A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Cycling in Albany: Two tricky intersections

Written November 28th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

If you and your bike end up here, it’s best to stop and look behind you.

There are a couple of Albany intersections that come up now and then when cyclists talk about challenging traffic conditions. Let’s take a look at them both.

The first is the intersection of Pacific Boulevard with Albany Avenue on one side and Airport Road on the other. It’s a wide expanse of pavement without lines, and making a left there is awkward because there’s no left-turn signal, and you can’t tell right away which way oncoming drivers are going to turn.

At this month’s meeting of Albany’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, transportation systems analyst Ron Irish said the intersection was on ODOT’s list to be improved. Just what those improvements are, and when they are scheduled to be made, I didn’t catch.

Nearby there’s the gore where westbound traffic from Knox Butte Road feeds into Pacific Boulevard at the same place as the first southbound Albany off-ramp from Interstate 5.

The Knox Butte shoulder, which serves as a bike lane through the freeway underpass, delivers cyclists to the confluence of two high-speed traffic lanes without any easy way of escape.

That’s where patience comes in, as the video shows. Someone on a bike should stop at the point of the gore and try to look straight back over his right shoulder, hoping for a gap in the off-ramp traffic before dashing across. It’s complicated by the fact that drivers coming off the freeway are still going more or less at freeway speed.

There’s no ready solution to this gore situation. If there was, it would be out of the city’s hands because, as you can see on the map below, the point of that gore is outside the city limits. (hh)

7 responses to “Cycling in Albany: Two tricky intersections”

  1. John Klock says:

    Thank you for posting. Bike more, bike often, reduce emissions, get healthy, educate our fellow citizens on bike laws, and let us all continue to make bicycling more safe in Albany. It only takes one simple road rage by a car and a life is lost on a bike. Bikes and automobiles are equal in the eyes of the law when it comes to the road. If there is a person on a bicycle riding on the opposite side of the road, without a helmet, and then crossing illegally, we need to educate but also have the police ticket them as well. Lastly, more bikes mean less traffic, less costly infrastructure, and our bridges will last longer. A win for taxpayers.

  2. Bill Higby says:

    Well Hasso, I backed over the front wheel of my bicycle with my truck recently, so I am dismounted until that gets fixed. I really like your commentary on bicycling around town. Keep your head on a swivel, stay away from the bad places and ride on. By the way, the Hasso Hering bike trail on Riverside Drive is not exactly safe.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      But safer than before Linn County widened half of Riverside Drive. Waiting for the other half, the section all the way to Highway 34, to be widened as well.

      • Jeff Senders says:

        It happened again just yesterday on Riverside Drive. I looked ahead and noticed a bike on the right shoulder heading north and a bike on the left shoulder heading south. As Murphy’s Law would have it, I also noticed I was going to pass an oncoming vehicle at the exact same time as both bikes. So I decelerated to avoid the very unsafe conjunction of all 4 entities. And that was in the already widened area, let alone the still to be widened last half of Riverside.
        Any update on that?

  3. Patricia Eich says:

    Hasso i certainly have a different view of those two intersections now. So dangerous for bikes. I will definately pay more attention next time I drive through those. Thank you for pointing them out.

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    It’s similar to the 9th St. to pacific route you showed a few months back. Sometimes you simply have to wait. Sometimes for a long, long time. You finally take off to cross and then hear the roar of the car that just turned right from Geary with their foot to the floor and you don’t know if they are going right, left or even see you.

  5. Stephen E says:

    I pass through the Wilco parking lot and pass by McDonalds to turn right on the sidewalk to pass under I-5. Wouldn’t consider being on the street there. Return the same way. Pedestrian traffic is pretty low. Why look for trouble?


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