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Keeping corrals clean

Posted by on December 2nd, 2011 at 9:24 am

Downtown Clean & Safe employees cleaning up the bike corral on SW Broadway just south of Burnside.
(Photos © J. Maus)

I happened upon an interesting scene while biking into work yesterday. Two Downtown Clean & Safe crew members were raking up several piles of leaves that had accumulated in an on-street bike parking corral.

One of the issues with PBOT’s bike corrals is that the curbs and staple racks inhibit street sweepers and debris often builds up. I was happy to see the Clean & Safe workers (who are funding by a business tax and managed by the Portland Business Alliance, not the City) filling bags with mucky wet leaves so that people would have a better parking experience. So happy in fact that I turned around and rolled up to them to say thanks.

The man I spoke to said, “Well, we just want you folks to have a nice place to park. The City doesn’t do it, but I ride a bike too so we figured it should be cleaned up.”

The situation made me wonder about PBOT’s policy for keeping corrals clean.

Bike corrals are installed by PBOT; but only by request of — and in partnership with — adjacent business owners. According to PBOT’s bike parking manager Sarah Figliozzi, the businesses sign an agreement prior to installation that commits them to maintaining the corral.

The maintenance agreement states that the corral must be “swept and otherwise cleared of all debris at least once every other week,” and that the corral, “will receive a visual inspection at least once per week.” If the business fails to keep the corral clean and PBOT receives a citizen complaint about it, they will send out an investigator. If the conditions don’t improve, the agreement gives PBOT the right to revoke the permit.

“Entering into the maintenance agreement is generally not an issue for most businesses,” said Figliozzi in response to my questions, “as the appearance of their business frontage is often an important element of business.”

In this case, Figliozzi said the adjacent business (Saucebox) was likely just a bit late in sweeping the leaves and the Clean & Safe crew took their own initiative. “It was wonderful to hear that Clean & Safe was sweeping leaves out of a corral. I will notify Saucebox’s owner so that he can also thank them,” she added.

— Learn more about Portland’s on-street bike corrals here.

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Nick
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Nick

I never realized until now that Clean & Safe is run by the Portland Business Alliance and not the city.

Scott
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Scott

Which makes it all the more weird when you pair that knowledge with the fact that they have Clean & Safe employees with guns patrolling the streets.

John Lascurettes
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Do they have guns? I’ve never seen a C&S guy with a gun. Pepper spray, yes. Taser or stun, maybe. But I don’t ever recall seeing a firearm on one of these guys.

Scott
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Scott

Yes. There are Clean & Safe with guns. They have uniforms that are very similar to police the so you have to look close.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

good to know that people are looking out for us…

John Lascurettes
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Is it Clean and Safe that would also clean up leaves in the bike lane? Looks like Paul Mitchell blew all their leaves from the sidewalks into the buffered bike lane on Oak just east of Broadway. Seriously, it’s a mound of leave in the lane.

Alexis
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Alexis

Huh. I wouldn’t want to get a permit revoked, but the corral that I use a lot on 26th and Division has remained extremely leafy since the beginning of leaf-fall, so I don’t think anyone is currently doing regular maintenance on it. To report or not to report…

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

I hear you Alexis. I’d say to definitely report it. PBOT’s process for responding to the reports is very lenient. They give the businesses a lot of opportunities to respond and to make things right. A business would have to be very very negligent to get one revoked and even then I bet PBOT isn’t eager to do it. (come to think of it, if it came to that point, we should create a community task force to go clean it out).

wsbob
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wsbob

Granted, leaves accumulating around fixed objects like bike racks can come to look kind of ugly compared to surrounding area of swept streets, but this probably isn’t interfering with the ability to lock a bike to the racks.

So might there be a bigger issue calling for the leaves around the bike racks to be raked up? Seems like street drainage would be it. In some locations, a lot of leaves building up at the curb where the street sweeper can’t get to them could dam up the water, preventing it from draining into storm drains.

Steve
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Steve

Glad to see *someone* in the city removing leaves from bike related infrastructure. I know the City can’t (or won’t) remove leaves from most (any?) bike lanes or paths but I was really dismayed/depressed when on Tuesday I was running an errand that took me on Naito between Hawthorne and Steel Bridges and the bike lane was covered in leaves for most of the way. I mean, of all places to show maybe there’s some effort to keep bike lanes clear this would be it. (Note: I just surfed over here from Copenhagenize…sometimes it seems we have SO far to go…)

kittens
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kittens

Our city is broke. Like it or not, these are the sort of things will end up falling through the ever widening cracks. I am more concerned with the maintenance of all these new curbside bio-swales. They are clogging with leaves and garbage and flooding. We need more taxes at the state level.

matt picio
Guest

Don’t you mean local level? County or city, that is. Why should people in Prineville pay for leaf removal in Portland? I can understand why all state communities should pay for construction and maintenance of the roads themselves, but vegetation-related issues are a bit outside the area of responsibility, IMO.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…We need more taxes at the state level.” kitten

More taxes is going to be a tough sell. Really good reasons for more taxes might help to encourage support for them from those that have to pay the taxes.

The idea that more employment opportunities could be created by hiring people to regularly clean up around the bike racks might make some people feel better about paying more taxes, but generally, it’s probably a very good guess that the public would just as soon not create infrastructure that adds to maintenance loads.

Best thing might be to keep up with the search for better ways to park bikes that don’t involve loading up the street with leaf catching bike racks.