Bikes, Bridges and Bullet Trains: Riding Japan’s Shimanami Kaido route

Dedicated bike path that connects to the Kurushima Kaikyo bridge.
(Photos: Robert Pickett)

Robert Pickett, a former (and future!) Portland resident and member of the Portland Police Bureau Bicycle Patrol Unit, is currently serving as a U.S. diplomat stationed with his wife and two daughters in Sapporo, Japan.

“Its the best ride in Japan—let me know if you end up doing it and want some company.” High praise from my boss — a taciturn triathlete with an eye for art and nature, and many years living in Japan. I figured I’d better ride the Shimanami Kaido sometime before the end of my time here.

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Transpo bill: Rail advocates say new tracks, not more lanes, will fix congestion

Rail advocate Dan McFarling testifying in Salem on Monday.

One of the best ideas for improving transportation in Oregon is glaringly absent from the state’s transportation funding package: Better passenger and freight rail lines between Portland and Eugene.

At one of four hearings on House Bill 2017-3 held at the State Capitol this week, representatives from the Association of Oregon and Rail Transit Advocates took the opportunity to remind lawmakers about this fact.

While the package being debated includes over $900 million in earmarks for highway expansions in the name of “congestion relief,” advocates with AORTA feel like the bill will cause Oregon to fall even further behind our west coast neighbors.

“Go big or go home,” is how AORTA rep Dan McFarling began his testimony in front of the Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee on Monday. “Rail programs in Washington and California are going big. We are treading water.”

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How bikes might (or might not) fit into ODOT’s rail plans

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

ODOT’s Betsy Imholt.
(Photo: Daniel Ronan)

The Obama Administration recently green-lighted money for development of a rail corridor between Eugene and Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is hosting a series of open houses to discuss the project.

I recently spoke with ODOT’s rail program study director Betsy Imholt and attended the open house in Eugene yesterday to learn more about how bikes might (or might not) fit into ODOT’s passenger rail plans.

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