US National

Bridging the Gap in the Los Angeles River Greenway

Planetizen - 1 hour 39 min ago
A new trail segment along the Los Angeles River breaks ground in a park-poor neighborhood as part of the countywide Los Angeles River revitalization.
Categories: US National

Focus on Scale-Up, Not Start-Up

Planetizen - 3 hours 39 min ago
Jose Corona of Inner City Advisors urges: to truly transform local neighborhoods, we must shift our attention to invest in enterprise scale, not start-ups, as a long-lasting solution for creating good jobs.
Categories: US National

What Can Vancouver Teach Melbourne?

Planetizen - 5 hours 39 min ago
Melbourne has topped numerous global lists for its quality of life, but it certainly has room to improve. Former Vancouver Planning Director Brent Toderian sees lessons from his hometown for the world class city down under.
Categories: US National

Restructured Gas Tax, EV Fees Proposed in Wisconsin

Planetizen - 6 hours 39 min ago
Gov. Scott Walker's transportation secretary is proposing a four-part tax, fee, and transfer plan to raise $750 million over the next two years. It would lower the gas tax while adding a wholesale sales tax and charge EVs and hybrids an annual fee.
Categories: US National

Crowdfunding Civic Spaces

Planetizen - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 3:00pm
Although crowdfunding initially developed to support artists and entrepreneurs, crowdfunding sites are funding a growing number of public space projects.
Categories: US National

Nike Doubles Down on its Suburban Headquarters

Planetizen - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 1:00pm
A plan to add 1.3 million square feet of office space at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon would more than double the company's original plans. Washington County will consider the plans for approval early next year.
Categories: US National

Pop-Up Park Shifts Planning Attitudes in San Diego

Planetizen - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 11:00am
The short-term Quartyard pop-up park in San Diego's East Village reflects the changing attitudes of the oft conservative San Diego Planning Department.
Categories: US National

Inglewood Mayor Rebrands a City Once Known for Crime

Planetizen - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 9:00am
James Butts is committed to turning Inglewood around, with economic investment and property development now on the rise.
Categories: US National

North Carolina Planners: Where to Build Light Rail (and Should it Be Built)?

Planetizen - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 7:00am
This week residents in the North Carolina Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) will provide input on key segments of a future regional light rail system. The project has been analyzed for 15 years, yet the question of whether to build it remains.
Categories: US National

Comment of the Week: Teaching your kid to be a millionaire

BikePortland - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 6:16pm
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

We didn’t all love math when we were 15, but most of us probably liked buying stuff.

In a comment Wednesday evening on our post about how much money bikes can save a city, reader Gutterbunnybikes shared a story about helping his teenage son understand how big a difference bikes can make to one’s personal finances.

Funny you say this, but the average income in Portland is around 45k a year. Lifetime earning potential of 1.8 million dollars. If the automobile was eliminated from your budget, you’d save roughly 400k over your life time. Which puts you 800 k over your car driving friends – if you do nothing else but ride the bike..

If you invested the money that would normally go towards automobile expenses every month and got a 4% average interest rate (Many AAA bonds give you this much, it could be much more money if you invested it more aggressively), you’d have almost another million dollars added to your lifetime earnings.

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Sorry I’d get more specific, but I’ve done this same post about a dozen times (I should just make a cut/paste doc. on it). All the numbers are based on AAA yearly automobile cost estimates -not perfect I know but it’s a base, and the automobile costs are assumed to remain the same for 40 years which doesn’t happen (it goes up every year and will probably top 10k this year).

And yes I’m aware there are ways to make driving less expensive, the first being never ever buying a new car and avoiding financing the purchase.

I ran these numbers as my son was turning 15 about a year ago to show him how what seems to be relatively small decisions like driving can have on your long term well being. Needless to say he seemed pretty shocked that driving for him is potentially a million dollar decision, and now nearly a year later and he’s yet to show any interest in a trip to the DMV.

I’ve been a cheapskate as long as I can remember, but it was actually a college professor who told me once, in an email of advice for happy young-adult life, that one of his most satisfying financial decisions had been to avoid car ownership as long as possible. Thank goodness that stuck with me, or I might never have discovered all the other ways that low-car living could enhance my life, too.

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Categories: US National

Two cargo bike projects worth backing on Kickstarter

BikePortland - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 4:44pm
Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles (left) and Bike Friday want to take a leap into cargo bikes. And you can help.

Two friends of BikePortland and fellow lovers of cargo bikes have recently launched campaigns that deserve your crowd-funding consideration.

Bike Friday (from Eugene) and Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles (from Dallas, Texas) might not be from Portland, but our city has a solid place in each of their stories.

If Oak Cliff sounds familiar, it’s probably because we wrote about the start of their cargo bike journey two years ago. Riding a wave of enthusiasm for making their town of Oak Cliff more bike friendly, Jonathan Braddick and Brennen Bechtol got inspired by a Portland-made documentary about cargo bikes. In that documentary they were introduced to Portland resident Tom LaBonty, who has carved a niche for himself as a DIY cargo bike builder.

Jonathan and Brennan invited LaBonty to Oak Cliff to teach them how to build cargo bikes. Now, two years later, they’re ready to branch out on their own. Their Kickstarter campaign aims at giving them the funds to build, “environmentally-friendly, hand crafted, affordable Dutch style cargo bicycles for the masses made in Oak Cliff, TX.” So far they’ve raised $1,263 out of a goal of $10,000 they hope to reach by December 18th. <\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

Bike Friday in Eugene is already a successful bike company; but they’ve always been known for their folding bikes. A Kickstarter campaign for their new “Haul-a-Day” cargo bike could help change that.

John Rezell with Bike Friday says he thinks the Haul-a-Day isn’t just a potential game-changer for his company, it’s a life-changer for its owners. “I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited about a bike and its potential to change lives,” he shared in an email today.

We saw first-hand how the Haul-a-Day performs when it took a surprise win at the Portland Disaster Relief Trials back in July. Surviving The Big One is a nice bonus, but the bike’s true promise is as a minivan replacement.

Eugene’s Safe Routes to School program coordinator Shane MacRhodes was one of the designers of the bike (Alan Scholz, co-founder of Bike Friday, is the other). He made the frame easily adjustable so it can fit a wide variety of sizes and gave it a small, 20-inch wheel for a low center-of-gravity and easy step-over.

Bike Friday’s looking to raise $45,000 on Kickstarter so they can ramp up production to 1,000 Haul-a-Days in 2015. Amazingly, after just one day, they’re already up to nearly $30,000. We think they should have asked for more!

Best of luck to both of these campaigns. All bikes change lives, but cargo bikes can change our entire culture in so many positive ways that we want to see as many of them on the road as possible.

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Categories: US National

EnSelle ‘The Road Bike Shop’ to close after 16 years in business

BikePortland - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 4:05pm

EnSelle, a bike shop that focuses exclusively on road bikes, will close its doors at the end of this year.

EnSelle was founded by Jask Liskear in 1998 and has built a strong niche as “the shop for connoisseurs of fine road bikes.” Liskear is a dealer for BMC and Land Shark bikes and his shop (located just off SW Macadam Blvd) is officially certified for repairs by Campagnolo and Shimano. In addition to the latest and greatest bikes, EnSelle is full of classic memorabilia of the sport he loves.

Liskear announced the big news via a customer email sent out today at noon: <\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

“WOW…. what an adventure! I opened EnSelle in June of 1998 and haven’t looked back. In those years, I have built countless custom bikes, wheels, fixed too many flats to count and loved the business for all these years. Best of all I have met and gained hundreds of customers who have turned into friends. What a Joy!

But alas, after all these years I want to ride my bike more! I want to head to the hills with Robin, do extended credit card touring, and see Oregon! My love of bikes is why I started EnSelle in the first place and now it is time to close up the shop and RIDE!

Starting November 28th, 2014 (Friday) Everything is 40% off. Everything goes. I will sell off all my tools, fixtures, selected clothing, memorabilia jerseys, pictures, cycling caps, fitting equipment, spokes, hubs, rims, components. Everything in the store goes and all at 40% off. Cash or credit card accepted.

Thank you for supporting me for all these years. I couldn’t have done it without YOU.”

Doing support at the 2009 Gorge Ride.(Photo: Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway)

Jack looks forward to seeing all his loyal customers in these final weeks. The shop’s last day will be December 31st.

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Categories: US National

Friday Eye Candy: SPUR's Urban Cartography Exhibit

Planetizen - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 4:00pm
Allison Arieff provides a glimpse to the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research's new exhibit featuring interesting maps of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Categories: US National

Reflections on Urban Public Art

Planetizen - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:00pm
Ken Lum, Professor in the School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania and Penn IUR Faculty Fellow, writes about the promise—and pitfalls—of urban public art today.
Categories: US National

After years of disappointment, single track lovers have reasons for optimism

BikePortland - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 2:21pm

With renewed energy from Portland’s off-road biking advocates and a Metro project that could open up 1,300 acress of trail possibilities, 2015 could be a very big year for the elusive goal of more singletrack in Portland.

As we reported yesterday, local advocacy and trail building group the Northwest Trail Alliance has thrown down a gauntlet of sorts by launching an online petition in the form of an open letter to members of Portland City Council. The petition urges them to “catch up with the overflowing demand for off-road cycling opportunities.” By the time this story is published there will likely be close to 1,000 signatures collected in its first two days.

It’s been four years since a bruising public process ended without any real progress on bike access improvements in Forest Park. After that loss, the NW Trail Alliance vowed to stay focused on the issue.

Now, with the passage of time and healing of wounds, it looks like they’re ready to start pushing once again. The Trail Alliance can start fresh with lessons learned and new faces in charge at City Council and on their staff.

Also working in bike advocates’ favor is a Metro plan to develop 1,300 acres of land known as the North Tualatin Mountains along Forest Park’s northern boundary. As we reported back in September, Metro is entering this planning process with eyes wide open.

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But then again, mountain biking advocates were also optimistic back in 2009 when former Parks Commissioner Nick Fish made a bold promise that he was ultimately unable to keep.

However, this time around advocates have even more reason to expect a good result. The biggest difference is that their fate is in Metro’s hands now, not Portland Parks & Recreation. And unlike the 2009 Forest Park effort, biking hopes can be based on clear policy language, not a politician’s promises.

At 403 acres and accessible right off Skyline Blvd and McNamee Road, the McCarthy Creek parcel holds great promise.

The North Tualatin Mountains project is funded through Metro’s natural areas levy that voters passed in 2012. The NW Trail Alliance came out in support of that levy because it included specific language about mountain biking.

The levy was adopted by Metro Council in December 2012. Page 14 of Exhibit A in the adopted resolution contains an initial project list. Among the projects listed is one of parcels of the North Tualatin Mountains project. Here’s the text of that project description:

Agency Creek/McCarthy Creek Various parcels near to but outside of Forest Park are currently or could be used by walkers or cyclists to access nature close to Portland. Access to the site is challenging and there may be opportunities to enhance use. Over the past decade the demand for single track mountain biking trails has increased. This project would explore the potential to provide quality cycling and hiking experiences for formal single track cycling and walking trails, and as appropriate, construct the facilities.

While that language doesn’t set anything in stone, it’s clear Metro has been thinking about single track from the outset and they’ve left the door wide open.

As you can imagine, people who want more single track trails within riding distance of downtown Portland are taking this Metro process very seriously. If they succeed here, it won’t just give them a great new place to ride, it would serve as a symbol of success right next door to where the City of Portland has thus far only failed.

Metro is holding four community meetings to gather feedback on this project. The second one is coming up on December 2nd.

Ryan Francesconi and Andy Jansky, two volunteer advocates with the NW Trail Alliance, hope to see a large contingent of bicycling supporters at the meeting. “Allowing bikes on trails is currently very much a possibility,” they wrote on Facebook, “however if we don’t attend this meeting and give voice to our perspective we may lose out.”

    North Tualatin Mountains Open House Skyline Grange Tuesday, December 2, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m 11275 NW Skyline Blvd. Portland, OR 97231

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Categories: US National

How to Marginalize the Automobile

Planetizen - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 2:00pm
In a column for Fast Forward Weekly, Steven Snell explores the complexities in lessening the domestication of the automobile and its perceived necessity in our day-to-day lives.
Categories: US National

Land for Vehicles or People?

Planetizen - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 1:00pm
Automobile-oriented planning requires that cities devote signifiant amounts of space to roads and parking—under many conditions each vehicle requires more land than is devoted to housing per capita.
Categories: US National

30-day jail sentence handed down for drunken hit-and-run in SW Portland

BikePortland - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:24pm
Lisa Vesely after her arrest back in July.

A woman who drove her car recklessly while drunk, then rear-ended two other road users, only to drive away and leave them lying in the street with serious injuries was sentenced to just 30 days in jail on Tuesday.

The incident happened back in July when 32-year old Lisa Vesely was arrested for Assault, DUII, and Reckless Endangerment. Vesely was driving her car east on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway when she swerved into Cameron Duff and Jasmine Zamora. The pair were headed home from training at the Alpenrose Velodrome. Zamora, 30, sustained serious back and neck injuries while Duff, 25, escaped with only cuts and bruises.

Vesely claimed she didn’t even know she hit anyone, yet a police statement at the time said she drove back to the scene of the crime, only to drive away again before being arrested at her home. It’s worth noting that Vesely had a blood alcohol level of .17, which is twice the legal limit.

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According to a report in The Oregonian from the sentencing hearing, Vesely plead guilty to felony hit-and-run, a misdemeanor DUII and misdemeanor fourth-degree assault. Here’s more from The O:

Deputy District Attorney Lauren Kemp recommended 30 days in jail, three years of probation and 120 hours of community service

Vesely’s attorney, Lawrence Hunt, asked Judge Angel Lopez to sentence his client to some amount less than 30 days, noting that his client had no previous criminal history, was college-educated and has worked as a caregiver at a retirement center. Hunt said his client is eager to get back to work because she has only $25 left in her bank account after expenses she has incurred hiring him as a privately retained attorney.

As part of her sentence, Vesely’s driver’s license will be suspended for three years because of a 2013 law targeting hit-and-run drivers. Previously, state law called for a one-year suspension.

Also as part of her plea deal, she can ask a judge to reduce her felony hit-and-run conviction to a misdemeanor after 1 1/2 years if she abides by the terms of her sentence.

We’ve reached out to Justine Zamora to get her response to the sentencing and will update this post if/when we hear back.

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Categories: US National

The Litterati Impact: Cleaning the Planet One Instagram at a Time

Planetizen - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:00pm
#litterati. That's the hashtag. See a piece of litter, post it on Instagram, then throw the trash away. Simple.
Categories: US National

Friends remember Kirke Johnson, identified as man killed in Cedar Mill collision

BikePortland - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:06am
Kirke Johnson.(Photos: Portland Community College)

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the man who was killed yesterday while bicycling on NW Cornell Road in Cedar Mill (just west of the Portland city boundary).

The victim is Kirke Johnson, a 70-year old former employee at Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus. He worked in the school’s IT department for over 20 years and just retired last week. People who knew Johnson remember him as being a prolific and very experienced rider who logged thousands of miles a year on his recumbent (which he was riding at the time of the collision).

He was also a regular commenter here on BikePortland. Under the screen name “bikesalot” he published about 100 comments dating back to early 2009. The Sheriff’s Office has also released an update about the collision, saying that their investigation shows, “the truck turned into the path of the bicyclist causing them to collide.” Investigators have also determined that “inattentiveness” was likely a contributing factor in the collision and that citations might be possible after the investigation is completed.

“Over the years Kirke was very involved in community action involving improving bicycle safety on NW Cornell Rd. He went to numerous meetings involving the county and other groups concerned with Cornell Rd. infrastructure.”— Deborah Hartman, a friend who knew him for over 30 years.

According to friends and those who knew Johnson, he was “obsessed” with logging his miles on, a site that ranks users based on how far they’ve ridden. Johnson was also a member of the Oregon Human Powered Vehicle Association and he was the leader of PCC Sylvania’s Bike Commute Challenge Team. An internal PCC email sent out Thursday night and shared by BikePortland commenter Marc Rose said that Kirke, “was a careful cyclist who had been commuting by bike to work for the past 10 years, and had been planning a cross-country bicycle trip with his wife this winter.”

Commenter Pat Franz knew Johnson and told us that he was “very experienced, very visible, and very careful.” He was also very familiar with the Cornell/Barnes intersection where he was hit and he lived nearby. Franz also said that Johnson always rode with lights and usually had a bright yellow fairing wrapped around his long wheelbase recumbent.

“He routinely rode over 10,000 miles a year on his bike,” Franz wrote, “He knew about lane positioning, blind spots, and how to stay safe. That this still happened to him is a real shock… If the truck had given any indication it was doing anything other than going straight, Kirke would not have let himself be anywhere near the danger zone, I am sure of that. It is sobering and beyond sad that he was struck anyway.” <\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

This photo was posted to Facebook by Kirke’s daughter Heather Johnson.

In 2007, Johnson was featured in an article on the PCC website:

He got into biking as a kid where he rode a three-speed on dirt mining camp roads in New Mexico. Johnson said he never took biking seriously until his daughter entered the Seattle to Portland cycling event a few years ago. Seeing how much fun it was for her, Johnson started looking for the right kind of bike to suit him. He didn’t like traditional cycles because they weren’t comfortable for him so he turned to recumbent bikes where the rider sits back as if in a chair. When he found the right cycle, he fitted it with a body sock to get a streamline effect. Johnson has been commuting to the Sylvania Campus from his home on Skyline Boulevard in northwest Portland several times a week ever since.

“I spent winter learning how to ride it,” he said. “You don’t want to know how many hills I walked up with the recumbent before I got into good enough condition to ride up all the way. The long wheelbase is not ideal for congested areas, but is good for the open road. You have to make an allowance and choose proper routes. Most of my crashes have been where I’ve been stopped and I lose balance.”

Johnson was well-known among recumbent riders in the Pacific Northwest. A post in the popular BentRiderOnline forums laments his passing and points out how, coupled the recent passing of Marilyn Hayward, “the Portland recumbent community has been hit hard in the last couple weeks.”

A longtime friend of Johnson’s left a comment last night saying that he was actively involved in advocating for bicycle safety on exact same road he died on. “Over the years Kirke was very involved in community action involving improving bicycle safety on NW Cornell Rd,” a commenter named Deborah Hartman wrote, “He went to numerous meetings involving the county and other groups concerned with Cornell Rd. infrastructure.”

“This is simply tragic,” she continued. “He worked all his life to live his dream of cycling in his retirement… I am heartbroken.”

We haven’t heard anything about a memorial service but will update this post if we do.

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Categories: US National