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Turnover of top traffic engineers will shake up city and county

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Cycletrack on SW Broadway-2
Rob Burchfield, who spent 16 years as Portland’s city traffic engineer, is moving to the private sector.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Two people whose judgment calls have shaped Portland’s streets for years — in one case, for decades — are stepping into jobs elsewhere.

Rob Burchfield, Portland’s top traffic engineer since 1999 and a nationally respected innovator on bike-friendly street designs, will leave the city on Friday after almost 30 years. He’s becoming the regional engineering director for Toole Design Group, a national engineering and design firm that specializes in biking and walking projects.

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State’s anti-speeding photo radar bill flips ‘scofflaw’ narrative

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
16530724186_9c257e51d2_z
Just another day on SW Barbur Boulevard, one of 10 streets that could be fitted with radar cameras under a proposed state law.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

When it comes to the rules of the road, there are a few facts of life — or, as sociologists might call them, social norms.

When people are in cars, they tend to drive over the speed limit if they feel it’s safe to do so and they can get away with it.

When people are on bikes, they tend to roll through stop signs if they feel it’s safe to do so and they can get away with it.

When people are on foot, they tend to cross the street whenever they feel it’s safe to do so and they can get away with it.

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Bill in Salem would let safety cameras nab speeders on high-crash streets

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
high crash corridors
The City of Portland’s 10 high-crash corridors: Barbur, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Burnside, Sandy, Marine, 82nd, 122nd, Powell, Foster and Division.
(Image: City of Portland)

Portland’s 10 high-crash corridors would be dotted with radar cameras that automatically detect excessive speeding, under a proposed law due for its first public hearing on Monday.

House Bill 2621 would apply only to the City of Portland, and only on streets with crash rates more than 25 percent higher than other streets with the same speed limit.

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City preps to cut speed limit on four mid-sized streets

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
First look at NE Multnomah project-4
Slower.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is ordering slower traffic speeds on four streets, three of which have recently been redesigned to be more neighborhood-friendly.

The four are Southwest Vermont Street from Capitol Highway to SW 45th near Gabriel Park, which will go from 35 to 30 mph; SW Multnomah Boulevard from Interstate 5 to SW 31st, going from 45 to 35 mph; NE Glisan Street from 27th to 79th, going from 35 to 30 mph; and NE/SE 47th Avenue from NE Tillamook to SE Oak, going from 30 to 25 mph.

All four streets have bike lanes for some or all of those segments.

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Now one of few large U.S. cities without bike sharing, Portland sets a new date

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Downtown Riverside, CA
Downtown Riverside, Calif., the center of the
country’s 13th largest metro area and a city planning
to launch a bike sharing system in 2015.
(Photo: Daniel Orth)

By the end of 2015, it’s looking like 21 of the largest 25 U.S. metro areas are likely to have public bike share systems.

The four that won’t: Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis and Portland.

Los Angeles, by far the country’s largest holdout, announced this month that it’s on track to launch a system in 2016. Atlanta, Baltimore and Riverside, Calif., have plans to launch in 2015 but haven’t announced more specific dates.

Meanwhile, four other cities started service late last year or will in the next few months: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle.

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A sneak peek at PBOT’s upcoming two-year action plan

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
plan-lead
Detail from PBOT workplan summary.

Yesterday, we quoted the City of Portland’s transportation director about two of her most important policy goals for 2015. But her third goal for the year is far broader: to give the department, for the first time in years, a specific short-term to-do list.

The 170-item list, prepared with the help of consulting firm Nelson\Nygaard, aspires to cover everything the city’s 700-person transportation bureau is up to in the next two years.

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PBOT director details two major goals for 2015: Parking reform and Vision Zero

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
Street fee press conference-2
City Transportation Director Leah Treat at a press conference in April of last year.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s transportation revenue plans may be stalled, but its top appointed transportation official is moving ahead with a two-pronged policy agenda that can be pursued without much new money — and might even help create its own.

“We have a job at PBOT to make better use of the street space that we do have, including the parking zone.”
— Leah Treat

One of Director Leah Treat’s goals for 2015, she said Tuesday, is “getting on offense on parking” by creating a “set of tools” that neighborhoods will be able to use to charge for parking or to, in some cases, remove it to make room for bike lanes or public parklets.

Another: start enacting a plan to eliminate all traffic deaths, a concept known as Vision Zero.

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City of Portland will take ‘deep dive’ into data to assess neighborhood greenway system

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
A family ride from NoPo to Sellwood-18
Greenways use speed bumps to calm traffic,
diverters to reduce volumes, signals to cross busy
streets and sharrow markings and signs to guide users
through the city.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As cities from Seattle to St. Louis to Louisville work to duplicate Portland’s “neighborhood greenway” concept on their residential streets, Portland is giving its trend-setting system a closer look.

A team of experts in the city’s transportation bureau will spend part of their time in the next few months looking closely at trends in how people use the system while biking, walking and driving.

A public report is due in early 2015.

City Active Transportation Division Manager Margi Bradway said Wednesday that the goal of this report, which she predicted will receive national attention once it’s complete, is to inform an upcoming policy conversation here in Portland about how best to keep improving the greenway system.

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Portland legislators launch effort to put 82nd Ave under PBOT control

Friday, November 7th, 2014
east 82nd
(Photo: Elly Blue)

It’s looking as if the 2015 legislative session could bring a change that Portland transportation advocates have dreamed of, without much hope, for years.

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PBOT, via blog comments, responds to “difficulties” of Williams project

Friday, October 24th, 2014
Williams Avenue-1
Williams and it’s brand new, left-side bike lane has been a hot issue this week.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“I ride N Williams every day and am experiencing some difficulties myself.”
— Leah Treat, Director of PBOT

This week marked a very positive milestone for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT): They seem to be opening up a bit about joining the comment section here on BikePortland. I think this is a great development because it shows they understand the value of direct online engagement with their customers (us) and it could be a sign that they’re gaining confidence around the bicycling issue.
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