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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

BTA: Couch Couplet is Not Ready to Ride.

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, May 5, 2010 at 2:53 PM

We discussed the pluses and frustrating minuses of the new eastside Burnside/Couch couplet on the blog a couple weeks ago. Now the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) and BikePortland.org are chiming in that the new bike lanes on Couch are unsafe to ride.

Couch-Fall1-300x260.jpg
  • Michael O'Leary
As BikePortland detailed last week, the sweeping curve of the bike lane leading from East Couch onto the Burnside Bridge let buses encroach dangerously into the bike lane and also make it hard for cyclists not to ride on the slippery line-striping. The BTA agreed, with a post on their blog this week detailing exactly how the newly-designed street feels downright unsafe. Included with the post is this scary photo of a cyclist being loaded into an ambulance last Friday after she slipped on either gravel or the bike lane striping.

In response to the fears, bike planners at the city have promised to come up with an "immediate, interim fix and a list of longer-term solutions" for the unsafe engineering. Interim fix #1: shutting down the bike lane and telling cyclists to ride in the car lane. Gaahhhhhh. It's so disappointing that bikes are clearly a poorly planned afterthought for this $17.8 million project that's been 20 years in the making. A worst case scenario in the weeks after East Couch's unveiling is to see cyclists hauled off the bike lane in ambulances.

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