HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A little bikeway lesson: How to cross here

Written April 16th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

Looking east from the northwest corner of Queen Avenue and Geary Street on April 14, 2024. The bike sign points south across Queen.

Among important Albany transportation issues, how best to cross the intersection of Queen Avenue and Geary Street on the Periwinkle Bikepath surely ranks near the bottom of the list.

Still, I made the mistake on the bike there recently. The reason I didn’t get run down by a vehicle was that the driver was paying attention.

I was heading south on the bikeway and ended up on the northwest corner of the intersection. That’s the end of a shared section of sidewalk the city had built last year with a Safe Routes to School grant.

My mistake was to regard the slightly diagonal pavement markings to the other side as guidance for people on bikes using the road. So I crossed there with a green light on Queen. But of course eastbound drivers on Queen had a green light for left turns at the same time, and if one of them hadn’t seen me out there in the intersection, I might have been toast.

When I recounted this tale to Ron Irish, Albany’s transportation systems analyst, he looked at the intersection and found that a directional bike sign had been misplaced when the project was done.  Then, Ron Humphries of the city street department moved the sign where it belonged.

Not sure the sign would have kept me from committing that traffic error. I had looked only at those markings to the opposite bike lane, oblivious to the fact that the markings are directional chevrons leading not to the other corner but to the corner I started from.

Now, class, what have we learned? We have learned that the best way of crossing the intersection from northwest to southeast is first to go south across Queen with the pedestrian light, then east across Geary, again with the pedestrian light, picking up the bikeway as it continues southeast along the creek.

On the bikeway northbound, cross Queen on the crosswalk first, then go west across Geary, the way those chevrons point, picking up the bikeway on the other side.

That’s the safe way it should be done until they install diagonal signals and pavement markings directly connecting the bikeway ends on the northwest and southeast corners of these two busy streets. That this will happen is as unlikely as anything can get. (hh)





16 responses to “A little bikeway lesson: How to cross here”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    They also need to put some “bicycle shaped markings” on the concrete section they poured on the NW corner. If there’s more than a couple people waiting for the bus from the medical offices, there’s usually at least one standing in the bike way. It would also make it obvious to the cyclists. The first time I rode West on Queen after their alleged improvement, I didn’t have a clue I was SUPPOSED to ride on the sidewalk and put myself in peril. I can’t see where it has helped a bit.

    Another bicycle fiasco is the roundabout at Main & 3rd/Salem. Heading North, the bike lane simply ends without warning. Who has the right of way when a car is going the same direction and entering the circle at the same time. Prudence says you take the sidewalk instead.

    Who in the hell designs this crap?

  2. Craig says:

    Thank you, I have struggled at that intersection a few times.

  3. Joanna S says:

    Wow – great info – many thanks!

  4. khs says:

    Also a reminder to walk the bike over crosswalks than biking, in addition to being slower and hopefully cars see this it’s also a liability if an accident happens, then the blame from the insurance companies fall on the biker.

    But yes, we should be very, very careful in traffic whenever we see bikes, they have equal rights to be on the road.

  5. Scott Bruslind says:

    Continued-education available with study materials from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO.) $55 buys the Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Learn best practices like Cycle Tracks, Bike Boxes, and a whole world of hybrid beacons (aka High-intensity Activated Crosswalk or HAWK.) Something to budget for from the enhanced traffic ticket money.

  6. Matt says:

    I agree this intersection is confusing for cyclists and it could be made much clearer how to cross. After navigating it a few times recently, I’ve come to the same conclusion that I should to use the pedestrian crossings and go around it in a counter-clockwise fashion.

  7. chris j says:

    I witnessed a bike rider get ran over in that intersection when he had a green light for pedestrians. He was highly visible but a large suv in the turn lane ran over his whole body and bike. Never was on the news when I checked to see if he was ok. Poor guy’s life was ruined in a few moments. I have been there and was lucky to have survived it.

  8. Gary Walter says:

    So I’ve never ridden my bike through that intersection and the past is a little confusing. Looking at the intersection via Google Maps and Street View, it looks like a normal intersection.

    I go with the lights always. And if I use crosswalks, I use them as a pedestrian, not a vehicle.

    So what’s the problem.

    (I’ve been riding my bike in the streets since I was a teen in the 70s)

    • Matt says:

      If you’re cycling along Geary or Queen, nothing, it’s just an ordinary intersection as you say. The confusion is around how to continue along the Periwinkle Creek Bike Path which requires navigating diagonally across this intersection and some non-standard riding on sidewalks. The path intersects the roads too close to the intersection to safely merge with car traffic for crossing. It’s unusual enough that it’s not obvious what the intended method to cross is.

  9. Bill Kapaun says:

    Another problem for cyclists Southbound on Geary is the extremely long right turn lane. Some days there’s a very strong head wind out of the South and it slows you to a near crawl. Legally, I’m allowed to have cars pile up behind me in order to make my right turn. Again, for basic safety, the sidewalk is a safer choice. One can yield to pedestrians if necessary (or not). Why not just give that section the “sidewalk treatment for bicycles” and keep them out of the turn lane?

    Then again, they could cover everything in GREEN PAINT.

  10. Delores says:

    I get off and walk my bike, at confusing or dangerous intersections.

  11. chris j says:

    Hasso, when the new camera is up and running you may receive a ticket when you cross through the intersection incorrectly. Bike riders get tickets for traffic violations too. Safety procedures are only effective if they are communicated well. Your experience should have resulted in immediate action to ensure the design is functioning correctly in the whole area. You did a great service to the community by speaking with the city concerning this. Thank you.

    • Matt says:

      How would they know where to send the ticket? Bikes don’t have license plates that track them to an owner like cars and motorcycles do.

  12. chris j says:

    Some have facial recognition that can access a data base that has your drivers license or
    state ID.

 

 
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