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A bicycle rider has died in a collision with a box truck driver in North Portland – UPDATED

By on February 6th, 2017 at 11:10 am

The truck is on North Farragut Ave. Interstate is in the foreground.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A man has died after being involved in a collision with a truck operator while bicycling on North Interstate Avenue this morning.

It happened around 9:00 am at the intersection of Interstate and Farragut (map). The initial police statement said the man “may have been on a bicycle.” I was able to confirm that by going to the scene this morning.

From what I saw it appears the collision was a classic right-hook. The operator of a large, white (unmarked) box van was driving northbound on Interstate and then turned right onto Farragut. The bicycle rider also appears to have been going northbound prior to the collision. As of 10:20 am the bicycle was still lodged completely underneath the truck — toward the rear and just in front of the rear axle. From east of the collision I could still see the bicycle’s white front light blinking.

Interstate in this location is relatively narrow due to the presence of a center-running MAX light rail line. In the northbound direction there is one standard vehicle lane directly adjacent to an unprotected bicycle-only lane. The bike lane is five-feet wide.
[Read more…]

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Portland wins $10 million in federal grants for biking/walking projects

By on February 3rd, 2017 at 3:41 pm

This segment of NE 72nd in the Cully neighborhood will get a 12-foot wide walking/biking path.

Project locations.
(Graphic: Metro)

On Thursday the Metro Council unanimously adopted $30 million in grants for 12 transportation projects around the region. Portland won big by garnering $12.8 million of the total awarded. The funds will go toward five different projects — four of which ($10 million worth) are focused specifically on making it easier and safer to bike and walk.

Yesterday’s decision comes after a year of public feedback and analysis of dozens of projects that vied for the money. It’s part of Metro’s regional flexible funding process that happens every three years. Out of this pot of around $130 million, $33 was up for grabs in a suballocation that Metro decided to split 75/25 between “active transportation/complete streets” projects and freight projects respectively.

Although one of Portland’s projects was in the freight category, it also includes several elements that will improve biking and overall traffic safety.
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Community rallies around man paralyzed in north Portland collision

By on February 3rd, 2017 at 9:32 am

Duncan and his family in the hospital back in March.
(Photos courtesy the Duncan family)

It’s been almost a year since Brian Duncan’s life changed forever. On March 30th the 37-year-old was on his bike, rolling across North Rosa Parks Way at Delaware when another man, 84-year-old Louis Hellbusch, failed to stop his car for a red light.

The impact left Duncan paralyzed and facing a new direction in his life and that of his wife and three-year-old daughter. That new life now includes a new home — one built to handle Duncan’s lifelong needs.

Duncan was a board member of the Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association and this crash reverberated throughout the community. Last September his friends and neighbors held a candlelight vigil to raise awareness of street safety in the close-knit north Portland neighborhood — which was the site of two traffic deaths in the six months following Duncan’s collision.

Today the Duncan family is supported by an A-list team that’s helping them build a new, ADA accessible home. The project is called Two Blocks North and they’ve already raised over $40,000, nearly one-third of their goal.

“Biking was a major part of our lives and that’s been taken away,” Duncan said in a statement released through the project. “I feel lucky to be alive but that doesn’t change the reality of our situation.”
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Audit says ODOT is misaligned with governing body, commissioners vow change

By on February 2nd, 2017 at 5:42 pm

OTC meeting in Salem-1.jpg

ODOT Director Matt Garrett listens to a presentation about the audit from Tyler Duvall of McKinsey & Company.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett sat silenty for nearly two hours today while members of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC, ODOT’s governing body) probed deeper into an audit of the agency he has led since 2005.

ODOT got solid marks from auditors in some categories — like organizational culture and building and maintaining highways. But auditors also found the agency needs a clearer short-term plan and more effective coordination with its governing body, the OTC.
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Weekend Event Guide: Chefs Cycle Show, Surly invasion, illuminated bikes, and more

By on February 2nd, 2017 at 8:03 am

We love bike event flyers!

This Weekend Event Guide is brought to you by The Street Trust, who reminds you to check out their 7th annual Live the Revolution on February 10th, a bicycle-themed storytelling event that benefits their Safe Routes to School education program.

Here we go again with the weather. The forecast calls for yet another bout of snow and ice. It shouldn’t be too bad; but of course that’s what we thought last time.

Good thing we have several indoor events in the guide this weekend! And the fun starts tonight with our friends from Surly Bikes in Minneapolis invading one of our favorite haunts, Velo Cult.
[Read more…]

City’s new snow and ice plan still doesn’t include greenway plowing

By on February 1st, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Whose streets?

No plows coming soon.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

After severe storms unleashed havoc on our roads and heaps of criticism on the City of Portland’s response, Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman laid out a new plan at a city hall press conference a few hours ago.

PBOT Director Leah Treat told us last week the City was, “Specifically going to look at expanding our de-icing and plow routes to include neighborhood greenways.”

Unfortunately, this new plan doesn’t do that. Instead of plowing residential streets that are the backbone of our biking network, Commissioner Saltzman announced two other changes to the City’s storm response plan. After resisting the use of salt due to environmental concerns, PBOT now says they plan to use up to 100 tons of it on at least three major roads during upcoming storms. This “largest use of road salt in the modern history of Portland,” will be a test to see how effective salt is at keeping roads free of ice and snow. In addition, they’ve announced an 30 percent expansion in the number of lane miles that will be plowed.

We knew the salt decision was coming; but it’s the plow route we were most curious about going into today’s press conference. As we reported last week, not only were bike lanes and bikeways left piled with snow during the storm, they’ve been covered in gravel for weeks.
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The legislative session, The Street Trust, and you (a three-part series)

By on February 1st, 2017 at 2:25 pm

For Every Kid Coalition.jpg

The Street Trust is part of a large coalition of nonprofits working to make sure the upcoming transportation package gets passed with adequate funding for biking, walking and transit. Safe Routes to School funding will be a major focus.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

(Note: This article is written by Gerik Kransky, policy director for The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance). It’s the first in a three-part series about their work on a major funding package that will be debated during the 2017 Oregon legislative session.)
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Guest opinion: ODOT management audit misleads, omits key facts

By on February 1st, 2017 at 1:12 pm

A day in Salem-3

We deserve a better ODOT before we hand them new revenue.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This guest essay was written by Joe Cortright, an urban economist with Impresa Consulting who also runs CityObservatory.org.

There are a lot of big questions about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) competence and capability. Unfortunately the new $1 million audit undertaken by McKinsey and Company answers none of them.

The audit is misleading, inaccurate and omits key facts about ODOT’s substantive management problems. In effect, the audit actually conceals some of ODOT’s most expensive blunders.

An audit that doesn’t acknowledge, much less analyze, obvious problems can’t provide meaningful solutions. For example, auditors who can’t even correctly identify the cost of the agency’s largest construction project—and who purposely omit it from their one statistical chart showing cost overruns—aren’t worth the money they’re being paid, because they haven’t done their jobs.

Why does this matter? Because the Oregon legislature is about to begin a debate over transportation funding that could result in hundreds of millions of dollars flowing through ODOT’s hands.
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PBOT wants your input on apartment bike parking

By on February 1st, 2017 at 10:49 am

bike parking at Central Eastside Lofts-4

New city code could require developers to build better bike parking.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Do you live in an apartment? If so, where and how do you park your bike?

The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is refining and updating the portion of our city code that regulates bicycle parking in residential buildings and they want your input. Because this is Portland, they’ve also assembled a stakeholder advisory committee that’s grappling with code revisions that could dictate a new number of new policies such as: whether or not a fee should be charged for bike parking rooms; how high bike racks should be installed; what type of security and signage should be used in bike rooms; the quality of access routes to bike rooms, and more.
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City, advocates say ODOT’s plans for outer Powell buffered bike lanes are not enough

By on January 30th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Help is coming to Powell east of 122nd, but will it be enough to attract a wider swath of bicycle riders?

18 months of debate about how to provide safe bike access on a 14-block stretch of Southeast Powell Boulevard is finally coming to an end. At least the Oregon Department of Transportation hopes it is.

Saying they are now months behind schedule, ODOT wants to move forward into the final design stage of a project that will rebuild Powell between SE 122nd and 136th. With $17 million from the State Legislature and another $3 million from Metro, the latest incarnation of ODOT’s Outer Powell Safety Project will add a host of updates to this state highway (U.S. Route 26), which has one of the worst crash records of any road in Oregon. This project will bring long-awaited changes and additions to signals, sidewalks, intersections, landscaping, crosswalks, and bike lanes.
[Read more…]

Ted’s Video Roundup: Post-car cities, Brompton factory tour, and more

By on January 30th, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Welcome to my mostly-weekly video roundup! I’ve gone through about a hundred videos this week, and I’m starting off by featuring this fantastic video of Darren Alff’s tour of Norway and Sweden. He has a great recording style and the terrain is beautiful. Also, he’s riding a Co-Motion, how great is that?

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Interstate Bridge 100th birthday essay contest wants to hear your “adventures”

By on January 30th, 2017 at 11:22 am

Ride Along with Branden Shelby-10

Adventure time.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

To help mark the 100th birthday of the Interstate Bridge a group of organizations is hosting an essay contest.

When we saw the theme — “My Interstate Bridge Adventure” — we figured people who bike across the bridge might be inspired to enter. That’s because on a bike it feels like an adventure every time I cross the narrow path just feet from rumbling motorized traffic.

Unfortunately we just heard about this and deadline for entries is tomorrow night (1/31).
[Read more…]

I helped sweep bike lanes this weekend (and it felt great)

By on January 30th, 2017 at 10:36 am

Volunteers sweeping a bike path on SE Division near 87th.
(Photos: Ted Timmons)

Earlier this week the PDX Transformation Twitter account put out a call for volunteers for a public service project

I inquired what was going on and found out the project was to do some winter gravel cleanup. I thought that sounded like fun!

Ultimately five of us showed up. PDX Transformation loaned some safety equipment, and we each brought brooms. We rode out to the raised bikeway at 85th and Division and went to work. The raised bikeway was a good choice, because I assume it’s one of the harder places for PBOT to run a sweeper, and it also doesn’t get any vehicle traffic to help push the debris away.

See more photos below the jump…
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The Monday Roundup: Beast mode on a bike, transpo bill under Trump, no love for e-bikes, and more

By on January 30th, 2017 at 9:39 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by the Worst Day of the Year Ride, coming up February 12th!

Beast Mode on a bike: I’m not a fan of the NFL these days but I am a big fan of what Seahawks retired star running-back Marshawn Lynch did in Scotland on a bike last week.

Change or die: The neighborhood bike shop faces major threats from innovative options like mobile bike repair and e-commerce, so says the NY Times.

Phone blocker: A Dutch company has created a device that will block your cell signal while biking over 10 mph.

E-bikes lacking charge: Another sign that America’s bike culture needs a refresh is how we still haven’t embraced electric bikes. This LA Times article points to a lack of safe infrastructure and a macho cycling culture as just some of the reasons why.

NYC goes big for Vision Zero: Seems just a few weeks ago we shared a link about NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio not doing enough for Vision Zero. That was then, and now he’s announced an additional $400 million for the program — bringing the total funding up to $1.6 billion through 2021.
[Read more…]

The Portland Aerial Tram’s impact on bicycling has been profound (and vice versa)

By on January 27th, 2017 at 11:53 am

(Photo: PBOT)

All eyes will be on the Portland Aerial Tram as the beloved transit mode turns 10 years old this weekend. While the Tram deserves all the attention, a big part of its coming-of-age story is the symbiotic relationship it has had with cycling.
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Police stop 66 people in two hours during inner SE Hawthorne enforcement mission

By on January 27th, 2017 at 9:45 am

Of course people drive dangerously here. The road design encourages it.

How rampant is illegal and dangerous driving in Portland?

In just two hours last night the Portland Police Bureau wrote 43 citations (for 61 separate violations) and handed out 23 written warnings*. The ‘Vision Zero traffic safety mission’ was carried out between 6:00 and 8:00 pm on Southeast Hawthorne Blvd between 12th and Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

In a press statement, the police said, “This area was selected due to numerous community complaints and it is a high traffic area for all road users.”

This section of Hawthorne area is also full of shops, eateries and popular destinations. Despite a motor-vehicle oriented road design that hasn’t changed in decades, inner Hawthorne is one of the most iconic commercial districts in Portland. Just a few blocks east of where this enforcement action took place is the location where 15-year-old Fallon Smart was hit and killed last August while trying to cross at SE 43rd. [Read more…]

On SE Clinton, PBOT finishes permanent diverter and readies new ‘bike-friendly’ speed bumps

By on January 26th, 2017 at 5:50 pm

new permanent traffic diverter on SE Clinton at 32nd-4.jpg

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

About a year after taking temporary measures, the City of Portland has finished installing a permanent traffic diverter on SE Clinton at 32nd. With the diverter complete, the final piece of the puzzle in reclaiming Clinton as a bike-priority street (a.k.a. neighborhood greenway) will be to install five new speed bumps between SE 17th and 26th.

Here’s a look at the new diverter, followed by some new information about the speed bumps…

BikePortland subscriber Adam Herstein gave us an early look at the new design just before Christmas. Since then PBOT has added several finishing touches including bright yellow paint and more signs. I rolled out yesterday for a closer look.

Compared to what PBOT first installed last year, the new design is a massive improvement. The old design, with its large concrete drums and orange cones, not only looked bad it also didn’t work well. People in cars would routinely drive right through it (into oncoming traffic!) and people would park too close to the gap where bicycle riders were supposed to cut through.

Here are a few more photos:[Read more…]

Weekend Event Guide: Tram’s 10th, legislative town hall, women’s ride, and more

By on January 26th, 2017 at 4:25 pm

The Tram is awesome.
(Photo courtesy Portland Aerial Tram)

The Portland Aerial Tram takes top billing this weekend.

It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since Aerial Tram opened. I remember covering it back then and having no real clue about how transformative it would be — not just for the South Waterfront district but for bicycling in Portland. Watch this space Friday morning for a story about how the Tram has impacted cycling. For now, check out details on the Tram’s 10th birthday party and several other cool events below…

Saturday, January 28th

Sorella Forte Women’s Club Ride – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at River City Bicycles (706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd)
Inspired by the Women’s March? How about a women’s ride? Geared to intermediate riders, expect an average speed of about 15-17 mph for about 30-40 miles. Organizers say it’s “faster than a recreational cruise, but almost always conversational, except for the hills.” Please be ready to ride at 9 am and park on the street, not in the River City lot. More info here

Town Hall to Discuss 2017 Legislative Session – 10:00 to 11:30 am at PCC Cascade (Moriarty Auditorium – 705 N Killingsworth St)
The session is about to get busy and Portland legislators could play a key role in the major transportation package that will be debated. Come and tell North Portland reps Lew Frederick and Tina Kotek what kind of projects and policies you think they should fight for – and which ones they should fight against. More info here
[Read more…]

For bike riders, the storm’s hazardous road conditions continue

By on January 26th, 2017 at 10:58 am

Gravel, gravel everywhere. On the left is the short raised cycle path on SE Division east of 82nd. On the right is the bike on on SE 52nd at Clinton.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

For people who ride bikes in Portland, those nasty winter storms are far from over. The weeks of rain, ice, snow, studded tires, chains, and plows have wreaked havoc on roads — especially in the space used for cycling.

It’s one thing to deal with it in a well-cushioned car, but another thing entirely when trying to navigate a bicycle: Ride in the gravel, mud and other hazards and you risk flats or losing control; ride in the lane and you risk interactions with motor vehicle users.

We hate to complain; but this situation is not new. It’s also dangerous and we haven’t seen significant steps taken to improve it even though it has been on the City’s radar for many years. We’ve documented hazardous post-storm cycling conditions (and PBOT’s response to it or lack thereof) in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014.
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People on Bikes – NE Broadway near Moda Center

By on January 25th, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Eager to ride after winter storms, yet still cold enough to have to bundle up. This us just a tiny slice of who’s riding bikes in Portland.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

How good does it feel to be able to pedal bikes again after all those snow and ice storms?

This is the first full week we’ve had since early December where the roads are dry and we can get back to a somewhat normal commute (yes, we know about all the gravel and we have a story about that coming up next). To kick off the return of fellow riders to the bike lanes, I thought it’d be fun to do a People on Bikes. This is a regular feature where I stand in one place and photographing people as they roll by. There are a lot of cool things we can learn from this. Here are some of the questions I have in my head as I look at the images:
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