Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 9th, 2021 at 10:49 am
When you require bicycle riders to cross diagonally through an unprotected, high-speed intersection, reliable and high-tech signalization is an absolute must. That’s the challenge the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) faced with their North Greeley Ave bikeway project.
Greeley is a key connection between the central eastside/downtown and the north Portland peninsula. It has always had the space to have a physically protected bikeway, and in the last year-and-a-half or so it finally happened. PBOT finished the concrete wall-protected bikeway in the southern section in summer 2020 and Adidas (who paid their own contractors to do the work in lieu of paying development fees to PBOT) finished the northern section next to their campus headquarters a year later.
Unfortunately both sections of protected bikeways are on opposite sides of the street. This meant PBOT had to get folks across the dangerous traffic on Greeley Ave. It has stressed me out for years about how this key element of the project would turn out — and my anxiety spiked even after it was first installed because it just never worked like it should. But now it finally does!
Watch the video to learn more about this crucial piece of bike infrastructure.
But wait, there’s more!
After I posted the video last night I heard from someone at PBOT about the technology behind the signal. They said the city engineers who did the work ride bikes themselves and were committed to making sure riders experienced little or no delay. They achieved this by using a system that combines video detection with a thermal camera. Yes, the camera sees bike riders approaching and gives that person instant priority over all other road users. The system was built by Wilsonville-based Teledyne-Flir based on similar usage in Hamburg, Germany. (You might recall our coverage of Washington County using this thermal video detection for bike riders last year.)
We’re lucky to have this level of expertise and commitment to quality bike infrastructure in Portland! Thank you PBOT Signals Division for getting this right.