Tuesday, April 6, 2010

meeting notes

this is is a page from a presentation PBoT has put together to promote bike boulevards:


the page shows the intersection of NE going with 33rd, crossing offset more than a hundred feet. no signal, stop signs on both going approaches, 33rd treated as the through street, posted limit 30 mph. right of way 36 feet, parking on both sides, with occasional bulbouts, effective travel lane about 11 feet each way.

the plan is to carve out a two-way cycle track along the west edge of 33rd, with some kind of box at the north end for cyclists heading north and east to sit in, waiting for cross traffic to clear. not entirely clear from this diagram how wide the bike lanes would be, but let's say six feet with maybe a three-foot buffer. something like that.

onstreet parking would be eliminated in this half block, and motor traffic would be forbidden to enter going from 33rd altogether.

a modest accommodation for the going bike boulevard, if a bit clumsy at the box. existing signals at alberta and again at prescott perhaps explain a decision not to simply signalize the intersection.

my point is this:
(a) obviously it would be absurd to require me to veer across 33rd to pick up the cycletrack if i am heading north on 33rd from farther south;
(b) even if i am turning left onto 33rd from going heading north, if i am not planning to continue east on going there is no point in my getting onto the cycletrack and getting hung up in the box when I could simply take the lane;
(c) there will be all kinds of confusion in and around the box;
(d) motor vehicles parked along the west edge of the road north of the crossing will block my view of southbound traffic;
(e) etc., etc.

frankly, I do not care for the proposed treatment at all, and if it were within the scope of any of the upcoming open houses i would state my objections there.

also [footnote] since this is not an AASHTO/MUTCD approved treatment, it may not technically be subject to 814.420(2), but i begin to tire of PBoT's intentionally obfuscating that question.

bottom line, i should not be required to use this facility, and there should not be a statute on the books that gives the police a weapon to require me to show up in traffic court to defend my decision not to use it.

if the concern is what do "we" say to a legislator who says, hey, you asked for all this paint and we have a statute that requires motorists to keep out of the designated lane, how can you also ask that you yourselves not be required to use it?, my answer would be, the paint is there to provide comfort to the less intrepid, to encourage them to leave the truck in the driveway every once in awhile and bike to the grocery or the library or whatever.

but the more intrepid -- the vehicular cyclists who have been out there for years, just going about their business and mixing it up with the motor traffic -- do not need or want the sidepaths and should not be corralled into them. an analogy might be training wheels, or one of those pedestrian-activated crossing signals: if you do not need it, you should not be required to use it.

i know BTA has been supportive of all this infrastructure, but i think the constituency is larger than that, and "we" need to not ignore the needs of the vehicular cyclist. if not BTA then someone needs to maintain a voice that is identifiably separate from PBoT.

the city takes the position that the public process preceding adoption of the 1998 bike master plan is sufficient for the public hearing requirement. but in the 2030 plan PBoT is considerably more ambiguous with respect to whether the mandatory sidepath statute applies to the "experimental" treatments, and possibly the two-way track on 33rd would fall into that category. but again, it would be better to have clarity across the board that cyclists are not required to use even the striped bike lanes, period.

and frankly my longer range agenda would include getting rid of the far to right law. ORS 811.315 already requires a slower moving vehicle to stay to the right. there is no reason to treat cyclists as secondary road users in the statute, at all.

though i do appreciate the exception at 814.430(2)(c) for asserting the lane where it is too narrow to share.

at section 4.2D of the 2030 plan, PBoT says they want to engage with "community groups," among others, on the question of possible legislative changes to the mandatory sidepath law. who will step forward?

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