This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 10, 2008 1:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was You decide when you've had enough. The next post in this blog is Sinking into silence. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Something new

They painted the bike boxes onto the pavement at SW Terwilliger Boulevard and Taylors Ferry Road yesterday. No green paint -- at least, not yet -- but the white markings are now in place. It's a maddeningly busy intersection, and drivers in all directions get awfully frustrated there. I see some pretty scary maneuvers by motorists at that spot as I pass through (a couple of hundred times a year). Whether the boxes will help cyclists or lull them into a false sense of security, only time will tell. But that time is starting now.

Comments (7)

It's a spot that requires great caution on everyone's part -- especially cyclists -- because of high traffic volume, busy curb cuts on three of the four corners, and complex street alignments. It's hard to see how marks on the pavement are going to help, since so many motorists are already not paying adequate attention (failing to signal turns, failing to respect "No Turn on Red" signs, pushing through as the light turns, etc.).

In the last four years during school, I've frequently hit that area on the bike at around 5:45 pm during the weekdays. I've never encountered any issues at that intersection. If there's a red light and I'm at Terwillieger heading up to L&C with a car to my left, I just make sure to make eye contact. While I don't see the need for the green paint boxes in general (they only serve to prevent incidents when both biker and driver are stopped at a red light - easily prevented by, you know, making eye contact), I especially don't see the need for this area. Maybe mornings are a different story.

Is the city's "bike box" program tied back to any particular crash statistics?

Unfortunately, this location will not receive the green colored pavement. This is because the FHWA is requiring Portland to "experiment" with uncolored bike boxes in order to measure the impact of paint vs. no paint.

More on that story here.

"Is the city's "bike box" program tied back to any particular crash statistics?"

No. The bike box program came out of public outcry following the death of two Portlanders last Fall due to right-turning vehicles.

Sam Adams asked and received $200,000 from Council and 14 dangerous intersections were identified to get either a bike box or other improvements.

Jack, as I've posted before about this intersection, bike boxes are a mistake mainly for the sloping grades in all directions.

The uphill grades makes for poor visibility to other sides of intersection, especially from low profile vehicles.

They also make the starting of bicyclist from a dead stop very slow impeding traffic and frustrating motorists.

Plus, wet pavement downhill or uphill makes biking very unsafe when mixed with the massive traffic at this intersection.

The City of Portland should be worried about the liability they are assuming with bike box employment at this intersection.

How about a full disclosure sign that says:

"We are experimenting with cyclists' lives at this intersection!"

Then everybody has the same information.

Here's a crazy idea - Make cyclists use the crosswalk and obey traffic control devices at the intersection. If they want to go back to the lanes beyond the intersection - great!

This intersection is already a choke point for traffic without further restrictions.

I was curious about these bike boxes and seeing that I live only 8 or 9 blocks away I went to take some photos.

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