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Old 05-05-08, 01:17 PM   #1
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Portland, Oregon "Bicycle Box" Roadway Markings Controversy

Interesting article, and comments, from the May 2nd Portland Tribune, about Portland's experiment with European style "bike box" road markings at intersections. The city is using them in an attempt to encourage cycling, and reduce right hook accidents. But, some cycling advocates (and some traffic engineers) think they're ill-advised.


"Some cycling advocates are trying to stick a wrench in the spokes of Portland’s new bike box program, saying they’re confusing and inherently unsafe, and should not be approved by the federal government."

http://portlandtribune.com/news/stor...67579764787700
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Old 05-05-08, 01:29 PM   #2
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Several cyclists, however, including two Portlanders and a California-based traffic engineer and cycling advocate, have challenged Portland’s application to have the boxes’ design approved by the federal government.
Gee, I wonder who this was... Not mentioned by name, and from the next state under... yet he has to "get involved... "
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Old 05-05-08, 01:47 PM   #3
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This was presented by someone respectable in the comments section to the article referenced above:

"• Increasing the visibility of bicyclists by allowing them to move to the front of the queue where they are in full view of motorists on all sides of the intersection

• Enabling bicyclists to maneuver to the correct position for turning movements during the red signal phase"

I'm actually all for bike boxes, but then again, I'm all for lane-splitting, too. And if lane splitting is not legal, or if you're one of them who thinks you should wait in a dedicated position in traffic at stop lights and signs, then these make no sense because of course they encourage 'filtering' to the front of a stopped line of traffic. In places where bicycling is an accepted and respected form of travel, these work great and are a great idea. In the US? Not so sure...

Are the ones in Portland for bikes only? Because I think in other countries, they're set up for and used by motorized two-wheelers as well.
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Old 05-05-08, 01:50 PM   #4
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Gee, I wonder who this was... Not mentioned by name, and from the next state under... yet he has to "get involved... "
His comments and name appeared below the article:

Robert M Shanteau, PhD, PE
Consulting Traffic Engineer
13 Primrose Cir
Seaside, CA 93955-4133
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Old 05-05-08, 01:57 PM   #5
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Bike boxes can and do work in other countries. the anti accomodationalists HAVE to flock like vultures to the large US city that entertains the highest percentage of bicycle commuters in the country- due in no small part to a focus on bikes as transportation and using bike specific infrastructure implementations.
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Old 05-05-08, 02:31 PM   #6
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Oh wow, I got an answer...

Quote:
I am the "California-based traffic engineer and cycling advocate [who has] challenged Portland’s application to have the boxes’ design approved by the federal government." If anyone would like to join the effort against Portland's efforts to include bike boxes and colored bike lanes in the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, then email me at rmshant@gmail.com. Bob Shanteau
There is more...
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Originally Posted by Bob Shanteau
Some commenters have asked about the reasons for my opposition to Portland's request to experiment with bike boxes. Here is the letter that I wrote to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA):
http://rmshant.googlepages.com/Lette...fbikeboxex.pdf

Here is a quote:

"[T]he proposed traffic control device cannot meet the intent of the application, particularly at locations without right turn only lanes. Furthermore, bicycle lane striping practices at such intersections in Oregon do not conform to the 2003 Manual on Uniform Traffic Ccntrol Devices (MUTCD). Oregon traffic law at such intersections does not conform to the guidance in the American Association of State Highway and Transporation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities. Even though the proposed traffic control device would be installed at signalized intersections, signal operation is not part of the test. The proposed research study is not scientifically sound because the control locations are not randomly elected, the experimental treatment is confounded with no right turn on red, and the control treatment is inappropriate."

"The safety issues that the City of Portland's application is intended to address were created by the failure of the State of Oregon to follow the MUTCD and the AASHTO Guide. The appropriate response by FHWA should be to encourage the State of Oregon to change their traffic laws and bicycle lane design practices, not to experiment with a new traffic control device."

By the way, Portland's application relates to including bike boxes as an approved traffic control device in the the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. If they succeed, then it will apply nationwide, including in front of my house. That is why I am involved in the effort to deny their application.

Robert M Shanteau, PhD, PE
Consulting Traffic Engineer
13 Primrose Cir
Seaside, CA 93955-4133
Voice: (831) 394-9420
Cell: (831) 917-0248
FAX: (831) 394-6045
email: rmshant@gmail.com
So apparently he is not objecting to the Bike Boxes, but to this particular form of bike box without corresponding traffic signal controls. OK I do remember seeing bike boxes in Paris, and indeed they did have their own special traffic lights... I don't know if that is 100% 1:1 bike box for bike traffic light, but that seems to be the argument here.

Last edited by genec; 05-05-08 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 05-05-08, 02:51 PM   #7
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Mr. Shanteau's voice can be heard more clearly, when he faces away from you and bends over
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Old 05-05-08, 03:15 PM   #8
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Gee, I wonder who this was... Not mentioned by name, and from the next state under... yet he has to "get involved... "
See Chainguard List for the answer. Various Strategies for obstructing the Portland plans are discussed and the CA fellow of interest is active there.
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Old 05-05-08, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Shanteau
By the way, Portland's application relates to including bike boxes as an approved traffic control device in the the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. If they succeed, then it will apply nationwide, including in front of my house. That is why I am involved in the effort to deny their application.
This is a silly fear. They only way the Bike Box is going to get approved is if Portland can demonstrate that they work. If they work then their is nothing to complain about and if they don't work then they won't get approved, end of story.

Even if they do get approved they will not miraculously appear around the US. It is still up to the localities to choose what is appropriate. So if Bob does not want one in front of his house he still has opportunity to get involved locally. Of course what might really hurt his case is if the Bike Box proves to work real well, that would be real hard to fight. So there might be some legitimate concern here.
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Old 05-05-08, 03:36 PM   #10
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I saw the boxes used extensively by motorcycles in London, and I dont think anyone was confused about how to use them. They didnt have the bright coloured marking of the Portland one shown, which I like.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:33 PM   #11
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I have no objection to properly designed bike boxes, but when the come up on the right (i.e., wrong) side of a through-or-right travel lane, they lose my support. If you are going to have a bike box, let's at least follow norms of proper traffic flow, with all through traffic, including cyclists, to the left of all right-turning traffic.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:12 PM   #12
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WHy not just lane split to the front, then get to the center front of the lane? Seems right hooks are unlikely at that point. SO you accomplish the same thing without having to do anything special.
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Old 05-06-08, 05:42 AM   #13
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I have no objection to properly designed bike boxes, but when the come up on the right (i.e., wrong) side of a through-or-right travel lane, they lose my support. If you are going to have a bike box, let's at least follow norms of proper traffic flow, with all through traffic, including cyclists, to the left of all right-turning traffic.
This appears to be the issue of why Robert M Shanteau disagrees with these bike boxes... unlike European bike boxes there is no "no turn on red" sign nor separate stop light signal for cyclists that allows them to go ahead before the motor traffic, as is the case in parts of Europe.
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Old 05-06-08, 07:36 AM   #14
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As a frequent pedestrian, I see many intersections at which a prohibition against turns on red would enhance safety. For starters, I would very much like to see right turn on red privileges granted to the curb lane only, such that there would be an automatic "no right on red" for that second right turn lane.
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Old 05-06-08, 08:50 AM   #15
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As a frequent pedestrian, I see many intersections at which a prohibition against turns on red would enhance safety. For starters, I would very much like to see right turn on red privileges granted to the curb lane only, such that there would be an automatic "no right on red" for that second right turn lane.
Right turns on red are nasty especially for a contraflow pedestrian but two right turn on red lanes? TWO!!! That's totally nuts.
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Old 05-06-08, 09:07 AM   #16
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Right turns on red are nasty especially for a contraflow pedestrian but two right turn on red lanes? TWO!!! That's totally nuts.
Welcome to California, where the car is king.

I have noticed new signs being posted at many busy corners reminding motorists to wait for pedestrians that are crossing... so indeed the laws have been forgotten by the majority of motorists... it is right on red, AFTER STOPPING.
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Old 05-06-08, 10:03 AM   #17
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Right turns on red are nasty especially for a contraflow pedestrian but two right turn on red lanes? TWO!!! That's totally nuts.
It is common to have two RT lanes at busier intersections. The outside one is RTO, the inside one thru and RT. There is no law I am aware of that indicates that RTOR is restricted to inside lane only.
S and N bound Price have dual RT lanes:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...02146&t=k&z=19

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Old 05-06-08, 10:39 AM   #18
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bike boxes are used extensively in other countries. Portland Oregon should install, monitor, modify and continue to improve their use of bike infrastructure including bike boxes.

Would all the city have to do to make this irritant from California go away is make the bike boxed intersections "no right turn on red?'

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Old 05-06-08, 11:02 AM   #19
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the only reason these guys are protesting:
1) ego
2) paid by car interests.

i'm not completely convinced bike boxes are the answer, but is that a reason to block efforts to find an answer to that question?

and the oregon state dude's argument is a joke - it really seems he has no idea what the purpose of a bike box is, nor how they work. that's not so good coming from the head of transportation of one's state.
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Old 05-06-08, 11:33 AM   #20
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bike boxes are used extensively in other countries. Portland Oregon should install, monitor, modify and continue to improve their use of bike infrastructure including bike boxes.

Would all the city have to do to make this irritant from California go away is make the bike boxed intersections "no right turn on red?'
No, apparently a separate traffic control light for cyclists is also needed.
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Old 05-06-08, 12:06 PM   #21
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the only reason these guys are protesting:
1) ego
2) paid by car interests.

i'm not completely convinced bike boxes are the answer, but is that a reason to block efforts to find an answer to that question?

and the oregon state dude's argument is a joke - it really seems he has no idea what the purpose of a bike box is, nor how they work. that's not so good coming from the head of transportation of one's state.
More info about lack of love by some Portland cyclists for VC friends/experts who know what's best for everybody else.
http://bikeportland.org/2008/04/30/m...nd-fatalities/
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Old 05-06-08, 12:41 PM   #22
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seperate signalized traffic heads are NOT required for installation or effective use of bike boxes. they do aid and guide traffic movements, so consideration is merited, but hardly required for a bike box to be effective.
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Old 05-06-08, 12:54 PM   #23
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For a bike box to work well the entire width of the lane should be painted blue, perhaps starting 100' back from stop line - motorist would of course be permitted to enter it. A separate stop line for cyclists ahead of motorist line can be added with or without advance signaling.

But in shown implementation by only painting the right most part of the lane blue provides filtering space only for right turning cyclists (some thru or left cyclists may try to get to box with sufficient time before light changes green to merge left in bike box.) Thru and left turning cyclist will need to filter on the left, however now motor vehicles will be left biased in lane reducing filtering room on the left.

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Old 05-06-08, 12:57 PM   #24
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fearmongering.

Dedicated bike boxes provide the following advantages(natbi and ridgeway, 2002)

:Increasing the visibility of bicyclists by allowing them to move to the front of the Queue, in full view of motorists on all sides of an intersection.

:enable bicyclists to manuver to the correct position for turning movements during the red signal phase.

:not significantly increasing delay to motor traffic.

;reduces conflicts between turning bicycles and motor vehicles

: provides a buffer between ped and motorized traffic at crosswalks.
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Old 05-06-08, 01:25 PM   #25
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It is common to have two RT lanes at busier intersections. The outside one is RTO, the inside one thru and RT. There is no law I am aware of that indicates that RTOR is restricted to inside lane only.
S and N bound Price have dual RT lanes:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...02146&t=k&z=19

Al
Depends on the locale. Almost all double RTOR lanes in SC the inside lane (closest to the center of the road) is not normally allowed to RTOR, where as the lane closest to the curb can. This is a stupid situation, the center lane will creep up making it difficult to see if you can safely make a RTOR. Personally I think the RTOR should be done away with in the name of pedestrian safety. I have had to jump out of the way and in one case bang on the side of a car that was in the process of turning with the driver looking left and not at the cross walk.

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