People who build our bikeways should not park in them

Posted by on December 9th, 2021 at 9:56 am

man with a bike walks around truck parked in bike lane

This happens far too often. Still.
(Photo: Barbara S.)

“The driver – part of the contractor firm – was very unapologetic and suggested we should just go around him.”

We cover the problem of people parking cars in bike lanes so often that we’ve got a special category for it in our archives. Like right hooks and secure bike parking and debris-filled bike lanes — keeping people’s cars out of bikeways seems to be one of those nagging perennial problems that the Portland Bureau of Transportation has simply been unable and/or unwilling to solve.

It’s so common that I don’t amplify every time a reader shares an incident with me. I’ve reached a point doing this site where I try to pick my spots with how much and how often I elevate an issue so that folks don’t become desensitized to it.

But last week I got an email and a photo from reader Barbara (whom I’ve known for many years and consider a trustworthy source) that really bothered me and I feel like it’s worth sharing. Barbara lives and rides in southwest Portland near the Hillsdale shopping area along Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.

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To their credit, PBOT has been making steady and exciting progress in this area in recent years, capped by the current project to build a section of the long-awaited Red Electric Trail. That’s why the story this reader told me was so disheartening.

Here’s what Barbara shared along with the photo (which she has also reported to PBOT’s “Safe” tracking system):

“[This guy was parking here] for the second time in two weeks! The trucks fill out the newly protected bike lane completely, so you have to walk around, into 40 mph rush-hour traffic on a high crash corridor. Ken [her partner] even called the police and they said they would swing by (not sure if the contractor was still there). And it’s not that they can’t park somewhere else nearby the construction site. The driver was very unapologetic and suggested we should just go around him. I think he was part of the contractor firm. Looked like a supervisor or something, sitting in the car taking notes.”

As you can see in the photo, Barbara’s husband is on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. Look closer and you’ll notice the truck in the photo is parked inside a protected bike-only lane. That’s why the man in the photo had to dismount, go into the highway lane, and then return to the safety of the bike lane. (In the background left of this photo you can see the new Red Electric Trail bridge.)

This is so infuriating! A person being paid to make our system better, is wantonly making it worse and doesn’t seem to care at all. This is such a breakdown in our culture and in the process PBOT has in how they interface with contractors. Work zones can and often do present very serious safety issues to bike riders and there has been lots of activism over the years to pressure PBOT to make them better. But stuff like this still happens.

Thankfully, PBOT is usually very responsive when folks go through the proper channels to alert them about issues. But whack-a-mole response isn’t enough. These issues need to be solved and prevented if we want to create a usable bike network.

As for this specific incident? I just heard an update from Barbara a few minutes ago. She said PBOT forwarded her concern to the Work Zone Safety team. “No word from them, but at least no further trucks parked there since then, either!”

PBOT says, “We take these issues seriously and, in this case, we were already aware of this incident had discussed the issue with our contractor to make sure it will not happen again.” They also want to remind everyone that the best way to report issues like this in the future is to use this form on their website or report a “work zone concern” via PDXReporter.org.

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David Stein (SW Correspondent)
Member

An important thing to note is that this road treatment is brand new. It was installed in the last month or so as part of a quick build project to harden the bike infrastructure on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. While the concrete does make a difference in how people drive it also creates opportunity for abuse.

Ironically the new road treatment included realigning the lanes to make that bike lane wider which led to a car/truck being able to fit. The lanes shift over a couple of feet heading eastbound after the pedestrian signal on 25th Ave.

It’s disappointing and completely unsurprising to see something like this happen. It’s happened before and will happen again. Hopefully PBOT and the City of Portland more broadly can emphasize through contracting and penalties that access to these kinds of facilities isn’t optional or intermittent.

Paul B
Guest
Paul B

::eye twitches and teeth gnash::

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

It is almost as though plastic wands don’t do anything… In a situation like this the supposed protection not only didn’t prevent a motor vehicle from entering and blocking the bike lane it also made it more difficult to get around the obstruction. PBOT should stop wasting scarce funding dollars installing and reinstalling the wands.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Another solution instead of not installing wands, would be to have automatic enforcement, eg cameras on buses and signals to send a ticket to anyone parked illegally (like in NY).

Paul B
Guest
Paul B

What is incredible to me is that there is also a concrete barrier and two white strips with the wands as well as numerous bikers probably going around that truck…and it was still not moved.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Is it a barrier if it is tapered like that to make it easier to drive over? You’d be hard pressed to spend more to build a less effective deterrent to entering the bicycle lane with a motor vehicle.

SERider
Guest
SERider

Look a little closer. There is a concrete curb there as well. This is simply a failure of wands.

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Editor

No, this driver is just an idiot. There is plenty of parking at either end of the Red Electric Bridge, big dirt lots used as staging areas. It’s where I parked to take my”SW Infrastructure Update” photos. The driver just didn’t want to make the one-minute walk up the road.

The people on bikes have had to dismount near the crest of a long hill, just before the intersections leading into Hillsdale biz district. A lot to be ticked off about here.

Watts
Guest
Watts

It is almost as though plastic wands don’t do anything

More like they don’t do everything. I believe they are much better than not having them there, even if they’re not a panacea.

Matti
Guest
Matti

Construction signs are also typical offenders of the bike lane space.

JeffP
Guest
JeffP

and easily relocated.

PdxPhoenix
Guest
PdxPhoenix

or just knocked over? not that I bother.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

pdxreporter isn’t useful or monitored, it’s just a void that citizens can yell into to feel like our failed city government is listening.

When construction companies are illegally blocking sidewalks, bike lanes, or general travel lanes, you can report them for either failing to correctly use their permit or failing to build an ADA compliant temporary traffic pattern

cpac@portlandoregon.gov

Of course, as with all City of Portland functions, they wont actually do anything to solve the problem but I have been able to secure fines against a chronic offender on N Rosa Parks a couple of years ago.

soren
Guest
soren

I’ve had my commute blocked by construction with no detour in 3 separate locations. The one on Irving was particularly egregious in that it directed cyclists to merge into a traffic jam of road-raging I-84 ramp traffic with a ridiculous last minute sign. On one occasion I had to resort to filtering into the oncoming lane to get away from an angry driver that pulled right and came within a foot or two of pinning me against the concrete supports flanking the Benson HS reconstruction. I have had so many absolutely bonkers interactions with drivers during the pandemic era that I no longer share them with my partner because I don’t want to stress her out further.

At one time I was an assertive and vocal bike rider but I am now completely cowed.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

I’m right there with you. My partner and I almost got killed last night standing on a sidewalk when a drunk driver smashed into the car parked right next to us. This city is completely losing it on the roads.

squareman
Subscriber

My experience with the reporter app for:

  1. Potholes: very effective (usually fixed within two weeks)
  2. Abandoned autos: acceptably effective. I’ve seen cars get tagged within days to a couple of weeks and then towed three days later. However, I’ve seen that they won’t tag cars that don’t clearly appear abandoned (expired tags, broken windows, flat/missing tires, growth under or on the car, or some other visual blight about the vehicle).
  3. Sidewalk issues (shrub blockages and tripping hazards): indeterminate. I haven’t made a lot of these, but I know the city acts on them at times.
  4. Parking violations (particularly bike lanes or big trucks at corners): This one seems to go into a wastebasket of no response. I’ve tried the form and I’ve tried the phone number both. I’ve never seen anyone I’ve called in stop doing the behavior.
Mel A
Guest
Mel A

Interesting. I wonder what you have done differently. I have reported multiple abandoned vehicles, long expired or no plates, missing wheels, broken windows, flat tires, etc. and have had weeks go by without a response. One without plates I have reported 3 times and it has been there over 5 months. PBOT is seriously failing in the abandoned auto department if you ask me. They are so backlogged on sidewalk hazard issues it’s ridiculous. Over 5 years out before they will even inspect it.

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Editor

I used Reporter for a car parked across a sidewalk and the car was ticketed within a day. Abandoned auto report also within a day.

ivan
Guest
ivan

I also have gotten surprisingly good response with potholes, especially if I mention that they’re on a greenway/bikeway (which is usually the only reason I’m bothering to report them).

squareman
Subscriber

Yes, I usually mention that the pothole being reported might put someone on two wheels ass over tea kettle while being a liability for the city, and it seems to get their attention for quick resolution.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I have had similar issues with City of Beaverton maintenance trucks, debris and workers in the bike lane without any signs or cones. Yes , construction vehicles can block a bike lane just like any other lane, but traffic control is required just like any other lane. My complaints to the city has resulted in a denial that they block the lane for more than two hours and a promise to use signs. Neither of which they followed through on. Next time they are working in the lane without hi-vis vests, OROSHA is getting pictures. Oh an I will believe that anyone gives a rip about global warming or safe schools when there isn’t a line of giant SUV’s blocking the Bike lane while waiting drop off small children at school.

Todd/Boulanger
Guest

My 2 cents: It might also be more effective to talk to the contractor’s project manager vs. only PBoT.

WORK ZONES
For general discussion of the related topic of “work zones”…there are different flavours of work zones: ‘short duration’, ‘mobile’ and ‘long term’ and the rules on requiring advance notice detours and work zone / traffic control plan review differ for each. Most public works and DoTs give their maintenance staff more latitude / flexibility on how short duration work zones affect property access and VRU circulation/ safety (+ADA)…the thought being that these are emergency closures and need to be done ASAP and will be gone quickly (minutes, hours or a few days).

Not knowing much more about this ‘contractor’ parked blocking the PBL…I doubt you would call it a necessary “work zone” if they are only stopped to write a note or something …even the bike project he parked on…as one would hope they would have parked near by off site if it was a long inspection. And picked a more appropriate vehicle (scooter or bicycle) to inspect the entire corridor vs being a rolling mobile bottleneck in the PBL…especially one that would require cyclists to dismount and step over the raised barriers* into higher speed traffic. [I am speaking from my personal experience doing thousands of project site visits, inspections and roadway safety audits, etc.]

*One more point: the Federal, State and local jurisdiction guidance on how to manage the work zones is also playing catch up as these organizations have likely not updated their WZ materials on how to deal with these raised PBLs etc. I could see an ADA problem if a wheelchair user had been travelling along the route towards this vehicle. Remember those often dealing with the setting up/ taking down of these WZs are often the lowest ‘man’ on the totem pole and may never have seen these guides in detail…just ding what they are told (or remember to do last after a long day in the field).

Links:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/648243
https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/traffic_mgmt/tcg.htm#mobile
https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Engineering/Pages/Work-Zone.aspx

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

This seems a conflict between a road user who believes “What should happen?” and one who believes “What could happen?” the Should’s believe that paint, lamps, courts and curbs may be part of traffic control. The Could’s see the landscape in terms of ‘ I could drive there now and so I shall’.
If you can drive a car on or through bicycle infrastructure, then it is also car infrastructure. Show your kids this distinction and they may out-live you in a city.

Mel A
Guest
Mel A

Sort of hard to get that mad at the guy. Tents are blocking all kinds of bike paths and sidewalks throughout Portland. What’s the big deal about one more blocked bike lane?

rick
Guest
rick

BHH has the only bicycle lanes out to the 65th block of the westside of the city. I think ODOT’s highway 30 has a mix of shoulder and then official bike lane designations. BHH’s bike lanes stop and end at the 65th block of BHH of Portland. Someone can drown or die in Fanno Creek over by 35th Ave if they crash or fall into the creek. The street lamps and bike lanes stop to the west of 65th Avenue and then reappear and disappear by the 217 freeway which is the only metro-area freeway without a 24/7 path alongside it or without a bridge or tunnel to cross it. BHH is more likely to have Scotch Broom and sprinklers functioning than street lamps by buildings built alongside it since 2007 SW Barbur’s bike lanes appear and disappear numerous times in southwest Portland and the same situation takes place in Washington County on Pacific Highway.

ivan
Guest
ivan

Definitely wins the award for most calloused response this week. “Our society is causing hundreds of people to have to sleep outdoors during winter, so therefore complaining when vehicles endanger cyclists is pointless.” I mean, slow clap just for the audacity of indifference toward your neighbors, wow.

maxD
Guest
maxD

If you think this is bad, you should see what PBOT is doing on the Greeley MUP: IT is being used a shared roadway/driveway! It is less than 10-feet wide, and it now has to support 2-way bike traffic, people walking/jogging, and the personal and service vehicles associated with the camp.

X
Guest
X

The camp is a de facto neighborhood. I have concern for people living outside but this is a policy failure by the city since this neighborhood is not supported by infrastructure except for the meager access afforded by cannibalizing another priority, human powered transportation.

Do any camps get mail delivery? I am expecting to find out this is happening any day now.

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

This outrage is so odd to me. This is the same group that proudly proclaims about your right to “take the lane”? But when “forced” to take a lane for 15 ft it is a heinous crime of epic proportions?

Can you guys make up your mind if riding in the street is an awful thing that should never happen, or if riding in the street is an absolute right that everyone can and should do at will?

Waiting for clarity on what the bike community actually wants…or maybe you just like complaining…

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

This comment clearly smacks of trolling, and I have no doubt that the author doesn’t even care to have a reasoned conversation about the issues that surround bike lane blockages. But I’ll go ahead and take the bait and pretend that it’s actually a good faith question…

There is a plethora of academic literature and real world case studies that demonstrate that bike commute mode share is strongly tied to the existence of a complete bike network that is composed of separated, low stress facilities that link origins with popular destinations. Any break or discontinuity in the network will decrease the utility for individuals who are considering traveling by bicycle, and if critical linkages in the network become unreliable on a regular basis, people will stop using the network altogether, or seek alternate routes, if any are available. Those that have access to alternative transportation methods will shift mode. Those that don’t will avoid taking trips altogether.

In SW Portland, there are only a handful of routes that have physically separated infrastructure and reasonable grades that are useful to a wide range of cyclists of varying skill levels. BH highway happens to be one, and due to the topography and layout of SW, Portland, there are few if any alternative routes that don’t require substantial out of direction travel on extremely difficult roads. If vehicles are allowed to be stored in the protected bike lane with impunity, it will force cyclists to merge with speeding motor vehicles in locations where people in cars are not expecting to see bikes on the roadway. This is a potentially harrowing experience for less skilled cyclists, and it could be a scary enough situation to force some to stop cycling.

If there are usable alternate vehicle storage sites nearby that don’t require the bike lane to be blocked, they should be used, even if it forces the operator of the vehicle to have to walk a few hundred feet to get from their parking spot to their destination. To not do so is incredibly selfish and highly counterproductive to Portland Transportation policies that explicitly favor every other transportation mode over single occupancy motor vehicles, which take up more space, cause more pollution, and consume more resources than other Transportation modes.

Cyclists taking the lane when necessary is a different matter. It is something that only a small percentage of cyclists are comfortable doing. Bikes are legally allowed to operate on all streets that are not limited access highways in Oregon. The bike lanes exist to try to entice the less strong and fearless cyclists to ride a bike in places where they wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable. While state law does dictate that cyclists must use bike lanes when it is SAFE to do so, many Portland bike lanes are inherently unsafe because they are sub standard in width and design. And even if they are of adequate design, road conditions that persist for much of the year render them useless. PBOT allows leaves, gravel, hypodermic needles and a wholehost of assorted junk to build up in bikes lanes. So when PBOT actually invests the resources to build quality infrastructure, like the protected bike lane depicted above, and then it is blocked routinely by people who are ostensibly working as contractors for the city and being paid by city tax dollars, it’s truly outrageous.

What does the bike community want? The same thing as the “car community” wants. Safe functional infrastructure that provides access to destinations and the assurance that selfish individuals won’t be allowed to prevent others from using it, or endanger the lives of those that do use it.

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

Byod, I do appreciate your lengthy response.

“There is a plethora of academic literature and real world case studies that demonstrate that bike commute mode share is strongly tied to the existence of a complete bike network that is composed of separated, low stress facilities that link origins with popular destinations”

Why has the bike ridership of Portland gone down since we started building bike infrastructure? The numbers are clear. The argument seems to be anything short of perfect infrastructure is detrimental to the cause. No biggie, just needs to be absolutely perfect, city wide.

“PBOT allows leaves, gravel, hypodermic needles and a wholehost of assorted junk to build up in bikes lanes.”

PBOT allows? You realize the only reason the roads are clearer is because they actually get used. I’ve never seen a street sweeper cleaning a road. Does Portland even have street sweepers? Can’t say I’ve ever even seen one here. I’m not opposed to Portland building custom bike lane sweepers. Maybe they can roll out the red carpet as well!

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

The numbers are clear. The argument seems to be anything short of perfect infrastructure is detrimental to the cause.

Some other clear numbers are increasing traffic fatalities over the last decade. Many people choose not to ride “anything short of perfect” knowing inattentive or malicious automobile users could easily injure or kill them.

Also: https://www.portland.gov/transportation/maintenance/street-sweeping-and-cleaning

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

Thanks for that link Caleb. Interesting to see Portland does actually own and operate street sweepers. Who knew?!?! It’s good to know my street will get cleaned approximately once a year. According to that link bike lanes get swept and cleaned multiple times a year! Did you know that? Looks like bike lanes are getting special treatment from PBOT after all!!

Interesting you bring up fatalities and I completely agree. It’s pretty obvious Vision Zero is a huge failure. It’s almost as if putting vastly different modes of transportation on the same road is a terrible, awful idea.

David Stein (SW Correspondent)
Member

Interesting to see Portland does actually own and operate street sweepers. Who knew?!?! It’s good to know my street will get cleaned approximately once a year. According to that link bike lanes get swept and cleaned multiple times a year! Did you know that? Looks like bike lanes are getting special treatment from PBOT after all!!

Looking at an older version of this page (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/319704) there’s an interesting block of text:

“The accumulation of debris at the curb is caused by the design of the street and vehicular movement. Streets are designed with a crown in the middle sloping toward the sides. Water and debris move toward the curb and gutter areas. Vehicle movement scatters debris to the edges of traffic lanes.”

So the debris, and “special treatment,” are a feature not a bug. This is also why when it rains water is way more likely to pool in a bike lane, or on a highway in the outer lanes. If bike lanes were in the middle of the roadway, at the crown, and other lanes were toward the edges much of the debris would end up in those other lanes and the bike lanes would see less debris though still likely not zero. Of course after looking at project plans for literally any street project where paving is happening it’s pretty easy to see that the roads are designed to slope away from the middle.

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

Thanks David. You are absolutely correct about roadways being crowned. That’s been standard for decades to eliminate standing water. That’s just another example why shoving a bike lane on every road is a bad idea.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Inherent in this statement and all that you write is the implicit assertion that single occupancy motor vehicle traffic should be prioritized and catered to at all costs, even to the exclusion of other transportation modes. Not a good idea to shove a bike lane on every road? Nonsense. It’s a bad idea to shove CARS on every road. You have it backwards.

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

My thoughts are not as simple as “single occupancy motor vehicle traffic should be prioritized and catered to at all costs, even to the exclusion of other transportation modes”. I do think we should have some bike infrastructure, but I strongly disagree on how we are doing it.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Exactly, because it makes it less convenient for people in cars. “Get the bikes off the roads that I don’t want them to be on so people like me can drive cars on them faster.”

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Mixing multiple transportation modes on shared streets is done in a number of countries around the world with much better results than what you see in the USA. Car centric city design, driver behaviors, a sense of entitlement on the part of people in cars, and the American propensity to buy massive vehicles that have design features that appear to optimize for lethality in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists make vision zero much more difficult to achieve here. It’s not that it can’t be done. But it requires a paradigm shift. Portland vision zero is a half measure, at best.

soren
Guest
soren

* There hasn’t been a large increase in fatality rates for people on bikes over the past 5 years (compared with previous 5 year windows). The increase in fatalities has disproportionately occurred for people walking (and to a lesser extent people using motorcycles and monstrous SUVs/trucks.

* Portland’s bike lane maintenance goals are about as authentic as its bike plan goals. For example, most of the slushy leaf piles on NE Multnomah, that were profiled on BP weeks ago, are still there.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Bike ridership has gone down, at least in part, due to the displacement of the people that populated the inner Portland neighborhoods. Portland’s urban planning strategy always relied on increasing population density in the close in neighborhoods, but the zoning never matched the policy aspirations, preventing the scale of infill development that was needed to keep pace with Portland’s growing population. Thus housing prices went sky high, and people that used to bike to get around found themselves living out in outer East Portland, Vancouver, or other places that have much poorer cycling infrastructure and conditions than the inner neighborhoods do. Also, Portland continues to rely on shared streets with no bike lanes for the majority of bike routes. As car traffic has increased, these shared street ‘greenways’ no longer provide the comfortable safe cycling haven that they once did, and they don’t provide access to destinations. There are no bike lanes or separated facilities that provide access to Mississippi, Hawthorne, Belmont, Alberta, NW 23rd, or other popular destinations around Portland. Portland is gradually adding new infrastructure piecemeal, but there are very few locations in Portland where one can hope to encounter a continuous network of bike facilities that link origins and destinations. Almost all bike routes have huge gaps where separated infrastructure suddenly ends, or gives way to substandard facilities..BH highway is a great example of this. It provides a couple of miles of physically protected bike lanes when it isn’t being blocked. But it doesn’t connect to any similar separated facilities. To get anywhere from that bike lane, you’d have to eventually go into roads that have no bike facilities at all. You clearly don’t spend time biking in Portland or don’t understand the concept of a network if you think Portland has anything approaching the needed level of infrastructure to support biking. On the other hand, it has thousands of miles of roads that are open to cars, including almost all roads with dedicated bike facilities. Which option do you think most Portland residents will choose, given the option?

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Editor

This is a fantastic comment. I can’t seem to pin it up top, the software seems to only allow pins of less imbedded comments. But you have described Portland’s conundrum very succinctly. The question is, what’s the way out. A little more density, a little more infrastructure, leap-frogging along? An awkward 30 years?

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Thank you, Lisa. I think the solution lies in all of what you listed, and more. I feel like thirty years is way too long to achieve the needed changes. But given the current rate of development, it’s hard to imagine the transformation happening any faster.

soren
Guest
soren

I will make a prediction: In 15 years Portland will be completely San Franciscoized but without rent control (so even fewer low-income people in the urban center).

Other than some sort of revolution, there really isn’t a “reform” that can reverse the flood of real-estate and climate-migration speculation that is reshaping this city into an exclusive community for the rich.

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

Woah, lots to unpack here…

Portland’s urban planning strategy always relied on increasing population density in the close in neighborhoods, but the zoning never matched the policy aspirations, preventing the scale of infill development that was needed to keep pace with Portland’s growing population

Surely Portland is more dense now than 10-15 years ago when biking was more prevalent. Are you saying it was denser then?

Also, Portland continues to rely on shared streets with no bike lanes for the majority of bike routes

You’ve lost me here. Nearly every arterial and collector is a bike lane now, along with the greenways throughout the city. You can argue they are substandard but to say they don’t exist on the majority of routes is blatantly false.

There are no bike lanes or separated facilities that provide access to Mississippi, Hawthorne, Belmont, Alberta, NW 23rd, or other popular destinations around Portland.

What? No access? Because of the leaves?

highway is a great example of this. It provides a couple of miles of physically protected bike lanes when it isn’t being blocked. But it doesn’t connect to any similar separated facilities. To get anywhere from that bike lane, you’d have to eventually go into roads that have no bike facilities at all.

So they got there by…riding in the road. When they leave they’ll…ride in the road. Going in the road to go around a guy working… eye twitches and teeth gnash. Seems reasonable…

Does anyone know if this guy had a bunch of tools he needed to haul? If he needed to be by his radio? Was he disabled and couldn’t make the walk? Maybe he saw it was a bike lane to and from nowhere and made a not unreasonable decision that if someone was capable of riding in the road before and after this stretch they would somehow be capable enough to make it the 15 ft around his vehicle. Did anyone try to have a reasonable conversation with him before getting in his face, gnashing their teeth, taking his picture, calling him an idiot and trying to dox him?

Just an idea

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

“Lots to unpack here.”

And yet you make no attempt to unpack anything.

“Surely Portland is more dense now than 10-15 years ago when biking was more prevalent. Are you saying it was denser then?”

Not in the least. I’m saying that infill development hasn’t kept pace with in migration and the majority of the places that are zoned for middle and high density housing outside of the central city are located out east of 82nd, miles from the city center, and far away from where the highest demand for new housing is. In between are vast neighborhoods that have been zoned exclusively for single family housing, with little strips of medium density allowed along arterials. The exclusionary single family zoning in the inner neighborhoods has made it impossible to build higher density housing in places where it is needed. Local newspapers have been writing stories about Portland’s housing crisis for years. Google it. A couple years ago, City Council voted to freeze annual rent increases at 10% per year! That suggests that average annual rent hikes were exceeding that rate previously. That is not a sustainable rate of increase, as wages have not increased at a similar rate.

This has caused the displacement of people from the inner ring neighborhoods that used to rent relatively affordable housing. They have been replaced by relatively wealthy people with much higher rates of car ownership than the previous residents of the inner neighborhoods. The majority of the people that were biking when Portland’s bike mode share was higher were living in the neighborhoods that have seen the highest rates of displacement.
Most bike trips are under 3 miles in length. If you move those cyclists from the inner ring neighborhoods to locations that are more than 3 miles from the city center or their places of employment, their rates of cycling will predictably decrease. And the people that moved into the houses that these people were displaced from? I’m sure some of them commute by bicycle. But their rates of car ownership have increased, and because Portland relies on serpentine greenways that wind through back neighborhoods to link destinations instead of arterial roads, it is unlikely that people that are new to the city are going to find it easier to bike to a destination than to drive a car.

You’ve lost me here. Nearly every arterial and collector is a bike lane now, along with the greenways throughout the city. You can argue they are substandard but to say they don’t exist on the majority of routes is blatantly false.

I biked about 30 miles last night in the central city and inner neighborhoods and I was only in bike lanes for a handful of those miles. That’s not because I was trying to avoid bike lanes, but because there weren’t bike lanes that linked the places that I was riding.

Yes, there are bike lanes on a lot of Portland’s arterials and collectors, but most of them are discontinuous or have gaps or high stress areas that would deter all but the strongest, most fearless cyclists. Also, I could list a bunch of major arterials and collectors that don’t have bike lanes along the majority of the length. I bet you could, too, if you thought about it for a minute.

What? No access? Because of the leaves?

I said there are no “bike lanes or separated facilities” that can be used to access these destinations. That is absolutely true. It has nothing to do with leaves and everything to do with the fact that there are no bike lanes or separated that run through these neighborhoods, and none that connect to them.

So they got there by…riding in the road. When they leave they’ll…ride in the road. Going in the road to go around a guy working… eye twitches and teeth gnash. Seems reasonable…

If you look at the picture at the top of the screen, you’ll notice that the cyclist is a pretty fit looking person with powerful thighs who is wearing spandex. I’d hazard to guess that they bike thousands of miles per year. That person probably has no problem riding on shared streets, mixing it up with traffic when they get to the end of the protected facility on BH Highway. A child, a mother, an overweight person, a less strong person? Probably not. There’s a reason that you don’t see a lot of people using the bike lane on BH Highway. It’s not just that people block it with their vehicles. It’s that it’s an island of protected asphalt in a sea of hazards. If you want bike infrastructure that only appeals to strong, fit, top 5% strongest members of the population, then a few bike lanes with big gaps on selected arterials will do just fine.

Does anyone know if this guy had a bunch of tools he needed to haul? If he needed to be by his radio? Was he disabled and couldn’t make the walk?

They were professional contractors that negotiated the necessary street closures and loading areas with PBOT. But then they decided to park in a location that had not been closed or permitted for parking during the construction. According to the post, these people were not just making a brief stop, or doing a one time thing. They were regularly parking in that same location over and over. That is a flagrant violation of the terms of their permit.

soren
Guest
soren

and the majority of the places that are zoned for middle and high density housing outside of the central city are located out east of 82nd, miles from the city center, and far away from where the highest demand for new housing is

This is incorrect and speaks to the cognitive dissonance of urbanist cycling enthusiasts.

All of the yellow and light orange on this map are areas that effectively BAN multifamily rental housing. RIP did virtually nothing to reverse this legacy of racism and classism and may have worsened it (due to new laws than encourage lot subdivision and creation of luxury OWNED infill housing).
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Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Soren, maybe I wasn’t clear, but I was trying to make the exact point that you illustrated by posting a photo of Portland zoning. All the single dwelling residential zoning is strangling the creation of new rental housing or medium density owner occupied housing (both of which are desperately needed). I don’t think RIP will significantly change the status quo, or at least not in a meaningful time frame. I disagree that rip will make things worse, but it’s no panacea.

soren
Guest
soren

I disagree that rip will make things worse, but it’s no panacea.

I used “may” in my comment. I also think that many do not understand how much RIP and associated policies have encouraged the building of owned homes by deregulating lot subdivision/ lot condoification. (The grassroots tenant union that I organized with proposed lot unit minimums and FAR-based density to discourage expensive home production and to encourage less expensive rental density but this was scoffed at by the elite that dominates city bureaus, stakeholder meetings, and city hall/legislative lobbying.)

medium density owner occupied housing (both of which are desperately needed)

The majority of zoning that allows development of medium-sized apartment buildings is restricted to the urban center. There are only small pockets on the periphery in the Gateway area and along interstate.

We do not have a shortage of homes for middle-upper/upper-class Portlanders (Portland’s median income is high compared to national stats). In fact, there is an excess of high-end apartments available in the PDX area so what you are describing is not a need but a preference. I’ve pointed this out so many times to YIMBYs and their counterargument can be summed up as 1) we deserve “nice” homes and 2) filtering (little to no evidence that this drives down prices for lower income people in high demand urban areas).

The chronic, massive, and increasing shortage of homes for low income people continues and has not been addressed by any of the residential zoning deregulation championed by “urbanists” and YIMBYs.

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

And yet you make no attempt to unpack anything.

Goes on to address everything I unpacked…

soren
Guest
soren

but the zoning never matched the policy aspirations, preventing the scale of infill development that was needed to keep pace with Portland’s growing population.

Portland’s infill reforms (Hi P:NW/Sightline and the real-estate moguls that fund your lobbying) have fostered price appreciation by creating opportunities (and subsidies) for more luxury low-occupancy owned homes while cementing Portland’s city-wide racist and classist exclusion of high density rental housing.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I know I’m late to the party here, but I don’t think anyone has addressed the actual question posed by “I’ll pass you”, which is,

“Can ‘you guys’ make up your mind if riding in the street is an awful thing that should never happen, or if riding in the street is an absolute right that everyone can and should do at will?”

This is merely a not-so-clever bit of straw-manning that even my 9-year-old has mastered. The answer to this question is that neither of your choices is correct. So almost nobody is ever going to make up their mind by choosing either one of them.

“Us guys” could just as well ask you, “Is ice cream something you should eat 100% of the time for every meal to the exclusion of all other foods, or something to be avoided at all costs and never consumed at all?” Lactose intolerance and vegan considerations notwithstanding, you can see how answers to that question would mostly fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

The truth is that as a bicyclist, one must make up one’s mind from one second to the next about where to ride, given the conditions. “Conditions” include time of day, amount and density of car traffic, speed of car traffic, destination/approaching turns, pavement condition, obstacles/debris, and laws. As many others have pointed out, those conditions vary wildly from day to day and location to location. You will particularly notice at this location that there is a concrete curb that is easy for a car to cross over, but would definitely cause a bicyclist to crash. Also, if you’ve ever ridden a bike at this location, you would know that you are riding uphill in a location where drivers are used to moving at 40-mph and over. I’ve taken the lane on Hwy 26 because there was a vehicle blocking the shoulder and I was traveling the same 30 mph as rush-hour traffic–but I would never ride up Broadway Drive because it’s narrow, steep, and every corner is blind.

So don’t take away my ice cream, but don’t force-feed it to me, either.

I'll pass you
Guest
I'll pass you

“So don’t take away my ice cream, but don’t force-feed it to me, either.”

I’m not sure I agree with your analogy but that’s a pretty good response El Biciciero haha

Maybe the guy was trying to clear the bike lane of debris for you guys by driving through it?

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Maybe the guy was trying to clear the bike lane of debris for you guys by driving through it?

Do you believe that was a possibility, or is that a rhetorical question? Again, you seem to make no effort at good faith arguments in this discussion. What inspires your continued contribution?

Walter
Guest
Walter

Thanks for highlighting this incident Jonathan. I understand the need to not desensitize a topic by over reporting on it. But maybe we could track all the cases with location along with some info about the car/driver – license plate, kind of car, company name on the car, etc.

Then we could have a map view of where this happens and how frequently that PBOT could use for prioritizing to tackle the problem areas.