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Exploring good, bad, ugly and new bikeways with PBOT's Bicycle Advisory Committee

Friday, April 11th, 2014
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'

Monday, February 24th, 2014
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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The good and bad about biking in Portland — in PBOT's own words

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

"While business and political support is strong it could be stronger, especially in key constituent groups."
— Roger Geller, PBOT Bicycle Coordinator in a League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community award application

Back in 2008 Portland became the first major U.S. city to be given a "Platinum" level Bicycle Friendly Community award by the League of American Bicyclists. Now, as per League policy, the Portland Bureau of Transportation must re-apply every 2-3 years in order keep its Platinum designation. (If you're wondering, the League says the Diamond-level designation isn't available yet.)

I recently got a glimpse of the current application and two questions stood out: "What are the three primary reasons your community deserves to be designated a Bicycle Friendly Community?" and "What are the three aspects of your community most in need of improvement in order to accommodate bicyclists?"
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PSU research delves deeper into 'Four types of cyclists'

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Roger Geller's chart that started it all.

It's been six-and-a-half years since Portland Bureau of Transportation bicycle coordinator Roger Geller first defined the "Four types of cyclists". Geller's insights proved to be groundbreaking and his definitions have stood the test of time. I frequently hear references about the need to attract more "Interested but concerned" riders at conferences all over the country and I read about them in articles in media large and small.

Now a noted bicycle researcher at Portland State University, Jennifer Dill, is working to learn more about the various types of riders. At the recent Velo-City conference in Vancouver B.C., she shared her research, Categorizing Cyclists: What Do We Know? Insights from Portland, OR (PDF). Now her work has been made public.
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'Cross-bikes': Crosswalks for bikes coming soon to Portland?

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
PBOT is considering new bicycle crosswalks,
like this one in concept stage for
SE 53rd and Stark.

Crosswalks are standard engineering treatments designed to help people get across streets with a bit more safety; now the City of Portland is looking to do something similar for bike traffic with bicycle crosswalk markings, a.k.a. the "cross-bike".

The concept itself has been floating around PBOT since about 2007, but the idea has yet to gain real traction. The other night, while looking over plans for an upcoming road project, I was surprised to see them as prominent features. Turns out that PBOT hasn't forgotten about them.

PBOT bicycle coordinator Roger Geller shared a bit more about bicycle crosswalks via email today. Check out the Q & A below for more... (more...)

Geller, Dill talk bikes on 'Green Science Oregon'

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Still of PBOT's Roger Geller on Green
Science Oregon show.

CIty of Portland Bike Coordinator Roger Geller and noted PSU transportation researcher Jennifer Dill star in the latest episode of Green Science Oregon.

The 10-minute segment (watch it below) is a good primer on the current state of Portland's bike network. It's also a window into where Portland is heading in the future and how the city plans to reach their goal of 25% bike mode share by 2030. (more...)

Portland bike coordinator making headlines in Australia

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-18
Roger Geller.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland's Bicycle Coordinator, Roger Geller, is in Melbourne this week to deliver the keynote speech at the 2010 Bike Futures conference. Armed with Portland's biking success story, he's making headlines and spreading the gospel of separated bikeways.

In a story published this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald, Geller told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that Sydney could follow Portland's path to becoming a more bike friendly city.

Sydney does not have a highly developed, on-street bike network, but according to the AAP, "Geller believes Sydney can be saved." How? "The key is building more and more dedicated bikeways." (more...)

How bike traffic has saved our city time and money

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Calm Commute on Hawthorne Bridge-8
Bikes have saved us from expensive
road projects and congestion.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Bikes do a lot of great things for our city. We often hear about the environmental benefits, the health benefits, and so on. But what about the reduced impact on our road network and congestion? What if more Portlanders drove cars into the city instead of bikes? (more...)

Report from 'An Evening with Roger Geller'

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
An Evening with Roger Geller-1
Roger and me.
(Photos: Adams Carroll)

Thanks to everyone who packed into Plan B tonight to listen to my interview with City of Portland Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller. As a special bonus, we also streamed the event live right here on BikePortland thanks to the technological magic of Dan Kaufman from Crank My Chain CycleTV. What a thrill to know folks from all over were tuning in via the web!

After some mingling and ordering of food and drink, we settled in for about a one-hour interview and conversation followed by an open Q & A session. We even took a few questions from the Internet audience.
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What would you ask PBOT's #1 bike guy?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-46
What makes Mr. Geller tick?
Find out tomorrow night.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Whether he's dancing in the streets, rallying troops for a ride, or looking for money on Capitol Hill, Roger Geller has been on the front lines of bicycle issues in Portland for 15 years.

Tomorrow night I'll sit down for a one-on-one conversation with Mr. Geller and I'd like to hear what you want to know from the City of Portland's top two-wheeled mastermind (a.k.a. Bicycle Coordinator in the Office of the Director).
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