It’s a nice day for a bike ride

Saw lots of smiles (and a lot of MTBs) out on the streets this morning.(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Saw lots of smiles (and a lot of MTBs) out on the streets this morning.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland is still covered in a layer of snow after a storm last night.

If you can manage it, the biking is quite nice. Roads are much quieter than usual because people are driving slower and schools and many businesses are closed.

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Don’t blame the weather for this mess (or snow plows, or bad drivers, or…)

Portland made national news last night — and this image told quite a story.
Portland made national news last night — and this image told quite a story.

Welcome to the morning after.

After a few inches of snow fell on Wednesday afternoon, our region’s transportation system ground to a halt. Major freeways, arterials, and even many neighborhood streets were either completely gridlocked or impassable due to abandoned cars left in scrap heaps of twisted metal and broken dreams. Thousands of people were stranded for hours and backups continued on Highway 26 until midnight (midnight!). Thanks to an Associated Press story, the insanity of it all has brought us national attention.

Now we’ve entered the autopsy stage where everyone is trying to figure out how it happened.

The Oregonian broke it down to five reasons: We don’t use salt on our roads; people don’t carry chains; people don’t know how to drive in the snow; Portland doesn’t have enough snow plows, and transit is, “not equipped for hilly Portland.”

Sigh. Of course they forgot to mention something.

Here’s the inconvenient truth: Our over-reliance on single-occupancy motor vehicle use has real consequences. It leads to lots of injuries and deaths, it poisons our lungs, and it makes our transportation system extremely fragile and inefficient.

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The Commute From Hell (was heaven on a bike)

A bike rider finds a good line between traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd this evening. Photo shared by  River City Bicycles on Instagram.
A bike rider finds a good line between traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd this evening. Photo shared by River City Bicycles on Instagram.

I have never seen anything like what happened on tonight’s evening commute. A few inches of snow has led to utter chaos on roads throughout the Portland region.

Schoolkids trapped in buses until way past their bed times, multiple car pile-ups, dozens of cars just abandoned on the side of the road, people hitch-hiking or giving up on their cars and walking several miles to get home, standstill traffic on I-5 and Highway 26, five to seven hour commutes with people passing out survival snacks to strangers. You know those traffic maps news stations show every night? Almost every major highway was deep red until about 10:00 pm. Like a traffic blood bath.

My social media timelines were an amazing contrast — full of complete and utter misery for people inside motor vehicles, and then sheer joy and glee from people who were lucky enough to be on a bike.

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Snow day means biking bliss in Portland

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Snow Day 2016-7.jpg

Peninsula Park.
(Photo by James Rohl)

Portlanders woke up to the first real snowfall of the season this morning. The white powdery stuff was sticking to streets and beckoning us out into before most of us had finished our first cup of coffee.

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