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A 30 year-old vision for a carfree Historic Columbia River Highway

By on April 11th, 2018 at 4:15 pm

Imagine a carfree Historic Columbia River Highway… like Dave Wechner did almost 30 years ago.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s been a steady trickle of news here on BikePortland in recent years from agencies and advocates who see a future for carfree traveling in the Columbia River Gorge. But it turns out the idea isn’t as futuristic as you might think.
[Read more…]

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“It’s going to be uncomfortable” City staffer says about upcoming Springwater path closure

By on April 11th, 2018 at 2:42 pm

BES staffer Ronda Fast at Bike Advisory Committee meeting last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“It’s going to be uncomfortable. We know that. No option will be as good as the Springwater. We know that. But it’s temporary, and at least we have options now.”

That’s how Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Program Coordinator Ronda Fast described the upcoming four-month closure of the Springwater Corridor path that will impact many Portlanders this summer. Fast was at the BAC meeting to explain how BES will handle the diversion of thousands of daily bicycling trips that currently use the Springwater to get between Sellwood and downtown Portland.

The meeting came just a few days after we reported that BES rejected a detour proposal by the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE, the neighborhood association). The disagreement stems from how best to handle thousands of bike trips per day that will be forced off the Springwater and onto other routes due to a major project to salmon habitat at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. BES wants to direct people either to the west side of the Willamette River (on a circuitous, narrow and poorly maintained greenway path), or onto the SE 19th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway — which is 10 blocks east of the Springwater. The neighborhood proposed what they feel is a more direct and safer route on 14th/15th and SE Milwaukie — where they asked for temporary bike lanes in space currently used for on-street auto parking.

BES says the neighborhood’s proposal is not feasible and is “out of scope” for the project.
[Read more…]

City Council hears Yoana Molina’s powerful testimony for a safer SE Stark

By on April 11th, 2018 at 1:27 pm

She told them exactly what they needed to hear.

An emergency speed limit reduction for outer Southeast Stark Street was unanimously approved by Portland City Council this morning (see the ordinance here).

The move comes as no surprise, given the priority for traffic safety shown by our current Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners and the commitment to Vision Zero by our Bureau of Transportation. As we reported last week, this action on Stark comes after a spate of deadly collisions and its continued ranking atop PBOT’s “high crash corridor” charts for biking, walking and driving. In addition to lowering the speed limit, PBOT has set aside $10 million for infrastructure upgrades.

During this morning’s hearing, two staff members of the nonprofit community development organization, The Rosewood Initiative, were invited to testify. One of them was Yoana Molina. Molina is the director of operations for the group and has been an active volunteer in the neighoborhood for over 15 years. During her testimony she spoke without notes and her words came straight from the heart.[Read more…]

ODOT invites reporters to drive distracted

By on April 11th, 2018 at 10:58 am

Unfortunately, not on a closed course.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has just announced a novel way to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

Billed as “Your chance to drive distracted,” they’ve invited the media to join them tomorrow at a local race track where reporters can hop in a specially-outfitted car to get a deeper understanding of how distraction impacts driving. While this issue is certainly no laughing matter, I had to chuckle at the idea that anyone who drives regularly needs a special chance to drive distracted — as if they’ve never done it before!

The event will happen just north of the Kenton Neighborhood at Portland International Raceway.

Here’s ODOT’s pitch:

“We invite media to talk with safety officials, law enforcement, safety advocates and survivors from Oregon and Washington. The Oregon Driver Education Center will provide three driving courses reporters can test: a distracted driving course, an EZ drift car and an accelerator car, which gauges response time. Representatives from Oregon Impact, Trauma Nurses Talk Tough and U-TURN 180 will be available to comment. ODOT Director Matt Garrett, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Regional Administrator Greg Frederickson and Washington Traffic Safety Commission Media Relations Manager Shelly Baldwin will provide opening comments.”

[Read more…]

‘Rogue’ union member blamed for candidate question tying road diets to bus driver attacks

By on April 10th, 2018 at 1:58 pm

We’re still friends, right?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Someone snuck their “pet issue” into an official questionnaire.

One of the many roles BikePortland plays in the regional transportation sphere is to keep people honest. A recent episode involving a candidate questionnaire gone wrong is a good illustration of that.

Last week a candidate running in an election in Washington County alerted us to a questionnaire from the Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC). “Check out question #12,” he wrote to me in an email.

Here’s the question:

The City of Portland and Metro have advanced a concept they believe will motivate the general public to get out of their cars and seek alternative modes of transportation. Using speed bumps, bioswales, road diets, lane elimination, car lanes turned into bike only lanes, curb extensions and speed reductions to encourage more people to use Mass Transit. The unintended consequence is that it makes it impossible for Bus Operators, who share the same roads, to meet their schedules resulting in a record number of attacks on drivers. The number of assaults has nearly doubled each of the last four years.

Please share your thoughts on this strategy and do you think it makes sense to continue?

[Read more…]

Humans, bike maps, and of course, Google: How to choose family-friendly routes

By on April 10th, 2018 at 12:44 pm

I like routes calm enough for kids to ride ahead of me.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Call me crazy, but I have four different routes for each destination. In order of comfort, high to low:

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

  • me plus kids riding separately
  • me with kids attached via cargo bike/tandem
  • me alone
  • me alone running late

They sometimes have a bit of overlap, but they’re rarely entirely the same.

I’ve made a couple interesting discoveries about my route choices lately and it’s got me thinking about how I choose my family-friendly routes and why they’re better for more than just biking with kids.
[Read more…]

Oregon begins process to legalize electric-assist bikes in state parks

By on April 10th, 2018 at 10:28 am

E-bikes are currently illegal on paths like the Banks-Vernonia. A new rule would change that.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wants to update their rules regarding electric bicycles.

As we were first to report last summer, electric bikes are not currently legal to ride on paths in Oregon State Parks. That’s because park paths are governed by Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), which currently classify electric bicycles as “motor vehicles” — thereby prohibiting their use. (Note that roads outside of state parks are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes which define e-bikes as bicycles). With the rising popularity of pedal-assisted e-bikes, State Parks officials recognize that the OAR is outdated.

Now they’ve begun the process to officially amend the rules to make it clear that electric-assisted bicycles (as defined in ORS 801.258) are allowed in State Parks. The OPRD website has posted a “notice for proposed rulemaking” and there’s a comment form to receive public feedback.
[Read more…]

City rejects request for more direct bike detour during Springwater path closure

By on April 9th, 2018 at 1:27 pm

This section of SE Milwaukie near McLoughlin is high-stress for bicycle riders. There’s room for bike lanes — but only if the car parking is prohibited.

The Portland Bureau of Environmental Service (BES) has already broken ground on a major project to enhance the habitat of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. It’s an exciting project for fish who swim in the Willamette; but for humans who ride bicycles it comes with a relatively high cost of convenience.
[Read more…]

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Yes, those Private Property signs on Saltzman Road in Forest Park are legit

By on April 9th, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Signs on Saltzman Road. The Firelane 5 gate is on the right.
(Photos: Scott K.)

Since last summer we’ve heard from several readers who are curious about the proliferation of “Private Property: No Trespassing” signs on NW Saltzman Road as it approaches Skyline Boulevard and the Firelane 5 trailhead.

Saltzman is a revered route in Forest Park. It’s a key connector between Highway 30, Leif Erikson Road, and Skyline. The road is so well loved there’s been a bike jersey and a bicycle named after it.
[Read more…]

New website is latest piece in the carfree Columbia Gorge puzzle

By on April 9th, 2018 at 11:37 am

As the Portland region grows, so too has the popularity of the Columbia River Gorge. That’s a good thing; but not if too many people visit it by car.

Thankfully, Oregon’s tourism and transportation agencies understand this. Two summers ago, faced with congestion and overflowing parking lots, the Department of Transportation launched the Columbia Gorge Express bus service to encourage people to experience the Gorge without a car. That’s been such a huge success they’ve upgraded service and features each year.

Now comes another piece of the puzzle: ColumbiaGorgeCarfree.com, a website funded in part by a grant from Travel Oregon.

The site (still partly under construction) features carfree itineraries for popular Gorge destinations. As of now, there’s a turn-by-turn guide to hiking the popular Dog Mountain trail without a car. The itinerary comes with a detailed map and is based on biking and walking the four miles from Cascade Locks to the West End Transit (WET) shuttle bus stop on the Washington side of the river. If you can wait until May 25th, the Columbia Gorge Express will carry you and your bike from the Gateway Transit Center in east Portland to Cascade Locks.

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There’s also a very helpful page that lists all the buses and transit options that serve the Gorge.

This new website is the work of Heidi Beirle and a, “geeky team of transportation professionals.” Beirle is a carfree tourism consultant who also works with the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce.

If you’re keen on going to the Gorge carfree this season, keep this website handy. And if you want to make bus service to the Gorge even better, please take the latest Columbia Gorge Express survey.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Uber’s big Jump, crash journalism 101, calling BS on Mercedes Benz ad, and more

By on April 9th, 2018 at 9:28 am

Welcome to Monday.

This week’s Roundup is brought to you by Cycle Oregon’s Weekender (July 13-15) — a two-day bike bash based at University of Oregon in Eugene.

Here are the best stories we came across in the past seven days…
[Read more…]

City Council candidates talk transportation at packed forum

By on April 6th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last night proved that while transportation might not be a top issue in Portland politics these days, it still brings out the largest crowds.

There was barely even standing room at the Lucky Lab Beer Hall last night for the City Council Candidate Forum on Transportation — an event co-hosted by Young Professionals in Transportation, Community Cycling Center, The Street Trust, Oregon Walks, and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon. The crowd impressed Commissioner Nick Fish, who said in his opening remarks: “This is the largest turnout we’ve had for an event.”
[Read more…]

Invoking “emergency” law, Commissioner Saltzman will propose a lower speed limit on SE Stark

By on April 6th, 2018 at 9:54 am

Stark just west of 162nd.

Almost exactly a year after Portland City Council unanimously supported an emergency speed limit reduction on outer Southeast Division street, they are now poised to take the same extraordinary measure on outer Stark.

Shaina Hobbs, a policy director for City Commissioner Dan Saltzman confirmed with us this morning that an emergency ordinance (view it below) will be proposed at City Council on April 11th. The ordinance would lower the speed limit on Southeast Stark from 35 mph to 30 mph for a period of 120 days. “Commissioner Saltzman has pushed for this ordinance to come to Council on an accelerated timeline,” Hobbs shared via email this morning.

The ordinance stipulates that the new speed limit would apply to the section of Stark from SE 109th to 162nd and would be effective as soon as new signs are installed.
[Read more…]

Tell Multnomah County how to make their roads better for biking

By on April 5th, 2018 at 3:52 pm

The County’s section of NW Cornell Road just above downtown Portland is a main vein in the bike network and it should have the shoulders and signage to reflect that.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Everyone’s buzzing about the opportunity to tell Multnomah County what to include in their 20-year Roads Capital Improvement Plan (RCIP). OK, maybe it’s just all the activists in my feeds and inbox. Either way, they know a good thing when they see it.

The County is a sleeper agency. Even though they manage only about 1/8th the road mileage of the City of Portland, the County’s roads happen to be some very important bike routes. And as an agency, they’re much more accessible than their larger cousins at the city, region, or state level. For those reasons alone, the RCIP is ripe for input and we should embrace the opportunity to influence it.
[Read more…]

Six questions for Portland illustrator and ‘Cycle City’ author Alison Farrell

By on April 5th, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Alison and a few of her many inspirations.
(Photo: Zoey Abbott)

As often happens as I peruse the web for story ideas, I come across something wonderful and then forget how I ended up there.

That’s how I came across the work of Alison Farrell. [Read more…]

Your City Council Candidate Transportation Forum primer

By on April 5th, 2018 at 11:19 am

Tonight.

Tonight is when many of us will hear what a new crop of Portland City candidates think about transportation for the very first time.

Before we all head over to the Forum on Transportation co-hosted by Community Cycling Center, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon Walks, The Street Trust, and YPT Portland (Young Professionals in Transportation), I wanted to at least give you a hint of where each candidate is coming from.
[Read more…]

Weekend Event Guide: Art gallery tour, Gorge Gravel Grinder, Tweed Ride, and more

By on April 5th, 2018 at 8:13 am

Time for tweed.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Weekend Event Guide is sponsored by Abus Bike Locks. Thanks Abus!

The weekend is once again nearly upon us. Have you firmed up your plans?

And while the guide is usually all about Friday through Sunday, we’d be remiss not to mention the big events happening tonight: Do not miss the Filmed by Bike Poster Show opening night at Breadwinner Cafe and the big City Council Candidate Forum on Transportation, followed by the weekly Thursday Night Ride. As usual, all the details are on the BP Calendar.

Here are this week’s selections…
[Read more…]

Cycling advocates pack meeting of Parks Board as they consider Off-road Cycling Plan

By on April 4th, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Not nearly a big enough room for all the people who took time out of their day to show support.
(Photo: Gabriel Amadeus)

Yesterday dozens of Portlanders took time out of their day to send a simple message to the Portland Parks Board: Our urban parks should have better — and more — opportunities for off-road cycling.
[Read more…]

With lawsuit dismissed, Timberline will break ground on new bike park this summer

By on April 4th, 2018 at 9:44 am

Samples of trail work by Gravity Logic, the firm working with Timberline to build the new bike park.
(Photos: Gravity Logic)

Fresh off the dismissal of a lawsuit that has tied up their mountain bike park plans for nearly six years, Timberline announced this morning that they are “moving forward.”[Read more…]

Come to the Kidical Mass planning meeting and help us build an all-ages bike network

By on April 3rd, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Help us have a banner year.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

Thank you for your responses to my question last week: What prevents you from biking with your young children?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

It was eye-opening to read all the comments, Facebook posts, Twitter replies, and emails. I can’t wait to share them in a future column and dive into the barriers people face when they think of biking with kids.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I had assumed the responses would all be about the expense gear or uncertainty as to what to buy. I hadn’t anticipated anyone would write about bike infrastructure. Not that Portland’s infrastructure is incredibly better than what my boys and I left in Seattle (though it is better!) and there aren’t a lot of point-to-point routes that are suitable all ages abilities (aka “8 to 80”). It’s just that I see so many more families biking here in Portland than I have in any other city (except Dutch cities I’ve visited) that I didn’t realize there were so many of you who aren’t riding.[Read more…]