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bikes, cars and busses: for portland riders

After many months of construction and reconstruction, Trimet will be phasing in a return of bus -- and now light rail -- service to 5th and 6th Avenues this spring and summer. Bike riders will no longer be able to make a right-hand turn from the 5th or 6th Avenue transit mall zones onto a side street. Instead, they suggest this:

(from Trimet's Web site)

"When traveling on the Mall, please follow these rules:
Bike in the left-hand traffic lane only.
Do not ride over or on the light rail tracks. Only cross the tracks at a 90-degree angle when entering the Mall from a cross street.
Do not stop on 5th and 6th avenues except as required by traffic signals.
Do not make right-hand turns off 5th and 6th avenues unless otherwise posted."

And in case you were still confused, they continue:

"Unless otherwise posted, right turns are prohibited from 5th and 6th avenues. To go right at an intersection, you may choose to:
Stay on the curb side of the left lane as you approach the intersection
Stop at the intersection and move over to the curb
When the "Walk" signal is activated, use the crosswalk to cross
Ride at walking speed and yield to pedestrians
Merge carefully with traffic"

Am I the only one who thinks the new intersections are simply accidents waiting to happen? To my thinking this makes riding a bike downtown harder, not easier. We'll be playing leapfrog with cars, busses and light rail trains all the way along the transit mall. It can't be good, especially in and around the Portland State campus. What am I missing here?

Somebody enlighten me, please.



Right Turns in Transit Mall

Hm...their verbal description is as clumsy a collection of sentences as I could imagine...couldn't figure out what the hell they meant.

However, looking at the picture gave me a feeling (perhaps false) of enlightenment: for it seems that there are three lanes in use, one reserved for trains, one for buses, and one for personal transport modes, ie, cars and bikes. So it seems to say: "Stay in the car/bike lane, and use crosswalks to turn right at intersections."

To me, this seems better than trying to turn right across two lanes of buses and trains.

I'm no traffic avoider; I bicycle in downtown Los Angeles frequently and happily. But the diagram above makes sense to me.

Of course I'm not there on the ground.

That said, on the ground at the Long Beach transit mall, I find myself doing "improper" things because the signs don't accord with the layout as it really is.

Rick R. (Bicycle Fixation)

Re: Right Turns in Transit Mall

I suspect that there will be plenty of enforcement to prevent "improper" riding in the beginning of this enterprise. Stay tuned.


Simple Answer for me

4th and 7th


bikes cars and busses.

There simply isn't a good way to move north through the city between front avenue and 13th. There never has been, at least not since the original bus mall was put in.

4th avenue is dicing with death because of all the traffic avoiding the bus mall. 10th has just as many angry motorists combined with street car tracks.

A big problem is that with one way streets, you cannot have a bike only lane that will not have cars merging across it.

Re: bikes cars and busses.

I was here when the original bus mall was put in. When it was finished, you could still ride most of the way up 5th Avenue to Portland State without too much hassle. But that was thirty years ago and there are a LOT more people living here now. More people means more cars, no matter how hard you try to sell transit. I will likely give it a try at least once, but I expect to avoid riding on 5th and 6th when the bus mall reopens this spring.
Thanks for sharing.
mahindra car