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County says Hawthorne Bridge bike lane speed bumps will be removed in 2015

Posted by on April 21st, 2014 at 2:24 pm

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-11

(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County has confirmed that they plan to remove a set of bicycle speed bumps on SE Madison Avenue. The bumps were installed in November of last year with the goal of slowing people down as they transitioned from the bike lane onto a sidewalk near a TriMet bus stop (see larger photo below). However, despite these good intentions, the bumps were instantly panned as being ineffective and potentially dangerous in their own right.

The County’s own Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee (BPCAC) voted unanimously to remove the thermoplastic strips at their meeting on November 13th. In the minutes of that meeting, the committee said that, “BPCAC members felt that while the raised bumps are not terrible, the bumps do not serve the intended desire of slowing down the speeding cyclists either.” The BPCAC also pointed out that County engineering staff did no public process before installing the strips.

Ultimately, the County acknowledged that installing the bumps was a “mistake” and that they’d be removed. However, five months later and the bumps are still there. Several readers have asked us for an update, so we contacted County spokesperson Mike Pullen.

Here’s the latest from Pullen (emphasis mine):

After the speed humps were installed in 2013, Multnomah County Transportation staff wanted to observe how effective they were in slowing bicyclists as they enter the heavily used pedestrian area at the bus stop at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. Transportation staff have observed a mix of responses by bicyclists to the speed humps. Some cyclists go over them at full speed, some cyclists slow down before riding over them, and some cyclists ride out of direction to avoid them.

Based on this mix of results, the County has decided to remove the speed humps as part of improvements that will be made at the bus stop area. These improvements are planned in 2015.

Here’s how the speed strips look in context with the other lanes and the bus stop:

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-7

The 2015 project to improve the bus stop area will include extending the existing sidewalk bulb-out to provide more space to people waiting for, and stepping off of, the bus. Whether or not those design changes reduce bicycling speeds remains to be seen.

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Spiffy
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Spiffy

I swerve around those bumps every time… they’re extremely jarring…

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

seems crazy that they need over a year to remove 5 strips of 1″x3′ plastic hazard from the roadway…

I could get out there with a crowbar and an 8 lb mallet and have those things smoothed out within a couple hours…

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

…is calling this treatment a “speed bump” technically incorrect?

Should it not instead be called a “raised rumble strip” per the FHWA?

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/pavement/rumble_strips/rumble_types/

Daniel Costantino
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Daniel Costantino

Honestly, everyone complains about these strips, but the fact is that the cyclist pack going westward on the Hawthorne bridge goes at frightful speeds, with lots of pressure from the most macho riders for everyone else to be at top speed, not to mention a lot of unsafe swerving maneuvers and using the buffer strip as a passing lane on the approach.

I don’t like the rumble strips, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s uncomfortable enough going over these that I have to slow down. That’s how speed bumps work, too. Nobody driving likes them, and their function is not to be liked.

When I don’t slow for the strips, it’s often because I’m even more worried about people behind me not slowing down and running into me. I believe it might be more effective if the strips, or another “jarring” means of slowing people down, should be installed over the whole width of the bridge to prevent people from swerving.

After all, you are entering an area shared with pedestrians with a dangerous downward curve and narrow path, and no matter how fast you think you are entitled to run through this area, you shouldn’t actually be going much more than 10mph anyway.

Charley
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Charley

13 months to remove these mistakes??? You’ve got to be kidding me. I mean, I know everyone’s busy, but it can’t be that hard a job to wait so freaking long!

SilkySlim
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SilkySlim

It has been fun over the past months watching all the regular commuters get used to dodging those bumps. I’d say at least 50% of people skirt around them to the left at this point.

Indy
Guest
Indy

Bikes still go down that ramp to the narrowest part of the shared lane at ~12+ mph. Hardly “Slow”

Buzz Aldrin
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Buzz Aldrin

Now let’s see if they can actually remove them without ruining the pavement further in that spot by leaving a bunch of rough depressions from their grinding machine…

TonyJ
Guest
TonyJ

I continue to think that a “STOP HERE WHEN BUS IS PRESENT” sign and line that is at the top of the ramp is the best option. A conscientious cyclist thereby gains the authority to stop at that point which would block the less conscientious cyclists from disrupting the bus stop.

The problem IMO is the ambiguity. “Slow for pedestrians” leaves enough room that people just keep riding by, because, hey! someone else will stop, right?

On occasions where I have stopped here, I am usually passed on the right. On at least one occasion, my stopping for someone getting off the bus caused a woman behind me to fall off her bike, I suspect she only expected me to “slow.”

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

In my observation it seemed like 30-50% were steering around these fairy bumps in the first few weeks after they were put up, but now it seems to be more like 10-20%.

If they take the bumps out, the only real difference for me is I will no longer be rolling my eyes as “sensitive” people in front of me ride around them. Maybe I’ll start listening to Rob Kremer as a new way to make sure my eye muscles get enough exercise. 😉

On the other hand, if they’d fill in the potholes and smooth the pavement on Main St after I exit the bridge … well, that might actually smooth out my ride enough to notice.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Chamfering the leading edge with a disk grinder would leave the speed bumps intact and functional but eliminate the jarring strike when hit by narrow high pressure tires.

Frankly I don’t see much to complain about with them. It is great fodder for Bike Snob NY to comment on our delicate little fannys and eagerness to whine about small matters.

dan
Guest
dan

Just re-hashing the same consensus from the last time this came up, but the solution is not further gimping the bike facility, it’s moving the bus stop somewhere safe. Would we accept a bus stop in the middle of a motorized traffic lane that had only a couple of speed bumps to slow down traffic enough to make it “safe”?

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

god forbid cyclists ever have to slow down.

TJ
Guest
TJ

columbia river I5 crossing : car = hawthorne bridge : bike

gutterbunny
Guest
gutterbunny

Really it’ll be a moot point (as if it wasn’t already )in 2015, once the Tillikum opens the Hawthorn will only really effectively service (at best) about 10 East/West streets of Bike traffic.

Brian
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Brian

These little bumps are definitely a chapter in the next Bike Snob book.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

There are speed control devices designed by traffic engineers for bicycles (and mopeds)…in the Netherlands they look like this:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dylanpassmore/6805064750/in/photolist-bnm58j-bAfvyt-bAfzca-bnkJEA-3PpWkZ

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I don’t think anywhere near 80-90% of Hawthorne Bridge traffic will redirect to the Tillikum, but I think it will be a lot more than 20%. I live to the south, so I’m actually exiting the bridge with other people headed south: at the Esplanade exit, the ramp to SE Grand/Clay/Division, and SE 7th. The vast majority of people splitting off at those three places are headed south of the UP tracks – down the Springwater, or up SE 9th and Milwaukie towards Brooklyn and points south – and I think it’s at least a third of the traffic from the Hawthorne. Add in the new MUP that will be running along the south side of the tracks from SE 8th/9th to 11th/12th, and that’s even more bridge bike commuters headed south, all of whom will find the Tillikum to be a favorable choice to the Hawthorne.

And that’s the NW-SE axis. There are also commuters between SW Portland (connecting in on the Barbur, riverfront and Terwilliger corridors) and either NE or inner SE Portland, who will also find the TIllikum works for them.

Troy Haliwell
Guest
Troy Haliwell

Speed is an issue. Experienced bike riders speeding past others are exactly like inpatient drivers on freeways and city streets. They think their needs out rule those of the other drivers/riders.

Just a simple phrase–slow the frack down. We all have the same rights to the road.

Karl
Guest
Karl

Let’s demolish the viaduct and replace it with an at-grade intersection between Hawthorne and Water.

Trek 3900
Guest
Trek 3900

Not removed until 2015? Sounds like a pretty typical government project – they’ll have planners, a safety review, a recycling committee, environmental impact review, procurement of new crow bars at $2,000 each for the arduous task, a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the government actually doing something useful for the first time in memory, government photographer, etc, etc, etc…………..

Reminds me of the Obamacare webite: If you can’t get the website to work you can send your application by mail. As Jay Leno says: Only the federal government could create a website that is slower than the US mail. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RILydIeyO8w

jim
Guest
jim

Perhaps a flashing sign to slow down?

bikeaholic
Guest
bikeaholic

Didn’t see this mentioned above (forgive me if I missed it), but I think the best option would be to move the cyclist ramp past the bus stop, so that the cyclists and bus riders don’t have to interact with one another. The buses would have to cross the bike travel lane, but I think that’s ultimately much less dangerous and complicated than the current setup.