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Checking in on ‘T2020,’ Metro’s transportation funding measure

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 10:11

Metro’s map of highest scoring investment corridors.

We’re now three months since the official launch of Metro’s effort to raise funds for transportation infrastructure via a bond measure that could go to voters in 2020.

This is likely to be the most consequential transportation funding decision in our region’s history. With activism heating up and outlines of the measure being drawn, it’s time to put T2020 on your radar.

The Basics

Task Force co-chairs are county commissioners Jessica Vega Pederson (L) and Pam Treece (R).

As the elected government that oversees federal transportation spending for the entire region, Metro is a natural leader of this effort. The agency likes their chances to pass a transportation bond given that voters approved a $653 million bond for affordable housing back in November. According to The Oregonian, the total ask could be as much as $20 billion when all is said and done.

Complete list of Task Force members.

Back in February, Metro kicked off the planning process to decide where and how to spend that money when the 35-member Transportation Funding Task Force met for the first time. They’ve met five times since then. Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson and Washington County Commissioner Pam Treece are co-chairs.

Advocacy

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Will this thing be full of freeway expansions and leave crumbs left for everything else (like the State of Oregon’s 2017 transportation package)? Or will it be bold enough to smash the driving-centric status quo that’s destroying the earth and our lives more each passing day?

With so much at stake, transportation advocates from all backgrounds hope to influence the process. As expected, a key tension in this bond debate is how much of the measure’s revenue will go toward projects that increase access to driving, versus projects that encourage walking, biking, and transit.

Take the Survey

They won’t know if you don’t tell them.

The Getting There Together Coalition formed in 2017 and includes 25 organizations who want to make sure the bond makes the region more “livable for all”. Members include The Street Trust, WashCo Bikes, Oregon Walks, AARP Oregon, Disability Rights Oregon, APANO, and so on. Specifically, their priorities include: safety, public transit, a transparent process, prevention of displacement, and increasing access to transportation.

During public comment sessions at previous Task Force meetings, people have spoken most loudly about how the bond measure must aggressively tackle the issue of climate change. No More Freeways, a group that has come to prominence by organizing strong opposition to ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter Project, is also engaged around T2020. The group live-tweeted the April Task Force meeting and they have organized climate and Green New Deal advocates to show up to the May meeting which takes place this evening (5/15).

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It’s still early days, but the Task Force has already begun to sketch out “corridors” where funds would be targeted. This shouldn’t be a surprise, given that Metro is a regional entity and wants to invest in infrastructure that crosses jurisdictional lines. And the “corridor” lens is already familiar to the agency. Metro’s 2014 Regional Active Transportation Plan identified 24 “mobility corridors” region-wide.

Based on input from the Task Force, Metro staff identified 75 potential investment corridors. After a scoring exercise, 26 corridors were placed in three different tiers: equity, potential for high transit ridership, and “high safety need.” (You can read a description of each corridor here.)

Here’s the breakdown of each category:

Equity
• NE/SE MLK/Grand Ave
• Tualatin-Valley Highway
• I-5, downtown Portland
• SW 185th Ave
• Downtown Portland
• SE Foster Blvd
• SE Powell Blvd
• NE/SE 122nd Ave
• NE/SE 162nd Ave
• N/NE Columbia Blvd Transit ridership potential
• 82nd Ave
• Tualatin Valley Highway
• SE McLoughlin Blvd
• SE Powell Blvd
• Burnside Street
• Downtown Portland
• NE/SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd./Grand Ave
• NE/SE 122nd
• Sandy Blvd
• SW 185th Ave High safety need
• SE Division St
• 82nd Ave
• 122nd Ave
• Powell Blvd
• NE/SE MLK/Grand
• SW 185th Ave
• NE/SE 181st/C2C (Clackamas to Columbia)
• Sandy Blvd
• Burnside Ave What’s next?

The Task Force is expected to discuss the corridors gain at their meeting this evening and make a recommendation to Metro Council at their next meeting May 29th. Council plans to vote in spring 2020 on whether or not to refer the measure to voters.

As the Task Force continues to meet and activists begin to circle their wagons, Metro has just released the Getting Around Greater Portland survey.

With so much at stake, how many political compromises will leaders make? How far will advocates be able to shift the Overton window around what’s acceptable in terms of investment priorities? Suffice it to say, many questions remain.

Stay tuned to @BikePortland on Twitter for live updates from tonight’s Task Force meeting. Also check out Metro’s website for more information.

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

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Power of Two Wheels & Building Community

Bike Hugger - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 18:49

When not so much new is going on with bike design, besides motors, it leaves more room for stories about community like this one from Osprey about the Power of Two Wheels & Building Community.

It’s

A beautiful story about the power of two wheels and a community built through bicycling. After a devastating breakup, Rafael finds solitude and restoration on the open road, pedaling his way to emotional health from Mexico City to northern Colorado. With just $500 to his name, he spearheads a revolution to help the underprivileged members of his new neighborhood the best way he knows how—repairing their bicycles.

Here’s a quote from Osprey’s behind the scenes

The idea began in Fort Collins, CO in the fall of 2005.  It was my last semester at Colorado State University. I  had a few hundred bucks in my bank account and my truck broke down as I rolled into town for my first day of class.  With no money to fix my truck I needed a way to get around town and finish my already very delayed college education.  A friend of mine told me about an underground bike shop located in a garage a few blocks away. Rumor had it the “shop” was started by a guy named Rafael, living in a small closet attached to the garage.  He was teaching people how to work on bikes and helping them fix up old bikes for free.  I had an old 10 speed bike I inherited from my step father that hadn’t been ridden in a few decades. I figured I might as well give it a shot.

You can find more of Jesse’s current work on his Instagram @reelmotion

The post Power of Two Wheels & Building Community appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Portland State’s cycling team has the second-coolest kit in the nation

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 13:34

(Designed by Portland-based graphic artist and photographer Gavin Rear. Photos by Gavin Rear.)

A kit designed in Portland (by Gavin Rear) and made by a Portland-based company (Castelli US) for a Portland-based team has been singled out for recognition by America’s sanctioning body for bicycle racing.

USA Cycling announced last week that the Portland State University Cycling Team earned runner-up honors for Best Kit of 2019. The inaugural contest was held via USA Cycling’s Instagram where followers chose their favorite team kits from 64 teams around the country. (The winner was Colorado School of Mines, also made by Castelli.)

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(Photos by Joe Flannery)

Here’s what the team had to say about their great looking kit:

“When we were working on the new kit design our goal was to create something that could be raced in after the collegiate season was over. A piece that wouldn’t feel out of place at the local races, whether it was cyclocross or road. One of our teammates took the photos at one of our favorite roads for team rides. The new kit came alive amongst the greenery during the photo shoot. We also have a favorite sock combo for this kit, which are the matcha digi camo socks made by The Athletic. The Athletic is a local sock company that has been supporting PSU Cycling for many years, so we try our best to show off their socks as much as we can.”

The PSU Cycling Team competes in the NW Collegiate Cycling Conference where they were crowned Division Champs in 2014 and 2014. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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

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Man says he was ‘hunted’ and harassed by a driver while riding alone on rural road

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 11:24

This is the intersection of NW Skyline and Moreland, where Joe Harris called 911 to report what he calls a “bike stalker”. The suspect was waiting for him in the turnout in the upper left when he summited the climb (from the right).
(Photo: Joe Harris)

Northwest Portland resident Joe Harris says he experienced a nightmare.

“He was slow and methodical, he stared me down, he drove alongside… at other times he drove ahead and waited for me, then simply drifted around incessantly tailing me at about 50 meters.”
— Joe Harris

The way Harris tells it, on Sunday, May 5th, he was riding alone up NW Moreland Road in rural Multnomah County (about 12 miles northwest of the St. Johns Bridge) when he noticed a man in a white, late model Subaru Outback had rolled up behind him. Harris says the driver “hunted” him for a half hour.

“At several points, he drove alongside and attempted to engage in conversation and asked if I needed to stop for water; at other times he drove ahead and waited for me, then simply drifted around incessantly tailing me at about 50 meters,” Harris wrote on his personal Facebook page.

Realizing he was alone and in a place without cell coverage, Harris rode up the hill as fast as he could. When he finally made it to the intersection with Skyline Road, he called 911. As he made the call, he looked up, only to realize that the man in the Subaru had pulled into the turnout to wait for him. Then the man began to drive toward Harris. “He started cutting across the road and straight towards me,” Harris explained. Thankfully he was saved when a woman riding a horse from a nearby ranch emerged onto the road and the man drove away.

It was, Harris recalled later, “Hands down, the scariest lazy Sunday spin I’ve had for decades.”

Map of the alleged incident drawn by Joe Harris.

Two officers from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office responded quickly. Harris said one drove off to look for the suspect and the other escorted him to the (relative) safety of Highway 30. As they made their way to the main highway, Harris said they came up on another rider who said he was also harassed by the same driver.

This man in the Subaru allegedly harassed Harris and used his car as to menace him. To make it even creepier, Harris recalled something like the words, “I fear only Satan” or “Satan is afraid of me” written in red marker on the car’s tailgate.

Reached via phone last week, Harris said the incident has shaken him on many levels. “This guy was on my tail for 30 minutes. He did not give up. He waited for me. And when he passed, he was slow and methodical, he stared me down,” Harris said. The man tried to start conversations with Harris several different times. When he took a swig from his water bottle, the man sped up, drove slowly right beside him, held up a two-liter jug of water and said, “Do you want to stop for some water.”

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Harris, an IT consultant and co-editor of The Outer Line on Velo News, is convinced the man had these interactions planned out beforehand in an effort to expose his vulnerabilities. Harris also thinks the man had a police radio scanner on inside the car so he would know if authorities were onto him. NW Moreland is one of the roads in that area without cell coverage and it has very little traffic — both facts Harris thinks were well-known to the suspect.

The driver is a white male in his 20s to early 30s with closely buzzed hair with a sharp chin and nose and sunken eyes. He’s driving a late-model white Subaru Outback with a smashed right front fender and tailgate.

Portlander Justin Gericke saw Harris’ post on Facebook and it seemed very familiar to him. Gericke was biking on SW Terwilliger last summer when a man with creepy behavior, driving a car with the same description, came up next to him and tried to engage him in conversation. “He appeared to be under the influence of something,” Gericke recalled when I asked him for details. “And he became offensive after I declined to engage him.” Gericke immediately called 911 as the man in the car yelled at him and he only sped away after a long line of other drivers had stacked up behind him.

“I cannot be certain it was the same guy, but the encounter was similar enough to me to think it was,” Gericke shared.

Harris thinks if it was the same man, he’s purposely moved further away from the city to more remote locations. “He’s going further out for isolation for whatever he’s hunting,” is how Harris put it.

I’m still trying to confirm the case with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. I spoke with a deputy today who couldn’t immediately find Harris’ case. The deputy who Harris met out on Skyline isn’t back on duty until Thursday.

Portland-based lawyer and author of Bicycling and the Law, Bob Mionske, has spoken to Harris about the incident. Mionske says bringing a legal case against this driver would be difficult unless there were corroborating witnesses and a positive identification of the driver could be made. “In the meantime,” Mionske shared with me today, “It’s best we all share information about this guy and take precautions until we determine his motivation.”

Please be careful and keep your eyes peeled for the suspect: Harris says the driver is a white male in his 20s to early 30s with closely buzzed hair, a sharp chin and nose and sunken eyes. He’s driving a late-model white Subaru Outback with a smashed right front fender and tailgate. Harris also noticed his front license plate was bent and damaged.

Given the details of this case, we’re concerned that this guy is still out there and poses an imminent threat. Remember, it’s always safer to ride in a group. “Be aware of the roads you’re using when riding alone,” Harris shared, “and try to use routes with more frequent traffic and generally stronger cellular reception for emergencies.”

If you have interacted with this person and/or see him, please call 911 or the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office at 503-988-4300.

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

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Feeling the strength of moms on Mother’s Day

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 09:36

We were all smiles for Mother’s Day.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

After re-reading my last year’s post On the exhaustion of motherhood and why I want to bike with other families on Mother’s Day I realize this is a tiring time of year for me. Despite the too little sleep and too much stress, thanks to my bike I still feel now as I did back when my kids were little: capable, strong, and free.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

This year, like the last seven years, I celebrated Mother’s Day by organizing a bike ride for CycloFemme, a global collective bike ride born in 2012. Ours was a wonderful three-mile bike ride with a terrific group of attendees: repeat Kidical Mass family bikers, members of the Outdoor Afro Portland Meetup group, a family who came from out of town specifically for this ride, a family with three generations of women, families who heard about the event via their coop preschool, and a dad on an e-scooter (he’d been planning to use bike share, but the scooter was waiting right at the park).

2019 Kidical Mass PDX Mother’s Day CycloFemme ride.

It was the highlight of my day! Granted the rest of my day was spent doing typical mom stuff: propping myself upright with a cold, fever, and pulled back muscle, forgetting to eat breakfast while making the kids waffles, tending to a jammed thumb (therefore that passenger in my lead photo), and forgetting to eat dinner while distracting the kids from a little family crisis. But regardless, it would have been the highlight of any day!

I’m quite feeling this manifesto from CycloFemme after our ride:

“WE BELIEVE: That strong communities are built around strong women. That being on a bike brings us closer to our community, to nature, and to ourself. That from action comes change. That our hope, courage, and strength is amplified when we unite.”

Did you do anything bikey for Mother’s Day? Or do you have a different day (Father’s Day, birthday, Memorial Day, etc…) you like to use as an excuse to get out on two wheels? Let me know in the comments! 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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Washington County Sheriffs seek reckless driver who hit and injured bicycle rider

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 08:24

(Video of suspect taken by a witness and released by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office needs help finding reckless driver who hit an innocent person, gave them the finger, then fled the scene. The victim was on a bicycle and had stopped on the side of the road to check his map.

The crash happened Saturday (5/11) around 2:00 pm on NW Hillside Road in unincorporated Washington County, southwest of Banks.

Here’s more from the official statement:

“According to witness reports, an unidentified man was driving a newer Mercedes convertible around 2:00 p.m. on NW Hillside Road when he hit a bicyclist stopped on the shoulder. The victim was checking his map when the unidentified driver hit him somewhere near the intersection with NW Clapshaw Hill Road. The victim was knocked to the ground, his clothing torn and was bleeding from the leg. The suspect drove off, making no attempt to stop and check on him, and gave the bicyclist ‘the finger’ as he drove off.”

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The Sheriff’s Office says the suspect was seen by other witnesses driving recklessly, swerving into oncoming lanes of traffic. “A motorcyclist told deputies he was almost run off the road and nearly hit by the same driver on NW Old Clapshaw Hill Road,” the statement reads.

The video above of the suspect vehicle was taken by one of the witnesses.

Please be on the lookout for a white man in his 60 wearing a baseball cap with a thick “Tom Selleck mustache” driving a newer, champagne-colored Mercedes convertible.

Anyone with information about this vehicle or driver is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office by calling non-emergency dispatch at 503-629-0111.

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

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‘Extreme disappointment’: Bike Advisory Board letter seeks big improvements to Mayor’s bike plan

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 08:00

The same week the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee wrote a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council and SDOT calling foul on the mayor’s “disproportionately large” bike plan cuts, the volunteer Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board penned a similar letter “expressing our extreme disappointment” with the draft short term bike plan.

But unlike the oversight committee’s letter, which gave high-level advice, the SBAB letter includes several pages of specific needs that would go unmet in the draft plan. Their letter could be read as an olive branch to the Mayor’s Office and SDOT leaders, providing a possible path to regaining the public’s trust in their ability and willingness to deliver on the city’s bike safety and mobility.

Rather than going through the highlights, below is the full text of the SBAB letter to Mayor Durkan, the City Council and SDOT (PDF). Skip to the bulleted list for their specific recommendations:

The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (SBAB) writes to you expressing our extreme disappointment in the draft Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan (IP) for the years 2019 through 2024. Despite a significant increase in ridership following construction of new bike infrastructure and the introduction of electric-assist bike shares during the Seattle Squeeze, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has provided a draft IP that fails to further the BMP vision of a citywide connected bike network. It also ignores the implementation priorities SBAB developed and communicated to SDOT. Additionally, the cancellation of planned bike lanes on 35th Avenue NE and NE 40th Streets signals the City of Seattle (City) prefers to avoid political risks rather than complete the bicycle network for people of all ages and abilities.

SBAB is designated by ordinance to review and input on the required annual update of the BMP IP. Board members spent many hours meeting with people in the biking community, riding potential routes, and with SDOT staff to prioritize valuable connections. Many of the highest ranking projects do not appear in the current IP draft, nor the list of eliminated projects. It is discouraging to see our work ignored. While we do not expect the City to heed every recommendation that is given, we believe SBAB’s time and energy should be treated with respect and accounted for in the decision process. Many of the SDOT/Department of Neighborhood-led café style discussions within four City sectors confirmed similar prioritization of projects and themes as prioritized by SBAB, regardless of location. As such, we request that every project that SBAB initially prioritized be explicitly included in the IP document with an explanation as to whether it will be a funded project or not.

Vision and Guiding Principles An Equitable Network

SBAB advocates for transportation justice for the neighbors of South Seattle: every neighborhood deserves safe infrastructure, yet South Seattle, where many of our City’s immigrant communities, low-income communities, and communities of color reside, is crisscrossed with dangerous routes for bicycles and pedestrians. Furthermore, SBAB, committed to the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, wants to correct past inequities that previously enabled miles and dollars focused on projects north of the ship canal. In response, SBAB prioritized many projects in South Seattle. With only six years left on the Move Seattle Levy, the City must take the opportunity to invest in planning for the key citywide network routes of South Seattle. The communities most historically underserved by transportation projects have waited for safe connections to jobs, schools, and services should not be left even further behind due to insufficient funding in 2025.

A Connected Network

SBAB advocates for a connected network: citywide routes that are “all ages and abilities” between neighborhoods and that also complement and connect to the region’s urban villages, expanding light rail, and transit networks. The current draft IP excludes many projects that support these goals; instead, many projects are a patchwork of routes that stub-end or lead to roadways that are not all ages and abilities.

Our Asks Project Recommendations

As stated in our guiding principles, SBAB’s highest priority projects are ones that promote equitable transportation options and increased connectivity to complete a citywide bicycle network. We believe that the following projects and themes, many of which are missing from the current draft IP and reiterated by the community in the café style discussions in April, would be the most transformative in achieving these goals. Projects often meet several themes and are purposefully redundant to provide justification for being the most important for the City at this time:

  • Major north-south routes in Southeast Seattle: Both Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley have higher proportions of households without cars. Southeast Seattle also is home to streets with high rates of traffic-related injuries and deaths, especially along Rainier Ave S. Southeast Seattle lacks direct, all ages and abilities, north-south routes that connect Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley to the citywide network. The existing Greenway routes require challenging topographical grades and significant backtracking to access downtown. The projects SBAB continue to prioritize are:
    •  A complete north-south connection from South Beacon Hill to Little Saigon
      • Initiating at S Kenyon St and ending at Yesler Way, along Beacon Ave S, 15th Ave S, and 12th Ave S.
    •  A complete north-south connection along Rainier Ave S to downtown
      • A complete street from Rainier Beach/Columbia City to S Mt. Baker Blvd
      • A long-term development plan to increase right-of-way from S Mt. Baker Blvd to S Dearborn St/S Jackson St, with parallel facilities to be funded under this BMP that are of the highest caliber in terms of safety, routing, and signage.
    • Martin Luther King Jr Way S between Mount Baker light rail station and the I-90 Trail/future Judkins Park light rail station
      • Connect light rail stations and bicycle networks on the wide right-of-way along Martin Luther King Jr Way S that is currently underutilized.
  • Safe connections to employment opportunities in SoDo and the Duwamish Valley: The Duwamish Valley is one of the largest employment centers of Seattle, yet there are no safe routes for bikes and pedestrians nor reliable, frequent bus services to get people to and from these jobs. Between SoDo and Georgetown, the unsafe road conditions with high freight traffic and high vehicle speeds have resulted in one recent fatality. The people living throughout the valley in encampments – some of the most vulnerable people in Seattle – use bicycle transportation as their connection to opportunity and must risk their lives to do so. Throughout SoDo and the Duwamish Valley, there are numerous flat corridors with generous rights-of-way, all of which could be potential routes. Both the Georgetown and South Park communities have demonstrated support for bicycle projects generally, and the following specifically, in multiple outreach projects, including the recent Georgetown Mobility Plan:
    • South Park-Georgetown Trail project
    • North-south SoDo connection project from the SoDo Light Rail Station to Georgetown (Airport Way S, 6th Ave S, 4th Ave S, 1st Ave S, and the continuation of the SoDo Trail are all options)
    • S Spokane Street (east-west connection from the West Seattle Bridge Path/East Marginal Way to Airport Way), possibly using the wide north sidewalk as a multi-use trail.
  • Major citywide routes in West Seattle: West Seattle has few connected routes along and across the ridges to connect people to the urban villages at Admiral Junction, West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction and Westwood and to routes to downtown, South Park, and the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. These routes, which were included in the 2017 BMP IP, would create a robust network for circulation within West Seattle as well as connections to the rest of the City for a part of Seattle that is fairly isolated, and include:
    • E Marginal Way, Fauntleroy Way SW, Sylvan Way SW, SW Roxbury St, and the Delridge Way SW Multi-modal project
  • Safe connections to public transit: As Link light rail expands, safe access to the light rail stations will be a necessity and help increase ridership of theCity’s transit investments while improve door-to-door travel times for users. Safe first mile/last mile connections to transit should be prioritized, as we see King County Metro is doing. Many of the projects already mentioned will provide transit connections; however, we will include all stations where connections are lacking:
    • Future stations, namely Northgate, Judkins Park, West Seattle Junction, and Delridge Stations
    • Stations on Martin Luther King Jr Way S, namely Rainier Beach, Othello, Columbia City, and Mount Baker Stations
    • SoDo Station to/from areas further south of the station
  • High ridership corridors that lack all age and abilities facilities: There are high ridership corridors that lack all ages and abilities facilities throughout the City, but especially in the Center City. Protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave E would create an all ages and abilities citywide network connection betweennortheast Seattle and downtown, allowing access to some of the City’s densestareas and largest educational institutions and employers:
    • Eastlake Ave E between South Lake Union and the University Bridge
    • Center City Bike Network
Additional Funding

Key to advancing the City’s vision of a network of bike routes connecting our City is funding to pay for the transformational projects listed above. While some programs funded by the Move Seattle Levy were on track to deliver close to expected outcomes prior to the reset, the bike program is slated to deliver only 60% of projects. In partnership with a letter passed by the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee dated May 7th 2019, SBAB asks the City to bolster funding, find ways to speed delivery of crucial projects, and to put project delivery on parity with other modal programs within the Move Seattle Levy. SBAB also requests the projects listed above be advanced in planning above all other projects listed in the current draft Implementation Plan to the point that even if there is currently no identified funding source, they would be ready to advance should grant or other funding opportunity arise.

Political Commitment

SBAB implores our political leaders to deliver on the commitments made in the numerous adopted policies and plans including the Bicycle Master Plan, Climate Action Plan, Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School Program, the Race and Social Justice Initiative, the Complete Streets Ordinance, and the Comprehensive Master Plan, as well as the voter approved Move Seattle Levy. These policies demonstrate the City’svalues – safety, equity, sustainability, livability, health, and vitality – and represent the result of countless hours of public process.

SBAB asks the City to honor the aforementioned commitments by making decisions that aligned with the City’s goals and policies and informed by feedback provided from City Boards, Commissions, and Committees. Based on recent reversal of projects mentioned in the beginning of this letter, public trust has eroded in the City’spolitical will to implement or support bicycle projects. We fear that a precedent has been set, that a loud, angry minority, who is not representative of our racially and socioeconomically diverse city, can overrule years of citywide public process and adopted city policy. Please prove us wrong.

We therefore encourage Mayor Durkan, City Council Members, and Director Zimbabwe to preface the Implementation Plan with a letter of commitment to use best efforts to deliver on the BMP Implementation Plan.

Sincerely,

Amanda Barnett Co-Chair
Emily Paine Co-Chair
Alex Lew Co-Vice Chair
Kashina Groves Co-Vice Chair

Oversight Committee raises flag on mayor’s ‘disproportionately large’ bike plan cuts

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 10:42

The committee tasked with watchdogging the city’s delivery of the $930 million voters approved through the 2015 Move Seattle levy has written a strong letter of concern about the lack of bicycle network progress and SDOT’s big cuts to the bike plan for the duration of the levy.

“We respectfully request the Mayor and City Council seek to deliver the bike facilities contained in the 2015 Levy by assigning additional, non-Levy funds to the bike safety program and giving higher priority to bicycle use of street space,” the committee wrote in a letter last week to Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council and SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe.

This is a big deal. This committee was created by voters as part of the levy vote to make sure the city was spending this money for the voter-approved purposes. And the committee sees the mayor’s bike plan cuts as “a disproportionately large reduction” to the bicycle safety program.

The levy was approved 59–41, and the bicycle plan goals were very clear. Under the mayor’s new, massively-cut plan, only 60% of the levy’s bike program promises would be fulfilled assuming every mile included in her plan is constructed.

There is room here to talk about mileage vs impact, and the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (“SBAB”) has been open to missing the mileage goals if needed in order to fully complete difficult and more expensive connections instead (like downtown, SODO and major SE Seattle projects). But the mayor’s plan cuts mileage while also shying away from many of the most difficult and impactful connections, and the city oversight and advisory boards are calling foul.

SDOT and the Mayor’s Office has touted their slashed bike plan as only a draft with a final version due to the City Council in the coming weeks. This is the first short-term bike plan annual update produced under Mayor Durkan after her administration failed to deliver a 2018 short-term plan (I have requested a copy of the never-released 2018 plan, but have not yet received it). The feedback has been clear: The next version of it needs to be much more bold than the first draft. Advocacy organizations and SBAB have even suggested big projects she could restore or add to show she’s serious about making progress on bike safety and mobility. The ball is in her court.

Here’s the text of the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee letter (you can also see the official PDF):

Dear Mayor Durkan and City Councilmembers:

When voters approved the Levy to Move Seattle in 2015, they were promised significant investments in bicycle safety with a commitment to protect our city’s most vulnerable travelers, encourage bicycling, achieve Vision Zero, and meet our City’s climate change goals. The Levy deliverables included building approximately 50 miles of protected bike lanes and 60 miles of greenways, thereby completing over half of the Bicycle Master Plan citywide network.

The Levy Oversight Committee received and has been briefed on the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Implementation Plan 2019-2024. As proposed, the plan would deliver roughly 60% of the mileage originally promised, falling well short of the original commitment.

We respectfully request the Mayor and City Council seek to deliver the bike facilities contained in the 2015 Levy by assigning additional, non-Levy funds to the bike safety program and giving higher priority to bicycle use of street space. Bicycle safety projects should also be combined with implementation of other projects, particularly from the paving and transit programs, to reduce costs and deliver projects more quickly. At a minimum, the bicycle safety program should not experience a disproportionately large reduction of deliverables when compared to all levy programs, and the Oversight Committee would support a discussion of funds being moved from other Levy programs to prevent this.

Sincerely and on behalf of the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee,

Ron Posthuma, Co-Chair (2019/20)
Betty Spieth-Croll, Co-Chair (2016-19)

The Monday Roundup: Trump’s tariffs, SMILE lanes, language matters, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:33

Here are the most notable items we came across in the past seven days…

But first, a word from our sponsor: **This week’s roundup is sponsored by our friends at Treo Bike Tours in eastern Oregon, who encourage you to book your all-inclusive, dream cycling vacation today.**

Thanks, Trump: The trade war with China has begun and that means a 25% increase on imports from China that will include many bicycles and bike parts, a price increase that could “devastate” the industry.

The Economist knows: One of the world’s most respected publications offers a sober look at the massive subsidies propping up Uber/Lyft and private car use, and reveals the reckoning ahead as those subsidies begin to vanish. And what if Uber/Lyft put their weight behind congestion pricing as a way to keep their services price-competitive?

Freeway folly: Years after wasting $1 Billion to widen a freeway in Los Angeles, traffic has gotten… wait for it… worse.

Language matters: Outside magazine takes a dive into a topic near-and-dear to our hearts: How law enforcement and the media influence the public’s perception and understanding of crashes.

Oakland’s freeway fight: Seems like we’ve reached a point where it’s becoming more acceptable for politicians to question the primacy of urban freeways. This is a very good thing.

Cars instead of trees: Instead of removing car storage space, New York City will remove dozens of trees to make room for a new bikeway next to Prospect Park.

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Activism works: A councilmember in D.C. has introduced The Vision Zero Omnibus Act that would make protected bike lanes mandatory, prohibit right-turn-on-red, empower people to enforce bike lane laws, and more.

Revolution is coming: New York City transportation activists are some of the smartest, most dedicated in the country. They’ve done the research and have decided to wholeheartedly embrace e-scooters and the “micromobility revolution” as a key strategy to take back the streets from car drivers.

Scootless (no more) in Seattle: E-scooters are coming to Seattle and city officials recently hosted staff from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to seek advice.

SMILE Lanes: A University of Oregon planning professor asked his students to come up with a new name for “bike lanes” that reflects the need to welcome scooters and other devices into the space. They came up with Shared Micromobility Integration Lane with Emergency access, or SMILE lanes. (LIT Lanes is another one we like.)

Who breaks laws more: A new study from the Danish Cycling Embassy says bicycle riders break traffic laws at a far lower rate than car drivers.

Video of the Week: Author Peter Walker posits that while it’s annoying that some bicycle riders break traffic laws, it’s really more a distraction from much larger road safety problems:

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

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The first Bicycle Sunday of 2019 is this weekend

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 15:20

It’s time for the first Bicycle Sunday of the year!

The classic car-free event will follow its usual route on Lake Washington Boulevard between Mount Baker Beach and Seward Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Familybike Seattle is hosting a Cyclofemme Kidical Mass ride starting 11 a.m. at the Mount Baker Park playground.

As we reported earlier this week, Outdoors For All will be in Seward Park for some of the Bicycle Sunday dates offering free adaptive cycle rentals as part of a partnership with SDOT paid for using bike share fees. Take note that the first such event is not until June 16.

More Bicycle Sunday details from Seattle Parks:

On scheduled Sundays from May to September, a portion of Lake Washington Boulevard will be closed to motorized vehicles from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Seattle Parks and Recreation invites everyone in the community to bike, jog or stroll along the boulevard between the Seward Park entrance and Mount Baker Park’s beach during these times.

The 2019 event dates are

  • May 12, 19, 26
  • June 16, 23
  • July7, 14
  • August 11, 18
  • September 1, 8, 15

We love bikes and Blazers! Show your support on Rip City Ride day this Sunday

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 13:02

(We love our bikes and we love our Blazers. Photos by J Maus/BikePortland)

City and Commute Seattle want you to bike to bakeries

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 12:48

Click for interactive map.

In case you were looking for an excuse to hit up a bakery, Commute Seattle and SDOT have got you covered. They have a Bikes and Bakeries challenge going all May.

All you have to do is bike there and then scan a QR code at the register. If you visit four during the month, you’ll be entered to win unspecified “amazing bike-related prizes.” As though a bike ride, a fresh-baked good or cup of coffee wasn’t already a good enough prize…

Details from SDOT:

May is #BikeMonth, and we’ve got just the sweet treat for you to get riding! Join Commute Seattle’s Bikes and Bakeries Challenge, where you can win amazing bike-related prizes just for riding your bike and supporting bakeries across the city!

Participating is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Ride a bike to one of the participating bakeries.
  2. Scan the QR code at checkout and let Commute Seattle know which bakery you visited. Forgot to scan the code? Click here to submit your entry.
  3. Visit four bakeries during the month of May and be entered to win amazing bike-related prizes from local bike shops! Each additional bakery gives you another chance to win.
List of participating bakeries:

  • Alki Bakery | 5700 1st Ave S | 6AM–3PM
  • Amandine Bakeshop | 1424 11th Ave | 7AM-4PM | 10% discount
  • Belle Epicurean Bakery | 3109 E Madison St | 7AM–5PM | 15% discount
  • Columbia City Bakery | 4865 Rainier Ave S | 7AM–7PM | 10% discount
  • Dahlia Bakery | 2001 4th Ave | 7:30AM–5PM | 10% discount
  • Flying Apron Fremont | 3510 Fremont Ave N | 8AM–7PM
  • Flying Apron West Seattle | 4709 California Ave SW | 7AM-6PM
  • John Nielsen Pastries | 520 2nd Ave W | 7:30AM–4PM
  • Kaffeeklatsch Seattle | 12513 Lake City Way NE #H | 6:30AM–5:30PM
  • Le Panier | 1902 Pike Pl | 7AM–6PM | 10% discount on any one item
  • Macrina Belltown | 2408 1st Ave | 7AM–6PM
  • Macrina Queen Anne | 615 W McGraw St | 7AM–6PM
  • Macrina SODO | 1943 1st Ave S | 7AM–6PM
  • Nuflours Bakery | 518 15th Ave E | 7AM–6PM | Free coffee or tea with purchase of a pastry
  • Sugar Bakery & Coffeehouse | 110 Republican St | 6:30AM–10PM | 10% discount

A man died last week while cycling alone on a mountain road in West Linn

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:52

David Schermer remembered on Lawyer Ride Facebook page.

Cycling was a huge part of 69-year old David Schermer’s life. All the way up until the end.

Schermer died while riding his Giant TCR road bike down Pete’s Mountain Road in West Linn last Friday. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office there was no other vehicle or person involved in the crash. Evidence suggests Schermer lost control on the steep downhill portion of the road where it ends at the junction of SW Riverwood Drive and SW Hoffman Road (see photos below). The turn to Hoffman is nearly a right-angle and the turn to Riverwood is quite sharp as well. The last section of Pete’s Mountain Road drops over 100 feet at an average grade of about 7% in just three-tenths of a mile.

Sergeant Dan Krause from the Sheriff’s Office told me yesterday that a crash reconstruction and forensics team responded to the scene last Friday around 1:30 pm. Sgt. Krause said they found no skid marks and no other physical evidence of another bicycle or automobile. “It appeared to be an unfortunate incident,” he said. “We found nothing at the scene that would have caused this crash.” Schermer was found in a ditch about 20-30 feet from the intersection. He died on the scene from head and neck-related injuries.

(Left: Aerial view of the intersection with arrow showing Schermer’s direction of travel. Right: Street view looking downhill (southbound) just before intersection of Pete’s Mountain Road and SW Riverwood/Hoffman.)

Schermer was a lawyer and had an office in downtown West Linn about seven miles northeast of where he crashed. He was likely on one of his usual lunch rides on roads he knew very well.

I first heard about this when acquaintances of his contacted BikePortland looking for details about what happened. There were no news reports and law enforcement didn’t make any public statements about the crash. Then I saw a tribute to him on the Facebook page of the local Lawyer Ride. That tribute was written by Schermer’s friend and riding buddy Dan Rohlf.

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Rohlf remembered David as an energetic adventurer who loved to challenge himself on the bike. “David died as he lived — going for it in the outdoors, whether on a bike, climbing a mountain, on cross-country skis, or hiking for miles,” Rohlf shared on Facebook. “He climbed the Tourmalet like Pantani a few years ago, and ripped passes in the Dolomites. But his idea of a perfect ride was a climb to Council Crest, a few laps on Fairmount and Humphrey/Hewett, then Terwilliger to the Multnomah Lucky Lab for pizza.”

“David was just a wonderful guy; he had a smile for everyone, was a fantastic husband, father, and grandfather, and was loved by his family and friends alike… our community has suffered a profound loss,” Rohlf added.

Schermer was an avid mountain climber and member of Portland Mountain Rescue. In a statement on their Facebook page today, PMR wrote, “Willing to hump a big load and quietly competent, David was the rescuer you always wanted on your team. Over his tenure with PMR, he logged almost 1000 hours of training and missions. More important, he was generous with kindness and a cheerful word. David, we always knew you had our backs, we just wish we could have been there to cover yours.”

He had also ridden the Ronde PDX ride several times. This legendary and unsanctioned ride tackles all the big West Hills climbs. This ride is “officially cancelled” but the word on the street is many people are likely to show up tomorrow (Saturday 5/11) to do it anyways (10:00 am from NW 31st and NW Industrial). If you ride it, keep Schermer in your thoughts. Rest in peace David.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Stages Cycling, West End Bikes, Bike Gallery, Go By Bike

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 07:33

There has been a flurry of job opportunities lately. If you want to break into the local cycling industry, or need an occupational upgrade, you’ve come to the right place.

See the freshest listing below…

–> Customer Service Rep – Stages Cycling

–> Weekend Sales Associate – West End Bikes

–> Bike Mechanic wanted – Bike Gallery

–> Go By Bike Manager & Advocate – Go By Bike

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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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Weekend Event Guide: Kids, track racing, Sandy Ridge tour, dogs on bikes and more

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 07:18

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ready? Set. Go!

Check out our picks for the weekend…

Friday, May 10th

***BP Pick!!*** Community Cycling Center 25th Anniversary Gala – 5:30 pm at NW Natural (NW)
We can’t wait to help the CCC celebrate a quarter-century of “broadening access to bicycling”. Join us to toast this beloved nonprofit. More info here.

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Our Calendar and Event Guide are looking for a new sponsor. Contact our sales manager for details – jonathan@bikeportland.org.

Saturday, May 11th

Cascade Chainbreaker MTB Race – All day in Bend
Bring the family and friends for this spectator-friendly race with a course that includes lava outcrops, open views of the Cascades and flowing singletrack. More info here.

Black Cat Omnium – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at Alpenrose Velodrome (SW)
Battle Kat Racing invites you to the track for a full slate of sprint and endurance events. More info here.

Bicycling With Kids Workshop – 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at Clever Cycles (SE)
Get ready for the Gorge Pedal ride in July, learn about riding in the Gorge, and hear from family-riding experts at this free event. More info here.

Sandy Ridge Intro Tour – 1:30 to 4:00 pm at Sandy Ridge
Been wanting to discover Sandy Ridge? Let NW Trail Alliance show you the way with this perfect intro ride that will get you familiar with the trails. Everyone is welcome! More info here.

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Women’s Community Ride – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Sellwood Cycle Repair (SE)
This newly-announced women’s ride series hosted by Swift Racing will kick off with a 16-20 mile ride at a conversational pace. Newbies welcome and no one will get dropped. More info here.

Kidical Mass CycloFemme Ride – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Sewallcrest Park (SE)
A perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day and join the global CycloFemme movement! This will be an easy, “park-to-park” ride of 2.5 miles, so it’s even doable for tiny pedalers and push-bikers. More info here.

Corvidae Bike Club Pupperpalooza Ride – 2:00 pm at Peninsula Park
Friendly and inclusive local bike club Corvidae wants you to bring your favorite pet along for this ride. They’ll stop at parks to play along the way. More info here.

Willamette River Welcome Ride – 9:30 am at Sellwood Park (SE)
A Portland Bicycling Club ride leader will take you on a 27-mile jaunt of classic Portland paths and neighborhoods. Expect to meet nice people and at least one stop for snacks and drinks. More info here.

Have fun out there! And make sure share your adventures by tagging @bikeportland on social media.

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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Photo gallery and recap of the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic

Bike Portland - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 17:06

Riders concentrate one one of several roaring descents at the Coast Gravel Epic last Saturday.
(Photos: Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

Before we jump off into another weekend of great riding, how about some inspiration from the last one?

Last weekend I had the great fortune to do the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic. This event was the kickoff of the Oregon Triple Crown, a series organized by Mudslinger Events (a family-run business with decades of experience) of three races/rides throughout our state that challenge riders who want fully-supported, challenging routes and aren’t afraid of bumpy, gravel-strewn backroads.

The Epic, along with its sibling events the Sasquatch Duro in Oakridge May 18th and the Oregon Gran Fondo in Cottage Grove June 1st, tap into the skyrocketing popularity of mass-start rides with big courses where at least some of the miles are on unpaved roads. In case of the Coast Epic and the Duro, half the miles are dirt. One of the things that drew me to this series were the locations themselves. I love an excuse to spend time in these classic, small Oregon adventure towns defined by their jaw-droppingly beautiful natural features.

(Photos: Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

At the convivial start in the parking lot of the Waldport Community Center, I got a chance to check out some of the bikes people chose for the day’s course: either 37 or 60 miles with ample amounts of climbing. As you can see below, there was a wide range of bikes and riders. That’s what I love about the gravel scene: It draws everything from serious roadies to Sunday ramblers.

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I opted for the big “Abomination” route which ended up being about 56 miles with over 7,000 feet of elevation gain. What a route! Even though none of the roads were closed, I think I only saw 2-3 drivers all day. It felt like we had the entire Siuslaw National Forest to ourselves. I was happy to not have any distractions because the terrain was tough. Beyond what felt like climbs that never ended, there was a section of timber had been freshly harvested. It left behind soft dirt and fresh, sharp gravel. It was hard to stay upright.

What I’ll remember most were the descents and bucolic scenes riding along the Alsea River.

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(Photos: Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

Unlike last year when I did this ride with my brother and took a more chill approach, this time around I wanted to see how fast I could go. I was on a brand new bike (more on that later), so I was still “moving in” so-to-speak and didn’t feel 100% right. I also had a tubeless tire blowout (total mystery why it happened, maybe too much air pressure?). Thankfully I had a spare tube and threw it in without much hassle. In the end, I did fine; but I know I could do much better. Can’t wait to try again next year!

The Klatch and I will be spending a lot of time together this summer.
(Photo: Ayleen Crotty)

One of the perks of doing Triple Crown events is they are shot by a top-notch photographer. Harry Apelbaum of Apelbaum Studios does excellent work. I’ve shared just a selection of his images from the Epic in this post. See them all here.

If you’re curious about my new bike, you’ll be hearing more about it in the weeks and months to come. It’s a special, Oregon Triple Crown edition Co-Motion Klatch. Made in Eugene and outfitted with Rolf Prima Hyalite wheels (also made in Eugene!), this bike was designed with gravel racing in mind. We tried to make it a perfect blend of efficiency on the road and durability/fun off-road. We’re still in the early stages of our courtship; but so far, I feel like the relationship has serious potential.

Stay tuned for more coverage of gravel riding in Oregon. And thanks to Co-Motion, Rolf Prima Wheels, and Ride With GPS for helping me get out there.

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

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New piece of 40-Mile Loop path is paved and protected on NE Marine Drive

Bike Portland - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:48

Sure beats a gravel-strewn bike lane next to fast big-rigs!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County and Metro recently worked together to construct a nice new piece of the 40-Mile Loop on NE Marine Drive in Troutdale. And it’s not the only sign of progress for riding in this area — which happens to be a popular gateway to the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Short but sweet.

The new path is about a half-mile long. It starts at NW Eastwind Drive and ends at NW Dunbar. The path connects to an existing section of the off-street path that begins in Blue Lake Park about two miles to the west.

I noticed the new path while on a ride last weekend. Before it was put in, this section of Marine Drive bothered me. It’s in a corner where people drive very fast and there are a lot of big trucks around (see before photo below). The bike lane was always strewn with gravel due to a big turnout space adjacent to the road shoulder. Now it’s clean and smooth and separated from drivers via a planted median.

Before the path was put in.

Multnomah County says the project was triggered by a nearby industrial construction project that required the developer to help fund the path.

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Port of Portland graphic showing two new path segments to be built next year.

If you ride in this area, we’ve also got an update on another project that will add several miles of new paths that will allow for a much lower-stress connection between Blue Lake Park and the Sandy River/Historic Highway.

Remember in 2015 when I shared a few unpaved connections between Marine Drive and the Sandy River Delta area that connected directly to the new bike path over the Sandy River? A Port of Portland project to formalize these connections (that I first reported on in August 2016) has moved forward and is scheduled for construction next year.

(Harlow Road Segment as it exists today on the left, and the currently unpaved levee between Blue Lake Park and Sundial Road on the right. Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Harlow Road segment.

According to a presentation at the recent Metro Quarterly Trails Forum, the Port of Portland is currently in design phase for the “Fairview Gap” project. They plan to construct a 1.7 mile path that will connect to Marine Drive at Blue Lake Park. They will install a flashing beacon west of NE 223rd Avenue and the new path will follow a currently unpaved levee crossing to Sundial Road. A separate segment will pave 1/3 of a mile north-south along the Sandy River to fill a gap between the existing Reynolds Trail and NE Harlow Road.

Construction on these two segments will start next year.

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

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Columbia County to develop 40 miles of unpaved roads and trails near St. Helens

Bike Portland - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 09:56

Approximate location of future roads/trails. St. Helens and Columbia River are in lower right.

Columbia County will get another bicycling boost thanks to Travel Oregon and the City of St. Helens.

“We are considered to be part of the Portland region, but we don’t get as much attention as things around Portland. So this is really refreshing and a very good thing for us.”
— Karen Kane, Columbia County

In the hills just west of St. Helens about 37 miles north of downtown Portland, the county plans to develop about 30-40 miles of new unpaved roads for recreational use.

According to a statement from the County, the trails would be built on a 2,400 acre parcel (about half the size of Forest Park) of city-owned timber property known as the St. Helens Tree Farm. The parcels are located around Salmonberry Lake, a city-owned reservoir about seven miles west of Highway 30 on Pittsburgh Road. The vision for the land is to use half the property for motorized vehicles and the remainder for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. The city also wants to develop a campground.

The cycling trails would be built by Christopher Bernhardt of Portland-based C2 Recreation Consulting, the same firm that has worked on many other sites in the region including Gateway Green and Sandy Ridge.

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(Map: Columbia County)

Columbia County has long sought the attention of Oregon’s statewide tourism board, but local leaders say they’ve often been overlooked. Now that’s beginning to change. Columbia County Director of Communications Karen Kane says, “Travel Oregon has really been focusing on this county. It’s been tough because we are considered to be part of the Portland region, but we don’t get as much attention as things around Portland. So this is really refreshing and a very good thing for us.”

BikePortland readers know that cycling in Columbia County is some of the best in the region. We’ve shared great rides in the past from the Crown-Zellerbach Trail, Bacona Road, Vernonia and well beyond.

So far there’s $20,000 available (thanks to Travel Oregon grants) for planning and development. The Columbia County Economic Team, a group looking to boost the County’s tourism appeal, plans to apply for larger grants through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to further flesh out the project.

A Stakeholders Forum will be held Tuesday, May 14th at the Columbia County Courthouse in St. Helens. This will be the first step in the creation of a comprehensive plan for the site.

Comments from groups and individuals are encouraged. Send them to Columbia County Parks Director Casey Garrett at casey.garrett@columbiacountyor.gov.

If you love riding in Columbia County as much as I do, and want to discover new roads and meet cool people, consider signing up for the Columbia Century Challenge. It starts and ends in Clatskanie on June 15th.

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

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On SW Corridor light rail line, $100 million could go to garages – or to better options

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:43

Huge park-and-rides, like this one at the end of the Orange Line south of Milwaukie, convince a few hundred cars to pull off the freeway sooner. But homes and bikeways near rail would make car ownership optional. (Photo: TriMet)

Editor’s note: This piece by former BikePortland news editor Michael Andersen is cross-posted from Sightline Institute. If you’d like to get involved in shifting tens of millions of dollars from parking garages to other ideas like protected bike lanes, affordable housing or bus improvements, there’s an important 15-minute public comment period coming up Monday, 9:10 a.m. at Tigard City Hall.

The people planning the Portland area’s next light-rail line seem to be steering away from a scenario where taxpayers pour $100 million of precious public-transit funding into a series of giant parking garages.

But unless the public speaks up in the next month, it’s possible that a handful of elected officials will push to build the garages along the “Southwest Corridor” through Southwest Portland, Tigard and Tualatin anyway—despite a mountain of evidence that spending the money on bus service, infrastructure for walking and biking, and transit-oriented affordable housing would do far more to improve mobility, reduce auto dependence and cut pollution.

“If we want to maximize transit ridership, park-and-rides are far less effective than other options… The answer is to make transit an efficient and attractive option without requiring auto use in the first place.”
— Madeline Kovacs from Sightline Institute, during a presentation to the project committee last week.

TriMet staffers seem to be looking to “update their approach” to park-and-rides based on a closer look at the factors that actually drive transit ridership, said Ramtin Rahmani, a volunteer on the community advisory committee for the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project.

Rahmani (speaking only for himself) said last week that instead of pushing multi-level garages at several stations along the new rail line through Portland, Tigard, and Tualatin, TriMet’s staff members are making the case for surface lots, except at the end of the line near Bridgeport Mall. Their theory is that transit funding is better spent elsewhere and the surface lots would preserve the option of adding housing later.

This proposal isn’t perfect. TriMet has indeed redeveloped a few park-and-ride lots over the years, but it’s rarely removed parking spaces when doing so. That said, as I argued in November, surface lots are less bad than free parking garages. Here’s a slightly updated version of what my Sightline colleague Madeline Kovacs told the rail line’s community advisory committee when it met last week:

At $52,000 per stall, free park-and-ride garages are among the least effective ways taxpayers can spend money on public transit.

TriMet records show that 38 percent of MAX park-and-ride stalls sit empty on a typical weekday. But even if we generously assume a vacancy rate of just 20 percent for Southwest Corridor garages and a 45-year lifespan, then taxpayers are spending about $7 for every weekday a space will be used. The region’s taxpayers would be essentially buying more than the equivalent of a free transit pass for anyone who shows up at a garage, on one condition: that they show up in a car.

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If we want to maximize transit ridership, park-and-rides are far less effective than other options. A 2016 King County Metro analysis found that capital investments to improve bus speed and reliability created more than three times as many riders per dollar as free park-and-rides. TriMet’s own analysis projected that even if several new garages are built for the Southwest Corridor, 85 percent of future trips will come from foot, bike or transfer traffic, not park-and-rides.

If we want to minimize congestion and pollution, the meaningful answer is not to convince 200, 300 or 500 cars—out of the 300,000 that drive to jobs in Portland each day—to pull off I-5 a few miles farther south. The answer is to make transit an efficient and attractive option without requiring auto use in the first place.

This can mean improvements to bus, walk and bike connections to rail. $100 million would be enough to install networks of low-stress protected bike lanes for miles in every direction around all 13 Southwest Corridor stops. It can also mean creating mixed-use, mixed-income developments within walking distance of rail stops—something that becomes much harder if you already dedicated the prime land near your rail stop to parking lots and garages. $100 million would be enough to create or preserve 600 more affordable homes along the corridor.

If we want to improve mobility for lower-income people, the solution is not to offer free parking to several hundred car-owning downtown workers in the hope that some of them might be poor. The solution is to spend the money on things we know disproportionately benefit low-income residents: better bus transit and affordable housing near transit. Both of these also boost overall transit use, creating a self-reinforcing cycle that helps improve the system for everyone.

The huge cost of new rail lines can sometimes make park-and-ride garages seem cheap by comparison. They are not. The cost of building something great, like a new public rail line used by tens of thousands of Oregonians, shouldn’t be allowed to conceal the boondoggle of free garages. Our region desperately needs to spend this money on things that will matter more.

Happily, TriMet staffers made some of the same points themselves to the advisory committee Thursday night. Take a look at this section of their slideshow. (Slide 41, for example: “Parking is expensive.” TrIMet puts it at $52,000 per garage space and $18,000 per surface lot space, plus $1 per space per day to operate.)

TriMet’s staffers also shared this image comparing greenhouse gas pollution for driving alone, for driving alone to a park-and-ride, and for taking bus or bike to a rail station:

Shifting a trip from car to bus-plus-rail is 67 percent better at cutting carbon pollution than shifting it from car to park-and-ride. (Image: Los Angeles Metro. Data from Chester et al, Infrastructure and automobile shifts: positioning transit to reduce life-cycle environmental impacts for urban sustainability goals.

But it’s not TriMet staffers who have de facto power over what ends up in the light-rail plan. The Southwest Corridor Steering Committee, which consists mostly of elected officials from suburban jurisdictions, will effectively decide how many transit dollars and how much transit-adjacent real estate to dedicate to park-and-rides, even within the City of Portland.

The agency could scrap its garage plans and solicit proposals from outside the agency for mixed-income housing developments. If a new building (probably with some shared parking on-site) can generate more transit riders than a parking lot alone, it could be allowed on the site instead.

Another option: The regional 2020 ballot issue that’s expected to fund this rail line could give cities money to install networks of protected bike lanes around each stop. That, along with relatively dense suburban station areas, can be the “secret weapon” of suburban transit ridership.

TriMet’s steering committee will briefly take up this issue at a meeting next week, and will go into depth at its next meeting on June 10.

Free park-and-rides might seem great for transit use. But look closely. They’re not: They soak up money that would be better used making transit better and easier to access. Yes, garages are visible. But that visibility is just a monument to our failure to make transit more attractive than driving in any way but one: free parking.

— Michael Andersen: (503) 333-7824, @andersem on Twitter and michael@sightline.org.

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SDOT partners with Outdoors For All to offer free adaptive bike rentals all summer

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:21

Photo from Sofie’s story on the Outdoors For All blog.

Bike share is amazing. Just beep a bike with your phone, and you’re riding wherever you want to go for a few nickels per minute. That is, of course, if you are physically able to operate the app and ride a two-wheeled sit-up style pedal bike.

That’s why Seattle is using part of the permit fees collected from bike share companies to fun an all-summer partnership with Outdoors For All to provide free adaptive cycle rentals. People can rent bike between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. any day May through September from the OFA Cycling Center in Magnusson Park. They will also bring cycles to a handful of community events, including many Bicycle Sunday events at Seward Park and the White Center Bicycle Playground.

OFA has an incredible selection of cycles that help people with a wide range of disabilities get out on a bike. The organization is home to one of the largest fleets of adaptive cycles anywhere, including handcycles, trikes, and various styles of tandem bikes with lots of fitting capabilities. They also have knowledgeable staff who can help people find a cycle that will work for them and get the bikes adjusted and ready to go. They also offer standard pedal bikes so able-bodied caregivers can ride along.

Details from SDOT:

May is #BikeEverywhereMonth and we’re working to ensure everyone has access to get out and enjoy the great joys of biking.

Did you know one of the nation’s largest fleets of adaptive cycles is housed here in Seattle? Outdoors for All Foundation, a local non-profit, provides adaptive recreation opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and boasts over 200 adaptive cycles in its Magnuson Park Adaptive Cycle Center.
Now, a new partnership between our Bike Share Program and Outdoors for All will help more people access these amazing cycles.

This summer, a portion of our bike share permit-generated fees will go straight to Outdoors for All, allowing this great organization to better serve the community through the Adaptive Cycling Center. Read on to learn about the many opportunities for you to get out and bike!
Free rentals, extended hours, and bikes in south Seattle – here’s what our partnership is providing:

1. All adaptive cycle rentals will be FREE in Magnuson Park through September 30, 2019!This new partnership will allow all rentals in Magnuson Park to be free-of-charge for children and adults with disabilities! You can rent an adaptive cycle through September 30, 2019 at the Adaptive Cycling Center in Magnuson Park.
What are adaptive cycles? They include:

  • Handcycles for individuals with no or limited leg movement
  • Three- and four-wheel cycles for those who need more stability
  • Children’s hand and foot powered cycles
  • Tandem cycles for individuals who want a guide while riding
  • Hand and foot cranked cycles exercising your whole body
  • Standard cycles

2. The Adaptive Cycling Center will remain open 7 days a week from May through September. Now, you can cycle all week long! With our partnership, adaptive cycles will be available for drop-in rentals 7 days a week from 10 AM – 6 PM through September 30.

3. We’ll bring the adaptive cycles to 10 events in South Seattle this summer. We understand that Magnuson Park isn’t easily accessible for those living in the South Seattle. That’s why this partnership allows for Outdoors for All to bring their trailer full of adaptive cycles to 10 events this summer!
People will be able to stop by and try an adaptive cycle free-of-charge at these events, including Seward Park Bicycle Sundays and White Center Bicycle Demonstrations. Check out the complete list of dates here!

Locations, dates and times:
  • Seward Park June 16 & 23, July 7 & 14, August 11 & 18, September 8 & 15
  • White Center Bicycle Playground June 21st & September 21st.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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