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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 10, 2011 9:40 AM. The previous post in this blog was Ah, bureaucracy. The next post in this blog is Farewell to Sharita. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lyin' eyes

Yesterday's post about the new Bat Bump on Klickitat Street in Portland prompted a reader to send us a photo of the latest traffic improvement in his neck of the woods, SW 35th Avenue just north of Multnomah Village. It's the same striping as on the ubiquitous speed bumps that are slowing things down all over town -- but without an actual bump:

This is apparently supposed to work on the same principle as lines painted on a road to resemble a cattle guard. Cows are pretty dumb, and most of them can't tell the difference between real cattle guards -- a series of parallel metal bars installed in a roadway to trip them up -- and stripes painted on the road in the same shape. City Hall thinks Portland drivers are as dumb as cows.

After a very short time, of course, the neighbors in that area won't be fooled at all -- they'll go right back to speeding along. But occasional visitors, such as those of us from the Idaho side of the Willamette, will presumably be faked out and slow down.

Anyway, ya gotta admit, it's cheaper than an actual speed bump. Who says the city isn't being frugal? Besides, this way they can get in your face and mess with your mind at the same time. Maybe throw in a red light camera and a robot radar unit up the road a ways. Perfectly Portland -- you've been Blumenauered, people.

Comments (15)

SW Corbett has been "Blumenauered" for several years. "Traffic Calming" measures have been employed by occasionally sticking raised curbs in the middle of the street causing vehicles to swing to the right to go around the obstacles. This has caused the removal of over 8 parking spaces for each. But motorists have become wise to the curbs, they've discovered you can keep your straight line course without swerving, just barely missing the driver-side curbs. It's sort of a game.

For buses (SW Corbett is a major route for SW Portland,) and other large vehicles like fire trucks, it does impede. And Corbett is a designated "major arterial street", but who cares about moving traffic? And who cares about a few bumped parked cars near these doe- see-does that cause accidents? Or a 2 minutes delay in arriving fire trucks or medic wagons as you experience a heart attack?

"But occasional visitors, such as those of us from the Idaho side of the Willamette, will presumably be faked out and slow down."

I read somewhere they did that with potholes. Somehow they re-created an image of a car-eating pothole on the road. Not sure who would be responsible for any rear-enders that result.

Corbett used to be a major street, but south of Pendleton Street the city has been slowly moving it back toward side-street status. The buses from downtown to Lewis & Clark (back when Tri-Met ran buses between downtown and L&C) ran south on Corbett, then up Taylors Ferry and left on Boones Ferry. First the city blocked the entrance to Corbett northbound, and then the entrance to Boones Ferry southbound from traffic going up Taylors Ferry. After it installed the curb bumps on Corbett, the city stopped painting lines on the street. I don't know if that means it's on its way back to gravel.

Maybe painting and paving are done by different crews, and this time they got their signals crossed: the painters went out before the pavers, and next week the pavers will construct the speed bump over the top of the paint.

Now if Portland were a little more "creative" they could do something like this:

My theory is that they're using faux speedbumps instead of real ones 'cause real ones would make more of a challenge when constructing a streetcar line out in Multnomah Village, dontcha know!

Isaac, Corbett may go back to gravel, but the bike mafia will put a stop to that because Sam's $780 Million dollar Bike Plan calls for Corbett to be a major bike route (oh, don't worry about any of the very steep hills involved).

They are planning to take parking off of one side of the street (the predominate 1880 to 1930 homes have no off-street parking) to create bike paths and install even more traffic calming devices. I've counted the present bike trips. In the summer it is averaging about 5 per hr. during rush hour. 2 during the winter. PDOT and their Matt Brown studies predict 42,000 additional daily trips from the south into SoWhat, many on SW Macadam, Corbett, Taylors Ferry. These trips will be added to Macadam's present 45,000 trips. Choas will reign. But maybe that is want PDOT and Sam want; that will certainly increase Corbett summer bike rush hour trips to 9. We must plan and invest for those who only comprise only .02% of all trips, right?

What's even worse for this part of the city is there are no side streets to relieve Corbett or Macadam traffic , like when Sellwood bridge backs up, or the frequent accidents happen. If you listen to any radio stations with good traffic reports, Macadam backups are mentioned almost as frequently as CRC.

Sam has a Plan, but it is not for the neighborhoods. I wonder when the Bus People, Greenies and Blue Oregon will wise up.

Silly me! I never put it together - wondered why the weird paint job on the street, but never associated it with road humps.

My guess is it's another wasteful 'accident' in true Portland style. The speed bump will go in soon, then the lines will have to be repainted, just like all the other repaving, re-repairing, re-doing that seems to constantly be going on. Makework to keep the the unemployment stats artificially supressed.

With the rapidly aging population of Portland we will all be riding around on battery assisted trikes pretty soon.
That will calm the traffic!

Through at least the early '90s, there were no speed bumps in Cambridge, MA, a city of many rapidly moving motor vehicles and bicycles. The head of traffic planning advised me during that epoch that the city did not have them owing to an insurance risk. He did not elaborate.

Things change: there are now speed bumps and humps in that densely settled municipality and the towns around it. One site provides a suggestion of the eclectic design of these devices in the Commonwealth; the photos do not include a faux bump such as the one on SW 35th:

"Speed humps and speed bumps are 'safety through danger' traffic-calming devices which slow traffic through their potential to cause discomfort and even damage if a vehicle is traveling above their design speed. As a consequence, it is important for them to be clearly and consistently marked.

Massachusetts is probably unique in the lack of standardization of these.

The newer designs of speed humps and speed tables are relatively benign for bicyclists, but traditional speed bumps can cause bicyclists to crash. Killer speed bumps have been installed in recent years, including some on the designated Boston-to-Cape bikeway."

Here's another money-saving thought:
---If only they could simply paint streetcar tracks on local streets, think of the billions $aved relative to torn-up streets and construction.

However, simply painting the tracks on the street wouldn't mean as many "sustainable" jobs...

The City also just painted lane markers on NE Sandy Blvd - which was good, because they had all but disappeared. However, I thought Sandy was due for a major resurfacing project, which means those lines will soon be chewed up. But, more jobs!

If only they could simply paint streetcar tracks on local streets

Over at (oh, I meant it was actually suggested that painting streetcar tracks on streets would improve bus service because riders would see the tracks and know where their bus goes.

I'm not making this up...


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