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Traffic civility in Portland’s new era of congestion

Traffic civility in Portland’s new era of congestion

Portland bike traffic-1.jpg

It’s not just Portland’s freeways that are crowded these days.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Please welcome back Sarah Gilbert. She’s written for us in the past about a cargo biking adventure and the psychology of anger.

Crystal was egged one day coming back from a bike tour, her guests trailing behind her on their bicycles. We don’t know why; just, bam, splat. The assailants only got her.

We’re both tour guides for the same company and I heard the story when I got back to the shop that afternoon. It’s busy work, with the tourist industry on the same upswing as everywhere-to-Portland immigration.

gilbertheadshotI didn’t remember about the egging when, a few days later a woman walking on the Hawthorne Bridge path intentionally shoved me off my bike. I was riding next to a tour guest from New York, chatting. I almost knocked my guest off her bike too, into the car traffic. My crime, as far as I can tell: being where she thought I shouldn’t, in that murky middle of the busy biking/walking pathway.

How did we come to this?

Hours later I remembered how these things had happened in succession. It seems at first as if we’ve lost some kind of civility, but maybe that’s not it, maybe it’s somehow the opposite. Certainly there is an unhinging… it’s as if we’ve all got the pieces, the doors and walls and windows, but we’ve lost half our hardware and we’re swinging wild.

I’ve been that way too. And my instinct after I recovered from shock was to run after this woman, hold her accountable. We love that phrase, don’t we? It’s so simple and full of judiciousness. “Accountability.”

Only I have a practice of not holding anger after years of it being directed toward me. I’d had enough of letting that simmer; it’s a force, yes, a powerful one, but I’m not sure how useful it is. Anger is for fighting and my analysis says we need empathy, that winning battles loses everything. War on drugs/war on poverty/war on homelessness and all I see is collateral damage.

I couldn’t chase her anyway, it wasn’t practical, I’d have had to ride my bike the wrong way down the Hawthorne bridge and I had a group of tourists who didn’t know their way back without me. I led them back and thought.

The thing is that I broke her rule. I don’t know exactly what her rule was: something about where bicycles should be. Here, not there; I was probably the nth-plus-one person to do it and I was riding slow and not paying attention to her. Violation, opportunity. She’d been brought to the brink.







This is what happens when people move to a place that has such a reputation for passion and anarchy as Portland. We all come here with our unique contexts and childhood education. I’ve taken drivers tests in Virginia and North Carolina and Oregon but Oregon law is home to me. There might be two dozen home laws on that bridge sidewalk on a Friday afternoon and we’re all pretty sure ours are the most civil.

Is it still civility when we take the law into our own hands? Probably not, but can you blame anyone for doing it? Any mode of transportation can seem dangerous if you’re smaller or slower.

Is it still civility when we take the law into our own hands? Probably not, but can you blame anyone for doing it? Any mode of transportation can seem dangerous if you’re smaller or slower. I’ve seen some runners who put fear in my heart.

I’ve been at the receiving end of a few collisions with bicycle riders while I was walking. I got a lot of apologies and didn’t “hold them accountable” — but fuck it hurt. I get it.

“Have you ever imagined killing anyone?” a close male friend asked another in my presence. “Every day, every day,” came the response.

“Me too…” said the questioner.

“The only thing that holds me back is my rational brain,” said the other, almost ruefully.

I know traffic is causing lots of those fantasies. Traffic is bad and getting worse in every mode. An Oregonian columnist said it has a “chokehold” on our city.

There are intersections that terrify me as a driver, into which I pull with certainty that one day the right distraction will mean I’ll plow into something. I came within inches of running into a family of tourists one day because I saw a coworker on the sidewalk and was wondering what he was doing with that bike trailer. “Hello!!!!” said the mom in the crosswalk with the doughnuts, as I said “sorry sorry sorry sorry” because I couldn’t think of anything else to say. It was totally 100% my fault.

Maybe that woman who pushed me off my bike was doing that to me. We jump to blame people of “mental illness” but if she’s afflicted maybe we all are. Is mental illness endlessly pervasive? Or could it be a state to which we slip in and out? Maybe most of the time this woman acts in a rational manner, serving as we all do: judge and jury but not executioner.

We don’t believe (at least not most of the time) in a black and white human state, that there are good and evil people. Yet we mete punishments out this way, both on a judicial level (look at the way convicted felons all but lose citizenship) and a social one (look at local hoteliers accused of funding a Trump event).

As I was working on this piece, I took several groups of tourists to ride the Gorge historic highway. The ride we do isn’t long and is popular with bike riders, but car operators have been getting more and more impatient. It used to be a rare complaint: people laying on their horn behind us (or shouting at us to get off the road). Many of our riders have reported people blasting their car horns to show frustration. And often, passing our riders only to sit in a 45-minute backup for parking at Multnomah Falls less than a half-mile away, (a problem for which I never, ever hear horn blasts).

Video of Historic Columbia River Highway by Ted Timmons shows how congested the Gorge has become.

“Why is this?” a tourist asked me. She was from Manhattan, and had been having a lovely time up until the last mile.

“It’s mid-August,” I replied. “They’re realizing summer is almost over and they’ve barely done half of what they want to do.”

They had now all heard my story about the woman pushing me off my bike; I told them as a way of explaining this sense of angry urgency. “What did you do?” asked the tourist from Manhattan and the older couple from Calgary and the young couple from the Bay Area.

“What could I do?” I replied. “I am just glad to have not been hurt. And now that I know more about what mood we’re in here, I can be more prepared.”

That’s all I have. That’s my only solution. Beyond telling the story I can only just know, how people are feeling, and if I’m lucky, why.

Next time I’m on the bridge I’ll give everyone more space. I’ll save conversation for later. I’ll keep both hands on my handlebars and take a deep breath and watch for the inevitable anger and just hope it doesn’t take anyone else, anyone more vulnerable and less ready, dangerously off guard.

– Sarah Gilbert, @sarahgilbert

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The post Traffic civility in Portland’s new era of congestion appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Repairs to Hawthorne Bridge railing follow damages from hit-and-run

Repairs to Hawthorne Bridge railing follow damages from hit-and-run

hawthornework

(Photo: Multnomah County)

Multnomah County has erected work zone barriers at the eastern entrance of the northern path of the Hawthorne Bridge. Maintenance crews are repairing damage to the railing inflicted by a person who failed to maintain control of their automobile and rammed into it.

County spokesman Mike Pullen said the incident happened about a month ago in the wee hours of the morning (“after the bars closed,” he said). Someone traveling westbound failed to negotiate the turn and jumped up the tall curb and hit the railing. Pullen said the county had an operator on the bridge when it happened but the employee didn’t see the incident. Cameras on the bridge were unable to identify the car or the person driving it.





Pullen said typically when someone damages a bridge the county sends them the bill to pay for it. But in this case since the person hasn’t been found, they’ll probably get stuck with the repair expenses (which are “not insignificant” Pullen said).

Crews will have to create a work platform on the underside of the bridge to make the repairs. A temporary barrier has been set up that takes up about a 20-inches of the 10-foot wide path. Bridge users should use extra caution while passing through this area until the work is done. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Repairs to Hawthorne Bridge railing follow damages from hit-and-run appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Tilikum Crossing already seems to be boosting bike traffic (for real this time)

Tilikum Crossing already seems to be boosting bike traffic (for real this time)

Sunday Parkways September 2015-5.jpg

Crossing Tilikum.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Two months ago, we made an unfortunate error: We ran a post observing that the new Tilikum Crossing was simultaneously boosting bike traffic and reducing bike congestion on the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalks.

Trouble was, the source of our data — the Hawthorne Bridge’s automated bike counter — had been malfunctioning, so the findings were bogus.

Now the better data has arrived … and it shows pretty much the same thing that the fake data had seemed to.

Combined bike traffic over the Hawthorne and Tilikum bridges since Oct. 1 is 20 percent higher than bike traffic over the Hawthorne in 2014.

Screenshot 2015-12-21 at 3.27.22 PM

(Data: automated bike counters. Charts: BikePortland.)

And thanks to people shifting their trips to Tilikum, bike counts on the Hawthorne are down 18 percent this fall. That’s a welcome change on a bridge where crowding often worsens tension among people biking, skating and walking.

However, the first few full months of Tilikum data also show another trend worth watching: during the rainy season, Tilikum bike traffic has been falling much faster than Hawthorne traffic.

Screenshot 2015-12-21 at 3.27.41 PM

What’s going on here?

It could be that Tilikum users are disproportionately likely to switch to a different mode or skip a nonessential bike trip in nasty weather. If that’s the case, we’d expect this ratio to climb back up next summer.

It could be that people are souring on Tilikum for some reason and switching back to Hawthorne. If that’s the case, we might expect this ratio to keep gradually leveling off.


It could be that Tilikum was still seeing a surge of “curiosity rides” in October. If that’s the case, future ratios will probably keep hovering around 40 percent.

Whatever the case, this is clearly a sign of something that ought to be obvious: just like new auto lanes, useful new bike infrastructure attracts users.

In engineering jargon, bike infrastructure induces demand.

Sunday Parkways September 2015-4.jpg

Back in 1999, skeptics of the Hawthorne Bridge’s sidewalk improvement argued that wider sidewalks were a costly boondoggle — more space for biking than the bridge would ever need.

Over the 10 years that followed, bike traffic across the bridge tripled.

All of which means it’s especially important for us to keep looking for ways to improve the connections to Tilikum. If we can learn anything from its northern neighbor, it’s that if you build it and people come, more people will be on the way soon.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org


The post Tilikum Crossing already seems to be boosting bike traffic (for real this time) appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Tilikum Crossing takes pressure off crowded Hawthorne Bridge

Tilikum Crossing takes pressure off crowded Hawthorne Bridge

Sunday Parkways September 2015-5.jpg

Tilikum Crossing during Sunday Parkways last weekend.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s a riddle to ask grandchildren: How did Portland make its most popular biking bridge better to use while simultaneously getting fewer people to use it?

The answer, of course, is “it built a totally different bridge a little way upriver.”

The Sept. 12 opening of Tilikum Crossing has cut Hawthorne Bridge bike traffic 33 percent, according to the bike counters on the two bridges.

bride traffic trend

Basically all of that reduced traffic seems to have shifted to the new Tilikum.

There’s no sign yet that the two-bridge combo is already drawing more bike traffic than the Hawthorne alone. Though the bridges’ combined bike count for September is 9 percent above the Hawthorne’s previous September high (captured in 2012) celebratory events like Sellwood Sunday Parkways seem to fully account for that jump.

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When asked about daily bike traffic numbers on the Tilikum, Portland Bureau of Transportation Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller thinks it’s still too early for a full analysis. “There’s still a lot of curiousity about the bridge,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s still kind of a destination. A novelty. It takes at least three months for people to figure out whether the bridge makes sense for them to use or not.”

Geller added that Metro is leading an effort in partnership with PBOT, TriMet, and researchers at Portland State University to collect baseline traffic and origin/destination data for bike trips across the bridge.

During its first two weeks open, Tilikum actually carried 15,000 more bikes than the Hawthorne. This week, though Tilikum traffic has fallen back to about half of Hawthorne traffic, which seems likely to be closer to its long-term state.

But the shift is already great news for people walking and biking on the Hawthorne, which has suffered from summertime bike congestion for years.

Bike traffic on Hawthorne Bridge-3

For those of use not navigating those bridges in rush hour, what matters will be how the increased comfort of the Hawthorne, the existence of the attractive new Tilikum, and the opening of the vastly improved Sellwood Bridge in a few months shape Portlanders’ habits over the course of the next few years.

Have you noticed a difference on the Hawthorne? Has Tilikum proved to be a better crossing for some of your trips? Will the new Sellwood?

Jonathan Maus contributed reporting to this story.


The post Tilikum Crossing takes pressure off crowded Hawthorne Bridge appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Tilikum Crossing may have boosted bike traffic already (corrected)

Tilikum Crossing may have boosted bike traffic already (corrected)

Sunday Parkways September 2015-5.jpg

Tilikum Crossing during Sunday Parkways last weekend.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Correction 10/5: Unfortunately, an earlier version of this post was based on inaccurate data. As explained in the comments by Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller (and first noticed by reader Psyfalcon), the Hawthorne counter failed to capture eastbound bike data from Sept. 9 through the end of the month. This problem wasn’t noted on the city’s website but we should have noticed the east/west discrepancy and checked with the city before running this story.

This means it’s likely that the Tilikum has boosted total bike traffic across the Willamette, but that Hawthorne bike traffic hasn’t dropped by anywhere close to one-third. It’ll take several weeks to learn the truth. In the meantime, we regret the error. The original (incorrect) version of the post follows.

Here’s a riddle to ask grandchildren: How did Portland make its most popular biking bridge better to use while simultaneously getting fewer people to use it?

The answer, of course, is “it built a totally different bridge a little way upriver.”

The Sept. 12 opening of Tilikum Crossing has cut Hawthorne Bridge bike traffic 33 percent, according to the bike counters on the two bridges.

bride traffic trend

Basically all of that reduced traffic seems to have shifted to the new Tilikum.

There’s no sign yet that the two-bridge combo is already drawing more bike traffic than the Hawthorne alone. Though the bridges’ combined bike count for September is 9 percent above the Hawthorne’s previous September high (captured in 2012) celebratory events like Sellwood Sunday Parkways seem to fully account for that jump.

– Advertisement –


When asked about daily bike traffic numbers on the Tilikum, Portland Bureau of Transportation Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller thinks it’s still too early for a full analysis. “There’s still a lot of curiousity about the bridge,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s still kind of a destination. A novelty. It takes at least three months for people to figure out whether the bridge makes sense for them to use or not.”

Geller added that Metro is leading an effort in partnership with PBOT, TriMet, and researchers at Portland State University to collect baseline traffic and origin/destination data for bike trips across the bridge.

During its first two weeks open, Tilikum actually carried 15,000 more bikes than the Hawthorne. This week, though Tilikum traffic has fallen back to about half of Hawthorne traffic, which seems likely to be closer to its long-term state.

But the shift is already great news for people walking and biking on the Hawthorne, which has suffered from summertime bike congestion for years.

Bike traffic on Hawthorne Bridge-3

For those of use not navigating those bridges in rush hour, what matters will be how the increased comfort of the Hawthorne, the existence of the attractive new Tilikum, and the opening of the vastly improved Sellwood Bridge in a few months shape Portlanders’ habits over the course of the next few years.

Have you noticed a difference on the Hawthorne? Has Tilikum proved to be a better crossing for some of your trips? Will the new Sellwood?

Jonathan Maus contributed reporting to this story.


The post Tilikum Crossing may have boosted bike traffic already (corrected) appeared first on BikePortland.org.

County’s bridges may get $33 million for biking and walking upgrades by 2020

County’s bridges may get $33 million for biking and walking upgrades by 2020

Hawthorne Bridge bike counter hits 1 million-1

Crowding on the Hawthorne sidewalks is already a serious problem and is only likely to increase, advocates say.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Some or all of Multnomah County’s four busiest bridges across the Willamette River — the Broadway, Burnside, Morrison and Hawthorne — could see major biking and walking upgrades within five years, biking and walking advocates said Thursday.

One possibility being discussed: physically separating bike and foot traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge by moving either biking or walking to one or two of the four auto-dominated lanes on the bridge deck.

Whatever recommendations might emerge, county staff decided in the last week to fast-track a proposed $1.4 million study of the possibilities for “improved bicycle and pedestrian operations and safety” and another $32.6 million to carry the recommendations out — all within the next five years.

No sources for that money have actually been identified yet by the county. But the mere existence of the line items is a huge change from two months ago, when (as we reported at the time) the county’s $1.3 billion Willamette River Bridges Capital Improvement Plan included nothing at all for people biking and walking.

“When they upgraded the Hawthorne people were saying, why the heck would you need such wide sidewalks on this? And boom! They were filled.”
—Andrew Holtz, Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedstrian Advisory Committee

As reported Thursday by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, county staffers changed course after objections from its Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the BTA (not to mention dozens of great ideas from BikePortland readers). The county first created the new budget items, and then fast-tracked them. Biking and walking improvements are now scheduled to be addressed within the next five years, the fastest schedule possible.

“The congestion on the Hawthorne is already a problem at times, and it’s certainly going to become more of a problem,” Andrew Holtz, a longtime member of the advisory committee, said Thursday. “Heck, we need to start studying this stuff yesterday. We can’t wait at all for figuring out what’s going to come and how do we accommodate the growth in bicycle and pedestrian transportation in the coming decades.”

BTA Engagement Manager Carl Larson agreed.

“Clearly the growth of traffic across the bridge has been coming from the people on the sidewalks, not on the decks,” he said.

summer bike traffic

Matt Picio, chair of the county advisory committee, said the Hawthorne’s sidewalks are running out of space.

“Nineteen percent of all traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge is bicycles,” Picio said. “We would like to see the council consider the possibility of lane reallocation.”

Picio’s numbers are accurate based on the number of vehicles across the bridge on an average weekday. But they don’t include people walking, people in the passenger seats of cars, or — most significantly — the 16,600 daily TriMet riders who cross the bridge in buses each day. Assuming an average 1.2 people per car (this is a standard occupancy estimate) and that the bridge draws about the same number of people on foot each weekday as it does on bikes, people biking account for 10 percent of the bridge’s traffic.

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Larson said that though he hasn’t heard any county employees raise the issue of converting any of the Hawthorne’s four auto-dominated lanes to biking or walking, “we’ve discussed that openly with county folks in the room and they haven’t run screaming.”

Holtz said the county should look to its history. In 1999, it spent millions to widen the Hawthorne’s sidewalks from 6 feet to the current 10.

“People were saying, why the heck would you need such wide sidewalks on this?” Holtz said. “And boom! They were filled.”

“Cars aren’t going away; trucks need to move,” Holtz said. “But it’s a fact now that the Hawthorne Bridge is the bike-ped bridge. … That needs to be recognized, and we need to start looking at how do we help it to fulfill its mission.”

Hawthorne Bridge scenes-9

The post County’s bridges may get $33 million for biking and walking upgrades by 2020 appeared first on BikePortland.org.

County now using magnetic sweeper to pick up tacks off Hawthorne Bridge path

County now using magnetic sweeper to pick up tacks off Hawthorne Bridge path

tacks on tire

Image sent by a reader of a
tack picked up at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Three weeks after we heard our first reports of thumbtacks scattered somewhere around the ramps of the Hawthorne Bridge, fresh reports keep coming in.

“(Tuesday) they found about 12 tacks, Monday they found about 20 and Friday they found in the 20 to 40 range,” Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen told KOIN-TV yesterday. Also yesterday we heard from KOIN reporter Elishah Oesch that her cameraman picked up 14 tacks from the east end of the path near the TriMet bus stop.

The county, which maintains the Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside and Sellwood bridges, said Wednesday that it’s made a new plan to protect the safety and property of bridge users: it’s going to sweep the bridge daily with a large magnet.

County spokesman Mike Pullen told us yesterday that, “We are now having staff walk down the sidewalks and bike lanes with a large magnet to find the tacks. Very strange situation.”

Pullen added that the County can help the Portland Police Bureau document the incidents. For their part, the PPB has yet to make any public statement about the incidents. According to KOIN-TV’s report Sgt. Pete Simpson, a PPB spokesman, said Wednesday that no formal reports have been made. (Note that this doesn’t mean no one has called the police, just that no reports have been officially filed.)

There’s no justification for this sort of vandalism, of course, and no telling what might be in the mind of the person or people doing it. It’s possible that someone is upset about people who pass too fast or too close while biking across the bridge; it’s just as possible that this is a completely random series of attacks.

tacks-koin-lead

Screenshot from KOIN.com.

But whatever is going on here, the number of separate incidents suggests it’s more than a coincidence or an idle prank. Back in 2011, similar tack attacks on North Williams and Vancouver Avenues continued for several weeks but eventually abated.

When the first incident happened early this month, we brushed it aside as an isolated incident; but now that it has continued and shows no sign of letting up, we think a more serious response from PPB is warranted. An enforcement solution is probably not feasible at this time, but we’d like to see the PPB and/or Multnomah County issue some sort of joint statement about the problem.

A strongly worded statement could have three key benefits: It would show the community that the PPB takes this crime seriously; the statement, and resulting media coverage, might scare the perpetrator(s) into stopping; and it would raise the awareness of the incidents and possibly lead to new tips or information that could lead to an arrest.

On several past occasions, when vandals slashed automobile tires in southeast Portland, the PPB issued a press release (using their “Crime Stoppers” program) and encouraged the public to call in tips. These tack incidents are just as serious as the slashing of auto tires and should met with a similar response.

The Hawthorne is Portland’s most-biked bridge and one of the highest bike traffic spots in North America. This time of year, it carries about 4,000 to 6,000 bike trips on a typical weekday.

If you happen to witness anyone who seems to be responsible for similar vandalism, you can call 911 to report them. If you become the victim of one of these incidents, call the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 or use the police bureau’s online reporting tool. That may at least add pressure on police to dedicate some resources to the issue.

Jonathan Maus contributed to this story.

The post County now using magnetic sweeper to pick up tacks off Hawthorne Bridge path appeared first on BikePortland.org.

County now using magnetic sweeper to pick up tacks off Hawthorne Bridge path

County now using magnetic sweeper to pick up tacks off Hawthorne Bridge path

magnetthingys

They’re coming for you tacks!
(Photo: Multnomah County)

Three weeks after we heard our first reports of thumbtacks scattered somewhere around the ramps of the Hawthorne Bridge, fresh reports keep coming in.

tacks on tire

Image sent by a reader of a
tack picked up at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“(Tuesday) they found about 12 tacks, Monday they found about 20 and Friday they found in the 20 to 40 range,” Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen told KOIN-TV yesterday. Also yesterday we heard from KOIN reporter Elishah Oesch that her cameraman picked up 14 tacks from the east end of the path near the TriMet bus stop.

The county, which maintains the Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside and Sellwood bridges, said Wednesday that it’s made a new plan to protect the safety and property of bridge users: it’s going to sweep the bridge daily with a large magnet.

County spokesman Mike Pullen told us yesterday that, “We are now having staff walk down the sidewalks and bike lanes with a large magnet to find the tacks. Very strange situation.”

Pullen added that the County can help the Portland Police Bureau document the incidents. For their part, the PPB has yet to make any public statement about the incidents. According to KOIN-TV’s report Sgt. Pete Simpson, a PPB spokesman, said Wednesday that no formal reports have been made. (Note that this doesn’t mean no one has called the police, just that no reports have been officially filed.)

There’s no justification for this sort of vandalism, of course, and no telling what might be in the mind of the person or people doing it. It’s possible that someone is upset about people who pass too fast or too close while biking across the bridge; it’s just as possible that this is a completely random series of attacks.

tacks-koin-lead

Screenshot from KOIN.com.

But whatever is going on here, the number of separate incidents suggests it’s more than a coincidence or an idle prank. Back in 2011, similar tack attacks on North Williams and Vancouver Avenues continued for several weeks but eventually abated.

When the first incident happened early this month, we brushed it aside as an isolated incident; but now that it has continued and shows no sign of letting up, we think a more serious response from PPB is warranted. An enforcement solution is probably not feasible at this time, but we’d like to see the PPB and/or Multnomah County issue some sort of joint statement about the problem.

A strongly worded statement could have three key benefits: It would show the community that the PPB takes this crime seriously; the statement, and resulting media coverage, might scare the perpetrator(s) into stopping; and it would raise the awareness of the incidents and possibly lead to new tips or information that could lead to an arrest.

On several past occasions, when vandals slashed automobile tires in southeast Portland, the PPB issued a press release (using their “Crime Stoppers” program) and encouraged the public to call in tips. These tack incidents are just as serious as the slashing of auto tires and should met with a similar response.

The Hawthorne is Portland’s most-biked bridge and one of the highest bike traffic spots in North America. This time of year, it carries about 4,000 to 6,000 bike trips on a typical weekday.

If you happen to witness anyone who seems to be responsible for similar vandalism, you can call 911 to report them. If you become the victim of one of these incidents, call the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 or use the police bureau’s online reporting tool. That may at least add pressure on police to dedicate some resources to the issue.

Jonathan Maus contributed to this story.

The post County now using magnetic sweeper to pick up tacks off Hawthorne Bridge path appeared first on BikePortland.org.

County more ‘vigilant’ on Hawthorne Bridge inspections as tacks claim more victims

County more ‘vigilant’ on Hawthorne Bridge inspections as tacks claim more victims

tacks-final

More tacks, more flats.
(Photos sent in by readers)


Whoever is throwing tacks onto the Hawthorne Bridge path has likely returned to the scene of the initial crime. It’s been almost a week since we shared the first report of a flat tire being caused by what seem to be many tacks purposefully strewn about the path.

“We will be monitoring the sidewalks more often until the incidents stop. People who see anything suspicious should call 911.”
— Mike Pullen, Multnomah County spokesman

We asssumed it was an isolated incident; but the flats keep coming.

On Saturday, Pedal Bike Tours employee Sarah Gilbert was riding downtown to lead a tour when she picked up two flats. We also heard from a victim who flatted from tacks on Monday. Then just yesterday, an employee from West End Bikes called to tell us they had three people roll into the shop with flats — all of them from the same, golden tacks we’ve now seen on many tires in the past week. The main location of the flats appears to be near the bus stop where the westbound bike lane merges up onto the sidewalk/path (above SE Water Ave).

Multnomah County owns and manages the Hawthorne Bridge. Spokesman Mike Pullen told us that county bridge crews cleared all tacks from the bike lane and path after hearing about it last week. Now, with new cases being reported, he says, “We are being more vigilant.”

The new cases caught the eyes of KGW-TV and KOIN-TV, who ran this segment last night:

The County has increased inspections of all their bridges and says so far they’ve only found tacks on the Hawthorne. Pullen says the tacks they found yesterday had been spray-painted black, “possibly to make them harder to see.”

“We will be monitoring the sidewalks more often until the incidents stop,” he added, “People who see anything suspicious should call 911.”

If you’ve gotten a flat and/or find one on the path, please report it to Multnomah County via phone at (503) 988-3757 (ext 0) or via email at dcs.bridges@multco.us.

Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee member Matt Picio said he plans to put the tacks on the agenda of their monthly meeting tomorrow (1/14).

We’ll continue to track these tack attacks and will be back with more information as it comes in.

The post County more ‘vigilant’ on Hawthorne Bridge inspections as tacks claim more victims appeared first on BikePortland.org.

County more ‘vigilant’ on Hawthorne Bridge inspections as tacks claim more victims

County more ‘vigilant’ on Hawthorne Bridge inspections as tacks claim more victims

tacks-final

More tacks, more flats.
(Photos sent in by readers)


Whoever is throwing tacks onto the Hawthorne Bridge path has likely returned to the scene of the initial crime. It’s been almost a week since we shared the first report of a flat tire being caused by what seem to be many tacks purposefully strewn about the path.

“We will be monitoring the sidewalks more often until the incidents stop. People who see anything suspicious should call 911.”
— Mike Pullen, Multnomah County spokesman

We asssumed it was an isolated incident; but the flats keep coming.

On Saturday, Pedal Bike Tours employee Sarah Gilbert was riding downtown to lead a tour when she picked up two flats. We also heard from a victim who flatted from tacks on Monday. Then just yesterday, an employee from West End Bikes called to tell us they had three people roll into the shop with flats — all of them from the same, golden tacks we’ve now seen on many tires in the past week. The main location of the flats appears to be near the bus stop where the westbound bike lane merges up onto the sidewalk/path (above SE Water Ave).

Multnomah County owns and manages the Hawthorne Bridge. Spokesman Mike Pullen told us that county bridge crews cleared all tacks from the bike lane and path after hearing about it last week. Now, with new cases being reported, he says, “We are being more vigilant.”

The new cases caught the eyes of KGW-TV and KOIN-TV, who ran this segment last night:

The County has increased inspections of all their bridges and says so far they’ve only found tacks on the Hawthorne. Pullen says the tacks they found yesterday had been spray-painted black, “possibly to make them harder to see.”

“We will be monitoring the sidewalks more often until the incidents stop,” he added, “People who see anything suspicious should call 911.”

If you’ve gotten a flat and/or find one on the path, please report it to Multnomah County via phone at (503) 988-3757 (ext 0) or via email at dcs.bridges@multco.us.

Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee member Matt Picio said he plans to put the tacks on the agenda of their monthly meeting tomorrow (1/14).

We’ll continue to track these tack attacks and will be back with more information as it comes in.

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