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PBOT hopes new signs, markings fix tricky Williams Ave intersection

Posted by on December 19th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Williams Ave & Stanton - observations-4

The person in the truck was legally required to turn left at this intersection; but a weak design — coupled with a bad decision by the vehicle’s operator — led to an abrupt merge in tight quarters with other road users.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Now that construction of the North Williams Safety Project has nearly wrapped up, it’s time to address how specific parts the new design are working — and how they’re not.

There are several issues I plan to look into in the coming weeks. The first is a driving behavior and design concern we’ve observed between N. Knott and Stanton. These are the two blocks where Williams is split due to a median diverter island installed many years ago to decrease the amount of Legacy Emanuel Hospital visitors from driving through the neighborhood.

Even before the big redesign of Williams that took the right-side bike lane and put it on the left side, this location was always a tricky pinch-point. The new design has done nothing to make it better. While the pinching effect of the median is not as bad (and bicycle riders no longer have to deal with a bus stop), the northern part of this section — at Stanton on the south side of Dawson Park — has gotten much worse.

The good news is that we’ve just heard from the Bureau of Transportation that they’re aware of the issue and some fixes are on the way.

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The issue here is that the left standard lane is supposed to be for left turns only (like other sections in the new design where there are two standard lanes). PBOT’s intention was that people would only use the left lane if they wanted to turn left onto Graham or on Stanton. Unfortunately, the design is not strong enough and it fails to communicate proper use.

Williams Ave & Stanton - observations-6

This is all you see approaching the split. It’s not clear the left option is left-turn only.

What happens in reality is that many people use the left lane to swoop by other people when there’s a back-up, or they simply use it because it’s there. Then, as they get to Stanton, instead of turning left (west), they try to merge back into the right lane. This behavior is not only illegal, it’s also dangerous.

At Stanton, the bike lane goes from being curbside to being to the right of a curbside parking lane. This transition puts the bike lane directly in the path of people who suddenly realize they want to continue straight. The illegal merging at Stanton from the left lane to the right lane puts drivers directly in conflict with bicycle riders in the bike lane.

Also adding to the stress at this intersection are many people who illegally nose their vehicles out from Stanton in an effort to find their place in Williams traffic. That behavior forces other road users to leave the bicycle lane — putting them in even more direct conflict with people using the left standard lane (as seen in the image below).

Williams Ave & Stanton - observations-5

Williams Ave & Stanton - observations-1

Williams Ave & Stanton - observations-3

View of Williams looking south from Stanton.
Williams Ave & Stanton - observations-2

Another view of Williams looking south from Stanton.

After seeing this problem several times myself and hearing about others with similar concerns, I reached out to Williams project manager Rich Newlands.

Newlands said he was “definitely” aware of the issue. “We realized some time ago that what is in place does not communicate the approaching forced left at Stanton strongly enough, and hence through traffic ends up abruptly cutting back to the right.”

That was nice to hear. But even better, is that PBOT is already on the case. Newlands said there’s a contract change order pending that will do a few things aimed at more strongly communicating the left-turn-only mandate at Stanton.

Here’s what PBOT is doing to fix the problem:

  • Two more left turn arrow pavement markings will be added in advance of the existing one (which is right at Stanton).
  • Two more signs that will say “THRU TRAFFIC MERGE RIGHT”.
  • They’ll extend the existing 8-inch lane striping for the left turn pocket.

These changes should be installed any day now. If they don’t work and the illegal driving behaviors continue, Newlands said PBOT, “has discussed going to a more physical barrier to eliminate the ability to cut back to the right at Stanton.”

Interestingly, what’s out on the street now does not mimic the plans in the project’s final report (published in August 2012). On page 16 of that report the left turn lane doesn’t start until north of Knott, which seems like it would make people less likely to think it’s a through lane. The design in the report also includes “left turn ONLY” pavement markings way before the median island and “shark’s teeth” yield markings which are not present in the final implementation.

williams-plans

From Page 16 of PBOT’s Final Report: North Williams Traffic Safety Operations Project (August 2012).

I’ve asked PBOT for an explanation and will update this post when I hear back.

If you ride this stretch of Williams, please keep us posted on whether or not these changes help. Your feedback can help PBOT do what’s necessary to make sure bicycling conditions are as low-stress as possible.

— We are also collecting feedback on the Williams changes in general for future reporting. Please send in your comments via email, @BikePortland on Twitter, or however else you prefer to communicate.

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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Reza
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Reza

Why not just close that left turn lane completely and make the entire area to the left of the median diverter the exclusive domain of bicycles and buffers (or curbside parking)? Seems like that would also cut down on unsafe merging behavior.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Agreed. People keep making left turns across the bike lane? Put in a barrier to block left turns. Problem solved.

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

Two words: Legacy Hospital. They have a main entrance with signal at Stanton & Vancouver. I’m pretty sure they strongly requested access here, which is likely why the original design was changed.

Reza
Guest
Reza

Thanks for clarifying. Then maybe Legacy Hospital should contribute $$$ to a signal with a protected left turn at Williams and Stanton.

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

Agreed!

Emily G
Guest
Emily G

I just rode up Williams around noon today and the extra left turn arrows were already laid down.

There was also a big 18-wheel delivery truck blocking part of the bike lane right before The People’s Pig, where the bike lane is narrower and there are two busy car lanes, so it’s not fun to squeeze by. Wish this street had mandatory delivery hours or some parking spots just for deliveries. Truck traffic is way up with all the many restaurants and it feels like they just double-park wherever.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

503-823-5195
Portland Parking Enforcement

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

“does not communicate the approaching forced left at Stanton strongly enough”
It really doesn’t communicate it at all. I can’t believe that PBOT couldn’t see that this would be the inevitable result. There need to be 1 simple standard and easily recognizable, “left turn only” signs (not on the pavement) leading up to it and one at the turn.

“THRU TRAFFIC MERGE RIGHT” seems a bit non-standard in situations like this.

Peter Linssen
Guest
Peter Linssen

“Does not communicate” is a serious understatement. As a driver in daylight the area is painfully hard to navigate, but at night and especially in the rain all the markings on the roadway are useless. Someone unfamiliar with the area will never be able to follow the prompts. This corridor is incredibly dangerous to ride or drive the way it is.

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

I’ve been commuting from Beaverton/Hillsboro for years to my house in NE off Alberta & 15th and the fact is that Williams is now a mess for all types of traffic north of Freemont. It’s confusing, frustrating and dangerous. Suggest riding your bike someplace else… like Rodney or 7th.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

Well, 7th ave is (still) the other place people go to shuck I-5 N traffic. If you have the brass to ride on 7th you might as well take MLK. It’s sort of SE Clinton on crank.

SC
Guest
SC

Uh….nope. I take 7th on a daily basis, thanks to my refusal to keep taking Williams after a nifty right-hook in mid-October from a car trying to avoid the initial construction cluster. 7th has a dashed center line most of the way between Broadway and Alberta – which means people driving cars are much more inclined to cross the center-line when passing – and is signed for 25 mph with speed tables every block or two and roundabouts (with advisory signs for 20 mph) to control left turns into the neighborhoods. There are traffic lights at major roads and the only stop signs are four-ways (which I find much more reassuring than only two-ways stops and inattentive road users!).

It’s also a major connector for a couple east-west bike routes that jog across the block/street, so the presence of people on bikes is pretty common and seems fairly accepted by people in cars, even if just for the block or two. The only thing that’s actively terrible about 7th this time of year are the danger-piles of wet leaves. I find everything about Williams is pretty actively terrible now when you’re riding faster than 10 mph.

Moral of the story: 7th is actually great, even with that last push of a hill between a stop sign at Skidmore and the light at Prescott. You don’t need a bike lane when the street is appropriately signed and has more reasonable speed limits.

Reza
Guest
Reza

Hmm, really? 7th Avenue has volumes approaching or exceeding 5000 vehicles/day in the stretch between Fremont and Broadway (according to Portland Maps). It is a TERRIBLE route for all but the strongest cyclists. But kudos to you for making it work. Do you take the lane on this street or do you ride in the door zone (genuinely curious)?

Ted Buehler
Guest

“Hmm, really? 7th Avenue has volumes approaching or exceeding 5000 vehicles/day in the stretch between Fremont and Broadway (according to Portland Maps). It is a TERRIBLE route for all but the strongest cyclists.”

It may be that 7th doesn’t have as much of a peak period spike as other bike routes, like Clinton. It’s a moderately busy street all day.

It also has two full traffic lanes (unlike Clinton and most bike blvds/neighborhood greenways), so it’s pretty easy for cars to overtake bicyclists with a safe buffer, relative to the narrower streets.

I ride 7th a fair bit. I often take the lane, so cars need to move a full lane left to overtake me. Most don’t, and they’re pretty chill about it. I take other streets at peak hours, I’ll try it one of these days.

Food for thought.

Ted Buehler

Jered
Guest
Jered

I have no problem with 7th either. I don’t dispute the numbers, but it is a very easy bike ride. Maybe it being more narrow and more traffic control roundabouts and such mean the drivers are actually focused. Never had a close call on 7th.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

Maybe it’s a timing thing? Some days are better, some worse, but I find the 7th Ave. crowd a bit surly. And those toy roundabouts–bah.

Mark
Guest
Mark

They should have gone with the original design from the Final Report (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/417219). In that report on Page 16, there isn’t a 2nd car lane until after Knott St., making it clear that drivers shouldn’t move into the left lane unless they want to turn left. The actual, implemented design, however, doesn’t follow the final report and starts the 2nd car lane right after Russell Street, making the left lane seem more like a permanent, through car lane. Oh well, hopefully these fixes make a difference.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Actually the second car lane starts before Russell Street. Making it far worse. My experience.

Reza
Guest
Reza

I don’t understand why they can’t make the second lane left turn only at Russell Street. Is there a huge amount of traffic needing to turn left at Knott, Graham or Stanton to head to the hospital that justifies a left turn only lane? Can’t they be directed to use Russell to Kerby Avenue instead?

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

This is the point where PBOT needs a call to action for PPD/traffic enforcement.
They expect drivers to just “figure it out” when all I see now is more angry/aggressive driving, speeding, illegal lane changes/lane use, illegal double parking… the list goes on and on!

They can’t make major changes like this and expect already aggressive motorists to be happy with the changes and accept it… people don’t work that way! They have to be told what to do and when to do it or else… which means Traffic enforcement needs to step in!

Come on PBOT wake up! before someone gets really hurt or killed!!

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…more angry/aggressive driving…”

I wonder at whom those angry drivers are angry, and who will suffer most from their aggression.

Brent Shultz
Guest
Brent Shultz

I keep hearing that the striping is 100% done, but where are the diagonal lines in the buffer zone between the bike and auto lane?

John Lascurettes
Guest
paikiala
Guest
paikiala

That is only done when the buffer is more than 3 or 4 feet wide.

Brent Shultz
Guest
Brent Shultz

The project information shows the hash marks on the bike/auto buffer, but PBOT has confirmed that this piece was dropped from the final design, in their words, due to “long [term] maintenance expense”.

redhippie
Guest
redhippie

Bloody mess. In the last two weeks I have had 2 near misses. Ironically, both people were on cell phones.

Jack
Guest
Jack

Ironic? Perhaps you meant to say, “not surprisingly”.

Jess
Guest
Jess

I am disappointed to hear that this project is almost wrapped up. I have been disappointed from the start but was trying to be patient until it was done. I ride N. Williams in the morning, when there isn’t that much bike traffic, and I find it to be more dangerous than before. One problem is that the bike lanes aren’t marked very well. They need more bike symbols and a distinction between the bike lane and the buffer. Cars are using them as left-turn lanes and bikes are riding in the buffers. It is confusing. Another major problem is left hooks. I don’t think cars are used to having to look to their left and with not much bike traffic in the morning they may not think this is an issue. A particularly tricky point is people turning left into New Seasons, where I experience a near left hook at least once a week.

soren
Guest
soren

the buffers are often used by stronger cyclists as de facto fast lanes and i think this is a good thing.

Jess
Guest
Jess

This isn’t quite what I am talking about. I notice it a lot as I am catching up to solo cyclists (i.e. riding with no one around them) where they might go from riding in the buffer to riding in the bike lane or vice versa or even buffer to buffer, particularly in sections where the position of the bike lane on the road changes as you cross an intersection. It really seems to me to be due more from confusion rather than a desire to ride in the buffer next to parked cars when there isn’t another cyclist directly in front or behind them.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…the position of the bike lane on the road changes as you cross an intersection.”

This should almost always be considered wrong. Why do we tell drivers NOT to alter their lateral position while in an intersection by changing lanes? Why then would we “force” bicyclists to do the same thing by moving their actual lane? Doesn’t this build unpredictability into the design itself? Isn’t “they’re unpredictable” a major complaint drivers have about those riding bikes? I just don’t quite understand how so many of our newest, “flagship” bike facilities are designed with zig-zags built right in. What manual did that come from?

And I truly hope that picture from “page 16” is not what got installed; are we really striping a bike lane to the left of a left-turn-only lane? And then moving the bike lane to the right, across the path of left-turning vehicles?Why would we ever do that? If this is indeed what is marked on the pavement now, are we going to amend ORS 814.420 to allow leaving the bike lane when the “bicycle lane or path is to the left of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn left“? Current wording only accounts for the right turn case. Somehow I got the idea that all the left-turn-only sections would be “mixed”, e.g., “sharrowed”, not segregated. Somebody tell me that picture is wrong in its depiction of the bike lane striping. After analyzing the photos from the actual street though, I fear it isn’t. Mmhh. Nuts it drives me.

When are the contortions we bend into to keep bicyclists “out of the way” going to break us? This kind of design is exactly why there is opposition to “protected” or “separated” bike infrastructure. When this kind of design thinking is what we get, who needs it? If I ever had occasion to ride this stretch (disclaimer: I don’t), it would be very tempting to just stick to the right lane.

John Lascurettes
Guest

They need more bike symbols and a distinction between the bike lane and the buffer. Cars are using them as left-turn lanes and bikes are riding in the buffers.

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. It would be immensely clearer to car drivers that the buffers are a no-drive zone – and it would make the wide-to-us bike lane appear narrower (as in too narrow for a car).

I noticed the NE Multnomah separated bike lane improvements (in addition to the planters and bollards) used cross hatching in the buffer zones. Arguably, they are less needed there because of the other deterrents – so why are they not used on N. Williams? It’s insane to save the minimal costs of the project overall by not putting in the no-drive-zone crosshatch marks.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

If signs will fix the problems of inadequate or poorly designed infrastructure, why bother with infrastructure at all ?

Apparently all problems can be solved with a few more signs.

brian
Guest
brian

Just like the sign on N Interstate fixed the dangers of a narrow road

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

I have seen some improvements here, but you really have to assert your right to the lane under the bridges, and then only a few drivers will give it to you. I find tri-met buses some of the least forgiving at these pinch points – waving your arm for a while to signal your lane change and turning around to make eye contact sometimes works….

John Stephens
Guest
John Stephens

I’m a frequent cyclist and driver on Williams, and will say that as a driver its confusing, and as a cyclist its dangerous. While I applaud a city that delivers pro bike solutions to street design, this just isn’t working. My last ride up the street by bike was like a non-stop, near miss obstacle course. Drivers are confused. Cyclists are confused. And my greatest criticism of the left side bike lane is that it’s counter intuitive, and thus people’s reactions are unpredictable, making the likelihood of collisions far higher than ever before. Unfortunately, I think the city needs to go back to square one. I feel the old street design was better than the new one.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Who would have guessed that would happen…….?

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

John,
I share your disappointment with the Williams improvements. However, I disagree that the new is worse than the old. The new design offers wider lanes, minimized conflicts with parked cars, slower traffic, and no bus conflict. There are still some conflicts with turning vehicles (left instead of right), and generally confused and distracted drivers. I would love to see some speed/distraction enforcement here

mikeybikey
Guest
mikeybikey

While I am frustrated daily by the new design on Williams I have come to be thankful for it. Years ago when the project was announced and before we had kids, my spouse and I reasoned that the Williams project would be a good indicator of the city’s overall resolve at building Portland into a world-class cycling city. After all, we wanted to live somewhere we could age in place. Somewhere where we could have a family and grow old and continue walking and cycling for our daily needs and to share the benefits of that lifestyle with our children. If Portland wasn’t seriously committed to it, then we saw no reason to commit to Portland. It was a line drawn quietly in the sand for us. Next year we are moving to Copenhagen. So even as all of this mess plays out and people’s safety is put at risk, I can’t help but be thankful for it because it was something that helped push us into our next chapter. That is, of course, if we can survive riding it over the next several months.

don arambula
Guest
don arambula

I’m reminded of the old line that a camel is a horse designed by committee when I ride Williams. It tries to be too many things to too many users. There is too much variability and as a result a lack of predictability through the corridor. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Hmm. It would have been so much better (for me) had they stuck with the plan and didn’t start that lane split until after Knott St. That’s exactly where I turn right off of Williams, but because they split the lane starting south of Russell Street, I actually either have to quickly merge across two lanes of traffic to make my right, or (more frequently), I get into the lane just before the split and ride the block and a half, taking the lane – but I definitely feel the pressure of cars up my behind during that stretch. Sometimes, I just turn right at Russell and use Rodney to get to Knott, but car traffic can get backed up so bad that I can’t even leave the bike lane take the lane to make my left onto Rodney.

AG
Guest
AG

I rode the same route for years but after giving it a try for a month or so I’ve switched to Steel Bridge to Multnomah, 7th to Knott. Crossing those two lanes every night in the dark was getting to be way too stressful. My new route has its own issues but nothing like Williams.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

It’s a fustercluck out there!

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

I actually drove up N. Williams from Tillamook to Shaver the other day and the whole thing is as confusing as all get-out, with many serious issues; but what stood out to me was the confusion and hazards near Emmanuel Hospital and the New Seasons.

Jason Brune
Guest
Jason Brune

The design in my opinion encourages aggressive driving behavior. More traffic enforcement won’t overcome poor design. Does repeated traffic enforcement in Ladd’s circle, curb people on bicycles and cars from not blowing through stop signs? I think there is hope for Williams, but as people have already suggested, remove the double lanes from Russell to Fremont.

Joe L.
Guest
Joe L.

A couple months ago, after riding the new design of Williams for the first few times, I emailed bikeportland to relate my disappointment and express my desired to eventually be proven wrong. People were still pretty optimistic at that point as it was shiny and new. I still hope it all gets sorted out, but for the time being, I’m enjoying riding up Rodney.
It’s interesting to have a view of the battle raging on Williams from the calm, quiet, nearly traffic-free Rodney.
A for effort, F for execution.

atb
Guest
atb

It’s been a couple weeks now since I’ve been up Williams, as I’ve been actively avoiding it, but there was what looked like a temporary traffic light set up at N Cook. Cook and Williams has long been a mess, even before the construction and bike lane changes, with all the 405 traffic trying to turn north. It seems like now more than ever would be a good time to curb the aggressive nosing out that often feels necessary at that intersection to try to get someone to allow you to turn left. It would certainly protect the bike lane folks.
Does anyone know if that light might be made permanent?

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

The new permanent signal just got installed, actually.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

What sort of physical barrier might be used?

I mean, better signage will surely help, but maybe not enough.

So...
Guest
So...

First thing, I emailed Rich Newlands at PBOT a few weeks ago with some suggestions on areas Williams needs improvement on. My email was ignored, but now I see my suggestions to PBOT are being planned for in a response to this site. Lame.

As for improvements on Williams, I can think of three things that have not been mentioned yet.

1) The green stripped line at Stanton needs to have some improvement. It stands out in you are using Williams before 4 PM during this time of year. But as soon as it gets dark, it is hard to see. This leads to cars in the bike lane. At least once a week I have to deal with someone not knowing this part of Williams is now a 1 lane for cars and I almost get hit.

2)For cars wanting to turn onto Williams from Weidler,there is nothing posted to let people know there is only one lane if you want to not get on the highway. Downtown has a bunch of signs pointing out where there is a bus lane and a lane for cars all over the bus mall. This requires just one sign to give people a heads up on where to turn and not sit in the bike lane trying to merge onto Williams because there was no warning.

3) The crosswalk at New Seasons creates chaos. This is where I see the most close calls with left hooks for myself and others. Keep in mind, half a block away from the cross-walk is a spot to cross Williams at a traffic light. I try my best to be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing here. But I also know cars are turning left here. Sometimes I feel like I might be one of the few people on a bike that will let people cross the street. I’ll stop, others on a bike continue on. The car wanting to turn left sees me stop stop and will turn left assuming other people will follow my lead. And then lots of brake slamming from cars and bikes to avoid a collision. Get rid of the crosswalk. It’s for people that drove to the store and couldn’t find parking in the original lot. Let them walk a little bit more.

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

That crosswalk is temporary while construction is going on to the south of new seasons.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

It’s “lame” that PBOT doesn’t respond to every email sent to them? Or it’s “lame” that they are using your ideas without asking your permission, giving you credit, or thanking you for suggesting signs or road markings that professional traffic engineers possibly, just possibly, might have thought of all on their own? What exactly is “lame”?

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Williams is perhaps a case of “over engineering!” Vancouver was reduced to one lane for motorized traffic years ago when the bike lanes were first put it. Its a generous bike lane, and yes bus operators and bikers have to communicate a bit, but are there any real problems there? The problem on Williams was the TWO lanes for motorized vehicles (= excess speed) and a too narrow bike lane. Wouldn’t have paint done the trick?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Sure, any major arterial street could be made bike friendly by shrinking to a single traffic lane and taking up all the rest of the roadway with bike lane and buffers. But where do all the cars and buses go? Some of the cars go to neighborhood streets. The rest sit in long traffic jams on the inadequate single lane. So do bus passengers, whose 30 minute ride becomes a hour long ordeal. You’ve ruined the street for the 90% of users who are not on bikes. That is bad planning and won’t survive the political backlash.

Commuters are like water flowing downhill. You cannot stop them, they are determined to get to and from their jobs because they, like everyone else, have to pay the bills, if they can’t take Williams they will take some other road. I’d rather have most of the commuters use Williams than have them flood Romney and other neighborhood streets. So Williams has to be able to handle a lot of traffic – which means two lanes.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Oops. “Rodney.”

Sean S.
Guest
Sean S.

Parking patrol is using the new lane now as well. Last time I checked, their 3 wheeled carts were not bicycles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40C2_0m0GBw&feature=youtu.be

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when:
(a) Making a turn;
(b) Entering or leaving an alley, private road or driveway; or
(c) Required in the course of official duty.
–ORS 811.440(2)

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Actually, motorists are not like water…they are intelligent, more or less.
People make different decisions, some go another way, some decide to try a bike or transit, some change jobs, some move. A street like Williams should NOT be sacrificed to those you just want to get thru to a distant destination. That has been the rule far too long throughout Portland.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Realistically, most of them who don’t continue driving on Williams will “go another way”. Like cutting through on Rodney and other quiet neighborhood streets; is that preferable?

Why will most of them not make the other choices?
– Transit gets slowed by traffic jams just like cars do, since most transit to NoPo and points north is bus.
– Jobs are not plentiful enough to be easily changed, nor in this tight housing market is it so easy to move; if it were, why couldn’t one simply tell the bike commuters on Williams that they should change jobs or move?
– Some will try bikes, but bikes are never more than a modest fraction of total commuting mode even for short commutes in the most bike friendly neighborhoods; maybe the car traffic demands on Williams could be trimmed by a few percent, nowhere close to the 50% capacity cut from shrinking the street to one lane.

Thus Williams is, and has to be, a high traffic street. Riding bikes on such a street can be better than it used to be with a narrow, door zone, bus conflict right side bike lane. It can be better than it is with the new configuration but signage and markings that still need improvement and riders and drivers who haven’t figured out the new patterns. But it will never be like a carefree cruise on a quiet MUP. It is always going to be dense, defensive urban riding. The kind of riding that requires riders to be alert, cover their brakes, slow for and maneuver around developing hazards, and use bright lights and quick minds.

The quiet alternative is the small neighborhood streets. If they haven’t been ruined by clogging up Williams.

(I often ride Sandy to/from work, and I’d love to have the sort of bike lanes that everyone is complaining about on Williams.)

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Why is everything a f***** travesty on BikePortland?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Huh? Do you mean that Jonathan has a knack for finding and reporting stories about things that are travesties (e.g., something that is a twisted imitation of the real thing and does not do what it is touted as doing)?

To me, infrastructure like Williams that needs such complicated signage and markings to figure out how to navigate it, and that apparently puts cyclists and motorists in such direct conflict, is a travesty of “safe infrastructure”, that only serves to make bicyclists’ lives (while they last) harder.

Sean S.
Guest
Sean S.

One thing I have noticed during the times that I drive through this area is the 30 mph designation. Many attempt this speed but what I have found with the current load of people on foot, bikes, and in cars is that 20 mph is much more appropriate now and will be even more important when the new high density housing is completed. The majority of the time I ride my bike through here and even at those speeds watching the cross walks with the limited sight lines, cars moving through the area, and other cyclists at times can be tricky.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

People are more creative than we think…they shift work hours, find a carpool for the HOV lanes on I-5, switch to MAX. I could go on and on, not to mention that change is the norm when it comes to where we work and where we live. And now Williams is becoming a place where people live, work and shop and needs to designed and managed accordingly (20mph!); no longer is it a commuter couplet with dangerous speeds and vacant lots.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

The speed limit for Williams should be re-assessed, I agree with that. 30 mph is too high for what the street is becoming.

spencer
Guest
spencer

I love how the graphic mockup details the design, yet the contractor botched it and installed an inferior product AGAINST said construction docs. WHO audits the final product????? in private business its the business owner. WHO OWNS PBOT? I guess WE DO. so pitch a fit already williams users.

Joe
Guest
Joe

riding williams is really tricky now wish they just moved all the auto traffic off that section of road. 😉 making right turns is crazy, also that area near New Seasons can get busy…

Mark
Guest
Mark

Williams & Ivy: PBOT inserted a stop light (good) but allow left turns on red (bad). If you’re headed north on Williams, slow down and make sure merging traffic off Ivy can see you! This is the block just preceding New Seasons, which is also a significant hazard area.

Anna
Guest
Anna

anyone know if either PDOT or new seasons plan to improve this spot, its very hazardous with cars turning both in and out of the parking lot, not to mention cars racing past you so they can cut you off when making aleft across the bike lane into the new seasons lot. Not fun going thru there 1

Justin Gast
Guest
Justin Gast

Next to this issue, in my opinion, the other big issues begin as of the Williams/Alberta intersection.

Biking through the Alberta/Williams intersection, moving the bike lane to the left side created this now awkward, swooping “S” similar to the Showers Pass logo. If you are biking at any decent speed, you have to slide over to the inside buffer separating the bike lane and left turn lane, just to make that intersection smoothly.

Also, approaching the Williams/Killingsworth intersection, the bike lane that separates traffic looking to turn either west or east onto Killingsworth should have begun at N Emerson. So many vehicles look to turn left onto Killingsworth, the small turn lane provided does nothing but force cars to block the entire bike lane, forcing cyclists to weave around traffic.