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A ‘GOOD’ challenge for bicycling in Portland – UPDATED

Posted by on January 25th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

What Portland needs is a road that connects a close-in neighborhood to downtown that’s designed in such a way that people who choose to ride a bicycle on it can enjoy the same level of comfort, efficiency, and safety that people who choose to drive or take transit currently experience.

Contrary to the vision of bike utopia many have formed in their head about Portland, the reality is that we lack this type of road. Yes, we have some innovative and exciting bike-specific infrastructure; but none of it provides the Dutch-style, door-to-door connectivity that we all know is absolutely crucial to handling our current traffic demands and to entice the “interested but concerned” to give biking a try.

Creating this type of roadway is the challenge I proposed when I was invited by GOOD to be a part of their GOOD Ideas for Cities event that’s coming to Portland on February 16th.

The event teams “urban leaders” with creative pros and designers to come up with solutions to challenges many cities face. I’m honored to be a part of one of six teams that will tackle everything from access to local food, re-thinking public space to combat obesity, how to attract more businesses downtown, funding the arts, and more.

I’ve been paired with three very smart and engaged urban thinkers from the non-profit Think.Urban; Jason King, Allison Duncan, and Katrina Johnston. We’re meeting weekly in preparation for the big event on February 16th where we’ll share a six-minute presentation about our solution to this challenge. At the event we’ll be joined by other teams with members from Wieden + Kennedy, Ziba, the Office of Mayor Sam Adams, the Portland Development Commission, and others.

The event is free but the folks from GOOD tell me that tickets are going very quickly! You can RSVP online if you’d like to join us. I can guarantee the presentations will be inspiring. Our team has already met once and many sparks of ideas were flying!

For more information, check out this GOOD Cities blog post.

UPDATED: Tickets are sold out, but you can still try to attend. Here’s what Alissa from GOOD says:

 Tickets are sold out for this event. If you’d still like to attend, there will be a line forming outside the venue starting at at 6:00 p.m. and we’ll be releasing all unclaimed tickets at 6:45 p.m. Thanks for your support!

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Comments
  • NF January 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Congratulations Jonathan! Your selection in this event is a testament to your influence in Portland, I can’t wait to see your vision presented to a wider audience.

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  • Lenny Anderson January 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Congrats Jonathan. Here’s a thought. The Streetcar loop in the Central City has its roots in the Central City Plan of the 80′s, and its realization has caused some frustration for bike riders.
    Maybe now we need to shift the focus to a bike or bike/ped loop in the Central City, incorporating the new Milwaukie light rail bridge, the proposed 7th Avenue bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch, and a much needed wider Broadway Bridge MUP or even new bike/ped bridge over the River (Frankurt a Main has two!).
    These major pieces could be linked via real Bike Boulevards with protected bikeways and wide sidewalks via the Park Blocks on the westside, along 7th Avenue on the eastside, with a wider Burnside Bridge Promanade cutting thru E/W thru the middle.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      I like your thinking Lenny. We have yet to decide on which corridor we’ll focus on; but I think it’s going to include extending the existing cycle track on Broadway all the way to Hollywood. That’s a no-brainer that should already be in the works. The thing is, we’d need a loop so people can have a nice road to bike on in AND out of the city. I’ll be updating the Front Page as we work through our challenge. Stay tuned.

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      • dwainedibbly January 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

        Great idea, and congrats on getting invited to the event. Now don’t let it go to your head! :)

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  • dwainedibbly January 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Tickets all gone.That was fast!

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  • Kevin Wagoner January 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    What, Barber doesn’t fit this profile?

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  • Jason King January 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Looking forward to working with you Jonathan. We would love to hear from all of your savvy readers and advocates about what the City should be doing to take Portland to world class. Already some great ideas to ponder.

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  • Robert Bierma January 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    It would seem to me that stark offers one of the best if not the best choice of a street to extend a true bike boulevard into the mid-eastside. It connects well to the newly improved Morrison bridge. It is the longest strait road that isn’t a main artery street and doesn’t have transit on it. you could easily extend the boulevard all the way from the river to the academy theater area on the east side of mt tabor and beyond. There is easily space for the boulevard if you are willing to give up on street parking. All this suggest that if Portland really want a network of high capacity bike boulevards that this would have to be up there on the list of potential routes.

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  • Mr. Baker January 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    This is the exact reason I prefer biking in Eugene to biking in Portland and I bet the vast majority of people can agree with me. Eugene’s roads may not be all that dedicated to cycling, but many of the roads around campus, south Eugene and West Eugene can be easily ridden by even the most casual of bikers because of the extreme low traffic, use of traffic disrupters and great urban planning.

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  • John January 26, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Any chance this will stream online?

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    • Jason King January 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Not sure about streaming, but the videos of each of the presentations along with Q&A have typically been available on the GOOD site after the event.

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  • Ian Stude January 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I’d like to second the idea of transforming Stark St into this type of facility. I’ve often thought this would make a great dutch-style route. In addition to the reasons pointed out by Robert, I would add that Stark has the probably the gentlest overall elevation/grade change from the river to the mid-50s. After that, you’ve got Mt. Tabor to deal with, but it could easily extend to 60th or 62nd. The transition to Thorburn would be exponentially more expensive to retrofit (Thorburn doesn’t even have sidewalks, let alone a parking lane) so it should probably end there.
    But how to deal with the pesky challenge of parking removal…? Any creative ideas for handling this elephant in the room?

    Good luck with the presentation, Jonathan!

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  • Robert Bierma January 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I would also note that stark has good access to more schools then almost any other street.

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