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Jobs of the Week: Castelli, Sellwood Cycle Repair, Community Cycling Center, Left Coast Bicycles Mobile Shop

Bike Portland - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 15:35

We’ve had five great job opportunities posted since just before the holiday break. Get to ’em while they’re still fresh!

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Senior Graphic Designer – Castelli

–> Mechanic – Sellwood Cycle Repair

–> Retail Specialist – Community Cycling Center

–> Bike Mechanic – Community Cycling Center

–> Part Time Mechanic – Left Coast Bicycles Mobile Shop

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

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

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

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

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State Rep Rob Nosse says he supports Gideon Overcrossing at 14th Avenue

Bike Portland - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 15:11

An Oregon state legislator wants to clarify his position on a controversial plan to build a bridge for bikers and walkers over rail tracks in southeast Portland.

TriMet concept drawing of the overcrossing. Koerner Camera Systems is in upper left.

After being informed by TriMet that they’d lose federal funding if the Gideon Overcrossing doesn’t get built on SE 14th as currently planned, Representative Rob Nosse says he supports that location — despite major concerns voiced by adjacent business owners.

As we’ve reported, Nosse wrote a letter to TriMet and the City of Portland on December 10th (PDF) asking them to consider moving the bridge to a different location. “I don’t think your planning is so far along that you could not consider an alternative,” Nosse wrote, after meeting with owners of Koerner Camera Systems, Sustainable Northwest Wood, and K&F Coffee. Nosse also felt that moving the bridge would be an “appropriate compromise” given the opposition.

Led by Michael Koerner of Koerner Camera Systems, businesses on 14th Avenue including Rapid Bind, Cascade Commercial Real Estate, and Dovydenas Winery, have organized against this project based on how they perceive the presence of a bridge — especially one that would cater solely to walkers and bikers — would impact public safety and access to their properties. Koerner has hired a land-use attorney who made a request for additional environmental review to the regional head of the Federal Transit Administration last month.

TriMet and PBOT both say no further study of the site is needed and they want to move forward. (A TriMet spokesperson told us today they’ve met with FTA officials and that, “the message was clear that no additional NEPA work is necessary and that we’d lose funding if we move the bridge.” Unfortunately, TriMet wasn’t able to provide documentation of that meeting.)

Rep. Nosse contacted BikePortland this morning after reading our story in the Southeast Examiner newspaper (where it was re-published with my permission). He was concerned I mischaracterized his position. Here’s what he shared in an email today:

“I wrote a letter to Tri-Met and PBOT asking if the pedestrian bridge could be moved to 16th street or even 8th street, thinking that this kind of compromise would help Mr. Koerner and his business and still allow for the bridge to be built.

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Since then, I have been informed by Tri-Met and PBOT that moving the bridge to a different location will result in the withholding of the money that the Federal Government is granting for the bridge project. In short, if we move the bridge there will be no money to build the bridge at all. If the choice is a bridge that utilizes 14th Avenue or no bridge at all, I would of course support the bridge being built at the 14th street location.

Hopefully it can be built/designed in a way that does not hurt Koerner Camera’s business.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition has written a letter (PDF) to PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly urging her to approve the project “as soon as possible.” They say the business owners’ concerns can be mitigated and that further delays risks losing out on $15 million in federal funding.

For his part, Koerner wants a formal public process to be re-opened. “Safety concerns are real,” he shared with me in an email today. “Bicycle, pedestrian, train, and vehicular transportation circumstances have changed at and around this location since the public review process occurred nearly a decade ago… The businesses along SE 14th and other interested stakeholders have raised concerns that should be examined in a public process, not bullied into silence by fear-mongering about federal funding.”

To hear from other business owners and learn more about this project, don’t miss the robust discussion in the comment section of our previous post.

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

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Would you bike on the ‘E?’ How about the ‘Eastway?’

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 13:37

As we reported previously, King County is trying to come up with a better name for the Eastside Rail Corridor, and they have narrowed it down to four finalists: The E, The Eastrail, The 425 and the Eastway.

You can let them know what you think of these names via their online survey.

First off, I’m glad the names are short. “Eastside Rail Corridor” is a mouthful, and it doesn’t do a good job of describing a corridor that no longer has very much rail since Kirkland and King County have removed most of it (though Sound Transit is adding some for a stretch in Bellevue).

I can’t say any of these names immediately jumps out, and part of the problem might be that they are trying to rename a corridor without pigeonholing it to a single use. So while Seattle Bike Blog has for years been referring to the trail portion of the corridor as the “Eastside Trail,” that name does not include potential transit uses alongside the trail. “Eastrail” is the only name the contains the word “trail,”  but it does so in a way that could also be read as “EastRail.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what they name it. The people will decide in time what it will be called. If the official name is good, then it will stick. If not, people will find their own term.

Want to make your case for any of the four names here? Do so in the comments below.

A planned and funded project could have prevented this morning’s fatal collision

Bike Portland - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 12:04


*Existing conditions (left) and PBOT concept drawing of SW Salmon and Park with “X” marking approximate collision location. (Click to enlarge)

This morning someone died while walking across a street in downtown Portland. It’s the first traffic fatality of 2019.

A project approved by City Council in November might have prevented it.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the collision happened just after 7:00 am this morning at the intersection of SW Salmon and Park, just across from Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and the Park Blocks, in an area known as the center of our downtown theater and cultural district. “Based on preliminary information,” the police statement reads, “investigators believe the pedestrian was crossing Southwest Salmon Street in an unmarked crosswalk when he was struck by a vehicle that was traveling on Southwest Salmon Street.” The man suffered major injuries and died shortly after at a nearby hospital.

This is a tragedy for our city; not just because we’ve lost another person to traffic violence, but because a project that’s already been planned, designed, and funded could very likely have prevented the death.

Streetview looking east on Salmon and Park with “X” where driver’s car was stopped after the collision.

In November, council approved the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Central City in Motion plan. That plan aims to improve downtown streets by making them safer and more efficient for all users. 18 projects were included in the plan, with eight of them slated for implementation in the first 1-5 years. PBOT has around $25 million already in place to start building them.

One of the projects slated for the first phase of construction is Project #8, a $3.7 million upgrade to the SW Salmon/Taylor couplet. Once the project is complete, PBOT says Salmon and Taylor between 14th and Naito Parkway will, “become key east/west bike routes for people of all ages and abilities” and will also include, “Pedestrian crossing improvements.”

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Raised intersection as depicted in the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide.

What’s often lost in debates about projects that include protected bike lanes is — especially in Portland — they rarely come with only cycling-related upgrades. In this case, the intersection where the man was hit and killed this morning is slated to be improved for everyone. The project comes with a new bus stop, a protected bike lane, extended curbs to decrease the crossing distance, and fewer on-street auto parking spaces to improve sightlines at the intersections (the space where that big red van is parked in the streetview image above would be a bicycle lane).

Perhaps most importantly in light of this morning’s tragedy, Project #8 will include a “tabled intersection.”

Right now only one crossing of Salmon at SW Park is striped with a crosswalk. Preliminary reports say this morning’s victim was using the side of the street that doesn’t have one. In Oregon we’re told that “every corner is a crosswalk,” and while existing statute might not be so clear (ORS 801.220 says, “Whenever marked crosswalks have been indicated, such crosswalks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection”), the onus for safety should always be on the person with most potential to do harm.

PBOT cross-section proposed for Project #8 in Central City in Motion plan.

As you can see in the concept drawing and cross-section above, PBOT plans to stripe all four crossings of this intersection with crosswalks and create a large speed table, a.k.a. a “tabled” or “raised” intersection. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), raised intersections, “reinforce slow speeds and encourage motorists to yield to pedestrians at the crosswalk.”

This morning’s death is a stark reminder that the current condition of our downtown streets is unacceptable. They are a ticking time bomb that we should treat with similar urgency. When streets are dominated by drivers and cars, drivers and cars will dominate. We can’t implement these Central City in Motion projects soon enough. And we need to plan even more of them. Portlanders deserve a safe and inviting downtown where driving is discouraged and demoted, and where a foot on pavement is more powerful than a foot on a gas pedal.

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

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Cycle Oregon puts ‘Weekender’ event on hold

Bike Portland - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 09:41


*Photos of 2017 Weekender event in McMinnville by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland

2019 C.O. Dates

Mark your calendars, and start training!

  • Kickoff Party – 1/30
  • Gravel – 5/17 ~ 5/19
  • Joyride – 6/22
  • Classic – 9/7 ~ 9/14

In its 32nd year of existence, the venerable Cycle Oregon is evolving once again. In recent years, the nonprofit known for its week-long “Classic” ride, has added women-only and gravel events to broaden its appeal and accessibility.

Now Cycle Oregon has decided to put their popular Weekender event on hold. Here’s what CO Executive Director Steve Schulz shared with us about it in an email this morning:

“WEEKENDER has been a Cycle Oregon staple since 2004, hosting the event for tens of thousands of cyclists over the years all throughout the Willamette Valley. Offering daily routes for every level of cyclist, it’s been home to every age group and ability, providing activities and amenities for both young and old, and it’s important to us to continue to offer an event for such a broad audience.

However, over the last number of years attendance of the WEEKENDER has decreased annually. Accordingly, Cycle Oregon has decided to re-examine the event and its operational model. We want to create a way to incorporate some of the ideas its long-time riders have provided, strengthen the event from all angles, and bring it back positioned for the next decade. The format of an all levels inclusive event won’t be changing; this is one of the finest parts of this Cycle Oregon offering and something we’re very proud of. We look forward to bringing WEEKENDER back to the Cycle Oregon line of events in the future.

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The Weekender is a great event that offers much of the appeal of the Classic ride but in a form that makes it more accessible to families and people who can’t block out a week in September and/or can’t afford the registration fee ($999). In 2015 we noted how it was one of the very few major organized bike rides where women outnumbered the men. Originally conceived as a family-oriented event, in past years it’s also become a perfect place to hang out for a few days with your riding buddies.

In other Cycle Oregon news, the big 2019 route unveiling and kickoff party is January 30th at the Portland Art Museum. The first 500 people in the door will get the honor of early registration and be entered into the drawing for a “Golden Ticket” — an all-access free pass to the 2019 Classic Ride.

And if you’re looking forward to Cycle Oregon’s Gravel or Joyride events, mark your calendars for May 17th-19th and June 22nd respectively. This year’s Classic will run from September 7th to 14th.

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

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2018 bike counts up 32 percent on 2nd Ave downtown after bike lane, bike share expansion

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 01/03/2019 - 11:55

Bike counter totals (2nd Ave at Marion St)

The final counts are in, and 2018 is officially a new high water mark for biking in Seattle.

Looking at the real-time bike counter data from around town, biking was up significantly in Fremont and across the lower West Seattle Bridge. But the real eye-catcher was 2nd Ave downtown, which saw a 32 percent jump over 2017.

The 2nd Ave numbers are particularly exciting because they demonstrate how bike share and an expanded network of protected bike lanes can work together to seriously increase bike use in a very short period of time. The Belltown extension of the 2nd Ave bike lane opened in January 2018, around the same time that bike share companies ofo, Spin and Lime increased the number of bikes on Seattle streets to a couple thousand each.

It’s all but impossible to say which had a bigger effect on the increase, but it’s clear that the combination of bike share availability and safe, comfortable bike lanes works.

But bike trips weren’t just up on 2nd Ave. Both the Fremont and lower West Seattle Bridge saw significant increases.

Fremont shattered the previous record, reaching 1,051,893 trips. That’s a nine percent increase over 2017. Since so many north end Seattle and regional bike routes funnel to the Fremont Bridge, this is probably the single best point to get a snapshot of biking in the city. And because it is so busy, it takes a huge number of trips to move the needle. Since 2014, year-over-year changes have been within two percent of each other. So a nine percent increase is massive.

The West Seattle figures are little more tricky to figure out. Looking at raw numbers, the 2018 count was a modest three percent increase over 2017. But emergency work on the swing bridge closed the route for several days in June and the counter was down for several days in November. I tried to fill in the missing data using counts from days before and after the gaps and determined that maybe 7,000 trips were either missed or displaced. So the bridge was actually on pace for a five or six percent increase over 2017.

I’m sure there are people out there who are confused because this data seems to suggest the opposite of recently-reported Census data, which showed bike commuting declining or stagnating in Seattle. A recent USA Today story even highlighted Seattle as part of what appears to be a national trend away bike commuting. We wrote about the Census survey results previously, but I feel the need to address it again here.

I don’t believe the Census data is wrong. I just think the question they are asking (and the way they ask it) is not complete enough to give an accurate picture of transportation use in increasingly multimodal cities. Recent expansions of bike share and express transit service both encourage people to mix trips by biking to transit, for example. The Census survey only allows a single mode as a respondent’s primary mode of travel to work. So someone who bikes to UW Station then takes light rail the rest of the way is likely counted as a transit rider, for example. Someone who takes transit downtown, but then grabs a bike share to get the rest of the way to work is also likely counted as a transit rider. Transit ridership has grown significantly in recent Census surveys, and it’s quite likely that a lot of those new riders got to their stations or bus stops by bike.

People who bike some days — but not always — are likely not counted as bike commuters, either. The question also does not account for non-work trips, which make up the majority of all trips.

So it’s entirely possible for the Census bike commute rate to go down or stagnate while the total counted bike trips go up. And bike trips are the more important measure, since it really does not matter why someone is biking. We just do not have a quality dataset that accounts for all trips regardless of purpose or mode mixing, so people focus on the Census commute figures.

It’s also worth noting that the most recent Census data is for 2017, so it will be interesting to see how/if things change in the 2018 data. But that won’t be out until September.

This is a long-winded way of saying that more people are biking more trips in Seattle. And expanding the bike network and growing bike share both help people make more bike trips. And making big bike network improvements, especially downtown, can yield big results in a very short period of time. At a time when the city is bracing for years of traffic headache, an expanded and connected bike network could be an effective pressure release valve to keep people moving. Seattle leaders should celebrate this success and build on it.

City, state will team up for new bikeway and signal on Lombard

Bike Portland - Thu, 01/03/2019 - 11:24

Latest concept drawing for new crossing of North Lombard at Fenwick/Concord. Note that “access control” likely refers to closing or narrowing driveways of adjacent properties.

The Concord Avenue neighborhood greenway has only one gap in its 2.4 mile route between Overlook Park and North Argyle Street in the Kenton neighborhood: the offset crossing of Lombard Street (a.k.a. Highway 30). But with a new agreement between the Oregon Department of Transportation (they own and manage Lombard) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, that gap will soon be filled.

The two agencies recently hashed out an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) so that PBOT could do the work to build a new crossing that will link Concord on the south side of Lombard with Fenwick to the north. It’s a much-needed upgrade to an intersection isn’t as safe as it should be. Not only is this a designated neighborhood greenway route, but it’s a popular connector between two neighborhoods (Arbor Lodge and Kenton) and there’s a high school directly adjacent to it.

Streetview looking west on Lombard. Concord is on the left, the half-signal and Fenwick are in the background.

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The gap.

The existing crossing infrastructure — known as a pedestrian half-signal — is also not compliant with federal guidelines. A half-signal exists when there’s a standard traffic signal for the major road, but only stop signs for the minor roads. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) explicitly prohibits the use of half-signals due to safety concerns. Studies have shown that when someone actuates the traffic signal on the main road, drivers from the side-street think it’s an opportunity to turn and they don’t realize (or they don’t see) the people in the crosswalk. As of 2015, Portland had 47 such signals and because they’re not recommended by the MUTCD, we haven’t installed one since 1986.

PBOT plans to spend $2 million in Transportation System Development Charges to improve this crossing. In addition to the full signal upgrade they plan to add ADA improvements to the curbs and sidewalk, and create a new bike lane on Lombard. As you can see in the latest concept drawing, the plan is to stripe an unprotected, five-feet wide eastbound bike lane and create a westbound bike lane on the sidewalk for the short distance between Concord and the crossing at Fenwick.

As you can see in the cross-sections below, the bike lanes would be separated by a two-foot buffer. The space to add them would come from an existing planted median on the sidewalk and from narrowing one of the existing lanes:

(Graphic: ODOT)

Longtime readers will recall that we first mentioned an improvement at this crossing in 2010.

PBOT Communications Director John Brady said today that with the IGA with ODOT now signed, they can move onto final design work. It will be a few months yet until we get an estimated date of completion. Stay tuned.

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

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Bike shop news roundup: New shop, new owners, and more break-ins

Bike Portland - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 13:23

Tom Martin is the new ower of TomCat Bikes on SE Milwaukie in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

They say the only constant is change; and that’s certainly true for Portland bike shops.

In 2018 we saw several high-profile closures with 21st Avenue Bicycles, Velo Cult and all three Performance Bicycle locations closing their doors.

But the news wasn’t all bad: A new shop opened on Mt. Hood and Golden Pliers, that opened in June on North Skidmore at Interstate, has quickly become a favorite of many.

We’re sure to see more evolution in the local bike shop scene this year. Before we get too behind on this beat, I wanted to share a few news updates that have been accumulating in my notebook…

Tuite Bicycle Repair changes hands
Tommy Tuite opened Tuite Bicycle Repair in September 2015 and he recently decided to move on. Tommy and his family have moved out of the north Portland neighborhood served by his small — but very awesome! — shop. Tommy earned many loyal customers for his professional and caring work. It’s sad to see him go. The good news is that he’s moved to the east Portland neighborhood of Gateway and tells us there’s a good chance he will fire up another small bike shop closer to his new home once he gets settled and finds the right location. The Gateway area can definitely use another great bike shop. Good luck Tommy!

The North Tabor neighborhood has a new bike shop!
(Photo: Mount Tabor Cyclery on Instagram)

But wait, there’s more good news! Tommy has handed over the keys to the shop to Rachel Cameron, a professional mechanic and experienced racer who plans to keep it going. Stay tuned for more once she gets all moved in

New shop on E Burnside and 55th 
Mount Tabor Cyclery opened late last fall in the corner space of the shopping center on the south side of East Burnside and 55th. Owner Winona Ruth lives in the neighborhood and has worked as a bike mechanic for over 10 years. The shop opens at 7:00 am on weekdays for those of who commute or just like to get things done on the early-side.

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WTF Bikes is now TomCat Bikes
Tom “TomCat” Martin has taken over the shop formerly known as WTF Bikes. WTF opened in 2009 and its owner Tom Daly sold to Martin last fall. Martin is a bike industry and bike shop veteran (formerly of The e-Bike Store), but this is his first time running his own shop. During a visit in November, he told me the plan is to focus on service, entry-level commuter bikes, and rental for big events like Pedalpalooza and the Portland Winter Light Festival. Martin is also a Burning Man veteran, so if you need a “Playa bike,” TomCat is the place to go. Check out TomCatBikes.com.

Multiple break-ins at Gladys Bikes
Gladys owner Leah Benson had a roller-coaster end to 2018. After celebrating five years in business and re-upping her NE Alberta Street lease for another five, she was hit by thieves twice in one week. As she reported on Twitter, someone stole an e-bike off the showroom floor on Christmas Eve. Then they (or someone else?) returned two nights later and broke in through one of the shop’s main front windows. Fortunately they didn’t get any bikes on the second try, but it’s a big hit for a small shop during the slowest time of the season.

Neighborhood shops are a vital part of our local cycling ecosystem. Support yours today!

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

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PDW Full Metal Fenders: Road Plus Size

Bike Hugger - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 11:39

 

It’s January, and if you don’t think full fenders are sexy then you must not live in the Pacific Northwest. Portland Design Works feeds your fetish with two additions to their excellent Full Metal line of alloy fenders, the “Road Plus” and “650 Beast”. Both models use stout, rolled aluminium fenders and durable mounting hardware, but they cater to new tyre and/or wheel sizes different from the previous two Full Metal fenders.

The older “City Size” and “Road Size” fenders ostensibly fit 700C x 35mm and 700C x 23mm tyres respectively. I have installed scores of the City size fenders, which have an actual width of 45mm, on a variety of disc and cantilever brake bikes. The City fenders are actually wide enough to work with upwards of 40mm wide tyres, but the stiff aluminium extrusion is too wide to fit under medium reach sidepull brakes. And before road disc brakes were a thing, medium reach sidepull brakes were defining feature of all-weather road bikes for decades.

The new “Road Plus” fender’s 37mm width splits the difference between the original Full Metal sizes. It should easily slip under medium reach brakes with tyres perhaps as big as 28mm. With enough frame clearance (most likely on disc brake equipped bikes), the Road Plus should probably handle the spray off 32mm tyres without issue.

I do have issue with PDW calling the 37mm fender “Road Plus”. The bike industry already kinda coined that term to describe the recently revived 650B standard as a basis for high-volume road tyres, typically in a 650B x 47-48mm size. But I suppose that PDW couldn’t help but relish the name “650 Beast” for just such a fender. The Beast fenders are a generous 55mm width with a curvature tailored to the 650B standard, relatively smaller in radius than 700C. The Beast doubles up the rear stays to give more support. Like the Road Plus fender, it replaces the rubber fender flaps with longer, lighter, flexible plastic flaps.

Both the Road Plus and 650 Beast come in a matte black finish, for $120 and $125 respectively.

There are of course other aluminium full fenders on the market, all of which are unapologetic copies of mid-20th century fashion. PDW’s modern style arguably provides a much better aesthetic compliment to today’s high-tech, disc brake bikes. If you want to pretend that your fender fetish is above such superficiality, I assure you that PDW Full Metal fenders are the sturdiest and easiest to install. But perhaps as a concession to the market segment compulsively attracted to shiny things, PDW now makes a polished silver version of the City Size Full Metal fender in addition to the established matte black and gunmetal gray options.

The Road Plus model designed for 700x30mm tyres

 

The Full Metal 650 Beast fenders for 650B x 46mm tyres.

 

The Road Plus fenders fit under medium reach sidepull brakes.

 

 

 

 

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People in Seattle have taken more than 2M Lime trips + ofo appears to be imploding

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 15:38

From the Lime 2018 Annual Report (PDF)

People in Seattle have taken more than 2,050,000 trips on Lime bikes since the company launched in summer 2017, according their annual report. That’s a pace of about 1.5 million trips per year for just one of the companies serving the city with shared bikes.

There are few precedents for an urban mobility service that has so quickly served so many trips. Transit services often take years or decades to plan and launch. So especially for a city that is facing a very near-term traffic crunch, a non-car service that can carry so many trips is a huge deal.

And we still have not seen the city’s bike share permit reach its true ambition. Motivate/Lyft is supposed to join Lime and JUMP/Uber, combining to reach as many as 20,000 bikes. And as other cities have shown, adding shared electric scooters to the mix could carry even more trips than the bikes. The city has so far been resistant to adding scooters. Ensuring and demonstrating that the devices will be safe on steep hills will be vital for companies trying to ease concerns at City Hall.

Meanwhile, Lime has expanded into car share with the launch of Lime Pods in Seattle. While this blog does not typically cheer on car services, I actually like car share. As someone who grew up in a car-depended suburb in Missouri, I know how scary it can be to make the leap and sell your car. When you’re used to having it, it’s hard to imagine life without it. Well, car share services can work like Nicotine gum. Knowing you have a car around if you really need it can make selling your car a bit easier.

Seriously, I cannot recommend selling your car highly enough. I have rarely ever felt such a sense of relief and personal freedom as I did watching the new owner drive that 1995 Nissan Maxima away. And you get a fat stack of cash.

The more people use car share, the less reason there is to build and reserve space for car parking.

ofo appears on the verge of collapse

Remember when ofo abruptly pulled out of the United States? Many wondered if their departure was related to Seattle’s big increase in permit fees, but others speculated that the sudden departure was a sign of trouble back in China where the bulk of their business is.

Well, the enormous bike share company appears to be on the verge of collapse as their user base rushes to get their deposits back. ofo is the biggest bike share company in the world, so their demise could be the most dramatic example of China’s bike share bubble bursting. It might seem like there are a lot of bike share bikes on the streets in Seattle, but the recent boom in bike share in China is on a massively larger scale. Seattle counts bikes by the thousand. ofo has launched millions of bikes. When I interviewed an ofo spokesperson back in early 2017, they said the company’s goal was to “unlock every corner of the world.”

Some day, I bet ofo will have a paragraph or two in a lot of economics text books.

Mark V reviews: ENVE Aero Road Stem

Bike Hugger - Fri, 12/28/2018 - 14:33

 

ENVE’s Aero Road Stem combines aerodynamics and superb composite design with precision positioning, but the price and quirks limit its mainstream rider appeal.

The Aero Road Stem relies on an interchangeable oblong cross-sectional shim that fits between the stem and the steerer. One shim allows the stem to be positioned at either -7 degrees OR -17 degrees. The other shim affixes the stem at -12 degrees but moves the clamp either 2.5mm forward OR aft. If millimeters here or there make a difference to you, the Aero Road Stem enables a rider to really dial in their position….as long as that position is somewhere between slammed and SLAMMED A.F. The stem’s design prevents it from being flipped upside down for a positive rise. And the stem really isn’t meant to have headset stack spacers above it due to the stem’s contoured cap.

The carbon stem’s $300 cost will stop more than a few potential consumers, especially when you consider that brands such as Fizik, Zipp, and FSA are delivering quality alloy stems for about a third of that cost. A lot of people fail to understand that carbon fibre stems almost never beat alloy stems on weight. The ENVE Aero Road Stem tips the scale at 172gr for the 110mm length (164gr for the 100mm version) plus 8.5gr for the proprietary stem cap and countersunk alloy bolt. A nice alloy stem can probably slide in around 20gr less than that. With such highly concentrated loads, carbon fibre design just can’t play to its strong suites when fashioned into a stem.

This isn’t saying that the Aero Road Stem is weak or noodle-like. Indeed the stem provides a solid connection between the bar and steerer. Yet beyond a certain level of stiffness, who cares? Ever since quill stems ceased being a thing for modern road bikes, I find the handlebar will contribute more to the overall front end flex than any decent threadless stem.  Maybe big riders who ride 140mm long stems need to worry about ultimate stiffness.  I do hear anecdotally that a carbon stem can add a measure of vibration damping to a bike. My own experiences lead me to be at best agnostic to that belief.

The Aero Road Stem’s bar clamp deserves mention. Instead of having a “face-plate”, let’s say that a “top-plate” affixes to the stem with three bolts. The aft bolt uses M6 threads but a 4mm Allen tool interface. The torque spec demands 10-Nm, which is an almost disturbing amount of force to deliver via 4mm Allen wrench. You must tighten the aft bolt first and then front titanium M5 bolts. And make sure you use a generous amount of friction assembly paste too, even if the bar is alloy. For as much adjustment as this stem allows, I would rather not make frequent adjustments at the bar’s tricky clamp.

In the end, ENVE never claimed that this stem is for every rider. ENVE put aerodynamics as the first priority. Without a windtunnel and testing protocol, I won’t refute ENVE’s claims, but common sense indicates that this stem fits under the “diminishing returns” category. The ENVE Aero Road Stem should be the cherry on top of an already clean machine, not the only aerodynamic concession on an otherwise conventional bike.  With the optional computer/GPS mount, the Aero Road Stem is a perfect compliment to the SES Aero Road Handlebar.

The stem is seen here with the $60 Aero Road Stem Computer mount, made by K-Edge for ENVE. It comes with Garmin and Wahoo interchangeable inserts.

 

 

The post Mark V reviews: ENVE Aero Road Stem appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Family Biking: Share your new bike stories!

Bike Portland - Thu, 12/27/2018 - 16:37

New bikes don’t care about the weather!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

I don’t observe Christmas myself, but I’m happy to celebrate it with other people. One of my favorite parts of this season seeing kids and adults on new (or new-to-them) bikes.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Our first few years in the Pacific Northwest were spent in a Seattle neighborhood called Green Lake. The neighborhood’s most prominent feature is a lake surrounded by a three-mile multi-use path. I loved walking or biking to the lake on Christmas Day to watch all the kids trying out their new bikes. Seeing kids on their first bike — and remembering what it felt like myself — never gets old.

Nowadays our bikes are more for transportation and not just for fun (though also for fun, of course!). And as such, in our family we tend to get new bike stuff as soon as we need it (without waiting for the holidays). This means I don’t personally have any new bikes to share photos of. But I’d love to hear your stories of exciting new holiday bikes and bike accessories.

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Hand-me-down bikes sometimes come with strings (or brothers) attached.

Have you seen any kids testing out new wheels over this holiday week? Did you gift your little one(s) the magic of a new bike? I hope to see many new pedalers in the coming weeks.

Happy holidays everyone!

UPDATE: Reader Tad Reeves just shared this great video and story via Twitter:

Our new bike story was early this year, as we got my daughter her first full-size bike – a 26.5 Trek Marlin, and took her to Whistler Mountain Bike Park to shred. The video footage speaks for itself. I don't think she's ever been as exhilarated. https://t.co/haxKCiSTsW

— Tad Reeves (@ScientologyDad) December 28, 2018

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

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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The Oregonian: Saudi government helped Fallon Smart’s killer flee the US

Bike Portland - Thu, 12/27/2018 - 16:04

The Oregonian reported on Monday that the Saudi Arabian government was actively involved in helping Abdulrahman Noorah flee the United States and circumvent justice for his role in the death of 15-year old Fallon Smart.

Noorah is the man who drove recklessly down Southeast Hawthorne Blvd in August 2016 and struck Smart as she tried to cross at 43rd Avenue.

Almost immediately after we first reported on this horrific tragedy, many in the community predicted Noorah would evade authorities. He was in Portland on a student visa living off a monthly stipend paid for by the Saudi government. On June 12th, 2017 just before his scheduled trial, Noorah removed his GPS monitoring device and went missing. That wasn’t surprising to prosecutors or Smart’s family — both of whom considered Noorah a major flight risk. He would likely have still been in custody if the Saudi government hadn’t paid off $100,000 of his $1 million bail.

Here’s how Noorah’s escape went down, according to The Oregonian:

He [Noorah] received permission from his release supervisor, Deputy Kari Kolberg, to study at the community college’s Southeast 82nd Avenue campus on Saturday, June 10.

That afternoon, according to investigators, a GMC Yukon XL arrived outside Noorah’s home on Southeast Yamhill Street and picked him up.

GPS data from Noorah’s monitor bracelet shows he traveled east along Southeast Division Street until the SUV arrived at Portland Sand & Gravel on 106th Avenue, prosecutors said.

This past July, more than 13 months after Noorah first disappeared, the Saudi government contacted Homeland Security, the Marshals Service said. It informed the agency that he arrived back in the kingdom on June 17, 2017. That leaves seven days after Noorah cut off his monitor to the date of his return to his country that remain unaccounted for, Wahlstrom said. The Saudi government hasn’t answered U.S. questions about how Noorah made it back to the kingdom or provided additional details about him.

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Federal investigators at this time believe the Saudis issued Noorah a new passport, probably under a different name, to make the long journey home, according to the marshals. He would not have been able to clear customs or cross international borders without one, Wahlstrom said.

Based on their unsuccessful canvass of airports and commercial flights, federal law enforcement officials also believe Noorah most likely traveled on a private carrier, which have less rigorous oversight, according to Wahlstrom.

On June 13th 2017, just three days after The Oregonian has now confirmed Noorah was whisked back home on a private plane, Multnomah County District Attorney Shawn Overstreet downplayed the Saudi government’s ties to the case. Overstreet told BikePortland that the Saudi government wouldn’t help such a low-level character like Noorah. “They wouldn’t do that for this guy,” he said. Overstreet went so far as to say that if Noorah did return he’d get a very cold reception from his native country — and that he might even face jail time.

Of course back then the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were not involved in a major diplomatic row over the gruesome killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In response to Smart’s death, the City of Portland updated the crossing at Hawthorne and 43rd with a concrete median and a striped crosswalk.

UPDATE 12/28/18: As reported by The Oregonian, US Senator Ron Wyden is demanding a response from the Trump Administration:

I’m demanding answers from the Trump administration on Saudi involvement in a manslaughter suspect’s escape from Portland. Saudi Arabia’s brazen actions in recent months show a clear disregard for the rule of law. https://t.co/u5g6IZDPBK

— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) January 1, 2019

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

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In push to save lives, Oregon Senator wants to lower DUI limit to .05

Bike Portland - Thu, 12/27/2018 - 12:44

In 1983, Utah was the first state to lower the level of blood alcohol content that would qualify for a DUI arrest when they went from .10 to .08. Then Oregon followed suit.

Now we’re poised to follow Utah again as the second state to reduce the DUI limit even further to .05.

That’s the intention of a bill (PDF) that’s been introduced by Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, which is still in draft form until the legislative session formally begins next month.

A one-pager (PDF) released by Sen. Courtney’s office, says Senate Bill 7 follows a 2013 recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that all states adopt .05. The NTSB reports lowering BAC limits from .10 to .08 led to a 10.4% reduction in alcohol-related fatalities between 1982 and 2014. They also estimate a lowering to .05 would save 1,790 lives a year.

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Chart from the NTSB comparing impacts of BAC levels.

Below are the selling points of this legislation as per Sen. Courtney’s one-pager that’s making the rounds to safe streets advocates and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) staff (note, they were drafted before Utah passed their law):

• BAC limits have been changed before, and fairly recently. Oregon and Utah were the first states to move from a 0.10 to 0.08 in 1983, Delaware was the last state to adopt 0.08 in 2014.
• Many countries have enacted a .05 BAC limit, including Australia, most of the EU, Hong Kong, Israel, and South Africa.
• A 160-pound man would have to drink 4 alcoholic drinks an hour to reach a BAC of 0.08, verses 3/hour to reach 0.05.
• Drivers with a BAC of 0.05-0.79 are 7 times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers with no alcohol in their system.*
• According to the NTSB, lowering BAC limits from .10 to .08 reduced annual alcohol related fatalities by 10.4% nationwide. NTSB estimates a reduction from .08 to .05 would result in an 11.1% decline in fatal crashes.*
• Decreasing BAC limits does not reduce average alcohol consumption.*

In a phone interview with Sen. Courtney this morning, he said the growing distractions inside cars and the prevalence of alcoholism in his family influenced his thinking on the issue. “I’ve had alcoholism on both sides of my family, I fear it more than any other drug,” he said. “I don’t need any studies on this. I grew up with it. There’s this attitude you can drink and drive. You have no damn business behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. I don’t want to hear it. If you drink, fine. But you better have plans to not drive. You better start walking. You better call an Uber or Lyft.”

The bill as currently written would make one simple amendment to ORS 813.010, changing every instance of “.08” to “.05”. Utah just passed a similar law that goes into effect December 30th.

Lowering Oregon’s BAC level has been a goal of ODOT for years. It’s currently listed as a “Tier 1” priority in the state’s Transportation Safety Action Plan (PDF). That plan reports impaired driving (alcohol and/or drugs) was a factor in 22 percent of all fatal and serious injury crashes in Oregon between 2009 and 2013. That equates to 625 fatalities and 1,087 serious injuries.

And yes, in Oregon bicycle riders can be arrested for DUI.

Lisa Taylor, an assistant legislative director in Sen. Courtney’s office, says they’re seeking public feedback on the bill. She can be reached at (503) 986-1604 or at lisa.taylor@oregonlegislature.gov.

Another place for feedback and debate about this bill will be the Governor’s Advisory Committee on DUII, whose mission is to, “… Generate public support for increased enforcement of state and local drunk-driving laws. Educate the public as to the dangers of driving while under the influence and its effects on life and property.” Their next meeting is on January 4th in Salem.

Sen. Courtney downplays the chances of the bill. “I’m a laughingstock for this. I doubt it will get a public hearing.” He said he expects major blowback from the restaurant and alcohol lobbyists. “That industry is going to fight this, because that’s how they make a living.”

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

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Bike News Roundup: SDOT Baby

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 12/27/2018 - 11:35

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Here’s some stuff floating around the web recently that caught our eye.

First up, a Seattle transportation wishlist in holiday song form by Laura Goodfellow:

Pacific Northwest News

Halftime show! Steve Carrell recently told Ellen about a time when a fan hit him with her car while he was biking:

National & Global News

This is an open thread.

Pass & Stow 5-Rail Porteur Rack

Bike Hugger - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 12:19
Pass & Stow’s 5-Rail Rack. It is available in black or silver powdercoat.

Handmade in Oakland CA, Pass & Stow makes high-quality front racks that can carry big loads and internally route for dynamo lighting. The 5-Rail Rack ($280) you see here gives a full 11″ x 12.5″ porteur-style top deck while also providing a mid-height position for hanging side-panniers. Whether you building up a touring bike, commuter, or a light cargo bike, the 5-Rail Rack can accommodate your needs.

Brazed from 4130 aircraft chromoly, Pass & Stow racks feature a modular design that that can easily be disassembled into nearly flat pieces if you occasionally need to ship the bike. The deck and legs of the rack simply bolt together with stainless steel hardware. The rack’s legs have an eyelet for fenders in case the rack itself takes up the fork’s eyelet. A three-point yoke bridges from slots underneath the deck to the fork crown. The resulting structure is impressively stiff and strong, traits you really want when loading up a front rack.

Pass & Stow assigns a load limit of 25-lbs on the rack, but that’s mainly a recommendation due to concerns with how larger loads might affect bike handling. In static loads, the rack can easily support 190-lbs. I have ridden the bike pictured here with 40 to 50-lbs split between the deck and pannier mounts. Sidenote: I modified the Davidson with a new 70mm rake steel fork to create the low-trail geometry that classically favours heavy front loads. Of course, low-trail front end geometry won’t exactly make you feel nimble with a heavy load. But it will reduce the wobbly awkwardness that plagues typical frame geometries with front loads.

Pass & Stow also offer a 3-Rail Rack that uses the same legs and yoke as the 5-Rail. The 3-Rail deck is narrower than the 5-Rail but longer front-to-back (6.4″ x 13″). The rack legs are also available in 3 different heights to fit bikes with 26″, 27.5/650B, 29er, and fatbikes.

15-lbs of rice plus about 20- to 25-lbs in the panniers

The deck of the Pass & Stow 5-Rail Rack is great for heavy and/or bulky loads, thus the rando bag pictured here on top the rack is nowhere the rack’s limit. The Pass & Stow rack easily disassembles into 4 large pieces: legs, yoke, and deck. The dynamo light’s wiring runs through the right leg. Note the additional eyelet as a fender strut hardpoint. The wiring exits right below the right leg’s light mount. The mount has threads to accept M6 bolts to fit most European dynamo lights.

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TriMet, PBOT say no further federal study needed on Gideon Overcrossing project

Bike Portland - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 11:18

“We disagree that a Supplemental EIS is needed.”
— Dylan Rivera, PBOT

TriMet and the City of Portland are refuting one of the central arguments being made by a business owner who wants to derail the Gideon Overcrossing project.

As we reported yesterday, several businesses on SE 14th are very concerned that the proposed bridge and elevators over light rail and Union Pacific Railroad tracks near Clinton Street Station will have a major negative impact on their ability to unload trucks and access loading zones and parking lots.

As designed, the structure that would land on SE 14th would use only existing public right-of-way, but it would constrain space currently used by truck operators to access businesses. There are also fears that what some consider a heavily industrial street will be too dangerous for the added volume of walkers and bikers that will use the new bridge.

One of those business owners, Michael Koerner of Koerner Camera Systems, is so upset with TriMet and the Portland Bureau of Transportation over how they’ve rolled out the project, he hired a land-use attorney to fight it. Koerner has several beefs with the project and the agencies behind it; but the central argument — as laid out in a letter from his lawyer to the regional head of the Federal Transit Administration — is that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) must be completed for the project. This federally regulated review would be a massive undertaking for TriMet and would delay a project that is close to breaking ground.

Koerner says he supports an overcrossing, but not at 14th right outside his business. He and his attorney Jennifer Bragar of Tomasi Salyer Martin say it should be built several blocks east at SE 16th Avenue — at the same location of the old crossing that was torn down in 2013. They say they’ve been blindsided by the location at 14th and that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) completed in 2010 for TriMet’s Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project never mentioned the new location.

In her letter to the FTA, Brager wrote: “The FEIS did not suggest that the bridge would be replaced in a location that differed from its original siting at SE 16th and Gideon.”

But that’s not accurate, say TriMet and PBOT officials.

TriMet Communications Manager Roberta Altstadt contacted us yesterday to say, “Claims were made that 14th Avenue was not considered in the FEIS. It was.” Altstadt supplied an excerpt from the PMLR Project FEIS (PDF). On page 2-12, it states:

“In addition, a pedestrian overcrossing of the UPRR tracks currently located west of SE 16th Avenue and SE Brooklyn Street would be removed. A new pedestrian overcrossing that would include ramps meeting ADA requirements would be constructed from SE 14th Avenue over the UPRR to the Clinton Station… the construction of this overpass would be deferred, but the project will still be designed to meet ADA requirements and includes the other station area access improvements described above.”

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View from Koerner Camera Systems looking out on SE 14th where the Gideon Overcrossing would be built. The big rig is right where the elevator and stairs would come down.
(Photo: Lisa Cicala)

Altstadt also reiterated that the initial scope of the project would have required the removal of the building currently occupied by K & F Coffee Roasters and that the current proposal has a lesser impact.

PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera also contacted us with a statement about the project. “We disagree that a Supplemental EIS is needed,” he wrote in an email yesterday.

Rivera said PBOT and TriMet are working together to reduce the project’s impact on loading and unloading activities. As for concerns from business owners that the project will introduce a major safety hazard to bicycle users and walkers, Rivera says, “This is a low-traffic street with low-speed vehicle traffic. We think bicycles, pedestrians and freight can be safely accommodated here, as they are in many other locations in Portland.”

Rivera added that they’re considering creating a new loading zone for Sustainable Northwest Wood, another business on 14th that requires large truck access. Currently, those trucks park in the middle of the street and unload with a forklift. Rivera says the trucks create a major safety hazard and that a new loading zone would improve sight lines for all users. The catch is, it would require removal of several on-street auto parking spaces.

To cement his case that 14th in this location is a very low-traffic street, Rivera supplied us with recent traffic counts. On December 12th, PBOT counted 320 total vehicles, including three large tractor trailers and 33 small and medium-sized trucks. The count was similar to previous counts PBOT has performed at this location in 2015 and 2016. For reference, PBOT’s standard for Neighborhood Greenways is fewer than 1,000 cars/trucks per day and their new “Shared Streets” standard is less than 500 cars/trucks per day.

In an email after our story was published, Koerner emphasized his concerns about safety. “The safety issue is paramount, the congestion which will be created with the structure in front of my office will cause additional safety concerns. Everyone on the street wants safety studies completed before the bridge is built.”

He also supplied us with several letters from people opposed to the project. One of them is Lisa Cicala, executive director of the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA), a non-profit based in Koerner’s building. Cicala shared the image above and wrote, “Considering the industrial traffic on this road, it’s so important to take these safety concerns into serious consideration. If an injury can be prevented or a life saved because due diligence was done, it will be worth it.”

“Safety studies” are much different than a federally regulated SEIS done according to the National Environmental Protection Act review process. Perhaps Koerner and others would be satisfied with a compromise where TriMet and PBOT complete a safety plan/report and promise certain mitigations if/when safety hazards crop up? We’ll see.

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

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Construction begins next month on NW Newberry Rd

Bike Portland - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 09:30

Beautiful, isn’t it?
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Next month will be two years since a landslide wiped away a big chunk of NW Newberry Road. Multnomah County closed the winding, mountain road to through traffic in January 2017 and it has since become even more popular than usual for cycling. Newberry is one of a handful of climbs that take riders from Highway 30 up and over the west hills. It’s a welcome respite from the loud and fast traffic on “Dirty 30.”

With the closure, Newberry has become a de facto carfree climb. That is, for those people who’ve ignored the closure signs and were willing to ride around the jersey barriers.

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Now things are about to change. The County announced this week that construction is set to begin soon and the road will be fixed and reopened by spring 2019.

According to the County, construction crews will start staging on the site in mid-January and will work Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Construction should be done by the end of March and final paving is planned for May.

During the construction period, it would not be wise to attempt to ride Newberry. While many people have been riding through the closure up until now, with big trucks and workers on the site, we should now treat this like a hard closure. If you want to get up or down from the West Hills, I’d recommend NW McNamee Rd to the north and Germantown (which I never ride, and if I did it would only be on the weekends when there’s low traffic), Springville (very steep and unpaved!), or Saltzman (unpaved) to the north.

For more details, check the check the project website.

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

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PBOT unveils new designs, online survey for SW Multnomah/Garden Home project

Bike Portland - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 14:47

Latest design from PBOT. Note the prohibition on driving via 69th on the right.

Unfortunately we posted our story on the City of Portland’s SW Multnomah/Garden Home intersection project one day too soon.

This morning PBOT sent over the latest concept designs, which show significant changes from the designs many of you are discussing over on yesterday’s post. They’ve also just released an online survey to formally capture feedback.

The two basic concepts we shared yesterday are still the ones under consideration; either a roundabout or a signalized configuration. But check out these new drawings before making up your mind. PBOT has supplied aerial and on-the-street views of each one.

And make sure to note that both designs show PBOT’s proposal would close off the southern section of SW 69th while maintaining access only for people on bikes and foot.

Roundabout:

Signalized:

Now, after you’ve read through the comments on yesterday’s post and thought about this for a bit, head on over to the online survey and tell PBOT what you think.

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

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