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BikeLoudPDX hits Active Transportation Summit with “not-so-cool infrastructure” flyer

Posted by on March 15th, 2016 at 11:42 am

oatslead
Bike Loud PDX co-chairs Emily Guise (L),
Jessica Engelman, and Ted Buehler.
(Photo: BikeLoudPDX)

Leaders of the all-volunteer transportation activist group Bike Loud PDX were at this week’s Oregon Active Transportation Summit with a message you don’t usually hear at those type of events: Portland ain’t all that.

Bike Loud PDX passed out a two-page flyer to summit attendees encouraging them to not only learn about Portland’s success but also “talk about the not-so-cool infrastructure we have too.”

Here’s the text from the flyer:

Welcome to Portland! A “platinum-level bicycle city”

We hope you’re enjoying the Oregon Active Transportation Summit so far. This is event is a great opportunity to hear about all the cool innovations in infrastructure and safety we have here in Portland.

But maybe we should talk about the not-so-cool infrastructure we have too. Cycling conditions in Portland far surpass those of most American cities. Unfortunately, America is a country that fell head-over-heels for the siren song of the motor vehicle almost a century ago, which means that even in Portland, “America’s Bike Capital,” our bicycle infrastructure pales on the international scale.

Portland is an amazing city of amazing people, and we know we have the potential to become an actual revolutionary force in cycling. But for those of us whose primary means of transportation is the bicycle, we who are out there experiencing our “platinum-level” infrastructure every day, it’s hard not to feel more copper than platinum. So what’s stopping us from reaching our cycling potential?

We’ve rested on our laurels long enough; it’s time for Portland to get out there and actually live up to its reputation as America’s cycling capital! BikeLoudPDX is calling upon the City of Portland to live up to the Portland Plan, Climate Action Plan, and 2030 Bike Plan by providing PBOT with the funding and political support necessary to expand and maintain our bicycle and other active transportation infrastructure.

We’re also calling on PBOT and ODOT to put all our world-famous wonky ideas and best practices to work, designing and building the ultimate active transportation system.

We know you can do it! We’re counting on you!

And here’s the flyer:

oatsflyer1
oats2

Three BikeLoudPDX co-chairs were at the event: Emily Guise, Ted Buehler, and Jessica Engelman. Guise told us via email that they created the flyer, “Because we wanted to remind the professionals at the summit that while Portland is a pretty good place to ride a bike for the U.S. (which is a low bar!), there are still lots of places our policies and infrastructure need improvement. We’re doing okay, but if we ever want to hit that 25% bike mode share, we need to do a lot better than okay. And also from a vision zero standpoint, “ok” is not acceptable.”

They hand-delivered the flyer to several senior employees of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Metro councilors and staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Overall, Guise says the message was well-received and it provoked some productive discussions.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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38 Comments
  • nuovorecord March 15, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Good work, BikeLoud! I think this is a very fair-minded recognition that while we’ve done a lot for cycling, we still have a lonnnnnng way to go.

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  • Adam H. March 15, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for doing this, everyone! Every once in a while, it’s good to steer our city planners away from self-congratulatory back-patting and remind them that there’s still a LOT of important work to be done.

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  • Terry D-M March 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    The first I saw of the flier was when I got to the lunch table. Good Work, it is important to remind them that we have a lot of work to do at all levels, from the leadership on down.

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  • wsbob March 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Not bad. Nice flyer, pictures depict some problems situations well, captions do a fairly good job of helping explain them.

    Re; ‘Which lanes are the bike lanes?’ at Williams and Alberta; it’s clear enough that the area within the lines closest to the parked cars, is the bike lane…but what is the smaller area within the wider lines? A little too narrow to ride in for very long, but might work for a lane to lane transition.

    Re; pics of disappearing bike lanes: I wonder if further back, behind the camera, those bike lanes are equipped with the MUTCD ‘bike lane ends’ sign. They should.

    Maybe it would help move things along out here on the west side, if there were a flyer showing in pictures, a number of the difficult infrastructure situations people riding in Beaverton deal with.

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    • Beeblebrox March 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      That’s incorrect. The bike lane is the wide area in between the two buffers. There is a car-door buffer with two narrow lines, and a traffic buffer with two thick lines. The area in between is the nice wide bike lane. The problem with the design, and the reason the people in the picture are riding in the door-zone buffer, is that every design guide says there should be diagonal hash marks in the buffer, but there were not used here. At some point a few diagonal lines were added at the beginning of each block, but it’s still not very successful.

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      • wsbob March 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

        Thanks. Fooled me…I thought the wide area of the road to the right of where the people are riding, was a main travel lane where motor vehicles also could be used. The caption is a little confusing…I wonder if ‘between which lines is the bike lane?’, would work better.

        Despite the confusion of the painted lines, the picture shows the people riding the line, as I think they’re wise to do, rather than in the middle of modest width bike lanes in situations where the bike lane is located directly alongside parked cars.

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      • Adam March 15, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        They needed to slant-stripe those buffer lanes. Otherwise, they do look like bikelanes.

        OR, they could have just saved themselves a headache, and made the whole thing into an entire cycletrack-wide lane with green paint. Like on SW Stark.

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      • adronhall March 16, 2016 at 5:39 pm

        This is why I just take the whole lane. The door zone is to risky.

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  • Stephen Keller March 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve ridden all of these. SW Fourth is by far the scariest, especially during traffic. You come down Barber with an okay bike lane. Barbur turns into Fourth and crosses over 405 and then the bike lane simply ends. It dumps you right in the middle of four lanes of traffic of merging traffic. That’ll get your heart pumping!

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    • soren March 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      And filtering through that daily traffic jam can earn you a $260 ticket from one of Portland’s finest.

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      • ridingalong March 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

        Is that true? I filter on the right side of 4th from College to Market every afternoon but thought it was allowable.

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        • Eric Leifsdad March 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm

          Not all laws are enforced and not all enforced are laws

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          • soren March 15, 2016 at 3:58 pm

            the police interpret our vague laws through the filter of their experiences as motorists.

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      • wsbob March 16, 2016 at 9:22 am

        “…can earn you a $260 ticket…” soren

        To what traffic violation are you referring, that someone on a bike traveling through the area described, could receive for transitioning through the lane changes…if that’s what you mean by “…filtering…”?

        It’s highly unlikely that people making their lane changes sufficiently in advance of a lane’s ending, if that’s the case (and not, as the law says literally, necessarily exactly 100′ from the turn..some latitude will most likely be given by police. All that may be needed, is for the signal to be displayed for a period of time long enough, say two or three seconds, so that other road users have reasonable opportunity to see the displayed signal.), will receive a citation for an improper lane change.

        What’s the frequency of people riding bikes in Portland, receiving citations for moving violations? How many per month? How many of the citations lacked sufficient grounds? This insinuation that Portland police are unjustifiably issuing citations to people biking, comes up periodically on bikeportland. I’d really like to know what solid ground of recent date, there is for that insinuation.

        And please don’t try make the excuse that occasional stop sign violation details in the little southeast neighborhood of Ladd’s Addition are a fair example, because they’re not.

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  • Hopeful March 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Is the BTA our Hilary, and Bike Loud PDX is our Bernie?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      pretty much. that’s what i’ve been thinking/saying for a few weeks now. working on a post about it actually!

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    • Chadwick F March 16, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Whoa. Great analogy.

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    • Dan A March 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      ODOT is our Drumpf.

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  • Social Engineer March 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Hmm, let’s see the locations they show here….

    East of the river.
    East of the river.
    East of the river.
    East of the river.
    East of the river.
    East of the river.
    East of the river.
    East of the river.
    East of the river.

    But I’m glad BikeLoud was kind of enough to throw in a token example from the westside.

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    • David March 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      There could have been some prime examples of horrible bike facilities on SW Broadway! SW Broadway @ Clay is probably my favorite example of how to ensure right hooks happen. Check it out, bike lane to the right of a right-turn only lane with no separate traffic signaling:

      https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5142903,-122.6823344,3a,75y,244.38h,61.19t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVFWBsSuw6-3GlvCi4WbBOQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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      • Adam March 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        Or the NW Overton “bikeway”, which gets more vehicle traffic on it than Lovejoy!!!

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    • Eric Leifsdad March 15, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Might need to have some westside members and westside meetings (and/or westside donations?) People generally work on what problems they see with what time they have.

      PBOT, PPB, and the city commission though — I’m not sure about their excuse. Lots of westside residents in that bunch getting paid quite a lot of westside money.

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      • Adam H. March 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        I am all for more inclusion of the west side and downtown, and even the ‘burbs over the hills. Especially since these neighborhoods are the most bike-infra deficient in the city.

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    • mh March 15, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      Just about all (and maybe actually all) of the volunteers who make up BikeLoud live on the east side. You could join us, and we’d have a tiny west side presence. Maybe you could get someone else across the river interested and involved, and the percentage of participants from the west side would increase by double digits. We’re taking these pictures of the streets we ride for work, or shopping, or our other normal trips. We don’t have to look for deficiencies to record.

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    • soren March 15, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Social Engineer, Those pics were taken mostly by one volunteer. If you have others from your neighborhood please send them our way so we can include them in future actions.

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    • J.E. March 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      They’re also all
      North of the gulch
      North of the gulch
      North of the gulch
      I think it makes a stronger point that all these examples were from just one narrow sliver of the city. You can extrapolate out and see just how bad the situation is across the whole city.

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    • Steve B. March 15, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Fair point. None east of 82nd either.

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  • soren March 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    The flyer was also handed out to staff that work directly for the commissioners. And in many respects, they are the important targets because the mayor and commissioners were the ones who gutted Portland’s active transportation budget:

    http://bikeportland.org/2014/02/28/special-report-how-portland-stopped-funding-neighborhood-greenways-102274

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  • Adam March 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I think the text is incredibly tedious and to be honest, I barely read any of it. I doubt many summit attendees did either.

    But the captioned photos accompanying the text are AWESOME and spot on!

    Next time Bike Loud, just hand out large flyers that are less text heavy, and more photo heavy.

    A photo really does speak a thousand words.

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    • Doug Klotz March 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      Yes, but the audience are often engineers and planners, folks perhaps more likely to read more text (and write it too). I thought the tone was well-calibrated.

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  • Melinda March 15, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    We need a group like this in Salem. They still consider sharrows the best thing going down here infrastructure wise – forget protected bike lanes here – that’s just a dream. One is considered “wild” or gasp “counter-cultural” if you take the lane when you’re downtown. My dream has been that in some way Portland or even the improvements in Corvallis will rub off on planners here in Salem. Oh and the recent idea for one of the busy main streets connecting the west Salem pedestrian bridge (used by bike commuters) and downtown – you guessed – sharrows.

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  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) March 15, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    It’s easier to criticize than it is to take action- but I’ll add to the comments.

    It felt like the fatalities and maimings were absent. A quick table of bicycle/pedestrian deaths/maimings and the outcome for the vehicle involved (no citation, etc) would have been compelling.

    Love the message, the flyer, and the action. It’s a good reminder that perhaps Portland isn’t the example of what cities should strive to become.

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    • soren March 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      Hi Ted, Livable Streets Action (a BikeLoudPDX affiliate) held a monthly vigil or protest last year that highlighted traffic violence on our roads. We will start holding these again periodically and I hope you can participate.
      Soren
      BikeLoudPDX Direct Action Coordinator

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  • Ted Buehler March 15, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    What I heard over and over again at the Summit yesterday was “If you want city officials to do better than they’re doing now, you need to ask for it.”

    Like it or not, this is the way the world works in the here and now.

    If you want to help Portland live up to the ideals we asked for in the flyer —

    “We’ve rested on our laurels long enough; it’s time for Portland to get out there and actually live up to its reputation as America’s cycling capital! … by providing PBOT with the funding and political support necessary to expand and maintain our bicycle and other active transportation infrastructure.”

    &

    “We’re also calling on PBOT and ODOT to put all our world-famous wonky ideas and best practices to work, designing and building the ultimate active transportation system.”

    then send an email to Commissioner Steve Novick & let him know you’re position.
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/novick/59990
    novick@portlandoregon.gov

    (Thanks for running this story, Jonathan)

    Ted Buehler
    Co-Chair, BikeLoudPDX

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • B. Carfree March 15, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Fun flyer that tickles my cynical bones in a good way. Nicely done. I’m also fed up with PR that doesn’t accurately reflect the facts on the ground. I greatly appreciate the efforts of those who pulled this off.

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  • Tim Davis March 15, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Jonathan! You forgot to include THIS in your “Related Posts” 🙂
    http://bikeportland.org/2016/02/24/serious-about-cycling-than-build-serious-cycling-infrastructure-175988

    The article that you wrote (linked above) has WAY more (and usually way better, i.e., more graphic and depressing!) pictures of some truly horrible “cycling” infrastructure. And it doesn’t just cover a small area of Inner NE.

    Plus, people should read the comments that you (Jonathan) wrote following the article; they really nail the issue!

    So, hopefully Ted, Soren and the other great folks at BikeLoudPDX can add some or most of those images to the brochure at some point; I really don’t think that there’s a single elected official who has ANY idea how bad some of our infrastructure is (granted, almost none of them ever rides a bike, other than for publicity, which is quite depressing).

    Also, like Ted said, it’s **crucial** to keep writing City Council! As always, be incredibly respectful and write with good grammar. 🙂 I would also love it if they heard from numerous possible that prioritizing transportation in the following order benefits everyone, including those who only drive: 1. walking 2. cycling 3. public transit 4. movement of freight 5. private auto use. This prioritization would also: a) save us hundreds of $millions in the long run, b) save many, many lives, c) lead to vastly improved quality of life for everyone, and d) make us much healthier, along with dozens of other benefits. What elected official wouldn’t go for that? 🙂

    Our civic leaders love hearing positive suggestions that can be shown to lead to a “city that works” better for everyone.

    Steve Novick: novick@portlandoregon.gov.
    Amanda Fritz: amanda@portlandoregon.gov
    Mayor Hales: mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov

    Anyway, I know that people complain a LOT in the comments (which is, fortunately, typically helpful; they usually contain new ideas and perspectives). However, the following is never mentioned enough: Thank you, Jonathan and Michael, SO very much for the incredible work you do; I don’t know when you guys find time to sleep. 🙂 And thanks SO much BikeLoudPDX; we clearly need you (and folks like Better Blocks PDX–and City Repair, etc…) more than ever!

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    • soren March 17, 2016 at 10:50 am

      So, hopefully Ted, Soren and the other great folks at BikeLoudPDX can add some or most of those images to the brochure at some point;

      I actually thought about that piece but this was organized rapidly and we had not asked Jonathan permission to use his images for advocacy. I’m going to do that now.
      S

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      • Tim Davis March 17, 2016 at 7:16 pm

        That’s great to hear, Soren!! You’ll have an AMAZING brochure with those additions! 🙂

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