November 7, 2010 - 8 went

Bike Network Audit 2010

Baxter inbound at Forest [#5]

In this photo:

There are no tags for this photo

Added by Harry B.
on Nov 7, 2010.
 

Comments

  • John B.

    Harry, can you leave some notes about this one? It's hard to tell from the angle of the picture, but it looks like the issue is that if you follow the bike lane through the intersection, there is no corresponding space on the other side without forcing you to merge into the travel lane in the middle of the intersection. Is that what you were getting at?

    or cancel

  • Harry B.

    John, The primary issue we identified was with the ambiguity of the bike lane. Our concern was with whether it was clear to both motorists and cyclists what to do in the event of a right hand or left hand turn (hence Fred's puzzled gesture). Unlike the intersection of Baxter Blvd and Preble Street Ext which has sharrows clearly indicating the right hand lane for right turning motorists and bikes alike, this intersection implies that bikes must use the bike lane only. But your point about a lack of corresponding space on the other side is not one we considered, but appears to be a valid concern just the same.

    or cancel

  • John B.

    The issue you identified, what a turning cyclist is supposed to do, is a general weakness of the bike lane concept in general. The one at Baxer & Preble inbound is the only bike lane I've ever seen that is specifically for turning cyclists. (And they had to use an arrow to indicate that. Before the arrow was added, through cyclists would be tempted to use it and get stuck to the left of through motor traffic on the other side.) Usually they ONLY presume to direct through cyclists. Even ones like this that route you left to avoid right turn only lanes are only for through cyclists. If you're turning right, it is assumed you'll use the right turn only lane. And if you're turning LEFT, that one at Baxter and Preble is the only one I've ever seen to help you do that. __ I think in terms of this specific installation, I have more concern about the direction to merge in the intersection than anything else. I tend not to use the bike lane at Preble outbound crossing Baxter for the same reason; on the other side is only a shoulder, and one that in a short distance usually contains parked cars. But I think you're right that the sign only compounds the confusion; maybe it would be better to just not have the sign? __ For the record, the "right" thing for a cyclist to do at this intersection, vehicularly-speaking, is to simply occupy the middle of whichever of the lanes is appropriate for your direction. This intersection is easy because there's only one of each. If that's not the case, the correct lane is the rightmost one that goes where you're going. With the bike lane here, using the bike lane is sufficient for through cyclists (but still not great, because of the intersection merge issue), but turning cyclists still need to use one of the other lanes as appropriate.

    or cancel

  • John B.

    BTW, I tried to break that comment into multiple paragraphs, but it looks like the photo comment feature doesn't support that. The "__" indicates where I want a paragraph break.

    or cancel

  • Harry B.

    Hi John, Is there a set of suggested standards for establishing urban bike lanes and signage? Our evaluation process was somewhat subjective except for the guidelines you provided to us. I found some helpful information in the Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/05085/ . Where else would one look? Thanks, Harry

    or cancel

  • John B.

    The two primary national standards documents are (1) the _Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices_ (MUTCD), a publication of the FHWA (latest edition 2009), in Chapter 9, "TRAFFIC CONTROL FOR BICYCLE FACILITIES", and (2) the _Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Bicycle Facilities_ from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The latest official AASHTO book is 2003; a new edition is due to be released soon, but I don't know exactly when. Our files area contains the MUTCD as well as both the 2003 AASHTO and a Februrary 2010 draft of the new one: * MUTCD (Chapter 9 only) -- http://files.meetup.com/225788/MUTCD2009part9.pdf; * AASHTO 2003 edition -- http://files.meetup.com/225788/AASHTO%20Bicycle%20Facilities%20Guide.pdf; * February 2010 DRAFT of the new AASHTO edition -- http://files.meetup.com/225788/AASHTO%20BL%20Guidelines%20DRAFT%20FEB2010.pdf.

    or cancel

  • john b.

    I still take the left only traffic lane on that Baxter/ Preble intersection. Erin favors the designated left only(?) bike lane. I wonder, though, why would I want to be that close to (wide) turning traffic? Why not just take up the appropriate traffic lane in either instance of left only, through and/or right only? A strange design - still, better than the coffin corner.

    or cancel

  • John B.

    Why not just take up the appropriate traffic lane? Going back to an earlier conversation, it's because most traffic engineers are not traffic cyclists and cannot imagine expecting a typical bicyclist to do that. The push for paint facilities creates the expectation that the engineers have to "help" the bicyclist know what to do, through the engineering design. But suggest that the best "help" is to direct the bicyclist to the middle of the lane, well, that doesn't seem right to them either... Now you're asking them to consider the whole idea of bicycles integrated into the main traffic flow, which many of them are not prepared by training or experience to do.

    or cancel

  • John B.

    And, by the way, directing bicyclists into the main traffic flow is almost by definition what they are being asked to avoid, since the push for paint facilities is specifically for the "benefit" of the traffic-shy bicyclist, who will not do that. So they figure they'll provide the facilities for the traffic-shy, and the experienced ones like us know what to do anyway, so they figure we don't need facilities, and don't have to use them. But they underestimate the social pressure that is brought to bear on *everyone* to use the facilities, as well as the miseducation problem they provide. It's a conflict inherent in the bike lane concept.

    or cancel

  • John B.

    Hey Harry, what intersection is this? I can't quite place it.

    or cancel

  • john b.

    Looks like Forest and Bedford streets (bottom of USM Portland campus).

    or cancel

  • John B.

    Yes, I guess you're right. I didn't remember there being any big trees along that extension of Baxter Boulevard, but looking at Google Maps, I guess there are a few. I don't ride that stretch much.

    or cancel

Want to comment on this photo?

Sign in, if you're already a member of this group or Join Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting

Other photo albums

Move photo

Do you want to move this photo to “__ALBUM_NAME__”?

Are you sure you want to delete this photo?

Yes, I'm Sure

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

Yes, I'm Sure

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy