City Closes North Wheeler in Hopes of Reducing Right Hook Crashes


Cue comment shitstorm. I use Flint when commuting from NE to NW, and I will admit that while I generally follow rules of the road fairly scrupulously, I routinely don't come anywhere near stopping at Flint if I can turn without causing any cars to brake.

There is fault on both sides at this intersection, as cars right hook across the bike lane here all the time without looking for cyclists.

I think the only total solution would be to install a single light and a NO RIGHT TURNS ON RED THIS MEANS YOU DIRTBAG CYCLISTS on Flint that is tied to the light a block east, which would then have a moment of weirdness when no one had a green light for 30 seconds.

I'm sure someone has a better idea than that, and closing Wheeler is way cheaper and decently effective, but it does nothing to deter cyclists from blowing the Flint stop (probably has the opposite effect, if any).
Actually, they didn't completely close Wheeler; they only closed it to right turns from Broadway, you can still turn from Wheeler to Broadway. IMO, that's a mistake, they should have closed it completely.
Let's just eliminate all right hard turns in the city. Think of how safe bikes will be then. Or we could just create a "no drive zone" between the West Hills and East 60th. Think of the safety!

And who wants to access Wheeler anyway, except "some major employers" as Sarah points out. Fuck those clowns! Employment is for bourgeois breeders!
@Blabby, how Swansonesque. It's one stupid right turn.

"According to the city’s 2011 bike counts, the summertime average of weekday bike trips on the Broadway Bridge was 4,335." According to the same report, 4,105 bikes were counted at N. Vancouver and Russell, which probably means that some huge percentage of that first number use Flint - if you're coming from N or NE, and you're not going down Interstate or taking Broadway (comparatively few do), that's how you approach the Broadway Bridge.

It makes sense to try to make that entry point to Broadway as safe as possible for cyclists.

*…, quoting 2011 report:…
CC, what were the equivalent car counts? How about if you include the 8 cold months when cyclists go bye-bye?

This is like the logic on Vancouver where car traffic is more than double bike traffic but that somehow translates into bikes needing two lanes and cars needing one lane.

I bike regularly. I biked today. I'm just not a pussy who demands we gum up the city's entire transportation system to conform to my personal preferences.
@ Blabby, 30K was the equivalent # of "vehicles" crossing the Broadway, and you're right about the peak season, though ridership in summer months has been going up by 12% each year, with more people presumably commuting by bike year-round each year. I wonder how numbers of car traffic have changed in recent years - I would imagine growth is flat.

Again, closing one right turn isn't gumming up the "entire" system - that's just being histrionic. The idea is to make the handful of major bike avenues as safe for cyclists as reasonably possible. If that encourages drivers to use one of the other possible routes, great.

The major factor limiting further ridership is the perception/reality that cycling around vehicles is unsafe. If the closure of one measly right turn at an intersection thousands of cyclists pass every day helps defeat that perception/reality, great.

I realize I'm running headfirst into your pet issues here, but encouraging cycling is good for Portland. While there's going to be regrettable byproduct of weapons-grade Smug, fostering an increasingly active and healthy populace is a desirable thing.
"I wonder how numbers of car traffic have changed in recent years - I would imagine growth is flat."

I would imagine you're wrong. Gentrification of North and Northeast has greatly increased car traffic. I saw it happen on multiple north/south streets myself over the last decade.

"Again, closing one right turn isn't gumming up the "entire" system"

Obviously this is one street, the problem is the relentless and preponderance of these changes. Every case of "making this street/intersection safe for all users" means "reducing mobility and/or parking for cars to make cyclists happy". In every case that's what it means. It's all one way. No reciprocation. No accommodattion for the much much larger number of commuters who use cars. Much much larger.

"encouraging cycling is good for Portland."

Why? Why is this a priority of the city? Have residents been asked about this? I seem to remember a recent survey in which residents expressed that there was too much focus on this issue. The city's priority should be to serve the people who actually live here, pay for all of this activity through taxes, and use the streets. And many many more of them use cars than bikes. It's not even close.
FYI, those city bike counts are likely inflated.

The official tally for the Hawthorne last year was 8,044.

The fancy new bike counter shows that we haven't sniffed that number yet.


Irrelevant, maybe, but still interesting.
Sorry CC. This is indeed (one of my) pet issues. It sets me off.
@Blabby, no worries!

I err on the side of cyclists in the broader debate. Cyclists are the ones who typically have the most to lose in a bike-v-car crash, and if drivers are inconvenienced a bit by safety enhancements, I don't really give a shit. Driving is already so jaw-droppingly convenient a mode of transportation that adding a minute or two to someone's commute doesn't bug me one iota (I regularly commute by car, too, btw).

Also (and to really piss you off), I don't care what the current residents of the city want. I don't care how long they've lived here, or in what configuration. I care about where Portland is heading (more specifically where I want it to go), not where it's been.

That's what I mean when I say that encouraging an active and healthy populace by encouraging a culture of cycling is good for Portland.
@Babygorilla -- keep in mind that the Morrison Bridge wasn't open last year. So there are undoubtedly trips that were being taken then on the Hawthorne that are now being taken on the Morrison.
"I don't care what the current residents of the city want. I don't care how long they've lived here, or in what configuration."

Oh, that comes across from many many transplants. We receive it loud and clear.
"Oh, that comes across from many many transplants. We receive it loud and clear."

In a way, makes sense, as opined by one Mr. Peter Finley Fry when talking about the Eastside Streetcar:

“I think frequency is an overrated thing,” Fry says. “Let’s say there’s a 20-minute [wait]. You can look on your phone, wait inside and have a beer.”

If that isn't aimed at single and DINK recent transplants, who revel in the bike infrastructure and the idea, if not the reality, of Portland's public transportation, wetting their pants at seeing ye olde streetcars plying the streets, then who? Certainly not the vast majority of the people in the city that drive everywhere and value their time and can't, by choice or necessity, simply head into a bar to wait for the next slow-ass train or bike everywhere they need to go.

Considering that Portland, as US cities go, is an amazingly easy city to bike around, as it was before the recent frenzied efforts to make it the most bike-friendly city in the nation, the constant hand-wringing and expenditures to mollify the bike crowd----though, have to respect the organization and political voice they've been able to achieve considering their actual numbers in the populace---is pretty amazing.

Depending on the future, if the peak-oil and soon-to-be-death of the car proponents are correct, I suppose that investing in bicycle infrastructure is smart, but I just get the feeling that it's more about short-term political gain for those in city gov't. Maybe I'm wrong though.
"According to the mayor's office, the intersection there were 20 reported crashes at this intersection from 2000-2010 and seventeen of them were right-hook crashes involving a bike and a car."

So two a year? Is that a lot? I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, but that doesn't sound incredibly dire, though maybe it is in comparison to other trouble spots.

(I don't really have an issue with this specific street closure, but as Blabby so eloquently explains, the length the city goes to placate a very small minority of commuters is beyond old.)

As for the counts, a commenter a few weeks back was kind enough to post the methodology and results for the most recent bike count. Counts are taken only at peak hours DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS by volunteers. There's no way those numbers aren't inflated, and as Colin accurately points out, the city, whether anyone likes it or not, is trying to get people on bikes, and thus, the city has a reason to promote bunk numbers.
I've been right-hooked on my bicycle right here. There are no stop signs--cyclists can ride straight down the bike lane. Cars need to yield to cyclists. People need to care and pay attention more. I'm really glad this is happening. A little inconvenience to some drivers is much better than more people getting hurt and possibly killed.