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Highway building bill gets sharp rebuke at first public hearing – UPDATED

By on April 7th, 2017 at 11:03 am

A lawmaker who wants to give cities broad authority to design and construct major new highways learned in a public hearing yesterday that there’s a good reason why our region hasn’t built one since the 1980s: Strong opposition from people who actually understand transportation planning amd the vast negative consequences of highways and the motor vehicle trips they encourage.

Republican house respresentative Rich Vial, who represents a rural district west of Tigard in Washington County, testified on behalf of House Bill 3231 on Tuesday. Rep. Vial’s bill has raised eyebrows because it would mark a significant departure from how transportation projects are typically planned, funded and built in Oregon. HB 3231 would allow cities and counties to form autonomous districts that would be able to create “limited access publicy highways” by excercising eminent domain if necessary and paying for the projects through private gifts, donations, tolls, new property taxes, and/or revenue bonds.
[Read more…]

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Thoughts on car culture, truck side guards, and the “cyclist community”

By on April 6th, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Just over two months ago 53-year-old Alan Marsan was killed while bicycling on North Interstate Avenue. He was going north and a large commercial truck turned right across his path.

Based on observations from the scene it was a classic right hook. The truck was stopped a few dozen feet from the intersection and Marsan and his bike were lodged just in front of the rear wheels.

That collision was just the latest in a long line of right hooks that have left bicycle riders dead in Portland over the years. As I stood at the scene of Marsan’s death, the names of other people who’ve died in fatal right hook collisions with trucks flashed through my head: Tracey Sparling, Brett Jarolimek, Kathryn Rickson, Kirke Johnson, Lydia Johnson (no relation).

Bicycles, large trucks and right hooks is one of Portland’s most vexing traffic safety problems. It’s maddening that we haven’t made more progress on it in the past decade.
[Read more…]

The Street Trust: Why we’re pushing for safe routes to school for every kid in Oregon

By on April 6th, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Bike to School Day in NoPo-6

The upcoming legislative proposal is likely to include dedicated funding for safe routes to school.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is the third and final post in a series about the 2017 legislative session published in partnership with The Street Trust. Read the other installments here and here.

— by LeeAnne Fergason, The Street Trust campaign director

The change I’d like to see in the world starts with a great compassion for kids and intersects with transportation choices, aimed at freedom and independence.

Ten years ago, I began working at the Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), as a Safe Routes to School coordinator. I joined a dream team of organizers and partners, including: Stephanie Noll (The Street Trust’s Interim Executive Director), Carl Larson (we miss you!), Scott Lieuallen (local bike hero), Steph Routh (then Executive Director of Oregon Walks, now Communications and Marketing Manager at the Community Cycling Center), Susan Peithman (then with ALTA Planning + Design, now Oregon Department of Transportation Active Transportation Policy Lead), and many others who are still working to make our streets safe for kids. All of us were pretty young back then and learned much of our transportation nerdiness and enthusiasm by being a part of a Safe Routes to School program.
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The Long Road Back

By on April 6th, 2017 at 1:12 pm

A few days ago, I was sitting at the Laurelthirst Pub, a neighborhood watering hole that is on my bike route from work to home. When I pass the ‘Thirst, I’m most of the way home, so I will often stop for a pint.

But this time at the ‘Thirst was different, because my legs were limp, my chest hurt, and I was a little shell-shocked. None of which usually describes my state after riding a few miles. It was different because . . . that day was my first bicycle commute in well over a year. And that morning, when I got on my bike, was to be the first time I’d ridden more than half a mile in, at least, six months.

Yes, I’ve become a non-rider and now I’ve started on the long road back. With rotund belly, spindly legs, atrophied lungs and somnolent heart, I’ve resumed riding bicycles.
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Weekend Event Guide: Forest Park ramble, remembering Mike Hall, Tweed Ride, and more

By on April 6th, 2017 at 10:39 am

An assortment of this week’s event posters. Tweed ride illustration by Shawn Granton.

Before we share this week’s event guide, we want to introduce Abus as the new sponsor of the BP Event Calendar and Weekend Event Guide.

Abus makes the finest locks in the business and we’re excited to have them on board as a partner!

Also, don’t forget there’s an important open house meeting for the Off-road Cycling Plan tonight in southwest.

And now we present this weekend’s best events…
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ODOT hosts open house for inner Powell Blvd project tonight

By on April 5th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

ODOT’s current plans.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is in the final design phases of a project that aims to make it safer to bike and walk on and across SE Powell Blvd beteeen 20th and 34th Avenue. They’re hosting an open house tonight (4/5) to answer questions, hear feedback, and share more information about the project.

This section of Powell is important for several reasons. The intersection with 26th is where two serious bicycle crashes — and one major protest — happened in 2015. It’s also the location of a very busy crossing due to the presence of Cleveland High School on the northeast corner. ODOT has also come under scrutinty for their decision to force the City of Portland to remove the existing bike lane on 26th as a condition of them adding a new signal and crossing at 28th (which ODOT says is a safer place to cross). Adding to the mix is the news that Target will build a new store at 30th and Powell (in the place of an old bowling alley).
[Read more…]

This is what it looks like when the sun comes out in Portland (Photos)

By on April 5th, 2017 at 10:31 am

Waterfront Park in spring-4.jpg

Cherry blossoms are in bloom in Waterfront Park.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One reason Portland has such a great street culture (by American standards) is that we cherish the sun. Unlike places where it hardly ever rains, we do not take the presence of that life-giving orb for granted.

So it’s no surprise that after months of record-setting (even for us!) rain and cold and darkness, Portland streets came alive when the sun came out last week. A sunny Friday coincided with the emergence of blossoms on thousands of trees throughout the city. As per tradition, I grabbed my camera, hopped on my bike and set out to see how Portlanders responded.
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Vandals hit at least 11 Biketown stations, over 200 bikes – UPDATED

By on April 4th, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Biketown station at SE 14th and Stark is one of 12 that have been hit.
(Photo: Kiran Limaye)

(*See update below: PBOT says over 200 bikes have been hit. That’s 20 percent of the total system.)

Vandals have hit several Biketown bike share stations in the past week.

So far we’ve heard of 12 locations where vandals have damaged bikes and rendered them useless. The City of Portland is aware of some of the damage and has crews responding to fix the bikes and return the stations into operational status.

At least two of the incidents appear to be the work of the same suspect: A flyer has been posted on the stations that says the damage was inflicted by Rose City Saboteurs.

“This Biketown is now closed,” reads the sign. “Our city is not a corporate amusement park.”

Here are the station locations where readers have reported vandalism so far:

NE 24th and Glisan
SE Water and Taylor
N Interstate and Willamette
N Williams and Fremont (New Seasons)
33rd and Belmont
14th and Stark
12th and Division
30th and Division
36th and Hawthorne
SE 12th and Gideon (on Orane Line MAX)
SE Pine and 28th
Couch and 28th

[Read more…]

Thieves steal bikes, new inventory from Kenton Cycle Repair

By on April 4th, 2017 at 9:07 am

The shop is in the process of moving to a larger location.
(Photo: Kenton Cycle Repair)

Kenton Cycle Repair has had a very rough start to the week. Around 6:00 am Monday morning two men broke into the shop and stole nine bikes and a large amount of new inventory off the shelves.

The shop is located at 2020 N McClellan Street, just off Denver Avenue in downtown Kenton. According to @pdxalerts (not official) the suspects were driving a blue Chevrolet pickup.

The shop’s owner Rich Walker confirmed the details of eight of the stolen bikes with us yesterday. The total retail value of the bikes is around $4,750. Walker said the thieves also made out with “all our lights and locks and a large amount of repair parts.”

Walker said the thieves busted out the front door. When he arrived around 8:15 there was glass all over the floor. A witness from the Kenton Hotel Apartments across the street saw two men in a truck loaded with bikes and called 911; but they drove away before police arrived. The witness was able to share a description of the men and a partial license plate number.
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It can happen here: The normalization of highway expansions

By on April 3rd, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Car traffic seen from Burnside Bridge-1

View of Portland via the Burnside Bridge in 2009. This problem needs better management, not more freedom to grow.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We are living in a time of extremes: climate, politics and public opinion have all ceded the moderate middle in favor of the faraway edges. When it comes to policy debates, ideas that once seemed too extreme to be taken seriously have managed to crawl their way back into the mainstream.
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First look at County’s new bike path to eastbound Sellwood Bridge

By on April 3rd, 2017 at 12:29 pm

New section of Sellwood Bridge path-2.jpg

New section of path takes you from west side of Willamette River, up onto the bridge heading east into Sellwood.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County opened a new connection from the west side of the river to the southern sidewalk on the new Sellwood Bridge about a month ago. I finally took a closer look at it on Friday.
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The Monday Roundup: America’s driving crisis, bike share for all, Utrechts new bike bridge, and more

By on April 3rd, 2017 at 10:52 am

Welcome to Monday.

Here are the stories worth reading that you might have missed last week…

Bike share in Bed Stuy: As Portland looks to expand bike share (and cycling in general) beyond the central city, we should take cues from this New York City example of how advocates have increased bike share use in a majority black and low-income neighborhood.

The Today Show’s blame game: One of America’s most-watched morning TV shows was just one of many outlets that spread the “distracted walkers are at fault” meme created by a recent report from a USDOT-backed highway safety group.

22 percent rise in walking deaths since 2014: America doesn’t like to talk about the startling rise in walking deaths as a public health crisis, but this recent report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association should change that.

Engineering at fault too: Most policymakers and electeds want to blame the spike on careless humans; but it’s clear that our road engineering standards create an unlevel playing field.

Endurance legend dies: Mike Hall’s long and fast rides inspired many of us. He died after being struck by someone driving while competing in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in Canberra Friday morning.
[Read more…]

Portlanders doing good things: A big ride, a rising leader, and a race promoter

By on March 31st, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Retired brothers David (L) and Marty Stabler are prepping to embark on a ride across America.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

How do know if your local biking ecosystem is healthy? Take the time to learn about what people are doing.

Are they riding? Are they starting new clubs, programs and organizations? Are they re-thinking the status quo to make biking even better?

This week I met with four people who are doing good things in our community.

The Bike Brothers

David and Martin (“Marty”) Stabler are retired Portlanders who are three months away from the biggest ride of their lives: a 3,650 mile pedal across the country. Their plan is to dip their wheels in the Pacific Ocean in Astoria and do the same thing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire 50 days later.
[Read more…]

First look at PBOT’s new crossing of Hawthorne at 43rd – UPDATED

By on March 31st, 2017 at 10:35 am

What if this was in place on August 19th 2016 when Fallon Smart tried to cross here?
(Photos: Paul Jeffery)

As promised last fall, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has updated Southeast Hawthorne Blvd with a new painted crosswalk and median island at the intsersection of 43rd Avenue. In addition to the new crossing, PBOT has received permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on Hawthorne between 29th and 50th to 20 miles per hour (down from 25).
[Read more…]

Jobs of the Week: Rapha, Cyclone, RecumbentPDX, Seven Corners, Go By Bike, Velotech

By on March 31st, 2017 at 8:25 am

There’s no surer sign of spring in Portland than local bike companies needing to boost their staff. We’ve got six great job opportunities that just went up this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Customer Service Advisor – Rapha Racing LTD

–> Shipping Specialist and Delivery Driver – Cyclone Bicycle Supply

–> Mechanic, light sales – RecumbentPDX

–> Sales/Light Service – Seven Corners Cycles

–> Bike Valet Attendant – Go By Bike

–> Shipping Specialist – Velotech

[Read more…]

Legislator’s ODOT donation bill shows how desperate people are for safer roads

By on March 30th, 2017 at 3:17 pm

In 11 days last December, 10 people died while driving on highways in central Oregon.

How desperate are Oregonians for safer roads?

People in the central Oregon district of State Senator Tim Knopp were so distraught by a spate of fatal and serious injury collisions late last year, they worked with him to introduce a bill that would create a State Transportation Donation Fund. Senate Bill 798 had its first hearing on March 20th and it passed through the Senate Committee On Business and Transportation.

Senator Knopp, whose district includes the cities of Bend, Sunriver and Redmond, testified in favor of the bill at that hearing. “During an 11-day period last December we had 10 fatalities,” he shared. “It was unbelievable. There was a father and a son, a pregnant woman, two Portland physics professors… It seemed quite hopeless, almost daily… You’re kind of wondering, ‘What is going on? What can we do? Is there a solution to this?'”
[Read more…]

Weekend Event Guide: 3-speeds, the Gorge, a big sale, and more

By on March 30th, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Riding in and around The Dalles will be beautiful this weekend at the Gorge Roubaix and Gravel Grinder events.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I know it’s hard to believe, and I know Saturday is April Fools Day on Saturday, but spring seems to have finally sprung. We actually have more sun than rain in the forecast for the next few days.

So embrace it! And ride your bike.

Here are some event and ride ideas to inspire you…
[Read more…]

Museum expansion would prohibit biking, limit walking access near South Park Blocks

By on March 29th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Portland Art Museum’s planned “Rothko Pavillion”.
(Drawing: Vinci Hamp Architects)

A planned expansion of the Portland Art Museum will (PAM) come at a cost of $50 million in new construction — and it would also come at the cost of public access to our city streets.

As part of their plans to build the “Rothko Pavillion,” PAM has asked the City of Portland for permission to close an existing public right-of-way through a plaza between two of their buildings that connects SW 10th and Park at Madison Street. The proposal would add a significant new structure to the museum’s footprint and it has architects and cultural backers very excited. But some advocates are concerned that the new plans will further limit walking and rolling in a part of town where street connections are invaluable.

Places where it’s easy and attractive to walk and roll have small blocks with lots of connections between them. The tighter the grid, the thinking goes, the better walkability a place has. As city blocks become “superblocks,” human-powered trip times increase, which makes walking and biking less attractive.

PAM’s latest plans are just the latest in a long history of limiting access to this block.
[Read more…]

Portland launches ‘PedPDX’ to update citywide walking plan

By on March 29th, 2017 at 9:12 am

East Portland street scenes-8

Crossing large arterials in east Portland — like 122nd — should be much easier.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When it comes to moving people in Portland, “walking” is listed in our 2035 Comprehensive Plan as the highest priority mode. To make sure that policy makes it into practice, the Bureau of Transportation has embarked on the first update of their Pedestrian Plan since 1998. They call it “PedPDX”.
[Read more…]

Two non-profits team up for new coffee/bike shop on SE Powell

By on March 28th, 2017 at 10:50 am

He’ll have much more room in the new space.
(Photo: Braking Cycles)

How much good can bikes do under just one roof?

How about a coffee shop up front where homeless and at-risk youth learn job skills and a bike shop in the rear where they learn bike repair skills? That’s what Braking Cycles and Bikes for Humanity PDX have planned for a new venture coming to SE 33rd and Powell.

We shared the story of Braking Cycles in 2014, right when social service worker Rhona Maul was starting up the new venture. Braking Cycles is a project of Transitional Youth, a Beaverton-based non-profit that helps homeless and at-risk youth integrate into the community. For the past three years Maul has been working to make her dream of having a stand-alone shop for the program a reality. Now she’s just $12,000 away and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to get there (watch the video below).[Read more…]