(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Remember Gladys Bikes? The small shop on N Williams Ave opened back in October with an aim to cater specifically to women. When we visited the shop one of the things that stuck out was that owner Leah Benson stocked a relatively huge selection of saddles. Now it turns out she's even more serious about getting people the right-fitting saddle than we imagined.
Benson has unveiled a nifty program called the "Saddle Library" Here's how it works (via the Gladys Bikes website):
- Step 1: Come into the shop and talk with our knowledgeable staff about your saddle needs and concerns. We'll make recommendations about which saddle(s) might be a good match for you.
- Step 2: For $25 you get a Library Card, which gives you access to check out any of the saddles in our loaning library. For each saddle you check out you get one week try it out on your bike.
- Step 3: Take the saddle home with you. Go on a typical ride. Then go on another one. Maybe one more for good measure. How does it feel? Decide if it's the saddle of your dreams.
- Step 4: Dream saddle? Bring the test saddle back in and we'll trade it out for a brand new one. Not a love match? We'll get you set up on a different saddle for you to take home and try out.
Seems like a great way to make sure folks get the saddle that's just right for them. And for good measure, if you do decide to buy one, Gladys Bikes will put your $25 library card towards the purchase.
The current selection includes 21 different models from brands like Planet Bike, Brooks, Fizik, Selle Italia, and Terry.
Learn more at GladysBikes.com.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Portland Police are on the lookout for a stolen e-bike they say is valued at nearly $10,000.
According to a statement issued by the PPB a few minutes ago, the "Stealth Bomber" pictured above is one of only three bicycles like it in the entire state of Oregon. Here's more from the PPB:<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
The victim reported the bicycle stolen to Portland Police on November 29, 2013. The bike was cable-locked to an electrical box in the 100 block of Southeast 160th Avenue and was stolen sometime between 12:00 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. The back tire was also locked using a Kryptonite lock.
The Stealth Bomber electric bicycle is very unique and according to the owner, there are only three bicycles like this in the State of Oregon. The bicycle is described as black and the unique identifying number "387" affixed to a plate on the frame of the bicycle. Although the bicycle is electric, it has a pedal-assist.
If you have information about this theft, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the PPB's non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 if you see it around town.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Cities across Oregon are clamoring for more money to build infrastructure that makes it easier for people to walk and bike.
Back in July, thanks to a concerted lobbying effort by the City of Portland and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), the state of Oregon made biking and walking projects eligible for $42 million in funding through the ConnectOregon program for the first time ever. ConnectOregon began in 2005 and it relies on lottery-backed bonds to invest in "multimodal transportation projects" around the state. It's a rare state transportation program that offers dedicated funding for "non-highway" infrastructure. Prior to this year, only air, rail, marine/ports, and transit infrastructure were eligible.
Yesterday, ODOT announced they received 108 applications for this year's round of ConnectOregon funding. Of the $129.4 million total requested funds, $47.5 million are categorized as "Bicycle/Pedestrian" — more than any of the other four eligible modes and more than the requests for Aviation, Marine, and Transit projects combined.
Here's the breakdown from ODOT:
This huge demand for better biking and walking access is a clear sign that cities understand the value of making these investments. Unfortunately, this outpouring of requests for biking and walking projects is also a sign that there remains a dearth of dedicated funding streams for them.
Back in July, the BTA's Gerik Kransky told us that, "There's a lack of opportunity to have dedicated funding for bike/ped projects because we're competing for fewer and fewer dollars."
Keep in mind, projects funded through ConnectOregon must be "off-highway" by definition. That means the money can't be used to build protected bikeways or other on-street treatments. The projects will be multi-use paths, bike/walk-only bridges, and so on.
ODOT hasn't made the project list available yet. They're currently being reviewed internally prior to being passed off to various review committees and eventually opened to public input. A final decision on which projects will get funded is set for summer 2014.
In the latest sign that Portland's lead as America's best cycling city is dwindling, we were completely left out of a list of the year's top 10 protected bikeways published by People for Bikes yesterday.
People for Bikes (formerly known as Bikes Belong) is an industry-funded advocacy group that also runs the Green Lane Project, an effort to hasten the development of protected bikeways across the country. Portland was one of five cities selected to be part of that program when it launched in May 2012; but despite our long-held reputation as a bikeway innovator, we lag behind other cities when it comes to protected bikeways (loosely defined as bike lanes with some sort of protection from other lanes of traffic). According to a Green Lane Project inventory, Portland has managed to build just 3 miles of protected bikeways in the last four years.
Portland's absence from the top 10 isn't because our protected bikeway designs are bad, it's because we didn't even build any new ones in 2013. The one Portland project listed in the Green Lane Project's inventory for 2013, SW Multnomah Blvd, has been delayed and is yet to be built.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
As for the other cities who are moving forward faster than us on creating next-generation bikeways, here's more from People for Bikes: (Note: The Top 10 blog post was written by Michael Andersen, who also happens to be BikePortland's news editor.)
As the thermoplastic dries on this year's round of terrific protected bike lane projects, we decided to scour the country for a comprehensive (and subjective) ranking of the best of the best. We talked to experts and advocates around the country, looked at technical photos and schemes and read the news reports to understand not just how these bike lanes were designed, but why. Though the word "complete" can be hard to define for something as malleable as a city street, every project on this page has been in some clear sense finished during this year.
And here's the top 10 list:
- 1) Dearborn Street, Chicago
2) Indianapolis Cultural Trail
3) Guadalupe Street, Austin
4) Fell and Oak Streets, San Francisco
5) Linden Avenue, Seattle
6) First Avenue, New York City
7) Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
8) 10th Street, Atlanta
9) Cherry Street, Seattle
10) Overton Park Road, Memphis
Pretty striking to see all those other cities getting into the action while Portland isn't even part of the story. There's been a growing discussion around these parts about the Great Portland Cycling Stagnation and this seems like yet another clear sign that it's real. What caused it? How do we move beyond it? These are just some of the questions we plan to cover in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Cathy Hastie is BikePortland's lifestyle columnist ... even when she says things we wouldn't all agree with.
Some people say that bikers are an arrogant group. I am the first to admit that I am a card-carrying member. Portland has its coffee snobs and its beer snobs, and me — I'm a transportation snob.
I ride my bike past rows of motionless overheating cars with my nose in the air, flaunting my obviously better commuting choice. I crow to my officemates about how little I spend on gas and how I never pay for parking. My ego precedes me as I fill the elevator at the office with my bulky two-wheeler. I take advantage of the ambiguity bicycles are afforded in respect to sidewalks, driveways, streets and bike lanes. If I can ride on it safely, I will.
I am also the first to recognize how lucky I am. I have a well-paying job that allows me to live close to work. I am able-bodied. I live in a city that can afford to build amenities to make biking safe and pleasant. It is a privilege not to drive.
But, alas, there are some ignominious people who have forgotten this. Their self-absorbed, self-righteous behavior makes me look like a junior member of the Arrogance League. They weave through downtown traffic, handless and shirtless. They hover jerkily in clumsy track stands, inches from geriatric pedestrians in crosswalks. Their impatient posture appears to sneer, "What's wrong with you? Pick up that walker and get a move on so I don't have to put my foot down." They are rudest of all to other bikers, passing on the right and cutting in front of the line at four-way stops. They thumb their noses at moderation, common courtesy and traffic signals.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
This is a special class of bicycle rider. Arrogance imbues the way they ignore the flashing yield light on the tail end of TriMet buses; buses that each carry 40 workers to their jobs. Add it up: there is no way that a single bike rider's time is more valuable, even if he were a lawyer. Some squeeze through the small gap next to the hulking behemoths, testing fate and stretching their luck — because they can.
"Perhaps they think that, because they are saving the environment at lightning speed, the world owes them the sweet spot on the road and the head start at every intersection, ahead of all 'competitors.'"
Perhaps they think that, because they are saving the environment at lightning speed, the world owes them the sweet spot on the road and the head start at every intersection, ahead of all "competitors." Occasionally, an especially egregious hedonist can be heard yelling livid profanities at drivers, seeming to enjoy himself in the process. Erratic, frequently unlawful behavior on the road looks almost as if it is meant to startle and piss-off drivers. Is it a game? Is it a challenge?
Arrogance even permeates cycling fashion. Expensive bike gear and "members only" attire boasts, "I am an athlete doing some serious training here! Don't get in my way!" People blow thousands on equipment as if to say, "Who cares about starving children in Africa? I need to shave 12 seconds off my time."
I must say, though, that the king of arrogance is the biker without a helmet. He is announcing to the world that he is too skilled to allow himself to be hit by a car. Obviously, when a semi-truck overturns in the adjacent lane, or a chain reaction fender-bender causes the car behind him to suddenly lunge forward, he will sprout wings and fly. Helmetless people are among those seen "flying" through red lights too...
Arrogance is a sense of superiority and self-importance. Some people who ride demonstrate their arrogance by making life miserable for the rest of us. But even mild-mannered, middle-aged pacifists like me are pretentious bigheads when it comes to riding our bikes. My transportation choice IS healthier, quieter, smaller, cleaner, funner - better! Arrogance is knowing that, without a doubt, my way is the best way. And sometimes, I am right.
Editor's note: This is Cathy's perspective and, after much discussion, we're publishing it because she's a smart, thoughtful member of the community and it reflects what she (and we assume lots of other people) think.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by Ian Westcott.)
Amtrak apologized Tuesday to a Portlander traveling through Texas who said train workers woke her up and yelled at her for having a folding bicycle as carry-on luggage — something the national rail service allows.
"Unfortunately, we have found that Amtrak employees at all levels tend to be unaware of the company's policy's regarding bikes, folding and otherwise," Elly Blue, a Portland-based writer who is on a business trip with her partner Joe Biel, wrote in an email. (Blue and Biel didn't end up losing their bikes or needing to check them, though they were taken away overnight.)
"I love the train because it's low-stress," Blue lamented. Last night's trip, though, was anything but.
After a series of heated discussions at 11 pm Monday with a car attendant, station attendant and station supervisor, one customer service representative speaking by phone told Blue that she and Biel would have to deboard, purchase two of Amtrak's bike boxes and pay to check their folding bikes to their destination, despite a policy saying foldable bikes are valid carry-on baggage.A folded Brompton bicycle.
(Photo by Christopher Lance.)
The policy is vague, however, saying only that folding bikes are allowed on "certain passenger cars," a qualification that isn't explained. According to Blue's account, employees unaware of the policy seem to have interpreted that vagueness as a reason not to follow it.
Here's the full story, from Blue, with my emphases and links added:
Joe and I travel by train a lot for business. We choose the train in large part because we can easily get to and from the stations self-sufficiently by bike. Amtrak's bike policies are inconsistent and often inconvenient, so about a year ago we invested in Brompton folding bikes to make the process easier. So far it's been great — according to Amtrak policy a folding bike can replace one item of carry-on luggage, and we travel pretty light so it works out perfectly. We make trips this way every few months, and on every trip at least one Amtrak employee is unfamiliar with the folding bike policy and tells us that we can't take our bikes as carry-on. Usually, we politely explain the policy and then it's fine. Not this time!
Last night we were sound asleep around 11pm (we have a roomette in the sleeper car on this trip) when our train (the Texas Eagle) rolled into San Antonio, where there's an hours-long stop so it can split and the crew can change. Normally we sleep right through this process, but last night we were jarred awake by a blaring announcement on our car's PA (which isn't supposed to be used between 10pm and 7am), "Passenger Elly Blue, come get your bicycles immediately, you must come deal with your bicycles or they will be removed from the train." I ran out into the vestibule in my pajamas, afraid that something was terribly wrong or someone had been hurt. But no, our two Bromptons were sitting innocently in the hallway, neatly stacked one on the other, right in front of the door, blocking all possible routes.
The new attendant for our car was really indignant that we had brought bikes on and couldn't believe we'd been allowed on the train with them. She wanted them in the baggage car immediately where they belonged, she didn't have room for them, what were we thinking inconveniencing our fellow passengers, didn't we know the rules, etc. The luggage area on our train was nearly empty at this point, so I offered to show her how we normally stow the bikes and pointed out that they take up less space than several of the suitcases sitting unmolested on the shelf.Writer and publisher Elly Blue earlier this year.
This negotiation was heated but civil, and I think it would have resolved in a few minutes. But at this point one of the San Antonio station attendants ran up—it appeared that she'd called him for help getting the bicycles out of her car—and he started just yelling at me for bringing bikes on a train. I pointed out that they were folding bikes and asked him to look up the policy. While he went off to do that, his supervisor came up and started yelling at me also. She told me that all their policies changed this July and folding bikes are no longer allowed on as baggage. She went off to call customer service, and the guy came back with a sheet of paper with Amtrak's bike policy on it. He handed it to me saying, still yelling (everyone on the car must have been woken up by this point) that it said that our bikes were not allowed on. I read it out loud—it's still the same old familiar policy. He was not to be deterred, and insisted that maybe they were allowed on coach but there was no room on the sleeper cars. He also seemed to think that we had tried to store our bikes in the vestibule, in the way—where the attendant had brought them—and started yelling at us for that too.
At this point, the car attendant was trying to resolve things, apologizing, explaining that a lot of passengers were getting on at this stop and that she was stressed out about space, and asked us if we'd mind if she put the bikes in a locked compartment at the end of the car. We were willing, but miffed—why weren't they asking the passengers with the giant suitcases that were over Amtrak's carry on size limit to check those? Someone had just gotten off the train with four huge rolling luggages; meanwhile we were under our baggage allowance, so why were we being summoned out of bed and yelled at? She explained that this space was for guests to put their luggage, not for us to put our bikes. We pointed out that we were also guests and that according to the policy, our bikes were the same as luggage. But no, we were told again, that was not true.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Everyone was upset, and it was late, and we were willing to just let them put the bikes in the baggage car to get it over with. But as we were working this out, the station supervisor came back with a cordless phone and set it on speaker. The customer service rep told us that it didn't matter what kind of bikes they were, we had to take them into the station, pay to put them in Amtrak's bike boxes, and check them through to Portland—they could not be checked without a box, she insisted. I asked her to look up the policy, and after a long pause she came back and told us that it said that folding bikes could be treated as regular luggage only if the train wasn't full. (For the record, it doesn't say that.)
The situation seemed like it could only continue getting worse, so I told the San Antonio staff that we'd worked it out with the attendant and she would stow the bikes. They seemed to feel vindicated, and left. The car attendant took our bikes off to the secret compartment and everyone went to bed.
The next morning we woke up... and the baggage rack in our car was still about a third empty. The attendant told us our bikes were safe and said that since the train was going to empty out she could possibly put them in their very own roomette (how romantic for them). For the record, I don't mind the bikes being stored away from our car. It's more the fact of being jolted awake in the middle of the night with a threat and then being berated loudly and angrily and at length about breaking rules that we were actually completely in compliance with. I also could have lived without the implication that our folding bikes were a selfish imposition on everyone else and responsible for the (imaginary as it turned out) lack of room for everyone's bags.
This incident was unusual in that we were woken up and yelled at. Unfortunately, we have found that Amtrak employees at all levels tend to be unaware of the company's policy's regarding bikes, folding and otherwise. We never know what will happen or when there will be an argument or negotiation, and there's the constant worry that someone will simply put the bikes (or us) off their train because they don't like or understand them—I've heard many stories about this happening. I love the train because it's low-stress, but when the rules are so little-known and inconsistently applied, it produces anxiety.
Bike policies and practices on Amtrak are themselves often byzantine [Russ and Laura have a great blog post about the hilarious mess that is involved in checking a bike in LA]. I'm sure it isn't intentional, but the effect is to discourage passengers from combining rail and bike trips, which is a shame—other rail systems have done this really successfully, with, I suspect, real economic benefit to all parties.
After Blue (whose work is focused on bicycles and who spent two years as a managing editor here at BikePortland) wrote about the issue on her Twitter account, the rail service replied:
@ellyblue We apologize for the inconvenience. Onboard adjustments are often made for passenger comfort and safety.
— Amtrak (@Amtrak) December 3, 2013
In a follow-up email to Blue, Amtrak social media director Julie Quinn added:
I want to apologize because it sounds like you received sub-par service which is never our intention. We are taking action to ensure that our employees are reminded of our onboard bike policy to try to avoid a situation like this in the future, so thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are always looking for ways to best accommodate our customers and we have been working with the cycling community for quite a while now to determine actionable solutions to provide the best accommodations for our customer with bikes.
In a separate email Tuesday, Blue's partner Biel, a small-press publisher and filmmaker, wrote in to say that Amtrak's past training efforts seem to him to have been consistently inadequate (emphases mine):
Even if/when Amtrak changes and develops its policies, the problem is and has always been a lack of training about said policies. It's been this way for years. The staff don't know about bikes, let alone about folding bikes...
I've been doing 6-12 round trips per year for over a decade and it's constantly a matter of showing the staff what their own policy is. This was simply the most recent and egregious offense.
We've reached out to Quinn to ask if she has any further comments about Blue's account or on the value of combining train and bike travel — something we're big fans of at BikePortland. We'll update this post if and when we hear from Amtrak.
Update 5 pm: Vernae Graham, Amtrak's West Coast press spokeswoman, writes to reiterate that Amtrak "apologizes for any inconvenience." She adds: "Passengers should inquire when making their reservations, if they are unfamiliar with the bike policy on a particular route. ... We are continuously working with our employees to update them on new, existing or modified policy changes." I've asked Graham if this means that Amtrak has different bike policies for different routes, and if so how passengers can find this information.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photos © Leonard Johnson/HotFootPhoto) Our cyclocross coverage is made
possible by Sellwood Cycle Repair.
The penultimate race in the Gran Prix Erik Tonkin series took place on Sunday. With a few days of rain leading up to it, the race venue — a motocross course in Washougal, Washington — was full of soupy, slick and thick mud. One section featured several treacherous mud puddles that masked holes more than a foot deep. It was impossible to see which puddles were safe and which ones would eat your front wheel. Not surprisingly, this section claimed countless victims throughout the day.
Looking to share these wonderful wipeouts, we found an excellent set of photos taken by Leonard Johnson of HotFootPhoto. We asked Leonard if we could share a few of his best shots here on the Front Page and he obliged. Check 'em out below...<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
And if you like those, check out some of the sequence shots in Leonard's full gallery. You might also want to watch the videos from Merrill Stubing on YouTube. Merrill's video below shows that even the super-talented and smooth "A" category racers had trouble navigating this disaster zone...
After a season with mostly dry and relatively warm weather, Sunday's conditions were a treat for true 'cross fans. The local 'cross action heads to Bend this weekend for the big Deschutes Cup and the Gran Prix Erik Tonkin wraps up on December 14th with the Santa Cross down in Corvallis. Thanks for following our coverage this season and thanks again to Sellwood Cycle Repair for sponsoring it!<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Left to Right: Jerry Norquist, Jenna Stanke, Chris DiStefano, Stephanie Routh.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has just announced who will sit on the Policy Advisory Committee that will help them with an important update of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Mode Plan. The 16 person committee was chosen to guide the development of the plan and to "reflect input from stakeholders across the state."
Out of those 16, there are five names we recognize from the world of local and statewide bicycle advocacy (boldfaced below): Jenna Stanke is special project manager for Jackson County and she's also worked with the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation and she was recently named Chair of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; Chris DiStefano of Rapha is a veteran of the bicycle industry with previous stints in marketing roles with Chris King Precision Components and Shimano America (he's also a major off-road cycling advocate); Jerry Norquist had a long career in sales with Specialized Bicycle Components before taking on the role of ride director at Cycle Oregon; Dennis Mulvihill is a political consultant, Bicycle Transportation Alliance board member, and well-known figure in Washington County; and Stephanie Routh is the former director of Oregon Walks who recently left that position to start Hopscotch Town which is a "consulting and small publishing firm that inspires and celebrates fun, lovable places for everyone."
The rest of the members include five elected officials, three transportation agency staffers, and one rep each from Disability Rights Oregon, the Oregon Trucking Association, and AAA Oregon/Idaho. Check out the roster below:
• Mark Labhart, Tillamook County Commissioner
• Sid Leiken, Lane County Commissioner
• Sally Russell, Bend City Council
• Phil Warnock, Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments
• Peter Fernandez, Public Works Director, City of Salem
• Steve Dickey, Director of Transportation, Salem-Keizer Transit
• Jenna Stanke, Special Project Manager, Jackson County
• Bob Joondeph, Disability Rights Oregon
• Bob Russell, Oregon Trucking Association
• Craig Campbell, AAA Oregon/Idaho
• Dan Thorndike, General Council, Medford Fabrication
• Chris DiStefano, Rapha
• Jerry Norquist, Cycle Oregon
• Dennis Mulvihill, Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) Board Member
• Stephanie Routh former Executive Director, Oregon Walks
• Jerry Breazeale, formerly City Manager, City of Irrigon
• Policy Advisory Committee Chairperson pending
As we reported back in May, this mode plan update has potential to be a big deal. When complete it will be adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission and it could hold important sway over policy, funding, and project design decisions.
This committee's first meeting is next Tuesday (12/10) in Keizer and they will meet once a month until the plan is updated. We'll be watching their progress and reporting back here on the Front Page.
Learn more about the mode plan update on ODOT's website.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
presentation by PSU Traffic and Transportation Class
participant Taylor Gibson.
One of Portland's most remarkable public-policy traditions takes place tonight: A handpicked handful of citizen transportation wonks will present their ideas for how to improve the local streets to a panel of city leaders.
Among the concepts to be presented in the Portland Building tonight: a plan that would dramatically reduce "cut-through" traffic on Clinton Street by adding traffic diverters at 17th, 27th and 37th Avenues; and a proposal for a regionwide, multi-jurisdiction mobile app to let people report simple road problems like clogged grates or loose leaves.
Earnest, freewheeling and vaguely American Idol-like, these presentations are the final projects in an annual 10-week course designed to teach citizens "how to get things done in your neighborhood" by way of learning Portland's transportational history, politics and tactics. The city-sponsored class, active since 1991, is free to selected Portlanders who apply as neighborhood advocates; it seems as if every important person in the local transportation world has either spoken at the class over the years or been one of its 1,000 graduates to date.
In addition to the lectures by current and retired officials, students complete one major project for the class: a live presentation of their solution to a local transportation problem of their choosing. Of these, six have been chosen this year by class leader Rick Gustafson to present to a panel including Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat; Chris Warner, chief of staff to Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick; and Chris Smith, citizen advocate and member of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission.
Last month, Novick crashed the class in order to hear the annual slide presentation from former Vancouver BC city councilor Gordon Price and ask how to help freight and active transportation get along. He might attend tonight, too.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
We've been lucky enough to get peeks at a couple of the presentations from the class. One of them comes from Taylor Gibson. He has studied the excessive volume of auto cut-through traffic on SE Clinton Street and he is proposing a several changes designed to fix the problem. Check out a video version of his presentation below...
Another presentation selected for tonight's event comes from Scott Kocher. Scott is passionate about fixing the seemingly minor annoyances that plague our streets — things like cracks, misplaced curbs, wheel-grabbing storm drain grates, and so on. He wants to made a regional, cross-jurisdictional mobile reporting tool that citizens can use to flag issues and make sure they are handled by the proper authorities. Check out his presentation below for a teaser...
Tonight's six presentations are in the second floor auditorium in the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. To learn more about the class, you can read this short essay from one of the people who took it when I did — then went on to create a pilot program that anticipated the city's "Street Seats" campaign.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photos by Barbara Stedman)
The Portland Bureau of Transportation has been busy in southwest Portland lately. We recently shared their plans for a new protected bike path on the Terwilliger "teardrop" and BikePortland reader Barbara Stedman has been keeping us in the loop on a host of other, bike-friendly changes going on in the area.
Stedman is a daily bike rider who lives in Hillsdale with her daughter Helena and husband Kenneth (we profiled their morning commute last year).
Stedman has recently noticed a new sidewalk and bike lane on SW Sunset near the Hillsdale Library and she's eagerly watching progress on PBOT's project on SW Multnomah (between 22nd and 40th) which will include a new sidewalk and cycle track. With a six-year old who rides her own bike in traffic, Stedman is also excited for the soon-to-be built SW Ilinois-Vermont neighborhood greenway project.
Today we're going to share Stedman's photos and thoughts on the new buffered bike lanes on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway (BHH) that PBOT installed about a month ago<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
The newly buffered lanes go about 2 miles from SW Dosch to about 45th. To get room for this extra, bike-only space, PBOT simply narrowed the existing standard vehicle lanes (there are four total, plus a center turn lane) by one foot (from 12 to 11 feet wide). Stedman reports that the newly widened bike lanes are also expected to be used by people walking, since sidewalks are absent along much of this corridor.
These changes to BHH come out of PBOT's High Crash Corridor program. With little in the way of traffic calming, BHH is notorious for its high speed driving. The widened bike lanes are just one in a host of measures PBOT will take to tame BHH in the coming months and years.
Stedman is happy to see them; but she calls it just "a small step" in the right direction. "They offer a little bit more protection on a fast paced highway, but nothing that would encourage the “interested, but concerned” or children. I wouldn’t voluntarily ride longer stretches on it." To really get people out on bikes, Stedman would have liked to have seen a full-fledged cycle track.
It's interesting to see how PBOT addresses safety problems on BHH. It has a similar profile to nearby Barbur Blvd, but that notoriously dangerous road is managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Welcome to part one of a three part series on Oregon's passing laws.
Trying to decipher Oregon's passing laws are a perfect example of how it's often difficult to know when (and how) a particular vehicle law applies to someone riding a bicycle. Confusion about application of the rules of the road and vehicle laws sometimes results when frustrated motor vehicle operators turn to the statutes to try to put bicycle riders in their "proper" place on the roadway; but rights and responsibilities of bicycle riders on the roadway are somewhat of a legal hybrid in the Oregon statutes. Frustration of motor vehicle operators must not be allowed to diminish the bicycle operator's legitimate right to share the traveled portion of the roadway — and even to occupy a full lane when necessary — to avoid surface hazards or other potential dangers.
Of course, for a bicycle operator, the obligation to ride only as far to the right as practicable is the legal “bottom line,” mandated by ORS 814.430, often referred to as referred to by me as the “Oregon Bicycle Bill of Rights”, even though the statute title (“Improper Use of Lanes”) sounds like a prohibition. ORS 814.430 allows riders to maintain occupancy of the entire lane when necessary, even if motor vehicle operators have to slow until riders are able to again ride closer to the right edge.
One question posed by some drivers is whether ORS 811.425, which describes the violation of "Failure to Yield to An Overtaking Vehicle," mandates that a person on a bike, as a “slower driver” must move their “vehicle” off the “main traveled portion of the roadway” when overtaken by a faster person in a car. ORS 811.425 states:
Failure of slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure of a slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicles if the person is driving a vehicle and the person fails to move the person’s vehicle off the main traveled portion of the highway into an area sufficient for safe turnout when:
- (a) The driver of the overtaken vehicle is proceeding at a speed less than a designated speed under ORS 911.105;
(b) The driver of the overtaking vehicle is proceeding at a speed in conformity with ORS 811.105;
(c) The highway is a two directional, two-lane highway; and
(d) There is no clear lane for passing available to the driver of the overtaking vehicle.
(2) This section does not apply to the driver of a vehicle in a funeral procession.
(3) The offense described in this section, failure of a slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle, is a Class B traffic violation.
In State of Oregon v. Potter (2002), the Oregon Court of Appeals reviewed a Critical Mass rider’s conviction for impeding traffic (ORS 811.130). That law provides “a person commits the offense of impeding traffic if the person drives a motor vehicle or a combination of motor vehicles in a manner that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of traffic." At trial, the defendant argued that the statute only applied to motor vehicles. ORS 801.360 defines a motor vehicle as “a vehicle that is self-propelled or designed for self propulsion.” Clearly, a bicycle is not a motor vehicle. “Bicycle” is defined (via ORS 801.150) as a “vehicle” that is “propelled exclusively by human power."
However, ORS 814.400 provides:
(1) every person riding a bicycle on a public way is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle concerning operating on highways * * *, except:
(b) when otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.
The court reasoned that because the text of the impeding traffic statute fails to exclude bicycles then it applies to all vehicles, including bicycles. And ORS 814.430 specifically provides in paragraph (c) that bicycles are not excused from compliance with the requirements of ORS 811.425 (the slow-moving vehicle law). While Oregon courts have not provided a definitive legal analysis of the relationship between the two laws, it is quite likely that these statutes would be interpreted to allow bicycles to stay in the travel lane, even if it means holding up overtaking vehicles so long as surface hazards prevent the riders from moving in safety off the main traveled portion of the roadway. After all, ORS 811.425 provides that a slow moving vehicle must only move into areas that are “sufficient for safe turnouts.” If the shoulder or area to the right of the fog line contains glass, gravel, rough spots, or other hazards, the rider has a right not to move out of the roadway.
And, ORS 814.430 (“Bicycle Bill of Rights”) provides other conditions justifying use of up to the entire lane:
(2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:
(c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side.
While future appellate cases may provide additional guidance on the relationship between the Rules of the Road, one statutory provision does not trump another — the right of people on bicycles to the road contained in ORS 814.430 provides both a safe haven on the roadway and the right to take the lane when necessary.
What is also clear is that people on bicycles must not impede traffic (ORS 811.130(1)), or fail to yield to faster overtaking vehicles (ORS 811.425) when there is an area “sufficient for a safe turnout”. But people on bicycles are not required to place themselves in a position of danger in order to yield to overtaking vehicles; instead, the riders must use good judgement in finding safe areas to move over as space and conditions allow. The narrow width of track of a bicycle allows the rider to utilize the full width of the pavement to allow overtaking vehicles to pass. Unlike a wide truck or trailer, overtaking vehicles can easily go around bicycle riders without requiring that the rider pull over and stop.
The Potter case serves as a warning for riders that unreasonably failing to yield to traffic or overtaking vehicles may trigger a traffic citation. What the Potter case does not change is the right to take the lane when reasonable necessary for safety, even if it means slowing down overtaking vehicles.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
This article is part of our monthly legal series with Portland-based lawyer and bike law expert Ray Thomas of Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton. (Disclaimer: STC&N is a BikePortland advertiser and this monthly article is part of our promotional partnership.)
Due to the holiday, we are posting the Jobs of the Week today instead of Friday. The two excellent job opportunities below were posted to our Job Listings in the past two weeks. Check out more details via the link below...
(Click for full image by Jeff Werner.)
Welcome to December! Here's the bike news from around the world that caught our eyes this week:
Fender zones: "It's winter riding season," writes Vancouver designer Jeff Werner. "Do you know your fender zones? Mere centimetres separate the douches from the saints."
High-vis clothes don't help: A "small but potentially lethal number of drivers will pass too close whatever you wear," according to a study by a professor who once wore a wig to test whether people passed women on bikes differently than men. That's just the start of the interesting findings in his team's new study.
Is your blinking light too bright? "The scariest thing about biking at night in Seattle isn’t the cellphone-jabbering SUV drivers or the bone-crunching potholes," argues Crosscut. "It’s other cyclists — specifically, their high-powered, strobing and flashing headlights." Seattle Bike Blog's Tom Fucoloro notes that though the problems of such lights are actually dwarfed by distracted driving, they can indeed cause trouble and he has some ideas.
Bikes suck: At first, it seems like Melbourne's newspaper has brought clickbait to a new low with a piece called "14 reasons we hate cyclists." But it hasn't!
Do bikers long for injury? People who ride bikes are "longing" for cars to "run them down" so they can get the drivers in trouble, a British politician said during a debate over a string of six bike-related deaths on London's streets.
Multi-use path horrors: A biking and walking path that would run alongside a Medford golf course would probably attract illegal camping, detractors say. "It will be a Guantanamo Northwest," said Viktor Met, 85, who lives nearby. "Or a penal colony."
Peak car: "Whenever a new study on the decline of driving in America is released, it's almost like reading a chapter of my life and the people around me," writes Stephen Lacey in a nice summary of the ever-stronger evidence for this trend.
2020 bike boom: A researcher predicts that after years of stagnation, a big bike sales and manufacturing boom will come in 2020, when bike-loving Generation Y (aka the Millennials) hits the traditional bike-purchasing sweet spot of ages 30 to 36.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Mixing bike cultures: In one of her first posts as Equity Initiative Manager for the League of American Bicyclists, former Portlander Adonia Lugo tells the story of African-American bike-racing champion Major Taylor and reflects on his decision to cross cultural barriers in order to race.
Cross-country ride: A Battle Ground man, 62, finished his bike journey from Vancouver BC to Key West, Florida last week. He hadn't ridden a bike since he was a teenager; it took him just 100 days.
Guerrilla speed limits: A group of Brooklyn activists who support a proposal to cut NYC's neighborhood speed limits to 20 mph spent $300 to install 10 of their own 20 mph signs along Prospect Park West. (The city removed them by the following evening.)
Celtic pedestrians: An English historian and bicycle lover stumbled across a radical new theory of early Celtic migration because he was researching riding routes across the Pyrenees.
Plaza donation: Public spaces require upkeep, and upkeep costs money. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation just gave a private New York organization $800,000 to maintain public plazas in low-income neighborhoods.
Toronto bike share struggles: Toronto, home to one of the few bike share systems in North America that hasn't broken even, would spend $3.9 million on a plan to bail out its local system and hand operations to Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which operates many of the successful systems.
Seattle bike share struggles: Portland isn't the only city struggling to find private bike share sponsors. Puget Sound Bike Share is considering lopping downtown and Capitol Hill out of its service area to save money. It's the latest sign that Alta may have overestimated sponsorship revenue potential during its race to expand.
Seattle bike plan: Looks like the Emerald City is about to scrap its six-year-old bike plan, which relied heavily on sharrows, in favor of a new one that would add 100 miles of protected bike lanes by 2033. Intriguingly, it's been vetted by Seattle's freight committee as well as biking experts.
Against lane position laws: Last week's roundup alluded to this Floridian's case against far-to-the-right laws that push bikes toward unsafe parts of the road. As discussed in last week's comments, it's worth a direct link.
Houston progress: A federal TIGER grant will provide half the cash for a $30 million upgrade to Houston's biking and walking network. (That's more than half what it cost to build Portland's entire bike network as of 2009.)
Parking wins: A DC-area bike lane that drew national attention thanks to the nonsensical arguments of its opponents won't be built, an Alexandria, Va. committee decided last Tuesday — at least not yet.
Uninformed cop: An Ohio sheriff's deputy, apparently unaware that bicycles are allowed to ride on roadways, ordered two men on bikes off the road. When they refused, they say, he tried to force them off the road, tried to door them and finally tazed and beat one of them with his baton. His citations were thrown out in court, and they're suing him.
Uninformed bobby: A UK policeman, apparently unaware that cargo bicycles are a thing, detained a London man taking his kids to school, then released him upon deciding that the bike was "legal."
Car dependence prediction: 60 years ago, car-free science fiction writer Ray Bradbury predicted a world where walking would be so rare that people get arrested for it.
the After Turkey Ride on Friday.
Greetings friends! We hope you are all enjoying the holiday weekend with whatever traditions you prefer. There are a few rides and events we wanted to make sure were on your calendar. And because this is the official start of the holiday shopping season, we thought you might like to know about a few fantastic sales going on at our local bike shops.
First, here are some of the big Black Friday and weekend/winter sales events we've heard about...
Clever Cycles - Starts Friday at 11:00 am, 900 SE Hawthorne
The big deal at Clever this time of year is the sale they have on their rental bike fleet. It's the only time of the year they sell used bikes and it's a great opportunity to own excellent brands and do business with this highly respected local business. Here's the blurb from Clever:
"It's a rare opportunity to acquire Brompton, WorkCycles, Breezer and other distinctive bikes, all completely equipped with generator lighting, fenders, racks, stands etc., at well under retail.
The fleet goes on sale Friday, Black, at 11am. First come, first serve. We will provide a sign-up sheet the morning of so you don't have to actually stand in a line. Local sales only; you must ride to decide. If that doesn't whip you all into a frenzy of craven holiday commerce, we will have several Surly, Breezer, and other bikes marked down for the occasion...
All of our rental bikes include dynamo lighting, fenders, and the capacity to hold some sort of luggage. While our rental bikes are priced approximately 30% below the normal retail price, we don't rent junk, so most bikes will be priced above $1000. We will include a 45 day warranty on parts and labor."
They're also giving away $5 gift cards with each $50 gift card purchase. Learn more at CleverCycles.com.
West End Bikes - Starts Friday at 10:00 am, 1111 SW Stark
West End is having a "Holiday Head Start Sale" where you can get "at least" 10% off all regular priced items in the store (except 2014 bikes). This shop has an awesome selection of fashionable, bike-friendly apparel from brands like Levi's and Mission Workshop.
Cyclepath - Starts Friday at 9:00 am, 2436 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The fine folks at Cyclepath are offering 20% storewide (except 2014 stuff) and up to 60% off some specially marked items.
Blaq Packs - Starts Friday at 12:00 pm, SE 11th and Division
Blaq is offering 20% off their custom bags, accessories and pedal straps this weekend at their retail store and at Blaqpaks.com.
River City Bicycles - Starts Friday at 10:00 am, 706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (main store)/534 SE Belmont (outlet store)
I'll let their awesome ad do the talking...
BikeCraft - Saturday and Sunday
It's the ninth annual BikeCraft and it all starts at 11:00 this Saturday at Velo Cult. This is the place to find locally made, bike-inspired goods that will make all the bike lovers on your list happy. Get all the details at BikeCraftPDX.com
And now, let's ride some bikes! Here are a few rides to help you pedal off all that holiday food...
The 99%Ride After Turkey Ride - Friday
Join world traveler charity rider Dirk Spits and learn more about his adventurous effort to raise money for children in La Paz, Bolivia. Meet at 10:30 am at Velo Cult (1969 NE 42nd Ave). More info here.
Frogger & Biscuits Ride - Saturday
Join the nice folks of Puddlecycle for a ride that meets at Ground Kontrol for some arcade game action, then rolls over to Hungry Tiger for biscuits and gravy, then onto BikeCraft for more holiday merriment. You can't go wrong with this ride! Meet's at 12:00 noon at Ground Kontrol (511 NW Couch). More details here.
Winter Cross - Sunday
If you're still stoked on cyclocross or just wanted to try it for the first before this season ends, you've got one last chance to do a local(ish) race. The Winter Cross is the penultimate event in the Gran Prix Erik Tonkin series and it's just a few miles north up in Washougal, WA. Get details here.
When the wind isn't at your back any more, it's easy to get discouraged — especially when you know how great the place you're headed is going to be.
Sometimes that happens to people who care about good biking in Portland. Even the ones who write for daily news websites.
But holidays are for taking your eyes off the handlebars of life for a moment and enjoying where you are. And though Portland isn't making the rapid progress that it once was toward better biking, we still live in the safest, most interesting and (we think) most promising big city in the country to ride a bicycle. Here are three things we're grateful for about riding in and around our favorite city.
1) Citizen transportation activism is as strong in Portland as it's ever been.Citizen activists poring over parking policy at the Bike Parking Wonk Night in October.
We're excited about the new Better Block PDX not just because it's full of smart people with great ideas, but because we think it's going to inspire other smart people with other great ideas. After a lull in urban bike fun, enthusiastic new leaders are stepping in. The success of Gateway Green's crowdfunding campaign has smoothed out the future for a 38-acre urban bike recreation park and established a new way to help pay for projects Portlanders believe in. The city-sponsored Portland Traffic and Transportation Class, now about to wrap up 23rd year, is about to let loose its latest generation of well-informed, well-connected optimists on the city. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is working to diversify their partnerships and membership, the Community Cycling Center's new CEO says his top priority is to make it easier for people from underserved communities to speak up on behalf of biking and Oregon Walks is building its entire organizational strategy around helping other organizations advocate for walking in their work.
And back in October, over 30 people showed up on a weeknight to discuss, dissect, and reform Portland's bike parking policy.
In short, Portland has started talking to itself about bikes not just as a way to get around but at as a tool for changing lots of things in our city. We love that.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
2) Our region's rural riding renaissance.Not too far outside of Portland.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Car-free and car-lite spaces aren't just for the big city. There's a growing understanding in Oregon that people tend to have a lot more fun on bikes when they don't have to worry about cars. Whether it's carfree Crater Lake, major progress on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, the new momentum around gravel road riding, or Oregon State Parks' always-maturing Scenic Bikeways program — lovers of the open road have a lot to be thankful for.
3) Velo Cult is the all-purpose community gathering place we never knew we needed.Just another day at Velo Cult.
(Photo: Jeff Strange)
Can you imagine if a U.S. city, university or nonprofit advocacy group had launched a community center with regular free music, bike-themed movies in the basement theater, policy discussions and a constant flow of strange and wonderful community events — not to mention 12 interesting beers on tap and, oh yeah, a full-service neighborhood bicycle shop? It'd be showered with awards and toasted from coast to coast.
That's exactly what the team at Velo Cult has done by moving in 2012 from San Diego to 1969 42nd Avenue here in Portland. It's an incubator for good times and great ideas and there's nowhere quite like it. Let's raise our glasses to owner Sky Boyer and his entire crew!
There are surely more bikey things to be thankful for around these parts; these were just the three that were at the top of our minds. What do you think deserves a mention?
Publisher/editor Jonathan Maus contributed to this story.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Four months after taking charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Leah Treat is walking back an idea she shared in her job interview: the notion that the city's bike infrastructure is "stagnating."
"If I had to go through the interview process again, I would change that to say it's more of a marketing issue," Treat said, according to the edited Q&A on OregonLive.com. "We're still way ahead of the country in the transportation arena, it's just getting lost in the messaging somewhere. So we need to be talking more about the really exciting things that we're doing."
She described TriMet's new light rail bridge, which will carry people in trains, streetcars, buses, ambulances and on bikes, skates or foot, but no private cars, as both "insane" and "really really cool."<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Here's the quoted exchange:Leah Treat during a ride back in August.
A: Here's something I've kind of changed my mind on, I said in my interview that I felt like Portland had stagnated. What Portland had done was so progressive at the time, and was seen as a national leader and other cities looked to Portland and said, 'Wow, that's really cool.' They picked up what Portland was doing and took it home."
Q: You're talking about light rail?
A: "Streetcars, light rail, even bicycling infrastructure, pedestrian infrastructure the way that we build our streets. All of that stuff. (Other cities) went gangbusters with it and started beating us at our own game, so I said that Portland was stagnating. And that was a little bit of perception, I think. So since I've been here now for 4 months, if I had to go through the interview process again, I would change that to say it's more of a marketing issue. We're still way ahead of the country in the transportation arena, it's just getting lost in the messaging somewhere. So we need to be talking more about the really exciting things that we're doing. Like the Portland-Milwaukie light rail bridge. That is really cool. To our knowledge it's the first bridge in North America that's built to handle car capacity and won't handle cars. That's insane. That's really, really cool.
About 6 percent of Portlanders currently bike to work year-round, and they use bikes for about 4 percent of all trips. In 2010, the city made a plan to increase that ratio to at least 25 percent by 2030 by making biking "more attractive than driving for trips of three miles or less."
The city released a one-year progress report in 2011 and hasn't released any related documents since.
The share of Portlanders using bicycles, meanwhile, has been essentially unchanged since 2008. In August we reported that the City's own report shows a "stubborn plateau" in bike use and the most recent U.S. Census numbers show a clear slow down in the growth of biking in Portland. The share of Portlanders who use public transit to get to work, meanwhile, is down from 12 percent in 2010 to 10 percent, and the percentage who drive alone to work has risen from 62 percent to 64 percent.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
would "adapt" if buffered bike lanes replaced on-street
parking, but that he'd rather keep the parking.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
The question of how to make biking better in the NE 28th Avenue area divides employees from their bosses, businesses from their customers, tenants from their landlords and different kinds of bike users from each other.
If there's one thing this project doesn't have, it's consensus — not among the "bike community" (whatever that is) and not among the "business community" (whatever that is).
We know because we asked.
On Tuesday afternoon, I left my bike and helmet at a parking corral and talked to as many business owners as I could in three hours about the options for how to run the "20s Bikeway" through their area. I introduced myself as reporter — I didn't say who for; only one owner asked — and did my best to get honest opinions from everyone.
I asked whether they needed auto parking outside their business, and whether it was important for the parking to be free. I explained how the narrow street made it impossible to run standard-width bike lanes without either removing two auto parking lanes or one standard travel lane from 28th, and asked if they thought it would be possible to make 28th bike-friendly without bike lanes, or if traffic should move to a side street like 26th or 30th.
Here's what I learned:NE 28th Avenue on Tuesday, when auto parking
was temporarily removed for an unrelated project.
1) Everyone I talked to knows about the project. Many had heard about it from Jim Kautz, general manager of the neighborhood's biggest commercial landlord, Bitar Companies, and a vocal foe of parking removal. Others had spoken with Sarah Holliday of Staccato Gelato, who also happened to be one of the owners most firmly opposed to removing all parking. One said he'd seen a city mailing.
2) More than half would rather keep auto parking. For some, parking is more useful for employees than for their customers; in one case, it's mostly for an unloading zone. Several had simply assumed, upon hearing about the plan, that the city was planning to remove all parking on both sides and seemed to be mentally preparing to deal with that. "If it had to be this street, I would gulp and deal with it," said Chris Raak of Polliwog, a children's toy and clothing store who said he feels for environmental reasons that it's essential to dramatically increase biking in Portland.
3) Most, but not all, think 28th isn't good for biking. Of the 10 I spoke to, eight were open to giving up some auto parking on 28th to make biking better. Three said their preference was to remove all auto parking and get bike lanes, if that'd make the street better to bike on. "I'd just as soon make it easier for the bicyclists, because I'm always envisioning people getting smeared all over the road," said Carla Lichter, owner of Zim Zim, a gift shop at SE 28th and Ankeny.
4) Most, but not all, liked the idea of moving the bikeway off 28th. "This street is terrible for biking on," said Alison Weaver of Meadowlark Preschool.
5) Only one clearly opposed parking meters. "A neighborhood gets busy and you put in meters," said Jody Mathey of Wooptido hair salon. "It's not a perfect world, but it makes sense."
6) Several are frustrated with lax enforcement of time-limited parking on the street. Much of the auto parking on 28th is taken up by people parked for hours or all day, owners said.
7) Many are worried about parking overflow from two nearby apartment projects. More than half the owners mentioned this. "Seven years ago, eight years ago, it would have been fine" to remove parking, said James Lanagen, owner of Beulahland. "With the way that 28th has developed in the last six years, it's just going to cause more problems with the residential."<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
I spoke to nine business owners Tuesday, plus Lichter a few weeks ago by phone. Here's what they said:James Lanagen, owner of Beulahland, bar at 118 NE 28th
Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "If it happens, it happens, and people tend to adapt. My business specifically would be among the least affected. I get a lot of pedestrian traffic. I get a lot of bike traffic."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? The "huge amount of very large trucks" that use 28th will make the street unpleasant to bike on no matter what, "especially on the weekends with families biking." "The people who bicycle on this street already know the gambles."Alan Rhoades, owner of City States, cafe at 128 NE 28th
Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "I think most of our customers walk here anyway. But I do like that I have the parking. ... I'll get over $1,000 of groceries, park out front and get people to help unload. ... It's, like, backbreaking work to go around."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? When he used to bike more, "personally I actually didn't like these roads. I'd be on 27th, is where I'd be. ... I count it as a good thing that bikers go by, but I don't think it's that significant. I think pretty much people know we're here."
How would parking meters affect your business? Because so many customers walk, this wouldn't be a big commercial burden, but "I have staff who work eight-hour shifts. ... I once as a cook didn't take a job because there were parking meters. There was nothing I could do."Sarah Holliday, owner of Staccato Gelato, 232 NE 28th
Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "Just about everybody who has a business" would agree that a reasonable solution for the street "for sure is not removing parking" all along the street. "There is no street in Portland that has removed on-street parking in both directions for a bike lane. So it would be an extreme example. .... Losing a few parking spots is not a big deal."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? She's strongly in favor of moving most bike traffic off the street, though she thinks some will still use it. "I'm a longtime bike commuter in this area. I'm very glad they're doing something. ... A skinny bike lane can be worse than no bike lane. ... It's not the speed of the traffic. It's the people pulling in and out. ... It's a combination of parked cars and people just not paying attention."Chris Raak, owner of Polliwog, a children's toys, books and clothes shop at 234 NE 28th
Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "Losing a lot of parking spaces on this street would be pretty hard for us. Our business is already kind of from the previous century." But he thinks removing parking might be a good idea anyway. "The first thing we have to do is make it OK and safe and happy for people to ride your bike around. ... That has to happen, or we're all going to hell in a handbasket because of the weather changing. ... If it had to be this street, I would gulp and deal with it."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "The whole stretch of it from Belmont or Stark — it's not a good place to ride bikes," but there are "not many options" for other routes because of the lack of traffic signals. He doesn't think "traffic calming" works and prefers enforcement. "Speed limits — just enforce 'em. If it is a bike street, especially enforce them. ... I don't think people are going to adjust their behavior until there's some policing." He said adding a traffic signal to make the area better for bikes would be good: "If the future costs $100,000, fine."
How would parking meters affect your business? "I think it'd be good. ... There's 30-minute, 1-hour spots that never get enforced."Jody Mathey, owner of Wooptido, a hair salon at 24 NE 28th
Mathey was the only owner who asked me before the interview who I worked for; I told her, but said I was interested in her honest opinion.
Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? "If they would have asked me this two years ago before those big apartments came up, I wouldn't have cared. ... 28th is too busy. If you take the parking away, it's going to be a nightmare."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "Push it over. ... Bicycles always win in Portland. They always get their way."
How would parking meters affect your business? "I think that's a good idea, actually. A neighborhood gets busy and you put in meters. It's not a perfect world, but it makes sense."Alison Weaver, owner of Meadowlark Preschool, 616 NE 28th
Would less on-street auto parking affect your business? Weaver's main concern isn't so much parking as it is parents being able to drop their children off at her front curb. "I don't know. It's sometimes hard for parents to get right in front. Parking is already bad enough in this neighborhood. ... I would love to be on a street where it's all bikes, but parking's always going to be a need."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "I don't own a car, so I'm a big bike commuter person. ... This street is terrible for biking on. It's terrible. I got doored." She likes the idea of sending bikes to side streets, but worries that people might not do it if the route zigzags too much.Tony Edgeston, owner of Crossfit Stumptown, 535 NE 28th
What effect would less auto parking have on your business? "I'll tell you right now, our members don't like it. But me personally, because I sit at this desk all day and see the street, I'm for it." Edgeston, whose visitors use both on street parking and a small on-site parking lot when they arrive by car, said he regularly sees crashes and near-misses as cars and trucks try (and fail) to make it between the stoplights at Glisan and Sandy. He said replacing parking with bike lanes would increase safety. "I think it's a great idea."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? "It's unsafe the way it is right now," Edgeston said. But he's dubious that people on bikes would actually turn off the street, even if the official route went elsewhere.Chantal Angot, owner of Tapalaya, a restaurant at 28 NE 28th
What effect would less auto parking have on your business? "Honestly, I'm a cyclist. I totally understand the need for a north-south cycling route. But I feel pretty comfortable cycling on 28th, because the cars can't go that fast anyway. ... We need our parking here too."
If the city doesn't replace parking with bike lanes, should the city try to make 28th safer for people, or try to reroute bike traffic to a side street? Angot leaned toward improving 28th and worried that bikes couldn't actually be lured away from it. She was intrigued by the idea of one-way auto traffic on 28th, with bike lanes and auto parking on both sides.
How would parking meters affect your business? "My first reaction is that it'd be bad. I wish we had an employee parking lot."
These business owners don't speak for residents of the neighborhood, of course, or for freight customers like the Coca-Cola bottling plant across the street from several of them. And they certainly don't speak for the many thousands of people who live elsewhere in the region and use 28th Avenue. Nor do they speak for their own employees.
"It is a bike route," said Mark Simmons, a Beulahland employee. "Cars can — how you say — go to 33rd."
Simmons's job title, he said: dishwasher.
— Learn more about the 20s Bikeway Project in our archives.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
With a record of so much carnage and rampant high speed and high risk driving, many Portlanders want to see the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) take a more aggressive approach to changing the design of Barbur in a way that would slow people down and encourage safer behavior. However, as we shared back in August when a 27-year-old man died after traveling at a "very high rate of speed" and losing control of his Prius, ODOT has no plans to seriously consider a roadway reconfiguration (a.k.a. "road diet") on Barbur.
Many people have urged ODOT to put Barbur on a "road diet" because such a design is considered a "proven safety countermeasure" by numerous studies and even by the Federal Highway Administration.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
This tension between ODOT and the community around Barbur was evident after the agency tweeted on Monday — just two hours after the most recent fatality — that, "Speed, aggressive and distracted driving on [sic] big factors in crashes." Later that night, Friends of Barbur volunteer Kiel Johnson replied by tweeting, "so are roads that encourage those behaviors."
It was ODOT's reply to Johnson's tweet that really struck a nerve: "Not sure how a road encourages distracted driving, speeding or agressive [sic] driving."
Here's the thread so far (you can also see it online):
Reached on the phone this morning, ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said he understands the public's reaction to the tweet; but he also offered an explanation. "That tweet was intended to say that even the best designed road cannot prevent bad decisions by motorists — no design elements can remove bad judgment."
Hamilton said ODOT does indeed feel that road design "very clearly" has an effect on user behaviors and that the work they've done on Barbur is a good example. He pointed to the improved crosswalks, rapid flash beacons, and other projects they've done on the street in recent years as proof.
According to Hamilton, ODOT feels the responsibility for safety on Barbur is ultimately up to the user. "You can make smart choices about driving on that road... We have signs that help advise you about what's safe in an area."
As for this most recent fatality, Hamilton said it's too early to make any determinations about why it happened.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Remember the Oregon Outback? Back in June we shared a guest article and photo essay from Portland resident Gabriel Amadeus that chronicled his amazing, 360+ mile bike adventure through the center of Oregon.
Now that epic ride has turned into a (slightly) more formal event put together by adventure cycling promoter Donnie Kolb. Kolb is the man behind VeloDirt, a website he created to share his backroad rides with like-minded adventure seekers. Kolb, an attorney by day, eventually started urging his friends and followers to join him and in the past few years VeloDirt rides have become something of an underground phenomenon. Similar to the De Ronde PDX, Kolb's rides are unsanctioned and un-permitted, and word about them spreads via social media. Now his Dalles Mtn 60 and Oregon Stampede rides have a large and loyal following.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
The Oregon Outback is his most ambitious undertaking. After he and Amadeus rode it this summer, we knew it was only a matter of time before he ironed out the details and invited everyone to join him. Here's how Kolb introduces the event on his website:Donnie Kolb on one of his
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
For years we’ve stayed up late poring over maps trying to find a perfect dirt race route across Oregon. This past summer we had the opportunity to give the most likely route a look-see and it turned out even better than we imagined. We are extremely excited to announce a new self-supported, Tour Divide-style race across Oregon along the all-new Oregon Outback route.
For off-road adventure riders, the announcement of this ride is very big news and it's already creating a lot of buzz. This is sure to be a memorable event and if all goes according to plan BikePortland will be taking part and bringing back photos and stories from the (dirt) road.
Like all of VeloDirt's rides, the Oregon Outback is 100% self-supported. That means all participants are on their own to bring food, supplies, water, and take care of mechanical issues. Kolb and his cohorts are providing some logistical help for Oregon Outback participants by blocking out Amtrak reservations to Klamath Falls (where the route starts) and organizing a shuttle from the end of the ride (the Deschutes River State Recreational Area about 20 miles west of The Dalles) back to Portland.
The Oregon Outback is set for May 23rd. Learn more at VeloDirt.com.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by Nevan Mrgan)
The team of indie planners who two months ago reimagined a block of downtown Portland parking spaces as a public lounge have made plans for a sequel.
Or maybe an ongoing franchise.
"The key that we're looking for is intersections where not too much effort can lead to a big reward."
— Boris Kaganovich, Better Block organizer
On Monday night, the organizers of the city's biggest-ever PARK(ing) Day announced that they're forming a new organization to continue the work: Better Block PDX, inspired by a hugely successful "tactical urbanist" model that emerged a few years ago from Dallas, Texas. They also announced the next place they hope to (at least temporarily) rethink: the big expanse of underused pavement at Southeast 26th and Clinton (map).
"The key that we're looking for is intersections where not too much effort can lead to a big reward," Better Block organizer Boris Kaganovich said Monday.
What's in store with their plans for a temporary plaza? Organizers plan to start by talking to neighbors and businesses in the community, maybe at an upcoming meeting at the Clinton Street Theater, which sits right on the intersection.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
In the meantime, the 15 or so believers in human-friendly streets who came to Monday's get-together at Velo Cult crowded eagerly around a translucent map of the intersection that they laid out together with magic markers, discussing details like the angles required for successful bus turns and the possible spots that might work well for tables and furniture.
Kaganovich's fellow ringleader Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman said she's spoken with both Jason Roberts of the original Better Block organization, who gave the group his blessing, and to several officials at the Portland Bureau of Transportation, who clapped at her presentation about the success of PARK(ing) Day.
Johnston-Zimmerman was straightforward about her goal: to show Portlanders, as Better Block projects have in other cities, that many particular urban spaces can be used in more vibrant, pleasant, and socially and economically productive ways than they are today.
"We were hoping to inspire the city to make something permanent," she said. "PARK(ing) Day isn't enough."
Eric Van Dyke, one of several people who brought grayer hairs and longer memories Monday night, said he was interested in a project only because it might lead to permanent changes. The key to that, he said, would be support from the city government — and the key to support from the city would be showing local business owners that a block that's better for people would be better for business, too.
"They'll be for it if the businesses are for it," Van Dyke predicted.
Organizers aim to prepare their demonstration over the next few months. To help out, learn more, share ideas or just stay up to date with their activities, send an email to email@example.com.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->