bike lanes

Proposed bill would clarify definition of bike lanes in Oregon

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on December 19th, 2018 at 10:19 am

The legal protection doesn’t end where the striping does.

A local lawyer wants to amend an existing state law so that Oregon judges can no longer decide that a bicycle rider’s legal right-of-way disappears in an intersection.
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PBOT will move forward with new bikeway, bus-only lane on SE Morrison

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on August 3rd, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Before and after.

Changes coming to Southeast Morrison will create a new protected bikeway, bus-only lane, safer crossings and better access for freight vehicles between Grand and 12th. Belmont will also get a new bikeway to fill the existing gap between Grand and 7th.
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City seeks input on plan for bike lanes on inner Morrison and Belmont

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on June 28th, 2017 at 8:30 am

Looking eastbound on SE Morrison near SE 8th. The lane on the right would be eliminated to make room for a protected bike lane.

Looking to improve safety and bicycle network connectivity in the central eastside, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is proposing a new protected bike lane on Southeast Morrison between Grand and 11th and a new bike lane on Belmont between Grand and 7th.

Morrison, which runs westbound toward the Willamette River, is designed as a couplet with eastbound Belmont. But for some strange reason (anyone know the history here?), there’s one eastbound lane on Morrison for the six blocks between Grand and 11th.

In a notice to nearby residents and business owners sent out earlier this month, PBOT asked for feedback for a new configuration that would shift the striping on Morrison, remove this eastbound lane, and add a protected bike lane. In addition, the project would re-stripe Belmont from Grand to 7th to add an eastbound bike lane.
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First look: The tiny (yet important) cycle-track on SW Terwilliger at Capitol Highway

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 3rd, 2017 at 11:17 am

New bikeway SW Terwilliger and Cap Hwy-1.jpg

It might not look like much, but it makes a big difference.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“The changes are a big improvement.”
— Barbara Stedman, southwest Portland resident

Slowly but surely, the City of Portland is improving bikeways in southwest. Case in point are the recently completed changes to the intersection of SW Capitol Highway and Terwilliger (a.k.a the “teardrop”).

People who ride in this area know the intersection well because it was a common place for close-calls. I experienced this first-hand during a ride-along with a southwest Portland family in 2012 (see photo below). The curvature of the road, mixed with the unprotected bike lane was a bad combination. Fortunately a Portland Water Bureau project provided the impetus to finally fix the bikeway and make something much safer (and we were fortunate that a volunteer advocate spoke up to make sure it happened – thanks Keith Liden!).

Before I share more photos of the new bikeway, here’s how it used to look (note the pinch-point and how the younger rider opts wisely for the sidewalk):[Read more…]

PBOT will extend Naito Parkway bike lanes into NW industrial area

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 24th, 2017 at 8:54 am

The new Field Office development on NW Front between 15th and 17th will come with new bike lanes.
(Graphics courtesy City of Portland)

The catalyst for this project is the Field Office development just north of the Fremont Bridge.

Last April we highlighted the massive potential for cycling in the northwest industrial area — a place with thousands of jobs, burgeoning residential and office development, and lots of wide streets.

Now, thanks to the ongoing building boom along the Willamette River north of the Fremont Bridge, the City of Portland will create nearly a mile of new bikeways to connect the area’s new residents and employees to the rest of the city.

The new bike lanes will connect to existing ones that currently end at NW Naito Parkway and 9th. From 9th to NW 15th, PBOT will reconfigure the roadway from its existing five standard travel lanes to three standard lanes (one lane in each direction and a center turn lane), two buffered bike lanes and an auto parking lane.
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In SF, Uber’s robot cars follow Oregon law and bike advocates are very afraid

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 6th, 2017 at 9:51 am

Graphic from the SF Bicycle Coalition. In Oregon, the opposite is true — the image on the left is “correct” and the right is “wrong.”

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is so afraid of how Uber’s autonomous vehicles take right turns at intersections that they’ve posted a warning for bike riders and have started a petition to force the company to end the practice.

Interestingly, the dangerous maneuver being made by Uber-bots is exactly what Oregon law requires — and what Portland’s chief bike planner prefers.

Here’s the deal:
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First look: New raised bikeway on Couch curve at Burnside bridgehead

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 29th, 2016 at 2:59 pm

New raised bikeway on Couch Curve-13.jpg

PBOT has given riders a raise on Couch as it winds onto the Burnside Bridge.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

For years now the Portland Bureau of Transportation has tried to keep people from driving into the bike lane on the Couch curve at the eastern end Burnside Bridge. They’ve used buffer stripes, reflectors with LEDs inside them, and even rumble bumps — all without much success.

The curve. Note that the vacant lot on the right will soon be a new office building.

The curve. Note that the vacant lot on the right will soon be a new office building.

Have they finally figured it out?

Their latest attempt is a new concrete surface that’s raised a few inches above the adjacent roadway and that looks more like a sidewalk than a vehicle lane. We reported on this back in June and took a closer look at the finished product yesterday.

This section of Couch is a high-volume bikeway (especially during morning rush-hour) that collects traffic from inner southeast and northeast neighborhoods and then feeds right into Old Town/Chinatown via the Burnside Bridge. The road cross-section includes two standard vehicle lanes along with this new bike lane (which is the standard width of about five or six feet). Due to the curves (a design that was agreed upon in order to make the lot on the northwest corner of MLK and Burnside as large as possible for development), long buses and trucks need plenty of room to maneuver (see photo below).

The raised bike lane begins right at the start of the “s” curve after Couch crosses Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Bicycle users take a gradual ramp onto the lane and there’s a mountable curb with a very slight angle between the bike lane and the standard lane. Between the bike lane and the sidewalk there’s a three-inch curb that isn’t rounded at all. The width of the bike lane isn’t wide enough for side-by-side riding and, as local urban planner Nick Falbo pointed out on Twitter last week, it’s barely wide enough for a freight delivery bike.

Before we share more feedback and images, it’s important to know the urban context at this location. The area around the Couch curve has, quite literally, grown up a lot in the past few years. In every direction there are new developments that have brought hundreds of new residential units and well over 100,000 square feet of office and retail space. That means the future demand for space on adjacent public spaces (which includes streets) will grow considerably in the years to come.


It seems crazy to me that we have two lanes of motor vehicle traffic bisecting a thriving new neighborhood in our central city; but I digress.

The good news is that the raised bike lane and all the development have already slowed road users down. That’s a natural reaction to the built environment that we hope continues.

As for the new bike lane design, it’s a nice step forward. We’d love to see physical separation, but making the bike lane a different color and texture than the other lanes and raising it up a few inches is an improvement. One puzzling thing about the design is how the mountable curb is between the standard vehicle lanes and bike lanes, instead of between the bike lane and the sidewalk. This means people on bikes who want to pass will leave the (relative) safety of the bike-only lane and enter a lane shared with motor vehicles — instead of using the sidewalk.

The issue we’ve heard a lot about since this new bike lane was installed is the big puddle that has formed where it transitions back onto the Burnside Bridge (see photo below). The puddle was still there on Monday and the people I observed left the bike lane to go around it. This puddle needs to be fixed.

Here are more photos…

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Another thing to keep in mind is that there will soon be a new, carfree road that connects to the Couch curve from NE 3rd Avenue. This will create a potential conflict point where people on bicycles merge from the new road onto the existing bike lane. As with all the changes around the east side of the Burnside Bridge, we’ll be watching that closely.

Have you ridden this new raised lane? What do you think? Would you like to see more of them in the central city?

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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City testing ‘rumble bars’ to prevent encroachment into NE Couch bike lane

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 8th, 2016 at 2:09 pm

New buffer bumps on Couch at E Burnside-1.jpg

New rumble bars added to Couch bike lane approaching Burnside Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oh, if we could just get people to not drive in bike lanes. We’ve tried nearly everything (except for concrete barriers): First there was white paint, then blue paint, then green paint, then parked cars, then more white paint, then flexible plastic bollards, then solar-powered LED lights. And now Portland’s Bureau of Transportation is testing ‘rumble bars’.

The new bars have just been installed on the infamous s-curve on NE Couch as it approaches the east end of the Burnside Bridge. They’re about a foot wide, spaced a foot apart, and stand about one-inch high. PBOT has installed them only on the curved portion of the Couch bike lane — a segment of roadway that has raised bike safety concerns since the day it opened.
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What the heck is going on with the 26th Avenue bike lanes?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 7th, 2016 at 2:46 pm


SE 26th Avenue looking south toward Powell.

Is the City of Portland, newly anointed “Biketown”, really going to remove a bike lane because our state department of transportation said it would improve safety?

That story we reported yesterday has sparked outrage, confusion, and frustration — all completely reasonable reactions to the idea of removing a bike lane in order to make biking safer. While we work to clarify the details and get to the bottom of what’s really going on (weaving the different communications from city officials and state officials together into one coherent whole is proving more complicated than expected), I thought I’d share what two notable Portland bike advocates think about the idea.
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City gives in to state demand to remove bike lanes from SE 26th Avenue

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on January 6th, 2016 at 11:32 am

26th powell crowd in bike box

10 a.m. southbound bike traffic at 26th and Powell.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Two of southeast Portland’s most-ridden bike lanes are slated to be removed at the insistence of the state of Oregon.

The bike lanes on each side of Southeast 26th Avenue near Powell draw something like 600 to 800 people per day (even in winter) and run in front of Cleveland High School. They will be paved over sometime in the coming months and not replaced, the Oregon Department of Transportation said last week.

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