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Advocate has near-death experience on Barbur, a street he’s pushing to make safer

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
lonely biker on barbur bridge
No room for improvements, state says.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

One of Southwest Portland’s most passionate advocates for a safer Barbur Boulevard said Tuesday that he was nearly killed while biking on the street.

“FYI since you’re waiting for someone to die before safe Barbur bike access: it was almost me today,” wrote Damian Miller, an assistant director of research and assessment at Lewis and Clark College’s graduate school, in the first of a trio of open Twitter messages to the Oregon Department of Transportation and its new regional manager. “Speeding delivery truck came up behind honked, veered wildly, almost hit me & left lane car.”

Though the route’s design evokes a freeway, it’s the only flat and direct street between most of Southwest Portland and the rest of the city. During the summer, about 300 to 500 people bike it each day.

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Cops cite 61 people in 4 hours at a single unmarked 82nd Ave crosswalk

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
82nd cooper
The enforcement action was one of the few that the city has conducted at unmarked crosswalks.
(Image: Google Street View)

In Oregon and Washington as in many states, every corner is a legal crosswalk, and all vehicles are supposed to stop for someone trying to use it.

But good luck getting people to stop for you at corners like Southeast 82nd Avenue and Cooper Street.

A preannounced police enforcement action at the crosswalk on March 25 resulted in 61 citations and four warnings, the most ever issued during one of Portland’s periodic crosswalk enforcement events.

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State wants your advice to prioritize Portland-area biking and walking projects

Monday, April 6th, 2015
odot bike needs
An interactive map of ODOT biking facilities,
including gaps.
(Click for live version)

As the Oregon Department of Transportation sprints to meet an August grant deadline that could bring federal money to local biking and walking improvements, it’s asking for public input about the deepest needs.

As we wrote in February, this project is part of the state’s first-ever comprehensive list of the existing state of its biking and walking facilities.

If awarded, the federal grants that ODOT applies for after this process will go toward projects being built from 2018-2021.

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Two perfect examples of the attitude Vision Zero is supposed to change

Thursday, March 19th, 2015
jon cox
AASHTO President Jon Cox before a congressional
committee Tuesday.
(Screen capture via Rep. Rick Larsen)

Vision Zero is maybe the hottest subject in American street advocacy right now, but there’s still quite a lot of disagreement about what exactly it means.

As Portland adopts an official policy to prevent all road deaths and safety advocates begin a push for state and other local governments to follow that lead, we’ve just gotten a couple very clear examples of what Vision Zero doesn’t mean.

One comes from a hearing Tuesday in Washington D.C. The other comes from a state engineer quoted yesterday in The Oregonian.

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Bill moving through Salem could hasten transfer of state roads to city control

Thursday, March 19th, 2015
jurisdictional transfer map
Portland-area streets described by ODOT as “highways to be transferred to local jurisdictions” are marked in pink. The blue line, Cornelius Pass Road, is a request from ODOT for a transfer in the other direction.
(Image: ODOT testimony on SB 117.)

Barbur Boulevard, Powell Boulevard, Tualatin Valley Highway, Lombard Street, 82nd Avenue and Macadam Avenue could all be lined up for gradual transfer from state to city control under a bill before Oregon’s legislature.

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ODOT is building its first complete wishlist of biking and walking projects

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
east 82nd
82nd Avenue: a priority, but how high?
(Photo: Elly Blue)

As Oregon creates its first-ever comprehensive biking and walking wishlist, it’s run into a hard question: how should it rank the importance of the many projects on its list?

The question comes three years after a round of ODOT’s federal grant applications for Portland-area biking and walking projects came up completely empty. As the next federal grant deadline approaches, ODOT is hoping that by creating a more sophisticated system to choose its top projects — a complete sidewalk along 82nd Avenue, maybe, or a crosswalk beacon on North Lombard street — it won’t miss out on the next round of federal grants.

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What it feels like to ride Barbur Blvd for the first time (photos)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
to barbur
Seems easy enough.
(Photos Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

This post is part of our SW Portland Week.

Here’s a confession: though I’ve driven on Southwest Barbur, ridden the bus on it, and walked along it to reach a vigil for a woman killed while she crossed it, in four years of reporting on the street and its problems I’ve never actually ridden a bike on it.

Until this week.

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State says it has no plans to restripe street where one person has died per year

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
barbur curve looking north
Typical midday traffic approaching a curve in Barbur Boulevard from the south.
(Image: Google Street View.)

During a construction project last summer, the Oregon Department of Transportation seems to have discovered that there’s a way to cut extreme speeding on a curving two-mile stretch of Southwest Barbur Boulevard where six people have died in the last five years.

Was it closing the passing lanes? Lowering the posted speed limit from 45 to 35 mph? Upping traffic enforcement and penalties? Simply marking it as a construction zone?

The agency did all of those things at once, so it isn’t sure which one worked, and it currently has no plans to find out.

Meanwhile, the state-owned street has returned to normal indefinitely.

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Strong open house turnout might close gap in SW 185th bike lanes, BTA says

Thursday, January 15th, 2015
tv highway 185th intersection
The bike lanes end just before they cross a big state road.
(Image: Google Maps)

Strong turnout for bike supporters at a state open house next Wednesday could lead to major improvements to one of Washington County’s most annoying bike-lane gaps — and set a precedent for similar gaps around the region.

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Oregon road deaths tick upward after long-run decline

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
traffic deaths
(Source: ODOT. Chart: BikePortland.)

One year after Oregon saw its best year for traffic safety since World War II, it seems to have backslid somewhat.

(more…)

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