Check Out Portland’s New Bike Traffic Circle

Portland's new bike roundabout gives cyclists a protected place to turn. Photo:  Bike Portland
Portland's new bike roundabout gives cyclists a protected place to turn. Photo: Bike Portland

Here’s an exciting concept for carving safer bike infrastructure out of an overly wide intersection: Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland reports the city has installed its second bicycle roundabout.

This design, along with its bright green color, helps connect cyclists with an off-street trail, giving them a protected spot to wait for an opening in traffic.

Portland’s first bike roundabout was installed in 2016, but it was paint only, Maus reports.

This new design, at the intersection of SE Milwaukie and Mitchell is much more robust. The design gives cyclists a curb-protected refuge, and it helps reduce crossing lengths in an over-wide intersection at the same time.

circle-before-after-aerial-1200x664
Before and after: Bike Portland

Maus said last weekend he went to visit the site and “saw all types of riders using the circle.”

Bike roundabouts aren’t a totally new concept but they are very rare in the U.S. U.C. Davis has several on its campus dating back to the the 1960s, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Here’s another example on a Cape Cod rail trail.

This high-flying Dutch example has gotten a lot of attention as well.

  • This seems appropriate and relevant. Basically the same critiques apply.

  • J

    Unless there are hordes of cyclist converging on that location, this seems unnecessary. That said, it’s cool looking and draws attention to cycling, which is good.

  • Bruce

    There’s a bike traffic circle on the Mill Valley-Sausalito Bike Path in Mill Valley, CA, at one of the trail’s access points.

    https://goo.gl/maps/JUuLScHYv8x

  • Baloo Uriza

    This at least lets you take the intersection a little faster, but is otherwise strongly reminiscent if the useless roundabout in Boxtel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVJ9cCtIkGg

  • Baloo Uriza

    This would probably be easier to see on OpenStreetMap using the cycleway layer.

  • Mike
  • Bernard Finucane

    They got the street geometry right, curving the side street to meet the main street at a right angle.

  • Stuart

    At least they rounded the curb corners on this one.

    In this case it looks like whether the circle makes sense over a Y depends entirely on how much bike traffic is coming from the bottom (in the image) and turning left.

  • Stephen Simac

    They put it in after a female racer ran over a young boy trying to dash across the path tot he soccer fields. It’s really an all purpose path, not meant for racing, because there are walkers, joggers, dog walkers sharing it, and there is a parallel bike lane on Miller Ave. that does allow higher speed riding. This is how cyclists alienate their natural allies, pedestrians by not using bike lanes for higher speed riding, or using sidewalks.

  • Bruce

    Yes, I remember that incident. Many of my fellow riders go too fast along that stretch.

  • Baloo Uriza

    Better question: Why does the cycleway not have appropriate pedestrian facilities like sidewalks? Even Tulsa figured this out, if your busy cycleways don’t have sidewalks, you’re officially playing catchup with Oklahoma.

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