City installs plastic curbs, wands to protect bikeway at I-5 freeway on-ramp

Nothing like the sight of a PBOT maintenance worker installing protection on a bike lane in the morning!
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Something great is happening as I type this: A day after the City of Portland took some heat from Bicycling Magazine about not providing enough protected cycling space, I noticed Bureau of Transportation crews installing some in my neighborhood this morning.

As part of the North Rosa Parks Way paving project, PBOT is adding plastic curbs and delineator wands in the westbound bikeway as it approaches the I-5 on-ramp at N Missouri. This is very good news!

Here’s why: Despite clear painted striping and a large caution sign, many drivers do the wrong thing and encroach into the bikeway at this corner. See it in the photo below…

This is what the curbs and wands will prevent. (And by the way, you’re breaking the law and being rude when you do this!)

As major changes have come to Rosa Parks in recent months, the volume of people who bike on it has risen substantially. This means it’s more important than ever to make sure that all users of the road respect each other’s space.


The tendency for people to make bad decisions while driving always seems to be more pronounced at freeway approaches. Since Rosa Parks is one of the last places for people to get onto I-5 to head north into Washington, the behaviors on display at this location during the afternoon rush are extremely frustrating. PBOT has made the right decision here. Unfortunately we can’t rely on peoples’ respect for one another to dictate safe vehicle operation so it’s crucial that the design of our streets makes it easy to do the right thing.

In addition to the plastic curbs, PBOT is installing the wands one block east to N Michigan Avenue — a major north-south greenway.

PBOT Communications Director John Brady said these new protective measures were always part of the original plan for the project: “We waited for ODOT to complete the work they were doing in this location, so that we wouldn’t be in the way.”

The roll-out and completion of the Rosa Parks project has been far less than ideal. And it remains incomplete while we wait for more physical protection that’s been promised to come within the year.

Let us know what you think of this new treatment and we’ll update the post with more photos after the installation is done.

UPDATE, 10/12 at 11:16 am: Here are photos of them all installed!

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

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