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Get hip to the STIP: ODOT needs your input on next batch of projects in our region

By on February 21st, 2017 at 3:46 pm

ODOT map of “STIP” projects in the hopper for the Portland area.

The Oregon Department of Transportation needs your comments on the 2018-2021 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) — a list of capital projects the agency will move forward with over the next four years. There are 170 projects currently on the list and 70 of them are in Multnomah County.

ODOT estimates they’ll have about $32.5 million to spend in Region 1. Before the shovels start turning, you can still influence the details of these projects and ODOT makes commenting very easy.

What do I mean by influencing details of projects? Here’s an example: One of the projects will spend $3.3 million on “safety improvements” on the northbound and southbound I-205 exit ramps at SE Division Street. ODOT will make “lane adjustments”, widen the ramps, adjust signal timing, add new signage, and so on. Given that Division has relatively well-used bike lanes in this location that connect directly to the I-205 path, are there elements of this project that could improve bike safety? Do you think ODOT planners are thinking about how bike cross-traffic might be improved with this project? If you ride that section of Division, you can share your concerns and insights directly on this project at the ODOT STIP website.
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- Huntco is the official sponsor of BikePortland's bike parking coverage.-
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Here are the Oregon House bills we’re following this session (Part 2 of 2)

By on February 21st, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-1

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The 2017 Oregon Legislative Session is well underway and we’re following as many bills as humanly possible (in a one-person newsroom).

Out of the thousands of bills swirling around the halls and meeting rooms of the state capitol building in Salem, there are few of particular importance to transportation reform advocates. Last week we shared the Senate bills we’re following and below are the House bills we’ve got an eye on…

House Bill 2355

Summary: “Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to develop method for recording data concerning officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops” (Official overview)
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Guest article: Why I perservere on the west side’s mean streets

By on February 21st, 2017 at 9:47 am

Ride Along with Ali Reis-36

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Note: This article is by BikePortland subscriber and Beaverton resident Naomi Fast. Naomi’s perspective is formed in part by the fact that she doesn’t own a car and she’s lived and worked in both Portland and Beaverton.]

In my first subscriber post, I wrote about Beaverton, where I moved in 2013 after a decade in Portland. It occurs to me a few people might wonder how I live without a car in the suburbs. Sometimes it’s not easy! But living without a car is not all that rare, and bike commuting infrastructure is becoming a more vocal priority as Washington County looks to the future.

But challenges in the here-and-now are plentiful, and sometimes I feel frustrated.

For example: Recently, I was riding in dangerous gravel in the SW Murray Blvd bike lane near the Nike Woods, and had to move into the main traffic lane at times to avoid skidding. At the red light, a woman holding her phone in one hand, deep in conversation, drove up on my left. I motioned her to roll down her window. I let her know I was needing to take the lane at times, so please keep an eye out for me! She said she’d drive more to her left to give me room, so that was nice.
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TriMet’s Lafayette Bridge elevator in Brooklyn neighborhood closed for repairs

By on February 20th, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Lafayette Street Bridge-6.jpg

The bridge is a vital biking and walking link in southeast Portland’s Brooklyn neighborhood.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The elevator of the carfree Rhine-Lafayette Bridge in southeast Portland is out of order and TriMet says they aren’t sure when it will be back online.
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The Monday Roundup: Lego hair helmet, riding against the wind, L.A.’s next ‘great street’, and more

By on February 20th, 2017 at 9:35 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by no one. Please contact our sales manager if you’d like to promote your organization or event in this space.

Welcome to Monday.

Here are the most noteworthy links and tidbits that came across our desks last week…

LA’s next “Great Street”: What was standing in the way of the City of Los Angeles’ exciting vision for updating Venice Blvd from car-centric thoroughfare to a modern, world-class street? It used to be owned by their state DOT. Now in City control, the project can begin. (Sound familiar?)

Thanks, Trump: The United States House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s new director of outreach and coalitions is the former director of federal relations for the American Petroleum Institute.

Now what? The numbers are in. And just as we suspected, road deaths have taken a striking spike in the U.S. Now the question is: What are we going to do about it?
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Here are the Oregon Senate bills we’re following this session (Part 1 of 2)

By on February 17th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-1

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The 2017 Oregon legislative session is well underway. Votes have already taken place and bills are moving up and dying off as I type this.

I’ve combed through hundreds of bills to find ones that matter to people who care about transportation safety and the culture of our streets. Since there are so many bills I want to bring to your attention, I’ve decided to do this in two parts. First I’ll share a list of the Senate bills I’m following. Then in a separate post, I’ll share the House bills.

Here we go…
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Jobs of the Week: Left Coast Bicycles and The eBike Store

By on February 17th, 2017 at 8:57 am

Looking for a new place to spread you cycling wings? We’ve got two great job opportunities that just went up this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Mechanic, Part Time – Left Coast Bicycles Mobile Repair

–> Mechanic w/ Sales Backup – The eBike Store
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Review: The Iota – a tiny bike tracker with huge potential

By on February 17th, 2017 at 7:54 am

Size is just one reason this product has potential.
(Photos: Bryan Hance/The Bike Index)

BikePortland subscriber and resident bike theft expert Bryan Hance from The Bike Index checked out the Iota Tracker with an eye towards bike tracking, DIY hacking, and more.

We field a lot of questions about ‘bike trackers’ at the Bike Index – everybody wants a small, affordable GPS tracker for their bike. Sounds like a simple request; but many people are surprised to learn a product like this doesn’t exist yet.

There are a few basic reasons why trackers aren’t as great as you think:

Size/hideability — It is hard to disguise a tracker so thieves can’t instantly find it. And having something that uses several antennas (GPS and cellular) means they aren’t easily hidden – nor are they very small.

Reliance on cellular — Most trackers use the cellular network to report their location, which means most trackers are 50% cell phone parts – and means paying for cell data, supporting a SIM card, having a hefty battery, etc.
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PBOT will use little-known “emergency” law to rein in speeding drivers

By on February 16th, 2017 at 2:26 pm

PBOT Vision Zero Task Force meeting-2.jpg

PBOT Director Leah Treat at a meeting of the Vision Zero Task Force in City Hall this morning.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When a city says traffic safety is their top priority, it should be willing to do whatever it takes to make people drive more slowly.

In Portland that means taking a very close look at the Oregon Revised Statutes.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat announced today that her bureau will seek permission to enact section nine of ORS 810.180 which gives the city the power to set an “emergency speed” without going through the often onerous process of asking for permission from the State of Oregon. (Note: Another section of this same law gives cities the power to reduce speeds on certain residential streets, thanks to a lobbying effort by PBOT in 2011.)

Treat said they’ve decided to take this very rare step in order to keep people safer on outer Southeast Division Street. Back in December two people were killed while trying to walk crossing Division Street in two separate crashes just hours apart. The tragedies sparked outrage from local residents, activists and even top PBOT staff. One day after the deaths, PBOT Active Transportation Group Manager Margi Bradway called neighborhood leaders to talk about the city’s response. Those conversations led to the passage of $300,000 in emergency funding to do outreach and education in adjacent neighborhoods (which are populated by many people of Chinese and other descents who don’t read or speak English).

To continue their focus on taming Division Street, Treat said PBOT will bring an ordinance to Portland City Council on March 2nd asking them to support the move. The existing state law gives PBOT the ability to make this move, but we’ve never heard of it actually being done. [Read more…]

On live TV, reporter shovels gravel off St. Johns Bridge sidewalk – UPDATED

By on February 16th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

KATU reporter Reed Andrews shoveled gravel on sidewalk of St. Johns Bridge last night. (Watch video of the story below.)

With a shovel in his hand to drive the point home, Portland reporter Reed Andrews with KATU (our ABC affiliate) highlighted the problem of gravel in the bike lanes on their news broadcast last night.

Andrews focused his story on the layer of gravel on the St. Johns Bridge sidewalk we reported on Tuesday. He interviewed the owner of Block Bikes, a bike shop just steps away from the east end of the bridge who vouched for the problems it causes for his customers. The story also included an interview with a bicycle rider who said he often rides miles out of his way just to avoid riding the bridge sidewalk.
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Weekend Event Guide: It’s all about Mini Bike Winter

By on February 16th, 2017 at 7:12 am

From Chariot Wars (left) to The Sprockettes (right) and the Cupcake Challenge (middle) — the 14th annual Mini Bike Winter gets top billing this weekend.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

photo caption
(Photo: J Maus/BikePortland)

Hard to believe this weekend marks the 14th annual Mini Bike Winter.

The event sprung to life during the Golden Age of Portland Bike Fun Culture in the early 2000s. The traveling Bike Summer event hit our shores in 2002 and went so well that locals wanted to keep it going. That led to the formation of Shift and “Mini” Bike Summer in 2003. By 2004, Mini Bike Summer had morphed into what we now know as Pedalpalooza and our friends at Zoobomb kept the “Mini” part alive by launching the first Mini Bike Winter that same year*.

None of that history really matters (unless you’re a cultural anthropologist or bike fun history nerd); but what does matter is that we continue to have fun on our bikes — even in winter. And Zoobomb is here to help us do just that. Check out the full slate of events below and have a great weekend…

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Lawmakers, ODOT Director hear emotional testimony at Vision Zero bill hearing

By on February 15th, 2017 at 1:01 pm

ODOT Director Matt Garrett (lower right) was in the house for today’s hearing.
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

A bill that would establish an official State of Oregon Vision Zero Task Force got its first public hearing today. And it was heart-wrenching.

The eight members of the House Committee On Transportation Policy who presided over the hearing for House Bill 2667 probably didn’t expect the 8:00 am start time to attract testimony from nearly two-dozen people. And they probably didn’t expect to hear from people like Marina Hajek, the mother of a 10-year old boy who was hit and killed by a reckless, speeding driver while walking his bike across a street in Eugene 10 years ago.
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PBOT planning jersey-barrier protected bikeway on North Greeley Ave

By on February 15th, 2017 at 10:12 am

N Greeley Ave existing conditions-1.jpg

This is what northbound North Greeley Avenue looks like today (can you spot the bicycle rider in this picture?). The future could look very different.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s scariest places to ride a bicycle is about to be erased from the map and replaced with a new bikeway that is physically protected from motorized vehicle traffic.
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There’s still a layer of gravel on the St. Johns Bridge sidewalk – UPDATED

By on February 14th, 2017 at 1:32 pm

It’s unacceptable to force road users to make a dangerous choice between being run down by fast-moving drivers or riding over small slippery rocks on a narrow sidewalk.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The only refuge from fast-moving (and often irate) people driving cars across the St. Johns Bridge is still covered in a layer of gravel a month after the last snow storm.

As we first reported nearly three weeks ago, while driving is pretty much back to normal following major snow storms, biking is still hazardous. Massive potholes plague streets and many bike lane markings have all but vanished due to the constant scraping from tire chains, plows, studded tires, and gravel. And there are still many trees and limbs that block bicycle-only lanes — forcing people into adjacent lanes which increases the risk of collisions.

All our various road agencies need to place a much higher priority on the safety of all road users when it comes to their storm clean-up plans.

One of the most egregrious spots is on the sidewalk of the St. Johns Bridge. There’s so much gravel that in some parts you can’t see the surface of the sidewalk. This is a big deal because the St. Johns Bridge is a vital bicycling connection and the roadway lacks bike lanes. With large diesel trucks rumbling inches away, the narow St. Johns Bridge sidewalks are already sketchy enough. Add slippery gravel and you’ve got even more stressful situation.
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Portland announces 10th anniversary Sunday Parkways season

By on February 14th, 2017 at 12:00 pm

See detailed maps below.

We love Sunday Parkways, so what better day to announce the 10 anniversary season than Valentine’s Day!

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is bringing back the events for the 10th time with a new route and a special birthday celebration.
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First look: New separated path on SE 17th between Sellwood to Milwaukie

By on February 14th, 2017 at 10:37 am

SE 17th path - Trolley Trail extension-3.jpg

It’s open! And it’s really nice!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new path now connects Sellwood to Milwaukie, making the one-mile distance between them feel much shorter.
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It’s a big week for Vision Zero: Here’s why

By on February 13th, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Safe Streets Rally Part 2 at City Hall -1.jpg

Expect to hear a lot more about Vision Zero in 2017.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland and the State of Oregon are both coming off a terrible year when it comes to traffic safety.

492 people died while using Oregon roads in 2016. That’s a 10 percent increase over the 2015 total and a whopping 57 percent jump from 2013 (when we lost 313 people to traffic crashes). In Portland 45 people died, marking just the second time since 1998 that we’ve had over 40 deaths in one year.

The combination of those grim statistics and the maturity of Vision Zero as a rallying cry and policy concept could make 2017 a watershed year for traffic safety. Or, it could just be more of the same: a bunch of plans, proclamations, protests and meetings. It’s up to all of us to make sure we move the needle.

This week there are four events that show how activists, a nonprofit organization, the State of Oregon, and lawmakers are responding to this urgent issue.

Tuesday (2/14) – Oregon Transportation Safety Committee Meeting

The Oregon Transporation Safety Committee is a governor-appointed tasked with advising the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Transportation Commission on all matters regarding traffic safety. They meet monthly in Salem. This month’s agenda includes reports from various ODOT liaisons, a discussion about a new speed program, an update from the head of ODOT’s Traffic Division Division, and the drafting of a proclamation to declare May “Transportation Safety Month”. Take a look at the agenda here (PDF).
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140 volunteers at Gateway Green’s ‘Big Dig’ help build the future

By on February 13th, 2017 at 12:12 pm

A variety of trails were smoothed, padded and shaped on Saturday.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

With shovels, rakes, hoes, wheelbarrows and buckets, over 140 people showed up on a sunny Saturday to help bring the bike park at Gateway Green another major step closer to reality.
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The Monday Roundup: Infra porn, gamification, driving privilege, and more

By on February 13th, 2017 at 10:16 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Bike Index, bike registration that works.

Welcome to a new week.

Doesn’t it feel good to finally have some clear and sunny skies? I saw tons of people enjoying the weather on their bikes over the weekend. I hope you were out there too.

Let’s start off by sharing the last week’s best stories from around the web and around the nation…

Gritter bike: The “world’s first gritter bike” is bouncing around the web. Wonder if they make a plow attachment too?
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Marijuana home delivery now a reality; but don’t expect it by bike

By on February 10th, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Bicycle delivery

Why can’t bikes deliver marijuana?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When I saw a KGW report this morning about home delivery of recreational marijuana, my first thought was: “I wonder if they could that by bike?”

After all, marijuana is big business in Portland and local companies deliver all sorts of things by bike. With companies like B-Line Urban Delivery, Go Box (pictured above), and Portland Pedal Power, Portland is on the cutting edge of using bicycles for delivery.

Marijuana by bike in Portland should be a no-brainer. At least that’s what I thought.

My curiousity led me to call Aleeya Kim, owner of La Cannaisseur in Linnton (whose shop was profiled in the KGW story). I asked Kim about bike delivery and she referred me to the official Oregon Liquor Control Commission rules they have to follow in order to keep their license.

The first rules I found were temporary rules adopted in October 2015. Those rules didn’t include any specific language that would prevent the use of a bicycle for marijuana delivery. That’s because whenever the language referred to the delivery vehicle, it didn’t include the word “motor.” And in Oregon law, “When the term ‘vehicle’ is used the term shall be deemed to be applicable to bicycles.”
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