Making Protected Bike Lanes the Design Standard

An institutional mandate isn't enough to make a design vision a reality. Portland is working on bringing its standards and guidelines in line with its ambition for protected bike lanes.

2 minute read

May 28, 2018, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

SE 26th Ave Portland

SE 26th Ave, Portland / Google Streetview

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is working on an official Portland Protected Bicycle Lane Design Guide that will provide clear guidance on protected bike lanes in the city.

Jonathan Maus reports that the guide will be the first of its kind for protected bike lanes in the city, and its significance goes even further than its lack of precedence.

PBOT Bicycle Program Manager Roger Geller recently told a public audience that "the guide came about in large part because outgoing PBOT Director Leah Treat issued an internal agency directive in 2015 that called on staff to make protected bike lanes the default whenever possible." 

When it comes to building bike lanes in Portland, protected lanes are the preference. "We’re going to start with a protected bike lane and you better have a really good reason why can’t do it," Geller is quoted as saying in the article.

Maus got a preview of the guide at the same event, and he provides details about what he learned. For instance: "The bulk of the guide lays out different street cross-sections and suggests seven basic designs. This is meant to help city staff determine what’s possible given nearly any street configuration they come across — from a 76-foot wide, two way road to a 44-foot one-way road." The final produce will include an online tool that allows "plug-and-play" design and engineering functionality. 

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