See PBOT’s latest tweak to Broadway/Williams bike signal

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Broadway Williams Bike Signal-1

PBOT crew at work this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

A Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) signal operations crew was out at the new Broadway/Williams bike signal this morning. The new signal was installed on October 13th to try and decrease the amount of right-hook collisions that have plagued the intersection for several years.

After over two months, even after some initial tweaks to make it work better, some motor vehicle operators are still not complying with the “no right turn on red” sign.

At issue is a curbside bike lane that is to the right of two right-turn only lanes. PBOT’s new bike signal gives the bike lane its own green light, but the problem is that people in the right-turn only lanes would see the green indicator and assume it was for them — and then make an illegal turn that put non-motorized traffic in danger.

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PBOT: Changes coming to new bike signal on Broadway

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This morning, crews stood at the
signal to make sure people knew
it was there.
(Photo: Kristin Bott)

As I reported yesterday, the new bike signals installed on Broadway at N. Williams have been turned on. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite ready for prime time and there were safety concerns that became apparent once everything went live. This morning, PBOT shared a list of changes they plan to make at the intersection immediately.

The issue of most concern to PBOT was that road users (mostly people on bikes) were not aware of the new bike signal. This is serious, because with the bike lane now to the right of two right-turn lanes, there’s potential for collisions if people do not comply with the signals (learn more about how the new signal works in this post).

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PBOT: Broadway/Williams bike signal coming next week

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The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has just announced details on their project to make the notoriously dangerous Broadway/Williams intersection safer for bike traffic.

PBOT’s solution revolves around a new, bike-only traffic signal. Learn more about the City’s plans in our report last month. The new signal and lane re-striping is slated for installation by next week. Read the press release from PBOT below for more details:

New Bike signal at N Broadway, Williams is part of traffic redesign

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First look at City’s final plans for Broadway/Williams

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Existing conditions at Broadway/Williams

N Broadway and Williams, one of Portland’s most dangerous intersections to ride a bike through, is finally going to be addressed. No, this isn’t just another drill. This is actually going to happen. Bureau of Transportation spokesperson Dan Anderson confirmed today that the project — which includes lane re-striping and a bike-only traffic signal — should be completed by the end of October.

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Checking in on five languishing bike projects

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N. Rosa Parks Way at I-5-1

A plan to make N. Rosa Parks Way
safer for bicycling has been
in the works since
April 2008.
(Photos © J. Maus)

As part of my daily work here at BikePortland, I track a lot of projects. The other day, prompted by a question from reader Jessica Roberts, I began to think about all the bike projects that are currently delayed and languishing for one reason or another.

Below are updates on five such projects. Each of them has been planned, discussed, and promised, but none of them have broken ground.

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The streetcar construction (black and) blues

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Portland Streetcar crews are in the middle of major construction all along Broadway right now. Work zones are always of special concern for people on bikes, but this stretch of Broadway — between NE Grand and and the Broadway Bridge — is not a nice place for bike traffic even without construction.

Add in one of the most glaring safety gaps in Portland’s entire bike network (the intersection of Broadway and Williams, which the City listed as dangerous over 2 1/2 years ago yet has done nothing to make safer) — and you’re bound to have some problems.

Portlander Aaron Reyna is the latest victim of that intersection. He got in touch with us after being hit at that intersection yesterday morning. Here are snips from his email where he describes how the confusing construction zone resulted in him taking a trip to urgent care (emphasis mine):

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Broadway/Williams update: Why the project will wait for streetcar

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NE Broadway and Williams-4.jpg

The project will move the bike traffic
lane curbside (among other things).
(Photo © J. Maus)

New details about pending safety improvements for the notorious NE Broadway/N Williams intersection have emerged since we published an update last Monday. In our story, we reported that the bike safety improvements (which include a new bike-only signal and traffic lane reconfigurations) had been put on hold because of the impending streetcar project which is slated to run up Broadway. Engineers working on the bike project, they told us, were concerned that any changes they made would be torn out once streetcar construction started.

Our story also reprinted a statement made by PBOT Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield in October 2008, that “funding [for the Broadway/Williams fix] is available and construction could start once a design is decided on.”

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Two years after being listed as ‘dangerous,’ Broadway/Williams fix languishes

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NE Broadway and Williams-1.jpg

The Broadway/Williams intersection is in
dire need of improvements.

[Adams Carroll contributed reporting to this story.]

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has known for years that the intersection of NE Broadway and Williams is one of the most dangerous in the city for bike traffic. Significant plans to improve the intersection were drawn up over a year ago, but PBOT has yet to implement them.

After two Portlanders died while riding in bike lanes in October 2007, PBOT put the intersection on its list of 14 to get a green-painted bike box. When a fix turned out to be more complicated than a standard bike box, PBOT went back to the drawing board. In March 2008 they unveiled several possible design solutions including separate traffic signal phases for bicycles, lane reconfigurations, and new pavement markings.

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Guest Article: Two rights don’t make a right

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Jessica Roberts
(Photo © J. Maus)

This article was written by Jessica Roberts. Jessica is the former metro area advocate for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and she is now a planner with Alta Planning and Design, one of the nation’s premier bike and pedestrian planning firms.

Jessica previously wrote about how to get letters published in newspapers.

In the article below, Jessica offers her perspective and gives us a bit of historical context for the infamous Broadway/Williams intersection, which PDOT is currently working to improve.


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