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  #41  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2007, 5:48 PM
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The NYT has practically written a book about PDX this year.

In Portland, Cultivating a Culture of Two Wheels

Cyclists have long revered Portland, Ore., for amenities like on-street bicycle parking.

By WILLIAM YARDLEY
Published: November 5, 2007

PORTLAND, Ore. — Susan Peithman did not have a job lined up when she moved here in September to pursue a career in “nonmotorized transportation.” No worries, she figured; the market here is strong.

Now, business owners like Tony Pereira, a bike builder, are part of the city’s growing cycling industry.

“In so many ways, it’s the center,” Ms. Peithman, 26, explained. “Bike City, U.S.A.”

Cyclists have long revered Portland for its bicycle-friendly culture and infrastructure, including the network of bike lanes that the city began planning in the early 1970s. Now, riders are helping the city build a cycling economy.

There are, of course, huge national companies like Nike and Columbia Sportswear that have headquarters here and sell some cycling-related products, and there are well-known brands like Team Estrogen, which sells cycling clothing for women online from a Portland suburb.

Yet in a city often uncomfortable with corporate gloss, what is most distinctive about the emerging cycling industry here is the growing number of smaller businesses, whether bike frame builders or clothing makers, that often extol recycling as much as cycling, sustainability as much as success.

Like the local indie rock bands that insist they are apathetic about fame, many of the smaller local companies say craft, not money, is what drives them.

“All the frame builders I know got into this because they love bikes,” said Tony Pereira, a bike builder whose one-man operation has a 10-month waiting list, “not because they wanted to start a business.”

Mia Birk, a former city employee who helped lead Portland’s efforts to expand cycling in the 1990s, said the original goals were rooted in environmental and public health, not the economy.

“That wasn’t our driving force,” Ms. Birk said. “But it has been a result, and we’re comfortable saying it is a positive result.”

Ms. Birk now helps run a consulting firm, Alta Planning and Design, which advises other cities on how to become more bicycle-friendly. In a report for the City of Portland last year, the firm estimated that 600 to 800 people worked in the cycling industry in some form. A decade earlier, Ms. Birk said in an interview, the number would have been more like 200 and made up almost entirely of employees at retail bike stores.

Now, Ms. Birk said, the city is nurturing the cycling industry, and there are about 125 bike-related businesses in Portland, including companies that make bike racks, high-end components for racing bikes and aluminum for bikes mass-produced elsewhere. There are small operations that make cycling hats out of recycled fabric. Track, road and cyclo-cross races are held year-round, and state tourism groups promote cycling packages. There is Ms. Birk’s firm, which had two employees in Portland in 1999 and now has 14. There are nonprofit advocacy groups and Web sites, including www.bikeportland.org, that are devoted to cycling issues and events in Portland.

And then there is the growing, high-end handmade bike industry, which was made up of just one or two businesses a decade ago but now has more than 10. The Portland Development Commission is working with a handful of the bike builders to improve their business and accounting skills and help them network with one another.

This month, the city will be the host of a trade show featuring bike builders from Oregon, which locals say has more makers than any other state. And early next year, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show will bring its fourth annual event to Portland for the first time. It is expected to be the largest national show so far.

Sam Adams, a city commissioner in charge of transportation, joined development officials to help lure the show to Portland. It seemed a natural fit. The city regularly ranks at the top of Bicycling Magazine’s list of the best cycling cities and has the nation’s highest percentage of workers who commute by bike, about 3.5 percent, according to the Census Bureau. Drivers here are largely respectful of riders, and some businesses give up parking spaces to make way for bike racks.

“Our intentions are to be as sustainable a city as possible,” Mr. Adams said. “That means socially, that means environmentally and that means economically. The bike is great on all three of those factors. You just can’t get a better transportation return on your investment than you get with promoting bicycling.”

Although the city has worked to help drivers and riders share roadways, two cyclists were killed in October when they were hit by trucks, and questions persist over whether enough is being done to protect cyclists.

Mr. Adams said he was preparing a budget proposal that would spend $24 million to add 110 miles to the city’s existing 20-mile network of bike boulevards, which are meant to get cyclists away from streets busy with cars. Doing so could “double or triple ridership,” he said.

The streets were not always so crowded with cyclists. Andy Newlands, by most accounts the first person in Portland to start making bikes by hand, got into the business in the 1970s. Back then, he said, young men would come to him for help piecing together racing bikes. Now, he said, “More and more it’s some guy with a wife and kids and a BMW and all that, and he wants a handmade bike.”

Thirty years ago Mr. Newlands sold frames for under $300. Now a new bike might cost the buyer well over $5,000.

“There’s so much mass-produced stuff out there that there’s just kind of a little bit of a backlash,” he said. “People like a handmade product.”

Sacha White, who was a bike messenger before he started Vanilla Bicycles, one of the most prominent bike makers in Portland, said city officials embraced not only cycling but also the niche industry that has grown out of it, something he considered striking given the size of most operations. His company, among the largest of its kind, has six employees including himself.

“I think the biggest thing that’s come from the effort the city has put into this is the vote of confidence,” Mr. White said, speaking of bike riders and bike makers. “They want us here.”

Ms. Peithman, the recent Portland arrival, had lived in Chicago until September, where she worked for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, a nonprofit advocacy group. She decided to move here on her own without any job prospects based “90 percent on the bike thing,” she said.

“I’m a long-term-thinking, spreadsheet kind of girl,” Ms. Peithman said. “This is the most rash thing I’ve ever done.”
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  #42  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2008, 10:55 PM
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After six deaths, Portland rolls out plans for 'bike boxes'
Traffic - Painted intersections aim to prevent a "right hook" -- cars turning in front of cyclists
Friday, January 04, 2008
ANDY DWORKIN
The Oregonian

By April, Portland should be the first city in North America with "bike boxes" that let cyclists rest in front of cars during red lights at many busy intersections, city officials say.

Traffic engineers have been planning to put the colorful boxes at 14 intersections after logging six fatal bike accidents last year, including the deaths of cyclists Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek within two weeks in October.

On Thursday, the City Council heard details of those traffic improvements and plans to add more mirrors and guard bars to big city trucks, to keep cyclists from going under the vehicles.

Both deadly October crashes involved the "right hook," the most common type of Portland bike wreck, where a car turning right fails to see a bicyclist riding along the street's right side. City Bicycle coordinator Roger Geller said his office gets many complaints about that kind of crash. Comments from bikers, staff and consultants helped identify intersections where right hooks are common.

Bike boxes aim to prevent those crashes by making bicyclists more visible, said Rob Burchfield, city traffic engineer.

The boxes reserve a spot in front of cars at red lights, Burchfield said. When the light changes, the position gives bikes "some measure of priority. They're able to move out of the intersection first, ahead of cars."

A 2-foot-deep stripe at the back of the box will show cars where to stop. Pavement in the boxes and bike lanes leading up to the intersection will be colored green or blue to mark the areas where bikes and cars might conflict.

Cars will not be allowed to turn right during the red lights, Burchfield said. That could slow traffic a little, especially during off-peak driving hours when light traffic makes right-on-red easy, he admitted. But the 14 intersections are mostly busy, central-city intersections where cross traffic and pedestrians make it hard to turn right on red anyway, he said.

And letting bicyclists leave intersections ahead of cars is not a new law, he emphasized. Rather, the bike boxes only drive home the existing preference traffic laws give bicyclists.

"Under Oregon law, drivers are required to yield to the cyclist in the bike lane," he said.

Burchfield said bike boxes are common in Europe. But he thinks Portland will be the first U.S. city to use them in a serious way. One bike box already exists at Southeast 39th Avenue and Clinton Street, but drivers don't always understand how it works, Burchfield said.

The city plans to install a lot of signs and do other education, possible including billboards near the 14 intersections, to teach bikers and drivers how the boxes work.

The city will take stop-action photos of the intersections before and after the changes to see how the boxes affect traffic flow and bike-car interaction, Burchfield said.

A colored plastic with friction for tire traction will mark the bike boxes. Although the city has designed the traffic changes at most of the intersections, it needs to order the plastic and install it, Burchfield said. The plastic needs to be melted onto dry pavement, he said, so crews will have to wait for two consecutive rain-free days to work on an intersection. So the work will probably start in February and not finish until April.

During the same span, crews will finish fitting the city's large trucks with more mirrors, to limit blind spots and "side-underrun guards" -- large rails to keep people from going under the wheels. Both October crashes involved bikers going under large trucks, Geller said.

The City Council already has allocated $200,000 for the bike safety work, including $54,000 to put rails on 12 large trucks.

Andy Dworkin: 503-221-8564; andydworkin@news.oregonian.com

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregonian/...540.xml&coll=7
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  #43  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2008, 7:56 AM
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I wish these pictures were larger but they show how the City of Vancouver does bike boxes.



On bicycle routes throughout the city each intersection is oriented so that the bikes have the right of way and the perpendicular road has a stop sign. At intersections with signals there is always a button at bike level on the street.


On-street bicycle routes are identified by a distinctive street sign and feature the above-mentioned intersection priority and bike boxes in busy areas and downtown.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2008, 6:23 PM
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From the NY Times:


Portland, Ore., Acts to Protect Cyclists


By WILLIAM YARDLEY
Published: January 10, 2008
“Ghost bikes,” riderless and painted white, were placed at two busy intersections in Portland, Ore., last October, makeshift memorials to two bicyclists killed when they were hit by trucks in accidents that month.

This spring, at those same intersections and at 12 others across the city, “bike boxes” will be laid out on the roadway to provide a clearly designated place for cyclists, in front of and in full view of drivers, to wait for traffic lights to change. The boxes will be marked with signs and wide stripes alerting drivers to stop behind them at red lights.

Portland, which has a higher percentage of people who bike to work than any other large American city, is already considered one of the country’s most bike-friendly urban centers. But the boxes, believed to be the first such to be put to use by any city in the country, will make cyclists even safer and more comfortable on the street, biking advocates and transportation officials say.

“It’s something the city has been talking about for a long time, but these two deaths have certainly given an added sense of urgency,” said Jonathan Maus, whose bikeportland.org is a focal point for Portland cyclists. “The community has just made it so clear that this is very important, that they’re very concerned following these fatal crashes that things need to change.”

By allowing cyclists to wait in front of motorized traffic, the bike boxes are intended chiefly to reduce the risk of “right hook” collisions, the kind most frequently reported in Portland, in which a driver makes a right turn without seeing a cyclist who is in his path. Drivers will not be allowed to pass through the bike box to turn right on a red light, although many right hooks now occur after the light has turned green, when traffic quickly accelerates.

Right hooks were what killed the two cyclists in October, a college student and a bike racer hit by large trucks. The drivers say they did not see them.

“In a lot of people’s minds they weren’t doing anything wrong and they were just run over,” said Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for the Portland Office of Transportation.

Another feature of the new project is that on the approach to an intersection with a bike box, the bicycle lane will be the same color as the box. “We want them to have that visual cue to take a look over their shoulder,” Mr. Geller said of drivers, “and we want cyclists to know this is an area for potential conflict.”

The city will spend about $150,000 on the bike boxes and also plans to pay about $50,000 to retrofit larger trucks in the municipal fleet with new mirrors to reduce blind spots and with guard bars to prevent cyclists from falling into the trucks’ big wheel wells.

The trucks involved in the October collisions were not city vehicles. “We’re just setting a good example,” Mr. Geller said.

There were six cycling deaths in Portland in 2007, an unusually large number, though Mr. Geller and others say that with bicycle use up fourfold since the early 1990s, the rate of collisions has actually declined. Mr. Geller credits driver awareness.

While the city is installing the bike boxes at certain busy intersections, it is also trying to shift more riders away from bike lanes on busy streets to what it calls bike boulevards, quieter streets with less potential for collisions. The city is weighing a proposal to spend about $25 million over 10 years to designate 110 additional miles of bike boulevards, for a total of 140, and make other improvements for cyclists.

About 4 percent of Portland workers already commute by bike, and city officials and biking enthusiasts say they believe the number can rise much higher.

“Bike advocates around the country are looking to Portland to create a model of how an American city can be a bike-friendly city,” Mr. Geller said. “We feel that, and we take that seriously.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/us...in&oref=slogin
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  #45  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2008, 7:02 PM
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what streets would you all consider to being the most bike friendly? Hawthorne?
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  #46  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2008, 2:33 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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^ Hawthorne is perhaps one of the most bicycle unfriendly streets in the whole city! While the bridge is great, its suicide on the east side. There are no bike lanes there and there have been numerous bicycle accidents and fatalities over the years along the street.

Most bicycle friendly streets?

-NW 18th ave - HUGE bike lane along it.
-Interstate Ave
-Belmont
-Mississippi
-7th ave through the central eastside
-Alberta
-10th/11th/12th through downtown - traffic is quite slow and easy to keep up with, but avoid the trolley tracks! I've even seen bike cops crash on them.

then there are all the lesser-used streets in Portland. Since we're on a grid, there are usually 20 ways to get from one place to another, unless you are traveling halfway across the metro area. For instance, the city has designated a huge number of 'bicycle boulevards' - some of which ban through auto traffic - and mark it with bike signs.

examples:

SE Ankeny, Clinton, Lincoln, and quite a few others.

BTA
Bicycle Maps
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  #47  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2008, 2:36 AM
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If anyone who browses this site is a cyclist, let me just reiterate that you should avoid, at all cost, streets like Burnside, Hawthorne, and Broadway through downtown. I've seen way too many people whacked, run over, doored, and killed on these streets. I'm a cyclist, and stick to less used streets - they are MUCH safer!

Once the city turns Burnside into a couplet with 8 or 10 foot bike lanes, that will change... and ditto for the bike boxes and such, although many of those will be along bike boulevards. Stick to the safer routes and we won't read about you on bikeportland.org.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2008, 5:44 AM
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anyone who wants to cycle in portland should spend the 6$ on the "bike there" map, available at Powells and a bunch of other places. Then study it and memorize the streets highlighted in green. These are designated bike boulevards, or suggested routes. Also, there are some pdf maps available on the city's transportation website (www.gettingaroundportland.com). They can be ordered as a hard copy for free, I think. These are less useful but may give extra ideas. They have them for N, NE, SE, outer east (past i-205).

also be wary of bike lanes. Many are too close to the doors of parked cars on the side of the road. Lots of accidents happen when they open. Generally speaking it's always best to use the bike as a car and just take up the whole lane, riding with traffic. This is of course impossible on really busy streets, which is why you should avoid them unless there is a wide bike lane. It can be done with most residential streets. If a car gets behind you don't stress, it will pass when it can.

more streets to avoid at all costs; 39th, Sandy, 82nd, basically and street that's more than one lane in each direction, with no shoulder.

and always be wary of the right hook.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2008, 8:21 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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^ whoa, they have a bike path from Portland to Mt Hood?!
Crazy!

Portland bike maps

Everything else: here



also, avoid Powell. Even though parts of it have bike lanes, its very dangerous.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2008, 6:27 PM
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Interesting, thanks guys (or gals)
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  #51  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2008, 10:59 PM
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It was only a couple clicks away from Zilfondel's link, but here's a link to the Bike There map as a Google Earth overlay. http://www.metro-region.org/index.cf...y.web/id=15341

And no, there's no bike path to Mt. Hood. The Springwater gets you as far as East Gresham, then turns to gravel out to Boring, where it dead ends. The right of way actually continues all of the way to Barton via the Deep Creek Canyon, but there's a railroad trestle that's been removed down there, so you can't get through. Maybe someday?

There are, however, some sweet back roads that'll take you all the way to Lolo Pass Rd (The intersection with the Zigzag store off of Hwy 26 on Mt. Hood) from the end of the Springwater. If anyone ever has a day to kill and a lot of energy to burn, it's worth the trip.

Last edited by nwd; Jan 11, 2008 at 11:00 PM. Reason: forgot link in original
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  #52  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2008, 3:48 AM
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well the section said "under construction" but I thought that referred to the website, not the trail!
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  #53  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 11:03 PM
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  #54  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 11:09 PM
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It will be interesting to see how well drivers comply with these boxes. Hopefully the green will wake them up. Maybe the police will do a bit of enforcing when the boxes are up and running.
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  #55  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 11:43 PM
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The seem to be doing a fair bit of educating the public about it, too, which is good. I noticed a billboard up with a message similar to this...

(the image is from the following website - http://bikeportland.org/2008/02/12/p...ogan-graphics/)
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  #56  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 11:47 PM
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^^^Yeah, there are billboards all over downtown. I'm sure drivers see these but will they actually remember to stop before the intersection? I can't tell you how many times I've almost been run down by a car just rolling through a stop sign or a crosswalk. I don't have much confidence in drivers. Lets hope they work tho!
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  #57  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 2:28 AM
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check out this cool bike safety video
Video Link
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  #58  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 2:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForAteOh View Post
The seem to be doing a fair bit of educating the public about it, too, which is good. I noticed a billboard up with a message similar to this...

(the image is from the following website - http://bikeportland.org/2008/02/12/p...ogan-graphics/)
i notice Europeans out in the burbs stop like that behind red lights, probably out of habit. neways i hope this improves safety conditions significantly. what other intersections should they install this at?
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  #59  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2008, 10:24 PM
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'Bike boxes' will alter the rules of the road
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Michael Bales
The Oregonian

Starting this week, bicyclists and motorists will learn new rules for sharing the road at key intersections.

Trying to prevent collisions like those that killed two bicyclists in October, the city is installing the first of 12 "bike boxes" planned around the city at Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and Seventh Avenue.

All should be in place by the end of May.

When traffic signals are red, only bicyclists are allowed in the 14-foot-long green boxes painted across traffic lanes. Cars and trucks must line up behind the boxes. Motorists at the intersections can no longer turn right on red, even if bicyclists aren't in the boxes or in green-painted bike lanes leading to and from the boxes.

The goal is to reduce the chances of motorists turning into the path of bicyclists, so-called "right-hook" crashes.

The City Council unanimously approved the plan last week at the recommendation of Commissioner Sam Adams and the Portland Office of Transportation.

Rob Burchfield, city traffic engineer, says the boxes have improved bicycle safety in Europe, where they're widely used. New York City has added 60 boxes in the past year, and Vancouver, B.C., has added six in four years.

The boxes, Burchfield says, "will create comfortable conditions for cyclists, improve safety by clarifying what we expect of motorists and cyclists, and continue to encourage increased bicycle use among more of the general public."

But the boxes are experimental, and the city will team with Portland State University to evaluate how well they work. The research, expected to last at least six months, will include videotaping motorists and bicyclists using the intersections.

This month, 22 billboards and signs on 40 TriMet buses have debuted with the slogan "Get Behind It" as part of an education campaign, says Rich Newlands, bike box project manager.

In addition, traffic signs installed as part of the $200,000 project will show motorists where to stop and where to yield to bicyclists, he says.

Police will begin monitoring the intersections as the boxes are installed, says Lt. Bryan Parman of the traffic division. Educating motorists will be the initial focus, he says, and police will distribute brochures explaining the changes. Motorists who enter the boxes at a red light or turn right on red could face a fine of $242.

The transportation office is still studying possible changes at two other intersections.

Either a bike box or bike traffic signal will be added at Northeast Broadway and North Williams Avenue, which has two heavily used right-turn lanes.

On North Interstate Avenue, the southbound right-turn lane onto North Greeley Avenue has been closed since October, when bicyclist Brett Jarolimek was killed there after a truck turned into his path.

City transportation officials favor permanently closing the turn lane, Burchfield says, but want reaction from people who live and work nearby. An alternative is a traffic signal warning southbound motorists that bicyclists are approaching the intersection.

Portland News: 503-221-8199; portland@news.oregonian.com
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/o...840.xml&coll=7
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Old Posted Mar 29, 2008, 8:58 AM
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Last edited by joeplayer1989; Mar 29, 2008 at 3:24 PM.
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