About Michael Andersen (News Editor)


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

Bikesharing deal could be high-tech key to a low-car city

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
mobile girls
Open bike-share data and integrated payment systems can add up to something very big.
(Photo: M.Andersen)

The “single, supple mesh of mobility” that the government of Helsinki is hoping to use to “make car ownership pointless” by 2025 may be arising spontaneously and gradually in Portland.

For people reading between the lines, an announcement Tuesday from the North American Bike Share Association could lead to Portland becoming the first U.S. city where a single mobile app will be able to let you plan a trip and buy a ride from a bike share service, transit agency, carsharing company or ride-hailing service.


Very few poor people drive to work downtown

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

The Portland area has invested $4.8 billion in a regional public rail network, and currently spends $313 million a year to hold down ticket prices on the system.

Another several million dollars each year go toward expansions of the region’s biking network.

Despite that investment, at least one Portland city council member has been arguing in the lead-up to a hearing next month that the public should also be subsidizing downtown car trips.

His reasoning: some of the people who drive downtown are poor.


Here’s what those orange bikes around Northeast Portland are all about

Monday, November 23rd, 2015
orange bike
A bike placed on NE Broadway to market
a new gym in the area.
(Photo via Tim Dowell)

A new gym that opened recently in Portland’s Lloyd District is following its national marketing playbook and distributing a handful of orange-painted bikes on nearby streets.

It’s the same phenomenon we covered in January when the same chain, Orangetheory Fitness, had recently opened locations in Beaverton and Tigard.

In an interview Monday, Orangethoery Oregon Regional Director Amanda Goolsby said her team plans to keep shifting them around nearby streets indefinitely.

“They don’t just stay out,” she said. “We take them down daily. We move them around.”


The Monday Roundup: Stop-sign messages, a cryptocurrency for walking and more

Monday, November 23rd, 2015
stop signs
Stop sign instruction database.
(Image: Portlandness: a Cultural Atlas of Portland)

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

“Stop” signs: A new book of creative Portland maps includes a comprehensive directory of everything Southeast Portland’s traffic-sign graffiti artists don’t want you to do.

City liable: A California city will pay $5.8 million because a judge said “narrow bike lanes and lack of streetlights” contributed to an alleged drunk driver’s fatal rear-ending of a man on a bike.


Comment of the Week: South Dakota’s official road fatality markers

Friday, November 20th, 2015
think sign
An idea from another state.
(Photo: GasFoodNoLodging.com)

I’ve rarely seen BikePortland readers as frustrated as many seemed to be beneath Wednesday’s post about the state of Oregon’s decision to remove temporary memorials to people killed on state roads because they (the memorials, not the people who were killed) might cause people to slow down or stop while driving.

A huge wave of upvotes backed many of the black-humor responses that followed.

But amid the well-written venting was an interestingly constructive suggestion: if Oregon feels that handmade memorials are distracting, maybe it should create its own official memorials instead — just like South Dakota does.

That was the comment from BikePortland reader GlowBoy, who (if I’ve been following his comments correctly) recently relocated from Portland to Minneapolis:

I think we should have a monument to remember every single person who’s been killed by (or on) a road facility.

Oregon ought to enact the same law requiring signs like those in South Dakota, marking EVERY SINGLE SPOT where a person has died on their roads. SD may not be considered a very progressive state, but I think it’s a brilliant idea and should be copied everywhere.


How Sunday Parkways helps bridge Portland’s racial divides (video)

Friday, November 20th, 2015

When I started getting seriously interested in bicycles a few years ago, I already knew they were pollution-free, cheap, healthy, quiet, nonlethal and space-efficient.

What threw me for a loop, when I was talking to other Portlanders who were already interested in bicycles, was that they kept talking about community. Biking (and walking, and public transit) connected them with their neighbors and surroundings in a way that driving can’t.

The idea, it turned out, is backed up by science.


Commissioner Fritz questions city plan to legalize tiny homes near property lines, a perk currently given to auto storage

Friday, November 20th, 2015
Sally Spear, right, lives in a backyard home in Northeast Portland with her daughter’s family.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Until this week, Portland seemed poised to eliminate one of the many ways it prioritizes housing for cars over housing for people.

For decades, there’s been exactly one way to build a 15-foot-tall structure up to the edge of most Portland property lines: put a car in it.

Want an accessory dwelling unit the same size as a garage? Sorry, that’ll have to be set back five feet from the property line, even if it has no windows or doors facing the property edge.

Bike sheds currently face the same restriction: unlike garages that were designed for cars, bike sheds must be at least five feet away from the property line in all single-family residential zones.


Republican legislators call for ODOT director to quit over emissions claims

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
ODOT Director Matt Garrett
Matt Garrett has led ODOT since 2005.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few weeks after left-leaning former Metro president David Bragdon all but called for the firing of Oregon’s top transportation official, legislative Republicans are calling for it explicitly.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett is facing criticism from both sides over the incident, earlier this year, when his office and Gov. Kate Brown’s temporarily claimed that tens of millions of dollars in freeway investments would be part of reducing long-run carbon emissions in Oregon by more than 2 million metric tons.


State’s ORcycle app is now a one-stop shop for reporting road safety issues

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
orcycle screenshot
A screenshot from the
ORcycle app.

If you run into a bike safety problem in Oregon and own a smartphone, you no longer need to know who to complain to.

The ORcycle mobile app, a partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland State University, has just been hooked up directly to the state’s “Ask ODOT” hotline, which has pledged to forward all reports it receives about bike safety issues to the appropriate local agency — or to its own team, if the road is owned by ODOT.

It’s a huge leap for the project, which has existed in demo form for a year but has been little-used because any reports were stashed for weeks or months under PSU’s supervision rather than piped directly to ODOT, let alone forwarded to other agencies.

Now, however, the free app has been integrated directly into the state agency’s operations.


Let the city know (again) if you support diverters on SE Clinton

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
clinton speed
The issue on Clinton.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

In a digital companion to its Nov. 5 open house, Portland is circulating another online survey taking the political temperature of Clinton Street residents, businesses and users about traffic diverters on a busy stretch of Clinton Street.

It takes about 30 seconds to complete.

This is the second online survey asking how people feel about the city installing an experimental diverter in the 30th and Clinton area to see what happens to traffic patterns. The current proposal is to install one test diverter at 32nd, in addition to one planned for 17th.