bikes and transit

In some metro areas, bike commuting is nearing the scale of transit commuting

by on December 4th, 2015 at 9:59 am

bike commuting transit commuting
This data from the U.S. Census includes both urban and suburban areas.
(Chart: BikePortland)

The unfortunately named new federal transportation bill, the FAST Act, is headed for a presidential signature after passing the House of Representatives Thursday.

While biking and transit advocates are sounding two cheers for the latest extension of the status quo (rather than the complete car-centrism favored by Koch-funded advocacy groups), it’s a good time to consider the ways transportation differs in cities across the country.


TriMet survey and mapping exercise seeks input from riders who ride

by on October 7th, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Ride Along with Justin Gast-14
Take your bike on MAX? Be sure to share your feedback and ideas with TriMet.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

As part of an ongoing effort to create their first-ever Bike Plan, TriMet has launched an online survey and mapping exercise.

What’s the point of bike share? This survey explains it well

by on September 10th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Bike share demo-11-10
A bike share demo in Portland, 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In the last two days, we’ve reported in detail about the new bike-sharing system that Portland finally seems poised to secure next week.

All of these operational details have prompted a lot of discussion around a simple, fundamental question that everybody (including me, when I started reporting on bike sharing four years ago) tends to struggle with. What exactly is the point of bike sharing?

The charts below should help a lot.


‘Transit on Tap’ event will highlight Kaiser’s folding e-bike loan program

by on July 17th, 2014 at 2:33 pm


A few employers own bicycles that they can loan to their workers as an introduction to bike commuting, but a Kaiser Permanente Northwest pilot program this year is taking that to the next level.

The health company is loaning folding e-bikes to 180 of its employees.

The goal is, in part, to increase active commutes by introducing more commuters to the transit-friendly vehicles that can address one of the biggest reasons workers neither bike or bus to work: they live too far away to bike, and too far from a bus stop to take transit.


TriMet’s problem intersection on E. Burnside also includes bike/MAX collision

by on April 20th, 2012 at 10:57 am

Portland Twilight Criterium 2008-6.jpg
Well known local rider, bike advocate,
and lawyer Mark Ginsberg collided
with a MAX train while crossing E. Burnside
in January 2011.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The intersection of E Burnside, 97th Ave, and the I-205 multi-use path seems to have a worse safety record than I first realized. It’s more dangerous than I realized when I posted about Sharon Fekety’s nasty tumble on the tracks back in 2007. It’s also more dangerous than I realized when I posted about the spill Thomas Crosslin took Wednesday morning while biking to work.

I learned about both of those incidents (not to mention others shared in comments) before I knew that noted local lawyer (who specializes in bike law), accomplished bike racer, daily bike commuter, and long-time Portland citizen activist Mark Ginsberg was involved in a collision with a MAX train while bicycling through that same intersection in January 2011.

According to Ginsberg, he was riding the north on the I-205 path with a friend after a long ride. When the I-205 path gets to E. Burnside, it switches from the west side of the freeway to the east side. To make this switch, the route directs bike traffic onto the south sidewalk of the E. Burnside overpass to go east and then it takes an abrupt left turn to go north via the painted crosswalk on E. Burnside (see graphic below). This turn shifts a rider’s eyes view from looking directly east to looking north and midway through the intersection is a set of MAX tracks. (more…)

In letter to TriMet, man urges safety fix after crash on MAX tracks – UPDATED

by on April 18th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Location where MAX tracks cross E Burnside.
Crosslin was traveling from the right
side of the image to the left.

This morning, the MAX tracks on East Burnside just east of I-205 (at SE 97th Ave) caused Portland resident Thomas Crosslin to crash his bike. Thomas crosses these tracks every day on his commute from East Portland to downtown and says he’s an experienced rider. He shared a letter with me that he wrote to TriMet in hopes they might do something to fix what he sees as a serious safety issue.

I decided to share Thomas’s letter to raise awareness of this crossing and to show that it’s not just novice riders who have trouble navigating around streetcar and MAX tracks. It’s also important to note that this specific set of tracks has been on our radar as a safety issue for over five years. (more…)

Will transit’s gloomy future hasten the biking boom?

by on October 26th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Bus and bikes
Bike or transit?
(Photo © J. Maus)

In Portland and other cities across the U.S., the cost of transit is going up. A combination of factors is making it hard for transit agencies to make financial ends meet and the result is often not just service cutbacks but fare increases as well.

This morning TriMet announced a grave warning about a $17 million budget shortfall next year and it seems very likely that yet another fare increase is on the horizon. That announcement got me thinking: Will the higher cost of bus and rail fare hasten a switch to bicycling for some riders? Has it already?

U.S. Census statistics make one thing clear: In parts of Portland where bike use is already high, the rate of bike ridership rivals transit ridership.

TriMet’s largest Bike & Ride opens in Beaverton

by on July 18th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Inside the Beaverton Transit Center Bike & Ride. Officially opened today, it’s the largest such facility in TriMet’s system.
(Photos © J. Maus)


Activist group to track bike/streetcar track crashes

by on April 29th, 2011 at 10:33 am

According to a 2008 report by Alta Planning, bike crashes on streetcar tracks are a “major and underreported problem for Portland-area bicyclists.” Even so, the issue struggles to gain official attention because the vast majority of crashes do not get reported.

Portland-based, grassroots transportation advocacy group Active Right of Way (AROW) hopes to change that with their new, online Streetcar Crash Reporting form. (more…)

New research explores cost of bikes/transit integration (Updated)

by on April 27th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

bikes on max-2
(Photos © J. Maus)

A new report funded by the US Department of Transportation and conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute, Bicycling Access and Egress to Transit: Informing the Possibilities (PDF), takes an in-depth look at a topic that is very relevant for the Portland region: How to integrate bikes and transit. The study sought to answer the question, “What are the most cost effective strategies likely to generate the largest number of cyclists accessing transit?”

TriMet has grappled with accommodating the increase in users who combine bikes with their trips on MAX light rail for years now. Lately, as MAX ridership has increased and space for bikes on trains has become scarce, TriMet’s focus seems to have shifted toward the park and ride model. They have altered signage near the bike hooks and they have invested in bike and ride facilities at transit centers (some of which are being singled-out for a lack of use). (more…)