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Transportation Trivia packs them in as Shoup-inspired team takes top prize

Bike Portland - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 10:35

Team “You Make Me Want To Shoup” hoists the trophy: (L to R): Sarah Iannarone, Joe Cortright, Alyssa Heminger, Tony Jordan and Clint Culpepper.
(Photo: Yashar Vasef)

Transportation leaders and bright minds from around the region convened at the Lagunitas Community Room on Thursday night for the latest rendition of the Community Cycling Center and Oregon Walks’ Transportation Trivia event. It was an overflow crowd and for the first time in the event’s history, all tickets were sold out before the festivities even began.

As trivia day approached, the competitive tension was palpable, with the defending champions taking to social media to declare their intent to repeat their last performance. “We’ll bring the trophy so you can all have a look at it, but it’ll still be ours at the end of the night,” a member of 5 Wheels to the Wind posted hours before the event. This was, of course, all in jest as this is a friendly competition that benefits the work of the Community Cycling Center to broaden access to bicycles for people of all backgrounds and Oregon Walks to make conditions for walking safe and convenient.



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(Photos below by Charles Edelson)

Competition was fierce, as emcees Hanna Davis and Noel Mickelberry kept everyone on their toes from one question to the next. Over 100 participants formed teams representing local firms and organizations like Daimler Trucks North America, Lancaster Engineering, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Westside Transportation Alliance, and a myriad of other reputable outfits all vying for the chance to hoist the winner’s trophy.

Ultimately, the trivia gods determined there would be no repeat champion, as team You Make Me Want to Shoup took home the victory after three rounds of challenging, yet educational, trivia qustions. “It’s great to live in a town with so many people who are this passionate about transportation,” said winning team member and economist Joe Cortright (of City Observatory fame). “This is where the future of Portland’s transportation is decided.”

Of course, we have to take a moment to thank the sponsors who helped make this event possible. Lancaster Engineering, PBOT, and Portland Streetcar graciously supported the event as signature sponsors. Go Lloyd, Portlanders for Parking Reform, We Ride at Daimler, and WSP also generously supported the fun.

Sarah Iannarone, former Portland mayoral candidate and a member of You Make Me Want to Shoup, aptly capped the night: “There’s absolutely nothing we can’t do if we put the same level of energy into better and improved transportation policy as we do into winning transportation trivia.”

— Yashar Vasef, Community Cycling Center

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The Monday Roundup: Bicycle Day, DC defends bike lanes, e-bikes’ mental health boost, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 09:29

Here are the most noteworthy things on the web we came across in the past seven days…

Bring back Bicycle Day: Before the Presidents Day holiday was used to sell cars it was a “day of leisure” that many people took as an opportunity to ride and race bicycles.

Worst Day Ride Photos: Don’t miss these great photos from The Oregonian that captured the costumes and spirit at yesterday’s Worst Day of the Year Ride.

Speed kills: A new study has shown that higher speed limits on eastern Oregon highways — passed by the Oregon legislature in 2015 — have led to more fatal crashes.

ITE on parking: The influential Institute for Transportation Engineers has issued a promising new policy stance in the latest issue of their magazine: removal of parking minimums, more use of pricing tech to manage demand, and the promotion of different modes.

Lime is over bikes: Interesting to see that a company that once operated both shared e-scooters and bikes has decided to drop the latter.

DC defends its bike lanes: The District of Columbia has decided to get tough on Uber/Lyft drivers and delivery trucks who think they can stop in bike lanes by clarifying existing bike lane law. It’s being done as part of D.C.’s Vision Zero program.



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State of safety: A good overview of why more vulnerable road users are being hit and killed in U.S. cities and what it will take to do something about it.

What do we want? More bike parking!: The SF Bike Coalition is demanding the City of San Francisco triples the number of bike racks and respond more quickly to bike parking requests.

NYPD hates cycling: The Bike Snob shares an overview of a problem we’ve noted for years: That behind all their infrastructure and other urbanism successes lies a terrible barrier to bike-friendliness — the police.

Mental health and e-bikes: Research has shown that electric-assisted bikes not only make pedaling easier for older people, they can also provide a mental health boost.

Slow buses: Portland is working to speed up buses, many of which are stuck in traffic behind car drivers. In New York City, activists on foot challenged a bus to a race across town and they only lost by five seconds.

Unspent bike/walk funds: Streetsblog reports on $1 billion in unspent federal funds lying in state coffers that could be rescinded if they don’t get used. And yes, Oregon is on the list to the tune of about $12 million. Is this a big deal? We’re inquiring with ODOT and hope to share more info soon.

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

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Ballard-Fremont Greenways launches Wednesday, and you’re invited

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 09:00

Ballard and Fremont have both had local chapters of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways in the past, but they have been quiet in recent years. So some neighbors are organizing to bring the neighborhoods together into a new supergroup, and you’re invited.

The group is hosting a launch party 6 p.m. Wednesday at Peddler Brewing.

From the event page:

Do you live, work, or play in Ballard or Fremont?
Do you want your neighborhood to be a great place for people to walk and ride bicycles?

Then join us in launching Ballard-Fremont Greenways! Come together to meet your neighbors and learn about local projects and people organizing for change.

Wednesday, February 27, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Peddler Brewing Company

We’ll brainstorm & start to set our priorities for making Ballard and Fremont streets safe and more enjoyable for everyone who wants to walk and bike in our neighborhoods.

Peddler Brewing is kid and dog friendly, and wheelchair accessible. We’ll have some snacks to share, and there is also food for purchase. Please join us whether you’ll be having a beer or not. The location is easily accessible by transit, walking, or rolling, and has ample bike parking outside and inside.

See you there!

Advocates, residents see Highway 30 paving project as chance for safer bicycling

Bike Portland - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 12:13

Highway 30 has potential to be a direct route from downtown Portland to St. Johns. Unfortunately its bike access is abysmal.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Anyone who’s ridden a bicycle on Highway 30/St. Helens Road between northwest Portland and the St. Johns Bridge understands why it has the moniker “Dirty 30”. With a major paving project in the pipeline, ODOT has a chance to change that bad reputation.

The narrow, unprotected bike lanes are almost always strewn with gravel and all manor of debris. But the “dirty” part is just the start. The road is full of car and truck drivers going 45-50 mph just a few feet (sometimes less!) away from your handlebars.

How do we make this better? Here’s our chance:

The Oregon Department of Transportation is working on a $8.5 million project that will repave 2.5 miles of Highway 30 from NW Kittridge to the St. Johns Bridge via Bridge Avenue (the road that connects to the bridge, which will also be paved). The project description says that in addition to new pavement, ODOT will upgrade ADA ramps to current standards, improve “access management” (driveways, turning movements), and “address drainage as needed.”

Advocates have gotten wind of the project and want to seize the opportunity to improve conditions.

These young riders are headed toward the popular NW Saltzman Road in Forest Park, which is just south of St. Johns Bridge in the middle of ODOT’s project area.

Bike lane conditions just north of Kittridge just after a storm.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because three years ago we saw a similar opportunity when ODOT repaved Hwy 30 from Bridge Avenue to NW McNamee Road. When that project was being designed, I personally met with ODOT staff and presented some ideas to significantly improve cycling conditions. Unfortunately they failed to embrace any of them and ended up only making a few very minor changes to the cycling environment.

We hope the outcome is different this time around. With a new main entrance to Forest Park coming to the Kittridge/Hwy 30 intersection and the potential of this road to be a pleasant, direct bike route from downtown Portland to St. Johns — this is an opportunity we should not pass up!

Thankfully, volunteers with BikeLoudPDX are already on the case. The project was on the agenda of their monthly meeting earlier this week where noted transportation advocate and lawyer Scott Kocher shared his ideas. He wants to see a reconfiguration of existing lane widths when the striping gets put back. More space could be added to the bike lanes if ODOT was will to narrow other lanes. Kocher also wants them to consider removing utility poles that currently constrain the bike lane in several spots. Drainage problems are also on his radar. There are a few spots that are notoriously flooded and present a hazard to bike riders. Another idea is to add new bike/walk signals to improve safety on Bridge Avenue.

Kocher and fellow advocate Ted Buehler will team up to host a bike ride tomorrow (Saturday, 2/23) at 9:30 am. The ride will be a hands-on exercise in activism where everyone will help observe, document, measure, and photograph existing conditions. The idea is to use this documentation to make formal requests to ODOT to address the deficiencies in the project.

Buehler and Kocher will be happy to know that they’ve got a lot of support. According to ODOT’s 2018-2021 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), they agency received numerous citizen comments in support of better cycling facilities on Highway 30. The comments below were all recorded by ODOT as part of the official STIP record:

Clinton Doxsee:

This project should also incorporate improved, separated bike/ped facilities to provide safer and better non-automotive alternatives. Striped bike lanes on a road where vehicles travel at 45-50 mph is dangerous and will be deadly for a cyclist when a crash will inevitably occur. Existing bike/ped facilities are treacherous and extremely unsafe or unfriendly.

Geoff Grummon-Beale:

I am a regular user of Hwy 30 along this stretch both by bicycle and motor vehicle. This project is an important opportunity to improve conditions for bicycling along a key bicycle route in Northwest Portland. Specifically, I would like to see the following:
1. Stripe continuous, buffered bicycle lanes that meet state requirements for minimum width along the entire length of the project. This is essential!
2. Address hazards in the bike lanes such as storm drains and gravel from adjacent driveways. Design bike lanes to be self-cleaning if possible.
3. Stripe bike lanes on both sides of Bridge Avenue for its entire length.
4. Address hazardous motor vehicle merging across the bike lanes at the Bridge Avenue ramps.
5. Create improved bicycle connections at key access points such as Saint Helen’s Road, Saint John’s Bridge, Saltzman Road, and Germantown Road.
6. Look for ways to address speeding such as reduced lane widths.

Caitlin Clark:

I would like to see the bike lanes on this stretch of Hwy 30 made safer or at least more visible to drivers. By adding bollards, accentuating the striping/lane, or adding additional signage this could increase ridership and reduce traffic on Hwy 30.



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Yashar Vasef:

Please consider physical separations, or bollards, for people on bikes. This area feels very dangerous due to car speeds, and some sort of physical separation would be appropriate if ODOT is serious about Vision Zero.

Carl Alviani:

It’s important to remember that US30 is also a crucial bike connector for anyone riding from St Johns and other North Portland neighborhoods into downtown… Any project to repave and upgrade this section of US 30 needs to address these issues too, by physically separating bike lanes where needed, and incorporating bike access into ramp upgrades.

Scott Cohen:

Please improve the bike lanes as well. Increase the size and add a buffer or physical protection.

Chris Jones:

It is really important to me to get better bike access over the Saint Johns Bridge and down Hwy 30. It would shave a mile off of my commute and has the potential to be a lovely ride.

Gary Becker:

… enhanced bike facilities should be included within project scope. US30 is only effective bike route between St Johns and downtown Portland, and a Forest Park entrance facility at the east end of this project would also benefit from access from St. Johns. The existing bike lanes (shoulder) are seriously deficient. Sufficient space and proper striping essential.

Sarah Taylor:

“We need state of the art bike lanes on the bridge and bridge avenue and through Linnton. We need Linnton to be a bike and walk safe community.”

Tim Briare:

Our family and many family households are on Springville Hill above bridge Ave. We have 6 children who ride the bus and also walk on Bridge Ave. There are many other children that walk this area and ride Trimet as well as the school bus in this area. This area is also traveled by large amounts of bike riders from North Portland to Sauvie Island. This area is very hazardous to pedestrians as well as bikers… Please help our neighborhood children with safety. Please help the hikers and bikers that come to this area to access forest Park and Sauvie.

Cassie Capone:

This is a critically important biking route. It feels unsafe and stressful due to high motor vehicle speeds, narrow bike lanes separated from motor vehicles only by paint, and high levels of debris in bike lanes. Please consider physical separation of the bicycling lanes.

Kenath Sponsel:

There needs to be a protected/separated bike path for this corridor. Jersey barriers or tall traffic pillars, or something more than a painted line between bikes and 50mph traffic. Also, better/more frequent sweeping is needed for the amount of debris along this route.

Tim Lundholm:

We live off of Harbor Blvd., which is a one lane road with no pedestrian walk ways that gets heavy commuter traffic between Hwy 30 and Germantown Rd. Our neighborhood is right next to Forest park yet has no safe pedestrian access to it. We have no pedestrian crossing across Bridge Ave to ridge trail, none across Germantown to Tolinda trail, and walking on Harbor is dangerous. Please incorporate safe pedestrian walkways, crossings and access from the neighborhoods of Linnton to Forest Park and St. Johns.

Caitlin Harris:

Please include improved pedestrian crosswalks with stop lights at Saltzman Rd and on Bridge Ave. at Springville Rd. I appreciate what is proposed but without improved pedestrian crossings with stop lights the improvements do little good if people using them to catch the bus/crossing the street are unable to do so safely. There are children who catch PPS school busses and Trimet busses to high schools on Hwy 30. They need to be able to cross Hwy 30 and Bridge Ave. safely!

This project is scheduled to be constructed next year. Will ODOT listen and make changes that significantly improve the cycling and walking environment? We’ll see.


For now, get involved with the effort to help ODOT see the light. And stay tuned.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Kenton Cycle Repair, Kerr Bikes, Cynergy E-Bikes, Rack Attack

Bike Portland - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 09:22

Four fresh job listings for you to peruse.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Seasonal Mechanic – Kenton Cycle Repair

–> Bike Mechanic – Cynergy E-Bikes

–> Kerr Bikes Employees – Kerr Bikes (Albertina Kerr)

–> Sales and Installation Specialist (PT/FT) – Rack Attack



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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

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Is ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter plan compatible with ‘Albina Vision’?

Bike Portland - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 15:34

Current concept drawing for Albina Vision show several large buildings and roads over I-5 (lower left) — all of which would be impossible if ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter project moved forward as planned.

“Taking on ODOT for buildable caps over I-5. I used to be a nice, middle-aged lady. But, Albina has turned me into a fighter. I’m not backing down.
— Rukaiyah Adams, Albina Vision

There’s a storm brewing over the I-5 Rose Quarter project and it’s not just coming from a growing number of anti-freeway activists.

The Oregon Department of Transportation wants to widen the freeway that slices through the heart of what was a thriving community in the 1950s. The agency hopes to add several lanes and expand the freeway’s footprint in an attempt to speed up traffic and reduce congestion. But there’s another vision for the area that is more about living and less about driving.

As we shared in 2017, the Albina Vision wants to recreate the lost grandeur of dense, walkable and bikeable neighborhood that once flourished before I-5 and other developments destroyed over 700 homes and many businesses. That vision also includes a significant amount of housing — much of which would be built on top of I-5.

One of the main things standing in the way of that vision is ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter project.

ODOT concept drawing shows two smaller covers that could only support a park or plaza.

The $500 million project, which is now in a federally-mandated phase of public comment on an environmental assessment, calls for two covers (a.k.a. caps or lids) over the freeway: One over the Broadway-Weidler couplet and the other at Hancock and Dixon streets. ODOT planned these spaces to be merely caps and not a tunnel because the latter would be much more expensive and complicated (requiring them to dig down and lower the existing freeways lanes, build a sophisticated ventilation system, and so on). Because a more beefy, continuous tunnel would trigger more stringent federal engineering and environmental regulations, ODOT’s highway caps would only be able to hold a few trees and benches (for the rare individuals who relish the opportunity to relax above a loud and smelly freeway).

That’s where the disagreement lies.



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Red circle marks map element labeled as, “Infill development I-5 bridges”.

Having “buildable caps” is a central part of Albina Vision’s plan to restore the historic neighborhoods and street grid. Instead of unused spaces, Albina Vision wants to put that new real estate above I-5 to work as infill development. Their concept drawings and show several, multi-story buildings and roads directly above the freeway. A map on the Albina Vision website labels the area above I-5 as “Infill development”. ODOT’s cute little caps wouldn’t be nearly strong enough for those type of structures.

The two key leaders behind the Albina Vision, former Portland Parks & Recreation Director Zari Santner and Meyer Memorial Trust Chief Investment Officer Rukaiyah Adams have been steadfast in their demand for buildable covers.

Santner told a crowd of policymakers on the first day the vision launched, “… If the freeway is there and it’s not removed, it needs to have a lid.”

And Adams has spoken even more strongly about the lids telling Bridgeliner in an interview this week that, “We can’t move I-5, but if we put buildable caps there so that the streetscape is continuous for pedestrians and bicyclists, then that stitches the community back to the eastside neighborhoods, and that’s pretty critical.”

Adams doubled-down on that demand in a in a Tweet posted this morning: “94 acres in cntrl [Central] city on a transit hub. Could build thousands of affordable units,” she wrote. “Taking on @OregonDOT for buildable caps over I-5. I used to be a nice, middle-aged lady. But, Albina has turned me into a fighter. I’m not backing down.”

It’s generally accepted that agencies don’t like to move forward with an element of a major plan if it precludes the fulfillment of another plan. Does ODOT respect the Albina Vision enough to make a compromise here? Would Mayor Ted Wheeler and his colleagues in City Hall allow a major project to move forward if it deals Albina Vision such a serious blow? We’ll be watching this closely.

UPDATE, 2/22: Portland architecture critic and Business Tribune columnist Brian Libby’s latest piece is all about why we should make Albina Vision a reality. Right now.

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

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Proposed $738M King County Parks levy would fund Eastside, Lake Sammamish and Lake to Sound Trails

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 14:52

Map of proposed improvements, from King County.

About 80 percent of the King County Parks budget comes from a levy that goes to voters every six years, and King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing an even bigger levy to send to voters this autumn for 2020–25.

The $738 million proposal would cost the average property owner about $7 per month, $2 more than they pay under the expiring levy according to a press release from King County.

Among many investments in Parks facilities and programming across the county, the next levy would complete regional trail connections that have been in the works for a long time. It would also close funding for some of the most difficult and iconic segments of the Eastside Trail like the Wilburton Trestle. Here are some highlights from the press release:

  • Opening to the public nearly 12 miles of the 16-mile-long Eastside Rail Corridor, making accessible the Wilburton Trestle and connecting the cities of Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, and Woodinville
  • Completing the Lake to Sound Trail, a 16-mile-long paved connection that extends from Lake Washington in Renton to Puget Sound in Des Moines
  • Paving the final segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail to complete the 11-mile-long corridor and connect the cities of Redmond, Sammamish, and Issaquah

Renton in particular stands to see some major bike improvements from the Lake to Sound and Eastside Trails. After these projects are complete, Renton will have quality access west to the Green River and Interurban South Trails as well as north via the Eastside Trail connecting to the Mountains to Sound, and 520 Trails.

The levy map also shows a connection from the current north terminus of the Cross Kirkland Corridor (Eastside Trail) at Totem Lake to the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River Trails. The Lake to Sound Trail will make connections in SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. And the Green River Trail should finally connect to the Duwamish Trail in South Park.

Route Advisory: Closures and construction coming to road atop Council Crest

Bike Portland - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 11:49

The Portland Water Bureau is about to start a project up in Council Crest Park that will impact the road around the iconic summit lookout.

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The ride up to Council Crest is a classic (one reader loves it so much he snapped a photo from the top 500 times in four years). What you might not realize is that large water tank on the northwest corner of the summit was built in 1942 and still serves 1,300 customers. Now it’s time for maintenance repairs.

As of late this week or early next week, the Water Bureau tells us heavy equipment will begin staging on SW Council Crest Drive. Once construction starts shortly thereafter (we’ll post dates as they come in), the road will be completely closed to car and truck drivers for up to 45 days. Then, for 10-day window (Water Bureau hasn’t clarified exact dates yet), the road will be closed to all users — including bicycle riders. Throughout this project, bicycle riders and walkers will be able to enter the park, but you will not be able to ride through the full loop of the road. If you ride up to the lookout, you’ll have to walk across the grass to return down the hill.

In general, use caution around this work zone as there will be large cranes at work. And respect the full road closure when it starts.

Learn more at the project website.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Worst Day of the Year Ride (for real this time), trail work party, Woody Guthrie and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 10:50

‘Worst Day’ ride? Looks like the best day to these riders at the 2011 edition.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Almost time to cut loose and embrace some cycling action!

If you read this before Thursday night, peruse the calendar for a big slate of fun ideas. And of course since it’s February and it’s Portland, always be mindful of the weather forecast.

Here are our event picks for Friday night and this weekend…

Friday, February 22nd

Breakfast on the Bridges – 7:00 to 9:00 am at multiple locations
There will be a Mardi Gras theme to this month’s BonBs. Give yourself extra time on your morning ride into downtown to stop at Steel, Hawthorne and Tilikum bridges for free coffee, treats, and conversation (if you want it). And thank the volunteers from Shift who make this happen! More info here.

Transportation Seminar: Recognizing and Addressing Modal Assumptions to Shift Transportation Culture – 11:30 am at Portland State University (SW)
PSU’s Transportation Research Education Center (TREC) welcomes WashDOT Active Transportation Manager Barb Chamberlain for a discussion about how the words we use impact “modal bias” and our planning and advocacy practice in general. More info here.

Saturday, February 23rd

Endless Summer Saturdays – 9:00 am at Crema (NE)
Join Club Roule for what’s become a standard Saturday group road ride with a moderate pace. More info here.

Transport Your Activism: Highway 30 – 9:30 am at Food Front Co-Op (NW)
BikeLoudPDX is hosting another one of their hands-on activism rides where you’ll observe and measure existing conditions on Highway 30 and share ideas about how to make it better as ODOT preps for a major repaving project. More info here.


Stub Stewart Winter Trail Work Party – 9:30 am Stub Stewart (Vernonia-ish)
NW Trail Alliance is hosting a work party to help keep the amazingly fun and excellent trails at Stub in great shape for the upcoming season. This is a perfect way to give back and bank some sweat equity into the sport you love. More info here.

Saturday Social Ride – 10:00 am at Lents Park (SE)
This leisurely paced (13-14 mph) group road ride will meander through east Portland with a warm-up stop at a bakery or coffee shop. More info here.

Woody Guthrie & Knapp Falls Ride – 12:00 pm at Creston Park (SE)
Explore the haunts of former Portlander Woodie Guthrie, get a first-look at a new LEED certified sustainable housing complex, and discover a hidden waterfall on this fun 12-mile loop led by Tom from Puddlecycle. More info here.

Sunday, February 24th

***BP PICK!!!*** Worst Day of the Year Ride – Meets at Lucky Lab on SE Hawthorne
The Big Day has finally arrived. It’s time to put on a (warm) costume (or not) and join a few thousand other Portland bike lovers for an urban jaunt that will restore your faith in humanity. Remember to mention to organizers you heard about it on BikePortland! More info here.

Kevin Neidorf Celebration of Life Ride – 2:30 pm at River City Bicycles (SE)
Join Kevin’s friends and family for a bike ride to First Unitarian Church where a memorial service will begin at 4:00 pm. 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

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Bike League suggests $74B ‘Bike New Deal’ + Why the Feds should dramatically increase bike funding

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 13:56

From a 2011 study (PDF) by Heidi Garrett-Peltier for the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Building walking, biking and safe streets infrastructure employs more people per dollar than a road-only project. In Seattle, building trails employs 25 percent more people per $1 million invested compared to building roads, according to a 2011 study (PDF) by Heidi Garrett-Peltier for the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The work is more hands-on, so more of the costs go to paying workers rather than buying raw materials and equipment.

And while this is hardly the best reason to build bike lanes and trails, it is an important fact to keep in mind as Congressional leaders craft a “Green New Deal” that attempts to both improve the nation and employ more people at the same time.

The League of American Bicyclists recently posted their concept for a $74 billion “Bike New Deal,” which would invest heavily in community bike networks, regional and national bike trails, child bike safety education, commuter benefits, and vehicle and road safety standards. And while I imagine that $74 billion price tag might seem like a pipe dream, an effort of that scale would be a great investment directly into communities big and small across the country that would pay off for generations to come.

So far, the Green New Deal is more of a statement of intent rather than a set of specific policies, so it seems like a good time to start thinking big and getting ideas out there. And while Seattle Bike Blog rarely focuses on national issues, our time covering the challenges of building local and regional bike infrastructure and safe streets projects could help shine a light on ways Federal funding could dramatically change the speed and scale of project delivery for these projects.

One lesson comes from, yes, the Netherlands. The Dutch only have their bicycle networks now because their national government stepped up and made those networks a national transportation priority decades ago:

A national government just works on a larger scale that can complete projects that would be impossibly-large for local governments.

Even in a wealthy city like Seattle, our Department of Transportation has trouble finding funding to go after the biggest road safety and bike network challenges, many of which were caused by big Federally-funded, car-centric projects like Interstates and rail corridors in the first place. For example, it costs an enormous sum of money to create or retrofit freeway crossings to make them safe for walking and biking, so Seattle typically chooses to ignore them and invest elsewhere instead. The result is that there are shockingly few I-5 crossings that are safe and comfortable for biking and walking.

So let’s look at a case study: The Northgate Walk/Bike Bridge. The city’s first try to get the project funded was to apply for an Obama-era TIGER grant from the Federal government to build an iconic span connecting North Seattle College to Northgate Station. Because I-5 is so wide at this location and would require a rather tall structure, creating this vital connection would cost vastly more money than the typical walk/bike project. So the city appealed to the Feds.

UW also applied for a TIGER grant around the same time to complete their total rebuild of the Burke-Gilman Trail through campus, which would be wider and have separate walking and biking spaces to accommodate the big increases in people traveling to and from UW Station.

But TIGER grants were extremely competitive because, as it turns out, communities across the nation have an enormous backlog of major non-freeway infrastructure needs that the Federal government has not been addressing. The result is that both of these Seattle projects lost, along with more than 9 in 10 TIGER applications. The TIGER acceptance rate is a good rough estimate of the nation’s need for such funding. It needs to be an order of magnitude larger.

A result of losing these grants was that UW dramatically scaled back its trail ambitions by only building out one phase of the trail redesign, and the City of Seattle, Sound Transit and Washington State all partnered to make a scaled back Northgate Bridge happen. It was great that leaders found ways to make the projects happen without Federal funding, but what would have been small projects for the Feds has become huge projects for multiple local agencies.

And remember that Seattle is a wealthy city in a wealthy region, and we barely made the Northgate Bridge happen. Communities across the nation don’t have a fallback option for projects of this scale. If the Feds or their states don’t fund major projects like this, they simply can’t happen.

But one bridge in Northgate is a drop in the bucket. What about people on Beacon Hill trying to get to Sodo? Or people on Capitol Hill trying to get to South Lake Union? Or people on Rainier Ave trying to safely get past all the I-90 ramps? This list could go on for a long time.

Or what about national biking and walking projects like the Great American Rail Trail or the US Bicycle Route system? State and local governments can work on them piecemeal, but the Federal government could make them happen in whole.

Of course Washington State also has a key role to play in fixing these major challenges that it is not fulfilling. But even the state would have trouble raising the funds needed to truly address the needs in Washington communities.

I don’t want this post to be seen as excusing Seattle, King County, Sound Transit, the Puget Sound Regional Council or Washington State from their responsibility to do better in prioritizing safe streets, walking, biking and transit improvements. But I am sick of writing off the Federal government as good for only a few relative pennies here or there for walking and biking projects. It’s a major need that needs major investment, including from the highest level.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is still obsessed with freeways, investing a fortune in impossibly-large interchanges and widening projects that only make traffic and our dependences on fossil fuels more dangerous and desperate. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Scooter company reps scolded by Oregon legislators over helmet law proposal

Bike Portland - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 13:43

Matthew Kopko with Bird Rides (L), and Jonathan Hopkins from Lime.

Senators Lew Frederick (L) and Cliff Bentz.

What was expected to be just another ho-hum hearing on one of thousands of bills working their way through Oregon’s 2019 legislative session, turned out to be anything but.

“What I’m hearing seems to be a bit counter-intuitive from a safety perspective.”
— Rep. Caddy McKeown, Co-Chair Joint Committee on Transportation

As we shared earlier today, House Bill 2671 seeks to require helmets for electric scooter riders 15 years of age or younger. Currently all e-scooter riders are required to wear a helmet. Backers of this bill — which include scooter companies, The Street Trust and Forth Mobility (an Oregon-based electric vehicle advocacy group) — say they merely want to harmonize the scooter law with the existing bicycle law which makes helmet use optional for everyone 16 years and older.

They say the existence of an all-ages helmet law leads to unequal enforcement against the very people most likely to need and appreciate scooters, and it could stymie adoption of scooters and other micromobility devices in the future.

“This bill creates consistency between green transportation modes,” said Jonathan Hopkins, a director of strategic development for Lime, during testimony in front of the Joint Committee on Transportation on February 13th, “Bikes and scooters are providing the same function, on the same number of wheels, at the same speed, and at the same places. While we always recommend users wear helmets, we also think users should be treated equally under the law when using very similar mobility tools.”

PBOT data from the recent pilot found that 90 percent of riders didn’t wear a helmet even though it’s required by Oregon law.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Hopkins was joined on a panel of scooter company reps by Jordan Bice and Matthew Kopko of Bird Rides. They came armed with data and talking points largely taken from the findings of the City of Portland’s successful e-scooter pilot program that wrapped up last year.

But state lawmakers weren’t having it. None of the half-dozen or so committee members who spoke during the hearing were impressed. Some of them even lectured the panelists with an admonishing tone the likes of which I’ve never heard in a legislative hearing before. The exchanges underscored the skepticism lawmakers have toward this new mode of transportation and toward the corporate lobbyists trying to make it more accessible.

The first one came from Senator Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario). Bentz touted his experience as a bicycle rider and said he knows people who’ve had crashes. “Had they not been wearing helmets they would have been dead,” he said, before adding, “And I mean it,” for emphasis. Bentz also expressed that if a low-income person who’s on Oregon Health Plan crashes and sustains a head injury, the bill for their care will, “Be on us.”

“So I’m asking, what are you guys, as an industry, doing to help solve this problem?” Bentz asked the panel.

Kopko, Bird’s director of public policy, began to respond. “We have to be mindful of the fatality and safety risks of automobiles as opposed to these type of vehicles,” he said; but was abruptly interrupted by Bentz, who sounded a bit annoyed:

“I want you to compare the number of scooters to the number of cars. Because you didn’t. You’re equating that we have exactly the same number of scooters on the road as we do cars. We have a gazillion more cars on the road than scooters. So don’t do that. Please don’t do that again. I suffered through it earlier [they’d met in Bentz’s office prior to the hearing] and I don’t want to do it again.”

Here’s video of the exchange:

Then Committee Co-Chair Rep. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) followed up on Bentz’s comments. “There’s an old adage.. ‘Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it’s going to be bad for the pitcher,’ that’s what happens when your head hits the concrete,” she said.

Then McKeown continued:

“You say you’ve been providing helmets for people to use, which implies to me you understand the danger and the possible risk of riding these vehicles. And I applaud you for that; but I also hear you saying you’d prefer we not require it. What I’m hearing seems to be a bit counter-intuitive from a safety perspective.”

To which Kopko replied,

“We are very supportive of helmet use. What we’re talking here about is the diff between encouraging helmet use and mandating it by law. There’s a risk of disparate enforcement and how the helmet requirement would limit uptake of this new mode… We agree helmets should be used whenever possible… For us it’s about the consistency of laws across micromobility solutions.”



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Then there was a very tense exchange (in video above) between the Lime representative Jonathan Hopkins and Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland).


“There are certain communities that will have less access to helmets and therefore are more severely impacted by law enforcement efforts. Those happen to be the very same communities that are close to freeways or have lower lifespans by up to 10-15 years because of CO2 emissions. So there are areas where these tools have the potential to dramatically effect on our planet, peoples’ life spans, our health, and the health of our community. If there’s inequitable enforcement, you’re going to have communities that can afford helmets riding scooters and riding bikes more, and communities that are suffering from worse air quality and everything else, riding them less. And that actually exacerbates the very same problems they’ve been suffering from for decades.”


“I’m going to try to be kind about this. I appreciate you being concerned about disparate enforcement. Don’t use that as your argument. Please. I get a little tired of that… The next time someone will tell me that we’re looking at kids who are ‘at-risk’ and that’s why we’re doing this. Don’t do that. That doesn’t work. The issue we’re talking about now is safety. I live next to Lloyd Center and I saw a lot of scooters and I saw very few black folks on scooters. I saw very few older folks on scooters. The folks who were on scooters were of a particular economic class and race and particular age as well…. I’d suggest you speak to the safety issues. I would ask that you speak specifically to the safety issues and try not to act as though this is an issue where you’re trying to help the other social issues that we have in the community. You’re talking about transportation. It’s going to make you money, so let’s be clear about that. It’s not just an issue of trying to be helpful.. I’m not upset about you making money; but don’t use the other things to obscure that. Please.”

And Kopko got the last word:

“We have data that shows positive views of scooters increase as you go further down the economic ladder. The data also shows that people of color had a higher positive view than white people of scooter usage. I also want to note the affordability component here: When you can get a ride across town for one-fourth or one-fifth the price of Uber or other modes, it does have an impact for people. There are a lot of affordability and equity benefits for this solution.”

With exchanges like this it became clear the bill was in trouble and the hearing wasn’t going well for its supporters.

Another issue that came up (first from an ODOT Transportation Safety Division staffer, then from Co-Chair McKeown) was concern that the way the bill is written, people might get the wrong impression that people under 16 years old are allowed to use electric scooters even though current law prohibits them from riding one whether they wear a helmet or not.

After an hour-long discussion and with committee leaders like McKeown, Frederick, and Bentz clearly not enthused about the idea of loosening helmet regulations for scooter riders, committee Co-Vice-Chair Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) wrapped things up by saying, “There’s an immense amount of work to do on this. It’s not ready for prime-time at the moment.” That sentiment was echoed by McKeown when she said, “I have great concerns about this. What I think we’re doing is going a bit backwards here.”

There are no other hearings or work sessions current scheduled for this bill. Learn more about it here.

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

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Route Advisory: Three month closure of N Vancouver Ave starts Monday

Bike Portland - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:21

Starting Monday, February 25th, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services will close North Vancouver Avenue from Russell to Hancock.

The closure is part of the Eliot Sewer and Stormwater Project that’s giving a much-needed upgrade to about 10,000 feet of century-old sewer pipes in the southern section of the Boise-Eliot neighborhood.

Unfortunately their work will close the second busiest cycling route in the entire city: North Vancouver at Russell. According to Bureau of Transportation counts, 4,705 people pass by this intersection every day (second only to the N Interstate/Lloyd/Oregon (Peace Park) intersection which has 4,890).

While the majority of people riding southbound on Vancouver (it’s one-way) are headed westbound to the Broadway Bridge, BES will set up a detour that leads riders east two blocks to the neighborhood greenway on NE Rodney Avenue (car and truck drivers will use MLK Jr. Blvd). See the map at right for details.



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Keep in mind that the detour will be in place Monday through Friday from 9:15 am to 6:00 pm.

If you roll up to the closure during active work-zone hours and think you’ll just hop onto the sidewalk, here’s a message from BES:

When the street or lane is closed for construction, pedestrians and cyclists can almost always use the sidewalk, but should do so with caution. Sidewalks near construction zones can become unusually congested and awareness of your surroundings can help avoid accidents. Please take extra time to walk or bike past work zones. In addition, cyclists must avoid riding on closed roadways even if it looks like there’s enough room for a bike to navigate around construction. When construction takes place on a street with a bike lane, crews will post signs to guide cyclists.

As always, if if you ride in this area please make sure to let us know how this closure and detour is treating you.

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

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How to Purchase a Sony a9 for $1000

Bike Hugger - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:03

I just bought the Sony flagship a9 for the price of their entry-level a6400 The Trade Up/Trade-In event is that good. You just can’t beat purchasing a Sony a9 for $1000. How it works is Sony is offering a $500 instant rebate on the a9 plus an additional $500 with a trade. So that’s $1000 off.

Trade In and Up

Then a retailer like Glazers or Kenmore Camera in the Seattle area deducts the value of your trade from the purchase. B&H is offering the trade up online. You ship them your cameras for evaluation and they make an offer. The event ends on March 30th.

Grand Targhee 18 taken with the a9.

I traded in two DSLRS I had plus their lenses and the price was about $3000. Of course, your trade ins will vary. I added the battery grip, which also has a $50 rebate, and a spare battery.

My total purchase was $4929 and the value of the rebates plus trade was $3975. Sales tax is a whopping 10% in Seattle, so your total could be even lower.

Sony’s most expensive camera has the biggest rebate, of course. If you’re interested in the high-rez a7r III or basic model a7 III those are part of the Trade Up/Trade-In event too listed below.

Instant Rebate and Trade-in Bonus Instant Rebates on Sony FE Lenses

Of these lenses, I’d suggest the 24-70mm. That’s shown in the photo above from Paris and a good all arounder.

Instant Rebates on Sony APS-C E-Mount Lenses

The 24mm for $100 off is my choice here. Use it for street shooting with a camera like the a6400.

Firmware Update

If you’ve been thinking of upgrade to a Sony mirrorless camera, now is the best time. The a9 was on sale during the holidays last year for $1000 off, but not with the trade-in value.

The best part is next month when the a9 firmware is released, I’ll have almost an entirely new camera. I tried the a9 firmware in San Diego when it was announced. It delivers enhanced autofocus performance and new functionality for the a9; including real-time subject tracking.

Of all the Sony cameras available, the a9 fits my shooting style the best; especially, when I’m taking photos while riding my bike. As I’ve shared, it puts me in the moment with no blackout, 24pfs, and real-time tracking. The camera calculates the focus, locking onto a subject, and the photographer can freely compose. The importance of this technological jump is the focus sticks on the person or subject you initiated, no matter how erratically they move, like in a sprint.

Just think about that for wedding, engagement, event, family, moments photography. My friends at DPR published this video demonstrating how well Sony’s tech works.

And, I got a camera with it for $1K. I call that a bargain.

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Cornelius Pass project will route thousands of cars and trucks onto popular bike routes

Bike Portland - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 10:27

Source: Multnomah County

If you were bummed that NW Newberry Road is closed for repairs until April, you won’t be happy about the news I’m about to share.

A major reason Multnomah County needs to fix the landslide that’s made Newberry carfree since January 2017 is because they need to use it as the primary detour for a separate project on nearby Cornelius Pass Road. Starting July 8th, a major project on Cornelius Pass will require it to be closed for thirteen weeks between Highway 30 and Germantown Road.

The recommended detour for the estimated 10,000 daily car and truck drivers will be Newberry to Skyline to Old Cornelius Pass Road — all three of which are very popular cycling routes because of how quiet and low-stress they are.

The impact of all these additional drivers will be very significant. (Keep in mind that large big-rig trucks will be detoured to highways.) And keep in mind that not everyone will opt for Newberry. There’s very likely to be much more traffic on other popular cycling routes like NW McNamee, Logie Trail, and Rocky Point Road as well. Suffice it to say there’s already serious concerns from bike riders and drivers about the impact of this closure.



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Because of the impact to cycling routes, I’ve been in touch with the County to make sure they do everything they can to minimize negative impacts and safety hazards to bicycle users. Narrow, winding, rural mountain roads are difficult enough for some road users to share. Adding 10,000 more daily drivers — already frustrated by the detour — could be a recipe for disaster.

To mitigate impacts, members of the County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee have floated the idea of speed bumps on NW Newberry during the detour. “Generally, if speed bumps are spaced out enough, the Committee felt that bicyclists would be fine with occasional speed bumps,” read minutes from the November 2018 meeting. Speed bumps on west hills roads aren’t unheard of. There are several on NW Germantown.

Also discussed at recent BPAC meetings was the possibility of the County creating/improving vehicle pullouts on NW Newberry specifically so bicycle users could use them. Some members also suggested that the County leverage relationships with large employers like Intel to educate their staff about detour safety issues and encourage them to carpool or use a shuttle during the closure.

The County says they’re still working on a detailed traffic plan for all modes. “We know we need to get out the word to drivers and cyclists to share the road this summer,” County spokesman Mike Pullen shared in an email this week.

(As an aside, the Cornelius Pass Road project won’t include major improvements to the intersection with Skyline, even though a safety audit found that it accounted for far more collisions than any other location along the corridor. There was a recommendation for a roundabout at Skyline but it won’t be a part of this current project.)

See the County’s website for information about the traffic plan and stay tuned for any updates related to cycling safety concerns.

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

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Here are the bills we’re tracking this legislative session

Bike Portland - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 07:51

Capitol building in Salem.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We’re about one month into Oregon’s 80th legislative session. And while no blockbuster bike-related bills have emerged yet, there are still a number of things we’re keeping our eyes on.

Here’s our list and a few notes about all the bills we’re tracking this session…

(NOTE: This list has been updated since first published. Please refresh to see latest version.)

Senate Bills

SB 7 – Lower BAC Level – Overview
Senate President Peter Courtney wants to lower the legal level of alcohol a person can have in their blood while operating a vehicle. Currently at .08 percent, this bill would make it .05 percent. I interviewed Senator Courtney about this bill back in December. Status: Referred to Judiciary Committee.

SB 10 – Housing and Transit – Overview
As reported by The Willamette Week, this bill would, “Require metro-area cities to allow 75 housing units per acre within a quarter mile of frequent transit and 45 units within a half mile. That number goes up to 140 units within a quarter mile of a light-rail station.” This could be a game-changer! Status: Hearing in Housing Committee scheduled for February 25th.

SB 421 – “Made Whole Bill” – Overview
Known by advocates as the “Made Whole Bill”, SB 421 would prevent health insurance companies from collecting damages from an at-fault driver in a collision until the victims are fully compensated for their losses (or “made whole”). The bill comes out of the tragedy that claimed the life of a 22-month old boy who was hit and killed by a driver while walking across North Lombard in 2010. The boy’s mom, Michelle DuBarry, is pushing for the new law and has several co-sponsors already signed on. “Accident victims may have crippling out-of-pocket expenses, life-altering injuries, and ongoing healthcare needs,” DuBarry writes on her website about the bill, “But they are only entitled to a settlement after their health insurer is fully compensated for their accident-related expenses. In cases where hospital stays are involved, there is almost never money left over for victims.” Status: Referred to Judiciary Committee.

SB 558 – Lower Speed Limits Statewide – Overview
In 2017 the City of Portland earned the right to lower residential speed limits by 5 mph without prior authorization from the State of Oregon. This bill would open up that same authority to any city in Oregon. (Interestingly, this is how the 2017 bill started out, but lawmakers worried that some Oregon cities wouldn’t be ready to assume this authority so it was changed to apply only to Portland.) Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

SB 561 – Safe Routes Matching Funds – Overview
When the legislature passed the big transportation package in 2017, Safe Routes to School got dedicated funding. To get the money however, non-Title I schools are required to come up with 40 percent of the project funds (known as “local match”). This bill would lower the matching requirement to 20 percent for all projects, bringing it in line with Title I schools. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

SB 608 – Tenant Protections – Overview
This bill would prevent landlords from evicting people on month-to-month rental agreements without cause. It has already passed the Senate and there’s a work session in the House scheduled for today (2/20). This legislation is being followed by transportation reformers (it’s a priority bill for The Street Trust) because of how high rents increase sprawl and limit transportation options by forcing people to live further away from jobs and other destinations.

SB 623 – EV Registrations – Overview
This interesting bill would limit the type of vehicles Oregon residents could officially register in 2025. People who live in counties with over 600,000 people (currently just Multnomah and Washington), “may not register a new vehicle in this state unless the vehicle is a new electric vehicle,” says the bill text. Of note is that the bill’s sole sponsor, Senator Fred Girod, is a Republican who represents the small, rural district of Stayton. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

SB 746 – TriMet Crash Investigations – Overview
Currently when someone is killed in a collision involving a TriMet vehicle, the agency investigates itself. Oregon and SW Washington Families for Safe Streets, an advocacy group, wants more accountability and oversight. This bill would create a TriMet Crash Advisory Committee appointed by the Oregon Transportation Commission. Read more about it in our previous coverage. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

[UPDATE, 2/21: TriMet Manager Of Media Relations & Communications Roberta Altstadt just gave us a comment about SB 746:

“TriMet takes very seriously our obligation to our riders, our employees and our community. Every serious incident—especially those involving loss of life—is devastating, including for their loved ones, TriMet operators and the staff and first responders who go to the scene. We hold ourselves to a high standard and insist that our transit system must operate safely.

TriMet has independent oversight by multiple agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Rail Administration and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Rail and Public Transit Division. TriMet reports all serious collisions to ODOT and the FTA, and both agencies can call for a joint investigation or conduct its own independent investigation of any crash.”]

SB 747 – Education of Bicycle Laws – Overview
This is an attempt to get more information about cycling laws in front of everyone who takes the driving test in Oregon. It would formally combine the (now separate) Oregon Bicyclist Manual and Oregon Driver Manual and it would require a re-test on new laws when someone seeks renewal of their license. Read more about it here. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.



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--> House Bills

HB 2001 – Middle Housing in Single Family Zoning – Overview
This closely-watched bill (sponsored by north Portland Rep. Tina Kotek) would allow “missing middle” (a.k.a. multi-family dwellings) in places currently zoned for only single-family housing. It would have a big and positive impact on cycling because it would enable more people to live in closer proximity to jobs and other destinations. A public hearing was held in the Human Services and Housing Committee on February 11th.

HB 2020 – Clean Energy Jobs Bill – Overview
This is The Big One. Environmental advocates call this “historic climate legislation.” This bill would create a Carbon Policy Office and set up a “cap and invest” fund in Oregon law. Money raised from polluters could go toward cycling infrastructure projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled. There’s already been a ton of action around this bill. See the overview page for more info.

HB 2083 – Oregon Parks/ODOT Project Admin – Overview
This bill is pretty in-the-weeds; but from what I’ve learned it would formalize something passed in HB 2017 (the 2017 transportation bill) where ODOT had the ability to request up to $4 million in Lottery funding (via Connect Oregon program) from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. This isn’t new money, the bill would just clarify which of the two agencies would administer the funds. I hope to get a better understanding the bill’s impacts if/when it gets a public hearing. Status: Referred to Transportation with subsequent referral to Ways and Means.

HB 2314 – Lane-Splitting for Motorcycle Riders – Overview
Our fellow, two-wheeled vulnerable road users want more ability to split lanes under certain conditions. As you can learn at, motorcycling advocates say the bill would help them stay safer on the roads and would reduce congestion by allowing riders to move up between stopped/slow auto traffic. Status: A public hearing scheduled on February 20th in the Joint Committee on Transportation.

HB 2671 – Scooter Helmets – Overview
Introduced by newly elected State Rep. Sheri Schouten (D-Beaverton), this bill would make helmets optional for scooter riders over 16 years old.

Matthew Kopko from Bird testifying at a committee hearing on February 13th.

Currently, all scooter users must wear a helmet. Backers of this bill want to “harmonize” the scooter law with the bicycle law which requires helmets only for children. A public hearing was held on February 13th at the Joint Transportation Committee and legislators lectured and grilled reps from Bird and Lime. I’ll post separately about the hearing (it was a doozy!), but at this point I’d say this bill has very little chance of getting out of committee.

HB 2682 – Bike Lanes Through Intersections – Overview
As we shared back in December, this bill would amending existing statute to clarify that bicycle lanes continue through intersections even when the paint striping doesn’t. The only reason this is happening is because two judges have come to radical conclusion that simply because bike lane striping disappears in intersections, so does their legal status. That makes no sense at all. It would be an absolute embarrassment if this bill failed to pass. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

HB 2702 – Speed Limit Authority for Portland – Overview
Fresh off receiving authority to lower residential street speed limits by 5 mph, with this bill (sponsored by Rep. Rob Nosse) the City of Portland would be able to establish speeds on any road under their jurisdiction. Yes, even wide and fast arterials like Burnside, Division, Sandy and others. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

HB 2864 – Jurisdictional Transfers – Overview
This is the bill we’ve been waiting years for: It would hasten the jurisdictional transfer of ODOT’s “orphan highways” like 82nd Avenue that run through urban neighborhoods. The Portland Mercury covered the issue well a few weeks ago. The bill would direct all ODOT regions statewide to conduct an evaluation of highways for potential transfer from state to city ownership. It would also — and crucially, since the barrier to these transfers has always been the funding needed to bring them up to good condition — establish a “Jurisdictional Transfer Fund.” Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

HB 2880 – Free Transit for Vets – Overview
Sponsored by Rep Rob Nosse (D-Portland), this bill would make public transit free for disabled veterans. Status: Referred to Transportation Committee.

Are there other important bills we should have on our radar? Please let me know.

In related news, the Oregon Mountain Biking Coalition will host their first-ever legislative day in Salem on February 27th.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2019 session.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Cycling’s solace, dooring breakthrough, climate panic, and more

Bike Portland - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 12:10

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Ride Like A Girl, now offering a special “Ready to Ride” coaching program to help you get ready for your big spring/summer rides!

Yes I know it’s Tuesday. But yesterday was a holiday, remember?!

Here are the most noteworthy things we came across in the past seven days…

Ride as an act of resistance: An immigrant from Africa shares how cycling has provided solace from the culture shock of living in 80-percent white Denver and an America as divided and vitriolic toward outsiders as its ever been.

Trump’s accidental parking tax: Portland’s very own Michael Andersen got a whopper of a scoop when he uncovered a piece of the new tax code that might (inadvertently?) punish corporations that subsidize auto parking as a commute benefit.

Stronger aluminum bikes? A new aluminum welding process is on its way to bike frames and the result could lead to very light, strong, and affordable bikes.

Bike New Deal: The League of American Bicyclists wants to amend the Green New Deal so it includes cycling mega-projects, compulsory 8th grade cycling education, and more.

Dooring breakthrough: Bloomberg Editorial Board has endorsed the “Dutch Reach” method of opening the driver’s side door.

Sorry, not sorry: As the Dutch government unveils plans for driverless trucks, a new report cautions that the country’s famous bike traffic could throw a major wrench into the system.

Utility worldwide: From knife-sharpeners, to cargo-carriers — this excellent post features the many ingenious and useful ways bicycles are used around the globe.



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Shop talk: A refreshingly candid bike shop owner in Seattle shares that he closed his e-bike shop because he just couldn’t relate to customers.

Car tech: I’m reflexively against all the shiny new tech carmakers are touting these days; but what if a car would automatically alert police when the driver dozed off, had been drinking, or are driving erratically? I might change might tune.

Clean up your (sexist) act: A commentator at VeloNews thinks racing regulators should take sexism as seriously as they take doping.

Keep building, ODOT and PBOT! How urgent is our need to change the status quo when it comes to sources of greenhouse gas emissions? “Panic might seem counterproductive, but we’re at a point where alarmism and catastrophic thinking are valuable,” says a noted scientist in a major NY Times Opinion piece.

Now you know how it feels: Traffic engineers in Virginia goofed and put a standard traffic lane right in the path of a curb extension — something that happens with bike lanes all the time.

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

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Biking through Vancouver BC’s protected intersection

Bike Portland - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 11:07

Separated bike lanes, curb bulbs, so much green paint!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

— Madi Carlson is our Family Biking columnist.

It’s been three years since I visited Vancouver, Canada (with my cargo bike via BoltBus) and while I was very impressed with the bike infrastructure back then — it’s even better now. The most notable new thing was a protected intersection.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I biked through the one at Quebec Street and 1st Avenue and it felt a lot like biking in the Netherlands.

We first crossed the well-marked, perpendicular bike path and had room to wait — protected by curbs — in front of stopped car traffic. Then a bright, cheery bike lane led us all the way through the intersection. The only thing missing was the mayhem of bikes everywhere and the rush of cycling cross-traffic racing through the end of the light cycle.

My children weren’t with me for this trip, but I was not without kid company. I was joined by a few friends including Lisa aka @spokesmama and her five and eight-year olds on their own bikes. During my last visit I carried my kids on my cargo bike through downtown Vancouver. We’ve also biked together (minimally) in downtown Portland and downtown Seattle. But it wasn’t the same as Vancouver. More protected bike lanes and protected intersections would make all the difference in the world for making downtown bicycling comfortable for my kids and me. Apparently a lot of people share my opinion because I’ve never tweeted a tweet with this much interest (granted most of the comments are two men arguing back and forth with each other).



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PBOT says this will be installed on West Burnside and 19th by the end of this summer.

Coincidentally, three years ago is also when BikePortland contributor Michael Andersen wrote about ideas on where Portland could use protected intersections, as put forth by the concept’s creator (and Portland resident) Nick Falbo.

Sadly, we haven’t implemented even one big downtown protected intersection since then. On the bright side, PBOT plans to build a partially protected intersection on West Burnside by the end of this summer.

Bike parking covered separation while approaching the protected intersection.

The white squares are called elephant’s feet.

Elephant’s feet
In addition to the new-to-me protected intersection, I learned about elephant’s feet, the white squares on the sides of the green bike lane through the intersection. These squares let people know they are not required to dismount and walk their bikes through the intersection — which they would otherwise be required to do in a crosswalk, since biking on sidewalks is not legal in Vancouver. All bike paths that cross streets have these elephant’s feet, and all the ones I saw flanked green bike lanes, making them easy to see. These are similar to Portland’s crossbikes, but I found them to be less confusing to use.

What are your thoughts on protected intersections? Where could we use these in Portland?

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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Some trails still slick a week after the snow stopped + Lessons for future freezes

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 13:40

Even though most streets in the region are clear following the massive snow fall last week, trails that are far from salt-treated roads can still be icy in spots. Much like the wonderful people who have volunteered their time in recent weeks to clear bus stops and curb ramps, folks like Robert here are biking with shovels to clear trail sections that still have snow and ice:

This is a call to action for #SEAbikes : if you are able-bodied and have access to a snow shovel, head to your local trail and clear a path through the remaining snow/ice – I’ll be shoveling on the Green River Trail since there are still unrideable spots, will post pics after

— Robert Svercl (@bobco85) February 18, 2019

Of course, these trails are public property and are important transportation facilities, so it shouldn’t fall to kind, able-bodied individuals to do this work. When asked why Parks was not clearing trails, this was their disappointing response:

Unfortunately our staff and equipment for snow removal is on loan to King County Roads to assist in keeping roads clear as a top priority at this time.

— King County Parks

Trail Alert: Burke-Gilman blocked by downed tree in Bothell until Tuesday

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 13:03

Photo from King County Parks.

A large tree fell over the weekend and has blocked the Burke-Gilman Trail in Bothell, and King County Parks says it cannot remove the tree until Tuesday.

The tree is blocking the trail at about 91st Ave NE, a tricky spot in the trail route with no easy detour route. And Parks says no detour will be marked, so you’re on your own if you end up here.

The intrepid and able-bodied may be able to find a way to climb through the branches, though I’m guessing Parks would frown on this. There is also a sidewalk on the north side of Bothell Way, but the closest crosswalks are at 83rd and 96th Avenues NE. And the sidewalk does sort of disappear in a couple spots, so be prepared for that. You can ride on the highway, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Base image from Google Maps.

King County Parks said that the blockage much wait until Tuesday because the necessary equipment won’t be available until then.

Guest Opinion: A year of bad headlines for freeway expansion

Bike Portland - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 09:48

— Written by Shawn Fleek (OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon), Mary Peveto (Neighbors for Clean Air), and Anaïs Tuepker (350PDX).

In 2017, the nascent No More Freeways coalition published an editorial in The Oregonian asking elected officials for an honest reassessment of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)’s plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Rose Quarter Freeway in North Portland.

Since then, headlines over the last eighteen months have only confirmed that this is a gravely misguided project.

I-5 with Harriet Tubman Middle School in the background.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Last March, the Portland Mercury reported ODOT’s own consultants concluded the Rose Quarter freeway expansion wouldn’t have any discernible impact on congestion. This finding may be counterintuitive, but it is a textbook example of the concept of “induced demand,” a phrase transportation planners use to describe the phenomenon in which more lanes of freeways only lead to more eager motorists electing to drive. The Mercury also reported that, despite requests from advocates and elected officials, ODOT has refused to study whether decongestion pricing initiatives could solve the corridor’s gridlock by itself, without wasting hundreds of millions on a widening project that does nothing to reduce congestion.

Secondly – as a result of induced demand, our community will suffer from worse air quality and pollution. In May, the Willamette Week detailed the alarmingly poor air quality at Harriet Tubman Middle School. Researchers suggested students should avoid outdoor recess, and yet ODOT plans to literally expand I-5 into the backyard of the newly-reopened school. The latest studies on air pollution are grim – poor air quality is linked to lung disease, poor student performance, heart disease, dementia and diabetes. ODOT speaks to the importance of healing the Albina neighborhood’s scars from urban renewal, but it is impossible to heal these scars by further polluting air near children’s classrooms. Speaking of public health, ODOT has tried to sell the freeway widening as a safety project. But last October, Willamette Week punctured these phony claims, concluding that the stretch of freeway in question hasn’t seen a traffic fatality in over a decade. Meanwhile, ODOT’s regional arterials remain shockingly dangerous and deadly.



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Finally, squandering half a billion dollars widening a mile of freeway is an egregious form of reckless climate denialism. We’ve all felt the unease that permeates our communities when our neighborhoods are cloaked with the wildfire smoke that has draped itself through the Willamette Valley three of the past four summers. October’s IPCC report warned that phasing out fossil fuels in eleven years was essential to avoiding the destruction of society as we know it. Last month’s reporting by The Oregonian suggests that even with passage of pending carbon legislation, Oregon won’t hit carbon reduction targets without fundamentally reducing emissions from private automobiles. It is frustrating to watch self-proclaimed environmentalists in City Hall and Salem champion freeway expansion when 40% of Oregon’s carbon emissions come from transportation. The hurricanes, fires and floods are only growing stronger. Expansion of this freeway represents a complicit willingness to ignore Oregon’s responsibility to future generations and the planet.

Future headlines will only make it more self-evident that spending billions on freeway expansions across the region is a wholly inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars given the daunting challenges Oregon faces. We encourage Oregonians committed to cost-effective governance, our children’s lungs and the planet our children will inherit to join us in submitting testimony to ODOT during this Public Comment period.

— Shawn Fleek is the Director of Narrative Strategy at OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Mary Peveto is the Executive Director of Neighbors for Clean Air, and Anaïs Tuepker is the Lead for Organizational Resilience at 350PDX. Learn more at

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