Video: A better take a look at PBOT’s three new roundabouts on NE 108th

(Pictures and video by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Roundabouts (a.ok.a. site visitors circles) as traffic-calming instruments in residential neighborhoods are comparatively frequent in Portland. You may need seen them within the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood or on Northeast Tillamook or Northwest Raleigh streets, simply to call a couple of. Our transportation bureau has even constructed bicycle-specific roundabouts on NE twenty first and SE Milwaukie.

PBOT map with roundabouts circled. Oregon on high. Everett to the south.

The newest additions are three new roundabouts on NE 108th Avenue that confirmed up late final 12 months because the 100s Neighborhood Greenway venture. That greenway is a part of PBOT’s $11 million East Portland Entry to Employment and Schooling venture which broke floor in December 2020 and is a set of 5 separate initiatives that goal to make it simpler and safer to bike and stroll by way of neighborhoods east of I-205 between I-84 and Powell Blvd.

Over the weekend I took a more in-depth take a look at the brand new roundabout at NE 108th and Oregon and the brand new “double mini roundabout” at 108th and Everett (that we final reported on again in March 2021). What I realized is that outcomes thus far have been combined.

Between Burnside and the protected Halsey-Weidler bike lane couplet, the 100s Neighborhood Greenway makes use of 108th. At Oregon and Everett there’s a three-pronged diagonal and an off-set intersection respectively. To raised handle car site visitors by way of these intersections, PBOT has eliminated cease indicators and added concrete roundabouts.

At Oregon St (above) the curve in 108th creates an intersection that’s about 70 ft at its widest level. That’s very huge for a residential space the place streets that lead into the intersection are simply 25 ft huge. As you’ll be able to see, the roundabout takes up the overwhelming majority of the house and leaves only a slender lane for drivers. The concrete has a really low profile and the curbs are barely curbs in any respect, which implies it’s simple to drive up onto the roundabout. Most individuals appeared to haven’t any hassle driving round this one and it seems to be working properly. (Regardless of this, one home-owner yelled at me from her porch that the roundabout was “an intrusion that nobody needed” and that she has hassle seeing it at evening.)

The double mini roundabout at Everett is a wholly totally different story.

As you’ll be able to see within the video, most individuals don’t obey the roundabout guidelines — and it’s exhausting guilty a few of them. The off-set nature of the road and the dimensions of the concrete circles leaves little or no room to navigate a automobile round. For those who’re in an enormous truck or a bus, it’s unattainable to obey the foundations. Making issues worse at Everett are the unpaved shoulders, which many individuals find yourself driving on simply to make the turns.

One other massive difficulty I got here throughout on Everett is how the roundabouts impression the protection of individuals not in automobiles. As a result of the remaining paved avenue house is so minimal, drivers and walkers are actually extra more likely to share the identical lane. This results in irritating and doubtlessly harmful interactions. Mix this with the utterly unpredictable conduct of drivers as plow proper over the medians and the shortage of sidewalks, and you’ve got issues.

A fast-and-easy doable repair could be to pave a bit extra of the right-of-way to offer people on foot and behind the wheel as a lot room as doable to squeeze by.

On the brilliant aspect, each these installations seem to decelerate drivers. As soon as PBOT finishes different parts of this venture, like a brand new sign and crossing enhancement on close by Glisan, biking will actually enhance on this space.

Talking of PBOT, I requested them if these roundabout initiatives have been full. Interim Director of Communications and Public Involvement Hannah Schafer mentioned there’s nonetheless some work forward, “together with some centerline hardening that may make it tougher for folks to go across the flawed method”. However that work gained’t occur till later this spring as a result of the contractor is on hiatus for the winter.

We’ll preserve watching these intersections to see how or if they alter within the coming months.

Have you ever used both of those? What do you assume?