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Open thread for riding conditions (12/30)

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 30th, 2009 at 7:09 am

A few snow riders in
Southeast Portland last night.
(Photo: Adams Carroll)

It's the morning after an unexpected snow storm that blanketed the City last night.

In The Oregonian this morning, ODOT says the streets of Portland are "clear and passable" (that's not the case in my neighborhood!).

PBOT issued a weather advisory at 6:00 am this morning saying that even though the snow is melting, streets are still "slick and slushy."

If you're wondering whether you should ride, check out the comments below for updates on bicycling conditions. You can check official advisories, but those are often car-centric and do not have information about side streets and bike routes. If you do head out on a bike, please leave a comment about how it went so others can learn about the conditions.

If you ride this morning, use extra caution*. Please use the comments below to share what the riding conditions are like in your neck of the woods.


*I feel bad. Yesterday I linked to our story about using zipties to get better traction in the snow/ice. This morning a reader wrote in to share a story of two women he helped last night. They were PSU students who tried the ziptie method and crashed. Bad. A broken arm and a few lost teeth were the result! Be careful out there folks.

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Comments
  • Anonymous December 30, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I rode the #4 and #6 bus to work and both were right on schedule.

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  • Mike on Bike December 30, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Bet. 6:30 and 7, it wasn't that bad. Many of the main roads are fully clear.
    On side roads, stick to the tracks created by car tires. The packed down stuff on the shoulder is still a little slick.
    Ironically, bike-only paths aren't great. Hawthorne Bridge was probably the worst stretch.
    I saw that there's a bike counter on the west end of the bridge. I'd be curious to see the ride counts today.

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  • Vivian December 30, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I'm not so much deterred by the weather but more by my coworkers! If the whole office gets to wuss out and spend the day at home, so am I!

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  • Jeff P December 30, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Mike on Bike has is right:

    In from Raleigh Hills/Hayhurst area in SW and the tracks are clear; as per usual the sides of the road are chopped up slush with some underlying rough frozen chunkage [from cager chains crushing the snow last night].

    Stick to the tracks or just the edges of slushness. Downtown is really open - I dropped off Terwilliger and once you hit 405, it's clear.

    Ride on [BTW last night was a blast; took me no longer than usual to ride back to the house but weaving in and around all the stuck cars was GREAT! Cool low profile tires and 22" wheels don't mix with transitional temps and snow! HA!]

    Ride on!

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  • hilsy December 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

    My wife got off work at 3 pm for her bike ride home. Thus she was able to get home before much had accumulated. She took some cool video with her digital camera as she rode on the East Side Esplanade:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn9h51sx-XE

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  • Jackattak December 30, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I rode the MAX to BeaverTron from Downtown this morning as usual, with no issues.

    My walk through the Park Blocks was a bit slushy but nothing my boots couldn't handle.

    MAX is running just fine now (which is more than I can say about last night...ugh).

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  • Stig3 December 30, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Very slushy this morning. The deeper slush may be icy underneath. I found the bike lanes to be very slippery. Better to ride slightly to the left of them if you feel the tires sliding. The drive train kept getting stuffed with snow, particularly in the smallest sprockets and derailleur pulleys causing the chain to slip under any power. Sticking to the larger sprockets in the back and slightly cross chaining to get the right gear worked out fine.

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  • Neversummer December 30, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Take care on the east side for the Hawthorne bridge (heading into town). It's slick and a bit rutty there, which itself isn't terrible, but the cars doing 40 mph 2 inches from your head is a little disconcerting. All told, not a bad commute this morning.

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  • Mitch Conner December 30, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I concur on the Hawthorne bridge. Take it slow and try to stay in the grooves. Otherwise, not terrible once you get the hang of it.

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  • amos December 30, 2009 at 8:37 am

    It's opposite day! I found the busiest, most car-filled streets to be the most efficient and safe, after I figured that out I made great time. For once those big beasts are doing us a favor!

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  • Dave December 30, 2009 at 8:43 am

    My ride this morning down Irving/Lloyd to the Steel Bridge and along the waterfront to OHSU wasn't bad, the waterfront especially was a little icy, but take it slow and you're fine. Having fat tires with good tread helps (was behind someone yesterday with skinny tires going up the ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge from waterfront park and they almost didn't make it, I didn't have any problems). Also, I agree with amos, riding in the road helps, as the cars are pretty quickly clearing them off. Bike lanes were still totally covered for the most part. Afternoon commute should be no problem.

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  • Joe December 30, 2009 at 9:02 am

    wild ridin forsure. be safe all! cars still
    hauling around..

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  • Kt December 30, 2009 at 9:23 am

    JMaus, you shouldn't feel too bad-- anyone who does any DIY'ing should know that unless you really really know what you are doing, things can go really wrong.

    The girls will heal-- and maybe will have learned.

    I saw a few hardy souls riding last night out here in the Durham/Tigard/Tualatin area. I'm positive they made better time than the rest of traffic. It took my dad an hour to drive half a mile, so he parked in a parking lot and we all walked to dinner. I left the office at 8pm to drive home and it took me half an hour-- about normal driving time if I had left at 5:30 on a normal day.

    Stay safe out there, folks; as the snow melts conditions will be crappy, until it's gone and we go back to our regularly scheduled rain. :)

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  • beth h December 30, 2009 at 9:33 am

    I rode home from Parkrose yesterday and got home in time for the snow to begin to stick. Beautiful, exhilarating ride home! I enjoyed tea and supper as I watched the snow come down in my yard.

    Dicey streets near my Woodlawn home, so I walked my skinny-tire city bike bike 2 blocks to the bus stop and rode the # 8 to Lloyd Center (where streets finally began to look cleared of slush). I rode the rest of the way to Citybikes (going on 12th and down Burnside) with only one minor slip in a slushy patch.

    Scheduled to go out to dinner downtown tonight after work and hoping enough of the slush will have melted to make getting across the river easier.

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  • Mike December 30, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Ankeny once again is neglected by the city.

    Ride at your own risk, as the tear ups from the water bureau work and the speedbumps make it extra tricky with all the snow.

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  • Josh December 30, 2009 at 9:48 am

    had to walk the Ross Island bridge.. the snow pack on the sidewalk was a bit too slick. Clinton was fine all the way in if you stick to the tire tracks

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  • JH December 30, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Fat tires on the Cross Check, there's nothing that beast can't handle. Even a light dusting of snow!

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  • Lester December 30, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I sure do miss the freakishly light and fluffy snow of last year; I completely forgot what a workout it is to trudge through 3 inches of this sludge.

    Last night's commute was much better than today's, as most cars seemed to be forging ahead at full speed today whereas last night they were much more cautious on the whole and driving 25 mph in the 45 mph zones.

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  • Dan December 30, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I took side streets from Kenton to the Interstate hill (by Kaiser) - pretty slushy and slippery. Go slow.

    Interstate had light traffic so I took the lane there - not possible to use the bike lane.

    The eastbank esplanade was fine.

    My typically 35 minute commute took 1 hour, so not too bad.

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  • middle of the road guy December 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Nice helmet use by the riders in the photo. Last time I checked, snow and ice are more slippery than pavement.

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  • Chris December 30, 2009 at 10:59 am

    By about 10 this morning there were great tire tracks to ride in on Clinton and Ladds was great. There was a half block section of Hawthorne's bike lane still full of snow but the entire rest of my commute up toward PGE Park was clear. Last night was wonderful since as slowly and carefully as I traveled I was still twice as fast as car traffic trying to get out of downtown.

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  • Mark Young December 30, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Never biked in the snow before. An interesting experience to say the least. No problem with traction, but it is a little hard to keep in a straight line. Breaks are a little iffy to.

    Good times!

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  • Joe December 30, 2009 at 11:14 am

    helmet cop warning.

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  • BURR December 30, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Three threads for three inches of snow seems a bit much to me, that's almost as hysterical as the over-the-top coverage on the TV news!

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  • matt picio December 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    BURR (#24) You must be from a northern state. ;-)

    Piedmont's neighborhood streets are full of slush, as are the bike lanes on Rosa Parks Blvd. Easiest method is to stay in the ruts as much as possible and be ready to pull feet off the pedals at an instant and use them to stabilize yourself when balance becomes problematic. Clipless pedals are more a hindrance than a help in this weather.

    Make your own decision on helmet use, but realize you're a lot more likely to fall than normal. Do what you need to do to be safe, and enjoy the weather!

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  • Kevin Wagoner December 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I missed out on the fun yesterday because I drove (ick). It took me 2 hours to go roughly 6 miles. I was passed by 4 bikes on Barber. One of the bikes took the right on to Capital Hill hwy and passed a bus, I was rather impressed that the bike didn't seem to struggle climbing that steep section.

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  • Paul December 30, 2009 at 3:14 pm
  • Schrauf December 30, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I was most impressed with the PDOT worker sweeping the slush off of the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalk this morning. Can't imagine that happening a few years ago.

    Probably a good spot to help clean up, given the steep drop over the curb into traffic and a grated surface. Thank you PDOT!

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  • Tom December 31, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Rode the packed ice slush mixture with Jack Wednesday morning up to Mt. Tabor. Fun getting sideways. Major slush by the time we got finished with the single track.

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  • Marcus Griffith January 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    10:00pm Friday 1/1/10: Roads from North Portland to Vancouver slick but no more than average rain. Made good time. Temp should stay above the 40s throughout the weekend. Near freezing rain predicted for Monday (lets hope it says warm).

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