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TriMet considers ‘sonic bike path’ idea for new bridge

Posted by on February 16th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

TriMet architect Bob Hastings presented
the idea last night.
(Photos © J. Maus)

As part of the public art planned along their Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project, TriMet is considering something quite interesting for the new Willamette River Bridge — a “sonic bike path.”

TriMet architect Bob Hastings and Public Art Program Manager Mary Priester presented the idea to the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) last night.

The “sonic bike path” concept is still in its early stages, but at this point, the idea is to create a series of grooves on a 150 foot section of the bikeway on each end of the bridge. The grooves would be placed in such a frequency and depth that a melody would be emitted as bicycle tires rolled over them. As for the song, the artists are considering Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Another image from TriMet presentation.

If the idea sounds familiar, you might recall that Honda did something similar for a commercial back in 2008 (their road played “The Lone Ranger” tune).

Priester and Hastings were at the meeting to determine whether or not the concept had enough merit to warrant further exploration by the artists. If it does, they’ll ask the artists to create a working model to prove it could work. “We’re aware there are some hurdles in demonstrating that it could work… We’d have to figure out how to construct it so it doesn’t prevent a slipping hazard and so it isn’t too jarring,” said Priester.

Priester also added that they’re aware some people would want to opt-out of the bumps, hence the idea to only install it on a portion of the 7-foot wide bridge bikeway. The bumps are also being considered as a way to slow down bike traffic as it exits the bridge on a downhill slope (about a 4.5% grade by TriMet estimates). In addition to a safety application, Hastings (the architect who was behind the bike racks on the downtown transit mall) says the bumps could help with the mental transition from riding over the river to being dropped into a more crowded, urban environment.

“Our thought was, how to inform folks that you’re making that transition… To subtly inform them that they’re headed back into an urban zone,” is how Hastings put it.

Below is a slide titled, “Sonic Bike Path Score” that was shown at last night’s meeting. The lines are grooves of the path that, when rolled over, would play a melody:

The majority of Bike Advisory Committee members were supportive of the concept last night, giving the TriMet reps a recommendation to move forward on it. One member wondered how the melody would work if there were multiple riders. Others wondered if the noise would be a distraction or whether it would be annoying to folks nearby.

“We’re kind of excited about it,” Priester said last night, but she made it clear that they are prepared to not move forward unless the community supported it. “You’re the audience,” she said, “it’s for you.”

This idea is far from a sure thing; but given that the PBAC was supportive, my hunch is that TriMet will move forward. As for cost, TriMet doesn’t have an estimate yet, but the project would be fully funded and managed through the Percent for Art Program (meaning the cash is already set aside and can only be used for art, not for buying new buses or other expenditures).

What I’d like to know is, what do you think?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • K'Tesh February 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    “Sounds”? Fun!

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    • suburban February 17, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      Are Preister and Hastings refered to as the “artists”?: The artists?Feeling artsy? go proof it with your own money. Given it’s cute and direct nature, public funding, and simple engineering this concept will become wildly popular with adults I hope to never meet and some children.
      Article may have intended to cite 2 musical pieces: William Tell Overture and 59th St. Bridge Song.

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  • pdxmike February 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    TriMet: FAIL.

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  • Andrew Kreps February 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I’d love to see a working prototype. The noise is caused by harmonic vibrations that start at your tire and will undoubtedly transmit through the wheel to the frame. I’m wondering how violent the vibrations will be, and whether or not they’ll shake things loose, like headset nuts and spoke nipples?

    Also, I wonder how good the song will sound when the bicycles are slowing due to the increased friction? It works well for cars since their mass and engine keep them running at a relatively constant speed.

    I’d enjoy seeing us at least try this, since I’ll use every ounce of help I can get in alerting foot traffic to my presence.

    As I recall, the Honda experiment was frowned upon by neighbors due to the increased noise.

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  • Steve B February 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I really, really like this idea. There is some creative thinking going into this, and it helps create a sense of place for folks on their daily commute or a sunday joyride. Way to go, Trimet!

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  • 9watts February 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Clever, yes. But how does TriMet justify the effort to these folks whose service has recently been cut?
    OPAL and the Bus Riders Union are organizing an even to demand that transfers be good for 3 hrs (see below)
    from their website:

    “TriMet riders who depend on the bus and MAX are facing greater hardships. Many
    transit riders, especially working-class families and people of color, rely on
    single-trip fares to meet basic needs and can’t afford to invest in transit
    passes. TriMet has cut bus service by over 170,000 hours leading to longer wait
    times between buses, overcrowded buses that pass us by, and missed transfers.
    Service cuts have decimated evening and weekend service. TriMet’s transfer
    policy is unequal and insufficient to give bus riders the time required to take
    care of our daily needs.

    OPAL Bus Riders Unite! has a Solution:


    Join us on Monday, February 21st for our Community Kick-off to have your voice
    heard and to get involved!

    Kickoff Campaign for a Fair Transfer
    Monday, February 21st
    6:00 PM
    St Francis Parish 11th and SE Oak (Bus #70)

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    • Nagmay February 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      I believe that this type of art is funded by the Oregon’s Percent for Art Program – which is mandated for all major construction.

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    • CaptainKarma February 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Also! get rid of that damn nickel extra on the fare, and have at least some buses run through bar-closing, might save some biker/ped lives, giving drunks an option to not drive.

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      • sabernar February 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm

        how about being responsible enough to just not drink and drive. Don’t blame TriMet for your shortcomings. Here’s another far out idea: take a taxi.

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        • cold worker February 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm

          i support not drinking and driving. however portland is a city of what, like 580,000 people? that’s a lot of people! portland can start acting like a big city by having things like 24 hour grocery access, late night bus service, 24 hour cafes, etc. not everyone works 9 to 5 and is in bed by 10.

          not every bus line needs to run all night, just some of the bigger ones, and they don’t need frequent service, even twice an hour would be great.

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    • Chris February 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Here’s my post to their article that has been “pending moderation” since the 9th:

      The solution to service cuts is to fight for longer transfers?! A longer transfer doesn’t solve the problem of the 47 bus no longer running at all on weekends or the 48 bus on Sundays… Nope, I get to walk for about 1.5 miles to MAX or 2 miles to the 57 bus.

      I appreciate the enthusiasm of OPAL, but must say the energy is being misdirected here.

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  • Allan February 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I am all for this. If most folks need convincing, a test could be built (on the waterfront or esplanade perhaps?) Has this been done anywhere else?

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  • michael downes February 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Aah! The tuneful sound of tax dollars at work……

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  • toddistic February 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Sounds like govt. waste – maybe Trimet should get back to focusing on moving people, not stupid jingles on a bike path. For real…

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  • Carl February 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Count me as firmly supportive.

    My only stipulation: first they need to provide grade separation for the safety of pedestrians on that bridge. We don’t need another dangerous Hawthorne stressfest.

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  • Allan February 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    We’re going to have an iconic bridge. Why not put in nice design features? Don’t be such a downer. This thing will last for generations and we should care about good design

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  • Ryan Marquardt February 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    In Portlandia’s fifth season, we’ll be able to hear Fred Armisen utter: “Ugh…’Feelin’ Groovy’….WHY?!”

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    • Brad February 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Nice! That made me chuckle loudly.

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  • MeghanH February 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I would expect the funding for this (since it’s through the Public Art Program) stems from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (not from TriMet’s budget specifically.) The comments about TriMet “wasting” their money on a public art project like this (although I don’t think the project is a waste) may be blunted somewhat by the actual funding source.

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  • Ben Waterhouse February 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Before you get behind this project, give a listen to what Honda did with it’s “musical road” ( and imagine having to listen to that noise twice a day, every day.

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  • J P February 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm
  • Josh G February 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I remember hearing about this a while ago, but seeing this post made me think a
    Sonic burgers n shakes drive-in on the bridge
    was the new proposal!

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  • Michael February 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    How about Iron Man, or is that over?

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  • michweek February 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    “Part of the public art” would indicate that this is the voter approved 1% of government funded projects being spent on public art. So before you go accusing this project of being wasteful, the bridge is government funded so 1% of what we get has to be spent on public art. I believe this qualifys, not so keen on the concept (it would invariably be designed for only one kind of tire and one length of wheelbase).

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  • matt picio February 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I’m waiting to see the line item on the budget: “Sonic bike lane licensing expense”. OTOH, Simon & Garfunkel get paid?

    Maybe we could do “Feelin’ Groovy” on the way into Portland and “The Sound of Silence” on the way out?

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    • k February 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

      yeah does the city have to pay a nickel to them every time someone rides over it? 🙂

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  • h February 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    some bridges have grilled steel surfaces that make nice vibration feeling… just saying

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  • Steve-O February 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    A very silly move for two reasons:

    1) Economic – designing and building a musical bikepath will siphon money away from more worthwhile projects such as green bike boxes, corrals, and bike lanes. Would you rather be safe on a bike or listen to a jingle for 150 feet?

    2) Public Relations – TriMet is already the largest punching bag in Oregon for conservatives. I can’t wait for them to start complaining about frivolous expenses in the comment section of the Oregonian.

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    • cyclist February 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

      There were several comments just above yours mentioning the fact that art money is mandated for projects such as these, the money literally cannot be used for any other purpose, and has to be spent. Here’s one such comment:

      “I believe that this type of art is funded by the Oregon’s Percent for Art Program – which is mandated for all major construction.”

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  • Art Fuldodger February 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Jonathan, could you highlight that this is funded out of the mandated “Percent for Art” program? Because no one seems to understand that. This money could only be spent on other art projects; it will not buy more buses, or bus service, or bike boxes, etc. If you don’t happen like the “Percent for Art” program, that’s fine, but at least understand the parameters that are placed on this funding stream.

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  • CaptainKarma February 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Maybe too obvious, but I nominate Queen’s “Bicycle Races”.

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    • Perry Hunter February 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

      I thought the whole idea silly and wasteful – right up to this suggestion. Now, I’m all for it.

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  • Michael, Portland Afoot
    Michael, Portland Afoot February 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I think this is the coolest idea Ever.

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  • beelnite February 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Art is priceless. All this talk about economics, tax dollars… sigh… yeah, let’s not do ANYTHING cool, cuz we don’t want to risk criticism. What a boring, regressive and narrow way to look at life. This is Portland – we should do things because we can and they bring us joy.

    To deny oneself artistic expression – to deny a community the joy of artistic expression just to placate curmudgeons who will always, always find something wrong with higher thinking… it’s like…

    Really not healthy. And really sad.

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    • Rol February 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      Hear hear. I was about to complain that I don’t like that song, but you talked me out of it. Anyway there’s always “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. WOCKA WOCKA!

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  • Spiffy February 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    sounds fun, as long as I have the option of avoiding them…

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  • Bob_M February 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I recall an advertisement for Honda where a car was driven over a sonic roadway. The ad was just an ad, but the singing roadway was very cool. Having an idea made real that prompts happy thought is worth pursuing. The bicycle becomes a musical instrument when riding over the grooves. The rider becomes both artist and art. It has my support, especially when compared to the Dr. Seuss art that is normally associated with Tri-Met projects. Note that art is commonly associated with big Tri-Met projects. This is a thing that is independent of bus schedules or driver salaries.
    Bike Portland contributors are uncharacteristically dour this PM. Worried about conservatives pooh-poohing the project? Conservatives will criticize the project regardless if it has art or not. Do you think that if you capitulate to naysayers about the art that they will embrace the rest of the project? Nope, they will perceive this as a victory and gain momentum from it to quash other forward thinking ideas.
    Big yes from me

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  • Aaron February 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    How much of a song are you going to fit in just 150 feet? 10 seconds of music at 10MPH.

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    • are February 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      i think the point is that the lyric to the opening bars is “slow down, you move too fast.” the idea is to alert you that the separated experience is ending and you are about to merge back into street traffic.

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      • Rol February 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

        I thought it was about the “grooves” in the pavement.

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  • kww February 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    god no, NO

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  • Dude February 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Is it real or Portlandia? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Nevertheless, I love it.

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  • Aaronf February 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I think this is super cool.

    As said above, it is at least as cool as most of the mandated 1% art around town. Like that awful tree bolted to a building downtown, or the tripod scrotum thing across from Powells Books.

    I agree that it would be helpful if it is avoidable…

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  • jram February 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    i think this is awesome.

    one thought: would it be possible to set this up so the song could be changed from time to time? maybe interchangeable sections so you could mix it up a bit? not sure how possible that is, but it would be pretty sweet.

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  • Aaronf February 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Is there a good Portland band we could showcase?

    Louie Louie!

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  • Whyat February 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    People are starving in this city and state. To spend money on something like this is borderline offensive.

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  • DK February 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I’d rather something visually appealling to compliment the city and the river, itself.

    It’s a novel idea and I commend them for thinking outside the box. The reality for me is that if I want music, there are far better venues available for the music of my choosing.

    I don’t happen to think there’s a single song worthy of representing all of us Portlanders. …Nor should there be.

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  • Nick V February 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I agree with those who say that there are better ways to spend money. The bike bridge will be widely used but some cutesy tacked-on gimmick just to “keep Portland weird” is not a good idea.

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    • cyclist February 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      There were several comments just above yours mentioning the fact that art money is mandated for projects such as these, the money literally cannot be used for any other purpose, and has to be spent on art. Here’s one such comment:

      “I believe that this type of art is funded by the Oregon’s Percent for Art Program – which is mandated for all major construction.”

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      • Nick V February 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

        Then how about something more visual and timeless (a plaque, sculpture, or statue?) instead of a pop song that will most likely become annoying, especially if it’s heard incessantly?

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        • Nagmay February 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

          Yes, please give us the same old thing thing that we are used to.

          Unlike the installation of another plaque – which I would probably ignore on my commute – this is the type of interactive piece that I would go out of my way to check out!

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          • Nick V February 17, 2011 at 4:30 am

            And maybe “Feeling Groovy” will cheer up the homeless people who will probably congregate on both sides of the bridge. Sorry but I still think it’s in bad taste.

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  • dwainedibbly February 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Awesome idea! Well worth further study.

    How about “Rubber Ducky”? Or maybe “The Dream of the 90s”.

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  • Hart Noecker February 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    If you do a track stand on it and wiggle back and forth will it sound like the record is scratching?

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    • michweek February 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      No, but if you ride over it backwards while watching “alice in woderland”…

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  • Marcus Griffith February 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Isn’t there enough noises a cyclist should be listen to, i.e. other traffic? Have the engineers considered resonance frequency issues, esp during rush house?

    That be being said, it sounds like a cool concept

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  • AR February 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Isn’t it going to sound like crap (or at least nothing recognizable) if more than one bicycle goes over it at a time? No thank you.

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  • buglas February 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I’m thinking of the gap in the middle for the bike bell solo. :^)

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  • joe adamski February 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    another thing for the haters to hate. when it comes to public art, it needs to be accessible by all. This project is aimed at cyclists only. hence, it is not truely ‘public art’.

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    • Hart Noecker February 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      That’s like saying fireworks discriminate against the blind.

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  • Greg February 16, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Something about Trimet spending money seems to bring out the Oregonian in the BikePortland crowd.

    Anyway, I’d be curious how the song will sound at different speeds. The speed of cyclists can easily differ by a factor of 2. What speed will it be designed for, and what will it sound like at other speeds? Is there a minimum speed for it to work?

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  • mmann February 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I like the idea of a Portland-based song. OTOH, how cool would it be to hear “Ride of the Valkyries” or the 1812 overture under your wheels?

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  • Jeremy February 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Reminds me of the piano staircase:

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  • shirtsoff February 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I’m cautiously excited!

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  • Spencer Boomhower February 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    It was mentioned above, but it’s reeeeally worth stressing that the first line of “Feeling Groovy” is “slow down, you move too fast.” Being that this is a spot where they’re trying to create a little traffic calming, that’s pretty dang clever.

    I think it’s pretty cool. It’s art you experience by moving through it, only in this one place in the world. It could become a real destination.

    Of course if you have to ride it every day you might get a little sick of it :). But that’s what the opt-out is all about.

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  • cold worker February 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    i hate everything, all the time!

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  • resopmok February 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Does anyone know if the concept even works for bikes? The rumble strips which line the shoulder of some highways are effective for cars, but two things strike me as a big difference here. If you were to ride on an actual rumble strip at speed you’d probably destroy your wheels along with getting your teeth knocked out. Also, due to their low profile and generally low speed, bicycle tires hardly make any noise at all on pavement – unlike cars, which get louder the higher their speed is, exceeding engine noise at (I’m guessing here) around 30 mph.

    It’s a novel idea and kudos to the creative, but it would really be a disappointment to have it cast in concrete and then be useless. I agree with art, but something that doesn’t work really is a waste of money.

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  • Kirsty February 17, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I didn’t read all the comments above, so sincere apologies if this has already been posted. But… how serendipitous!…

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  • Rol February 17, 2011 at 12:36 am

    As of reading these comments, I’m in favor of this idea, but I have mixed feelings about the specific song.

    It’s a cute pun on the “grooves” in the pavement.
    It says “slow down, you move too fast” as some have pointed out.
    It’s about a bridge.
    It’s happy.

    The bridge it’s about, is in New York.
    The song is kinda smug. (All those people who are “moving too fast” probably have bills and jobs and stuff, and don’t have the luxury of wake-and-baking and having a leisurely stroll across the 59th St. Bridge… or heck, maybe they just like to move through life with a sense of purpose.)
    The song is 44 years old.

    I’m not saying let’s have “Let The Bodies Hit The Floor” or something, but how do you even choose a specific song? I think it would be fun to have a simple Luther Perkins-style “boom chicka boom” rhythm like in a Johnny Cash song (but no specific melody)

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    • Elliot February 17, 2011 at 9:29 am

      I’m cynical of the concept, but if the project goes forward I want to second the importance of song choice.

      On age of the song, “Louie Louie” is a similar vintage (54 years old) but has a Portland connection. (Random Wikipedia fact of the day: “Bodies” was released ten years ago, in 2001). I think the song being old is a good thing – you’d rather choose something timeless than have it become dated, right? Maybe the song should be something really old – maybe from a classical composer?

      I think a song without lyrics would be appropriate. It would leave the meaning more open to interpretation, and would be less vulnerable to criticism than a hippie throwback like “Feelin’ Groovy”.

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  • pedro February 17, 2011 at 2:15 am

    can’t we just fix the potholes in the bike lanes first? those make a great sound of “clunk” and then “oh $#!t, my tire’s flat”.

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  • Brad February 17, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Hmmmm…seems like the sort of thing that will distract a cyclist. While their mind is fixated on “What was that song?” and “Whoa! That was kinda coo.l” they are not focused on riding in a defensive manner. Even Tri-Met claims this will warn riders that they are entering an urban zone. Does this mean that a potentially distracted rider will be put right into a high traffic area whilst still ruminating on “Feelin’ Groovy”?

    Art? Yes! But let’s design some very artful safety features like lights and signage.

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  • PDXCyclist February 17, 2011 at 7:57 am

    cold worker
    i support not drinking and driving…P>


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    • cold worker February 17, 2011 at 9:28 am

      yeah, i’m truly revolutionary in this regard, i know. it’s fun to pull a tiny bit of a comment out of context, huh?

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  • Dave February 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Add me to the “this sounds great” club – it’s nice to see people thinking of kind of interesting, interactive ideas for public space. It’s just yet another bonus to not traveling enclosed in a box. 🙂

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  • GLV February 17, 2011 at 8:48 am

    71 comments in, and I am the first to point out that the name of the song is “The 59th Street Bridge Song” and NOT “Feelin’ Groovy.” Sad.

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    • Rol February 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      If we’re gonna get all that way about it, the full title is actually The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).

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  • mike February 17, 2011 at 9:45 am

    If you think you’d like to live in a city where no money is ever spent on art, because it’s a waste, you should talk to people who grew up in East Berlin.

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  • Lee February 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Yes. More public art, and more ways for people to feel a sense of thoughtfully constructed place. It also makes the point that we are having more fun than motorists. (It’s true you know)

    Oh, and I just thought of this, what about they do 5 parallel tracks like the lines of a music staff and each track produced a different note. You could play a song by moving laterally across the tracks, or produce chords with fellow cyclists…. that would also be cool.

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  • ron February 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Move to Omaha or Kansas City. No bicycle infrastructure but plenty of other “taxpayers” like yourself worried about spending a little on making a better city and ignoring $5 billion in oil subsidies.

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  • Andrew February 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Why not just save some money by putting little dugouts along the bridge for buskers to play guitars, bucket drums, etc?

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  • Supercourse February 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

    More simple minded crap!……will we ever get our fill? Great cities would come up with something truly artistic not just more grade school cute.

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  • Adam February 17, 2011 at 11:31 am

    One word, stupid.

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  • Lance P February 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    For anybody interested in other art project I am looking for a graphic artist that can take my rough logo for my bike business and create a clean version. It is bubbly cartoon with bright colors. I’m hoping someone can take my idea and create something really cool.

    Send me a message, lancemoe[at]hotmail[dot]com including some of your work and what you would charge for the graphic.

    Requirements: Must live in Portland proper and bike… a lot.

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  • Ted Buehler February 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Too cool!

    I’d like to see some multilane paths with harmony.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Fronk February 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    ‘Feeling groovy’ though??? How about something less annoying, like ‘Smoke on the Water’, or perhaps some Megadeath?

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  • Paulie February 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    So you think bicyclists are not local taxpayers and homeowners with water utility bills? YOU get out of here!

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  • Brodehl February 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I hope this is tested and simulated before implementation. Secondly, will the strip work when full of rain water?

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  • rick potestio February 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Great idea…….but, really? What happens when the grooves are filled with water? Is it like the water filled glasses…What happens when you ride slow or fast, have fat tires or thin?

    Seriously, I would just like to see a really elegant, simple, true, un-elaborated bridge with great connections to bike infrastructure on either end. This idea sounds like a great party entertainment, but for the every day use, I worry it will wear pretty thin…

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  • Ted Buehler February 18, 2011 at 12:34 am

    When the grooves are filled with water they might do somethin’ different. Do you really want your life to be the same every day?

    I tried to get a grant to do a musical bike bridge years ago in BC. We were going to rig up a xylophone under the deck. This is a much more clever idea.

    Ted Buehler

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  • pedro February 18, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I-84, and I-5 are quite accessible. If you don’t like Portland, why dont you gtfo?

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  • bobcycle February 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

    just an idea…. but maybe they could incorporate concept into highways and roads so that when cars exceed speed limit they get the “slow down….” tune.

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  • Supercourse February 18, 2011 at 7:24 am

    ….are we such children we need to be “titillated” in everything we do? Your riding a bicycle across a beautiful river, and you need to be entertained?….you need to find a little peace, not more sugar.

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  • Rebecca C. February 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I LOVE this idea! It’s fabulously goofy. I hope they can make it work. Yes, we need to spend $ on other stuff, but if there’s already a 1% for Art mandate, I think they should go for it. (it’s the “roses” part of the bread+roses equation)

    I ride across the Hawthorne Bridge 2x/day and, when I see Kirk Reeves there with his regalia and music, it makes my commute that much better. (I’d love to see him get some funding from 1% for Art for his contribution to our quality of life).

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  • jocko February 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

    change that tune to “god bless america” and you got this proud american on board.

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  • was carless February 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Way better idea than the typical but up some crappy statues/sculptures that barely even count for art.

    I doubt a bicycle tire would even make much noise…

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  • jim February 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    How much is it going to cost and who’s paying for it?

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  • Eva February 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    So. Awesome.

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  • Seth Alford February 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Now that spring is coming, I’m once again dodging blackberry vines on Capitol, uphill, in the bike lane between Barbur and Wilson High School. The city doesn’t seem to have the money to spend either on road crews to keep the vines in check and/or code inspectors to get after private property owners to keep their vegetation on their property.

    It took months for the street lights at Capitol and Barbur to get fixed. Part of that, I’m sure, is money.

    I suspect that the row of broken street lights on the west side of Barbur played a role in Angela Burke’s death. See Again, I suspect lack of money was a factor there.

    So I do think that a musical bike path is a waste of money. I don’t care that its mandated by a 1% for art requirement. It’s time to get rid of that mandate.

    Having said all that, if we have no choice but to spend 1% for art, let’s spend the money on bicycle stencils for bike lanes where motor vehicles ignore the bike lane. Jonathan discussed that in several articles, such as .

    Not art, you say? Stencils become art if each stencil is customized to acknowledge nearby landmarks or businesses. For example, a bike lane near a culinary school gets a stencil with a bicyclist wearing a chef’s hat on top of his helmet.

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    • jim February 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      There are a zillion light poles in Portland. Usually they only know the light is burned out when someone reports it to the hotline. Check the numbers on those poles and the aprox address and report it. It may take a couple of weeks. If you don’t want to report it don’t complain about it

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  • Paulie February 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

    It seems to me it could be a problem when a freeze happens after it’s wet out. Wouldn’t it just create a dangerous icy patch just where you need to slow down? Crash-o-matic!

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