Harvest Century September 22nd

Pearl District building owner violated city code by blocking bike racks with locked gates

Posted by on August 20th, 2019 at 11:24 am

Gates succeed at keeping everyone out; but they fail at complying with city code.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The owners of the Asa Flats & Lofts in the Pearl District wanted to prevent people from sleeping in alcoves of their building along Northwest Marshall and Lovejoy streets. Their solution was to erect large metal gates. But the gates kept out more than people seeking refuge, they also prevented customers of nearby businesses from accessing bike racks.

“They installed the gates on the alcoves where the racks are located to secure the location from loitering and vandalism.”
— Alex Cousins, City of Portland Bureau of Development Services

The gates cover three bike parking staples on NW Marshall and two staples on NW Lovejoy. That’s 10 short-term bike parking spaces the building is required to make available to the public 24/7.

Portland’s building code (section 33.266.210) states that short-term bicycle parking, “should be visible to pedestrians and bicyclists,” and “must be available for shoppers, customers, messengers, and other visitors to the site.”

I first heard about the gates last week when northwest Portland resident Chris Smith pointed them out. He said he would often use the racks when shopping nearby. When he noticed they were closed and locked behind a gate, Smith suspected it was a code violation (Smith happens to be a veteran activist known for his intimate knowledge of city plans and codes) so he filed a complaint with the Bureau of Development Services.

To hear their side of the story, I called Asa and asked about the gates. A man who works at the building’s front desk answered the phone and said, “We had an issue with homeless campers being there, so we put up the cages.” (I left a message for a manager but haven’t heard back.)

This morning, Bureau of Development Services Communications Manager Alex Cousins confirmed Smith’s complaint. Cousins said a BDS inspector followed-up on the issue two weeks ago and verified that the gates were installed, “where the [bike] racks are located to secure the location from loitering and vandalism.”

Advertisement

Big sale at Community Cycling Center

Cousins added that city code requires residential buildings with ground-floor retail to keep short-term bike parking spots open 24/7.

“BDS sent a violation notice to the building owner and site manager on August 6,” Cousins wrote in an email to BikePortland. “Per City code, they have 30 days (until September 7) to take corrective actions.”

Those actions can be to either unlock and open the gates at all times or apply for a building permit to install a different type of bike rack, such as an enclosed bike locker that Cousins said would, “deter loitering and vandalism.”

Managers of the building have told BDS they intend to open the gates in the near-term while they consider options for a new design.

“Sometimes, as in this case, decisions made have unintended consequences. We thank your reader for alerting us to this issue, which is now being addressed,” Cousins said.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

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 — Jonathan

58 Comments
  • Avatar
    Suburban August 20, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    If I’m going to calendar some loitering, it’s usually in the Oak Grove area, but maybe inner NW is a viable option.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Avatar
    Matti August 20, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Three bike staple racks equals 6 bike parking spaces, not 10.
    The roof may be partly to blame for attracting loitering. Short term bike parking is not required to have weather protection, so maybe removing the fencing and the roof would solve the issue.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Avatar
      John Lascurettes August 20, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      Check your math.

      The gates cover three bike parking staples on NW Marshall and two staples on NW Lovejoy.

      That’s five staples, not three.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Avatar
    Matti August 20, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    I misread: I now see there are two locations, one with three racks, one with two. Total 10 bike parking spaces.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Avatar
    J_R August 20, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    So, once again, campers have essentially deprived the intended users (bicyclists) of the use of facilities. This time it’s secure, covered bike parking. Elsewhere it’s multi-use paths.

    Portland is going to H in a handbasket. Desirable aspects of Portland are being slowly overwhelmed by the negative.

    Recommended Thumb up 50

    • Avatar
      CaptainKarma August 20, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      When I first started reading, I thought it was going to say “Once again, campers have *been deprived*…” but no I guess not. So yeah, Portland has gone to H in a handbasket, just not the way the writer intended to convey.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Avatar
        Paul H August 20, 2019 at 2:47 pm

        The property owners originally complied with the ordinance that requires bike parking. People were using the bike parking as temporary housing, which was not the facility’s intended use. The owners — and let’s assume they’re not being disingenuous — cited loitering and vandalism as the results of it becoming temporary housing. Loitering will reduce the facility’s desirability as bike parking and vandalism will increase the financial exposure of the property owners.

        I do not think that they are compelled by law to provide temporary housing. If you think they should be, by all means work to get that law passed. (Of course, I’d expect that any law you propose would also apply to your private property, lest you look like a hypocrite.)

        The property owner’s “solution” to the problem is problematic, as the city has indicated, but it’s problematic solely because it deprives the city of bike parking.

        Recommended Thumb up 29

      • Avatar
        Chris Smith August 20, 2019 at 4:43 pm

        I actually see this as the opposite of the 205 path case, where cyclists and the unhoused are in more or less direct conflict. In this case, both groups are being hurt by the actions of the property owner. While I don’t endorse camping in alcoves, I also don’t sanction “moving people along” until we can provide meaningful housing solutions.

        Recommended Thumb up 9

        • Avatar
          Matt S. August 20, 2019 at 5:41 pm

          The homeless are not hurt by this, trust me.

          Recommended Thumb up 9

          • Avatar
            Toby Keith August 20, 2019 at 10:05 pm

            We’ve given up way too much to them already.

            Recommended Thumb up 19

    • Avatar
      Lowell August 20, 2019 at 1:04 pm

      It’s interesting that your take away is that campers are the problem here, when Chris Smith seemed to have no issue parking his bike before the building owner installed the gate.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Avatar
        Chris Smith August 20, 2019 at 4:23 pm

        I would occasionally encounter a person sleeping in the alcove, in which case I would park elsewhere, but generally the parking was available. I like the ‘alcove’ approach because it’s sheltered from the elements.

        Recommended Thumb up 6

        • Avatar
          J_R August 20, 2019 at 4:59 pm

          So, you were deprived of a parking space for your bike by the unhoused.

          Sounds just like the paths. I’ve all but abandoned the I-205 path and the Springwater; I no longer feel safe riding by myself; I have to go elsewhere.

          Recommended Thumb up 22

        • Avatar
          Granpa August 20, 2019 at 5:47 pm

          If it were just sleepers in the alcove that is a minor issue. Factor in the pungent ammonia smell of urine in a dark corner or feces. Consider needles or a user nodding or actively injecting or pleasuring himself and then the “occupants” effectively prevent users with forthright intentions from using the space. Now, increasingly, “campers” belligerent or off their meds and bicycle riders have a valid reason to avoid the space that was built intentionally for their use. Portland = squalid

          Recommended Thumb up 20

          • Avatar
            Fred August 21, 2019 at 8:41 am

            I used to be a regular at a restaurant in downtown Portland – I’d bike there for lunch every week or so and lock my bike at the staple outside the window where I could keep an eye on it ($3000 bike).

            One day two men were lying on the sidewalk next to the staple when I pulled up. They smelled of alcohol and urine. I locked my bike to the staple and went into the restaurant, but I couldn’t relax b/c I was afraid the guys would mess with my bike. After a rushed lunch, I returned to my bike and unlocked it, and one of the guys started giving me grief about not giving him money for “watching” my bike. He had a really threatening tone – it sounded like I should give him money since he didn’t vandalize my bike. I was afraid he was going to punch me.

            I didn’t give the guys any money and I’ve never gone back to the restaurant.

            Go ahead – call me a snowflake or a houseless-hater or whatever, but it was a terrible experience, and I have other restaurant options. I know my problems are small compared to the problems these two guys were facing, but anyone will prioritize her/his own safety.

            Recommended Thumb up 25

            • Avatar
              Matt S. August 21, 2019 at 9:28 am

              Call it for what it is, ***deleted by moderator*** and they are getting away with under the guise of being the most “vulnerable members” of our society. We have to pull back on our PC vernacular and start enforcing common sense laws.

              Recommended Thumb up 18

        • Avatar
          Middle of the Road Guy August 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm

          Why didn’t you just park there anyways? You can’t just assume they’d take your bike.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Avatar
            Chris Smith August 21, 2019 at 3:49 pm

            Why do you assume the security of my bike was the motivation? I’m very much aware that not being able to get sleep is incredibly disabling for people on the street, and my motivation was/is at least as much not to disturb the person just trying to sleep.

            Recommended Thumb up 4

            • Avatar
              soren August 22, 2019 at 3:38 pm

              Thanks for your consideration, Chris.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Avatar
      Matt S. August 20, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      Yup, but so is Seattle, San Fran, San Diego and the list goes on. The key is, you just have to be rich enough to insulate yourself from the poverty, terrible huh…

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Avatar
        Toby Keith August 20, 2019 at 8:00 pm

        Yes much like Ted Wheeler does in his $1.5 million dollar SW Portland house.

        Recommended Thumb up 11

  • Avatar
    Johnny Bye Carter August 20, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    An enclosed bike locker sounds like a much better place to sleep than the open space between racks.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Avatar
    jered bogli August 20, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    From a bike rider POV I don’t have a problem with campers in the alcove, however the alcove gives a hiding place for thieves when cutting locks. This may be perception, but I never lock my bike in covered alcoves – rather have my bike out in the open.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Avatar
      Chris Smith August 20, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      I haven’t used the alcove on the Lovejoy side, but the one on the Marshall St side is directly visible from Sisters coffee across the street, so it felt pretty secure.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Avatar
      Ryan August 21, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      “… I never lock my bike in covered alcoves – rather have my bike out in the open.”

      I have a similar issue with many of the grocery stores in my area. The bike racks aren’t in enclosed areas, but they’re nearly always around the side of the store, where less people can see them. They probably just want to have them as out of the way as possible, not wanting to inconvenience the other customers, but it always feels like they’re in a spot where a potential thief would have a lot more time/privacy to cut a lock.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Avatar
    Tom August 20, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    If they leave the gate swinging wide open, won’t there be unintended consequences for pedestrians? Seems like they should remove the door not just leave the door swinging in the wind.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Avatar
      Chris Smith August 20, 2019 at 4:24 pm

      The gates were not present before the closed off the parking. I assume they will be removed rather than just swung open.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      q August 20, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      (Going from memory here) it’s a building code violation to have gates or doors swing over a public sidewalk. There may be some exception that doors can swing a bit (like 1′) over. It’s why doors that swing out are recessed back from storefront walls.

      I started with some sympathy for the owner here, but the door swing issue reminds me that this never would have been approved by the City if the owner had applied for a permit, not just because it blocks use of the parking, but because the gate swing is a code violation that’s also dangerous to pedestrians. No owner of a building like that can pretend that they shouldn’t have known to get a permit, or at least ask if one was needed. Having to tear out something shouldn’t be a surprising consequence of bootlegging it in.

      Interestingly, the City approved (or at least hasn’t noticed) a gate about 10′ or 15′ wide at a private driveway to swing across the Willamette Greenway Trail. If swung open, it could take out a whole group of riders or walkers in one swing.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Avatar
        maccoinnich August 20, 2019 at 5:22 pm

        OSSC 3202.2 Enchroachments above grade and below 8 feet in height. “Doors and windows shall not open or project into the public right-of-way.”

        Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Avatar
    Noraa August 20, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    I have lived in Portland for 20+ years, it has become a much less attractive place to live. From the guy whining about the bike racks to the homeless population.

    Recommended Thumb up 18

    • Avatar
      Mike Quigley August 20, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      You ain’t seen nothing yet. A major recession (depression?) is right around the corner. Then, there’s climate change, and…The Big One. YIKES!

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Avatar
        Steve Scarich August 21, 2019 at 8:54 am

        I, too, hate to be an alarmist, but if we have such big societal problems when the economy is ‘great’, what will happen when it tanks? and, it will, of course.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Avatar
    keith August 20, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    If I was the property owner I would remove the bike racks and leave the locked gate in place. Without the gate you are just inviting drug addicts to camp out and trash the place. Bikes will just have to park elsewhere.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Avatar
    q August 20, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    This to me brings up the bigger question of whether this is really the right approach to providing short-term bike parking for urban buildings. Building up to the sidewalk property lines is desirable from an urban design stance, but that means the required short-term spaces often end up in awkward recesses like these.

    The article also stated that Chris would often use the spaces when shopping nearby. If he was shopping at other properties, he really shouldn’t be using these privately-owned spaces that the owner is required to have available for visitors to tenants in the building. (The owner now can legally restrict use of the spaces to people parking while visiting or patronizing tenants in that building.)

    But at the same time, it’s silly that someone coming to a shopping area by bike can’t leave their bike in one space while they walk here and there to multiple properties, the same as anyone with a car can do if they park on the street or in a pay lot. The current system for bikes is like having no parking for cars except in private lots for individual buildings provide parking for customers, which would force drivers to get their cars and drive to a new lot even if they were shopping at several places all within walking distance.

    It seems like many blocks could benefit from public bike racks installed say, on sidewalks widened into what are currently parallel-parking vehicle spaces on the street. You park your bike, walk around doing your shopping or errands or whatever, then get back on your bike and go home, the same as people driving can do. Those public, communal parking areas could still be financed by fees paid by building owners (who may even prefer that to providing the spaces on their sites).

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Avatar
      maxD August 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

      I agree that we should not have to rely on privately-provided bike racks, but I hope the solution is not to put public racks on the sidewalk! Replace on-street car parking with bike corrals! Sidewalks are for walking and cafe tables and making life in the City better, not storing crap! (including scooters, biketown, bikes, etc)

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • Avatar
        q August 21, 2019 at 11:44 am

        Yes, exactly (and exactly why I said it, too). Replacing parallel parking with bike racks enhances the sidewalk for people walking, and is totally different than chipping away at existing sidewalk area, as PBOT has done recently with routing bike traffic onto sidewalks. I also wish more cafe tables were set up in the parallel parking areas, instead of cutting into sidewalk areas.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Avatar
    Chris Smith August 20, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    As a practical matter, I’m not sure how a property owner would restrict use of bike parking to visitors to a particular building. I’ve never heard of a property owner trying to do so. Based on the code the requirements the parking has to be ‘outside’ and reached by an accessible route. I believe all or almost all short-term bike parking operates effectively on a district basis as you suggest is desirable.

    In fact, the code has a fee-in-lieu provision that allows a developer to pay into a fund the City would use to put bike parking in the right-of-way. That provision gains even more flexibility in the new code that will go to Council in the fall (I’m hearing November).

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Avatar
      q August 20, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      I agree, I don’t think owners are currently too concerned who’s parking in the spaces. What got me thinking about it was that this case, where the spaces have to be available 24/7 because the building has residents 24/7, isn’t universal. The code (as I understand) only requires short-term spaces for the times people would be visiting a building. If it were an office or retail building, it looks like the owner could have legally installed the gates, locking them every night when the businesses were closed. That would lock out nighttime campers, but keep the spaces available as legally required. But that solution wouldn’t work if people were parking there there to visit other buildings with different hours. The owner’s solution to that issue would be to prohibit that parking. So I wouldn’t be surprised if “parking for building visitors only” policies come up soon for that reason, or simply for the reason that tenants’ bike visitors can’t find an open space, as more people bike and demand outstrips supply.

      In other words, I don’t think we should rely on the “anyone can park here” status quo continuing.

      In terms of how you do it, you just put up a “parking for building customers and guests only” sign, the same as every private parking lot has. I assume anyone ignoring it is trespassing.

      The fee-in-lieu provision is great, especially if it’s not priced to discourage people from taking that route. However, I’d still like to see the City pursue adding more public bike parking spaces on widened sidewalks as a general policy.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Avatar
    kittens August 21, 2019 at 4:06 am

    I mean, this whole situation is a joke at this point. Portland, and most of this country, is in the midst of an economic crisis for those not lucky enough to be born to wealth and college degrees and the results are everything from people sleeping in alcoves, rampant larceny and vagrancy to heightened suicide rates.

    On the one hand I am outraged at property owners skirting code, on the other I see this as an act of desperation.

    Something has gotta give. Bernie or Warren 2020. We need it bad.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Avatar
      rainbike August 21, 2019 at 11:05 am

      Since you mentioned them as the solution…Neither Sanders nor Warren can attract the center and take the swing states. Dems need a moderate in order to win in 2020.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Avatar
        Middle of the Road Guy August 21, 2019 at 1:07 pm

        as an left leaning independent, I agree.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Avatar
    Bike Guy August 21, 2019 at 11:12 am

    CaptainKarma
    When I first started reading, I thought it was going to say “Once again, campers have *been deprived*…” but no I guess not. So yeah, Portland has gone to H in a handbasket, just not the way the writer intended to convey.Recommended 5

    I have no idea what you’re trying to convey.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Avatar
      Opus the Poet August 21, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      Blaming the homeless or unhoused for bad bike infrastructure. Like drivers blame cyclists for potholes.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Avatar
    Greg August 21, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    It’s really a shame that so much of the comment section seems to think that cyclists being deprived of bicycle parking is the real tragedy here.

    There’s a special place in hell reserved for people who go out of their way to deprive the least well off members of the community from having a dry place to sleep at night.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Avatar
      soren August 21, 2019 at 3:17 pm

      “There’s a special place in hell reserved for people who go out of their way to deprive the least well off members of the community from having a dry place to sleep at night.”

      The bike portland comments section has always been located on the 5th circle of Dante’s inferno.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Avatar
        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 21, 2019 at 4:54 pm

        you are a part of this “comments section” soren. I think you and the vast majority of people who comment here are far from hellish. what good does it do to insult this comment section? This is a gathering place for our community.

        Recommended Thumb up 11

        • Avatar
          soren August 22, 2019 at 9:26 am

          Also a gathering place for people who create an environment that excludes members of our community. Portlanders who are houseless (some of whom you know personally via bike advocacy) actively avoid bike portland due to this kind of hate speech. This kind of speech not only excludes them, it wounds them:

          Call it for what it is, these folks are drunks and they are getting away with under the guise of being the most “vulnerable members” of our society. We have to pull back on our PC vernacular and start enforcing common sense laws.

          Without the gate you are just inviting drug addicts to camp out and trash the place.

          I am unapologetic about my use of literary metaphor to describe how some community members experience your “community”.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Avatar
            Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm

            thanks soren. I can always do a better job moderating comments and keeping things as welcoming to everyone as possible. it’s harder than you think. I’ll go and edit that comment now.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • Avatar
              soren August 22, 2019 at 3:34 pm

              And I apologize for lashing out a bit. I get really frustrated with our lack of progress when it comes to housing (very intersectional to active transpo).

              S

              Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Avatar
                Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 22, 2019 at 4:35 pm

                thanks soren. i feel like many of us are frustrated with many things these days and it all starts to bleed together. i really value your contributions to this site and I hope you will continue to read the comments and share your views here.

                Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Avatar
            Matt S. August 22, 2019 at 2:43 pm

            It’s interesting my comment gets moderated when I did not denigrate anyone based on their culture, ethnicity, gender, class, etc — I would never do that. I merely suggested that someone sleeping on the street smelling like alcohol and urine is a drunk. Yet a person on here can tell someone, essentially to go to hell, and yet no moderation. I find it very hypocritical.

            This is a bike blog, if we don’t want comments on individuals suffering from houseless issues, then we shouldn’t be posting articles about such topics…

            I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

            Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Avatar
      maxD August 21, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Greg, this is a blog about cycling issues and it used to connect people with information and advocacy opportunities related to cycling. I think should be very ware of the impacts of the homeless crisis on cycling. I think the way our City State and country have ignored the growing wealth gap, the opioid crisis, the increasing neglect of mental illness is horrible. I also think Portland, and to some degree Oregon, is a place where people have been struggling to create a nice place to live, a place that limits sprawl with the UGB, asking people to live densely and efficiently in exchange for transit and alternative transportation, a robust openspace network, etc. The homeless crisis has been eroding our openspace, and negatively impacting transit and the bike infrastructure and parks. Are these people in crisis? yes. Do they need a place to sleep? of course. Should they be allowed to sleep anywhere, should we as a City lose our parks and cycle routes to provide homeless camping areas? I don’t think so! That is classic tragedy of the commons, IMO. If we sacrifice our public livability, we will undermine the fundamental value of our City. It will not impact the wealthiest who can insulate themselves by paying for recreation or using expensive transportation options- SOV, Uber, etc. But the lower/middle income people who rely on parks, parks programs, bike paths for transportation and recreation will grow tired of it not being clean or safe and will start to move out. People will become less likely to vote for parks and trails bonds. The CIty will be become increasingly for the wealthy and the homeless. I am sorry this is a bit rambling, but do not think it is heartless to care about preserving the openspaces and alternative transportation accomplishes that Portland has worked hard to create. This should not be a bikes vs homeless issue.

      Recommended Thumb up 12

      • Avatar
        J_R August 21, 2019 at 8:18 pm

        Comment of the week.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Avatar
        Greg August 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm

        It’s certainly true that this is a blog about cycling issues, but that’s no excuse for failing to consider the larger ethical implications of the kinds of cycling advocacy that we decide to engage in. Cycling advocacy does not/should not exist in a vacuum, and it is our responsibility to consider the larger context. Take a look at the Williams Avenue bikeway project for a prime example of what happens when the larger social/moral/political/historical context of bike advocacy is ignored.

        Allowing the houseless members of our community to sleep in alcoves and be in city parks only “sacrifices our public livability” if the houseless are not included in the set of people that you count as part of our community—and that is wrong. The city is filled with people, many of whom have weighed in in the comment section, who believe that those experiencing homelessness are essentially vermin who are not deserving of our empathy, are not members of our community, and should be “moved along” to some unidentified other location. These are the sorts of people who fence in their alcoves and put up no loitering signs. They are not interested in real solutions to the homelessness crisis, but are instead interested in just making homelessness invisible. These people/attitudes are the real problem.

        Maybe instead of advocating for sweeps of bike paths and parks, the cycling community could try to understand that these people have nowhere else to go where they will not be moved along again. We should be advocating for real solutions to the homelessness crisis that don’t blame the victims for their situation and attempt to hide the problem. We should be putting real pressure on our institutions to fix the real causes of homelessness, working to ensure that there is affordable/free decent housing for those in need, mental health/addiction treatment, decriminalization of drugs, etc. Until these real causes have been addressed, being a decent member of our community requires that we accept that people who need a place to sleep are justified in using the parks, alcoves, and bike paths of the community that has continued to fail them.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Avatar
        El Biciclero August 23, 2019 at 10:25 am

        “This should not be a bikes vs homeless issue.”

        I find it interesting that it is almost always a “Bikes vs. …” issue. Bikes vs. “cars”, bikes vs. pedestrians, bikes vs. homeless campers, “bikes” vs. e-bikes, slow bikes vs. “fast” bikes…

        Why are “bikes” seemingly constantly placed in a position of having to be “vs.” someone/something else, and then berated for being greedy, whiney, heartless, belligerent… and it isn’t just “bikes”—homeless/houseless “drunks” (in air quotes because it’s a stereotype not applicable to all), “aggressive” pedestrians—who else?

        Who benefits from this and how is it perpetuated? It really appears to be a classic case of those with the means cocooning themselves with disproportionate amounts of resources, and letting the hoi-polloi waste all their time fighting over the insufficient scraps left over.

        Keeping it in the realm of transportation, how many car parking spaces have been “lost” to people seeking shelter in parking garages? I honestly have no idea, but it would be interesting to compare. I would bet that zero thoroughfares open to driving have been rendered unsafe/impassable to drivers due to encampments—probably because a) individuals sitting/lying in the road would be run over by rolling WMDs and b) if an effective barricade of tents were to block an entire street, it would take about seven minutes for police to show up and start “moving people along”. We try almost as hard to keep sidewalks clear, but only exert the minimum effort, paying perhaps quarterly attention to “bike paths”. I’m not necessarily saying we should sweep MUPs more frequently, but hey—if it’s OK to camp on the Springwater, why not give up a lane or two of Powell Blvd.? If we can’t restrict access to “alcoves” with bike parking, why not offer up car parking garages as temporary housing?

        Because the Lords and Ladies of the driving population have an exclusive enclave protected by the Sworn Knights of the realm. The non-drivers, if only temporarily so, have access to this portion of the kingdom only if they pay proper obeisance to the Lords and Ladies and keep to their proper place—failure to do so could invite summary execution. Out in the hinterlands where no right-minded member of the Nobility would dare venture, it’s every man for himself. To maintain peace, the King sends a knight or two on an errand every blue moon to restore order in the peasant villages, a token gesture that doesn’t really have any lasting effect. But as long as the Nobility remain untouched by undesirable elements, what else really needs to be done?

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Avatar
          q August 23, 2019 at 12:48 pm

          Your comments make sense in general, but also are apt when applied to very specific recent discussions.

          In regard to the bike spaces being barricaded, the situation is bikes vs. people camping in the grim little niche. Meanwhile, the many parking spaces a few feet away on the street are left undisturbed. You could take a couple parking spaces away, and extend the sidewalks out and provide lots of generous bike parking, plus some benches, etc. and eliminate the “bikes vs. campers” conflict, but that trade seems off the table.

          In regard to the dismal PBOT “solution” in N. Portland of running the bike lane onto the sidewalk, now people walking and biking (“bikes vs. pedestrians”) can get in each other’s way on the 5′ wide sidewalk while drivers actually gain space.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    q August 21, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    The City’s approach to having private property owners provide short-term bike parking on their property on urban sites is wasteful, especially on streets where there’s on-street vehicle parking.

    Building urban buildings up to the sidewalk property lines is generally good urban design policy, and the City’s zoning code and design review process correctly encourages it. Since the short-term spaces must be on site, that means needing to create recessed niches in sidewalk-level facades. Cutting out that square footage from a building is expensive, since it increases the expensive part of the building–the perimeter walls. It’s cheaper build that same area as interior space than to recess it to create exterior space.

    Meanwhile, a few feet away, there’s that same amount of area on the street in the form of a parallel parking space. It makes a lot more sense from a resource standpoint (use of urban land) to have bike parking replace a vehicle parking space than to replace (at quite a bit more cost) interior ground floor building area. And for the same amount of money, I’d guess you can build a lot more bike parking spaces (including covered ones) in the parallel parking space area than you can by carving niches out of urban ground floor spaces.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Avatar