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After man adds warning paint to sunken grate, state roads agency calls it vandalism

Posted by on August 5th, 2015 at 1:23 pm

sunken grate prepaint

A 2012 photo of the offending grate, long before Parsons’ unsanctioned paint job.
(Photos: Jim Parsons)

Update: After this and other media coverage of Parsons’ action and ODOT’s repsonse, the agency has announced plans to fix the grates and says it is grateful for Parsons’ work.

A local man who says he’s been warning state officials for seven years about a sunken grate in the middle of Barbur Boulevard’s northbound bike lane has finally gotten some action from the agency.

After he marked the grate himself with yellow warning paint and with the letters “ODOT KNOWS,” the agency is planning to visit the site … to erase his paint.

In a Wednesday email to the man, Jim Parsons, an Oregon Department of Transportation staffer with the title “citizen’s representative” scolded him for what she said would make the street more dangerous.

odot knows straight

“Cyclists may take that as a sign that they must avoid the drain and steer themselves into a lane of traffic,” wrote the staffer, Monica Bustos. “Mr. Parsons, I was made aware that you painted the drain yourself. It is dangerous, you are on the highway without proper traffic control to advise the public that someone is on the roadway. It is also illegal to vandalize (paint) ODOT property. The ODOT Maintenance Manager will now be spending the already limited maintenance budget funds on removing the vandalism from ODOT property.”

In an interview earlier this week and in previous emails to ODOT over the last week, Parsons said he had first notified ODOT about the problem in 2008, but was moved to start worrying about it again in June after he accidentally crossed it while biking to Portland State University and broke a spoke from the impact.

“Front wheel in, front wheel out, rear wheel in, rear wheel out,” Parsons said Wednesday, describing the jolts of crossing the grate. Here’s a photo he took showing the depth of the grate:

prepaint with foot

In an email to ODOT Monday and in an interview with BikePortland Wednesday, Parsons said his preferred solution would be to “grind the thing smooth.”

“You don’t have to raise the grate, you don’t have to pave it, you just have to grind the damn thing,” Parsons said.

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Parsons said the site is north of Barbur’s two narrow bridges where the bike lanes vanish and south of the crosswalk that ODOT installed after the 2010 death of a woman walking her bike across the street.

Parsons said he decided to paint the street himself only after a series of responses from ODOT dating back to 2008.

“Every time I call they’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll be paving that area next year,'” Parsons said in an interview last week. “They just don’t think it’s a problem.”

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-14

Jim Parsons in a 2011 photo.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Parsons applied his paint Friday. The “ODOT KNOWS” message, he said, was intended to be a message to any lawyers whose clients might be injured by collisions with the grate.

“It’s downhill,” Parsons said. “With a tailwind, you can hit 40 mph easy. … Sooner or later, somebody’s going to hit that thing the wrong way.”

Parsons said he had previously painted warning paint around the grate back in 2012, but without the “ODOT KNOWS” message.

Also on Friday Parsons also applied paint to another location just to the south. Here are his photos of that grate before his paint job (with a Home Depot paint stirrer to show the scale):

paint stirrer wide

The divot between grate and pavement runs parallel to the roadway, so a bicycle wheel might be caught in it.

paint stirrer closeup

And here’s his unsanctioned treatment:

odot knows yellow

odot knows curve

Parsons does seem to have received one fairly detailed email reply about his problems, sent on Monday by ODOT Active Transportation Liaison Jessica Horning. She sent this in response to his emailing a link in which he shared his photos of the unsanctioned paint job.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the update. I’ve forwarded your message on to our maintenance crew, who will take another look at this area. As I mentioned last time, we plan to adjust these grates next time we have work scheduled in the area. I do not currently have a timeline to give you.

As I mentioned on the phone, ODOT recently conducted a Road Safety Audit on Barbur. The whole RSA team rode over these grates on a bike ride from Naito to the “Crossroads” (Capitol Highway/99W/I-5 interchange) and back… and the consultant leading the RSA bike commutes on Barbur daily. The RSA report will include prioritized recommendations for near and long term bike safety improvements on Barbur. I know that storm grates are included on the long list of issues that were noted during the RSA, but do not know where they will fall on the draft prioritized list. I will let you know when there is a complete version of the RSA report ready to share. You can also read more about the Barbur RSA on our website: www.BarburSafety.org.

(We reported about ODOT’s in-progress road safety audit in May.)

On Wednesday morning, Parsons received the email from Bustos, saying that “The ODOT Maintenance Manager has looked at the drain and determined that paint lines are not in the best interest of anyone” and informing him that ODOT would be spending part of its maintenance budget to remove the paint. It didn’t mention any schedule for fixing the grates.

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John Lascurettes
Guest

Unbelievable. Just. Wow.

Bella Bici
Guest

Far from unbelievable. Especially on Barbur Blvd.

Bicyclists are given the gutter with all of it’s obstructions and detritus. Yeah, the land of third-class transportational citizens.

ODOT, you suck when it comes to planning that is inclusive of the safety of bicyclists!!! Boooooo!!!

rick
Guest
rick

pedestrians too for Barbur because there are many floating sidewalks

Mike Ard
Guest
Mike Ard

This is only the tip of the iceberg. When ODOT does maintnance on the corridor and closes a travel lane, they provide warning signs in advance to tell motorized vehicles that the right lane is closed. The warning signs completely block the bike lane, so people on bicycles get no advance warning that their lane ends at a sign and they need to merge with traffic that regularly travels at speeds in excess of 40 mph.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

Good on Jim, shame on ODOT.

rainbike
Guest
rainbike

Imagine the equivalently scaled hazard in the adjacent auto lane, and how long it would be allowed to persist.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

it looks like the hazard is the total height of a normal bicycle tire sidewall… higher then the usual fast bike tire…

if there was a 4″-6″ (typical auto tire sidewall) ditch across 75% of an auto lane it would be fixed that same day…

these types of bike lane hazards are simply not acceptable…

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I never ride over grates because of several instances over the years of encountering grates where half the wheel fell into the grate. It makes you stop from any speed very rapidly, like 1″. Last Monday I was riding down Barbur as I do at least once a week and encountered another slower rider near the painted grate(it was not then I don’t think). I took the traffic lane as there was over 150 feet behind me open. I was riding at 35 and moved over about 30 foot back. A redneck sports car (bigwheel 4WD) missed me by less than 6 inches as I swerved in front of the other rider. I did not cut her off but it was too close for comfort. If there would have been a speed reader board there, it would have read “Slow Down”. BTW 700-23 tires.

Chris Anderson
Guest

I don’t understand how it’s legal for those grates to be considered part of the bike lane, they should ALL at least have paint and reflectors.

longgone
Guest
longgone
q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Separate and Unequal.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

What do you expect for you 1/2¢ from gas taxes?

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Less than I do than from the property and general taxation I contribute to Oregon’s roads.

Captain Karma
Guest

Paintgrate scandal. Like watergate.

:add Ave. pedestrian
Guest
:add Ave. pedestrian

How well do you remember 1973? Watergate was a bona fide consitutional crisis, and the senate hearings were an entire summer’s high drama.

bob
Guest
bob

I’m so glad you clarified what “paintgate” meant. I was lost there for a second.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

What’s more… the northern grate has the sudden drop-off that parallels the direction of travel, you drop down, then try to steer out of it… You are going down. You’ll be lucky if there isn’t a passing car, or bus there to run over you as you sprawl out on the road.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Good on ‘ya, Jim!

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

BTW… I used striping paint, which is intended to be permanent, instead of marking paint which is temporary.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Where do you get it from? Don’t ask why….

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

you can get the good stuff at Sanderson Safety Supply on SE 3rd/Salmon…

but most hardware stores should have some consumer level stuff…

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Home Depot

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

One of the techniques I’ve used to make painted patterns withstand surface wear is to embed them in the surface.
It doesn’t take much depth. Once you have that depth you can almost pour in a paint and it’ll wick in to the relief you’ve defined.

Acetone would work wonders it this specific situation.

Chris Anderson
Guest

I have a can of Reflect All that’s been looking for a use. The nasty grates downhill on NE Wheeler are at least well-lit.

I was also thinking it’d be fun to paint some of the smooth paths I’ve found through the bumpy stretches of Going St, so anyone who looks at the ground can have the benefit of years of daily ridings, sometimes trying to keep a baby asleep in the bike.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

I am a frequent Going Street rider, and I approve this idea!

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Reflect all isn’t all that effective. I’ve tried it before.

For the “good stuff” you need reflective vinyl, or the ability to mix the glass beads that are used by transportation agencies into your paint. For the drains, I sprinkled my stockpile of the beads into the wet paint. My stockpile was what I was able to salvage from a site where ODOT spilled some on the shoulder of HWY 217 when they were restriping it years ago.

Yellow and white striping paint is $5.27USD/can (less by the case) at Home Depot.

Reflective vinyl (Oralite from Oracal) is available from Multicraft Plastics in Tigard Oregon (~$15.00USD/yard x 24″/color). This is the type of material I used to make my bike reflective (see avatar).

Mike Ard
Guest
Mike Ard

If they have to grind off the paint, maybe we can keep painting it until they have done enough grinding to eliminate the hazard. Or they could just grind off the paint by FIXING IT.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Grow up ODOT.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

Jim, we’ve passed each other a few times on that section of our commutes and I have also reached out to ODOT and gotten zero response along with using the PDXreporter app (which is useless!) for this exact issue.

Michael or Jim is it possible for you to post that email from “Monica” with her email address so we can respond individually?
Jim can you post it on FriendsofBarbur Facebook page?

Nathan Hinkle (nearlykilled.me, The Bike Light Database)
Guest

PDX Reporter app doesn’t work in that location because Barbur is managed by ODOT, not by PBOT. ODOT does not get reports from the PDX Reporter app.

This is one of the problems we’re trying to solve as we develop a more featured NearlyKilledMe site – automated detection of which agency (and even possibly which person) should receive reports of road hazards for a given reported issue. We’re also considering features to automate following up on issues, to remind transportation agencies to deal with a report if it hasn’t been resolved after a certain amount of time.

Seth Alford
Guest
Seth Alford

Do you have a kickstarter or gofundme or similar account set up for people to contribute to your efforts?

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Hi Mr. Parsons,

Thank you for contacting Ask ODOT at the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Citizen Representative Office. Per our discussion, I am following up on the concerns you shared during our conversation on Thursday, 7/30/15.

1. Status of locust trees on SW Caruthers, 5th Ave and Broadway (where 5th and Caruthers meet). As I mentioned in our conversation, the locust trees have been cut back in the past. They have grown back. Our crews began cutting and trimming the area yesterday (8/4/15).

2. Could paint be added to the storm drains to make them stand out? No. The ODOT Maintenance Manager has looked at the drain and determined that paint lines are not in the best interest of anyone; cyclists may take that as a sign that they must avoid the drain and steer themselves into a lane of traffic. Mr. Parsons, I was made aware that you painted the drain yourself. It is dangerous, you are on the highway without proper traffic control to advise the public that someone is on the roadway. It is also illegal to vandalize (paint) ODOT property. The ODOT Maintenance Manager will now be spending the already limited maintenance budget funds on removing the vandalism from ODOT property.

3. Need for maintenance on 4th/ Caruthers/ Broadway where trees are growing and cracking the sidewalk. The ODOT Maintenance Manager has made me aware the City of Portland is responsible for that sidewalk. You may wish to bring this to their attention by calling 503-823-1711 or emailing sidewalkrepair@portlandoregon.gov.

Thanks again for contacting Ask ODOT. Please feel free to contact us again if you have further questions.

Best Regards,

Monica

Citizens’ Representative
Ask ODOT
1-888-275-6368 FREE Toll Free
503-986-3434 Direct
AskODOT@odot.state.or.us

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Keep in mind that “Monica” is probably just passing along a response she received from Region 1 staff. Don’t shoot the messenger.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Why not?
We have casualties in the war on “not-cars”.
Maybe if some of ODOT is burned on the stake of public derision they might have some small inkling of what we go through.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

The fact that taking the lane to avoid the drain is considered too dangerous for ODOT means that Barbur is in serious need of traffic calming.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I was wondering about that too. Smoking gun?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

We’re going to need a lot more paint.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Being friendly to ODOT at the least. I think it would be easier to replace the Maintenance Supervisor and the Inspector that is deciding that road hazards are more important to be left in place than being eliminated to begin with.

PNP
Guest
PNP

Yet another example of more concern about paint than safety.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

And automotive throughput.
That’s all that matters: how fast you can cram as many vehicles as possible.

TonyJ
Guest
TonyJ

Funny how ODOT was able to make changes to the “tire eating” Arch Bridge in Oregon City less than a month after Joe Rose reported on it. http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2015/07/oregon_citys_tire-popping_arch.html

John Lascurettes
Guest

Well, automobiles are sacrosanct.

lop
Guest
lop

From the article it looks like after a few years of property damage, no mention of injuries or worse, a reporter made some noise about the issue so ODOT responded by putting down paint and reflectors. All for a bridge that sees more than 10k vehicles a day. To treat cyclists the same should barbur first see 10k bikes a day, and shred a tire every week or so for a few years before ODOT puts up some paint?

TonyJ
Guest
TonyJ

No. To prevent a grievous injury or worse of a human being, hazards in the right of way should be dealt with at the highest priority, regardless of traffic volume. If there were a place where car tires could get easily stuck and the car would flip over, the road would be closed until it was fixed. We have those situations all over the city and on roads like Barbur (Streetcar tracks anyone?).

No one should have to have advanced training on their commute to avoid wiping out.

(I couldn’t tell if you were being facetious here or not, so I responded sincerely)

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Yes TonyJ we need to put streetcar tracks back in on Barbur. it might be a real traffic calmer. Better yet just scrape the asphalt off of those that are still buried there

TonyJ
Guest
TonyJ

I don’t quite get what you are saying. I am saying that there are extremely hazardous situations for cyclists (like streetcar tracks) all over the city that are a level of hazard that would NEVER be tolerated if it was causing injuries or crashes for motorists.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

LOL…now you know what it feels like to live and bike in east PDX.

Adron Hall
Guest

If that’s vandelism, the road work that ODOT often does should be considered full on assault.

Seriously… they need to get their perspectives straightened out.

TonyT
Guest
Tony T

“Cyclists may take that as a sign that they must avoid the drain”

Imagine that!! Because they should!

Riders are MUCH more likely to wreck and end up IN traffic, then they are likely to get hit from momentarily nearing the white line.

Absolute and total failure on the part of the Oregon Department Of Driving.

Terrible. Seems that the only way to get them to move on anything is for someone to lose a limb. Any volunteers?

TonyT
Guest
Tony T

“Parsons said he had first notified ODOT about the problem in 2008.”

2008! That’s criminal. Finding it hard to not use profanity with this one.

John Lascurettes
Guest

^ This. This exactly. I don’t think these ODOT staffers know what the word “safety” means.

Cue Inigo Montoya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

LC
Guest
LC

So take the lane instead of riding in the gutter. You won’t surprise anyone by veering into traffic because you are part of traffic.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Have you ridden this section? The cars go 50mph. Go ahead and take the lane. I’ll be looking for the article on this blog.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I can’t remember anymore, is 50mph fast? A driver went by my house today at more than 40mph (the speed display sign couldn’t show a speed until he slowed to 38), in a residential neighborhood.

LC
Guest
LC

Yes, and I tour all over; I have no issue taking the lane on roads like these.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Never antagonize bureaucrats.

TonyT
Guest
Tony T

I’ve actually had pretty good success with getting results by antagonizing them. Publicity is especially helpful.

Now we all know about it, and more importantly they know that we know they haven’t done anything about it for 7 years! Good luck defending themselves from a massive lawsuit should someone get hurt by this thing.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Have an ODOT lawyer look at it. Having received notice of a dangerous condition caused by ODOT maintenance practice, all liability rests with the road authority. Any warning signs?
Bill them for you broken spoke, at least.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Are they listed on the ODOT website?
Sounds like a great idea but I imagine they’ll be hard to find.

Until an actual injury occurs.

Also:
What’s wrong with Portland natives?
Are we too honest and ethical?
Where are all the slip-and-fall type con artists?

Nathan Hinkle (nearlykilled.me, The Bike Light Database)
Guest

I don’t know if ODOT has someone specific, but the state Risk Management office might be interested to hear from you. https://www.oregon.gov/DAS/egs/risk/pages/index.aspx

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

FWIW: I found the same kind of problems going up to Pill Hill (coming Up from Barbur to the VA Hospital) today. However, I was on my way to an appointment, and was in unfamiliar territory, and very tired.

jen
Guest
jen

drains and manhole covers with drop offs from the pavement in the bike lane all along terwilliger. I usually take the lane around each one, which shouldn’t be a problem as the posted speed limit is 25mph. It is a problem as most people drive about 40mph.
I’ve been tempted to paint them for years. Kudos to Jim for trying to make things better.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

“It is dangerous, you are on the highway without proper traffic control to advise the public that someone is on the roadway.

Lemme see if I understand ODOT’s line of reasoning here. It’s dangerous to be painting lines on the shoulder of Barbur. But perfectly OK to walk or ride your bike there. Amirite?

rick
Guest
rick

ODOT has lots of money for new overpasses, by-passes, interchanges, but where is the cash for people?

9watts
Guest
9watts

And it is our money, let’s not forget.

Charlie
Guest
Charlie

ODOT’s response is one for the ages. Please, whatever you do ODOT, don’t fix the problem.

I guess the bright side of this is that it clearly shows ODOT is aware of the grate problem… So when someone is maimed after hitting it and losing control proving liability won’t be an issue.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

ODOT KNOWS

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

that’s going to become a new protest sign…

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

If it wasn’t so long since WWII “collaborator” would be a vicious barb to toss around.
I mean they aren’t directly responsible for all the road deaths in Oregon… they just make it easier and more likely.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I like this #ODOTKnows slogan.
Someone needs to make up a stencil.

Anne
Guest
Anne

Shortened to “O NO”. (See what I did there?)

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Something pointless that removes all contextual meaning?

Chris Shaffer
Guest
Chris Shaffer

That wasn’t very nice.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

If ODOT wants to “remove” the paint, all it takes is some gray spray paint and 10 minutes of time. It shouldn’t be a big deal.

Justin Carinci
Guest
Justin Carinci

Maybe they’ll remove it by grinding it down.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

We can only hope.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I find that highly unlikely. That would be too reasonable.
When has ODOT done the sensible, logical, ethical thing?

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

you may have meant grinding down the hazard but when I read your comment I imagined them grinding away the paint and creating another sunken obstacle…

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I meant that in the process of grinding away the paint, they end up accidentally fixing the dangerous areas on the northern grate.

Bike Manufacturer
Guest

We have been complaining about the grates, grooved gutter, and narrow lane since before 2000, with ZERO positive response. The street has been completely re-paved and stripped at least twice since we started complaining with no improvements to the road for cyclists. We now use the side street route pioneered by Portland skateboarders in the 60’s as an alternative. Taylor’s Ferry Rd./2nd/Ruby Tr. or 5th/5th/ Terwilliger. Ruby Terrace is very rough for bikes.

rick
Guest
rick

What street has been repaved twice since 2000? Barbur?

kittens
Guest
kittens

ODOT’s pissy response is telling and transparent, going out of the way to say it will take money from the maintenance budget. Like this will cost a hundreds of thousands of dollars to paint over.

They are just *so* annoyed at regular people taking initiative to increase safety but can’t be bothered to fix the underling problem lest we realize how easy and simple some of these fixes are and how bad ODOT is at responding to them.

Someone in ODOT with half a brain should do a cost/benefit analysis and determine it is not in the agency’s interest to respond like this, if only for purely political reasons.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“it is not in the agency’s interest to respond like this, if only for purely political reasons.”
I heartily agree. The fact that ODOT doesn’t appear to know this adds insult to injury and gives me little hope.

Pat Franz
Guest
Pat Franz

Well at least ODOT did experience shame, it caused them to lash out…
Next step for them: growing up.

I think this citizen action is a great idea. Nothing has been done for 7 years. Something had to be done, and it was. And it looks like it would be a great help to everyone that rides there.

Next great idea: making a stencil, so the job can be done quicker and more safely. And more easily done in more places. And more easily redone when state resources are wasted massaging egos at ODOT.

I realize everything can’t be fixed right away, and that ODOT has a lot of things to do, but there is a simple fix for something that SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN CREATED. Whoever did the paving should never have done that. Whoever inspected and approved the paving should never have allowed it. It should have been fixed by the contractor a long time ago.

Instead of sending a crew to paint over the paint, send a crew to FIX THE PROBLEM.

THEN the problem will be fixed. And the PR and liability problems too.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Drop pre-cut rectangular 1-1/8″ plywood into that hole. You could even pre-drill a bunch of holes so the nasties from all the cars can wash down the grate with the rain – if it ever rains again.

dan
Guest
dan

“It is dangerous, you are on the highway without proper traffic control to advise the public that someone is on the roadway. ”

LOL, and yet it’s safe enough for cyclists to ride there? Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Dan
Guest
Dan

“You don’t get to make the road more dangerous for cyclists! Only we get to do that!”

Fred
Guest
Fred

This is why I ride a fat bike.

Ed Birnbaum
Guest
Ed Birnbaum

Jim, did you talk to or Email anyone at BTA about this? Has anyone? Response? I’d like to know if BTA (I’m a member) can be our voice for this sort of thing or would they say only for larger matters of policy. I don’t think this is trivial. And it does seem to crystallize the way ODOT has behaved in general. Makes me wonder whether anyone at ODOT has ever ridden a bike when they suggest that riding around the grate constitutes the real safety issue!!

TonyT
Guest
Tony T

“Makes me wonder whether anyone at ODOT has ever ridden a bike when they suggest that riding around the grate constitutes the real safety issue!!”

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Sorry, can’t remember if I did or not. I mostly was calling ODOT, and then with follow up calls, getting the runaround. I’ve been kinda busy lately graduating from PSU (officially did), and now preparing to go to Asia to teach English.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

from the article…

The whole RSA team rode over these grates on a bike ride from Naito to the “Crossroads” (Capitol Highway/99W/I-5 interchange) and back… and the consultant leading the RSA bike commutes on Barbur daily.

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

I’ve been riding that section of Barbur for years, and noticed the improved “signage” a few weeks ago. At no point did I feel compelled to take the lane (the bridges, however, are a different story) because of the warnings, but did appreciate the extra bit of warning time from seeing the bright paint sooner. Should ODOT decide legal action against Mr. Parsons is needed to deter such citizen improvements, I would gladly testify on his behalf regarding the actual vs. perceived implications of such marking.

My only criticism of his signage is that I was uncertain if ODOT themselves painted the “ODOT KNOWS” markings, as in ODOT saying “Yes, yes, we know about the problem and we intend on fixing it. Stop calling to tell us about it.” Wishful thinking, I guess.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

#ODOTdidnothingaboutit

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

#Paint_Is_Cheap_Blood_Isnt

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Honestly, I’ve also been thinking of carrying a can of marking paint to mark all the hazards that exist along my normal bike routes. The alternative is just to ignore them until someone gets hurt.

Dave
Guest
Dave

If you ride a bike with a rigid, steel fork, a bottle cage fastened to one fork leg would be handy–similar to how marathon gravel riders carry extra water only you’ll be carrying paint. Keeps a nice bike bag from having permanent paint in it.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I applaud the painting.

Sure, ODOT doesn’t want people to be painting whatever they want on the roadway. But that just means they should get out there and fix the hazard.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Silly me. I thought Oregon adopted the (grossly inadequate) AASHTO standards decades ago. Those standards require that bike lanes have a minimum of three continuous feet of rideable surface. Unless someone at ODOT has redefined what is rideable or what distance a foot is, it looks like it is ODOT who is violating state law.

Wouldn’t it be fun if someone found a way to hold the bureaucrat responsible accountable in some meaningful way.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Perhaps require someone who works at ODOT to ride it at least monthly?

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

from the article…

The whole RSA team rode over these grates on a bike ride from Naito to the “Crossroads” (Capitol Highway/99W/I-5 interchange) and back… and the consultant leading the RSA bike commutes on Barbur daily.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

Goobermint bureaucRATS can get away with anything they want. YOU must follow the rules OR ELSE!

ac
Guest
ac

There were crews there most of last winter dealing with the bridge guard rail extensions.

They had traffic control there for MONTHS — the grates could have been simply dealt with then, no?

i just rode this Sunday and I intentionally avoided each and every one by taking the lane
(granted Sunday morning is easier for that)

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

K’Tesh
2. Could paint be added to the storm drains to make them stand out? No. The ODOT Maintenance Manager has looked at the drain and determined that paint lines are not in the best interest of anyone; cyclists may take that as a sign that they must avoid the drain and steer themselves into a lane of traffic.

See the problem is this is EXACTLY backwards.

If there is a hazard in the bike lane we are permitted, possibly requied, attempt to avoid it.

ODOT has acknowledged that the hazard exists but does not think that bicycle riders are allowed in to their precious automotive space or that there is any reason to leave the bicycle lane.

The Oregon Vehicular Code provides the legal right to ride a bicycle safely EVEN IF that means leaving the bicycle lane.

ODOT just wants to bury their heads in the sand.

Michael
Guest
Michael

If ODOT removes the paint, there is no good reason not to paint it again, and to start painting warnings at other locations that present road hazards.

Reminds me of the successful effort to get the Soviet Tank removed from the city of Prague: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_Soviet_Tank_Crews

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

K’Tesh:
Do you have a written record backing up this statement:

K’Tesh
“Every time I call they’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll be paving that area next year,’” Parsons said in an interview last week. “They just don’t think it’s a problem.”

It would be useful in building a case for targeting ODOT’s institutional inaction.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Again, this was mostly done over the phone… Basil and Jessica should have records of what was said within ODOT.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Oh bother.

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

Barbur Blvd – The Deadliest Road in Portland…For all users.

Really ODOT, the cost is too much? I’m sure the cost will be less than the $100,000+ settlement that is reached when a cyclist is severely injured here. I just hope they don’t fall into the first lane where traffic drives below the “45” mph speed limit.

Another ODOT road, same issue and it was fixed?
http://bikeportland.org/2012/01/12/after-activist-action-odot-repaves-danger-spots-on-hall-blvd-65087

City of Tigard at least tries to warn people before a permanent fix:
http://bikeportland.org/2011/12/26/stripes-in-bike-lane-pose-interesting-legal-question-64315

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

“‘Cyclists may take that as a sign that they must avoid the drain and steer themselves into a lane of traffic,’ wrote the staffer, Monica Bustos.”

I’m starting to think some of the people at ODOT don’t really have even half a functioning brain.

Curtis Roth
Guest
Curtis Roth

I ride that on my commute to work. It wouldn’t be acceptable for cars. Add to that the area where Barbur connects with Front – rough paving that jolts the rider.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Matt Garrett (ODOT Director), Rian Windsheimer (Region 1 Manager) and Monica Bustos should all be REQUIRED to ride bicycles over that grate next to an ODOT dump truck driving 45 mph and straddling the bike lane stripe.

THEN they can each certify that it is SAFE in it’s present condition. If they do that, I’ll pay to have the “vandalism” removed.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Here’s what I sent to ODOT (and the recipients)

From: K’ Tesh
Sent: Saturday, August 01, 2015 11:07 PM
To: CHRISTOPHER Basil R; HORNING Jessica; Jonathan Maus BikePortland; Ray Thomas; Charley Gee; Michael Anderson; Rob Sadowsky
Subject: Let’s get this fixed… Once and for all… (99W by the Rapid Flash crossing)

I’d really like to find the supervisor who has been ignoring this for so long, weigh him down until he matches me with a full book bag (that would be over 400lbs), and send him over this grate at top speed (about 40mph)… at rush hour…

It’s a little photo intensive, so please follow the link to check out these hazardous drains on 99W.

http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/595164-advocacy-thread-what-have-you-done-today-23.html#post18035809

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

You know, Gov. Brown is Garrett’s boss. And, after he had to tell the Legislature that ODOT had botched the modeling #s that were being used to get a transportation funding bill passed, he may not be the most popular person in Mahonia Hall these days. Maybe she ought to be aware of how the state’s transportation agency is treating cyclists?

peejay
Guest
peejay

Nothing more to be added, other than we should do a class action suit against ODOT for gross negligence.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

PBOT as well, there are sunken double-wide grates like this all over the city, including all along the substandard narrow bike lanes on Interstate Ave. This often reduces the effective width of usable bike lane to 12″ to 18″ and sometimes even less.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

Forgot to add: ODOT has installed these grates all up and down Hall Blvd in Tigard, so we can add that to their “gross negligence”. They show a pattern of routinely placing hazards within the bike lane as a matter of course and then get mad when someone points out that they’ve put a hazard in the bike lane.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

SB Interstate Ave under the Tillamook Viaduct has this EXACT situation: sunken grate, reduced bike lane+ effective bike lane of less than 1 foot! PBOT has been asked numerous times over the years and they do nothing (or worse- they add sign no one can see and call it a day). PBOT is just as lame as ODOT

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Sorry, this one got by me (buried by all the other posts).

ODOT’s Ask ODOT email is: AskODOT@odot.state.or.us

Sending email with photographs makes it a lot harder for them to ignore (It’s a better record that they were informed).

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

It would be easy to show a pattern of gross negligence– besides Barbur, there’s Hall blvd with it’s orphan sidewalks and horrible maintenance as far as street sweeping goes; Upper Boones Ferry with it’s here and then gone sidewalks and bike lanes (either side of Durham Rd); and Scholls Ferry aka Hwy 210 with it’s missing bike lane and sidewalk connections.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I love it. There are many great ways to have a positive impact on the safety of our streets. http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2015/05/potholes_not_pots_for_hamtramc.html

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Hey…don’t push ODoT so hard they detour maintenance funds away from “my” safety deficiency locations north of Kenton. ‘-)

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

ODoT – the critical thing to remember is that many of your facilities are key regional bike commuter routes that have may be the only bike route or have very poor second options without travelling miles out of direction.

Ed Birnbaum
Guest
Ed Birnbaum

Congratulations, K’Tesh, on your graduation! And thanks for what you did for us.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

The following will be generically applicable but targeted ato this specific situation:

Jim Parsons:
“Every time I call they’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll be paving that area next year,’” Parsons said in an interview last week. “They just don’t think it’s a problem.”

This situation has been acknowledged by ODOT as a genuine safety concern and they are on record as saying it is on the work list for construction projects.
Problem is that “next year” keeps getting pushed back.

The fact is that this and other bicycle infrastructure safety issues have been placed in a perpetual construction limbo.

SO…. Lets use this unintentional construction status to force something slightly safer to occur.

Let’s pretend that this actually IS a construction zone hazard. This is not much of a stretch; ODOT keeps saying it will be part of a construction fix but this is simply left as an open pit hazard.

continues

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

In the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Section 9 (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009r1r2/part9/part9c.htm) deals with bicycle signage. In Section 9C.06 Pavement Markings for Obstructions it states:
“Guidance:
01 In roadway situations where it is not practical to eliminate a drain grate or other roadway obstruction that is inappropriate for bicycle travel, white markings applied as shown in Figure 9C-8 should be used to guide bicyclists around the condition.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

this is great to know…

ODOT is removing a marking that is code compliant so that more people are likely to hit an obstacle that’s not code compliant…

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

no wait, your white line should have been 30 feet long…

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Figure 9C-8 (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009r1r2/part9/fig9c_08_longdesc.htm) “Examples of Obstruction Pavement Marking” shows markings almost exactly like what Mr. Parsons applied.
This is meant to be a more permanent marking when the hazard will not be removed. ODOT keeps saying it will be removed as part of construction.
Let’s see how that is handled.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

A blockage in the bicycle lane (which may be considered a shoulder) is also simultaneously a blockage within the traveled way of a highway.
What makes this distinctly different is the duration with which this will remain; it could be only a year but history does not support this conclusion.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

There are large chunks of this missing and all the links.
I tried posting all of it but the comment server or moderator locked me out.
I gave this article a “+” on G+ and left the entire thing as a comment tied to my G+ profile on this main blog post.
Link below.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Kafka would be proud, ODOT.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I’d post my MUTCD suggestion dump in the forums if they existed anymore.
At least there I could include images.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal
ethan
Guest
ethan

If that’s vandalism, I wonder what they would call it if someone dug holes into the middle of the travel lanes?

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Terrorism.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

They’d figure that out while they were shutting the road down, putting up barriers, and immediately fixing the hazard.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

Going downhill at roughly 30mph I absolutely avoid that drain. I’m not sure what would happen if I hit it at that speed, but it could certain cause me to lose control, wreck, pinch flat my tire and/or break my wheel. I guess none of those things could happen as well. As a rule I don’t just ride into a hole like that by choice and I’ve had everything above happen by riding into holes except for a broken wheel. As an experienced cyclist I actually appreciate warnings on hazards like that so I appreciate the paint. I’ve been wondering if that paint was an ODOT message or a concerned citizen…thanks for finding out for me! If paint is not the right answer it would be great to see it fixed.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The aggravating factor is that Barbur does not need the additional northbound lane here. So frustrating.