Since I’ve been doing posts lately about interesting bits of infrastructure around Portland, I figured it was about time to do the big daddy – the cycle track!
This one is on SW Broadway, which is a main street downtown, and covers (I think) about 9 blocks, going past Portland State University. As a side note, a lane of automobile traffic was removed on Broadway to put this in, and so far, traffic flow has pretty much remained the same.
There is a bike lane all the way up Broadway (which is good, because it’s uphill basically the whole way), but the lane is between parked cars and moving traffic, and gives you about a foot on either side.
But then it opens up into the cycle track. Basically what you are seeing here is the bicycle lane on the right, a painted buffer, parked cars to the left of the buffer, and then two lanes of moving traffic on the left:
You can see moving along how far you are from moving traffic on the other side of the parked cars:
Compare that to this, which is a more typical situation on a normal bike lane:
When there are a lot of parked cars there, you almost even forget about the moving traffic (though you can still hear it, of course).
In the intersections, they have these “launchpads” as they call them, to allow cyclists to turn left out of the cycle track. They are even with the parked cars, so a cyclist can sit on top of it, and the moving traffic will be going by in front of them. They can then go straight across the intersection when the light turns green.
I think this is a great little piece of road, and I think it would be awesome to see these pop up in more places downtown, and in certain other areas of the city where it makes sense. Really, I think this would be a fantastic treatment for all main arterial roads that have street parking. What do you all think about it? Anyone in Portland ridden on it and have their own thoughts about it?
edit – here is a short video from the city of Portland explaining the cycle track and buffered bike lane treatments they are trying out.