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What am I supposed to do here?

Old 11-02-12, 07:02 PM
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What am I supposed to do here?

I'm hoping this is just a transitional state soon to be replaced by something that makes more sense, but one of the roads on my commute was recently resurfaced and when they re-painted the lane markers they transformed what was already one of the most challenging spots in my commute into an absolute death trap.

The situation: I'm heading east on SW Baseline Road in Aloha. Just after SW Baseline passes SW 185th, the right lane veers off to loop around and let people head north on 185th. Where it does this, there's a little traffic island where people coming the other way around this bend merge onto Baseline. It used to be that the next-to-rightmost lane also had the option of veering right, or cars there could go straight and pass the island. This was ridiculous, of course, but I could generally work around it by staying in the bike lane until I got to a bit of sidewalk that provided a safe way to get across this absurd traffic island.

A picture might help (borrowed from Google maps).



So, as I said, when they re-surfaced the roads, they changed the lane striping. Now only one lane has the option of swinging off to the right, BUT the bike lane abruptly moves from the right side of the turning lane to the left side of the turning lane AS cars are making the transition to turn right, including people from the middle lane who realized at the last minute that they need to turn or people turning left from southbound 185th and cutting across all eastbound lanes on Baseline.

Here's what it looks like now.



Here's another shot for additional perspective.



To really understand what I'm freaked out about, compare the location of the yellow car in the first picture to where it is in the second picture to get an idea of how long it takes for a bus to occupy the space a bike needs to get across to the new bike lane location. The speed limit here is 45 mph, but the bus was probably going a little faster trying to beat the light (notice it's red in the second picture).

This is a bit hazardous in full daylight, but with daylight savings time about to end and the non-stop rainy season upon us, this spot is going to be awful.

What would you do in this situation?
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Old 11-02-12, 07:10 PM
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merge into the turning lane before where the bus is, then get in the bike lane.

if the light is red, it's a piece of cake.

however, you'll have to hope for low traffic density is the light is green, because you'll have to "take the lane" earlier
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Old 11-02-12, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7
merge into the turning lane before where the bus is, then get in the bike lane.

if the light is red, it's a piece of cake.

however, you'll have to hope for low traffic density is the light is green, because you'll have to "take the lane" earlier
If the light is red, I'm on the other side of the intersection at 185h. These pictures were taken from a traffic island on the east side of 185th. And traffic density is rarely low when I come through here. These pictures were taken at about 1:30 PM. I usually come through between 5:30 and 6:30 PM when half the county is driving home.

I've tried to figure out a way to take the lane. The best I've come up with is to do it on the other side of the intersection. Even that's not easy in heavy traffic.
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Old 11-02-12, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
If the light is red, I'm on the other side of the intersection at 185h. These pictures were taken from a traffic island on the east side of 185th. And traffic density is rarely low when I come through here. These pictures were taken at about 1:30 PM. I usually come through between 5:30 and 6:30 PM when half the county is driving home.

I've tried to figure out a way to take the lane. The best I've come up with is to do it on the other side of the intersection. Even that's not easy in heavy traffic.
to be honest, it looks like a nightmare
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Old 11-02-12, 07:41 PM
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Yeah, I'm looking for alternate routes, but this area is so full of cul-de-sacs and strip malls that there aren't a lot of alternatives.
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Old 11-02-12, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
I've tried to figure out a way to take the lane. The best I've come up with is to do it on the other side of the intersection. Even that's not easy in heavy traffic.
It may not be easy to think about but it is easy to do. I ride the same area and I haven't come that far East yet lately but I wouldn't be afraid to take the lane anywhere in PDX Metro. Where I used to live the cars would actively speed up and force you out if you tried it. I haven't seen that kind of squeeze play at work out here. I don't like to do it, its admitting, to the second class status of bicycles but there is the odd intersection where its actually quicker to make a right turn, do a quick u-ie and go left with the cross traffic. YMMV.

H
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Old 11-02-12, 07:44 PM
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Have you forwarded this information to the proper (no)planning authorities?
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Old 11-02-12, 07:45 PM
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Take pics and voice your concerns with the appropriate alphabet soup agency. Who designed (and signed off on) this little bit of fanciful lunacy should seek mental health professionals pronto.

In the meantime, I take it rerouting isn't a valid option?
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Old 11-02-12, 08:01 PM
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Start looking for a spot to take the lane well in advance, stick your arm out and start riding there so you can end up on the bike lane to go straight. If you Re not comfortable dong this you can also wait on the sidewalk by the trafic light untill it turns red.
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Old 11-02-12, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_pedro
Start looking for a spot to take the lane well in advance, stick your arm out and start riding there so you can end up on the bike lane to go straight. If you Re not comfortable dong this you can also wait on the sidewalk by the trafic light untill it turns red.
+1
Take the lane and use the light to your advantage. I've got some bad spots in my commute where it makes the most sense to accept a red light only to jump it 5-10seconds later when crossing traffic clears (always does, traffic timing mechanism). I'm sure you will learn some trick to navigate this area safely.
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Old 11-02-12, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_pedro
Start looking for a spot to take the lane well in advance, stick your arm out and start riding there so you can end up on the bike lane to go straight. If you Re not comfortable dong this you can also wait on the sidewalk by the trafic light untill it turns red.
I'll also give the +1 to sticking your arm out to merge. One or two people might pass you, but the one who lets you in will not tailgate you through the whole intersection. When you stick your arm out, sit up and deliberately turn around to look at the people passing you - showing your face humanizes you and makes others less likely to deliberately try and blow past you.

Also, after I signal and someone lets me in, I always wave. It takes the edge off.

I've also heard it helps if you are a young, hot girl.
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Old 11-02-12, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad
Take pics and voice your concerns with the appropriate alphabet soup agency. Who designed (and signed off on) this little bit of fanciful lunacy should seek mental health professionals pronto.

In the meantime, I take it rerouting isn't a valid option?
This must be the same guy that has the bike lane on 2nd Avenue as a shared lane with the Midtown Tunnel turn lane. The only bright side of the hurricane is that the tunnel is closed and there's no turning traffic. It's a left side lane, and I always stay on the right because you can't get into the traffic. At least like all Manhattan traffic nothing moves all that fast.
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Old 11-02-12, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheels Of Steel
Have you forwarded this information to the proper (no)planning authorities?
Yeah, I sent a problem report via the website today. They're usually pretty good about responding at least.
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Old 11-03-12, 09:04 AM
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Can you take a right either at that intersection or before it, then a left off of SW 185th followed by another left to get back to SW Baseline? I won't hesitate to ride longer to be safer.
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Old 11-03-12, 09:13 AM
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Another good reason to have an obnoxiously bright rear blinkie, especially as this is new and DST is ending.
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Old 11-03-12, 10:19 AM
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Try an alternative road if not then ride on the sidewalk it's better to have a fine from time to time than risk dying
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Old 11-03-12, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
Yeah, I'm looking for alternate routes, but this area is so full of cul-de-sacs and strip malls that there aren't a lot of alternatives.
Well, seems that you are doing exactly what I'd recommend - look for an alternate route, then find other commuters to get a petition effort underway.
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Old 11-03-12, 10:40 AM
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Whatever way you go, make sure you have some good blinky lights working at all times, front and rear. In that kind of envoirment, it is real important that you be seen. Just my opinion..
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Old 11-03-12, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by cehowardGS
Whatever way you go, make sure you have some good blinky lights working at all times, front and rear. In that kind of envoirment, it is real important that you be seen. Just my opinion..
blinky lights don't do much against distracted or drunk drivers but it's a good start
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Old 11-03-12, 11:53 AM
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I agree with scroca. There should then be a syncronized crosswalk light accross that island where the cars make the last right turn. There is NO other possible simple and safe solution. I would say it's worse than a highway merge lane.

As is, they really only moved the double turn lane to infront of the light. Better but you still must cross 2 right turn lanes one at a time.
I would head for the left of the must turn lane, close to the lines, before the light (but not very far ahead). Don't stay in the middle of the lane. If the light is red while riding up the shoulder, cut behind the first car if possible. Else, make eye contact with the front driver.
Crossing the intersection, I would then head for the CURB until figuring out who is turning, and or wait for the red light. I would probably keep the lane by the curb to near the end of that next block and have a cars must yeild sign. Even if you knew the first 3 cars were going straight from the light, it's still a bit far to the safety of the inside bike lane.

Another possible design would be a bike box in front of the second lane, before the light. Extend the left side bike lane closer behind the light. Have controls to stop right turns the first 2/3 of the red light phase for bikes to enter the box (or go totally across with peds). Have a bike only pre-start for 2 secs to get to the bike lane on the other side. Allow NO other thru bike movements. Good luck with that. Otherwise right turns OK either bike or car. Then what about after hours ...

PS : No lights/sirens will make a speck of additional difference here.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 11-03-12 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 11-03-12, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by scroca
Can you take a right either at that intersection or before it, then a left off of SW 185th followed by another left to get back to SW Baseline? I won't hesitate to ride longer to be safer.
You'd think so, wouldn't you? But no. There's one left turn off of 185th that comes back around to Baseline that would only add a mile, but there's no light for that turn and 185th has two lanes of traffic each way plus a center turning lane, so crossing there is out of the question. By the time there's a left turn with a traffic signal, I'd have added 3 miles to a 7 mile ride and would still have to take an unsafe street.

On the other hand, I actually think erig007's suggestion to just use the sidewalk here might work. I don't know why I didn't think of that.
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Old 11-04-12, 01:07 AM
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Welcome into the world of illegality my friend. Fortunately i have a solution for you.

https://ozzum.com/bicycle-health/

That way you will remain in good standing with the law which is to walk on the sidewalk.

But you can still lock your bike and walk anyway.

https://ozzum.com/locking-bike-security/
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Old 11-04-12, 01:32 AM
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Sidewalk looks best to me.
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Old 11-04-12, 02:42 AM
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Another reckless Portland bikelane where it is illegal not to ride that bikelane for your safety unless turning left.

Many here will hate this, but I would not ride that bikelane and just take the traffic lane the yellow car is in.
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Old 11-04-12, 10:28 AM
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I think the new bike lane is best, but the existing is poor.

If I understand this correctly, there are 3 EB lanes approaching the intersection in question, EB Baseline and NB Stepping Stone. Lane 1, is a right turn only. This is where the existing bike lane starts, but it now shifts to the left as it approaches Stepping Stone to be part of the rightmost lane of the 2 lanes that passes Stepping Stone. On my pic looking west, I placed an arrow showing your direction of travel (east) and where I think the new bike lane is located.

I'd be in lane 2 (middle lane) of Baseline as it crosses 185th and approaches Stepping Stone and ignore the existing bike lane on the curb that approaches the island. Being in lane 2 allows autos in the right lane to make their right turn and without you crossing their path. And, those cars that forget to turn until the last moment to Stepping Stone from lane 2 will be approaching you from behind, versus crossing in front of you if you were in lane 1.

I think the biggest danger are autos coming NB on Stepping Stone merging into EB Baseline, versus the traffic from behind on EB Stepping Stone. See the black Acura in the picture.

I would not ride on the sidewalk here and try to ride through that island. That looks damn dangerous. It isn't even marked as a crosswalk.

I think that the new bike lane is in the best position in a bad intersection, but it should start at the light at 185th and the old one should be removed. I think the old bike lane is in a poor location, since it appears that it was never intended to help riders pass that island EB on Baseline.


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