A protected bike lane is born: ‘Better Naito’ is being installed right now

Posted on April 20th, 2017 at 5:02 pm.

Posts were erected today on Naito. They’ll be in place (barring destruction by careless drivers) through the end of September.
(Photo: Timur Ender)

From now until the end of September, all Portlanders will benefit from a much more humane Naito Parkway. Along a busy section of our marquee riverfront street usually held hostage by speeding motor vehicles spewing toxic fumes into the air we breathe, people will drive more slowly and there will be much more room to walk and bike and roll.

As I type this, transportation bureau crews are installing the plastic wands and other elements that will help re-allocate space on the northbound (east) side of Naito for about 3/4 of a mile between SW Main and NW Couch. The $350,000 project was supported by City Council last October. Former Mayor Charlie Hales was an ardent supporter of improving vehicle access on Naito. Prior to voting on it last fall he said, “Expanding the public realm for bicycles in this city, and is something we’re still committed to.”
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First look: The Willamette riverfront path that Tesla built

Posted on April 20th, 2017 at 12:12 pm.

Willamette Greenway path-1.jpg

A section of paved path built adjacent to the (in-progress) Tesla showroom on the Willamette River with South Waterfront’s residential towers in the background.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

When Tesla Motors revealed plans for a showroom in Portland last May we feared the worst. The location of the showroom (4330 SW Macadam Avenue) on the west side of the Willamette River just south of Portland’s burgeoning South Waterfront district, was smack-dab in the middle of an annoying gap in a key multi-use path.
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Beyond vandalism, Biketown faces ridership test ahead of summer season

Posted on April 11th, 2017 at 10:58 am.

Biketown bike share -14.jpg

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.

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ODOT hosts open house for inner Powell Blvd project tonight

Posted on April 5th, 2017 at 12:19 pm.

ODOT’s current plans.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is in the final design phases of a project that aims to make it safer to bike and walk on and across SE Powell Blvd beteeen 20th and 34th Avenue. They’re hosting an open house tonight (4/5) to answer questions, hear feedback, and share more information about the project.

This section of Powell is important for several reasons. The intersection with 26th is where two serious bicycle crashes — and one major protest — happened in 2015. It’s also the location of a very busy crossing due to the presence of Cleveland High School on the northeast corner. ODOT has also come under scrutinty for their decision to force the City of Portland to remove the existing bike lane on 26th as a condition of them adding a new signal and crossing at 28th (which ODOT says is a safer place to cross). Adding to the mix is the news that Target will build a new store at 30th and Powell (in the place of an old bowling alley).
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It can happen here: The normalization of highway expansions

Posted on April 3rd, 2017 at 2:51 pm.

Car traffic seen from Burnside Bridge-1

View of Portland via the Burnside Bridge in 2009. This problem needs better management, not more freedom to grow.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We are living in a time of extremes: climate, politics and public opinion have all ceded the moderate middle in favor of the faraway edges. When it comes to policy debates, ideas that once seemed too extreme to be taken seriously have managed to crawl their way back into the mainstream.
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First look at County’s new bike path to eastbound Sellwood Bridge

Posted on April 3rd, 2017 at 12:29 pm.

New section of Sellwood Bridge path-2.jpg

New section of path takes you from west side of Willamette River, up onto the bridge heading east into Sellwood.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County opened a new connection from the west side of the river to the southern sidewalk on the new Sellwood Bridge about a month ago. I finally took a closer look at it on Friday.
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First look at PBOT’s new crossing of Hawthorne at 43rd – UPDATED

Posted on March 31st, 2017 at 10:35 am.

What if this was in place on August 19th 2016 when Fallon Smart tried to cross here?
(Photos: Paul Jeffery)

As promised last fall, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has updated Southeast Hawthorne Blvd with a new painted crosswalk and median island at the intsersection of 43rd Avenue. In addition to the new crossing, PBOT has received permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on Hawthorne between 29th and 50th to 20 miles per hour (down from 25).
[Read more…]

Portion of Esplanade path might have to close due to high water – UPDATED

Posted on March 23rd, 2017 at 4:07 pm.

Current conditions.
(Photos: Portland Parks & Rec)

**The path has been closed as of Saturday 3/25. See below for update and statement from Portland Parks & Recreation bureau.

The City of Portland Parks and Recreation bureau says the floating portions of the Eastbank Esplanade could close if water levels in the Willamette River continue to climb.

Here’s the problem: The section of path just north and south of the Burnside Bridge is tethered to the riverbank. The ramps that lead down to the floating path are fixed. Therefore, as water rises, the path rises above the ramps, creating a sharp incline as seen in the photos above.[Read more…]

45 days later, TriMet still has no estimate for re-opening of Lafayette Street bridge elevator

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 at 5:09 pm.

“Temporarily.”
(Photo via @marneduke on Twitter)

An elevator on a bridge needed for cycling over light rail and railroad lines in southeast Portland has been closed for nearly seven weeks now. And TriMet, the owner of the facility, still isn’t sure when it will re-open.

On February 20th we reported that the elevator at the Rhine-Lafayette Bridge was broken. TriMet said moisture had gotten into the elevator shaft, causing the brakes the fail.

After posting our story we heard from several readers who were frustrated about losing such an important connection. As you can see in the map below, the railyard splits two neighborhoods and there are very few ways to get across it. While there are stairs with a wheel-gutter, the gutter is hard to use and for many people there are too many stairs to manage carrying their bike safely.

“This bridge being out is a significant impediment for those of us who use it to head North-South — makes my quick 15 minute ride from Sellwood to inner Clinton area twice as long and even longer if I’m headed further north,” wrote reader Carrie. “This whole thing is ridiculous. They tore down the old bridge because, well it was sketchy, but because it wasn’t ADA compliant. Then they build this new one, can’t afford(?) to build one at Harold or Reedway, and yet can’t maintain it and so now anyone who can’t do stairs, or can’t carry their bike up/down stairs (and it’s kind of scary to come down the stairs in the dark rain shouldering your bike) are screwed — there’s no where nearby to get from point a to point b.”
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County’s Burnside Bridge project plans put bicycle riders on sidewalk for two years

Posted on March 21st, 2017 at 2:33 pm.

(Graphics: HDR/Multnomah County)

Next month Multnomah County and private contractor will kick off a major rehabilitation project for the Burnside Bridge. The project will nip and tuck the historic span in hopes of getting another 15-20 years of service out of it.

According to construction plans released by HDR (the contractor hired to perform the work), there will be significant changes to bridge operations for two years while the project is completed. From November of this year through November 2019, the plan is to have bicycle users share a sidewalk/sidepath with people walking. The plan will also reduce the number of standard vehicle lanes from five the three.
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