What is a Cycle Track?
Cycle Tracks are a bicycle facility that the Bureau of Transportation wants to demonstrate here in Portland. The primary advantage of the Cycle Track design is that is provides a more protected and comfortable space for cyclists than a conventional bike lane.
Cycle Tracks are common in Europe but this will be Portland’s first.
Why are we constructing cycle tracks (i.e., what’s wrong with Broadway the way it is now)?
The street currently works fine for people who are comfortable riding bicycles in mixed traffic. However, our designs are intended to make bicycling more comfortable for the majority of Portlanders who are not comfortable riding under such conditions. Our analysis indicates that most Portlanders would use a bicycle much more often than they currently do if they didn’t have to mix so much with automobiles. A cycle track provides that opportunity and is one of the reasons that bicycling is so well-used in cities that have features such as these facilities.
Why not use a simple bicycle lane?
Because the cycle track offers a more comfortable riding environment we believe it is more consistent with our efforts to make bicycling a part of daily life in Portland.
How does a Cycle Track provide more protection for cyclists than a bike lane?
Cycle Tracks provide more protection for cyclists by separating them from moving traffic. This is accomplished by either placing parked cars between the cycle lane and the vehicle travel lane, or by constructing a physical barrier such as a curb or a narrow median between the cycle lane and the travel lane.
What will drivers notice that is different about driving on a street with a Cycle Track?
There isn’t much of a change for drivers. They will still need to watch carefully for cyclists when they are turning right at cross-streets or driveways. Cyclists may not be as visible to drivers when they are traveling along a cycle track that is positioned behind parked cars. The travel way for vehicles will also be narrower. On Broadway, the number of travel lanes will be reduced from three to two.
How does parking work adjacent to a Cycle Track?
Drivers park parallel to the travel lane in the same way that they do today except that the parking lane is not adjacent to the curb. After leaving their parked vehicles drivers and passengers cross the Cycle Track to reach the sidewalk. A 3 foot buffer area separates the passenger side of the car from the Cycle Track. This area gives pedestrians an area to stop and wait comfortably for a gap if there are cyclists approaching.
Are Cycle Tracks expensive to implement?
The Cycle Tracks proposed for this demonstration project use parked cars as the barrier between the cycle lane and the travel lane so no construction is needed. As a consequence, they are low cost and relatively easy to implement.
Do Cycle Tracks provide any benefit for retail businesses on the street?
Cycle Tracks will attract more cyclists to the street and more people will use the street in total. This will likely be a benefit to businesses that attract passer-by shoppers.
When will the cycle track be built?