A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Revisiting Madison St., site of a safety project

Written February 22nd, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Fourth and Madison on a clear and cold Tuesday afternoon.

What you’re looking at here, on the other side of my old Giant Rincon bike, is the first place in central Albany where ODOT is paying for green bike lanes to warn motorists that there might be a bicyclist crossing the street.

This is Fourth Avenue and Madison Street. You may have read about this intersection here before. The city of Albany got an ODOT grant to make changes on Madison to enhance safety. I’ve written about it, and an ODOT email called my attention to it again.

Some years ago, there were a few bike-car crashes on Madison when drivers on the stop-controlled Fourth and Fifth avenues failed to see cyclists, which had no stop signs on Madison.

The drivers, said Ron Irish of the city of Albany, “most likely weren’t expecting/didn’t look closely enough for an approaching cyclist.”

So this spring or summer the city plans to make changes hoping to increase driver awareness of the potential presence of cyclists, and also to maintain low vehicle speeds on Madison from Pacific to First. The city will add:

— ‘Sharrows” on the pavement to tell cyclists where to ride on the street, and also to let drivers know they might encounter people on bikes.

— Green pavement markings across the Fourth and Fifth Avenue intersections. “The painted area will essentially be a striped bike lane across the intersections,” Irish said. “We’re hopeful that will provide an additional clue to drivers that they should look for and expect conflicts with cyclists when entering or crossing Madison from a side street.”

— Speed humps along Madison.

The ODOT grant for this  $158,000 project can’t be used to fix the broken pavement on Madison. But the city has a plan.

“We’re planning on contracting with Linn County to do a modified chip seal treatment on Madison before any of the ODOT safety improvements occur,” said Irish. “The chip seal would involve placement of an asphalt emulsion together with a smaller than normal aggregate.”

That should make for a smoother surface, as long as it fills the potholes as well.

The ODOT email that reminded me came Monday. It called attention to an interactive map showing ODOT’s current road projects around the state, including several in the Albany area. Here’s the link. Check it out if you want. (hh)

2 responses to “Revisiting Madison St., site of a safety project”

  1. Mike says:

    It’s great to see more bike infrastructure in Albany. With a flat downtown, it’s so easy to make short trips by bike instead of driving. Can’t wait to see the improvements!

  2. Steven Michael Anderson says:

    This is great. We need better bike-friendly ways about town. Madison is a good surface route around the overpass and between districts.


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