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Hawthorne Bridge bike trips up just 0.4% in 2014

Posted by on December 31st, 2014 at 10:00 am

Summer bike traffic-8-8

Over 1.7 million trips in 2014.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

As of yesterday, there were 1,712,172 bicycle trips across Portland’s Hawthorne Bridge in 2014. That’s an impressive number — but it represents just a paltry 0.4 percent increase over last year’s total.

The numbers come from the electronic bicycle trip counter that has been tracking daily traffic (in both directions) since August 2012. With the end of 2014, we now have our first two full years of data to compare. The numbers provide more evidence that Portland’s bike usage has plateaued.

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As you can see from the chart below, there were six months in 2013 that actually had more recorded bicycle trips than 2014.

And here’s how the trip counts compare in the last four months of 2012, 2013 and 2014:

Number of trips from September through December for the past three years. (Not much to write home about.)

Up in Seattle, the Fremont Bridge bicycle counter logged over 1 million trips for the 2014 calendar year — good for an increase of 8.3 percent over 2013.

It will be interesting to see how Portland’s trip numbers compare to the Bureau of Transportation’s official bike counts for 2013 and 2014. Usually PBOT would have published the 2013 bicycle count report by now, but according to PBOT bicycle coordinator Roger Geller, they will not release that report. Instead, PBOT will publish a two-year report this spring that will include 2013 and 2014 data.

The last official PBOT bicycle count, released in May 2013, revealed a 3.3 percent increase in bicycle ridership citywide between 2011 and 2012.

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70 Comments
  • Eric Iverson December 31, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I wonder how much the Tilikum Crossing will affect this count next year? Will that bridge have a counter? Would be nice.

    In other news, this sucks.

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    • jeff January 2, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      I’ll be using it extensively and will probably only rarely ride Hawthorne in the future.

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi January 2, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      The Tilikum Crossing will cause the Hawthorne Bridge numbers to drop, but that’s not a bad thing. I bet the total for Hawthorne + Tilikum will be much higher than just for Hawthorne today. And that means more people biking across the river.

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      • GlowBoy January 4, 2015 at 9:09 pm

        I’d be shifting from the Hawthorne to the Tillikum as soon as they opened the latter, if I hadn’t just moved away.

        (FWIW, here in Minneapolis we have a bike bridge that’s even busier than the Hawthorne: the Washington Avenue Bridge, whose upper deck is basically one of three bike/pedestrian bridges across the Mississippi in central Minneapolis, carries an average of 6850 bikes per day).

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  • pdx2wheeler December 31, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I also wonder if the drop in gas prices, that are expected to continue through next year, will put further downward pressure on these counts as the cost of commuting via a motorized cage will be less expensive.

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    • Reza December 31, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Parking costs and congestion are factors that don’t change with gas prices (except congestion could get worse).

      With these rock-bottom prices, now would be a good time to institute a gas tax increase.

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      • Kyle December 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm

        I can afford to drive and park downtown even when prices are high, but congestion is the main motivating factor (besides exercise) that has me cycling to work.

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      • wsbob December 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm

        “…gas prices (except congestion could get worse).

        With these rock-bottom prices, …” Reza

        Hope you’re not expecting gas prices to stay relatively low for long. That they are low, most likely is mainly due to political scheming.

        Everyone commenting so far seems to be having a hard time figuring why bridge counts across the Hawthorne haven’t risen substantially over the last year. Bike related congestion on that route could be a reason. Pictures of the crossing during commute hours, typically show it jammed with bike traffic. Even if it means a little extra distance or a more complicated ride, many people that bike, probably would just as soon change their route enough to avoid the jam.

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        • davemess December 31, 2014 at 11:16 pm

          “Even if it means a little extra distance or a more complicated ride, many people that bike, probably would just as soon change their route enough to avoid the jam.”

          This seems unlikely to me (someone adding an extra mile to their commute just to avoid the Hawthorne). But good news is next year we’ll have a new bridge for those of us in SE to use!

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          • wsbob January 2, 2015 at 11:54 am

            “…This seems unlikely to me (someone adding an extra mile to their commute just to avoid the Hawthorne). …” davemess

            Not just the Hawthorne Bridge congestion, but possibly other motor vehicle and bike traffic congestion situations as well, such as on Williams Ave. On a bike, a mile is no great distance, steep hills excepted.

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        • 9watts January 1, 2015 at 8:35 am

          Not to engage in any special pleading in an attempt to rescue these numbers, but I did notice in early October that the counter appeared not to be logging the Eastbound trips (at least in realtime). The online counter was also at that time experiencing some hiccups. We had a little backchannel communication with Roger Geller about this, but I never got a reply or explanation from him.
          http://bikeportland.org/2014/02/10/only-32-bikes-crossed-the-hawthorne-bridge-yesterday-counter-says-101215#comment-5584538

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        • q`Tzal January 1, 2015 at 5:12 pm

          I did some digging/research on the Saudi oil price game they are playing.
          Most of the confirm reporting from Saudi petroleum regulators seems to directly indicate that this is a move to KILL the growing US and Canadian oil export industries and that they are willing to absorb state level budgetary impacts (most of the OPEC states’ budgets rely heavily, some near fatally, on oil export revenues) to underprice our fraking industry.

          At first I thought that Peak Oil would put an end to this fairly quickly: supply would run out fairly quickly. This seemed reasonable but it also seems that Hubbert’s Peak Oil analysis is based on lower per barrel prices; the same higher prices that made fraking commercially viable also spurred discovery and extraction of oil reserves written off as too expensive in Hubbert’s initial analysis. As it stands right now it is unclear how long the Saudis could continue to keep prices this low as long as you only consider basic supply and demand.

          The problem, it seems, is the rest of OPEC. Some of them are so dependent upon oil export revenue to run their countries that this Saudi giga-barrel oil dumping scheme is prompting words like “strife” and “in fighting” in discussions of the rest of the OPEC member states in regards to Saudi actions.

          The best guess among market analysts is that gasoline prices will stay this low until Q2, per barrel prices won’t significantly rise until mid year in to Q3. Of course all bets are off when you add the state actors in OPEC.

          This is gonna get dramatic, possibly overthrow of a small OPEC member country dramatic. Stay tuned for news at 11.

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          • wsbob January 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

            The current low gas prices, most likely are due to political game playing. Who will pay the highest price for this tomfoolery? odds are on the usual fall guy group: poor people.

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            • jeff January 2, 2015 at 5:14 pm

              prices are down because production is up/stable and consumption is down for the winter driving season, refineries are mostly on-line, etc. It’s not really too hard and it’s not a secret or political anything. The US is simply making more of it than needed. It’s not some conspiracy.

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              • 9watts January 2, 2015 at 6:01 pm

                “The US is simply making more of it than needed. It’s not some conspiracy.”
                Maybe stick with what you know something about?

                The US does not set the world oil price.
                This current price slump is wreaking havoc with the economics of fracking.
                Let’s check in again in six months and see how things are going, shall we?

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              • wsbob January 4, 2015 at 5:19 pm

                What I gather is that production is up because OPEC decided to produce more oil to try counter market share lost to the U.S. fracking effort. The U.S. fighting the other oil producing countries. None wants to be under the thumb of the other. Or something like that. Games. So as a result, consumers are enjoying the so called benefits of an old fashioned ‘gas war’. Temporarily I expect. Something will eventually change, and then gas prices will jump right back up to where they were or higher than they were last year.

                It took many millions of years to produce fossil fuel sources, which modern civilization wastes like there’s no tomorrow.

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          • GlowBoy January 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm

            I agree with q`tzal’s perspective that this is the Saudis trying to kill off some of the producers that require high oil prices to be profitable. From what I can gather about the decline of the Saudi oil fields, this may be the last time they’ll be able to pull it off, but it’s certainly not the first time they’ve done this.

            The last few years’ high prices have made the Saudis a lot of money but have also brought a lot of new production online, including the Canadian oil sands and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. Once they’ve wiped out some of their competition who need higher prices to stay in business, they’ll dial back the spigot and watch prices go even higher than before.

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  • SilkySlim December 31, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Snowpocalypse really seemed to be a big factor this year. Eyeballing things, February was down about 25k trips, and the following months lagged behind as well.

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    • Kyle December 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      It was also far drier in the first few months of 2013 versus 2014.

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    • Dan M. December 31, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      I love that one snowy day and two sub-freezing days following sends Portland into a tailspin.

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      • Kyle December 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm

        Three snowy days, with three separate storm systems, the last of which included a layer of freezing rain on top. And it wasn’t just an inch or two…

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  • Lynne December 31, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Well, it might not suck. Maybe counts went up on the other bridges? We don’t know.

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  • Daniel Costantino December 31, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Why is it that the number I read on the counter this morning for total trips appeared to be just shy of 1.4 million?

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  • zuckerdog December 31, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Also to be considered…
    2014 Rainfall = 44.9″
    2013 Rainfall = 26.7″

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  • JL December 31, 2014 at 11:10 am

    The route on the east side to and from downtown via the tilikum isn’t all that great. I’ll be staying on the east side to the hawthorne in 2015.

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    • el timito December 31, 2014 at 11:41 am

      ?? Depends on where you’re coming from on the eastside I guess. With the new paths and improvements, the trip from Clinton or points futher south is pretty sweet… http://trimet.org/pdfs/pm/stations/Station-Area-Fact-Sheets/PMLR_Clinton_Fact_Sheet_Oct2014 – page 2 map

      That said, it is out of direction for downtown travel. However, folks heading to South Waterfront, Marquam Hill, Corbett/Lair Hill/Terwilliger or even PSU / Barbur will appreciate it. Will be fascinating to see how many trips are diverted off the Hawthorne, or how many new trips are generated by easy access to OHSU.

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    • was carless January 6, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Yeah, the trip up to PSU is much steeper from South Waterfront than the Hawthorne Bridge.

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  • Adam H. December 31, 2014 at 11:19 am

    This could be from a number of factors. Perhaps more people are biking over the Broadway Bridge. Maybe it’s due to weather. Maybe less people are working downtown and thus are staying on the east side more? No way to imply much of a correlation here, but I’d hold judgement on the plateau issue until more citywide numbers come in.

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  • Art Fuldodger December 31, 2014 at 11:46 am

    hey, the year’s not over yet – there could be a last-minute surge!

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  • Champs December 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Such is the power of inertia. One event, and everybody hangs up their bike for the season.

    In February, a snowstorm tied things up for a couple days. The data show a week’s worth of impact on the month, and numbers didn’t fully recover until spring.

    That icy day last month really hurt. There’s been a stronger rebound, thanks to mostly-outstanding December weather, but what could have been without that nasty November…

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  • Ted Buehler December 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Portland metro population growth rate = 1.1%
    Hawthorne Bridge bicycle traffic growth rate = 0.4%

    =~= decrease in bicycle commute mode share = 0.7%

    -0.7%. Not a big drop.

    But, the city’s goal in the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan is for an increase from 6.8% to 20% bicycle mode share from 2010 to 2020. That’s an annual increase of 11.4% needed to get to the goal.

    So, the 0.7% drop in mode share for the Hawthorn Bridge represents a failure in implementing the 2030 Plan, we failed to meet our target by 12.1%. Or, in other words, to meet our 2020 benchmark, Hawthorn Bridge trips should have increased from 1,646,318 to 1,846,000 trips.

    References:
    “The region’s 1.1 percent annual growth rate from 2012 to 2013” http://www.oregonmetro.gov/news/portland-growth-census-032714

    Bicycle Mode Share section, 5.5.2: Measuring Performance.
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597?a=379136

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler December 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      The Hawthorn Bridge is not the only measuring point for bicycle mode share in Portland. And, the bridge is at capacity for bicycles during peak hours, so an increase is not really feasible here.

      And, the corridor it serves is soon to be augmented by a new bridge to the south, which will increase bicycle capacity overall, even if the Hawthorn Bridge’s numbers remain unchanged.

      But, a *decline* in bicycle ridership where double-digit growth is required to meet our goals represents a serious failure to grind out the basic nuts and bolts programs and infrastructure improvements dictated in the 2030 plan.

      Ted Buehler

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      • davemess December 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        But your growth of 1.1% was for the entire Portland Metro area (which is fairly geographically diverse). It’s very unlikely that an increase on one specific bridge in the very middle of an entire metro area would accurately match that percentage.

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        • Ted Buehler December 31, 2014 at 6:40 pm

          “It’s very unlikely that…”

          The data suggests it’s extremely likely that bridge bike counts and overall bike traffic counts mirror each other.

          See pages 10 and 11 in the “Portland’s Bicycle Count Report 2012” https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/448401

          The only reason I’d doubt that the Hawthorn Bridge bike counter is a near-perfect mirror of bike use in the city is that it is “at capacity” during peak periods. So there isn’t a possibility for, say, a 12.1% annual increase in bicycle mode share to add to the daily count on the bridge. Off peak, yes, but peak hour, no.

          FWIW,
          Ted Buehler

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          • davemess December 31, 2014 at 11:15 pm

            I’m just asking what the growth rate was for Portland proper, which will be more indicative of showing something in relationship to the Hawthorne bridge.

            Where are people getting this “at capacity”. Sure it’s a little busier (mostly heading west in the morning, for maybe an hour), but “at capacity?
            Guess we’ll find out next year when a bunch of us start using the new bridge.

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    • Ted Buehler December 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      As an example of failure to meet the infrastructure development dictated in the 2030 plan, you need to look no further than SE Clinton St. Clinton is a key access route for bicycles from SE Portland to downtown, via the Hawthorn Bridge.

      Bicyclists have been complaining for years about increased car traffic levels. In 2014, peak hour car traffic surged even higher, and PBOT has repeatedly declined requests for mitigation.

      Had Portland elected officials and staff been following the direction given by the plan, they would have done several things differently:
      1) added protected bike lanes on parallel Division St. during the 2014 redesign. Instead, no bike lanes were installed. (See map https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597?a=379068 )
      2) prioritized the movement of bicycles on Clinton St. with “signs, markings, traffic calming and other improvements … to discourage through trips by motor vehicles. (See 3.2.6 https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597?a=379130 )
      3) followed the all the clear directives given throughout the plan to prioritize bicycle traffic, potentially at the expense of car traffic. When, instead, the city planned to detour car traffic onto the bike blvd, and only relented after significant pressure from bicyclists.

      Given that none of these directives in the plan were adhered to when there was an opportunity and a need in 2014, it stands to reason that the mode share growth benchmarks set by the plan were similarly not realized.

      Just sayin,

      Ted Buehler

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  • Bob K December 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Not too much you can take away from data on one bridge in the city. The bigger issue to me is why they are choosing to go to a two-year report for the citywide data. If they have the data, they should release it every year. If the numbers are flat or down, so be it. It isn’t supposed to be propaganda. It is supposed to show where things currently are.

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    • was carless January 6, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      Right. There hasn’t been a citywide bike count since when, 2012?

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  • Peter W December 31, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Perhaps permanent electronic counters should be installed along with any sufficiently large bikeway improvement (the new Kirk Reeves bridge, bike boulevards, the Barbur Lane Fairness and Safety Project, etc). That way we could more precisely tie bike/ped infrastructure expenses to improvements in use by those modes).

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    • Adam H. December 31, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Mr. Slowpoke, the new TriMet bridge is called Tillikum Crossing.

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      • El Biciclero January 1, 2015 at 3:16 pm

        Either someone thinks the new bridge is mis-named, or considers the Tillikum crossing to be the “old” bridge, the “new” one being a project yet to be planned, much like the “Barbur Lane Fairness and Safety Project”.

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        • davemess January 2, 2015 at 10:22 am

          Well there will be a new Sellwood bridge.

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      • geezer January 3, 2015 at 6:20 pm

        Tilikum (only one ell)

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  • Paolo December 31, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    When did the bike lane on the Morrison bridge open?
    That might have changed things.
    Other than that I feel that nothing has been done to make the trip from East to West and vice versa any safer or easier and therefore a lot of us prefer to drive instead of having to deal with dangerous section of roads at both ends of the bridge.
    Personally if commuting is not safe it is not an option.

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  • MaxD December 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I think there is a lot of growth happening in N/NE and the Broadway and Burnside bridges are getting more riders. The Hawthorne is at capacity and pretty unpleasant to ride during rush hour so I avoid it- it is possible that bicycling increases are not being picked up at this bridge.

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    • Adam H. December 31, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Good thing there’s a new car-free bridge to bike over.

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  • gutterbunnybikes December 31, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Such a cups half empty attitude.

    Least you all forget, WNBR took place on starting and ending pretty much on each side of the bridge in 2014. It easily added an extra 4k crossings that day, more like many more than that (I’d guess closer to 6k). And that day is still the record for crossings (9834). And thats not including spill over after midnight on the next day (5336). Both those numbers are way over average for a weekend over the bridge.

    That event alone carried that week to be the busiest week for the bridge (54118). The second busiest week was nearly one year later at 48,377. But here is the catch….there were no (well perhaps a few) naked riders that day on the Hawthorn.

    Those numbers alone are the equivalent of an extra slow winter week of traffic.

    Don’t forget the freezing couple weeks last February (the month with the biggest differences in numbers roughly 26,000 less crossings).

    Granted it’s all kind of speculation, but you just take those two events from the equation, there is at least another .6% right there.

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  • doug B December 31, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I’m guessing that if they closed the two outside car lanes, covered the grates with something bikes could ride on, and made them dedicated bike lanes, the number of people biking/walking/jogging across the Hawthorne would double in short order.

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  • B. Carfree December 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    zuckerdog
    Also to be considered…
    2014 Rainfall = 44.9″
    2013 Rainfall = 26.7″
    Recommended 18

    Yes, it’s obvious from the low ridership during the wettest months that the people of Portland don’t ride much when it rains. The question is, why? Unless one is related to the Wicked Witch of the West and will melt down if exposed to water, it’s not like rain is much of an impediment to riding. Perhaps it’s the gutter-hugging and poor design that places most bike infra in deep puddles that is to blame. Or maybe it’s something else, like a feeling of increased exposure to motorists who clearly can’t see out of their fogged windows.

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    • davemess December 31, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Or the extra gear, requirement to dry said gear, space to dry said gear, and general cold feelings and being wet and dirty.

      Most people don’t like to be soaking wet and/or cold if they don’t have to.

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    • Psyfalcon January 1, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Data from that Danish yellow jacket study showed a big drop in summer to winter riding. People don’t like to ride in the cold-dark-wet. If we did London would be the December vacation destination for people stuck in the south of France!

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      • wsbob January 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm

        “…People don’t like to ride in the cold-dark-wet. …” Psyfalcon

        Helping people figure out ways to deal with this, is one of the best things that could be done towards having more people ride. Big traffic jams that have people on bikes stuck motionless or pedaling at an agonizingly slow pace can let them get cold, especially when it’s wet.

        Well developed routes that handle traffic better, can help keep people move at a pace that lets them stay warm without having to wear a ton of extra clothes. The thing is so big for a crossing like the Hawthorne Bridge MUP, but the three wheeled ELF with its covered riding compartment, windshield, turn signals and e-assist seems like it could be a very nice ride in the cold-dark-wet. Its big fat tires likely means it could handle the main deck of the Hawthorne Bridge without difficulty.

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    • El Biciclero January 1, 2015 at 10:55 am

      Kind of what both you and davemess said. “A little” rain truly never hurt anyone, but I have to spend an hour in it to get to work and an hour+ in it to get home. The cost of gear (lights, especially) that is truly waterproof enough to survive that and work well is pretty high. Plus, there is discomfort involved in riding wet, and the longer spent doing it, the worse the discomfort, at least for me. Further, what with riding over the west hills and trying to avoid spending an hour and a half on the trip, I kind of need to keep things “sporty”, both with my equipment and riding intensity, so some of the standard “you just need a ‘real’ city commuter bike with fat tires and dynamo lights” advice doesn’t apply (I’m not quite ready to try the e-bike solution yet).

      Your observations about bike “infrastructure” are also good. Deep puddles that hide surface defects and hazards tend to form in the gutter area where bikes are expected to stay. Although there may be cosmetic benefits to the gentle road grit exfoliation treatments my shins get some mornings, it does make one feel a bit like the chimney sweep of the roadway, and such grit doesn’t promote longevity of componentry—and yes, I have full coverage fenders. Also, drippy windshields and foggy glasses don’t inspire huge amounts of confidence in one’s ability to “see and be seen” when it is dark and rainy.

      Then there is the drying (and charging) time, assuming one has the space to hang things up when one gets to work, and stays at work long enough for things to finish drying (and charging)—otherwise, it’s a bit like putting on cold, wet swimming trunks at the end of the day to go home in.

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    • zuckerdog January 4, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      I think that 0.4% increase in bridge ridership in combination with 68% more precip implies that Portland cyclists are getting hardier.

      Sure riding in the rain may not be a huge impediment, but it sure is more convenient to commute when its dry and don’t have to deal with the extra gear.

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  • jeff bernards December 31, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    I think the average commute, (because of housing cost) it too far for a bicycle commute. It’s time for the state & city governments to promote the E-bike. ODOT put charging stations in across the state for electric cars. Adding infrastructure (charging stations) should be installed at various high bike parking locations (OHSU, City Hall Powells Books, etc.). My ebike extended my 5-10 mile riding range to 10-25 miles. I still pedaled, but arrived not sweaty and tired and could carry 20 lbs of cargo. You can poo poo the e-bike all you want, but I would rather have 100 e bikes riding in to town than a 100 cars, anyday.
    You may have reached your Maximum bike commuters just due to the amount of people who can afford to live a “bike” commute distance to work. The e bike will increase the possibility of more bike commuters, which will benefit everyone. Including spending more money on bike infrastructure because there are more users.
    Time to think outside the box

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    • 9watts January 1, 2015 at 9:02 am

      “Time to think outside the box”

      Interesting that you would consider e-bikes to be an example of thinking outside the box. To me the box we’ve been living in for much of the 20th century, but increasingly so during the Cold War, is to let energy slaves do our work for us. E-bikes are of a piece with that, fit neatly inside that box. Of course, so is Car-2-Go, etc. Anything to *not* rely solely on our legs to get somewhere.

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    • 9watts January 1, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      “I would rather have 100 e bikes riding in to town than a 100 cars, anyday.”

      Yes, me too–if those are our two options.

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      • jeff bernards January 1, 2015 at 5:10 pm

        Best and good need to work together.
        Obviously bike ridership is flat or down when you consider population growth. It gets to be too far once you go east of 82ndl Sure some do it, but the numbers say,maybe “not enough” to justify building much needed bike infrastructure.
        According to the Wikipedia, e-bikes and regular bikes have nearly the same carbon footprint.
        It’s not if you will get one, it’s when. It’s a game changer.

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        • 9watts January 1, 2015 at 5:18 pm

          “According to the Wikipedia, e-bikes and regular bikes have nearly the same carbon footprint.”
          I remember that analysis when it appeared here on bikeportland. On the face of it that claim is hard to square with the reality of all the extra components an ebike has, and the life expectancy and material requirements of batteries.

          “It’s not if you will get one, it’s when. It’s a game changer.”

          Funny. I’m still riding the bike I bought 27 years ago. As for it being a game changer. Perhaps. I’ll remain agnostic.

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          • jeff bernards January 2, 2015 at 2:30 am

            Not everyone fits into your idea of ideal. We need to include everyone, families, handicapped, seniors and people too busy to have the time to ride their bikes 2 hours everyday for commuting. In Europe e-bikes are the only bikes increasing in sales, $9 gas may have something to do with it ;-). When America finally raises the Carbon Tax (gas tax) E-bikes will be embraced. Building the charging stations is a “build it and they will come”

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            • 9watts January 2, 2015 at 7:37 am

              “Not everyone fits into your idea of ideal. We need to include everyone, families, handicapped, seniors and people too busy to have the time to ride their bikes 2 hours everyday for commuting.”

              I’m not disagreeing with you that if you look at this from a conventional diffusion of technology perspective, the e-bike looks promising, will likely be adopted by many, and that this could have salutary consequences for our transportation system. I also don’t think the reason I’m arguing with you has to do with my ‘idea of ideal’ but with a different sense of how things are going to unfold in the near future. Right now we are still in the thrall of abundance, of infinite choices: we can choose an e-bike; an SUV; a sports car; or a private plane. But this situation is not long for this world. http://peakoil.com/generalideas/tom-whipple-the-peak-oil-crisis

              “In Europe e-bikes are the only bikes increasing in sales, $9 gas may have something to do with it ;-).”

              Maybe. Or the fact that everyone in Europe already has a regular bike. Or that the Europeans, like us, are every bit as susceptible to wanting whatever the new gadget is for Christmas. But we need to be careful concluding too much from sales statistics. Just look at the sale of new cars here this past year, in comparison with past sales. Upwards of 15 million just in the first 11 months of 2014!
              http://www.macrotrends.net/1372/auto-and-light-truck-sales-historical-chart
              This is insanity. Peak oil is here, has been here for the past 6-8 years. If you were a prudent citizen of this planet, this is not the time to be buying a new car or SUV.

              When America finally raises the Carbon Tax (gas tax) E-bikes will be embraced. Building the charging stations is a ‘build it and they will come'”

              Again, you may well be right. My initial critique was focused not on the demand for these things but on your claim that embracing e-bikes was thinking outside the box.

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        • wsbob January 2, 2015 at 11:49 am

          “…According to the Wikipedia, e-bikes and regular bikes have nearly the same carbon footprint.
          It’s not if you will get one, it’s when. It’s a game changer.” bernards

          Definitely, e-bikes will help some people meet their transportation needs by bike easier and more practical. To the extent the situation continues to exist, biking that leaves people with few options other than to ride directly exposed to intense motor vehicle, is likely what will keep many people from riding.

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    • Nick Falbo January 2, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Jeff, I think you’re on to something with this. There are physical limits at play that are exacerbated by the high (too-high?) housing cost in this city.

      Take a look at the mode-share calculator at the link below to explore the dynamic of distance, density and mode share. It’s possible increase mode share by focusing on the inner neighborhoods, but is that realistic or desirable?

      http://bikeportland.org/2014/05/21/how-can-portland-get-to-25-percent-biking-new-web-game-lets-you-try-106292

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi January 3, 2015 at 12:17 am

      The current high cost of housing near downtown Portland is a strong argument for increasing the supply of housing near downtown Portland. As much as e-bikes are beneficial in increasing the range that people can bike, they also nudge people in the direction of sprawl and longer commutes distance wise.

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  • q`Tzal January 1, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I did some digging/research on the Saudi oil price game they are playing.
    Most of the confirm reporting from Saudi petroleum regulators seems to directly indicate that this is a move to KILL the growing US and Canadian oil export industries and that they are willing to absorb state level budgetary impacts (most of the OPEC states’ budgets rely heavily, some near fatally, on oil export revenues) to underprice our fraking industry.

    At first I thought that Peak Oil would put an end to this fairly quickly: supply would run out fairly quickly. This seemed reasonable but it also seems that Hubbert’s Peak Oil analysis is based on lower per barrel prices; the same higher prices that made fraking commercially viable also spurred discovery and extraction of oil reserves written off as too expensive in Hubbert’s initial analysis. As it stands right now it is unclear how long the Saudis could continue to keep prices this low as long as you only consider basic supply and demand.

    The problem, it seems, is the rest of OPEC. Some of them are so dependent upon oil export revenue to run their countries that this Saudi giga-barrel oil dumping scheme is prompting words like “strife” and “in fighting” in discussions of the rest of the OPEC member states in regards to Saudi actions.

    The best guess among market analysts is that gasoline prices will stay this low until Q2, per barrel prices won’t significantly rise until mid year in to Q3. Of course all bets are off when you add the state actors in OPEC.

    This is gonna get dramatic, possibly overthrow of a small OPEC member country dramatic. Stay tuned for news at 11.

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  • Paul January 2, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Recent news reports stated that Oregon’s population increased 1.1% from 2013 to 2014. On that basis, an increase in ridership of 0.4% doesn’t sound too bad to me. Maybe Portland is reaching the saturation point of what proportion of the population is willing and able to bicycle under current conditions.

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  • Matt Pie January 2, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    i ride about 70-100 miles a week and have only ever been on the hawthorne bridge once.. just once, ever. Without counts from every other bridge this one is meaningless.

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