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Weekend Event Guide: Fat Bike Fest, Lake O loop, Kidical Mass, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 08:34

Get out there and enjoy the blooms.
(Photo: J. Maus)

The Weekend Event Guide is sponsored by Abus Bike Locks. Thanks Abus!

Spring is definitely in the air. And in the bike paths. We’re here to make sure everyone finds a good group of folks to enjoy it all with.

This week’s guide includes a special plug for the Cannon Beach Fat Bike Festival, a chance to meet and shop with Randi Jo Fabrications, and even a Lake Oswego loop.

Whatever you end up doing, we hope you have fun doing it…


All Weekend

*BP PICK!* ~ Cannon Beach Fat Bike Festival
Don’t miss the great opportunity to ride fat bikes on the beach and get to know Cannon Beach — Portland’s closest coastal destination. Just $12 for a weekend pass, the Fat Bike Festival will offer a sunset ride and brew pub party, poker ride with great prizes, and a special celebration of Earth Day where you can pick up trash on the beach by bike. They’ll even let you ride one of their fat bikes if you don’t have one. For registration and more info, check out BikeCannonBeach.com.

Friday, April 20th

Low Pressure Women’s Mountain Biking Kickoff Party – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at River City Bicycles
River City Bicycles has put together a great series of clinics, rides, and social events aimed at getting more women and girls mountain biking. This LGBTQ+ friendly kickoff party will feature great people, wine tasting, appetizers (healthy of course!), discounted shopping and more. (Watch the BP Front Page for more about this great new initiative.) More info here.

Saturday, April 21st

POC Bike Safety Clinic & Season Warm-up Ride – 9:30 am to 11:00 am
It’s time to make sure your bike is in tip-top shape. Learn the basics of bike repair and then do a short ride at this event open to people of color of any gender expression. More info here.

Pizza Week Ride NE
It’s Pizza Week in Portland — that means $2 slices! Meet some friends on bikes and crawl through a list of great local spots in northeast. Bring cash! More info here.

Randi Jo Fabrications Trunk Show – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Rivelo
Randi and Eric from Randi Jo Fab are bringing their goods to Rivelo. This dynamic maker duo from rural Elkton (on the Umpqua River in central Oregon) will have their handmade bike apparel and accessories for sale — and there will be coffee Elk Claws to nibble on. More info here.

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Lake Oswego Lake Loop and Then Some – 9:30 am at Westlake Park in Lake Oswego
Join Portland Wheelmen Touring Club ride leader Ashley Reynolds for this 20-mile ride that will include gorgeous views, a solid climb and a stop for coffee at Chucks on B Street. More info here.

NWTA Ladies’ Social Ride – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at Alsea Falls Trail System
Get out of town and sample the fun MTB trails at Alsea Falls (just north of Eugene in the Coast Range). Show up early and take part in trail work with local MTB advocacy groups. This is a great chance to meet other riders and discover Alsea trails. More info here.

Kidical Mass Earth Day Ride – 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm at Alberta Park
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than a bike ride with the wee ones? Expect a short, park-to-park loop on quiet neighborhood greenways. More info here.

Three Speed Adventure – 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm at Rivelo
Join the Society of Three Speeds for a 15-mile jaunt with a mix paved/unpaved sections. Open only to 3, 4, or 5-speed internally geared hub bikes. Take Shawn’s Adventure April challenge! More info here.

Don’t forget! There are many more rides and fun diversions on our calendar.

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

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TyreWiz Launches at Sea Otter

Bike Hugger - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 08:00

Sea Otter is the traditional opening weekend of the North American biking season and where brands launch product. One of the more interesting new products is from Quarq and it’s a real-time tire pressure monitor called TyreWiz.

Just like the system in your car, it reads pressure and reports it to a dashboard. Knowing that bike manufacturers have monitors all over when engineering the next model, I hope we see more of these sensors. Sure, it’s geeky, but I’d like to know what stresses are on my frame; instead of just power.

To TyreWiz and from someone obsessed with that topic, it’s the first-of-its-kind tire pressure sensor for mountain and road bikes. It’s lightweight, durable, and a form factor like the cadence or speed sensors on your bike now.

The accompanying TyreWiz app uses the pressure data to deliver personalized recommendations and pressure alerts. Riders now have access to highly accurate real-time tire pressure data to measure rolling resistance, traction, tire wear, and rider comfort.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhUseS_F6sP/

When I get a demo bike in, part of the review process is how the bike performs at different pressures and on gravel specifically, the perfect pressure is elusive. And, I expect a sensor is far more accurate than pinching the tire.

How it Works

TyreWiz works with tubed or tubeless tires, and even tires with anti-flat sealant. For a Presta valve, just unthread the existing valve core with the included wrench and thread the TyreWiz sensor into the valve stem. The sensor, powered by a CR1632 battery that will last around 300 hours, can be paired quickly with a smartphone or head unit with ANT+ or Bluetooth Low Energy radio capabilities.

TyreWiz costs $199 USD.

Features
  • Designed for road and mountain bike riders.
  • Personalized tire pressure recommendations
    in the smartphone app for iOS and Android.
  • NFC pairing for fast and easy connection by BLE to a phone.
  • Data reported with +/- 2% accuracy at .1 PSI resolution
  •  Broadly compatible with tires that use a removable Presta valve core.
  • Box includes valve core removal tool for installation.
Specs
  • Weight: 10g per sensor for proper wheel balance
  • Wireless Communication: Bluetooth Low Energy, ANT+, NFC
  • Companion App: Android (Jellybean 4.3 or newer), Apple (iOS 9 or newer)
  • Battery Type: CR1632
  • Data Resolution: 0.1 PSI
  • Data Accuracy: +/- 2%
  • Dustproof/Waterproof Rating: IPX7

The post TyreWiz Launches at Sea Otter appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Cannon Beach set to host first-ever Fat Bike Festival

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:54

This could be you!
(Photo: Cannon Beach Fat Bike Festival)

*This post is part of a paid promotional partnership.*

If you’re looking for something fun to do on a bike this weekend, consider the Cannon Beach Fat Bike Festival.

The Oregon Coast is a perfect place to ride a fat bike. And Cannon Beach — just 80 miles west of Portland on Highway 26 — is the closest place to do it.

I first heard about the Cannon Beach Fat Bike Festival from our friend Daniella Crowder at Oregon Rides & Events — who also happen to be the owners of Bike Newport, a shop that won the Adventure Cycling Bicycle Travel Award in 2010. Wanting to get more people on bikes on the coast, Daniella and her crew worked with the Cannon Beach Tourism & Arts Commission on a three-day event full of rides and activities.

The result is the Fat Bike Festival. For just $12, you can get a weekend pass which will get you into: a sunset beach ride and bonfire with “fat bike games and activities” on Friday night, a poker ride and afterparty at a local pub on Saturday, and a fat bike beach clean-up event to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday the 22nd. You’ll have plenty to do on the bike, with lots of time in between to explore Cannon Beach on your own. And you don’t even need a bike because they’ll have free demo bikes to use.

To register and learn more, visit BikeCannonBeach.com.

Special thanks to Oregon Rides & Events for supporting BikePortland with this promotional campaign!

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

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Change brings opportunity to unlock central eastside’s cycling potential

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:09

Times are a changin’ in the central eastside.
(Photo: City of Portland)

If Portland is to ever reach its transportation (and climate change and vision zero) goals, the Central Eastside Industrial District must evolve into a place where more people can safely and efficiently ride bicycles. Bordered by the Willamette River, SE Powell Blvd, 12th Avenue and I-84, this area is often avoided by bicycle riders. But now, after years of work by advocates and City of Portland staff, it appears there are some positive signs of change on the horizon.

“I believe that cyclists are a huge and growing part of the Central Eastside District… That being said, I believe that cars are still a big part of society, and we need some way to deliver goods.”
— Rina Jimmerson, CEIC Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee program manager

When it comes to cycling, this part of the city has long been hamstrung by two key issues: A heavy industrial land-use pattern where big trucks and loading docks dominate, and influential business owners skeptical of anything that might change that. As I’ve grown up around local transportation advocacy circles, I’ve heard stories about how the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC), an association of businesses and landowners, was constantly at loggerheads with the City of Portland and just wanted to be left alone as an “industrial sanctuary”. The only change the CEIC wanted on their streets was more car parking.

But in the past five years, relations between the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the CEIC have begun to thaw.

In 2012 PBOT and the CEIC worked together to on a parking management plan that included a system of permits and metered spaces to better manage demand and existing supply. It also created a revenue stream for the CEIC via a surcharge on the permits. The deal cut between the City of Portland and this business association has led to the creation of the CEIC Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee (TPAC) — the only non-city affiliated group that manages parking revenue.

It’s an odd arrangement for the City to funnel parking revenue to a non-governmental entity that in turn gets to decide how the money is spent. I touched on this tension last month when I reported on an unpublicized meeting between the CEIC and PBOT staff and consultants that was held to gather feedback on the Central City in Motion project.

As parking permit surchanges have increased from $70 per year in 2016, to $210 in 2017, and to $300 this year — the CEIC TPAC’s budget has grown to over $1 million per year. That’s a significant chunk of change. The permit program has been hailed by parking activists; but having pursestrings for transportation projects in such a key part of the city controlled by the CEIC makes PBOT a bit nervous.

The CEIC had always been a “pay to play” organization, with membership fees ranging from $170 to $550 based on company size. That all changed last year when PBOT Director Leah Treat stepped in to urge the group to open up their TPAC meetings to non dues-paying members. There was also much consternation about what the TPAC decided to fund last year.

According to a copy of that budget obtained by BikePortland, the CEIC’s TPAC had $1,477,714 in total funds. After spending $198,000 on staff and expenses, they had $1,255,000 to spend on transportation projects and prgrams. The CEIC’s budget included: a $300,000-a-year program to “clean up” streets where people frequently sleep; $90,000 a year to buy mechanical car elevators and lease them to private landowners in the district to increase the number of private parking spaces; and a $30,000 program to reduce or eliminate the cost of on-street parking for residents of nearby residential neighborhoods.

The one-year budget also included:

  • $250,000 for a rush-hour shuttle service that would move people nine blocks between the Burnside Bridgehead’s new office buildings and parking lots near the Morrison Bridge
  • $127,500 to subsidize TriMet, Streetcar and Biketown passes for employees in the district
  • $125,000 to study the possible benefits of a new parking garage for the district
  • $50,000 a year toward building a new bike-walk bridge across Interstate 84 at or near Northeast 7th Avenue
  • $50,000 a year to help the Portland Streetcar save money to buy new streetcars, reducing the time between cars

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With new leadership at the CEIC, growing pressure on the fast-changing district to become more human-scale, and with PBOT chomping at the bit to deliver on the (fully-funded) Central City in Motion project, some see a golden opportunity to influence the future of this vital part of the central city.

As the CEIC has gained office space and residential units, the pressure to make its streets more welcoming for non-truck traffic has grown. We’ve seen a growth in bicycle trips and bike-related businesses based in the district, and there are signs from the CEIC itself that a warmer embrace of active transportation is in their future.

Next Thursday (4/26) they’ll host their annual CEIC Transportation and Parking Open House event. “It’s the perfect opportunity to meet your neighbors and take part in shaping our Central Eastside community,” reads the event description. Also notable is a shout-out to local bike-related businesses involved in the event like Showers Pass, B-Line Urban Delivery, Portland Pedal Power and Renovo.

Rina Jimmerson.
(Photo: CEIC)

Another positive sign is the recent hire of Rina Jimmerson as the CEIC TPAC Program Manager. Jimmerson is an urban planner and native of Montreal who worked as chief of staff for three mayors and most recently lived in New Delhi, India where she was a translator and teacher. She moved to Portland in 2016 and lives in the central eastside’s Buckman neighborhood. I first spotted her at the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last week and have since followed up via email to learn a bit more about her.

Asked via email how she sees the future of bicycle use in the CEIC, Jimmerson wrote:

“I believe that cyclists are a huge and growing part of the Central Eastside District and all of Portland in the future for so many reasons: people are more and more health conscious, environmentally conscious and the truth is, we would all like to see more people on the streets and out of their cars. That being said, I believe that cars are still a big part of society, and we need some way to deliver goods. Safe routes for all forms of transportation are crucial. After all, the reality is that not everyone can bicycle to work whether it be because of the physical capacities to do so – especially long distance, the temperature, family situations and the list goes on. You will laugh but I have been thinking about importing a Rickshaw from India for myself.”

Unfortunately Jimmerson doesn’t bike in the area herself. “I started to bike in Portland when I first arrived,” she shared, “but I found it too dangerous.” She said she’s carfree and she walks, carpools or takes rideshares. She would be bike, but she’s still used to being separated from auto traffic — a common occurrence on Montreal’s vaunted network of physically protected bikeways.

Jimmerson isn’t the only new face at the CEIC. They have a new executive director (Kate Merrill) and there’s a sense from advocates that a new guard is emerging. With so much growth coming to the district, and with a few doors of opportunity cracked open, the time is now to support fresh perspectives and set the central eastside on a new course. Their next budget is likely to be around $1.5 million. How it gets spent will be decided by whoever shows up.

If you live or work or ride or own a business in the central eastside, please step up and make your voice heard.

CEIC Transportation & Parking Open House
Thursday, April 26th from 4:30 to 7:00 pm
Portland Night Market (100 SE Alder Street)
(More info here)

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

Additional reporting for this story by Michael Andersen.

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Springwater, Esplanade among popular paths that face hurdles in Parks Bureau budget

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 07:58

The mighty Eastbank Esplanade is showing its age and needs a maintenance funding boost.
(Photo: J. Maus)

The Portland Parks & Recreation bureau is bracing for budget cuts that could have a significant impact to marquee paths citywide.

The City Budget Office has recommended a reduction of $2.1 million from the Parks budget. “This level of cuts,” the Bureau said in a blog post last month, “will significantly impact our programs.”

There are two line items in the budget advocates are focusing on: One of them would slash funding for path maintenance; the other would offer a much-needed boost for the beloved Eastbank Esplanade.

Key budget process dates
  • April 30th: Mayor releases budget
  • May 10th: Public hearing at City Hall
  • May 16th: Council action to adopt budget (after more public testimony)

–> More info here

Completed in 2001, the Esplanade is nearing its 20th birthday. The path is a crucial part of the bike network as it provides the safest — and in some cases, most direct — north-south access between the Lloyd Center and the Central Eastside. Parks has requested $500,000 in “one-time” funding from the General Fund and an additional yearly boost of $250,000. Not only do the aging structures need continued scheduled maintenance, but Parks says the impact of illegal camping sites along the path have diverted existing funds from other uses.

Here’s the salient snip from the budget (from Package (PK) 32 on page 32):

Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade Maintenance Reboot – $500,000 General Fund One-Time and $250,000 General Fund Ongoing Addition

For the past few years, there have been an increasing number of homeless camps and illegal structures, as well as more debris piling up in various locations along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. Increased traffic along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade has required maintenance crews to devote more time than usual removing materials from numerous camp sites along the riverbank (Steel Bridge to Hawthorne Bridge), and as a result, neglecting basic park maintenance responsibilities such as horticulture.
One-time funding is requested to fund specific work on maintenance needed on the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. The work would include General Fund one-time support for limited-term staff, installing vandal-proof lighting, staff support to improve landscaping, irrigation, deteriorating walkways, and overall degradation of facilities. Ongoing funding is requested for two Ranger positions to patrol the area and help to reduce vandalism and homelessness activity, and staff to support increased cleanup and maintenance.
Expected Results: The Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade is one the most utilized trails in PP&R’s system. Recent trail counts indicated over 400 users per hour near the Burnside Bridge crossing. This proposal could have significant impact for improving users’ experience as well as an investment towards reducing long-term maintenance needs.

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The Columbia Slough Trail is an absolute gem that could use some maintenance love.

The other item in the budget we’re following is PK 19, the “Regional Trails Service Reduction.” This item would take $52,000 out of the annual Parks budget that’s currently used to do standard upkeep and maintenance on all of our regional paths. Here are the details from the budget:

PK 19 Regional Trails Service Reduction – ($52,000) Ongoing Reduction

This reduction package reduces park maintenance services for all the regional trails:

    • Springwater Trail
    • Columbia Slough Trail
    • Willamette Greenway Trail
    • Waud Bluff Trail
    • Peninsula Crossing Trail
  • Specific reductions and elimination of service include:

    • Closing the parking lot and trailhead restroom at SE 45th/Johnson Creek Boulevard (Springwater)
    • Reducing maintenance activities (litter pick-up), sign replacements and repairs, vegetation pruning and general inspection from four times per month to 1-2 times per month.
    • Reducing repairs of damaged pavement surfaces
    • Eliminating garbage cans along regional trails and in all natural areas
    • Reduction in reporting and cleaning homeless camps
  • Parks says the latest user counts (from Metro) taken in September 2017 show that there are over 30,000 people who walk and roll on these paths. “The regional trails system has been impacted significantly by Portland’s increasing homeless population,” they state in their budget. “This proposal would further limit our ability to maintain the regional trails system and respond to impacts from campers.”

    The good news is we still have a chance to influence the budget. Bureaus have already submitted their budgets and now Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Council members are hearing from the public at a series of hearings. Between now and April 30th, Wheeler will draft his budget. May 10th has been set as a public hearing in City Hall.

    If you rely on these paths and want to keep them safe and smooth, please speak up about these budget items. Use the City Budget Office online comment form and send an email to Mayor Wheeler via his website.

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

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    Event spurs local momentum for participatory budgeting

    Bike Portland - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 15:46

    The event brought in experts to explain how it all works.
    (Photo: Sarah Iannarone)

    This story was written by Portlander Jim Labbe, a co-organizer of the event.

    Last Saturday over 100 people from around the region gathered at the Rosewood Initiative in East Portland for an event that could have significant implications for government budgeting in the region — including the allocation of transportation funds.

    The one day, “Community Forum: Bringing Participatory Budgeting to the Portland Region” brought together diverse community leaders, elected officials, and local government staff to learn about participatory budgeting (PB) and explore its implementation in the region.

    A critical first step is a decision by elected officials to share real power over real money with their constituents.

    Participatory budgeting started in Brazil in the late-1980s and has since spread to over 3,000 municipalities worldwide including dozens in the United States (beginning with a Chicago ward in 2009). In the last 3 years PB has launched in Seattle and Victoria with Vancouver BC and Tacoma planning PB projects for 2018. While PB varies around the world, a common feature is a binding community vote on publically-funded projects brainstormed by the community and developed by volunteer budget delegates working with local government staff.

    A critical first step is a decision by elected officials to share real power over real money with their constituents.

    Until recently, no elected official had suggested trying PB in Oregon. But in a March 2016 mayoral debate, then candidate Ted Wheeler, proposed bringing “New York City’s style” of participatory budgeting to Portland. The proposal barely got notice at the time. But in early 2017 a small group of people from Portland and Gresham began an organizing effort that led to Saturday’s event.

    During the morning session, Forum participants heard from five guest speakers.

    • Boise State University professor and researcher Brian Wampler introduced PB and provided a global and historical perspective on its spread.
    • Seattle Youth Commissioners Becky Scurlock and Jess Juanich shared stories and inspiration from a $700,000 youth-based PB process called Youth Voice, Youth Choice launched in 2015.
    • Seattle Department of Neighborhoods staff Amy Nguyen presented information on Seattle’s subsequent “Your Voice, Your Choice – Parks & Streets” PB process which, in its second year, will allow residents to directly allocate $3 million in park and street capital improvements this year.
    • Greensboro North Carolina City Councilor Jamal Fox shared the experience of Greensboro and provided the perspective of an elected official who successfully championed the first PB process in the South.

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    (Photo: Robin Teater)

    Over lunch and into the afternoon, Forum participants broke into groups to share ideas and deliberate on bringing PB to the Portland region. Afternoon conversation groups covered numerous topics including, “Equity in PB design & outreach,” “PB in Schools/for Youth,” “PB for Parks & Greenspaces,” and “PB for Transportation Funds.”

    “I’m curious how devolving some funding decisions to the community level might shift transportation resources toward smaller, more diffuse and human scale projects that improve safety and mobility for the many — rather than mega-projects heavily promoted by a few and influential parties.”
    — Jeff Mandel

    North Portland resident Jeff Mandel attended with a particular interest in how this new way of allocating resources might be applied to transportation funding. Asked about his involvement, Mandel said, “I’m curious how devolving some funding decisions to the community level might shift transportation resources toward smaller, more diffuse and human scale projects that improve safety and mobility for the many — rather than mega-projects heavily promoted by a few and influential parties.”

    And Sarah Iannarone, a former candidate for Portland mayor, was also there. “Budgets are the cornerstones of democratic policymaking, yet their processes are often confusing and exclusionary, informed as much by backroom dealing as public input,” she shared with BikePortland via email today. “I could see us piloting the process in a major transportation project/bond measure or even using it to develop a robust regional mobility equity plan including everything from decongestion pricing to town center parking policies. We have the techniques for civic engagement and the technology to support us, all we really lack is the political will.”

    The afternoon also included real-time voting on how and where to first bring participatory budgeting to the region. Participants favored starting participatory budgeting with students or youth and using available discretionary funds at the neighborhood or city-level. Most favored goals related to equity and social justice as well as making public participation more meaningful and accessible to foster new leaders.

    Groups with representatives at the event included: OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Audubon Portland, Pueblo Unido PDX , Unite Oregon, the Rosewood Initiative, Gresham Coalition of Neighborhoods, and other neighborhood and community advocacy groups. Government staff and elected officials attended from a variety of local jurisdictions and individual bureaus including Metro, City of Portland, TriMet, Prosper Portland, Metro, Multnomah County, City of Wilsonville, City of Milwaukie, and Rockwood Water PUD, among others.

    The forum was organized by volunteers, hosted by local-nonprofits Healthy Democracy and the Rosewood Initiative, and funded by the City of Portland, Oregon Community Foundation, City of Gresham, Metro and Multnomah County.

    If you’re interested in next steps and want to learn more, visit HealthyDemocracy.org.

    — Jim Labbe

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    Consultants to ODOT in 2014: Widen the bike lanes on SE 26th at Powell

    Bike Portland - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:40

    Cover of 2014 report.
    download PDF

    The Oregon Department of Transportation is so convinced that the bike lanes on Southeast 26th Avenue are dangerous for bicycle riders that they’ve ordered the City of Portland to remove them as soon as possible.

    Inexplicably, and despite evidence showing the bike lanes (even at a paltry three-feet wide) make the street safer, ODOT has cited no evidence or best practice standards for their decision. The only rationale offered so far is a concern that the intersection of 26th and Powell is too dangerous for bike riders and a new crossing two blocks east is much safer.

    Everyone agrees the new signal and median at SE 28th (part of the new 20s Bikeway) is indeed much safer. But it’s up a hill and two blocks away. And since when is a safer crossing on one street, reason for the removal of bike infrastructure from another?

    “ODOT’s reasons are a mystery to us,” a Portland Bureau of Transportation staffer told me recently.

    Now there’s a new (to us) piece to the puzzle: A “road safety audit” report prepared for ODOT by Kittelson & Associates, Inc. in 2014. The audit (PDF) focused specifically on Powell between 20th and 33rd Avenue — a section with a crash rate over twice as high as the statewide average for similar roads. The stated purpose of the audit was to, “identify potential issues contributing to crashes and suggest treatments for addressing those issues.”

    26th Avenue was one of the intersections that the team of engineers and planners analyzed. Of the 10 specific intersections assessed in the audit, 26th was one of five placed in “Category III”. That’s the highest of the three categories for issues defined as having, “potentially the greatest risk compared to the other observed issues; they are associated with higher exposure, probability, and/or consequence than other issues.”

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    The audit makes is clear that the Powell and 26th intersection needs help. And it’s especially dangerous for bicycle riders. According to the audit, there were five reported crashes involving a bicycle rider in this section of 26th between 2008 and 2013 — and four of them happened at 26th. “The majority of bike crashes involved bicyclists traveling through the intersection (north or south) and a vehicle making a turning movement,” states the audit.

    Of the many recommendations, the report urged ODOT to improve safety at 26th by addressing vehicle turning movements. They suggested prohibiting right turns on red, adjusting signal timing so that drivers don’t get impatient, and they even recommended the use of “leading pedestrian intervals” (LPIs, where the “walk” signal comes on before the main signal turns green). The audit also recommended an “expanded pedestrian landing area” on all the corners to “discourage pedestrians (e.g., students at Cleveland High School) from standing in the roadway.”

    When it came to the now infamous bike lanes on 26th, the audit recommended either tearing them out or — surprisingly — widening them.

    Concept drawing for wider bike lanes on 26th at Powell by Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

    As part of “system-wide suggestions for lack of protection for bike crossings,” the audit recommended, “installing bike lanes on cross-streets heavily traveled by bicyclists (21st Avenue, 26th Avenue (wider)…”

    Here’s more:

    “Consider the following two options to accommodate bikes crossing Powell Boulevard: Widen both sides by removing the landscape strip and moving the bus stop to accommodate wider bike lanes on both sides.”

    Of course, the audit also recommended removing the bike lanes and replacing them with a new crossing further east on Powell. The latter part of that recommendation has occurred. Thankfully, the former hasn’t. At least not yet.

    When asked to comment on Kittelson’s recommendation to widen the bike lanes, ODOT spokesperson Don Hamilton told me today that, “Nothing has changed since our previous conversations.”

    As for the removal of the bike lanes? “Additional conversations are under way,” he said.

    Hamilton’s reply jibes with what I’ve heard from another source close to the “additional conversations.” I’ll share more when I hear it, but for now it appears that the bike lanes just might survive. Whether or not they’ll ever be widened however, remains to be seen.

    For a comprehensive look at how Powell is dangerous by design, check out the audit for yourself.

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

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    Here’s why more Portlanders don’t bike with their kids

    Bike Portland - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:59

    Barbara and Ken Stedman’s 5-year-old daughter Helena opts for the sidewalk on SW Terwilliger.
    (Photo: J. Maus)

    A few weeks ago I wanted to know what prevents you from biking with your young children. I got a lot of feedback. Several themes emerged, the most prevalent of which, surprised me.

    Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

    ➤ Read past entries here.

    Strangely enough, one of the comments that stuck with me most was left by reader John Liu on a subsequent post. He wrote:

    Rule 1: no matter the topic of the post, the comments are always about infrastructure.

    I’d been lulled into complacency by the comparative awesomeness (compared to most the rest of the US, that is) of Portland’s bike infrastructure. I figured everyone was making-do and appreciative of what we have here, despite the obvious shortcomings. But apparently that’s my new-in-town, still-fresh-faced-and-rosy-cheeked bias showing. Turns out many of you are worried about infrastructure that does not make streets safe enough for you and your family.

    But that’s not the only thing we heard. Here’s what else weighs on the minds of moms, dads, and the caregivers of Portland (as culled from our blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts)…

    Infrastructure

    My kids have yet to bike on Williams.
    (Photo: Madi Carlson)

    Here are two snippets of a comment from Clint Culpepper that particularly spoke to me:

    The gaps in our network appear magically once a kid is with you…He’s physically capable of riding the distance to and from his preschool but downtown is a no-go.

    A lot of people shared that like me, they make changes to their bike routes to make them safe for kids, but there are some places that simply don’t allow for that.

    From johnny burrell:

    It comes down to safety. The bike lanes around town are OK for me, but with my 2 kids it’s too hard to find safe routes. The city has grown and NE PDX has become incredibly dense, but our bicycle infrastructure hasn’t grown to keep up. A perfect example is Vancouver/Williams. Very few kids ride bikes on two of Portland’s main cycling thoroughfares because it simply isn’t safe.

    Too true! The thing I like about paint-buffered bike lanes is at least the right amount of space has been allocated to bikes and adding a real barrier should be that much easier. Car parking and bike lane would need their positions swapped, but there’d be no loss of parking spots (not that I think a loss of parking spots is a bad thing, but I’m biased).

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    Nice gear helps, but wet and cold weather is still a drag.
    (Photo: J. Maus)

    From Tad Reeves via Twitter:

    For me, it’s mostly weather. We have a WeeHoo and a Burley Honey Bee for the little one and bikes for the biggers. But rain pants are spensive as hell, esp when you have to get them for growing kids.

    and from “just one skip remount”:

    The rain is the only thing that holds my fam back. Not the traffic, the hills or the infrastructure. Just that rain. Without shame, I look forward to the sun shine!

    As a native Southern Californian, I find Pacific Northwesterners to be amazingly hardy! But even so, I’m not alone in saying I’d much rather bike in nice weather than bad, and I would never fault anyone for complaining about (or avoiding completely) biking in the rain. The happier the kid(s), the happier the commute, the happier the parent. And it’s not as easy to keep kids — especially in passenger form — happy in the rain. Passengers are going to notice uncomfortable rain in their faces more than pedalers and they get cold much more easily. And as Tad mentions above, rain pants aren’t cheap.

    Theft/space

    From Anna:

    …our apartment is small so we’d have to store it outside and there have been thefts from the racks in our area.

    I don’t enjoy carrying a regular size and weight bike inside my house, but a family bike is just about impossible for me to maneuver anywhere tricky. Bikes take up space (I have no furniture in my living room so our bikes can live inside) and if they’re not easy to get to, we’re much less likely to use them. Locking bikes outside makes them easy to access but prone to theft. The theft of any bike is heartbreaking, but when it’s bike designed or modified to carry kids, it’s especially so. As for commenter Anna, fortunately she lives downtown without a car and can walk and take transit most places.

    Judgment

    From Hau:

    When I talk to other parents, many cannot get past the fact that I bike with my kids in Portland when they perceive it’s not safe to bike with kids. The judgment and fear is real!

    Ugh, the judgment of other parents!

    I feel more exposed to judgment on my bike than I do to danger… I can’t roll up the car windows to hide from public scrutiny.

    Impossible to ignore and easy to imagine even when nothing is said aloud. I feel more exposed to judgment on my bike than I do to danger. Once a woman in a minivan rolled down her window and drove beside me (I was in a bike lane with a one-foot, paint-only buffer) to tell one of my kids to stop hitting his brother. She drove alongside me for one long block, her attention on us rather than the road in front of her. I didn’t think she was going to accidentally run us over, but I was horrified at her lack of attention to driving. I didn’t feel safe to say this to her, though. Not because I didn’t want to cross a person operating a machine that could so easily crush us, but because she was so oblivious to her dangerous behavior I knew it wouldn’t register.

    On my bike I feel obligated to narrate every little tantrum in cheery sing-song, “I hear that you’re hungry/I am, too!/We’ll be home in five minutes/We’ll eat some stew!” or “Why don’t we give a name to that worm you had to leave at the park? And we’ll go visit him again tomorrow,” lest anyone think the wailing is because of the biking and because I can’t roll up the car windows to hide from public scrutiny.

    As more and more of us take to biking for transportation with kids, it will become more commonplace and less alarming for our car-bound peers. I doubt the same (and appropriate) fear will ever be cast upon putting precious kids into cars so I make a point of never arguing back with data, but focus only on the fun of biking with kids and how safe it feels to me.

    Time

    From Jami:

    Time. I drop kids off at two different schools in Southeast and work downtown. Even employers who say they’re flexible and you can totally work from home if you need to: no. So the extra twenty minutes in the morning and evening make a difference.

    Yep! In dense areas with adequate bike infrastructure, biking will always be faster than driving, but spread things out and that’s not the case. There are flexible workplaces out there and I’d like to think the tide is turning as I hear about companies offering compensation for walking, biking, and taking transit. This is another area in which I hope Portland will change exponentially and spur other cities to do the same.

    ED’s comment hits on time as well as a bunch of other themes:

    Honestly, it’s mostly momentum that keeps us from biking — it’s relatively easy to keep doing the same thing, which is driving. I gotta say it’s darn convenient having a warm, dry car that can quickly get us where we need to go, and quickly get us back home if an outing goes to pieces, and that we don’t need extra gear or clothing for.

    Price

    This bike was an investment I was happy to make, but a big investment nonetheless.
    (Photo: Madi Carlson)

    Also from ED’s comment:

    Partly it’s steep learning curve and costs just for the first ride: we’d need to upgrade our bikes and/or buy a trailer for her, which seems like a big investment. I’m not sure how much biking would replace walking or driving for us.

    I’m so impressed with families who trade minivan for cargo bike in the blink of an eye with no practice run. My transition to car-free was sooooooo slow and I didn’t invest in a cargo bike until we’d more than outgrown my little city bike with two kid seats. There are cheaper options out there, but even they are an investment and finding used items can require a lot of time for auction watching or the slow process of assembling all the necessary pieces gradually.

    Gear that fits

    Sara Davidson has been the Director of Kidical Mass for a long time (now Co-Director as I’ve joined leadership) and commented about gear:

    I (obviously) have been a family biker for a long time, but on my own, I rarely do it anymore. Between an older kid who has an early school pickup, and younger one who really needs her naps at home, and series of longtail bikes that never quite fit, I’m mostly out. We take the whole family out on my husband’s long tail, but that’s a rarity in the cooler months.

    I’m hardly a giant at 5’5″ but I’m tall enough that I can ride the smallest cargo bikes and have long realized that friends shorter than me were out of luck. Fortunately there are some cargo bikes that fit shorter people now, and in cities like Portland they’re even available at bike shops for test rides, but it’s still a lot harder for people not in the regular height range to find bikes.

    Suggestions for improvement

    I love that some readers included specific suggestions on what would make things better!

    From maxD:

    One of the biggest improvements PBOT could make is to complete the bike lanes on Skidmore between Michigan and 7th. This would connect destinations on North Killingsworth, Interstate, Mississippi, Williams, MLK and Alberta with a direct route that safely crosses I-5, Williams and MLK and provides dedicated space for bikes. The protected bike lanes on Skidmore from Interstate to Michigan are great- they are easy to use, they don’t rely on ambiguous rules or complicated routes; they just need to be extended. The alternative route, Going Greenway west of 7th, is the perfect example of what does not work for a kid. The route is literally incomprehensible (by me, at least), the crossing are super sketchy, and you wind up getting bullied by cars because you don’t have a dedicated space to ride/not enough sharrows and no stop bars.

    And from Rider:

    Diverters on every neighborhood greenway every four blocks are desperately needed.

    I’ve heard this metric once before and I like it!

    Are some of these barriers things you’ve overcome and can give advice about? These barriers all affect me to a certain extent. Weather, time, and infrastructure keep us close to home; but I expect our range will increase as the days lengthen — provided I can find safe routes. I predict I’ll discover a bunch of horrible gaps I hadn’t noticed when biking alone.

    I agree that a lot needs to change to make our roads safer for everyone and I absolutely love the tireless work of advocacy groups like BikeLoudPDX and programs run by The Street Trust. Portland is definitely not resting on its laurels and I’m overjoyed to live in a city I think will continue to improve and inspire cities around the world.

    Thanks for reading. 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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    The Story of Marshall “Major” Taylor

    Bike Hugger - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:01

    Sure, the campaign is selling Hennessy, but still a great story and one that’s under told.

    By 1901, Major Taylor was considered the greatest athlete in the world and was the first African American world champion in any sport. Major Taylor was one of the most renowned track cyclists of his time—and arguably one of the most celebrated athletes in history.

    His story is known to cyclists and in the Seattle area, the Major Taylor Project empowers youth from diverse communities through bicycling. In MTP after-school clubs, students establish healthy habits, build relationships, gain confidence and discover their ability to affect positive change. I’ve met the organizers and youth involved and it’s a great organization.

    Hennessy is celebrating Taylor in its latest Wild Rabbit campaign, created in partnership with agency Droga5. The connection to the brand is “Personalities that exudes a drive, a determination and an ongoing quest to break down barriers.”

    In his own words, Major Tayler said

    I was a pioneer. And therefore, had to blaze my own trail.

    The campaign, running now, includes a 90-second, 60-second and 30-second cut of the ad, as well as shorter 15-second spots. They are dark, edgy, and morph into a vortex where Taylor faces his toughest adversary.

    Shot in Ukraine, an unnamed cyclists stars as Taylor and according to Adweek, “The cyclist raced flat-out for four days straight in these awe-inspiring settings. He was so inspired that he raced from dawn to dusk to make certain that he did justice to Taylor’s story.”

    I watched all the spots, they’re inspiring and a good way to memorialize a legend in cycling. And, hopefully encourage you to get involved with advocacy like the Major Taylor Project and get youth involved in a sport we hold dear.

    Besides these films, Hennessy is honoring Major Taylor with an ESPN documentary, a statue, and a cycling apparel line.

    Watch the making of below.

     

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    Mayor Durkan is right, we do need a ‘reset’ on Move Seattle

    Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:10

    This Move Seattle map shows the clear focus on transit, biking, walking and maintenance that voters approved in 2015. Seattle’s leaders need to get back to this vision.

    As regular readers of Seattle Bike Blog know, I have been on family leave since late January following the early birth of my daughter. So unlike the daily news regimen I have reported since 2010, I have not had the bandwidth to post about some major local transportation stories as they have happened. It’s been hard to follow the news and not be a part of it.

    But maybe taking a step back and looking at the big picture around Seattle transportation would be helpful right now. Mayor Jenny Durkan and Interim SDOT Director Goran Sparrman are calling for a “reset” of Move Seattle to recognize the likelihood of less Federal funding than was assumed under the levy proposal.

    I agree that we need a Move Seattle reset, though not in the form of big cuts targeting walking, biking, transit and safety projects as has been the pattern so far under Mayor Durkan. Since passage of the levy, our city’s transportation actions have drifted far off course from the transit, walking, biking, safety and maintenance mission voters approved in 2015. What we’re doing now is not working. Our city needs strong leaders with a creative vision to figure out how to get the job done even if the Feds don’t come through as originally hoped.

    But a reset should not mean abandoning the extensive walking, biking and transit master plans that took years to develop, were approved by City Council, and were funded by the voters. Nor should it mean abandoning the city’s Vision Zero plan or the multi-agency One Center City plan for downtown. It may be true that the methods for accomplishing the goals in these plans needs to evolve — either due to funding or because there are better ideas — and that’s where the mayor can step in and be a strong leader.

    The Move Seattle levy may be the most ambitious local transportation funding package voters have passed in any U.S. city. $930 million over nine years, and almost all the funding was earmarked for transit, walking, biking and maintenance of existing assets. To pass a levy of this scale with very little funding for new or expanded roads and highways marked a big shift in the city’s transportation vision. The voters were clear in November 2015 that they believe walking, biking and transit are the future in Seattle, and they are willing to pay hard-earned cash for it. City leaders must deliver what the people of Seattle are paying for.

    The proposed annual levy budget from this Move Seattle levy PDF.


    But since the levy passed, our (many) mayors and SDOT leaders have lost that vision. With the Center City Streetcar now paused, the biggest levy project funded so far is the Lander Street Overpass, a cars and freight project located just blocks from Sodo Station that prioritizes extra traffic lanes over walking and biking. This project is the closest thing to a new or expanded road in the whole levy, and it got expedited years early and was given a pass by SDOT staff and city leaders despite concerns that it is missing both a bike lane and a sidewalk on its south side. This project as designed does not resemble the goals and vision of Move Seattle, yet it has been fast-tracked while transit, biking and walking projects are delayed.

    Another early major Move Seattle investment was the so-called “intelligent transportation systems program” on Mercer Street that has slowed buses and people biking on cross-street routes and caused serious harm to walking mobility and safety in South Lake Union and Uptown. By reprogramming signals to take time away from cross-streets and people walking, this project has stolen mobility from people outside of cars in a futile effort to make driving on Mercer a little less terrible. This project represents the exact opposite of the Move Seattle vision voters approved in 2015 (we need a leader who will identify this failure and dedicate funding budgeted for future ITS projects to fully redo the Mercer signals to prioritize walking).

    Meanwhile, mayoral and SDOT leaders have cut or seriously delayed the bold promises about a downtown bike network and rapid bus upgrades that inspired voters. The levy was sold with images of truly multimodal streets like this one:

    Image from an early Madison Bus Rapid Transit concept.

    We were supposed to reprioritize streets all over the city with walking, biking and transit in mind. The map at the top of this post shows safety projects at every public school, a safe and comfortable bike network downtown and across the city, and “multimodal corridor projects” along major commercial streets in every neighborhood. This is what people voted for.

    Yet so far, cars-first projects are moving forward while many walking, biking and transit projects get delayed, cut or watered down beyond recognition. SDOT staff behind many of the multimodal corridor projects in planning so far (Madison, Delridge, Rainier) have been pitting transit against bikes in a cynical ploy to cut bike lanes while still appearing to have tried. Car parking was deemed more important than bike lanes on a Rainier Ave safety project from Columbia City to Rainier Beach. Many of the city’s neighborhood greenways are uselessly windy or hilly, and two of them (Delridge and Central Seattle) even have staircases that make them literally unbikeable (that’s right, they are unbikeable bike routes). The 24th Ave so-called “Vision Zero” project has cut essentially all the safety and transit improvements despite finding a significant history of collisions on that street. The Fauntleroy Boulevard project, which would make big biking and walking improvements to the entrance to the Junction, has been effectively cancelled. And the final phase of a safety project on 35th Ave SW has been cancelled after an initial phase effectively eliminated serious injury and fatal collisions on the street. Phase 1 has quite possibly saved lives and prevented a half dozen or so serious injuries, but city leaders are apparently not in the mood to save even more people from “I-35” traffic collisions.

    The sum of all of this is pretty demoralizing, especially all the cuts to safety projects. For a visual of how far behind the city is on its downtown bike lane promises, for example, the Spring 2015 update of the city’s bike facilities construction plan foresaw this for central Seattle by the end of 2018:

    Blue=Protected bike lane, Green=Neighborhood Greenway, Orange=Painted bike lane. Thick lines are 2018 projects, thin lines are projects completed in previous years.

    In this plan, 4th Ave already has a bike lane, Pike and Pine bike lanes already stretch from Pike Place Market to Broadway, and there are already connections to south end bike routes. But in reality, there are zero quality connections to the south end, the Pike/Pine bike lanes downtown are very short and essentially nonfunctional in places, and Mayor Durkan recently announced that she will delay the 4th Ave bike lane into the next decade.

    Basically, the city is about two years behind on a downtown plan it created three years ago when it was seeking voter support for Move Seattle. After winning that support, the city bailed on those promises citing the need for yet another plan: One Center City. We argued hard against that delay, and people even protested at City Hall, but the mayor’s office was insistent that the bike network would get back on track once the One Center City process recommended them. And now that One Center City has recommended bike lanes again, Mayor Durkan has signaled that she is going to bail on those promises anyway.

    The political cost of bailing is immense. There is a huge amount of positive energy in this city ready to back bold changes to the way our streets work, but further delays and cuts to major commitments are alienating these would-be supporters. Without prompt action to show that Mayor Durkan is serious about building a downtown bike network, people are going to harden into political enemies. Mayor Durkan’s term may still be young, but the work for these downtown bike lanes has been dragging on for three years.

    Shortly after announcing that she would delay the 4th Ave and Pike/Pine bike lanes into the early 2020s, Mayor Durkan announced a congestion pricing plan for downtown. This is a massive proposal, the kind of idea that could revolutionize transportation and the streetscape in Seattle forever if done right and equitably. But the groundswell of community support such a proposal would need to make it through the strong and expected backlash was still reeling from the betrayal of watching years of promises broken. The result is a mayor flapping in the wind, vowing to toll everyone who drives into her city with few people to back her up and cheer her on.

    Without strong and organized community support behind her touting the benefits of such a system (less congestion, more funding for better transit and safer streets, more options for car-free streets, etc), her plan is doomed, and she will lose credibility as a transportation leader.

    But it doesn’t have to be this way.

    It is still very early in Mayor Durkan’s term, and she has plenty of time to turn things around. A Move Seattle “reset” could be a great way to frame that effort. So far that reset seems to mostly mean cancelling or delaying biking, walking and transit projects, which is troubling. Because in order to build the support she needs to make transportation or climate change progress, Mayor Durkan needs to rebuild a coalition of walking, biking and transit supporters like the one that passed the Move Seattle levy.

    People need to see that Mayor Durkan is serious about taking action on the big transportation plans the people of Seattle have painstakingly developed and funded over the past half decade. People also need to know that the resources behind any projects cut or delayed are being reinvested in an equal or better way. And those reinvestments need to happen on the same timetable so we don’t fall further behind on our goals. In order to inspire transportation supporters, she needs to do something inspiring. (Here’s one idea.)

    There is an enormous amount of potential for Seattle to be a national leader in the shift to more sustainable, efficient, equitable and healthy transportation during Mayor Durkan’s term. The city has the plans and the funding. The mayor should be cutting ribbons, not bike lanes.

     

    Someone defaced dozens of “20 is Plenty” signs in north Portland

    Bike Portland - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:41

    Yikes.
    (Photo via Nextdoor)

    Simmering tensions about dangerous drivers who cut-through north Portland’s Arbor Lodge neighborhood have reached a new level.

    According to a post and photo on Nextdoor, someone defaced around 40 of those orange, “20 is Plenty – Vision Zero Portland” signs on Saturday night.

    Here’s the original post:

    Has an anti “20 is plenty” backlash begun?

    Last night somebody removed or spray painted over all the “20 is plenty” signs from Villard and Rosa Parks through Willamette and Greeley. That was probably about 40 signs.

    Who are these midnight marauders?

    What are their demands?

    Are they the beginnings of some sort of “pro cut-through” resistance group?

    All of us living on these residential side streets, especially the small children, seniors, and those with pets are ready to hear you out.

    The Portland Bureau of Transportation has been handing out the signs for over two months now at numerous events throughout the city. They are part of an effort to change the culture around speeding.

    The response to the free signs has been so positive that PBOT is now limits how many people can take. I’ve seen residents in neighborhoods from Lents to Linnton blanket their yards and streets in an effort to get people to slow down.

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    Villard is a quiet, tree-lined street. Why on earth would anyone be against lower speeds here?

    In Arbor Lodge, North Villard Avenue is a flashpoint in the battle against cut-through commuters. The north-south street is very popular for people trying to avoid traffic on Greeley and I-5. According to Nextdoor post, signs were vandalized along the entire cut-through route.

    Back in October, I attended a meeting of Arbor Lodge residents who came together with their neighbors in Overlook to coordinate efforts at improving street safety. Cut-through traffic was the hottest topic and Villard Ave. was the most often cited location of speedy short-cutters.

    Residents and activists want the City to install median and diversion measures to keep drivers out of their neighborhoods. This act of vandalism will likely only strengthen their resolve.

    Here are some of the responses to the Nextdoor post:

    The incessant reckless speeding in Arbor Lodge is mind boggling considering the amount of children and families on the streets here. PBOT, BDS & Portland PD don’t seem to mind mind the fact that people cruise well over the 30mph limit on Greeley, Rosa Parks and Willamette. These are residential streets as well that need speed mitigation. Unfortunately It’ll probably take more pedestrian deaths to get attention, if at all.

    Perhaps it is an unhappy resident who have already had to give up their parking space close to home, and now this. Sometimes we get knee jerk reactions instead of real action and this is their way of showing anger. Hopefully, whoever did this will think twice the next time, as the sign is there for a purpose and it is to protect our babies, families and pets.

    It wasn’t me, but I bet most of the people that put those signs in the yard go more than 20 mph. I have consciously tried driving around N Portland going 20 mph and it is too slow. I’m not driving like a maniac, but I don’t see why 25 is such a big deal.

    For the past few years, PBOT has slowly but surely ratcheted up their war on speeding. It’s essential work. And the fact that someone reacts to it like this, shows that it’s having the desired response. That is, we can’t expect significant culture change to happen without some people getting uncomfortable.

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

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    The Monday Roundup: The scofflaw truth, disengaged drivers, traffic law sanctuary, and more

    Bike Portland - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 08:36

    This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by the Cannon Beach Fat Bike Festival (4/20 – 4/22) — three affordable days of rides and fun activities on the Oregon Coast!

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

    When Uber says Jump: How high can Uber go in becoming a truly “multimodal” company? Their acquisition of Jump is a validation of urban biking and bike share.

    The Holy Grail: Now Uber is said to be developing an app that integrates all urban mobility options — including bike share and public transit.

    Disengaged drivers: This Bloomberg article touches on one of my biggest concerns about the wave of “driver-assist” and autonomous technologies: Carmakers are incentivizing lazy driving habits way before the cars are smart enough to drive themselves safely.

    Transit and the working class: A good recap from Metro about how regional transportation investments should prioritize the link between transit and affordable housing because it’s a “working class issue.”

    Why scoff at laws: Bike Snob NYC speaks some important truths about the “scofflaw bicyclist” narrative in his explainer on why bike riders often break traffic laws.

    Chaos in L.A.: A man who was in a South Central street during at a vigil to mourn the death of his friend killed while biking, it-run-driver-in-south-la-during-vigil-speaks-out/3335616/”>was then struck himself by an angry auto user.

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    Sanctuary!: A Staten Island, New York resident with enough power to get attention on an op-ed thinks his borough should be completely immune to traffic law enforcement — “beginning with that ridiculously low 25 mph city speed limit.”

    Oregon decongestion pricing: ODOT’s tolling plan is coming into focus. Read the latest via this article in The Oregonian.

    No train, no problem: People in New York City are prepping for an upcoming shutdown of a major commuter train by organizing bike trains.

    “Ingenious” women’s cyclewear: As women flocked to cycling at the end of the 19th century, they invented new types of clothing that did double-duty as functional cyclewear and socially acceptable fashion. I like the long skirt that converts into a cape!

    Women pedal freely: In Saudi Arabia women have only been allowed to ride bikes in public since 2013. Now the government just sanctioned the very first, all-women bike race.

    Paris Roubaix’s unsung hero: At the queen of the Spring Classics, all eyes were on winner Peter Sagan; but did you hear the story about the guy who refused to abandon the race and finished alone in the storied velodrome over one hour later?

    Thanks to everyone who helped us track down these great stories.

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

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    Ladd’s 500 kicks off season of free bike fun

    Bike Portland - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 05:45

    Pedal in the front, party in the back.
    (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

    The Ladd’s 500 is a continuation of a proud Portland legacy: Free fun on in the streets that’s open to all — and with bicycles as the thread stitching everyone together.

    The “third first annual” relay drew a huge crowd to Ladd Circle Park on Saturday, which was the perfect base camp for the day’s activities. What is usually just a sleepy roundabout in a quiet residential neighborhood was enlivened with picnics, BBQ’s (by bike, of course), music, and Portlanders eager to shed winter, embrace a dry day, and enjoy each others’ company.

    David Barstow Robinson founded the event on a simple premise: “It’s spring, let’s do something stupid.”

    This event is completely DIY. It was started on a whim by David Barstow Robinson — who still seems a bit shocked at how many people show up each year. David is an endurance rider (he just returned home from riding about 4,000 km in three weeks at the India Pacific Wheel Race) and veteran of many local bike fun events who might have taken some inspiration from fellow Portlander Merritt Raitt, whose “Circle Century” film went viral in 2013.

    While it’s all about having fun, there was serious business to attend to: 500 laps around the 0.15 mile circle. That’s about 75 miles of incessant left turns. 25 teams with names like Welcome to the Dork Side, Aching Knees, Thunder Thighs, Bigg Boyz, Puddlecycle, Silly Cones, Badgehogs, and Rat Patrol, were up to the task. They kept a running tally of their laps on a big leaderboard in the middle of the circle.

    Erinne Goodell marks down her laps.

    Out on the street there was a dizzying diversity of riders and wheeled vehicles: Like a real-life version of a Richard Scarry book. Some went very fast, others went very slow. One woman donned a turtle shell on her back and happily rode just 3-4 mph. There were people riding skateboards, longboards, fast road bikes, tall bikes, swing bikes, scooters, fixed gears, bike camping bikes, freak bikes, cargo bikes, electric bikes, bikes with trailers, a bike with a piñata and stick to hit it with, a two-person pedal-car, unicycles, and even a ball. Yes, a ball.

    And the riders were just as varied as their machines. A lot of factors come together to make events like this so inclusive. Part of it is the equalizing nature of the circle itself: If someone goes faster than you, a few seconds later they’re behind you. The constant mixing and proximity to friends and other riders — while never feeling “dropped” or too far behind — is empowering and welcoming.

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    BikePortland reader Simon sent us this short and very sweet video that captures the spirit…

    As you might have glimpsed in the video, fourth-grader Penny Poole (daughter of skateboard advocate Cory Poole) stole the show by completing laps on a mix of devices that included a longboard, a unicycle, and — most amazingly — a circus balance ball. Even amidst the chaotic scene, everyone stopped to cheer Penny on as she walked ever-so-carefully backwards atop a ball nearly half her height.

    Penny Poole is a marvel. (That’s her dad Cory behind her.)

    At the end of the day, Penny won “Best in Show” — an award that the organizer said was for “Whoever looks like they’re having the most fun.”

    That award could have been given to almost anyone. Even the neighbors who came out in droves to observe the spectacle looked to be having a good time…

    Despite all the added traffic the event brought to the neighborhood, there wasn’t any official permit or closure. And why would there be? The park and the street is public space. “We are allowed to be in the park, and we are allowed to ride on the road,” reads the official rules. “If anyone feels otherwise, please be judicious in your diplomacy or find someone who is able to do so.”

    What about drivers and their cars? I saw many of them come through. They just slowed down, merged into (the unusually colorful and happy) traffic, and then kept right on going just like any other day.

    People in cars were very well-behaved — likely because they were well out-numbered.

    I know it’s hard to imagine given the dreary and wet week we’re having, but as peak bike fun season approaches, the crazy fun of the Ladd’s 500 will indeed become just like any other day.

    And to that, we say…

    Don’t miss our columnist Madi Carlson’s recap!

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

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    The beautiful new bike parking at Roosevelt High School in north Portland

    Bike Portland - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 14:33

    Purdy isn’t it?
    (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

    Few things warm my heart as much as bike parking done right.

    So imagine my pleasure upon seeing this at Roosevelt High School last night.

    My daughter is a freshman at Roosevelt — a pillar of the St. Johns community founded in 1921 — and we were attended an event there last night. I’ve been watching progress on the major renovation project for the past year and was excited to see the bike parking emerge from the construction zone. They’re just one part of the project that’s included in the $482 million school bond approved by Portland voters in November 2012.

    School bike parking is particularly important to me because it can set the tone for young people at an impressionable age. Treat bikes with respect, my thinking goes, and the students will treat them with respect too.

    And Roosevelt’s new bike racks are very respectful. What’s so good about them?

    ➤ They are located right up in front, so that everyone who uses the main entrance can see them. If people can’t see bike parking, they won’t bike! Visible bike racks also make them much more secure.
    ➤ They are covered. In this town, having a roof over bike parking should be a standard requirement.
    ➤ They are well-spaced and big enough for all types of bikes.
    ➤ They are simple “staples” and not some cutesy art-rack one-offs that don’t work.

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    It seems easy enough, but it’s often done poorly. Take Ockley Green Middle School for instance (photo below). Portland Public Schools was nice enough to give parents the green light to install new bike parking — but the location they approved is very very bad. The nice racks we built are now hidden behind the school and behind a chain-link fence. What a waste!

    The sad placement of a bike parking structure at Ockley Green Middle School.

    PPS and the Bureau of Transportation should make an example out of these racks at Roosevelt and make sure every other high school in the district works to upgrade their parking to the same standard.

    Here are a few more images…

    Took this one to show orientation to the main entrance, which is in the background to the right.

    The only thing missing from the racks are a bunch of bikes. I’m sure those will fill in soon.

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

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    Collision on SE Ankeny at 24th sends bike rider to the hospital

    Bike Portland - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 12:57

    View westbound on Ankeny right before 24th.

    At around 8:30 am this morning a man was biking westbound on Ankeny when he was involved in a collision with someone driving an SUV.

    The report first came from Facebook from someone who says they saw it happen. Here’s the account I was flagged on:

    “Just saw someone in SUV Traveling at around 30 mph roll the stop sign on SE 24th Street and Ankeny (which is a designated bikeway) and hit a guy on a bike. The guy on his bike was headed west on Ankeny and had the right of way ( no stop sign). He was thrown about 15 feet. I called 911 and the ambulance and cops arrived within 5 minutes. The young man on the bike looks like he has a broken leg and wrist. The woman who hit him was sobbing hard as the cop interviewed her. Hitting someone on a bike with your car will mess them up. Please slow down and pay attention in town.”

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    I’ve confirmed the crash with the Portland Police Bureau. Sgt. Christopher Burley said officers responded and spoke with both parties. Here’s his statement:

    “Officers collected the bicyclist and driver’s statements regarding the crash and assisted with an exchange. The bicyclist was transported to an area hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life threatening. No citations have been issued at this time.”

    Ankeny is a very popular neighorhood greenway route. It’s one of our “legacy greenways” that was designated as a cycling priority street back in the 1990s. When Portland Bureau of Transportation re-evaluated the greenway network in 2015, they decided it needed “operational improvements” due to major office and housing growth in the area that has led to more driving and higher driving speeds. In the past few years PBOT has added more diverters and has flipped stop signs on Ankeny so bicycle riders don’t have to stop as much.

    In this case, the witness above says the driver failed to stop prior to the collision (the bike rider didn’t have to stop). Sgt. Burley says the responding officer only exchanged information — something done when police feel the crash would be better left for the insurance companies to deal with. It’s unclear from his statement if an investigation was done (a prerequisite for a citiation), or if the collision will be counted in official Oregon DMV data. I’ve followed up to find out and will update this post when I hear back.

    If you have any information about this crash, please call non-emergency at (503) 823-3333.

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

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    In off-road plan letter, Parks Board supports trails in Forest Park and River View Natural Area

    Bike Portland - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 12:15

    River View was the site of a big protest after cycling was banned in 2015.
    (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

    Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan got a shot in the arm today from an influential city advisory committee.

    The Portland Parks Board expressed strong support for the plan in a letter to Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Project Manager Tom Armstrong. The letter clears the way for Portland City Council to approve the plan — and to push back against those who are using false narratives to oppose it. The Parks Board has dismissed two of the main talking points of people trying to stop the plan: That that off-road cycling is incompatible with nature and that it can’t be done safely in an urban environment.

    The letter (PDF), dated April 11th, comes after the Board received hundreds of public comments and hosted a special meeting on the plan earlier this month.

    Signed by Parks Board Chair Patricia Frobes, the letter outlined a few relatively minor concerns and said the Board is “generally supportive” of the plan because it is, “a good conceptual road map for a city-wide system of off-road cycling.” And that system, Frobes wrote, should include even more places to ride. “Although the ORCMP proposes a good locational mix of bicycle parks,” she wrote, “it proposes no new urban off-road cycling trails on the west side. Further, the ORCMP does not adequately identify opportunities to connect parks to parks, parks to schools and parks to trails.”

    Parks Board Chair Patricia Frobes.
    (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

    The letter expresses concerns that because the plan limits its scope to city-owned properties it, “risks creating isolated, unconnected cycling facilities.”

    More good news for bike advocates is that the Parks Board clearly states that the Off-road Plan is consistent with 2020 Vision for Portland Parks, Portland Parks & Recreation’s Strategic Plan, 5-Year Equity Plan, the Renew Forest Park Initiative — and most importantly — the Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan (FPNRMP). This is key because it will give Mayor Ted Wheeler and his colleagues on city council confidence to support the plan when it comes to City Hall for adoption.

    People who oppose off-road cycling have held up the FPNRMP as a bulwark against bikes. “That document,” wrote Forest Park advocate Marcy Houle in an op-ed against the plan published by the Portland Tribune this week, “is the only thing protecting the wildlife of Forest Park.”

    And in another nod to concerns about the safety of cycling on trails that are likely to come up at city council, the Parks Board says they are, “particularly supportive of the fact that the Plan relies on best management practices and state of the art national standards for trail design and natural resource protection. The best management practices proposed in the ORCMP should be immediately adopted to minimize impacts and optimize safety.”

    Bike advocates at the April 3rd Parks Board meeting.
    (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

    To accomplish all this, the letter says “a variety of partnership programs” will be critical to success of the plan. This will be music to the ears of advocates at NW Trail Alliance who have all but begged Portland Parks to work with them. At the Parks Board meeting they held signs that read: “Let NWTA Help”.

    What did the Parks Board have to say about the old canard that bikes on trails are bad the environment? The letter says the Board has concerns that, “Some potential sites were eliminated… based on an untested assumption that trails would compromise environmental goals.”

    The letter also addressed concerns about equity that were brought up at the April 3rd meeting: “The Plan is the product of a technically well-supported planning process with substantial community involvement and outreach to underserved communities.” (Parks Director Mike Abbaté followed-up with the Board after the meeting to explain the focus on equity during the extensive public outreach process.)

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    One of their main concerns is in some ways a positive one for off-road cycling advocates: The Board worries that the plan lacks a clear funding and implementation plan. Even though the Board itself says building off-road bike trails isn’t a high priority of theirs “given current budget constraints and competing priorities,” the letter states:

    “The Plan does not adequately identify implementation funding sources or priorities or specific outcomes against which progress can be measured. The Board respectfully recommends that the ORCMP Advisory Committee be enlisted to develop implementation priorities and measurable outcomes.. the Plan should require the identification of a reliable funding source for trail maintenance before new trails are constructed.”

    Forest Park and River View

    Maps of Forest Park trail concepts C and D, both of which now have support from the Parks Board.

    These are the two elephants in the room of off-road cycling in Portland. The Parks Board addressed both in their letter.

    Current conditions of Firelane 4.
    (Photo: City of Portland)

    Frobes wrote that the Board believes the plan, “appropriately balances policy direction for cycling trails in Forest Park with the goals of resource protection and conservation.”

    As for what to build in Forest Park, the Board supports both of the plan’s “high priority” concepts: improve Firelane 4 and open it up to cycling, and improve Firelane 1 and build a new bike trail parallel to Highway 30.

    Specifically, Concept C would rebuild Firelane 4 (which is really more of an overgrown trail now) and make it a “contouring trail that follows modern trail building best practices.” The plan says the new trail, “could be designed as a purpose-built off-road cycling trail or as a shared-use trail.” When completed, this new trail would create a three-mile loop with NW Saltzman Road and Leif Erikson Drive. Concept D would make the 2.5 mile Firelane 1 more ridable and build a new trail to connect it to the new Nature Center being built on Highway 30.

    With River View Natural Area (RVNA), the Board was finally able to flex their muscles. Back in 2015 the Board demanded answers from Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz after the two abruptly ended a public process and unilaterally decided to prohibit cycling in the park.

    In their letter, the Board offers support for a shared-use perimeter trail at River View, “as a reasoned and incremental approach to off-road cycling in RVNA.” Going further on an issue that has sparked major controversy due to the unsubstantiated allegation that cycling will have a negative impact on RVNA, the letter states, “The Board believes the recommendation is based on best practices for trail design and management to avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse environmental impacts and restore the ecological health of the site.”

    CORRECTION, 4/14: This post originally identified Tom Armstrong as the director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. That was wrong. He’s a project manager. Susan Anderson is BPS director. We regret the error.

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

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    Red Kite Ronde et Vous

    Bike Hugger - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 11:42

    Ed note: crossposting this from RKP and it’s about an event planned for this October. Save the date for Red Kite Ronde et Vous.

    Bikes. Beer. Great riding. It’s a simple recipe, but one that reliably produces terrific results.

    RKP is going to produce its first event next fall. It will be a gathering of bike makers and bike riders. We’ll look at great bikes, talk to amazing builders and go for two incredible rides.

    The event will take place here in Santa Rosa, October 12, 13 and 14, 2018.

    Among the frame builders who are already committed are Black Cat Bicycles, Hampsten Cycles, and Argonaut Cycles. We’ll be announcing more in the near future.

    Registration will include the two rides, Friday night reception and Saturday night’s event. We will be serving food so you don’t have to leave to have dinner and local beers including Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing Co.

    Saturday’s ride will recreate Sonoma County’s most iconic gravel ride: Old Caz, guided by none other than Mr. Grasshopper himself, Miguel Crawford.

    And serving as our headquarters for the weekend will be our local oasis for cyclists: The Astro Motel.

    A few years back we held a contest to name an event we wanted to produce (but turned out to be just too expensive to do), and the winner to that contest was the Red Kite Rondezvous.

    We’re reviving that, but with a little twist: We are excited to present the Red Kite Ronde et Vous. We hope to see you in October. We will post registration info soon.

    Read what it’s like riding these routes in Issue 21: Drop Bar Playground.

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    Choosing a name for John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park

    Biking Bis - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 09:38
    Is it time to rename the popular bicycle touring trail that crosses most of the state of Washington from Rattlesnake Lake to the Idaho border? The state says its considering changing the name of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail that runs through Iron Horse State Park and is asking the public to weigh in. The John …

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    The Little Things: Bulky storm drain filter bags that obstruct bike lanes

    Bike Portland - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:48

    These bags might have good intentions, but they are bad for bicycling.
    (Photos courtesy readers Steve and Ben)

    The Little Things is a place where we share (relatively) small problems — and little miracles — about biking in Portland. Is there a little thing that makes your ride uncomfortable, annoying, inspiring, or exhilirating? Tell us about it and we’ll consider it for a future column.

    “He slammed into one of these, fell to the ground, and tore open a nasty gash in his elbow that required a number of stitches at the ER.”
    — Steve N.

    We have a precious small amount of high-quality, smooth, clean and dedicated space for cycling. That’s why when people willfully encroach and degrade that space, we feel the need to raise an alarm about it.

    Case in point are these bags we often see placed around storm drains. The drains themselves are often hazards for bicycle riders: They have grooves that can catch tires and they’re often set below-grade — meaning your bike drops down when you go over them. Most people avoid riding over storm drains, even though they often take up a foot or two of what’s already a relatively narrow space for cycling.

    Add these bulky bags — which are often called bio-bags — and you’ve got real hazard.

    The bags are used to manage stormwater runoff and control erosion and they are usually full of hard wood chips.

    Reader Steve N. wrote to us last week after he saw them on NE Multnomah Boulevard in the Lloyd District. “Construction crews have placed some bio-bags directly in the bike lane,” he wrote, “which are challenging to see in daylight and nearly invisible at night, thereby creating a dangerous condition.”

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    Steve was spurred to contact us because his co-worker Ben crashed on these exact type of bags while cycling into downtown via SW 4th Avenue (by way of Barbur). Here’s what happened: “While merging into the traffic lane, he slammed into one of these, fell to the ground, and tore open a nasty gash in his elbow that required a number of stitches at the ER.”

    The image below is where Ben hit the bag. Believe it or not this location (northbound on SW 4th just past the I-405 overpass) is a major gateway into downtown. Making matters worse is the fact that this bike lane is ridiculously narrow at only 3-4 feet wide…

    And here’s the damage to Ben’s arm…

    And the damage to his bike…

    Damage to Ben’s bike.

    Ben said the bag he hit was in the middle of the bike lane. “This could have ended much worse for me,” Ben emailed, “if I had been going a bit faster or if the driver behind me had been less attentive.”

    In Portland, contractors are responsible for taking “erosion control measures” during their projects. The Bureau of Development Services offers detailed guidelines on what types of bags are required and how to install them properly. Unfortunately, it appears as though these bags are completely within those guidelines.

    From Bureau of Development Services guidelines manual for erosion control.


    (Photo: City of Milwaukee)

    There’s another method that uses only fabric (photo, right) and is much less intrusive, but it appears BDS only requires that method for use on a temporary, 24-hour basis.

    Steve and Ben happen to be civil engineers, so they should be good advocates to try and figure out a solution to this problem. They also plan to contact the City of Portland about their experiences. We’ll report back when — or if — they make any progress.



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

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    Jobs of the Week: PCC, Albertina Kerr, Traction Works, LifeCycle Adventures

    Bike Portland - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 07:09

    Four great job opportunities are waiting for you to grab them.

    Learn more about each one via the links below…

    –> Transportation Ambassador – Portland Community College

    –> Professional Bike Mechanic – Albertina Kerr Centers

    –> Full-Time Suspension Technician – Traction Works Suspension Shop

    –> Local Operator/Area Manager – LifeCycle Adventures

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    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 $50 by visiting our Job Listings page.

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

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