The Williams Avenue Corridor Safety Improvement project aims to solve a number of multi-modal safety issues on the street. One issue is the bus/bike leapfrogging, and a potential solution is to use “transit islands” or “bus pads” to route bikes behind bus stops. They also double as pedestrian islands, shortening the distance one need expose themselves to oncoming traffic to cross.
This type of infrastructure is uncommon in the United States. Thankfully, Seattle has decided to use bus pads in their new Dexter Avenue bikeway, have a look at this video for a peak:
There are challenges to implementing bus islands on Williams:
- Trimet wants them to be 80 feet long to accommodate two buses at once, which makes it difficult to avoid driveways and displaces a lot of parking. 40-60ft might be workable.
- Funding may be inadequate for civil engineering and construction, total budget for the entire corridor is around $400,000
- When stops are near intersections, presents right-hook visibility and queuing problems
- Ramps may have wheelchair accessibility implications
Another idea is to place the bike lane or cycletrack on the left side. The challenges presented thus far to that configuration:
- How to get bikes over to the left side of Williams, particularly near Broadway
- Left-running bike lanes are unusual in Portland, drivers and cyclists may have difficulty predicting road user movements
- Increased difficulty making right-hand turns
Either way, there are certainly innovative tools at our disposal.