A recent federal investigation into civil rights violations has given way to calls for a reorganization. A recent editorial examines the ways the Dallas Housing Department is failing.
We’ve all heard the question “but who will build the roads?” put to libertarians. In a recent article, Emily Washington examines historic examples of urban settings that developed without the guidance of a government.
City leaders have been in a struggle to come up with a viable solution to fix its buckling sidewalks for the past 50 years. Real estate developer Michael P. Russell takes a look at the work that needs to be done and outlines a plan for a fix.
First came plastic bags, then styrofoam cups, and now, plastic water bottles—though the ban is not as far-reaching as the former two in that it is restricted to sales on city property, including street fairs.
The largest ever fine for polluting waterways, $27.5 million plus $200 million in clean-up costs was assigned to a coal company. NewsHour co-anchor Gwen Ifill interviews Dina Cappiello of The Associated Press to discuss water pollution from coal.
Baltimore Magazine’s annual “Best Places to Work” list factors in in salaries, benefits, and workplace perks—but not commuting. In the Washington, DC metro area, that’s no small thing.
Good move Matt!(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
It's real this time folks. It's over. ODOT has just announced they will "shut down" the Columbia River Crossing Project once and for all. Here's the full statement just released by ODOT Director Matt Garrett:
"On March 7, the Oregon Legislature adjourned without reinstating construction funds for the CRC I-5 Bridge Replacement project. As identified in Governor Kitzhaber’s January 27, 2014 letter to legislative leadership, the project will begin the process of orderly archival and closeout. We have the fiduciary responsibility to close out the project in a systematic, retrievable manner in order to adequately preserve a decade of research, environmental reviews, community involvement, and detailed engineering work for potential future use. We will archive work products according to Oregon record retention requirements.
Expenditures will be reduced immediately; further design and deliverable development will not occur. The project will shut down completely by May 31, 2014.
Conclude Staff and Agency Agreements
ODOT, WSDOT and TriMet will begin demobilizing agency staff. Each agency will be responsible for necessary personnel actions.
We will issue stop work orders on consultant contracts on or before March 15, 2014, including instructions to record the current status of the work product and contract amendments to archive work products and conduct contract closeout. We will release consultant staff once they have archived and catalogued their work products.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
In addition, the project has intergovernmental agreements in place with agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Multnomah County Drainage District. We will close out these agreements this month with formal stop work orders.
Archive and Catalogue Work Products
We will archive and catalogue all work products, past deliverables, and permit documentation in their current state. The following types of work products exist:
Environmental documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statement(s), the federal Record of Decision and required re-evaluations.
Financial analysis, including extensive documentation required by the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, a transit operations and maintenance agreement, the investment grade analysis, and work products related to application for a federal TIFIA loan.
Recent cost estimates for elements of the Oregon-led project and the project’s history of risk-based cost estimating.
Geotechnical research and reports that have been informed by the drilled shaft and driven test pile program.
The bodies of work that led to receipt of the U.S. Coast Guard General Bridge Permit and Section 401 water quality certification in Oregon and Washington. Work efforts required as part of the Section 404 flood and wetland and 408 navigation and levee impact permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were underway and will be archived. Other permitting plans and work products will be catalogued.
Draft design build procurement document for the River Crossing Bridges and Approaches
Documentation and summary of the robust public involvement program, including comments, advisory group activities, outreach presentations and public information materials.
Work efforts to support right of way plans and utility relocations. Development drafts of procurement documents, including those intended to guide construction of the Columbia River bridges.
The project occupies one floor of the Vancouver Center building. The lease is on a month-to-month basis, so there is no penalty for early termination. ODOT facilities will coordinate the retention of computers, phones, and furniture; ODOT fleet services will coordinate vehicle disposition."
Four years after one of its bus drivers fatally collided with two women in a downtown Portland crosswalk, TriMet is testing a few devices that use sounds and lights to show when a bus is turning.
One uses flashing LED strobe lights and the announcement "pedestrians, bus is turning," repeated twice by the voice of a slightly alarmed woman. Another uses only a softer audio warning: "caution, bus is turning" three times. They started operating on 45 buses on five of TriMet's frequent service lines on Monday: the 4, 8, 15, 33 and 75.
The folks at Oregon Public Broadcasting uploaded each file to Soundcloud for easy testing over the web. Here's the first one, which isn't being tested with LED accompaniment:
And you can hear the second sound at the start of this OPB radio spot:<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
In addition to the audio devices, TriMet is testing a third light-only device on some buses: one that uses the bus's speed and steering wheel angle to automatically turn on "additional super bright LED lights inside the headlight pointed in the direction of travel."
There's also a static bus warning sign on Southwest 5th Avenue at Burnside: the word "BUS," above the walk/don't walk signal, which lights up when a bus is approaching.
Bus turns, especially left turns, are often difficult for other road users to anticipate, because the vehicles don't begin to swing quickly around until partway through their turns. That's why the regional transit agency's new devices are triggered, in whole or in part, by the angle of the steering wheel.
Because the devices are calibrated to capture intersection turns only, it's unlikely that the buses will make their announcements during lane changes — pulling across a bike lane for a stop, for example.
An earlier test of similar systems, in 2011, failed because the systems were either too sensitive to the turning wheels or not sensitive enough. You can read about the whole program in more detail on TriMet's website.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
In news that will come as either refreshing or frightening depending on your perspective, the Denver Planning Board recently ignored public opposition and voted to recommend rezoning in the University Park neighborhood.
Following three years of study, Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry declared a “tipping point” in the city’s BRT plans. The city will require a federal matching grant to proceed.
Christopher Leinberger provides his assessment of the “Walkable Urban Places” concept in the suburban parts of metropolitan Detroit in a new article from metromode.
The recently rejected proposal for a new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia failed to live up to the spirit of that seminal event, writes Nathaniel Popkin.
The wraps come off next week.(Photo by Team Lazy Tarantulas)
Looking to improve the quality of bicycle access on a controversial and deadly stretch of SW Barbur Boulevard, the Oregon Department of Transportation will turn on four new "bicycle warning beacons" next week (they were first proposed last spring). ODOT says the new flashing signs will be the first of their type ever used in Oregon. The signs will be placed at each end of the Newbury Street and Vermont Street bridges and will activate automatically as people on bicycles roll past sensors embedded in the pavement. ODOT is pouring $5 million into rehabilitating these two bridges and these bicycle signs are the result of public input on that project. ODOT's Public Information Officer Don Hamilton says the four signs cost the agency $180,000.
When ODOT first announced the bridge project, concerned users of SW Barbur Blvd implored them to use the opportunity to put the large arterial on a "road diet" and add a dedicated bikeway. Barbur, a potentially perfect bicycling connection between southwest and downtown Portland, currently has just a standard bike lane that abruptly drops at the two bridges, placing bicycle riders directly in a lane shared with fast-moving traffic.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Despite pressure from citizen activists and advocacy groups — including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance — ODOT and Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick have opted to delay any major changes on Barbur for now.
While a major re-design of Barbur isn't on the table, ODOT says these signs will increase safety. Here's more from them via a statement they'll send out later today:
When the beacons are activated, motorists will be alerted to bicyclists on the bridges and can then make appropriate driving decisions, such as slowing down or changing lanes. Cyclists will still need to use caution and watch for a gap in traffic before safely moving into the traffic lane.
Here are the features:
• The signs increase awareness by drawing the attention of motorists to bicyclists in the right lane. • No stopping is required. The signs are activated by an automatic sensor. • The signs will be located prior to the bridges in each direction.
We'll see how the signs perform once they're up and running. If you ride on Barbur, please drop us a line and tell us how the signs change your experience.
— Browse our past coverage of SW Barbur Blvd here.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Southern California takes a lot of heat for sucking up the water from Northern California and the Colorado River, but the Orange County Water District, at least, is doing its part.
Heads up.(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)
As we all know, it can sometimes be easy to forget how great Oregon is.
This morning, after returning to Oregon from the National Bike Summit (which I was attending for my other gig as Jonathan was covering for BikePortland) I saw a little reminder pop up in my standing Twitter search for bike-related tweets in Portland.
Below is the exchange, between two people who I don't know (and both of whom, I'm sure, will be responsible and well-informed drivers once they're both on the road).
Oregon state drivers test is no joke #IFailed
— jBe (@JBeRoe) March 7, 2014
@JBeRoe I'm sorry! You'll get it next time.
— melissa (@melissa_nadine) March 7, 2014
@melissa_nadine all these dang bike laws! I'm clueless! :)
— jBe (@JBeRoe) March 7, 2014<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
How progressive is Oregon's Department of Motor Vehicles when it comes to driving tests? Last fall, I got a tip that the agency had changed its rules so that failing to check a right-hand mirror for bikes on any right turn across a bike lane would now dock you points on a road test. I called the DMV to check this out. Their spokesman's response (paraphrased): What are you talking about, man? We've been doing that for years and years.
Oregon driving laws could be more bike-friendly, of course. For example, there's no instructional requirement for people over 18. And unlike in, for example, Tennessee, driver's ed classes don't include any experience riding a bicycle. But it looks like they did exactly what they were supposed to. I'm looking forward to sharing our roads with JBeRoe once she passes.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Does your bike need some love? Roll over to Citybikes Sunday night for a free "Open Shop" event.(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Welcome to the Weekend Event Guide. As per usual, we've combed our inbox and the Internet to find the best bike rides and events coming your way this weekend.
As you can see by the big rides happening, spring is just around the corner and it's time to get out there and dust off the winter cobwebs. Speaking of which, if your bike isn't quite ready for prime-time, Citybike's free Open Shop night is this Sunday.
Whatever you end up doing, we hope bikes are a part of your weekend. We've been in Washington D.C. all week but we hear it's been pretty wet around these parts. Unfortunately the forecast calls for more rain, so hopefully some windows of dryness open up.Friday, March 7th
Block Bikes First Anniversary Sale and Birthday Celebration - 10:00 am at Block Bikes (7238 N Burlington Ave in St. Johns) Head up to St. Johns to help Block Bikes co-owner Ben Helgren celebrate his birthday and the 1st anniversary of his shop. Along with special deals on products and bikes, there will also be cake. The sale (and hopefully the cake) last all weekend. More info here (FB).Saturday, March 8th
Reach the Beach Training Ride - 8:30 am at Sellwood Riverfront Park (SE Oaks Parks Way) Join ride leaders from the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club for this beautiful loop ride from Sellwood down to Oregon City and back. There are 35 and 50-mile options. If you're riding Reach the Beach in mid-May, you'll meet other folks working toward the same goal. More info here.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Three Speed Ride - 11:00 am at Woodlawn Park (6854 NE Claremont Ave - meet under the bridge)Bring it. (Photo: Society of Three Speeds)
The Society of Three Speeds is leading their first ride of 2014. While vintage 3-speeds are encourages — and all existing members of the Society will have one — you're welcome to show up on any type of bike. If you're not a member yet, you can sign up at the ride. The route is a relatively flat 12 miles and will be led by an expert guide. For clothing tips (vintage attire and nice clothes are the order of the day) and more information, check out the Society's website.
Dalles Mountain 60 - 10:00 am at Holstein’s Coffee Co. in The Dalles (811 E 3rd St)
If you missed the Salem Gravel Grinder last month, you don't want to miss The Dalles Mtn 60. Organized by VeloDirt, this informal, unsanctioned ride is a local classic that will likely see a few hundred participants. This is billed as a "Friendly introduction to gravel riding." Check out the route, cue sheet, and get your questions answered in the comments on the VeloDirt blog.Sunday, March 9th
Dirty Circles Road Race - All day in Woodland, WA This is the second of a three race series intended, in the words of its organizers, "as a relaxed early season race designed to give everyone a way to spark the fires for a successful road season." More info here (PDF).
Monogamous Sects Ride - 5:00 pm at Laurelhurst Park (3701 SE Oak St.) The nice volunteers from Bike Temple will lead another one of their super-interesting explorations of local churches and religions. This month's ride will stop into a service at the Portland Atheist Church to answer the question, "What is a church service like without a God-theme?" This ride welcomes everyone. More info here.
Open Shop Night at Citybikes - 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Citybikes Annex (SE 8th and Ankeny) The free Open Shop event at Citybikes is a great place to learn how to work on your own bike. The shop has taught Portlanders how to be self-reliant for decades and trained mechanics will be on hand to answer questions and assist you (but they won't pick up the tools, that's how you learn!). If you're not a newbie, you can also show up just to use their work bench. More info here.
Did we miss anything? Please drop us a line and let us know. Or feel free to promote your event in the comments below. And as always, thanks for reading and riding.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
It's been available since September 2013, but news of the "Mini Metro' subway layout game recently hit the web. Finally, a test for all those armchair enthusiasts who think they can make the trains run on time.
It took a few years, but funding changes as a result of MAP-21, the 2012 federal transportation bill, have started to impact funding for Metro “Call for Projects” grants in Los Angeles County.
The decision of where to locate ballparks, and to what extent the public should subsidize that location, can have ripple effects throughout the land use and transportation systems of a region.
With 600,000 square feet of office and retail under construction in the center of Allentown, Pennsylvania, the state’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone program, launched in 2009, has had a substantial impact.