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One week left to apply for two important city funding committees

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on July 13th, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Bike Advisory Cmte Meeting-1.jpg
The city’s bicycle advisory committee is different, but you get the idea.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Not everybody loved the local gas tax that Portland voters approved in May. But most Portlanders can probably agree that now that it exists, it ought to be spent as promised.

There’s a strong possibility that the tax might bring in more or less money than expected, or that the city might eventually consider changing the project list in ways that violate the implicit promise to voters that it made when it created the list.

If either of those things were to happen, the main watchdog institution will be a volunteer oversight committee that’s currently recruiting members.

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City of Portland’s 823-SAFE hotline now offered online

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on March 2nd, 2016 at 8:27 am

traffic safety form
The new web form.
(PortlandOregon.gov)

There’s now a keyboard-ready alternative to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s excellent 823-SAFE hotline.

The city’s hotline has a great reputation among those in the know, who use it for things as diverse as a poorly timed traffic signal or a low-hanging branch. Even on issues that can’t be fixed immediately, a history of reports about a given location can alert city staffers to a bigger project worth tackling.

The phone hotline has been around for over a decade (at least), and many people also use the safe@portlandoregon.gov email version. Now the City of Portland offers a web-based version.

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

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on January 7th, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Protest on SE Powell-1.jpg
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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State and city fast-track closure of extra offramp near east end of Broadway Bridge

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on December 11th, 2015 at 10:55 am

i-5lead
The extra “slip ramp” from
I-5 onto Broadway would close.

Here’s some good news about one of the most dangerous spots on one of Portland’s most popular bike routes.

The Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Portland are planning to break ground this spring on much-anticipated changes to the area where a southbound Interstate 5 offramp drops people fresh off the freeway into a slip lane that curves across the North Broadway bike lane.

This project had previously been scheduled to start next summer.

The changes planned will mean that when someone exits I-5 to head across the Broadway Bridge, instead of seeing this (a “slip lane” that is all but begging people to roll through it, right into a bike lane)…

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Portland will require cab and Uber drivers to take Vision Zero safety training

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on November 5th, 2015 at 8:33 am

Riding Portland's urban highways-8
Eyes on the street?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

At their best, Lyft and Uber are better cab companies, one more piece of a system that enables low-car life.

At their worst, they’re a system for subsidizing an army of people driving around town with their eyes glued to GPS screens.

Portland’s new regulations of for-hire transportation companies, released last week, include an interesting change that’s supposed to target the problem: the city’s first mandatory safety training for drivers of taxis and “transportation network companies” like Uber or Lyft.

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Full speed ahead: City’s new transportation dashboard tracks progress

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on October 13th, 2015 at 8:40 am

Last week at the Ann Niles Transportation Lecture, Los Angeles Transportation Director Seleta Reynolds said the overwhelming majority of her job is good management, not the clever policymaking that everybody usually wants to talk about.

Here at BikePortland, we’re guilty of talking a lot about clever (or not so clever) policymaking. But this year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is also going through some operational changes that are worth knowing about.

Under Director Leah Treat, PBOT is working to be more precise and public about the status of its many projects. And a new tool on its website looks a lot like a gimmick but is actually a pretty good new way to keep track of everything the city is up to.

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State says there’s not enough proof that bike lanes boost safety, so 26th Ave lanes should go

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on August 26th, 2015 at 11:37 am

26th powell bike box
The City of Portland wants to create a second, more comfortable crossing of Powell at 28th, but the state says it won’t allow one unless bike lanes and bike boxes at 26th (shown here) are removed.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Three weeks after being asked if it can cite any evidence supporting its claim that removing a bike lane can sometimes increase bike safety, the State of Oregon has come up empty.

Moreover, a state spokeswoman wrote in an email Tuesday that four studies cited by the City of Portland that document safety benefits of bike lanes are inadequate, though the state did not say in what way the studies fall short.

“More research needs to be done,” the Oregon Department of Transportation said in its statement.

Research notwithstanding, the Oregon Department of Transportation is continuing to deny the City of Portland’s request to install a new stoplight at 28th Avenue and Powell (which would let the city create a new north-south neighborhood greenway on 28th) unless the city agrees to first remove the narrow bike lanes from nearby 26th Avenue.

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Council vote today would allow more diverters on neighborhood greenways

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on August 26th, 2015 at 8:18 am

A family ride from NoPo to Sellwood-18
A traffic diverter allowing biking and walking traffic but blocking auto traffic.
(Photos: J.Maus and M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Traffic diverters: back by popular demand.
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City council will weigh new neighborhood greenway guidelines Wednesday

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on August 24th, 2015 at 4:33 pm

clinton speed
Southeast Clinton Street.
(Photo:M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Some biking advocates are planning to wear green to Wednesday’s Portland City Council meeting to welcome the arrival of a long-awaited city study of Portland’s neighborhood greenways.

The study, first reported on BikePortland in November, has since evolved to include a new set of recommended guidelines for what makes a comfortable greenway. The guidelines would, in some ways, enshrine modern neighborhood greenways into city practices for the first time.

Over the last year, many Portlanders have warned that some neighborhood greenways — the theoretically low-traffic, low-stress side streets that form the backbone of the bike network in most of inner east Portland and a major component of its city’s planned network — are uncomfortable and unwelcoming to bike on because of high car traffic and speeds.

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State’s proposal to improve bike crossings of Powell: Remove bike lane from 26th

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on August 13th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

26th powell bike box
About 600 to 800 people a day currently bike on 26th to cross Powell. The city wants to create a second, more comfortable crossing at 28th, but the state says it won’t allow one unless the lanes and bike boxes at 26th are removed.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is facing pressure from its counterparts at the Oregon Department of Transportation to do something it’s almost never done before: remove bike lanes from a street.

An ODOT official said she could not cite evidence other than the site-specific judgment of her engineering colleagues that removing the bike lane on SE 26th Avenue would improve overall road safety. But she said that because 26th is not as safe to bike on as 28th would be, it stands to reason that the bike lane on 26th should be removed in order to encourage people to cross at 28th.

Therefore, ODOT has agreed to approve the city’s request to add a new traffic signal at 28th and Powell only on the condition that the city remove the bike lane and bike box from 26th.

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