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. [Read more…]
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. [Read more…]
“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. [Read more…]
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: [Read more…]
[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. [Read more…]
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!) [Read more…]
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”. [Read more…]
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. [Read more…]
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. [Read more…]