With a shovel in his hand to drive the point home, Portland reporter Reed Andrews with KATU (our ABC affiliate) highlighted the problem of gravel in the bike lanes on their news broadcast last night.
Andrews focused his story on the layer of gravel on the St. Johns Bridge sidewalk we reported on Tuesday. He interviewed the owner of Block Bikes, a bike shop just steps away from the east end of the bridge who vouched for the problems it causes for his customers. The story also included an interview with a bicycle rider who said he often rides miles out of his way just to avoid riding the bridge sidewalk.
On Tuesday night we learned from Portland Bureau of Transporation Maintenance Operations Group Manager Suzanne Kahn that the gravel, which is now about a month old, was put there by the Oregon Department of Transportation. “We didn’t actually put gravel on the St. Johns Bridge,” Kahn told the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee at their monthly meeting. “We know who did, but we’ll clean it up anyway.” (ODOT owns and manages the bridge, but PBOT has responsibility for the sidewalk.)
I also spoke to KATU for this story. I told Andrews that the confusing, overlapping jurisdicational issues add to the frustration because it slows agency response times and the public has no idea who to call to report the debris. I also said this much gravel in such a key bicycling artery one month after storm is unacceptable. One month after the storm we still hear reports from readers about serious issues with gravel and debris in bike lanes throughout the city. PBOT and ODOT need to step up and do a better job next time around.
Read and watch the story here.
UPDATE, 2/17: The City of Portland has swept the sidewalks! A reader shared this photo of the plow in action today: