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Comment of the Week: The slow, possible work of progress

Friday, October 24th, 2014
Morrison Bridge bike-walk path dedication event-24
Ahh – can you feel that? That’s a successful
postcard campaign from 15 years ago.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

There’s nothing new under the sun, but effective political tactics have a way of staying effective.

That’s what reader and legendary bike advocate Phil Goff observed this week in a comment beneath Tuesday’s post about a series of postcard campaigns by activist group Bike Loud PDX:

This is exactly what I did 15-16 years ago to create the political pressure to bring in funding for the Morrison Bridge sidepath project. On two occasions, I had 300-400 signed postcards mailed to Multnomah County Chair Bev Stein (to get the County’s attention) and then 6 mo later to Metro Council chair Rod Monroe during the MTIP process. In the age of e-mail, Twitter and FB, a simple postcard campaign can pack a lot of punch. Its great to hear that advocates are reviving the tactic for other projects. Good luck BikeLoudPDX!

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Bike lane rumble strips on Hawthorne viaduct coming out next week

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-7
Changes coming and no more slow-down strips.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This Monday, October 6th, Multnomah county will remove the speed humps (a.k.a. rumble strips) in the bike lane of the westbound Hawthorne Bridge viaduct (technically SE Madison Ave).
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Portland’s worst bike detour will be around for at least one more year

Friday, July 18th, 2014
narrow sidewalk
Of all the problems with the sidewalk along SW Macadam that’s served as a detour for part of the Willamette Greenway for the last year, this might be the silliest.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

A 0.7-mile bike detour between Willamette Park and the west landing of the Sellwood Bridge that steers people from a riverside trail to an unbuffered sidewalk along a four-lane state highway will probably stick around until late 2015, county communications show.

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County says Hawthorne Bridge bike lane speed bumps will be removed in 2015

Monday, April 21st, 2014
New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-11
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County has confirmed that they plan to remove a set of bicycle speed bumps on SE Madison Avenue. The bumps were installed in November of last year with the goal of slowing people down as they transitioned from the bike lane onto a sidewalk near a TriMet bus stop (see larger photo below). However, despite these good intentions, the bumps were instantly panned as being ineffective and potentially dangerous in their own right.

The County’s own Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee (BPCAC) voted unanimously to remove the thermoplastic strips at their meeting on November 13th. In the minutes of that meeting, the committee said that, “BPCAC members felt that while the raised bumps are not terrible, the bumps do not serve the intended desire of slowing down the speeding cyclists either.” The BPCAC also pointed out that County engineering staff did no public process before installing the strips. (more…)

County will host ‘Bridge Summit’ to help prioritize future upgrades

Friday, March 14th, 2014
Hawthorne Bridge scenes-4
Bike traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge as it goes under I-5.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

With well over 15,000 bicycle trips daily (according to 2012 counts), Multnomah County’s bridges play a major role in central Portland’s bicycle transportation network. You might not realize it, but the County owns, operates and manages six of the seven major downtown bridges: the Sauvie Island, Broadway, Burnside, Morrison, Hawthorne and Sellwood spans. Three (soon to be four) of those six bridges have a separated path for bicycle traffic and the Hawthorne is widely considered one of the busiest bicycle bridges in America. (more…)

County chair candidates Kafoury and Francesconi talk transportation at debate

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Kafoury, left, is a five-year county commissioner.
Francesconi, right, is a former city commissioner.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Transportation is rarely the biggest issue for Multnomah County chairs, but that didn’t stop candidates Deborah Kafoury and Jim Francesconi from gamely finding some modest differences at a debate on the subject Tuesday.

Though neither politician has been known as particularly passionate on transportation issues, both contenders for the county’s top elected position endorsed the concept of a “multimodal” county and shared a few ideas for making it better.

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County says Hawthorne Bridge speed bumps a “mistake”

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-11
Second thoughts about bump installation.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

A set of speed bumps in the bicycle lane of SE Madison Ave as it approaches the Hawthorne Bridge are likely to be removed. The bumps have garnered a lot of feedback — much of it negative — since they were installed a few weeks ago with the aim of slowing people down. We were surprised to learn that the County had installed them given the fact they were forced to remove a similar installation of speed bumps back in 2005.

Multnomah County has an advisory committee that meets once per month to discuss issues like this. However, we learned last week that the Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee was never briefed about the bumps before they went in. At their meeting last night, the bumps were on the top of the agenda and the County’s Engineering Services Manager Jon Henrichsen showed up to hear the committee’s concerns and try to explain why the decision was made to put them in. (more…)

County installs speed bumps to slow down riders on Hawthorne Bridge viaduct

Friday, November 8th, 2013
New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-1
Five new bike speed bumps greet riders heading
onto the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalk.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County has installed a series of speed bumps (a.k.a. rumble strips) on SE Madison Ave as it approaches the Hawthorne Bridge (westbound). The bumps are aimed at reducing bicycling speeds as riders transition from the on-street bike lane up a ramp to the shared sidewalk which also happens to be the location of a TriMet bus stop. This bike lane is slightly downhill and bike speeds are relatively high.

There are five bumps placed about two feet apart and they’re made up of thermoplastic strips about an eighth-of-an-inch think. That might not seem very high, but on a bicycle the bumps can definitely be felt — especially for riders with narrow tires. We’ve heard a lot of feedback so far that not only are the bumps jarring but many people swerve into the adjacent vehicle lane to avoid them.
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County re-thinks cemetery detour: Bikers will be flagged through work zone

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Multnomah County has revised their detour plans for a construction project that was going to close the popular bicycle route through River View Cemetery near the Sellwood Bridge. After our story on Monday, County spokesman says he heard from many people concerned about the safety of the proposed detours (which included a gauntlet-running uphill on SW Taylors Ferry Rd.). Here’s more from Pullen via the official County statement:

“After we announced an upcoming construction closure of a road in Riverview Cemetery last week, we heard from bicyclists concerned about the safety of alternate east/west routes. This week the project team worked with Riverview Cemetery staff to revise the traffic plan so that bicyclists and pedestrians will be able to use the road during construction of the new cemetery entrance from August 12 through September.”

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Sellwood Bridge project detour routes riders onto SW Macadam sidewalk

Monday, July 8th, 2013
This new culvert will improve wildlife passage;
but it comes with a detour off the Westside Trail.
(Image: Multnomah County)

Multnomah County has announced a major detour that will impact people who ride bicycles between downtown Portland and the Sellwood Bridge on the west side of the Willamette River.

As part of the Sellwood Bridge project a County contractor is replacing the culvert that crosses Stephens Creek under the trolley tracks between SW Miles Street/SW Taylors Ferry Road. Crews have put a detour in place (see graphic below) that will impact users of the Westside Trail until at least early 2014.
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