A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Seeing green, or not, on Madison Street

Written February 17th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Looking north on Madison Street at the intersection with Fifth Avenue on Feb. 14, 2023.

Green paint on the pavement is supposed to enhance traffic safety for bicyclists. But five months after paint was applied on Madison Street in Albany, it doesn’t exactly scream for attention.

Parts of two intersections on Madison, at Fourth and Fifth avenues, were painted green last September.

Five months later, the paint has faded and is partially covered by gravel.

Pavement on Madison had been badly deteriorated. So before a contractor for the city applied the paint, the street received a chip seal treatment. Now, remaining loose gravel from the treatment covers part of the painted markings.

This was a state-funded safety project. ODOT gave the city a $158,000 grant. The actual cost may have been less, since the low bid for speed bumps and the painted markings was about $64,000.

There had been some auto-bike collisions at Fourth and Fifth over the years. There are stop signs on the side streets, but not on Madison.

The green marings were intended to heighten the awareness of drivers on the side streets to the possibility that bikes were moving on Madison.

Because it’s a chip-seal surface, the city decided on paint rather than longer-lasting “thermoplastic” material for the markings.

If you go down that street on a bike, as I do from time to time, you may wonder if drivers even see those remaining patches of green, and whether it means anything to them if they do. (hh)


Here’s the view in the other direction on Madison, also at Fifth Avenue.

8 responses to “Seeing green, or not, on Madison Street”

  1. MarK says:

    Start to finish, everything that’s been done on Madison DEFINITELY looks “low bid”. It’s a shame that the city doesn’t appreciate us taxpayers.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    I told you so! What do you think studded snow tires do to paint? (and chip seal)

  3. CHEZZ says:

    It appears it was a watercolor or a mirage..

  4. Hartman says:

    If we accept Hering’s interpretation as to how/why the Council voted to spend the dollars used on this green-painting project, then it seems logical to ask to what degree of seriousness did the Council take this alleged bicycle collision prevention project. One could easily take the Council’s action as they did not believe the problem to be serious and the road-painting bandaid would be all the bone that had to be thrown at the pedal crowd. In this instance, the Council’s choice seemed best suited to what was essentially a non-problem deserving of a superficial solution. Unfortunately, it cost taxpayers $64-thousanddollars to mollify the bikecrowd for a short period.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      I’m a cyclist that actually rides on that stretch and I said it was stupid when first proposed because it would have the result shown. The job done was sub par from the start, not that it would have made that much of a difference. Simply a total waste of money that could have been used toward USEFUL street repair. This project was SO STUPID, the cost should be taken from the people’s paychecks that proposed & voted on this. It’s a BLATANT FAILURE of FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY.

  5. ??????? says:

    City does not care; if they did we would have a stop or stop sign on corner of knoxx butte road and century drive. Been asked for for over 30 years. Instead they waste money for stupid things that have nothing to do with safety.

  6. hj.anony1 says:

    Reminds me of that ODOT paint test on Hwy 34 decades ago.

  7. Steve Anderson says:

    What a complete wast of money!

    I knew from the start that this effort to add a green area for bicycles at this intersection was going to be a failure. Putting paint over chip seal? You’ve got to be kidding! First of all, you see chip seal mostly on rural roads, not in the city. And they had the money to do it properly. Tear up the road and put asphalt down like the rest of the city roads. But this part of town just wasn’t important. Lots of talk of cleaning up the city and this is what we get.

    I’ve ridden that area on my bicycle and it’s really rough riding. Seems like the city is much more interested in creating a new Monteith park along the river than taking care of our deteriorating roads in many of our neighborhoods. I really feel sorry for the folks that live in this area. This needs to be fixed.

    And BTW…where did the rest of the money go?


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