Streetcars and Bicycles, a Learning Experience

When we built the first Streetcar alignment, we ran into a conflict with the bike lane on NW Lovejoy. The design solution at that time was to create a path for bikes through the platform area.

I didn’t work very well, on two counts:

  1. Pedestrians waiting for the Streetcar tend not to recognize that they’re standing in the middle of a bike lane.
  2. Since the bike lane returns to the street at the intersection, there is a risk of right-turning cars not seeing a bike about to cross in front of them (in fact, I witnessed just such a near-miss immediately after taking the photo below).
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See a better idea after the break.

Confronted with a similar conflict on the route of the Lowell extension (opening August 18th!) we learned from the earlier experience. The new design was reviewed on Tuesday’s Bicycle Master Plan ride (coverage of that on BikePortland). The key improvements are:

  • Bike lane is grade-separated from the pedestrian area
  • The platform is positioned after the intersection, so the visibility conflict for turning autos does not exist

Several cyclists on the ride pronounced it a big improvement over the Lovejoy design.

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