Did segregation cause your traffic jam?

Segregation isn’t just for suburbia. White householders in greater Portland are marked in blue, Asian-American householders in red, black householders in green, Hispanic or Latino householders in orange. Source: 2010 Census via University of Virginia. (Click for zoomable nationwide map.)

Crossposted from Sightline Institute. Senior researcher Michael Andersen is a former news editor at BikePortland.

Many North American cities are oddly un-city-like compared to their peers in Asia, Europe, Africa and even South America. Our cities are weirdly spread out and the damage to our environment and economy is colossal.

Why did this happen?

The New York Times’s “1619 Project,” launched in print last weekend, sets out to explain various distinctly American characteristics with a decoder ring: chattel slavery. Understand the ways multigenerational slavery twisted US society, it argues, and you’ll understand more about everything else in the country, too.

One of the essays, by historian Kevin Kruse, looks at how modern American transportation and housing were shaped by deliberate and largely successful attempts to preserve racial segregation. The effects, he argues, are visible on downtown freeways every weekday morning as hundreds of thousands of commuters try to drive in from far-flung suburbs.

He’s writing about Atlanta, but much of the story will be familiar to anyone sitting at the Rose Quarter.

Commuters might assume they’re stuck there because some city planner made a mistake, but the heavy congestion actually stems from a great success. In Atlanta, as in dozens of cities across America, daily congestion is a direct consequence of a century-long effort to segregate the races. …

At first the rule was overt, as Southern cities like Baltimore and Louisville enacted laws that mandated residential racial segregation. Such laws were eventually invalidated by the Supreme Court, but later measures achieved the same effect by more subtle means.

Kruse goes on to discuss suburbanization and “white flight,” both of which were federally subsidized by freeway construction and tax-free mortgages but doesn’t spell out the factors that made suburbs so disproportionately white. What linked sprawl and segregation?


Racial wealth gap + low-density zoning = More segregation

Some of the suburban power to exclude came from racial discrimination by the federal government, the real estate industry, law enforcement, and neighbors. And some was baked into suburb-style zoning—separating homes and shops, banning apartment buildings and even duplexes—requiring everyone to pay for one or more cars and for a hefty amount of private land.

Sprawl enforces segregation, in other words, because the median white family has $171,000 in wealth and the median black family has $17,600—a gap created by slavery and perpetuated by both deliberate racism and systemic racism.

One of those systems was low-density zoning: a technically race-blind way to continue a long chain of segregation policies, from racial zoning to restrictive covenants to apartment bans.

Two Portland State University professors, Lisa Bates and Marisa Zapata, explained last month in an Oregonian op-ed how this plays out:

Limiting sprawl reduces income segregation—the wealthy aren’t isolated in distant enclaves, first-time homebuyers don’t have to “drive till they qualify,” which adds huge transportation costs to their budgets, and lower income families can access transit and jobs from close-in rental homes.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, where even our biggest cities were built mostly after modern zoning became popular in the 1920s, auto-oriented sprawl is common within a few miles of every downtown. That’s one reason segregation took root here, too, across the continent from Virginia’s tobacco farms.

As I wrote last year, you don’t have to be racist or classist to live in a neighborhood shaped by racism and classism. But whoever you are and wherever you live, your life is still being shaped by the ways these forces shaped your neighborhood.

Very likely, your life is being shaped by this every weekday morning.

— Michael Andersen, Sightline senior researcher, writes about housing and transportation: (503) 333-7824, @andersem on Twitter.

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New path that would connect to NW Springville Road faces scrutiny from Multnomah County

The proposed path skirts farm property just east of the Washington County line.

Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District (THPRD) wants to build a new off-street path that would connect new residential development along Northwest Springville Road to a large network of existing paths. The proposed $1.1 million Bethany Creek Trail has been in the works for about 18 months; but some key advocates say they’re frustrated because Multnomah County’s Land Use Planning Division didn’t notify the County’s own Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee about it.

With an important planning hearing set for tomorrow (Friday, August 23rd) and a 60-page report on the permit just coming to light, advocates are scrambling to submit comments and support the project. Adding to the tension is the fact that Multnomah County Land Use Planning Division staff do not recommend approval of the permit, citing concerns that range from natural resource impacts to a lack of benefit for rural residents.

Here’s the background…

THPRD’s drawing of the project showing the approved master plan. (PDF)
(Graphic: WH Pacific)

The new path would be located in Multnomah County on land owned by the Bonneville Power Administration that’s currently zoned for farm use only. As such, THPRD (which operates in Washington County) had to apply for a conditional use permit with the Multnomah County Land Use Planning Division.

“I am appalled county staff would produce a 60-page report and develop recommendations without ever consulting with the [Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee].”
— Andrew Holtz

As proposed by THPRD, the path would be used by an estimated 366 people per day and would be 10-feet wide and have a 2-foot wide gravel shoulder. It would run north-south between the Rock Creek Trail and Springville Road with Kaiser Woods Natural Area to the west and a farm to the east. The location already has a gravel road that’s used by walkers and bikers. (I’ve ridden it several times because it makes a safer and more fun connection than nearby roads.) As currently designed, the project would also build a new crossing at Springville Road to connect to paths north of the street that have been built as part of recent residential construction (the area around this proposed path is booming).

Andrew Holtz has been a Multnomah County cycling advocate for decades and has been a member of the County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee for 17 years. He emailed me last night (speaking for himself and not the committee) to say it’s “infuriating” that a land-use hearing on such an important project would take place without the committee’s knowledge.

Holtz has ridden on the existing road and said he’s excited for the changes this project would bring. “It seems obvious to me that improving this trail segment would benefit both the safety and comfort of people walking and bicycling in this area,” he said, “especially since it would connect several existing trails in the area.”

View of existing gravel path south from Springville Road.


“But aside from the merits of the project,” he continued, “I am appalled county staff would produce a 60-page report and develop recommendations without ever consulting with the MCBPCAC [Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee].” Holtz wants the county to delay making any binding recommendations until the project can be reviewed by the committee.

“At present, Land Use Planning is unable to recommend approval of the application based upon the evidence in the record— from Multnomah County staff report

Unfortunately Holtz has been told that there isn’t time for the hearing to be pushed back. According to THPRD’s consultant on the project, they contacted Multnomah County more than a year ago but county staff never got the project onto the committee’s agenda. If the committee had a chance to discuss the proposal, they might have been able to work through the concerns from County land-use planning staff.

Asked why this hearing wasn’t on the committee’s agenda, Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen said, “[The project] is not part of the County’s Transportation program, which the committee provides input on. The County does not bring typically bring land use cases to its Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee… The trail segment proposed by Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District is not a Multnomah County project and is before the hearings officer. The County’s Transportation Division has no jurisdiction over the proposed trail.”

And Friday’s hearing can’t be rescheduled, because the public has already been notified. Pullen said state law requires that land use decisions be made within a certain time frame, which prevents moving the hearing to a later date. “Any citizen, including committee members, are welcome to attend the hearing or provide comment on the proposal,” he added.

According to their staff report (PDF) Multnomah County has decided that the project’s permit application fails to meet the goals of their Comprehensive Plan by several measures.

The county’s report says the estimated number of 366 trips, “could be inconsistent with neighboring rural land uses.” On a related point, the county says the project must “primarily serve the needs of the rural area” which they interpret as serving at least 51% of “rural users”. “No data has been provided to support that the Trail will primarily serve the needs of the rural area,” the report reads. “No evidence has been provided as to the number of rural residents from the nearby Multnomah County rural areas that will use the Trail.”

The county also listed a safety concern with the proposed new crossing of Springville Road (as seen in the graphic from the report): “Planning staff is uncertain what measures will prevent pedestrians and bicyclists from shortcutting the path before the controlled crosswalk which could lead to unpredictable crossings inconsistent with the proposed signaled crossing design located in Washington County.”

In addition to those concerns, the report concludes that THPRD hasn’t done enough to mitigate potential environmental impacts of the project, isn’t planning to plant enough trees and shrubs, and wants to erect too many freestanding signs along the path. Multnomah County also prefers a different alignment that would keep the path fully inside Washington County and be routed through a natural area and residential neighborhoods.

At Friday’s hearing, Multnomah County Land Use Planning Division staff will tell the hearings officer that they don’t approve of the current application. They plan to share a list of recommended changes to the proposal that could lead to approval.

The case will be decided by a third party land use hearings officer. The hearings officer hears public testimony at the hearing, considers the facts of the case, and then renders the County’s final land use decision. That decision can be appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).

The hearing takes place Friday August 23rd in Room 103 at Multnomah County Land Use Planning Division Office (1600 SE 190th Avenue in Portland). If you care about this project and want to submit comment, email Multnomah County Deputy Planning Director Adam Barber adam.t.barber@multco.us.

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

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Willamette Week: Portland’s Vision Zero efforts “not working”

“Portland’s streets are killing fields.”

That’s the opening salvo in a Willamette Week cover story that tries to make the case that the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero efforts are failing.

Blindsided is a photo essay and reporting effort that will likely have a big impact on local transportation discussions for weeks and months to come. It uses personal stories from a range of Portlanders to illustrate the vast problem of unsafe roads and to poke holes in the City’s effort to fix them. The focus of the piece isn’t a surprise given that so far this year 35 people have been killed in traffic-related incidents. That’s one more than we recorded for all of 2018.

City staffers, including PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, provide comments in the piece. “It’s deeply troubling,” Eudaly says, “‘What are we doing wrong, and what can we do faster?’” The commissioner added that it will take more than physical infrastructure to make progress.


Among the powerful personal stories highlighted in the piece include southeast Portland resident Anjeanette Brown. She says the lack of streetlights and generally dangerous conditions are an illustration that PBOT isn’t doing enough to protect people in outer southeast neighborhoods.

The shortage of enforcement from the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division is another big takeaway from the piece. The story features an officer who’s been hit twice by drunk drivers and who says the lack of officers dedicated to catching them is a major safety risk. The reporter points out how PBOT’s Vision Zero Task Force chose to not prioritize enforcement due to concerns over racial profiling.

Read the full story here.

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

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Pearl District building owner violated city code by blocking bike racks with locked gates

Gates succeed at keeping everyone out; but they fail at complying with city code.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The owners of the Asa Flats & Lofts in the Pearl District wanted to prevent people from sleeping in alcoves of their building along Northwest Marshall and Lovejoy streets. Their solution was to erect large metal gates. But the gates kept out more than people seeking refuge, they also prevented customers of nearby businesses from accessing bike racks.

“They installed the gates on the alcoves where the racks are located to secure the location from loitering and vandalism.”
— Alex Cousins, City of Portland Bureau of Development Services

The gates cover three bike parking staples on NW Marshall and two staples on NW Lovejoy. That’s 10 short-term bike parking spaces the building is required to make available to the public 24/7.

Portland’s building code (section 33.266.210) states that short-term bicycle parking, “should be visible to pedestrians and bicyclists,” and “must be available for shoppers, customers, messengers, and other visitors to the site.”

I first heard about the gates last week when northwest Portland resident Chris Smith pointed them out. He said he would often use the racks when shopping nearby. When he noticed they were closed and locked behind a gate, Smith suspected it was a code violation (Smith happens to be a veteran activist known for his intimate knowledge of city plans and codes) so he filed a complaint with the Bureau of Development Services.

To hear their side of the story, I called Asa and asked about the gates. A man who works at the building’s front desk answered the phone and said, “We had an issue with homeless campers being there, so we put up the cages.” (I left a message for a manager but haven’t heard back.)

This morning, Bureau of Development Services Communications Manager Alex Cousins confirmed Smith’s complaint. Cousins said a BDS inspector followed-up on the issue two weeks ago and verified that the gates were installed, “where the [bike] racks are located to secure the location from loitering and vandalism.”


Cousins added that city code requires residential buildings with ground-floor retail to keep short-term bike parking spots open 24/7.

“BDS sent a violation notice to the building owner and site manager on August 6,” Cousins wrote in an email to BikePortland. “Per City code, they have 30 days (until September 7) to take corrective actions.”

Those actions can be to either unlock and open the gates at all times or apply for a building permit to install a different type of bike rack, such as an enclosed bike locker that Cousins said would, “deter loitering and vandalism.”

Managers of the building have told BDS they intend to open the gates in the near-term while they consider options for a new design.

“Sometimes, as in this case, decisions made have unintended consequences. We thank your reader for alerting us to this issue, which is now being addressed,” Cousins said.

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

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America’s top bike/walk transportation pros coming to Portland next week

Portland will be in the spotlight next week when the nation’s leading experts on bicycling and walking planners descend on our city for the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals annual conference.

Launched in Portland 25 years ago, the APBP offers expertise, information, and inspiration for their 1,200 members. Their annual conference will feature over 200 speakers (including 17 Portland Bureau of Transportation staffers) over three days of keynotes, mobile tours, panels, and more. It kicks off Sunday August 25th with biking and walking tours during the “Green Loop” edition of Sunday Parkways.

The meat of the five-day agenda is Monday through Wednesday when attendees will attend sessions on everything from racial equity and the psychology of cycling, to signal timing and the future of micromobility.

Here are the sessions that caught my eye:

European Inspired Emerging Best Practices in Bicycle Facility Design

This panel presentation will begin with the overarching framework regarding adapting European bicycle facility designs to North America. It will discuss how US history and the resulting built environment context sets us up for challenges and how some North American cities are having success overcoming those challenges. It will then delve into the emerging best practices in bicycle facility design from Europe. This includes protected intersections, the next generation of bicycle facilities from The Netherlands, traffic calming European rural roads, and new applications of advisory bike lanes.

Moderator: Kristin Bennett
Panelists: Brian Patterson, Lennart Nout, Tom Bertulis, Michael Williams, Jessica Zdeb

The Multimodal Suburb: Transforming Communities Through Planning, Policy, Advocacy

The typical suburban community is designed around cars and is neither safe nor welcoming for people wishing to walk, bike or ride transit. Solutions to make our suburbs more walkable, healthy, and equitable are long overdue. This session dives into projects currently underway to transform suburban mobility in Chicago, Portland, and Toronto. Panelists will discuss and share lessons from specific projects in suburban communities, including mobilizing residents as changemakers, implementing policies and plans that help biking, walking, and transit initiatives thrive, and introducing new mobility options – like dockless e-bikeshare and e-scootershare.

Panelists: Maggie Melin, Matt Pinder, Ray Atkinson

Process, Partnership, and Public Engagement: Using Fast and Flexible Strategies to Deliver More Complete Streets

Tactical urbanist, demonstration, quick build, and repaving projects demonstrate how street space can be transformed with a low budget and quick turnaround to slow cars and protect vulnerable road users. These projects illustrate the roles that public agencies, advocates, community groups, and private organizations have in planning and building Complete Streets. This session focuses on the project design and delivery process, and lessons learned in navigating the complex and sometimes problematic agency-advocacy-public relationships that are fundamental to this work. Using specific project examples, speakers will highlight the importance of advocacy and partnerships and the need for continuous, equitable public engagement.

Panelist: Dani Hess, Nicholas Oyler, Eric Anderson, Brytanee Brown


Panel: Your Brain on a Bike: Psychology-Informed Approaches to Active Transportation

Transportation decisions get made by humans, but bicycling experts have spent far too little time using psychology to understand the complex way these decisions get made. Join this panel to hear from three efforts that put psychology and evidence front and center:- Arthur Orsini (Vancouver Coastal Health) will discuss how he has applied the Stages of Change behavior change theory to creating employee walking and bicycling commute programs that really work.- Seth LaJeunesse (Highway Safety Research Center at University of North Carolina) will discuss the potential for applying diffusion theory to building support for Vision Zero policies.- Jessica Roberts (Alta Planning + Design) will discuss in-progress behavioral science research she is leading and advising to create more effective transportation mode shift programs.

Keynote: Centering the Black Experience in Active Transportation

#BlackLivesMatter, right? And yet, understanding and addressing the experiences of Black people in our transportation systems remains a marginal part of the work to increase walking and bicycling in our communities. What would it mean to center active transportation planning, design and programs around the needs of the Black community? What do we need to shift and why is that shift important? Where do we start? Join us for a dynamic stage discussion with Rukaiyah Adams of the Albina Vision Trust and Charlene McGee Kollie, who leads the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Program at the Multnomah County Health Department. This dialogue will be facilitated by Irene Marion, Equity and Inclusion Manager of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), where she has led efforts to center Black voices in transportation planning and program partnerships.

Moderator: Irene Marion
Panelists: Rukaiyah Adams, Charlene McGee Kollie

Panel: Bike Network Evaluation: Low Stress Bike Accessibility & Connectivity

Being able to identify and evaluate a low-stress bike network is critical for planning and prioritization. Three leaders in the field will describe the data and process used to identify a city’s low-traffic-stress bike network, along with methods use to evaluate it in terms of connectivity and access to jobs, shops, schools, and other important destinations. Examples using the People for Bikes’ Bike Network Analysis tool, the Rails to Trails Conservancy’s BikeAble tool, and the latest advances in Level of Travel Stress (LTS) methodology will address data challenges, informative map views, and new perspectives on dealing with one-way streets.

Panelists: Peter Furth, Spencer Gardner, Michael Lowry

Panel: Agency Safety and Liability for Pedestrian and Bike Improvements

The presentation will focus on how agencies can pursue innovative improvements for pedestrians and bicycles while minimizing liability and risk. Pedestrian and bicycle collisions are generally rare events, but when they occur it is common for public agencies to be named in lawsuits. This presesntation will discuss how liability varies for each US State, and how Vision Zero programs are viewed. It will describe processes that can improve the agencies position in a lawsuit.

Moderator: Peter Koonce
Panelists: Rock Miller, Ashley Carter, Scott Kocher, Dr. David Hurwitz

Panel: Going Macro with Micromobility

This panel will explore the evolving landscape of micromobility and its integration into cities. Panelists from large and mid-size cities will discuss their experiences and approaches in working with private micromobility providers and adapting programs and facilities to new users and rules of the road. Micromobility providers will shed light on the factors involved in success and profitability, and their experiences as private companies operating in the public realm. Moderated discussions and audience questions will go deeper into the dynamics between public and private entities in the transportation realm, and challenge us to envision the streetscape of the future (including winners and losers in the race for mode share).

Moderators: Melissa May White, AICP, Rae-Leigh Stark
Panelists: Briana Orr, Brandon Blankenagel, Andy Boenau, Anne Brask, Kay Cheng, William Henderson, Alexander Kado, Joel Miller, Jamie Parks, Gabriel Scheer

I plan to attend some of the sessions and report back what I learn/see/hear. If you’d like to attend, registration is $885 for non-members and $700-$775 for members. Students who aren’t APBP members can get in for $205. Single-day registration for non-members is $400.

Learn more at the official conference website.

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

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Comment of the Week: Let’s stop with the bikes-on-sidewalk B.S.

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Our post last week about the new crossing treatment on Northeast 37th at Prescott attracted a lot of ire. The vast majority of people we heard from do not like the new design.

High on the list of grievances is the fact that the transportation bureau decided to route bicycle users up onto a narrow sidewalk.

Long-time BikePortland reader and noted local activist Betsy Reese wasn’t having it. In fact, you could say she called B.S. on the idea.
Here’s her comment:

This is one more example of BS masquerading as an MUP.

MUP definition: Multi-Use Path. A shared pathway for bicycles and pedestrians which is either

1. very low traffic,
2. very scenic,
3. very long, or
4. has pathway and access/exit structures that are wide enough so that bikes and pedestrians are not in conflict.

MUPs are good for transportation, recreation, and novice bicyclists who are not yet ready to ride in the street.

Examples of MUPs:
– Springwater Corridor
– Eastside Esplanade at non-peak travel times
– Banks-Vernonia Trail
– SE 38th Ave. just south of Taylor 1/2 block ped/bike path at dead end


BS definition: Bikes on Sidewalk. A work-around when designers can’t figure out what to do about bikes or when bikes are an afterthought or lowest priority in allocating space. A BS:

1, puts bikes and pedestrians together in a situation that causes conflicts
2. makes enemies out of people who should be friends and advocacy allies
3. flips the blame to the bicyclists and pedestrians caught in this set-up with the admonishment of “Why can’t everyone just get along?”

BS is no good for anyone.

Examples of BS:

– Clinton LRT Station area of Clinton Greenway between 11th and 12 Aves.
– Hollywood LRT Station approaches and freeway overpass
– Hawthorne Bridge sidewalks
– Steel Bridge sidewalks

And a MUP that is just squeaking by with today’s volume, is tomorrow’s BS.

No more BS, please!

Provide proper MUPs, and provide bike infrastructure on streets like,

1. protected bike lanes,
2. side paths,
3. low-traffic Greenways, and
4. traffic law and the corresponding education and enforcement that protects bikes on all streets.

If you can’t figure out what to do about bikes, don’t just pop them onto the sidewalk. Step up to the challenge and figure it out.

Let’s be prepared to call BS when we see it in the planning stages. Let’s coordinate with pedestrian advocates and present a unified voice on this issue.

Thank you Betsy for contributing to the discussion here on BikePortland. Check your mailbox for a postcard and stickers! And thanks to everyone who flagged this so it was easier for me to find. Remember, when you see a great comment, just reply to it with “comment of the week”.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Stages Indoor Cycling and Foundation Fitness

We’ve had two fresh listings this week. Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Order Management Specialist – Foundation Fitness

–> Customer Service Representative – Stages Indoor Cycling


For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

Be the first to know about new job opportunities by signing up for our daily Job Listings email or by following @BikePortland on Twitter.

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $75. Learn more at our Job Listings page.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Portland Century, women’s ride, repair workshop, and more

The therapy you need.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The weekend is nigh. If you’ve been itching to get out in this summer weather, the forecast looks excellent for a bike adventure or two.

Our pick of the weekend is the Portland Century. This classic annual ride is sure to challenge and delight you. You’ll be treated like royalty as you notch the Big 100 (or not, if you choose other routes) on routes that are right outside your door. (And yes, they paid us to promote their event. So what?!)

Friday, August 16th

Flat Fix Clinic – 12:00 pm at PSU Bike Hub (SW)
Swing by on your lunch hour and learn to fix a flat! This weekly event aims to boost your confidence in bike repairs. More info here.

Reforma del Paseo en Bicicleta/Real Friday Ride – 7:30 pm at Oregon Park (NE)
Local bike club Corvidae has teamed up with MoM Ridaz from Los Angeles (a chapter of Midnight Ridazz) to host this 15-20 mile ride. More info here.

Saturday, August 17th

Slow Poke Ride – 9:30 am at Lents Park (SE)
Portland Bicycling Club will lead this ride from Lents that will cross the Sellwood and Tillikum bridges. Expect a 10-12 mph pace and 24 miles of riding. More info here.

First Timer’s Ride – 10:00 am at River City Bicycles (SE)
First time out? Still a newbie to this cycling thing? Find your people at this short weekly ride hosted by the fun and nice and smart people at River City Bicycles. More info here.


Sunday, August 18th

BP PICK!!! Portland Century – 7:00 am at PSU Park Blocks (SW)
This is it! Your chance to explore the best roads in Portland and notch a century in your hometown on a fully-supported ride. Choose from four routes, get breakfast and coffee before the ride, fully stocked rest stops, and a big ol’ dinner for your deserving self. More info here.

Women’s Community Ride – 9:00 am at Sellwood Cycle Repair (SE)
This is no-drop ride hosted by Swift Racing that promises 15-20 miles at a fun, conversational pace. A great chance to gain confidence riding in a group. More info here.

Bike Repair Workshop – 11:00 am at City Repair Project (SE)
Learn the fundamentals of bike repair at this free (donations suggested!) hands-on workshop led by the fantastic nonprofit Bikes For Humanity PDX. More info here.

Did I miss anything? If so, please feel free to give it a shout-out in the comments.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

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

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Mayoral candidate staffer victim of hit-and-run while biking on Vancouver Avenue

Southbound Vancouver at Broadway.

Laura Krouse.
(Photo: Sarah for Portland Mayor)

Laura Krouse, community development coordinator for the campaign Sarah Iannarone for Mayor campaign, was hit by a driver while biking to work yesterday (8/14). It happened at the intersection of North Vancouver and Broadway.

Krouse says she was pedaling south on Vancouver when she was right-hooked by someone who tried to turn right onto Broadway (which is illegal). “It was a hit-and-run,” Krouse shared when I asked her what happened this morning. “They stopped and gave me a fake name. When I asked them for their info, they sped off. Didn’t even get out of the car.”


Central City in Motion project plan shows future changes to Broadway at Vancouver.

Fortunately Krouse was not hurt (and opted to not report it to police), but her bike is mangled. The community rallied and has raised $250 so far to help get it running again. Unfortunately, this intersection remains problematic.

Vancouver is a major part of the cycling network. We used to have a gap in the bike lane between Broadway and Weidler. That was filled with a bus/bike only lane in 2012 and ODOT made additional changes to the intersection in 2016. Today, three southbound lanes meet with two more southbound lanes that exit Interstate 5. There are separate signals for each set of lanes which helps reduce conflicts, but the intersection is still confusing and stressful environment for many users.

The City of Portland’s Central City in Motion plan has a project that aims to improve this intersection. Project #18 (at right) would add a green-colored and protected bike lane to Broadway. It’s slated for construction by 2023.

Mayoral Candidate Sarah Iannarone uses a bicycle for most of her trips around town. She has also been outspoken in her opposition to the I-5 Rose Quarter Project. On Twitter this morning she hinted at a “tactical urbanism intervention” at the Vancouver/Broadway intersection in response to this collision. Stay tuned.

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

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First look at new bike lanes and other updates to NE 102nd Ave

Changes include a two-way bike lane that starts on the I-84 overpass (a ramp from the sidewalk to the new lanes will be built later this summer).
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently completed phase one of a $331,000 project on Northeast 102nd Avenue that included new lanes for biking, fewer lanes for driving, and more. It’s part of a significant update of the corridor between NE Sandy and Weidler.

This section of 102nd is on the city’s “High Crash Network” list. It was the site of 258 crashes and three fatalities in the five years between 2012 and 2016. Like much of their work in east Portland these days, PBOT’s goal with this project is to tame a wide arterial known for fast and dangerous driving while adding better access for walkers, bicycle riders and transit users. Prior to this project 102nd had a cross-section that included seven lanes of driving access: two for parking cars, two for through traffic, and one center turn lane. The new cross section has swapped two of those through lanes for cycling-only lanes.

In addition to the restriping, PBOT has installed four new crosswalks.

The northern section of the project is pretty standard. The new bike lanes are buffered and they feel nice and wide. There’s room to ride away from the door zone on the right and drivers on the left. Unfortunately the bike lanes offer only paint for protection. (Unlike other recent projects the city didn’t opt for a parking-protected bike lane.)

As I biked south from Prescott the bike lane ended at Fremont (upper left photo). It took a few seconds to figure out what I was supposed to do. I noticed a “Use Sidewalk” sign and found a beg button on the southwest corner of the intersection. I used the signal to cross safely to the east side of the street where I found myself on the sidewalk going southbound (against traffic) over Interstate 84. Then I saw the two-way (a.k.a. “bi-directional”) bike lane that begins about mid-span on the overpass. PBOT has yet to build a ramp down to it, so I lowered myself down a big curb to give it a try.

Two-way bike lane on I-84 overpass.

The two-way bike lane felt nice and wide as I rode against bumper-to-bumper traffic. Then on the south side of the overpass near NE Morris Court, things got interesting: PBOT has installed stop signs (which will be yield-when-safe signs on January 1st) between the two bike lanes at NE Morris Court and NE Morris Street.

There are stop signs in the bike lane at NE Morris Court and NE Morris St.

I don’t recall ever seeing stop signs like this before. I was there during the evening rush-hour and as I approached the stop signs there was a lot going on. People were pulling out of a neighborhood on my left, people were turning left into the neighborhood over my right shoulder, and people were turning right into the neighborhood in front of me.

Here’s how it looked on video:


View looking north toward the overpass.

We all know how confused many drivers get when they see a bicycle user at a four-way stop intersection. Now imagine how that plays out in this novel scenario. As always, if everyone is chill and respectful, it’s not that big of a deal. But that’s a big “if”. In the time I observed these intersections, everything worked OK. One problem I noticed, which I’ve also noted at other protected bike lanes around town, is that auto users frequently block the bike lane as they wait for a gap in traffic. Perhaps we need more “Do No Block Intersection” signs?

I’ll be curious to see how this works as more people start to bike here and the green pavement color and plastic wands begin to wear away. On a related note, I won’t be surprised when the stop signs are destroyed by a driver.

The two-way lane ends at NE Morris St and you’re supposed to cross if you want to continue south.

Looking north at end of two-way bike lane at NE Morris.

At Morris Street, the two-way bike lane ends and there’s a bike crossing that takes you back to the west side of 102nd to continue southbound toward Gateway. It’s great to have a new bikeway and safer street design that connects to the new protected bike lanes on the Halsey-Weidler couplet. I just wish the connection was a bit stronger. As I approached Weidler, my nice wide lane got narrower and the paint had worn off. The last block-and-a-half before connecting to the new protected bike lane was much more stressful than I had hoped.

Looking south toward Halsey-Weidler.

End of new buffered bike lanes at Weidler. Connection to Halsey should be much better than this.

PBOT is still working to complete this project. Later in summer they will add another crossing at NE Thompson, adjust signal timing at Fremont, built that ramp from the overpass sidewalk to the two-way bike lane, and add more bike symbols. The city also plans to lower the speed limit to 30 mph this fall. After everything is done, they’ll analysis traffic data and public input. Here’s what PBOT says will happen next:

“In winter and spring of 2020, PBOT will release a final design based on the project evaluation. If the new roadway configuration is maintained, the design will be implemented in Phase Two, including a crossing at NE Beech Street, converting the crossing islands to permanent concrete islands, adding curb extensions and upgrading curb ramps, adding several upgrades to the NE Fremont Street intersection, and adding any other project enhancements that are included in the permanent design.”

If you’ve ridden this and want to share feedback, contact PBOT Project Manager Christopher Sun at (503) 823-5391 or Christopher.Sun@portlandoregon.gov.

I’ll be riding this again tonight (8/13) with the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee during their annual bike tour (starts at 6:10 pm from Franklin High School if you’d like to join) that will be led by PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller. Stay tuned for updates.

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

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