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City ponders new bike lane striping design for N Interstate Ave

Posted by on November 13th, 2015 at 10:32 am

Looking southbound on Interstate at Tillamook, about to enter 315 feet of traffic “free for all.”
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Anyone who rides south on North Interstate Avenue between Tillamook and the Broadway Bridge/Larrabee split can understand why the Bureau of Transportation wants to re-stripe it.

South of Tillamook, the road splits and users have to decide if they want to continue on Interstate toward Memorial Coliseum or merge to the right and connect to Larrabee and the Broadway Bridge. While this swerving and merging free-for-all happens, people on bikes face 315 feet of unprotected exposure to other traffic with just a few faded hash-marks to designate the bike lane.

The effort to fix this section of Interstate started nearly two years ago by volunteer activist Blake Goud. Goud took it upon himself to improve Interstate. He got backing from nearby neighborhoods, corralled other activists for help, and got in touch with key PBOT staffers to find a solution.

At this week’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller shared three different striping options currently under consideration. Geller said the existing configuration is “troubling” because, as a bicycle rider “you’re basically in between large and fast vehicles.”

Here’s the existing layout:

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And here are the three new striping designs PBOT has come up with (note that they all come with green paint and a new bike box at Interstate and Tillamook):

Option A

This design creates a protected buffer for bicycle traffic right up until the split happens. At that point, riders would either continue to Larrabee or — if they wanted to continue on Interstate — they’d merge left by yielding to oncoming traffic and crossing a 15-foot lane.

This option does not include a separate right turn lane for non bike lane traffic. The downside of that is if you are in the buffered bike lane you won’t know if people in cars are continuing straight on Interstate or if they’re merging right onto Larrabee. Geller lists that “con” of this design as “Lack of clarity about southbound movement.” The upside is that the lack of a turn lane means the bike lane gets a larger buffer.

Option B

This option is similar to A, but PBOT includes a right-turn only lane. That lane adds clarity of southbound traffic movement, but it reduces the size of the buffer.

Options A and B limit exposure of bicycle riders to other traffic. The downside is that when you cross over the lane you might have to stop and wait for a break in traffic.

Option C

This option gives bicycle riders the priority throughout; but it doesn’t provide the safety buffer of the other two options. Also, bicycle riders continuing on Interstate will still have 175-feet of exposure to merging traffic. (If you’re wondering why PBOT designed such a large merge opening over to Larrabee, it’s because this is a freight route and their design standards require 175-feet for large trucks to make the turn.)

Several members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee preferred option B because of the balance of protection for bicycle riders and clarity about the direction of other traffic. A few members prefferred option C because it gives bicycle riders a priority. One member suggested that PBOT install a “leading bicycle interval” at the traffic signal of Interstate and Tillamook so that riders could get a jump on traffic and establish themselves in the lanes. Another detractor of options A and B said that he wouldn’t feel comfortable stopping in the roadway while waiting for a break in traffic.

Ted Buehler, the BikeLoudPDX volunteer activist who has worked with PBOT and encouraged them to make this project a priority, said he strongly prefers Option C. Buehler said it has “obvious operational advantages” and that A and B put riders in a “very awkward position” of having to look over their shoulder to guess which way 30+ mph traffic will go.

The designs don’t currently include any physical protection like candlestick wants or curbs (like what Multnomah County installed on the eastbound Hawthorne Viaduct); but we hope that would be an option once a design is finalized.

We’ve asked PBOT about the timeline for this project and have yet to hear back. For now, please share your input and help improve the final design.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Buzz November 13, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Um, Options A and B don’t provide much more of a ‘safety buffer’ as you call it, than Option C, and the merge in Option C is a lot safer than the ‘cross’ in Options A and B.

    And could someone please, please, please ask PBOT not to use their grinder to remove the old stripes if and when they do this.

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    • K'Tesh November 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Put to a ranking, I’d go C as first choice, B as second, and A as third.

      I’d second the “Don’t Grind” point too… Grinding can create odd sensations when riding, and are uncomfortable in unfavorable conditions.

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    • buildwithjoe November 14, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      I live here. Ride here 5-10 times a week. I have a big plan that will cost only paint and a few meetings with the city and some signal reprogramming. The new 800 feet of bike path can easily be funded with Kickstarter. We must think big.

      Zoom in on the JPG or PDF below



      The current paint is better than proposal A and B from the city. Please email with your feedback. They should not spend a dime here until they can get it right. Get it right later, and cheaper. Or get it right with a big plan that includes extending the Vera Katz riverside path up as far north as possible. See my design above.

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  • DanF November 13, 2015 at 10:51 am

    This happens to be part of my morning commute and I know this intersection well. Because I continue south on interstate instead of going up the ramp to broadway, only option C would be much of an improvement for my commute. Options A and B would actually make staying on Interstate just a little bit trickier, and they remind me of the other tricky crossing I have to do on Greeley (at the southbound I-5 ramp).

    If they went with either option A or B, I’d probably just take the lane to stay on Interstate, and not bother with the suggested crossing.

    For what it’s worth, the biggest hazard for me is the driver who decides at the last minute to merge right onto the broadway ramp. I’m paying close attention to what cars on my left are doing here for sure.

    So I don’t see any huge improvements here, but thanks to the good folks at PBOT for giving this intersection some attention!

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    • Eric Leifsdad November 13, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      What if option B had some bollards and a “right turn yield to bikes” sign on each one? It is slightly more perpendicular than the ramp to MLK off Hawthorne, but is longer. That seems helpful to have clarity that the traffic in the lane next to you is turning rather than have to judge by signals.

      What’s this talk about waiting for a gap in traffic? Why would we not give bikes the right-of-way across this turn?

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    • Glenn November 17, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Agree that option C is really the only one that works here. I bike this stretch daily, continuing north on Interstate as well. As Dan and others have mentioned, Options A and B create another awkward situation like on the I-5 ramp from Greeley. Bikes, many of them starting from a standstill, need to dart across a lane of traffic that comes from behind them. Please don’t repeat this on Interstate.

      Option C makes a bad intersection a little bit better. Implement the change, then work like hell to get the NP Greenway built and remove all bikes from Greeley and Interstate.

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  • Champs November 13, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Options A & B resemble southbound Greeley from Going to Interstate—I can’t imagine anybody who actually rides this would ask for more of that.

    Option C with an advance light is ideal. Oh boy, those 315 feet aren’t buffered, but neither is any stretch of Interstate or the quarter mile of ramp beyond that point.

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    • Blake November 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      I had the same thought since I ride both in the morning.

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  • Chris I November 13, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Option D:
    Convert southbound vehicle lane into a 2-way protected cycle track, supporting the future off-street north Portland greenway. Route through vehicle traffic up and over the viaduct, and across Broadway, rejoining Interstate south of the pinch point.

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    • buildwithjoe January 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      I like the proposal to route all motor vehicles up and over the viaduct. I’m told that would need weight capacity enhancements. Id like to know the cost of that FYI.

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  • RH November 13, 2015 at 10:55 am

    C!! I ride this route everyday and C makes the most sense. A and B would actually make it more dangerous.

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  • Nate November 13, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I ride this every single day and I agree that A & B don’t feel like much of an improvement to me. Traffic is aggressive enough in this area and having to cross it in those designs doesn’t look great to me.

    I would definitely prefer Option C based on the drawings presented. Combine it with a leading bicycle interval and this would actually make this an improvement on my day to day excursions.

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    • lop November 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      >leading bicycle interval

      It would have to be pretty long. In C the end of the merge zone is nearly 400 feet from the stop bar at the intersection. A car can quickly accelerate to 30 mph and cover that distance in 10 seconds. A slower cyclist might take 30 seconds. That’s ~9 mph average counting time to accelerate, a significant fraction of Portland cyclists (and potential future cyclists) don’t want to have to sprint, accommodating slower travel is important. Even a fast cyclist averaging 18 mph – seems pretty fast for 400 feet starting from a stop – would need ~15 seconds starting from a dead stop. If you have a ten second leading bike interval it’ll probably be enough to discourage drivers from trying to jump in front of a cyclist that sprints out. But a slower cyclist will still have to deal with overtaking cars at the merge, it won’t be a comfortable place to bike slowly. Would PBOT/ODOT or whoever is running that signal even be willing to give cyclists ten seconds of dedicated time? If you only get 5 seconds drivers won’t have to really floor it to merge in front of a fast cyclist.

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    • soren November 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      PBOT have, thus far, refused to use cycling leading intervals.

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  • Christopher Jones November 13, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Both my wife and I ride this section daily, and we both continue south on Interstate. Like others have mentioned, option C is the safest. The other two (A and B) make it more difficult for riders to continue south. Continuing south on Interstate is the best way to get to (car-free) esplanade.

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein November 13, 2015 at 11:18 am

    All of these options are terrible and force people riding bikes to merge with high-speed car and truck traffic at sharp angles without physical protection. A better choice would be to remove that highway-style off ramp altogether, or at least make it bike-only.

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    • Tony T
      Tony T November 13, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      There is no sharp angle at all with C.

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    • longgone November 14, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Make the ramp on the west bike only? is that what you mean? Diverting auto traffic where, if Broadway is desired?
      I have ridden this route for 15 years, I cannot recall ever having any out of the ordinary issues merging with cars here. I do understand why some would fear this ramp, however I prefer option “c”.

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  • Steve B. November 13, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Kudos to Blake for working tirelessly on this issue for years. He’s also been working on the entire stretch of Interstate there. Portland is better thanks to his volunteer work.

    Of the options, C looks best to me. Not a big fan of preserving the bike lane between two vehicle lanes like that, though given the constraints it seems like an improvement.

    Going forward I’d like to see options that include repurposing the redundant Larrabee overpass there for bike/ped only. I’m not clear on the details that would preclude this. I suspect the freight companies like it for the direct connection to the Broadway bridge, though they could fairly easily continue on Interstate and make a left onto Multnomah.

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    • Blake November 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Steve.

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    • Gary B November 13, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      Multnomah is a one-way the wrong direction, right? Wouldn’t they just make a left on the other end of Larabee past Broadway, then another left to get onto the bridge?

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      • Steve B. November 15, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        Yeah, I may have the street names wrong here. Same idea. Thanks for noting this.

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  • realworld November 13, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Every time I’ve ridden that section there has never been very many drivers so it’s always been pretty easy to gauge the merge.
    But I would say option C if paint is all they are willing to do, its the safest way and there needs to be signage letting drivers know that bikes have priority.

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  • ethan November 13, 2015 at 11:27 am

    If any of these “solutions” are implemented, someone will die here. I guarantee it.

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    • Spiffy November 13, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      I think that someone will die no matter what they do, including nothing… that’s the nature of cars…

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      • ethan November 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm

        That’s true. But no excuse to build terrible infrastructure.

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        • q`Tzal November 13, 2015 at 9:43 pm

          I think the argument is that it is terrible infrastructure already.

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  • Allan November 13, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Another vote for option C. Not sure why the others are being considered

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    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein November 13, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Option C has the worst crossing angle of them all. If you’re riding a bike, you’ll need to twist your entire body to see behind you. People driving are not likely to yield to people riding bikes in the crossbike, as is the case in all the other places in the city where this treatment has been implemented. Plus, this is a highway-style off-ramp designed for high speeds. People driving won’t slow down.

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      • Spiffy November 13, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        say what? there’s no need to ever look behind you with option C as you’ll have the right of way in your own bike lane…

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        • Blake November 13, 2015 at 1:37 pm

          Yeah, I agree that C is the best because it gives bikes the right of way as is now the case but removes significant distance where there is uncontrolled crossing by drivers across the bike lane.

          The issue of speeding is really important here because people frequently accelerate to 40-45mph under the Larrabee overpass (Video shot by Ted with a speed gun: and people getting onto Larrabee are accelerating equally as much.

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        • Adam Herstein
          Adam Herstein November 13, 2015 at 2:08 pm

          The outside lane, sure, but what about that long crossbike lane in the middle that cuts across the exit ramp?

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          • Spiffy November 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm

            what about it? you’re going straight with the right of way… I wouldn’t look behind me in that situation…

            also, it’s the exit lane that cuts across the bike lane…

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          • longgone November 17, 2015 at 1:41 am

            Please stop!

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        • are November 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm

          yeah, don’t look behind because your right of way will protect you

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          • Buzz November 13, 2015 at 4:57 pm

            It’s an easy mirror check, if you use one.

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          • Spiffy November 16, 2015 at 8:30 am

            you’re all welcome to live your own lives in fear… that’s not for me though…

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      • Beeblebrox November 14, 2015 at 6:23 pm

        Adam, this is international best practice for this kind of situation, and exactly what the Dutch would recommend if you have cars merging across a bike lane. I know this because I’ve been to the Netherlands and ventured beyond the touristy areas where they only have cycle-tracks and actually saw how they design bike lanes (yes, they do have regular bike lanes). You continue the bike lane straight, so that cars merge across it like they normally do. It allows drivers to do what they are accustomed to doing, which is to check their blind spot and merge over. Any other design (like a bike lane zigging or zagging across a lane) asks drivers to look in places they’re not used to checking, and it isn’t clear who has the right-of-way. In this case it is very clear to everyone.

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      • longgone November 17, 2015 at 1:40 am

        Please note my response to your absurd opinion much further down the comment…. Have you ever even ridden this segment of roadway? Five bucks says more than likely not.

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    • are November 13, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      a cynic might say the others are not “being considered” so much as put out there for contrast to make option C more palatable.

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      • are November 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm

        on the other hand, option B does provide a dedicated lane for motorists merging out, which would relieve them of pressure from behind to execute the merge unsafely.

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  • SD November 13, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Definitely #C.
    A and B would oblige cyclists to make a more dangerous cross and confuse or agitate drivers when cyclists merge earlier to be safe.

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  • dachines November 13, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I have had little to no problems with navigating this area, although that could be entirely based on the times of day that I’ve passed through there. With that said, I’d prefer C.

    However, the area that I think is much more difficult and much more dangerous is a short distance northwest, on Greeley before it reaches Interstate. Here…,-122.6811971,169m/data=!3m1!1e3

    I’ve found navigating this split on Greeley to be difficult at almost any time of day due to very fast motor vehicle traffic. The lane of Greeley that a bike has to cross, in order to stay on Greeley and continue on towards Interstate, is essentially an on ramp to I-5. As such, motor traffic is moving at highway speeds (55+ mph), despite the road being signed for 45 mph.

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  • Ted Buehler November 13, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Thanks for writing on this, Jonathan.

    I’m delighted that the city is working on this.

    I have major concerns with Options A and B.

    I’m a big fan of Option C.

    Thanks to all who have co-signed letters in the past, and Blake and myself look forward to working with PBOT and the neighborhood associations to get this and other improvements moving forward on N Interstate.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler November 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      My concerns with A and B is that cars have the right-of-way through the conflict zone, and if you’re on a bike, you need to “yield” to people who are directly behind you, and who are splitting off either 1 second (Option A) or 4 seconds (Option B) upstream. That’s not enough time to crank your head around so you’re looking forward, mount the bike, step on pedals, ride 25 feet, and situate yourself in a sketchy center bike lane on the other side of the conflict area. Meanwhile, you’re waiting out there literally in the middle of a highway with nothing but paint to indicate to cars that they shouldn’t drive right through the spot where you’re waiting.

      The big advantage of C is that it’s a clearly laid out set of stripes, similar to the existing stripes, and similar to right-turn lanes all over North America. Bikes go straight, cars wait for a gap in bikes before merging across the bike lane into the right-turn lane. While the conflict zone is longer in distance, it’s not that much longer in time, and rolling through at 15 – 20 mph is much better than slowing or coming to a stop on the outside of the roadway, and waiting for a chance to dart back over to the bike lane…

      I’m curious to hear everyone’s comments, and please indicate how often you ride through here — it has a different “feel” to it than many other parts of the city, with fast car traffic, fast bike traffic, which sort themselves out pretty well in the existing configuration, but definitely leave bicyclists vulnerable to getting rear-ended at 20 mph by a person in a car driving 35.

      Ted Buehler

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      • Charley November 13, 2015 at 12:21 pm

        Option C is the best, by far. Regarding A and B: often when there’s some new kind of complicated merging in this city, it requires the cyclist to turn to their left, and look over their shoulder to judge if traffic is coming. That’s difficult to do really well (lots of people have trouble balancing the moving bike when they’re not looking forward). I suppose one should stop? But why have someone stop in the middle of a road to stay straight on the same road? Many of us more “strong and confident” riders do this kind of thing at speed all the time, but do a quick job of it, and probably take risks to do so. As with several other things that have been touted as safety improvements in the last few years, it really slows someone down to do correctly. We’ll never get to %25 if we’re putting up barriers (sometimes literal barriers; in this case, striping creates barriers) bike commuting like this. I don’t like it.

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      • lop November 14, 2015 at 7:49 pm

        >While the conflict zone is longer in distance, it’s not that much longer in time, and rolling through at 15 – 20 mph is much better than slowing or coming to a stop on the outside of the roadway, and waiting for a chance to dart back over to the bike lane…

        Who is this restriping for? What sort of cyclist?

        I’ve biked through and ridden as if A/B or C were already painted. Which way I ride depends on how fast I’m going. 315 feet now (or 175 feet in C) is pretty far at 10 mph. If I’m tired and don’t feel like riding fast it’s 20 seconds now. 12 seconds is an improvement, but still a long time to be exposed. Crossing a lane in A/B won’t take 12 seconds. If I’m riding 10 mph and auto traffic is moving 12 mph then a car following a truck too close won’t see me until they try to pass the truck in the turn lane. If I’m riding slow B would be my preference, though with flex posts between the auto through and turn lanes to discourage last second lane changing. C would be my preference when I want to ride faster.

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    • Ted Buehler November 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Option C could be improved by installing a curb between the two bike lanes. Like this:

      This would

      1) Provide a spot to mount a “Begin Right Turn Lane: Yield to Bikes” sign for traffic turning right onto Larrabee.
      2) Make it clear to right-turning cars which bikes need to be yielded to (those continuing south on Interstate) and which don’t (Those turning right onto Larrabee).

      Ted Buehler

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      • paikiala November 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        Option B2: same striping but add the yield to bikes signs in advance and a yield sign for the turn lane at the bike crossing.

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      • Tom Hardy November 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm

        I like this one Ted. The bollards with mounds might help some of the motorists realize that there might be a road hazzard they might want to avoid.

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      • Tom Hardy November 13, 2015 at 1:28 pm

        One minor problem is the exit from the Larraby ramp. Motorists are pushing the limit making the right and tend to come all the way to the curb when heading to the Broadway bridge. The Broadway bike path when next to the Interstate path needs to have the sidewalk widened slightly then have a separating row of 6 inch domes until after the stretch straightens out from the elevated ramp

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      • q`Tzal November 13, 2015 at 9:57 pm

        While I agree 100% with your embellishments in the photoshop you linked to what it does is further demonstrate why options A & B will fail.

        It is a freight route and as such the width requirements to make safe turning and lane change maneuvers would flatten those bollards in days and grind those curbs to rubble in weeks.

        Option A has such a tight last minute turn that big trucks and POVs alike will treat the buffered area as a defacto right turn lane. With solid barriers the corners on the inside of a long truck’s turn will constantly be clipped OR truck drivers will essentially stopp all southbound traffic as they negotiate the turn at safe walking speeds
        Option B provides the turn lane but would still have the corner clipping issue to some degree.

        Someone really ought to see how thw “hole-in-the-air” freight interests would respond to these options.

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        • MaxD November 14, 2015 at 7:55 am

          I like the idea of freight slowing to walking speeds!

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          • q`Tzal November 14, 2015 at 10:08 am

            Yes, it is a wonderful sounding idea like “kill all the lawyers” but both have fairly unforeseen and nasty consequences.

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  • Patrick Sullivan November 13, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Option C was my intuitive first choice (with the brilliant suggestion of a leading indicator), but the more I look at it option B is growing on me with one change.

    Option B would work great if a jersey barrier wall were added where the narrow buffer zone. A physically protected area to queue while waiting for car traffic to clear would help riders both feel safe and actually be safer.

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  • Psyfalcon November 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm


    The steeper crossing should be safer since visibility would be increased for the bikes and the cars.

    It does need a big Yield to bikes sign though. No reason to make people think bikes should stop and wait for a break in traffic. (It does have a decent waiting area though, unlike the westside Tillicum approaches.)

    C’s main advantage is that it is a continuous bike lane. Anyone paying attention should realize they have to merge across it when no one is coming. But you’re left in that “intersection” much longer due to the angle. Could late cut overs be a problem, with people trying to drive around a slow car (because its waiting on bikes)?

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  • soren November 13, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I don’t like any of the options but “C” is the lesser of 3 evils.

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  • JJJJ November 13, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Id like a combination of B and C. Let the fearless riders continue straight and assert their ROW, while the more timid riders can come to a stop and wait for a gap in traffic to cross.

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  • Adam November 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Option C for me. Option A is just terrible, you could only get across the merge when there is no vehicle traffic at all. No way I am trusting people to put on their blinker if they taking the ramp. Option B is almost as bad, people will move over late with no turn signals.

    I take this in the afternoons (I continue south on Interstate) and I normally don’t feel too unsafe here. I have just come through the gauntlet of Greeley, so anything feels better. I feel like cars expect bikes here, and are pretty good after merging safely. Note, I do almost always hit the red light here (and I bike fast through this section), so all but maybe one car can easily merge behind me without delaying them.

    I do not want to have to stop on this uphill section, look over my shoulder, and then try to get going uphill. That to me is much more dangerous than a merging at speed.

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  • Bicylist Mama Carie November 13, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I want the option that IS Vision Zero.

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    • MaxD November 14, 2015 at 7:59 am

      I think the Vision Zero approach would send all motorized traffic and bike heading to Broadway up the Larrabee ramp with bikes in a physically separated lane. The southbound lane of Interstate would be used for bikes/beds only between Tillamook and the signal at Larrabee (on the south side of the Broadway Bridge)

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      • buildwithjoe November 17, 2015 at 6:49 am

        I posted a vision zero map in several places on this thread. Connects to the vera katz bike path avoiding theoda center maze

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  • Spiffy November 13, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    they’d merge left by yielding to oncoming traffic and crossing a 15-foot lane.

    this is the exact same configuration as the eastbound Hawthorne bridge bike lane but on the Hawthorne it’s (mistakenly?) assumed that bikes have the right of way…

    if they go with that same option here then they’ll need signs to state who should yield…

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    • Spiffy November 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      and by signs I mean both on the Hawthorne and on Interstate…

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    • Champs November 13, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      It’s true that the arrangement is similar, but key differences are that Hawthorne turnoff to McLoughlin isn’t much of a launchpad like Larrabee: it’s a short, blind and downhill run into a stoplight.

      Ceding right of way isn’t a mistake there, it would be like turning in front of any other bike lane. There are flashing lights and signage about it, but these are only to reinforce the law.

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      • Spiffy November 16, 2015 at 8:37 am

        they took out the sign stating to yield to bikes… now the bike lane is mostly perpendicular to the road it crosses instead of being in-line with Hawthorne as a continuation…

        I don’t see anything indicating bikes have the right of way there on the Hawthorne…

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        • are November 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

          that was always a poor configuration. i always biked straight through the no-man’s land, just to the right of the travel lane. if the striping conformed to that path, the law would be clear a motorist turning right would be “supposed to” yield to bikes in the “through” bike lane. shoving bikes twenty feet to the right and then having them reappear suddenly at the top of an exit ramp is asking for trouble.

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  • RH November 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    C is pretty much how the bike traffic currently flows, just with less markings, etc…

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  • Spiffy November 13, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    A and B are horrible since they force vulnerable users to navigate a sharp turn and continue to yield to bullies (drivers)…

    option C gives the cyclists the right of way with no crazy turns while still allowing drivers a long space to slow if needed and merge across…

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  • soren November 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    This needs a concrete island and signal, not paint, IMO.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    THANK YOU BLAKE! [I have ridden this zone a lot over the years.]

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    • Blake November 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks go to everyone who has helped on this effort, particularly Ted Buehler!

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  • mark November 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Look, there is a sidewalk right there. Just widen it out for bike or *gasp* stripe it out and widen where needed for bike. You basically have a separated lane…right there. Shocking..I know.

    Bikes on roads with a stripe of paint is dumb and deadly.

    Come on Portland…let’s try to do something other than keep your striping crew or a contractor gainfully employed. Besides, paint fades and then needs to be restriped. Sidewalks last eons.

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    • Blake November 13, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      This doesn’t account for the needs of people who continue on Interstate down to the Rose Quarter to get to the Steel Bridge.

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      • mark November 13, 2015 at 2:15 pm

        Oh, I see. You are correct. Let’s continue to sacrifice people to cars because we can’t make something perfect for everyone…all the time.

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        • are November 13, 2015 at 2:50 pm

          yeah, i guess your sidewalk proposal is the only option. let’s disparage everyone else’s efforts.

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    • Spiffy November 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      you mean the 150 ft of sidewalk that ends abruptly 200 ft before the ramp?

      if that were converted to a raised bike lane it would trap faster cyclists and create a lot of vulnerable user conflict…

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      • mark November 13, 2015 at 2:28 pm

        It’s simple..where there is sidewalk, extend the width of the sidewalk to the where the cycle lane would be. Where there isn’t, then don’t.

        It’s quite straight forward.

        What are they getting trapped by? Aliens?

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  • Tom November 13, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Traffic lane looks like 18ft?, until the split then 15ft. Opt B more like 24ft wide before the turn lane. Are they trying to encourage speeding as much as possible. Make it 10.5 to calm agreassive driving. Use the extra for low shrubbery landscape to further calm traffic.

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  • joel November 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    honestly i like williams and vancouver. i like the turn lane and bicycle though lane to be the same. wish this would occur elsewhere. it seems to draw more understanding and consideration. when a car or bike must change traffic lanes they need to re assess the situation. a turn lane or changing lanes seems to make people think a little more.

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  • Nick November 13, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve never had a lot of issues cycling here.

    All the problems I’ve had riding on Interstate have been at the choke points where to road narrows considerably, just south of the area we’re discussing now.

    Is there anything that can be done to improve bicycle passage through those areas?

    The recently installed “Bicycles In Roadway” or signs there haven’t seemed to help much.

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    • Blake November 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      I’m not crazy about the signs either and Ted and I have asked for the “[bike] may use full lane” sign and speeding enforcement/lowering the speed limit to 25mph in this section.

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      • Bald One November 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm

        Under the Larrabee bridge at the super narrow pinchpoint, it seems they should just remove the painted bike lane and paint the entire road surface green, from curb to curb, with a big super sharrow, and add several more signs that say: “CARS SLOW DOWN, DO NOT PASS, YIELD TO BIKES IN THE LANE”.

        The existing sign is nice (Thanks Blake!), but not nearly enough to affect more than 1 in 10 cars/trucks. It’s amazing how people drive down here with their right tire on the bike lane and 4 feet to curb on the left.

        Some of the worst offenders, IMO, are the TriMet bus drivers that pass cyclists under the bridge at 35 mph. Unbelievable and aggressive.

        PS> This area of topic at the intersection is basically a non-issue. Option C if they have to do something. But, they should prioritize the pinchpoint under the Larrabee bridge as the first place to spend money for safety. And, fix the Greeley @ I-5 ramp business before they fix the Tillamook intersection.

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        • Blake November 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm

          Now that the city has installed its first “Bikes May Use Full Lane” sign:

          …maybe they could install the second under Larrabee

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      • MaxD November 14, 2015 at 8:03 am

        I wish PBOT could/would use Sharrows on southbound Interstate between Tillamook and Larrabee (and also between Oregon and MLK where the bike lane drops). People do not see/ignore the small road signs, but they do seem to notice and respect something large and painted on the road. I have had horrible experiences here weekly, and the signs do not help. As far as I can tell, people do not even see them!

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    • Conor Fitzgerald November 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      I ride this everyday at rush hour, and have never had a problem either. All of these options looks more dangerous. A and B look horrible and much more dangerous.

      Option C is not better either. It gives drivers less time to merge to the right. With the current situation, there is a HUGE area with which bikes and drivers can merge. While I agree that it looks sketchy from above, in practice there is usually plenty of space for cars and bikes to be aware of eachother. If option C is implemented, drivers heading for the ramp have half as much space to merge, and potentially doing so a little more frantically than the leisurely amount of space there is today.

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  • Stephen Keller November 13, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Option C would be my choice as well.

    I don’t suppose there is any hope of bypassing the mess altogether by going under the Broadway overpass and connecting back up with Interstate after the bike lane constriction that the overpass creates…? Sigh… more money, property rights of way, etc. and politics probably get in the way.

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  • redtech116 November 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I like the idea of bypassing the whole thing..go under next to the rail road tracks then back up the interstate. Go down N. Albina then next to the rail tracks…

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  • Patrick Barber November 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    None of this is any good, though I admit it’s all incrementally better than what’s there. But even if they paint the whole street with green paint, there is still the rest of Greeley to consider. As for me, I am still going to go well out of my way to take the Williams/Vancouver corridor downtown, even though I live essentially at Killingsworth and Greeley.

    Greeley is such a missed opportunity– there should be a beautiful, leafy protected bikeway all the way north and south. It’s like a shortcut from downtown to North Portland (actually, it IS a shortcut to North Portland, and on a bus or in a car, it works wonderfully).

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  • Tony T
    Tony T November 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm


    A&B were designed by someone who doesn’t ride.

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    • buildwithjoe November 14, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Amen. Email to

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    • paikiala November 18, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Right angle crossings provide the best ability of those crossing the paths to observe conflicting users. The closer to 90-degrees the safer the crossing.

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  • are November 13, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    if motorists are permitted to turn right at tillamook, you should either get rid of the green box or put in an advance signal for bikes.

    as others have mentioned, you would want to put in signage specifically telling motorists who are merging out that they must yield to bikes. for that purpose, actually option B would be better, as it gives those motorists a dedicated right turn lane, so they will not be under as much pressure from behind to execute the merge unsafely.

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  • mark November 13, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Well, I threw this together in 2 minutes flat using ideas from the dutch. 90 degree crossing (because necks don’t turn that far and cars don’t give a crap).

    One could even add the little flashy signals when you cross.

    1)Cement to beef up existing separated path
    2)Flashy signal thing

    Here ya go PBOT..for free! (I release all rights and claims)

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  • Greg Haun November 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Some people commenting on the advantages of C are saying that cyclists have “right-of-way” in C that they don’t have in A and B. This is not correct. A & B have no yield triangles nor other signage that would be required to make the “broken green” crossing there any legally different from the much longer “broken green” in option C. Options A & B increase the likelihood that a cyclists will slow or otherwise adapt their merge with motor traffic, but I don’t see how they change the legal situation.

    In any case, I imagine option A or B would be better choices for slower riders who would prefer to opt-out of any right-of-way assertions and simply wait for a break in traffic, a friendly motorist, or the upstream light to change.

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    • Beeblebrox November 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      That is incorrect. The difference is that in C, the driver would be merging across a parallel bike lane, and in that situation the merger must yield to the through lane. In A and B, it’s like an intersection, with bikes crossing a motor vehicle lane. In that situation the dashed green conflict paint (sometimes called a crossbike) does not have any legal meaning. Drivers may yield if they want, but they don’t legally have to yield to bicyclists trying to cross. A crossbike is not legally the same as a crosswalk, unfortunately. State law would have to be changed to make crossbikes equivalent to pedestrian crosswalks.

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      • paikiala November 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

        True for a markings only solution, but a yield sign for turning autos in option B solves this issue.

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  • mark November 13, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Right of ways are great, until you are hit..maimed or killed at 43 mph.

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  • Corey Burger November 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t live in Portland, but I don’t see a single stick of protection anywhere in that design so I rather suspect that cars will drive the straighest path (right over where the bike lane would be in the designs). Any design in my mind needs physical protection to ensure that right-turning vehicles don’t use the bike lane as a turning/merge lane.

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  • B. Carfree November 13, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    It seems to me that a lot of how well option C would work/feel (forget A and B, those are tossers) would depend on the width of the bike lane. A measly five footer in between two lanes isn’t going to work well if we ever get moderately high numbers of people riding, imo.

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  • maxD November 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I ride through this intersection daily and continue down Interstate 95% of my trips. I am strongly opposed to options A and B. Option C is a slight improvement of the current configuration and seems OK. Of course, these do nothing to address the terrifying pinch point beneath Larrabee Viaduct.

    My solution: close the southbound lane of Interstate to motorized vehicles and route them all up the Viaduct. This stretch of road becomes the bike path and sidewalk. South of the Broadway Bridge, the path could veer to the top of bank, then go under the Steel Bridge (an over the RR access road) to join with the Esplanade! At Tillamook, a 2-way bike/ped MUP could travel down the south side of the bridge. One day, it may be able to continue along the Cement Road to Swan Island. IN the more near term, it could travel along River, then cut back to toward Greeley beneath the 405. The path could travel between Greeley and the RR tracks all the way under Going, eventually climbing up the “dog Bowl and joining Willamette around Curtis.

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    • Mark November 14, 2015 at 8:24 am

      That’s not going to happen. Ever.

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      • Mark November 14, 2015 at 8:40 am

        I clear…closing anythibg down there isn’t going to happen. This is because…if there were a driving lobby, they would be named the “freight” lobby. They are pretty hard core and they do pay a lot of road taxes.

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        • B. Carfree November 14, 2015 at 10:39 am

          Sure, freight pays a lot of road taxes. However, they do more damage than their taxes pay for and are the most subsidized of all road user categories. There are valid arguments to facilitate freight movement, but their tax payments aren’t one of them.

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          • Mark November 14, 2015 at 10:51 am

            Your point, while it may be correct in a narrow sense, is more academic than practical in nature. Freight companies pay a lot if money regardless and they vote with their dollars. My bicycle employs few while freight employs many. The point is, you will need to overcome that reality if you want to see massive change on roads that are universally seen a freight roads.

            For some odd reason…pbot wants to double down on mixing bikes with cars in a high speed and heavy vehicle traffic area. Why?

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    • buildwithjoe November 14, 2015 at 8:35 am

      Well said. See my notes below and email direct to

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    • buildwithjoe November 14, 2015 at 8:40 am

      Amen. There are many other big picture designs for the long germ that would create a bike only path and get cars and trucks from a to b faster or with a minute delay. Email

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    • paikiala November 18, 2015 at 9:50 am

      PBOT already has a sketch of this.

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  • Mark November 13, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    C, with very clear signage indicating that motorists must yield to bike traffic. I would not want to stop in the road with high-speed traffic and wait for a gap, as required in A and B.

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    • are November 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      my initial reaction was option C as well, but i am increasingly concerned that telling motorists who are trying to merge out to larrabee they must yield to bikes will not be sufficient unless you provide a dedicated merge out lane, as in option B.

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  • Mike Sanders November 13, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Adding overhead signs with bike logos reading “Steel Br./ Rose Qtr. – Bikes Only” and “B’way Br. – Bikes Only” to tell auto traffic where the bike lane split is would help.

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  • Mark November 14, 2015 at 8:26 am

    I fail to see why anyone here wants to inject themselves more into traffic with confusing lane striping that will fade over time.

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  • buildwithjoe November 14, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Everyone email

    See if u get a reply and share it. That’s our contact person

    I take this y split every morning. My feelings match others who prefer C BUT this all choices suck game enrages me!!! This setup is bad but can wait for a true long term fix. If we accept C we get stuck w it. Sucky.

    If we fix more deadly and more sucky spots we get to vision zero sooner and boost bike commute #s.

    I’d send PBOT first to fix the extremely sucky West end of the Hawthorne Bridge.

    PBOT has been stonewalling me on this. They talk to Ted and J Maus who don’t use this much. But PBOT has yet to reply to my first simple email. City workers treat us with contempt. Do as they see fit with fake and narrow contact to their select members of the “community”

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    • Nick Falbo November 16, 2015 at 7:59 am

      I suspect the west end of the Hawthorne bridge will be dealt with under the upcoming Central City Multimodal Safety Project. This isn’t necessarily an excuse for not making it better in the short term, but that project will explore how to make high quality connections from Hawthorne to existing and new bikeways.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson November 14, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    I believe the flyover is weight restricted, so freight goes to the light just south of the Bway Bridge and makes a left. Works fine unless there is a big event with a direct path to I-5. The flyover, a relic, of the old 99W and trolley bus days should be narrowed to a single lane with the extra space converted into a two way bike/ped facility. Larabee at the top is a couple of lanes too wide, so the grassy area there could be expanded into a lovely park/greenspace, etc. Maybe a landing for a new bike/ped bridge?!?
    This does nothing for folks who continue south on Interstate; Blake has done the deep thinking on this, and short of a separate bike/ped viaduct, it looks like a place for slower speeds and a shared lane.
    re TriMet operators, I remember many rides of the 85 where the Op slowed down and waited until they had more room to pass once under the Bridge.
    npGreenway (Friends of the N. Portland Greenway Trail) is in talks with the City about options for a trail alignment along the UPRR Albina Yard between N. Going and N. Russell, in lieu of the Ash Grove Cement Road. Even the best outcome there would still leave Lower Albina, the Flyover, and a tricky connection with Greeley somewhere up around Going.

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    • buildwithjoe November 15, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Lenny. Good points. Is there any way you can draw this? Google map with a paint program. Or just draw on a paper map and snap a cell phone picture that you put on google drive or any photo sharing tool. I’d love to have PBOT halt this paint mess and look into smarter plans.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu November 14, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    I defer to the regular Interstate riders on the choice between A B and C.

    I wonder, however, if there shouldn’t be some flexible plastic wands to delineate the buffer. Similar to the Hawthorne Bridge.

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  • johnny November 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Never knew him, but every time I ride on Interstate or think about improving riding on Interstate I think of Brett Jarolimek.

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    • Blake November 15, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      I am with you. He was killed on Interstate within the first year of my starting to ride down Interstate and my work to improve safety on Interstate is based on the urgency that we must get something done without having it spurred on by another fatality.

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  • longgone November 15, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    You my friend, are confused and inflammatory. If you cannot employ a mirror, or learn to manage riding forward while looking behind you, perhaps bicycle riding is something you should cease.
    Option C or nothing.
    I say nothing, because some misguided PBOT exec will listen to your numerous misguided opinions and give us another royal botch such N.Williams.

    Portland will never be Amsterdam or car free. Ride her friggin’ bicycle.

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    • longgone November 15, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      My comment above was intended as a reply to ” Adam H.’s” comment much towards the top of the list.. Sorry.

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    • soren November 16, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Do you think bike mode share is too high in this city?

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      • longgone November 18, 2015 at 11:19 pm

        Like I posted before,… No. Why was my response removed ? It wasn’t insulting in any regard.

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  • buildwithjoe November 17, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Zoom in on the JPG or PDF below



    The current paint is better than proposal A and B from the city. Please email with your feedback. They should not spend a dime here until they can get it right.

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  • El Biciclero November 17, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I see lots of references to the “conflict zone”, and how long it is in option C. I suppose “conflict” may be inherent in any road area where different vehicle types must mingle, but for something like this, the longer the better. Drivers are not likely to slow down to the point of stopping regardless of the stripe treatment, and option C makes this nearly-certain behavior less risky, because they will be more willing to adjust speed to merge across a bike lane when there is ample opportunity to do it. Besides being happier not having to stop for bicyclists, drivers are also more willing to cooperate when they know they are not merging in to be “stuck” behind a bicyclist, but merely to get across into another gloriously bike-free lane where they can resume their speeding with minimal interruption. If I were to be asked, I would suggest starting the “conflict zone” even earlier. That stunted, useless sidewalk section should be removed or ramped for bicycle use over that short bit.

    Without a full signal at the crossing point, options A and B are second-class treatment of bicyclists and create a barrier and added danger for traversing this area.

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  • TheCat February 4, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    you’re all welcome to live your own lives in fear… that’s not for me though…Recommended 1

    Your bravery doesn’t even come close to helping make this an 8 to 80 solution.

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