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Bike lane bill passes Oregon House 48-12, now heads to Senate

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/01/2019 - 08:14

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

House Bill 2682 passed the Oregon House of Representatives by a vote of 48 to 12 last week. The bill seeks to amend Oregon’s statutory definition of bike lane to clarify that, “A bicycle lane exists in an intersection if the bicycle lane is marked on opposite sides of the intersection in the same direction of travel.”

Despite what’s simply a basic, legal clarification, some lawmakers think it makes cycling less safe and they want to send a message of concern to Oregon Senators as they take up the bill this month.

Bicycle lanes have always maintained legal standing even when unpainted inside intersections; but because two Oregon judges ruled otherwise, advocates felt it necessary to make this fact crystal clear.

As we shared when the bill passed the Joint Committee on Transportation on April 15th, some lawmakers think this is a bad idea.

Out of the 12 no votes* in the 60-member House of Representatives, 11 came from Republicans. Two of them felt the need to publish official explanations with their votes.

Rep. David Brock Smith said:

“I voted NO on HB 2682 for the following reasons and more… It does not make it safer for a bicyclist, gives them a false sense of security and could cause increased litigation. The bill needs to me amended and I hope my no vote assists in having those amendments occur in the Senate.”

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Rep. Denyc Boles said:

“I believe this legislation makes bicyclists less safe. This bill needs more work in the Senate and my “No” vote is to help give pause and support for additional amendments in the Senate. Safety is important. We need to make sure the legislation gets this right.”

It’s unclear what type of amendments these lawmakers would like to see (neither responded to requests for comment in time for publication). It’s also unclear why they feel this legislation would make conditions for bicycle riders less safe. The bill doesn’t give bicycle riders any more rights or privileges than they have today. All the bill does is adds a line to the definition of a bicycle lane in Oregon law. The intention is to make the legal right-of-way of bicycle users more ironclad when right-hook and unsafe lane change cases are presented in court.

The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler says she and Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal lobbied House and Senate offices on this bill last week. “Urban legislators get it,” she wrote in a comment posted below. “My meeting with Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scapoose) was the most animated. She is convinced cyclists are out of control in the urban areas. I don’t think we will have her vote, but I think I made a little progress.”

For more on why this law makes sense, read this article from legal expert Rick Bernardi.

The bill has had its first reading in the Senate and now awaits further action. Stay tuned.

*No votes were filed by Rep.s Barreto, Boles, Bonham, Boshart Davis, Findley, Lewis, Post, Reschke, Smith (David Brock), Smith (Greg), Wallan, and Witt. See full results here.

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

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Outdoors: Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L

Bike Hugger - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 19:30

The release of the Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L is well timed. I just got back from a shoot with Tony Gale at Mount Rainer National Park. While there shooting, both of us talked about the right bag for national park landscapes and I know I don’t have one.

Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L, consider all that gear plus a helmet, food, and water.

I do have the best-ever bag for what I shoot (it’s a messenger bag I’ll review in a bit) and for travel the Mission Workshop Rhake + Capsule is my go to.

Mount Rainer capped a three-day weekend that started with the tulip fields. In farm country, I could’ve used a bag designed for the outdoors. Not to also carry a set of axes with bodies and lenses, but a heavy-duty tripod.

The most useful feature would’ve been the stability. A backpack designed for trekking would’ve helped. We walked down a still-snowed in valley to a waterfall. Just like this MindShift’s pro in their product photo. The Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L has an internal frame to keep it steady.

Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L don’t slip on wet rocks either.

That frame and hydration-pack capabilities is why I’m cross-posting the Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L from my camera site. I think this pack from Mindshift would work just as well for a cyclist on a long ride who needs likes to stay organized.

Consider the Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L for Cycling

From Mindshift’s PR:

Get deeper into the backcountry with the MindShift BackLight Elite 45L backpack from Think Tank Photo. 45 liters of internal volume provides ample room. Combine photo/personal gear and a dedicated laptop/tablet. External attachment points accommodate adventure equipment.

Sounds good. The BackLight Elite 45L features YKK AquaGuard zippers. Waterproof/tearproof sailcloth, robust lumbar padding, and a quick-dry back panel for increased ventilation too. And, like MindShift’s other BackLight backpacks, rear-panel access adds security when traveling since your camera gear is protected behind your back.

Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L setup for Hydration. Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L Key Features
  • Storm-resistant construction with YKK® AquaGuard® zippers and waterproof/tearproof Sailcloth
  • Superior Fit: Robust lumbar padding, hip-hugging waist belt, quick-dry back panel, and foam ridges for increased ventilation
  • Back and top panel access to all of your camera gear, allowing you to work out of your bag without getting your harness dirty or wet
  • Aluminum internal frame supports the load and keeps it in place
  • Dedicated compartments fit up to a 17” laptop and a 10” tablet
  • Meets most international and U.S. carry-on requirements*
  • Advanced Airflow: Dual-density, honeycomb mesh shoulder straps
  • Includes tripod/monopod mounting system on front or side
  • Trekking capacity! Front pockets totaling 17L carry personal gear for a day’s outing: extra layers, a jacket, food, etc.
  • Hydration reservoir ready (reservoir not included)
  • 2 large water bottle pockets with cinch cord fit 32 oz. water bottles
  • Snowboard or ski carry with tuck-away, protected edge lash straps
  • Top-lid converts into a belt pack with the removable waist belt
  • Waterproof, heavy-duty Tarpaulin base
  • Seam-sealed, brown colored rain cover blends in with the environment
  • Removable camera compartment with emergency shoulder straps to avoid gate check
  • Removable waist belt for ease when traveling
  • Expandable capacity on all five sides with daisy chain, ice axe loops and additional lash points
  • Compatible with the MindShift Tripod Suspension Kit, Filter Nest/Hive & Switch Case
What Fits

Sony A7R II attached to 24–70mm f/2.8 GM, GoPro Hero 5, DJI Mavic Pro, Mavic Controller, Filter Nest Mini, A7R II attached to 16–35mm f/4. The Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L retails for $399.

The post Outdoors: Think Tank Backlight Elite 45L appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Bike News Roundup: NYC’s misguided crackdown on workers using e-bikes

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:54

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Here’s a look at some stuff going around the ol’ web lately. This is an open thread.

First up, New York City continues its misguided crackdown on delivery workers using e-bikes. A short documentary by Jing Wang shows how Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy hurts immigrant workers in the city:

Pacific Northwest News

National & Global News

‘Gravel Epic’ on Oregon Coast kicks off Triple Crown series this weekend

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 10:06

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon’s gravel riding season is in full swing and this weekend it gets even better with the seventh annual Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, the kickoff event of the Oregon Triple Crown Series.

If you’re on the fence about this one, I have three things to say: 1) See my recap and photos from last year; 2) Come out and pedal a few coastal forest miles with me; and 3) I can help a few lucky readers with a free registration!

The routes and support are top-notch. Mudslinger Events is one of Oregon’s oldest and most respected event promoters and you can rest-assured they’ve covered everything so all you have to do is ride your heart out. They’ve mapped out two adventures: “Abomination” is 61 miles with 6,780 feet of climbing and “Son of Abomination” is 38 miles with 3,900 feet of climbing.

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Oregon roads. Oregon bike.

The forecast for Waldport is sunny and mid-60s. Come out and make it a weekend by exploring nearby Yachats before/after the Gravel Epic.

You can register online until this Friday (May 3rd). If you want a free entry, just email me (jonathan@bikeportland.org) a few sentences about why you deserve the prize. I’ll let you know if you won right away.

I can’t wait to get out there! If you head out, look for the special Oregon Triple Crown-edition Co-Motion Klatch. You’ll find me and this awesome bike at Yachats Brewing from 4:00 to 6:30 pm when you pick up your ride packet.

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

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R.I.P. “Buzz” Grant, president of Foothills Trail

Biking Bis - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 10:01

Condolences to the friends and family of Buzz Grant, president of the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition. The 74-year-old died at his home in Puyallup last week.

Mount Rainier looms over trail

He’d been an advocate for completion of the trail for more than 30 years. The trail runs non-stop through Pierce County from eastern …

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No school on Bike to School Day, let’s rally with ‘Red for Ed’ instead

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:21

Celebrating Walk to School Day earlier this school year.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

National Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 8th. Here in Oregon that falls on the May 8th Day of Action, a teacher walkout that has led to a decision to close Portland Public Schools.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I was initially dismayed there’d be no party and parade at school; but I’m going to channel that energy into a much longer parade to a much bigger party that will be even better.

So on would-be Bike to School Day, join Kidical Mass PDX for Ride, Rally, and #RedforEd. Here are the details:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
9:45 a.m. – Bike Train leaves Clinton City Park (5576 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206)
10:15 a.m. – Bike Train leaves plaza at south end of Eastbank Esplanade (SE Caruthers St & Eastbank Esplanade, Portland, OR 97202)
11:00 a.m. – Fund our Future, Fund our Schools Rally in Tom McCall Waterfront Park
12:00 p.m. – March for Our Students
Wear red!

Parades can be hard to walk with bikes so some families may choose to lock up at the park. The parade route hasn’t been released yet so we don’t know if it will be a loop and return to the park (keep an eye on the rally/parade Facebook event for march info).

Not coming from the Southeast? You should still bike to the event! Use the bike train Facebook event discussion area to gather a bike train from your quadrant. This featured bike train is my attempt at collecting company as we bike to the event from home, and I’d love to add additional rides to the Kidical Mass PDX website and Facebook event page if additional bike train conductors materialize.

Hope to see you out there! For background on the state of Oregon schools, learn more at May8ForStudents.org.

Thanks for reading.

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 crisis continues: 6-year-old injured by driver while walking across SE Division

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 07:10

The driver sped around stopped cars and struck the girl in the bike lane on the left. (Note that the westbound bike lane on the right is protected.)

Another person has been hit trying to walk across a notoriously dangerous street in Portland. This time it was a six-year-old girl who was walking with her mom on Southeast Division Avenue.

According to the Portland Police Bureau it happened yesterday evening just after 6:00 pm at the intersection of 107th and Division:

Preliminary information suggests the child and her mother had activated the lights for the marked cross walk in the intersection and cars had stopped. As they started crossing in the cross walk, the suspect vehicle passed the stopped vehicles on the right hand side, in the bike lane, then struck the child. The vehicle continued without stopping. The mother was not hit.

The girl was transported to a hospital with what PPB describes as “non life-threatening injuries”. If you have any information about this collision, and/or if you’ve seen the white sedan that committed this crime, please call the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

The opposite side of the street has a protected bike lane that might have prevented the driver from swerving around stopped cars.

As the police statement suggests, this collision took place at a crosswalk that has a rapid flashing beacon. The crossing at SE 107th and Division was upgraded by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in 2015 with median islands, caution signage, a flashing beacon, and a protected bike lane. The project was part of PBOT’s East Portland Rapid Flash Beacon initiative that added similar crossings at 17 intersections.

The flashing beacons are not enough. When placed on untamed arterials with high driving volumes and high speeds, they can offer a false sense of security. Last October a man and young child were hit in a similar type of crossing on SE 122nd outside Midland Library. Less than one month before that collision, we reported that, “It will take much more than flashing lights to tame 122nd.”

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From the photo you can see that last night’s collision might not have happened if the bike lane was protected on both sides of the street. Police say the suspect driver was headed eastbound and that the two general traffic lanes were occupied by other drivers. If the driver was going westbound, a concrete median would have prevented them from zooming around the stopped traffic.

This dangerous behavior of using bike lanes to swerve around stopped traffic is rampant across Portland. I see it almost every day on North Willamette Blvd and Rosa Parks Way. It happens because we’ve made our bike lanes wider in recent years (a good thing), but we’ve failed to do anything to protect them (a bad thing). Making it possible for people to use bike lanes to go around stopped traffic is dangerous, illegal, and it forms bad habits that — as we saw with last night’s tragedy — can and will lead to serious injuries and deaths.

We must build more protected bike lanes and implement more aggressive measures to control driving behavior and rein in the inherent deadly power of automobiles.

Last night’s crash is just the latest illustration of Portland’s transportation crisis.

Signs being made for a protest and memorial march in St. Johns on Friday.
(Photo: Citizens for a Safe Fessenden)

While electeds and bureaucrats try to justify their support of $500 million for an unnecessary freeway expansion at the Rose Quarter, Portlanders continue to pay with our lives for the lack of progress on road safety.

Last week PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly stood on the corner of Northeast Broadway and Grand — another notorious high-crash arterial where safety upgrades have languished and just feet away from where Lori Woodard was killed in a crosswalk — and said, “These recent tragedies show us it’s time to do more of this work and to do it faster.”

This Friday, St. Johns residents will march to demand safety updates on North Fessenden where there have been two people killed and three others seriously injured while walking in the past three years. Other north Portland residents are so desperate for safer streets they’ve resorted to placing plastic cups on unprotected bike lanes.

Commissioner Eudaly’s sense of urgency is a good sign. It’s unfortunate however, that Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t even mention transportation safety during his (invite only, and BikePortland was not invited) State of the City speech last night.

We need to defend our streets from the menace of people driving dangerous vehicles.

When a six-year-old is hit in a crossing with flashing lights that PBOT touts as “safety improvement,” we need to stop and look at ourselves in the mirror. Are we doing enough? Who will die next? Could we have done something to prevent it?

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

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Bike shop burglar also suspected in fatal hit-and-run

Bike Portland - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:58

PPB officers wrangle Nolan Harris inside Metropolis Cycle Repair early Wednesday morning.
(Photo: Metropolis Cycle Repair)

The suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash that took the life of 85 year-old Ortrud Vatheuer on March 19th is now behind bars. But strangely, it wasn’t the hit-and-run that led police to him.

Last Wednesday, under the cover of darkness, 30-year-old Nolan Harris broke into Metropolis Cycle Repair on North Williams Avenue. When shop owner Brad Parker received an alert on his phone via his store’s security system, he immediately called police and they arrived within minutes. Harris was apprehended red-handed with a bike and other products (including the crowbar he used to break in).

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The Portland Police Bureau later identified Harris as the man they believe hit and killed Ortrud Vatheuer as she took part in her morning walk near her home in the Multnomah neighborhood of southwest Portland. The van police think Harris was driving in that collision was found on April 10th, 180 miles north of Portland in in Tukwila, Washington.

Police have booked Harris on charges of Burglary I, Possession of Burglary Tools, Escape II, Criminal Mischief II, and Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver (with Injury Resulting). The case has been forwarded to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.

Reached last week about the burglary, Parker said, “This guy is bad news, good to get him off the streets.”

Parker also said his investment in a new security system has paid off. Metropolis has been hit by thieves three times since 2013.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Activism in D.C., memorial signs in L.A., progress in the U.K., and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:28

Welcome to the week. Getting a bit of a late start; but hold on to your hats because we’ve got an exciting week ahead.

But first, here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

Sponsored by:

Distraction up: Latest results from distracted driving survey conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety is not great.

Just a mix up!: The mayor of Yakima, Washington drove her SUV 30-feet into a Rite-Aid because she claims to have simply mixed up the brake and gas pedals.

Enough is enough: D.C. cycling advocates have moved from grief to action following the death of a well-known activist.

Memorial signs: The city of Los Angeles has a new program that will erect permanent road signs at the location where people riding bicycles were killed. (There was a bill in Oregon for a similar program in 2008 but it failed to gain necessary support.)

Framing matters: New research how people perceive traffic problems and potential solutions from a U.K. sociologist finds that, “Cycling stigma combines with the weakness of anti-car narratives to reinforce controversy obstructing active travel policies.” Yep.

Chalk it up: A federal appeals court ruled that when parking enforcement officers use chalk on peoples’ car tires it’s a violation of the fourth amendment.

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Phoenix likes deadly streets: Cities often deserve criticism for not living up to lofty Vision Zero proclamations. But in Phoenix, elected officials don’t even care enough to make the proclamation in the first place.

Not so clean: A research institute in Munich, Germany has found that the (coal-powered) production of batteries used in electric vehicles creates more CO2 emissions than diesel-engine cars. (UPDATE: A commenter says this study has been debunked.)

It’s the infrastructure, stupid: Another week, another example of “build it and they will come.”

Too much brake: About 1,000 electric Citi Bikes have been pulled off the streets of New York City after reports of front brakes that were poorly adjusted and caused crashes. Some people have lawyered-up to recover damages.

Tweet of the Week: Did you hear what happened on an I-205 overpass?

Folks, @OregonDOT maintains a couple of pedestrian/bike ONLY bridges over I-205 in the precinct. Shaking our heads over this one. This is at SE Steele St between 92nd/96th. Please honor the crime scene tape and avoid the overpass until @OregonDOT can assess. #pdxtraffic pic.twitter.com/A54RbWUQ8I

— PPB East Precinct (@ppbeast) April 28, 2019

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

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Seattle needs a Car Master Plan

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 04/26/2019 - 15:30

Cover image for the Seattle Car Master Plan, I assume.

Seattle has a Bicycle Master Plan, a Pedestrian Master Plan, a Transit Master Plan and a Freight Master Plan. It’s well past time our city give the same treatment to the many people who drive cars in our city by creating the first ever Seattle Car Master Plan.

I am only sort of joking.

Without a Car Master Plan, many of Seattle’s biggest transportation investments are being spent without a clear focus on how these public projects will help us reach our major climate change, race and social justice, public health, housing growth, and high-level transportation goals. All of the other modal master plans take these issues seriously, but those master plan projects are the exception to the rule at SDOT. The default mode of operation is that every inch of road space should go to cars unless an existing master plan says otherwise. And even then, those plans are only considered suggestions that can be ignored.

But more road space is not better for people in cars, either, though it sure seems like the mayor and SDOT’s leadership has forgotten that. Building a safe bike lane on a street increases safety for all road users, including people in cars. It’s not a zero-sum game. We are all in this together, and we all need to get where we’re going safely.

Like the other modal plans, the Car Master Plan could study best practices for designing roads to reduce injuries and deaths for people inside and outside of cars and make recommendations for how to most safely keep cars moving on our streets. After all, getting to your destination without injuring yourself or others is undeniably the most important priority of a car trip.

Some see a bike plan, others see a no-bikes plan

Map from the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan. Face or vase image by Nevit Dilmen, shared via Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license as is this new image.

One big problem with having modal plans is that, depending on how the mayor or project team chooses to look at it, a master plan can either be a list of priority projects or a map of places where the safety and access needs of people biking can be ignored. After years of outreach and study, the Bicycle Master Plan includes a map of priority projects to be completed over 20 years. But project teams often cite the lack of a mention in the bike plan as justification for choosing not to make their street safer for biking.

The gray areas in the map above simply default to cars. They are reading the bike plan in the inverse, which is not how it was intended to be used. N/NE 50th Street, 25th Ave NE, and 24th Ave E are a few examples in design or construction right now that treat the plan this way. People bike on each of these streets all the time, and their safety matters even if they didn’t get a blue line.

SDOT folks like to say, “not all streets can handle all modes,” but it’s funny how that never seems to apply to cars. Which streets can go car-free? I’d like to see that map.

A case study: Repaving N 50th Street

NE 50th Street looking east toward I-5 from 4th Ave NE.

Project map from the N/NE 50th Street fact sheet (PDF).

Let’s take the street I used as the cover image for this imaginary document: N/NE 50th Street in Fremont, Wallingford and the U District. There is nothing unusual about this project, as streets like this exist in every part of the city (though the most dangerous ones tend to be located in less wealthy and less white neighborhoods). You can replace all references to “N/NE 50th St” with the four-lane street near your house.

This street is currently slated for a massive public investment as the city prepares to repave 1.7 miles of the street from Phinney Ave N to Roosevelt Way. There is no transit service on this street, and only the westernmost blocks have bike lanes. The street is very difficult and dangerous to cross on foot because it is four lanes for most of its length. The project will improve curb ramps and repair some sidewalks, as is legally required, but it will do little or nothing to help people cross traffic safely.

Why is this project happening, and why does it disregard safety in its basic road design? You can see how misguided the project team is by this section of the project Q&A (PDF):

Q: Can you widen the street to make room for additional improvements for all modes of travel?

A: Unfortunately, we are not able to widen the street to make room for additional improvements because in most cases we’d need to acquire property … As a result, we are designing the streets to be built within the existing curbs.

Q: Will the project eliminate travel lanes?

A: The current project design will not eliminate general travel lanes…

Did you see what happened there? The project team is saying, “We are going to continue giving all the road space to cars. And if you are asking for help crossing the street or getting around safely by bike then you must be asking us to buy and demolish people’s front yards, which is a very unreasonable request to make.” This is the bizarre response of a team that has lost its way and needs guidance. Nobody is asking them to buy people’s front yards, and they know it. People want to be able to walk and bike across and along this street in safety.

This response also points to the need for a Car Master Plan. Because any effort to get a safe crosswalk or bike lane or bus lane requires massive study and advocacy work to prove both its viability, need and public support. But extra general purpose lanes never need to go through such a process. How does the inclusion of double-barrel travel lanes help the city meets its larger goals? Will it decrease greenhouse gas emissions or help more trips shift to walking, biking and transit? Will it help the city grow equitably? Will it protect the health and safety of the people using it?

Why didn’t this project ever need to answer these questions?

Design study: Double-barrel travel lanes

From the Seattle Safe Routes to School Engineering Toolkit (PDF).

N/NE 50th Street is four lanes for most of its length, and at most points there are multiple through lanes in the same direction. I refer to these as “double-barrel travel lanes” because they create a well-known and studied traffic danger called a “multiple threat.” You may not have heard that term before, but you have experienced it. And it affects anyone trying to cross or turn left across two lanes traveling in the same direction, whether you are on foot, bike or in a car. It goes like this: You want to cross, and someone in lane closest to you stops to let you go. But you can’t see around that stopped car, and neither can the person driving in the next lane over. So you step or bike or drive out just as *BOOM*, someone comes barreling through at cruising speed completely oblivious to your existence.

This scenario is the cause of very serious collisions types, including t-bone car crashes, which are among the most dangerous and deadly types of car crashes (only head-on crashes are worse). Even a street designed solely with the safety of people in cars in mind would eliminate this scenario. And the good news is that we know how to do so: Build one through lane per direction. The space freed up can be used to build bike lanes or safer crosswalks or turn lanes or space for planting trees or stormwater-cleaning bioswales or car parking or loading zones or whatever the street needs.

There is no legitimate justification for double-barrel travel lanes on a city street, yet Seattle has no process through which the building of these dangerous lanes are forced to prove their value, viability and alignment with our other city goals. And it’s time for that to change.

People walking should be the default mode

Image from Wisconsin Bike Fed.

Right now, SDOT’s default transportation mode is driving. This is wrong, as I’m sure a Car Master Plan would note. Legally speaking, people walking have the default right of way, and our streets should reflect this. Did you know that nearly every intersection is a legal crosswalk whether it is painted as one or not? If you step off a corner into a four-lane street, for example, everyone driving is legally required to stop for you. But they won’t, and that’s due to the street design.

When repaving a street, SDOT should be required to design every single legal crosswalk to be safe to use. Or to put it another way, a person walking should always be able to cross the street. It is SDOT’s job to make sure their street design encourages legally-required yielding, and a great side-effect would be that many more trips in the area would become more viable by foot or other assistive mobility device because people would not need to walk blocks out of the way just to get to a safe crosswalk.

All crosswalks should be legally required to achieve some high compliance threshold (preferably 100 percent, though there are always a few jerks who just don’t care). But SDOT continues to design streets with legal crosswalks they know will not be respected by people driving. This is unethical, and it’s clear that nothing short of a change in law will shift the department’s anti-walking priorities.

The same goes for the use of beg buttons that are used as a way to skip walk signals entirely when nobody pushed the button in time. This results in dangerous situations where people realize too late that they are getting skipped and make a run for it. There are also walk signals where people are expected to wait far longer than is reasonable. There should be reasonable limits on how much time is allowed between walk phases.

And all this would fit perfectly in a Car Master Plan, because it is clearly in the best interest of people driving that they don’t hit somebody trying to cross an unsafe street.

Wow. This is powerful. Ghost traffic carnage. People are dying on our streets so in all kinds of ways. These collisions are preventable, we just need to stop being numb to it. https://t.co/OmnLCDzaiI

— Seattle Bike Blog (@seabikeblog) April 26, 2019

 

Vision Zero and complete streets with teeth

OK, this post have been mostly in jest because every point I have made about why we need a Car Master Plan has already been codified elsewhere, most explicitly in the city’s Vision Zero plan and complete streets ordinance. But these documents are not being seriously followed, and that needs to change. Perhaps it’s time for the City Council to pass a complete streets ordinance that actually has teeth. We need a law that requires the city to make streets safer for all road users, not one that merely forces the city to “consider” their needs. Because someone who is injured while crossing double-barrel travel lanes is not helped by the project team’s consideration.

Perhaps we also need to specifically identify dangerous road conditions that SDOT must eliminate when conducting road work, including double-barrel travel lanes, extra-wide travel lanes, slip lanes for fast turning and beg buttons that require a push to activate the walk signal. Because the department continues to ignore these safety issues unless projects are specifically safety projects, likely from a modal master plan.

Cambridge recently passed a law that essentially requires the city to build protected bike lanes that are in their bike plan when repaving those streets. Seattle could consider that, as well. And, as we’ve noted before, this would also help people driving because bike lanes aren’t actually for people biking, they are for people driving. Infrastructure that helps people driving avoid breaking the law or injuring other people is good for people driving.

That’s why eliminating bike lanes and cutting the bike plan is bad for people driving, too. Because the bike plan isn’t just for people who bike, it is a vision document for our city’s future. It is for everyone, even if they don’t bike themselves.

Weekend Event Guide: Trail work parties, Randi Jo show, levee tour and more

Bike Portland - Fri, 04/26/2019 - 10:00

The trails at Gateway Green need our help.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Looks like this weather should hold (for the most part) through the weekend, so I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy it. Might want to pack a jacket and knee warmers for tomorrow.

Below we’ve put together a selection of rides and events that might suit your fancy…

Saturday, April 27th

Ride to End Veteran Suicide – 9:00 am at East Portland Moose Lodge (E)
This event will help raise funding and awareness of veteran suicide. $20 registration covers food, drink and a prize raffle. More info here.

Sponsored by:

Our 2019 Gravel Guide partners!

Gateway Green Cleanup – 9:00 am at Gateway Green (E)
Work before your ride! Come on out to your favorite local bike park and put some sweat equity into the trails and jumps that give you so much joy. More info here.

Free Adult Riding Lessons – 10:00 am at PCC Cascade Campus (N)
Want to join the pedaling masses but need a confidence boost? Come out for this free class taught by Bikes for Humanity PDX. More info here.

CCC Bike Hub Work Party – 10:00 am at New Columbia Bike Repair Hub – (N)
If you ever needed an excuse to check out this great neighborhood and its wonderful, community bike shop and skills/pump track, this is it! More info here.

Randi Jo Fabrications Trunk Show – 12:00 pm at Rivelo (SE)
Browse the latest handmade bike bags, cycling caps and shop aprons from Randi Jo. Rivelo will provide the coffee, cookies and other tasty snacks. More info here.

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Bike the Levees – 9:00 am at Multnomah County Drainage District (NE)
Learn about the levees as you explore our region’s amazing network of bike paths built on them. Ride is led by Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Registration required. More info here.

Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am at Ovation Coffee & Tea (NW)
The season is here and you need to get those legs moving! Show up and roll out with the premiere group training ride in Portland. All abilities welcome. The pace at the front is faaaast, but slower groups form along the way. More info here.

Women/Trans/Femme/Non-Binary Track Racing Clinic – 1:00 pm at Alpenrose Velodrome (SW)
Make this the year you experience the thrill of the track. This clinic will be an inclusive, fun space for track newbies or veterans who want a refresher course. 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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Portlanders set out red cups to push for more protection while cycling

Bike Portland - Fri, 04/26/2019 - 09:10

People are so desperate for protection they’ve placed red plastic cups between the lanes on Willamette Boulevard.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Paint is not protection.

That’s the message from people across America today who are taking part in the Red Cup Project. Inspired by the tragic death of Washington D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh (@darsal), the red cups are a quick and cheap way to define space and show how relatively little effort it takes to create safer conditions for cycling.

“I want these cups to become planters, cement bollards — things that actually prevent people form swerving into bike lanes and force drivers to pay more attention.”
— Sam Balto, north Portland resident

North Portland residents Sam Balto and Reed Buterbaugh were out at on North Rosa Parks Way and Willamette Boulevard this morning with a jug of water and dozens of cups. They focused on two spots where people frequently drive their cars into bike lanes.

At the corner where those two streets converge, nearly every driver cuts into the bike lane (see photos below). As Balto and Andrews placed cups on the bike lane stripe, most people immediately slowed down and took the corner more cautiously to avoid running over them. But as you can see in our photos, the cups were often not enough.

As peoples’ car tires rolled over them, the crunching sound and water splattering onto the street made my hairs stand on end.

“There are people all over this country where mayors have pledged Vision Zero,” Balto said as he watched the tiny cups sacrifice their lives, “but they believe that paint is enough to protect people. It’s not.”

(*Encroaching into the bike lane like these drivers are doing is illegal, dangerous, and it creates unsafe habits. Please don’t do it.)

Asked what he wants the red cups to become in the future, Balto said, “I want these cups to become planters, cement bollards — things that actually prevent people form swerving into bike lanes and force drivers to pay more attention.”

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“PBOT believes they’ve improved North Willamette. They haven’t. They’re not done here. They need to properly protect this. This is just paint, and paint is not protection.”

Balto’s comments are supported by recent research showing that paint-only cycling lanes are inadequate and often encourage drivers to pass with less caution.

On North Rosa Parks Way, it’s been nearly a year since PBOT created new protected bike lanes. But they never finished the job. The vast majority of the bikeway is still unprotected. In June of last year, PBOT said neighbors had objected to having more white plastic posts installed. We learned last week that cement curbs are on the way and should be installed by this summer.

Similar red cup demonstrations are taking place today in New York City, Seattle, Michigan, Austin, Washington D.C., Boston, and many other cities. Follow the #RedCupProject hashtag on Twitter for all the action.

UPDATE, 1:17 pm: Just saw on-board video of the Rosa Parks/Willamette pinch-point from reader @harv_mushman (via Instagram):

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

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Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge will be named in honor of Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Bike Portland - Fri, 04/26/2019 - 07:53

(Graphic: City of Portland, Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday evening Portland City Commissioner of Transportation Chloe Eudaly announced that the soon-to-be-built carfree bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch and I-84 will be named in honor of U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

“To have my name associated with that bridge will be a great honor.”
— Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Congressman

Currently known as the Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge, the $13 million project is slated to break ground this summer and be completed by the end of 2020.

Congressman Blumenauer is a transportation icon in the Portland region for the legacy he created as city commissioner-in-charge of transportation from 1987 to 1996. His vision for transportation — one that favors public transit, bicycling and walking over driving — has left an indelible mark on our city and his work continues to influence people, politics, and projects today. Rep. Blumenauer is by far the loudest and most effective voice for bicycling on Capitol Hill (he’s currently pushing a major overhaul to the tax code so it does more to encourage commuting by bike). He’s co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus and his legendary Traffic and Transportation Class at Portland State University has churned out well over 1,000 graduates.

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People who’ve taken that class include many of the planners, activists, elected officials (including Commissioner Eudaly) and policymakers who will take this bridge project over the finish line.

Asked this morning for his response to this major honor, Rep. Blumenauer said (via text message):

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announcing the honor at an event last night.
(Photo: Commissioner Eudaly’s office)

“To have my name associated with that bridge will be a great honor. I have been agitating for and dreaming about that pedestrian bike crossing for decades. It makes so much sense to connect Lloyd District with that rapidly changing area on south side of the freeway.

It will add an important dimension to the walking and cycling experience, and be a powerful visual reminder of our commitment to transportation connectivity and the bike and pedestrian experience.”

Speaking about the bridge in a story published by the Willamette Week earlier this month, a Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesperson said, “It’s going to really be a postcard-worthy bridge that marks a key entrance to Portland. As people arrive in the city and either drive or take light rail, one of the first times they’ll see the downtown skyline, that view will be framed by the new, modern Sullivan’s Crossing bridge.”

Make that the Earl Blumenauer Bridge.

Actually, Commissioner Eudaly’s office says the official name is yet to be determined. What do you think it should be?

(Note: This story will be updated soon with a comment from Commissioner Eudaly.)

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

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Last push to get block-the-box and bus lane enforcement bill through the Senate

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 04/25/2019 - 15:23

Screenshot of the TCC web tool to tell your Senator you support the bill.

The Washington State legislature initially failed this session to pass a law to allow cities to use automated camera enforcement to keep bus lanes and intersections clear. But thanks to some great, persistent advocacy from organizations like Transportation Choices Coalition and Rooted In Rights, the bill is back as a part of the state budget.

HB 1793 has already passed the full House and the Senate Transportation Committee. Now it has a handful of days to get a vote on the Senate floor, and you can help.

TCC put out this call for help and a handy online tool to help you quickly send a message to your Senator:

HB 1793 passed the House floor and Senate Transportation Committee! Now it’s headed to the Senate Rules Committee and — with your help — the Senate floor for a final vote.

TCC has been working with Representative Fitzgibbon, Senator Saldaña, and Senator Nguyen, as well as partners Rooted in Rights and the City of Seattle to pass the “block the box” legislation, which would allow Seattle to use automated traffic camera enforcement to keep people safe and transit moving.

HB 1793 will help keep intersections and bus lanes clear, improving safety and transit reliability. When crosswalks and curb ramps are blocked, people walking or using mobility devices are forced to navigate around cars, often into moving traffic lanes. Our partner Rooted in Rights produced a videothat shows the impacts of blocked intersections on people who use wheelchairs.

This is our final push of the 2019 session to pass this critical legislation! Stand up for safe streets and transit reliability and help pass this bill. Simply fill out the form to tell your legislators to support House Bill 1793.  

Let’s keep bus lanes clear for buses, crosswalks clear for people, and ensure traffic can flow through intersections when the light turns green.

Thank you,

Transportation Choices Coalition

——

We have worked hard and attempted multiple strategies to keep this bill moving. We successfully added an amendment to make this bill “necessary to implement the budget,” or NTIB in oly speak.. When a bill is NTIB, it is not subject to any regular cutoffs and we can continue advocating for it until the very end of session. This path means that a portion of revenue from the amended block the block bill would go towards pedestrian and bicycle safety through the Washington State Transportation Safety Commission. We are grateful for partners like YOU who are helping move this legislation forward!

Amsterdam As You’ve Never Seen It Before

Bike Hugger - Thu, 04/25/2019 - 13:50

If you haven’t flown into Schiphol and then taken the train to rent a bike and ride around, I recommend you do. And, a new book is out that shows Amsterdam as you’ve never seen it before.

The photobook that offers a unique look at Amsterdam, it’s Amsterdam Resized! Taking pictures from rooftops or helicopters, photographer Jasper Léonard points his lens at buildings, canals and street life throughout Amsterdam.  Jasper Leonard uses Tilt-Shift technique to create a bird’s-eye perspective for these amazing photos.

Amsterdam As You’ve Never Seen It Before

Tilt-Shift isn’t a technique I use, but these photos are fantastic and reminds me of our rides there.

“The book is an intimate and magical token of admiration,” said The Sydney Morning Herald and I agree. The famous canals of Amsterdam have been reduced to mere trickles with mini-sized bridges; the joggers in the Vondelpark now resemble Playmobile puppets, and the Stedelijk Museum now looks more like a bath tub.

From the Foreword

The grandiose Amsterdam reduced to the smallest proportions. The pictures of photographer Jasper Léonard zoom out to zoom in on what makes us so unique as a city. The inimitable creativeness. The rich past and the promising future. The defiance and the diversity. The freedom too, to be who you really are. Free- dom celebrated, from the floats of King’s Day to the pubs on the Spui. And that is what you can see in the following pages.

This small, grandiose booklet makes me proud and with me probably many Amsterdammers. From the architectural class of the ring of canals to the moving playfulness of a little rocking horse on a roof terrace: they are all Amsterdam. This is who we are, portrayed in a unique manner.

Amsterdam Resized! is available from Amazon in hardcover for $12.97. A few pages in, you’ll see the enormous bike parking structure look tiny.

The post Amsterdam As You’ve Never Seen It Before appeared first on Bike Hugger.

TriMet’s new buses come with three-bike front racks

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/25/2019 - 11:05

New bus with new racks today in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
(Photo: TriMet)

It’s taken 12 years, but TriMet has finally added capacity for three bikes to their buses. Well, some of them at least.

We learned today that the design of the agency’s five new electric buses allows them to use a three-bike front rack. The new rack made its debut an event in Pioneer Square today.

This is a big deal because the existing two-bike racks often fill up and there’s plenty of public demand for more room. And it was way back in 2007 that we first reported TriMet was interested in finding a three-bike rack that would work.

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The new rack is the “Trilogy” model made by Sportworks(the same company TriMet uses for other racks). According to them, the rack’s support arm will fit bicycles with wheel sizes from 20 to 29 inches. The trays can support bikes with a wheelbase of up to 44-inches and tires up to 3 inches wide.

Back then, the agency said the problem was that the added width of a third rack would make the turning radius of buses (a.k.a the “dynamic envelope”) too wide.

A source at TriMet said the key to making this work on the new buses is the nose design — which affects the turning radius. The length between the operator’s steering wheel and the forward edge of the two bike rack (while in use) is the same length as between the steering wheel on the electric bus and the front edge of the three-bike rack.

Just one of TriMet’s new buses is in operation (on Line 62 in Beaverton). A second one is due to be in service by the end of the month and the remaining three are still en route to Portland. It remains to be seen if the five additional electric buses will work with the new racks.

Hopefully TriMet can figure out how to fit these racks onto more buses in the future.

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

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At memorial rally for Lori Woodard, PBOT releases new crash response protocol

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 21:51

Broadway and Grand earlier tonight.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We’ve done this too many times before. Someone is killed. We grieve. We pressure the city to do more. We show up on the street with signs and candles and flowers. Speeches are made.

But this time there was something different. The City of Portland acted before we even showed up.

On Friday, Lori Woodard was killed as she walked across Northeast Broadway on Grand. A delivery truck driver turning left failed to see her and/or failed to prevent the collision (police are still investigating). It happened in a very unforgiving place where drivers dominate and stress runs high for everyone — especially people not protected by a steel cage.


We’ve seen the City of Portland react to deaths like this with infrastructure changes in the past; but never this quickly. This morning, just five days after Woodard’s death, the Bureau of Transportation installed plastic wands and temporary traffic cones to narrow the intersection. They also plugged in a message board sign that flashed the words: “Traffic Death April 19 – Travel With Care”.

As dozens of people gathered for a rally and memorial event at the scene of this tragedy Wednesday evening, PBOT announced signs like this would be the new normal.

“This was a priority before this horrible thing happened. But it underlines how urgent this is. It feels like the climate change issue. We just have to take our work to a different level.”
— Marshall Runkel, Chief of Staff to Commissioner Eudaly

In a directive released today (PDF), interim PBOT Director Chris Warner introduced a “crash response protocol.” “After every fatal crash,” reads the directive, “PBOT will provide an immediate update with all available information to the Commissioner of Transportation. The bureau will then install prominent electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS) at the crash location to mark the tragic crash sites and raise awareness of the traveling public about specific dangers and the overall importance of driving safely in our city.”

The changes installed at the crash location were already vetted and planned through the Central City in Motion plan. PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly signed off on them and Director Warner says he’s pushing PBOT to finish the project “on an expedited timeline.”

Commissioner Eudaly’s Chief of Staff Marshall Runkel lives near the area. He rolled up to the event today on his bicycle. “It’s just such a tragedy,” he shared with me. “We’ve got to respond at some point. It’s too bad it takes something so horrible to happen to get our stuff together. But I’m hoping we can make our actions match our rhetoric. Make our budget match our rhetoric. Make the way we organize our work match our rhetoric.”

“This was a priority before this horrible thing happened,” Runkel continued. “But it underlines how urgent this is. It feels like the climate change issue. We just have to take our work to a different level.”

Runkel’s words come at a time when Portlanders are reeling from a spate of traffic fatalities. Commissioner Eudaly spoke to that in a speech on the street corner at tonight’s event. “This has been a brutal, heartbreaking month on Portland streets. Nine people have died in crashes in less than two weeks.”

So far this year, Portland is averaging about one fatal traffic crash per week.

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Commissioner Eudaly speaking at the event.

Eudaly oversees a bureau that is committed to Vision Zero, an initiative that aims to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025. “These recent tragedies show us it’s time to do more of this work and to do it faster,” she said. (Read her full statement on her Facebook page.)

While PBOT works on systemic fixes and safety projects citywide, Interim Director Warner said they will “accelerate” the following measures citywide:

Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) will become our default practice at new or upgraded traffic signals on High Crash Network streets. A proven tool to improve pedestrian safety, LPIs give people crossing the street a head start at a crosswalk, making them more visible to drivers and reducing potential conflicts. PBOT will add at least ten LPIs each year to existing signals citywide. (*Note: An LPI has already been implemented at Broadway and Grand)

Protected left turns will become PBOT’s default practice at new or upgraded traffic signals on High Crash Network streets. We will install at least three protected left turns each year at existing signals.

Left turn traffic calming, originally slated to begin this summer, will start immediately. This treatment slows vehicle speeds through large intersections and protects pedestrians at high-conflict turns. It has shown promise in New York and we are excited to evaluate its impact here in Portland.

And when fatal crashes occur, Warner says he will instruct PBOT to do an emergency assessment of the site and, “deploy a range of possible ‘rapid response’ safety improvements that include: interim design changes; signal improvements; and public education. PBOT will apply this protocol to fatal crashes that have happened in the past 12 months.

These are positive measures; but we know it will take much more substantive changes — like reconfiguring lanes, reducing driving space, and creating physical separation between drivers and walkers/bicycle riders — to prevent more deaths.

Below are more images from the event.

Oregon Walks Executive Director Jess Thompson.

Catie Gould from Bike Loud PDX.

Thanks to Bike Loud PDX for pulling this event together and to The Street Trust, Oregon Walks and Community Cycling Center for showing up and offering support.

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

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With velodrome saved, track fans prep for big season

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 13:19

Time to hit the banked walls of Alpenrose!
(Photo: Leonard Johnson/HotFoot Photo)

It wasn’t until our community was faced with losing the Alpenrose Velodrome for good that many people realized just how much love exists for this facility.

We recently heard from Jim Graves of the Portland Velodrome Committee and Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Membership Director/Alpenrose Velodrome Director Jen Featheringill about what’s in store for 2019.

How to speak track
  • Keirin – A 6 lap race with riders starting from a standing start.
  • Point-a-Lap – First racer across the line every lap receives one point.
  • Snowball – Mass start race run over a set distance.
  • Points Race – A predetermined number of sprints occur at set intervals.
  • Scratch Race – All riders race for a set number of laps.

With that major scare now behind us, and with spring’s drier skies in front of us, the focus now is on using it. Local track racing organizers are eager to turn this renewed sense of gratitude for the velodrome into race participation and support in the coming season.

Graves said one big change this year is they’ve moved the popular Track Development Class for Beginners to Tuesday evenings. This was done so up-and-coming junior racers (many of whom would opt to race the Tuesday PIR series at Portland International Raceway) could compete in the weekly Alpenrose Cup Series which now takes place on Wednesdays.

If you’re track-curious and want to try Alpenrose for the first time, Tuesday nights are for you. The Track Development Class is a prerequisite to get you certified to compete. Because track bikes have fixed gears and Alpenrose has tricky banked walls, this isn’t a sport you just hop on and do (like cyclocross for instance). Tuesday track class ($20 for adults, $10 for juniors) will get you sorted with experienced instructors. The first class is April 30th and the series runs weekly through August 28th. You can’t ride your regular bike on the track, so they’ll provide a free bike if you need one. Show up at 5:30 to get signed in and set for the 6:00 pm start.

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OBRA’s Featheringill said they had a 30% increase in the number of racers/day last season and, “All of that starts with getting folks out to the beginner classes on Tuesdays so we can get new people hooked on the sport.”

Watching is fun too!
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re a woman/trans/femme/non-binary racer and interested in racing, local team BattleKat PDX recently raised enough funds to cover 150 race entries. (Contact them for more information.) On a related note, there’s a track clinic for W/T/F/NB racers this Sunday (4/28).

Another thing worth noting this year is the upgrade to the Thursday Night Track (TNT) series. Every Thursday night from May 5th through August 29th, there’s serious racing and every last Thursday of the month is a special Spectator Night with a BBQ and podium/prize ceremony.

With the Fast Twitch Friday series, there are events happening at Alpenrose four nights a week.

And I haven’t even mentioned the big weekend races like the Alpenrose 4-Day, the Black Cat Omnium, Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge, and more. For more information, see the full OBRA track schedule and check out the official Alpenrose Velodrome website.

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

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PBOT unveils design concepts for 12 projects that could transform northwest Portland

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 10:32

Currently a one-lane road sandwiched between two lots under construction, PBOT wants make a section of NW Savier into a signed and colored two-way bikeway.

After kicking off about a year ago, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has released a major piece of their Northwest in Motion Plan (NWIM).

As we reported back in November, the goal of this plan is to create a detailed and prioritized list of shovel-ready projects that can be built in the short-term (1-5 years). PBOT’s work in northwest mirrors the East Portland in Motion and Southwest in Motion plans (we’ll likely see similar efforts in southeast and north/northeast soon).

The Draft Tier 1 Projects Overview (PDF) includes 12 projects broken down into three categories: neighborhood greenways; transit improvements, and corridor safety.

Similar to recent work we’ve seen from PBOT on NE 7th and in southwest, the designs in this plan push the envelope for active transportation. Staying true to our myriad lofty planning goals, the Northwest in Motion proposals put walking, biking, and transit firmly atop the modal hierarchy. With a variety of traffic calming measure, right-of-way adjustments, and lane reconfigurations, PBOT is showing us the potential of our streets when we don’t make driving the top priority.

Below is a look at a few of the nuggets in the draft project list:

Beefing up NW Johnson with major changes near REI

The most stressful segment of Johnson would become one-way only for drivers and get dedicated space for cycling.

The plan calls for updated the existing greenway on Johnson between 9th and 25th. This is a crucial east-west biking corridor that connects the Broadway Bridge to the west hills and provides access to many high-value destinations.

PBOT wants to make it better for biking by removing old train rails at 15th, installing significant traffic diverters to lower driving volumes, adding speed bumps, turning stop signs to improve cycling efficiency, adding crossing upgrades, and smoothing out broken pavement.

The section between 14th and 16th (REI) is the most stressful today. PBOT wants to make it better by turning NW Johnson into a one-way for drivers and adding a separated, two-way bikeway through the entire section. To get the space, they’d remove an existing lane used for on-street parking. New diverters would prevent cut-through drivers.

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Separated bike lane on Overton at Fields Park

Overton provides a nice connection to NW Naito Parkway, Fields Park, and more. Currently it has no dedicated cycling space and people parked their cars on both sides of the street. PBOT’s plan would provide a buffered bike lane eastbound (using space currently used as auto parking) while maintaining a shared lane westbound. To reduce the amount of drivers on the street, PBOT would install a full diverter at NW 9th

Serious diversion on Marshall

The proposal should significantly reduce the amount of drivers on NW Marshall. A full diverter at 15th (under I-405) would prevent through auto traffic and a neckdown between 20th and 21st would limit cut-through drivers.

Diagonal diverter at 20th and Pettygrove
A thing of beauty isn’t it? PBOT wants to do this to reduce driving traffic at the confluence of two neighborhood greenways and create new green/public space.

24th getting its due

As the westernmost through street at the base of the west hills, 24th is a key connector to the Lovejoy-Cornell corridor, commercial district on NW Thurman, Highway 30, and much more. I’m most excited about the treatments proposed at NW Vaughn, an industrial collector that is very stressful to cross and ride on. PBOT wants to restrict turning movements from Vaughn onto 24th with a full median and make the crossing safer.

The existing bike lanes on Vaughn would also be improved. PBOT wants to beef up striping through intersections and install “protected left signal phases” at 25th and 27th. These would separate the biking/walking movements from the driving movements so that dangerous left-turns would no longer be a source of collisions.

No more leapfrogging buses

New transit islands could be coming on Marshall and Flanders at 18th and 19th. PBOT’s design have the bikeway go behind the bus stop. Bus operators would save time and have less conflict with bicycle users by stopping in the travel lane instead of right next to the curb. I’ve been pushing for this design for years and would love to see it used citywide.

While these designs look promising, northwest neighborhood resident and NWIM Community Advisory Group member Reza Farhoodi said advocacy will be needed to make them a reality. “I think the draft plan overall does a great job of shifting the Overton window on bicycling and safe streets in northwest, but it’s not a done deal,” he shared with us via email today. “Effective outreach is critical for engaging people who want to see real improvements to bicycle facilities in northwest and help advocate for this plan at City Council.”

What do you think about these designs? Stay tuned for announcement of dates for open houses next month.

And keep in mind, this isn’t everything PBOT is planning for northwest. The Flanders Crossing bridge and Flanders Bikeway are both slated for construction next year. Portland Streetcar is also planning a major northwest expansion that will come with additions and changes to the bike network. Stay tuned for more on that project.

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

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Two more reasons we need more dedicated cycling space in the central city

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 11:40

Streets like NW 10th are very intimidating to ride on — especially when you have a streetcar operator harassing you.

In the past week I’ve heard about two incidents that illustrate an often overlooked reason why we need more dedicated, protected bikeways in the central city.

“Then [the streetcar] got very close to me and was continuously honking and I realized it was directed at me.”
— Nate M.

For years, Portland bicycle riders have been forced to share the same roads with car, truck and transit operators. PBOT has timed the signals for around 12 mph, which keeps most people in check. But the shared environment only attracts a tiny percentage of people. To move the needle for ridership, we must give people a more comfortable place to ride. We recently passed a detailed blueprint, the Central City in Motion Plan, that should hasten development the protected network we desperately need. Now we need to implement it.

So far this year two people have been killed on central city streets where safety projects are already planned but have yet to be built.

In the past few days, readers have contacted me about two incidents where a transit operator behaved in an unsafe and rude manner toward a bicycle operator. In both cases, the bicycle user was left scared and confused. And in both cases, if the bicycle users had dedicated space to ride — or if there was a better route option nearby — they could have avoided the situation.

Below are the first-person accounts of what happened…

From reader Nate M.:

“Yesterday I left work on my bike getting in the lane of NW 10th Avenue (north of Burnside) in the middle of the tracks in front of no traffic as I have to turn right eventually on Hoyt. I cycle here as I do not want to cross the tracks multiple times in the 6 blocks I commute on 10th… The streetcar was picking up people at the Couch stop. The lane was clear so I got back on my bike clear of no traffic. The Streetcar was approaching behind me and was directly behind at the red traffic signal at NW 10th and Davis. I then proceeded to go at the green light and then the Street Car honked its horn. I was not sure what it was at. Then it got very close to me and was continuously honking and I realized it was directed at me, this was when I decided to go over the tracks left into the lane.

Nate might have opted for these planned protected bike lanes in the nearby Park Blocks.

I had no idea why I was being honked at and directed to move left by the streetcar? This is dangerous for me as a cyclist crossing the tracks in the first place. I was forced to move left, the streetcar drove by me… So after going left, I had to wait for traffic to go by to go right over the the tracks again for me to turn right on Hoyt. I was just confused and the streetcar added danger to my ride.

Nate figured he was doing something illegal by riding in the streetcar track lane. He wasn’t. Bicycle users are allowed to ride in streetcar lanes. He reported the incident to Portland Streetcar and they are following up with the driver.

There’s no project on NW 10th in the CCIM plan, but there is a project (#16) a few streets over that would create a protected bike lane couplet on NW Park and 8th. That might become Nate’s preferred route… if it ever gets built.

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I’ve ridden 12th a lot. It can be very stressful.

The next case came in today from Jessica S. She witnessed a scary situation involving a bike rider and bus operator on SE 12th between Stark and Ash:

Plans for 12th will give bicycle riders their own lane.

“A bike was traveling north in the right lane (there is no bike lane or extra space, so the cyclist was in the middle of the lane). The bus passed unsafely. Instead of occupying the whole left lane that was available to the bus, the bus only moved half way into the left lane, keeping the other half of the bus in the right lane. This means the bus was dangerously close to the cyclist as it passed. The bus then moved back into the right lane after barely passing the cyclist, keeping an unsafely close proximity to the cyclist.

The bus driver honked during this unnecessary and dangerous move, both startling the cyclist, leaving this cyclist to wonder if the driving thinks they are right in with this dangerous behavior.”

Jessica is worried about this bus operator’s behavior and has filed a report with TriMet.

On 12th Avenue, just like on 10th, there is no dedicated space for cycling. Thankfully, CCIM project #4 will change that. PBOT wants to reconfigure the existing roadway on 12th and create a wide, dedicated lane for bicycle users. If that design were in place today, this dangerous interaction would not have happened. Unfortunately, the is on the 6-10 year implementation list.

In the meantime, we can’t just hope that all transit operators will drive safely and with respect for others 100% of the time.

Incidents like these happen with much more frequency than most people realize. They are one reason why many people will never dare to try bicycling in Portland. If we want to reach our climate/planning/bicycling/vision zero goals, we must give people their own place to ride. And plans on shelves is not enough. We need to move more quickly and re-design our streets in a way that prevents these kind of interactions from happening in the first place.

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

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