After fatal crash, BTA calls for continuous bike lanes on Lombard

After fatal crash, BTA calls for continuous bike lanes on Lombard

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In the wake of a fatal crash that left one man dead, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance is calling on the Oregon Department of Transportation to install bike lanes on NE Lombard Avenue.
The BTA has just released a petition that they plan to deliver to ODOT Region 1 Manager Rian Windsheimer. Here’s the text of the petition:

I, the undersigned, support immediate provision of continuous bike lanes on NE Lombard at 42nd Avenue. Vision Zero is the refusal to accept any fatalities or serious injury crashes on our roads. We must take a Vision Zero approach to this deadly bike lane gap by addressing it immediately. Please act now before anyone else is killed on this ODOT road.

In the accompanying action alert posted on their blog, the BTA says, “We call for the immediate construction of continuous bike lanes on NE Lombard at 42nd Avenue… By eliminating this dangerous gap, we can create safer conditions for everyone. The Oregon Department of Transportation needs to take action now before anyone else is killed or hurt on this dangerous ODOT road.”


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Reached earlier today, BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky told us that Saturday night’s fatal crash “reminds us how delicate life is for all of us.”

Lombard is managed by ODOT and it’s a section of State Highway 30. It is striped with standard-width bike lanes but they end 300-400 feet prior to the overpass of 42nd Avenue. It’s in that gap where it’s believed a man was struck from behind and killed while he rode his bike on Saturday night.

While Lombard is a highway and very few people use it as a bikeway, Sadowsky said, “Every street should be designed so that it’s safe for everyone traveling.” “I think a protected bike lane would have saved this person’s life.”

So far, ODOT has said that bike lanes in this section of Lombard aren’t possible because there isn’t enough room for them. They say the solution is a new bike path that goes around the existing bridge supports. But that project isn’t even in the pipeline and won’t happen for many years. Here’s how an ODOT representative explained the situation in response to a citizen complaint we reported about on Friday (just one day before this recent fatality):

“Unfortunately, the travel lanes and median have already been narrowed to fit under the bridge, so there is not extra pavement width that could be reallocated to stripe bike lanes. The location of the bridge supports and steep grade to the railroad tracks to the north also make widening the roadway to accommodate standard bike lanes very difficult and expensive, especially if constructed as a standalone project.”

The quicker fix would be to use the existing roadway space. However, that would require ODOT to reallocate the space and make the existing lanes narrower in order to fit a bike lane. Since there are two lanes in each direction, they could also consider changing the configuration into one bike lane and one standard lane.

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


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