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Here’s what Portland’s first Brompton Urban Challenge looked like

Posted by on July 25th, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Brompton Urban Challenge-7.jpg
At this checkpoint at Salmon Street Fountain, the teams had to re-enact a fish ladder by passing a folded Brompton between each other while holding a basketball between their knees (that last part was just for added fun). And yes, they got wet!
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland unless noted otherwise.)

A bike scavenger hunt? With folding bikes and a salmon theme? That’s a thing? Yep! And it all went down last weekend on the streets of Portland.

The inaugural Brompton Urban Challenge — a.k.a. Great Salmon Run — was a big success! Thank you to everyone who showed up to play and all the volunteers and crew who helped make it happen.


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

Portland’s drop in car use frees up $138 million in our local economy every year

Posted by on July 25th, 2016 at 11:12 am

Bike traffic on N Williams Ave-9.jpg
Per-person car ownership is down 7 percent since 2007 and miles driven are down 8 percent.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland unless noted)

Last month, we wrote about the 38,501 additional cars and trucks that would be in Multnomah County right now if its residents still owned cars at the rate they did in 2007.

What does it cost to own 38,501 cars? Or more to the point, what does it not cost to not own them?

For that post, we focused on the amount of space those nonexistent cars would take up. They’d fill a parking lot almost exactly the size of the central business district, for example.

But what about the money that isn’t being spent to move, maintain, insure and replace all those cars, and can therefore be spent on other things? How much money have Portlanders collectively saved by having a city where car ownership (or ownership of one car for each adult) feels less mandatory than it used to?


The Monday Roundup: A crash-proof human body, a San Jose bike bridge & more

Posted by on July 25th, 2016 at 9:09 am

The head of “Graham,” a lifelike model of what humans might look like if they’d evolved to use cars.
(Image: Towards Zero)

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by The Portland Century, a one or two-day bicycle tour coming August 6-7th.

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

Crash-proof human: An Australian artist collaborated with a trauma surgeon to create “Graham,” a full-body silicone model of what humans might look like if they evolved to survive car crashes.

Bike bridge: San Jose’s proposed biking-walking bridge over a freeway would certainly be spectacular.


Comment of the Week: Portland’s five-step recipe for 25 percent biking

Posted by on July 22nd, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Bike traffic on N Williams Ave-16.jpg
Getting there.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Of all the wonderful ideas in Portland’s Bicycle Plan for 2030, the one I personally hope is never forgotten is its audacious use of a numeral: 25 percent.

That’s the target it set for the share of trips that could happen by bicycle in Portland. Today, the figure is something like 7 percent. Only several dozen cities in eastern Asia and northern Europe, probably, can currently boast 25 percent or more.

But 25 percent is possible and even imaginable, as BikePortland reader Alex Reedin spelled out in a Thursday morning comment estimating the payoff for each step that’ll be required to get us there.


First look: The new public plaza on SW 3rd

Posted by on July 22nd, 2016 at 3:11 pm

New public plaza on SW 3rd and Ankeny-7.jpg
Looking south north at Burnside from SW 3rd near Ankeny.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You know Portland is getting its groove back when the Bureau of Transportation creates a large new public plaza and it takes us nearly a week to get it up on the front page.


Biketown says users will get multiple chances to protect their jury-trial rights

Posted by on July 22nd, 2016 at 1:26 pm

New public plaza on SW 3rd and Ankeny-2.jpg
The new Biketown station at SW 3rd and Oak.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Anyone who acts to protect themselves from a clause buried in the Biketown contract that prompts users to waive their jury-trial rights is protecting themselves permanently, the bike share operator says.

At issue is a “binding arbitration” clause in section 15 of the long rental agreement to which people must agree in order to use the public system. Such clauses, which are designed to prevent class actions and other customer lawsuits, are increasingly common for credit card companies and other corporations but are rare among public bike share systems.

But as we reported Thursday, the contract includes a way for Biketown users to protect themselves: you have to send an email with a particular subject line to a particular email address mentioned in the contract.


Street Roots’ Israel Bayer on moving Springwater camps: ‘Do it surgically’

Posted by on July 22nd, 2016 at 12:37 pm

israel bayer
Nonprofit newspaper director Israel Bayer.
(Photo: Street Roots)

As the day approaches for a so-called “sweep” of everyone camping along the Springwater Corridor, one of Portland’s leading housing advocates is offering a counterproposal.

Instead of pushing everyone in these informal camps “back into the neighborhoods and downtown,” Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer wrote in a column Thursday, the city should (a) increase “organized camping” and (b) “surgically” target only people who are causing problems, not everyone else around them.

“If there are bad actors, get them out of there,” Bayer wrote. “If people are having an environmental impact, give them an ultimatum. Clean your camps up, or be swept.”


Bike Theft Task Force returns with popular u-lock exchange program

Posted by on July 22nd, 2016 at 9:44 am

After receiving a new u-lock, this woman learned how easy it is to cut her old one.(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

After receiving a new u-lock, this woman learned how easy it is to cut her old one.
(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

Last month’s inaugural U-lock? U-Rock! exchange was so popular that the Portland Police Bureau’s Bike Theft Task Force (BTTF) ran out of locks within the first hour.

“Before we even got set up, there was a line. We could not keep up with the demand,” Portland Police Bureau Officer Dave Sanders wrote in a debrief. “At one point, there was a line of cyclists a block long and so many people congregating around our tents, that it was interfering with other organizations.”

Officer Sanders and a crew of volunteers (more are needed!) and city partners will be prepared for the onslaught this Sunday when the program returns for Sunday Parkways Northeast.


Jobs of the Week: 3 openings at Velotech

Posted by on July 22nd, 2016 at 8:41 am

Velotech, the company behind two local Western Bikeworks retail stores and BikeTiresDirect.com, has three fresh openings for you to choose from.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Customer Experience Specialist – Velotech

–> Shipping Specialist – Velotech

–> Buyer – Velotech


Five years after Williams Avenue project controversy, ride will trace history of gentrification

Posted by on July 21st, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Image from Saturday's event flyer.

Image from Saturday’s event flyer.

Five years ago today Portland resident Michelle DePass stood up at a meeting for a transportation project on North Williams Avenue and changed the course of local and national cycling politics forever:

“We have an issue of racism and of the history of this neighborhood,” DePass said. “Until we address that history and… the cultural differences we have in terms of respect, we are not going to move very far.”


New report shows Portland falling further behind peers on bikeway growth

Posted by on July 21st, 2016 at 12:58 pm

growing bike networks
(Image: NACTO)

nacto report

While Portland celebrates a strong first day for Biketown, a new report about the factors that drive growth in bike sharing shows how Portland has fallen behind the leading U.S. cities in new infrastructure.

Minneapolis, New York City and San Francisco now have about 50, 20 and 15 percent more bikeways per square mile than Portland respectively, the report found. All three of those cities has seen faster bikeway growth than Portland since 2010, the year Portland passed its ambitious Bike Plan for 2030. In Minneapolis, bike infrastructure has grown three times faster.

These new figures were released Wednesday as part of a report by the National Association for City Transportation Officials, which examined the role quality bike networks play in making bike sharing safe and popular.


BTA deputy director will leave organization at the end of this week

Posted by on July 21st, 2016 at 11:49 am

Stephanie Noll.(Photo: BTA)

Stephanie Noll
(Photo: Tanja Olson Images)

Stephanie Noll plans to leave the staff of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance this Friday.

Noll is the organization’s No. 2 employee and has been on the staff since 2007, longer than all but one other employee. She began her tenure as part of what was then a fairly new Safe Routes to School team and is currently serving as the BTA’s deputy director.

Noll’s departure comes a few weeks before the BTA announces a new name at its Aug. 10 members meeting that will mark a new, broader focus on walking and mass transit as well as bike transportation.

“Steph has had an amazing impact on the BTA,” Executive Director Rob Sadowsky said in an interview today. “She has expanded our support base with foundations, allowing us to expand our staff. She launched our Women Bike program, took the Bike More Challenge and Vision Zero to new levels and helped launch Families for Safe Streets.” Sadowsky added that the BTA will evaluate all staffing needs after their strategic planning reboot and big fundraising event in the fall.

Here’s the email Noll sent out to friends and colleagues this morning:


Biketown contract forces users to waive their legal rights – unless they act quickly

Posted by on July 21st, 2016 at 11:02 am

Biketown users on the Hawthorne Bridge yesterday.(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Biketown users on the Hawthorne Bridge yesterday.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Buried in the “miscellaneous” section of the user agreement for Portland’s new bike-sharing system is a notice that Biketown users are waiving their rights to a jury trial.

Unless, that is, they sent a one-line email to the company that operates Biketown within 30 days of first using the system. If they don’t, a prominent Portland bike lawyer says, their chances of winning any future legal claim against Biketown are slim.

The requirement was spotted on Wednesday, one day after the system launched, by Mark Ginsberg, a Portland attorney who specializes in “bicycle legal needs.” He shared his discovery in a post to friends on his Facebook page:

hey Portland friends who got BikeTown memberships, you read the contract right?
In Section 15, they force you into arbitration, unless you take action within the first 30 days (clarification- within 30 days of first use) to opt out of arbitration.
As your lawyer friend, I’m here to tell you that you should opt out.
don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Dominoes keep falling for a continuous river path in South Waterfront

Posted by on July 21st, 2016 at 8:41 am

South Waterfront Greenway path-6
An existing path segment somewhat north of the Prometheus project. White for walking, black for biking.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Last month we were overjoyed to report that automaker Tesla had voluntarily agreed to build a segment of riverfront bike path behind its future showroom on Southwest Macadam.

If a new housing and retail project that entered the city’s development pipeline Monday moves forward, it’d be the final piece of a continuous west-bank greenway from the Sellwood Bridge almost to the Ross Island Bridge — and in the coming years to Tilikum Crossing.

The vacant lot between Southwest Lowell, Lane, Bond and the Willamette River would get four new seven-story buildings with ground-floor retail and 200 to 300 apartments above, under a very early concept plan filed for a pre-application hearing by the local firm GBD Architects, which is representing San Mateo-based Prometheus Real Estate Group. Here’s the site plan for the Prometheus project marking future “recreational trails” with a string of stars:


Over 2,300 trips taken on Biketown bike share in first 24 hours

Posted by on July 20th, 2016 at 2:29 pm

People are warming up to bike share in Portland.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

People are warming up to bike share in Portland.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It hasn’t taken long for Portland to embrace bike share. Just 24 hours after it launched yesterday Biketown is already getting lots of praise from users on social media and in the streets. And the initial statistics back up the enthusiasm.

Not everyone is a fan of course, but I’ve visited a few dozen stations already and everyone I’ve talked to has had a positive reaction. Now we have our first glimpse of data to see how the system is doing.

According to numbers released by Biketown’s operator Motivate Inc. today (at our request), there have been 2,366 trips taken on the system since it was launched yesterday at 11:30 am.

Here are the numbers in more detail (as of 11:00 am or so) along with some other fun stats:


Industry Ticker: Showers Pass debuts “Cloudcover” waterproof bag line

Posted by on July 20th, 2016 at 10:40 am

Two of the three models in the new Cloudcover line.(Photos: Showers Pass)

Two of the three models in the new Cloudcover line.
(Photos: Showers Pass)

First it was rain jackets, then a hydration system, then came gloves, device covers, baselayers, and an apparel line.

Now southeast Portland-based Showers Pass is rolling into the bag market with the release of the Cloudcover line.

The line includes three models: the Utility Backpack ($214), Transit Backpack ($264) and Refuge Duffel ($189). As you’d expect the bags keep water out thanks to a special fabric coating, fully welded seams and waterproof zippers. Another cool feature are the integrated and removable LED lights that slip into the sides and back of the bags to help you be seen by other road users.

Here are a few more images of the bags followed by the company’s press release:


Sasquatch returns in state’s new crosswalk safety video

Posted by on July 20th, 2016 at 9:40 am

A sasquatch signals an intent to cross in the latest ODOT safety video.

A sasquatch signals an intent to cross in the latest ODOT safety video.

When all else fails, turn to sasquatch. That’s the thinking from the Oregon Department of Transportation when it comes to educating people about crosswalk safety.

The fabled, hairy creature plays a starring role in a new video from the agency (made in partnership with Metro) released this morning. “Sasquatch stars in a new video spot illustrating the law and the importance of everyone being alert, be they drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists or mythical furry forest creatures,” reads the official statement.

In the video Sasquatch approaches an intersection only to get scared as someone approaches in a car. Then another person calms his fears by reminding him that in Oregon, “every corner is a crosswalk.” It’s a fun video, but it highlights a very serious issue: The number of people who were killed while walking in Oregon was up 50 percent statewide in 2015 (compared to the previous year). 10 people were killed while walking in Portland last year.

Check out the video below:


Portland Underground Grad School class will cover tactical urbanism

Posted by on July 20th, 2016 at 8:44 am

NE 85th & Milton & Beech
An “intersection repair” at NE 85th Avenue, Milton and Beech.
(Photo: Greg Raisman)

A local organization that arranges for Portlanders to teach one another niche skills and information is offering a four-week introduction to do-it-yourself street transformation.

From Better Block’s temporary bike lanes to City Repair’s beloved intersection murals to Depave’s manually removed asphalt, Portland is rich with the spirit of “tactical urbanism,” an umbrella term for fast, flexible changes that make city streets better for people.

Now, Portlander Claire Vlach is offering a four-session crash course through the year-old Portland Underground Grad School. Cost: $99 for the eight-hour class.


“This is awesome!” Photos and notes from the Biketown launch event

Posted by on July 19th, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Biketown bike share launch-29.jpg
Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife Nancy are followed by a host of other dignitaries including Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield and U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer on the inaugural Biketown ride on the Tilikum Bridge.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“This is awesome!”

Those three words by Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat at the launch event for Biketown summed up many people’s feelings. It is indeed awesome to finally launch a bike share system nearly 10 years after the idea was first hatched.

Today in South Waterfront hundreds of people gathered to mark the occassion. There were the requisite dignitaries, electeds, and advocates. After a few speeches about 150 of them rode across the Tilikum Bridge and back to mark the ceremonial first ride.

Scroll down for photos and notes from the event…


It’s bike share day in Portland. Here are a few things to expect

Posted by on July 19th, 2016 at 9:22 am

Passersby check out the Biketown bikes in the station at SW 5th and Oak.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Passersby check out the Biketown bikes in the station at SW 5th and Oak.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The day has finally come for bike share to spring forth on the streets of Portland. We have waited nearly 10 years for this (our first post about Portland’s plans for bike share was in February 2007) and now it’s time to take the plunge.

Come on Portland. We can do this!

We’ll be at the launch party this morning and will be tracking any developments and updates as needed. But before the crazy starts, here are few things you can expect to happen today:


Even though the Portland Bureau of Transportation has done their homework and our system (run by Motivate Inc. with bikes by Social Bicycles) is relatively simple, we might see some technical glitches here or there. Keep in mind that we are launching the largest “smart-bike” system in North America (that’s a reference to the fact that the operating software is on each bike instead of at a central server/kiosk). The bikes themselves are pretty bombproof (they even have a shaft-drive which is much more reliable than a chain), but you just never know what might come up.

Will the on-board software work smoothly? How about that new app? The good news is that Biketown is a top priority for PBOT and for Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick so we’re confident they will throw everything they can at making sure the system works — and/or fixing an unforeseen glitches — from the get-go.