Order Rev Nat's Cider Today

City’s latest experiment to protect NE Couch bike lane has failed

Posted by on January 19th, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Bumps already ripped out on Couch-3.jpg

A few of the ripped out rumble bars.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Illegal driving and the force of car tires has made quick work of the new “rumble bars” installed on the Couch curve where it winds onto the Burnside Bridge.

On January 8th we reported that the Portland Bureau of Transportation added 70 of the round bumps in an effort to prevent people from driving in the bike lane. Keep in mind that it’s not only unsafe to encroach into a lane dedicated to cycling, it’s also against the law (ORS 811.435). But for some reason, many people driving into downtown Portland feel like that law doesn’t apply to them.

PBOT installed these bars to encourage safe and legal driving. Unfortunately, as of this morning, more than one-third of the 70 bumps have been ripped out and are currently strewn about the roadway. At this rate, by the end of the month there will be no bars left.

Bumps already ripped out on Couch-4.jpg

Advertisement

KGW-TV news reporter Chris Willis was the first to tell me the bars had been ripped out. He interviewed me about it for their story that aired last night:

PBOT says these rumble bars were installed as part of a test, “to give people who are driving an audible warning and vibration when they encroach into the bike lane.”

PBOT spokesman John Brady said they’re aware of the issue and the city plans to replace the bars once they find stronger epoxy. There’s no date for when that will happen.

Even with stronger glue, I’m concerned that these rumble bars aren’t doing enough to change people’s illegal and unsafe behaviors. As shared in the KGW report, maybe it’s time for PBOT to stop with these half-measures and just install some good old-fashioned physical protection. The City has determined that the need exists to protect this bike lane and the people who use it, so they need to make sure their method of providing that protection actually works.

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

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

163
Leave a Reply

avatar
46 Comment threads
117 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
64 Comment authors
was carlessHello, KittyEl BicicleroSuburbanRuss R Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
maks
Guest
maks

jersey barriers. nuf said.

Tim
Guest
Tim

They don’t use jersey barriers since the can’t fit proper end treatments and widths to protect motorists. So I say concrete filled bollards.

That will leave a mark in you pretty new bumper.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Any object placed in the right of way will be struck. Designing a barrier that balances the safety of all that might interact with it is essential to achieve a Safe System/Vision Zero goal.
A jersey barrier with a tapered end in the straight area of the roadway would probably be safe for an automobile collision considering the ‘normal’ speeds of motorists on that section of roadway.
A short barrier – high curb – is another option, but I would not want a cyclist to accidentally strike it and fall into the auto lane.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

A short barrier would be terrible. I think there’s really only three options, listed in order of my preference:

1) Add a jersey barrier to provide maximum physical protection to cyclists
2) Elevate the bike lane to sidewalk height
3) Do nothing until a cyclist gets crushed, then do one of the above

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Even just one jersey barrier.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Even a curb would work! They bolted those to the Hawthorne Bridge, seem to still be there after a few years.

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

“stronger epoxy”? Is the logic that people would stop driving in the bike lane if only those rumble bars wouldn’t become detached when people drive in the bike lane?

This experiment wasn’t a failure. It confirmed that rumble bars do nothing and a physical barrier is necessary.

Adam
Subscriber
ethan
Guest
ethan

I was on a bus last night going through this area and the bus driver veered well into the bike lane even though there was plenty of room on the left.

Spiffy
Subscriber

please call TriMet and report it…

Eric
Guest
Eric

Reminds me of the same problem on the Broadway -> Lovejoy turn, where the barriers were gone within a week.

It’s frustrating that these obvious indicators that drivers are reckless and unconcerned with safety are so casually dismissed instead of making everyone see the actual conditions in which bike riders risk their lives daily.

Hazel
Guest
Hazel

While some of these corners might not be designed well, it’s really not that hard to drive correctly and not into the bike lane. This is an issue in many more places and it’d be nice to see something done about these as well. The ones that come to mind for me are on NE 20th/21st at Tillamook and just north of Irving, on Sandy at the I-84 west on ramp and NE 57th/Cully north of Fremont.

Ann
Guest
Ann

isn’t that 21st and Tillamook intersection the one where a woman (in a car) ran into a house last week?

Keviniano
Subscriber
Keviniano

This bridge is effectively a half-mile stretch of undivided highway in the middle of the urban grid, yet it has no meaningful protections for bicyclists or pedestrians. It’s demonstrably deadly to vulnerable users and a perfect candidate for applying vision-zero thinking. It needs barriers along the entire length of it, starting with this horrific curve. It could probably benefit from a host of other treatments, like narrower lanes, to slow down the cars.

Anyone know if something like this is in the hopper at the City?

soren
Guest
soren

it annoy be greatly that bridge approaches/decks often have large speed limit increases. for example the hawthorne bridge has a speed limit 10 mph higher than hawthorne itself. i intentionally drive 20 mph on the hawthorne bridge and it’s amazing to see how angry other drivers get.

20 is plenty!

Dick Pilz
Guest
Dick Pilz

Different jurisdictions. Multnomah County has the bridge and approaches. Portland has Hawthorne Blvd.

Captain Karma
Guest

I drive 25 up and down Hawthorne, which is still too fast, and yes, drivers get crazy to pass and take big risks with peds, because they must, I guess. I usually catch up at the light anyway, as people on bikes are familiar with. So maybe I’ll go 20 from now on.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

Is it in the hopper? Good question. I’m sure it is on the city’s radar and hopefully Multco who actually owns and controls the bridge.

That said, it will require some political lifting to make a reality, of the two councilors who might push for it, one is gearing up for a re-election campaign and a gas tax campaign, the other is leaving office. It may be relegated to another year/term. I hope not.

Keviniano
Subscriber
Keviniano

Oh, right, this is the County’s bridge. OK, anyone know if it’s in the County’s hopper? They did such a wonderful thing with the Morrison Bridge, maybe they can outdo themselves here.

Steve B.
Guest
Steve B.

Morrison is a great example. Keep in mind it took over a decade to go from “this is a good idea” to having it implemented. http://bikeportland.org/2010/01/11/guest-article-the-12-year-struggle-to-tame-the-morrison-bridge-27962

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

This is a classic case of where a Jersey barrier is needed in this location. I suspect PBOT will resist because trucks have a hard time navigating the turn without encroaching on the bike lane. I think truck encroachment is part of the design.

Do we build our infrastructure to accommodate all vehicles, or do we limit our vehicles to fit our infrastructure?

Adam
Subscriber

A truck that cannot be navigated along the Couch curve has no place on our crowded downtown streets.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

We have industrial traffic regularly moving through the city. There are industrial areas right near this on ramp. That is the economic reality and it’s an important part of the city. That industrial traffic is not going away soon. My belief is we can figure out how to properly accommodate both.

kittens
Guest
kittens

You mean I can’t drive my 65′ FREIGHT TRUCK around downtown?! That just aint ‘murican!

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

If I couldn’t get my big rig through those turns without driving in the bike lane, I’d hand in my class A CDL. It’s just not difficult to navigate that area in a truck, but of course it’s easier to ignore the law and just drive in the bike lane as long as the local cops are asleep at the wheel and the local traffic engineers are too chicken-hearted to put some jersey barriers in.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Both Lovejoy and the Couch curves need spike strips. After a few hundred ruined tire, some of the motorists might get the message.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

You, the taxpayer, cannot afford to replace that many tires from such a negligent act.

Emily Guise (Contributor)
Subscriber

OMG PBOT JUST PUT IN A CURB ALREADY!

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

“…after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

86 feet of curb, at $20/foot = $1,800. Candle sticks on top, every 5 feet, another $420. Then there is the maintenance. So, about $2500 might do the job to add a curb where the buffer currently exists.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

And the cost of doing that when it was first built?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

about the same.
I prefer a raised bike lane on the inside of curves.

Emily Guise (Contributor)
Subscriber

Seems very reasonably priced when you consider how many people’s lives/limbs it could save. Plus they must have spent that already on trying the lights and now the rumble things. I’d be willing to pony up- do you think PBOT takes personal checks?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The lights only cost labor to install. The materials were provided free of charge as a demonstration project by the vendor – similar to the green bike lane on Madison approaching Grand.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

Another thing that tends to complicate these things when you try to add curbs in various areas is stormwater infrastructure. Usually the changes or implementation of new stormwater facilities drives the cost up enormously.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

curb cut outs permit water to drain.

Steve B.
Guest
Steve B.

Yes, though it all depends on what stormwater infra is there already and it can get complicated. These evaluations are triggered when you add civil infrastructure like a curb. Sometimes a curb cut works, other times stormwater alone can be a showstopper.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I think we’re all overlooking the obvious solution here, which is to remove the bike lane.

[/sarc]

Al Dimond
Guest

I recently visited friends and family in the Chicago area. Some combination of city and state government has started installing red-light cameras that send you robo-tickets if you go through on orange, or fail to stop before the stop line. I know this because people I know hate it, and complain about it all the time. Y’know what else they do? They obey they law. They don’t creep forward into the crosswalk at red lights anymore (I did a lot of running in the ‘burbs while I was there, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a low rate of crosswalk encroachment anywhere — this in places where you hardly ever see anyone out walking, so it’s not out of widespread pedestrian sympathies). I’ve heard from people, inveterate speeders, that now slow down to the speed limit near stoplights to make sure they’ll be able to stop in time.

A little enforcement goes a long way. It doesn’t have to be a big ticket, AFAICT research seems to indicate regular enforcement is a better deterrent than giant fines. Totally automated enforcement might be out, but half-automated enforcement, where a guy with a tripod takes photos and loads of tickets are mailed at the end of the day, could be done at trouble spots a few times per year. Maybe first-time offenders could even get warnings. People will hate it, they’ll complain about how the curve is designed wrong (which is silly — any time the lane lines are painted tighter than the pavement drivers will tend to cut inside), they might even get covered in the news. They’ll also slow down and take the curve properly, which is the only thing that matters.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

You had it right when you noted that consistent enforcement is the key to behavioral change. To do it as spot-checks or periodic enforcements is the exact opposite of consistent enforcement.

I reiterate that when Davis, CA rose to be the Bicycle Capital of the World for a decade beginning in the mid-70s, it did so by doing zero-tolerance traffic law enforcement. If a patrol unit saw a violation and the cop wasn’t on an emergency call, s/he wrote the citation.

We’re not going to jersey wall every road in the area. All of us will need to ride amongst motorists most of the time. If we want to create a safe, welcoming cycling environment, we’re going to need the enforcement portion. Show me the locale with reasonable cycling numbers that doesn’t have first-rate traffic law enforcement.

yashardonnay
Guest
yashardonnay

By the time PBOT is done with iteration after iteration of failed half measures here, they probably could have put in jersey barriers within the same ballpark of cost.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“The stingy man pays the most”

spencer
Guest
spencer

every one commenting here should call 823 SAFE and report this.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

823-SAFE is for current, unaddressed, problems. The project manager for this ‘test’ would be the better person to contact.

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

Do you happen to know who that person is/how to contact that person?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

I do not, but Jeff Smith manages the funding, 823-7083.

Champs
Guest
Champs

As built, that curve simply isn’t sharp enough to consistently slow traffic and/or not wide enough to accommodate buses.

Call it perverse, but I think that this traffic calming creates a safety hazard, and more pavement is the only way to fix it.

Spiffy
Subscriber

that’s perverse…

Champs
Guest
Champs

Resolved that traffic must be calmed and the current solution is failing, the toolset is pretty limited.

Buses are a wrinkle. They require wide lanes and pretty much assure that cars will be present and speed bumps won’t. The chicane can’t be narrowed, so it must be reshaped. If you don’t do that with new pavement, then it will have to be reallocated, and you get one guess at the only space available to reclaim.

It’s perverse, all right.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

2nd that. There are two lanes in the S curve. In the straight section they are at least 10 feet wide, but in the curve just before joining Burnside the inside one is nearly 16 feet wide and the outside one is 11 feet. A bus drive that can’t stay inside a 16 foot lane should retire.

maccoinnich
Guest

Why wasn’t this built as a raised / protected bike lane in the first place? The standard reason given for the fact that we don’t have protected bike lanes is that it’s expensive to retrofit existing infrastructure. However this is a stretch of road that was built from scratch only 6 years ago. Raising the bike lane would have only had a marginal cost, if anything.

ethan
Guest
ethan

I have the same questions about the infrastructure near the new Orange line. Plenty of forethought went into providing places for people to park, yet the newly rebuilt roads (like SE 17th) have narrow bike lanes with gutters.

Nick Falbo
Subscriber
Nick Falbo

Capital construction takes a long time, and plans are prepared using the latest accepted guidance available at the time. If I remember correctly, the construction plans were drafted and came through the bike advisory committee in 2010/2011.

The NACTO bike guide wasn’t released until March 2011, and even then, protected bike lanes were still considered experimental. The only example portland had was SW Broadway near PSU (although Cully was getting ready for construction).

Support for protected bike lane facilities among bicyclists and advocates was relatively low, and many people were skeptical of their utility.

maccoinnich
Guest

SW Moody was under construction by March 2011, and includes protected bike infrastructure. I’m sure if it was a different lead agency that built Moody, but it’s striking how much better it is than SE Gideon or 17th.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ve heard this explanation before, and I don’t fully buy it. I don’t think that in 2011 the idea of putting a bike lane at sidewalk level would be considered experimental — the Hawthorne Bridge has had this design for decades and decades. And it’s not as if the idea of vehicles cutting the corner was an unknown phenomenon.

ethan
Guest
ethan

That space is going to be developed relatively soon. I bet that’s why it was designed that way.

Nick Falbo
Subscriber
Nick Falbo

Shallow angles encourage speeding, especially in multilane situations. People already race over the Burnside bridge, we shouldn’t go out of the way to give them a head start.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

Agreed. I believe they were also trying to keep that inner land parcel as large as possible in order to make the land develop-able in the future.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

The answer to this I believe is the plan for the Couch/Burnside couplet was finished about a decade before the actual buildout. At the time, separated roadway facilities were barely a glimmer in PBOT’s eyes. We certainly missed a great opportunity to add a cycletrack to Burnside. At the time of planning it was more like “oooh we can add a bike lane on Burnside?? Radical!”

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

How they do it in NYC:
https://goo.gl/maps/Yomq7juv3gJ2

Voila, a crazy scary turn becomes one of the most popular bike routes in the city.

Adam
Subscriber

Also, how we do it in Portland. No need to copy another city and open up to the oft-repeated “we’re not NYC!” argument when we have a perfect example less than a mile away.
https://goo.gl/maps/79vRkYthjQB2

Pete
Guest
Pete

I think the difference is the NYC treatment is a bike lane with jersey barriers dumped next to it, whereas the Portland treatment is a really wide sidewalk with bicycles painted on it. The NYC treatment seems more ‘European’, except for the part where it dumps you out with a choice of taking the traffic lane or dodging pedestrians on the sidewalk. 😉

Spiffy
Subscriber

if you pan to the left there’s an angel on the median…

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

wow…portlandia!

rick
Guest
rick

just wow

Joe
Guest
Joe

Didn’t the city go through the EXACT same process with the bollards on Lovejoy coming of the Broadway bridge?

First they installed bollards and they were hit and removed quickly. Then the said they needed stronger epoxy. Once again, they got hit and removed. Then they “solved” the problem by doing nothing… (http://bikeportland.org/2012/01/25/once-again-bike-lane-bollards-torn-out-by-auto-traffic-on-nw-lovejoy-65907)

These half measures are a waste of money and a bullshit way to say the city is trying to improve the situation. These measures don’t work, you’ve previously proved they don’t work, yet they try the same thing again.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results”

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Jonathan – I tried going back to the earlier article to refresh my memory…it was a 8 January not 8 December posting it seems…

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

I’d like to see Gladstone used as a secondary test. I dodge a lot of sides of cars riding that in the morning.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Perhaps the engineers or striping crew members that read this blog can chime in on this issue: these raised pavement markers most likely failed due to their application during the winter (cold temp and perhaps partially wet pavement crevices) AND this is a very challenging location due to the vehicle wheel movement striking and pulling each RPM at an angle through the curve.

[I am assuming that the contractor followed all the manufacturer’s instructions per surface preparation, material handling (kept warm and dry before installing?) and installation. Or else this might be addressed as a warranty issue…unless PBoT waived it due to the other issues mentioned above.]

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Epoxy adhesives are very sensitive to moisture and cure times are influenced by temperature. The Madison green lane had to be redone for similar reasons.
Any object placed in the right of way will be impacted by auto traffic. The police coined the nickname DUII-catchers for traffic circles. You build it in the road and someone will hit it.
Not sure angle has as much to do with it as the frequency and repetition of impacts.
The rubber curbing on Burnside at 9th and at SW Skyline were bolted down. Bolted down only lasts marginally longer when it is repeatedly struck by traffic. Bolted down also puts a hole in your street.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

Last summer ODOT glued some rumble bumps in the merge area of Airport Way onto I-205 southbound. They get a pretty hard beating and were still in place last I looked, but I haven’t looked closely for a couple months.

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

John Lascurettes
Why is the alignment not like this: http://cl.ly/2a3D3W2I0i32 ?Recommended 0

Because then the Fair-haired Dumbbell wouldn’t have room for a skybridge.

http://www.pdxmonthly.com/articles/2014/4/2/burnside-bridgehead-designers-disneyland-april-2014

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I would request that the Portland PBAC to investigate this issue: is it appropriate for bike project striping and stencilling to be done in the winter/ wet months given that these locations are typically located in adverse sites (intersections or corners) with a lot of vehicle wear and wheel strikes? [Installing signage is the only appropriate winter task in my mind other than making emergency spot repairs.]

I ask the question above as:
1) I have been seeing a lot of other bikeway striping work done this winter as it was making me think that these locations would likely prematurely fail due to the challenges of surface prep, installation and protection before the materials can set up (as discussed before); and
2) if there is any institutional bias in how project resources are programmed and thus pushing bike work into less than ideal weather or time periods (this has come up in internal discussions at another local jurisdiction that striping crews have in the past predominately scheduled bike striping projects to be done at night or summer weekends so that they get higher overtime payment…the end result programmatically is that the small pot of bike money is spread to fewer projects.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

My memory of other mountable delineators (hedgehogs etc.) used in the UK, NL, DE are often screwed AND glued down to avoid this problem that seems to besetting PBoT’s bike projects.

But since our mountable delination tools are here are more limited (adoption and supply)…should we fall back on a older more effective lane delineator: the 6 inch or 8 inch raised ceramic marker?

[These would be placed on the left side of the striped buffer lane so should not trigger a conflict with bikes. And a more modern version has an inset reflector.]

http://www.apexmarker.com/non_reflective_ceramic.html

Of the top of my head..the closest local use of this type of delineator are the concrete blocks with domes along the older MAX tracks in the City Center. It would be performing the same task.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

These are still connected to the roadway with similar material, epoxy, or heated ‘superbundy’ .
http://www.pexco.com/markets/industrial/traffic/support-products/

TonyT
Guest
Tony T

The bike lane should be raised to the level of the sidewalk with a healthy buffer area by the curb.

Train Engineer
Guest
Train Engineer

Driving a motor vehicle is allowed if you are getting ready to make a right turn, or if you are driving into a driveway, etc.

http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.440

Train Engineer
Guest
Train Engineer

OOPS, I meant “Driving a motor vehicle IN A BIKE LANE is allowed…….”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Not in Oregon. You can drive across a bike lane to enter or exit a driveway, but this is not California, and Oregon is about the only state that prohibits the behavior you describe.

Train Engineer
Guest
Train Engineer

p,

Yes, it is legal in Oregon to drive in a bike lane:

http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.440

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I hate legalese. That law refers to “an implement of husbandry”. Does that mean a married man?

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

Their spouse.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

So how does that square with 811.440, which states:

A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when:
(a) Making a turn;
(b) Entering or leaving an alley, private road or driveway

That suggests more than merely crossing the lane.

Furthermore, bicyclists who proceed straight in a bicycle lane next to a line of right turning motorists are at extremely high risk of being right hooked and seriously injured. We all do it at times, and it usually works out fine, but it is a very dangerous maneuver.

Roads should be designed to minimize this type of conflict.

mh
Subscriber

I think we’re splitting hairs. Crossing an area means that you are on that segment, but for the shortest possible time (if you cross at 90 degrees). You’re still driving on it, but not along it.

Train Engineer
Guest
Train Engineer

The clause is intended to allow cars to get IN the bike lane while waiting for a right turn; thus preventing a right-hook to cyclists who might be in the bike lane. It’s a safety measure.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

No, sorry. It is only during the turn across a bike lane, not for preparing to turn right.

A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when:
(a) Making a turn;
(b) Entering or leaving an alley, private road or driveway; or
(c) Required in the course of official duty.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It is totally the driver’s responsibility to “clear the lane” before making their turn, but it is also true that most drivers are generally focused on what they can see ahead of them, not what may be approaching from behind.

As we’ve discussed elsewhere, design can help or hinder safety. The only context I know of where a driver needs to think about someone approaching from behind, in their blind spot, while they are preparing to execute a right turn, is when there is a bike lane to their right.

Just as ODOT’s design on Lombard is dangerous, lane configurations that put right-turning vehicles to the left of a lane moving straight create inherent conflicts in unexpected locations, and are therefore dangerous.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The question is not what I do, but what drivers do. Once you’re in the “right” lane, and activated your signal, most people don’t expect someone to approach even more to their right. Maybe they should, but they don’t, because aside from this one situation, it never happens. The issue is compounded because a cyclist’s line of approach is in the driver’s blind spot.

Hence the danger.

Spiffy
Subscriber

with regards to enforcing ORS 811.435 is the buffered section actually considered a bike lane?

in other words, can I ride my bike while staying entirely in the buffer?

what about streets like Multnomah where the buffer is a wide painted area with planters? can I bike entirely inside this buffer and it still be considered part of the bike lane?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

I don’t believe the law has caught up with the current practice yet. I’ve seen a draft document that defines a buffer as a space between two uses that is not intended to be used by either.

lop
Guest
lop

> But in the spirit of why the buffer is there in the first place: to keep motor vehicles from encroaching on the bike lane, it would take a particularly grumpy officer to ticket a bicycle rider for doing so.

It could also come up in a lawsuit after a collision – if the cyclist isn’t allowed to bike in the buffer and he gets hit by a driver, does that reduce the driver’s share of the liability? Resolving the issue before it comes up might save someone a bit of a headache down the line.

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

I laughed so hard to read about this. It really is as if the engineering for these experiments is done by distracted middle school students, not dedicated, paid and trained professionals.

kittens
Guest
kittens

You know, I almost feel bad for scolding them. It’s great they are thinking out of the box. But then I always come back to the feeling they just have some junior-level employee or intern doing this bike stuff. Imagine them applying the same un-seriousness to car infrastructure.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Do you presume a different level of effort for auto infrastructure, or just expenditure of funds?
Seen any multi-million dollar expenditure of funds to ease the crossing of a local river lately?

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

It might be as simple as a “good idea” cut and pasted from another city or conference report but the implimentation is lacking…winter or wet or otherwise.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Suburb,

you fix the problem for $1,000. give us some ideas, from your vast depth of experience.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

How much for jersey barriers vs paying $1000 over & over again?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

As in every time a motorist runs into it?
$150 each, 5 minimum on this web site:
http://www.discountcrowdcontrol.com/barriers/?gclid=CM-9oZKiucoCFYiCfgod7U4Kng

The end treatment is the tricky part. A tapered piece might work well.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Looking at end treatments, it seems the tapered approach needs to be 20 feet up to the standard 42 inch height of a jersey barrier. I’m not sure these come as pre-made sections, or have to be constructed in the field.
Considering the 15 mph advisory speed, it may be possible to just put a black and yellow object marker on the end most likely to be impacted, putting the barrier in advance of the crosswalk, and putting those bendy candle sticks (vertical delineators) in the buffer in advance of the barrier section to act as the warning segment.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

We have to put yellow markings on the fronts of 3′ tall cement barriers in order to keep people from driving into them? I think I know the problem.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The problem is we have humans driving these things. Bring on the robots!

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Dan,
It’s hard to see grey concrete on a grey street at night?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Don’t we expect cyclists to spot all sorts of dangerous obstacles on the sides of their routes? Like curbs, for instance? Or grates, pine cones, sticks, rocks, manhole covers, streetcar tracks, etc? And somehow we manage….

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Water-filled barrier is its own end treatment. If we’re really so worried about liability that we can’t have barriers between auto traffic and humans because it might hurt criminally reckless drivers, then we’re being completely negligent to allow speeds above 20mph anywhere in a dense urban environment.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that on Clinton, PBOT is willing to put large concrete barriers directly in the path of vehicles, but on Couch, with the same posted speed, it’s too dangerous to place them outside the travel lane?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

HK,
consider the different vehicles and numbers on the two streets. Also, the objects on Clinton have, or will have, yellow warning signs.

Westbound Burnside Bridge had 13,000 trips per day in 2009. The worst section of Clinton has about 3,000.
Trucks of all sizes, buses, etc.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I would not object to yellow signs on Couch — I would want the barriers to be made as visible to all users as possible.

As for volumes, we’re talking ~4x the volume on Couch. I would estimate that placing obstacles outside the travel lane would be at least 4x less dangerous than placing them in the travel lane, so total (vehicles) * (hazardlevel) would be lower on Couch, at least by my reckoning.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

“criminally reckless”?
Never made a mistake? Your definition of criminal would need to be explained for me to agree you put much thought into such a statement.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Someone crashing into a bike lane barrier hard enough to seriously injure themselves in a car couldn’t possibly be legal. I’ve given it quite a bit of thought and cannot come up with a reason why living people meat obstacles would ever be better for traffic control than inanimate objects.

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

Just call
Nick Storey

kittens
Guest
kittens

These kinds of episodes do little to encourage confidence in the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Is this what competence looks like? This constant “experimentation” is both damaging to esteem and completely unnecessary.

You have got to start with a solid design and work from there. All this crap about plastic stickers and signs and flashing lights is a joke and completely unacceptable on brand-new infrastructure.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

You prefer ‘do nothing’?
Most people, when demanded to do ‘all or nothing’ choose nothing. This is natural – as in a model followed by nature – minimal expenditure of energy helps insure future survival. It’s hardwired into us.
Trying something is to be celebrated. If it had worked, would as many bloggers have piled on to congratulate PBOT?

J_R
Guest
J_R

How about the PPB conducts an “enforcement action” complete with advance warning signs?

A couple cops on the corner spotting people driving in the bike lane and a fleet of cops writing tickets at mid-span. We can certainly afford to lose one lane for a few hours.

Maybe the enforcement action would “educate” motorists to obey the law. Has any motorist ever been cited for driving in the bike lane in Portland?

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

Spikes strips in the buffer, with “severe tire damage if you drive in the buffer” signs?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

And when a cyclist falls on them, or a car driver crashes who might not have otherwise?
Punishment of mistakes with the threatening of life and limb?
What next, a police state?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

paikiala
Punishment of mistakes with the threatening of life and limb? What next, a police state?

These glib responses are a product of the complete lack of action on the part of the police and half-measures from PBOT. Drivers need large solid objects to keep them in their lanes or they will naturally drive like they’re on a freeway. How hard would it be to place a green barrel or water-filled jersey barrier there and fill it with water? More work than removing the December 2014 Clinton diverters?

Road sheep. $128 each. Pick them up at metro paint and place them wherever you feel unsafe in the bike lane. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/63619551/Fake-flock-the-new-must-have-item

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Superficial or thoughtless? glossing over of true liability seems a bit glib as well.

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

I’m being absolutely glib. The absurdity of the situation calls for nothing less.

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

…I would love to get me some road sheep. (At METRO Paint you dare say?) But I worry after reading the article wondering how the Kiwi folk vandalized them…they used to be sailers and pirates, ya know …

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“Punishment of mistakes with the threatening of life and limb?
What next, a police state?”

Well, when my life is threatened due to my own mistakes—or worse, the mistakes of drivers—it seems we believe that’s fitting; after all, it’s my own fault for daring to venture out without my car…

See disappearing bike lanes and streetcar tracks for other examples of how “life and limb” are threatened by small mistakes.

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

or spike sheep!

Keith
Guest
Keith

I wish all major bike routes into downtown would receive the same amount of attention as this one. The effectiveness of the actions is open to debate, but at least the city has tried something. That can’t be said for many other routes in/out of downtown.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Does anyone continue to believe that PBOT any design ability whatever?

J_R
Guest
J_R

Absolutely. It’s hard to balance accommodating motor vehicles at all times under all circumstances while pretending to encourage active transportation.

It takes lots of personnel, meetings to coordinate inaction, reports to write, and pat each other on the back.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I like being able to ride in the traffic lane for the first curve, then slide over into the bike lane during or after the second curve. This is the fastest way through the S curve for a cyclist. Since Couch is downhill, and the lights are well timed, you can enter the S going as fast as cars, and also go through the S as fast as cars. The momentum then helps with the slight grade on the bridge.

Thus, I don’t want the bike lane elevated, or rumble strips in the buffer. A short section of barrier, right at the apex of the second curve, would be better, if we have to have anything.

I do see trucks and buses cutting that corner quite often. But I’ve not heard of any car/bike accidents as a result, and I’m not convinced a jersey barrier wouldn’t cause more bike accidents than no jersey barrier.

David Lewis
Guest

This is why I laugh a little (and cry inside) when I hear all the hoopla about Portland being such a bike town. Whatever.

It’s not about certain intersections, or this mistake, or that failed effort or any one particular flop. It’s about the people who design(ed) the streets, who pour the concrete and who, deep in their hearts, have no interest whatsoever in any topic other than the promotion of private automobile use over all other modes of transportation. It’s deeply entrenched in even the local folksy liberal politicians and the agencies they run, and right on up to the state highway deathtraps… to say nothing of the interstate highways that lay claim to what amounts to hundreds of millions or more of dollars’ worth of land in the central city, that I don’t see any public face to evicting from the riverbank.

I applaud Bike Portland and all the other local advocacy organizations for raising [word that would probably get this post flagged], but the problem with issue advocacy is how easy it is to throw a bone. Until we have a bicycle superhighway connecting Tigard to Gresham, every single politician that parades around and feigns interest in your cause is part of the problem.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

ROFL

Adam
Guest
Adam

Why they didn’t put an elevated cycle track on this one block severely curved, high-speed stretch of road is beyond me. It would have hardly broken the bank.

I suppose they’ll do what they always do, and wait til someone is killed on it before deciding to raise the design bar above mediocre.

JJJJ
Guest

The fact that these were ripped out so quickly – when rumble strips exist on highways – and the flex posts were ripped out too means the city is being ripped off on their epoxy supplier.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

nothing a little concrete barrier wont fix. Let them try and drive into that 🙂

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

If these “RPM” bars are still out laying on the street…perhaps it would be opportune for bike commuters to collectively pick them up and mail them as postcards to Portland City Councillors, PBoT Director, Project Manager and City Engineer?

BikeLOUD are you out there? – help us! [The USPS will mail almost anything stamped: coconuts, etc.]

Brad
Guest
Brad

Not surprised. I stood on this corner waiting for a minute waiting for a light. Every single vehicle that went by ran over those rumble strips, without exception.

Train Engineer
Guest
Train Engineer

JL,
The law as written is unclear and it should be reworded – if a lawyer is required to decipher the meaning then it is of little value to most drivers – and may even be a hazard. Nowhere does Oregon law require the motorist to “move over next to but not on top of the bicycle lane”. That may be the intent, but that is not the text of the law, thus it is NOT the law. In court, you do not get “justice” you get “the law” as written to the letter and the law states:

(2)
A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when:

(a)
Making a turn;

CASE DISMISSED! Gavel slams on the bench!

Clarifying this poorly written statute should be given a high priority and it should appear in all new driver handbooks. The California Rule would make right hooks less likely for cyclists, but might expose them to the dangers of other traffic if they passed a car in the bike lane on the left.

David Lewis
Guest

The California Rule would do no such thing!

But you’re right about everything else you wrote!

Be careful who you vote for, because their legacies last much longer than your patience for them.

Our system rewards short term exuberance and limited memory, and punishes long term planning and community investment. The natural outcome is shopping malls and ultrahd porn, and hundreds of thousands of traffic casualties every year. The only way to influence law is to replace your forebears and make new law, like mint shakes every March.

In my opinion, the best part of 2016 is to use the term trump casually playing pinochle, knowing that it will be a curse word soon enough!

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Here’s the crux:

” 801.155 Bicycle lane

Bicycle lane means that part of the highway, adjacent to the roadway, designated by official signs or markings for use by persons riding bicycles except as otherwise specifically provided by law.”

“811.355 Improperly executed right turn

(1) A person commits the offense of making an improperly executed right turn if the person is operating a vehicle, is intending to turn the vehicle to the right and does not proceed as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway:

(a) In making the approach for a right turn; and

(b) In making the right turn.”

— emphases mine

Given the first statutory definition of “bicycle lane”, it is “adjacent to” the roadway, i.e., part of the highway, but not part of the roadway. That means that one would have to cross over the “right hand edge of the roadway” to enter the bike lane.

The wording could be made clearer, but given the definitions of the terms involved, the law—as a whole—is clear on this point: no driving in the bike lane, ever, unless you have “official duties” that require it.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I follow the logic, but have to ask if this has this actually been tested in court.

The statue you cited appears to be in direct conflict with the law allowing driving in the bike lane while making a turn. And furthermore, it appears to give drivers a choice about whether to be adjacent to the edge of the roadway or the curb.

A J Zelada
Guest

http://www.72km.org/bcn-may-22.html…if you look half way down my web page, this shows a simple but direct separated lane in Barcelona. It consists of tire like but very heavy rubber tires which are a chord like section of the tire’s curve. It is a Simple Separator when you want the traffic to simply respect vulnerabilities and tendencies of motorized traffic to take the shortest distance like of trajectories.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

NSFW 🙂

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

Wait, am I correctly understanding that little plastic bumps did NOT stop motorists from just driving right over the top of them? I’m so confused. How did this happen? I really thought little plastic bumps were sufficient to stop 2000lb motor vehicles.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“I really thought little plastic bumps were sufficient to stop 2000lb motor vehicles.”

The problem is that most people are driving 4,000 – 5,000 lb. motor vehicles these days.

Russ R
Guest
Russ R

“2000 lbs”?? Only a Smart Car is that light.
Try 3500-5500 pounds.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

I’m thinkin’ tire spikes would be a good deterrent… a little negative reinforcement usually works to change behavior…

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

That’s punishment. “Negative reinforcement” means that some bit of unpleasantness goes away as a result of desired behavior. E.g., hate congestion? Ride your bike!