This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Urban Tribe, the affordable family cargo bike.
Here are the bike-related links that caught our eyes this week:
Lane allocation: Check out the lane capacity charts on Lyft’s vision of LA’s future streets.
Against stoplights: Amsterdam flipped off the traffic signals at a busy multimodal intersection and saw startlingly good results. “People pay more attention,” said one man.
Private bike share: The 4,000 private shared bikes in Seattle have been “far more successful in two months than Pronto ever was in its two years.”
Rose Quarter freeway: CityLab’s headline calls our local expansion battle “the freeway fight of the century” and Mayor Ted Wheeler’s argument for it “rather disingenuous.”
Worst bus stop: Streetsblog’s annual honors went to Seattle this year.
Bike share theft: Baltimore’s year-old system has been temporarily shut down because so many bikes were lost or damaged.
Around the world: Mark Beaumont of Scotland pedaled from Paris to Paris in 78 days, shattering the previous 123-day record.
Illegal pedals: An obscure and widely ignored Kansas law effectively bans clip pedals.
Race realism: The former Reddit discussion board about racism being good was taken over by a group of people discussing bike races.
Re-legalizing walking: California’s legislature has voted to end a ban on entering crosswalks while “don’t walk” is flashing.
Walking Portland: In Curbed, Lents-based writer Britany Robinson has a very nice meditation on walking and Portland laced into a 20-mile walk from her home to downtown.
North Portland Greenway: Development fees have provided the local funding for a bike-walk bridge across North Columbia Boulevard, a key link in the future NP Greenway trail.
Tesla subsidy: Citing labor issues, California Democrats want to restrict Teslas’ eligibility for a $2,500 rebate per electric car that has cost the state $82.5 million over seven years.
Engineering, schemengineering: Transportation secretary Elaine Chao apparently believes that Americans are far more evil than Europeans, given her claim last week that “human behavior is the primary cause of all highway fatalities.”
101 tips: Curbed has a massive list of ideas for improving transportation in your city — some personal, some collective.
East Portland advocate: Professional east Portland advocate Lore Wintergreen has a new compatriot on the East Portland Action Plan: Cameron Whitten, a prominent local activist who happens to get around largely by bike.
“All Lives Splatter”: That was the headline on the image of an SUV hitting stick figures shared by a South Dakota state legislator and (accidentally) by a Washington state county sheriff’s department. “Nobody cares about your protest. Keep your ass out of the road.”
“Whose street? Our street!” That was the chant reported to have come from some St. Louis police officers in riot gear as they forcefully shut down a demonstration about excessive violence by police.
Plunger-protected bike lane: Rochester, N.Y. is the latest city to see a guerrilla demonstration.
Atlanta BRT: Politicians in the fast-growing region have fallen for bus lanes.
Finally, a video of the week: The same day a group of Portlanders announced that they were planning a human-protected bike lane on Naito Parkway this week, residents of Lyon, France were enjoying one of their own:
Thanks to everyone who submitted links this week.
— Michael Andersen: (503) 333-7824, @andersem on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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Kansas law is a nonstory. CPSC also mandates pedal reflectors as well as others. Oregon law requires front and rear.
Most people do not ride compliant bikes — I probably haven’t ridden a bike with reflectors on it since the ’80’s and have no intent of restarting.
I have encountered and talked to a number cops over the years when riding in the dark and not once has the lack of reflectors on my bike, pedals, or wheels been brought up. As a matter of fact, a couple have gone so far as to compliment me on my visibility setup.
As far as I can tell, these laws exist to provide minimal visibility to those who would otherwise have nothing whatsoever. Is anyone aware of a single instance when cyclist using reasonable measures to be visible was ticketed for lacking these reflectors?
Never heard of it. Also, compared to the time when the laws were put into place (early 70’s) the variety of lights and reflective materials available and in use is many fold. What’s on my main bike? Reflective tape all up the back of the rear fender, taillight on that fender, blinking light on the left seat stay, (an LED, didn’t exist when CPSC laws were drafted) reflective dots on the back of my shoes which were sewn in at the factory, in the winter there’s reflective piping along the ankle zippers on my tights, and wide reflective stripes on my jacket. Oh, and when I rode on older squarer crank arms I plastered the front and rear facing surfaces with reflective tape. Never used pedal reflectors, ever but have always had real lights and reflective material. I’m not unusual for an all-weather rider in my area.
ORS 815.280.2.c.A-C (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.280) is pretty explicit about front and rear lighting requirements. The law makes no rules about where the lighting equipment must be attached: such equipment may be mounted on the rider or the bicycle:
(c) At the times described in the following, a bicycle or its rider must be equipped with lighting equipment that meets the described requirements:
(A) The lighting equipment must be used during limited visibility conditions.
(B) The lighting equipment must show a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle.
(C) The lighting equipment must have a red reflector or lighting device or material of such size or characteristic and so mounted as to be visible from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle.
Given the requirements for a visibility out to 500 feet (from the front) without reference to oncoming motor vehicle headlights, I suspect the standard front reflectors are generally inadequate to meet the requirements of the law. This is an operator law, so it’s up to the individual to purchase and use sufficient equipment to comply.
500 feet isn’t that far, outside the core urban environment. Most bike reflectors are easily visible from that distance when illuminated by car headlights.
Small plastic reflectors are not terribly bright at that distance, by comparison. When we did night riding workshops (video cyclists riding away from, turning at 500′, and back toward a parked car with lights on), the most reflective materials were the modern ones (that ironically look black or a dull white in the daytime). The sidewalls on the LIT tires blew us away when we saw how bright they look while a cyclist is turning at 500′ away – probably the most reflective material we saw (close or far). Unfortunately the best-performing clothing materials we saw tended to be very expensive, in general. Some piping showed up pretty well, and things in motion seemed to get noticed, of course. Wish I still had the videos to post. 🙁
The CPSC reflector standard is a very poor compromise resulting from bike industry lobbying to weaken federal legislation that would have called for actual mandatory lighting on all new bikes sold. It is not a substitute for actually lighting requirements, which is why the Oregon and many other state laws differ from the CPSC standard.
That being said, however, I am a big fan of retro-reflective materials on the bike itself, not so much on my person. In addition, pedal reflectors are highly effective at indicating your presence to motorists due to their motion. No batteries required!
I am very glad there is no mandatory lighting on bikes.
Manufacturers would practically be guaranteed to install the cheapest and minimally compliant lights possible. People who don’t ride in the dark (i.e. most people) don’t need lights. The lights people need depend on where and how they ride.
Reflectors can be mounted only on certain types of pedals, they’re vulnerable to getting covered with grime, and there are multiple ways to achieve a superior effect.
Spoken like a true Fred, that’s not the attitude required to get more people safely on bikes in non-recreational mode, e.g. as utility cyclists.
Effectively requiring poor quality lighting to be supplied with bikes could very well undermine safety.
Cheap marginally compliant lights provide only marginal benefit (especially if batteries are not kept fresh) and serve as a disincentive from using much better ones.
even i – the #1 defender of bike ninjas — have to challenge this.
It’s better than nothing for ninjas who would otherwise use nothing.
But if someone already has a couple $5 (required) lights on their bike, they might well make do with what they have rather than buying much better ones.
Mandatory lights will only be cheap and marginally effective if that’s the standard the government and the manufacturers decide to choose.
European nations all have fairly strict bicycle lighting requirements and standards, something that is sorely lacking in the US, where every cyclist is free to buy and mount whatever they want, from the marginally effective to poorly focused eye-scorching high wattage searchlights.
Anything else will significantly increase the price of low end bikes — they represent a huge proportion of the total cost.
It doesn’t take much of a commute to need lights that are worth more than the rest of of a cheap bike.
“…Manufacturers would practically be guaranteed to install the cheapest and minimally compliant lights possible. …” banerjee
Manufacturers here in the U.S. might do something like that, given that the U.S. doesn’t have something like the bike lighting standard I’ve heard numerous times that Germany has. Maybe it’s time for the U.S. to have a bike lighting standard of this type.
I do also think it’s good for people biking to think about and decide upon the kind of lights and other visibility gear that will serve them best for the conditions their travel on a bike takes them through. This is an equipment area which is not the same as with motor vehicles in which you just jump in and flip the switch to turn on lights of a federal standard specified illumination level.
What you need really depends on where you ride. I used to ride winter storms at night on rural highways. The 1600 lumen setup and eye searing taillights were absolutely necessary, but they would be outright detrimental in the city — I use totally different lights in town.
Real lights cost money and while the price of decent illumination has dropped dramatically, the vast majority of what is out there is junk suitable only for low speed decent visibility roads and MUPs.
BTW, anyone reading this that uses a super bright setup visible from miles away, for the love of god, aim your lights properly and don’t run daytime strobes at night — run a steady beam (preferably at a level appropriate for your specific conditions) if you don’t have a night pulse. Blinding motorists, cyclists, and peds you encounter undermines safety.
“What you need really depends on where you ride. …” banerjee
And when, and in what conditions, as you’ve pointed out. I think there are so many people that are insufficiently aware of what they and their bike should have for visibility gear to help them be safe in using the road.
That’s why I say that in a car, it’s so easy: the standardized gear is always on the car, generally always ready to go. With a bike, it’s a much bigger deal to get set up right to have some reasonable level of safe visibility in riding.
It’s so sad, and scary for me to see some person on a bike late at night, barely visible from 20′ away due to their virtually having no gear that significantly aids their visibility to other people using the sidewalk, roads and streets. The most feeble lights I’ve ever seen, barely visible at all. Probably something from the dollar store, or that has nearly depleted batteries. But, I suppose they think they’re ok, because they’re watching for traffic, riding the sidewalks and so on.
Honestly, I think there should be a much more concerted effort to better acquaint the public with varying visibility needs for safe biking…and with the level of illumination and visibility of bike lights and other visibility gear that’s reasonably available to people within their budget. It’s too tough currently to understand well, for the person that hasn’t put quite a lot of time in studying the products, to know what they’re getting. So, a lot of times, they maybe plunk down 10-20 bucks, maybe less, just so they’re legal.
The ‘just so they’re legal’ guideline to buying bike lights, just isn’t good enough today on increasingly busy streets, MUP’s and sidewalks, to effectively help everyone have a reasonable level of safety in using that travel infrastructure.
I like the math in Lyft Traffic Charts. Everyone who thinks that the future of transportation involves more and wider roads for single driver automobiles to let these numbers sink in. As a solution for moving lots of people in a dense urban environment single passenger automobiles ( no matter how they are powered) suck.
As someone who’s currently trying to get out of Southern California and would like to see Lyft’s numbers turn true, I seriously doubt it’ll happen within that time frame. People are trying to recall an elected LA councilman for implementing road diets and protected bike lanes and there are two ballot initiatives to reverse the gas and vehicle tax increases signed into law this year (CA SB-1). One of those ballot initiatives will forbid the legislature from raising gas taxes unless a ballot initiative passes with a two-thirds vote.
LA is generally too populist and car-dependent to get that kind of change done unless there’s impending doom. I’d like to be proven wrong and Lyft be correct, but it’ll take about 20 years to find out.
That backlash you describe has a certain predictability to it: folks deep down know what we’re in for, but are (in this case) more than willing to kill the messenger, pretend it all doesn’t pertain to them…
For some people that’s true, but there are a lot of self-absorbed and/or oblivious people out there too. The LA Times recently ran a couple of editorials/opinion pieces on bike lanes and a possible gas tax repeal – basically calling commuters “entitled” – and got a lot of backlash around them. There weren’t a whole lot of comments agreeing with their perspective or admitting that things need to change!
More likely (and where I believe you’re pointing to) is that we’re in a “tragedy of the commons” situation with roads: a lot of people made what are essentially correct decisions from an individual perspective (much like Britany Robinson mentioned above), but society as a whole ends up taking the hit on an inelastic shared resource.
“LA is generally too populist and car-dependent”…
You could easily change “LA” to “CA” from where I sit (here in the bay area). Bond measures are passed handily for road repairs (that everyone has to pay for, with interest), but Lord forbid you raise the gas tax (or lower a speed limit).
Sadly I have to agree with you! I used LA because of the recall gaining a lot of local news attention. San Francisco (the city) appears to be more open to bike infrastructure; in San Diego where I live there’s been some resistance towards bike lanes but not as much as LA.
as our roadways inevitable become less dangerous (due to fewer humans driving) and electric bikes become less expensive and lighter, the two largest barriers to rolling for transportation will evaporate. imo, that lyft graphic ridiculously understates the future potential of cycling for transportation.
There’s still a distance factor involved; the LA Basin grew out instead of more dense. People aren’t going to commute 30-50 miles one way on a bike even if it is electric; people aren’t that fit and there aren’t simply enough hours in the day to support that (especially if they’re raising a family). Also consider the further east from the coast you are, the less conducive biking becomes due to weather (specifically heat/temperature).
My guess is that forecast for bikes is at ~10% because either businesses start locating closer to residences to reduce the trips, or mass transit will have to become so good/attractive that it convinces potential bike commuters to use it instead.
only a small fraction of the US population commutes 30-50 miles.
LA is still denser than most cities in the US. By some measures it is the densest- depends how you define the footprint of NYC.
“…As a solution for moving lots of people in a dense urban environment single passenger automobiles ( no matter how they are powered) suck. …” bikeninja
During high use hours such as commute times, that’s true.
Imagine if society could implement road use procedures requiring that during certain high use hours of the day, all private motor vehicles designed to seat four to six people, must carry at least four people to be allowed access to the highway, freeway and other major commute routes. This might be for 6-9 am and 4-6 pm. Regular use during other hours of the day. Sounds impractical, but there likely would be people that would go for such an idea.
Or, society could implement congestion pricing on its toll roads.
Congestion pricing…might…help reduce congestion…if…people have either reasonable alternative routes to travel, or reasonable alternative modes of transportation.
In a case such as the Rose Quarter, the alternatives to using I-5, to get to the RQ, currently aren’t great. Given that situation, people might just go ahead and pay the congestion price, resulting in little change to the congestion and traffic problems on that stretch of the interstate highway. Or to try avoid the congestion pricing, they might resort to using Downtown streets’ and bridges’ limited capacity, adding to the already existing congestion there.
Not that great? RQ is very well-connected. If you’ve ever been to a game or concert you’d see MAX trains every few minutes that leave fully packed. The streetcar runs on the other side. There are many major bus lines there too. And there are some people who walk ‘home’ or to other downtown destinations across the bridges.
If you don’t think people would be discouraged from using I-5, imagine if the price went up. Would most people use it for $1? Perhaps. For $100? Definitely not. If the local streets are congested- as they are when RQ events are going on- you can’t shift much traffic that way.
RQ has the opposite problem of what Levi’s Stadium has here. We have a Class I trail that gets closed for bicycle or pedestrian access, for security purposes (there’s a cockamamie DHS story that goes along with it). The adjacent Tasman road gets closed, and the VTA light rail shuttles people in, who then get routed circuitously around cars filling up the ‘premium’ parking that goes to season ticket holders. On any given event you will see scores of daily bike commuters routed dangerously around and through the circus, as well as many, many fans trying to reach the stadium by bike or foot (because the congestion is so bad) who normally don’t choose those modes.
“Not that great? RQ is very well-connected. If you’ve ever been to a game or concert you’d see MAX trains every few minutes that leave fully packed. The streetcar runs on the other side. There are many major bus lines there too. …” timmons
Ted…do you feel the connections you list, could sufficiently be made to meet the travel needs of the numbers of people currently using I-5 and I-405 to travel to and from the Rose Quarter? If those connections could be made to do that, especially if it could be done for less money than the proposed RQ project cost, I’m thinking most people…the public, city and transportation dept officials, planners, would be in support of such an idea.
Light rail is packed, of course, not just during game and concert times, but every day during commute hours as well. Add to that passenger load, all the people that are using the interstates to get to and from the RQ: what additions to existing public transportation would be needed to be made to meet that capacity?
Aside from the cost, the RQ project doesn’t seem to be very expansive in terms of preparing for a lot of additional travel needs than exist now. Though I haven’t looked at it closely. Probably, people should be looking on a much grander scale to meet travel needs for the area. I think that anticipating future growth and needs, and thinking on a grand scale, is how cities like NYC came to have subway systems, rather than expecting that surface streets would be able forever to meet travel needs of people in the city. .
Nobody uses MAX anymore, it’s too crowded.
Is it cheaper/easier to reduce headway for max/buses/streetcar or to add sufficient capacity for SOVs (or even double-occupancy cars)?
It seems you are arguing both that the freeway addition is minor and also that it’ll help capacity at RQ in a significant way.
Carpooling, working from home, flex start/stop times are all popular alternatives in today’s workforce. In today’s cars, part of the problem is they do have reasonable alternative routing, so much so that it’s all quickly become unreasonable. (I’m talking about Waze, etc, and the drive to inbuild mixed commercial/residential spaces under the (flawed?) theory that the people who work in the interior actually live nearby and won’t have to drive (but the trend is they generally cannot afford to).
It’s a painful problem, unfortunately, and there are no easy solutions, but I tend to agree with our friend 9watts on here that this is what we’ve ‘bought’ by consistently striving for growth.
Even NYC with its world famous subway system, is having problems sufficiently meeting its population’s travel needs. I’ve been surprised to read about the difficulties that city is having in keeping its subway system able to move everyone around and within reasonable time frames. The trains are packed, and behind schedule. The city is facing a major budget shortfall to get the subway system up to the capacity it needs in order to get people to and from their destinations.
It would cost a lot of money, everything does…but Portland ought to maybe consider putting a very spacious lid over I-5 between Downtown and the RQ, with a spacious companion bridge over the Willamette exclusively dedicated to walking, biking and related modes of travel. No buses, no light rail, no motor vehicles. To attract people to using it even in the worst of conditions, rather than drive, or take public transit, it should be like a grand parkway, beautiful, pleasant and relaxing to use.
I haven’t been there to see it, but reading about it and seeing photos…it seem those attributes are what the Highline in NYC has. Imagine a grand parkway over the river and freeway, 150′-200′ wide, landscaped with flowers, small shrubs and trees, water features, and broad boulevards for walking and biking. People would flock to such a civic amenity as that.
Boston had that vision, and implemented it by sinking its central artery. Of course, the project was late (by a decade) and over budget (by billions), but today you have wonderful green spaces in the north end, a radically increased population, and just as much traffic as when I was a kid there. Ah, the irony of making a place wonderful enough to attract thousands more people to move there with their cars…
(And yes, there is a public transportation system in Boston that’s sufficient enough for me to not have to rent a car when I visit, for the most part, but people still complain it’s too crowded/hot/smelly/slow/expensive/etc).
Re; Boston: It’s great hearing first hand accounts about experiencing that city. Sure, its costs a lot of money to make beautiful cities whose ability to function is sustained with vision and commitment.
What shape would NYC be in today, if there weren’t people in its early days that realized it had to create perhaps the best, most advanced subway system the world had ever seen, magnificent bridges across the river, a major municipal sewage disposal system, and a splendid, spacious park for city residents to relax in, smack dab in the center of the city on what otherwise could have been perhaps the city’s highest priced real estate?
Too often, Portland thinks small. Stopping the proposed Mt Hood freeway, was an exception. With the proposed Rose Quarter project, there is the potential to reclaim real estate lost to the city by the presence of I-5 through it on the east bank of the Willamette. Instead of reflexively opposing this project on some flimsy claim that it’s ‘freeway widening’, people that don’t like this project and that want something that promises much better city livability, should be countering with visionary ideas and proposals that truly could realize a better city.
Story on NPR about teens in Mexico City using bikes to deliver supplies to rescue workers.
Freeway fight of the century? Oh please…
I even commented on CityLab’s site about how hyperbolic that article was. The CRC had an initial pricetag of $4.5 BILLION, ten times the cost, would have built many times the number of lane miles, rebuilt Interchanges and induced sprawl all over Clark County. It was the worst idea ever and we killed it.
By comparison, the Rose Quarter is a small inner city….one lane mile ….of expansion which will force tolling and induce high rise residential growth in an inner city neighborhood….it won’t do much to induce sprawl. This is comparing Godzilla to a Gila Monster.
I agree with CityLab because it is not the size, it is the time and place. Other freeway expansions have been much bigger and much worse but this one is poised as the keystone in a sea change for our civilization.
Here we are at the end of a summer of drought-induced forest fires and warm water fed hurricanes. The petroleum industry is faltering with U.S based frackers losing money so bad they are trillions in debt and starting to default. The supergiant conventional oil fields that made countries like Mexico and the UK in to oil exporters have declined so badly these countries no longer export oil. In 2016 the world discovered less than 5% as much oil as it burned. The IEA ( very establishment) has forcasted that oil shortages will be upon us as early as 2020.
That is the time we are in, and Portland is the place. Americas best bike city, the city that brought back the streetcar in America, the place that stopped the Mt Hood Freeway and invented bottle recycling. Our descendants are waiting for us, do we stop the madness now? is this the one small battle that can turn the war? Can we stop the auto dotards once and for all, or will we wait until it is too late?
Freeways have been fought and killed in places like this before. Comprehensive broad-brush planning measures like urban growth boundaries were probably more of a turning point. To consolidate these victories we need to better plan growth within these boundaries. Fighting freeway expansion in established urban centers is a rear-guard action.
” we need to better plan growth ”
…or face the music and recognize that growth is a huge part of the problem, and our determination to accommodate it is essential to continuing down this doomed path.
Even without overall growth, population movements are inevitable. Will people move from poor countries to rich ones? People always have. Will people move from places where rising sea levels and tropical storms are existential threats to places where they aren’t? Increasingly, as storms get worse. Will people move from places designed and built exclusively for automobility to places where walking works today? I think so — driving everywhere will become less of an option and some places will be easier to abandon than fix. A city in Portland’s position had better be ready to take in some of these people in ways that maximize public benefits and minimize public costs — otherwise there’s always a cul-de-sac available somewhere, at least for a little while.
“better be ready to take in some of these people”
sure. But that is a far cry from the current growth-drenched subsidy fest where we trip over each other in our attempts to entice folks to come here, set up shop here, spend money here, employ people here.
“…to better plan growth within these boundaries. …” dimond
Cities can plan development in different, better ways than the standard today, to meet the travel needs of people: travel needs that are increasing due to growth, and that exceed the capability of streets, roads and highways to meet those travel needs through the use of personal motor vehicles.
The rate of growth and its effect on activity in an area can be astonishing, even in already developed areas. Believe it or not, for years after the Lloyd Center was built and thriving, the Lloyd district was kind of a quiet place. Not a lot of traffic. Not a lot of housing beyond the old existing apartments and single family dwelling neighborhoods. Then came the Trailblazers and the Rose Quarter sports arena, and the city’s desire for a major convention center and a convention hotel…to tap into some of the nation’s convention business. And light rail, which is a nice amenity, but in terms of moving lots of people, it’s got none of the capacity that NYC’s subway and train system has.
Portland has a major problem looming with the rate of growth it’s been encouraging for years, and the woefully inadequate type of urban planning and means of travel infrastructure it is planning to meet the travel needs of all these people. Big as the price tag is, the RQ project is just a drop in the bucket of what the city needs to do to meet the travel needs of all the people coming.
The Rose Quarter Project is really just a set-up for the CRC reboot. Don’t fall for it! The bike/ped improvements are minimal, the safety and congestion improvements are minimal, but the price tag is substantial and likely to get bigger. It may not appear “too bad” to some people, but it is not a good use of limited funds.
Once they figure out that this isn’t the only bottleneck on I-5, there will be plans to go after the other ones.
I agree, once they’ve (temporarily) improved freeway throughput in the Rose Quarter, they’ll try for CRC again.
“They” are going to try for the CRC again because: the bridges were built on wood pilings and are vulnerable to a seismic event; the road approaches and bridges lack shoulders, making even minor crashes an hours’ long congestion event; the bridges are still a bottleneck during many hours of the day whether you agree or not. Bridge replacement will come back to the fore, but next time it will be a “bare bones” project with no provision for transit and minimally compliant provisions for bicyclists and pedestrians. And, due to inflation and the loss of federal money, it will cost Oregon and Washington residents more than the CRC would have cost.
Please explain your understanding of the time-value of money.
The time value of money is a minor factor, but the delay of ten years will certainly add to the cost. The more important factors are the loss of Federal Transit Administration funding that had been estimated at about $1.5 billion and a $600 million earmark for “Corridors of the Future.” The loss of those two sources of federal funds will result in Oregon and Washington paying the majority of the costs. Even a stripped down bridge will likely result in a project cost more than $2.5 billion. At one time you could find all that information on the CRC website. I saw some of it in public presentations that I attended in Vancouver several years ago.
Replacing the bridges over the Columbia is not inherently problematic. Replacing with bridges that are 12 lanes wide, have not lift span and are too low for the Coast Guard and upstream industry is a problem. Not including light rail and not improving the rail bridge (who’s lift section location causes most of the I-5 lifts) is a problem.
Laura Bliss in her CityLab article, asks regarding the Rose Quarter project:
“…If Portland wants to reconnect neighborhood grids and provide transit and biking infrastructure, why not just do that? …” laura bliss/citylab
The Rose Quarter project is designed to help reduce traffic problems on I-5 in the area between the Rose Quarter and I-84, arising specifically from activity at the Rose Quarter. And maybe some from people transitioning across the highways lanes to exit onto I-84. I think it’s for this reason, that the addition of auxiliary lanes to I-5 is planned for only that quarter mile section of the highway…rather than for a longer or much longer section of I-5 through Portland
A lack of connecting neighborhood grids, transit and biking infrastructure, in this part of Portland, is not what has prompted efforts to address traffic problems on the interstate highway, specifically as it passes by the Rose Quarter.
If not by this project, in her citylab article, how does Laura Bliss propose to address the traffic problems existing on this section of I-5 as it passes the RQ? If she has some ideas about that, she does not offer them in that article.
What exactly are these “problems” and what is the *EVIDENCE* this $450 million megaproject will reduce them?
It is amazing how much difficulty proponents of this mega-project have in articulating why it’s needed.
In numerous comments to previous bikeportland stories on the RQ project, I’ve articulated my thoughts on what the traffic problems on this small section of I-5 are, and from where in large part, they likely arise from. You and everyone else are welcome to search out those stories and my comments to them for review.
My short explanation of what I think the problem this project addresses, is people from Portland on route to the RQ and I-84 over this quarter mile section of the interstate.
This project does not change the number of lanes that merge into I84 so I’m not following your argument.
I did look at your previous comments and find little detail on how this project refines or sustains I5:
Study the graphic illustration of the project that has been posted to past bikeportland stories. The two auxiliary lanes to I-5 on this section of the highway past the RQ, I think, have been proposed specifically to facilitate access from the highway to the RQ and I-84.
Their purpose as I understand the project at this point, is to help get RQ and I-84 destination traffic, off I-5, thereby helping sustain I-5’s ability to function as the interstate highway it is, through Portland. In other words, I-5 as is, has two lanes in each direction…the auxiliary lanes are proposed to be added, not for through traffic, but specifically for the facilitation of access off I-5 and to the RQ and I-84.
Hypothetically…take those two destinations out of the equation, and I-5 is restored essentially to the ‘through town’ interstate highway it is, minus the high activity destination in the area of the RQ and I-84. The state and city DOT’s could in real life rather than digitally, experimentally model the effect of those destinations on highway function, by closing the exits to them during high use hours of the day…am/pm commute hours, game and convention hours. No way, it seems to me, that the city would agree to such an experiment.
If this project in its current form is not approved to handle RQ and I-84 destination traffic on this section of I-5, what can be viable alternatives to handle this traffic? Many years ago with its long term plans for the RQ, the city of Portland began setting in place, factors contributing to the snarl existing today on this section of I-5.
Cars and those within them don’t need any help. We’ve thrown all our cash at this, and we even borrow money from our taxpaying descendants to pay for it all for the better part of a century, and what do we have to show for it?
Time to throw in the automotive towel, folks.
This project isn’t exclusively for the benefit of people using motor vehicles for travel on this section of I-5 past I-84 and the RQ. The project helps to enhance the benefit that Portland can obtain from the Downtown and Lloyd communities. A big part of which is, money.
If the city somehow manages not to go along with this project, I wonder whether the state will find a way on its own to come up with a modification of the design to try at least to reduce commute hour slowdowns occurring from fender benders in this area due to people switching lanes to exit to I-84 and the RQ.
the state does not own all of the right of way needed for this project.
Why do people assume the $200 million or so to be spent on local/surface street improvements, freeway capping, and bike/ped infrastructure in the Rose Quarter will still be available if the freeway congestion work does *not* happen?
I suspect that if the congestion work is blocked, the rest of the money will disappear. Then we’ll be back to trying to fix that area in increments of $25,000 a year, maybe.
this project would potentially be funded via a long-term bond so there is no sense of urgency. moreover, the failure of this project would in no way prevent the state, metro, or city from bonding for other transportation projects. in fact, i’m fairly certain that the state will continue to bond for large transportation projects regardless of the outcome of this freeway fight.
as acknowledged by ODOT, the two small freeway caps were designed to facilitate construction of freeway lanes. they are a “nothing burger” when it comes to active transportation and/or reconnecting the street grid.
If you actually look at the project documents, you will see that it does very little to reconnect the grid. We gain an east-west bridge north of Broadway, but we lose Flint as a north-south. The pedestrian bridge at Clackamas would be great, but that could be done as a standalone project for a few million.
That said, the Slate article is extremely hyperbolic. This is not the biggest freeway fight of the century, but it is important.
“If you actually look at the project documents, you will see that it does very little to reconnect the grid. …” chris I
There isn’t much square area included in the ‘lids’, to help reconnect this area, but more usable square area could be proposed to help reconnect, as part of a list of conditions in exchange for approval of this project.
The city doesn’t have a strong argument against this project, given that the activity the city is building up to be bigger and bigger in the RQ, is playing a big role in necessitating the project. If the city doesn’t go along with this project, it’ll have to come up with some other idea to address the problems it’s causing to occur on this section of I-5.
They could take out the parking garages, Seems to work for the Timbers.
“If the city doesn’t go along with this project, it’ll have to come up with some other idea to address the problems”
When will we learn that if you chase after growth you get these kind of lose-lose situations? And with exponential growth it only gets worse.
Time for a ‘correction.’
Portland generally uses blocks that are 200’ long. 500’ therefore would work out to about 2 1/2 blocks. On some parts of the Springwater Trail, 500’ might make sense, but on a brightly lit city street, 500’ sounds like overkill. Likely that provision was written sometime in the 1970s.
Law is statewide and was probably not written with slow urban traffic in mind.
On most roads, traffic moves pretty fast. 500′ isn’t much at all and “visible” is a very low standard. What is appropriate varies with situation.
Quick math, 500′ at 60mph is 5.6 seconds.
(I used my fingers and toes so you don’t have to 🙂 )
This is a state law. The length city blocks in Portland is immaterial, as is the fact that one can traverse 2.5 blocks in 500 feet. I imagine it is more of a question of how much time is required for a person to reasonably see the oncoming light and discern it is a bicycle, as opposed to some random reflection. Browsing around the Oregon Revised Statutes Archives, Chapter 815.280 appears to have been codified in its present form around the 1985 revision or ORS. Prior to that it was codified in 483.549 (around 1975) and prior to that in 483.404. Prior to 1975, the rear reflector was a requirement and a taillight was optional. In 1975 either a suitable reflector or a taillight could be used. The 500 foot rule for bicycle headlights dates back to at least 1953, which is the earliest ORS edition available on the archive site. The 500 foot rule probably goes back much earlier, but I don’t know how to look up older editions or Oregon law.
More about reflectors on pedals: in the 1970’s when the CPSC laws went into effect there was a mechanical change that made bikes less safe–a US importer of Japanese parts ordered some pedals which were supplied both on bikes and separately that were plain square steel-caged pedals–with reflectors that hung down @ .5″ below the pedal axle. When these are still seen today, the reflectorized tabs are always damaged badly by striking the ground pedaling through corners. I don’t know of any falls due to them but the potential was there and it can be seen on most remaining sets of those things.
The Walking in Portland article is beautifully written. Reminds me of Rebecca Solnit’s Walkscape (great read!)
That Seattle bus stop reminds me of some of the stops out on the Tualatin Valley Highway. See, for example, the one at 174th that requires crossing TV Highway at a completely unmarked intersection:
It looks like some folks approach this stop from the neighborhood off Shaw by crossing the tracks. I can’t imagine wanting to cross TV highway on foot at that intersection.
Agreed. Those bus stops are likely not included in the challenge because they are in unincorporated Washington County, far from “Portland”. Would they call it Beaverton, or Hillsboro when entering it in the challenge?
OK, I gotta ask.
A ped was killed this morning, it got tweeted out by 6:25, and it was all over the news right away. I thought that sort of thing normally gets elevated here pretty fast but nothing even in the comments. In the case at hand, it was at a genuinely dangerous intersection along a dangerous road. Is something in the works or did this somehow get missed? I live not too far from here.
If you want to understand why I complain about the emphasis on the core, it is because there are too many places like this that are in much greater need of attention.
JM is on vacation. I was thinking about doing an ‘in brief’, it’s always hard to know how much ambulance-chasing to do.
I assumed you were probably still working on the roundup when it came up, and I know these things have a lot of dimensions that make it hard to just pop something off, but this one struck me as especially heinous.
This one hit me harder than most because blind peds seem to be treated shockingly poorly — even worse than regular peds.
Just posted it. Michael is doing the roundup while JM is gone, and I was working on work. But since I’m keeping an eye on the comments, this prompted me to put something up.
There is an blind woman that I’ve seen crossing an intersection near my house a few times (it’s the second most dangerous intersection in Santa Clara County). It boggles my mind that she’s still alive, and I literally feel elated when I happen to see her. I’ve been hit once and nearly been hit many other times using the crosswalk here, and I’m a ‘strong and fearless’ pedestrian.
Since you call it a dangerous intersection on a dangerous road, I have to ask: How does one build roads and intersections that become safe in the face of motorists who will simply run red lights, apparently without even looking?
I’m not convinced the road/intersection had a whole lot to do with this death relative to other factors (lack of driver training, lack of traffic law enforcement, lack of techno-fixes to drivers being distracted by their vibrating toys and so on). I’m all ears (eyes on screen, actually) for how any intersection can work in the face of such drivers as the one responsible for this morning’s death.
In all honesty, I’m not sure.
In that section, 50mph speeds are common and peds are rare. A flasher *may* have helped, but the reality is that all the intersections are bad. BTW, don’t expect traffic to stop if you stand at an intersection that’s not at a light — just not going to happen.
Personally, I think Columbia is wide and fast enough that ped overpasses are called for every so often. However, they are super expensive and people don’t use them which is why that kid got hit only a few yards from one on another section of Columbia last year.
decrease speeds, narrow lanes, reduce lanes, install red-light cameras, install speed cameras, build wide sidewalks, build wide protected bike lanes, and install a whole host of traffic calming features that are proven to inexpensively* save lives (such as, modern roundabouts).
*they often pay for themselves over time, just like led lights and bioswales.
Sadly, the latest trend is to sue communities that do some of this.
Some of that stuff can make sense. But narrowing lanes on a major freight route? And reducing lanes for this section? There are places where that makes sense, but I really don’t see that working on Columbia. And Columbia is one of my least favorite streets.
VERY excited to hear that the NP Greenway may be advancing! I think it is great the PP&R handles this section, but as it moves farther south, I really a new team is hiredto partner with PBOT to develop solutions for sections 3, 4 and 5.
Evil has nothing to do with the fact the vast majority of crashes, anywhere, are the result of human choices.
In Europe there is a different culture regarding rights and responsibilities in the public rights of way, as well as a whole systems approach to mitigating and preventing roadway deaths (and government systems to accomplish the mission).
I would agree that our culture is a good explanation for why people drive like they do, but I’d argue that it is the evil of our culture that is the villain. Post Reagan, we no longer view roads, or much of anything, as public spaces that should be equitably shared and sometimes (often) require one to suborn one’s desires to the needs and desires of others. If we all pursue our momentary personal best interests, the system fails fatally, and that’s exactly what is happening on our roads.
If you want to see where we’re headed and just how bad it is going to get, go down to the (L)East Bay/Sacramento area and drive along I-80/I-680. You will see some, um, interesting things, none of them good or safe.
Most people view commuting as a competition.
and as people fume in gridlock this inevitably leads to the attitude that people cycling are “cheating”.
The latest car commercial to irk me comes from Nissan: “Turn rush hour into an adrenaline rush with the Nissan Altima.” Yes, that’s exactly what we need on our roadways!
I’ve driven between Oregon and California many times since moving here in 2009, and as much as I despise that mind-numbing 12-hour commute, nothing hits me worse than making that exit from 505 onto 80W and subsequently 680S. It’s a frenetic nervousness that immerses me instantly into a seeming survival mode. I also drive 680 to my office in San Ramon once or twice a week now (mentoring a student), and I couldn’t agree with you more. 780 is another one. The way people drive here in the bay area is absolutely appalling… and this coming from someone who grew up driving in Boston. People challenge physics in their cars and make split-second decisions solely on an innate selfishness – not the worst place on the planet I’ve driven, but you can predictably count on drivers to be entitled here (I think it’s what keeps me alive on the bike).
I love the fact that CA may liberate pedestrians from the tyranny of the flashing “don’t walk” signal phase. Far too many signals have only a couple of seconds for legal entry. The length of the flashing phase is set to the walking pace of a nearly-crippled person (who is likely in one of the cars). It’s annoying and I’m so pleased it may change, pending approval by the always unpredictable bike-hating Jerry Brown.
Now if only Oregon would follow suit. Come on, we copied California’s disastrous Prop 13, let’s copy something good for a change. (Oh, alright, we also copied bike lanes, but so did everyone else.)
I just hope this doesn’t cause a change in the law regarding pedestrian right of way to finish crossing. Currently, if one enters legally, one has the right of way to complete the crossing. It would be dangerous, silly and punitive to take away that right of way, imo, but I’m kind of biased here.
Or we could just do like they do in some other countries where all the lights count down so you can see exactly how much time you have until the light enters its next phase.
That way, you can adjust your approach to fit what you know will work.
“Or we could just do like they do in some other countries where all the lights count down so you can see exactly how much time you have until the light enters its next phase. …” banerjee
Last time the subject of crossing streets with countdown crosswalk lights, came up, some of us disagreed about whether it was ok to leave the curb once the countdown started. It was El Bic that claimed doing this wasn’t legal, and he located the Oregon statute from oregonlaws.org, and posted it here to prove it. I think the laws’ wording is less clear than it probably should be…but basically, with signals that have a flashing red hand along with the numbers counting down…it’s illegal to leave the curb when the flashing red hand appears.
Is the flashing red hand supposed to be legally equivalent to a steady red light in which you have to stay stopped until the light turns green? Or is the flashing red hand equivalent to a flashing red light, which after stopping for it, people may proceed on, if they’ve checked to see the way is clear?
I think the latter. In my neighborhood, crossing of a 70′ wide thoroughfare is regulated by a countdown crosswalk light, given a period of 27 seconds for crossing. A normal walk across is approximately 18 seconds. With the help of the countdown signals, people that walk, tend to get a fairly good idea of how many seconds it takes them to cross a given distance.
Obviously, it’s not a good idea to start out from the curb and run out of time at the middle of the crosswalk. I haven’t seen many people walking, allow that to happen. One of the dangers though…is people seeing the countdown approaching zero, and they deciding to run or sprint across the street starting before they’ve even reached the curb, or stopped at the curb to make sure everyone driving is staying stopped.
The timing of the pedestrian walk phase used to be calculated at 4 feet per second (fps), but is now generally calculated at 3 fps to accommodate less-abled pedestrians and wheelchair users. That results in longer signal cycle times and more delay for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists on the main street. The longer pedestrian crossing interval and cycle length also affects things like transit priority (bus on the main street or Max in a parallel corridor) and emergency vehicle preemption.
There is some benefit to the countdown features on the pedestrian heads, but I’ve also seen plenty of incidents where motorists accelerate greatly to reach the intersection before the light turns to yellow or red.
“That results in longer signal cycle times and more delay for all users”
That may be true in some areas, but are you including the investor-owned utility/carbon offset inspired signal retiming on our arterials (~2007) which in my experience increased delays for pedestrians and people cycling in pursuit of higher average auto speeds on those same arterials – all in the name of carbon emissions. Ha!
I don’t know if there was a effort to retime signals in 2007 to increase vehicle speeds that resulted in increased delays for bicycles and pedestrians. My point was that increasing pedestrian crossing interval to accommodate slower-moving pedestrians (and to comply with the ADA) necessarily increases longer cycle lengths. If you want to decrease delays for bicyclists shorter cycle lengths will help achieve that; it will be a hard sell if you are proposing something that directly impacts pedestrians and the ADA.
I suspect that you understand the math better than I do; I was interested in having shorter waits back for those crossing Chavez (back then 39th). I’m not sure if that necessarily impacts the length of time the walk signal is on.
“…There is some benefit to the countdown features on the pedestrian heads, but I’ve also seen plenty of incidents where motorists accelerate greatly to reach the intersection before the light turns to yellow or red.” J_R
Sure…there are some very impatient, careless and dangerous people using the roads and streets, on foot and with vehicles. That’s why I frequently and consistently emphasize the importance of everyone making their best effort to use the road responsibly, and to be always on the lookout for people that aren’t using the road responsibly, Doubly so for people using the road as vulnerable road users since its their life and limb that’s at far greater risk in a collision with a vehicle.
Beaverton’s twin through-town highways are a constant challenge for people needing to cross them on foot. Long wait times, terrible pedestrian conditions with the noise and air mad noxious from so much motor vehicle use. And the danger of collision. The north highway, Canyon Rd at 117th, doesn’t have a red light camera. Because of this, I suspect more people are running red lights at this intersection, than they are at the twin intersection on Beav-Hillsdale at Griffith Parkway to the south. Don’t know this for a fact. City and county probably has numbers.
Overall though, I personally feel, myself frequently crossing streets managed with countdown signals, that these signals are a very significant benefit to people using the street on foot. For me, they reduced a lot of the tension I felt in crossing the street in front of waiting and approaching motor vehicles. Finally with the countdown signals, instead of having to guess, I could look at the numbers, and have a very good idea of whether there was enough time left for me to safely cross at a normal walking speed with the time remaining. For pedestrian convenience and safety in using the street, countdown signals are a small step, but an important one.
You guys don’t have to wonder why Seattle is so messed up and can’t get its act together transportation-wise. That bus stop is great compared to many others around the city, don’t buy the overblown hype about a dead-end UP track that is an “active rail corridor”.
If this is what the so-called civic planners see as the worst bus stop in America then it confirms in my book that things aren’t getting better.
Up here in British Columbia is about teh same, the hype is even worse and the drivers think they are from LA, seriously. Good thing my daily 25 mile ride in is mostly on back roads and a dike along the bay.
That bus stop is an exceptionally crappy one in a crappy industrial area. Almost all cities have stops that are almost as bad. So does Portland: I used to ride the #16 and #17 along Front and Dirty 30, so I know.
Not to absolve King County Metro of responsibility for that stop, but it’s far from typical. I lived in Seattle for a number of years back in the 90s, rode the bus frequently, and never encountered one anywhere near that bad.