Biking Brooklyn after Sandy

Cycling the aftermath of Sandy-29

Bushwick resident Avery Brooks rides past piles of bricks that fell of a building near Kent Ave. in Williamsburg.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

After last night’s dramatic storm, New Yorkers woke up this morning to see what Sandy had left behind. She made a mess. A big mess.

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Researcher considers cargo bikes as tools for social justice

Jane Pearce

Cargo bike researcher Jane Pearce.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

If more people of modest means had access to an affordable, dependable cargo bike, could they avoid being sucked into “forced car ownership”? Can cargo bikes play a role in rebuilding a city devastated by a major earthquake? Jane Pearce, a PhD student in the Geography department of Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand visited Portland for two weeks this past June to better understand those questions and to further explore the social justice implications of cargo bikes.

On February 22, 2011, a massive earthquake ripped through Pearce’s hometown of Christchurch. 180 people died and much of the city remains, a macabre reminder of what was lost that day. Pearce came to Portland because of the extensive community that has developed around cargo bikes here; but, as a survivor of the Christchurch quake, she found special significance in the Disaster Relief Trials event.

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Cargo bikes reach new heights at ‘Disaster Relief Trials’

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Disaster Relief Trials -75

Michael Jones loads boxes of first-aid supplies
at a checkpoint located at the Red Cross on
N Vancouver Ave.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Sunday’s inaugural Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) was a big success on many levels.

The mock disaster scenario (a major earthquake) that the event was based on gave emergency responders and cargo bike enthusiasts a lot to think about. Disaster preparedness volunteers with the City’s Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NET) and the County’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service learned how to relay messages during a crisis, cargo bike builders learned how their designs performed under a variety of challenging, real-world conditions, and cargo bike operators learned how to push through the limits of pedal power.

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Fires, floods and faults: What hazards lurk where you ride?

Detail of Hazard Map for downtown and the eastside.
Blue dots are unreinforced masonry structures,
yellow diamonds are HAZMAT locations,
red line is a major fault.

The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) has released a series of maps showing where natural hazards exist in each neighborhood throughout the city. In the interest of being prepared if and when disaster strikes (having a cargo bike all ready to go will only get you so far), I thought it’d be fun to see how these known hazards line up with popular bike routes.

Here’s more about the maps from PBEM:

“The maps identify natural hazards throughout the city. They offer a neighborhood coalition by neighborhood coalition account of known earthquake faults, flood plains and other dangers, including hazardous material sites, steep slopes and forested areas at risk of fire. The maps also show community resources – such as evacuation routes and key transportation corridors used during emergencies, hospitals, county clinics, schools, fire stations and police facilities – within each neighborhood coalition area.”

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