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As Nike expands, so too could nearby biking options

Posted by on November 25th, 2014 at 10:04 am

A curb-protected bike lane proposed for Walker
Road
would serve Nike’s campus, but has
been delayed until 2019.
(Image: Washington County, modified by BikePortland)

Nike is planning to spend millions of dollars to build parking garages for 2,500 cars on its growing Washington County campus, but it’s not yet clear whether the sportswear giant will also be backing investments that would help its employees bike to work.

Today, 3 percent of Nike’s more than 8,000 payroll and contract workers typically walk or bike for their commute, according to a transportation plan covered last week by The Oregonian. Another 6 percent ride the bus or MAX, 1 percent telecommute, 12 percent carpool and 78 percent drive alone.

Though 3 percent biking and walking is probably well above average for a major employer in a U.S. suburb, it’s well below (for example) the 13 percent bike/walk rate at competitor Adidas, whose North American headquarters is in North Portland.

nikegraph

But aside from Nike’s momentous decision last year to choose Washington County for its expansion rather than Portland’s South Waterfront, there are signs that the company could be preparing for an investment in bike transportation.

Walker Road protected bike lane

We reported in January that Washington County was considering a 1.8-mile curb-protected bike lane along Walker Road, which runs along the north edge of Nike’s current campus and its planned expansion, as part of a road widening and sidewalk improvement. After a pair of open houses in the spring, though, the project’s build date was postponed two years, to late 2019.

three bike lanes around nike labeled

Street segments marked in orange are under discussion for reconstruction.

Washington County Bicycle-Pedestrian Coordinator Shelley Oylear wrote in an email this month that Walker had been “delayed to better coordinate with building construction work on the Nike site. We want to minimize conflicts between construction traffic for the employees and residents and impacts to our new roadway that building construction will have. We are still moving forward projects in the vicinity, just re-ordered them, Jenkins Road and 158th are first up for improvements.”

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Jenkins Road and 158th Avenue

According to The Oregonian, these streets along the south and west edges of Nike’s current campus (currently three and four general lanes plus striped gutter bike lanes) will also be widened to five lanes plus bike lanes. It’s not yet clear how wide those bike lanes will be or how they might be separated. (As we reported last year, the Federal Highway Administration’s official formula estimates that widening an intersection to add two mixed-traffic lanes makes it less safe to bike on, even when painted bike lanes are being added — and in this case, the streets already have painted lanes.)

The streets, which currently have irregular or unbuffered sidewalks, would likely get walking upgrades.

Path through woods to MAX stop

The possibility of a direct off-road link between Nike’s campus and the Beaverton Creek MAX station, running through a forested plot of land owned by Nike, came up earlier this year when TriMet won a state grant to improve bike access to the station. That grant application alluded to “a future north-south Nike trail through the Nike woods property.”

beav creek map

Bike parking and trail improvements planned near Beaverton Creek MAX stop.

Also this year, Nike launched a corporate bike sharing system. It’s been popular enough as a quick connection to the MAX for TriMet to add additional bike staples at the MAX station.

It all seems like a strong sign that Nike is at least interested in the path. Last week, we asked TriMet active transportation planner Jeff Owen and Nike spokesman Greg Rossiter if they could share anything about that. Owen referred questions to Rossiter, who had this to say:

At this point, what we can tell you is that we expect to work with Washington County and the City of Beaverton to make improvements to the roads leading to and from campus, and we’re also considering a variety of mass transit options. We aren’t providing additional details at this time.

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Lynne
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Lynne

the traffic around Nike at rush hour is already very congested. Putting more employees and proportionally more cars is just going to make it worse. Nike employees already cut through the neighborhood just north of Nike (Butner/Downing->Meadow) to avoid the Murray/Walker intersection, and I have found that they seem to be less than courteous drivers (it was my bike commute route).

SW Walker is a parking lot both west to 158th and east to Cedar Hills in the evenings. Walker won’t be widened to the east without destroying the neighborhoods, nor would I want it to be (stroads!)

I don’t know the answer here, but I would like to see a lot more thought about the impact of all those additional cars.

Eastsider
Guest
Eastsider

Nike’s attitudes towards transportation are very outdated and are evident in their upcoming expansion. The next generation of employees does not want to drive a single passenger vehicle to Beaverton everyday. And they don’t want to work on a campus housing 10,000+ cars. No one moves to Portland so that they can spend their evenings going 3mph down US26.

Nike’s continued misinvestment in their suburban campus indicates a shocking inability to recognize obvious trends. The people making these decisions there are out of touch and it is going to seriously hurt the vitality of their company.

orygunmike
Guest
orygunmike

So what solutions would you propose that would be superior to Nike’s “outdated” thinking?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…According to The Oregonian, these streets along the south and west edges of Nike’s current campus (currently three and four general lanes plus striped gutter bike lanes) will also be widened to five lanes plus bike lanes. …” maus/bikeportland

Currently three lanes for Jenkins, and four for 158th. I think that’s correct, used to drive it quite a bit, but not so much anymore. I’m generally opposed to accommodating motor vehicle traffic through the addition of main lanes to such roads. Bike lanes, yes, main lanes no.

As others have noted, rush hour traffic is horrendous already. Widening the road for more main lanes, expands the area of asphalt, decreases area livability, but doesn’t do a good job of facilitating the movement of people. It’s a bit of a head scratcher for me, that an increase in the number of road main lanes would be increased, when there is and has been over the last ten years and more, an ongoing increase in new housing built with walking distance, and definitely biking distance, of the expansive Nike campus.

Nike has before it, an opportunity to ‘show em all’, how to conceive, design and build transportation infrastructure, encouraging and supporting travel to and from its campus from area housing, parks, schools, businesses and shops. For them not to be taking advantage of this opportunity sitting right before them, postponing even a glimmer of any trace of such a gesture until five years from now, is kind of a stinker.

Champs
Guest
Champs

When the combined speed of all lanes exceeds a two lane highway, I’m willing to make exceptions to my hatred of “protected bike lanes”.

I will take issue with the term, however. This is not about biking, walking, or livability, it’s about separating motor traffic from everything else. There is no such pretense where people line more nominal highways, and there shouldn’t be one here, either.

Fish
Guest
Fish

I really would expect a lot more from Nike. I work for Brooks up here in Seattle and our bike cage is almost completely full and our parking garage is nearly empty. They moved us from our suburban office park right into the heart of the city and give us many many benefits for not driving to work (they also charge an arm and a leg to park here). Would love it if Nike did something similar. It should be part of the goals of any athletic company to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Moving to the central city is antithetical to Phil Knight, the man who fought Measures 66 and 67, and the company that beat annexation to make its campus an enclave in Beaverton.

Central Portland (and Boise) are to Nike what London and Toronto are to the NFL: a bargaining chip. Cities and states have subsidized football stadiums to the tune of billions. Washington County and the state…

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

I absolutely agree, I live on the border of Beaverton in Portland and find myself around Nike often enough that I notice a lot of the employees driving to lunch (but at least car pooling with others) where a little motivation and incentive by Nike could really inspire their employee culture to bike, walk or use PT more often than driving.

Josh Gold
Guest
Josh Gold

Agreed! It is ironic that a sports apparel and footwear company would have such an absymal bike commute rate / high single occupant vehicle commute rate, and low support for bicycle infrastructure such as separated bike paths.

You would think they would be one of the leading, if not THE leading supporter for bicycle related issues. Does Nike not sell bike products or bike apparel? If not, why?

Rick
Guest
Rick

How about Walker Road from SW Canyon Road to Cedar Hills Blvd?

Neil C
Guest
Neil

And the other direction from 173rd to Amber Glen.

~n
Guest
~n

There are also some less than bike-friendly behaviors being exhibited by Nike in a more obscure capacity. For example: There is a “heart in the right place” leaf collection program run by Hillsboro and Washington County that advises corporations to blow their leaves into bike lanes up to a week before a scheduled pick-up day. This cyclist-endangering program is even conducted on heavily trafficked roads like NW Evergreen Pkwy. According to Google maps, Nike is the company presently leasing at 20500 NW Evergreen Pkwy, and yesterday morning, they were blowing leaves into the bike lane a full 16 days prior to their scheduled pick-up day, endangering my husband’s life as he biked to work. I hardly appreciate this. Disclaimer: I haven’t been able to confirm with 100% accuracy the responsible party was Nike, but judging by the sidewalks and bike lanes near Nike HQ, I’m 99% sure.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

You’re blaming Nike for the behavior of a landscaping contractor hired by the company they lease a building from?

~n
Guest
~n

I would like to put in a call to whoever’s responsible rather than just let the problem–and a big pile of leaves–sit unattended. According to Google, Nike’s in the property. I have no idea how leasing works and who’s responsible, but it’s their name on the map. I don’t know who to contact for that, can you point me in the right direction?

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Uh, yeah. It wouldn’t surprise me if a deep-pockets suit by someone injured by that contractor’s irresponsible actions would succeed if it could show that the contractee had been informed about the contractor’s actions and had not corrected them.

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

SW Walker from Cedar Hills to Canyon would be AWESOME, especially from Hwy 217 east. I walk and cycle there almost daily, and it is scary. I almost use my ears more than my eyes, because no sight lines. But I’m not even sure who to approach on that one. It is right on the south edge of the CPO boundary and Beaverton; SW Walker is a county road. No businesses there, but it is a cut through for commuters.

Joe
Guest
Joe

walker rd is a complete nighmare I’ve almost be right hooked 10 times in the last 2 months, get to cedar hills and ppl love to over take riders. * if you ride around Beaverton be extra careful just lotta moving autos at high speeds. 🙁

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I agree, Walker seems to one of the most dangerous roads for cyclists and pedestrians in the entire Beaverton area, for some reason.

Joe
Guest
Joe

seems beaverton police have car parked on Jenkins with no one in it for whatever reason, wish they would start with protecting the ppl in the streets feel they don’t do a good job at it.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Nothing Nike can do out there in tax-dodging unincorporated WA county, short of relocating to the central city, can match what adidasAmerica has done in North Portland. All this stuff is just lipstick on a pig.

David Bosch
Guest
David Bosch

Nike’s campus has been there forever. They have a poor “track record” at making the area more livable.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Go NIKE!

~n
Guest
~n

@David: It’s obvious that in the past Nike’s done a minimum to ensure neighbors’ livability, and gotten away with it in part because the people who’ve lived nearby for years don’t bike or use TriMet much themselves. It’s hard for many long-time suburbanites to imagine anything besides “wider roads” as a fix for traffic woes because they’ve never used TriMet buses or biked. They can’t imagine not owning a car! But my sense is that MAX using, non-car owning cyclists whose cycling teeth were cut in Portland have been moving in next door (many priced out of Portland)… and they represent a new demographic for Nike and Washington County with new and different transportation needs. I’m a believer that if you build it, the rest of the neighborhood will soon be delighted to use it, too (lit sidewalks to walk to the Fred Meyer and Thai food restaurants, frequent service bus lines, respected bike lanes, etc).

~n
Guest
~n

If there are regulatory barriers, we really need to work to tear them down. Look at Orenco Station near Intel in Hillsboro–this is a successful “live-walk-bike-shop-work” development that could TOTALLY be done around Nike. For starters, someone could “just do it” and install lighting on all walkways through & around the THRPD Center, instead of letting it be the pitch dark path it is at night when no ballgames are happening. This would connect grocery shopping with residents who walk. But–if you call the THRPD Center, they say, “I think the city of Beaverton handles that.” The city of Beaverton says, “Sorry, that’s a Washington County issue.” Finally, someone sends you back to THRPD, and you’ve now completed a full lap around the pass-the-buckers. It’s ridiculous. Meanwhile, TriMet line 59 rumbles along a whopping 6 times a day.

I think Nike neighbors need to start over with the calls but this time not accept when they are told, “You’re calling the wrong place.”

There are lots of creative transportation solutions out there if employers and their neighbors can get out of the 1980s mindset of, “Wider roads and parking garages–THAT’S the ticket.” Nike could sponsor Zipcars at the THPRD Center for employees (and others) to use, for example.

Someone mentioned almost getting right hooked along Walker. Yes, and frustrated rushhour drivers sometimes enter the bike lane to cut through to the right turn from way far back, too. Careful out there, but do ride–the bike infrastructure IS there between 158th & Walker to Cedar Hills (sidewalks not so much). If you’re an experienced and careful cyclist, which means avoiding rush hour if possible, most trips are going to be just fine in that stretch. Increased cyclist presence does seem to be teaching more motorists what they can and cannot do with the bike lane.

Rick Hamell
Guest

Ex-Nike employee here. I rode to work most days over a ten year period and I was far from the only one. From my perspective there are a number of barriers that need to be overcome before biking is more practical at Nike.

1.) Distance between Nike and Portland and lack of good routes. I know a lot of people who bike over the West Hills still despite that. But it’s still a barrier.

2.) Amount of bike parking available. Space is at a premium on campus and has been as long as I can remember. Buildings that are meant for 350 people have 600 in them. Hallways and foyers are frequently filled with bikes. Bike racks are usually full, with no places to put more despite the number of requests.

3.) Nike is spread out a lot due to the above. There are all of the Milikan buildings, and the above mentioned Evergreen Building. Plus a couple of others. People have meetings between buildings and while there are shuttle busses they’re not always convenient timing. Not to mention the number of back to back meeting making travel time a premium.

4.) Bike safety. Despite bike lanes on Jenkins and Murray, I have still almost been ran over many times despite bright orange coat and lots of lights. Cars just don’t pay attention or think they can use the bike lane as a passing lane or turn lane. I’ve even almost been ran over by Trimet several times. I don’t know if people in Beaverton don’t expect bikes to be around or what, but I feel safer riding in downtown Portland then I do in Beaverton.

5.) Long work hours. Yes, employees have flexible time, but a lot of people end up putting in ten to twelve hour days especially during crunch times. That meant a lot of commuting at dusk, with all the dangers that entails when biking.

6.) Large numbers of employees not used to bike culture in general.

For me it was a daily decision after looking at my calendar on if I was riding my bike or driving to work and I only lived three miles away.

~n
Guest
~n

Interesting, thanks for posting! Seems like Zipcar or Car2Go might be a perfect solution for bike commuters who have intercampus travel during the day, and overcoming #6 is a big one–not just for the employees, but the employer itself. None of these seem insurmountable as long as they’re tackled with the determined attitude typical of athletes! There are multiple solutions proposed for each of these issues as long as the company is open to listening and collaboration. Maybe I’m just in an overly optimistic mood after a great turkey dinner…?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Re; number four on your list, comparison of Murray Blvd traffic to downtown, and reactions of people driving, to people biking on that road:

Depends some on what part of Downtown Portland you’re referring to, I suppose. With its 200′ blocks, and traffic light signals, Central Downtown between Burnside, I-405, and the river, are comparatively docile streets on which to ride. Murray in Beaveton, from Scholls Ferry to the south, all the way north, to Cornell, just short of Hwy 26, is a very intense to travel highway. For people driving on that road, there’s way too much to keep track of at one time, for everyone to consistently be aware of vulnerable road users on the road.

Nike’s big landscape berm, on the west side of Murray, looks like it may well have sufficient width for the design and construction of a cycle track, separated ten feet or more from the main lane and current bike lane. Nike could take the initiative of dealing with traffic congestion issues in this area, by exploring the viability of such ideas. Commutes of three miles and less to the campus, ought to be the type that all employers and the cities in which their business is located, seriously work to develop bike infrastructure for, that people can ride with a minimum of exposure to intense motor vehicle traffic use.

Your description of employee bikes being parked in campus buildings, sounds similar to what Lynne has spoken of in comments to earlier bikeportland stories.

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

I worked there for almost 2 years (contractor) starting 4 years ago. Never on the main campus – on West Campus for awhile, then the second floor of Bldg 58 on the Tektronix campus. Many meetings on the main campus. The three of us who cycled to work would just hop on our bikes and ride over. Yes, making that left turn across Murray to Jenkins was always a bit tense. But we’d arrive at our destination building, park our bikes in the lobby or hall somewhere, and consistently arrive at the meeting ahead of our teammates who elected to drive over. We were about the same in actual transit time, but they had to find a place to park their car. Campus parking is always full.

After enough of this, we actually got one of the die-hard drivers to use one of the campus shuttle bikes and join us 🙂

My commute was 3.5 to 4 miles, depending on which building I worked in; I did commute every day. One year, I was the ONLY person in the Bike Commute Challenge out of the ENTIRE company with a 100% commute rate.

I am not disputing that navigating in and out of the Nike Campus on a bicycle is stress-inducing.

Riding through east or west on Jenkins south of the Nike campus isn’t too bad. Trying to do the same on Walker eastbound north of campus – that is bad, the way the straight and right traffic splits up, especially if one is planning to turn left onto Park Way after crossing Murray.

s30t
Guest
s30t

Interesting reading through all the comments here. I recently joined Nike, despite having heavy concerns about the commute. One year in I can say my concerns are justified. I try my best to commute by bike (or at least a bike/max combo) – but the time investment is huge. I’ve tried multiple different routes, but I live in NE Portland and it is almost impossible to keep the round trip commute less than 2-2.5 hours via bike or combo bike/public transit combo. if you work with Asia and Europe (which I do) you end up with many early a.m/late calls…that means hopping on my bike at 5 am and not getting back home until 7pm or later. I can see why commuting by bike is not an option for anyone with children (or even a dog for that matter!)

I have been very surprised at how inflexible Nike is about alternative working arrangements (i.e. working from home) which is not what I was led to believe when I interviewed. They want their employees on campus, and do very little to support/encourage biking to campus. It makes me sick to hear of their expansion plans to accommodate an additional 2,500 cars on campus. This place is a zoo already, and the traffic on 26 is horrific. I have enjoyed working for Nike, but honestly, the commute and changes to my work/life balance that I’ve been forced to accommodate due to the commute have me rethinking them as a choice employer.

~n
Guest
~n

@s30t: That must be so frustrating! 🙁 I’ve done that trip a number of times, too, and it’s inefficient time-wise, for sure. Have you written to Washington County (c/o Shelley Oylear) to let them know your issues & concerns? It’d be worth doing–according to this article in the Oregonian, plans are still under consideration: http://www.oregonlive.com/playbooks-profits/index.ssf/2014/11/nike_world_headquarters_campus.html. With enough education to the problem, perhaps Nike could be persuaded to implement a number of transportation solutions, not the least of which would be a better direct bike path from downtown, and more frequent buses.

s30t
Guest
s30t

@~n: I have not written – thank you for the link to the article – I will check it out! There are many of us in my department who wonder why Nike does not run a shuttle service to campus to cut down on the number of cars. This could be either a centralized ‘park-and-ride’ option – like renting a parking garage downtown (with car AND bike parking) and bussing from there, or something like Microsoft does in Seattle where they have multiple buses picking up employees from different neighborhoods around town. Either would be a great way to cut down on the number of vehicles on 26 and the need for constructing additional parking garages on campus. I also believe charging employees for an annual parking pass would help as well.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Live in Beaverton. Lots of housing around the Nike campus, and more likely coming. It makes sense for Nike to employ people that live within walking and biking distance from the campus. You haven’t volunteered details about why you live in NE and commute to Beaverton to work there.

Understandably, for a variety of reasons, it may not be practical or desirable to live near there place of employment, though long commutes to move many people back and forth between home and work, over routes with limited carrying capacity, appear to be a major source of road congestion.

s30t
Guest
s30t

It’s a reasonable question – and you’re right – it’s totally my choice to live in NE and commute to Beaverton. At the time I received the job offer in Beaverton it was not a job I actively looked for (they recruited me) – and I own a home in NE. I was very concerned about the commute, but decided to give it a try anyways. I was optimistic about enjoying my time on the max to read, and get in some extra bike miles every week. At the end of the day though, it just feels like too much time out of my life to give up to getting to/from work and I’m looking for a position back in town.

I’ve been disappointed in Nike for their seeming lack of effort to get people out of their cars. Yes – before anyone pipes up – we do receive TriMet passes, but I know about 3 employees in my building who have actually ever used theirs (aside from taking the max to the airport to avoid paying for parking out there…not exactly the goal of subsidizing transit passes for your employees). I think without a corresponding move to make driving to campus painful (apparently sitting in traffic is not enough for most!) they will continue to see many single car drivers. I believe asking employees to pay for the right to park on campus would generate an immediate drop in the number of cars out here. Offer annual and monthly passes – with a select number of spots reserved for in/out day privileges. If day parking is $15 for a day pass, monthly $250, and an annual pass $2,500 I bet a LOT more people would figure out how to map their TriMet route to campus.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

From what you’ve explained, I can’t blame you for the choice to live where you do from the Nike campus. Some people working at Nike, very likely could move to within walking and biking distance to the campus, but not all.

At the very least, Nike could be helping those that could relocate, or already do live near the campus, make their commute by foot or bike between home and work, far more safely, comfortably and enjoyably than current design and quality of road infrastructure allows it to be.

Nike is indisputably a worldwide leader in design and innovation where footwear and sportswear is concerned. In the area of community building through development of breakthrough infrastructure that could create a great environment for walking and biking to and from the campus, Nike falls flat.

Nike could do it. I wonder why the company isn’t. The company can hire the best designers the world has to offer. Why the company isn’t being more of a leader than it is, in helping to build a more walkable, bikeable community, is something I’d like to know more about.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

I’m laughing at “Fish” for saying Nike doesn’t promote an active and healthy lifestyle. You really have to see the campus and how much running, swimming, weightlifting, yoga, spin class, basketball, and intramural sports that happen there on a daily basis, 365 days per year. People actually come back to there place of work on the weekend just so they can get more exercise.

The current number of cars in the parking lot and the upcoming addition of 2,500 parking spaces is a reflection of how unsafe bike riding in Washington County is. Don’t blame Nike for that. To echo several of the comments above and the hundreds that have appeared on this blog before: riding your bike in Washington County is generally only reserved for the strong and fearless.

~n
Guest
~n

No one’s disputing bike commuting in Washington County’s for the strong and fearless. At least for the time being, that may be true. It’s just I (for one) would’ve thought more Nike employees (like s30t above) would consider themselves amongst the strong & fearless, and as a result would demand their employer help fund better bike infrastructure. Nike can absolutely be blamed. Nike is doing nothing but bringing in more car traffic, creating/adding to the unsafety of the roads for neighbors who actually do bike around here. Nike has a responsibility to take care of the environment in ways beyond keeping glue out of the water, etc.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

In terms of product development and pr, Nike has no shortage of vision. Being a big company on a worldwide scale, Nike has some influence on city and county decision making.

If the company were to make a show of encouraging road improvements that would create great conditions for people to bike, ride, run and walk, to and from home and the campus, it stands to reason, that people would perk up and listen.

Why Nike isn’t making such an effort, I don’t know. Nearby, the Tektronix campus design presents a far more positive example of infrastructure that supports travel by bike. Low traffic roads through the campus are open to the public. On the Tek campus’s north boundary, is a decent MUP, buffered with grass and trees, from adjacent Jenkins Rd.

s30t
Guest
s30t

Yes – and in order to use all those great facilities you pay more each month than a membership at 24-hr fitness. It’s not free weight-lifting/yoga, etc. And if you just want to take a run on your own at lunch and have a place to clean up afterwards it works out to an expensive shower.

Tim Davis
Guest
Tim Davis

Great comments and suggestions, everyone! I wish I had incorporated many of them into the long email that I sent Nike.

Despite all the challenges of biking there, it’s an *unbelievable* embarrassment. Most companies in Arkansas would do better than this. And Nike is a company that’s supposedly focused on healthy living?!? [And sustainability, supposedly.]

The Beaverton Creek MAX station is way less than a mile from the northern tip of the Nike campus. At a very minimum, Nike could provide a shuttle every 5 minutes at peak times to take people from the MAX station to various points on campus.

The non-SOV percentages are just shockingly low: 3% bike to work? Nearly 80% drive alone? That speaks quite poorly of Nike employees, Nike’s policies, and Beaverton/unincorporated WashCo in general!

Write to Nike! Demand change! *Employees* need to demand far better conditions, as well. It’s PATHETIC that this insanely rich company (who just got untold $millions from the state) didn’t incorporate world-class separated cycling infrastructure into the new housing near the campus. Granted, it’s far from exclusively Nike’s fault, but we have GOT to keep the pressure on every large company and government entity possible to, as some of you said, “JUST DO IT!”

~n
Guest
~n

Tim, who (person or department) should we get in touch with at Nike about these concerns? I prefer to write email rather than phone, but Nike won’t give out email addresses of departments or individuals.

By comparison, multiple people working at Washington County have taken time to chat with me by phone and email; they have been very kind in listening to my active commuting woes in the Nike area. And many of them commute by bicycle as well, at least sometimes.

I really want to email Nike asking them to (for one thing) reconsider closing off Jay Street to the public, as that is a current salvation from Murray for cyclists. Which of course includes me, biking home that way with groceries on a weekly basis. If they close that road off, it increases my commuting risks dramatically by forcing me to choose between a number of far worse options, like turning from Jenkins onto Murray, then left from Murray onto Walker. BOO to that, especially with the flashy yellow turn signals out here that allow you to turn while the opposing cars have a green!!! Bikes are slower than cars at these turns across multiple lanes: Duh! And Murray’s 45mph southbound traffic can only see me once they’re over a slight hill/curve (can’t quite remember the actual distance before they can see me on my bike since I think I’ve only done it once). I try to avoid Murray turns like my life depends on it.

I’ll throw in a bonus for Nike: If Nike would open up and allow bikes and pedestrians to cut through from Beaverton Creek MAX, directly north through the forest, across Jenkins, then straight on through and out at Walker near Meadow, I’ll buy a pair of Nike shoes for everyone in my entire family for Christmas. Otherwise it’s gonna be Asics or Adidas or something.

Rick Hamell
Guest

Tim Davis

The Beaverton Creek MAX station is way less than a mile from the northern tip of the Nike campus. At a very minimum, Nike could provide a shuttle every 5 minutes at peak times to take people from the MAX station to various points on campus.

Nike actually has an quite extensive shuttle system between the two closest Max Stops, the Employee Store, Main Campus, Tek Campus, the Milikan Buildings and Evergreen. Each department also has a number of bikes for employee use. There also was an “on call” shuttle service for off the wall and emergency request when I worked for.

I don’t think the problem is Nike. I think it’s the employees themselves. If employees started asking for something, Nike would do it in a heart beat.

A couple of years ago they opened up the Gym locker rooms to non members for the purpose of allowing bike commuters to have a place to shower and change after a few people complained about lack of facilities. Nike has brought bike mechanics on campus for free tune-ups and minor repair work. It’s always been full up. They added more bike racks all around campus, but I noticed that they get filled up in the summer and are nearly empty in the winter.

But the biggest problem is that it’s dangerous to ride in Washington County in general. Murray road is a great example, it has nice bike lanes on each side but people drive so fast through there that it feels dangerous just using the lane.

We also should think of Intel in this discussion. They have roughly double the number of employees as Nike. All the widening projects on Highway 26 past Murray pretty much exclusively benefits Intel Employees.

Tim Davis
Guest
Tim Davis

Sooo agreed, Rick! Like you said, employees themselves do constitute a huge part of the problem. A company is only as good as its employees are, after all. The employees absolutely need to demand MUCH more from management. Hopefully they’re not mainly lazy people just working for a paycheck; they should be committed to missions of health, cutting-edge design, sustainability, quality of life, etc.

Plus, if cycling on Murray and other area streets is so bad, then Nike, with all its power, needs to work *with* Washington County and HELP SOLVE the problem. They got all kinds of concessions from us taxpayers; the least they can do is help create a better quality of life for ALL people in the surrounding area. Great cycling facilities benefit *everyone*, whether they bike or not and whether they work for Nike or not.

It still blows me away that this is an ATHLETIC company–with nothing to show for it in either the company or the surrounding area. It’s nearly 2015; we should all demand better results from what is by **far** the largest and most famous Oregon-based company (not to mention Phil Knight, who was a serious athlete back in the day). Their facilities, the facilities within a mile of the campus, and the driving habits of the employees do not at all represent what we portray to the world.

Tim Davis
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Tim Davis

Plus, you reminded people of another classic example: a “bike lane” like those on Murray will NOT cut it for most people, especially when cars are whizzing (and *text-induced swerving*) by you at 40-50 mph. I’ve stopped biking on streets like that, in fact, and I’m in that 2% or so like most of you are. Car (and now delivery truck, etc) drivers can never be trusted again to not pay attention on highway-type streets. It’s all the more reason to INSIST on separated cycling infrastructure. There IS room. We’ve got to *demand* it, and it should probably start with Nike employees! They have LOTS of power in numbers, among other advantages, not the least of which is they…work for Nike!! 🙂 Even WashCo would wake up and pay attention if enough people demanded better facilities.

Thank you SO much for bringing this issue up, Michael! I hope that our responses, emails and other efforts will eventually result in some wonderful, tangible (and psychological) change at Nike and the surrounding area!

Andy K
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Andy K

If you think a handful of Nike employees have the power to force their employer to force Washington County and City of Beaverton to add separated bike infrastructure to all high speed arterials (40mph and up) in the Nike area, you are badly mistaken. Most of the employees are quite content, and the only real issue on campus right now is motor vehicle parking….and it’s the only reason a Nike bikeshare program exists.

s30t
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s30t

While I agree with Rick that part of the problem lies with Nike employees, and not just the company – I also agree with Andy that the vast majority of Nike employees are quite content driving themselves solo to and from campus. Until there is a large enough disincentive NOT to drive (gas prices, cost of parking, consistently 2-hrs to downtown on 26, etc.) I do not think there will be much motivation to ‘ask’ Nike for a change. (and you are right again Rick – if employees speak up loudly about something they want Nike is very likely to listen).

~n
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~n

I wonder if individual Nike employees would be so content with their single occupancy car driving if they realized what a disruption to nearby small neighborhoods their cut-through driving behavior is? That is, using Downing, Meadow, etc to bypass Walker to cut through to Murry/the 26 twice per day? To know their collective car exhaust is settling on lawns and decks where families barbecue; or if they realized they’re driving at too-high speeds past residents’ driveways, after-work joggers, a home day-care and a middle school, in a neighborhood that was built before sidewalks were required? The thing is, it’s true: the company itself must start to care “for” its employees, as a bulk of them are likely going to follow their employer’s lead… as a runner would do whatever a coach tells him/her, or a basketball team would obey its coach. Nike really needs to get this thing right.

Tim Davis
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Tim Davis

Great questions and points, ~n, Andy K, s30t and Rick Hamell!

~n: I used the Feedback form on https://help-en-us.nike.com/app/ask, and they responded from nikestore-en-us@mailca.custhelp.com, saying that they’d get back to me within 24 hours. They did not.

I also emailed info@nikebiz.com, and that email got delayed for three days before failing permanently.

However, you would also write them an old-fashioned letter! Or call them! Their address is a classic one:
Nike World Headquarters
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: 503-671-6453 (7:30 – 5:30 M-F)

Anyway, as you folks pointed out so well, the problem is *precisely* because the employees are FAR too content with driving single-occupancy vehicles to work, and they appear to care ZERO about the effects that their actions have on the community. Nike (and clearly Intel!) employees are setting a horrible example, and management appears to care as little as their employees do. Plus, like Rick pointed out, Intel is actually *inducing car congestion* through this expansion of Hwy 26. EVERY time a highway is widened in a congested city, the congestion gets WORSE within a few years. And yet we *still* promote highway expansion over everything else, resulting in an ever-worsening feedback loop.

One single-occupancy car takes up enormous space–even more than previously thought due to spacing between cars, searching for parking (which alone is the cause of around 30% of downtown traffic congestion: http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/CruisingForParkingAccess.pdf), etc. It’s now believed that one SOV takes up the space of 75 people!! Here’s the most often-quoted study in the world on the road space allocation issue: http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm56.htm.

This is a great source, as well:
http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/category/traffic-congestion

PLUS, this doesn’t even *begin* to address the TONS of unbelievably bad aspects of driving, such as:
– incredibly high accident rates, including many fatalities
– environmental impacts of building several-thousand-pound vehicles
– environmental impacts of gas and maintenance
– $9000/year or so average cost just to own, insure, park and maintain a car
– incredibly bad health impacts of driving & sitting
– super high stress while stuck in traffic
– total lack of getting outside, where humans are meant to be, regardless of the weather
– etc…

Thus, it’s clear that the decisions that these overly content Nike employees are making are having an enormous impact on the surrounding community–and even the entire metro area.

Also, as some of us mentioned earlier, it would be nice if the public could have access to at least SOME of the beautiful property that Nike employees get to enjoy–largely at OUR expense.

In short, Nike needs to show that they have a millionth of an ounce of concern about the community–AND they need to live up to the image they’re trying to portray!

I *love* what ~n ended with: “I’ll throw in a bonus for Nike: If Nike would open up and allow bikes and pedestrians to cut through from Beaverton Creek MAX, directly north through the forest, across Jenkins, then straight on through and out at Walker near Meadow, I’ll buy a pair of Nike shoes for everyone in my entire family for Christmas. Otherwise it’s gonna be Asics or Adidas or something.”

Dan
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Dan

To completely generalize, there seems to be a culture of selfishness at Nike that exists at all levels, even among those who ride to work.

In my experience riding the opposite direction, I often encounter cyclists in Nike kit riding 3 across on the Hwy 26 MUP, forcing me to slow to a near stop to get by them. It’s rare to see riders taking up the whole path here, but when it happens to me it’s pretty much always someone from Nike.

Rupert
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Rupert

I get why corporations are bad neighbors — they externalize as many costs as possible. What I don’t get then, is why they willingly accept the costs of NOT encouraging alternative transport. They waste tons of valuable land for parking lots, and spend good money to build parking garages. I don’t know about Nike but I happen to know that Intel in Hillsboro has 529 acres of parking lots, or almost 600 football fields worth. And that’s only at the biggest of their 4 campuses out there. And then they complain that they’re running out of room to build factories and such. Hel-LOOOOO! Put all those people on bikes, and 529 acres can shrink to 26 acres. Put them on buses and it becomes essentially 0 acres.

In other words, even according to the twisted moral code of the typical corporation, they should encourage alternative transport. FOR THE MONEY.

Rupert
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Rupert

Heck, why not take all the newly freed-up acreage and build 600 football fields on it. Even after everyone the metro area gets utterly sick of watching football, you’ll still make more money than you will by storing cars all day.

Tim Davis
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Tim Davis

That just might the Comment of the Week, Rupert! 🙂 Encouraging employees (and neighbors) to get from A to B by any means *other* than driving solo really IS in the best interests of the corporation! Not to mention the FAR better community it creates for all people!!

wsbob
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wsbob

Commendable thoughts, but in practice, in Washington County, big companies not providing lots of parking on their campuses for employee’s motor vehicles would probably mean failure for the companies. First, employees have to be able and willing to live near where they work. Same applies to the question of their walking, biking, etc, to work instead of driving.

Model communities people can live in without driving can be conceived and built, but unless people actually want to live in that type of environment, it’s doomed to failure.

~n
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~n

On the other hand, people are often willing to do all kinds of things that their company asks of them. In any case, I’d wager a lot more people DO want to live in a walkable, bikeable, environment. Many just don’t know it yet, because they’ve never imagined or experienced it! 😉 Until one actually lives without owning a car, creativity around transportation can easily feel limited. Even bike commuters who also own cars always have the easy option of driving their car. Those without a car tend to have to figure out more creative solutions.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…I’d wager a lot more people DO want to live in a walkable, bikeable, environment. Many just don’t know it yet, because they’ve never imagined or experienced it! 😉 …” ~n

Infrastructure on routes from the Nike campus to nearby neighborhoods, isn’t particularly good for walking and biking. And, while the situation is slowly getting better, housing options have had something to be desired.

Driving to work has, and continues to be the primary mode of travel for getting to work, which, I’d guess is the single biggest reason Nike and other employers devote so much of their land to big parking lots.

Relating to the subject of the bikeportland article on Nike and talent accessibility, the company eliminating, or dramatically reducing its on campus car park capacity would at best, likely pose a major problem for hiring. Unless there just wasn’t any other good employment options, many people, faced with the prospect of not being able to drive to and park at where they’re employed, would just go work somewhere they could drive to and park their car.

~n
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~n

@wsbob, like I said, the bet is on! I’m wagering that people are figuring out that “primary modes” of travel do evolve when “the practice” is no longer very pleasant for all affected by said practice. Instead of negatively supporting the status quo, I’ll optimistically put my money on the fact that more people want to get to work in ways other than a car, no matter where they live (though of course it’s a more leisurely life to live closer to one’s work). They will do that by not accepting current car-based infrastructure, and asking for new infrastructure to be designed. A company can be “doomed to failure” in the short run, or county roads can be “doomed to stay congested” in the slightly longer term. Actually they already are congested, and will simply be more so with the Nike expansion. Why accept a practice that is proving to be a negative experience for many employees and many neighbors?

wsbob
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wsbob

“…and asking for new infrastructure to be designed. …” ~n

For it to happen, there’s got to be more people than biking advocates and readers of bikeportland, asking for infrastructure such as cycle tracks and pedestrian esplanades between big employers and nearby neighborhoods.

Maybe there are, I don’t know for certain, but it doesn’t seem as though there aren’t many people asking for this type infrastructure.

Studying the progress of housing development construction near Nike, over the last twenty or thirty years can be instructive. A considerable increase in population density in this area, has arisen because of that housing. Business, shops, and employment also are in the area. It’s not just a bedroom community that people drive to mainly to sleep, then get up each day to go on a crosstown or longer commute to work.

Missing, despite years of planning for this now bustling area, are some really good cycle tracks, and pedestrian esplanades. West of 158th, maybe a quarter mile, is the Westside Trail, which can do quite well as a pedestrian esplanade between neighborhoods on that side of Nike, to the Fred Meyer shopping center, and to the THPRD rec center. From other nearby neighborhoods to the shopping center, rec center: nothing. To the Nike campus itself: nothing. That to me, just sounds as though someone hasn’t been minding the ball. Not sure who all it is.

Rupert
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Rupert

“…but in practice…”
“…probably mean failure…”
“…doomed to failure…”

Rupert
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Rupert

Why would anybody want to live far from work anyway? Isn’t that just sort of stupidly building tons of commute miles into your lifestyle?

Lynne
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Lynne

Sometimes life just doesn’t work out that way. You get a good job, buy a house in a neighborhood not far away, with good schools and stores relatively close… and you get laid off. Or your spouse gets laid off. Given the uncertainty of work location, many people elect to stay put, because it is darn expensive having to repeatedly sell and buy a new house. Not to mention uprooting your family from their community support system.