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Portland project gets 1,200 bike parking spaces, most in N America (and it might not be enough)

Posted by on January 14th, 2014 at 10:03 am

Each of three new buildings planned for the four-block project will include more than 100 bike parking spaces. The fourth will get a basement valet storage area with 540 or more.
(Image by GBD Architects.)

Call it a bikescraper.

The 21-story, three-building apartment project now rising in Portland’s Lloyd District will create more long-term bike parking than any other project in the nation, with four huge new storage facilities in four buildings and an on-site bike valet parking service to serve the biggest one.

But a project architect said Monday that he’s not sure the 1,200 bike parking spaces planned will be enough to serve 657 Portland households, so the development team is considering adding even more bike parking before the project, called Hassalo on Eighth, opens in 2015.

“The demographic that we expect to show up here is going to be young urban professionals and it’s going to be, we think, young families as well,” said Kyle Andersen of Portland-based GBD Architects. “They all have bikes. When I think about my own neighborhood, the families I see riding there, if you move those people into a building they’re still going to have a bike. I think you have to be ready for that demographic to be there, otherwise you’re restricting yourself.”

Hassalo on Eighth, which sits on four city blocks northeast of the corner of 7th and Holladay, will offer 328 residential auto parking spaces.

In November, The Oregonian reported that the developer expected rents in the buildings to be 20 percent lower than those for comparable units in the Pearl District or South Waterfront.

Reached over the last few days, bike experts in Canada, Mexico and across the United States said they didn’t know of any single project on the continent with more bike parking; Mexico’s largest facility, at a train station, holds 800. In Los Angeles, where two skyscraper projects will get more than 700 bike parking spaces, some developers have been predicting that LA’s new minimum bike parking requirement is a waste.

“One bike space per unit is very stupid — they’re never going to be used, especially in Los Angeles,” developer Barry Shy told the Los Angeles Business Journal. “Maybe 20 percent of tenants will have bikes.”

Not so for the Lloyd District project, Andersen predicted. It’ll offer one bike parking spot per unit in every building, plus room for at least 547 bikes in the garage beneath the existing Lloyd 700 office tower. That lot, which will itself be the biggest bike parking facility in Portland and one of the biggest on the continent, will be served by a valet similar to the one Oregon Health and Science University has operated for the last few years. Valet employees would access the underground parking through a freight elevator.

The southeast and southwest buildings will have large first-floor parking facilities with street access. Since this sketch was prepared, architects have brought the minimum total number of spaces to (clockwise from top left) 547, 143, 337 and 177. The large northwest area will be underground, with a street-level bike valet.
(Click to enlarge.)

“I think this is just the minimum that we need,” Andersen said, explaining that the developers are looking to include a diversity of parking options for the diversity of bike users they expect. “Some people ride it every single day, some people have five bikes, some people have a junker and some people have super-expensive bikes.”

In addition to the 328 auto parking spaces, another 670 or so on site would serve the existing office tower and 44,000 square feet of new commercial space, including a planned grocery store.

“We haven’t landed a grocer yet, so we need to make this as enticing as possible,” Andersen said, explaining the unusually large number of auto parking spaces being set aside for that tenant’s use.

A car-free public street will run through the middle of the project.

Scott Mizée, an independent Portland designer who specializes in bike parking, said high-density stack parking for 990 bikes (the minimum required by city code) would cost $400,000 to $600,000 in fixtures alone. Andersen said the complex will use a combination of stacked parking and cheaper but less dense wall-hook parking.

Mizée agreed with Andersen’s judgment that the city minimum, 1.5 bikes per unit, might not be enough to meet demand in central Portland.

“Many that do have bikes will have at least one bike per person, which would mean two per unit,” Mizee said. “If they will indeed have units that families can live in, special attention needs to be paid to cargo bikes and trailers. I don’t think we can over-estimate the need for cargo bike and larger city bike spaces in large residential developments in central Portland.”

Andersen said the developers haven’t yet worked out the details of the valet service, but that it might also serve as a park-and-ride for people looking to store their bikes before boarding the MAX or shopping in the area.

Andersen is smart to expect high bicycle usage at Hassalo on Eighth. According to the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation’s “cycle zone analysis“, the Lloyd District has the highest overall cycle zone analysis score and it has the highest possible cycling potential based on factors like land use, street connectivity, existing bikeway quality, and so on.

“Being on the crossroads of the Streetcar and the MAX line, we have bike traffic traveling down 7th and bike traffic traveling down Multnomah, and putting in a pedestrian street” through the middle of the development, Andersen said. “You can imagine bikes riding down that and people walking. It’s just a hub of activity.”

“I’m pretty excited,” he said.

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  • Chris Smith January 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I hope they will have a massive bike share station as well!

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    • Sigma January 14, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      If everyone who lives there owns multiple bikes, why would they need one?

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      • Spiffy January 14, 2014 at 11:17 pm

        for their visiting friends…

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  • John Liu
    John Liu January 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I’m not sure “bravo” is strong enough for the thinking here. I’ll say “BRAVO!”.

    The Lloyd District is going to be a transformed and inspirational neighborhood. MAX, Streetcar, bike infrastructure, street-facing Lloyd Mall, Broadway shopping, movie theatre, the park, central Eastside location – I’m eagerly looking forward to these projects.

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    • dan January 14, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Agreed! Park, movie theater, hopefully a grocery store on the way, and I predict that soon there will be bars / restaurants more interesting than Stanford’s. Hell, maybe I’ll rent out my house and move over there.

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    • Eastsider January 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      We must not disregard the fact they are adding 1,000 AUTO PARKING SPACES TO THIS NEIGHBORHOOD. 1,000 additional cars driving around and parking in this neighborhood is no small matter for an area that already sees so much traffic. Abundant bike parking is great but is also a cheap way for the developer to market the project while ignoring the tremendous impact of all the additional cars. Adding parking in the central city has a multiplier effect – those people will then want to drive downtown to work and so more parking will need to be added there and same with shopping.

      If a developer was really serious about bike parking, they would make room for it in the unit. I know that I am hesitant to leave any of my bikes stored long-term in a common area because theft and damage are very likely.

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      • MaxD January 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

        This development is replacing 3 blocks of parking, one block was a multi-story parking structure. Do you (or anyone) know if this is a net increase in parking for the superblock? Certainly the addition of small business, a car-free street across the site, and new apartments seems like a good thing for the district.

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  • MaxD January 14, 2014 at 10:48 am

    The Lloyd district will be a different place 2 years from now, and that is going to place a ton of pressure on the Rose Quarter to transform. I really hope we can build some momentum to change the alignment of the NP Greenway for the alignment that was recently adopted by the City to its rightful place along the top of the riverbank from Esplanade all the way to Tillamook Ave.

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  • Reza January 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Wow, this is a complete game-changer for the Lloyd District if all goes according to plan. You can expect the rest of the windswept parking lots in the area to get redeveloped in short order. Maybe this is what is needed to get the Holladay bikeway back on the table?

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  • Adam January 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I think the quality of bike parking going in is more important than quantity.

    I live in one of about five existing apt buildings within the Lloyd District – the Merrick. 150 -200 units I would guess. It does have bike parking, but it’s not very secure, to pug it mildly.

    They have wall mounted racks in the ground and basement level parking garages. A key fob is needed to access the parking garages, but it’s not hard to just follow a vehicle on foot as it drives into the building.

    Bike theft is a big problem in our apt building – they’ve had the police around for resident meetings several times since I moved in. My bike has been tampered with – thank god got locking wheel skewers.

    They keep saying they are going to convert one of the lesser used storage lockers into secure bike parking that you need an actual metal key to access, but it never happens (they seem to say it a lot, conveniently, when our lease is up for renewal. After we renew, the matter mysteriously sinks back into obscurity).

    If the newer apt a few blocks from us gave more secure bike parking, we would move in an instant. Safely stowing my bike is a huge priority to me. The Merrick management do not “get” bikes in the way other buildings going up in our area now do.

    It’s hard yo say how many residents in my building own bikes. The racks are about half full. Bug I see ridiculous numbers of bikes in the elevators, indicating most tenants feel safer storing their bikes in their apartments than in the parking garages. And that is a huge shame, not to mention fatal design flaw.

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    • Mindful Cyclist January 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

      I really think I would want to see just how secure bike parking in a big apartment complex is before I would leave a bike out of sight. Let’s hope there are not a lot of stories popping up on BP in the next couple of years about problems with bike theft in all of the new “bike apartments” being built!

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      • Adam January 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        Not new. Bikeportland ran a story in 2009 about a prolific bike thief stealing bikes from Pearl District condos. They caught him on security footage, I remember that much from the photos accompanying the article…

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        • Mindful Cyclist January 15, 2014 at 9:09 am

          I do remember that. And that is why I see it as a potential bigger issue when there are apartments being advertised with a room for 100’s and even 1000’s of bikes.

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      • Alexis January 14, 2014 at 6:45 pm

        It’s already a problem; where I live (one of the carfree buildings) has had significant issues. Mostly cable-lock related, but still. One of the problems, I think, is that they rely on only two layers of security (bike lock and complex gate) and bike locations are easily visible from outside the complex. If you have more layers than that and less visual attraction, it may be better.

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        • JV January 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm

          I am usually not one to advocate for a surveillance-heavy solutions, but for bike theft that is absolutely needed. A bike corral with a high-quality camera on the entrance would the best deterrent and tool for preventing and prosecuting bike theft in a high-density bike lot.

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    • Kiel Johnson
      Kiel Johnson January 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      We have parked over 60,000 bikes at the OHSU bike valet and never had a stolen bike, light, bag, or helmet.

      In my old building the convenience of bicycle parking was a big problem. They had a secure room but you had to take an elevator to get there. We are about to test out a texting valet retrieval service at Go By Bike. People will just send us a text when they board the tram and their bike will be waiting for them.

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      • KYouell January 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

        The texting valet retrieval service sounds wonderful. Then everyone can get “bakfietsen level” service. I’ve yet to need my number or had to wait for our bike. Maybe my son makes a lot of noise getting off the tram? Whatever the reason it makes getting him home from an exhausting doctor appointment on the hill so much easier. I love you guys! I hope they pick your brains to find how to make their valet program wonderful.

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  • Granpa January 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Hopefully this will pressure Hales & the powers that be to lean on UP to allow development of a path along Sullivan’s Gultch. That would be a breeze to the new Gateway Green.

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    • Todd Hudson January 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

      The bike connectivity of the Multnomah bike lanes, to other areas, is less than desired. The 7th Ave bike lane suddenly ends at Weidler, making an annoying pinch point. Nor is there good connection to a nearby north/south bikeway. The proposed 20s bikeway, crossing 84 at 21st, would be a great connection to the Lloyd.

      And to make it feel more like a neighborhood, maybe actually police the only park. Holladay Park is the Mos Eisley of parks. Last time I walked through, a bunch of street kids were sharing tokes from a enormous glass waterbong.

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      • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
        Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

        The 20s Bikeway we’re hearing about lately will cross 84 at the next bridge down, on 27th. They’re making some related improvements to the 21st Ave crossing but that 21st is actually in the bike plan as part of a different, mostly unplanned project.

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        • Alexis January 14, 2014 at 6:47 pm

          Minor correction, the bridge is at 28th.

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      • Adam January 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

        I would question the north-south connectivity for bicyclists in this neighborhood too. Until the bike/ped bridge goes in over the I-84 freeway at 7th Avenue, if indeed it ever does, bikes and pecs are limited to 12th Ave (not great for beginners) or Mlk/Grand (uh, yeah, like we’re going to bike on either of those). East-west, things are good. But I-84 is still a colossal barrier to less-than-confident riders aka most of us.

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        • Craig Harlow January 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm

          Don’t stop sounding the cry for a new bike/ped bridge over I-84 at or near NE 7th (nor for a permanent “world-class” bikeway on Multnomah). It’s on the radar of a number of groups, and it’s been heard by the city more than once over the years.

          I agree that the probable explosion in local (not through) bike traffic and its variety across ages and confidence levels that can result from this project will monumentally grow the demand for high capacity and high quality bike connections to this newly transforming neighborhood. I’m hopeful the result will be–at least in this pocket of the city–to flip the mode-split norm.

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  • MaxD January 14, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I had a bike stolen out of a “secure Bike room” The room was in a parking garage that required a fob to access, you needed a key to enter the bike room, and my bike was cabled to a staple. I realize the cable was a weak spot, but a few other bikes with U-locks were stolen from the same room. The problem with the room was its isolation. If you could get a key and get in, you make all kinds of noise cutting locks and no one would ever hear it. I wish I knew the answer for secure bike storage, maybe adding cameras?

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    • Indy January 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Motion-Detected HD Cameras and auditing should pretty much wrap that concern up, yes.

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  • Peter W January 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Will the racks be built in Portland? Do any Portland companies make bike racks?

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  • Dwaine Dibbly January 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Are any of these units going to be condos, or will they all be rentals? That many rental units hitting the market all at once could have a big downward effect on rates.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Yep, they’re all rentals. Though you might be right about the short-term market impact (I assume that’s related to the developer’s projection that starting rents will be on the low end of the market for new construction), forgive me for repeating a fact that often comes up in Real Estate Beat posts: the Portland metro area has had a chronic shortage of rental housing for seven years straight. No metro area in the country has had such persistently low rental vacancy rates.

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      • was carless January 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

        Agreed. My wife and I spent two years looking for a rental in the Metro area West of 82nd. Two years!

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    • Adam January 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      I don’t think over saturation of the rental market is something Portland has to worry about anytime soon. Try hunting for an apartment of your own, and you’ll find out soon enough! Portland has the lowest vacancy rate in the nation, or pretty close, for the rental market.

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  • Indy January 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I will live here. That is all.

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    • nuovorecord January 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Seriously. I’m already contemplating it myself.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Wow! Great job GBD Architects (Kyle Andersen) and the developer of the project. I too, cannot think of any larger project in the Nation at this moment.

    This is very great news…the Lloyd is sure to move past the Pearl in making all the right transportation decisions in a few years. How different 10 years is.

    Todd Boulanger
    VP of Operations

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  • Chris Smith January 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    BTW – the Bicycle Transportation Alliance should get some serious props for this outcome. At the time we reset the bike parking ratio, they (and specifically Michelle Poyourow) were the ones who pushed hard for the 1.5 ratio in the Central City, contrasted with the 1.1 ratio citywide.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Not to disagree that this is great, but are you sure? I would have said the same until I found out yesterday that the developer is voluntarily beating that 1.5-per-unit minimum by at least 20%. Seems to me that the BTA’s work on behalf of a bike-friendly urban landscape has mattered more here.

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      • Chris Smith January 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

        I think the statutory minimums are the ‘starting place’ for the developer’s thinking and setting a high bar encourages the developer to aim even higher in their design process.

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  • Chris Sanderson January 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I just installed some Saris racks in the garage of an apartment building. They were out of spaces, and made room for nine more, but it seemed like they could use more. Anyway, the building manager told me that many of the bikes that were locked to the current rack sat there, and I did observe a flat tire on one of the bikes. It got me thinking about how some people have bikes, but lock them to a rack, and use it occasionally. It that experience typical at other apartment buildings?

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    • Adam January 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Somewhat. In our apt building, it seems to be very seasonal. There are a couple bikes that look like they are slowly turning into rusting dinosaurs. But most are used – just not so much in winter.

      In summer, people almost fight over bike parking in our building. The problem is, we have four staple racks, and the rest are those awful wall-mounted monstrosities. We’ll everyone wants to lock up to the staple racks (developers, take note). But in summer, the bikes move a lot between racks, indicating they are used a lot.

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  • Peejay January 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    When I used to live in the Pearl, the problem of abandoned bikes attached to the few racks available always led to gripes and complaints. The HOA would come up with silly schemes that put the burden on frequent users and never actually cleared the orphaned bikes.

    In my estimation, whatever the bike capacity of a given residential building, I’d say 20% or more could be wasted with unused, possibly unowned, bikes (that could be donated to CCC or other organizations and made useful again).

    Some smart person should come up with a system that can be adopted by all these new buildings to maximize space for those who really need it.

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  • Hart Noecker January 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    “In addition to the 328 auto parking spaces, another 670 or so on site would serve the existing office tower…”

    Say WUT?!! Holy car-oriented development, Batman!!

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      For context’s sake, the office tower is 262,000 square feet, and half of that 670 will go to the retail, so we’re talking about 1.5 parking spaces for 1,000 square feet of office space. That’s not nothing but it’s not auto-oriented by most Portland standards.

      The retail component of this project, with 330 spaces or so for 44,000 square feet, is the part that’s going to be unusually auto-oriented for its location, much as the nearby mall is. A number that high makes it seem like they’re preparing to subsidize the parking of people who drive there to shop, as with the merchants downtown and the nearby Lloyd mall.

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      • Adam January 14, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        I’m curious – how many parking spaces will actually be “new”? By which I mean – this development is being built on a former, multi-level parking lot that served the Lloyd 700 Building. How many parking spaces did that former parking lot have, before they demolished it to make way for this new superblock project? I would guess there were a couple of hundred existing parking spaces already. So, they’re probably adding a couple hundred more. So, it’s not like we’ve gone from zero parking spots, to a thousand. More like, I don’t know? Maybe, 300 spots, to 1000? I don’t have the numbers, but you get the idea…

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  • Doug Klotz January 14, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Given that much bike parking in apartment buildings seems less than secure, I hope they all also let you take your bike up the elevator to your apartment. (and your cargo bike?)

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 14, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Andersen (the architect – no relation, FWIW) said they do expect this to happen no matter what, but I assume the official policy will be an operations decision that hasn’t been made yet.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu January 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    To reduce the number of abandoned bikes taking up bike parking spaces:

    Method 1: Issue tenants annual stickers that must be placed be on the bike or the lock. Change the color of the sticker every year (like car license plate registration stickers). Periodically, sweep through the garage and tag every bike not bearing the current year’s sticker. The tag says “buy the current sticker or this bike will be removed”. On the next sweep, remove tagged bikes.

    Method 2: Tag every bike with two flat tires.

    To reduce the number of bike thefts from bike parking: security cameras on the entrance/exit and on the parking, with sound. The development will have a security office (every large office or mixed use complex does). The security guard there should have a pretty good chance of noticing someone using a power grinder on a U lock. Repeat thieves will also be recorded on video, so they can be prosecuted for multiple thefts.

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  • 9watts January 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    “the Lloyd District has the highest overall cycle zone analysis score and it has the highest possible cycling potential based on factors like land use, street connectivity, existing bikeway quality, and so on.”

    Yeah, and among the highest rates in Multnomah Co. of households that DO NOT OWN CARS.
    Oh, yeah.

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  • Jim Labbe January 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Scott Mizée quote deserves emphasis:

    “If they will indeed have units that families can live in, special attention needs to be paid to cargo bikes and trailers. I don’t think we can over-estimate the need for cargo bike and larger city bike spaces in large residential developments in central Portland.”

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    • Scott Mizée January 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks Jim! I hope the developers are listening. I very much believe it to be true.

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  • CaptainKarma January 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Let me guess which of three overpriced grocery boutiques will go in…. It’s all a racket, I tell ya.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu January 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    There is a large Safeway about five blocks away from Hassalo/8th as well.

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    • Scott Mizée January 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      well… there IS a Safeway nearby. I certainly would not call it a LARGE Safeway though.

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  • Oregon Mamacita January 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Dear Chris,

    The developers can fork over 200k to B Cycle and have a four station system like they will have at the U of O. As for public funds for bike share- after we fix Brentwood (the 12th of never).

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  • John Liu
    John Liu January 17, 2014 at 9:12 am

    More broadly on the parking facility design, I hope there will be electrical outlets in the bike parking area for charging of e-bikes, some auto spaces reserved and wired for electric car charging (with metering to charge the tenant for the cost), and other auto spaces earmarked for car-share.

    There are a lot of apartment buildings now under construction in Portland, which is good, but this project has the unique potential of re-defining a neighborhood. I see that the buildings are planned to be LEED certified which is promising.

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