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Comment of the Week: The missed opportunity of Tilikum Crossing

Friday, September 19th, 2014
20140917_MaxTilikumDocJPG
Problems with the west-side landing of Tilikum Crossing.
(Image: Ted Buehler)

The new transit/bike/walk bridge opening across the Willamette next year has become one of Portland’s go-to examples of how we continue to do great things. And it’s certainly true that it’s a massive investment in active transportation.

But as reader Ted Buehler argued in a series of comments this week below our story about the apparent decline of biking among PSU students, Tilikum Crossing was so close to being so much better.

The Tilikum Bridge isn’t going to help all that much, because Tilikum to PSU will still be crap. Whereas MAX has a long flyover from the west end of the Tilikum Bridge to SW 4th and Lincoln.

If they had funded a mixed use path on the MAX bridge, you’d be able to go straight from OMSI to here: http://goo.gl/maps/LLiVp without playing fender tag with cars on surface streets.

(more…)

Student biking to Portland State is down by a third over two years

Friday, September 12th, 2014
empty racks
PSU’s bike parking will be more crowded once the fall term starts, but student biking rates have leveled off and started to drop even as employee biking has kept climbing.
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)

Bike transportation among Portland State University students peaked at 12 percent in 2010-2011 and has since fallen to 8 percent, newly released student surveys show.

And in a development its transportation director called “alarming,” the popularity of driving to PSU classes rose last year for the first time since 2000.

(more…)

Want to breathe as little pollution as possible? Pedal at exactly 11 mph

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Traffic-3
A woman being exposed to more pollutants than she’d like.
(Photos J.Maus/BikePortland)

With a homebuilt $300 pollution monitor strapped to his bicycle and seven years of Portland State University education in his brain, Alex Bigazzi has been leading a deep exploration into your lungs.

(more…)

Infographic expands on local e-bike research, but the biggest puzzle remains

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
ebikes_OTREC
(Infographic by Portland State Transportation Research and Education Center)

A new poster summarizing research from a Portland State University scholar has some interesting factoids about electric bike users, but it doesn’t answer what’s becoming one of the biggest mysteries in American biking: why haven’t e-bikes taken off yet in the United States?

(more…)

Big ideas from future transpo leaders will get spotlight tonight

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Screenshot of proposed diverters on SE Clinton from a
presentation by PSU Traffic and Transportation Class
participant Taylor Gibson.

One of Portland’s most remarkable public-policy traditions takes place tonight: A handpicked handful of citizen transportation wonks will present their ideas for how to improve the local streets to a panel of city leaders.

Among the concepts to be presented in the Portland Building tonight: a plan that would dramatically reduce “cut-through” traffic on Clinton Street by adding traffic diverters at 17th, 27th and 37th Avenues; and a proposal for a regionwide, multi-jurisdiction mobile app to let people report simple road problems like clogged grates or loose leaves.

(more…)

With $2.8 million grant, PSU now a national center for ‘livable communities’ research

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) at Portland State University continued to raise its national profile with today’s announcement of a $2.83 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This grant comes on the heels of a $3.5 million federal grant awarded in January 2012 that solidified PSU’s role as one of the premier university transportation centers (UTCs) in the country. The competition for this grant was very stiff with 142 universities vying for just 32 grants.

With this latest grant, OTREC at PSU is now the USDOT’s go-to institution when it comes to “livable communities” research. For this round of grants, the USDOT awarded just five national university transportation centers. Each center was pegged to focus its research on one of the agency’s five categories: economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, safety, state of good repair, and livable communities.
(more…)

PSU traffic engineer adds new criticism of ODOT’s Barbur analysis

Friday, September 13th, 2013
PSU transpo researcher Chris Monsere
PSU’s Chris Monsere in 2010.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Two days after a Metro engineer publicly called out the Oregon Department of Transportation for allegedly misrepresenting traffic data in a memo that sidelined a bike safety proposal for Southwest Barbur, another expert is adding new skepticism.

The latest critic is Chris Monsere, a Portland State University associate professor and nationally recognized expert in the effects of restriping roads to reduce auto travel lanes. In addition to questioning ODOT’s conclusions, Monsere questioned the agency’s priorities and said he was “disappointed in the way the analysis is framed.”

“Vehicle speeds are way too high on Barbur, safety is poor, and bicycle / ped accommodation is substandard,” Monsere writes. “Road diets have generally been shown to improve safety for all users. Motor vehicle delay at the peak hour shouldn’t be only decision variable.”

(more…)

Downtown Portland bike theft reports plummeted 60% last year

Monday, June 24th, 2013
Locking up is looking safer.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s some great news for downtown Portland: it seems to be getting safer for parked bikes. Much safer.

You might have seen recent media reports that Portland bike theft reports dipped 13 percent citywide last year, according to a new Portland Police Bureau report. But what you didn’t read was that fully half of the drop came from a single neighborhood: downtown.

In 2011, one in 10 bikes reported stolen in the city was lifted from downtown Portland. Last year, the ratio fell to one in 20.

It comes out to 150 fewer bikes swiped from the city’s densest neighborhood, down from about 280 in 2011 to 107 in 2012. Authorities say they don’t know what caused such a sharp and localized drop.

“Of course we’d love to say that it’s because of the increased awareness we have provided on securing bikes,” police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson wrote in an email. “But very hard to quantify.” (more…)

PSU now among top four most bike-friendly universities in America

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Montgomery St Bike Garage at PSU
PSU’s Ian Stude inside a bike parking garage
that serves the campus.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland State University is in some very elite company atop the national Bike Friendly University rankings announced last month by the League of American Bicyclists. PSU has improved from their “silver” award in 2011 and is now one of only three schools in the “gold” category (Stanford is the only university to have received Platinum.)

Cycling at PSU has skyrocketed in recent years and the university has responded with bike-friendly policies, programs, and infrastructure. As of 2012, a survey (taken by 960 employees and 1,109 students) showed that 12% of the of the entire campus population arrived by bicycle. In 2005, just 6% of students rode bikes to campus. While bike use has gone up, the amount of people who drive alone to campus (23%) has dropped by half.
(more…)

PSU researcher delving into “multimodal road rage”

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Traffic observations- NE Alberta St-8
Could road rage tell us something
about the gender gap in bicycling?
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tara Goddard, a PhD candidate in Urban Studies at Portland State University (PSU), is devoting her thesis to a subject that gets a lot of traction in the media but so far has received scant attention in academia: road rage between people who drive and people who bike.

According to Goddard, her research will focus on the “interactions between drivers and bicyclists,” an aspect of “transportation psychology” research that is largely untapped (most major studies have focused on driver-to-driver rage). Goddard plans to delve into the mechanisms and predictors of driver-rider road rage. “For example, as drivers, we experience (and sometimes perpetrate) law-bending/breaking all the time,” she shared via email. “It is socially acceptable, in many ways. But any scofflaw behavior on the part of a bicyclist suddenly condemns the entire bicycling world.”

Why does that happen? Goddard has a few hunches: (more…)

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