Gaps are the bane of a quality bikeway network.
You know the feeling: You’re biking along enjoying the relative security and binding legal status of a bike lane when, bam! All of the sudden that halo of safety and respect is gone. What’s even worse is when the bikeway starts up again just a few, tantalizingly close blocks away. Sure there’s research to confirm this, but anyone who’s ever been on a bike knows it instinctively. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s sort of like driving down a road when all the sudden the pavement gives way to dirt, rocks and ruts. Your car will usually make it through just fine, but it feels very uncomfortable. And it makes you mad.
Spurred in part by the senseless tragedy last month that happened in a bike lane gap on NE Lombard, we’ve decided to devote an entire week to these gaps. We’re calling it Gap Week (creative, I know).
Starting this coming Monday (1/25) we’ll report on one gap a day through Thursday. With each gap we’ll share photos, a map and description of the problem, and any important history or other context we can find out. Our goal is to empower you with information and inspire you to do something about it — whether that means bringing it up through your neighborhood association, leaning on local leaders to do something about it, get a bucket of paint out, or whatever. We’ve shared our list with the Portland Bureau of Transportation and they’ve kindly agreed to track down information and give us some official context for the what/why/how of each gap.
The gaps we’ll focus on are ones that haven’t gotten a ton of headlines yet. That means glaring, infamous gaps like the Naito Gap, the gap at Lombard and 42nd, the gaps over the bridges on Barbur Boulevard, and the Sellwood Gap, didn’t make the list. We’ve also left out dropped bike lanes and will instead focus on true gaps — where a bike lane abruptly ends, only to appear again a few blocks away. Those are the most frustrating and are likely easier to build support for fixing.
We also want to hear from you. What is the worst bike lane gap you’ve come across? Send us the location and a photo or two and we’ll round them all up on Friday. You can also share your gaps on social media using the #GapWeekPDX hashtag.
Tune in Monday for the unveiling of the first gap.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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