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Month: March 2017

Museum expansion would prohibit biking, limit walking access near South Park Blocks

Museum expansion would prohibit biking, limit walking access near South Park Blocks

Portland Art Museum’s planned “Rothko Pavillion”.
(Drawing: Vinci Hamp Architects)

A planned expansion of the Portland Art Museum will (PAM) come at a cost of $50 million in new construction — and it would also come at the cost of public access to our city streets.

As part of their plans to build the “Rothko Pavillion,” PAM has asked the City of Portland for permission to close an existing public right-of-way through a plaza between two of their buildings that connects SW 10th and Park at Madison Street. The proposal would add a significant new structure to the museum’s footprint and it has architects and cultural backers very excited. But some advocates are concerned that the new plans will further limit walking and rolling in a part of town where street connections are invaluable.

Places where it’s easy and attractive to walk and roll have small blocks with lots of connections between them. The tighter the grid, the thinking goes, the better walkability a place has. As city blocks become “superblocks,” human-powered trip times increase, which makes walking and biking less attractive.

PAM’s latest plans are just the latest in a long history of limiting access to this block.

SW Madison is red, the proposed pavillion is the blue box. (Note: Not exact by any stretch, we don’t have a graphics department.)

Madison used to connect between 10th and Park, but at PAM’s request in 1968 City Council passed an ordinance to “vacate” the street so the museum could complete a major renovation. That ordinance held PAM to three promises: a permanent, eight-foot wide public easement would be provided; the easement should be free of obstructions and well-lit; and that the area be only used as open mall. After several incidents of vandalism in 1984, PAM requested — and was granted — an amendment to the easement to close the right-of-way between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am. Then in late 2012, PAM requested to further limit the hours of public access. They wanted the public to only be able to use the plaza during museum hours. This time however, the City of Portland’s Planning & Sustainability Commission shot down the request. According to a briefing on the issue created by PBOT Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s office, the museum than unsuccessfully appealed to former Mayor Sam Adams with a threat close public access if hours weren’t further limited.

PAM’s latest request would allow them to expand their programs between two existing buildings by covering the pavilion. The enclosed space would be free to enter and is being billed by the museum as a “cultural commons” between the buildings.








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Existing conditions. Green line shows current easement through the block.

While the new structure has many benefits for our city, the requested easement change would, according to briefing papers prepared by the City of Portland, “Potentially exclude users of the space that are not utilizing it as pedestrian access between SW 10th Avenue and SW Park Avenue, patronizing Museum offerings (e.g., gift shop, café, etc.), or attending the Museum, as well as and/or including bicycles and animals.” Public access would also be reduced by four to eight hours per day.

“More than likely we will request that access be maintained and provided for those who are walking and biking.”
— Rithy Khut, Chair of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee

If the easement is approved it would make bicycle connections to and from SW Madison more difficult and inconvenient. Madison is a major city bikeway east of the museum because of its relatively low-volume traffic and direct connection to the Hawthorne Bridge — the most heavily used bike route across the Willamette River with a peak-season daily average of over 6,000 trips. SW Columbia has no bike lanes and isn’t considered a bike-friendly street. Salmon would be comparable, but it would mean a four-block detour.

These concerns, as well as potential impacts to walking, have already surfaced.

Local urban planner Mary Vogel wrote in an op-ed published on January 17th in the Portland Tribune that the closure of the plaza would go agaist Portland’s values of reducing demand for fossil fuels. The City should, “Insist on a revision of the Portland Art Museum Rothko Pavilion plan,” Vogel wrote, and instead, “focus on strengthening downtown walkability and resilience — e.g. negotiate a Madison Walkway between Southwest 11th and 12th Avenues to break up this superblock.”

And a December 2012 article about the project in The Oregonian highlighted concerns of people who live across the street from the museum who worry about losing access:

Neighbors worry that means they won’t be able to use it for commutes or to reach places like the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and the Oregon Historical Society.

Ferriso [with PAM] said he recognizes the neighbors’ concerns, but whatever’s lost by closing the walkway an additional 25 to 30 hours is outweighed by the community benefits of improved educational and cultural opportunities at the museum.

Wendy Rahm, an Eliot resident who is a museum patron and a member of the board of directors of the Architectural Heritage Center, worries the museum isn’t listening to stakeholders in her building.

“I think it’s gorgeous,” Rahm said after attending a presentation about the proposed expansion. “My problem with this is that plaza is a pedestrian-oriented oasis in our very increasingly dense city. It is an asset to this part of town.”

PAM’s proposal to limit access on this block was also discussed briefly at the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting on March 14th. A large majority of committee members raised their hands in opposition to the idea. PBAC Chair Rithy Khut confirmed with us this week that they plan to submit a letter to Commissioner Saltzman and, “More than likely we will request that access be maintained and provided for those who are walking and biking.”

This ordinance is scheduled to be heard at City Council on April 20th.

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

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Portland launches ‘PedPDX’ to update citywide walking plan

Portland launches ‘PedPDX’ to update citywide walking plan

East Portland street scenes-8

Crossing large arterials in east Portland — like 122nd — should be much easier.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When it comes to moving people in Portland, “walking” is listed in our 2035 Comprehensive Plan as the highest priority mode. To make sure that policy makes it into practice, the Bureau of Transportation has embarked on the first update of their Pedestrian Plan since 1998. They call it “PedPDX”.

PBOT should stop using “ped” and “pedestrian” and replace it with “walk” and “walker”.

Yesterday PBOT launched a survey to recruit 15 Citizen Advisory Committee members and unveiled the plan’s new website.

“The plan will prioritize sidewalks, crossing improvements, and other investments to make walking safer and more comfortable across the city,” the site reads. “It will identify the key strategies and tools we will use to make Portland a truly great walking city.”

The plan will aim to do that by producing a project list that will guide investment, create policies that influence how projects are implemented, and help walking compete with other transportation modes as our city grows. PBOT acknowledges that a new plan is needed to address the fact that, “significant gaps and deficiencies remain” in the walking network, especially in neighborhoods far from the central city. The existing 1998 plan was created in a time long before we considered transportation equity and Vision Zero — two principles that dominate investment and policy decisions today.

When the 1998 Pedestrian Plan was passed, the Pearl District was, “a tangle of dirt streets, railroad tracks and warehouses.”








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Portland mode priority policy in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan (adopted June 2016).

Here’s what PBOT says PedPDX will do:

— Establish a clear plan vision, goals, and objectives
— Identify gaps and needs in Portland’s pedestrian network (including needs for new sidewalks, crossings, and other pedestrian improvements)
— Prioritize needs to ensure that we are directing funding to locations with the greatest needs first (project prioritization will reflect the City’s commitment to improving equity outcomes and reaching our Vision Zero goal)
— Articulate the strategies, actions, and tools we will use to improve walking conditions within prioritized areas, and across the city
— Identify context-sensitive design solutions for various part of the city
— Update the City’s pedestrian classifications and designations, which help drive pedestrian design requirements; and
— Identify the performance measures we will use to track our progress implementing the plan over time

This plan will likely have many intersections with bicycle use. With construction of a network of protected bikeways downtown expected to begin next year, PBOT needs clear policy guidance for how to integrate walkways into these new street designs. Another issue that’s like to come up is a design standard for separating bicycles users from people walking on popular paths like the Waterfront, Esplanade, and Willamette Greenway paths.

Another major issue PBOT will address as part of this plan is street crossings — a very weak link in both our walking and biking networks. The plan will include a “pedestrian network gap analysis” where crossing gaps citywide will be quantified. A related and extremely important issue that PedPDX will tackle is parking setback standards. Whether walking or biking, many of Portland’s crosswalks would be much safer if PBOT would enforce and/or create new parking restrictions near corners. When people park too close to corners, it’s difficult for walkers and bikers to see oncoming cross-traffic.

PBOT hopes to have a draft plan completed by July 2018 and council adoption by fall of that same year.

Learn more and apply to be on the CAC at the PedPDX website.

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

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Two non-profits team up for new coffee/bike shop on SE Powell

Two non-profits team up for new coffee/bike shop on SE Powell

He’ll have much more room in the new space.
(Photo: Braking Cycles)

How much good can bikes do under just one roof?

How about a coffee shop up front where homeless and at-risk youth learn job skills and a bike shop in the rear where they learn bike repair skills? That’s what Braking Cycles and Bikes for Humanity PDX have planned for a new venture coming to SE 33rd and Powell.

We shared the story of Braking Cycles in 2014, right when social service worker Rhona Maul was starting up the new venture. Braking Cycles is a project of Transitional Youth, a Beaverton-based non-profit that helps homeless and at-risk youth integrate into the community. For the past three years Maul has been working to make her dream of having a stand-alone shop for the program a reality. Now she’s just $12,000 away and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to get there (watch the video below).








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The partnership with Bikes for Humanity came at an opportune time. That organization — which provides refurbished bikes at low-cost, repair services, and bike maintenance education classes — has faced a few years of rough finances as it adjusts to life without its founder.

Future location at SE 33rd Place and Powell.

“They are low on cash, so the beauty of this situation is, we are moving in with them!,” Maul, “It helps them out and gives us a great partnership in space as well.”

Bicycles for Humanity volunteer Andrew Shaw-Kitch said the new arrangement will allow them to continue to operate their shop, school, and headquarters in one half of the shop, while Braking Cycles operates out of the other half.

Once the renovation is complete (assuming the crowdfunding is successful), youth who participate in the Braking Cycles program will go through a six-month paid apprenticeship program where they’ll learn how to pull espresso shots and pull bottom brackets with equal aplomb.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.





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Oregon has a driving problem and we all need protection

Oregon has a driving problem and we all need protection

In just six hours on Sunday morning three separate incidents showed just one aspect of the vast negative impacts driving has on our state.

Traffic safety issues are often framed in a way that makes them seem like it’s all about “bicyclists and pedestrians”. But the reality is that dangerous driving (and driving itself, but that’s another conversation) is a menace to everyone and no person — or thing — is safe as long as our roads and culture normalize this behavior.

Over the course of less than five hours Sunday morning (between 2:30 and 8:30 am) here’s what my inbox looked like (emphases mine):

From Albany:

Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon reports on March 26, 2017, at 02:49 a.m. Deputies responded to 3725 SE Spicer Road, Albany, for a reported crash of a vehicle into a house.

The investigation revealed a white 2015 Subaru WRX 4-door sedan, was northbound on Three Lakes Road when it failed to negotiate a curve in the road where it intersects with Spicer Road. The vehicle left the roadway, crashing through a yard, into a power pole and then struck the front of a house before coming to a stop.

The operator, Joshua Pairan 33-yrs-old of Albany, told deputies he was out for a drive to show his friends his new car.

The passengers were identified as Noah Padilla, 33-yrs-old, and his wife Danielle Padilla, 31-yrs-old both from Albany. Danielle Padilla was sitting in the rear seat of the car and had to be rescued by the Albany Fire Department using the jaws-of-life to extricate her from the crushed vehicle. Danielle Padilla was transported by ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis for non-life threatening injures.

Joshua Pairan was arrested and charged with DUII, Reckless Endangering, Reckless Driving, Criminal Mischief II and Assault III. He was lodged at the Linn County Jail. Alcohol and excessive speed appear to be contributing factors to the crash.








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From Salem:

On March 26th, 2017 at about 3:00 am, a black Ford F150 intentionally crashes into the side of the building of the Star Market at 9005 River Rd NE and steals the ATM. The vehicle is described as a 2004-2006 year and having a leveling kit, running boards, black fender flares and black rims. The rear of the vehicle now has damage from ramming the building, twice.

After the described suspect vehicle crashed into the building and left another subject entered into the business and stole several packs of cigarettes. His photo’s are attached. It is unknown if they two incidents are connected with each other.

And from northwest Portland via KATU News

A car landed on top of a boat Sunday morning after a driver crashed in a Northwest Portland neighborhood, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said.

Fire crews rushed to stabilize the car so paramedics could start treating the injured driver. No word on that person’s current condition.

The boat’s owner, Tim Brown, was home doing the dishes when he saw the car coming towards his house.

“Catapulted across the street, landed on our driveway and bounced up on the vehicles,” Brown said.

Brown says he’s had a car totalled before, after a previous incident where a car crashed in to his driveway. He didn’t have much time to be surprised by what happened Sunday morning. After seeing what had happened, he had his wife call 911, then Brown jumped in to action.

“I had just taken an EMR class. Fortunately it was still fresh in my mind,” Brown said. “I grabbed my bag, I jumped on top and tried to make contact with the person in the vehicle.” Witnesses said the driver lost control, drove up a berm and traveled through some trees before landing on the boat.

Emergency responders at the scene said it’s possible the driver suffered some sort of medical issue before the crash.

People failing to control their cars and/or purposefully using them to create havoc are more common than you think — and this goes far beyond simply a “bike and pedestrian safety” issue.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.





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Bike shop offers $500 reward for return of rare, stolen e-trike

Bike shop offers $500 reward for return of rare, stolen e-trike

Owner of RecumbentPDX says the stolen trike is one of only 12 or so on the entire west coast.

An rare electric-assist recumbent trike was stolen in downtown Portland over the weekend. It belongs to someone who is physically disabled. Mel Birgé, owner of RecumbentPDX in southeast Portland, is offering $500 for its return.

Here’s more from Mel:

An HP Scorpion Plus Pedelec was stolen. It looks virtually-identical to the one in the attached picture (the stolen one is tan color and has a larger 26” wheel in the rear). The trike has a Go SwissDrive electric motor in the rear wheel.

The owner is disabled by a brain tumor and this is his primary recreation.








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RPDX is offering a $500 for its return –no questions asked (we’ll happily bump that to $1000 if the thief is caught and successfully prosecuted!)

Here’s are a couple videos of a virtually-identical Scorpion Plusses to aid in identification: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euCGHFer4m4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB86SgzadLs

This is a rare trike – likely aren’t more than a dozen on the entire west coast and it’s easily recognized.

Mel has filed a police report.

If you have seen this bike or know anything about its theft, please contact the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 or contact us and we’ll connect you.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.





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Updates: Portion of Esplanade path closes, Lafayette Bridge elevator back online (for now)

Updates: Portion of Esplanade path closes, Lafayette Bridge elevator back online (for now)

Esplanade closes, bridge opens (for now).

There have been updates to two stories we’ve been following over the weekend.

After over 45 days of closure TriMet has found a “temporary fix” for the Lafayette Bridge elevator in the Brooklyn neighborhood. The bridge closed in February due to an issue with moisture in the system that caused the braking mechanism to fail. Last week TriMet said they still hadn’t figured out a solution. On Friday evening we finally heard from them that the elevator is working once again.

Here’s TriMet’s statement:

TriMet has made a temporary fix and restored elevator service at the Rhine-Lafayette Pedestrian Bridge in Southeast Portland. While the elevators have been turned back on, there may be future disruptions as crews work to determine the root cause of a moisture issue that has led the safety systems in the elevators to activate and automatically shut down service at times. Our crews are trying some temporary solutions to prevent the water intrusion, until the cause of the issue can be confirmed. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank users for their continued patience as we work on a permanent solution.

And in case you missed it (we always Tweet stuff like this, so you should follow us!), on Saturday the Portland Parks and Recreation bureau closed the floating portion of the Eastbank Esplanade path between the Steel and Burnside Bridges. Snowmelt and rain have combined for high water levels on the Willamette, causing the floating docks to raise above the ramps that feed them. The closure will remain until the water level recedes to below 17.5 feet (check current levels here).








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Here’s the official statement:

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is temporarily closing the floating portion of the Eastbank Esplanade due to extremely high Willamette River water levels. PP&R has been carefully monitoring this section of the popular riverside trail, located on the east side of the Willamette, over the past few days. During periods of very high water, when the river reaches approximately 17.5 feet, the ramps rise to an angle determined to be potentially unsafe for people on bikes, on foot, and for those using mobility devices. This situation has occurred in the past during rare, extremely high river elevations (most recently in May of 2011).

The floating section of the Esplanade is tethered to the solid riverbank between the Steel Bridge to the north and past the Burnside Bridge to the south. Staff are installing warning signs (attached) to notify cyclists, runners and walkers. Signs will be located on the Esplanade, both ahead of the impacted areas and at the points of closure.

The closure will remain in effect for an undetermined length of time – until river conditions allow for safe travel on the impacted section of walkway. Staff are monitoring conditions regularly and will reopen the area as soon as it is determined to be safe. Commuters, walkers, cyclists, etc., should use street alternatives.

With our crazy winter weather and approaching spring/summer construction season, you can expect a lot of construction detours and closures in the months ahead. We’ll keep you posted as we can — and please contact us if you come across anything we should know about.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.





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The Monday Roundup: Holy spokes, scofflaw study, N-why-PD?, and more

The Monday Roundup: Holy spokes, scofflaw study, N-why-PD?, and more

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by The eBike Store, Portland’s exclusive dealer of the BuddyRider dog carrier.

Here are the most noteworthy stories we came across last week…

The NYPD strikes again: Seems like every time I check my news feed there’s another example of how police in New York City just don’t get it. This time they’ve confiscated hundreds of “illegal” e-bikes used by the city’s droves of food delivery workers. WTH?

Holier-than-thou: A religious leader in Boston has found what many biking veterans have — a deeper spirituality and stronger connection to place — since she started biking to church. She’s even written a book about it.

Portland loves auto parking: The DJC has a good roundup of all the auto parking projects the City of Portland and Portland Development Commission are poised to spend millions on this year.

Bike share revolution in China: Beijing, once a bicycle capital of the world, was overrun with cars in recent decades. Now bikes are coming back thanks to high-tech bike share systems.

Ofo leading the charge: Ever hear of Ofo? It’s a Chinese bike-sharing company that’s valued at over a billion dollars and just got a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Studying scofflaws: A major study found that people generally break traffic laws while cycling just to stay alive — not to be jerks.

Trump’s budget and bikes: The League of American Bicyclists breaks it down. It’s not all bad, but it’s pretty bad. Let’s hope this thing goes the way of his health care plan.








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Silicon Valley’s bike vision: Some heavy-hitters in the tech world are behind a new vision for better bicycling in the Silicon Valley.

It’ll take more than a vision: A report by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition found that people won’t try cycling because they feel auto users drive too dangerously.

World-class fast: USA Cycling (America’s governing body of racing) wants to be the best in the world — with a focus on their women’s teams and BMX.

Not that AAA: Vancouver, Canada has just released an inspiring new set of bicycle facility design guidelines that put the focus squarely on “All ages and abilities” or AAA.

Bikeway debate in NZ: Small market owners in New Zealand blame a bikeway for the demise of their business because it took away auto parking.

Take risks: Los Angeles DOT leader Seleta Reynolds is a breath of fresh air in the transportation reform world.

They’re loud too: Cars: They pollute our air, they are used as weapons by terrorists, they turn people into assholes, they kill 40,000+ people every year, they take up way too much space in our cities and towns — and they also make too much damn noise.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.





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At TriMet board meeting, GM defends his advocacy for freeway expansion projects

At TriMet board meeting, GM defends his advocacy for freeway expansion projects

At the TriMet board meeting on Wednesday, the agency’s General Manager Neil McFarlane pushed back against claims that he’s a “freeway builder.”

Last month we shared news (first reported by The Portland Tribune) that McFarlane advocated for three freeway expansion projects in the Portland region during a speech to the Washington County Public Affairs Forum on February 20th. The comments were met with strong criticism by transportation reform activists who felt the leader of our region’s transit agency should not be stumping for projects that expand urban freeway capacity and make driving easier.

McFarlane’s comments, combined with growing political momentum to invest in these freeway projects, motivated activsts to air their concerns during public testimony at the TriMet board meeting. McFarlane’s comments also prompted a letter from a new coalition of nine major nonprofit groups — including AARP Oregon — that our region would only support a funding package that included as much active transportation investment as freeway expansion investment. That letter garnered a highly supportive response from the entire Metro Council.

On Wednesday, after hearing nearly an hour of public testimony from people concerned about McFarlane’s comments (and a range of other issues), McFarlane was given a chance to respond.

“I want to defend myself as being Neil McFarlane the freeway builder,” he said. “As the guy who’s been responsible — at one level or another — for five of our region’s six light rail lines and probably more active transportation investments than just about any other agency.”









“The next thing I’m going to talk about might surpise you a little bit coming from the transit guy here.”
— Neil McFarlane during a February 20th speech at the Washington County Public Affairs Forum

He went on to say that his remarks in the Tribune were true, but they were taken out of context. “It was a recognition of a need of a comprehensive transportation solution for this region.” McFarlane urged people to watch a recording of the video available online. “I’d encourage anyone to watch the tape,” he said. “In this era of false news reports, fake news, and alternative facts, I encourage people to look at the original source.”

McFarlane told his board and members of the public that his February speech also mentioned “the importance of sidewalks and active transportation improvements”. “I was just outlining a package,” he reiterated, “Not prioritizing one over the other.”

Since we also reported on his remarks, I went back and listened to the original source. McFarlane is right that he did talk about other things besides the freeway expansion projects — but those comments were not made in reference to a forthcoming funding package. In the part of his speech that dealt with the need to raise funding for transportation projects he only spoke about the SW Corridor transit project and the three freeway projects (I-5 at the Rose Quarter, I-205 at the Abernethy Bridge, and Highway 217 on the west side).

Here’s the relevant part of his February 20th speech:

“The next thing I’m going to talk about might surpise you a little bit coming from the transit guy here. I want to talk about the need to begin to address … there are three big bottlenecks in this region that it would be really nice to make some progress on… we’re hoping that the state legislature will add these priorities in the next year…What we’ve mapped out is a strategy to fund those four big projects.”

McFarlane said he is “optimistic we can get this done.” He said TriMet and ODOT have worked in tandem in the past. “On Highway 26, we built the light rail line and ODOT widened the highway… This is the way we have done things.”

You can watch McFarlane’s speech at the Washington County Public Affairs Forum here and his defense of those remarks on TriMet’s YouTube channel.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.





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Oregon House passes anti-speeding bill that still allows speeding

Oregon House passes anti-speeding bill that still allows speeding

New bikeway on NE 21st Avenue-13.jpg

Is it unreasonable to expect people to drive at or below the speed limit in our cities?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon House Judiciary Committee passed a bill by a vote of 9-1 yesterday that will give cities the authority to issue speeding tickets to people who are caught on red light cameras. But it only applies to people driving 11 mph or more over the speed limit.

Lawmakers and law enforcement officials included that minimum threshold in the bill because they didn’t want the measure to seem unreasonable to drivers.

The aim of House Bill 2409 is to address an enforcement gap that exists in Oregon: Red light cameras have speed sensors but the speed data isn’t part of the citation process; and photo radar vans that watch for speeding aren’t allowed to cite for red light infractions. This bill combines those two technologies into one system.

“Just normally driving through a city it is not uncommon to have your speed creep up a little bit. Technically you’re violating a traffic law; but is it reasonable to issue a citation?”
— Jim Monger, Beaverton Police Chief in testimony for the House Judiciary Committee on February 16th

Because of the traffic safety implications, the bill has broad support from law enforcement personnel and it’s supported by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation. PBOT — who operates 11 red light cameras at 10 intersections — sees the bill as a part of their Vision Zero efforts.

While the law new will encourage safer and slower driving behaviors, one of its provisions is troubling: People will only be cited if they are going 11 mph or more over the speed limit. While this approach is standard practice from police bureaus (they do it because traffic court judges often side with drivers and dismiss tickets for driving just a few miles over), to ignore this type of unsafe driving behavior in state statute seems like a step in the wrong direction. Especially for a state where nearly 500 people were killed in traffic crashes in just one year.

There’s a strange dichotomy at work here. On one hand, our leaders want to improve safety by creating a new enforcement tool. And on the other, they don’t want to cause too much trouble for the people whose behaviors cause the unsafe conditions.









When the bill was discussed by the House Judiciary Committee on February 16th, Beaverton Police Chief Jim Monger urged lawmakers to support it. When one of them asked him why the bill won’t ticket people until they go 11 mph over the speed limit, here’s how Chief Monger replied (emphasis mine):

“The idea of issuing a citation of someone traveling at a lower speed of 9 or 8 miles per hour… frankly, I feel like you’d be very hard-pressed to find an officer — or even a deputy or a state trooper — that would issue a citation for that minimal amount. Just normally driving through a city it is not uncommon to have your speed creep up a little bit. Technically you’re violating a traffic law; but is it reasonable to issue a citation? So it gets to that reasonableness…. that’s why that particular number was selected.”

Wait. What?!

Tell people who have lost loved ones from speeding about what’s “reasonable”.
(Graphic: PBOT)

According to PBOT (above) there’s four times the likelihood of death or injury when someone walking or rolling is hit by a person driving 30 mph instead of 20 mph. And the risk doubles again from someone driving 40 mph instead of 30 mph. There are major safety implications to driving even 10 mph over the speed limit.

Chief Monger and the lawmakers who agree with him are normalizing extremely dangerous behavior. Common practice or not — why one earth would the state endorse driving “double digits above the posted speed limit” — especially while driving through a city?

Another provision in the bill says that law enforcement cannot deliver two citations “from the same criminal episode.” In other words, if you are cited speeding, you cannot also be cited for running the red light — even if you are guilty of both (unless your speed is 21 mph or more over the limit).

Judiciary Committee member Representative Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) said he likes that provision. A former Portland Police Bureau lieutenant, Barker said during the February hearing that when he was at the PPB it was standard practice to only issue one ticket even if two violations were committed. “We didn’t want to double-barrel people,” he said.

Do we want to make streets safer? Or do we want to appear reasonable and friendly to people who are making them unsafe?

From here the bill will make a brief stop at the House Revenue Committee before moving over to the Senate.

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

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The post Oregon House passes anti-speeding bill that still allows speeding appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Weekend Event Guide: SuperSwap, architecture, trail work party, and more

Weekend Event Guide: SuperSwap, architecture, trail work party, and more

Welcome to the weekend! We’ve got a great slate of events and rides for your consideration…

Looking to score a great deal on bike stuff? The big SuperSwap starts tonight and PAZ is hosting a garage sale on Saturday. And on Sunday, cycling legend Victor Vincente of America (his actual name) will be in town signing his new book at Velo Cult.

Get all the details below…

Friday, March 24th

SuperSwap – 4:00 to 9:00 pm at Imago Dei Central City Gym (1400 SE Ankeny St)
Score great deals on bike gear and apparel from loads of excellent vendors. Hosted by The Athletic, expect vendors with hard-to-find used items and new products from companies (including Rapha!) looking to off-load samples and overstocks. Vendor booths available at reasonable prices and there are earlybird tickets available to avoid the huge crowds. More info here.

Saturday, March 25th

Trail Work Party (NW Trail Alliance) – All day at Stub Stewart State Park
Come out and help the NWTA complete an project to repair bridges on the super-fun Stub Stewart singletrack out in Vernonia. More info here.

Biking About Architecture – Portsmouth edition – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Darcy’s (4804 N Lombard)
Join residential architecture lover Jenny Fosmire for this educational and fun cruise through north Portland and discover cool new places. More info here.

PAZ Garage Sale – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at PAZ HQ (SE 16th and Woodward)
PAZ is a DIY hub that provides affordable workspaces for creators, builders, and lovers of bike fun. They’re selling lots of used bike parts and frames to help raise money to keep their space open. Come for the sale, stay to learn more about this awesome community resource. More info here.

Caddyshack, the sequel – 12:00 pm at I-205 path just south of Marine Drive
Looking for a fun social ride that will introduce you to new places and people? Head over to the I-205 bike path just south of Marine Drive and meet up with the always-enthused and welcoming Maria Schur. She’ll lead the 25-mile ride that will end at Velo Cult in northeast. More info here.









Sunday, March 26th

Bike Loud PDX Monthly General Meeting – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Lucky Lab Brew Pub (915 SE Hawthorne)
Get plugged into important and exciting bike activism efforts at the monthly meeting of Portland’s all-volunteer Bike Loud PDX group. They’ve got a full agenda and new ideas and volunteers are always welcome. More info here.

Victor Vincente of America Book Signing – 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Velo Cult (1969 NE 42nd)
Grab this chance to meet and hang out with a legend of cycling. 74-year-old Victor Vincente of America (born Michael Hiltner) has written a book about his interesting life that included professional road racing and pioneering accomplishments in BMX and mountain biking. He was profiled last year in Dirt Rag Magazine. More info here.

Did we miss anything? If so, give it a shout out in the comments.

For more fun events, including great stuff next week and beyond, visit our full events calendar.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.





The post Weekend Event Guide: SuperSwap, architecture, trail work party, and more appeared first on BikePortland.org.