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LOOK Cycles on Tour

Bike Hugger - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 11:00

LOOK announced that they’re returning to an old-school, work-the-events, road-trip strategy to market their road bikes this year. That’s pretty much how the bike industry as we know it today was started in the US. Reps with bikes and gear at bike races. If you see them, def take one for a test ride. They’re defiantly French and fast.

Starting this spring and into the summer, a fleet of Volvo V90s will be deployed across the U.S. which include traditional road races, granfondos, gravel events, and cyclocross races, as well as custom events at LOOK retailers.

The LOOK NRS event tour includes Killington Stage Race, Hotter N Hell and Fitchburg Longsjo, and continues through Interbike Outdoor Demo. That’s 100+ events. The bikes on tour included the 795 Light RS, 785 Huez RS, and the 765 Optimum Disc All-Road.

Look will have their pedals with them too including the new KÉO 2 Max Carbon road pedals and X-Track off-road models.

Both of those I run for road and mountain.

The 765 starting at $4500 and fitting a 30mm tire interests me the most with disc brakes and their flax dampening layer in the carbon—sounds gimmicky, but it’s how they effectively tune their ride. And, one of my all-time fav bikes was the Museeuw, which also used flax.

LOOK taking their bikes to events is a great way to showcase the brand’s heritage and its exceptional 2018 offerings. . The demo bikes are also equipped with SRAM RED eTap, so you can try that out too. The V90s will carry the various bikes with Thule, another fav brand.

While my tastes have changed to riding road bikes on dirt and gravel with high volume tires, if you’re a go-fast racer type, or like to think of yourself as one, the 795 is the bike you’re looking for and one to consider.

The post LOOK Cycles on Tour appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Seattle tests low-budget painted bike parking to make bike share more orderly

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 10:44

Photo from SDOT

Thousands of bikes spread throughout the city available on-demand for $1, what could be wrong with that?

The private, free-floating bike share companies serving Seattle are already changing how people get around the city by providing a new fast, healthy, low-cost and very environmentally-friendly mobility option. Combined with an expansion of safe and comfortable bike routes, bike share is poised to be part of a significant transportation shift in Seattle (if city and regional leaders choose to follow through with the bike route plans, of course).

But there is one downside to the stationless bikes: They sometimes block walkways, bus stops and accessibility. Only a very small percentage of the thousands of bikes cause issues, but they can be especially problematic for people with vision impairments and people who use mobility devices or otherwise can’t easily navigate around a blocked curb ramp or bike toppled across the sidewalk.

Sometimes the problem is that a vandal has pushed a bike over, and that’s a hard issue to remedy. The same thing happens to trash cans, newspaper boxes, signs, construction fences and any other movable thing in public space. Sometimes the problem is inadequate kickstand design or maintenance on the bikes (they should be able to handle a strong gust of wind without toppling). But sometimes, the problem is due to a bike being parked in the wrong spot either due to ignorance of the rules or by accident or because the user doesn’t care.

To help remedy this issue, SDOT is trialing a handful of low-cost, painted bike parking boxes in five Ballard locations. Users are not required to use the boxes, but they are there to help guide use to be more orderly and maybe even teach people visually about how they should park the bikes. Details from SDOT:

  • North side of Market just west of Ballard Ave (in front of Shakti Yoga).
  • NE corner of Leary and Market (Ballard Beer Company).
  • SE corner of Leary and Market (AT&T store).
  • SW corner of Tallman and Market (All the Best Pet Care).
  • North side of Market just W of Russel (Kangaroo and Kiwi).

For each of these five spots, we identified areas that:

  • Have space for a 6’x10’ parking area, leaving a full 6’ clear continuous pedestrian path.
  • Were 3’ back from the curb if adjacent to travel or parking lane.
  • Are not blocking access to buildings, transit, curb ramps, or loading zones.
  • Are an area where bike share bikes are often found.

How we’ll measure use.

We’ve monitored these areas for bike parking compliance rates before installation. In the next few weeks, we’ll monitor usage, organization, design resilience, and compliance rates in the immediate vicinity of the locations, on the same block-face, and neighborhood-wide. Data points we will monitor:

  • The number of bikes in the immediate vicinity of the parking area and how many are parked correctly.
  • The number of bikes in the neighborhood and how many are parked correctly.
  • Do the bikes appear more orderly?
  • How are the markings holding up?

While the sidewalk-located bike share parking is a pretty cool experiment, my favorite idea for painted bike parking is to add space to new and existing on-street bike corrals. Because a bike that is parked in the street can’t easily topple into the walkway or in front of a bus stop.  And since it is illegal to park a car within 30 feet of a stop sign or traffic signal or 20 feet of a crosswalk anyway, there is 20 or 30 feet of potential bike parking space at just about every street corner in the city.

Imagine if there were at least one bike corral at every intersection in our city’s business districts and near major bus stops that could serve both personal bikes and bike share bikes. Bicycle Security Advocates, a group led by Brock Howell that is working to create better bike parking in Seattle, even created a mockup of what such a corral could look like:

Our recommendation for bikeshare parking is to put as many of these spots in "corrals" in the 20'-30' no parking zones near intersections.

Here's a mock-up design of a dual bikeshare + 4-rack corral in a 30' zone.#BikeParking #bikeshare #SEAbikes #Ballard @seattledot pic.twitter.com/LAKB4fGXld

— Bicycle Security Adv (@BikeSecurityAdv) March 15, 2018

What’s particularly promising about this idea is that existing corrals could easily be expanded at very little cost to include the extra rack-free bike parking space. And since it is paint-only, there’s no need to worry about covering maintenance holes or other utility access concerns that sometimes limit bike rack placement.

Bike share is an enormously promising zero-emission mobility option for our city, and it’s in Seattle best interest that it succeeds. Creating better spaces for bikes is one great, low-cost way to help things work more smoothly for everyone.

Lincoln-Harrison project supporters find “X” spray-painted outside homes

Bike Portland - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:42

X marks the spot where people are supportive of changes to SE Lincoln that would make the street safer for all users.
(Photos: Anonymous)

The inter-neighborhood hostilities over the city’s Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project seem to have reached a new level.

A reader who lives in the area — and who requested anonymity — reported to us this morning that the sidewalk outside at least a dozen homes have been spray-painted by vandals with a large “X”. The one thing all the homes have in common? A “We Support Safe Lincoln St” sign.

The signs were created and handed out by grassroots activists last month as part of an effort to show support for the embattled project.

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Plans from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to install diversion, speed bumps, and other methods to slow down speeds and decrease the amount of drivers who use the streets, have been met with outrage from some people. The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association voted against planned diverters 45-5 back in November and a city-hosted meeting back in December was taken over by a coordinated group of area residents who oppose the changes.

The project also has a lot of support — not only from those who live in the neighborhood but from the many people who cycle through it.

Now those people are facing a backlash. Our tipster said he saw eight houses on SE Lincoln between 52nd and 54th and several between 32nd and 34th that had been vandalized. We’ve confirmed that at least one resident has called the police. Police reportedly paid a visit to the neighborhood but won’t move forward on the case unless a video or other proof of the culprits’ actions surface.

We asked PBOT if the X’s were part of a sidewalk repair project. They said their crews did not paint them.

If you know anything about this act of vandalism and potential harassment, please report it to Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333. I’ll update this post with more information as it comes in.

UPDATE, 6:15 pm: We have heard back from one of the people targeted by the vandalism. Laura Belson says she believes the X’s are part of a coordinated campaign. “Only houses in our area that have these signs received an X,” she shared with me, in response to emailed questions. “I am imagining someone is upset that we are showing our support and therefore decided to display their disapproval of our actions in this way.” Belson said in addition to the signs, she has been vocal in her support for the project. “I have gone to neighborhood meetings voicing my support, handed out flyers a couple of times, called and written emails to decision makers,” she says. “I wouldn’t call that super vocal, just a regularly interested neighbor.” Belson also says that, “Not everyone who has received an X has done as much as I have.”

UPDATE, 1:00 pm on 3/21: The X’s have been removed by City of Portland crews.

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

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A Sagan Fondo

Bike Hugger - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:16

Peter Sagan is coming to California to ride a fondo with you. Twice. The first is on dirt and the second pavement. There’s a festival too.

The inaugural #Sagando is a 68 mile, 5,500 feet of elevation, dirt party (shorter options too). The road edition details are TBA. Both events have free beer at the end. One is a race, the other ride, both are gonna be super fun.

Gravel/Dirt Edition

May 3, 4 and 5, 2018, Truckee, California—best suited for a cyclocross or rando or mountain bike with 35c or larger tires. This event will be a competitive gravel/dirt event with awards for top 3 riders in various age and gender groups. Cyclocross and mountain bikes are great choices for this race. The riders are capped at 1500. Here’s the route.

Daily Schedule:
  • May 3rd: Fundraising Gala. Cost $295pp.
  • May 4th: VIP Pre-Ride and lunch with Peter Sagan.
  • May 5th: Race day!

The cost is $145 per person and includes:

  • Of course, the opportunity to ride with and meet 3x World Road Racing Champion Peter Sagan!
  • Traffic controlled intersections *(See “Ride Rules” on “More Info page”)
  • Competitive categories and prizes to top finishers
  • Post-Race festival entry
  • Sumptuous, abundant post-ride meal
  • Lagunitas Beer for participants over 21
Road Edition

November 1, 2 and 3, 2018, host city TBA—This event is NOT a race, but your ride time will be recorded, and results published. (Designated as a race or not, you know cyclists and with Sagan there, there’ll be a fast group for sure.

Daily Schedule:
  • November 1st: Fundraising Gala (200 person cap). Cost $295pp.
  • November 2nd: Top Fundraiser/Sponsor Pre-Ride with Peter Sagan.
  • November 3rd: Gran Fondo!

The cost: $185 per person and includes:

  • Of course, the opportunity to ride with and meet 3x World Road Racing Champion Peter Sagan! In a no drop-setting , yeah right.
  • Traffic controlled intersections *(See “Ride Rules” section below)
  • Post-Ride festival entry
  • Delectable, glorious post-ride meal
  • Lagunitas Beer for participants over 21

The post A Sagan Fondo appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Eyewitness describes bicycle rider’s collision with MAX train

Bike Portland - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 11:59

Streetview of where our eyewitness commenter was stopped in his car while he watched the collision unfold. The red lines show the path of the bicycle rider. The crossing and collision is marked with an “X” in the background.

On March 13th a man riding a bicycle was involved in a collision with a MAX light rail train in southeast Portland. We haven’t heard much in the way of official updates in the case, but thanks to a comment left on our story yesterday we now know more about where and how it happened.

This crossing just south of Powell is where the collision occurred.

A commenter named “Jeff” says he say it all unfold. His version of events (edited for readability) is below:

“I saw this happen. I was in my car going northbound on 17th when I was stopped by the gate for the MAX train to come through (I was at the curve starting to go west). After about 20 seconds, I saw the train slowly coming down the tracks getting close to the intersection. Then I saw a biker biking what seemed fairly slowly perpendicular to the train going northbound. A second later, confusion started to sink in that he was still biking towards the track with the train coming.

Then I saw him casually (and I mean super-casually like a jogger could have easily kept up or passed him) keep going over the tracks and then get hit. Endorphins instantly raced through me and I shouted out, “Oh my God!“, which shocked my wife (a registered nurse and has worked in Behavioral Health) who was in the back seat with our 19 month-old son. She said “What happened!?” and I said a biker just got hit by the MAX train and she said,”Let me out!

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She ran to him and was the first on the scene. I stayed with my son. She said the biker just wanted to get up and said he had things to do and needed to go but she convinced him to not move a muscle and kept him down until an off-duty fire fighter showed up to help and then shortly after a fire engine showed up. She said he was most likely on something but maybe just in shock and completely out of it from getting hit, maybe even just alcohol but he smelled quite bad, was wearing not so great clothes (to put it nicely), and the bike was quite old and beat up as well (not just from this incident). Yes, there is a chance he could have been homeless. I really do hate making assumptions but perhaps it should be know to help piece the story together?

Now I’m going to feel bad saying this if the guy is a good man who was just down on his luck having a rotten day and his shower hasn’t been working for days, but that was his current situation. Her description of him went along with my guess that he was on something because how could he have not seen the train coming with him going so slow and the train going quite slow too? It made no sense to me how that could happen. Seemed like there could have been a hundred signs, gates, bells, and lights and this guy still would have gotten through it all to finally meet the front of the train.

I do hope to hear the final report about him. I’m so so glad he survived. Who knows what his situation is and I never look down on people that have been dealt a bad hand in life. I hope he comes out of this OK and has a good recovery. And looks both ways next time.”

Crossings have been a major concern for TriMet and the community since the Orange Line opened in 2014. As we’ve reported, TriMet has installed gates and other measures at other crossings (where there are both light rail and heavy rail crossings). At this particular crossing there are no gates installed.

We’ve asked TriMet for an update on the riders’ condition and will update this post when we hear back.

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

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Family Biking: An introduction to Kidical Mass in Portland

Bike Portland - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:15

Group shot at Overlook Park in north Portland during the Kidical Mass Easter Ride in 2017.
(Photo: Kidical Mass PDX)

Kidical Mass is one of my favorite things ever: riding bikes with my kids, hanging out with a bunch of fun families, and demonstrating the joy of biking for transportation. The first ride of the year is coming April 1st (no foolin’), and I’d love to see you out there.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

My first experience with Kidical Mass was nine years ago when I was new to Seattle and had up until that point only biked around my immediate neighborhood with just my toddler for company. I attended the inaugural Seattle Kidical Mass ride on May 15, 2009 — on my city bike with my two-year old in a front seat and my seven-month-pregnant belly wedged behind it — and was amazed to see so many other families biking with kids. I was intrigued by the many different types of family bikes and overjoyed at riding in a big pack. Each Kidical Mass ride was the highlight of my month and showed me new parts of town I wanted to revisit. I was motivated to figure out a bike route to the start of each ride and then experiencing these new areas with the big, safe group made me eager to return.

I think of Kidical Mass as a very slow-moving parade on bikes with lots of waving and bell dinging. Or, in the words of KidicalMass.org: “Kidical Mass is a legal, safe and FUN bike ride for kids, kids at heart, and their families.” You may notice the similarity of the name to Critical Mass, but the two events are not alike. Per KidicalMass.org:

Note the red helmet of a sweet little kid I wedged between my own two during a Kidical Mass in 2013.

We are a family friendly law-abiding ride. Our purpose is to teach kids, parents and caregivers safety skills and provide a ride in which to practice them. We are creating awareness for the growing presence of kids and families on bikes and the need for all road users to respect other users of the road. We are also bringing together families who bike in an effort to provide a positive community experience that will show children how much fun riding your bike can be!

Kidical Mass is fun for families out for their very first ride as well as for seasoned everyday riders. Families interested in biking, but who haven’t figured out how to get started sometimes come to the start and/or end location of a Kidical Mass to connect with others and find inspiration.

After three years of being a fixture in the peloton, I volunteered to lead Seattle Kidical Mass rides. It was a blast! Sure, there were a couple wobbles, like the time all the children riding their own bikes thought I was joking when I said I needed to be at the front of the ride and zoomed ahead of me, yikes! We were on a neighborhood greenway so it worked out just fine and the kids felt such a sense of freedom and glee, though there was at least one very nervous parent behind me. And not to worry, I reworded my safety spiel after this to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. There was also the time my four-year old crashed his bike bad enough that he didn’t want to continue riding as we approached an intersection. Luckily the light was red and I was able to plop him and his bike on my cargo bike before the light turned green. I told myself it’s a boon for the ride leader to exemplify “things will go wrong and everything will still work out just fine” to help take the edge off any of my participants’ future similar woes. And please let my worst cases not take away from the close to 50 rides with no mishaps.

The crowd at Portland’s inaugural Kidical Mass in 2008.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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Before we moved to Portland, several of our visits coincided with Kidical Mass events, the first of which was in 2013 with an enormous group on the way to Fiets of Parenthood. I volunteered to be the caboose so I have a bunch of great photos of everyone’s rear ends. Being the caboose with a cargo bike also meant I got to scoop up a straggler and his little bike when he wanted a lift to the finish.

If Kidical Mass sounds like something you’d like to check out, you’re in luck because the first ride of the year is in less than two weeks, Sunday April 1st. Kidical Mass rides vary in size, but the annual Easter Ride is always a big one, expected to have 80 participants. Most Kidical Masses are comprised of only families with small kids, but this one in particular draws many who fall in the “kids at heart” category — everyone should feel welcome to join. Oh, also, I will be leading this ride! Just this one time to fill a vacancy. This will be one of my bigger groups, but I’ve already tapped a couple helpers and Kidical Mass PDX Director Sara Davidson has done all the real work of plotting the route (which I’ve pre-ridden, it’s great!) and promoting.

Kidical Mass PDX Easter Ride

Kidical Mass Easter Ride 2016.
(Photo: Kidical Mass PDX)

Here are all the details:

Sunday, April 1st, 2018
11:00 a.m. Gather at Overlook Park (1599 N Fremont St, Portland, OR 97227)
11:30 a.m. Roll out for a three-mile tour
12:30(ish) p.m. Arrive at Arbor Lodge Park (N Delaware Ave & N Bryant St, Portland, OR 97217)
12:31(ish) p.m. EASTER EGG HUNT!

Gather in Overlook Park at 11:00 a.m., ride three mostly-flat miles through quiet neighborhood streets to Arbor Lodge Park where we’ll have an Easter egg hunt and enjoy Harper’s Playground — Portland’s first all-inclusive playground.
Rain or shine!

We’ll ride together as a group, because kids are traffic too!

BikePortland.org event listing
Facebook event page
Route on Ride with GPS

Join Kidical Mass PDX leadership

Kidical Mass Bridge Tour, 2016.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)


Kidical Mass PDX is always looking for new ride planners and leaders, no experience necessary! Email Sara Davidson at scowling [at] gmail [dot] com to volunteer or with any questions.

Thanks for reading. Feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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ODOT will make improvements to I-205 path at Glisan, Maywood Park and Stark/Washington this summer

Bike Portland - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:45

Umm yeah. The I-205 path at Glisan is very sad.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Several sections of the I-205 path will be updated by the Oregon Department of Transportation this year.

As part of a larger I-205 widening and repaving project ODOT plans to make upgrades to the adjacent multi-use path in Maywood Park, at NE Glisan, and at the SE Stark/Washington crossing. They will also stripe new bike lanes and crossings on the SE Johnson Creek Blvd overpass.

Here are the details…

Maywood Park repaving

Streetview looking south on path through Maywood Park.

The path in this location has several bumps and cracks due to tree roots which ODOT says are a “safety concern”. With $645,000 allocated for the project, ODOT says they’ll also upgrade curb ramps to make them more easily accessible for people with disabilities, add new signage (including the all-important “no motorized vehicles”), and install center-line striping. The need for striping might be related to this section being slightly downhill in the northbound direction which often leads to high speeds and increases a risk of collisions.

ODOT Region 1 Transit and Active Transportation Liaison Jessica Horning tells us the project was funded via a small, one-time program in the 2016-2018 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

Interestingly, last summer we heard from reader Ken S. that he suffered severe injuries while riding on this section of the path. He was biking southbound at the sharp, blind curve in the path at NE 96th and Mason (right where that tree is in the photo above) while two people riding abreast were coming the opposite direction. Ken said the nearby residents who responded keep a first-aid kit on-hand because collisions are so common at this location. ODOT says this current project will only address repaving and ADA ramps and that the alignment of the path won’t change.

It’s also worth noting that this section of the path is one of the main access points for the increasingly popular Gateway Green Bike Park, which doesn’t have a car parking lot or any direct automobile access.

Construction on this project is set to start in fall 2018 and should take a few months. Impacts to trail use will only last two weeks and there will be detours in place. ODOT is hosting an open house tomorrow (3/21) at Mt. Hood Community College (10100 NE Prescott Street, Room #144) where you can ask questions and learn more about what’s in store.

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If the right-turning drivers don’t get you, the potholes or the debris might.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Everyone who has ridden the northern I-205 path remembers crossing Glisan. It’s absolutely terrible. We are very happy to hear that ODOT is finally doing something about this.

The path at this location dumps people right onto a very busy arterial crosswalk. That’s bad enough. What makes it even worse is that automobile users constantly bully everyone else by encroaching into the crosswalks in their selfish haste to get on or off the two I-205 freeway ramps. And because this is such a car-centric place, the roads are usually full of debris, potholes, and cracks.

Not surprisingly, ODOT’s Horning says the changes that are coming have been, “informed by the crash history at that location”.

Before/after compliments of ODOT.

(Graphic: ODOT)

The changes will include: ADA-compliant curb ramps and upgraded beg buttons; a realignment of the crosswalks; widening the path/sidewalks on both sides of Glisan to 12-feet; and improving the visibility of the path by adding new LED lights, reflectors and signage. To encourage a base level of civility in drivers, ODOT will add special stop signs that aim to prevent right turns across the path (see image).

Unfortunately this project will result in the closure of the path between the Gateway Transit Center and Glisan for about 28 days during construction. A detour will be signed to guide path users to NE 99th.

SE Stark and Washington

(Graphic: ODOT)

Another bad crossing exists where the path meets up with Stark and Washington. Path users must cross two large arterials via unprotected crosswalks and a narrow sidewalk. ODOT appears to have just minimal upgrades planned at this location: they will widen the crosswalks to “allow for easier crossing for both pedestrians and bicycles.”

You can learn more about the Maywood Park project here and view a PDF fact sheet of the other projects here. Details on tomorrow’s open house are posted on the BikePortland Calendar.

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

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microSHIFT Road – Centro 11 at Lake Como

Bike Hugger - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 20:04

Today MicroSHIFT’s released a new video featuring their Centos 11 road group set. Filmed on iconic cycling roads are nestled in the area around Lake Como – Italy.  It’s a beautiful location and I’m happy to see another group on the market.

I haven’t used it yet, but microSHIFT has a unique dual-control lever system that shifts the eleven speeds. You can shift 4 gears at a time with a prominent thumb lever. Road CC reviewed it in last year and it’s priced against Shimano’s 105 at about $500 for a group. I found it on Amazon for $246 direct from China.

If you’re perhaps building up a b-bike, a c-bike even or a bike for a kid going to college a budget group that shifts decent and has 11 speeds is appealing.

It offers a lot of shifting for the price.

The Centos 11 is also compatible with Shimano so you can mix and match parts; again, for a parts-bin bike that you don’t want to spend any or as little a possible on. Sure, you can do that with downmarket Shimano groups, but not with 11 speeds. I have at least a 1/2 of a 11 speed group in a box in my garage, so I’d think about the Centos 11 for a rain bike as well.

The rear derailer weighs 194g and the front weighs 95g, which is in par with Shimano. The finish looks good too in black and white. Users of the group have reported being happy[y with it, while Road.cc was not.

The post microSHIFT Road – Centro 11 at Lake Como appeared first on Bike Hugger.

PBOT launches virtual open house for Central City in Motion project

Bike Portland - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 15:13

Splash page of the open house.

After years of planning and plotting and delays, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is ready for public feedback on their $8.4 million project to update central city streets. Today they launched a virtual open house for their Central City in Motion project.

Project boundaries.

What began as an effort to create a network of protected bikeways downtown and in the nine other neighborhoods that straddle both sides of the Willamette River, the planning has expanded to include a more holistic approach that will aim to make streets safer and more efficient for bike riders, walkers, truck drivers and transit users. “Since we can’t make Central City streets wider as we grow,” reads a statement posted on the virtual open house site, “we need to invest and upgrade the existing roads, sidewalks, bike lanes and crossings to make the transportation system more predictable, reliable, and safe.”

And if you think this is just another planning process that won’t result in anything being built (a very reasonable perspective, given Portland’s history), the CCIM is already funded and PBOT is ready to implement whatever projects come out the other side. As for what projects make the cut…

The city knows not everyone will be happy with the changes required to significantly change how we use our roads. They’ve framed the project in terms of tradeoffs required to make it happen:

“By 2035, the Central City’s population is projected to triple and the number of jobs will increase by 40 percent. Adding lanes to Central City streets would require removing parking or acquiring new right-of-way. Acquiring right-of-way in the constrained, developed Central City isn’t feasible, and removing parking for travel lanes is not consistent with City policy or priorities. Because we need to move more people in the same amount of space, Central City in Motion is focused on improving conditions for people walking, taking transit and biking.”

That line about how removing parking isn’t consistent with city policy is a bit strange. Hope that doesn’t mean parking removal is off the table. We’ve asked for a clarification and will update this story when we hear back. (UPDATE, 8:20 pm: Project Manager Gabe Graff said that line is a mistake: “Yes, sorry for the confusion. This is supposed to say that removing parking for the sake of additional *single occupancy vehicle* travel lanes isn’t supported by Central City policy.”)

There’s also a nifty dial graphic that shows how each type of travel method will be impacted once the streets are redesigned.

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The open house then allows people to dive deeper into how the project will impact biking, walking and transit.

On the biking end of things, PBOT’s goal is to identify a network of streets that will, “provide a functional bikeway system that is cohesive, direct, safe, comfortable, and implementable within 5 years.” The open house has a great map tool that allows you to see where existing bikeways are and where they’re being considered.

Bikeway example.
(Source: PBOT)

For walking, the project promises to, “make streets in the Central City safer for walking and rolling by making crossings safer and improving access for people using mobility devices.”

Safer crossing example.
(Source: PBOT)

And for transit users, the city says we can expect the project to, “Identify locations in the Central City where our busiest buses get stuck in traffic and then identify investments that can make taking the bus faster or more reliable.”

Better bus service example.
(Source: PBOT)

There’s also a survey that asks questions about how you use the Central City.

Check it out at CentralCityinMotion.com.

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

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Off-road Cycling Master Plan: Another dead end or a new beginning?

Bike Portland - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 12:28

Greenstadt thinks the soon-to-be adopted plan needs some major tweaks.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

NW Trail Alliance Action Alert

“It is incredibly important that NWTA members and other off-road cycling community members provide input to the Parks Board – your words can help ensure they understand the need for additional access to trails in Portland.”

Daniel Greenstadt is a Concordia neighborhood resident and off-road cycling advocate who has attended many of the Off-road Cycling Plan meetings. In a post on BikePortland last April he shared his hopes and concerns for the plan.

Imagine yourself, your family, or your children pedaling along Forest Park’s newly constructed, 1.5-mile, shared-use trail from the area of NW Thurman Street to the brand new, two-million-dollar Forest Park Entrance and Nature Center at NW St Helens Road and NW Kittridge. You’re riding on a 2-6 foot wide path – some of it not even within Forest Park – immediately adjacent to the industrial buildings, rail yards, commercial operations, and tank farms that crowd the Highway 30 corridor. You are riding in the most ecologically degraded area of Forest Park on what Northwest Trail Alliance has described as “essentially a dirt sidewalk.”

But wait! That’s not the end of the adventure for you and your family. Now that you’ve arrived at the Nature Center, the trail quickly becomes an “improved” extension of Firelane 1 – an 8-12 foot wide, freshly graded, gravel road with an incline so severe that it will turn away all but the most expert visitors. And it’s terribly ugly. But should you and your family somehow manage to grunt your way half a mile up the climb, you’ll be greeted with no options other than Leif Erikson Drive or, if you somehow reach all the way to NW 53rd Drive, you might find a new 1.5 mile-long route (very unlikely ever to be built) consisting of a 3-6 foot wide, shared-use pathway through an ecologically “poor-to-stable” environment that delivers you to NW Cornell Road. Now you and your family can wrap up your Forest Park nature experience by descending on the paved shoulder of Cornell Road while a stream of cars passes you nervously at 40 mph.

And here’s the punchline: In return for this unsatisfying, unsustainable, dangerous, and insulting “mountain biking” experience, you’ve been forced to permanently surrender – based on no science or analysis – any future claim to at least 80% of Forest Park’s system of trails.

Welcome to the new and improved era of “mountain biking” in Forest Park.

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If all that sounds good, then you should support the current draft of the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan now under final consideration. If not, do the following. Ask the mayor, city council, the Portland Parks Board, and the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability to:

1) Immediately fund and initiate a Comprehensive Trails Plan pertaining to all users. Forest Park has never had such a plan. Without one, all trail-level planning – such as that currently in the ORCMP draft – is nonsense. You should insist that the Comprehensive Trails Plan follow best management practices and should look for guidance to the many examples of successful trail planning outside of Portland.

2) Demote the ORCMP’s Trail Improvement Concepts (TICs) from “recommendations” to concepts that may be considered, among others, as part of the Comprehensive Trails Plan. If the TICs remain as formal recommendations, then they will be the only projects with any chance of implementation for the next several decades – and they are very poorly conceived to begin with.

3) Remove any trail exclusions from the ORCMP. Specifically, strike the preemptory and baseless exclusions of the “Wildwood Trail, Maple Trail, and all pedestrian-only trails in the Southern management unit” as found on pages 67 and 68 of the plan. This does NOT mean that those trails will necessarily be open to bicycles in the future. It simply means that parts of those trails can be considered for future bicycle-friendly connections if the Comprehensive Trails Plan calls for it.

4) Insist that the 1995 Forest Park Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) and related policies be amended and improved to recognize current science, national trail construction guidelines, and best management practices surrounding recreational trails and bicycles.

Singletrack dies in darkness. If you don’t shed light on these issues and their solutions, you can’t expect the city of Portland to deliver a high-quality off-road cycling experience or to encourage the next generation of park stewards.

Here are the relevant emails:

Portland Parks Board – tanya.holmes@portlandoregon.gov Hailee.Vandiver@portlandoregon.gov
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability/Off-road Cycling Master Plan – offroadcycling@portlandoregon.gov
Mayor Ted Wheeler – MayorWheeler@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Dan Saltzman – dan@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Nick Fish – nick@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Amanda Fritz – Amanda@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly – chloe@portlandoregon.gov

The Parks Board is set to meet on April 3rd from from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in Conference Room 7A of the 1900 Bldg (1900 SW 4th). For more on this issue, see today’s action alert from the NW Trail Alliance.

— Daniel Greenstadt

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Portland’s cautious approach to AVs should prevent what just happened in Tempe

Bike Portland - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 10:48

Scary news out of Tempe.

Uber has been testing its new self-driving cars on human subjects since last year and now it appears one of them has killed a person who was walking across a street. The collision happened in Tempe, Arizona late last night. According to a local news report, “Tempe Police says the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel.”

This is the second self-driving Uber (that we know about) that has been involved in a collision. Last month a local news station in Pittsburgh reported that one of them slammed into another car while in self-driving mode.

After last night’s death, Uber has announced it will immediately end its testing in Tempe and Pittsburgh, as well as San Francisco and Toronto.

Thankfully in Portland our local leaders and transportation officials have not allowed a private company to test their deadly product on humans.

Back in April the Portland Bureau of Transportation launched their Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI). In doing so Portland made it clear it welcomed innovative companies to try new autonomous vehicle (AV) products and services here; but only if safety was the number one priority.

In July, PBOT released a Request for Information aimed at companies like Uber. “If you want to test your technology, we are game to work with you,” PBOT staffer Ann Shikany proclaimed in a webinar with potential respondents, “But before we just start testing, we want to understand what’s out there.” It was PBOT’s attempt to, “Begin engagement with the private sector in a more intentional way.”

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(Graphic: PBOT)

19 companies responded. It doesn’t look like Uber is on the list…

(Source: PBOT)

The RFI itself makes it clear that any companies who want to test AV tech must first prove it does not conflict with our Vision Zero Action Plan. They also told prospective companies that no AV testing permits would be accepted until all City of Portland regulations were completed.

Here’s one of six goals of the SAVI effort that relates to safety:

Ensure the safety of our residents and businesses by requiring AV providers to align with our Vision Zero goal to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2025. AVs must show that they can and will stop or avoid pedestrians, bicyclists, animals (to include domestic, game and livestock), disabled people, emergency vehicles, red lights, and stop signs.

PBOT Project Manager Peter Hurley emphasized during the webinar that if/when a company is selected to test here they must start in a “controlled situation” that’s not in the public right-of-way. Ann Shikany added, “We’re thinking it might be more of a closed track, obstacle course situation in an industrial area rather than a heavily pedestrian-trafficked residential street.” (Last night’s fatal collision in Tempe occurred in a suburban setting at an intersection of two large arterial roads.)

“We don’t want to be passive respondents to this technological change,” Hurley said at a bicycle advisory committee meeting last August, “We want to have a proactive role.”

So far PBOT has made a valiant effort to protect us from the dangers of irresponsible companies like Uber. We’re grateful for that.

For more on Portland’s Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative, check out the city’s website.

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

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The Monday Roundup: A deadly Uber, better bus stops, a new Surly, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 09:06

Welcome to a new week.

Here are the best stories we came across in the past seven days…

A sign of humanity: Read this tale from New York about how a woman’s bike theft-inspired sign sparked a karma loop that began in her neighborhood and reached across continents.

Get these damn cars off the road: Uber drivers using the company’s self-driving mode were involved in two crashes in the past week. One in Pittsburgh and one in Tempe, Arizona that killed a woman who was walking across the street.

Same roads, different rules: Montreal gets it. That city’s ruling political party is floating a very sensible idea: That bicycles are so different than cars they need their own set of laws.

Better bus stops. Quicker: The latest trend in better bus service is plastic, snap-together “floating” islands that allow for quicker stops — and they don’t have to impede on existing bikeways. Why are we not using these in Portland?

Vista boycott continues: There was a die-in protest at the northern California headquarters of Giro, Bell and Blackburn — companies whose parent company Vista Outdoors Inc. has close ties to the NRA and gun products.

Car ad ban: An environmental reporter based in Sydney, Australia makes the case that car ads should regulated out of existence just like cigarette ads.

The case for biking lanes: A protected bike lane in Philly took years to approve and was the victim of typical bikelash BS. Here’s a very solid explanation about why fears that it would lead to congestion were overblown. (Can someone please send this to the Portland Business Alliance?)

Mo’ money fo’ Ofo: Dockless bike share company Ofo is on a fundraising tear, pulling in nearly one billion dollars in their most recent round.

A prediction: Surly’s new Midnight Special “fat tire road bike” will probably become one of the most popular bikes in Portland.

Privitely-funding Safe Routes to School: About 400 people die in traffic crashes in India every day. That epidemic has spurred Toyota Motor Co. to invest $700,000 in a campaign to teach road safety to children.

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DUIs and AVs: As if self-driving cars needed any more political momentum; now the liquor lobby is pushing them as a way to sell more booze to people who will no longer have to worry about drunk driving.

Next level bikelash: A woman in New Zealand was arrested after her protest against a bikeway escalated to bashing a traffic island with a sledge-hammer.

Streetcar for the 1%: A cautionary tale about a streetcar line in Detroit where the government sold out the needs of the city to private benefactors.

Big data for bike lane blockage: A computer scientist who commutes in Manhattan developed an algorithm to show how often the bike lane is illegally blocked, then he released the source code.

Seattle’s dockless parking: We might want to create some of these parking zones once dockless bike share hits the streets of Portland.

De Blasio is over: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has come under fire from transportation reformers for many things; but giving credence to the texting-while-walking fallacy is a low point.

No limit to the selfishness: As the culture in Portland is biased toward lower speed limits, the WSJ reports on the trend of rising speed limits and encapsulates American road culture with the line, “the Need for Speed seems to be trumping Speed Kills.”

The left and housing: A California bill (SB 827) that would dramatically up-zone neighborhoods near transit lines in an effort to stem the housing crisis has split progressives — some see it as a savior, while others see it as a threat.

Video of the Week: Watch the Streetfilms recap of last week’s March for Safe Streets in New York City:

One Thousand Attend NYC's March for Safe Streets from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Thanks to everyone who emailed and tagged these great stories to us. Remember you can sign-up to get this (and other great posts) via email.

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

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Q&A: Bicycling the Pacific Coast – Deep forests, sunny beaches, and driving rain

Biking Bis - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:52
Seattle bicycling writer Bill Thorness says riding a bicycle down the Pacific Coast is an epic adventure. I found that opinion hard to dispute after talking to him about his recent guidebook — “Cycling the Pacific Coast: The Complete Guide from Canada to Mexico.” Published by Mountaineers Books in partnership with the Adventure Cycling Association, …

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It’s official: No booze on Sauvie Island beaches this summer

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:10

The commissioners at today’s meeting.

A very popular riding area north of Portland will be a bit safer this summer.

Today at their meeting in Salem, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission voted unanimously to ban alcohol use in the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area from May 1st to September 30th.

The ban comes after a recommendation by ODFW to stem the increase in drunk driving and other alcohol-related arrests and disturbances on Sauvie Island beaches within the boundaries of the wildlife area.

Sauvie is a popular destination for berry picking.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

At today’s meeting commissioners heard a presentation from ODFW staff that alcohol use — and the crowds in general — on the beaches has gotten out of control. In the past five years the annual number of visitors to the wildlife area has reached nearly 1 million people — that’s more than Crater Lake National Park. About 65 percent of the annual visits happen during the summer month and the majority of those head right to the beaches on the island’s northeast corner.

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“Sauvie Island Wildlife Area has become the party spot for the Portland metro area for the summer,” an ODFW staffer (whose name I couldn’t hear in the recording) told the commission.

A State Trooper who testified said he’s responded to alcohol poisonings, people passed out in the parking areas, and even arrested someone selling jello shots on the beach. And of course there have been a number of crashes on the roads that lead out to the beaches.

“One of our primary goals here is to prevent deaths,” the staffer said. “And there’s a large number of bicyclists who utilize Sauvie Island during the summer. Those are some very narrow roads and it’s not a good mix to have those bicyclists.”

One commissioner expressed hesitation about the law. “We already have laws that can punish these abusers,” he said. “But I think I’m going to support it primarily because the citizens from Sauvie Island have asked for it. Our great experiment as a country to ban alcohol didn’t work so well, but if the citizens of Sauvie Island said, ‘Yeah, we need to do this,’ than I’m willing to go along.”

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

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Dispatch from a secret meeting for the Central City in Motion project

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:21

The planning is well underway — for some people.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Private Meeting.” And no, I wasn’t formally invited.

A private, invite-only meeting of Central Eastside power-brokers held on Wednesday at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry shows just how seriously the City of Portland is taking an effort to establish a network of low-stress, “family-friendly” cycling routes throughout the Central City.

It also shows how much weight some business owners have in a planning process that’s over five years old and has yet to become open to the general public.

Before I bring you up to speed on the Central City in Motion project (formerly known as the Central City Multimodal Project), a bit of background is in order…

Orange lines are streets under consideration by PBOT to become part of the new “family friendly” network.

PBOT has taken a very slow road on this project. It’s been on their radar (and ours) since late 2012 and they still haven’t held a single public open house. Portland City Council voted to support the federal grant for this work in September 2013. Nearly a year later, and with not a peep from PBOT about it, The Street Trust tried to create some urgency. PBOT said they were waiting for federal funds to materialize.

By January 2015 the City was still seeking a project manager to get the planning started. By May they’d found one. With a project manager in hand, PBOT planners and downtown business leaders traveled to Copenhagen for a week-long study tour to prime the pump for future Portland projects. Seven months after they returned, in February 2016, the man hired to manage the project for PBOT says he was fired.

“A network that’s connected and coherent and designed for safety that can get kids and families and Central Eastside employees where they need to go around the district. It won’t be every street, but there will be a network and we’ll have it well-signed so you know how to get to the bridge to to downtown.”
— Katie Mangle, Alta Planning + Design

By May 2016 PBOT finally announced what appeared to be real progress. Buoyed by additional funds from the local gas tax, the City’s new project manager Gabe Graff said the $8.4 million plan would, “fill in a more comfortable and protected bicycling network.” Along with an explanation of why the project had taken so long to materialize, PBOT spokesman John Brady told us at the time that public outreach and planning would start that summer.

That didn’t happen.

The project was formally adopted by City Council in August 2016. At that time (which is the last we reported on this project) were told public outreach would begin shortly thereafter, 2017 would be spent on planning and design, and construction would begin in 2018.

That didn’t happen either.

Instead, PBOT has spent 18 months seeking feedback on the project from neighborhood groups, business organizations and city committees. Their website lists 20 presentations or meetings between June 2016 and May 2017. Of those, eight were held with groups that represent business owners including the Portland Business Alliance (who they’ve met with three times), the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC), the Downtown Retail Council, and Business for a Better Portland.

In April 2017 PBOT held a design charrette focused specifically on the Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID). 17 stakeholders attended, as well as 11 PBOT staff and eight consultants from three private companies that have contracts to help with the planning.

In November of last year PBOT formed an 18-member Sounding Board charged with, “‘thinking big’ about the future of transportation in Portland’s central city,” and representing, “a broad set of community and business perspectives.” They’ve met twice since then. This Sounding Board is in addition to the 13-member Technical Advisory Committee that’s met twice since October.

All of these meetings have happened before the City has made any formal public outreach or received any feedback from the general public.

In December of last year PBOT released the result of all this input: A map showing Portland’s Central City “low-stress network” and the “desired link choices” they want to establish through this project. When you look at that map, you’ll notice a glaring lack of north-south routes through the Central Eastside.

That’s what brings me back to the meeting on Wednesday. It was a follow-up to that design charrette back in April.

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PBOT Project Manager Gabe Graff (center).

Brad Malsin, President of Beam Development.

Lines are being drawn.

Left to right: Scott Cohen, PBOT; Bill Stites of Stites Design; Steve Bozzone, Bozz Media; Tom Keenan, Portland Bottling Co.

Alta Planning + Design consultant Katie Mangle (left) and Splendid Cycles co-owner Barb Grover (hat).

The Central Eastside — roughly defined as the area bordered by OMSI, the Willamette River, 12th Avenue and NE Multnomah (or so) — is a big target for PBOT. They understand it’s imperative that we create safer, more bikable, and human-scale streets in this area — but they also understand there are many entrenched interests that are wary of anything that will constrain freight or auto parking capacity. The heart of the CEID is a heavily industrial area that’s changing rapidly from freight-centric to office and residential uses. While this transition happens, the safety of mixing walkers and bicycle riders with large trucks also looms over these discussions.

How can we make this safe for 8-80 year-old bike riders?

PBOT phrases their careful approach here as, “preserving the industrial character of the CEID.” But the tension among the staff, advocates, consultants and business owners in the room is about compromise. Who will have to give up what in order for the goals of the project to be reached?

At Wednesday’s meeting I heard an unexpectedly productive conversation. With CEIC bigwigs like Beam Development President Brad Malsin, New Seasons Market Director of Real Estate Lisa Lamanna, Portland Bottling Company VP Tom Keenan, and Franz Bakery Fleet Manager Mike Albrecht on hand, PBOT project manager Gabe Graff and Katie Mangle with Alta Planning steered breakout groups into a discussion that zeroed in on the specific streets where changes should be focused.

Also in the room were Central Eastside business owners like Barb Grover of Splendid Cycles, Charlie Wicker of Trailhead Coffee Roasters, Biketown General Manager Dorothy Mitchell, Clever Cycle Co-owner Eva Frazier, and others.

At the outset, Graff said PBOT’s goal is to “provide low-stress bikeways, prioritize tranit, and increase pedestrian safety in our central city.” “It’s a unique project for us,” he continued, “In that we have funding for the planning phase and to figure out where these projects should go — we hope to have that wrapped up by this summer — then we’ll have funding on the backend to deliver on those projects. So we can turn around immediately from these kind of planning exercises and go into design and construction.”

While there weren’t any votes or hard lines put on a map Wednesday, some themes emerged.

Former CEIC President and current member Peter Stark thinks it’s time to talk about the Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Grand Avenue couplet. “We currently have a misuse of the roadway. King/Grand shouldn’t be a drive-through for our district,” he said during one of the breakout sessions. “We need improvements to make that a safer place for people to shop, work and live.” Stark wasn’t the only one making the case for taming the MLK/Grand couplet. If the CEIC is to ever become a great place to walk and bike, the thinking goes, MLK/Grand must be addressed.

The future of 7th Avenue is likely going to be a big part of this debate. It’s the most direct and well-known north-south route in the Central Eastside — but freight interests can’t envision it as ever being a “family-friendly bikeway.” There was a lot of talk on Wednesday about how 7th compares and contrasts with 6th Avenue. Both of these streets have also been set aside as part of the possible future alignment of the Green Loop, which gives them added priority in PBOT’s planning hierarchy.

While 6th might be lower-traffic and easier to foresee (for some) as a “low-stress” route, it doesn’t connect as well to the existing system. 7th has also been chosen as the alignment for the forthcoming Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge.

Right now PBOT’s CCIM map doesn’t have any “desired link choices” between 7th and Water Ave. That’s seven blocks without a good bike north-south bike route. One possibility is to create an “industrial greenway” on 3rd; but as you can see in the map below, 3rd has intense freight usage.

PBOT/Alta map showing Central Eastside Industrial District. The blue dots are “freight generators,” the purple lines are loading bays/docks.

Regardless of which north-south streets get chosen, one Central Eastside Business owner, Steve Bozzone of Bozz Media, expressed concerns that PBOT is missing the key connections. Bozzone lives in north Portland and enters the District via the Oregon Convention Center. “We already missed an opportunity when Streetcar took a lane on MLK,” he said in a group discussion. He wants the project to improve access between the Convention Center and 3rd.

“We have bike lanes on many of the streets. What if we were to remove those and consolidate them on one or two blocks and make those streets dedicated for bikes?”
— Brad Maslin, Beam Development/CEIC

Water Avenue came up a lot on Wednesday. There was talk of making a two-way cycle-track on Water to relieve pressure on the Eastbank Esplanade (which several people said was anything but “low-stress” due to how “fast those bicyclists ride”). Water’s connection to the Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges make it a lynchpin in this plan and it’s safe to assume it’s not a matter of if it’s improved but how.

One cool idea I’d never heard of before: Connect Water Avenue directly to the Esplanade with a new path at SE Stark via an existing access road currently owned by ODOT.

Another over-arching theme of this Central Eastside discussion is whether it’s smarter to create just a couple very good bike streets, or if PBOT should spread the funding around to make most of the streets bike-able. “Is there any common sense to aggregating bike lanes,” Brad Malsin with Beam Development wondered out loud. “We have bike lanes on many of the streets. What if we were to remove those and consolidate them on one or two blocks and make those streets dedicated for bikes?”

That type of thinking could carry weight, given that PBOT has set a high bar for the type of conditions they want to create. Even project consultant Katie Mangle with Alta Planning + Design repeatedly said they can’t improve every street. “We’re looking for the minimum network we can do,” she said, “Because we want this to be something we can build in the next five years.”

By then, she added, we’ll have “A network that’s connected and coherent and designed for safety that can get kids and families and Central Eastside employees where they need to go around the district. It won’t be every street, but there will be a network and we’ll have it well-signed so you know how to get to the bridge to to downtown.”

That’s a very appealing vision. The question remains though: Does PBOT have the courage to push for it? Even in the face of opposition from the CEIC? Maybe these two private design meetings have calmed the CEIC’s nerves. Time will tell. I did find it noteworthy however, that the final word on Wednesday came from CEIC Community Engagement Director Kate Merrill, who ended the meeting by saying, “One thing we must always keep in the back of our minds is that freight is the backbone of our district.”

To which Mike Albrecht from Franz Bakery replied under his breath, “I’ll get you that $20 later.” Then everyone laughed.

Whether or not everyone’s still smiling at the end of this road remains to be seen.

Learn more about the Central City In Motion project on PBOT’s website. And stay tuned for the online open house to go live on Monday.

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

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Garneau recalls non-compliant bicycle helmets

Biking Bis - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 08:37
Helmet-maker Louis Garneau is recalling 1,200 bicycle helmets sold in the US and Canada after discovering that the Course-style helmets in matte colors degrade over time and don’t comply with the impact requirements set by those countries’ safety standards. Owners should stop using the helmets, which pose a risk for injury, and contact Louis Garneau …

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Planning for new ‘earthquake ready’ Burnside Bridge reaches milestone

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 08:26

Now that we’ve got your attention…
(Graphic: Multnomah County)

“I’d like to see a bridge for our future… but it will take visionary leadership from county, and I haven’t seen that yet.”
— Mark Ginsberg, advisory committee member representing The Street Trust

Multnomah County has reached a milestone in their project to make the Burnside Bridge “earthquake ready”. They’ve whittled down a list of 100 options to just two: an “enhanced seismic retrofit” or a full replacement.

The Burnside is a designated “lifeline response route” which means it has special priority when it comes to disaster and long-range resiliency planning. Owned and operated by Multnomah County, the bridge is nearly 100 years old and it shows many signs of age. A separate maintenance project is going on now.

We’ve been watching the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project from afar until this point. With the options narrowed down, the County will now delve more deeply into each one of them in order to determine the future of the bridge.

Here’s where the process stands today…

Graphic: Multnomah County

According to an announcement yesterday, at this point the plan is to either strengthen the existing bridge to withstand a major earthquake and replace the section that goes over I-5 and the railroad, or replace the entire bridge with a fixed bridge, a movable bridge, twin bridges, or a tunnel.

These two remaining options will now be further evaluated based on the following six categories:

Seismic Resiliency
Does the option support reliable and rapid emergency response after an earthquake?

Non-Motorized Transportation
Does the option support access and safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities?

Connectivity
Does the option support street system integration and function for all modes?

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Equity
Does the option minimize adverse impacts to historically marginalized communities and promote transportation equity?

Built Environment
Does the option minimize adverse impacts to existing land use as well as parks and historic resources?

Financial Stewardship
Does the option ensure public funds are invested wisely?

In need of an update.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As you can see, things are starting to get interesting.

This coming spring the County and their volunteer advisory committee will make the final decisions about these two remaining options and by this summer a report will be up for adoption by the Multnomah County Commission.

Bike advocate and lawyer Mark Ginsberg sits on the committee as a representative for The Street Trust. He told us via email this morning that he’s not impressed with the process so far. “I am disappointed in the lack of diversity on the committee,” he wrote. “When setting up the stakeholders only OPAL [an environmental justice nonprofit] was asked to join, when they said it was outside of what they do, no other group bringing minority voices to the table were sought.”

And Ginsberg says he’s concerned the project will be a “lost opportunity for three generations.” “It seems like what we are being presented with is not looking a forward thinking multi-modal plan… We have the chance to make this a world class accessible facility for all of out street users, for wheelchairs, bikes, pedestrians, mass transit and private automobiles, while meeting the needs of water access below, but it seems like we’re just doing more of the same. I’d like to see a bridge for our future, a resilient, safe usable bridge, and it is possible, but it will take visionary leadership from county, and I haven’t seen that yet.”

County spokesman Mike Pullen says whatever comes out of this process won’t be built for another 12 years because it would still have to get planned, designed, funded, and built; but as savvy activists know, decisions made in these early stages will influence the outcome.

And don’t despair if you want better biking on the Burnside in the shorter-term. Pullen says there are other projects in the pipeline that could result in changes to the existing bike lanes.

The County is on the radar of the City of Portland’s Central City in Motion (CCIM) project. The Burnside Bridge is listed as an “essential link” in the CCIM’s early planning documents, a designation that could result in an upgrade to its bikeway sooner rather than later. And if that project doesn’t net improvements for the bridge, Pullen says the County is actively seeking funding for a list Capital Improvement Projects — one of which would add a buffer zone and delineator posts to the bike lanes. If the County finds funding for that project it would happen after the current maintenance work is completed in late 2019.

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

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Jobs of the Week: ODOT, Bikes for Humanity, Ride Report

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:19

Four great job opportunities listed this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager – Planner 4 (ODOT18-1783oc) – Oregon Department of Transportation

–> Shop Host – Bikes for Humanity PDX

–> Android Engineer – Ride Report

–> Backend Engineer – Ride Report

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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 $50 by visiting our Job Listings page.

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

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PBOT’s new ‘Enhanced Transit Corridors’ plan and what it means for our streets

Bike Portland - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 12:52

This could be a lot more common in the future.
(Photo: PBOT)

ETC plan cover.

Portland is changing and so are our streets. Whether those changes help or harm our city is entirely up to us.

One of the biggest changes is an increase in the amount of people who drive. Congestion is everywhere and one of the victims are bus users. During peak hours especially, they get stopped behind single-occupancy vehicles. It’s maddening when public transit is delayed by such an inefficient and costly mode of transportation.

One way the Portland Bureau of Transportation has decided to deal with this problem is to focus on getting cars out of the way of buses. For the past year or so they’ve worked on the Enhanced Transit Corridors plan, which is now in draft form and open for public comment (until March 26th, sorry for late notice). The plan aims to institutionalize the concept of “enhanced transit” within the City of Portland, and to identify projects that will improve transit capacity, reliability and travel time.

Before I share my takeaways, here are some kicker quotes from the plan that sum up where PBOT is coming from:

“Portland and the region is at a critical point in the evolution of our transit network. Our buses are increasingly stuck in traffic, and each year resources for transit hours are spent just trying to keep up schedules due to congestion, reducing the potential funding to increase transit service. This critical point calls for redoubling our efforts to improve transit…

A common criticism of the existing transit network is that it takes too long to cross downtown Portland or to get to any destination compared to driving. We are losing the attractiveness of transit every year as buses are stuck in traffic, not taking people where they want to go at a competitive travel time.”

Here are my takeaways…

We desperately need better bus service

(Graphic from the plan)

The trendlines for congestion, population growth, and transit use are not in sync. Transit use in Portland is stagnant, while congestion increases and the experts project Portland will add another 260,000 new residents by 2035. “Without substantial improvements to the bus and streetcar network,” the plan states, “it is very likely that transit service speed and reliability will continue to deteriorate.”

Portland’s transit mode share goal is 25 percent of all trips by 2035 (part of a goal to have 70 percent of all commuters do something other than drive a car). While MAX light rail has increased in recent years, the amount of people using local buses drags down the current transit mode share down to 12 percent — the same level since about 2000. PBOT recognizes that TriMet already has an established “backbone” of frequent service routes like the 4, 72, 20 and 75. They’ve smartly focused this plan on those routes.

Buses are flexible, relatively cheap (compared to MAX and freeways), and when done right they can integrate very nicely with bicycle use. If we don’t make them work better, we’re in a lot of trouble.

Too much driving is screwing everything up

PBOT image from the plan.

We could write volumes about how car abuse is hurting Portland. But let’s look specifically at its impact on bus service.

From the plan:

“… buses and streetcars are increasingly stuck in traffic, leading to longer travel times and less travel time reliability, making bus and streetcar transit less competitive with driving, bicycling, and other transit modes.”

And here are the charts to back that up:

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Transit plays a crucial role in whether or not Portland reaches its transportation goals. The problem is, PBOT doesn’t control much of it. Beyond funding operations and some other ties, TriMet manages their own bus and MAX service and Portland Streetcar Inc. operates separately from the City of Portland. PBOT currently has staff with titles of Bicycle Coordinator, Freight Coordinator, and Pedestrian Coordinator — but not Transit Coordinator.

That might be changing.

The ETC plan feels like a serious attempt by PBOT to play a larger role in transit. The plan calls for a “closer relationship and active cooperation between transit operators and PBOT” and the development of a City Transit Program. PBOT also wants to, “Develop future MOUs [memorandums of understanding] and IGAs [inter-governmental agreements] to further forge TriMet and PBOT partnerships.”

And you know they’re serious when they put money on the table. PBOT wants to create a new program for “transit priority spot improvements” that would be funded at $500,000 annually (the fact that the plan comes out when the agency is flush with cash for the first time in decades probably isn’t a coincidence).

A subway!

Look at that squiggly purple line. Isn’t it cute?!

It’s nice to see PBOT share a bold vision of anything these days. Look closely at their “new transit vision” and you’ll see a “potential subway” under the Willamette River between downtown and the Lloyd District.

Listed as a possibility to be built in the next 20-40 years, PBOT calls the subway one of several major new transit “concepts” that can, “make transit more attractive and competitive while maintaining the basic accessibility that transit needs to attract riders.”

Red is for buses only

(Image: PBOT)

If the ETC gets adopted by City Council, PBOT is going to join an ongoing study at the Federal Highway Administration that’s analyzing the effectiveness of red-colored lanes for buses. San Francisco is already using red for bus-only lanes.

PBOT took this same step with green for bike lanes (and bike boxes).

What does this mean for bikes?

First, do no harm.

It’s mostly good, but I remain cautiously optimistic.

The ETC plan is just one part of PBOT’s larger work to redefine our streets. That new definition pushes single-occupancy driving nearly out of the picture and elevates cycling, walking, and transit into starring roles. Keep in mind that PBOT isn’t doing this ETC work in a vacuum. In the near future, when they look at a street to fix a major safety problem, they’ll also lean on the ETC plan to determine whether transit upgrades could be made at the same time. Likewise with bike-centric projects.

In fact, PBOT is already talking about an integration between the ETC and the Central City in Motion plan. That’s the plan to build a network of family-friendly bikeways they’ve been working on for many years (more to come on that soon).

But their are pitfalls. As we know, right-of-way is precious and more space for buses means less space for everything else. It’s possible for buses and bikes to coexist wonderfully together — but if things like bus-only lanes, floating transit islands, and curb extensions (all recommended in the ETC toolkit) aren’t built with low-stress cycling in mind the result could be a reduction in service for bicycle users.

For example, below is a graphic from the plan of a potential enhanced transit project on NE Sandy. Keep in mind that Sandy also needs a protected bikeway in the future. Can we do all the stuff in the graphic below and still make Sandy the great cycling street it’s meant to be?

I’m glad to see this potential for conflict is acknowledged in the ETC plan. “Great care must be taken when implementing… treatments that can reduce the safety and comfort of people walking or bicycling, or preclude the future provision of appropriate bicycle facilities on streets classified for bicycle use,” reads one passage. Another section warns that according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), “[Shared] bus-bike lanes are not high-comfort bicycle facilities, and are not a substitute for dedicated bikeways,” and that, “Special care must be taken not to require bicycle and bus traffic to mix at high speeds.”

Learn more about the ETC plan at PBOT’s website.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Rice Cooker and G-Road rides, two bike swaps and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 09:38

They’re visiting from Japan; the least you can do is join them for fresh-cooked rice balls and sake!
(Photo: Rice Cookers Tsukuba on FB)

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

I love this time of year. There’s a feeling that the worst of winter is behind us and everyone — and everything — is coming out of its shell.

It’s a great time of year to re-connect with riding buddies and make sure your bike is running well. On that note, this weekend our calendar is full of great social rides and opportunities to sort out your kit for the coming season.

Have fun out there! And remember to share photos and recaps by tagging @BikePortland on social media.

Friday, March 16th

Dropout Bike Club Monthly Ride – 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm at Colonel Summers Park
If you like riding freak bikes, want to build one, or just love hanging out with people who do — come and meet your friendly local Dropouts. More info here.

Saturday, March 17th

Women’s Beginner Maintenance Class – 8:30 am to 1:00 pm at Gracie’s Wrench
Learn to work on your own bike in a welcoming environment. $150 class taught by Tori Bortman is open only to women/trans/femme. More info here.

G-Road Ride – 9:00 am to 12:30 pm at Breadwinner Cycles
Meet at the Breadwinner Cafe, ogle some really nice gravel bikes, then roll up through Forest Park. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. More info here.

North Portland – Free 20 is Plenty Yard Sign Pick-up -12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Rosa Parks Elementary School
Join the hottest trend in neighborhood livability — grab some of those free orange “20 is Plenty” signs and then watch how people magically drive nicer on your block. More info here.

Islabikes Spring Swap – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Islabikes USA HQ
The Big Day has arrived: This is the place to buy or sell an Islabike — the Portland-based company that specializes in kids’ bikes. Professional mechanics will be there to do safety checks and get your little one fitted perfectly onto a new/used rig. They’ll also be accepting used bike donations for Community Cycling Center. More info here.

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TriSports Spring Kickoff – 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm at TriSports
It’s triathlon season and our local tri-store is opening their doors for an afternoon of socializing and fun. Door prizes include a TT bike and wetsuit! More info here.

Sunday, March 18th

Dirty Circles Road Race – 8:00 am in Woodland, WA
If you’re as excited about the start of road racing season as we are — head 30 miles north of Portland to compete in what the organizers call, “A relaxed early season race designed to give everyone a way to spark the fires for a successful road season.” More info here.

Bad Decisions Bike Swap – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Cat Six Cycles
Make a bad decision and need to sell something? Want to make another bad decision and make an impulse buy you’ll regret later? Do you love cats, beer, and hot dogs? It’s a good, old-fashioned bike swap meet! More info here.

Rice Cooker Ride – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Overlook Park
You’ve heard of PDX Coffee Outside — so how about rice outside? Join a group of fun-loving students visiting Portland from Tsukuba, Japan. Similar to the ride they hosted here in 2016, they’ll meet at Overlook Park then ride up to the St. Johns Bridge where they’ll break out the cooker and make rice balls while enjoying fine sake. 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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