gravel in bike lanes

Storm-related gravel wreaks havoc on Portland bikeways

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on March 1st, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Bike traffic shares a sketchy, gravel-filled sidewalk on NE Halsey over I-205.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

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Welcome to gravel-in-the-bike-lanes season

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 12th, 2019 at 11:17 am

Hello again gravel.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Fresh off leaves-in-the-bike-lanes season, it’s time to gird yourself for gravel-in-the-bike-lanes season. [Read more…]

Gravel update: Progress in places and broom-wielding heroes

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

How are things looking out there on the bike lanes you use the most?

Since our post last week there’s been big progress on some key bikeways we’ve been watching and I’m curious how the clean-up is going for you.

In particular, and since we helped make such a big deal out of it to begin with, I want to share the progress on Highway 30 and the St. Johns Bridge.

Sweeping has happened on the bridge sidewalk. It’s not perfectly clean; but it’s a vast improvement. I got some video the day it was swept (2/17):
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On live TV, reporter shovels gravel off St. Johns Bridge sidewalk – UPDATED

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 16th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

KATU reporter Reed Andrews shoveled gravel on sidewalk of St. Johns Bridge last night. (Watch video of the story below.)

With a shovel in his hand to drive the point home, Portland reporter Reed Andrews with KATU (our ABC affiliate) highlighted the problem of gravel in the bike lanes on their news broadcast last night.

Andrews focused his story on the layer of gravel on the St. Johns Bridge sidewalk we reported on Tuesday. He interviewed the owner of Block Bikes, a bike shop just steps away from the east end of the bridge who vouched for the problems it causes for his customers. The story also included an interview with a bicycle rider who said he often rides miles out of his way just to avoid riding the bridge sidewalk.
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There’s still a layer of gravel on the St. Johns Bridge sidewalk – UPDATED

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 14th, 2017 at 1:32 pm

It’s unacceptable to force road users to make a dangerous choice between being run down by fast-moving drivers or riding over small slippery rocks on a narrow sidewalk.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The only refuge from fast-moving (and often irate) people driving cars across the St. Johns Bridge is still covered in a layer of gravel a month after the last snow storm.

As we first reported nearly three weeks ago, while driving is pretty much back to normal following major snow storms, biking is still hazardous. Massive potholes plague streets and many bike lane markings have all but vanished due to the constant scraping from tire chains, plows, studded tires, and gravel. And there are still many trees and limbs that block bicycle-only lanes — forcing people into adjacent lanes which increases the risk of collisions.

All our various road agencies need to place a much higher priority on the safety of all road users when it comes to their storm clean-up plans.

One of the most egregrious spots is on the sidewalk of the St. Johns Bridge. There’s so much gravel that in some parts you can’t see the surface of the sidewalk. This is a big deal because the St. Johns Bridge is a vital bicycling connection and the roadway lacks bike lanes. With large diesel trucks rumbling inches away, the narow St. Johns Bridge sidewalks are already sketchy enough. Add slippery gravel and you’ve got even more stressful situation.
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I helped sweep bike lanes this weekend (and it felt great)

Avatar by on January 30th, 2017 at 10:36 am

Volunteers sweeping a bike path on SE Division near 87th.
(Photos: Ted Timmons)

Earlier this week the PDX Transformation Twitter account put out a call for volunteers for a public service project

I inquired what was going on and found out the project was to do some winter gravel cleanup. I thought that sounded like fun!

Ultimately five of us showed up. PDX Transformation loaned some safety equipment, and we each brought brooms. We rode out to the raised bikeway at 85th and Division and went to work. The raised bikeway was a good choice, because I assume it’s one of the harder places for PBOT to run a sweeper, and it also doesn’t get any vehicle traffic to help push the debris away.

See more photos below the jump…
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For bike riders, the storm’s hazardous road conditions continue

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 26th, 2017 at 10:58 am

Gravel, gravel everywhere. On the left is the short raised cycle path on SE Division east of 82nd. On the right is the bike on on SE 52nd at Clinton.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

For people who ride bikes in Portland, those nasty winter storms are far from over. The weeks of rain, ice, snow, studded tires, chains, and plows have wreaked havoc on roads — especially in the space used for cycling.

It’s one thing to deal with it in a well-cushioned car, but another thing entirely when trying to navigate a bicycle: Ride in the gravel, mud and other hazards and you risk flats or losing control; ride in the lane and you risk interactions with motor vehicle users.

We hate to complain; but this situation is not new. It’s also dangerous and we haven’t seen significant steps taken to improve it even though it has been on the City’s radar for many years. We’ve documented hazardous post-storm cycling conditions (and PBOT’s response to it or lack thereof) in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014.
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City wraps up post-storm gravel pickup two weeks early (updated)

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 12th, 2014 at 2:19 pm

City crews picking up gravel
in their trademark, two-sweeper formation.
(Photo: LiUNA Local 483)

The on-street gravel treatments that added traction to Portland’s streets during February’s snowstorm have been cleared from the bike lanes and shoulders two weeks earlier than expected, a city spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The city managed to clear 1,700 lane-miles of gravel from its streets in four weeks, rather than the six to eight weeks it first expected, by devoting additional crews to the task.

“In addition to the night crews, we had day crews,” spokeswoman Diane Dulken said. Related overtime cost the city about $100,000, she said, 14 percent of the total storm response. “Because it is a priority, we did these things to speed it up.”

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How’s that gravel treating you? An update on clean-up efforts

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 21st, 2014 at 11:26 am

City crews picking up gravel
in their trademark, two-sweeper formation.
(Photo: LiUNA Local 483)

It’s been about 10 days since the City’s effort to clean-up about 1,000 cubic feet of gravel began. With so many bikeways full of the annoying little rocks, we figured it was a good time to check in and see how things are looking.

If comments we’ve seen here on the site and elsewhere are any indication, it’s clear that there’s still a ton of gravel out there. I can also say from personal experience that many key bikeways in all parts of the city look like they haven’t been touched by a sweeper at all. Yesterday I rode on NW Everett into downtown. This is a stretch well known to PBOT for the high rate of collisions due to right hooks at NW 16th, so I was dismayed that it hasn’t been swept. After all, braking and making sudden movements to avoid a collision is all but impossible on gravel.
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The storm is over, the gravel remains: What local agencies are doing about it

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 12th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Gravel bike lanes-2

Gravel on the bike lane of N Interstate Ave as seen this morning.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been a challenging week transportation-wise here in Portland. First we were hit by snow and strong winds, then freezing rain, then a blanket of ice. After that, we had to trudge through tricky slush-piles. Now, thankfully, the weather is getting back to normal; but one last challenge remains: gravel.[Read more…]