Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 15th, 2017 at 2:21 pm
After presenting a slew of options for improving safety and traffic flow on North Vancouver at Cook back in June, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has settled on an option they like.
The plan, as presented to the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) last night, calls for moving the bikeway to the left side of the street from North Killingsworth to North Stanton (a distance of 1.3 miles). The project would also widen the Vancouver bikeway with a buffer zone.
PBOT Bicycle Program Manager Roger Geller presented the idea. He said the left-side bikeway option scored the highest in an internal decision-making process (below) because it improves cycling comfort by eliminating right-turn conflicts with bus and car operators, while at the same time it won’t delay transit. (Fun fact: As you can see in the ranking matrix, delay to auto users was given less weight than other factors. Yeah!)
The other option PBOT analyzed further since June was a dedicated signal phase for bicycle riders at Cook. This would have (similar to the bike signal at westbound Broadway and Williams) separated the movements of southbound bicycle riders and right-turning auto users. While this had a high safety ranking because it would eliminate conflicts, the option wasn’t moved forward because it would add considerable time delays to all users (something that happens when a new phase is added to an existing signal) and it would cause congestion that would likely spill over to Fremont one block over.
It’s worth noting that Vancouver is an “enhanced transit corridor” and TriMet has been looking over PBOT’s shoulders to make sure nothing is done that would slow down their buses here.
To make the left-side bikeway work, PBOT needs to get riders from the right (where the bike lane is north of Killingsworth) to the left, and back again in time for people to make the turn onto Russell for the Flint Avenue/Broadway Bridge connection. “To do a facility like this,” Geller said, “It’s really all about the transitions.”
As you can see in the preliminary drawings below, PBOT will begin the switch to the left side at Killingsworth. The plan is for a new bike box that will allow southbound bicycle riders to get in front of auto users during a red light at Killingsworth (not sure if PBOT realizes that many people don’t feel comfortable staging in front of cars in these boxes during red lights). With a head-start into the intersection, bicycle users would merge to the left to enter the new bikeway. On a green signal phase, bicycle riders would stay on the right across Killingsworth and then take advantage of a newly painted green lane and crossbike to merge over to the bikeway.
At North Stanton (adjacent to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Dawson Park) PBOT would add a new bicycle signal to facilitate crossing back over to the right side. Geller said signal timing would be adjusted between Cook and Stanton to prioritize bicycling, giving riders a “green wave” effect. The signals would be timed for 14 mph.
A BAC member suggested painting green stripes across the Stanton intersection to improve safety.
One issue with a left-side bikeway on Vancouver is the driveway into the New Seasons Market parking lot between Fremont and Cook. A PBOT engineer at the meeting last night said their counts found only 70 people turn left out onto Vancouver from the parking lot during the AM peak period. “Not a huge number,” she said.
PBOT estimates the cost of this project at $200,000. Asked by a BAC member last night whether any physical protection would be added to the buffer zones, a PBOT engineer said, “We could look into that. Right now we have funding for just the painted buffer.”
The BAC endorsed this design last night. PBOT will likely make a few final tweaks before doing some public outreach and scheduling the construction. I don’t know the exact timeline yet but will update this post when I find out.
Do you ride on Vancouver? What do you think of these new plans?
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