About Michael Andersen (Contributor)

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
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Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.

Michael Andersen (Contributor) Post Archive

Beyond vandalism, Biketown faces ridership test ahead of summer season

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
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Biketown is popular with tourists, but the system needs more annual members if it wants to flourish.
(All photos by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s bike sharing system could have a bumpy road ahead even if political vandals decide to leave it be.

Annual members

A comparison of three bike share systems.

  • Biketown Portland: 2,837 (after nine months)
  • Pronto Seattle*: 2,878 (after nine months)
  • Capital Bikeshare Washington D.C.: 16,000 (after 12 months)

*Pronto has ceased operation.

Biketown launched nine months ago next week with 1000 bikes and 100 stations. Thanks to title sponsorship from Nike, it was one of the country’s largest bike-share launches — double the station and bike count of Seattle’s Pronto system when it launched in 2014.

Pronto, which like Biketown was operated by New York-based Motivate Inc., turned into the country’s highest-profile bike-share failure to date. Plagued by low ridership and a series of financial missteps and miscommunications, it shut down at the end of last month.

And though Portland’s Biketown is a very different system with a different price structure, its annual membership numbers for year one are on a very similar trajectory to Pronto’s.

[Read more…]

TriMet lobbies for more freeways in a misguided ‘fix’ for Portland congestion

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
I-5 traffic from N Skidmore.jpg

Don’t believe the hype.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is a guest post from former news editor Michael Andersen.

The top executive of Portland’s mass transit agency said this week that the Portland region has four top transportation priorities, and three of them are to expand capacity of urban freeways.

[Read more…]

Portland’s new surge in bike commuting is real – and it’s gas-price proof

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
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Rush hour on Williams Avenue in May. Once again in 2015, 7 percent of Portlanders said their main commute to work is by bike.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Gas prices? What gas prices?

The great gasoline plunge of late 2014 hasn’t cut the rate of Portlanders biking to work, at least not in 2015.

In fact, drive-alone commuting among Portland residents hit a modern-day low last year — the fifth such record in six years — and public transit commuting jumped to a modern high of 13.4 percent.

[Read more…]

Four things I learned by working for the world’s best bike blog

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
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Not included in this listicle: always listen to Jim Howell.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Three years ago, when Jonathan and I were drafting the blog posts in which we’d talk about my joining BikePortland, he offered one of his many lessons that have stuck with me.

Don’t write about BikePortland as if it’s a thing I control, he said. Write about it like it’s a community.

My boss for the last three years isn’t always right. (Just ask him.) But that was one of the many times when he is.

[Read more…]

Who’s mad and who’s glad about ‘Better Naito’?

Friday, July 29th, 2016
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Naito Parkway on Thursday afternoon as seen looking north from the Morrison Bridge.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend, the City of Portland plans to remove the temporary multi-use path from the eastern side of Naito Parkway so the space can be used by cars instead.

[Read more…]

Bike and Build team rolls through Portland, changing lives all around

Friday, July 29th, 2016
bike and build lot number

2016 Bike and Build riders Carmen Kuan and Kelsey Oesmann with local Habitat for Humanity worker Jake Antles at their work site in Cully Thursday.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

For the 15th year in a row, a crew of young adults on bikes pulled into Portland Wednesday almost ready to finish a cross-country bike trip designed to change the way they see their country.

Thursday’s time painting part of a new Habitat for Humanity house in the Cully neighborhood was one of 10 “build days” for the 24-person crew affiliated with the national organization Bike and Build. Part charity bike tour and part Americorps, Bike and Build’s mission is to “benefit affordable housing and empower young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement.”

[Read more…]

East Portland advocates say they won’t take no for an answer on Powell bikeway

Thursday, July 28th, 2016
outer powell street view

SE Powell near 125th. The state’s current plan is to add sidewalks and a center turn lane but potentially no vertical separation between bike and car traffic.
(Image: Google Street View)

East Portland’s most prominent advocacy group is unanimously opposed to the state’s current plan for outer Powell Boulevard, its top staffer said Thursday.

“Every one of our transportation advocates — from pedestrian to bicycle to transit to overall transportation — was in disagreement with their decision and they want a separated bike lane on Powell,” said Lore Wintergreen, advocate for the East Portland Action Plan.

[Read more…]

State says raised bike lanes won’t work on outer Powell after all

Thursday, July 28th, 2016
concrete with durable striping

A sidewalk-colored bike lane (described here as a “concrete shoulder”) set off by slightly raised striping is the state’s preferred alternative for bike lanes on a reconstructed Powell Boulevard east of Interstate 205. The state-run road carries about 20,000 motor vehicles daily.
(Image: ODOT)

After an advisory group agreed that it wanted an upcoming rebuild of outer Powell Boulevard to include raised bike lanes, the Oregon Department of Transportation says they’re not practical after all.

Instead, it’s drawing the ire of some (though not all) advisory committee members by saying there won’t be any vertical protection between bike and car traffic on the busy state-run street.

[Read more…]

One-third of biking injuries in Toronto involve streetcar tracks, study finds

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
streetcar turn

Left turns from NW 9th Avenue onto Lovejoy Street toward the Broadway Bridge.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In the city with North America’s largest streetcar system, on-street rails almost rival automobiles as a factor in collisions that injure people on bikes.

That’s one major finding in the first academic study in North America dedicated specifically to the danger of streetcar tracks to people biking.

Among bike-related injuries in Toronto that resulted in emergency-room trips, the study found, 32 percent directly involved streetcar tracks and more than half happened on streets with streetcar tracks. And in what lead author Kay Teschke described as “a surprise to us,” 67 percent of track-related injuries happen away from intersections.

[Read more…]

Imagining an inner Powell that would actually solve the street’s problems

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
powell vision

When more people use cars on a street, it becomes less and less efficient. When more people use mass transit, it becomes more and more efficient.
(Image: Nick Falbo)

The City of Portland and the State of Oregon both say they want to free more of their constituents from traffic congestion and to reduce planet-killing pollution.

There’s no mystery at all about what this would look like on inner Powell Boulevard. Everyone with some measure of power who has considered the issue knows the answer. But for some reason, the millions of public dollars spent talking about that possible answer have never resulted in a street-level picture of it.

[Read more…]