Splendid Cycles

City’s new snow and ice plan still doesn’t include greenway plowing

Posted by on February 1st, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Whose streets?

No plows coming soon.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

After severe storms unleashed havoc on our roads and heaps of criticism on the City of Portland’s response, Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman laid out a new plan at a city hall press conference a few hours ago.

PBOT Director Leah Treat told us last week the City was, “Specifically going to look at expanding our de-icing and plow routes to include neighborhood greenways.”

Unfortunately, this new plan doesn’t do that. Instead of plowing residential streets that are the backbone of our biking network, Commissioner Saltzman announced two other changes to the City’s storm response plan. After resisting the use of salt due to environmental concerns, PBOT now says they plan to use up to 100 tons of it on at least three major roads during upcoming storms. This “largest use of road salt in the modern history of Portland,” will be a test to see how effective salt is at keeping roads free of ice and snow. In addition, they’ve announced an 30 percent expansion in the number of lane miles that will be plowed.

We knew the salt decision was coming; but it’s the plow route we were most curious about going into today’s press conference. As we reported last week, not only were bike lanes and bikeways left piled with snow during the storm, they’ve been covered in gravel for weeks.


After not hearing any mention of bike routes or neighborhood greenways in today’s announcement, we followed up with PBOT Communications Director John Brady. Brady confirmed that the expanded plow route โ€” an estimated 340 additional lane miles on top of the 1,120 miles currently on the map โ€” will focus on school bus routes and won’t include neighborhood greenways.

The only hope of plowing neighborhood greenways in the future lies in a new budget request. Today PBOT filed a $2.8 million 2017-2018 General Fund budget request that would “expand the bureau’s ability to clear roads during winter storms.” The request includes $1.2 million to purchase and set-up equipment. Brady says PBOT wants to work with the Portland Water Bureau to retrofit some of their existing trucks with six new snow plow blades. The blades would cost about $150,000.

“With the additional funding we asked for, especially for the money that would allow us to outfit water bureau trucks with plow blades,” Brady told me via email this afternoon, “We would have additional capacity and could add [neighborhood] greenways [to the plow route map].” If approved, the money would be available for use starting next fiscal year (July 1, 2017,

With another storm on its way tomorrow night, PBOT won’t have to wait long to put their new plan into motion. We’ll have to wait and see how and if it impacts cycling. And if we want the City to plow neighborhood greenways next winter we’ll need to lobby city council to pass that budget request.

โ€” Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you โ€” Jonathan

  • dan de Vriend February 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    It seems to me if they just limited auto traffic on bikeway/greenways to local traffic ONLY, the conditions would be fine for cycling. I only ran into trouble on Going after cars had rutted it up thoroughly, like 3 days into the snowpocalypse.

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  • m February 1, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Before we start spending millions of more dollars on buying more equipment, I would still love to see a report about how many of our existing 55 plows (plus the ones we borrowed from Seattle) were actually used and for how long during the entire week the city was mostly shut down. Seems to me they mostly just gave up after the first day.

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    • todd boulanger February 1, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      The City of Vancouver (WA) gave a public update on its snow response and equipment last week at council: they use only trucks that are “convertible” – not dedicated snow plows, they cost over $200k each depending on features and accessories. (So that they do not sit unused for no snow years.)

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    • GlowBoy February 2, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      I have to echo “m”s comment. As was true in 2008 (and 2004, and 1998) I don’t see evidence of 50+ plows out there really doing their job. Even though it takes multiple passes to properly clear a roadway, with over 50 plows they should be able to clear 1100 miles of plow routes in ONE DAY. That’s only 20 miles of street per plow.

      Here in Minneapolis we don’t have that many more plows than Portland (85 or so, I think). Although the county plows most of the major streets, when we have a snow emergency (which happens quite a few times a year) the city clears EVERY street (many thousands of miles) from curb to curb in three days.

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      • Charlie B February 3, 2017 at 2:55 pm

        What about the cars parked next to those curbs?
        Communities that deal with that kind of snowfall regularly have a social contact with its citizens concerning where and when they can park their vehicles. Even if those plows were busy moving the snow, where was it going to go?

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        • GlowBoy February 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

          My point in mentioning that Minneapolis plows every street curb to curb is NOT to suggest that Portland do the same thing.

          It is that 55 plows is more than sufficient to clear EVERY MILE OF PLOW ROUTES.

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    • Tom Hardy February 3, 2017 at 9:01 am

      It would be nice to see any actual report of useage. I counted 2 plows, one each way in the last snow storm, plowing each way to throw the ice onto the sides of the road with actually no removal. I also counted 40 plows driving around heading for coffee.

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  • Adam
    Adam February 1, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    PBOT is not serious about making cycling a priority. In Copenhagen, the city plows the cycleways first. PBOT does nothing for cycling in a snowstorm.

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    • GlowBoy February 2, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      “In Copenhagen, the city plows the cycleways first.”

      So do Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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      • velo February 7, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        In both cities, the parks departments, not the transit department does the plowing of off street paths. I think that it keeps it a priority for the people responsible for it. As far as I can tell the have a couple of pick up truck plows. They tend not to salt off street paths as much as the roads, which works out since most of us are running studded tires all winter.

        The off street paths have usually been clear by 7:00am in my experience in all but the heaviest snow falls.

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        • GlowBoy February 9, 2017 at 7:59 am

          True, and I think that may be part of the secret in Minnesota: responsibility for winter maintenance is spread across numerous agencies. MnDOT clears the highways, the counties clear the major roads, the cities’ transportation departments clear the other streets, and parks agencies (MPRB, SPP&R, Three Rivers Parks, etc.) clear the (hundreds of miles of) bike paths.

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    • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      I have to wonder if this makes sense tho. I fell on my ass a couple times riding over ice, but I didn’t have to make any insurance claims for thousands of dollars because my vehicle slid into another one (or six).

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  • SE Rider February 1, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    The real question, is are they actually going to plow now or just do the mostly ineffective skimming they did last time?

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 9:18 am

      the question you’re asking is if they should plow down to the pavement in order to enable greater mobility for unprepared drivers and thus tearing up our deteriorating roads and causing greater repair expense…

      my answer is no… the roads have been fine… the problem is not the roads, it’s the drivers…

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      • SE Rider February 2, 2017 at 1:31 pm

        Yet PPS had to cancel how many days of school last storm?
        Your continued suggestions that everyone just get snow tires, AWD, and drive around on chains (which also destroy the roads) just isn’t practical.
        Most people in Portland are “prepared” for a couple of days of snow, when they have to hang out at home. 8-9 days is completely unrealistic.

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        • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 1:08 pm

          All the canceled days of school were ridiculous. Especially high school. Those kids are old enough to ride the bus. They should have been allowed to ride free that day and had their first period canceled or each of their classes shortened.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

            High school students ride free every day.

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            • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm

              Well then why was school canceled! Rediculous.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm

                Even with buses running, it was still difficult and potentially dangerous for students to travel. Buses are full and sidewalks are slippery. Also, teachers, administrators, and other staff would need to show up. With the city asking everyone to stay off the roads, that might have seemed an easy way to keep a large number of people at home.

                All that said, I think PPS is generally overly cautious when it comes to school cancellation.

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              • anna February 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm

                liability. they even cautioned willing parents not to try to help shovel school sidewalks.
                i was incredibly grateful my bf didn’t have to drive a school bus in it. his skills are great but as jonathan wrote after the december snowpocalypse, the attachment to the single occupancy vehicle etc. the ford focuses, coupes with chains about to come off.. too close to real-life frogger. love comparing shoe-chains though.

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              • SE Rider February 3, 2017 at 2:50 pm

                Because many bus lines were cancelled and many others were unreliable or delayed. Just assuming all kids can get to school on the bus (especially when the transit system was as much of a mess as it was) is not a good reason to have school.

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      • SE Rider February 2, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        So I take it you’re okay with not plowing greenways then.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy February 3, 2017 at 8:57 am

        If you’re not able to bike on snow, it sounds like you are an unprepared cyclist.

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        • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm

          Not everyone can afford an extra set of tires for snow or a whole other bicycle that’s better suited. Not saying that’s the case for anyone specifically, but it’s something to think about before you put someone down because they don’t have the resources to be a “prepared cyclist”

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          • SE Rider February 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm

            He was only pointing out that it’s a double standard to expect cars to be “prepared” and not cyclists to also be “prepared” for snowfall.

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            • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

              I agree. The argument also applies to cars. Plenty of drivers who cannot afford snow tires or missing days of work. Should they be on the road? No. Can one understand why they might be out there risking their lives to get to work anyway? I hope we don’t pass judgement too harshly.

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    • Steve Scarich February 2, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Good point. Over here in Bend, they ‘skim’ down to a couple inches of snow. The City’s reason/excuse is that our roads are in such bad shape, that plowing down to asphalt would damage the pavement even more. Seems logical, but the result is that our side roads and bike lanes have not been ‘clear’ since the first week of December….yes, December.

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      • Tom Hardy February 3, 2017 at 9:07 am

        It is not the skimming that makes it bad, it is the fact the “Plows” do not remove anything. they are merely shoving it to the cyclepaths and the sidewalks. If they used snow or ice blowers/sweepers to then load dump trucks to pile it onto empty spaces, like impassable parking lots, they would actually be doing some good for the money. Otherwise the plows are worthless.

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        • SE Rider February 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm

          actually it is the skimming. That is what makes the compact ice so thick, and why it stuck around for so long last time. If you plow down to the pavement you have a much lower chance of this happening (even more so if you then have a little salt).

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  • Tim February 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    People can’t use their cars because they can’t get to a plowed street, so they walk. Great, except one they get to the plowed street there is 4 feet of ice on the sidewalk from the plows. This just doesn’t make any sense at all. But, I did enjoy riding down the middle of typically busy street.

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 8:38 am

      if enough of us file complains they’ll start enforcing the code requiring people to clear their sidewalks…

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      • rachel b February 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm

        If they muster the ability and manpower to do that but can’t manage to send one traffic cop once in even a very blue moon to round up speeders on SE 26th–an infraction that occurs hundreds of times a day and night, every single day of the year–I will be just a bit put out.

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  • I wear many hats February 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    If those roads get plowed they will fill with anxious motorists trying to escape gridlock, making the bike route ineffective for providing a safe, low car route.

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  • MaxD February 1, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    People were already driving EVERYWHERE in the snow- in bike lanes, ignoring “no right on red”, driving around other cars in left turn only lanes, etc. The snow really brought out the worst in some drivers. I think they should make an effort to plow bike lanes and avoid filling bike lanes/sidewalk with snow piles. On the other hand, I hope they do not plow greenways because they will attract dangerous driving into residential neighborhoods. I would prefer they simply used plowing to keep cars off greenways and let people fend for themselves without the risk of cars. They could do this on tons of residential street (create a pre-defined network of snowbank diverters) to keep cars out of neighborhoods and on arterials.

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    • rick February 1, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      I’ve seen people driving this winter over curbs to get onto walk/bike-only paths in Sylvan.

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    • tee February 1, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Yes to everything you just said. I hope that they do not start plowing greenways this winter. There may be a time when we have enough diverters or whatever is needed to make greenways unattractive for driving, but we are not there yet.

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  • Buzz February 1, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Expecting to be able to continue to ride your bike during severe winter weather is ridiculous, even in cities that do a lot better job of snow removal than Portland. Relax and take a few days off the bike, you should be glad we live somewhere you can ride virtually all year long, and not complaining about a few snow days.

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    • John Lascurettes February 1, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      It was closer to two weeks than a few days on the last event.

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      • Buzz February 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm

        Don’t exaggerate, it was 8 days max.


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        • Eric Leifsdad February 1, 2017 at 10:13 pm

          The bike was not the problem.

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        • TAJ February 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm

          Not true. I’m still riding through gravel from the last storm.

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        • John Lascurettes February 2, 2017 at 9:09 am

          8 work days equals nearly two weeks of bike commutes.

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          • rachel b February 2, 2017 at 5:20 pm

            Did Buzz mean 8 work days? I agree w/ him re: the complaints. Have NEVER seen such snow/ice umbrage in Portland as this year! Have lived here all my life. But now…people are incensed! It’s a big weird change in demographic. I think all our once-vaunted Portland “Type B” city personality has been firmly supplanted by “Type A.”

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 5:28 pm

              We are definitely getting better a freaking out.

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            • Tom Hardy February 3, 2017 at 9:11 am

              Must be all the California refugees.:=)

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        • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

          Please, it was only like three days. Hell, in my day we didn’t even call it snow unless it was high enough to come in thru the windows.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 1:14 pm

            You were lucky to have windows. In my day we just had holes in the wall and the youngest had to take first shift to keep the ice weasels out.

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            • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm

              Love is a snowmobile

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 6:11 pm

                Yikes! It wasn’t _that_ bad!

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    • Adam
      Adam February 1, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      even in cities that do a lot better job of snow removal than Portland

      I rode year-round in Chicago though plenty of snow and did not have a problem. On the other hand, 2 inches of snow here make the streets unrideable.

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      • Buzz February 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

        Really? I guess you’re special…


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 1, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      I think people deserve the same level of access whether they choose to ride a bike or drive a car. Why don’t we say it’s “ridiculous” for people to expect to drive during severe weather?

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      • Adam
        Adam February 1, 2017 at 7:42 pm

        It is ridiculous for people to expect to drive during severe weather.

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        • Justin M February 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm

          exactly. in my opinion, the city should put most of their resources into the public transit system during severe weather.

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      • q`Tzal February 1, 2017 at 7:45 pm

        During this snow event I-84 was CLOSED, not just tire chains required but CLOSED BY ODOT to ALL vehicles for upwards of 24-48 from Pendleton to Ontario, OR.

        In this particular case of of severe weather the state officially said that it is ridiculous to drive… And illegal. This is normal for most states. It comes down to what is deemed safe and what mobility options ALL of the public has.

        There is an unconscious ableist bais here that assumes that EVERYONE can get around by foot or bike sprinkled with implications of evilness if a person considers a motor vehicle.

        All those “No Way No How Ain’t never riding a bike” people? You close the roads during the next snowstorm and all it will take is ONE person dying because they couldn’t get to a pharmacy or hospital before Portland Metro loses all patience with accommodating anything other than cars & trucks.

        There is a balance between what is preferred and just for all and what the angry lazy mob will put up with. That angry mob is driving. We may want to consider modulating our political response lest we lose everything.

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        • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 8:43 am

          the issue with emergency services reaching people in a timely manner has always been cars and trucks in the way, regardless of weather, and they’re not clamoring to resolve the issue…

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          • BB February 2, 2017 at 11:54 am

            No kidding, gridlock every morning and evening is a-ok and all the fallout that goes along with it, but close the roads because of dangerous conditions and somehow the mob will suddenly have to take away bike lanes? Not seeing the logic there..

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      • karl February 1, 2017 at 7:54 pm

        Different Commissioners.

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      • Keviniano February 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm

        I’ll say it. Itโ€™s ridiculous for people to expect to drive during severe weather. People think they roads are getting plowed for them and their personally owned vehicles. They’re simply not. During severe weather, those roads are getting plowed for emergency vehicles, critical infrastructure support (like utility companies) and transit. Everyone else should stay the f*** of the roads.

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      • Buzz February 1, 2017 at 9:35 pm

        Get a grip, if you ask the motorists, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t say they were being well-served either.

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        • SE Rider February 2, 2017 at 10:46 am

          I agree, I don’t know how people can say that our main arterials were in good shape during that week. I honestly didn’t see pavement anywhere (even major, major streets) for 5-6 days.

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    • SE Rider February 1, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Or get a mountain bike and have some fun.

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 8:46 am

      it’s not ridiculous if you’re bike is properly equipped, just like it’s not ridiculous if your car is properly equipped…

      the problem is that unequipped cars are huge in number and they clog the system with no quick way to remove them…

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  • todd boulanger February 1, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I was surprised to learn that the City of Vancouver (WA) has been using salt (and homemade brine) since 2008 to treat our roads up here…I thought it was more recent. The snow response update went further to report that the City was having to NOW consider building more salt storage, since other cities were now using salt and thus becoming difficult to replenish supplies between winter events in the NW.

    [Now we have Portland taking “our” salt too!]

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  • Nick February 1, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I would support plowing greenways ONLY if all other roads get plowed. A plowed road will only attract more auto traffic during storms and I’d rather risk slip-sliding my bike on a snowy/icy road without the deathmobiles on the road. Some of my LEAST stressful days biking this winter were immediately after the storms….

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  • todd boulanger February 1, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Back to Portland now: Did Commissioner Dan Saltzman / Director Treat’s report address how their snow plan would address ADA per equity of access and services?

    Would it be only enforcement tool or would it include equitable services (de-icing curb ramps, plowing that blocks ramps/ crosswalks etc) on City priority snow routes etc.? Snow / ice is now a recognized barrier to plan for (not ignore) per the US DoJ…especially for multiday storms.

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 9:29 am

      it was certainly sad yet encouraging when I saw (multiple times) several people helping wheelchair users trying to navigate something as simple as crossing a street due to curb-cuts being obstructed…

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  • Craig Giffen February 1, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Jonathan, it would really help to have a Q & A with the maintenance bureau. The amount of misinformed comments from your armchair maintenance staff is just as bad as the Oregonian’s.

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    • rick February 1, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      St. Vincent hospital shoveled less than 20 feet of snow on the northside sidewalks on SW Barnes Road by their property in last month’s big snow storm. Bus 20 which runs for miles and miles on Barnes / Burnside was shut down.

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      • Todd Boulanger February 2, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        One of our downtown banks (US Bank) did even better (or worse): they plowed their parking lot, banking drive thru and front sidewalk on Main but left all other sidewalks (3 block faces) un shovelled.

        Similar to what the City of Vancouver (WA) did…City Hall was shovelled but no other downtown City properties (Esther Short Park, Block 10, Uptown Fire Station construction site, etc.) were shovelled after 7 days …thus creating multi block barriers. I mentioned this to the PW Director after the storm [and after his “winter response’ prevention to council and after the City press release asking all property owners to clear sidewalks] but the comment was not well received.

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        • Todd Boulanger February 2, 2017 at 12:56 pm

          Typo: storm presentation not prevention…

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    • SE Rider February 2, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Sounds like you have some insider information. Please share.

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  • rachel b February 1, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    I hereby solemnly vow to get to shovelin’ while the snow’s still soft, this time…

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    • X February 1, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      Good for you! It’s actually kind of like meditation if you get a rhythm and don’t try to thrash. Sort of like cycling.

      It’s easier with a real snow shovel too (now back in stores most likely)

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 8:50 am

      this year I was quick (and often) with the snow shovel and my sidewalk stayed clear… I learned my lesson last year when I waited a day and it was too late because it had already become trampled ice pack…

      I also have a stock of ice-melt on hand for that thin layer that appears after a thaw-freeze of a shoveled sidewalk…

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      • Bald One February 2, 2017 at 10:23 am

        It’s always a calculation about clearing the walk from an inch or two of snow. I always do it, but none of my neighbors do. When we get an inch or two of snow, followed by a coating of clear freezing rain and ice (this is a pretty typical event), shoveling the walk is actually worse, unless you also apply salt to the walk. The under-layer of snow provides some crunchy traction when there is ice on top of it. But, the flip side of this scenario is when there is no ice on top of snow – then the foot steps compact the un-shoveled snow creating hard pack, slippery, ice.

        So, if you get out and remove the snow early, and there is no subsequent ice, you did a great job. But, if you get out early and remove the snow and the ice falls on top of a bare sidewalk, you have created a much more dangerous and slippery situation, unless you also add ice-melt salt to the walk, which I have never done. I see these two scenarios play out between my house and my neighbors’ – sometimes mine is better shoveled, sometimes not. If we only had snow typically, then shoveling early and often would typically be better, but we frequently have freezing rain on top of snow….

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        • mh February 2, 2017 at 10:42 am

          Clear half the width of your sidewalk and accommodate both situations.

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        • Alex Reedin February 2, 2017 at 10:51 am

          IF the forecast is for freezing rain in the next say 24 hours, and it’s not immediately followed by above-freezing temps AKA melting, I think this is a reasonable argument for not shoveling. But, I think lots of people just use this as an excuse to not shovel regardless of the forecast. For example, in the last big snow event, there was no freezing rain in the forecast for days out, yet I’d guess that less than 10% of sidewalks were shoveled. And, I heard people using the “typical” freezing rain as their excuse. Even if freezing rain did come a week later (yes in some locations, no in most), there was still that week when a shoveled walk would have been way better!

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          • rachel b February 2, 2017 at 5:27 pm

            Yes–this confusion, the multiple scenarios, is why we old-time Portlanders opt for inertia. Also, we have books to read. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, tho–I did wait because of the expected ice (or the expected melt…I can’t remember which, now). But I am at the ready, this time!

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            • Alex Reedin February 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

              Thanks! (Although, no snow today… yay?) I know change is hard and in many cases not a good thing. In this case, I think changing the norm to shoveling except when freezing rain is imminent would be an improvement.

              I also think that almost everyone in Portland, new and old, could stand to buy some shoe chains because we get a lot more freezing rain than most places. I didn’t even know shoe chains were a thing until I moved here, but they are awesome!

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 10:41 am

                I agree that changing the norm would be good, but am uncertain how to do it when snow events are too infrequent to develop a habit.

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              • Adam
                Adam February 3, 2017 at 10:52 am

                Easy. Fine people who don’t shovel their sidewalk.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

                When you issue fines to 75% of the population, you may find yourself out of a job come next election.

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              • SE Rider February 3, 2017 at 2:54 pm

                And again, what do you do in neighborhoods that don’t have sidewalks (and there are a lot of them in Portland)?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm

                I think with no sidewalks, it is a lot easier to walk after an ice storm.

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              • Alex Reedin February 6, 2017 at 8:58 am

                Um… you would be wrong about that. Property owners on sidewalkless roads don’t necessarily maintain a nice walkable strip of grass by the road. Source: I live on a road with no sidewalks (except my house). Quite a lot of property owners let their hedges/blackberries grow right to the pavement – or park their cars off the pavement, blocking where one would want to walk. The only thing worse than slipping and sliding on the sidewalk… is slipping and sliding on the pavement, with no separation from people driving cars who are also slipping and sliding.

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              • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm

                Alex–I got my husband and I yaktrax–he walked to work today and gave them a big thumbs up!

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              • Alex Reedin February 7, 2017 at 11:25 am

                Woot! Yay for shoe chains! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Doug Klotz February 1, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I heard today that the city plans to send out (soon?) a press release reminding folks to shovel their walks. They’ve also created an award for the best sidewalk-shovelers, so you can nominate people (or presumably businesses) for it:


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    • 2012 February 1, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      We don’t need a way to reward those who are already doing the right thing, so much as a way to shame/penalize those who aren’t.

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    • rick February 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Nice, but that is still wasted tax dollars. Fines for not shoveling need to be handed out to big companies / hospitals.

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    • Buzz February 1, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      I’m down with this as long as the City Bureaus make the same comittment to clear the walks in front of their facilities. Water Bureau did nothing to clear the walk on the west side of their property along N Larrabee and Interstate, the only sidewalk around.

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 8:54 am

      they need to send that reminder to city hall since their sidewalks were horrible in the last storm… but that was probably because they all stayed home scared of the weather…

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    • MaxD February 2, 2017 at 10:06 am

      I love the nominating idea, I wish we could aslo nominate the worst (looking at you, Wentworth!)

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    • Todd Boulanger February 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks for sharing…it is important to remind citizens in the NW before storms and not after…which has been the practice for many local cities.

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    • Tom Hardy February 3, 2017 at 9:20 am

      I cannot shovel the ice on my driveway (black ice) or my bikepath (black ice) no snow. I had to walk on the crunchy grass to get to the paper box. Came so close to crawling after taking 2 steps on gravel.

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  • Tophermcgarry February 1, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    To be fair, the bike lanes on my route from Rosa Parks across Willamette to the St Johns bridge were plowed. Thanks PBOT.

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  • bendite February 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    It is ridiculous for people to expect to drive during severe weather.
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    Here in Bend, we’ve had close to 60 inches of snow since the first week of December and I’ve ridden my fat bike everyday. I have fun and the people driving are stressed and terrified.

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  • Chris I February 1, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    $2.8 million down the drain. Do people really think we will have another event like this last one? I guess climate change denial has really hit the mainstream…

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    • X February 1, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Weirding, not warming. Rising average temperatures, more extreme events, erratic precipitation. Floods, drought, snow. Certifiable senators throwing snowballs. Oops, bad commentator.

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  • Eric Leifsdad February 1, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Beet juice?

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  • X February 1, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    $2.8 million is about $5.00 per capita. Would people give that for a more effective response to one storm? I’d give that for retroactive clearing of a bikeway across any downtown bridge.

    I tend to think that the issue was not so much a lack of gear as a failure to get in gear. We need to find out what resources were used where, and when, and match that up with where the worst problems were. That you could do for a lot less than a million, and it would be money well spent.

    Snow clearing for foot traffic was really spotty. Most commercial buildings downtown made at least some attempt, but it was scrappy. Many shovelers appeared to have no concept of curb cuts for instance. Vacant properties? Fuhgeddaboutit.

    I agree with the poster who said we should prioritize transit. Our transit is no better than it should be but if transit routes are passable we have minimum mobility for a lot of the population, a network of streets for emergency response, and at least some openings for commercial traffic. I know that there were some hold-ups in mail delivery (up to a two or three day lag, maybe more) and UPS had a backlog for at least a week after the streets were clear.

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 9:06 am

      I travel mostly via transit and my commute was only minimally affected… transit saved the city from all the horrible drivers… in contrast every one of my cow-orkers worked from home due to their inability to safely make it to work… I’m working on getting better cow-orkers…

      as for mail and package delivery I shoveled the path the mail carrier takes walking through my yard and I shoveled the path from the sidewalk up to my house (and around to the back door where I get deliveries)…

      as for other people shoveling, I saw a lot of people that shoveled their walkway between the sidewalk and their house and shoveled their driveway but not the sidewalk easement they’re required to… wtf?!

      I’m thinking that I’ll be filing a lot of complaints for property owners next time… public shaming usually works…

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      • X February 2, 2017 at 1:16 pm

        Very curious about your relationship to cows ๐Ÿ˜‰

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        • rachel b February 2, 2017 at 5:32 pm

          ๐Ÿ™‚ They make surprisingly good orkers.

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  • David February 1, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I, for one, would rather see a focus on making the roadways safer for all users before, during, and after these storms. It’s absurd to load up the roads with gravel (it’s not sand by any conventional definition) that doesn’t get swept up for a month or longer for the sole benefit of cars. This is to say nothing of the other debris and downed branches/trees blocking bike lanes.

    If Portland is serious about the 25% bike mode share then you need people to ride a bike during the winter. The strategies for handling this kind of weather are misaligned with a strategy that is supposedly geared towards getting people to drive their cars less.

    That golden shovel award is a joke. Very few people or companies actually shoveled their sidewalks and those that didn’t faced absolutely no penalty. Also the shovel is not the type you should be using for winter weather, at least not on any kind of flat surface.

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    • Kyle Banerjee February 2, 2017 at 10:17 am

      It’s a joke in many ways — starting with the golden shovel on the actual award is not the kind of shovel anyone would use to do the job…

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      • X February 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm

        Well, clip art. Sorta lame but they didn’t spend $300 for somebody to do an illustration (or whatever that costs)

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  • Doug February 2, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Bitch piss whine and belly ache in a snow emergency that last occurred in 2008. Hardly anybody rides in the snow and the ones that do don’t need a plow anyway as witnessed by our fat tire friend in Bend.

    I think the “Complain First Portland Bicyclers are unbelievable. I think you just like to complain, I mean come on, gravel? What would the TV news say in a traffic emergency like that day in December when the entire Portland road system was gridlocked, yet PBOT prioritized bike lanes and greenways? They’d call for the director’s head and they’d be right.

    Real serious snow only happens once a decade, can’t you think about something smarter to complain about or is complain just the catch all response for you lot?

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    • resopmok February 2, 2017 at 7:13 am

      Can anyone smell that? It reeks of white male privilege..

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 11:03 am

        How do you get that from the post???

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    • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 9:14 am

      yes, gravel… have you seen the gravel? it’s about 30% of the height of many people’s bike tires… can you imagine if the city laid down rocks that were 1″ in diameter or larger? drivers would complain, and for good reason…

      also, you’re exaggerating… the entire road system wasn’t gridlocked and it was not a traffic emergency… many roads were clogged with (and for) drivers, and it created driver inconvenience… other forms of traffic were not so adversely effected…

      however, driver incompetence did adversely effect the timeliness of transit… that was the only real story…

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      • Travis February 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        When kids and parents are separated we have an emergency of some level.

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    • X February 2, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      The root of this is the notion that “bike infrastructure” is a way to meet the needs of people who ride bikes and actually promote the public good of promoting a means of transportation that is quick, space efficient, and less damaging to the environment. (Way cheaper to protect this planet than to haul your @ to the next one). A snow emergency, or a construction site, or freaking movie shoot! happens and it turns out that bike transport is actually a second priority, or third, or just not actually on the list. Separate, not equal. That’s the bitch point.

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  • bendite February 2, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Not really. I’m first to spot white privilege but I don’t see it here. He’s basically saying it doesn’t snow very often and the blowback if PBOT gave cyclists what would be perceived as special treatment would be worse.

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  • Spiffy February 2, 2017 at 8:34 am

    “After severe storms unleashed havoc on our roads”

    I think you meant:

    “After the city allowed citizens to wreak havoc on transportation infrastructure by not enforcing laws during several storms”…

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  • Bill Clinton's Ghost February 2, 2017 at 8:52 am

    This is an ugly failure by our local government to live up to its own stated principles, long ago negotiated with stakeholders. It seems to me the biggest distinction you can make between the politicians at each end of the spectrum these days, is which voter base they are pandering to. It is all too clear that, like their “Commitment” to Vision Zero, they have no plan for substantive action on increasing the percentage of bikes on the road. It seems they favor contrived, patronizing, pandering, emotional, theatrical press conferences and meetings, and funneling public money to their cronies with expensive phony studies.

    Slap some green paint on it. Push them over to the side. Make more rules for the little guy. Give them their own signal. Make them wait. Preserve the holy sacrosanct supremacy of the privately owned motor vehicle. Push bicycles to the side streets. Only plow the main arteries. You MUST use the separate facilities we provide for you. Separate and lesser. An afterthought. Not a serious persons form of transportation. Good for the environment, sure. But bad for big business! You shop at the wrong stores, they are too small and local. You buy the wrong things, they are too small and local. If you want to be serious, you shop big. You shop for big items at big stores. In bulk but still individually packaged. We must appease them sure, they vote! But we must always limit that appeasement to words, so our actions are in line with what the unholy kabals and cartels that finance our campaigns expect of us.

    “I take the lane.” – Mantra of the Free Cyclist

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    • X February 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Wow you saved me some time! That was a pretty good rant, in all seriousness. It did come down to taking the lane because there was actually no other choice in some locations. At a normal time I might take some side street (whether signed for bikes or not) if my time constraints allow that. Also I still have a scintilla of Midwest Nice that makes me not want to put other people out even as they hog public space and, you know, end life as we know it with their large, over powered and often just dirty machines. But riding bikes isn’t a choice for me it’s my actual work. So if that means taking the lane that is what I do.

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      • Bill Clinton's Ghost February 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

        Ah, Midwesterners. So easy to bamboozle.

        I was waiting in line at one of those brunch places on Hawthorne with my girlfirend, where you wait to order, and then fight for a table. Her parents were coming to meet us. When they arrived, we exited the line and joined them in the back of it. I was.. mystified.

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  • Mark smith February 2, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Dan has to be elected and Leah doesn’t. Dan fears the car lobby that could mobilize and vote him out. Bikes to 4th place again.

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  • Kyle Banerjee February 2, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I hope they don’t plow if they intend to skim. That’s worse than nothing.

    As much as I personally appreciate clear roads for cycling, it’s difficult to a strong case for prioritizing cycling in the winter. Yeah, there’s still quite a bit of gravel on some roads which I’m not loving when I’m descending curves at night on getting pushed out into traffic lanes because it provides a squirrelly ride on my 23’s, but I don’t by the argument that poor maintenance is what keeps many cyclists off the roads. I might add that the last set of storms have really added some impressive potholes in critical areas which represent a greater threat than the gravel.

    Even if roads are great, there are few cyclists to be found even when it’s cold, windy, or rainy. The MUPS, waterfront, and other places where people move about by foot or bike are empty. People don’t like riding when it’s yucky — keep in mind how many people whine about even driving in that sort of stuff.

    What needs to be prioritized is transit. I would have loved to use it during that last round of storms but it was absolutely useless and it stayed that way for a long time. It’s not realist to suggest people should not expect to get about when conditions are bad. Many people don’t need to get out, but emergency services are not the only ones that people truly depend on.

    I do think the city has an interest in making the roads safer for all users, and keeping the sides clear has many benefits for cars starting with giving cyclists an option other than taking the lane.

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    • MaxD February 2, 2017 at 10:37 am

      I agree with your transit-first suggestion! They need to spend more to make sure the MAX is on-time, then clear bus routes. Then ticket, tow and fine anyone out getting stuck in their 2-wheel drive car w/o chains who gets stuck and blocks a bus route or MAX route.

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    • X February 2, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      I take issue with the statement that transit was “absolutely useless.” On Sunday after the snowfall I went on a bus/walking outing with a friend. We did encounter a long wait or two but that resulted in a great conversation with a 73-year old person who is still very active in work and the community, somebody that I never would have met otherwise but now I feel that she is my friend. It was time well spent.

      Sometimes we made the choice to walk instead of waiting and of course got passed by the usual 2.5 buses. Transit was impaired. Nevertheless we made use of it, went places that we never would have walked to and had a good time. We weren’t trying to get to work on a schedule but if that were the case, being reasonable people, we would have left earlier.

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      • Kyle Banerjee February 2, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        On the night the storm hit, I biked home. Took well over an hour. ZERO buses or MAX trains passed me despite the fact I had a number of miles through downtown and Interstate from Moda to Lombard

        The next day I skied to work — took me 2 hrs each way. Again, I didn’t see MAX trains or buses going in either direction even though I heard the buses were out there. I switched back to cycling after that which wasn’t fun since I ride slicks.

        Transit wasn’t impaired. It was useless except along certain routes. The Trimet alerts page was filled with routes that weren’t running at all or on extreme delays. It wasn’t running normally for over a week. This was hardly the only incident in the past year that shut down lines, only the biggest one.

        Transit should be the most reliable way around, but instead it’s the least. When it’s running, it’s hopelessly slow and crowded. I love the idea of transit, but the execution here leaves much to be desired.

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        • Adam
          Adam February 2, 2017 at 6:16 pm

          Agreed, TriMet was essentially useless that weekend. It was faster for me to walk two miles home rather than rely on buses that never showed up, though the slick sidewalks made even walking a challenge.

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        • X February 2, 2017 at 9:59 pm

          I biked across town the night the storm hit, as well, straight into the East wind. I saw a bus, apparently fully functional, stopped because somebody had their private car stuck halfway out of a parking space blocking the way past one of those damn intersection bubble things. Anecdotes, right? Transit has to share the right-of-way with cars, on roads cluttered with parked cars, cars without chains, cars abandoned by overwhelmed drivers.

          Besides well-planned snow removal and yes gravel applied to intersection approaches, we could deputize tow companies to clear illegally parked or disabled vehicles off designated snow routes and known transit bottlenecks. Let them bid for the service and split the cost between the city and the unprepared drivers. In case somebody can’t afford the tow, put in an appeal process. We let the delinquent sidewalk shovelers off the hook, right?

          What about the cost? Well, what’s the cost of having people bashing your several-hundred-million dollar transit system on the internet? TriMet moved lots of people during the snowstorm and the days after, some of them people who chose not to drive, some of them people who chose not to ride bikes, duh, and some who had no other choice. That is different than useless. Stop already.

          Among other things it appears to me that their chain-up operation is much smoother than in the past, perhaps because many new buses have automatic chains which relieves the pressure on the mechanics and lets the drivers respond to road conditions in real time instead of getting stuck and having to wait for relief.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 9:36 am

            Widespread towing would be political suicide.

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        • Kyle Banerjee February 3, 2017 at 6:26 am

          A few of my coworkers were walking over 5 miles each way because it was their best option. BTW, for dealing with ice, microspikes are a godsend — you can even safely/comfortably jog on glazed slopes.

          The key is to get the design with small triangular teeth. The more popular design that looks like springs gets clogged up too easily.

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  • PT February 2, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I, for one, was very happy that the greenways were not plowed or graveled during the last snow days. They made excellent nordic skiing routes through the city.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      The rocks kind of killed that, sadly.

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      • Kyle Banerjee February 2, 2017 at 4:41 pm

        Tell me about it. I tried skiing down Interstate from Kaiser — the rocks just about threw me over. Skis didn’t like it either. But that’s what P-Tex is for. Got some great turns in on the hills off Willamette near UP overlooking the river though.

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  • Specialized Hardrock February 2, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Want to ride in the snow? Get a mountain bike with knobby tires, better yet studded tires – best to go slow either way. Most folks know better than to bike in the snow – it isn’t safe.
    Want to drive in the snow? Use chains so you have proper traction.
    Don’t want to do either? Maybe walking would work. Or stay home.

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    • X February 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      With regard to ‘not safe’, I’m having a hard time hearing that. That is what people say about bikes generally, wear a helmet, blah blah. I didn’t feel particularly unsafe riding in the snow. I did have kind of a horror of riding on irregular icy surfaces with large machines driven by people with unknown skills and intentions. Turns out most of those people were actually quite considerate of me being alive out there. It makes me feel a bit better about my fellow citizens.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 11:05 am

    My feeling is that this is a lot of hand wringing over what amounts to a few days inconvenience. Yes, it sucked that the roads were icy, but this was a rare event and I would prefer we focus our resources on priorities that occur every day rather than once or twice a decade.

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    • Kyle Banerjee February 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Agreed. I still think transit needs to be improved since it’s hardly like this is the only thing that messed up transit.

      If the idea is to get people out of their cars, the alternatives need to be attractive. Transit should be the most reliable way to get around but in practice it is the least in addition to being slow, crowded, and miserable. Pretty much anything — ice, hot, too much rain, protests downtown, etc hoses MAX. Buses are more reliable but still leave much to be desired.

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    • rachel b February 2, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      “My feeling is that this is a lot of hand wringing over what amounts to a few days inconvenience. Yes, it sucked that the roads were icy, but this was a rare event and I would prefer we focus our resources on priorities that occur every day rather than once or twice a decade.”



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    • Adam
      Adam February 2, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      It is more than an inconvenience to people with disabilities or those who cannot endure a fall on ice. Nine days of barely being able to walk around is absolute insanity.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm

        It is highly unlikely that hand-wringing will change anything given the infrequency of snow and the resulting bad habits around residential clearing. This sort of insanity is very rare, and can be somewhat mediated with taxis and other means of transport for those who need them. I’d rather the city hand out taxi vouchers than go overboard with the equipment purchases.

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        • Adam
          Adam February 2, 2017 at 7:28 pm

          If your solution is for government to subsidize uber and lyft (undoubtedly jacking up fares due to the ice), I’ll have no part of that. How about TriMet fix their shoddy service, instead? Or the city actually fine people and businesses who refused to shovel their sidewalks?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 8:36 pm

            My proposal is to address a set of solvable smaller problems rather than an unsolvable bigger problem. Or at least unsolvable with a sane expenditure of resources.

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            • Adam
              Adam February 2, 2017 at 8:56 pm

              You proposed no solution to the issue of unshoveled sidewalks which IMO is the biggest issue here.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 9:03 pm

                I did not. I see no politically affordable solution to that problem.

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      • rachel b February 2, 2017 at 10:04 pm

        Yes—but the curious thing is, this has always been true, Adam. And Portlanders, in the past, nevertheless managed these rare snow events with much less (pardon the pun) stรผrm und drang. MUCH less.

        As a lifelonger, I’m simply anthropologically curious about the changes the rapid, Big Influx here (in Portland/Oregon) has wrought. And the change in residents–the huge increase in folks not from the NW–is having more and more of a big impact on the conversations we have, the priorities. From the perspective of someone from here, or who’s lived here a long time, it’s fascinating (and often a little mystifying, and/or terrifying) to see the priorities of newcomers. The increasingly stentorian cries for more freeways, for example, seriously freak me out.

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        • Adam
          Adam February 2, 2017 at 10:44 pm

          Fair point. I actually like snow days here. They’re calming and an excuse not to go into work. At the same time, it’s really not that hard for people to shovel their sidewalks, and would go a huge way into making significant snow events more tolerable. I think having more outsider perspectives can only be good for a city. However, you’ll be happy to know that I have no desire to expand highways. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

            It depends what those perspectives are. If the city were flooded with Texas Republicans telling us to change our ways, I might not agree.

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          • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 2:23 am

            Hah! That is good news, Adam–about the freeways, I mean. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes; I think I knew that.

            I agree w/ HK about “outsider” perspectives. Before the last great influx (of the past 10 years), I too would’ve said the same thing as you, Adam. I guess the folks who came here all my life up to then, I simply felt a lot more in common with. They seemed also to ease so well into the existing vibe of Portland and Oregon, too. I don’t remember even giving newcomers a thought up ’til the early 2000s or so. When the reckless, speeding drivers, the extroverted, twitchy festival-seekers, the trendy restaurant yelpers, the Portland branders and bloggers and listicle-makers moved in, it was a noticeable change, a whole-city change in vibe, a bad change, in the opine of one such as I. For the very thing that had made Portland ‘cool’ all these years went suddenly kaput. People, people who try way too hard, move here for the sideshow/Disney aspect of Portland, now. That’s the polar opposite of why folks moved here in the past. I think Portland attracts a very different kind of people overall, now, and they’re just not generally my kind of people. I kind of avoid happenin’ places like the plague.

            That said, I know that the city still attracts a lot of great people who do a huge lot of good, many of my dear friends among them. I’ll not argue that original Portlanders have much get up and go, in general. ๐Ÿ™‚ Most of our get up and go comes from newcomers and always has, yes.

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            • Adam
              Adam February 3, 2017 at 10:26 am

              Just for the record, I do really like Portland. And I’d much rather seek out the local neighborhood dive than the latest trendy restaurant. Complaining about things is just in my nature. ๐Ÿ™‚

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              • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm


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        • Kyle Banerjee February 3, 2017 at 6:48 am

          rachel b
          As a lifelonger, Iโ€™m simply anthropologically curious about the changes the rapid, Big Influx here (in Portland/Oregon) has wrought. And the change in residentsโ€“the huge increase in folks not from the NWโ€“is having more and more of a big impact on the conversations we have, the priorities. From the perspective of someone from here, or whoโ€™s lived here a long time, itโ€™s fascinating (and often a little mystifying, and/or terrifying) to see the priorities of newcomers.

          As a transplant, I find this place weird. The first thing I noticed was that being a native Oregonian or Portlander carries more weight than the equivalent than in other areas of the country. There are two things I find especially strange. The first is that both the state and town are so new that there are people alive today who have known people who personally assisted with relocating the real native Oregonians.

          The second is that once an outsider, always an outsider. I’ve been here more than 20 years. You’re never viewed as belonging in the same way no matter what you do or how long you’ve been here. But then again, people treat those who come from other countries this way. My dad moved to the US in 1954 and despite having become a citizen not quite 50 years ago he’s still regarded as a foreigner.

          What passes as authentic here represents a very narrow slice of history. The reality is there is almost nothing but newcomers of one sort or another. But human nature is such that when someone moves somewhere, it’s part of life, but if others follow they’re disrupting the order.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 9:55 am

            Ask yourself “where am I from”. Even if you have lived here for decades, your answer will likely be wherever you spent your formative years.

            I think what rankles people like Rachel is not that people have moved to Portland per se, but that, recently, a lot of people have moved here who don’t accept the city for what it is. How many people “from Portland”, for example, would propose replacing Ladd’s Addition with apartment buildings?

            As for Portland being “weird”, what did you think those bumper stickers meant?

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            • Adam
              Adam February 3, 2017 at 10:15 am

              Hate to break it to ya, but Ladd’s Addition already has apartments buildings. ๐Ÿ˜‰

              As for why I moved here, I liked that I could get around by bike without being harassed, I liked the weather, and I liked the culture โ€” primarily the multitude of local businesses, sense of community, laid-back attitude, etc. I did not move here because it was the “trendy” thing to do, in fact, I tend to reject mainstream things. I still feel like I can get that here. Sure, things may be getting “busier” but Portland was never rally a small town to begin with. I’ve noticed that people who grew up here complain about things just as much as recent newcomers โ€” it’s just different things. You still have people who complain about the Pearl District, even! But expecting a city to never change or improve is unreasonable. There are plenty of reasons to like Portland but there are plenty of things we can improve upon. All of our complains are valid, whether you’ve lived here for three years or thirty.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

                Yes, it does! And duplexes and other “missing middle” housing!

                As for the Pearl, well, I won’t issue judgement on the project as a whole, but will note that a lot of good things were lost along the way. In return we got a somewhat sterile feeling upscale shopping area and a lot of expensive, tax subsidized condos. If there is one thing that our society needs, by gum, it’s more shopping.

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              • SE Rider February 3, 2017 at 11:33 am

                Yes it’s important to remember that old time residents have opinions that are just as valid as newcomers. It’s really about appreciating and at least respecting opposing opinions, even if you don’t agree with them.

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              • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 4:58 pm

                Adam–as I mentioned, we went through years and years and years of change without me batting an eye. Many many people moved here from other places in those years, and I was the warmest welcome wagon you could imagine.

                People are complaining now because something changed. We reached a tipping point, we started getting a whole lotta people less respectful or understanding of the place, constantly, aggressively pushing for insta-change without a proper grounding in history or even basic knowledge (i.e. about our infrastructure).

                I did not feel that disrespect and pushiness until the past 10 years or so. It’s not me or my ilk not being comfortable with change, as you say–that’s an easy, sweeping explanation, but you’ve got it wrong. We’ve been through tons of change, just fine, thanks. It’s the difference in the newcomers and the sheer numbers that’s causing the strife and the anxiety and the woe. That, and the fact that our beloved city’s getting razed before our very eyes, and clogged to a standstill by noxious traffic.

                It really was a little, quiet city that appealed largely to introverts and bona fide weirdos–not what passes for a weirdo now (I’m looking at you, trying-too-hard unipiper). Newcomers have commodified weird here, now. And that is so icky, I try but fail to contain my barf.

                I understand what you’re saying–I know plenty of folks who are respectful of the city and its existing citizens and its history still move here, as I acknowledged in my earlier remark. The pushy neo-troglodytes just seem to be holding sway.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 5:07 pm

                I got the cutest little package of weird at New Seasons a couple of days ago. You should check it out. They’re also selling it in a boutique over in the Pearl, I think.

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              • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm

                HK–I hope you thoroughly documented your purchase on instagram! Portland has the best packages of weird anywhere! We’re the greatest! PORTLAND!

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            • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 4:59 pm


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              • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 4:59 pm

                oops–that was for HK.

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          • rachel b February 6, 2017 at 10:44 pm

            “But then again, people treat those who come from other countries this way. My dad moved to the US in 1954 and despite having become a citizen not quite 50 years ago heโ€™s still regarded as a foreigner.”

            ๐Ÿ™ Very true, Kyle, and I’m sorry (though not at all surprised) to hear that’s been your experience here. No dearth of racism in Oregon, or anywhere in the US. For what it’s worth, I’d be delighted to exchange all our New Portland pasty rich upgrading lifestyle ‘refugees’ (fleeing a bad cup of coffee) for actual refugees from troubled regions (i.e., Syrians). My beef is with the recent influx of astoundingly self-absorbed, trend-seeking, wealthy memememe folks–not immigrants per se.

            (Sorry for the slow response!–I don’t know how I missed this…)

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        • SE Rider February 3, 2017 at 8:33 am

          Rachel, do you think some of these “changes” you’ve seen are just the fact that with the internet you’re just more aware of them? Not to mention our memories of the past (especially if we’re talking 10+ years are not always the most reliable (not to mention my memory of snow storms as a kid are probably vastly different from those of my parents).
          I don’t doubt that the city is changing and there are some demographic shifts, but I think technology certainly has played a role as well.

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          • rachel b February 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm

            Good question, SE. The internet’s definitely had a huge impact on the rush on Portland and other hep cities. But what I feel has been more visceral and related to the experiences of my daily life. I just don’t enjoy doing the things I used to do, or going the places I used to go, and it’s all directly related to growth and the kind of people (and the way they drive, for example) here now.

            I guess the internet plays a part in my irritation with these people, too, because so many are so tied to their effing phones and constantly tweeting, posting, instagramming. People who take pictures of their food. Yelpers. Not…my cup of tea. And constantly, constantly pimping Portland! I find that so weird, and it is definitely fueled by the internet. Everybody’s about getting attention and being the star of their own show, now. What better way to get attention than to post ad nauseam about one of the trendiest places evah to live? People will click on that. I may get many ‘likes’! I think I’ll make a video, too…though I only just moved here and I really don’t know that much about Portland. But, no matter…

            It’s a whole new set of problems and hurdles to navigate. My favorite places close and get torn down. My favorite buildings/homes get razed and replaced with sterile outdoor malls. I avoid places I used to like because they’ve become “it” spots and are now constantly crowded, with those stupid lines. I stop riding my bike because drivers have become–almost overnight–so completely irresponsible, reckless and awful. I don’t trust them. Did you see the KOIN footage of those drivers barreling at 60mph into stopped traffic, ON THE ICE? Gah. It was so telling, that video. I don’t know who these people even are. How do you DO that?

            The internet plays a part in my despair, for sure. When I read comments here or on other blogs or news agencies, where people who just arrived insist we tear down neighborhoods and put up apartment buildings, or build new freeways and roads, or say “put out a bond!” for more snowplows, with no regard for the property tax inequities existing, or the sheer number of huge bonds in the pipeline due to hit Portland homeowners for the next umpteen years.

            When someone who just moved here dismisses residents’ attachment to our ‘stupid’ restaurants and homes and neighborhoods that we’ve cherished for years, and calls us selfish NIMBYs, as though we all bought our homes with our millions of dollars and squat on them like fat kings and queens, how do newcomers expect residents to react?

            Seriously–I don’t ever remember dealing with this in the past. It is new. It is new. I did not have a problem with newcomers before the past several years, and yes–I’m sure the internet just makes more glaringly plain the increasingly nasty conversation happening in Portland. I just don’t remember a nasty conversation at all, ever, in the more distant past. And there were plenty of newcomers back then, too.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 3, 2017 at 6:10 pm

              It is new.

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            • SE Rider February 4, 2017 at 9:57 am

              But a lot of what you’re describing isn’t unique to Portland at all. All cities change and most have seen a dramatic uptick in migration and change over the last few decades. No city will remain frozen in amber for decades.

              I agree that too often I see/hear people railing against NIMBYs (probably my least favoite word/acronym in the world because it’s just a lazy way to dismiss any opinions different from your own). And I too get frustrated with new folks who want to drastically change something that they supposedly moved here for. At the same time Oregon and Portland specifically has to be one of the most insular and refusing to change places in the US (I guess we shouldn’t be totally surprised given its history of racially divisive policies). I mean PBOT is testing out salt to see if it works?!?!? I get having a legitimate debate on the environmental impacts of it (that’s fair), but PBOT doesn’t need to test chemical principles that have been known for centuries. Scores of DOTs know how to properly use salt.

              I brought up the internet because frankly I think it has just made people more aware of other opinions out there. No longer can you be unaware of a certain group or opinion just because you stay in your own little of like-minded friends or family.

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              • rachel b February 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm

                Really, SE? I would argue that the internet has made people MORE insular, in their own little echo chambers–one of the great problems of this age. The internet is engineered precisely to point people to what they WANT to hear, to their own tailored little worlds. And most people don’t exert themselves to get out of that handy little personal world. I make a point of reading both the NY Times and Fox News, but I think the temptation to just stay in your own bubble is one few people are fighting anymore. Hence, the increasing ideological divide in our country, and the election of Trump.

                Also–I don’t know what to do but repeat myself re: this:
                “But a lot of what youโ€™re describing isnโ€™t unique to Portland at all. All cities change and most have seen a dramatic uptick in migration and change over the last few decades. No city will remain frozen in amber for decades.”

                I’ve never called it unique. I do know all cities change. And I know no city will remain frozen in amber for decades. What, in my remarks, would even prompt those admonitions? I thought I made it quite clear I recognize the constant change Portland has been undergoing for decades. My contention, the point of what I was saying, was that the change, and the changers, have changed, drastically, and (my opinion) for the worst. It may be attractive to characterize me or anyone who feels like me as some kind of out-of-touch dinosaur, but it’s simply inaccurate. Portland, and Portlanders, were never this testy and territorial in the past. There is a reason we are now. We are reacting to an actual something. We’re not imagining it. And it’s not useful to dismiss it or minimize it.

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              • SE Rider February 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm

                I actually agree with a lot of what you wrote. I think we’re just missing each other on a few minor things even though we probably agree with 80%. Apologies, as I’m certainly not trying to minimize or downplay anyone’s opinions or concerns. I’m not making any sense, I’m going to stop now.

                Regarding the internet, I completely agree that it has made us more insular. I guess I was looking more at something like Nextdoor, or even this site. They have brought issues (and I’m talking zoning/development type of stuff) that previously only a REALLY small sliver of the population knew or cared anything about more to the forefront of people’s minds. Minus this blog, am I really going to get that worked up about a new bike lane on the other side of the city?

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              • rachel b February 6, 2017 at 10:46 pm

                ๐Ÿ™‚ Understood, SE–and you are making sense, and you don’t need to apologize!

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  • Todd Boulanger February 2, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    And as for other agencies that missed the mark during the storm:

    CTRAN, they had opened its brand new BRT line the week of the storm when they found out:
    – their new longer articulated buses cannot operate in snowy or slick conditions well (they do not have the automative chains, etc.),to be fair this may also be a operator training issue with new equipment;
    – their new buses cannot access the [new] main downtown BRT station at Turtle Place when it snows (so it was closed for a week and service area shortened); and
    – their maintenance crews had not been told about the new transit station at Turtle Place and the need to include it in any snow removal / deicing…so this was a 3 block face ADA access barrier for 7 days.

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  • Brian February 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    If Portlandia is still in production this Winter provided an hour long Winterpocalypse episode’s worth of quality material.

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  • Matt February 2, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I recently picked up a new phrase: snowsplaining. It’s when people from snowy climes complain about local drivers/nonshovelers/lack of plows, etc. On my block, you could tell who was from the Midwest/NE by who shoveled and who didn’t. Personally, I’m ok with prioritizing emergency vehicles, Tri-Met and school buses. My bus commute will take a lot longer than a straight shot bike commute but I don’t expect to do anything normally during a tastrophe-alypse.

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    • Alex Reedin February 2, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      …except, by plowing those routes without limiting use by private vehicles, we end up leaving the emergency vehicles and buses stuck in traffic.

      Here’s an idea: have city government pay people to pledge not to drive during winter weather. Each pledge would have to be accompanied by a sticker on the car or some certification from DMV that there are no motor vehicles registered at your address, and the stickers would be enforceable during winter weather events (if you drive a vehicle with a sticker, you get a hefty fine). People who need to drive during winter weather still could, and those who opted not to drive would be rewarded for it. Eh? Eh?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        I applaud the creative thinking, but I think we could end up paying a lot for a small change in behavior. How much do you think we’d have to pay to get people to make the pledge? How many people would need to accept in order to make a difference? How many people would take the money but “forget” to apply their stickers? And would you pay people who have no car and who would therefore not be able to drive in any event?

        Another option would be to enforce and odd/even license plate restriction during snow emergencies; that could potentially reduce traffic by 50% (to the extent it was enforced).

        Aside from the first day of each event (i.e. the day it started snowing), traffic wasn’t too bad. And on that first day, everyone who drove to work would still need to get home. Maybe there’s not really a problem we need to solve?

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        • X February 2, 2017 at 10:10 pm

          Part of the traffic relief was because the schools were closed, and the schools were closed because of the difficulty of travel. Is the way we get children to school completely out to lunch?

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    • rachel b February 2, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Matt’s new phrase. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • B. Carfree February 2, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    When these sort of things happen, I think about a hypothetical newly car-free person. If we’re serious about getting large numbers of people riding bikes, we have to consider what happens to them. With the current protocols of clearing streets primarily for use by cars (bike lanes and sidewalks receive what is plowed and then some gravel for good measure), the delay in being able to safely get to work/shopping/whatever for those with cars was much, much shorter than the delay for people who are reliant on bikes, walking or transit (if that was even an option). I don’t know the exact timing of the issue in PDX, but in EUG the delay was over a week the first time and nearly two weeks the second time.

    My hypothetical newly car-free person was expected to get to work, largely because all the car-bound people were getting there. However, the sidewalks were not really walkable, the bike lanes were unusable, the bike paths weren’t going to work (hey, she only has one bike at this juncture). Still, she had to get to work because “everyone else” could.

    I’m betting next winter she has a car. As everyone knows, cars have relatively large up-front costs, but operating costs are a small fraction of the total annual expenditure. In other words, once you have one you don’t save very much by using other means of travel.

    Add in the fact that people become slaves to habit, and PBoT’s cars first policy defeats their bicycle ridership goals right out of the gate. This leads me to conclude that either PBoT is filled with stupid people, or those goals are just so much propaganda that they have no intention of taking seriously.

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    • Alex Reedin February 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

      The difficulty getting around with frozen precipitation present was a factor in my family going from one car to two cars this winter. We were not newly car-free, but newly have two kids. The cargo bike works just fine most of the time, but not in snow and ice, and I am not bothering to switch it out to winter tires every year (e-bike makes it more difficult/expensive). Just getting the kids to transit is a bear when it’s snowy/icy out, and then potentially having to wait up to an hour in the cold if headways are increased due to conditions completely kills the impulse to take transit with the kids. And being homebound as we were was hard on everyone. Bike advocacy group founder… now a two-car family.

      Other factors:
      *Sick constantly due to young children –> biking not appealing / can make things worse
      *Want to hike at trails > 5 miles away when husband using car (husband car-dependent)
      *Family wants to help with kid transport/fun, family unwilling/unable to bike/take transit, car seats are obnoxious to install

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      • SE Rider February 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

        It’s not surprising that life changes sometime shave people reevaluating their priorities and situations.
        Sometimes I think some commentators on here forget that. That whole walk a mile in another man’s shoes idea comes to mind.

        Thanks for sharing Alex.
        We’ve held out with just one car, but as the second child comes and living in out neighborhoods poorly served by transit it’s getting a bit tougher (and I’m not surprised that most families aren’t willing to make some the sacrifices to live car light or car free).

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        • Alex Reedin February 6, 2017 at 9:03 am

          We held out for close to a year with one car, one car-dependent partner, one essentially car-free partner, and two kids. It was no inconvenience to not have a car available for me 90% of the time (weekdays; weekends when I wanted to stay on the eastside), an annoyance 9% of the time (weekends when I would prefer to go hiking, go to the zoo – no, I’m not taking the MAX for an hour each way given naps, etc.) and a real downer 1% or less of the time (when I was sick and solo caring for the kids and needed medicine from the store; when I had work event that required a car; etc.). But those 1% times were amplified by the fundamental impossibility of installing carseats while caring for multiple children safely if the children are not contained.

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    • Alex Reedin February 3, 2017 at 10:17 am

      I actually disagree with the assertion that the up-front costs are large compared to the costs per mile driven. If one intends to drive one’s car into the ground as we do, every mile driven brings the car closer to its inevitable demise. And, maintenance and repair costs are mostly proportional to miles driven.

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  • Mark smith February 2, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I don’t think this is such a big deal. Let the plows mess around on the main roads. At least bikes won’t be blamed when they decide to run the plows around with the plow 6 inches off the ground.

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