in-depth

What’s next for the Springwater Trail? Filling in the gaps

Avatar by on December 21st, 2009 at 10:12 am

Three Bridges opening celebration

The Springwater Corridor Trail is
a major commute thoroughfare
and recreational facility.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Springwater Corridor Trail is the closest thing Portland has to a bicycle superhighway.

When the trail is complete, you will be able to walk, run, skate, or ride your bike from the Steel Bridge all the way out beyond Gresham without ever sharing the road with a motorized vehicle. For now, only two major gaps remain, both in inner Portland, where you must exit the trail and wind through city streets.

The southern gap routes you through quiet, residential streets in Sellwood from SE Umatilla close to the river to SE 19th. The northern gap, from the current trailhead at SE Ivon to the beginning of the Eastbank Esplanade at OMSI, is by far the worst of the two, crossing through a major construction zone and the entrance to a gravel depot, creating a safety hazard and a signage and enforcement conundrum.

So what is the current status of these gaps? [Read more…]

In-Depth: Where bikes and streetcar collide (Part Two)

Avatar by on February 6th, 2009 at 10:21 am

[This is the second (and final) part of our In-Depth report by Libby Tucker on how bikes fit into Portland’s streetcar plans. Read the first installment here.]


Yesterday, we left off with a discussion about bikeway and streetcar track design in the Pearl District. Mia Birk, a former bike coordinator for the City of Portland and now a consultant on Portland’s streetcar plans, continues our story…

On NW Lovejoy, bike traffic is
routed up onto the sidewalk
to get around the streetcar
platform. (Photos © J. Maus)

The Lovejoy design (see photo at right) creates a “very uncomfortable situation for most bicyclists,” added Birk. “It feels really weird to go up on the sidewalk and blast through a pedestrian zone, and when you’re on the street you have to cross tracks at a bad angle.”

This time, Alta (the planning firm where Birk is a principal) has completely redesigned the Pearl District’s bike facilities in the area surrounding the streetcar tracks, starting with the removal of the bike lane on Lovejoy. Instead, the streetcar plan would convert Lovejoy and Northrup into a one-way couplet for cars and reroute bike traffic onto a bike boulevard along Northwest Marshall. The cobblestone street would be smoothed out to accommodate bikes and would include new bike signals and bike boxes along the route.[Read more…]

Don’t kill the messengers: Inside the health of the industry (Part Three)

Avatar by on January 29th, 2009 at 10:22 am

More on this series:
Read Part One
Read Part Two
Author Bio

[Note from Publisher: Welcome to the final installment of our three-part series on bike messengers in Portland. This series is written by BikePortland contributing writer Erin Greeson (bio).

In Part One, Greeson laid out the tough working conditions faced by Portland’s messengers. Part Two focused on health care and the negative stereotypes often associated with bicycle delivery professionals. Today, Greeson concludes her story by taking a look at attempts to organize and improve the industry.

Thanks to everyone for the vigorous discussion on this series thus far, and a special thanks to Erin Greeson for her work on this story.]


[Read more…]

Don’t kill the messengers: Inside the health of the industry

Avatar by on January 27th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Erin Greeson

[Publisher’s note: This is the first in a three-part story on Portland’s bike messengers by new contributor Erin Greeson.

When her friend Zak Kovalcik crashed and broke his collarbone last fall, Greeson came face-to-face with the tough reality faced by Portland’s bike delivery professionals. In this in-depth, three-part series, Greeson shares how the deck is stacked against messengers and how they are trying to survive in a challenging profession.]


“The paradigm of the typical messenger service business model is problematic. It’s a pyramid-shaped scheme where the workers are on the bottom.”
–Ira Ryan, former messenger

As Portland’s reputation as a green business boomtown gains momentum, bike-centric ventures emerge as quickly and viably as organic brewpubs and cafes. While a new era of entrepreneurs seeks to capitalize on this evolving economy, one of the oldest bike-based businesses, bicycle messenger services, faces challenges that impact workers and business owners alike.[Read more…]

Portland and the rise of the “American-style” cycle track

Avatar by on November 26th, 2008 at 11:35 am

“Sam (Adams) has directed (City Traffic Engineer) Rob Burchfield to indentify opportunities for a “high visibility” cycle track to be rolled out in Sam’s first 100 days as mayor.”
— Sam Adams’ chief of staff Tom Miller, in an email to Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder

There’s no denying that 2009 is shaping up to be the Year of the Cycle Track in Portland.

PDOT already has one in the books for NE Cully Blvd., they’re working closely with streetcar planners to put one adjacent to the new line in the Lloyd District on NE 7th Ave., and planners, advocates, and other local bike insiders (including our next Mayor and his chief of staff) are all singing the cycle track’s praises after seeing them in action in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen.[Read more…]