national news

After ‘outcry’, Mississippi case to be re-opened

by on June 28th, 2011 at 8:30 am

“[District Attorney] Allgood said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the media reported his determination last week.”
— from story;
‘DA reopens biking case after outcry’

An update on that tragic case from Mississippi we shared last week:

Here’s the latest from (emphasis mine):

District Attorney Forrest Allgood will reopen his investigation of the May 22 car-on-bicycle accident in Clay County amid mounting pressure from the state’s cycling community.[Read more…]

Congressman David Wu introduces transportation research bill

by on June 27th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

National Bike Summit 2010 - Lobby Day-27

Congressman David Wu.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A new bill introduced today by U.S. Congressman David Wu aims to bolster research that makes the case for more earth-friendly transportation policies.

The “Promoting Green Transportation Infrastructure through Research and Development Act” (H.R. 2317), which would expand the scope of existing federally-funded transportation research centers and create new ones, was announced with support from noted Portland State University researcher Jennifer Dill. Dill has led numerous bicycle-related research projects over the years including a study that tracked bicycling behavior with GPS units.

PSU is in Congressman Wu’s congressional district and is also home to the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium. OTREC is one of 60 federally-funded University Transportation Centers (UTCs) across the country.
[Read more…]

Under fire for wasteful spending, LaHood suspends overseas study program

by on June 23rd, 2011 at 11:29 am

SW Moody project groundbreaking

Sec. LaHood has suspended
an FHWA program that
sent Americans overseas
to learn transportation
best practices.
(Photo © J. Maus)

After ABC News questioned spending on a trip to Europe by American bureaucrats to study outdoor advertising practices, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has suspended all funding for the FHWA’s International Technology Scanning Program.

That program has funded many transportation policy-related trips over the years, including one that looked at European biking and walking safety and mobility practices in 2009.

In May 2009, 12 transportation experts visited five countries in Europe to glean lessons on how to improve biking and walking safety and mobility. Among the officials on the trip was Oregon’s former state traffic engineer Ed Fischer (now retired). We reported on that trip and linked to their final report, Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility in Europe back in September.[Read more…]

Sadness in the South: Mississippi crash spurs anger, activism

by on June 23rd, 2011 at 8:55 am

Jan Morgan

A story from Mississippi deserves everyone’s attention.

One month ago, a motor vehicle operator struck 57 year old Jan Morgan from behind as she pedaled her bike on a road south of Tupelo, Mississippi. According to the police dispatch log, Morgan was thrown up onto the windshield and then catapulted onto the ground after the driver realized what had happened.

Then, after the initial contact, the police log reads, “The driver exited the vehicle and observed the cyclist while talking on the phone. Then re-entered her vehicle and ran the cyclist over again before being forced from her vehicle by witnesses.”
[Read more…]

Congressional task force releases “Freedom from Oil” blueprint

by on June 2nd, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Earl Blumenauer-2

Give people choices and they’ll
use less oil says Blumenauer.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In a press conference in Washington D.C. this morning, the Congressional Livable Communities Task Force released a set of policy proposals they say will lead to “Freedom from Oil.”

The task force, which is made up of House Democrats and chaired by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland), outlined steps on how everyone — from individuals on up to the federal government — can use less gas. The new report, Freedom From Oil: Policy Solutions From the Livable Communities Task Force, comes amid concerns about gas prices and the cost of transportation. [Read more…]

First Look: People for Bikes’ “Bikes Make Life Better” video

by on May 11th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Photo from filming of the video in Los Angeles.
(Photos © J. Maus)

People for Bikes, the national effort by Bikes Belong to raise awareness and support for bicycling, has just released a new video they hope will spread the idea that “Bikes Make Life Better.”

The short video, filmed in Los Angeles, uses projection technology to visually illustrate the impact bicycling has on cities. As riders — a woman on a Dutch bike, a profession commuter on a single-speed, and a group of BMX’ers — roll through the streets, birds, trees and waterfalls appear on structures around them.

Watch the video below:[Read more…]

Mica hints at slash to key federal bike funding

by on May 6th, 2011 at 11:33 am

Say it ain’t so, John.
(Photo © J. Maus)

National advocacy groups are having a busy spring thanks to numerous threats to important pots of federal bike infrastructure funding.

From the Recreational Trails Program to Safe Routes to School, many crucial funding pots that have provided millions to bicycling and walking projects over the decades are in jeapordy of being slashed by lawmakers in D.C.

The latest threat is perhaps the most blatant and it comes from a very high-profile and important figure in deciding what is included in the forthcoming transportation bill. [Read more…]

S.F. mulls speed limits, tall-bike ban on Golden Gate – UPDATED

by on April 20th, 2011 at 10:41 am

There’s an interesting situation brewing in San Francisco over how to deal with bicycle traffic on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Richard Masoner, a veteran blogger and citizen bike advocate based near the Bay Area, reports on a bike safety study published on April 15th by the Berkeley office of Alta Planning + Design. Here’s a snip from Masoner’s story:

While they concede that safety is not a serious issue on the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) sidewalks, they were paid to Do Something, so Alta Planning recommends a 10 MPH bicycle speed limit at all times on the west and east sidewalks, with a 5 MPH speed limit around the towers, where space and sightlines are constrained.

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District (they commissioned the report) says that the study, “confirms that the Bridge sidewalks and access pathways are safe for pedestrians and bicyclists” and that, “It appears that the current design of the bicycle paths remain safe, when bicycles use that path in a responsible fashion.”
[Read more…]

ODOT expresses “disappointment” in AASHTO guidelines stance

by on April 19th, 2011 at 10:44 am

“I want to express my disappointment at AASHTO’s recent comments… Oregon takes bicycling and walking very seriously.”
— Matthew Garrett, Director of ODOT

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has responded to a recent policy stance by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) that some fear would weaken federal guidelines that exist to make sure transportation projects include bicycling and walking facilities.

On Friday, we reported that the League of American Bicyclists had put out a national advocacy alert alleging that AASHTO’s Executive Director John Horsley was attempting to dilute federal bicycling and walking guidelines. League Director Andy Clarke said AASHTO’s stance was “misguided.”

ODOT Director Matthew Garrett wrote Horsley a letter yesterday, echoing the League’s concerns. Here’s an excerpt from that letter (PDF here):[Read more…]

Green bikeways get interim federal approval

by on April 18th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

New Bike Box SE Hawth - 7th-13.jpg

An FHWA decision now makes it easier
for cities to use green to designate a bikeway.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Living and biking in Portland, you might take the green pavement marking you see on bikeways throughout town for granted. But, like the blue color that came before it, this is an innovative treatment that was done without official approval from the Federal Highway Administration.

Today, we learned from a source in the planning field, that the FHWA has decided to give it’s stamp of approval (albeit interim) to, “the optional use of green colored pavement in marked bicycle lanes and in extensions of bicycle lanes through intersections and other traffic conflict areas.”

This is a big deal because it gives traffic engineers across the country the legal breathing room to use green pavement markings on bikeways. [Read more…]