beaverton hillsdale highway

First look: City restripes bikeway at busy SW Bertha, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway intersection

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent) by on September 27th, 2021 at 11:30 am

New bicycle crossing enhancement at the intersection of SW Bertha Blvd and Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. (photos: Lisa Caballero/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is making bold changes to the intersection of SW Bertha Blvd and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in an attempt to finally bring clarity to this tricky location. The area has seen many crashes over the years, and also a couple of modest attempts to improve its safety. But it remained a clunky, high-stress location for people on bicycles, and also for some drivers.

With a liberal dollop of white paint, and a re-configuration of the green—and with the forthcoming addition of bicycle “detection and advanced activated warning lights”—PBOT seeks to significantly improve the safety and comfort of bicycle riders going eastbound on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.

The intersection before improvements.


A northbound Bertha driver sits at an incline before executing a left turn onto Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.

The unsignalized intersection is difficult for both riders and drivers because of topography. A driver heading uphill on Bertha approaches the left turn onto Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy like a pilot making an instrument landing—you can’t see your target until you commit to reaching it. The photo at right shows an SUV waiting on Bertha below the Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy grade. At that distance and incline a driver in a sedan would not be able to see the dedicated lane into which they are turning. That poor sight line causes some drivers inexperienced with the intersection to wait unnecessarily for both directions of Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy to clear before executing their turn. This leads to a lot of horn-honking from the line of cars in back of them. Even for those familiar with the set-up, it’s not an easy maneuver.

Amid this stress, it unfortunately does not occur to some drivers to look for a cyclist to their left. This is what happened in a 2012 bicycle/car crash reported by BikePortland. (Take a peek at this ten-year-old article for a blast to the past, it mentions the Red Electric Trail as a low-stress alternative route and that “last we heard, funding and construction of the project are to start this year.”)

Before improvements, the extended conflict zone between eastbound bike lane and right-turns onto Bertha. (source: Google maps)

For eastbound bike riders, this intersection is a gauntlet toward the end of a long climb. As you can see in the “before” photo above, riders and right-turning drivers shared an extended conflict zone.

The new design installed just last Friday shortens the conflict zone by adding a large white chevroned buffer which serves to “rationalize” the right turn onto Bertha.

Driver mistakenly uses the buffer separating the right-turn lane and the bicycle lane as a turn lane.

By the next day, the roadblocks and cones were gone, and the intersection was open for use. Apparently the new configuration will take some getting used to for a few drivers. The driver in the photo above decided their sweet spot was on top of the buffer, with the right turn lane to their left. Subsequent drivers played follow-the-leader with this driver’s errant right-turn path. Fortunately, most drivers had no problem interpreting the markings.

I don’t know if plastic wands or curbs will be installed at a later date, and the “Bike crossing: SW Beaverton-Hillsdale & Bertha Blvd project” does not have a published plan on the Southwest in Motion Crossing Enhancements website. If buffer-driving continues to be a problem, PBOT should consider beefing-up the buffer with a curb.

This new design looks a lot safer, and a sensor and warning lights should make it even better. Do you commute along Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy? Have you ridden this? What’s your first take?

Lisa Caballero

— Lisa Caballero,
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Step by step, streets in Hillsdale have become safer

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent) by on February 23rd, 2021 at 3:47 pm

Looking west on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy early the Sunday morning after Christmas–no cars! The new bicycle and pedestrian lanes, with raised curb protection, are part of the B-H Hwy safety demonstration project. Speed safety cameras in distance. (Photo: Lisa Caballero/Bike Portland)

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After years of delay, Portland will build Red Electric Trail bridge

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 12th, 2021 at 1:55 pm

Conceptual renderings supplied by City of Portland.[Read more…]

City’s first speed camera already having major impact

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 23rd, 2016 at 10:22 am

This SUV was caught by Portland's new speed camera going 72 mph in a 40 mph zone.(Photo: (PBOT)

This SUV was caught by Portland’s new speed camera going 72 mph in a 40 mph zone. View a video of it below.
(Photo: (PBOT)

Oregon’s first speed camera has had a very busy first month. And that’s great news for fans of safer streets.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation installed the camera on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway on August 25th. It’s been issuing only warning since then but the agency announced this morning that as of tomorrow (9/24) the warnings end and the citations begin.

If the first month is any indication, the camera will be a huge success (unless people don’t mind getting tickets). PBOT says the presence of the camera (and associated signage) has already reduced top-end speeding by 93 percent (more stats below).
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30-day jail sentence handed down for drunken hit-and-run in SW Portland

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 21st, 2014 at 10:24 am


Lisa Vesely after her arrest back in July.

A woman who drove her car recklessly while drunk, then rear-ended two other road users, only to drive away and leave them lying in the street with serious injuries was sentenced to just 30 days in jail on Tuesday.

The incident happened back in July when 32-year old Lisa Vesely was arrested for Assault, DUII, and Reckless Endangerment. Vesely was driving her car east on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway when she swerved into Cameron Duff and Jasmine Zamora. The pair were headed home from training at the Alpenrose Velodrome. Zamora, 30, sustained serious back and neck injuries while Duff, 25, escaped with only cuts and bruises.

Vesely claimed she didn’t even know she hit anyone, yet a police statement at the time said she drove back to the scene of the crime, only to drive away again before being arrested at her home. It’s worth noting that Vesely had a blood alcohol level of .17, which is twice the legal limit.[Read more…]

Woman arrested after hit-and-run injures two riders on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 21st, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Intersection of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and 50th.

The Portland Police Bureau have arrested a woman who drove her car into two people that were bicycling on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway Saturday night.

30-year-old Jasmine Zamora and 25-year-old Cameron Duff were riding home from a track race at at Alpenrose Dairy when the collision occurred. Zamora is active in the local track racing scene. She had won the Women’s Pursuit race at the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge on Friday.

Zamora and Duff were traveling west east on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway between 50th and 45th (we have conflicting reports on the exact intersection) when 32-year-old Lisa Lynn Vesely drove her car into them then drove away without stopping.
[Read more…]