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1984 Bike Tour: Day 14 — A salute from King Coal

Biking Bis - Sat, 05/26/2018 - 06:47

PIPPA PASSES, KY. -- Last night's fear and loathing about spending the foreseeable future dodging coal trucks turned out to be a waste of time.

Coal is king in these parts, but even the king gives a holiday to his subjects over the Memorial Day weekend. No coal trucks confronted us today. We could see them parked in gravel parking lots behind chainlink fences, their trailer beds tilted up so they wouldn't collect rainwater. It was as if they were saluting our passage.

Although the coal trucks were absent, the grinding terrain still had to be dealt with. As we broke camp in the morning, an old camper who knew the area said our route would be "rough as a cob." We didn't know how rough a cob was, but we soon found out. ...

Bike Happy: It’s the Last Week of Bike Month

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 15:00

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO
  1. A cougar killed SJ Brooks, co-founder of Friends on Bikes.
  2. The Seattle Times broke down how the 2nd and 7th Avenues protected bike lanes were expensive, but were more than just bike projects. And Seattle Bike Blog highlighted how “bike lanes are for cars.”
  3. On Wednesday, there’s a Womxn’s Bike Month Happy Hour.
  4. This is the last week of Bike Month. Get out there!

If your bike is ever stolen, you will need all the details (including photos), and a passionate community of people looking out for your bike.  That’s what Bike Index provides. Register your bike on Bike Index right now.

In Memoriam

An emaciated cougar attacked Isaac Sederbaum and killed SJ Brooks while they were biking forest roads northeast of North Bend. They had responded properly by trying to intimidate the animal; this was the first fatal cat attack in 94 years in the state.  SJ was well-known within Seattle’s bike community, having worked at G&O Family Cyclery; and co-founded Friends on Bikes, an organization dedicated to making bicycling more inclusive to women, trans, and non-binary people of color. SJ is missed by many.

SBBOutside MagGuardianSunSeattle TimesPI 1PI 2Bellingham HeraldKIRO7 1KIRO7 2KING5Q13,

SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • “Gender Disparities in Bicycling: Small Steps to Close a Big Gap,” Urbanist.
  • “What It Takes to Ride Up to Paradise on Mount Rainier,” Bicycling.
  • “Is biking a Catch-22 situation?” — article explores the public health benefits and costs of biking in poor air quality. Crosscut.
  • Rave to two people biking who stopped and assisted a fellow person who had crashed her bike on the Sammamish River Trail. Seattle Times.
  • Magnuson Cafe & Brewery is opening this summer next door to Cascade Bicycle Club’s headquarters this summer. WA Beer Blog.
  • “Dust off the bike and pedal into Spring,” Cascade.
  • “Vaccinate your bike,” SBB.
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​ NEWS
  • Seattle
    • “$12 million a mile: Here’s how bike-lane costs shot sky high in Seattle,” Seattle Times.
      • “Bike lanes are for cars,” SBB.
      • “SDOT Can’t Build As Many Bike Lanes As Promised,” Stranger.
      • “Seattle struggling to pay for bike lanes, as costs for ‘visionary’ project balloon to $12 million per mile: report,” Fox News.
      • Letter: “Bikes and taxes: An ‘F’ for SDOT,” Seattle Times.
      • “Bikes and taxes: Bicycle tax,” Seattle Times.
    • “Vote For Seattle’s Worst Intersection: 2018 (Round 1),” Urbanist.
    • “Leary Ave NW in Central Ballard Is A Little Safer,” Urbanist.
  • King County-wide
    • King County Executive Dow Constantine announced legislation to accelerate protection of 65,000 acres of open space and improvements to regional trails. King CountySeattle Times.
  • East & South King County
    • The Mercer Island City Council is considering its 2019-2023 Transportation Improvement Plan, which could fund a new city pedestrian-bicycle plan and a north-south bike route from the Town Center to the future light rail station. MI Reporter.
    • Letter: Don’t upgrade north segment of Green to Cedar Rivers Trail. Maple Valley Reporter.
  • Pierce County
    • The new Puyallup River Bridge that connects Fife to Tacoma will have bike lanes. MyNW.
  • Statewide
    • “Field Notes from the 2018 Washington Bike Summit,” Cascade.
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS ARTICLE SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Maintenance & Retail
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles

Bike Product Industry
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks

Bike Education & Training
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Counselor-in-Training (Seasonal), Cascade
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn

Commute Services & Other Outreach
Sounders FC Bike Valet Parking Manager & Assistants, Bike Works

Policy, Planning, & Engineering
East King County Policy Manager, Cascade
Designer – Level 1, Alta
Group Leaders – Senior Associates, Alta
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Multimodal Transportation Planning Specialist 3, WSDOT (5/24)
Multi-Modal Transportation Executive Leader, WSDOT (5/27)
Development Coordinator, SDOT (5/29)

Communications, Development, & Management
Contract Grant Writer, Bike Works
Development & Communications Coordinator, Bike Works
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Staff Accountant, Cascade

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New to biking? You’re doing great! Keep it up

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 12:09

Enjoy the ride.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

There are plenty of things that keep people from biking in Portland. Shaming them for “doing it wrong” is a terrible thing to do.

Unfortunately there’s a strong gatekeeper culture around cycling that can not only ruin the experience for new riders, it can be powerful enough to prevent fence-sitters from ever taking the plunge.

A story in the Portland Mercury issue on newsstands this week is a good illustration of this problem. “You’re Riding Your Bike Wrong: Great Job Biking! Now Maybe You Can Start Doing It Right!” reads the headline. Ironically the byline, The Portland Mercury Bicycle Gang, only furthers the cliquish vibe.

Thankfully our friends at the nonprofit Bikes for Humanity PDX penned a wonderful response. We’ve pasted it below with their permission:

25 Ways You’re Riding Your Bike “Right”

Too many folks are nervous about riding because they don’t want to do it “wrong.” The truth is, there are a million awesome ways to ride your bike. Here’s a very non-comprehensive list.

You’re doing something “right” if you’re:

1. Having fun

2. Getting where you need to go

3. Going at your own pace

4. Wearing whatever makes you comfortable

5. Paying attention to your surroundings

6. Aware of biking laws, or planning to learn soon

7. A first-time rider

8. Visiting the city

9. Respectful of pedestrians

10. An athlete

11. Riding with friends

12. A fair-weather rider

13. Exploring new neighborhoods

14. Carrying cargo or pulling a trailer

15. Riding an e-bike

16. A fixie hipster

17. Not sure how to fix a flat, but know who to ask (B4H maybe?)

18. A kid

19. Using your best judgment

20. Wearing a costume

21. Riding an unusual or adaptive bike

22. Considering the safety and comfort of others

23. A year-round commuter

24. Starting to get the hang of it

25. Not feeling comfortable but trying anyway

If you’re new to this… Keep on riding! You’re doing great! It gets better every day! If you have questions or need help with anything, just ask us or ask a friend. Or ask the person riding next to you. Chances are they’ll be happy to help.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Someone drove onto the sidewalk on PSU campus and seriously injured three women – UPDATED

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 11:12

The red x’s mark where victims were lying as they received medical attention.

Just as we feared back in November after a similar tragedy took place in lower Manhattan; the horror of vehicular violence has come to Portland.

About an hour ago someone appears to have intentionally steered their SUV up a curb on SW 6th Avenue just before Montgomery and hit at least three women. Portland Police say two of them are being treated at OHSU with life-threatening injuries and the other one has serious injuries that are not expected to be life-threatening. A fourth person is believed to have been injured but left the scene and so far PPB have not been able to contact them.

From media coverage we know that one of the victims was found right at the top of the ramp of the Portland State University Urban Plaza outside Cafe Yumm! and the Rec Center. Another victim was lying south of that near the transit stop outside the cafe.

The driver fled the scene and police are on the hunt (they typically don’t update media with cases like this because they don’t want to tip off the suspect who might be watching the news).

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Northbound on 6th approaching Montgomery.

A man who saw the collisions, said he believes the SUV driver “gunned it” prior to hitting the women. Other witnesses say the driver was going very fast. A speed of 35-40 mph has been reported.

I’m still not clear which direction the driver was coming from — northbound on 6th or eastbound on SW Montgomery. Based on witness photos seen here, the driver’s car was all the way up on the sidewalk in front of the Starbucks just south of Mill. That means it’s likely he mounted the curb near the plaza at Montgomery where the people were originally hit.

This is not a location where speeding or dangerous driving is very common. The streets are relatively narrow (6th has a bus/MAX-only lane), and the urban context is dense and lively with people biking and walking. The buildings around this plaza also happen to be home to PSU’s renowned transportation and urban planning programs. The PSU Bike Hub is just one block south of where the women were hit.

I can’t stop thinking about the fact that driving shouldn’t even be allowed in this area. When a new PSU building was recently built on the adjacent block of SW Montgomery, we hoped it would be carfree. And don’t even get me started about how we’re still allowed to drive private vehicles on the downtown “transit mall.”

As you watch and listen to local coverage, please help other reporters understand how important language and word choice is — especially when covering something like this. As many of you already know, this suspected crime was committed by a person, not an “SUV” or a “car”. It was not an “accident,” it was a collision. And the driver didn’t hit “pedestrians,” he hit people.

Given where this happened, I’ll be shocked if there isn’t high-quality surveillance footage. We’ll definitely be learning more in the coming hours and days. If you saw anything or have information, please contact PPB non-emergency at 503-823-3333.

We’ll let know about any major developments. For more coverage, check live update via The Oregonian.

UPDATE, 12:35 pm: The police have found and arrested the suspect at NE 16th and Glisan.

Arrest made at NE 16th and Glisan. Photo from live feed of KGW News.

UPDATE: Please note that I’ve made edits to this story as the police continue to make updates.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Jobs of the Week: Spin Events & Catering, Chris King Precision Components, Revolver Bikes

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 09:09

Looking for a new place to spread you cycling wings? We’ve got three great job opportunities that just went up this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Catering Company All-Rounder – Spin Events & Catering

–> Customer Sales Representative – Chris King Precision Components

–> Mechanic/Sales Person – Revolver Bikes

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

Be the first to know about new job opportunities by signing up for our daily Job Listings email or by following @BikePortland on Twitter.

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $75. Learn more at our Job Listings page.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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A Holiday Weekend

Bike Hugger - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 05:58

We’re off for the holiday weekend. Hope you are too and riding big miles.

 

The post A Holiday Weekend appeared first on Bike Hugger.

1984 Bike Tour: Day 13 – That’s the Breaks

Biking Bis - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 05:30

BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK, Va. -- There's nothing like a big ol' country-style breakfast to start the day -- if you plan to go right back to bed.

Bruce and I weren't napping, however. Rev. Chuck and his wife served us an extra helping of biscuits 'n' gravy, along with sausage, bacon and eggs this morning. He said we'd need that extra larder to get over "Big A" Mountain up the road. ...

What Seattle needs from the next SDOT Director + Take the mayor’s survey

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 15:25

As we work towards a future in Seattle where it is easier and safer for residents to get around on foot, by bike and via mass transit, we need your help.

Visit the online community survey to share your priorities for the next SDOT director. https://t.co/t5EwFRox6u

— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) May 21, 2018

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a national search for the next SDOT Director this week. Interim Director Goran Sparrman will serve in the role through the end of August.

The Mayor’s Office is collecting feedback through an online survey, saying that survey results will guide the candidate interview questions. It’s also a chance for you to think about what you want most from an SDOT Director.

The job could be a pretty tough sell because it might be nearly impossible. Buses are getting kicked out of the downtown transit tunnel next year, and current leadership seems to be bailing on bold plans to get downtown ready. So unless city and transit agency leaders get big plans in the works ASAP, the next director will be walking into a downtown transit crisis.

On top that that monster of a challenge, SDOT is in turmoil. Perhaps the simplest way to put it is that the Move Seattle levy has put more money and more responsibilities on the department than it was prepared to handle. Big projects are spinning out of control, and leadership is already preparing the public for disappointment as they try to walk back many promises to voters for bold walking, biking and transit improvements.

The way I see it, there are two strategies for a new leader to deal with this situation:

  1. Dramatically water down or cut promised projects, blaming previous leadership for the disappointment. The result would be worse traffic, slower buses stuck in that traffic and the same rate of serious injuries and deaths due to traffic collisions.
  2. Be bold and creative about how the department delivers projects to fulfill promises made to voters in 2015. Maybe the funds aren’t there to do full street rebuilds, but there are lower-cost ways to give buses priority, build bike lanes and improve crosswalks without significantly watering down their effectiveness.

Perhaps this sounds like a lot to put on one person’s shoulders. But the good news is that they have help. SDOT has some amazing people on staff who know how to do a lot with limited resources. The Safe Routes to School, Bicycle Program and Road Safety Corridor teams, for example, have done some amazing things with very limited budgets. They need a leader who will challenge them and trust them. Staffers doing bold work need to know the Director will have their backs. That’s how to boost morale and create great work.

It often seems like the higher the budget, the more disappointing the outcome is for SDOT projects (I’m looking at you, Mercer Street). A lo-fi revamping of Move Seattle could end up even better than the major capital project version.

Most importantly, the next SDOT Director needs to believe in the walking, biking and transit vision in the city’s many transportation plans already developed with public input and approved by City Council. Seattle has some of the best transportation plans in the nation. What we need is a leader who can deliver the vision outlined on those pages.

The key to making all this work is an SDOT leader the public can believe in so people trust the department when a bold change is proposed near their homes and workplaces. SDOT somehow spends too much time and money on public outreach while simultaneously failing to properly communicate the value of projects to nearby communities. The department’s next leader needs to know how to inspire.

What we don’t need is someone blinded by the car windshield perspective that dominates so many DOTs around the country. The size of the projects the candidate has managed is less important than the impact of those projects. Someone who has led amazing community-level projects would be better than someone who has overseen huge freeway projects.

So, uh, no pressure finding the absolute perfect person to take this nearly impossible job, Mayor Durkan!

Weekend Event Guide: Biketown-themed rides, displacement tour, Kidical Mass and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 13:51

One more day until the weekend magic starts.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

With Pedalpalooza kicking off next week it feels like this weekend is just the calm before the storm. Even so, we have a bunch of great ride ideas for you.

The Weekend Event Guide is sponsored by Abus Bike Locks. Thanks Abus!

Here are the BP picks for the weekend…

Friday,

Biketown Rack-a-thon Alley Cat – 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Fun rides that use Biketown bikes are a hot thing right now. Stoking the trend is our friend Hobotech with a new spin on the genre. The rules: Get as many Biketown credits as you can by returning stray bikes back to their docks in the allotted timeframe. More info here.

Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie Presents: The Evelyn Hamilton Story – 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Western Bikeworks (Northwest)
It’s bicycle storytime with legendary teller of tales Joe Kurmaskie. He’ll introduce you to famed but forgotten bike racer Evelyn Hamilton. Expect a trove of archived newsreels and photos with Joe’s trademark quips and comments thrown in. More info here.

Saturday, May 26th

Biking About Architecture: Portsmouth – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Darcy’s Restaurant & Bar (North)
Victorians, a toy house, lots of great parks and a cruise on the Peninsula Crossing Trail await you on this latest edition of Jenny Fosmire’s renowned residential architecture tours. More info here.

Shifting Gears: A bike ride through Portland’s history of community displacement – 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm at New Columbia (North)
Part of the Vanport Mosaic Festival (May 23-28) this ride will help you better understand the history of displacement and discrimination in north and northeast Portland. Ride is led by community organizer LaQuida Landford. Bikes available to borrow for free at the ride thanks to Biketown and the Community Cycling Center. More info here.

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Kidical Mass PDX Southwest – 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm at Gabriel Park (Southwest)
A rare chance to join a free group ride with families in southwest Portland. Expect a short, 3-mile loop that ends at a place for food and treats and a playground! More info here.

The Bike Share hour – 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Salmon Street Fountain (Central City)
Another new ride concept based on Biketown. Rules for this one are that you must use a bike share bike and you must be nice and enjoy yourself. Everyone welcome. More info here.

Zoobomb – 8:30 pm at the People’s Bicycle Library of Portland (a.k.a. “The pile”)
These long and warm nights are perfect for cruising down hills on small bikes (or any bike for that matter). Enjoy Washington Park in a new way and meet very nice people too. It’s a proud Portland tradition. More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Mayor Wheeler moves permanent Better Naito talks forward

Bike Portland - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 11:30

It’s time to talk about the future of Better Naito.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

“The Mayor wants one of these options to move forward [and] is interested in Option B.” — Michael Cox, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Communications for Mayor Ted Wheeler

Now in its fourth year as a seasonal street oasis for vulnerable road users, the talks about making Better Naito permanent are heating up.

This past winter, the Portland Bureau of Transportation commissioned a private consulting firm to develop a report (below) with conceptual designs for a capital project that would replace the temporary plastic delineator wands and paint striping that exist today on Naito Parkway’s northbound lanes from SW Main to NW Couch with a permanent, 20-foot wide path for bicycling, walking, and other uses.

This is the first time the report has been made public. We received a copy of it from Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Communications Michael Cox after hearing about from various sources. Here’s the report:

BetterNaito-180226-TM-Summary-Rev2 (1)

The report was completed by David Evans and Associates (DEA) in late February and it offers three options with detailed cost estimates for each one. The three options outline ways to fit a 20-foot wide path for walking/rolling (eight feet) and two-way biking (12 feet) along northbound Naito Parkway. The current configuration is 16-feet wide and uses space of the bike lane (five feet) and one standard vehicle lane (11-feet).

Cost estimates range from $3.4 million to $5.3 million.

Here are the options in more detail:

Option A places the cycle track and sidewalk behind the existing curb to minimize impacts to traffic on SW Naito Pkwy. This maintains both northbound auto lanes, but has the greatest impact on Waterfront Park. ($5.3 million)

Option B balances Options A and C by retaining 2 northbound auto lanes south of SW Morrison St, but removing 1 lane to the north. This balances the competing needs to maintain traffic and avoid impacts to Waterfront Park. ($3.9 million)

Option C removes 1 northbound auto lane and places the cycle track and sidewalk adjacent to the roadway to minimize impacts to Waterfront Park. This retains the maximum number of trees and park area, but does not address stakeholder concerns about queuing or travel time delays. ($3.4 million)

And here’s a comparison of costs and other elements:

The three options.
(Graphic: David Evans and Associates)

Inherent in all these options seems to be a reluctance to significantly impact driving. We see phrases like, “to minimize impacts to traffic,” “balances the competing needs to maintain traffic” and “stakeholder concerns about… travel time delays.” Also note the intention to maintain two standard vehicle lanes all the way to Morrison, a major connection to the I-5 freeway. Option A and B retain the two lanes that exist today.

It’s unclear where this concern for driving comes from given that feedback around Better Naito has been overwhelmingly positive. The city has heard opposition to the project from the Portland Business Alliance, whose spokesperson told The Oregonian on May 9th that, “We continue to be concerned about the impacts of Better Naito.” Michael Cox in the Mayor’s office told us the PBA wasn’t involved in developing these proposals. (See update below for new statement from PBA.)

Current cross-section of Naito.
(Graphic: David Evans and Associates, Tex: BikePortland)

The focus to “maintain traffic” on Naito is also interesting because PBOT themselves has pushed the narrative that Better Naito causes very minimal delays for drivers. Their analysis (detailed in the 2017 Better Naito report) shows that the reconfiguration of lanes results in about a 90-second increase in driving times during peak hours. The extra space for cycling and walking (a.k.a. traffic) also attracts more — and safer, healthier, cleaner, and more efficient — non-motorized trips. Last year PBOT counted more than 12,000 people walking on Better Naito in just one day during the Waterfront Blues Festival. During the five-month period it was installed in 2017, there were 393,173 one-way trips by people bicycling.

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“The position of Better Block is for PBOT to take the current seasonal configuration and make the minimal improvements needed to keep it up year-round, instead of spending millions on a full capital rebuild of Naito Parkway.”
— Better Block PDX

Related and also noteworthy is that each option currently on the table requires right-of-way acquisition from Waterfront Park — including tree removals. The options range from taking nearly an acre (42,000 feet) and 40 trees out of the park in Option A, to five tree removals and 1,000 square feet in Option C. This section of Naito is very wide at 73-feet from curb-to-curb. It’s not clear why none of the options solely uses the existing roadway. A “bike project” that takes any trees and/or space away from Waterfront Park could be a public relations catastrophe not just for Mayor Wheeler and PBOT, but for cycling in general.

I asked Michael Cox from Wheeler’s office about this potential for opposition to park impacts. “This question will obviously feature as part of our outreach strategy and we will listen to concerns raised,” he replied via email this morning. Asked why there wasn’t a “no parks impact” option in the report, Cox said, “We’re looking at all the options, and Option C is in some ways similar to the seasonal configuration. The strategy outlined in the report, based on our request, is how to make it permanent.”

If one of these proposals moves forward and the City prepares to cut into the park, they’d be smart to refer to the 2003 Waterfront Park Master Plan which envisioned, “a new sidewalk along Naito Parkway will be 6–8′ wide through the full length of the park.”

Cox says while the Mayor has signaled a desire to move forward, he hasn’t made any final decisions. “The Mayor wants one of these options to move forward [and] is interested in Option B; but has asked PBOT to do additional outreach work with the neighboring community and ensure the engineering is sound and the cost estimates are accurate or refined.”

Consultants hired by the City of Portland say proposals for Naito through Waterfront Park would be similar to what they’re currently building between SW Harrison and Jefferson.
(Image: PBOT video still)

Looming over this project (and giving it momentum) is the already planned and funded project currently moving forward on Naito Parkway directly to the south. That project will include a full road rebuild between SW Harrison and Jefferson (Hawthorne Bridge) that will come with a 20-foot wide physically separated path. In their report, David Evans and Associates said this facility, “will function similarly” to the options to replace Better Naito.

While that project to the south will require some removal of vegetation, it’s not Waterfront Park — an iconic and beloved piece of land that sits on a former highway.

When former Mayor Charlie Hales proposed the idea of a permanent Better Naito in 2016, he said, “What if we just took that east lane on Naito and went ahead and made it into a bikeway? We really don’t need all those lanes.”

Better Block PDX, the group that piloted Better Naito in 2015 and then handed it over to PBOT in 2017, does not think it’s necessary to impact Waterfront Park. In a statement provided to BikePortland in late March (before this report was available), the group said, “Because we have such limited funds and resources as a City and some areas of town face huge hurdles just having basic safe streets, the position of Better Block is for PBOT to take the current seasonal configuration and make the minimal improvements needed to keep it up year-round, instead of spending millions on a full capital rebuild of Naito Parkway.”

The City of Portland was not in contact with Better Block PDX during the development of the DEA report.

We confirmed this morning that Better Block reached out to the Mayor’s office and Cox said, “We will engage them on the issue.” As for the Portland Business Alliance (who haven’t responded to our request for comment), Cox said they were sent a copy of the report just this week.

If this issue heats up soon, Wheeler could find himself in a powerful position. Not only does Wheeler still control of all the bureaus (he takes them during budget talks and hasn’t doled them back out yet); but both Parks and Transportation are without directors at the moment. Parks Director Mike Abbaté and PBOT Director Leah Treat have both resigned in recent weeks.

The next step in Better Naito’s future is a public outreach process. As we reported earlier this month, PBOT sees the opportunity to update Naito through the Central City in Motion project. The first chance to weigh in on these three options for a permanent Better Naito will be on June 4th when the City launches an online open house for that project.

CORRECTION, 1:57 pm: PBOT analysis shows a 90-second increase in driving times during the Better Naito installation, not a reduction, as I initially wrote. That was a typo/mistake and I regret any confusion it might have caused.)

UPDATE, 5:50 pm: Sandra McDonough, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, has responded to our request for comment.

“The Alliance has long supported transportation solutions that ensure safe mobility for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the city. Naito Parkway is a location that must balance the needs of each of these modes; we are encouraged that the city has developed options to provide a permanent bike path in a portion of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. This option appears to best accommodate all modes, and ensure the needs of all transportation system users are met by minimizing vehicle congestion and providing a truly protected bike path that will complement the planned bike path south of the Hawthorne Bridge. This proposal has the potential to be a win-win solution, and we look forward to continuing to work with the city and other stakeholders on a permanent plan that provides safety, accessibility and mobility for those who walk, ride and drive.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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1984 Bike Tour: Day 12 – We meet the Rev at Elk Garden

Biking Bis - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 04:59

ELK GARDEN, VA. -- "Bikers. Take a Break. Good Cool Water. Welcome."

After climbing in and out Appalachian hollers all day and seeing a sign like that, we didn't need to be told twice to stop for a while. That's where we met the Rev, another unforgettable person on our TransAmerica Tour. ...

A sneak peek at Portland’s new protected bike lane design guide

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 11:59

PBOT’s Roger Geller unveiled the new design guide last Thursday.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Portland has been talking about physically protected bike lanes for years. The problem is, we’ve mostly just been talking — and not building. And when we have built them, the designs have been inconsistent.

One of the (many) reasons for the slow implementation of protected bike lanes is that engineers, planners, and project managers at the Portland Bureau of Transportation haven’t been reading from the same book. In fact, they haven’t even had a book. Until now.

Last week PBOT’s bicycle program manager Roger Geller shared a sneak peek at a new manual that will soon be adopted as the official Portland Protected Bicycle Lane Design Guide.

“We’re going to start with a protected bike lane and you better have a really good reason why can’t do it.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT

“It provides much-needed clarity about what we can build and how it will fit on Portland streets,” Geller told an audience of several dozen (mostly planning students) at a “Lunch and Learn” event hosted by PBOT at Portland State University last Thursday. Geller said the guide came about in large part because outgoing PBOT Director Leah Treat issued an internal agency directive in 2015 that called on staff to make protected bike lanes the default whenever possible. “That directive kind of flipped things on its head for our agency,” Geller explained. In the past they would start from a standard, six-foot bike lane and work up toward protection. Now, Geller said, the approach is different: “We’re going to start with a protected bike lane and you better have a really good reason why can’t do it.”

Treat’s memo was just one part of the impetus for this guide. Geller also shared that it was born from a struggle by PBOT engineers to come up with designs. “Our first five protected bikeways were all different designs,” he explained. “We’d sit down and say, ‘What should we do?’ And Engineer A says, ‘I know, let’s do this.’ Then another street would come up, and we’d say, ‘What should we do for this one?’ And it would be a completely different design.” “The first five were all one-offs,” he continued. “At a certain point our engineers were begging for mercy, saying, ‘Give us some tools!’ The existing guidebooks weren’t sufficient.”

Some of Portland’s current protected bike lane designs.
(Click images for gallery and captions. ESC to return to post.)

The bulk of the guide lays out different street cross-sections and suggests seven basic designs. This is meant to help city staff determine what’s possible given nearly any street configuration they come across — from a 76-foot wide, two way road to a 44-foot one-way road. The final guide will include an online spreadsheet tool that will allow engineers and project managers to plug in a specific cross-section and receive design ideas that will fit.

Gallery of cross-section designs. Click to view, ESC to return to post.

Let’s say PBOT plans to redesign a 36-foot wide roadway like NW Thurman, which today has two vehicle lanes and two lanes used for parking cars. Project staff could turn to this new design guide and see how to layout the street with six-and-a-half foot bike lanes protected from motor vehicle traffic with a one-and-a-half foot buffer zone that could be filled with a cement curb or plastic delineator wands.

Those wands are all too familiar to many Portlanders. They are often damaged, driven over, and knocked down by drivers. So much so they’ve tarnished the name of protected bike lanes. Geller fells our pain. He acknowledged on Thursday that the wands aren’t working as well as he’d hoped. “If you would ask me a year ago what Portland was going to look like with protected bikeways, I would have said we were going to become a city of delineator-post protected bikeways,” he said. “But based on the experience we’ve had with them, I think we’re going to have a more nuanced approach.” Citing exorbitant maintenance costs, Geller said PBOT is still learning what type of locations they work well in, and where other options might work better.

Another maintenance issue is whether or not sweepers can access protected bike lanes. The guide includes “sweeping access width” measurements for all the designs so maintenance staff will know which sweeper is needed for the job.

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Where designs beyond plastic posts make sense, this new guide will help PBOT determine what to use. It includes guidance on other materials that can be used for protection: traffic separators (curbs), concrete islands, planters, or parked cars.

The different ways to provide protection.
(Click images for gallery. ESC to return to post.)

Of course these other options are more expensive than delineator posts, and therein lies the rub. Geller said traffic separator curbs are four times the costs of the posts, “Which can be a stretch for us.”

If money was no object, this is what PBOT would build.

Western Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts is an example of PBOT’s preferred design.
(Photo: PBOT/Roger Geller)

For projects with a larger budget, the guide also lays out PBOT’s preferred design: a bikeway separated from other traffic and elevated to the same level as the sidewalk. Geller said that design — which requires 21-feet of width to fit an eight-foot sidewalk, seven-foot bike lane and six-feet of buffer space — is preferred because of its flexibility and the sense of protection it provides.

While there aren’t many opportunities for PBOT to build their dream design (the guide focuses primarily on retrofits, not new construction), Geller said they’ve also done a mapping process to identify roads with potential for protected bike lane treatments. He said, “We’ve got about 450 miles of roadways we’re identifying for these kind of treatments.”

As for how much these retrofits would cost, it depends on the design. On the low-end, PBOT estimates a basic, parking protected bike lane on a one-way road would cost $70,000 per mile. On the high-end, if they were to convert a road with five standard vehicle lanes to three and add protected bike lanes separated by a concrete island it would cost them $2.8 million per mile.

City map showing streets by curb-to-curb width.


One thing you won’t find in the guide is the issue of how to address intersections. Geller said that’s because those solutions are constantly evolving. As PBOT continues to do their own research and analysis, they rely on existing manuals from other agencies and organizations that have already established best practices.

When it came time to answer questions from the audience, several people (including myself) wanted to know if having this guide in hand would lead to faster implementation. “I think this will facilitate faster implementation,” Geller said. With PBOT engineers now working from a standard set of drawings, it will be easier for them to decide what to do. But the limiting factor isn’t engineering, it’s money. “The thing that will hasten them is funding,” Geller added (and then pointed out how PBOT already has money for miles of protected bike lanes on deck for the Central City in Motion project and projects coming on North Rosa Parks, Denver, Greeley and elsewhere).

Also worth noting is that many streets that already have painted buffers will now be even stronger candidates for some sort of physical protection.

Overall, having this guide should significantly improve Portland’s ability to install protected bike lanes. While it gives PBOT a helpful tool, Geller said he hopes we, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

“We recognize we’re going to fail at times,” he said. “We’re not always going to be able to get our ideal design; but at least we know what we’re striving to achieve.”



The new guide is expected to be adopted by City Council by the end of June. I’ll post a public version once it’s released.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Bike lanes are for cars

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 11:03

The opening of the 2nd Ave bike lane.

People do not need bike lanes to ride a bike. People driving cars need bikes lanes to protect them from intimidating or harming people on bikes.

The laws in Washington State are clear. Bikes are vehicles, so people are legally allowed to bike on any street or highway that is not a limited access freeway (I-5, I-90, SR 520, the Viaduct, the Battery Street Tunnel, the upper West Seattle Bridge). You can go out and bike down the busiest street in your neighborhood or downtown or wherever you want at whatever speed you feel comfortable going, and the law says you are doing the right thing.

Let’s wave a magic wand and change people’s driving habits so they fully respect the rules of the road and always pay perfect attention. In this world, even an eight-year-old kid can bike to school going eight miles per hour down 4th Ave or Rainier Ave or 1st Ave S or 35th Ave NE, and every person driving would slow down and patiently wait for opportunities to pass her safely. She wouldn’t be afraid to bike because everyone follows the rules so perfectly. And she wouldn’t need bike lanes. This is a wonderful “vehicular cycling” utopia. Unfortunately, it is fantasy.

In real life, you’ll likely be in for a stressful ride on these busy city streets. People might blare their horns at you. Some may even make a close pass to “teach you a lesson.” Others may pass closely or narrowly avoid hitting you because they are simply not paying attention or for whatever reason don’t feel they need to slow down and wait for an opportunity to pass safely. All these intimidating or dangerous actions are illegal, but the odds the person behaving this way will get a ticket are extremely low. Just because you have a right to bike there doesn’t mean people in bigger, more deadly vehicles will respect that right. For some reason, even otherwise friendly and loving people are capable of treating fellow human beings with such ugliness once they are behind the wheel of a car.

As you might expect, biking in these conditions does not appeal to very many people. In places where biking to get around requires you to bike on such streets, biking rates are very low.

This is where bike lanes come in. From one perspective, a bike lane designates space on a road for people to bike. From another perspective, a bike lane is just enforcing the rights of people biking to safely get wherever they are going without fear that someone driving a car will infringe on those rights. From yet another perspective, bike lanes are necessary mitigation for a destructive and dominating car culture that has overrun our public streets thanks to a century of unbalanced investments to prioritize car supremacy.

If there were no cars, we wouldn’t need bike lanes. Therefore, bike lanes are for cars.

Click here for the interactive version.

But bike lanes are also for cars in an even more direct way. Collision data shows that streets that have bike lanes have fewer and less serious car crashes. People in cars are the primary beneficiaries of safety improvements when bike lanes are added to a street. A person’s odds of living a full healthy life improve every time the city builds another bike lane, even if that person never rides a bike. Because any change to a street’s design affects all the users of that street.

When there is too much space on a street for cars (too many lanes or lanes that are too wide, for example), chaos fills the voids. Making a left turn across two lanes is vastly more dangerous and unpredictable than turning across one lane, for example. And the faster people are driving, the more likely someone will be killed or seriously injured when the unsteady balance of traffic fails and kinetically-charged steel collides with flesh. Car collisions are a leading cause of death in the U.S., especially for children and young people.

But a bike lane is not enough. Just because a stripe of paint has designated a space of the street for biking does not stop some people in cars from parking there or driving in that space to pass other cars. Again, these behaviors are illegal, but the odds of a ticket are very low. Barriers are needed to protect those bike lanes from infringement and keep people driving in the appropriate lane. So, just as bike lanes are for cars, so are the curbs, planter boxes and plastic posts needed to keep bike lanes car-free.

But a protected bike lane is not enough, either. Because when someone biking in a bike lane and someone in a car turning across that bike lane reach an intersection at the same time, the person driving is supposed to yield. But as we know, people driving often do not. So we need traffic signals or other significant intersection changes to prevent people from illegally turning across a bike lane. Those traffic signals with pictures of little bikes on them? Yeah, those are also for cars.

I say all this because there’s this strange conversation going on in the press and at City Hall about the cost of downtown bike lanes. Mike Lindblom at the Seattle Times wrote a very good story about how the 2nd and 7th Ave bike lane projects ballooned in cost to something like $12 million a mile, a huge sum that SDOT leadership is citing as a reason the bike lane promises made to Move Seattle voters are in jeopardy.

But Lindblom’s reporting shows that a big percentage of the project costs have little to do with bike mobility or safety. The 2nd Ave project, for example, added new traffic signals to three Belltown intersections at great cost. These signals are for everyone, not just people biking. That’s why SDOT called the project the “2nd Ave Mobility Improvements Project,” not the “2nd Ave Bike Lane Project.”

But this is just an extreme example of investments made in the name of biking that really help every road user. It’s pretty absurd to have different pools of money for specific modes of transportation, since most investments in city streets are inherently multimodal. But that is how the Move Seattle levy was written. So we have to ask to what extent the pool of money for bike lanes should be charged for new street lights, new traffic signals that mostly help people driving cars or segments of bike lane that were raised to sidewalk level to help a hotel valet zone. If it is multimodal in action, shouldn’t it be multimodal in funding?

Vision Zero is supposed to be a core principle for all of SDOT’s work, not just a side project with a limited budget. Every SDOT investment should put eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries as the primary goal. If bike lanes are the most cost-efficient way to achieve that goal, then bike lanes shouldn’t be limited only to one separate pool of funds.

The troubling conclusion of this story that bike lanes cost $12 million a mile is that it becomes a reason to build fewer bike lanes. The more stuff SDOT can bill to the bike budget, the fewer bike lanes they will need to build for the duration of the levy.

But that eight-year-old biking to school doesn’t care which SDOT funding pool paid for which parts of the street. She just wants to have fun getting to school safely on a bike. Our city’s leaders can either sit around and argue about internal budgeting or they can get to work creating a safer and more comfortable city for the people. It is far too early in the life of this levy to admit failure and give up.

Seattle needs to figure out how to deliver the safe and connected bike network it promised to voters. Obviously, a big part of the solution is to get costs under control. Another part of the solution is to stop putting projects into modal silos and start acting multimodal. Because bike lanes are for bike mobility and local businesses and walking safety and transit access and freight mobility and parks and schools and public health. But mostly, bike lanes are for cars.

Looking for a summer bike camp? Check out these seven local options

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 09:47

Get those kids out of your hands and into the city – on bikes!
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Summer in Portland means it’s time to make sure the young people in our lives get as much exposure to bicycling as possible.

It’s also a time when school is out and working adults need a place to plop the little ones while they work. That’s where bike camps come in! Since this is Portland, we have a bunch of great options.

Here are the details on seven local bike camps we’ve heard about…

Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition

Details:

(Photo: WashCo BTC)

Website
Ages 9-11
5-days, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday – Friday
Cost: $295 per camper

Dates and locations:
— Week of July 9th – Forest Grove
— Week of July 16th – Hillsboro
— Week of July 23rd – Tigard
— Week of July 30th – Beaverton
— Week of August 6th – Hillsboro

Blurb:

WashCo BTC is proud to present its fourth year of Bike Adventure Summer Camps as a way of giving children the gifts of freedom, empowerment and adventure, (much like when you rode your bike for the first time) but with an emphasis on fun and safety skills that will last a lifetime… At this fun and informative week long day camp your child will enjoy the outdoors with new friends while learning about the joys and safe riding practices under the instruction of two trained instructors who are experienced cyclists themselves… The campers can enjoy lunch in a park, map out a route to eat ice cream on a hot day, feed ducks at a local pond, explore new trails, stop for a game of frisbee, all while making new friends.

Bike First!

Details:

(Photo: NW Down Syndrome Association)

Website
Ages 8 and up
3 or 5 days
Cost: $150 – $250

Dates and locations:
— June 18th to 22nd at Concordia University Gym (northeast Portland)

Blurb:

Riders blossom and beam with pride over their new-found skill, volunteers cheer, and parents tear up to see their child take flight, alone, for the first time. Bike First! is open to children 8 years and up; meaning there is no cap on the end age! People who experience a variety of disabilities have had success at the clinics—some of these conditions include Down syndrome, mild to moderate autism, mild cerebral palsy, visual impairments, extreme fear of falling, fine motor skills, and other developmental delays.

Typically-developing children learn to ride a bicycle with help from their family and friends. Unfortunately, most individuals with disabilities who try this route are unsuccessful…The BikeFirst! program works with children, youths, and adults who experience difficulty getting past training wheels and onto conventional two-wheelers.

The Lumberyard Shred Academy

Details:

(Photo: The Lumberyard)

Website
Ages 6 – 14
One week sessions from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Cost: $395 for each week of camp

Dates and locations:
— Starts every Monday from June 18th through August 27th at The Lumberyard (2700 NE 82nd Ave)

Blurb:

Our Summer Bike Camps Offer: Indoor and Outdoor riding with over 70,000 square feet of space; Exclusive kid friendly curriculum created by our expert teachers; Experienced instructors; Skills taught transfer to any style of biking and skill level; Bike parking available for campers; Bike rentals available for campers; Snacks provided by CLIF Kid for every day of camp; Ride free for the rest of the day after camp with parent or guardian supervision.”

Sprockettes

Details:

(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Website
All ages
Two days (weekend)
Cost: Suggested Donation of $60 per child or $30 for two or more kids (No child will be turned away)

Dates and locations:
— Saturday, June 9th 10:30 am to 4:00 pm at Irving Park (northeast Portland)
— Sunday, June 10th 10:30 am to 4:00 pm at Peninsula Park (north Portland)
* Big performance Sunday 4:00 pm at the water fountain

Blurb:

The Sprockettes are Portland’s premier mini-bike dance troupe. 2018 marks our 7th Semi-Annual summer camp for girls. Our summer camp is a two-day celebration of bicycles during which your little ladies will explore their creativity and strength through group dancing, acro-balance, bike tricks, DIY decor and more!

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--> Pedalheads

Details:

(Photo: Pedalheads)

Website
Ages 3 to 10
One-week sessions with half and full-day options – 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Cost: $219 – $409

Dates and locations:
– 11 sessions starting Monda June 18th to August 27th at Holy Redeemer Catholic School & Church in north.
– Six sessions starting Monday June 11th to August 27th at Reedwood Friends Church in southeast.
– 12 sessions starting June 11th to August 27th at West Hills Christian School in Hillsdale.
– Seven sessions starting June 25th to August 20th at Holy Family School in Eastmoreland.
* View schedule here.

Blurb:

Atlantis Programs Inc. provides innovative and effective programs that are safe, fun and challenging. Our delivery of camps and lessons that promote kids’ health and development has earned us a reputation of excellence in the communities that we serve. During the last 30 years we have taught over 200,000 children to bike, swim and develop physical skills, using our own teaching methods combined with small classes and exceptional instructors. Our comprehensive programs open up a world of opportunities for a lifetime of cycling, swimming and physical activities.

Community Cycling Center

Details:

(Photo: Community Cycling Center)

Website
Grades 1st to 8th
21, one-week sessions
Cost: $360 – $400

Dates and locations:
— Camps start June 13th and run through August 20th at the CCC on NE Alberta and 17th.

Blurb:

Bike Camp brings kids in grades 1-8 together for a summer of bike adventures, learning, and friendship. Campers learn how to ride safely and maintain their bikes in a supportive, hands-on environment. At Bike Camp, kids build confidence, skills, and a life-long love of biking.

Alpenrose Velodrome Junior Track Camp

Details:

(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Website
Open to any junior racer with an OBRA license
Three days (Thursday – Saturday)
Cost: $175 (includes bike rentals, race fees, and more)

Dates and locations:
— June 28th to 30th at various locations including a sleepover at the velodrome and riding at The Lumberyard

Blurb:

This trip will challenge you as a cyclist and open your eyes to new riding types you may not have done before. You’ll learn from some great coaches and ride with other kids from OR and WA teams. You’ll get a chance to step outside your comfort zones and push yourselves physically and mentally through a series of awesome adventures. Lots of off-the-bike time with other juniors to socialize and have fun

If you know of a great local bike camp, let us know in the comments and we’ll consider adding it to the list.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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1984 Bike Tour: Day 11 – Fellow travelers, different paths

Biking Bis - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 05:37

GRINDSTONE CAMPGROUND, VA. -- We hit it all today -- headwinds, rain, steep hills, illness and an opposite direction bicycle tourist (he had a nice tailwind) who told us how great things were. That last was the hardest to take.

We broke camp at the Elizabeth Brown Memorial Park, packed our damp gear, and headed to the laundromat in town. I tried to fix my front derailleur while my shoes dried, broke the nut, cursed and threw things, then walked around town until I found an auto parts store where a guy replaced it for free.

Back on rolling Route 11 again, we came across a guy who was wrapping up his cross-country trip from San Francisco...

Ben Weaver Rides the Great Divide

Bike Hugger - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 15:22

Ben Weaver, that guy that rides his bike and plays music along the way is back at it. And, this time riding the Great Divide.

Whether you’re a full-blown adventure junkie or “more of a music person,” I expect you’ll enjoy Ben weekly journal as he rides and shares his music and poetry with the communities along the way.

Ben and Keenan, the filmmaker, deserve credit for the different take on an edit and I’m pleased to see it and wish them well.

 

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Two injury right-hook collisions in two weeks at NW Broadway and Hoyt

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 14:42

Nine days apart: Same intersection, same trucking company, same type of collision, same result, same problem we’ve known about for over a decade.
(Photos via @SmplicityCycles via Twitter)

It’s disheartening to start writing a post about the need for changes at a dangerous intersection only to recall that I already wrote the story. Nearly five years ago.

Another right-hook at Broadway and Hoyt: What can we do about this intersection?,” screamed the headline in our October 2013 post.

And here we are today with the same concerns, the same problems and the same intersection.

“The cop who wrote the report said I was the 4th accident at that intersection past month.”
— Michael Rosenberg

In the past two weeks we have confirmed at least two serious injury right-hooks at Broadway and Hoyt. On May 9th, Michael Rosenberg was involved in a collision at Hoyt while biking down Broadway. He shared with us via email that, “A truck turned right in front of me.” Rosenberg also claims he tried to stop but skidded under the driver’s rear-wheel. He broke his pelvis in three places, fractured seven ribs, and fractured his spine. “The cop who wrote the report said I was the 4th accident at that intersection past month,” he added.

Then this past Friday May 18th, another person was involved in a right-hook collision with a truck operator at the exact same location. The victim in that crash suffered a broken collarbone and is on the mend.

Another similarity in these collisions is that the truck operator worked for the same company: Vancouver, Washington-based Dill’s Star Route Inc. That company is a (somewhat controversial) private contractor for the U.S. Postal Service, which runs a post office and mail distribution hub on the adjacent block. You can see another one of their trucks turning right on Hoyt in this short video I made this morning:

As we’ve chronicled too many times in the past, there are many reasons why Broadway and Hoyt is one of the most dangerous intersections for cycling in Portland: It’s on a downhill and most bicycle riders approach it at very high speeds; Hoyt is an official and signed truck route that experiences a high volume of right turns by large trucks; there’s a high volume of bicycle riders that go straight; and there’s zero protection for bicycle riders on a green signal phase.

(Let’s remember that road design is not solely to blame here. If people operated their vehicles more slowly, carefully, and with more respect for other road users, it’s very likely that none of these collisions would have occurred. But until we change our current road culture, we must change the environment that informs it.)

The City of Portland knows very well the dangers that lurk here. In 2007, following the deaths of Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek via right-hooks by large truck operators, the Portland Bureau of Transportation included Broadway and Hoyt on their list of 14 intersections that would receive emergency funding and an innovative safety treatment: a bike box. It was intended to be filled with green color; but because bike boxes were still experimental at the time, the Federal Highway Administration required PBOT to keep it un-colored and to use it as a guinea pig in an experiment to see if color really influenced safety. In part because of that FHWA experiment, the bike box at Broadway and Hoyt remained uncolored.

Until May 9th.

The very first day the green paint went in, Michael Rosenberg was nearly killed in a collision. And nine days later, another person was hit under nearly identical circumstances. If nothing changes — or if we sit back and wait for the standard Portland pace of incremental changes — I’m afraid they won’t be the last.

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PBOT’s 2017 bike counts tallied 2,835 average daily bicycle trips at Hoyt and Broadway, making it the third busiest biking intersection in the central city. All that bike traffic helped persuade PBOT to change the street design in 2013 by adding wider, buffered bike lanes on Broadway in the block approaching Hoyt. These lanes allow people on bikes to easily pass each other and offer a greater sense of safety — both of which might actually increase biking speeds and the risks of right-hooks at the intersection.

Click for gallery and captions.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Reached today for comment on the intersection, PBOT public information officer Dylan Rivera confirmed that Broadway is the street with the highest crash rate for bicycles in all of Portland.

Yet even with that knowledge — and a demonstrated risk to the bicycling public since at least 2007 — nothing significant has been done to protect road users. Only paint and signs have been installed.

“The signage and striping at the intersection is now up to our current standards.”
— Dylan Rivera, PBOT

“As a high crash network street, we are constantly seeing what safety improvements we can make in the short term, as well as developing plans for larger scale improvements that would require more time to implement,” Rivera wrote via email. “We continue to monitor the situation to see what other improvements might be possible there, and how crash patterns may change in the coming months.” It wasn’t clear if Rivera was aware of the two collisions that have happened since the latest changes were made.

“Studies from across the nation indicate we can expect a 39 percent reduction in bike crashes after installing green paint as we did May 9 at this location,” Rivera continued. “The signage and striping at the intersection is now up to our current standards.”

Rivera then pointed me in the direction of two potential projects that might help this intersection. An online open house that launches June 4th for the Central City in Motion project will include an option for a protected bike lane on Broadway. And an unfunded project on PBOT’s Vision Zero Project List would, “Enhance the existing bikeway on Broadway from Hoyt to Clay,” and, “Includes the construction of a protected bikeway, signal improvements, short-term parking and loading zones, and shorter pedestrian crossings.”

It’s unclear what impact, if any, those projects (if they ever happen) would have on reducing the risk of right-hooks at Broadway and Hoyt.

But we can’t wait. Signs and paint are not enough.

Is it time to prohibit right turns here?

I’m not an engineer, but in the past when we’ve had lives at risk from repeated right-hooks and a demonstrated trend of collisions, we’ve done something more significant about it.

Click for gallery and captions.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

With support from the Portland Water Bureau (that prohibited its truck drivers from turning there) and in the face of strong opposition from a local business owner, former Mayor Sam Adams oversaw the prohibition of right turns from Broadway to Wheeler in 2012 and from Interstate to Greeley in 2009. Like Broadway and Hoyt, those right turns were on downhills and had a tragic history of right-hooks by truck operators. They remain closed to this day and everyone is safer because of it.

Absent something as bold as closing Hoyt completely to right-turning cars and trucks, perhaps we need a bike-only signal phase like we installed at Broadway and Williams in 2010? Or maybe it’s time to try one of those flashing signs that PBOT installed at Couch and Grand in 2011.

Something must be done. Broadway is the worst street for cycling in Portland. It’s also (arguably) the most important street for cycling in Portland. We must do more.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

 

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Sunday Parkways is perfect for families: Here’s how to get the most out of it

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:05

Just a few of the 25,900 people who attended Sunday’s event.
(Photos: Greg Raisman)

Sunday Parkways is one of the best Portland events for kids who like biking. It’s also great for kids who like playgrounds, bounce houses, food of any sort, dancing, art, music, etc. This week I’ll share a bit about Sunday’s first event of the season. And because there are four more to come, I’ll also share some tricks I’ve learned to get the most out of them.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Last weekend’s Southeast Portland Sunday Parkways was especially great for us as it was the first time my kids rode their own bikes at this event.

We attended last year’s “Sellwaukie” (Sellwood/Milwaukie) Sunday Parkways, but I carried both kids on my longtail cargo bike. And our very first Sunday Parkways was Southeast Portland Sunday Parkways 2016 with a bakfiets from the Clever Cycles rental fleet.

It’s liberating for kids and parents to let little ones loose on city streets without worrying about drivers.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

A family picnicking near us checked the time and exclaimed they had to pedal home “ASAP!”, before the roads opened back up to cars.

Carrying kids around Sunday Parkways (via cargo bike, tandem bike, trailer bike, trailer, bike seat, etc) and letting them loose to check out the activity hubs and anything else interesting along the route is a wonderful way to partake. And having such a large area protected from car traffic provides a unique opportunity for kids to get around by their own power. I believe Sunday Parkways is for everyone, but it can be particularly life-changing for little kids on bikes.

I first realized this two years ago when we were hanging out at Colonel Summers Park as the event wound down. A family picnicking near us checked the time and exclaimed they had to pedal home “ASAP!”, before the roads opened back up to cars. Sunday Parkways is a way for families who aren’t able to bike everywhere the way I do to experience the three-way-magic of biking for transportation, recreation, and fun when the streets near their houses are “open.” I’m lucky in that I get to see this regularly during Kidical Mass rides: when little kids get to bike in the street from point-A to point-B (rather than just in front of their houses), the way their faces light up is amazing and their smiles are infectious. They exemplify the way biking makes me feel, as I tried to convey in my recent post about exhaustion: “capable, strong, and free!”

So please, encourage your friends with small kids to join you for an upcoming Sunday Parkways. Here’s my advice on how to get the most out of them

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Plan your attack
There are so many interesting vendors and attractions that it’s easy to miss your favorites. We didn’t see everything on Sunday and I was kicking myself for not grabbing an official event brochure. Yes they have one of those (see it below)! It lists most of the main vendor and activities at each park. You can find it at the info booths or — if you’re really prepared — download it to your phone before you go via the event website.

Bring snacks
I fail you each time I write a post and don’t mention snacks. Bring snacks. We found food to purchase (on three occasions and it still wasn’t enough), but lines are long and vendors run out of food so make sure you have some sort of emergency snack along.

Bring/locate water
I said I was going to bring an extra water bottle with us, but I forgot. I also said I’d fill our water bottles at each stop, but I got distracted. Not all parks have drinking fountains (Ivon Park didn’t, but a booth had a big water dispenser) so in the future I’ll note what the water situation is ahead of time — either by checking out the park on my own (yes, hydrating is that important to me I’ll bike 10 miles ahead of time just to look for a drinking fountain!) or asking a friend in the neighborhood.

Some stuff ends early
The roads open to cars promptly at 4:00 pm so booths in the streets and parks often pack up before then. This was inconvenient as we were looking for food for the fourth time at twenty ’til. I’m glad we completed the loop and scored one of the last salmon hats, but it seems worth it to take a break in the middle of one of the bigger parks near the end to be far from the packing-up frenzy.

Riding towards home right at 4:00 is cool because you encounter a steady trickle of families biking away, all criss-crossing paths as they head in different directions from different parts of the loop. Some of the unofficial booths stay open past 4:00 to prolong the party — we saw some lemonade stands still going strong and paused at a huge karaoke party.

Here are some other highlights of our day, just to give you a sense of what’s out there…

Colonel Summers Park
Side-by-side parkour course and bounce house (the kids did both of these while I waited in line for food). The Audubon Society of Portland had a great-horned owl and turkey vulture. I wouldn’t have noticed these had we not been aimed at them in the restroom line! The Zumba was loud and festive. Watching three teens on stilts partake was amazing.

Ivon City Park had amazing putt putt golf! The bounce house was popular, too.

Putt putt golf at Ivon Park.

Laurelhurst Park, our last stop, had salmon hats. Don’t be afraid to ask people where they got their salmon hats or other cool swag. Once at the proper park we asked a salmon-hat wearer for detailed directions and made it just in time to get one.

Salmon hat with streamers!

Bonus stop: beignets! On the advice of friends we stopped at the kid-run beignet stand set up along the loop two years ago and knew to be on the lookout this year. $1 each or three for $2. Yum!

I want to close with a big thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who make Sunday Parkways possible. As we arrived to the loop we watched a person sneakily drive through a closed intersection that had no volunteer posted at it. Those Intersection Superheros are so important! Here’s where you sign up to volunteer.

And here are the remaining events:

North Portland Sunday Parkways
June 24, 2018 – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (8.8 miles)

Green Loop (Downtown & Inner SE) Sunday Parkways
July 22, 2018 – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (7 miles)

Outer Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways
August 19, 2018 – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (7 miles)

Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways
September 23, 2018 – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (8 miles)

Please share all your tricks and tips for having a successful Sunday Parkways experience, even if they’re not kid-specific! Thanks for reading. Feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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The post Sunday Parkways is perfect for families: Here’s how to get the most out of it appeared first on BikePortland.org.

1984 Bike Tour: Day 10 – Dickie Boyles, where are you?

Biking Bis - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 06:03

Today, our stupidity almost got the best of us.

After a late start, I had problems with my front derailleur and tried to fix it as a gas station. It was 10 a.m. before we got underway. We stopped for a bite at Newbern, where several log cabins appeared to be under restoration

We continued on along a road that had a beautiful sweeping vistas of wide green valleys backed by blue tinted mountain ridges (bottom photo).

This led us to the Draper Country Store, "18 and 90" it said above the door. Inside, a guy cut some longhorn cheese from a huge block he kept under glass. The old store had a pool table, a cast iron stove, some well-worn chairs, and lots of unusual items for sale...

Riding the Raging River

Bike Hugger - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 15:37

While everyone was thinking about it, some more freaked out than others, the cougar attack at Tokul Saturday didn’t dampen the festivities and spirts of those riding the Raging River.

17 miles of new trails opened and connected a lollipop-shaped loop for a total of 21 miles with 4K feet of climbing. The short version of the story is

I rode my MTB with the commissioner of public lands, then it rained real hard, and I was super nervous about cougars, after hearing the tragic news as we were shuttling up to the towers…

It was epic. When the thunder clapped and the skies opened for an hour-long downpour I didn’t hesitate along with the other riders because I know I’d never get to shuttle up the 7-mile climb again, so I went for it.

And, I’m glad I did.

Earlier with the sun shining brightly, dignitaries open the trailhead and unveiled a very nice and big sign. The first loop I rode was the green, a short climb then a flow decent. Then after getting dropped off at the towers, I took my time descending in the greasy conditions at one point skating when the clay-like mud caked up in the tires.

It was misty.Back at the park, I drank beer with attendees and enjoyed the grounds.

The big #ragingriver reveal with @waDNR @EvergreenMTB 17 miles of new trails. pic.twitter.com/joXZTzt2LF

— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) May 20, 2018

Raging River is the latest in an effort between the DNR, Evergreen, and various stakeholders to open up more forest land.

Waiting out another squall here for a bit before the descent.As I’ve been sharing in various posts, there’s a renaissance of mountain biking going on the Pacific Northwest. Miles of new trails are connected existing trails and eventually. they’ll comprise hundreds of miles intersecting with the Mountain to Sound Greenway.

My personal fav, Lake Ollalie, is approached from the Iron Horse, a jewel of rails to trails. What this all means is hours of riding for roadies or mountain bikers without ever seeing a car.

I asked Yvonne Krause, the Executive Director of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to explain the backstory of how we got here and she replied

The new and diverse 17 mile Raging River trail system is the result of an effective public/private partnership between Evergreen MTBA and WA Department of Natural Resources.

We successfully partnered to both fund and build phase 1 of these trails, now open to riders of all abilities and offering views, climbs, a backcountry experience, and thrilling descents.

Raging serves a fast growing need for mountain bike resources in the Puget Sound Region, and is already relieving pressure at crowded existing MTB trailheads.  DNR is innovating in bringing more recreation to our working forests and is filling a currently underserved recreation need for mountain bikers. Raging offers economic benefits for the communities of Snoqualmie, North Bend and Issaquah, and fosters close to home recreation and healthy lifestyle choices for residents of many Puget Sound communities.

Evergreen, DNR, and everyone else couldn’t be more ecstatic with how this trail system turned out, and can’t wait to deliver the next phase to their membership.

After riding it, I’m ecstatic too, and encourage you to try it.

To get there, take I-90 to exit 27. Then make a right if arriving from the East or left from the West. Park or continue to the parking lot (1/4 mile) up the road in the Snoqualmie Point State Park.

The climb is about 45 miles and 95% on singletrack.

Since I wrote this story, a fund has been set up for the survivor of the cougar attack.

The post Riding the Raging River appeared first on Bike Hugger.

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