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Another use for green? City adds bike refuges at SE Ankeny/Sandy/11th

Posted by on March 26th, 2015 at 9:23 am

bike in refuge ankeny

Looking southwest down SE Sandy Boulevard from Ankeny, Sandy and 11th.

One of Portland’s weirder intersections has a new splash of color.

As part of its repaving project on inner Southeast Ankeny — which has, for the record, greatly improved the ride between SE 11th and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — the city has added some interesting and potentially useful new features to the six-way intersection of Ankeny, Sandy and 11th.

This is not only a crossing for people headed east-west on the Ankeny/Couch/Davis greenway, it’s also the point where folks headed up SE 7th/Sandy either continue north toward the 12th Avenue bridge into the Lloyd District and Northeast Portland or else turn east/west. It’s also where people headed into Southeast turn from Ankeny onto 11th Avenue (an underrated biking street if you ask me).

Because of the difficulty of anticipating the numerous turning patterns, this is probably the single most annoying intersection I use frequently myself. I’ve often ended up taking the crosswalks, even though they’re slightly out of direction, because people in cars are more likely to yield to me.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has made an effort to guide people on bikes more directly through the intersection by marking in green a pair of refuge zones next to the median that divides Sandy at this point. The suggestion seems to be that people bike across the intersection in two distinct stages, waiting in the middle as needed.

looking west no bikes

Looking west toward inner SE Ankeny.

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You can also see another new feature here, which seems to be intended specifically for people heading northeast on Sandy and turning east onto Ankeny. It’s a green-striped crossbike that marks a bike’s path across the narrow neck of 11th Avenue:

crossbike ankeny

The white-striped turn section has been marked for years, but the green color treatment is new — presumably to catch the attention of people entering 11th from the north, perhaps with multiple vehicles obstructing their view of anyone riding up the Sandy hill.

This is an interesting pair of treatments in part because it includes two different ways Portland, and the United States in general, has been using green pavement coloring.

The refuges are green in the sense of “safe for bikes to stop here,” like an intersection bike box.

The crossbike, meanwhile, is green in the sense of “all users take caution – potential bike/car conflicts.” In addition to crossbikes, you can also see this at some mixing zones, like the one at SE Division and 60th.

There’s a third use of green as well: solid green bike lanes, like those on SW Stark and Oak, that emphasize that people shouldn’t drive there.

Some people don’t like that green pavement has come to mean such different things in different contexts. Others think that as long as it gets the basic point across — heads up, bikes nearby — the finer details are less important. I’m not sure where I come down, but I’ll be looking forward to seeing if these new markings improve my crossing experience.

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AP
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AP

As someone who crosses that intersection daily, I noticed myself behaving differently due to the green box.

Previously, I would sit the intersection and wait until I felt safe crossing ALL lanes of traffic. This could be especially tricky because it is always hard to tell which cars were turning left onto 11th and which would continue SE on Sandy Blvd.

In the past week, I’ve noticed myself seeing the green box as the intermediate goal instead of waiting for all lanes of motor vehicle traffic to clear. Small step, but makes the whole intersection more manageable.

That said, like you, I tend to frequently use the crosswalks just because it guarantees a car stopping, especially the dreaded left-turners who always get a tad too antsy.

Laura Krebs
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Laura Krebs

I bike this intersection daily and it is extremely frustrating. I honestly do not know who has right of way most of the time. If you’re in one of the boxes you had a stop sign so why should cars going straight (or sorta turning) yield to you? But then again, if they don’t, when would bikes ever get a chance to go? It’s a more colorful mess but still a mess.

Hebo
Guest
Hebo

“I’ve often ended up taking the crosswalks, even though they’re slightly out of direction, because people in cars are more likely to yield to me.”

Why do you expect people in cars to yield when you’re a vehicle (bike) with a stop sign crossing other vehicles (cars on Sandy) who have the right of way? You wouldn’t expect this treatment in a car.

I also use this intersection on an almost daily basis. I occasionally use the crosswalks to cross the intersection (usually eastbound in evening traffic) not because it forces cars to stop for me, but because my crossing there clears up confusion and risk of cars in the left hand lane that are *not* making a left turn doing something unexpected (in particular, waiting cars that pull around cars waiting to turn. The crosswalk also crosses me slightly farther down Sandy, so that left-turning southbound traffic can execute the turn without me blocking it.

MaxD
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MaxD

I rode this today and was disappointed to see it. I was really hoping for a substantial safety improvement here, but a little paint implies this is what we get for the next decade.

Brent
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Brent

I used to use this intersection every day and often crossed Sandy in two stages stopping at the island in between. While I would have appreciate a greater safety improvement on this very strange intersection, I think this is better than nothing and helps encourage both bike riders and drivers to view this as a sanctioned method of crossing the street.

sean
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sean

This intersection should be a pedestrian Mecca. Here’s what I would want there:

http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag97/Caudipteryx/Screen%20Shot%202013-12-10%20at%204.58.29%20PM_zps3ppp05tq.png

spencer
Guest
spencer

having ridden in the motherland (Amsterdam/ Utrecht), I still cannot understand why our nation (started by Dutch Colonialists), can’t adopt the triangles (that are all over Europe) in ALL crossing treatments where there is bike and pedestrian conflict with motor vehicles. the points clearly indicate ROW for everyone involved.

Eric Iverson
Guest
Eric Iverson

Yes that van is legal. Going from SW on Sandy to southbound 11th. I was excited about this until I saw the post about “this is what we get for the next decade”….hmmph probably true

jennie
Guest
jennie

I bike through this intersection daily and it is usually the most stressful part of my commute. I wrote to safe@portlandoregon.gov about it last fall after a close call, and below is what they wrote back. FWIW, if anyone is interested in further improvements I suggest contacting them.

——–
Thank you for contacting 823-SAFE. I was unable to find any specific improvements identified for this location, but did find that the location had been added to our list of unfunded locations that may warrant some improvement. Here are the notes that have been added to the request:

“This location has marked crosswalks and islands. NCHRP 562 indicates that if 20 peds or more are using this crossing at peak hour it may warrant an active or enhanced type treatment such as rapid flash beacons. However, given that this is a 6-legged intersection a higher level of treatment may be considered, such as a traffic signal

“PBOT funding for these types of improvements is nearly non-existent. We have partnered with TriMet to install rapid flash beacons at some locations with high Trimet ridership. Unfortunately, there is no bus stop at this location so it would not be eligible for TriMet funding.”

In addition, I ran this past Active Transportation staff who felt that engineers may want to take another look at the intersection from a bike facility design standpoint. I have created a request for an evaluation and it may be 12 or more weeks before the investigation is completed. If you wish to contact us about this request, please refer to TI #840788.
———–

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

The green makes sense to me and is consistent throughout. In all cases, it means “bikes go here”. Since the cross-bike is only half green, it implies a mixed lane for bikes and cars.

galavantista
Guest
galavantista

Would anyone EVER let their children bicycle here? Let’s see: Six-way intersections, high-speed arterial street cutting across the grid, no turning restrictions from any lane… who makes up these zero-vision “facility design” rules?

Brad
Guest
Brad

There used to just be a painted box where each of those green areas are now. I used them to take one direction of traffic at a time when traffic was too thick to get across all lanes at once. I never knew if I was supposed to or not, I was just being opportunistic. Nice to see it kinda codified with the green. Also, even before the green paint existed, if you moved your bike into this area, many cars would stop and yield to you because you were making them nervous by hanging out in the middle of the road.

Christopher Sanderson
Guest

One of the sketchiest intersections on the east side. I only hope the green markings improve things a bit.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I’m afraid for the “portland nice stop” for a northbound bike by drivers in the left-hand westbound lane of Sandy as it is narrowing there — the right-hand lane may take that stopping as an opportunity to “win” the merge without every having seen the crossing bike.

This is probably a problem with those crosswalks already, but the pedestrian actually has the right of way in that case and the second lane must stop, whereas the bike is just being invited into a trap where they should not legally be. I hope the green paint doesn’t exacerbate this.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

it looks like the signs in front of the silver van are new too… caution while turning, and yield to bikes… the tiled sign is very confusing as it seems to mean that you have to yield to bikes going east-west but I think it only means bikes coming up Sandy…

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

11th Ave is a great bike route. Join me there. It is my preferred fair weather route home in the afternoons when the Vera Katz gets too crowded when the weather is nice.

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

We need more colors for additional uses. Let’s get some purple out there! And orange! 🙂

Eric
Guest
Eric

The westbound green box is a little scary, since there are two southbound lanes. One lane will stop and prompt you to cross, while traffic whizzes by in the other lane.

I wave drivers to go on when I don’t feel completely safe to cross. The drivers are being nice, but they usually aren’t aware of what all comes at you in that intersection.

Eastbound green box is great.