US National

Thank you! Your (ongoing) support is exactly what we need

BikePortland - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 6:21pm

Last Friday I did something I’ve never done before: I made a request for your support and I got real about the current state of BikePortland — and what it means for our future.

Your response has made me very happy. I asked you to step up, and you did. So far about 340 of you have contributed over $13,000. I have been smiling all week as I see all these new and familiar names come across my desk with supportive words and contributions.

I had no idea what to expect when I published that post; but that response, combined with all the supportive emails, hand-written letters, comments, and phone calls I’ve received is exactly what I needed to keep moving forward.

A big part of how I feel about this site comes down to faith and confidence — or lack thereof. Do I really believe I can do this? Is it possible this thing I’ve toiled on and fussed over for 10 years will ever become the news outlet and community resource I envision it to be? Is it time to be grateful for the good run we’ve had and walk away to something that is more stable for me and my family?

In this strange, independent advocacy news business I’ve gotten myself into, keeping the faith is one of the hardest things to do. And believe me, I have doubted myself and my future with this site many times in the past year or so. The constant controversies, meeting your always-growing expectations, the financial instability, the endless work… It takes a toll.

Remember this story in the May 2013 edition of the Portland Business Journal, Why’s future is far from certain. In that story I told the reporter I was giving myself a year and-a-half to figure out what our next step would be.

Now, thanks to your support, the path ahead is much clearer and I’m more confident than ever that we’ll be able to ride down it.

Your investment in this site is the start of something new and exciting here at A future where you have even more ownership of this resource because you directly support it. And with your support, we can build on the unbelievably strong foundation we’ve established and do things you might have never thought possible for “just a bike blog.”

Thanks to your support, in the coming weeks we will polish up our subscription program that will be released next month along with some new site design enhancements. We can also now put a down payment of sorts on the faith of the most important behind-the-scenes player in this business — my wife and accountant Juli. She’s the one who’s been on this wild ride with me for the past decade, holding on over all the bumps and crashes, hoping the smoother section of the ride would finally arrive.

This last week has been such a relief. We’re not across the finish line yet by any means, but the route doesn’t seem nearly as tough as it once did.

To celebrate the past and the future, I hope you’ll join me on October 2nd for our big birthday bash at Velo Cult. I’ll share more details on that and our subscription program and other new feature next week.

Stay tuned… and thank you!

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Categories: US National

$19 Million Approved for Houston's Bayou Greenways Plan

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 4:00pm
An ambitious project Mayor Annise Parker calls "one of the most exciting things I've had the opportunity to work on as mayor" took a major step forward this week.
Categories: US National

From Net Zero Energy to Net Zero Water: A New Frontier in Sustainability

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 3:00pm
The Net Zero Water Toolkit helps individuals and organizations make water resource planning decisions based on local conditions rather than targeting historical demand and allowing water quality impacts to flow downstream.
Categories: US National

Waterfront Park altercations leave path users injured and scared

BikePortland - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 2:08pm
Crowds are common in Waterfront Park.(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Some people who use Waterfront Park have taken it upon themselves to enforce their version of the rules by instigating collisions with people who ride bicycles through the park.

“As I slowly got up, I turned back and saw him walking away across the park, shouting “fast bikes on Naito!”— Ranjeewa Weerasinghe

In the past week we’ve heard of two separate instances from several different sources. In one incident a man was injured when another man allegedly pushed a skateboard into his path on purpose. The man then yelled, “Fast bikes on Naito!” which is a reference to signs installed by the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau last year that encourage faster riders to ride in the street instead of the park path.

According to our sources, this man with the skateboard has done this same thing more than once. In another case, a man allegedly stepped in front path users with the intent to make them crash.

On September 1st just before 5:30, Ranjeewa Weerasinghe was riding home from work, headed northbound on the Waterfront Park path along the Willamette River. As he approached the Burnside Bridge he was behind a line of other people riding bikes and they were going past a large group of people. Weerasinghe recalls there were about 15 people, half of them sitting and standing around a bench to his left and the others were leaning up against the guardrail on his right. Here’s what he says happened next:

“One of them leaning on the guardrail had a skateboard under his foot, pointing across the path towards the bench. As we rode past, he shouted something at the first cyclist, then kicked his skateboard across the path. It hit my front wheel, sending me over my handlebars onto the ground. As I slowly got up, I turned back and saw him walking away across the park, shouting “fast bikes on Naito!”

Weerasinghe suffered “quite a few scrapes and bruises” on his forehead, shoulder, arms, and hands. He slammed on the ground so hard his right hip was sore the next day and a piece of his helmet broke off.

He didn’t report the incident to the police until he learned he wasn’t the only one this has happened to. When Weerasinghe told his co-workers about the incident the next morning, one of them said they saw a very similar incident last month involving a skateboard and a man yelling, “Fast bikes on Naito!” Realizing it wasn’t an isolated incident, Weerasinghe filed a report with the Portland Police Bureau.

One day after I heard about Weerasinghe’s incident I heard from north Portland resident Noah Brimhall about a separate altercation.

- Advertisement -Some people think this means bikes are not allowed on the path.

Brimhall was riding in in the same direction as Weerasinghe at around the same time and around the same place. Brimhall also approached an area with a large group of people around a bench on one side and around the railing on the other, creating a path between them where other path users could go. Here’s how Brimhall described what happened as he rode through that path:

“I was slowing down to pass between the guys carefully when another man riding a bike passed me going a bit faster on my left and came up to the guys on the grass side of the path. At the last second one of the guys in that group, who was facing me and the other guy riding a bike, stepped into the bike riders path. In my opinion this was done very purposely to cause an accident.”

“When the behavior crosses the line and is criminal or threatening to people, that’s when we need to be involved.”— Sgt. Pete Simpson, Portland Police Bureau

According to Brimhall the other rider (who he says wasn’t riding at an unsafe speed) had to slam on his brakes and swerve to avoid the man who’d stepped into his path. When Brimhall stopped, he was reprimanded by the man who stepped into the path. “He started yelling about how ‘you are going to fast’ and ‘this is a walking path.’ Brimhall argued back that the path is for everyone and that he shouldn’t step into the path on purpose. Brimhall said at this point the man and his “friends” were getting aggressive and one of the kicked his bike’s rear tire “very hard.”

At that point, Brimhall rode away to avoid any more confrontation. His rear wheel was now wobbly from the kick and he had to disconnect his rear brake to make it home. The wheel will need to be fixed by a professional before he can ride again.

These incidents have left both Weerasinghe and Brimhall with some serious questions. How should someone handle a situation like this? Should people simply avoid riding the Waterfront Park path? Can anything be done to fix this situation?

Portland Police Bureau spokesman Pete Simpson said the best thing to do if you get threatened or assaulted is to call 911 immediately. He said it’s crucial to give officers a good description of the alleged suspect.

Simpson also said the PPB is “keenly aware of the aggressive behavior” in Waterfront Park. “We acknowledge and are fully aware of the challenges between the community using the parks and the interactions between people walking and biking in the parks.” Simpson said the bureau walks a “fine line” around the issue and emphasized that they “we are not policing homelessness, we are policing behavior.”

“When the behavior crosses the line and is criminal or threatening to people, that’s when we need to be involved.”

Weerasinghe hasn’t ridden since his incident because he still needs to buy a new helmet and he wants his wounds to heal up. He initially figured he’s start using the bike lane on Naito, but now feels like he’ll return to the path through the park while keeping his eyes peeled for the group with the skateboard. “I know I won’t go on family rides with my daughter through there though.”

— The crowded Waterfront Path is not a new issue. Back in August we shared the story of a man who was riding a bike and hit someone and didn’t even stop. I’m afraid we’ll continue to hear stories like this until we build more adequate bicycle access and people start using the path with more respect for each other.

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Categories: US National

Here Comes Portland's New Orange Line

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 2:00pm
TriMet will get a new addition to its rail system later this month, when it opens the new Orange Line.
Categories: US National

Here Comes Portland's New Orange Line Streetcar

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 2:00pm
TriMet will get a new addition to its influential streetcar system later this month, when it opens the new Orange Line.
Categories: US National

Sign Most Likely to Send Mixed Messages: "Share the Road"

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 1:00pm
For some reason, many drivers think "Share the Road" means bikers should stay out of their way.
Categories: US National

Meet Chicago's New Northerly Island Open Space

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 12:00pm
Chicago gains a new open space today, located on an island on Lake Michigan just across from Soldier Field and Burnham Harbor.
Categories: US National

Weekend Event Guide: Camping, trails, ‘cross, pubs and more

BikePortland - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 11:24am
These ladies are ready to shred — indoors and out.(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This menu of delicious rides and events is brought to you by our friends at Hopworks Urban Brewery. Their support makes BikePortland possible.

Don’t let the recent drop in the mercury and drops from the sky get you down. The weather should be sunny and pleasant this weekend. For some of you it’s time for ‘cross. Others are hoping to get those last big adventures in before summer is officially over.

Whatever’s in your plans we hope you have an awesome weekend.

Friday, September 4th

Bike Repair Stand Dedication – 5:00 pm in Milwaukie (10722 SE Main Street) The City of Milwaukie has installed a public bike repair stand. To mark the occasion they’re hosting a small dedication ceremony. The stand was donated by Bike Milwaukie, who raised money via a crowdfunding campaign. It’s also First Friday so there will be music, food, and all sorts of things to do. More info here (FB).

Saturday, September 5th

Grand Prix Rhonda Mazza Race #1 – David Douglas High School Considered by some the official start of the Portland cyclocross season, this race is the first in the five-race series. Racers will compete for an overall points title with prizes and a big party in October. More info here.

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Labor Day Bike Camping – All weekend at Milo McIver State Park Bike-camping curious? Join Scott B. for a weekend trip to a nearby State Park. Begin at the PSU Farmers Market, hit the Springwater, then ride onto the park for a short and sweet overnight. More info here.

Women’s Weekend – All weekend at The Lumberyard and Hood River Two days of partying and riding and prizes and fun hosted by The Lumberyard. Hone your skills and shred the lines at The Lumberyard on Saturday than get whisked out to the Post Canyon trails in Hood River on Sunday. More info here.

Sunday, September 6th

Tour de Lab – Lucky Lab Brewpub (915 SE Hawthorne) Choose from either a 3 or 4 pub route (19 or 41 miles) on this ride that is equal parts fundraiser for DoveLewis Animal Hospital and excuse to drink a few beers. You’ll work up an appetite for the “hot dog bar feast” at the finish line party. Free pint glass with entry fee. More info here./

Kirke Johnson Labor Day Ride – 9:00 am at Banks High School in Banks (13050 NW Main Street) Kirke Johnson died while riding his bike last November. This ride will remember him by traversing one of his favorite routes — the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. More info here (FB).

— Did we miss anything? Let us know via the comments and make sure to drop us a line if you have an upcoming event you’d like us to feature next week.

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Categories: US National

Technology Enables a New Understanding of the World's 3.04 Trillion Trees

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 11:00am
A news study, combining satellite imagery and field study, dramatically increases the estimated trees in the world. What has not changed: how quickly humans are killing those trees off.
Categories: US National

Jobs of the Week: Western Bikeworks, Performance, Trek Travel, Islabikes

BikePortland - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 10:42am

We’ve had five jobs listed this week. Learn more about them via the links below…

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here. These are paid listings. If you’d like to post a job, you can purchase a listing online by visiting our Job Listings page.

You can sign up for all the latest listings via RSS, email, or by following us on Twitter.

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Categories: US National

Land Sparing Protects Urban Ecosystems Better Than Land Sharing

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 10:00am
A study of two cities at opposite ends of the urban spectrum demonstrate how density matters for a number of ecological services.
Categories: US National

Surgeon General Warning to Local Governments: Stop Being So Auto-Centric!

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 9:00am
No, those will not be the precise words of the forthcoming "Call to Action" by Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, but he will call on cities to "design and build roads and public places to make walking easier, safer, and more pleasant."
Categories: US National

Friday Funny: How to Break Up With (Your City Name Here)

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 8:00am
The only thing as ubiquitous as love letters are break up letters. Now it's even easier to break up with your city, using real data from the U.S. Census.
Categories: US National

Problems With New York City's Temporary Shelter Program

Planetizen - Fri, 09/04/2015 - 7:00am
With a surging homeless population, the city's cluster site program incentivizes slumlords and reduces the supply of affordable housing.
Categories: US National

Portland artists featured in Artcrank’s new online store

BikePortland - Thu, 09/03/2015 - 5:32pm
Detail of Rory Phillips’ poster.

We’re big fans of Artcrank, billed by its founder Charles Youel as “A poster party for bike people.” The event first came to Portland in 2009 and has returned each year since to inspire and entertain us with its creative representations of the thing we all know and love

While it won’t be back this year, Youel got in touch with us yesterday to share the news that Portland is still in his plans. He’s scaling back live events and has turned his focus toward a new website which launched this week. Similar to his live shows features 30 artists who’ve created bike-inspired posters.

Of the 30 artists featured in his first online exhibition, three of them are from Portland. - Advertisement -

Check out the posters below by local artists Jenn Levo, Rory Phillips and Scott Agrimson.

“Out of the Woodwork” by Scott Agrimson“Ride Like Hell” by Rory Phillips.“Scarves of Red” by Jenn Levo.

Why bikes in art? Youel told Bicycling Magazine back in June that, “I think fundamentally people see the bicycle as another means of creative expression… It’s that same idea of creating spontaneously that informs artwork, whether it’s posters or music.”

There are only 30 prints available of each poster and the price is $45 a piece. See them all at

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Categories: US National

A Tale of Two Neighborhoods: TOD, Fair Housing, and Economic Mobility

Planetizen - Thu, 09/03/2015 - 4:00pm
"Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing"—as a new rule by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposes to do—can vary widely, even in the same city.
Categories: US National

Honolulu's Congestion-Fighting Strategy: Build Protected Bicycle Lane Network

Planetizen - Thu, 09/03/2015 - 3:00pm
Honolulu's one protected bike lane on King Street, while still a pilot project, has proven so successful that the city plans a major expansion to form a protected bike lane grid that will also tie-in with the new bike share and rail transit.
Categories: US National

Speed Cameras Have Proven Record of Reducing Speeding, New Study Says

Planetizen - Thu, 09/03/2015 - 2:00pm
A study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on September 1 showed steep reductions in speeding in Montgomery County, Maryland, where speed cameras has been in effect since 2007, reducing fatalities and severity of injuries.
Categories: US National

City looks for alternatives to door-zone bike lane on new street in South Waterfront

BikePortland - Thu, 09/03/2015 - 1:06pm
Yes, apparently city engineers sometimes use the Unipiper to designate bike lanes. We’ll call it affectionate good humor.(Images from a city engineer’s design dated April 2015)

Well, this would definitely be odd if it happened.

Despite a continuing gusher of evidence that adding some sort of vertical separation to bike lanes makes them much better at getting people to actually ride bicycles, the City of Portland was, as recently as April, drawing up “preliminary” plans for an entirely new street in the South Waterfront that had a bike lane painted into the door zone of a road bed.

Two days after we emailed him about the plans, city spokesman Dylan Rivera said the sketch (which is dated May 5, 2015 and lists April 2015 as its “date approved”) was “per the 2009 city council approved street plan for the area” and that “we are considering other options.”

The street in question is Southwest Bond, and it’s supposed to create a new weaving direct connection between the South Waterfront’s currently developed residential area, through the yet-to-be-developed Zidell shipyards and into the Riverplace area just north of the Marquam Bridge.

An overhead map of the planned future route of SW Bond Avenue.

Once it’s built, Bond will also create the first major intersection on the west landing of the new Tilikum Crossing, so it’s likely to attract plenty of north-south bike traffic connecting to the bridge.

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Another oddity about the April design for Bond: it would have apparently offered southbound bike traffic a choice between either a general travel lane or a sidewalk.

All of this wouldn’t be a big deal if not for the fact that the street is being built completely from scratch. So there’s almost no cost difference between a raised bike lane and one in the road bed. There isn’t even any topographic constraint; the plan hammered out by property owners and the city is to bury the entire area in soil and concrete, creating an entirely new slope, as shown here:

The only real obstacle to including state-of-the-art bike lanes in this future dense urban area is the amount of road width required.

Even more than the nearby Southwest Moody Avenue, Bond offers a rare opportunity to build a street completely from scratch in the middle of a metro area. Since the South Waterfront would have to put a third or more of its trips on bicycles for the city to achieve its transportation goals — and since the neighborhood is probably always going to be annoying to get to in a car no matter what — we’re eager to see how the city weighs these issues as it considers its forthcoming “other options” for the street.

“The preliminary design you have found implements the 2009 street plan for the area, which was approved by City Council after substantial public involvement,” Rivera said. “Six years later, now that the area is closer to redevelopment, we are looking at more detailed designs and trying to take into account the latest best practices for safe access for all road users. We’re not ready to discuss a timeframe for potential refinements, but can keep you posted when we know more.”

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Categories: US National