US National

Congressman’s fruitcake ice cream will help buy gift bikes for Portland kids

BikePortland - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:57pm

This is definitely our favorite ice cream charity partnership ever.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the former Portland transportation commissioner who now chairs the Congressional Bike Caucus, has teamed up with booming Portland ice cream shop Salt & Straw to translate his personal fruitcake recipe into a seasonal ice cream flavor and donate the profits to the Community Cycling Center’s holiday bike drive.

As you can see in the video above, this started when Blumenauer (who has made holiday fruitcake for friends and acquaintances for years, based on a recipe he found in — this might be my favorite part — the New York Times Magazine) happened to deliver a loaf to Salt & Straw’s owners last holiday season.

One thing led to another.

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“Oh, it’s great,” Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh said Wednesday. “You find that there’s some relatively rectangular piece of fruitcake in there, and you’re like, ‘Oh gosh.’ But it’s actually really good because it’s actually preserved fruitcake within this small-batch ice cream. I’ve never had anything like it.”

He said his taste had been affirmed on Tuesday when a four-year-old sampled it at a tasting event and gave her approval.

“You know she’s not gonna lie,” Tetteh said.

The seasonal flavor goes on sale this weekend.

If you, like us, are fans both of Salt & Straw and of the CCC’s work to help everyone enjoy bikes, you can support them directly via Willamette Week’s GiveGuide.

Give at least $10 on Dec. 11, and you’ll even be entered in a drawing to win a Salt & Straw ice cream party (and presumably any flavors you’d like).

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Categories: US National

TriMet bus kills man who had been walking bike in bike lane, audio report says

BikePortland - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:31pm
The bus stop on 82nd Avenue near Clackamas Town Center where the incident reportedly took place.(Image from 2011: Google Street View)

A man who had been walking his bike in the bike lane down 82nd Avenue at SE Causey was reportedly killed beneath the back wheel of a TriMet bus, according to an early audio report from the scene.

According to the report, the man had been passed by the bus while walking in the lane, caught up with it, and was beating on the back of the bus before his death, possibly from the sidewalk.

Here’s the approximate location of the incident, just outside Clackamas Town Center inside the Clackamas County line:

The recording was first shared by Al Margulies on his website Rantings of a Former TriMet Bus Driver. Margulies often monitors TriMet’s dispatch channels for reports of incidents.

Local TV channels have reported the incident as a pedestrian fatality.

Oregon State Police, which is investigating the incident because it happened on a state highway, released an early statement describing it only as a “vehicle versus pedestrian fatal crash.”

The man reporting the incident over the radio, based on what he’d learned from the bus driver and others, was initially confused about the cause of death. According to the audio, he first said it was a fall or heart attack.

He later said he was incorrect and that the bus’s dual wheels had run the man over.

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Here’s a transcript of audio that was shared by Margulies at 6:22 p.m. Wednesday. Apparently it’s from a man who was dispatched to the scene Wednesday night and interviewed the driver and other witnesses.

When Vehicle 1 was north of the stop, a stop prior, he loaded/unloaded. He noticed there was a gentleman walking his bike in the bike lane, which is in the street. And this gentleman had no reflective, no lights, no nothing. He was basically walking in the bike lane in his bike.

So Vehicle 1 proceeds to the next stop, he loads/unloads. And according to the operator of Vehicle 1, he tells me he starts to edge out into the street — now mind you, he’s only about six inches from the curb. So he starts to edge out because he wants to get into the travel lane to get going. And anyway, when he starts to go he heard a noise on the bus in the rear and so what he did was he pulled over on the far side of Causey and got out and saw the gentleman laying in the street with his bike. Now, he does not recall the dual passing over him. And according to some witnesses, the guy with the bike was on the sidewalk pounding on the bus. And as the bus drove away, he fell into the street and they believe either had a heart attack or hit his head, and he is deceased.

Okay, the only part I need to amend is according to witnesses, and it would be more than one witness they said that the right rear dual did make contact with the individual and ran him over, basically. So I told you that did not happen, but according to the witnesses, it did happen.

We’ve paged TriMet for more details and will update this post when we learn more.

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Categories: US National

Light and warmth: New Portland Design Works Lars Rover and Showers Pass baselayer

BikePortland - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 5:52pm

Two new products from Portland-based bike companies deserve your attention — especially as evening commutes get darker and rides get colder.

Body-Mapped Baselayer from Showers Pass Male version shown. It also comes in a female version.

Showers Pass rain jackets are sort of an unofficial uniform for Portland bike riders. Given how many of them dot the streetscape when weather turns wet and cold, you’d think they were handed out at the border. We’ve loved watching this company grow and expand ever since they moved to inner southeast Portland. They launched a line of gloves last year and they’ve also expanded their line of pants. Now Showers Pass has broken into more new territory with their first inner-wear product to complement their popular outerwear.

The new Body-Mapped Baselayer (suggested retail $69) is a mix of four materials: Modal(35%), Spandex (8%), nylon (47%), and merino wool (10%). That mix, says Showers Pass, makes their baselayer soft, form-fitting, stretchy, durable, warm, and odor resistant. I haven’t worn mine enough myself to see if all those claims are true — but I can already attest to its softness and stretchiness.

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So, what about how it performs? Here’s a bit of tech from Showers Pass:

“The Baselayer features a body-mapped knit pattern designed to vent out excess heat in the areas where you tend to sweat the most – an important design point for the active users who are fans of the brand’s outerwear. Multiple knit patterns are used to achieve the body-mapping without adding additional seams; the torso is seamless to minimize chafing.”

The Body-Mapped Baselayer is available in two sizes for both men and women. Learn more at

Lars Rover 650 from Portland Design Works

I’m a sucker for a good light. And, as a captain of a family fleet that numbers five bikes, I’m always in need of them. That’s why I was excited by the new offering from our friends at Portland Design Works. Their Lars Rover 650 ($110 suggested retail) is a very solid addition to their line-up. It’s a USB rechargeable front light that packs plenty of brightness for everything from neighborhood rides to nighttime off-road excursions.

What I love about PDW stuff is that they take design seriously. There are so many lights on the market that just don’t feel or look very appealing to me. The Lars Rover is different. It’s got smooth lines and it looks great. You can also feel its build quality just by picking it up. It comes with three mounts: one that clamps to your bars for rough rides, a quick-release buckle for city riding, and a helmet mount.

At its highest of five settings, the Lars Rover burns at 650 lumens (and will do so for two hours at full charge). At its lowest setting, 175 lumens, it will last 7 1/2 hours on a single charge. It also has two flashing modes — which put out just 125 lumens so as not to be annoying to induce seizures and/or annoy those who detest flashing lights.

Learn more about the Lars Rover at

Both of these new products can be found at your local bike shop. If you’re lucky, you might even find one under your Christmas tree!

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Categories: US National

In letter to PBOT, BTA says Williams Ave work zone has led to injuries

BikePortland - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 4:01pm
Current conditions on Williams Ave.(Photo by Carl Larson/BTA)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is fed up with the dangerous work zone conditions on Williams Avenue. Claiming that bicycle riders have been injured and put in danger due to misplaced construction materials and a poorly implemented traffic control plan, the Portland-based non-profit group penned a letter today to the Bureau of Transportation with a laundry list of demands to improve the situation.

While the BTA supports the city’s North Williams Avenue Safety Project and says they are excited to see the finished product, the letter (written by BTA Engagement Manager Carl Larson) points out several specific and ongoing safety concerns — some of which have led directly to injuries. “We are concerned about high-risk hazards that our office has reported to your bureau,” reads the letter, “We do not believe that they were adequately addressed in a timely manner, and as a result, people have been injured.”

This is not a new problem for PBOT. From the outset of the project over a month ago, people who ride on the road have expressed confusion and concern about how the project is being phased in. After we reported on those concerns, PBOT Director Leah Treat told us via a comment that she too was “experiencing some difficulties.”

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There have been a litany of issues with Williams’ bike access ever since the work began. At first it was a lack of signage about how to navigate a bike lane that was moved from left to right. Now that people are accustomed to that change, the big issues have to do with navigated through the street’s many work zones — both from PBOT and private construction firms (there are several major projects along the street).

Slalom course on Williams this morning. @BikePortland

— Tessa Walker (@st_toast) November 21, 2014

Larson, in his letter to PBOT, said that both he and the BTA board chair saw a bicycle rider go down on a new median installed on Williams at Mason. Larson says that a man who crashed on Tuesday suffered a broken collarbone. After Larson reported the issue, PBOT placed one orange cone in front of the new median. “This morning,” Larson wrote in the letter, “The cone had been flattened and the new curb has scrapes across the top of it and chunks taken out of it, presumably the result of getting hit by motor vehicles.”

Larson says PBOT’s response thus far has been to blame contractors and equipment delays while urging the public to be patience.

The larger context with the BTA’s concerns about Williams is that this is far from an isolated issue. On October 20th, after seeing an unacceptable work zone on NW Broadway, we published a story saying that the city needs stronger construction zone standards (or should actually enforce ones already in place). In the weeks since our story we’ve heard of other ongoing hazards on the Burnside Bridge, SW Multnomah Blvd, and elsewhere.

Reader Seth Alford sent us photos of two construction zones in southwest Portland that were completely blocking the bike lane: one on Multnomah and one on Capitol Hwy:

And reader Kyle Rohr sent us photos of signs blocking the bike lanes on the Burnside Bridge:

Beyond Williams and these other recent examples of what seems like a lax approach to work zone bicycle access by PBOT, the BTA has been working on a research project for over a year to examine the city’s approach to construction zones. Back in August, we reported that the BTA was working on a project (headed up by Larson) to find, “ways the city can better design construction zones to work for active transportation.”

The BTA’s letter makes it clear that PBOT is still coming up very short when it comes to keeping road users safe during construction projects.

Here’s the non-profits list of things they want to see PBOT do now:

  • Review the traffic control plan with the contractor and agree upon standards for its implementation.
  • Review traffic control plans made by developers on Williams and insure that they are appropriate and are being followed.
  • Make routine checks of the street after dark (its peak time of usage by people on bikes) to identify and immediately address potential hazards.
  • Install physical separation between Weidler and Broadway as soon as possible.
  • Prioritize sweeping of leaves in the new Williams bike lane.
  • Immediately close the dangerously narrow bike lane on the block approaching Cook and turn the left travel lane into a bike lane.
  • Install signage advertising NE Rodney as a bike-friendly alternate route.

Back on November 6th, in light of a dangerous work zone on NW Broadway, I asked PBOT to clarify their approach to traffic management during construction projects. “Our permits process is intended to ensure public safety while also minimizing inconvenience,” PBOT spokesman Dylan Rivera said, “We try to accommodate all users of the right of way as best we can. That includes people driving, bicycling, walking, operating trucks and doing maintenance and construction work in the right of way.”

So far, PBOT hasn’t responded to Larson’s letter about Williams. —————————

UPDATE, 2:15 pm: Yesterday I emailed Williams Avenue project manager Rich Newlands to get a clarification on the timeline for completing the signage and striping. Here’s his response:

The [construction] contract end is December 15. Because the delivery of signal poles for Cook and Broadway have been significantly delayed, we will be granting additional time to complete that work, but only that part of the overall contract.The amount of additional time has not yet been negotiated. At today’s weekly construction meeting the contractor indicated that he was still on track to substantially complete the non-signal work by the original end date.

Regarding signing and striping, they are very close to having everything in place per the plans. For striping there is some touch up work and the crosswalks at the new curb extensions, which are waiting for the civil work and paving to be completed. Hope to have the forced left-turn signs at mounted on the islands between Beech and Mason the week after next — after the work at Failing is scheduled to be completed. That includes the one missing median, which has not been done yet because the contractor wants to pour the curb extensions at the same time. At Stanton [Dawson Park], we are reviewing options for additional pavement markings, signage, and/or physical barriers to address the compliance problem there with traffic not turning left.

After much delay, the paving around the curb extensions that have been built is finally happening today, so construction choke points, such as the one at Cook will be removed.

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Categories: US National

Charting the Decline of Chicago's Middle-Class Neighborhoods

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 4:00pm
A post on the Chicago magazine site dives into research showing how Chicago has segregated by income since the 1970s.
Categories: US National

This Flying Car Could Hit the Market by 2017

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 3:00pm
Bloomberg reports that the dream vehicle of commuters everywhere—a flying car—might be available on the market within three years.
Categories: US National

Massive Oil-By-Rail Facility Proposed for Port of Vancouver

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 2:00pm
A proposed oil-by-rail facility proposed for the Port of Vancouver could set a new standard for capacity.
Categories: US National

Ferguson, equity, and active transportation

BikePortland - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 1:50pm
A slide from Seeing & Believing in Bike Equity

Like many of you, I’ve been following the events in Ferguson and around the country very closely these past two days. Flipping from headlines to my social media feed, my head has been spinning with thoughts on issues ranging from racism and white privilege to our justice system and media culture. As last night’s protests spilled into the streets and freeways across America last night, this story came even closer to my own sphere of activism.

The shooting of Michael Brown and the decision by a Grand Jury to not indict Officer Darren Wilson isn’t a BikePortland story. We cover bike news and culture. But we also cover social issues — like sexism, racism, gentrification, and so on — that often intersect with bicycling.

So this morning, when I followed a link (shared by Elly Blue on Twitter) that led to a publication of the League of American Bicyclist’s Equity Initiative, I knew it was something I wanted to share here on the Front Page. <\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

The slide presentation below, Seeing & Believing in Bike Equity was created by the League’s Equity Initiative Manager Adonia Lugo. Dr. Lugo (a past resident of Portland) is a cultural anthropologist whose insights I often find challenging, revealing, and important. As she says on her Twitter profile, as a cultural anthropologist working on the bike advocacy field she has the background to, “think about built environments, culture, and social justice at the same time.”

We need more people thinking like that.

Lugo’s short slideshow below was just published yesterday. It draws a connection between the Ferguson protests and active transportation and uses quotes from other advocates she has interviewed:

And to further understand the context of the slides — and how perceptions of the police will become even more important as Vision Zero takes hold in America — here’s more from Lugo taken from her blog post on (emphasis mine):

“The reality of police mistrust matters to the League’s Equity Initiative because more cities and advocacy organizations are developing plans for Vision Zero projects, which hinge on increased police enforcement of traffic laws. Vision Zero is absolutely coming from the right place, and it provides a much-needed common cause across the many different kinds of traffic violence. It intersects, though, with the painful reality that not everyone in this country feels safe looking to law enforcement for help.

Can we build common cause for safe streets that includes the fears of racial discrimination keeping so many people in their cars? What do enforcement-based approaches to traffic safety look like when they respect and address the realities of police mistrust? We’re going to start exploring how to answer these questions with insights gathered from bike/ped advocates this fall. Using their quotes, Dr. Echo Rivera has crafted images that shed light on why race matters in active transportation.”

I think Lugo and The League are knocking on very important doors. This stuff isn’t what we (people who love bicycling and want to see more of it) have traditionally thought about — but as events unfold around the Ferguson case, it increasingly seems like we should.

You can follow Adonia Lugo on Twitter at @UrbanAdonia. For a detailed account and photos of what happened in Portland streets during last night’s local protests, check out this recap from Hart Noecker on

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Categories: US National

Does your airport have a 50-page bike plan?

BikePortland - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 1:23pm
A map of existing (solid lines) and planned (dotted lines) bike access to Portland’s airport. Green lines are multi-use paths; blue are on-street lanes.(Click to enlarge)

Portland International Airport’s new bike-pedestrian plan is probably thicker than the average city’s.

Fifteen years after a rising bike-commute rate among airport workers led PDX to begin a strategic focus on its biking and walking connections, links to the airport keep getting better. Now, the airport is preparing to double outdoor bike parking, and, in the longer term, help the City of Portland pay for a multi-use path looping the entire airport plus three bike lanes that’ll greatly improve airport access from the city.

The publicly owned airport has been on a tear recently. Travel + Leisure reader surveys named it the best in the country in 2013 and 2014. Though it’s the smallest of the country’s 30 “large-hub” airports, it ranks third in that group (after Chicago-Midway, Charlotte and Miami) for growth in passenger boardings since 2010.

Riding the multi-use path northwest of Portland Airport.(Photo: Port of Portland)

Last year, PDX got top marks nationally in a survey of airport bike access, beating out Boston, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Seattle in part because it was the only one that prepares a bike plan.

Portland Airport is owned by the Port of Portland — ironically, a frequent political foe of biking advocates because of its leaders’ belief that road capacity is essential to local freight access.

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But the Port’s investments in airport access, presumably motivated in part by a desire to minimize the risk of lawsuits, have been genuine and substantial. For example, here’s a newly constructed crossing of Airport Way at 82nd Avenue, one of many capital projects completed since the airport’s first bike plan, in 2003:

Here’s the off-road path alongside the terminal access road:

Here’s its map of existing and planned terminal bike access. Notice the new multi-use path it wants to build leading directly to the MAX line terminus and main passenger entrance (a dashed green line):

Here’s its plan for a new bike parking area at that main (south) entrance and the less-used (north) entrance. Staple racks will replace less efficient wave racks and bring outdoor bike parking at the airport to 100 spaces:

In an email last week, airport planner Jason Gately also mentioned better support for bike-commuting airport workers:

We want to explore better coordination among airport employees regarding bike commuting. We have some 12,000 employees at PDX and there may be some opportunities to better coordinate information, offer incentives, perhaps have a locker room available for all employees who commute by bike, etc.

If the airport and city can find the money for a new multi-use path south of the airport’s runways (see the map at the top of this post) it’d become not only a great place for recreational rides (especially for airplane fans) but a pretty convenient and direct link to the city’s bike network, by way of new bike lanes planned on 47th Avenue, Alderwood Road and 82nd Avenue.

Also, Columbia Way’s intersections with Cully and Alderwood are soon due for signalization, a big boon for people crossing the major truck route.

Though public investments in these routes should of course be weighed against other facilities in the region, the fact that the airport is pushing for them should be a huge point of pride for the Port, the region and for the airport employees who got this ball rolling in the 1990s.

Because auto parking is a profit center for many airports, few bother to invest much in alternatives. But of course that’s actually a terrible deal for the airport’s users, who should get to decide whether or not they want to pay for parking.

The fact that Portland’s airport is making that choice possible is one more reason things are different here.

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Categories: US National

Demographic Changes Mean a New Suburban American Dream

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 1:00pm
New Republic reprinted a portion of William Frey's new book, "Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America."
Categories: US National

London School of Economics: Cities Should Adopt '3C Model' for Growth

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 12:00pm
A report from the London School of Economics focuses on the growth of cities around the world between 2012 and 2030, proposing a "3C model" for growth to ensure economic prosperity and to limit emissions.
Categories: US National

How to Decide if Planning is for You

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 11:00am
At this time of year, many prospective graduate students are asking themselves if they should apply to planning programs. This is a good question. Planning is a diverse field and it can be hard to figure out if it will be the right fit.
Categories: US National

Bus-Friendly Signaling, Bulbouts Coming to Haight Street in San Francisco

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 10:00am
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority approved a collection of changes to San Francisco's famous Haight Street. The proposal brought provoked political debate that expresses the complexity of multi-modal transportation planning.
Categories: US National

America’s “Neglected” Infrastructure

Streetblog Top Picks - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:04am
Once again, the Infrastructure Cult’s narrative was picked up and magnified by the old media. This past weekend, 60 Minutes (yes, that is still a show) ran a piece called Falling Apart: America’s Neglected Infrastructure. It contained all of the Cult’s usual talking points. We used to be a great country because we invested in […]
Categories: US National

Amtrak's Operating Loss Decreases as Ridership Increases

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:00am
Buoyed by increased revenue on its busiest lines on the Northeast Corridor plus new state contributions for some short-distance routes required by PRIIA, Amtrak's operating loss dropped 37 percent from last year while revenue grew by 8 percent.
Categories: US National

Report Aims to Reinvent the MTA; Critics Say it Misses the Mark

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 8:00am
After Capital New York leaked an early draft of the report by a MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission, critics are wondering if the commission is living up to its titular promise.
Categories: US National

A Dissenting Take on Smart Cities from Rem Koolhaas

Planetizen - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 7:00am
A post on the European Commission website provides an edited transcript of a presentation by Rem Koolhaas in which the starchitect and author offers a scathing take on the ill effects of smart cities.
Categories: US National

Thieves break into Gladys Bikes on Alberta, steal two bikes

BikePortland - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 8:58pm
Damage to Gladys Bikes’ front door.(Photo: Leah Benson)

Bike shop owner Leah Benson is Portland’s latest bike theft victim.

Benson owns Gladys Bikes at 2905 NE Alberta Street. She shared the bad news earlier this evening: “I received a call in the wee hours of the morning telling me that someone had shattered our front door and broken into the shop.”

The thieves made off with two bikes and Benson is urging everyone to keep an eye out for a Giant Liv Alight city bike and a Bianchi Lupo drop bar road bike. We know how stolen bikes tend to turn up shortly after being stolen, so time is of the essence! (Scroll down for photos of the bikes.)

Shop break-ins are all too common in Portland. We’ve reported on several in the past few years. Between November 2011 and February 2012, a thief known as the “window pane bandit” hit four separate shops. <\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

Here are the two bikes that were stolen:

46cm Bianchi Lupo. Size small Giant Liv “Alight City”.

Some shops have insurance that will cover the cost of stolen goods and property damage; but Gladys Bikes is still in its infancy as a business and Benson confided in her customers via Facebook that “We’re small and insurance doesn’t cover everything.” “Having a few thousands dollars worth of goods and window replacement,” she wrote, “isn’t the easiest pill to swallow.”

While Benson is obviously disturbed by what happened, she’s putting it all in perspective. “I’m saddened, I’m stressed and I’m angry,” she shared, “but I am also fully aware that Gladys Bikes getting broken into is not the worst thing that happened last night [a reference to what happened in Ferguson].”

Benson says if you’ve been thinking about getting a tune-up or getting a certain accessory, now would be a great time to show Gladys Bikes some retail shopping support.

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Categories: US National

After the Streetcar: What Next for Arlington Affordable Housing, Transit?

Planetizen - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 4:00pm
A collection of media coverage since the decision examines how Arlington will achieve its goals now that it voted to end funding for a $333-million plan to build a 7.4-mile streetcar line down Columbia Pike.
Categories: US National

Historic, Green, Affordable, and at (Some) Scale?

Planetizen - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 3:00pm
Iberville Offsites received the 2014 National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation for restoration of homes as low-income affordable housing
Categories: US National