home

This simple bill will make it easier for cities across Oregon to lower speed limits

Posted on January 12th, 2017 at 3:21 pm.

New 20 MPH Sign

Cities know best.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Interstates and urban highways are one thing; but why should the State of Oregon be able to tell cities and counties how to set speed limits on local streets?

It’s a question that has irked City of Portland transportation officials for many years and one that has grown in importance as Vision Zero has emerged as a top priority. Speeding is the top factor that determines whether someone lives or dies in a traffic collision, so it’s no surprise that cities want to do everything they can to keep it under control. But under current law the Oregon Department of Transportation wields nearly complete oversight of speed limits. With just one narrowly-defined exception (more on that below), ODOT gets first and final say about how fast people can legally drive on every street in Oregon.

That might be changing thanks to a bill making its way through the legislative process in Salem.

Currently, the one exception to ODOT’s oversight of speed limits is on residential streets that have been engineered specifically to prioritize vulnerable roadway users. Cities and counties won the right to lower the speed limit on residential streets (a.k.a. “neighborhood greenways” in Portland) to 20 mph in the 2011 legislative session.

[more…]

Mayor Wheeler gives transportation bureau oversight to Saltzman

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 at 11:30 am.

Bike Share passage press conference-5.jpg

Commissioner Saltzman at a press conference for Portland Bike Share in September 2015.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has been given a new assignment by Mayor Ted Wheeler: the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Wheeler announced the bureau assignments via executive order this morning.

Saltzman has had his council seat since 1999 — the longest of any other member — and this is his first time having control of PBOT. The bureau was previously led by Steve Novick, who lost his re-election bid to Chloe Eudaly in November. In Portland’s form of government, each commissioner (and the Mayor) are given oversight of city bureaus. They then advocate for policies and funding plans that are advantageous to their bureaus.

Also as commissioner of PBOT Saltzman will represent the City of Portland on Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, a body made up of elected officials that sets transportation policy and priorities for the entire region.

With PBOT in his portfolio, Saltzman can now guide one of the city’s largest bureaus and one that has a vast impact on people’s everyday lives. It’s unclear where exactly Saltzman stands on major transportation policies since he hasn’t played a pivotal role on the topic for many years.

A quick look at the BikePortland archives however does give us some clues.

[more…]

In election aftermath, Blumenauer resolute on transportation agenda

Posted on November 16th, 2016 at 12:56 pm.

Rep Earl Blumenauer at opening plenary-3

Blumenauer in 2012.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As the Republican party takes over our federal government, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer feels like all hope for his transportation and livability agenda is not lost. Reached via phone from his D.C. office yesterday Portland’s popular representative referred to the election results as “personally appalling” and “grim news for the presidency.”

But despite major losses for Democrats, Blumenauer, who won over 73 percent of the vote in Oregon’s 3rd congressional district on Tuesday, is optimistic about the future of “livable communities” — a set of issues and policies he’s built a legacy on during 20 years in office.

In an interview yesterday I asked Blumenauer for his thoughts on the election, whether he’ll work with the Trump administration on a new transportation funding bill, and more. The questions and answers below have been edited for clarity.

[more…]

Trump in, Novick out: Recap and thoughts on the election

Posted on November 9th, 2016 at 9:51 am.

Eudaly scores upset win for council spot while Clinton's win in Oregon wasn't enough to carry her to victory.

Eudaly scores upset win for council spot while Clinton’s win in Oregon wasn’t enough to carry her to victory.

Last night’s election was full of surprises both nationally and locally. And that’s a huge understatement.

Donald Trump was elected president with 279 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 228 (so far). She becomes just the fifth candidate to lose after winning the overall vote count (her national popular vote margin over Trump was 166,443 as of 7:45 am this morning). His win comes despite — or more likely because of — the fact he was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan, was dismissed by the political and media establishment, is an unabashed misogynist, told blatant lies throughout his campaign and repeatedly hurled vulgar and dangerous insults at a long list of public figures. Trump also connected strongly with a large voting block of rural white Americans who are fed-up with business as usual in Washington and he offered them a clear and simple choice.

Since last night, Trump and his staff have moderated the fiery tone they had on the campaign trail and both President Obama and Clinton have given respectful and hopeful concession speeches. “Donald Trump is going to be our president,” Clinton said this morning. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

[more…]

Election Day Open Thread

Posted on November 8th, 2016 at 9:09 am.

Fourth of July party-11

Everyone is a superhero when they use our democracy.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The big day is finally here.

[more…]

Mayor Hales has advice for bike advocates: Get louder and get organized

Posted on July 27th, 2016 at 3:30 pm.

Hales spoke in the new public plaza on SW 3rd yesterday.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hales spoke in the new public plaza on SW 3rd yesterday.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales offered a very unexpected admonition during an informal, invite-only meeting yesterday. It was a veiled criticism of Portland’s transportation advocates — and bike advocates in particular. Yes, you read that right, bike advocates: the group many Portlanders (mistakenly) assume wields unlimited power in City Hall.

Hales’ comments came at the end of a brief speech he gave while standing in the new Ankeny Plaza on SW 3rd in front of about two dozen advocates, city staffers, and other local leaders. His remarks were mostly about his support for Better Naito, the importance of great public spaces and the city’s new “livable streets strategy.” But then he ended with a plea for more support from advocates — many of whom were standing right in front of him.

I happened to have my recorder on. Here’s the transcript (with my emphasis added):

[more…]

Portlanders divided sharply by geography on the local gas tax

Posted on June 23rd, 2016 at 9:41 am.

The paving and safety projects scheduled to be built with Portland’s proposed gas tax will be spread quite evenly across the city.

But votes on the gas tax definitely weren’t.

Of the 81 Multnomah County precincts in the City of Portland, only 19 tallied “yes” votes between 45 percent and 55 percent. In more than half of precincts, the vote on the 10-cent local gas tax, one of the country’s largest local fuel taxes ever approved by popular vote, was a blowout victory or loss by 20-point margins or even more.

[more…]

Is Biketown bike share for all? Or only the able-bodied?

Posted on June 2nd, 2016 at 1:49 pm.

Handcycle ride wth Ian Jaquiss

Hand-cycle riders like Ian Jaquiss won’t be able to use Portland’s bike share system.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland is launching a bike share program with 1,000 bikes. But what about people with who need to ride a hand-cycle or a recumbent or a trike due to a physical disability? Will they be able to use this new system?

That’s a question raised by city council candidate Chloe Eudaly just six weeks before Portland’s Nike-sponsored Biketown system is set to launch.

[more…]

Comment of the Week: Candidate Eudaly on her transportation background

Posted on May 20th, 2016 at 6:35 pm.

chloe eudaly

Chloe Eudaly.
(Photo via Eudaly campaign)

We’re always glad to see the subject of a story show up in a comment thread. When the subject of a story happens to be a political candidate on her way to hundreds of thousands of ballots in a few months, that’s even better.

Thursday morning, Portland City Council candidate Chloe Eudaly jumped (politely but authoritatively) into a discussion about her positions on transportation and housing. It was taking place beneath our post about her late surge to make the November runoff against sitting council member and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick.

Her transportation thoughts are, she admitted, weak on detail so far. But they’re strong on credibility — among other first-rate literary references, they included a story about her time biking around Amsterdam with one of the best-known writers about urban bicycling, “Dishwasher” Pete Jordan.

[more…]

Ted Wheeler is Portland’s next mayor; new local gas tax will improve streets

Posted on May 17th, 2016 at 8:03 pm.

Sunday Parkways September 2015-7.jpg

Ted Wheeler crosses Tilikum Crossing during Sunday Parkways in September 2015.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland

Portland’s next mayor is a Multnomah County commissioner turned state treasurer who embraced protected bike lanes and more neighborhood greenway traffic diverters from almost the start of his run for office.

Ted Wheeler was drawing 58 percent of Portland’s primary vote Tuesday night, easily defeating opponents Jules Bailey and Sarah Iannarone, among others.

Wheeler also set himself apart on transportation issues by endorsing a local gas tax to improve Portland streets on the day he announced his campaign — a position that rapidly became conventional wisdom among local politicians and won a narrow victory Tuesday night.

[more…]