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About Michael Andersen (News Editor)

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Michael Andersen is the half-time news editor of BikePortland.org. He joined the team in May 2013 after three years as publisher of Portland Afoot and is proud to be supporting BikePortland's pursuit of new initiatives. With the other half of his time, he works as the staff writer for The Green Lane Project, a project of bike advocacy group PeopleForBikes that assists and encourages cities in the design of better bike lanes. You can reach him at michael@bikeportland.org or his cell, 503-333-7824.

Michael Andersen (News Editor) Post Archive

Portland’s drop in car use frees up $138 million in our local economy every year

Monday, July 25th, 2016
Bike traffic on N Williams Ave-9.jpg
Per-person car ownership is down 7 percent since 2007 and miles driven are down 8 percent.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland unless noted)

Last month, we wrote about the 38,501 additional cars and trucks that would be in Multnomah County right now if its residents still owned cars at the rate they did in 2007.

What does it cost to own 38,501 cars? Or more to the point, what does it not cost to not own them?

For that post, we focused on the amount of space those nonexistent cars would take up. They’d fill a parking lot almost exactly the size of the central business district, for example.

But what about the money that isn’t being spent to move, maintain, insure and replace all those cars, and can therefore be spent on other things? How much money have Portlanders collectively saved by having a city where car ownership (or ownership of one car for each adult) feels less mandatory than it used to?

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The Monday Roundup: A crash-proof human body, a San Jose bike bridge & more

Monday, July 25th, 2016
graham
The head of “Graham,” a lifelike model of what humans might look like if they’d evolved to use cars.
(Image: Towards Zero)

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by The Portland Century, a one or two-day bicycle tour coming August 6-7th.

Here are the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Crash-proof human: An Australian artist collaborated with a trauma surgeon to create “Graham,” a full-body silicone model of what humans might look like if they evolved to survive car crashes.

Bike bridge: San Jose’s proposed biking-walking bridge over a freeway would certainly be spectacular.

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Comment of the Week: Portland’s five-step recipe for 25 percent biking

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
Bike traffic on N Williams Ave-16.jpg
Getting there.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Of all the wonderful ideas in Portland’s Bicycle Plan for 2030, the one I personally hope is never forgotten is its audacious use of a numeral: 25 percent.

That’s the target it set for the share of trips that could happen by bicycle in Portland. Today, the figure is something like 7 percent. Only several dozen cities in eastern Asia and northern Europe, probably, can currently boast 25 percent or more.

But 25 percent is possible and even imaginable, as BikePortland reader Alex Reedin spelled out in a Thursday morning comment estimating the payoff for each step that’ll be required to get us there.

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Biketown says users will get multiple chances to protect their jury-trial rights

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
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The new Biketown station at SW 3rd and Oak.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Anyone who acts to protect themselves from a clause buried in the Biketown contract that prompts users to waive their jury-trial rights is protecting themselves permanently, the bike share operator says.

At issue is a “binding arbitration” clause in section 15 of the long rental agreement to which people must agree in order to use the public system. Such clauses, which are designed to prevent class actions and other customer lawsuits, are increasingly common for credit card companies and other corporations but are rare among public bike share systems.

But as we reported Thursday, the contract includes a way for Biketown users to protect themselves: you have to send an email with a particular subject line to a particular email address mentioned in the contract.

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Street Roots’ Israel Bayer on moving Springwater camps: ‘Do it surgically’

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
israel bayer
Nonprofit newspaper director Israel Bayer.
(Photo: Street Roots)

As the day approaches for a so-called “sweep” of everyone camping along the Springwater Corridor, one of Portland’s leading housing advocates is offering a counterproposal.

Instead of pushing everyone in these informal camps “back into the neighborhoods and downtown,” Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer wrote in a column Thursday, the city should (a) increase “organized camping” and (b) “surgically” target only people who are causing problems, not everyone else around them.

“If there are bad actors, get them out of there,” Bayer wrote. “If people are having an environmental impact, give them an ultimatum. Clean your camps up, or be swept.”

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New report shows Portland falling further behind peers on bikeway growth

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
growing bike networks
(Image: NACTO)

nacto report

While Portland celebrates a strong first day for Biketown, a new report about the factors that drive growth in bike sharing shows how Portland has fallen behind the leading U.S. cities in new infrastructure.

Minneapolis, New York City and San Francisco now have about 50, 20 and 15 percent more bikeways per square mile than Portland respectively, the report found. All three of those cities has seen faster bikeway growth than Portland since 2010, the year Portland passed its ambitious Bike Plan for 2030. In Minneapolis, bike infrastructure has grown three times faster.

These new figures were released Wednesday as part of a report by the National Association for City Transportation Officials, which examined the role quality bike networks play in making bike sharing safe and popular.

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Biketown contract forces users to waive their legal rights – unless they act quickly

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Biketown users on the Hawthorne Bridge yesterday.(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Biketown users on the Hawthorne Bridge yesterday.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Buried in the “miscellaneous” section of the user agreement for Portland’s new bike-sharing system is a notice that Biketown users are waiving their rights to a jury trial.

Unless, that is, they sent a one-line email to the company that operates Biketown within 30 days of first using the system. If they don’t, a prominent Portland bike lawyer says, their chances of winning any future legal claim against Biketown are slim.

The requirement was spotted on Wednesday, one day after the system launched, by Mark Ginsberg, a Portland attorney who specializes in “bicycle legal needs.” He shared his discovery in a post to friends on his Facebook page:

hey Portland friends who got BikeTown memberships, you read the contract right?
In Section 15, they force you into arbitration, unless you take action within the first 30 days (clarification- within 30 days of first use) to opt out of arbitration.
As your lawyer friend, I’m here to tell you that you should opt out.
don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Dominoes keep falling for a continuous river path in South Waterfront

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
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An existing path segment somewhat north of the Prometheus project. White for walking, black for biking.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Last month we were overjoyed to report that automaker Tesla had voluntarily agreed to build a segment of riverfront bike path behind its future showroom on Southwest Macadam.

If a new housing and retail project that entered the city’s development pipeline Monday moves forward, it’d be the final piece of a continuous west-bank greenway from the Sellwood Bridge almost to the Ross Island Bridge — and in the coming years to Tilikum Crossing.

The vacant lot between Southwest Lowell, Lane, Bond and the Willamette River would get four new seven-story buildings with ground-floor retail and 200 to 300 apartments above, under a very early concept plan filed for a pre-application hearing by the local firm GBD Architects, which is representing San Mateo-based Prometheus Real Estate Group. Here’s the site plan for the Prometheus project marking future “recreational trails” with a string of stars:

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Portland Underground Grad School class will cover tactical urbanism

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
NE 85th & Milton & Beech
An “intersection repair” at NE 85th Avenue, Milton and Beech.
(Photo: Greg Raisman)

A local organization that arranges for Portlanders to teach one another niche skills and information is offering a four-week introduction to do-it-yourself street transformation.

From Better Block’s temporary bike lanes to City Repair’s beloved intersection murals to Depave’s manually removed asphalt, Portland is rich with the spirit of “tactical urbanism,” an umbrella term for fast, flexible changes that make city streets better for people.

Now, Portlander Claire Vlach is offering a four-session crash course through the year-old Portland Underground Grad School. Cost: $99 for the eight-hour class.

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‘Portlanders for Central City Bikeways’ Facebook group will help advocates network online

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
centralcitygroup
Screen grab from the Facebook group.

Facebook is the most important organizing tool in the world right now — look at its success for everyone from Portland Tenants United to the president of Turkey — so it’s nice to see pro-biking volunteers putting it to strategic use.

As Portland gets ready to roll out a long-awaited network of protected bike lanes in its central city, there’s a new Facebook group for people in favor of biking improvements there.

Portlanders for Central City Bikeways was created Monday by Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike shop and valet in the South Waterfront. Here’s how he described his vision for the group in his first post:

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