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Comment of the Week: The case against a bike path alongside I-84

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 16:30
A rendering of a possible Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor.
(Rendering: Nick Falbo, Alta Planning + Design)

Biking on a flat off-road path is terrific. But biking on many first-rate streets might be better.

That’s the argument made on Wednesday by reader Terry D-M, at least. In the midst of the heated discussion over whether the Portland Bureau of Transportation needs an equity and inclusion manager, Terry offered a comment that seemed a little off-topic at first but eventually circled directly on point.

The job of an equity manager, Terry argued, would be to help people such as the members of the city’s volunteer Bicycle Advisory Committee escape the involuntary blinders that he thinks caused them to neglect infrastructure outside the central city in favor of (in his view) expensive luxuries like the long-planned Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor between the Rose Quarter and NE 21st.

(Note: Terry refers in his comment to a BAC list of 13 top projects, including the Sullivan’s Gulch trail as one of the last few. That list was later shortened to focus on 10 projects that they were asking the city to prioritize. We shared the list of 10 here.)

The City Bicycle Advisory Committee recommended a list of 13 projects that should be the HIGHEST priority. Of these, it includes close to $27 MILLION of investments in North or NE in the 1.25 mile radius from Downtown between Sullivan’s Gulch and Swan Island, not including Bike Share. This includes Broadway-Wiedler, Sullivan’s Gulch phase one, the 7th avenue bridge and north Portland Greenway Trail to Swan Island.

There are NO projects recommended for all of SEUL (outside of that needed 7th street overpass, which is technically downtown). SEUL has close to one third of Portland’s entire population.

East Portland gets two projects, for a total of $8.5 million (the three M’s Greenway and 122nd). The west side gets $14.2 million (Flanders, Barbur Terwilliger, Capital), though I think $3 million for the Flanders greenway AND overpass is a little under estimated in cost.

But what is in there for SEUL? Nothing….no recommended investments for Montavilla, Lents, South Portland…In Fact, outside of the Three M’s and 122nd, the ONLY project east of 21st that made the list is the upper 70′s greenway which is MUCH less needed than access to PCC SE for our low income students. We do have some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country.

I would think that spending $7.7 million on a fancy multi-use path from the waterfront that only reaches a little more than mile out…only until 21st as further east the ROW is owned by the railroad….when there are ALTERNATIVE ROUTES would be less important than improving bikeway access to school and neighborhoods. That money could build the 60′s, 70′s and 80th greenways AND connect Sellwood to Lents via the new ByBee MAX station with a south Portland bikeway. What I see is almost $8 million being prioritized for professional commuters and recreational cyclists going to their gentrified work and play places. In Central East and South Portland getting to school or Community College is DANGEROUS which could be significantly improved for a very reasonable investment. I would think that THIS work force development would be more important than being able to put on your spandex and do a quick ride to the waterfront from your Sullivan’s Gulch Condo on a new fancy path just for you and your professional neighbors. These routes I have just outlined have been endorsed by their Neighborhood associations, ALMOST completely…..I know, since I was the one who presented to some of these groups and got the endorsements for these needed projects.

This is why we need an EQUITY manager. Even those in the know, who are supposedly the best, trying to advise city council…did NOT take class issues into account when they ranked them. This group is DOWNTOWN CENTERED. Yes they have a great advocate from east Portland on the committee, but these choices obviously tell me they did not look at the city as a whole…they are mostly downtown focused professionals that made some high profile token additions for those in the outer districts.


Whatever you think about Sullivan’s Gulch, Terry makes some pretty solid points, both about planning and about the difficulty of equitable decision-making.

Yes, we pay for good comments. We’ll be mailing a $5 bill to Terry in thanks for this great one.


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Thoughts on lawmakers who “just want to start a conversation”

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 16:21

In light of Oregon House Representative John Davis’s bill that would mandate what type of clothes people would have to wear while riding a bicycle, I want to re-post some thoughts I published back in January 2011.

Back then, we were covering a very similar situation where Oregon legislator Mitch Greenlick wanted to “start a conversation” about bike safety by sponsoring a bill that would have made it illegal to carry a child of six years or younger on the back of a bike or in a trailer (yes, you read that right).

Here’s the post. It’s just as relevant today as it was back then…

Study first, then make new laws (if necessary)

Published January 2011

I Just want to quickly point out that there’s an alternative method for legislators to “start a conversation” on complex and/or potentially controversial issues other than proposing a new law that would prohibit a popular and safe activity.

The current legislative session has two such bills that I’m aware of…

The first, which we covered back in December, is from the House Transportation committee. Instead of proposing a bill about bike licensing/registration (which we know would be met with outcry), they’ve drafted a bill, HB 2331, that directs the Oregon Department of Transportation to do a study on the feasibility of the idea. If the idea is found to have merit, then legislation could follow.

Another bill that calls for a feasibility study is HB 2032. The bill, introduced by Portland House Rep. Jules Bailey, directs the DOT to conduct a study regarding the cost and feasibility of replacing Marquam Bridge (the I-5 freeway that crosses the Willamette River south of downtown Portland. And, as we shared back in 2006, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think).

Both of these bills are excellent first steps in learning more about an issue — and then determining whether or not to propose legislation. The problem with Rep. Mitch Greenlick’s approach (and others before him) is that he has gone about it backwards.

In a story about his bill that was just published by The Oregonian, local bike shop owner Todd Fahrner puts it this way, “He says he wants to start a discussion. It seems patently ridiculous to start a discussion by trying to criminalize something.”

Representative Ben Cannon, who got his share of push-back for proposing a beer tax last session, says he’s learned his lesson from that episode and is now, “… more careful about the precise form of the bills I introduce.”

I don’t think Rep. Davis is anti-bike and I don’t think he has anything against people who ride them. This is an issue of perspective. And Davis, like the vast majority of Oregonians, lacks a well-rounded perspective about cycling simply because they don’t do it on a regular basis. He does, however, drive a car every single day, and therefore his perspective around that activity is much more nuanced, evolved and sophisticated.

Unfortunately, despite Rep. Davis’s best intentions, his bill won’t go anywhere and it won’t start a productive conversation about safety. Because, unlike simply pushing a half-baked idea into the legislative meat-grinder, real and impactful conversations are not easy to have. They take hard work by people dedicated to the issue and who are will to do the basic due diligence and research to make sure the conversation leads somewhere positive.

Rep. Davis, if you have concerns about the safety of bicycle riders on Oregon roads, I would be happy to sit down and talk about it with you. Name the time and the place and I’ll be there. (In fact, that’s exactly what I did on KATU TV’s interview show back in 2012 when a local business owner wanted to start a ballot initiative to make bicycle licenses and registration mandatory. Many people where outraged as his idea, but he was reasonable about it and we had an excellent “conversation” that allowed both of us to make our points known.)


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Industry Ticker: Rapha founder meets Portland mayor at company’s North American HQ

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 14:47
Rapha founder Simon Mottram, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, and Rapha North American GM Hillary Benjamin.
(Photo: Rapha)

Simon Mottram, the founder of Rapha Performance Roadwear, was in Portland on Tuesday and he met with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Hales paid a visit to Rapha’s North American Headquarters in northwest Portland.

Rapha was founded in 2004 and in recent years has enjoyed a massive spike in popularity. The company has sponsored Tour de France champions and is known for premium prices and dedication to epic road riding. In addition to an online store, they also operate nine retail “Cycle Clubs” around the world — including three in the United States.

According to Rapha spokesman Chris DiStefano, the conversation during Hales’ meeting also included the company’s North American General Manager Hillary Benjamin. They discussed the local bicycle-related industry and how Portland might do even more to encourage and promote it. Mottram, who lives and works in London, told Mayor Hales about the success of cycling in the UK and the recent strides his hometown has made in bicycle infrastructure.

Reached for comment after the visit, Mayor Hales had this to share with us:

“We talk about the biking culture in Portland. We talk about the outdoor apparent sector of our economy. And we talk about the importance of international trade. But when you visit a place like Rapha, you see that these are just different facets of the same diamond. The lifestyle, the economic sector, the lure of international businesses– they all go hand-in-hand in Portland.”

Read more from our Industry Ticker here.


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Here are the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee’s top 10 priorities citywide

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 13:55
What do you think?
(Click to enlarge, or see below for details and links)

As we reported earlier this week, the City of Portland is trying to hone its massive transportation to-do list by asking people to rank their 10 favorite projects.

In a letter circulated this week, the citizens’ committee that’s most closely tied to Portland’s biking policies shared theirs.

Here’s the list, with a links to past coverage of each project:

1) A biking-walking bridge across Interstate 84 between NE 7th, 8th and/or 9th Avenues. This would create the most comfortable inland freeway crossing in the city between inner Northeast and Southeast Portland, linking the rapidly redeveloping Lloyd District and enabling a “green loop” of comfortable bikeways ringing the central city. $8.3 million.

2) Northeast Broadway Corridor improvements from the Broadway Bridge to NE 24th. This would link up to an anticipated protected bike lane on NW/SW Broadway all the way to maybe the #1 biking destination in the city: Portland State University. $3.5 million.

3) Terwilliger Bikeway Gaps. These would create a continuous bike lane over the hills above Barbur Boulevard and through Southwest Portland past another major biking destination, Oregon Health and Science University. $1 million.

4) Inner Barbur Corridor improvements. The needlessly wide stretch of road between Terwilliger and SW 3rd sometimes known as the Barbur Woods, where the land is mostly flat but the bike lanes end at two bridges and one person dies per year. $3.7 million.

5) I-205 undercrossing at NE Hancock and I-205. Connecting the 82nd Avenue area near Rocky Butte to Gateway Green and ultimately the developing Gateway regional center. $2 million.

6) 4M Neighborhood Greenway. A neighborhood greenway, already fully planned, snaking from the I-205 path past David Douglas High School and eastward to the Gresham border. $450,000.

7) 122nd Avenue Corridor Improvements from NE Sandy to SE Foster. Bike lane, sidewalk and public transit stop improvements on East Portland’s most important north-south street. TriMet has said it would upgrade the 71 bus to frequent service if changes like these are made. $8 million.

8) North Portland Greenway Trail from Swan Island to the Rose Quarter. A direct link between two of the city’s fastest-growing job areas, Swan Island and the Central Eastside, and part of a continuous off-road path from the tip of the St Johns peninsula to the Springwater Corridor. $7.3 million.

9) Portland Bike Share. Using shared bicycles to create an active and supremely cheap form of all-hours public transit in the central city and surrounding neighborhoods. $4.5 million.

10) NW Flanders Neighborhood Greenway, including a biking-walking bridge across I-405. The first comfortable link between downtown Portland and the city’s densest residential neighborhood, connecting to the Steel Bridge and TriMet MAX. $3 million.

BAC Chair Ian Stude said this week that the committee devoted a lot of effort to building this list, drawing on what he said is a geographically diverse membership and striving to serve a mix of neighborhoods and populations.

In its letter, the committee added:

The PBAC has concerns about the overall project selection for the TSP constrained and unconstrained list and how this aligns with the need to equitably distribute these projects throughout the city. However, we have identified 10 high priority projects from the list of 290 currently listed in the TSP draft. We ask that PSC and PBOT prioritize these projects as critical improvements to the transportation network.

How do you think they did? Whether you disagree with any (as reader Terry D-M did, vociferously and with data) or agree wholeheartedly, it’s not too late contact the city by email or using its online Map App tool.


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Oregon lawmaker wants to punish people who bike without reflective clothing – UPDATED

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:11
Rep. John Davis.

*Scroll down for update with comments from Rep. Davis.*

A member of the Oregon House has introduced a bill that would require all bicycle riders in Oregon to wear reflective clothing. Representative John Davis (R-District 26) introduced House Bill 3255 this morning.

According to the text of the bill, Davis wants anyone caught riding a bicycle, “on a highway or on premises open to the public” without wearing reflective clothing to be punished by a maximum fine of $250. The bill also dictates that the clothing is, “including but not limited to a reflective coat or reflective vest.” The new law would only apply to people riding bicycles at night (between sunset and sunrise).

The new offense, “Failure of a bicycle operator to wear reflective clothing,” would be a Class D traffic violation.

Similar bills have been introduced in California, Wyoming and South Dakota. In California, Senate Bill 192 mandates helmets for all ages and reflective clothing, but carries a maximum fine of just $25.

The law would only apply between sunset and sunrise.
(Photo J Maus/BikePortland)

Rep. Davis, who serves as Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development, is serving his second term as a House Rep after being re-elected in November 2014. He was endorsed by The Oregonian in part because they felt he was a, “skilled legislator with the combination of knowledge and common sense necessary to help forge solutions to difficult problems.”

Davis’s district stretches from south of Wilsonville all the way north to parts of Aloha.

We’ve reached out to Rep. Davis’ Salem office and have yet to hear back.

Bill as filed.

- H/t to BTA lobbyist Gerik Kransky for alerting us to this bill.

NOTE: This story was first published with “hi-viz clothing” in the headline. It has been changed to “reflective clothing.” We apologize for any confusion.

UPDATE, 3:04 pm: I had a phone call with Rep. Davis. Here’s what he shared about the bill:

  • He works in downtown Portland and some of his co-workers ride bikes and have family members that are “avid cyclists.” Davis said many of them, “especially those who ride at dusk, are supportive of this.”
  • Davis referenced a story we published in May 2013 about a study that found people are less visible at night than they think.
  • Davis told me he thought his bill, “Would be an interesting starting point of a conversation,” and added, “I’m interested what cyclists think about this.”
  • When I asked why he chose to focus his safety concerns on a bike-specific measure that doesn’t take into account driving behaviors, he said, “I think it’s a back-and-forth… We all use the road and we all need to be using it safely together.”
  • Davis said he feels that a “significant amount of responsibility belongs with drivers” because of the larger capacity they have to do harm to other road users. “But what is the healthy balance to ensure maximum safety?” he wondered.
  • When I told him I’m aware that many bicycle riders detest this concept and are already against the bill, he maintained that he’s had a “number of cyclists and a number of my constituents who support this idea.”
  • Davis also said he hopes to plan a public hearing in Salem sometime in March where people will have the opportunity to “Come to the legislature and talk about the benefits of cycling.”
  • When I asked Rep. Davis why, if he’s so concerned about safety, he voted against a bill (Senate Bill 9) that increased fines for texting and driving in 2013, he provided a non-answer. “We’re talking about this bill, so that’s what I’d like to talk about.”

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Weekend Event Guide: Gold sprints, road race, path surprises, and more

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 10:54
Get out and explore the Springwater Corridor path on Saturday.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to your menu of weekend rides and events, lovingly brought to you by our friends at Hopworks Urban Brewery.

What are your plans for the weekend? The weather looks like it will hold up and be just dandy for some bike riding.

If you don’t already have something planned, perhaps we can entice you to one of the rides below. Whatever you do, have a great weekend!

Friday, February 27th

Gold Sprints at Western Bike Works – 6:00 pm at the shop (1015 NW 17th)
Show up and show off your strength and spinning skills (or lack thereof) and enjoy prizes while hanging out at Western Bike Works’ Corsa Cafe. All you need is a good attitude and they’ll provide everything else. This will be good practice for the finals which will take place at their new Tigard location on March 27th. More info here (FB).

Portland Bike Party – Illumi-Naughty – 7:00 pm at Jamison Square (810 NW 11th)
The monthly Bike Party ride has a lit-up theme tonight. Or, more precisely, a neon light theme. Come dressed (you and your bike) in the brightest and loudest, most hi-viz stuff you can find and join others who will be “fostering smiles and laughter, Masterminding a world that parties on wheels.” Afterparty at Hopworks BikeBar (3947 N. Williams). More info here.

Saturday, February 28th

Free Bike Maintenance Clinic at Pedal PT – 10:00 am at 2622 SE 25th Ave
This is the second part of Pedal PT’s bike maintenance clinic. Show up and get expert insights from Aaron Michalson of Left Coast Bicycle. He’ll review flat fixing and go over derailleur adjustments. There will also be a Q & A and time to practice on your own. Coffee and treats will be provided. More info here.

Biking About Architecture: Buckman-Ladd Edition – 12:00 pm in parking lot behind Holman’s (2705 SE Ankeny)
Join Jenny Fosmire and her crew of merry urban architecture lovers for a laid-back tour (about 7 miles) of old homes, modern dwellings, and even a geodesic hendome! Ride at as Cartopia food carts. More info here.

Tualatin Mountains Work Party – 12:30 pm at Skyline School (11536 NW Skyline Blvd)
Remember that exciting project Metro has embarked on to improve bike access in the Tualatin Mountains? Now is your chance to show them how much that access means to you. This is the first-ever work party for this project and advocates want to get as many volunteers as possible to show Metro that bikes and the people who love them are an asset to our mountains and natural areas — not a threat. This even is co-hosted by Metro and the Northwest Trail Alliance. You’ll help them plant 2,000 shrubs! More info here (FB).

More Hidden Gems of the Springwater – 1:00 pm at Woodstock City Park (SE Steele and 47th)
Puddlecycle Tom is leading what should be a fun exploration of the Springwater path. Join this ride for an exploration of the hidden gems along the Springwater as it winds out toward Gresham. Highlights of the route include an arts plaza, a graveyard, Tsuru Island, a secret rock garden, Butler Creek nature area, and more. More info here.

Sunday, March 1st

Dirty Circles Road Race – 8:00 am in Woodland, WA
It’s the first road race of the 2015 season! Dirty Circles is a three race series. The route is a relatively flat, 6.1 mile loop along the Columbia River. This full day of racing features categories for men and women of all skill levels. More info here.

NW Trail Alliance Group MTB Ride – 9:00 am Universal Cycles (2202 E Burnside)
If you’re looking to get familiar with the best trails and mountain bike routes in the region, these are the folks you need to connect with. This week’s ride will head out to Siouxon for a 22 mile loop. More info here.

Larson’s Bakery Ride – 10:30 am at Marshall Center in Vancouver (1009 E McLoughlin Blvd)
The Portland Wheelmen (and women) Touring Club will lead this 25 mile route from downtown Vancouver to Larson’s Bakery. Expect to explore some fine bike paths and back roads before your baked treat. More info here.

— Did we miss anything? Let us know via the comments and make sure to drop us a line if you have an upcoming event you’d like us to feature next week.


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Jobs of the Week: PBOT and Beaverton Bike N Hike

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 09:52

We’ve had two great job opportunities listed this week. Check them out via the links below…

For a complete list of available jobs, click here. If you’d like more information about the BikePortland Job Listings, contact us, or visit the Job Listings page.

You can sign up for all the latest job listings via RSS, email, or by following us on Twitter.


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The story behind the new Portland Police Bureau Bicycle Theft Task Force

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 14:27
Rough version of new logo.

By now you might have heard that the Bike Theft Task Force we’ve been working on since mid-October was launched today. Well, sort of.

The Portland Police Bureau sent out a media advisory about a press conference to announce the initiative, but then the event was cancelled this morning. What the heck it going on you ask? Here’s the deal…

The urgency to do something about bike theft and prevention in this town has been building for years. This past summer, we saw the issue spiraling out of control and I – along with my friends Bryan Hance at Bike Index and J. Allard at Project 529 — decided enough is enough. Since then, we’ve made a focused effort to raise the profile of the issue. Here on the site we’ve published many stories and launched the Bike Theft Chronicles column to illustrate how widespread the problem is, how it impacts Portlanders, and how brazen bike thieves have become.

We’ve also worked offline. Four months ago I attended a meeting at City Hall convened by Mayor Hales to share community priorities with Police Chief Larry O’Dea. At that meeting I told him more needed to be done to address this problem. We also put together the Portland Bike Theft Summit back in December, which was the first time all the various stakeholders came under one roof to share stories and solutions. I also met with Commander Robert King of East Precinct to hear his concerns about the problem and update him on what others were doing about it. Then I threw a hail-Mary pass and asked Chief O’Dea if he’d meet with me so I could pitch him on our single biggest request: To make the issue an official agency priority within the Portland Police Bureau.

Chief O’Dea’s strong enthusiasm for the idea (he was actually more gung-ho and confident in the concept than I was!) set everything in motion. Officers Dave Sanders and David Bryant, two highly-regarded members of the Bike Patrol Unit at Central Precinct, were the natural choices to take the bull by the horns. As you might recall, it was Ofcr. Sanders who reached out to me in October because he was working the bike theft beat as hard as he could, but felt hamstrung by limited time and resources to devote to it.

Today I’m very happy to report that we got our wish: The Portland Police Bicycle Theft Task Force, a true “A-Team” ready to tackle this tough problem. Chief O’Dea came through for the community. With his support and Officers Sanders and Bryant all lined up, we will finally be able to give bike theft prevention and recovery the attention it deserves.

Now, about today’s press conference…

All of us want to see this work begin as soon as possible because we know the issue is alive and well (we’ve seen the video and photos taken yesterday of alleged chop shops going strong near the Eastbank Esplanade). That’s part of the reason why we were so eager to get this thing officially launched. So eager in fact, that we jumped the gun a bit in announcing the press conference.

We decided to hit pause because we need a bit more time to flesh out our plans and make sure this thing works. In the end, this delay will make our efforts more successful.

As the community liaison on the Task Force, I’m happy answer your questions (whether you’re a reader, reporter, or both). It’s not my usual thing to take a direct advocacy role, but I felt like this was something I had to do and it’s been a great journey so far.

I hope you’ll bear with me as it all shakes out.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about this before the end of March. For now, follow the new Portland Police Bureau Twitter account @PPBBikeTheft and stay tuned right here to the Front Page.


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What would bike-friendly auto parking reform look like? Seven ideas

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:26
Squeezed on Northeast Alberta Street.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As the City of Portland continues public meetings with its two massive parking reform committees, most attention has been on parking prices: how much permits and meters should cost and how the money should be spent.

But another issue has, so far, mostly escaped notice: The many ways that parking spaces can conflict with biking improvements.

“We need to make it easier to repurpose parking lanes for safer bicycle facilities,” Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky, who sits on the city’s “centers and corridors” task force about neighborhood parking, shared with us on Wednesday. “That’s why I’m there.”

But like many biking supporters on the committees — and there are quite a few — Kransky says he’s not quite sure how that would happen or exactly what biking advocates should ask for.

“We need to make it easier to repurpose parking lanes for safer bicycle facilities, but the mechanisms by which we get there, I don’t know.”
— Gerik Kransky, BTA

“It is very provocative and I don’t think it’s been done,” said Owen Ronchelli of Go Lloyd, a group with a mission to “create a thriving environment for business” in the Lloyd District in part by improving non-car transportation options.

Though Portland has often removed travel lanes in order to add bike lanes, it’s never removed a parking lane from a commercial corridor for the sake of bike facilities — something that’s happened in Austin, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco, among other places.

Mauricio LeClerc, the city’s lead staffer on its downtown parking task force, said he wasn’t aware of any existing tools that could help engineers and planners weigh the citywide interest in bike facilities against a commercial district’s interest in auto parking.

So we contacted various people inside and outside of Portland to come up with a possible list of ideas for an auto parking policy that would, in addition to letting neighborhoods set a fair price for parking, allow for the city to improve biking, too.

City staffers would get guidance on how to compare the value of parking spots to the value of bike lanes 122nd Avenue’s parking lanes are almost completely
unused, but the city recently rejected a proposal to
add buffers or bollards to the 4.5-foot bike lane.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

This concept comes from LeClerc, who noted that just as some parking spaces are more valuable than others, some bike lanes are more valuable than others. The city currently has no formal way to assess that.

“The city clearly needs some guidance on how to prioritize parking in relation to the ‘green transportation hierarchy,’” said Ted Labbe of Depave, a neighborhood task force member. “Is parking for the various transportation modes part of this hierarchy or is it something separate?”

Brock Howell, policy affairs manager for the Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle, suggested applying a principle from water law: “use it or lose it.” If a parking space is full less than some percentage of the time, it might be eligible for removal.

Jay Crossley, a researcher at Houston Tomorrow, said his “dream scenario” would be for this to be part of a “multimodal level of service” calculation. (Portland has been quietly working on an MMLOS policy for two years, delaying it more than once.)

“If businesses rely heavily on street parking, they should have to subsidize it,” said Steve Bozzone, who represents the Community Alliance of Tenants on the downtown parking task force. “Streets should be primarily about mobility.”

The city would enforce rules preserving lines of sight near street corners

This concept comes from Mary Kyle McCurdy, policy director for 1000 Friends of Oregon, and sustainability consultant Rex Burkholder. Burkholder called out truck loading zones near corners as a specific issue for improvement and suggested removing parking within 20 feet of every corner. McCurdy suggested maximum height limits.

The city would preserve more curbside spaces for loading and unloading so trucks don’t park in bike lanes North Interstate Avenue.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

When we interviewed business owners on 28th Avenue about the possibility of removing parking from their street, several were more concerned about the loss of temporary truck parking than of customer auto parking.

“Commercial loading and unloading, especially in our neighborhood business districts, is super important and something I haven’t seen the city put as a priority as it should be,” said Kathryn Doherty-Chapman, a parking task force member who worked on San Francisco’s recent variable-price parking reform.

McCurdy, of 1000 Friends, suggested designating non-bikeway side streets as de facto loading areas in order to reduce double-parking on primary corridors.

Houses wouldn’t need full garages and driveways if they have an on-site bike shed (Photo: BikePortland reader Kari)

As we wrote this month, every single-family home in Portland more than 500 feet from a frequent transit line is required to have room for two on-site auto parking spaces — this in a city where hundreds of homeowners build structures to store their bikes.

That’s an idea from Bozzone; so is the next.

The city would add bike corrals when bike parking runs out

Ever since Portland invented the on-street bike corral, 100 percent of them have been requested by nearby businesses. Bozzone said it might be time for this to change.

“The city should not need a business owner’s permission to install bike racks/corrals if there is clear demand for it,” he wrote. “Right now a biz can say no and maintain the status quo, even if 100 of us request a rack.”

Door-zone warning markings would be a standard feature of curbside parking spaces on busy streets (Photo: John Greenfield)

When door-zone bike lanes don’t have marked buffers, more than 90 percent of people bike in the door zone. With buffers, this falls to 60 percent.

Though door-zone bike lanes are sometimes referred to as “bike-lane protected parking,” Portland continues to create them, and it obviously has many streets with no bike lanes where bike users feel pressured to ride in the door zone so cars can pass them. With or without a bike lane, there’s no reason that the city’s standard paint requirements for every on-street parking space couldn’t include a marked door zone.

The city would put the same burden on creating new parking spaces as it does on removing them A 2013 redesign on NE Glisan added 19 street parking
spots next to a Fred Meyer parking lot.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Last year, less than six months after retreating from a bruising attempt to persuade local businesses and landlords to support auto parking removal on one side of NE 28th Avenue in order to make a crucial northbound biking connection comfortable, the city created dozens of newly permanent street parking spaces on East Burnside, right around the corner in the very same district.

The city’s Bike Plan for 2030 calls for both Burnside and 28th to have “separated in-roadway” bike facilities. According to Metro’s Active Transportation Plan, an all-ages bikeway on Burnside would have the highest return on investment of any bike project on Portland’s east side.

Transit consultant Jarrett Walker once wrote that each of Europe’s human-friendly streets, cleared of auto parking and travel lanes amid huge political battles over the last 40 years, could be seen as a “battlefield memorial recording a triumph that involved major pain and suffering.” A bike-friendly parking policy would at least prevent Portland from creating future battlefields for itself.

Correction 9:40 pm: An earlier version of this post failed to mention the lower parking requirement for single-family homes within 500 feet of frequent bus lines.


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Biking would win big under Oregon Climate carbon tax plan

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 11:27

A new advocacy group is angling for Oregon to use its moment as one of the only fully Democratic-controlled state governments in the country and pass the country’s first statewide carbon tax.

The group, called Oregon Climate, is pushing a concept called “tax and dividend”: instead of sending the proceeds into government coffers, all of the revenue collected from wholesale fossil-fuel transactions — gasoline to a distributor, coal to a power plant, and so on — would be pooled and divided evenly among Oregonians in the form of checks worth an estimated $500 to $1500 per year.

“This is the most climate-friendly progressive legislature that we’ve had, and maybe the most climate-friendly in the country right now,” Oregon Climate Executive Director Camila Thorndike said in an interview Tuesday. “States across the country have their eyes on Oregon, and we cannot let this opportunity pass by.”

“Rather than bundles of piecemeal decision-making, you’d have an economywide transition to walkable, bikeable, livable cities.”
— Camila Thorndike, Oregon Climate

Prices would rise in Oregon for concrete, gasoline, electricity and other fossil-fuel-intensive products. Dan Golden, Oregon Climate’s volunteer policy director, said Tuesday that their proposed tax of $30 per ton of carbon (increasing by $10 each year) would translate into about 27 cents per gallon of gasoline, increasing another 9 cents each year.

However, those additional costs would be offset by the checks Oregonians would receive. Oregonians with smaller-than-average carbon footprints would come out ahead, while those with larger-than-average emissions would lose — giving everyone continued incentives to cut their energy consumption.

“I’m not a transportation expert but I think if I were, I’d be really stoked about carbon pricing,” Thorndike said. “Rather than bundles of piecemeal decision-making, you’d have an economywide transition to walkable, bikeable, livable cities. … We’d have so many incentives backed financially to really build our lives and our economy around alternatives to cheap gas.”

Carbon tax could lead to gas tax flexibility, too Unlike many states, Oregon can’t use gas taxes or car-tab fees to finance off-street paths like the Springwater Corridor. But a carbon tax would require changing this rule.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In addition to that benefit to people who get around Portland by bicycle, Oregon Climate’s proposal might also open another door in the transportation world. Because a tax on greenhouse gas emissions would count as a tax on gasoline, Oregon Climate’s proposal would only work if the state votes to amend or repeal its 35-year ban on using gas taxes or auto fees for anything except roads.

That ban, in Article IX, Section 3a of Oregon’s constitution, has been a thorn in transportation advocates’ side since the day it was passed. Among other things, it’s one of the big reasons the Portland area has so few off-street biking paths.

But the ban has many friends, too — so many that it’s long been seen as politically untouchable.

One of its enemies is longtime local transportation advocate Jim Howell, who in a separate effort is trying to get support for a bill, SJR 16, that would let vehicle taxes and fees be spent on “infrastructure that reduces traffic burden of, or pollution from, motor vehicles on public roads.”

Howell argues that 2016, a presidential election year, will give Oregon an electorate as friendly as it’s ever been to repealing that ban.

The year 2016 is also in the sights of Oregon Climate, though Golden conceded that the group is working toward a possible constitutional amendment “whether or not it’s politically realistic now.”

“We want to be the terrier that sinks their teeth into this thing and won’t let go,” he said. “We’re trying to let everyone know that we’re not going to go away if it doesn’t happen right now or it won’t happen in 2016. … There are a lot of voices out there motivated by the politically realistic thing. We’re motivated by the scientifically realistic thing. And that is that we need an effective price on carbon.”

Cap-and-dividend system, a second option, wouldn’t need a popular vote A cap-and-dividend system would raise energy prices but wouldn’t count as a tax.

Putting a price on carbon might not require a tax. Another option would be for the state legislature to approve a “cap and dividend” system that would let the state sell or auction off the rights to emit certain amounts of greenhouse gas.

The proceeds from those sales would be evenly divided among Oregon residents each year, much like those from a tax.

“A tax is better,” Golden said. “It has a smaller regulatory burden; you’re not creating a whole market for selling permits. … I know what the price of carbon is going to be in 10 years or 30 years.”

But a tax might be harder to pass, because it’d require ballot approval by voters statewide as well as 60 percent approval from both House and Senate. So Oregon Climate is simultaneously pushing for the “cap and dividend” system, which it says doesn’t count as a tax, and would therefore require just 50 percent approval from both houses, plus Gov. Kate Brown’s signature.

The cap-and-dividend option would leave the constitution’s restriction on gas taxes untouched.

Golden said Oregon Climate is focused only on one goal: pricing carbon and redistributing the proceeds evenly among Oregonians.

“There’s no better time than right now,” he said. “Except for years ago.”


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Join us for Blazer Bike Night on Wednesday, April 8th

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 14:25
This could be you! We’ll be flying the Trail Blazers flag once again on April 8th.

If you missed our last Blazer Bike Night back in November, you have a chance to redeem yourself next month.

These custom stickers have been a huge
hit with Blazer Bikers.

We’re excited to announce our spring Blazer Bike Night on Wednesday, April 8th when our Trail Blazers go up against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Yes, we realize the T’wolves aren’t exactly a top-tier, but we picked this game for two main reasons. We know a lot of Portlanders have Minnesota roots, so we figured it’d be fun to acknowledge that midwest pride. Also, the T’wolves have an amazing player in Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins was the #1 pick in the 2014 draft and the experts are freaking out on his potential. He’ll be wonderful to watch.

Speaking of new players, did you notice how the newest Blazer, Aaron Afflalo, is a big biking fan? He wrote that he was so excited to come to Portland that he wanted to ride out here from Denver. And on Monday, Afflalo told Trail Blazers Courtside hosts Mike Barrett and Antonio Harvey that he was doing some bike shopping (at the 15:00 mark).

Blazer Bike Night is about more than just a basketball game! We’ll meet up before the game at Salmon Street Fountain in Waterfront Park. Then we’ll ride en masse across the river, down the new Jerome Kersey Bike Lane on NE Multnomah Blvd, then onto the Moda Center campus.

Everyone who buys a ticket through our special discount portal page will be given a custom reflective Trail Blazers logo sticker (they’re awesome!) and will be eligible to win a very cool helmet signed by none other than Damian Lillard. 300-level tickets are available for $22 and we’ll all sit together if you purchase them at this website (use promo code “BIKE”).

The deadline to get tickets as part of our Blazers Bike Night group is March 9th. Check out the event page for updates and more information.

Hope to see a lot of you there. Go Blazers!


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Skyline Tavern set for rebirth as legit bike riders’ hang-out

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:11
Things are looking up for the old and worn-down Skyline Tavern.
(Photo: Google Maps)

If you’ve never heard of Skyline Tavern, it’s not your fault: The wood-sided “saloon” facade is tucked among trees set back behind a parking lot and the food and vibe has always been a bit sleepy and disappointing. I stopped in a few months ago to escape a cold and rainy night and — while the folks inside were nice — I felt like I walked into someone’s living room. There wasn’t much there there.

Even though it’s located along one of the most well-traveled bicycle routes in the Portland region, few people ever stop in. But now that might change since a new owner has bought the place and intends to remodel it.

As reported Monday by, the Skyline Tavern has a “new lease on life” (emphases mine):

“When it went on the market in December, complete with 2.2 acres, everyone feared the worst: All that promise would be torn down to make way for a McMansion. Well, Portland, we dodged a bullet. Environmental filmmaker Scott Ray Becker, whose own mother used to hit the tavern after sneaking away from Miss Catlin’s School (as Catlin Gabel was once known), has purchased the nearly 100-year-old tavern and the only thing he wants to do is, well, make everything better.

…Since taking over in January, he’s been power washing away years of mold and moss, and getting rid of the bad canned chili and “shit ass Merlot.” In their place, he has Terminal Gravity and Ecliptic beers on tap (he used to brew beer with John Harris at Full Sail), and a selection of wine from importer Casa Bruno.

…And as part of that experiment, he’s planning to add a turntable and records, turn part of the sprawling grounds into an outdoor amphitheater to show films, let kids and dogs run free, and promote the tavern as a destination for trail runners, hikers and cyclists.”

The tavern is located at 8031 NW Skyline Blvd, just south of the intersection with Germantown Road. It’s easily accessible from downtown Portland via the well-worn bike routes on NW Lovejoy-Cornell-Thompson and/or via Leif Erikson, Saltzman, and other dirt roads in Forest Park. Many of our favorite, close-in loop rides go right by it.

We’ll try to get in touch with new owner and report back about any bike-centric plans he’s got. No matter what happens, we can’t wait to check it out this summer!

UPDATE, 11:44 am: As a reader below points out, there’s a grand opening party set for March 7th. Check their Facebook page for more.


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Six reasons London is going big for biking, and how Portland could follow

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:00
Future plans for W Burnside? Nope. This streetscape is coming to London. They’re about to embark on one of the biggest municipal bicycling investments in the history of the world.
(Image: Transport for London)

London is making it happen.

“It dwarfs any equivalent program, certainly in the UK, probably anywhere in Western Europe.”
— Ben Plowden on London’s new $1.4 billion biking program

The last time he visited Portland, in 2003, Ben Plowden was several years into a job as the first full-time director of Living Streets, a small walking advocacy group. The city he worked in, London, had recently created a new regional government.

When Plowden returned to Portland last week, it was as the London regional government’s top surface transportation official – and he was here to explain how and why the region has just approved a $1.4 billion investment in biking over the next decade.

If spent as planned, Plowden said it’ll be one of the biggest municipal investments in cycling in the history of the world.

“It dwarfs any equivalent program, certainly in the UK, probably anywhere in Western Europe,” Plowden said of the $130 million annual budget, which will be divided among 1/3 education and enforcement programs and 2/3 infrastructure.

So something is working in London. But what? Last week we visited two events by Plowden, whose trip to Portland was sponsored by the public transport nonprofit Transit Center, to find out. Here’s what we learned London has.

1) An anti-congestion charge. Space-efficient bikes and buses enter free. Cars don’t.
(Photo: Mark Ames)

Since 2003, driving a car into central London between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. has cost $18 per day. The proceeds go into the regional transportation budget.

How was this approved? The key, Plowden explained, was support from freight customers.

“The reason that the congestion charge went in in 2002-2003 was that business knew how much congestion was causing them,” Plowden said. “It took a whole lot of discretionary car use off the network overnight.”

Here in Portland, there’s deep awareness among businesses of the job-killing costs of auto congestion. The problem, as we reported last month, is that the Port of Portland and some other freight customers believe that increasing auto capacity is the only viable way to reduce congestion; in a region where toll roads are almost unheard-of, they see an anti-congestion charge like London’s as impossible.

I asked Plowden whether toll roads were common in London before its anti-congestion charge began. They weren’t, he said.

2) A politician who rides. Boris, on a bike.
(Photo: Transport for London)

The most important person behind London’s biking improvement is the one at the top: London’s center-right Mayor Boris Johnson.

“It’s difficult to exaggerate how important Boris being a commuter cyclist is,” said Plowden. “He carries his stuff in a rucksack on his back. and he’s done it basically his entire working life. … Like the mayors of Copenhagen in the 1970s, that’s a really important part of of making cycling what it is.”

After two terms, Johnson is returning to Parliament next year with his eye on becoming prime minister. Plowden said his departure will be “a sad day indeed” but called it “unlikely” that the next mayor will do anything worse for biking investments than to slow them down somewhat.

“This is actually quite an important part of the political landscape of London now,” he said.

(What about Portland? Well, as we shared last spring, no member of our current City Council spends much time on a bicycle.)

3) A very strong regional mayor system. Portland voters rejected a strong mayor system at the ballot in 2007, instead keeping a system that gives great autonomy to its five city council members (shown here at a recent work session).

Johnson’s commute habits wouldn’t matter much if he, like his predecessor Ken Livingstone, weren’t in control of almost every lever of power in the region.

“Ken Livingstone said if I’m elected, we’re going to have a congestion charge, and within two years we had one,” Plowden said. “Boris Johnson said if I’m elected, we’re going to become the world’s greatest cycling city. And we’re now spending a billion pounds on that objective.”

The “lesson of the London story,” Transit Center Executive Director David Bragdon said Friday, is “unity.”

“These are the results of really good governance structures and clear accountability for who’s doing what,” said Bragdon, a former president of Portland’s Metro regional government. “Americans, we’re very much in these jurisdictional boxes. These structures, they constrict us.”

Bragdon argued that the problems of concentrating power among a few people are outweighed by the advantages of the public knowing who to blame for its problems.

4) An organization built to see the big picture. An agency that only ran public transit might ask only for more of the same. Transport for London weighed the cost-benefit of new tunnels against better biking, and chose bikes.

One effect of London’s integrated governments is that it put the same agency in charge of both arterial roadways and public transit.

In Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation wouldn’t save much money if people driving on Powell switched to buses, or if people riding buses switched to bikes. But because Transport for London runs the whole transportation system, it saves money when the whole system gets more efficient.

Transit and bikes are efficient. Transport for London noticed – and started investing heavily in making them better.

In terms of vehicle road space, Plowden said, “buses are way way way more efffieient than anything else. Cycling is second. … If we have a finite amount of space and amount of money and people are going to be moving around the city, what’s the most efficient way of doing that? You have to start making the hard economic arguments.”

But if Transport for London hadn’t been able to see the whole picture, those arguments might have fallen on deaf ears.

5) Urgency. A November 2013 “die-in” of 1,000 biking supporters outside Transport for London headquarters
(Photo: Nicolas Chinardet)

For all that, Plowden said, London might have accomplished little if not for two coincidences that created a sense that the city had no time to spare.

Starting in 2004, the year it won a bid to host the 2012 Olympics, London was on a deadline. If it didn’t have a massively functional system for car-free transport by that summer, it would be swamped by traffic.

“We set an objective that nobody except an elite athlete would arrive at any Olympic event with a car,” Plowden said.

In the run-up to 2012, London launched a bike share system, improved three rail lines, started running a new high-speed rail and built a cable car across the Thames.

Then, in late 2013, a series of six biking fatalities over two weeks seized the public’s attention around the need for biking improvements. Plowden called this a key catalyst for London’s massive investment to come.

6) Great ideas from other cities. Bike use in Seville soared from 6,000 riders a day to 60,000 after it rapidly built an 80-mile network of protected bike lanes in the late 2000s.
(Photo: Bike Texas)

Plowden didn’t mention this at all last week. But one of the most important things about London’s accomplishments is that every single one of them had already worked elsewhere.

Amsterdam, just across the English Channel, has billions of dollars worth of the world’s best bike infrastructure. Modern bike sharing came from Paris; the anti-congestion charge, from Singapore. Seville, Spain, had seen biking soar from 0.5 percent in 2007 to 7 percent biking in 2012 by rapidly building a connected 80-mile network of protected bike lanes; biking advocates across Europe are now looking to it a model.

One of the best things happening in the world right now is that it keeps getting easier for ideas to spread from one country to another. London’s huge victory in the last few years stems from Londoners like Plowden who decided to start stealing neat ideas from Paris, Amsterdam and (yes) Portland, Oregon.

How do good ideas spread? One way is when smart people carry them across the ocean to talk about them.

See you again in 2027, Ben. Meanwhile, we’ve got some work to do.


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Washington County will install bike fix-it stations at five locations

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 09:08
A Bike Fixation stand in action.
(Photo: Bike Fixtation)

The county to Portland’s west is upgrading the bike-friendliness of five of its public buildings with an amenity that’s becoming almost common in the area: self-service bike repair stations.

It’s a benefit to employees and, presumably, anyone else who might get to these Washington County locations on a bike.

County sustainability coordinator Robin Straughan wrote in an email to workers this week that the stations “will be installed this winter/spring.”

“The Bike Fixtation work stands include securely attached tools for repairs, a pump and stand for working on your bike,” she wrote.

The locations:

· Service Center East near the existing bike racks
· Walnut Street Center east of the front door (under the awning)
· Public Services Building north of the auditorium near the existing bike racks
· Justice Services Building loading dock
· Hagg Lake

It’s a project of the county’s facilities and parks services. The stations’ local distributor is Huntco.


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Bike lane art honors late Blazers star Jerome Kersey

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 00:15

Jerome Kersey, the local basketball hero who died last week at age 52, has been granted one of Portland’s highest honors:

The Jerome Kersey Bike Lane outside the Moda Center on NE Multnomah Blvd.
(Photo J Maus/BikePortlnd)

Kersey played with the Blazers for 11 years following his 1984 draft, forming part of the team’s core in its strong years of the late 1980s and early 1990s. He played more games for the franchise than anyone except his teammate Clyde Drexler.

Kersey’s death last week at his home in Tualatin, of a pulmonary embolism, shocked family, friends and fans alike. As far as we know, it’s only the second time one of Portland’s famous bike lane decorations has been dedicated to a particular person.

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is responsible for this artistic bike lane addition. Maintenance crews perform the work on their own time using leftover materials that would otherwise be thrown away.

As longtime Blazers fans here at BikePortland, we’re happy to see PBOT commemorate a Portland character worth remembering. We also look forward to rolling down this bike lane at Blazers Bike Night coming up April 8th!

To get your own photo of the Jerome Kersey Bike Lane (if taking selfies, use caution since this is an active travel lane), roll over to NE Multnomah Blvd, just west of Wheeler Ave in front of the steps at the south end of the Moda Center.

Hat tip to Aaron Brown for the above lede.


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PBOT looks to hire ‘high profile’ Equity and Inclusion Manager

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 14:10
Making sure school investments are fairly
distributed is a big part of PBOT’s equity strategy.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has taken a major step toward being a more inclusive agency with the announcement today that they’re recruiting for a new position: Equity and Inclusion Manager.

The agency will pay over $107,000 for the right “change agent” they hope will fill a “high profile within the Bureau,” and, “make decisions impacting all areas and functions” of the 750 person bureau.

Equity is a major initiative not just within PBOT but across city bureaus. The Portland Police Bureau hired their first-ever equity and diversity manager just last month. City initiative or not, PBOT has focused on equity for many years now and the effort has found new life as a priority for Director Leah Treat.

PBOT convened an internal Equity Committee last spring. It includes 14 staffers representing each department within the agency — from active transportation planning to business services and even maintenance. The committee members have received professional training and they are expected to now train other staff members as well as be a resource for project managers.

PBOT has also engaged community groups including neighborhood associations, immigrant and refugee advocacy groups and others, to help them craft their approach to equity.

When it comes to putting equity into action, PBOT spokeswoman Diane Dulken says the agency’s Active Transportation division, “Is best model the bureau has as far as incorporating equity.” PBOT’s Safe Routes to School Policy, a 50-page document published in 2012, mentions “equity” 48 times on nearly half of its pages. Here’s how the city’s Safe Routes program defines equity

“… policies that increase the accessibility of transportation choices and their benefits to currently and historically underserved populations, including people of color, people experiencing poverty, people with disabilities, and people who experience language barriers.”

Making sure that school-related transportation projects are fairly distributed took on even greater urgency when voters passed the Portland Public Schools bond measure last year. That measure will pump an estimated $5 million into Safe Routes to Schools capital projects over the next seven years.

While many advocates, and city staffers are satisfied with the “Five E’s” of Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation when it comes to planning and projects, PBOT’s Safe Routes program prefers a sixth “E”: Equity. When they realized state and federal funding for Safe Routes infrastructure projects and programs didn’t include equity as a criteria, PBOT added it to that as well. Now, all capital funding decisions are scored with equity in mind (specifically, more points are given to projects at schools who have a higher percentage of students who receive free/reduced lunch, are within community of color, have physical disabilities, or who come from families where English is not the primary language).

To get a better understanding of what PBOT’s equity and inclusion manager will do, check out the official job description below:

The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) vision is to be a diverse organization that models inclusivity and promotes equity through its service delivery, internal operations, organizational culture, and in its work with partners and the community. The Equity and Inclusion Manager is essential to help ensure that this bureau of 750 FTE proactively implements equitable policies, practices, and actions, as well as to help influence attitudes within the Bureau that will produce equitable authority, access, opportunities, treatment impacts and outcomes for all PBOT employees and stakeholders. This is a newly created position reporting directly to the Bureau Director. The position has a high level of discretion in carrying out duties and assignments and the position’s responsibilities are broad in scope, strategic in nature, and impact all of the Bureau’s employees, operations, programs, and service partnerships.

The Equity and Inclusion Manager combines knowledge of the Bureau’s mission and operations with best practices in equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion to develop and manage initiatives that will contribute to the achievement of the Bureau’s and City’s strategic equity goals. This positon works with internal Bureau staff on a daily basis and works closely with the Bureau’s Equity Committee, the Citywide Equity Committee, and City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. It also acts as the principle liaison to other City bureaus and external groups on City policy initiatives designed to increase the organization’s capacity to provide culturally appropriate services to all Portlanders, including underserved populations, communities of color, and disabled communities.

The Equity and Inclusion Manager provides expert technical guidance and implementation leadership to PBOT management on equity, inclusion, and social justice issues within Bureau programs that impact the public. In addition, this position provides assistance and support to the Bureau in designing and transparently implementing goals, policies, training, tools, change strategies, metrics, data collection standards, and accountability reporting for Bureau functions. Further, this position provides overall management and coordination in the implementation of the Bureau’s new Equity and Inclusion program, including development and implementation of the annual work plan and an annual program report to the Bureau Director and Equity Committee.

The position closes on March 13th, or as soon as PBOT receives 75 applications.


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Multiple people assaulted by ‘unstable’ man on Eastbank Esplanade

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 11:07
The incidents happened just north of this location.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

A reader has shared a disturbing incident that took place while he was riding his bicycle on the Eastbank Esplanade before sunrise this morning.

According to Jeff B., at around 6:15 am he was thrown off his bike while riding southbound on the floating portion of the Esplanade just north of the Burnside Bridge. In an email to BikePortland, Jeff described what happened:

“A man hit me with what appeared to be a car antenna and checked me into the railing. At first I thought he was just messing with me and taking a step towards me to scare me, but that wasn’t the case. I was going about 20 mph and went down hard, even shattering my helmet.”

Thankfully, Jeff says he’s “OK” and only suffered a few abrasions and some soreness in his shoulders.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one assaulted by this man.

As Jeff continued south to escape the suspect, he noticed a woman riding toward him. He attempted to warn her to stop, but wasn’t able to. “I was already a ways away and it’s dark on that portion of the path,” Jeff shared with us this morning, “so he did the same to her and she went down.” Luckily, she too was not seriously injured.

Jeff then called 911 and a Portland Police Officer responded a short time later. The officer told Jeff that yet another rider had recently called in a similar incident. A police report has been filed and we’ve requested comment from a PPB spokesperson to hear if any updates are available on the case.

“I know this was a random incident but it still has me really scared of my commute route now… I just want folks to be careful.”
— Jeff B.

The man who assaulted the riders walked away after the incidents and was not apprehended. Jeff added that the man appeared to be “mentally unstable and looked to be part of the transient crowd.”

Just north of the ramp, where Jeff says the man walked toward after the assaults, there’s a cut in the fence that leads to ODOT-owned property under I-5. We noted this hole in the fence in an unrelated story back in November.

Jeff has mixed feelings about what happened. He wants the man to get the help he needs, but it’s not the first time he’s had “uncomfortable moments” on the path during his morning commute.

“I know this was a random incident but it still has me really scared of my commute route now… I just want folks to be careful.”

Like other off-highway paths in the Portland Area, these important and busy transportation corridors are not regularly patrolled by uniformed PPB officers and path users are often by themselves — especially in early morning/late night hours. There are a few Portland Parks & Recreation rangers, but they deal with low-level livability issues and rely on the PPB to handle more serious crimes.

This is not the first time we’ve covered safety concerns on paths in the Portland area. Back in September of 2012 we shared the reports of several people who had been harassed while bicycling on the Springwater Corridor path.

UPDATE, 12:18pm: Here’s the response from PPB Sgt. Peter Simpson:

“Central Precinct officers are aware of the incident but no suspect has been identified. Based on the report, it appears that the suspect is likely a homeless person.

There have been no similar reports but obviously we want people to keep their eyes out and to call 9-1-1 if necessary.”


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Advocates mount effort to keep transportation hierarchy in city policy

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 09:35
Created in 2009 for the city’s Climate Action Plan, it’s
maybe the city’s single most progressive statement of
transportation policy.

The City of Portland says (PDF) its new 20-year comprehensive plan is informed by three city documents that created a prioritized ranking for transportation needs.

But it’s an open question whether the “green transportation hierarchy,” as it’s been known since its creation in 2009, will be fully enshrined in the 20-year comprehensive plan as it previously was in the Sam Adams-era Climate Action Plan, Bicycle Plan for 2030 and Portland Plan.

Members of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee are making it one of their top requests to the city to keep the chart in place and intact.

The chart is, of course, just a chart. As recently as last summer, the city was proposing to spend $30,000 to narrow a sidewalk in a commercial area in order to preserve three on-street car parking spaces next to an unused offstreet private parking lot.

But the transportation hierarchy is seen as a powerful enough idea that some freight advocates have urged for the “commercial vehicles” category, currently ranked below “public transit” and above “taxis,” to be removed from the priority list.

Both are important, but where should they fall on the planning hierarchy?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

“Commercial vehicles kind of don’t really fit into a green hierarchy. or if you did put them into a green hierarchy they’d probably fit at the top of the pile,” said Corky Collier, executive director of the Columbia Corridor Association of freight customers. “They’re moving a lot of goods and services very efficiently.”

In the end, Collier said there’s no hierarchy that can usefully weigh moving a 150-pound person against moving 150 pounds of commercial goods.

But biking advocates like Ian Stude, chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, argue that the interests of commercial vehicles often need to be weighed against other priorities.

“The green hierarchy is not just about environmental green,” Sadowsky said Tuesday. “It is about keeping traffic moving, about successful business districts and about safety.”

The conversation comes as the city’s Planning and Sustainability Commission is asking for public input on the city’s 20-year comprehensive plan, which this year is due for its first update since the 1980s. As part of its outreach process, the city is asking residents and other stakeholders to sift through 83 pages of online transportation project lists to select their five most important projects.

For example, there’s project 40109, a neighborhood greenway on NE 14th Avenue between Halsey and Lombard, expected to cost $774,000 and be built sometime in the late 2020s or early 2030s, or project 50015, “Gateway 99th/96th streetscape improvements,” which would “reconstruct primary local main street in Gateway Regional Center.” That’s expected to cost $4.9 million and happen in the next 10 years.

Like the city’s Bicycle Plan for 2030 (which was one of many documents the city used to help build this list), there’s no money attached to these plans. The purpose of this ranking is to help the city decide which projects to try to find money for.

If you’d like to participate in the city’s “top five” exercise, you can find your favorites in the project lists on this page and emailing them (with your name and home address) to and Alternatively, you can submit comments through the city’s map app, or testify in person at a hearing this evening or by mail. Here are the city’s instructions (PDF) on how to do those things.

That’d also be a way to share feelings on the city’s transportation hierarchy.


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Regional Safe Routes program is one of many winners from Metro grants

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 16:05
A Safe Routes to School event in Portland, 2010.
Other cities will get regional funding
for the programs thanks to new Metro grants.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

With the federal government’s support for early biking education shrinking, the Portland area’s regional government is making a significant investment.

Safe Routes to School programs in Tigard, Beaverton and across the region are among the winners of $2.1 million in Metro grants announced Monday. Other highlights include a new active transportation staffer for Portland Community College, a bicycle tourism initiative in the Gresham area and continued support for the City of Portland’s marketing of biking, walking and public transit.

The $2.1 million in two-year grants were chosen from among $4.6 million requested by various nonprofits and government agencies around the region.

Monday’s official award announcement comes amid concerns about Metro’s decision, with this grant cycle, to eliminate funding for the city’s three transportation management associations. As we reported Saturday, this decision is likely to result in the closure of the Swan Island TMA, a two-person nonprofit that has played a major role in improving non-car transportation options to the inner North Portland industrial area.

“Metro sent a clear message. Sea change time.”
— Swan Island TMA Director Sarah Angell on changes to Metro grant recipients

This grant cycle’s cuts to the Swan Island, Lloyd District and Washington Park TMAs followed a trend from previous cycles to pull back on funding small transportation-focused groups in order to support organizations with multiple missions.

In 2013 and again this month, Metro denied grant requests from South Waterfront Community Relations to fund low-car transportation efforts in that neighborhood. In previous years, Metro had eliminated funding for similar programs in Clackamas County and Gresham.

One TMA did receive funding this year: the Westside Transportation Alliance, which the Washington County government shielded from any cuts. The City of Portland, which this year was again the largest single recipient of the program’s funds, did not make any such requests on behalf of any projects within its borders.

Washington TMA Executive Director Jenny Cadigan wrote on Friday that she was “shocked to be honest” by Metro’s decision not to renew funding for other TMAs. “It makes me even more grateful to have been awarded funds,” she added.

“Metro sent a clear message,” wrote Swan Island TMA Executive Director Sarah Angell. “Sea change time.”

Despite the strong opinions related to the proposed elimination of TMA funding, there’s a lot to like in this project list, which is probably the biggest single source of active transportation program funding in the region. We’re certain to cover many of these projects as they have effects over the next two years.

For example, here’s Metro’s description of the PCC grant:

One of the new grantees is Portland Community College, which will use a $157,000 grant to hire a district-wide active transportation coordinator, install dozens of secure bicycle lockers at its Southeast and Cascade campuses and hold events and workshops to help students and staff learn how to safely walk and bike to class and work.

In previous cycles, the program generally hasn’t been used to pay for infrastructure. But that has changed this year, as Metro writes:

Also new to this cycle’s travel options grants are awards for light infrastructure, such as bike parking, on-road directional and use markings like sharrows and planning grants for local jurisdictions to kickstart implementation of local efforts to improve travel options for residents and commuters. Funded projects will provide easier navigation for pedestrians in Washington Park, fill a key bikeway gap in Gresham’s Rockwood neighborhood, build bike shelters in Aloha and support planning for expanded travel choices in Washington County.

Here’s the full list of winners:

  • Portland Bureau of Transportation: Active Portland – Open Streets, Connected Communities, $465,000
  • Ride Connection: RideWise Urban Mobility Support and Training, $222,233
  • Westside Transportation Alliance: Westside Transportation Demand Management, $203,500
  • Beaverton School District: Safe Routes to School Program, $158,000
  • Portland Community College: Transportation Demand Management Coordinator and Bicycle Improvements, $156,822
  • Bicycle Transportation Alliance: Expanding Access to Bicycling, $155,040
  • City of Tigard: Safe Routes to School Coordinator, $150,000
  • Portland Public Schools: Healthy Travel Options to School, $125,000
  • Verde: Living Cully Walks, Phase 2, $102,127
  • Clackamas Community College: Student Transportation Initiative, $85,018
  • City of Gresham: Gresham Sharrows, $63,260
  • Washington County: Washington County Travel Options Planning, $50,000
  • West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce: Gorge Hubs and Business Outreach, $50,000
  • Gresham Chamber of Commerce: East Multnomah County Bicycle Tourism Initiative, $50,000
  • National Safe Routes to School Alliance: Regional Safe Routes to School Planning, $25,000
  • Housing Authority of Washington County: Aloha Park Bike Shelters, $15,000
  • City of Lake Oswego: Active Transportation Counters, $14,000
  • Washington Park Transportation Management Association: Transit to Trails Wayfinding, $10,000

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Rare, $20,000 Specialized-McLaren road bike sold at local shop

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:11
The lean and mean S-Works McLaren in southeast Portland last week.
(Photo: River City Bicycles)

It’s not every day that a local shop builds up a $20,000 bike that was made in collaboration with a legendary auto racing company.

(Photo: River City Bicycles)

Last week, southeast Portland-based River City Bicycles was one only a few shops in the United States that was lucky enough to be part of the S-Works McLaren project with Specialized Bicycles. The bike weighs just 14 lbs and was co-developed with McLaren, a company known for their $1.2 million P1 supercar (among other innovations). Only 250 of the bikes were made.

When we heard River City built one of these up for a local customer, we had to ask the shop’s General Manager Matt Karre a few questions…

BikePortland: How did your shop get one of these special bikes?
River City Bicycles: We had a long time customer inquire about one early on and we were able to get the order placed before the 250 were spoken for. From what I hear only 60 or 70 were sold in the US. The rest were sold in Europe and South America.

BP: Can you tell us anything about the lucky owner (is he/she local)?
RCB: The McLaren is for a customer who is local. He’s a very dedicated rider who works in the automotive industry and appreciates the reputation, quality and precision of McLaren’s work. He’s also a big fan of Specialized and the geometry of the Tarmac model works very well for him.

BP: Were the mechanics nervous working on such a high-end machine? Did they fight over who got to build it?
RCB: his was definitely a special case for a bike build. Specialized hosted an event at their head quarters in Morgan Hill, CA where they invited all the McLaren customers to come down have the bike hand delivered by Specialized founder Mike Sinyard. After that, the bike was shipped to us almost completely assembled in an enormous bike box. All we really needed to do was install the wheels, seat post, saddle and handlebars. Of course, we inspected the build and re-torqued everything, installed a few accessories the customer wanted.

There were definitely some nervousness during the build, mostly about scratching it accidentally, but our service department has an incredible amount of experience and professionalism. All went very well, of course. It’s hanging in solitary confinement now.

BP: How much is it worth?
RCB: The bike sells for $20,000.

BP: Is it most expensive bike ever at RCB?
RCB: I believe it is the most expensive single bike we’ve sold. We’ve had some multi-person tandem bikes that have been close to that amount in the past.

BP: What can you say about the bike itself?
RCB: The bike comes as a fairly large package that includes a McLaren designed and painted S-Works Tarmac frameset with Shimano Dura Ace 9070 Di2 components, Specialized S-Works carbon crank, McLaren designed carbon handlebar, one set of McLaren designed Roval carbon tubular wheels painted to match the frame, one set of Roval carbon clincher wheels. It also comes with limited edition, color matching S-Works road cycling shoes and an S-Works helmet. Specialized included custom made display pieces to properly store the bike, shoes and helmet.

It’s a great looking bike, rather understated but very intricate in the paint scheme.

Shoe/helmet rack.
(Photo: Specialized)
(Photo: Specialized)

BP: How much does it weigh?
RCB: With the tubular wheels the bike weighs just under 14 pounds including pedals.

BP: Specialized says it’s “most technically advanced bike ever”… But what does that translate to a non-techy bike lovers?
RCB: This bike is the most technically advanced bike ever because of the McLaren influence. McLaren is mostly known for its work with Formula One racing cars and has vast experience in carbon lay up, design and aerodynamics. So, while the tube shapes and geometry are fully Specialized engineered, the collaboration with McLaren offered a new level of carbon design and manipulation that will result in reduced weight and drag, improved ride quality and durability. Similarly, the frame was painted at McLaren so the weight and durability of the paint is above and beyond what Specialized normally uses. All of the chrome accents on the frame are made from chrome metal paint rather than chrome colored paint. They were able to use significantly different bearings in the bottom bracket than normal, vastly improving the durability and reducing friction. The rather large price tag is not necessarily the result of the “limited edition” status but from the technological and performance upgrades such a price can allow.

BP What were some of the features that stood out to you/the shop staff?
RCB: While the bike is and should be the main focus of the purchase, what stood out to me was the entire process dealing with Specialized. Not just on our end as the retailer but their constant communication with the customer, the very detail oriented ordering, followup and presentation of it all. This could easily have been the bike with all the fixings, which would have been great, but having the opportunity to be presented the bike at Specialized, tour the facility and ride with Mike Sinyard and some of the engineers was a pretty nice touch. They even had a McLaren Ferarri at the presentation that all the customers could test drive.

BP: Any other comments?
RCB: This bike is a great example of the passion Portland area cyclists have and the commitment to performance and innovation Specialized has. We’re excited to be a part of the whole process. I’ve been told that this was the only McLaren sold north of San Francisco and east of Boulder. Not sure if that’s entirely true but it’s safe to say that there won’t be many riding around this area.


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