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Good news: ODOT just added four new staffers to head up active transportation efforts

by on May 18th, 2016 at 2:09 pm

N Williams Ave Community Forum.JPG-11
Susan Peithman speaking at a community forum in 2011.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The need for culture-change at the Oregon Department of Transportation is something we talk about a lot here at BikePortland. So we were thrilled to hear that the agency is on something of a hiring binge in their active transportation section. And it comes at an important time — ODOT’s advisory body is set to adopt a major update of the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Mode Plan tomorrow.

The big news is that former Bicycle Transportation Alliance and PSU Transportation Research and Education Consortium staffer Susan Peithman has just been hired as the Active Transportation Policy Lead. This is a welcome injection of fresh perspective into an agency that’s trying shed its cars-first reputation. Peithman isn’t just a whip-smart advocate and former consultant (with Alta Planning + Design), she’s put her volunteer time into the policies she’s now going to help steer. Peithman, who lives in northeast Portland and is a relatively new mom, had been vice-chair of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for the past three years.

You might also recall Peithman’s past cycling exploits from coverage here on BikePortland. There was the time in 2012 when she was part of the winning team at the Rapha Ladies Prestige race in San Francisco, and she was also one of three Portland women who attempted to ride the entire Tour de France route. Also in 2012 Peithman was the BTA’s representative on the controversial North Williams Avenue Traffic Safety Project.
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ODOT hosts event to highlight bicycle access through work zones

by on May 17th, 2016 at 10:38 am

A new type of "channelization device" ODOT plans to use this summer.(Photo: State of Oregon)

A new type of “channelization device” ODOT plans to use this summer.
(Photo: State of Oregon)

The Oregon Department of Transportation is hosting an interesting event. They’re asking people to ride a bicycle (or walk) through a work zone to see what it’s like first-hand.

The event happens tomorrow (May 18th) in front of ODOT’s headquarters in Salem where the agency has set up a temporary work zone to demonstrate how their crews are using new materials to ensure safe passage by people using feet and bikes. The event is part of the state’s Transportation Safety Month and it’s being done to help kickoff the summer road construction season.

“Have you ever ridden a bike through a work zone? Sound daunting? How does ODOT protect bicyclists and pedestrians in work zones?” reads an ODOT media advisory about the event. “Come find out! Bring your GoPros! Show the unusual perspective of riding through a work zone on two wheels.” (Love how they assume biking through a work zone is “unusual”.)

According to ODOT someone crashes in a work zone every 19 hours in Oregon (about 477 a year) and about seven people die in those crashes annually. Statistically, the most common cause of work zone crashes are people simply not paying attention and driving too fast for conditions.
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Portland-region committee gives middling marks to NW Flanders bridge project

by on May 3rd, 2016 at 12:10 pm

flanders bridge span
The span at Flanders and I-405.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The prospects for rapid state funding of a biking-walking bridge across Interstate 405 dimmed somewhat Monday as a regional advisory committee appointed by the Oregon Department of Transportion ranked it as only the eighth off-street transportation priority for the Portland region.

Top marks went to a 19-acre, $2.6 million parking lot that would help the Ford Motor Co. export more cars to China — though only if Ford agrees to increase its exports via the Port of Portland, which it hasn’t.

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Amid talk of congestion relief, Salem Dems reboot transportation bill talks

by on April 18th, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Speaker of the Oregon House Tina Kotek
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The 2017 Oregon legislature hasn’t even been elected yet, but state House and Senate leaders are getting ready for another try at a transportation bill.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, and House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-North Portland, told the Salem Statesman Journal that they’re planning another “bipartisan, bicameral legislative committee” to start negotiating a deal that would presumably include a statewide gas tax hike.

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As cities scramble for cash, $196 million drops into state’s lap from nowhere

by on March 17th, 2016 at 8:14 am

I-5 at Rose Quarter
Where did all our money go?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland

A revealing bit of information came across our desks this week.

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Gap Week: 82nd Avenue and Burnside

by on January 26th, 2016 at 4:02 pm

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East Burnside’s extremely important bike lane vanishes right where an “interested but concerned” biker might want it most.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Part of Gap Week.

Every morning and afternoon on East Burnside at 82nd Avenue, 10 cars at a time queue up in what ought to be a great advertisement for finding some other way to get around the city.

People on bikes, meanwhile, squeeze past to their right. They’re riding one of the city’s very few continuous bikeways connecting inner and outer East Portland.

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Newswire: State Bike/Ped Advisory Committee seeks new member

by on January 21st, 2016 at 2:12 pm

A spot has opened up on ODOT’s biking and walking advisory committee. Check out details below…

SALEM – The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is seeking to fill a recently vacated position that represents the youth community. The committee was first formed by Oregon Statute 366.112, a bill passed in the 1973 Oregon Legislature. In 1995, the Oregon Transportation Commission officially recognized the committee’s additional role in pedestrian issues, and the group became the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, or OBPAC.

The eight-member committee, appointed by the governor, acts as a liaison between the public and the Oregon Department of Transportation. It advises ODOT in the regulation of bicycle and pedestrian traffic and the establishment of bikeways and walkways. Members serve four-year terms, and the makeup of the group must include:
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ODOT will add three “enhanced” crossings as part of safety changes coming to 82nd

by on January 21st, 2016 at 10:41 am

odot-map-crossings
Location of three intersections that will get “enhanced pedestrian crossings”.
(Base map is Metro’s Bike There map to show location of nearby bikeways.)

The Oregon Department of Transportation wants you to learn more about their plans to make several changes to SE 82nd Avenue. They’ll hold an open house for their 82nd Avenue Intersection Improvements project next Tuesday, January 26th. (more…)

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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City has two years to make the case to save 26th Avenue bike lanes, it says

by on January 7th, 2016 at 3:36 pm

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The bike lanes on SE 26th run in front of Cleveland High School and carry about 600 to 800 people daily.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Because 26th Avenue won’t be repaved for another year or two, the city will have time and data to try to persuade the Oregon Department of Transportation to reverse its decision.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation confirmed Thursday that it has agreed to remove the bike lanes from SE 26th Avenue near Powell in order to get the state’s approval for a new signal at 28th.

A city spokesman said that because 26th Avenue won’t be repaved for another year or two, the city will have time and data to try to persuade the Oregon Department of Transportation to reverse its decision. But an ODOT spokesman said the state can’t say what data it might or might not find persuasive.

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