Bike box coming to fatal crash site as part of ‘critical fixes’ to 82nd Ave

Riding on SE Flavel eastbound toward 82nd Ave. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
Lydia Johnson (Photo: Johnson Family)

On the morning of July 30th, 2016, 25-year-old Lydia Johnson was biking eastbound on Southeast Flavel Street. As she came to the intersection with 82nd Avenue, Joel Silva was driving a large box truck in the same direction. When he got to 82nd, Silva turned his truck right, collided with Johnson, and she was killed.

I visited the site a few days later and observed how the narrow, unprotected bike lane got pinched by driver after right-turning driver. It made me sick to think that another right-hook claimed another life.

Seven years later, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will install a bike box at this intersection. It’s a treatment first used locally in 2008 after a spate of right-hook tragedies. Bike boxes don’t add physical protection, but they give bike riders a safe space to wait in front of drivers during red signal phases and the green coloring and buffer sends a signal to drivers that they should use caution while turning.

The bike box coming to SE Flavel and 82nd is just one of several striping and signage updates PBOT is doing as part of their $80 million “critical fixes” project. This particular chunk of work is funded with a $750,000 federal grant and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this summer. In addition to Flavel, as part of this project, PBOT will install bike boxes at SE Woodstock and SE Duke streets. They’ll also update street signage and provide spot fixes to existing median islands to improve visibility.

Recently installed high-visibility crosswalk at SE 82nd and Foster. (Photo: PBOT)

This week, PBOT also began installation of high-visibility crosswalks (above) at 21 signalized intersections along 82nd Ave between SE Foster and NE Lombard. “High-visibility crosswalks (sometimes called “continental-style” crosswalks) have thick lines parallel to traffic flow that allow drivers to see the crosswalk from further away,” PBOT said in a project email today.

Once the most urgent repairs are made, PBOT will move into the next phase of the project. As per their 82nd Avenue Civic Corridor Investment Strategy, PBOT will invest $105 million into more safety and maintenance projects, efforts to mitigate displacement impacts, and future transit planning.

These updates come after PBOT took over ownership of 82nd from the Oregon Department of Transportation in April 2022.

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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Bjorn
Bjorn
7 months ago

Another safety improvement that often accompanies the green bike boxes is no right turn on red, I hope we will see here.

Ujkl
Ujkl
7 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

It would be nice to see some enforcement of no turn on red rules, as well. I’ve seen compliance dwindle to absurdly low levels in parts of Portland that are far less auto centric than 82nd. I would guess that compliance would be nonexistent in this area without constant police presence.

dw
dw
7 months ago
Reply to  Ujkl

As someone who commutes east of 82nd and sees close to zero compliance with “No Turn on Red” from drivers, I agree. Even just stationing a police officer there for a couple days to pull people over and issue warnings and explain why no turn on red exists for the particular intersection. If they do it again they get a ticket.

bjorn
bjorn
7 months ago
Reply to  Ujkl

seems like something that should be fairly easy to automate, that should be automated.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
7 months ago
Reply to  Ujkl

We should rescind “right on red” everywhere. It is a prime example of putting motor vehicle expedience over public safety. When right on red is NEVER allowed, it is safer for pedestrians and bicyclists AND other motorists (we’ve all seen motor vehicles swing into a lane when there really isn’t a safe time to do so given oncoming traffic, just to seize their “right” to turn right on red, so that the traffic that had the right-of-way has to hit the brakes to avoid the right-hand-turner). If right on red is prohibited at ALL intersections, there is likely to be better compliance, or at least easier enforcement, than the current situation in which right on red is allowed at most intersections, so that NOT being allowed to turn right on red is a rare exception.

dw
dw
7 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

I always figured that instead of saying “ban right on red” we should frame it as “protected right turns”.

Fred
Fred
7 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

I agree, Lois. I was driving a rented car in Germany recently and at a red light I asked my German passenger if I could turn right on red. He just laughed: there’s no “right on red” in Germany – and probably most other advanced nations. But in the US we allow car and truck drivers to slaughter cyclists and pedestrians, just to save a minute or 30 seconds. That’s the truth of the situation.

KC
KC
7 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

And timing the walk signal before traffic signal (don’t know the official name). I and pretty much every other cyclist has realized that starting to pedal when the pedestrian signal triggers is another way to safely get in front of the car as they still have a red.

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
7 months ago
Reply to  KC

“Leading pedestrian interval” is the term. And I think cyclists should be allowed to use the pedestrian signal as you say. If that’s not the in the code it should be changed to permit that.

Hotrodder
Hotrodder
7 months ago
Reply to  Max S (Wren)

As a cyclist I’ve been using the extra seconds since I first noticed it was a thing. I don’t feel the need to wait until its in the code, or allowed. Seems like a no-brainer.

Wren
Wren
7 months ago
Reply to  Hotrodder

Oh definitely. I would just prefer to have something I could point to if got ticketed.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  Wren

Swing over and ride in the crosswalk. That should be legal — you’ve magically transformed into a pedestrian.

dw
dw
7 months ago
Reply to  KC

Leading Pedestrian Interval, I think.

Michael
Michael
7 months ago
Reply to  KC

“Leading pedestrian interval” or “LPI” is the term of art for traffic engineers.

aquaticko
aquaticko
7 months ago
Reply to  KC

It’s called a leading pedestrian interval, and yes, it seems like it should be the standard for all traffic signals.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
7 months ago
Reply to  KC

Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI).

These should be rapidly installed at every arterial signaled intersection but PBOT is dragging their feet on implementing this inexpensive and life-saving improvement.

PBOT should also seek to change state law so that people cycling are allowed to use pedestrian signals to cross. Currently, it’s illegal for someone cycling in the roadway to cross on a LPI signal.

Fred
Fred
7 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

There’s a five-way intersection at SW 45th / SW Multnomah / SW Maplewood that has the most interesting new signal timing:

When traffic heading north on 45th gets a green light, the light stays green for about ten seconds and then turns to red again whenever the right-hand crosswalk signal on Multnomah is activated. About five seconds later the same light turns green again, allowing traffic to cross the intersection on 45th, when a person is already in the crosswalk, I guess.

The only bad thing about this signalization is that drivers panic and gun it through the intersection when they realize the light is turning red after ten seconds – not realizing it will turn green again after a short pause. After all, thou shalt remember ODOT’s / PBOT’s first commandment:

“Thou driver shalt never, ever, ever be slowed down for any reason. Throughput shalt rule over all other needs.”

Nick
Nick
7 months ago
Reply to  KC

leading pedestrian interval I think

Jeff S
Jeff S
7 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

it *always* accompanies it, so we’ll see it here.

dw
dw
7 months ago

Does anyone know if the “Wait Here” stop lines for bike boxes are legally binding? As in, could someone driving theoretically get cited for waiting in the bike box? I really do like bike boxes as a cost-effective and quick solution for improving intersection safety but I see probably 15-20% of drivers completely ignore them. It would only take a few people getting tickets for word to spread that you have to wait behind the line.

kbrosnan
kbrosnan
7 months ago
Reply to  dw

They should be counted as stop lines which are defined in ORS 811.260 section 7 and mentioned in the DMV test prep guide.

Steady circular red signal. A driver facing a steady circular red signal light alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. The driver shall remain stopped until a green light is shown except when the driver is permitted to proceed under ORS 811.360 (Vehicle turns permitted at stop light).

From 811.360 section 5

The offense described in this section, improperly proceeding at a stop light, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §628; 1997 c.507 §7; 2003 c.278 §7; 2005 c.746 §3; 2011 c.168 §2; 2015 c.147 §1]

From Schedule of Fines on Violations 2021

Standard Class B violation Presumptive: 265. Min: 135. Max: 1000.

Special Zone (school, roadwork, safety corridor) Presumptive: 525. Min: 135. Max 1000.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  kbrosnan

You should probably include 811.360 (3), which describes what constitutes “improperly proceeding”. It’s not at all clear that stopping (which is not proceeding) at an improper location is covered. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

A person commits the offense of improperly proceeding at a stop light if the person does any of the following while proceeding as described in this section:

(a)Fails to stop at the light as required.

(b)Fails to exercise caution to avoid an accident.

(c)Disobeys the directions of another traffic control device, other than the device described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, or a police officer that prohibits the driver, motorcyclist or bicyclist from proceeding.

(d)Fails to yield the right of way to traffic lawfully within the intersection or approaching so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard.

https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_811.360

360Skeptic
360Skeptic
7 months ago

Entrenching the truism that PBOT acts after someone dies (or at least loses a limb).

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
7 months ago
Reply to  360Skeptic

7 years later!!! What a joke.

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
7 months ago

If the utter failure of the N. Williams Ave. remodel doesn’t say it all, this is just more evidence that PBOT is not serious about road safety.