Bike lane rumble strips on Hawthorne viaduct coming out next week

Posted by on October 2nd, 2014 at 3:58 pm

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-7

Changes coming and no more slow-down strips.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This Monday, October 6th, Multnomah county will remove the speed humps (a.k.a. rumble strips) in the bike lane of the westbound Hawthorne Bridge viaduct (technically SE Madison Ave).

The work comes as part of a larger project to improve the design of a bus stop just east of the bridge. The existing, frequent service bus stop empties passengers right into the path of a very busy bike lane. To help manage the walk/bike traffic flow, the County plans to widen the but stop’s waiting area by four feet, “to provide greater separation between riders and bicyclists,” says spokesman Mike Pullen.

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After the bus stop improvements are done (expected to be completed by the end of this month), the County plans to remove the set of “low humps” they installed back in November 2013. These small, yet noticeable rumble strips were meant to help slow riders down as they approached the bus stop. However, the humps’ design were widely criticized and were put in without notifying the County’s own Bicycle Advisory Committee.

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-11

Less than a week after we published a story about the humps, the Multnomah County Engineering Services Manager went before the advisory committee and acknowledged the installation was “clearly a mistake.”

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45 Comments
  • Avatar
    Mark Nockleby October 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Perhaps a better design would be to have cyclists pass off/off loading buses on the left instead of the right where there are no passengers to hit.

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    jenkins October 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    The other day a woman in front of me had her pannier bounce off of her bike rack because of these rumble strips.

    Good riddance.

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      F.W. de Klerk October 3, 2014 at 6:50 am

      That sounds like bad pannier installation/adjustment. My Ortliebs have never come off on the roughest of trails.

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      jeff October 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      things fly out of trucks when they’re not secured well enough. one’s inability to secure side bags won’t stop if they’re taken out.

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    GlowBoy October 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    That’s the usual design. They’d have to put a ramp back up onto the raised pathway on the far side of the bus stop, but could be done.

    I hope 4′ is enough. I think it will still be still a dangerous situation. When I come up on that spot and passengers are disembarking, I point my left arm down and slow down or stop, but many other cyclists blow by me.

    What we really need is a regulatory sign telling cyclists to STOP for bus passengers dis/embarking there.

    I will miss one thing about this design change: having a little chuckle every day at the princesses who swerve left to avoid these tiny little peas on the pavement.

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      Charley October 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      I want to tell you to do something really inappropriate for calling me a princess, but it would get deleted. Riding over these bumps is unpleasant and unnecessary on my rigid commuting bike, and there’s plenty of room to move to the left and avoid them entirely. So why not do it? Or, at the very least, how about not making fun of the people who do avoid the bumps???

      I time my laps down the black diamond trails at Sandy Ridge for fun. If you think you’re less of a princess than I, try getting from the top of Communication Breakdown to the parking lot in 35 minutes. On a hardtail. Just try it, glowboy.

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        Chris I October 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

        We got a couple internet tough guys here.

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        Brian October 3, 2014 at 8:51 am

        Hardtails are for wimps. You probably use disc brakes, too. Lets see you do that on a fully rigid, steel, canti-lever bike with 1.85 Mythos tires. 😉

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          TJ October 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

          Tires measured in inches are for wimps. jk.

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      spare_wheel October 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      if avoiding a bump in the lane amuses, i bet you find our many pocked and cratered bike boulevards to be a veritable laugh riot.

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        GlowBoy October 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

        You’re making my point exactly, spare_wheel. It is precisely because our bike routes are so pocked and cratered (and crisscrossed with new rails) that I find people’s swerving several feet out of their way to avoid these tiny little bumps so silly. They are nothing compared to the bumps you will find in Main Street after you exit the MUP onto the street grid downtown, for example.

        Gee Charley, sorry that made you so defensive. Wow. But if you find it fun to time your runs down Sandy Ridge, I don’t think we see eye-to-eye on that either. Personally, I like to savor the descent after putting all that effort into a big climb.

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          spare_wheel October 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

          there is a big difference. the bumps on the bridge were installed erroneously in a bike lane without county bicycle advisory committe approval.

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      mran1984 October 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Fortunately that is no longer my daily commute. If a stop sign was installed I would leave the “bike lane” and take the right lane across the bridge every time a stop was eminent. I could not recall every time that I have left the prescribed path due to questionable bike handling in front of me already. It is a silly place for a bus stop too.The strips were a great example of not understanding that negotiating them is far easier at a high rate of speed. The faster the better… even on 23’s and flip flops.

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        spare_wheel October 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

        i am so fed up with the hawthorne bridge mup that i’ve been considering riding the bridge lane as a protest. i’d need something like a barlow pass tire from compass/jan heine to make this my every day route…

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          Brian October 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

          I ride it twice a day with very few issues. It’s only about a minute long, as well. What makes you se fed up with it?

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            spare_wheel October 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

            it’s a dangerous facility that puts pedestrians at risk.

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              Brian October 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm

              I’ve never felt at-risk as a pedestrian or cyclist, including walking across with my baby. I guess it just depends on one’s perspective.

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                dan October 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm

                I think it kind of sucks for pedestrians, but I now make a point of walking against bike traffic, which pretty much resolves the problem. It’s pretty common for cyclists to pass within a foot or two, which is unnerving if it’s a surprise, but is OK if you see them coming. Not making excuses for those cyclists, however — you know many of them would throw a royal hissy-fit if a car passed them from behind within a foot or two at a 15 mph speed differential.

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                Brian October 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm

                True, but the momentum of a car and cyclist is quite a bit different. I’m sure it is somewhat unpleasant for some people, but for me (much like the rumblestrips) it really is a non-issue.
                Time to head on out soon for the bike commute home. It’s going to be a beautiful ride. Have a great weekend!

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                spare_wheel October 3, 2014 at 5:09 pm

                close passes by cyclists are a real problem on the hawthorne bridge mup. and while cyclists are no where near as dangerous as cars, they can easily injure pedestrians. and imagine the media field day if this happens…

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    Charley October 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’ll never reach 25% bike mode split by 2030 if we literally put barriers on our bikeways.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu October 2, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Trivial things like these bumps aren’t the issue.

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        Charley October 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm

        Things like these bumps are *an* issue. I don’t se why we should pile onto the big issues with a multitude of unnecessary, little issues as well. We ought to be doing everything to encourage riding, and nothing to discourage riding.

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    Dwaine Dibbly October 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Those things still haven’t been removed? WTF!?!

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    Jim Lee October 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Put bigger versions of those bumps at 26th and Clinton to disuade cyclists from running the flashing red, jumping the curb in front of Noho’s, schussbooming down the sidewalk, and picking off school kids and others exiting the No.10 bus.

    The No.10 discharges passengers at the Hawthorne bridge stop also, so the evil among us get two shots at those with the temerity to ride it.

    The ability of commuters in this town to handle their bikes is appalling.

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    Alison Fulmer October 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    After crashing through potholes from inner SE Portland I don’t even notice this rumble strips. And right over the Hawthorne Bridge on the west side is a truly treacherous stretch. I would have preferred tha area being repaved to removing these innocuous but ridiculous rumble strips.

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      tee October 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      False dichotomy.

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    Ilan October 2, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Honestly I find thermoplastic(?) they put on crosswalks all over the city much worse than these bumps, but good riddance to them. They could definitely do the design of the bus stop better than what they’re planning to do, but I’ve grown used to the city coming up short in just about everything it does.

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    Karl Dickman October 3, 2014 at 8:44 am

    This is as good a time as any for me to pitch my hobbyhorse: tear down the viaduct.

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      Todd Hudson October 3, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Wonderful idea! The railroad tracks below the viaduct get over twenty or so trains a day, and some move painfully slow.

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      Chris I October 3, 2014 at 9:50 am

      If they trench the UP mainline and bury I-5, the Viaduct can come down. Until then, you are just creating a huge backup with little benefit to the neighborhood.

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        GlowBoy October 3, 2014 at 10:32 am

        While we’re pitching our hobbyhorses: don’t bury I-5. Remove it south of I-84, and relabel I-405 as I-5.

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    Grandpa October 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Portland cyclists insist on diverters on cycle routes, that parked cars be eliminated from streets, that separated routes be provided for them, that speed limits be reduced, that large trucks be prohibited from the inner city, that vehicles pass cyclists with 3 foot clearance, and more, all in the name of cyclist safety. But when confronted with the minor inconvenience of having to slow down for bus riders, waiting for their ride, they whine about the transportation department’s thoughtlessness and the resultant discomfort to their delicate fannies from flat thermoplastic strips. Has anyone tried slowing down for these “speed bumps”? I suspect that the chiropractic disruption caused by these obstacles would be diminished if they were addressed in the manner for which they were designed. So, in short safety for cyclists is important, but safety for bus riders, not so much.
    Hypocrisy, thou art manifest in Portland cyclists

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      Karl Dickman October 3, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Slowing down for disembarking transit riders is much more important than slowing down for plastic strips, which is why I stop or slow down for buses and not for plastic strips.

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      El Biciclero October 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      I think part of the issue is that one would never see passengers forced to disembark in a fast-flowing lane of auto traffic, with speed bumps and outrage directed at drivers.

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      GlowBoy October 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Slowing down doesn’t actually reduce the impact of these strips to one’s fanny – no matter how small they might be. And the need to slow down only exists when a bus is present, which is about 5% of the time.

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    F.W. de Klerk October 3, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Easy Grandpa, we’re taking that drop in the rankings pretty hard.

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    El Biciclero October 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Bumps like these, and signs like the new ones on the Waterfront, highlight a disparity that I was thinking about on my ride in this morning. I was recalling Jonathan’s comment on the story about the waterfront signs (“fast bikes use Naito”), and it just struck me again. Why do we force (or at least strongly “suggest”) that separated “bike infrastructure” be shared with pedestrians, and then crack down on bicyclists for going “too fast”? When it comes to things such as the 20’s bikeway plan, we seem to be going to great lengths not to mix bike and auto traffic, sending bikes on a zig-zag mouse trail in the attempt, and even when they must mix, we tell bicyclists they must stop and wait to perform the multiple street crossings, waiting for car traffic to clear, not even providing a crosswalk marking that clearly conveys actual right-of-way for crossing cyclists. Yet we take no measures whatsoever to separate bike and pedestrian traffic on “shared-use” “bike paths” (can we quit calling any such things “bike paths”?). We are not willing to say “Drivers, please travel at bicycle speed through here”, but we are perfectly willing to say “Bicyclists, please travel at pedestrian speed or go somewhere else.”

    There is no “Far to the Right” rule for pedestrians on MUPs, instead the rule is “Bikes Yield to Peds”. Shouldn’t that concept translate to streets? “Cars Yield to Bikes”? We do see that in a select few areas where the FTR/Mandatory Sidepath laws force a conflict, but that’s it. I know somebody will cry, “but speed differential!” Well, that’s only an issue because drivers are speeding. I can go 20 mph pretty easily on my bike (25-40 mph downhill), which is a greater speed differential with a 3 mph pedestrian than a car traveling 35 mph is with me. I’m expected to slow down for pedestrians, but a driver isn’t expected to slow down for me—I’m expected to get out of the way.

    No way should we de-prioritize pedestrians—I’m not saying that—but if we’re going to pretend to have some hierarchy of right-of-way priority, let’s be honest and declare what it really is: automobile 1st, pedestrian 2nd, transit 3rd, bicycle last. Now, let’s try to come up with an ethical rationale for having that as the hierarchy. Ready….set…..RATIONALIZE!

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    Dan M. October 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    A buddy of mine was bucked off his bike from a pothole on NE 28th just south of Glisan, a pot hole that was caused by PBOT being too cheap and short sighted to patch a trench with cold-mix asphalt instead of putting aggregate in and leaving it to ravel. I was reprimanded by Jonathan Maus for calling PBOT a bunch of clowns on twitter, but that is what they are. I ride across these “rumble strips” on a daily basis. They’re nothing. Truly nothing. Yes, they’re a mistake and no, I don’t have a clue why they were installed, but it is not in the top 100,000 issues facing cyclists, pedestrians, bus riders, or automobile users in Portland. I don’t understand why we, as taxpayers and road users in a general sense, insist on all these design flourishes from PBOT to accommodate cyclists when PBOT is too incompetent to do the minimal amount of work required to maintain a functioning street or an acceptable pavement conditions.

    We should absolutely be working to accommodate more cyclists of differing skills and comfort levels. That starts with caring for your streets. PBOT is hilariously inept with this and it’s particularly galling because Portland doesn’t suffer brutal freeze/thaw cycles that destroys pavement in short order in colder climates. There is no reason for our streets to be in the state of disrepair that they are. There is also no reason for PBOT to constantly redo existing bikeways that function well while ignoring areas begging for even a sharrow or a bike lane. It is as if there is no one in PBOT looking at a hierarchy of needs and looking at dollars spent versus safety and comfort for all road users. Everything they do is this hodge podge of half baked ideas or overly cute design features for specific areas while completely ignoring glaring issues of safety and functionality.

    Invest in new bike lanes that build interconnection (like the 20’s bikeway). Pave your streets with competent crews. Then worry about minor tweaks to existing facilities that function pretty well, but perhaps not perfectly.

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      Mark Sailor October 5, 2014 at 8:13 am

      This would be a reasonable point, except for the fact that the bridge is maintained by Multnomah County, and PBOT has no jurisdiction….

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    davemess October 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I think the biggest question is: Why on earth does it take 11 MONTHS to get these things remove!?!?!?!
    My guess is that it will take a crew of two guys to get these off in a few hours max (someone please correct me if I’m wrong).

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    Adron @ Transit Sleuth October 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    …and this problem I still don’t get, we KNOW the solution, Amsterdam figured it out many decades ago…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Pvhkx0153k <- right there, we need to do THIS!

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    Paul Cone October 9, 2014 at 8:49 am

    They’re still there, as of 20 minutes ago.

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      Maks October 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      i was wondering about this. the project’s done but the rumble strip remains. and i continue to maneuver around it.

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    jean m November 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    They are still there, today, Nov 26. Any updates, Jonathan Maus?

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