September 22, 2006
Vancouver Bike Box
One of the incidental pleasures from our Vancouver, B.C. trip was seeing this bike box on Dunsmuir Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
This is a tool we have not embraced yet to any significant degree in Portland (I think we have a pilot somewhere), but is common in the Netherlands. At intersections, bikes can move to the front on a red light and gather in this box ahead of the rest of the traffic. When the light turns green, the bikes can immediately clear the intersection, without having to worry about cars turning right across their path.
September 22, 2006 11:24 AM
Jonathan Maus Says:
Wow, that's a nice bike box Chris. We do have a pilot here in Portland but so far the concept has not been embraced or supported much by the City.
Here's a photo of our bike box. It's at SE 11th and Harrison, just outside Ladd's Circle.
I think the problem is that we just need more education to make them work here. Cars don't respect them and I don't think most cyclists defend the space either. Perhaps if we filled them in with red paint it would help?
Did you notice people actually using these...and did the cars seem to respect the space?
September 22, 2006 11:36 AM
Chris Smith Says:
It was early evening, after rush hour, and I did not see any cyclist use the box (but I was on my way to dinner and didn't hang out waiting). Motorists seemed to respect it for the brief period I was there.
September 22, 2006 2:19 PM
Doug Allen Says:
There are two other bike boxes in Portland where Clinton crosses 39th. When a bicyclist arrives first, or relatively soon after the red phase starts, this works great, and other cyclists also move ahead into the box, but if there are no waiting bicycles, the first car often pulls into the box.
The real problem is when there is a line of cars and you are approaching the signal on your bicycle, and the signal is about to turn green, or has already turned green. Many cars do not use their turn signals, and it is foolish to pass a car on the right when it may suddenly turn right. I tend to hang back to see what is going to happen. Other cyclists tear on by, and some motorists ahead of me stop to figure out what I am going to do. I am sure this situation antagonizes motorists, because the correct protocol is unclear to them as well as us. This concept has good intentions, but needs some work before it is safe.
Another problem is cyclists who don't downshift, so they are really pokey on the takeoff. This is annoying to both me and the waiting motorists.