Advocacy Archives

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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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.
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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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Harvest Century is September 23rd

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…]

Beaverton City Council needs to hear about how auto parking decisions impact cycling

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 3:16 pm.

Lloyd northbound toward Millikan, where cars could soon line both sides of the street.
(Photos by Naomi Fast for BikePortland)

This story is from our Washington County correspondent, Naomi Fast.

We need to talk about on-street auto parking in Beaverton.

A big picture glance at Beaverton Traffic Commission meeting agendas shows that over the past couple years, on-street car parking is a consuming and intersectional problem. Residents have been asking the city to lower speed limits rather than rely on parked cars for traffic calming, as well as further restrict on-street car parking. But the parking restriction requests are coming in for two different reasons: some are concerned about safety while traveling on car-cluttered roads, while others are concerned about people sleeping overnight in vehicles on the street.

Biking as transportation is — thankfully — being acknowledged somewhat in the search for solutions. However, some advocates are concerned certain proposed bike lanes (on a section of 5th, specifically, which the Bicycle Advisory Committee endorsed) were being used by the city to justify a new ordinance that would, in effect, evict houseless people from staying overnight in vehicles on the street. Washington County just enacted their own ordinance prohibiting camping on-street in RVs. Like Portland, Beaverton is struggling to house all its residents. The city has even decided to apply for an Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

But today, I’d like to outline a seemingly small detail of the bigger parking problem. It’s an example of the kind of mundane traffic decision that should be considered from a carfree person’s perspective, as part of the equity consideration.

And I think it’s worth a call-to-action for people whose preferred or primary mode of travel in Beaverton is a bicycle.
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After another death, community groups will press City for ’emergency’ on outer SE Stark

Posted on February 7th, 2018 at 2:12 pm.

Looks like an emergency to me.

We’ve seen this sad movie before: After seemingly incessant traffic violence on our streets, people join together with tears in their eyes and frustration in their hearts to implore our government agencies to do more to make our streets safe.

This time Oregon Walks and the Rosewood Initiative will lead the way. They’re hosting a press conference Thursday morning to draw attention to terrible conditions on outer SE Stark Street after a woman was killed by an auto user at 148th Street last week. That was the third fatal traffic crash at or near that same intersection in less than a year. In a statement (below), Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry is calling on the City of Portland to declare an official emergency on SE Stark in order to immediately reduce the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph.

Mickelberry hopes the Portland Bureau of Transportation will take a similar approach to the emergency declaration they successfully pursued on SE Division last year.

Here’s more from the Oregon Walks press release:
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A former Portlander wants to know what ‘women led’ cities would look like

Posted on February 6th, 2018 at 9:53 am.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman at Portland’s Parking Day event in 2013.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is putting what she learned in Portland to very good use: addressing the sexism in urban planning and helping women take leadership roles in how our cities are designed.

“The city, as we know it today, has been designed and shaped primarily by men,” she wrote in a recent email, “By bringing women’s voices to the forefront of the urban discussion, the Women Led Cities Initiative aims to achieve a greater level of equity in urban planning and design – both bottom-up and top-down – and start conversations about developing feminist city policy towards greater equality for all people in our cities.”

Johnston-Zimmerman, an urban anthropologist with a Master of Urban Studies degree from Portland State University (and who shared a guest article here on BikePortland in 2013), moved to Philadelphia a few years ago; but not before cutting her teeth on local activism efforts like Better Block and Parking Day. Back in 2012 I worked with Johnston-Zimmerman (and two others) on a project for GOOD Magazine where we envisioned a Portland where bicycling was just as easy as driving or taking transit.

Those projects were just the start for Johnston-Zimmerman. She’s also founder of the THINK.urban consulting firm, part of the tandem (along with fellow urbanist Kirsten Jeffers) that hosts the Third Wave Urbanism podcast, and one of the driving forces behind the Women Led Cities initiative.
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