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Community organizes to celebrate NE 65th St bike lanes, shows what’s possible when city builds the bike plan

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 11:32

Photos by Matt White (unless noted otherwise)

People gathered at the start of the ride. Photo by Seattle Bike Blog.

Unlike the $4.4 million advertising budget and public fanfare celebrating the new SR 99 car tunnel, no official celebration or encouragement campaign was planned for a major new set of protected bike lanes on NE 65th Street. So excited community members decided to plan their own.

Dozens of people of all ages got together Sunday at Third Place Books at 20th Ave NE and NE 65th Street, the eastern terminus of the newly-completed lanes that have been years in the making and the result of a very tough neighborhood debate.

After a very frustrating week, with people protesting Mayor Jenny Durkan’s decision to cut bike lanes on 35th Ave NE and release a near-term bike plan with even more big cuts, Sunday’s community ride was a much-welcome display of positivity and progress. It felt like a glimpse into an alternate reality in which the city had continued building planned bike lanes rather than delaying or cutting them. It was a happy and powerful demonstration of what a bold walk/bike/transit vision looks like in action.

Andres Salomon of NE Seattle Greenways with a bike full o’ kids.

Riders stopped halfway through the ride to pay their respects at 15th Ave NE, where Andy Hulslander was struck from behind and killed in 2015. A father of two, Hulslander’s death was one of several deaths on NE 65th Street that led the community to demand this safer street design. His death is also a reminder of why projects like this planned across the city are urgent public safety improvements. They prevent collisions that seriously injure or kill people.


NE 65th Street is a vital and difficult bike connection. It provides a rare crossing of I-5, which is the biggest barrier to biking in every neighborhood it plows through, and passes Roosevelt High School and the under-construction Roosevelt light rail station. It connects to many major bus lines, with the promise of being an even more important transit hub in coming years. The street also passes through a business district and connects to the existing Roosevelt Way and Ravenna Blvd protected bike lanes.

But these multimodal and commercial challenges are exactly why the bike lane works so well. Biking, transit and business are not in conflict, they are complementary. Rather than avoiding mixed uses on a single street, the city should be seeking out these opportunities. A street that is for everyone is stronger in every way.

Sure, there are some compromises in the design, but the result is incomparable to the way things were. Being able, for the first time ever, to bike on NE 65th Street without constantly looking over my shoulder unsure if someone passing would give enough room (or worse) was simply liberating as someone who has biked the street many times. But the biggest benefit the bike lane brings to the neighborhood is the way people who never would have considered biking on the street before now have that option open to them:

Today was the first time I've ridden a bike on #Bike65th ever–after living in this neighborhood for 15 years. And then my kids and I did it again later in the day for errands at Roosevelt Square. These bike lanes are going to change everything. https://t.co/A79B31Oa4R

— Karen James (@therego) April 8, 2019

This bike lane empowers its neighbors with new options for getting around. And that’s the promise of the Bicycle Master Plan: People living in every Seattle neighborhood should be empowered like NE 65th Street neighbors are now.

And this was a common topic of discussion among people on the ride: How do bike and safe streets supporters pivot from being angry at the mayor’s cuts to a place where people are celebrating progress like this instead? Last week’s protests and City Council testimony finally got the mayor’s attention, so now what? Nobody wants to protest and fight for the rest of her term, burning through vital Move Seattle funding years with limited progress. But there was also a sense that people don’t believe she has any interest in celebrating successes like this bike lane, which leaves people feeling like protest and negative feedback is the only method that works.

The fact that nobody from SDOT or the Mayor’s Office showed up to join Sunday’s ride was pretty telling. Here are a bunch of people celebrating the city’s work, and they don’t care enough to even show up?

Advocates for safe streets are holding out olive branches all over this city. But it is on the mayor to take them. Nobody else can fix this situation. It’s her move. She could, for example, pick a bold project or two (Beacon Ave S, Rainier Ave, 12th Ave south of Yesler, Fauntleroy Way, 5th Ave in the ID, etc) from the recent cut list and make it a true priority on an accelerated timeline. She could also make it clear that 35th Ave NE did not set a precedent, and that she’s not interested in cancelling other bike lanes already in design, like N 40th Street or Wilson Ave S.

That would send a solid signal that she really does want to back up her words when she says things like “We have to get people out of their single occupancy vehicles…A city of the future needs walking, biking, transit.”

Big thanks to organizers Inga Masnkopf and Oralea White, and everyone who worked so hard to make these bike lanes happen in the first place, including former Councilmember Rob Johnson who joined the ride. There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s so important that people take the time to celebrate success and remember why all this hard work is worth it.

Mark V & Rivnuts: Repairing water bottle bosses on carbon bikes

Bike Hugger - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 05:29

Virtually all carbon and aluminium bike manufacturers use something called a “rivnut” as a water bottle boss. A rivnut is like a combination of rivet and a nut, forming a threaded anchor in a thin-walled material. Over time, a rivnut threads can corrode or strip out. Or a bolt could seize within the rivnut and/or the rivnut’s grip in the tube wall could weaken, leaving the rivnut spinning in the frame. Sometimes the rivnut can be retightened, but often times replacement is the only cure.

The basic tactic is to grind out the rivnut without damaging the surrounding tube wall and then replace it with a fresh, maybe stronger rivnut.

 

First Dremel out the outer flange of the stripped rivnut. You might want to protect the surrounding area with a layer of electrical tape in case the tool slips. The goal is to remove the flange without touching the surrounding carbon. Once the flange is thin enough, you might be able to tear it off with pliers. Once the outer flange is removed, you should be able to lightly tap the rivnut so that it falls into the frame interior. With luck, you should be able to shake the rivnut’s remains out of the frame through with the bottom bracket shell or the headtube.

 

The broken rivnut You can rig up a tool with a long 5mm bolt and a 6mm nut, but here’s the proper tool for the job. Most manufacturers use an aluminium nut, which is a relatively soft metal and vulnerable to galvanic corrosion (particularly in carbon frames). For repairs, I use a steel replacement.

 

On the left, a rivnut in its original state. On the right, a rivnut that has been compressed. The corrugated wall crushes to form an interior flange.

 

For extra security and to make up for any damage that might have occurred due to rivnut failure, I coat the replacement rivnut in epoxy before I install. Promptly use a shop rag dampened with denatured alcohol to remove the excess epoxy. The bottle boss is probably good to go immediately, but best results would come after the epoxy finishes curing in 24hrs. Use a well-greased stainless steel bolt to ward off future reoccurrences.

One potential problem is if the you can’t shake the rivnut out of the frame interior. Most current monocoque frames (especially those with tapered fork steerers) have large openings at either the head tube and sometimes the bottom bracket shell. In a worse case scenario, you’ll have to find a way to make it so that the rivnut doesn’t rattle around like the last bean in the coffee can. You’ll need something super sticky.

I suggest spray insulation foam, the kind  you find at a hardware store to fill in spaces in old walls. You will only use a tiny fraction of the canister though. Conveniently the canister comes with a thin straw applicator. So you can snake the little tube into the hole in the frame that the rivnut once occupied, squirt a small dollop of foam inside near the bottom bracket, and then tilt the frame about until the rivnut hits the sticky goo. You will want to wait until the foam cures before riding, but it won’t be rattling loose ever.

If the offending rivnut has a seized bolt in it (probably still loosely but unyieldingly shackling a bottle cage in place), you’ll have to deal with that as well. In that case, it helps to have a Dremel with a small cut-off wheel, but really anything goes…so long as you don’t put any undue stress on the carbon tube or have any stray tool strikes.

I work for titanium framebuilders, whose frames use welded-in bosses and don’t suffer from this issue (though some Ti builders do use rivnuts). Whenever I am fixing this issue, I am rescuing some other brand’s bike. I have executed this fix on everything from Colnagos to Cannondales, Cervelos to Pinarellos….and more than a couple Litespeed titanium frames. So yes, I can and have done this many times. But I have to make it cost enough to justify the time I am not assembling our own custom bikes, and the fee has to be worth the risk responsibility I have to accept when working on your bling carbon bike. And NO, you cannot hang around and watch me as I work.

 

The post Mark V & Rivnuts: Repairing water bottle bosses on carbon bikes appeared first on Bike Hugger.

SRAM Force eTap AXS Pt2: $1000 cheaper and 300gr heavier than Red

Bike Hugger - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 13:12

 

Why tease the readers by holding back the bottom line? Hot on the heels of the flagship SRAM Red eTap AXS debut in February debut, Force eTap AXS essentially does everything for fewer ducats but at a 300gr penalty. But if you want a good grip on the differences between these two wireless electronic gruppos still fresh from the oven, read on.

 

The Force eTap AXS cassette. 12sp XDR-type in 10-26, 10-28, and 10-33 options

 

These SRAM eTap groupsets are functionally the same, more or less. They are both wireless, electronic 12-speed drivetrains with choices of disc or rim brake and 1x or 2x cranksets.  The derailleurs and levers differ in the construction methods and materials. While having the same electronics, Red AXS units has cold-forged aluminium and UD carbon,  and Force uses aluminium castings and CFR moulding. The XDR-type cassettes offer the same three range choices, but the Force Mini-cluster rivets each cog into a stack. SRAM elegantly carves Red’s costly X-Dome cassette out of single block of steel and caps it with an aluminium 12th cog. The biggest differences come within the brakes and cranksets.

Force AXS flatmount hydraulic caliper. Force eTap AXS rim brake caliper. Short-reach but a little more generous clearances for wider rims and tires in the 28mm range.

The Red eTap AXS hydraulic calipers are almost identical to the previous 11sp eTap’s, featuring the Monobloc design in either post or flatmount. Force AXS caliper uses a new design, entirely different from any of the road groups. In fact, it superficially bares closest resemblance to a flatmount version of SRAM’s budget mtb caliper, the Level LT. Both groups use the same disc rotor though. The Force AXS rim brake takes a parallel path by essentially gussying up the same brake arm forgings used in the existing Rival/Apex groupsets, rather than making a cheaper version of the Red’s AeroLink caliper. This move saves Force almost $100 on Red.

Force eTap AXS crankset with 48/35 replaceable chainrings

When it comes to the cranksets, I strongly suspect that the arms featured in both lines are themselves directly derived from the previous 11sp groups. The moulded carbon-fibre crankarms accept modular chainring spiders or DM chainrings, but different from the previous incarnations, the AXS interface uses the same 8-bolt pattern first seen on powermeter cranksets from SRAM’s sub-brand Quarq. It should come as no surprise that all the Force and Red AXS cranksets can be upgraded with powermeters. There are presumably material differences in the Red and Force crankarm construction that partially explain the $270 difference in cost in the outwardly identical shapes, but the biggest difference comes in the chainrings.

SRAM AXS powermeter spider, $599 upgrade.

SRAM designed Red AXS with the marginal gains philosophy, so the Red chainring options put lightweight and performance before economy. That means the double chainring sets are formed one-piece. Not only that, but the rings are integrated into the powermeter versions. Wear out the rings, and you’ll need to replace it all as a unit. On the other hand, Force AXS cranks allow you to replace the rings individually, including on the $599 powermeter 2x spider available as an upgrade.

One other difference: Force AXS cranksets offer a GXP spindle option. Why? Because it turns out that SRAM has not provided for a press-fit DUB bottom bracket that can fit Trek’s BB90 standard, nor have they developed an external bearing BB to fit Italian-thread (either for dimensional limitations and/or cost reasons).

In the next couple days, I will continue with a Part 3 to the eTap AXS narrative so I can talk about its possibilities and limitations. And I will probably point out how much I disapprove of the DUB standard.

The post SRAM Force eTap AXS Pt2: $1000 cheaper and 300gr heavier than Red appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Sunday: Community celebration for opening of NE 65th St bike lanes

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 13:35

Details from the event listing:

Unlike the new downtown tunnel for cars, we don’t have an expensive ad campaign to encourage people to use the new bike lanes on NE 65th St, so let’s create our own!
Bike #Fix65th
Sunday, April 7
Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Meet at Third Place Books
Depart noon and bike to Roosevelt businesses (less than 1 mile)
Stop by your favorite business, buy a snack, a beverage, groceries, something for your home

. . .

Meet up again at the I-5 Park & Ride (south side of NE 65th St)
Depart at around 12:45/1:00 and bike back to Third Place Books

Promote the bike lane on social media using #Bike65th or #Walk65th or #65thPBL.

Along the way, we can stop to place flowers at the ghost bike on the corner of 65th and 15th Ave NE in remembrance of Andy Hulslander, who was killed at this intersection in 2015 when biking home from work.

This is an informal ride, with no formal program. It’s just meant to be an opportunity for those of us who support safer bike infrastructure to get together, become familiar with the new bike lanes, and encourage others to use them, even if they aren’t perfect.

Feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested in joining in. People who want to walk are welcome, too! I hope you can participate!

Weekend Event Guide: Goldsprints, Tweed Ride, Outer Powell Groundbreaking, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 15:45

Smiles guaranteed at the Tweed Ride on Saturday.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It’s time to think about plans for the weekend.

Hopefully you’re able to enjoy something bike-related. The flowering trees and warmth make pedaling around town a pure joy. If you need tips on things to do, we’ve got some recommendations below…

Friday, April 5th Sponsored by: Treo Bike Tours

Let Treo pick you up from Portland and whisk you and your friends to their ranch in Eastern Oregon where you can ride quiet farm roads to your heart’s content. Plan your trip today!

Goldsprints – 6:00 pm at Western Bike Works (NW)
Sit down, strap in, and pedal as hard as you can. Goldsprints are the ultimate challenge for riders and ultimate indoor event for spectators. Western Bike Works will host this benefit for Battlekat Racing and their efforts to get more trans/femme/women into racing. More info here.

Pizza Party Fundraiser for W/T/F Bikexplorers – 6:00 pm at Golden Pliers (N)
The Bikexplorers help make bikecamping more inclusive and Golden Pliers is hosting a party and auction to help them do more of it. More info here.

Saturday, April 6th

Gorge Gravel Grinder – All day in The Dalles
Head east for drier skies and quieter roads and partake in this classic gravel event. Give yourself extra time to soak up the charm of downtown The Dalles. More info here.

Tweed Ride – 10:00 am at Overlook Park (N)
Can you believe it’s been 10 years since the first Tweed Ride? This is a great excuse to slow down and savor thew social side of cycling. Find some vintage garb and get ready for a civilized cycling stroll through the sublime Overlook neighborhood. More info here.

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Outer Powell Project Groundbreaking Ceremony – 10:00 on SE 122nd Ave (SE)
Come out and learn more about this ODOT project that will make major changes to SE Powell Blvd from 122nd to 136th. You might even get a chance to talk to ODOT leaders and staff to share your feedback about this and other projects in the pipeline. More info here.

Sunday, April 7th

Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am at Ovation Coffee & Tea (NW)
Road racing season is here! Spirits and sensations are guaranteed to be high on this weekly ride that caters to fast folks; but is also a great place for intermediate riders looking for valuable experience (and new riding buddies). More info here.

Bike and a Burger – 10:00 am at Sauvie Island Park & Ride lot (NW)
The legendary John Joy will lead a ride from Sauvie onto Highway 30 and up the awesome inclines on NW McNamee Road to a nice meal that awaits at Helvetia Tavern in Washington County. Between breaths, let John regale you with his tales of riding more miles on Highway 30 than anyone else in town. 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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Ask BikePortland: What should I do if a driver harassed me and police don’t take it seriously?

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 13:49

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The latest installment of our Ask BikePortland column comes from a woman named Sabrina S. I’ve changed her name at her request.

Here’s what she asked via email earlier this week:

“Hi – I was hoping someone at BikePortland could give advice on getting help from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) when confronted by dangerous drivers.

I was riding on Southeast Division Street with a friend. We were looking for a restaurant (which we couldn’t find) before heading over to the Clinton greenway. As we were on Division, a car came up behind us then went around us (plenty of room, not a problem). But then the driver started screamed profanities at us to get off the road. We continued on (legally riding on the street, well to the side) when the driver stopped, screamed, “You wanna fight, punk?” and then more profanities as we ignored him to continue on to our destination.

I would like to point out two things: 1) We are both women, in our 50’s. Flattered he thought I was a young punk, but definitely not one. 2) He was a Lyft driver, had the insignia on display in his windshield.

Then he started to circle us, driving around the blocks and continuing to threaten us/scream profanities/say he was going to fight us. By this time we had dropped over to Clinton and were parked on the sidewalk, trying to locate our destination. He then came by again, this time screamed at us to get off the sidewalk. Not sure where he thought we were supposed to exist, if not on the road or the sidewalk? At this point we called 911. The dispatcher didn’t accuse us of anything illegal, but seemed unconcerned and didn’t want to send out an officer even though we had a description of the vehicle and license plate # (which was an Oregon Military Vet license plate). He even questioned the plate number until I told him repeatedly it was a special Vet’s plate with only four letters (rather than the usual alphanumeric ones). He finally recommended I contact Lyft. So, once we got to our destination I finally did – Lyft was much more proactive and interested in investigating the incident. Lyft was great, PPB was not. Any advice, please?”

I responded to Sabrina and shared three possible options:

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1) File a complaint with the Independent Police Review. The IPR is a branch of the City of Portland Auditor’s office and acts as an independent, “civilian oversight agency” that investigates allegations of misconduct by PPB officers. It’s not clear to me if the dispatcher Sabrina spoke with on the phone is a sworn officer or not, so IPR might not be the proper venue.

2) Pursue a retroactive citation. As we’ve covered at length in the past, there’s an existing Oregon law that allows you to work with police to file non-criminal charges against another person (I used to refer to this as “citizen-initiated citation” but I’m trying to not use the word “citizen” anymore). We’ve seen this law used successfully on several occasions in the past. Because Sabrina has the person’s license plate number, she has enough evidence to start the process.

3) Testify in front of Portland City Council. Council has an open public comment period prior to each weekly meeting where you can speak about whatever issue is on your mind. Show up 30 minutes ahead of the meeting to get your name on the list. This would put Sabrina’s experience in the official record and it might solicit a question or prompt some help from Mayor Wheeler (police commissioner) or other city councilor.

Sabrina said she’s too afraid of retaliation to speak at council publicly; but will look into the IPR and other options.

Do you have any advice for Sabrina?

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

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Rashomon in Wedgwood: SDOT Director and Deputy Mayor grilled during Bike Board meeting

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 12:50

SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe and Deputy Mayor Shefali Ranganathan sat down for a long talk with the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board Wednesday to have a difficult and at times uncomfortable conversation about Mayor Jenny Durkan’s commitment to building the city’s Bicycle Master Plan.

But even if the talk ended with gulfs still between the Board and the Mayor’s Office, both sides offered some valuable insights that I hope will prove fruitful once the temperature in Room 370 cools back down to 72 degrees. And, importantly, the talk generated a path for regaining trust if the Mayor chooses to make the effort.

You can follow that play-by-play via Twitter from these folks:

Missed tonight's epic #SBAB meeting?

Go check out tweets and threads by:@ericacbarnett @BrockRides @BikeSecurityAdv @QAGreenways @Andrew_Koved @typewriteralley

Undoubtedly @SeaBikeBlog will have the complete rundown tomorrow. Tom was there too, but no tweets.

— Bike Happy (@BikeHappyPNW) April 4, 2019

Ranganathan said she asked to be added to the agenda late because she wanted to “share a little bit of the mayor’s vision” for biking and transportation projects.

She cited escalating construction costs, due in significant part to a competitive construction contract environment, saying “there was  a misalignment with what was promised to voters in terms of mileage .. across the board.”

This led to the Mayor’s Move Seattle “reset,” in which she said the mayor then gave these policy directions:

  • How can we prioritize the projects that connect to the most hubs?
  • How can we complete networks? Instead of focusing on mileage, what are the most impactful projects?

“I will sort of own the fact that this plan should have been here sooner than it was,” she said. “SDOT won’t say it so I will: They have been dealing with the Seattle Squeeze and the snow…what ended up resulting was SDOT was really squeezed for capacity.”

And while this plan is based on what they see as realistic, “that doesn’t preclude us from looking for more resources to build more projects.”

But Ranganathan said that Mayor Durkan “is committed to a safe and connected bike network” and that they are “going to be as transparent as we can” about their process going forward.

But Board members generally weren’t convinced about that commitment, noting that judging by her actions she has mostly delayed or canceled bike lanes so far.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of confidence on this board and the advocacy community generally that when these projects are politically difficult that these projects will get built,” said Board Member Emily Paine.

Ranganathan said multiple times that the mayor didn’t want to just grandstand, but that she wanted to actually build a connected network. Then the Board said repeatedly that they have yet to see that action. This odd agreement/disagreement went around in a circle a few times and was never settled.

“At the end of the day, [the mayor’s] report card is the projects that actually got completed, not the promises that got made,” said Ranganathan. But according to that rubric, the mayor is definitely flunking due to the majority of her work still marked incomplete. It may take some extra credit if she wants to catch up. (OK, this analogy is getting too stretched.)

But this is the opening where the Mayor’s Office can do something. People need to see a significant action, something bold that demonstrates the mayor’s commitment. Board members (and myself) have highlighted Rainier Ave S (between downtown and Mount Baker Station, at least), 12th Ave between Yesler and Beacon Hill, or Beacon Ave as high-impact projects that were recently cut. Whether she grandstands or not when breaking ground is up to her. I personally enjoy a good grandstanding when it is coupled with bold action.

SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe started by introducing himself (this was his first Bike Board meeting since joining the department in January), and then apologized to the Board for listing them as the reason so many projects were listed as removed from the plan.

“We know you guys didn’t remove projects from the plan, and we apologize for that,” he said. The Board had helped prioritize projects, and some of the lower priority ones did inform SDOT’s removal decisions. But the Board was not knowingly cutting projects, and several of the Board’s top priorities were also removed.

The latest plan is really just a draft, and they are collecting feedback, Zimbabwe said. But he warned against “simply adding projects back in that are on the contingency list without saying, ‘Here’s what we are willing to give up.'”

He also added that projects cut were not removed from the Bicycle Master Plan, they were just from this implementation plan and things could be added back in the future “as conditions change and as we are able to secure funding.”

Rashomon in Wedgwood

When the conversation moved squarely to 35th Ave NE, Zimbabwe made a solid Akira Kurosawa reference by saying that, as someone who came into this fight at the very end, it has felt like the classic 1950 film Rashomon.

“Everyone who has ever been involved with that project has their own narrative” of how the project and surrounding debate got this point, he said. (If you haven’t seen Rashomon, it’s really great. You can watch it free online via Kanopy using your Seattle or King County Public Library card.)

He also questioned whether the designed and contracted bike lane design was really an all ages and abilities facility since only one direction was going to be protected, then questioned why bike advocates were fighting so hard for it.

“It became the best bike lane in the city,” he said of the tone he heard from advocates, and people were acting as though “not building it right now, it would be a critical failure.” It sounds like Zimbabwe may be giving a little too much credence to Tajōmaru’s testimony.

Bike advocates had fought for full protection for the 35th Ave NE project during the proper design phase, but the city returned with a half-protected design as an early compromise to accommodate car parking. So once SDOT’s design was final, advocates fought to defend the city’s compromise plan. But then that compromise was challenged by angry neighbors, who ultimately prevailed in winning a turn lane that few people ever asked for. So what is the lesson here? That bike advocates should never have compromised in the first place? That advocates were foolish to try to support SDOT’s decision?

Ranganathan said part of the problem was that SDOT had originally called the project a paving project. “No reasonable community member would assume a paving project would include a complete redesign of the whole corridor,” she said, ignoring that the city’s complete streets ordinance, on file since 2007, requires exactly that. So now people in Wedgwood won’t be able to safely bike to the library because SDOT staff used too few descriptors in their project title a few years ago? How does that makes sense?

No, Zimbabwe’s too smart to trust Tajōmaru at his word. Maybe he’s trusting the woodcutter Kikori, forgetting the twist at the end (spoiler!) that Kikori, too, was a compromised witness all along. Though Kikori ultimately feels shame and decides to care for the orphaned baby he, the priest and the commoner found while seeking shelter from a rainstorm, a display of penance on behalf of humanity’s inherently selfish nature. (OK, this analogy is also falling apart.)

But Zimbabwe told the Board that the 35th Ave NE decision does not endanger other projects.

“I don’t think it sets a precedent for building out the network,” he said.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s much point to getting angry at Zimbabwe since Ranganathan made it clear that Mayor Durkan made this decision.

“The mayor agonized over it,” she said.

If there was any doubt that this decision was political and not based on traffic engineering best practices, then this clears that up. The mayor is Zimbabwe’s boss, so he’s got to defend her decision, which puts him in an impossible position because the best practices of his profession are not on her side. SDOT’s professionals came up with the bike lane design, so Zimbabwe somehow needs to explain why his professional staff was wrong and the mayor was right. And he can’t because she is wrong.

Former Board Chair Casey Gifford shared similar feelings toward SDOT staff during public comment, who she said are trying to do the right thing but are being hindered by the mayor.

“The city keeps using money excuses, but 35th and 40th, those are political will,” she said, pointing out that because those bike lanes share costs as part of paving projects, they are extremely cost-effective.

“I feel really sorry for [SDOT staff] to have to work for such an uninspiring mayor,” she said. The Mayor’s Office ousted Gifford from SBAB in December with only a few hours of notice before her last meeting, giving essentially no time for the Board to plan a Chair transition. Since Board members are limited to two terms anyway, assuring lots of turnover and new voices, members are rarely (if ever) denied a second term if they want to continue serving.

I think everyone is ready to stop fighting about 35th Ave NE. Oh, lordy, I know I am, though I doubt this is truly the end of it. And maybe there will never be agreement on how it got so royally messed up. But it will be impossible to move past it without a replacement project of equal or greater scale that demonstrates the mayor’s stated commitment to building a connected bike network. She can move heaven and earth in this town when it is a priority for her (look at the NHL arena). And folks aren’t even asking for that much heavenly movement. Maybe just a heavenly nudge. (OK, I really need to work on my analogies…)

Oregon’s gravel riding season starts this weekend

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 12:18

The Dalles will host the inaugural event of the 2019 season with the Gorge Gravel Grinder on Sunday.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

2019 is going to be a big year for gravel. And it starts in The Dalles this weekend.

Sponsored by:

These companies make our gravel coverage possible.

With promoters stepping up to meet demands of riders who increasingly want to leave cars and pavement behind, our calendar has filled up quite nicely with events that focus on unpaved roads.

Here’s a quick rundown of some local weekday rides and a few of the larger events happening in Portland and around the state…

Small Weeknight Rides

Wild West Gravel Ride Series – Hosted by our friends at Western Bike Works, this weeknight series happens every Wednesday at 6:00 pm. Meet at the shop on NW 17th and Lovejoy (1015 NW 17th) and roll up into Forest Park to get your local gravel fix.

OMTM’s East Buttes – Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM) just wrapped up their winter Snax Trax series today. After a week off they’ll fire up the spring season with the weekly East Buttes ride. Led by the experienced unpaved legend Ryan Francesconi, these rides tackle a different route around, over, and through the hills of southeast Portland and Gresham. Ride happens Thursdays at 6:00pm and meets at Gates Park (SE 136th and Holgate). For more on OMTM, check out their website.

Big Rides and Races

Gorge Gravel Grinder (4/7) – This much-anticipated ride is technically sold out; but you might be able to score an open registration slot by checking the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association email list.

Yamhill Gravel Fondo (4/20) – I’m looking forward to this one, as it’s a new entry on the calendar and the route goes through some beautiful Oregon Country that’s relatively close to home.

Dark Larch V3 (4/21) – This is an unsanctioned, self-supported OMTM ride that will explore the lush, secret netherworlds around Larch Mountain in east Multnonmah County. And yes, this is Easter Sunday.

Cascade Gravel Grinder (4/26) – Billed as a three-day omnium, this unique format blends recreation and competition in a choose-your-own adventure format. You can race or ride and choose any or all of the routes over three days.

Oregon Coast Gravel Epic (5/4) – The opening salvo of the Oregon Triple Crown, a three ride/race series that also includes the Sasquatch Duro (5/18) and the Oregon Gran Fondo (6/1). I’m doing all three of the events this year because I love visiting the small towns that host them: Waldport, Oakridge, and Cottage Grove respectively. It’s also a goal to ride well at all three since they present such varied and challenging routes. OTC, along with series sponsors Co-Motion Cycles and Rolf Prima Wheels is also a BikePortland sponsor so I’ll be riding Co-Motion’s newly redesign Klatch gravel bike!

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A scene from last year’s Oregon Coast Gravel Epic.

Oregon Emerald Outback (5/4) – Another unsanctioned adventure that is not for the faint of heart. Check the official website for details on the 600-mile route.

Gravel (5/17) – Cycle Oregon’s contribution to the gravel revolution is based in Dufur this year. It’ll be three days and two nights of riding, eating, and camping.

Skull 120/60/30 (6/15) – After I did this last year it became an instant Father’s Day tradition. I’m going back to Burns this year and can only hope it’s as good as it was the first time.

Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder (6/19 – 6/23) – This is a new format: Five days and 400 miles of great riding in a loop west of Bend. You’ll ride and camp at pre-determined spots. Looks awesome!

Ochoco Gravel Roubaix (8/24) – Hosted by the excellent Good Bike Co. in Prineville, you should seriously consider putting this one on your list. In just a few years it has become a classic and attracts riders (and sponsors) from across the country.

Check out the gravel category on the BikePortland calendar for all the listings.

I hope this gets you excited about all the great gravel rides in the region. Next up I’ll share some of the best (relatively) local areas to find your unpaved paradise. Stay tuned.

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

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Guest Opinion: Job description for new PBOT leader isn’t bold enough

Bike Portland - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 10:14

Jillian Detweiler is the executive director of The Street Trust.

“The successful candidate should value all modes of transportation.”

So reads the disappointing job description for the next leader of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The Street Trust hoped the recruitment would elevate the exciting and pressing challenge that awaits the new PBOT Director: leading and accelerating significant improvements in alternatives to driving alone. That certainly was the consensus of transportation activists invited to meet with a City Human Resources representative who gathered stakeholder input prior to producing the job description.

In that stakeholder meeting I heard “bold” repeatedly. “Bold” did not make the job description. Neither did “bicycle” or “bus.” A “b” word that made it, though, is “balance” as in “balance the competing uses” of our transportation system. Balance? That’s the code word that prevents real changes to high crash corridors that could save the lives of pedestrians and cyclists. Balance is the excuse that leaves thousands of bus riders stuck in traffic. We hope potential applicants, and those who will vet those applicants, recognize that our transportation system is wildly out of balance in favor of cars.

Sure, there are hints that leading PBOT could be an interesting and rewarding job. The position description calls for understanding the racial and socio-economic impacts of access to transportation. It says the candidate should have experience and knowledge addressing population growth and climate change. Yet, there’s nothing that suggests the urgency of these matters and that our City Council has adopted a body of policy that needs action now.

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The Street Trust is concerned this uninspired job description won’t attract the creative, accomplished, bold leader who will help Portland stop spinning her wheels on plans and platitudes and instead make the decisions that will dramatically expand use of alternatives to driving. There are exciting initiatives underway in Portland and this region that could attract the cream of the crop. There’s a plan to improve access in the Central City and we are beginning to expand the greenway network in East Portland. TriMet has significant new money to expand transit service. Metro has declared its intent to bring a transportation package to the voters in 2020.

If this recruitment is not attracting leaders in transportation, we urge Commissioner Eudaly and the City’s Bureau of Human Resources to reframe this opportunity to communicate the challenge and rewards that it offers. And it’s not too late to implement the recommendation from transportation activists to engage experts like Jeff Tumlin, Janette Sadik-Khan or Gabe Klein in the recruitment and vetting process.

The Street Trust will participate in interviews with finalists for the job. We welcome your thoughts on the experience and abilities we should be looking for.

— Jillian Detweiler, The Street Trust

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SRAM Force eTap AXS : Part 1 (all the acronyms in the world)

Bike Hugger - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 02:05

Not quite two months ago, SRAM debuted their flagship Red eTap AXS. It’s the definitive expression of the wireless electronic shifting system. This week SRAM is building momentum with the announcement of a 2nd-tier road gruppo. Force eTap AXS has put all that tech within reach of the masses. That’s if they can get through the confusion that is SRAM’s marketing.

According to SRAM, the term “eTap” is strictly an electronic road gruppo reference, itself an allusion to the “DoubleTap” ergonomics of their original mechanical dropbar shifters. But the new “AXS” is a blanket term for any of the updated electronic shift systems, road or mtn, that feature enhanced integration and customization. This means that the original 11sp Red eTap is not AXS, nor are any of its shifters or derailleur compatible with the 12sp-only AXS components. Conversely, all of SRAM’s 12sp mtn gruppos are branded “Eagle” in general, and the new electronic mtn gruppos are labeled specifically “XX1 Eagle AXS” and “XO1 Eagle AXS”.

eTap is Road, Eagle is Mountain, AXS is Both

So eTap is road only, Eagle means 12sp mtn, and AXS is only the newest electronic road and mtn groups (which happen to be 12sp).

Except that the batteries powering all the derailleurs (as well as the new Rockshox Reverb AXS dropper post) are the same eTap battery. SRAM of course has now dropped the eTap moniker from all recent references to the “SRAM battery“, just to destroy any sense of logic or perception of continuity in their branding.

Tomorrow I’ll have more a chance to discuss the Force AXS. How it relates to the rest of the AXS systems too. For now you just need to accept that the bike industry’s love for insufferable acronym word salads barely exceeds their penchant for creating new bottom brackets standards. And I will not be talking about SRAM’s unforgivable “DUB” bottom bracket standard.

Also see this post about Stradas with AXS.

 

 

The post SRAM Force eTap AXS : Part 1 (all the acronyms in the world) appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Strada Force eTAP AXS: 3T’s 1X Road Bikes Go Electronic

Bike Hugger - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 19:24

Previously, eTap electronic wireless shifting was only available at the Red level. This meant the technology was out of reach for a lot of people or cyclists with more discerning tastes. In the second generation, announced today, SRAM is offering eTap at the Force level. Mark V is writing about Force eTap AXS in another post. This one is about Strada & Strada Due Force eTAP AXS.

3T offers two models with Force eTap AXS. The first is the Strada, 3T’s breakthrough aero frame with unparalleled comfort. It’s still the only aero frame optimized around the comfort of larger tires (depending on the tire and rim combo even 32mm effective width tires can fit, realistically it’s a 28), we always knew the Strada would come into its own with a 12-speed drivetrain.

The difference between the Red and Force is the finishes. The internals are the same. Force weighs more because the finish are of a less quality.

The two groups feel the same.

Strada Force eTAP AXS

The Force eTap drivetrain comes with a 10-33 cassette and a 44t chainring, given you the top-end gear of around a 48×11 (or 53×12) and the climbing gear of a 36×27, so very close to a standard drivetrain for all terrains. The 12 cogs in the back have nice small steps through the whole range with 1-tooth jumps for the first 6 cogs. That feels more like a road bike. 3T builds the Stradas up with revamped Discus C35 wheels, carbon SuperErgo cockpit with Pirelli tires & Fizik tape. It’s a good build and at a reasonable price. 3T added a new red livery for the Force  eTap AXS groupset.

For those prefer a front derailleur, 3T offers the Strada DUE Force eTap AXS. The Strada Due gets a similar finishing kit to the Strada, but of course with a front derailleur and 2×12 gears.

Strada Force eTAP AXS Pricing and Availability

For pricing, spec, and more details about Strada Force eTAP AXS click through to 3Ts site. I’d share the differences between the groups, but SRAM hadn’t published them at the time of the story.

The post Strada Force eTAP AXS: 3T’s 1X Road Bikes Go Electronic appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Notes from the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board: April, 2019

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 15:44

The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meets 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at City Hall. Anyone can sit in on meetings and provide public comment at the beginning and (thanks to a recent change) end.

The volunteer board “advises the Mayor, City Council, and City Departments and Divisions on projects, policies, and programs that improve and/or affect bicycling conditions in Seattle,” and does so in a number of ways. In addition to their meetings, they host bike tours of areas under study, write letters and help prioritize the Bicycle Master Plan.

Below is the agenda for the April meeting. Stay tuned for updates.

 

Must Watch: Seattle’s bike movement finds its footing again, fights mayor’s bike plan cuts

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 12:05

Seattle’s bicycle movement emerged from chrysalis Tuesday transformed into its newest state, and it put on a powerful display inside City Hall.

I highly recommend watching the testimony and the very interesting Committee conversation, during which Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Rob Johnson and Kshama Sawant all had powerful things to say in support of the bike plan and safe streets. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is not a member of the Transportation Committee, but she was active during the rally before the meeting.

I’ve been covering the bike movement in this town long enough to observe how the popular, grassroots energy behind the idea of a safer and more bikeable city is always evolving to meet the needs of the day. New people get engaged and emerge as leaders, people who have been engaged for a while level up and become stronger advocates, and some people grow cynical, burn out or move away, leaving voids that are not always filled. But despite setbacks here and there, the movement continues to grow stronger and more intersectional, connecting safe streets, bike lanes and transit with housing, public health, environmental justice and social justice.

The bike movement in this town, like so many other movements, has been a very uneasy place in recent years. A lot of the volunteer energy behind it shifted after Donald Trump got elected, as it should have. In my experience, people who believe everyone has a right to safely move around on our streets also tend to believe that everyone has a right to safely live in our nation.

But that doesn’t mean people stopped caring about safe streets, as was clear Tuesday at City Hall.

And it feels like the movement finally found its footing after a few years of being unsure how best to advocate under Mayor Jenny Durkan, whose 35th Ave NE decision finally showed people her true intentions as executor of Seattle’s bike plan.

People who hate bike lanes like to say that there’s a shadowy and nefarious bicycle lobby running City Hall because that imaginary villain is easier to fight than a popular movement of their neighbors who will never accept the status quo on our streets where nearly every inch of space is given to cars and people’s loved ones are seriously injured or killed as a direct result. In reality, the bike movement’s power comes from the grassroots. And if the mayor thought cancelling bike lanes was going to be the “safe” political choice, I hope she’s changing her mind now.

Because I would much rather spend the rest of her time in office building the bike network and celebrating successes rather than constantly fighting and rallying to save scraps she hasn’t yet cut.


Rather than just delivering words, Tamara Schmautz and Apu Mishra brought a hand-cranked paper shredder to the podium and proceeded to shred the cover sheets to the Bicycle Master Plan, Vision Zero Plan and Climate Action Plan (39:10 in the video above). The people of Seattle believe in the goals established in these plans, which were developed after an enormous amount of public outreach and input. The work to complete them will be difficult. There will be people fighting against them just about every step of the way. Hopefully the mayor can also see that there will also be a lot of people who have her back when she makes these tough decisions. Because the goals in these plans are urgent, and we don’t have time to waste waiting for the next mayoral election.

Restoring the 35th Ave NE bike lanes could be a good start. But even if she never wants to open that hellmouth again, she could announce a strong proposal of equal or better scale and impact, and that she will work to fill any funding gaps because it’s important the 35th Ave NE decision (which shared costs with the paving project) doesn’t set back progress on the Bike Master Plan. I’m not talking about some enhancements to the existing 39th Ave NE neighborhood greenway. I’m talking about 2 miles of protected bike lane that fills an important bike network gap. Something like Beacon Ave S or Rainier Ave S or 12th Ave between Yesler Way and Beacon Hill, all projects recently removed from the implementation plan that were high priorities for Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.

It would also be helpful to hear her restate the city’s intention to build bike facilities when the costs can be shared with paving projects, such as on NE/N 40th Street, where bike lanes were recently removed from paving plans. If costs are a major limiter to building the bike plan, as SDOT has stated in this implementation plan update, then surely cutting the lowest-cost bike lanes makes no sense. Certainly, there will be people who don’t like these bike lane plans. But if she doesn’t stand behind the city’s policies, then she will flounder. Does she really want every single decision she has to make become a competition for who can yell at her the loudest? That sure doesn’t sound like fun to me, and it definitely sounds like a terrible way to lead a city. But that’s the precedent she is setting with the 35th Ave NE decision.

I was proud to join community members, safe streets advocates, and @CMMikeOBrien today in support of delivering on Seattle’s promised investments in our bike network to ensure that we have equitable, safe bikeways that connect communities across Seattle. pic.twitter.com/0EsMiLDIMG

— Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (@CMTMosqueda) April 2, 2019

This decision was political. How can anyone have confidence that the bike plan which was carefully created after many months, if not years, of community involvement will be implemented.

— Tom Rasmussen (@CityhallTom) April 3, 2019

Note that former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen was the Transportation Committee Chair during the creation of the Bicycle Master Plan.

When Seattle refuses to slow cars or remove parking, we aren't able to travel safely. As #disabled people, we are here say that being able to bike safety is a #disability issue. We will stand w biking, walking, rolling & transit advocates to fight for a city that works for us all

— Anna Zivarts (@annabikes) April 2, 2019

 

PBOT testing modular speed bumps to slow down left-turning drivers

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 11:12

PBOT is testing two different designs.
(Photos: PBOT)

The bumps force sharper (and slower) turns.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation wants to make intersections safer by slowing down drivers making left turns. To accomplish this, PBOT is testing the use of modular speed bumps. The bumps act as curbs that encourage people to take more angular turns instead of cutting them at high speeds.

The bumps are made out of a composite material and are screwed into the pavement. Yesterday PBOT staff installed two different version of them in the Albina Yard maintenance facility and rode over them with a bicycle, a truck, and a motorcycle. They also sprayed them down with water to see if they got slippery.

A PBOT staffer gives them a go.

According to posts on social media, PBOT says they, “Wanted to see what these bumps felt like for bike riders of both variety, particularly if the had enough traction when hit at an angle, when wet.”

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Before and after of an intersection in New York. Photos from QZ.com.

New York City already uses them extensively as a method of “left turn calming”.

And as you can see in the example above from New York City (which PBOT linked to), the bumps could be placed directly in the path of a bicycle rider. In a post yesterday, PBOT wrote, “These bumps are placed so bikes won’t have to ride over them much, but we know there may be times a cyclist has to go over one, so we want to make sure the design we choose is safe.”

These speed bumps appeal to PBOT not only as a speed and dangerous turn deterrent, but because they could be installed relatively quickly.

Of the two designs under consideration; one is wider with more aggressive treads, and the other is narrower with fewer tread lines. Once a style is chosen, they plan to use them at high crash intersections with a history of collisions involving bicycle riders and walkers.

Stay tuned for more on these if PBOT hosts a test that’s open to the public. Once they are in the wild we’ll give them a closer look.

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

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PSU will make block of SW Montgomery a carfree plaza in May

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 09:13

This block of SW Montgomery is one of only three between the river and I-405 that isn’t already carfree.
(Photo: Tim Davis)

Portland State University will create a carfree plaza on the block of Southwest Montgomery Street between Broadway and 6th avenues. The plaza will be installed for the month of May and if all goes well, school officials hope it becomes permanent.

Yellow square is location of plaza.

If this sounds familiar it’s because back in September 2017 — before the street reopened following development of the Karl Miller Center — we reported about how Montgomery is a natural place to create a plaza. Local civic booster and transportation reform advocate Tim Davis launched a mini-campaign to encourage PSU to prohibit driving access and open the block to other uses.

It’s not clear if PSU staff was directly influenced by Davis, but they’ve clearly embraced the idea. According to a statement released by the school yesterday, the Montgomery Pop-Up Plaza project will prohibit driving and parking on Montgomery for the entire month of May and, “transform this space into an outdoor campus public space for everyone to enjoy.” “This is a great opportunity for members of the PSU community to engage with the public realm and make this underutilized street at the heart of our campus into a more welcoming and inclusive place,” reads a PSU website devoted to the project.

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Ellen Shoshkes, PhD, is on the faculty of PSU’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. She’s spearheading the project and is working with students to turn the block into a “living lab” by planning a myriad of activities throughout the month. Architecture students will build “street seats” where people currently park cars. May is Bike Month and Pride Month at PSU. Clint Culpepper with PSU’s Transportation & Parking Services says pride will be a big theme.

“The first thing people mention when they hear we’re blocking off the street is, ‘We should do that permanently.'”
— Clint Culpepper, PSU Transportation & Parking Services

Culpepper said in a phone interview this morning that he and other staffers hope the block will someday become a permanent carfree plaza. For now, the plan will be to block auto access with large planters (bicycle users will still be allowed to pass through) and create a large-scale, pride-themed painting on the street that will cover the entire block. “The street will appear quite different from Broadway and 6th. It will be a clear demarcation that this is not just a street for folks driving through; but that you’re meant to walk on it.”

In addition to the painting, street seats, and even opera performances, there will be a lighting project to activate the space after dark. Five street trees will be illuminated and cycle through different colors.

Feedback from student and staff surveys has been overwhelmingly positive, Culpepper says. “The first thing people mention when they hear we’re blocking off the street in May is, ‘We should do that permanently.'”

This section of Montgomery is surrounded on all sides by PSU campus buildings, but the right-of-way itself is owned by the City of Portland. Culpepper says they’re working closely with the Portland Bureau of Transportation to pull off the month-long project. With thousands of people walking and biking on the campus every day, Culpepper wants to make sure there’s no negative impacts to them or to drivers who need to pass through the campus.

“Hopefully this is a launching pad for an annual event,” Culpepper said. “If we can do that, then we can drum up support and financing to make it a permanent plaza.”

Stay tuned for more details as May approaches.

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

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Commissioner Eudaly pushes tolls instead of new lanes on I-5 through Rose Quarter

Bike Portland - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 07:03

PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

In yet another piece of very good news for people who are concerned about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plans to expand Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter, Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly released a pointed statement via Facebook about the project on Tuesday evening.

Eudaly said she’s joining the Portland Public Schools Board, Albina Vision, and other groups in calling for a more thorough analysis of the project’s impacts to the community. “I believe it’s more than called for,” she wrote, referring to her belief that ODOT should complete a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) instead of just an Environmental Assessment (EA, learn more about the differences between the two here).

“The added auxiliary lanes on I-5 will not deliver meaningful safety, environmental, or equity benefits to Portland.”
— Chloe Eudaly, Portland City Commissioner

Going further, Eudaly expressed serious doubts about the project. She dismissed its planned freeway expansion and surface street improvements as merely “nice” and said, “As it stands the added auxiliary lanes on I-5 will not deliver meaningful safety, environmental, or equity benefits to Portland.”

Despite her misgivings, Eudaly says since funds for the project were passed by the legislature (via HB 2017, which included $30 million to pay for project bonds starting in 2022), there’s nothing she and her City Council colleagues can do about it. “These funds, which come from the State Highway Fund, are restricted and not under my control, neither is the highway, or any ODOT owned properties in our city,” she wrote. Eudaly also revealed that she’s been told if the I-5 Rose Quarter project dies, the funds would simply be reallocated to another freeway expansion project in the region. (Note: Eudaly refers to “all $500 million for the highway and surface streets,” but that’s not what the legislature has approved for the project.)

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Eudaly also echoed the opinion expressed by Metro Council President Lynn Peterson on Monday, that ODOT needs to do much more to embrace the Albina Vision plan. She even used the term “remediation” when calling for ODOT to do more to mitigate the harms of past Rose Quarter developments on black people who lived in the now-razed Albina neighborhood. Remediation is the same word used by Albina Vision spokesperson Rukaiyah Adams in her own stinging assessment of ODOT’s conduct around the project thus far.

“I urge all who support this approach to contact the OTC and let them know that you support Portland’s Central City Plan and expect congestion pricing to be part of any work on the I-5 corridor.”

And despite ODOT’s attempts to decouple congestion pricing from this project, Commissioner Eudaly said she thinks making people pay to drive on this section of the freeway is “the best solution for reducing traffic.” She feels so strongly about congestion pricing she plans to send a letter to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC, the governor-appointed body that oversees ODOT), “reminding them” that the Portland’s Central City Plan was amended last year specifically to ensure that congestion pricing is in place prior to the completion of the I-5 Rose Quarter project.

“I urge all who support this approach to contact the OTC,” Eudaly wrote, “and let them know that you support Portland’s Central City Plan and expect congestion pricing to be part of any work on the I-5 corridor.”

As per HB 2017, all revenue collected from congestion pricing would go into a “Congestion Relief Fund.” ODOT spokesperson Don Hamilton told me via email in February 2018 that, “Specific decisions about how to allocate those funds will be determined later.”

Eudaly’s statement puts the City of Portland in a strange position: For many months now, ODOT staff has touted the close partnership and support they have from PBOT on this project. Now PBOT staff are in the awkward position of having to work on a project their own Commissioner isn’t too thrilled about.

In related news, the Congress for New Urbanism put I-5 on its list of Freeways Without a Future report released today.

CORRECTION, 4/4: An earlier version of this story said revenue from Congestion Relief Fund would be managed via the State Highway Fund. That was incorrect. New tolling revenue would not be part of the highway fund. I regret the error.

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

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Man nets big haul of nails and screws on a walk across the St. Johns Bridge

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 16:07

Part of the haul. See more below.
(Photo: Imgur via Reddit)

A reader shared a Reddit post with us that underscores the poor conditions bicycle riders face on the St. Johns Bridge.

From leaves in fall and gravel in winter, to nails and illegally parked cars and delivery trucks — it sometimes feels like we face a constant barrage of hazards while biking around Portland.

That being said, it’s nice to know people care enough to take matters into their own hands and clean things up.

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This Redditor bought a magnet, walked the length of the St. Johns Bridge and says he picked up about 100-200 nails, screws and other objects. Just imagine how many flat tires he prevented!

We are grateful for his service. It reminds me of Portland’s bike lane trash hauler Danny Dunn and Bill Stites’ pedal-powered bike lane sweeper we profiled back in November.

Read more about this civic hero over on the Reddit thread, where many people have thanked him for preventing flat tires.

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

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Route Advisory: Sewer work will close Better Naito for one week

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 14:45

The Bureau of Environmental Services needs to do a sewer repair project that will close Better Naito for a week starting next Monday (4/9).

Below is the official notice from BES:

The closure will be in effect 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday. The project is slated to be complete on Friday, April 13. Work crews will not know the extent of damage until they excavate the area under the street and there is a possibility the time frame will be extended.

Environmental Services has determined that a sewer pipe under the road surface is severely deteriorated and at risk of failure. The repair will protect public health and the environment by reducing the possibility of a sewage release to the park and street.

The work zone is centered around a manhole on the west side of Salmon Springs in Waterfront Park. Crews will use the manhole to reach and repair the sewer pipe which extends from the manhole west along SW Salmon Street. The section needing repair is directly under Better Naito.

People traveling along the Better Naito bicycle and pedestrian lane will be detoured to Waterfront Park:

— Northbound travelers will be routed to Waterfront Park at SW Main Street, then along the Waterfront Park trail, and back to Better Naito on SW Yamhill Street.
— Southbound travelers will be routed to Waterfront Park on SW Yamhill Street, then along Waterfront Park, and back to Better Naito at SW Main Street.

People traveling by bicycle on SW Salmon Street will have the option of merging with northbound auto traffic for about a block before returning to Better Naito.

Environmental Services asks all travelers to be patient and use caution, and for people on bicycles to travel slowly and watch out for pedestrians on the Waterfront Park trail.

In related news a two-month closure of a popular section of the Eastbank Esplanade between Hawthorne and Steel Bridges is over! The path is open and the new pavement is nice and smooooth.

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

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PBOT moves forward with I-205 path undercrossing project

Bike Portland - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 13:47

Proposed alignment in red. (Graphic: PBOT)

“The sooner this happens, the better. This crossing is currently a major obstacle to even the most dedicated bike commuter.”
— Carl Alviani

At their meeting tomorrow, Portland City Council will formally accept a $1.68 million grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation for the I-205 Undercrossing project.

This project is a key link to several projects in east Portland and will help create access to the bike park at Gateway Green as well existing and future neighborhood greenways, paths, and bikeways. The proposed project will create the first section of the long-awaited Sullivan’s Gulch path. It will build a new path connecting the I-205 path at Gateway Green on the east side of 205 to NE Hancock Drive on the west side of the freeway. The plan is to go under the I-84 westbound on-ramp and use a mix of railroad and vacant ODOT highway right-of-way.

Once complete, this new, 0.4-mile long path will also connect the Tillamook Neighborhood Greenway on the west side of I-205 with the forthcoming Tillamook-Holladay-Oregon-Pacific (T-HOP) Neighborhood Greenway which is scheduled to begin construction this summer. A safer crossing of I-205 will also help connect to PBOT’s Gateway to Opportunity project on the Halsey/Weidler corridor.

The new undercrossing will also provide much-needed access to Gateway Green bike park. Currently, people coming from the west are forced onto the sidewalk of the NE Halsey overpass and then faced with crossing the arterial and riding through large parking lots to get to the I-205 path.

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Current eastbound bike route puts you up on a sidewalk opposing traffic on NE Halsey overpass.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“The sooner this happens, the better,” wrote Carl Alviani in a comment submitted to ODOT in support of the project, “this crossing is currently a major obstacle to even the most dedicated bike commuter, and fixing it a crucial pre-condition for a working Sullivan’s Gulch multi-use path. You want people to get out of their cars and off I-84 for their morning commute? Give them a straight shot into the city on their bikes, without having to worry about getting run over while crossing the street.”

Cassie Capone commented that she is, “Thrilled about this project!” and that it’s a necessary component to safe access to and from Gateway. “Crossing the Halsey Bridge over 205 on a bike is unsafe and stressful and the alternatives are significantly out of the way.”

In 2015 we reported that this was one of the top five priorities of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee. We also shared an close-up view of where it will go on a June 2016 bike tour with East Portland Action Plan’s Bike Committee.

With this grant funding in hand, PBOT will begin the public involvement and design/engineering phase of the project. Construction is slated to begin in 2021.

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

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SDOT and Mayor Durkan release more transparent, less visionary bike plan

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 11:45

Draft map from the 2019 Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan (PDF)

26 miles of bike facilities are gone completely, and another 27 are at risk. That’s the harsh reality of the latest iteration of the Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan (the “Bike Plan Plan”).

The result is what could be a more transparent bike plan the city has put forth in the years since voters approved Move Seattle, but it’s not visionary. The latest plan officially abandons the goal of keeping the 20-year Bicycle Master Plan on track for completion and will leave massive gaps in the citywide bike network even if every project included is constructed on schedule. And given our recent experience with Mayor Jenny Durkan cancelling the 35th Ave NE bike lanes, that’s hardly a sure thing.

SDOT will present this plan to the City Council Transportation Committee 2 p.m. today (Tuesday). Stay tuned for updates from that meeting or watch via Seattle Channel.

By the end of 2016, the 20-year Bicycle Master Plan was 28% complete (it started at 22% in 2013). One year later, it was 29% complete. One percent per year is dismal progress. It’s hard to imagine how the project list in this latest update puts the city within 5 years of achieving Vision Zero or on track to fulfill its ambitious Climate Action Plan goals.

There is one measure, though, where Seattle is making huge progress: Ridership. And that’s the most important one. The city’s annual bike counts saw an incredible 12% increase in 2017-2018, almost certainly powered by the boom in private bike share services coupled with significant bike route improvements like the 2nd Ave bike lane extension and the Westlake Bikeway. This is amazing, and despite all the other frustrations in this update, let’s not lose sight of this success. Seattle’s efforts to help more people get around by bike are working. We need city leadership to build on this success, not fight it.

In addition to the big bike network cuts, the plan highlights another 27 miles “with known risks,” which could be due to partnership dependencies (such as project where Sound Transit also has a say), where Federal funding is unknown or where the politics could be sticky (car parking!).

But as easy as it is to get angry or discouraged when looking through the latest plan, at least advocates can now see what the city is actually planning rather than being repeatedly blindsided by disappointing setbacks and cuts. The new plan may also provide a much-needed solid step for bike and safe streets advocates to stand on after years of what has felt like free fall. Because this is now Mayor Durkan’s plan.

This doesn’t mean people should just accept this plan and stop fighting to get important projects back. It is devastating to see so many of the Bike Plan’s goals abandoned like this. It is very frustrating to see that the city does not plan a single connection between Rainier Valley and downtown before the end of this levy, for example, and deletions like that are worth fighting to restore. But at least now most of those projects that just sort of vanished from the radar have reappeared somewhere. It may be in the delete pile, but at least you now have a place to start working again. (Erica Barnett at the C Is For Crank says she combed through the project lists and found 11 projects that seem to have disappeared between the 2017 and 2019 plans).

There are many ways to measure bike progress, and the city is doing poorly by most of them. If you focus on mileage, at best, the city is currently building less than half of what is needed each year to keep the 20-year Bicycle Master Plan on track. Since the City Council unanimously passed the master plan in 2014, The city has never even gotten close to building the 24 miles of bicycle facilities per year that would have been needed on average to reach that goal over 20 years. To reach the less ambitious goal laid out by the Move Seattle Levy (for half the plan to be complete by the end of the levy, including the miles previously constructed), the city would need to build about 20 miles of bicycle facilities every year now through the end of the levy in 2024. This latest plan shows that they are not going to try to do that, aiming for more like 10 miles per year if every project is constructed on schedule.

The other half was supposed to come from a mix of paving project partnerships (like 35th Ave NE, which has been cancelled), Federal funding that either SDOT has not been successfully applying for or has otherwise not come through (Trump’s administration isn’t exactly going out of its way to fund Seattle’s grant requests), and the planned “multimodal corridor” projects that have been slashed heavily. The price per mile for bike lanes, especially downtown, are quite a bit higher than the average cost assumed in the levy.

But bike facility mileage is not necessarily the most important measure, since bike network connections are the city’s real issue. A mile in a low-density part of town is hardly comparable to a mile downtown, for example. So if the city were going to miss their mileage goals because they bit off ambitious, game-changing and expensive sections instead, that could be a very worthy trade-off. But that’s not really what’s happening, either. The cut list includes many of those high-impact and difficult bike lanes, the kinds of projects that we need most. Rainier Ave between at least Mount Baker Station and Dearborn tops the list, for sure, but also Beacon Ave and N 40th Street and many others that ended up in the scrap pile:

But even more concerning is that the bulk of the remaining high-impact projects are included under projects “with risks” or “with known risks”:

Only 36 miles of bike facilities are considered at “low risk,” and only 30 of those miles are funded through construction:


Organizing projects by “risk” is really interesting. On one hand, it’s more transparent. SDOT isn’t pretending that they don’t see ways projects could falter. They are basically daylighting concerns they previously held behind the scenes.

But on the other hand, it sure makes the rest of the levy feel very uneasy. And it gives the impression that SDOT is not fully dedicated to accomplishing even this massively reduced project list. At a time when people upset about bike lanes successfully killed them on 35th Ave NE on a purely political basis, it’s hard to have faith that the city is ready to go to bat for these difficult but important bike network connections.

And even if this list inspires advocates for bike lanes and safer streets to get organized to push each and every one of them through, is that really the best way for our city to operate? People who drive are not expected to pack City Hall to fight for a multi-million-dollar paving project in their neighborhood, those projects just happen as the regular course of SDOT business. But people who bike are expected to do so for every little 0.13-mile segment of bike lane? That’s asking an awful lot of people, many of whom already volunteered lots of time and energy to creating this plan and passing the levy to fund it. I mean, I’m sure people will do it, but I wish city leaders would challenge advocates with a more empowering goal than just protecting the remaining scraps of a bike plan they already worked to pass.

And that leads into my biggest issue with this plan update: Vision. Seattle has very lofty goals, and the people of this city believe in them. This plan does not inspire. It shies away from most of the hardest stuff and, even if fully completed, leaves huge parts of our city disconnected. It does not improve equitable access to biking, and it does not hold the promise of making game-changing connections to seriously increase the number of people biking to get around. It is a diminished list of projects that will be steps in the right direction, but won’t be nearly enough.

This also feels like an inflection point for Seattle bicycle and safe streets advocacy. There is a big new near-term workload to accomplish that is going to need a lot of new voices and leaders. That could mean you. SDOT’s Bicycle Program is also in the midst of huge staff turnover, including the retirement of longtime program leader Sam Woods, a true legend. So Seattle needs ambitious and creative professionals to fill those roles. Keep a lookout for job listings.

But this is also the time to start planning for how the city can close gaps so wide that even the largest transportation levy in city history falls so short. I don’t know what that looks like, but now is the time to start the ground work to make it happen.

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