Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Cycling in Tempe

As I get older I am beginning to understand the lure of a warmer climate in the winter. A recent trip to Tempe for an FHWA workshop confirmed that I could get used to 65 degrees and sunny in the dead of winter. It still isn't right for the holiday and New Year's Eve, but right after that it would be just fine.
There was a lot of cycling surrounding the campus of Arizona State University. I was surprised at how little helmet use there was, but I guess I don't recall wearing a helmet when I was at Oregon State either and Corvallis was such a sleepy town, one could bike as fast as the traffic. Interesting to think back about the bicycle facilities and how little you need when you're a university student.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dutch Virtual Visit

I found this website and thought it might be worth looking into as a way to provide information on the PBOT website.

Bike Signal Press Release - April 7, 2004

FROM THE ARCHIVES of the City's Traffic Signals Division:

Portland Office of Transportation Unveils New Bicycle Signal in Rose Quarter

On Thursday, April 8, at 9:00 AM, the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation (PDOT) will activate a new bicycle-only traffic signal operation at an intersection near the east end of the Steel Bridge. When triggered by cyclists, the “bicycle scramble signal” will stop all automotive movements through the intersection of N Interstate Avenue and Oregon Street, and allow cyclists exiting the Eastbank Esplanade to diagonally cross the intersection and access the north-bound bicycle lane on N Interstate Avenue. The new bicycle traffic signal head,  which has the red, yellow and green lights in the shape of a bicycle, will control cyclist movement through the intersection. Both the bicycle signal head and the “scramble phase,” in which all automotive movement is halted, are firsts for Portland.

The bicycle signal is modeled after similar signals used in Davis, California. It is designed to both ease and make safer cyclists’ transition from the Eastbank Esplanade to the on-street bicycle lanes. Without the signal, cyclists must now cross the intersection in two phases—one of them as a pedestrian. The signal will allow them to cross in one phase. When the bicycle signal is green, motorists turning right onto Lloyd Boulevard from the Steel Bridge will not be allowed to proceed on red.

Roger Geller, Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Portland, said, “People were frustrated by their inability to legally cross this intersection in one movement after coming off the Esplanade. We were also concerned about the speed at which motorists turned right around that corner. The Esplanade attracts a lot of families and we wanted to make it simpler and safer for people to bicycle across the intersection.”

This improvement is funded by a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program.

Bicycle Signals in the California MUTCD

People on bicycles using traffic signals in Portland, OR
This is a great example for what a MUTCD for Bikes would look like. Unfortunately, we don't have this in Oregon. We're working on it. Hopefully, leadership at the state level will support this sort of innovation, recognizing bicycles as an important element of the transportation system.

Section 9D of the California Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices states:

Section 9D.01 Application
Part 4 contains information regarding signal warrants and other requirements relating to signal
For purposes of signal warrant evaluation, bicyclists may be counted as either vehicles or pedestrians.
Also refer Part 4 of this Manual for highway traffic signals, in particular:
•  Section 4C.102(CA) – Bicycle signal warrants.
•  Section 4D.104(CA) – Bicycle Signals.
•  Section 4D.105(CA) – Bicycle Detectors.
Section 9D.02 Signal Operations for Bicycles
At installations where visibility-limited signal faces are used, signal faces shall be adjusted so
bicyclists for whom the indications are intended can see the signal indications. If the visibility-limited
signal faces cannot be aimed to serve the bicyclist, then separate signal faces shall be provided for the
On bikeways, signal timing and actuation shall be reviewed and adjusted to consider the needs of

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kidical Mass Sellwood

In one of the wettest days in memory, the Kidical Mass ride came to Sellwood. The ride was a 3-mile loop through our hood with stops at Blue Kangaroo and Westmoreland Park. The stop at Westmoreland was very short because there was a vote to move on and forgo chasing the ducks and geese.
The ride as particularly well attended due to a recent suggestion by Oregon State Representative Mitch Greenlick that there should be a discussion surrounding children under 7 riding on the backs of bikes or in trailers. His claim was that it was unsafe to do so due to a recent study by the Oregon Health Sciences University that documented that 30% of regular cyclists experience traumatic events during their travels throughout the year.
The link is tenuous because commute habits are very different when you're pulling your child. My behavior is very different and I am much more cautious. I have said it a couple of times to colleagues that my daughter on the trail-a-bike makes a bad traffic calming device or bumper.
It was fun to catch up with some old friends and new and we had a great time.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Riding Bikes in Portland

The past weekend I hit the streets with a merry bunch of folks that were invited by Greg Raisman to tour the City's next Neighborhood Greenways projects in North Portland.
It was a great day for a ride, the rain held off for the most part and the wind wasn't too bad. It was nice to reflect on the coming projects that are in the works, many of which are simple things that will make a difference for folks interested in commuting or getting their kids to school. Growing up in North Portland, it's fun to think about the Concord Greenway and how it would have run a stone's throw from the house on Longview Ave.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

KBOO Bike Show: Traffic Engineers - My Return to Radio

Today, I was invited to be on the KBOO Community Radio on the monthly Bike Show. I had a good time sharing insights on traffic signals and it was fun being a long time listener and first time participant in the show. Here's the link for the archive version of the show.
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Updated Bio for Peter

Peter Koonce, P.E., is the Division Manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation's Signals, Street Lighting, & ITS Division. Prior to this appointment with the City, he worked with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. for 15 years. He has served as an adjunct professor at Portland State University for the past eight years teaching graduate level courses in transportation engineering. He has served on National ITE Committees and is the Panel Chair for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program project 3-103, which is a rewrite of the Signal Timing Manual. He is secretary of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Traffic Signal Systems and serves as chair of its Signal Timing subcommittee.

New Year's Day Ride with BTA

A great way to start the New Year off was on the Bicycle Transportation Alliance ride. It was a short trip from the traditional start under then Burnside Bridge.
A special treat for the group was that the gentleman that initiated the first ride in 1957? was in attendance at the start. The man was riding a classic old bicycle that made me hope that I will be around in 50 years.
Rob Sadowsky lead the ride and talked about a few of the legislative priorities for the group in the new year. He talked about the importance of the 20 mph speed limit and providing local control to communities for setting their speed.

He also took us through the construction on NE Cully Boulevard, where the City is working on the first cycletrack that is constructed as a part of a repaving project. The City is exploring an adaptive street lighting implementation along the corridor and the use of LED fixtures to reduce power consumption.

2011 promises to be a year where some of my suggested changes get implemented within the City and I am looking forward to seeing some of these through.
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