One of the frustrating facts of life at BikePortland is that we’ve never had time to cover the big Clark and Washington County suburbs nearly as much as we’d like. But if you bike in Washington County and haven’t followed the comments beneath this week’s Washington County post, you’ve been missing out.
A student-driven project in Eugene, intended to create a “more comfortable and intuitive” link between the University of Oregon campus and downtown Eugene, seems to be on its way to construction and just scored a statewide planning award.
We’ve ventured south of our usual coverage area to track this project a bit because it’s such a good example of community-driven planning in a city with close Portland ties.
UO graduate student David Minor was killed in a car crash while riding his bike on East 13th Avenue in 2008. His parents have put up $150,000 in his memory to support this project.
(Photo: Matt Haughey/Flickr)
It was a strong claim and a proud one — though, at the time, it hardly even seemed controversial.
But two years later, the Pedal Bike Tours mural that welcomes Portland visitors to “America’s Bicycle Capital” strikes one visitor as a sign of something else: the paralyzing complacency of a city that has ridden its bike-friendly reputation to nationwide fame, wave after wave of highly educated young people and, within a few years, surging central-city job growth.
The problem, as Vancouver BC-based writer Chris Bruntlett describes it in a piece published this afternoon, isn’t that Portland doesn’t like bikes any more. It’s that the city doesn’t seem to feel that being bike-friendly requires any “difficult decisions.”
In the latest sign that Portland’s lead as America’s best cycling city is dwindling, we were completely left out of a list of the year’s top 10 protected bikeways published by People for Bikes yesterday.
People for Bikes (formerly known as Bikes Belong) is an industry-funded advocacy group that also runs the Green Lane Project, an effort to hasten the development of protected bikeways across the country. Portland was one of five cities selected to be part of that program when it launched in May 2012; but despite our long-held reputation as a bikeway innovator, we lag behind other cities when it comes to protected bikeways (loosely defined as bike lanes with some sort of protection from other lanes of traffic). According to a Green Lane Project inventory, Portland has managed to build just 3 miles of protected bikeways in the last four years.
Portland’s absence from the top 10 isn’t because our protected bikeway designs are bad, it’s because we didn’t even build any new ones in 2013. The one Portland project listed in the Green Lane Project’s inventory for 2013, SW Multnomah Blvd, has been delayed and is yet to be built. (more…)
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Even in Portland, people who really ought to know better (links to FB) still claim now and then that biking is a thing for young dudes.
Still, in a town where only 31 percent of people on bikes tend to be female (it’s about 25 percent nationally) we’ve got a long way to go until, as in Germany or the Netherlands, our biking population is evenly split by gender. Portland’s failure to change this ratio for 10 years can be discouraging to people who think everyone deserves to feel welcome on a bike.
That’s why there’s a lot to celebrate in a new report by the League of American Bicyclists that rounds up dozens of statistics about women and bikes. Culled from industry reports, political polls and academic studies, a few of the report’s figures are pretty surprising…
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Update: See below for a few other examples of graphics that try to answer this question.
There’s an interesting, useful bit of transportation wonkery in The Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s “Blueprint for World-Class Cycling” that came out this week: a visual guide to which sort of streets should get which sort of bike infrastructure.
This is obviously a complicated question, and it’s not something that’s ever going to be summarized by a single chart. But the question arises constantly. Last week, in a moment of heat, two Swan Island transportation advocates said the city would be better off without bike lanes near a crash-prone intersection of Interstate Avenue. Up in Vancouver, Wash., there’s a lively debate right now about whether sharrows are appropriate on a 35 mph four-lane street.
Here’s what the BTA’s new document has to say about the issue:
A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that physcially separated, bicycle-specific infrastructure can lead to much lower risk of injury for people riding bicycles.
As it turns out, infrastructure really matters. Your chance of injury drops by about 50 percent, relative to that major city street, when riding on a similar road with a bike lane and no parked cars. The same improvement occurs on bike paths and local streets with designated bike routes. And protected bike lanes – with actual barriers separating cyclists from traffic – really make a difference. The risk of injury drops for riders there by 90 percent.
yesterday, alongside what used
to be plastic bollards.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
It looks like PBOT will have to head back to the drawing board in their effort to create separation between bike and auto traffic on the NW Lovejoy ramp leading down from the Broadway Bridge.
About a month ago, PBOT installed 34 plastic bollards (a.k.a. wands) on the ramp in order to prevent people in cars from driving in the bike lane. (The presence of newly installed streetcar tracks is causing some people to straddle them, thus putting their vehicle into the bike lane.) (more…)
- More photos below -