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Opinion: A permanent “Better Naito” deserves better than this

by on May 13th, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Better Naito kickoff-12.jpg
For better or worse.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales wants to go out with a bang. And in the process he just might blow up his chance to make “Better Naito” permanent.

As we gleefully reported on May 2nd, Hales’ last budget proposal included $1.46 million to redesign Naito Parkway to include a protected bikeway. It’s an idea he’s been talking about for nearly two years now and it makes a lot of sense from a transportation planning perspective. That’s why it’s a shame it might go down with a sinking ship.

Naito should be a marquee street in Portland but it’s held back because it’s dominated by auto traffic. Creating more space on the street to bike and walk would enliven Naito-facing hotels and restaurants and improve safety for everyone who uses it. A report published after “Better Naito” last year showed that auto travel times were not significantly impacted by the new lane configuration, biking went up 56 percent, and the majority of public feedback was “overwhelmingly positive.”

Better Naito was such a success that the City decided to bring it back for three months this summer. Unfortunately Hales’ proposal to make it permanent might be dead within a week.
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With $1.5 million proposal for Naito, Mayor puts money where his mouth is

by on May 2nd, 2016 at 3:10 pm

new bike lane on Naito
The existing bike lanes on Naito are outdated.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales released his final proposed budget this morning and it includes funding for a project we’ve been hoping to see materialize for several years: improved access for biking on Naito Parkway. $1.46 million to be exact. It was one of 14 infrastructure projects and over $42 million in new spending he’s put on the table.
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USDOT picks Portland as finalist for $40 million ‘Smart City Challenge’ grant

by on March 15th, 2016 at 10:44 am

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Graphic from Portland’s grant application.

“Ubiquitous mobility” is one step closer to reality in Portland.

On Saturday the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the City of Portland has been selected as a finalist for a $40 million ‘Smart City Challenge’ grant. Portland’s big idea is known as “Ubiquitous Mobility” or UB Mobile PDX. The concept is to create access to our myriad transportation options that is so integrated that everyone can easily plug into it. The city says it will, “Show what is possible when communities use technology to connect transportation assets into an interactive network” and that it “puts forward bold, data-driven ideas to improve lives by making transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.”

Imagine opening up a mobile app to find (and pay for if necessary) the best trip option available for your specific needs. Whether it’s finding a Biketown bike, hopping on a TriMet bus, renting a bike through Spinlister, calling a Lyft driver, or whatever. The same app would also enable users to pay for parking spots and even the pay-per-mile gas tax that might someday be an option in Oregon. And that’s just the start. We took a deep dive into the city’s grant application last month.
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As state law passes, the fight for affordable proximity moves to City Hall

by on March 4th, 2016 at 12:36 pm

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A rally last fall to better protect Portland tenants from displacement.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After years of fighting, a “grand bargain” on affordable housing passed Oregon’s legislature this week. But it won’t begin shaping Portland’s bikeable neighborhoods until after the city council takes action of its own.

Representatives for Mayor Charlie Hales and his council colleague, Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman, say that plans to do so are already underway.

Any city plan seems certain to include some level of “inclusionary zoning,” a measure that could require that up to 20 percent of units in some new buildings be sold and/or rented at discount prices to people who make less than 80 percent of the median income. (As of 2015, that 80 percent figure means that a family of three that makes less than $52,950 would qualify for the reduced-rate units.)

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Six bike-related issues that might take a turn with Hales out of the race

by on October 26th, 2015 at 3:26 pm

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As Hales plans an exit, which way will the race turn?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Monday’s surprise announcement by Mayor Charlie Hales that he won’t run for reelection is rippling through the city’s transportation wonkosphere.

Portland’s unusual City Hall system means that the transportation commissioner (currently Commissioner Steve Novick) has much more power than the mayor on most streets issues. His transportation authority was delegated from the mayor, so the next mayor’s biggest decision may be who gets to oversee the roads.

But aside from that, Mayor Hales has been personally involved in a handful of subjects that matter a lot to bike transportation. Here’s how we see his departure from the race shaping things.

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Portland Mayor Charlie Hales won’t run for reelection

by on October 26th, 2015 at 1:39 pm

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Hales career just took a surprising turn.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In a local political shocker, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales just announced he won’t seek a second term.

In a statement posted on his website, Hales said: “Confronted with a choice between giving my full effort to the job of being mayor and spending that energy on a long and consuming re-election campaign, it’s an easy choice.”
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Mayor courts businesses as part of climate change push

by on October 5th, 2015 at 11:17 am

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Screengrab of City website.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is appealing to local businesses in an effort to address climate change. As part of “Climate Week” which ran from September 21-25, he launched an effort to get at least 50 companies to “join the city in committing to reduce carbon emissions.”

This is an important initiative to watch for a few reasons. First, if Hales (and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability) succeeds at creating a new coalition of businesses who care about climate change, it could morph into something that gives city council a counterbalance to the Portland Business Alliance — an organization that has tended to fight for the status quo of auto-dependence when it comes to transportation issues.

“There’s this notion that the City of Portland is green, but that the business community is opposed,” Hales said in an official statement. “That might have been true once, but not today. Today, members of our business community share our city’s values of equity and livability.”
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With Hales hogging headlines, Wheeler challenges him to 12 “in-depth” debates

by on September 29th, 2015 at 12:37 pm

wheelerHalesheadtohead

(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

You’ve seen it. We’ve seen it. Portland mayoral candidate Ted Wheeler has seen it.

“If my presence in the race lights a fire under the mayor, how can that be anything but a good thing?”
— Ted Wheeler, candidate for mayor

Since Wheeler entered the mayoral race earlier this month Mayor Charlie Hales has been on a tear. From climate change to homelessness to bicycling, Hales has become more animated and action-oriented.

In a letter to Hales today, Wheeler all but accused the incumbent of copying his stance on issues and then challenged him to 12 “in-depth” debates.

“When I announced my candidacy for mayor,” Wheeler states in the letter, “I noted that our city had a homelessness crisis; last week, you declared it an emergency. Two weeks ago, I voiced my support for a gas tax; last Friday, you decided to agree.” (more…)

Mayor Hales biked to work this morning, for the fourth Monday in a row

by on September 28th, 2015 at 11:32 am

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Mayor Hales on the Broadway Bridge this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is getting the hang of this biking thing. And I think he likes it.
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Mayor Hales pedals to work and makes a coffee-shop campaign stop

by on September 14th, 2015 at 9:16 am

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Mayor Hales shows off his new helmet Monday morning.
It’s patterned after the Portland flag.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Two weeks after his first bike commute on the job, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales was back in the saddle this morning and ready for coffee with constituents at Ford Food & Drink at Southeast Division and 11th.

The inner-southeast hangout — which is in eyeshot of the new Tilikum Crossing, at once the newest asset to the city’s transport system and a $30 million factor in its transportation funding challenges — shares a building with Nutcase Helmets. The local company’s founder Michael Morrow was on hand to offer Hales a customized model from Nutcase’s new Portlander series.

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