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

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.”


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:

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

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:

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:

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]

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