BikePortland.org

Weekly News Roundup: Local Focus, Oslo’s big zero, and more


(Note: This is your Monday Roundup for the week. It’s a few days late because, well, I’m still in Mexico on vacation at the moment so I haven’t been on a regular work schedule. Back in the office Thursday!)

This week’s roundup is brought to you by Endurance Physical Therapy + Bike Fit Studio (2323 N Williams Ave) who reminds us that it’s the perfect time of year to work out those kinks in your form.

Here are the most noteworthy items the BikePortland community has come across in the past week or so…

Local Focus

ODOT hires: As expected, Oregon DOT has made major hires for three new offices. One of them, the Office of Urban Mobility and Mega Project Delivery, will be tasked with completing the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project, the I-205 and Abernethy Bridge Project, and “active development of a tolling and congestion pricing program to meet the region’s immediate needs.” Its Director is Brendan Finn, a former chief of staff for Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, one-time City Council candidate, and current transportation policy advisor to Governor Kate Brown. Finn starts March 1st.

What’s wrong on Hogan Ave? Two young people have been killed in just two weeks within a block of each other on SE Hogan Road in Gresham. On December 24th 17-year-old Jayden Auberry died in a collision while biking at SE 4th and Hogan. Then on Monday, 11-year Luis Medina was killed by a drunk driver who ran a red light at SE 5th and Hogan.

I-5 Rose Quarter update: After reporting that the I-5 expansion at the Rose Quarter could cost up to $795 million, Willamette Week asked ODOT officials to explain how their initial estimate of $450 million was so off-base. Oh, and OTC Chair Robert Van Brocklin knew about — yet never disclosed — the higher cost estimate weeks before a major meeting on the project.

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3 feet law in WA: Our neighbors to the north and perennially-ranked #1 bike-friendly state of Washington, now have a much more effective passing law in the books. It’s better than Oregon’s because it applies to all vulnerable road users and includes a stipulation that drivers must move one lane over when there are two or more lanes in the same direction.

Another city ponders carfree future: The old city of York in the U.K. says public opinion about climate change is one reason they’ve proposed to eliminate “non-essential” car use in their central city.

Bike more this year: If you need inspiration to put more miles on your bike in 2020, don’t miss Barb Chamberlain’s great list of ways to challenge yourself.

E-bikes FTW: I don’t think we talk enough about the fact that electric bikes have the potential to have a greater impact on our city’s mobility challenges than just about anything else — if only we’d give riders the space they need.

More lanes = more traffic: New York spent $4 billion on the Tappan Zee Bridge, and the new lanes have — surprise surprise! — attracted even more traffic!

Distracted lawmaking: Remember that highly publicized “distracted walking” law in Honolulu that went into effect two years ago? 232 people have been cited so far but it hasn’t made an impact on fatalities.

Language matters: Because you know we love this topic, here’s the latest “crash not accident” story.

Vision Zero in NYC: The NY Times takes a closer look at why the Big Apple is still failing to rein in traffic deaths.

Vision Zero in Oslo: The capital of Norway with a similar population to Portland had zero traffic deaths involving vulnerable road users in 2019. Zero. Key to their approach has been a major restriction of parking and auto use in their city center.

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