Advocacy Archives

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:
[Read more…]

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]

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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…]

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!)
[Read more…]

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”.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

New ‘Friends of Safer Lincoln’ group hits the street to defend a greenway

Posted on February 9th, 2018 at 11:06 am.

Doing something about the problem as the problem streams by.
(Photos: Betsy Reese)

Volunteer activism is alive and well in Portland.
[Read more…]

Community Cycling Center bringing back ‘Velotines’ delivery service

Posted on February 9th, 2018 at 9:05 am.

Community Cycling Center staffers Lindy Walsh (L), Athena and Yashar Vasef model Velotines cards.
(Photos: Community Cycling Center)

When is the last time you sent someone a hand-written note? Maybe doing that more often was one of your new year’s resolutions that needs a nudge?

For the second year in a row the Community Cycling Center will set up a letter courier system in their retail bike shop on Northeast Alberta to commemorate St. Velotine’s Day — which they call, “an emerging tradition celebrating all-analog affection.” For one day the CCC will buck the growing digitization of our lives and encourage people to send hand-written notes to one another in a bid to boost positive community spirit.

Here’s more from the CCC:

Instead of jotting a quick email thanking a friend or coworker, imagine having that note manually typed on a mid-century Olympia typewriter, then couriered by bike within Portland city limits to surprise and delight its recipient on February 14th. That is precisely what Cycling Center staff and volunteers intend to do for hundreds of messages.

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From now through February 14th (which is traditionally Valentine’s Day, if you haven’t realized yet), anyone can stop into the CCC Bike Shop (1700 NE Alberta) and order a velotine for a $10 suggested donation. Once typed up and sealed with a kiss, it will be queued for bike delivery on Valentine’s Day.

This would be a great way to tell your friends and special someones that you appreciate them!

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

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Grab a ’20 is Plenty’ yard sign and help PBOT change traffic culture

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 3:51 pm.

Hopefully it’s a sign of change.
(Photo: PBOT)

Changing America’s dysfunctional traffic culture begins on the street in front of where you live.

It will take a lot more than signs and paint to win the battle against traffic violence — but both of those things are part of the fight. The Portland Bureau of Transportation has a new way you can aid their “Vision Zero” efforts: They now offer free ’20 is Plenty’ yard signs. Their goal is to help educate us about speed and give everyone a bit of a fair warning before the new 20 mph citywide residential speed limit goes into effect on April 1st (no foolin’).

Here are the times and places you can pick up a free sign: [Read more…]