Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 18th, 2013 at 5:14 pm
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 18th, 2013 at 5:05 pm
(Photo @leahtreat on Twitter)
In case it didn't come through in the two stories I've posted about new PBOT Director Leah Treat today, I want to make it clear that she likes bikes. Treat rides bicycles regularly and she's not shy about sharing her appreciation of bicycling with the public. Does this matter? Yes. Does it mean everybody's bike dreams will suddenly come true? No.
As we've unfortunately experienced for the past four-plus years, politics often trumps good policy and projects here in Portland. But that being said, I think Treat's love of cycling and her understanding that bicycling plays a crucial and valuable role in the urban transportation mix, is an extremely important trait that is likely bode very well for Portland's future. This is especially true when her perspective is combined with that of her two bosses — Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales — both of whom are very supportive of bicycling and seem poised to shake up the local transportation status quo.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 18th, 2013 at 3:30 pm
When it comes to our region's multi-use paths (known by wonks as MUPs), it's not a stretch to call the I-205 path the "Granddaddy" of them all. Built by the Oregon Department of Transportation with money from our heralded "Bicycle Bill" (that mandates 1% of new highway funds go toward bicycling), the first section of the path opened in the 1970s and it was "completed" in 1982. Today the path connects five cities, ten neighborhoods, and stretches 16.5 miles from the Clackamas River in Gladstone to Vancouver, Washington.
Last night, staffers from ODOT and TriMet led a Pedalpalooza ride (sponsored by the Women's Transportation Seminar) that gave attendees a chance to learn more about the path's past, present and future.
Before we got rolling, it was fun to hear the reasons why each person showed up on a weekday evening for a wonky tour of the I-205 path. "This was the closest Pedalpalooza ride to me tonight," said one guy. Another guy said, "I do all of the wonk rides." We were also joined by a a married couple named Michael and Wendy. Wendy shared that they live just one block off the path. "I love having this path next to our house," she said, "because I could re-learn how to ride a bike without cars scaring the crap out of me."
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 18th, 2013 at 1:44 pm
Employees at Hillsboro-based Intel Corporation are spearheading an effort to make bike sharing less expensive and more widely available. Using their own volunteer time, a group of employees at the company have been working on the Open Bike Initiative since January. I've heard murmurs about the effort for months and they just released some bare-bones details at OpenBikeInitiative.org.
Key advisors on the Open Bike project include Nike, the Westside Transportation Alliance, the Community Cycling Center, Portland State University, and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
According to the website, the main objective of the effort is to design a low-cost device that incorporates GPS/cell data and a locking mechanism that can be attached to any standard, off-the-shelf bike. Then they'll create software that allows the bikes to communicate and be managed as a system via an online portal. The final step will be to freely distribute the results of their work and experiences with an open-source license.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 18th, 2013 at 12:40 pm
"I do believe that Portland has started stagnating in terms of progressive transportation."
— Leah Treat, incoming Director of PBOT
Last month I accepted an invitation from the Mayor's office to be involved in the selection process for a new director of the Bureau of Transportation. The event was billed as a "meet and greet" and an opportunity to have informal, small-group discussions with each of the final candidates. Three finalists had already been through grilling formal interview and the City wanted to hear feedback from citizen transportation advocates. I gladly accepted and agreed to not share any details of the conversations until a final selection was made. One of the people we spoke to that day was Leah Treat, who we've now learned is Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick's ultimate choice for the job.
The first thing that impressed me about Treat was that before we (myself and three others) even started asking her questions, she opened up the conversation by asking each of us what our priorities were. What followed was an enlightening back-and-forth that ranged from Portland's transportation stagnation, to equity, financing, and other issues. I made an audio recording of the event and the Q & A with Treat is below:
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 18th, 2013 at 10:25 am
The City of Portland has selected Leah Treat to be the new Director of the Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Treat is currently the Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Transportation where she serves under Chicago's Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein.
In a statement released this morning, PBOT Commissioner Steve Novick said, "Portland needs a transportation leader who has the budget management background to help us address our deficit in basic street maintenance and who understands the value of sustainable modes such as biking and walking. We know we have found the right person for PBOT in Leah Treat and we are excited to have her join us in Portland."
Treat has been in government service her entire 17-year career. Her background is in budgeting and finance and the majority of her past positions have been focused on "standing up organizations financially." Treat and Klein first worked together in Washington D.C. where she was Klein's deputy director of finance and managed D.C. over $1 billion transportation budget. Prior to working in D.C. Treat served in advisory roles for the governor and Legislature of New Mexico.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 17th, 2013 at 2:48 pm
N. Vancouver Ave.
(Photos: Joan Petit)
The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has made changes to the street around the intersection of N. Vancouver Avenue and Morris. This stretch of Vancouver is a busy bikeway and it sees a fair amount of people walking due to the adjacent park (Dawson Park) and several Legacy Emanuel Hospital buildings.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 17th, 2013 at 12:56 pm
On Saturday (6/15) at around 11:30 pm, a man was critically injured while bicycling up Interstate Avenue. According to the Portland Police Bureau, 59-year-old Mike Cooley was riding northbound on Interstate when he was hit by someone driving a Ford pick-up. The collision occurred just north of the intersection with Greeley Ave.
Here's more from the PPB:
A witness described to police seeing a white Ford pick-up, possibly late 1970s model, driving erratically before the crash, which occurred in the northbound lanes of Interstate Avenue.
The truck operator fled the scene and PPB investigators are looking for the driver. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Chris Johnson at (503) 823-2213 or Chris.Johnson@PortlandOregon.gov, reference PPB Case #13-48846.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 17th, 2013 at 12:10 pm
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has just released The Bicyclist's Survival Guide (PDF), a new publication about bicycling. Here's how they introduce it in an official statement sent out this morning:
"Looking to get back on the bike and be part of the active transportation crowd? You'll save money, reduce pollution and improve your health! Here is "The Bicyclist's Survival Guide" with tips to keep you on the straight and vertical. Ride on!"
For ODOT, the graphics are actually quite nice. The information is also solid. There are four main sections with clear explanations of safe riding tips and accompanying graphics. They remind folks to not ride against traffic, to take the lane when riding on a road without a shoulder, to not wait in the blind spot of right-turning cars, to use hand signals, and so on. One tip that caught my eye was the recommendation to only use a blinking light during the day. "At night it blinds drivers and fellow cyclists," says ODOT, "and may actually put you in danger of a collision." Interesting to see the State weigh in on the blinky vs. steady light debate.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 17th, 2013 at 11:09 am
On Saturday, June 8th the bicycle counter on the Hawthorne Bridge set a new record with 9,834 recorded trips. The previous record, 8,305 trips, was set on Tuesday, September 25th of last year. That huge daily total on June 8th led to the week of June 3rd being the highest number of recorded trips for a week with 54,118. It's very likely that June will be a record month for bike trips on the bridge with over 100,000 trips already recorded.
While June is typically one of the busiest months for bicycling in Portland, it's worth noting that the June 8th trip total was inflated by the World Naked Bike Ride (which set a record of its own with over 8,150 participants).
The counter was installed on August 8th of last year and it logged its 1 millionth trip on April 1st 2013.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 17th, 2013 at 9:53 am
Lots of great bike stories to share from the past week, so let's get right to it...
— The folks at the Copenhagenize have done some interesting work on bicycling behaviors based on video footage in "Choreography of an Urban Intersection".
— This "Biking wisdom in 10 words" map by the NY Times is amazing. It collects comments from readers on bicycling conditions around the country.
— If you were ever curious into the history of the "marginalization of bicyclists" from a vehicular cycling perspective, sit down and digest this massive blog post by Bob Shanteau on the I Am Traffic blog.
— The gravel riding/racing thing is really taking off. Now it's really arrived (or it's officially over, depending on your perspective) now that the NY Times has devoted a feature article and some photos to it.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 15th, 2013 at 7:14 am
The official count is in: Portland's World Naked Bike Ride broke a record this year with an estimated 8,150 participants.
The last two years, ride organizers put the number of riders at 4,500 and 4,200 people respectively — so this is a substantial increase. The count was performed by volunteers who sat down tonight and watched video taken of the ride last Saturday. Ride organizers installed an overhead video camera on SW Jefferson just past the starting point of the route specifically to document the turnout (there has been a bit of controversy in the past about inaccurate counts, especially the inflated numbers that were originally reported for the 2010 edition).
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 14th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
The local legacy of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) will be showcased on the Art For the Millions bike tour this Saturday. The ride is being organized by Know Your City, a Portland-based non-profit that "connects people to place." The group's Executive Director Marc Moscato got in touch with us to share more about the ride:
During the height of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided economic relief to millions of idle workers by employing them in the creation of public works projects and arts education programs. Although highly controversial in its time for its leftist political leanings, the WPA is cited as a major factor for the re-stabilization of the American economy leading up to WWII. Join Know Your City for a repeat of our first-ever tour, as we take a leisurely bicycle field trip/tour of WPA-sponsored projects in Portland and hear from leading authorities on the subject.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 14th, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 14th, 2013 at 10:39 am
"Driver in fatal one hundred mile-per-hour accident indicted."
— Gresham PD press release
One of the things I do to stay abreast of local traffic news is to subscribe to press alerts from police jurisdictions all over the region. Not only does this help me find out about bicycle-involved collisions, it also gives me an unfortunate reminder of the immense carnage caused on our roads every day. The perspective I get from scanning press statements about people being hurt and killed every day on roads throughout Oregon is invaluable in maintaining a sense of urgency about issues of road design and traffic policy.
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 14th, 2013 at 9:35 am
Clackamas County is updating their Transportation System Plan (TSP) and the time is now to make sure key projects make it into the final version. Getting the right, bike-friendly projects into the TSP is crucial because the plan is the county's guiding document for investment and planning for the next 20 years. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is monitoring this TSP update because there are several projects — including the Monroe Neighborhood Greenway that was one of 16 projects in their recent "Blueprint" — that could have a vast impact on bike access in the coming years.
BTA advocate Carl Larson singled out four projects that need support in the Clackamas County TSP update. Check them out below and weigh in via the online "Virtual Workshop" (descriptions below taken from BTA blog post):
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 14th, 2013 at 8:44 am
(Photo: Alex Milan Tracy)
Welcome to Portland Rider, a new column by local photojournalist Alex Milan Tracy. In the coming months, Alex will head out into Portland's streets and neighborhoods to find local riders and share their stories, thoughts, and perspectives. The idea is to introduce you to the many and varied folks who ride in Portland.
If you have feedback, we'd love to hear it. — Jonathan
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 14th, 2013 at 8:25 am
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 13th, 2013 at 3:39 pm
The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has released a women's cycling survey. The survey comes from PBOT's Active Transportation Division and it aims to learn more about women's current bike use and interest in cycling in general.
PBOT's Women on Bikes program has been leading rides and creating resources for women since 2005. Currently, just 31 percent of Portland's bike riders are women. According to the most recent City data, that number has not changed since 2003. Women are often singled out for promotion of cycling because it's believed that they are an "indicator species" of a bike-friendly city.
A 2009 article in Scientific American put it this way:
Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 13th, 2013 at 2:29 pm
by the end of this month.
(Photos: Community Cycling Center)
The Community Cycling Center is currently hard at work building berms, ramps and other details of a Bike Skills Park in the New Columbia neighborhood. The project was funded through a $15,500 grant from the Portland Development Commission.
The CCC's Melinda Musser sent us an update and a few photos of how the lines are shaping up. It looks awesome! Here's more from Melinda:
The Bike Skills Park, opening in July, will offer a safe riding area for neighbors of all ages. Participants will learn about skill development through group instruction from We All Can Ride bike committee members and Community Cycling Center staff and volunteers. Additionally, We All Can Ride members are furthering their ride leader training this year and will host summer bike rides so that residents can safely explore their community together on two wheels.