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Man nets big haul of nails and screws on a walk across the St. Johns Bridge

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 16:07

Part of the haul. See more below.
(Photo: Imgur via Reddit)

A reader shared a Reddit post with us that underscores the poor conditions bicycle riders face on the St. Johns Bridge.

From leaves in fall and gravel in winter, to nails and illegally parked cars and delivery trucks — it sometimes feels like we face a constant barrage of hazards while biking around Portland.

That being said, it’s nice to know people care enough to take matters into their own hands and clean things up.



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This Redditor bought a magnet, walked the length of the St. Johns Bridge and says he picked up about 100-200 nails, screws and other objects. Just imagine how many flat tires he prevented!

We are grateful for his service. It reminds me of Portland’s bike lane trash hauler Danny Dunn and Bill Stites’ pedal-powered bike lane sweeper we profiled back in November.

Read more about this civic hero over on the Reddit thread, where many people have thanked him for preventing flat tires.

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

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Route Advisory: Sewer work will close Better Naito for one week

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 14:45

The Bureau of Environmental Services needs to do a sewer repair project that will close Better Naito for a week starting next Monday (4/9).

Below is the official notice from BES:

The closure will be in effect 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday. The project is slated to be complete on Friday, April 13. Work crews will not know the extent of damage until they excavate the area under the street and there is a possibility the time frame will be extended.

Environmental Services has determined that a sewer pipe under the road surface is severely deteriorated and at risk of failure. The repair will protect public health and the environment by reducing the possibility of a sewage release to the park and street.

The work zone is centered around a manhole on the west side of Salmon Springs in Waterfront Park. Crews will use the manhole to reach and repair the sewer pipe which extends from the manhole west along SW Salmon Street. The section needing repair is directly under Better Naito.

People traveling along the Better Naito bicycle and pedestrian lane will be detoured to Waterfront Park:

— Northbound travelers will be routed to Waterfront Park at SW Main Street, then along the Waterfront Park trail, and back to Better Naito on SW Yamhill Street.
— Southbound travelers will be routed to Waterfront Park on SW Yamhill Street, then along Waterfront Park, and back to Better Naito at SW Main Street.

People traveling by bicycle on SW Salmon Street will have the option of merging with northbound auto traffic for about a block before returning to Better Naito.

Environmental Services asks all travelers to be patient and use caution, and for people on bicycles to travel slowly and watch out for pedestrians on the Waterfront Park trail.

In related news a two-month closure of a popular section of the Eastbank Esplanade between Hawthorne and Steel Bridges is over! The path is open and the new pavement is nice and smooooth.

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

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PBOT moves forward with I-205 path undercrossing project

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 13:47

Proposed alignment in red. (Graphic: PBOT)

“The sooner this happens, the better. This crossing is currently a major obstacle to even the most dedicated bike commuter.”
— Carl Alviani

At their meeting tomorrow, Portland City Council will formally accept a $1.68 million grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation for the I-205 Undercrossing project.

This project is a key link to several projects in east Portland and will help create access to the bike park at Gateway Green as well existing and future neighborhood greenways, paths, and bikeways. The proposed project will create the first section of the long-awaited Sullivan’s Gulch path. It will build a new path connecting the I-205 path at Gateway Green on the east side of 205 to NE Hancock Drive on the west side of the freeway. The plan is to go under the I-84 westbound on-ramp and use a mix of railroad and vacant ODOT highway right-of-way.

Once complete, this new, 0.4-mile long path will also connect the Tillamook Neighborhood Greenway on the west side of I-205 with the forthcoming Tillamook-Holladay-Oregon-Pacific (T-HOP) Neighborhood Greenway which is scheduled to begin construction this summer. A safer crossing of I-205 will also help connect to PBOT’s Gateway to Opportunity project on the Halsey/Weidler corridor.

The new undercrossing will also provide much-needed access to Gateway Green bike park. Currently, people coming from the west are forced onto the sidewalk of the NE Halsey overpass and then faced with crossing the arterial and riding through large parking lots to get to the I-205 path.



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Current eastbound bike route puts you up on a sidewalk opposing traffic on NE Halsey overpass.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“The sooner this happens, the better,” wrote Carl Alviani in a comment submitted to ODOT in support of the project, “this crossing is currently a major obstacle to even the most dedicated bike commuter, and fixing it a crucial pre-condition for a working Sullivan’s Gulch multi-use path. You want people to get out of their cars and off I-84 for their morning commute? Give them a straight shot into the city on their bikes, without having to worry about getting run over while crossing the street.”

Cassie Capone commented that she is, “Thrilled about this project!” and that it’s a necessary component to safe access to and from Gateway. “Crossing the Halsey Bridge over 205 on a bike is unsafe and stressful and the alternatives are significantly out of the way.”

In 2015 we reported that this was one of the top five priorities of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee. We also shared an close-up view of where it will go on a June 2016 bike tour with East Portland Action Plan’s Bike Committee.

With this grant funding in hand, PBOT will begin the public involvement and design/engineering phase of the project. Construction is slated to begin in 2021.

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

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SDOT and Mayor Durkan release more transparent, less visionary bike plan

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 11:45

Draft map from the 2019 Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan (PDF)

26 miles of bike facilities are gone completely, and another 27 are at risk. That’s the harsh reality of the latest iteration of the Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan (the “Bike Plan Plan”).

The result is what could be a more transparent bike plan the city has put forth in the years since voters approved Move Seattle, but it’s not visionary. The latest plan officially abandons the goal of keeping the 20-year Bicycle Master Plan on track for completion and will leave massive gaps in the citywide bike network even if every project included is constructed on schedule. And given our recent experience with Mayor Jenny Durkan cancelling the 35th Ave NE bike lanes, that’s hardly a sure thing.

SDOT will present this plan to the City Council Transportation Committee 2 p.m. today (Tuesday). Stay tuned for updates from that meeting or watch via Seattle Channel.

By the end of 2016, the 20-year Bicycle Master Plan was 28% complete (it started at 22% in 2013). One year later, it was 29% complete. One percent per year is dismal progress. It’s hard to imagine how the project list in this latest update puts the city within 5 years of achieving Vision Zero or on track to fulfill its ambitious Climate Action Plan goals.

There is one measure, though, where Seattle is making huge progress: Ridership. And that’s the most important one. The city’s annual bike counts saw an incredible 12% increase in 2017-2018, almost certainly powered by the boom in private bike share services coupled with significant bike route improvements like the 2nd Ave bike lane extension and the Westlake Bikeway. This is amazing, and despite all the other frustrations in this update, let’s not lose sight of this success. Seattle’s efforts to help more people get around by bike are working. We need city leadership to build on this success, not fight it.

In addition to the big bike network cuts, the plan highlights another 27 miles “with known risks,” which could be due to partnership dependencies (such as project where Sound Transit also has a say), where Federal funding is unknown or where the politics could be sticky (car parking!).

But as easy as it is to get angry or discouraged when looking through the latest plan, at least advocates can now see what the city is actually planning rather than being repeatedly blindsided by disappointing setbacks and cuts. The new plan may also provide a much-needed solid step for bike and safe streets advocates to stand on after years of what has felt like free fall. Because this is now Mayor Durkan’s plan.

This doesn’t mean people should just accept this plan and stop fighting to get important projects back. It is devastating to see so many of the Bike Plan’s goals abandoned like this. It is very frustrating to see that the city does not plan a single connection between Rainier Valley and downtown before the end of this levy, for example, and deletions like that are worth fighting to restore. But at least now most of those projects that just sort of vanished from the radar have reappeared somewhere. It may be in the delete pile, but at least you now have a place to start working again. (Erica Barnett at the C Is For Crank says she combed through the project lists and found 11 projects that seem to have disappeared between the 2017 and 2019 plans).

There are many ways to measure bike progress, and the city is doing poorly by most of them. If you focus on mileage, at best, the city is currently building less than half of what is needed each year to keep the 20-year Bicycle Master Plan on track. Since the City Council unanimously passed the master plan in 2014, The city has never even gotten close to building the 24 miles of bicycle facilities per year that would have been needed on average to reach that goal over 20 years. To reach the less ambitious goal laid out by the Move Seattle Levy (for half the plan to be complete by the end of the levy, including the miles previously constructed), the city would need to build about 20 miles of bicycle facilities every year now through the end of the levy in 2024. This latest plan shows that they are not going to try to do that, aiming for more like 10 miles per year if every project is constructed on schedule.

The other half was supposed to come from a mix of paving project partnerships (like 35th Ave NE, which has been cancelled), Federal funding that either SDOT has not been successfully applying for or has otherwise not come through (Trump’s administration isn’t exactly going out of its way to fund Seattle’s grant requests), and the planned “multimodal corridor” projects that have been slashed heavily. The price per mile for bike lanes, especially downtown, are quite a bit higher than the average cost assumed in the levy.

But bike facility mileage is not necessarily the most important measure, since bike network connections are the city’s real issue. A mile in a low-density part of town is hardly comparable to a mile downtown, for example. So if the city were going to miss their mileage goals because they bit off ambitious, game-changing and expensive sections instead, that could be a very worthy trade-off. But that’s not really what’s happening, either. The cut list includes many of those high-impact and difficult bike lanes, the kinds of projects that we need most. Rainier Ave between at least Mount Baker Station and Dearborn tops the list, for sure, but also Beacon Ave and N 40th Street and many others that ended up in the scrap pile:

But even more concerning is that the bulk of the remaining high-impact projects are included under projects “with risks” or “with known risks”:

Only 36 miles of bike facilities are considered at “low risk,” and only 30 of those miles are funded through construction:

Organizing projects by “risk” is really interesting. On one hand, it’s more transparent. SDOT isn’t pretending that they don’t see ways projects could falter. They are basically daylighting concerns they previously held behind the scenes.

But on the other hand, it sure makes the rest of the levy feel very uneasy. And it gives the impression that SDOT is not fully dedicated to accomplishing even this massively reduced project list. At a time when people upset about bike lanes successfully killed them on 35th Ave NE on a purely political basis, it’s hard to have faith that the city is ready to go to bat for these difficult but important bike network connections.

And even if this list inspires advocates for bike lanes and safer streets to get organized to push each and every one of them through, is that really the best way for our city to operate? People who drive are not expected to pack City Hall to fight for a multi-million-dollar paving project in their neighborhood, those projects just happen as the regular course of SDOT business. But people who bike are expected to do so for every little 0.13-mile segment of bike lane? That’s asking an awful lot of people, many of whom already volunteered lots of time and energy to creating this plan and passing the levy to fund it. I mean, I’m sure people will do it, but I wish city leaders would challenge advocates with a more empowering goal than just protecting the remaining scraps of a bike plan they already worked to pass.

And that leads into my biggest issue with this plan update: Vision. Seattle has very lofty goals, and the people of this city believe in them. This plan does not inspire. It shies away from most of the hardest stuff and, even if fully completed, leaves huge parts of our city disconnected. It does not improve equitable access to biking, and it does not hold the promise of making game-changing connections to seriously increase the number of people biking to get around. It is a diminished list of projects that will be steps in the right direction, but won’t be nearly enough.

This also feels like an inflection point for Seattle bicycle and safe streets advocacy. There is a big new near-term workload to accomplish that is going to need a lot of new voices and leaders. That could mean you. SDOT’s Bicycle Program is also in the midst of huge staff turnover, including the retirement of longtime program leader Sam Woods, a true legend. So Seattle needs ambitious and creative professionals to fill those roles. Keep a lookout for job listings.

But this is also the time to start planning for how the city can close gaps so wide that even the largest transportation levy in city history falls so short. I don’t know what that looks like, but now is the time to start the ground work to make it happen.

Green Guru Waistpack Available at REI

Bike Hugger - Mon, 04/01/2019 - 17:31

Colorado-based eco-friendly outdoor brand collaborates with industry leaders to bring the sustainably-made Tripster to market.  A Green Guru Waistpack Available at REI is great news for cyclists. Also, shoppers who prefer upcycled materials and working with co-ops.

A Green Guru pouch travels with me wherever I go on the bike. In it are my keys, credit card, and a bit of paper money.

At its roots, Mountainsmith is a fanny pack expert that cares deeply about our environment,” says Torie Palffy, marketing manager at Mountainsmith. “Green Guru, a fellow Colorado-based brand, is arguably the best in the industry at turning upcycled goods into cool, functional gear, while REI provides consumers with locations across the country to recycle various materials. Mountainsmith handled the design aspect of this project, and together we created a truly unique, sustainably sourced product that we are incredibly proud of.

Each Tripster pack involves all three companies. REI Co-op members drop off old bike tubes and climbing rope at REI, Green Guru takes those recyclables, as well as other excess materials from around the industry, and turns them into pack material. Green Guru then employs Mountainsmith’s expertise in waist pack design to build each pack at its manufacturing facility in Colorado. Each pack is constructed with different upcycled materials, so each piece is unique in its own way and features different colors, patterns and prints.

Find the Tripster at REI for $44.95.

Green Guru Waistpack Available at REI Features
  • Green Guru sourced tent and canopy fabric, REI provided tubes. Climbing rope and Mountainsmith designed a pack you’ll love to wear
  • Fabric colors and patterns will vary.
  • Base is made from durable, waterproof upcycled bike tube rubber from members.
  • Lash tab made from upcycled bike tube material hints at rugged origins
    Double zipper on main compartment.
  • Stylish design from Colorado.

The post Green Guru Waistpack Available at REI appeared first on Bike Hugger.

ODOT’s I-5 expansion would cast even larger shadow over Eastbank Esplanade

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/29/2019 - 08:48

With so many inconvenient truths brought to light recently about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plans to expand the I-5 freeway, one of the most disturbing is the fact that it would cast an even larger shadow over the Eastbank Esplanade.

The Esplanade, opened in 2001 and named for former Mayor Vera Katz in 2004, is a beloved piece of carfree infrastructure that hugs the western edge of the freeway. It runs between the Steel Bridge in the north and OMSI (SE Caruthers Street) to the south and provides a safe option through the Central Eastside Industrial District.

Continue reading ODOT’s I-5 expansion would cast even larger shadow over Eastbank Esplanade at

Jobs of the Week: Community Cycling Center, North Portland Bikeworks, Southwest Bicycle

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/29/2019 - 07:22

Spring hiring season is upon us! If you’re looking for a new gig, peruse the opportunities below…

— Bike Mechanic – Community Cycling Center

— Customer service / Mechanic – North Portland Bikeworks

— Bicycle Tech, service, sales – Southwest Bicycle, LLC

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.

Continue reading Jobs of the Week: Community Cycling Center, North Portland Bikeworks, Southwest Bicycle at

How did Mayor Durkan get the 35th Ave NE decision so wrong? + Councilmembers respond

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 14:45

Supporters donned green scarves to show their support for the Bicycle Master Plan during a 2013 public hearing.

Mayor Jenny Durkan’s decision this week to scrap planned, designed and contracted bike lanes on 35th Ave NE has drawn a major backlash as people are dismayed to hear that Seattle’s mayor is abandoning the Bicycle Master Plan in order to serve cars.

The Mayor’s Office and SDOT leadership dramatically misread Seattle’s true feelings about bike lanes, street safety and the need to take bold action to fight climate change. If they thought this was going to be the easier or “safer” move politically, then they don’t know Seattle at all.

It’s true that the anti-bike lane organizers around 35th Ave NE have been louder in the past year than those arguing in favor of the bike lanes (though the pro-bike lane side had some great actions, like last year’s moms ride in response to a sexist tweet from the anti-bike lane camp). But the critical error the mayor made here was to forget or ignore the larger picture of how we got here, which included years of organizing and thousands of hours of engaged public participation to create the plans and pass the levy to build these bike lanes. The Bicycle Master Plan was an enormous, multi-year project, and the Move Seattle Levy was an incredibly bold funding package that put biking, walking and transit first. Both sailed into law on a popular wave.

Perhaps the Mayor and her office made the mistake of conflating a localized opposition with citywide opinion, so they decided to serve a small group of neighbors at the expense of a citywide bike network vision. And perhaps because the mayor was not around for the years of Bicycle Master Plan development and missed the big public displays of support for it, she has made a big mistake by underestimating how many people in Seattle expect SDOT to actually build what the bike lanes the plan promises.

So why didn’t the pro-bike lane voices rise up to overpower the anti-bike lane organizers until now? Honestly, I don’t yet have a complete understanding myself. One theory is that people have had some other causes on their plates in recent years, like our Federal government being racist and horrible or our city failing to help people experiencing homelessness. There are only so many people who are going to dedicate tons of personal time watchdogging safe streets plans that the Council and the voters have already approved. Most people have many causes they care about, and they probably assumed that by passing these plans and funding measures the hard part was over, and the city was going to do its job.

So when word came down that the Mayor decided to kill this bike lane, it may have been a bit of a wake-up call that the whole Bicycle Master Plan is under threat. The city’s wasn’t just doing a poor job at building what it promised, the Mayor was actively dismantling progress that took years to earn.

Voters handed the city a mandate in 2015 when they voted for the Move Seattle Levy, but it seems the memo about that mandate was lost in the disgraceful and messy mayoral shuffle. Whoever has Mayor Durkan’s ear on transportation issues is not giving her an accurate picture of what the people really want. Either that, or she doesn’t care.

Seattle has not suddenly become super conservative and anti-bike, and it makes me want to pull out my hair that our city’s leaders keep acting like we have. Why? Because a poll of homeowners with landline telephones showed conservative leanings on these issues? I mean, good lord, who has a landline anymore? That’s not Seattle. Luckily, people don’t need to own a house with a landline telephone to vote.

Mayor Durkan was not elected on a mandate to cancel bike lanes. When asked about them on the campaign trail, she either said she supported them or (more often) was wishy washy, giving lawyerly non-answers. On the contrary, just about every City Councilmember was clear in their support for bike lanes while campaigning, and the people elected them knowing that.

So Seattle finds itself in an uneasy place, with a Mayor who refuses to enact policies the elected City Council unanimously passed and the voters endorsed. The Council typically prefers to defer to SDOT and the mayor for execution of transportation policy, rarely stepping in to reverse decisions or direct the details of department work. But maybe that needs to change. The City Council has somehow allowed themselves to be bullied out of power by Mayor Durkan, and it’s time for them to step up for the people they represent and the policies they have passed.

So whether we’re talking about N 40th Street or Wilson Ave S or the downtown Basic Bike Network, people expect the city to fulfill its promises and plans. The best case would be for the mayor to change her mind and allow SDOT to do its work. But if she won’t, we need the Council to step in.

Because the risks of inaction extend far beyond just this handful of streets. Inaction erodes public trust in SDOT and the transportation levy system, which will be up for renewal in 2024. And Mayor Durkan has put the city on a transportation crash course by abandoning core levy goals rather than rising to the challenge to at least try to deliver what we voted for. Who do they think volunteered their time to staff phone banks and knock on doors? It was people who believed in the levy’s vision. It’s going to take a lot of work to turn the department around, and the mayor’s poor performance so far (like letting the department languish without a Director for more than a year or taking a year to decide what to do about 35th even after contractors had poured the cement) suggests she is not up to the task.

Let’s not forget that her biggest transportation success so far, keeping people moving during the Viaduct shutdown early this year, happened in large part because many people chose to bike despite the mayor’s purposeful lack of effort to help them do so. So she might try to claim credit for that, but she didn’t earn it. After a year of indecision that delayed planned transit, biking and walking improvements, the people bailed her out. Seattle can’t afford to continue running SDOT like this.

Below are a few responses from Councilmembers following the mayor’s 35th Ave NE decision, starting with Transportation Committee Chair Mike O’Brien:

I’m disappointed – but not surprised. After years of conversation and study, Mayor Durkan should know better. As I told Executive’s staff, based on everything I know about this project, today’s announcement feels more like a political decision, rather than one made with the safety considerations of both riders and drivers in mind. We’ve seen over and over again this year that when people have safe, reliable options for bike commuting they’ll use them. In today’s political environment, fear-mongering, threats of violence, and other loud voices in any given room seem to have the last word. But as long as I’m an elected, I will make decisions based on my values – prioritizing sustainability and safety for everyone.

Here’s outgoing Transportation Committee member Rob Johnson, who represents District 4 where this project is located:

JUST IN: District 4 councilmember Rob Johnson's statement on Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's decision to cancel planned bike lanes on 35th Ave NE:

— The Urbanist

Weekend Event Guide: Road racing, architecture, doughnuts, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 09:08

The weekend is almost here and it looks like we might stay dry. We could even have some sun and temps into the 60s!

We’ve got a great mix of offerings in the Guide this week — whether you’re an experienced racer or just starting out on two wheels.

By the way, we need to find a sponsor for this and our awesome Calendar. If you want some great exposure for your business or product that also helps support our community and local journalism at the same time, get in touch!

Continue reading Weekend Event Guide: Road racing, architecture, doughnuts, and more at

His Name is Dnyan and He’s Riding a Bike

Bike Hugger - Wed, 03/27/2019 - 19:31

Daily doodles and the links Google shares in search aren’t a news story for me to share. Until, I noticed this one about the bike and Google translate. His Name is Dnyan and he’s riding a bike.

His Name is Dnyan and He’s Riding a Bike

With only a tent, a bicycle, and Google Translate, he’s riding a four-year journey. And, doing so to learn from a world of people.

Every morning, Dnyan Yewaktar does what millions of people do: He gets ready for a bike ride. The difference? His destination is never the same. It might be a Buddhist temple in South Korea, a hostel in Tokyo, or a baseball stadium on the outskirts of Havana.

For the past two years, Dnyan has been traveling from country to country, riding his bike through small towns and big cities, with a singular focus. His goal is to ride in Gandhi’s footsteps, spreading peace, love, and compassion. To do so, he hopes to meet as many people as he can, learn from them, and share what he knows about the world.

The connection to Google is Dynan is using Translate. Most inspiring,  is he measures the success of his mourning in the people who have left an imprint on his soul.

It’s a great story and should appeal to anyone that’s thought about giving it all up and riding around the world. The last time I remember Google publishing stories about the bike is when they launched Bike Maps and their bikes.


The post His Name is Dnyan and He’s Riding a Bike appeared first on Bike Hugger.

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