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First Look: New bike signals unlock two-way protected bikeway on Naito

Posted by on August 11th, 2017 at 2:21 pm

New bike signal Davis and Naito-16.jpg

There’s a new way to roll between Better Naito and the Steel Bridge.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Slowly but surely, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is claiming Naito Parkway as a major bike corridor — and improving access between Waterfront Park and downtown in the process.

First they took Better Naito under their wing, and now they’ve flipped the switch on new bike-only signals that create a lower-stress connection between NW Davis and the Steel Bridge. The $166,000 project was funded by the Fix Our Streets program.

We hinted at this new connection — and Naito’s larger role in PBOT’s downtown bikeway plans — back in May. I checked it all out yesterday just hours after the signal was activated.

Here’s what I observed.

The design

New bike signal Davis and Naito-8.jpg

New bike signal Davis and Naito-14.jpg

New bike signal Davis and Naito-11.jpg

New bike signal Davis and Naito-15.jpg

New bike signal Davis and Naito-5.jpg

New bike signal Davis and Naito-2.jpg

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Arrows show location of new bike-only signals.

PBOT’s intention was to organize bike traffic more safely and efficiently between the northern end of Better Naito at Davis and the Steel Bridge path. Because of the right-hook fears at Davis (where people drive onto the Steel Bridge) people usually leave Naito at Couch and ride through the Japanese Historical Plaza and Waterfront Path when headed northbound (more on that below).

To encourage a different northbound flow, PBOT has added plastic wands and striping at Couch that leads to a new paved pathway that runs parallel to Naito and dumps bike traffic back one block later at Davis. This is where the new bike signal is. Lower than other signals, and with yellow metal backing and a “BIKE Signal” sign near it, the light is easy to see. The lane striping continues across the intersection and connects with the two-way facility that goes under the Steel Bridge viaduct. The two-way striping ends at the Flanders ramp up into Waterfront Park (and Steel Bridge path) just south of the railroad tracks. If you’re headed north, you can continue over the track onto the buffered bike lanes near McCormick Condominiums.

The video below shows what it looks like going southbound from Waterfront Park near the Steel Bridge path (I left it running for 30 seconds during the signal cycle):

Overall the design is relatively straightforward. The awkward bits are the length of the signal cycles and the connection between the new paved path and Better Naito at Couch.

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The riding experience

A bit too much chaos in this area due to a lack of one dominant bikeway.

There’s a lot going on here and this new signal only makes it a bit more chaotic.

Due to a lack of high-quality, direct, and no-brainer-easy-to-use-and-follow bike infrastructure in this area, people dart around in all directions. Some are headed to the upper deck of the Steel Bridge, some ride through the Historical Plaza, some are looking for Better Naito or crossing over Naito to get into downtown, and others others simply create their own desire lines where they please. Between Couch and Davis, Naito and the Willamette River, it’s every person for themselves.

When I’m riding here during peak hour I’ve got to be more vigilant of other bike users than of auto users or people on foot. This stress probably accounts for some of the rampant red-light running from bike riders I observed. Many people who clearly saw the bike signal just ignored it. One guy rolled down the ramp on a red signal as a stream of auto users crossed in front of him (they had a green). He just held out his hand, a car stopped, and he rolled right through it.

I think some people run this light because the cycle times are relatively long. I waited between 30 and 50 seconds for a green signal. There’s no sensor loop to detect bicycles, so it’s a standard cycle each time. This isn’t a knock on PBOT, it’s just a fact of life that a bike-only signal often means longer wait times. In my opinion, the added safety is well worth it. I just hope compliance goes up. (For what it’s worth, I didn’t see any auto users run red.)

UPDATE: PBOT Communications Director John Brady left a comment (below) saying the signals will be further calibrated in the coming weeks. “This signal uses a new type of detection for bikes — Wavetronic SmartSensor Matrix units,” he wrote. “They use high-definition radar, don’t require routine maintenance and are easier to install than traditional loop detectors. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be monitoring where bicyclists tend to stop, so that we can best aim and calibrate the new detectors.”

I posted that video above to our Facebook page yesterday. Reader Siobhan Glazier said, “I’m super grateful the city is helping make cycling in this area safer but that transition from sidewalk to better Naito at Couch makes me very nervous.”

People have taken right to the signal. It had steady usage during the half-hour or so I was there. Most people figured it out with no problem. Overall, I think this entire is important enough to our bike network that it deserves a high-level planning analysis. Portland Parks and PBOT should sit down and figure it all out once and for all.

Bigger picture

New bike signal Davis and Naito-10.jpg

The future of Naito is coming into focus. With this new connection, it’s that much more valuable to the entire bike network. It also increases the value of Better Naito — making it even harder for City Council to vote to remove it as planned next month (it’s only temporary, remember?).

With this bikeway connection in the north, and with a similar two-way bikeway on SW Naito between Salmon and Harrison in the works (I just heard about that this week and am trying to get more details) to the south, Better Naito will be bookended by permanent protected bike lanes. If it were removed, there’d be a glaring gap.

My hunch is that PBOT is purposefully making permanent updates on either side of Better Naito in order to build a stronger political case around making it permanent.

With the Portland Business Alliance ready to pounce, it’s important that PBOT gets this right.

Have you ridden this new section? How did it go for you?

UPDATE, 5:45 pm: PBOT has issued a statement about this project and a ribbon-cutting on Monday. Their graphic below gives a helpful perspective on the design:

UPDATE, Monday (8/14) at 10:07 am: PBOT has launched a website that explains how the intersection works.

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

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72 Comments
  • Adam
    Adam August 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Once Better Naito is removed later this month, this new path will connect to nothing for those heading southbound. There’s an obvious solution to fix this problem though…

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  • Mike Gilliland
    Mike Gilliland August 11, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I rode this a few hours ago. Nice to have explicit lane directives, and a good PBOT response to a tangled situation.
    I agree the only problem I experienced was the long signal. It was 11 am and there was no traffic in any direction. In those situations it turns into a 4 way flashing stop, but, at least is should get attention to look before you leap.
    Before this it was plain scary.

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  • Adam
    Adam August 11, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Regarding the “similar two-way bikeway on SW Naito between Salmon and Harrison in the works”, this would offer a much-needed connection to PSU and finally connect this two-block orphaned cycleway to something. Looking forward to hearing more about that.

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    • David August 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Ride this every day and it pretty much forces cyclists to use the sidewalk for the next couple of blocks (not fun) or dart back into the roadway. When traffic isn’t bad I just take the lane but something dedicated and protected is really needed starting at Lincoln. I’m interested to see how PBOT plans to handle the onramp for the Hawthorne Bridge.

      This extension would solve some of the bike-ped conflict in Waterfront Park by making it much easier to use Naito instead.

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      • Adam
        Adam August 11, 2017 at 3:31 pm

        I’m interested to see how PBOT plans to handle the onramp for the Hawthorne Bridge.

        PBOT/MultCo should just close that on-ramp to cars once and for all, and make it bike/ped only. Why do we need highway-style infrastructure to get onto a bridge that was clearly not designed for high motor traffic volume? Drivers can easily just go around the block to get on Hawthorne if they need to (there’s already a left-turn signal at Jefferson), or take the more car-friendly Morrison Bridge instead.

        That ramp is the primary cause of car backups on Naito, and once the Morrison Bridge is fully open to all traffic later this year, routing drivers onto Morrison shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Once that ramp is gone, we can convert the outer lanes on Hawthorne to bus-only.

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        • fourknees August 14, 2017 at 9:24 am

          It would be interesting to do a temporary study of this. Closing to cars would also eliminate the conflict at the top of the ramp onto the bridge too. The line of sight is difficult to see bikes and cars coming from downtown headed westbound.

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          • Adam
            Adam August 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

            I agree, that merge point at the top of the ramp is bad for all users, regardless of mode. Of course, the drivers who merge without looking or block the crosswalk/crossbike are what make it unsafe, so eliminating this hazard by closing the ramp could only improve things. If the ramp is closed permanently to cars, we could even widen the sidewalk to give more room for cyclists and eliminate conflicts with people walking. Some lane lines on the shared path in that spot couldn’t hurt either.

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  • SilkySlim August 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    I was expecting something different…. Going northbound (my morning commute for like 10 years now) for every person who wants to keep heading north on Naito, there is another who wants to cut left into NW, presumably at Davis. And there still isn’t a great way to do that.

    I feel like there are three options, each with pitfalls: 1. Merge through the pylons to rejoin the cars and get into the signaled left turn lane, 2. Get onto this path, but then awkwardly use the crosswalk , or 3. Use this new path, and then just dodge the cars leaving NW as you head in.

    I have only used this like once now, but it didn’t seem like the light cycle accounted for the need to cross into NW.

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    • Adam
      Adam August 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      I’m one of those people who turns left at Davis. There’s not really a good way to do that that feels safe. Best thing I’ve done is just wait for Naito drivers to have a red, then dart across the street diagonally.

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      • Adam
        Adam August 14, 2017 at 8:57 am

        Just rode though here for the first time turning left on Davis with the signal on. There’s no way to do this while being legal. If you get a green, so to drivers going straight, so you can’t turn left. Only way to do this maneuver is to run the red light or risk a side-swipe. Even further north, there is no way to turn left until you pass the UP tracks.

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        • Eric Leifsdad August 15, 2017 at 5:47 am

          The north side of the intersection has an unmarked crosswalk. From a similar position, I think you would have vehicular right of way over cars turning left from Davis but there’s no signal or crosswalk indicator facing east there. So that’s a two stage left. What about coming from the north? They need a bike box and maybe another bike signal to support that.

          Looking at the cycle length and traffic, I wonder about an all way green for bike/ped twice per cycle.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu August 11, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      I use the left turn lane.

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      • mran1984 August 11, 2017 at 11:59 pm

        Oh my, I have used this amazing approach thousands of times…thousands. This Naito is not better. It is silly. I will not utilize that ridiculous signal without a daily cash incentive. It is not safer to have an orange bike heading directly at you while enraptured with their all important phone, I meant life, not phone. It is what “you” live for.

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        • Chris I August 13, 2017 at 9:53 am

          Did a Biketown kill your family or something?

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    • OnABike August 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      I too ride this almost every weekday morning. I see about one rider heading North under the bridge for about every ten riders I see using this intersection to get across Naito and head West on Davis. Seems like westbound bike traffic wasn’t clearly considered, and in my experience of this spot that’s actually the larger problem at this intersection.

      I used to use the left turn lane, but the signal doesn’t change for bikes alone and I got tired of sitting through multiple light cycles before turning. Also, you have to cross traffic to get to the left turn lane and cars often are accelerating at that point. It just feels unsafe to try to pop across multiple lanes of traffic there.

      I’d think that a diagonal signal for bikes heading West would actually be more pertinent.

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  • Todd Boulanger August 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Nice PBoT! Another reason for me to bike downtown along the waterfront…vs avoiding the whole area during events.

    (Though please rethink how “[in]visible” the bike crossings are for low light / winter situations…need wider dash marks (like the NL Elephant Tracks) or adding bike stencils in the intersection so that crossing drivers think about bike cross traffic…)

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  • Buzz August 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Like a lot of other PBOT designs, it puts cyclists squarely in the path of right turning motorists. All the places I know that have ‘No Right on Red’ signs have really high motorist non-compliance rates. And those wait times for the signal phase are unacceptable. At least they haven’t built a concrete barrier yet so you can leave the bike lane and go around this thing in the street.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Yes, but because of the protected bike signal, you need to stop if you’re going up the Steel Bridge rather than straight ahead. Also, those progressing through the bollards need to watch out for oncoming bicycles coming from the path.

      If you take the path and turn right up the Steel Bridge, you are totally invisible to turning motorists. If they see you, they assume you’re darting out in front of them rather than headed up the bridge.

      I’ll be glad when they pull BN down. Too many cyclists totally ignore the stoplights which threatens legally crossing cyclists and peds — I’ve seen many very close calls. People who don’t like traffic can take the nearby waterfront which has ample space, is not crowded, and presents a lot fewer side theats.

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  • John Brady August 11, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    A note on the signal cycles. We will be calibrating those in the coming weeks. This signal uses a new type of detection for bikes — Wavetronic SmartSensor Matrix units. They use high-definition radar, don’t require routine maintenance and are easier to install than traditional loop detectors. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be monitoring where bicyclists tend to stop, so that we can best aim and calibrate the new detectors.

    John Brady
    PBOT Communications

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    • Adam
      Adam August 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks! Is it my understanding that they can be calibrated so that cyclists naturally roll over them, rather than having to place their bikes on a specific spot? If so, please install more like this!

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      • Buzz August 12, 2017 at 10:31 am

        you don’t roll over anything, it’s more or less a radar unit mounted on the signal arm.

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        • Adam
          Adam August 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm

          That’s good. I always hate having to position my bike just right on those green squares to be able to get the signal.

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    • Andrew Kreps August 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      I appreciate the monitoring and adjustments you’ve proposed. I do want to point out that we have a well established, documented and practiced way to suggest where bicycles are supposed to stop- the green box. Can you speak to why this wasn’t used here?

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      • Adam
        Adam August 13, 2017 at 10:30 am

        Because green boxes are bad design?

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        • Andrew Kreps August 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm

          Can you back that up with some reasoning and/or facts?

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  • rick August 11, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I like it today.

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  • Mark August 12, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Better Naito is great, and I’ll be sorry if it goes away in September.

    I’m not so sure about this new arrangement at Naito/Davis/Steel Bridge. In the morning, I go straight north along Naito and I was never uncomfortable with crossing the ramp onto the bridge because there is little traffic in the morning. Yesterday morning, I took the new side path and waited a very long time for the light while I watched another cyclist stay on the main road and zip through on a green. If that light cycle remains so long, I’ll be strongly tempted to do the same.

    In the southbound direction, in the evening, I have to figure out how to get across Naito to the Better Naito bike lane. My options are to cross at Davis or at Couch, either by making an auto-style left turn or by changing to pedestrian mode and walking across. Neither option is great, and it feels quite sketchy as I enter the bike lane heading south, with walkers and cyclists heading in every direction. I could also cross Naito *north* of Steel Bridge and proceed on the wide bike lane across the railroad tracks and onto the new crosswalk and side path. But that lane is marked for just northbound traffic from under the bridge. Bicyclists who are heading for the Steel Bridge already cross Naito north of the bridge and proceed southbound, so it would make sense to encourage those heading towards Better Naito to do the same. I suggest that PBOT encourage that route.

    Your article mentioned the possibility of a new bicycle side path at the south end of Better Naito. That would be great. Currently, getting from Better Naito onto the Hawthorne Bridge is a chaotic and unsafe route through a mix of pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, and children headed in every direction along the waterfront. Maybe the riskiest section of my commuting route.

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  • Lone Heckler August 12, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Am I the only one who thinks plastic wands do not make a “protected” bikeway? Separated, yes, and I suppose I’m thankful for that. But having just come from an extended stay in Vancouver BC — with amazing, jersey-protected bike “highways” — I dream of what could be. I realize that budgetary constraints limit what can be done, but nonetheless Portland’s fall-short solutions continue to disappoint me.

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    • Christopher of Portland August 12, 2017 at 11:29 am

      They can be called “reminder bikeways.” The dinky posts remind drivers that they’re leaving the designated driving area. Whether they care to listen is a different issue. It’s kinda like the bike lane line bumps on NE Portland Hwy/Lombard. I’ve seen plenty of drivers start to go over those things and eventually stop doing it since it’s unpleasant. I rode SW Stark today and faded paint (decomposed Kermit?) doesn’t have the same effect, unfortunately.

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      • Andrew Kreps August 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

        Yeah, Stark is a mess. But hey, it only took 10 months to get Oak repainted after it was removed altogether. So there’s hope!

        Also, I’m very impressed. We’ve only lost about 5 posts on better naito (ignoring the ones that were removed and not replaced where trucks enter/leave the waterfront). Last year I moved 1-4 bollards back into place _per trip_ on that same stretch.

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      • Kyle Banerjee August 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm

        If you’re going to complain about Lombard, why choose the easiest riding section that is well marked rather than areas with no bike lane whatsoever bumped up against a curb?

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        • Christopher of Portland August 12, 2017 at 7:32 pm

          I’m willing to complain about any part of Lombard regarding any mode of transportation, but I’m trying to show the little bumps as a small positive for it. They sometimes get people to stop driving in the bike lane and I like that.

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          • Kyle Banerjee August 12, 2017 at 7:37 pm

            Fair enough.

            I find them helpful in certain locations for similar reasons though generally prefer them not be present except in areas with consistent problems as they are not awesome to cycle over. I prefer them to wands which are physically more of a nuisance to bikes than cars.

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    • Spiffy August 13, 2017 at 11:22 am

      you’re right… a curb does not protect you from motor vehicles… neither do plastic wands… but that doesn’t stop the city or BP from using that incorrect terminology…

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  • dwk August 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    It takes so little here…
    A bit of paint, a 50 ft. path and the biggest advocates are on their knees..
    Like the 28th overpass, useless needed paint must wow somebody…

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  • El Biciclero August 12, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    30 – 50 seconds sounds like a dream come true for signal wait times. I have a few signals on my way to work and back I have to wait 90 – 180 seconds for, depending on whether they detect me or not…thank goodness for dead red laws.

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    • Adam
      Adam August 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

      You must ride in Beaverton, hehe.

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  • Toadslick August 12, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Regarding non-compliance: one of the things that I find challenging about Portland’s bike infra is that nearly every route with bike/ped accommodations is different. They are much less predictable than car-centric routes despite there being far fewer of them.

    Compare: Better Naito, Williams, South Waterfront, SW 2nd, rapid flashing beacons, full crossing signals like at 53rd and Burnside, those useless green crosswalks, those one-block-long bike lanes when greenways meet busy roads, every diverter ever, etc etc.

    So I’m very sympathetic to tourists and novice riders that feel pressured or frustrated enough to just go through these intersections.

    In a car, you never have to figure out whether you have to push a button at an intersection, or where exactly you need to place your car to activate the signal, and whether or not the signal safely gives you right of way. The infra is consistent and unambiguous. You pull up to an intersection and sooner or later the light will turn green.

    That standard of ease, clarity, and consistency needs to be applied to bike infra, especially in places like Better Naito where many novice riders are likely to encounter it.

    All that said, I really like this new connection. It’s very encouraging to see a Best Naito falling into place.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 13, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Granted that bike infrastructure is confusing in Portland — I don’t think it’s reasonable for someone who doesn’t use it daily to figure out how some of it works.

      But things like a combination of red lights, huge letters on the pavement that say “Stop here,” and intersections with people clearly coming through on them is about as obvious and understandable as it gets.

      I agree that novice riders may feel pressured to ride through intersections (typically by other novice riders). When I stop, I frequently get passed by others who sometimes cause these close encounters by failing to notice those who are supposed to be crossing from either side. Since Naito is only one lane wide, some cyclists cross it without looking (though not nearly as often as cyclists along Naito ignore signals), so I have to watch for t-bone threats — which are nonexistent under normal Naito.

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      • Toadslick August 13, 2017 at 9:07 am

        It baffles me that you keep trying to make the case for “normal Naito.”

        I rode in that thin, debris-filled shoulder of a bike lane, inches away from angry rush hour commuters, for years. Better Naito at its worst, with festival-goers spilling into the bike lanes, feels safer and more comfortable by magnitudes.

        My mild criticism of a dedicated bike signal is by no means an indication that I want to return to Naito as it was. Quite the opposite: I wish every shoulder-only bike lane in Portland could get the Better Naito treatment.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

          I also have ridden it regularly for years, wish the opposite, and gave that feedback to the city. I do not favor BN treatment elsewhere except in unusual circumstances. I cut my speed back significantly for BN because of side and oncoming threats. I can’t see a case for BN during the winter. There are few cyclists or peds on the waterfront which is right there.

          Ordinary Naito is safer and better riding and the recently posted crash data don’t support the notion that it is troublesome. The only reason BN isn’t dangerous outright is because the complete lack of hook threats (though turning cyclists present a left cross issue). If we had BN infrastructure on other streets where you actually pass by intersections, driveways, etc and people rode the way they ride BN, there would be a rash of hook accidents and people here would scream bloody murder.

          The unambiguous message to motorists and cyclists alike behind the insistence on separated infrastructure is that bicycles do not belong on roads. Aside from a small number of showcase projects, bike infrastructure is not and will not be separated. So novices who think they need it won’t start riding, there are fewer bikes in general which discourages those who are still developing, and motorists think that the existence of separated infrastructure means cyclists don’t belong on regular roads which makes the roads more difficult for those who take them.

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          • Spiffy August 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm

            “The unambiguous message to motorists and cyclists alike behind the insistence on separated infrastructure is that bicycles do not belong on roads.”

            I don’t get that, but drivers probably do…

            I get the feeling that cars don’t belong on roads… but mainly that cars don’t belong on the same roads as bikes…

            we’ve build VERY few roads to contain cars, as we’ve mostly given our existing roads to them and then built small roads beside them for people and bicycles… it should have been the other way around…

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            • Kyle Banerjee August 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

              One of the few things bike haters and advocates agree on is that bikes and cars don’t belong on the same roads. Most people in the middle probably don’t care that much. But they do drive.

              This means that it’s’ highly likely that operationalizing this concept on a large scale would mostly amount to removing the bikes.

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              • Spiffy August 14, 2017 at 7:47 am

                “This means that it’s’ highly likely that operationalizing this concept on a large scale would mostly amount to removing the bikes.”

                didn’t this already happen?

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm

                It is happening — with the help of many people here.

                As a road user, I will continue to ride on roads and hope my presence encourages others to realize they also belong.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 14, 2017 at 3:57 pm

                Kyle, aren’t you the one always arguing about being “right but dead”? Just because bikes do belong on the road doesn’t mean everyone wants to share it with speeding or aggressive drivers. I frankly find it exhausting and uncomfortable to have to constantly assert my right to the road.

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 14, 2017 at 4:44 pm

                Correct.

                But it’s not dangerous if done right. There are a lot of streets most cyclists don’t feel safe on. But those who can operate safely in such environments should go out there to normalize cycling which helps guides expectations and behavior of motorists.

                This makes the roads accessible to more cyclists which contributes to a beneficial self reinforcing cycle which makes it easier to get support for cycling infrastructure from the motoring public.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 14, 2017 at 4:48 pm

                Thanks for the advice. I’ll be sure to “normalize cycling” by riding up and down Powell Boulevard during rush hour. I’ll report back my progress, assuming a speeding driver doesn’t kill me first.

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm

                I’ve ridden Powell at rush hour many times, including last week to visit Rose City Recumbents. It’s not suicidal if you approach it the right way.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 14, 2017 at 5:49 pm

                lol okay

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 15, 2017 at 6:59 am

                But this is exactly my point. Powell is absolutely brutal. So is Cesar Chavez (if you’re wondering what I was doing there, it’s to get to Trader Joes, plus it’s a fast route). If drivers regularly saw even one or two cyclists on these roads each time they went out, it would be better.

                I have successfully “trained” drivers on sections of highway I used to take daily. At first, it’s hard because they don’t know you’re out there and they think you’re nuts. But after they get used to seeing you, the treatment drastically improves — in my experience, this process takes a couple months.

                The more cyclists that are out there, the better it gets for everyone. I do not favor separating cyclists out as a general strategy even if it is appropriate in certain cases. The track record for “separate but equal” facilities in this country is disgraceful, and cyclists have no chance of even hearing the last two words in that phrase.

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              • Alex Reedin August 15, 2017 at 9:33 am

                Your viewpoint sounds very close to the vehicular cycling viewpoint of decades past.

                Here’s a counterpoint: I’ve been riding down Foster from 85th to 50th recently (it adds 40 minutes of discretionary time to my day vs. the greenway or Springwater alternatives, yay!). It feels fairly safe, at least in the summer, but it is rather stressful to have to either confine myself to the narrow, pothole-ridden mostly-empty parking area or face the wrath of motorists inconvenienced by a few seconds before they can pass me in the left lane. In approximately a year, there will be a 7-foot buffered bike lane for most of that distance. Although it’s not a perfect facility nor truly “equal”, I fully expect it to be a huge improvement. I expect it will get some additional people to bike, and also save a bunch of time for a good number of people like me who are already biking, but who have stayed on the inconvenient, inefficient routes rather than biking on Foster. I’m tremendously thankful for those who advocated for it through a long and painful planning process.

                Should “bike advocates” have just accepted the status quo because “separate but equal” isn’t a large-scale solution?

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm

                I hear what you’re saying.

                To be clear, I may ride almost anywhere, but that doesn’t mean I think that’s fun. With the exception of the SW hills, I don’t enjoy riding in Portland — too slow, can’t maintain a rhythm, and have to be on full alert at all times.

                Building bike infrastructure has a chicken and egg aspect to it. Getting enough support to build the facilities you enjoy requires a credible case that enough people will use it. This means enough people need to be willing to ride without the infrastructure.

                These facilities are worthwhile even if they aren’t scalable because they provide those lucky enough to live nearby a real alternative as well as recreational possibilities for those who don’t. But most people will have to depend on something else for their day to day needs.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm

                Comparing separated bike infrastructure to Jim Crow is ridiculous and hurts your argument. The latter was 100% intended to be malicious, whereas the former if done right, is about improving safety.

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            • Kyle Banerjee August 15, 2017 at 7:42 pm

              It is. And as much guff as I give Clinton, I think it’s one of the more pleasant streets to ride — and that all the changes are part of that. I also can believe that changes when made will be done close enough to right even if I’ve criticized some of the most popular ones.

              However, I think that the deployment of these types of changes will be limited for a very long time — which means that most cyclists need to work with a lower standard. I’d rather focus on making the base better than getting just a few places dialed in since I think that will get more people riding.

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  • Spiffy August 13, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I’m confused on where the north end of this ends… your video starts at the path south of the bridge but the graphic shows a line going all the way to the bridge… at the start of your video it looks like the center line ends and doesn’t continue north to the bridge… but there’s no paint on the path to indicate there’s a bike bath/lane there to connect to it…

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  • Spiffy August 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

    it looks like the northbound bike signal and the northbound (non-turning) Naito traffic get a green at the same time… if I’m biking north in the lane on Naito and continue on the bike path then I’m crossing head-on bike traffic… is it the fault of southbound traffic not staying to the right when they run into me coming north from Naito trying to connect to the path? I’m heading north on Naito with a green light to proceed and going into a bike lane… does bike traffic coming north off a sidewalk/path have the right of way?

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  • Holtz August 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    On one of my regular routes, I take Better Naito northbound and then go west on Couch. I usually pull over on the right (river) side to take advantage of the ped signal and crosswalk on the north side of the Couch/Naito intersection. On Friday I was almost creamed by a cargo bike coming southbound from the new two-way bike segment and bike signal. Maybe some paint on the ground could help alert people going north-south on the two-way path to yield to people crossing with the ped light to head west on Couch (which is the last good way to transition from northbound Better Naito to the NW grid, until you go all the way past Union Station to NW 9th).

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    • Spiffy August 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      it looks like the peds crossing at Everett have a similar problem with the southbound bikes having no red light while the peds have a walk signal…

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  • Spiffy August 13, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    on another note, why didn’t they take this opportunity to close that sliver of sidewalk between Naito and the Steel Bridge onramp? now there’s a lot more going on right there now and it’s still legal for a pedestrian to cross south and west from there…

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  • JJJ August 13, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    I think at least one jersey barrier should be installed to protect cyclists waiting at the signal, and to make it 100% clear drivers should be moving to the left as the curve starts. Especially at night in the rain

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 13, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      So we have bollards, a lane, and a protected bike signal and it’s still not enough?

      Try taking the Steel Bridge from that signal or Naito before Salmon. Or a bunch of other places in town.

      Naito is the new Clinton.

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      • Adam
        Adam August 13, 2017 at 10:20 pm

        Naito is the new Clinton

        You only have PBOT to blame for that, who proposed three phases for Clinton improvements, only to renege on most of them because in the words of Roger Geller, they were “sick of hearing about Clinton”. Perhaps it would be better to simply get it right the first time?

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 14, 2017 at 4:16 pm

          Even before improvements, both were among the better routes to ride on. Then an enormous amount of energy was expended to make changes.

          I would have much rather invested both the energy and money into much more problematic roads to raise the base level of infrastructure rather than working on places that are decent to begin with.

          The problem with refining things that are already pretty good is it messes up expectations of where cyclists should be. Motorists yell at me very rarely, but one of the times this happened was when I was cycling up Division — “Bikes belong on Clinton!”

          Bikes belong everywhere, and it won’t do anything to get more cyclists out there if everyone thinks that bikes belong only in select places that are only available to a lucky few.

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          • Adam
            Adam August 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

            You are probably the only person who rode Clinton every day before the changes who thought it was fine.

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            • Kyle Banerjee August 14, 2017 at 5:15 pm

              I would be surprised if that is the case.

              The improvements have made Clinton even easier. But I worry that this pulls what little cycle parallel cycle traffic there is on other roads away. If you want a road in that area that seriously needs help, that would be Powell. That is a tough road.

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          • Adam
            Adam August 14, 2017 at 4:25 pm

            And it also won’t do anything to get more cyclists out there if everyone thinks that you need to share the road with speeding or aggressive drivers just to make a point about bikes belonging everywhere.

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            • Kyle Banerjee August 14, 2017 at 5:32 pm

              They will speed less and be less aggressive if they expect them. Clinton is an excellent example of this dynamic but I also see it daily on Interstate and Broadway. These streets don’t have a reputation for friendliness on BP, but they are way better than many others.

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      • Buzz August 13, 2017 at 10:40 pm

        They over-design everything for a mythical cyclist that doesn’t exist, can’t decide on any standard designs, and keep making the same mistakes over and over, and yet cyclists keep coming back for more; I’m not sure who is more to blame.

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      • Chris I August 15, 2017 at 10:23 am

        Don’t worry, those bollards will be gone in a few weeks.

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  • Andy K August 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Since the northbound Naito bike lane between Couch and Davis has been removed, are northbound cyclists required to use this path, per https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420?

    I have been taking the right turn (motor vehicle) lane on my way up to the Steel bridge.

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  • Jim Lee August 14, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Who at PBOT is responsible for this design?

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