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Weekend Event Guide: Springwater, salmon, carfree Crater Lake, and more

Posted by on September 18th, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Mt Hood view on Springwater-2
Learn about the natural areas that border the Springwater Trail on Sunday’s Johnson Creek Days ride.
(Photo: J Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to your menu of weekend rides and events, lovingly brought to you by our friends at Hopworks Urban Brewery.

Last night I rode through a patch of fallen leaves. And I’m sure you felt that wet stuff falling from the sky this morning… What’s going on? Yes, the season is changing; but your choices for having fun on bikes is as strong as ever.

From educational forays on our region’s best bicycle routes to a simple, yet powerful, way to entice you to try riding into work the first time, this weekend has a lot to offer.

Friday, September 19th

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Next door to Forest Park, North Tualatin Mtns hold opportunity for off-road bike access

Posted by on September 18th, 2014 at 11:45 am

tualatinmap
1,300 acres just north of Forest Park.

Just north of Forest Park in northwest Portland lies 1,300 undeveloped acres spread across four separate properties. The land, which was historically a logging area and can be currently accessed from either Skyline or McNamee roads, is owned by Metro and is known as the North Tualatin Mountains natural area.

Metro is embarking on a planning process to figure out what to do on the land and there’s a great opportunity to include bicycle access in the equation. Advocates have been fighting for years to improve bike access in Forest Park but have made frustratingly slow progress.

The Tualatin Mountains natural area offers a fresh start and a new political context since it’s under Metro jurisdiction and not managed by the City of Portland (the current Parks Commissioner, Amanda Fritz, has all but shelved the Forest Park debate calling for “a citywide Master Plan for cycling recreation… prior to embarking on individual projects.”).

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Oregon House candidate refers to bike lanes as “fringe things”

Posted by on September 18th, 2014 at 10:26 am

goss
Kathy Goss
(Photo: Kathy Goss for Oregon/Facebook)

Should the Oregon Department of Transportation stop paying its staff to work on bike lanes and trails in order to save money? That’s what Kathy Goss, a candidate running for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives, thinks.

During a debate with her challenger Paul Evans (Democrat) last week, Goss, a Republican, expressed that idea during a discussion about how ODOT might trim its human resources budget. Her comments were reported by the Salem-based Statesman Journal. Here’s an excerpt from their article published September 5th:

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BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’

Posted by on September 18th, 2014 at 9:38 am

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-1
BTA staffers Amanda Lee Harrison (yellow cap) and Sarah Newsum offering cookies and encouragement to bike commuters in the rain this morning on the Broadway Bridge.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re more than half way through the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Commute Challenge and the organization is pulling out all the stops to encourage riders to sign up and log their trips.

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Census shows big leaps for biking in a few cities, but Portland inches backward

Posted by on September 18th, 2014 at 4:48 am

four city mode trend
Source: Census American Community Survey. Chart by BikePortland.

Is America’s latest bike boom coming to an end? Or is it just moving to different cities?

2013 Census estimates released Thursday show the big cities that led the bike spike of the 2000s — Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and, most of all, Portland — all failing to make meaningful changes to their commuting patterns for three years or more.

Meanwhile, the same figures show a new set of cities rising fast — first among them Washington DC.

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City will install signs in Waterfront Park to discourage unsafe riding

Posted by on September 17th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Shared path Waterfront Park-1
The path in Waterfront Park is no place
to be riding fast.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland

With the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge in full swing and warmer than usual weather sticking around, there’s a lot of bike traffic in and around downtown Portland these days. Especially on the Waterfront Park path, which is also popular with joggers, tourists, walkers, and lots of other types of users.

Concerns about unsafe passing and crowded conditions have spurred the Portland Parks Bureau to partner with the Bureau of Transportation to install signs encouraging faster bike riders to use Naito Parkway and all others to ride slowly and use caution when the path is crowded. They’re calling the path a “Pedestrian Priority Zone.”

Here’s a first look at the new signs:

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Get Legal: Being “nice” is dangerous and could make you at fault in a collision

Posted by on September 17th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Rosa Parks Way -3
Being nice isn’t so nice when it creates confusion.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Written by lawyer Ray Thomas of Swanson, Thomas Coon & Newton.

Some road users go out of their way (and beyond the law) to be “nice.” Being nice isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it involves giving somebody a break, or allowing a successful traffic merge; but other times — such as when a driver waves another driver through stopped traffic — there can be disastrous consequences.

When road users go out of their way to accommodate others when there is no legal authority for doing so, it creates real trouble later if someone gets hurt as a result of their “nice” gesture. In this column, I’ll go over some common scenarios where being what you think is good can actually be very bad.

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New bike lane on SW Salmon improves bike access to Naito Parkway

Posted by on September 17th, 2014 at 1:11 pm

New lane striping SW Salmon at Naito-3
New striping gives bike riders their own lane.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Getting to Naito Parkway and Waterfront Park from downtown Portland just got easier thanks to relatively small — yet significant — changes to two blocks of SW Salmon Street.

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Governor Kitzhaber, top legislators raise awareness of distracted driving

Posted by on September 17th, 2014 at 11:09 am

pledge-lead
Pledging to drive without distractions, from left to right: Senate Democratic Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland), Senator Jackie Winters (R-Salem), AT&T Oregon President George Granger, House Democratic Leader Val Hoyle (D-Eugene), House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte), Speaker of the House Tina Kotek (D-Portland), Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli.
(Photo: AT&T)

Distracted driving is one of the largest public health crises in America today, and Oregon is not immune to its impacts. According to ODOT crash data, 93 people died on Oregon roads between 2006 and 2011 and there were over 18,000 collisions due to distracted driving. If you like to ride a bike, this issue is of immense importance given that you ride just a few feet away from people driving multi-ton steel vehicles.

Yesterday at the state capitol in Salem, legislators attended an event to raise awareness of the issue and even Governor Kitzhaber has gotten involved by declaring this coming Friday, September 19th, “Distraction-Free Driving Day” in Oregon.

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Pittsburgh is (in many ways) the city that Portland wants to become

Posted by on September 17th, 2014 at 10:58 am

market square lead
Pittsburgh’s Market Square.
(Photos: M.Andersen)

When I headed to Pittsburgh last week to join the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference for my other gig, I was telling people that “the Paris of Appalachia” (as its mayor likes to call it) is the city that my hometown, Toledo, Ohio, wishes it could be.

Three days later, I started telling people it was the city that Portland wishes it could be, too.

Pittsburgh obviously isn’t as bikeable as Portland, though it’s coming along. But almost everything else about the city measures up.

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Reinventing taxis, part 2: A Q&A with Uber’s #1 critic, Steve Entler of Radio Cab

Posted by on September 17th, 2014 at 9:50 am

steve-entler
Radio Cab general manager Steve Entler.
(Photo: KOIN)

Second of two Q&As about the issues preventing car-summoning mobile apps like Uber from operating in Portland.

The 14-person stakeholder committee that advises Portland City Council on taxi regulations has one representative of a taxi company: Steve Entler.

Entler is the general manager of Radio Cab, the city’s oldest and largest taxi company and the only one operated as a collective by its drivers. After talking to the regional manager for Uber, which now operates in almost every major U.S. city except Portland, we sat down with Entler for a frank discussion about the taxi business and what it feels like to watch a startup willfully ignore a set of regulations he’s spent decades navigating and helping create.

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Cross Crusade news: Women’s singlespeed, two-day opening event, tailgating competition

Posted by on September 16th, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Cross Crusade '08 - Alpenrose-61.jpg
Bottleneck at Alpenrose
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s preeminent cyclocross race series, the Cross Crusade, has announced some big changes for its 21st season that kicks off on Saturday, October 11th at the Alpenrose Dairy in Portland’s southwest hills.

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PBOT launches “A safer place for everyone” campaign for Williams Ave

Posted by on September 16th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

williams-outrechlead
PBOT will hang these banners on light poles along N Williams Avenue as part of the campaign.

As we reported last month, at long last the Bureau of Transportation is going to improve bicycling conditions on N Williams Avenue.

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Surprisingly civil car/bike collision in Oregon City caught on video

Posted by on September 16th, 2014 at 11:40 am

Still from YouTube.

Collisions between bike riders and car drivers are not uncommon. What is uncommon however, is the level of civility displayed by reader Ben Koker after he was thrown to the ground following a slow-speed collision with a man driving a Lexus SUV earlier this month.

Thankfully, Koker was not seriously hurt. And he also happened to capture the entire incident on video thanks to his helmet-mounted camera.

The collision happened in the intersection of Main Street and 10th in downtown Oregon City. Koker was heading southbound on Main toward the four-way stop at 10th. After stopping and thinking it was safe to go, Koker was hit by the SUV driver from his right. The driver failed to stop at the stop sign.

Here’s the video:

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Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards

Posted by on September 16th, 2014 at 10:37 am

Sandy Ridge loop-5
Tourism grants will help fund everything
from maps to a bike visitor center, to
new off-road cycling trails.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the latest sign that bike tourism is taking the state of Oregon by storm, a recent announcement of 11 grant awards from Travel Oregon (officially the Oregon Tourism Commission) worth a total of $120,000 included five bike projects.

From southern Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge, local governments, agencies, and non-profit groups are jumping on board the biking bandwagon and working hard to develop their natural assets into cycling destinations. This latest round of grants were aimed specifically at advancing projects that “improve local economies and communities by enhancing, expanding, and promoting Oregon’s travel and tourism industry.”

We asked Travel Oregon for details on all five bike projects. As you can see below, there are exciting things afoot for cycling all across the state!

Here are brief descriptions of the projects (taken directly from Travel Oregon grant applications):

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Reinventing taxis, part 1: A Q&A with Uber’s Northwest regional manager

Posted by on September 16th, 2014 at 9:19 am

brooke
Brooke Steiger, Uber’s Washington general manager.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland is now one of just two major U.S. cities where you can’t hail a ride with either Uber or Lyft — and that’s something the car-summoning companies would, of course, love to change.

The services essentially let anyone who passes their background checks become a paid cab driver using a personal car. But Uber has balked at expanding illegally into Portland, where you can be thrown in jail for six months for operating an unlicensed taxi.

We’ve been watching these trends closely because services like Uber are already having a huge impact on low-car life in other cities. Last week, I met a young Chicagoan who gets around by bicycle in nice weather but said she’s spent $2,000 on Uber this year for foul-weather commuting and late-night rides home; two years ago, she probably would have bought her own car by now and started using it for most trips.

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State releases Salmonberry Corridor Draft Concept Plan, opens comment period

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 at 4:33 pm

salmon-rail-to-trail-after
Coming (hopefully) sooner rather than later!

The Salmonberry Corridor project is moving ahead with as much steam as the Southern Pacific railroad cars that used to rumble through it in the early 1900s.

The project aims to re-open the derelict, 86-mile rail corridor to recreational use. When complete, it will connect the existing Banks-Vernonia rail-trail with the city of Tillamook on the Oregon Coast via a combination of paved and natural surface paths. Amazing huh?

You might recall our story back in June that teased a few of the potential design concepts being drawn up by project consultants. Now, as of last week, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has released the Salmonberry Corridor Draft Concept Plan (PDF, 44MB).

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Last Day of Cycle Oregon: Closing the loop in The Dalles

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 7-1
The final descent into Riverfront Park in The Dalles.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

After seven days, 489 miles, and 35,000 feet of climbing, my Cycle Oregon 2014 experience concluded in The Dalles on Saturday.

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Guest article – Noob on the Tracks: My first cyclocross race

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Blind Date at the Dairy race-3
What happened when Rebecca lined up
for her first race?
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

I never intended to do a cyclocross race.

I’d been to a race before, several years ago when a roommate was competing at Barton Park. But the actual racing part of the affair was entirely lost on me as I happily settled into what I assumed was the True Meaning of Cyclocross: drinking beer under a tent, with the faint sound of cowbells clanging in the distance and the occasional blur of muddy spandex warriors providing momentary yet unimportant distractions from the rotation of hot dogs on the grill.

Racing myself seemed entirely out of the question. My position in the bicycle world has always been firmly ensconced in the advocacy and bike-fun camps. My bike-related skills consist of dressing up like David Bowie for Pedalpalooza and sending indignant tweets to @PBOTinfo about drivers parked in the bike lane.

But then this beautiful new bicycle came into my life: a Creamsicle-colored All-City Macho Man with disc brakes and internal top tube cable routing, built for adventure. The first day I rode it to the office, my boss (and avid racer) Todd took one look and said, “Oh, you got a cross bike!”

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The Monday Roundup: Saving yourself from texting, playable cities & more

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 at 9:22 am

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A new way to fight the urge.
(Photo: Lord Jim)

And we’re back! BikePortland’s vast news empire (both of us, that is) is back in town and ready to kick things off with the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Blocking texting: A little black box plugged into your steering column can jam your phone while you’re driving so you’re not tempted to use it.

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