Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Week end ramblings (A new column for my thoughts of the week)

Posted by on November 16th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Portland fall 2012

Fall colors on Madison between 3rd and 4th.

Hey everyone, I’ve been wanting to get a bit more informal here on the Front Page. There are many things that cross my mind (and my desk) each week that I don’t post about; but that I want to share. And since Twitter is only 140 characters and it’s, well, Twitter, I want to try and start doing this every Friday. Think of it like the publisher’s letter. Expect a smattering of brief mentions, opinions, and whatnot. Thanks for reading, and thanks again for another amazing week of stories and comments. Oh, and I’m not sure what to call this new column. Any ideas? — Jonathan

If you’re in need of outfitting yourself with new gear for winter, you’re in luck. Showers Pass is blowing out their famed rain gear at “stupid low prices” at a warehouse sale that starts tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. This event was huge last year, so I’d suggest getting there early (it goes until 12 noon). 2101 SE 6th Ave (cross street is SE Lincoln). But wait! There’s more… I’ve lived in Icebreaker merino wool stuff for the past few years. Seriously. It’s awesome. And the big Friends and Family sale started today. It goes until 7:00 pm. It’s also on tomorrow from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm at 525 NW 10th Ave.

Once you get all cozied up in your new wool, you should definitely check out the new bikeways over on NE Multnomah in the Lloyd District. They’ve added a lot more since my post a few days ago. This is an important project. The protected bike lanes and other big changes show what’s possible in reforming outdated streets. And if it’s deemed a success, we could see it happen all over the city. Go check it out and let me know what you think.

Speaking of reform, I’m fascinated that Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey has re-ignited the debate about the Westside bypass freeway project. I’ve already heard folks are gearing up to oppose it and it’s sure to be contentious. How will the debate be different this time around? Does the growth of the west side make more freeways inevitable? What will be the basis of the argument from those who oppose this project? A lot of big questions that should make for an interesting 2013 legislative session.

When things start heating up down in Salem next year, I’m sure there will be lots of transportation issues to cover and discuss. Today, Oregon House representative Val Hoyle was named as majority leader. That should come in handy for issues many of us care about, seeing as how Rep. Hoyle was also recently elected to the BTA’s Board of Directors.

Closer to home here in Portland, I’ve been dismayed and upset by something I’ve heard regarding the N. Williams Avenue project. That project — which, as many of you know, has turned into a case study on community racial tension and so on — was the subject of two separate panel discussions this week. People that attended those events have informed me that someone who was involved with the project is spreading lies about me and the role BikePortland played in the project. This is very unfortunate. If you were at one of those events and know what I’m talking about, please contact me. I would really like the opportunity to set the record straight.

On a much brighter note, I thoroughly enjoyed following along on Twitter as Emily “6 kids and no car” Finch traveled to Los Angeles this week to appear as a guest on The Ricki Lake Show. Emily has really handled her new-found celebrity well. Watch the Front Page next week where I’ll try to recap the amazing journey her story has taken since our story back in June (it’s been shared on Facebook over 20,000 times!).

On a cargo biking note, today I sat down with a public information staffer that works with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management. They’re creating a video about the role bicycles can play in disaster response. I was more than happy to share my experiences from New York City during Sandy. I’ve been thinking a lot about New York as I ride around Portland. Beyond the disaster, my time there really changed my perspective on density. I’ve always understood it to be a good thing from a transportation planning standpoint, but now I really see how our lack of it here in Portland creates limitations.

It will be difficult for us to achieve the type of non-auto mode splits we are aiming for if we don’t add density. It’s with this new lens that I am seeing the parking debate unfold. I’m relieved that it appears — thanks in large part because of testimony by many of you — City Council won’t be changing the existing codes that allow developers to build multi-story apartments without on-site car parking. Despite protestations by The Oregonian Editorial Board (big surprise!), the conversation seems to be veering toward a real discussion of parking management and pricing. In general, I think this parking debate is aligned well with the general sense I heard at the first PBOT Budget Advisory Committee this week, that pricing parking higher and more often than we do now isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

Our recently elected mayor-to-be Charlie Hales threw me for a loop this week. I thought it was obvious that he should address the very poor and misleading KATU story about his transportation plans; but apparently Hales thinks he’s made his opinions perfectly clear. Unfortunately, he hasn’t. I was concerned about the way Hales talked about transportation during the campaign. Those concerns remain. And now added to them are concerns about his inability to set an honest public narrative about transportation in the local media.

Have a great weekend.

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  • SilkySlim November 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I like it – although I was hoping for more of an Andy Rooney style monologue!

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  • Gary Charles November 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I love, love, love the new protected lanes on Multnomah. Sure there are some tricky spots where cars turn across the lane but compared to riding on a bike boulevard or unprotected bike lane there’s no contest. I’m a new commuter and this is exactly the kind of thing that will help keep me from getting in my car instead. I would love to see more of these take hold all over.

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    • spare_wheel November 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      “Sure there are some tricky spots”
      ” I’m a new commuter”

      I have been commuting by bike for many decades and those “tricky spots” scare me. Un-signalized merges out of bike facilities (or sidewalks) increase the risk of injury or death. I would rather take the vehicle lane than ride in a facility that forces me to swerve into faster moving traffic multiple times (with terrible sight lines). Research has shown that bike lanes in copenhagen are safer than older non-signalized cycle tracks primarily due to increased risk at intersections. If PBOT wants to build cycle tracks they should find the funds to do so in a manner that meets minimal safety standards.

      SU. Jensen, C.Rosenkilde & N.Jensen (2007), Road Safety and Perceived Risk of Cycle Facilities in Copenhagen, Trafitec

      SU. Jensen, Bicycle Tracks and Lanes: a Before-After Study, Trafitec

      And to quote Alta:

      A major concern with cycle tracks is providing visibility at crossings and enabling turning movements for bicyclists. All design elements of the cycle track should continue through crossings of minor streets and driveways, including the grade-separation…. Right-turns on red should be prohibited by automobiles, while bicyclists in the cycle track turn left via protected left-turn movements (the “Copenhagen Left”), or signalization.

      Particular concerns associated with cycle tracks at signalized intersections include a lack of visibility for bicyclists in the cycle track, the right hook danger (right turning vehicles not seeing bicyclists in the cycle track and turning through the bicycle’s forward movement), and the difficulty of left-turn movements from the cycle track. At signalized intersections along cycle tracks where cyclists are provided a protected phase for the through movement, right-turns on red by vehicles should be prohibited.

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  • Rol November 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Maus Time
    Friday Tidbits
    Le Lanterne Rouge
    Cleaning Off My Desk
    Table Scraps
    The Wrapup
    The Amoebas
    Infinity-DC (AC/DC tribute)
    whoops, lapsed into band names, my bad
    Notes from the Bike Lane
    News Briefs
    The Friday Debrief

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    • Spiffy November 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      I like Notes from the Bike Lane…

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    • Anthony November 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Just Mausin’ Around
      The Bike Box
      Spoke-n words (sorry, bad pun)
      Wheel Life

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    • Alan 1.0 November 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      The Monday Roundup :: The Friday Square Off

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  • Racer X November 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I would suggest folks have low expectations about what they will find at the Showers Pass event tomorrow. It is a lot of work for often less reward.

    I went last year for Christmas shopping on a budget and was there early…picked up a lot of stuff…but once I found out how much it would cost to correctly repair the zippers, etc. it made less sense to fix many of the jackets.

    The best deals and really the only reason to go if you are an odd size (small) and are looking for a deal…unless you do not mind rising around in a jacket with a bum zipper…

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    • Spiffy November 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      it’s my opinion that all their zippers are bum zippers because that’s where the water leaks through their “waterproof” jackets… my next rain jacket will have a flap over the zipper…

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      • stasia November 17, 2012 at 10:40 am

        For that matter it’s my opinion that all their jackets are bum jackets if you’re actually looking for something waterproof. Not to be snarky, but I’ve been really disappointed with even the super high-end (and super high priced) jackets they offer. You’re probably better off with a non bike-specific (i.e. cheaper) and actually waterproof layer.

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        • adventure! November 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

          Yeah, I picked up a perfectly good except for busted zipper jacket from the Showers Pass sale last year for only $10. Thankfully the zipper worked mostly, and a quick fix makes it functional, if not perfect. If I wanted to do the full zipper repair it would be $50-70.

          If you’re looking for zipperless rain gear, may I suggest a rain poncho?

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  • 9watts November 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Regarding that looney Westside freeway idea, I’m distressed that with all the challenges we currently face: economic inequality, tight budgets, cuts in education and transportation, climate change, emergency un-preparedness, ill-maintained infrastructure of all kinds, we have elected officials who can think of nothing better to do with their time, our tax money, and everyone’s agricultural land in 2012 than pave even more of it over. Besides the projects mentioned here on bikeportland this is also happening in Salem right now (the so-called Third Bridge project). Local opposition exists to all of these projects, but it’s hard to know how to step it up a notch, who to contact, how to organize a conversation about what our priorities could or should be. Once upon a time, I think, politicians and or the news media did this.

    I do very much appreciate all the coverage these things get here, and look forward to this new Friday column.

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    • Daniel R. Miller November 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      We need something like a homepage or hub for “opposition to idiotic/destructive boondoggle projects in greater Portland” or something like that. Although at least Jonathan does a good job here of alerting us to things that otherwise seem to get no critical investigative reportage.

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      • 9watts November 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        Yes to both.
        One might have thought the BTA could be doing some of this as well. And perhaps they are? But how would we know?

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  • Tony H November 17, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I very much like this sort of blogging. Many things, perhaps too short to be stand-alone features, can be talked about. A more conversational tone, perhaps.

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  • Rekre8 November 17, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Thanks for this posting- I read it at 8:30 Saturday morning and made it to the Showers Pass event shortly past 9, and the shoppers we scrambling for jackets in the rain; and the credit card reader was down, creating a long line for checkout. Good deals on certain things, but I’ll bet the selection was gone by 10 from the shark frenzy.

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  • davin54 November 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Great Start! Possibly to many subjects to cover adequately though. I would concur, a short piece a la the late, great Mr. Rooney. “Stuff in the Bike Lane”, perhaps. My favorite subjects at this time of the year, Bright clothing and BRIGHT LIGHTS, thank you very much!

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  • Travis November 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I scored a blue prototype Showers Pass Elite 2.1 that’s in great condition (a little scuff on the shoulder, cyclocross usage maybe?), a brand bew softshell trainer jacket on closeout and two tri-vests for less than an Elite jacket at retail.

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  • evan November 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    bits and pieces!

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  • Zaphod November 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Hmmm… wondering if there’s a designation that might clarify that this is opinion/editorial while other stories that are intended to be objective. I’d hate to see the waters get murky on what bikeportland is all about. Great concept.

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  • are November 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    what and where were these “panel discussions” on the williams project? and will we ever hear the full story of what exactly was marcus griffith’s engagement on this matter?

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  • mark kenseth November 18, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Freewheelin’ Friday.

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  • bearcub November 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Guess you didn’t get the tip on the N.O.I.S.E. ride. Twas hands down the best ride of the year, never had more fun being miserably cold and wet all day. 😛

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  • Granpa November 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for the heads-up on Shower’s Pass. Got two jackets

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  • billy November 19, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Call it… “Critical Maus”


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