Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

No love for I-5 Rose Quarter project at city council hearing

By on September 8th, 2017 at 6:50 am

Signs distributed by No More Freeways coalition as seen at a rally prior to the hearing.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On Thursday afternoon Portland City Council members got an earful of opposition to the most expensive project in their 20-year Central City 2035 plan: The controversial proposal to invest $450 million to add new lanes and shoulders on I-5 between I-84 and I-405 through the Rose Quarter.

Council hosted the public hearing as part of their effort to adopt an updated Central City plan, which they hope to vote on in March. In recent weeks, No More Freeway Expansions — a grassroots coalition of neighborhood groups, nonprofit organizations and Portlanders who oppose the I-5 widening project — seized on the hearing as an opportunity to encourage council to remove it from the plan.
[Read more…]

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Bike maker Santa Cruz will match bike taxes paid in Oregon, then donate to MTB trail groups

By on September 7th, 2017 at 10:14 am

Some of you totally called this.

When news of Oregon’s silly new bike excise tax sunk in, some readers figured it was only a matter of time before a bike company or bike shop did a promotion around it.

California-based Santa Cruz Bicycles just launched the “Oregon Trail Tax” promotion. It’s their play on the new tax; but it comes with real and serious benefits to mountain bike trail advocacy groups.

I’m pinched for time today, so I’ll just share the press release:

Santa Cruz’s ‘Oregon Trail Tax’ riffs on state’s new bike tax to raise money for mountain bike trails

SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – Santa Cruz Bicycles has responded to Oregon’s controversial new bicycle tax with a promotion that promises to deliver thousands of dollars to mountain bike projects across the state. Dubbed “The Oregon Trail Tax,” Santa Cruz will match the $15 per bike tax customers pay on every Santa Cruz and Juliana bike sold in Oregon starting September 1 and for the remainder of 2017. Proceeds will be split evenly between three trail advocacy organizations who build trails in the state–the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA), the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), and Team Dirt.
[Read more…]

“A pit in my stomach”: ODOT official shares latest on fire damage to Historic Columbia River Hwy

By on September 7th, 2017 at 9:34 am

The beautiful Oneonta Tunnel that just re-opened to biking and walking in 2009 isn’t looking so good right now.
(Photo: ODOT)

The Eagle Creek Fire is still raging in the Gorge and we’ve been reaching out to sources to find out how much impact it has had on the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail. Just one year ago we joined a big group of riders and dignitaries for a triumphant centennial celebration of the legendary road. And today it feels like it’ll be another hundred years before things are back to normal.

The good news is not all has been lost. Reports yesterday from fire officials were heartening. But what about those pictures of our dear Oneonta Tunnel engulfed in flames?! We’ve been as eager as you to know more.

This morning I heard back from Kristen Stallman, the outgoing Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Stallman has worked on the Historic Highway project for years and her connection to it transcends her job title. Here’s what she had to say about where things stand today (emphases mine): [Read more…]

TriMet Corner: Inside look at new ‘Bike & Rides’ coming to Beaverton and Goose Hollow

By on September 7th, 2017 at 8:20 am

Details of conceptual design images of new Goose Hollow and Beaverton Creek Bike & Ride facilities by ZGF Architects.

This is the latest from our columnist and TriMet Senior Planner Jeffrey Owen. Last month he gave us the inside scoop on the Orenco Station Bike & Ride.
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Weekend Event Guide: Black Feast, Everesting Tilikum, Ride the Rim and more

By on September 7th, 2017 at 7:51 am

Cycle Oregon Day 3 - Crater Lake!-45.JPG

Fingers crossed for good air at Crater Lake this weekend.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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

It’s been a tough week. Air quality has cancelled and/or forced rescheduling of many riding plans. People who blocked out this coming week for Cycle Oregon are now scrambling to find something else to do — but it’s hard to find any place in Oregon that isn’t impacted by the nasty air.

We’re hoping conditions improve by the weekend. The forecast gives us reason for optimism. Regardless, remember to research conditions before you head out.

If you don’t want to ride we’ve got two events in the guide that don’t require much pedaling: an expo for women who bike and a lecture about the Historic Columbia River Highway (we know, strange timing). Here’s this week’s guide…

[Read more…]

Portland’s network of bike clubs for women is thriving

By on September 6th, 2017 at 1:02 pm

The Bikin’ Betties of Portland.
(Photo: Bikin’ Betties on Facebook)

The community of people who love bicycling in Portland is always changing and evolving. As someone who watches over it everday, I’ve noticed a nice trend of late: A proliferation of riding clubs devoted specifically to women.

It’s a very encouraging sign and a testament to the depth and breadth of who’s riding bikes in Portland. Statistically speaking (as of 2014), women make up about one-third of Portland’s daily bike traffic citywide; but you wouldn’t know that if you could see my social media timelines and inbox. Just since the start of summer I’ve learned of several new groups. Add them to the existing foundation of clubs and initiatives aimed at women on bikes and you’ve got a connected network where nearly anyone can find a home for their biking passions.

If you’re looking for a supportive place to meet other riders, check out the info below. From bikepacking to business, there’s something for just about everyone.

I’ll share the new (to me, at least) groups first, followed by a list of the older ones…

Bikin’ Betties

Bikin’ Betties is a ladies-only bike ride on Monday nights. It’s a great way to meet fellow female cyclists, get a bit of a workout, learn awesome bike routes around our city, and become more skilled and confident on our bikes. Anyone who gender identifies as a woman or who is gender non-binary is welcome.

Find them on Facebook. You can also join them for a special, culinary-themed ride to the “Black Feast” dinner on September 10th.
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Bus-only lane advocates have a proposal to improve SW Madison

By on September 6th, 2017 at 11:12 am

The parking on the left would be removed, giving this bus its own lane.

Physical separation is to bicycling what reliability is to transit. If we don’t have it, the masses will never switch from driving and our transportation system will never reach its potential.

That’s why an idea for a “pop-up” bus-only lane is worthy of your attention.

Our friends at the all-volunteer Portland Bus Lane Project have pitched an idea to Better Block PDX that would reconfigure SW Madison Street between 5th and the Hawthorne Bridge. Their idea comes in response a request for proposals that Better Block launched back in July.

PBLP was hatched in May by a group of transit advocates that are frustrated with how auto-congestion during peak hours is killing bus reliability. Their solution is to create dedicated bus-only lanes which they see as an inexpensive way to prioritize mass transit and improve bus reliability while getting more people to their destinations on time.

Their proposal is currently being vetted and considered by Better Block and they’ve given me permission to share it with you.[Read more…]

Reflections on the Eagle Creek Fire from ‘Gorge Getaways’ author Laura Foster

By on September 5th, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Eagle Creek in 2015.
(Photo by Debbie Asakawa)

Laura O. Foster is author of Portland Hill Walks and Columbia Gorge Getaways. She lives in the west hills above Highway 30 north of Sauvie Island. Last summer Foster shared tips on riding the ‘Trail of the Gods’ from Stevenson (WA) to Cascade Locks.

The Columbia Gorge. Three Days Ago. Today.

1:00 a.m. today: The smell of burning forest punched through an already-uneasy sleep. I stepped outside, sniffing, looking through the dark for flames, afraid our land was on fire.
[Read more…]

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Opinion: I am deeply concerned about dangerous commercial trucks on Portland’s streets

By on September 5th, 2017 at 11:23 am

Brett, Mark, Tamar, Kathryn, Tracey and Alan.

What do Tracey Sparling, Brett Jarolimek, Alan Marsan, Kathryn Rickson, Mark Angeles and Tamar Monhait have in common? All were killed in collisions with commercial trucks on Portland’s streets.

As a mother, daily bicycle commuter and lawyer for two of these families, this deeply concerns me.
[Read more…]

Follow these 15 driving tips and make streets safer for everyone

By on September 5th, 2017 at 10:27 am

Interstate Avenue.jpg
A great city for biking must have great drivers.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post was submitted by BP Subscriber Alex Reed.

We all know driving is a challenging endeavor that carries grave responsibility – lives are on the line. But even driving according to the law dependably is difficult – much less going beyond the law to be truly courteous and helpful to other road users.

Here are some ideas I’ve found useful – starting with how to obey the law. If you don’t drive, please share this with your friends and family that do.

8 Tips To Help Get You to A+, 100% Lawful Driving

1. Take a deep breath – don’t rush.
If you’re reading this for tips, I bet you already obey the speed limit without fail. But don’t forget the Basic Speed Law (layperson’s version: don’t drive too fast for conditions)! There are tons of places and times where the speed limit is way too fast. Don’t be in a rush. Opting for slower and safer is better than just going on autopilot at the speed limit. As we leave the summer, allow more and more extra time for less than ideal conditions.
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Ash from Eagle Creek Fire adds to poor air quality in Portland: Is it OK to ride?

By on September 5th, 2017 at 8:03 am

cycling bad air.jpg

A woman wears a mask while cycling on North Vancouver Avenue this morning.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Rode today with a mask, but some eye protection is needed. My eyes started to itch after a while.”
— Alex Fallenstedt via Twitter

Larch Mountain, Crown Point, Cascade Locks — to people who love to ride bicycles, these places are more than cherished icons of Oregon’s beauty. They are ride destinations and inspirations.

The Eagle Creek Fire that’s still burning out of control in the Columbia River Gorge is having an emotional impact on many of us. People who live and work in the Gorge are struggling right now. And for those of us with emotional bonds to those places forged by hours in the saddle we can only watch in horror as the damage spreads. Even if we could put it out of our minds, the ash falling in Portland makes it impossible to ignore.

That ash has mixed with bad air quality (at hazardous levels last I checked) has many of you wondering if it’s safe to bike in the city. The answer is yes, but…
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The Monday Roundup: Sexism, carfree security, post-flood mobility crisis and more

By on September 4th, 2017 at 8:44 am

Welcome to September.

I know there’s a lot of despairing news these days. All the floods, fires, and fools in position of power are enough to make you want to drop everything and ride your bike off into the sunset. But if we’re going to get out of this mess, we can’t divert our eyes. (Especially those of us who are relatively well-off compared to those knee-deep in the stuggle.) We must learn what’s happening — and more importantly why it’s happening. In our little part of this world, one way we can help is by sharing the most important stories from the bike-transportation-mobility webospheres.

So without further delay, here are the most important stories we came across last week…

Sexism, still: UK-based Cycling Weekly magazine mistakenly printed a photo with “token attractive woman” as a caption. Now the magazine is facing mockery and a boycott from women who are tired of the sexist attitudes that pervade the industry.
[Read more…]

Saltzman wants congestion pricing of I-5 before widening project starts

By on September 1st, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Include congestion/value pricing before the project breaks ground to ensure maxim congestion relief and overall environmental benefits.
— from a statement drafted by Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s office

Will the City of Portland sit idly by and allow new lanes to be added to a freeway in the urban core? Not if the commissioner in charge of the transportation bureau has his way.

Prior to a public hearing on the Central City 2035 Plan slated for Thursday (September 7th), City Commissioner Dan Saltzman will issue a statement about the Interstate 5/Rose Quarter freeway project. According to his Senior Policy Director Matt Grumm, Saltzman has been watching the dialogue on the project unfold over the past week. Among the work they’ve done to understand the issue is to meet with leaders of the No More Freeway Expansions coalition — which includes Joe Cortright, an economist and expert on congestion pricing.

While Grumm hasn’t said Saltzman will agree to remove the freeway project from the Transportation System Plan (as No More Freeways wants), he will do something that many feel is just as important: Require congestion pricing before the tractors roll in and construction starts on the new lanes.

Here’s a snip of an early draft of the statement Saltzman’s office is working on:

Include congestion/value pricing before the project breaks ground to ensure maximum congestion relief and overall environmental benefits
[Read more…]

The Street Trust says “compromises with legislators” are why they won’t sign I-5 widening opposition letter

By on September 1st, 2017 at 10:58 am

In a blog post yesterday The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) offered further rationale for why they’ve chosen to not sign onto a letter opposing the a freeway widening project on Interstate 5 at the Rose Quarter.

In a post titled, “The future of the Rose Quarter” written by newly hired Communications Director Romain Bonilla, the group said, “While we have chosen not to sign this coalition’s letter, we share advocates’ concerns and wholeheartedly agree that widening highways will not reduce congestion.”

The No More Freeway Expansions coalition has written a letter to Portland City Council and the Oregon Transportation Commission that has been signed by over 25 organizations including the Audubon Society of Portland, Neighbors for Clean Air, the Urban Greenspaces Institute, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and others. Their letter strongly opposes the I-5 widening project and demands that the project is removed from the City of Portland’s Transportation System Plan.
[Read more…]

Cyclocross Crusade organizers retract new logo after negative community feedback

By on September 1st, 2017 at 9:54 am

Organizers of the Cyclocross Crusade, a Portland-based race series founded in 1993, have shelved a new logo design after concerns that it too closely resembled logos used by white supremacy groups.

The logo debuted at a kickoff event for the 2017 season on Sunday and was met with negative feedback from some in the community.

Late Thursday night the organization posted the following statement to their social media accounts:

We released the new logo for the Cyclocross Crusade on Sunday in hopes it could convey the fun and inclusive spirit of our bike race series.

We apologize for not recognizing sooner that the design may be too closely associated with symbols used by those who promote hate, racism, divisiveness and fear.

The Cyclocross Crusade series wouldn’t be what it is without our community. To be clear: yes, you belong. The logo will be retracted immediately.

[Read more…]

Jobs of the Week: Surly, Velotech, Stages, and more

By on September 1st, 2017 at 7:49 am

Looking for a new place to spread you cycling wings? We’ve got four great job opportunities that just went up this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Brand Marketing Manager – Surly Bikes

–> Service Manager/Asst. Manager – Confidential

–> Shipping Specialist – Velotech

–> General Accounting Clerk – Stages Indoor Cycling

[Read more…]

Weekend Event Guide: Cyclocross racing, camping on the Columbia, Tour de Lab, and more

By on August 31st, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Cross Crusade #3 - PIR Heron Lakes-12

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The weekend is almost here — and so is cyclocross season!

As we slide into September and get ready for Women’s Bike Month (we’ll have special coverage all month — stay tuned for details!), our event calendar isn’t quite as full as usual. It’s probably a mix of being in the shoulder season and the fact that local weather is so hot and smokey.

But it’s also Labor Day Weekend so for many people it’s one of the last chances for a big adventure. If you need some ideas and inspirations, we’ve great suggestions. Check them out below…

Friday, September 1st

Art Ride on the Eastside – 5:30 pm at Eutectic Gallery (1930 NE Oregon)
It’s the first day of Women’s Bike Month and The Street Trust is leading a tour of art galleries on the east side. More info here.
[Read more…]

2017 Cycle Oregon ‘Classic’ ride cancelled due to wildfires – UPDATED

By on August 31st, 2017 at 2:32 pm

(Graphic: Cycle Oregon)

Cycle Oregon 2017 has been cancelled. Below is the statement from Executive Director Steve Schulz:

Wildfires in Central Oregon Force Cancellation of 2017 Cycle Oregon Classic Ride
[Read more…]

Backers say I-5 Rose Quarter widening could be model for future freeway projects

By on August 31st, 2017 at 11:42 am

“We would love to see this project successfully set a new precedent for how we address urban highways in Portland.”
— The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance)

Technically speaking, not all freeway projects are created equal. But they all pretty much have the same goal: Make it easier for people to drive cars.

That being said, is it ever a good idea to widen a freeway in a dense, urban area? In 2017?

From an engineering perspective, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s current plan to add lanes to Interstate 5 at the Rose Quarter is a far cry from the 1950s-era plan to build the Mt. Hood Freeway through southeast Portland or the more recently vanquished Columbia River Crossing project.

A major theme of the current debate is whether the I-5 Rose Quarter project is qualitatively different. What if — as its backers (and fence-sitters) say — it represents a new era of highway building? One that’s kinder and gentler? One that even (supposedly) progressive Portlanders should get behind? What if this one is worth it and the “No More Freeways” mantra from activists is a knee-jerk reaction to an old boogeyman that deserves a chance to make good?

These are just some of the many question I want to address in the coming days.

The debate around this project is heating up as we’re just about one week away from a Portland City Council hearing that a new coalition group has targeted as the place to stop it.

While this coalition sees the project as a waste of money that will encourage auto use (among other things) — people who support it see it as a golden opportunity to fix local streets and bridges in the Lloyd District that serve thousands of daily bikers and walkers. Some even push back at the notion that it’s a “freeway widening” project at all.

Back in March, Portland Bureau of Transportation Planner Mauricio LeClerc told the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission that, “This is an innovative project that really makes a freeway project something that is about place-making and that improves conditions for all modes.” LeClerc also warned that if the project doesn’t go forward, funding for surface street updates and new overpasses would improve convenience and safety for bicycle users could be lost. “How else are we going to fix those five bridges over the Rose Quarter now, unless we come up w $200 million ourselves?”
[Read more…]

Portland now offers online bike share memberships for food-stamp card holders

By on August 30th, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Biketown for All member Jon Horton.
(Photo: PBOT)

The City of Portland just announced an important update to its Biketown for All program that makes it even easier for low-income residents to access to bike share.

As of today, anyone with an Oregon Trail Card is now automatically eligible to take part in the program. PBOT has launched a new online registration form that streamlines the sign-up process. The latest data from the Oregon Department of Human Services indicate there are about 70,000 individuals in the Portland area who have an Oregon Trail Card.

When Biketown for All first launched last year, would-be participants had to be referred into the program by social service organizations (which include: Alder House, Harsch Properties, UGM Women and Children, Home Forward, Central City Concern, Street Roots, Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA), Pacific Towers, Lagunitas, Sisters of the Road, Elders in Action NW, Cascade AIDS Project, Impact NW, and Humboldt Gardens). After the referral, a workshop was mandatory to establish eligibility. (Program partner The Community Cycling Center has hosted 38 workshops since last October.)

Now people who have an Oregon Trail Card can sign up for a membership online (and the workshops are optional).
[Read more…]