Flexible plastic posts re-installed on NE 57th bike lane

Views of NE 57th Ave near NE Failing. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has replaced nearly two dozen plastic flex-posts that were uprooted from their place in the buffer zone of the bike lane on Northeast 57th Avenue in the Cully neighborhood.

We posted about the missing protective materials in this important curved section of the bike lane between NE Failing and Fremont on Tuesday. And by the end of this past weekend, new posts had been installed. I went and took a look at them yesterday just for good measure and was happy to see new, bright, white posts where there were previously none. This bikeway needs all the help it can get while we wait another three years (at least) before the city builds a more robust solution with concrete curbs.

For their part, a PBOT comment on social media yesterday made it seem like they simply were unaware the posts were missing. “Thanks for making us aware of this,” they wrote in response to the BikePortland story. I appreciate that PBOT is using this as an opportunity to promote their complaint-driven system for keeping roads maintained, but I find it hard to believe no PBOT employees had noticed this situation in the past several months.

Regardless, I’m just happy PBOT responded and acted to fortify the bike lane a bit. I hope the posts do their job of encouraging more people to bike and walk and protecting them better while doing so — while also discouraging people to drive dangerously. Of course, if these plastic posts were tall concrete curbs, I wouldn’t have to hope!

On that note, a reader sent me a photo taken earlier this morning that showed a PBOT crew at the scene. I’m not sure if they were already replacing uprooted posts or what, but hopefully these new ones stick around a while and don’t waste too much PBOT time and resources re-installing them.

If you see missing posts or other maintenance issues or road hazards, please call PBOT’s 24/7 maintenance dispatch hotline at (503) 823-1700 or email pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov. “If it’s not reported, we may not know it needs to be fixed!” PBOT says.

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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David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 months ago

The ideal on both Naito and 57th would be to have posts that deter cars and are utterly worthless to metal thieves, for example concrete-filled plastic wands.

John V
John V
2 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

I’ve fantasized about ways one might guerilla retrofit existing wands that way… I don’t see an easy way one could just quickly do it. I also wonder if the weight would keep the posts (as designed) from standing up straight.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 months ago
Reply to  John V

A second idea I had was to design a plastic wand with an exploding paint bomb filled with that nasty brown paint that Metro gives out for free to anti-graffiti community groups. A car would hit the wand or candlestick, then it would explode with yucky brown latex paint all over the car’s body.

Vans
Vans
2 months ago

No expert and just thinking out loud but I would think they cannot be stout enough to do any real damage or cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle which is somewhat ludicrous since they are crossing a not imaginary line and may kill somebody in doing so.

The scare of liability seems to be the biggest deterrent to making any of this actually safer.

Phillip Barron
Phillip Barron
2 months ago

Sometimes, it feels like PBOT is just waiting for BikePortland to identify problems before they fix them. Isn’t it anyone’s job at PBOT to do their own maintenance surveys?

John V
John V
2 months ago
Reply to  Phillip Barron

It’s PBOT’s “BikePortland-driven system for keeping roads maintained”!

In this case, it sounds believable that they just didn’t know. Because it wasn’t a case of the posts just being slowly destroyed, they were all removed recently and deliberately by a work crew. Not that it’s a good excuse, but if not for that I wouldn’t think the posts would all be gone by now.

Whyat Lee
Whyat Lee
2 months ago

Jonathan Maus is singlehandedly keeping the bike infrastructure in Portland from falling apart.

EEE
EEE
2 months ago

Okay great. Can you we now get them back on NE Multnomah throughout the Lloyd district?

Also, there are many missing on NE Prescott in front of Rigler. Especially just east of 55th. With the jog in the WB lane and the fact that car drivers still can’t comprehend 25 mph, their absence is just asking for a car heading WB to slam into the 2-way cycle and pedestrian area just west of 55th on the north side of the street (perhaps that’s why they are all missing…).

Tom
Tom
2 months ago

So now when a driver veers into the bike lane, instead of killing a cyclist they’ll get their car tickled by a bendy straw while still killing a cyclist.

Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago

My 3 cents from afar, if you look at the before photos with the missing vertical delineators (and earlier article), there are four very likely reasons they failed prematurely, based on what I have seen of similar projects nationwide – due to the total failure of the unit (no base remains post contact attached to the ground):

the contractor installed them incorrectly (drilled out the shaft with a greater diameter than the screw and lag could handle);the contractor did not / was not required to use any supplementary adhesive between the base and the pavement [no residue on the bases];the wands were drilled, lagged, and tightened down before the asphalt had fulled hardened, thus too soft/ forgiving; orAll of the above.[Has any third party double checked to see if this installation had any inspection and passed final inspection by PBoT?]

I say this, as a very early proponent of deploying wands for protected bikeways (pre2010) – Our Industry (transportation planning and engineering) needs to step back and stop using plastic wands in facilities with higher vehicle speed + high physical force contact scenarios (curves and intersections). These tools should not leave the parking garage. Instead use lower profile devices with more ground surface contact like Zicla Zebras (interim pilots) or better yet go back to the future and use segmented preformed concrete curbing, [mini] jersey barriers, or super sized Bots Dots (with reflectors)..stuff that is still intact on many arterials after 50 years versus months.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

If that’s what you can do from afar, I shudder to think what you could do if you were here.

Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Mahalo! (I will try to cycle by this location during my family holiday visit…perhaps I will see something I missed.)

SURLY OGRE
SURLY OGRE
2 months ago

it seems PBOT pays more attention to the news than they do to 503-823-SAFE, 503-823-1700, or safe@portlandoregon.gov

Glenn
Glenn
2 months ago

These plastic posts make previously appealing streets look industrial, and as the posts inevitably get destroyed the streets look ghetto-like. I like a barrier, but wouldn’t yellow bumps be cheaper, longer lasting and more attractive? The bumps should be big enough and spaced appropriately to jarringly alert the driver at normal highway speed. With the posts we are making our city even uglier. Beaverton Hillsdale Highway once was pleasant, not now.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
2 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

I am somewhat reticent to generalize, but my take on the vast number of commenters here is that civic aesthetics are the furthest things from their minds. They would wrap the whole driving infrastructure in bubble-wrap if given half a chance.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
2 months ago

I hope everybody is prepared for the ‘not-so-gradual’ build-up of leaves and other debris around these wands. Because, that is what I see whenever non-standard dividers are put up in Bend. Street-cleaning crews are just not set up (time and equipment-wise) to clean around stuff like this. There are small dividers in my neighborhood that were put in 4 or 5 years ago and have NEVER been closely swept, so there is now 12″ of 4″ deep crud around them. It is both unsightly and dangerous (to bikes, not cars). The only way to truly clean these things would be a power washer or 20 minutes of stiff brush hand-work. This is in a City where we are lucky to get snow removal once per Winter. I suspect that Portland is similarly under-staffed. Be careful what you wish for.