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The Orange Line might secretly be Portland’s biggest bike project ever

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Permanent Cables on the West Tower
Cables on the west tower of TriMet’s new car-free bridge over the Willamette River.
(Photo by TriMet.)

The 7.3-mile light rail line opening next year through the South Waterfront, Southeast Portland and downtown Milwaukie will, of course, build a new car-free bridge across the Willamette, the biggest such crossing in the country.

But even if you don’t count the full $135 million bridge, the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project will also include more than $40 million in bicycling and walking facilities on nearby streets.

For comparison: in 2008, the city estimated the value of its entire bikeway network at $60 million.

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Anti-transit vote in Tigard throws wrench in southwest corridor bike plans

Friday, March 14th, 2014
Riding Portland's urban highways-21
Biking on Barbur Boulevard.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

An anti-transit vote in Tigard Tuesday could bite bike plans, too.

When Tigard voters narrowly approved a ballot issue this week designed to make it harder to build a light rail or rapid bus line through their city, they also threw a wrench in a different process: improving biking in the suburbs southwest of Portland.

Metro’s Southwest Corridor Plan, a 20-year effort to expand high-capacity transit down the Barbur Boulevard corridor potentially as far as Sherwood, has also been seen as a way to get state and federal funding for a related project: a flat, comfortable bike route through the area such as a physically protected bike lane on Barbur Boulevard.

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TriMet re-tests ‘Talking buses’ to warn other road users about turns

Friday, March 7th, 2014
NE Couch bike lanes (with changes)-17

Four years after one of its bus drivers fatally collided with two women in a downtown Portland crosswalk, TriMet is testing a few devices that use sounds and lights to show when a bus is turning.

One uses flashing LED strobe lights and the announcement “pedestrians, bus is turning,” repeated twice by the voice of a slightly alarmed woman. Another uses only a softer audio warning: “caution, bus is turning” three times. They started operating on 45 buses on five of TriMet’s frequent service lines on Monday: the 4, 8, 15, 33 and 75.

The folks at Oregon Public Broadcasting uploaded each file to Soundcloud for easy testing over the web. Here’s the first one, which isn’t being tested with LED accompaniment:

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TriMet to build fewer bike lockers and more covered bike racks at new transit stops

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
(Photos courtesy TriMet.)

Portland’s regional transit agency is installing far fewer $50-a-year bike lockers than it used to and adding more short-term parking near stops as it rethinks the ways people in cities tend to combine bikes and public transit.

Though the City of Portland’s parking code requires eight “long-term” parking spaces at every new rail stop, the city is waiving that rule for many stations on the future Orange Line. Instead, TriMet is building several much larger and more space-efficient bike-and-ride storage areas, plus plenty of covered, open-air bike parking.

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When TriMet asked for bridge names, bike-inspired ideas rolled in

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Street performer on Hawthorne-2.jpg
Kirk Reeves on the Hawthorne Bridge.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

As we mentioned in this week’s Monday Roundup, the late trumpet performer Kirk Reeves was passed over by TriMet’s official bridge-naming committee, but not before getting 840 bits of love from people who suggested that the agency name their bridge for him.

Reeves connected with many people who crossed the nearby Hawthorne Bridge on bikes, and he’s one of several public suggestions for the bridge’s name that had links to local biking.

Here’s a look at a few of them, culled from TriMet’s news release of 9,000 public suggestions for the name of the bridge that will carry bikes, buses, MAX trains, streetcars, ambulances and people on foot:

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TriMet unveils new bridge name finalists: What do you think?

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
TriMet has narrowed down possible names for their new bridge.

This morning at a presentation at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland, TriMet unveiled the four finalists in their search for a name that will forever identify their new bridge over the Willamette.

Below are the four finalists and a brief description (from TriMet) of its origin: (more…)

The Friday Profile: Portland’s idea man has a big plan for eastside biking

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
This is veteran transportation activist Jim Howell’s new concept for the central east side: a bike-rail corridor and second-story commercial district running over the Union Pacific railroad tracks and across three bridge landings.

Welcome to the first of a new feature on BikePortland: a brief look at the life or work of an extraordinary local person.

Jim Howell.
(Photo by J.Maus)

When Jim Howell was 37, he organized the first demonstrations that eventually turned Harbor Drive into Waterfront Park. At 40, working as an independent architect, he drew up the design for Northeast Portland’s Woodlawn Park. At 41, he sat on the citizens’ committee that recommended Portland’s first MAX line. At 48, while working for TriMet, he engineered the west-side bus node now known as Beaverton Transit Center. At 51, he co-founded a private van service between Portland and the Oregon coast, a predecessor to today’s Wave bus. At 77, he co-created the plan that became the most prominent alternative to the Columbia River Crossing.

Now, two months before his 80th birthday, Howell has designed his first transportation concept that puts bikes front and center.

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County installs speed bumps to slow down riders on Hawthorne Bridge viaduct

Friday, November 8th, 2013
New rumble strips Hawthorne Bridge-1
Five new bike speed bumps greet riders heading
onto the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalk.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County has installed a series of speed bumps (a.k.a. rumble strips) on SE Madison Ave as it approaches the Hawthorne Bridge (westbound). The bumps are aimed at reducing bicycling speeds as riders transition from the on-street bike lane up a ramp to the shared sidewalk which also happens to be the location of a TriMet bus stop. This bike lane is slightly downhill and bike speeds are relatively high.

There are five bumps placed about two feet apart and they’re made up of thermoplastic strips about an eighth-of-an-inch think. That might not seem very high, but on a bicycle the bumps can definitely be felt — especially for riders with narrow tires. We’ve heard a lot of feedback so far that not only are the bumps jarring but many people swerve into the adjacent vehicle lane to avoid them.
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As economy improves, TriMet slowly reverses some cuts

Thursday, October 24th, 2013
Riding Portland's urban highways-38
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

After five years of service cuts and rapid fare hikes, people who ride TriMet are getting a measure of relief.

The regional transit agency’s board voted Wednesday to bring 10 of its 12 frequent-service bus lines — the 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 33, 54/56, 57 and 75 buses — back up to the agency’s standard of 15 minutes or fewer between buses during midday hours. (TriMet’s two most-ridden lines, the 4 and 72, already meet that standard.)

It’s also considering an advocacy group’s campaign to extend transfer times from two to three hours, softening the bite of recent fare hikes for people who pay cash for short round trips.

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Want to name that bridge? Now’s your chance

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
TriMet's yet-to-be-named bridge
TriMet’s new bridge is shaping up, but it still needs a name.
(Concept drawing)

All joking aside, what is that new Willamette River bridge going to be called? Starting this morning, the citizens’ committee appointed to decide is asking for ideas.

In construction for more than a year, the new cable-stay bridge is being built by TriMet as part of its Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project. The agency says it’ll be the only one in the country to carry buses, trains, emergency vehicles, and people on bike, foot or skate, but no private cars. It’ll connect the fast-developing Southeast Division Street area with the South Waterfront.

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