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Fact check: The St. Johns Bridge does not need 19-foot wide lanes for freight traffic

by on November 9th, 2016 at 2:59 pm

The St. Johns Bridge looking west. (Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikipedia)

The St. Johns Bridge looking west.
(Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikipedia)

Despite multiple demands over the years to improve bike access on the St. Johns Bridge, the Oregon Department of Transportation has used many different excuses for why the current lane configuration simply cannot change. And it turns out their latest excuse — that state design guidelines for freight traffic require 19-foot wide lanes in both directions — is untrue.
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Oregon just adopted a new transportation safety plan: Here’s what’s in it

by on October 26th, 2016 at 5:03 pm

odot-tsapcover

About 400 people have died every year on Oregon roads for each of the past 20 years. Now a new plan adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission on October 15th says the state has 20 years to bring that number down to zero.

Facing a second consecutive year of a double-digit increase in road fatalities, the the 177-page Transportation Safety Action Plan lays out a path to tackle the problem.

It’s the fourth Transportation Safety Action Plan adopted by Oregon since 1995. The previous plan was adopted in 2011. Beyond a useful roadmap to safer streets for policymakers and citizens, the plan also fulfills a requirement of the Federal Highway Administration. If Oregon wants to tap into federal safety funds, they must have a plan like this on file.

But it’d be a shame if the plan got stuffed into a file to just gather dust because the data and directives in the plan are essential knowledge.

For instance, the more than 230,000 traffic crashes that happened in Oregon between 2009 and 2013 had a total societal cost of $15.6 billion — about $785 per year for every Oregon resident. In that same time period 1,675 people were killed and over 7,000 people were seriously injured using our roads. (more…)

Subscriber Post: First look at ODOT’s new Sunrise Corridor bikeway

by on July 28th, 2016 at 10:25 am

Part of the new bikeway built by ODOT as part of their Sunrise Corridor project. It opened on July 1st.(Photos: Adam Herstein)

Part of the new bikeway built by ODOT as part of their Sunrise Corridor project. It opened on July 1st.
(Photos: Adam Herstein)

This post was submitted by BikePortland subscriber Adam Herstein. These posts usually appear on our Subscriber Posts page but we like to share them here on the Front Page when appropriate. — Jonathan

ODOT has completed their Sunrise JTA Project which constructed a new 2.15 mile, four lane expressway at a cost of $130 million. As part of this project, bike improvements were constructed. I rode the new cycleway yesterday evening.
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State says raised bike lanes won’t work on outer Powell after all

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 28th, 2016 at 9:39 am

concrete with durable striping
A sidewalk-colored bike lane (described here as a “concrete shoulder”) set off by slightly raised striping is the state’s preferred alternative for bike lanes on a reconstructed Powell Boulevard east of Interstate 205. The state-run road carries about 20,000 motor vehicles daily.
(Image: ODOT)

After an advisory group agreed that it wanted an upcoming rebuild of outer Powell Boulevard to include raised bike lanes, the Oregon Department of Transportation says they’re not practical after all.

Instead, it’s drawing the ire of some (though not all) advisory committee members by saying there won’t be any vertical protection between bike and car traffic on the busy state-run street.

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ODOT to bicycle riders: Here’s your chip seal cheat sheet

by on June 8th, 2016 at 11:35 am

You might not like chip seal; but at least now you'll know how to avoid it.(Photo: Peckham)

You might not like chip seal; but at least now you’ll know how to avoid it.
(Photo: Peckham Asphalt)

For the first time ever, the Oregon Department of Transportation has published their list of upcoming chip seal projects specifically with bicycle riders in mind.

Chip seal is a type of paving material that mixes asphalt with pieces of fine aggregate (a.k.a. gravel). Road agencies love it because it extends the life of low-volume rural roads and it’s much cheaper to do than repaving. But for people who bike, chip seal is a drag. Literally. The tiny bumps don’t even register while driving, but on a bike they can really slow you down and cause fatigue. (And you do not want to think about what happens when you crash on it.) What makes matters worse is that road crews will often chip seal just the standard lane and then leave a ridge that crosses the fog line and goes into the shoulder people ride.

“My goal is to get the word out so bicyclists can plan accordingly and avoid an unhappy experience.”
— Sheila Lyons, ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator

Because of the groans that come with chip sealed roads, we were happy to get an email from Oregon’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator Sheila Lyons last week. She wanted to make sure people know what to expect when planning summer bike adventures on our state’s many excellent backroads. Lyons knows this is an issue, not just because she hears about it from Oregonians, but because she’s a rider herself. “It can be no fun to ride on,” she wrote in the email. “But it’s a cheap and effective surfacing treatment that ODOT is using more and more.”
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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

Michael Andersen (Contributor) 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

Michael Andersen (Contributor) 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

Michael Andersen (Contributor) 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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