Republican legislators call for ODOT director to quit over emissions claims

by on November 19th, 2015 at 11:55 am

ODOT Director Matt Garrett
Matt Garrett has led ODOT since 2005.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few weeks after left-leaning former Metro president David Bragdon all but called for the firing of Oregon’s top transportation official, legislative Republicans are calling for it explicitly.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett is facing criticism from both sides over the incident, earlier this year, when his office and Gov. Kate Brown’s temporarily claimed that tens of millions of dollars in freeway investments would be part of reducing long-run carbon emissions in Oregon by more than 2 million metric tons.


State’s ORcycle app is now a one-stop shop for reporting road safety issues

by on November 19th, 2015 at 8:35 am

orcycle screenshot
A screenshot from the
ORcycle app.

If you run into a bike safety problem in Oregon and own a smartphone, you no longer need to know who to complain to.

The ORcycle mobile app, a partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland State University, has just been hooked up directly to the state’s “Ask ODOT” hotline, which has pledged to forward all reports it receives about bike safety issues to the appropriate local agency — or to its own team, if the road is owned by ODOT.

It’s a huge leap for the project, which has existed in demo form for a year but has been little-used because any reports were stashed for weeks or months under PSU’s supervision rather than piped directly to ODOT, let alone forwarded to other agencies.

Now, however, the free app has been integrated directly into the state agency’s operations.


First look at ODOT’s draft of a new biking and walking plan

by on November 16th, 2015 at 11:40 am

Plan cover.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has released a draft of their new Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

This plan is the result of two and-a-half years of meetings and outreach and it’s the first time ODOT has updated its biking and walking plan since 1995 (an update to their design guide in 2011 notwithstanding). It’s a crucial document because the policies and strategies in this plan will set the framework for what ODOT decides to build going forward.

A coalition of transportation advocates that includes the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Oregon Walks, the Sustainable Transportation Council, the Oregon chapter of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and two members of the plan’s own advisory committee have already penned a letter to ODOT with their concerns about the plan.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the plan in the coming weeks. At first glance it appears to be a solid start, but could use some strenthening in order to make a real impact.

With Blumenauer in his corner, Novick pressures ODOT for changes on Barbur

by on November 9th, 2015 at 4:38 pm

southbound barbur street view
Almost half of southbound rush-hour traffic on Barbur turns right here. Converting the right lane to exit-only could boost driver safety on Barbur while making room for continuous bike lanes to the south.
(Image: Google Street View)

Consensus seems to be building around a new concept that could finally create continuous bike lanes on state-run Barbur Boulevard.

And now, support for changes to a notoriously dangerous section of Barbur have a new ally: U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer. (more…)

First Look: ODOT’s big changes to North Denver Avenue

by on October 26th, 2015 at 2:19 pm

ODOT N Denver Ave project-47.jpg
New sidewalk and buffered bike lane on Denver Avenue north of Kenton.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has had quite an eventful week.

ODOT faces ‘incompetence or dishonesty at the highest levels,’ former Metro president says

by on October 23rd, 2015 at 3:14 pm

David Bragdon speaking 2
David Bragdon earlier this year.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Apparently this is what happens when an elected official doesn’t have to play nice any more.

Former two-term Metro President David Bragdon launched a politely spoken but blistering attack on the Oregon Department of Transportation Friday, urging his former state to reform its transportation system in response to “incompetence or dishonesty at the highest levels of ODOT,” among other factors.

Bragdon, who left office in 2010 for a top planning job in New York City and now runs a nonprofit think tank called TransitCenter, spoke in a lunchtime address to the City Club of Portland. His prepared remarks focused on the need to change what he called “the insanity of Oregon’s transportation governance system” but his criticism of the department’s leadership deepened in off-the-cuff answers to questions afterward about the Columbia River Crossing.


Lombard, a state freight route, will be restriped with bike lanes

by on October 23rd, 2015 at 1:10 pm

ODOT striping plans for new bike lanes on Lombard.

A half-mile section of North Lombard (Highway 30) in the University Park and Portsmouth neighborhoods is getting bike lanes.

Safety audit reveals new approach to fixing Barbur bridges

by on October 20th, 2015 at 11:08 am

southbound barbur street view
Almost half of southbound rush-hour traffic on Barbur turns right here. Converting the right lane to right-turn-only could boost driver safety on Barbur while making room for continuous bike lanes.
(Image: Google Street View)

Buried inside 115 pages of analysis of Barbur Boulevard, a “safety audit” released Monday seems to have come up with something interesting: a pretty solid new idea for fixing the dangerous wooded section of Southwest Portland’s most important street.

It’s fairly simple. Instead of losing a northbound auto lane from Miles to Hamilton, one of Barbur’s two southbound auto lanes could peel off at Capitol Highway.

South of Capitol Highway — which is where 40 to 50 percent of southbound Barbur traffic exits anyway — the street could be restriped to add continuous bike lanes across a pair of narrow bridges, ending the current situation that pushes bikes and cars to merge into the same 45-mph lane.


ODOT releases Barbur Boulevard Safety Audit

by on October 19th, 2015 at 12:12 pm


The Oregon Department of Transportation has just released their Barbur Boulevard Safety Audit. The 115-page report takes an in-depth look at the safety issues of one the most deadly and dangerous urban highways in our region and it has been eagerly anticipated by advocates for months.

The audit came about after ODOT received significant pressure from the community (including a petition from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) to do something about street’s dangerous bicycling conditions.

Oregon is 8th state to officially endorse progressive street design guide

by on October 14th, 2015 at 8:32 am

Screenshot 2015-10-13 at 10.26.39 PM
Key concepts in the NACTO guide.
(Photos: NACTO)

After a year and a half of lobbying, the Oregon Department of Transportation has formally recommended that its street designers look for ideas in one of the country’s most progressive bikeway design books.

The Urban Bikeway Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials was one of the country’s first official documents to include design elements like protected bike lanes, bike boulevards, floating bus stops and bike-specific traffic signals. Some of its concepts are already in Oregon’s in-house bikeway design guide, but NACTO has asked allied states and cities to endorse its guide in order to lend legitimacy to the designs in less progressive states.