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

        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.

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        • Paul in the 'couve November 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm

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

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        • pixelgate November 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm

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

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    • pixelgate November 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      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.

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      • Mossby Pomegranate November 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        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. : (

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      • spare_wheel November 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        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.

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        • DamonQuade November 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm

          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.

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          • spare_wheel November 13, 2013 at 10:29 am

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

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  • Brian November 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm

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

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  • CaptainKarma November 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

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

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    • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      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.

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      • BURR November 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        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.

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      • spare_wheel November 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        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.

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  • Andrew N November 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    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.

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  • Paul Souders November 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    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.

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  • Neilx November 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm

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

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    • dan November 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      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?

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    • pengo November 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      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.

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      • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm

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

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        • pengo November 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm

          Close. GP4seasons.

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  • Paul in the 'couve November 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    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.

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    • davemess November 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      The metal grating probably has something to do with that.

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      • Paul in the 'couve November 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm

        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.

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        • davemess November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

          I’m all for that.

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      • OnTheRoad November 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        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.

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  • Adron @ Transit Sleuth November 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    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.

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    • dan November 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      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.

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    • gutterbunnybikes November 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm

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

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      • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

        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!

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      • BURR November 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm

        Not concrete, something lighter.

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      • dr2chase November 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        Bikes don’t need pavement; plywood is adequate.

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  • BURR November 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    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.

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  • Trek 3900 November 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    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.

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    • JonathanR November 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      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.

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      • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

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

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    • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm

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

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    • Mossby Pomegranate November 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Axles of evil.

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  • Trek 3900 November 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Who has a hammer and chisel?

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    • Dan Morrison November 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm

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

      Not that I’m suggesting that or anything…

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  • J_R November 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    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….

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    • davemess November 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm

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

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      • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

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

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  • Granpa November 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    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

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  • K'Tesh November 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    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.

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    • dan November 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      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.

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  • fasterthanme November 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    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!!!

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  • Maks November 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    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.

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  • Andrew K November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    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.

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    • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      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.

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      • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

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

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      • wsbob November 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm

        “…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.

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        • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm

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

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          • wsbob November 8, 2013 at 6:42 pm

            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.

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  • JonathanR November 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    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.

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    • BURR November 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      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?

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  • Ben Waterhouse November 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Here’s an ideaโ€”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.

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    • jeff November 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

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

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      • davemess November 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

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

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        • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

          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.

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  • matt f November 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    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…

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  • mran1984 November 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    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.

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    • Brian November 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm

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

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      • davemess November 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        Would dealing with streetcar/MAX tracks be major portion?

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        • Brian November 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm

          Yep. And how to ride on wet leaves.

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  • JL November 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Is there a speed limit for the bike lane?

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    • Psyfalcon November 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      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.

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      • JL November 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

        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.

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  • Beth November 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    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.

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    • pengo November 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      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)

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  • Psyfalcon November 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    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…)

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  • Todd Boulanger November 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Yes this is not an ideal solution, but a short term oneโ€ฆthere 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • gutterbunnybikes November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      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.

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  • Mindful Cyclist November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm

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

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  • Ted Buehler November 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    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.


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    • Ted Buehler November 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      &, 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.

      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

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      • Ted Buehler November 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        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

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      • wsbob November 9, 2013 at 11:51 am

        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.

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    • wsbob November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      “…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.

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      • Ted Buehler November 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm

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

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  • John R November 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

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

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  • BURR November 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    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…

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    • pengo November 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm

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

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      • spare_wheel November 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

        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”.

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        • pengo November 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm

          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.

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          • spare_wheel November 11, 2013 at 7:57 am

            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:


            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?

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    • gutterbunnybikes November 9, 2013 at 8:21 am

      “Very poorly considered design…”

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

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    • Rick Till November 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      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.

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  • J_R November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    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.

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    • BaldOne November 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      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.

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      • CaptainKarma November 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

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

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    • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • J_R November 10, 2013 at 9:04 am

        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.

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        • Alex Reed November 11, 2013 at 9:26 am

          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.

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  • Charley November 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    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?

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  • dwainedibbly November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm

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

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    • spare_wheel November 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      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.

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  • Bobcycle November 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    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.

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    • Alex Reed November 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      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.

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  • GlowBoy November 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    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.

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  • Tnash November 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    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

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  • matthew vilhauer November 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    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….

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    • Kristen November 11, 2013 at 9:52 am

      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.

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  • Ted Buehler November 8, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    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.)

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    • wsbob November 9, 2013 at 1:05 am

      “…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.

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  • shirtsoff November 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    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?

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  • dbrunker November 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    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.

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    • dbrunker November 9, 2013 at 9:58 pm

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


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

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  • Steve November 8, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    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.

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  • joel November 9, 2013 at 7:06 am

    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.

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  • o/o November 9, 2013 at 11:25 am

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

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    • wsbob November 9, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      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.

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  • Lysenko November 9, 2013 at 11:53 am

    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.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu November 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Put a ramp from the roadway to the bike lane, after the bus zone.

    Fast riders can zip down the traffic lane at 25 mph then merge up onto the bike lane after they’ve slowed a bit and have passed the bus. They will be rubbing elbows with cars but if you’re fast and like to take the lane, that’s what you’re used to.

    Other riders can take the current path, pass through the bus zone at a more sedate speed, and learn to lift their butts off the saddle and sufficiently inflate their tires.

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  • Puddlecyle November 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Save your testosterone for the climbs!

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  • mran1984 November 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I disagree with a need for a bus stop every two-three blocks. It does not make sense. I am quite sure that crossing Mlk & Grand on foot is not pleasant, but neither is pedaling on HWY 30. Personally, having to drive to ride my mountain bike is extremely inconvenient, but two blocks on foot…

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  • q`Tzal November 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    How about this wacky solution:
    (1) Swap bike lane and bus unloading at this spot. Apply blue thermoplastic to the bike lane so the it passes buses servicing this stop on the bus’s left; bikes traveling this way are going fast and behaving as fast vehicles.
    (2) Remove current ramp cut out where these contentious speed bumps are. Replace with TWO separate ramps on to side walk
    …[a] 1st is at least 50 feet prior to bus stop and allows slow timid people on bicycles to get on to the sidewalk and plenty of advance time to adjust to pedestrian flow at the bus stop.
    …[b] 2nd ramp is just prior to the metal grating allowing speedsters to bleed off all the speed they want before they mix it up with slow people. This ramp could be reasonably safe anywhere just west of the entrance to the Esplanade to the metal bridge deck.

    The current bike lane routing at this bus stop can never work without severe safety consequences; we’re trying to route fast moving bicycles directly through the mingling site of a loading/unloading bus and confused/preoccupied pedestrians.
    The only responsible solution is to remove the hazard from the equation and in this situation the hazard is fast moving bicycles. Since there is no reliable way to ensure people riding bicycles slow down the only practical solution is to remove the bicycle traffic from the bus stop equation ENTIRELY.

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  • Kittens November 10, 2013 at 12:28 am

    This is not the action of a city which aspires to be a world-class bicycling city. This is a reactionary, stopgap measure. Having to waste momentum after so hard earning it is an insult to the toil of a bicyclist.

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    • Alex Reed November 10, 2013 at 7:12 am

      I agree that this is an imperfect measure that should be temporary until the powers that be figure out how to allocate more space on the bridge to bikes and peds. Faster and slower cyclists should fight for that together.

      Not sure that talking about “hard-won momentum” is going to get us any points politically. What you call “toil,” Steve Novick calls, “exercise that will lengthen your life and decrease the city’s medical costs.”

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    • wsbob November 10, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Kittens…read my impression from yesterday, after having ridden over the rumble strips : http://bikeportland.org/2013/11/08/county-installs-speed-bumps-to-slow-down-riders-on-hawthorne-bridge-viaduct-96860#comment-4478236

      If you really have personally ridden over these rumble strips with your bike, bikeportland readers may be interested in and benefit from you explaining a bit more about how much additional effort over that of the asphalt you found it took yourself to ride over them, and how much momentum the rumble strips caused you to lose.

      This is five rumble strips, spaced maybe 2-3 feet apart(guessing here.), covering at the most, a total length of 10′-15′ of roadway. These aren’t speed bumps, which tend to be much higher than the quarter inch or so height of these strips, and which bikes also are generally able to ride over with no particular additional effort or loss of momentum…they clearly and plainly: ‘rumble strips’.

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      • davemess November 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Bob, I highly doubt she meant deceleration due to the actual speedbumps themselves, but the act of slowing down on a downhill before she reaches them (after having just gone up the hill from Grand).

        not saying either way if I agree, just my interpretation.

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    • Bill Walters November 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Even in middle age, my momentum is not all that “hard won” on a grade as easy-peasy as the Hawthorne Bridge. Plenty more where that came from, so why cop attitude about routine traffic duties like slowing or stopping?

      (Perma-) newbies who “toil” in one gear of a multi-gear drivetrain because you don’t seem to understand how your shifting works: Please look online or in Powell’s — or ask your mechanic for a demo — and learn how it’s done.

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      • kittens November 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        It is called rhetoric… But more importantly we should think of momentum as the measure of efficiency on the bike. For example, in a car we measure miles per gallon. With a bike we have only the energy of the cyclist as limited resource. Therefore, causing the bike to slow after attaining speed will result in less cycling efficiency. Real bike cities understand this concept (see: Copenhagen green wave traffic signal calibration). Perhaps trivial individually, the collective energy wasted by braking for speed bumps are enormous. And unnecessary with correct design.

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  • JJJJ November 10, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Drivers complain about speed bumps too. Doesnt mean we should remove them.

    In the end, its people who drive/bike/run too fast and hurt others who complain. Seems like something we should ignore.

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  • Alan 1.0 November 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    It’s a tough job but someone has to break this run of 177 comments with no mention of FWP or BSNYC.

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    • q`Tzal November 11, 2013 at 8:35 am

      No, we need the ability to post cat gifs.

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  • Terry D November 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    After all this discusion I expected something a little more jarring. It did not feel much different to me than riding over a thermoplastic line in the road and I have narrow city tires. People will get used to it. Maybe a slippery when wet sign?

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    • Terry D November 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      I rode over them a second time today at full clip on my way to the gym…I stood on my pedals, but they did NOT slow me down at all, I just coasted over them. Once commuters get used to them, I don’t think they will do anything…..occasional or novice riders will slow down. They do give a MUCH more robust warning to beware of pedestrians. That is worth something at least.

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  • Opus the Poet November 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    The thing that bothers me on this is the vastly different experiences from barely noticed even at speed to could not go slow enough to feel in control of the bike. That speaks to me of poor design, especially with some people riding with suspension that should soak up the impacts having a worse experience than some riding bikes without suspension. This says to me that the strips are too close together and need to be moved apart to have the desired effect and an equal effect on everybody. If this was just thick thermoplastic as the article says then removing and resetting the strips should not be that big a deal, or just make the strips narrower removing about half the strip to make the effective spacing further apart.

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  • Dave Miller November 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I rode over to the PSU farmer’s market on Saturday and took the Hawthorne bridge specifically to check out these mountainous obstacles. After passing over them, first I burst out laughing, then confusion set in. Broken axles!? Jarred butts!? There are cracks every 6 feet on the bridge deck that are bigger bumps than these strips. There are similar sets of strips on both ends of the bridge. I love the conversation that had been started about reconfiguring the lanes and bus stop but if the bike community is seriously complaining that the height of these things is a safety hazard or intolerably uncomfortable, our credibility is going to be shot. They are barely higher than any of the painted bike features (sharrows, lanes and bike boxes) all over the city.

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  • q`Tzal November 11, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Bike Snob: save us from ourselves!

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  • SD November 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Is it short sighted to argue about the best kind of bike to ride in the city, how many other bumps there are on your commute and whether or not you felt the bumps?
    The real question is: “Is it good policy to alter a bike lane in a manner that limits the speed of a cyclist by increasing the difficulty of riding.”
    If you believe that cars and speed bumps are the same as bikes and speed bumps, then this approach would make sense.
    I don’t think they are the same. The main reason is safety. It is much more likely that a person on a bike will lose control on bumps than a person in a car. As discussed in many of the above comments, the effect of the bumps on riders is very different. Speed bumps are different for different kinds of cars too, but the range for bicycles is much greater. In order for the bumps to be effective at slowing people, they have to create an obstacle. How far do you go in creating an obstacle in order to slow speeds?
    The solution to this problem is to limit pedestrian, car and bike conflicts by better design. Having a bus stop just after the cyclist ramp onto the side walk where the biker’s line of site is obstructed is incredibly poor design. These bumps do nothing to solve that problem.
    To shrug your shoulders and say “Well, the bumps don’t bother me,” ignores the fact that this is a ridiculous ineffective solution to a problem that was created by bad design.
    Making cycling more complicated than it already is is a huge mistake. Putting obstacles in bike lanes is a huge mistake. This is not just a slippery slope, it is a ride down that slope.

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    • Rick Till November 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      If we could start from scratch, there would certainly be better design options. But I don’t think redesigning the bridge is a realistic solution to a relatively minor problem. The rumble strips seem like a more appropriate solution to the scale of the problem. If people are riding fast enough that these bumps become dangerous, they’re probably just riding too fast. Calling it a “huge mistake” is just hyperbole.

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      • SD November 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm

        Thanks for reading my comment and replying.
        1. You don’t need to redesign the bridge from scratch to fix this problem.
        2. I am not concerned about fast riders. I have seen many new or inexperienced riders lose control when faced with lesser obstacles. Sure, there are bumps and holes everywhere, but we should not be intentionally creating them. – Especially next to relatively high speed traffic.
        3. I don’t think it is hyperbole. It is a huge mistake to support a policy that puts obstacles in bike lanes to address bike vs pedestrian conflict that is a result of bad design. Once a policy like this is adopted, it will be implemented elsewhere. Do you want your commute to be peppered with rumble strips?
        4. These bumps have the symbolic value of “doing something.” Often measures that are percieved as “doing something” are implemented whether they actually improve anything or not. This is done despite cost, efficacy or ill effects.

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  • John Landolfe November 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I have to wonder why bike lanes aren’t designed more often to the right of foot paths and bus stops to remove conflicts like this. Here, of course, you would have to raise the multi-use path further down the viaduct but it seems possible.

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    • q`Tzal November 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Also the stairs come up from the right; the stairs can be easily considered the only “immovable object” in this equation.
      If we assume that the threat from inattentive people riding bikes (see: it’s not always cars) is as interminable a problem as attempting to kill 100% of all cockroaches everywhere then the only option we have is to remove the fast bicycle rider from the pedestrian/bus equation.

      By bringing the bus stop and sidewalk together, instead of foolishly bisecting it with fast moving bicycle traffic, we are left with putting the bike lane to the right of everything or left. The right would require routing bike traffic across the sidewalk, on to a new bridge to the right of the sidewalk, routing around the bridge finally crossing left back across the pedestrian traffic to transit the Hawthorne Bridge. On the left requires only removing the current ramp to the sidewalk and adding two: one for slow timid people riding bicycles who will merge down to walking speeds at least 50 ft before the bus stop and the other between the metal bridge deck but just past the ramp down to the MUP with all its blindspot/confused people interactions.

      Think about the current layout this way: if this current bus stop/bike lane/sidewalk layout was to be planned, designed and implemented TODAY how many people in PBOT would get fired for such professional incompetency?

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  • tony tapay
    tony tapay November 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

    They’re so easy to go around.

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  • Shawn November 11, 2013 at 9:54 am

    The Hawthorne Bridge is around a quarter mile long. At 20 mph, this takes 45 seconds to ride. At 12 mph, it takes 75 seconds to ride. At times of congestion, make it safer for pedestrians and other cyclists by spending an extra 30 seconds or less on the bridge. The bumps are there because so many people can’t or won’t figure this out for themselves.

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    • davemess November 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      From SE Grand to SW 1st (which is really the true length of the road section of the bridge it is .75 mile, not .25 miles. Just to clarify. So that bumps those differences to 1:30.

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      • Alex Reed November 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

        Yeah except there’s a bike passing lane from SE Grand until approx. SE 3rd Ave. And until the MUP begins at approx. SE Water, confident faster cyclists often pass on the left using a little bit of the motor vehicle lane. It’s about .5 miles from SE Water to SW 1st. I feel like that is really the part of the bridge/viaduct system where faster cyclists occasionally get totally stuck behind a slower cyclist like myself if there’s a lot of foot traffic. Total delay: approx 1 minute.

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    • spare_wheel November 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      and most of the time there are no pedestrians. who should cyclists have to ride over an annoying traffic controkdevice for the 1 out of 25-50 trips where there are pedestrians?

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    • dan November 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

      In fact, we should all just walk our bikes across the bridge because it will only add 4 minutes to our trips, and everyone will be so much safer.

      Now that I think of it, I think I’ll just start walking in every day instead of biking. That will add 40 minutes to my trip, but it’s worth it because of the huge payoff in increased safety.

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  • Mike November 11, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I rode over these bumps on Saturday for the first time (before seeing this thread).

    Two reactions:

    1) Hmmm, that got my attention… guess they really want me to slow down here. OK. Done.

    2) I bet this’ll get the natives riled up on Bike Portland! Also done.

    Are these necessary? Without seeing the actual accident statistics at that bus stop, who knows. One hopes the county made a data-driven decision here.

    Are they a safety hazard? On the first transit — at least for some rider/bike combinations (but not mine) — YES! Otherwise we wouldn’t have this thread! Hopefully the county will realize their error and try a different speed-mitigation experiment.

    Is this the beginning of the apocalypse? NO. Now you know they’re there. Obey the road markings, slow down, transit the area safely, and resume your journey at speed. Once on the bridge, move into the pedestrian lane if no peds are up ahead. Otherwise, take the bike lane. Done.

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    • wsbob November 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      “…Are they a safety hazard? On the first transit — at least for some rider/bike combinations (but not mine) — YES! …” Mike

      Please…provide more of your ideas about this. Describe what legitimate rider/bike combinations you feel these rumble strips may pose a safety hazard to.

      No occurrence or incident has been reported, indicating the rumble strips are a safety hazard. Some people apparently don’t like lifting their backside off the saddle even slightly to avoid the vibrations from riding over these strips…or maybe they don’t realize until actually riding over them that they are rumble strips, rather than simple paint on asphalt.

      If need be, simple advance warning of the rumble strips in the form of an additional sign, reading ‘Rumble Strips’, similar to the sign in the following picture: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2878/10732606146_14b8180dec.jpg

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      • davemess November 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        Bob, for someone who has never ridden the bridge, taking these at night, I could easily see them being sketchy. The bridge itself if already confusing for first timers (esp. if there isn’t a line of 8 people to follow).

        Bottom line is that speed bumps are not a very common occurrence as control devices for bicycles.

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      • Mike November 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm


        Whoa. Easy there.

        My claim of “safety hazard” was obviously not based on hard data (duh), but merely a logical distillation of a survey of the comments above.

        An awareness that “some people apparently don’t like lifting their backside off the saddle even slightly to avoid the vibrations from riding over these strips”


        unfamiliarity with this new bridge “feature” on first transit







        = likely safety hazard.

        As I said — it didn’t result in an accident FOR ME. But clearly others were more annoyed/concerned.

        I don’t think the issue quite deserves this level of whinging on BP was my only point. But it does appear that perhaps the county should try something else here. Something annoying and visible but not potentially hazardous.

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        • davemess November 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

          I think this thread has just morphed into general disdain of the Hawthorne bridge (which I am definitely guilty of adding to).

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          • q`Tzal November 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

            Comment threads are just like battle plans:
            “no plan survives contact with the enemy.”

            Disparate public viewpoints ensures self-immolating topic divergence. Thankfully we avoid reductio ad hitlerum most times.

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        • wsbob November 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

          “…But it does appear that perhaps the county should try something else here. Something annoying and visible but not potentially hazardous. …” Mike

          Mike…provide a specific suggestion. Given the circumstances, which, if studied carefully, are kind of unusual, there may not be better alternatives to rumble strips here. Maybe there are though, that you and some others can come up with.

          In the earlier comment, I mentioned the idea of a sign in advance of the rumble strips, alerting riders to their presence: ‘Rumble Strips Bikes Slow’…something like that.

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  • Joe November 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

    hmmm intertesting seems we have a wide range of riding styles, I like the geared bikes always racing track bike for some weird reason.. lol
    bike is a bike just ride it and enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Dave Miller November 11, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I gave them a second ride this morning and set my pocket seismometer (iPhone) on my handlebars. Here’s the data: http://pimen.to/HawthorneRumbleStrips.png
    This is not a continuous read over the whole bridge, but I recall that the section labeled “The Bridge” is its bumpiest part. To my surprise, the two westernmost strips of the five we are discussing are indeed the largest bumps on the bridge! (The first three, however, are smaller than the decking cracks on the west side.)

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    • Ted Buehler November 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Dave — what’s the name of your app?

      Thanks in advance, Ted

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      • Dave Miller November 12, 2013 at 6:57 am

        iSeismograph, of course!

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        • Ted Buehler November 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm

          Thanks, got it, will try it out. I suppose I’ll need to get a bike mount for it, too. Any recommendations on that?

          Have you tried the seismograph at different speeds? Robert and Paul’s comments (last in the thread) note that the rumble strips are much worse at low speed than high speed.

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          • Dave Miller November 14, 2013 at 9:31 am

            Hi Ted,

            I just held the phone flat against my handlebars and saw that I was getting decent data as I rolled, so no mount needed.
            Note that there is a 2048 data points limit, which is why I didn’t get the whole bridge, just three 20 second sections (I had it set at 100 measurements per second). Also, the raw data contains X, Y, and Z axes. I just used the Z (straight up and down) data, though the bumps also cause acceleration in the other axes too.
            Also note that you are getting raw acceleration data, which, for a bump is a high positive number when you get sent up in the air followed by a constant negative number when you fall. Since this was just a rough (ha!) measurement for fun, I took the Z values and plotted their absolute value (negative numbers made into positive numbers). If I wanted to get more scientific about it, I might think more carefully about what data to actually show–come up with some kind of “pain index” for bumps that incorporates your velocity and all three axes. We could make a new unit called the Maus Number. Every bump and crack in a bike path in Portland could have one!
            I didn’t ride the bumps at more than one speed. Just once over at a moderate/slow pace on my long tail with 26×1.5 tires.

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    • q`Tzal November 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Actual data, this is good. We need to run it many times on lots of different people’s bikes.

      Not having an apple device I have to ask if this app has any technical settings for measurement?

      I’ve been thinking that it’d make sense for a metro DOT to float a free app that runs in the background and whenever it sees a big shock it checks location to see if it is on public road and moving. Then it would report only intensity, location and date/time. Average this by a few dozen vehicles and you’ve got a self populating road repair list.

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      • SilkySlim November 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

        This is an awesome idea. And not just for measuring bumps in the road… There is a treasure trove of data out there that could be easily collected by ODOT with some willing participants: traffic patterns, fast/slow roads, popular cut throughs, etc.

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        • q`Tzal November 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm

          Waze does a lot of this in the traffic domain; it could easily tack on “rough ride” monitoring and sell aggregate anonymous data to municipalities so they don’t have to duplicate the work with tax dollars we’ve collectively done for free.

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  • Livellie November 11, 2013 at 11:53 am

    When my daughter was very young she loved putting band-aids on “pretend” wounds on her hands and knees. She liked the different colors, characters and the attention. These speed strips remind me of her youth and I find myself laughing at the silliness of it all yet mindful of the waist.

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    • matt f November 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      lord help us

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  • CaptainKarma November 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Jonathon we need some new articles to read, quick!

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    • q`Tzal November 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Ooh! Ooh! A helmet article! Mandatory cyclist registration! Rob Ford is thinking of running for mayor of Portland!

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  • Eddie Barksdale November 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    So “at least one collision” is enough to justify changes to a bike path without consulting cyclists, but several hit and runs, deaths, and other accidents isn’t enough to change Barber Blvd without making sure drivers are being heard? Hmm…

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  • Ted Buehler November 11, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I checked out the rumble strip today. Looked to be about 1/4 to 3/8″ high, so potentially out of compliance with street smoothness standards, but not terribly so.

    Riding over the bumps weren’t particularly bad for my or my riding buddy. I had skinny tires, he had fatter. I got up to 20+ mph on my 2nd approach, far too fast for a safe exit onto the little ramp to the sidewalk. Still wasn’t a problem.

    He noted that they were raised rumble strips, whereas conventional rumble strips are grooves cut in the pavement, not bumps raised from the pavement. And that a bump would launch your bike wheel in the air for an instant, but when you go across grooves your front wheel is in full contact with the road the whole time.


    By chance, we also rode down the multiuse path from Milwaukie Ave/McLoughlin down to the Springwater on the Willamette Trail. I’d never ridden this trail before.

    It has two sections of bike rumble strips.

    The design and installation of the Springwater rumble strips has three key differences that make them safer and more comfortable than the Madison rumble strips:

    1) The rumble comes from grooves in the pavement, not bumps rising up from the pavement. Depth is also about 1/4″, comparable to the Madison rumble strips, but it felt like a more secure ride going over them, just as my buddy had predicted.
    2) The grooves are about 13″ apart. So you’re hitting them in a quick series, seemingly all at once. And it rode better than the Madison rumble strips, where they were spaced about 2 or 3′ apart.
    3) The rumble strip patch had a “bike rumble strip” cautionary sign about 50′ ahead of each patch.

    Based on my observations, my opinion is that the Multnomah County civil engineering department ought to check out the Springwater Connector rumble strips, and consider reconfiguring their strips to match those on the Springwater.

    Has anyone else ridden over both sets, and have an opinion?

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler November 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      4) The Springwater rumble strips were formed concrete — both the high level and groove level was concrete, a high-friction road surface. The Madison rumble strips have the high portion Thermoplast, a lower friction road surface. So, even though the lane is straight and folks aren’t turning, it’s generally bad to have slippery riding surfaces if you can avoid it.

      The Springwater rumble strips were about 9″ of high level, then 4″ of “groove”. I was thinking maybe the Madison folks could just add fatter sections of Thermoplast, to match the spacing and proportions of the Springwater rumble strips, but that would result in a whole set of 9″ long sections of Thermoplast.

      While bike lanes sometimes have big patches of Thermoplast, they generally don’t have on-off-on-off sections. Which seems to me to be a more hazardous condition — best to have consistent skid resistance on the riding surface, even if its 100% Thermoplast, than to be bumping up and down the rumble strips and also changing between two different skid resistance conditions.

      Anyone else ridden the connecting trail down to the Springwater lately? Or, are there any other bicycle rumble strips around? I don’t recall ever seeing any.

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    • spare_wheel November 12, 2013 at 10:16 am

      I have absolutely no problem with the springwater rumble strips.

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    • q`Tzal November 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      We have street smoothness standards?
      And they actually apply to non-automotive facilities?
      Color me stunned! There’s some legal code I want to read.

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  • Carter Kennedy November 11, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I take the Hawthorne Bridge frequently. I don’t like the bumps, but I understand why they are there, and I try to slow down. I think they are ineffective. For one thing, riders simply ride over them at full speed and keep going. For another thing, riders who do slow down have enough distance to get back up to speed before the bus stop. The bumps would be more effective if they were closer to the bus stop.

    It occurs to me that the thing that would slow riders would be some sort of chicane– an obstruction that forces all the bikes into single file for a distance, like maybe 50 or 100 feet. It would have to be a physical thing we can’t avoid.

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  • the_ether_bunny November 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    those aren’t rumble strips, they are measurement lines for bunny hops and apparently there aren’t many good bunny hoppers on that route.

    Have a cup of HTFU, preload and hop over em.

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  • Spiedo November 12, 2013 at 1:32 am

    It’s clearly an attempt to boost the sales of Fat Bikes and Full Suspended Commuters! I hope to find barriers some day for some extra Cross Training….

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  • esther c November 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

    People who are calling these jarring are kind of missing the point. They’re supposed to make you go really slow so you don’t get jarred. They’re called speed bumps to keep you from going fast.

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    • spare_wheel November 12, 2013 at 10:13 am

      1. i find them jarring at low speeds.
      2. this area is almost always entirely clear of pedestrians.

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  • Scott November 12, 2013 at 9:03 am

    This is clearly a plot by Barack Obama to simultaneously draw attention away from the failings of the healthcare website yet increase the need for medical insurance.

    It’s so obvious, yet so sly.

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  • Robert Burchett November 13, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Rode the strips of hot death yesterday. Biggest non-event since Y2K. Maybe a cattle guard would slow down the Furious, but those little bits of plastic? Turning out is more dangerous than riding square across, by far. And the slower you go the worse the it feels, especially if you happen to braking when you cross–brake before the obstacle.

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    • Paul in the 'couve November 13, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Regarding speed, did you happen to ride them more than once? I haven’t made it over there, but will tonight. My guess is that with the 5 in a row spacing many riders will experience it as less harsh at higher speed (depending on WHEEL BASE as well as tire size, pressure and TIRE RIDE QUALITY, wheel size and rider weight, and frame geometry and frame material). My guess is it is like riding on wash-boarded dirt roads. One has to find the sweet spot speed. Fast enough to bounce over on the tops of the bumps and slow enough to keeps wheels on the ground for control.

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    • Ted Buehler November 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Robert and Paul — interesting that its worse at low speed. I only tried high speed. Will need to go investigate again.

      If indeed its worse at low speed, then the design is not only flawed, but has the reverse effect of its intention — bothering slow riders, but having no effect on fast riders.

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      • Paul in the 'couve November 13, 2013 at 11:12 pm

        I rode it several times tonight. Basic conclusion is this is probably totally ineffective. Anyone who doesn’t have enough sense to slow down for a stopped bus, passengers and pedestrians, is unlikely to slow down because of these strips. I found them least obtrusive at high speed over 20 mph.

        I Walked my bike salmon on the sidewalk to do repeats. Apologies to the guy who shielded his eyes because of my headlight – I remembered to turn it off after that.

        Anyway, I rode the 205 path, Sacramento, Hancock on the way there so plenty of bumpiness to compare to.

        Meh, In some way it is more jarring that riding the sidewalk joints and expansion joints on the 205. Bigger bumps than sidewalk joints, nearly as big a jolt as the better of the expansion joints but its the rapid 5 in a row that make it exceptional. Overall I didn’t find at any speed that it particularly bothered me riding short wheel base, very tight handling bike with 23 mm tires at 120 psi.

        Totally subjective, but it did seem to me that blasting over at 25 mph was less noticeable than going any slower speed probably because it’s over in half a second. Seemed most jarring at about 10 mph. A little better at 5 or 6 mph. In any case, I think anyone who rides at high speed on the 205 path, or many other concrete roads or rough stretches will find no reason to slow down because of these strips.

        Overall it’s just total LAMENESS. Lameness on ODOT for such a crappy facility for pedestrians and cyclists on what has become a major cycling route. Lameness on ODOT for this “fix”. Total Lameness in that my conclusion that the strips will not likely increase compliance.

        All this brings up the question: What did ODOT believe or intend the strips to do? If they are just a “heads up” they are too jarring. If they are speed bumps and supposed to get fast riders slowed down, they don’t work. They are least likely to work IMO for the very riders who are most likely to buzz pedestrians.

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        • wsbob November 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm

          It didn’t bother you to ride over them at any speed, but as a “heads up” you feel they are too jarring…why you think they’re too jarring for a “heads up”, you don’t say. Sounds contradictory at best.

          Repeatedly referring to ODOT’s decision to use rumble strips in this difficult situation, as “Lameness”, but then yourself, offering no alternative ideas or suggestions isn’t much help.

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          • Paul in the 'couve November 14, 2013 at 12:00 am

            Too Jarring because they are significantly more than just attention getting. Also, on a different bike they may well seem different to me. Others certainly do find them “too jarring”. My suggestion – provide quality facilities for all users.

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            • wsbob November 14, 2013 at 11:15 am

              Paul…thanks for a few more details, and your suggestion.

              I expect from the county’s perspective, specifically the person or department that has to conceive of and decide upon various measures that will work for various situations requiring enhanced safety measures, in this situation, which is a confluence of multiple road users…consideration for the safety of pedestrians is the highest.

              If the rumble strips are more than attention getting, the basic question being the safety of pedestrians, a basic question would be whether the rumble strips are sufficiently attention getting. If people riding over them aren’t getting the message, and responding by slowing down when pedestrians are present, maybe they aren’t attention getting enough. Maybe at this location, there should be…actual speed bumps…and not simply these rumble strips rising a slight quarter inch over the pavement surface.

              The county could have installed a more substantial attention getting measure than rumble strips…which on their own, aren’t really intended to slow people down, but convey by vibration, along with the sign and the pavement markings, that people need to slow down. The county instead decided upon a relatively moderate option.

              Anyone that seriously thinks the rumble strips need to go, had better start coming up with some good alternative suggestions. So far, there hasn’t been any.

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              • Paul in the 'couve November 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

                OK Bob. Thanks for your wisdom.

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              • wsbob November 14, 2013 at 11:30 am

                You betcha.

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              • Ted Buehler November 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm

                wsbob wrote:
                “Anyone that seriously thinks the rumble strips need to go, had better start coming up with some good alternative suggestions. So far, there hasn’t been any.”

                wsbob — Plenty of folks have said that its okay for a rumble strip there, it just needs to be a better designed rumble strip. As it is, it has the reverse effect of its intention — it “rumbles” the slow riders but not the fast ones.

                I proposed several improvements to the existing rumble strips to make them more effective at alerting riders of upcoming hazards, and simultaneously and less destabilizing.

                See: possible design guidelines for rumble strips


                comparison of Madison rumble strips to Sprinwater connector rumble strips.

                What do you think?

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              • wsbob November 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

                Ted…sounds o.k. for starters. Thing to do I suppose, would be to look around and see what’s already out there, made or in use, or make up some simple prototypes out of wood or whatever, and do a range of test rides to gauge the ride quality and effect.

                I haven’t searched this kind of thing out, but generally think it’s reasonable to figure the pavement ride vibration technique isn’t some new, unexplored science. There’s people that know how, with various materials and techniques, to create different ride characteristics by way of deflection in pavement surface. Someone already mentioned it in the comments above, but for example, the new bridge to the south at one time was going to have grooves in the pavement to create a kind of whirring musical tune as bike tires rolled over it. Think that was an ‘art’ extra that was eventually dropped.

                The stick-on rumble strips were probably the logical, simplest lowest cost option at the time. Probably got installed, someone thinking they’re so subtle, not many, if any people, would seriously object…which may actually be the case…hard to know really. Sometimes it’s just a small number of people that complain loudly.

                If it’s worth the time and money for people to make a change here that would still watch out for pedestrian’s needs, justifying removal of the rumble strips: go for it; not just yourself, but anyone that seriously thinks the rumble strips must go.

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  • My Magic Hat November 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Yeah, okay. Speed bumps for bikes are dumb. So are free passes for bike riders who run red lights on the left side of the street on the sidewalk after dark with no lights at full speed.

    Portland needs some bike enforcement. Morons need to get checked.

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  • Thomas October 27, 2016 at 12:41 am

    I liked the speed bumps when they had them back in the day and at the time I was riding a bike with very skinny tires. I just slowed down briefly and it wasn’t an issue.

    As it is now, I witness many close calls at this location. Shared space people. Let’s all slow down and breathe.

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