Subscriber Posts

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Let’s Share our Bike-to-the-Eclipse Experiences

by on August 22nd, 2017 at 7:51 am

My partner and I woke up at 4:00am and loaded up our touring bikes with coffee, burritos, sandwiches, and moon pies that we’d made the night before. Our route took us to the Trolley Trail to Oregon City to Highway 213 until Wagonwheel Park, south of Mulino. At the time, we didn’t know that this was one of the BikeToTheEclipse.com suggested routes. Nor did we know that it was pronounced “Mul-EYE-no.”

The trip there was blissfully quiet until Highway 213, where eclipse traffic was in full effect. We often outpaced the stop-and-go car traffic, despite riding slowly because we were wary of right hooks. The single most harrowing moment of the trip happened just south of Oregon City, when the driver of a semi truck veered entirely into the bike lane just in front of us, forcing us off of the road. Thankfully, because traffic was moving slowly, we had enough time to react.

We were some of the first people to arrive at Wagonwheel Park. As we waited for the eclipse, we were happily surprised to see group after group of people on bikes arrive! I stopped counting at thirty bikes. Most of the people that we talked to mentioned that they had followed the BikeToTheEclipse website to get there.

After the eclipse, the ride back to Portland was a completely different experience. Northbound 213’s shoulder was narrow to nonexistent, and the traffic was moving much faster. Despite this, the number of bicycles on the road together created a relieving sense of safety in numbers. From Wagonwheel Park all the way back to Portland, we were always between other groups of bike riders. The groups would regularly change as people peeled off to take breaks in the shade, but at no point were we the lone bike riders on the road. Because of this, the return trip was much more fun and enjoyable than the trip there.

How was your eclipse trip?

ODOT survey on spending priorities

by on August 14th, 2017 at 8:31 am

ODOT is running a survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/transportationfunding where they ask, “As ODOT begins work on developing the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program for 2021-2024, we would like your opinion on how transportation funds should be spent.” Options include maintaining existing roads, expanding roads, protecting habitat, public transportation, adding sidewalks and bike lanes, and more. Go tell them what you think.

Lincoln Diverters, Bumps at Richmond NA on Mon. Aug 14

by on August 11th, 2017 at 8:31 am

PBOT has plans for 2 new diverters (at 26th and at 50th) and 30(!) new speed bumps on Ladd, Harrison and Lincoln, 12th to 60th. Sheila Parrott will give a presentation and ask for a letter of support at the Richmond Neighborhood Association meeting on Mon., Aug. 14, at 7 PM, at Waverly Church, 3300 SE Woodward.

Parrot has been to the Mt. Tabor and HAND associations, with no support letters so far, AFAIK. Harrison and Lincoln have seen increased cut-through traffic since the Clinton diverters were added. At the Mt. Tabor association, some board members were opposed to the 50th diverter, since it would mean less traffic on Lincoln, but more going down 50th. Some cyclists would rather see more diverters and less speed bumps. Staff have argued that the $20,000 cost of diverters is an important factor, compared to $2000 speed bumps.

Let the city, and the RNA, know your thoughts on this, Monday night at 7:00! City plans seem to include asking for neighborhood support, before holding an advertised city-sponsored open house.

Tip your semi over on the sidewalk? No ticket!

by on August 9th, 2017 at 8:48 am

Once again, a semi driver heading north on SE Grand has been going too fast, and missed the left turn onto the Morrison bridge ramp, tipping the vehicle over onto the bridge sidewalk. I’ve personally seen four of this type of crash at this location in the last decade. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t happened to be a pedestrian injured in any of these incidents.

The latest was on 8-7-17, about noon. I asked one of the Portland Police officers if the driver would be ticketed for reckless driving. He said, no, the driver is young, and just starting his career. “What purpose would it serve?” said the officer. “He’s already going to pay for the damage” “We can’t issue a ticket because we can’t find that he did this intentionally. He wasn’t DUII.” I asked if rolling your truck on a turn wasn’t evidence of reckless driving, or driving too fast. “He says a car cut him off. If we find a bicyclist under the trailer when we lift it up, then we’ll charge him”.

So there you have it. Tip a 40-ton vehicle onto the sidewalk? It’s not reckless driving. It is just, as the officer said, “an accident”.

Heat wave and chip sealed pavement

by on August 2nd, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Something to think about if you are planning on riding Sauvie Island or other rural chip sealed roads this week:

Heat wave and chip sealed pavement

by on August 2nd, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Something to think about if you are planning on riding Sauvie Island or other rural chip sealed roads this week:

Sauvie Island loop on Mult Co chip sealing list

by on July 17th, 2017 at 2:02 pm

This link has the latest updates on Mult Co chip seal paving in west and east county for July/August. Note that mile one on NW Gillihan Rd of the popular Sauvie Island loop will be having paving on July 17-18, 21 and 25. You may want to avoid this stretch if you don’t want oiled gravel in your chain and derailleur.

Riding ODOT’s Columbia Gorge “Not-So” Express Bus

Adam by on July 10th, 2017 at 4:26 pm

“The new service has potential but unfortunately misses the mark at nearly every step of the way.”

This past weekend, my family and I decided to try out ODOT’s new Columbia Gorge Express bus and spend a few hours at Multnomah Falls. After our experience, I unfortunately cannot personally recommend this service.

We decided to take the 12:55 pm bus from Gateway TC. Getting to Gateway car-free already meant a bus and a train from where we live. Unfortunately, our Columbia Gorge Express bus was 20 minutes late – not arriving until 1:15 and departing around 1:20. Tickets are purchased pre-paid but don’t actually guarantee you a spot on the bus. After a minor hassle with the ticket checker about the tickets being purchased for the wrong day (the website makes you pick a day, but specifies the ticket is in fact good for any day in the current season), we were aboard.

The bus first made a stop at Rooster Rock park to pick up and drop off passengers. There was not room for everyone, so many were left waiting for the next bus. After this ten minute stop, we were finally on our way to the falls. Upon coming up to the falls, our bus driver informed us that since the parking lot at Multnomah Falls was full, that we would not be able to exit the highway here, as there would be no room for the bus to turn around. We instead had to make a 20 minute detour to the next exit, get off the highway, then get back on the highway so that we were facing the correct direction.

Boarding the bus back was a confusing mess. We headed to the bus stop area, only to be informed by an ODOT employee that the line was further back. Schedules are posted at the stop but don’t bother using them, since the bus was nowhere near on any semblance of a schedule all day. We waited for 15 minutes before boarding the bus (that was either 15 minutes early or 35 minutes late, depending on how you read the schedule). Again, you are not guaranteed a spot on the bus back, so on busy days you might have to wait a good hour before getting on a bus. On the way back we predictably got stuck in traffic on I-84. Overall, we spent a total of four hours in transit, door-to-door, due to the bus’ lateness and detour, and TriMet’s infrequent Sunday schedule. Perhaps if you are staying somewhere overnight, the hassles might be worth it, but for a day trip, the bus was not very convenient.

The new service has potential but unfortunately misses the mark at nearly every step of the way. It was late, slow, and not well signed. If ODOT is serious about continuing this popular service, they should make the following changes:

    1. Adhere to the damn schedule. 20 minutes late is completely unacceptable for a bus that runs every 30 minutes. Either build in traffic time to the timetables or find some way to improve on-time performance.
    2. Add a dedicated bus turnaround area. The fact that a full parking lot at the falls caused the bus to make a 20 minute detour is unacceptable. This is not going to convince people not to drive and is yet another example of caving to auto interests over all else. Just remove a few parking spaces if needed. Or maybe start charging for parking to better manage demand.
    3. Better signage and waiting area at Multnomah Falls. The waiting area is a dingey pedestrian underpass under I-84. A higher-quality shelter with daylight visible would be welcome here.
    4. Integrate Hop Fastpass. Having to purchase your tickets separately just seems so arcane. We now have a really nice unified transit account for our region. This should be a priority in the next year not just for ODOT, but for all agencies operating in the Portland metro area. This should especially apply to the agencies that opted to secede from TriMet: SMART, SAM, etc.

While I welcome this forward-thinking idea (for a highway building department, anyway) to address traffic concerns at Oregon’s most popular destination, it seems to me that this service is still very much an afterthought by ODOT. If we are serious about getting people out of their cars, then this service falls flat. Unfortunately, the drawbacks don’t outweigh the benefits. When the service expands to Hood River next year (in my opinion, a far more useful destination that I do plan on taking advantage of) I hope that ODOT will take the time to make these simple improvements to this service.

The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good of Bike accident economics

A J Zelada by on June 16th, 2017 at 8:48 am

I only have week to go before I can get on my bicycles. I am not just looking forward to the naked bike ride but really looking forward to rolling through the air on my two wheels. The Why: the accident, the surgery, the recovery are my personal equivalent to the good, the bad, and the ugly in reverse order. I had shoulder surgery on Mar 24 and my orthopedist-surgeon told me multiple times you cannot bicycle for three months.

The cost of a bicycle accident triggers many thoughts about dollars, aging, and attitudes. The top muscle (supraspinatus) was completely torn from the bone. With age, this muscle (as well as many other ones) develops micro-tears. As one ages, more tears become larger, pain increases, and accidents have greater consequences pushing up the cost of medical treatments. For me it was simply a fall-over with a cargo bicycle caused this big rip.

Citylab.com published an article by John Metcalf at the beginning of June describing the increasing costs of bike injuries. He stated that there has been an increment of a 120% ‘bump’ in hospital visits featuring bicycle crashes since 1990. More than 800 deaths from car-on-bike crashes occurred in 2015 in the US. He reported that a serious non fatal ‘accident’ in 1997 cost an average of $52,495 which included medical expenses, missed work, and reduced quality of life. This figure jumped to $77K in 2013.

Metcalf went on to report that the total bike injuries costs have increased nearly $789 million per year from the late 1990s and to near total of $24 billion in 2013 (yes 24 billion). Additionally, there are more older-cyclists. There were nearly 2 million bicyclists in 2001 over the age 45 and in 2009 this number reached 3.6 million. I could not find the number of these riders in this decade. Federal data shows biking rates among people between the ages of 60 and 79 are soaring. ‘New trips by seniors account for 22 percent of the nation’s growth in adult biking,’ according to People for Bikes. Growth rates of older bicyclists are larger than younger age groups of new bicyclists.
[Read more…]

Greater Portland, on the move: A Regional Snapshot

Metro by on June 14th, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Every day, millions of people move throughout greater Portland’s communities. This is a journey we share: Shoulder to shoulder on transit, lane by lane on streets and highways. Wheels turning, feet stepping, we go many miles — or just down the block.

Our ability to get around -– to cross bridges, travel highways and streets, catch a bus or MAX, walk or bike to our destinations -– is something we often take for granted.

But every mile we travel depends on the decisions and investments of past generations of Oregonians. Those investments have shaped the community we’ve become.

As we grow and greet a changing world, how can we ensure the region’s streets, roads, transit and bridges still work for everyone? What are the top challenges we face? What can we learn from elsewhere?

Metro’s latest Regional Snapshot takes a look at the transportation system we’ve built together, and the future we could create next. With stats, maps, videos, personal stories and more, it’s a detailed exploration of the connections that knit the region together and the people who use them. Take a look at http://oregonmetro.gov/snapshot.