Let me start by saying I’m someone who usually is pretty relaxed about people blocking bikeways with their cars.
I understand there are much bigger issues facing us today and it’s often not that big of a deal to just slow down, go around, and continue on my day.
But sometimes, it’s just like, “Damn! This is getting ridiculous!”
Yesterday was one of those times.
(This is just wanton disregard for other road users.)
I rode east on my neighborhood protected bike lane, North Rosa Parks Way, and in the matter of just a few blocks there were drivers who had decided to park in the bike lane. After the first one, I sort of brushed it off. Then when it happened again a few seconds later I took out my camera. Then, up ahead, was another one! The cherry on top was a huge truck that drove right over the bike lane curb and was just sitting there, at a busy intersection, as bike riders were forced to swerve out of the lane and into a lane with 30-plus mph car traffic.
Keep in mind this is, in my opinion, one of the best protected bike lanes in all of Portland. It’s very popular and works relatively well — except when people act like it’s not even there.
And this type of thing happens hundreds of times every day, throughout the city. It doesn’t surprise me this is happening in a society that has become increasingly self-oriented and less law abiding (it also doesn’t help that the Portland Police love to broadcast the lack of traffic law enforcement); but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
Bottom line is we need to do more to address this. Cute little curbs, meager plastic wands, paint, and unenforced laws are clearly not enough.
As with many issues we face, it’s not a technical problem, it’s a political will and bureaucratic priority problem.
Here are two suggestions:
- In places with high delivery truck traffic, the transportation bureau should designate specific freight loading zone areas (in the driving space, not the biking space whenever possible).
- We need to use more robust materials to protect cycling space. If we had more, larger concrete barriers, steel bollards, and so on, this would not happen as often.
Have you noticed an uptick in this type of thing? Any thoughts on how we can prevent it from happening as much?
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I have increasingly noticed this in our burg, too. Today was the time I’d had enough, again. The lawn keepers were working just yards away. I walked over where they could see me, pointed at their vehicle, held up my phone and dialed police dispatch. Had their machines been quieter when I started, I would have let them know I was about to call.
The Corvallis dispatch office has taken my calls routinely. They probably do send out some parking enforcement or community service adjunct officers, who may arrive in time to warn or ticket the offending vehicles.
I don’t want to defend them, but has that truck just broken down and they’ve misguidedly moved into the bike lane to get out of the main thoroughfare? Their hazard lights are on, the driver seems to be in the cab and they don’t seem to be in the process of delivering anything (tailgate is up).
My thoughts as well. Can’t fault someone for parking in the bike lane if their car died, or an OIL light came on, or the engine was hot and they had to stop or risk destroying their engine.
I note that in the picture, the curbs are in fact a mountable design, that the heavy truck is doing exactly what the curb designers had intended the driver to do. The barriers you have there won’t stop a big SUV but they do block small cars – as far a SUVs and delivery trucks are concerned, you might as well have only paint or candlesticks there for all the good they are going to do. Only tall barriers will block such a vehicle or else sharp 18″ curbs like you see in coastal communities that get a lot of hurricanes.
When I was in DC last fall, I noted almost no blocked bike facilities, but DC has much wider streets and they do have lots of loading zones too.
The adjoining “bike lane” on N. Denver is even worse: PBOT chose *paint* rather than a curb. Worse, they positioned it between moving traffic and a vehicle parking lane, rather than between the parking lane and sidewalk, because drivers complained that parking next to moving vehicles would put their cars in harm’s way — better for cyclists to get hit.
That’s because that isn’t a bike lane. It’s an auxiliary lane for cars. If it isn’t protected from cars its for cars.
Denver has so much unrealized potential stretching from Kenton to Beach Elementary.
This happens all over town! The bike lane on SE Madison between 11th and 10th regularly fills up with parked cars. The bike lane on SE 12th between Hawthorne and Madison. Every time there is an event idling cars inexplicably wait in the bike lane even though by pulling over they only block the bike- they do not create any usable space for anyone else. Cars regularly use and obstruct the Greeley bike lanes and the Going MUP. If you really want to to selfish disregard being flaunted in the face of basic safety, visit any bike box with a ‘no turn on red’ sign. They are universally ignored
I saw a doozy yesterday. A driver in an SUV traveling along a marked crosswalk in order to access the gap in its pedestrian refuge, so they could make an illegal right turn onto a one-way street going the opposite direction. They had to cross an abundance of green paint to do this.
how about this for selfish behavior: I was driving (gasp) east on Skidmore. There was about 7 or 8 cars ahead of me waiting to take turns to get through the 4-way stop on Mississippi. A charming individual driving south on Michigan decided that the no left turn for cars did not apply to him. He proceeds to turn left and drive the WRONG way (driving east in the westbound lane) for one block to Mississippi where he proceeds to run the stop sign and generally cut off all the cars and the pedestrians. PBOT has installed some VERY IMPRESSIVE paint and candlesticks here to prevent, and I cynically think they are working exactly as intended.
That stretch of Madison is so infuriating — so obvious people would try to park there, yet after spending a ton of money shifting around lanes and adding things like bike streetlights when the Rose Lanes went in, they did nothing to protect this lane.
The bike lane between Hawthorne and Madison on 12th is even worse — they specifically designed it so that delivery trucks could pull into the lane and up on the sidewalk (note gaps in plastic wands and green paint), but 90% of the time it’s private vehicles who park there “just for a minute” while they get something at the food carts.
Weird how there isn’t a higher share of people riding bikes, y’know PBOT?
ivan, my office was on Madison/11th when this was installed. Every commute home started in this bike lane. I had multiple emails with the PBOT engineer about this. They are well aware of the issue. They asked parking enforcement to be more responsive but that requires some diligent super-citizen to report it. It really disgusts me that PBOT simply ignores know deficiencies/safety concerns.
We also need to stop ordering a single $10 computer or phone cable from Amazon with next day delivery. An Amazon van stops on my block at least once every day (I’m still working remotely, so I see). They block a driveway or a bike lane or just add congestion to the road – just for a minute. We should recognize that the demand is part of the problem. The drivers – they’re just trying to complete their route, deliver what you ordered, and go home.
Getting some “just one more lane” vibes from the state of protection, such as it is. Say what you like about paint—I will note that the lanes were much cleaner—but this problem was far easier to work around and only slightly more frequent.
The last mile is where every trip starts and ends. Just imagine if we had extensive local networks feeding demonstrated demand for more ambition.
PBOT designed the bike lanes on Rosa Parks for cars, its not surprising they use them
Agreed, if they intended them to prevent car entry there would be bollards not flex posts and a sloped curb
Just curious, for those of you who think this way: Why is that when someone posts complaints about minor anti-social behavior on NextDoor it’s seen as NIMBY Karen OK Boomers screaming at the world, but when we do the same thing, it’s righteous anger at the wrongdoers?*
I agree that most of what’s posted here is legitimately lame, and could add my own stories, but I just wanted to point out what appears to me to be a double standard held by some of us.
Everyone gets frustrated, everyone needs a place to vent, and my wish is that we could all just get along, accept each other, and not park in the bike lane. Life here would be a lot better for all of us with a few degrees more chill and a bit less judginess**. Myself included.
Have a peace weekend!
*No, I don’t really want an answer.
**Except for bike thieves, who are truly scum.
It’s worse than you realize; Quote from the article: “…(it also doesn’t help that the Portland Police love to broadcast the lack of traffic law enforcement); but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it.”
Who is “we”? The leftists in Portland have DEMANDED that the police stop enforcing traffic for minor violations out of fear they may stop a POC. So, another example of “be careful what you wish for – you may get it”.
And the answer is not massive concrete Jersey barriers either.
So Jonathan, since you were there for a while…did you call PPB 911 (emergency)?
Over an illegally parked vehicle? Are you serious?
Jonathan: Based on the USDOT number (295289) your video showed and the Core-Mark livery for this Freightliner truck, vehicle license: 3187621 [did you get the state of the license plate?, Indiana? or the customer call number for operations safety on the rear door?]
USDoT – SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM SMS
CORE-MARK INTERNATIONAL INC
– Number of Vehicles: 448 / Number of Drivers: 678 / Number of Inspections: 534
– 32% of all inspections have a recorded “violation”
– 16 total crashes on record
– Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours-of-Service (HOS), Non-Compliance: 35% out of 100%
– Total miles travelled as last year of data: 21,521,050 (2017)
– Carrier Operations: Identifies this carrier as being engaged in [only] interstate highway transport activities and not local deliveries.
– Most recent SMS review: 3/25/2021 “Non-Ratable Review”
Jonathan, you may wish to contact their representative of record and share you video with him.
OREGON DISTRIBUTION CENTER
17225 S.E. 120th
Clackamas, OR 97105
(503) 652-0200, (800) 234-9994
CORE-MARK Address & Contact for US DoT Registration:
1500 SOLANA BLVD STE 3400
WESTLAKE, TX 76262
Telephone: (269) 274-6629
The “bike lane” near me is the Willamette Greenway Trail, which I’ve used a couple times per day for years. It’s regularly blocked by Parks, Water and PBOT vehicles, and contractors working for those bureaus. If they’re around (often inside the vehicle playing with their phones) I often ask the drivers politely to move. I often get lame excuses, promises to move that are fake, and sometimes hostility. After they deny they’re doing anything wrong, they almost always move if I pull out my phone–“Hey, why are you taking photos?” “So I can report you”. “I’m not doing anything wrong.” “Then you’ve got nothing to worry about when I call it in”). Or, “This isn’t a City road. Parking Enforcement has no jurisdiction.” “I’m not calling Parking. I’m calling your boss.”
I’ve got a whole library of photos of City vehicles blocking bike paths and crosswalks, most with the orange VISION ZERO bumper sticker. I’ve got several taken over the years of City vehicles blocking the Greenway Trail within a few feet of where a child got run over and killed at the Willamette Park boat launch.
When I’ve politely asked for vehicles to be moved off the trail and crossings, I’ve had contractors working on City projects call the police, threaten to have me arrested or beat up, etc. including while PBOT managers were watching and/or also arguing against me. I’ve been lied to often (“We have a permit/the (wrong) code allows it”) and had offenders lie in meetings to their their government clients about their bad behavior on the Trail, not realizing that the whole time they were denying everything, the phone their client was looking at was MY phone filled with photos of them doing exactly what they were denying doing. Etc., etc.
Just give this bike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydYiDxDyDgw to Danny MacAskil and point him at the truck. Pay him extra for managing to do a “burnout” on the hood and roof.
I have this fantasy often, but it’s rare that I have to opportunity to share it.
“Oregon Leaders have Looted Public Safety” — Statesman Journal. Will Oregon be the next state to go fascist? Stay tuned. Exciting times ahead.
There is no less than 20 cars doing this every day between 82nd & 112th on Division
Agreed. I guess Division isn’t completed so maybe it’s confusing, maybe there’s no enforcement, but holy shit it sucks. I decided to take Division recently and it was lousy. It was off hour so I didn’t totally feel like I was on a suicide mission, but if it had been just after 5 or so, I’d have ditched it fast.
Every time I read another one of these why-can’t-we-have-decent-bike-infrastructure-and-enforcement-themed posts, I want to scream: “It’s because we don’t have a functioning city government!”
I hope everyone is marking the calendar for Nov 8, 2022 and planning to vote for the charter revision. No other city in the *WORLD* puts citizen volunteers in charge of transportation professionals – only Portland. We elected a person who had no experience in transportation, no expertise in transportation, and no apparent interest in transportation and put her in charge of the transportation professionals. And we expect transportation excellence – or even basic competence?!
We won’t have nice things until we put the professionals in charge.
We didn’t put Hardesty in charge of transportation, Wheeler did. Voters had no voice in that decision.
Other than the grass being greener on the other side of charter reform, I see no reason to think that a different structure would produce different outcomes given the same leadership. In other words, we need to elect more effective leaders, and tinkering with the government structure isn’t going to magically cure our ailments.
If a city manager were an obviously good idea, Wheeler would have hired one, and taken the credit for fixing the city. In fact, this is what he effectively did for his first year or so in office, when he held back all the bureaus for himself. I don’t recall everybody thinking that things ran particularly well during that period.
Columbus Ohio, which is bigger than Portland, also has a commissioner form of government, as do many smaller cities and most counties. Most city managers in cities run by city managers also have no experience running transportation departments.
I had high hopes but unfortunately the preliminary proposal from the Charter Review Commission does not look good. It appears they are more fixated on inequality than making Portland government actually function.
I think being “fixated on inequality” is exactly what we should all be. How can you just dismiss that central problem as some sort of side issue?
Any government that doesn’t put inequality at the top of its issues to address, is nonfunctional in my opinion.
A functioning government will address inequality
The mess of dysfunction and stagnation we currently have in Portland city government can’t even keep our bike paths swept yet alone address complicated issues such as “equality”.
Its actually “equity” not equality. Equity is more complicated and a much more idealistic goal.
Can you please elaborate on your complaints? It’s commission districts and a citywide mayor-manager. Even if inequality didn’t need addressing, what could possibly be bad about a larger and more representative legislative body?
Last Wed a driver was enraged that I crossed NE Holladay and 11th in the lane* and tried to side-swipe me to teach me a lesson.
This kind of behavior has been my commute to work reality for the past two years. I’ve become completely numb to violent behavior by drivers. I don’t react, I don’t say anything and I don’t smile/wave/gesticulate because I expect them to be like this. Road raging drivers own our streets.
*to avoid taking deeply-rutted street-car tracks at a bad angle in the rain
Yeah, amaizing isn’t it when people don’t follow the current laws. What a shocker isn’t it!
It’s too bad so many people advocate ignoring all those oh so inconvienant laws that EVERYONE should be following.
Good you didn’t get hurt.
Your claim that taking the lane was unlawful (and that I deserved what I got) is a good example of why following “the letter of the law” does nothing to change opinions about cycling. Even when people cycle according to the letter of the law, SUV/Truck/(car)-heads often believe the “biker” violated the law and that they should be punished, threatened, and/or “taught a lesson”.
Exiting the bike lane at this location is perfectly legal:
The problem is tractor trailers driving thru town. They’re not delivering anything that needs a truck that big. Cargo needs to be off loaded to vans and smaller trucks for delivery
Compounded by the presence of numerous busy highway interchanges in the inner city where they simply don’t belong.
I saw a car take a right turn against a red turn signal across a bike path with a green bike light and I have a hard time blaming him despite the fact that this is a very dangerous move to get in the habit of doing. This occurred heading east on Powell just before 122nd. He didn’t wait long before turning against the light, but there was not a bicycle in sight and minimal traffic on a Saturday morning. Of course I have to add that on a Friday night at about 9:30 heading south on N Greeley, I witnessed a vehicle waiting at a red turn signal light to turn right into the Adidas lot for the whole time his car was in my view, more than 10 seconds I believe, without a bicycle (or car) in sight.
These lights need to be adjusted to let cars go when there are no bicycles on the paths, or there are going to be cases in which a frustrated driver turns into a bicyclist that is in their blind spot when they check their mirror before running the light.
Note: I am not sure if the driver on SE Division slowed down for the red light before turning or was just being cautious before crossing the bike lane. With two green lights for the through traffic and the green light for the bike lane while checking your mirrors for cyclists it would be easy to miss the red arrow if you aren’t expecting it. Many drivers may never have seen this setup before.
I think the traffic lights at Adidas are a mess. Traffic on Greeley should not be so disrupted by vehicles coming and going from their lots and garages, and I totally agree with your thoughts about red light fatigue.
The problem is a lack of enforcement of our laws. No consequences = bad behavior.
Ditto in Tigard. New housing development sprung up nearby, and with that, sidewalks and bike lanes where before, were none. My understanding is, the addition of sidewalks and bike lanes is one of the requirements for housing developers. It’s called “complete streets.” Having dedicated lanes was a great addition!
But the tenants of the large apartment complex across the street saw the widened street + bike lanes as a handy place to park their cars. The entire stretch of bike path was filled with cars as soon as it was completed. I called it in to the non-emergency number for several consecutive days. Days led to a few weeks. Police placed warnings on each car.
Unfortunately, I got tired of calling in and just gave up (apathy). I figured if the persons responsible don’t have a change of heart towards the need to park elsewhere, it’s pointless. I spoke with a few of the tenants smoking on the curb and they said “we need the parking space; bikers need to just go around.” Okey-dokey. Business as usual for Tigard.
are citizen initiated petitions an option in these circumstances?