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Updated: 2 hours 13 min ago

PBOT wants diverters on N Michigan to reduce crashes and cut-through drivers

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 12:13

PBOT sketch of diverters proposed for North Michigan at Skidmore.

The rising number of people using cars on our neighborhood streets has many negative impacts. Among them are more crashes caused by people who make dangerous moves out of frustration, selfishness, impatience, or all of the above. One way to combat this is to constrain the driving environment so people have fewer choices and are forced to make safer movements.

And that’s exactly what the Portland Bureau of Transportation wants to do on North Michigan Avenue at Skidmore.

Like many neighborhood greenways throughout Portland during peak hours, Michigan is no longer “low-stress and family friendly” during.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Residential development has skyrocketed in recent years in the Boise and Humboldt neighborhoods around the lower North Mississippi and Interstate avenue corridors. North Michigan runs north-south and despite its designation as a “low-stress, family-friendly” neighborhood greenway, many people use it as a cut-through to avoid backups on Interstate 5 (one block over). When these north-south cut-through drivers mix with east-west drivers backed up at the N Skidmore/Mississippi intersection (one block east), bad things happen. It creates dangerous conditions for people on foot, and for those using cars and bikes.

After hearing about this project from the Boise Neighborhood Newsletter earlier this week, I asked PBOT for some background.

PBOT staff confirmed with me in a phone interview today that someone noticed this problem and took the time to call it into PBOT’s traffic safety hotline (a.k.a. 823-SAFE). PBOT investigated to determine if any follow-up was needed. In this case, PBOT Project Manager Scott Cohen says city traffic engineers took a closer look at the intersection and found 11 crashes in the past four years, including six in 2016 (the latest year data is available). “It’s a growing problem,” Cohen said.

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Existing conditions.

The collisions happen when people are backed up on Skidmore and there’s limited visibility for north and southbound road users on North Michigan. People inch out into Skidmore, and then dart across, resulting in what PBOT calls, “angle crashes”. “To address that situation, our engineers want to get people to not continue across Skidmore,” Cohen said.

“We acknowledge there’s more traffic on Michigan than we think is ideal for a neighborhood greenway.”
— Dylan Rivera, PBOT

As you can see in the lead graphic, PBOT’s solution is to install diverters (with plastic poles and paint) that will prohibit auto users from crossing Michigan and force them to turn right onto Skidmore.

While the impetus for this project was to reduce crashes, it will also reduce the amount of drivers on Michigan.

PBOT spokesman Dylan Rivera said today, “We acknowledge there’s more traffic on Michigan than we think is ideal for a neighborhood greenway.”

Rivera and Cohen said PBOT wants to take a more comprehensive look at the entire Michigan corridor to find ways to limit auto use and create a low-stress cycling environment.

If you want to learn more about this project, or share your feedback with Scott Cohen, he’ll be at the Boise Neighborhood Association Land Use & Transportation meeting on Monday (4/22) at Q Center (4115 N Mississippi Ave) from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

(In related news, Cohen said the construction of concrete curbs for the unprotected bike lanes on North Rosa Parks Way should be completed this summer.)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Project will reduce driving space, add safer bikeways and crossings to SE 162nd Avenue

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 10:12

There’s no good reason a road through a residential neighborhood should be this wide.

Here’s something new: the Portland Bureau of Transportation is set to invest $1.6 million on an arterial in east Portland before it gets on their list of high crash streets.

The 162nd Avenue Safe Access to Transit project aims to tame a 1.6 mile section of the road between SE Powell Blvd and SE Alder St. The project will reconfigure lanes, reduce driving space from five lanes to three, shorten crossing distances with concrete medians, paint new crosswalks, improve transit stops, build new sidewalks, enhance street lighting, and add cycling-only lanes.

Proposed changes to SE Tibbets intersection.
(Click to enlarge)

Specifically, safer crossings with median islands and marked crosswalks are coming to the intersections of 162nd and Mill, Lincoln, and Tibbets (see graphic). New sidewalks are coming to the east side of 162nd just north of Taylor Street and on the north side of Main Street (just west of 162nd).

Currently, the average distance between marked crossings on this stretch of 162nd is 2,900 feet — that’s about 3.5 times more than 800-foot minimum spacing guideline recently adopted in PBOT’s Citywide Pedestrian Plan

As the name suggests, this project was triggered by a new bus line added by TriMet last year. Line 74 opened in March 2018 with service every half-hour between Powell and Airport Way, opening up a vital north-south mobility option. Nearly half the funding ($700,000) for changes needed to make it safer for people to get to the bus are coming from TriMet. (The remaining $900,000 came from the State of Oregon through the Keep Oregon Moving program.)

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“Right now it isn’t a high crash corridor. The purpose of this project is to make sure it doesn’t become one.”
— Kem Marks, Rosewood Initiative

Kem Marks is the Director of Transportation Equity at Rosewood Initiative, a, “place-based nonprofit that supports community-driven solutions for a healthier neighborhood.” He shared with us via email this morning why this project is so important. Beyond the planned safety upgrades, Marks said, “I see it as PBOT being proactive. Right now it isn’t a high crash corridor. The purpose of this project is to make sure it doesn’t become one.”

While it isn’t on PBOT’s naughty list yet, things are far from hunky-dory. Between 2007 and 2016, 11 people were injured while walking, 5 people were injured while biking, 8 people were seriously injured while in a motor vehicle, and 1 person died in a motor vehicle on this stretch of 162nd.

Marks sees more population growth in the area’s future and he fears without this project there will be more injuries and deaths.

How has the neighborhood reacted to plans to reduce driving lanes? Marks says he expects some pushback as the public outreach phase of the project kicks into high gear. “People who have lived here for decades and don’t like change are generally not going to be happy at first.” But Marks is confident the plans will be carried out as proposed because he and other community organizers have been hard at work for years laying a foundation of support to give PBOT confidence to carry them through.

Adding to the benefit of this project is how it will eventually connect to PBOT’s East Glisan Street Update project, which will include a similar road diet and bike/walk upgrades between I-205 and 162nd. (Stay tuned for an update on that and more east Portland news in the days to come.)

If you want to help ensure this project becomes a reality, and/or help make it even better, attend the open house on Monday, April 29th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at The Rosewood Initiative (16126 SE Stark Street). Child care and Spanish translation services will be provided.

PBOT expects to build this project in summer or fall of next year. Learn more at the project website.

For added context, see the before-and-after animation below I put together using PBOT graphics…

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Route Advisory: Bridge repairs will close Springwater in two locations

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 07:57

Closures start in mid-May.
(Photo: Portland Parks & Recreation)

Portland Parks & Recreation is teeing up two projects that will lead to closures of separate sections of the Springwater Corridor path starting in the middle of May.

The closures will be between SE 45th and 55th and between Circle Avenue and 174th.

Below is the information on each project and the official detour map.

SE 45th Avenue – Bridge Replacement

Bridge #48 located near the Johnson Creek Boulevard trailhead at SE 45th Avenue and Johnson Creek Boulevard will be replaced. It is the original wooden trestle bridge from the Springwater Division Line rail developed in the early 1900s with footings in Johnson Creek. The new bridge will be constructed with steel and concrete, and its footings will allow for clearer passage of Johnson Creek, which will improve fish habitat and reduce debris accumulation. Construction is expected to start in mid-May 2019, with completion in November 2019.

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Circle Avenue – Bridge Decking Replacement

Bridge #140 spans 114 feet and crosses Johnson Creek near Circle Avenue. The western half of the bridge’s structure was replaced with steel in 2006 due to deterioration, and the timber decking was salvaged and reused. The decking has now reached the end of its service life and is presenting a hazardous condition to trail users. It is slippery, uneven, and has large gaps. The decking will be removed and replaced with asphalt. The handrail will be salvaged and reinstalled by the contractor. Construction is expected to start in mid-May 2019, with completion in six to eight weeks.

In other route news… Multnomah County has officially re-opened NW Newberry Road to all users following the repair of a 2017 landslide. The County has also re-opened NW Rocky Point Road after it was closed by landslides in recent storms. Track all our advisories here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Weekend Event Guide: Yamhill Fondo, Forest Park romp, Kidical Mass, and more

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 06:58

OMTM will head to Bacona Road Sunday.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

No more fakeouts: Spring has arrived. Yes we will have more showers here and there; but temps are set for high 60s/low 70s for at least the next week, so it’s time to ride bikes!

We’ve got a great line-up of suggestions this week. It’s our first gravel double-header of the year with amazing rides Saturday and Sunday. There’s a Spanish-only bike repair clinic, a BMX movie premiere, and more.

Have fun out there…

Friday, April 19th

BikeLoudPDX April Meeting – 6:00 pm at Rogue Ales and Spirits (SE)
NW In Motion, diverters, and more. There’s a full agenda to discuss! Come and get plugged-into the local bike and transportation reform scene. More info here.

ABC Latinx Mechanix – 7:00 pm en la Community Cycling Center (NE)
El grupo de defensa basado en Cully Anando en Bicicletas y Caminando organizará esta clínica gratuita de reparación de bicicletas para hispanohablantes. More info here.

Saturday, April 20th

Oregon XC-MTB Championships – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Left Coast Cellars (Rickreall)
Coveted champion jerseys are up for grabs in what should be a perfect day for MTB racing. This year’s course is on a winery and the race proceeds will benefit the Oak Restoration Project. More info here.

Forest Park Ride – 10:00 am at Golden Pliers Bike Shop (N)
Expect a 24-mile adventure with an intermediate pace through Forest Park on mixed terrain (pavement and dirt roads). Note that organizers say this ride is reserved for women of color, trans and gender non-conforming people of color. More info here.

Yamhill Gravel Fondo – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in Yamhill
Everyone’s excited for this inaugural gravel event! Three routes to choose from (18-60 miles long) and some of the most beautiful unpaved roads in the region. More info here.

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Go Fast, Pull Up: The Jimmy Levan Story Film Premiere – 7:00 pm at Clinton St Theater (SE)
Portland BMX riders and fans will line up for the premiere of this ode to legendary rider, personality, and industry figure Jimmy Levan. More info here.

Sunday, April 21st

Dark Larch V3 – 9:00 am at Gresham Park & Ride (SE)
The time has come for OMTM’s excursion into the other-worldly, oft-hidden side of Larch Mountian in east Multnomah County. This unsupported group ride will test your skills, adventurous spirit, and your legs. More info here. Ride cancelled due to new logging activity on course. New plan is to do the OMTM Bacona Crossing route. Meet at Skyline Tavern parking lot at 9:00 am.

Kidical Mass Easter Ride – 11:00 am at Overlook Park (N)
If you’ve been on the fence about a family group ride, this is your big chance! Let Kidical Mass help you enjoy a safe and supportive ride from Overlook to Arbor Lodge Park for an egg hunt (helmets make great baskets) and free smiles. More info here.

Salvage Sunday at the CCC – 12:00 pm at Community Cycling Center
We just added this weekly event to our calendar. It’s a great way to get cheap parts and frames — whether you need them for a bike build, an art project, or? Take whatever you want for just 50-cents a pound! More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Biketown will be free on Earth Day (Monday, 4/22)

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 06:12

Sun, smiles, and free Biketown? Heck yeah!
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

What better way to mark Earth Day than to make bike share free?

This morning the City of Portland and their Biketown partners Lyft and Nike announced that this coming Monday April 22nd, they’ll give everyone a $10.00 credit to use the system.

“We’re making it easy for Portlanders to use bikeshare by giving riders their first hour free,” said Biketown GM Dorothy Mitchell in a statement. “While this Earth Day deal is good for $10 in credit, the impact we can collectively have on our planet is priceless.”

So far this year Biketown riders have completed nearly 65,000 trips, a good number of which very likely replaced driving trips and the awful, smelly, earth-killing fossil fuels that power them.

To get your $10.00 credit and one free hour of ride time, you’ll need to get the Biketown app and enter promo code EARTHDAY19.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Here’s how we make southwest Portland better for biking and walking

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 10:16

Marching orders.

If you care about making streets in southwest Portland better for biking and walking, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has just done you a huge favor.

Yesterday the bureau released the draft version of the Southwest in Motion (SWIM) plan. It’s an impressive, detailed, and easy-to-use blueprint for activism that should lead to projects on the ground in very short order (and help tee up larger projects in the future).

Modeled after similar planning documents for east and northwest Portland, the SWIM plan offers a prioritized list of projects, possible design treatments, and even identifies potential funding sources to actually get things built.

Below is a before-after of what we’ve got in southwest for biking and walking now and what PBOT has called for in this plan:

It doesn’t get as much attention as east Portland for how much it lags behind the central city in active transportation infrastructure, but if you’ve spent any time in southwest (like we did during our SW Portland Week coverage in 2015), its challenges and deficiencies for biking and walking are abundantly clear. A lack of continuous streets, hilly topography, and narrow roadways make mobility very daunting for anyone who’s not using a car.

According to U.S. Census data, 65% of southwest Portland residents drive alone to work. That’s 7 points higher than the citywide average. Another big difference from east Portland? Census tracts within the project area are also richer (median household income is $89,578 versus $61,118 citywide) and whiter (percent person of color is 15% versus 26.9% citywide).

With that bit of context, here’s why I’m excited about this plan…

Is it any good? And the “Falbo Factor”

“SWIM is a big step in the right direction.”
— Eric Wilhelm, Hillsdale resident

The PBOT project lead is one of their brightest new planners, Nick Falbo. Prior to being hired by PBOT, Falbo gained notoriety for creating protected intersections for bicycle users. While employed by Alta Planning + Design, Falbo created a nifty web tool that allowed us to experiment with Portland’s cycling mode share goal in an interesting new way.

While he’s still learning to balance the politics and public pressures that accompany groundbreaking new designs, this plan is a showcase of Falbo’s talents. I’ve seen a lot of PBOT plans over the years — and I often think they should do more building and less planning in general — but this SWIM draft is really great.

If you’re an independent activist, a neighborhood advocate, or a non-profit staffer, you now have an invaluable tool to push for changes. PBOT themselves makes this clear in the plan when they say, “Continued community advocacy for projects will be instrumental to the success of this plan… The project descriptions are designed to provide the critical information necessary for neighborhood advocacy of local priority projects. Effective advocacy with the bureau and with local elected officials will provide continued urgency to address the real infrastructure deficiencies of Southwest Portland.”

Eric Wilhelm is an active cycling activist, Hillsdale resident, and member of the Stakeholder Working Group. He wanted PBOT to go even further with road diets and transit priority lanes; but acknowledged in an email this morning that, Wilhelm feels that in addition to a focus on short-term implementation, the best part of the plan is how it tackles current gaps in the network. “We have so many places where the bike lane just ends on a street with fast and heavy traffic or there is no sidewalk to get to a transit stop,” he added.

What’s in it?

Coming soon to SW 45th.

The meat of the plan is a list of high-priority, short-term walking and biking projects. PBOT has separated them into “Top Tier” and “Second Tier”. The former are add-ons to existing routes and closing gaps, the latter are larger-scale projects that would expand the network and/or build connections to other major investments (like future SW Corridor light rail or Red Electric Trail).

PBOT has also highlighted key projects and innovative new design treatments (see below). These new designs are key because they remove excuses for PBOT to do nothing in the face of narrow streets or other challenging existing conditions.

The plan also outlines other city programs (like block parties, community plazas, and urban trails) that we can use as leverage to make changes happen.

My favorite part of the plan is when it looks into the future. PBOT points out that since 2010, almost all of the new work trips have been absorbed by modes other than driving. “Driving in Southwest has plateaued,” they write, “and the other travel options have picked up the slack.” There’s also a nifty chart that envisions that trend continuing into the future (below). The chart includes predictions that will impact transportation. In 2021, PBOT says, “Major innovations in electric micro-mobility technologies allows for wide-spread adoption. These new e-bikes allow a greater share of Southwest Portlanders to overcome barriers to cycling such as hilly terrain and longer distances.”

PBOT’s crystal ball

Design treatments

Advisory shoulders/bike lanes are common in Europe. PBOT wants to try them here.

PBOT has put some cool new treatments on the table in this plan.

Advisory shoulders (a.k.a. advisory bike lanes) have been talked about for years, but the city has yet to pull the trigger on them. These are used on slower, low-volume roads that are are “too narrow” for bike lanes. The idea is to create suggested shoulders that car drivers are allowed to venture into if necessary; but otherwise provide some safety and space for walkers and bikers. PBOT wants to find a good pilot street to test them prior to rolling them out citywide. A potential location for these is SW Fairmount or SW Hewett.

“Safer Shoulder” (below) is another new treatment in the plan. PBOT says they’d, “provide a separated place to walk on a roadway, out of the path of moving traffic.”

Notable projects

This plan calls out a bike lane gap on SW Terwilliger we profiled three years ago.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

This plan doesn’t just have aspirational project lists. There are several things that could be built quickly.

PBOT says they have funding allocated for protected bike lanes on SW 35th and SW 45th avenues. On 35th, they will remove a parking lane and center turn lane to make room for protected bike lanes that connect Jackson Middle School to SW Huber Street. On SW 45th, PBOT wants to remove a parking lane and stripe bike lanes from SW Pendleton to Nevada to connect the Hayhurst neighborhood to Gabriel Park.

Another project identified in this plan is a long-awaited fix for SW 6th Avenue as it crosses I-405 and enters the central city (below). PBOT says it’d cost just $15,000 re-stripe the existing lane as it approaches SW College Street to provide a more continuous bikeway and eventually tie it into a Central City in Motion project slated for SW Jackson.

This would be a much nicer welcome to downtown via SW 6th.

How about a neighborhood greenway on SW Montgomery from downtown to Fairmount? That’s project RP-26. It would add greenway treatments on Montgomery from SW Vista to Talbot to help make a safer connection between downtown and the popular Fairmount/Council Crest Park look.

During our “Gap Week” coverage in 2016 we singled out the dropped bike lane on SW Terwilliger near 7th. I was pleasantly surprised to see this address as project BP-20. Surely we can find $150,000 to do this!

While actionable projects are great, we also need big visions. At one of their open house events, PBOT shared a poster titled, “Major Projects for Future Study”. Among the exciting projects on the list was the “Southwest Cycle Superhighway” which would be a low-stress bikeway to be built as part of the SW Corridor light rail project (below).

Future cycle superhighway in purple.

How we gonna’ pay for all this?!

PBOT says the prospects for future funding are “promising, but uncertain.” But unlike others plans, PBOT doesn’t leave southwest hanging with no dedicated funding. They list $935,000 in a mix of one-time ($185,00 for bicycle lanes, $550,000 for crossing enhancements via Fixing Our Streets program) and annual ($200,000 through their existing “quick build network completion” program) funding. Other potential sources of funds PBOT calls out in the plan include: Federal “flexible funds”, Metro’s 2020 transportation investment bond measure, Transportation System Development Charges and a new Local Transportation Improvement Charge program.

Portlanders are tired of plans. We want to build things. Hopefully this plan helps us do that faster.

Let’s take PBOT’s hint and use it to our advantage. Here’s what you need to help:

Official SWIM project page.
Draft SWIM plan. (PDF)
Draft project list. (PDF)
Public feedback survey open until May 24th
– Stay tuned for City Council adoption date.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Capitol Galleria event will mark 10th birthday of Oregon Scenic Bikeways program

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 08:48

The idea was simple: Codify a network of Oregon’s best cycling routes into state law so that people could access a Cycle Oregon-like experience for free, any time.

It took about five years for the idea to materialize, with the first official public hearings in early 2008. The first one — the 135-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway — was designated in summer 2009 and today there are 17 of them scattered throughout the state.

The 1,253 miles of routes are vetted by a committee, signed, and promoted by the State of Oregon. In 2014, an independent study (commissioned by OPRD) found that people who ride Scenic Bikeways spent about $12.4 million at food, lodging and retail businesses along the routes.

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Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway
Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway
Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway
McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway
Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway
Blue Mtn Century Scenic Bikeway
Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway
Grande Tour Scenic Bikeway Old West Scenic Bikeway
Cascade-Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway
Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway
Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway
Oregon Outback Scenic Bikeway
Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway
Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway
Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway

The Bikeways program is a partnership between the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Travel Oregon, and Cycle Oregon (the nonprofit whose leaders spawned the idea in 2004). It’s the first and only program of its kind in the United States.

OPRD will commemorate its 10th birthday on May 3rd with a special event at the Capitol Galleria in Salem from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The free event is open to the public and will feature cake, gifts, guest speakers and the unveiling of the brand-new scenic bikeways map.

Get inspired to ride and learn more about all 17 routes via Ride With GPS, on the official Oregon Scenic Bikeways page, or from Travel Oregon.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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TriMet launches new zero emission, wind-powered electric buses

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 14:22

Getting a charge at today’s launch event.
(Photos: TriMet)

TriMet and their partners launched five new all-electric buses at the Sunset Transit Center this morning. They claim to be the first transit agency in the nation to put fully wind-powered buses into regular service.

TriMet expects to have 10 electric buses on the road by summer of next year. The new rigs are part of the agency’s push to have a completely non-diesel fleet by 2040. And, with an assist from Portland General Electric, 100% of their power will be created from wind turbines.

At a press conference event today Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s Transportation Policy Advisor Brendan Finn said, “One of the most daunting challenges we have in our society today is our changing climate and how we’re adapting to it. 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change are from the transportation sector; and that needs to change! Governor Brown’s administration has been laser-focused on reducing carbon emissions. Investing and expanding in transit is one of the cornerstones in the governor’s strategy, as is transportation electrification.”

Funding for four of the new buses came from a $3.4 million federal grant. PGE will own and maintain the charging equipment, a move that saved TriMet enough money to buy a fifth bus. TriMet says they’ll spend another $53 million to purchase another 80 electric buses over the next five-to-six years with funding from the State of Oregon’s Keep Oregon Moving Act.

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The first all-electric bus will start service tomorrow on Line 62 in Beaverton.

In addition to not spewing out an estimated 1.17 million tons of toxic CO2 emissions into our air, each new bus will save TriMet about $400,000 in annual fuel costs. They have a range of 80 miles per charge and can be re-charged in 30 minutes (with a fast charger) or four hours (on a standard charger).

Asked if they’d considered safety issues related to how quiet the new buses are, TriMet Media Relations and Communications Manager Roberta Altstadt told me, “We haven’t heard a concern about that and have done numerous road tests over the last several months.” Altstadt said the new buses are about 39 decibels while idling and are “much louder than a Prius”.

These new buses will only add to the momentum to dramatically improve bus service in Portland — a key part of our efforts to encourage less driving.

For more information, check out the official announcement from TriMet. And happy breathing!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Meet Portland’s adventure riding ‘route master’ Ryan Francesconi

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 12:41

Ryan Francesconi at the 2018 Hell of the North Plains ride.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

What makes a great cycling city?

We often think of bike-friendly policies and politicians, or bikeway miles and ridership statistics. But if you ask me, the most important part of what makes a place great for cycling is the people who live in it. Here in Portland, we’re lucky so many smart, dedicated, selfless, and inspiring bicycle lovers call this place home. Why? Because most of them share their passions with the rest of us.

Ryan Francesconi is one of the people I’m grateful for. He’s one of the leaders behind the local gravel riding revolution. He’s the chief moderator of the “Unpaved” Google Group and he (along with his friend Ron Lewis) is one of the main leaders and organizers behind the legendary Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM) rides. Beyond that, he’s always quick to share his vast knowledge of routes and riding tips with everyone who asks (we shared his winter riding tips in 2017).

Sponsored by:

These companies make our gravel coverage possible.

And when I say routes, I don’t just mean he knows how to get from point-A to point-B. Ryan knows about roads and tiny trails in areas very few people ever go. He’s ridden unpaved roads up, over, and around seemingly every range of mountains in the region. I often marvel at his collection of routes and the amount of riding he does to keep them updated.

Thankfully, another one of Portland’s amazing, bike-inspired residents Dustin Klein, has captured Ryan’s route insights in a way that more people can appreciate (Dustin is a talented artist, filmmaker, rider, and creator that you need to follow).

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The latest edition of Dustin’s excellent YouTube channel goes behind the scenes to explain how Ryan builds such fun and interesting routes (watch it above). When he’s not cycling or dreaming about his next adventure, Ryan is a multi-talented musician.

Ryan’s creativity comes through in his routes. Here’s one of my favorite parts of Dustin’s interview:

“The way I think about route making is essentially creating a piece of art that anyone who creates any sort of time-based art — film, music — would relate to. You’re creating a scene for somebody to journey through. There’s a certain amount of tension, reveal, flow and ebb, reward, suffering. You are in control of those factors. I like to think of the route as the composition… Bikes are the instruments we’re using. They’re something you play.”

Ryan shares much more about how he creates routes in the video.

If you’re looking for unpaved inspiration, check out his Instagram feed @wherethepavementends and peruse his amazing collection of routes via his Ride With GPS Ambassador page.

Ryan (and friend Ron Lewis on the left) emerge from fog onto Bacona Road in Washington County.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Bill that clarifies existence of bike lanes through intersections passes committee

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 10:20

The paint ends, the lanes don’t.

Despite confusion from some lawmakers that led to an unexpectedly lengthy discussion prior to the vote, House Bill 2682 passed the Joint Committee on Transportation yesterday by a tally of 7-3.

I’ve described this bill as a no-brainer; but because it involves bicycling, you just never know what some Oregon legislators will get hung up on. I was amazed at how much consternation and discussion this simple housekeeping bill received in committee yesterday.

“The attempt of this bill is to clarify longstanding practice and expectation.”
— Lindsay Baker, ODOT government relations

Let’s be clear: Since bike lanes have existed in Oregon, it has been understood — both by road users and the legal system — that they exist inside intersections even though they are not painted. Same for every other lane. Road authorities do not paint lane lines in intersections because with all the turning movements it would be a maintenance nightmare, dangerously confusing, and useless.

Out of hundreds, if not thousands, of court cases over the years, for some reason two Oregon traffic court judges — one in 2009, one in 2018 — took it upon themselves to decide that a bicycle user did not have the legal right-of-way in a collision because the lane wasn’t painted. Out of concern that these two outlier cases might start a trend, advocates proposed HB 2682. The text of the bill is short and simple.

If passed, HB 2682 would amend Oregon Revised Statute 801.155 (definition of “bicycle lane”) to read: “A bicycle lane exists in an intersection if the bicycle lane is marked on opposite sides of the intersection in the same direction of travel.”

Despite this simple clarification, three lawmakers voted against the bill yesterday: Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie), Representative Lynn Findley (R-Vale), and Representative Rick Lewis (R-Silverton).

Left to right: Representatives Lynn Findley, Brad Witt, and Rick Lewis.

Rep. Witt based his opposition on what appears to be a misunderstanding of what the bill actually proposes. “I think we create an exceedingly dangerous situation,” he said, in a discussion prior to the roll being called, “by creating bicycle lanes that go through intersections” (that’s what existing law says). Rep. Witt continued, “It would be reasonable for someone to assume if they are in a marked lane they have a right-of-way. And lanes that are marked on the same side that a car may be turning, I think is a prescription for disaster… I think this bill sets us up for disastrous accidents if it allows for passing on the same side that the lane is in, and I think that bicyclists are going to assume that they have a lane and that it’s safe to be passing vehicles on the side the vehicle is turning on.”

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Rep. Lewis said he agrees with Witt, but his main concern is that the bill doesn’t include, “Some sort of traffic signal adjacent to an intersection that indicates a bike lane goes through.” Lewis is concerned that automobile users aren’t able to see all the way to the other side of an intersection and therefore won’t assume the bike lane exists. “A motorist could potentially be found liable if he turns right and hits a bicyclist and didn’t know there was a continuous bike lane on the other side because of the distance,” Lewis said.

“A motorist could potentially be found liable if he turns right and hits a bicyclist and didn’t know there was a continuous bike lane on the other side.”
— Rep. Rick Lewis

Senator Cliff Bentz (D-Ontario) also voiced confusion about existing law and what the proposed bill would do. “The question is, who has the right-of-way as you’re zipping through? If we’re merely painting a line to illustrate the existence of something already legally there, that’s one thing. If by painting the line we are creating a new set of rights, that’s another.”

This bill doesn’t “paint” anything so it’s unclear what Sen. Bentz was referring to.

At this point, Committee Vice-Chair Caddy McKeown felt the need for expert insights and called up Lindsay Baker from the Oregon Department of Transportation government relations office. Baker explained why ODOT never paints lanes through intersections and that the bill is simply to, “Clarify longstanding practice and expectations.”

Unfortunately ODOT’s Baker got one key fact very wrong in her testimony to lawmakers. She said the two decisions where judges ruled unstriped bike lanes have no legal standing were made in the Oregon Court of Appeals and as such, they set a legal precedent. That is incorrect. The two cases were decided in traffic court and no opinion was written.

Thankfully, Portland lawyer and bike law expert Ray Thomas made the trip to Salem and was in the room yesterday just in case this hearing went off the rails. Vice-Chair McKeown called him up and asked him to clarify the bill. Thomas has practiced law with a focus on cycling and traffic issues since 1979. He deftly laid out the rationale behind the bill, countered some of the concerns expressed in previous statements, and explained why this basic clarification is necessary.

After Thomas spoke, the vote was held. The bill passed 7-3. Reps. Lewis and Witt were not swayed by Thomas’ expert insights and Rep. Findley, after saying he agreed with Rep. Witt’s concerns, added a revealing reference to an unrelated bill: “Also, there’s a lot of discussion of adopting the Idaho standard for bicycling; which is, do not stop at intersections, just roll through and keep going. I think coupled with that, it compounds the situation.”

Rep. Findley was referring to Senate Bill 998 which passed committee last week. That bill would allow bicycle users to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yields. The only connection it has to HB 2682 exists in Rep. Findley’s mind.

From here the bill goes to the full House for a vote and then it will be voted on by the Senate. Be sure to contact your state legislator and let them know how you feel about it. Stay tuned for updates.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Family Biking: Join us for the annual Kidical Mass Easter Ride

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 08:40

We had such a great time last year! Let’s do it again.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Flowers are blooming, the rain feels a bit warmer, and bike shops are off their winter schedules. That means Kidical Mass PDX is back, too! Our “season” typically starts on Easter Sunday with our annual Kidical Mass PDX Easter Ride and Egg Hunt:

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Sunday, April 21, 2019
11:00 a.m.
Start: Overlook Park (1599 N Fremont St, Portland, OR 97227)
End: Arbor Lodge Park (N Delaware Ave & N Bryant St, Portland, OR 97217)
The three-mile route
Facebook event page

Like all Kidical Mass PDX rides, this one is for kids of all ages and their families. Three miles is probably best tackled with 16-inch wheels and larger, but fast balance bikers, kids on 12-inch-wheeled bikes, and kids (well one particular awesome kid) on unicycles have been known to keep pace and enjoy themselves.

This year feels very different than last year’s April Fools’ Day/Easter ride, both coming on the heels of the Youth Climate Strike and falling the day before Earth Day. Kidical Mass is lots of things, from a parade on bikes simply for the sake of having fun to a first step towards non-polluting transportation and ditching one’s car for good. Earth Day is a wonderful reason to showcase the environmentally friendly aspects of bicycling for transportation and encourage our peers to bike more and drive less.

Earth Day is a wonderful reason to showcase the environmentally friendly aspects of bicycling for transportation and encourage our peers to bike more and drive less.

Our Easter ride is always a big one, with lots of families driving their bikes over — a perfect audience to talk to about shifting travel modes. Overlook Park is right on the MAX Light Rail Yellow Line so even if it’s too far or tricky to reach by bike, one can get there multimodally (check out my tips for taking taking kids and bikes on MAX light rail).

On Sunday, we’ll take the Green Line MAX to the Yellow Line, rather than bike 10 miles. This will take about an hour, as would biking the whole way.

Beyond transportation, changes we’ve made to this year’s Easter ride include making a bigger effort to collect our plastic eggs at the end of the event. We’ll do this by announcing at the beginning of the ride and the beginning of the egg hunt that we’ll collect and reuse the plastic eggs, and I’ll have my kids help me make a fancy egg collection receptacle. My kids are used to using their bike helmets as egg collecting baskets so they’ll do that and I’ll encourage other kids to do the same.

I’d love to hear any sustainable Easter and general Earth Day tips you’ve got in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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Former Obama transpo secretary will headline Oregon Active Transportation Summit

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 15:31

Charles Brown (L) and Anthony Foxx will deliver keynote speeches on April 25th.
(Photos: Brown, Rutgers University; Foxx, Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Active Transportation Summit will take place April 24th through the 26th at the Oregon Zoo. The annual conference is organized by The Street Trust and features a full slate of mobile workshops, plenary sessions, professional training, and networking opportunities.

Headlining the summit’s main day — Thursday, April 25th — will be a noted researcher and a Cabinet Secretary for former President Barack Obama.

Former Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx spent four years as Obama’s Transportation Secretary and as of last October works for Lyft as their chief policy officer. Foxx visited Portland in 2016 as part of the US Department of Transportation’s “Smart City” initiative.

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Charles Brown is a senior researcher at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and adjunct professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Mr. Brown will deliver the lunch keynote. In 2018 he was nominated for a “Streetsie Advocate of the Year” award by Streetsblog Los Angeles for his, “important work on the intersections of race and mobility.”

In a statement about the event, The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler said, “This year, many sessions address ways to achieve more equitable outcomes from our transportation system.”

Among the topics of Thursday’s breakout sessions are: Voices From Williams Avenue; Designing Safe Streets for Pedestrians of Color: The Intersection of Equity Engineering and Vision Zero; Inclusive Bike and Scooter Share; Creating Bike Networks; Let’s (Not) Talk About Congestion; and more.

After a day of interesting keynotes and sessions, The Street Trust will host a Pecha Kucha event at Rock Bottom Brewery. Unwind with friends old and new as you listen to a series of short and stimulating presentations on a variety of transportation-related presentations.

Register for the event and view the full schedule here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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A bit of rain can’t dampen spirits at The Ladds 500

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 14:18


*All photos by Eric Thornburg/No.Lens.Cap on Instagram

Part race, party relay, part party: The Ladds 500 is quintessential Portland.

Back for its fourth edition after it was an instant hit in its inaugural running in 2016, the free and unsanctioned event drew hundreds to Ladd Circle Park on Saturday. Teams with names like Huffy The Vampire Slayer, Laddimir Putins, Scoot Along, and Aggressive Dolphins pedaled for hours in the rain to complete a century by riding 500 laps of the 0.2 mile circle.

Photographer Eric Thornburg (No.Lens.Cap on Instagram) was there to capture some of the magic. As I looked through his images and saw other posts about the event, it struck me that — while we grapple with how quickly Portland is changing and losing parts of its “weird” spirit — events like The Ladds 500 seem to take on even greater meaning.

After all the changes, we still have people who dream up and execute crazy biking ideas. And when free bike fun is done right, the community responds in a big way!

Just look at more of Eric’s images below and see the wide variety of people who came out to “do something stupid” in the middle of a usually quiet neighborhood on a rainy Saturday…

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Thanks David Robinson, Eric Ivy, and everyone else who came together and made this event happen.

For more coverage, see this video from KOIN-TV.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Southeast Division bike shop ‘A Better Cycle’ will close next month

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 10:20

(Photo: A Better Cycle)

A neighborhood bike shop in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood will close its doors next month after over a decade in business. Owners of A Better Cycle announced their decision last week.

Six original co-owners in 2007: Aaron Truman, Tim Weeks, Clinton Garner, Ian Mitchell, Rachel Dominguez-Benner, and Ben “Sauce” Applebaum.
(Photo: A Better Cycle)

“We are so proud of our time here as your local, neighborhood bike shop,” the announcement states on the shop’s website. “Thank you all so much for the opportunity to live and work the way we wanted to for over a decade! We love you all.”

The small shop at 2324 SE Division opened in 2007 when six friends came together to share ownership. The shop has remained worker-owned and has been run as a collective ever since.

Christine Dakis is one of the shop’s workers. She told us the decision ultimately came down to money. “The last few years haven’t been great financially, and we (and most other bike shops we talk to) have been doing less and less business (money-wise) every year,” she shared. “It is down to the point where we can’t really cut costs any more and think it is time to close up before we can’t get out of the hole.”

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Dakis added that in addition to the financial pinch, it was just time to move on. She pointed to the “vast” neighborhood change in the past decade. This part of southeast has seen transformational commercial and residential real estate development, with thousands of new residents looking for a slice of the famous (or infamous, depending on your values) Portland lifestyle. Unfortunately for Dakis and her fellow workers, that lifestyle didn’t include shopping at a place like A Better Cycle. “It seems there aren’t as many people nearby looking for the kind of business that we are,” she said.

“It seems like our core customers are slowly being driven away from here. The weird side of Portland is getting smaller and smaller.”
— Christine Dakis, co-owner/worker

“It feels like there are more and more people moving here, but that they are moving here with cars, and either prefer online shopping or big shop convenience, which doesn’t bode well for us,” Dakis added. “Even with folks we do know — it is hard not to go for what are, or may seem like, better deals online or elsewhere when you are squeezed between rising rents and stagnating wages with increasing costs for healthcare.”

Since A Better Cycle has been open, inner southeast Portland has experienced an exodus of sorts. A place that used to house many lower-income activists, artists, and entrepreneurs has lost its affordability. People have moved further north and east, or even out of the city altogether.

“It seems like our core customers are slowly being driven away from here,” is how Dakis put it. “The weird side of Portland is getting smaller and smaller.”

As for the future of the shop, the plan is to continue taking service orders until May 1st. All new stock is currently 20% off and you can expect deeper discounts as the days go by. Dakis says if you’re looking for cool older frames and parts, new rims and hubs (that were stocked for wheelbuilding), and other bike shop supplies, roll on over and take a look. The shop is expected to close sometime next month.

Thank you Christine and all the workers at A Better Cycle for all your service and dedication to our community over the years!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The Monday Roundup: Protected by law, speed research, Walmart’s new bikes, and more

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 08:09

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Ride Like a Girl Cycling, who invites you to their ‘Coastal Delight’, all-inclusive training camp for beginner riders: May 20-22 in Pacific City on the Oregon Coast.

Welcome to the week!

Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days.

Where protection is the law: Big news from Massachusetts where the city of Cambridge passed a city council ordinance that mandates physical protection for bike lanes. City Lab says the law makes new bikeways “bikelash proof”.

Paint not enough: Why did Cambridge take such a drastic step to ensure physical protection? Easy: Because paint-only bikeways — like the ones the City of Portland has deemed sufficient for much of our network — are woefully inadequate.

Walmart to sell high-end bikes: We are watching very closely as news of Walmart’s high-quality carbon MTB and gravel “Viathon” bikes ripple through the bike industry.

Time to pay up: The reason so many people feel entitled to using public roads for free is because government has always subsidized it. That is finally changing as congestion pricing moves to the forefront.

Death of Kelly Catlin: The NY Times takes a closer look at why an aspiring, Olympic-level track racer enrolled at Stanford University killed herself?

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Mayor Pederson? Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson has started to make a name for herself as a transportation reformer. Now she’s reportedly interested in being Portland’s mayor.

E-bikes on tour: Another facet of the impending shift toward e-bike acceptance is multi-day tours. Imagine being able to travel almost anywhere by bike, for several days, without having to worry about your fitness!

Moving the needle: Writing in Curbed, Alissa Walker updates us on new policies from London, Sacramento, New York City, and Cambridge (more on that later) intended to discourage people from driving.

High speeds kill: New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that a 5 mph increase in the maximum speed limit was associated with an 8 percent increase in the fatality rate on interstates and freeways and that about 10,000 people die in the U.S. every year due to driving too fast.

Specialized recall: If you have a new Roubaix, Roubaix, Ruby, Diverge, or Sirrus model bicycle, it might be susceptible to cracks in the steerer tube according to a safety recall notice.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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County says NW Newberry Road could re-open in a few weeks

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 16:16

Crews install a manhole on NW Newberry Road on April 3rd.
(Photo: Multnomah County)

Multnomah County’s latest update on the NW Newberry Road repair project has good news for those of you who miss this popular route up to (or down from) Skyline Blvd.

The project is several months ahead of schedule and instead of waiting until summer, the road is now expected to reopen by later this month!

Here’s the latest word from the County:

The slide-damaged road section has been excavated, a rock basket retaining wall built, the road has been rebuilt and paved. Remaining work includes installation of guardrail on the outside curve of the road, lane striping and various final “punch list” items. The road is expected to reopen in mid to late April 2019. Multnomah County appreciates the public’s patience during this road closure.

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A major landslide in January 2017 caused about half of the road near the lower section to fall away. When it reopens in the next few weeks, the road will have drivers on it for the first time in over two years.

And keep in mind that starting July 8th, a project will close NW Cornelius Pass Road and will divert over 11,000 car and truck trips onto NW Newberry Road for an estimated 13 weeks.

My advice: Get on it as much as you can before July! See you out there.

For more information, see the official project website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Comments of the Week: Perspectives on more law enforcement

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 15:51

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

As our community continues to grapple with a spate of deadly and serious injury collisions, much of the discussion in the past few days has focused on enforcement.

It’s an important topic that deserves a productive debate.

Out of around 260 comments in this shortened week (I was out of town Monday-Tuesday), here are three that stood out:

Reader MTW had this to say in response to our story about North Fessenden:

“Even if I thought a city could “enforce” their way to road safety, Portland quite clearly can’t. We’re broke (currently proposing to close parks and community centers) and already under-staffed at PPB. Designing unsafe road conditions and then trying to use police man hours to ticket their way out of the problem is ineffective, wasteful and almost certainly inequitable.

The streets need to be re-designed in a way that forces compliance (with or without agents of the state being there to drive compliance rates.) Unfortunately, people will drive as fast as THEY feel safe and that high threshold for personal safety (particularly in an SUV) is incompatible with a safe and welcoming environment for VRUs [vulnerable roadway users].

2 people have died in 24 hours, treat this like the emergency it is. Until we can afford to re-engineer these streets properly (with concrete, diverters, re-painting, etc.,) break out the orange cones and take some lanes out. Tactical urbanism and traffic calming.”

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Scott Kocher added this comment to our story about Police Chief Outlaw’s calls for more enforcement:

“In the past PPB has not supported automated enforcement. A PPB Sergeant once told me we didn’t have enough officers but he opposed automated enforcement because it ‘lacks the human touch.’ I hope in the current climate we can free up officers so they’re not doing tasks a camera can do, placement can be reviewed for equity and safety need, fines can be graduated based on income as elsewhere, and revenue (if there is any) can go to infrastructure.”

And reader SD had an opinion about the PPB’s communications:

“One immediate improvement would be for all communications from the Portland Police and all other city agencies to stop “both-siding” their street safety message. Across the board, the data show that driver behavior contributes to pedestrian injury and fatality far more than that of pedestrians. Despite this, many people as well as many media outlets believe that the cause is distracted pedestrians. If there is any point to making a public statement like the one from Outlaw, it is to give drivers pause to consider if they are driving in a way that is more dangerous than it needs to be. When the PPB calls out pedestrian behavior, it is interpreted by many drivers to mean that their windshield-biased notion that it’s the victim’s fault is true. And, since they already consider their driving habits safe, regardless of whether they speed or drive while looking at their cell phones, this message just reinforces their idea that every thing they do is fine, because nothing bad has happened to them yet, or if it has it was just once or twice.

Statements like these show that very few in Portland government have taken the very first baby steps of understanding Vision Zero that include, at the least, making statements that target the most harmful factors in road safety.”

I’m grateful for these perspectives. Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts. And remember, I rely on you to nominate great comments by leaving a reply that includes “comment of the week” so I can more easily find them via search.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Portland Parks eyes closures as river levels rise

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 13:23

Willamette River Greenway path south of downtown Portland.
(Photo by pdxwheeler)

If your bicycling plans involve any paths, bikeways, or roads around the Willamette River, be on the lookout for water.

National Weather Service flood level chart for Willamette River in Portland.

A BikePortland reader sent in the photo above of the Willamette Greenway Trail south of the South Waterfront area this morning. “The trail has been getting progressively worse this week,” he said. “It’s starting to get fairly bad in a couple sections. In one of the pictures you can see a gentleman avoiding the water up on the rocks.”

Asked about the situation, a Portland Parks & Recreation spokesperson told us staff plan to visit the location today. Signs will be posted to warn users of flooded sections.

Earlier this week we heard from PP&R that they were considering a closure of the floating ramps section of the Eastbank Esplanade. The last time high water led to a closure of the Esplanade was 2011. Back then, we reached just over 17 feet as per official gauges.

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On Wednesday of this week the Willamette was at 13.2 feet. PP&R says they seriously consider closing the ramps at 13.5 feet (give or take a few inches). As of right now the National Weather Service shows the river at 15.7 feet. Since the water level is predicted to decrease substantially over the coming days, PPB says they don’t plan to take any action at this time.

According to the Willamette Week, water from other parts of the state are affecting Portland area rivers. The Corvallis area has seen major flooding and a state of emergency has been declared in 10 counties so far.

Whatever your weekend riding plans are, be aware that flooding could impact your route. If you are venture onto unpaved roads, be advised that mud could seriously alter your ability to roll.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Portland’s oldest riding club drops ‘Wheelmen’ from name

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 07:03

Scene from Clapshaw Hill Road in Washington County during a club ride last October.
(Photo: Portland Bicycling Club)

After 48 years as the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club, a local riding organization has decided to change its name to Portland Bicycling Club.

“We will no longer appear to potential members as an exclusive club comprised of elite aggressive, high-speed riders who manage bike tours.”
— Pat McManus, club president

The decision was made at the club’s April 4th meeting after months of debate among its 600 members. As we reported back in December, leaders of the club felt the old name wasn’t inclusive enough and that it was time to evolve to attract more diverse, younger riders.

Portland Bicycling Club President Pat McManus shared via email with BikePortland yesterday that, “Rebranding our club will not change the club… But the name will at once be simple and at the same time represent complexity, in that we will no longer (incorrectly) appear to potential members as an exclusive club comprised of elite aggressive, high-speed riders who manage bike tours.”

McManus supports the new name because she believes it will help the club “Morph into a more contemporary organization” and become one that, “Pulls in the diverse types of riders we see in the Portland area.” In a recent club newsletter McManus wrote that the club has been, “Feeling pressure to re-examine our place in Portland’s active cycling community.”

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The club’s new ad created for the upcoming Filmed By Bike festival.

The club also recently decided to end the Pioneer Century ride after 44 consecutive editions in part because of dwindling participation.

Like other parts of the cycling scene, the Portland Bicycling Club is dominated by older white men. Out of their eight regular ride leaders, none of them are women.

Pat McManus.

Club surveys showed a strong majority in support of the change. At the April 4th meeting, 71% of the 90 members present voted in support of the new name. McManus said the members who voted against the new name felt it was too ordinary, bland and dull.

Looking ahead, McManus wants everyone to know you don’t have to be a member to ride with the club. She personally loves to lead themed rides (like their annual Halloween Ride and Heritage Tree Ride) and would love to have new members lead more of them. She’s also hoping to see more gravel rides and family-oriented rides on the calendar in the future.

“Our diversity of rides and simple love of bicycling is one of the messages that I hope the new name reflects,” McManus said.

Graphic released by club in official public announcement made today.

To see if Portland Bicycling Club is the place for you, check out their website, Facebook page, and on Instagram.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Jobs of the Week: Kenton Cycle, Rack Attack, Western Bikeworks, Ti Cycles, The eBike Store

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 05:47

If the amount of listings is any indications, it appears as though Portland’s local bike industry is alive and well.

Learn more about each new opportunity via the links below…

Customer Experience Champion – Kenton Cycle Repair

Keyholder/Sales and Installation Associate – Rack Attack Portland

Mechanic- Full Time – Western Bikeworks

Service Writer- Full Time – Western Bikeworks

General shop assistant – Ti Cycles Fabrication

Sales / Customer Care – The eBike Store

For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

Be the first to know about new job opportunities by signing up for our daily Job Listings email or by following @BikePortland on Twitter.

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $75. Learn more at our Job Listings page.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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