The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is trying out a new bike lane treatment on North Rosa Parks Way that they hope will lessen the risks of right-hook collisions.
A few weeks ago I noticed the bike lane on Rosa Parks (which was just installed in 2011) as it approaches Albina had been ground off about 50-feet from the intersection. In what used to be a parking lane and bicycle-only lane, PBOT has placed sharrow markings and a right-turn arrow.
The approach to this intersection used to offer dedicated, legally-binding right-of-way for bicycle users. Now it’s a shared environment where right-turning auto users and bicycle users (either going straight or turning right) mix together.
This isn’t the only place in town where PBOT has installed a “mixing zone” (NW Everett and NE Multnomah have them), but this is the first instance I’m aware of where an existing bike lane was removed and replaced with this treatment.
This is a major change to how PBOT treats bike lanes at intersections, so I called around to find out what spurred the new design and whether or not this is something we might be seeing more of.
Turns out this change started via a citizen complaint made to the 823-SAFE hotline. The complaint was fielded by PBOT Traffic Engineer Carl Snyder. In a phone interview, Snyder shared that he ran the complaint by one of PBOT’s bike experts, long-time employee Jeff Smith, and the two of them came up with this design solution.
“Part of me really feels that this is just codifying illegal right turns and puts people on bikes in greater danger.”
— Noah Brimhall, nearby resident
According to Snyder the problem at this intersection was with auto users who would illegally drive over the bike lane prior to the intersection and use the bike lane and/or parking lane to make their right turn. (Oregon law requires that when a bicycle lane is present, drivers must stay out of the bike lane until the intersection.)
This is a scenario that Snyder acknowledges PBOT has “struggled with” for many years (and that’s definitely true). Some people prefer the California example of encouraging auto users to pull into the bike lane prior to the intersection to make a turn, thus reducing the risk of right hooks.
“It’s not a perfect design,” Snyder told us, “but we’ve tried this in some other places and the results are mixed.”
It comes down to where to you want drivers to cross your path; somewhere prior to the intersection or at a known spot in the intersection. Another consideration is that if someone is in a standard lane waiting for a bicycle lane to clear, they are holding up other drivers who want to go straight.
Snyder described scenarios at this intersection of people simultaneously turning right from both lanes (the thru lane and the parking/bike lane). “It’s a problem not just for bikes but for cars too,” he said.
I’m surprised to see PBOT doing this type of design because in the past they have defended the Oregon style bike lane. The thinking is that drivers need to respect the bike lane at all times and by creating some locations where people can drive in them sends a mixed message.
A benefit of this new shared design, Snyder says, is that it’s more clear where the conflict point exists.
There’s no relevant history of collisions at this intersection and it has relatively low vehicle volumes.
Noah Brimhall lives nearby and is the former transportation chair of the Piedmont Neighborhood Association. He says he has, “really mixed feelings about these changes.”
Here’s more from Brimhall:
“I know that before the change folks driving cars regularly turned right from Rosa Parks on to Albina from the bike lane and I found this really annoying and dangerous. One could make the argument that this is a way to make folks driving cars aware of the presence of people on bikes and make sure they know to share this space, but part of me really feels that this is just codifying illegal right turns and puts people on bikes in greater danger. It also feels like a further dilution of the sharrow and it seems like transport agencies are just using the sharrow in every possible situation where a bike could be on a road, but they don’t feel like (or can’t) actually put in a dedicated facility for people on bikes.”
Snyder acknowledged that prior to the change, people in cars were “not doing what they were supposed to do” and it’s his hope that the new design better clarifies those movements.
He added that this is not going to become a new standard treatment but that they’ll monitor how it works. How does Snyder think the design will work? “I think the jury’s out.”
Have you ridden this new mixing zone on Rosa Parks (or elsewhere)? What do you think?
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The message to drivers here is: keep breaking the law to benefit yourself and eventually the city will change the road infrastructure to suit your poor driving habits!
Isn’t that what the “bicycle lobby” gets accused of every time a law like an Idaho stop law gets proposed?
Why?????????? These mixing zones are not safe.
For the NW Broadway story, many suggested that vehicular riding was the solution.
What evidence do you have regarding the shared space not being safe?
I would cite the presence of cars and bikes in the same lane as being evidence. I, for one, feel that a more complete design solution (eg: placing the auto stop line further back from the turn point instead of parallel with it), rather than the band-aid solutions currently applied, would work better.
Changing the auto stop line though will not do all that much for stopping right hooks (which more often happen when the light is green.
Fair enough. But changing the landscape in a holistic way instead of in a vacuum is the direction we should be headed.
It would help at Skyline/Hwy 26, where cars roll through the crosswalk of the MUP so they can zoom right onto the highway without stopping. Need to move the line back, and make it ‘no turn on red’. But they will probably wait for a few people to die first.
That crapfest of an intersection needs some aggressive treatment. It’s such a high-use bicycle crossing I don’t see how drivers aren’t used to having people crossing at that crosswalk. No turn on red would be a dream come true…a 100% unenforced dream.
Skyline/26 has dangerous and predictable behavior from both bikes AND cars: bikes entering the crosswalk at “speeds greater than an ordinary walk,” and cars not stopping on red. Adding “No right on red” signage could get you 25-35% compliance in my estimation, but the danger is still there for cyclists.
The speed of a bike entering the crosswalk there is such a small part of the equation that it’s barely really worth mentioning. I proceed there with caution at all times, and frequently catch drivers rolling all the way through the crosswalk before they even look sideways. For them, the stop line is a couple of feet past the crosswalk.
That’s not to mention the illegal U turns I’ve seen there, the belligerent behavior of drivers when I’m trying to use the crosswalk, the speeding down Skyline to that intersection (it’s marked as a 25mph zone in multiple places), and other nonsense, like the lady I saw running a red in the pre-dawn darkness with her headlights off and her eyes looking down at her phone. But after that, sure, let’s factor in cyclists using the signaled crosswalk a little too quickly.
I am fastidious about approaching that crosswalk (MUP connector on the N side of the intersection) at a speed no greater than an ordinary walk (99% of the time I approach it at a stop, since I have to push the button to get a crossing signal anyway). It doesn’t matter which direction I am going (EB or WB), drivers consistently don’t see me coming—-bright flashing light and all—until I get within 10 feet of their vehicle (or they run into me); then they look genuinely startled when they suddenly realize I am crossing in front of their cars. They’re just. not. looking.
The presence of people driving is everywhere on Portland roads, and as such, indicates nothing. Maybe Michael A can expand on the Greenlane study (also being presented Monday at the OATS conference), but the evidence indicates it is the number of people making turns (volume of traffic) that corresponds to likelihood of a crash in a mixing zone.
Look at the angle of the vehicle in the picture and the position of their hand on the wheel. It looks like they’re just aching to turn really, really badly. Personally, in mixing zones, I’ve been passed extremely dangerously closely. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person driving that large vehicle intended to pass the person on the bike on their right and then make the turn on red.
I’ve been in situations like this many, many times. It doesn’t feel safe at all. Vehicular cycling is great and all, but people need to be able to rest at a stop light and be / feel safe.
It also impedes the flow of traffic for bicyclists, especially on streets with higher traffic volumes. And quite often I’ve noticed that drivers tend to bully their way into these shared spaces, zooming ahead and then cutting off cyclists to shave a split second off their turn.
And then, they have to slow or stop for a crossing pedestrian, anyway much of the time (at least in the mixing zones on Multnomah, which I avoid).
If you’ve been passed closely by a right-turning vehicle on the left, maybe you’re not positioned far enough to the left. In this photo, an experienced California bicyclist would be used to positioning just right of the left (straight) lane, and a California driver would be hugging the curb to the right. But like I said, the difference is that Oregon’s laws, drivers, and bicyclists are different, so this will still be confusing and uncomfortable for many. If you came to California to ride, you would start out feeling uncomfortable with the situation I describe at first, but over time you may even grow to prefer cars passing you on the right to turn right, instead of accelerating on your left and then cutting in front of you. (I say this after riding the last 6 years mainly in silicon valley with the previous 10 living in a few different Oregon cities).
The downside of the California ‘way’, I would say, would be in line with the pedestrian situation that you describe. When traffic flows more smoothly with designs like this, drivers tend to enter the lane to pass cyclists on the right more comfortably, which sometimes means stopping further into the crosswalk. In my observation, though, Oregon drivers aren’t nearly as aggressive as California drivers are though, in general.
I’ve just gotten a second camera for a project where I plan to compile ample ‘fore/aft’ footage of riding a particular stretch of road with traffic in two specific lane positions – one in a new ‘FTR’ bike lane and one positioned just to the right of the travel lane while moving slightly left at right turns. I currently have several clips of being cut off while staying strictly in that bike lane, but the aft camera should capture the behavior of drivers behind me during the intersections.
In that picture though the light IS red (not the cyclist and two lanes of traffic stopped).
You really think the car is going to plow over a stopped cyclist here?
Ethan can read the minds of people in pictures!!!
And I also know everything. By the way, I prefer “ethan” with a lower case “e” to differentiate myself from another poster with the same name.
I realize the light is red. However, that doesn’t stop people from passing on the right and then making a turn on red. It used to happen to me all the time on Multnomah. Enough that I completely avoid it. I take Rosa Parks occasionally, but I might have to look into a different route now.
Willing to bet they’re Cali transplants who don’t know the Oregon laws and are used to their old habits (yes, they are wrong to do that there). Cali cyclists, for the most part, are used to being passed on the right at reds. (I’ve grown to prefer it over being overtaken, red or green).
People driving should have to wait more.
don’t they do that mostly already?
Waiting in the queue at the gas station, at traffic lights, at on ramp signals, at four-way stop signs, behind other cars all hours of the day? Urban driving is mostly waiting in my experience. That is why when someone piloting a car sees an opening or a bicycle rider they feel then can pass they are as likely as not to gun it.
People who live in Oregon should know the rules of the road and follow them. When I first moved here, I was driving, and the first thing I did was read the whole rules of the road so I knew what to expect.
This treatment codifies the LAB’s Ride Smart teaching of lane positioning. This is a right-turn-only lane and sends a clear message to both drivers and bicyclists that 1) bicyclists proceeding straight should not be to the right of right-turning cars, and 2) the bicyclist is expected to be in alignment with the bike lane on the other side of the intersection, not meandering across the intersection while trawling the gutter – this positioning also keeps the bicyclist in the same visual position relative to drivers proceeding straight, which makes his/her movement visible and predictable. (How this works to the human eye was recently taught to me by another BP commenter).
“It comes down to where to you want drivers to cross your path; somewhere prior to the intersection or at a known spot in the intersection.”
Now that’s what may cause confusion here. That “somewhere prior” is 200′ in California; in Oregon it’s 0′. In California it is also clearly marked with where the bike lane stripes become dashed leading up to the intersection.
PBOT has added sharrows all over the city where the bike lane was already dropped for a curb side right turn lane.
I have seen this same treatment on some of the arterials in east Portland. I think it is an improvement. Previously, if you had tried to make a legal right turn in a car, you were likely to get sideswiped by someone zooming up on the right in the bike lane.
How would a person making a legal right turn get sideswiped? Shouldn’t that person look before turning to ensure there were no oncoming vehicles?
And that’s the problem with a bike lane and right turns. It’s the only place in traffic design where a through lane passes to the right of a lane that can turn right.
Bike lanes in California go from a solid white line to a dashed line prior to an intersection like this. It means cars can move to the right to negotiate a right turn if the lane is clear. If the car has moved over safely and a bicycle approaches then the bike can wait behind the car or take the lane and pass the car to the left.
If a cyclist is already in the lane with the dashed line the car still has to wait to move into that portion of the road.
This really is not so difficult or dangerous as all of these behavioral speculations make it sound.
Trust me, they are not doing this here to appease drivers at the expense (or worse, bloodshed) of bicyclists.
He means that another car comes up on you in the bike lane (which is not a lane for cars).
They get sideswiped because another car is illegally using the parking space to the right of the bike lane to speed past stopped cars in the travel lane. You check your mirror for cyclists and start your turn, and they smack into your right side as you are turning. If you look at the pictures above and imagine the “before” state, you can see how this would happen.
That happens to me frequently at this intersection. One travel lane, one parking lane, but TWO traffic lights! I can be stopped with my right turn signal on, and cars will pull up on my right to make a turn.
Two signals is the standard minimum for any approach. It’s for redundancy in the event one of them fails.
Thank you for clarifying. I thought it implied there are two places for cars to stop. I assume others do too, based on their behavior.
It seems like we’re never going to make real strides in building the well-integrated infrastructure needed to accommodate the “interested but concerned” crowd while we continue make these types of regressive steps.
So you feel that leaving the bike lane the way it was (with risk of right hooks) does that more so?
I feel that continuing to build more widely variable and crappy infrastructure in a vacuum, then expecting everyone (motorists and cyclists) to know how to navigate all of them safely is the problem. We need continuity, safety and simplicity if we want more “regular people” to cycle and feel safe doing so. Granny ain’t gonna take the lane, no matter how much we tell her that she should.
This spot, among about 100 others around the city, is a prime example of the need for separate infra. Moving the bike lane 4-6ft away from the auto lane, then separating the two, puts cyclists in driver’s peripheral view, instead of slammed right up next to them – which is where the blind spot occurs. This is the exact design principle that is in place all across northern Europe. It’s not perfect, but it is better than what we’re currently doing.
I agree with you mostly, but I think the biggest blind spot is in drivers’ MINDS. They think of themselves as being in the right lane, so when they turn right, there’s nothing for them to look for.
Good on them, let’s hope this design comes to more intersections with bike lane right-hook problems. Thumbs up!
I ride through here everyday and have yet to experience a problem with the redesigned intersection (knock on wood). Works for me.
Yesterday I got honked at by an impatient driver of a pickup behind my in a right-turn lane. I was waiting for traffic to clear before turning right-on-red on to a multi-lane road. I was waiting for a pick-up to pass because it was changing lanes and I wasn’t sure where it would end up, the driver behind me shouted that I should just go for it and not wait for every lane to be clear before going. IMO, the problem with mixing turn lanes with bikes going straight is that Oregon drivers feel entitled to the right on red and have zero patience to wait behind a bike for any reason or for any length of time. These mixing would better, IMO, if right-on-red were abolished.
I would love it if right-on-red were illegal (and enforced), except for bikes. I see lots of close calls with people nearly running over pedestrians all the time.
Be careful what you wish for. I appreciate turn-on-red when I’m on my bike… especially left turn on red from a two-way to a one-way street. I use that all the time.
Snyder described scenarios at this intersection of people simultaneously turning right from both lanes (the thru lane and the parking/bike lane). “It’s a problem not just for bikes but for cars too,” he said.
But the well proven “fix” for this issue is to extend the sidewalks or create a #neckdown, narrowing crossing distances for pedestrians and sending visual cues for drivers to slow down and make a much safer right turn.
This intersection is a classic example of drivers breaking the law by using excess road space (the parking lane) and making it a right turn lane.
If PBOT added a traffic calming measure like a neckdown/curb extension it would immediately solve the conflict between road users and make it safer for all road users!
And in this case the curb could be extended and made into an island with the bike lane becoming protected at the intersection.
Sounds to me like Snyder and Smith need to think a little harder and actually do some research… or be fired!
Curb extensions, as you describe them, are $12,000 changes that change the roadside. A small island, not connected to the curb is about $2,000. If the parking lane is repurposed to bike lane in the future, making the bike lane the buffer, that infrastructure then has to be removed. The traffic investigations section that installs such operational changes does not have $10k to spend on every problem.
Sounds like an excused wrapped in a nice warm blanket of rhetoric to me… peoples safety should not come with a price tag!
And telling me “the money is not there” is just more rhetoric. PBOT or “The traffic investigations section that installs such operational changes” (quoted in a nerdy voice) can easily allocate the funds for safe, well designed street corners/intersections but they choose to surround them in red tape!
If we didn’t have to pay for the ridiculously over-built Sellwood bridge replacement…
Sounds like you’ve never worked with cities on bike plans or proposed funding allocations from city councils for bike projects before.
I offered a solution, a good one at that.
What is your solution Mr. Lobbyist?
You’re looking at it in the photo above.
Then it sounds like You’ve never ridden a bike, chief.
But there are cheaper physical barriers, such as surface mount delineators, that could perform the same duty as a curb island for far cheaper.
I’m cringing just thinking of a cyclist at that red light, sandwiched uncomfortably close to cars on both sides.
The plastic posts that bend over when a person driving drives over them? Illusions of safety is what we already have with signals.
That is not a parking lane at the intersection, it’s a bus stop. Tri-Met #44 stops @Rosa Parks and Albina. The solution you propose would not allow for the bus stop right there.
There are several right turn lanes off major thoroughfares In the Gresham area that continue the bike lane through the right turn lane, indicated by broken lines down the middle of the lane. If a through bicyclist is in front of the motor vehicle, the right-turning driver just has to wait. Why couldn’t this have been done at the above intersection? There’s also a bike lane at 257th northbound and Stark eastbound at the corner of MHCC that is routinely used as a right turn lane by motorists, completely illegally.
So, confine the cyclist to the left side of the right turn lane because…?
I wouldn’t say that it confines them. The combined turn/bike lanes are only about 10ft wide, so no one expects the cyclist to make room for them to squeeze by on the right. I’ve used them hundreds of times with motorists waiting behind me, and have never had an incident. The treatment at Rosa Parks is wide enough that motorists will expect cyclists to stay left so they can squeeze by on the right.
But people biking should not have to feel the need, or be expected, to keep to the left in a shared lane that does not require them to turn right. Take the lane.
taking the lane in this case, if you are going straight from what is in effect a forced right turn lane, means at the very least getting to the left part of the lane.
actually i do not understand why the cyclist in the photo is not in the through lane itself. well, i do understand. it is an artifact of portland’s relying on paint and signage rather than other methods of educating people how to use the roads. does not have to be vehicular versus facilities all the g*dd*mn time, why not both.
but if you want to stay in the right turn lane, you have a choice to move far enough left that someone waiting to turn right can get past, or not.
also, the argument scofflaw motorists achieved this result by violating the former arrangement does not impress me. the previous design was wrong and everyone [edit: everyone who was paying attention] knew it.
There is also the pesky law that requires cyclist to ride to the right. The sharrow in this case would override that for this lane.
i don’t think far to right applies in a forced right turn lane when you are going through. in this case the sharrow belongs in the through lane.
I interpret “as far right as practicable” to mean “generally not in the far left lane if there is more than one”. It is safer to ride where drivers are looking and very dangerous to hug the curb.
I agree, but often easier said than done
BP’s random moderation may have caught my other comment, but I agree, it looks like there’s space here to do that. If you’re ever in Sunnyvale check out Fremont Ave eastbound at Bobwhite – look closely and you can see how they were going to stripe it until we convinced them to do exactly what you suggest.
This kind of design is fine if drivers will properly judge a bike’s speed and all bikers carry a sharrow bat. (A sharrow bat is a lot like a sharrow lane: it’s just a regular bat with a sharrow painted on it to remind drivers to share the lane.) Tightening the thru lane with a buffer line and some reflector bumps would reinforce the mixing area and prevent late cut-over drivers.
Get rid of these.
Someone is going to get run over (or shot) because they blocked someone from making a right on red.
Actually looks like ample space here for a single bicyclist to position just right of the straight lane and let right-turning cars pass on the right. Don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t let traffic flow, unless maybe there was a crowd of riders waiting.
I don’t understand the backlash – this is not an uncommon lane treatment, just not popular in Oregon. I’ve ridden through treatments like this in Washington and Vancouver (BC), and I’m trying to get this treatment at a known dangerous right-turn lane in San Jose (EB Williams @ Saratoga, a sharrowed RTOL with bus and bike exception).
If I’m not mistaken, some of the left-turns on N. Williams work this way now. The bike lane becomes a shared lane so that cars can turn left without having to cross a dedicated bike lane. I was driving up Williams when I first noticed this, and I found it confusing at first. Even though I’m familiar with sharrows, I was reluctant to pull into a lane that had a painted bike on it.
why couldn’t they leave the bike lane and just put in a turn lane where the parking lane is at?
then everybody gets their own lane and no cars turning right are stuck behind a bike going forward…
Agreed. It appears that parking is maintained fairly close to the intersection here. It also looks to me like you could easily fit a RTOL auto lane and bike lane together here. I recently convinced the city of Sunnyvale to do this treatment at an intersection where they had planned a very unorthodox (and HUGE) hashed buffer forcing right-turning drivers to stay far left and bicyclists along the curb until the very intersection. It was difficult to explain, but after the half-hour we spent at rush-hour watching drivers cross the painted buffer, some bicyclists ride straight across it, and others nearly get hit by staying in the bike lane it was an easy sell.
I’ll be very surprised if they see incidents rise here with this treatment. Problem is there were probably no incidents to begin with, so it’s hard to judge treatments like this in innocuous places. Put this treatment at the bottom of the hill on Broadway (and slow cars down) and I’d bet you’d see incidents decline.
Eight foot parking lanes are a substandard design for at moving vehicle lane. The standard (minimum) is 10 feet. Rosa Parks is an NHS route, so it should be expected that trucks will access the commercial areas to the south on Albina via Rosa Parks. As such, the standard becomes 11 feet, though PBOT will use 10 feet if need be.
every right turn lane should have an “except bicycles” provision… should be state law that bikes can go straight in a right-turn lane in the absence of a bike lane…
And transit busses.
I’ve always assumed that to be the case. Oh well.
Not unless signed.
I’m your “interested but concerned but still bikes every day” older citizen, and I’m actually quite comfortable with this type of mixing zone. I haven’t ridden the one depicted here, but I use Multnomah all the time, and on the whole, I’d much rather merge into the car lane and be clearly visible to drivers. The road markings on Multnomah for these mixing zones, though kind of weird, seem to communicate the situation pretty well to most all users.
As to getting way over to the left side of a right-turn only lane, I always just assumed that’s what I was supposed to do. It signals my intent to go straight, while leaving room for a car to turn right–or at least letting me feel like I’m not actively preventing some impatient driver from turning right on red.
Mind you, my riding style is highly characterized by “avoid ticking drivers off at all costs.”
“It signals my intent to go straight, while leaving room for a car to turn right” 🙂
So my question to you, Anne, is do you feel like a guinea pig here, and that the city is gambling with your life?
This sort of mixed lane is very easy to use.
Cyclist going straight: ride or wait just to the right of the white line, where the sharrows is. Leave room for a car to go by on the right and make its right turn.
Cyclist turning right: ride then turn from closer to the curb. Stay far enough out into the lane that you take up the right turn lane.
This isn’t really new….we have the same thing on Jefferson, minus the sharrows: https://www.google.com/maps/place/US-26+%26+E+Sylvan+Dr,+Sandy,+ORemail@example.com,-122.691637,3a,58.7y,285.36h,83.34t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s7xs-bUagfS0Ed8s5l2Yr5g!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x54958ed17b6fd051:0xbbaf864aa3219a6f
I do exactly what John suggests, which is to stop just to the right of the car in the picture, leaving enough for a car to get by me on the right. About half of the cars wait behind me anyway.
I never leave room for a car to illegally pass me on the right… I don’t need to enable their bad habits…
Yes, I suppose I’m being courteous to my own detriment.
I was recently climbing Springville near a blind corner and heard a full-size moving truck coming up behind me going full steam. I was in my rights to take the lane right in front of him (he was maybe 100 feet behind me), risking the wrath of the driver for a good half a minute while he waited for us to go around the corner. Or I could have continued riding and risked being caught in the wrong spot while he made a horribly unsafe pass, which I’m certain he intended to do, based on the roar of his engine. I pulled off onto the wide gravel shoulder and stopped, moving completely out of the way for it. The path of least resistance was to submit. Do I have Stockholm syndrome, do I need assertiveness training, or is it okay to compromise our beliefs once in a while in the name of pragmatism/survival?
I was riding down Germantown last night and there was a very courteous driver behind me. Once I got to a pull off, I slowed down on the shoulder and then slowly exited to the gravel surface so they could pass. I’m really glad they were so courteous! Previously in the night, I was nearly smashed by a speeding vehicle on Skyline. They came out of nowhere and passed within 2 or 3 feet of me where there was only a tiny shoulder (next to a very large dumptruck or other vehicle). I almost got caught between the vehicles, but luckily I had just enough room to slow down and get out of the path of the driver.
But it is legal for a cyclist to pass a car on the right? Don’t get it at all since the right hook is a big rally cry here and it is always the autos fault.
Lots of problems with that intersection at goose hollow:
1) There’s a bit of a bulb-out at the location dan is linking to – many cars do not have the room to pass a waiting cyclist, and the light can stay red for several minutes b/c of Max trains.
2) Even if no bike is present, right turns from Jeff are sketchy b/c the full crosswalk is not in view until the car driver is committed to their right turn and gaining speed.
3) Thru cyclists are very vulnerable here as they are clipping in, climbing Jefferson, negotiating two sets of tracks, and merging into a car lane, all in the middle of the intersection with ZERO warning to bikes or drivers. This can be quite a shock to your system, especially with all the cars loudly accelerating and getting ready for their own merge just ahead.
I go in full-on sprint mode here, from that intersection all the way up until the right lane becomes a right turn only about 4 blocks later, and the bike lane reappears afterward. But I’m pretty quick in an uphill sprint and I can go fast enough that cars don’t try to pass me here. I would not want to take this route as a typical bike commuter.
We’ll never be Copenhagen. Deal with it.
People keep saying “like California” but the fact is, the law and design is the same in 49 states, only Oregon stands alone. People move, people drive across states. Standing alone is not good.
Also, in the pictured example, it seems like there is enough room for both a narrow bike lane and narrow turn lane.
Another treatment Ive seen is keeping the solid line on the left, and rather than erasing what was the solid line on the right side of the bike lane, making it striped. That way its clear bicycles have the priority but vehicles can pass into the bike lane if theyre too big to fit in the 8 foot right turn lane.
skip striped, aka, skipped?
Based on the comments I may firmly be in the minority here, but I like this treatment better than just continuing the bike lane. From a safety standpoint, removing the fundamental conflict that causes right hook crashes—through (bicycle) traffic in a lane positioned to the right of right-turning (auto) traffic—is a clear win. For that reason you see this sort of treatment all over Copenhagen and many other great bicycle cities.
The real question is one of comfort, and we’ve been having the debate about whether this idea is a win or a loss for comfort for years now. Comfort is such a personal thing that what may well be more comfortable for me is less so for you, but since on-street bike lanes require a person cycling to interact with car traffic to some extent anyway this doesn’t strike me as being much less comfortable than having dedicated bike-only space.
I wonder if the green lane project has any findings about how people perceive this design from a comfort standpoint. Michael, do you know? I recall that they investigated some elements of this treatment on Multnomah…
There may also be simple fixes to make it more comfortable as well. A bike box might work well here to maintain dedicated space for bikes, and the accompanying turn-on-red prohibition would prevent cars from trying to squeeze around someone on a bike, or would keep people on bikes in the middle of the lane from feeling like they are delaying a turning car. You could also manage the merge more deliberately as is done on Multnomah. Knowing that you’ve changed the key problem from one of safety (right hook risk) to one of comfort (bikes and cars sharing space) point you toward some potential fixes.
I don’t like it nearly so much as the truly 8-80 Dutch solution—physical separation of the bikeway and separate signal phases for bikes & turning cars—but I think this is a better design than a continuous bike lane that doesn’t address the right hook conflict. That said, we’ve been having this conversation for years now with no clear consensus. I remain struck by a comment from Roger Geller explaining why we don’t see this treatment more in Portland in response to a post I wrote suggesting it as a potential fix after the Kathryn Rickson crash: http://portlandtransport.com/archives/2012/12/why_bike_boxes.html#comment-45315
I agree with you in some respects Brian. But the huge difference that we have to accept here in the U.S. (yes, Portland drivers are not all that much different than typical American drivers)… Is that our road/car culture means that shared environments tend to be MUCH more uncomfortable than they should be.
This type of design introduces a shared environment and shared environments only work when road users have a base level of respect and understanding of one another. Here in Portland that shared respect doesn’t exist — from bikers or drivers in many cases… Therefore this design doesn’t achieve its potential and therefore I see it as a step backward from a design that affords legal separation and dedicated space for bicycle operators.
And shared environments will never work if we don’t even try them. Change requires change.
I’m all for trying new things… I just don’t think it’s fair or acceptable to use people who choose to ride bicycles as guinea pigs.
like with the green boxes
I hear ya, it’s an imperfect solution and certainly introducing the shared environment has its drawbacks. But I also think the shared environment can be designed in such a way to induce (if not outright demand, which is what the Commercial Greenway design elements attempt to do) the respect toward bikes from people driving that you rightly point out doesn’t exist by default.
This particular mixing zone clearly doesn’t do this. It’s, what, 14 feet wide? Obviously when people driving see a swath of pavement that wide, the message they hear is, “I can haz lane?” There’s no marking that prioritizes the bike traffic such as the shark’s teeth on Multnomah. The Danes also tend to add a blue strip through the intersection following the mixing zone (example: https://goo.gl/maps/8RQB4) which I consider a key design element—I think it’s a clear, visceral way to communicate to people driving that they are, in fact, in a _bike_ lane, temporarily, to turn right.
I haven’t ridden that Rosa Parks installation yet, but it seems like perhaps a bad execution of a not-all-that-terrible concept for addressing the right hook conflict. Aside from executing the design better, a real improvement to address the right hook conflict would probably require both significant parking removal and the expenditure of more than a pittance on a bikeway, and I thus recoil at the mere mention of it.
“Here in Portland that shared respect doesn’t exist.”
That may be your sentiment, but I don’t think it’s a fair statement from most of my road experience anywhere I’ve ridden, plus you’re qualifying to the ideal with should be. Yeah, I’ve had close calls, honks, even been intentionally knocked over by a door once, but the majority of my riding experience is quite positive, and I ride near LOTS of cars and at higher speeds. Some of my biggest frustrations/dangers even come from drivers who are too courteous and do the unexpected.
I also disagree that this is using bicyclists as guinea pigs; you came from California, you know this type of treatment is a new thing mainly to Oregon and especially to Portland. I guess you can just lump me in with the other pragmatists here and not the idealists and dreamers.
Paikiala makes a good point about these “experiments” – they don’t stand without liability to the city, and Portland’s even considering bike boxes (for example) has resulted in them being tried in many other places in the US, even unlikely candidates like Houston.
The fact that NW Everett sucks does not mean this doesn’t work anywhere else. There’s nothing wrong with the shared lane above. It’s flat/uphill, so even the best of us are moving slower than auto traffic. Going downhill on Everett, you better believe I’m nervous about matching speed or even catching up to cars.
Consider the scenarios if you stay to the left:
A) run down from behind: think how many times it could happen, and how often it does. If you’ve ever been hurt riding a bike, this is probably not the thing that did it.
B) cut off: aim parallel to the danger, i.e. toward the curb, and tap the brakes. The danger, now moving even faster than you, will slip off into the distance.
C) everything goes fine: cars may turn at the intersection on your right—perhaps illegally, whatever. I’m pretty law-abiding, but glass houses and all that.
I rode through this intersection (from the West) last night and noticed some additional things about it. This is the only intersection with this treatment on this road. Most of the intersections are similar to how this was previously. In some cases, the parking on the right side is not there.
I noticed that since 1 intersection has changed, drivers have begun treating all intersections on this road the same way. When I was riding down this road (around 1AM), there were only 3 total other moving vehicles on the road (2 cars, 1 bike). The only driver to make a turn, did so illegally, merging into the bike lane before turning (and directly in front of me as I was travelling pretty quickly).
I also noticed that 1 vehicle was parked in a way that it was blocking part of the new “mixing zone” and a significant portion of a driveway as well. The parking spaces aren’t clearly defined, the lane is wide enough that drivers will attempt to pass a standing cyclist, etc. It’s not a good design.
Many people notice stuff that was there before after a change happens nearby. PBOT often gets complaints about speeding on their street after a neighbor’s street gets speed bumps, even when the speeds haven’t changed, or meet the definition of speeding.
It happens other ways as well. Once when considering a move to HI, my wife and I suddenly began noticing all the HI stickers on cars. I’m pretty sure they were there before.
It might be a small dataset, but it’s not confirmation bias. Literally, the only driver to turn, turned illegally (and dangerously).
Did you ask the driver if they were from California? 🙂
Nope, but it doesn’t matter. I’m from Illinois, and until 2011, pedestrians didn’t have the legal right of way in crosswalks. But it’s different in Oregon, and I care about safety, so I know and understand the rules of the road in the place that I live. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do that.
I care about safety too, but I ride as if drivers don’t know or care about the rules of the road and it’s treated me pretty well. You and I really don’t disagree in the big picture, just about this treatment. You’re talking about a scenario where a few people drove by you on the right to take their turn. I’d venture to guess that in the 60 or so miles I rode just today this happened dozens of times. Outside of OR this is really not uncommon. Inside of OR i’m starting to think that this fanatical separation of traffic flow may actually do more harm than good.
I completely agree Ethan, you’ve experienced the exact thing I see happening all the time on N. Williams. It is confusing to the already dense motorists when one intersection allows mixing and another does not.
I’ve seen so many near misses from motorists completely ignoring the law and other road users (cyclists) by merging and mixing across a bike lane to turn left on N. Williams.
The true issue is PBOT and others Don’t see the big picture that having or “trying” different options only adds complexity and confusion. They need to stick to a clear, concise procedure for intersection design and mixing zone is not a good one because current Oregon laws don’t jive with it like it would in California where its clear there is a mixing zone 100 feet before each intersection.
Who ever pulled the trigger here doesn’t have a clue and should be fired.
My shop is on this corner and from what I can see, the joint use lane has been working pretty will.
My only gripe is how many damn signs have been installed. Visually, this intersection was fairly clean and now it has advertisements on an ugly bus bench, three additional (and unnecessary) signs and additional markings painted on the road.
If the arrow is painted on the road, do we really need two signs repeating the message?
The mixing-zone concept has been working pretty well on SE 92nd & Flavel. I’m pretty certain they replaced the traditional bike lane with a mixing zone a few years back or so.
At this intersection, if I position myself at the left edge of the mixing zone, there’s plenty of room for cars to turn right. And in my experience, drivers have typically been respectful and have proceeded carefully if I make it obvious that I’m leaving them space to turn right.
Dan & El Biciclero – we already dissected Sylvan/MUP ad nauseam in 2012. Kind of fun to re-read the comments. http://bikeportland.org/2012/06/01/on-bike-video-highlights-notorious-sylvanhwy-26-intersection-72655
Sorry. Burr in saddle.
I would think a pocket bike lane would be better here: