BikePortland

Portland edits city bike map to reflect fatal bike lane gap


A small but important change.
(Graphic: PBOT Citywide Bike Map)

The City of Portland has edited a section of their official bike map to more accurately depict a dangerous gap in the bike lane where man was killed in 2015.

As we reported at the time, Martin Greenough might have been on his first-ever bike commute when he was hit and killed by an intoxicated driver on NE Lombard. Greenough was hit while bicycling through a dangerous gap in the bike lane that occurs where the lanes narrow to go under an overpass. Unfortunately, the official City of Portland bike map Greenough used to plot his course did not show the gap. The map incorrectly labeled that section of NE Lombard where it goes under 42nd Avenue as having a continuous bike lane.

After consulting his map, Greenough probably assumed his chosen route was safe. By the time he realized he was wrong, it would have been too late to change course.

In response to our reporting, Metro edited the online version of their “Bike There” map 10 days after Greenough died. That map also labeled Lombard’s bike lanes as being continuous. Metro’s edit added a red “bike with caution” label to the entire gap where Greenough was riding.

Advertisement

On December 23rd I asked if the City of Portland would edit their map in a similar way. I never heard back. This week I just happened to look at their map again and noticed the change. Both the printed and online versions of PBOT’s map now use a red “difficult connection” label in the Lombard gap. The change was made sometime before March of 2016.

Greenough’s family ultimately sued the City of Portland (and the Oregon Department of Transportation) for their negligence in allowing the gap and pinch-point to exist and failure to, “provide for safe travel for both motor vehicles and bicycles.” That lawsuit settled last month.

Today ODOT is putting the finishing touches on a new path that will finally close this dangerous gap in the eastbound direction. But PBOT doesn’t need to edit the map again because there’s still a gap for westbound bicycle traffic. When ODOT finishes upgrades to bicycle access in both directions, we hope PBOT will edit the map again.

Someday when our bike network is upgraded and completed we won’t need to rely on maps to keep people safe. Until then, the maps we have must be as accurate as possible.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

Switch to Desktop View with Comments