What does the Portland Business Alliance really think about Better Naito?

Posted on May 25th, 2017 at 4:28 pm.

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Make way for the job creators!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What does the Portland Business Alliance think about Better Naito; the city’s reconfiguration of Naito Parkway to include a two-way protected bike lane and sidewalk? It depends on who you ask. Or more precisely, it depends on which of their positions will face more public scrutiny.

The PBA, Portland’s most well-established business lobby group with over 1,800 member companies, has issued two official statements on Better Naito. One came in the form of an op-ed from PBA Board of Directors Chair Jim Mark published in the Portland Tribune on Tuesday; the other came from PBA President and CEO Sandra McDonough in the form of a letter dated May 9th and addressed to Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman. I obtained that letter (PDF) via a public records request along with 12 other emails sent to Saltzman’s office regarding Better Naito over the past month.
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Killingsworth gets two-way protected bike lanes in Cully neighborhood

Posted on May 25th, 2017 at 12:11 pm.

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An opportunistic move by the Portland Bureau of Transportation has given us a glimpse into the future of biking and walking in the Cully neighborhood.

PBOT recently took advantage of a repaving project on Northeast Killingsworth to build a new striping and crossing treatment that connects NE 55th and 54th Avenues. It’s all part of the $3.3 million “Connected Cully” project that PBOT won funding for via a State of Oregon grant (the 2015-2018 STIP to be exact). I took a closer look at it yesterday.

PBOT has built a two-way bike lane for one block that’s separated from motor vehicle traffic with rubber curbs and plastic wands. Mid-way between 55th and 54th a bicycle rider has the choice to either continue straight or use a crosswalk. The crosswalk has a standard zebra-striped walking area and an additional green cross-bike treatment on both sides (to handle two-way bike traffic). There’s also a new signal with an activation button at the mid-block crossing.

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As you can see in the images, this area gets a lot of walking traffic. I was only there for a few minutes and saw three separate families come by — each of whom had toddlers in tow and were pushing a stroller. And they all used the new bike lane because there are no sidewalks.

Why here?

The only major destination adjacent to this new bikeway is Trinity Lutheran Christian School. Since that’s a private institution, the changes to Killingsworth wouldn’t have been done as part of the City’s Safe Routes to School program (which focuses on public schools). I asked PBOT Communications Director John Brady about it and he said the new striping and crossing treatment was built as part of a future neighborhood greenway that will run along 55th and 54th Avenues. When PBOT got wind of a paving project on Killingsworth, they re-striped for the future instead of putting things back like they were. Way to go PBOT!

The Connected Cully project includes lots of other changes intended to make it more pleasant to walk and bike in this area. The info below was taken from the PBOT project description included in the ODOT grant application:

What’s in store from the Connected Cully project.

This is just one of several safe streets and active transportation initiatives in the Cully area. As we reported in February, Cully won over $2 million in infrastructure investments that will include a new “biking and walking parkway” on NE 72nd Avenue between Lombard and Fremont.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

New ‘Portland Bus’ group finds momentum in push for dedicated lanes

Posted on May 24th, 2017 at 11:56 am.

Kessler, shown here at Sunday Parkways over the weekend, said he was surprised how non-controversial the idea is.

More dedicated lanes for buses might be an idea whose time has come in Portland. At least that’s how it appears given the support that the Portland Bus Lane Project has received after it launched just two weeks ago.

The effort is being spearheaded by lawyer and activist Alan Kessler. Kessler turned his passion for more reliable and efficient public transit into an organized effort after a May 4th tweet of gridlock on the Hawthorne Bridge gained attention.

Since then, Kessler has built a website and social media presence, garnered headlines, built up an email list (he has about 140 people signed up already), and even tabled at the recent Sunday Parkways event.

“The vast majority of comments we received [at Sunday Parkways] were supportive,” he shared with us yesterday. “We heard over and over from folks how well bus priority works in other cities they’d lived in and visited.”

Much to Kessler’s surprise, he said many people who stopped by his booth had already heard about his efforts. One of those people was Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. “We were excited when he pulled up and grabbed a card.” [Read more…]

Portland’s 20 mph speed limit bill passes Senate, nears final passage

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 at 10:22 am.

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East Portland resident Sarah Iannarone during a December 2016 protest at the corner of SE 82nd and Division.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new state law that would allow the City of Portland to reduce speed limits on over 3,000 miles of residential streets — that’s over 60 percent of all the streets in Portland — to 20 mph cleared a major hurdle yesterday.

With a vote of 4-1 in the Senate Committee On Business and Transportation, House Bill 2682 now only has to pass a vote of the full Senate before it can be signed into law. The bill passed the Oregon House 55-1 back in April.

The bill, sponsored by State Respresentative Rob Nosse, would only apply to the City of Portland. It was amended after cities and counties across the state said they didn’t want the added resonsibility of making speed limit decisions themselves and would rather have ODOT’s continued oversight.
[Read more…]

First look: ODOT’s new path around deadly Lombard intersection

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 at 8:43 am.

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It’s 450-feet long but it could be the difference between life and death.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The State of Oregon has completed construction of a new bike path on NE Lombard (Highway 30) at 42nd. The path is about one-tenth of a mile long and is separated from motor vehicle traffic by a guardrail.

It doesn’t have an official name, but I’ll always think of this as the Martin Greenough Memorial Bike Path.

This is the location where Greenough was hit and killed by a selfish and irresponsible automobile user on December 2015. Greenough was riding in a bike lane that disappeared suddenly as the road narrows to fit around a large concrete pillar that holds up the 42nd Avenue overpass. ODOT built this path so that future bicycle users don’t have to ride through that dangerous pinch-point.

I took a closer look at the path yesterday.

The path starts just east of the ramps that lead up to 42nd Avenue from Lombard. ODOT has added a “Bike Route” sign with an arrow just before the curb ramp that provides a way to roll from the on-street bike lane to the new path.

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Here’s the view where it starts looking west (against traffic).

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Given the dangerous pinch-point, I think ODOT should have done more to prevent someone on a bike from continuing on the road. This isn’t your typical, “interested but concerned” versus “strong and fearless,” some-people-will-opt-for-the-path-while-others-can-opt-for-the-street situation. Continuing to ride on the street at this location is extremely dangerous and now that the path is built, I feel like it’s an option that should not exist.

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One small green sign is easy to miss (especially at night and/or with scary vehicles speed by you at around 50 mph). Perhaps a large arrow on the pavement near the ramp? Or even a concrete curb/median with reflectors on it? Not only is the entry to the path under-designed in my opinion, they also left a large yellow “Bikes on Roadway” sign in place. I realize that’s useful for drivers in case someone is cycling on the road — but it also confuses bicycle users who might be unsure what they’re supposed to do.

I keep wondering about Martin. Would he have noticed this path? Is it obvious enough? He was new to town and the night he was killed was likely the first time he’d ever biked home from work.

The path itself is what you’d expect. About six feet wide and smooth pavement.

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I was disappointed to see that the path is already strewn with garbage, broken glass, dirt and gravel.

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Here are two views looking back (west) at the path from its terminus.

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From this aerial perspective (on the 42nd Avenue overpass bridge) you can see how ODOT ground down the old bike lane stripe to create a series of hash marks that begin where the new path starts…

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Aside from a few quibbles, this is a welcome improvement. Granted, this stretch of Lombard does not see a lot of bicycle use, but the previous conditions were deplorable and so clearly negligent that something had to be done. Next we’d really like to see ODOT do the same thing on the other side of the street. The westbound bike lane suffers from the same dangerous condition as this one did and will eventually lead to the same tragic consequence if it goes unaddressed.

And of course this section of Lombard will never realize its full potential as a local and regional connector until auto traffic is tamed through a redesign of the street and physically protected bike lanes are added for its entire length.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

Trolley Trail tour: You can now ride Portland to Oregon City nearly carfree (photos)

Posted on May 19th, 2017 at 10:43 am.

There are many signs along the route to help you along.
(Photos and words by Adam Herstein)

— This post was submitted through our subscriber post system by Adam Herstein.
[Read more…]

Closure of River View Cemetery bike access looms as disrepectful riding continues

Posted on May 19th, 2017 at 8:59 am.

Hopefully not a sign of things to come.
(Photo: David Cushman)

Bicycles will not be allowed to roll through River View Cemetery this coming Memorial Day weekend (Friday, May 26th through Monday, May 29th).

If that news bothers you, consider this: We’re lucky it’s open to us at all. And if we want it to remain open in the future, we better start riding with more respect.

The historic cemetery that sits on 350 acres of prime real estate overlooking the Willamette River just west of the Sellwood Bridge is a private nonprofit organization that was founded in 1882. Its Board of Trustees generously allows free bicycle access through the property because it provides a safe, direct, and pleasant connection between Sellwood and southwest Portland. The alternate routes on SW Boones Ferry and Taylors Ferry roads are out-of-the-way and very stressful on a bike due to their outdated and car-centric design.

However, despite this amazing gift bicycle riders have been given, far too many people abuse this privilege by riding in a way that fails to show the respect due to this venerable place and the people who visit and staff it.
[Read more…]

The impact of fear on ‘bike safety’ in car-centric Beaverton — UPDATED

Posted on May 17th, 2017 at 10:19 am.

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What would make streets like this “safer” for bicycling? Fear-mongering? Or perhaps a bit more encouragement and reassurance?
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ms. Fast is BikePortland’s Washington County correspondent.

Sometimes I wonder if a well-intentioned “bike safety” presentation can do more harm than good.

At May’s meeting of the Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), Ben Howard, committee rep and a member of the Beaverton Police Bicycle Patrol unit, gave the committee a flawlessly organized but somewhat chilling presentation on bicycle safety. He introduced it as the same presentation he and police partners regularly give at community events and at companies like Nike, providing audiences with:

— Top five bike safety tips (my paraphrase, in no particular order, is: helmet, defensive riding, defensive riding, helmet, helmet)
— Summary of commonly asked bike law questions
— A warning about being “dead right”

Not included as program bullet points were safety concerns like:
— What is being done by the city to halt traffic violations by drivers?
— To whom—exactly—riders should report unsafe bike lane obstructions?
[Read more…]

Who’s riding on ‘Better Naito’? A look at how the project is going so far

Posted on May 10th, 2017 at 5:03 pm.

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Traffic on “Better” Naito.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been almost two weeks since the ‘Better Naito’ project opened. I spent some time riding in it and watching traffic yesterday afternoon and I’ve got some observations and photos to share.

Here are some of my takeaways, in no particular order:
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First look: The tiny (yet important) cycle-track on SW Terwilliger at Capitol Highway

Posted on May 3rd, 2017 at 11:17 am.

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It might not look like much, but it makes a big difference.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“The changes are a big improvement.”
— Barbara Stedman, southwest Portland resident

Slowly but surely, the City of Portland is improving bikeways in southwest. Case in point are the recently completed changes to the intersection of SW Capitol Highway and Terwilliger (a.k.a the “teardrop”).

People who ride in this area know the intersection well because it was a common place for close-calls. I experienced this first-hand during a ride-along with a southwest Portland family in 2012 (see photo below). The curvature of the road, mixed with the unprotected bike lane was a bad combination. Fortunately a Portland Water Bureau project provided the impetus to finally fix the bikeway and make something much safer (and we were fortunate that a volunteer advocate spoke up to make sure it happened – thanks Keith Liden!).

Before I share more photos of the new bikeway, here’s how it used to look (note the pinch-point and how the younger rider opts wisely for the sidewalk):[Read more…]