Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Naked St. Johns Bridge protest ride tomorrow

Posted by on July 21st, 2006 at 2:40 pm

St. Johns Bridge, Portland OR

[We need more
than a sign.]

As part of an ongoing protest against how cyclists got shafted on the St. Johns Bridge last year, a group of “ciclonudistas” is rallying the troops for their second annual naked protest ride (here’s a report from last year).

A little background:

Last year, the Oregon Department of Transportation completed a major renovation of the St. Johns Bridge, the northernmost Willamette River crossing in the city and a key connection for thousands of North Portland residents to popular recreational bike routes and Highway 30.

There was an opportunity to make the bridge safe and accessible for bicycles. Unfortunately ODOT completely ignored City of Portland transportation officials, the bike community, and a third party study and instead caved into special interests (truck drivers).

We are left with a bridge that is very unsafe for bicyclists (and not that great to walk on either) and so far nothing has changed (I’ve heard sharrows might be a possibility).

Tempted by expected 106 degree temperatures and to let the community know they haven’t forgotten, the Ciclonudistas will ride, en masse and sans clothing across the bridge tomorrow. Here are the details:

1) Meet Saturday 2:00 at Peninsula Park Gazebo (700 N. Portland Blvd.
2) Ride to St. John’s Bridge, dis-robing at some discrete location en-route
3) Keep the fun rolling with a nekkid NW mass
4) Free home-made ice cream following the bike riding fun to be served
at an undisclosed location
5) PK is not invited

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  • pdxrocket July 21, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    ouch! might I suggest plenty of SPF50.

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  • t July 21, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    What were the truckers’ concerns? I am a biker, and support bike lanes and the like as many places as possible, and the bridge is necessary for bikers in st. johns… but to call them special interests might be off?

    Just to give some perspective that peninsula brings in and sends out probably the majority of all trade in Oregon, and the truckers move that from rail to port or straight to port. Without industrial infrastructure and them doing their jobs, we’d all be poor. real poor. and more unemployed than 2001. Just a thought.

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  • Gregg July 21, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    Considering the heat forcast, I think nudity may be in order for just riding around period. But it will probably be tough to convince a Tualatin cop that I’m protesting St Johns bridge events in absentia.

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  • tonyt July 23, 2006 at 12:07 am

    Hey T,

    I don’t think many of us would argue with the validity of your trucker concerns. Actually, you might be surprised by the blue collar leanings of many of the bikers here in Portland. Many of us run our a**es off for a living. We work with our hands.

    But I’ve ridden over the St. Johns Bridge many times, and not once did it ever seem that the (motor vehicle) traffic required the provided 2 lanes. Really. The vast majority of time, all traffic could be accomodated by one lane. And since business types love a market analysis, let’s imagine that we restrict motor-vehicle traffic to one lane. If the costs of trying to cross during those few peak hours grew too high (wasted gas and time via idling during slowed traffic), then the free-market god would redirect the less efficient truckers to the non-peak hours. Thus the previously low-volume hours would gain traffic and the bridge would operate at a more consistent (and efficient) rate. Overage and its accompanying roadway damage would be reduced. We bikers and pedestrians would gladly adopt the orphaned lane.

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  • Dr. Mark Ross July 23, 2006 at 1:47 am

    so, how goes the ride? many show up?

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  • Ethan July 23, 2006 at 11:49 am

    If I remember correctly, the most profound failure of the traffic engineers at PDOT in choosing how to execute the project was that they basically overlooked the simple fact that the traffic light at one end of the bridge was what really caused motor vehicle delays. I remember reading that one direction benefitted from having two lanes, but the other direction did not . . . ergo you could use only three lanes for cars/trucks and still have room for bike lanes . . . but of course that is not what happened.

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  • bmc July 23, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Ride Report:
    Safety in numbers did NOT occur, ride postponed.
    The cougars had traveling music, icecream and good weather, but not enough folks.
    So a lap around the park while listening to “In the summertime” followed by icecream cones for the 6 riders (including Cody cougar bike n camp).
    We’ll try to plan better for the next ride.
    Cheers, Bikey Mama Carie

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  • Mark Fitz July 24, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    As someone who works in North Portland I cross the St. Johns bridge often multiple times a day.

    During specific times of day it is backed up consistently. When backed up it mainly is because of large trucks which move slower and take up more space. Being that Rivergate is the largest source of truck traffic in Oregon and Oregon’s largest port I think trucks kinda trump bicycles especially give the ample sidewalk and still room on the slow lane shoulder for bicycles.

    Also, the reason the bridge kept four lanes was because of its historic status and the fact that it must be maintained as built. That was how a few trucking activists in North Portland kept the bridge four lane. These activists are transportation geeks who wanted to keep the truck traffic from backing up in St. Johns for the sake of air quality and did not represent trucking industry though they are friendly with those of us who own trucks on the Pennisula.

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