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Transportation wonks shine in trivia fundraiser

Posted by on March 21st, 2013 at 2:54 pm

It was a packed out for the 2nd annual
Transportation Trivia fundraiser last night.
(Photo: Mary Nichols)

Portland is full of transportation wonks (a.k.a. geeks or nerds) and last night it seemed like nearly every one of them was packed into the Radio Room. The event that brought them all together was Transportation Trivia Night, a fundraiser for the Community Cycling Center.

Dozens of local transportation experts, consultants, researchers, engineers, bureaucrats, students, advocates, citizen activists — and even a few members of the local media (including yours truly) — donated $10 to join the fun. Among the many smiling faces in the crowd were: ODOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Manager Sheila Lyons; citizen activist extraordinaire and former City Council candidate Chris Smith; BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky; Portland State University Associate Professor Kelly Clifton; Filmed by Bike Founder Ayleen Crotty; and Portland Mayor (and former City Transportation Commissioner) Charlie Hales.

The emcee on the night was none other than the Division Manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Signals, Street Lighting, & ITS Division, Peter Koonce.

20 teams of six assembled themselves around tables of drinks and food and pooled their collective wisdom to answer questions on a range of topics. The teams competed not just on trivia, but also for most creative team name. A sampling of the entries included; Chicken Fried Bicycle, Vulnerable Roadway Musers, Cycle Track Stars (my team!), the Mother Mudrucking Multimodal Maves, CRC Shells by the Sea Shore, Streetcars Named Desire, and the winning team name — Roads Scholars.

Check a few photos from the action:

Transportation Trivia fundraiser-1

Good thing they’ve got great bike parking at Radio Room.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Mayor Hales (blue shirt) in deep thought trying to help his Hot Toddies teammates.
(Photo: Mary Nichols)

Mayor Hales and First Lady Nancy Hales.
(Photo: Mary Nichols)

My team! The Cycle Track Stars from left to right: Ian Stude, Meghan Sinnott, Will Vanlue, Lea Vanlue, Gregg Lavender, Me, Ayleen Crotty.
(Photo: Mary Nichols)
Transportation Trivia fundraiser-4

Emcee Peter Koonce.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Transportation Trivia fundraiser-6

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Transportation Trivia fundraiser-7

Team Vertical Deflection having fun.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

And here’s a sampling of the questions:

    – According to the National Bridge Inventory, what was the sufficiency rating of the Sellwood Bridge before it’s move? (Scale 0-100) (Answer: 2)

    – As of December 2012, how many car2go vehicles were in Portland? (Answer: 310)

    – The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices recommends what walking speed to set the timing of pedestrian signal installments? (Answer: 3.5 ft/second)

    – What country held the first Cyclocross national championship in 1902? (Answer: France)

    – What is the length, in feet, of the floating walkway on the Eastbank Esplanade? (Answer: 1200)

    – Name the four Ts of the 4T Trail in southwest Portland. (Answer: Tram, Trail, Trolley, Train)

    – What is the official color of the new buffer zone on NE Multnomah? (Answer: Beeswax)

    – How many kids received bikes at the 2012 Community Cycling Center Holiday Bike Drive? (Answer: 440)

    – What share of road spending in Oregon is covered by general taxes (as opposed to user fees)? (Answer: 64%)

As the night wore on, things got a bit crazy. There was chanting, taunting, and general merriment in all directions. It’s really amazing what happens when you get so many certifiable smart people crammed into one room.

The big winners on the night were the crew from Chicken Fried Bicycle (didn’t get a good photo because all I had was my phone). They won in a tie-breaker over the Vulnerable Roadway Musers. (Full rundown of all the scores and other details on the CCC blog.)

When the donations were tallied up at the end of the night, we’d raised $2,316 for the CCC and $650 of that went directly to sponsor 13 bikes for the Holiday Bike Drive. Fun for a good cause and a chance to flaunt the inner transportation geek in all of us. What a night! Thank you Community Cycling Center and Radio Room for hosting!

For more photos, check out the gallery on Radio Room’s Facebook page.

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Jim LeeEvan ManvelSilkySlimJim LeeRebecca Recent comment authors
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What fun!

“- What share of road spending in Oregon is covered by general taxes (as opposed to user fees)? (Answer: 64%)”

Hey local media! Can we get wall-to-wall coverage of that (certified?) fact? Hey, Oregonian! How about it?!


Second place team was Vulnerable Road Musers, the Hales tiebreaker was just for one of the earlier rounds.

Ted Buehler

Great event by the CCC. Congrats to last year’s innovative first-time event, and a great repeat performance in 2013.

I always get pretty excited when I see a new round of bicycle fun/advocacy/organizational development come online.

Keep being creative and innovative folks, and come up with new and different ways we can dream up new events to add to the annual calender.

Ted Buehler (Team Vertical Deflection, #3 team in 2013!)


So many wonks and geeks in one small space! I heard someone say that if there had been a natural gas explosion last night, Portland’s stock of active transportation advocates would have been decimated and freeways would have started sprouting up out of the ground by morning.

Thank you CCC, let’s do this again soon!

Jim Lee
Jim Lee

What is the circumference of the inner curb of Ladd circle?

Jim Lee
Jim Lee