County says Hawthorne Bridge bike lane speed bumps will be removed in 2015

County says Hawthorne Bridge bike lane speed bumps will be removed in 2015

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-11

(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County has confirmed that they plan to remove a set of bicycle speed bumps on SE Madison Avenue. The bumps were installed in November of last year with the goal of slowing people down as they transitioned from the bike lane onto a sidewalk near a TriMet bus stop (see larger photo below). However, despite these good intentions, the bumps were instantly panned as being ineffective and potentially dangerous in their own right.

The County’s own Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee (BPCAC) voted unanimously to remove the thermoplastic strips at their meeting on November 13th. In the minutes of that meeting, the committee said that, “BPCAC members felt that while the raised bumps are not terrible, the bumps do not serve the intended desire of slowing down the speeding cyclists either.” The BPCAC also pointed out that County engineering staff did no public process before installing the strips.

Ultimately, the County acknowledged that installing the bumps was a “mistake” and that they’d be removed. However, five months later and the bumps are still there. Several readers have asked us for an update, so we contacted County spokesperson Mike Pullen.

Here’s the latest from Pullen (emphasis mine):

After the speed humps were installed in 2013, Multnomah County Transportation staff wanted to observe how effective they were in slowing bicyclists as they enter the heavily used pedestrian area at the bus stop at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. Transportation staff have observed a mix of responses by bicyclists to the speed humps. Some cyclists go over them at full speed, some cyclists slow down before riding over them, and some cyclists ride out of direction to avoid them.

Based on this mix of results, the County has decided to remove the speed humps as part of improvements that will be made at the bus stop area. These improvements are planned in 2015.

Here’s how the speed strips look in context with the other lanes and the bus stop:

New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-7

The 2015 project to improve the bus stop area will include extending the existing sidewalk bulb-out to provide more space to people waiting for, and stepping off of, the bus. Whether or not those design changes reduce bicycling speeds remains to be seen.

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