Is Portland ready to start building streets for smaller trucks?

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
truck on right

Big trucks in busy American cities are often seen as a necessary evil. But maybe that’s only half true.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Cities can’t exist without cargo. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that cities can exist with fewer big trucks.

Two weeks ago, the day after local man Kirke Johnson was killed in a collision with a right-turning semi-trailer truck that apparently failed to yield as he passed it going straight, urbanist website CityLab published an interesting bit of news.

After years of selling 15-foot cargo vans as delivery vehicles in Europe and Japan, Nissan has found a market for them in the United States, too:

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Kirke Johnson’s BikePortland comments are chilling and inspiring


(Photo: Johnson Family)

It turns out that Kirke Johnson, the man killed last Thursday when a truck driver turned his vehicle into Johnson’s path while he rode on NW Cornell Road, was a regular commenter here on BikePortland.

Given how involved Kirke was in the regional bike advocacy scene, I thought he might have sent us an email or two over the years. When I checked my inbox archives, sure enough an email address belonging to “kirkej” popped up; but it was only a CC’d message, not one directly to me. Then, out of curiosity, I copy/pasted his email address into our comment database. A few seconds later I was reading the 100 or so comments left by “bikesalot” — which was Kirke’s screen name here on BikePortland.

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Friends remember Kirke Johnson, identified as man killed in Cedar Mill collision


Kirke Johnson.
(Photos: Portland Community College)

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the man who was killed yesterday while bicycling on NW Cornell Road in Cedar Mill (just west of the Portland city boundary).

The victim is Kirke Johnson, a 70-year old former employee at Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus. He worked in the school’s IT department for over 20 years and just retired last week. People who knew Johnson remember him as being a prolific and very experienced rider who logged thousands of miles a year on his recumbent (which he was riding at the time of the collision).

He was also a regular commenter here on BikePortland. Under the screen name “bikesalot” he published about 100 comments dating back to early 2009.

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Collision involving FedEx truck kills man riding on Cornell Road in Cedar Mill

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Scene of the collision. View is looking northwest from the middle of NW Barnes.
(Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

A man riding a bike died Thursday in a collision with a FedEx truck near the corner of Northwest Barnes Road and Cornell Road (map).

Details from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office are scarce at the moment but according to KGW-TV, “both the truck and bicyclist were eastbound on Cornell Road when the truck driver made a southbound turn onto Barnes Road and hit the bicyclist.”

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