The bike lanes on the new Sellwood Bridge will be more robust than previously expected.
The striping plan of the main deck (as opposed to the 12-foot wide sidepath which is separated via a high curb) originally called for 6.5-foot bike lanes next to 12-foot wide standard lanes. But now the County plans to stripe a 7.5-foot wide bike lane that will include a two-foot buffer zone next adjacent to 11-foot standard lanes.
The reason has to do with green color. The bike lanes were supposed to be stained a green hue to make them safer; but the county has not been satisfied with initial tests of the color. So for now they’ve decided to move forward without it.
County spokesman Mike Pullen said the lack of color combined with speeding concerns from local residents is what spurred engineers to consider a wider bike lane. “To not have the green and keep the old [striping] plan would make us concerned that it wouldn’t be as obvious to drivers that bicyclists wouldn’t have the right to be down there at their level.”
In addition to the 7.5-foot bike lanes, people will also be able to ride on the sidepath in a zone that’s shared with other non-motorized bridge users. Asked why the design has two separate options for cycling instead of just one large, raised sidepath, Pullen said the extra width of the main deck gives them flexibility for emergencies and vehicle breakdowns. “We’ve always called them bike lanes-slash-shoulders,” he said.
As for the green color, the county still might use it someday if they achieve the right color, durability, and application method that’s cost-effective and meets their standards. Riders are however likely to see green color in specific “conflict zones” at the intersections on either side of the bridge. The county will monitor traffic when the bridge fully opens later this fall to determine where there green color is needed.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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