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Comment of the Week: The slow, possible work of progress

Posted by on October 24th, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Morrison Bridge bike-walk path dedication event-24
Ahh – can you feel that? That’s a successful
postcard campaign from 15 years ago.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

There’s nothing new under the sun, but effective political tactics have a way of staying effective.

That’s what reader and legendary bike advocate Phil Goff observed this week in a comment beneath Tuesday’s post about a series of postcard campaigns by activist group Bike Loud PDX:

This is exactly what I did 15-16 years ago to create the political pressure to bring in funding for the Morrison Bridge sidepath project. On two occasions, I had 300-400 signed postcards mailed to Multnomah County Chair Bev Stein (to get the County’s attention) and then 6 mo later to Metro Council chair Rod Monroe during the MTIP process. In the age of e-mail, Twitter and FB, a simple postcard campaign can pack a lot of punch. Its great to hear that advocates are reviving the tactic for other projects. Good luck BikeLoudPDX!

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PBOT, via blog comments, responds to “difficulties” of Williams project

Posted by on October 24th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Williams Avenue-1
Williams and it’s brand new, left-side bike lane has been a hot issue this week.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“I ride N Williams every day and am experiencing some difficulties myself.”
— Leah Treat, Director of PBOT

This week marked a very positive milestone for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT): They seem to be opening up a bit about joining the comment section here on BikePortland. I think this is a great development because it shows they understand the value of direct online engagement with their customers (us) and it could be a sign that they’re gaining confidence around the bicycling issue.

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Oregon prepares to launch its opt-in test of a vehicle mileage tax

Posted by on October 24th, 2014 at 10:43 am

PDX Bike Swarm - ALEC F29 protests-15
A Bike Swarm ride passes a Portland gas station in 2012.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon keeps inching toward its goal of replacing or supplementing the gas tax it invented, back in 1919, with a Prius-proof mileage tax.

Next July 1, the first 5,000 volunteer drivers will get a chance to opt out of gas tax and into a so-called “usage charge.” As the state gets ready for that test, a meeting in Portland this Monday will be the last stop on a statewide tour to gather input about the concept.

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People are driving right through new diverter on NE Rodney

Posted by on October 24th, 2014 at 9:58 am

New diverter on Rodney not working that great-1
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

A traffic diverter is a barrier placed in an intersection to prevent auto traffic from going through it. The goal is to make certain streets less attractive to auto drivers and reduce auto traffic volumes overall. So, when it’s relatively easy to drive through one — which is the case with a new diverter in northeast Portland — it sort of defeats the purpose.

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Weekend Event Guide: Thriller, a brewery tour, podcast party, and more!

Posted by on October 23rd, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Kidical Mass - Zombie Edition-24
It’s ‘Thrill the World’ weekend and Kidical Mass will be there to join in the creepy fun.
(Photo: J Maus/BikePortland)

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

I know what you’re thinking… Who the heck wants to ride in all this rain!? Well, the truth is, riding in the rain isn’t so bad, especially with friends. And besides, there’s bound to be a break in the clouds here and there, so why not be prepared with a list of all the fun bike stuff to do?

Grab your jackets, get your fenders on, and have a great (wet) weekend..

Friday, October 24th

Gold Sprints with Revolights – 7:00 pm at Chrome Retail Hub (425 SW 10th Ave)
Revolights, a California-based designer of very cool bicycle lights, is in Portland. Join them at the Chrome store tonight for some fun and gold sprinting. $5 race entry and winner takes all. More info here.

EcoSpeed Kickstarter Crush Party – 7:30 pm at 2330 SE Clatsop
The crew at EcoSpeed wants to celebrate their hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. Join them for a big party that will feature a DJ, free beer and food, a prize giveaway, and lots of lofty prognostications for what will surely be an exciting future. More info here.

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First look: New bike facilities open along MAX Orange Line

Posted by on October 23rd, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Update on PMLR bikeway progress-46
New multi-use path goes east-west just south of MAX line/UPRR tracks between SE 7th and 17th.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s less than one year to go until TriMet takes the wraps off the Orange Line, a 7.3 mile extension of the MAX light rail system that will connect downtown Portland to Milwaukie in northern Clackamas County. While the marquee component of the $1.5 billion project, the Tillikum Crossing Bridge, won’t open until next fall, many parts of the new project are already open for business.

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Two years after Portland’s auto parking wars, apartment garages aren’t filling up

Posted by on October 23rd, 2014 at 10:39 am

empty lower garage
The Linden apartments at SE 12th and Burnside are 98 percent leased, but 39 of their 110 on-site parking spaces, including the entire lower-level garage, have never been rented. These spaces rent for $110 a month, but street parking is free. (Note the occupied bike rack at the back of the garage.)
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

When Steven Van Zile moved from Los Angeles to the Pearl District last year for a job managing Guardian Management’s portfolio of Portland-area apartment buildings, the low number of parking spaces at some of the newer properties made him nervous.

Linden, the company’s new building on Burnside and 12th, had only 110 parking spaces for 132 units. In an interview at the time, Van Zile expressed gratitude to the building’s developer that the on-site parting lot was larger than at some other buildings. But what would happen if garage space ran short?

It turns out that Van Zile needn’t have worried.

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A region can dream: The metro area’s vision for its future path network

Posted by on October 23rd, 2014 at 9:30 am

regional map
(Click the image to enlarge, or see this zoomable PDF or web version.)

When you stitch together the long-term bike plans of every city in the area, connect a few dots and put it all on one map, you get something pretty spectacular.

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Reader mailbag: Confusion reigns on Williams Ave while City urges patience

Posted by on October 22nd, 2014 at 11:48 am

williams-ted
Reader Ted Buehler sent in this photo
yesterday with the subject line: “Lifeboat facility.”

Thanks to PBOT’s N Williams project, our mailbag has been pretty full lately.

Last week we shared some feedback we’ve received about how traffic back-ups on Williams are impacting users of NE Rodney — a street the city has tried to set aside as a lower-stress alternative.

And yesterday we received several more emails from people who are still trying to ride on Williams. Most of the emails have to do with concerns over how the project is being phased-in and the general confusion about where and how to navigate the newly striped bike lane — which is now on the left side of the road instead of the right.

For the city’s part, PBOT says they understand the concerns. Reached by phone this morning, agency spokeswoman Diane Dulken asked for patience. “It’s still an active construction site. We’re in an awkward phase of switching from right to left and we’re dodging the weather.”

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There’s a cyclocross race at Gateway Green next month!

Posted by on October 22nd, 2014 at 10:37 am

Gateway Green Kick the Dirt event-15
Gateway Green: Portland’s future premier cyclocross racing venue.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

We are excited to announce that six and-a-half years after we first told you about Gateway Green, supporters of the project have planned their first official bike event. Yesterday on their Facebook page, the Friends of Gateway Green unveiled plans for “Community CX,” a cyclocross exhibition race that will take place on November 15th.

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TriMet scores grant to study the world’s best bike + transit ideas

Posted by on October 22nd, 2014 at 9:16 am

TriMet bus with rack
One possibility: a system for tracking
bike rack capacity on buses.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

TriMet is a few months away from what its lead bike planner called a “pretty major” year-long review of the ways its transit system interacts with bikes.

“This effort will really help us in future years to make sure that we’re prioritizing the right projects at the right locations,” Active Transportation Planner Jeff Owen said in an interview Tuesday.

A $108,000 state grant awarded in August and $19,000 from TriMet will let the regional transit agency hire a consultant to gather best practices from around the world and make recommendations to TriMet about bike parking, how best to carry bikes on trains and buses, how to build transit lines with bike access in mind and other issues.

“We can’t think of everything ourselves, and outside ideas are really beneficial and powerful,” Owen said. “A lot of it might be things that we’re aware of, of course, but they could really bring some new ideas and creative thinking into it.”

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Five surprises in a comparison of Portland and Dutch travel choices

Posted by on October 21st, 2014 at 2:35 pm

split screen rotterdam
Portlanders and Rotterdammers have more in common than you might think.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Most city-to-city transportation comparisons are very simple: 64 percent of trips by car, 11 percent by bike, and so on.

But those broad numbers are really just blankets that have been thrown over the intricate topography of transportation choices that’s actually at work in our daily lives. To really understand how cities work, you also have to look at a second factor: How far are people going?

A motherlode of newly released data has revealed those patterns for Portlanders for the first time.

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Manicures? Gourmet cooking? It’s all possible at Cross Crusade ‘Tailgator’ competition

Posted by on October 21st, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Cross Crusade #7 at PIR-48
Which Cross Crusade team has the
best tailgate party?
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

When you mix one of the largest cyclocross scenes in the world with promoters who focus on the fun as much as the competition, you end up with events where there’s almost as much action in the team pit area as on the race course. This Sunday, the Cross Crusade pits will be even livelier as series organizers host the first-ever Tailgator Competition.

As we shared last year, the rows of team tents that line Cross Crusade courses become a small cyclocross city on race day. People bring in full-size BBQs, fire pits, pop-up changing rooms, tables, chairs, custom-made bike racks, deep-fryers, and more. Each year it seems the set-ups get more involved and elaborate.

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BikeLoudPDX postcard campaign amplifies the grassroots

Posted by on October 21st, 2014 at 9:53 am

zed ted marsha
Bike Loud volunteers Zed Bailey, Ted Buehler and Marsha Hanchrow show off signed and stamped postcards in favor of permanent traffic diverters gathered from people using Clinton Street.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s newest bike advocacy organization is bringing back the postcard.

In the last few weeks, three Portland city officials have received an estimated “three or four hundred” individually stamped postcards from Portlanders sharing their opinions about local transportation projects on Southeast Clinton Street, Southwest Third Avenue and Northeast Rodney Avenue.

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Smith Optics to move 35 employees to new Portland office

Posted by on October 20th, 2014 at 4:36 pm

smithlead

A significant chunk of global eyewear brand Smith Optics will move to Portland early next year.

The news was confirmed today via a story posted this afternoon in the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper.

Here’s more from the IME:

Safilo [Smith's parent company] CEO Luisa Delgado came to Ketchum from Italy this week to discuss the results of the location study with Smith employees, local government officials and media, among others. Delgado announced the relocation plans today, Oct. 20.

As part of Smith’s integration within its parent company, it will be controlled out of the global Safilo Group headquarters in Italy.

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Why Portland needs stronger design standards for construction zones

Posted by on October 20th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Bike traffic on NW Broadway-9
A construction project is currently blocking that entire right lane where all the bicycle riders are, forcing people into a mixed-zone environment with only humans as traffic calming measures.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

What a difference a few days can make.

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Cross Crusade #3 recap: Photos, drone footage and mishaps

Posted by on October 20th, 2014 at 11:33 am

Cross Crusade #3 - PIR Heron Lakes-12
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Race #3 of the River City Bicycles Cross Crusade is in the books. After a double-header opening weekend at Alpenrose Dairy, the series continued in fine style with a turnout of 1,277 racers at Portland International Raceway yesterday.

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Bomb squad disarms tripwire device found on trail near Forest Park – UDPATED

Posted by on October 20th, 2014 at 11:15 am

Newton Rd in Forest Park
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Police called in the bomb squad Saturday night to disarm an explosive device connected to a tripwire strung across a trail that leads into Forest Park.

According to a statement released this morning by the PPB, the tripwire was strung across Firelane 3, a wooded and overgrown old fire access road located east of NW Thompson Rd and accessible via Skyline Road from Thunder Crest Drive. Firelane 3 is open to bicycling and walking.

Here’s more from the PPB:

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The Monday Roundup: Bingo, a cargo bike park, sex with cars, and more

Posted by on October 20th, 2014 at 9:09 am

walk-crop
Shared space in downtown Minneapolis, 1920.
(Photo via Peter Norton)

Here are the great bike links that caught our eyes this week:

“A hundred years ago it was called Safety First”: Streetsblog’s two-part interview about Vision Zero with traffic historian Peter Norton is a must-read. The campaign for safe streets can learn a lot from the century-old campaign to make them unsafe.

“Customer code of conduct”: A bike shop in southern California is making all customers who wear their team uniform commit to obeying traffic laws.

Onshoring bikes: The Wall Street Journal takes a close look at the new factory in South Carolina that, with wages of $12 an hour, expects to produce $120 Walmart bikes more cheaply than China can by 2017. (Click the first link on the search page.)

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Comment of the Week: The decline of ageism in biking

Posted by on October 17th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-6
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It was once true that people who bike and like bikes were mostly young. News flash: this is no longer true.

That was the message of reader Anne Hawley, responding this week to our coverage of a Northwest Examiner newspaper article about a white-haired auto repair shop owner named Frank Warrens who sees a bike lane on Northwest Everett as part of a campaign to ban cars from downtown Portland.

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