Archive | September, 2005

Enjoying the Rain


There’s no avoiding the truth. I got wet this morning biking to work.

In what was a rare Portland rain (usually it’s just drizzle), I put on my rain pants and my mediocre raincoat and biked through some serious rain and puddles to work. Coming across the Hawthorne Bridge, I was glad to see that Breakfast on the Bridges wasn’t closing up, and didn’t call it off because of the weather.

I stopped, and enjoyed free coffee and a Voodoo donut, and conversation with TriMet’s Kiran Limaye and the City of Portland’s Greg Raisman. We waived at the Coalition for Livable Future’s Teresa Huntsinger as she rode by (late to work?) and chatted about recumbent bicycles. Other dedicated cyclists rode by, and one stopped, along with a pedestrian. Smiles abounded, despite the wetness.

Cheered by the coffee and the company, I re-mounted my bike and got to work, where I found our bike racks full (as always), and employees bustling about but generally happy.

Taking off my wet socks and trading out my shirt, I was soon dry.
And felt alive.

Alive from biking, from feeling the weather, from being with these people, and living in this place. I love this job.

My Trip: Michelle Looks for a Guiding Light on the Waterfront

I’ve begun riding my new bicycle most places in lieu of taking the bus. It’s at least fifteen minutes quicker than on my way to work compared to the bus (7.71 miles one way!). I choose a bike lane, bike/pedestrian only path which leads me down the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Generally, this proves to be quite pleasant – during the day. However, at night, it becomes borderline treacherous between the Hawthorne and Burnside bridges as there is no lighting to guide the way. This could be quite dangerous for someone who isn’t familiar with the path, especially near the Portland Spirit loading zone with the stairs leading down to the dock.

I’m wondering if this topic has come up before, if there is any other concern for having this section moderately lit, and what else it would take to get this section moderately lit. The sections north and south of this bit have lighting, so why not this section?

Although, I was happy to be the ‘guiding light’ for a gentleman last night with my rear light blinking ferociously, it seems we could have a better way of getting folks to talk to one another!

Bike Rentals in Lyon

My Metro Council colleague Rod Park took these photos while on a family trip to France.

“This is a new program Lyon is trying. You rent the bike for 1 euro for each hour after the first half hour which is free. They have about 20 stations city wide. You just pick one up and drop it off at one of the other stations. Very interesting concept that we might want to copy.

In the last picture you can see the line of those rent a bike spots with most of them in use.”

“Goods and Services” or “Freight”

When I was starting this blog, I got feedback from a number of potential contributors that just talking about “mobility” was a problem, that “access” was the more comprehensive way to look at the issues. I eventually compromised and put both in the tag line for this site.

I’m getting a similar education about “freight”. I’m coming to understand that the “movement of goods and services” is the more comprehensive way to look at this issue. This is particularly relevant as the Portland Freight Master Plan makes its way to the Planning Commission and then City Council.

On Tuesday I attended a lecture in the PSU Transportation Seminar Series by Doug Hunt, a Professor at the University of Calgary.

While Professor Hunt’s main theme was about the intracacies of modeling the movement of commercial vehicles, which make up perhaps 12-16% of all vehicles on the road (the rest being “household” vehicles), as context, he presented statistics about the composition of that traffic.

Only about two-thirds of commercial traffic is what a layman might think of as “freight”, goods being shipped in large trucks. The other third is transported in smaller trucks, vans and cars. Commercial services are almost entirely delivered in smaller vehicles.

So as we plan how our transportation system will serve the region’s economy, we would do well to think about ALL of the movements that contribute, not just tractor-trailers.

APTA Attributes Increases in Transit Ridership [in part] to Gas Prices

A press release from the American Public Transportation Assocation, released in conjunction with their EXPO 2005, notes sharp increases in transit ridership.

The increase is attributed to rising gas prices and new technologies:

Many transit system officials attribute this growth to higher gas prices, expansion of services and improved passenger services. Recent years have seen a proliferation of new technologies that have greatly enhanced the riding experience and made it easier than ever to use public transportation. On-board wireless Internet, GPS mapping services, smart fare cards, advanced passenger information technologies, and in-rail car television and radio networks are just a few examples of the innovations in today’s public transportation systems.