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Resident on street with new protected bike lane: “Cut us some slack!”

Posted by on October 31st, 2018 at 3:48 pm

This is amazing on many levels.
(Photo sent in by reader)

Reader M.N. sent us this photo. It shows the front window of a house on North Willamette Blvd near Wabash where the resident has a message for bike lane users:

“Citizens. Cut us some slack while we access our driveways! Bike lanes are for everyone. It’s the law.”

The sign also includes the text from Oregon Revised Statute 811.440: “When motor vehicles may operate on bicycle lane”.

This is clearly a response to the relatively new bike lanes installed on the street outside this house (which is just south of the Wabash intersection). It’s been just less than a year since the Portland Bureau of Transportation re-striped Willamette to include a curbside protected lane for low-impact travelers. This new configuration has caused residents to have to adjust their behavior. They can no longer park on the street outside their house. And now there’s less wiggle room for them to access their driveways because the lack of on-street parking means the entire street is used as a travel lane. They no longer have the breathing room afforded by the space where cars used to be parked.

Without talking to them (I plan to knock on their door next time I go by there), it’s hard to know what exactly spurred their sign. But my guess would be that bicycle riders have vocally informed them they should not block the lane.

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As PBOT makes significant changes to our roads, it’s interesting to see how people react. I’ve noticed several people along this corridor that have begun parking on their front lawns or in parking median strips between the sidewalk and the street (despite having a driveway).

And let’s not forget how people in nearby neighborhoods have responded to slower speed limits. Just a few blocks away from this sign on Willamette is where someone defaced and destroyed dozens of “20 is Plenty” signs. And then there was the person who tried to start a campaign against the “impossibly low speed limit” on NE Ainsworth Street.

The man who sent us this photo says while some people might not like losing the ability to park in front of their house, he appreciates the new lane. “As someone who rides with a child in a bike trailer, I like what has been done around here. Now we just need police to enforce the speed limits on Willamette.”

I wonder if the cops will cut them some slack.

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

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PDXCyclist
Guest
PDXCyclist

I looked up the home on google streetview. It has a two car garage and a driveway that would fit 4-6 vehicles. I struggle to understand their parking need…

Now what is a real issue around this area is traveling east/southbound on Willamette (the side closest to the water), when a driver tries to turn left, the drivers behind them apparently cannot wait the 10-45 seconds and serve into the bike lane. After one driver does it, they all mindlessly follow. The bike lane is quite large here because it’s a striped lane and an additional gutter area. It might be 11 feet wide.

Multiple times drivers have swerved around the left-turn-signaling car at a speed which makes me certain they didn’t check their mirrors. Luckily, I’ve always been far enough back to avoid death. But that’s all it was-luck-that has saved me multiple times. PBOT needs to add something here. I’ll even take flexiposts.

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

I read the sign to imply they don’t want to yield to bikes in the bike lane while turning into their driveway. Either way they’re mighty confused.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

This is subgenius!

Bob Dobbs knows.

9watts
Subscriber

He (the message seems like it is coming from someone who identifies as male) can now also no longer see out his picture window.

Booji boy1976
Guest
Booji boy1976

Not one person I knew in 1977 who was hip to Bob Dobbs could ever afford to culturally appropriate his heavenly image while living in a house as that on Willamette Blvd. I call B.S. not very post punk Dada-ist if you ask me.

David Hampsten
Guest

I’m curious why anyone would be surprised by how people are parking their cars on lawns, sidewalks, or medians. It’s their most prized possession, their means to get to work and get around, a bit like your Surly/Salsa/Vanilla. They’ve been doing for years in East Portland and much of the rest of the USA, with local governments only responding to complaints. Apparently y’all don’t get outside of inner Portland very much, not even to the poorer sections of your own city.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

Insane ***person insult deleted***! They feel REALLY passionate about something but have such a narrow obsession that anyone but themselves won’t get it. Usually appears on bumper stickers.

And on a more basic level I want to ask the guy who put this up; THIS is the fight you feel is worth having at this time? Worth obliterating your view and spending perhaps hundreds of dollars printing a sign to communicate? Really? Maybe it’s a retiree thing?

sikoler
Guest
sikoler

This is a great opportunity to stop the “bad for cars = good for bikes” mentality and take the concerns of car users seriously.

meh
Guest
meh

Always love when they start using the bylaws as justification. Cars may drive UPON the bike lane when entering or exiting driveways and alleyways. That means you can cross them to gain entrance, doesn’t mean you don’t have to cede right of way to those already in the bike lane.
The part of they always miss is you cannot drive IN a bicycle lane. No using it to pass cars to make that right hand turn.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

I support this message “Now we just need the police…”

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Is it possible that the signmaker has a point? Yes, people biking in general have the right of way in the bike lane, but there are cases where asserting that right of way is reckless, aggressive, or merely rude.

Example 1: If someone is slowly and carefully right-turning their car through the bike lane and into a driveway, it’s not cool to go ahead and squeeze between them and their driveway – better to just slow down (or stop, if necessary).

Example 2: If someone has driven past their driveway, has their blinker on, and is trying to back in to their driveway, I think it’s common courtesy for someone biking to go ahead and stop so that the person driving can back into their driveway. No, it’s not legally required, but IMO it’s a nice thing to do. Backing in is hard enough to begin with.

Mick O
Guest
Mick O

I want to make an offer on that house now. Clearly they are unhappy (and don’t care about the view) . Maybe they will let it go for $200k #oldportland

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Does anyone else get a sense of desperation and resignation from this homeowner. I think auto culture is like the Dinosaurs just before the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. They are the still the kings of the jungle looking down at the little mammals scurrying about, but knowing their days are numbered and the mammals will replace them. I see this same look in the eyes of many of the motorists I pass as they are stuck in traffic.

Stephen J Sanow
Guest
Stephen J Sanow

I’m far too busy keeping my eyes on the road to avoid errant cellphone operators (probably 50% drivers) to even notice the sign.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

“This is amazing on many levels.”

I first thought you said that because it was a pro-bike-lane sign, but I don’t think that’s the case.

This seems like it could go 2 ways:

* To me this is the driving homeowner misinterpreting the law so that they can justify driving in the bike lane while they approach the right turn into their driveway because they feel bad making other drivers wait 10 seconds behind them in their lane.

* But it could be a message to other drivers passing them in the bike lane while they try to turn left into their driveway. Those other drivers can’t use the bike lane because they’re not turning. I don’t think this is what they’re concerned about.

Because no issue is stated and no real context is given I read this as posting a law that allows drivers to use the bike lane on the approach to turn into their driveway.

The driver doesn’t know there’s a difference between “making a turn” and “preparing to make a turn”, or between “entering a driveway” and “approaching a driveway”. You’re not allowed to drive in the bike lane, ever. You’re only allowed to drive “upon” it to cross it at the point of your turn.

I’d like to be wrong.

Orig_JF
Guest
Orig_JF

We do not know what caused this person to put this sign in his window. Another recent incident caused a person to publicly accuse a person riding a bike who may have slashed his tires. And this person not only accused the bicycle rider of slashing his tires, he then used the incident as a soap box to discuss bicycle licensing and registration by writing a letter to any newspaper/TV station/Blog that would listen to him.

In this case, the person is posting his opinion on his own property. And yes, he is allowed to drive in a bicycle lane while accessing his driveway. If the home owner and his guests do this cautiously and courteously, I will give him some slack.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

I’m intrigued to find out what you learn from talking to them, Jonathan. On the one hand, I’m relieved that it’s not an angry/intimidating sign. Like they’re not 100% against the new striping, but just struggling to adjust.

On the other hand, I can’t make any sense of it. Presumably it had to derive from some conflict with a bicyclist. Surely they don’t have a daily problem literally getting into their driveway because of a never ending stream of bicyclists not “cutting them slack.” So they had some run-in with a bike user, maybe a near right hook, and argued? They felt that person should have understood the difficulty they’re experiencing? And the response was to spend a lot of money on a generic message displayed to all, with a narrow chance of reaching this one person they felt didn’t “cut them some slack”? So bizarre. Like I said, I can’t wait to know more.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

This is right up there with “Cars rights!” on Portlandia.

Josh G
Guest
Josh G

perhaps the Church of Subgenius would appreciate more implements of husbandry back in the city

Alex Gauthier
Guest
Alex Gauthier

Um yeah, lots of presumption in these comments. Shocking that someone might have a legit beef with the cycling community. Also, the author was invited to speak with the home owner and declined to do so before publishing this. Not classy. They DO use their driveway and the new stripes are not the issue. That’s all I know. Maybe the writer will edit this or clarify but who are we kidding, most of you already passed your judgement and have moved on to crucify the next person based on one badly researched article and won’t even bother to learn more anyway. Lame.