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Police response to Greenpeace action closes south sidewalk of St Johns Bridge (updated)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
greenpeace
Activists hang from the St. Johns Bridge
to block an oil ship’s passage.
(Photo: Greenpeace USA)

Update 5:45 p.m.: Police now say that only the southeast sidewalk (upstream, closer to downtown Portland) is closed and that officers were mistaken when they previously blocked people from crossing the bridge on bike or foot.

“It was just that someone didn’t get told,” Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Greg Stewart said Wednesday evening. “We’re just having people use the other side of the street.”

An updated version of the original post follows.

Some Portland police officers ordered the sidewalks of the St. Johns bridge closed to foot and bike traffic in response to a direct action on the bridge Wednesday.

Late Wednesday, police changed their operation and closed only the southeast (upstream) sidewalk to people on foot or bike.

(more…)

Did you know ODOT revises the driver’s manual every two years?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
dmvmanualbox
Detail of Oregon Driver’s Manual.

We didn’t either.

Neither did Ray Thomas, the man who literally wrote the book on Oregon bike law (and has personally written and/or lobbied for many of them). Neither did Rob Sadowsky, the executive director of the largest bicycle advocacy organization in the state, or Noel Mickelberry, the leader of Oregon Walks.

“It caught us totally off guard,” Sadowsky shared with me this morning, “And it points to a lack of collaboration.”

This is a big deal because the 84-page Oregon Driver’s Manual impacts how people learn to behave on the road. It’s probably the one source of traffic law nearly every driver has consulted at least once and it’s used in court to justify behaviors both right and wrong. Making sure the driver’s manual presents information accurately and from a variety of perspectives — especially the most vulnerable road users — is a key component of the gradual march toward Vision Zero. (more…)

State seems ‘very receptive’ to a raised bike lane on outer Powell, advocates say

Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Cully Blvd cycle track-3
A low mountable curb like the one on NE Cully
is among designs being seriously debated for
SE Powell east of I-205.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

It’s looking as if the Oregon Department of Transportation might become one of the first state transportation agencies in the country to build a raised bike lane into an urban highway project.

It’s just a possibility and it’s still years away, but it’s the upshot of a meeting Monday in which several biking advocates urged the state to consider the design as part of its Outer Powell Safety Project.

David Hampsten of the East Portland Action Plan bike committee and the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee said in an email this week that he attended to urge ODOT “to consider modifying the planned 8-foot bike lanes into either raised cycle-tracks or adding barriers between the roadway and the bikeway users (bikes and mobility devices).”

(more…)

By pushing for road safety audit, state Rep. Ann Lininger steps into leadership role on Barbur

Friday, May 29th, 2015
lininger
Lininger says she had “a number of conversations”
with ODOT’s new regional manager about safety
improvements on Barbur.
(Photo via Oregon Legislature)

When the Oregon Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday that it had decided to change course and formally consider a road diet on Southwest Barbur, its news release included two words that hadn’t been associated with the issue before:

Ann Lininger.

The state representative appointed last year to represent much of Southwest Portland and her hometown of Lake Oswego, Lininger was quoted by ODOT itself as favoring “improving safety for all users on this crucial roadway.”

Though she’s only one of many people who’ve contacted ODOT in support of low-cost, short-term improvements to Southwest Barbur — multiple sources said that U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer has expressed his opinion, not to mention Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and hundreds of local residents and organizations — Lininger is one of a few who’ve done so from a position few people have: direct authority over ODOT, thanks to her seat in the state legislature.

(more…)

State will conduct safety audit of Barbur and formally weigh road redesign

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
barbur curve looking north
Typical midday traffic approaching a curve in Barbur Boulevard from the south.
(Image: Google Street View.)

Four months after saying it had no plans to do so, the Oregon Department of Transportation will formally consider the possibility of new changes to a two-mile stretch of Barbur Bouelvard where six people have died in cars, on motorcycles and on foot in the last six years.

(more…)

ODOT says $3 million project to raise overpass 18 inches has no budget to add a sidewalk

Friday, May 15th, 2015
strawberry lane overpass
The overpass is being raised so that large-load trucks can drive under it rather than detouring onto Strawberry Lane.
(Images: Google Street View)

Despite receiving a dozen public requests to add sidewalks to an overpass it’s planning to raise by 18 inches, the Oregon Department of Transportation says there’s no room for them in the $3 million project.

Instead, ODOT will add a five-foot-wide striped walking and biking lane on the bridge’s eastbound side. The road-level lane will be marked with a pedestrian symbol.

The Strawberry Lane bridge south of Clackamas is the only crossing of Interstate 205 for one mile in each direction.

As reported Wednesday by the Clackamas Review, the purpose of the project is to raise the overpass enough to prevent most large-load trucks from having to detour onto Strawberry Lane in order to avoid the relatively low bridge.

(more…)

At die-in, ODOT says it’s already doing its best to improve street safety

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
odoti
The protest was organized after a man biking across Powell Boulevard lost a leg in a collision with a turning pickup truck.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland unless noted)

About two dozen people lay in the one-way street outside the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Portland regional headquarters Wednesday afternoon in a mostly silent demonstration in support of safety improvements on Portland’s urban highways.

Most had biked to the spot; some lay their bicycles beside them. Others had walked; one said he’d walked downtown from North Portland.

Some were children. Some wore fake blood made from ketchup. One had brought a stack of signs: “Oregon Department of Traumatic Injury.”

(more…)

BikeLoud’s “die-in” this afternoon aims to keep safety pressure on ODOT

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
odothq
ODOT’s regional headquarters in northwest Portland.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

The advocacy group BikeLoudPDX plans to follow Monday’s safety demonstration on Powell Boulevard by taking on what it sees as the underlying issue: city roads managed by the state’s transportation agency.

At 4 p.m. the volunteer-driven organization plans to host a “die-in” at the Oregon Department of Transportation headquarters, 123 NW Flanders St., complete with fake blood.

Here’s the group’s description of its agenda:

(more…)

Utah and Massachusetts jump past Oregon in bike-friendly state rankings

Monday, May 11th, 2015
Look Forward
Riding in Salt Lake City.
(Photo: Jake Cain)

For the second time since the League of American Bicyclists began ranking U.S. states’ bike-friendliness in 2008, Oregon didn’t make the top five.

As it has in every year, Washington led the 2015 ranking that the League announced on Monday. Washington was followed this year by Minnesota, Delaware, Massachusetts and Utah, then Oregon at sixth.

Though Oregon’s slip from third in 2013 (its all-time peak) to fifth last year to sixth this year certainly has echoes of the recent #DowngradePortland campaign launched by local bike advocates in an effort to persuade the League to rescind Portland’s “platinum” rating as a bike city, this statewide ranking is different. It’s also a ranking rather than a rating system, based on a 100-point scale that the League bases on a national questionnaire.

(more…)

Local dad calls for ‘super-legal slow-down’ of Powell Boulevard during Monday rush hour

Sunday, May 10th, 2015
Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride 2009-42
Dan Kaufman with one of his sons in 2009.
(Photo:J.Maus/BikePortland)

Saying that traffic injuries like the ones that are common on Powell Boulevard “inexcusable and unnecessary” outside the doors of Cleveland High School, the father of two Cleveland students is organizing a protest of the speed-oriented urban highway during Monday’s rush hour.

A collision Sunday involving a pickup truck and a bicycle severed a young man’s leg. Police said the truck had been northbound on 26th and turned left onto Powell in front of two people heading southbound on bicycles.

Dan Kaufman described Monday’s event as a “super-legal slow-down,” in which people deliberately move slowly on a street in order to call attention to the fact that high speeds, and roads designed to encourage them, are inappropriate in an urban context.

(more…)

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