Archive for June, 2010

Video coverage of the Transport Your Activism ride

Posted in News on June 25th, 2010 by Steve – Comments Off on Video coverage of the Transport Your Activism ride

Read more coverage of the ride on BikePortland here and here.

Many thanks to Joe Biel for creating this excellent video.  Joe is working on a documentary, Aftermass: A post-Critical Mass Portland, and is currently seeking kickstarter contributions to fund FOIA requests and DVD replication.  Please consider supporting this project, which will serve as a vital tool in the movement for safe-streets worldwide.

Ride report: Transport Your Activism

Posted in News on June 23rd, 2010 by Steve – 1 Comment

About 20 people participated in the AROW ‘Transport Your Activism’ ride on Monday. The ride was participatory and at each stop we shared our collective knowledge about the problems, possible solutions, and what might be holding up necessary improvements.

Our first stop was the Naito Gap, a major barrier to mobility for people walking, skating and cycling. Because of a funding gap in the original Naito Highway Reconstruction Project, completed in 2007, this section of road abandons active road users with no bike lane between NW Davis and NW Glisan Streets. This section also features 1100ft between safe, legal crossings for those on foot. Proposals for fixes to this section of roadway go back as far as 2007, yet halfway through 2010 we are still without an implemented solution. There used to be a pedestrian-only crossing above Naito Parkway that was accessible from the Steel Bridge staircase, but the city took it down during the light rail construction on the Steel Bridge, due to concerns about crime on the pathway. The City of Portland also planted the ‘No Trespassing’ sign across the street.

A proposal put forward in 2009 (http://bikeportland.org/2009/07/27/naito-project-will-remove-auto-lane-connect-bikeway-and-more/) included removal of a southbound travel lane, pedestrian refuges, and user-activated crossing beacons. One of the challenges of this section of roadway is the proximity to a major rail crossing.

A revised plan, which will better connect Waterfront Park with the new NW Flanders bike boulevard, is currently 30% in development and construction is expected to begin in early 2011. For more information, contact Project Manager Rich Newlands, (503) 823-7780, Rich.Newlands@portlandoregon.gov

Next, we traveled along the Portland Transit Mall, reflecting on the access Single Occupancy Vehicles enjoy on an otherwise dedicated major transit-way. We arrived at Director Park, Portland’s newest urban oasis that features major improvements to the surrounding roadways, namely the lack of curbs and smooth transition from street to park. The intent seems to better connect the surrounding properties to the park, but we also reflected on why the city does not take the bold step of completely pedestrianizing these park block streets, perhaps limiting vehicular access to local deliveries only. Contact Susan D. Keil, Director of PBOT, Director@pdxtrans.org, 503-823-5185, and Mayor Sam Adams, Transportation Commisioner, 503-823-4120, samadams@ci.portland.or.us

Our third stop brought us to the new Eastside Burnside/Couch Couplet project. We discussed at length the engineering problems with the new Couch onramp. Specifically, the pitch and slope of this type of curved roadway is not correct, and there is concern about the travel lane widths that are insufficient for large vehicles. We discussed a variety of possible solutions to fix this, most of which focused on separating bicycle traffic from cars, either by implementing barriers on the existing roadway or widening the sidewalks and diverting bicycle traffic onto the sidewalk. We also lamented the missed opportunity of a 2-way cycletrack now possible due to the major road diet on East Burnside. Contact Chris Armes, PBOT Project Manager, 503.823.7051 or Chris.Armes@pdxtrans.org and Katja Dillman, Mayor’s Transportation Policy Advisor, katja.dillmann@ci.portland.or.cs, phone 503.823.1125

Finally, we made our way up Grand Street to see the new streetcar tracks, arriving at the Failing Street Pedestrian Bridge over I-5. Joe Rowe led a discussion about the proposed Columbia River Crossing through the context of congestion further down I-5, and along parallel arterial streets throughout Portland neighborhoods. From the Failing Street bridge, we could see where I-5 narrows to 2 lanes, making expansion of the highway over the Columbia River seem counter intuitive. We discussed the ramifications in Vancouver, the lack of interest in this issue by Oregon Senators and Representatives, the painting of opposition to the bridge as “job-killers”, and real solutions to the congestion issues facing the crossing. Joe also focused on how outside of select times during rush hour, I-5 does not operate at capacity. Contact your Oregon House & Senate reps.

Throughout the ride we made use of a radar gun to measure vehicle speeds at different locations. We also utilized a road width measurer to discover the widths of bike lanes and other travel lanes throughout the city. The use of the Neighborhood Safety & Livability Hotline was advocated as a great way to hold the city accountable while getting on-the-ground improvements in your neighborhood – several of us shared great successes by using this hotline: (503) 823 – SAFE.

AROW is looking at making this ride a regular event after Pedalpalooza. Please contact info@activerightofway.org if you are interested in presenting a location where change is needed on a future ride.

See Photos by Scott Batchelar & Photos by Colleen Catherine Connolly.

Lessons from Bogota

Posted in News on June 22nd, 2010 by Steve – Comments Off on Lessons from Bogota

“I would say a protected bicycle way is not just something ‘cute’, not just some architectural element. It is a right. Unless we think only those who have access to a car have the right to safe mobility.” -Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogota, Columbia.

Watch the full episode. See more e2.