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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 21, 2012 6:02 PM. The previous post in this blog was Oregon brewery stirs up "urban renewal" debate in Boise. The next post in this blog is Vestas lays off another 30 in Colorado. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A scary Portland corner gets a controversial fix

The car-vs.-bike rhetoric is flying hard and fast over the City of Portland's decision to prohibit right turns off North Broadway onto North Wheeler Street for the sake of bicycle safety at that corner. It's actually a sensible change. We can tell you from our semi-regular jogs through it that that intersection is downright hazardous for anyone not in a motor vehicle. Cars are positively flying down Broadway and flying off southbound I-5, at speeds not conducive to interactions with cyclists and walkers. Moreover, it's a five-corner intersection with North Flint Street, and there's a bend in the road there that puts pedestrians in a blind spot. Turning vehicles onto Wheeler add to the trouble.

A lot of what makes the traffic change so controversial, of course, is that the car haters of Portland City Hall have turned everyone off with their twisted priorities, poor management, lies, and outright corruption. And so when Mayor Creepy makes his "I'm saving lives" speech, the presumption is that he is deliberately falsifying matters, doesn't know what he's talking about, or both.

There is no question that a few businesses and residents will be impacted by the change, but not many, and not fatally. They have a right to be unhappy. But as long as the Broadway Bridge is frequented by cyclists, drivers along that stretch of Broadway need to be careful -- more careful than some of them have been. And sometimes you just have to "becalm" them with inanimate roadblocks, because expecting substantial traffic enforcement from the city's police bureau, also managed by the mayor, is delusional.

Comments (21)

I just watched TV news interviews with business owners in the area that seem to agree the accidents were the result of bicyclists running the stop sign.

So as a result, the street will be restricted to bicycles ONLY now?

And the lesson learn is what, again?

The stop sign is on Flint. You can also get "right hooked" coming down Broadway. Easily.

the street will be restricted to bicycles ONLY now?

No, apparently, you just won't be allowed to make a right off Broadway onto Wheeler.

The TV news story was erroneous in implying that cyclists running the stop sign on Flint is the sole cause of the problem. It surely doesn't help things, and of course cyclists should stop at the sign.

But, as Jack has said, you can get right-hooked simply going straight west on Broadway, where cyclists in the bike lane have the right of way — and are probably moving at a pretty good clip, too, because it's a decent downhill.

Long-term there's probably a solution that can ease the burden on businesses in the area, but given how incredibly dangerous that turn is, and how often cyclists get hit, closing it to right turns is a fair action.

From Sam Adams' statement to The Oregonian: ...respond to bicyclists moving downhill quickly...

In other words, "Bicyclists that are violating the Basic Rule and are operating their bicycle at a speed that is unsafe for the road conditions, including the geometry of the road and other traffic, are putting themselves at risk of not being seen by other, slower moving traffic attempting to make a right turn, causing a 'right-hook' as they are proceeding downhill at such a high rate of speed that they are both unable to react in an appropriate amount of time, and then unable to come to a stop as needed."

If a motorist was driving downhill at an uncontrolled rate of speed, the motorist would receive multiple tickets - violation of the Basic Rule, and reckless driving. But a bicyclist gets a free pass - and motorists have to pay the price??

"If a motorist was driving downhill at an uncontrolled rate of speed, the motorist would receive multiple tickets - violation of the Basic Rule, and reckless driving. But a bicyclist gets a free pass - and motorists have to pay the price??"

Oy vey. And people say the cyclists are the entitled ones.

Maybe they just need to keep this one guy from driving there:

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/08/jefferson_smith_had_driving_re.html

Oh Good Lord... how many more shoes need to drop before people begin to suspect there's a credibility issue? We're talking ten instances... so far.

Not to mention leadership issues. I can't wait to find out what other skeletons he has in the closet. Especially after he's elected. Making popcorn.

Okay, So I GET that it's NOT Necessarily the cyclists fault, but come on. EVERY shot was of a cyclist running the stop. The longest shot (At least on 8 was) a Cyclist not only RUNNING the stop, but with NO helmet and not even looking in one direction. NOT helpful to the case. ESPECIALLY since I just had a (Thankfully) minor dent smacked into in my hood in passing from a cyclist that crossed from the far right, across to turn left without even braking, when I had the green to go straight through. Not even a HAND signal. I saw him 3/4 of a block back but again. No indication he as turning from the FAR right. Figured HE'd seen the yellow, didn't realize he'd gone into the "Speed Tuck, suicide turn mode" YES. It's a minority (I HOPE) of these idiots, but PLEASE!!!! WHEN are we going to stop catering to them SIMPLY because Bike.org (Or whatever they are) exists? Adam's endorsement of them has no weight. He's not running. HE can do whatever he's TOLD to do to ensure his income after the election with no consequence. Ala Adm. Randy. Nice to have complete power with NO accountability. YES. There are drivers that sill (Stupidly) insist on using the phone while driving and NOT using a hands free setup. Still. NOT an excuse to blame them when it's easy to see the 2-wheeled scofflaws out number them. Ticket the car driving offenders. DON'T cater to the bicycle rider ones. Road rules are road rules. By their OWN "Share the Road " sentiments.

Downtown Denizen,
That's Jeffy's car in the shadows on the right side of the picture. The one with the traffic cone stuck on the bumper.

The ladder on top is because he likes to play fire engine.

Meanwhile, the picture in your link is Jeffy saying, "I don't always kick the person in the balls. Sometimes I just grab them and squeeze them."

Apparently they're going to put a traffic light on this corner at some point. Sounds like a good idea.

Add the light but don't rule out another couplet.

Or sonnet.

What good is installing a traffic light if the cyclists will ignore it too ?

Sammyboy is again demonstrating he is a pompous hypocritical jerk. Watching one of the TV news stories, bicyclist after bicyclist blew through the STOP sign at speeds as if they were racing with their bicycles closer to a 45 degree angle to the street than a 90 degree angle. Obviously there must be some bicyclist illiteracy when they can’t read a four letter word on an octagon sign, but have a vocabulary of other four letter words to shout at motorists. Also obvious is that bicyclists are violating not only a traffic control device, but also the basic rule of the road by riding way too fast for the conditions of the road. Sammyboy touts equity and the new equity commission. So where is the equity of enforcement with stiff fines when it comes to citing arrogant bicyclists who knowingly fail to follow the rules of the road?

Maybe the REAL solution is to start installing speed bumps for the bikes on Flint Avenue...

At times I've seen Portland police and State troopers do a speed blitz south bound on McLoughlin just south of the Ross Island bridge.5 Patrol cars all ticketing speeders on McLoughlin at that stretch. Really gets your attention. Why not do a stop sign blitz at the corner of N Flint and N Broadway.Do it with 4 or 5 officers on a weekday morning. Get Jonathon Maas to get out there and tell bicyclists to stop blowing that sign. If you read the comments section on bike.org you'd think they have a right to blow that sign. Maybe 50% of the problen at Wheeler and Broadway is coming from the people who blow that stop sign and trurn right.

KGW interviewed a business owner on N Wheeler. I thought he was right when he said " the only thing this will do is move the problem one block west To N Ross" People who need to go go north on N Wheeler will not be able to it so now they will just go one block further west on N Broadway and turn right on N Ross instead. Might be a little safer this way since your farther away from those bicyclists blowing through the stop sign at N Flint and might have better chance of seeing them but not much better.

"Why not do a stop sign blitz at the corner of N Flint and N Broadway.Do it with 4 or 5 officers on a weekday morning. Get Jonathon Maas to get out there and tell bicyclists to stop blowing that sign."

That's exactly what they did, albeit with one police officer instead of four:

http://bikeportland.org/2012/08/21/mayor-makes-it-official-pbot-will-close-wheeler-ave-tomorrow-76275#more-76275

Just because you don't see cyclists get ticketed doesn't mean it never happens. To quote Bike Snob: "I very rarely see squirrels have sex either, but the damn things are all over the place, so at a certain point I have to take it for granted that they are in fact 'getting down.' Yes, squirrels do get tail, and cyclists do get tickets. It's as simple as that."

"Just because you don't see cyclists get ticketed doesn't mean it never happens" I never thought it never happens.From your link " The motorcycle cop barely had time to rest between writing tickets. In the few minutes I was there, I saw three people on bikes pulled over. The officer was there for several hours and was busy the entire time. I heard one report that he pulled over someone in a car; but the vast majority of tickets went to bike riders and he was focused primarily on the Flint stop sign. (You'll recall that enforcement focused on bicycle traffic has been going on at Flint since at least 2006. It is always controversial, and it doesn't seem to be working. It's also important to remember that there are many other high-volume, law-breaking behaviors at this location by all road users.)" My suggestions stands. Blitz the intersection just like MCloughlin for the exact same reason. If you stood at that intersection on a week day morning how many violations would occur on average? Enforce the law till those numbers drop. It's the "Controversial " part I don't get. Since when is enforcing the law controversial? Do it not matter what bike.org says. They are in the wrong let them bitch about it.

"It's the "Controversial " part I don't get. Since when is enforcing the law controversial? Do it not matter what bike.org says. They are in the wrong let them bitch about it."

Fair enough. I've got no problem with a crackdown on ticketing cyclists who run the stop sign at Flint.

But that's not the only issue at play here. You're just as likely to get right-hooked simply going down Broadway, and this comment section has been full of people blaming the cyclists for that as well, which is absurd. There's a protected bike lane that passes Wheeler, and the burden is on motorists to check to their right when making that turn ... and clearly too few of them were.

As I stated on an earlier comment farther up it's impossible to know what percentage (50%?) of the right hook accidents at the corner with Wheeler are due to drivers thinking yes it's ok to turn right at Wheeler because that bicyclist coming south on N Flint is going to stop and therefore I can safely turn right on Wheeler. Of course you can get right hooked if you are heading west on N Broadway too and have not turned from N Flint. Great have the cops ticket both bicyclists blowing through the stop sign and motorists failing to yield to bicyclists in the bike path. If everyone obeyed the law there would be less accidents there. They do pedestrian stings then why not do motorist not yielding stings at the corner too. Have a cop in that path going over and over past Wheeler and ticket every driver who fails to yield to them.


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