Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

TriMet eyes ‘bicycle slowing measures’ for Division Transit Project stations

By on October 18th, 2017 at 2:26 pm

The bikeway will go through newly designed transit stations on Division, and that’s raising safety concerns about speedy cycling.

As we reported earlier this month, TriMet is firming up designs for the 41 new stations they’ll build as part the Division Transit Project — a $175 million plan to improve bus service between the downtown transit mall and Mt. Hood Community College. (It started as a bus rapid transit project but has since morphed into just better bus service.)

At last night’s joint meeting of Portland’s bicycle and pedestrian advisory committees in City Hall, TriMet planners shared even more recent and detailed station designs. They specifically wanted feedback on their “island stations,” where the bikeway (slated to be relatively robust and protected for the length of this project) runs directly adjacent to the bus stops. These island stations are “floating” in the roadway and separated from the sidewalk by the bikeway (see images).

TriMet is looking for “approaches to bicycle slowing” and they want feedback on “bicycle slowing measures” to potentially implement around these stations. The concern is that bicycle riders will come from the six-foot (plus buffer) bikeway and will enter the station areas too quickly and imperil people who are using the bus or otherwise walking in these crowded areas. One slide in their presentation listed a challenge of island stations as: “Requires added design applications to create safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.”[Read more…]

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No more bike racks! Car2go phasing out Smart cars in favor of larger vehicle

By on October 18th, 2017 at 11:42 am

(Photo: Car2go)

Those cute blue and white cars that have become nearly ubiquitous on the streets of Portland in recent years are going away. Car2go, a carsharing company with 54,000 members in Portland, announced today they will phase out their compact, 2-seater Smart cars in favor of a larger vehicle.

The news is being received with some jeers from the many users of the service who liked not just the small size of the Smart cars but the fact that they came with a bike rack. A 2015 survey from the company found that sixty-eight percent of their Portland customers biked at least once per week, and 37 percent biked five to seven times a week. 76 percent of survey-takers said they wanted bike racks the local fleet.
[Read more…]

Rob Sadowsky, formerly of The Street Trust, is now executive director of Bark

By on October 18th, 2017 at 9:27 am

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Sadowsky in June 2016.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Rob Sadowsky is the new executive director of Bark, a Portland-based nonprofit that works to protect and conserve the Mt. Hood National Forest.

It’s an interesting position for Sadowsky. While Bark supports some types mountain biking, they are co-plaintiffs (with Sierra Club) on a lawsuit to halt construction of the Timberline Mountain Bike Park (more on that below).

Many of you know Sadowsky for his work with The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), where he was executive director from 2010 until being fired by the board of directors back in January.

Bark was founded in 1993 and currently has eight staffers and an email list that goes out to around 30,000 people (they are not a membership-based organization).

As I mentioned above, Bark is fighting a plan by Timberline Lodge to create a lift-assisted mountain biking resort on Mt. Hood. In 2013 we published an op-ed in opposition to the project from Bark board member Amy Harwood. Final oral arguments on the lawsuit were just heard on Monday (it was Sadowsky’s first day on the job and he was in the courtroom) and a decision is expected within the next month or so.

Asked about his opinion on mountain biking on National Forest land in a FAQ just posted to Bark’s website, Sadowsky didn’t mention Timberline:
[Read more…]

Brian Duncan, paralyzed in north Portland collision last year, is missing

By on October 17th, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Brian Duncan.
(Photo: Portland Police Bureau)

Portland Police are looking for Brian Duncan, whose family says he’s been missing since yesterday (10/16) at 2:30 pm. He was last seen on his motorized wheelchair near the Duckworth Dock on the floating portion of the Eastbank Esplanade south of the Steel Bridge.
[Read more…]

The Aerial Tram will close for 38 days next summer

By on October 17th, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Go By Bike shop in South Waterfront-9

The Tram reflected in an OHSU building as seen from the Go By Bike valet lot.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I know it’s eight months away, but I thought you might want to start saving up for an e-bike…

The Portland Aerial Tram will close for track maintenance from June 23rd through July 30th, 2018. That’s 38 days where you’ll have to find a different way up the hill. If you need or want to bike up to Marquam Hill for the campus and facilities of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), your ride will go from 180 seconds to about 30 minutes. Or maybe not (keep reading).

The Tram is a crucial link between South Waterfront and Marquam Hill for 7,000 daily commuters. OHSU data shows that of the 10,000 employees who work on the hill, about one-fourth of those who take the tram use a bike to get to campus. The Go By Bike valet at the base of the Tram averages over 328 bikes in its parking lot every day.

If a bunch of people decide to hop in a car during the closure this summer, it could be a mess. Not only are the roads leading to Marquam Hill relatively narrow, parking is extremely limited (Metro has reported an eight-year waiting list and an average monthly fee of $128) and spots must be maintained for patients and their visitors. Hopefully a large percentage of people will continue to bike. But it won’t be easy…
[Read more…]

To boost business, Beaverton will build separated bikeways on Western Ave

By on October 17th, 2017 at 10:36 am

The new and improved Western Avenue will look much different.

This seems like a big deal.

In order to spur economic growth and help businesses keep and attract employees, the City of Beaverton is set to begin work on a complete rebuild of Western Avenue between 5th Street to Allen (about two-thirds of a mile). The location of the project is an industrial zone southeast of the downtown core.[Read more…]

More bike capacity among possible upgrades for ODOT’s Gorge Express bus service

By on October 16th, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Riders board the Columbia Gorge Express.
(Photos: ODOT)

Despite an early end to the season due to the Eagle Creek Fire, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Columbia Gorge Express bus service was a hit once again this past summer season.

Jake Warr from ODOT’s Rail & Public Transit Division manages the program. He got in touch with us to share an update on this year’s usage stats and a photo of the newly upgraded buses.

“The second season of ODOT’s Columbia Gorge Express pilot service further confirmed that public transit to the Gorge is in high demand,” Warr said. “In fact, before the Eagle Creek Fire forced an early end to the season, the service was on pace to beat last year’s ridership totals. A few tweaks from the 2016 season helped accommodate and support this ridership growth, including the use of larger buses and the option to pay fares with cash.”

Here are the stats based on ticket sales and rider survey:[Read more…]

What you should know about Oregon’s new distracted driving law

By on October 16th, 2017 at 1:59 pm

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Scofflaw.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Our legal contributor Ray Thomas is an author and lawyer based in Portland.

On October 1, 2017, Oregon’s new distracted driving law went into effect. The law has an expanded scope and raises the penalties for violations. Here are a few things every Oregon bicycle rider should know about it.

People who walk and bike know all too well the risks drivers pose as they stare into screens and attempt to drive around us. Since we are not encapsulated inside a steel compartment looking at the world through safety glass, we see the shocking number of people who try to maneuver their cars and trucks down the streets while completely tuned out to anything but what is on the screen in front of them.

And the statistics confirm how deadly this behavior is: More than 4,000 crashes were caused by distraction in Oregon in 2014. And between 2011 and 2015 there were 54 fatalities and 15,150 injuries in Oregon caused by distracted drivers (see the Oregon Department of Transportation 2014 Oregon Traffic Crash Summary).
[Read more…]

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The Monday Roundup: Shameless pathlete, Skid Row’s low-riders, e-bike subsidies and more

By on October 16th, 2017 at 11:11 am

The Weekend Event Guide is sponsored by Abus Bike Locks. Thanks Abus!

Here are the best stories that came across our desks this week…

Homeless activism with bikes: I can’t decide what’s more awesome, General Dogon’s life story of criminal-turned-activist, or the fact that he uses tricked out low-rider bikes to help gain attention for his causes.

Inanimate victim-blaming: When drivers failed to control their vehicles and drove up onto cement barriers protecting new bikeways in Queens, critics of the bikeways said it was the barrier’s fault.
[Read more…]

Undercover distracted driving sting leads to 107 stops in just 5 hours

By on October 13th, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Like shooting fish in a barrel.
(Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

Just how rampant is dangerous driving and law-breaking among drivers? Our latest example comes from Washington County where sheriff deputies in Aloha went undercover to help educate the public about Oregon’s new hands-free driving law.

In five hours of work they stopped 73 people for violating the new law, passing out 11 citations and 62 warnings.

The Sheriff’s office called it a “non-traditional enforcement mission” (they prefer “mission” instead of sting) because they used undercover deputies. The plainclothes deputies stood on the sidewalk at intersections as “spotters” and would then tip-off other deputies when they saw violations.

Oregon’s new distracted driving law (HB 2597) went into effect October 1st (we have an in-depth post about it from our legal expert Ray Thomas coming Monday). It covers many more behaviors than the old law (which only focused on cell phones) and also applies when you are stopped in traffic.
[Read more…]

An opportunity to push the City of Portland forward on truck safety

By on October 13th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

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A Portland Water Bureau vehicle with side underrun guards (from 2008).
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A proposed City of Portland administrative rule change is giving street safety advocates a chance to lobby for side guards and other equipment that could make commercial trucks safer.

Given their size, height, and weight, trucks used to haul garbage, cement and other goods on city streets pose a very high risk to other road users. According to the US Department of Transportation, nearly half of all the bikers and walkers killed in collisions with large trucks first impact the side of the truck. Many of the fatalities we’ve reported about here in BikePortland over the years have involved trucks. After the death of Tamar Monhait (that involved a man driving a garbage truck whose operator is now being sued by Monhait’s family), we shared an editorial local lawyer Cynthia Newton who’s “deeply concerned” about truck safety.

That concern is shared by at least one City of Portland Planning Commissioner. Chris Smith has been working on this issue through the Planning and Sustainability Commission for over two years. The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) directly regulates residential solid waste haulers and also permits all the trucks for commercial solid waste in the city. As such, they have the authority to require safety equipment — like sideguards and special mirrors — on contractors’ vehicles. [Read more…]

Postcards from Paris: Mixtes, street scenes, and a budding bike network

By on October 13th, 2017 at 11:12 am

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(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s a reason so many Americans have written books and poems and songs about Paris: It’s a mind-bendingly fascinating cultural, historic, and architectural contrast to the United States. On more than one ocassion on each of the five days I recently spent there I found myself whispering to my wife Juli, mouth agape in awe during one of our many marathon walks, “I have never seen anything like this before.”
[Read more…]

PBOT’s Active Transpo Division Manager takes job with Metro

By on October 12th, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Bradway at the launch of Biketown bike share in July 2016.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Margi Bradway, head of Active Transportation & Safety Division at the Portland Bureau of Transportation, plans to leave that role for a job at Metro, our region’s metropolitan planning organization.

Bradway will be Metro’s new Deputy Director for Transportation Planning (see the job listing here). She begins her new job November 13th. “I love my job at the city,” Bradway shared with us today, “but I could not pass up the opportunity to have a greater impact on the region.”

Bradway is a former environmental and land use lawyer who previously worked at the Oregon Department of Transportation where she headed up their sustainability program. When she left ODOT she was a policy advisor to ODOT Director Matt Garrett.

PBOT hired Bradway in 2014 to lead their Active Transportation Division, the part of the agency that includes many of the programs we cover often here on BikePortland: Safe Routes to School, Sunday Parkways, Vision Zero, and more. During her tenure at PBOT, Bradway played a key role in inking the deal with Nike that led to the launch of Biketown bike share, helped pass traffic safety laws (including a reduced speed limit and expanded authority for photo radar cameras), negotiated the deal with Strava to utilize the company’s dataset for planning purposes, helped make Vision Zero a top city priority, and much more.
[Read more…]

First look: New protected bikeway on SE Morrison

By on October 12th, 2017 at 12:04 pm

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A spacious new place to ride on SE Morrison!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has installed a new bikeway on SE Morrison between Grand and 11th (about one-third of a mile). It’s part of their SE Morrison Configuration Project that we shared details about back in August.

I rolled over to take a closer look at it yesterday.[Read more…]

Weekend Event Guide: Cyclocross, Chris King Open House, and more

By on October 12th, 2017 at 9:43 am

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Racing bikes in pure Gorge mud with friends. It doesn’t get any better than this.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Guide is back! After two weeks off due to me galavanting around Europe, it brings me much pleasure to offer our selection of events for the coming weekend. Remember our calendar includes rides not listed here, so don’t forget to check it out.

The Weekend Event Guide is sponsored by Abus Bike Locks. Thanks Abus!

With the rain and fall weather here with vengeance, we’re set up for some classic cyclocross battles this weekend. Last year the Cyclocross Crusade’s stop in Cascade Locks was an epic mud-bath. At several places on the course I was literally riding up a river of water and I still have dirt in my bibshorts one year later!

And don’t miss the Chris King event Saturday. It’s a rare chance to see one-of-a-king custom builds and tour the factory.

Here ya go…
[Read more…]

Tamar Monhait’s family seeks $10 million from garbage truck company

By on October 11th, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Still from surveillance video.

As reported last month by The Oregonian, Tamar Monhait’s family has filed a lawsuit with the company responsible for the garbage truck operator who hit and killed her.

In the early morning hours of August 21st, 41-year-old Monhait was biking north on Southeast Water Avenue at Taylor when the truck operator made a left turn in front of her. She died at the scene from the impact.

Monhait’s lawyers allege that the left turn by the garbage truck driver is the result of improper training by his employer, Republic Services Alliance Group. They’re asking for up to $10 million in damages.

The suit claims that the intersection is well lit and that Monhait was “lawfully riding her bicycle… in a designated bike lane.”
[Read more…]

ODOT and supporters struggle to justify I-5 Rose Quarter project

By on October 11th, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Screengrab of Willamette Week.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has had many years to figure out a way to justify widening Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter. As one of the narrowest points in this major interstate that runs from Canada to Mexico, it’s been on their widening list for decades.

And now that they’ve finally pieced together the political and funding momentum to do actually it, they’re having trouble explaining why it’s needed.

It turns out the public is a lot more skeptical of freeway mega-projects than lawmakers and bureaucrats.

A scathing report in the Willamette Week today pokes holes in one ODOT’s major justifications: safety. If you browse over to I5RoseQuarter.org you’ll see graphics and statistics about crashes. But as activists opposing the project have pointed out for months, those crashes are most just low-speed fender-benders that don’t result deaths and injuries. [Read more…]

Police make arrest in fatal Gresham collision

By on October 11th, 2017 at 10:02 am

SE Stark near 212th.

A 23-year-old Portland resident has been arrested due to his role in the death of a bicycle rider on Sunday evening.

Gresham Police have charged Kurtis Linn with DUII, Reckless Driving and Manslaughter in the 2nd degree. According to The Oregonian, Linn was driving his Chevy Blazer at nearly twice the speed limit and after consuming two drinks at a local bar prior to the collision.

Linn says he was racing another auto user and lost control of his car, then slammed into another car before he struck and killed Albert Sawdon who was bicycling in the bike lane.
[Read more…]

Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee seeks new members

By on October 10th, 2017 at 10:31 am

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City bike coordinator Roger Geller leads the BAC on an annual bike tour.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you want to make biking better in Portland, there’s a great opportunity to put your passion into action: The city’s official Bicycle Advisory Committee (a.k.a. “the BAC”) is currently recruiting new members.

The BAC is a citizen-led body that advises all city bureaus, council members, and the Mayor on matters relating to bicycling. When a construction project will impact a major bike route, the BAC is there to sort out the detour and make sure the work-zone is bike-friendly. When a big planning document is about to be updated, the BAC is there to tweak the language and add key provisions. Long before a big project breaks ground, the BAC is there to sweat the details before the design is finalized.
[Read more…]

Dreamy streets, beautiful people on bicycles, and other scenes from my Amsterdam vacation

By on October 9th, 2017 at 5:22 pm

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Young people cycling by themselves without helmets is a common sight in Amsterdam.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You probably didn’t even notice, but I just returned from 17 days in France and Amsterdam.

Even though I wasn’t working, I managed to snap a few photos of wonky street scenes, bicycles, and the people who ride them.
[Read more…]