A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Suggestion: Make this bulb-out easier to see

Written March 17th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

The bulb-out at Ellsworth and Seventh is easy to see when you’re standing up, less so from the driver’s seat of a low-slung car.

A citizen last month asked the Albany City Council to make one of the new Ellsworth Street bulb-outs easier for people in cars to see. So far though, nothing’s been done.

The sidewalk extension at issue is on the left side of Ellsworth at Seventh Avenue, a few feet away from a Postal Service drop box. That and other bulb-outs were added to the downtown Highway 20 couplet last year as part of the city’s streetscape beautification project.

Tom Cordier, a resident of North Albany, brought up the subject at the city council’s work session on Feb. 25. He said it became personal for him when his wife, who is less then 5 feet tall, hit the bulb-out curb when she intended to pull back into traffic after dropping off some mail. She was not the first to do so, as suggested by tire markings on the side of the curb.

Cordier’s suggestion: Install some high-viz markers — those thin plastic cylinders about 2 or or 3 feet tall — on the curb so drivers are reminded of the bulb-out even though they can’t see the curb itself. This has been done elsewhere in Albany locations where curbs or traffic islands stick out, such as at the Ninth Avenue entrance to Lowe’s.

Another option might be to move the mailbox, though a driveway on that block (outside the rear of the Democrat-Herald building) may make that impossible or imprudent.

A block down the street, there’s another place where replaceable plastic cones like this would be worth installing. That’s the lane restriction on Ellsworth ahead of the Ninth Avenue signal. Drivers in the left lane now are supposed to veer to the left before making the turn on Ninth, but some ignore the solid white line and go straight, inviting collisions with vehicles drifting left from their right, as the new markings allow.

Cones on the solid line marking the lane would emphasize the point. You might not think it necessary. But then you haven’t been almost sideswiped by someone who then further emphasized his limitations as a driver by leaning on the horn. (hh)

Tire marks are faintly visible on the side of the bulb-out’s curb.

9 responses to “Suggestion: Make this bulb-out easier to see”

  1. Tim Siddiqui says:

    A bulb out with a tapered edge and rumble strip surface.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Given a choice of whining or doing something, Tom chose action based on common sense.

    The only question here is whether the City will choose a common sense response.

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “You might not think it necessary. [ I don’t ] But then you haven’t been almost sideswiped by someone who then further emphasized his limitations as a driver by leaning on the horn.”

    I lieu of the ugly “plastic cones,” possibly consider painting them in yellow aka no-parking. You can see a tiny bit of one in the top-right of your top-photo.

    I’ll also suggest that if someone runs over the curbing, they probably won’t do it a second time, else they need to turn in their drivers license…

  4. Craig says:

    Doing something to avoid hitting these would be a good idea. I had a friend hit one of these bulb outs in Salem with a muscle show car. It caused damage to the tire and wheel requiring replacement.

  5. Tyler says:

    No sympathy for people who hit these. You can see them coming or else you have modified your car too much and compromised your view of the road. Pay attention and know your vehicle’s turn radius. We don’t need to emblazon everything in ugly reflective hi-vis junk just because people can’t pay attention. It is a costly lesson and hopefully people only need to learn it once.

  6. centrist says:

    There may have been a tremor.
    TC and GS have recently pitched ideas that city government DO SOMETHING.

    Certainly not the norm I’ve come to expect for their online personae

  7. LS says:

    Hang a couple of those ugly industrial looking lights directly over them.

  8. Jim Engel says:

    Why isn’t there a drive up mail box at the main post office? There used to be one on 1st Ave. Now you have to park, well back in, and go inside to mail!


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