A first for Washington: Green paint for bike lanes on a state highway

A first for Washington: Green paint for bike lanes on a state highway

washdotgreen

Drawing courtesy Washington DOT.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is going green to try and make a large highway intersection a bit safer to ride a bike on.

“Adding a splash of green to the existing bike lanes will enhance safety by adding a visual cue for drivers to lookout for cyclists on the road.”
— Rick Keniston, WSDOT Regional Traffic Engineer

Last week WSDOT announced they plan to restripe the intersection of West Fourth Plain Blvd and State Route 501 with what one of their regional traffic engineers called, “A splash of green.” It will be the first time ever that the agency has used green on a bike lane.

The location (map) is northwest of downtown Vancouver, about two miles (as the crow flies) north of Jantzen Beach shopping center in Portland. The intersection is on a popular cycling route that connects to Vancouver Lake via Fruit Valley Road.

In a statement about the project WSDOT said this is being done to “help drivers spot cyclists through busy intersections” and to “promote multimodal use of SR 501.” They plan to make this a pilot project and consider using it in other places throughout the state if it works well.

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Here’s more from WSDOT Regional Traffic Engineer Rick Keniston:

Barbur green bike lane

ODOT’s green paint on SW Barbur.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

“There are spots at this intersection where the bike lane disappears as it passes through right-turn lanes and merge areas, which can confuse all users of the road. Adding a splash of green to the existing bike lanes will enhance safety by adding a visual cue for drivers to lookout for cyclists on the road.”

WSDOT says the new “durable” green paint is designed to hold up to heavy traffic and rainy weather, “while still providing roadway friction for bicycle tires.”

If you recall, the Oregon Department of Transportation first added green to bike lanes in March 2012. ODOT’s application was on a very busy and unpleasant section of SW Barbur Blvd. I don’t ride this Vancouver intersection very often, but if my experience on using bike lanes on state-controlled highways is any indication, it will take a lot more than simply a “splash of green” on the ground to truly improve safety and promote cycling.

See the official announcement for more details.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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