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Separation anxiety: Here’s why Portland isn’t building protected bikeways (yet)

by on May 31st, 2016 at 11:15 am

Screenshot 2016-05-27 at 6.18.19 PM
Cross-section of one approach to protected bike
lanes on NE 47th Avenue.
(Image: City of Portland)

After almost 10 years of talking about building networks of physically separated bike lanes on busy streets, Portland seems more or less ready to move.

Theoretically, that is.

Various small projects are already in motion. A downtown network is funded and ready to start public planning. The next mayor won election making protected lanes part of his platform, especially for east Portland. Voters just ponied up enough money to start the work. This week, city staff were in Seattle talking nuts and bolts with peers there.

All of which means that a city memo about the various obstacles to protected bike lanes is revealing reading.

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Even in suburban Oregon, drive-alone trips are a shrinking share of new commutes

by on May 17th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-2
Bike commuter Jim Parsons in Washington County.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland metro area seems to have already discovered how to slow the growth of traffic congestion, the city’s bicycle planning coordinator said Friday. But it’s not investing in it very quickly.

Between 2000 and 2014, the three Oregon counties in the metro area added 122,000 new commuters. And inside the Metro urban growth boundary, less than half of that net growth came from people driving alone in cars.

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More bike projects in the works: NE 16th, SE Holgate, NE 37th

by on May 12th, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Members of the City's Bicycle Advisory Committee discussed the projects Tuesday night.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Members of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee discussed the projects Tuesday night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In yesterday’s post about a flurry of new, smallish protected bike lane projects around town, we promised a follow-up post about some other street changes on the way.

As with the nine projects we explored yesterday, Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller presented these to the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee on Tuesday night. None of these will transform a neighborhood, but all three will clarify links in the city’s bike network.

NE 16th/Sandy – installing this summer

This is the most unusual of the three designs here. It’s a three-block link between the Benson Polytechnic High School area and Sandy, leading to the Ankeny-Couch-Davis-Everett neighborhood greenway. The issue is that because of a freeway onramp in this area, northbound auto traffic on 16th Avenue between Irving and Sandy exceeds the city’s standard for a comfortable shared bike-car lane, but southbound traffic is lower.

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Protected bike lane boom: Nine city projects will have physical separation

by on May 11th, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat’s decision last year to make physical separation the default design for bike lane projects is starting to pay off.

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Council vote today would allow more diverters on neighborhood greenways

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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Transportation bureau defends ‘Platinum’ status

by on April 16th, 2015 at 1:33 pm

“We’re a Platinum-level city because of the outcomes we’ve achieved.”— Roger Geller, PBOT Bike Coordinator

The Bureau of Transportation wants to remind everyone that Portland still deserves to be Platinum.

As local activist Will Vanlue continues to gain traction and headlines for his petition (it’s up to 550 signatures) to have Portland’s Platinum bicycle-friendly status downgraded by the League of American Bicyclists, PBOT has gone on the defensive.

The agency has put together a seven-page document outlining their case and they reached out to us for a conference call this morning to talk about it. On the call was PBOT Bike Coordinator Roger Geller, spokesman Dylan Rivera, and Margi Bradway the manager of PBOT’s Active Transportation division.

Geller opened up the conversation with a spirited defense of PBOT’s bike legacy which he delivered as if he were speaking to supporters at a political rally: (more…)

Weak links: City finds traffic hot spots on neighborhood greenway system

by on March 31st, 2015 at 9:55 am

auto count map

The first numbers are rolling in from the first comprehensive analysis of the country’s first connected bicycle boulevard network, and they show some clear problem spots.

SE Clinton at 22nd.

The side-street bikeways are known in Portland as neighborhood greenways to capture their appeal as places to walk, jog, shoot hoops and so on. But the City of Portland’s project shows that six — inner SE Clinton, SE Lincoln near 53rd, NE Tillamook near Grant High School, SE 86th near Powell, inner Northwest Johnson and upper NW 24th — clearly fail national standards for auto counts on bike boulevards.

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Panel ponders Portland’s slide from cycling superstardom

by on September 23rd, 2014 at 1:34 pm

PBOT Lunch and Learn panel-1
Moderator Michael Andersen (on the left) and panelists Rob Sadowsky, Roger Geller, and Jessica Roberts.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

What happened to Portland? Did we really deserve to lose our spot atop the podium of America’s best bike cities? Is this whole stagnation thing for real?
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Exploring good, bad, ugly and new bikeways with PBOT’s Bicycle Advisory Committee

by on April 11th, 2014 at 10:29 am

Bike Advisory Committee rides downtown-1
Members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee assembled at City Hall prior to the ride.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tuesday night I took part in the annual bike facility tour led by Portland Bureau of Transportation bike coordinator Roger Geller. Once a year, instead of sitting around a table on the second floor of City Hall discussing projects and policies, members of PBOT’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) get on their bikes. The goal of the tours is to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of current conditions and discuss how things might look in the future.

Past rides have covered northeast Portland, the central city, and east Portland. Tuesday’s ride was focused on southwest Portland.

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Editorial: A pro-bike-lane argument that seems to work – ’23 Powell Boulevards’

by on February 24th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

If it doesn’t reduce the use of cars for short trips, the Portland of 2035 will need room for the equivalent of 23 more Powell Boulevards.
(Graphic by Roger Geller, Portland Bureau of Transportation)

Roger Geller, one of the most respected bicycle professionals in North America, was not having a terrific afternoon. His baritone had slid up to a tenor.

PBOT staff at NACTO conference-1
PBOT Bike Coordinator Roger Geller.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“This is beneficial,” he said to the roomful of owners of retail businesses along 28th Avenue near Burnside, gathered at Coalition Brewing Wednesday afternoon. “This is a good thing for your business district.”

Portland’s bicycle coordinator for the last 14 years — a confident and amiable man, but always known more for his groundbreaking analyses and head for numbers than for a silver tongue — was pitching the benefits of replacing auto parking on one side of the street (including a couple blocks in each direction, it’s maybe one-eighth of the district’s auto parking) with a buffered bike lane. Geller made one argument after another as to why there was no reason to think the district would suffer. But for each fact he cited, someone had an immediate rebuttal.

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