This is Portland at its finest: An art contest to create new bike lane characters that’s hosted by the Bureau of Transportation with the aim of getting more young people to read and ride bikes to the library.
Read that last sentence again and think about how many things have to be working right for something like that to happen. (Hints: A great education/encouragement program at PBOT’s Active Transportation Division; streets safe enough for to make neighborhood cycling a viable option for many young people; and a strong, community-supported library system.)
One of our beloved cycling culture quirks around here is that our transportation bureau adds creative flair to bike lane symbols. It’s been going on since 1999 and the fact that it has survived as an official tradition for this long is a testament to the City of Portland.
It’s gone from being something that started organically at the maintenance bureau to becoming much more official. Case in point is a press release just sent out about an event tomorrow where a member of the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer team will help PBOT crews install a soccer-themed character on SW Naito Parkway. [Read more…]
Multnomah County Youth Librarian Barbara Head at Bike Storytime in Hillsdale this morning. (Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The City of Portland and Multnomah County Library (with an assist from Metro) have teamed up on a novel way to promote National Bike Month: They’re hosting an art contest with a grand prize of having the winners’ design installed as a bike lane character.
Ever notice how some of the bike lane symbols around town have extra special flair? Some are subtle little twists and others are nothing short than a work of art. It’s a tradition that the Portland Bureau of Transportation started back in 1999. And now four lucky young Portlanders will get a chance to have their vision turned into a piece of infrastructure.
The “Bike to Books” program kicked off this morning at the Hillsdale Library. With the library’s book bike (more on that later) parked in the entrance, over a dozen pre-schoolers were treated to a special, bike-themed storytime. Youth Librarian Barbara Head kept the kids entertained (no easy task at that age) with bike books and bike-themed songs. It’s all part of an effort to get people of all ages to bike to the library during the month of May.
Any Multnomah County resident in kindergarten to 12th grade can grab a coloring contest flyer from a library or online and give it your best shot. The contest is open all month long and entrants must return the finished art to a library branch. Four grand prize winners (one for each age category) will get their bike lane art installed. The second place prize is four passes to The Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park and third place gets a Nutcase helmet. [Read more…]
Prince and David Bowie are the latest additions to Portland’s bike lanes. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Portland isn’t known for its rock music legacy, but we do have something no other city has: memorials to two modern-day rock titans that are made out of bike lane markings.
You might have heard about our huge Bowie vs Prince bike ride. Not to be outdone, maintenance crews from the City of Portland’s transportation bureau have lent their creative skills to bike lane symbols that honor both Prince and David Bowie — two artists who unexpectedly passed away this year.
PBOT is back to having fun with bike lane symbols. (Photo courtesy City of Portland)
15 years after if first started, a fun City of Portland tradition seems to be making a comeback.
In 1999, a city employee named Todd Roberts decided to create a little hat from a piece of thermoplastic left over from installation of a bike lane symbol. After that, dozens of bike lane characters began to appear throughout Portland. In 2009, we shared a slideshow of the characters compiled by one of their biggest fans — northeast Portland resident Jim Waigand.
Unfortunately, for the past several years it’s seemed like PBOT crews had stopped laying down these whimsical symbols. I hadn’t seen or heard about any new ones and assumed it was just another part of Portland’s past cycling swagger that has recently gone missing.
But a few weeks ago I was excited to see the tradition return. [Read more…]
One of Portland’s customized bike lane markings. -Slideshow below- (Photo: City of Portland)
2009 marks the 10th anniversary of a proud Portland tradition: our creatively modified bike lane pavement markings or what I like to call, “bike lane guys”.
The “unlikely cycling hero” who started the tradition in 1999 — according to Portlander Jim Waigand, who has documented the phenomenon since 2003 — is former City employee Todd Roberts. In an article published in VeloVision Magazine in September 2003, Waigand uncovered the fascinating story behind the practice. (I’ve uploaded that article as a PDF with permission from the publisher. You can download it here.)[Read more…]
Some of you may remember that Joe Biel (founder of Microcosm Publishing) is working on a documentary about bike art. He was particularly interested in Portland’s whimsical bike lane characters.
I just heard from Joe that after a few meetings and phone calls he was given the opportunity to design and lay out his very own bike lane character. So here it is, courtesy of Joe Biel. It lives on NE 33rd, just past the Columbia Slough (by the DEQ).
To see more of Portland’s bike lane stencils, check out these photos.