PSU report: Cycle track, buffered bike lanes working well, but could be improved

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Cycletrack on SW Broadway-7

“Working well” says PSU evaluation.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Researchers at Portland State University have completed an evaluation of Portland’s cycle track on SW Broadway and buffered bike lanes on SW Stark and Oak. The analysis, prepared for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), shows that both of the bikeway types are “working well,” but PSU also laid out some recommendations on how to make them work even better.

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Ride an e-bike? PSU researchers want to hear from you

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The Ohm electric-assist bicycle-1.jpg

If you ride an e-bike, PSU wants to hear from you.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Researchers at Portland State University are looking for interview subjects for a project on e-bikes. Jennifer Dill, an associate professor at the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, got in touch with us with the news.

Dill says it’s a small, exploratory research project intended to further their understanding of the e-bike market and e-bike users. “This may lead to a larger study of the role e-bikes play in bicycle transportation.”

Here’s some text from a flyer to recruit interview subjects:

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Report: Regional trails, parks account for $115 million per year in health care savings

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The (Epic) Sushi Ride

Saving money.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A new report* estimates that our regional trail network saves us about $115 million per year in averted health care costs. The report (PDF) was done for Metro and focused on their interconnected system of trails, parks and greenways known as the Intertwine. The Intertwine (background story) consists of 1,250 miles of designated biking and walking trails, 12,000 acres of developed parks and 24,000 acres of maintained natural area and is visited by an estimated 8.3 million people each year.

In Physical Activity and the Intertwine: A Public Health Method of Reducing Obesity and Healthcare Costs, naturopathic doctor and public health expert Kurt Beil looked at the Intertwine as a public health asset. He analyzed the estimated amount of physical activity that occurs on the Intertwine and did some calculations to come up with health cost savings. Here’s an excerpt from his report:

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Bikes Belong looks to fund research on biking’s economic impact

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National non-profit Bikes Belong just launched a new grant program to fund research on how bicycle facilities and events impact the economy. Seems like a very smart way to spur thinking and the public dialogue about this issue. Read the official announcement below…

Bikes Belong Foundation launches Bicycle Research Grant Program

Boulder, CO—The Bikes Belong Foundation announced today the launch of a new grant program to fund research on the economic impact of bicycling facilities and events. The Bicycle Research Grant Program will award a total of $40,000 in grants to academic or non-profit research institutions in 2011. Grants will range from $5,000 to $10,000.

This new program aims to fill a crucial knowledge gap. Collecting quantitative evidence on the benefits bicycling brings to local, regional, and national economies will help encourage and guide investments in bicycling.

In 2010, Bikes Belong awarded small grants for studies currently underway on the economic impact of bicycling in Portland, OR and at the Allegrippis Trails in Raystown Lake, PA. The new dedicated research grants program will provide more opportunities to support similar studies.

The application deadline for the first round of grants is March 31, 2011.

In addition to funding economy-driven projects, Bikes Belong will consider innovative or unique research on other bike-related topics on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more about the program or to apply for a research grant, visit www.bikesbelong.org/foundation. Questions can also be directed to the grants manager (zoe@bikesbelong.org) or research analyst (kate@bikesbelong.org).

About Bikes Belong
The Bikes Belong Foundation, host to the Peopleforbikes.org campaign, focuses on improving bicycle safety and enhancing children’s bike programs. The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Bikes Belong Coalition – the U.S. bicycle industry organization dedicated to getting more people riding bikes more often. Bikes Belong Coalition works to increase federal bike funding, awards grants to support innovative bike projects, promotes bicycling and its benefits, and backs crucial national efforts such as Safe Routes to School, Bicycle Friendly Communities, and the National Bike Summit.

The quest for Oregon’s “Next Top (Transportation) Model”

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Traffic-3

New models could help level the
playing field between modes.
(Photo © J. Maus)

High quality models are essential to making the right decisions about how we build our transportation systems. What do beautiful people have to do with transportation? Nothing! I’m talking about transportation models.

For instance, if your model includes motorized vehicle “traffic flow” as a fundamental component and barely includes bicycles or other modes, what do you think the outcomes from that model will be? Yep, you guessed it, more highways to accomodate more cars, and a tiny scrap or two left for bicycles. Unfortunately, that situation is one of the major problems in transportation planning today.

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PSU evaluation finds that bike boxes work

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A year-long evaluation by researchers at Portland State University’s Institute for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation has found that Portland’s bike boxes improve the safety of roads users on a number of levels. The research — funded through the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium — complements another study from the University of Texas published last month that also found bike boxes to have a positive impact on traffic safety. City of Portland Bureau of Transportation officials say these studies confirm their own observations about the bike boxes and they are in the process of identifying new locations to add more of them.

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Events explore link between transportation, health, and equity

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Mel Rader of Upstream Public
Health speaks at PSU today.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A quick note about a few events on the horizon that explore how transportation policy impacts the environment, public health and social equity.

Today at noon (sorry for late notice), Mel Rader of Portland-based health advocacy organization Upstream Public Health will speak at Portland State University as part of their ongoing Transportation Seminar Series. Rader’s talk will examine the health benefits that come with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our transportation system. Rader spearheaded a Health Impact Assessment on a climate change policy that studied how a reduction in driving led to significant changes in air pollution, physical activity and collision rates.

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The research is in: You’re safer in the bike lane (or bike boulevard, or cycle track)

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“Results to date suggest that sidewalks and multi-use trails pose the highest risk… and the presence of bicycle facilities (e.g. on-road bike routes, on-road marked bike lanes, and off-road bike paths) was associated with the lowest risk.”

There’s a constant chorus — sometimes soft, sometimes overpoweringly loud — in every conversation about bike infrastructure in America. Its refrain: You’re safer without any bike lanes, separated lanes, cycle tracks, bike boulevards, off-road paths. Just take the lane, follow the rules, wear your helmet, and you’ll be fine.

A group of scholars at the University of British Columbia have found otherwise. They conducted a literature review, looking at all available studies linking bicycle safety with infrastructure. Their conclusions will be counterintuitive for some.

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‘Cycle Zones’ will help plan future bikeways

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Which Cycle Zone do you ride in?
–Watch slide presentation below–

Alta Planning and Design and the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation have collaborated to develop “Cycle Zone Analysis”, a powerful new modeling tool that could have a significant impact on how Portland plans its future bikeways.

PDOT’s bike coordinator Roger Geller presented the Cycle Zone research and methodology at the International Symposium on Walking and Biking in Seattle back in September. He also shared the work with a packed room of Portlanders during PDOT’s monthly Bicycle Brown Bag discussion series last week.

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PSU study to track cyclists with GPS

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[PSU Professor Jennifer Dill]
Photo: PSU

Oregonian reporter Jeff Mapes has the scoop on an interesting Portland State University study:

Jennifer Dill, an urban studies professor, wants to recruit a wide range of cyclists — and lots of them — to tote global positioning system units on their bikes for a 10-day period. She said researchers hope to learn whether cyclists go out of their way to use bike lanes and bicycle-friendly streets and to see how travel habits are affected by such factors as the weather.

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