The newly opened and newly renovated ARCH BRIDGE, connecting OREGON CITY with WEST LINN, is a pleasure to ride across, especially after having been closed for two years. There are sharrows (shared lane markings) on the bridge roadway so vehicular traffic knows to share the road with cyclists or they can use the sidewalk. It was a long time coming but worth the wait. There are also sharrows on Main St. in Oregon City, leading up to the bridge.
A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia shows that physically separated BICYCLE-SPECIFIC INFRASTRUCTURE leads to a much lower risk of injury for cyclists. Your chance of injury drops by about 50%, relative to a major city street, when riding on a similar road with a bike lane and no parked cars. And the same decrease is found on bike paths and local streets with designated bike routes. And protected bike lanes, with actual barriers separating cyclists from traffic, make the biggest difference. The risk of injury for riders drops by 90%. But protected bike lanes are expensive and not all cyclists want them (some would rather “take the lane”).
The BIKE LANES ON SW STARK AND SW OAK in downtown Portland were not working. Buffered bike lanes were installed in 2009 but cars continued to drive in the lanes. PBOT has recently blanketed the lanes with green paint to communicate to road users that the lane is for bicycle use only. Also bike symbols were added. And a special type of green paint was used. It has a skid-resistant agent called “shark grip.” PBOT found 6 types of paint and gave them a “scuff test” as well as a “skid test” to find the best one. They also made sure the paint would be long lasting and affordable. The material is the right color, highly visible and has a rough texture that isn’t slippery. Now we’ll see whether motorists understand that green means the lane is only for bicycling (with exceptions for parking and turning).
PBOT has plans to make the HAWTHORNE BRIDGE, the bridge that carries the most bicycle traffic, safer. The BIKE LANE ON SE MADISON ST. as it approaches the HAWTHORNE BRIDGE just got a 3-foot buffer added to the existing 6-foot wide bikeway. And next year PBOT plans changes to the area where walkers and bikers mix near the TriMet bus stop on Madison (above SE Water Ave.) They have also re-striped the bike lane on the east bound Hawthorne Bridge where it crosses the SW Clay off-ramp (often a dicey place) and added some vertical wands. It’s nice now, but that sort of treatment often gets run over by motorists so we’ll see how long it lasts.
ODOT is planning a new undercrossing on the I-205 BIKE PATH where it crosses SE DIVISION ST. ODOT says the path will offer efficient connectivity to the existing path, ample lighting and good visibility/sight lines. It should be completed by next summer. You will still be able to use the signalized crossing if you prefer, but the undercrossing will give you a non-stop connection.
Someone is jeopardizing all cyclists’ ACCESS TO RIVERVIEW CEMETERY. Someone has cut through a gate and is riding or walking on the private property after the 11:00 pm closing time. The owners are aware of its importance as a bike route and they worked with the BTA and community to raise $5000 to install a fully-signed bike route through the cemetery in 2010. It is a very popular connection from Highway 43 near the Sellwood Bridge to many destinations in SW Portland. In the last two years everything has been going well until recently. If the problem persists, the cemetery may have to enact an all-out ban on cycling through the cemetery. Hopefully, they will find whoever is doing this or the people will stop the behavior that is threatening all our access to this route.