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Q&A: Rick Browning on the protected bike lanes in downtown Portland’s future

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
browning
Rick Browning, the new project manager for the
Central City Multimodal Safety Project, stopped by the
BikePortland office for a chat Tuesday.
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)

Rick Browning is already a big part of Portland as we know it. His fingerprints are on everything from the streetscape reconstruction that helped make inner Alberta Street a regional destination to the transformational 1999 widening of the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalk to the bike path that leads straight into our airport’s terminal.

This morning, he started a job working on one of the most significant bike projects of his career: one or more protected bike lanes across downtown Portland.

As we reported earlier this month, downtown is probably the most bike-intensive part of the city that has almost no all-ages bike infrastructure. But what else will the project include, and how will he help the city navigate the many obstacles to change? We sat down with Browning Wednesday night for an advance look at his idea of his mission, the decisions he’ll need to help make and whether downtown bike infrastructure should be a priority at all.
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City hires project manager for high-profile downtown protected bike lane project

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The project management gig that one local planning pro has referred to as the “job of the year” has been filled.

Rick Browning, an architect and urban designer with a long history in Portland, will start work May 28 on a federally funded project that’s widely expected to implement the first substantial protected bike lanes in downtown Portland — indeed, some of the only low-stress bike infrastructure in downtown, which has by far the city’s highest concentration of bike commuters.

The $6.6 million Central City Multimodal Safety Project might also look for ways to improve the awkward bike connections to bridges like the Burnside, Steel and Hawthorne or even crossings of Interstate 405 to the west.

As it has been in other U.S. cities over the last few years, the downtown protected bike lanes would be a companion project to a planned bike sharing system that the city continues to say will launch in 2016.

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Dear everywhere else: This is how to do a detour. Sincerely, Multnomah County

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
detour done right fb2
Service work on the Burnside Bridge Thursday, perfectly executed.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

With a few dozen orange cones and minimal fuss, a team of bridge inspectors and a county traffic safety specialist assembled a perfect Portland-quality detour on the Burnside Bridge Thursday.

It might seem like a small matter, but anyone who’s ridden a bike or walked near many construction detours knows how frequent it is for them to push people into mixed-traffic lanes rather than meddle with the flow of cars — even on streets that are far wider than they need to be for cars to keep flowing freely.

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Portland should be inspired by London’s ‘cycle superhighway’

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
superhwylead
No, this isn’t the NW Naito Parkway of your dreams, it’s a rendering of future bike ‘superhighway’ in London.
(Image: Transport for London)

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‘Greater Nike area’ street upgrades include 1.5 miles of protected bike lanes

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Two streets in northwest Beaverton would get 1.5-miles of protected bike lanes joined by a U.S.-style roundabout under a Washington County plan being presented next week.

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First Look: Protected bike lane on SW Multnomah Boulevard

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
entering sw multnomah curb
(Photos by M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Like NE Cully Boulevard before it, SW Multnomah Boulevard has become a relatively far-flung street with a few blocks of one of the city’s best bike lanes.

With work nearly finished on the city’s eighth protected bike lane — three years in the making, it’s one of the last few bike projects begun under the Sam Adams mayoral administration — I stopped by Multnomah Tuesday to check it out.

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As Nike expands, so too could nearby biking options

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
A curb-protected bike lane proposed for Walker
Road
would serve Nike’s campus, but has
been delayed until 2019.
(Image: Washington County, modified by BikePortland)

Nike is planning to spend millions of dollars to build parking garages for 2,500 cars on its growing Washington County campus, but it’s not yet clear whether the sportswear giant will also be backing investments that would help its employees bike to work.

Today, 3 percent of Nike’s more than 8,000 payroll and contract workers typically walk or bike for their commute, according to a transportation plan covered last week by The Oregonian. Another 6 percent ride the bus or MAX, 1 percent telecommute, 12 percent carpool and 78 percent drive alone.

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Proposed changes to Lloyd Center Mall entrance will face protected bike lane

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
lloyd center entrance rendering
Plans for the new south-facing mall entrance also include a row of sidewalk-facing storefronts and 34 covered bike parking spaces just inside the garage.
(Images: Waterleaf Architecture via City of Portland. Click to enlarge.)

After decades of keeping its shops (and Portland’s most famous skating rink) behind the bars of its parking garage, the Lloyd Center is planning a change.

As we reported last winter, the new owners of the mall have planned a new “grand entrance” that will slice away part of the rarely crowded garage in order to welcome foot and bike traffic from Multnomah Street, Holladay Park and the Lloyd Center MAX station.

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Rave reviews roll in for temporary ‘Better Block’ on 3rd Ave

Monday, October 6th, 2014
3rd Avenue Better Block PDX
The temporary plaza in front of Ankeny Alley and Voodoo Doughnut was bustling with commerce and enjoyment for most of the weekend.
(Photos: Greg Raisman unless noted)

This weekend in downtown Portland’s slightly seedy north side, a citizen group temporarily converted two lanes of auto parking, a big expanse of empty pavement and two traditional travel lanes into a huge new pedestrian plaza, rows of street seats and ping-pong tables and a protected bike lane.

And it was, more or less, a huge hit.

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Volunteers prep for Friday’s three-day ‘Better Block’ demonstration on 3rd Ave

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
boris in hallway
Boris Kaganovich of Better Block PDX with a half-built planter in the rooms where he and other volunteers have been preparing for a “pop-up” plaza and protected bike lanes on 3rd Avenue.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Working every evening for two weeks in a warren of unfinished rooms three stories above Old Town, more than a dozen enthusiastic volunteers have almost finished building the street features that will remake 3rd Avenue for one weekend, starting Friday morning.
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