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Updated: 7 weeks 2 days ago

Friday opinion: Tough love on a tough subject

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:18

Charles Brown speaking at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit held at the Oregon Zoo last week.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“How can you call yourself a bike-friendly town if you have people of color who are afraid to leave their house? How do you even accept these awards? It’s a moral question.”

Those comments are why Charles Brown (@CTBrown1911) is a name that won’t soon be forgotten by the hundreds of people in attendance at his keynote speech during the Oregon Active Transportation Conference last week.

Brown, a researcher and transportation justice activist, delivered some very real talk to the policymakers, advocates, and agency staffers in the room — several of whom audibly gasped when he questioned our bike-friendly status viewed through a lens of racial justice.

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Slide from Brown’s presentation.

Brown’s presentation — which was equal parts funny, endearing, and searing — touched on many facets of how racial discrimination and mobility are linked. His comments had even more resonance in a place with as many white people as Portland where race-related missteps are still too common.

The comments came during a Q & A session when someone asked about a slide in Brown’s presentation that read, “Transportation has been weaponized as a tool of oppression.” A woman in the crowd (who was white) asked if the “weaponization” was assumed to come with malintent.

Many people at the summit were moved by Brown’s speech, especially this group of high school students who mobbed him afterward.

“Yes,” Brown answered without hesitation. “Because history shows it was intentional.” 

It’s a history that is all too present for some. Brown’s provocative comments about our “bike-friendly” reputation were inspired by an experience he had during a focus group session in Portland. He said he met a black muslim woman who said the only way she’d ride a bike in Portland is if, “Someone put a gun to my head.”

Brown said he was taken aback. “I have no training on how respond to something like that,” he said.

Brown’s keynote was just one of many threads throughout the summit that wove between transportation and racial justice. It’s a credit to event organizers at The Street Trust that many of the breakout sessions featured topics and conversations that put equity, inclusion, and race front-and-center.

We talk about these things a lot in Portland. I think it takes someone like Charles Brown for us to actually hear it.

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

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Oregon’s ‘Idaho Stop’ bill faces headwinds in Senate

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 06:20

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Senate Bill 998 — affectionately known as the Idaho Stop bill because it would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs (and flashing red signals) as yields — is floundering.

Even though it sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 9th, the bill has stalled out and is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. Asked for a status update on the bill, its chief sponsor, Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) said, “A preliminary assessment shows that I do not have the necessary votes with in the caucus to move it to the floor.”

It’s not surprising that a healthy number of Oregon’s 30 Senators don’t initially support the bill. We know how existing biases influence how people perceive cycling-related legislation and it’s often mis-framed as a law that would unleash chaos and anarchy from “those bicyclists”.

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The good news is the Sen. Prozanski hasn’t had the chance to present the bill to the entire caucus yet. When he presented the bill in Judiciary Committee (which he chairs), the discussion was very calm and reasonable and it passed 6-1. Prozanski says he’ll present the bill to the full Senate this week with the hope of finding enough support to get it to the floor.

The Senator has help from The Street Trust. While it wasn’t on their agenda (because it emerged so late), Executive Director Jillian Detweiler says her organization fully supports Idaho Stop.

Detweiler and Street Trust Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal did the rounds of House and Senate offices last week to lobby on behalf of House Bill 2682 (which would clarify the definition of bike lanes in intersections), but found the conversations often turned to SB 998. “As we worked our bill, we told people that while HB 2682 is not the Idaho stop, we support the Idaho stop,” Detweiler told us via email yesterday. She also said she met with Sen. Prozanski’s staff and offered to help.

Let’s hope that Oregon gets this right. Hopefully, the third time’s a charm.

As for HB 2682, it continues to progress. It already passed the House and is slated for a vote in the Senate on Monday (5/6).

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

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Jobs of the Week: LifeCycle Adventures, Pedal Bike Tours, the CCC, Go By Bike, Clever Cycles, Everybody’s Bike Rentals

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 06:15

When the warm sun comes out in Portland, everyone grabs their bikes. That means local shops and bike businesses spring to life and need help handling the onslaught of customers. If you’re looking for a job, you’re in luck.

Check out the latest opportunities below…

–> Part-Time Bicycle Tour Guide – LifeCycle Adventures

–> Part time bike valet attendant – Go By Bike

–> Bicycle Mechanic – Community Cycling Center

–> Seasonal Retail Specialist – Community Cycling Center

–> Seasonal Retail Sales & Customer Service – Clever Cycles

–> Mechanic – Clever Cycles

–> Bike Mechanic / Tour Guides – Everybody’s Bike Rentals & Tours

–> Shop Operations Manager – Pedal Bike Tours

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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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Parks bureau paves section of Springwater despite ‘clearcut’ concerns

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 11:08

New path without old trees.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Edith Mirante commutes by bike on the Springwater Corridor path right outside the door of her Sellwood neighborhood home. Since she moved there in 2007, the path between Southeast 9th and 11th existed as a goat trail of rocks and dirt alongside rarely used railroad tracks. When Portland Parks & Recreation announced plans to pave the path back in January, Mirante never expected to be the loudest voice in opposition.

(Before/after of the new path near SE 9th using images from Streetview and Edith Mirante)

Mirante, an author and activist, spoke up for the “urban woodland” of mature apple, cherry, walnut, and hemlock trees that dominate her lot*. Or I should say, used to dominate her lot. (*Update, 2:18 pm: None of the trees removed were on Mirante’s lot. They were on Parks and/or Metro-owned right-of-way). That’s because Parks’ paving plans required them to remove the trees to make way for the 16-foot wide path that, despite not being officially open, is already being used by walkers and rollers of all types.

Removal in progress. Note the “Save Me” sign tucked in his hardat.
(Photo: Edith Mirante)

Mirante did all she could to prevent what she calls a “clearcut.” She put up “Save Me” signs in the branches and got an op-ed published in The Oregonian on March 17th. Mirante wanted a retaining wall built and suggested narrowing the path to 10 feet to save the trees. But her suggestions were not heeded by the Parks bureau.

Parks project manager George Lozovoy told Mirante and other neighbors at pre-project meetings that the trees and/or a narrower path would present a crash hazard. Parks Community Engagement Coordinator Ken Rumbaugh told Mirante in a March 6th email that, “We strive to preserve trees in all projects whenever possible, and if they must be removed – as in this instance – we mitigate their loss by planting new ones using the high standards set by Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry.”

On March 20th, three days after her op-ed came out, Mirante awoke to tractors and workers in hardhats. They were cutting branches and pulling the old trees out by their roots. One of them had even grabbed the “Save Me” sign and wore it under his hat as he hacked at the old apple tree. Mirante took notice in a series of live tweets.

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“They just ripped the branches off the maple to cut it. And now the hemlock (native species) is being cut down,” she wrote. “Crew member for @PDXParksandRec* just approached me on my property with piece of wood from the apple tree and said as a joke “These make great picture frames.” They have now cut the apple tree.” (*Note: This was a private contractor, not a City employee.)

By April 18th, the trees were gone and a 16-foot wide paved path was all laid out. I snapped the photos below last weekend…

Asked to respond to Mirante’s concerns, Parks’ Rumbaugh said the City had, “No alternative but to remove the trees.” Among the reasons was that the project scope wouldn’t fund a retaining wall, the width was needed for expected path user volumes, and many of the trees were under power lines. “Additionally,” Rumbaugh wrote in an email to BikePortland, “Most of the trees which had to be removed were not native and those species have shown themselves to be a problem when growing adjacent to natural areas – they tend to spread uncontrollably and outcompete our region’s native species.”

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Removing trees is not a decision PP&R makes lightly,” he continued. “PP&R evaluated many alternatives to try and keep the trees, but the site conditions – such as soil and slope – along with state and federal regulations (like the Americans with Disabilities Act) inform our needed actions. As the Sellwood area has developed, the need for the highly-anticipated Springwater Trail extension has become more and more important to keep cyclists and people on foot safe as they commute and during recreation.”

In total, Rumbaugh said they removed about 38 trees (“many already in poor condition, at the end of their life cycles, or located underneath power lines,” he added). He also pointed out there are still 54 trees along the new segment of path and PP&R will plant 37 new, native trees nearby to mitigate the loss. They’ll also pay into the City of Portland’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund.

Once the landscaping and fence between the path and the railroad tracks are installed and the new path officially opens in July, you won’t see the old trees; but you might see Mirante’s new ones. She and her neighbors have planted six so far.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Coast Gravel Epic, Sugar’s 10th Birthday, CZ adventure, and more

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 08:45

From the coast to the Crown-Zellerbach, springtime sun beckons.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’ve got a great slate of rides and event suggestions this week. Hope you have time to partake in some of the action.

I’ll be headed to the coast on Friday for a stop to see the first section of the Salmonberry Trail in Tillamook on Friday, then on to Waldport to compete in the Coast Gravel Epic. It’s the first event in the Oregon Triple Crown and my goal this year is to do well at all three (the next events are in Oakridge and Cottage Grove). Hope to meet some BikePortland readers out there — including reader Josh E. who scored a free entry to the Coast Gravel Epic for responding to our story this week!

Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy the ride(s)…

Friday, May 3rd

Oregon Scenic Bikeways 10th Anniversary Celebration – 10:00 to 2:00 pm at State Capitol Gallery (Salem)
Have a slice of cake, grab the new bikeways map, and bask in the birthday of this fantastic State of Oregon program. More info here.

Fessenden Safety Crisis Memorial and March – 4:30 to 6:00 pm at N Charleston and Fessenden (N)
Concerned neighbors will highlight the unacceptable level of traffic violence on Fessenden Street and urge the City of Portland to finish long-promised safety updates. More info here.

Saturday, May 4th

BP PICK!!! Oregon Coast Gravel Epic – All day in Waldport
The course is marked, the party prep has started and it’s time to kick off the 2019 Oregon Triple Crown. The Coast Gravel Epic offers two challenging routes that are a tantalizing concoction of paved and unpaved backroads. I did this last year and will be there again. Come join me! More info here.

Trail Stewards Converge at Stub Stewart – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Stub Stewart State Park
Portland Design Works and NW Trail Alliance have teamed up for what is sure to be a fun and fulfilling day of trail work. More info here.

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Montinore Road Race – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Montinore Estate Vineyard (Forest Grove)
A multi-lap circuit race that’s popular for the Plumlee Road climb and the stunning scenery. And it’s based at a winery. Do it! More info here.

Sugar Wheel Works 10th Anniversary Party – 2:00 to 6:00 pm at Breadwinner Cycles (N)
Roll over the Breadwinner HQ on Williams Avenue for the all-ages, family-friendly lovefest for Sugar Wheel Works — a Portland-born company that turns 10 this year! Shop tours, prize raffle, free beer and cider, and lots of great people. More info here.

Sunday, May 5th

CCC Salvage Sunday – 12:00 to 2:00 pm at Community Cycling Center (NE)
Need used bike parts for a build project, an artistic masterpiece, or just some garden art? Come and see what you find and pay just 50-cents a pound. More info here.

CZ Trail to Vernonia – 9:00 am at Scappoose Middle School
Scapppoose local John Joy will lead this Portland Bicycling Club ride on the Crown-Zellerbach rail-trail. Expect a solid ride on unpaved logging roads that will be about 58 miles in length. 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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The first mile of the Salmonberry Trail has been built

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 15:09

(*Photos provided by Tillamook County Chamber of Commerce)

Eight years after it was first conceived, a piece of the Salmonberry Trail will be officially opened to the public this Saturday.

Salmonberry Trail alignment with Hoquarton Trail section circled in purple. Note how the Salmonberry runs right through this newly built park and trail.

The one-mile long segment of paved path is known as the Hoquarton Trail. It was constructed as part of a $36 million Oregon Department of Transportation-funded highway project where Highway 6 and Highway 101 intersect at the northern end of historic downtown Tillamook.

Salmonberry Trail Foundation Director Alana Kambury confirmed with us today that the they consider this path the first official mile in the 86-mile project that will eventually connect all the way to the Banks-Vernonia Trail in Washington County. Kambury says several board members of the newly formed STIA nonprofit will be attendance at a major event Saturday hosted by the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Trail alignment map with Tillamook in lower left corner.

According to SalmonberryTrail.org, “The mile-plus paved multi-use trail will utilize an old east-west railroad spur that ran along the south bank of Hoquarton Slough connecting Goodspeed Park east of downtown with the developing Hoquarton waterfront core area.”

The new trail not only connects to the Salmonberry, it will also help revitalize the waterfront along the slough and offer locals a safe, carfree way to get downtown. Read more about this exciting development via the Tillamook Headlight Herald.

CORRECTION, 5/3 at 6:30 am: This story originally stated that Alana Kambury is the executive director of the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency (STIA). That was incorrect. She is the executive director of the newly formed Salmonberry Trail Foundation, a nonprofit partner of STIA. I regret the error and any confusion it caused.

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

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Biketown will be free for 11 days this month

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 13:52

Navy vet and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty modeling the newly designed Biketown wrap that honors military veterans.
(Photo: Biketown/City of Portland)

What’s better than bikes? Free bikes!

In honor of National Bike Month, the City of Portland has announced that Biketown rides will be free from May 9-19th.

We’ve heard from readers that the free Biketown promotion last May helped them convince co-workers and friends to give it a try. It won’t be free all month this time around, but 11 days is better than nothing right?

Free rides in May was very popular last year. Biketown set a one-day trip record nine times during the month and over 14,000 people used the bikes — 78 percent of which were first-timers.

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The City of Portland chose these days so people can ride free on Bike to Work Day (5/17) and Southeast Sunday Parkways (5/19). And don’t forget today is also the first day of the Bike More Challenge, the friendly competition to see who can ride the most in May. So far over 800 organizations and 8,000 people in Oregon have signed up.

Biketown also announced a new bike wrap design today to honor military veterans during Military Appreciation Month. Portland City Commissioner and Navy veteran Jo Ann Hardesty said in a statement that the bikes are, “A wonderful way to celebrate both veterans and active-duty military in true Portland style.”

To activate the free rides, select the “Pay-As-You-Go” option when you sign up via the app between May 9th and 19th and they’ll waive the registration fee and per-minute charge.

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

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Wheeler, Peterson seize Albina Vision as justification for I-5 freeway expansion

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 12:36

(By Cloe Ashton for BikePortland)

Metro President Lynn Peterson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have found a politically convenient way out of the predicament posed by the very unpopular I-5 Rose Quarter Project: the Albina Vision plan. Drowning in a sea of controversy around the idea of expanding a freeway through our central city, both leaders have made this plan central to their position on the project.

“One of the biggest opportunities in our region is the Albina Vision plan.”
— Lynn Peterson, Metro President

These key leaders support the project, much to the chagrin of the broad base of opposition that emerged in recent months. The $500 million project seeks to redesign surface streets in the Rose Quarter and add new lanes and shoulders to I-5 between I-84 and the Fremont Bridge

Wheeler and Peterson see it as a relatively minor (technically speaking), necessary project and they trust the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) — an agency that claims adding lanes and shoulders to I-5 will reduce crashes and decrease congestion, while having no major impact on air quality or greenhouse gas emissions — to see it through.

As the community’s distrust and doubts about ODOT rose during a recent comment period on the project, so did pressure on Peterson and Wheeler. In the past month, both leaders have tried to clarify where they stand.

Peterson in January 2018.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Peterson spoke about the project at her recent State of the Region address and in an interview on KATU-TV (Portland’s ABC affiliate). She and Wheeler also wrote a joint letter to Oregon Transportation Commissioner Chair Tammy Baney on April 5th that outlined their views and concerns.

In her recent public appearances, Petersen has sent mixed signals. On one hand she said she wants to “keep moving on” with the project; but she also acknowledged that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has not adequately accounted for the project’s environmental impacts. (Keep in mind that Metro, the agency Peterson oversees, has accused ODOT of willful obfuscation about the project’s impacts and has called for a more thorough environmental review.)

Then there’s Peterson’s full embrace of the Albina Vision plan, which she sees as inextricably linked to the freeway expansion.

When it comes to transportation, Peterson is expected to bring a more progressive and reform-minded view to the table than her predecessor (a former mayor of suburban Hillsboro). Activists are watching her closely as she steers the 2020 Transportation Investment Bond toward the ballot. That’s why local transportation insiders watched her State of the Region speech on April 19th so closely.

“For decades we’ve questioned the ways we approached growth and change… we pioneered light rail instead of building another freeway.”
— Lynn Peterson

In that speech, Peterson touted Portland’s “visionary” legacy. “For decades we’ve questioned the ways we approached growth and change,” she said. “When we needed to figure out how to move more people from the eastside into downtown Portland, we pioneered light rail instead of building another freeway.”

Peterson, who told the crowd that she drove to the event, bemoaned congestion and the unsafe road conditions caused by too much driving. She talked about the “rebirth of downtowns” with safe places to bike and the need to, “create corridors that connect and rebuild our communities into healthy, walkable communities that support small businesses.”

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When Peterson directly addressed the I-5 Rose Quarter project she said the freeway is, “Oregon’s connection to the world,” and businesses all over the state rely on it to get their goods to market. “Our legislature has stepped up to support improvements to our freeway system,” she said. “But we have to be smart about how that system interacts with our own communities.”

Then she made a notable pivot: “That’s why one of the biggest opportunities in our region is the Albina Vision plan.”

Conceptual rendering of the Albina Vision. Note freeway lids with buildings in lower left.
(Graphic: Hennebery Eddy Architects)

The Albina Vision plan is in its infancy and at this point is nothing more than a few conceptual renderings, but that hasn’t stopped Peterson and Wheeler from grabbing hold of it.

In a Q & A portion of the State of the Region event, Peterson was asked by former Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone if she could envision a revitalized Albina neighborhood without the I-5 project. “In what ways can Metro leverage its regional coordinating function to help us see a bold future in Lower Albina that doesn’t include freeway expansion, especially when you think about our climate action goals and goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a very short time frame?” Iannarone asked.

Peterson replied by touting the project and saying she supports the I-5 project for two main reasons: The freeway lids and a need to alleviate a “chokepoint.”

The lids, “Will be able to allow for that connective tissue of urban-ness so that you never feel like your’e walking across a freeway,” Peterson said. “[The lids] aren’t going to happen if we’re not also doing the other part of the project.” As for the “other part,” Peterson feels like the addition of 3.2 miles of new lanes and shoulders (what economist Joe Cortright calls “hidden mega-freeway”), “Is actually a small tweak to a freeway system.”

Crashed vehicles on shoulder of I-5 through Rose Quarter.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Peterson said the new lanes on I-5 are necessary to prevent “little fender-benders” that cause traffic back-ups. “If we’re going to put predictability back into the system we have to do some small tweaks. Some of these small tweaks are pretty dang expensive because they’re in the middle of the urban area. But they’re worth it. They’re worth it for the long run and I think we need to keep moving on.”

Peterson echoed this stance a few days later in an interview on KATU’s Your Voice, Your Vote program where she once again said her main justification for the I-5 project was that it would spur the Albina Vision plan.

“I think it’s refreshing that leaders are listening… We applaud their willingness to speak up.”
— Rukaiyah Adams, Albina Vision

“The more important aspect of the project though [beyond addressing congestion], is that it will allow for the Albina Vision to be realized,” Peterson offered. And again she mentioned that she sees the freeway lids as the lynchpin to that vision. “How do we use that [freeway lids] to reinvigorate, economically, physically, to spur all this development in the Rose Quarter?”

As we reported on March 29th, according to Albina Vision leader Rukaiyah Adams, the main problem with ODOT’s current lid design is they’re slated to be nothing more than empty spaces. “There is no need for small, unused spaces on top of l-5,” Adams said in a letter to ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration.

Compare that to the April 5th letter from Mayor Wheeler and President Peterson: “ODOT, through the freeway caps, has an opportunity to provide open space in an area that sorely needs more public space.”

Asked by KATU if it’s time to go back and start the project over, Peterson said she wants ODOT to do more analysis of community impacts and that we need to, “Get to an outcome where we have a design that the community designed, not that ODOT designed.”

That “community” will include Rukaiyah Adams, leader of Albina Vision Trust. I asked her what she thought of Peterson’s recent comments and the embrace of her project by Metro’s President and Portland’s Mayor.

“I think it’s refreshing that leaders are listening,” she shared with BikePortland. “What started out as a discussion about an interstate improvement project has expanded into a thoughtful exchange of ideas about how a modern transportation system can help us realize a better community.”

“And, in this case,” Adams continued, “that discussion is squarely reckoning with the destruction of the historic African-American community in Portland. If having civic leaders talk about that openly is jarring, it should be. It was intentional and staggering in its audacity. So too must be the way that we talk about it and remediate it.”

Wheeler’s budget released today includes $70,000 to further develop the Albina Vision. Peterson says she’s setting up a meeting with Adams, OTC Chair Tammy Baney, ODOT, and the City of Portland. I wish them well. It’ll take plenty of audacity to find a way forward that the community is comfortable with.

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

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Pedalpalooza, Portland’s biggest bike festival, is just one month away

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 11:34

One month until you can spread our wings and fly into Pedalpalooza!
(Photo: Eric Thornburg/No.Lens.Cap)

It’s still a month away, but it’s so big you need at least that much time to get ready. Yes, of course I’m talking about Pedalpalooza.

Official poster by Catherine “Cat” Odell

Pedalpalooza starts June 1st and lasts the entire month. It will be the 17th time Portlanders have paid homage to free bike fun in a way that seems to get bigger and better every year. This time around I want everyone to remember that Pedalpalooza is only as good as we make it. And by “we” I mean this community.

Shift provides a great online calendar tool and the inspiration that Pedalpalooza was built on; but the festival has no paid staff and comes together from the hard work of just a handful of dedicated people. What makes it magic is when people like you — and people from all parts of our community — come up with ride ideas, add them to the calendar, and get out on the streets.

Speaking of which, if you want your ride to appear in the printed calendar that will be inserted into the Portland Mercury, the deadline is today (May 1st). You can create and add events to the calendar right up until the last minute, but if you want to see it in print (and get more people to show up), add it now for consideration in the Merc.

So far there are about 120 rides on the calendar. Organizers expect more than twice that many by the time June 1st rolls round. Now is the time to get yourself mentally, physically, and materially ready for the all the fun. On that note, you’ll want to pick up one of the official Pedalpalooza pennants (available at the June 1st Kickoff Ride and other events). These hand-printed flags are just $10 and they provide most of the funding that keeps Pedalpalooza humming. You can pre-order one by donating $10 or more via this PayPal link.

Once you’ve listed your ride on the calendar (if you fashion yourself as a ride leader) and strapped your pennant to your bike, it’s time to make a plan of attack. Here are a few rides that are not to be missed:

Pedalpalooza Kickoff – 3:00 pm on June 1st at The Fields Park (1099 NW Overton St)
Come join the fun along with about a thousand of your friends as we take our bikes to the streets and show Portland (and the world) what bike fun means. Volunteers will be selling Pedalpalooza merch. Don’t forget to dress yourself and your bike up.

Stormwater Cycling in Eliot – 5:30 pm on June 5th at Dawson Park (N)
See the innovative ways Portlanders turn rain from a problem into a resource in the Eliot neighborhood. Staff from two of your favorite City bureaus will show and tell.

Mural Ride – 11:00 am on June 9th at Clay Creative Building (240 SE Clay St)
Come experience Portland’s newest and finest murals by bicycle!

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Putt-A-Palooza! – 12:00 pm on June 15th (Location TBA)
The mini-golf ride rolls again! We’ll stop and play portable putting ranges, and maybe a permanent course, as well.

Live* Freeways Ride – 11:00 am on June 16th at Goose Hollow MAX Station (SW)
Did you know that the majority of Portland area freeways are legally open to bikes and non-motorized vehicles? We’ll ride almost 25 miles without having to exit the freeway en route to Oregon City. After a pit stop to refuel, we’ll continue with the expressway portion of the ride all of the way back to the Central Eastside. Distance around 45 miles, but if freeway riding isn’t for you, there will be multiple opportunities to turn around with connections to transit at most exits if needed. (*Not to be confused with the legendary Dead Freeways Ride.)

Solstice Ride – 8:30 pm on June 20th (Location TBA)
We ride bikes all night on the shortest night of the year. There will be a lot of stops, the ride will not be a loop, it will be at least 30 miles, there will be hills. We will not visit any locations children cannot be in like bars. We will end at sunrise, near transit. You WILL see some new places you’ve not ridden before.

Muppet Movie Singalong Bike Ride – 11:00 am on June 22nd at Irving Park (NE)
June 22, 2019 is the 40th anniversary of the release of The Muppet Movie and here is a singalong bicycle ride to celebrate the occasion. Who can forget Kermit the Frog riding his Schwinn out of the swamp on the way to Hollywood right after singing Rainbow Connection at the start of the movie? Song lyric sheets will be provided, and all singing abilities are welcome on this 4-mile ride which will have a mobile A/V system to show just the song portions of the movie. Adorn your bike with your favorite plush muppets, or even come dressed as a muppet yourself!

Bowie vs Prince – 7:00 pm on June 22nd (Location TBA)
Mobile Dance Party! Come celebrate the lives & music of these two amazing artists and pedal away into the night with us! We’ll be rocking the best “The Artist” & “The Thin White Duke” have to offer! SLOW pace. bowievsprince.com

Vending Machine Art Hop & Swap Meet – 12:45 pm on June 23rd (Location TBA)
30 local artists take over 30 vending machines throughout inner Portland. Artists vend their work and give out free custom made spoke cards to riders. Riders devise their own routes and travel from machine to machine scavenger hunt style, collecting spoke cards from artists at each machine. The ride ends at 8pm with a spoke card swap meet and dance party. The first individual (or team) to collect all 30 different spoke cards wins the GRAND PRIZE. All subsequents people who assemble a full collection can free-vend a mystery prize from The Venderia.

Stay plugged into Pedalpalooza via the official calendar, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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

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Bike lane bill passes Oregon House 48-12, now heads to Senate

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 08:14

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

House Bill 2682 passed the Oregon House of Representatives by a vote of 48 to 12 last week. The bill seeks to amend Oregon’s statutory definition of bike lane to clarify that, “A bicycle lane exists in an intersection if the bicycle lane is marked on opposite sides of the intersection in the same direction of travel.”

Despite what’s simply a basic, legal clarification, some lawmakers think it makes cycling less safe and they want to send a message of concern to Oregon Senators as they take up the bill this month.

Bicycle lanes have always maintained legal standing even when unpainted inside intersections; but because two Oregon judges ruled otherwise, advocates felt it necessary to make this fact crystal clear.

As we shared when the bill passed the Joint Committee on Transportation on April 15th, some lawmakers think this is a bad idea.

Out of the 12 no votes* in the 60-member House of Representatives, 11 came from Republicans. Two of them felt the need to publish official explanations with their votes.

Rep. David Brock Smith said:

“I voted NO on HB 2682 for the following reasons and more… It does not make it safer for a bicyclist, gives them a false sense of security and could cause increased litigation. The bill needs to me amended and I hope my no vote assists in having those amendments occur in the Senate.”

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Rep. Denyc Boles said:

“I believe this legislation makes bicyclists less safe. This bill needs more work in the Senate and my “No” vote is to help give pause and support for additional amendments in the Senate. Safety is important. We need to make sure the legislation gets this right.”

It’s unclear what type of amendments these lawmakers would like to see (neither responded to requests for comment in time for publication). It’s also unclear why they feel this legislation would make conditions for bicycle riders less safe. The bill doesn’t give bicycle riders any more rights or privileges than they have today. All the bill does is adds a line to the definition of a bicycle lane in Oregon law. The intention is to make the legal right-of-way of bicycle users more ironclad when right-hook and unsafe lane change cases are presented in court.

The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler says she and Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal lobbied House and Senate offices on this bill last week. “Urban legislators get it,” she wrote in a comment posted below. “My meeting with Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scapoose) was the most animated. She is convinced cyclists are out of control in the urban areas. I don’t think we will have her vote, but I think I made a little progress.”

For more on why this law makes sense, read this article from legal expert Rick Bernardi.

The bill has had its first reading in the Senate and now awaits further action. Stay tuned.

*No votes were filed by Rep.s Barreto, Boles, Bonham, Boshart Davis, Findley, Lewis, Post, Reschke, Smith (David Brock), Smith (Greg), Wallan, and Witt. See full results here.

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

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‘Gravel Epic’ on Oregon Coast kicks off Triple Crown series this weekend

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 10:06

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon’s gravel riding season is in full swing and this weekend it gets even better with the seventh annual Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, the kickoff event of the Oregon Triple Crown Series.

If you’re on the fence about this one, I have three things to say: 1) See my recap and photos from last year; 2) Come out and pedal a few coastal forest miles with me; and 3) I can help a few lucky readers with a free registration!

The routes and support are top-notch. Mudslinger Events is one of Oregon’s oldest and most respected event promoters and you can rest-assured they’ve covered everything so all you have to do is ride your heart out. They’ve mapped out two adventures: “Abomination” is 61 miles with 6,780 feet of climbing and “Son of Abomination” is 38 miles with 3,900 feet of climbing.

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Oregon roads. Oregon bike.

The forecast for Waldport is sunny and mid-60s. Come out and make it a weekend by exploring nearby Yachats before/after the Gravel Epic.

You can register online until this Friday (May 3rd). If you want a free entry, just email me (jonathan@bikeportland.org) a few sentences about why you deserve the prize. I’ll let you know if you won right away.

I can’t wait to get out there! If you head out, look for the special Oregon Triple Crown-edition Co-Motion Klatch. You’ll find me and this awesome bike at Yachats Brewing from 4:00 to 6:30 pm when you pick up your ride packet.

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

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No school on Bike to School Day, let’s rally with ‘Red for Ed’ instead

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:21

Celebrating Walk to School Day earlier this school year.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

National Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 8th. Here in Oregon that falls on the May 8th Day of Action, a teacher walkout that has led to a decision to close Portland Public Schools.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I was initially dismayed there’d be no party and parade at school; but I’m going to channel that energy into a much longer parade to a much bigger party that will be even better.

So on would-be Bike to School Day, join Kidical Mass PDX for Ride, Rally, and #RedforEd. Here are the details:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
9:45 a.m. – Bike Train leaves Clinton City Park (5576 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206)
10:15 a.m. – Bike Train leaves plaza at south end of Eastbank Esplanade (SE Caruthers St & Eastbank Esplanade, Portland, OR 97202)
11:00 a.m. – Fund our Future, Fund our Schools Rally in Tom McCall Waterfront Park
12:00 p.m. – March for Our Students
Wear red!

Parades can be hard to walk with bikes so some families may choose to lock up at the park. The parade route hasn’t been released yet so we don’t know if it will be a loop and return to the park (keep an eye on the rally/parade Facebook event for march info).

Not coming from the Southeast? You should still bike to the event! Use the bike train Facebook event discussion area to gather a bike train from your quadrant. This featured bike train is my attempt at collecting company as we bike to the event from home, and I’d love to add additional rides to the Kidical Mass PDX website and Facebook event page if additional bike train conductors materialize.

Hope to see you out there! For background on the state of Oregon schools, learn more at May8ForStudents.org.

Thanks for reading.

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, 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 crisis continues: 6-year-old injured by driver while walking across SE Division

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 07:10

The driver sped around stopped cars and struck the girl in the bike lane on the left. (Note that the westbound bike lane on the right is protected.)

Another person has been hit trying to walk across a notoriously dangerous street in Portland. This time it was a six-year-old girl who was walking with her mom on Southeast Division Avenue.

According to the Portland Police Bureau it happened yesterday evening just after 6:00 pm at the intersection of 107th and Division:

Preliminary information suggests the child and her mother had activated the lights for the marked cross walk in the intersection and cars had stopped. As they started crossing in the cross walk, the suspect vehicle passed the stopped vehicles on the right hand side, in the bike lane, then struck the child. The vehicle continued without stopping. The mother was not hit.

The girl was transported to a hospital with what PPB describes as “non life-threatening injuries”. If you have any information about this collision, and/or if you’ve seen the white sedan that committed this crime, please call the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

The opposite side of the street has a protected bike lane that might have prevented the driver from swerving around stopped cars.

As the police statement suggests, this collision took place at a crosswalk that has a rapid flashing beacon. The crossing at SE 107th and Division was upgraded by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in 2015 with median islands, caution signage, a flashing beacon, and a protected bike lane. The project was part of PBOT’s East Portland Rapid Flash Beacon initiative that added similar crossings at 17 intersections.

The flashing beacons are not enough. When placed on untamed arterials with high driving volumes and high speeds, they can offer a false sense of security. Last October a man and young child were hit in a similar type of crossing on SE 122nd outside Midland Library. Less than one month before that collision, we reported that, “It will take much more than flashing lights to tame 122nd.”

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From the photo you can see that last night’s collision might not have happened if the bike lane was protected on both sides of the street. Police say the suspect driver was headed eastbound and that the two general traffic lanes were occupied by other drivers. If the driver was going westbound, a concrete median would have prevented them from zooming around the stopped traffic.

This dangerous behavior of using bike lanes to swerve around stopped traffic is rampant across Portland. I see it almost every day on North Willamette Blvd and Rosa Parks Way. It happens because we’ve made our bike lanes wider in recent years (a good thing), but we’ve failed to do anything to protect them (a bad thing). Making it possible for people to use bike lanes to go around stopped traffic is dangerous, illegal, and it forms bad habits that — as we saw with last night’s tragedy — can and will lead to serious injuries and deaths.

We must build more protected bike lanes and implement more aggressive measures to control driving behavior and rein in the inherent deadly power of automobiles.

Last night’s crash is just the latest illustration of Portland’s transportation crisis.

Signs being made for a protest and memorial march in St. Johns on Friday.
(Photo: Citizens for a Safe Fessenden)

While electeds and bureaucrats try to justify their support of $500 million for an unnecessary freeway expansion at the Rose Quarter, Portlanders continue to pay with our lives for the lack of progress on road safety.

Last week PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly stood on the corner of Northeast Broadway and Grand — another notorious high-crash arterial where safety upgrades have languished and just feet away from where Lori Woodard was killed in a crosswalk — and said, “These recent tragedies show us it’s time to do more of this work and to do it faster.”

This Friday, St. Johns residents will march to demand safety updates on North Fessenden where there have been two people killed and three others seriously injured while walking in the past three years. Other north Portland residents are so desperate for safer streets they’ve resorted to placing plastic cups on unprotected bike lanes.

Commissioner Eudaly’s sense of urgency is a good sign. It’s unfortunate however, that Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t even mention transportation safety during his (invite only, and BikePortland was not invited) State of the City speech last night.

We need to defend our streets from the menace of people driving dangerous vehicles.

When a six-year-old is hit in a crossing with flashing lights that PBOT touts as “safety improvement,” we need to stop and look at ourselves in the mirror. Are we doing enough? Who will die next? Could we have done something to prevent it?

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

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Bike shop burglar also suspected in fatal hit-and-run

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:58

PPB officers wrangle Nolan Harris inside Metropolis Cycle Repair early Wednesday morning.
(Photo: Metropolis Cycle Repair)

The suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash that took the life of 85 year-old Ortrud Vatheuer on March 19th is now behind bars. But strangely, it wasn’t the hit-and-run that led police to him.

Last Wednesday, under the cover of darkness, 30-year-old Nolan Harris broke into Metropolis Cycle Repair on North Williams Avenue. When shop owner Brad Parker received an alert on his phone via his store’s security system, he immediately called police and they arrived within minutes. Harris was apprehended red-handed with a bike and other products (including the crowbar he used to break in).

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The Portland Police Bureau later identified Harris as the man they believe hit and killed Ortrud Vatheuer as she took part in her morning walk near her home in the Multnomah neighborhood of southwest Portland. The van police think Harris was driving in that collision was found on April 10th, 180 miles north of Portland in in Tukwila, Washington.

Police have booked Harris on charges of Burglary I, Possession of Burglary Tools, Escape II, Criminal Mischief II, and Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver (with Injury Resulting). The case has been forwarded to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.

Reached last week about the burglary, Parker said, “This guy is bad news, good to get him off the streets.”

Parker also said his investment in a new security system has paid off. Metropolis has been hit by thieves three times since 2013.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Activism in D.C., memorial signs in L.A., progress in the U.K., and more

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:28

Welcome to the week. Getting a bit of a late start; but hold on to your hats because we’ve got an exciting week ahead.

But first, here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

Sponsored by:

Distraction up: Latest results from distracted driving survey conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety is not great.

Just a mix up!: The mayor of Yakima, Washington drove her SUV 30-feet into a Rite-Aid because she claims to have simply mixed up the brake and gas pedals.

Enough is enough: D.C. cycling advocates have moved from grief to action following the death of a well-known activist.

Memorial signs: The city of Los Angeles has a new program that will erect permanent road signs at the location where people riding bicycles were killed. (There was a bill in Oregon for a similar program in 2008 but it failed to gain necessary support.)

Framing matters: New research how people perceive traffic problems and potential solutions from a U.K. sociologist finds that, “Cycling stigma combines with the weakness of anti-car narratives to reinforce controversy obstructing active travel policies.” Yep.

Chalk it up: A federal appeals court ruled that when parking enforcement officers use chalk on peoples’ car tires it’s a violation of the fourth amendment.

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Phoenix likes deadly streets: Cities often deserve criticism for not living up to lofty Vision Zero proclamations. But in Phoenix, elected officials don’t even care enough to make the proclamation in the first place.

Not so clean: A research institute in Munich, Germany has found that the (coal-powered) production of batteries used in electric vehicles creates more CO2 emissions than diesel-engine cars. (UPDATE: A commenter says this study has been debunked.)

It’s the infrastructure, stupid: Another week, another example of “build it and they will come.”

Too much brake: About 1,000 electric Citi Bikes have been pulled off the streets of New York City after reports of front brakes that were poorly adjusted and caused crashes. Some people have lawyered-up to recover damages.

Tweet of the Week: Did you hear what happened on an I-205 overpass?

Folks, @OregonDOT maintains a couple of pedestrian/bike ONLY bridges over I-205 in the precinct. Shaking our heads over this one. This is at SE Steele St between 92nd/96th. Please honor the crime scene tape and avoid the overpass until @OregonDOT can assess. #pdxtraffic pic.twitter.com/A54RbWUQ8I

— PPB East Precinct (@ppbeast) April 28, 2019

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Trail work parties, Randi Jo show, levee tour and more

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 10:00

The trails at Gateway Green need our help.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Looks like this weather should hold (for the most part) through the weekend, so I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy it. Might want to pack a jacket and knee warmers for tomorrow.

Below we’ve put together a selection of rides and events that might suit your fancy…

Saturday, April 27th

Ride to End Veteran Suicide – 9:00 am at East Portland Moose Lodge (E)
This event will help raise funding and awareness of veteran suicide. $20 registration covers food, drink and a prize raffle. More info here.

Sponsored by:

Our 2019 Gravel Guide partners!

Gateway Green Cleanup – 9:00 am at Gateway Green (E)
Work before your ride! Come on out to your favorite local bike park and put some sweat equity into the trails and jumps that give you so much joy. More info here.

Free Adult Riding Lessons – 10:00 am at PCC Cascade Campus (N)
Want to join the pedaling masses but need a confidence boost? Come out for this free class taught by Bikes for Humanity PDX. More info here.

CCC Bike Hub Work Party – 10:00 am at New Columbia Bike Repair Hub – (N)
If you ever needed an excuse to check out this great neighborhood and its wonderful, community bike shop and skills/pump track, this is it! More info here.

Randi Jo Fabrications Trunk Show – 12:00 pm at Rivelo (SE)
Browse the latest handmade bike bags, cycling caps and shop aprons from Randi Jo. Rivelo will provide the coffee, cookies and other tasty snacks. More info here.

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Bike the Levees – 9:00 am at Multnomah County Drainage District (NE)
Learn about the levees as you explore our region’s amazing network of bike paths built on them. Ride is led by Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Registration required. More info here.

Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am at Ovation Coffee & Tea (NW)
The season is here and you need to get those legs moving! Show up and roll out with the premiere group training ride in Portland. All abilities welcome. The pace at the front is faaaast, but slower groups form along the way. More info here.

Women/Trans/Femme/Non-Binary Track Racing Clinic – 1:00 pm at Alpenrose Velodrome (SW)
Make this the year you experience the thrill of the track. This clinic will be an inclusive, fun space for track newbies or veterans who want a refresher course. 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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Portlanders set out red cups to push for more protection while cycling

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 09:10

People are so desperate for protection they’ve placed red plastic cups between the lanes on Willamette Boulevard.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Paint is not protection.

That’s the message from people across America today who are taking part in the Red Cup Project. Inspired by the tragic death of Washington D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh (@darsal), the red cups are a quick and cheap way to define space and show how relatively little effort it takes to create safer conditions for cycling.

“I want these cups to become planters, cement bollards — things that actually prevent people form swerving into bike lanes and force drivers to pay more attention.”
— Sam Balto, north Portland resident

North Portland residents Sam Balto and Reed Buterbaugh were out at on North Rosa Parks Way and Willamette Boulevard this morning with a jug of water and dozens of cups. They focused on two spots where people frequently drive their cars into bike lanes.

At the corner where those two streets converge, nearly every driver cuts into the bike lane (see photos below). As Balto and Andrews placed cups on the bike lane stripe, most people immediately slowed down and took the corner more cautiously to avoid running over them. But as you can see in our photos, the cups were often not enough.

As peoples’ car tires rolled over them, the crunching sound and water splattering onto the street made my hairs stand on end.

“There are people all over this country where mayors have pledged Vision Zero,” Balto said as he watched the tiny cups sacrifice their lives, “but they believe that paint is enough to protect people. It’s not.”

(*Encroaching into the bike lane like these drivers are doing is illegal, dangerous, and it creates unsafe habits. Please don’t do it.)

Asked what he wants the red cups to become in the future, Balto said, “I want these cups to become planters, cement bollards — things that actually prevent people form swerving into bike lanes and force drivers to pay more attention.”

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“PBOT believes they’ve improved North Willamette. They haven’t. They’re not done here. They need to properly protect this. This is just paint, and paint is not protection.”

Balto’s comments are supported by recent research showing that paint-only cycling lanes are inadequate and often encourage drivers to pass with less caution.

On North Rosa Parks Way, it’s been nearly a year since PBOT created new protected bike lanes. But they never finished the job. The vast majority of the bikeway is still unprotected. In June of last year, PBOT said neighbors had objected to having more white plastic posts installed. We learned last week that cement curbs are on the way and should be installed by this summer.

Similar red cup demonstrations are taking place today in New York City, Seattle, Michigan, Austin, Washington D.C., Boston, and many other cities. Follow the #RedCupProject hashtag on Twitter for all the action.

UPDATE, 1:17 pm: Just saw on-board video of the Rosa Parks/Willamette pinch-point from reader @harv_mushman (via Instagram):

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

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Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge will be named in honor of Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 07:53

(Graphic: City of Portland, Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday evening Portland City Commissioner of Transportation Chloe Eudaly announced that the soon-to-be-built carfree bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch and I-84 will be named in honor of U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

“To have my name associated with that bridge will be a great honor.”
— Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Congressman

Currently known as the Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge, the $13 million project is slated to break ground this summer and be completed by the end of 2020.

Congressman Blumenauer is a transportation icon in the Portland region for the legacy he created as city commissioner-in-charge of transportation from 1987 to 1996. His vision for transportation — one that favors public transit, bicycling and walking over driving — has left an indelible mark on our city and his work continues to influence people, politics, and projects today. Rep. Blumenauer is by far the loudest and most effective voice for bicycling on Capitol Hill (he’s currently pushing a major overhaul to the tax code so it does more to encourage commuting by bike). He’s co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus and his legendary Traffic and Transportation Class at Portland State University has churned out well over 1,000 graduates.

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People who’ve taken that class include many of the planners, activists, elected officials (including Commissioner Eudaly) and policymakers who will take this bridge project over the finish line.

Asked this morning for his response to this major honor, Rep. Blumenauer said (via text message):

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announcing the honor at an event last night.
(Photo: Commissioner Eudaly’s office)

“To have my name associated with that bridge will be a great honor. I have been agitating for and dreaming about that pedestrian bike crossing for decades. It makes so much sense to connect Lloyd District with that rapidly changing area on south side of the freeway.

It will add an important dimension to the walking and cycling experience, and be a powerful visual reminder of our commitment to transportation connectivity and the bike and pedestrian experience.”

Speaking about the bridge in a story published by the Willamette Week earlier this month, a Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesperson said, “It’s going to really be a postcard-worthy bridge that marks a key entrance to Portland. As people arrive in the city and either drive or take light rail, one of the first times they’ll see the downtown skyline, that view will be framed by the new, modern Sullivan’s Crossing bridge.”

Make that the Earl Blumenauer Bridge.

Actually, Commissioner Eudaly’s office says the official name is yet to be determined. What do you think it should be?

(Note: This story will be updated soon with a comment from Commissioner Eudaly.)

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

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TriMet’s new buses come with three-bike front racks

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 11:05

New bus with new racks today in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
(Photo: TriMet)

It’s taken 12 years, but TriMet has finally added capacity for three bikes to their buses. Well, some of them at least.

We learned today that the design of the agency’s five new electric buses allows them to use a three-bike front rack. The new rack made its debut an event in Pioneer Square today.

This is a big deal because the existing two-bike racks often fill up and there’s plenty of public demand for more room. And it was way back in 2007 that we first reported TriMet was interested in finding a three-bike rack that would work.

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The new rack is the “Trilogy” model made by Sportworks(the same company TriMet uses for other racks). According to them, the rack’s support arm will fit bicycles with wheel sizes from 20 to 29 inches. The trays can support bikes with a wheelbase of up to 44-inches and tires up to 3 inches wide.

Back then, the agency said the problem was that the added width of a third rack would make the turning radius of buses (a.k.a the “dynamic envelope”) too wide.

A source at TriMet said the key to making this work on the new buses is the nose design — which affects the turning radius. The length between the operator’s steering wheel and the forward edge of the two bike rack (while in use) is the same length as between the steering wheel on the electric bus and the front edge of the three-bike rack.

Just one of TriMet’s new buses is in operation (on Line 62 in Beaverton). A second one is due to be in service by the end of the month and the remaining three are still en route to Portland. It remains to be seen if the five additional electric buses will work with the new racks.

Hopefully TriMet can figure out how to fit these racks onto more buses in the future.

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

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At memorial rally for Lori Woodard, PBOT releases new crash response protocol

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 21:51

Broadway and Grand earlier tonight.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We’ve done this too many times before. Someone is killed. We grieve. We pressure the city to do more. We show up on the street with signs and candles and flowers. Speeches are made.

But this time there was something different. The City of Portland acted before we even showed up.

On Friday, Lori Woodard was killed as she walked across Northeast Broadway on Grand. A delivery truck driver turning left failed to see her and/or failed to prevent the collision (police are still investigating). It happened in a very unforgiving place where drivers dominate and stress runs high for everyone — especially people not protected by a steel cage.


We’ve seen the City of Portland react to deaths like this with infrastructure changes in the past; but never this quickly. This morning, just five days after Woodard’s death, the Bureau of Transportation installed plastic wands and temporary traffic cones to narrow the intersection. They also plugged in a message board sign that flashed the words: “Traffic Death April 19 – Travel With Care”.

As dozens of people gathered for a rally and memorial event at the scene of this tragedy Wednesday evening, PBOT announced signs like this would be the new normal.

“This was a priority before this horrible thing happened. But it underlines how urgent this is. It feels like the climate change issue. We just have to take our work to a different level.”
— Marshall Runkel, Chief of Staff to Commissioner Eudaly

In a directive released today (PDF), interim PBOT Director Chris Warner introduced a “crash response protocol.” “After every fatal crash,” reads the directive, “PBOT will provide an immediate update with all available information to the Commissioner of Transportation. The bureau will then install prominent electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS) at the crash location to mark the tragic crash sites and raise awareness of the traveling public about specific dangers and the overall importance of driving safely in our city.”

The changes installed at the crash location were already vetted and planned through the Central City in Motion plan. PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly signed off on them and Director Warner says he’s pushing PBOT to finish the project “on an expedited timeline.”

Commissioner Eudaly’s Chief of Staff Marshall Runkel lives near the area. He rolled up to the event today on his bicycle. “It’s just such a tragedy,” he shared with me. “We’ve got to respond at some point. It’s too bad it takes something so horrible to happen to get our stuff together. But I’m hoping we can make our actions match our rhetoric. Make our budget match our rhetoric. Make the way we organize our work match our rhetoric.”

“This was a priority before this horrible thing happened,” Runkel continued. “But it underlines how urgent this is. It feels like the climate change issue. We just have to take our work to a different level.”

Runkel’s words come at a time when Portlanders are reeling from a spate of traffic fatalities. Commissioner Eudaly spoke to that in a speech on the street corner at tonight’s event. “This has been a brutal, heartbreaking month on Portland streets. Nine people have died in crashes in less than two weeks.”

So far this year, Portland is averaging about one fatal traffic crash per week.

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Commissioner Eudaly speaking at the event.

Eudaly oversees a bureau that is committed to Vision Zero, an initiative that aims to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025. “These recent tragedies show us it’s time to do more of this work and to do it faster,” she said. (Read her full statement on her Facebook page.)

While PBOT works on systemic fixes and safety projects citywide, Interim Director Warner said they will “accelerate” the following measures citywide:

Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) will become our default practice at new or upgraded traffic signals on High Crash Network streets. A proven tool to improve pedestrian safety, LPIs give people crossing the street a head start at a crosswalk, making them more visible to drivers and reducing potential conflicts. PBOT will add at least ten LPIs each year to existing signals citywide. (*Note: An LPI has already been implemented at Broadway and Grand)

Protected left turns will become PBOT’s default practice at new or upgraded traffic signals on High Crash Network streets. We will install at least three protected left turns each year at existing signals.

Left turn traffic calming, originally slated to begin this summer, will start immediately. This treatment slows vehicle speeds through large intersections and protects pedestrians at high-conflict turns. It has shown promise in New York and we are excited to evaluate its impact here in Portland.

And when fatal crashes occur, Warner says he will instruct PBOT to do an emergency assessment of the site and, “deploy a range of possible ‘rapid response’ safety improvements that include: interim design changes; signal improvements; and public education. PBOT will apply this protocol to fatal crashes that have happened in the past 12 months.

These are positive measures; but we know it will take much more substantive changes — like reconfiguring lanes, reducing driving space, and creating physical separation between drivers and walkers/bicycle riders — to prevent more deaths.

Below are more images from the event.

Oregon Walks Executive Director Jess Thompson.

Catie Gould from Bike Loud PDX.

Thanks to Bike Loud PDX for pulling this event together and to The Street Trust, Oregon Walks and Community Cycling Center for showing up and offering support.

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

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