Two sections of major roads in Washington County have been striped and painted for the exclusive use of bus and bicycle operators.
In a first for the County, they’ve used red and green coloring to designate transit and bike priority lanes. The new striping was installed this week on Cornell Road and 185th Avenue.
BikePortland reader Naomi Fast rode the new lanes on Tuesday. “Physically speaking, riding on the paint doesn’t feel that different than it did before. The same road user conflicts that existed before still exist,” she reports. “But to me it is a bright spot in the status-quo, a crack in the car-centrism… While paint is not infrastructure per se, in my opinion it does add a modicum of safety, in that it helps drivers expect to see us on bikes, and is a reminder in living color that we all belong.”
Here’s the planning graphic from the County:
And here’s more from a County statement:
“New striping and signs on the right-turn lane on westbound Cornell and the right-turn lane on southbound 185th will allow buses to travel through the intersection to access far-side bus stops and avoid congestion. Portions of the lanes will be painted red. Only buses will be allowed; other vehicles are prohibited.
The transit priority lanes will improve reliability and speed for TriMet’s Line 48 (Cornell Road) and Line 52 (185th Avenue). These high-ridership routes are often delayed during high-traffic periods, particularly during commute hours. A study of traffic impacts and drivers’ response to these lanes will be conducted in the future.
Green bike priority lanes will also be added to the intersection. Just as the red bus priority pavement increases drivers’ awareness of buses, the green pavement increases drivers’ awareness of bicyclists.”
Currently the bike lane on westbound Cornell Road hugs the curb after crossing 185th. The new design put the bike lane to the left of a bus-only lane and fortify it with solid green coloring that will be striped in a caution zone where the bus operator needs to merge back into traffic. A similar situation is present on southbound 185th after crossing Cornell.
While I’m not sure these tiny islands of calm amid the vast sea of cars and drivers qualifies as a “lane,” and we still only have an unprotected bike lane, this is a nice step forward. In a place where drivers enjoy nearly total domination of the roadways, every little bit counts. This project shows Washington County is aware of the urgent need to re-allocate road space away from drivers and toward other users.
I look forward to seeing these in action. If any of you have ridden here (before or after the changes), please share your experience.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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