August 31, 2006
I got a note yesterday that Jessica Roberts, the BTA's regional advocate extraordinaire, is leaving BTA to join Alta Planning. The BTA's loss will be Alta's gain - Mia Birk is collecting quite a pool of bikey talent there, and in the long run that's a good thing for our community and a lot of other communities that Alta is helping plan transportation facilities for.
But I want to particularly appreciate Jessica for her work, and for playing a central role in helping get Portland Transport started. Jessica was one of our first contributors (back in the days before BTA had their own blog). And when we wanted to incorporate as a non-profit, Jessica stepped up to be a board member for our fledgling enterprise.
So thank you, Jessica, and we'll expect more great things from you in your new role.
Now who's going to step up and fill those big pedals? There's no shortage of bikey commitment and savvy in this town, so start filling in that application form.
The official press release on the BTA's Bike Commute Challenge is out. Everyone who wants to reduce our dependence on autos and petroleum should try this out. See how many times in September you can get to work on your bike, or a combination of bike and transit. And get your co-workers in on the game at the same time.
Bicycle Transportation Alliance Sponsors Bike Commute Challenge During September
Traffic Report Sponsorship Reminds Drivers That
There are Alternatives to Being Stuck in Traffic
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), a statewide nonprofit working to create healthy communities by opening minds and roads to bicycling, is launching its sixth annual Bike Commute Challenge during the month of September.
As a new feature this year, the BTA is sponsoring traffic reports on three radio stations to remind drivers who are worried about traffic that “on a bike, you’re never stuck in traffic” and encouraging them to try biking to work.
The Challenge encourages people to try biking to work through the month of September, using friendly competition and peer pressure at the workplace. In 2005, 534 businesses took part, and more than 1600 participants said that the Challenge got them to try bike commuting for the first time – and many others commuted more than they had before.
“More and more people are rediscovering the simple joy of riding a bike. With rising gas prices and better places to bike, they’re also realizing significant economic and health benefits. And businesses are realizing that getting their employees biking is good for their bottom line,” said Evan Manvel, Executive Director of the BTA. “Employees who bike are more alert and productive throughout the day, and absenteeism and health care costs are lower with healthier employees.”
All kinds of workplaces participated in the Challenge – from Congressional offices to landscaping businesses, health care companies to environmental nonprofits, and some of the state’s leading companies, including Intel and Hewlett-Packard. The BTA gives awards to businesses that bike to work the most often, using 13 size and type categories (bike shops, for example, are in their own category).
Dr. Jim Tuchschmidt, Director of the Portland VA Medical Center, noted that he started in 2004 during the Challenge: “I started riding during the 2004 Bike Commute Challenge and stuck with it - I still ride almost every day. I feel better: it's better for me, it's better for the environment, and it's an example that motivates other people to bike to work.”
Mckenzie Zollner from Newton + Mercado Appraisers wrote the BTA last year to say: “I had considered commuting by bike before, but the Bike Commute Challenge provided the momentum to really get me going. I rode approximately 15 miles from my work in Beaverton to my home in NW Portland, up over Skyline and down through the zoo. I was completely exhausted but also entirely exhilarated. The feeling of accomplishment was awesome. I also found that I returned home much more energized and far less stressed than when I drove.”
As facilities improve and education and encouragement activities such as the Bike Commute Challenge grow, more and more Oregonians are choosing to bike. Bike trips across the four main bike-friendly bridges in Portland increased over threefold from 1992 to 2005.
More information can be found, and companies and individuals can register for the Challenge, at www.BikeCommuteChallenge.com.
The folks who promote dual-mode transportation should be happy to see this development, it's the next step on the way to their concept: a car that parks itself, or even handles itself in stop-and-go traffic. Read all about it from yesterday's Wall Street Journal.
August 30, 2006
A few weeks ago I received an e-mail note about a book called "How to Live Well without Owning a Car." I picked up a copy at Powells, but it's still sitting in my 'to read' stack. My intent was to write a piece about it when I finished (in my defense, I'm reading another transportation book right now that I suspect I will write about when done).
But before I can get to it, the Trib comes along with an article about it:
There’s even a chapter titled “Should you move closer to where you work?,” which offers well-founded arguments for picking up and moving down the street from the office.
Balish recognizes that all of us have lives outside the workplace, so he also focuses on quandaries such as how to run errands, arrange a getaway weekend and avoid being seen as a car moocher by family and friends.
Singletons will take heart from the chapter “Socializing and dating without a car.” It includes 13 ways to respond when your dream date asks why you don’t own an automobile (“I’m trying to save enough money to buy a house”) and more than 25 date ideas (“Exercise together — attending the same yoga class can be very sexy”).
I'll read it on the plane next week.
Aggressive panhandling and other 'sidewalk fear-factor behaviors' have been brought up on this site before. Gordon Price just posted an interesting perspective on the experience in Vancouver on his Price Tags blog. Here's an excerpt:
What was happening in the West End was a failure of government to maintain social order. And that could happen anywhere where the rules became sufficiently ambiguous or unenforceable, and those who wished to ignore them could do so with impunity. Normally, social pressure maintains civility. It may be superficial, but it has to be sufficient. And if it isn’t, if a few abuse the rights of the many, then we rely on policing powers to establish the boundaries. And we rely on judiciary to prevent the many from abusing the rights of the few.
I don't know if Canada, B.C., or Vancouver have the same broad freedom of expression guarantees that we do in Oregon.
What is an appropriate expression of social pressure?
August 29, 2006
Update: 29 August 2006
The videos are now available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvJlq-EEufE.
Original Post: 16 August 2006
The BBC program Newsnight has a long segment on alternative transportation in Portland. There is a video stream at http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsa/n5ctrl/tvseq/od/bbc2/nb/rm/video/newsnight_nb.ram, but since that appears to be a generic address, I'm not sure how long it with have the current episode (the Portland segment starts about 24 minutes into the 50 minute program).
The program covers everything from MAX to the recent car-free challenge to the Tram (Sam is on-air) to Flexcar to a recent bike move. Curiously the on-air talent is the vice-chair of the Conservative Party. It's sort of as if Denny Hastert were doing segments on CBS.
Yours truly will be doing some traveling over the next few weeks, including a Metro-sponsored trip up to Vancouver, B.C., to see not the central city (that's been so done already), but the suburbs!
While I'm sure my travels will provide things for me to write about here, I'm also looking for some guest posts to keep the regular flow going. Take the opportunity to be a guest blogger. Send your submissions to email@example.com.
At Southeast Uplift:
Making Portland a World Class Bicycling City: Tuesday, August 29th, 6:30 p.m., Southeast Uplift
How has the City and its citizens made Portland the #1 U.S. city for bicycling? How can we join Amsterdam and Copenhagen as a world-class bicycling city? What do you like about bicycling in Portland? What would you like to see improved?
Join Southeast Uplift’s Bike Committee as we discuss these issues with City of Portland Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller on Tuesday, August 29th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Southeast Uplift, 3534 SE Main.
Tuesday’s meeting commences the public process for updating the City of Portland’s Bicycle Master Plan. The plan has not been updated since the mid-nineties. It is the City’s master document for bicycle policies and objectives and address almost every facet of biking in the City, including bikes and transit, educating and encouraging new cyclists, bikeway design and engineering guidelines, and the recommended bikeway network.
Geller will discuss the City’s bike strategies and successes of the last 10 years, lessons learned, and ask for citizen feedback on the next 10 years.
Questions: Steve Hoyt, Southeast Uplift, firstname.lastname@example.org, (503) 232-0010 x321.
City of Portland’s current bike master plan: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?a=hbied&c=deibc
We don't often talk about transportation by air, but the Daily Business Journal had an interview late last week with Mary Maxwell, the Director of Aviation at the Port of Portland. It was a good reminder of the importance of aviation to the economy in our region.
There's some discussion of the Port's Hillsboro Airport. I've always wondered if folks like Intel couldn't find a way to run air freight of high-value cargo out of Hillsboro. Given all the "cost of congestion" discussion, that would seem to me like a serious question.
On a separate note, the Business Journal has a brief note that the Port is installing a new system in its PDX parking structure to direct motorists to empty spaces with electronic signs.
August 28, 2006
I was driving down 4th Ave in downtown today (I was in a Flexcar) and someone blew through the intersection just in front of me against the light.
Startled, I looked around and realized:
1) The driver (of a truck or SUV) was going the wrong way on Morrison St.
2) The driver was driving on the MAX tracks.
3) Because he/she was driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street, there were no apparent red lights, so he/she was blowing through the intersections.
I hope no one got hurt before this driver came back to reality.
Sunday's Oregonian has a two-part Q&A style piece by Ryan Frank discussing mostly operational issues with the OHSU tram.
The mid-air rescue scenario is pretty harrowing, if unlikely (there are two backup power sources to get the cars back to the terminals if the main electrical motor fails). The engineers claim that they have a better handle on dealing with ice than MAX appears to.
Regular readers will know that I have a beef with the almost total auto-dependence of the Bridgeport Village "lifestyle center."
Yesterday's Oregonian brings word of "parking rage" at the mall. I'm not sure how much of this is a true shortage (Bridgeport has 3.5 parking spaces per 1000 square feet of retail, compared to 4-5 as an industry standard) versus the "bait and switch" parking approach with lots of visible surface parking, when in fact most of the actual parking is in the structure at the west end of the complex.
Word is that 250 spaces will be added nearby. I can't help wonder what the same investment in pedestrian, bike and transit accessibility might add.
August 25, 2006
Apparently some legislators in Pennsylvania think it's unsafe for kids to walk 1.5 miles to school. They want to reduce the radius for required school bus service to 3/4 of a mile.
I'm glad we think different here.
It was bound to happen, transportation videos showing up on YouTube. Here are two.
From Dave Brook, traffic in India (I love the pedicabs).
And off the SHIFT list, a different way to get bikes up hills.
OK, I just couldn't resist the headline.
TriMet will actually be doing some maintenance Saturday morning to add ice caps to the Blue Line in Gresham.
Let's look forward to better service in inclement weather.
August 24, 2006
As a result of my recent notariety, and a referral from a fellow neighborhood activist, I received an invitation to host a breakout session at last week's "Synthetic Portland" conference.
You'll remember that after 9/11, there was much talk of law enforcement and intelligence not exchanging information. This conference was about fixing that, particularly with respect to local law enforcement. One of the lesser known industry clusters here in Portland is security software. And those firms were the host of this conference.
The idea of a 'synthetic' city is a computer model that contains all of the data about the structure of the city: transportation networks, building floor plans, etc. The model can be used to for disaster planning or real-time reaction to incidents. A trivial example is understanding what parts of the downtown would be flooded if the Willamette rises 'x' feet above flood stage.
Now imagine this synthetic city overlaid with real-time data ranging from measles cases to 911 calls. The technology can do this today.
The next step could be data from cameras attached to traffic signals - a tool that helped track down the culprits behind the London bombings. Is it that hard to imagine it here?
Would it make us safer? Probably, but at what cost?
My breakout was on "the citizen perspective" and the focus as you might expect (especially in Portland) was about civil liberties. If we're worried about the FBI keeping files on our citizens, how do we feel about Homeland Security taking our pictures on the street?
The arc of technology development suggests to me that some portions of this are unavoidable. What kind of policies do we need to put in place to protect our civil rights and prevent abuse?
Hat tip to Dave Brook.
The Worldwatch Institute, Oregon Environmental Council, Illahee, and the Sightline Institute present
AMERICAN ENERGY: BREAKING OUR ADDICTION TO OIL Christopher Flavin President, Worldwatch Institute
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
7:00-8:00 PM Wine and Dessert Reception
8:00-9:30 PM Speaking Program
Multnomah Athletic Club
1849 SW Salmon Street
Portland, Oregon 97205
Across America, recognition is growing that dependence on oil is the country’s Achilles heel—undermining our economy, threatening our security, and damaging the environment. Christopher Flavin, President of the Worldwatch Institute, is a long-time critic of U.S. energy policy and the failures of several presidents and congresses to develop a viable alternative to dependence on fossil fuels. He and his colleagues have developed a strategy for improving energy efficiency, developing renewable fuels, and building cooperative alliances with countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America that share those goals. Flavin argues that we should seize on the current crisis over high gasoline prices as an opportunity—and use it to permanently kick our dependence on oil. Join us for a stimulating lecture followed by an opportunity for questions, answers and conversation.
COST: $25 for general admission, $20 for students with valid ID at the door. Pre-registration is required by Wednesday, September 20th.
Register online: http://www.worldwatch.org/press/portlandeventreg
August 23, 2006
Regular readers will know that one of the transportation hats I wear is chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Portland Streetcar.
Following up on the spot-check fare inspections we've been doing, we're looking at fare policy for the Streetcar. As part of that exercise, we want to understand ridership and fare purchase patterns. We've set up a brief online survey (7 questions):
If you ride the Streetcar, please take the survey.
And feel free to pass it along to e-mail lists or communication channels that may reach Streetcar riders.
Hat tip to Roland who posted this report over at CommissionerSam.com.
I've just finished reading the report ("Does Transit Work? A Conservative Reappraisal"). The main idea is to assess the success of transit in not in terms of total trips, but rather in terms of those categories of trips for which it is competitive (the classic example being getting people into and out of the central business district).
Read the report, it will get you thinking. Here are a few top line items that piqued my curiosity:
- Transit, even in the golden years of the '20s, has not been very competitive for shopping trips.
- Transit is very competitive for entertainment trips, including things like sporting events.
- The authors suggest boosting ridership by instituting tiered service (e.g., first class, second class) so the people who are uncomfortable with some of their fellow travelers have an option they are more likely to be OK with.
The last point may clash with my egalatarian leanings, but it has me thinking. Certainly we have discussed the issue as a barrier before.
I recently received a press release from PDOT indicating that in September, the long-term rate for parking on-street in the Lloyd District will go from 50 cents to 75 cents per hour (the short-term spaces are already 75 cents).
I imagine this is intended to get more employees into TMA programs (not to mention more revenue). My question is what's the policy basis for differentiating parking rates in different parts of the City? Why does an hour downtown cost $1.25 while an hour in the Lloyd is $0.75? Anybody got a theory?
August 22, 2006
Some of the comments here have gotten downright nasty in the last little bit. I have edited out a few of the most extreme, but I can't keep up.
Since the recent newspaper coverage, we've gotten some new readers (yeah!), so it might be a good time to review the rules:
- All contributions and comments become the property of Portland Transport.
- Opinions in posts and comments are those of the authors, not necessarily those of Portland Transport. Responibility for those opinions rests with the authors.
- Passion and robust debate about ideas are what Portland Transport is about. Passion directed at individuals is not, and will be deleted promptly.
- A lot of knowledge and intelligence resides in the heads of staff at various transportation agencies in the region and they are encouraged to participate both as individuals and as representatives of their agencies. To be clear in what capacity these folks are blogging, all entries signed with just a name will be assumed to be individual comments. Entries signed with a name and title will be read as representing the view of the agency involved.
- This site HAS a point of view, generally supportive of transit and compact development, and efforts to reduce VMT (vehicles miles travelled) per capita. This is intended to be the general center of the conversation here. While opposing views are welcome, participation that is of a quality or quantity that combines to undermine the purpose of the site may be restricted or refused.
In particular, let's all try really hard to talk about ideas, not people.
To help things cool off, I'm doing two things:
- I've turned off comments on the "Transportation, Talent and the Traded Sector" thread, since we've beaten that one to death and are repeating ourselves
- I'd like to ask Paul and Ross to slow down a little. The two of you are posting the majority of comments (yes, I have a tool that counts) and we'd like to let other people get a word in.
Please remember that this site is about the exchange of ideas. It's not about repeating yourself until you wear other people down.
Rob Zako sends word that a new ballot measure being proposed for the 2008 election would dedicate 1% of gas tax revenues to the State Police and County patrols.
Today the state gas tax is dedicated (by constitutional amendment) to exclusive use on roads. There seem to be several schools of thought around this kind of issue:
- Taxes like this are a user fee and should not be diverted to other uses.
- Taxes are a policy tool and what you tax and what you spend on don't need to be tightly linked.
This measure of course is redefining the scope of the user fee approach to include patrolling roads in the definition.
Sam Adams and Rex Burkholder seem to have gotten into a little dust up in the Friday's Tribune (Freight mobility matters ... at least in Portland).
We're at the beginning of the semi-annual MTIP process, which allocates about $60M in flexible transportation funds. This is only about 4% of the total funds spent in the region on transportation, but since the rules on what it can be spent on are much less restrictive than most funds, it consumes a big chunk of the mindshare of the cities and counties vying for the funds.
Sam makes the point that in the current environment, with the economy and freight being top-of-mind, somehow only Portland is applying for MTIP dollars for freight projects. Rex counters that many jurisdictions are working on building out their general infrastructure, which will help with freight mobility.
Can't we all just be friends?
August 21, 2006
Here's an interesting partnership: City Center Parking and the Oregon Environment Council.
They've teamed up to produce www.drivegreensavegreen.org, a program to encourage people to make more environmentally responsible choices in acquiring, driving and maintaining their cars, saving money in the process.
Every little bit helps. And money motivates.
Updated August 21st, 2006
Green Cabs has avoided a City-imposed shutdown. According to a report in the Oregonian on Friday, Green was determined to be in compliance with City regulations after a new inspection. A City press release confirms the new status.
Original Post August 8th, 2006
The City of Portland is getting ready to yank operating permission for Green Transportation for a variety of violations under the headings of safety, access and public convenience. This City is also levying fines of $35K+. Green can appeal or seek to rectify the problems.
Full details below.
City Issues Notice of Suspension to Green Transportation for Public Safety and Access Violations
The Office of Management and Finance Revenue Bureau is continuing its investigation of Green Transportation and has issued a notice of suspension for public safety and public convenience violations of City Code
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mary Volm, 503-823-7785
CITY ISSUES NOTICE OF SUSPENSION TO GREEN TRANSPORTATION FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AND ACCESS VIOLATIONS
Civil Penalties Also Assessed for Administrative and Reporting Violations
(Portland, OR) The Office of Management and Finance Revenue Bureau is continuing its investigation of Green Transportation and has issued a notice of suspension for public safety and public convenience violations of City Code. The investigation was launched July 28, 2006 after receiving several complaints and found serious violations by this taxi cab company that created public safety concerns and exposes the City to potential liability.
The company received notice today that they will be required to suspend operation on Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 12:01 AM, a ten-day notice required by City Code.
The public safety violations include:
· Drivers working more than 14 hours per day
· Vehicle camera (provided by the City of Portland) missing or not operating
· Substandard vehicle maintenance
· Vehicle insurance discrepancies
Public convenience violations are:
· Only one Wheelchair Accessible Van (WCA) operation when five are required
· Failure to provide city-wide service
In addition to suspension, the City is assessing Civil Penalties for administrative violations of the code in the amount of $35,860. The cited administrative and reporting violations are:
· Failure to keep adequate driver time records (trip sheets)
· Failure to file appropriate accident reports with the City of Portland
· Failure to notify the City of suspended licenses of drivers
· Switching taxicab ID plates from WCA vans to sedans
“It is our responsibility to regulate this industry,” said Terri Williams, Manager of the Revenue Bureau’s License and Tax Division. “If we know of these violations and do not take action, we are putting both the traveling public and the City of Portland at risk.”
Green Transportation can appeal both the assessment and/or suspension to the code Hearings Officer within ten days of receiving notice. The City has given until August 28, 2006 to correct these violations. If corrections are verified by the City, the suspension will end August 29, 2006 at 11:59 PM. If corrective actions are not made by then, the suspension will continue until corrected and verified or until October 2, 2006 when a Notice of Revocation of their company permit will be issued.
Out of 382 permitted taxicabs in the City, Green Transportation is permitted to operate 48 cabs. The City has only suspended one taxi cab company during the history of the regulatory program. The suspension was for a lack of adequate insurance violation only and the company was reinstated within three days.
Sam Adams has been pushing metered parking in neighborhood business districts. His pitch is that is it not only helps support improved livability but that it also increases sales by encouraging more turnover (and he has studies to back it up). Even after all the scar tissue I accumulated trying to make meters part of the failed parking plan in NW Portland, I'm generally in agreement with Sam's sentiments.
But it doesn't seem to be going down well. Thursday's O has a brief blurb (not online) about a study by the St. Johns business association saying there is no need for metered parking (parking is not saturated, so there's no turnover benefit). And there's a longer piece in this week's Mercury about active opposition forming on Hawthorne.
You're going to have to sell harder, Sam!
August 18, 2006
PDXBiodiesel is a biodiesel enthusiast / advocate who has been using biodiesel in two late model vehicles for more than 60,000 combined miles. He is a web developer and has lived in Portland since 1998 and enjoys being active in the community, and its online presence.
Portland has been a hotbed of biodiesel activism, and we have for a few years had a substantial Biodiesel market. We are lucky to have several companies providing biodiesel with retail availibility. But until recently, the locations of their public pumps were difficult to find, and there was no one convenient location listing all the pumps. Anyone interested in buying biodiesel had to first find out who the retailers were, and then contact them to find out their pump locations.
In an effort to make it easier to find retail Biodiesel pumps, I created PDXBiodiesel.org, which is a Google Maps mashup of the retail pump locations in the Portland metro area. It contains all of the retailers and pumps that sell to individuals without requiring bulk sales or delivery.
Biodiesel is made from vegitable oil. Most commonly in the United States it is made from soy, however it can be made from Canola, Rapeseed, and even recycled deep fryer or cooking oil. Biodiesel is simply diesel fuel that is made from a vegitable base instead of a petroleum base, and Biodiesel can be used in almost every diesel powered vehicle with no modifications - and in any blend, up to 100% Biodiesel!
Biodiesel burns significantly cleaner, quiets your engine, reduces soot, and produces significantly fewer lifecycle CO2 emmissions than regular petroleum based diesel. Currently the bulk of the biodiesel in Oregon is made from recycled vegitable oil, and Oregon farmers are working on growing Canola based biodiesel stocks as rotational crops. Several production facilities are being built in the Northwest, making Biodiesel largely a locally produced fuel with significant environmental benefits. Biodiesel is just one peice in the puzzle of reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
There are some considerations you will want to make if you are planning on using biodiesel in your diesel vehicle. For more information there are links to other sites with many details and the forums at Biodieselnow.com are great for getting questions answered or further discussion. I recommend reading and being informed before you make _any_ decision, and Biodiesel use is no different.
Anna Griffin has a piece in yesterday's in Portland section of the Oregonian (City turns to parking in drive to fix roads).
The idea is to figure out what the parking permits that a number of different categories of organizations (press, non-profits, etc.) use to skip paying at parking meters are really "worth" (in the sense of the amount of revenue that the City loses). The first staff report suggested some pretty expensive permits for non-profits.
While I'm not conceptually opposed to the idea of understanding the true costs of these things, my reaction is the same as my feeling about hitting up Flexcar for $60K or so annually: this has a certain air of desperation about it. Shouldn't we be thinking bigger picture about our transportation funding challenges?
Heads up for a presentation at Metro on Thursday, August 31st at 9AM.
Jack Newlevant, from Metro's data resource center, will talk about how Metro's data can be used to find better bike routes (using travel times, etc.).
And Wyatt Baldwin will present on his great byCycle tool.
August 17, 2006
The Portland Development Commission has released a report they commissioned on the availability of feedstock for a potential metro-area biodiesel refinery capable of producing one half million gallons annually.
The winner: Canola, which can be grown in the Willamette Valley or in Eastern Oregon. The report is a great primer on seed crop production, and I learned a few things:
- Canola is a brassica, in the same family as cabbage and brocolli.
- Because canola seed is such a low-value product, you can't afford to transport it very far, so the oil will need to be extracted as close to the farm as possible (the oil could then be shipped to a refinery).
- Small scale extraction is only economical on small screw presses.
- The 'meal' left over after pressing is high-protein and great to feed to dairy cows.
- Canola works well in a crop rotation with grass seed, and even offers some productivity benefits for the grass seed crop.
- The econmics are still pretty marginal.
Most of the region's biodiesel today comes from midwestern soybeans, so this would be a great step toward local production.
I've commented here before about the tendency for citizens to get up in arms about projects, when they didn't pay attention to the policies that were adopted years before that enable those projects.
An article from Sunday's Oregonian makes a related point: citizens will get in an uproar about small things, while often ignoring major items.
Some of this can be explained by the complexity of large projects, but what other psychology goes into where citizens focus their involvement?
I received this note from down south:
Our local NPR station, Jefferson Public Radio, generously gave 7+ minutes of radio time for the Bike First! Follow up. Just go to the link below and click on the little speaker icon next to "Program gets Drivers commuting by bike" to listen. Eric Teel, the journalist, is also a cyclist and has provided outstanding coverage on this program.
Looking forward to Bike First 2007!
August 16, 2006
Over at BikePortland.org, there's an interesting discussion going on about repurposing some of the asphalt in our region. I encourge you to check it out and join the discussion there.
27 citations for failure to yield ($242) were issued along with 21 other citations and one warning.
I wouldn't even have seen it if a reader had not e-mailed me a link, since I don't regulary read the sports page, but yesterday Dwight Jaynes' commentary in the Portland Tribune suggests that the "keep Portland wierd" foks are winning, wondering when we'll stop building Streetcars and start rattling Paul Allen's cage about keeping the Blazers here in Portland.
To get elected here you need to pay homage to bike paths, streetcars, trams and light rail – which is fine as long as there is an admission that all that stuff is nothing more than a tiny answer to our congestion problems.
My goodness, find me a politician who is willing to admit that and you’ve found a treasure. But I don’t expect it anytime soon. We continue to preach urban density – dropping hundreds of residents onto blocks (such as in South Waterfront) designed for no residents – and then we call those traffic-clogging streetcars part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
OK, Dwight, here's the play: we'll sell the eastbank freeway to a private company who will charge us tolls to use it. Then we'll turn around and use the proceeds of the sale to buy the Blazers from Paul Allen, and the Rose Garden from Allen's creditors. Will that make you feel better?
August 15, 2006
Via the SHIFT list, an info-graphic that I could look at all day.
In the summer issue of Dissent, Benjamin Ross, a transit advocate from Maryland, offers a deconstruction of free-market arguments for road building and then takes on express toll lanes.
We have discussed here before the idea that kids are largely car-dependent for the mobility because of parental fear of abduction. An article in the Palm Beach Post discussed this at some length, and puts it in perspective: in 1930, 11% of the population did not make it to age 20. Today that number is 1.3%.
The article discussed the resulting adverse outcomes including negative impacts on trust, play and self-sufficiency.
Let's get all our kids walking to school on safe routes.
August 14, 2006
When's the last time you had a chance to see what goes on at a river port? Here's a unique opportunity:
Seaport Celebration at Terminal 6
Discovering Industry on the River, Saturday August 26th from 10:30am-2:00pm
Seaport Celebration--Discovering Industry on the River
Take a tour, watch a video, listen to pirate band Captain Bogg and Salty (shows at 11:00 and 1:00) and learn about how the Port of Portland's Terminal 6 brings in shoes, toys, tires and ships out potatoes, onions and hay cubes. Plenty of fun kids' activities for all ages--face painting, games, prizes, snacks.
Saturday, August 26
10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
7201 N. Marine Drive
Portland, OR 97203
What: Press event for Pedestrian Crosswalk Enforcement Action
Where: Mid-Block crossing in front of Elm Ct. YWCA, 1111 SW 10th Ave.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
9:30 - 10:00 a.m. press event
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. pedestrian crosswalk enforcement action
Senior Community Outreach and Information Representative
Portland Office of Transportation
1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 800
Portland, Oregon 97204 Desk Phone: (503) 823-5552
Contributor Jerry Schneider is hosting a new e-book on his web site. For those not familiar with the concept, dual-mode is the idea that you drive your car normally on local streets, but that it coordinates with other vehicles in an automated fashion on higher-speed roads.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SIX BIRDS WITH ONE STONE.
Here is a revolutionary solution for traffic congestion, oil depletion and dependency dangers, air-quality and associated global warming problems. Additionally -- this book describes how we can first supplement, then surpass, the 50-year old Interstate Highway System, provide a lifeline to the nearly bankrupt American auto companies by offering an evolutionary pathway to a brighter future and shows how to greatly reduce highway deaths and injuries. Dualmode transportation offers a way to reduce substantially all six of these critical national problems in a sector of the economy that is vital to the nation's future.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, August 9, 2006
Fifty or more inventors and engineers worldwide have been developing "Dualmode Transportation," a concept in which private cars and most other vehicles could be driven on the streets in the normal manner, but also travel locally and nationally at high speed on an automated, electrified maglev guideway system. All vehicles would be electrically powered in both modes and therefore would not consume fossil fuels or release carbon dioxide and other tailpipe emissions which are so detrimental to human health and exacerbate current global warming trends.
All of the technologies required for this revolution are available now. The problems in building such a system would be sociological and political, not technological. Economics won't be a barrier either, since the system would not require a public subsidy. At present, the concept is largely unknown and unappreciated by the public and by the leaders of business, industry, and government. Therefore one of the coinventors and designers of the dualmode concept, Francis Reynolds, has written a book that broadly discusses and provides preliminary-design details for a metropolitan-wide, national and eventually international dualmode system. This comprehensive e-book, "THE REVOLUTIONARY DUALMODE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM," is now online at
The complete book includes 22 Chapters and associated illustrations and other materials. It can be downloaded at no charge from the award-winning Innovative Transportation Technologies website founded and managed by Dr. Jerry B. Schneider, professor emeritus of Civil Engineering and Urban Planning, University of Washington, Seattle. Schneider is also personally active in the development of dualmode transportation concepts.
According to Reynolds, most of the coinventors of this unique concept are working on it independently, hoping to identify and design the "killer application" of the dualmode concept. Reynolds offers some guidance and many specific details that they all can benefit from, in a readable format that is non-technical and accessible to a broad sector of the public. The dualmode idea is currently our best hope to reduce the heavy negative burden imposed by the six national-scale problems identified above. Reynolds acknowledges that the transportation sector is not the only culprit causing these problems but, as he shows in the book, conventional transportation modes are certainly a very serious contributor to these problems and need our full attention.
Note to Editors and Readers: Since people with a serious interest in contacting Francis Reynolds will find his e-mail address in the book, please don't publish (print and/or Internet) any of the following information other than his name.
Francis D. Reynolds, PE.
3802 127th Ave. NE.
Bellevue, WA 98005, USA
August 11, 2006
I picked up Metro’s New Look flyer on Jobs & Economic Vitality, and was pleased to read that the Policy Framework leads with "livability has been a major attractor of people, talent, etc." This cannot be repeated too often, but preferably without yet another picture of our one little container dock, T-6.
Portland is no doubt here because of its port, but I'm not sure that is so much the case any more. While we are a leading wheat, auto and bulk mineral port, Portland is an insignificant West Coast container port...graphics should reflect this reality and not continue to mislead.
Indeed, being a seaport 100 miles up river…requiring two pilots and with limited depth… is not a competitive advantage, and this is a circumstance that will not change for the better. Our airport has emerged as more critical to our economy, especially the traded sector. How much business does David Evans Associates, for example, export via PDX versus T-6? Not to mention Intel and Siltronic.
And, please don't confuse "traded sector" industries with those that move goods over our docks or roads for that matter. Adidas America's North American HQ in North Portland represents the kind of traded sector growth we need; they hardly ship a single shoe. Likewise the Freightliner jobs we had better not lose are those at their North American HQ.
No question, Portland retains a substantial manufacturing sector and a lot of that is in the traded sector…there are 10 paper mills within a 50 mile radius…But only value added manufacturing will be around as global competition intensifies.
Like headquarters operations...finance, engineering, marketing, value-added manufacturing require talent, both good operators and imaginative engineers. Since we in this region seem to be adverse to growing talent through investment in education, our economic meal ticket is our livability...it attracts talent. Without talent, the manufacturing sector will dry up, and we won’t have to worry about shipping anything!
Note: several industries cited in the Metro/Port/PBA Cost of Congestion...UPS, PGE, Providence...are not traded sector industries; transportation may be an issue for them, but they are not likely to leave this market no matter, and they don't export anything.
Back to Talent...Metro's policies are key to livability; hence to attracting talent. The same ethos that Metro brings to waste management ( btw, why isn't our garbage on trains?) should be applied to the land use and transportation demands that 1 million new neighbors bring...recycle, reuse, do more with less.
Land: We have loads of land… waiting for economic expansion...now storing private vehicles for free in employment areas around the region; even more are brownfields or subject to that huge financial dis-incentive hovering over Portland Harbor...Willamette Super Fund.
Transportation: except in peak hours we have plenty of roadway capacity even on I-5, and even then a high percentage is discretionary. Going Street on Swan Island and Columbia Blvd., the two busiest freight arterials in the region, are not now, nor are they projected to be, congested in the coming years.
Instead of talking about more money for roads, adding land to the UGB or reducing regulations that protect quality of life for residents, Metro needs to keep livability and the talent it attracts in the forefront of economic development conversations.
Lenny Anderson, Project Manager, Swan Island TMA
Co-Chair, Willamette Industrial URA,
30 year veteran of printing & paper industry
So here's a great idea. Let's give people some help getting comfortable using their bike as a means of transportation. A couple of implementations of this idea are under way:
- Over at Southeast Uplift, they've started a "Bike Buddy" mentoring program. Read the details at BikePortland.org.
- The BTA has scheduled a new round of their workshops on bike commuting, a great primer.
A couple of open positions:
- The BTA is looking for a finance and development assistant.
- Alta Planning has openings in Portland for a Planner and a Landscape Architect/Designer.
August 10, 2006
By now you all know I'm a fan of the Smart City radio show (via podcast). I really enjoyed last week's episode for all of its segments.
- The first guest was Louis Glazer, an economic development professional from Michigan who pointed out that you can no longer have a high prosperity economy based on factories. If Detroit can get that idea, surely here in Oregon we can figure out that it's all about innovation. He has also analyzed the most prosperous regions in the country and concluded that healthy economies correlate more with culture than with economic policy. Key cultural attributes include:
- Culture of Learning
- Welcoming to All
I think Portland does reasonably well, but we better not take the learning thing for granted.
- He also has opinions about what elements of infrastructure will be most critical:
- International Airports
- Green Infrastructure (recreational opportunities)
Hmmm... nothing about roads.
- A segment on the success of the Dallas Light Rail system
- A design consultancy in Pittsburgh has come up with an interesting take on displaying bus schedules
- Finally a commentary about cynicism, satire and civility.
It's Bridge Pedal time again. So if you're going to be one of the five people not out riding on Sunday, here's the scoop on the bridge and road closures. There's also info from TriMet on bus service.
- The Sellwood Bridge will be closed westbound from 6:30 am to 8:30 am.
- The Ross Island Bridge will be closed westbound from 6:30 am to 10:30 am, with TriMet bus service operating in both directions.
- The Marquam Bridge will be closed northbound (upper deck) from 5:30 am to 11:00 am.
- The Hawthorne Bridge will be closed eastbound from 6:00 am to 11:00 am, with TriMet bus service operating in both directions. The outside eastbound lane will be closed beginning Saturday at 6:00 pm.
- The Morrison Bridge will be open in both directions. The outer two eastbound lanes will be closed from 5:30 am to 8:00 am.
- The Burnside Bridge will be closed from 6:30 am to 11:00 am.
- The Steel Bridge will be closed in both directions from 6:30 am until noon. TriMet bus and MAX service will operate in both directions.
- The Broadway Bridge will be open in both directions. The outermost eastbound lane will be closed from 6:30 am to 11:00 am.
- The Fremont Bridge will be closed southbound (upper deck) from 5:30 am to 11:30 am.
- The St. Johns Bridge will have one lane open in both directions, with two lanes closed from 8:00 am to 11:30 am.
- I-5 and I-405: Motorists approaching the Marquam Bridge on northbound I-5 will be routed to northbound I-405 during the temporary Marquam Bridge closure (from 5:30 am to 11:00 am). The two right lanes of southbound I-405 to northbound I-5/Marquam Bridge will be closed. Motorists on southbound I-405 will be able to access southbound I-5 at all times. All lanes of southbound I-5 will remain open at all times.
- U.S. 30: The right lane of eastbound U.S. 30 will be closed between NW Kittridge Ave. and the St. Johns Bridge.
- Naito Parkway will be closed in both directions between SW Columbia and the Steel Bridge. NW Naito Parkway/NW Front Ave. will be closed southbound from NW Nicolai to the Steel Bridge. SW Naito will be closed northbound from SW Harrison to SW Columbia.
- SW Macadam Ave.: One northbound lane will be closed between the Sellwood Bridge and Ross Island Bridge, with some delays accessing areas east of SW Macadam Ave.
- Access to OMSI will be open, with delays.
- N Willamette Blvd. will be closed eastbound between N Richmond Ave. and N Portland Blvd.
- N Greeley Ave. will be closed southbound from N Killingsworth St. to N Interstate Ave.
- N Ivanhoe St. will be closed between N Leavitt Ave. and N Philadelphia Ave.
An article in yesterday's Daily Journal of Commerce notes that the Port of Portland has received an American Association of Port Authorities' (AAPA) comprehensive environmental management award. Part of the basis for the award is use of B20 biodiesel in all its vehicles.
August 9, 2006
This is a transit project that I bet a lot of folks would like to see made real just for the fun factor:
Just a quick reminder that the brown bag presentation on the recent
Willamette River Ferry Feasibility study will be held next Tuesday.
River in Focus Brown Bag Lunch at City Hall
Grab your sack lunch and head to City Hall for lunch with the River
Renaissance team. We are hosting a presentation about the Willamette Ferry
Feasibility Study that was published in June at the request of the River
Renaissance Initiative. The study was conducted by Nelson/Nygaard
Consulting Associates, and will be presented by Thomas Brennan. Here is a
PDF link to the study:
As the feasibility study determined, creating a seasonal central city
circulator ferry may be possible through a private/public partnership.
Developing a local ferry system along the Willamette River could be an
excellent way to connect Portlanders and visitors with the river, and foster
river-oriented business and neighborhood development. Come learn about and
discuss this exciting opportunity for creating a recreational water-based
transit alternative in the heart of Portland.
Who: Free and open to the public
What: Lunchtime presentation, please bring your own lunch
When: Tuesday, August 15, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Where: Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Lovejoy Room
"River in Focus Brown Bags" are held as a public education forum to inform
citizens about important current River Renaissance issues, and how the City
of Portland is working to revitalize the Willamette River.
A few updates on the state of the organization...
- Apparently newspapers are not quite a dead medium yet. They're still useful to drive traffic to the web. Monday's article pushed us to 645 visitors for the day, more than 100 over our previous record.
- Somewhere in the last few days we slipped past 80,000 visitors over the life of the blog.
- And the IRS has just officially affirmed our 501(c)(3) status [not to worry, your contributions were deductible during the application process].
On that last note, we still need to pay off our lawyer (who is doing the 501(c)(3) work pro bono - thank you, Heather!) for the $150 IRS application fee. So if you're basking in the glow of our successful little community here, please hit the PayPal link on the home page and feed the bank account a little.
Thanks for everyone's participation in making this a great site!
The Beaverton City Council reversed their own Design Review Board and voted 5-0 to deny Wal-Mart's application to build in Cedar Mill. Transportation was cited as the major issue:
Opponents attacked Wal-Mart's plans based on traffic and design. Wal-Mart's consultants estimated the store would create 7,400 vehicle trips a day. The company promised to pay for about $2.2 million in nearby street improvements. But opponents said the intersection would create a bottleneck for drivers going to and from neighborhoods to the north.
Do we accept that the Council denied this for transportation reasons, or is this really about Wal-Mart? Maybe only LUBA knows for sure.
August 8, 2006
I encourage everyone to link over to Blue Oregon and check out Leslie Carlson's reflections on her 30-day car-free experiment.
With the Prudhoe Bay oil field shut down for weeks or months, the price of crude spiked yesterday.
Peak Oil theory suggests that as it gets harder and harder to get oil out of the ground, the oil companies will have to put more and more effort into continuing to ramp production to meet ever rising demand. Which would imply that there will be very little spare production capacity to deal with temporary interruptions like this one.
The oil production system weathered Katrina last year. It will be interesting to see how it deals with this glitch.
Just as I'm getting ready to post this, I see there's an article in the business section of the Oregonian, suggesting that the refineries in Washington state have access to reserves of crude that might see them through this (the article does not appear to be online, probably because it was assembled from wire service reports).
There was a question last week about the recently approved budget for the Lowell Streetcar extension and why it appeared higher on a per-mile basis than prior extensions.
I wanted to have the detailed data before answering. While part of the reason is that all construction costs are up, this project actually contains $2.6M in street construction. So the actual Streetcar project is a little under $12M.
Construction Track Construction $3,425,618 Rail Procurement $554,530 Overhead Electrical System $3,422,845 Street Construction $2,622,502 Private Utilities $1,965,073 Construction Contingency 5% $364,432 Subtotal $12,355,000 Design, Management, City Staff Design/Project Management $1,183,500 City Staff $175,000 Other (PSI Expenses, Const. Office) $31,500 Subtotal $1,390,000 Other Misc. (NextBus Adjustments, Signs, etc.) $255,000 Reimbursement Agreement Obligations $425,000 Striping $25,000 Subtotal $705,000 TOTAL $14,450,000
August 7, 2006
This morning the Oregonian recognized Chris, our tenacious PortlandTransport.com founder and sustainer. Anna Griffin did a nice job on this article, read it at http://www.oregonlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news/115491751959360.xml?oregonian?lcfp&coll=7.
In the honor of Chris's community mind, spirit, and 30 hour "real" work week, please let us know how you feel about citizen activism, public involvement, and corporate activism in our transportation world.
In the blatant self-promotion category, yours truly is part of a team hosting one of the City Club's "Citizen Salons". Our event is a brunch on Sunday August 20th with Metro President David Bragdon and Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad as featured guests.
Both are members of the state's Big Look Task Force, re-examining the land use planning system, and that will be the topic of our salon.
Breaking news: President Bragdon will be bringing a planning expert from Vancouver, B.C.'s Simon Fraser University as a guest.
I'm told there are still a few places open at the table, so call City Club today at 503-228-7231, extension 103.
The meal is a "seasonal brunch sampling the bounty of of Oregon's agriculture with farmer's market ingredients". You can see if I cook as well as I pontificate.
Friday's Tribune has an editorial about the urgency of coming to grips with the state's transportation needs. While the author and I might disagree on what some of the specific projects might be, we're on the same wavelength on several points, including the need to ensure that maintenance gets funded.
We also see the way some candidates try to make this a wedge issue as a problem:
... Republican Ron Saxton, is often more comfortable saying that ODOT staff is the problem.That's just not useful in any way.
And finally, we're in complete agreement on approaches to get voters on board:
Another idea is building business and citizen support for projects that make a difference in the economy, regional livability and the lives of local residents – and then gradually convincing taxpayers and businesses that new funding is needed to accomplish even more.
This week's Business Week has an interesting article suggesting that Wall Street is tripping over itself to invest in alternative energy technologies.
But it also says that the results may be a while in coming. It likens this trend to investing in computers in the 1970's.
August 4, 2006
A reader just passed along this post at Metroblogging Portland. I think making Flexcar available to younger drivers is a great idea. Car sharing companies have been reluctant to do this because of higher insurance rates.
This week's Willamette Week makes five recommendations to re-vision Portland. Two of them are transportation-related.
One is a no-brain-er, implementing the BTA's vision to greatly expand our bicycle boulevard network.
The other would, I'm sure, be more controversial. They suggest congestion pricing for downtown, analogous to what was implemented in London:
A few years ago, London's roads got so congested there were only two solutions: more streets or fewer drivers. So in February 2003, London's mayor took the radical step of charging drivers entering the 8-square mile city center eight pounds (more than $14.50 in today's dollars) during peak times.I can already hear PBA members shouting :-)
Bill Scott, general manager of Portland's Flexcar operation, says a similar approach in Portland, perhaps just on the highways, would encourage alternative modes of transportation and raise money for different services from road and bridge repair to building more bike boulevards.
"The automobiles would pay the full price for the infrastructure they use," he says.
The idea would likely be anathema to downtown business owners already fuming about roadblocks that turn shoppers away from downtown toward suburban stores and malls. Their complaints include lack of parking, new higher rates on parking tickets and upcoming bus mall construction.
But supporters of London's plan say it's been successful. The number of cars commuting at peak times fell by a third. While some argued that drivers with low incomes would have a tough time affording the surcharge, fewer cars on the road made the buses run faster, saving on the time-cost of public transit.
Is there a version of this that could work for Portland?
One of my NW Portland neighbors took these pictures of the aftermath of an auto/powered-wheelchair collision at NW 21st and Flanders. In a post to the neighborhood listserv, he questions whether increasing the auto intensity of NW Portland (with a new parking structure) is a good idea.
My question is having just re-signed NW 21st to 20mph, what else can we do to make it safer and avoid these kinds of accidents?
Sorry, we don't have any word on the condition of the victim.
August 3, 2006
Yesterday I swung by Pioneer Courthouse Square to check out the open house on planning for the new parks and updates to Park Block 5, O'Bryant Square and Ankeny Park.
One of the panels was about the "Park Avenue Vision" urban design concept which is intended to tie these parks together and link them to both the North and South Park Blocks. This panel had pictures of four great pedestrian streets from around the world (lousy cell phone photo below). One of the unifying themes: they were all car free.
The vision panel immediately above (online copy lifted from Portland Online) for Portland's implementation shows parking for the retail, so cars would obviously be going in and out.
Am I the only one who thinks this could be a monkey wrench in a great urban experience?
Cross-posted from a message Rob sent to the OTRAN list.
FYI, on June 29 the Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted amendments to the Transportation Planning Rule.
LCDC also continued the rulemaking process to consider whether or not to make additional amendments to the rule as it relates to thresholds for goal exceptions for roadway improvements on rural lands. The Joint LCDC/OTC Transportation Subcommittee will be on August 15 in Salem to discuss the rules for goal exceptions.
The following info comes from the DLCD web site:
TPR Amendments (July 2006)
On June 29, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) adopted proposed amendments to the Transportation Planning Rule (TPR).
The Commission also continued the rulemaking process to consider whether or not to make additional amendments to the rule as it relates to thresholds for goal exceptions for roadway improvements on rural lands.
Here is a quick summary of the adopted amendments:
- Revise the TPR "purpose statement" to more accurately express the overall policy consistent with Goal 12
- Update requirements for metropolitan area planning
- Revise rule provisions for "transportation project development" to clarify that decisions made in Transportation System Plans (TSPs) need not be revisited as projects undergo detailed design and approval
- Consolidate requirements for goal exceptions for transportation projects into the TPR. (Currently exceptions must address the Exceptions Rule as well as the TPR).
- A series of minor and housekeeping amendments were also adopted.
Proposed amendments that would have made 28-foot wide residential streets a "safe harbor" for meeting the skinny streets requirement were not adopted.
The adopted amendments will be effective when filed with the Secretary of State -- expected later this month (July).
The Joint OTC/LCDC Subcommittee will meet on August 15 in Salem to discuss whether additional amendments should be considered to address the goal exceptions threshold issue. (See Joint OTC-LCDC Subcommittee below.)
Links to the adopted amendments and related information are provided below:
Adopted TPR Amendments, July 6 (Unofficial Version) (pdf)
Supplemental Staff Report, June 28, 2006 (pdf)
Link to audio files of the Commission's Work Session
For more information about the proposed amendments, contact Bob Cortright at 503-373-0050 x241, or via email at email@example.com
Joint OTC-LCDC Subcommittee (August 2006)
The Joint OTC-LCDC Subcommittee will meet in Salem on August 15 to discuss whether to recommend additional amendments to the TPR related to thresholds for goal exceptions.
The meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the ODOT Human Resources Center at 2775 19th Street SE.
An agenda for the meeting and supporting information should be posted on this website on or about Aug. 8. Related information on this issue is included in the DLCD staff report for the February 2006 LCDC meeting. (Link included above - See pages 16-24.)
In October 2004, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) convened a joint subcommittee to review results of an evaluation of the Transportation Planning Rule and recommend follow-up actions.
Detailed information about the joint LCDC-OTC Subcommittee is posted on the ODOT website.
The joint subcommittee includes OTC Chair Stuart Foster, and Commissioner Mike Nelson, and LCDC Commissioners Marilyn Worrix, Ron Henri and Hanley Jenkins. The subcommittee´s work is being assisted by consultant Frank Angelo of the firm Angelo/Eaton, which has produced a series of memos that outline issues and recommendations.
Questions about the Transportation Planning Rule Evaluation should be directed to Bob Cortright at 503-373-0050 x241, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2, 2006
The folks over on the SHIFT list are working on an education event for Friday at a new safety hot spot: The bottom of the Broadway Bridge at NW 9th St. Fast-moving bikes coming down the ramp, coupled with cars that might or might not signal right turns are the ingredients for a lot of crashes and near misses. Come out and join in the educational effort:
Here's another hopefully productive outlet for your "radio rage," or your concern in general about your safety on the roads.
When: Friday, August 4th, 7:00am
Where: NW 9th and Lovejoy, northeast corner
This Friday, August 4th from 7-9A, there will be a "traffic safety education action" to call attention to the particular dangers of the NW 9th & Lovejoy intersection, and encourage motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians to navigate the area safely and with awareness.
Some recent collisions have highlighted the need for attention at this intersection, including one in which a cyclist collided with an elderly man who lives nearby. Rather than have the police appear and enforce safety, we'll take a community approach and use signs, call-outs, literature, and other creative means to promote safety at this location.
This intersection has many issues: the steep descent from the Broadway Bridge, poor visibility in places, a convergence of less-than-ideal crosswalks, shared cycle-ped paths, and traffic that moves like the streets are a freeway.
If you are interested in promoting safety at this particular intersection, you can help by appearing sometime between 7-9A at NW 9th & Lovejoy to help us hold signs, pass out literature including "Share the Road" stickers, and discuss safety with passing cyclists / motorists. Concepts we'll be stressing: all modes having responsibility for safety, slowing down before the intersection, being aware of cross traffic, and yielding appropriately to traffic that has the right of way.
Listen to the show (mp3, 12.1M)
This month on the KBOO Bike Show the topic is major weight loss.
Sara and Ayleen interview Aaron Adam and Mike Rasmussen about how becoming regular cyclists has allowed them to loose significant weight, and what that journey has been like for them.
This comes from a regular reader:
The Pew Research Center has released a report that finds that fewer Americans now enjoy driving than did in 1991. 69 percent now enjoy driving, down from 79 percent in 1991. You can read the executive summary or the entire report at Pew’s website:
A couple of the more interesting findings:
- 28% of Americans feel that driving is a “chore”, opposed to 69% who “like to drive”
- 31% of Americans think their car has a personality (!)
- Congestion ranks as the most-mentioned reason that people don’t like to drive
What this study didn’t get into was any discussion of people’s propensity to use alternatives, whether or not they actually existed in their community. Basically, we have here a definition of the problem as certain people see it, with no discussion of solutions. Still, it’s useful to know that the conventional wisdom that people love to drive is waning somewhat.
August 1, 2006
Last week's meeting of the Burnside Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) was interesting from a number of points of view.
First, the couplet continues to score best on virtually all the criteria. The 'new' news at this meeting was that it wins on travel time and on the urban design criteria.
Second, the possibility of reducing to three lanes west of I-405 is very real. My hope is that Sam will recommend the couplet option east of I-405 and give the neighborhoods an opportunity to flesh out the 3 lane design and see what they think about the trade-offs (reduced to it's simplest level: a much more humane street on Burnside versus accepting a little bit more traffic on neighborhood collector streets).
But perhaps the most intriguing element was the position of the Henry condo association. You'll recall that the folks at the Henry (and their developer, Gerding/Edlen), with some support from the Bureau of Planning, were strongly against the couplet, on the basis that it would ruin the the unique pedestrian environment on Couch through the Brewery Blocks.
The Henry, on the strength of a traffic analysis commissioned by Gerding/Edlen, is supporting the "truncated couplet" approach. This is much like the original couplet, except that it would return the westbound traffic to Burnside at 8th, rather than at 15th. This has several impacts:
- May require shaving the corner off the building at 8th and Couch
- Requires that at least two elm trees be removed from the North Park Blocks
- Pretty much drives a stake through the heart of attempts to unify the North and South Park Blocks through the "Park Avenue Vision"
The Henry's reaction? "We're sorry about the elm trees."
But more to the point, the design advocated by Gerding/Edlen's traffic engineer still calls for making Couch one-way westbound (as does the couplet design) and still calls for signalizing the intersections at Couch and 10th and 11th. Additionally, compared to the current several hundred cars per hour, the truncated couplet will deliver 800 cars per hour through the brewery blocks during the evening peak (the full couplet will deliver 1200).
In essence the Henry folks are trying to convince us to sacrifice 7 blocks of Burnside and the unification of the Park Blocks to avoid 400 cars going past their building. Hmmm...
By the way, the Bureau of Planning was very quiet at the meeting. Their representative delivered a very neutral assessment of the options. I think the Henry has lost one ally.
It's also worth noting that all the major land holders other then Gerding have recommended the couplet to Commissioner Adams.
Handicapping this bet, I'd say put your money on the couplet, but still expect the well-connected Henry folks to fight the battle again at the funding stage.
This morning's Trib has a related article.
It's enough to make strong project managers weep in their beer. Costs for most of the materials used in transportation projects are going up, up, up.
Jim Mayer gives us the ugly details, and the impact on contract bidding, in yesterday's O.
How does that change the economics of the cost of congestion? Bike lanes are still a bargain...
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator
Description $11-13.50/hr./DOE (Full-time 40hr per week position)
The Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Program Coordinator will work with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) and Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) to coordinate walking and biking encouragement and education programs in 8 Portland Public Schools. The coordinator will work with principals, school staff, parents, and community members to provide encouragement, education, engineering, and enforcement programs in each school. The programs teach and inspire school age youth to be safe and predictable bicyclists and pedestrians, and promote safe transportation to and from school. The coordinator will report to the Safe Routes to School Program Director.
- Work with local School Teams and school staff to coordinate activities at their schools
- Coordinate education programs with SR2S Program Director and Community Service Providers.
- Coordinate encouragement activities in Portland schools and give technical assistance to Oregon schools.
- Represent BTA/WPC at community and school team meetings and events
- Develop curriculum for Pedestrian Safety Program
- Train and coordinate staff and volunteers
- Maintain the Walk and Bike to School Website
- Collaborate on the development of promotional materials
- Help with statewide Walk and Bike to School Activities
A highly qualified SR2S Program Coordinator will:
- Be an experienced to an avid cyclist.
- Have experience and enjoy working with preadolescent youths.
- Have experience with school-based education and/or recreation programs.
- Be familiar and interested in working with the public school community.
- Experience with Macintosh computers, able to learn and work with project software and website
- Be active, enthusiastic and responsible, able to work independently, able to effectively run a program from start to finish, have excellent public speaking skills and ability to lead group meetings.
Accepting applications until Tuesday August 8th. The new coordinator will be trained during August, and will work with schools from September-June. Position is for at least one year, continued employment depends upon future funding and job performance.
The SR2S Program Coordinator position is full-time, 40 hours per week. The Program Coordinator will be most active during late summer, early fall and late spring.
How to Apply
For an application contact Katherine Wilson: