As big bike investments loom, the debate goes on: Which neighborhoods need most?

Posted by on August 4th, 2015 at 9:58 am

SW Portland bikeways-2
Southwest Portland’s bikeways need huge work. But is that work more important than improving areas that have immediate ridership potential?
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The debate is familiar. But lately, we’ve been hearing an interesting twist to this story: there might actually be a way to resolve it.

Portland is getting ready for a burst of its biggest biking investments in years, and it’s prompted a creative proposal for confronting one of the stickiest issues in local politics.

The city is preparing to put $6 million toward its first high-quality downtown bike lane network. Next year, a $5.2 million upgrade of Foster Road will make that highway-style street much safer to walk, bike and drive on between SE 52nd and SE 90th. Another $4.2 million will create a 130s Greenway; another greenway running east from Gateway Transit Center; and bike facilities on Division Street as far east as 130th. The $2.4 million 20s Bikeway Project is being built piece by piece.


Get Metro's newly updated Bike There! map

It’s time: Bridge Pedal will open Tilikum Crossing Sunday, followed by ‘The People’s Preview’

Posted by on August 3rd, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People
Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People.
(Photo: TriMet)

If you, like us, have spent the last five years dreaming of the day you’ll be pedaling across Portland’s lovely new car-free bridge, this weekend is your first chance.

The Tilikum Crossing will temporarily open to bike traffic this Sunday, Aug. 9, for two events: first, the Providence Bridge Pedal, the paid ride that loops across Portland’s Willamette River bridges and doubles as a fundraiser for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance; and second, a three-hour open window that TriMet is calling “The People’s Preview.”


The Monday Roundup: Parenting by bike, hidden auto taxes & more

Posted by on August 3rd, 2015 at 9:43 am

amsterdam mom
Just another day in Amsterdam.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

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

Parenting by bike: A diary travel study of 37 Dutch women concluded that mothers there bike as much as childless women and see transporting their kids by bike as “pleasant and natural.”

Hidden costs: Todd Litman notes that to build an auto-dependent city is essentially to put a tax on your population — hidden in the cost of their car payments and gas bills.


City parking reform proposal would limit apartment dwellers’ access to parking permits

Posted by on July 31st, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Under the concept, residents of the mixed commercial zone along Southeast Ankeny Street wouldn’t be allowed to buy permits to park cars on nearby residential streets unless there were spaces left unused by nearby residents.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After months of research and discussion with a massive stakeholders’ group, the Portland Bureau of Transportation on Thursday circulated its first concept for how to deal with shortages of free on-street car parking in some neighborhoods.

The proposal, which the city described Friday as “preliminary,” combines two main ideas:

1) Neighborhoods would get the option to vote to start charging themselves a yet-to-be-determined amount for overnight street parking, and

2) people who live in most of the buildings along commercial corridors wouldn’t get to park in permit-parking areas overnight unless people who live in nearby residences don’t want the space.


Car2go’s firestorm over shrunken service area reawakens concerns about bikeshare coverage

Posted by on July 31st, 2015 at 11:57 am

car2go home area
Car2go’s new service area.
(Image: car2go)

Soon after introducing bike racks to half its fleet, the floating-fleet car-sharing service car2go has made a much less popular change: it’s slicing its Portland service area by about a third.

The company said that areas east of 60th Avenue and northwest of Portsmouth, including Montavilla, Cully, Lents and St. Johns, had accounted for only 8 percent of trips and that 90 percent of car2go users surveyed said they were unsatisfied with vehicle availability. The company says that eliminating the least-used parts of the service area will lead to more car density in the remaining areas.

But that didn’t prevent digital howls Friday from disappointed users of the service — some of whom compared the problem to the one that’ll be faced by any future bikesharing system in Portland, too.


Across Oregon, traffic fatalities abruptly return almost to pre-recession levels

Posted by on July 31st, 2015 at 9:47 am

For Oregon’s roads, the first seven months of 2015 have been the deadliest since 2008.


Jobs of the Week: Velotech, Oregon Walks, Chris King, The Bike Commuter

Posted by on July 31st, 2015 at 8:18 am

We’ve had four great jobs listed this week. Learn more about them via the links below…


Weekend Event Guide: Raging Waters fountain ride, intersection painting & more

Posted by on July 31st, 2015 at 7:55 am

Splash Dance Ride-6-5
The Salmon Street Fountain will be the last stop at tonight’s water-themed Portland Bike Party. Bring a swimsuit.
(Photo © J.Maus/BikePortland)

This menu of delicious rides and events is brought to you by our friends at Hopworks Urban Brewery. Their support makes BikePortland possible.

The peak of summer isn’t letting us go yet. This week’s heat wave will continue through this first weekend of August before slackening off. It’s a perfect reminder to savor what we’ve got, at least in between gulps of water. There’s plenty of outdoor fun to choose from.

Friday, July 31

Fly to Pie Kid Ride – 2 p.m. at Oregon Park (NE Hoyt and 29th)
Bike-based clowns Olive and Dingo lead a ride celebrating fairies, bugs, birds, bats, squirrels and of course flying monkeys. Put on your wings and ride to the Pie Spot for food and story time. Suggested $5 donation includes balloon animals and clown show. More info here.


With new ‘Livable Streets’ subgroup, BikeLoud will commemorate road deaths by all modes

Posted by on July 30th, 2015 at 3:15 pm

livable streets fb
The Facebook page for the new “subgroup”
Livable Streets Action.

A new group called Livable Streets Action is taking the tactics that have won a string of victories for local biking this spring and summer and applying them to other modes, too.

Organizer Dan Kaufman, a videographer and longtime local social justice advocate who has helped organize demonstrations for transportation activism group BikeLoudPDX and the bike-based but non-transportation-focused group Bike Swarm, referred to Livable Streets Action as a “subgroup” of those other groups.

Livable Streets Action’s first event is tomorrow, a Friday afternoon commemoration for Marlene Popps, a woman who was hit by a car and left for dead on the evening of July 4 at the corner of SE 60th and Holgate. She died of her injuries July 21.


Another outsider’s take: A British bike journalist on Portland

Posted by on July 30th, 2015 at 8:29 am

carlton reid
Carlton Reid in Grant Park in June.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Many BikePortland readers are familiar with the work of Carlton Reid, a leading writer for the U.K. news outlet BikeBiz. As of last month, Reid is familiar with Portland, too.

Reid stopped through town for a few days on a tour promoting his new popular history of early bicycling, Roads Were Not Built for Cars. As a side project, he also put together one of the most concisely accurate summaries I’ve seen of Portland and biking at this moment in our history.

Here’s a passage from the piece published today on BikeBiz:

Bike commuters may dominate in some bohemian enclaves but across the city they make up just six percent of the total. This is stellar by U.S. standards – ten times the norm, in fact – but in comparison with, say, Copenhagen, it’s not even in the same galaxy.

Stats can be misleading though. When riding around Portland it’s clear this is a city where, in certain areas, cycling is perfectly normal, not just for getting to work but for running errands or riding to a night out. Bars and shops have bike-corrals (rows of cycle parking hoops instead of car parking spaces) and the light rail system is geared up to take bikes. Portland’s six percent modal share has to be seen in context – in 1990 it was just 1 percent. Between 2000 and 2008 the civic authority’s proactive bicycle programme helped add the other five percent, and the city has held it at that level ever since. Ten percent of kids cycle to school, nine percentage points higher than the U.S. national average.


Police response to Greenpeace action closes south sidewalk of St Johns Bridge (updated)

Posted by on July 29th, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Activists hang from the St. Johns Bridge
to block an oil ship’s passage.
(Photo: Greenpeace USA)

Update 5:45 p.m.: Police now say that only the southeast sidewalk (upstream, closer to downtown Portland) is closed and that officers were mistaken when they previously blocked people from crossing the bridge on bike or foot.

“It was just that someone didn’t get told,” Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Greg Stewart said Wednesday evening. “We’re just having people use the other side of the street.”

An updated version of the original post follows.

Some Portland police officers ordered the sidewalks of the St. Johns bridge closed to foot and bike traffic in response to a direct action on the bridge Wednesday.

Late Wednesday, police changed their operation and closed only the southeast (upstream) sidewalk to people on foot or bike.


More biking = better driving. So why isn’t this said more often?

Posted by on July 29th, 2015 at 2:01 pm

kyle at daimler parking
Supercommuter Kyle Carlson preparing to head home.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

An article published today by the Portland-based magazine Oregon Business takes a look at a handful of local bike-commuting superstars who regularly pedal 20 to 40 miles each way to work and back.

Biking fans won’t find many surprises in the piece, though that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment of interviewees like Kyle Carlson, a recent Friday Profile subject here at BikePortland who bikes 39 miles from Hillsboro to North Portland and back several times a week.

But one passage in the post is a little unfamiliar in Portland’s transportation conversation these days. It’s the simple but (for some reason) rarely discussed fact that if Portland doesn’t decrease the percentage of trips that happen by car, everybody who actually needs to get around by car or truck is going to be screwed.


Security video helps police nab prolific bike thief (yet again)

Posted by on July 28th, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Johnathan Dubouis in March 2015 in Waterfront Park
under the Burnside Bridge. He asked to pose with
these bolt-cutters, which PPB officers photographed
as evidence prior to arresting him.
(Photo: Portland Police Bureau)

The Portland Police have nabbed one of our city’s most prolific bike thieves: 29-year old Johnathan Marcel Dubouis. Dubouis was arrested on Sunday night, just about 24 hours after he appeared in security camera footage stealing a woman’s bike in southwest Portland.


Open house will feature ODOT plans for notorious section of Powell Blvd

Posted by on July 28th, 2015 at 10:47 am

Protest on SE Powell-9.jpg
A protestor at the May 11th rally held at SE Powell and 26th.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation is ready to share their plans for making SE Powell Blvd safer. Their “Powell Boulevard Safety Project” will spend $3.8 million on the segment of the roadway between 20th and 34th.

The project includes the intersection of SE 26th where Alistair Corkett was involved in a collision back in May that resulted in his leg being torn off. Then a few weeks later another man was seriously injured from a collision in the same intersection.

While their Powell project isn’t slated for construction until 2017, ODOT fast-tracked a left-turn signal at Powell and 26th immediately following those two collisions.


Heroic bike shop employee wrestles back stolen track bike

Posted by on July 27th, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Alleged thief on stolen bike.
(Photo: Nate Gibson)

Thanks to the quick thinking and brave action of a bike shop employee in southwest Portland, one of three track racing bikes stolen from Alpenrose Velodrome last week has been recovered.

Nate Gibson, an undergrad at Portland State University and employee at Southwest Bicycle, contacted us today with the good news.

Here’s Gibson’s version of events:

“So here goes, I’m finally calm enough to sit down and type.


City advisory committees oppose TriMet’s plans for swing gates on Orange Line

Posted by on July 27th, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Swing gates.
(Photo: TriMet)

Official Bureau of Transportation committees that represent two of the groups TriMet is trying to keep safe from MAX trains on the new Orange Line — people who walk and bike — oppose the agency’s plan to use swing gates at the entry and exit of tracks at two intersections in inner southeast Portland.

After hearing about plans for the path at SE 8th and 11th, the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and Pedestrian Advisory Committee have both issued formal letters of opposition to TriMet.

The bicycle committee outlined several reasons for their disapproval. The main reason is, “the operating difficulties they will impose on members of the traveling public – principally those who are bicycling or walking.”

Here’s more from their letter:


The Monday Roundup: ‘Unreal’ riding, driving bans, bike theft success, & more

Posted by on July 27th, 2015 at 10:43 am


Here are the best stories we came across last week…

Uber horror story: This lawyer paints an unsettling picture of what happens when a person on a bicycle gets involved in a collision with an Uber driver.

Language drives culture: The “crash not accident” meme got some solid media coverage following the big Vision Zero vigil in New York City two weeks ago. Vox.com got into the history of automotive industry propaganda and does a great job explaining the power behind word choice.

Slate crashes: On the other hand, Slate isn’t so sure about it. No word yet whether they’ve reconsidered their policy after their article was eviscerated by BikeSnobNYC.


Fatbiking Ross Island without a boat (video)

Posted by on July 24th, 2015 at 4:06 pm

*Please see the note below this article: Since posting this video I’ve been informed that, while public access is technically allowed below the high-water mark, there are serious concerns by some people who feel that any encouragement of biking and/or unregulated public access is not advisable on Ross Island due to its status as a natural area.

I figured this video of Dan Kaufman and Nathan Jones floating their fatbikes across the Willamette to Ross Island was the perfect way to head into the weekend.


Wonk Night recap: Calls for a coalition and more cooperation

Posted by on July 24th, 2015 at 3:45 pm


(Photo: Armando Luna)

Special thanks to Lancaster Engineering for hosting and to Omission Beer for donating drinks.

You know that point in a relationship when something starts feeling a bit off and you’re like, “Baby, we need to talk.” That’s how I’ve been feeling about the bike advocacy scene here in Portland. And that’s why I figured it was time to get some people together to hash a few things out.

We didn’t solve everything at Wonk Night last night and I’m sure people left with more questions than answers; but it was a great conversation and I think we’re all better off because of it.


Megan Holcomb has recovered her stolen bike!

Posted by on July 24th, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Reunited and it feels so good.

Great news Portland: Megan Holcomb, the woman who was visiting our fair city and got her beloved touring bike stolen a few nights ago, has found her bike and the two have been united.


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