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Events tonight: Foster Road Open House, Bikes & Tech, West End Bikes party and more

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 5th, 2013 at 11:00 am

New design for Foster Rd will be front and center at
open house event tonight.

It's another one of those nights in Portland where there's a ton of great bike-related events going on. Fortunately for you, we've put together a nice menu to aid in your selection...

The big advocacy event tonight is an open house for the City's Foster Road Streetscape Plan (6-8pm at SE Works on SE Foster and 78th). As we shared back in October, a citizen committee already approved the City's ideas for re-allocating the roadway to make room for bicycle access. Now the public-at-large will get a chance to see those plans and weigh in with their feedback.

Foster area resident Nick Falbo was on that committee and he also happens to be a very talented urban planner/graphics maker. To help promote tonight's Open House and give folks a greater sense of historical context, he created a very cool timeline inforgraphic and posted it on the Foster United blog. "I find it helps put people in the right mindset for thinking about plan making, and thinking about an alternate future from what is there today," Nick wrote on the Active Right of Way email list this morning, "Every 50 years or so there is a fundamental shift in who, how and what Foster Road serves, and a similar story has played out on almost every street in Portland."

Check it out...

If Foster isn't interesting to you, how about an event that brings together local leaders from the tech and bike worlds and mixes in a bit of ancient Samurai art? Bikes+Tech Samurai Happy Hour (Portland Art Museum at 5:30pm) is the brainchild of Justin Yuen, the founder of local social networking software company FMYI and Grouptrail, board member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and huge cycling fan. Justin's goal for the event is to demonstrate the strong support for bicycling that exists in the booming local tech industry and to bring tech and bike leaders together to make that alliance even stronger. Check out a list of attendees and get RSVP information here. (Please note: This is a private event. Sorry for any confusion.)

A very cool option for tonight would be to swing by West End Bikes for their Mission Workshop Holiday Launch Party (5-8pm, SW 11th and Stark), then roll over to the Bikes+Tech event. If you're not already familiar with them, Mission Workshop makes excellent urban bike apparel from their San Francisco headquarters and West End Bikes is their largest dealer in area. The party will be a chance to see their latest range, meet the nice folks at West End, and enjoy a beverage.

If you're reading this from Vancouver and want to get involved with a great annual holiday tradition, Bike Clark County is headed over to Waste Connections for their annual holiday bike build project. BCC will help the company inspect and tune-up about 450 bikes that will be given to area kids in need. Come join in the holiday spirit and bring some tools and a workstand if you've got one. Pizza will be provided. The fun starts tonight at 5 pm at Columbia Machine (107 South Grand Boulevard).

Have fun and stay warm out there!

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Comments
  • Humongous Ed December 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I have concerns about that design.

    First of all, the bake lane goes right to the very edge of the parking area, with no buffer. The diagram even shows someone riding in the door zone! They should but a striped vuffer there to remind people not to ride there.

    Next, the say that the main traffic lane is "streetcar ready". What happens once the streetcar goes in? Will they put stops on islands that block the bike lane, forcing bikes to swerve into traffic at every stop? Or do they make pedestrians cross the bike lane to get onto the streetcar, inevitably causing bike-ped conflicts? And how are cars supposed to pass the streetcar at stops- do they drive in the left turn lane? And how are bikes supposed to get in/out of the bike lane without making dangerous shallow crossings over the streetcar tracks?

    The only thing I like about this is that it will calm traffic by forcing it into a single main travel lane. But you could achieve that better and more easily by just lowering the speed limit.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • tony tapay December 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      "But you could achieve that better and more easily by just lowering the speed limit."

      Traffic already mostly exceeds the limit, so no.

      Rosa Parks around Peninsula Park is a great example where reducing the lanes of traffic has had a huge impact on speed and safety of a road.

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      • Craig Harlow December 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm

        As well as NE Multnomah. PBOT has before/after stats that I'm hoping they'll share.

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  • Nick Falbo December 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    You raise many good questions. Do you ride/live near Foster? Please come to the open house.

    The bike lanes are at least 6ft wide, which is wide enough to be considered out of the door zone.

    The streetcar wont come to Foster for a long, long time. When it does I have no doubt the design will be revisited (and I hope the mucho dinero that comes with streetcar improvements can pay to significantly upgrade the bikeway.) Our only role in thinking about streetcar during this process was making sure there was 11 ft of space available.

    Speed limit changes are usually more complicated than you'd think. It is very difficult to change speed limits without accompanying changes to the roadway itself. The changes proposed here will have a lasting, real effect on driver behavior and pedestrian safety. With them PBOT will apply to lower the limit to 30 mph. Without the changes, a speed limit reduction would probably be denied.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Humongous Ed December 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Unfortunately i dont live near there, so i probably cant come to the meeting.

      Its not the width of the bike lane that concerns me, its the way its marked. Experienced riders might know to avoid the right side of it, but novice riders wont. Apparently the person who made that image didn't know.

      You're right that it will probably be many years before we see a streetcar there. But I think many of my concerns are still valid with busses running there, too. The busses are still going to have to stop somewhere.

      I don't know anything about how the politics of speed limit changes work. You might be right that its impossible to lower them unless we alsomake infrastructure changes. But maybe if we push hard enough we can make it happen.

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      • davemess December 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm

        Should point out that parking is incredibly underutilized on much of Foster, so there probably won't be as many dooring possibilities as you might think.

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        • Justin December 6, 2013 at 9:24 am

          That's no small point. I submitted a breakdown of parking for the 52-72nd avenue section of Foster and asserted that parking isn't needed on both sides for the entire stretch. Standard bike lanes won't attract the interested-but-concerned crowd, so you risk a lose-lose situation with the proposal: drivers upset at losing a lane and potential cyclists not using the bike lane.
          Take away parking on just one side and you gain enough space for any number of bike options.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • davemess December 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm

            I wouldn't call it a lose:lose, as I think the bike lanes will still be used (I know I'll be using them every day to get to and from work!). You're right that it could possibly be better, but I think cyclists still come out ahead with this proposal (granted there is a pretty low current standard on the street).

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Humongous Ed December 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    So then ticket the drivers who break the speed limit. That's not a hard problem to solve.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • 9watts December 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      in theory or in practice?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Hart Noecker December 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I get that the easiest traffic calming sell is to add a media turn lane, but surely this space could be better utilized. At least by adding some green amenities in this space where there is nowhere to actually turn into.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • davemess December 6, 2013 at 7:25 am

      There are quite a few driveways on Foster, in addition to all the intersecting streets, and I think they plan on people also using the turn lane as a merge lane (like on 82nd) or "suicide lane". Also a little more of a compromise to try to pacify angry motorists.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • resopmok December 6, 2013 at 6:33 am

    I wish there had been better advertising for the open house. I might've been able to attend if I'd had more than 7 hours notice, and I do live in the area and would actually make use of facilities on Foster when they are built. Maybe Bikeportland didn't know about it either, but it sure seems like a good way to prevent people from attending, if you don't tell them about it.

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    • davemess December 6, 2013 at 7:21 am

      I had this complaint too. I've been going to the meetings, so I'm on the mailing list (as is Jonathan), but I've been less than impressed with their outreach thus far. They claimed last meeting that they have been sending out hundreds of mailers, but only to the three neighborhoods that surround Foster, and only within 0.5 miles of the road.

      Attendance was pretty good last night. A lot of new faces that I hadn't seen at any of the meetings.

      Nick, have you seen any long term traffic count numbers from Foster, like the last 5-10 years? I'm curious if the traffic volumes have plateaued or even declined like we have seen on SW Barbur.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • davemess December 6, 2013 at 7:22 am

        I should add that I still don't understand why some simple signs on the road itself haven't been used. Seems like that would be any easy way to get the attention of anyone using it.

        Also should note that bike parking was woefully inadequate last nights (as I knew it would be).

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Nick Falbo December 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Yes, there are some historic numbers on Foster from the east side of the corridor and it seems to shows a plateau. Some future demand/growth estimates from 1998 had predicted significantly higher volumes on Foster by 2015, but the increased hasn't happened as predicted.

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        • davemess December 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm

          So similar to the predictions for I-5? That really always makes me very weary of any future traffic projections, even 10 year out.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Justin December 6, 2013 at 9:26 am

      I found out about it here or somewhere else a while ago, but I didn't get the mailing until yesterday.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Nick Falbo December 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      PBOT has made an online version of their Open House survey available. Please chime in here:

      https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=qNt1mszy2403ZfEfYWpPiqbihlE%2fkIXnvDiTtiWca3w%3d

      Project details are available on the website here:
      http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/57866

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Veener December 6, 2013 at 7:17 am

    For folks in the neighborhood there were mailers sent out about 1 or 2 weeks in advance.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Mark Syme (@MarkBikeFanatic) December 6, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Ahhh, this all makes me so jealous. Thought and feedback involved in cycling infrastructure is a bit of an alien notion to my local council - more like, "we've got some green paint to use up so let's put 3 metre's of bike lane here so turning cars can use it" *rant over*

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    • davemess December 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Where do you live, so we can suggest all the anti-streetscape folks should look into moving there??????

      I just constantly find myself asking: Can't we have ONE city where people are down with this idea!?!?! There are dozens of metropolises dominated by suburbs and huge lane auto streets. Can't we have ONE city of our own????

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Jane December 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

        Good idea but we llive in a society based around money and objects, not people.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

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