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Thanks for voting BikePortland “Best Local Blog” – again

By on July 14th, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Yours truly rolling in the Willamette Valley last week en route to a Cycle Oregon event.
(Photo: Lars Larson)

You guys did it again.

For the second year in a row, your votes helped earn BikePortland the title of “Best Local Blog” in the Willamette Week Best of Portland Reader’s Poll.
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New Seasons Concordia will host ‘Safe Routes to Groceries’ event Saturday

By on July 14th, 2017 at 1:17 pm

For an ever-growing grocery store chain, New Seasons Market is pretty responsive. Don’t see your favorite crackers? Chances are they’ll either start carrying them or tell you why they don’t or can’t.

The (mostly) Portland-based business even responds to bicycle-related requests. When I contacted them a few years ago about making sure their North Williams Store (situated adjacent to the best bike street in Portland) had great bike parking, they not only listened, they invited to help plan the racks. They even went for one of my crazier ideas: storage lockers for bicycling customers.

Now they’ve done it again. On Saturday, the New Seasons in Concordia (5320 NE 33rd) will host a bike fair aimed at raising awareness of just how easy (and popular!) it is to ride a bike to the grocery story. ‘Safe Routes to Groceries’ was the brainchild of retired Portland optometrist Armando “Jerry” Zelada. Zelada is a fixture in bike advocacy circles and is former chair of the State of Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

He approached the Concordia store’s community coordinator Tanya Leib with the idea of, “Teaching and inviting people to bike to the store as a way to be active and reduce use of automobiles because we know that half of the automobile trips are three miles or less.” And because, believe it or not, many people still assume it’s impossible to get your groceries home by bike.
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Editorial: Motor vehicle madness is holding Portland hostage

By on July 14th, 2017 at 11:36 am

One of 10 deaths in the past three weeks.

Another person was killed in a collision involving an automobile user just after midnight this morning. It was the 20th 24th fatality on Portland roads so far this year and the 10th in just the last three weeks.

Portland Police say the latest tragedy occurred on Southeast Powell Blvd east of 50th. In a statement they wrote that,

“Preliminary information learned from the investigation suggests the pedestrian crossed southbound over Southeast Powell Boulevard east of Southeast 50th Avenue and was struck by a vehicle. The pedestrian reportedly made an unexpected movement in front of an oncoming vehicle while crossing… The pedestrian was not in a cross-walk at the time of the collision. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene, contacted 9-1-1 to report the crash and is cooperating with the investigation. At this time it does not appear the driver of the vehicle was impaired while driving.”

While the PPB includes a boilerplate paragraph about Vision Zero in all their traffic crash statements these days, the statement fails to live up to the spirit of that goal.

A city committed to zero traffic deaths by 2025 should not publish blame-oriented statements about a traffic crash so soon after it happens. Especially when the victim is a vulnerable road user. That type of tone and framing is speculative, unnecessary, and makes the culture change we need much harder to accomplish.

Beyond this death on Powell, it’s clear that Portland isn’t doing enough — fast enough — to achieve Vision Zero.
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River City turns ‘Rubber to the Road’ ride guide into film series

By on July 13th, 2017 at 2:07 pm

On its 20th anniversary, one of Portland’s best ride guides has taken another evolutionary step. The Rubber to the Road guidebook is now available as a series of short films on YouTube.
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Bike tax a big moment for cycling movement says Oregon Congressman Blumenauer

By on July 13th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Congressional Reception-10

“It’s an acknowledgment of the power of the cycling community.”
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The face of bicycling in Oregon isn’t that mad about our state’s new, $15 tax on new bicycles.

U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who served six years in the Oregon House of Representatives and nearly 10 years as a Portland city commissioner, shared via a phone interview yesterday that he feels the tax is a “modest fee” that isn’t that big of a deal when viewed in the light of the overall infrastructure funding package.

I caught up with Blumenauer from his office in Washington D.C. where he’s standing against strong political winds.

“I think this is a really great opportunity for the cycling community to take a step back and think about the bigger picture,” he said.

Blumenauer probably knows more about the “bigger picture” than anyone in the bike advocacy game. He has fought for bicycle-related transportation funding for about 40 years. During that time he’s heard all the anti-bike arguments you can imagine.

“One of the arguments we hear repeatedly is that cyclists don’t have any skin in the game… so there’s been blowback.” Blumenauer thinks the “cyclists don’t pay” argument has only gotten louder as more money has gone to bike projects. During his tenure in politics, Blumenauer has seen Oregon implement the pioneering 1971 “Bicycle Bill” which sets aside 1 percent of all the state’s highway gas tax money for biking and walking infrastructure (which should equal about $3.7 million per year over ten years in the new bill. And federal programs like Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and TIGER grants have funded billions in bike infrastructure. “That’s big money,” he said.
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Weekend Event Guide: Accessible overnighters, MTB endurance, track racing, and more

By on July 13th, 2017 at 10:40 am

Family trip to Stub Stewart State Park-23-90

Load up your bike and do an overnighter. Portland has several nearby spots to choose from.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Camping trips, off-road bike races, dance party rides – this is summer in the Portland region.
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Portland will launch Biketown-inspired adaptive bike rental program next week

By on July 12th, 2017 at 1:36 pm

More rentals options for these bikes are coming soon!
(Photo: PBOT)

One year ago Portland was readying for the big debut of its Nike-sponsored bike share system when a thorny issue popped up: The 1,000 Biketown bikes were useless to those with disabilities and who otherwise are unable to ride a standard bicycle.

Instead of ignore the problem, PBOT put their heads down and got to work. They launched a survey to garner feedback from people with disabilities (192 people responded) and convened a task force to figure out how the program could work. The result is a new bike rental system that will be separate from — but complementary to — the Biketown system. It’s set to launch next Friday July 21st.

The new program isn’t fully fleshed out yet; but based on the survey and interviews with adaptive bike users, PBOT has figured out enough to launch a pilot.

The city will work with two existing shops: Kerr Bikes, a rental company; and Different Spokes, an adaptive bike specialist. Each of them have agreed to provide a selection of handcycles, trikes, and tandems to registered users for short-term rentals. Kerr has locations on the Esplanade (near OMSI) and at Salmon Street Fountain in Waterfront Park. Different Spokes is located at SE 4th and Ivon, just steps away from the entrance of the Springwater Corridor.[Read more…]

City set to adopt list of 105 ‘Vision Zero’ projects

By on July 12th, 2017 at 11:39 am

Some of the upgrades PBOT is in the process of making throughout the city.

As many advocates and insiders reading this already know, before a project can get funded it must be on a list. The more powerful the list, the more important it is that your project gets on it. These lists are were the money goes first and inclusion of a project on them is often the only justification needed to get it built.

Tomorrow at City Council the Portland Bureau of Transportation will ask Mayor Ted Wheeler and the four other commissioners to approve a list of 105 “Vision Zero projects” PBOT says are critical to, “systematically address the safety needs” on our most dangerous streets (see the full ordinance and list here). The total estimated cost of all the projects could be close to $750 million. About one-quarter of the projects on the list are already funded. PBOT has also requested that 17 of the 105 projects (estimated to cost upwards of $74 million) get added to Portland’s Transportation System Plan — which would give them the highest priority possible.

This important move to prioritize infrastructure projects that back up PBOT’s Vision Zero effort began two years ago when City Council adopted a resolution that read in part, “No loss of life is acceptable on our city streets.”
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Beyond the bike tax: Here’s what else Oregon’s new transportation bill does for biking and walking

By on July 11th, 2017 at 1:14 pm

“This historic investment in walking, biking, & transit puts [Oregon] on the map as a leader in accessibility & active transportation.
— The Street Trust via Twitter

It’s no small task that Oregon legislators passed a $5.3 billion transportation package last week. We haven’t had a new way to fund transportation projects and programs since the Jobs and Transportation Act passed in 2009 and this year’s bill was nearly dead just days before being resurrected thanks to a few major compromises.

But a small part of House Bill 2017 — a $15 tax on new bicycles — has gotten a lot of attention from transportation reformers (did you see the tweet from former New York City DOT Director Janette Sadik Khan?!). And for good reason. The tax an unprecedented step in the wrong direction from a state previously famous for passing the forward-thinking “Bicycle Bill” way back in 1971. And while our debates and discussions about the bike tax will continue, let’s not forget the other major components of this bill.

After all, there had to be something good in the bill for The Street Trust and other progressive nonprofit groups to support it.

So… What exactly did they come away with? Here’s how transit, biking, and walking fared.
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Here’s the deal on new gate at River View Cemetery

By on July 11th, 2017 at 10:38 am

The closed gate with path to the side for bicycle users to get by.

As several of you may have noticed there’s a new gate at the lower entrance to River View Cemetery just across from the new Sellwood Bridge.

The bad news is it’ll be closed at 4:00 pm from now on. The good news is that it’s intended for motor vehicle drivers and they’ve left a space for bicycle users to walk around it.

We received several emails about the gate last week from readers concerned that the gate was the disaster we had hoped to avert when we reported on this issue last month. As you recall, cemetery staff are in a tough spot. The private nonprofit must balance its desire to maintain public access to their roads while maintaining a safe and respectful environment for their customers. The issue continues to bubble up because the cemetery receives many complaints about people riding bicycles too fast and without respect for others.

After hearing about the newly closed gate we contacted River View Cemetery Executive Director David Noble. He said the gate is now operational and is programmed to open at 6:00 am (specifically for morning bicycle commuters — staff doesn’t show up until 8:00) and close at 4:00 pm daily.
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Rider calls police after being forced off I-205 path by truck driver

By on July 11th, 2017 at 9:10 am

Images of the illegal path user taken by Redditor NewAgeHookers.

A man in a pickup truck allegedly forced a bicycle rider off the I-205 bike path in southeast Portland Saturday afternoon.
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Time to design a permanent bikeway on NE Multnomah through the Lloyd District

By on July 11th, 2017 at 7:47 am

Policymakers Ride 2014-53

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s good, but it should be great.

Nearly five years after it first opened, it’s time to implement a permanent design for the protected bikeway on Northeast Multnomah Street through the Lloyd District. Hopefully one that’s truly befitting of one of America’s best biking cities — not an overly comprised, on-the-cheap, paint-and-posts half-measure.
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“I no longer feel alone”: Theft victim on bike tour showered with support

By on July 10th, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Supporters toast Kim Minhyeong (smiling in center) at Apex on Thursday.
(Photos courtesy Bryan Hance)

What Portland bike thieves took away, our community is giving back.

As we shared last week, South Korean bike tourer Kim Minhyeong was pedaling through Portland on his dream trip when his bike was stolen from outside the Southeast Hawthorne Fred Meyer. It was fully loaded with all his gear, including his laptop, camera, and more. As word spread, Bryan Hance from Bike Index decided to help. Hance swung into action and held a fundraiser for Kim last Thursday.

According to Hance, about 40 people showed up to Apex Bar — many of them with gear and donations in-hand. They showed Minhyeong what Portland is really all about as they shared free food donated to the event by Grind Musubi. “Definitely made me proud to be a Portlander! It was overwhelming, I won’t lie.” Hance wrote on in an email to supporters.
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A Weekend(er) of friends and fun in McMinnville

By on July 10th, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Weekender ride - Cycle Oregon-24.jpg

Lars Larson with that, there’s-only-10-miles-to-the-finish-line, smile.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cycle Oregon is many things. The organization — in the midst of its 30th year — is dedicated to helping all of Oregon reach its economic and cycling potential while putting on events that bring people closer to new places and faces.

Cycling is at the heart of what Cycle Oregon does; but they’re really in the people business. When you “do” a Cycle Oregon event it’s entirely possible to come away with more memories of the people you rode with than the roads you pedaled on. That’s especially true on their Weekender event. Without the physical challenge of the much more grueling Classic ride (the seven-day event they’re most known for), Weekender is much more accessible in both price ($199 versus $999) and pain (120 miles over two days versus 490 miles over seven days). This means it might be doable for friends who aren’t as nutty about cycling as you are.

This past weekend I invited a few friends to join me on the ride. We chose to ride 78 miles from Portland to the base camp at Linfield College in McMinnville on Friday (thankfully someone drove our bags down for us). We followed that up with 73 miles on Saturday and a 52-miler on Sunday. None of the days had a significant amount of climbing and we kept our average speed chill and conversational (13-15 mph). It’s also worth noting that we chose the longest of three possible routes both days. (This event would be great if you have friends that would rather ride just 15 or 40 miles a day.) In between miles in the saddle we relaxed, got to know each other a bit better (easier to do than at home where our kids and other responsibilities constantly loom), soaked up the small-town charms of McMinnville, and let Cycle Oregon’s legendary hospitality do the rest.
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The Monday Roundup: Artcrank b’day, good bike laws, bad air, a transit scam, and more

By on July 10th, 2017 at 9:33 am

Welcome to Monday.

I regret not being in the office on Friday after dropping the Oregon bike tax bomb. I was on the road covering a bike ride in McMinnville. As such, I wasn’t able to respond to all your comments, requests and tweets as I would have liked. Sorry!

So let’s re-engage shall we? To start things off let’s review some of the best things we came across on the web last week…[Read more…]

Weekend Event Guide: Faraday, Weekender, gravel grind, Larch Mtn, and more

By on July 7th, 2017 at 6:35 am

Cycle Oregon Weekender Pre-Ride-26.jpg

A few thousand people are headed to these quiet country roads south of McMinnville for Cycle Oregon’s Weekender ride.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s prime bike adventure season. Whether you’ve been itching to explore your neighborhood or the great state of Oregon, now is the time to do it.

There’s a nice selection of rides and events this week. Check out the full menu below…
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Jobs of the Week: Metropolis, Argonaut, Cycle Oregon, Performance, Bike Gallery, Cynergy, WashCo BTC

By on July 7th, 2017 at 5:53 am

Summer hiring season is in full effect! If you are looking to break into the Portland bike scene — or looking for a new gig, check out these hot and fresh job listings.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Summer Shop Help – Metropolis Cycle Repair

–> Customer Service / Volunteer Manager – Cycle Oregon

–> Sales Associate – Performance Bicycle

–> Full Time Painter – Argonaut Cycles[Read more…]

7 interesting nuggets buried inside Oregon’s new transportation bill

By on July 6th, 2017 at 6:31 pm

People walking - SE Powell at 93rd-1

Powell Blvd got a major funding boost in the bill, but it’s biggest advocate inexplicably voted no.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon’s statewide transportation bill is on its way to Governor Kate Brown’s desk. With support from boths sides of the aisle it passed the House yesterday 39-20 and passed the Senate today 22-7.

House Bill 2017 was on the rocks just weeks before its passage; but that was before lawmakers hashed out major compromises. The initial proposal would have raised over $8 billion dollars — including about $777 million for four freeway widening projects in the Portland metro region. Funding for those projects would have come from a new local gas tax and increased registration fees. Those fees and taxes brought auto lobbyist groups out of the woodwork in opposition. With the threat of referral to voters, lawmakers slashed the funding for those highway projects, reduced the size of tax increases, and ultimately shrank the bill’s overall revenue by about $3 billion (they also got environmental groups and Republicans to agree to changes in the low carbon fuels program).

The amended bill will raise $5.2 billion over 10 years. And while the big-ticket highway project earmarks — including I-5 expansion at the Rose Quarter — went way down, the revenue share for public transit, biking and walking remained intact.

Among other things, the bill will provide: $103 million a year to transit agencies to improve bus service via a 0.1% employee-paid tax on wages; $125 million for Safe Routes to School via a 40% matching grant program; and an estimated seven million per year (exact amount will fluctuate) dedicated to paved paths and multi-use trails via a combination of sources including a $15 bike tax. The boost in gas tax revenue will also help pay for road projects that will include a minimum of 1 percent investment in biking and walking-related upgrades thanks to Oregon’s “Bike Bill”.
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It’s official: Oregon now has a $15 bike tax

By on July 6th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Read it and weep. Or rejoice, if you think it’s a great idea.

With passage in the Senate today, Oregon’s transportation bill is headed to the Governor’s desk for signing.

We’ve got lots more coverage planned, but there’s one thing that I felt should be singled out. Take a deep breath and consider this: Oregon is now the only state in America with a bicycle excise tax.
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Not so fast e-bike riders: Motors aren’t allowed on bike paths in Oregon State Parks

By on July 6th, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-57

Riders on the Historic Columbia River State Trail.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last week we posted a story about how electric bicycles have opened up new riding opportunities\ in the Columbia River Gorge. But it turns out it’s illegal to ride an e-bike on the Historic Columbia River State Trail — or on any other paved bike path within the Oregon State Parks system.

We’ve since updated that story with a note after learning about the issue from a commenter (Park Chambers, who happens to own Fat Tire Farm and Hood River Bikes) and then confirming the facts in a phone call with an Oregon State Parks spokesperson.

This prohibition of e-bikes on paved trails caught me off-guard. As pedal-assisted bikes gain in popularity, I think the issue merits a closer look.
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