US National

Private Planning Effort Spearheads Los Angeles River Bike Path Plan

Planetizen - 1 hour 25 min ago
Looking for a way to connect the separate pieces of the bike path along the Los Angeles River, a local developer took planning and designing a new path into his own hands.
Categories: US National

The Ride: Mountain biking on the Wilson River Trail

BikePortland - 2 hours 8 min ago
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Just off Highway 6 in the Tillamook State Forest about 45 miles west of Portland lies some of the region’s best singletrack. And I’m still wondering why it took me 11 years to finally discover it.

A forested wonderland with all the singletrack your legs can handle.

The Wilson River Trail is a gem. Just 45 miles west of Portland (under an hour by car), the trail winds, climbs, and drops along ridges and valleys in the heavily forested Coast Range. I rode it for the first time on Saturday not really knowing what to expect. It turned out to be equal parts fun and challenging. Mix in the absolutely stunning landscape and views and I think this trail should to be at the top of everyone’s list.

<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>--> Hardtails are fine for this trail. This is Scott Bradway’s Kona Kula 29r. Even with recent rains, there was little to no mud.

Given how nice the trail is (even with all the rain we’ve been having), I would have expected to hear more about it among the mountain biking circles in Portland. But after tackling over 20 miles of it, I have a feeling why it might not be as popular as other places: the climbing.

On Saturday, our group parked at the Elk Creek Campground and road out to the parking lot at Jones Creek (both places are right off Highway 6) and back. In those 22 miles (11 each way), our total elevation gained was over 4,000 feet and the ride took us about 3.5 hours. That’s a lot of climbing anyway you slice it, especially when you realize it’s all on singletrack.

Check out the route on RideWithGPS.

At the end of the day I was soggy, smiley, bloody, sore, muddy, and exhausted… all the things I’ve missed about mountain biking.

If you love rock-strewn creek crossings, smooth flowing singletrack, and the challenges and rewards of serious climbing — all in one of the most beautiful places in the state — I highly recommend doing this ride.

Check out our route on Browse more posts like this.

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Categories: US National

California Committee to Consider Road User Charge

Planetizen - 2 hours 25 min ago
Gov. Jerry Brown has an environmental goal that conflicts with an infrastructure goal: reducing oil consumption and raising funds to pay for deferred road needs. The solution may be the Road User Charge, which lies in the hands of a new committee.
Categories: US National

Poorly installed bike racks in renovated Bancorp Tower plaza

BikePortland - 3 hours 10 min ago
Can you spot the errors with this installation?(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If we want to become a virtuoso cycling city, we must first master the fundamentals.

It’s one thing when poorly installed bicycle parking happens in front of a convenience store, but it’s a much bigger deal when it’s done as part of a multi-million dollar project for the 2nd tallest building in Portland and the largest office building (in terms of volume) in the entire state of Oregon.

The other day I noticed the renovation of the plaza on the south end of the U.S. Bancorp Tower was completed and re-opened. I am a huge fan of public plazas. They have a major impact on the quality of place and they’re an essential part of any great city.

Given that, I was extremely disappointed when I saw how the architects on this project installed some of the bike parking. As you can see from the image above, the potential utility of these racks is extremely diminished because they are placed so close to the wall and so close together.

Compare the racks in the image above to the City of Portland’s official guidelines on “minimum required area” for a bicycle rack as published in Administrative Rule TRN-10.09:

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These racks in the Bancorp Tower plaza are too close to the wall, do not allow for proper bicycle alignment, and they encourage users to lock up in a way that will constrict the flow of walking traffic (the Administrative Rule clearly states that, “The minimum sidewalk corridor for placement of a bike rack is ten (10) feet”). It’s also worth noting that these racks are just a few yards away from a major light rail and bus transit stop.

On paper, these racks have capacity for 12 bicycles. But in reality, depending on how people use them, I could see three or four bikes taking up the entire area.

I’m not sure how plans like this slip through the regulatory process. Projects like this are required to get a permit and I’d expect that at some point along the line PBOT would have to sign off on the vehicle parking plans. A sketch of the plaza (below) on the GBD Architects website doesn’t even show the racks at all, so perhaps they were an afterthought.

Can you spot the errors with this installation?The new Bancorp Tower plaza. (Graphic: GBD Architects)

This is unfortunately a very common mistake. Even New Seasons — one of the most bike-friendly businesses in Portland — installed 30 new bike racks at their Williams Avenue store too close to the wall. In that case, after BikePortland commenters pointed out the error, they unbolted each one and moved them back.

Hopefully, given that this plaza renovation was estimated to cost between $12 and $14 million, the architects in charge of this project can afford to move these racks away from the wall, re-oriented them 90-degrees, and/or move them to another location entirely. If they do, I’d suggest they contact a bicycle parking expert at PBOT before doing so.

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Categories: US National

How Parking Apps Could Shift the Parking Landscape

Planetizen - 3 hours 25 min ago
New apps have the potential to influence a fundamental shift in the political and physical realities of parking according to a recent Next City article.
Categories: US National

Industrial Meets Residential in New Vancouver Zoning

Planetizen - 4 hours 25 min ago
Vancouver created its MX zone as a solution to a persistent challenge for planners—how to retain industrial jobs and affordable housing in downtowns.
Categories: US National

The Monday Roundup: Illegal walking, ambulance bike racks and more

BikePortland - 5 hours 9 min ago
Somebody call the cops.(Photo: browneyes.)

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by the Ride the Heart of the Valley Bike Ride. Set for April 26th, this ride is a benefit for the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis.


Here are the bike-related stories from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Illegal walking: Child protective services threatened to take two Maryland children away from their parents after the parents let their kids (aged 10 and 6) walk home one mile from the park together.

Ambulance bike racks: A hospital in Fort Collins now equips its ambulances with racks to avoid leaving patients’ bikes at the scene.

Car-detecting radar: Garmin is marketing an alert device for bike users.

Gentle music: You can now listen to a version of Mambo No. 5 performed entirely by bike horn.

Global retrofit: There’s an international plan afoot to spend $90 trillion to redesign almost every city in the world for even more driving. Al Gore and the president of Mexico are arguing that this would be a bad idea but are being mocked for it.

Gas tax: The NYT’s Gail Collins makes the case for a federal gas tax hike.

Car-shaped bike: My favorite analysis of a Detroit Auto Show demo vehicle: if your bike is too light, agile and convenient, the U.S. auto industry has you covered.

Allowing speeding: The political battle over the mechanization of streets and the invention of “jaywalking” came to its climax in Cincinnati in 1923, when auto dealers united against a mechanically enforced 25 mph speed limit and left us with posted signs instead.

Institutionalized speeding: The U.S. engineering practice of deliberately designing our roads for comfortably driving much faster than the speed limit, in the name of “safety,” apparently comes from one 1964 study.

Investigating speed: U.S. Rep. Peter DeFasio (D-Ore.) has asked for a GAO investigation of whether federal standards that make it safer to drive fast are also making it more dangerous to bike and walk.

Yes we can: The NYC Transportation Commissioner’s frequent line that “culture eats policy for breakfast” is self-defeating, argues Brooklyn Spoke. Cities can change the menu.

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Lip-syncing motors: Automakers from Ford to BMW to Volkswagen use fake engine noise to make people feel more powerful.

Lane-change collision: A Hillsboro man who changed lanes to pass someone biking accidentally accelerated into another car for a head-on collision Saturday.

Selective enforcement: A new law in Fort Lauderdale requiring bikes to be licensed turned out to be “a law that’s only being used in black neighborhoods.”

Transpo futurism: CityLab has compiled its posts about the future of transportation into a free e-book, its first.

Autonomous cars: Ann Arbor, Mich., is creating a 32-acre testing area for driverless cars.

Ridesourcing benefit: Uber claims that a planned expansion in Europe would take 400,000 personal vehicles off the road.

Inclusionary zoning: A much-anticipated bill that could let Portland and other cities require income diversity in new developments has been introduced in Salem.

Felony DUI: In Olympia, a bill would elevate someone’s fourth DUI conviction in 10 years into a felony.

Seahawk joyride: Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says he has three bikes at his house and rides regularly, though the trip he took down the field right after winning a trip to the Super Bowl was his favorite so far.

Mixed dating: How do people who arrive at dates in cars ever get laid? Lovely Bicycle explains.

Finally, your video of the week is an artsy account of an alternative scenario. (For a slightly more narrative approach, here’s the original column.)

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Categories: US National

A Better Future for Tampa's Trolley?

Planetizen - 5 hours 25 min ago
Tampa's TECO line streetcar system does not lack charm. What the historic streetcar does lack, however, is riders. Can HART transform the trolley into an integral part of a revitalized downtown?
Categories: US National

Tent Cities Proposed for Homeless in Seattle

Planetizen - 6 hours 25 min ago
The mayor and City Council of Seattle will consider a controversial measure to combat its surging homeless population.
Categories: US National

Will Atlanta’s Streetcar Bring Needed Investment?

Streetblog Top Picks - 6 hours 47 min ago
In a couple of previous posts, I explored the challenges of empty spaces and car-centric elements around the Atlanta Streetcar. With this post, I’ll highlight the kind of projects that could prove its muscle when it comes to drawing in much-needed new investment along the route. One of the biggest misunderstandings about the Atlanta Streetcar is its very purpose. […]
Categories: US National

More Details on the End of Architecture for Humanity

Planetizen - 7 hours 25 min ago
Following the recent news that Architecture for Humanity shut its doors after operating since 1999, FastCo.Design provides more details about what went wrong.
Categories: US National

Poll: Voters Remain Opposed To Raising State Gas Taxes

Planetizen - 8 hours 25 min ago
Notwithstanding plummeting gas prices, Keith Laing of The Hill reports on poll results that reveal an uphill battle for political leaders in Utah, Georgia, and New Jersey, who are advocating gas tax increases to fund roads, bridges, and transit.
Categories: US National

Mapping the Demographic Future of Cities

Planetizen - 9 hours 25 min ago
Cities change. The people living in cities change. A new online tool from the Urban Institute allows users to forecast demographic trends as far out at 2030.
Categories: US National

Retrofitting Dead and Dying Suburban Malls: What Works?

Planetizen - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 3:00pm
Denver is a national leader in retrofitting the Great American Suburban Mall. But how well are these retrofits working? A comparative analysis of field reports by college-age Millennials offers some insight.
Categories: US National

How Economic Crisis Inspired Grassroots Organizations in Greece

Planetizen - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 1:00pm
Citiscope examines the organizing and volunteer efforts of citizens in Athens, Greece in response to the country's economic crisis.
Categories: US National

On New York's Shadow Transportation System: 'Dollar Vans'

Planetizen - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 11:00am
The New Yorker has published an interactive feature in New York's shadow transit system—the network of so-called "dollar vans."
Categories: US National

Peak Driving Record Shattered

Planetizen - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 9:00am
So long 2007. Hello 2014. According to new DOT data, peak driving is no longer in the rear view mirror but ahead of us thanks to cheap gas getting even cheaper, the rebound effect, an improved economy, and warmer weather.
Categories: US National

New Taxes could Drive up the Cost of Conservation in Maine

Planetizen - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 7:00am
Maine trails only three states in total acreage of land protected by conservation. A new plan to end the property tax exemptions for nonprofits, however, could make that work much more difficult.
Categories: US National

Community Gardens are Collateral Damage in New York's Affordable Housing Plans

Planetizen - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 3:00pm
Here's a head scratcher: in its ambition to meet the affordable housing goals of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has proposed the redevelopment of 15 community gardens on city-owned property.
Categories: US National

How California's Cap-and-Trade Will Fund Affordable Housing

Planetizen - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 1:00pm
The innovative revenue stream known as California's cap-and-trade program is ready to take action by funding affordable housing projects.
Categories: US National