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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 welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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?

MaxD
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MaxD

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

Mark Wheeler
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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.

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….

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.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

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

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.

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.

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?

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?

Glenn
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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.

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.

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.

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.