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Can Ikea’s “Sladda” bike bridge the bike-shop-or-big-box gap?

Posted by on January 17th, 2017 at 1:36 pm

One of the barriers to more cycling in America seems simple: More than 100 years after bikes ruled our nation’s roads, we still don’t have access to a bike with the right mix of features, design, quality, pricing and availability that could spur a real revolution. For years Americans have had to choose between bikes from bike shops (more expensive, higher quality, harder to find) or bikes from big box retailers like Target or WalMart (cheaper, terrible quality, available everywhere).

Ikea’s “Sladda” — which just became available to U.S. customers — could bridge that gap.

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- Huntco is the official sponsor of BikePortland's bike parking coverage.-
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Washington County Board of Commissioners adopts policy preference for protected bikeways

Posted by on January 17th, 2017 at 11:20 am

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-3

A bit of separation would be nice.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Roads in Washington County are notorious for being wide and fast — which is why a new policy to physically separate motor vehicle users from bicycle users is such good news.

Last week the Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to codify their preference for protected bicycle facilities on major County roads.

In a statement about the policy, District 1 Commissioner (and Vice-Chair) Dick Schouten* said, “The board has long recognized the need to not only provide access to bicyclists, but to make sure that access is safe and equitable. Bicycling and other forms of active transportation promotes healthy lifestyles, reduces traffic congestion and improves our quality of life. As a Board, we are committed to doing everything we can to support this by making sure our roadways are safe for all modes of transportation.”

The policy (begins on page 45 of this PDF) that passed at the January 10th meeting not only states the Board’s preference, it also requires County staff to evaluate the feasibility of separated bicycle facilities on all County-funded capital road projects and then present those options to the Board before projects move beyond the 30 percent design stage. Also, when designing new road projects, County staff will be required to evaluate at least two bicycle facility types — including at least one that provides physical separation and/or protection of bicycle users from motor vehicle users.

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Road and path conditions open thread for Tuesday (1/17)

Posted by on January 17th, 2017 at 8:36 am

The punches keep coming from this heavyweight winter. While Portland seems to have avoided torrential flood risks, now forecasters warn of a freezing rain/ice storm. Combined with all the ice and snow already covering our roads, this could lead to treacherous riding this morning (Tuesday, 1/17).

After requests by a few readers, we’ve decided to crowdsource the road conditions for those of us who choose to venture out on foot or bike or other non-motorized conveyence.

If you do need to use the roads, probably best to do it before noon as conditions are expected to worsen later in the day.

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From Bronze to Silver to Gold? A dispatch from Beaverton

Posted by on January 16th, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Naomi gets around Beaverton without using a car.
(Photo: Naomi Fast)

[Note: This post was submitted by BikePortland Subscriber Ms. Fast through our Subscriber Post system. We think it deserves a wider reach so we’ve posted it here on the Front Page. Remember, if you are a subscriber you are also a contributor! We would love to amplify your voice and share your experiences with a wider audience. Sign up here. – Jonathan]

After a decade of living and biking in Portland, I moved to Beaverton in 2013. As I get to know my new city, I’m more and more glad to be here.

Just in the last couple of years, Beaverton:

– Adopted a “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan” (2015)
– Was recognized as the safest city in Oregon, followed by Hillsboro (2015)
– Joined the National Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative, becoming the first city in Oregon to nationally declare itself a Welcoming City (2015)
– Tied with Cupertino, CA for a first-place City Cultural Diversity Award by The National League of Cities (2015)
– Unanimously passed a “Resolution to Declare Support for the Muslim Community & Reaffirm Beaverton as a Welcoming City” (2016)
– and in the first days of 2017, Beaverton became a Sanctuary City and opened its first severe weather shelter

Yes, we’ve got solid leadership in Beaverton! But what about the biking?

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The Monday Roundup: the ‘City of Tomorrow’, legalizing murder, the end of bike share in Seattle, and more

Posted by on January 16th, 2017 at 9:47 am

Ford’s “City of Tomorrow.”

Welcome to a new week.

It’s a national holiday, and given the state of our nation we can’t think of a better time to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We do our work because we believe knowledge is power. But knowledge without action is powerless. Like Dr. King did, like Congressman John Lewis did (and does) and like President Obama reminded us in his farewell speech, now is the time to get out in the streets and do the work it takes to make the change you want.

On that note, here are the best bike and transportation stories we came across last week…

Car culture at work: A horrifically bad law proposed in North Dakota (in response to Dakota Access Pipeline protests), would shift the burden of proof for collisions away from motor vehicle operators and toward vulnerable road users if the person was “blocking traffic.” This is sick and we hope it loses steam quickly. At least the online poll accompanying the article is overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

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In case you read about us in the NW Examiner this month…

Posted by on January 13th, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Right now in the “Drafts” folder of this blog’s backend there are 303 unpublished stories. One of them is titled, “The Friday Profile: Allan Classen, the ‘fearless’ voice of northwest Portland.”

And right now on newsstands throughout northwest Portland is the January issue of the NW Examiner, the paper that has Classen’s name atop the masthead. And on page three of that issue is the monthly “Editor’s Turn” column where he takes issue with BikePortland for not publishing that story.

There are a few things Classen got right in his column; but unfortunately everyone who reads it is now mostly misinformed. That’s because it’s based on assumptions about our editorial motives which are simply wrong.

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Metro hits pause after crime fears fuel Gresham’s opposition to 40-Mile Loop trail project

Posted by on January 13th, 2017 at 11:29 am

Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis.

The City of Gresham is more worried about the potential impacts of illegal camping along a path than they are about the benefits of closing a major gap in the 40-Mile Loop.

After Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis* announced his opposition to the Troutdale to Gresham Master Plan last week, Metro has decided to postpone a scheduled planning meeting for the project and they will not move forward with planning in Gresham. The news was first reported by the Gresham Outlook.

“While I have always been a fan of recreational amenities and I enjoy running regularly on the trail, I cannot in good conscience support this proposal at this point in time,” Bemis shared on his Facebook page last week. “There are far too many chronic issues currently extending along the entire trail alignment.”

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Bike Gallery moving Woodstock store to Westmoreland

Posted by on January 12th, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Bike Gallery will move into this space on SE Milwaukie Blvd by the end of the month.

Bike Gallery plans to close their Woodstock location and re-open in Westmoreland.

Bike Gallery Partner Kelly Aicher said the reason for the move is that rent had doubled. The store at 4235 SE Woodstock first opened 12 years ago and the location had been a bike shop for over 40 years prior. “We are sad to leave a spot that has been a bike shop for over 50 Years,” Aicher shared with us in an email today.

The new location will be 6717 SE Milwaukie Avenue. It’s just 1.5 miles west of the Woodstock store and Aicher says it will be much larger. Not only will their be moire room for products and service but it’s right across the street from Laurelwood Brewing and Moreland Theater, so you’ll have plenty of excuses to linger.

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This simple bill will make it easier for cities across Oregon to lower speed limits

Posted by on January 12th, 2017 at 3:21 pm

New 20 MPH Sign

Cities know best.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Interstates and urban highways are one thing; but why should the State of Oregon be able to tell cities and counties how to set speed limits on local streets?

It’s a question that has irked City of Portland transportation officials for many years and one that has grown in importance as Vision Zero has emerged as a top priority. Speeding is the top factor that determines whether someone lives or dies in a traffic collision, so it’s no surprise that cities want to do everything they can to keep it under control. But under current law the Oregon Department of Transportation wields nearly complete oversight of speed limits. With just one narrowly-defined exception (more on that below), ODOT gets first and final say about how fast people can legally drive on every street in Oregon.

That might be changing thanks to a bill making its way through the legislative process in Salem.

Currently, the one exception to ODOT’s oversight of speed limits is on residential streets that have been engineered specifically to prioritize vulnerable roadway users. Cities and counties won the right to lower the speed limit on residential streets (a.k.a. “neighborhood greenways” in Portland) to 20 mph in the 2011 legislative session.

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Is the bike shop open? Are the bike lanes icy? An open thread for post-storm intel

Posted by on January 12th, 2017 at 1:58 pm

I-205 path at SE Foster Road.
(Photo: Patrick F.)

It looks like the worst of the snow and and ice and cold is finally behind us. According to my weather app we should be back to the normal 50s and rain by next week.

But with a foot of snow still on the ground and cold temps sticking around, our roads and paths will be a mess for quite a while. That means it will be tricky getting around town and some of our favorite destinations won’t be open for business. With that in mind, it’s time to share what you know about local routes and destinations.

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Biketown bike share vs. Snowmaggedon

Posted by on January 11th, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Riding bike share in the snow

Bike-skiing down the North Interstate Avenue hill was the highlight of the ride.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

How does Biketown, Portland’s bike share system, stack up against other modes of travel during extreme weather? How would it work — or would it work at all — during a major snowstorm?

Those were the questions that have been on my mind after my brief foray on a Biketown bike late last night.

This morning I wanted to give it a real test. With twice as much snow on the ground as there was last night, I rolled over to my local Biketown station. My goal was to get downtown and back. Here’s what I learned…

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Portland is absolutely covered in snow: Let’s go ride (and walk and play)!

Posted by on January 11th, 2017 at 8:25 am

Time to ride.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here we go again.

A record amount of snow has fallen in Portland. There’s over a foot in some places, it’s still falling, and forecasters say it’s not going anywhere.

Most of the city has shut down. Schools, government offices, and many businesses can’t stay open because driving is so hazardous that people simply can’t reach destinations (imagine if more of us lived closer to where we work!). This means our streets are mostly quiet and calm — perfect for us to enjoy as should always be the case.

What does all this mean for you? Are you still biking? What are your plans for today?

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New York’s high court says city’s unsafe street design makes them liable for injuries and deaths

Posted by on January 10th, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Advocates in New York City are all abuzz about the ruling.

It happens way too often: Someone is seriously injured or killed at a location that’s a known traffic safety hot-spot. As an activist, it’s infuriating. I can only imagine what it’s like for the family and friends of victims.

After years of assuming cities had blanket immunity from liability when it came to street design decisions, a recent decision by New York’s highest court has thrown that into question. The court found that the City of New York can be held partly liable for a man’s death because they knew the road encouraged speeding and unsafe driving but they failed to study and implement measures to mitigate the risk.

The ruling is being hailed as a “landmark” and “game-changing” decision by New York City nonprofit organization Transportation Alternatives. Here’s what they said in a statement last week:

“The New York high court just ruled that the City can be held liable for failing to study and implement traffic calming measures, which the jury determined were a major factor contributing to the crash. In a 2004 incident, the driver was traveling at 54 mph on Gerritsen Avenue, which had a speed limit of 30 mph. Prior to the incident, the City had been advised by local residents, elected officials, and the Department of Transportation that speeding was common on the street, but that no sufficient speed study or traffic calming review was performed. The Court found the City liable for failing to adequately study and mitigate the road conditions that contributed to the speeding, stating that “an unjustifiable delay in implementing a remedial plan constitutes a breach of the municipality’s duty to the public.”

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Ted’s Video Roundup: Bikes on Amtrak, Zwift HQ tour, Powertap factory, and more

Posted by on January 10th, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Welcome to the first Video Roundup of 2017! Since I missed a few weeks there are a lot of videos. I watched about 150 videos this week so we can show you the best.

First up is this video from Giant/Liv. I usually shy away from featuring a promo/marketing video, but this is low-key with beautiful footage.

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Rob Sadowsky let go by board of The Street Trust (formerly known as the BTA)

Posted by on January 10th, 2017 at 10:39 am

Sadowsky this past summer.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Board of Directors of The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) just announced that Executive Director Rob Sadowsky is stepping down has been relieved of his duties effective immediately.

The former deputy director of the organization, Stephanie Noll, will take his place as an interim leader until a new director is found. Noll left The Street Trust back in July.

Here’s the full statement from The Street Trust:

The Board of Directors of The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) announced today that Rob Sadowsky will be stepping down as Executive Director, effective immediately. The Board has asked Stephanie Noll, the former Deputy Executive Director of The Street Trust, to step in as interim head of the organization and has launched a national search for the organization’s next executive director.

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Goodbye BTA, hello The Street Trust

Posted by on January 9th, 2017 at 1:26 pm

New logo.

After 26 years as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the Portland-based advocacy organization is now officially known as The Street Trust.

Actually, according new Communications Director Kate Walker, the name is now, “The Street Trust, formerly The Bicycle Transportation Alliance.” That “formerly” part will remain for the rest of this year.

You might recall that the name change was ratified by the organization’s board and members back in August. But the new name wasn’t fully integrated into the brand until the new year. “With a new year, we’re finally ready to reveal our new brand,” reads a blog post about the change posted on January 4th.

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The Monday Roundup: Math, danger in safety, transit in Seattle, and more

Posted by on January 9th, 2017 at 10:32 am

What could possibly go wrong?!

Welcome to Monday.

We’ve got another great week in store. But before we get started let’s take a look at the most noteworthy stories we came across last week…

Cities liable for unsafe streets: In what advocates are calling a “landmark” decision, a state court has found that New York City is party liable for a fatal traffic crash because the street where it happened was dangerous by design.

Jar-gone: “Road diet”, “pedestrian”, “smart cities” — these are just a few bits of jargon that many transpo advocates and experts would like to toss into the wastebin.

Ask him anything: Outgoing US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx did a Reddit AMA where he called for a “fundamental redesign” of transportation funding and a whole lot more.

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Do you know who your child’s Safe Routes to School coordinator is?

Posted by on January 6th, 2017 at 11:50 am

(Graphic: City of Portland)

If you are new to Portland or new to taking care of a little one, you might not realize how awesome our city’s Safe Routes to School program is. Working with partner nonprofits like The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), the Community Cycling Center, Oregon Walks, and others, the program serves 180 schools citywide. And it works.

The schools with the best programs are the ones where caregivers, parents, and teachers have built a relationship with staff from city’s transportation bureau. PBOT is the place that can set you up with maps and lots of other resources that will get more of your school biking, walking, and rolling to school. But many people aren’t sure where to begin and don’t know who to talk to to get things rolling.

PBOT has just made that much easier.

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In SF, Uber’s robot cars follow Oregon law and bike advocates are very afraid

Posted by on January 6th, 2017 at 9:51 am

Graphic from the SF Bicycle Coalition. In Oregon, the opposite is true — the image on the left is “correct” and the right is “wrong.”

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is so afraid of how Uber’s autonomous vehicles take right turns at intersections that they’ve posted a warning for bike riders and have started a petition to force the company to end the practice.

Interestingly, the dangerous maneuver being made by Uber-bots is exactly what Oregon law requires — and what Portland’s chief bike planner prefers.

Here’s the deal:

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Where some see historic trail connection, others fear a home for urban campers

Posted by on January 5th, 2017 at 11:36 am

Metro map with location of proposed trail and a concept drawing of how it might look near Kelly Creek in Gresham.

Filling a six-mile gap between Troutdale and Gresham would put a serious dent in the “40-mile Loop” — a trail concept that’s been in regional planning dreams for well over a century. And Metro is creating a plan to do just that.

But where some see an historic opportunity for a new, low-stress place to walk and roll, others see a perfect place for people who live outside to pitch tents and build encampments.

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