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Posted by on Aug 31, 2009 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

Portland Again

Seems to be some confusion as to what this is. Bike lane usage is mandatory in Portland.

New bikeway downtown pushes parked cars into new lane

PORTLAND, Ore, — A new bicycle track in downtown Portland is moving parking spaces farther into the street.

The track was set to be opened on Monday on SW Broadway near Portland State University.

The city says it aims to protect cyclists from downtown traffic by putting the lane between the curb and the parking spots.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and PSU President Win WIewel said they hoped the lanes would encourage the economic and environmental climate and sustainability in the city.

New bikes lanes re-route downtown Broadway traffic flow

A new bicycling lane just eliminated one lane for cars and moved parking spaces away from the curb. The special lane is called a “bike track.”

Cyclists told KATU News on Monday morning, the first business day the lane changes are in effect, that they feel better shielded from auto traffic.

But some drivers said that the row of parked cars could block their view when taking a right-hand turn and they were upset that they lost a lane of travel in the project.

Other drivers like the project because they said bicyclists aren’t so close to moving cars.

Portland’s inaugural cycle track ready to go

There’s a new bike lane in downtown Portland.

The new concept, which removes a motorized lane of traffic and moves parking away from the curb on Southwest Broadway, is ready to go. But it’s not quite open to two-wheeled traffic, as KATU erroneously reported this morning. Also, KATU, it’s called a cycletrack not a “bike track.” (Psst. Look at your own graphic.)

We could go on about the errors in the KATU story. (Where are these right turns that motorists are worried about having obstructed between Southwest Clay and Jackson street?) But we’ll stop there.

9 Comments

  1. How d’ya make a left turn from that thing?

  2. Doesn’t it occur to these guys that they’re just rearranging deck chairs? Now you’ve got a lost lane and people that’ll get whacked by cyclists after they park while trying to dash over to the sidewalk. Maybe the planners will add some other color of paint to facilitate cyclists who want to make a left turn.

    And the BIG losers – the pedestrians who now cross the street with parked cars obstructing their view in the second lane over, not to mention running a gauntlet of a pretend bicycle freeway.

    Sheesh…

  3. One of the comments: “None of these problems or deaths occurred when bicycles were considered pedestrians and obeyed the pedestrian laws, we need to return to those more sane days. An initiative petition needs to come soon to force things back the way they once were.”

    Apart from the falsity of the statement, seems like this infrastructure is basically treating cyclists as pedestrians already; that’s probably about the only way going through intersections in it is going to be safe.

  4. They don’t do it this way in Copenhagen. For a couple of very good reasons.

    1) Bike lane is in door zone.
    2) Failure to keep peds out of the bike lane.

    What’s with the attempts to reinvent the wheel? And worse yet, failing.

    All of these situations have comprehensive design and engineering standards with a proven track record of success. Over and over again. That’s what standards are all about.

    All anyone has to do is open up the Ontwerpwijzer Fietsverkeer (Bicycle Traffic Design Indicator). It is all there. In, of course, a kazillion pages of design and engineering standards.

    The index may be found at:

    http://www.fietsberaad.nl/index.cfm?lang=en&section=Kennisbank&mode=detail&repository=Bicycle+Traffic+Design+Indicator+Index

    I used to never cease to be amazed at the constant failure of attempts to reinvent the wheel. Now my cynical side has concluded that this is job security for bureaucrats. The only problem is that innocent cyclists are the lab rats for experiments that are totally unnecessary.

    “What do you know… that square wheel just isn’t working.”

  5. A comment from the PBOT brochure:

    “Yes, You May Opt Out: Since this is a demonstration project, cyclists on SW Broadway are not required to use the cycle track. However, it will provide greater mobility and safety than riding in the traffic lanes. It’s also likely you will experience less congestion and quicker travel via the cycle track. In short, it’s the way to go when cycling downtown.”

    Right. Since we effed up the street, your best choice is the cycle track.

    If it was a simple, 3-lane, one-way street, a cyclist could choose to ride in the left lane if his direction of travel called for a left turn (as I did here). That would provide the best mobility, safety and ease of travel. But now there will be congestion making the street impassable at certain times (with idling traffic dumping more carbon monoxide into the air). Not to mention any cyclist now choosing to use one of the reduced travel lanes will be as welcome as a warm turd on the living room carpet.

  6. I rode on this thing the other day and it’s a little strange. The left turn bike box things are kind of weird and I don’t know how you’re supposed to use them. Traffic in the remaining 2 traffic lanes is also noticeably more congested at rush hour. It’s one saving grace is that all but the last side street on the right hand side are closed to auto traffic as they are part of the PSU campus. It will be interesting to see how this thing fairs when school starts again, I anticipate more ped-bike collisions.

  7. Just trying to wrap my mind around how this works and I think that alone demonstrates how bad of an idea this is. Riding a bike on the road should be as simple and straightforward as driving a car and should look the same. If drivers, cyclists, scooterists, etc are all riding on the road in the same way, then isn’t that encouraging an environment of the utmost predictable behavior for all users of the road?

    In faux-progressive Portland (and in some cases Columbus is copying this nonsense) that is not the objective. I hate to say it, but sometimes drivers really can’t see cyclists and in several cases it’s because many cyclists themselves don’t take cycling seriously. They don’t feel like they belong on the road and that is reflected in how they ride by hugging the curb and the door zone. If you choose to put yourself in the blind spot of drivers, you’re choosing to put yourself in danger. Except in this case, since you apparently must use the bike lane if it’s there in Portland.