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Old 03-25-09, 10:58 PM   #1
randya
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Portland Proposes Dutch Style 'Cycle Track' on Street that Needs No Improvement

I'm about fed up with what passes for bicycle planning and infrastructure in Portland these days.

http://bikeportland.org/2009/03/23/c...h-park-blocks/
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Old 03-26-09, 01:44 AM   #2
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Portland bicycle planning, caught in a trap. It is painful to watch.

EDIT: Just noticed the proposed dimensions of this. Six feet is quite narrow, not nearly as wide as most people envision. Six feet is the width of a standard suburban sidewalk. It is fine for a single rider but passing will be a problem. Furthermore, the three-foot buffer puts riders on the left side of the track in the freaking door zone.

This is planning for beginners, by beginners.

All this will do is provide ammunition to the chainguard crowd and the bicyclist-haters of Portland and elsewhere, and stand in the way of good infrastructure projects that could actually improve conditions.

Last edited by RobertHurst; 03-26-09 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 03-26-09, 02:34 AM   #3
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...
All this will do is provide ammunition to the chainguard crowd ...
Yeah, that horrible chainguard crowd. Who do they think they are, pointing out problems with such ill conceived facilities.

Yet, in your post, it was OK for you to do so. Go figure.
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Old 03-26-09, 07:35 AM   #4
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All this will do is provide ammunition to the chainguard crowd
<humor>
I'd be offended, but I just remembered that the pure commuter machines in my fleet are chaincase equipped.

No sissy, silly, worthless, tiny chainguards for Real Commuter Cyclists™!
</humor>

-Kurt
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Old 03-26-09, 12:51 PM   #5
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i would rather see the tracks on the inside of the parked cars, in the event of opened doors or pedestrians you would have somewhere to freaking go, instead of into a door/car/etc.

(i just imagined a scary combo of being doored and hitting a child in a stroller, scary)
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Old 03-26-09, 01:28 PM   #6
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I'm having a hard time understanding this thread.
How exactly are bikes going to be in the door zone?

You guys realize the Montreal photo depicts a different layout, right?
Am I missing something written between the lines here?
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Old 03-26-09, 01:34 PM   #7
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3' from parked car is not enough to be out of DZ
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Old 03-26-09, 02:30 PM   #8
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Oh yeah, the Impala effect.

I would have thought everyone in Portland would be driving Priuses by now.
So, how many feet does the 'shy zone' need?
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Old 03-26-09, 02:36 PM   #9
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Old 03-26-09, 03:09 PM   #10
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Take up more roadway and have a narrower bike lane that's out in the traffic?
That's the concensus?
Or is it just that it should be left alone, because the street's not wide enough?
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Old 03-26-09, 03:12 PM   #11
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I was only giving illustration of need for at least 5' from car to avoid DZ
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Old 03-26-09, 05:19 PM   #12
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I definitely made my opinions known on that thread, perhaps more than some would have liked. This is nothing but another attempt by the city officials to get write-ups in magazines about how "progressive" they are, rather than focusing upon the boring but necessary services that they are paid to work on, namely maintaining sewers, fixing potholes, and funding the police and fire departments.

Portland is already sufficiently bike-friendly for my tastes, the exception being the outer eastside. If they want to improve the bike-friendliness of the "hundreds", they can finish paving the side streets, many of which are gravelly mud puddles. It's amazing to me that we are the second largest city in the Northwest, and yet we still have streets that are unpaved. But why focus upon such essentials when there are condo high-rises to subsidize and agonizingly slow streetcar lines to build?
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Old 03-26-09, 07:12 PM   #13
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What's wrong with bike lanes in traffic. If the cruising speeds are between 20 and 35mph it's not bad. The few lanes we have here are between two traffic lanes. The speed limit is 25 and if you drive faster than 22 you're stopping every block. It gets you out of the door zone. If you can ride a straight line it's perfectly safe.

I'd think that on these bike lanes you'd hug the right edge giving up 4-6 feet of distance from the parked cars. The left edge would be for passing really slow riders and you can do that at your own risk.

Since they're already dropping a lane they could just paint sharrows on the lane and put up signs saying that lane prefers bikes: Meaning you don't have to ride to the right and they can't expect you to keep up. If no bikes are present there's no reason not to drive in that lane. If bikes are present, well, they're not in cars and they're probably reducing congestion.
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Old 03-26-09, 07:32 PM   #14
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the city is basically using the 'think about the children' argument to skew the selection process towards completely separated facilities
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Old 03-26-09, 07:40 PM   #15
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'think about the children'
In other words, 'think about the cyclists.'
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Old 03-26-09, 09:59 PM   #16
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This is a tragic situation for Portland. If the many commenters to the story are correct, this is a street that a side-path won't really improve the lot of cyclists as would many other streets in the city.

This could make any good future facility project harder to fund and implement. A backlash from non-cyclists may erupt because of the great expense and inconvenience for a facility that will be under-utilized by the very cyclists it is supposed to benefit. Whatever has motivated the selection of this street and this design was most certainly something other than a way to help cyclists.

Is this to be the last project for the separate facilities advocates? Or will they continue their quest until an entire separate cycling structure is built that can take a cyclist from any point in the city to any other point? What is a cyclist expected to do when they come to the end of their side-path short of their destination?

Will the good citizens of Portland continue to countenance building side-paths while tax revenues are increasingly scarce? Perhaps those longing to import European streetscapes have over-reached.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:04 PM   #17
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The fact it is in an area that doesn't need it is a biggie as is the fact it seems that it will inconvenience drivers and cyclists alike.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:52 PM   #18
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In other words, 'think about the cyclists.'

Um, invoking dead children will pretty much get you anything you want in the US these days...

but I wouldn't figure you to be a supporter of this project, either

?
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Old 03-27-09, 12:08 AM   #19
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I don't understand the outrage here...am I missing something? It seems very similar to the cycling lanes in Amsterdam and those would be great if incorporated in most cities in America. I would think this would be a little annoying for racers but for commuters it seems like a good idea. What am I missing? I didn't complete read the article...just saw the pic.
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Old 03-27-09, 12:25 AM   #20
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This is a tragic situation for Portland. If the many commenters to the story are correct, this is a street that a side-path won't really improve the lot of cyclists as would many other streets in the city.
The two streets that border the Park Blocks are one-way, one-lane thoroughfares that are not very heavily used by cars whose destination isn't on the Park Blocks. The streets are very comfortable to ride on, even for a very slow cyclist.

Quote:
This could make any good future facility project harder to fund and implement. A backlash from non-cyclists may erupt because of the great expense and inconvenience for a facility that will be under-utilized by the very cyclists it is supposed to benefit. Whatever has motivated the selection of this street and this design was most certainly something other than a way to help cyclists.
One commenter who actually favored the project made the point that it would be difficult to push for the repeal of the Oregon state law that mandates that cyclists use bicycle lanes when one is available, while simultaneously pushing for more bike specific infrastructure -- it would make it appear as if cyclists want to "have their cake and eat it too". Of course, it wouldn't be the same cyclists pushing for each of those respective goals.

I would love it if both vehicular cyclists and bike infrastructure supporters would simply push for more interconnected streets as "bike infrastructure". I realize I drive this point home in every thread, but cities that are laid out on a grid are already bike friendly because there are both high speed and low speed routes that can accommodate cyclists of different speeds, abilities, and riding preferences. A push for greater connectivity in the suburbs -- perhaps for a law mandating that there must be a low-speed route that runs roughly parallel to every arterial, or that there must be X number of crossings per mile over highways or railroad tracks -- could make every urban area extremely bikeable. I don't think that this type of infrastructure would offend either camp. Further, it wouldn't be a special handout to cyclists -- it would be a general improvement that would also benefit pedestrians, emergency vehicles, and even motorists.

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Will the good citizens of Portland continue to countenance building side-paths while tax revenues are increasingly scarce? Perhaps those longing to import European streetscapes have over-reached.
What bothers me regarding this discussion of Europe is that it assumes that cycle tracks are the cause of high-ridership. My understanding is that ridership was high in Amsterdam even prior to the cycle tracks. The city was built hundreds of years ago. It is densely populated, has very narrow streets, and few spaces for parking. Driving is not convenient or cheap there. Cycling would be a more convenient means of transporting oneself there even if the cycle tracks were absent. Large Chinese and Japanese cities are not built out with segregated cycleways, but their ridership is high as well, namely because both are too densely populated for driving to be efficient (and because many people in China are far too poor to own a car).
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Old 03-27-09, 12:37 AM   #21
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I don't understand the outrage here...am I missing something? It seems very similar to the cycling lanes in Amsterdam and those would be great if incorporated in most cities in America. I would think this would be a little annoying for racers but for commuters it seems like a good idea. What am I missing? I didn't complete read the article...just saw the pic.
It fixes what is not broken. The streets bordering the park are one-lane and unidirectional, and have very slow automobile traffic on it. They are fine for cycling. The cycle tracks are a waste of money. Further, we have a state law that mandates that we use bike lanes when available (although it isn't enforced very strictly). It would open up riders for left-hooks, and it would reduce the passing clearance for overtaking riders.
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Old 03-27-09, 01:36 AM   #22
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I don't understand the outrage here...am I missing something? It seems very similar to the cycling lanes in Amsterdam and those would be great if incorporated in most cities in America. I would think this would be a little annoying for racers but for commuters it seems like a good idea...
+100

My sense is the cyclists who are complaining are those who are comfortable with riding in traffic and all that entails. They don't want that challenged by a more, for lack of a better term, 'gentrified' cycling culture in Portland. If it's true that Oregon has laws that specify bike lanes must be used if available, then Amsterdam-style cycle track lanes would certainly challenge their ability to ride in traffic.

Frankly, I think it's a selfish position.

If we as a cycling community -- and who knows if we exist as one cycling community -- want to integrate cycling into our American culture, we must welcome what's being proposed in Portland.

Cycling will never be mainstream in America until soccer moms can put their young kids in a Bakfiets and ride in what they perceive as a safe environment, and non-roadies can ride a Townie with a handlebar basket across the city to run errands. The Portland plan provides exactly that, where the current situation of riding in Portland's areas of 'slow traffic' does not.

If it means the further growth and integration of cycling into American urban cores, I'm willing to sacrifice my enjoyment of riding in traffic in certain areas -- and gladly ride in cycle track lanes. I would hope others would be willing to do the same.
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Old 03-27-09, 02:33 AM   #23
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+100

My sense is the cyclists who are complaining are those who are comfortable with riding in traffic and all that entails. They don't want that challenged by a more, for lack of a better term, 'gentrified' cycling culture in Portland. If it's true that Oregon has laws that specify bike lanes must be used if available, then Amsterdam-style cycle track lanes would certainly challenge their ability to ride in traffic.

Frankly, I think it's a selfish position.

If we as a cycling community -- and who knows if we exist as one cycling community -- want to integrate cycling into our American culture, we must welcome what's being proposed in Portland.

Cycling will never be mainstream in America until soccer moms can put their young kids in a Bakfiets and ride in what they perceive as a safe environment, and non-roadies can ride a Townie with a handlebar basket across the city to run errands. The Portland plan provides exactly that, where the current situation of riding in Portland's areas of 'slow traffic' does not.

If it means the further growth and integration of cycling into American urban cores, I'm willing to sacrifice my enjoyment of riding in traffic in certain areas -- and gladly ride in cycle track lanes. I would hope others would be willing to do the same.
I understand your position and am sympathetic to it, but it is based on false assumptions.

People using these cycletracks will still be riding in traffic, just in a different way. It almost always seems like a better way to beginners, but isn't necessarily a safer or better way to deal with auto traffic. While there are some streets that might be improved for cycling with such a sidepath, this does not seem to be one of those streets. And this calls into question the priorities of the planner-politicians who are pushing this project.

If you've been around this forum for a while you should notice that the people who are telling you this are not necessarily the same people who can be expected to attack any plan for any facility anywhere. People who are open-minded, practical and highly experienced are telling you this plan stinks. People who have ridiculed Vehicular Cycling ideologues and chest-beaters repeatedly on this forum are telling you this.

I wish beginners would listen to those with experience. It's generally a good policy. The current plan in Portland is planning for beginners, by beginners. It's a trap. The bicycle mode share of Northern European cities is based on culture, history, physical geography and tremendously expensive fuel relative to North America. Infrastructure is probably down the list a bit. It's silly to think we can start to transform our cities -- even Portland -- into Amsterdam with token cycle tracks, when we can't even mention raising the price of gas through taxation.
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Old 03-27-09, 05:03 AM   #24
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Um, invoking dead children will pretty much get you anything you want in the US these days...

but I wouldn't figure you to be a supporter of this project, either

?
I was attempting to make a (in hindsight, poor) joke about Portland assuming children = cyclists and vice versa. Plans such as this one demonstrate that there are those out there who assume cyclists need to be given all of the "protection" they possibly can presumably because they are too childish to take care of themselves.
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Old 03-27-09, 09:08 AM   #25
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With most every proposal, there are those who offer critiques that an be rapidly identified as attempting to demonstrate superior wisdom or denigrate a particular point of view.
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