Portland Leapfrogs Other US Cities Once Again With New Cycle Track

September 1, 2009 § 8 Comments

Was just forwarded this article from bikeportland noting the brand new Cycle Tracks being installed in their city. This project was championed by the Mayor, and uses parked cars as the buffer which creates a dedicated bike lane. You see these throughout Europe where they have been met with great success. This style of bike lane was also highlighted in the clip we posted from the film “Contested Streets”, where planner Jan Gehl stands in front of a sidewalk and describes the infrastructure, while bicyclists rush past.

Not to be slowed down, Portland is also introducing the Left Turn Bike Box, which are also seen throughout Europe. It’s incredible to see how fast momentum is building in the North West for these projects. If you visited Portland five years ago and went back last month, you’d see a night and day difference. The number of cyclists we noted on the streets was awe-inspiring, and as Roger Geller, city planner, explained to us last year, they merely took the “Build it and they will come” approach to their infrastructure. Obviously, it’s paid off. Accident rates are plummeting, ridership is skyrocketing, and an entire industry has been set in motion with local bike shops on many corners, and businesses on two wheels abounding.


(Portland Ridership Increases noted alongside Accident Rate Decreases)

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§ 8 Responses to Portland Leapfrogs Other US Cities Once Again With New Cycle Track

  • Steve A says:

    Just keep such stuff in Oak Cliff and away from my neighborhood. I got to see Seattle’s latest when I was visiting my parents, and there are a lot of poorly designed and executed facilities that make things more difficult for experienced cyclists without attracting less experienced ones. My sister, who rides in Seattle daily, calls them “a bad joke.”

    I find it sad when I see stuff such as the url photo, taken in Fort Worth on Magnolia. Story at:

    http://dfwptp.blogspot.com/2009/08/who-is-this-supposed-to-help-again.html

  • mannytmoto says:

    I can cite hundreds of bad examples of poor car lanes as well, and only yards outside my door. Same for sidewalks, many of which bring very few pedestrians, does that constitute a failed system on the whole? Specifically, the merging of Davis and Fort Worth Avenue is “a bad joke”. As far as your neighborhood, I would direct you to Fort Worth’s recent 2015 plan which announces 470+ miles of bicycle infrastructure, and is far closer to you than Oak Cliff.

    I understand exactly where you’re coming from as a Vehicular Cyclist, but the reality is, it simply doesn’t bring anyone out on bicycles. I like to note League Instructor, Paul Dorn, who has not only read and trained under Forester’s Effective Cycling, but is qualified to teach the class:

    “I’ve written in the past about the welcome demise of vehicular cycling (VC) among bicycle advocates. As a practical approach to individual cycling, VC makes great sense: “drive” your bicycle as if it were a vehicle, claim your space, signal your turns, ride with traffic.

    However, as a basis for bicycling advocacy, VC is negative, pessimistic, and counter-productive. Essentially, VC proponents conceded bicycling’s marginality and didn’t believe the roads could be changed to better accommodate cyclists. Instead they encouraged bicyclists to accept their minority status and adapt to roads designed for high speed vehicle traffic.”

    More here: http://bikecommutetips.blogspot.com/2006/12/advocacy-works-for-bicyclists.html

  • Major Taylor says:

    Hey Steve “A”

    Don’t like bike lanes?
    Then don’t use em’ and take your chances
    as a “vehicle”, good luck with that.

    How about you follow me on my commute up
    the Zang bridge where it goes from 3 lanes to two, turns to the right, around a tree, watch out for the first right hand merge with traffic at speed (40-50ish) still going uphill over potholes
    now for the second right hand merge that’s a fairly constant traffic situation. You’re probably gonna have to stop here and wait on a tiny triangle of road for a while til you find your holeshot which will still be going uphill and over potholes (at least the dart bus driver now lays on his horn to warn me to stop.

    Have fun competing with the 3rd merge halfway down the bridge, maybe traffic will yield for you…maybe not. good luck fella!

  • Steve A says:

    Mannytmoto is completely correct in noting that VC is NOT going to attract more people to bikes. It is not a basis for advocacy, it’s a method of riding a bike safely. I rarely see people practicing it.

    Our principal point of disagreement (and it’s probably not even a disagreement) is that safe bike infrastructure isn’t something P&R people should be doing in their spare time. Myself, I think a GOOD one helps all road users and that’s not easy to accomplish. Money’s short; for initial projects, the “best of the best” should be chosen, not marginal projects such as the Fort Worth Magnolia restripe. Better ways to cross the Trinity, local Freeways, and RR track crossings come to mind. Think “bike shortcuts.” Sounds like Major Taylor wouldn’t object to a better way to cross the Trinity.

    I’d really like to see some start at BFOC towards a short list of OC projects that might be considered. I think I tossed a few candidates on the table in the paragraph above. Oh, and keep those bike racks coming!

  • Major Taylor says:

    Who are the “P&R People” you’re referring to?
    What facilities in Seattle are you referring to?
    Your intial post seem to be very VC and antiquated.
    How do bike lanes teach people to ride unsafely?

    Wether you like it or not bike lanes are coming to Dallas. We’re trying to make sure the best possible scenario will be put into play by studying how successful cities are attacking the problem.

    Oh, and guess what…It’s not just about you “experienced cyclist” either. I guesss I should be asking you how your acent up Ventoux was? You were on Contadors’ wheel the entire time right?

    We in BFOC are attempting to make cycling irrestable to everyone, not just the “experienced”

  • Steve A says:

    P&R = Parks & Recreation. Mostly, P&R people are not trained in designing traffic facilities – which is why they make those paths cross gobs of streets, with dorky stop signs at every street, and poor sightlines. I know of nobody that advocates such facilities. Certainly not BFOC nor myself.

    Specifically, in Seattle, the sharrows along NE 75th street, and the area where the Burke Gilman Trail crosses 25th Ave NE, to name just two lousy designs. The Burke Gilman Trail crossing has the highest bike accident rate of anywhere in Seattle other than maybe where the streetcar tracks cause diversion falls.

    I did not claim bike lanes teach anyone to ride unsafely. Bike facilities are not teaching tools. Bike lanes do create an expectation in motorist minds that I don’t belong in the traffic lane when they’re present, even if I’m preparing to make a left turn, or riding outside a door zone. Bike paths seem to be much better in that regard, and bike paths that improve my ability to get from place to place can be a wonderful benefit. I’m unclear about what is “antiquated” in this paragraph.

    I don’t race. I’ve never raced. I don’t follow racing. I don’t plan to race, other than I plan to try cyclocross. Mostly I ride to work and to local stores. That means I go from a point to a point, regardless of what facilities and road choices may exist in between.

  • dickdavid says:

    I’m not sure if my input would be helpful, but I’ve got a “new rider” point of view on bike lanes and vehicular cycling.

    I’ve been on mountain bikes for years. Most of my riding consisted of tossing my bike on my rack and driving to some nice trail around town. I consider myself new to road cycling/commuting.

    Until the last couple of years, I’ve avoided riding around town – mostly for my concerns for safety. The thought of going anywhere outside of my neighborhood scared the crap out of me. I think what’s held me back for so long is that, right or wrong, bicycles coexisting with cars on major roads has become almost impossible. This is a reality for the state-of-mind in our society of drivers.

    The best solution for me (to ride on major roads) is to have my own bicycle lanes, paths etc that run along the same routes, but do NOT share (major) lanes with cars.

    I don’t know anything about statistic, or midwestern or European infrastructures. All I know is that for folks like me, who are terrified of riding on major streets, the only thing that will make it easy to decide to commute more is to distance myself from cars.

    I know cyclists have road rights, but I’m a realist. Drivers in the Metroplex are NOT conditioned to be aware of cyclists and I, for one, don’t want to be that guy to teach them how to be. By the sheer fact that there aren’t many cyclist out there (at least in my hood), I would think other people feel the same way.

    Perhaps if bike only lanes existed, more cyclists would start to appear. With more cyclists out there, more drivers would start to watch out for them. Eventually, awareness becomes less of an issue and cyclists can eventually start taking the streets back.

  • Major Taylor says:

    “Keep such stuff in Oak cliff and away from my neighborhood”
    Are you or are you not stating that the cycle tracks mentioned in the article are in you sisters words “a Joke” as in a bad idea? To me it sounds like you don’t like bike lanes at all.
    That kinda thinking reeks of a Vehicular Cyclist mentality.
    That type of thinking is antiquated, I won’t spoon feed you the definition ok?

    Neither the Parks and recreation dept or any Public Relations group is going to be installing bike lanes on city streets. Bike lanes go on streets, not rec centers or board rooms.

    While bike paths are nice at times bike lanes are what is needed and practically already there. Yes, drivers do need to be made aware of cyclist when a left turn is required, the right kind of bike lane could eliminate a dooring situation or the dreaded “right hook”, hello… bike box? More cyclist in bike lanes would create more awareness in the mindsets of most drivers. These same drivers you speak of can be conditioned to expect to deal with us cyclist in bike lanes and paths and streets when needed. It will take lots of work, but it can be done. Cars can be taught to play nice with us cyclist.

    It’s too bad your sister seems to have given up on bike lanes in Seattle, perhaps with some input from such a dedicated rider some of their problems could be addressed if truly needed. Calling them a joke really doesn’t help the situation.

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