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Editorial Section Archives

Opinion: If we’re serious about cycling, let’s get serious about cycling infrastructure

Posted on February 24th, 2016 at 1:44 pm.

serious-rodney2
The traffic diverter on the Rodney Neighborhood Greenway was installed 17 months ago. Now it’s an eyesore and a dumping ground. What does this say about the City of Portland’s priorities?
(Photo sent in by a reader)

Every time we turn around we hear another city staffer or elected official tell us how serious they are about cycling. They say it’s key to our health outcomes, it’s the only way we’ll reach our climate change goals, it buoys our national reputation, and so on and so forth.

But if we’re really serious about cycling, why don’t we take our cycling infrastructure seriously?

There are too many examples in Portland where the design and implementation of our cycling infrastructure has not been completed with the care and seriousness it deserves.

Here are a few of those examples:

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Opinion: Welcome to blame the victim season

Posted on November 20th, 2015 at 11:26 am.

“The bicyclist was wearing dark clothing and had no rear lighting on the bicycle.”
— Oregon State Police statement

For the past week I’ve been standing by, reading headline after headline about “distracted pedestrians.” And then I get this in my inbox (emphases mine):

The Oregon State Police is continuing it’s investigation into Thursday evening’s fatal crash involving a bicyclist.

At approximately 9:05PM a Lane County Deputy in a patrol vehicle was traveling northbound on SR99W near MP118 (just south of Beltline Highway in Eugene) when he struck a female bicyclist in the northbound slow lane. The female was pronounced deceased on scene.

The highway was blocked for approximately 1 hour. The highway was then partially open, reduced to one lane in each direction. The scene was cleared at 1:00AM.

Preliminary information indicates the bicyclist was traveling northbound in the travel lane at the time of the incident. The bicyclist was wearing dark clothing and had no rear lighting on the bicycle. It was full darkness with very little ambient lighting when the crash occurred.

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Talk of a disastrous earthquake got you down? Just keep on biking

Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 3:57 pm.

together
People who bike together, stick together.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Bikes won’t save you after the Big One, but the community built up around them just might.

There’s been a lot of unease in Portland since the publication of a fascinating yet gut-wrenching article in The New Yorker that laid out the impending Cascadia earthquake in excruciating detail.

After I read the piece, I was sort of numb for a while. Then my mind wondered (as if often does) and I started to ask the default question I ask myself around any seemingly intractable issue or policy, “How can bikes fix this?”

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Opinion: Just 5 hours of Sunday Parkways is not enough

Posted on June 22nd, 2015 at 12:09 pm.

Sunday Parkways North Portland

Willamette Blvd as it should be.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Another Sunday Parkways is in the books, and it was simply sublime. The weather, the people, the parks — it was Portland summer and community spirit at its finest.

As I rode the nine-mile loop with my family (going slower than usual to ride alongside my wife Juli who decided to jog the loop), I kept wondering why it only happens in my neighborhood for five hours a year.

Just five precious hours out of 8,766 hours every year.

graph

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Enough is enough: Another death must spur real action

Posted on June 15th, 2015 at 11:17 am.

bsidecollisionpppb
Aftermath of man who lost control and drove his car up onto the sidewalk.
(Photo: Portland Police Bureau)

Enough is enough.

A man lost control of his Subaru Forester SUV while driving eastbound on the Burnside Bridge Sunday afternoon. He swerved across the lanes and hit two people who were walking on the sidewalk.

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What next? My suggestions for actions City Hall should take on bike safety

Posted on June 9th, 2015 at 2:57 pm.

halesmeeting
Your move guys.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been one week since an “urgent” street safety meeting was called by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick. City PR staff insisted the meeting was “multimodal” but it happened only because a scary spate of collisions involving people on bicycles was dominating the news cycle and social media. That meeting didn’t bear much fruit and was referred to later by the Mayor’s office as nothing more than a “listening session.”

Not surprisingly, the urgency around bike safety that existed two weeks ago among the local media and the greater Portland community is gone. The only people still focused on this issue (at least publicly) are the dedicated activists that played such a large role in putting the issue on the Mayor’s radar in the first place.

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My opinion: Protests, politics, and progress?

Posted on June 2nd, 2015 at 2:22 pm.

May was a tumultuous month for Portlanders who care about safe streets. There have been tragic losses, protests, calls for reform and the early signs of progress. For me (and I’m sure others) it was a bit of a déjà vu.

My mind keeps going back to that sad October of 2007 when we suffered the loss of two people — and very nearly a third — in less than three weeks. The sequence of events was very similar. The collisions were followed by despair and anger and then action. We flooded the streets and grassroots activists sprung up to push the dialogue. Then, only after public pressure built a strong political foundation, electeds and other power-brokers stepped-up and engaged.

For the current Portland city council, that time for engagement is long overdue. Ever since running his mayoral campaign as the anti-Sam Adams, Charlie Hales has seemed to actively avoid the “b” word (bikes) out of fear that its mere mention would rile stakeholder groups and the media. And Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick has followed suit.

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Ferguson, equity, and active transportation

Posted on November 26th, 2014 at 11:50 am.

leagueslideslead
A slide from Seeing & Believing in Bike Equity

Like many of you, I’ve been following the events in Ferguson and around the country very closely these past two days. Flipping from headlines to my social media feed, my head has been spinning with thoughts on issues ranging from racism and white privilege to our justice system and media culture. As last night’s protests spilled into the streets and freeways across America last night, this story came even closer to my own sphere of activism.

The shooting of Michael Brown and the decision by a Grand Jury to not indict Officer Darren Wilson isn’t a BikePortland story. We cover bike news and culture. But we also cover social issues — like sexism, racism, gentrification, and so on — that often intersect with bicycling.

So this morning, when I followed a link (shared by Elly Blue on Twitter) that led to a publication of the League of American Bicyclist’s Equity Initiative, I knew it was something I wanted to share here on the Front Page.

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Holman Lane makes key connection through Forest Park, but only in one direction

Posted on December 18th, 2013 at 2:33 pm.

Holman Lane (red line) in relation to northwest Portland (to the right), Forest Park (shaded green), NW Cornell Rd (at the bottom) and Skyline Blvd (bottom left).
(Graphic: RideWithGPS)

Holman Lane is an unpaved fire lane in Forest Park. It winds uphill from northwest Portland almost a mile and nearly 500 feet in elevation from the corner of NW Aspen and Raleigh (map) before it meets with the quiet and tree-lined NW 53rd Avenue. Holman is open for cycling, and for those who know about it, provides a beautiful and safe connection between downtown and the West Hills, Skyline Boulevard, and points beyond.

But there’s an important detail about Holman Lane: bicycling is permitted only in the uphill direction. That’s too bad for people like Mike Owen, a Portlander who recently discovered Holman’s charms and utility.

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Editorial: So much carnage on our streets, yet so little response

Posted on June 19th, 2013 at 11:22 am.

Mike Cooley is still in the hospital with serious
injuries after a man hit him
from behind while he rode on N. Interstate
Ave on Saturday night.

Road carnage in America has reached epidemic proportions. Consider the barrage of news I’ve encountered in the past 24 hours…

— The Portland Police released photos and offered a reward to try and find a man who drove his large pickup truck into 59 Mike Cooley as he rode home from work up N Interstate Avenue on Saturday night. Cooley has very serious injuries and remains hospitalized while the police search for the suspect.

— A major study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found a link between autism and air pollution from motor vehicles. As in, the unborn children of pregnant women that breath tailpipe emissions are impacted by our transportation policies that put the auto access and capacity above everything else. Do we really care more about auto traffic “flow” than the health of our babies?

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