Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board Bicycle Driving › Feedback on new paint on Forest and Park Avenues

Feedback on new paint on Forest and Park Avenues

John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,130
Have you seen the new bike lanes and sharrows on Forest Avenue and Park Avenue? These are part of the city's Bike Network master plan, and have been planned since last spring.

All local infrastructure photos are gathered together into Portland Infrastructure photo album, with photos taken by Scott and John. Some are reproduced below.

So, what do you think? Do you like them? Are they intuitive to use, or confusing? Do you have have any concerns about them? Have you encountered any problems using (or not using) them?

Bike lane critics, please note that this thread is meant to solicit public feedback on these specific locations, from riders with a variety of experience, not just vehicularists. It is not intended to be another place to debate the merits of bike lanes and sharrows per se. Please continue to use some of the other existing threads for that. If you have criticisms specific to these pictures or other instances of bike paint in Portland, that is acceptable.

So here's the pics, courtesy of Scott:

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Scott
user 5414356
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 81
bike lane on Forest (first pair of photos):
-too close to parked cars, putting cyclists at risk of being doored

intersection of Forest and Walton (second pair of photos):
-directs through traffic to the right of right-turning traffic, putting cyclists at risk of being right-hooked
-causes confusion due to the nonstandard placement of a through lane of traffic to the right of a right-turn lane

sharrows on Forest (last 6 photos):
-ambiguous meaning (Does it mean "bikes are to be expected in this lane" or "bikes travel in this specific lateral position"?)
-placement in the gutter creates the potential for dangerously close passes from motorists if cyclists adopt the second meaning (above) instead of controlling the narrow lane
Kenneth O.
kob22225
Portland, ME
Post #: 295
Hmm.. specific....

While all bikelanes vary between stupid and really really really really really really stupid... these fall between really really stupid and really really really stupid.
A former member
Post #: 497
Ken's comments notwithstanding wink, I agree with points already made. The cars parked directly alongside the bikelane is a recipe for disaster. A cyclist that is aware of the danger would ride to the extreme left of the bike lane (or perhaps outside of it), the motorists would feel justified and encouraged to squeeze by, because the cyclist "was not in their bikeway". A novice cyclist staying in the bike lane, is at high risk of being doored.



Even though there dashed line before the intersection, I would prefer to see the bikelane completely end before the intersection. The bikelane with the dashed lines, still reinforces the segregated space where the motorist feels the bicycle should be. The dashed lines will make the motorist feel that the motor vehicle can cross the lines to execute a right turn (potentially performing a right hook over the cyclist). A cyclist arguably should be in the center of the travel lane as they traverse the intersection.



Where there are shorrows present, they need to be placed in the center of the travel lane and not in the "gutter". The placement along the right-edge of the road (where I bike lane would be), reinforces with the motorist that the bicycle belongs on the side of the road (out of their way). If a sharrow is placed anywhere other than the center of the travel-lane, it is worse than useless.

John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,132
Great pics, Ian, those illustrate the problem very well.

Even the bike lane that ends for the right turn only lane in that picture should end much sooner to allow adequate merging opportunity. A cyclist staying in that bike lane until it ends and then trying to get into the through lane is pretty much swerving suddenly, or else firmly trapped in the right turn lane by overtaking traffic.

This is also a good time to mention this great video again:

Ken: For easier reading, may I suggest you consider notating your scale using exponents, so we can see more easily that these bike lanes are between stupid^3 and stupid^4, on a scale of stupid to stupid^7. wink
A former member
Post #: 498
...Even the bike lane that ends for the right turn only lane in that picture should end much sooner to allow adequate merging opportunity. A cyclist staying in that bike lane until it ends and then trying to get into the through lane is pretty much swerving suddenly, or else firmly trapped in the right turn lane by overtaking traffic...

I couldn't agree more. So how do we advocate for such changes without seeming like we are against what most bicyclists want (increased ped/bike facilities)?

Is there a happy medium between "do nothing", and "if you are going to make bicycle infrastructure, make sure that it makes sense"?

In respect to John's original request, we can take this discussion to one of the other many (pro/anti) bicycle facility discussions, such as ...More Bike Lane Stupidity.
Kenneth O.
kob22225
Portland, ME
Post #: 298
So how do we advocate for such changes without seeming like we are against what most bicyclists want (increased ped/bike facilities)?

But fine tuning bikelane foolishness isn't the change I want.

Want I want is education that bikelanes are wrong at the basic concept level.

If I don't _seem_ to be against what most bicyclists want right now (in a culture that misunderstands safe roadway bicycling at a fundamental level)... then I'm being unclear. That is because: in fact I _am_ against what most bicyclists in this culture want right now.

I'm also against the political ploy of teaming up with status quo transportation planning to get all these typical bad 'bicycling' advocacy goals that I am against....

It is a double... triple... quadruple.. dodeca-uple... whammy for me.

My problem is not how to manage what I _seem_.... It is how to incorporate what I _am_ into effective bicyclist advocacy - within the context of also being a good citizen.

I think typical 'bicycing' advocates are now, simultaneously:

1) bad _bicyclist_ advocates and

2) bad citizens, because they have become adjunct cheerleaders of some of the worse elements of status quo transportation planning (arterial design, segregationist design, roadway widening, perception-design that makes motorists feel comfortable with highest speed remotely practicable in every travel corridor - and how elements of each of these add up to anti-pedestrian roadway design within public way.)


A former member
Post #: 501
Great comments Ken, perhaps we should continue this here? Permanent Infrastructure "debate".
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,142
Yes, please take the general discussion to another thread.

Here's a sequence I took this afternoon, using a section of the Forest Ave. Door Zone Bike Lane:


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Riding in the middle of the bike lane past a parked car (mine).


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Riding in the middle of the bike lane, door opens. Bad news.


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Riding just far enough out to clear the open door, but would still be startled by it, possible into swerving into passing traffic. Notice position of bike tire in bike lane.


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This is the minimum distance I feel comfortable passing an open door, hence passing a potentially opening door, especially at a speed higher than 10 MPH. It's about 3', which I know because I measured the door as sticking out about 3.5'. Notice I am outside the bike lane completely.

Measurements (I'll post a graphic soon):
  • Width of parking lane: 6'5" (excluding line)
  • Width of car: 7'1" (mirror to mirror)
  • Distance of right car tire from curb: 13"
  • Width of bike lane: 6' (excluding lines)
  • Total distance from curb to inside-most line of bike lane: 13' 3"
  • Width of my handlebars: 2'

I'll stop there for now, since the graphic will be more easily understandable.
A former member
Post #: 509
Wow John, thank you for taking the time to do this. A picture is worth 1000 words. Perhaps the "people who authorized this bike-path will take notice..."

If a cyclist is riding in the "travel lane", will they...
a). be harassed by the motoring public for being out of their designated travel space, and/or
b). be harassed by the police for being out of their designated travel space???

If this is part of the Portland "Bike Network master plan" can we as a group be involved their design (or removal)?

For further discussion please go HERE.­
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