US National

San Diego Bike Coalition board member in critical condition after rear-end collision

BikePortland - 3 hours 14 min ago
Kerry Kunsman.(Photo: San Diego Bike Coalition)

Kerry Kunsman, a 67-year old bicycle safety instructor and board member of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is in critical condition after being hit from behind by a pickup driver while riding near Tillamook yesterday.

According to the Oregon State Police, Kunsman, a resident of San Diego California, was riding westbound on Highway 131 between Tillamook and Netarts Bay (map) when he was struck from behind by 74-year old Oceanside (Oregon) resident Frank Bohannon, who was driving a Ford F350 pickup.

The collision occurred at milepost five in the apex of a right-hand curve. As you can see in our lead photo, Netarts Hwy has two lanes in this location and no paved shoulder. The investigation into the collision is ongoing and no enforcement decision has been made yet.

This is the latest in an alarming spate of rear-end collisions involving bicycle riders on rural Oregon highways in the past month.

The collision occurred in this corner, heading westbound on Netarts Hwy.

In their official statement about the collision, OSP shared this warning:

OSP & ODOT urge all drivers to be watchful for vulnerable highway users such as bicyclists and pedestrians on all roads. Useful safety tips and information is available on ODOT’s Bicycle Safety website.

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Kerry Kunsman is a well-known advocate for bicycling in San Diego. He’s Chair of the Education Committee on the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition Board of Directors and he’s a League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructor (LCI). According to a bio on the SDCBC website, Kunsman was Instructor of the Year in 2006.

SDCBC has posted the following message about the collision on their Facebook page:

Please put your prayers towards Portland Oregon, Kerry Kunsman was hit by a truck yesterday on his trip from Border to Border. He is in critical condition with a severe brain injury. His wife and daughter just got up there. Kerry is a long time Bike Coalition pillar and LCI instructor- educating San Diego County bicyclists and motorists. Again… please keep him in your prayers.

This section of highway is a well-known part of the Oregon Coast Bike Route. I rode it last September while participating in the Amgen People’s Coast Classic.

The post San Diego Bike Coalition board member in critical condition after rear-end collision appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: US National

Grand Ambitions for $7 Billion Investment in Washington D.C.'s Union Station

Planetizen - 6 hours 1 min ago
The Washington Post provides all the details, renderings, history, commentary, and more that one could want about Amtrak's proposed $7 billion investment in Daniel Burnham's historic Union Station.
Categories: US National

San Francisco's Red Transit-Only Lanes Improving Service

Planetizen - 8 hours 1 min ago
For years, San Francisco has set aside transit-only lanes. However, with a fresh coat of red paint, the city has seen significant service improvements.
Categories: US National

Los Angeles' Historic Pershing Square to Receive Family-Friendly Makeover

Planetizen - 10 hours 1 min ago
Los Angeles' Pershing Square, a five-acre park initially opened in 1866, will undergo major transformations to accommodate the increase of families with children living in Downtown Los Angeles.
Categories: US National

Transit Survey Answers the Who and Why of American Transit Use

Planetizen - 12 hours 1 min ago
A new survey from TransitCenter surveyed 11,846 Americans on their transit use, living environment, upbringing, and personal characteristics.
Categories: US National

Examining the 'Vehicular Cycling' vs. 'Segregated Cycling' Debate

Planetizen - 14 hours 1 min ago
Joseph Stromberg provides an explainer post detailing both sides, and the common ground, of the "vehicular cycling" versus "segregated cycling" debate.
Categories: US National

Comment of the Week: The missed opportunity of Tilikum Crossing

BikePortland - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 4:21pm
Problems with the west-side landing of Tilikum Crossing.(Image: Ted Buehler)

The new transit/bike/walk bridge opening across the Willamette next year has become one of Portland’s go-to examples of how we continue to do great things. And it’s certainly true that it’s a massive investment in active transportation.

But as reader Ted Buehler argued in a series of comments this week below our story about the apparent decline of biking among PSU students, Tilikum Crossing was so close to being so much better.

The Tilikum Bridge isn’t going to help all that much, because Tilikum to PSU will still be crap. Whereas MAX has a long flyover from the west end of the Tilikum Bridge to SW 4th and Lincoln.

If they had funded a mixed use path on the MAX bridge, you’d be able to go straight from OMSI to here: http://goo.gl/maps/LLiVp without playing fender tag with cars on surface streets.

As it is, the day the bridge opens, bicyclists will need to ride on a half mile of congested bikeways, streetcar track interactions, traffic signals, and cars infringing in the bike lane because drivers tend to keep their wheels off the rails.

Moody and Sheridan. A long wait at a traffic signal, followed by a double checkmate hazard — if you swing wide enough not to have your wheel eaten by the streetcar tracks, your wheel will slide out on the storm sewer grate.

Moody and SW River Pkwy. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to make a legal left turn here. I guess you just play fender tag, and hoe you don’t get rear-ended by inattentive drivers going straight.

SW River Pkwy and Harbor Drive. Where you have the pleasure of waiting at an extremely long traffic light for our favorite 1950s expressway, Harbor Drive. That overhead bridge is where MAX goes — the direct link from Tilikum to PSU. That’s where bikes would be riding if they hadn’t put bike infrastructure on a starvation budget.

SW Harrison, on the hill. Where minivans encroach on the bike lane on a steep hill (where bicyclists require the most space because they wobble more). Again, that’s our friends the First Class Citizens on MAX overhead.

SW Harrison at Naito. Where the bike lane ends.

SW Harrison and 4th. Where you need to navigate a double set of streetcar tracks at a noncompliant, dangerous shallow angle.

My point? PSU needs direct bicycle access from the east side. The Tilikum Bridge won’t connect bicyclists from SW Moody to PSU. Bicyclists will need to ride through 6 dangerous, slow, or unpleasant intersections.

If, however, a bikeway had been included in a half-mile section of the Orange Line right of way, the connection would be smooth as glass.

Update 3:30 pm: In the comments below, reader Esther says a path that has yet to open will help riders skirt some, though not all, of these problems.

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A follow-up comment from Buehler (whose academic research, before he moved to Portland, focused on the factors that caused the plateau and decline of biking in Davis, California):

I was down at the Tilikum west bridgehead tonight. 11:00 pm. 2 bicyclists went up the MAX viaduct to get to PSU. Classic.

I was going to take my riding mates on the Hellhole of a route from the Tilikum to PSU, via Moody, SW River Pkwy & SW Harrison. Instead, Rev Phil looked up the MAX/bus ramp and said “why don’t we just take this.”

So I rode the MAX viaduct myself, with 3 friends. It was sweet. So direct, so clean, sailed above Harrison and Harbor Drive, under I-5, it dumped us out onto a fabulous, brand-spankin new set of bike lanes on SW Lincoln at Naito. Infinitely better than the nonexistent westbound bike lane at SW Harrison and Naito.

I suspect that after the Tilikum opens that there will be a surge of bicyclists taking the viaduct downhill to get from PSU to SE Portland. They’ll have to put up signs with fines for any non First Class Transportation Mode folks from using the bridge. And enforce it. Because it’s a Grade A Platinum Route from PSU to SE Portland. But not open to bikes.

I doubt they’ll get the funding to add a multiuse path to the viaduct anytime in the next 40 years. So biking from SE to PSU will still suck rocks.

So close, but so far.

#bikeinfrastructurestarvation

And finally:

I was leading a ride of 4 people, and I wanted to ride the Tilikum => PSU Bike Route myself, just to demonstrate for myself that it really was a Hellhole of a route (I’ve ridden parts of it (some with BikePortland writer Michael Andersen), but not all of it. And after writing a treatise about it on BikePortland I figured I ought to go out and make sure it was every bit as bad as I said it was). Riding at 11:00 PM, because that’s when I was there, and because you can stand around and inspect the infrastructure at that hour without getting mowed down by cars.

So I was there at the west bridgehead, with Rev Phil and two lesser known riders, explaining to them that “This” waving my hand up the smooth concrete ramp with MAX tracks “is the MAX route from here to PSU.” And “That” (waving my hands up Moody) is the Hellhole of a bike route, which we’ll ride.”

And, along came a dude on a bike. Looked like a stereotypical PSU student. Coming up from South Waterfront on the Moody Cycletrack. And, what did he do? He hooked a left on the MAX viaduct and busted on up to PSU that way. Just like he’d been doing it every day of his life.

Then another bicyclist came along and asked us if that was the way to PSU, and we said “yup, that’s the way.” Up the viaduct he went.

And at that point Rev Phil made the rather astute observation that instead of just describing how nice of a ride the viaduct would be, that we could just field-check it ourselves. And we did.

And it was sweet.

Sorry to go a little off topic, but these are the issues that PSU, PBOT and bicycle advocates will need to address if they want to increase student bike mode share to campus. Can you ride a bike there easily, quickly and safely? If there’s an opportunity to do it, and it’s not done to cut a construction budget to the bone, then you’re failing in your objectives and failing to your constituents.

I recommend that ya’all get out there and try riding the MAX viaduct from Tilikum West to PSU sometime in the next couple months. Just to experience what excellent bicycle infrastructure could be. So you know what to ask for in all future public meetings.

Do it before they take down the construction fences and put up a sign that says “Max fine $1399 for trespassing on this bridge.”

Note to our friends at TriMet: Buehler’s recommendation, not ours.

The post Comment of the Week: The missed opportunity of Tilikum Crossing appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: US National

Home Construction: Too Much Too Soon

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 4:00pm
Analyzing newly released data from the American Community Survey, Jed Kolko finds reason to believe that construction of singly-family housing is outpacing demand.
Categories: US National

A ride downtown and biking’s social impact

BikePortland - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 3:30pm
Hazel Gross and her company vehicle chatting with a customer on SW 2nd Ave.(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday I took a short ride downtown and it was the perfect illustration of something I’ve known for many years: cycling in a city where a (relatively) significant amount of people ride bikes can* be a very social form of transportation. I realize this isn’t a revolutionary concept: The anonymous and isolating nature of driving (and the opposite characteristic of cycling) is something urban planners have understood for a long time. And it’s not new to me (or you, I assume) either. In fact, running into people I know, and having quick conversations while moving through the city on my bike is something that happens all the time.

On that short ride yesterday — from our office on SW 4th (between Stark and Oak) to observe and photograph some new bike lanes on SW Salmon near Naito Parkway — I ran into three different people I knew. With each person, I was able to easily pull over for a quick chat. It was nice.

I’m not an urban planner; but I understand enough about cities to know that face-to-face interactions are one of the key ingredients to making them great. When people stop on the sidewalk or in the margins of streets and talk to each other, it creates sort of a temporary public space that was previously used only as a pass-through corridor.

When we think about the benefits of bicycling, we usually think of health, the environment, economics, and so on. But we shouldn’t forget its important social impacts.

So, who’d I meet?

Hazel Gross was making a delivery on her cargo bike.

Hazel works with Portland Design Works, a nationally distributed bike part designer based in north Portland. She was out and about making deliveries to local bike shops with the company vehicle: a Portland-made Metrofiets cargo bike. In addition to bringing orders to PDW customers, Hazel was also on a special mission to Stumptown Coffee. “We’re trading [PDW products] with them for coffee,” she told me, “They’re using it as prizes for employees doing the Bike Commute Challenge.”

On the next block, David Aulwes rolled up next to me.

The first thing I noticed about David was the cool visor on his helmet. Is that a new option from Nutcase? I asked. “No, this is custom-made,” David replied proudly. On closer inspection (at a red light) I noticed the visor was made out of copper. Very nice. David, who I used to know from his work on the City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee, now works at TriMet as a Senior Transit Corridor Designer. Michael and I will probably be in touch with him for insights into future stories on topics like Metro’s SW Corridor and Powell-Division Transit Corridor plans.

After parting ways with David, on the next block I noticed Simon Kirsch in the crosswalk.

Simon is a business specialist at the downtown Apple Store (and a loyal BikePortlander, thanks Simon!). I met him a few weeks ago after he asked me to be a part of an event at the store. Yesterday I caught him on his lunch break and we chatted for a few minutes about iPhone pricing plans and how crazy the store would be when the new iPhones go on sale (hopefully, he’s survived the onslaught).

I’m thinking of making weekly rides around downtown a regular thing. I’ll bring along my camera and capture what — and who — I come across. And by the way, thanks for reading and commenting on all our stories this week. It’s been busy around here and we appreciate your time and attention.

*I say cycling can be very social, because there’s a wide range of biking styles. Some people ride hunched over, focused, and fast; while others ride more slowly and upright. I happen to ride a completely upright bike. I also ride slowly and I’m always scanning around with my eyes — not just to stay safe, but to see things (like people and other reasons to stop).

The post A ride downtown and biking’s social impact appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: US National

Boston's 'Adult Playground': Created without Traditional Planning

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 3:00pm
Anthony Flint cites the example of Boston's new adult playground to ask the question: "Should we let more urban design emerge organically?"
Categories: US National

54-Acre Park Planned for Bozeman, Montana

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 2:00pm
The Trust for Public Land is working with the city of Bozeman on a master planning process for a large park on the north side of town, with connections to the city's history as a railroad town and an agricultural center.
Categories: US National

For one weekend, Old Town will test a huge plaza, bike lanes and cafes along 3rd Avenue

BikePortland - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 1:07pm
Dixie Tavern owner Dan Lenzen, right, with Boris Kaganovich of Better Block PDX.(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Frustrated by city officials’ estimates that it’d take several years to even consider a major redesign of 3rd Avenue through Old Town, a group of neighborhood businesses is teaming up with a team of livable streets advocates to create their own three-day demo of what a better street could look like — two weeks from today.

Inspired in part by the “pop-up” street projects that have helped reshape New York City in the last five years, organizers say Old Town’s three-block project will be one of the country’s largest such projects ever.

It’ll use wooden planters in the street to create more than a thousand square feet of new pedestrianized space between NW Davis an SW Ash, a protected bike lane, a series of new sidewalk cafes, a marked crosswalk and a huge new public plaza in front of Voodoo Doughnut adjoining Old Town’s thriving Ankeny Alley.

The Portland Business Alliance and the city’s fire, police and transportation bureaus have all signed off on the plan, which will run from 7 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 3 until Sunday, Oct. 5.

“We’re starting to build planters this weekend,” said Boris Kaganovich, an organizer of the project for the group Better Block PDX, the volunteer group that has partnered with the Old Town Hospitality Association and Old Town Community Association to do the project. “I’ve built the first two prototypes. Now we’ve just got to build 150 more.”

A Better Block rendering and promotional flyer. (Click for a PDF.)

It’s by far the biggest undertaking to date by Better Block, the all-volunteer nonprofit group that last year created a spectacular PARK(ing) Day on Southwest Stark and a temporary “Popcorn Plaza” this spring on Southeast Clinton Street.

Dan Lenzen, owner of the Dixie Tavern and a leader in the hospitality association, said in an interview Thursday that the demo is going to be “awesome.”

“It seems to be a pivotal opportunity for many people — businesses, residents, tourists and visitors — to look to see what it could look like with this change, how it might be able to positively affect the neighborhood on a broader scale,” Lenzen said. “It could be the catalyst for us to look at 3rd and 2nd and 4th street management changes.”

Here’s what 3rd Avenue looked like yesterday at 4:45 p.m.:

Standing at 3rd and Couch Thursday with Lenzen and Dixie Tavern manager Jeff Hebert, Kaganovich said the weekend demo would be a way to explain the benefits of changing 3rd Avenue that’d be more memorable and intuitive than Photoshop visualizations.

“We’re going to say, here are real people sitting down enjoying it,” Kaganovich said. Hebert nodded approvingly.

“I like it,” he said.

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Better Block recruited Nick Falbo of Alta Planning + Design and Adrienne Leverette and Yelena Prusakova of Fat Pencil Studio for pro bono planning support. Lenzen and Kaganovich are also recruiting businesses along 3rd to move tables and chairs into the street, where Kaganovich said businesses will be allowed to offer food service even though non-customers will also be allowed to sit there during the event.

“It’s going to be privately owned furniture, but public seating,” he said.

A detailed draft site plan by Better Block. (Click for a PDF.)

Lenzen said he’ll be on site during the demo to organize any necessary changes.

“It’s flexible, that’s the beauty of this thing,” Lenzen said. “If it’s not working one way, let’s try another way. If we don’t have enough tables out one day, let’s get some more out the next day.”

Kaganovich agreed.

“Because it’s temporary, no one has any objections.”— Boris Kaganovich, Better Block PDX

“Because it’s temporary, no one has any objections,” he said. “We have a chance to get a bunch of stuff wrong and we can fix it in another round.”

Kaganovich, whose own day job is as a communications engineer for TriMet, credited the city for being responsive and open to the idea once he and Better Block’s other organizers figured out which city employees they needed to talk to.

“What’s amazing about Portland is that more than anywhere in the U.S. right now, I think, you can basically pick up a phone and talk to any city staffer,” he said.

That’s turned out to be great news for the Old Town business group.

“They’ve been trying to get the city to do this for a really long time,” Kaganovich said. “And we said, hey, we can do this in a month and change. And everyone’s eyes got really wide. … We couldn’t say no, given that all the stars seemed to line up.”

Better Block’s core team is meeting today to discuss plans for recruiting volunteers and soliciting enough donations for the project, whose cost they estimate at $5,000 to $6,000. If you’d like to help make this project happen, you can donate online to support the effort or email Kaganovich, kaga0008@gmail.com, for details on how to volunteer.

The post For one weekend, Old Town will test a huge plaza, bike lanes and cafes along 3rd Avenue appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: US National

Time to step up for our local velodrome

BikePortland - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 1:06pm
The apron (darker area on the right) of Alpenrose Velodrome is being replaced and we need to help fund the project.(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday, while the cycling world was captivated and inspired by Jens Voigt’s spectacular hour record ride, a call for help went out for our humble local velodrome at Alpenrose Dairy.

If Voigt ever visited Portland, he might make an appearance at Alpenrose, a track that has hosted racing events since 1962 and that we are lucky to have thanks to the generosity of the Alpenrose Dairy company whose headquarters are located on the site.

While Alpenrose has served our community well for over 40 years, it requires ongoing maintenance to keep its surfaces smooth, safe, and fun.

For years, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association has organized volunteer track clean-up days out at Alpenrose. Those usually involve minor upkeep like patching cracks, sweeping up, and re-painting lane lines. But in the past two years, major repairs have been needed.

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As we reported in 2012, OBRA completed a major project to install new straightaways. Now Mike Murray, who heads up OBRA’s track racing program, is working to replace the apron, an area (also known as the infield) where riders warm up and cool down and sometimes seek refuge if they get bumped off their line during races.

Mike Murray working on the track in 2006.

To make the project pencil out financially, Murray is appealing to the community to help offset repair costs. Alpenrose Dairy is picking up a large portion of the tab, OBRA funds are also filling in, but Murray says velodrome riders and fans are also expected to step up.

“Alpenrose has been very generous in supporting OBRA operations and Oregon bike racing in general,” Murray wrote, in an appeal to OBRA’s 5,000 members, “Now is the time to pay them back. Any amount helps.”

Keep in mind that the Alpenrose Velodrome is much more than just a track venue. It also hosts the Cross Crusade and other events that have an incalculable impact on local bike culture (if you haven’t already, read Rebecca Hamilton’s experience of her first cross race at Alpenrose).

Murray has been working hard on the apron project and it’s on schedule to make a big debut at the upcoming Crusade opener on October 11th. When you ride over it, wouldn’t it feel great to know your donation helped maintain it?

Let’s show the folks at Alpenrose Dairy how much we appreciate this facility. Donations are tax deductible and can be made online via the OBRA website. You can also mail a check to: OBRA/Portland Velodrome Committee, 4318 SE 8th Ct., Gresham, OR 97080.

The post Time to step up for our local velodrome appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: US National

BRT Planning Effort in Philadelphia: Launched by TIGER

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 1:00pm
The U.S. DOT's release of TIGER grant funding last weekend included funding for Philadelphia to begin planning a potential BRT route for snarled and dangerous Roosevelt Boulevard.
Categories: US National

Report Details Shortcomings in Chicago's Transportation System

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:00pm
In many ways, Chicagoland's transportation system is the envy of other American cities, but a new report says that lack of coordination and fragmented authority costs the area in economic development potential.
Categories: US National

Quantifying the Economic and Employment Impacts of Water

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 11:00am
The Brookings Institution takes a closer look at the economic and employment impacts that water has on the United States.
Categories: US National

Jobs of the Week

BikePortland - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 10:56am

We’ve got some interesting opportunities for all you job-seekers. Photographer and worldwide bike tour guide positions do not come up very often. Learn more via the links below…

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here. If you’d like more information about the BikePortland Job Listings, contact us, or visit the Job Listings page.

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

The post Jobs of the Week appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: US National

How LEDs Re-Illuminate the Urban Night Sky

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 10:00am
Forbes Magazine reflects on the importance and impacts of light-emitting diode (LED) lights as more cities replace their traditional streetlamps with LEDs.
Categories: US National

Cyclist Found Guilty for Riding in Street

Streetblog Top Picks - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 9:37am
The Midwest, my home state included, is stereotyped as backwoods rednecks for a reason…this is one of them. A cyclist in Kentucky was found guilty, after being cited for a few traffic offenses a year ago. She was cited for riding in the middle of the lane instead of moving as far to the right […]
Categories: US National

A Cloud-Based Firewall to Stop Car-Data Hackers

Planetizen - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 9:00am
Using a cloud-based computing setup, the third largest maker of luxury vehicles unveiled a new set of protections from hackers in the face of driverless travel.
Categories: US National