Signs and Signals
Slowly but surely, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is claiming Naito Parkway as a major bike corridor — and improving access between Waterfront Park and downtown in the process.
First they took Better Naito under their wing, and now they’ve flipped the switch on new bike-only signals that create a lower-stress connection between NW Davis and the Steel Bridge. The $166,000 project was funded by the Fix Our Streets program.
We hinted at this new connection — and Naito’s larger role in PBOT’s downtown bikeway plans — back in May. I checked it all out yesterday just hours after the signal was activated.
Here’s what I observed.
We’ve been writing for a few months about Portland’s application for $40 million in federal funds that could make it easier to combine services like bike sharing, TriMet, Lyft and so on into a single system of multimodal mobility.
But we haven’t been talking much about another important aspect of Portland’s grant: millions of dollars for connecting vehicles to improve safety.
As city leaders prepare for a personal pitch on Wednesday to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the Portland Bureau of Transportation held a “Connected City Expo” Monday to show off many of the companies that could be bringing their knowhow to a Smart City award here in Portland.
The City of Portland wants you to get more green lights when cycling around the city and now’s your chance to help them do it.
Some days it’s impossible not to love the City of Portland, where transportation geekery and fun often intersect in memorable ways.
Remember that new signal at NW 11th and Couch we told you about last week? To celebrate it’s activation the bureau of transportation is hosting a dance. A barn dance to be exact. And it will happen in the intersection.
(Image from Bureau of Development Services application)
Turns out that managers of Waterfront Park aren’t the only ones who want to keep fast-moving bicycle riders away from their paths.
The transportation agencies at the City of Portland and the State of Oregon want users of bicycles to have more success in triggering green lights at intersections.
At ODOT there’s concern that the passage of SB 533 might create dangerous situations. That bill, signed into law by Governor Kate Brown on May 21st, allows people riding bicycles and motorcycles to proceed through a red light if they’re undetected after one cycle. At PBOT, they also want to increase the number of people who know how to trigger green lights after a 2013 study showed half of Portland’s bike riders don’t know how to use the existing sensors.
The pavement marking to the right, which is supposed to tell people where to place the wheels of their bike to trigger a green light, is illegible to about half of Portland bikers, a new study (PDF) finds.
Even worse: Those figures don’t include many people who rarely ride, suggesting that interminable red lights are a particular burden on new bike riders.
Stefan Bussey, a PSU civil engineering student who conducted the survey, said he came up with the idea when he noticed that people ahead of him at the long Seven Corners traffic signals on Southeast Division would regularly stop a few feet away from the traffic signal stencil.
“It would happen three or four times a week,” Bussey said.
Bussey’s research confirmed it: even in Portland, about 55 percent of bicycle riders surveyed don’t know the meaning of the pavement marking.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) activated a bike-only signal yesterday at the northwest intersection of NE Lloyd Blvd and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.[Read more…]
One unsung area where Portland is doing some very cool stuff for bicycling is with traffic signals and “ITS” — which stands for Intelligent Transportation Systems. The field of ITS encompasses all sorts of high-tech ways to make our streets smarter. From sensing vehicle patterns with RFID, to software that manages complex signal systems.
Around Portland, some of the most innovative examples of traffic engineering fall under this category. ITS is how PBOT managed to improve bike access on the NE 12th overcrossing without upsetting nearby freight-dependent businesses. It’s also how they dealt with the notorious right hooks on Broadway at Williams (with bike-only signals).[Read more…]