Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Activists use traffic cones to improve safety of bike lane along new Orange Line MAX

Posted by on December 30th, 2015 at 6:02 pm

Fed up with standard bike lanes that offer only paint as separation between bicycle and car operators, an anonymous group of activists has placed traffic cones on the bike lane at the intersection of Southeast Powell at Pershing.

As you can see in the Tweet above, the new group is having some fun with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. They’re using PBOT’s logo and calling themselves “PDX Transformation.” This is the group’s first action and they’re promising more installations to come. Not much is known about the group beyond their Twitter profile which reads: “Transforming PDX any way we can (Not connected to PBOT in any official way) – Portland of the Future”

Using traffic cones to more strongly delineate bike lanes is a method of tactical urbanism, which Wikipedia defines as “a collection of low-cost, temporary changes to the built environment, usually in cities, intended to improve local neighbourhoods and city gathering places.” Think of it as an unsanctioned, underground version of Better Block PDX, a group that has won broad support from City Hall for its professional approach to tactical urbanism.

Advertise with BikePortland.

In early October, an anonymous group in New York City called “Transformation Dept.placed traffic cones and flowers on bike lanes. “In less than a half hour and with about $500 worth of cones and flowers,” the group said via a statement published by CityLab, “we were able to achieve something that often gets delayed by Department of Transportation bureaucracy or political fear.”

The motivation for the Portland group is likely very similar. There’s a growing cadre among Portland bike riders who feel like PBOT is not moving quickly enough to create physically protected bike lanes.

This isn’t the first time we’ve reported on guerrilla traffic calming and safety actions. Last year activists placed homemade steel drums on SE Clinton to hasten the placement of traffic diverters (which are now scheduled to be officially installed in the next few weeks). And in 2009, activists painted a crosswalk on East Burnside.

And you might recall the “People’s DOT,” a group that sprung up in 2010 to draw attention to a wall erected in the middle of 82nd Avenue by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

You can follow PDX Transformation on Twitter via @PBOTrans.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) December 30, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    rad. the issue of car drivers cutting corners or otherwise ignoring right-of-way is scary.

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    • Spiffy December 31, 2015 at 7:47 am

      my thought was “it’s about time they stop the bus from breaking the law here”…

      and since pretty much every bus route already has illegal driving built into it I like to see when it’s corrected, even forcibly…

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  • Carrie December 30, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I usually am a big fan of people doing what should have been done by the government in the first place (Clinton diverters being a prime example). But I was NOT pleased to have the bike lane blocked by cones (yes, the lane was blocked, not buffered) when I rode through there at 5pm this evening. Very unpleasant.

    After being harassed by a semi-truck for taking the lane near this spot due to ice this morning and then forced into the car lane at that blind corner this afternoon, I am getting a ride to work tomorrow in car. Not the outcome any of us wants, but I just don’t want to be scared riding tomorrow.

    I ride this route EVERY DAY. Have since before the MAX infrastructure went in. i understand that people are trying to improve things and make a point, but this evening it backfired horribly on someone you probably want as an ally.

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    • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC December 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Painted bike lanes give as much protection for bicyclists from motor vehicles as a concealed handgun does from a potential murderer: none at all. We do it to give riders a very false sense of security. I’m of the opinion that painted bike lanes should be only used on low-volume minor collector streets, to delineate bike traffic from car traffic. Any street that has any truck traffic at all is going to always have major bike/truck conflicts, as truck drivers perceive bike lanes as an extra buffer for turns and going over the speed limit for their vehicles. Any street that “needs” bike lanes really needs “protected” bike lanes (with either parked cars or solid barriers), not the painted variety; mountable “cycle tracks” in place of painted bike lanes are a poor-but-better-than-nothing compromise. The painted version is a huge waste of money, even with the green.

      This discussion also came up when protected bike lanes were suggested to ODOT for outer Powell; they objected, as the semis needed the 8 foot buffered bike lanes to avoid left-turning vehicles. ODOT, to its credit, is considering mountable cycle tracks.

      By the way, Walmart has small orange cones, the kind used for little league soccer, in its sports section, 4 for $3.50, in the Lents store. Just saying.

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      • soren December 31, 2015 at 10:02 am

        In general, protected bike lanes have the same (or worse) right-hook risk as a painted bike lane. This is why the Danes and the Dutch have placed so much emphasis on mitigating intersection conflict.

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        • dwk December 31, 2015 at 11:19 am

          Worse, since you are not part of traffic, cars really do not see you….
          I would rather just be a part of the traffic flow unless you are going to give me the entire road like the Greenways. Eliminating car traffic (except for those who live on the street) on those streets is a better way to get people on bikes vs. protected lanes.

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          • Nick Falbo December 31, 2015 at 3:50 pm

            Low traffic local streets are certainly a vital part of our network, but the backbone *must* be our busy streets. Copenhagen long ago identified the local bikeway option as a dead end in their Copenhagen Cycle Policy:

            “…cyclists prefer to ride on shopping streets where the pulse of the city can be felt and where they can shop on their way home from work. So-called ‘back street’ solutions have therefore been dropped as a planning principle in Copenhagen.”

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            • soren January 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

              Portland’s biggest failing is it’s lack of commercial and arterial bike infrastructure.

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              • soren January 1, 2016 at 11:01 am


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              • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC January 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm

                So how would you redesign existing commercial and arterial roadways in Portland to accommodate cyclists wanting to cruise at 10-15 mph, without getting hit by cars, in a family-friendly environment (i.e., where your seven-year-old daughter/niece can ride her bike without being honked at)?

                I’m not trying to pick on you – I’m trying to pique your brain, and others who read this blog. I’m hoping folks will stop complaining so much and actually do something proactive about it, like the guys with the cones.

                This is not a spurious question. Inner Division was recently rebuilt to 50th, and Outer Division (80th to 175th) is scheduled to be rebuilt in the next 5 years, as part of the BRT project, with an option on 50th to 80th, at a cost of $150 million.

                Inner Division to 80th has about 56-60 ft of right of way, 40 ft from curb to curb, with regular signals to 52nd every quarter mile or less. If traffic get too slow, cars have the option of using parallel side streets, so fixes on Division need to include fixes on side streets. There are 8,000 to 15,000 motor vehicles per day on this alignment.

                Outer Division has a 90-100 ft right of way from 80th to 175th (the Portland/Gresham city line), with narrow 7 ft sidewalks and 76-86 feet of pavement between curbs. If traffic gets too slow, all other options are already over-congested or are equally slow. There are 37,000 to 48,000 motor vehicles per day on this alignment.

                Given an opportunity, how would you redesign these alignments to slow traffic to 15-20 mph without police enforcement?

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              • soren January 3, 2016 at 11:34 am

                I’m not trying to pick on you – I’m trying to pique your brain, and others who read this blog. I’m hoping folks will stop complaining so much and actually do something proactive about it, like the guys with the cones.</I.

                David, My entry into more active bike advocacy was inspired by the 28th bikeway debacle so I feel very strongly about Portland's commercial district bike infrastructure failures. My basic point view follows this infographic fairly closely:


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          • Mark S December 31, 2015 at 5:26 pm

            Good luck trying to enforce that.

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            • Brian January 1, 2016 at 9:33 am

              I have thought about this idea quite a bit since I live on Davis St. I think enforcement would be very difficult, and would need to come more from citizens taking the reins than the police. If people were shamed a bit it could be effective, though not 100% of course. It would take some time, but eventually people would feel like j@ckasses for driving on greenways. I think. That being said, I don’t think drivers would get behind this unless bicyclists were given the same boot on busy streets (Cesar Chavez, for example). And I don’t see cyclists giving in to that, either.

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              • Derp January 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm

                Haven’t cyclists already given in to that? I would guess that mode share of cyclists on roads like Cesar is comparable to that of the US average. The system to get cyclists off the main thoroughfares is already in place: Share traffic lanes with high speed automobiles and public shaming/bullying.

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              • Brian January 2, 2016 at 10:11 am

                Agreed. Drivers use that 1 in a 1,000,000 cyclist to discuss the “problem” of cyclists on “roads they shouldn’t be on.” So, to them, cyclists haven’t given that up just yet.

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          • soren January 1, 2016 at 11:09 am

            “I would rather just be a part of the traffic flow”

            That’s how people ride in cities with 1% mode share.

            In a city that genuinely values active transportation drivers are at the bottom of the transportation hierarchy and cautious riders feel safe on Broadway or Hawthorne.

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            • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC January 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm


              Thank you for the very useful diagram on your link. I agree, outer Division ought to have curbed lanes. Given that inner Division is posted to 30 mph (45 kph), are you suggesting painted lanes or curbed lanes, on its otherwise narrow roadway?

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              • Spiffy January 4, 2016 at 8:55 am

                it should be 20 mph with a painted buffered bike lane…

                there’s no part of inner Division that’s safe at 30 mph right now…

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              • soren January 4, 2016 at 2:36 pm

                Ideally, I would like to see it aggressively traffic calmed but that’s not feasible now (especially after the battle over Clinton).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm

                None of us will live to see bike lanes on Division. However, if the speed limit is really 30, lowering it to 25 should be a slam-dunk, especially on the stretch between 20th and 50th (and, perhaps, beyond).

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              • soren January 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm

                20 mph speed limits are legal in commercial districts.

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        • El Biciclero January 2, 2016 at 7:53 pm

          Has any jurisdiction ever tried POBL (Plain Old Bike Lanes)—or perhaps buffered bike lanes—for mid-block, but then created full protected intersections? The painted bike lane could lead directly into the channelized intersection treatment for those who desired intersection protection, but the plain old paint mid-block would allow freedom of movement to pass slower riders, avoid debris (which could be more easily cleaned without physical barriers in the way) or loiterers, or “prepare for a left turn” with much more ease than on a full-length protected cycleway. The choice to use the protected route through an intersection (which would also facilitate two-stage left turns), or merge into other traffic and proceed straight through (or make a one-stage left turn) would be up to the individual rider.

          Think of the opposite of what we create today: full barricaded protection mid-block, and then unprotected “mixing zones” at intersections. Let the whole block be a “mixing zone”, then pick your poison at intersections. As a bicyclist, you would be more visible to drivers, have freedom of movement, and have a designated space on the roadway. Even better, as a bicyclist at an intersection, you would either be fully in The Lane, avoiding right hooks, or in a “protected” intersection which mitigated right (and hopefully left) hook dangers via physical structure. There could even be bike-lane-specific signals which you would obey if using the bike lane, and non-bike-lane-specific signals which you would obey if choosing to opt out of the bike lane.

          Is there no experiment or data available on such a setup? Am I totes cray-cray? Is this absolutely out of the question for Oregon due to ORS 814.420?

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          • Mark January 3, 2016 at 8:44 am

            I really like this concept. The idea of being trapped, with no way to pass slower traffic or avoid debris, makes me reluctant to support full separation. In addition, separated bikeways can be much more dangerous at intersections. I haven’t seen any designs that aren’t either dangerous or exceptionally cumbersome. Jug-handle turn? That’s for chumps. Just let me move over to the left side of the street as I near my turn and move like regular traffic.

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          • Nick Falbo January 3, 2016 at 9:02 am

            Transitioning from a on-street bike lane to a protected intersection is possible, but the transition must be made with care otherwise the intersection will be more of a hindrance than a help.

            In Portland we have an related example to point to. On SW Naito on the northbound approach to SW Lincoln, the bike lane transitions to sidewalk level and channelizes users so that they can make a comfortable left turn onto Naito, protected from adjacent travel lanes and properly oriented with the train tracks.

            Davis, CA has a protected intersection design that integrates with on-street bike lanes on both streets. The transitions between the on-street lane and the protected intersection seem a little abrupt for my taste, but I haven’t actually ridden on that one.

            I’m not a lawyer, but leaving a bike lane to make a left turn is one of the exceptions allowed for in the law. This maneuver would probably be allowed, but I’d hope the intersection design and transition would be so appealing and comfortable that people wouldn’t feel the need to avoid it.

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            • El Biciclero January 3, 2016 at 11:45 am

              “I’d hope the intersection design and transition would be so appealing and comfortable that people wouldn’t feel the need to avoid it.”

              That’s what we’d find out very quickly. In my mind, there wouldn’t really be a “transition” from a bike lane to a protected intersection; the bike lane would lead directly into it. Any transitions would be out of the bike lane to avoid the protected intersection or to make a left turn. Think of a fully barricaded “protected” bike lane with protected intersections—now remove the barriers mid-block and keep the protection at the intersection. No need for grade separation or anything. The one danger I could see being related directly to the infrastructure would be the same as for freeway exits where drivers must avoid the “gore point” where the guard rails meet. Bicyclists (and drivers) would have to avoid hitting any channelization curbs or islands.

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            • El Biciclero January 3, 2016 at 11:52 am

              “…leaving a bike lane to make a left turn is one of the exceptions allowed for in the law.”

              Yes it is. However, leaving the bike lane to go straight through an intersection is not. I would like to see this law changed. In a channelized, protected intersection configuration, I’d like to decide whether I want to herd up with grannies and grade-schoolers or proceed with faster traffic outside the protected zone. Current Oregon law would not allow avoiding a crowded protected intersection except to make a left turn. Although, now that I think about it, such a move might be considered legal if I am moving out of the “bicycle lane or path” for the purpose of avoiding slower traffic…hmm…

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            • El Biciclero January 3, 2016 at 3:05 pm

              Ah, here we go; something like this is what I was thinking about. This image does show rather abrupt deviations into the protected intersection area; if those could be made gentler, then this is most like what I am thinking of.

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              • Nick Falbo January 3, 2016 at 3:42 pm

                Yes, that’s the Davis, CA installation. It features two sets of bikeways through the intersection.

                Something to consider however is the negative impact the wide bike lanes have on the bicyclists and pedestrians using the protected intersection. By preserving the on-street bike lane the intersection is now 12-18 feet wider than it otherwise could be, and the extra width available for right turning cars will promote higher turning speeds, which is the opposite of what we want to do.

                It’s an interesting hybrid approach, and certainly worth learning from.

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              • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC January 3, 2016 at 4:24 pm

                From what I’ve seen in Europe, specifically Benelux and Germany, such intersections are generally located where traffic congestion is medium; busier intersections are more likely to have roundabouts or even rotaries, which eliminate the need for left-hand turns and narrow-up the traffic lanes, with the bike/ped crossings further back away from the intersections.

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              • El Biciclero January 3, 2016 at 7:16 pm

                “By preserving the on-street bike lane the intersection is now 12-18 feet wider than it otherwise could be”

                My notion would not preserve a bike lane through the intersection in addition to a protected route. A bicyclist wanting to stay out of the protected routing would take the lane. Besides, we’re willing to preserve width for parking, why not bike lanes? Oh, yeah. I forgot.

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    • Spiffy December 31, 2015 at 7:50 am

      odd… I would have stopped and moved the cones out of the bike lane like I do with every poorly placed construction obstacle in a bike lane…

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    • Tom Hardy January 1, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Large , and sometimes not so large semis’ can move the cones with their “Sweepers”. Sweepers are the side covers below the box that they hope to sweep away cyclists when they turn to the right or left at corners. They merely need to cut the corner a little short and the cones are moved, and still standing.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        Most trucks in the US don’t have these, unfortunately. They are an important safety feature, one I think the bicycling (and motorcycling) community should be advocating for. They have been proposed in the past, and the trucking industry has opposed them on cost grounds.

        They are required on all trucks in Europe.

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      • Spiffy January 4, 2016 at 9:26 am

        in that case your vehicle is too large for the road and shouldn’t be allowed…

        we need more immobile traffic markings so that larger vehicles are excluded from many urban areas…

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  • mark December 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Portland: We do most everything 95%.

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    • ethan December 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      7%. If we did things 95%, we would have 95% bike share.

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      • davemess January 1, 2016 at 8:39 am

        I know it was a joke, but that’s assuming that 100% of people want to ride bikes as transportation. Good luck with that.

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        • lop January 1, 2016 at 4:22 pm

          Also assumes people will stop walking so much and ride bikes instead.

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          • soren January 3, 2016 at 11:43 am

            Do we spend ~6% of PBOT maintenance and safety funding on pedestrian infrastructure? What level of funding would help reverse generations of inequity?

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        • soren January 3, 2016 at 11:39 am

          Do we spend 7% of our PBOT maintenance and safety funds on bikeways? What level of funding would help reverse generations of inequity?

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        • Spiffy January 4, 2016 at 9:29 am

          that’s not assuming 100% bike mode share, it’s assuming that whatever % of mode share it is that it’s done 100% right…

          if we did bike facilities 100% right we wouldn’t have such a low % mode share of biking…

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  • q`Tzal December 30, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Considering the way ODOT reacted to K’Tesh’s yellow warning paint around a hazardous drain grate I would naturally expect bureaucrats to directly equate “tactical” anything with some sort of “turrerist” organization and invoke every level of law enforcement that will give them the time of day.

    Yes, I am just a little ray of sunshine.

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    • K'Tesh December 30, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Most of the places I’ve painted (three out of four IIRC) have been dealt with to my satisfaction, and I’ve not faced any judges in doing them. The last one still could be addressed better (it’s that pinch point over on 99W in Tigard: https://goo.gl/maps/LumaG46Bm1T2). ODOT installed reflectors, but those don’t do a damn thing when the sun is in your eyes, and you’ve drifted too far to the right because of the shape of the driveway there.

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      • Tom Hardy January 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

        I just noticed! This is a 1 way thoroughfare (with max in the center)
        According to the Oregon State Driver’s Manual, cyclists can legally take the left side in the big buffer zone between the traffic lane and the curb guarding the MAX tracks. Much safer than the substandard “Right Hook” bike lane. You get away from the drainage grates and manhole covers.

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        • q`Tzal January 3, 2016 at 4:43 pm

          Except for the part where being legally allowed to ride on the left side of the road occurs so infrequently that drivers will never expect to see a bicycle there.

          It might be independently safer but in the larger context of distracted clueless drivers left side riding without a large physical barrier is very likely to vastly increase the amount of “BUT HE CAME OUTTA NOWHERE!” collisions.

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        • Spiffy January 4, 2016 at 9:36 am

          nope, you have to use the bike lane since there’s one, unless you’re turning left…

          if there was no bike lane then you could ride on the left side…

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  • Grandpa December 30, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Kramer adopted a highway…..

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    • davemess January 1, 2016 at 8:40 am

      his lane reduction didn’t work out too well for people (or Newman).

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  • K'Tesh December 30, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    See Something? Do Something!

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  • Eric Leifsdad December 30, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    The diverter at NE Tillamook and 16th was originally a guerrilla installation in the 60s? Perhaps the real PBOT could please stand up and do a history report on this sort of thing?

    If the cones aren’t staying in place, that points to some need for enforcement of lanes and/or speeding. Even just “slightly speeding” (say 8mph over) — which will likely be enforced by vigilantes soon if PPB doesn’t step up. Until PBOT has some self-fining paint to work with, they can only do so much (a well-placed steel bollard and some cameras would be a start though.)

    Is this the same corner that shows a 20mph advisory sign in google’s street view for July 2014? https://goo.gl/maps/HGKGSQu9zD62

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    • Carrie December 31, 2015 at 7:12 am

      The cones had not been knocked over our pushed into the bike lane, but rather deliberately placed there in a nice line. Maybe by the semi driver on his way back (/sarcasm/).

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    • Alan 1.0 December 31, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Is this the same corner that shows a 20mph advisory sign in google’s street view for July 2014? https://goo.gl/maps/HGKGSQu9zD62

      Sure is generous to car drivers to provide that nice 4-6 foot buffer on the driver’s side, while squeezing bikes between the drain and the manhole. Has anyone pulled a tape on the bike lane width at that point? (curb-to-paint)

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      • lop December 31, 2015 at 6:13 pm

        >Sure is generous to car drivers to provide that nice 4-6 foot buffer on the driver’s side

        It’s not continuous. It’s a pedestrian/bike safety refuge just before where the picture was taken.

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        • Alan 1.0 December 31, 2015 at 7:15 pm

          The buffer goes from the mid-block crosswalk refuge all the way around the 17th street curve at Pershing down a block to the crosswalk at Haig (see satellite view). Moving autos over to their left after the crosswalk, into that buffer space, moves them away from cutting the curve into the bike lanes with its stingy buffer zone. Combined with B. Carfee’s “state-standard” bike lane width and Todd B’s thoughts on the Pershing corner treatment (both comments below), that intersection could have been – could still be! – built to accommodate active transportation much better than it does now.

          (And yeah, as Eric pointed out, the advisory speed has been raised from 20mph to 25 after the rebuild. The plastic bollard in the streetview photo sits over the stantion for the new pole.)

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          • Alan 1.0 December 31, 2015 at 7:43 pm

            *17th avenue curve

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          • Eric Leifsdad January 2, 2016 at 10:29 am

            Do people even turn right on Pershing there? It seems like the bike lane could even be protected by jersey barriers on this stretch without really impacting connectivity.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. December 30, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    This is great! Looking forward to seeing more of this around town!

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  • Spiffy December 31, 2015 at 7:54 am

    hopefully they’re also PBOT’s cones…

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  • Joe December 31, 2015 at 9:59 am

    safety 3rd rubber side down..

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  • Tom December 31, 2015 at 10:07 am

    If people can store there personal automobiles in the public right of way for free, I don’t see why personal traffic cones can not also be stored, as long as they are placed correctly and serve the purpose of increasing safety. I don’t see this as “guerrilla” at all, but instead just proactive and responsible. What is “guerrilla” is people parking in bike lanes. Parking in bike lanes should be referred to as a guerrilla tactic by anti-urbanists.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 31, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Would a citizen initiated traffic ticket work?

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    • Tom Hardy December 31, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Annually, I have garage sales. I live on a bike path. I put up 15 cones with no parking up during the garage sales. There is parking across the street in a parking lot, and around the corner (100 feet) Motorists still park in the bike lane. I call a friendly local policeman who issues 15 to 20 bike path parking tickets per day. He has no objection to the cones. ODOT left them 15 years back when they did their annual paving.

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      • Pete January 1, 2016 at 10:43 pm

        For some reason the #IParkedInABikeLane stickers that I bought keep disappearing from their rolls.

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        • El Biciclero January 3, 2016 at 11:56 am

          Heh. Just don’t get caught sticking one. I’ll bet the punishment for that is way worse than anything you’d get for parking in a bike lane.

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  • clint December 31, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I commute through here all the time. I’ve never had trouble being pinched. However, the car lane could be/should be moved to the left at least 4 feet. That would give a larger buffer between cars and the bike lane on the slight curve.

    The speed has been raised as mentioned above.

    The main problem I have in this location happens immediately behind the photo above. Cars do not stop for the flashing crosswalk. Very dangerous.

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  • Oliver December 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Drivers seem to have no problem following the large painted buffer on the left side of the road.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 31, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    It is “sad” that this is a “brand new” designed street intersection.

    The real question should be: “why did not TRIMET/ PBoT design this retrofit intersection better for traffic safety while maintaining property access?

    Could not this intersection been a narrower [close to 90 degree] raised driveway approach or even a one way out (no right in)…the blocks are short in this area.

    Editorial comment: This being 2016 and not 1990…the state of design practice is much better at understanding the long term safety deficiencies this type of intersection approach creates…but somehow this intersection was rebuilt as it is…ADA was considered but not good universal design and vision zero.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty December 31, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    My bet is “trucks” because we are enjoying a philosophy of build for the biggest vehicles rather than fit the vehicle to the street.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 31, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      (in reply to Todd, that is)

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      • Todd Boulanger December 31, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        Hello – Hello Kitty- yes that is often the “reason”. It would be helpful to know that the ADT (daily volume all vehicles) and % HGV (trucks) counts were.

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    • rubbervose December 31, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      replace “truck” with bus. how else can a bus get to the Center Street garage from the west?

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      • rubbervose December 31, 2015 at 4:40 pm

        or we could divert all buses and freight trucks to 26th. considering the relative few (compared to 17th) that use 26th, there should be plenty of room for them.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm

          Except that 26th is a residential street and a bike way. How would Copenhagen solve this problem?

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          • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC January 2, 2016 at 8:18 pm

            Copenhagen would likely do what most European cities do – severely restrict truck and delivery usage during morning and evening commute peak periods, but allow unlimited use during the non-peak night/morning hours, including allowing trucks to park in the bike lanes, idle engines all night long, etc. Buses would be restricted to bike speeds at all times (15 mph/25 kph) along bike routes, otherwise normal traffic speeds on other streets.

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          • paikiala January 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm

            Land use does not equal street classification.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm

              True, but the thought that 26th is somehow a better street for trucks than 17th is makes me shudder.

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              • paikiala January 5, 2016 at 2:43 pm

                Trucks can turn onto 26th either direction from Powell. Going west, they cannot turn south onto 17th.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 5, 2016 at 3:15 pm

                The context of this thread is that there are too many trucks on 17th, and that perhaps they should use 26th instead. The point I was trying to make is that using 26th would be worse than 17th. Generally, I think directing heavy trucks through residential areas is bad policy. I understand the street classification supports it in this case, but that is a different conversation.

                Maybe you could answer the original question about why the turn from 17th to Pershing is so wide, and why the bike lane stops so early. Do you know why that design was chosen?

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        • lop December 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm

          What about the people who want to have local bus service on 17th? Should they have to put up with an extra transfer and longer walk to use MAX?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 31, 2015 at 7:30 pm

            They should move to 26th.

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            • Beth January 1, 2016 at 7:42 pm

              Please tell me this is a joke.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 2, 2016 at 2:31 am

                Would I joke?

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          • Spiffy January 4, 2016 at 9:41 am

            walk a few blocks to Milwaukie?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 31, 2015 at 7:25 pm

        After looking at the photos some more, I see no reason why bus access requires those long sweeping corners. I don’t think busses turn there.

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        • Psyfalcon January 1, 2016 at 12:10 pm

          I like those low mound dividers and refuges.

          They are explicit in that you are not supposed to drive over it, but if the one truck or bus (or moving truck on residential streets) needs to use that space nothing breaks as long as everyone uses care.

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    • Pete January 1, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Yes, fire trucks usually.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 2, 2016 at 2:14 am

        Maybe… but fire trucks seem to be able to navigate normal corners on most other streets in the city. I’m not sure why this one would be different.

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  • B. Carfree December 31, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    As if there isn’t enough stuff to deal with at that intersection between the fact that it is an intersection (that is where the bad things happen in an urban setting), there is a slippery steel plate in the bike lane and, right next to it, a slippery metal storm grate, it’s displeasing in the extreme that some group of know-nothings have chosen to put more obstacles in the way.

    The bike lane is clearly narrower than the state-standard six feet, no doubt because some “advocates” have convinced PBOT that narrow bike lanes with slick thermoplastic “buffers” are somehow better than simply giving us bike lanes that are wider than six feet. Thanks a lot for making cycling conditions unnecessarily worse, kids.

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    • Nick Falbo January 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      I’m not sure why you think advocates are pulling the strings here. From my experience PBOT tends to make decisions based on data and research.

      This plays out in their use of buffers:

      Bike lanes have a natural limit on width – when you get to 7 ft or larger, drivers start to confuse them with driving or parking lanes. Configuring these lanes with a buffer clarifies their intended use and reduces encroachment.

      Buffers do influence rider positioning. In Chicago, buffers were used on the parking side of a bike lane and reduced door zone riding from 92.5% (!) down to 60%.

      And buffers make more people more comfortable. In visual preference surveys they increase the number of people that rate a facility as ‘comfortable’ and ‘very comfortable’ when compared to regular, single-stripe bike lanes.

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      • Buzz January 4, 2016 at 9:13 am

        All subjective, and a reduction in door zone riding to 60% (!) doesn’t seem all that great to me. I would choose education over engineering.

        And B. Carfree’s comment about this ‘action’ still stands – those cones are an obstruction and an impediment, not an improvement.

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  • Buzz January 2, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    That looks like new construction, I thought BES agreed to stop using those double-wide drainage grates years ago…

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  • caesar January 2, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Activism, Russian style (NSFW – bleeped cursing):


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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 4, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      I liked how some guys drove up the sidewalk just to get a sticker.

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