July 31, 2007
Well, maybe not yet. But it's not too soon to think about the fall PSU/PDOT Traffic and Transportation Class. As I've said in the past, this is a great way to get launched into transportation activism (it worked for me) or to raise the level of your game if you're already an activist. Run, don't walk (but look both ways) to register.
Title: Calling all transportation activists!
Take advantage of a chance to learn from policy and decision-makers, planners, and engineers in a ten-week course sponsored by City of Portland Bureau of Transportation System Management and Portland State University Urban Studies Program. This course is designed for the neighborhood activist, new or experienced, who wants to make a difference and learn how the city that works, works. Limited space is available.
Full scholarships are available to qualified applicants for the non-credit course. To be eligible for a scholarship applicants must be Portland residents and must not be a transportation or law enforcement professionals. Deadline for scholarship applications is September 14, 2007.
If you choose to take the class for credit, tuition is $147 for one regular credit and $283 for a graduate credit. The class occurs at PSU's main campus, Thursday evenings from 6:40 - 8:40, beginning September 27th, 2007. The course is facilitated by Rick Gustafson, transportation planning consultant and former Metro executive officer.
To register or get more information on this popular course, call Scott Cohen at 503-823-5345 or email email@example.com. To register online go to www.gettingaroundportland.org and look under the "What's New" section.
The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that the Oregon Department of Agriculture will be assuring that you don't put any dirty biodiesel in your tank...
Portland City Council will help pick up the tab.
July 30, 2007
According to the Saturday O, Australia-based Macquarie has thrown in the towel on the Newberg-Dundee bypass project. Apparently ODOT has concluded that there is too much opposition to tolling Highway 99, which parallels the proposed new facility, and without tolls both routes, there is insufficient revenue to make the project fly.
On Saturday morning, seventy community members spent three hours at PSU brainstorming potential future corridors as an informal kick-off to the City-wide rail plan process that will formally launch in September. A few common themes emerged:
- Heading north on MLK or Williams/Vancouver to Alberta or Killingsworth
- Heading east on Hawthorne, Division or Woodstock, ultimately connecting with the Green Line MAX
- A line on 82nd Avenue
- Extending the Burnside line out to Hollywood via Sandy and perhaps returning to the Lloyd District on Broadway/Weidler
Thanks to everyone who participated! We'll have the maps and notes posted here as soon as they get scanned.
July 27, 2007
Factoid from today's regional Streetcar conference.
Prague in the Czech Republic with a regional population of about 1.9M has a Streetcar fleet of 900 vehicles.
Portland, with its regional population of 2.1M has 10 cars in its fleet.
Room for growth :-)
The workshop is tomorrow! RSVP today if you haven't already...
Update: Venue changed - now at the PSU Smith Center
Get on board and join Commissioner Sam Adams for a brainstorming session to discuss the future of streetcars in Portland. In addition to learning more about the current and future plans for streetcar corridors, participants will be able to roll up their sleeves and work with friends, neighbors, City of Portland planning staff and Commissioner Sam to discuss where future streetcar corridors could occur. Information from the workshop will help the Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) with preparations for the City of Portland Streetcar System Plan study scheduled to start in September 2007.
Download a flyer for the event.
details after the break...
Saturday July 28, 2007
9am to Noon
University Place Conference Center
310 SW Lincoln Street
Portland, OR 97201
Smith Center Ballroom
1825 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
8:45 AM Complimentary Coffee-Tea-Juice-Pastries
9:00 AM Welcome
9:15 AM Overview: The Current Streetcar System and PDOT Streetcar System Planning
9:30 AM Presentation: Then and Now - History of Streetcars in Portland
10 AM Break
10:15 AM Streetcar System Small Group Exercise: Workshop participants divide into small groups and work together with maps, trace paper and markers to discuss and diagram what a
future streetcar system would look like (note: if you're coming from outside the City of Portland, please bring maps of your location).
10:45 AM Streetcar System Discussion: Each group will have an opportunity to “pin up” their work from the small group exercise, present their ideas, and answer questions from the other
11:45 AM Wrap-Up: Opportunities to learn more about the Streetcar System Plan
To RSVP for this (free) event, please contact Chris Kaluza at 503-242-0084 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
But wait, there's more! If you'd like a full Streetcar immersion experience, please consider coming to the Reconnecting America Regional (Pacific Northwest) Streetcar Workshop the day before. See the invitation postcard, or check out details at www.reconnectingamerica.org/public/workshops. ($75 cost).
Over on BikePortland.org, Jonathan is reporting that bicycle parking at the lower Tram terminus is overflowing. He hypothesizes that many OHSU workers have wanted to commute by bike, but were daunted by the hill. The obstacle is now removed...
July 26, 2007
I had the opportunity to attend a "Travel Time Reliability" workshop at Metro a few weeks ago (I never said I wasn't a wonk). The speaker was kind enough to forward the PowerPoint since I wanted to blog about a few of the slides.
My point here is that when most people think about congestion, they think in terms of capacity constraints. But the reality is that the pain has to do more with unreliability. Not that the two aren't related - more capacity does make you less sensitive to SOME of the factors that create reliability problems, but it's an expensive answer and there may be more cost effective approaches (with way fewer negative environmental effects than adding capacity).
More after the break.
July 25, 2007
There's an interesting trend developing, celebrations intended to promote alternate transportation in various forms. Here are three events that recently got added to our calendar:
- A First Thursday promenade of alternative vehicles
- A celebration to kick off the Sullivan's Gulch trail master plan process
- A cross-walk-a-thon to celebrate improved crosswalks in NW Portland
What other city would party for these things?
Carl and Ayleen interview Portlanders who gave up driving for the month of July as part of the Low-Car-Diet Challenge. Hear how bikes fit into their transportation mix. Chris Smith will discuss transportation aspects of the upcoming Project Homeless Connect, along with volunteer opportunities.
9-10AM, Wednesday, August 1st
KBOO FM 90.7
Streamed live at KBOO.fm
Podcast here later that day
July 24, 2007
Most of Sam Adam's speech at City Club on Friday was about the more dismal question of how to pay for maintenance, but the Oregonian coverage leads with the idea for a City-wide Streetcar plan. Sam hearkened back to the 1920's when Portland had over 100 miles of Streetcar tracks.
You can download the full program (MP3, 48M) from the City Club web site for a few weeks.
The Daily Journal of Commerce has a slightly different take on this. They see safety improvements for road construction crews.
Original Post: 7/20/07
The Oregonian reports on the ITS demo earlier this week. What happens when your car can talk to the road? Will driving get safer? Less congested?
July 23, 2007
There's an interesting new Google Maps Mashup called Walk Score that looks at how far it is from any given address to key services like a grocery store, drugstore, schools, parks, etc. and computes a walkability score.
Mine was 95 out of 100 :-)
Note that the site has had some problems with heavy traffic (Google limits how many visitors per day on their free maps). It's up as I write. If it's not when you check, try the next morning.
July 20, 2007
Almost two years ago I asked the question: what happens when a center may be coming into existence where we didn't plan one.
Now the Oregonian reports on discussion among some Metro Council members about just that question, about that same center.
Original Post: 7/26/05
Metro President David Bragdon has been spending the last couple of years pointing out in his State of the Region addresses and elsewhere that the Urban Growth Boundary has preserved farm and forest land, but by itself hasn't driven the development of the regional and town centers in the 2040 plan. Instead, Bragdon tells us that strategic investment will be required to make these centers happen.
The Regional Transportation Plan and MTIP processes already direct transportation investments toward centers.
Here are some other ideas I've heard for investments that could help drive centers:
- Bike Lanes
- WiFi Clouds
I'd like to hear more ideas for what kind of investments would drive centers to coalesce, but that’s not today’s main question.
What do we do when a Center comes into existence where we didn’t plan it? The question is prompted by recent coverage in the Oregonian about Bridgeport Village and new developments likely to rise up next to it.
Is this a new center coming into existence? Certainly Metro didn’t plan for it. Lake Oswego even got into an argument with the developer about whether it detracted from LO’s town center in downtown.
There’s a small transit center across the street (more of a park-and-ride) but none of the busses are routed to serve Bridgeport very effectively.
So what should we do as a region? Redirect our transportation investment to serve what appears to be an unplanned emergent center? Or reserve our resources for the centers that we have planned (and zoned land uses) for?
It could be argued that the same sort of phenomenon has occurred at Kruse Way, now an employment center. Is it dense enough to serve effectively with transit?
What do we do with de facto centers?
July 19, 2007
A study by The Corporation for National and Community Service finds a correlation between longer commute times and decreasing volunteerism. This agrees with a correlation that sociologist Robert Putnam reported in his book on declining social capital: Bowling Alone.
Portland of course was the counter-example in his book. We also have declining average commutes (from 10 miles in 1990 to 7 miles in 2000). And I wonder how the level of activism in our bicycle community might tie into this correlation?
If you're an early adopter, and already have your iPhone (guilty - I got mine at 11pm on the first day - after the lines were gone), an interface to the NextBus arrival time system used by Portland Streetcar has just been released. Check out pdx.munitime.com.
I'm jealous, I'd love to have a spiffy iPhone interface for our Transit Surfer for all of TriMet's lines!
July 18, 2007
Alta Planning is one of the cooler planning firms in terms of alternative transportation in the country, and their local office has two job openings. I expect there will be lots of candidates:
Alta Planning and Design is a 25-person consulting firm with a mission to provide green infrastructure and program solutions that help people have active daily lives. We specialize in bicycle, pedestrian, trail, park, and greenway planning, design, and implementation, in addition to outreach and education programs. For more information, see our website www.altaplanning.com.
Alta Planning and Design’s Portland, OR office has 2 openings:
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR: This person will help manage Alta's numerous nationwide active living educational, marketing, and related programs such as Safe Routes to School, data collection and evaluation, outreach programs, and research. This person will have 5+ years of management (budgets, schedules, contracts, staff management), administration, writing, and presentation skills. Experience and knowledge of non-profits, transportation, and related fields is a plus. Travel is a must, along with passion for our field and mission.
Senior Planner: This person will manage staff and projects for Alta's numerous bike, pedestrian, and trail planning activities nationwide. This person will have been in the transportation planning field for 7+ years, with experience managing non-motorized and active living projects for government agencies. This person will have strong management (budgets, schedules, contracts, staff management), administration, writing, analytical, and presentation skills. Travel is a must, along with passion for our field and mission.
Salaries: $65,000 to $75,000 annually depending on experience, with competitive benefits and a dynamic, fun, fast-paced work environment.
No calls please. Please send to Mia Birk by e-mail (email@example.com) or snail mail: resume, 3 references, and portfolio that indicates relevant experience. These positions will be open until the best candidate is selected.
July 17, 2007
I've set up an interface to provide TriMet arrival times via text message. Usage of our cell phone web browser interface (the Transit Surfer) has been relatively light, and I'm wondering if web browsing is just too inconvenient on cell phones for this to take off (although I have hope for my iPhone).
So would texting be easier or more useful?
I'm using a general purpose SMS gateway service called 411sync.com. To get arrival times send a text message to 415-676-8397 or firstname.lastname@example.org with the following message text:
trimet <stop #>
(a stop on SE Holgate) returns at this moment: 17 Holgate to Portland: 23 min
This is still very much a prototype and I'm interest in opinion on how terse I can make the messages to get multiple lines into a message for stops with lots of buses serving them.
Here's a set of possibilities based on the above example:
17 Holgate to Portland: 23 min
17 Holgate: 23 min
17: 23 min
How much information is really necessary, given that the person asking is probably already standing at the stop?
You'll find the stop number at most TriMet stops, either on the schedule or on a stick on one of the signs.
Disclaimer: text message usage costs are the user's responsibility! That's between you and your carrier. Portland Transport and 411sync don't charge for this (although I suspect that 411sync gets a cut from the carrier).
My household has been on a declining curve of auto use. Last year when the kids headed off to school (we had four drivers and two cars at that point) we dropped down to being a single car family.
Last week our declining curve took a nose-dive as the remaining car, an '89 Honda Accord, blew its engine.
While I'm trying to convince my better half that it's time to go car-free and just do the Flexcar thing, I'm not winning the debate :-)
So the question is, if we're going to buy a vehicle, what are the most financially efficient and greenest options?
Obviously we could go buy a new Prius, but I'm not very interested in that large a capital investment. What can we get that is both friendly for the planet and friendly on our bank account?
- Major use is daily commuting by my partner across town. She prefers something that gets her a little higher off the ground, giving her better visibility (her favorite car ever was a minivan when we were in the soccer mom phase).
- Occasional use for regional trips [i.e., the run down to Wilsonville to Frys :-)].
- Other less frequent needs can be met via Flexcar.
Interested in opinions and advice. Thanks!
Take PDOT's poll on slowing down neighborhood streets. Look in the right hand column of the safety programs page.
July 16, 2007
Commissioner Sam Adams is speaking at City Club on Friday in a presentation billed as "From here to there in tomorrow's Portland":
On Friday, July 20, City Commissioner Sam Adams makes his first appearance at City Club since taking office in 2005.
Adams will outline his blueprint for the future of transportation in Portland, including his vision 50 years into the future. He will speak about his plan for a city-wide streetcar system and how global events and our everyday choices affect transportation issues. In addition, Adams will speak about providing for Portland’s basic transportation necessities, including his plan to raise $263 million over 10 years for safety, bike, bridge and paving work.
Adams oversees the Office of Transportation and the Bureau of Environmental Services. An outspoken advocate for the environment, he has worked to set policy promoting alternatives to traditional transportation and sewer infrastructures. Prior to serving as city commissioner, Adams was chief of staff to Mayor Vera Katz for 11 years.
Bring your questions for Adams, as he explores how to improve transportation in Portland.
The Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Ave.
Doors open at 11:30 AM
Program begins at 12:15 PM and concludes at 1:15 PM
Luncheon tickets are $16 for City Club members and up to two guests, $20 for nonmembers.
Limited coffee/tea table tickets are $5 and are available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis
General seating is free for members and $5 for nonmembers, and is available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis
Reserve online at pdxcityclub.org or call (503) 228-7231, ext. 103
July 13, 2007
We'll round out our series this week with two references to info on CommissionerSam.com.
First, there are survey results up from the folks who attended Sam's neighborhood coalition meetings. A couple of headlines:
- Attendees would rather fund a solution to the whole backlog than a partial solution.
- Top three preferred funding methods in order: Gas Tax, Carbon (Guzzler) Tax, and Street Maintenance Fee (with a parking space fee finishing just out of the money).
ALL OF THE MEETINGS ARE 7pm- 9pm
4415 NE 87th Ave.
7688 SW Capitol Hwy
Friendly House (Keystone Room)
1737 NW 26th Ave.
East Precinct (Community Room)
737 SE 106th Ave
St. Philip Neri - Calvin Hall
2408 SE 16th Avenue
Kind Neighborhood Facility
4815 NE 7th Ave
8105 N Brandon Ave.
For special accommodations, please contact Jamie Waltz at (503) 823-7101.
July 12, 2007
So having reviewed the challenge of the maintenance backlog for Portland's street system and looked at some of the common questions around local transportation funding, now it's time to look at the revenue options for dealing with it.
Here are few that are probably out of the question:
- City registration fee (not legal in Oregon)
- Tolls on City streets (don't make sense, wildly unpopular)
- Property taxes (would just cause 'compression' under Measures 5/50, resulting in no new revenue)
One that's technically possible, but probably Sam will keep off the table, is a sales tax. A fraction of a cent sales tax has been adopted by lots of cities around the country to help with transportation. But those are all jurisdictions that already had a sales tax. Creating one, and the necessary collection systems, for the amounts we're talking about would not make much sense. And as we know, Oregonians are downright phobic about sales taxes.
So what's on the table? Probably one or more of these:
- Local gas tax - several cities in the region already have them
- Carbon tax (i.e. based on fuel efficiency for example)
- Street maintenance fee - again several local cities have them
- Parking tax - either on all commercial spaces or all paid spaces
- A bond measure (i.e., capital bond, not subject to compression
- A payroll or employment tax - this is how TriMet is funded
If I were a betting person, I'd say a combination of a local gas tax and a Street Maintenance Fee is a good bet. A payroll tax might also be a possibility. Collection systems exist for all three of those. The rest may still be a bit 'out there' for our electorate.
But we'll see what happens after the next round of polling. Tomorrow we'll also look at survey results from the neighborhood meetings.
Watch this space to see how the conversation develops!
A quick shout out to a post over at "The Overhead Wire" blog that talks about the topic of rapid streetcar.
It posits that Streetcars with greater stop spacing could serve as more cost effective alternatives to Light Rail, and references the proposed Lake Oswego line as an example.
[Bob, if you dig through the linked report far enough, I think you'll find the answer to your question about the turning radius spec for our Streetcar vehicles.]
July 11, 2007
Over at CommissionerSam.com, a new post is up about the high level of ridership on the Portland Aerial Tram.
Last December, in another conversation over there, a number of critics made dire predictions about the future of the Tram, not only in terms of ridership but also about hot weather.
With those criticisms in mind, I rode the tram yesterday, making a point to note temperatures (on a record-setting 100+ degree day) and make a few observations.
(More about the experience and my conclusions after the flip)
In the December, 2006 CommissionerSam.com Tram discussion, some critics were making predictions of people expiring from heat in tram cars while "packed like sardines". At least one critic had predicted the city would be forced to spend further millions retrofitting an air conditioning system into the tram.
Observation 1: Ingenuity Prevails
Each tram car already has 8 on-board fans plus passive vents near the floor at the front and rear.
To augment this, tram operators have employed a low-tech solution: Large fans, the kind you can find easily at Costco, sit at the lower landing and blow air through the tram cars every time they open their doors, bringing the temperature quickly to ambient levels. I estimate the cost of this system to be well under $300.00, that's "hundreds" not "millions".
Observation 2: Shade is on your side
The lower landing, at 3PM when I rode, was shaded by the nearby OHSU Center for Health and Healing. This resulted in lower ambient temperatures, and in combination with the lower temperatures usually encountered near the river, this helped considerably.
Observation 3: Wind helps, too.
At the upper landing, temperatures felt considerably cooler, and there was a brisk breeze going. Every time I've ridden the tram there has been at least a mild breeze at the upper landing.
Observation 4: The actual temperatures
KGW's official temperature for Portland when I rode, recorded at 2:53pm, was 101 degrees. In each tram cabin, a small digital thermometer had been installed near the ceiling, to record the hottest temperature in the cabin.
The tram operator said that typically the cabins run about 3 degrees hotter than the ambient air by the end of the 3 minute trip. I took a round trip, using both cabins. The final recorded temperature in both (and this is at the ceiling), was 97.7 degrees.
Observation 5: Other People
Riders were not packed in "like sardines". In fact, as I predicted elsewhere, tram ridership is well distributed and frequent departures mean there is no overcrowding, even with the high level of ridership. (The Tram can move 1,900 people per hour total at full load, which if sustained at peak could carry the entire daily ridership in well under 3 hours.)
On the trip up, several riders were conversing with the operator about temperatures. None expressed the desire to have air conditioning installed, although two were discussing the idea of having windows in the cabins that could open. Somebody made a joke about replacing the glass with chicken wire. Nobody expressed that the temperatures were too hot compared to the outside, and nobody expired of heat exhaustion.
Riding the tram is no different than waiting for the bus on a hot, low-wind day. The lack of air conditioning is an inconvenience on the few days of the year that get this hot, but not life-threatening. If you are able to be out and about in the ambient heat, you won't have a problem on the tram.
Note: This was originally formatted as a shorter comment to be posted at CommissionerSam.com, but people (including me) have had difficulty posting over there lately... some receive error messages, some receive dropped connections, etc., so I've chosen to amplify my remarks over here.
The Regional Plan Association, a New York area advocacy group has done a critique of alternatives (PDF, 120K) offered up to the congestion pricing proposal for Manhattan. Their conclusion is that the two major alternatives would not provide the same benefits:
- License plate restriction schemes (i.e., you can't drive in the city on the 2nd, 12th and 22nd of the month if your plate ends in a '2') don't provide the same reduction in auto use (many households can avoid this by having multiple cars - some might even buy another car, or individuals who only drive into the city occasionally will just shift their trips to different days).
- More draconian truck restrictions would have very negative impacts on the economy.
But at the same time the congestion pricing plan seems to be having trouble getting traction in the New York state legislature.
This is the second in our series on Commissioner Adams' efforts to develop a sustainable funding stream for maintaining Portland's streets. Today we look at dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions about local transportation funding. Sam gets these questions so often that he built an FAQ section into his presentation.
More after the break.
No question that maintenance isn't sexy, but it's important. In the next post in the series, we'll look at ways we might fund it.
Ron has included links on several posts to a warning cry being issued by the Comptroller General (he spoke at City Club on this topic last year):
Economics is even less sexy. But here is the comptroller of the General Accounting Office of the United States of America in his around-the-nation plea for fiscal responsibility. This link has a video you can watch, on the right hand side of the page. It aired on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday evening:
How does that affect Portland area transportation projects and our need to remain an economically viable region? What projects do you think are a must-have and which are just a nice-to-have. Other nations have already found less to like about the United States; that is mainly why the US dollar has declined a good 33 per cent in the last five years. Do we dare risk continued excessive (IMO) spending?
He suggested we elevate this question to the level of a post.
If our region had to go it alone without Federal funding for transportation, how would we fare?
July 10, 2007
This week we're going to spend some time looking at Sam Adams' effort to find a funding source for his "Save Money - Save Lives" effort to maintain our streets while making them safer at the same time. Today we'll look at the problem statement with slides taken from Sam's neighborhood presentation.
Tomorrow we'll look at busting some of the myths about transportation funding.
This sent out yesterday by the City of Portland:
Portland's IKEA store is set to open on Wednesday, July 25. Enormous crowds are expected July 25-29 and for several weekends following.
People traveling to the airport or around the Airport Way area should be cognizant of the store opening and possible backups on all main highways and feeder streets.
But surely they'll all be taking the Red Line?
July 9, 2007
That's from an editorial in Friday's Tribune that both celebrates the success of transit advocates while banging the drum for more dollars for roads. It's a companion to a front page article ("Money comes for rail, but not roads") that contrasts funding for the I-205/Mall Light Rail with the quest for maintenance dollars for roads.
On the same day, the Oregonian has an article commenting on the apparent lack of opposition to a local improvement district for the Streetcar Loop:
So far, property owners in its path don't seem overly worked up about paying for the ride.
So what's going on here? I'd like to think it's a great enlightenment about the need to build out non-auto transportation networks, but I think it's a little different than that. The Trib editorial gets one aspect right:
It’s time for partnerships. Light-rail and streetcar supporters have learned to expand their ranks. Road advocates haven’t and sometimes don’t even agree among themselves.
The first part is clearly true. The Streetcar LID will go forward because we've spent more than three years working with the local community to define the benefits and get the design right. As a result, the person paying the largest assessment for the Streetcar is also chairing the committee advocating for it. In fact, the Lloyd District has in some ways led the City in alternative transportation. First it taxed itself through a Business Improvement District to found a Transportation Management Association that help shift people from cars to other modes (and saved money by not building parking structures in the process). Now it will tax itself again to bring Streetcar to the district.
By striking contrast, the 2nd biggest freeway bottleneck in the I-5 corridor (after the Columbia Crossing) is also in the Lloyd District: the I-84/I-5 interchange. Has anyone seen a business or community committee organizing for years to solve and fund that one? Nope. (I'm not discounting the efforts of the "Loop Group" study effort, but I would not call them a community group, they are part of a top-down planning process.)
Why is that? I would suggest that one key reason is that the benefits of rail, while having system-wide benefits, are also profoundly local. If you get a Streetcar line or LRT station in your vicinity, your property values go up. In contrast, a freeway in your neighborhood is likely to depress property values. The benefits of a new I-84 interchange would not go to the local neighborhood, but to users of the larger system (many from outside Portland or even outside the state).
I'll let you draw your own conclusions about what that means, but I will add the thought that I don't think our lack of enthusiasm for funding roads should extend to failing to maintain the system we have - even if asphalt isn't sexy.
Jim Mayer has a nice recap piece in Sunday's O with a summary of transportation changes enacted this legislative session. Here are some of the key items:
- Authority to clear accidents from freeways more quickly (one of Commissioner Adams' prioritities from the "Anatomy of a Crash" project)
- A number of key changes requested by the cycling community
- More cities allowed to use red light cameras
- Teenagers are not allowed to drive while using cell phones
Not bad, but the gas tax still hasn't been raised since 1993...
July 6, 2007
When we built the first Streetcar alignment, we ran into a conflict with the bike lane on NW Lovejoy. The design solution at that time was to create a path for bikes through the platform area.
I didn't work very well, on two counts:
- Pedestrians waiting for the Streetcar tend not to recognize that they're standing in the middle of a bike lane.
- Since the bike lane returns to the street at the intersection, there is a risk of right-turning cars not seeing a bike about to cross in front of them (in fact, I witnessed just such a near-miss immediately after taking the photo below).
See a better idea after the break.
Confronted with a similar conflict on the route of the Lowell extension (opening August 18th!) we learned from the earlier experience. The new design was reviewed on Tuesday's Bicycle Master Plan ride (coverage of that on BikePortland). The key improvements are:
- Bike lane is grade-separated from the pedestrian area
- The platform is positioned after the intersection, so the visibility conflict for turning autos does not exist
Several cyclists on the ride pronounced it a big improvement over the Lovejoy design.
The New York Times reports on new services that deliver personal traffic alerts to Blackberries and similar devices, along with the reaction of a traditional traffic helicopter pilot.
July 5, 2007
It was party time on Tuesday at FTA Administrator James Simpson was in town to sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Green Line Light Rail (I-205 and Transit Mall). A party tent was erected at the end of the construction zone.
More after the break...
Portland Streetcar will be shortlined this weekend from Friday evening until Monday morning as the new Mall LRT line installs the crossings between Market and Mill.
More photos after the break...
July 4, 2007
Listen to the show (mp3, 13.1M)
Hosts Tori and Ayleen will interview bike racers to discuss the sportier side of bike culture. Is Lycra really necessary? What's the attraction to riding fast?
July 3, 2007
ITS Oregon, the local chapter of the Intelligent Transportation Society has a demonstration of Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) coming up. Here's the early info. Unfortunately, I have two conflicting meetings that day. It would be great if a member of the Portland Transport community could be there and send back a report.
What: High-tech Future Car Demonstration/Ride-along
When: Wednesday, July 18, 2007: 11:30 to 4:30 by invitation
Where: Portland Expo Center, Parking Lot LP1 (Adjacent to MAX station)
Who: Transportation decision-makers and other leaders from the Portland/Vancouver region
Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) is the next wave of advanced intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology that has the ability to support improvements in the management and operations of our roadway system. VII is a movement toward equipping vehicles to communicate with each other and the roadway in real-time. To reduce traffic congestion, decrease emergency response time, decrease fuel consumption and increase roadway safety, VII supports interaction among traffic management, emergency response, traveler information and vehicle control systems.
On July 18th, the Intelligent Transportation Society of Oregon (ITS Oregon), is hosting a local demonstration of VII technology at the Portland Expo Center. Metro staffer Jon Makler is president of ITS Oregon, which is the organization that worked with Metro on the “Mobility the Smart Way” breakfast held at the Convention Center in October 2006. ITS Oregon would like to showcase local support for transportation technology by having media coverage of elected officials participating in the demonstration.
The demonstration itself involves a regular car that will be outfitted with various technologies that communicate with the driver as well as an intersection that will be set up in the demonstration area. Participants will be able to ride in (and possibly drive) the demonstration vehicle on a closed course. The article linked below (and attached) relates one reporter’s experience during the demonstration that was held recently in Detroit, Michigan.
We are working with ODOT and other agencies to arrange television and print media coverage of the event.
Along the same lines, Ron Richings has observations from his travels over on the SHIFT list. He notes that bike sharing systems have a big impact on bicycle mode share.
I understand Commissioner Adams' office has an RFP out for a bike sharing/rental system, but I've haven't heard an update in a while. Anyone know what's going on?
July 2, 2007
This month on the KBOO Bike Show, hosts Tori and Ayleen will interview bike racers to discuss the sportier side of bike culture. Is Lycra really necessary? What's the attraction to riding to fast?
9-10AM, Wednesday, July 4th
KBOO FM 90.7
Streamed live at KBOO.fm
Podcast here later that day
TriMet has adopted a $741M budget for FY2008. In addition to a 5 cent fare increase and continuing construction of the Green Line and Washington County Commuter Rail, here are a few more highlights:
- $1.7 million to begin replacing the original 20-year old Ticket Vending Machines located along Eastside MAX line with debit/credit-card only machines.
- $1.1 million to retrofit 70 buses with new exhaust filters that reduce particulate and most other emissions by 90 percent. This is in addition to retrofitting now underway on 84 buses.
I was very impressed with Gail Achterman's remarks at the City Club presentation on Friday. [Not that I was not impressed with your remarks too, Rex, but I've heard them before :-)]
You can download the full program (MP3, 21.1M) from City Club's web site for a few weeks.
Gail says what she believes. Here are a few highlights:
- Replacing our current funding model with something like a public utility commission model that set rates not just for roads, but also for rail and other modes. This would take rate setting out of political mode and lock it into a fiscally sound model.
- Replace the gas tax with a new revenue stream that is not constitionally dedicated to one mode.
- Replace JPACT with a body that has both a broader scope (e.g., includes rail and marine transportation) and has a more inclusive membership.
- Take ramp meters to their logical conclusion and close some freeway ramps to keep the system flowing.
She did not pull any punches. I was impressed. One friend suggested she wished Gail would run for Governor...