ODOT wants to shrink the bike lanes on North Rosa Parks Way

Posted by on June 18th, 2019 at 11:40 am

Looking eastbound on North Rosa Parks Way where it crossing I-5.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

10 months after the City of Portland widened the bike lanes on North Rosa Parks Way (where it crossing Interstate 5) the Oregon Department of Transportation wants to narrow them.

Note the lane width changes looking westbound across N Missouri/I-5 on-ramp intersection.

A few days ago I noticed the outside buffer stripe of the new bike lane and one of the other lanes had been ground off by work crews. A new, preliminary line has been laid down. Once fully re-striped, the bike lane will be 1.5 feet narrower. The width of the old bike lane (not counting buffer stripe) was 6.5 feet. The new one will be just five feet wide.

“There was a miscommunication between ODOT and PBOT.”
— Don Hamilton, ODOT

What’s going on here?

When PBOT crews striped the Rosa Parks Way project, they continued the lane widths on the section that goes over I-5. This is noteworthy because ODOT and PBOT have different ideas about how wide lanes should be. And ODOT has jurisdiction to all streets and intersections that cross interstates and interstate access ramps. Several weeks ago I heard a rumor from a source at the City of Portland that ODOT was no on board with PBOT’s striping.

As you might guess, PBOT is much more comfortable striping wider bike lanes and narrower general purpose lanes that ODOT is. Broadly speaking, ODOT prefers wider lanes for drivers and narrower lanes for bicycle users — especially around freeways.

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According to ODOT’s Highway Design Manual (Pedestrian and Bicycle Chapter), the standard width for bike lanes is 6 feet and the minimum is 4. If the bike lane is next to a curb, as is the case on this section of Rosa Parks, an additional foot is required.

Asked for comment, ODOT Region 1 Public Information Officer Don Hamilton said: “When PBOT did their paving and restripe last summer there was a miscommunication between ODOT and PBOT, resulting in lane widths that could not be approved by ODOT for a freeway interchange being installed. PBOT is now changing the lane widths to ODOT standards.”

Hamilton confirmed with me today that ODOT will reduce the bike lane width to five feet and will maintain the two-foot buffer. By comparison, PBOT had striped a 6.5-foot bike lane with a two foot buffer (which was even narrower than the 7-foot wide lane with 3-foot buffer that initially proposed).

PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s Chief of Staff Marshall Runkel told me he’s aware of the situation (it came up at the recent PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting). “It’s a tough situation,” he shared via email today, “[we’re] working on a systemic fix.”

This isn’t be the first time the city and state have disagreed about a bike lane. Recall the SE 26th Avenue Bike Lane Saga that culminated last year. In that case, ODOT felt the bike lane was unsafe and wanted to remove it entirely in exchange for granting PBOT the right to create a bikeway and safer crossing of SE Powell two blocks over.

UPDATE, 3:24 pm: Asked for a rationale to re-stripe this section of the street, ODOT’s Hamilton said: “This is not some bureaucratic exercise done to annoy bicyclists. We follow ODOT standards set for freeways that will make the road safer for people who choose to drive. And let’s remember that the result is an improvement from a 5-foot bike lane less than a year ago to a 5-foot bike lane with a 2-foot buffer.”

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

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162 Comments
  • Avatar
    Carter June 18, 2019 at 11:43 am

    I’m still bitter about the 26th Ave bike lanes and have quickly begun to understand why people dislike ODOT.

    Recommended Thumb up 29

    • Avatar
      Doug Hecker June 18, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Carter
      I’m still bitter about the 26th Ave bike lanes and have quickly begun to understand why people dislike ODOT.Recommended 1

      Wow, I have the same thought for PBOT.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Avatar
        David Hampsten June 18, 2019 at 5:16 pm

        I’m inclined to agree with you. Since ODOT has offered all the “orphaned” highways within Portland to PBOT & City Council, who won’t take them unless they are rebuilt to [very expensive] city standards, something that ODOT knows it can’t afford, so I dare say that ODOT is now retaliating by insisting that any and all PBOT improvements on ODOT-controlled facilities be made to ODOT specifications, to the letter. Basically you have two sets of obnoxious kindergartners (PBOT & ODOT) being total assholes, serving no public good, just because they can be. They have so little power that they feel they must exercise it to whatever maximum extent they can, without regard to consequences or to the public good.

        Recommended Thumb up 12

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          Sigma June 19, 2019 at 2:57 pm

          So, PBOT/city council not accepting 82nd et al in as-is condition makes them“obnoxious kindergarteners?”

          Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Avatar
      9watts June 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      ODOT & its spokespeople always seem to find a way to step in the cow pie, to generate negative PR for those of us who do not use horseless carriages.

      Recommended Thumb up 21

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      Dan June 19, 2019 at 9:10 am

      I am sick of bikers running red lights and not stopping at stop signs almost running over pedestrians. Ya’ll have been coddled too long.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

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        9watts June 19, 2019 at 9:41 am

        ?

        So in your mind shaving a foot of the bike lane width is just the right sort of collective punishment for this flagrant disregard you observe?

        Recommended Thumb up 6

        • Avatar
          Dan June 19, 2019 at 10:07 am

          Yes. This biker entitlement has gone on for too long

          Recommended Thumb up 1

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            idlebytes June 19, 2019 at 10:27 am

            Do you seriously not know that drivers and cyclists break traffic laws at the same rates? Or that cyclists rarely seriously injure or kill people while drivers injure thousands and kill hundreds daily in this country? Where is your outrage at driver entitlement? Any time we have a mass shooting in this country it’s covered on the news for days and people call for gun reform yet on that same day more people will have been killed by drivers and no one is calling for driving reform.

            I really don’t get your outrage at cyclists while you seemingly have little to no outrage at drivers who’s disregard for the law harms people on average every 10 seconds in the US.

            Recommended Thumb up 19

            • Avatar
              Dan June 19, 2019 at 3:07 pm

              More whataboutery. I have seen motorists get tickets, but see bikers break laws without consequence. It is about time bikers are forced to play on a level playing field. Enough of their bullying. Also, nice job using kids dead in school shootings to feed your sense off entitlement.

              Recommended Thumb up 3

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                John Lascurettes June 19, 2019 at 3:17 pm

                I have seen motorists get pulled over. I have seen cyclists get pulled over (I have been pulled over). Most of both never do get pulled over. One vehicle operator kills tens of thousands of victims every year. The other a handful in several years. More distortions and misplaced histrionics from you, Dan.

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                John Lascurettes June 19, 2019 at 4:07 pm

                * one vehicle operator type

                Recommended Thumb up 1

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                El Biciclero June 19, 2019 at 4:41 pm

                “It is about time bikers are forced to play on a level playing field”

                This is an interesting statement. What kind of “level” are you imagining? From my perspective as a driver, bicyclist, and pedestrian, the playing field (maybe that needs definition) is far, far tilted in favor of motor vehicle operators. Claiming “whataboutism” is like the nuclear superpower saying, “yeah, but what about your knives? Huh? What about that?”

                Recommended Thumb up 8

              • Avatar
                Dan A June 19, 2019 at 7:07 pm

                Ooh, hey, I’d love to have a bike highway where I could ride 90% of the way to work in one-way bike-only traffic in my own dedicated lane! Level playing field here I come!

                Recommended Thumb up 11

              • Avatar
                Fred June 20, 2019 at 8:00 am

                I’ve been pulled over too, on my bike, and been issued written warnings. Police can – and do – enforce laws on bikes. You just notice the bikes and not the cars b/c there are so many fewer bikes. But a lot more motorists are breaking laws than bikes are, yet you have nothing to say about them.

                Recommended Thumb up 3

              • Avatar
                idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 8:16 am

                Wow. Nice just dismissing it as whataboutism. I disagree though. I think it’s sickening how we just accept 40,000 people dying every year in this country as the price we pay for the convenience of driving. Especially when there are so many things we could do to actually reduce that number while still allowing people to drive. You want a level playing field yet you don’t recognize that the danger caused by bad drivers is so much more then bad cyclists.

                Enforcement already is relatively level. The police focus on the most dangerous road users. Why would they spend their time pulling over a cyclist that rolled through a stop sign when there are plenty of speeders, red light runners, distracted drivers, and drunks driving around in vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds?

                Out of curiosity if they change the stop-sign law for cyclists today will your opinion suddenly change about cyclists? Your biggest complaint by far seems to be those that roll through stop signs. If it’s no longer a crime to do so are they suddenly good and safe cyclists?

                Recommended Thumb up 4

              • Avatar
                JP June 20, 2019 at 8:21 am

                I’d love to play on a level playing field. Let’s start with dedicated bike-only freeways for bikes only similar to what drivers enjoy currently on my (non-driving) dime.

                Recommended Thumb up 4

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 9:08 am

                If you at ODOT’s budget, you’ll find that if you don’t drive, you’re not paying for freeways.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Avatar
                Cait M June 22, 2019 at 3:25 pm

                Because you’ve personally seen some motorists get tickets, and have not personally witnessed bicyclists get tickets…you think it’s logical to assume bicyclists don’t get tickets? I’m a bicyclist. I’ve gotten a warning and a ticket. I went to the Safety Education class option that they offer, which for the record was really interesting and appreciated. Room had ~200 people in it. Took a poll of who was there for a motorist ticket vs bicyclist. About a third of the hands raised were bike tickets. Given that our current bike mode split is 7-8%, seems pretty drastic that 30% of the people in the room were ticketed on bikes. WHY were there so many? It’s not because bicyclists break more laws. It’s because they’re easier to pull over. They’re slower and they’re safer (no dashboard to hide a concealed weapon) for law enforcement. In short, STFU Dan with your lack of personal observation of a bicyclist getting a ticket.

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      • Avatar
        9watts June 19, 2019 at 9:45 am

        Austin
        Others have already pointed this piece out…“[we are removing safety from vulnerable road users so that we] make the road safer for people who choose to drive.”…let’s keep pointing it out. It’s incredible.Recommended 1

        And on top of that, the putative safety gains for those who ‘choose to drive’ are, as I think many here agree, imaginary, while the narrowing of the travel lane for *vulnerable* road users is far easier to recognize as reducing safety.

        Recommended Thumb up 10

      • Avatar
        John Lascurettes June 19, 2019 at 12:45 pm

        Show me proof Dan. I have video from every day, at nearly every single intersection, of drivers running red lights and stop signs and failing to yield to pedestrians or cyclists. You all have acted entitled for too long. See how that works? It’s dumb.

        Recommended Thumb up 14

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        Dan A June 19, 2019 at 1:26 pm

        I am sick of drivers running red lights and not stopping at crosswalks and actually running over pedestrians. Ya’ll have been coddled too long.

        Recommended Thumb up 13

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        Skid June 20, 2019 at 3:35 pm

        Funny, I am sick of motorists doing the same. Difference is no motorist dies when a cyclist does this.

        I drive too, and I see motorists making moving violations while I am doing so, I am not sure why you don’t see this. Maybe your head is buried in your phone.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Avatar
    John Lascurettes June 18, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Ugh. How last century.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

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    B. Carfree June 18, 2019 at 11:53 am

    PBoT should grow a pair and simply tell ODOnT that they are going to reduce the number of travel lanes instead of making the bike lane too narrow to function. Since induced demand has been shown to work in both directions (adding lanes creates congestion, removing lanes reduces it), this can be touted as a congestion relief project.

    Always throwing bikes under the bus, even when the bus is stuck in traffic, is a terrible way to do transportation.

    Recommended Thumb up 25

    • Avatar
      Dan June 19, 2019 at 10:06 am

      Or bikers could grow a conscience and follow traffic rules like we pedestrians do. One of ya’ll almost ran over my grandkid this morning even though you clearly saw him coming and did not bother to look back. The anger is real, and will boil over one day. Those of us who abide by the laws will not stay quiet for long.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 19, 2019 at 11:49 am

        I highly doubt it was anyone here. But even if it was, I am not (at all) responsible for the actions of someone else based on my being part of some arbitrary grouping, like, for example, people who rode a bike this morning.

        Recommended Thumb up 10

      • Avatar
        KTaylor June 19, 2019 at 11:55 am

        I was hit by an SUV that ran a red as I crossed the street. The driver explained when she got out of the car that she had been trying to get her drink out of the cupholder (it was stuck) and wasn’t looking at the road. I don’t know many people who spend a lot of time on foot or bike in Portland who don’t have stories like this. Do we get to be mad too? Or just not officially?

        Recommended Thumb up 18

        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 19, 2019 at 12:03 pm

          We all have stories like this, and we do have a right to be angry — it’s infuriating when a cup gets stuck in the cupholder.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

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            KTaylor June 19, 2019 at 12:15 pm

            @Hello Kitty – Ha! 🙂

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      • Avatar
        KTaylor June 19, 2019 at 12:22 pm

        This kind of language bothers me: “The anger is real, and will boil over one day. Those of us who abide by the laws will not stay quiet for long.” It’s almost biblical sounding. What is so special about your anger? Why does it only apply to offenders on bikes and not the many, many more (and much more dangerous offenders) in cars? Sincerely, another law-abider who doesn’t have a car.

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        • Avatar
          Dan Reilly June 19, 2019 at 6:22 pm

          Applies to everyone who breaks the law on the road, but presently see a lot more entitled bikers who feel they are above the law. I bet you that bikers who honor stop signs are the distinct minority

          Recommended Thumb up 0

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            idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 8:02 am

            You see more cyclists breaking laws because you want to. It’s pretty obvious you’re a victim of confirmation bias. You should try taking a step back and look at the other people on the road. All modes break the laws at about the same rates. And honoring stop signs? They’re not war heroes it’s a traffic control device put in place because cars kill people in intersections every day in this country. Most traffic control devices wouldn’t exist or would be extremely different if cars weren’t on the road. Your anger seems to be misdirected.

            Cyclists kill at most 30 people a decade in this state and that’s if you fault all cyclists who die for their own deaths. Drivers kill that many every month in Oregon. Let alone all the people that are seriously injured. That’s happening every day in Oregon. There aren’t daily stories about cyclists seriously injuring others or themselves.

            Recommended Thumb up 11

        • Avatar
          Chris I June 20, 2019 at 3:12 pm

          That’s the kind of language you hear from aging men who are no longer respected as a physical threat. It’s just bluster.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Avatar
        Fred June 20, 2019 at 8:03 am

        Or motorists could grow a conscience and follow traffic rules like we cyclists do. One of ya’ll almost ran me over this morning when she was rolling up to a stop sign and looking at her cellphone. The anger is real, and will boil over one day. Those of us who abide by the laws will not stay quiet for long.

        Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Avatar
        Fred June 20, 2019 at 8:07 am

        ODOT’s Don Hamilton: “Making the roadway safe for those who choose to drive.” That pretty much sums up ODOT’s mission.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Avatar
    dirk mcgee June 18, 2019 at 11:59 am

    The interesting thing is that the lane approaching and leaving the structure over I-5 will still have 10′ vehicle lanes and 6-7′ bike lanes… This new striping won’t do much for drivers for the one block section over I-5 …

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  • Avatar
    JJJ June 18, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Do the elected officials agree that this is a good use of tax dollars?

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    Edward June 18, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    people will die.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty June 18, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      Eventually, yes.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

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    David June 18, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    At last month’s joint PAC/BAC meeting this overpass came up as a counter point to ODOT proposed lane widths on Division where some restriping is set to happen around the section at I-205. In that area ODOT will also be striping narrower bike lanes and providing more space to cars even though it will not match the surrounding corridor. The same type of thing is also set to happen at Dvision-Powell.

    Allowing ODOT to have authority on these small stretches of road makes no sense when it creates a more dangerous environment for vulnerable road users and does not match the surrounding corridor. There needs to be a better mechanism for PBOT to override ODOT in these situations.

    Recommended Thumb up 35

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    encephalopath June 18, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    The blather from ODOT about conformity to standards notwithstanding, why are they doing this? What purpose does this serve? In what way is the current configuration not functioning in a way that they would like? What problem does narrowing the bike lane solve?

    Here’s a problem I would like them to solve. At evening rush hour when traffic backs up on the freeway onramp, it also backs up the left turn lane onto the onramp. Motorists traveling east on Rosa Park get impatient and go around the turn lane backup by driving in the bike lane to go around left turning cars.

    Maybe ODOT can do something about this actual and real problem.

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    • Avatar
      Opus the Poet June 20, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Perhaps steel and concrete bollards would keep wheeled WMDs out of places where they are not allowed? Wouldn’t hurt, unless you drove into one trying to get from the road into the bike lane to bypass congestion caused by too many cars.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

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    Jocelyn Gaudi Quarrell June 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Why? What purpose is there in making this change other than to spend more money in order to match the out of date Highway Design Manual (last updated in 2012) in a location where wider lanes will make zero difference for vehicle traffic at any time of day? Seems like ODOT is throwing a fit and simply trying to make a point on what they “control.” Senseless…

    Recommended Thumb up 43

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    kate June 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    i was biking this stretch last night (after the wonderful sunset/moonrise ride) and thought “huh, are they tightening the bike lanes here?” ugh.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

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    maccoinnich June 18, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    ODOT: The I5 Rose Quarter Project is about reconnecting community and place making.

    Also ODOT: We need to make Rosa Parks Way over and around I5 more dangerous.

    Recommended Thumb up 51

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    Aaron Brown June 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    imagine ODOT looking at that extra foot or two in each direction, already painted by PBOT, and part of a miles long new investment in a seperated bike lane, and thinking “yeah, y’all are gonna have to repave it, it doesn’t meet our standards, sorry, nothing we can do about it, them’s the rules.”

    Recommended Thumb up 18

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    Steve B June 18, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    ODOT WTF !?

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    Tom June 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    The change serves no purpose. It’s purely ODOT being meanspirited.

    Recommended Thumb up 26

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    SafeStreetsNow June 18, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Someone with the resources needs to launch a coordinated campaign directed at the governor to get these folks out of leadership at ODOT. It’s unbelievable how little they care about road safety. Our most dangerous roads in Portland for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are ODOT-controlled. This needs to end!

    Recommended Thumb up 10

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    Dawn June 18, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    One step forward, two steps back.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

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    Glenn II June 18, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Like are they _trying_ to be the bad guy in the story? On either side of the freeway it’s Bedford Falls but on the bridge it’s Pottersville, type of thing?

    Recommended Thumb up 7

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      Angelo June 22, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      Unfortunately, I didn’t think it’s unusual for different jurisdictions to use contest like these two show who has more importance.

      In Philadelphia, the Walnut St bridge goes over I-76. East and west of the bridge, Walnut is a city street with a speed limit of 25 mph. With the entrances/exits to I-76, I was told the federal funding required a speed limit of 40mph on the bridge itself, even it it’s less than a half mile.

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    miss_me_with_that June 18, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    “There was a miscommunication.” So why is the project manager not accountable? What a waste of public dollars. Well at least there will still be a two foot buffer. Sheesh.

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    q June 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Think of this the next time ODOT says they don’t have money to fix some actual problem.

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    onegearsneer June 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    ODOT narrowing a bike lane is nothing compared to their jurisdiction over the insanely dangerous NE Sandy/Killingsworth intersection to 205 bike path that they could care less about. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve almost been run over in the crosswalk (and/or screamed at that bikes don’t below in the crosswalk), including a hit/run into my front wheel last week, during my commutes through that busy connector yet they’re hands off with any improvement for bike or pedestrian safety. So par for the course…

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      matchupancakes June 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      onegearsneer
      ODOT narrowing a bike lane is nothing compared to their jurisdiction over the insanely dangerous NE Sandy/Killingsworth intersection to 205 bike path that they could care less about. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve almost been run over in the crosswalk (and/or screamed at that bikes don’t below in the crosswalk), including a hit/run into my front wheel last week, during my commutes through that busy connector yet they’re hands off with any improvement for bike or pedestrian safety. So par for the course…Recommended 2

      Your experience is not uncommon. I was hit using the crosswalk there in 2006. It is amazing that ODOT refuses to protect vulnerable users of the road if it challenges vehicle throughput.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

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    Charley June 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    ODOT is an embarrassment. What a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. Is there no more pressing concern than spending this time and money to neuter this relatively generous bike lane?

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    q June 18, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    ODOT gets all technical on this one–forcing money to be wasted to actually make something less safe so that it conforms to a manual.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been trying for years to get ODOT to fix a dangerous crossing I use regularly on an ODOT Highway. Recently, I started asking ODOT whether the crossing is even legal (it’s the only way on and off the traffic island’s sidewalk from that direction, and it has new curb cuts, but it’s mid-block and has no striping or signage). Finally, ODOT acknowledged that it doesn’t even know whether it’s legal or not. Actually, it’s obviously illegal, but ODOT doesn’t seem willing to admit that it created a crosswalk that leads to an island, but you can’t continue across to the other curb legally because there’s no marked or unmarked crosswalk.

    Maybe ODOT would have time and money to fix things like that, or a thousand more important safety upgrades, if it weren’t wasting resources narrowing new bike lanes.

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    Andrew Kreps June 18, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    I’d love to lead a group ride of ODOT officials on a tour of my favourite portland bike lanes on biketown bikes. Maybe then they’d see the light.

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      Dan A June 19, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      Do ODOT officials remember how to ride a bike, or was it forgotten shortly after childhood?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 18, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    I asked ODOT’s Don Hamilton for a more specific justification for the re-striping. Here’s what he said:

    “This is not some bureaucratic exercise done to annoy bicyclists [I never said it was]. We follow ODOT standards set for freeways that will make the road safer for people who choose to drive. And let’s remember that the result is an improvement from a 5-foot bike lane less than a year ago to a 5-foot bike lane with a 2-foot buffer.”

    Recommended Thumb up 3

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      maccoinnich June 18, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      This statement doesn’t explain how the road will be any safer people who choose to drive after making the travel lanes wider.

      Recommended Thumb up 41

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      John Lascurettes June 18, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      “make the road safer for people who choose to drive” — screw every other vulnerable user using the route.

      Recommended Thumb up 18

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      Gary B June 18, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks Don. Next time I choose to drive on Rosa Parks, I’ll be sure to notice how safe I feel on that 200 feet of road with a bit of surplus space.

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      encephalopath June 18, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Also, claims this isn’t a bureaucratic exercise, then offers nothing but bureaucratic twaddle to explain the decision.

      So in other word, he’s got nothing to justify this change.

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        El Biciclero June 18, 2019 at 4:08 pm

        I’m becoming more and more convinced that once one reaches a certain level of Executivity or wealthiness, reality inverts. Rather than using words to describe reality, the belief arises that one’s words define reality. As far as I know, it can’t be undone. We are seemingly doomed to be “governed” by people who operate this way, but don’t know or believe they are operating this way. Have you read “Catch-22”?

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          bikeninja June 19, 2019 at 9:46 am

          Odot seems to be copying the attitudes of the “W” administration. A quote from the infamous Karl Rove, ““We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

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          miss_me_with_that June 21, 2019 at 7:39 am

          This reminds me of the concept of “Elite Projection.” see https://humantransit.org/2017/07/the-dangers-of-elite-projection.html. “Elite projection is the belief, among relatively fortunate and influential people, that what those people find convenient or attractive is good for the society as a whole.”

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      q June 18, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      …but let’s not admit that the result is a bike lane that’s narrower than it was last week.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

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        Dan June 21, 2019 at 2:30 pm

        Yeah, most bikers break the law anyways and ride wherever whenever. Not sure if this changes anything.

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          Dan A June 21, 2019 at 9:25 pm

          Are you here to contribute something, or are you just going to keep trolling with the same stuff?

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      9watts June 18, 2019 at 4:22 pm

      “This is not some bureaucratic exercise done to annoy bicyclists

      I wonder how anyone could come to that conclusion?

      “This is not some bureaucratic exercise done to annoy automobilists

      Funny. That doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. I am also going to venture that the actions that might be so described wouldn’t occur to anyone at ODOT either.

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      Ryan June 18, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      Um… by widening the lanes, you’ll likely make drivers more comfortable driving faster, which then makes it *less safe* for all road users, including those “who choose to drive”

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    encephalopath June 18, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    “…that will make the road safer for people who choose to drive.”

    As a statement of intent by ODOT, that’s pretty damned revealing.

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    Another Engineer June 18, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Standards differences like the lane width difference between the ODOT and PBOT standards are what make it easy for ambitious projects to run into barriers. It’s insanely frustrating to watch these differences drive a wedge between ODOT and PBOT because the result is a failure for the taxpayers of Oregon. Salem isn’t progressive enough to keep up with the pace of change please keep pressure on ODOT to explain why they cannot make a lane width exception to reduce to 10 or 11 foot lanes (when trucks are present) per NACTO guidance inside of UGBs. Without a standards change there won’t be progress, this is the time to pick this battle before larger regional projects begin like Division BRT ect.

    https://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/street-design-elements/lane-width/

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 18, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    UPDATE: PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s Chief of Staff Marshall Runkel told me he’s aware of the situation (it came up at the recent PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting). “It’s a tough situation,” he shared via email today, “working on a systemic fix.”

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    Todd Boulanger June 18, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    It would help to also know when the current and future lanes width are for this section’s other lanes…to see how “deficient” or “out of compliance” the MV lanes were. Typically DoTs set lane width “minimums” so if the MV lanes were below ODoTs minimums for urban arterials then they may have a point (as per their lawyers). It would also be helpful if ODoT (or PBoT) had any data as to speed, volumes and crashes to compare how much worse (or better) this interim striping was compared to the past etc.

    I agree with the earlier comment that the real solution may have been a road diet…as fewer lanes would allow ODoT to have much more “comfy” lane width. Perhaps even excessive!

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    • Avatar
      Jason McHuff June 19, 2019 at 3:37 pm

      They already did a road diet here. Back when, it was 2 motor vehicle lanes in each direction plus center turn lane. One of the eastbound lanes is now gone and replaced by the bike lanes.

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    Al June 18, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    ODOT values statement:

    Integrity: We are accountable and transparent with public funds and hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards.

    Safety: We share ownership and responsibility for ensuring safety in all that we do.

    Equity: We embrace diversity and foster a culture of inclusion.

    Excellence: We use our skills and expertise to continuously strive to be more efficient, effective and innovation.

    Unity: We work together as One ODOT to provide better solutions and ensure alignment in our work.

    The agency failed to delivery on every single value. I should point out that they are failing in excellence just by the statement alone. You tripped right out of the gate on that one ODOT.

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  • Avatar
    Scott Mizée June 18, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    This is AB-SO-LUTE-LY ridiculous!
    I am shocked. I shouldn’t be, but I am. With the information presented here there is NO COMMON SENSE at all in this situation.

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    Eric Leifsdad June 18, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    I think we’ve all seen some roads where a contractor’s truck spilled a bucket of paint and it stayed like that until the paint wore off. I hear it also happens with plungers sometimes.

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    Jonathan Hinkle June 19, 2019 at 6:48 am

    “And let’s remember that the result is an improvement from a 5-foot bike lane less than a year ago to a 5-foot bike lane with a 2-foot buffer.”

    How beyond insulting. If your boss gives you a $5,000 raise and then within the year drops your pay by $3,000, absolutely no one ever is going to be soothed by choosing to re-frame that as “a $2000 raise”.

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    Austin June 19, 2019 at 6:58 am

    Others have already pointed this piece out…

    “[we are removing safety from vulnerable road users so that we] make the road safer for people who choose to drive.”

    …let’s keep pointing it out. It’s incredible.

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    paikiala June 19, 2019 at 8:53 am

    David
    Allowing ODOT to have authority on these small stretches of road makes no sense when it creates a more dangerous environment for vulnerable road users and does not match the surrounding corridor. There needs to be a better mechanism for PBOT to override ODOT in these situations.

    You seem confused. ODOT has control of freeway overpasses and freeway interchanges by state law. Are you suggesting the legislature force local jurisdictions to take over the operation and maintenance of such features, along with the liabilities?

    Should a collision occur on the re-striped ODOT facilities, ODOT will bear the majority of the liability for choosing their minimum standards.

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      MTW June 19, 2019 at 10:07 am

      Respectfully, for most of us, there’s no real difference between PBOTs liability and ODOTs. I’m a resident of both the city of Portland and state of Oregon so any damages that need to be settled comes out of our collective pockets either way.

      I’m sure the differences between the two entities are meaningful for people who work within these bureaucracies, but most of us don’t and shouldn’t really care. I just want to get around town safely.

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      Todd Boulanger June 19, 2019 at 12:31 pm

      With responsibility comes maintenance too….so perhaps CoP (PBoT) would have to [want to] take the maintenance task on for this to have any chance with ODoT…assuming ODoT wishes to transfer this authority (and without more state $). It would make sense holistically…instead of ODoT (Region 1) having to dispatch crews from their remoter base yard to fix all of these short sections of roadways the cross state highways in CoP limits etc.

      [Politically sell it to the rural and suburban voters as helping shift more O&M resources to their areas of region 1 and away from the “big bad Portland”.]

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      Todd Boulanger June 19, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      2020 State Legislature Proposal: The other piece of this jurisdictional “puzzle” is how Oregon distributes design authority differently than other states say like Washington [from what I had been told by city PW engineers back when I worked at the CoV.]. More design authority is devolved to local large cities for arterials, like striping layouts…so that PBoT would not have ODoT countermanding designs so long as the CoP/ BPoT were following defensible [urban] best practices from the City standard details.

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      Dan A June 19, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      Is this part your addition? “Should a collision occur on the re-striped ODOT facilities, ODOT will bear the majority of the liability for choosing their minimum standards.”

      I’m curious whether a road authority has ever been held liable for a crash that occurred on a facility that met the minimum standards. Seems dubious.

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    • Avatar
      q June 19, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Why the gratuitous, snarky “You seem confused” comment?

      David’s comment made perfect sense. There’s no indication he’s confused about what ODOT controls. In fact, his saying “There needs to be a better mechanism for PBOT to override ODOT in these situations” prove that he DOES understand that ODOT has the authority. Otherwise, PBOT would have no need to override ODOT.

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    • Avatar
      q June 19, 2019 at 10:14 pm

      “Should a collision occur on the re-striped ODOT facilities, ODOT will bear the majority of the liability for choosing their minimum standards.”

      That’s an incredibly unimportant observation.

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    • Avatar
      q June 19, 2019 at 10:27 pm

      Dan
      Or bikers could grow a conscience and follow traffic rules like we pedestrians do. One of ya’ll almost ran over my grandkid this morning even though you clearly saw him coming and did not bother to look back. The anger is real, and will boil over one day. Those of us who abide by the laws will not stay quiet for long.Recommended 3

      So bikers break traffic rules and pedestrians follow them. Does that mean when someone parks their bike and starts walking, do they suddenly become law abiding? Or when a pedestrian walks to his or her parked bike and gets on it, does that person go from law abiding to law breaking?

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  • Avatar
    soren June 19, 2019 at 10:19 am

    I see that mostly well-off and white experienced cyclists are very upset about a small stretch of 7 foot buffered bike lane. Meanwhile the 100s Neighborhood Greenway was funded in 2012 and has yet to be built.

    Priorities!

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    • Avatar
      jeff June 19, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      I can be concerned with more than one thing at once, is that not ok?

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        soren June 23, 2019 at 10:03 am

        Perhaps you failed to notice my closing exclamation:

        Priorities!

        The attention of this blog and of mostly white and wealthy “advocates” is laser focused on the needs of mostly white and wealthy-people who live in the inner SE, NE, and SW. I’m sure some of you do care about other things in “theoretical manner” but the attention, energy, and emotion is for the most part absent. There is a word for this and its an ugly word.

        A recent example of this institutionalized neglect was the extensive coverage and comments focused on the 60s Neighborhood Greenway while the recently announced build-out of the 130s Neighborhood Greenway received zero coverage or commentary.

        * The 130s Greenway was funded 7 years ago and had been planned for at least 11 years.

        * The 130s Greenway will build multiple enhanced pedestrian crossings near to places where people have died attempting to cross E Portland’s deadly arterials.

        * The 130s Greenway will bring badly needed sidewalks and safety treatments to multiple David Douglas district schools.

        Why is no one talking about this?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 23, 2019 at 11:48 am

          Is no one talking about this, or do you mean no one talking about this in the context of a completely unrelated issue?

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        • Avatar
          jeff June 24, 2019 at 9:59 am

          Right, I care about that too more so than this, and even more than that a whole host of other issues in this crazy world. But, that’s not what this thread is about. Your comment is merely virtue signaling.

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    • Avatar
      John Lascurettes June 19, 2019 at 12:49 pm

      Then you should be upset by this action too. It’s a complete waste of time and resources to re-do this — money and time that could be spent elsewhere. Yet, here’s ODOT burning through that money for a project that doesn’t need doing because they’re in a turf war with PBOT.

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    • Avatar
      Christopher of Portland June 19, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Why bother with the 100s greenway when we could be helping the homeless, preventing heart disease, or stopping all war and genocide?

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      Toby Keith June 19, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Soren: Agree 100%. Never any outrage from anyone here how the east side constantly gets short-changed.

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        John Lascurettes June 19, 2019 at 3:19 pm

        Never ever. Never ever ever never ever.

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          Toby Keith June 19, 2019 at 5:36 pm

          Is Soren wrong?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 19, 2019 at 8:59 pm

            He’s pretty whatabouty.

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            John Lascurettes June 19, 2019 at 9:00 pm

            No, you’re wrong. Soren has no point — or at least misdirected indignation.

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              Toby Keith June 19, 2019 at 10:47 pm

              Wrong in saying the city and probably many on this very forum have written off east PDX as beyond saving? Ok dude, whatever you say but I have lived out here for a very long time. I’ve heard all the promises and seen very little delivered other than ribbon cutting and photo ops.

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                idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 7:40 am

                What do you say about jeff’s comment? Are people unable to be concerned about more then one thing at a time? Also generally people comment about areas they live or frequent often perhaps there’s less being done east of 205 because there’s less outcry coming from those neighborhoods. I don’t see very many comments from people claiming to live in outer east Portland on these forums. The city has been pretty clear that it responds to complains so if a certain section of the city doesn’t participate it’s not too surprising that less gets done over there.

                Finally there’s a lot less that can be done East of 205 then west of it. Bring up a map and look at the non-arterial streets. There’s very few through streets that could be designated greenways. So everything has to go on arterials which is less desirable by almost everyone. That was certainly my problem when I lived out there. Not much else gets the heart pounding better then commuting on Halsey out to 238th during rush hour.

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                John Lascurettes June 20, 2019 at 9:36 am

                You changed your language from “not anyone” cares to “many” don’t care — nice save. It’s your absolutism that’s wrong. And you attack the commenters as if they’re in any more control of PBOT/ODOT than you are.

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    • Avatar
      q June 19, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      What I get from most of the comments isn’t that people are unhappy with the width of the bike lane, but with the waste of money that–as others have said–could have gone to something more worthwhile.

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    • Jim Labbe
      Jim Labbe June 20, 2019 at 8:08 am

      Your concern for the 100s greenways here, however well-intentioned, is very much misplaced and the tinge of self-righteousness in your post actually quite unhelpful. If we can make systemic change policies that make all our streets unsafe, those policy changes will affect places like East Portland where, in particular, advocates are trying to build more and better North/South bike and pedestrian connections across I-84 and I-205. These same screwed up policies will dictate narrow bike lanes at interchanges like NE 102nd, 122nd, and 181st … not to mention East/West connections with intersections such as NE Glisan, SE Division, SE Powell, and SE Foster.

      We should be fighting for systemic reform that make all our streets safer and smarter where ever we have a constituency to do so.

      In doing so, we should also guard against self-righteousness condemnations of anyone speaks out about making streets safer in their neighborhoods. That valid human concern for a safer community is often a basis for systemic changes to make all our streets and neighborhoods safer.

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      • Avatar
        soren June 24, 2019 at 7:22 pm

        Characterizing a critique about bias in transportation advocacy as “self-righteous” is both defensive and tone deaf.

        Secondly, is a 7 foot buffered bike lane less safe than a 9 foot buffered bike lane?

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  • Avatar
    Kittens June 19, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    ODOT doing their best to waste their overbloated budget.Great job guys!

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  • Avatar
    Carrie June 19, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Dan
    Or bikers could grow a conscience and follow traffic rules like we pedestrians do. One of ya’ll almost ran over my grandkid this morning even though you clearly saw him coming and did not bother to look back. The anger is real, and will boil over one day. Those of us who abide by the laws will not stay quiet for long.

    So Dan you really must truly understand how scary it is to be so close to a vehicle that is moving much faster than you and cause significant damage to a person, all while you are just doing as you’re supposed to. I am so very sorry that a person threatened the physical safety of your family, but I would hope that could help you advocate that hundreds of others should not be exposed to far greater physical danger daily. Wider bike lanes are also a HUGE buffer to those on foot.

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    • Avatar
      Dan June 19, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      “all while you are just doing as you’re supposed to.” But he was not doing as he was supposed to. I see, every day, every single day, bikers breaking the law and flipping people off when called out. I am tired of ya’ll feeling entitled just because cars are capable of more damage. The rage you see against bikers on the road is at least partly explained by the conduct of so many bikers.

      “but I would hope that could help you advocate that hundreds of others should not be exposed to far greater physical danger daily. Wider bike lanes are also a HUGE buffer to those on foot.” Happy to advocate, but lets first start at zero i.e. better behavior FROM and equal accountability FOR bikers.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 19, 2019 at 8:58 pm

        Who is this “y’all” you keep referring to? We all are not responsible for what other people do. If someone blows a stop sign, they alone bear responsibility, and their lawfulness or unlawfulness should have no bearing on whether I should have a safe place to ride when I choose to do so.

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        • Avatar
          Dan Reilly June 20, 2019 at 8:55 am

          On this board the collective universe of motorists is held responsible for the actions of a few, but you want nuance when same critique is directed at you. Nice.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 9:05 am

            Not by me, they’re not. I routinely ask commenters here to stop blaming arbitrary groups for the actions of individuals.

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              Dan June 20, 2019 at 12:04 pm

              Ok then, we can exist in peace. May there be more like you.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 12:38 pm

                I hope we can all exist in peace.

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            idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 9:50 am

            You did it again. You generalized about everyone that comments here just like you are generalizing about all cyclists.

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            9watts June 20, 2019 at 10:30 am

            Amanda Fritz used to do this too. Wanted to punish all on two wheels because, you know, she saw someone thoughtlessly biking on a downtown sidwalk.

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            q June 20, 2019 at 2:53 pm

            I’d guess it’s a tiny fraction of commenters here who have ever held “the collective universe of motorists…responsible for the actions of a few”.

            And as a driver, I’ve NEVER had anyone biking ever give any indication they were unhappy with me for something another driver did. As a cyclist, I HAVE had drivers unhappy with me (“You bikers…”) for something another bike rider did.

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              John Lascurettes June 20, 2019 at 3:45 pm

              So much this.

              While driving, I’ve never had another cyclist get pissed at me. I’ve had a couple who have surprised me, but never such that I’d describe as coming “out of nowhere” — and that includes the ones that blow stop signs. Never have I “almost killed them” because the cyclist knew exactly what they were doing with their mortal coils.

              When people talk about how indignant cyclists are and how entitled they are (we are literally entitled to the road, folks), perhaps those people that say that should take a look at their own driving behaviors.

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        Carrie June 20, 2019 at 9:17 am

        Dan
        “all while you are just doing as you’re supposed to.” But he was not doing as he was supposed to. I see, every day, every single day, bikers breaking the law and flipping people off when called out. I am tired of ya’ll feeling entitled just because cars are capable of more damage. The rage you see against bikers on the road is at least partly explained by the conduct of so many bikers.

        Sigh. Nearly every day when I ride through the Rose Quarter I need to say something to a person who is nearly hit by me (or another person a bike) because they step out to cross the street against the light. Yesterday it was an incredibly close call with a stroller, which was terrifying because it would have hurt the child AND me really horribly. That said, as another person who doesn’t own a car, I don’t think we should ban all people walking because at this location people regularly do incredibly dangerous things and don’t follow the rules (and don’t seem to care). I’d rather we just not all get hit by things that can and do kill us, which means that I’m going to advocate for better facilities for ALL road users, regardless of the behavior of a few.

        Does the fact that I stop for ALL peds who are crossing in marked or unmarked crosswalks and regularly cork auto traffic at all make up for the cyclists you see every day? Do you ever see cyclists like myself? Or do you not look for them? I just don’t understand the ire and the unwillingness to prevent injury and death and how it is replaced with hate and ‘othering’.

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        John Lascurettes June 20, 2019 at 9:45 am

        I’d suggest you take a deep breath and read this. https://medium.com/cycling-in-the-city/why-bikes-make-smart-people-say-dumb-things-9316abbd5735

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  • Avatar
    MARK SMITH June 19, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Dan
    I am sick of bikers running red lights and not stopping at stop signs almost running over pedestrians. Ya’ll have been coddled too long.Recommended 1

    I am sick of car drivers killing and maiming children, women and men. You have been coddled too long!

    (I wish)

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    • Avatar
      Dan June 19, 2019 at 6:20 pm

      I am sick of literally anyone breaking the law on the road. I am a 75-year old and don’t own a car, but I see that you feel entitled to break the law just because cars do.

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        Dan A June 19, 2019 at 7:03 pm

        That’s not why.

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    MARK SMITH June 19, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Christopher of Portland
    Why bother with the 100s greenway when we could be helping the homeless, preventing heart disease, or stopping all war and genocide?Recommended 6

    What’s the homeless budget now?

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  • Jim Labbe
    Jim Labbe June 20, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Thanks for covering this Jonathan

    What’s the best way to talk action on this? Is it a matter of pressuring ODOT to change its standards?

    A rationale that says more space for bikes makes makes things less safe for cars is truly absurd. My experience as a driver and a cyclists is the opposite is true. Isn’t there research to shows that bike and pedestrian infrastructure actually makes roads safer for drivers as well as cyclists and pedestrians?

    It seems ridiculous to have to make the argument, as if pedestrians and cyclists are traffic calming features, but if the rationale basis of ODOT’s screwed up standards is a priority on driver safety, is it possible to make the case for wider bike lanes on those grounds?

    I’d love to know who at ODOT we direct comments too.

    Jim

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    • Avatar
      9watts June 20, 2019 at 10:33 am

      “Isn’t there research to shows that bike and pedestrian infrastructure actually makes roads safer for drivers as well as cyclists and pedestrians?”

      No. Have you forgotten that the rates of injury and death on Holland’s roads are so much higher than they are here in the US?

      /s

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      • Jim Labbe
        Jim Labbe June 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

        “Have you forgotten that the rates of injury and death on Holland’s roads are so much higher than they are here in the US?”

        Actually I think you have it the exact opposite:

        Road Deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Netherlands: 3.8
        Road Deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, United Staes: 12.4

        Road Deaths per 100,000 motor vehicles, Netherlands: 6
        Road Deaths per 100,000 motor vehicles, United States: 14.2

        Road Deaths per 1 billion road km, Netherlands: 4.7
        Road Deaths per 1 billion road km, United States: 7.3

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

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        • Avatar
          9watts June 22, 2019 at 8:26 am

          My comment was sarcastic. I tried to indicate that. Of course roads are safer for all modes in The Netherlands.

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    • Avatar
      9watts June 20, 2019 at 10:44 am

      Dan
      I see that you feel entitled to break the law just because cars do.Recommended 0

      Exhibit A:
      stick – gun;
      knife – light saber;
      bike – car;

      Exhibit B:
      most if not all of the rules of the road, the traffic control devices, the fines and punishments, were developed, deemed necessary, and are organized around the motor vehicle and the frailty of—and consequent risk to life and limb represented by—those who pilot them. Those rules, generally (there are some exceptions), are applied to all wheeled participants on our streets, but the logic, relevance, utility, justice of the complete modal blindness youseem to be advocating here is questionable.
      The fact that bicycle riders present a vanishingly small risk to others is highly pertinent. We don’t regulate sticks and knives the way we do guns; we don’t require licensing and insurance for walking or skateboarding as we do for motor vehicles and airplanes. Have you stopped to ask yourself why we make those distinctions?

      Getting your panties in a twist over people you have seen biking with disdain for certain rules you find all-important may say more about you than about the scourge you claim to be witnessing.

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      • Avatar
        encephalopath June 20, 2019 at 11:47 am

        Vanishingly small as in, in this country you are more likely to be struck and killed by lightning than to be struck and killed by a person riding a bicycle.

        People are bad at evaluating risk: they are more afraid of the low probability novelty threat than the high probability common threat that they have grown accustomed to living with.

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  • Avatar
    MTW June 20, 2019 at 11:30 am

    “Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 9:08 am
    If you [look] at ODOT’s budget, you’ll find that if you don’t drive, you’re not paying for freeways.”

    I’m not sure that’s true. I pulled ODOTs budget and it looks like 23% of the revenues come from the Federal Government (from a cursory review the remaining balance coming from state sources do appear legit and more or less tied to users; mostly gas taxes and motor vehicle registration fees.)

    But that 23% coming from the federal government is dirty. The gas tax hasn’t increased since 1993 (!) and as a result we’ve had a deficit in the Highway Trust Fund for years. That deficit gap is bridged with transfers from the general fund, suggesting all of us are (driver or not) are paying for Oregon freeways.

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    • Avatar
      jeff June 20, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Not to mention federal subsidies on gas to the tune of ~$15 billion a year.

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      idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 11:43 am

      It’s even worse then that. It’s an old study but this article points out that user fees per mile are 2.3 cents but road cost per mile are 6.5 cents. For ODOT specifically commuter user fees cover about 40-50% of their budget (for the last 10 years or so gasoline taxes have only covered about half of the federal funds). I say commuter because HK likes to include commercial fees which imo isn’t really fair since bicycles mostly aren’t being used commercially. So if you drive to work or bike to work you’ll contribute to at least 50% of ODOTs budget directly or passed on to you by businesses.

      Portland is a little better at charging drivers more but it’s hard to assess cause their line items are vague like fees which include permits for non car activities.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 12:45 pm

        I don’t understand this distinction you keep making; of course commercial users pay for the roads. Who would think otherwise? You only pay through a business to the extent the business uses the road. If you count that as an indirect payment, you also need to count that as indirect use.

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          idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 1:05 pm

          What difference does it make if it’s an indirect use? I’m still paying into that source indirectly. The original claim was that people that don’t drive aren’t paying for the freeways. That’s false. Also based on the 1995 study user fees are about 1/3 of user road costs so that extra money has to come from other source then user fees.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 1:12 pm

            The original claim also included the understanding that people who don’t drive aren’t using the freeways.

            But yes, of course people who don’t drive but still use the freeways to transport their goods pay for that use indirectly through the price of those goods. Also, people who use Uber are indirectly paying gas tax even though they don’t drive. How could it be otherwise?

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              idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm

              Again user fees are 1/3 of user costs from the 1995 study. So people using the freeways directly and benefiting from them indirectly are not paying for the full cost of that freeway use. That’s the point. Making the claim that bicycles don’t have freeways because they don’t pay for those freeways doesn’t match up with the above. Drivers are only paying for 1/3 of their use so that means 2/3rds of it is coming from people when they’re not driving including that cyclist.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm

                If your point is that people who ride bikes are paying to use the highways to move their goods about, then sure, they are. As they should be. I never intended to dispute that.

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    • Avatar
      encephalopath June 20, 2019 at 11:43 am

      And as a retail consumer, everything you buy has the cost of fuel tax factored into it.

      Even if you don’t drive at all, you’re still indirectly paying gas tax.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 12:40 pm

        Only to the extent that fuel was used to bring that good to you. You use the streets even if you don’t leave home.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      Where does that federal money come from? It’s not from your income tax (with a one time exception of a chunk of money that was transferred into the highway trust fund, but hasn’t actually been spent yet, at least as of last time I looked).

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        idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 1:06 pm

        I’ve broken this down for you before but perhaps you didn’t see it here it is again the numbers from the federal government:
        Year Gas tax Spending Percent
        2007 21.4 B 34.3 B 62.51%
        2008 21.3 B 37.0 B 57.73%
        2009 20.7 B 37.5 B 55.30%
        2010 20.9 B 30.8 B 68.03%
        2011 21.0 B 37.3 B 56.48%
        2012 21.5 B 40.0 B 53.83%
        2013 19.7 B 41.7 B 47.42%
        2014 21.0 B 43.7 B 48.15%
        2015 21.4 B 42.9 B 49.84%
        2016 22.0 B 44.7 B 49.24%
        https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2007/fe10.cfm

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 1:17 pm

          I’m sure you’ll tell me if it’s otherwise, but that table shows the federal money spent on roads comes from gas taxes and user fees. It is not paid for by general taxes.

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            idlebytes June 20, 2019 at 1:30 pm

            That table contrasts what is being spent by that agency with what the agency is collecting in a user fee that is paid by a driving commuter but not paid by a cycling commuter. The point is to contrast the direct user fee that goes into that fund based on your choice as a commuter. The other funding comes from other taxes that have nothing to do with using with your commuting choice and the money moved over from the general fund. Those other taxes are generally being paid for by each commuter regardless of how they get to work.

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            Chris I June 20, 2019 at 3:31 pm

            There have been numerous highway fund bailouts from the general fund over the years. I thought this was widely known.

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        MTW June 20, 2019 at 2:13 pm

        I’m not sure I get the distinction your making, particularly when you’re acknowledging a “one-time” bailout of the Highway Trust Fund (which was 2 times at an amount totaling $140B.) User fees have been insufficient to cover the outlays of the Highway Trust fund such that $140B in general funds (from the Treasury, funded by taxpayers) have been used to shore up the deficit. ODOT received 23% of its funding from that same Federal Government. If you’re suggesting that the precise money from the general fund bailouts (first one in 2008 and last one in 2016) hasn’t been used to fund Oregon freeway spending yet that claim is almost impossible to prove (and I’m not sure that’s a distinction worth making anyway.)

        In any case, you suggested that we look up ODOTs budget, I did, and found 23% of its funding comes from the Federal Government. The Federal Government is running a deficit (in general but in the Highway Trust Fund specifically) such that highway related spending is at least partially reliant on non-users (e.g. those who don’t drive.)

        Sorry for being pedantic, but I feel like the idea that roads are nominally paid for by users (even excluding the externalities which we know are not priced in) is outdated and incorrect. We should push back on it.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 2:27 pm

          Quoting fictional numbers here, but my claim was that if the transfer into the fund was $100B, then the fund still had at least $100B in it. This was true as of the most recent numbers I saw, but I don’t know if that is still true. I was not trying to distinguish between which actual dollars flowed where; as you say, this would be a meaningless claim.

          My claim is this: the vast majority of highway spending comes from users of roads via transport-related fees and taxes, and that the amount of your income tax or property tax that pays for them is quite small. I do not consider costs like hospitals to be road costs, even if they treat patients injured using roads.

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            Chris I June 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm

            The most effective scams are the ones that externalize their costs onto the general public.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty June 20, 2019 at 3:36 pm

              Like public schools?

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