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Powell-Division Transit Project in-depth: Bike lanes and bus lanes both unlikely on 82nd

by on January 20th, 2016 at 10:52 am

south on 82nd
A draft rendering of one possible design for 82nd Avenue with one block of “business access transit” lane approaching the right turn onto Division. Cars could legally use BAT lanes only to turn into a driveway.
(Images via TriMet)

The Oregon Department of Transportation says it needs to preserve five auto lanes on 82nd so the dramatically increased number of cars that Metro expects on the street by the year 2035 will have somewhere to sit during rush hour.

Should a new high-capacity express bus line through Southeast Portland run on the most important street in Southeast Portland, or 30 blocks away?

The question seems odd. But as Metro and TriMet ask the region whether the new “bus rapid transit” line they’re planning should run on half a mile of 82nd Avenue, here’s part of the subtext: In order to get permission to run the bus line on 82nd Avenue, project planners have agreed not to aspire to do anything for biking, walking or transit on 82nd that might significantly reduce the number or capacity of cars there.

In fact, even if the highest-quality version of the project currently being considered were built, buses there are projected to travel slightly slower in 2035 than they do now. Rush-hour travel times would rise to about four to five minutes for the half-mile stretch, up from about three minutes during the afternoon peak today.
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Tell Metro where bus stations should go on Powell, 82nd and Division

by on January 13th, 2016 at 9:08 am

full route
It’s not yet official which route the line will take between Powell and Division, but project staff are pushing hard for that because of all the destinations on 82nd.
(Map: Metro)

This is a small preview to a big story we’ve been working on about Metro’s next big Southeast Portland project: the Powell-Division bus rapid transit corridor.

“Bus rapid transit” is the neat, fast-spreading idea of making a bus line feel and function like a train line. Part of that is that instead of a stop every two or three blocks, the big new buses will have stations (don’t call them “stops”!) every six to 12 blocks.

That means it’s especially important to get the station locations right. An online survey open through the end of this week asks where the stations should land.

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Metro edits ‘Bike There’ map after man’s death in bike lane gap

by on December 23rd, 2015 at 12:26 pm

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This dangerous gap in the bike lane on Lombard — where a man was killed on December 12th — is now listed as a caution zone on Metro’s Bike There map.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Maps matter. On December 12th Martin Greenough was killed while biking on a road that looks like a safe bikeway on popular bike maps. While infrastructure can take years to change, maps can be edited quickly. And that’s exactly what is starting to happen.

Metro, our elected regional government and publisher of the Bike There! map, has responded to our reporting on Martin’s death by adding a caution symbol to the bikeway gap where he was killed.
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Advocates fear loss of dedicated biking and walking funds from Metro

by on December 11th, 2015 at 3:45 pm

JPACT meeting-2
A JPACT meeting at Metro.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Regional leaders are hinting that it might be time to stop dedicating a key funding source to biking and walking projects. And advocates are not taking it lightly.

The discussion is centered around what is known as the regional flexible funding allocation, a pot of money Metro gets from the federal government and then hands out to cities and counties. In the next round of allocations for 2019-2021, $38 million (out of a total of $125 million) is set-aside specifically for infrastructure. (The rest goes to transit bond payments ($48 million) and region-wide planning and program investments ($28 million). There’s another $11 million that might be available for infrastructure but that’s not decided yet).

Unlike the vast majority of transportation dollars (gas tax and other mode-specific loan and grant programs), local governments can spend flexible funds however they want — which means something other than highway widening, rail transit or bridge upgrades. That makes flexible funds extremely competitive. In the past, Metro has chosen to invest these funds into two categories: freight and biking/walking (a.k.a. active transportation).
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Three secrets hidden in Metro’s great new map of every local traffic collision

by on December 9th, 2015 at 1:18 pm

metro area collisions
Every reported traffic collision in the Metro area, 2007-2013.
(Source: Metro Crash Map)

Last spring, the City of Portland created a fantastic new map of every fatality and major injury on its records for a decade. Now, regional government Metro has followed suit with a similar map that includes many other cities and unincorporated areas, too.

It’s not just an essential tool for understanding the context of future traffic collisions. (Should we be arguing about the specific circumstances of collision X, or does something seem to be inherently wrong with the street it happened on?) It’s also a source of some useful insights about road safety in Portland.

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First look at Metro’s plans to build new singletrack trails north of Forest Park

by on November 17th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

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Detail of Metro’s trail plans.

We have important updates on a story we shared yesterday about a historic step forward for off-road cycling in Portland.

As you might have heard, Metro is on the verge of finalizing a plan that would develop several mountain parcels north of Forest Park. Two of the parcels are slated to include singletrack trails built specifically for mountain biking. If built, these trails would represent the largest network of off-road bike trails ever developed in Portland. In advance of a final public meeting about the plans that will be held tonight, Metro has published the meeting materials on the project website.

In addition to giving you a more detailed look at Metro’s plans, I also want to elaborate on a point I made in yesterday’s story about the people who are organizing opposition to the bike trails. A key point in their case against Metro’s inclusion of the trails in these plans is a contention that the land was purchased solely to protect habitat and that, “a mountain bike park is contrary to the terms of the levy.”
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Advocates line up to support singletrack in Metro parcels north of Forest Park

by on November 16th, 2015 at 3:13 pm

tualatinlead
Detail of Metro trail proposal shown back in May.

If all goes according to their plans, Metro could build about a dozen miles of new biking trails in the North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area, a 1,300 acre section of hills just north of Forest Park. The agency will unveil their recommendation for where trails should be built and who should be allowed to use them at a meeting tomorrow night (11/17).

If the trails in this plan get built, they will represent the most comprehensive network of singletrack (made for cycling) in the history of Portland.

Metro used a voter-approved levy to purchase four parcels off NW McNamee and Skyline Roads and has spent the last year in a planning process to decide how to manage public access. The stakes are high because the new trails will be built a mere 12 miles from north Portland — far closer than any other similar riding opportunities in the region. The land is currently undeveloped with only rudimentary dirt roads running through it.
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Metro is doing a 12-hour bicycling survey on the Tilikum Bridge today

by on October 13th, 2015 at 3:46 pm

metrosurvey
Metro volunteer Randi Wexler passes out a survey card at the west end of the Tilikum Bridge.
(Photo by M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Have you been wondering why someone shouted questions to you as you rode across the Tilikum Bridge today?
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Legislators’ letter urges Metro to fund regional Safe Routes to School program

by on October 8th, 2015 at 3:58 pm

saferoutes
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Eight state legislators are chiming in their support of regional government Metro creating a regional Safe Routes to School program.

The proposal, which comes from a coalition of local transportation, health and justice advocacy groups, already has formal backing from the cities of Beaverton, Tigard, Milwaukie and Forest Grove, as well as the Beaverton School Board. It’s currently on track to become a major public issue next spring.

The idea is to dedicate some of the increasingly flexible federal transportation money that flows through Metro to giving elementary schools throughout the region an option to get a few classes in safe biking and walking, and to focus money for better crosswalks, sidewalks and bikeways around the same schools.

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Metro launches #BikeThere2015 Instagram contest

by on July 1st, 2015 at 9:58 am

Bikethere2015CoverLoRes_Metro

Metro is running a contest all this month to promote the new edition of the Bike There! map.
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