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New striping helps direct Springwater path traffic

Posted by on February 10th, 2021 at 3:20 pm

(Photos of new striping by Betsy Reese. Plan drawings from PBOT)

The gap between where the Esplanade ends south of OMSI and where the Springwater Corridor path begins on Southeast 4th and Ivon is a real bummer. Getting onto surface streets after being on a carfree path is one thing, but weaving around huge trucks and other vehicles parked in the bike lane is just salt in a wound.

New pavement striping from the Portland Bureau of Transportation should make it a better. In a bid to provide more space for walkers and rollers to practice safe social distancing, PBOT has striped a variety of new bike lane markings to the busy, multi-block section between SE Caruthers and the Springwater Corridor entrance at SE Ivon.

Reader Betsy Reese shared photos of the changes on Tuesday. Reese had emailed PBOT parking staff about the problem of auto-carrier truck operators that frequently unload in the bike lane. After a while she noticed they started parking in the general lane. This left the bike lane open, but still created a tense situation when the path got busy. “With Covid, the bike/ped traffic through there is heavier than ever and I felt like this could be a tragedy waiting to happen.”

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(The problem)

Reese was thrilled to find PBOT staff responsive to her concerns and then noticed the changes. “Today I see all this wonderful new paint – big buffer on the bike/ped lane, new emblems, sharrows in the vehicle lane, and even a wider bike lane around the corner to Caruthers.”

(Photo: Betsy Reese)

PBOT spokesperson Hannah Schafer said the changes came through their “Missing Link” program — a modest pot of money (usually less than $100,000 per year) that seeks opportunistic upgrades to city bikeways. Schafer said the new striping should handle crowds of users better and might even help reinforce existing “No Parking in Bike Lane” signage.

We’ve raised a flag about truck drivers and dangerous loading behaviors in this area a few times going back to 2008 when we reported how the trucks make the gap “perilous”. In 2012, as the problem persisted, we forced PBOT to step up parking enforcement.

Reese is hopeful the latest striping will finally do the trick. The big buffered section where they park the most now has cross-hatching marks that should discourage parking. She also appreciates how the markings make more complete bikeway connections and help encourage walkers and bikers to hold their lines.

If you ride or walk through this area, please be cautious and respectful of other people. And let us know how the new striping works for you.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Betsy Reese
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Betsy Reese

Just rode by and I see one of these big Tesla car carrier truck rigs parked offloading right in the middle of that crosshatch Bike/Ped Lane buffer area with bicyclists and pedestrians passing them on either side. I guess I was too optimistic too soon. What to do?

Christopher of Portland
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Christopher of Portland

I haven’t been through to check out the changes and I’m not a truck driver but, based on the pictures, that cross hatched section is probably exactly where I would park if I were unloading a large truck in that area. The markings say to me that this spot isn’t for traveling through and it’s probably the least bad option for parking my truck.

J_R
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J_R

I’ve ridden through there for years and have never thought it was that much of a problem. Trucks parked haphazardly in the area (some in the middle of the road, some on either side) cause motorists to pay attention and slow down. I thought that’s what we all wanted.

Fred
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Fred

Nice job, Betsy Reese, on the overhead photos! Were they taken with a drone?

Champs
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Champs

Why does contrivance have to be the Tilikum brand?

I’m hardly the biggest fan of contraflow and/or protected lanes, but a contiguous two way path from Springwater’s trailhead to the bridge and Esplanade seems like the blindingly obvious solution. Cross at the bridge and you’re done without so much as grazing hot buttons like freight or parking as far as I can tell.

bArbaroo
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bArbaroo

As much as the trucks parked in the street, and parents picking up youth rowers parked in the bike lane are a problem, the greatest hazard in this area is still speeding drivers rushing to get onto Hwy 99. Many far exceed the speed limit, dive blindly through corners, and run stop signs to rush into rush hour on the highway. I’ve talked directly with police and with PBOT about this issue and it continues to be my greatest worry. There are daily regulars who are reckless, we see them daily turning off of 4th onto Ivon at about 35mph or more, cutting the corner, drifting up to the on ramp. Then, there are those that are clearly lost who drive up to the closed Ross Island gate, u-turn across the bike lane and then head toward 99. All while distracted by their phone/nav device and not really paying attention to peds and bikes. Then, we have the motor sport business that tests products in this section of street – sometimes recklessly burning rubber, doing donuts, etc. The new paint is great in that it will help clarify pathways for bikes and peds but it will not really make this 3 block section of road any safer as the hazard created by reckless drivers is still present.

Josh Berezin
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Josh Berezin

Hell yeah! Truckers hate cross-hatch paint markings. This’ll do the trick.

Matt S.
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Matt S.

The Springwater has much more problems than a semi illegally blocking a bikelane for an hour or so every week…