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Bike parking, smoother bike lanes, and more; a federal stimulus funding wrap-up

Posted by on March 9th, 2009 at 9:50 am

TriMet requested (and received) $1 million in federal stimulus funds to build secure bike parking facilities (like the one shown above) at their Beaverton and Sunset Transit Centers.
(Drawing: Steve Durrant/Alta Planning + Design)

This morning we’ve got more good news about bike projects that were approved for funding through the federal stimulus package by the Metro Council last week.

BTA New Year's Day Ride
$1 million has been allocated
for signage and development of
Portland’s bike boulevard network.
(Photos © J. Maus)

We already shared the good news about how the council, in conjunction with the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT), chose to allocate over $20 million in their regional flexible funding program (nearly half went to bike-ped projects, and the process went at lightning speed — no small feat for a government agency).

At that same meeting, Metro Council and JPACT also approved the allocation of about $102 million from the federal stimulus package. The stimulus package sent to our region to be spent on local transportation projects included approximately $38 million for distribution through Metro as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), $44 million to TriMet, $450,000 to Wilsonville’s South Metro Area Rapid Transit, and $19.5 million to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

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gravel in the bike lane-1
This bike lane on SE Madison
will get re-paved and re-striped
thanks to the federal stimulus
package.

Highlights from Metro’s portion of the stimulus funded projects include repaving and restriping on one of Portland’s busiest bike couplets: Both SE Madison and SE Hawthorne will get freshly paved and painted bike lanes from SE Grand to SE 12th. Also coming out of Metro’s stimulus pot is $1,000,000 for striping and wayfinding signage for Portland’s up-and-coming citywide network of bike boulevards.

Metro also approved $1,800,000 in funding to repave the Springwater Corridor Trail (I shared details about that last week).

TriMet also got into the act. They requested, and JPACT approved, $1,000,000 in stimulus funding for two new “bike stations” which TriMet describes as “secure, covered, high capacity bike parking facilities”. These new bike parking structures, will be located at the Beaverton and Sunset Transit Centers.

At the Alice Awards on Saturday night, TriMet GM Fred Hansen said the new facilities will provide an additional 250 bike parking spaces. In addition to these new bike stations, TriMet will use the stimulus funds for “bike garages”, and next generation “electronic bike lockers” that will replace 100 older bike lockers outside the Central Business District (stay tuned for a separate story on TriMet’s push for more bike parking).

After what many felt was a dismal showing by the Oregon Transportation Commission/ODOT, these decisions by JPACT and the Metro Council are welcome news.

With their focus on a multi-modal mix of projects, Metro has drawn a stark contrast to ODOT (and the City of Portland for that matter) as to how to invest in our transportation system. ODOT gets the lion’s share of federal transportation dollars ($224 million versus $96 million to MPO’s throughout the state) and they have shown a clear focus in spending the majority of those funds on highway paving and widening projects in rural Oregon counties.

To better understand the difference between Metro and ODOT, take a look at these pie charts (supplied by Metro). The first one shows how ODOT has allocated their stimulus funds so far (they still have more to give out):

ODOT has allocated 82% of their federal funds to highway preservation (repaving) and modification (widening), just 2% on bike/ped, and 0% on transit.

And this one shows how Metro has allocated their stimulus funds (note the much broader and even mix to transit, bike, etc…):

Metro’s pie has ample pieces bike, pedestrian, transit, and street preservation projects.

Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder told me last week he feels like they “did a great job” (especially in light of ODOT’s showing) and that he hopes this will be seen “as a model of rapid response to a tough challenge that addresses the concerns of many, such as 1000 Friends [who were very disappointed in ODOT's stimulus funding allocations], as to ensuring a broad mix of projects.”

For more information on how Oregon has invested its economic stimulus funds on transportation projects, download this 29-page packet put together by Metro (PDF, 1.1mb). It includes their resolution and project lists from them and ODOT.

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Comments
  • Bridger March 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

    To be fair, ODOT has a slightly different mission – overseeing state transportation network – than the definitively urban jurisdiction Metro controls. But, it’s really great news that the Metro council acts with such vision sometimes — that seems to be the organization’s best attribute. And the expanded bike boulevard system is really sweet, and I great value to tax-payers.

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  • Options Guy March 9, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Great article – love to hear the occasional good news!
    To hear more about TriMet’s efforts to improve capacity for combining bike and transit trips, come to next week’s Bike Brown Bag, “Bikes and Transit: Strategies for Growth”, Thursday – March 19 – noon at the Portland Building.

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  • Krampus March 9, 2009 at 11:44 am

    haha

    Well I just moved from NW over to SE (on Madison St. no less) and while I’m thrilled there will be 7 blocks or so of new bike path painted on Madison.. is it really necessary? Madison St between 12th and Grand really seems like a strange place to focus on. Am I missing something here?

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  • Michelle March 9, 2009 at 11:45 am

    It’s just super that TriMet is spending this kind of money on really good bike parking. Three years ago I never would have imagined it possible. Props to Colin Maher, Carolyn Young, Fred Hansen and the other people I may not know by name who made this happen!

    Also to JPACT and Metro. Very exciting.

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  • peejay March 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Am I the only one who’s suspicious that TriMet’s interest in providing better bike parking is a precursor to their banning bikes on the trains? That would be a huge mistake, TriMet!

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  • SkidMark March 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I do not want to park my bike. the only reason I take the MAX is to get over the West Hills and continue into the city. If they ban bike on the train, I will not use the MAX ever again.

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  • P Finn March 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I still see the best fix for the bikes/transit conundrum being HPV-specific infrastructure constructed parallel to (on top of?) major transit corridors (especially rail lines). If you make it quicker to bike to the next station than to wait for the next train, people will exercise that option more often (bike/ped path through the West Hills tunnel, anyone?).

    This system could be augmented with power-assist mechanisms along aforementioned trail, such as:

    “The main aim of the lift is to get more people on bicycles…”

    Well played…

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  • P Finn March 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Whooops…here’s that link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j1PgmMbug8

    I guess embedding video in the comments don’t work so good…

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  • P Finn March 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Whooops…here’s that link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j1PgmMbug8

    I guess embedding video in the comments don’t work so good…
    Ooops, forgot have mentioned good post! Waiting for the next post!

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  • popsflying March 9, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    A million dollars for bike parking??? If biking is this important then i think its` time to start charging a fee for a licence…say 58 dollars every two years???? this seems fair to me.

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  • Nancy March 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I think they are putting the money in the wrong place. They need trains to hold more bikes. I would say that 95% of riders need the bike to get to the train and then again at there train stop to get to the destination.

    I agree that this is the first step in banning or cracking down on bikes on trains. I think the money is being very poorly spent.

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  • chris March 9, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Bike parking is a good idea…but a public restroom would be a better, some say, excellent idea.

    Have you ever waited for a bus for 45 minutes? After a few beers?

    Sheesh..

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  • Kris March 9, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Interesting opinions here on whether more bike parking is good or bad.

    In my opinion, more bike parking is always better. If you look at the huge car parking garage at Sunset TC, it is only fair that Trimet provides equivalent parking facilities for bikes.

    Regarding the suspicion that this is a first step by Trimet of scaling back its bike-on-MAX policies: I think that this is more about Trimet running out of space for bikes on MAX and not wanting to invest in additional bike capacity on their trains, which is understandable. So all they are doing, is looking for alternatives. One of the alternatives is encouraging cyclists to use the same type of multi-modal transportation used by the hundreds of motorists who park their cars at Sunset every day. Which is: leave your vehicle behind and become a pedestrian while you travel into the city.

    I think the challenge with that idea is that here in Portland – unlike most European cities – most cyclists don’t see themselves as “pedestrians on a bicycle”, who are fine leaving their bike behind someplace and continue their travels/errands by foot or public transport. In particular, I don’t see this become a popular option with the many cyclists who ride with bike-specific gear (think helmets, raingear, cleated bike shoes, panniers, etc) or expensive bikes (including nice, custom-built commuter bikes).

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see how much these bike racks will fill up. I sure hope they do.

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  • Vance March 10, 2009 at 7:12 am

    I’m with Nancy #11 on this. Sorry Nancy. Hehe. I do appreciate the sentiment T-Met, but I’d rather see this money going to expand access. Parking doesn’t do one much good if there’s no room to board transit with one’s bike?

    Moreover, there are serious, and increasing, health concerns surrounding the use of densely packed public transit. Scabies, TB, MRSA, Head Lice, and many, many more. It’s only a matter of time.

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  • Vance March 10, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Kris #13:

    “… it is only fair that Trimet provides equivalent parking facilities for bikes …”.

    Again, I appreciate the sentiment here. In reality though, cyclists comprise a tiny minority of transit commuters/users. Fair would be no parking at all, based on the numbers that is.

    Tri-Met has repeatedly stated that they cannot use additional cars on their system. More frequent trips sure, up to a point, one that has reportedly been reached. After that, it’s re-do the whole system to accommodate larger car-arrays. That two-car-hookup so familiar to us, is the largest car-arry they can use on their switching system. A switching system foisted on us by environmental protection groups, I might add. Hehe. Love the liberal. Don’t question the liberal. Liberals never make mistakes.

    I reassert that I’d liked to have seen money like this go toward expanding access.

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  • peejay March 10, 2009 at 8:43 am

    1) The two-car Max is the result of the network sharing surface streets downtown. All other decisions were made from that limitation. Strawman arguments about liberal environmentalists hurting their own cause don’t work here.

    2) What really sucks about almost all of the suburban Max stations is that they were designed to be park-and-ride, and not actual destinations. In the best working mass-transit systems, even ones that service lower-density areas, the space immediately adjacent to the stops is very valuable, and contains enough local density (residential, commercial, or employment-based) that the post-ride commute for most riders is usually within walking distance. This is an important distinction that shows the car bias of even our public transit system! It was designed to be multimodal – in fact, it was designed for one specific multimodal trip: the suburban resident car-train-walk-to-job-downtown. All other users of the system are second-class users, based on the design of the layout. It would be interesting to see what percentage of trips on the Max do not fit this paradigm, and what changes need to happen to make it more responsive to its actual user mix.

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  • Vance March 10, 2009 at 9:34 am

    peejay #16, I must respectfully disagree. Plus we are kinda talking about the same thing. Your speaking to the net length of one/two car units, and the condition where a train might stretch longer than a city block; thus blocking traffic, right? Okay, so using that as a starting point the placement of track switches especially, but everything from the way the Max-train cars are provided power, to frequency on the lines is parametrized with that net length.

    In my opinion, this is just one of a million things wrong with trains. Off topic, so I’ll leave it there. This inherent inflexibility is going to cost a lot eventually. Oh, I resent the strawman thing too, ’cause a) You’ve used it ever so slightly incorrectly. b) The fact is that the Sierra Club, and some huge enviro group from Navado, CA went nuts over a Max plan that would have left unit size open ended. I know ’cause I was there.

    I really like your observation about even Mass Transit being predisposed to motorist centric behavior! Seriously, spot on. Yay for parking there too, don’t get me wrong. I just think there were better ways to spend a mill.

    Folks, I don’t like neo-cons any better than liberals. I self-identify as liberal, so I have a stake. That’s the only reason I beat on ‘em so much. There is a liberal contingent who wreak of religious fervor, and I oppose them just like I do the other religious wackos of the world, is all.

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  • Perry March 10, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Pops #10 – I do pay that fee for my vehicle right now. Every day I don’t use it (the car) and ride my bike instead, I do proportionately less damage to the roadway, alleviate traffic congestion, reduce my fuel usage and reduce the load on state troopers, ODOT etc. etc. that I have already paid for. Paying an additional fee to ODOT for my use of local roads on my bicycle is ridiculous. Interesting how this Rebublican proposal results in more government, more regulation, more enforcement costs and more red tape.

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  • peejay March 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Perry:

    Wrong thread, dude!

    Vance:

    I agree in principle that it is possible that some environmental organizations can mis-guidedly work against the interests of their movement, and in fact I’m sure it happens. The general point is that it’s stupid to color the entire movement a failure because of that.

    I know a lot of renewable energy people jumped on the ethanol bandwagon, but unless they did it for cynical reasons that have to do with campaign contributions from agribusiness, I’ll challenge them on the facts but not attack their motivations. If Emily’s List endorses a pro-choice Republican, which if their candidate gets elected, might lead to less choice, I’ll think they are misunderstanding the political realities, but I won’t say: typical stupid feminists.

    The strawman in your argument is that liberals never criticize their own. Not true. Look at what has happened to CRC Sam’s support at this site.

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  • BURR March 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Have any of you ever biked around the Beaverton Transit Center? It’s one of the least bike friendly places in the city, and now they are going to invest one million dollars in bike parking that no one’s gonna use?

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  • Michelle (BTA) March 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    There are currently waiting lists for bike lockers at the Beaverton and Sunset Transit Centers – so yes, people do want to park their bikes there, and every day that goes by that they can’t they either 1) drive, 2) spend forever transferring buses, or 3) take their bike on MAX, using up a valuable space to which someone who can’t or won’t leave their bike behind would otherwise have access (like you, SkidMark #6 – the bike space that ought by right to be yours may be occupied by someone waiting for a Beaverton TC locker!).

    I don’t really think we want to prepare for some possible future debate with TriMet about rush-hour bike access to MAX by depriving people who want bike parking of that bike parking, do we? By refusing to accept improvements to our bike-and-transit system so that conditions remain so unpleasant and overcrowded that we can claim misery and deprivation if and when we have that debate?

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  • Anonymous March 11, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    only govt. could spend a million on 250 bike parking spaces

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  • carless in pdx March 17, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Old thread, but I just wanted to drop this link to Copenhagenize’s thread on Metro bike parking.

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/01/metro-bicycle-parking.html

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  • BURR March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    “only govt. could spend a million on 250 bike parking spaces”

    only govt. could spend $5 million plus on 250 car parking spaces

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