Oregon’s bike tax revenue is far below expectations, while admin overhead is going up

Customers at Universal Cycles on SE Ankeny are greeted with these signs at the checkout counter.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Through three quarters of its first year in existence, Oregon’s $15 bicycle excise tax has added $489,000 into state coffers. That’s a lot lower than state economists expected. Overhead costs are also more than expected and are likely to climb even higher as officials beef up filing enforcement efforts.

As OPB reported last week, officials from the Department of Revenue, Oregon Department of Transportation and the Legislative Revenue Office have been updating lawmakers on receipts from the slew of new taxes and fees included in the $5.3 billion transportation package passed in 2017. Among them was the infamous $15 tax that applies to every new bicycle valued at $200 or higher sold in Oregon.

The tax was pitched as a way to force bicycle riders to have some “skin in the game” when it comes to funding transportation infrastructure. It was seen by advocates (The Street Trust opposed the fee but supported the package it was integral to) as a part of the compromise needed to pass a bill with funding for Safe Routes to School and public transit, while raising fees and taxes on motor vehicle use. The tax was also seen as a way to answer some voters who — despite it being terrible and ineffective — have long dreamed of making “cyclists pay their way.”

We’ve railed against the bike tax from a policy perspective in the past. Why on earth would Oregon want to tax a form of transportation that adds such tremendous value to our roads and lives? Given cycling’s return-on-investment, it makes more sense to pay people to ride them than to tack on a clumsy tax.

Now it turns out the bike tax isn’t an efficient revenue tool either.


(Chart: State of Oregon)

Back in September, an official from the Department of Revenue told members of the House Committee on Transportation that the bike tax had raised just $289,000 through its first six months. Of that, only $133,000 had been transferred to ODOT’s Connect Oregon grant program where it will be earmarked for path and trail projects outside of the highway right-of-way. (Yes, that’s right, the way the law was written, the money can’t be used for on-street bikeways.)

“At this point it’s pretty labor intensive.”
— Xann Culver, Oregon Department of Revenue on their efforts to collect the bike tax

Now state officials estimate the bike tax will likely bring in about $900,000 in its first two years. That’s less than half of the $2.1 million they told lawmakers it would bring in every two years. At another committee meeting last week, officials released a chart showing that future year estimates will be even lower. Instead of $2.8 million every biennium, they now expect just $1.1 million. And that’s before subtracting administrative costs. ODOT Economist Daniel Porter told lawmakers that in hindsight, their estimates for the bike tax were, “A real shot in the dark.” He blamed Oregon’s lack of sales tax data and a misunderstanding of the “seasonalities” of new bike sales.

Back in September, Department of Revenue staffer Xann Culver said they had less than 100 retailers filing the tax. Joint Committee on Transportation Co-Chair Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) commented that the number of retailers seemed low. “Was there some sort of plan to increase that number to make sure everybody is paying their fair share?” she asked. “Yes,” the DOR staffer replied. She then explained how they plan to bump up filing enforcement efforts do more research on their list of 350 bicycle retailers to see which ones are selling taxable bicycles, and follow-up on tips from retailers about others shops who aren’t filing. The state also plans to hire an additional auditor in the coming months to “do more enforcement.” “At this point,” Culver said, “It’s pretty labor intensive.”

So, while the estimated revenue from the tax goes down, it appears as though the amount it takes to collect it will be going up.

For more on how the bike tax is doing, read the OPB article. And tune into OPB’s Think Out Loud show today at noon where I’ll be sharing my views as a guest.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post Oregon’s bike tax revenue is far below expectations, while admin overhead is going up appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Oregon’s proposal to lift fourplex bans would be great for biking

Protected bike lanes aren’t the only reason so many people bike in Amsterdam.
(Photo: M. Andersen)

An earlier version of this post was published by the Sightline Institute. It’s by former BikePortland news editor Michael Andersen.

The fight to strike down apartment bans has arrived in Oregon’s legislature.

Would re-legalizing fourplexes everywhere be good for bicycle transportation? It very much would be.

On Friday, Willamette Week broke some news: Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has been working on a bill that’d require all but the smallest Oregon cities in urban areas to re-legalize up to four homes per lot—a lower-cost housing option that was quite common in the early 20th century but was gradually banned from most parts of most cities.

BikePortland has had a lot to say about proposals like this one before (including the similar local reform that keeps getting better, thanks to public pressure as it works its way through Portland’s endless local process).

But now that this issue has hit the statewide radar, let’s gather the evidence around this question: Would re-legalizing fourplexes everywhere be good for bicycle transportation?

It very much would be.

As Elly Blue put it on BikePortland 11 years ago, proximity is key to our future. More than bike classes, more than courteous driving, more even than comfortable infrastructure, the number-one way to make bike transportation work for the life of an ordinary Oregonian is to make the trips we have to take shorter.

*Source: 2017 NHTS.

Making it legal — not mandatory, just legal — to build homes closer to each other is the way to do this.

Legalizing more housing creates more proximity twice.

First and most obviously, it creates proximity because it lets more people (and also more varieties of people) choose to live closer to current destinations like jobs, parks, schools, grocery stores, shops, parks, quality transit stops and (oh, yeah) their family and friends. Two weeks ago, an economic report on Portland’s fourplex re-legalization proposal estimated that 87 percent of the new, smaller and relatively cheaper homes built would go into the lower-density neighborhoods up to roughly 3.5 miles from the city center.

Those are the exact same neighborhoods we called out in a 2014: “maybe this is why you can’t afford to rent in the central city.”

These are also, of course, the Portland neighborhoods with the best bike infrastructure. We should be improving biking everywhere, but we can also make our existing investments go further by letting more people live near them.

The second reason re-legalizing duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes creates proximity is that simply by existing, homes help create more new things near them. TriMet can’t justify upgrading a bus line to frequent service until a lot of people live fairly close to it. New Seasons can’t justify opening a new grocery store — and Fred Meyer may not be able to justify keeping an existing grocery store open — unless there are a certain number of people living near it.

Every neighborhood coffee shop and dive bar in the city relies hugely on the people who live close enough to walk or bike there and back without hardly thinking about it.

Support BikePortland.

More homes => more people => more coffee shops and dive bars within biking distance => more biking.

You don’t have to take my word for it. It’s right there in the National Household Travel Survey:

*Data: 2017 NHTS. Chart: Michael Andersen.

This is the flip side of the phenomenon my colleague Margaret Morales recently observed about backyard cottages. She calculated that adding 7 more homes to each standard city block of 21 lots would reduce average driving per household on that block by about 1,000 miles per year.

(Or for more evidence in various contexts, you could look here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

One thing to notice about the chart above is that the difference in biking between 17,500 people per square mile (Portland’s Northwest 23rd Avenue, with lots of the old mid-scale housing that has since been mostly banned) and 27,500 (the south side of Portland’s downtown, with skyscrapers) is much less than the difference between 7,500 people per square mile (a lawn-and-driveway area like Beaumont-Wilshire) and 17,500 people per square mile.

In other words, if we want lots more biking, we don’t have to put towers everywhere (though that wouldn’t hurt, either). We just have to transition into cities with many buildings that are a few stories tall and attached to each other.

Hmm, sounds somehow familiar.

*Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: M. Andersen.

*Houten, Netherlands. Photo: Nicholas Oyler, City of Memphis.

*Medellín, Colombia. Photo: M. Andersen.

*Montreal, Canada. Photo: J. Maus

None of this is to say we shouldn’t also be building awesome protected bike lanes and off-street paths and traffic-calmed side streets. Cities in northern Europe, South America and southern China prove that the magic formula for lots of biking is to combine proximity with great streets.

After years of stagnation, Portland is finally doing more to improve its streets. The logical next step is to make it possible for more Portlanders to use them a little bit less.

— Michael Andersen: (503) 333-7824, @andersem on Twitter and michael@sightline.org.


Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.


BikePortland needs your support.

The post Oregon’s proposal to lift fourplex bans would be great for biking appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Two week Rhine-Lafayette Overpass closure begins today

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re one of the many people who rely on the carfree overpass that connects the neighborhoods of Brooklyn to Creston-Kenilworth, a repair project might impact your trips.

TriMet crews are working to improve the durability of the elevators at the Rhine-Lafayette Overpass. Since the bridge opened in 2015, the elevator — which is a key feature for bicycle users — has had a spotty reliability record.

Here’s what TriMet announced this morning about the status of the project:

The two-week closure of the elevators at the Rhine-Lafayette Pedestrian Overpass in southeast Portland starts today, Monday, Dec. 17 through Friday, Jan. 4. The elevators will be closed throughout that time with the entire overpass (stairs and elevators) closed at times for safety reasons. When crews are not working—about 4 p.m. to 7 a.m.—the overpass and stairs will be open for use. This is part of an improvement project that began Nov. 26 to increase the reliability of the elevators. We appreciate the patience of those who use the overpass as we make the improvements.

For more information, check out the official project page at TriMet.org.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post Two week Rhine-Lafayette Overpass closure begins today appeared first on BikePortland.org.

How Portlanders handled a wet, dark, stormy bike commute

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Tuesday afternoon was a doozy, weather-wise.

It’s not often I’ll opt out of a bike ride, but I hopped on light rail to make it to a meeting downtown. Why? The conditions were: dark, windy, wet, and cool (just cool enough to need a jacket, just warm enough to make you sweat in it). I can handle each of those variable by themselves, or even two or three of them at once. But when all those factors get together I look for non-biking options if I’m able.

I had a feeling a lot of you battled the deluge, so I posted a photo of a rider battling rain on our Instagram feed and asked our followers to share. I don’t take comfort in other people’s misery, but I have to admit I enjoyed reading all the comments that came in! In case you missed the post, here’s what people had to say:

swanny22Yeah, that was not particularly enjoyable.

icomeoutatnight I worked in it, however it was relatively not that bad. It could’ve rained more and it wasn’t even cold enough for gloves

stahnke_kong & a flat tire on top of it all!!

nwcanyoning 7 miles home from downtown was fun 🤠🚴🏼‍♂️

lechezzzRide home last night definitely had me regretting my decision to forgo rain pants!

carmusmeathole at least it was warm-ish!!

pedalpt Got crushed on my commute home last night 💧💦💧🚴🏻😣

fixedgearbikescum 💯 amazing day to be out. 😍🙌

kressanthemum I did feel more badass than usual. Cheers to us all! 💙

ruckuscomp At least it was warm! But that wind was almost as bad as traffic.

sukhostarpdx Soaked to bone.

m_eyes Shoes full of water when I got home!

m_eyes @m_eyes at least my daughter stayed dry in the burley trailer.

hunqaloosa Rain cape saved the day!

bevan97217 Ain’t no thang but a little Pdx weather!✊🏽

jbogli I got to say I honestly enjoyed it. Fun to swim every so often!

bedbug.ben It was fun! I just wish I didn’t have my laptop in my backpack hahaha I was so worried bout it

ssmathes There should be huge tax breaks for bike commuters.

brownb x🚴‍♂️or☠

xfs_xth @showerspass booties saved the day!! 💦

woosighdough I’ll take the rain over the wind (which wasn’t too bad) any day.

lieselsvedlund Felt good to overcome a little sprinkle 😂

ybecauseimbryan Fun riding in that kind of rain. Could do without the cars though. 😁

wherethepavementends It wasn’t bad. Not even cold.

madamezola My legs were soaked (my upper half was swaddled lovingly in @showerspas gear and their magical backpack). At least it was warm and not windy.

j_merrithew Flying by all those people trapped in their traffic gave me all the warm fuzzies I needed!

vquick It wasn’t cold and not even very wet. Really nothing compared to the strong 40 MPH frigid wind gusts we faced last week. #doyouevenbike? 😉

neenajean 🙏🏼


joanbybike I was fine until a block from my house, when the blocked sewer drain meant riding through a huge puddle and my shoes got super wet.

joanbybike @joanbybike But my new @showerspass gloves kept my hands dry!

wendyzworld It was a deluge and the streets were flooded and I loved it! I have good gear 🙂

ashweeepoo Andy & Bax rain gear ftw!!

jayhisey Bravo to all that braved the weather

andreacapbuckle I’ll take the rain over the wind. I gave myself a good laugh Monday though when I was riding along feeling fast and strong. Then I realized there was no wind. Last week was rough compared to this week for me.

billbowlrider My shoes are STILL wet

marshallsteeves I definitely got caught and was DRENCHED! Still worth it though!

frootdawg Yes! Still better than driving!!!!

papi_cet Oh ya, refreshing

banerjek To condition myself for such a traumatic experience, I stand naked in the shower for 15 min each day with water blasting on me. When you’re used to getting drenched like that, you don’t even notice a couple drops of rain. Interesting pic. The helmet and light are designed for mountaineering rather than cycling.

The forecast for the coming week looks wet and wild once again. To everyone still riding, I commend you!

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post How Portlanders handled a wet, dark, stormy bike commute appeared first on BikePortland.org.

The Little Things: Stripes on stop sign poles in Seattle

A stop sign in Seattle with white and red striping on the pole.
(Photos: Mike Dowd)

This post was written by reader Mike Dowd.

When I grew up in Seattle, stop signs had wood posts with red-and-white, candy cane-like stripes. Now they have metal poles, but they’re still striped. When I moved to Portland, I really missed them! It seemed dangerous without them.

When you approach an intersection in Seattle, the stripes immediately show you whether people entering the intersection from other directions must stop. In Portland, you have to look for the octagonal sign shape — not easy to see when you’re looking at the back of a sign across the intersection (maybe with a telephone or light pole in front of it), and almost impossible when looking at the narrow edge of a sign regulating cross traffic.

It’s critical for everyone — whether driving, riding, or walking — to know who must stop at an intersection. You don’t want to enter an intersection until you’re sure nobody is entering it from your left or right. You don’t want to make a left turn until you know whether an oncoming vehicle or bike is going to stop.

If you misread the intersection, and proceed thinking that crossing traffic has stop signs when it does not, you may cause a crash. If you don’t see others’ stop signs, and slow or stop thinking they don’t need to stop, you create confusion and delays. (Portland has become infamous for the “You go,” “No you go,” “No you go,” dance.)


Easier to see from any direction.

Portland has a mish-mash of info added below stop signs: “All Way” signs at intersections with four stop signs, “Oncoming Traffic Does Not Stop”, “Traffic From Right Does Not Stop”, etc. But it’s not consistent, which itself creates danger. Those also only give information to people who do have a stop sign. If you don’t have a stop sign, there’s no sign telling you whether cross-traffic or oncoming traffic has stop signs.

The stripes also make stop signs much more visible for people approaching them, since the overall “sign” becomes effectively about eight feet tall instead of just a two-foot octagon.

Also, the stripes Seattle adds to metal stop sign posts are reflective, so all the various advantages of the stripes are magnified at night. In Portland, the backs and edges of stop signs are almost invisible at night.

I’d like to see the stripes added in Portland. I’m curious what others have seen in other places.

— Mike Dowd

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post The Little Things: Stripes on stop sign poles in Seattle appeared first on BikePortland.org.

New diverters on Ankeny and Lincoln part of plan to keep drivers off side streets

New driving discouragers on SE Ankeny at 15th.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“Things have changed a lot since we did our neighborhood greenway assessment [in 2015]… There’s more traffic pressure.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT

Life is slowly but surely getting harder for people who drive in Portland. And that’s exactly what the Bureau of Transportation is aiming for. In the past week they’ve laid down median diverters that limit where we can drive. The goal is to encourage us to keep our cars off what are known as neighborhood greenways — streets where cycling is supposed to be the priority mode of travel.

But as Portland’s roads have become filled with too many drivers in recent years, PBOT has had to do more to defend greenways from an onslaught of traffic-dodgers staring into Waze and Google Map apps in an attempt to shave a few seconds off their trip. Unfortunately those apps often lead people onto (what should be quiet) side streets that have been engineered specifically to make cycling less stressful. To end this cycle of more drivers and more stressful conditions on side streets, PBOT has added new diverters at two locations: on SE Ankeny at 15th and SE 50th at Lincoln.

SE Ankeny and 15th

As it should be: Driver forced off, bicycle rider allowed to continue.

PBOT image shows what they’ll look like when finished.

As we reported in 2014, many drivers swoop onto Ankeny to avoid the traffic further west at the Burnside/Couch couplet. Thanks to activists with Bike Loud and Buckman neighborhood residents, PBOT agreed to install a temporary diverter at 15th. They made good on their promise in July 2016 by placing large concrete planters and yellow caution signs in the middle of the intersection. The treatment prevented people from driving straight through 15th, forcing westbound drivers to turn north (back to Burnside) and eastbound drivers south.

This week PBOT made those temporary diverters permanent by laying down concrete median islands. The new islands are easier on the eye and are intended to accomplish the same result. PBOT told us this morning that more signage and vertical elements are still to come. They include (but are not limited to): stop signs facing north and south, yellow warning signs that alert people to the presence of people biking through the intersection, yellow and black striped sign, and signage leading up to the intersection indicating that it’s not for through-traffic, only bicycle traffic.

SE Lincoln and 50th

PBOT’s final design (note the car parking space on northeast corner).

It’s been a year since the infamous open house where opposition to the Lincoln-Harrison neighborhood greenway project went absolutely off-the-rails. PBOT’s attempts to reduce the amount of driving on Lincoln were met with epic opposition. Ultimately PBOT won the day with a revised plan that came out in March.

One of the biggest sticking points was a diverter at 50th and Lincoln. PBOT had to do something because this intersection had the highest volume of drivers of anywhere on the greenway — 2,300 cars per day east of 50th and 1,500 east of it. The city’s goal for greenways is under 1,000 cars per day.

They settled on a compromise design that would place diverters in the middle of 50th to prevent people from driving through the intersection and limit some turning movements.


Work began this week to install the diverter. However, some activists are crying foul because PBOT has altered the design since it was last shown to the public.

The plan before PBOT made the tweak to add a parking space. Compare it to the image above.

On Tuesday, local resident Andrea Brown with the Safer Lincoln group emailed PBOT Capitol Project Manager Sheila Parrott. Brown was concerned that the new design, “Has created an unsafe jog in the bicycle flow in order to accommodate an extraneous parking space on the northeast corner.” Brown added that her group was aware that an adjacent neighbor had contacted PBOT to request a parking spot in front of their house (which has its own driveway).

Parrott wrote to Brown that, “Following resident input, we revised the plan to remove the on-street parking on the south side and provide a disabled parking space on the north side. Although this type of parking space is generally used by the person making the request for the space, it is not a personal space. Anyone displaying the disabled placard can use the space.”

Another transportation activist and local resident named Betsy Reese emailed PBOT with several concerns about the new design. One problem she mentioned was that it, “Forces westbound cyclists to veer to the left to get past a stopped car, then veer to the right to line up at the gap in the diverter.” Reese wanted the parking spot moved further east to avoid conflicts at the intersection.

A PBOT traffic engineer replied to Reese to say the current layout is only a prototype and they plan to monitor her concerns as part of the evaluation

A brand new greenway treatment

Conspicuity is the goal.

In other neighborhood greenway news, PBOT unveiled a new idea at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting on Tuesday night. Citing what he sees as, “more traffic pressure” on neighborhood greenways since PBOT’s assessment report was passed by council in August 2015, PBOT bicycle program manager Roger Geller said they’re considering a new approach. Geller shared a list of projects up for possible funding in 2019-2020 that included one described as, “An innovative attempt to highlight the visibility of bicycle priority on neighborhood greenways.” The idea is to double the frequency of sharrow markings, possibly add painted stop lines on side streets, and add other signage as needed.

Geller said he’s noticed that many people ride in the door-zone on neighborhood greenways — a sign of stress likely caused by fears of drivers coming from behind. Geller wants to make Portland greenways more “readable as a bikeway.” In addition to more sharrows and signage, he’d like couple that with an education program. The goal would be to make it more difficult for people in cars to pass bicycle users, which would hopefully discourage people from driving on greenways altogether.

UPDATE: Reader 9watts (who’s concerned about the width of the biking gaps being too wide) has sent us fresher photos of the Ankeny/15th diverters:

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post New diverters on Ankeny and Lincoln part of plan to keep drivers off side streets appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Disability rights activists to TriMet: Let us take trikes on MAX

Serenity Ebert (left), Christine Watts (center), and Dawn Cohoe (right) in front of the TriMet board meeting yesterday. They are part of Civil Unrest Bicycle Club, a disability rights advocacy group.
(Photo courtesy Christine Watts)

TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey and the agency’s Board of Directors heard from two cycling activists during the open public comment period of their meeting yesterday.

“I can’t use public transportation to get to cycling events that I can’t ride to or back from. What do I do? Where is the equity in that?”
— Serenity Ebert

Serenity Ebert rolled up to the microphone on her trike, which she uses as a wheelchair. It’s the same one she pedaled to the stage at the recent Alice Awards dinner where she gave a rousing speech about her experience navigating Portland streets with a physical disability. Christine Watts joined her at the testimony table to ask TriMet to allow tricycles on MAX light rail trains. Both women are members of Civil Unrest Bicycle Club, a grassroots disability advocacy group.

Current TriMet policy does not allow three-wheeled bicycles on MAX. Specifically, the policy states that only, “… two-wheeled bikes, folding bikes, and recumbents the size of a standard bike are allowed… Tandems and bikes with oversized wheels, three or more wheels, trailers or those powered by internal-combustion engines cannot be accommodated. Electric bikes with a sealed battery compartment are permitted.”


“Not allowing such forms of personal transportation on the MAX train creates a hardship, and puts the disabled more at risk of injury, or being a victim of a crime.”
— Christine Watts

Ebert has submitted an application to TriMet for a special exception to the rule, but she says it has been denied. “I’ve lived downtown for 10 years,” Ebert said in her testimony yesterday. “I depend on public transit to navigate the city.” “I use my walker or my trike as my mobility devices,” Ebert continued. “A while ago I was informed that I can’t take my trike on transit as a mobility device. You could argue that I have equal access because I can use my walker on transit. But is it fair or equitable that I can’t use my other mobility device? The one that allows me to more fully participate?”

Ebert explained to Kelsey and the TriMet Board that she needs to be able to use both devices. The walker is slow and difficult to use on its own, and when she’s only using the trike she can’t, “Simply get off and go run to get my walker.” Ebert says if TriMet won’t let her use her trike as a mobility device, she’s still prevented from using it because a bicycle with three wheels is explicitly prohibited in current policy.

If you value community journalism, please support our work!

“Unlike my fellow non-disabled cyclists, I can’t use public transportation to get to cycling events that I can’t ride to or back from. What do I do?” Serenity asked. “Where is the equity in that?”

In her testimony, Watts said TriMet’s exclusion of adult tricycles and adaptive trikes is discrimination against people with disabilities. “Not allowing such forms of personal transportation on the MAX train creates a hardship, and puts the disabled more at risk of injury, or being a victim of a crime. For example when tricycles are vandalized or parts are stolen or the trike itself when parked at bike racks.”

After their testimony, no one from TriMet spoke or asked questions. You can watch this testimony on video here (starts at 5:00 mark).

In an email today, TriMet public information officer Tim Becker said that while Ms. Ebert did file a “Reasonable Modification Request,” it was denied because, “The requested modification would not be necessary to allow her to fully use or participate in TriMet services, programs, or activities.” Becker said they made that decision based on Ebert’s ability to use a walker. “While Ms. Ebert cannot bring the tricycle on board,” Becker wrote, “she is able to access the transit system using her primary mobility device, which is her walker.” TriMet also says they have no plans to classify trikes as mobility devices, but they will address Reasonable Modification requests on a case-by-case basis.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post Disability rights activists to TriMet: Let us take trikes on MAX appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bird rallies with The Street Trust to get e-scooters back “as soon as possible”

(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Bird, the fastest company to ever reach a $1 billion valuation, set up shop on the steps of Portland City Hall today in a bid to get their product back out on the streets. Joining them were leaders from active transportation advocacy group The Street Trust and Forth Mobility, a nonprofit that promotes electric vehicles.

“Our streets are for people. Our streets should also be for e-scooters.”
— Jillian Detweiler, The Street Trust

Portland’s four-month pilot of shared electric scooters ended at the end of November and Bird was one of the companies that took part. “We’re here today to talk about bringing scooters back as soon as possible, and to expedite the process,” a Bird spokesperson shared with me before the event got underway.

Before speakers took to the mic, Bird staffers, scooter advocates and interested onlookers milled around a table and tent emblazoned with the Bird logo that had been set up in City Hall plaza. The company offered free helmets, pizza, coffee, and custom-made cookies.

The first person to speak was Joanie Deutsch, senior manager of government partnerships at Bird. She said Portland should restore access to this transportation option “as soon as possible.” “Portland riders made clear they enjoyed having access to e-scooters as an affordable transportation option,” Deutsch added.


Jillian Detweiler from The Street Trust speaks with Bird’s Joanie Deutsch in the background.

The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler also spoke at the event. She said her organization was, “Tremendously surprised and happy” about the scooter pilot program. “It was giving a broader population of people an alternative to driving,” she said. “And giving people a convenient — and even fun — way to get where they need to go.”

“We’re here today because the pilot was a success,” Detweiler continued. She then echoed Deutsch’s comments, saying she wants scooters back on the streets as soon as possible. Detweiler acknowledged the need to consider data and feedback from the pilot and said she’s aware some scooter users rubbed walkers and people with disabilities the wrong way. “But we’re confident those [issues] can be worked out,” she said. “Our streets are for people. Our streets should also be for e-scooters.”

Detweiler also said The Street Trust is focused on making sure PBOT moves forward with their analysis. She announced today that PBOT plans to make a final e-scooter report available in mid-January and open up the topic to public comment shortly thereafter.

I chatted with Bird spokesperson Mackenzie Long before the event. She said, in addition to rallying support for e-scooters, they held the event to urge Portland to step into the forefront of the micromobility revolution. “We’re here to remind Portland that you were a leader in sustainable transportation. So keep it going!”

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post Bird rallies with The Street Trust to get e-scooters back “as soon as possible” appeared first on BikePortland.org.

BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Velo Gioielli, Orquidia Violeta, White Noyes Crafts

Welcome to the final installment of our 2018 BikeCraft vendor spotlights, brought to you by our friend Elly Blue from Microcosm Publishing. The big event is this weekend, and if you’ve been following along you know that organizers have put together something special. They’ve got a new, larger space (Taborspace!), great vendors — many of whom you won’t find anywhere else, and lots of merry surprises in store. I look forward to seeing you there! – Jonathan

Take it away Elly…

Velo Gioielli – Etsy shop

Brian Echerer is one of the masterminds behind BikeCraft’s recent reboot. Somehow in between running around securing our venue and cajoling food trucks to come feed us delicious tacos and grilled cheese, he’s been hard at work crafting more of his gorgeous art, combining spokes and chainrings with gems and stained glass into intricate masterworks. Be sure to ask him about his obelisk.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
Bike art and spoke bracelets, the things every cyclist needs. The most important thing to know is by supporting BikeCraft you are supporting amazing local people.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I have a passion for road cycling and love watching the grand tours on TV. Nothin better in my life than having a stage on the tv while I am working on bike art at the same time. I just love bikes.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
So I was out of work and I had been making spoke bracelets for my cycling club. I saw the BikeCraft event call for makers in 2009 and signed up. My mother and I got to work making all sorts of bikey jewelry trinkets and that was the start of Velo Gioielli. BikeCraft was the start of it all and that first one was the best memory.


Orquidia Violeta – Website

Adorable, bike-friendly and bike-themed clothes for kiddos — I totally fell in love with Orchid’s designs at last year’s event and spent half of Saturday texting with my sister to figure out my nephew’s size and style preferences. Also, I would totally wear one of these cozy ponchos in an adult size, just saying.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m bringing fun kids clothes! Colorful wearable artwork sewn in Portland by me, using salvaged materials collected by bike. This year I made push-bike ponchos. They fit 2-5 year olds and are made from cozy wool and fleece. They have bright hoods and reflective bits, and an appliquéd pocket for treasure!

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’m a Salvadoran-American textile artist and I sew one-of-a-kind pieces that I sell around town. I operate my business entirely by bike, so kids clothes are easy to transport. I prefer selling to customers directly, like at BikeCraft. Connecting personally, I can help select the perfect gift. I love to watch my artwork go off into the world toward unknown adventure!

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
BikeCraft is a fun sale with great vendors and customers. But it’s extra awesome that everyone arrives on two wheels. At most craft sales, I am the only vendor cycling, but at BikeCraft we have that shared experience. Portlanders are working hard to make the city more bikeable for citizens of all ages and colors. I appreciate that every day, and try to reciprocate through my craft and through this sale!

White Noyes Crafts
We met Julie Noyes at last year’s BikeCraft, where she was one of the first to sign up to vend this year. She’ll be debuting her bikey handknits at the fair — they’re so new, there aren’t any photos yet!

What are you bringing to BikeCraft?
I am bringing my hand knit items; hats and fingerless gloves. Also some handmade bikey ornaments and handmade books.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I have always been an artist, but about two years ago, my friend gave me a knitting lesson and I’ve been grinding out product ever since. I moved here from Vermont, so having a warm but lightweight hat is a necessity. I wanted to create something that bike commuters could fit under their helmets (please wear your helmet) and stay warm.

What are you most excited about at the event?
I am excited about getting my gear out there, and also contributing to a “warm” holiday season.

Learn more about BikeCraft at the official website.

— Elly Blue/Microcosm Publishing

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Velo Gioielli, Orquidia Violeta, White Noyes Crafts appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bird and The Street Trust will host an e-scooter press conference on Wednesday

From the press conference invite.

A leading electric scooter company and Portland-based nonprofit The Street Trust will co-host an event at City Hall on Wednesday at 12 noon.

Bird was one of three companies that participated in the City of Portland’s e-scooter pilot program. Despite what appeared to be a successful experiment, Portland decided to take all scooters off the streets about one month ago.

Now Bird and The Street Trust want to get scooters back in the news. Here’s the text of an invite Bird is sending around:

Join us on Wednesday, December 12 at noon at City Hall for a press conference in support of bringing scooters back to Portland! We’ll have speakers from Bird, The Street Trust, and more.

Portland’s e-scooter pilot program was a huge success in giving Portlanders new convenient, sustainable alternatives to car travel and the city’s leaders have shown tremendous foresight as they plan to incorporate these new modes of transportation into the city’s streets.

Let’s show them how much we appreciate their work making Portland a leader in sustainability and that we hope we can get scooters back on the road as soon as possible so we can continue to have more convenient, environmentally-friendly, and affordable transportation options!

Word has it that representatives from Lime will also speak at the event.

I’m not aware of what (if any) major announcement will be made. But it’s not surprising to see scooter providers angling to curry favor in the Portland market. PBOT is currently working on phase two of a scooter pilot and they’ll ultimately have to choose which companies will have the privilege of operating here. Both Bird and Lime would appear to be likely candidates, especially if they were to be acquired by Uber as reports suggest.

Consolidation in the market makes it look like PBOT’s choice could come down to two behemoths: Uber or Lyft. Lyft recently completed its purchase of Motivate, the company that operates Biketown. And Uber already owns Jump, the company that built the bikes (and technology in them) that Biketown uses.

It’s interesting to note that Bird has at least two staffers who come from transportation advocacy ranks. Last October, the veteran leader of New York’s nonprofit group TransAlt, Paul Steely White became Bird’s director of policy and advocacy. And Bird has also hired Portlander Fiona Yau-Luu, a former Metro staffer who was once board president of Portland-based nonprofit Oregon Walks.

In other e-scooter news, the Willamette Week reported on Friday that the City of Portland collected more than $100,000 in fees and fines from e-scooter operators during the pilot program.

UPDATE, 4:22 pm: A bird spokesperson has contacted us to clarify that The Street Trust is not a host of the event. “Bird will host the event and has invited Portland riders to attend a news conference at City Hall this Wednesday at noon. Speakers will include representatives from Bird, The Street Trust, and Forth Mobility.” (Note that the initial Bird spokesperson who contacted us wrote, “… the press conference Bird and The Street Trust are hosting…”).

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The post Bird and The Street Trust will host an e-scooter press conference on Wednesday appeared first on BikePortland.org.