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Old 10-13-07, 09:16 AM   #1
pdxsteve-o
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Unhappy pdx cyclist killed, abolish downtown bike lanes?

recent new story regarding 19-year old Tracey Sparling, killed in downtown portland.


linky to story:


http://bikeportland.org/2007/10/12/b...ied/#more-5528



what the story does not point out is that she was hit, while proceeding forward on a green light after pausing for the red light and a downtown intersection.

left of her in the right most lane of traffic was a cement truck that apparently did not see her.

she went straight, the truck turned right into her and crushed her. tragic.


local news media (katu 2 or katu.com) just ran a story where several cyclists were given air time pointing out the dangerousness of bike lanes downtown. i'm waiting for them to post a news clip of the story the just ran so that I can put up that link, it is worth watching.



discuss.
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Old 10-13-07, 10:56 AM   #2
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the downtown bike lanes in portland are not safe. this is the second fatality in one of the downtown bike lanes in the last three years. these bike lanes are subject to the problems all bike lanes have, amplified ten times due to higher traffic volumes in the downtown core. door zones, right hooks, incorrect destination positioning are all a problem. I know several cyclists who have been doored on SW Broadway and have witnessed the aftermath of several right hooks at SW Madison and 3rd. NW Everett at 16th is another huge hazard spot. The best policy for cycling in downtown Portland is to take the lane, often the center or left lane (most NS streets are three lane wide one-ways, most EW streets are two lane one-ways). the only possible advantage to cyclists the downtown bike lanes offer is the ability to filter forward when traffic is gridlocked; but you are legally allowed to pass on the right now, so bike lanes really aren't required for that, either. motorists are never going to properly learn to look for cyclists on their right before making a right turn, that's patently absurd.

Last edited by randya; 10-13-07 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 10-13-07, 11:47 AM   #3
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motorists are never going to properly learn to look for cyclists on their right before making a right turn, that's patently absurd.
I was right hooked last night on the way to the memorial ride for the cyclist who was right hooked and kiled. In order to hook me, the driver had to pass me, because I was ahead of her. Just as we reached the driveway, she pulled even with me and began to turn.

There is no way on Earth she didn't see me. I had a blinky going in the back, and was wearing a flourescent orange jacket that can't be missed. Still, she turned as she pulled even with me.

I turned with her, it slowly dawned on her reptilian brain what she had done, and she hit her brakes.

That said, the only times I've had motorists intentionally endanger my life has been downtown when I was taking the lane because there was no bike lane.

My preference would be for an Amsterdam-style system of physically separated bike lanes, out of the door zones, with their own signals-- but not downtown.

Downtown, I'd like to see a car-free zone, between the Willamette and the 405.

Last edited by Blue Order; 10-13-07 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 10-13-07, 12:17 PM   #4
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I don't like the bike lanes downtown, either. They just don't work there, and I'm not confident in the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division's ability to interpret the bike lane law correctly. The lights are timed for cars to be travelling 16-20 mph. It's a great environment in which to learn to take the lane.
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Old 10-13-07, 02:38 PM   #5
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yeah, I'm not new to biking but I was surprised when I found this forum about six months ago when I became a daily bike commuter that people actually argued about taking the lane and the rights of bikes in the road. It never crossed my mind since I could pace with cars downtown so I felt comfortable riding in traffic, with traffic.


I guess I was born taking the lane. Maybe there is some sort of Darwinian advantage that my genes are pointing me toward riding with traffic so my children can advocate for vehicular rights for bikes.
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Old 10-13-07, 02:40 PM   #6
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yeah, I agree with you Donna. It was the first place I learned to take the lane and it really is the best place to learn if you have the speed and handling skills down.
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Old 10-13-07, 02:49 PM   #7
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Mind you, I do appreciate the well-designed bike lanes in other parts of Portland and I gladly use them. Downtown is just a whole 'nother kettle of fish, IMO.
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Old 10-13-07, 03:10 PM   #8
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I don't like the bike lanes downtown, either. They just don't work there, and I'm not confident in the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division's ability to interpret the bike lane law correctly. The lights are timed for cars to be travelling 16-20 mph. It's a great environment in which to learn to take the lane.
I have to agree. I happen to be in Portland this weekend and this morning I went over to 14th and Burnside to look at the corner where this horrible event took place. Keeping in mind that this kind of thing could certainly happen on a street with no bike lane, the bike lane did not help matters.

My condolences to her family and friends.

Robert
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Old 10-13-07, 05:27 PM   #9
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I'd second a car-free downtown, it would be great to make all the suburbanites leave their cars outside the downtown core and ride public transit, but that's not happening anytime soon. Between the Portland Business Alliance's demands for more parking so more people can drive into downtown, and the city's desire for parking meter revenue to fund PDOT, I don't see motoring in the downtown area going away anytime soon. Each new highrise, like the one going in on SW Broadway just north of PSU, comes with several hundred to several thousand new parking spaces; the Fox Tower is in the process of doubling the amount of parking they have available as well. Traffic will soon become permanently gridlocked in some locations downtown.
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Old 10-13-07, 06:46 PM   #10
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Keeping in mind that this kind of thing could certainly happen on a street with no bike lane, the bike lane did not help matters.

My condolences to her family and friends.

Robert
I'll second that. Haven't ridden the bike lanes of Portland but it is possible that the bike lane may have encouraged the cyclist to be in a less than advantageous space. What a tragedy.
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Old 10-13-07, 06:57 PM   #11
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I'd second a car-free downtown, it would be great to make all the suburbanites leave their cars outside the downtown core and ride public transit, but that's not happening anytime soon.
No, it's not, but that should be the long-term vision-- maybe the 20 year plan?

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Between the Portland Business Alliance's demands for more parking so more people can drive into downtown, and the city's desire for parking meter revenue to fund PDOT, I don't see motoring in the downtown area going away anytime soon. Each new highrise, like the one going in on SW Broadway just north of PSU, comes with several hundred to several thousand new parking spaces; the Fox Tower is in the process of doubling the amount of parking they have available as well. Traffic will soon become permanently gridlocked in some locations downtown.
All the more reason to make that transition. Ring the downtown core with parking facilities supported by public transit, and with ample bicycle parking, supply light rail stations with parking facilities, and close the downtown core to the private automobile. Keep the streets open to bicycles, delivery vehicles emergency vehicles, and public transit. Radiate bicycle boulevards out from the core, like the spokes of a wheel.

Anyway, that should be the long-term vision. If we don't have a goal, we'll never get there.
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Old 10-13-07, 07:09 PM   #12
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yeah, I'm not new to biking but I was surprised when I found this forum about six months ago when I became a daily bike commuter that people actually argued about taking the lane and the rights of bikes in the road.
I don't recall anyone arguing over this.
Where did you see someone on here arguing that cyclists shouldn't take the lane and/or had no rights to the road?
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Old 10-14-07, 12:25 AM   #13
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That said, the only times I've had motorists intentionally endanger my life has been downtown when I was taking the lane because there was no bike lane.
You mean out of sheer spite? What do they do, just wedge over at you or something?
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Old 10-14-07, 11:20 AM   #14
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I don't recall anyone arguing over this.
Where did you see someone on here arguing that cyclists shouldn't take the lane and/or had no rights to the road?
it seems that there are some riders on the forum who are cautious to take the lane (understandable, we all have different levels of skill and comfort on our bikes).

in general I was only referring to the common conception of the layperson (non-cyclist) that bicycles need to remain segregated. I probably should have made this more clear.

people here do argue about the range of rights that we are allowed, as cyclists.

as well, there are those on this forum that would argue for separate trails or roads for bicycles.

need I explain more?

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Old 10-14-07, 11:22 AM   #15
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No, it's not, but that should be the long-term vision-- maybe the 20 year plan?

All the more reason to make that transition. Ring the downtown core with parking facilities supported by public transit, and with ample bicycle parking, supply light rail stations with parking facilities, and close the downtown core to the private automobile. Keep the streets open to bicycles, delivery vehicles emergency vehicles, and public transit. Radiate bicycle boulevards out from the core, like the spokes of a wheel.

Anyway, that should be the long-term vision. If we don't have a goal, we'll never get there.
The trouble is, PDOT internally continues to work at cross-purposes, trying to increase the bicycle mode split while at the same time making the maximization of motor vehicle capacity their overriding design concern. Cyclists will never come out ahead in this scenario.

The city also has a set of pedestrian design standards which results in the construction of curb extensions and the preservation of curb side parking throughout the city, to the detriment of cyclists, who could otherwise be using this ROW space more productively.

There is also no corresponding set of bicyclist design standards, which doesn't help things at all, especially since the city appears to have a sheeplike attitude to innovations like sharrows, which the city has refused to install until they are listed as an acceptible design treatment in the MUTCD.
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Old 10-14-07, 11:58 AM   #16
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Hey guys, I just want you to be aware of one thing as you discuss this issue. I did not know before last night that a high school friend of Tracey Sparling's is a BF member. Remember that this is the beginning of their college sophomore year, so it wasn't all that long ago that they were in school together. I also understand that Tracey was the 2nd member of that graduating class to die in the last year. She comes from a city that isn't particularly large, and this has been very difficult for their community. Everything's been fine so far, just please keep this in mind as you type.
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Old 10-14-07, 03:42 PM   #17
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You mean out of sheer spite? What do they do, just wedge over at you or something?
Sheer spite. I was taking the lane, because there was no bike lane, and the lane was toio narrow to safely share. I was in the right lane, there was a car in the center lane, slightly ahead of me, and the left lane was free. A car camne up behind me, and instaed of just passing me in eitrher the center or left lane, squeezed in between me and the car ahead of me, passing both of us between lanes.

A day or two later, I was again taking the lane, for the same reason, when a car passed me (legally and safely), but then tried to make a right turn at the intersection from the left lane, because I was in the right lane. He tried to cut halfway across my lane, but then thought better of it as I rode up alongside of him.

They always think they have to pass you because you're "too slow," but then they get surprised by how fast you really are when you catch them at the intersection, or before they can complete that turn across your path.
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Old 10-14-07, 04:13 PM   #18
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yeah, I'm not new to biking but I was surprised when I found this forum about six months ago when I became a daily bike commuter that people actually argued about taking the lane and the rights of bikes in the road. It never crossed my mind since I could pace with cars downtown so I felt comfortable riding in traffic, with traffic.


I guess I was born taking the lane. Maybe there is some sort of Darwinian advantage that my genes are pointing me toward riding with traffic so my children can advocate for vehicular rights for bikes.
Get out of downtown where the arterials have two lanes each direction with an 8 foot wide bike lane on each side, and traffic in every lane will travel at it's own speed without affecting other vehicles. Downtown you have to adapt to the environment as necessary.
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Old 10-14-07, 04:57 PM   #19
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squeezed in between me and the car ahead of me, passing both of us between lanes.
Probably a cyclist lamenting not being on his bike lol.
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Old 10-14-07, 05:02 PM   #20
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Each new highrise, like the one going in on SW Broadway just north of PSU, comes with several hundred to several thousand new parking spaces;
Check this out, from New York.
http://www.reuters.com/news/video?vi...videoChannel=6

People are so desperate about having a car. Now they want to avoid even taking an elevator ride!
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Old 10-14-07, 07:10 PM   #21
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Check this out, from New York.
http://www.reuters.com/news/video?vi...videoChannel=6

People are so desperate about having a car. Now they want to avoid even taking an elevator ride!
What an awesome idea.

Those people are really going to be ahead of the game when we all get our flying cars.
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Old 10-15-07, 08:15 AM   #22
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Check this out, from New York.
http://www.reuters.com/news/video?vi...videoChannel=6

People are so desperate about having a car. Now they want to avoid even taking an elevator ride!
...avoid taking a elevator ride or simply avoid leaving their vehicle out and exposed to potential theft?
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Old 10-15-07, 11:42 AM   #23
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I don't like the bike lanes downtown, either. They just don't work there,...
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I have to agree. I happen to be in Portland this weekend and this morning I went over to 14th and Burnside to look at the corner where this horrible event took place. Keeping in mind that this kind of thing could certainly happen on a street with no bike lane, the bike lane did not help matters.
What are the general characteristics of downtown Portland that make bike lanes not work and/or not help matters?

Is it the frequency of intersections and junctions combined with high traffic volumes?
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Old 10-15-07, 12:44 PM   #24
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Is it the frequency of intersections and junctions combined with high traffic volumes?
Downtown Portland's city blocks are on a smaller scale then a lot of cities, including downtown SD for example. It makes walking feel much more pleasant, but it feels a bit tight for car driving. Traffic is the equivalent of Gaslamp on a Friday night much of the time. Add the buses and light rail into the mix (which are much more present then in SD) and it can get a bit messy.
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Old 10-15-07, 03:38 PM   #25
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also narrow rights of way with curbside parking everywhere
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