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Oregon road deaths tick upward after long-run decline

Posted by on January 13th, 2015 at 9:34 am

traffic deaths
(Source: ODOT. Chart: BikePortland.)

One year after Oregon saw its best year for traffic safety since World War II, it seems to have backslid somewhat.

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Which streets need safety fixes? Washington County wants advice

Posted by on January 12th, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Lack of sidewalks - SW Barnes W of Cedar Hills Blvd-3
There are many major safety gaps in Washington County, including this one
on SW Barnes near Cedar Hills Blvd.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Well, this is more or less the question that any road user dreams of being asked.

The county to Portland’s west has $2 million to spend on street safety this year inside its Urban Road Maintenance District (part of the county’s urban areas outside city limits) and is looking for comments on where and how to spend it.

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Travel site says ‘driving cyclists off the road’ is rite of passage in Portland – UPDATED

Posted by on January 12th, 2015 at 1:44 pm

“… you’re the one driving a two-ton bullet of a machine, and thus you’re the one with all the power.”
— MatadorNetwork.com

Portlanders are used to being on lists when it comes to the travel and tourism media; but not like this.

Matador Network, which bills itself as the “web’s best independent travel media site,” has published an article that makes light of driving a car into bicycle riders. The article, published on December 29th, says it’s one of the seven “rites of passage everyone will experience in Portland.”

Surrounded by six other completely innocuous items, here’s the part about bicycle riders:

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The Ride: Unpaved fun on Banks backroads (photo gallery)

Posted by on January 12th, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Banks backroads loop-40
Great roads await in the hills surrounding the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Once you open yourself up to the possibility of riding unpaved roads, a whole new world awaits. That, to me, is one of the most exciting things about the “gravel riding” revolution. It’s like we just scored a bunch of new places to ride and it came without loss of blood or treasure.

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The Monday Roundup: Anti-aging machines, a self-balancing bike and more

Posted by on January 12th, 2015 at 9:47 am

Alan Koch completes his goal
Portlander Alan Koch in 2007, at 67.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

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

Anti-aging machines: A UK test found that the endurance, strength, metabolic health, balance, memory function, bone density and reflexes of people age 55 to 79 who bike regularly are indistinguishable by age.

Self-balancing bike: Young? Old? Just tippy? The Jyrobike balances you.

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Comment of the Week: The end of errands and driving’s decline

Posted by on January 9th, 2015 at 1:12 pm

DSC_4271
A truckful of outsourced errands.
(Photo: nshepard)

Say what you will about Amazon — they might have done as much as any private company to make low-car life convenient in the United States.

That seems to be the experience of BikePortland reader Chris, who wrote in a comment on our post about the federal government’s acknowledgement that per-capita driving has plateaued that e-commerce and doorside delivery have had a huge impact on his or her travel habits.

It’s not clear whether Chris has any kids, who are definitely a common cause of errand-running. Still, the personal examples here resonated with my life, too:

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Guest article: How should Portland pay for streets?

Posted by on January 9th, 2015 at 11:01 am

CRC Rally-151
Joe Cortright, economist in action.
(All photos by J.Maus/BikePortland unless otherwise noted)

This is a crosspost from City Observatory, the new think tank about urban policy led by Portland-based economist Joe Cortright. Many BikePortland readers will know Cortright as one of the loudest critics of the defunct Columbia River Crossing freeway expansion plan.

— by Joe Cortright

For the past several months, Portland’s City Council has been wrestling with various proposals to raise additional funds to pay for maintaining and improving city streets. After considering a range of ideas, including fees on households and businesses, a progressive income tax, and a kind of Rube Goldberg income tax pro-rated to average gasoline consumption, the council has apparently thrown up its hands on designing its own solution.

The plan now is for the street fee solution to be laid at the feet of Portland voters in the form of a civic multiple choice test: Do you want to pay for streets with a monthly household street fee, a higher gas tax, a property tax, an income tax or something else entirely?

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Eugene bike share system lands near top of state grant list

Posted by on January 9th, 2015 at 9:22 am

Bike share demo-9-8
A demo of bike share equipment in Portland, 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

It’s looking likely that Eugene will be Oregon’s first city with a public bike sharing system.

After being put on ice last summer after it narrowly missed the cut for lottery-funded “Connect Oregon” grants, Eugene’s bike sharing hopes surged back in December when unallocated funds gave applicants a second chance at the coveted state grants.

On Wednesday the state’s top stakeholder committee recommended a Eugene bike share system as their #2 priority statewide for the new round of money.

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Lost track of the Portland Street Fund? Here’s our up-to-the-minute guide

Posted by on January 9th, 2015 at 8:47 am

Portland City Council
Portland’s city council: Steve Novick, Amanda Fritz, Charlie Hales, Dan Saltzman, Nick Fish.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Ever since local transportation funding became one of the hottest topics in Portland media — hey, we’re not complaining — we’ve scaled back our coverage of the city council’s ever-shifting proposals for a new transportation tax or fee on Portland residents.

But it’s still the most important issue in local transportation, and this week’s developments suggest that it’ll continue to be for most of 2015. Though the Portland City Council has made predictions on this subject dangerous, it seems likely that some time this year, voters will get a chance to choose one of several options for different ways to raise money for pavements and safety upgrades on the city’s road system.

If you haven’t been following the latest twists, here’s what’s happened lately:

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Jobs of the Week: Athletes Lounge, Western Bikeworks

Posted by on January 9th, 2015 at 8:40 am

Two great opportunities to start out the year. Check out our most recent job listings via the links below…

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Two miles south of Portland, residents see a fresh canvas for car-lite development

Posted by on January 8th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

trio bike
Oak Grove residents Chips Janger, Joseph Edge and Eleanore Hunter say TriMet’s new MAX line has made their inner-ring suburb ripe for dense bike- and transit-oriented development, and that neighbors are eager to help it happen.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

While Portland prepares to block increased development along parts of TriMet’s newest MAX line, a group of residents further down the Orange Line say they’re welcoming more density with open arms.

Their dream, they say, would be to use three-to-five-story apartment buildings and clusters of new small houses to turn their corner of unincorporated Clackamas County — the last stop on the new MAX line — into a bustling but more nature-rich alternative to Southeast Division Street.

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New striping on Vancouver Ave is a ‘SAFE’ hotline success story

Posted by on January 8th, 2015 at 3:54 pm

vancouverbufferedlane
New buffer striping on N Vancouver came about because
a concerned resident asked for it.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

One great thing about Portland that never shows up in bike-friendly rankings is the incredible amount of smart, active and engaged citizens in this city that care deeply about making biking better. Our cycle tracks and bike-only signals might be the ostentatious window display, but it’s our citizens that form the foundation no one sees. That civic currency, combined with a bureau of transportation that’s open and willing to work with them, is often what gets things done around here.

At least small things.

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‘Bicycling community’ work noted at swearing-in for new Portland police chief

Posted by on January 8th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Chief O'Dea and Asst Chief Modica
Chief O’Dea (L) and his new Asst. Chief
Kevin Modica at the swearing-in
ceremony today.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s new police chief took the oath of office in the 2nd floor auditorium of the Portland Building this morning. Larry O’Dea was sworn-in along with over a dozen other officers who also made their promotions official at today’s ceremony.

I was there mostly because I figured it’d be a rare chance to see many of the officers I’ve gotten to know over the years all in one place. I also wanted to snap photos of Chief O’Dea (and others) in case we need them for future stories.

And admittedly, I haven’t been as excited for a police chief since I moved to Portland 11 years ago (and it’s so encouraging to have a peaceful and productive transition given the scandal and controversy surrounding our last two chiefs).

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Parks Bureau considering changes to tricky Springwater path intersection

Posted by on January 8th, 2015 at 11:37 am

Springwater path at Oaks Bottom-2
Temporary stop sign at exit of Oaks Bottom path where it joins Springwater.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

An intersection on the Springwater Corridor path where a serious injury collision happened last spring could be updated with new safety measures in the coming months.

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After a decade of less driving, federal forecast shifts to match reality

Posted by on January 7th, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Existing conditions on Williams Ave-8-7
Get the picture, Uncle Sam?
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A forecast that has been buried deep inside the U.S. Department of Transportation website since last May seems to be the first to fully acknowledge that economic growth no longer seems closely tied to driving.

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Tacks on Hawthorne Bridge cause multiple flats

Posted by on January 7th, 2015 at 9:21 am

thumbtack
(Photo: Reddit user scrodd)

Someone apparently scattered thumbtacks across the paths of the Hawthorne Bridge crossing early Tuesday evening. Our latest report of trouble came in at 8:20 this morning.

We heard from one source who said they stopped and picked up more than 40 tacks on their way home last night.

This sort of seemingly deliberate attack is especially hard to understand because it has some potential to put people in real physical danger.

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‘Value of jobs’ report documents congestion’s burden on Portland economy

Posted by on January 6th, 2015 at 5:52 pm

A (small) part of traffic-1
Tick tock.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A report out today from the Portland Business Alliance, our regional chamber of commerce, is the latest argument that bike and freight transportation really ought to be close allies.

An unexpected 3 p.m. traffic jam, for example, can lead to a canceled flight, which can cost Intel precious hours in the short lifespan of important dyes used in Hillsboro chip factories.

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MTB advocates will deliver petition, request planning funds at Parks budget hearing

Posted by on January 6th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Ventura Park Pump Track grand opening-19
Portland kids deserve more places to ride off-road.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Almost one year after Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz quietly destroyed hopes of new singletrack bicycling opportunities in Forest Park (at least in the short-term), off-road advocates plan to deliver a strong message to her at an upcoming budget hearing.

Their request? Find the money to fund a citywide mountain bike master plan that would address Forest Park trails and other cycling opportunities like family-friendly pump tracks in local parks.

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‘Bait bikes’ deployed at Reed College lead to arrest

Posted by on January 6th, 2015 at 1:58 pm

theft-reedbust
Bait bitten then busted.
(Photo: Reed College Community Safety)

Putting out “bait bikes” to lure bike thieves is a very popular idea. For some, the idea of setting a trap and then waiting for an unsuspecting thief to fall into it, gets the vengeful heart pumping. While the idea comes up almost every time we report about enforcement of bike theft, to our knowledge there has never been an organized bait bike program in Portland.

Until now.

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Get Legal with Ray Thomas: What you need to know about hit and run

Posted by on January 6th, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Gresham-Fairview Trail gap at Burnside
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hit and runs are far too common in Oregon. Unfortunately, so is the feeling of helplessness about what to do about them. In the spirit that knowledge equals power, I’ve put together a primer on the laws surrounding hit and runs and what do to if you are ever involved in one.

Here’s the sad but true fact: If a vehicle operator* can escape a collision scene then the chances are they will get away without having to pay for the damage they caused and they can also avoid things like: arrest on an outstanding warrant; a DUI charge for driving/riding while impaired; a possible police search of the vehicle for drugs or contraband on board; a car with no insurance, or not having a drivers’ license.

If the perpetrator is ever caught (and they usually are), here’s what the law says about their crime.

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