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City will add ‘no parking’ signs along 52nd Ave bike lanes

Posted by on September 4th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

ambiguous bike lane

It’s easy to see how this new bike lane
could be mistaken for parking space.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The new northbound bike lane on 52nd Avenue between Woodward and Division replaced a parking lane, but since July we’ve heard from many readers that the stripe of paint hasn’t stopped people from leaving their cars and garbage cans there.

City traffic engineer Eva Huntsinger said in an interview Thursday that “no parking” signs will go into the commercial node north of Woodward after a discussion about the subject by city staff late last week.

Hopefully these signs will make things safer for people like reader David Ross, who got in touch in July to share his thoughts.

“As it is both car and bike lane are far too narrow,” he wrote in an email. “Parked cars straddle the bike lane line forcing bikers to veer in and out of a narrow lane of traffic made even narrower by the mentioned parked cars hanging out into traffic. To safely pass a parked car a cyclist needs to ‘take the lane.’ On 52nd? During rush hour? I was looking forward to the new lanes but the northbound side is the worst bike lane I’ve seen anywhere in a long time. It was safer for cyclists before the new lanes. The northbound side is a disaster waiting to happen and an overall bummer for northbound cyclist.”

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I was on 52nd yesterday a bit further north, between Division and Powell, and didn’t see any parking trouble in that residential area at the time. But it was easy to see why people might get confused about what the wide bike lane is for:

ambiguous bike lane northbound

By contrast, here’s how much difference a fresh bike stencil makes on the lane itself:

stencil bike lane

We’ll continue to track this issue after the signs go in and see if they’re successfully changing people’s behavior. Meanwhile, here’s one resident who’s dealt with traffic patterns on 52nd by adding a sign of her own:

drive like your kids

Various readers have written in that they like other new features of the almost complete 50s bikeway, including the southbound lanes and nice touches like these green turning boxes where the Woodward neighborhood greenway intersects:

green turning box 52nd

As we shared in today’s Weekend Event Guide, North Tabor neighborhood advocate Terry Dublinski-Milton will lead a tour of part of the 50s bikeway on Saturday. That might be a good time to check it out and compare notes on how to keep the city informed about how it’s being used.

[Publisher’s note: People parking their cars in what are supposed to be bike-only traffic lanes is a chronic problem for PBOT. For more on the issue, re-read our 2011 post, Cars parking in bike lanes: How can we fix this problem? – Jonathan]

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

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Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
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kiel johnson

why no stencils?

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

This is the question.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

It does seem like “bike” road markings should be more liberally used. Here and elsewhere.

Otherwise, hard to blame drivers for mistaking this unmarked curbside bike lane for a shoulder or for parking.

Oregon Mamcita
Guest
Oregon Mamcita

While driving down 52nd, just had an exchange of horns and hand signals
(aka the bird) with a minivan parked in the bike lane at 52nd and Woodstock. When driving down SE 52nd (I still use side streets on a bike)
I sometimes have to honk at other drivers, or drive in such a way as to slow
other drivers down around cyclists.

They need many, many more stencils. BTW- instead of the constant hating on cars- it would be nice if there were more cooperation. When I am in a car I can take on a pick up truck on your behalf- and I will. I am a good driver and the car levels the playing field with other drivers if they are acting poorly around pedestrians or people on bikes.

swankymode
Guest
swankymode

Except when you drive 52nd with cars and vans parked in the bike lane and you have to swerve into oncoming traffic because they don’t actually fit. That might have been their first clue.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Keil,
Not done yet? The bike lane marking standard is to place them about every 500 feet ~ 2 blocks (it was 1000 ft with the diamonds every 250 ft between). Sharrows are placed 250 ft apart, but opposite directions are staggered, so you see a symbol every 125 ft.

davemess
Guest
davemess

This bike route is not even close to that standard then.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Where are people supposed to put their trash/recycling/yard waste cans?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The parking strip.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

makes sense, thanks.

ej
Guest
ej

Often it’s the garbage company who leaves the cans in the street. I put mine on the parking strip and always come home to them in the street.

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Anywhere but a traffic lane?

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

but not a sidewalk…

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Sidewalks are a traffic lane in this snark.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

The shoulder of the road….oh excuse me I mean bike lane.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That’s ODOT’s definition, at least. The bike lane: that space at the edge of the road that keeps drivers from driving into a ditch when they text or nod off behind the wheel.

Mark Wheeler
Guest
Mark Wheeler

I frequently see cars parked in that lane just south of Mitchell, near Toast. I hope Toast & the medical office there will remind their customers not to park in the bike lane.

grrlpup
Guest

This! I went by Toast around 11am Monday (a holiday) and there were 6 or 8 cars parked in the bike lane, several of them wide enough to severely overhang it. Once one car does it, others think it’s legit, I guess.

Adam Rogers
Guest
Adam Rogers

I agree. The biggest problem is, one car does it, and all the other car drivers think it must be legal too.

I had a horrendous experience biking past the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens one time, when they had an open day.

There were FORTY-TWO CARS parked in the bikelane outside the park.

I called parking enforcement, but they were shut because it was a holiday (typical).

Called the police non-emergency line, and reported it. They said they would send someone out, but I hardly think they were going to follow up on a parking complaint.

Has anybody had any success with calling the police for parking violations? As in, have they actually showed up to ticket?

swankymode
Guest
swankymode

No, I own a building in NW with a parking lot. People regularly block it by parking in front of it. I’ve stopped calling because the police don’t really care. Note to everyone, if you’re having trouble parking in a neighborhood, just block someone’s driveway or parking lot. Portland police really don’t care so you get your pick of spots and there’s nothing the property owners can do about it. So now that I’ve vented, please don’t do that, it’s really inconsiderate and has caused me a ton of issues. If you’re a misanthrope and only care about what you can get away with, go forward with the blocking driveways plan. If you actually care about people, ride your bike or drive around in circles until you find a spot.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Yes maybe PBoT could put more no parking signs here as well? and start enforcing it? There are cars parked here daily, probably 2/3 times that I ride past.

davemess
Guest
davemess

have you called any in to parking enforcement? I’ve done this a couple of times.

Barron
Guest
Barron

I saw someone from Toast apparently telling a driver not to park in front, but often the cars are a little north, not visible from inside the restaurant. I’d rather see more stencils than have “no parking” signs adding to visual clutter.

Pete
Guest
Pete

While you’ll often see me saying that signs do not work, for parking situations I think both help. When people park cars in an urban environment they tend to be mindful of whether they’ll be towed or ticketed or not so tend to look for signs telling such details. On the roadway they tend to blend into the visual periphery, especially when distractions such as bicyclists are present.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

503-823-5195 ext 3. Put it on your phone. Portland parking enforcement. Or you could be nice and put a sticky note on the car asking them not to park there because it’s actually a well used travel lane….

Art fuldodger
Guest
Art fuldodger

And 503-823-3333 (Police non-emergency line) for after hours/weekends.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

it’s illegal to leave a note on somebody’s car…

Nicholas Skaggs
Guest
Nicholas Skaggs

River Road in Milwaukie could use some of this, too.

I actually wasn’t sure whether or not cars were allowed to park in bike lanes. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were legal.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

811.550 Places where stopping, standing and parking prohibited. This section establishes places where stopping, standing and parking a vehicle are prohibited for purposes of the penalties under ORS 811.555. Except as provided under an exemption in ORS 811.560, a person is in violation of ORS 811.555 if a person parks, stops or leaves standing a vehicle in any of the following places:

(23) On a bicycle lane. Exemptions under ORS 811.560 are applicable to this subsection.

(24) On a bicycle path. Exemptions under ORS 811.560 are applicable to this subsection.

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/lawsstatutes/2013ors811.html

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Why is there no curb separating the bike lane from the car lane? This would eliminate the confusion.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Paint is cheaper than cement.

davemess
Guest
davemess

exponentially so.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

And it also limits your ability on a bike to avoid debris or other riders in the lane, or to take left turn lanes.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Striping estimate: $1/ft per 4 inches of width; Curb: $20/ft + drainage impacts.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Then a bike would be trapped in the bike lane by the curb. It is important to be able to move between the two lanes, to pass slower riders, avoid leaf piles, make turns, etc.

Also, cars need to turn in/out of driveways, maybe Trimet and school buses need to pull over, street cleaners and plows need to do their job, etc.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

A well-designed curb can still facilitate this movement. Make it shallow enough to ride over, but deep enough that it’s still obvious to people driving cars that this is a space not for them. This is how bike lanes are designed in Denmark.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Oh, I didn’t realize you meant a rounded, shallow hump. I think that will still be less effective in conveying “no parking” than roadway markings explicitly so stating. Since we don’t have those shallow humps here, most drivers won’t know what it is/means. But everyone knows what “NO PARKING” or “stick bike” means. Almost everybody.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

During peak hours there is quite a bit of speeding. IMO, the stretch between Division and Powell needs some of the new speed bumps that are emergency vehicle friendly.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

That segment is not currently a Major Response Route, but PF&R is requesting it be added as a secondary route, and such routes would be eligible for the fire friendly speed cushions.

davemess
Guest
davemess

I ride this route daily, and can’t say I’ve encountered a lot of speeding (esp. when the cars are backed up at peak hours).

joel domreis
Guest
joel domreis

heres an idea- someone prints and sells ready made notices. puting it under the windsheild wiper would be better than a sticky note so it doesnt fly away and cause trouble in wind.

I think calling PBOT is a great idea. today i called them about the lack of a sensor loop on 52nd and foster southbound for the bike lane (maybe i missed seeing it. if you notice PBOT has changed the style of loop for bike lanes on 52nd making them diagonal instead of boxes, also they have started to place them more forward instead of 2 feet back from the white stop line. this is a story in itself i think.

i agree getting ‘no parking’ signs, especially infront of businesses would help. we could either call PBOT or if someone wants install it themselves DIY. that may be illegal i guess. geez i love to bike on that street now with those lanes, although im more upset about the cars that wander in and out of the bike lane while driving than i am the people who park, who i can forgive unless they live on that street, then they should know right?

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

it’s illegal to leave a note on somebody’s car…

John Lascurettes
Guest

I cannot find an Oregon law that corroborates that. It’s probably illegal to leaflet cars, but that’s different than a note. In fact, OR DMV says you’re required to leave a note under certain circumstances: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/pages/driverid/accidentresp.aspx#unattended

Karl Dickman
Guest

I have been leaving notes on parked cars that I encounter. I would rather not have them get an $80 ticket for what may well be an honest mistake. Perhaps this is illegal, but I don’t care.
I will of course call parking enforcement on repeat offenders, but I haven’t seen any yet.

Cheif
Guest
Cheif

Who cares. It’s illegal to park in the bike lane, not to mention exceed the speed limit, not come to a complete stop at an occupied crosswalk and all the other selfish idiotic things people do with their cars. Letting them know about it is the least of anyone’s concern with regards to the letter of the law.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Like John said, there may be laws against leafleting, but I’d be surprised if leaving an individual note an individual car is illegal. In fact, I think you could make a strong case that it is constitutionally protected speech, at least in Oregon.

Alex
Guest
Alex

If you look at the design document the city released, it shows that the bike lanes running between Foster Rd and Powell Blvd are spec’d to be solid green. I was really excited for this – thought it would bring a nice presence to the neighborhood. Anyone know if they have not finished painting/signage on this stretch?

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

they need to fix the pavement in the northbound lane next to Plaid… huge holes of broken pavement… they need to fix that before they paint…

davemess
Guest
davemess

Call it in the the pot hole hotline! I called it in about 3 weeks ago, but I’m sure more calls would help!

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

I try and avoid 52nd on a bike..its pretty much a grid between division and flavel.. go a few blocks east or west and you have a nice neighborhood street to ride on..

davemess
Guest
davemess

I take this route daily for work, and I disagree that the northbound lane is dangerous. Probably once every 2-3 days I would encounter a car parking in the bike lane (usually the Toast block as others have described). Other than that I have only run into a handful of cars parked in the lane. I have yelled at a few who have been (one guy was actually sitting in his, and pulled up next to me a few blocks later and asked me what I was yelling about. I explained that he was parked in a new bike land, even though they were poorly marked. He took it surprisingly well) parked illegally. It is very annoying to have to go around these cars (which is a good bit more difficult than it used to be on the old road).

One minor quibble with the article the section between Powell and Division has only be finished for a couple of weeks (so people couldn’t have been complaining about it since July). Before that it was an unwelcome torn up road for 4+ months.

I’m really curious where the “commercial node North of Woodward” is? North after woodward it is almost exclusively residential. By far the worse section has been the Toast section around Steele that others have described above.

gheadbarry
Guest
gheadbarry

The bike lane on 52nd just shows how much work we have to do in SE, I take side streets and greenways over that jam anytime or day.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Can you share why you don’t take the bike lane? Supposing that cars aren’t illegally parking in it (which definitely doesn’t happen all the time), what are your reasons and fears?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

My partner prefers bike boulevards over bike lanes because 15-20 mph speed differentials make her uncomfortable. IMO, this is why we need to reduce traffic speed on roads with bike facilities (even protected ones).

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I’m not sure that what makes some cyclists in a bike lane “uncomfortable” should determine the acceptable speed in the adjacent car lanes. Some cyclists ride very slowly and have a very low threshold of discomfort. If someone is poking along at 10 mph and is uncomfortable with a 15 mph speed differential, they might demand that cars drive <25 mph. 25 mph is a reasonable car speed limit for a narrow urban road, but on a wide road with a wide, well marked bike lane, that is slower than what even careful and considerate drivers will naturally drive, and is slower than what is actually necessary for safety. I'm not familiar enough w/ this particular road to say what the speed limit should be.

davemess
Guest
davemess

I think the marked 30 is okay. I personally don’t encounter a lot of speeding, and the new bike lane is pretty wide. If someone is riding at 10 mph then I could see this being uncomfortable, but isn’t that why we try to have different types of facilities for different types of riders?

Spare, I hear you. But I think if we are demanding a reduction in speeds for all roads with bike facilities we may just see PBOT balking at adding facilities to major roads.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

25 seems like plenty to me on this road.

Pat Franz
Guest
Pat Franz

Unfortunately, I believe it is illegal to put flyers on cars for any purpose. I think it would be a good idea to make an exception for things like this.

I ride the Woodward to Lincoln stretch of 52nd every day. It’s much better than before and I wouldn’t go back, but I do wish something was done about all the sewer caps, water valves, and drains in the bike lane. Not a one of them is level with the asphalt. I don’t know what it takes to level such things, but it would be a lot safer if they were. I leave the NB lane at one point, it’s safer than hitting them. Come winter, they are going to be no fun at all.

I do like the bike boxes at Woodward, seems to be much clearer to everyone what to do and who is going where.

The right turn lane NB at Division likewise works well, everyone seems to know what to do and where to go. The no cars northbound of Division is nice, people are still driving it but I expect that will decrease with eventual signage and paint when the intersection is done.

davemess
Guest
davemess

There is also going to be a concrete island at the north part of the division intersection (you can see the outline drawn on the street). This should reduce (though not eliminate) cars driving through.

Adam Rogers
Guest
Adam Rogers

Don’t mean to state the obvious, but there are no bike stencils visible in the lane in almost all of the photographs.

People who park in the lane then use this to their advantage. I know this, because I’ve confronted people parked in the bike lane, and they always turn to me, and say, “Where does it state it’s a bike lane?”.

To which I have to concede, “Nowhere”. Because there are no bike stencils.

It makes me want to grab a can of white spray paint and a stencil, and go put my own stencils in.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Technically it’s still a bike lane even without the stencils. The white line is 8″ wide and that designates it as a lane marker, not a shoulder, parking or fog line. I had this same argument with a cop once when he challenged me on the fact that Broadway has a bike lane from Hollywood to PSU (bridge MUP excepted) when he asked, “where’s the bike stencil?”

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Yeah but no one knows this except bike geeks.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Is there ever a white lined 6 foot parking strip though?

davemess
Guest
davemess

I think that’s one of my main beefs. If you car is clearly over the white line and doesn’t fit, why do you think the city designed this as a parking lane?

Barbara Stedman
Guest
Barbara Stedman

The same thing is happening on SW Vermont near Wilson High. PBOT put in a nice wide bikelane where there used to be parking a few months ago and it has been a parking lot ever since. It’s close to two schools, sports fields, swimming pool, famers market. PBOT has done a lot of enforcement and people are warned by the schools, famers market etc. I guess habits die hard. And one person starts to park the car there and then the others follow like sheep without paying attention.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Whenever you encounter cars using a curbside bike lane as a parking lot, send an email to safe@portlandoregon.gov and ask them to implement some of their off-the-shelf countermeasures to better mark the bike lane.

You can just say

*****************

“Hey, there’s cars parked in the bike lane in the 123 block of XYZ street. Can you add some more pavement markings or signage?”

Love,
A. Regular Bicyclist

******************

Or you can cut and paste this:

******************

Dear PBOT —

The bike lane in the 123 block of XYZ street often has cars parked in it. Can you add some markings from the MUTCD or PBOT’s Bicycle Engineering and Design Guidelines?

MUTCD Section 9C.04 says the bike lane stencil, if used, should be
placed at the beginning of the bike lane and periodically afterward,
based on :engineering judgement.” In my engineering judgement, there aren’t enough of these. Can you take a look at this and see if you think more should be put in?

But, the diagram associated with bike lane markings, Figure 9C-6,
visually shows that a bike lane against a curb can have, in every
block,
* a bike lane painted stencil
* a bike lane sign, and
* a “no parking” sign.

This whole package deal would be really helpful in letting cars know that this is a bike lane.

Also, PBOT’s own “Bikeway Design and Engineering Guidelines” has two
additional authorized markings to clarify bike lane vs. parking lane
confusion.

1) Page 33 recommends adding series of diamond stencils between the
bicycle stencils, which “helps with the enforcement of no parking in
bike lanes.”
2) Page 34 offers a “Right Lane Bicycle Only” sign to “be used
sparingly, in cases where clarity is needed.”

If you could install some of these signs and markings, either MUTCD or PBOT certified, it would go a long way toward keeping me and my peeps safe on our bicycles.

Love,
A. Regular Bicyclist

links:
MUTCD bicycle chapter: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009r1r2/part9.pdf
PBOT Bicycle Guidelines:
http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=40414

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

There’s also a block on the stretch of Multnomah that’s being rebuilt with new raised-concrete bike lanes, where people are parking in the new bike lane. Probably isn’t properly signed yet.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

That’s awesome! Is there a link to this project with more info?