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With Naito transformed, Better Block launches its biggest summer yet

Posted by on May 3rd, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Better Naito kickoff-12.jpg
You should start getting used to streets that look like this.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Is there a more Portland story than a group of “tactical urbanists” who go from putting up chairs and tables in parking spaces to partnering with the City of Portland on several major projects in less than three years? That’s the story of Better Block PDX, the all-volunteer group of aspiring engineers, transportation activists and urban planners who today kicked off the what they’re calling “the largest temporary street transformation in America.”

And that’s just one-third of their summer workload.


- Huntco is the official sponsor of BikePortland's bike parking coverage.-
Huntco Site Furnishings

Portland-region committee gives middling marks to NW Flanders bridge project

Posted by on May 3rd, 2016 at 12:10 pm

flanders bridge span
The span at Flanders and I-405.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The prospects for rapid state funding of a biking-walking bridge across Interstate 405 dimmed somewhat Monday as a regional advisory committee appointed by the Oregon Department of Transportion ranked it as only the eighth off-street transportation priority for the Portland region.

Top marks went to a 19-acre, $2.6 million parking lot that would help the Ford Motor Co. export more cars to China — though only if Ford agrees to increase its exports via the Port of Portland, which it hasn’t.


The Ride: Exploring the Gifford Pinchot National Forest ‘Hinterland’

Posted by on May 3rd, 2016 at 10:01 am

Into the Hinterland we go.(All photos courtesy Ron Lewis/OMTM.com)

Into the Hinterland we go.
(All photos courtesy Ron Lewis/OMTM.cc)

Welcome to The Ride, our occassional series where we share amazing adventures in Portland and beyond. If you have a ride to share and want to see it featured here, drop me a line.

Just across the Columbia River from Oregon the Gifford Pinchot National Forest beckons bike adventurers. Last year I spent a very memorable day getting to know it better during the Gifford Gravel 50 (which is back for its second running this Saturday).


Car-sharing service Turo builds slowly, nears 50 cars in metro area

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016 at 3:55 pm

turo cars
Turo’s website lists just under 50 cars for rental.

If you own a car but don’t use it much, or if you don’t own a car but want one occasionally, your options keep getting better.

First came CarSharing Portland (the company that reintroduced car-sharing to the country in 1998) and its corporate successors Flexcar and Zipcar. Later came car2go, which was like Zipcar but you could return it anywhere inside the service area. And Getaround, which let people make money by essentially turning their personal car into a Zipcar.

Now, Turo is making a bid to increase its usage in the Portland area. The company essentially lets people turn their personal car into a Hertz: it’s like Getaround but it’s optimized for car rentals that last one or more days at a time.


With $1.5 million proposal for Naito, Mayor puts money where his mouth is

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016 at 3:10 pm

new bike lane on Naito
The existing bike lanes on Naito are outdated.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales released his final proposed budget this morning and it includes funding for a project we’ve been hoping to see materialize for several years: improved access for biking on Naito Parkway. $1.46 million to be exact. It was one of 14 infrastructure projects and over $42 million in new spending he’s put on the table.


Bicycle rider ticketed for running red light and ‘careless driving’ after injury crash in Lloyd District

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016 at 1:13 pm

View southbound on 15th with eastbound Weidler traffic on the right.

View southbound on 15th with eastbound Weidler traffic on the right.

Here’s something you don’t hear about very often. In fact, I don’t recall this ever happening…

According to the Portland Police Bureau 50-year-old Donna Leslie was biking south on NE 15th this morning at about 7:15 am and was involved in a collision when she attempted to cross NE Weidler (map). 49-year-old David Kennedy was driving his car eastbound and police say he had the green light prior to the crash.

Leslie, a City of Portland employee who works in the Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau, was transported to the hospital via ambulance. The extent of her injuries are unknown at this time but police say they’re not expected to be life-threatening.

After hearing about this crash on Twitter, we followed up with PPB Spokesman Peter Simpson. Simpson said responding officers interviewed witnesses and conducted an investigation. “Multiple witnesses told police that Leslie was riding her bicycle southbound on 15th Avenue and failed to stop at the red light at Weidler,” Simpson shared with us via email. Based on this, officers issued two citations to Leslie: one for Careless Driving (with a crash, ORS 811.135) and one for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device.


An e-bike maker has finally made an ad that competes with the auto industry

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016 at 10:55 am

Love the symbolism of leaving the car in the driveway.(Screengrab from Stromer)

The star of the ad leaves his car in the driveway.
(Screengrab from Stromer)

Biking in America suffers from a major image problem. Bike riders are rarely seen as cool, conquering heros in movies or advertisements the way auto users are. While we do our activism and political lobbying here and there, it has very limited impact when our entire culture is consumed by media that makes automobiles look like sexy, must-have products.

Many car commercials are fake, mean-spirited, and promote dangerous driving; but with billions of dollars to spend, the auto industry knows how to win the hearts and minds of Americans. The bike industry? Not so much. More often than not bike advertisements focus too much on racing or too much on the corny stuff bike advocates love but that non-believers (an important marketing target) can’t relate to or simply don’t care about. Granted, the marketing budget of the entire bike industry is probably equal to what Ford spends on office coffee for a week. But still.

Then I saw a new ad for Stromer bikes over the weekend….


It’s Bike Month – what’s your bicycle evangelism story?

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016 at 9:20 am

Tour de Fat 2008-27.jpg
Nothing like starting off Bike Month with 80-degree temps!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to May, the month that bicycle lovers go forth and multiply.

Now that National Bike Month lines up with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike More Challenge and also with the Month that Portland Weather Starts Being Awesome on a Fairly Regular Basis, it seems fitting to spend some time reflecting on the way bicycles reproduce in our auto-oriented society: recruitment.


The Monday Roundup: Tokenism in advocacy, murals in Montreal, handcycling in London and more

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016 at 9:01 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by Hassalo on Eighth, Portland’s newest bike-friendly community.

Here are the bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Bike-path murals: Montréal may allow them.

Bikes and disability: In London, about 15 percent of people with disabilities bike for transportation compared to 18 percent of people without disabilities, observes wheelchair handcyclist Isabelle Clement.


Ex-Minneapolis mayor prods Portland region to rethink transportation

Posted by on April 29th, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Mayor R.T. Rybak challenged Portland-area leaders in an address at the Oregon Convention Center on April 22, 2016.(Photo: Metro)

Mayor R.T. Rybak challenged Portland-area leaders in an address at the Oregon Convention Center on April 22, 2016.
(Photo: Metro)

This article was originally submitted by Metro as a subscriber post.

Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak praised and provoked Portland-area leaders at a forum last Friday, challenging them to work together to address growing transportation dilemmas facing Portland and metropolitan regions around the country.

Rybak, a three-term mayor from 2002 to 2014, spoke with humor, humility and bluntness at a regional leadership forum at the Oregon Convention Center, kicking off Metro’s 2018 update of its regional transportation plan.


State Parks: Do you want a new bike/walk only bridge on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail?

Posted by on April 29th, 2016 at 12:00 pm

The Top Hill Trestle above Highway 47 south of Vernonia.(Image: State of Oregon)

The Tophill Trestle above Highway 47 south of Vernonia.
(Image: State of Oregon)

The 21-mile Banks-Vernonia State Trail is a gem. This former railway route makes a vital connection in our regional bikeway network and the path has become a huge success, drawing thousands of adventure seekers and weekend warriors on sunny weekends. But if there’s one thing about it that could be improved, it’s the crossings — especially where it crosses Highway 47.

Now Oregon State Parks is embarking on a project that could make one key crossing better — and possibly lay the groundwork for a new biking/walking bridge over the highway.

The old Tophill Trestle sits just east of where the B-V Trail crosses Highway 47 about nine miles south of Vernonia at the Tophill parking lot and trailhead. It’s at mile 12 or about the half-way point of the path. On either side of the highway crossing the path descends and then climbs very steeply through a series of switchbacks. It’s so steep and windy that the state has signs encouraging people to walk their bikes. (Confession: On one foggy wintry morning a few years ago I crashed going down the south side!)

It’s easy to see why the railroad’s original route avoided this canyon by making a gradual and level turn high above where the highway runs today. The graphic below shows the two routes. The railway trestle is in yellow and the B-V Trail is blue.


A vision for traffic diverters at every neighborhood greenway crossing of a major street

Posted by on April 29th, 2016 at 10:38 am

Northeast Portland reimagined.
(Image: Terry Dublinski-Milton)

Let no one say that Terry Dublinski-Milton lacks vision.

The advocate for better neighborhood greenways — back in 2012, before he teamed up with BikeLoudPDX, the Southeast Uplift neighborhood coalition and other groups, he founded a niche greenway advocacy campaign called C.O.P.I.N.G. with Bikes — unveiled a map yesterday of what it’d look like if traffic diversion were required “at or near every greenway crossing of a neighborhood collector, corridor or civic corridor” in inner northeast Portland.

Neighborhood greenways are low-traffic, low-stress side streets, mostly developed in Vancouver BC and Portland, that have become the backbone of Portland’s biking network. The city has long used diverters to reduce auto traffic on a a street; last year it created formal guidlines for determining when to install a diverter to keep auto traffic on a neighborhood greenway below 2,000.


TriMet’s draft Bike Plan will be unveiled next week

Posted by on April 28th, 2016 at 1:53 pm

TriMet's new Bike Plan website.

Screen grab of TriMet’s new Bike Plan website.

The TriMet Bike Plan has been in the works since last July and now the agency is ready to share the first draft. TriMet has announced four open houses and a new online comment system that will give you the chance to share your feedback.

Here’s how TriMet describes the plan:

TriMet is creating a Bike Plan to serve as a roadmap to help guide future investments in biking infrastructure and amenities. The plan is focused on making bike and transit trips easier, safer and more convenient for more people. As biking extends the reach of transit, improving bike access to transit stops and stations, expanding parking options, and accommodating bikes on board buses and trains helps keep our region moving, reduce congestion and helps keep our air clean. The goal of the plan is to make bike+transit trips easier, safer and more convenient for more people.

And here are the details on all four open houses:


May offers two chances to see progress of Vision Zero efforts

Posted by on April 28th, 2016 at 1:18 pm

VISIONZEROSOCIALMEDIA_640X295Next month will be a good time to re-assess where Portland is in its quest toward Vision Zero. Two events on the calendar will bring experts and electeds to the table to share ideas and hear what you think about the current state of traffic safety.

On May 9th, the City of Portland will open up their Vision Zero Executive Committee to the public for a special listening session. This 13-member committee includes Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea, Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, PBOT Director Leah Treat, Oregon Department of Transportation Region 1 Director Rian Windsheimer, TriMet Director Neil McFarlane, two Multnomah County Commissioners, the head of Portland Fire and Rescue, a Metro councilor, and three members of the Oregon State Legislature.

They’ll provide an update on their work and then they’ll spend 45 minutes listening to the public. Anyone can show up and speak for up to two minutes. If you’d like to share your thoughts with this committee, sign up in advance by emailing visionzero@portlandoregon.gov or call (503) 823-9415. Others will be allowed to speak only if there’s enough time. Comment cards will be provided to people who don’t get a chance.


Dueling petitions: NE 7th Avenue greenway supporters swamp 9th as council votes

Posted by on April 28th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

7th 9th petitions
Take your pick.

The debate over the best route for a future NE 7th/9th neighborhood greenway is, for the moment, largely about appearances. But in this week’s battle for appearances, backers of a 7th Avenue route are definitely winning.

As we mentioned in Monday’s coverage of this issue, an anonymous supporter of a 9th Avenue route launched a petition on Sunday in which he or she suggested that a 7th Avenue route would send traffic spilling onto other small residential streets. As of this writing, it’s got 50 signatures.

Yesterday morning, resident Montse Shepherd started a competing petition in favor of a 7th Avenue route, itemizing 16 reasons for that route. 26 hours later, it’s drawn 368 signatures.


Man says he was doored intentionally on NE Tillamook this morning

Posted by on April 28th, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Riding on Alberta-1
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s a reason bicycle operators are legally defined in Oregon as “vulnerable roadway users.” We use the streets without all the steel and glass that protects others. And that’s why we take harassment and road rage so seriously. Even when people think they’re just pulling what they think is a harmless stunt like revving an engine or “rolling coal,” they often have no idea just how much their actions hurt and scare us.

BikePortland reader Reed Andrews says he was the victim of a “prank” last night that left him trembling with fear and the aggressors laughing in delight.

Here’s his story:


Shedding my seriousness one wacky group ride at a time

Posted by on April 28th, 2016 at 11:42 am

Keeping a fake mustache on during a balmy June afternoon is no small feat.

Keeping a fake mustache on during a balmy June afternoon is no small feat.
(Photos: Kate Laudermilk)

Kate Laudermilk, our Gal by Bike columnist, previously wrote about the Little 500 bike race.

It’s a slippery slope.  One minute you’re teaching one of your best friends how to ride a bike and the next you’re gliding through Portland on your trusty steeds, surrounded by thousands of bikes and bodies with your breasts hangin’ out. This is the magic of the Portland bike community — a community that has made me feel more youthful and free spirited than I did when I was but a gal of nineteen.


Wednesday Video Roundup: Mountain biking the world, a garage race, cool cargo bike, and more

Posted by on April 28th, 2016 at 8:07 am

[Publisher’s note: Yes we know it’s Thursday. Sorry. – Jonathan]

Welcome to this week’s roundup! Our first video (above) shows current research into reusing front derailleurs now that the 1X systems are gaining in popularity. What’s your favorite reuse of this component?


New Seasons on Williams Ave pays undisclosed sum for 47 more auto parking spaces

Posted by on April 27th, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Parking at New Seasons on Williams
A sign at New Seasons Market on Williams Avenue.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The costs of “free” parking have been hidden inside the price of almost everything we buy, but it’s rare to see an example as straightforward as this one.

The New Seasons Market on Williams Avenue, which like virtually every grocery store in the city doesn’t charge you to park a car on their property, recently started renting 47 parking spaces from an apartment building across Ivy Street that charges $175 a month for resident parking.

New Seasons won’t disclose what it’s paying to rent the new spaces — “we keep our real estate transactions confidential,” spokeswoman Mea Irving said Wednesday — but if they were paying the same $175 per month as residents, those 47 spaces would cost $98,700 a year.


With a new ride and race venue, Columbia County looks to embrace cycling

Posted by on April 27th, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-32
A new century ride will bring more people to roads like these in Columbia County.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

With a new event ride and an outdoor events park that will host mountain bike races this summer, Columbia County is quickly starting to fulfill its vast potential as a bicycle recreation destination.