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PBOT: 18 ‘High Crash’ streets will get updates next year

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 10:25

Use data and equity filters to identify the roads, find funding to do strategic upgrades… then build them!

The City of Portland is on a steady march toward safer streets through their Vision Zero program. Yesterday the Bureau of Transportation announced details of 18 “High Crash Network” streets that will get a range of safety updates in 2019.

It’s all in service to our adopted goal of ending traffic violence in the next six years.

The list includes four larger, multi-block projects (marked with asterisk below) and 14 “targeted” fixes on 14 other streets (click street name for project page):

*102nd: a pilot project will evaluate the safety impact of additional crossings, bike lanes, and safer speeds between Weidler and Sandy.
*Capitol Hwy: extensive updates are planned between Garden Home and Taylors Ferry, while more modest (but important!) safety fixes are planned from Huber to Kerr Parkway.
*Marine Dr: safety fixes from 33rd to 185th include new bike lanes, rumble strips, rapid flashing beacons, and a traffic signal at 122nd.
*Powell Blvd: new crosswalks, rapid flashing beacons, sidewalks, protected bike lanes, center turn lanes, lighting, and drainage are planned from 122nd to 136th.
92nd: upgrade signal hardware at Holgate
122nd: larger signal heads & reflective backboards (Airport Way-Burnside), bike lane extensions and conflict markings at 11 intersections (Halsey-Holgate), crossing enhancement at I-84 underpass
Barbur: sidewalk infill, enhanced crossings, rebuilt bike/ped connection (Lane, 53rd)
Broadway: larger signal heads & reflective backboards (Larrabee-Chávez), bike lane extensions and conflict markings (Irving-Oak)
Burnside, East: crossing enhancements at 16th, 129th
Burnside, West: crossing enhancements at 20th Place

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Columbia: new bridge for walking & biking (Chimney Park), crossing improvements at Midway, intersection safety fixes at Cully/Alderwood
Division: larger signal heads & reflective backboards (21st-162nd), lighting (122nd-129th), crossing enhancements (64th, 77th, 78th), enhanced bike lanes, more lighting, and improved crossings (82nd-city limit)
Glisan: crossing enhancements at 108th, 128th, and 155th
Halsey: larger signal heads & reflective backboards (84th), two-way bike lanes on I-205 overpass, more lighting, enhanced crossings, protected bike lanes, and speed limit reduction (103rd-116th), sidewalk infill (114th162nd), enhanced crossings (119th, 128th, 143rd, 155th)
Holgate: larger signal heads & reflective backboards (17th-92nd), crossing enhancements (67th, 78th, 79th, 112th, 128th), sidewalk infill (102nd-122nd)
Killingsworth: sidewalk infill from 42nd to Cully
Martin Luther King Jr.: larger signal heads & reflective backboards (Dekum-Lloyd)
Sandy: larger signal heads & reflective backboards (28th-47th), median islands and rapid flashing beacons (85th, 91st)
Stark: crossing enhancements (16th, 130th, 146th, 155th, 160th)

As you view this list, keep in mind that these projects don’t just happen. They are the culmination of years of groundwork laid by PBOT leadership, staff, and volunteer advocates who help push it all through. From the City’s Office of Government Relations that lobbies the legislature for more humane speed limit laws, to the PBOT Director (Leah Treat) who made Vision Zero a top priority at the bureau, to the family members of traffic crash victims who volunteer on the Vision Zero Task Force, and the advocates (like many of you!) who help create urgency and political will — it takes an entire community ecosystem to reform our streets.

And while I don’t think we’re doing nearly enough, fast enough — and my friends at PBOT know I will continue to be impatient and frustrated at the pace of change — I also know steady progress is something worth applause and appreciation.

For more on what PBOT is doing to make our roads safer, check their latest Vision Zero program updates here.

And don’t forget that there’s an important open house for the 122nd Avenue Plan taking place November 7th at the Midland Library.

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

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Weigh in on the design of the future (carfree!) French Prairie Bridge

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 09:14

Pick a bridge, any bridge.

Whenever a carfree bridge over the Willamette River is being built in our region, it’s worth knowing about — especially when that bridge is the lynchpin that will someday connect 1,000 miles of paths and trails in the Portland region with the 134-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.

I’m talking about the French Prairie Bridge project. And it’s time to do some bridge shopping.

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It’s been nearly six years since we reported on one of the grants that helped fund this project. As we shared back then, the City of Wilsonville sees the bridge not just as a way to connect people to the Willamette Valley, but as way to boost tourism and economic development. Wilsonville is currently smack-dab in the middle of a 30-mile gap of surface street crossings of the Willamette River.

(Graphic: City of Wilsonville)

People in the Portland area who want to reach the Willamette Valley (and the great bikecamping destination of Champoeg State Park), have to cross the river at Oregon City or Newberg. Having a safe crossing at Wilsonville will be a major improvement. The bridge will also hasten development of the Ice Age Tonquin Trail which will eventually connect Wilsonville to Tualatin via the Fanno Creek Trail.

The City of Wilsonville is nearing the end of a two-year planning phase. With an alignment chosen and money in the bank for development, all that’s left to do is decide on the bridge type — and then build it!

The online open house is going on now through October 30th and your feedback is needed. There are five designs under consideration and there’s a great open house page that has all the details on each one to help you share informed feedback. All the designs will come with a 17-foot wide shared path. Final design will be selected in Spring 2019.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Freak Bike Fall, cyclocross doubleheader, e-scooter throwdown

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 08:08

Cascade Locks is one of the most beautiful stops on the Cyclocross Crusade calendar.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to the weekend!

While our stellar weather seems to have passed, we embrace yet another change in the season. And if you’re a cyclocross fan, this rain is what you’ve been waiting for.

Note: Some events cancel in the event of rain (always double-check event website before heading out), and this week we’ve shared two events happening Monday (10/29) just as a bonus because we like you so much.

Have fun!

All Weekend

Freak Bike Fall – Friday through Sunday
If you’re curious or excited about tall-bikes, choppers, trikes, swing-bikes or other whimsical and wild bike styles, the folks who put on Freak Bike Fall are your people. This year’s annual event is being organized by Rat Patrol bike club and they’ve got a full slate of fun in store. It starts with an alley cat and social ride tonight (Friday, 10/26) and wraps up with a big race on Sunday. More info here.

Saturday, October 27th

Luscher Farm Crosstoberfest – All day at Luscher Farm (Lake Oswego)
Sponsored in part by the City of Lake Oswego, this event will feature all the fun trappings of ‘cross including food and drinks in the vendor area (including crepes!) and some great farm ambience. Costumes are encouraged! More info here.

Biking About Architecture Alberta Edition – 11:00 am at Bipartisan Cafe (SE)
Join a local architecture buff for a tour of interesting homes in the North Tabor and West Laurelhurst neighborhoods. Ride starts with pie! Expect an easy, seven-mile ride. More info here.

Halloween Ride – 10:00 am at Wilshire Park (NE)
Hosted by Portland Wheelmen Touring Club ride leader Patricia McManus, this will be a leisurely, 23-mile ride through northeast Portland neighborhoods. More info here.

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Cyclocross Crusade #4 – Cascade Locks
The Crusade heads east to the great little Gorge town of Cascade Locks. Expect a beautiful backdrop and perfect conditions (mud!) for the fourth stop in the series. More info here.

BONUS LISTINGS!! We usually only include weekend events in this post, but there are a few things Monday we think you should know about.

Monday, October 29th

E-scoot P-town Throwdown – 7:00 pm at the Vera Katz statue on the Esplanade (SE)
This is an unsanctioned event where participants will use e-scooters to test their riding skills and push their limits. More info here.

Bike Laugh Heal Tour – 7:30 pm at Siren Theather (NW)
The funny podcasting duo of Mara Marek and Andrew Collin are on a cross-country bike tour to raise awareness and funding for domestic violence prevention. Their Portland stop will feature a live performance that you won’t want to miss. 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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Portland-made Truck Trike stars in UPS cargo delivery pilot program in Seattle

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 12:07

A last-mile delivery solution that reduces congestion, doesn’t kill people, and doesn’t spew toxic exhaust into your mouth as it passes.
(Photo: Truck Trike)

In a partnership with the City of Seattle and University of Washington, delivery giant UPS announced today they will use pedal-assist, electric cargo bikes to make deliveries around Pike Place Market and other parts of downtown.

The best part about this news? The bikes being used in this pilot program come from Portland-based company Truck Trike.

Here’s more about the delivery program from a UPS press release:

In an effort to address growing traffic congestion and air quality concerns, UPS and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan today announced the deployment of an innovative downtown delivery pilot project using pedal-assist cargo eBikes and customized, modular trailers. The cargo eBikes will operate in the historic Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle area on sidewalks and in designated bike lanes.

“While we have launched cycle logistic projects in other cities, this is the first one designed to meet a variety of urban challenges,” said Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations. “The modular boxes and trailer allow us to expand our delivery capabilities and meet the unique needs of our Seattle customers. It’s exciting to return to our roots – UPS started in Seattle in 1907 as a bicycle messenger company. We’re looking forward to being able to offer these customizable urban delivery solutions to other cities nationwide.”

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Seattle Mayor Durkan said, “As Seattle grows and public and private megaprojects limit capacity on our downtown streets, this pilot will help us better understand how we can ensure the delivery of goods while making space on our streets for transit, bikes, and pedestrians. We are eager to learn how pilots like these can help build a city of the future with fewer cars, more transit and less carbon pollution.”


Southeast Portland resident Bill Stites is the man behind the Truck Trike, a concept he’s been refining for about a decade. We visited his shop in 2010 and the last time we heard about the Truck Trike one was being shipped to New York City to be used as a Citibike bike share rebalancing vehicle.

Stites’ creation can haul a payload of around 750 lbs with its combination of flatbed and versatile trailer.

The Seattle pilot program will last for a year and its impacts on improved delivery reliability and congestion reduction will be evaluated by the Urban Freight Lab at University of Washington.

UPS is no stranger to Stites’ work. The company used a customized version of his Truck Trike for a separate pilot program launched in Portland in 2016.

For a look at the innovative design and features of these amazing, pedal-powered machines, check out TruckTrike.com.

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

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After he cut someone off, man claims he was victim of harassment and tire slashing

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 10:05

Clip from KOIN TV segment that aired last night.

Alameda resident Mark Holzmann says he was the victim of harassment, vandalism and an expletive-laced tirade following a traffic incident on Tuesday night.

Holzmann emailed me yesterday to share his version of events. Today I noticed Holzmann’s story was published as an opinion piece in The Oregonian and the subject of a local TV news story last night. We’ve also heard he’s posted the story on Nextdoor.

Here’s what Holzmann emailed to me yesterday:

A few nights back, Oct 22, I was on my way to a Blazer game at the Moda Center. My tickets included parking in Moda Center garage, Bonus!!

It’s about 6:00 pm with light traffic. I took the route where I picked up N. Vancouver Ave at N Russell Street and headed South to the front entrance of the parking garage. The approach to the front of the Parking Garage is very confusing with many intersections, Bus only lanes, Bicycle lanes and all sorts of merging lanes. While merging and turning to my right I did not see a Bicyclist, and from what I can tell I turned in front of him and he didn’t like that, I may have cut him off.

I wouldn’t have liked it either, my fault. I’ll own it!! Mind you we did not touch no one was hurt, but someone had to stop short, at low speed. However, what took place after this was disturbing. The bicycle rider was angry and went ballistic. Yelling, screaming, swearing, pounding on my car, I mean screeching at the top of his lungs. Normally I would have rolled down the window apologized, I find it goes a long way. We are all human. This time would have been a bad idea this guy was unhinged. I didn’t react or give eye contact,

I proceeded slowly to the front of the Parking garage. The Bicyclist follows me in to the entrance of the Moda Center still in a tirade, the parking attendants are looking at him and can’t believe it. This man is still acting like he may explode, the expletives still spewing forward, screaming “didn’t you see me at the top of his lungs.” Still laced with expletives! I give my ticket get a receipt and pull into the garage. The bicyclist rides off screaming, I find a place to park, go to watch the game. I tell my story to my friends I am meeting about the crazy bicycle guy, watch the game, (we lost in overtime) and then go home.

End of story?…NOPE!

This morning I walk out to my drive-way and see all four tires on my car slashed and the car sitting on the rims. A note on my windshield reads, “You were so easy to find, Mark. You should drive more carefully.” BTW the note was written excellent penmanship with black Sharpie with proper punctuation, I might add. It wasn’t lost on me that he intentionally used my first name, clever. Definitely intimidating.

This unhinged person searched me with Google based on my personalized license plate, (I know stupid me, they’re coming off). He was able to find out who I was and where I lived and waited to retaliate. He visited my house in the wee hours of the night sliced my tires and flew off vindicated in the middle of the night. Consider this, it took research, decisive- planning and effort to enact this wackos revenge. Be careful out there , you gotta love this town and the foresight of mixing cars and bicycles in such a dangerous way. I strongly believe Bicyclists need license plates and identification if they want to “Share the Road.”

Lastly, this by no means is commentary on Portland Bicycle riders. As I bicycle rider myself I believe we co-exist with cars as best we can. However with the City’s agenda and support of Bicycle Transportation, has come a dangerous attitude of entitlement from some bike riders. I believe this attitude can encourage reckless behavior. I don’t need to remind anyone a bicylist is so vulnerable. I very much support education, testing, and operating licenses for Bicyclist using public roads for there primary way transportation. I also believe bikes should register and licensed similar to cars, bright side they don’t need DEQ certs!! I’d love to hear your feed back!!

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And here’s my reply:

Hi Mark,

Really sad to hear this happened to you. What a terrible situation. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Keep in mind that bicycle users are trying to exist on a system of roads and laws and culture that is woefully inadequate. I know from some people’s perspective, the city bends over backward for bicycling, but that is simply not the case. Relative to the product the city provides for auto users, bicycle users are extremely underserved. I can’t speak for the man who yelled at you, but I know that often people who ride bicycles every day become very frustrated by the fact that they feel afraid and threatened by auto users all the time. That frustration and anxiety can build up and then — boom! — one seemingly small thing sets it off.

It’s hard for people who primarily drive and who don’t experience our roads by bike every day just how demeaning and scary it can be to ride a bicycle in Portland.

As for requiring licenses and registration for bicycles. It’s more complicated than it sounds. We wouldn’t want to do anything to discourage bicycling, and creating another barrier could do that. Also, we have licenses and reg. for auto users and people who drive still get away with all sorts of terrible, aggressive, irresponsible behavior. Note all the headlines about hit-and-runs where people run someone over and then flee the scene? They are often not ever caught — despite having a license and registration. Or they are dismissed in court because our system is so favorable to auto users.

Another thing about licensing… I would actually support it! But only on the condition that with the license comes a guarantee that, as a bicycle user, I would be provided with the same level of service and systemic respect that I get when I choose to drive my car.

Hope this is helpful. Again. Sorry to hear about what happened.

I also asked Portland Police Bureau PIO Sergeant Chris Burley if he could confirm the incident or share any details about it. Here’s his statement:

An officer responded to the **redacted by bikeportland** block of NE Alameda St on 10/23/18 at 4:17 p.m., on the report that a vehicle was vandalized. The victim stated his tires were slashed and a note left on the vehicle. The incident remains under investigation at this time. No one has been taken into custody in relation to this incident at this time.

If anyone has information about what happened, please get in touch.

We’ll update this post if/when we learn more about the case.

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

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Slippery bikeway striping on Williams Ave causes multiple crashes

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 09:01

One of the many victims of slippery striping on N Williams Ave.
(Photo via Nextdoor)

In the past two days dozens of people have wiped out while bicycling on Williams due to slippery new lane striping that was recently installed after a repaving project.

We started getting reports via email and on social media on Tuesday. The more we asked for your feedback about the problem, the more crashes we heard about.

Here’s just a sampling:

Courtney: Yep! My back wheel slipped yesterday during evening commute. I barely stayed upright and a rider a couple bikes ahead of me slid out. I didn’t see anything else in the road that could’ve caused a skid besides the paint.

Billy: Yep. Last night. Bad crash… I’ve been a bike commuter for 15 years and last night’s incident was the strangest thing. It was like my front wheel was suddenly on ice. I walked the rest of the way home and told my fiancé that it was like I had forgotten how to ride a bike.

Christopher: I saw a cyclist wipe out right there last night during rush hour. Another took a skid trying to dodge the downed cyclist.

Lindsey: I saw 3 cyclists wipe out last night due to the wet striping.

Nathan: I slipped out in wet conditions making the turn from Williams onto failing yesterday.

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Commissioner Eudaly’s office responded quickly.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler also saw someone crash on the striping Tuesday night. She then heard about several other incidents. Detweiler said she contacted PBOT and spoke to a maintenance dispatcher. “Then I called Commissioner Eudaly’s office,” she shared with me via email this morning. “We agreed something needed to be done immediately. He got back to me within 30 minutes to say that a reader board was in place and crews would be out at 3 a.m. to fix it. I asked him to get back to me today on whether the work was successful. I haven’t heard from him yet.”

Crews working on the striping this morning.
(Photo: Nextdoor)

An electronic reader board flashing: “Caution: Pavement Markings Slippery,” was in place at the corner of Williams and Beech by yesterday’s evening commute.

I reached out to PBOT this morning to get the latest. Here’s how agency spokesperson Dylan Rivera explained it:

“Our crews were using a new device to mix the thermoplastic. The grit was not adjusted properly, so it was slicker than normal when they placed it on N Williams Ave… It should be fixed this morning, with a new layer that has more grit, to provide better traction.”

Rivera then followed up to say PBOT crews were making the fixes early this morning (before the morning rush) between Beech and Skidmore, the area where most of the wipeouts were reported. “The remainder should be fixed by this afternoon, before the evening commute starts.”

With rain in the forecast, we’ll know very soon if the fix works or not. If it’s still too slippery and/or if you or someone else slips on it, please contact PBOT at (503) 823-1700 or email PDXroads@portlandoregon.gov.

(Fun historical aside: Back in 2005 we reported on a slippery striping incident that led to a change in ODOT policy.)

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

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Parents, PBOT, and PPS struggle to tame traffic around Tubman

Wed, 10/24/2018 - 11:28

Bicycle and car users stream down Flint Avenue as a Tubman Middle School crossing guard watches.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“Everyone’s afraid their kid is going to get hit.”
— Jillian Wieseneck

No one was surprised when a sixth-grade student was hit by a car driver while crossing North Flint at Russell near Harriet Tubman Middle School last week.

Both times in the past three years that this school has re-opened to students, attempts have been made to educate the public about the traffic chaos that takes place in front of the school each day during drop-off and pick-up. This year the site houses a middle school and observers say conditions are worse than ever before. And as reported in more detail by The Oregonian this week, parents had flagged dangerous conditions on Flint for months prior to the opening of school.

Today, some parents remain afraid for their children’s safety and they’re frustrated at the lack of respect their concerns have been shown by PBOT thus far. Portland Public Schools and PBOT are aware of the issues and are taking (and have taken) steps to make it better; but will it be enough? And will it happen soon enough?

PBOT and the school respond

A Tubman staff person effectively closed the intersection to students yesterday.

Some safety updates to Flint have been made already and there have been some educational efforts. There are now a few speed bumps in front of the school and there are striped crosswalks on both sides of N Page Street (which is adjacent to the school’s main entrance). There are big “School is in Session” banners and signs in the neighborhood that urge people to use caution.

PBOT was quoted in The Oregonian article that striping of Flint and Russell is coming soon. The City’s Safe Routes to School program staff are also in touch with parents about holding an educational event. Tubman’s Principal Natasha Butler and a PBOT Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator Lale Santelices signed onto a join email to parents yesterday stating they are, “Deeply concerned whenever anyone is injured on our streets.” They also shared a map:

Map sent to parents via email by Tubman principal yesterday.

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And while Principal Butler and PBOT’s Santelices say “We believe [Flint Ave and Russell] would benefit from markings,” they are also calling on the community to focus on education. “There are limits on the effectiveness of infrastructure, so we will need community support to encourage safe behavior from everyone: commuters and the school community alike.”

We’ve also heard that PBOT is planning another educational campaign that will encourage parents who drive to the school to park “away from the school” and walk the rest of the way. For people biking south on Flint, PBOT will encourage them to stay on Vancouver and then turn right on Tillamook to connect back to Flint. For cut-through drivers that want to access the Broadway Bridge, the city will ask them to consider taking Russell to Interstate instead.

What an expert thinks

Kari Schlosshauer is the Portland-based Pacific Northwest Senior Policy Manager with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. She thinks both educational and infrastructure solutions are needed.

“It’s unfortunate that these concerns [about the crosswalk at Flint and Russell] were not addressed prior to the school re-opening,” Schlosshauer said, “and I can empathize with the school community’s frustration.” “Regardless of where marked crossings exist, we know that people will follow their ‘desire line’ and take the most direct path to their destination,” she added. “Telling students not to cross somewhere will only work while someone is stationed at that intersection. It will continue to be dangerous until there is an engineering change.”

Conditions on Flint

Speed bumps were recently installed.

Large school buses add to the stress.

It is really chaotic. There is a steady of stream of bicycle riders, auto users, and even a few large big-rig trucks came barreling down while I was there; not to mention all the kids (being kids) walking to school. All the traffic would be bad on its own, but because there are so many different behaviors going on, the conditions feel even more stressful. Many people using Flint in the morning are just cutting-through to somewhere else. That type of use does not mix well with people who are trying to access the school.

Another thing I noticed was very bad choices being made by bicycle riders. People on bikes swooped around crosswalk users at high speeds and I even saw a guy flying down the left side of the road, seemingly frustrated by all the traffic and just wanting to avoid it all.

And the corner of Flint and Russell is very dangerous and complicated. There are several different movements happening, and it’s downhill so you have that speed/momentum factor of bicycle users. I think a marked crosswalk would help here, but I doubt it would suddenly solve the problems. Given that so much of the danger comes from automobiles — and that educational efforts are likely to have only limited impact — we’ve heard from some activists who think Flint should be closed to driving during drop-off and pick-up. Carfree school zones are common in cities in The Netherlands and the idea has recently spread to Norway.

Parents’ perspective

There are just a few parents advocating for safety upgrades. I met two of them at the school yesterday. Jillian Wieseneck and Joan Petit both have students at Tubman. Jillian’s work so far has been key to getting the new crossings striped at Page Street. And while she’s glad to see some movement, it still feels like too little too late — especially since someone has been hurt. “This whole thing could have been started last year,” she said, while we stood on the corner of Flint and Russell.

Wieseneck lives in Irvington and for years her kids enjoyed a very safe walk to a nearby school. But getting to Tubman is much more dangerous. From their home near NE 14th and Tillamook, Wieseneck’s child and other kids her neighborhood have to cross 7th, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Williams, Vancouver, and Flint before they are safely in class. “Everyone’s afraid their kid is going to get hit,” she said. Wieseneck thinks establishing a safe route for biking and walking to school should have been done before the start of school. She’s also frustrated because her neighborhood is not served by a free school bus. “All of us would send our kids on buses if we could, just to get them off the streets,” she said. “We’re less than 1.5 miles away, so we don’t get a bus; yet we also don’t have a safe route, so we’re caught between a rock and a hard place.”

Wieseneck and fellow school parent Joan Petit want a flashing beacon to aid crossers of Flint at Russell. “Just like the one Legacy [Hospital] put in up the street,” Petit said, pointing north where a flashing beacon and crosswalk was installed in 2011. They also want signals and/or a striped crosswalk on Page at Vancouver and Williams.

Both of these moms feel that educational efforts could have a huge impact.

“You can influence kids,” Wieseneck said, “Especially now. They’re scared. They saw the girl get hit. Now they know it’s a reality.”

CORRECTION, 10/25 at 4:22pm: This post originally attributed an email as coming from Tubman Principal Natasha Butler. I failed to mention that a PBOT Safe Routes to School staffer was a co-signer to that email. I regret the error.

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

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Portland Business Alliance lays out stance on Central City in Motion plan

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:46

In a four-page letter (PDF) sent to Transportation Commmissioner Chloe Eudaly yesterday, Portland Business Alliance President and CEO Andrew Hoan offered carefully mixed doses of support and opposition to projects included in the City of Portland’s Central City in Motion (CCIM) plan.

And in a surprising show of dealmaking, Hoan offered up enthusiastic support for a carfree transit mall in exchange for the City’s proposal to add protected bike lanes to SW Broadway and 4th. And instead of using one lane of Naito Parkway for a protected bike lane, the PBA says they’ll support a new bike path that would bisect the iconic Waterfront Park. Neither of those ideas has been seriously considered in the past two years of discussions about this plan.

With less than a month before the groundbreaking investment in central city streets is scheduled for its first hearing at City Council, many project-watchers have been waiting to see where the PBA stands on the proposals. The organization represents 1,900 businesses and has a history of outsized influence at PBOT and City Hall.

“Broad concern is shared throughout our community that reducing auto capacity on major arterial roads will have significant economic impact to our downtown businesses.”

As we’ve been reporting, the Bureau of Transportation has whittled down 18 projects into two categories — one to be built in 1-5 years, the other for 6-10. In their letter, the PBA weighed in on six projects. They offered outright support for two of them, support “with some modifications” for two others, and proposed “alternatives” for the remaining two. The PBA also addressed the Better Naito project (under the heading #SaferNaito).

Before getting into their project analysis the PBA said as the “employer community” they have, “serious concerns with certain aspects of the proposed projects.”

Hoan writes that, in general, the PBA supports the walking and transit aspects of the CCIM projects; but that bicycling is not as viable, and as such it’s not as worthy of roadway real estate. He even uses the leveling-off of bike commuting rates as reason to not build more protected bike lanes:

For many residents that currently can you buy single occupancy vehicle, making the shift to public transit is the most logical transition… Public transit must be faster and more accessible. Further, we are not opposed to a more connected bicycle network throughout the central city, but broad concern is shared throughout our community that reducing auto capacity on major arterial roads will have significant economic impact to our downtown businesses. Careful consideration should be given to those trade-offs, especially considering that the percentage of Portlanders who commute by bicycle has plateaued in recent years.

Hoan doesn’t mention the fact that PBOT analysis shows the CCIM projects will vastly improve the capacity and efficiency of our streets or that PBOT planners count “person trips” and not just automobile volumes.

Let’s start with the projects the PBA supports without conditions: Project 1, which would create protected bike lanes, better crossings, and a bus-only lane on Burnside from W 10th to E 12th; and Project 7, which would add a bus-only on NW Everett from Broadway to the Steel Bridge. “Transit is one of the fastest-growing transportation modes (behind ride-sharing),” the letter states, “and is the most effective in terms of sustainable mass mobility.

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The PBA cautions that SW Salmon is rife with conflicts and very valuable as a “portal” for drivers into downtown.

The PBA supports, but would like to modify two other projects: Project 5, which would add bus lanes and bike lanes to SW Jefferson/Columbia/Madison; and Project 8, which would create a protected bike lane couplet on SW Salmon and Taylor.

The PBA likes the transit elements of Project 5, but wants the bike lane axed because they claim it creates conflict near the Highway 26 “portal” and they feel “protection of portal capacity” is more important. “Businesses rely heavily on reliable access to downtown from the surrounding region,” the letter explains. The PBA also wants to keep a bike lane off Jefferson and Columbia because the streets, “provide critical access to several parking garages and numerous loading docks.”

When it comes to Project 8, the PBA’s main concern is that PBOT isn’t doing enough to restore planned reductions in auto parking capacity. PBOT wants to create a protected bike lane on both streets, in the space currently used to park cars. “While we are not opposed to protected bike lanes on these streets,” Hoan states, “it is important to recognize that they are major portals into and out of the central city.”

And this where the PBA unveils one of their core arguments against cycling. Their stance is more cycling space isn’t warranted because not enough people are cycling:

“It must be noted that most visitors to downtown are not taking their bicycles; rather, they are driving. A recent downtown shopper survey show that only 1 percent of retail shoppers use their bike to get to the destination downtown when not commuting for work. With that in mind, PBOT must take careful consideration when removing parking at auto capacity with in this area in favor of less popular transportation modes — especially considering the highway on street parking utilization rate of the downtown core.”

For the other two projects addressed in their letter, the PBA has proposed major changes.

We agree that the transit mall should be carfree!

Instead of a new, protected bike lane couplet that would run north-south on Broadway and Fourth (Project 2), the PBA surprisingly says they, “Support the removal of all auto capacity on the transit mall.” Here’s more of the PBA’s pitch for a carfree transit mall:

“Not only would this produce the same north-south connectivity, but drivers typically avoid these streets already or misuse the designated lanes…. turning the auto lane into a protected bike lane would have far less negative impacts on nearby businesses and the design logistics can be smoothed out as they will be for the rest of the projects.”

The PBA feels that putting a protected bike lane on Broadway and 4th, as currently proposed by PBOT, “Would have significant, unnecessary economic impacts on our downtown retail core,” and would “severely limit the capacity of our few remaining arterial routes through the city.” The PBA says carfree lanes on the transit mall would be a “plausible, exciting alternative,” and that offering it up should be a sign that, “supporting alternative transportation is indeed a top priority.”

The final project the PBA offers input on in this letter is Better Naito (Project 17).

While they support a protected bike lane on Naito in general, they don’t want it to constrain existing auto capacity. Back in May we covered an idea put forward by Mayor Ted Wheeler that considers creating a northbound protected bike lane in the existing tree line at the western edge of Waterfront Park. The PBA says losing 40 trees is a non-starter and they support building a bike lane through the center of the park. Not only would a center-running bike lane save the trees but it would also, “activate the park and protect bike commuters,” they say.

Read the entire letter for yourself.

UPDATE, 10/24: The PBA has just released their annual downtown census and survey. Given their views expressed in the CCIM letter, a few trends are worth noting: Compared to 2016 survey numbers, biking to downtown jobs is up 6 points to 11 percent; drive-alone trips are down to 41 percent, from 53 percent last year; and 42 percent of downtown workers live in Portland proper — way up from just 26 percent last year.

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

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Two Portland business owners think it’s OK to run people over with their cars

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 10:23

Several readers have contacted us in the past few days to share alarming comments made by Portland business owners.

The comments make light of using cars to hurt and/or kill other people.

Tod Foulk has been the producer and owner of Portland Fashion Week since 2005. On October 18th he left a comment under a Facebook post by the Portland Police Association, the nonprofit union that represents Portland Police Bureau officers. The post was about Mayor Ted Wheeler’s attempts to get a handle on recent fights and protests that have led to violence in Portland streets.

Here’s what Foulk wrote:

#TEDWHEELER and his tiny hands cant seem to grasp this situation and nothing will come of it until an irate or hurt citizen fights back. #REGINALDDENNY showed me how to deal with a violent protest and that is to drive right thru killing as many as who will stand in my way

Reginald Denny is a reference to the incident where Denny, a truck driver, was removed from his vehicle and nearly beaten to death in the 1992 L.A. riots.

I contacted Foulk via Facebook and gave him a chance to clarify his comment. Here’s what I asked:

Hi Tod, I’m the publisher of a local transportation news blog. Several people have forwarded me the link to a Facebook comment where you espouse that the way to deal with protestors is to “drive right through killing…” them. Before I share this with the community, would you like to explain why you would say something like this? Thanks.

Here’s his response:

“it was due to the fact that lawless people are threatening the community at large with acts violence when they driving community won’t cowtow to terrorist tactics. see the 74 yr old man harassed? see the mob go through the pearl 2 yrs ago? see the antif thugs set fire with a molotov to target? not sorry when a good friend’s daughter needs to be ambulanced and this takes place. she almost died. care to interview her and her dad? i can make that happen easily enough. i saw reginald denny too get pulled out and beaten with a brick, that will NEVER happen to me and until the police handle the threats against drivers and take this seriously i will not stop for a mob mentality bent of physical harm,.

and the way to deal with them? taking out of context but i expect that these days from all press

but thanks for the chance to delve a little deeper on the subject!”

These views are in stark contrast to a “letter from the producer” posted by Foulk on the Fashion Week website. Foulk writes that his event is a “safe space” because he takes ethics so seriously. “I personally take everyone’s safety very very seriously,” he states in the letter.

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The other comment we’ve been made aware of this week came via email from David Rappoport, owner of Hawthorne Cutlery. The email was sent on September 20th in response to a thread on the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association email list.

The email subject was about “changes to crime prevention”. The screenshot is below:

If you don’t see the image above, Rappoport’s email says, “Sometimes running over bicyclists and pedestrians is the only way they’ll learn. Their new teachers/examples just might be the scooter riders.”

The email was sent from “swordrep” via the same email address listed on the contact page of the Hawthorne Cutlery website. Two different sources have confirmed to me that the email was sent by Rappoport. Both of the sources requested to remain anonymous. One of the sources said they didn’t want to be named due to fear that Rappoport “is armed and seems dangerous.”

I’ve reached out to Rappoport to give him a chance to clarify his email, but he has not responded.

When a local civic leader and a business owner have opinions like this and are brazen enough to share them in a public forum — especially in today’s emotionally and politically-charged civic climate — I think they should be taken seriously. Staying safe on the road relies on an unspoken contract between all of us that’s built on a foundation of responsibility, respect and consideration. Comments like this destroy that foundation.

UPDATE, 3:57 pm: I’ve heard back from Hawthorne Cutlery owner David Rappoport via email. Here’s what he wrote: “Not that I owe you or anyone else an explanation, but, I have a warped sense of humor. And that’s just what it was. HUMOR. Lighten up for Crissakes!”

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

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Family Biking: How straps can unlock your bike’s carrying capacity

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 06:58

Desk on a bike!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

This week’s post isn’t about family biking per se, but kids often come with lots of stuff to haul around. And since parenting helps unlock one’s ingenuity — family biking goes hand-in-hand with strapping loads of crap to our bikes.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

This also isn’t a plug to get a cargo bike so you can carry big things — although cargo bikes certainly make carrying big things easy — all bikes are great at carrying more than just their riders…or instead of their riders: one of the best things about any bike is its ability to transform into a dolly/hand truck. It’s fairly easy to pile heavy and/or bulky things on your bike and walk alongside, pushing. The day we moved to Portland (most of our stuff came in a 16-foot PODS moving container) I still had a lot of stuff to bring with us via bus-train-light rail-bus so I used my folding bike as a luggage cart.

Any bike can double as a hand truck.

Bicycles-cum-luggage-carts don’t necessarily need straps of any sort and the beauty of using your bike in this manner is that you can do so in the spur of the moment when you see that six-foot-tall cat tree at Southeast Sherman and 30th (why do so many people abandon perfectly fine cat trees each fall??). But for carrying things while pedaling, having straps/tie downs of some sort is a big help.

Uou can compensate for lopsided loads by leaning slightly to the opposite side and it usually just takes half a block to get used to the weight.

And a quick note on safety: just as you are likely aware in terms of your clothing, take care not to have anything positioned such that it might get caught in the moving parts of your bike. When using your bike as a hand truck it makes sense to hang things from the handlebars, but this isn’t so safe when riding when items swinging into your spokes will cause a crash (when you’re walking your bike things don’t swing as much and if they do make contact with your wheel, they won’t do much more than make an unpleasant rubbing sound). Attach things snugly and make sure your tie downs don’t have dangling loose ends. Then tie stuff anywhere that doesn’t spin when you pedal: front rack, rear rack, top tube, handlebars, even to your body!

Bikes are such great stuff carriers that you don’t even need your cargo weight evenly distributed side to side. Of course it’s easiest if you’re balanced, but you can also compensate for lopsided loads by leaning slightly to the opposite side and it usually just takes half a block to get used to the weight.

Rope to the rescue.

If you have an old inner tube, you already have the perfect tie down. Cut that sucker through near the valve and you’ve got a stretchy rope that’s easy to tie. And regular old rope is great, too. Have you heard that saying “If you don’t know knots, tie lots!” I first heard it from a competitor in the 2016 Disaster Relief Trials who creatively attached a trailer to a bike share bike.

An assortment of bike straps.

If you don’t have inner tubes or rope, or want to get something more task-specific, I have some favorites to share:

➤ 1. Yuba Utility Strap
This nine-foot long strap has a strong buckle. I got mine in my competitor goodie bag at the 2013 Disaster Relief Trials, but they’re also available at column sponsor Clever Cycles. And your local hardware store will have very similar utility straps of various lengths and colors.

➤ 2. Surly Junk Strap
At about four feet long (120cm), this narrow strap is strong and great at securing cargo without so much tail to worry about getting caught up in spokes. I purchased mine at Metropolis Cycles.

➤ 3. John’s Irish Strap
Available at Rivelo, this pretty strap is three feet long and plenty strong. I’m even wearing one as a belt right now.

➤ 4. Gear Ties
Whereas I used to use bungee cords exclusively, I’ve gotten away from stretchy straps as evidenced by my first three favorites and Gear Ties are my current most favorites. I don’t know where to buy the longer ones locally so I order mine online. Gear Ties are like industrial-strength pipe cleaners (side note: I’ve used regular pipe cleaners to attach things to my bike, too, since I always have decorative pipe cleaners attached to various places on my bike–very handy). I’ll share a Gear Ties example below.

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➤ 5. Cargo net
Did I just say I don’t like stretchy things? I lied. I love cargo nets! I used one to contain Pixie, our family dog in her basket. They’re terrific for keeping things in baskets, for attaching big things to rear racks, and in a pinch will hug a bulky item to any spot on a bike you can find purchase for the four hooks. They’re available at most bike shops, but can also usually be found at big box stores in the automotive or motorcycle aisle.

➤ 6. Bungee cord
Bungee cords come in all lengths and widths, are available in all sorts of stores, and are generally easy to attach to various parts of your bike, like racks and seat rails. Children love playing with bungee cords and parents love worrying about kids putting their eyes out with bungee cords. Bungee cords replaced stuffed animal friends as favorite playthings for both my kids for a time. And the only one who accidentally got popped in the eye was me. So be careful, but they’re great for lashing things securely to a bike.

I carried this box for my friend because it was too big to fit in her car.

➤ Ratchet straps (not pictured)
I find ratcheting tie downs more trouble than they’re worth. They come in two pieces which makes for double the opportunity to loose part of your carrying system and I can never remember how to detach them when I want to unload. In the photo above the dragging strap makes it clear I didn’t attach the straps correctly, oops. I have friends that swear by then, but I’ve given mine away. Feel free to sing their praises in the comments section.

‘Tis the season to carry brooms and rakes around.

I like to sweep debris (pine cones and leaves) off my favorite paths to keep them safe for my kids and me. I generally carry big broom around on the cargo bike, but regular bikes are terrific at carrying long, skinny items. I know crossing guards who carry their flags on their bikes this way and I think all bike polo players carry their mallets strapped to their top tubes. A bike with a straight top tube is particularly good for this, but when I did a test run with my broom yesterday I discovered it’s not at all necessary:

Gear Ties up close.

The green Gear Tie is the only one holding the broom to my top tube; the black Gear Tie is attached to my seat post and the orange Gear Tie clings to my seat rail. You’ll just need to mount and dismount carefully if you don’t have a straight top tube and aren’t used to swinging your leg that high. I like to bring my foot up over my top tube, but you can also hike your leg up over your handlebars and around if the broom blocks you from swinging over the back of the bike. If the broom isn’t too heavy for tilting your bike, lean your bike towards you to make it even easier to reach your leg up and over the top tube to mount.

I could not have walked like this, but biking was A-OK.

Having a bike along also makes it easier to do the carrying yourself versus walking. Unless you’re on a completely upright bike, your canted torso makes a great platform for stuff with your handlebars and saddle helping keep you a stable table. We used to join a large post-Christmas tree bonfire each year in Seattle and the majority of riders strapped their trees (even big ones!) to their backs. Frankly, I felt like I was cheating by using my cargo bike. Recently I carried one of my kids’ bikes home by strapping it to a backpack with a Surly Junk Strap. It wasn’t comfortable and I don’t want to do it again, but I rode the flat mile home just fine.

The cargo strap attached the little bike to my backpack so I could strap it all to my back.

Lots of friends with trees on their backs.

Have you carried something impressive on your bike? What’s your favorite cargo strap? Please share any insights in the comments! Thanks for reading.

One last fun shot: two free bookcases on my bike.

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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Parks: Springwater Corridor path to reopen November 1st

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 11:20

New overlook offers views of larger fish culvert on the Springwater Path.
(Photo: djstabe)

Portland Parks and Recreation Commissioner Nick Fish announced at a press conference this morning that the four-month closure of the Springwater Corridor path will last for just 10 more days. The path — a vital connection for thousands of people who walk and roll between Sellwood and downtown Portland — has been closed since July 9th and is now set to open on-time on November 1st.

Portland Parks, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Environmental Services are wrapping up an $8.8 million project aimed at reconnecting habitat between the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and the Willamette River.

“Instead of a small culvert, we now have a ‘salmon subway’ that reconnects the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and the Willamette River for the first time in over 100 years,” Commissioner Fish said at this morning’s event. “Juvenile salmon now have a rest stop on their journey to the ocean. I look forward to biking here with my son and enjoying nature in the heart of our urban environment.”

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There will be more to see once the path is open. The project also brought new overlooks and other places to stop and enjoy the new fish passages and 175 bird species that are known to live in the area.

Before this project got underway there was widespread consternation that the detour route on surface streets would not be adequate. However we haven’t heard much concern from anyone in the past few months, so it appears as though people have been able to go with the flow.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Transgender champion, inspiration from Paris and Calgary, scooter lawsuit and more

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 10:57

Here are the most noteworthy stories we came across in the past seven days…

Transgender champion: Rachel McKinnon won a national championship on the track. Some say it’s unfair because she’s transgender. Learn more about her in this Q & A posted by VeloNews.

E-cargo bikes are the future: New Forbes contributor (and veteran bike industry writer and author) Carlton Reid has an excellent update on how electric cargo bikes hold vast promise as urban, last-mile delivery vehicles.

Cars as a safe space: A recent survey from furniture giant IKEA found that almost half (45%) of Americans go outside and sit in their car “to have a private moment to themselves”.

Paris leads on carfree cities: A massive effort to get unnecessary cars and trucks out of the city is being taken on by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Here’s more on the potential of that vision and why the politics are so hard.

Ride-hailing = congestion: A study by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found that Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft accounted for a whopping 50% of congestion in San Francisco between 2010 and 2016.

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Inspiration from Calgary: Portland could learn a lot from Calgary where a carfree bridge laid the foundation for a successful, quick, and relatively cheap network of protected bike lanes.

Portland is a “smart city”: Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded the City of Portland $2.5 million to fund “smart city” projects that fight congestion and climate change.

Vehicular terrorism: Citylab delves into the disturbing trend of using automobiles as weapons of mass destruction and offers examples of how to prevent the attacks without making walking and biking worse.

Teach the reach: The UK Highway Code plans to add more instruction to improve the safety of bicycle users — including the use of the “Dutch Reach” which requires using your far hand to open your car door to prevent “dooring.”

Scooter lawsuit: Three plaintiffs who claim to have been hit by scooter users while walking have filed a class-action lawsuit in Los Angeles against Lime, Bird, and other scooter companies for what they call “gross negligence”.

No lane is safe: The fact that someone sandwiched their sedan in a green-colored, physically protected bike lane is a great example of why we need more carfree spaces in cities.

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

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People love scooters and they’re replacing car trips says City of Portland survey

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 09:34

(Photo: City of Portland)

“The results suggest scooters are a popular new transit option for Portlanders and visitors alike,” reads a statement released today by the Portland Bureau of Transportation based on a survey of scooter users. 4,500 people responded to the questionnaire which asked 75,000 people about riding habits, safety behaviors, knowledge of riding laws, and more.

Here are the key findings as shared by PBOT:

Portlanders are using e-scooters for transportation and recreation. Nearly a third (30 percent) of the Portlanders who responded to the survey said they most frequently used e-scooters to commute – to get to work, school, or a work-related meeting. Another third (28 percent) stated they most frequently used e-scooters for fun/recreation.

E-scooters are popular with local users. Eighty-five percent of Portlanders said they were “extremely” or “very likely” to recommend e-scooters to a friend.

E-scooters are replacing automobile trips. Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 34 percent of Portlanders said they would have driven a personal car (19 percent) or hailed a taxi, Uber or Lyft (15 percent).

The auto trip replacement numbers are even higher among tourists and visitors (48 percent). Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 34 percent of visitors would have taken a taxi, Uber or Lyft, and 14 percent would have driven a personal vehicle had e-scooters not been available.

Among all respondents, e-scooters appear to be more popular among men (62 percent) than women (36 percent). In response to the question, “What gender do you identify with?”, 62 percent of respondents said “man”, and 36 respondents said “woman”.

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All respondents – Portlanders and visitors – prefer to ride e-scooters on the street, in the bike lane. Riders’ stated preference was for the bike lane over even off-street trails. Riding on sidewalks was users’ least preferred option.

E-scooters are bringing new Portlanders to the bike lane. Forty-five percent of survey respondents reported “never” biking and 78 percent had never used BIKETOWN prior to using e-scooters.

Portlanders are reducing or considering reducing their auto ownership due to e-scooters. Six percent of users report getting rid of a car because of e-scooters and another 16 percent have considered it.

There’s still work to do when it comes to keeping people out of park paths and trails. The survey found that only 34 percent of riders knew it was illegal to ride in Waterfront Park.

This survey comes out just a week after The Oregonian reported serious concerns from disability rights advocates about scooters and the behavior of the people who ride them.

Three companies — Bird, Skip, and Lime — are currently operating scooters in Portland as part of a pilot program. The scooters have been on the streets since the end of July and as of October 11th, there have been 472,069 trips taken on them with an average trip length of 1.2 miles. The pilot period will end November 20th.

In response to the survey, Bird posted on Twitter today that, “It has been an honor serving the City of Portland and we look forward to continue partnering to get cars off the road and reduce carbon emissions!”

You can read all the survey responses on PBOT’s website.

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

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Oregon Walks hires Jess Thompson as new executive director

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 08:21

Jess Thompson.
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

Jess Thompson is the new executive director of Oregon Walks.

The Portland-based nonprofit announced the hire this morning. Here’s more from their Board President Sama Shagaga:

“… Jess is a lifelong walker, and comes to us with experience as a public school teacher and instructional coach, nonprofit manager at Community Warehouse, and most recently as an equity and inclusion consultant. She is honored to join Oregon Walks in the essential work to ensure all people are able to access walkways that are safe, convenient, and enjoyable. Jess joins the Oregon Walks team as we embark on a new strategic planning process and address challenges in ensuring safe streets for all; she anticipates the coming years will be filled with much listening, learning, and advocating for pedestrian safety with volunteers, community partners, staff, board, and donors.”

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Oregon Walks’ former director, Noel Mickelberry, stepped down back in January. Thompson will assume her new role on November 13th.

Women are leading Portland’s active transportation advocacy movement: Thompson joins Kassandra Griffin of the Community Cycling Center, Catie Gould and Emily Guise from Bike Loud PDX and Jillian Detweiler from The Street Trust in her leadership role.

The hire comes at a crucial time for Oregon Walks. Last week, after two people were killed while walking in just one week — including the fourth of the year on outer SE Division Street — the organization issued a statement renewing their calls for more investment in safe streets. “We must do more to protect our most vulnerable residents from preventable crashes – particularly those who reside in low-income neighborhoods that bear the brunt of our most dangerous streets,” they said. “It’s clear that while lower speeds will move us closer to achieving our Vision Zero goal, these changes alone are not enough to make our roads truly safe.”

So far this year Portland has recorded 27 traffic fatalities — 11 of them were people walking.

Advocates and partners of Oregon Walks will get their first chance to meet Thompson at the group’s annual Weston Awards fundraiser which takes place November 2nd.
weston awards

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

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Oregon Global Warming Commission releases draft report to legislature

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 12:29

Cover of the report.
(View PDF here)

The Oregon Global Warming Commission met this week to review the draft of their 2018 Biennial Report to the Legislature. The Commission, created in 2007 to provide oversight on Oregon’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy, detailed that despite our current efforts, Oregon is struggling to make progress, and has actually seen an increase in emissions in recent years – the majority of it coming from the transportation sector (making it all the more notable that the transportation seat on the commission is currently vacant).

I took a look at the report and here’s what I learned…

The report begins with a powerful letter from Commissioner Chair Angus Duncan that begins with a quote from Winston Churchill about WWII: “Owing to past neglect,” Churchill said to the House of Commons in 1936, “In the face of the plainest warnings, we have now entered upon a period of danger…”

Duncan laments that leadership like Churchill’s is sorely lacking in the 21st century. “We’ve looked for that kind of leadership over the 30 years or so that climate change has loomed as an existential threat to our society and our children’s future. Rarely have we found it.” While there are a few bright spots of progress, Duncan writes, “This Letter reflects my profound concern, after ten years as Commission Chair, with whether we are rising to the challenges in meaningful and sufficient ways.”

Duncan’s concern is based in part on the fact that Oregon is no longer seeing a downward trend in emissions, with more than half of the recent increase due to gasoline and diesel. From 2014 to 2016, transportation emissions increased from 35% to 39% of Oregon’s total, while electricity decreased from 30% to 26% during the same period.

So where do we go from here? The answers come from ODOT’s own projections. In 2013 they modeled a Sustainable Transportation Strategy (STS) that, if fully implemented, would reduce all transportation emissions 60% [of 1990 levels] by 2050, and light-duty passenger vehicles by 80%. A 2018 monitoring report done by ODOT shows that we have deviated significantly from this vision, and will likely achieve a 15-20% reduction by 2050 instead.

Several assumptions from their 2012 model have changed: lower fuel prices, strong economy and population growth, and a slower transition to more fuel efficient vehicles than anticipated, with Oregonians hanging onto their vehicles for an average of 12 years. The report points out that when the STS came to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) in 2013 was “accepted” instead of the stronger “adopted”. As a part of the 2018 Oregon Transportation Plan the STS strategies were formally adopted but still have no legal framework for enforcement.

The following recommendations for action were pulled from the 2018 ODOT Monitoring Report:

— Extend the Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards
— Extend the Zero Emissions Vehicle Program
— Extend the Oregon Clean Fuels Program
— Initialize mechanism for true-cost pricing.

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True-cost pricing, an important piece of incentivizing other less carbon intensive modes, is still in the future. A few fees from the STS are being considered, such as congestion pricing and pay-per-mile (via the OReGO program) but could still be several years away. A greenhouse gas emissions cap expected to be considered by the Legislature in 2019 is one mechanism to capture true-cost pricing.

Notably absent in this report is the mention of the billions of dollars into highway widening projects as a part of House Bill 2017 (a.k.a. Keep Portland Moving Act) passed during the last legislative session. The previous report, released prior to that 2017 session, recommended strong action to bring transportation back under control. Here’s what the Commission wrote before HB 2017 was created and passed:

In the 2017 session, the Oregon Legislature has an opportunity… to prioritize policies and programs that will make material differences in GHG emissions from transportation… The Commission recommends that the 2017 Legislature… use the occasion to devise and adopt measures that will bring transportation GHG emissions under control…

There is no critical analysis of whether that bill was ultimately aligned with the goals of the Commission or of its estimated impact on transportation emissions. Also not mentioned was the Oregon Public Transportation Plan which was adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission last month.

Only one line in the report references HB 2017 (emphasis mine): “Although recent funding from the 2017 Keep Oregon Moving Act helps move in the direction of the STS, the levels envisioned in the STS call for exponentially more investment in transit service, along with converting bus fleets – public transit and school buses – to electricity as older buses are replaced.”

It’s going to take a lot of action from ODOT and legislators to push the GHG emissions needle in the other direction. This report — and Duncan’s call for bold leadership — should be a wake-up call.

You can learn more about the Global Warming Commission on their website. Read the full Draft Bienniel Report to the Legislature here (PDF).

— Catie Gould, @Citizen_Cate on Twitter

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City aims to tame Sandy Blvd through central eastside with bikeway, safety updates

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 10:34

The striping work at Sandy and Ankeny has already begun. See the official project drawings below.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is making updates to SE Sandy Blvd between Burnside and Alder. Sandy is being repaved, so the city is grabbing the opportunity to tweak the striping and add other features they hope will make the street safer.

This half-mile section of Sandy is a key connection between the Lloyd (via 12th Avenue) and the central eastside (where it turns into 7th Avenue). However, despite its value in our network, this section of Sandy is currently striped as a standard, unprotected bike lane. We need better facilities here because it’s on a hill (down going south, up going north) and because there are several tricky crossings. In particular, the crossing of the Ankeny neighborhood greenway has been a stressful spot for years. The large intersection of SE Washington and 7th is also a sketchy spot that isolates bicycle riders in a wide expanse of pavement with threats from all directions.

PBOT’s fixes will include a lot more green coloring to add conspicuity to the bikeway, more buffers to increase the separation between modes, and plastic delineator wands that will act as low-budget median islands and effectively reduce the width of some of the intersections (second to last image below). In addition, to improve the notorious Ankeny crossing, PBOT says they plan to pull back auto parking, “to daylight the pedestrian crossing.” A new bike corral is also slated to be installed.

The new striping will connect in the southbound direction to the existing green-colored bike lane on 7th Ave as it approaches Morrison.

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Here are the more of the project drawings supplied by PBOT (from north to south):


Note how PBOT will use striping and plastic delineator wants at corners to narrow the intersection.

This project will also include a new signal at the tricky Ankeny/11th/Sandy intersection. Funding for the signal comes from PBOT’s federally-funded Central Eastside Access and Circulation Enhancement Project which we covered back in February 2017.

UPDATE: Friend of the blog John L shared this hair-raising video of this exact stretch of Sandy in a Facebook post last month:

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

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TriMet hosts demo of new bus stations planned for SE Division

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 08:42

*Video by Andrew Theen/The Oregonian

In an effort to refine the design of a new type of bus station for their $175 million Division Transit Project, TriMet built a full-scale mock-up and invited the media to see how it would work in real-life. The demo took place yesterday at a TriMet park-and-ride lot in Gresham.

As we reported back in July, the latest design is a scaled-back version of what they proposed last year. The problem TriMet is trying to solve is how best to mix a major bikeway and a high-frequency bus line. And not just any bus line: While the Division Transit Project won’t be real bus rapid transit (BRT), it will include longer buses (60-feet with boarding from two doors), transit signal priority, and better station design. TriMet says if all goes according to plan the line will be 20 percent faster than it is today and buses will run every six minutes during peak hours.

(Photo: PBOT)

(Photo: PBOT)

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As you can see in the video above (and images below), the new design will have bus passengers wait behind the bike lane, which will run through the platform between the curb and the bus shelter. When a bus is present, bike lane users will be expected to wait while people get on and off. Signs and markings on the platform will help manage behaviors of all users. This type of design is used all over the world — even in Copenhagen! When I was there a few years ago I came across a similar design and it worked well.


Bikeway through a bus platform in Copenhagen.

According to The Oregonian (whose reporter was at the demo yesterday), TriMet plans to build 30 of these stations along SE Division before the high-capacity bus line opens for service in 2022.

In addition to the $17.7 million PBOT has committed to spending on the Division Transit Project, they will pump an additional $7 million worth of updates as part of their Outer Division Multimodal Safety Project.

For more on yesterday’s demo and the project in general, read The Oregonian’s coverage.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Hidden history, ‘cross in Canby, Kidical Mass, and more

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:34

Discover hidden history of Portland with Shawn Granton (on left, with megaphone) of Urban Adventure League and local historian Dan Haneckow.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Another gloriously sunny and colorful weekend is almost here. If you need some ideas for things to do, we’ve got a few tips.

And by the way folks, we’re between sponsors for the Weekend Event Guide and the BP Calendar right now. So if you own a business (and/or spend marketing money for one) and want to partner up with us, please get in touch. BikePortland relies on financial support from individuals and businesses, so don’t just be a reader, be a supporter!

Saturday, October 20th

CrossWord Cyclocross Challenge – 7:30 am to 4:00 pm at Pat’s Acres Racing Complex (Canby)
A nice change of pace after a few weekends of Crusades, this 8th annual race is a benefit for a local nonprofit that gets kids into racing. Expect a course with natural terrain features, river crossings, beginner-friendly motocross jumps (!) and much more! More info here.

Running City (Scavenger Hunt) – 9:00 am at MarcovCo Gallery (NW)
A citywide scavenger hunt with categories for walkers, runners, and bike riders. More info here.

Casual Group Ride – 10:00 am at Western Bikeworks (NW)
Join our friends at Western Bikeworks for some free Stumptown Coffee and then roll out on a chill-paced “no-drop” ride. Expect a 1.5-2 hour ride. More info here.

Kidical Mass to Apple Tasting – 11:00 am at Sewallcrest City Park (SE)
Portland Nursery is having their annual apple tasting and Kidical Mass is on it! Bring the kiddos to the park for some play and then a short ride to the nursery where you can load up on cider and amazing apples of all types. Guaranteed family fun! More info here.

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Remnants & Relics Ride – 2:00 pm at Portland Archives Office (SW)
An encore presentation of Shawn Granton’s (Urban Adventure League) urban history ride from Pedalpalooza. Will feature special guest, local historian Dan Haneckow (Portland Then and Now). Leaders will share gems of Portland’s past that are “hidden” right under our noses. More info here.

Sunday, October 20th

Bicycling Beyond Boring – 10:00 am at Boring Station Trailhead (Boring)
What lies beyond the quaint town of Boring at the terminus of the Springwater Corridor path? This ride will show you. More info here.

Slow Poke Ride – 10:00 am at Wilshire Park (NE)
Enjoy a pleasing jaunt through Portland’s northeast neighborhoods with a stop at one of the finest cafe/bakeries in town, Madrona Hill, which is right near the beautiful Willamette bluffs. 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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Danny Dunn is Portland’s pedaling trash picker-upper

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:36

Danny Dunn hard at work.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Have you ever looked around as you roll through the streets and thought, “Geez, there’s so much trash everywhere!” I certainly have. And while I’ve often thought of doing something about it, Portlander Danny Dunn has taken action.

Since the end of August, Danny has been picking up trash while he bikes around town. With a simple system of plastic buckets strapped to his front rack and a $25 grabber tool, Danny glides along, making Portland cleaner one piece of trash at a time.

I met up with him in Arbor Lodge yesterday.

Danny moved to Portland with his wife in 2011 so she could attend school at Lewis & Clark College. He told me he first noticed how trashy streets were when when he lived in an apartment next to a vacant lot at SW Barbur Blvd and Hooker Street. “It was disgusting,” he recalled. “There was a ton of trash and the lane was full of awful things.” When his family visited from rural Wisconsin, they complained about it too. “It’s terrible here,” Danny remembers them saying, “Why is it so bad?!”

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After thinking about it a while, Danny combined his ingenuity, work-ethic, and admirable sense of civic duty with his very well-used Surly Cross-Check — and a two-wheeled, trash-collecting vehicle was born.

Danny doesn’t have a set route and his collection routine is haphazard. He prefers to work on sidestreets or protected lanes because streets with fast-moving cars and bikes don’t mix well with his ambling and circuitous riding style. He’s also still learning how to use the grabber proficiently. “I don’t look that graceful swerving around, but it’s for the greater good,” he said.

Danny seems like a relatively quiet guy and he’s not looking to start a bike-powered-trash-hauling revolution. But he did let on that he was partly inspired by famed author and comedian David Sedaris, who also has a habit of picking up other peoples’ trash. And like Sedaris, I couldn’t tell if he was joking when he said with a deadpan delivery, “I moved here poor and these buckets changed everything. There’s pre-picker Danny, and post-picker Danny.”

Given how many bicycle riders there are in Portland — and how much trash litters our streets — we can use all the pedaling pickers we can get.

Thanks for your work Danny!

Now, who else is going to buy a grabbing tool and join him?

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

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Driver, student collide in crosswalk in front of Harriet Tubman Middle School

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:54

Looking southbound on N Flint at Russell. The school is on the right.

Many of us had bad feelings about the chaotic traffic on North Flint Avenue during school drop-off. Now those concerns appear to have been very warranted.

Less than two months into the school season, a young student walking to class was injured by an auto user as she crossed the street in front of Harriet Tubman Middle School yesterday morning.

Several readers contacted us about the collision and we were eventually forwarded this email from the school’s principal, Natasha Butler:

Dear Harriet Tubman Families,

I wanted to inform you that one of our students was involved in a car accident this morning. She was crossing the intersection of Flint and Russell with her brother when she was struck by a car. The student’s family was informed, and after her mother arrived at the scene, she was taken by ambulance to a hospital. The student suffered some scratches, but was talking and coherent.

Police were at the scene and took a report. The driver of the car was not speeding and was not on a cell phone, and no charges will be filed. If your child witnessed or has knowledge of this accident and is in need of support, please contact our School Counselor, Ms. Drew.

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Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Christopher Burley confirmed the collision with us today, saying the girl was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment of her injuries. “The girl was in the crosswalk at the time of the crash according to witnesses,” Sgt. Burley shared, “At this time there have been no citations or arrest.”

One school parent who emailed me about this collision said, “There have been a lot of concerns from families about walking to [school].”

Another source who contacted me about this said he thinks, “They should ban cars on that street in the morning and afternoon.”

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

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