The Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau has started paving a new section of the Springwater Corridor path in Sellwood. This long-awaited project will close one of the last remaining gaps in this important regional path. It’s just a 0.4 mile section of the Springwater between SE Umatilla and 13th; but as any regional trail advocate will tell you, the sum impact is greater than its parts.
While it’s good to finally see progress on this segment of the “Sellwood Gap,” I was disappointed to find out that the City of Portland will install 10 stop signs along the new path. According to the official project plans, there will be stop signs (and associated stop bar striping) at the crossing of each roadway that intersects with the path: Umatilla, Harney, Marion, 9th, Linn, 11th, and 13th.
“Attempts to require path users to yield or stop at each cross-street promote noncompliance and confusion, and are not effective.”
— Alta Planning Rural Design Guide
According to a Parks spokesperson, the stop signs are mandated by the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Rail Division. They have some jurisdiction over the project because this section of the Springwater is adjacent to an extant railroad. The Oregon Pacific Railroad line is rarely used these days and travels at a very slow speed.
It’s also worth noting there are no stop signs — only yield signs — where the cross-streets intersect with the path. (ODOT has now confirmed that stop signs will be added where roads cross the path.)
All these streets are very low-volume and there will be many more people using the path than using the roads.
Andrew Holtz lives near the new path and attended a recent meeting where Portland Parks staff shared a presentation about the project. He thinks erecting stop signs on the path is a terrible idea. “The dominant traffic will be trail users and they should have the right-of-way. I don’t think the stop signs will serve any purpose.” he said in an interview today. “The only people that cross those streets are a few homeowners. People using the trail will get used to never seeing cross-traffic and get into the habit of ignoring the stop signs — and that’s not a good habit!”
Alta Planning, a national firm that designs paths and trails, echoes Holtz’s argument in their Rural Design Guide. In the section on Minor Street Crossings they write, “Attempts to require path users to yield or stop at each cross-street or driveway promote noncompliance and confusion, and are not effective.” As you can see in the graphic above, they recommend a stop sign on the cross-street, along with a crosswalk and clear sight lines to ensure safety.
We’ve experienced this same issue in two very nearby locations in the past. In 2013 we reported on how the Portland Police Bureau was concerned with a lack of stop sign compliance from Springwater Path users at SE Spokane Street, just three blocks south of where this project will begin.
And just a few blocks southeast of this project, on the SE 17th Avenue path between Sellwood and Milwaukie, the City of Milwaukie was forced into the same situation. When that section of the path opened two years ago we lamented all the unnecessary stop signs. ODOT Rail engineers forced the City of Milwaukie to install them on the path — even where it crossed private residential driveways.
Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba didn’t think the signs were necessary and he eventually convinced ODOT to remove them. It remains to be seen whether anyone at the City of Portland will show as much courage as Gamba and question ODOT’s engineering.
After all, is this really about safety?
Does anyone think it makes sense to require bicycle riders to make a complete stop this often on a multi-use path where cross-traffic travels very slowly and is rarely present?
Would ODOT ever mandate stop signs like this on major driving corridor?
There must be a more sensible solution.
UPDATE, 3/7: Parks just sent out a project update that included a bit about the stop signs:
Automobile traffic will be required to come to a complete stop before crossing any point of the trail. At this point, for cyclist and pedestrian safety, there will also be STOP signs on the trail at all crossings. In these instances, the cyclist(s) and/or pedestrian(s) will have the right of way.
Interesting they wrote, “At this point.” Also of note that despite it being a 4-way stop intersection, Parks says path users will have right-of-way.
I’m still waiting for ODOT to answer some more specific questions. Will update when I hear more.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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“ODOT Rail engineers ”
Hi, maybe leave trail design to trail experts?
We don’t ask aerospace engineers for their thoughts on traffic signal placement.
Let’s get the NWTA on this. Berms and double jumps on the Springwater would make it way more fun.
After seeing the placement of the west-bound bike signal at SE 11th & Clinton, maybe we should.
Oregon has a supermajority. Anyone know if they are discussing the Idaho Stop Law? Delaware and Colorado are on it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_stop
unfortunately we’re not working on that law. i agree with you that we should be.
we’re too busy trying to convince lawmakers that bike lanes don’t disappear when they go through intersections. smdh
Comment of the week. Not being sarcastic
The stop sign is a traffic control device for motor vehicle traffic.
What is a stop sign supposed to mean on a facility governed by pedestrian rules? On a pedestrian facility bicyclists have the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian unless otherwise noted in 814.410.
If the stop sign doesn’t apply to and enforced for pedestrians, it isn’t going to mean anything to a bicyclist either. I don’t get it.
Stop signs apply to cyclists, unless everyone is going to walk their bikes across those intersections so they are pedestrians.
Whether walking or “riding” (driving) a bike has no part in whether the cyclist is considered a pedestrian according to Oregon statutes. 814.410(2) says that a cyclist on a crosswalk or sidewalk is a pedestrian.
Actually, I believe a stop sign is a traffic control device for all vehicles. Vehicles may be motorized or nonmotorized. It’s difficult to claim the power of vehicles in some instances (taking the lane) but not others (stop signs) without a better explanation.
That said, the decision about a stop sign should be made on a case-by-case basis with data. The dominant flow of traffic should be accommodated, and if that’s a bike, then place the stop sign to interrupt motorized vehicles. The problem here, as I see it, is the flawed assumption that motorized vehicles, no matter how few there are, deserve uninterrupted flow.
Tell that to the guy who collided with the skateboarder.
Please cite the ORS to support your assertion that stop signs are only for people using motorized vehicles. (I don’t think you can.)
I think you have this a bit backwards. Is there an ORS that says pedestrians have to follow a stop sign? The ORS that relates to this specifically applies to drivers: ORS 811.265
Driver failure to obey traffic control device. The ORS that describes a pedestrians failure to obey a traffic control device specifically lists out the devices that a pedestrian must obey and stop signs are not included in that list ORS 814.010 and ORS 814.020
Fails to obey any traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian.
Fails to obey any specific traffic control device described in ORS 814.010.
LOL! And everyone was so thrilled that they were finally(!!) paving this section of perfectly rideable packed gravel. Well, here’s the result. Enjoy!
The last decade or so it seems non-car infrastructure “improvements” in Portland are intended mainly to get bikes out of the way. I’ve come to actively avoid planned bike infra etc. bc it usually takes me onto a suboptimal route (e.g. twenties bikeway) or adds some other hassle (MAX crossing gates)
yes, I agree. anything that can be done to get bikes out of the way, off the road, and to slow bikes down, make their routes less convenient, seem to be the rule of the designs. Of course, sometimes this results in a pleasant place to bike, but I keep seeing stops and chicanes added to my commute, which do tend to add up to significant extra time, over the miles.
These stop signs aren’t intended to be traffic control devices and there will never be any enforcement of compliance by law enforcement. These are placed so that if anyone on a bike is run over in a crosswalk by a motor vehicle operator, the motor vehicle operator can claim that the person on a bike “ran the stop sign” so there is no liability.
Assuming that this is true, the stop signs are essentially an open admission that they’ve created dangerous infrastructure and are attempting to shield themselves from liability when this design gets someone hurt.
Exactly. It appears to Cynical Me as though society has evolved to a point where rules that used to be made for “safety” are now more concerned with “liability”. I.e., we know something bad is bound to happen, and we have to be able to disclaim any responsibility, so we’ll create sub-optimal, sometimes onerous arrangements and call them “safety” measures. The annoying part is that those arrangements often seem to tilt in the direction of requiring perfection from the most vulnerable, and allowing leeway for the most powerful.
Exactly to your “exactly”. Plus–most ironically–the safety solutions often make things less safe.
Take another trail project ODOT Rail was involved in–the Willamette Greenway Trail, and the entrance to Willamette Park across the tracks at SW Nevada. That’s the one where the infamous black fence was put up across that crossing, lasting one day until someone ripped it out, and never replaced. That fence went up at the behest of ODOT Rail because the crossing, which had been used for years, was found to be lacking an official crossing permit. It was never unsafe until the fence went up.
Or people who would put up “beware of dog” signs on their gates, but have heard the advice that if you do that, you’re showing you’re aware that there could be a danger, whereas if you don’t warn anyone, you can claim you weren’t aware. Or…or….or….
I don’t think you truly appreciate the fact that a stop sign on this path just a few blocks away attracted the attention of the PPB a few years ago. They got complaints about path users not stopping and put it on the list to do an enforcement action.
That’s another reason these type of stop signs are bogus. They give police and NIMBYs another reason to hassle people who aren’t doing anything wrong.
Who are the NIMBYs in this situation? Or did you just throw that in for laughs?
Sorry, my mistake. Reading below, I now realize the NIMBYs are the ones who want to save the old trees.
How interesting that you think that, too bad that you felt the need to be condescending and quibble instead of addressing my actual point.
Just speaking as someone who read your comment and Jonathan’s reply, what I see is that 1) he disagreed with you about the idea that there will be no enforcement, giving without condescension an example of enforcement that happened nearby, and 2) by saying “that’s ANOTHER reason these type of stop signs are bogus”, he was agreeing with you that they are also bogus for the liability reason you stated. So my reading is that he addressed your point by agreeing with it.
I am happy to have the path more complete. Stop sign s and elevators (elsewhere), not so much. Also, it’s not IF someone gets run over by a MV, it’s WHEN. I don’t think it will be long.
TCD’s do not exist to protect people
They are to establish liability protecting the interests of the motor finance industry, without which the motor industry would not exist, the insurance industry, and the medical industry from losses sustained when users of their products destroy the value of their collateral and patching up the carnage that results.
I have no idea whether Parks is correct about the ODOT Rail rules. What I do know is that Parks installed stop signs on the recently improved Willamette Greenway Trail where the trail crosses a private DRIVEWAY for the handful of houseboats south of the Sellwood Bridge, where there were no ODOT rules in play. When I objected to Parks, saying that a) it makes no sense to require hundreds of daily trail users to stop for a few users of a private driveway, b) the stop signs make no sense for pedestrians, and c) nobody will stop anyway, staff told me they would absolutely not consider removing them, and it was up to individual trail users to choose whether to comply with them or not. When I told them that just makes it more dangerous–drivers assuming someone will comply who ends up not stopping–they just didn’t want to talk to me any more.
Parks and other agencies also love to say, “Sorry–code issue that’s not our doing” to skirt responsibility. Often the code doesn’t say what they claim at all, or it allows exemptions that they don’t bother pursuing.
Ironically, when I asked Parks why they didn’t install tactile warning dots at the locations the trail crosses vehicle areas–which code DOES require–they told me they weren’t installed because the tactile warnings were a new code requirement. When I told them they’ve been required for decades, and regardless of that should be installed for safety regardless of code requirements, they didn’t want to talk any more, but did end up installing them.
Point is to always be skeptical of agencies that mention “codes”. PBOT, ODOT, and ODOT Rail have all done it to me multiple times, and been wrong every time.
Good grief. It’s bureaucracy at its worst: when civil servants skew a legalistic reading of regulations to make their jobs easier, even if it’s a worse situation for the citizen.
I’m an architect and this is pretty much spot on with the city’s BES department. They try to invent all sort of bizarro world code interpretations that change every few months that it just doesn’t make sense. Hell, we had a 2 and a half year electrical code hold up a new sidewalk on a building renovation. Where there was no electrical.
Other projects were shot down because they claimed that the city doesn’t permit metal panels to be used as a building siding material (which they are, and are super common but hey lets just outright lie to the architect and building owners at a public meeting!
The problem is that the people who work in their departments are inconsistent with how they operate. But we really have no idea why they do what they do.
I don’t think in either case (the Greenway or here) it’s the “rules” that are in play. I think in both you’re seeing agencies protect themselves from liability. It’s more likely a lack of rules that’s driving this. Take the new Springwater segment. When the existing railroad crosses those same roads, the law says what’s needed. It’s difficult to sue when something goes wrong if they follow those requirements. Now you add a path to the railway easement, and nothing legally prescribes the standards to follow. So the agency has to apply its own discretion, and they default to stop signs to preclude any issue. Now if there’s a crash, it wasn’t their fault, they told you to stop!
Hey, I’ve literally seen _a car_ cross that crossing when I used it for all of last summer. 🙂
Each intersection already has a Yield or Stop for the street traffic. There’s no reason to put in additional stop signs for trail users when all the other traffic has the responsibility to stop.
This will also mean that trail users will have to stop even when there’s a train across the road and other street traffic can’t conflict with trail users.
If these crossings aren’t important enough to put in automated arms for the train then they’re not important enough to make all trail users stop.
There are maaaaaybe 2 trains/year that use those tracks. If that.
An additional urgent concern about PPR’s Sellwood Gap paving project which was voiced by neighbors at the meeting is PPR’s plan to clearcut all the mature trees (incl. large fruit trees) in the woodland strip between SE 9th and 11th. Instead of saving any of the trees with a steep slope or retaining wall, PPR will devastate this strip of urban woodland and only plant “replacement” trees on a completely different lot. PPR says they are using a wide pavement, shallow slope and clearcutting of trees to provide “a higher level of comfort to cyclists.” As a neighbor and long-distance Springwater bike commuter, I find that absurd and it is heartbreaking to anticipate PPR clearcutting the old cherry, apple and other tree canopy for this paving project.
Wow, that is terrible! As a trailrider I don’t see why there would be any conflict. I’ve biked through there so many times there seemed to be plenty of room to keep the trees.
Can we fight this?
PPR is rushing to do this. The path they designed for SE 9th-13th will have a wide paved shoulder instead of gravel/grass shoulder and a bare slope next to it instead of tree shade to bike along. PPR is refusing to do a retaining wall to protect the trees because the trees are on PPR/Metro property, not private property — therefore lower standard of tree protection. Now they are saying the trees have been trimmed by PGE in the past so are expendable; if that was the case much of the street tree canopy in the city would be expendable. So emailing Nick Fish and Bob Stacey (Metro) seems to be only hope now. PPR may cut it all down this week.
It really doesn’t matter what logic you apply to this situation. If ODOT has any liability, they have to demand the signage that relieves them of that liability.
Some people say that railroads are next to God in terms of authority and power. Railroads object to that characterization.
Holy HTML gore, Batman!
SE 13th has no stop signs south of Tacoma… even where it crosses the RR south of Linn. Based on city traffic counts, there is much higher volume on the Springwater than on this part of 13th, bolstering the case that the trail is the dominant traffic flow. PBOT routinely denies requests for stop signs on dominant streets. One example is SE 13th at Sellwood Blvd/Knapp… which has frequent crashes when people try to drive across 13th in front of N/S cars.
Jesus these are so freaking stupid and unsafe. I go from Johnson Creek to downtown and have to deal with these. Every street has a crosswalk and a stop sign, so cars don’t know if to stop because we have a stop sign but if we stop they should yield, right? Who freaking knows, either lose the crosswalk or put a yield sign. No one stops at these signs because they are freaking pointless.
Its very odd to see much of the article and all of the comments crossed out…
formatting error! sorry. just fixed it.
Gotta bitch about everything.
Because it is better than the alternative. You’ll bike it and like it. 10 years from now we’ll laugh abou this silly headline.
That has nothing to do with my question to the other commenter.
But since you brought it up…I do hope people will laugh in 10 years–at the absurdity in 2019 of directing everyone using a major bike/pedestrian trail to stop every few hundred feet for a few cars.
And I still don’t know why, even if you think something is better than the alternative, you wouldn’t want it to be as good as it could be, or why you criticize people who want that.
I love the way you phrase your comments. Thanks for that. That being said, unlike the photo that Jonathan posted for stops in Milwaukee that were for driveways, these stops are for actual roads. The corridor is loaded with stops. Have you ridden out to Boring? I have more time then I can remember. To act like this is a safety issue by keeping them is wild. If that’s the case, let’s remove all stops for cyclists on the trail and see how that works. Andyes, it’s better then waiting or attempting to cross 13th/15th. It also removes a good portion of the hill that was SE Umatilla. The project has already started right? The planning has been done so my phrase about “crying about it” remains true. That’s like me crying about SE Foster. Something may change, but I doubt it would anytime soon. I applaud your efforts and passion.
I still don’t understand why you keep arguing that the trail with stop signs is better than no trail at all. I’ve never said it wasn’t. Neither has anyone else in any comment that I’ve noticed.
It funny what a stop sign will make people do or say. I also didn’t call you names but rather mentioning what you were doing which aren’t the same. If you’d like to be referred to as such then I’m fine with that 🙂 move on buddy, but stop first. Haha
Not sure what the big deal is exactly? The connecting part of the trail will be more user friendly and what’s the actual harm in stopping? I mean, it’s better for a family of 4 to stop at some low volume “intersection” then it would be for them to have to try to cross 13th and 17th. We clearly know that PPB isn’t going to toss out tickets if you don’t stop and just out of curiosity, I wonder how many people stop at SE Stanley? Probably very few despite a stop sign being there. Why can’t we celebrate this!? Seems like spilled milk.
You really don’t think 5 stop signs (each direction) in 6 blocks (approximately) is a tad on the ridiculous side for a major bike corridor?
It’s ridiculous that grown ups are essentially crying about it. The alternative was awful and I never went out of my way to use it. I grew up using paths like this and they all had the same set up that included stop signs. Whether you personally stop or not is up to you and like I said, I highly doubt PPB will enforce it.
Until someone gets run over and then blamed for it.
They should have stopped.
Well, yeah, that’s what a stop sign indicates. Brushing it off as “who cares, they won’t enforce it anyway” isn’t true. They will definitely enforce it when determining liability after a crash.
What’s wrong with a stop sign in an urban neighborhood that is multimodal by nature?
I-405 passes through an urban neighborhood that is multimodal, and doesn’t have 10 stop signs in a half mile section.
And how cool would it be to have an elevated bike lane or even a tunneled one so that cyclist wouldn’t have to interact with other forms of transportation. Good try on the analogy but it fails pretty early on. I’m all for an elevated bike lane but it’s clear that bike users want to recover as much real estate as possible so an elevated one wouldn’t work.
The Springwater acts more like a bicycle freeway than a neighborhood street. For instance, I bike on it for an hour each way to work, without stopping (well maybe once). This will add about 20 minutes to my commute, each way.
Now imagine it with a stop sign every block or two.
“It’s ridiculous that grown ups are essentially crying about it.”?
Pointing out problems with a design (of anything) with the intent of improving its safety or function is not “crying”. That’s how improvements are made.
Saying you don’t like something about a design is totally separate from giving an opinion about the overall design. In this case, arguing against the stop signs is not saying the design as shown is not better than nothing, it’s saying the design could function better (and be more safe) without them.
What’s the merit of accepting a design if you think the design can be improved? That’s why we have design commissions, design review, peer review among architects and engineers, in-house crit sessions at advertising agencies and manufacturers…it’s why Steve Jobs delayed production of products that were already arguably better than any in existence, why musicians practice, why coaches critique players…
Calling it “crying” shows a total lack of understanding of how we get better things.
I don’t think pointing out disparities in treatment between classes (in this case, motorists and non-motorists) qualifies as “crying”. Neither does pointing out flaws in design or questioning the motivation for implementing a flawed design.
Blindly accepting second-rate treatment amounts to accepting one’s second-class position. If you view yourself, when riding a bike or walking on this path, as a second-class user of the infrastructure, then by all means enjoy it as-is. This design choice, and the others mentioned for comparison in the comments, represent a view of non-roadway travelers and non-motorized roadway users as children who need a little extra parenting out there in the big, bad world where “grown-ups” drive cars and don’t watch for you. As a grown-up, I will usually complain about being treated as a child.
Wow. Bringing up classes? I just spit up my dinner on that. Wow. I’ll have to chew on that comment especially considering that both groups get the same treatment. Please know that I bike daily and live 2 blocks from the trail and about a mile from the new section. I have no problem stopping at these sections as it is better then riding through the neighborhood and attempting to cross two busy streets. Stops signs are as basic as it gets so for grown men to whine about them while receiving millions of dollars in improvements this yes, crying it is. You won’t see those tears roll down my face or my bike when I use them.
Do you realize that the only reason there is a trail at all (or ANY bike infrastructure in Portland, for that matter) is due to people who, based on your definition, were “cryers” and “whiners”? I’m sure the many people who helped get the trail approved ran into people like you who ridiculed them for not thinking riding on the streets and sidewalks was good enough. Luckily they ignored those people, just as I don’t think your calling people names now is going to dissuade anyone from “crying” now.
And you’re talking about a very small piece and not the entire project. That’s crying because you are winning overall. Sadly, you don’t like an aspect. That is much different then a group of people wanting more multimodal options as a whole. Please don’t forget that life is give and take and it seems like you want it all which isn’t fair to all users. You and I should be celebrating instead of doing whatever it is we’re doing on this blog. 🙂
OK. I’ll take my citation from the PC police on that one, I guess. Given how few words are left to describe the cold mathematical reality of sets of elements, I’ll rephrase and say “groups”, but that might be too triggery, so “sets”? “bunches”? “categories”?
And 4-way stops at these locations is no more “equal” than it would be to make drivers get out and push their vehicles through “safety” zones, or wear helmets. At any other intersection of a major thoroughfare with a low-traffic street, there would be no 4-way stops.
The comparisons are normally the same and equally as laughable. Pushing cars, drivers wearing helmets, and so forth. Oh, what’s wrong with stopping? People are acting like it’s the end of the world to stop. Meanwhile, we have people who are hungry and sleeping outside. Talk about injustices…
Nobody’s saying anything remotely like that.
Psyched for you to ride this when it is done with your family of 4 down Marion.
I spent years riding and running on the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle almost daily. I don’t remember more than a few stop signs in several miles, including in very urban areas. The first time I rode very far east on the Springwater I couldn’t believe how many stop signs there were, and have never bothered riding there since.
This new link, in comparison to the Burke-Gilman, looks like a toy trail–better than nothing, but so much less than it could be. Maybe that could be its slogan.
This is great! It is going to dump a whole bunch more cyclists into the Garthwick neighborhood…. they are going to throw a NIMBY fit, and hopefully their irritation will force the City to figure out how to finish the last 0.4 mile section that is not getting paved as part of this project. Then the final big issue will be a redesign of the 17th and Ochoco intersection with a safe pedestrian crossing!!!
Why would residents be upset?
Because NIMBY gotta NIMBY.
(options for why residents will be upset: people in neighborhood, added noise in neighborhood, litter, loitering, laughter, stopping at all stopsigns, not stopping at stopsigns, families on bikes stopping and taking a short break or adjusting something in front of house, jogger going too fast scared me by coming up from behind me without announcing their intent via written communication 30 days in advance – this is a partial list)
Nah, NIMBY would be them getting together and taking over the maintenance of their streets from the county and making the whole neighborhood private drives with access gates. Being annoyed with cyclists going the wrong way down a one way, or in your example, littering, is just normal for someone with some pride of ownership. I ride through here everyday, frequently do sprint intervals in the neighborhood and have never had anything resembling a negative experience with a resident.
This is what I love about kids today. No need to get out of the house and actually interact with people… We can just read about stereotypes on Bike Portland and know those who are different from us like to kick dogs and scare babies.
this is everything.
It’s always a good chuckle when the default is NIMBY. Because clearly those who use it seemingly have very little to offer meanwhile they are asking others to give up more when they probably already do in the form of taxes. Please give us something better then starting off with NIMBY
It’s a very small, quite, and wealthy neighborhood. The southern most street in the neighborhood, Andover Street will likely become the bike connection for folks where this new section of path ends in Sellwood on the west end, to the 17th ave path and the Springwater on the east end of the neighborhood. Andover is the only one-way street in the neighborhood (one way west bound) and because this neighborhood is so small and quiet, I’m willing to bet there will be more than a few cyclists that ride the wrong way, or take the sidewalk to avoid heading a block farther into the neighborhood to make the connections. It will be very interesting.
If you are hoping to upset the residents by riding your bike on their street, I think you will find it very boring.
Can anyone confirm that it’s a $242 ticket to run each or any of these stop signs on a bike? I got 242-ed downtown several years ago, but that was downtown. In front of the police station. In front of a cop.
Stop signs like this already exist on the section of Springwater from Gresham to Boring, even for driveways that property owners have permanently blocked and can’t possibly have cross traffic. Progress!
What is it about railroad-adjacent infrastructure that makes planners lose their dang minds? I’m reminded of that fence appearing for all of a week in Willamette Park (https://bikeportland.org/2018/01/10/making-sense-of-the-fence-why-parks-closed-a-path-into-willamette-park-264153)
UPDATE, 3/7: Parks just sent out a project update that included a bit about the stop signs:
Interesting they wrote, “At this point.” Also of note that despite it being a 4-way stop intersection, Parks says path users will have right-of-way.
I’m still waiting for ODOT to answer some more specific questions. Will update when I hear more.
Does this not suggest that these stop signs on a bike path are not enforceable? As you note, how can you create a 4 way stop, then say one group has the right-of-way, unless the stop signs for that group are actually just suggestions and not enforceable?
yeah crazy right? It’s utter nonsense. Someone at Parks or City Hall needs to stand up and figure out a different approach. this is affront to everyone’s intelligence and seems like another classic example of ODOT’s paternalism toward bicycle riders.
I just got that same email update and was going to post it here. I find it troubling the part about, “… for cyclist and pedestrian safety, there will also be STOP signs on the trail at all crossings. In these instances, the cyclist(s) and/or pedestrian(s) will have the right of way.”
I’m interpreting this to mean they haven’t had real traffic engineer take an actual look at it.
I don’t always agree with the traffic engineers plans, etc., but they’re usually pretty good on the traffic laws and knowing who will gets a turn, have priority etc. Here, pedestrians have the right of way at intersections because they’re pedestrians. But people on bicycles are vehicles. They’re only pedestrians when they get off and walk. Bicyclists don’t have the (legal) priority other than Portland drivers sometimes seem to kind of think so.
“But people on bicycles are…only pedestrians when they get off and walk.”
(2) Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.
Are you considering the presence of a STOP sign to be a de facto “exception”?
814.410 1(d) has some interesting stuff that I hadn’t ever ready that carefully before. I had thought that when riding a bicycle, 1(d) always required you to slow to a walking speed when approaching and entering the crosswalk, but that’s not what it says.
Paraphrasing, you are in violation of the statue when you operate the bicycle on a sidewalk at a “speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk” AND “a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk.”
If there are no motor vehicles (and for the purposes of the statue that would include other bicycles, skateboarders or electric scooter riders) approaching the crosswalk, you don’t even have to slow down. Even if the roadway adjacent to you has a stop sign on it, as long as there is no potential conflict on the roadway, not only does the stop sign not mean anything, you can go through the crosswalk at whatever speed suits you.
You only have to slow to a walking speed if there is a potential of conflict with motor vehicles on the roadway. For the purposes of the Springwater Path, you would be required to slow to a walking speed when there are cars lining up to cross the path. Otherwise just ride on.
I can still recall the question on my driver’s ed (I know, right?) test:
“What’s silver and octagonal?”
The answer, of course, being “the back of a STOP sign”.
This is how we were taught to confirm that an intersection was a two-way or four-way STOP. Any driver stopped at a stop sign, and believing that cross traffic must also stop, will not wait for an approaching bicyclist to stop (or not) before proceeding. A marked 4-way STOP that is really a 2-way STOP is the most ridiculous and dangerous arrangement possible.
With NO stop signs for trail users, it would be completely clear to drivers and trail users that trail users have the right of way. WITH the trail stop signs, a driver who stops can logically (and correctly, legally) that they can now proceed, because any biker approaching from either side must stop for them, as would be true at any 4-way stop. That works if the trail users also stop and yield to cars, but not if they don’t. But I thought Parks just said trail users would have the right of way, so why would they stop? And since when does a pedestrian need to stop for a car that’s already stopped at a stop sign?
So the trail stop signs that were put there “for cyclist and pedestrian safety” muddy everything, and make it less safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
And still nobody knows what a stop sign means for pedestrians.
I’d love to hear Parks respond to all this.
I’m excited to not have to “hope” that an auto user will remember that I the cyclist have the right of way on this very exclusive stretch of area. No, actually, give us both stop signs so we all know the rules that are more h iversally accpeted rather than this small, forgettable area.
You say you like the stop signs for trail users as well as cars, so that “we all know the rules that are more h iversally (sic) accepted…” But Parks says trail users will have the right of way, even with stop signs. That’s not how other 4-way stops work. So how will people know that trail users have the right of way?
And if there are no stop signs for trail users, but a trail users doesn’t want to “hope” that a driver will understand that the trail user has the right of way, the trail user is always free to stop and cede their right of way to the driver.
Are you looking for a Right of Way trophy? What’s the point? So you can save a few seconds? It’s such a petty thing to warrant such attention.
The points are what I and several other people have said, for reasons we have already stated. The stop signs on the trail add confusion, and reduce safety. It doesn’t make sense to require trail users to stop for street users, when the trail traffic will be much heavier, especially over time. Needing to stop every few hundred feet makes the trail less functional. Setting up a situation where stop signs are viewed as optional to obey is not safe. As the article states, trail design professionals support this stance, and at least one other city has chosen to remove similar signs for similar reasons.
Stop signs at driveways are much different than at real streets. Jonathan’s example is misleading but I think you already knew but you’d rather fish for an example then give an actual 1-1 example. Also, the engineers that you bring up are primarily pro- bike and it’s easy to take them for their word but I have yet to live in a place where stop signs were viewed as unsafe. Good luck in your pursuit in getting people to believe that wild scenario.
Because it’s a stupid design Doug, that gives no added safety benefits. The cars are required to stop either way (with or without a path stop sign). These are all low traffic, dead-end residential streets. In riding the old gravel path (which I honestly thought was okay) for years, I can’t remember having any type of interaction with a car at any of these “intersections”.
So everyone stopping shouldn’t be an issue. The bike crazies are asking for an exception in this area which sets a bad precedent for the rest of the trail that has plenty of stop signs. Ya’ll sound funny.
I haven’t been riding on the Springwater for a few years. Less worried about the potential for violence but just didn’t want to have to explain to my kids what the “man shooting up” is doing. I was just wondering if it has gotten better. If it hasn’t, why are we investing in more homeless encampment areas?
It really depends on the section you are on. Once you are east of 181st, there aren’t any homeless on the trail. The section around 205 and pretty much all of the I-205 trail is still occupied for a better term although I have been riding this for years and only had one encounter that, for lack of a better term, could be called odd. I never felt threatened or unsafe, it was just bizarre but I turned around rather than ride through it. That’s ONE incident and I use the trail nearly daily once the weather improves. I’ve taken my kids in a bike trailer all up and down the trail before without issues.
I agree with Al. I ride the Springwater pretty frequently and don’t have any issues. The sketchy trail is now the 205 bike path as you near Marine Drive, especially under the overpasses. I actually avoid that section for the most part these days, which is unfortunate because I like using it as part of a longer loop ride.
How funny, stop signs on trails were conceived many years ago by traffic engineers to “warn” trail users they were coming to a roadway. Nowadays, the MUTCD says engineers should only put trail stops where people biking are required to stop. https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009r1r2/mutcd2009r1r2edition.pdf The AASHTO bikeway design guide also explicitly does not recommend use of stop signs on trails http://imentaraddod.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/AASHTO-GBF-4-2012-bicycle.pdf The real question is, why are your local Agencies not following Federal rules and best practices? ODOT has had significant compliance issues with not following Federal rules and regs (ie ADA) in the immediate past. Do they want more liability for an unsafe design/
Thank you for tracking that down Zack. Still trying to get more information from ODOT and plan to post an update once they answer my questions.
If you won’t accept my opinion, or others here, or Alta’s, how about the Uniform Manual of Traffic Control Devices? I took the following excerpt from this article, which is one of many discussing stop signs on bike paths:
Here’s the excerpt:
Traffic engineers know that if you put too many stop signs where they don’t belong, people—both drivers and cyclists–will start ignoring them. In fact, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials says that it’s a “misconception” to think that peppering bike trails with stop signs is a good way to reduce crashes. Thus, the national engineering standards that govern such things urge local officials to go easy on the stop signs on bike-pedestrian trails.
The 2009 edition of the Uniform Manual of Traffic Control Devices (the engineers’ bible for such things) says that: “Speed should not be the sole factor used to determine priority, as it is sometimes appropriate to give priority to a high-volume shared-use path crossing a low-volume street, or to a regional shared-use path crossing a minor collector street.”
The draft American guidelines for cycling facility design say that “ installing unwarranted or unrealistically restrictive controls on path approaches in an attempt to ‘protect’ path users can lead to disregard of controls and intersection operating patterns that are routinely different than indicated by the controls. This can increase an unfamiliar driver’s risk of collision, and potentially lead to a loss of respect for the [traffic] control…”
Thanks for quoting the Bible. At 20mph I’d say the speeds are fairly even, wouldn’t you? But that aside, the majority of the path is stop sign free, with places even creating tunnels for riders. 🙂 I’d be cool with a tunnel for these streets. Let’s do that Oh, the example in the article is still misleading.
I have no idea why you’re mentioning speed, since the only reference to speed is, “Speed should not be the sole factor used to determine priority, as it is sometimes appropriate to give priority to a high-volume shared-use path crossing a low-volume street, or to a regional shared-use path crossing a minor collector street.”
And a “high-volume shared-use path crossing a low-volume street, or to a regional shared-use path crossing a minor collector street” describes this situation perfectly–that is, one where stop signs for trail users may not be appropriate.
Hey, if you don’t want to give the big kids half of your lunch money, and agree to take the blame when you get punched in the face for refusing, then stay off the playground.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (to quote a different bible).
OMG, I’m going to miss out on those bikers with no horn, no lights, riding through the stop signs on my street. Oh, the horror. Guess I’ll get in my bunker now.