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.
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?