PBOT wants your feedback on bike-friendly speed bumps

(Photo: City of Portland)

On Friday, the City of Portland published a website and launched a survey to garner more public feedback on bike-friendly speed bumps. Depending on what they hear, they might change the design of the bumps, or decide they aren’t worth the trouble.

The site comes just a few days after our story about the bumps that pointed out the wide variety of opinions on the treatment and how many riders are confused by them. Ever since the transportation bureau first installed these on southeast Clinton in 2018, we’ve heard from people who love them and people who hate them.

PBOT has heard those opinions too. Now they want help to make the bumps as effective as possible — or determine if they should keep installing them at all. “Speed bumps are one tool to maintain low speeds, but they can also be inconvenient to people biking, potentially discouraging more bicycle trips,” reads their website.

Now you know! (Source: PBOT)

PBOT also wants to clear up confusion about how bike-friendly bumps differ from emergency vehicle-friendly bumps. The giveaway is this: If they are intended for emergency vehicles they’ll have three channels — including one in the centerline of the roadway. Bike-friendly ones have just two channels.

The survey asks riders if they prefer going over the hump or through the channel. They also have a question to gauge opinions on whether or not the 10% increase in cost associated with the bike-friendly bumps is worth the benefits.

In addition to the survey, PBOT says they will do field-testing and observations about how the bumps are being used.

Check PBOT’s new website and take the survey here. (Below is a new PBOT map showing bike-friendly speed bump locations.)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Daniel Reimer
11 months ago

I’d rather all the money from speed bumps go into traffic diverters. Sharing greenways with cars still suck even if the cars are going slow. Almost all the greenways are on a grid street layout with alternatives for cars. PBOT needs to re-evalute the target goal for the maximum amount of cars on greenways.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

I disagree. Many streets *need* speed-calming, and there are many parts of Portland (like Southwest) that have very few through-routes, so diverters would never work in those locations (SW Portland already has diverters in the form of an incomplete grid).

Daniel Reimer
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred

I’m in SW too. The incomplete grid in SW results in few options for cars and bikes, often requiring using arterials as the only way to get from point A to point B (and why I don’t think greenways as a concept work as well here). There are only a couple greenways in this part of town and I can say I’ve ridden every single one of them. You can easily put a diverter at SW 50th and Pendelton, SW 52th and Texas, etc… without overly inconveniencing drivers. We need to make it clear to drivers that these greenways are for bicyclists and to make it as unfriendly as possible to drive more than a block on.

Yes, traffic calming is always needed, but I do not believe speed bumps should be PBOTs first tool they reach for.

Solar Eclipse
Solar Eclipse
11 months ago

Thumbs up for the bike friendly as I use them with my truck whenever no one else is coming from the other direction.

Chris I
Chris I
11 months ago
Reply to  Solar Eclipse

And many do the same thing even when someone (especially a cyclist) IS coming the other way.

soren
soren
11 months ago

PBOT should stop installing speed bumps/tables and instead install inexpensive sewer barrel diverters every 2-3 blocks on all greenways.

cMckone
cMckone
11 months ago
Reply to  soren

This. I see cars driving 20+ blocks on Greenways all the time

dw
dw
11 months ago

I’m pretty agnostic on the speed bumps. They aren’t anywhere as bad as the actual pavement that is torn up and poorly patched seemingly every month for sewer/water work.

KC
KC
11 months ago

Emergency vehicle bumps are the most interesting game of car chicken I witness, both vehicles shooting to get their wheels through the center gap before hitting head on.

idlebytes
idlebytes
11 months ago

Wait the two channel ones are for bikes only? Why the hell would they put them at the same distance as a large SUVs wheel base then? They could have spread them out further or put them closer to discourage all that terrible driving. The ones on Harrison are completely ineffective at best. More likely they’re actually worse than nothing since it encourages dangerous driving.

KC
KC
11 months ago
Reply to  idlebytes

I put that comment on my survey, the spacing just causes cars to drive down the middle of the road. I rather not have them at all if the cutouts are used by cars.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  idlebytes

My reaction also. Why make bikes swerve into the travel lane to use these channels? They were obviously designed by people who don’t ride bikes.

clay
clay
11 months ago

C’mon, are we really supposed to believe these are intended to be “bike-friendly” when they just so happen to be cut to the width of most motor vehicle wheelbases and placed in the middle of the right of way instead of the middle of the lane? No one likes riding over speed bump, so of course cuts are preferred. But it’s implausible that these existing cuts are primarily directed to convenience cyclists. They’re for motorists. If they were for cyclists they would be in the center of the lane, not force me to get within a couple feet of oncoming cars. They would be spaced apart further than a car’s wheelbase.

cc_Rider
cc_Rider
11 months ago

The bumps on Fessenden are ’emergency’ bumps, not ‘bike’ bumps. In fact, if you ride in the bike lane you have to hit the speed bump while motorists get to swerve in and out of their lane to go through the spacers

squareman
squareman
11 months ago

Speed humps increase the topological entropy of the road. Putting slices through them greatly up that topological complexity – and why we see cars swerving for them. They’re not serving anyone well.

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
11 months ago

I have back problems and find riding through the channel of the bike-friendly design vastly more comfortable than going over the hump, especially on a stiff and heavy Biketown bike. Although I agree that diverters would be a better use of traffic calming resources.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago

I actually like them as a cyclist, especially when riding downhill, but find the SUV grooves are (perhaps unsurprisingly) less effective for actually slowing down traffic.

And then there’s those satanic monstrosities on NE 28th, which are the work of the devil. I wish PBOT would acknowledged its error and fix the damn things.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
11 months ago

I love them – unequivocally. I ride Clinton, Davis, Lincoln, Alameda all on a regular basis and have zero issues with them as a cyclists. The new ones on Alameda have had a quick and noticeable effect on driver speed there. So yes, more please. And for those who see speedbumps and diverters as a binary choice, I vote both. We should be spending a higher percentage of transportation dollars on bike infrastructure anyway – there’s nothing wrong with cyclists asking for more.