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Rainier RapidRide remake concepts fall short + Mayor Durkan should push SDOT for a more visionary plan

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 17:00

Rainier Ave is the only flat and direct street between Mount Baker and the International District/downtown. If southeast Seattle is ever going to have good bike access to the jobs and other major destinations downtown, Rainier Ave will need bike lanes. It is a diagonal street through the low point in a valley. There are no other options for a direct and flat bike route.

At the same time, Rainier is so wide and dangerous that it sees far more traffic collisions than north end streets with double its daily traffic volumes:

The street connects downtown to neighborhoods with low rates of car ownership that have been shamefully underserved ever since Seattle started building bike lanes:

While there are two high quality bike route options for people traveling the three miles from the Fremont Bridge to the downtown core, there are zero quality options for people biking the three miles from downtown to Franklin High School and Mount Baker Station.

With protected bike lanes on Rainier Ave, it could be as easy and comfortable to bike to the south end as it is to bike to Fremont. There is no other bike investment outside downtown that would have as big an impact as Rainier Ave bike lanes, especially the north section between Mount Baker and the International District.

This is the perfect time to make bold changes to this stretch of Rainier Ave because Sound Transit is currently building a light rail station where the road crosses I-90. That station will have no car parking and will head directly to job centers on the Eastside, so being able to access this station by walking, biking and transit is vital. And Rainier Ave is the only direct and flat option for making that connection.

But an SDOT RapidRide project that is planning to redesign this stretch of the street appears on the verge of blowing this opportunity. Project planners presented three options for the street recently, none of which feature quality bike lanes. This is simply not acceptable.

You can tell the project team through their online open house that you want them to go back to the drawing board and find a solution for Rainier Ave that includes safety and mobility for people biking and keeps buses running reliably. The open house ends Saturday, so don’t wait to fill it out.

There are so many examples of streets around the world that move transit efficiently, carry plenty of cars and include safe bike lanes. Rainier Ave is a very wide street. I do not accept the excuse that planners cannot find a way to fit bike lanes on it:

There is plenty of space for protected bike lanes here.

This is a good opportunity for Mayor Jenny Durkan to assert herself as a transportation leader. The mayor should direct SDOT to prioritize walking, biking and transit on Rainier Ave and to get her a design that would help the city meet its biking, traffic safety, equity and climate change goals. The current options all fail by these measures.

Some red and green paint, some flowers and planters and you’ve got pilot bike and bus lanes on Rainier Ave. Concept image made via Streetmix.

Even better, Mayor Durkan could challenge SDOT to come up with a pilot project on Rainier Ave to try out protected bike lanes and bus improvements using paint and other low-cost materials. That way people can see how it would work for themselves and project planners could observe and make improvements as needed.

Mayor Durkan has already proposed connecting downtown’s 2nd Ave bike lane to the Dearborn bike lanes in 2019. If she directed SDOT to also accelerate that plan, people would be able to bike from the Space Needle to Franklin High School entirely on a relatively flat and traffic-separated bike route by the end of this year.

Godspeed: The Race Across America

Bike Hugger - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:26

Set to release nationwide via Fathom Events on May 22 in more than 600 movie theaters, Godspeed – The Race Across America is a riveting documentary featuring two cyclists on their quest to win the 2015 Race Across America.

Overcoming the hardship of the 3000 mile race, the pair helped raise more than $50,000 for the orphans of Haiti via Building Hope International.

The trek Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper make is across 12 states from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans. The documentary chronicles this first-time racing duo as they compete in RAAM for 24 hours a day covering miles of deserts, mountains and plains, to overcome physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

To see if the documentary is playing near you, check the show times on the Godspeed site. And, follow along on their Twitter and Facebook.

A race of this sort never interested me, touring does, but by watching the trailer I can tell it’s riveting, about a personal calling, and overcoming.

And, if you think their feat of strength was great, see what John Spurgeon did on a single speed. Also read about the Race Across Oregon, which is far more manageable, while every bit as hard.

The basic plan for most 4-person relay teams is to have two large vehicles (SUVs or minivans), with racers #1 and #3 in one vehicle and racers #2 and #4 in the other. Ideally the team is making forward progress at all times, and each vehicle alternates having a racer on course.

Finally, Team Type 1 and Team Type 2 did it in 2009

Both teams made it across the country, and that feat hasn’t been lost on the media. The New York Times just picked up the story in its Health section (registration required), and the piece is a nice look at the challenges faced when racing across the country while bravely managing a disease.

 

The post Godspeed: The Race Across America appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Bike Happy: Don’t capsize the ferry system with stranded bikeshare bikes

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:05

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO
  1. Don’t leave your bikeshare bike on a ferry. The system shuts down.
  2. E-bikes will likely be allowed on most Seattle trails soon.
  3. Mayor Durkan is expected to “reboot” the planned projects in the Move Seattle Levy. Keep your eye on how this will impact planned bikeway investments.

SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • “Take a group bike tour and visit every Everett fire station: the second annual family-friendly event features a slower pace to promote bicycling,” Everett Herald.
  • “Cyclists take over Alaskan Way Viaduct for Emerald City Bike Ride,” KING5.
  • “The 2018 Bicycle Sundays Opening Celebration is May 20!” Seattle Parks.
  • “Head gear,” Biking in the Rain.
  • “Myth 8: Modern Components are Lighter,” Jan Heine’s Blog.
  • Seattle-based Nuun launches “immunity” tablets (Bicycle Retailer).
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​ NEWS
  • eBikes
    • Seattle Parks may allow e-bikes on its major trails (KIRO7).
  • Bikeshare
    • Abandoned bikeshare bikes on the state ferry causes massive, costly delays as Coast Guard must conduct man-overboard searches (Maritime Exec.WorkBoatKIRO7KOMODJCKitsap SunKUOWSeattle TimesCurbed).
    • SDOT and Metro will participate in a national convening hosted by Transportation For America about bikeshare, carshare, and other new mobility devices/vehicles (SDOT).
  • Bike Theft
    • Issaquah Police arrested bike thieves who stole from bike shops in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, including from Element Cycle in Redmond, Redmond Trek, and Gerk’s Ski & Cycles in Issaquah (KIRO7Lake Oswego Review).
  • Citywide Funding & More
    • Mayor Durkan is expected to “reboot” the Move Seattle Levy’s planned investments to account for the expected loss of federal funding (The C is for Crank).
    • SDOT is installing the 33 projects selected in the 2017 Your Voice Your Choice Program, and the 2018 YVYC process just completed its participatory project development phase (DON).
    • Of the nine councilmembers and the mayor, Mike O’Brien and Sally Bagshaw regularly biked to work last week (Seattle Times).
  • Downtown
  • Central Seattle
  • South & West Seattle
    • SDOT will not complete the 35th Ave SW Safety Project (Urbanist).
    • SDOT installed a new crosswalk in Georgetown (SDOT).
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Maintenance & Retail
Seasonal Bike Shop Sales & Retail Assistant, Bike Works
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles

Bike Product Industry
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks

Bike Education & Training
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Counselor-in-Training (Seasonal), Cascade
Walk N Roll Teacher Assistant, Intercity Transit
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn

Commute Services & Other Outreach
Sounders FC Bike Valet Parking Manager, Bike Works
Outreach Ambassador – South Bellevue #1, Alta
Outreach Ambassador – South Bellevue #2, Alta
Outreach Ambassador – Kent, Alta

Policy, Planning, & Engineering
East King County Policy Manager, Cascade
Designer – Level 1, Alta
Group Leaders – Senior Associates, Alta
Curbspace Management Supervisor, SDOT (4/17)
Public Space Management Inspector, SDOT
Traffic Records & Data Supervisor, SDOT
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Intern, Bellevue
Transportation Planning Intern, Bellevue
Multimodal Transportation Planning Specialist 3, WSDOT
Commerce Specialist 3 – Community Development Block Grant, State Dept. of Commerce

Communications, Development, & Management
Development & Communications Coordinator, Bike Works
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Accounting Manager, Cascade

STOLEN BIKES

In the past week, ten bikes were reported as stolen to SPD, not counting stolen bikes part of burglaries and assaults. Help fight back by (1) registering your bike on Bike Index, and (2) always locking up your bike with a U lock, even inside a bike room. Bicycle Security Advisors provides additional information on how to keep your bike safe.

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Metro’s ‘State of Safety’ report has new numbers. They’re not good – UPDATED

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 13:25

Big streets = bad things.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Note from publisher: Please see the note at the end of this story for an important update. – Jonathan]

Scott F. Kocher is a lawyer and safe streets advocate with Forum Law Group in Portland. He specializes in cases involving walkers and bikers. This is his first story for BikePortland.

Metro has issued a new State of Safety Report (full PDF below) analyzing crash data for the Portland region from 2011-2015. It’s been almost six years since their last report in 2012.

Here’s what’s changed and what hasn’t…

Thanks to Vision Zero, our regional goal has become more ambitious.

2012: The Regional Transportation Plan goal was 50 percent fewer pedestrians, bicyclists and automobile passengers killed on roadways by 2035.

2018: The goal is more ambitious: “No death or life changing injury from a traffic crash is acceptable on our region’s roadways, which is why Metro and regional partners are adopting a Vision Zero target for 2035 and implementing a safe systems approach to transportation safety.”

Facts don’t care about goals.

2012: Crashes killed 53 people and caused incapacitating injury to an additional 481 people annually in the Portland Metro Region.

2018: Crashes killed 62 people and caused incapacitating injury to an additional 420 people annually in the Portland Metro Region. For fatalities, the increase roughly aligns with population growth, which is approximately 1% annually.

For people who walk, roll or bike, it’s worse.

​Not going down.

2012: Fatalities were decreasing over time for all modes except motorcycle, which was increasing.

2018: Fatalities have stabilized for automobile occupants and motorcyclists, while fatalities have been increasing for pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrian became the single most common Fatal crash type in the region. Pedestrian crashes now constitute 34% of Fatal crashes (up from 26%). Pedestrian trips are 10% of all trips in the region.

Arterials are getting worse, and we’re building more of them.

​Per mile traveled, collector streets are even more dangerous.

2012: The region’s arterial roadways comprised 59% of the region’s serious crashes, 67% of the serious pedestrian crashes, and 52% of the serious bike crashes, while accounting for 40% of vehicle travel, and only 5% of the region’s non-freeway road miles. Arterials had the highest serious crash rate per road mile and per VMT. The report called the disproportionate danger of arterials “one of the most conclusive relationships in this study.”

2018: Arterial roadways comprise 73% of the region’s Serious crashes (up from 59%), 77% of the Serious Pedestrian crashes (up from 67%), and 65% of the Serious Bicyclist crashes (up from 52%), while accounting for 12% of the region’s non-freeway road miles (up from 5%). As with the 2012 report, this is “one of the most conclusive relationships” in the 2018 report.

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--> No analysis of costs.

2012: Roadway collisions cost our region $958 million a year in property damage, medical costs, and lost productivity, “not to mention the pain and suffering from the loss of life.” This finding underpinned a Metro press release “Crashes cost more than congestion.”

2018: Metro didn’t include any cost analysis in its 2018 report.

No recommendations.

2012: The 2012 report recommended detailed strategies to meet the RTP goal of (then) reducing fatalities for all modes. Topping the list were two recommendations for arterials:

  • A regional arterial safety program to focus on corridors with large numbers of serious crashes, pedestrian crashes, and bicycle crashes.
  • “Safety strategies that match solutions to the crash pattern and street and neighborhood context, rather than an approach of simply bringing roadways up to adopted standards.” Why? Because “Many of the region’s high-crash corridors meet or largely meet adopted design standards. More creative solutions are needed to make substantive safety improvement.”

2018: The 2018 report includes no recommendations or strategies. Why not? Perhaps Metro will issue these in another document?

A few more takeaways

Lanes matter

  • Streets with more lanes have higher serious crash rates per road mile and per VMT. This follows trends documented in AASHTO’s Highway Safety Manual.
  • Streets with more lanes have an especially high Serious crash rate for pedestrians, producing higher crash rates per mile and per VMT as compared to other modes.

Lighting matters

  • Serious Pedestrian crashes are disproportionately represented after dark. While 39% of all Serious crashes happen at night, 64% of Serious Pedestrian crashes happen at night.

We’re not serving our elders well.

  • The percent of Serious crashes for male drivers age 70‐79 and female drivers age 80‐84 is double the regional average.
Here’s what’s missing in the report.

The report doesn’t acknowledge the human significance of all these crashes. It just crunches numbers.

And the numbers don’t tell the whole story. They’re largely compiled from the check boxes on police reports. For example, the report says “Excessive speed is a contributing factor in 33% of Fatal crashes.” Law enforcement officers generally don’t check that box unless the post-crash scene or interviews indicate a person was driving far faster than the speed limit. If Metro and its Regional partners are adopting “a safe systems approach to transportation safety,” they’ll need to recognize that excessive speed is a contributing factor in nearly all crashes.

What’s with all the failing to yield?

There’s no checkbox for “dangerous road.”

The “Contributing Factors” breakdown for bicycle and pedestrian crashes highlights more shortcomings of ODOT-compiled crash data. Officers checked the box for “failure to yield” in roughly 75% of crashes in which people driving killed people walking or bicycling. That provides no insight as to who failed or under what circumstances and why. The “Contributing Factors” tables (below) are nearly useless to understand or address these crashes.

What do you make of this report? What other information about crashes would you want to have to make smart decisions about safety improvements?

2018 Metro State of Safety Report (2)

[UPDATE, 4/13: From Publisher Jonathan Maus: I erred in publishing this story without adding very important context. The version of this report that Scott uses as the basis for his analysis is an unreleased draft (made available only to a technical working group) that Metro hasn’t even published yet. It’s also an appendix to a much larger and more comprehensive Draft Regional Transportation Safety Strategy. That regional strategy includes six major principals and over 50 specific actions to improve road safety. When the final State of Safety Report is released for public comment at the end of June it will include a lot of context, including the Draft Safety Strategy. I regret publishing this prematurely and will follow-up with full coverage of the full strategy document once it’s completed and released.

Metro is working hard on a major effort to create a regional road safety strategy. And by jumping the gun here, I painted an incomplete picture and contributed to a mischaracterization of that effort. I’m sorry for the confusion this caused. Please consider this post a helpful early-look at Metro’s work that’s merely an appetizer for the full meal yet to come. Stay tuned.]

— Scott Kocher, @Scott_Kocher on Twitter

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Cycling will get a spotlight at Portland’s annual March for Science

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 12:28

(Photo of last year’s march courtesy March for Science PDX)

Thousands are expected to turn out this Saturday, April 14th, at Pioneer Courthouse Square beginning at 10am for the Portland March for Science. This year’s rally and march has been organized by an all-volunteer crew in support of scientific inquiry, science-informed policymaking, and access for all to science education. Last year, over 15,000 people joined Portland’s March for Science as a direct action in protest of President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The science of cycling has been guaranteed a place on the mainstage this year. Andrea Chiotti, Education Coordinator with the Community Cycling Center and its STEM Bicycle Mechanics program, and Rex Burkholder, co-founder of the organization now known as The Street Trust and a former Metro Councilor, will both be speaking about science in our lives, our region’s policies, and our schools.

We asked Rex and Andrea to share a few thoughts about the March for Science…

Why are you excited about joining the March for Science?

Rex: The March for Science is about people speaking out and sharing a way of experiencing the world based on facts. We face a lot of challenges and we need to encourage people to use scientific thinking is a way to evaluate and solve real world problems.

If we have a large amount of people who come out and say that we need science-based decisions, we will have policies that reflect that. And that matters. Just look at bikes!

Andrea: I’m really excited to have one of our STEM Bicycle Mechanics students be able to speak in front of a group of people about their experience. This person will have the opportunity to speak his truth out loud, and what led him there was science via the bicycle–the ability to explore, collaborate, and do critical thinking. So I think it’s this idea that science is part of life in general.

The March for Science is also originally about Trump denying climate change. It’s taken on a broader meaning this year and taken on more issues. When you think about who is most affected, it’s marginalized people, and those are the people who have the hardest time accessing education. So it’s important that our STEM students are getting access to practical hands-on education related to workforce training and also be able to go to the March for Science and talk about that.

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What gives you hope?

Rex: Seeing children get that look in their eye when they understand how things work. And then they ask those questions like, well why aren’t you solving climate change? The other side of it is that we have proof that we can take action based on a rational assessment of the world and we can take action to protect it. I celebrate every time I see an eagle in downtown Portland. Eagles didn’t exist when I was a young person except in the wilderness because of DDT. And now they’re back.

Who was your favorite science teacher?

Andrea: Mr. Burleson did this thing for me, because I love science and I don’t excel at science. Burleson saw me trying really hard but not getting good grades based on test scores. And so he fudged the numbers, and I was therefore able to go to other science classes. Science is about failing, and that’s so important. However, our school systems don’t allow for failing, which is why alternative schools are really helpful about meeting students where they’re at and getting them what they need. And that’s why I’m excited about the Cycling Center’s STEM program.

After the march at 11:00 am, Pioneer Courthouse Square will be transformed into a Science Expo with hands-on activities and non-profits with ways for citizens to become active to support science. A Kids Zone and Science Circus make it a fun and educational event for families. Between 12:30PM and 3PM, during Science Talks, speakers and performers will take the stage, delivering short talks and playing music. The event will even have a Science Circus.

Besides Rex and Andrea, speakers include: Cornelius Jefferson, a student at Helensview High School and participant in the STEM Bicycle classes; Anushka Nair, high school senior, 1st place winner at the International Science and Engineering Fair, and founder of a tech camp for girls; and Larry Sherman, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at OHSU, who will talk about the history and growth of science skepticism. Music will be performed by Gray Fiction, Unpresidented Brass Band, Raging Grannies, and Revolution Choir. The Science Expo will feature nonprofits, such as Oregon Wild, OMSI, and Northwest Noggin.

Learn more at MarchforSciencePDX.org.

— Steph Routh is the communications director for the Community Cycling Center.

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Man arrested for reckless driving and assault after hit-and-run in Creston-Kenilworth

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 12:08

A man has been arrested and charged with four crimes in relation to a crash on April 6th that injured a bicycle rider.

The Portland Police Bureau just announced they’ve arrested 30-year-old Abduraham S. Abubaker at his home (near SE Ramona and 122nd) for his role in a crash that took place on SE Gladstone at Cora just east of 34th last week. This section of Gladstone has two general vehicle lanes, unprotected bike lanes and a curbside lane.

Police say witnesses who saw the crash said a man driving a blue Dodge Stratus turned south onto Cora from eastbound Gladstone “and collided with the bicyclist.” The driver then fled and left the injured bike rider in the roadway. The victim was helped by people who had gathered nearby. They contacted help, remained at the scene, and gave information to officers.

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The driver’s view: eastbound on Gladstone at Cora Drive.

Today Abubaker was lodged at the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Assault in the Third Degree, Reckless Endangering Another Person, Reckless Driving, and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.

Anyone with information about Abubaker or this crash should contact Traffic Investigation Unit Officer Garrett Dow at 503-823-5070 or Garrett.Dow@portlandoregon.gov

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

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Oregon DOT’s AV Task Force rolls on — without a biking or walking rep at the table

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 11:26

Image from cover of ODOT’s Autonomous Vehicles 101 presentation.

— Caleb Diehl is a staff writer at Oregon Business Magazine. This is his first story for BikePortland.

Despite recent news of an autonomous vehicle crash in Tempe, Arizona, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s task force on autonomous vehicles is driving forward.

The group will hold its first meeting on April 18. Among the 27 members appointed by ODOT Director Matthew Garrett you’ll find members of the trucking, taxicab and automotive industries.

You won’t, however, find anyone from an organization that advocates for biking and walking.

ODOT spokesperson Sarah Kelber said she couldn’t comment on the makeup of the task force, which is outlined in HB 4063, the bill that created it. The language of the legislation doesn’t leave much wiggle room for choosing appointees. But it does mandate that one member come from a nonprofit, which could have opened the door for an advocate of vulnerable road users. The Street Trust’s Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky said his organization was notified too late in the process to take part.

The current list of task force members.

The omission is particularly striking given the recent developments in autonomous vehicle testing. Uber put the brakes on AV testing after March 18, when one of its self-driving cars struck and killed a 49-year-old woman crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona. That marked the first known fatality of someone walking due to an autonomous vehicle. After the incident, Uber suspended testing in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

“I can’t imagine it would not come up in conversation. It will continue to come up as we keep safety at the center of what we’re doing.”
— Sarah Kelber, ODOT, referring to the fatal Uber crash

While some states and cities have scaled back, ODOT remains open to testing. The agency says on its website that it’s, “Looking to work with any company that has interest in bringing automated vehicles to Oregon.”

Kelber says the Tempe collision will affect the task force discussions though. “I can’t imagine it would not come up in conversation,” she says. “It will continue to come up as we keep safety at the center of what we’re doing.”

Without an advocate for biking or walking in the room, however, that discussion could trend toward statements like that made by Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, who essentially blamed the victim for her own death by saying she, “came from the shadows right into the roadway.” Video released by Uber showed she was actually three-quarters of the way across the street when the car hit her. The human backup driver who could have slammed the brakes was looking at their lap.

While safety is at the top of the list, other talking points for the ODOT task force include: licensing and registration, insurance and liability, law enforcement and crash reporting, and cybersecurity.

Autonomous vehicles were a key focus of the national Urbanism Next Conference that took place in Portland in early March. Planners and politicians were split on whether widespread adoption of AVs would constitute a heaven or hell scenario. They could alleviate problems for elderly and handicapped people, make traffic flow more efficient, and eliminate the 94 percent of crashes caused by human error.

Or they could provide a big incentive to drive instead of taking other transportation modes, contributing to congestion, sprawl and the myriad other negative externalities of driving.

Daimler has already started testing semi-autonomous trucks on its Eastern Oregon test track, although those vehicles still need a driver behind the wheel.

Four members of the task force still need to be nominated. The President of the Senate will choose a Democrat and a Republican from the Senate, and the Speaker of the House will do the same for the house.

The task force will set out procedural guidelines in the first meeting including how often it will meet. The meetings will be open to the public, and the public can submit written or verbal comment. “Everybody is welcome,” Kelber says, “especially bike and pedestrian related folks to weigh in on what is going on.”

The first meeting, on April 18, will be at 9 a.m. in Room 101 at the Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry (CCBI) in Salem. The task force must present a report to the legislature by September 2018. Learn more on ODOT’s website.

(In related news: On March 28th, the Portland Bureau of Transportation officially authorized an Administrative Rule (TRN-14.34) that establishes a permit system for commercial AVs to operate in Portland.)

— Caleb Diehl

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A visit to Misia Pitkin’s Double Darn cap-making studio

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:05

Double Darn’s creative and quality caps have found a strong following in Portland and beyond.
(Photos: James Buckroyd)

Story by our resident “Product Geek” James Buckroyd, who approaches products with an eye for how they solve problems. He previously shared how to maintain your waterproof gear.

If you’ve been cycling for a while you probably already know some of the functional benefits of an under-the-helmet cap. You have probably also tried a few and found that not all of them are the same. There’s a huge variety of fits, brims, shapes and sizes, not to mention all the different materials, prints and colours.

Named after a common hand stitch, Portland-based Double Darn was started 12 years ago by local artist Misia Pitkin. Misia, who grew up with artist parents and started sewing at an early age, graduated from Pacific Northwest College of Art with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and an interest in clothing. She translates her art skills into fabrics, adding structure and shape to create a form of soft sculpture. She started repairing clothes and dabbling in creating rain jackets, but she found her passion was in caps.

Misia Pitkin in her studio.

“When choosing fabrics, there’s a lot of bad, but then you find a little gem of sushi or hot pink and navy stripe that is so fun and energetic.”
— Misia Pitkin

Immersed in bike culture, and with a boyfriend in the messenger scene, Misia traveled to messenger races and met people from all over the world. She swapped her caps with others and evolved her product design through in-person feedback. At every meet, people would tell her how she could improve the design, what tweaks and re-works she could make to the product. She found that by working for herself she could do two things that she loved: solve existing problems and hand-craft items that people really cherished.

Misia’s small batch production lends itself to constant improvement. It complements her pursuit of making caps better and finding stronger, quicker and more efficient ways of producing them and solving issues on-the-fly. “Every year I have an epiphany — oh if I do this that way and if I fold this like that – moments,” she shared during my recent visit to her studio near NE 22nd and Burnside. Her carefully crafted, small batch production means she can have fun and bring some joy to the category with an ever-changing assortment of styles and prints.

“When choosing fabrics, there’s a lot of bad,” she said, “but then you find a little gem of sushi or hot pink and navy stripe that is so fun and energetic.” Misia’s inspiration comes from looking at high-end design like Dior and Gucci on Instagram for trends, then combining it with in-store materials, wading through the granny fodder of local fabric stores, a diverse scale that seems to be working well.

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Selling caps via her website, direct-to-consumers, is part of the business but Misia also makes caps for local teams and retail stores. This is a large share of Misia’s work and she enjoys the process — and sometimes challenge — of working with clients to solve their problems, providing them with the designs and styles they need.

In her studio she crafts the whole process: silk-screening custom logos, material specification and the sewing and finishing. Doing a job well is something that encourages her to stay small and nimble. Misia takes pride in her work, “I get excited when I make things I like, and being in control of everything, things like quality and schedule — if something is not right or fails, I can fix it.”

If you compare a Double Darn cap with a cap made overseas, you can see the difference: quality of stitch, inside finish and materials are of a higher grade. Misia says she doesn’t use plastic or card in the cap bills. She found a way to solve the problem of failing bills tearing at the edges where they join the body of the cap or becoming warped and cracked in the dryer.

Cassie Buckroyd and the 4-panel sushi cap that retails for $32.

Some of the local Portland stores and teams that have caps from Double Darn include: Sugar Wheel Works, Velo Cult, Gladys Bikes, Community Cycling Center and Sellwood Cycle Repair.

If you need to keep the sun or rain out of your eyes, something to absorb the sweat on a hot day, or some beer-drinking apres-cycle wear, check out Double Darn’s collection of local — and handmade with love — cycling caps.

DoubleDarn.com

— James Buckroyd – buckyrides.com or on instagram @jbucky1

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Weekend Event Guide: Ladd’s 500, FOB’s Donut Ride, Bryant Bridge cleanup, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:49

The Bryant Street overpass needs some sprucing up. Come out and lend a hand on Sunday if you can.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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

There’s so much to choose from this weekend it’s hard to decide! Hopefully you have time to attend at least one of the events in this week’s guide.

We’ve got a great slate that includes everything from a bonus Park(ing) Day to the infamous Ladd’s 500 relay, and even a chance to help tidy up the carfree Bryant Bridge.

Have fun out there…

Friday, April 13th

State of the City – The Conversation – 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm at The Sentinel Hotel (downtown)
This looks like an interesting event that will follow Mayor Wheeler’s scripted State of the City address (happening today). He’ll sit down for an interview with Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust Rukaiyah Adams (she’s also one of the main leaders of the Albina Vision project) and will take questions from the audience. Would not be surprised if the I-5 Rose Quarter project and/or Vision Zero come up. More info here.

Gold Sprints Benefit for Junior Track Racers – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Velo Cult
Help raise money for local racers headed to Track National Championships by spinning some pedals, get inspired for the upcoming track season, cheer on your friends, and enjoy the wonderful vibe at Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern. More info here.

Midnight Mystery Ride – “At midnight we ride” – Location TBA
Come out and meet and/or make friends at the traditional “MMR”. Start location posted to the official website on Friday. More info here.

Saturday, April 14th

Portland Park(ing) Day – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm in the Central Eastside Industrial District
PBOT has teamed up with Design Week Portland and they’re kicking off the event by allowing people to take over public spaces (aka parking spaces) with creative installations. More info here.

The Ladd’s 500 – 10:00 am at Ladd’s Circle
With its official motto of, “It’s spring, let’s do something stupid” this 500-lap fun relay has become a much-anticipated tradition. Open to everyone crazy enough to ride 100 miles around Ladd’s Circle — or do it as part of a team. Relay in the street, party in the circle! More info here (and don’t miss great live bands at the after-party hosted by PAZ PDX).

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Coast Hills Classic MTB Race – All day in Newport, Oregon
This event combines great ocean views and gnarly off-road trail-riding for a fun day of racing. Proceeds from the event support youth programs at Newport Recreation Center. Make a weekend out of it! More info here.

Friends on Bikes Donut Ride – 9:00 am to 11:30 am at Laurelhurst Park
This is a ride for women and trans/non-conforming people of color that will start with a feast of donuts and (Ristretto Roasters) coffee, then ride to the top of Mt. Tabor and loop back via the Esplanade to Irving Park. Everyone who completes the ride gets a free dozen from Pip’s Original! More info here.

Bryant Pedestrian Bridge Cleanup – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
The Piedmont Neighborhood is hosting a clean-up effort to show some love for this carfree I-5 bridge. Bring shovels and work gloves if you have them and be ready for the trash-picking, mulching, and graffiti scrubbing! More info here.

River City Bicycles Free E-Bike Group Ride – 9:30 am to 11:30 am
E-bike curious? You should be because motorized bikes are slowly but surely taking their place one our streets. If you’ve been wanting to try them out, this is a great opportunity. River City is giving free rentals of the latest and greatest models. Hit the link for an RSVP email so they can get your bike charged and ready. More info here.

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

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

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A 30 year-old vision for a carfree Historic Columbia River Highway

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 15:15

Imagine a carfree Historic Columbia River Highway… like Dave Wechner did almost 30 years ago.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s been a steady trickle of news here on BikePortland in recent years from agencies and advocates who see a future for carfree traveling in the Columbia River Gorge. But it turns out the idea isn’t as futuristic as you might think.

“Transportation agencies were slow to respond. But it is encouraging to see the progress now being made.”
— Dave Wechner, who pushed for a carfree Gorge in 1989

A few days ago I heard from Dave Wechner, a land-use planner who owns a consulting business based in Coupeville, Washington. Wechner came across our article about the new Carfree Columbia Gorge website and he wanted to share a historical perspective: Nearly 30 years ago he did a graduate thesis based on, “reducing the negative impacts associated with intensive automobile traffic on the Columbia Gorge scenic highway.” He presented the thesis to the Columbia River Gorge Commission in June 1989 while working toward his Masters Degree in environmental studies at University of Oregon.

In his thesis summary (below), Wechner wrote that his hope was to, “Stimulate discussion to develop a new transportation strategy for the scenic highway, employing alternatives to private automobile traffic.” The idea motivated him because he felt fewer people using cars in the Gorge would reduce environmental impacts, enhance recreation and tourism potential, and improve safety on the roads.

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Among the ideas in his plan were: tolls on private auto use and a permit system so only Gorge residents and their guests would have access to the Historic Highway; a system of shuttle buses; and the construction of several park-and-ride lots outside of the Scenic Area. His visionary proposal saw a linkage between the shuttles and existing TriMet service — the same model being used today by the Columbia Gorge Express service. Wechner also called for bike racks on the all the shuttle buses (three years before TriMet would add them) and a “share lane” for bicycles on the Historic Highway that would include, “boundary lines that drivers and bicyclists may use when passing.”

In an email, Wechner said the response from property owners to his idea of a toll and permit system on the Historic Highway ran the gamut, “From those who thought I was proposing to evict them for four months of the year, to others who figured out the result for them would be positive, as they wouldn’t deal with the crush of traffic on sunny weekends, people driving up and parking in their driveways, dumping garbage, etc.” He said people also liked the idea of how businesses would benefit from being located near park-and-ride locations.

As for transportation agencies, Wechner said, “They were slow to respond.” “But,” he added, “it is encouraging to see the progress now being made.”

Three decades after he pitched his plans, Wechner encouraged me to “Keep this issue alive in the minds of Portlanders — and in turn, others who look to the Northwest for innovation.”

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

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“It’s going to be uncomfortable” City staffer says about upcoming Springwater path closure

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 13:42

BES staffer Ronda Fast at Bike Advisory Committee meeting last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“It’s going to be uncomfortable. We know that. No option will be as good as the Springwater. We know that. But it’s temporary, and at least we have options now.”

That’s how Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Program Coordinator Ronda Fast described the upcoming four-month closure of the Springwater Corridor path that will impact many Portlanders this summer. Fast was at the BAC meeting to explain how BES will handle the diversion of thousands of daily bicycling trips that currently use the Springwater to get between Sellwood and downtown Portland.

The meeting came just a few days after we reported that BES rejected a detour proposal by the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE, the neighborhood association). The disagreement stems from how best to handle thousands of bike trips per day that will be forced off the Springwater and onto other routes due to a major project to salmon habitat at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. BES wants to direct people either to the west side of the Willamette River (on a circuitous, narrow and poorly maintained greenway path), or onto the SE 19th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway — which is 10 blocks east of the Springwater. The neighborhood proposed what they feel is a more direct and safer route on 14th/15th and SE Milwaukie — where they asked for temporary bike lanes in space currently used for on-street auto parking.

BES says the neighborhood’s proposal is not feasible and is “out of scope” for the project.

The intersection of SE 17th and Milwaukie is part of the main route being recommended.

Last night Fast revealed the draft maps of the routes they’ll recommend come July (see below). For riders who opt to stay on the eastside, they’ll push east-west bike traffic onto Spokane and Umatilla to 19th. From 19th, the route will jog onto 20th in the northern section between Reedway and Insley. Insley will then take riders to a couplet on Milwaukie (northbound in a currently unstriped, door-zone bike lane) and 17th (southbound). The official route will then use 17th to cross McLoughlin to reach points north.

Notice they call it “routes” not a detour.

Fast said BES and their project partners at the Parks Bureau opted to not recommend that bike riders use the paved multi-use path inside Oaks Bottom Park that connects Milwaukie to the Springwater (at Mitchell). “That’s not a route we want to showcase as a primary option,” she said. “It’s not one we’re advocating for commuters to use because there are a lot of issues that would be exacerbated, especially with an increase in bike traffic.” Fast didn’t go into any more detail (I’ve reached out to follow-up but haven’t heard back yet); but it’s likely that Parks is concerned with how bicycle users will behave on the path. From the parking lot down to the floodplain there’s a relatively steep incline. And given what I know about how Parks views bicycle riders, I’m sure they assume people will ride too fast and will have collisions with other path users.

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BES plans to do a comprehensive signage plan and Fast said their aim will be to, “Make sure people know in advance so they can make decisions themselves.”

At one point, Fast maintained that they don’t call their plan a “detour.” Rather, it’s a set of recommendations and bicycle users can make up their routes based on their best judgment.

Overall, the presentation didn’t go over well with BAC members.

David Stein held up a photograph of a young girl and said, “What’s being proposed doesn’t fit with our target design user. This isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’… The Springwater is not only a commuter route, but a recreational route.” Stein said he worries about how people will find their way once the path is closed. Fast replied by saying, “I’m prepared to do as much signage as needed… Even street teams on key dates.” “We know how big this is,” she continued. “So we’re pulling out tools in our toolkit that we haven’t pulled out before.”

(Note: The path will be open for use all the way up to the closure site — you just won’t be able to go through.)

BAC member Reza Farhoudi asked Fast why they rejected the Sellwood neighborhood’s proposal. Parks planner Emily Roth spoke up to say they wanted to stay on signed routes that have bicycle treatments and that have the support of PBOT. “The roads proposed by SMILE are not improved roadways,” Roth said. “If people want to use that they are welcome to… This is a project to preserve fish and wildlife… They [SMILE] have a good idea, but those roads can’t be improved as part of this project. It’s just not feasible.”

“I’m just concerned when the needs of parking goes above the needs of bicycle riders,” Farhoudi added. “Parking was not the main factor in our response,” Fast replied. “The main factor was that we have a main route that will be safe and signed.”

Roth then said if people wanted to get off their bikes and walk on Oaks Bottom hiking trails “as a pedestrian” they are welcome to.

The final word came from BAC Chair Rithy Khut who said, “I’m not happy with this process. This is the second time you’ve come to us with this detour plan and just stated, ‘This is happening.'” Khut added that since the city had years to plan for this project, agencies should have “pooled their resources” to install safe bike lanes prior to the closure. Khut also lamented that the committee didn’t have more time to discuss the situation due to other items on the agenda.

“It’s really frustrating,” he said.

One member of the audience at last night’s meeting passed around a flyer (below) of a “Temporary bike lane DIY install concept” and a map showing a green bike lane on SE Milwaukie between Reedway and Mitchell:

We might see some tactical urbanism this summer.

The closure is set to begin July 1st and will last through October.

UPDATE, 4:20 pm: Portland Parks Community Relations Manager Jennifer Yocom emailed to clarify some points, and explain their rationale for not recommending the paved path through the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge park (emphases mine):

“We are communicating preferred options, not detours. We have crafted preferred options that cause as little disruption to the entire bike system and parks system as possible—as you know, this disruption is temporary.

The bicycle options shown on the map are locations where the city has built infrastructure and spent resources to provide safe and enjoyable bicycle routes. The Sellwood Bridge has bicycle lanes and the regional trail on the west side was recently completed all the way through Willamette Park. This makes a trail connection all the way to downtown. PBOT is completing the SE 19th Avenue bike route as shown on the Bike Plan.

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is managed for many uses – education, wildlife viewing, and walking/hiking for humans, and important habitat for wildlife, including red-legged frogs. It is an important bird areas in the city. Users are required to stay on designated trails in the refuge. The paved trail is often used by school groups (even during the summer) and families to enjoy the refuge. Portland Parks & Recreation wants to ensure all our users have an safe and enjoyable experience in the refuge. We accomplish this by reducing conflicts that may occur. For instance, we have school groups and camps get permits in such a way that there are not too many people in one area at a time. Dogs must be on a leash to protect users and wildlife. Wildlife are often most active early in the morning and later in the evening. The path through Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge will remain open and is not shown as a preferred option to reduce conflicts with other users experiences and wildlife protection.”

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

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City Council hears Yoana Molina’s powerful testimony for a safer SE Stark

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 12:27

She told them exactly what they needed to hear.

An emergency speed limit reduction for outer Southeast Stark Street was unanimously approved by Portland City Council this morning (see the ordinance here).

The move comes as no surprise, given the priority for traffic safety shown by our current Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners and the commitment to Vision Zero by our Bureau of Transportation. As we reported last week, this action on Stark comes after a spate of deadly collisions and its continued ranking atop PBOT’s “high crash corridor” charts for biking, walking and driving. In addition to lowering the speed limit, PBOT has set aside $10 million for infrastructure upgrades.

During this morning’s hearing, two staff members of the nonprofit community development organization, The Rosewood Initiative, were invited to testify. One of them was Yoana Molina. Molina is the director of operations for the group and has been an active volunteer in the neighoborhood for over 15 years. During her testimony she spoke without notes and her words came straight from the heart.

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Here’s what she said

“Thank you for the oppoprtunity to be here and to speak up. I think you need to hear from somebody who lives in that neighborhood. And that’s me.

I want to thank everybody who’s behind this emergency ordinance. With this ordinance you guys give the opportunity to mothers to go back to their sons at home – and for sons to go back to their mothers at home. Five miles maybe it’s not a big deal for everybody; but it makes a huge difference in people’s lives… on the people who live there. [unfortunately the recording skipped for a few seconds]… It’s scandalous I found it safer to drive my car to work just five minutes [away] because I want to go back to my house with my kids [crying]. So I want you guys to keep that in mind [and] put in place this emergency ordinance.

The last time I was corssing 166th… I waited in the middle. And I almost get hit. The car, it touched my clothes and I stopped to check if I was fine. I was scared. But I can bet you the guy who was driving the car was scared too since he stopped like 30 or 40 feet away. Again, five miles, it’s not a big deal, but it will make a huge difference in my life and in the life of everybody who lives in that neighborhood. Thank you.”

You can watch Molina’s testimony below (and rewind the video a few more minutes to see the excellent comments from fellow neighborhood advocate Kem Marks):

We’re lucky to have a City Council that supports traffic safety measures and they all “get it” when it comes to the need to lower speeds. But none of them live beyond 82nd Avenue. And short of living there, they’ll never understand the urgency of these issues unless they continue to hear from people like Ms. Molina.

It’s great to see PBOT taking action on Stark. We wish it didn’t come after so many people had to be hurt and killed and held hostage by the daily traffic violence — but at least something is finally being done.

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

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ODOT invites reporters to drive distracted

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 09:58

Unfortunately, not on a closed course.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has just announced a novel way to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

Billed as “Your chance to drive distracted,” they’ve invited the media to join them tomorrow at a local race track where reporters can hop in a specially-outfitted car to get a deeper understanding of how distraction impacts driving. While this issue is certainly no laughing matter, I had to chuckle at the idea that anyone who drives regularly needs a special chance to drive distracted — as if they’ve never done it before!

The event will happen just north of the Kenton Neighborhood at Portland International Raceway.

Here’s ODOT’s pitch:

“We invite media to talk with safety officials, law enforcement, safety advocates and survivors from Oregon and Washington. The Oregon Driver Education Center will provide three driving courses reporters can test: a distracted driving course, an EZ drift car and an accelerator car, which gauges response time. Representatives from Oregon Impact, Trauma Nurses Talk Tough and U-TURN 180 will be available to comment. ODOT Director Matt Garrett, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Regional Administrator Greg Frederickson and Washington Traffic Safety Commission Media Relations Manager Shelly Baldwin will provide opening comments.”

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ODOT will also have the mother of a young woman who was hit and killed in a crash caused by a distracted driver available for interviews. The woman’s totaled car will be on display.

ODOT statistics show that a distracted driver causes a crash ever 2.5 hours on average and that distraction plays a role in one of every 12 serious injury crashes in Oregon.

(Graphic: Zendrive)

In related news, Zendrive released their 2018 Distracted Driving Snapshot study yesterday. The company’s analysis was based on data from tracking 100 billion miles of driving. The bad news is that the problem is “far worse” than they thought. How much worse? 100 times worse says their data. “There’s a lot more driver phone use in the U.S. than officials say,” reads a company blog post on the study. They estimate that 60 percent of people use their phones while driving and there are 69 million U.S. drivers who use their phones in their cars each day.

The good news? Oregon held the title of “Least Distracted State” for the second year running and Portland was ranked as the second least distracted city. That might offer some solace, but keep in mind that a 2016 City of Portland survey found that distracted driving was a top concern for road users.

Check out Zendrive’s study here:

Zendrive Distracted Driving study FINAL (April 2018)

… And put your damn phone down!

But wait, there’s more… We appreciate ODOT doing events like this. Perhaps they can keep it going and help reporters (and their own staff) understand what it’s like to ride a bike in traffic. Here’s one novel way a transit agency is going about that:

Every driver of any motorized vehicle should try this at least once pic.twitter.com/FU1zq37qqZ

— 21st Century City (@urbanthoughts11) April 9, 2018

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

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‘Rogue’ union member blamed for candidate question tying road diets to bus driver attacks

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 12:58

We’re still friends, right?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Someone snuck their “pet issue” into an official questionnaire.

One of the many roles BikePortland plays in the regional transportation sphere is to keep people honest. A recent episode involving a candidate questionnaire gone wrong is a good illustration of that.

Last week a candidate running in an election in Washington County alerted us to a questionnaire from the Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC). “Check out question #12,” he wrote to me in an email.

Here’s the question:

The City of Portland and Metro have advanced a concept they believe will motivate the general public to get out of their cars and seek alternative modes of transportation. Using speed bumps, bioswales, road diets, lane elimination, car lanes turned into bike only lanes, curb extensions and speed reductions to encourage more people to use Mass Transit. The unintended consequence is that it makes it impossible for Bus Operators, who share the same roads, to meet their schedules resulting in a record number of attacks on drivers. The number of assaults has nearly doubled each of the last four years.

Please share your thoughts on this strategy and do you think it makes sense to continue?

Naturally, these unsubstantiated claims set off major alarm bells here at BikePortland.

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“We honestly don’t know how there was such a breakdown in communication leading to this question appearing on the NWOLC’s questionnaire, but we’re looking into it. This question never should have been asked of candidates, and we’re embarrassed that it was.”
@ATU757pdx on Twitter

I immediately emailed NOLC Executive Secretary Treasurer Bob Tackett to learn more. Tackett said the questions were submitted by affiliates. In this case, the question came from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757, the union that represents TriMet bus operators.

The next day I heard from ATU’s Public Policy Coordinator Jared Franz. “First of all,” he shared via email, “let me be very clear that we do not believe that speedbumps and road diets are a direct cause of bus operator assaults.” Franz added that while it’s true operator assaults are at an all-time high and that passengers frustated by congestion are “sometimes” the cause of these assaults, he said road design isn’t responsible. “Except possibly in a very, very indirect way,” he added in parentheses.

Franz said he was surprised to see that question on the questionnaire and thought his group had submitted a different one. He said there was a “breakdown in communication.” “This question never should have been asked,” he wrote via Twitter, “we’re embarrassed that it was.” Franz asked Tackett to remove the question and I was assured it was.

After investigating the situation more closely, Franz said via the ATU’s Twitter account that a member “went rogue” and replaced a different question with his/her own in order to promote a “pet issue.”

We were pleased at how this was quickly addressed by the ATU and the NOLC. But it remains a concern that such a biased perspective is held by an ATU member with enough clout to influence this questionnaire — especially given the sometimes fraught relationship between bus operators and bicycle riders in Portland. Hopefully this is the last we hear of this road-diets-lead-to-operator-attacks narrative. If it’s not, we’ll know where it started.

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

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Humans, bike maps, and of course, Google: How to choose family-friendly routes

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 11:44

I like routes calm enough for kids to ride ahead of me.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Call me crazy, but I have four different routes for each destination. In order of comfort, high to low:

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

  • me plus kids riding separately
  • me with kids attached via cargo bike/tandem
  • me alone
  • me alone running late

They sometimes have a bit of overlap, but they’re rarely entirely the same.

I’ve made a couple interesting discoveries about my route choices lately and it’s got me thinking about how I choose my family-friendly routes and why they’re better for more than just biking with kids.

Two days ago I biked around with a friend visiting from Seattle and I realized that if we took my kid-friendly route we could ride side-by-side and talk the whole way home. That certainly seemed worth 31 minutes versus 28 (per Google Maps estimates). Then yesterday morning the kids and I left home a bit late so we forewent our usual out-of-the-way route that incorporates six blocks of fairly car-free “roadway not improved” pothole-strewn gravel and I realized how loud the direct route is. I take this direct route when I’m alone, after I’ve dropped the kids off at school and on my way to fetch them at the end of the day. Until yesterday’s shouted conversation, the noise pollution eluded me.

As an example of my different routes, here’s how I get close-in from the Woodstock/Mt. Scott area:

➤ If I’m alone or have the kids attached to my bike I’ll take the bike lane (a mixture of in the door zone and against the curb) of SE 52nd Ave and head west on SE Clinton St, my favorite greenway.

➤ If I’ve got the kids with me and one or both is on their own bike(s) we head the “wrong” way to use quiet SE 67th Ave for a light to cross busy SE Foster Rd and then wiggle over to equally quiet SE 65th for a light to cross extremely busy SE Powell Blvd (at the intersection with the furniture store dressed in anti-road-diet posters) and connect up with Clinton.

➤ If I’m rushing to a meeting after dropping the kids at school I’ll bomb down SE Steele St which has bike lanes the last few blocks, but mostly nothing.

Paint-buffered bike lanes are not protected bike lanes.

I’ve come to understand “it’s not that steep”/”it’s not that busy” and “there’s only one steep block”/”there’s only one crappy block” are hints that I probably won’t like a certain route and will take all future advice from that person with a grain of salt.

When I started family biking 10 years ago I never went anywhere kid-free, so I developed my calmest routes first. But now that we’re in a new city and they’re at school six hours a day I often go new places without them and unless I’m investigating a kid-friendly route for future use, I tend to be lazy and just follow Google Maps. I need to break this habit because I’ve been using the same non-kid-friendly routes over and over without trying any small changes to find calmer alternatives for even parts of my trips. It might just be that I had more time to find my routes back in Seattle, but I think it really was easier — primarily because there are so many fewer greenways. That really helped limit my options.

Hills are an issue for kids and heavy bikes here, but they’re even more of an issue in Seattle and that also conveniently dictated where I could ride. Thirdly, I’m still getting used to the lack of stop lights for crossing arterials here. There really aren’t that many spots where kid-friendly streets have a light or all-way stop for crossing busy streets. For example, to cross SE Woodstock Blvd (which is only two lanes, but it’s busy!) I could take the kids to that door-zone bike lane (or sidewalk) of SE 52nd Avenue I mentioned before so we just wait for a break in traffic. The next light is 20 blocks away, for an even busier arterial.

So when I’m alone I consider bike lanes on arterials the lesser of two evils because at least I can cross big streets with a light. I’m a pretty stubborn person and bad at asking for help…unless it’s for bike routes. But I wouldn’t ask just anyone for help to find a route I’ll find pleasant for traveling with kids. I’ve come to understand “it’s not that steep”/”it’s not that busy” and “there’s only one steep block”/”there’s only one crappy block” are hints that I probably won’t like a certain route and will take all future advice from that person with a grain of salt. But if you can find a friend with the same temperament for traffic and hills (downhills as well as uphills, they’re both not as fun with heavy bikes or kids riding on their own) utilize them!

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My go-to route advice giver is Kath Youell of the Portlandize blog. She knows all the best intersections and sneaky routes around any hills. She’s started posting some of her “flattest routes” on her blog, too. I have yet to find a spot Kath can’t route me to, but if I did need a backup source, it would be the PDX Cargo Bike Gang Facebook group. The group contains “strong and fearless” bicyclists, family bikers who share my route criteria, and everything in between.

Crowdsourcing directions always yields interesting results. Obviously I’m biased, but I find family bikers to give the best route advice. They’ll also know of kid-friendly cafes and places to stop for restrooms along the route. The Interactive Digital Bike Map of Portland (or non-interactive Citywide Bike Map or links to these and all the other Bike + Walk Maps) is also terrific, though I have to say I’d mark at least 100 more spots with the “Difficult Intersection” red circle. I’d love a map with all the especially nice bike infrastructure and even just all the spots where quiet streets have stop signs, stop lights, or button-activated flashing lights (RRFBs) for crossing busy streets.

Fewer hills and the lack of lakes and their ripple effect of curving roads makes for such a nice grid here and it’s fairly easy to navigate between favorite friendly intersections.

More of these, please!

And I still do plenty of looking at maps on my own, too, before I ask for help. Routing on my own doesn’t have to entail following the first option Google Maps presents. I find that’s a good starting point and then I do a lot of peeking at intersections and road widths with Google Street View. Google doesn’t have all the “Except bicycles” diverters accurately cataloged so it’s also wise to check any weird jogs in Google Street View. I used to be good about clicking “Send feedback” and submit photos and map screen shots in the hopes of getting bike-route errors corrected, and I’m putting it on my to-do list to start that up again.

One of those needless jogs is up a hill!

And Google Street View is out of date for the other, but it’s a good guess that they’re both car diverters and fine for bikes to pass through. Google isn’t the only game in town, of course. Ride with GPS’ Find a Route and Strava Heatmaps are also sources for finding routes. I tend to think of them as routes for the “strong and fearless” set, but that’s not always the case. In person on the fly I’ve recently discovered a couple short cuts by following commuters when they leave the signed bikeway. Usually these are purely short cuts and replace one quiet block with a busy one, but sometimes it’s a quiet left-right-left jog to avoid a stop sign and a nice trick to one’s repertoire.

My on-the-fly route-finding claim-to-fame in Seattle was spotting a rare non-e-assisted pedicab and following him uphill from the waterfront through a lovely new-to-me plaza and along a road with a doable grade. To this day I’m always tempted to follow very heavy and/or wide bikes for the kinds of routes only they can fully appreciate.

It’s rare to encounter a car on a road like this.

Do you have any general tips and tricks? And any specific routes or parts of routes worth sharing? I’m sure there’s a lot I haven’t discovered in my almost eight months here. 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

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Oregon begins process to legalize electric-assist bikes in state parks

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:28

E-bikes are currently illegal on paths like the Banks-Vernonia. A new rule would change that.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wants to update their rules regarding electric bicycles.

As we were first to report last summer, electric bikes are not currently legal to ride on paths in Oregon State Parks. That’s because park paths are governed by Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), which currently classify electric bicycles as “motor vehicles” — thereby prohibiting their use. (Note that roads outside of state parks are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes which define e-bikes as bicycles). With the rising popularity of pedal-assisted e-bikes, State Parks officials recognize that the OAR is outdated.

Now they’ve begun the process to officially amend the rules to make it clear that electric-assisted bicycles (as defined in ORS 801.258) are allowed in State Parks. The OPRD website has posted a “notice for proposed rulemaking” and there’s a comment form to receive public feedback.

2018Electric-assisted-bicycle-notice

As currently written (beginning on page four the document above), the new rule would:
– allow pedal-assisted e-bikes on all roads and trails eight feet or wider;
– “Restrict speed and manner of operation to a reasonable and prudent practice relative to terrain, prevailing conditions, equipment, personal capabilities, personal safety and the safety of all other park users”;
– give individual park managers discretion to increase or restrict e-bike access if they feel it’s prudent for the context or conditions of a path;
– allow e-bikes on the seashore (where non-motorized bicycles are already allowed);
– and prohibit e-bikes on off-road trails, except when posted otherwise by a park manager.

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Here’s how the state explains the need for a new rule:

“As use of electric assisted bicycles has increased, riders have expressed desire to utilize trails and roads under ORPD management. Opening trails and roads that are eight feet and over and the ocean shore will allow electric assisted bicycles to ride in places that have greater space available to reduce conflict with existing visitors. Existing trail users including equestrians, bicyclists and pedestrians have expressed concerns with increased trail conflicts as user groups are expanded. We are proposing restricting use of electric assisted bicycles to wider trails where greater space is available for multiple types of user groups. If a park manager determined a narrower trail was appropriate for electric assisted bicycles, the proposed rule provides the flexibility to allow for it be signed as open to electric assisted bicycles. The proposed rule would also allow electric assisted bicycles on the ocean shore in areas where other bicycles are currently allowed. Riders would need to follow current rules regarding speed and manner of operations. As with all vehicles, electric assisted bicycles would not be allowed to harass wildlife or ride in snowy plover nesting areas.”

The rule would help open up cycling as a viable mobility option for many more Oregonians. People like Forest Grove resident Chris Billman— whose frustration with this legal grey area spurred him to become the first Oregon resident to get an ADA permit for his bicycle — would no longer have to operate in the shadows. And with legal clarity, bike shops and bike rental companies near State Parks are likely to see a boost in business.

Please share your feedback about this new rule on OPRD’s website or via email at OPRD.publiccomment@oregon.gov. Comment period is open until 5:00 pm on May 18th. There will be six public hearings on the rule change between April 23rd and May 7th. They’ll take place in Hood River, Salem, Redmond, Newport, Bandon, and Warrenton.

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

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MOVEMENT 12: Campagnolo slings another cog into the cluster

Bike Hugger - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 00:31

Based on decades of empirical evidence, the general consensus among 95% of the world’s drivetrain scientists has been that a 12-speed road group would someday soon become reality. The other 5% of drivetrain scientists either based their studies on long defunct Suntour drivetrains, or were secretly funded by Grant Peterson in an effort to discredit drivetrain evolution.

 

The only surprise in today’s industry news is that Campagnolo beat SRAM in officially debuting a 12sp road group. Two years ago SRAM introduced 12sp for mountainbike single-chainring drivetrains, and it seemed entirely plausible that they would steamroll that tech right into the road market. However, SRAM’s rationale behind a twelfth cog was that the thinner chain and cog teeth were more than compensated by the elimination of the left shifter, front derailleur, and one chainring, and a significant portion of mtb consumers and bike brands have agreed. But the road market is in many ways rigidly traditional, and SRAM’s marketing success with 1×11 road drivetrains has been much more muted (though there are definitely some true believers out there such as Gerard Vroomen of 3T/Open Cycle).

So Campagnolo’s MOVEMENT 12 introduction (what is it with the bike industry’s obsession with all-caps?) is on one hand bold and on the other very predictable. Campagnolo has been on the forefront of adding cogs to the cluster, being the first to introduce 10sp and 11sp drivetrains (also they debuted 9sp head-to-head with Shimano back in 1997). And the venerable Italian brand is sticking to double chainrings, using the twelfth cog to tighten up the ratios at the low end of the gearing, rather than gambling on a road racer paradigm shift to the 1x concept. Once the 12sp groupsets, for now just in the Record and Super Record product lines, are widely available they should surely find little obstacle to acceptance among professional teams and riders, who have a central role in Campagnolo’s marketing strategy. The groupsets will have both disc and rim brake options, but the press release makes no mention of EPS, Campagnolo’s electronic shifting system that exists for current 11sp.

Super Record Ergopower, rim brake Non-series direct-mount caliper, and Super Record conventional caliper

A quick glance at the rim brake Ergopower levers reveals the brake blade and shift paddles have been refined for better ergonomics. In the past adjustable brake reach was precluded by Campagnolo’s use of an integrated brake caliper quick-release in the lever; the new version has a multi-position QR button that effectively creates 3-distinct reach positions. Also the brake blade, already the most curvaceous of any integrated lever on the market, has been further sculpted to work with differing hand sizes. The shift levers are a little larger and the mechanisms have been tweaked to reduce dead stroke before the mechanism activates. At the other end of the line, the rim brake calipers bear no resemblance to the previous generations of clampers. They are very angular, particularly at the front arm, and lack the forged in windows that gave the old calipers the “Skeleton” moniker. They actually come in both standard short-reach for Record/Super Record and a non-series direct-mount style, though unlike Shimano who use a symmetrical dual-pivot geometry for both, Campagnolo’s standard caliper design retains the typical central pivot plus offset pivot. In both cases the calipers lack QR features, since as mentioned those are located at the lever.

Super Record and Record hydraulic levers

The 12sp hydraulic disc brake lever is an evolution of the rather recently released H11 hydraulic l11sp ever and brakes, but the 12sp differ by being marketed as distinct Record and Super Record product rather than non-series items. The levers have adjustable free stroke and reach. Both hydraulic and rim brake levers allow up to 5 upshifts or 3 downshifts in a single movement

New Super Record crankset

.

The cranksets retain the four-arm/8-bolt configuration of the most recent 11sp cranks which allows standard, compact, and semi-compact chainring combinations to be mounted on the same arms. The new cranks seem to be based on the existing UltraTorque design, but the smooth face of the right arm is unbroken by the spindle, so seemingly the fixing bolt for the UltraTorque’s Hirth joint is fed in from the left side. Unlike the H11 crank that features a wider chainline optimized for 135/142 rear disc hubs, the new 12sp Record and Super Record cranks are said to fully compatible with both rim and disc brake drivetrains, though no specifics provided concerning chainline.

The front derailleur uses an actuation arm that is distinct from the parallelogram. The new mechanism is said to lead to quicker initial movement of the derailleur cage.

Record 12sp rear derailleur

Looking very much like a Huret Jubilee derailleur re-imagined by HR Giger while in a particularly brutal frame of mind, the 12sp carbon rear derailleur is perhaps the most radical departure from Italian traditions of yore. A couple years ago Campagnolo changed the actuation ratios of their 11sp product while introducing offset parallelogram pivots on the rear derailleur. The 12sp goes even further with an offset B-pivot similar to Shimano’s “Shadow”-type rear derailleurs, though it is unclear whether Campagnolo’s design uses a B-pivot spring or is unsprung like Shimano. The bulkiness of the carbon upper knuckle implies a spring might be buried in there, but since the PR didn’t make it clear one way or another we will have to wait for clarification. It is implied that the new derailleur can function as a direct-mount with the removal of the link that secures the upper knuckle to traditional derailleur hangers.

What Campangolo does say is that the derailleur geometry has been optimized for the profile 11-29 and 11-32 cassettes, so that top pulley will track consistently and accurately across the individual cogs. The larger size and reduced ratio options are the natural result of adding more cogs to the cluster. Both cassette options are basically straight blocks for the first 2/3rd of the cluster that then give four progressively spaced climbing gears on the low end, so there is little to gain in offering marginally different 11-23 or 11-25 cassettes. Perhaps we could see maybe an 11-27 in the future though? The new cassettes fit on existing 10/11sp Campagnolo freehub bodies, so going to 12sp will not require you to replace your current Campagnolo-compatible wheels.

To be honest, I have not been devoted to Campagnolo since the end of the 8sp-era, which coincidentally was the last time I was actually excited about addition of another cog, but I think that a lot of Campagnolo’s more recent designs have been both attractive and technically refined. Still, it’s hard for me say that anyone needs a 12sp double road drivetrain. Perhaps one can argue that the twelfth cog makes the bike fully optimized for both flat-terrain and climbing. To me the cumulative improvements to the levers’ ergonomics, the rim brakes’ geometry, and the cranksets’ aesthetics are the main features, and the twelfth cog is simply an occasional benefit. If you are surprised that Campagnolo is lagging behind on the electronic version of 12sp, you need only realize that the company has recently rolled out a lot of new designs in a short period of time without the resources financed by a huge OEM presence like Shimano or SRAM. Campagnolo surely won’t wait too long to roll out the EPS version though, since the World Tour pro teams are all gung-ho for electronic shifting nowadays. It will be interesting to see if the teams hold onto the 11sp EPS rather than go to the 12sp mechanical shifting.

The post MOVEMENT 12: Campagnolo slings another cog into the cluster appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Gore-Tex Stretch Jacket

Bike Hugger - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 16:39

If you’re trying to understand why a cycling rain jacket costs $369 instead of $29, here’s why: it’s ok to sweat in the Gore-Tex Stretch Jacket and keep it on for the whole ride. What Gore-Tex started as the One has been iterated to include stretch panels and the result is a closely fitting jacket that will flap less in the wind, hug the body closer, and provide unrestricted movement while training, racing or just riding.

Gore Stretch Launch in Park City.

With a proper liner underneath, it’s all you need to wear in the rain.

Out for a ride in Park City—it was cold.

Compared to the clear plastic bags with sleeves cyclists used to put on when it rains and sweat profusely in, the technological advantage is…well, obvious. It doesn’t get that cold in the Pacific Northwest, so cyclists sweat out their jackets and try to start the ride feeling a chill, so as not to overheat.

Now, if it’s gonna be a wet ride, the Gore-Tek ShakeDry (and the other variants) is on from start to finish with maybe a zip down or up a bit to modulate the microclimate. Kit up and go comfortably without ever retreating the jacket either. The surface permanently beads.

The stretch works like it does in any other garment adding comfort and putting the membrane closer to your body so it can perform best. As with all the jackets in the ShakeDry line, the outer face fabric is no longer necessary (with exceptions for durability) and comfort is the key feature.

Riding mostly off road these days, I’ll unzip to my chest during a climb, then right back up for the loop, and the descent. You just can’t backpack with a ShakeDry or Stretch jacket, because there’s no outer layer.

That’s not a problem for me because I prefer a fanny pack and now through the spring I pack the jacket either in the boxy-bike bag or in a jersey pocket if I’m riding road.

The trick is to flip the alcohol into your mouth from the membrane without spilling a drop.

Potentially lost in the rapid release pace for Gore is how advanced the product is. The assembled media, including me, learned as much during the launch, where Gore presented the stretch version like a science fair with stations demonstrating how the tech has evolved. Most interesting we learned Gore’s founder originally envisioned this jacket nearly 50 years ago and they finally now have the tech to make it a reality. The stretch panels, also made of Gore materials, are privatized military tech developed to be worn with bulletproof vests.

Gore Stretch fabric was developed for the military.

Fabian Cancellara is Gorewear’s brand ambassador and was on hand for the launch. He explained the best version of the samples he tried is worn closest to the skin, but that was overly constricting. The stretch panels under the arms and upper back allow for a tight fit with less constriction.

Fabs flew in from Bern to hang out with the media during the launch.

Fabs told us

I’ve been waiting for this jacket and technology to come to production for a long time: it’s ultra-lightweight and super breathable; it fits into any jersey pocket, it’s completely waterproof and it fits like a second skin thanks to the stretch inserts.

And, because it breathes so well the jacket can be worn in warm but wet conditions, as well as very cold situations, whether or not it’s raining. I have the running version with a hood and just wear it around as a shell. When traveling, it’s particularly useful because it packs down so small and is light.

Fabs worked closely with Gore on the tech.

What Gore didn’t share with us is his how they print colors on a beading membrane, but somehow they do. While the jacket is grayish black, color accents pop on gray days or nights.

Features
  • Increased freedom of movement due to its snug and aerodynamic fit
  • Combined with persistent beading surface technology
  • Flexibility to fit many different body types and sizes
  • Great wearing comfort
  • Waterproof and beading surface
  • Improved breathability to reduce moisture-trapping air pockets under the jacket
  • Maintains the waterproof protection that consumers demand of a hard shell, without the feeling of restriction or bulk that may hinder movement
  • Compelling aesthetics: Technical & differentiated appearance
  • GORE‐TEX® SHAKEDRY Product Technology
  • GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology
Availabilty

Gore-Tex ShakeDry jacket is available now from Competitive Cyclist and Gorewear for $369. What you need to know is, by combining Shakedry with stretch technology borrowed from the military, Gorewear has released a cycling jacket that’s been engineered to create a closer fitting and more sculpted jacket while keeping overall weight very low with little bulk or noise.

It’s absolutely worth $369, unless you prefer to sweat out in a plastic rain cape of course.

Ride all day in stretch, I wear the running version to travel with. More Gore Stories

The post Gore-Tex Stretch Jacket appeared first on Bike Hugger.

City rejects request for more direct bike detour during Springwater path closure

Bike Portland - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 12:27

This section of SE Milwaukie near McLoughlin is high-stress for bicycle riders. There’s room for bike lanes — but only if the car parking is prohibited.

The Portland Bureau of Environmental Service (BES) has already broken ground on a major project to enhance the habitat of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. It’s an exciting project for fish who swim in the Willamette; but for humans who ride bicycles it comes with a relatively high cost of convenience.

As we reported in January, the project will require a closure of the Springwater Corridor path for up to four months starting in July.

With just a few months until the planned closure, the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League has been lobbying BES in hopes of creating a bike detour that would be as safe and convenient as possible. BES hasn’t released detailed bike detour maps yet (they’re still in draft form, an official told me this morning), but back in January they wanted to use SE 19th as the recommended route. (They would also encourage people to cross over to the west side using the new Sellwood Bridge to connect to the Willamette Greenway path.)

19th is a nice, residential street that should have additional neighborhood greenway features added by this summer. But it’s also about 10 blocks east of the Springwater path and would require climbing and about one mile of out-of-direction travel for many bike riders.

Instead, SMILE wants BES to use SE 14th and 15th (already a calm route that goes by a school). In the northern end, SMILE also asked BES to install temporary bike lanes on SE Milwaukie Ave between Reedway and Mitchell by using space currently allocated to on-street parking. On the southern end, they asked for some crossing upgrades at SE Bybee and 14th. SMILE President Joel Lieb wrote in a February 21st letter (PDF) to BES Environmental Program Coordinator Ronda Fast that, “We want to ensure those [2,800 daily Springwater path] users have a well-planned practical and safety to her on surface streets during the closure.”

Here’s a mock-up (created by Sellwood resident William H.) showing the draft BES route and the route preferred by SMILE:

(Unofficial maps)

In a letter (PDF) dated April 5th, BES politely denied their requests.

Here’s the salient portion of the letter from Fast:

“After a thoughtful evaluation of your request, and after re-evaluating our plan for signage and route options with our project team, we believe that spending additional project funds on temporary bike lanes on SE Milwaukie between SE Reedway and SE Mitchell (in particular, between SE Reedway and SE Insley), is outside the scope of the project. Nor would it necessarily provide a better alternative to the established SE 19th Avenue Greenway route. We also believe that removing parking along this stretch would disrupt commercial and residential activities on that corridor, as well.

Regarding improvements at SE Bybee & 14th, the project team feels that it is also beyond the scope of the Oaks Bottom project to contribute to improvements at that intersection. When it’s fully complete this Spring, the SE 19th Avenue Greenway will include new crossing treatments, signage, and buffered bike lanes that will provide a space designed to prioritize bicycling.”

Yellow line marks the section of Milwaukie where the neighborhood wants a temporary bikeway.

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PBOT’s striping plans for Milwaukie and 17th as part of the 19th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway project.

Fast added that she realizes people will continue to use Milwaukie regardless of its condition. “There are other routes and trails that we anticipate people will use based on their knowledge of the area and comfort level,” she wrote. “These two options are viable alternatives, based on feedback from our partners at PBOT and Portland Parks & Recreation, that can safely handle the increased traffic due to the closure.”

Fast also bases the decision on the Bureau of Transportation completing the 19th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway. The northern section of that project includes turning Milwaukie and 17th into a north-south bikeway couplet. Between Mitchell and Insley, Milwaukie would get a northbound, unprotected, door-zone bike lane and 17th would get an unprotected buffered bike lane southbound.

SMILE Transportation Committee Chairman Scott Kelly said the letter from Fast was, “Disappointing, to say the least.”

Another issue is whether or not BES and Portland Parks & Recreation will sign and endorse the bike detour going through Oaks Bottom Natural Area. There’s a paved multi-use path between Milwaukie (at Mitchell) and the Springwater that provides a safe connection. In that past we’ve heard Parks is concerned about increased bike use on this path due to its long downhill that could lead to high biking speeds in a popular walking/hiking area.

Reached on the phone today, BES Public Information Officer Diane Dulken said the bike tour maps are still in draft form. A staffer from BES and from PP&R will present their current plan and ask for feedback from the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee at their monthly meeting tomorrow (4/10).

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

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Yes, those Private Property signs on Saltzman Road in Forest Park are legit

Bike Portland - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 11:29

Signs on Saltzman Road. The Firelane 5 gate is on the right.
(Photos: Scott K.)

Since last summer we’ve heard from several readers who are curious about the proliferation of “Private Property: No Trespassing” signs on NW Saltzman Road as it approaches Skyline Boulevard and the Firelane 5 trailhead.

Saltzman is a revered route in Forest Park. It’s a key connector between Highway 30, Leif Erikson Road, and Skyline. The road is so well loved there’s been a bike jersey and a bicycle named after it.

Ever since I can remember, there have been a few Private Property signs as you reach the final few corners at the top. This seems strange given that it’s a public park. And lately, I can confirm that even more signs have gone up. Someone has also laid down a large tree across a trailhead that was a popular singletrack connector betwen Saltzman and Firelane 5.

Are the signs legitimate? Does someone really own that land?

With more signs going up in the past few weeks, I figured it was time to learn once-and-for-all. I contacted Portland Parks & Recreation spokesman Mark Ross to inquire about the signs.

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Ross was able to clarify that resident who owns land adjacent to Forest Park is within their legal rights to post them. He said that last half-mile (or so) of Saltzman Road goes right between a private landowner’s property and that, “This particular landowner has had many issues of trespass on their property.”

Ross added that the City of Portland has been working with the landowner and they plan on installing new signs that are, “less impactful to the experience of enjoying the natural area.” The signs will also do a much better job educating the public about their rights in the area and about why they should avoid leaving Saltzman Road in this area.

Here’s what the new signs will look like:

And here’s a close-up of the property rights map (Skyline would be at the bottom of the image):

Watch for the new signs to be installed in the next month or so.

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

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