Friday, November 11, 2011

SW Moody Nearside Bike Signal

Bicycle scale traffic signal indications have been implemented in Portland. We purchased 4" signal heads from Gesig, a company in Austria that we were able to contact and make arrangements to procure the equipment.  That was a significant obstacle because of the small quantity order, the lack of a local distributor, and the Euro-US financial transaction (IRS forms, etc). 

The supplemental 4" signal head will be placed on the nearside pole shown above (there is also some ornamental canopy treatments on the pole) to provide a nearside installation that is consistent with the scale that a person on the bicycle needs to get an indication that doesn't blind them with the brightness of an automobile signal. The nearside indication is simply a supplemental head, supporting the 8" indication that is farside of the intersection. The initial installation shown in this picture (this was taken before the signal was turned on)  shows 12" heads that are standard, but  the contractor and the distributor of the equipment they were working with failed to read the plans correctly. author Jonathon Maus has a really nice video on opening day. If you watch the video, this was developed prior to the turnon of the signal at SW Moody and Gibbs.

We modified a signal to the north of this location at SW Sheridan and SW Moody and added a diagonal bicycle crossing complete with green striping that indicates that the crossing is for bicycles in a diagonal direction. I especially like in the video at 2:20 the flagger conversation. 

Updated with another blog post from
It goes like this:
Flagger: Got something new here for you, it's a pressure point, that light will turn green for you"
BikePortland: Bike only, ok, very cool

And at 3:03
Flagger 2: Go Green light, just for you!
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Carl said...

Peter--what's the advantage of the additional nearside signal on a narrow crossing like this? Will it be mounted parallel to the travel lane on the bike approach before they make the left to cross?

pkoonce said...

The MUTCD suggest two signal indications (redundancy) to improve safety when the red or green burns out (it keeps the signal running until we can get there to replace the bulb. So that's a plus from the maintenance perspective.

A second benefit is the increased awareness that we intend for people on bicycles to stop. The nearside traffic signal helps improve the conspicuity of the display.

We're working on the mounting of it now and planning to have it perpendicular to the auto approach (most conservative so cars have a limited visibility).