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The Commute From Hell (was heaven on a bike)

Posted by on December 14th, 2016 at 11:16 pm

A bike rider finds a good line between traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd this evening. Photo shared by  River City Bicycles on Instagram.

A bike rider finds a good line between traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd this evening. Photo shared by River City Bicycles on Instagram.

I have never seen anything like what happened on tonight’s evening commute. A few inches of snow has led to utter chaos on roads throughout the Portland region.

Schoolkids trapped in buses until way past their bed times, multiple car pile-ups, dozens of cars just abandoned on the side of the road, people hitch-hiking or giving up on their cars and walking several miles to get home, standstill traffic on I-5 and Highway 26, five to seven hour commutes with people passing out survival snacks to strangers. You know those traffic maps news stations show every night? Almost every major highway was deep red until about 10:00 pm. Like a traffic blood bath.

My social media timelines were an amazing contrast β€” full of complete and utter misery for people inside motor vehicles, and then sheer joy and glee from people who were lucky enough to be on a bike.

With the right bike these are prime conditions for cycling.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

With the right bike these are prime conditions for cycling.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Almost everyone I follow who rode a bike today was downright jovial about their commute.

Biketown station on North Albina all tucked in and ready to go for tomorrow morning's commute.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Biketown station on North Albina all tucked in and ready to go for tomorrow morning’s commute.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Advantage bike & ped. Love it when weather conditions turn the tables,” wrote one friend on Instagram. Another person I follow said, “The cyclocross bike was the right choice for travel this evening. Fast and easy: I passed miles of cars lined up at a standstill.”

Our friends at Biketown said they had about 90 or so rides after 3:00 (when the snow started to accumulate). “They’re not huge numbers,” said a Biketown rep, “but it was nice to hear from some members that we were the only way to get home once the roads were completely clogged.”

I did get a phone call from one bike rider who said his typically one-hour ride home took him over three hours tonight. He implored me to caution riders. “The amount of incredibly unsafe behavior of drivers on the road tonight was really astounding,” he said.

But overall the night was a big win for biking, which once again proved to be the most resilient form of transportation.

The commute from hell was heaven on a bike.

How’d it go for you? Will you ride to work in the morning?

Don’t miss our companion editorial, Don’t blame the weather for this mess, which was posted this morning.

β€” Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.


NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you β€” Jonathan

83 Comments
  • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Portland is hilarious, freaking out about an inch of snow. I rode my Workcycles home and it handled the snow just fine.

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    • Brian December 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Rent a Car2Go and hit the West Hills.

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      • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

        Too bad the West Hills are outside the car2go home zone. πŸ˜‰

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        • Brian December 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm

          Is it extra? I’ll chip in. Try going up Germantown to start, and then down Newberry. It will make driving in the midwest seem like a cakewalk. I think the steeper hills in Beaverton/Portland would make ski resorts in Wisconsin. What a mess.

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  • mran1984 December 15, 2016 at 12:50 am

    I left NW around 8:45 and enjoyed 12 miles of Leif before heading to a warm house in SE. What a great night! I highly recommend a good stout to accompany this beautiful weather. BTW, Forest Park was awesome. The traction down Thurman, including the bridge, was incredible. Too much fun out there. Gravel is for chumps! No thanks PBOT!

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  • Ted Buehler December 15, 2016 at 1:34 am

    I just went on a 30 minute “quiet world ride” at 1:00 a.m. It’s really nice out there, I road a mountain bike with knobby tires and a low seat. Very quiet, very pretty.

    It looks like the morning commute will be slick. Remember to ride slow and take it easy. Consider lowering your seat (so you can steer/stabilize yourself with your feet), consider lowering your tire PSI (for better contact with the ground), consider putting on knobby tires.

    And, if you drive, get out to your car at least 10 before you need to leave. Bring a broom and an old credit card to clean off the slow and ice. If you don’t have good mittens or gloves, put wool sox on your hands when clearing ice. Make sure your car has excellent visibility front, rear and sides before engaging the clutch.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 6:12 am

      There’s no way I’d drive in PDX this morning. Even with AWD, traction tires, and chains, you might be able to stop/go/whatever, but the cars that get sliding on inclines cannot and they’ll run into you.

      Last night, I almost got hit on a downhill section. Four cars lost control on the ice and eventually 5 cars had bumper and body damage. It was pretty slow, so I wasn’t concerned about injuries from impact. I was very worried about getting crushed between two vehicles.

      Even though there’s not much snow, I might not be able to resist strapping on some skis this morning.

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    • Psyfalcon December 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Whats a clutch?

      I thought that died out 50 years ago?

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      • GlowBoy December 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        Still have one on my car.

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  • Dwaine Dibbly December 15, 2016 at 5:08 am

    I walk home most days, about 1.5 miles, from OHSU on the Hill to the area of the Portland Art Museum. It was really pretty! I saw a few people on bikes, including a fat bike on Terwilliger, heading south. Terwilliger & Campus Drive were gridlocked from 3pm onward, from OHSU to 405 & beyond.

    We intentionally bought our place close to where I work and every time there’s a “snowpocalypse”, the concept of walkable cities pays off. Sure, downtown is expensive, but we save lots on transportation costs and I can’t put a price on my time.

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    • rick December 15, 2016 at 8:29 am

      Do you walk on the trail from SW 4th at Woods street to Terwilliger Blvd ?

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      • Dwaine Dibbly December 16, 2016 at 5:37 am

        No. I walked the one from Terwilliger into Dunaway Park. The snow was packed down & pretty icy. It was the worst part of the walk but going slow & careful was ok.

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  • Mike December 15, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Vehicular chaos is always entertaining. Especially those multi-car freeway pileups. Bring on the ice!

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  • rain panther December 15, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Well, my 14 mile commute from Tigard to Tabor was not exactly what I’d call “sheer joy and glee”. On the other hand, it only took me an hour and forty minutes – in contrast to various friends’ and coworkers’ stories of 3-4 hour, panic-inducing car commute nightmares. I’ll take it.

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    • rain panther December 15, 2016 at 6:29 am

      To be clear, I should say 3-4 hour car commutes from half the distance as my 100 minute bike commute. Yikes.

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  • Andrea Capp December 15, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I got home pretty quickly by bike . Next time I’ll bring some eye protection though. The wind blowing snow into my eyes was not pleasant.

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  • David December 15, 2016 at 7:24 am

    A lot of the bike experience likely depended on having the correct type of bike. Having more of a road bike I was certainly taking my time yesterday afternoon before things became truly horrible and there were still some instances where traction was a bit lacking. I can imagine having a fat bike right about now could make for some very fun times.

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    • mh December 15, 2016 at 11:12 am

      For the last month or so I’ve been trying to figure out how to either store 5 bikes without a garage, or have a small mountain or all-terrain bike for just the winter. I can’t bear to get rid of either of my skinny-tire bikes, but we don’t do well in ice and snow. Got to be someone out there who wants for nicer season’s the same bike I want in this stuff.

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      • Eric Leifsdad December 18, 2016 at 11:01 pm

        I rode my fixed-gear on Saturday in the snow and ice with 28mm slick-ish tires (maxxis re-fuse with a fine-grained diamond tread) at 55psi. The traction was pretty good, and the fixed drivetrain does indeed give you very good feedback on the traction and allows rather controlled rear-wheel braking. I had always read this, but never had a chance to try it on ice and snow. I normally ride with pedal straps, but stayed out of them just in case.

        clear ice: be super careful, still beats walking on it
        packed snow: no problem, great feedback, still slick
        craggy ice: wrestling the handlebar, tricky not getting in a rut
        deeper snow: cuts right through

        Just a front studded tire would make a huge difference in handling on ice, but I would need to cover a lot of distance on solid ice to make up for the time spent mounting it or expense of an extra wheel, plus the drag of riding it on dry pavement. But then, there’s maybe the peace of mind vs the ice you didn’t see.

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  • K'Tesh December 15, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I remember back when I worked in Tualatin for ACS (later Xerox)(Apple computer Tech support). That snowfall in December 2009… Like always, I wasn’t fast enough to get my bike on the bus. My 10 mile ride took about an hour and a half. I heard the next day I went in that the people on the bus were stuck on the bus for something like three and a half hours.

    I love riding on fresh snow (old snow and ice is a different story).

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    • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 7:56 am

      You mean December 2008? The time it stuck around for the better part of a week?

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  • Peter Hass December 15, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I like the headline of this post. So true! I had a delightful bike ride home in the snow yesterday afternoon. I left my downtown office at 4pm and took it slow and easy…trying to avoid any sudden moves and stops. I ride a single speed road bike with slick 28’s on it so I reduced the air pressure a bit. That helps. Car traffic was at a stand still as I rode across the Burnside bridge…it looked like they were going to be stopped for a long, long time. My 4 mile commute took about 3 minutes longer than normal. It was fun!

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  • tee December 15, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I chose to ride transit yesterday, as I had been worried in the morning that the roads would end up icy rather than slushy. While a bike ride would have been more fun and infinitely faster, the bus beat driving (I got to read a good mystery). TriMet was definitely doing their best to get people out of downtown and back home. Poor decisions on the part of people driving caused crazy delays to the bus and max lines. After watching drivers block max tracks, bus lanes/stops, and bike lanes in downtown, it is safe to say if we actually had separated bike and transit infrastructure, most of Portland would not shut down in the snow.

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  • rick December 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

    It was tough getting traction, but I finally rode my bike up SW Scholls Ferry Road from Raleigh Hills to Sylvan last night! It was generally peaceful except for the occasional thrill-seeking speeding driver. It was great to take the lane on SW Canyon Road near the highway 26 multiuse path to the West Slope post office.

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  • Gabriel Trainer December 15, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I took my mountain bike to work yesterday so riding home was a blast! I ran the Bike Farm shift from 5-8 and not a single person showed up :(, but I was able to work on my bike and almost finished a Specialized Langster donation I’ve been working on building up. Rode in this morning as well, it is crazy how dead the streets are but I still take side streets when possible.

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  • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:38 am

    yesterday walked from NW industrial into downtown along the bus route (rather than wait 15 minutes for the bus) and the bus never passed me, I passed the bus in front of me…

    from downtown to SE was slow and bumper to bumper… 4-lane roads were all reduced to 2 due to either abandoned cars or people avoiding the curb… the bus only got stuck once for a couple minutes…

    the bus this morning was fairly quick… got stuck once for about 10 minutes… it’ll be nice this afternoon since many people didn’t bother driving in this morning…

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  • Schrauf December 15, 2016 at 8:42 am

    My normal 20 minute commute from downtown to NE took 30 minutes, easily passing lines of cars stuck for hours. Great time. I, as well, forgot the ski goggles, even after thinking about it the night before. Would have been helpful. I was on a mountain bike but skinny tire folks were doing fine. Another two inches that might not have been the case.

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  • Toadslick December 15, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I’ve never been as thankful for the safer Clinton than on yesterday’s bike commute home. It made the ride a joy, since I could enjoy the scenery instead of having to be hyper-aware and defensive.

    Also, I’m glad I packed my snow goggles, and I’d recommend them to anyone that does winter biking.

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    • mh December 15, 2016 at 11:19 am

      Did you see the cross country skiers? I got stir crazy last night and walked Division and Clinton. They seemed confused about the diverter at 32nd – but it’s not at its most visible under plastic under snow.

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      • K'Tesh December 15, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        Back in the 90’s I cross country skied around my Klamath Falls because the weather was so bad.

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  • Middle of the Road guy December 15, 2016 at 8:53 am

    β€œThe amount of incredibly unsafe behavior of drivers on the road tonight was really astounding,” he said.

    Well yeah. When the infrastructure is not maintained that’s what will happen.

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    • dan December 15, 2016 at 11:19 am

      Snow on the road is what makes you drive 40 in a 30 and pass in the oncoming traffic lane while everyone around you does barely 10? How interesting.

      And you sound like you’re willing to pay the taxes to have an East Coast level of snow removal equipment, which sits idle almost all winter — if so, I applaud your civic spirit! Personally, I’d rather accept the thousands of drivers sitting on the roads for hours one or two days a year, and I bet most of those drivers feel the same way…sure don’t see anyone agitating for a snow removal tax.

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    • Chris I December 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      If you want to drive in the snow, get snow tires. Do you expect the government to do everything for you?

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  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) December 15, 2016 at 8:55 am

    This is when it sucks to work remotely. No snow days for me :/

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 11:48 am

      I can work remotely but choose not to because I love being out in snowy weather…

      I’m the only one in my department that showed up to the office today…

      maybe 5-10% of the entire office is here…

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  • Dick Button December 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Last night and this morning felt like a mini vacation from the cut throat commuter traffic that usually punctuates my ride. Went to get a happy hour burger, and by the time I came out at 6, everyone’s wheels were spinning except for mine.

    The first car I saw was a mustang/charger type with ridiculously over powered rear wheel drive. He/She could either not understand the concept of feathering the gas or the car was simply too ridiculous to move its wheels in a slow deliberate way. I had a good laugh.

    Up the road I saw minivans full of kids and just regular commuter cars, and I felt less smug but still – was unquestionably zipping past gridlocked car after gridlocked car and feeling like I was getting away with something.

    This morning I took major roads and found to my pleasure that some had been graveled or salted and others were sufficiently slushy, but none were too slick and I didn’t have the same out of control feeling that I sometimes did in the freezing rain last week.

    I’m currently one of 3 people who made it in to my office.

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  • SilkySlim December 15, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Biked to work Wednesday AM, but opted to jog home in the PM. Was about 15 seconds/mile slower than normal, so I suppose the snow cost me about a minute and half total.

    As much as I’d love to say it was 100% winter wonderland, the snow was kind of pelting my face at times. Gotta dig that balaclava out of the closet.

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  • A Grant December 15, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Love snowy commutes – which in my neck of the woods, means 5 inches of snow or more. It’s an opportunity to ride my fat bike, which I don’t normally subject to the abuses of road salt. Having the ability to plow through fresh powder on side streets, while other vehicles get stuck … leaves me with a stupid grin on my face every time.

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  • Efty December 15, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I also work remotely, And i have to work all night long so nowadays it’s tough to get out with my mtb & missing out a lot πŸ™

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  • Drew December 15, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Sellwood to Tualatin last nite on pugsley fat bike; 4″ wide knobby tires (Nates) with studs in them. Easy ride past so many idling or stranded cars, and on quiet deserted streets. Was a 70 minute ride; driving would have been more like 7 hours. The right bike makes a ride like this a real pleasure.

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    • rick December 15, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Did you ride on the bridge over the Tualatin River by Cook Park?

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      • drew December 15, 2016 at 3:24 pm

        Took I-5 for a mile to get across the river.

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        • rick December 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm

          So you rode a bike on I5 over the Tualatin River? If so, were there abandoned cars?

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  • bikeninja December 15, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Its like mother nature is rewarding the good guys and giving the bad guys a big karmic dope slap. Makes you smile

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    • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Every day is a reward for the good guys. Bike is the only way to get around PDX

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  • Gary B December 15, 2016 at 9:40 am

    It’s absurd to me that every bus is equipped to drive safely in the snow, and yet Transit access it ruined by car drivers that shouldn’t be on the road. Maybe we should consider banning driving on bus routes (at least major ones) when it snows.

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    • Toadslick December 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

      As I watched the chaos on SE Division and SE Powell, I kept thinking about how successful Bus Rapid Transit would have been in yesterday’s chaos.

      Instead the busses were fully at the mercy of thousands of selfish car commuters.

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    • bikeninja December 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Portland did the right thing and allowed people to park their cars all night in legal spots with no penalty, but it would be have been even better if they had as Gary suggested taken the cars off the main transit routes so that people could park their cars and get home on buses instead of everyone ( but cyclists) sitting in a frozen parking lot.

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      • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

        Yep. Drivers got a free pass for their poor choices, while people who were savvy and took TriMet got a Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

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    • mh December 15, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Again and again I wish that TriMet had a priority contract with a tow company. Even in good weather MAX is often stopped because someone is carelessly blocking the tracks. Tow them immediately, fine the owner enough to cover the tow charge, and put a lien on the car in case they don’t pay.

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      • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

        Yes to this. Portland is far too timid about towing. In other cities, you’d be towed immediately for doing half the crap drivers get away with here.

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  • ethan December 15, 2016 at 9:41 am

    If my fatbike hadn’t been stolen, it would have been perfect to ride in the snow.

    However, we need more completely separated infrastructure so that bikes and buses can cruise on by while not having to worry about getting hit by out of control drivers.

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  • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 9:48 am

    What I wouldn’t have given for some knobby studded tires on my bike instead of the car I was trapped in for over 5 hours on the way home last night. Of course, some of the hills I have to traverse would have been extremely sketchy on a bike, regardless of tires.

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    • rick December 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Scholls Ferry was very slippery as I rode last night getting closer to Sylvan on my commuter bike with urban tires. I should have let out some tire pressure.

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  • dan December 15, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Walked home from downtown last night with my office dog. Waterfront Park was a great big feel-good session: runners, cyclists, and dog walkers playing in the snow and having a ball. I saw one dog that must have been a Husky mix…it was as happy as if bacon was falling from the sky. Eye protection would have been nice, both for me and the dog, but at least I remembered to wear boots.

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  • Tyler Bradford December 15, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Well, I was the caller Jonathan mentioned, and I’ll just say I’m glad it seems like my experience was unique. It seems like by the time I was riding up Clinton the gridlock on Powell and Division had driven some motorists over the edge (of course that pun is intended )

    Just so that I don’t come across as looking for conflict where there isn’t any, I did see that by the time I reached the diverters on Clinton around 34th(?), Someone has moved the “No Access” signs out of the way, and also it appears that someone RAN OVER the concrete foundation frames that have been put in recently as part of the construction to replace the cement planter barrels. People were driving right through.

    Combine that with some crazy unsafe passing, a truck that threatened to head-on hit me at the SE 80th/Mill cut-through, and 2 separate occasions where drivers failed to stop at intersections where they had the stop and I had the right of way and I avoided a collision by dropping myself (to be fair, I could tell they WANTED to stop, but we’re going to fast to do so), and I just felt a bit gripped at the end of it.

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    • rick December 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Was the concrete greenway piece damaged on Clinton?

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      • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm

        FFS

        A driver had already clobbered the forms before the concrete was poured, now another has run over the drying concrete?

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        • rick December 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm

          As of the day of the snow storm ?

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  • dave December 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Had a fun 10 mile commute into work this morning around 9:30 on a mountain bike with stock knobby tires. NE 28th, Sandy (surprisingly not slushy), 7th, Hawthorne bridge (a bit slushy), Terwilliger (sidewalk was a good alternative), Capitol Hill Road. Refreshingly light traffic. I purposely avoided plowed and more traveled streets (i.e. Barbur). Traction was good considering the circumstances. Ride home could be interesting with melting, more slushy sholders, and potential refreeze

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  • Jessie December 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    As I watched the car traffic on the streets outside my apartment come to a standstill, and stay there for HOURS, while the folks on bicycles cruised by, it occurred to me that a kid on a bike with a backpack full of candy bars and thermoses of coffee could make a killing on days like this! πŸ™‚ $$$$

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  • Kimberlee December 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    I was one of the 90 Biketown riders. Rode from downtown to North Portland and I had a blast!

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  • johnny burrell December 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Last night was just shits and giggles for my bike commute. I live in NE and work in Hillsboro so while my peers spent 4-6 hours driving I was home in 90 min.

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    • rick December 16, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Did you ride on TV Highway or Baseline?

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  • Todd Boulanger December 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Last Night: Commute wise things looked pretty good in Vancouver – north of the Interstate Bridge, but the commute traffic trying to get south from SR-14 across the I-5 Bridge was all stalled and messed up. [Huh, Vancouver workers living in Portland?! ‘-) No other reason to do the crossing otherwise – its not Black Friday after all.]

    Plus there was a person (driver or ped or cyclist?) who jumped off the Interstate Bridge earlier in the day so that might have have hosed the bridge right when the snow started…if they had parked a car on it…

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  • Chris December 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Biked home yesterday from Clinton/21st to north of Montavilla, about 5 miles in 40 minutes in the 4:00 hour. Wonderful ride, the eastbound part was cold in the wind/snow, but scooting around blocks of backed up traffic made it satisfying. Stuck to bike boulevards the entire route, but lots of cut through traffic. Had a tow truck driver come up beside me at a stop sign and harass me for biking (endangering my life he said). He didn’t care he was on a bike route and it was an inch of snow..then he cut me off turning in front of me without signaling.

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    • rick December 16, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Did you get the tow truck company contact information?

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  • pdxhobbitmom December 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    This was an obvious time when riding a bike was much faster than driving a car. However, I feel like there are times when bad car traffic makes that the case even in good weather, for shorter trips in close-in Portland at least. Has anyone seen (or done) a comparison of the average time it takes to go between certain locations by car versus by bike during rush hour? I would like to see such a comparison.

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    • rick December 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      I pass the drivers on sketchy SW Naito who had passed me in the Hillsdale town center during nearly any rush hour commute.

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    • Chris Anderson December 17, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Ebike here, faster than driving for anything between Alberta Arts and OMSI.

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  • Bryan December 15, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Gresham to Woodstock on the 14th at around 3 o’clock. Spring water was easy. Streets with cars a bit higher stress but still smooth and easier than driving. On a surly cross check with 28c tires. Go easy and stay focused crashing sucks.

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  • GlowBoy December 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    “I have never seen anything like what happened on tonight’s evening commute”

    Really?! I’ve seen these quite a few times in 24 Pacific Northwest (Portland and Seattle) winters. On numerous occasions, I’ve seen snow or ice storms that caused epic jams and led people to abandon their cars in mass numbers and/or suffer 4-6-8 hour commutes. It doesn’t happen every year, but it happens. Not as rare as everyone seems to pretend.

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    • rachel b December 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      NOTHING like this, GlowBoy. Not even remotely close. And I’ve been here my life long.

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      • GlowBoy December 18, 2016 at 7:36 pm

        OK, maybe some of my memories of epic snow jams were from when I lived in Seattle, whose traffic problems were/are orders of magnitude worse than Portland’s. I personally know many people who’ve had 6-8 hour commutes in Seattle snowstorms. When the big 18″er hit Seattle in late 1990, I remember taking 90 minutes to drive two miles home from work, and I considered myself VERY lucky compared to a lot of friends and coworkers.

        But these have happened in Portland too. Abandoned cars all over the place, multi-hour trips home? This is not the first time. My wife, a native northwesterner, is backing me up on this as I write it: we remember several storms that left the freeways littered with abandoned cars, and lots of people with many-hour trips home. As I’ve said, I have a friend who once spent the night in his car on the Sunset (downhill towards the tunnel) in an ice storm. And in fairness, some of these were not snowstorms, but notorious Gorge-wind ice storms. I remember quite a few bad freezing rain episodes in the late 90s. Surely you must recall the one that dropped a thin layer of glaze on everything, then 4-5″ of snow, then another 1/2″ of ice on top of that? That was a doozy.

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        • GlowBoy December 19, 2016 at 7:20 pm

          Oh, and by the way my all-time favorite Portland-drivers-in-winter observation was as the ice/snow/ice layer cake was just starting to thaw out. But to be clear the roads were still a massive mess, still a thick layer of softening ice on top of several inches of slush underneath, most streets impassable by most vehicles, and thus most people should not have been driving.

          So what was my glorious observation? Someone driving (er, attempting to drive) a Dodge Neon, stuck at a stop sign (on flat terrain) due to the thick layer of crap, front wheels spinning helplessly, not going anywhere.

          Upon closer inspection, I observed that this vehicle was equipped with chains.

          On the rear wheels.

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    • rick December 16, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      I’ve never seen soccer moms and dads in minivans flood the unofficial suburban greenway in front of me like they did in this week’s storm.

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  • Matt S. December 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Except now the bike lanes are going to be terrible for the next couple weeks, thanks Obama…

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  • Mark smith December 24, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    To see how Portland’s handled two inches of snow is telling how things will be in an earthquake.

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