Most Americans, including most Portlanders, "still" drive for transportation? True.
The use of cars is on the longest slide ever recorded, one that seems only partly related to economic trends? Equally true.
And as US PIRG's latest report, Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities shows, this isn't just because of the rapid drops in supposedly "weird" enclaves like Portland or Austin. It's happening almost everywhere. To quote from PIRG:
Saddle selection at Gladys Bikes. (Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Remember Gladys Bikes? The small shop on N Williams Ave opened back in October with an aim to cater specifically to women. When we visited the shop one of the things that stuck out was that owner Leah Benson stocked a relatively huge selection of saddles. Now it turns out she's even more serious about getting people the right-fitting saddle than we imagined.
Benson has unveiled a nifty program called the "Saddle Library" Here's how it works (via the Gladys Bikes website):
Step 1: Come into the shop and talk with our knowledgeable staff about your saddle needs and concerns. We'll make recommendations about which saddle(s) might be a good match for you.
Step 2: For $25 you get a Library Card, which gives you access to check out any of the saddles in our loaning library. For each saddle you check out you get one week try it out on your bike.
The Union Street Bridge in Salem — open only for walking and biking — is the type of project that is eligible for ConnectOregon funds. (Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Cities across Oregon are clamoring for more money to build infrastructure that makes it easier for people to walk and bike.
Back in July, thanks to a concerted lobbying effort by the City of Portland and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), the state of Oregon made biking and walking projects eligible for $42 million in funding through the ConnectOregon program for the first time ever. ConnectOregon began in 2005 and it relies on lottery-backed bonds to invest in "multimodal transportation projects" around the state. It's a rare state transportation program that offers dedicated funding for "non-highway" infrastructure. Prior to this year, only air, rail, marine/ports, and transit infrastructure were eligible.
Yesterday, ODOT announced they received 108 applications for this year's round of ConnectOregon funding. Of the $129.4 million total requested funds, $47.5 million are categorized as "Bicycle/Pedestrian" — more than any of the other four eligible modes and more than the requests for Aviation, Marine, and Transit projects combined.
People for Bikes (formerly known as Bikes Belong) is an industry-funded advocacy group that also runs the Green Lane Project, an effort to hasten the development of protected bikeways across the country. Portland was one of five cities selected to be part of that program when it launched in May 2012; but despite our long-held reputation as a bikeway innovator, we lag behind other cities when it comes to protected bikeways (loosely defined as bike lanes with some sort of protection from other lanes of traffic). According to a Green Lane Project inventory, Portland has managed to build just 3 miles of protected bikeways in the last four years.
Portland's absence from the top 10 isn't because our protected bikeway designs are bad, it's because we didn't even build any new ones in 2013. The one Portland project listed in the Green Lane Project's inventory for 2013, SW Multnomah Blvd, has been delayed and is yet to be built.
Cathy Hastie is BikePortland's lifestyle columnist ... even when she says things we wouldn't all agree with.
Some people say that bikers are an arrogant group. I am the first to admit that I am a card-carrying member. Portland has its coffee snobs and its beer snobs, and me — I'm a transportation snob.
I ride my bike past rows of motionless overheating cars with my nose in the air, flaunting my obviously better commuting choice. I crow to my officemates about how little I spend on gas and how I never pay for parking. My ego precedes me as I fill the elevator at the office with my bulky two-wheeler. I take advantage of the ambiguity bicycles are afforded in respect to sidewalks, driveways, streets and bike lanes. If I can ride on it safely, I will.
Amtrak apologized Tuesday to a Portlander traveling through Texas who said train workers woke her up and yelled at her for having a folding bicycle as carry-on luggage — something the national rail service allows.
"Unfortunately, we have found that Amtrak employees at all levels tend to be unaware of the company's policy's regarding bikes, folding and otherwise," Elly Blue, a Portland-based writer who is on a business trip with her partner Joe Biel, wrote in an email. (Blue and Biel didn't end up losing their bikes or needing to check them, though they were taken away overnight.)
"I love the train because it's low-stress," Blue lamented. Last night's trip, though, was anything but.
Four of the the committee's 16 members are familiar faces to many BikePortland readers. Left to Right: Jerry Norquist, Jenna Stanke, Chris DiStefano, Stephanie Routh. (Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has just announced who will sit on the Policy Advisory Committee that will help them with an important update of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Mode Plan. The 16 person committee was chosen to guide the development of the plan and to "reflect input from stakeholders across the state."
Screenshot of proposed diverters on SE Clinton from a presentation by PSU Traffic and Transportation Class participant Taylor Gibson.
One of Portland's most remarkable public-policy traditions takes place tonight: A handpicked handful of citizen transportation wonks will present their ideas for how to improve the local streets to a panel of city leaders.
Among the concepts to be presented in the Portland Building tonight: a plan that would dramatically reduce "cut-through" traffic on Clinton Street by adding traffic diverters at 17th, 27th and 37th Avenues; and a proposal for a regionwide, multi-jurisdiction mobile app to let people report simple road problems like clogged grates or loose leaves.
Newly buffered bike lane on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. (Photos by Barbara Stedman)
The Portland Bureau of Transportation has been busy in southwest Portland lately. We recently shared their plans for a new protected bike path on the Terwilliger "teardrop" and BikePortland reader Barbara Stedman has been keeping us in the loop on a host of other, bike-friendly changes going on in the area.
The legal side of getting passed. (Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Welcome to part one of a three part series on Oregon's passing laws.
Trying to decipher Oregon's passing laws are a perfect example of how it's often difficult to know when (and how) a particular vehicle law applies to someone riding a bicycle. Confusion about application of the rules of the road and vehicle laws sometimes results when frustrated motor vehicle operators turn to the statutes to try to put bicycle riders in their "proper" place on the roadway; but rights and responsibilities of bicycle riders on the roadway are somewhat of a legal hybrid in the Oregon statutes. Frustration of motor vehicle operators must not be allowed to diminish the bicycle operator's legitimate right to share the traveled portion of the roadway — and even to occupy a full lane when necessary — to avoid surface hazards or other potential dangers.
Due to the holiday, we are posting the Jobs of the Week today instead of Friday. The two excellent job opportunities below were posted to our Job Listings in the past two weeks. Check out more details via the link below...
High-vis clothes don't help: A "small but potentially lethal number of drivers will pass too close whatever you wear," according to a study by a professor who once wore a wig to test whether people passed women on bikes differently than men. That's just the start of the interesting findings in his team's new study.
Join Dirk Spits of the 99%Ride for the After Turkey Ride on Friday.
Greetings friends! We hope you are all enjoying the holiday weekend with whatever traditions you prefer. There are a few rides and events we wanted to make sure were on your calendar. And because this is the official start of the holiday shopping season, we thought you might like to know about a few fantastic sales going on at our local bike shops.
First, here are some of the big Black Friday and weekend/winter sales events we've heard about...
Clever Cycles - Starts Friday at 11:00 am, 900 SE Hawthorne
The big deal at Clever this time of year is the sale they have on their rental bike fleet. It's the only time of the year they sell used bikes and it's a great opportunity to own excellent brands and do business with this highly respected local business. Here's the blurb from Clever:
When the wind isn't at your back any more, it's easy to get discouraged — especially when you know how great the place you're headed is going to be.
Sometimes that happens to people who care about good biking in Portland. Even the ones who write for daily news websites.
But holidays are for taking your eyes off the handlebars of life for a moment and enjoying where you are. And though Portland isn't making the rapid progress that it once was toward better biking, we still live in the safest, most interesting and (we think) most promising big city in the country to ride a bicycle. Here are three things we're grateful for about riding in and around our favorite city.
Riding on SW Broadway in downtown Portland. (Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Four months after taking charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Leah Treat is walking back an idea she shared in her job interview: the notion that the city's bike infrastructure is "stagnating."
"If I had to go through the interview process again, I would change that to say it's more of a marketing issue," Treat said, according to the edited Q&A on OregonLive.com. "We're still way ahead of the country in the transportation arena, it's just getting lost in the messaging somewhere. So we need to be talking more about the really exciting things that we're doing."
Another person died while traveling on SW Barbur Blvd this week. It's the fourth fatality since 2010 on the notoriously dangerous 1.6 mile section of the road between Terwilliger and Hamilton.
With a record of so much carnage and rampant high speed and high risk driving, many Portlanders want to see the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) take a more aggressive approach to changing the design of Barbur in a way that would slow people down and encourage safer behavior. However, as we shared back in August when a 27-year-old man died after traveling at a "very high rate of speed" and losing control of his Prius, ODOT has no plans to seriously consider a roadway reconfiguration (a.k.a. "road diet") on Barbur.
Remember the Oregon Outback? Back in June we shared a guest article and photo essay from Portland resident Gabriel Amadeus that chronicled his amazing, 360+ mile bike adventure through the center of Oregon.
Now that epic ride has turned into a (slightly) more formal event put together by adventure cycling promoter Donnie Kolb. Kolb is the man behind VeloDirt, a website he created to share his backroad rides with like-minded adventure seekers. Kolb, an attorney by day, eventually started urging his friends and followers to join him and in the past few years VeloDirt rides have become something of an underground phenomenon. Similar to the De Ronde PDX, Kolb's rides are unsanctioned and un-permitted, and word about them spreads via social media. Now his Dalles Mtn 60 and Oregon Stampede rides have a large and loyal following.
- Independent, daily bike news since 2005 -
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