Advocacy Archives

Son’s death sparks crusade for safer light rail crossings

Posted on July 23rd, 2018 at 1:38 pm.

Darla Sturdy and her children.
(Photo: Sturdy family)

Greg Spencer is a writer and editor who volunteers with the local chapter of Families for Safe Streets.

Eighty crosswalks and 45 light-rail stations made safer. That’s how Darla Sturdy sums up her proudest accomplishment to date.

Sturdy, a Gresham mother and member of Families for Safe Streets Oregon and SW Washington, never imagined a second life as a transportation engineer, much less as a lobbyist. But this is the work she threw herself into after her boy was run over and killed by a MAX light rail train.
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“Be reasonable” and other advice aspiring activists should ignore

Posted on July 18th, 2018 at 4:14 pm.

Throwing bales of hay onto one of Portland’s most dangerous, high-speed arterials is far from reasonable. And that’s probably why it was so effective.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Catie Gould is co-editor of our Adventures in Activism column.

There are not many professions where you introduce yourself and get a stream of complaints in response. I design office printers for a living, so this comes up a lot. On the plus side, years of complaints about ink prices and paper jams prepared me well to have an opinion about transportation issues, and be ready for other people’s advice on what is wrong with my perspective.

Just wearing a Sunday Parkways shirt once got me on the receiving end on a stream of complaints about PBOT, bike racks, and so on.

In general, I think transportation is a wonderful advocacy area because it is so accessible. Everyone experiences it — and therefore everyone is an expert. Well, not really. But everyone who calls City Hall about the lack of parking considers themselves experts, so you might as well think of yourself as one too.
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Gerik Kransky to leave The Street Trust for job with State of Oregon

Posted on July 17th, 2018 at 1:45 pm.

(Photos: Jonathan Maus – Click for captions)

“It’s a bigger playing field with a lot more actors on it.”
— Gerik Kransky on how bike advocacy has changed since 2008.

The Street Trust has lost another senior staff member.

Gerik Kransky, who joined the organization in 2010 when they were known as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, announced yesterday he’ll leave the organization at the end of this month. Kransky has accepted a position with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality where he’ll help administer the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement grant program.
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Adventures in Activism: In search of bike-friendly bus stops

Posted on June 21st, 2018 at 1:56 pm.

Rides are always better when they come with commemorative spoke cards.
(Photo by Dan Gebhart. All other photos by Catie Gould)

With the Enhanced Transit Corridors (ETC) plan freshly adopted by City Council, the second (of three) Central City in Motion online open houses in the books, and TriMet seeking input on their Division Transit Project — now is a good time to talk about what makes good bus station design.

Earlier this month as part of Pedalpalooza, the Portland Bus Lane Project and BikeLoudPDX hosted a very wonky bus and bike lane ride with help from Portland Bureau of Transportation Planner Nick Falbo.

PBOT includes a variety of new tools in their ETC plan; but not all of them play equally well with bicycle users. We wanted to get our hands dirty and learn more about what types of stations we currently have — and how future designs could be better. About 30 people showed up for the ride to learn and share what they know about bus stop designs. Here are some takeaways:
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Adventures in Activism, our new column edited by BikeLoudPDX

Posted on June 6th, 2018 at 12:05 pm.

[Publisher’s note: I’m happy to introduce a new column — Adventures in Activism — to highlight more of the vital, in-the-trenches work of grassroots activists. The column will be edited by BikeLoudPDX volunteers Emily Guise and Catie Gould; but they won’t be the only writers. If you’re working to make streets better, please get in touch so we can share your voice. In this first post, Emily and Catie share how they got involved. Stay tuned and thanks for reading. – Jonathan]

——

Emily Guise.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

➤ by Emily Guise

My bike advocacy career started on North Williams Avenue. In 2011, I was living in inner north Portland, had just started a new job downtown, and was going to school in Gresham. I rarely rode during rush-hour before; but now I was part of the pack going in-and-out of the central city. I began to hate my bike commute: people behaved dangerously, traffic was noisy, and I felt scared riding in skinny bike lanes. Riding up Williams was the worst. Its thin bike lane was sandwiched between impatient rush-hour commuters in big SUVs and parked cars whose drivers obliviously flung their doors open. Having to be on high-alert just to get home safely was exhausting. I disliked how angry I felt while biking and I knew I couldn’t continue this way.
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Speak up or sprawl out: “Missing middle” housing proposal hits the planning commission tonight

Posted on May 8th, 2018 at 10:28 am.

The “safety in numbers” phenomenon works in housing too.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

This is a guest post by Michael Andersen, BikePortland’s news editor from 2013 to 2016. He’s a writer for 1000 Friends of Oregon’s pro-housing campaign Portland for Everyone.

There are two ways for more Portlanders to live in bikeable neighborhoods.

One way is to add good bike infrastructure to neighborhoods without it. The other way is to let more people live in neighborhoods that have it already. Portland should be doing both.[Read more…]

Crunch time for off-road cycling plan with all eyes on Portland Parks Board meeting

Posted on March 23rd, 2018 at 9:53 am.

An advisory committee meeting for the plan in March 2017.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In case you haven’t read or heard yet, it’s crunch time for the City of Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan.

After years of meetings and planning, advocates are making their final arguments, a draft version is being reviewed by the influential Portland Parks Board, and a date at City Council for final adoption is likely this summer.

Everyone agrees this is a plan our city needs; but it’s less clear if this is the plan our city wants.

I was at the March 12th Parks Board meeting and shared a snapshot of how Mayor Ted Wheeler and a few advocates are feeling about the plan. Earlier this week I shared a guest post from Daniel Greenstadt, an advocate who has followed the plan’s development very closely and has participated in several of the planning meetings.

Those two stories, along with a search of our archives on terms like “forest park singletrack” and “off-road cycling master plan” should give you plenty of background information to understand this issue and make an informed opinion about it. (We’ve covered every twist-and-turn of this issue for over a decade, so there’s a clear historical thread that can be easily woven by anyone with the energy and interest. If you have a question about the plan, the process, or the politics, feel free to ask in the comments!)
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Protestors make show of force against ODOT’s ‘unnecessary’ removal of 26th Avenue bike lanes

Posted on February 21st, 2018 at 11:45 am.

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

About two dozen people stood on the corners of SE 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard last night to protest plans to remove a pair of bike lanes. As big, wet snowflakes fell, people rang horns and bike bells and held signs high that read, “No backpedaling on our safety,” “It’s always biking season,” “Keep your hands off our bike lane” and “Vision Zero now”.
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Advocates will rally to save bike lanes on SE 26th Avenue tonight

Posted on February 20th, 2018 at 12:36 pm.

Flyer for tonight’s rally by The Street Trust.

The Street Trust will host a rally this snowy evening at 5:30 pm Powell Park to show support for the bike lanes on SE 26th Avenue.

The saga on this street (which we’ve been reporting on since 2015) has opened up an important debate over whether narrow bike lanes are better than no bike lanes at all — and whether having a safer bikeway two blocks away is a reasonable justification for getting rid of one. It also shows just how far the City of Portland is willing to go to stay in good graces with its powerful state partner, the Oregon Department of Transportation.
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Chris Billman is the only Oregonian with a disabled parking decal for his bicycle

Posted on February 19th, 2018 at 3:04 pm.

It’s not a bike, it’s a personal mobility device.
(Photos: Chris Billman)

61-year-old Forest Grove resident Chris Billman got a new lease on life when he discovered cycling.

He was born with scoliosis and suffers from a litany of degenerative issues including spinal stenosis and liver disease. He needs a cane to walk, and when he does, his legs can go numb.

But put his feet on pedals and everything changes.

Billman started riding years ago by putting upright “chopper” handlebars on a Schwinn 10-speed — a fine set-up for cruising around the neighborhood. Then in 2015 he invested in a recumbent and everything changed. “I was off and flying!” he told me during a phone call earlier this week in the voice of someone decades younger.

“They wanted to give me drugs, but the bicycle is better than opiates!”
— Chris Billman

“When I get on the bike I’m bent over like a pretzel,” he said. “But after I get on it my back is straight. If I can do that twice a week I’m in good shape. They wanted to give me drugs, but the bicycle is better than opiates!”

In fact they’re not just bicycles, they’re his personal mobility devices as defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Billman is currently the only Oregon resident with a disabled permit decal for his bicycle.
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